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Found 14 results

  1. How are you folks doing? Staying cool and safe hopefully. What a heck of a summer, right? Sorry for taking so long to get the next installment of the blog out. The heat has really zapped my energy by the end of the day & I'm in no mood to turn my TV on to watch old wrestling DVDs. But, I have to press on don't I? Hot weather and pandemic anxieties be damned! In all seriousness, that is pretty much the case for my snail like pace. My goal for the better part of the year was to get a post every week but, its been a rough summer. For the last 2 weeks of work, we have been trying to catch up from what I'll call a total order system collapse. I'm not an expert but, everything ground to a halt as far as taking and shipping orders at work. I was able to get a lot done once we were up and running again but, it was a mighty job of catch-up we had to play. Top that off with the heat and the madness of living in the US during the COVID-19 pandemic...yeah I was lucky enough to enjoy bits of Impact, ROH and Smackdown last week. Making time to actively watch and critique wrestling wasn't happening. Nevertheless, when I saw my opportunity this weekend, I took it. Let's get on with the Spotlight on Tiger Mask! vs Ultraman (06/18/82): Ultraman has a neat outfit similar to Hijo del Santo. The character is based off a live action TV show akin to Power Rangers but, is from the 60's originally. I'm guessing NJ saw how popular the Tiger Mask cross-over was that they wanted to try their hand at a long time character like Ultraman. Welp...you know how that worked out...This was an OK match that could have been more if it weren't for some stumbles and bumbles. We get the debut of the Space Flying Tiger Drop (cartwheel plancha) but, this really could have been a clipped match. Tiger Mask/Tatsumi Fujinami vs Ultraman/El Polaco (06/25/82): Hey, hey! I'm always happy to see a full tag match on this set. One of the reasons I bought this was to see more Fujinami along with other lesser seen talent. This was pretty much just that as the Japanese team squashed the Luchadores. I'm surprised they continued the Ultraman stuff as he kinda got buried here. Nonetheless, we have... vs Ultraman (07/06/82): Despite the first two matches, this was pretty good. Only one little bumble when they try to add too many moves onto a sequence. Seriously, this is the TM vs Ultraman bout to watch. It doesn't get to crazy and has a definitive ending. Good match. vs Dynamite Kid (07/23/82): NJPW probably wanted to get the failed Ultraman feud out of everyone's memory so, they go for a safe bet and start up the bulk of Tiger vs Dynamite storyline for the summer of '82. This chapter closes with the legendary WWF MSG match. But, I'm getting ahead of myself! We're at the beginning here. On the previous occasions, Dynamite has been unable to get the better of the super hero. He's tried traditional rough housing, mat wrestling, and even quick attacks. Nothing has worked though. Here he goes full speed ahead showing that he can keep up with Tiger. There's not a great structure to the match but, the theme is that they are peers. I thought it worked well. Bret Hart's involvement at the end was fun and set up the Space Flying Tiger. Now here we have one of the big faux pas in the series. DK apparently no sells the dive and tombstones Tiger on the floor. To play devil's advocate, the crash & burn of the landing is obscured by the hard camera angle. The floor shot might have shown that Dynamite stepped aside and let Bret take the brunt of the dive. People talk about holy grail wrestling footage...I'd like to see the floor cam angle of that dive! Nonetheless, it was a great match and in terms of intensity and athleticism, this is hard to beat in 1982. Plus, we get an uncommon type of finish. vs Bret Hart (07/30/82): A few days later we see Bret w/ Dynamite at his side. The Canadian hero-to-be tries his hand at pinning the masked man. Let me tell you, this is the superior Bret vs Tiger match. In fact, it may very well be better than the above DK bout. We see a nice face/heel dynamic, Bret looked more confident and worked a smart match where Tiger used is fancy moves as hope spots/comebacks and NOT just to show off. Bret wasn't looking to work as equals he was looking to use his size, smarts, and ability to dominate TM. The story here and in most Bret/DK matches vs Tiger is to shows that they may be better, faster, stronger than TM but, they were hot heads and couldn't resist taking shortcuts. These shortcuts would then backfire. Tiger knew his opponents better and that knowledge is a weapon more dangerous than any spin kick or dive. If he could endure then, Tiger Mask could find a way to win. The finish played really well to this narrative and we get a great overall match. A different style than many of the others but, you could see that Tiger as a character and worker could adapt. Plus, it was a glimpse at what a great storyteller Bret would be. Again, great match! Tiger Mask/Tatsumi Fujinami/Kengo Kimura vs Dynamite Kid/Bret Hart/Greg Valentine (07/31/82): Oh man, this was shown in full & is a 2/3 falls match! Tiger isn't even in that much so, I'm surprised this was shown in full. I'm not complaining though. The North American team focused on beating up Kengo. He was really great at selling this beat down. I mean I've rarely seen anyone try to scramble or dive to make a tag like Kengo did in this match. One criticism I've seen is that Valentine looked like he didn't belong here or that he was bringing some corny WWF stuff to the match. I disagree. He was bringing Heavyweight action to a Junior Heavy match. In fact, I wish this was fought a little slower like Greg than the Red Bull & vodka crazy pace they were running. Still, the story was there with Kengo being the man in peril, the wrestling was on point, and the finish was bananas in the best way. So much fun, a very good bout and a very nice way to end this post! We got off to a rocky start with Ultraman but, settled in with Tiger Mask fighting some of Stampede's finest. That six man match was just bonus. Those three matches are really worth taking an hour and watching. Thanks for reading!
  2. The first installment was really good stuff that quite honestly surprised me. My memory of Tiger Mask was all of the flips and spots with Dynamite Kid so, seeing him in different settings was refreshing. But, we start off with 2 Tiger vs Dynamite matches so, let's see how they hold up. vs. Dynamite Kid (01/01/82): The Brit focuses on taking out TM's leg after he apparently took an odd bump. Quick thinking! On top of that he drives the masked head of Sayama into the mat with some devastating moves. Very good match, ***1/2 area. vs. Dynamite Kid (01/28/82): The rematch of sorts. Kid really wants to get his mitts on the feline fan favorite. Lotsa clubbing blows, tosses to the floor, and chokes for good measure. Tiger wants to prove he's no fluke and out wrestles the lad with armbars, leg locks, and headscissors. Of course, Dynamite gets his chance and delivers a cervical vertebra crushing piledriver that looks to have TM beat. An extra exciting finishing segment caps off a great match. vs. Bret Hart (05/02/82): An interesting match as Bret is the most vanilla wrestler Tiger has faced thus far. But, in that regard, it makes everything TM does that more meaningful. Bret is so much larger and is working heel so, its a little bit different from what you might hope for. But, it worked because he really looked like his size and rough neck style was the answer for Tiger Mask. Good match vs. Baby Face (02/09/82): Now we get to see a more out an out cheating heel in Baby Face. Those fish hooks were great! A very mat based match with explosive rope running will get me every time. Here is no different! If this would have been longer, I would say it was a really great bout. But, as it is, I've gotta say its a peg down at Very Good. There's no shame in that though. I had a blast! vs. Blackman (03/12/82): Joined in Progress but, no matter...this is great! Excellent chemistry and I have to believe they have fought each other previously. I thought that this was going to be glorified squash filler or maybe clipped since Blackman is unknown to me and such an anachronistic gimmick. (Was it part of the TM Manga?) Glad I was wrong though! He really looked like TM's equal in terms of speed and agility. Only Gran Hamada is up there so, that's good company. Anyhow, check this one out! Its got an awesome organic finish that really seals the deal on a great bout. Tiger Mask/Kantaro Hoshino vs. Blackman/Karloff Lagarde (03/19/82): If you're interested in a high energy tag match where everyone is in constant motion, look no further! This is like the '83 version of a mid 2010's PWG tag match - double teams, comedy spots, and just go-go throughout. Just a bunch of fireworks (just in time for the Fourth of July too!). A heat segment and a more emphatic victory probably would have put this into great match territory. It's exciting stuff nonetheless! This set has really been full of surprises. I suppose that I really forgot that meat and potatoes grappling was the backbone of puro even for the burgeoning Junior division. I'm not well versed in 80's lucha as I've only dipped my toe in here and there but, I think the same focus on grappling was true there as well. Or maybe I've just been away from the early 80's wrestling tapes too long!? I forgot how much I really dig the style here. I also think there's a myth that only TM and Dynamite were capable of amazing things OR that Tiger's like a proto late stage Manami Toyota - all action but, little thought. Thus far, I've seen just the opposite. Just pleasantly surprised already. Thanks for reading! Please stay safe folks!
  3. Bret takes an early modified version of his sternum bump off a catapult, which is pretty cool. I like Bret more as a heel. The way he carries himself lends itself to a stalling heel persona in a big way. And the way he delivers his offense with that signature arrogance screams heel to me. Dynamite sells the FIP better than I expected and makes a good comeback to get the crowd rolling. One thing I like about 80s Bret matches is that a roll-up, any roll-up late, is a big threat to end the match. Bret and Anvil 2 on 1 Dynamite post-match until Bulldog makes the save in very Bulldog fashion. Good match that seems like a test for both as singles guys.
  4. This was mostly hold-for-hold wrestling so of course it was impossibly cool. You kind of forget that outside of all the flipping around and piledrivers on the floor, Dynamite Kid could really go on the mat. And Mr. Wrestling lived up to his name. This was DK before all the roids, and he was this skinny long haired punk, who was fast on the mat, but could also get aggressive and go nuts with the dropkicks. The announcer rightly points out the dynamic is DK is a snotty brat and Mr. Wrestling is the old school class act teaching this rascal some manners, including a funny spot where he slapped him like the uppity little shit he was. There is some niggle with guys being aggressively shoved to the outside, and it actually plays into the finish which was sneaky and cool. Really fun match.
  5. So this was meant to be for the Tag Team titles, but Dynamite Kid's injury prevented this. It was then made a six man tag match to cover up his limitations and it does so well. Danny Davis is fantastic as a chicken shit heel non-wrestler. He tags in when an opponent is down and he takes a shot and tag himself back out. This riles up the crowd and they can't wait to see Davis get taken down. Santana gets the hot tag and isolates Davis and beats him down, much to the roaring approval of the audience. Davey Boy Smith tags in and delivers an absolutely viscous Tombstone Piledriver before Davis sneaks away with a cheap win. Who would of thought a match with all this talent and Danny Davis is the MVP? ★★★
  6. I forgot Dynamite was still working in '91. For the longest time I just assumed he'd packed it in after Survivor Series '88. He looks a bit rough here, with his thinning hair and Mike Miller moustache, like an ex-copper in a BBC drama who spends all his time down the boozer. He didn't work like he was completely broken down physically, though I imagine he would've been close to it. I actually liked him a lot in this. Most of his offence was headbutts and a jawbreaker (so still head-based offence), but I thought it was cool how he'd regularly sell his own head after delivering blows. I liked how Hansen sold for him as well. Gone were the days of Dynamite Kid v Tiger Mask being a money match-up, but the people still remembered and Hansen treated him like he'd been a big deal once upon a time. He never gave him TOO much, never bumped too big, but made it look like those headbutts were taking their toll and that Dynamite was still dangerous. I guess the match was kind of built around Hansen trying to grab Dynamite and beat on him in close quarters, while Dynamite tried to stay out of his reach, looking for openings to pick his shots. There was one bit where Hansen threw him to the floor and went straight out after him, but Dynamite was still fresh and instantly rolled back in. Hansen was unamused and had a kick out at the guardrail. For the follow up later, when Dynamite wasn't in any shape to roll back in, Hansen broke a chair over his back. Hansen remembered. Hansen always remembers. This was about eight minutes tops and I enjoyed it a bunch.
  7. This seems to be the night they pulled a rabbit out of their hat and delivered the best match of their series. TM was pretty sloppy at times and there were moments where it looked like Dynamite was about to die from a botched move. But overall, if I saw this match, I would almost believe the hype, more for Dynamite's performance than Sayama's. His timing and bumping was top notch. Nothing I'd go to bat for, but I thought it was excellent, warts and all. ***3/4
  8. I liked this match. Thought it was solid and well-executed, but probably nothing I'll remember too much. Bret looked very good in this, but everyone did to varying degrees. ***
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