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Found 32 results

  1. G. Badger

    Spotlight - Tiger Mask

    I finally broke down and bought the big DVD set of the Tiger Mask collection. From what it looks, its most of his taped matches from NJPW. I know there was a big of shift in popular opinion a few years back on the Tiger vs Dynamite matches. I still love those battles but, I wanted to revisit them. Also, I wanted to see more of Tiger Mask as other than those bouts, I'd only seen one other match vs Kobayashi. I knew there was more I needed to see for myself, whatever my final opinion would be. Let's take a look! 4/23/81 - Tiger Mask Debut: Tiger Mask vs. Dynamite Kid: Tiger's debut and its pretty good. Its a bit frenetic and all over the place story wise. Dynamite Kid has met his match. Its a little rough in spots so, I can't say it was a tremendous athletic showing but, a fun start. 6/04/81 - Tiger Mask & Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Chris Adams & Mike Masters - Highlights 8/02/81 - Tiger Mask vs. Scorpion - Highlights, Scorpion is a good base for Tiger's moves 9/18/81 - Tiger Mask & Tatsumi Fujinami vs. El Solar & El Solitario -Highlights 9/23/81 -Tiger Mask vs. El Solar: This started out really good but, Solar hurts his shoulder and this is mainly them trying to figure out how to make match. This surely could have been clipped instead of the Scorpion match...and I like Solar too! Only the beginning needs to be watched. 10/08/81 - Tiger Mask vs. Masked Hurricane (Bobby Lee): The best bout so far. This is a mask vs mask match. Guess who wins? There is an emphasis on wrestling rather than flashy moves and the quality benefits. The neat counters or reversals are there but, are few and more meaningful. Good match 10/30/81 - Tiger Mask & Kengo Kimura vs. El Signo & Negro Navarro - Highlights. A full match would have been great. 11/05/81 - Tiger Mask vs. Gran Hamada: Exactly what I was hoping for! Hamada was doing more of the spectacular while Tiger was hitting his kicks. Tiger has slowed from his debut and he and Hamada did a near perfect lucharesu match like we'd see a decade plus later in M-Pro. Near classic match to me! Like ****1/4 territory 12/01/81 - Tiger Mask & Tatsumi Fujinami vs. El Canek & Super Maquina: A full tag match, yes!!! Super Maquina has a similar outfit as Maquina Salvaje, a football player. What's odd is Super Maquina is Super Machine in English. But, this is too early for Junji Hirata to even be thinking of doing his famous gimmick. Oh the confusion of masks and older wrestling, its great! Nevertheless, he's a good worker. This is one of the few El Canek matches that I have seen. I gotta say I like him! The Mexican team pits their power against the Japanese team's speed & technique. And another match where "wrestling" is the focus and exciting spots are kept to a minimum for maximum effect . And the big highspot was for the finish of the match...very good stuff. Really a pleasure to watch and had me wanting to see more. 12/08/81 - Tiger Mask vs. El Canek: So this is the follow up to the above tag match. Its a pretty big deal that El Canek is facing TM. Or the other way around, I guess. The first move was kinda wonky so, they re-did it. Eh, I don't like when they do this but, the rest of bout erased that faux pas. Plus the little spot was pretty cool to see done right. Lotsa good power moves & stretching from Canek. Tiger had some clever answers for those but, also pressed the Mexican with his kicks. Exciting "80's finish" but, you know what? If its done right like this, I really don't mind. Very good match..perhaps a tad below the tag match. This start had me worried a little bit but, really ended well. The Hamada match, man, so glad I saw this. I may like it more than my "rating" indicates. Plus the tag & El Canek singles bout hit the nail right on the head. I was really worried that this would be all flippy nonsense especially based on what the highlighted matches showed. I really hope those are kept to a minimum as I go forward. Thanks for reading and stay safe! Be smart out there too!
  2. The most baffling thing about "Sad Genius" Yukimasa Watanabe may be that he genuinely looks like a good wrestler in the spare footage we have of him. He kind of reminds me of Ohtani, a balding technician who will work the mat and kick you hard. Every kick he throws lands with a thud and the Lou Thesz inspired moveset is cool. He would've been a great addition to the roster of DDT or Michinoku Pro, hell throw him in there with Yuki Ishikawa to work an undercard ZERO1 feud. But if Sad Genius wasn't hidden in obscurity he wouldn't be so fascinating. This was a pretty good match up until the really dumb finish. Gran Hamada gets to work a serious main event in UNW of all places and it's cool to see old man Hamada work like a maestro and face someone with a ground based style. Hamada really gets to show of his mat skills here. However the ending is really dumb because Hamada taps out Genius with 4 or 5 armbars in a row. Since UNW rules means Texas Death there is a 10 count so Genius just keeps getting up. Hamada gets annoyed at this and just leaves. I almost want to think Hamadas reaction was a shoot because it's so dumb. Really disappointing because the match was just getting good with Genius selling in a big way.
  3. Always nice to see the M-Pro crew show up on another promotions card and try to steal the show. This was maybe slightly faster worked and more chaotic than their usual formula tag, which wasn't a bad thing. You are really kept on the edge of your seat when any minute 4 guys might run in to drop elbows all at the same time. A chaotic brawl breaks out halfway into the match and Naniwa gets bloodied and his mask ripped open, which just sets the crowd completely on fire for him. The Sasuke/Hamada/Yakushuji technico shine sections are really fun – Yakushuji fast complicated headscissors and armdrags are still the best, and I don't remember Hamada working as Fujiwara but he does a good job at it here. Still the massive blood and mask ripping portions and Naniwa getting to shine really set this one apart.
  4. Centurion Negro’s UWA World Middleweight Title is on the line and he is defending against New Japan Pro Wrestling’s own Gran Hamada who is on tour with the promotion. Gran Hamada spent his excursion in UWA and he was established as a top player in the promotion, previously winning titles such as the UWA World Middleweight, World Junior Light Heavyweight and World Light Heavyweight Championships. The first fall is a mauling by Negro. A constant barrage of tight submissions, the double underhook hold in particular, wearing Gran Hamada down. Centurion Negro is ultra vicious and waste no time in putting Hamada away for the first fall with hardly any fight or rebuffal from Hamada. The second fall is way more competitive with Hamada throwing together a few crafter sequences, beginning to take a foothold in the match and getting the second fall, equalling his match up. The third fall was similar to the first fall but it was built around Hamada’s babyface fire and charisma with him fighting against Negro’s attacks, making his comebacks. There are loads more flashy moves in this fall like some nutty dives by both and a sunset flip which was the finish. The crowd goes nuts for Hamada’s comeback too. Great match overall with a great escalation of offence with more and more being added as the match went on. The match structure was very similar to current day CMLL with two short falls and a longer last fall so it wasn’t a tough transition from that to this. ****
  5. Super fun M-Pro signature tag with the addition of Super Boy who is an awesome tubby luchadore. Pretty long face shine segment to open the match with Gran Hamada looking super spry. Kai En Ta + SB did an expert job taking their opponents apart with great looking double teams. Togo always looks especially great lacing dudes up with punches and chops in between working exchanges. He also hit a really great La Parka style twist senton. Super Boy was easily the 2nd best guy on the rudo team, squishing dudes with fat sentons and an awesome moonsault. Of course it's a 1998 Sasuke match so he gets his leg torn up again. Finish was pretty unique and great. It really looked like it would force a ref stop.
  6. This match is the answer to the burning question: "What happens when you try to have a bloody, heated lucha brawl in front of a Japanese audience?" Via la Mexico! Before the bell Aguayo sucker attacks Hamada and throws him to the outside. Aguayo has a crew of four guys with him, and they are all over Hamada, in a good attempt to draw some killer heat. Doesn't really happen though as the crowd just sits there. These guys have a great, stiff match with some nice lucha sequences and very few holds. Hamada's second (masked guy) tries to fire up the crowd, often pointing out when Aguayo is cheating. Hamada hits a big dive to a nice pop and then things spiral out of control. Aguayo's guys try to introduce a chair, eventually doing so and Aguayo cracks Hamada with it (opened no less, right on his skull) and Hamada blades. Masked guy is freaking out because there's a foreign object now introduced, and (at least the crowd that is lit) people are kind of "meh" to this. Aguayo starts working the cut HARD, blatantly giving no shits about the ref or rules. He doesn't stop and the ref waves the match off. All his guys are in to kick at Hamada while Perro still works the cut. We finally get some babyface reinforcements but they don't get the upperhand and the onslaught continues. Things start to slow down, guys just meandering around while sometimes punching and kicking at each other. Hamada gets the object and starts to clear house and then both teams hold their guy back. We get a pull-apart brawl now with Hamada and Aguayo going at it with Hamada hitting a staunch headbutt to kind of end the whole post match stuff. Aguayo actually hangs around on the ropes while they pick Hamada up and the crowd cheers. Almost thought he was going to run back in again. This was really interesting to watch in the environment where it took place. This match was ranked 26/75 in the Other Japan 80s poll.
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