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Charles (Loss)

[1996-12-29-WCW-Starrcade '96] Jushin Liger vs Rey Misterio Jr

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I'm not sure this match could possibly live up to the expectations set for it. It was a good match, but it was also disappointing in some ways, because it's Rey vs Liger instead of REY VS LIGER.

 

Dusty's reaction to Tenay calling the dragon screw leg whip is funny. "I'm gonna have to remember that one for later tonight. 'What was that, honey?' 'Oh, that was a dragon screw leg whip."

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It was a good match, but it was also disappointing in some ways, because it's Rey vs Liger instead of REY VS LIGER.

Basically this. A by-the-numbers match in 1996 with these guys is still going to be pretty good but this could have definitely been much more.

 

Mark Curtis is totally awesome in this by the way. Dude looks like he's having so much fun being in the ring with Rey and Liger.

 

Really though, I re-watched this match just to cringe at the commentary again. Rey takes a suplex from the ring to the floor and a powerbomb on the floor back to back and the only reaction is Heenan groaning under Dusty and Tenay. "He got a commode lid!" Dusty can be awesome but Rey killing himself and being ignored has bugged me since I first watched this match.

 

/vent

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Underrated match. Liger beating the shit out of Rey was pretty great. It's not the old Liger and it takes place in the US so of course it's more deliberate, but it's still pretty damn good. The only drawback to me is that they don't get to work a long and hot run to the finish. Dusty was funny, but he and Heenan especially have no idea how to get this kind of match over.

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Rey Mysterio Jr. vs Jushin Thunder Liger - WCW Starrcade 1996

 

Much like Starrcade 1996 itself as a card, I think this is underrated. I agree it never reaches the levels of OMFG MYSTERIO VS LIGER~!, but it still a great kickass match and better than the overrated Malenko/Dragon bout early on. Mysterio definitely liked working the Savage formula in these matches. He takes a severe beating from Liger. I liked the Malenko match the most because I thought the ground game was a really smart strategy. Dragon's offensive performance is great eye-candy, but seemed too much like an exhibition. Liger splits the difference gives a great high impact beatdown, but does waste a little too much time between moves that kills the urgency of the match. Liger was demolishing Mysterio early and really taking advantage of the size disparity, which Liger must have enjoyed as he usually competed against someone of a similar size of greater. The surfboard spot where he propels into the mat and all the powerbombs looked sick. I really need to watch the WWIII Dragon match back because I thought Mysterio did a better job using the hurricanrana to let us know he was still alive instead of just being a ragdoll for badass moves. Dusty was killing it on commentary. In his own way, I really think he respected these men. I really liked how Tony and Dusty seemed concerned and happy that Liger was able to make a comeback from his brain tumor surgery. I felt that they really appreciated Liger. The Dragon Screw Leg Whip is right up there with his call of a lady in the Men's Bathroom. Honey, that was the Dragon Screw Leg Whip. Oooo I knew that one in reference to a Kappo Kick. Liger telegraphs the Shotei and Mysterio snaps off a hurricanrana. Huge top rope Asai Moonsault! Eat your heart out, Dragon! Mysterio stays right on Liger with a legdrop as Liger looked to re-enter the ring. Mysterio misses the big legdrop and Liger hits a diving headbutt for a two count. Mysterio looks for the coup d'grace a top rope hurricanrana, but Liger hooks the ropes. A kappo kick sets him up for a Ligerbomb and the three count.

The crowd was not into this one at all, which is strange because Rey & Liger on their own were almost always was able to win the crowd over, but it was not clicking for the Nashville crowd. The finish did feel very anti-climatic. I liked the beatdown a lot, but it just did not feel like Mysterio had enough in his arsenal to compete with Liger. I liked the one release German and top rope Asai moonsault, but it never felt like he had Liger in trouble whether it was from quick falls or from a knockout blow. It is a very good match, but it fails to reach the levels of greatness that these two reached with other opponents. ***1/2

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I'll continue to bitch about this until the end of the '90s: LET LIGER USE HIS REAL MUSIC, WCW. There are some really great moments here from Rey, with Liger working effectively as a base. But, while you can understand why he may not be at peak physical condition, the Liger of old just isn't there. The announcers do a decent job of covering for his more deliberate pace, but it does really make you want to see these two hook it up in their 1995 forms. And for some reason, as Sleeze alludes to, this crowd was somehow hotter for Dean vs. Ultimo than for this. Maybe Liger had just been away for too long, and maybe the dominance by the Japanese to open the show (with Akira Hokuto going over Madusa in-between) took them out of it. This is a good match worth watching, but in the end all you really want to see is for these two to get a second chance against each other.

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Just watched this for the first time. Thought the good outweighs the bad. Bad commentary that detracts from the match, lethargic crowd that seemed maybe "burned out" on cruiserweights/Japanese wrestlers (this match followed Malenko/Dragon and Madusa/Hokuto)? I feel like, watched in silence, with the right music in the background, this match would be more appreciated.

 

I'm not very knowledgable about Liger, but I always felt like he was a babyface or a "tweener" in WCW (based on what I've seen), so I like how he works heel here. Compared to Malenko, Liger seems to realize early on that the crowd *wants* to boo the foreigner and while Mysterio isn't a "hometown guy" either, Liger wisely takes the role of the de facto villain around minute 2. This is also why I think criticisms of Liger not showing "urgency" are misplaced - any time he took between moves was used to show classic heel mannerisms (clapping his hands as if he had "wrapped it up," playing to the crowd, etc.).

 

There are a couple of noticeable hiccups, but when sequences or high spots do click, I'd say this eviscerates anything Dragon/Malenko did earlier in the night. A hotter crowd and a more serious batch of commentary playing up the "dream match" idea and this match becomes a WCW MOTY contender for me. Without that, I'd still give it 4 stars.

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Did they kind of telegraph the outcome by mentioning throughout this and the Dragon match that Liger was challenging for the nine belts at the Dome? Anyway, I really enjoyed Liger's beating he delivers, and the shed to the outside is one of the gnarliest I've seen.

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Agree with the sentiment that this was merely good that has to be considered disappointing given the two guys in the ring and this being essentially their one big showcase. LIger really dominated most of the match and perhaps with a hot crowd getting behind Rey as the underdog the match overall would have been better received. They saved the highspots for the finishing run of the match and they all meant something which made the match more rewarding for me. I also liked how Rey kicked out of the finishing LIger Bomb right at 3. ***1/2 (6.9)

 

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I agree with El-P's assessment of Dusty and Brain not knowing how to help this kinda match get over. There were comments where they both downplayed the action and significance of both guys. Some of that is hindsight on my part. Both guys were massively more influential on the next-generation than probably anyone ever in heavyweight WCW division.

As a match, this was fun but, lacked intensity. The moves were nice but, didn't get me excited about, what little story they were trying to tell. However, it was an exhibition match of sorts so, I think it accomplished what it was intended to do.

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