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Charles (Loss)

[1996-08-06-NJPW-J*Crown] Ultimo Dragon vs Great Sasuke

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Not sure how long Dragon was in AAA for but he was there. Remember, he was in the AAA match at the Peace Festival.

 

Sasuke fractured his skull on the over the post flip dive.

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I think if this had a full finish I would rate it a lot more highly but I understand given that Sasuke basically powerbombed himself onto concrete that he couldnt go anymore.

 

Still, it feels like Sasuke and Dragon feed into each other's worst behavior. The match feels like an exhibition of cool spots rather than a wrestling match. The dueling Asai Moonsaults were nifty. The story of the match seemed to be more about who can outdo each other rather than actually winning the belt. It is wrestling so I expect some level of dick waving, but this seemed excessive. It lacked that sort of competitive spirit a Liger or Ohtani bring to the table in their matches. That all being said there a lot worse things in this world than a Sasuke/Dragon exhibition because both are breath-taking on offense.

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The 8 girls in swimsuits were a nice touch, as they each came out carrying a belt. It was all downhill from there. I'm not sure if I've mentioned this here before but the 'Great' Sasuke fucking sucks. He's like the Japanese version of Sabu or something. I'd be hard pressed to think of a Puroresu star from the era I dislike more. His Tiger Mask ripoff movement is tilting, his selling is abysmal, he's a total spot monkey slop bucket, and he has no idea how to construct a match by himself. For any good match he was in give major props to the opponent, because all Sasuke could do were flashy moves. And the fans loved the guy.

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This was whatever, an indie-riffic jaunt between two guys who need somebody with a stronger command of the basics to be led to a classic match, with every spot being something I could call before it happened, and with a badly booked and badly executed finish. I don't hate Sasuke as much as Zenjo because unlike Tiger Mask, his spots generally actually hit, but I sure am souring on him in a big way.

 

Edit: Didn't realize this was the broken-skull match. I'll go lighter on them, then, though I still didn't think the pre-injury work was anything special even if was strong athletically.

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Agree that the stuff up to the fracture was very exhibitionish. They seemed to be building to the dives but it felt very maligned and just a sequence of spots. Disappointing since I have been overall a fan of these two going through the 90's and this was a huge stage with the J Crown on the line. The visual of Sasuke with the belts remains awesome. **1/2

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Not exhibitionist in the least. Fuck, this can seem that way because two generations of shitty indy workers tried to replicate what these two were doing, without the great execution and agressiveness. But these two were having the ultimate lucharesu bomb throwing match, with Asai moonsault payback spot from the student to the mentor. And of course, Sasuke KILLS HIMSELF FOR OUR PLEASURE !!!! Well, that was the felling of some back then. And of course, they have to go home, and it's a classic-that-would very good match in the end. The J*Crown was such a great concept. That it made its way into WCW was even better.

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I think if this had a full finish I would rate it a lot more highly but I understand given that Sasuke basically powerbombed himself onto concrete that he couldnt go anymore. Still, it feels like Sasuke and Dragon feed into each other's worst behavior. The match feels like an exhibition of cool spots rather than a wrestling match. The dueling Asai Moonsaults were nifty. The story of the match seemed to be more about who can outdo each other rather than actually winning the belt. It is wrestling so I expect some level of dick waving, but this seemed excessive. It lacked that sort of competitive spirit a Liger or Ohtani bring to the table in their matches. That all being said there a lot worse things in this world than a Sasuke/Dragon exhibition because both are breath-taking on offense.

 

Ultimo Dragon vs Great Sasuke - J-Crown Tournament Finals

 

I cant believe it has been five years since I have seen this. The two biggest non-New Japan Juniors take on one another for the biggest prize in junior heavyweight wrestling history. Unfortunately the match just does not live up to expectations. Of course, the biggest issue is that Sasuke basically powerbombs himself onto the concrete when he slips off the top turnbuckle and cracks his skull open. True to form, he no sells, hits a bodyslam and then misses a moonsault. See how can we expect people to sell worked moves when someone wont even sell their head being cracked open. :P

 

So the finish is pretty abrupt, but before the finish it just felt like a big spotfest. It is Dragon and Sasuke without anyone to reign them in. I actually prefer their 2007 M-Pro match greatly to this because Sasuke wrestled his heart out in that one. In this one, there were so many resets with the Irish Whip and just felt very cooperative. There was some fun stuff with the dueling quebradas and then dueling Asai Moonsaults. Dragon's dive was great. Dragon's offense did look awesome. I know there were trying to go all out, but some semblance of struggle would have been nice. It is entertaining, but just does not have the gravitas a moment like this should. Of course, it sucks Sasuke seriously injured himself. I cant hate it too much because I like Ultimo Dragon's offense a lot. ***1/4

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It's a shame the match had to wrap up so abruptly. This wasn't on its way to being any kind of classic, but if they had a couple more minutes to work a good ending stretch it could have been a very satisfying final of the tournament. Mirror exchanges are usually pretty obnoxious but I think it worked here; both guys are masked wrestlers in wild getups working an unorthodox lucharesu style -- distinct from everyone else, except each other. The matwork didn't display much virtuosity to say the least but was fast paced and felt scrappy. I thought what we got was good.

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