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[1992-10-07-AJPW-October Giant Series] Jumbo Tsuruta & Akira Taue vs Steve Williams & Terry Gordy

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This is one of my favorite AJ tags so far. It's as good as any U.S. tag in '92 except the Doc/Gordy vs Steiners match. It's a really fast-paced heavyweight spotfest. Doc/Gordy matches can occasionally have a slow start, but this was just lots of bomb throwing and a great pace for 25+ minutes. Great stuff.

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I haven't watched it in ages. Jumbo's last signficant competative match. Was it noticable that he was sick / slowing down?

 

John

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Interesting to go back through the WON and see how close to the vest this was.

 

Oct. 26 1992 WON

 

All Japan announced this week the teams involved and arenas for the 18th annual Real World Tag League tournament. The show opens on 11/14 in Omiya and the championship match will take place on 12/4 at Tokyo's Budokan Hall. As was the case last year, the final night's card will be broadcast on closed-circuit television in several other cities. The round-robin tournament, which will consist of every team in the tournament wrestling every other team with two points being awarded for a win and one point for a draw and zero for a loss and the winning team is determined by the most points has 11 teams. Back as defending champions from both 1990 and 1991 are Terry Gordy & Steve Williams, plus current PWF world tag champs Jumbo Tsuruta & Akira Taue, Mitsuharu Misawa & Toshiaki Kawada, UWA tag champs Dan Kroffat & Doug Furnas, Giant Baba & Kenta Kobashi, Abdullah the Butcher & Giant Kimala II, Stan Hansen & Johnny Ace, Joel Deaton & Billy Black, The Patriot (Del Wilkes) & The Eagle (?), Dory Funk & Al Perez and Danny Spivey & Kendall Windham. I think it's pretty obvious the winning team will be one of the first three teams mentioned.

 

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11/09/92 WON (results through 11/02/92)

 

Television taping cards for the tag team tournament series are: 11/14 in Omiya (air date 11/15): Misawa & Kawada vs. Joel Deaton & Billy Black, Hansen & Johnny Ace vs. Dan Kroffat & Doug Furnas, Jumbo Tsuruta & Akira Taue vs. Dory Funk & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi, Steve Williams & Terry Gordy vs. Danny Spivey & ?, Giant Baba & Kenta Kobashi vs. Abdullah the Butcher & Giant Kimala II, Andre the Giant & Rusher Kimura & Mitsuo Momota vs. Wild Bunch (Haruka Eigen & Motoshi Okuma & Masa Fuchi) and The Patriot (Del Wilkes) & The Eagle (Jackie Fulton) vs. Jun Akiyama & Yoshinari Ogawa. 11/21 in Kumamoto (air 11/22): Tsuruta & Taue vs. Hansen & Ace, Misawa & Kawada vs. Funk & Kikuchi, Baba & Kobashi vs. Gordy & Williams, Andre & Kimura & Mighty Inoue vs. Wild Bunch. 11/27 in Sapporo (air 11/29): Baba & Kobashi vs. Misawa & Kawada, Tsuruta & Taue vs. Gordy & Williams, Hansen & Ace vs. Spivey & ?, Andre & Funk & Kikuchi vs. Deaton & Eagle & Patriot. 11/30 in Osaka (air date 12/6): Misawa & Kawada vs. Gordy & Williams, Tsuruta & Taue vs. Baba & Kobashi, Hansen & Ace vs. Eagle & Patriot, Funk & Kikuchi & Akiyama vs. Abdullah & Kimala II & Black. 12/2 in Tsuyuhashi (air 12/13): Hansen & Ace vs. Misawa & Kawada, Tsuruta & Taue vs. Butcher & Kimala II, Williams & Gordy vs. Eagle & Patriot, Baba & Kobashi vs. Spivey & ?. Finals will be 12/4 at Budokan Hall which will also be closed-circuited to several locations around Japan plus the finals airing on 12/20 on television. The final night line-up has Tsuruta & Taue vs. Misawa & Kawada, Hansen & Ace vs. Gordy & Williams, Spivey & ? vs. Deaton & Black, Kroffat & Furnas vs. Patriot & Eagle, Andre & Baba & Kimura vs. Wild Bunch and Akiyama & Kobashi vs. Abdullah & Kimala II.

 

 

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11/16/92 WON (results through 11/09/92)

 

Nothing

 

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11/23/92 WON

 

Just before the opening of the annual All Japan tag team tournament, Giant Baba announced that Jumbo Tsuruta wouldn't be working the tour because he was hospitalized with an undisclosed internal disease. The disease is believed to be related to the gout that kept him out of action during much of the summer. Baba announced that Tsuruta's partner, Akira Taue, would team with rookie Jun Akiyama in the tournament that started this past Saturday night. The elimination of Tsuruta seems on paper to make this one of the least interesting tournaments in years, as one would figure only two teams have a legitimate shot at winning--Terry Gordy & Steve Williams, who have won it the past two years, and Mitsuharu Misawa & Toshiaki Kawada. It also throws a monkey wrench into what has traditionally been the most carefully booked tournament of the year anywhere in the world. Obviously the team of Taue & Akiyama isn't going to be put over all of the teams Tsuruta & Taue would, and those changes in a loss or two extra here and there throw careful planning right out the window. The tour opened Saturday night in Omiya with a television taping that included five tourney matches, Misawa & Kawada over Joel Deaton & Billy Black, Stan Hansen & Johnny Ace over Dan Kroffat & Doug Furnas, Taue & Akiyama over Dory Funk & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi, Gordy & Williams over Dan Spivey & Kendall Windham and Giant Baba & Kenta Kobashi over Abdullah the Butcher & Giant Kimala II. The tournament finals, on 12/4 at Tokyo Budokan Hall, saw all 16,300 tickets sold by 1 p.m. on 10/21 (tickets were put on sale at 10 a.m. that day) and it'll be aired on closed circuit in several other cities.

 

==================

 

As far as I can remember, they had held off on Misawa & Kawada vs Jumbo & Taue since they last RWTL (where it was earlier in the series), and were saving it's 1992 appearance for the Last Match of the Year. And it looks like Baba went down to the wire before pulling it.

 

John

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In hindsight, Misawa/Kawada vs Baba/Kobashi would have been a good choice for the final. Give Kobashi more rub, do more to set up Baba for the '93 tournament, and it would have ended things with a much more interesting bout. Though showcasing Akiyama was a silver lining to the cloud.

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They really don't rebook the schedule of the Tag League when things happen this close, or even during as was the case in 1993. They would have had to pull that match out of its existing slot where tickets had already been sold (ignoring the opener that didn't have any big matches):

 

11/21 in Kumamoto (air 11/22): Tsuruta & Taue vs. Hansen & Ace, Baba & Kobashi vs. Gordy & Williams

 

11/27 in Sapporo (air 11/29): Baba & Kobashi vs. Misawa & Kawada, Tsuruta & Taue vs. Gordy & Williams

 

11/30 in Osaka (air date 12/6): Misawa & Kawada vs. Gordy & Williams, Tsuruta & Taue vs. Baba & Kobashi

 

12/2 in Tsuyuhashi (air 12/13): Hansen & Ace vs. Misawa & Kawada

 

12/4 at Budokan (air 12/20): Tsuruta & Taue vs. Misawa & Kawada, Hansen & Ace vs. Gordy & Williams

 

One of the two strong second tier cards.

 

They pretty much only had a sub to work with, someone not in the tourney. Or... breaking up the teams.

 

I think what I probably would have done:

 

Misawa & Kawada

Tsuruta & Taue --> Taue & Kobashi

Gordy & Williams

Hansen & Ace

Baba & Kobashi --> Baba & Akiyama

 

Which would have shifted the cards like this:

 

11/21 in Kumamoto (air 11/22): Taue & Kobashi vs. Hansen & Ace, Baba & Akiyama vs. Gordy & Williams

 

That might be disappointing to someone looking forward to Baba & Kobashi vs Gordy & Williams, but one suspects that seeing Taue & Kobashi team would be a nice change for them. Also gives Taue & Kobashi a team they can beat: either of them pins Ace.

 

11/27 in Sapporo (air 11/29): Baba & Akiyama vs. Misawa & Kawada, Taue & Kobashi vs. Gordy & Williams

 

I suspect that fans won't mind that one at all. The Baba & Akiyama is a lot less competative, but Taue & Kobashi vs MVC would interest the fans more than MVC vs Taue & Jun.

 

11/30 in Osaka (air date 12/6): Misawa & Kawada vs. Gordy & Williams, Taue & Kobashi vs. Baba & Akiyama

 

Less compeative in the second match, but again suspect the fans wouldn't mind.

 

12/4 at Budokan (air 12/20): Misawa & Kawada vs Taue & Kobashi, Hansen & Ace vs. Gordy & Williams

 

Suspect fans would have enjoyed that a great deal more.

 

 

John

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I was surprised how much I enjoyed this. Taue was really good trying to get out of Doc and Gordy's finishers. Loved him holding the turnbuckle during the stampede. Probably my favorite AJ match on the set so far.

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I thought this was pretty damn great. Doc was a total stud. Taue looked tremendous. Jumbo charisma here was pretty great. Anytime he wanted a reaction from the crowd he got it. That clothesline from Doc early on just set the tone for this, and it really built to a hot finish. At times though it seemed the camera was trying to avoid Gordy's bloody mouth. Still just tremendous stuff.

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Jumbo's hair wasn't as short as previous match he was involved in. Williams and Gordy are much better in AJPW than were in WCW. Just felt their matches weren't clicking with the fans in the States. Actually like Taue a lot in this match. He's being doing more with Jumbo slowing. He took some of Williams and Gordy's best shots and was nice to see him get the pinfall victory for his team.

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Jumbo is filling out some more now. He looks better than he did upon his comeback, when he seriously looked like a recovering chemo patient. As a worker he doesn't seem to have missed much--you definitely wouldn't peg him as being "done" just by this match. Anyway, this was awesome--the MVCs work as hard as they ever have and they work very quickly. When they grab holds, they grab some new ones we haven't seen much of and don't lay in them for very long. Really awesome closing stretch too, and TAUE PINS GORDY! This really was the Akira Show for most of this. As the final significant match of Jumbo's career it's a worthy finale, and there's a bit of serendipity that Taue scored the biggest pinfall of his life to that point (I would assume) in such a match, even though that surely wasn't the intention.

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I came into this knowing it was basically Jumbo's last ride and enjoyed the hell out of him here. Soup said it best, every time he wanted a reaction he got one. What an awesome wrestler. As much as I was digging him, Taue got hitched to the rocket a bit here, DDT'ing Gordy on the floor, winning power struggles with both Americans and countering them like a seasoned vet. You'd think after all of that that he'd surely eat the pin following a double power bomb, but Jumbo is there for a great last second save. Taue finally grabs the big win with a couple nodowas on Gordy following a nice finishing stretch.

 

***1/2

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Loved this, especially the stretch run. Knowing that this is Jumbo's last match affects my viewing of it, I'm sure - instead of watching the match early on, I'm looking at Jumbo, trying to gauge how sick he was.

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I guess Baba hadn't heard of the so-called "time-honored tradition". Not only should Jumbo have lost, he should have done a stretcher job. I mean, how dare Baba actually send a former world champion and wrestling legend out a winner and champion like the fans wanted. Vince is going to hear about this! :D

 

In all seriousness, Jumbo didn't look half-bad here. He was a little thinner, and his skin was a bit yellower (which you'd expect with hepatitis), but he still moved fine and was able to pull his weight in the bout. I noticed that Taue absorbed most of the heavy punishment, though.

 

Doc and Bamm Bamm seemed to step it up a notch here. I especially liked Bamm Bamm's suplexes, which really had some height and snap. The MVC looked totally different here than in the States, where they mostly laid around in chinlocks and slowed matches to a crawl. I'm thinking that may have been Watts' brilliant idea to get them over as maulers, but if it was, it backfired.

 

I loved Taue's struggles to avoid the Stampede, and the small package counter he pulled out of the hat was ingenious. If Baba had wanted to continue the Misawa-Jumbo war without Jumbo, Taue was more than capable of leading the Army.

 

I'm glad a legend like Jumbo went out on top, in case you couldn't tell from my above comments. Now to watch one last battle between his boys and Misawa's. I'm looking forward to it!

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#329

 

Decent big man contest. Taue does most of the work for his team, understandably, with Jumbo only working in brief flurries (one of which injures Gordy.) Nothing you haven't seen in a hundred All Japan tags (many of them involving Jumbo Tsuruta), but perhaps a fitting and familiar way for Tsuruta to end his competitive career.

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http://placetobenation.com/countdown-top-500-matches-of-the-90s-350-301/

 

#329

 

I thought this was awesome! I didn't know the significance of this match in Jumbo's career until I came to the thread later. But, that makes it even more special for me. I thought Gordy delivered in spades here. I loved his selling of Jumbo's piledriver in the beginning and loved the big offense he and Williams were throwing out throughout. I really thought this was one hell of a fun match. ****1/4

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Taue and Williams really carried this I thought.  Gordy and Jumbo for sure had their moments, but the lion's share of the work (and the big moments) went to the other two.  The layout of the finishing stretch was incredible.  I loved the symmetry of both teams working to a big double team after tossing the illegal partner out and then the big save in succession.  Taue looks like a monster in this match.  He was certainly benefitting from being next to Jumbo, but he more than holds his own.

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