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[1994-04-16-NJPW-Super J Cup] Jushin Liger vs Great Sasuke

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This match is all about getting Sasuke over as the underdog so he can overcome the odds in a big way. Liger schools him on the mat, destroys his arm and goes into heel mode to build sympathy for Sasuke's eventual comeback. Liger grounding him has the added effect of making Sasuke's highspots more spectacular, because Liger has largely been working the mat. While Sasuke gives a great performance, this is Liger's brilliance at work, as he gave Sasuke a great match to put him over strong.

 

Slipping off the ropes at the end -- yeah it happened, but it wasn't really enough to take much away from this.

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Slip off the ropes thing is kind of cool to me. Sasuke is just this indy bush league dude who New Japan Junior King Liger laughs and claps at when he fucks up, and Sasuke takes Liger's underestimantion of him and pulls out a win at that moment.

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Slip off the ropes thing is kind of cool to me. Sasuke is just this indy bush league dude who New Japan Junior King Liger laughs and claps at when he fucks up, and Sasuke takes Liger's underestimantion of him and pulls out a win at that moment.

Agree about the botch finish actually adding to the story of the match. Also agree with Loss that this holds up as a stronger match than Sasuke vs. Benoit, because the roles were so clearly defined. Liger was supposed to win this tournament, and he acted like it in everything he did. Thus, Sasuke's win came off as a huge deal, nicely accentuated by the announcer's, "Yeeehoooo!"

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Liger was great here coming off so cocky throughout the match. Another excellent match. He felt he was the better man and probably underestimated Sasuke a bit. Sasuke's botches big move at the end but Liger's responses is great clapping and jeering Sasuke for falling down on the match. Liger's reaction was great as was able to react immediately and not just stand there staring at his opponent. They were still able to work the finish and the botch did add a bit more to it. Crowd seemed to be pleased with Sasuke winning.

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Liger is playing heel here and rules at it. He dominants Sasuke on the mat, hurt his arm, and kills him with various moves. Sasuke is great in this but Liger is really outstanding and proof of that is the finish as Sasuke slips on the ropes and Liger just claps, points, and laughs at him only to be caught by surprise and lose in the end. This was a great performance by Sasuke and a really great performance from Liger.

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Classic match that tells a great story. I always think of this match as the junior companion to Jumbo/Misawa. Both performances were amazing in this match.

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There's a strong big promotion vs. little indy undercurrent throughout this--it was there in Sasuke/Samurai as well, but Liger is even more aggressive and more cocky that this little uppity indy nobody has the chutzpah to not roll over for him. It's the juniors version of Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H, in fact. Liger tears apart Sasuke's arm, which is not treated with any longer-lasting consequence than Samurai's leg work, but is less problematic for Sasuke to pull off his big dives. I LOVE the slip at the end--a blown spot that's simply too brilliant to have been intentional. With Sasuke having just been suplexed to the floor and gotten killed by a dive, it makes perfect sense. Plus Liger does one of the greatest cover-jobs ever--his body language all throughout this match was great, from cranking in the holds to his gigantic sigh of relief when Sasuke almost pulls a win out of his ass earlier. All these long Japanese epics in a row are starting to become a slog, no matter how great the wrestling is, but this rose above all that.

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Sasuke doing his lame Tiger Mask imitation shuffle got me thinking he was like the 90's version of Tiger. Very popular and flashy Junior who was wildly overated at the time. It's not just the frequent sloppiness or truly woeful selling. Or even the crappy outfit. He has no idea how to construct matches, only move sequences. There are times he looks lost in the middle of proceedings without a ring general to guide him. Fortunately he had Liger on duty, and the addition of a hot crowd made this watchable. Liger covering for the botched finisher was a classic moment. Another thing that bugged me here was the: [here goes] early match KO spot where instead of going for the cover (logical), the wrestler keeps trying to pick up his downed foe, jabbers with the referee and generally just wastes time until the opponent recovers (illogical). You only see it in Japan and thankfully it's very rare, because it's an absolutely fucking terrible spot.

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Jushin Liger vs Great Sasuke - Super J Cup Semi-Finals 4/16/94

 

I believe this is the first ever Jushin Liger and Japanese Junior match I ever watched. So it holds quite a bit of nostalgia value in addition to the offensive clinic and great story they tell. It is Jushin Liger, the Ace Junior against the hottest commodity on the "minor league" circuit. I think the best way to describe this match is a sports analogy. I went to the University of Michigan and my first year was the fall of 2007. That year we were ranked #5 in the preseason polls and a contender for the National Championship. As with most college football teams, the first game is schedule against a cupcake opponent as a way to work out any kinks before the bigger games later on the season. The "cupcake" team that year was multiple time Division I-AA champion Appalachian State Mountaineers. I remember the first week of school everyone was excited for their first game in the Big House and the actual outcome of the game was a distant second. Michigan much like Jushin Liger great overly estimated their talented "minor league" opponent and ended up in their humiliating loss. Now unlike Michigan, Liger was not humiliated and disgraced. Instead, Great Sasuke became a made man and insta-star. I have always loved that story this match tells.

 

This also reminds me of Rey Rey/Malenko from GAB '96. There is no babyface shine for Great Sasuke and Liger just opens up a can of whoop ass. Sasuke is able to actually get a Liger move on Liger with the inverted Indian Deathlock into a headlock then double wristlock. He rolls through this double wristlock and tries to go for cross armbreaker. Liger is able to scissor the leg from this position as a counter. Liger chains beautifully into an upside down surfboard. From there Liger gives an absolute shit-kicking: Kappo Kick, Palm Strike and some of the best arm work ever (Brock should watch Liger to see how you work an effective double wristlock, CROSSFACE CHICKENWING!). The ref is trying to hold Liger back because Sasuke is knocked the fuck out. Liger is in fucking GO MODE and is just in total asskicker mode and is looking to make a statement. It is almost too easy for Liger and he gets cocky. He takes his time going to top and Sasuke nails a dropkick as Liger comes off the top. He powders and as Taka Michinoku is cheering on, Sasuke hits an Asai Moonsault. Sasuke was down, but not out. He needs to play some catch up ball so here come the dives. They struggle over a suplex on the apron and Sasuke rams Liger's head into the post. He then hits one of his beautiful swandives from the top rope to the floor. Sasuke now puts on his own offensive clinic: piledriver, Crucifix Powerbomb, Tombstone Piledriver. Sasuke goes for swandive, but Liger moves and he rolls through and Liger nails him with the PALM STRIKE~! WICKED LIGER BOMB!!! TOP ROPE FRANKENSTEINER! SUPLEX OUT OF THE RING! I still remember marking out for that shit way back when. Big dive by Liger from top rope to the floor! Liger is totally overconfident now and it only grows when Sasuke botches his springboard hurricanarana. Liger points and laughs and signals that he is going to finish him off. Sasuke nabs a quick hurricanarana to get the flash pin on the arrogant Liger.

 

I agree with everyone that the infamous finish plays really well into the story of the match. It feeds into Liger's overconfidence that Sasuke is a just a flashy, indy wrestler with no business in the ring with him. Sasuke is able to prove he has a never say die attitude. Sasuke did enough in the mid-match to ensure his place in the sun was cemented with his HUGE dives and kickass offense. I think this may be the best spotfest in history because it tells a clear overarching story, but there is no real struggle or transition. I was bit disappointed by that on rewatch. Sasuke and Liger just ragdolled for each other. They were just rattling off their spots until the transition and the next guy would rattle off his. It was an incredible, breath-taking offensive clinic. Plus on the macro they do tell a great story. It is just the match is missing the micro details. I cant go higher than ****1/2.

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Jushin Liger vs Great Sasuke - Super J Cup Semi-Finals 4/16/94

 

I think this may be the best spotfest in history because it tells a clear overarching story, but there is no real struggle or transition. I was bit disappointed by that on rewatch. Sasuke and Liger just ragdolled for each other. They were just rattling off their spots until the transition and the next guy would rattle off his. It was an incredible, breath-taking offensive clinic. Plus on the macro they do tell a great story. It is just the match is missing the micro details. I cant go higher than ****1/2.

 

I honestly thought the transitions worked well because of the high risk nature of the offense. The guy in control hits a series of big moves but because the offense involves an element of risk (eg. coming of the top rope), is likely to make a mistake or have the move countered so loses control of the match to other person. Now, the second person manages to hit a big move (eg. Sasuke's Asai Moonsault or Liger's Shotei) out of desperation but is still selling the previous damage/injuries and can't immediately go 100% and take full advantage, which is what differentiates this from a spotfest. Hope that makes sense.

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Same story as Benoit vs Gedo, basically, expect for the happy ending. Liger brutalize Sasuke so he gets the crowd behind him. Sasuke is a terrific babyface underdog and Liger is wonderfully dickish. Tortuous matwork, punishing arm attack, Liger was about fucking up Sasuke, who's selling is perfect to make him the ultimate crowd favourite. Never know when he hangs his head if he's simply selling or just got another concussion though. Then the flying as a comeback. This is truly a classic match, nothing ages here because there's purpose in every move. And the greatest botch including Liger's perfect on the fly improvisation, which makes it legendary and maybe the symbol or Yamada's brillance. And he managed to make the finish even better than way. MOTYC and one of the best junior match ever. Believe the hype.

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http://placetobenation.com/countdown-top-500-matches-of-the-90s-100-51/2/

 

#65

 

This match was full of great spots. I loved the German Suplex towards the end and Liger's work on the arm. The only two things I didn't like, were the slip at the end, and more so how quickly Liger bounced up from the tombstone. Super entertaining match still - it's great, but it wouldn't be a MOTC for me... I'd go ****1/4ish personally. Lots of fun stuff here though.

 

Just read some of the other comments... thinking on it... I too like the botched finish now with Liger showing his over confidence ... that's a good point.

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