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  • 3 weeks later...

I don't have this yet, and probably won't for another few months (still barely scratched the surface of 93 and I just picked up 96), but I watched a ton of 92 All Japan last year and over the last year or so I've watched a truckload of 92 WCW. From those two companies alone there's about 15 legit WOTY candidates. WCW in 1992 is probably my favourite single year for any company in history and there is a ridiculous amount of stuff worth watching.

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  • 3 weeks later...

*Side note* I'm obviously basing the below on all the joshi I watched from this year not just stuff that made the set

 

1992 Joshi thoughts & Top 10-20 list

 

Took me longer to complete this year then any other i've done so far due to the much larger amount of footage available. Just from AJW alone there's almost more matches this year that made tape then 1990 & 1991 combined, add in that I didn't just watch AJW this time and also watched a good 25 - 30 JWP/FMW matches and this was quite the year. With so much going on it wouldn't be fair to limit things to just 10 so

 

Top 20 Joshi Matches of the Year

 

1. AJW 11/26/1992 (3WA World Title) Bull Nakano © vs Aja Kong

2. AJW 11/26/1992 (3WA Tag Titles, 2 out of 3 Falls) Toshiyo Yamada & Manami Toyota © vs Dynamite Kansai & Mayumi Ozaki

3. AJW 8/15/1992 (IWA Title - Hair vs Hair) Manami Toyota © vs Toshiyo Yamada

4. AJW 4/25/1992 (3WA Title Match) Bull Nakano © vs Aja Kong

5. AJW 7/15/1992 (3WA Tag Titles - 2 out of 3 Falls) Manami Toyota & Toshiyo Yamada © vs Aja Kong & Kyoko Inoue

6. FMW 9/19/1992 Megumi Kudo & Combat Toyoda vs Bull Nakano & Akira Hokuto

7. AJW 6/21/1992 (JGP 92) Aja Kong vs Bison Kimura

8. AJW 6/21/1992 (No Time Limit) Manami Toyota vs Toshiyo Yamada

9. AJW 5/24/1992 Kyoko Inoue & Mariko Yoshida vs Manami Toyota & Sakie Hasegawa

10. AJW 8/15/1992 (Fuji TV Tag Tournament FINAL) Bull Nakano & Aja Kong vs Toshiyo Yamada & Akira Hokuto

11. AJW 8/30/1992 Bull Nakano, Yumiko Hotta & Suzuka Minami vs Akira Hokuto, Etsuko Mita & Mima Shimoda

12. JWP 12/1/1992 Yumiko Hotta & Takako Inoue vs Mayumi Ozaki & Hikari Fukuoka

13. AJW 5/24/1992 Aja Kong & Bison Kimura vs Akira Hokuto & Etsuko Mita

14. AJW 6/27/1992 (3WA Tag Titles 2 out of 3 Falls) Toshiyo Yamada & Manami Toyota © vs Akira Hokuto & Kyoko Inoue

15. AJW 11/26/1992 (All Pacific Title) Kyoko Inoue © vs Akira Hokuto

16. AJW 3/20/1992 (3WA vs UWA Tag Titles - 2 out of 3 Falls) Aja Kong & Bison Kimura (3WA) vs Manami Toyota & Toshiyo Yamada (UWA)

17. AJW 4/25/1992 (IWA World Women’s Title Match) Kyoko Inoue © vs Manami Toyota

18. AJW 6/27/1992 (AJW Title) Mariko Yoshida © vs Etsuko Mita

19. AJW 12/13/1992 (Tag Leauge The Best 92 FINAL) Aja Kong & Kyoko Inoue vs Manami Toyota & Toshiyo Yamada

20. JWP 10/7/1992 (JWP Tag Titles) Cuty Suzuki & Mayumi Ozaki © vs Dynamite Kansai & Hikari Fukuoka

 

This was quite a hard list to put together, the top few and bottom few i'm confident about, on any other day I could probably rearrange the middle a good deal. I'm sure a lot of people will disagree but for me giving the Aja/Bull title change the #1 spot was an easy choice. In a stand alone vaccum the Dream Rush tag has better action, it's a fuckin great match, one of the best ever, but at the end of the day it's just a great match. Aja/Bull is a great match AND it's the end of an almost 3 year story that's dominated the entire company for much of that time and it sets up Aja as the undisputed ace of the company which she'd be for the next 2 years. So yeah, easy choice to have that as my #1.

 

Top 10 Wrestlers of the Year

 

1. Mariko Yoshida

2. Manami Toyota

3. Akira Hokuto

4. Toshiyo Yamada

5. Aja Kong

6. Bull Nakano

7. Kyoko Inoue

8. Mayumi Ozaki

9. Bison Kimura

10. Dynamite Kansai

 

Little bit easier list to make. No it's not really reflected in my top matches list but night in night out Yoshida was easily the most talented & consistently enjoyable wrestler in AJW. She didn't have as many opportunities to produce classics as others but she had her share and if I were to rank 21-30 she'd be in a good portion of those. Yoshida's rise up the ranks was a joy to watch too. She's someone who doens't have any natural advantages as a wrestler, she's not big or tall, she didn't have a major sports background prior to becoming a wrestler, not the greatest singer, and while she is very attractive, she isn't hot in that exploitable way that leads to one getting outside deals as a bikini model or whatever. To get ahead in wrestling she had to rely on talent alone so she worked really really hard and started putting on really really good matches. The fans saw this, apreciated it and started cheering her which in turn led to the guys in charge seeing this and pushing her higher up the card accordingly. In this day and age whear most wrestling promoters could give fuck all about things like who has the most skill and who gets the best crowd reaction and just shove whoever they like down the throats of fans until they learn to love it watching Yoshida in 92 was really refreshing. Toyota is an interesting case as she on the other hand was given the most chances this year to produce on a high level and in many of those matches she wasn't even the best preformer in them actually. Still, for every match whear she may have been 2nd, 3rd or 4th best, she had a ton more whear she was #1 and she had so many great matches and moments period that you can't really deny her a top spot. Her vs Yamada would be my pick for feud of the year and I would easily, hands down by a large margin call her & Yamada the best tag team, not just in joshi but in the world in 1992. Aja & Bull being a bit lower on my list this year then in previous years doesn't have so much to do with them slipping as it does more with this year focusing on others besides them a lot more. Bull vs Aja while never a dead issue was cooled off for a while in the early part of the year plus Bull having been on top for so long was starting to run out of fresh feuds. Giving her the CMLL women's title and having her recycle opponents to go after that helped stretch things out nicely though. The Bull vs Hokuto feud in the middle of the year was also one of the more enjoyable things of 1992 too, their 7/15 match is one of the better matches that didn't make my top 20 and their cage match on 7/30 would have been up thear too had it aired in full i'm sure.

 

Also worth mentioning is that just from a booking standpoint this was one of, if not the companies best years ever and in general so many memorable and historical moments took place this year that it's hard to keep track. This year saw the end (temporarily atleast) of the careers of Yoshida, Bison & Kamiya, the start of careers for girls like Kumiko Maekara & Rie Tamada and the first major pushes for girls like Sakie Hasegawa & Kaoru Ito. There was the obvious stuff i've allready mentioned like Yamada vs Toyota, Aja vs Bull, Hokuto vs Bull, Aja & Kyoko teaming up for the first time, Akira Hokuto recruiting Mita & Shimoda and start LCO, Yoshida's awesome little run. Except for the rookies and a few other minor exceptions, pretty much everyone on the roster had atleast 1 standout moment or run of somesort this year that made watching everything in order worth the effort. The running theme of Takako Inoue trying to gain respect, bullying anyone on or below her level and getting the crap kicked out of her by anyone above her level and Bat Yoshinaga continuing to wreck things up on the undercards this year were 2 of my other favorite standout things from this year off the top of my head. Of course, the biggest most important happening this year was the start of the interpromotional wars, first with Shark & Crusher from FMW invading after the main event of the 7/15 AJW show, then JWP getting in the mix and lastly the newly formed LLPW showing up. The original JWP splitting in 2 with half their roster bouncing to form LLPW is also a huge thing that took place this year, I personally didn't see enough footage to really follow having watched nothing from JWP early in the year or from LLPW's first few shows but it's still worth bringing up. The few JWP shows I did watch I really enjoyed, they were a clear #2 and couldn't compare to AJW but they had a few great matches that I got to see and a lot of really good talent on their roster with not just Kansai & OZ but Devil, Cuty, Bolshoi, Plum, Fukuoka, rookie Candy Okutsu and hidden gem Sumiko Saito. 19 years later here in 2011 joshi promotions are still sharing talent and we take it for granted but in 1992 it hadn't been done before, ever, it was new and fresh and exciting. Something that produced a lot of hate filled, emotional moments and a lot of amazing matches. Something that literally changed the entire business forever.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Jumbo, Fuchi, Ogawa vs Kobashi, Kawada, Misawa 4/19/92

 

Not on the set. Goes 35, draged a little by the end and little annoyed that for a match with 2 longish sections of guys getting their knees busted up neither one meant anything in the grand scheme of things. Minor complaints though as otherwise I thougt this was an excelent match. Came away thinking "boy, Masa Fuchi is really the best guy involved in this" and really wanting to see just him & Ogawa as a tag team, then to my pleaseant surprise I checked Ditch's site and saw that there are infact a buncha Fuchi/Ogawa tag matches out thear so i'll check those out sometime soon.

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Half year stuff.

 

Wrestler of the Half Year: Stan Hansen. He's carried the Triple Crown and had good to great matches with Jumbo, Misawa and Kawada. Of all the champs in major promotions (Sting, Flair, Savage, Choshu), he's been the best.

 

Most Outstanding Wrestler: Either Jushin Liger or Negro Casas. It's a tough call. Misawa/Kawada/Kobashi are there too, but it's hard for me to rank them against each other. At this point in the year, they are all sort of running together in my head. I think I like Kawada's matches with Jumbo and Hansen better than the singles matches Misawa or Kobashi have had with either of them, but I think that's too narrow a criterion to use to pick a favorite.

 

Tag Team of the Half Year: This one is a little tougher. The Steiners have had some great matches, but Jumbo & Taue would probably get my vote. (I really didn't intend for this to be an AJ-heavy list.)

 

Feud of the Half Year: Jarrett & Lawler vs Moondogs for booking and action, but it needs a new twist quickly or it's in danger of getting stale.

 

Best on Interviews: Jerry Lawler, followed by Eddie Gilbert. Buddy Landell would be competitive here if he had more stuff. Same for Arn Anderson.

 

Promotion of the Half Year: All Japan has produced the most great matches, but CMLL isn't far behind, and the high-end stuff is generally as good or better than the best of AJ. There isn't as much of it, which is either yearbook editing or truth. Hard to say. I really like WCW a lot during this time, but they aren't at the level of the other two promotions, as much as I'd like them to be. They just aren't. WCW booking is really unfocused, and matches are just thrown out there, but forgotten about on the next TV. It would be awesome if all those fun TV matches were referenced later, or the result was part of the bigger picture somehow. On the flip side, WWF booking has generally been very good and there have been some good matches, so they've been more balanced. But because of the cartoon nature of everyone in the company, it sometimes feels like a parody of a wrestling promotion (a good one) than an actual wrestling promotion.

 

Best babyface: Jerry Lawler is the best at saying what fans are thinking. Sting has been pretty over in every match or segment he's been in, but most of his great matches wouldn't come until the second half of the year. Steamboat has been red hot and had some really good matches, but he's also been more aggressive than the usual Steamboat. Savage has been terrific, but the in-ring has been spread out. Santo has been awesome. Tough to pick one.

 

Best heel: Negro Casas has been outstanding. The Moondogs and Richard Lee deserve mention in this category. Rick Rude was having a career peak. I think I'll go Rude, but it's close.

 

Most Improved: Steve Austin, without a doubt. He kicked it into high gear around early May after being a passenger in some excellent matches early on.

 

My top 25 matches of the half year, in order, are below. If I rank the order slightly different come the end of the year, please don't jump on me, as I will give it much more thought then than I did here. Consider this a snapshot of an opinion with about 10 minutes of thought.

 

#1 - Silver King, El Texano & Gran Hamada vs Negro Casas, Dr Wagner Jr & Rambo (UWA 02/29/92)

#2 - Jushin Liger vs El Samurai (NJPW 04/30/92)

#3 - Sting, Ricky Steamboat, Barry Windham, Dustin Rhodes & Nikita Koloff vs Rick Rude, Steve Austin, Arn Anderson, Bobby Eaton & Larry Zbyszko (WCW Wrestle War 05/17/92)

#4 - Mitsuharu Misawa, Toshiaki Kawada & Kenta Kobashi vs Jumbo Tsuruta, Akira Taue & Masa Fuchi (AJPW 05/22/92)

#5 - Rick Rude vs Ricky Steamboat (WCW Beach Blast 06/20/92)

#6 - Jushin Liger vs Norio Honaga (NJPW 02/08/92)

#7 - Kenta Kobashi & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi vs Doug Furnas & Dan Kroffat (AJPW 05/25/92)

#8 - Cien Caras, Mascara Ano 2000 & Sangre Chicana vs Konnan, Perro Aguayo & Rayo de Jalisco Jr (CMLL 03/01/92)

#9 - Octagoncito, Misteriocito & Mascarita Sagrada vs Espectrito, Piratita Morgan & Pequene Pierroth (CMLL 04/17/92)

#10 - Jushin Liger vs Pegasus Kid (NJPW 02/10/92)

#11 - Rick & Scott Steiner vs Steve Williams & Terry Gordy (WCW Clash of the Champions XIX 06/16/92)

#12 - El Hijo del Santo, Atsushi Onita & Tarzan Goto vs Negro Casas, Horace Boulder & Tim Patterson (WWA 05/16/92)

#13 - El Hijo del Santo vs Espanto Jr (UWA 05/14/92)

#14 - Mitsuharu Misawa & Kenta Kobashi vs Jumbo Tsuruta & Akira Taue (AJPW 06/05/92)

#15 - Barry Windham & Dustin Rhodes vs Steve Austin & Larry Zbyszko (WCW SuperBrawl II 02/29/92)

#16 - Mitsuharu Misawa & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi vs Jumbo Tsuruta & Akira Taue (AJPW 05/30/92)

#17 - Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs Bart Vale (PWFG 06/25/92)

#18 - Blue Panther vs Love Machine (CMLL 04/03/92)

#19 - Aja Kong vs Bull Nakano (AJW 04/25/92)

#20 - Jumbo Tsuruta vs Toshiaki Kawada (AJPW 01/21/92)

#21 - Silver King, El Texano & Gran Hamada vs Negro Casas, Dr Wagner Jr & Mike Lozansky (UWA 02/16/92)

#22 - Mitsuharu Misawa, Kenta Kobashi & Toshiaki Kawada vs Jumbo Tsuruta, Masa Fuchi & Akira Taue (AJPW 01/24/92)

#23 - El Canek vs Dos Caras (UWA 02/02/92)

#24 - Jeff Jarrett & Jerry Lawler vs The Moondogs (USWA Kennett, MO 01/17/92)

#25 - Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs Yusuke Fuke (PWFG 02/24/92)

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  • 3 weeks later...

Top 10 Wrestlers of the Year

 

1. Mariko Yoshida

 

Little bit easier list to make. No it's not really reflected in my top matches list but night in night out Yoshida was easily the most talented & consistently enjoyable wrestler in AJW. She didn't have as many opportunities to produce classics as others but she had her share and if I were to rank 21-30 she'd be in a good portion of those. Yoshida's rise up the ranks was a joy to watch too. She's someone who doens't have any natural advantages as a wrestler, she's not big or tall, she didn't have a major sports background prior to becoming a wrestler, not the greatest singer, and while she is very attractive, she isn't hot in that exploitable way that leads to one getting outside deals as a bikini model or whatever. To get ahead in wrestling she had to rely on talent alone so she worked really really hard and started putting on really really good matches. The fans saw this, apreciated it and started cheering her which in turn led to the guys in charge seeing this and pushing her higher up the card accordingly. In this day and age whear most wrestling promoters could give fuck all about things like who has the most skill and who gets the best crowd reaction and just shove whoever they like down the throats of fans until they learn to love it watching Yoshida in 92 was really refreshing.

Well, I'm not exactly on the same page as far as the rest of your ranking goes (not digging Toyota and Yamada nearly as much as you do), and although I wouldn't put Yoshida at the number 1 spot, I'm glad someone else is feeling the early Yoshida love. I'll have to find my old notes about Yoshida in 92, but I felt she was already a terrific worker and had a great year in 92. You dig a really good job summing up why. It's well known, well to people who know me from long ago, that I'm a huge Yoshida mark from ARSION, and finding out that she already ruled, in a totally different fashion, in 92, was really my biggest enjoyment of watching joshi 1992.

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I love late 90s Yoshida, but she hasn't really made an impact on me on this yearbook. But from the way you described what made her good, a yearbook isn't really the best place to make that case. Could you recommend maybe 3-5 matches worth checking out from Yoshida in '92? I know last night when I watched the 6-person 2/3 falls match, she stood out the least, not because of the quality of her work, but more because everyone else in the match had much bigger personalities and she really got lost in that.

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The problem with putting Yoshida #1 (which I wouldn't but I do agree with Flik and Jerome's sentiment that she was coming along really well pre-injury) is that she was pretty non-descript without any great presence to her. Look at how strong some of the character's were around her, look at how distinctive she looked just walking out in Arsion, is it any surprise she fell by the wayside?

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is that she was pretty non-descript without any great presence to her. Look at how strong some of the character's were around her, look at how distinctive she looked just walking out in Arsion, is it any surprise she fell by the wayside?

True she didn't have as huge a personality as some of the top tier wrestlers but I don't think it was a major hinderane. She was one of the most popular wrestlers on the roster in 92, in K-hall especially but other places too, and she was getting the biggest push of her career that year. AJW singles & tag titles at the same time, JGP semi finals, etc...

 

I don't think she'd have ever gotten a sniff of the 3WA singles (no knock, lots of people didn't, Yamada never got a title shot for example) but had the injury not derailed her career and cost her 2 years, I think she'd have gotten the All Pacific eventually and been in that upper top mix on a reg basis.

 

I love late 90s Yoshida, but she hasn't really made an impact on me on this yearbook. But from the way you described what made her good, a yearbook isn't really the best place to make that case. Could you recommend maybe 3-5 matches worth checking out from Yoshida in '92? I know last night when I watched the 6-person 2/3 falls match, she stood out the least

Yeah, year book maybe isn't the best way to show off someone like her who wasn't routinely turning out great (moty lvl) matches but was consistently having very very good ones in which she'd personally have great performances if that makes sense.

 

As for what else i'd recomend that didn't make the set, obviously vs Mita 6/27 which made the low end of my top 20

 

A better version of the match type Shimoda & Takako did earlier. Perfect mix of brawling, mat work, awesome selling, little bit of flying and a great crowd cheering on Yoshida. Mita's really starting to embrace her new bad girl persona since teaming up with Hokuto and this is like her heel coming out party. She goes after Yoshida's bad arm and then turns the match into a chair swinging crowd brawl but keeps the focus still on the arm. Yoshida slowly comes back in, brining a chair with her which is rare but revenge is a bitch. Mita cuts her off though and she gets beat down some more, continuing to target the arm. A few minutes later Yoshida gets said revenge though, she sends Mita outside, hits a really nice dive then goes nuts with chair attacks of her own out in the stands trying to break Mita's bum knee. Both of them continue putting over the limb work late into the match even after the focus changes to other things which just adds to the drama. Yoshida finally gets the hard earned win, catching Mita on top with a DDT then hitting a beautiful looking step up splash. Mita's like bullshit to that and goes after Yoshida's arm with a chair again post match but it's quickly broken up she's sent to the back, limping away while Yoshida celebrates. Easliy the best singles match either had ever had up to this point in their careers.

Besides that her best stuff would be

 

4/25 (AJW Tag Title Match) Debbie Malenko & Sakie Hasegawa © vs Takako Inoue & Mariko Yoshida

 

Yoshida back again, this time with regular tag partner Takako to go after the tag belts they lost to Sakie & Debbie a few months earlier. Shit's on to start as things turn into a brawl outside the ring and Yoshida & Inoue go to town on Sakie which is the story of the 1st half of this match. Debbie would get in ocasionally and clean house and Sakie got her licks in too but largely this was Inoue & Yoshida dominating early on. They came in to this match working a lot more aggresively then they have in the past and it paid off quite well for them. There was still a lot of the usual you'd exspect, lots of matwork and submissions and suplexes and all that but they also weren't afraid to just straight up smack someone in the head either. Tak & Deb particularly had a brutal exchange, just wailing on each other mid match. 2nd half turns into really great sprint with everyone busting out their big moves and going all out, my fav spots being Debbie hitting a sweet overhead belly to belly suplex off the top rope and Takako & Yoshida wiping out Sakie with stereo suicide dives. End comes when they hit Sakie with a double team DDT off the top which leads to one of those weird "they forgot to kick out" moments whear the ref just stops at 2 because that wasn't the planed finish but they cover for it nicely and Takako hits her with her shoulder backdrop suplex to regain the titles. Screwy ending aside, this was a great match. One of my favorites of the year so far.

4/29 (All Japan Title) Takako Inoue © vs Mariko Yoshida

 

Basic stuff to start but things really get going a few around the half way mark when Takako takes over and gos after Yoshida's leg. Nothing fancy but Yoshida puts it over like a champ and makes it seem like she's in the fight of her life. Tide gets turned when she and Yoshida returns the favor and starts going after Takako's leg all the while still selling her own from earlier. Cool moment as they go into the stands, Takako ends up on the floor clutching her knee and Yoshida hobbles over and just casually tosses a chair straight at her head. Turns into a battle of who can break who's leg for a while longer with Takako taking back over. Near the end they go into a little bit of "ow i'm hurt except when i'm doing this move, ok now i'm hurt again" type selling, especially Yoshida but it's not overly excessive and they both continue to put over the leg work strong with Inoue getting some nice near falls off flash submission attempts. Yoshida finally comes out on top though, after a double underhook superplex off the top nearly droping Takako on her head. Damn good match.

 

7/5/92 vs Kyoko JGP

 

Ok this is more like it. Starts off with a mix of comedy spots which you didn't see that much of in AJW during this time frame and fast high spot action. A lot of anything you can do, I can do better mirror spots. Lots of arm dragery and monkey flipocity going down. Things settle down a little with Kyoko taking over and going into her bag of surfboardy stretch holds which she works for a while trying to take out Yoshida's back. It works for a while but then they bust out another comedy spot with the ref somehow accidently getting monkey flipped by Yoshida and Kyoko counting the pin on him. Does lead to a big ref chant from the crowd. A few moments later the match breaks out into a chase sceen with Yoshida trying to catch Kyoko as they run all over k-hall, ends badly though as Yoshida wipes out trying to hop the guard rail. Back in the ring they switch to super serious mode and the match turns into another game of top this, only this time with a lot bigger moves. Lots of dives, top rope ddts, suplexes, etc... 15 mins in and it looks like the finish is coming but they keep kicking out. The match settles down again as they go back to working a longish mat work section that again sees Kyoko come out the dominant one. Yoshida tries to catch her with a german but her bad shoulder goes out and Kyoko pounces on that though it doesn't end up leading anywhear. Time starts to run out so they both start going for lots of cradles and roll ups and any other desperation move they can think of to get the win. Some bigger stuff too, a few more dives and power bomb exchanges. Kyoko gets the upper hand in the final minute hitting her giant swing, power bomb combo but time runs out just as the ref was about to count 3. Really interesting to see them do a completely unique take on the time limit draw formula as they switched a lot of things up here. Instead of doing time killing mat work to start they were like naw, we got 30 mins and we've been dying to try out these lucha spots & comedy shit we learned in Mexico. And instead of saving their biggest shit for late in the match they used it in the middle. Could have been better but overall a good match

8/30 vs Kyoko JGP

 

Kyoko & Yoshida tied for points going into this so we get a play off match to determine who goes on to the semi finals of their block later tonight. Yoshida chant to start as the Mariko fan club is once again in full effect at here at K-Hall. First half or so of this is all mat work goodness that sees Kyoko gets the advantage, long section of her working over Yoshida's back & legs. Both of them taking things a lot more seriously then their match earlier in the tournament. The action picks up once the match goes out to the floor. Kyoko hits her insane nestea plunge like backwards dive which also ends up hurting her allowing Yoshida to finally make her come back and hit a few dives of her own. Crazy stretch of big moves follows, big Yoshida chant again breaks out as the fans are going nuts for this match and in the end they get their wish as Yoshida hits a run up sunset flip out of nowhear to gain the vicotry. Huge win for her, knocking off last years winner. Really good match, not sure if I like this more then the 30 min draw or not. It's close but eh, if I had to choose I might go with this one.

6/21 vs Sakie JGP

 

Battle of the walking wounderd, Yoshida comes in with both arms & her shoulder taped up while Sakie's still rocking the back brace and has both knees wraped up. Early portion of this is all about the awesome mat work and selling of attacks on said injuries. Sakie strikes first going after Yoshida's arm but things switch quickly with Mariko trying to destroy Sakie's bad leg in return all the while still selling her arm from earlier like a champ. Even lifting Sakie up for something simple like a slam causes her to wince in pain for a second. 10 mins in they start going to bigger moves. Yoshida changes her style up from "Ms. I will snap your leg" to "Ms. I will crush you with this tricked out lucha flying shit". Yoshida wipes out badly doing a suicide dive but it doesn't keep her down for long, a few minutes later she sends her outside again, fakes Sakie out then hits a sweet leaping springboard dive and much like last month the Kourakuen crowds is in love with them some Yoshida. Sakie makes her come back and goes into her spin kick barrage, gives Yoshida a bloody lip with a leaping one hitting her square in the mush. Since attempting to kick her head off fails, Sakie decides to crack it instead, droping her with a hurty looking back suplex that still doesn't get her the win. 20 mins in things sadly fall apart a little bit. Instead of building off the momentum they'd built up they go back to working the mat but don't put it over as strong as they did earlier so it just comes across flat and out of place this late in the match. It's like they knew they had to stall for time but ran out of shit to do before going to the finish sequence. Once they do make it to the home stretch things pick up again, lots of near falls off cradles, suplexes and the like. Big battle of drop kick vs spin kick in a cool moment. Sakie again spikes her with a back suplex but still just 2. Yoshida in charge a lot during the final min or 2, big german, step up diving head butt, flying elbow can't get her the victory. Time runs out and it's a 30 min draw. If they'd have kept this to 20 mins or had a better finish then going the distance this would have been a MOTYC, as it is it's still a really damn good match but a step below that lvl.

 

7/15 (AJW Tag Titles) Takako Inoue & Mariko Yoshida © vs Mima Shimoda & Debbie Malenko

7/15 (AJW Title) Mariko Yoshida © vs Sakie Hasegawa

 

The singles match is the only one you really NEED to see but these 2 matches happen back to back so seeing the tag which is also pretty good helps.

 

(AJW Tag Titles) Takako Inoue & Mariko Yoshida © vs Mima Shimoda & Debbie Malenko

So the theme of this show is to have all the titles in the company on the line (except the jr) thus we get Yoshida defending the 1st of her 2 titles here. 30 seconds in and the fans are allready chanting her name as she's like the most over chick in the company at this point. Basic back & forth stuff for the 1st few mins of this until Yoshida & Tak wipe out Debbie with a doube suicide dive on the outside which ends in disaster for both teams. Debbie hurts her ankle pretty badly during the fall, Yoshida aggrivates her allready banged up shoulder and they both take a long time to get back in. Debbie quickly tags out and gets her ankle taped up while Shimoda gets worked over for a while. When Debbie's finally recovered enough to get back in she does pretty well for a 1 legged woman. She limps around lariating people in the jaw, bust out a northern light suplex from the top rope on Yoshida and then tries to take out her shoulder. Takako breaks it up quickly and then we get a bunch more back & forth stuff. Shimoda & Deb look to nearly win things but Takako again swoops in to save, she takes out Mima, sending her outside, then suplexes Debbie off the top which allows Yoshida to hit her step up plancha for the pin. Real good match, went 15 mins or so but felt like only half that.

 

- (AJW Title) Mariko Yoshida © vs Sakie Hasegawa

No rest for 2 gold Yoshida. She has time to go to the back, do a quick interview and put her ring jacket back on and that's it. Sakie won't even let her get a full ring intro and attacks her before the bell rings while streamers are still coming down in a cool visual. Sakie immediatly goes after the bad shoulder and destroys that for a while. Yoshida makes little come backs here and thear but even on offense she continues to sell her arm. Eventually she gets a longer term advantage on Sakie by going after her leg, she tells Hasegawa "you will pay" and puts on a clinic in 1 armed submission holds. Missed dive allows Sakie to take back over and again she goes after the shoulder but after a missed move of her own Yoshida fights back. Big sacraficial suicide dive from Yoshida, knowing she was going to take damage in an attempt to wipe out her opponent. Back in the ring Yoshida tries to go for the kill busting out whatever big moves she's got left but she can't get the win, Sakie rolls thru one of them for a huge near fall that has the crowd going nuts. Sakie starts going on a spin kick flurry and hits a large amount with Yoshida getting up slower and slower each time. Yoshida does a cradle of her own out of nowhear for another giant near fall. Big Yoshida chants again during this. Yoshida again counters something from Sakie by just punching her square in the face but Sakie catches her with 1 more spin kick and we've got a new champion. Great match, Sakie was awesome here but this was made by Yoshida and her awesome selling. Better then their JGP form a month earlier and possibly Yoshida's best singles match of her career up to this point (either this or the Mita title match from June).

There's a few others besides this but those are more random good mid show tags and stuff, the above are the major things that leap out if i'm going to point out why I thought Yoshida was the best in the company at this point.

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You could pretty much take any Yoshida match from '92 and it'd be, at worst, solid. OK, so the 3/20 tag is messy as hell, but other than that... I also thought, going back earlier, that her and Takako had a nice little "(very) young girls" match on the 8/91 JGP Finals show. IIRC, one works the arm, the other the back, they're equal, full of energy, and one of them takes a *big* risk too far and is done for after that. I'm not sure it's "good", per se, but you can see the makings of her there.

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  • 1 month later...

I really like WCW a lot during this time, but they aren't at the level of the other two promotions, as much as I'd like them to be. They just aren't. WCW booking is really unfocused, and matches are just thrown out there, but forgotten about on the next TV. It would be awesome if all those fun TV matches were referenced later, or the result was part of the bigger picture somehow

I think one of the things with WCW is up till Watts period the shows seem to exist in their own seperate universes.

 

Whith Watts everything is building toward Omni shows and so you have these focused clips from Omni followed by interviews etc. I don't know if you guys thoughtof doing the Mr Hughes/Jyd angle stuff but that is super focused booking. And yes the whole building toward what will happen on the next Omni show idea is ridiculous for a national company ( I wonder if WWE has tapes of those Omni shows)

 

Before that my sense is that the various syndi shows worked in their own universe. In the early nineties you would see things like Ricky Morton turning on his tag partner in three different syndi shows. Maybe different tag partners, maybe different opponents but you watch three syndies where Morton turns and go "these guys are suckers to still tag with him". But the shows were done as though the audience was only watching one syndi show, and you had to work the angle infront of each "territory". My sense with Dangerous Alliance stuff was that you were supposed to go Holy shit this match up is great I want to see what happens on the houseshow not what happens on the next episode of the Tv series.

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  • 1 year later...
  • 4 months later...

NBA playoffs are done which means I can get back to documenting the set. A shame the finals ended the way they did but it was a great run. Weekends may be a problem as the wife likes to get outside then during the summer, but I'm hoping to wrap this up before football season. Which means it'll definitely bleed into it.

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  • 2 months later...

I'm officially halfway through the set, I just finished June. It's been such a fun ride, reliving all the angles and feuds that were intrinsic to my childhood. I was talking about this set with a friend and he perked right up when I mentioned the whole Flair/Savage/Liz angle, and the Warrior/Shango mess. It's even better getting to watch the USWA and SMW stuff, since I didn't have those shows available in NY.

 

As much as I've loved the Moondogs ordeal, I think that the Eddie Gilbert promos have topped it for my favorite thing in the first half of the year. Although Brian Christopher has been pretty awesome too. For pure workrate, the Lucha Libre promotions have been the biggest highlight. I still love the Lozanski, Wagner, Casas triple strut from the UWA trios from Feb.

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  • 1 month later...

1992 has come and gone, and this is by far the best wrestling-centric Yearbook of the three that I’ve watched so far, and I’m sure will be the best overall at least until we get to 1997. Just about every promotion saw an improvement from an in-ring standpoint even as American business started tanking--the only company that retrogressed quality-wise was the WWF. It didn’t get actively bad, but things did get very, very bland after so many hot 1991 angles, feuds, and arrivals. This is a company in desperate need of the shot in the arm that Monday Night Raw will give it. It and lots of promotions--even All-Japan coming off a strong year--are facing uncertainty headed into 1993 and for most of them things are going to get worse before they get better. Here are the 1992 Awards, Observer-style, with the real-life winner in parantheses. Once again, full calendar year, not the Observer’s November-to-November standard.

 

CATEGORY A

WRESTLER OF THE YEAR (Ric Flair)

1. Bull Nakano

2. Mitsuharu Misawa

3. Manami Toyota

Nakano seems to be a fitting choice, as she passes the anchor position in AJW on to Aja Kong at the end of the year. Bull vs. Aja was a MOTY-level contest in many years, but wasn’t even Match of the Night. But their match at Wrestlemarinepad was almost as good, as was their partnership. I’ve been saying snarky things about Toyota for most of these sets and a few of them came in watching this one, but she and Yamada in the end were the other standouts for the company, especially during the JWP feud while many other promotions seemed to be disintegrating. Meanwhile Misawa was established, intentionally or not, as the new native ace.

 

MOST OUTSTANDING WRESTLER (Jushin Liger)

1. Jushin Liger

2. Negro Casas

3. Bull Nakano

Very top-heavy year this year. Casas could have taken this with more footage from later in the year, but Liger was more of a constant and he just barely topped Casas in the first part of the year with that Samurai match.

 

BEST BABYFACE (Sting)

1. Tsuyoshi Kikuchi

2. Mitsuharu Misawa

3. Ricky Morton

I had to think about this for awhile as I tend to think of this as a North American award, and this year Hogan was gone and business went into the tank for both companies. Misawa did the most for business, and had quite a few performances that wouldn’t be out of place as a sympathetic babyface--namely the big 5/22 six-man and the earlier stuff with Hansen. But Kikuchi was on another level, working awesome underneath stuff against the Can-Ams and Fuchi. Sting damn near got into this ballot with his Starrcade match against Vader, which was a terrific fired-up babyface performance in addition to a great overall athletic contest. But I still have to go with Morton, who bounced back in a big way with his brief Gilbert feud to the Rock ‘n Roll Express returning like they had never left.

 

BEST HEEL (Rick Rude)

1. Jake Roberts

2. Rick Rude

3. Eddie Gilbert

Roberts continued to amaze on the stick, and even threw in two genuinely good singles matches, vs. Dustin and vs. Savage. Rude is one of the best natural heels ever, but Jake was given better angles to work with. Gilbert was outstanding once again during the GWF/USWA feud.

 

FEUD OF THE YEAR (Moondogs vs. Lawler/Jarrett)

1. The Moondogs vs. Jerry Lawler & Jeff Jarrett

2. Genichiro Tenryu vs. NJPW

3. Manami Toyota vs. Toshiyo Yamada

Why not? It did go on too long, but it kept afloat a dying promotion and was one of the most consistent programs in the world considering how long it went. I would put Tenryu/NJPW at #1, but it came off as sort of mid-card-ish as Tenryu hasn’t worked against the big guns yet. Toyota/Yamada told one of pro wrestling’s more unique stories, with tag partners fighting and reaching hair vs. hair levels, but not actually splitting up.

 

TAG TEAM OF THE YEAR (Doc/Gordy)

1. Doug Furnas & Dan Kroffat

2. Los Cowboys

3. Manami Toyota/Toshiyo Yamada

Probably the peak for the Can-Ams, and Los Cowboys were terrific every time out. Obviously they couldn’t reach the highs of Dream Rush every time out, but Yamada & Toyota still weren’t always consistent--those annoying things that Toyota’s known for did rear their ugly heads some--so they have to settle in at #3.

 

MOST IMPROVED (El Samurai)

1. Razor Ramon

2. El Samurai

3. Kensuke Sasaki

It’s incredible how a guy who’d spent 5 years as a big dumb goof in the AWA and WCW suddenly turned into a legitimate main event player. And you can’t just attribute that to the WWF Machine--why didn’t Nailz or Papa Shango reach that level? Because Hall pulled his weight, both on the mic and even in the ring. Sasaki’s placement is sort of "Most Improved in My Own Mind" award, as I always envisioned him as a piece of shit worker, but he’s a fiery, explosive guy with good-looking offense and who moves around great for the way he’s built.

 

MOST UNIMPROVED (Randy Savage)

1. Keiji Mutoh

2. Sgt. Slaughter

3. Ric Flair

Mutoh looked good against the Steiners but rarely anyone else, after having such a great 1991. And after seeing what Liger and Sasaki were doing in the U.S., even at year’s end in front of a couple thousand people on a house show, he doesn’t get any kind of a pass for looking like complete shit across the pond either. This was the end of the line for Sarge, who nonetheless deserves a lot of credit for his 1991 comeback even in the face of failing business and distasteful material--but he had nothing left in the tank as a full-timer. I feel terrible for putting Flair here, but I feel like I have to. I’m almost the opposite of Loss on Flair in the WWF, as I’ve liked him in most of his non-wrestling settings in ‘92, especially since he was allowed to be more Flair-like, but his in-ring stuff once he dropped the title at WM8 has left me cold. The Tenryu match being a big exception. The '92 Rumble may have been his last hurrah as an elite worker. He was by no means bad, but I have to go by the previous standards, and Flair had a lot to live up to.

 

MOST OBNOXIOUS (Bill Watts)

1. The Ultimate Maniacs

2. Jameson

3. Jason Hervey

The borderline-homoerotic Maniacs push was only tolerable--and just barely, at that--because of how brief it was. Jameson was embarrassing even if the guy seemed to be a professional actor. Hervey only made a couple of appearances but still made me want to stick his head in a blender and flip the switch.

 

BEST ON INTERVIEWS (Ric Flair)

1. Jim Cornette

2. Jake Roberts

3. Eric Embry

Flair was very, very good--his usual self, pretty much. But Cornette had an outstanding comeback after being mostly lost for 1991, and Embry was more versatile, as we got the classic '89 Texas babyface Embry for a bit before his career reached an end.

 

MOST CHARISMATIC (Sting)

1. Atsushi Onita

2. Genichiro Tenryu

3. Konnan

Possible Wrestling with the Past 1991 influence here, as they talked about Onita's charisma carrying matches in 1991. I think it's fair to say it carried over into '92, though. Tenryu was great as either the cocky dick in New Japan or the hometown babyface working against Ric Flair. I don't like Konnan at all but it'd be ignorant to put blinders on how he could control a crowd.

 

BEST TECHNICAL WRESTLER (Jushin Liger)

1. Volk Han

2. Hiroshi Hase

3. Atlantis

Again, the definition here has always been a little shaky, but these were your best guys on the mat and executing moves.

 

BRUISER BRODY MEMORIAL AWARD/BEST BRAWLER (Cactus Jack)

1. Cactus Jack

2. Moondog Spike

3. Stan Hansen

Cactus was on fire before his injury. Yes, Spike was a bit better than Spot, because he was good for at least one crazy bump in every match I saw.

 

BEST FLYING WRESTLER (Jushin Liger)

1. Jushin Liger

2. Manami Toyota

3. Super Astro

Sort of more of the same from the first two, though 1992 Liger was probably at his best to this point, and Toyota definitely was. Astro's flying astounds you possibly more than the flying from the Brazos.

 

MOST OVERRATED WRESTLER (Erik Watts)

1. The Ultimate Warrior

2. Erik Watts

3. Nailz

I don't want to rant more on the Warrior without acknowledging that his WM8 return was a jawdropper. Still, as mentioned, he was the absolute antithesis of the direction the WWF needed to go in the post-Hogan era, and I'm thankful that he basically saved the WWF from themselves by walking out (unless the rumors of a planned Warrior/Nailz feud were true, which would be an indication that even Vince saw the company headed in another direction on top). Watts was too much, too soon, when he should have been groomed in whatever the 1992 equivalent of the Power Plant was for a little while longer. I get that even the isolationist WWF couldn’t give a "prisoner just released" gimmick to someone who was recognizable as having wrestled on TV recently. But even with that limitation there had to be somebody, somewhere more capable of pulling off the Nailz gimmick than Kevin Kelly.

 

MOST UNDERRATED WRESTLER (Terry Taylor)

1. The Lightning Kid

2. Tracey Smothers

3. Buddy Landell

Kid seems to have dropped off the earth after that UWF appearance--even wrestlingdata has no information on his 1992 whereabouts. As we approach the end of the year, Smothers is on his way to save SMW’s singles babyface situation, but he had something to offer to either of the Big Two. Landell showed tons of promise early on in SMW and was probably responsible for his own lack of advancement in the business.

 

BEST PROMOTION (New Japan)

1. New Japan

2. All-Japan

3. WCW

Still the winner for depth and variety. WCW’s business and morale were in the shitter and seemed to be getting worse news every week, but the on-camera product was generally outstanding.

 

BEST TV SHOW (All-Japan)

1. All-Japan

2. Smoky Mountain Wrestling

3. USWA TV

New Japan was probably as good as anything, but almost all of the Yearbook stuff seemed to be from commercial tapes and New Japan Classics, and I’ve watched the whole ‘92 season for All-Japan. SMW had better television matches than the USWA and a number of hot angles in its own right, even if the USWA had more stuff happening on its show.

 

MATCH OF THE YEAR (Kroffat/Furnas vs. Kobashi/Kikuchi)

1. Manami Toyota & Toshiyo Yamada vs. Mayumi Ozaki & Dynamite Kansai (AJW 11/26/92)

2. Jushin Liger vs. El Samurai (NJPW 4/30/92)

3. Mitsuharu Misawa/Toshiaki Kawada/Kenta Kobashi vs. Jumbo Tsuruta/Akira Taue/Masa Fuchi (AJPW 5/22/92)

3. Kenta Kobashi/Tsuyoshi Kikuchi vs. Doug Furnas/Dan Kroffat (AJPW 5/25/92)

4. Aja Kong vs. Bull Nakano (AJW 11/26/92)

5. Rick Rude vs. Ricky Steamboat (WCW Beach Blast)

6. Toshiaki Kawada/Tsuyoshi Kikuchi vs. Doug Furnas/Dan Kroffat (AJPW 2/22/92)

7. WarGames (WCW WrestleWar)

8. Akira Hokuto vs. Kyoko Inoue (AJW 11/26/92)

9. Gran Hamada/Los Cowboys vs. Negro Casas/Dr. Wagner, Jr./Rambo (UWA 2/29/92)

10. Negro Casas vs. El Dandy (CMLL 7/3/92)

The depth here is insane compared to ‘90 and ‘91--people were talking up Casas/Dandy as an all-time classic in its thread, and even without being able to wholly disagree with them I can’t put it any higher than it is here. Liger/Samurai became one of my favorite matches ever when I watched it, and is probably better than anything from the Liger/Sano feud, and it didn’t even last on top for 7 months. Just a shit ton of stuff elsewhere from CMLL and WCW and everyone from Japan that I just didn’t have room for, nor did I have the time to sort out a top 50-100. Maybe I should, but the lucha set and the ‘93 Yearbook beckon.

 

MANAGER OF THE YEAR (Jim Cornette)

1. Jim Cornette

2. Richard Lee

3. Paul E. Dangerously

After 1991 I pronounced the Era of the Manager basically dead, but there was a huge resurgence this year. Dangerously was the #1 guy as far as exposure, but…I don’t think his own performances were quite as strong as it was in ‘91 when the Alliance really started to kick into gear, and the Alliance came off as more of a vehicle for great matches than an out-of-control group taking over and creating chaos. Plus he became persona non grata, more or less, after WarGames. Cornette was more of a constant throughout the year and Paul E. wasn’t good enough to touch him as an interview. Lee ahead of Dangerously is probably an upset pick, but doing that much good work is easier when you’re managing Rude, Arn, Austin, Eaton, and Larry Z than it is when you’re managing Spot and Spike and literally have to do all the mic work for them. And he was no slouch when it came to getting physically involved, either. Lee did more with less than any manager in wrestling in ‘92, Cornette included. Ron Wright had a better year than anyone in 1991 and couldn’t even crack the ballot, which is both a shame and a testament to the overall depth here.

 

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR (Rey Misterio, Jr.)

1. Volk Han

2. Jun Akiyama

3. Yoshihiro Takayama

I suppose Misterio and Psicosis (who finished 2nd) would have done more with more exposure, but neither guy showed much in their one Yearbook appearance. And it’s not like there’s a great deal of shame in not being able to beat out Volk.

 

BEST TELEVISION ANNOUNCER (Jim Ross)

1. Jim Ross

2. Bob Caudle

3. Dave Brown

After such an annoying 1991, Ross improved by leaps and bounds. It helped that he got a better product to call with so many more great matches. Plus I truly think Ventura’s presence forced him to step up, as Jesse was there to call him on some of his canned talking-point bullshit. Smoky Mountain Caudle may honestly be better than prime Mid-Atlantic Caudle, though there’s something to be said for replacing David Crockett as your color man with Dutch Mantell.

 

WORST TELEVISION ANNOUNCER (Gorilla Monsoon)

1. Vince McMahon

2. Gorilla Monsoon

3. Cory Macklin

Vince didn’t have as many hot angles to get over, which reduced him to being a match-caller, and as that he wasn’t good at all. Flair’s performance in the ‘92 Rumble basically forced Monsoon, kicking and screaming, into giving him some credit, but that all dissipated once the show was over and he was back to slagging on him non-stop, and I don’t think I have to explain why that pissed me off or how dumb it was from a business standpoint. Thank God for Heenan, whose reactions to Gorilla (especially during Martel/Tatanka at WM8, the match after the title loss) eased the pain. There wasn’t enough Global for me to pick out a truly Worst announcer. As a result, Macklin is basically a default pick--as unpolished as he was and inferior as he was to Lance & Dave, I can’t truthfully say that he ever had me running for the mute button either.

 

CATEGORY B

BEST MAJOR WRESTLING CARD (AJW Wrestlemarinepad ‘92). AJW Dream Rush--three top-ten MOTYs and the greatest match I have ever seen of any style. How is anything else going to top that, ever? I guess I’ll find out when I get to the Dream Slam cards.

 

WORST MAJOR WRESTLING CARD (Halloween Havoc). Havoc it is.

 

BEST WRESTLING MANEUVER (2 Cold Scorpio’s 450 splash). I agree, though Manami Toyota’s moonsault to the floor is very close. Also, Super Astro’s somersault headbutt to the floor should be up there if it wasn’t so insanely, stupefyingly dangeorus.

 

MOST DISGUSTING PROMOTIONAL TACTIC (Erik Watts push). The Ultimate Warrior selling a main event feud by puking. And this comes from a guy who got and continues to get a kick out of Papa Shango’s antics.

 

BEST COLOR COMMENTATOR (Bobby Heenan). I don’t care if he hated working with Ross or taking orders from Bill Watts--Jesse Ventura fit into that style seamlessly, which is a credit to him after having to call canned squashes with Vince McMahon for 5 years and working with Monsoon. Dutch Mantell really deserved a spot here on his own merit, but on principle I have to go with Jesse.

 

FAVORITE WRESTLER (Ric Flair). Two things I’m most looking forward to in ‘93: the WWF invasion of the USWA, and more Genichiro Tenryu vs. New Japan. This was his best year since 1989.

 

LEAST FAVORITE WRESTLER (Erik Watts). The Warrior was intolerable. Maybe not as actively annoying as he was in 1990, but he was so past his sell-by date in ‘92 and was absolutely the wrong direction to go with--something I think Vince ultimately recognized.

 

WORST (NON-ROOKIE) WRESTLER (Andre the Giant). I suppose I can’t ignore Andre anymore. I get that he didn’t want to leave the only life he ever really knew, but it’s stupefying that he was in the ring barely a month before his death. Mr. Pogo or Fishman was the worst guy I actually saw a match of when watching the Yearbook.

 

WORST TAG TEAM (The Bushwhackers). I will go with the USWA’s Star Riders, yet another LOD ripoff team who had one of the worst television squashes ever. Then, during a tag team battle royal that Monday night, they got eliminated, ransacked the other participants’ wallets and bags, and hightailed it out of the arena and presumably out of the wrestling business.

 

WORST WEEKLY TV SHOW (Global on ESPN). Or this. A lot of these "Worst" awards are hard because this was such a loaded Yearbook with a lot of the crap filtered out. So I have to go by my own memories and the actual Observer standings themselves.

 

WORST MANAGER (Mr. Fuji). Fuji was pretty out of the way, as the big Yokozuna push hadn’t begun yet. So I will go with Ronnie Lotz. You’re sinking pretty low when you’re ripping off Tony Rumble, and he gets extra demerits for being about 1/10 as cool and clever as he obviously thought he was.

 

WORST MATCH OF THE YEAR (Rude vs. Chono, Havoc). From a results vs. expectations standpoint that’s a hard one to top. Bushwhackers/Beverly Brothers at the Royal Rumble, with Jameson involved, was worse technically, though carried by an utterly brilliant performance from Heenan--he really was on fire that entire show. Among Yearbook stuff, Pogo vs. Matsunaga was the complete shits.

 

WORST FEUD OF THE YEAR (Warrior vs. Shango). Agreed with this. Kamala vs. Undertaker, which is a feud that would have JerryVonKramer throwing things at his screen, gets an honorable mention. In the real-life awards, the Steiners/MVC feud finished at #5--what the fuck were Observer readers smoking in 1992??!

 

WORST ON INTERVIEWS (Ultimate Warrior). Nailz had that horrid cartoonish voice, and his delivery sunk an angle that they were actually trying to sell fairly realistically. Not on the Yearbook but the ill-fated Nailz/Undertaker feud suffered from that as well--they could have done the Luther Reigns "you can’t scare me with anything I haven’t seen in prison" thing, but Nailz just offered lame unfocused comments still harping on being in jail for a crime he didn’t commit, which had jack-all to do with the current feud.

 

WORST PROMOTION OF THE YEAR (Global). Hard to argue with this. USWA-Texas was rarely any less low-rent but managed to be about 50 times more fun.

 

BEST BOOKER (Riki Choshu/New Japan). Choshu’s been in the running for this every year of the decade so far. This year he added some cool undercard stuff between Koshinaka’s group and the karate guys before they eventually joined forces, then brought in his old foe Tenryu.

 

BEST PROMOTER (Giant Baba). Still think New Japan has to rank ahead, for their Dome shows, their use of other promotions, and the variety in the cards, even if I think the main AJPW guys and its main event style were better.

 

BEST GIMMICK (The Undertaker). Babyface Undertaker and Bearer lost a bit from their big 1991. Therefore I will go with Ron Wright. Hopefully the prestige and money from this post will go towards that hip and knee replacement.

 

WORST GIMMICK (Papa Shango). Global could probably retire this category. I genuinely and unironically liked Shango, and Nailz was decent in theory and even in execution at first. I think I have to acknowledge Sebastian/Phantom X somewhere, so here it is.

 

MOST EMBARRASSING WRESTLER (Papa Shango). Bears repeating how little there is to choose from just from the Yearbook itself, when 1990 and ‘91 offered no shortage of candidates. Shango was reviled at the time, but I refuse to give it to him. Nailz was horrible, and yet I’d rather watch 500 Nailz promos than anything involving the Black Scorpion again. Van Hammer had that falls-count-anywhere match with Cactus. Erik Watts was bad but I find insultingly stupid gimmicks more embarrassing than a legitimate athlete who just happened to be overpushed because of his dad. So my pick goes to the Rude Dog of Global, which was like Al Green’s Dog gimmick from the dying days of WCW only not as dignified. Rude Dog stood out to me as an embarrassment just from reading about him in Apter mags, and Youtubing some footage of him does not improve his standing.

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I always love these posts, Pete. This was great. Look forward to seeing your thoughts on 1993 as well! While 1992 was a great in-ring year everywhere, the match quality improved all around the world even more in '93, while the U.S. was really in a slump. I'm curious to see your take on all of that as you go through it. I'm also curious to see your take on the stuff Watts pulls out in January and February. To me, he comes across as a guy who was finally wrapping his head around who was worth investing in and who wasn't, and I'm interested in seeing your thoughts on that when the time comes.

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Thanks Loss. '93 WWF was a lot better, too--I can't adequately describe what a boost Monday Night Raw gave to the product. Aside from Heenan's antics and the Perfect face turn, Prime Time's panel format had turned into the most sterile wrestling program in the history of television. Plus Ross' arrival meant a number of long feature matches on Wrestling Challenge (which I refuse to believe is a coincidence). Raw was hot, fresh (live or no more than a week in the can), and unpredictable in a manner that the WWF sorely lacked.

 

Plus '93 is right when I cut off my All-Japan TV viewing (this was right when the Benoit murders happened). So I've got the widely proclaimed greatest in-ring year in history to see. And more lucha! More Smoky Mountain! The WWF/USWA invasion, which got me into tape buying! And the birth of ECW!

 

One thing I am dreading is the absolutely nauseating Luger push. My Least Favorite Wrestler and Most Overrated awards may as well be filled out right now. And unfortunately, WCW falls off once Bischoff takes over.

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Great stuff as always Pete! This was the first Yearbook I watched and it was a really great year. I actually thought WWF was pretty good in 92, at least in the first half, much better than the 1990 stuff I'm watching from them at the moment. I also thought Warrior was a lot more tolerable in 92 that at any other time in his career, although I completely agree that he was not someone the WWF should have been looking to build around at this time, so all's well that ends well...if you can call WWF's 93 "ending well".

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BEST GIMMICK (The Undertaker). Babyface Undertaker and Bearer lost a bit from their big 1991. Therefore I will go with Ron Wright. Hopefully the prestige and money from this post will go towards that hip and knee replacement.

Great pick! I just wish you went all the way with Hervey as Most Obnoxious. Excellent stuff as usual Pete. Looking forward to you in 1993.

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