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[1990-02-10-NJPW vs AJPW] Big Van Vader vs Stan Hansen

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This is famous for Vader's eye basically falling out. They kept going for a while and had a fun brawl, but they probably would have had a much better match without that, ahem, little mishap. But I'm not sure the match would be as remembered.

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Obviously this will come up again later in the year, but eyes and eye afflictions and eye injuries FREAK ME THE FUCK OUT. It took me 17 years to muster up the courage to even put a contact lens in. I've avoided seeing this match for almost as long and that continues here. I simply cannot and will not watch.

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I actually don't think they would have had a better match sans eye injury. This was a hell of a fight and exactly what I'd want from this pairing. You had the crazy stiff shots from beginning to end. You had them rampaging around ringside like uncaged zoo animals. You had Vader unleashing a nasty attack on Stan's ribs and Stan selling it like a pro. You had Vader hitting that awesome dropkick as a counter to the lariat. I agree with Loss that the match is more remembered than it would have been without the eye injury. But the freak-show image has served to flatten our collective memory of the whole thing, and that strikes me as a disservice. It was my MOTN, which is saying a hell of a lot given the Choshu-Tenryu tag and the unexpectedly excellent AWA title match.

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They have a 25-minute match sans eye injury on 6/12, so we'll see which one seems better. I eagerly await the day when you agree with me on a wrestling match! :)

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Ghastly eye injury that had me cringing. Have never seen this but have heard about it. I can tell something is wrong with Vader but we don't get a good close up at first which annoys me. Then when we finally see it I'm barely able to watch. Vader is freaking out at first and looking like he wants to just leave the ring. I'd be totally scared if something like that happened to me. He continues to battle on with Stan Hansen of all people. Not a great match but it is very physical. They do a lot of teases of getting counted out so when it finally happens it's pretty obvious but also kind of disappointing.

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I swear every time they show that first closeup of Vader's eye it makes me cringe and rub my eye instinctively. Really lively match from two bulls. The short little elbows and shots early on were especially vicious. I have never seen the rematch before so I eagerly look forward to that match on the set. This match ended a run of 4 real good matches on this dome show.

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Man, how was Vader's eye ever OK after this? Are we sure he hasn't been rocking a glass eye the past several years? Anyway, this was a war, and major props to Vader for finishing this match with his eye in that kind of shape, and not really slowing down much, either. Is it as good a match as it would have been if he had two good eyes? Maybe not, but I also didn't see Vader noticeably scale back his repertoire as a result, either.

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Thought this was pretty much what you'd expect from these two in this sort of setting even with the eye injury. Decent outing for a Dome show but it would've been more heated in a venue like Denen Coliseum, which was used for Hansen/Andre (though it was closed by this point.)

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Obviously this will come up again later in the year, but eyes and eye afflictions and eye injuries FREAK ME THE FUCK OUT. It took me 17 years to muster up the courage to even put a contact lens in. I've avoided seeing this match for almost as long and that continues here. I simply cannot and will not watch.

If it helps, you don't really see the worst of the injury. By the time the camera gets a good look at Vader's face afterwards, it's already swollen up and basically just looks like a really bad black eye.

 

Man, how was Vader's eye ever OK after this? Are we sure he hasn't been rocking a glass eye the past several years?

The doctors managed to save his eye, but they did have to install a steel plate onto his orbital bone. That's come back to bite him on occasion, like when an unusually-stiff chokeslam from a still-learning Kane made the plate pop out of place.

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This infamous contest was a damn ugly match, and not just because Vader nearly lost an eye. Even by their standards it was unbelievable how hard they were hitting each other. There was some enjoyment in the brutality. Half the time was spent outside the ring and everytime the crowd would groan anticipating the DCO. They teased many times before the inevitable. A memorable one for sure.

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This is infamous for Vader's eye injury and it is also a very good match. This match is an all out war with both guys just laying in punches and brawling all over the ringside area. I would probably rank this as the best match of this show.

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HOLY SHIT.

 

As the eye swells more and more, Vader has shades of Sloth from the Goonies.

 

Stiff meaty action here, as one would expect. What a night of wrestling in Tokyo.

 

I'm not sure if this would be my MOTN though, in a weird way, I preferred the other 3. If I had to dish out ratings, this would be a ***1/2, and the other three around ****.

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My new number one in the "Other" category for the month and the year to date. If these two had that hellacious a brawl after Vader nearly lost an eye, I can't wait to see what happens when he's 100%. Just two big bulls beating the hell out of each other all over the Tokyo Dome. Both men sold, but neither took a backward step. Simply incredible. It's number two overall right behind Garvin/Valentine, and not by much. With a decisive finish, it would have been number one.

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I can't remember if this was the first Stan Hansen match I saw, or the 2/28/93 Kawada match. Either way, Hansen's most famous match from a casual fan's perspective. When they fought in AWA, he was Leon "The Baby Bull" White, and now baby has grown up. Vader talks about how the start of all this was Hansen swinging his bull rope at him and knocking him in the head, which made Vader mad and that's what the opening exchange was about. Well, that doesn't happen here. Maybe it happens in the June match, but I've seen that several times and I've watched for that specifically. Oh well, this is a perfect foreigner spectacle for this show, and by the way, this 2/10 show is turning out to be a whopper. After Hansen hits the lariat and they go outside for the count out, you can feel the intensity heighten even more, and like this release. Hansen doesn't talk much about this in his book, but it's very interesting that he would allow Vader to take his lariat like that. Makes sense as he was the IWGP champion and this was essentially an exhibition, but still, Hansen was very protective of his finisher.

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This watching I noticed Hansen's selling over anything else. He sells the ribs like a champ, which probably wasn't hard given the shots Vader was taking at them. One of those rare matches where a lot of Hansen's offense looked less stiff than his opponent's.

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I am surprised there aren't more people raving about this. It's two monster gaijin beating the hell out of each other in front of a hot Tokyo Dome crowd, so it's pretty hard to not get into. The shots these guys throw at each other and the ensuing eye injury to Vader are god damn gruesome and really make this match stand out as a brutal one. Besides that, it's nuts how Hansen keeps throwing shots to Vader's eye even when it's clear there's a problem. It's like watching two angry drunks fighting each other and there's a lingering feeling things might go just a little too far and someone could get killed. About the only criticism I have is that the camerawork wasn't that great at capturing shots thrown by these guys at each other. There's a moment where Hansen is on his knees and Vader delivers some stiff as fuck slaps that look like they could knock someone out. Not to be outdone, Hansen later puts his full weight behind some stiff kneedrops straight on Vader's injured eye of all places. The match is worked in such a way that it's clear from the beginning it's only a matter of time until things explode, so by the time the double count-out it feels like nothing else would have worked for the finish. I'd go at least ****1/4, probably higher if I watch a better quality version than what's on Dailymotion and my dog wasn't distracting me.

 

Also, not like anyone was doubting the brutality of this match, but here's Vader talking about how doctors had to cut off and reattach his eye, as well as do facial reconstructive surgery because of this match.

 

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Watched Vader vs. Hansen the other night. It was the NJPW World Freebie of the Week (not sure if it still is). Even after Vader's eye popped out of its socket, Sloppy Stan seemed to take liberty after liberty. I know he's blind as a bat, but damn! Not sure how Hansen doesn't have more of a rep of being an unsafe worker, between this Vader incident and fucking up Bruno's neck. Even though it was 30 years ago and Vader is no longer with us, I still felt worried for the big guy. 

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Like a couple of others, I was shocked to see Hansen continue to take shots at Vader's head even after the injury. It actually caused me to lose a lot of respect for Hansen. It makes me wonder if Vader blowing off the lariat was intended as a not-so-subtle fuck-you for being so reckless.

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IWGP Heavyweight Champion Vader vs Stan Hansen - NJPW Dome 2/10/90

King Kong vs Godzilla! The infamous Eye Pop Out match where the especially gruesome injury overshadows how actually great this match. This is one of those Watts hoss battles that I love. It was a better match than that Doc vs Gordy series. I still think I like their AWA match a little more, but is a crazy, stiff, physical brawl where neither man gave an inch. There is not much bumping in this match. :) I saw this match many moons ago and I could have sworn I saw the eye pop out easily. But this time I had a harder time to seeing it. It was nasty. Jesus! They were very handsy with each other in the face. I believe in football they would call this illegal hands to the face. I could not tell if it one of the two stiff forearm shivers to the arm or if it was a thumb to the eye. I cant believe Vader did not fucking KO him. You can tell there is a problem is when Vader goes into the clinch and then an armbar. You can see Vader put the eyeball back in place and then thankfully for  Vader the swelling kept the eye in place. Everyone talks about receipts in pro wrestling. To me the only receipt is to fucking KO Stan. Vader is a nice and tough man. Nice that he didnt KO Stan and tough because he fucking wrestles for the next 15 minutes with his eye held only in place by swelling and his orbital bone broken. 

Anyways, the rest of the match is great. Vader wrestles like there is nothing wrong. He is still doing all his spots and landing them. No bumping, just kicking ass. Vader works over the ribs and it was really good selling from Hansen. Really good work for Vader on top. Vader beats him up in the crowd. Lands some wicked lariats and stiff shots. He even comes off the top rope and hits his Vader Flying Body Attack. Vader ends up charging and eating the steel post. Hansen takes over. He kicks the injured eye! Then kneedrops the injured eye. This is fucking Hansen so that means those were not light kneedrops. What about infection with the flat of the boot thats terrible. Hansen wants the Lariat but Vader hits a dropkick. They both trade two big meaty lariats and then it is a double countout. This is an insane, heated brawl. It really lives up to King Kong vs Godzilla. The eye injury adds to the drama, but you hate to see that happen. Thankfully, the doctors were able to save Vader's eye. It is tough to stomach this match, a couple of the close-ups are just grizzly, but if you can manage it this is a great match. ***3/4

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Vader's eye injury completely overshadows everything else they try to accomplish here. I was dreading watching this and cringing inside! It's a good ugly monster brawl as they smash each other around the arena. They overdo the outside brawling and Hansen sells a little too much for my liking. Poor Vader's gross injury is the most notable thing about it.

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