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Charles (Loss)

[1992-12-29-WCW-Philadelphia, PA] Jushin Liger & Kensuke Sasaki vs Ricky Steamboat & Shane Douglas

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A few interesting things about this match. First of all, gotta love the crowd chanting "We Want Flair" and Liger working over the leg and doing a figure four in response. That was awesome. Also, I watch this and can't help but think Sasaki could have been a tremendous U.S. heavyweight had he spent most of his career here and worked somewhere that would actually let him work. Maybe not, it's hard to say, but his strengths would have suited WCW well for a long run. This is a good comp to the Bash '92 match, and I think it's better because the match layout isn't so disjointed. Liger is over big with this crowd, and he finally pulls out the rapid fire kicks again that he did at Starrcade '91 against Mike Graham. Liger and Sasaki do a HART ATTACK, synchronized dropkicks, a double shoulderblock, a double back body drop and plenty of other great tag team spots. I was surprised at how much I liked this, as in it's probably a low end top 10 WCW match for the year.

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Been forever since i've seen anything of him from that time period but I always recall really liking Kensuke back then.

 

Have no memory of ever seeing this match though, what's the source, TV, PPV, house show?

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Damned if I didn't like this more than the Starrcade match. Seeing Liger heel it up for the first time chronologically--maybe ever in his career at this point--was fun. He and Sasaki worked great together, and Douglas was much better here than he was the previous night. The ending was a little out of left field but the work before this was superb. This is also a great testament to the difference in WCW house shows and WWF shows at this time, because this absolutely smoked the two Worcester matches. I agree that top 10 WCW match isn't out of the question.

 

This makes for two Yearbooks in a row closed out by a hot house show handheld match involving Jushin Liger.

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My biggest takeaway from this is a need to see Steamboat vs. heel Liger in a singles match. Liger is significantly more over than Muto at Starrcade. Steamer's fire on the apron while Douglas was kicking out of near falls was superb. Awesome jobs by the Liger/Sasaki duo working Douglas' knee, including some great double teem heel spots. Liger with a figure four as we hear chanting for Flair. Steamboat in on fire after hot tag. Sasaki counters leap frog into a big powerslam. Liger then off the top in a modified version of the LOD finisher. Sasaki spike piledrivers Steamer while Liger holds him as finishing strech kicks into gear. Champs hit double dropkicks and then Hart Attack finisher on Douglas. Meanwhile Steamboat rolls up Liger with rolling reverse cradle while Douglas/Sasaki outside to retain. Watching this, there's a ton of combinations you want to see more of.

 

***3/4

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What a fun little match. What a terrible crowd. No wonder Douglas hates Flair. It's kind of surreal how he'd go back and basically conquer Philly a few years later. Douglas/Steamboat were really good with their rapid fire shine offense. Tag team Specialists and all that. Sasaki and Liger just dismantle the knee. Liger popping the crowd with the figure four is kind of hilarious. Steamboat running around pumping up the crowd during the crab was great. Not even this crowd can resist buying into it. Douglas not selling his knee after the suplex before the hot tag is silly. It was a sort of dumb spot to set up the hot tag in general even if it had a snap. A neckbreaker or something would have been better, especially if he wasn't going to sell it well. I did like Sasaki and Liger kicking out the Slaughter cannon to transition into a second FIP. I wouldn't have given Steamboat a hope spot right after the spike piledriver either, but that's just me. I had a schadenfreude moment where I enjoyed Douglas missing his dropkick too much. Liger and Sasaki made one hell of a team. I could have used a bit of tightening on the selling though.

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I wasn't too sure about this one at first, because Liger and Sasaki are one of those bizarre, random New Japan teams which we always seem to get when they decide to send a tag team over. But this turned out to be an excellent match. Steamboat and Douglas had their moments early when they tried to tear Liger's arm off; I especially liked Steamer coming down with a full splash right on the arm, which we seldom if ever see. Then it was time for the Japanese to attack Shane's knee, and they were just as good. The segment could have lasted a bit longer, but what we got was still very good.

 

I liked the spike piledriver, and I thought Steamer did an excellent job of looking like he was fighting on complete instinct. But when Liger didn't cover after the Hart Attack, especially after the height he got on it, I knew that the jig was up.

 

Nice job to tease a non-handshake at the end a little bit; it made sense that these four might not want to be buddies after some of the viciousness we saw. Peace and harmony ruled at the end of the day, though.

 

The "We Want Flair!" chants must not have come over very well on my computer, because I couldn't pick them up. I did pick up a rather obnoxious Shane fan who kept yelling, "I'm from Pittsburgh!" the entire time he was in the ring. Trust me, that can be a dangerous thing to yell in Philly.

 

I loved Gary Cappetta's introduction of Steamboat as "the one, the only". On the other hand, how many times did he have to remind us that this was a Unified World tag team title match with a one-hour time limit? He must have been trying to kill time for whatever reason.

 

I could stand to see any of the four combinations in a singles bout, and I'd definitely be up for a rematch if one could be found somewhere. I'm not sure about a Match of the Year candidate for WCW, but this is definitely the North American Handheld of the Year for this set. The only real competition for the honor was Bret-Flair from Worcester.

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