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[1992-08-12-NJPW-G1 Climax] Rick Rude vs Masa Chono

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This was without a doubt Rick Rude's finest hour. In a career filled with some great performances, in a year that was easily his best, this stands out above all of them. Now in terms of match quality, the Steamboat match is comparable to this, but as an individual Rude performance, this is a master's class. Selling at just the right times, setting up Chono offense, really well-timed kickouts, cutting a pretty intense pace from the beginning and putting Chono over strong. Chono shines here too, and this is one of his best matches. But this may be the best performance of Rude's life.

 

Now, I have to ask, WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED AT HALLOWEEN HAVOC?

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I actually haven't seen this before, but I'm REALLY looking forward to watching it whenever I pick this up.

 

By the sounds of it this is the kind of thing that might propel Rude ahead of the pack if one is trying to pick the best US wrestler of the year (which would obviously mean not limiting that to only performances *in* the US).

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Awesome match.

 

Now, I have to ask, WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED AT HALLOWEEN HAVOC?

Wasn't that a case of Bill Watts saying "don't show up the boyz with your japanese shit" ?

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This was really good with lots of drama and Rude/Chono worked very well together. Even Dusty and Watts seemed into the match. Having said that, Rude's matches with Warrior were probably a better Rude performance. And I got a big laugh out of Rude doing his mic schtick in Japan.

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This is such an amazing match. Easily a match you show to prove Rude's greatness. The heat in this is awesome. Plus the finishing run in this is awesome. Chono was pretty awesome here too.

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Rude pre match speech is fun to seen in front of a foreign audience. He kept it pretty clean though. Madusa looks like she is off to the prom after the match. Chono was the best fit for opponents for Rude from the matches shown on set. While I won't praise it as much as you guys, I thought it was a good match. Big pop for the finish with Chono winning. Seemed to be lots of emotion for that.

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Rude with his usual pre-match schtick that seems to go over well, though he was apparently compelled to include a a pretty derogatory term that hopefully the live crowd didn't pick up on. We get both national anthems to set the stage for the tourney's climax. Rude went out of his way to bump really well for Chono throughout the match to put him over as strongly as possible. Loved him taking Flair's face first bump after eating a ton of offense. Things slow down a bit which was probably necessary given how long they were going. I actually thought Rude could've sold quite a bit more here, as Chono spent a lot of time on his knee and arm, and Rude was right back with a jumping piledriver and top rope dropkick showing no ill effects. The crowd really got into things after they traded superplexes, before kicked out of a sleeper like Austin/Hart for a near fall.

 

After Rude used the top rope kneedrop as a finisher throughout the tourney, Chono kickd out to a massive pop. By the time we get to the STF spot that followed, it even looks like Watts & Dusty are marking out. Great finish and post-match celebration as well. No question this was a great match but it didn't rise to MOTYC level for me, even for Rude, as I preferred the Steamboat Iron Man match.

 

****

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What a fucking crowd this is. Seeing Americans cut loose in Japan and showing off all the shit they know but usually keep in the holster in North America is great, but Americans like Savage and Rude who can take their American-tailored shtick and bring it over to a foreign audience who pops for different stuff, and still get over doing it, sometimes comes off as even more impressive. Rude does the full mic spot and this crowd fucking hates him to a degree incredibly rare for a Japanese audience--they'll boo tactics but not wrestlers (except Taue and Fuyuki), but here they really want to see this guy get his ass kicked. Also the play-by-play man cracks me up on multiple occasions through this--I love that he completely loses his shit for some reason during the pre-match spiel, I love his "GRRRINND-OH!" call for Rude's hip swivel, and I love whatever the fuck he said when Chono did the Bret Hart sleeper counter.

 

So not only does Rude come off like Rude, but he's clearly leading the match:

 

- Pinballing for rapidfire clotheslines: check.

- Pratfall sell: check.

- Babyface does Rude's own hip swivel: check.

- Camel clutch with butt drops: check.

- Tombstone reversal: check.

 

All this was missing was Chono doing atomic drops and Rude trying to hip swivel and clutching something in pain. This is deliberately paced but even during Rude's long chinlock they never lose the crowd--probably the second-best crowd of the year behind the All-Asia tag. Chono gets chants whenever he's on the defensive, and when he comes back they actually do an "S-T-F" chant. And the crowd pop for the victory is awesome as well. As an overall match I don't think this is quite as good as the Ironman, and as a Rude match I think SummerSlam '89 is a bit tighter with a more compelling personal issue. But this is a worthy follow-up to the previous year's G-1 final and in the running for New Japan heavyweight MOTY.

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This match was good, but I think it would have been a lot better if it had ended 5 minutes earlier. It climaxed shortly after the superplex spots and then burnt out. The finish was really cool though. Loss is right, Rude was really tremendous here. Awesome selling. Watching this yearbook has really changed my opinion of him.

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I probably like the previous year's final less than anyone else who's seen it but it's painfully obvious why anyone would like it enough to call it an "all time classic" and similar things I've heard THIS match called. This match however was a complete waste of time. Nothing worthwhile ever happened and the only highlights of it were the STF nearfalls and the crowd reactions during the finishing stretch. Those Sumo Hall shows must've been a blast to attend.

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Rude and Chono really are tremendous in this match. It really is such a shame that they'd both go down with neck injuries over the next few months that meant that neither would go on to have another match like this. I think overall, the Rude vs Steamboat Ironman match is better than this but there's still very little to mark down. One thing that bothered me just ever so slightly was just after the figure-four reversal spot, Rude is selling his leg pretty well but Chono is up and kicking at him like he was totally unaffected even though he'd been in the reversed figure-four for longer than Rude was in the standard hold I think. I also thought Rude kept the chi lock on just that little too long again, which is a common complaint in so many Rick Rude matches. I'm really being picky though - I loved this match.

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This had to be what it was like in the Omni in Atlanta or the Reunion Arena in Dallas or the Checkerdome in St. Louis when the big NWA World title matches came to town in the territorial days. What an atmosphere, as the Japanese fans really wanted to see one of their own as champion and got their wish. It looked like at least one fan was crying right along with Chono in the postmatch, and I loved how all the natives who were in the ring for the group photo threw Chono into the air in celebration. For whatever reason, none of the Americans in the tournament were there; did they have dates back home to fulfill?

 

I'm not sure if I'd call this Rude's finest performance of the year or not. I kind of liked Beach Blast, where he not only worked his tail off, but did so while selling badly bruised or broken ribs. Here, the legwork done by each man was forgotten rather quickly, but given the finish they had in mind and how spectacular it was I can forgive them for that. I liked the fact that the STF didn't finish Rude, and that Chono didn't have to resort to a small package or rollup either. One finisher didn't work, so he thought of another equally devastating one that did. That's what a World champion is supposed to do.

 

Even while this match slowed in spots (and it had to, considering that they were going to go almost a half-hour), there was never any dead time. They were fighting to get out of predicaments, trying to climb the ropes to do damage, or at the vary least selling exhaustion. I'm not sure if the fans understood Rude's prematch spiel or not (a lot of them probably did, considering that English is one of the most popular foreign languages in Japan), but there was something in the way he presented himself that made them hate his guts, and I think that elevated the match a couple of levels. Not only did the crowd want to see Chono win the title, they wanted to see him kick the foreigner's ass all the way back to the United States.

 

I can't believe that Watts saw this match live, knew what Chono could do when he was allowed to, and still insisted on him toning his act down for Halloween Havoc. I'm not sure if his match made the set or not, but if it did I want to see it so I can get a glimpse of just how dumbed down he was for the American audience. Given how Liger was portrayed as a cowardly Jap foreign menace instead of one of the world's most dynamic aerial wrestlers, I don't hold out much hope that Chono was portrayed any better. It says something terrible about the WCW mindset that since Muta left the promotion on a full-time basis early in 1990, the only two Japanese wrestlers to be portrayed in a thoroughly respectful manner who showed up more than once were two transplanted Americans (Doc and Bamm Bamm).

 

This match definitely makes my top five for the year so far. It's a shame that it seems to be all downhill for both of these guys from here; they had so many more great matches to give us if they'd been a hundred percent.

 

Who was that speaking during the postmatch? It didn't look like Inoki or anyone else I might recognize.

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http://placetobenation.com/countdown-top-500-matches-of-the-90s-150-101/2/

 

#105

 

I would say, for me, this is the fourth best Rude match I've seen. I'd put War Games and the two classics with Steamboat higher, but I think (off the top of my head) this would be 4. The way this starts with the slaps and heated action is spectacular. Rude's selling and timing are stellar. What a year 1992 was for him. ****1/2

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Are we really sure that Watts told Rude and Chono to stink out the joint at Halloween Havoc? Chono just had his neck broken in September by Austin and wasnt Rude plagued by injuries in late 1992 to the point where he didnt compete at Starrcade and was basically never the same again. It seems like both guys were pretty broken down. 

Masahiro Chono vs Rick Rude - NJPW 8/12/92 Vacant NWA World Heavyweight Championship

Rick Rude is in that 1992 groove where everything he touched turned to gold. Also, this is one month before Chono got dropped on his head by Austin in a pilerdriver botch that broke his neck and basically killed his workrate. The difference between before and after the neck injury is night and day. Chono is so spry and energetic here. Rick Rude does his full American schtick unabashedly and the Japanese crowd hates him. The match is very much a Rick Rude match plenty of bump 'n' run and stooging. It is a nice change of pace and really unlike anything you would see from New Japan at this time. Rude slaps Chono to start right at the bell and Chono is fired up. Big back body drop, rapid fire clotheslines and Rude Flair Flops and slithers out. Chono even does the hip swivel. It gets a pop too! Very much a Rick Rude match. The rest of the first 15 minutes is really just Rude getting a marginal advantage and Chono coming back and showing he is the better wrestler while Rude bumps & stooges for Chono. Chono gets a couple kneecrusher and begins working on the leg. Chono applies the figure-4. Rude is really in his element selling here.  I thought some of the transitions were too easy especially the transition to heat. Rude was taking a lot of punishment and Chono not so much. Rude just hits him once and then hits a piledriver to turn the tide. Dont get me wrong, a piledriver is a big deal, but I would have liked something to make the piledriver feel bigger. Rude whips Chono into the railing and then comes crashing down on him from the top rope. It is not a Rick Rude match without his camel clutch and seat drops on the back of his opponent. The electric chair in inevitable. Chono misses his flying clothesline (becomes important later). Rude nails his missile dropkick for two. They trade superplexes. I feel like this match would get over today huge. That would be a total trigger for "This Is Awesome". The Japanese crowd loves this and is very behind Chono. Rude uses his tombstone reveresal spot and Chono nails a great tombstone for two. I am shocked that he didnt have Chono atomic drop him. It was pretty much the only Rude spot that was not done. Chono applies his STF, but he is too close to the ropes. Up until this point, I thought the match was pretty good, but I was kinda waiting for that classic to kick in. Then the opposite happened, I got really annoyed when Rude made the ropes and was the first up and took over immediately with a piledriver. That's twice now Rude's transitions have sucked. It really undercut the drama of the STF. Not cool, bro. Rude hits a mega top rope knee drop for two. The transition back to Chono is not much better. They kinda just stand around staggered looking at each other. Chono is clearly waiting for Rude to call a spot. He calls a back body drop. Chono applies the STF twice (the first time huge pop and everyone came to their feet), but it was the flying clothesline which he had missed earlier that connected here that won him the match and NWA World Heavyweight Championship. 

Overrated match in my book. Very good match, no doubt. Plenty of action, the novelty of Rude doing his full blown American performance in Japan was great and Chono was very energetic. To me there was no real story. There were lots of shoddy transitions that undercut the heat of the previous moves. It was a fun spotfest with a great feel-good ending. ***3/4

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