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[1990-06-05-AJPW-Super Power Series] Stan Hansen vs Steve Williams

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The essential thing Stan Hansen understood was that a brawl should be a claustrophobic affair. It isn't about wandering through the crowd or staging elaborate ways to put a guy through a table. It's about getting right up on the dude you hate and firing elbows, knees, forearms, whatever through any opening he gives you. To his credit, Doc, who didn't necessarily wrestle that way most of the time, bought right into it here. So they had a great brawl! Actually, Doc kicked Stan's ass a lot of the way, which brought Hansen's excellent selling into play. Stan also took a pretty wild bump to the outside off his missed lariat. Then we got a great flash lariat finish, with Stan slipping out of Doc's finisher and Doc taking a nifty bump to put over the impact. I loved this when I first saw it on a Schneider comp and loved it still this time around.

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This was a tremendous match - a total war. Hansen gets the flash win with the lariat, but is a bloody mess and can't even stand up at first when the match is over. Some winner. Doc's toughness is put over in a big way. Not really epic in the typical All Japan way, but I appreciate that they worked a really satisfying match without a single 2.9 moment.

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Great little bit of Hansen suddenly becoming the aging, sympathetic veteran, getting a cut worked over and seemingly barely hanging on for most of the match. Even the decisive Lariat is done with a bit of desperation, as though it was an all-or-nothing home run attempt. With I think one exception I was never overly enamored with the Hansen vs. Doc tag bouts, so this was a really pleasant surprise.

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I love a big beefy slugfest and got this here but this also was worked as a lot smarter match than it appears on the surface. I feel it might have been a tad too long but I really loved the overall theme and finish of this match. Maybe Docs best match up to this point?

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Was wondering about the Champions Carnival but looks like it was on hiatus for a few years. Williams does some JYD type headbutts. Hansen is busted up open. Williams physically domination Hansen. Williams has a good dropkick for a guy his size. Williams tries to run Hansen into the post but Stan reverses at the last second. Hansen loading up for the Lariat but misses. Crowd appreciates both men getting back in the ring to avoid any count out. Hansen wins with the Lariat after getting out of the Oklahoma rush. Williams couldn’t put Hansen away. Love super slow mo replays.

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An unpretty and intense brawl including Stan bleeding and even being FIP for a while. Didn't start off too hot, yet got better the longer it went and had a smart finish.

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I loved this. Stan Hansen working from underneath as a babyface was a real treat. He did a great job putting over Doc as a monster. Doc running right into the ring post on the outside looked nasty too. Great match.

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My Japanese match of the year so far. This is everything you'd expect the matchup to be on paper, as neither one of these guys takes a backwards step from the other. Doc's in control a little more often, but Stan's never out of it, always getting a shot in here and there to let the fans know he's still in there fighting. The finishing lariat looked sickening, especially in slow motion.

 

I've never seen either of these two use the headbutt as much as they did here, but it fits the style of the match perfectly.

 

WCW should have signed a Doc/Hansen US title match sometime later this year as part of Stan's American run. I have no illusions about it being as violent as this, but it would have been the gritty, action-packed type of match that Turner always seemed to pride itself on, but didn't deliver as often as one might think.

 

Hansen may be my Wrestler of the Year so far, as he has all three of my top spots for Japanese matches, with the Vader rematch from June 12 still to come. Flair and Hogan have two spots each for their respective promotions.

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Just watched this again, brutal brawl. Williams hitting Hansen with non-stop knees was awesome. I'd have to check, but this might be my MOTY so far into 1990.

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Two of my favorite talking points about Hansen are his cardiovascular training and the fact that he'd sell for a guy, but only if he earned it. Both come into play here, as Hansen is just moving the whole match by staying right up on Dr. Death. And to the second point, he spends a lot of the time selling for Doc because Doc delivered a heavy beating that was believable. Not sure where this ranks with the other Hansen matches in1990, but it might by my top match.

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This was really fun big guys clobbering the hell out of eachother type match. Williams is solid but not super compelling when in control of a match here, but he had some nice moments of aggression and knew to go at Hansen with everything he had, leading to some really good telephone booth fighting. Hansen did his usual great selling performance and making these desperate comebacks. However, the match went about 5 minutes too long, considering the story was that Williams was this tough new badass who would push Hansen to the limit. In a way this feels right inbetween 80s and 90s AJPW. There's blood and it's just a big brawl, but the match is kind of clinical and there are no countouts anymore, and the feeling of wild and out of control isn't as present as it was before.

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Wow, what a match! I always love when Hansen plays Ricky Morton. I say it that way for a reason. Both are effective at gaining sympathy from a crowd because they never stop trying something. Of course not a lot of it works once you're really taking the brunt of this kind of assault. But the key for me is the continued efforts to attempt a comeback despite little to no good results thus far. I liked how Hansen cut off the usual MVC borefest early, taking Williams out of the armlock and to the outside. Williams adjusts pretty quickly and really comes after Hansen with a vengeance. You wouldn't know from the crowd or the match that Williams is such a big underdog coming in. That's how much of a genius Stan Hansen is. Another awesome Hansen bit, using the supporter adjust to maybe signal a desperation lariat a few times before whiffing the one that sent him outside. My recollection is these guys have a series of matches that build on one the previous at some point in the early 90s that I really liked. I'm almost sure this was a part of it.

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Stan Hansen vs Steve Williams 6/5/90

 

HAN-SEN! HAN-SEN! HAN-SEN! The old grizzly bear working underneath sympathetic as one of the greatest of all time shows his range. A bloody Hansen was putting on a selling clinic peppering in those hope spots like he was 200 lbs and good looking. I love the minimalistic, gritty nature of this. The first highspot was a fucking bodyslam about 12 minutes into the match thats what I am talking about! You see Doc was always one step ahead of Hansen early on. It was like Hansen was the old gunslinger and just a half step slower. I love how everything was earned. You get back into the ring and youre met with knees. Everything was hard joints bashing against your head and body. Hansen was giving as good as he got. There was one point where each had the other by the hair and they just bashing their skulls into one another like a couple rams. I would say the really turning point was the lariat Doc gives Hansen on the outside where Hansen sells it by tumbling over the railing. After this Doc just hits a barrages of knees in the corner and Hansen is bleeding. The crowd is totally behind Hansen. Doc is great selling the attrition of this match and the toll it is taking on his body just to stay in control. Him slapping Hansen in the corner saying Come on, tough guy followed by Hansen exploding out of the corner was just an awesome fist-pumping moment. The finish was insanely awesome with lariat teases and the Oklahoma Stampede teases. Hansen diving through the ropes on the missed Lariat was eye popping. Doc hitting the steel post on the Oklahoma Stampede was intense. Then LARIAT OUT OF THE OKLAHOMA STAMPEDE WAS AWESOME!!! Great finish! You want to know where the beef is? Right here baby! Big, beefy match between two dudes who were ALL MAN!!! Monster rating coming ****1/4

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There's been a fair bit of talk recently about what a "hoss fight" is and/or should look like. Among wrestling fans, obviously. Hoss fight isn't currently a topic of discussion on BBC Question Time. But in the wake of that last NXT TakeOver where Keith Lee and Dominik Dijakovic had the match they had, the question has been posed: can it really be considered a hoss fight when the two hosses are wrestling like cruiserweights? What constitutes a hoss fight in the first place? Does the mere presence of hoss-like individuals mean that, by definition, a hoss fight is in the offing? All very pertinent queries. I suppose, as my great grandmother used to say, one man's motherfucker is another man's fucker of mothers, so maybe each and every one of us has a different definition of what hoss fight truly entails. And this felt like a hoss fight to me. A couple brick shithouse bruisers being brick shithouses and leaving bruises on each other. Nothing fancy, everything messy, everything nasty. I think 90s Hansen is my favourite Hansen at this point. He isn't as much of a straight ahead whirlwind as he was in his physical prime, but he has that vulnerability in the 90s that comes with age and his body breaking down a bit. He feels more and more beatable, ever so slightly less like a force of nature but a human being you can strategize against. Doc's strategy was to clobber him in the head until he drew blood, then clobber him some more until he couldn't get back up. Of course you know the bit about a wounded animal and when it's most dangerous so there was always the possibility of Hansen decapitating him at the drop of a hat. The brawling wasn't always the most compelling because I'm not sure Williams in general was the most compelling yet, but they certainly never mucked around with anything elaborate. It was all close quarters, almost no ground given, everything that was come by required a struggle. It wasn't as chaotic as a Funk v Hansen or even Funk v Brody, but it had the feel of those Doc v Gordy brawls from Mid-South and there won't be many instances where I complain about that. The finish was also straight out the top drawer of your Western Lariat murder scenes.
 

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