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Charles (Loss)

[1995-12-13-WAR-Super J Cup] Jushin Liger vs Ultimo Dragon

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Every tournament has one. In this one, Ultimo is the one to wear something different in every match. Good for him. This isn't as copied as the Tokyo Dome match these two had in '93, but there are quite a few sequences I've seen borrowed on U.S. indies from this match. But these two execute them way better than those they influence. Liger finds an opportunity to go after Ultimo's knee, so we get a few minutes of that until Ultimo finds a way to turn the tide and do the same. This leads to a cool moment where both are hobbling around trying to lock up. Liger is much better at selling than Ultimo, as Ultimo just turns it on and off at will to execute his highspots (which are admittedly pretty awesome). I almost wish they'd focus on the arm or something in juniors matches from this time period, if only because executing signature offense requires them to stop selling too much. But what this match does best is all the excitement surrounding nearfalls, and the back and forth action in the final few minutes. It's pretty great in that regard. But even though I like this -- an awful lot at that -- it always feels like Liger and Ultimo never quite have a match that meets their potential. Both guys match up better with Otani and Samurai.

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It always feels like Liger vs Dragon should be like the ultimate juniors match. Maybe they as wrestlers felt this pressure and it hindered them.

 

I like how they did a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker sequence to wake up what seemed like a dead crowd at the beginning. I actually thought matwork at the beginning was surprisingly well-done for a junior match. It felt like they were really struggling and the chaining sequences were really well-executed. I love some good leg psychology as much as the next guy, but you just know it will be forgotten. The spot with hobbling only for Dragon to immediately do an extended tumbling pass has been mentioned. Dragon and Liger both bring plenty of high-flying offense and high-impact moves. I loved the super front suplex into La Magistral cradle. Thus Liger had it scouted the second time was able to quash it to get the pin.

 

I would put it pretty high in a top juniors matches poll from the 90s, but it doesnt reach legendary status.

 

Just a thought, the reasons they may not mesh is because both guys tend to want to get their own stuff in. Whereas against Samurai, they are clearly the bigger star and therefore they can control the match and it has a more linear flow. Since Liger is better at selling, maybe it would have been better for Liger to work underneath in this match. I have seen the Dome match from '93, but I just remember Dragon having an off-night and slipping it off the ropes, but I cant remember the layout. It was a pretty good match so I really shouldnt complain.

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I actually really liked the low-key matworky aspects of this--a good way to reel in Ultimo's worst tendencies and allow Liger to guide him through a solidly built match. These two never overreach or overdo the bombs and near-falls, and the finish comes suddenly but off a cool reversal of la majistral. Not "legendary," but maybe the match of Ultimo's career nevertheless, though it does come off at times like a Liger carryjob--at least from a psychological standpoint.

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The Sasuke all-time classic it isn't. Dragon just isn't a very good babyface underdog, and he's much respected anyway to be an underdog at this point. I'd have him go heelish on Liger. Kidna useless (because didn't lead to anything) leg work, but no big deal, didn't last too long. Then they go into the finishing stretch, which is where a junior match makes its money. And it's really fucking good. Not enough exhaustion sense from Dragon though, so you don't get the epicness Sasuke would bring. The work around la majistral is terrific though, with a great finish. Great match maybe ? Of one Ultimo's best without a doubt.

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The build was solid enough, though it had issues. Some terrible non-selling of the leg from Dragon. Ultimo didn't impress me that much, it was Liger who made the match. Things picked up after that and it seemed headed for borderline top 100 status. Then the last couple of minutes were outstanding. Great psychology with La Majistal and a killer near fall. Match of the tournament.

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