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[1990-11-01-NJPW-Dream Tour] Keiji Muto & Masa Chono vs Hiroshi Hase & Kensuke Sasaki

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I have this above the 6/95 TenChono v HashHirata and 6/96 HashHirata vs Yamazaki/Iizuka. I think this is a jdw point, but this is better than the tags AJPW did in 1990. After that, All Japan guys would improve and leave the New Japan crew in their dust. Sasaki is particularly good, along with Chono. Everything really clicks. Great TV show.

 

I have a 7/92 trios match from New Japan that Meltzer gave **** and said was comparable to the typical NJPW trios match coming soon. Be very interested to see it because I haven't seen any New Japan trios matches coming close to 10/90, 4/91, or 7/93.

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I think this is a jdw point, but this is better than the tags AJPW did in 1990.

I don't know if I'd seen the 09/30/90 Jumbo & Taue vs Misawa vs. Kawada match at the point of making that comment since it wasn't something widely in circulation. They're different beasts, the AJPW guys go a lottttttttttttttttt longer in impressive fashion, but it doesn't have the great finishing emotion (title change, crowd insane over it, certain sense of Hase & Sasaki getting a "upset" over two higher ranked guys).

 

Would be interesting to think more about that. The trick is seeing the NJPW match in more context, since the AJPW tag has enough of it on the yearbook to get a sense for.

 

John

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Fantastic match with a shocker of a finish--both in context of where everyone was "ranked" and in the context within the match itself, as Hase was all but dead until that fortuitous Tiger Hattori bump.

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Full tilt action with a great finish. Wonderful match that showcased all four guys beautifully. NOthing was really complex but I really liked some of the desperation tags in this match.

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Don't have a lot to add. I don't think this is quite my NJ MOTY, but they delivered balls-to-the-wall action with everyone looking great. The crowd's response really testified to how hard they worked. Sasaki was probably the biggest surprise. I think of him as more hit than miss for most of the '90s, but here he delivered big-time as a high-energy power wrestler. This vs. the 9/30/90 tag is an interesting comparison, because that one had more developed role playing but this one generated more heat and offered a more satisfying finish. I probably rate the AJ match a hair better, but that might be biased by my greater long-term interest in those four wrestlers.

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Lots of fun and a great crowd. Big moves and kick outs at the end. Was routing for Hase/Sasaki by the end so was satisfying to see them get the win. Hase kicks out of the moonsault and then Sasaki hits two big power moves on Chono and Muto. Really strong match.

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Four members of the young generation that was sweeping towards the top of NJ at the time. Decent action but I felt it could've done with more of a rivalry, if just for the night. There was an exciting stretch. I didn't like the final moments though with Hase blowing off damage from a moonsault. Afterwards they all celebrate in the ring together, Mutoh and Chono not overly concerned about just using the tag titles.

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Match of the night for sure. Sasaki looked a little out of control at times but played his role well. I was really excited for Sasaki and Hase to win. I would definitely rate the 9/30/90 AJPW match higher.

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This was nowhere near the AJPW tag, but it was a good match. I was especially interested in seeing Sasaki and Hase in light of their later rivalry with the Steiners, and that looks like a good matchup going forward, as Sasaki seems like a real bull.

 

Like some others have said, we don't have a lot of context surrounding this match like we do with the Jumbo/Misawa stuff, but this holds up well on its own. The start has plenty of good mat wrestling and counterwrestling, and it builds quite nicely until we hit the chaotic finish. I must have missed the ref bump, but there was more than enough good action otherwise to make this exciting, and the four-way celebration and show of sportsmanship at the end was a nice treat. The crowd certainly ate it up.

 

As I said, this was nowhere near the AJPW tag, but it was far above average. Looking forward to more from these guys.

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This a solid bout. I think I've conditioned myself toward liking this stuff. I actually have a theory that if you watch enough of someone over a prolonged period that you can condition yourself toward tolerating if not liking them. Everybody seemed fresh-faced here. Hase's individual exchanges with Muto and Chono were good and I didn't notice any faults in their work. It felt like a borderline sprint to me and I think the sprinting style helps these workers. The bout may feel slight compared to what Misawa and Kawada were able to produce with Jumbo and Taue in the same year; but just as I'm sympathetic to the Joshi mindset of pushing the tempo, I think working a slowburning style here would have exposed these guys in the eyes of the wrestling world. The finish was the ultimate video game finish before video game finishes became the norm in Japan. I'm too lazy to check whether this was booked by Choshu, but it had his fingerprints all over it.

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I'm always interested to watch Muto wrestle, just to see how hard he's working, and if I can tell the difference. He looked good here, everyone did, and Hase was the standout here of course. Like everyone else said, this was red hot and fast paced, hard hitting action. Like the real essence of exciting pro wrestling. Awesome.

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I'm going to have to disagree with the overall view of this match. It's lacking something that pushes it into top gear.

 

It lacks any sort of organization or logic most importantly. Guys are tagging in, then back out for apparently no reason other than to set up the next spot or sequence.

 

Additionally, there's no focus on who to attack or to work over body part etc. It just seems like they said, "hey we're in good shape let's do 15 minutes at full tilt and throw some rest holds in there to catch a breather." Also this why each team did like a dozen tags...So, there's no really selling of the damage and no intermatch story or drama.

 

Plus the finish was goofy. Muto did 4 moves in a row as he likes to do and then eats a lariat and gets pinned with a Northern Light suplex?? I get these were their finishers but, nothing else led up to Muto being worn down or beat up. Again, he was flying around the ring seconds earlier.

 

I really really wanted to like this match as I rewatched it twice in two days. Plus I'm a Hase & Chono fan and an overall sucker for tags from the late 80s & early 90s. It just never seemed to come together as something wholly great. Complaints aside it was fun and I would highly recommend others check it out as I'm in the minority.

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I thought this was a good, fun tag. I'm not sure if it's more the point Childs made, my connection to the wrestlers in AJPW is stronger, or the one G. badger made, this didn't have the underlying direction it needed, that make me think it's not overly great.

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This was a pretty fun tag match that really heats up in the back half. Sasaki was a fan-favorite here and whenever he got the tag in, he'd bulldog Mutoh and Chono around while Hase brought the finesse. I thought Mutoh was especially good here, building off his rivalry with Hase. They work so well together. Loved him kicking out Hase's leg during the bridge, which nobody does. Hase gets isolated, then Chono, and the midsection sort of meanders into the final few minutes of the match. After a sweet ura-nage, Hase puts the sasorigatame on Chono, Mutoh breaks it up, then Sasaki comes in, superplexes Chono, and puts the sasorigatame back on. Gotta get it. When Mutoh tries to break it up, he and Sasaki get into it with slaps until Hase dumps Mutoh to the outside, allowing Sasaki to hit a German suplex hold on Chono. In the end, Mutoh's able to hit a dragon suplex hold and the moonsault press on Hase for a crazy nearfall, but after Sasaki cleans house, Hase pins Mutoh with the Northern Lights suplex hold for the big win.

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IWGP Tag Team Champions Masa Chono & Keiji Mutoh vs Hiroshi Hase & Kensuke Sasaki - NJPW 11/1/90

So I watched this a long time ago and I loved it. Watched it last night it took my breathe away but it was so fast I couldnt keep up so I am doing a review where I write and watch it at the same time. This reminds me so much of the first Four Corners Tag in June of 1993. 

90s Workrate baby! This is an All Japan tag before All Japan tags were even invented. They set the tone early with tons of rope running and big explosive spots. Thats really what characterizes 90s work rate in my mind it is movement and explosiveness. It is not cool moves but a lot of well-executed high impact moves. Chono hits a big shouldertackle then Sasaki follows suit with a powerslam. Nothing fancy but it is the speed and the intensity that make it compelling. Mutoh and Hase slow it down. There is no sense of hatred from the 1990 bloodbath indicating that Keiji Mutoh and Great Muta are considered two separate entities. Mutoh and Hase work the more traditional strong style opening focusing on wristlocks and single leg pickups. Sasaki & Hase were a young and upcoming team. Hase just graduated from the juniors and Sasaki was very wet behind the ears. Mutoh works the headlock to ground the explosive Sasaki. Sasaki throws him off the headlock and nails a dropkick. I love wrecking ball Sasaki. He tags out to Hase so we get our fourth unique pairing. Hase is such a charismatic wrestler. We get the first sense this is a tag team match as Chono bullies him into the corner and they double team him with a quick tag and double shouldertackle. Chono tags back in and Hase takes him to the ground, which is his forte. Chono again brings him over to their corner and they double team him. I LOVED Mutoh's back drop into his power drive elbow. It looked so good. I like they are establishing the champions as the better team. They are not heels. They are just better at the tag team strategy than the younger challengers. Hase gets an amazing submission out of nothing basically and grabs an armbar. Hase is being controlled without getting owned so he is not dying. I like that sort of struggle and energy. Clear leader, but it is not a blowout. Chono works his way into deathlock and tags Mutoh back in. It is not that Chono or Mutoh is better than Hase they are just better tag wrestlers. Mutoh works his deathlock gimmick including the bridge. Sasaki finally saves Hase with a big elbow to the bridging Mutoh. I love any spot that involves dropping body weight on a bridging opponent. The action is fast & furious, but everything makes sense and is well-executed. Chono looks like a million bucks that neck injury really did him in. Hase immediately tags out! Awesome tag psychology. No fucking dawdling like you will see in America. Hase is being honest with himself and needs to get Sasaki in there. Sasaki dominates Chono with strikes good selling and a nice bump there by Chono. I dont love Sasaki getting all Scotty Steiner loving his own work and telling his opponent to get up. He makes for it with a big Oklahoma Slam and WOW WHAT AN ELBOW DROP! Sasaki brings Chono over to his corner and Hase gets some of his frustrations out on Chono's chest. Sidewalk slam gets two and Hase is thinking Scorpion Deathlock, but Chono gets a inside cradle. They continue to work Chono over in their corner with Sasaki holding the hair as Hase slaps the chest and now a double clothesline on Chono, but the ref wont count the cover. I love old school reffing like that. Now the challengers are throwing good tag psychology back in the champs' faces. Sasaki crashes and burns on a dropkick as Chono holds the ropes. Chono does not tag out. Seems like a mistake but he hits a Yakuza kick to the side of Sasaki's head. He signals for another and then tags out and collaspes. Mutoh immediately hits his back handspring elbow, extra explosive. He throws Sasaki to the floor and Chono whips him into the railing. The champions are escalating the action and the challengers are responding. They hit a Doomsday Device like move and Chono locks in his finish the STF and Mutoh hits a dropkick on Hase, but Hase is able to get past Mutoh to knock Chono off, but Mutoh throws Hase out. Chono reapplies the STF, but Sasaki makes the ropes. High drama! Mutoh hits the kneecrusher. Chono & Mutoh are working on a clinic on the rookie Kensuke Sasaki as Mutoh now applies a figure-4. Sasaki is showing a lot of fighting spirit making the ropes. Chono attacks him in a neutral corner, which seems like a mistake. Sasaki hulks up and THROWS CHONO DOWN! Tags out to Hase who immediately hits his twisting urnage and applies a Scorpion Deathlock. Mutoh casually walks in to break this up to a chorus of boos. Hase tags out to Sasaki. Was it too soon? Sasaki sets up for superplex and hits it. Hase illegally comes off the top rope with a splash, but the ref counts it for two. Chono looks to be in real trouble. Sasaki locks in the Scorpion Deathlock. Mutoh comes into break it up but takes a lot more kicks and Sasaki beats the shit out of Mutoh and they throw him out. Sasaki hits a big dropkick in the corner and then a big German Suplex for two. Hase cant believe it is not three! He comes off the apron to contest the count. I love it! Mutoh is cheering on Chono. Chono hits the Yakuza Kick and falls into a tag. Mutoh comes out hot! Surprisingly, he is able to his back handspring elbow (very rare to be able to hit the same spot twice), but he screws up and dropkicks in Sasaki towards his corner allowing the fresh man, Hase to come in, but Mutoh meets him at the pass and hits a backdrop driver. Mutoh slows it down and feels more in control hits a bulldog then takes him over with a Dragon Suplex. Chono hits a missile dropkick on Sasaki as he was trying to break it up. Mutoh hits his backbreaker/moonsault combo but Hase kicks out at 2! Mutoh is incredulous. Sasaki hits a monster lariat on Mutoh as he is contesting the count. Chono comes in and POWERSLAM! Hase hits a Northern Lights Suplex...BRIDGE...1-2-3!

Wow! They pack so much in here without it feeling like overkill too much. There was no waiting for people to be ready. No intricate spots. It was all high impact moves that were well-executed and done with a great sense of urgency that is what defines 90s workrate. I thought this told a great story of the Champions beating the challengers in a tag match by using quick tags and double teams. Chono and Mutoh looked amazing this match and looked like they would be massive workrate stars of the 90s. Sasaki was just a bulldozer and Hase is so damn good on the mat. I like how the challengers won not by cheating per se but bending the rules. Saving is more lax in Japan, but Sasaki coming in trucking Mutoh during an argument with a ref is pretty cheap so it is protects the Champs, but also is an exciting finish. It was just chaos towards the end with bodies flying everywhere. Every bit as good as anything All Japan produced in 1990. It wouldnt be until later that gulf widened. ****1/2

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This was high octane stuff. There was some great mat wrestling exchanges between Chono and Hase early on with the two struggle for holds. Add Muto to the mix as well, even if he isn’t known as a particularly great mat wrestler, he was pretty good here. Sasaki was excellent as the rabid dog that got unleashed every time he got in the ring. Even when Chono would school him with the STF, he still brought that scrappiness to the match. The back stretch of the match was superb. Very heated. Tons of nearfalls that were impossible not to get sucked into. Loved the brief heel psychology in the match with Muto attacking Hase, while illegal, when he had a scorpion deathlock on. A total breezy ride. ****1/2

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