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Found 58 results

  1. We're back and on to Part 3 of New Japan in 1988! I've got a crappy cold right now so, let's see if I can get it together enough to write this entry without a hundred typos. Tatsumi Fujinami vs Big Van Vader (04/27): My compilation has this listed as their 05/08 match but, it follows the multi-man elimination match from 04/27 (see previous entry) and a couple other points of research show this as their April match. That outta the way, this was all kinds of exciting. Fujinami knows he's got to take it to the Mastadon right from the start if he has any chance. Inoki got killed on the 01/04 shows because he was treating B.V. Vader as a normal "big man." Fujinami's plan is working until he gets gorilla press dropped onto a guardrail...throat first! From here Vader chokes and torment The Dragon...Fujinami is really fighting to survive. His "plan" is shot to shit and any comeback seems to enrage Vader. Be on the look out for the cross body block that damn near kills both guys. We get a "finish" but, its only the beginning! Next we get a little video package explaining the UWF 2.0 split. We even see clips of Maeda vs Yamazaki. With that I'm going to insert a match that I found on Youtube that happens earlier in the year... Nobuhiko Takada vs Hiroshi Hase (02/05): This is the precursor to their March classic (see part 1 of series). This is a very good to great match - and I would have to say Hase's selling of the story is what makes this special. His comeback/revenge submissions are really choice! Look up Hase '88 and you should find this match no problem OK now back to May 1988! The TV footy jumps us way into Fujinami vs Vader (05/08) and this is all fire! Both guys are pissed and we get 6-7 of the final minutes. Sweet! Its 80's footage so, I'll take what I can get! Koshinaka vs Hase (05/27): They show this like its a JIP match but, we really only get the final 2 minutes of the match but, we get a clean exciting finish. Nice! Not enough shown to really rate. Owen Hart vs H. Hase (05/27): JIP with Owen stuck in the Scorpion lock but, soon enough he finds his way out. Hase is a destroyer in '88 and isn't giving the Canadian a chance. 5 minutes shown, very good stuff. Tatsumi Fujinami vs Riki Choshu (05/27): We get this in full thankfully! Fujinami is picking Choshu apart to the point where he's bleeding early on. If you know Choshu, he's one big move away from his comeback. What's interesting is that Fujinami injures his ankle (a twist from an earlier move? Or is this the story!?) and Rik is on it like a pirahna. The Dragon will not quit in true fighting spirit...when he gets his Dragon Sleeper on, you know he's not letting go! Great dramatic match that is only one battle in the war. Check these matches out and thanks for reading! I'm gonna go get a cough drop and go to bed...
  2. Back for the second installment of my adventure in 1988 New Japan land! We are now in uncharted territory...ooohh spooky...Well, not too spooky although Vader's entrance head apparatus is some kinda Geiger stuff. The big change is that the 2nd UWF split has gone down so, Maeda, Takada, Yamazaki, and Fujiwara have left again. So, the emphasis of the promotion from what I gather is Riki Choshu's army vs New Japan's army. And then Vader being an absolute monster who cannot be stopped even by Inoki! Let's see what's going on... Riki Choshu & H. Hase vs Antonio Inoki & S. Koshinaka (04/11): Oh man, even the ring intros are heated! Then, TV picks back up and Team Riki are looking to demolish Koshinaka. Great tag wrestling from them. Inoki is playing the spoiler of their fun but isn't necessarily out for blood. I would have liked a minute or two at the end but, this was a good match and a proper start to my new batch of matches. Then the DVD set shows fallout after it appears Fujinami and Inoki lose to Vader & Masa Saito. Some shouting and a couple stiff slaps and we've got some set-up to the August showdown between Icon & Ace of NJPW. Next bout! Keiichi Yamada & S. Koshinaka vs Kuniaki Kobayashi & H. Hase (04/22): Tons of excitement here as these two athletic teams go at it! Hase and Koshinaka potato'ing each other was a highlight. However, Kobayashi's stumbling piledriver on the floor was righteous...I just wish it led to something greater...oh man...It looked so good! Yamada is the one really selling this match and if everyone else wanted to then, this would have been a great match. But, I can understand...this was a blast nonetheless. Very good bout with a nice finish. So, the above bout sets-up a 5-on-5 elimination match between the rank and file of NJ Army vs Riki Army Akira Nogami, Tatsutoshi Goto, K. Yamada, K. Hoshino & S. Koshinaka vs Hiroshi Hase, K. Kobayashi, Kensuke Sasaki, N. Honaga & H. Saito (04/27): These are all TV matches I've figued out so, there is some JIP and unfortuately, we get some here. I say that because, we start out with Hase already bleeding. That is BIG as he's at the top of the food chain in this match. So, it looks like NJ already has a leg up however, they quickly get two of their guys eliminated. We get a commercial break and New Japan has got Hase in there looking to get revenge. Mind you, eliminations can happen by pin, submission, or getting tossed to the floor. We're saying you can even get tossed through the middle rope and be out! So, believe me the action picks up fast and we get some big surprises. Its a 2 on 1 situation at the end and man! It is a nail-biter! The tension was so high as any mistake could lead to a elimination. Great match and in full, it could be a near classic. About 14 minutes shown. Things are picking up and I'm having fun with 1988. More to come next time with Vader vs Fujinami and more. Thanks for reading!!!
  3. This has been a project I've been waiting to do for quite sometime. My busy season with work is all done and we've finally finished moving into our house. Sure, there are tons of boxes and bags full of stuff that we need to unpack, sort, and put away. That can wait though! I want to get back to wrestling and specifically 1980's puroresu! New Japan 1988 is my first stop. I'm somewhat acquainted with this year from my Nobuhiko Takada comps and the 8/8/88 Inoki vs Fujinami bout. I'm going to start the year with reviews from my "vault" but, I will scratch the surface a bit more as I progress. Let's start! (01/11): Keiichi Yamada vs. Masakatsu Funaki- This one was full of sound mat wrestling and some punishing holds. The best part was seeing shooter supreme doing pro-style moves! Its totally fresh and interesting to see this mat master to hit these moves. Funaki is darn good at it too! A fun match and bit of late 80's juniors gem. A match made me declare Damn! Liger's my favorite wrestler! *** 3/4 (01/25) Nobuhiko Takada vs Kazuo Yamazaki - Yes! finally the strong style match I knew they could do! Awesome work by Yamazaki and Takada lets go of his ego and plays the vulnerable young ace to Yamazaki's perenial yet gutsy underdog. This is the Yamazaki match to watch...well every Yamazaki is worthwhile but even moreso here because like 9/11/85 he's allowed to compete. The joint locks and holds are sold like killer moves as all worked shoots really rely on. This plays really well off the May & Sept. '87 tag matches. ****+probably higher. (02/04) Takada vs Shiro Koshinaka - This started out pretty good but they were getting too complex with their spots & they weren't hitting them how they wanted. It started picking back up but there was a glitch in the DVD on my player so I turned it off. I was not into it what can I say. It's worth a re-watch. (02/04) Hiroshi Hase vs. Keiichi Yamada- A fun, smart, well wrestled match. Each man picked his opponent apart as best they could. Of course Yamada had his moves from the top rope but, Hase surprised me with some of his maneuvers. He was pretty brutal as he was still a protoge of Riki Chosu. This of course wasn't the classic one would hope for but, it was pretty good stuff. I just wish it could have gone on longer as it was just starting to pick up when it ended. That's really the only knock on this match but, this tendency to go-home around 10 minutes is an 80's Jrs. thing. ***1/2 (03/11): Nobuhiko Takada vs Hiro Hase - I was expecting a mat wrestling clinic but um...we didn't get that. That's OK though since both guys brought their A game and Takada wasn't stalling here and Hase was his great self albeit a bit in a heel/Choshu mode which was very cool because Takada seemed quite vulnerable. Expectations aside, this was an awesome match with great performances by both men and a match that goes on their highlight reel. These last couple of matches have really saved Takada for me because he was really getting in a rut in the summer of '87... and shows Takada really wanting to go out of NJPW with a bang. Another piece of evidence that the UWF guys or Takada at least was best against NJPW guys. It allowed him to fluff off their "fake" offence, allowed them to really put over the holds as near-finishes since they weren't experienced "shooters", it provided unorthodox sequences and rope running scenarios and the made so much out of the "fake" offence when it did connect. In essence, showing that the puro moves were in fact just as deadly as a head kick or armbar. In other words no one's style was discredited as they were simply different points on the same continuum which is a big part of what makes Inoki Strong Style so great when done right ****1/2+ (03/14) Takada/Yamazaki vs Yamada/Funaki - You know the more I see Yamada without the Liger gimmick the more I wish they hadn't given it to him. He is fucking amazing in every match on this set. The same with Yamazaki. He really pulls himself out of the UWF mold at times and he's damn capable & quite underrated. It's a shame that he stuck around UWFi to get jobbed out. Forget that though. I ignore that now that I've seen these matches. He plays a great babyface who's capable but just not always "good" enough to get that big win. Here the story broadens as the German suplex is his trusty match ender and separates him from the others or at least defines him a bit. He doesn't have the aura of Maeda, Fujiwara or Takada but, he's a contender. Anyhow, this was another damn good tag match with a young Masakatsu Funaki which is funny because we all know how legitimately great he would become & how brutal he could get (7/89 UWF match for that). (04/11 handheld) Keiichi Yamada & Masa Funaki vs. Anotonio Inoki - This is kind of like a 2 on 1 elimination match but, turns into a regular 2 on 1...I guess because the junior want to beat Inoki and the big-chinned one can beat 2 guys at once. Its a quick fun match taped from a fan's camcorder in a gymnasium. If you're a fan of these guys then you'll get a kick out of this one. Its not worth searching out for at like 10 miuntes but, it's a nice inclusion on a compilation. So, I hope that got you pumped to check some of this stuff out! There are definitely some must see match ups. I'll pick back up with Choshu & Hase vs Inoki & Koshinaka TV match from 04/11/88 next time and we'll go from there. Thanks for sticking with me during the hiatus and thanks for reading!
  4. This felt like a match worked for the magazines. Not much substance but the visuals were pretty big and amazing. You had big time blood and both guys threw huge, high angle suplexes. Hase has a bandaged leg and Koshinaka spends a good amount of time kicking the crap out of it. It doesn't amount to anything as Hase soon starts braining Koshinaka recklessly with chairs. The bloody beatdown on Koshinaka with him fighting back valiently was pretty damn gnarly. Soon Hase is DQ'd for excessive brutality. This had the makings of a potential classic but was dragged down by the pointless legwork and Hase making a comeback that looked way too easy. However, we get Hase & Hiro Saito beating on Koshinaka post match with Saito hitting his brutal crowbar senton on a bleeding Koshinaka and that's just badass. The photographers def. got their moneys worth here.
  5. I wish MUGA had been a full time promotion at this time. This was mostly on the mat, which is where everyone here looks good. This was certainly a good use of Hase whose amateur style stuff still looks very powerful. He and Nishimura with his awesome briding where the standouts here early on. Mutoh just did his usual spiel for the finish, altough Fujinami hitting a flying knee on him was really fun and Nishimuras selling made it look better than usual.
  6. Entertaining 5 vs. 5 Elimination Match. Not Peak WAR vs. Other Promotion material, though there are some good smacks and thuds here. Problem with the match is the booking, as they get rid of the spry guys first and soon you are stuck with an old, broken down Steve Williams, Arashi and Mutoh here. Williams can still throw a nice punch and not do much else at this point. Match has it's moments especially thanks to Orihara and Tenryu, while Shinzaki was working hard to get something cool out of Williams. Overall this match is symptomatic of the depleted roster AJPW was dealing with at this stage however.
  7. This time period in puro is one of my absolute favorites and, due to lack of availability or my cheapness, NJ in 1990 is a little bit of a blind spot. Hell, a bunch of NJ in the early 90's is a blind spot! Regardless, I've come across some stuff recently that I wanted to share. Now, some of this is on the Match Discussion Archives for 1990 when the the Yearbooks project was underway. So, if you want some second & third opinions, I recommend you go there as well. On to the fights! Riki Choshu, Koshinaka, Hoshino, Sasaki & Kobayashi vs Super Strong Machine, Hamaguchi, Kurisu, Tatsu Goto & Hiro Saito (06/26/90 2/3 Falls): This is listed as Sekigun vs Blonde Outlaws and I'm making the distinction that it's Tatsu Goto (not Tarzan- see 1990 FMW footy and it'll be apparent) and Hiro Saito (not Masa). Okay, with that clarification, we are on our way to an under-appreciated NJ 10 man match. And what a match! 26 minutes of chaos (not to be confused with CHAOS). This is fast and frenetic as all get-out! There are so many participants and match-ups that really everyone shines. I will say Kensuke Sasaki gets the biggest boost from his performance here. Early and late career Kensuke is a damn enjoyable wrestler. Um, what else without blathering on about specifics?? I thought Falls 1 & 3 were the best but, hey isn't that usually the way? It's just great wrestling and perhaps a classic match at that. It should be in the conversation concerning the legendary NJ multiman matches of the '80-90's. It is really that great- time well spent! Riki Choshu & Shiro Koshinaka vs Animal Hamaguchi & Masanobu Kurisu (07/19/90): A follow up to the above match. This started out really great but, ended up being just good (***1/2 range). Still K-Man swinging furniture and generally going apeshit on Koshinaka is worth your time. Eventually Animal turns on Kurisu (too much chair?) and then Blonde Outlaws/Raging Staff (see above Super Strong Machine team) jumps Masanobu. But he's as tough as two day old dog shit in the sun, and talks smack on them after the mobbing. Hells yes Curly Sue!! Hiroshi Hase & Kensuke Sasaki vs Shiro Koshinaka & Takashi Iizuka (12/13/90): I've been waiting to see this match for like 8 years. It's probably been on the 'tube before now but, my internet was really slow & I was waaayy more into buying DVDs then (probably because of the slow internet!). Anyhow, I finally watch this match and yes! It lived up to my expectations. The action was fantastic and on-par with the AJPW guys at the time. Simple but, rich sequences and cut-offs. Hase was masterful in garnering heat even though he & Kensuke were an underdog team as well. It was that dynamic that made this so special. Hase & Sasaki won the belts by upset a couple months earlier. Were they too going to be upset? Oh man, Iizuka & Koshinaka were so good as the babyfaces. It certainly did not hurt that Iizuka was brutalized by his opponents. Well, I suppose that it HURT him but, you know what I mean! The fans were eating this up and who can blame them? It was so well paced and well built to the climactic final segment that only the most jaded fans would not be rooting for someone. This was a classic tag match and one that does indeed deserve the praise it'd gotten decades ago. I really do wish I had this on DVD afterall, it's got some of my favorite wrestlers of my favorite era putting on a damn fine tag match. If you're one of those people who enjoy the simpler style of late 80's and very early 90's, you really owe it to yourself to watch this match. You may not love it as much as me but, I know you'll have fun. **BONUS** Shinya Hashimoto vs Masanobu Kurisu (NJ Handheld Date 90-92?): I'm going on the dates that I've seen Kurisu in NJ as well as a ranking conventions. Kurisu had quite a bit of juice in 1990 due to his acclaimed bouts in FMW with Onita earlier in the year. Also, Hashimoto was on the rise but, not to the point where someone like Kurisu wouldn't be a challenge especially if he started brawling. This is just an idea and it's not a tag match but, I'm going to add it on here at the end. So, K-Man is looking to sneak attack Hash from the outset. The Big Man is too smart or tough for that jazz though (also the view is obscured by a fan's head/back). The two then start wailing away on each other but, man Shinya is driving kicks in like he's up against Kensuke. It's almost TOO much but, Curly Sue is a notoriously tough mamma-jamma. The Strong Style-Graceland disciple knows he's gotta go 100%. The fans are really digging this and I am as well. I cannot believe how hard these dudes are going for an under 10-minute match-but I guess that sorta makes sense right? What a good match! A big thanks to the folks that put these up on the 'tube & thank you all for reading
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