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[1991-03-21-NJPW-Starrcade in Tokyo] Rick & Scott Steiner vs Hiroshi Hase & Kensuke Sasaki

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I've given this match a bunch of chances over the years and just don't like it, let alone see why it was MOTY. Hell I wouldn't even give it Match of the Month (and almost Match of the Week) next to Savage/Warrior. I suppose it had novelty (heavyweight spotfest) and setting (Tokyo Dome) on its side, but there was no storytelling and no real importance to add any sort of depth.

 

I guess there's just something about "spotfest at a big event" that gets the WON voters excited, because that's essentially the case for like half of all MOTYs.

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Hmmm, I actually really enjoyed this. It's probably not even match of the night, but I thought they worked an excellent match. But then again, I usually like the Steiners in Japan. Hase and Sasaki got a lot more offense in this match than I remembered, as my original thoughts were that it was pretty one-sided. Not a classic on the level that it's sometimes hyped, but definitely a very good match.

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MOTY my ass. Still this was a fun suplex Fest. Their wasn't much of a story. It looked like Hase was the FIP for a bit. I would have kept the top rope double team DDT as the finish instead of the Frankensteiner. Maybe the finish was too close to the Liger/Nogami finish.

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I've read jdw's description of how this became a puro gateway drug for a lot of 90s fans, but as Ditch indicated, that has always seemed like a "had to be there" thing. It wasn't the match of the night, week, month or year. It wasn't the best Steiners match from the time period. It wasn't the best all-action NJ tag match of the period. It wasn't the best Hase or Sasaki performance from the period. Just one of those alchemy things, I guess. It was a fine way to pass 15 minutes, but it wouldn't shock me if I never feel a reason to watch it again.

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It's the Steiners, so you're probably not going to get a lot of depth--meaningful or not. So, Rick and Scott are pretty great at throwing bombs and generally pretty lousy at selling. How do you work around that? You let them work on top and let Hase play FIP, duh. I have to say I really dug the semi-shoot-style amateur takedowns at the beginning of the match, and at the beginning of Hase's comeback. He's an Olympian--this *should* be a case where the Steiners are overmatched on the mat for once. I can get behind a bomb-throwing-fest if the bombs are well-done and the Steiners' shit all hits here, plus you had Sasaki hitting one of the most awesome lariats ever on Rick. Match of the Year? No. Match of the Night? We'll have to wait and see, though I definitely thought it was better than Liger-Nogami. Match of the Week? Ditto--I only see Flair/Fujinami and Jarrett/Prichard as challengers. The Steiners now hold three separate tag championships all at once, which has to be a record.

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Steiners do well in the Dome setting. Scott actually attempts a pin off a power move! Plenty of suplexes which the fans enjoy. Perfectly fine match between these two teams and what I would expect to see. Bravo to Scotty for actually attempting pins of big moves. It’s one of those things that really annoy me about him when he rather flexes to the crowd which is dumb as a face. It won’t be my MOTY but I enjoyed it.

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MOTY baby~

 

Try MOTN instead. It was a good match, just as I remembered. Never threatened higher either, which is why the love from the time seems so mysterious. Hase worked most of the bout and Scotty got to show off his offence. Man he was a jacked up roid rage psycho. Not fundamentally a strong worker but he definitely had plus points when they could be harnessed.

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My distaste for the Steiners is pretty well known by now so I was not expecting much from this. It actually may have been better than I would have thought going in as I thought it was a very good all action type match. MOTY is pretty lol worthy but I think we all could have predicted that coming in already.

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At the time I clearly remember it having a huge reputation, probably for a number of varying reasons beyond what happened in the ring. It certainly played a large part in my seeking out more Japanese wrestling - so the 'gateway drug' analogy is apt.

 

I still enjoy the match - I have seen an awful lot of matches which are better since - but its still a lot of fun.

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Don't want too big a spoiler for the upcoming WTBBP, but this is probably one of my favourite matches of all time. Don't know what planet the rest of you are on, this shit is AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME,

 

****1/2, considering going higher.

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Don't want too big a spoiler for the upcoming WTBBP, but this is probably one of my favourite matches of all time. Don't know what planet the rest of you are on, this shit is AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME,

 

****1/2, considering going higher.

 

Well a blind squirrel could see this coming.

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I don't think this was much as far as contests go. If you just like to see the Steiners hit their big moves as impactfully as possible, this was great, but I expected more fight out of Hase and Sasake, who were dominated in front of their home crowd to the point that it's going to take them a while to regain their reputations. If this was the only way to get the Steiners to appear, maybe they should have used another team instead.

 

Hase in particular was made to look dumb. He hit some good-looking stuff at the start of the match, but every time he had the chance to make the tag off of a big move, he didn't, and there was definitely enough time for him to do so. This wasn't little Ricky Morton getting pounded to death by someone twice his size; it seemed to me like he was making a clearheaded decision to engage the Steiners one-on-one rather than tag Sasake, and of course he paid for that decision every time. It really took something out of what should have been a big moment, because Hase wrestled such a stupid match that he and Sasake deserved to lose. Let me be clear: I know the guy was supposed to sell for Rick and Scott, but there's a fine line between being too hurt to know what you're doing and being too stupid for your own good, and Hase was booked to spend most of the match on the stupid side of the line, in my view.

 

This almost seemed like a vanity win for the Steiners so they could claim three championships at the same time. to be honest. Not that there's anything wrong with that in principle, but it's a shame WCW had to damage their partner promotion's best tag team to accomplish it. Couldn't Dusty have resurrected the old National belts instead?

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And Parv calls me Stardust...he was definitely on some sort of dust...

 

IWGP Tag Team Champions Hiroshi Hase & Kensuke Sasaki vs Steiners - NJPW Tokyo Dome 3/21/91

 

Sasaki is so fresh faced here. We talk about which Japanese wrestlers could have gotten over in America, but I think Hase has to make that list (Parv has probably made that point in the past) he just has boat loads of charisma and likes to play to the crowd. I think Steiners would have done well in AJPW, but I think they are the best suited Americans to work in NJPW with their legitimate amateur backgrounds. I did like Hase/Scotty amateur wrestling stuff at the beginning. Scotty going a Cloverleaf and so Hase had to roll to his belly to avoid being pinned but then he would be in pain so to avoid submitting he would roll to his back, the rinse lather repeat until he was in the ropes was a really smart spot. Hase outsmarting Scotty Steiner was fun. Sasaki just blasting Rick Steiner with all of Rick Steiner's moves (powerslam, lariat and bulldog and that bulldog was SICKKKK) was fun. Rick just didn't sell. Then it became lets manhandle Hase which was fun. Steiner just obliterate him with all sorts of suplexes. Even Hase does not feel like selling it will often just pop off a suplex back hell he did the Giant Swing on Rick Steiner! Finally after a bunch of Urnages he tags out to Sasaki. Sasaki is fucking awesome as a house of fire. On offense, I actually thought he was the best because he had some real zip to his dropkicks, powerslams. LOVED THE SUPERPLEX BY SASAKI ON HASE TO A PRONE RICK STEINER! Cool! Scotty breaks up some Doomsday Device thing and they hit that Steiner Bulldog which I actually think looks better than the Doomsday Device. Scotty hits a shitty Frakensteiner for the win.

 

If you are going to do a spotfest these are the kind I like. Throwing people around and big power wrestling. Great for a Dome setting. Much like the Steiners it is a big, dumb match. ***1/2

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Probably my favorite lariat of all time (outside of that one Hansen laid on Tenryu)

 

x5puL85.gif

I think a real argument can be made that Kensuke Sasaki is the singular MVP for the first 10 years or so of 1/4 dome shows. Considering that there were 1-3 good match per show until like 2008, and Kensuke was in almost all of them between 1992-2001.

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I get garretta's points, but this was super fun! That lariat was CRAZY. They could have built an entire story around that lariat had Rick sold it the way it looked like it felt.

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Man! I love that lariat!!!

 

Off the top of my head, I think the Steiners dominated Hase too much for this to be as dynamic and surprising as intended.

 

My review from a few years back:

 

"This was one of the first Japanese wrestling matches that I saw and it really wowed me. Having gone past my novice stage, I can see the faults with this match & it certainly can't really be the match of the year. The big problem is that there never was any back and forth drama, the Steiners never honestly looked in trouble. The finishing portion was quite awesome ; especially the tag turnbuckle moves. The reason for this is the fact that they had 13 minutes to do a tag title match! This is stupid! What they could do in that time span was a move exhibition. There just wasn't enough time allotted to build up drama for those great moves & it came off kind of flat. If given enough time, I'm sure it would have been great and maybe that MOTY. I think they had to give time for the infamous Flair/Fujinami "Dusty Finish" match. Whatever...I haven't seen many matches from '91 but I'm sure something from AJPW or AJW was better mainly because they focus on providing the fans with an exciting card from top to bottom; not throwing the other matches away for some screw-job main event. In other words this match should have been given more than 13 lousy minutes."

 

I've seen more '91 bouts since then and can say there are better BUT if you haven't seen this one, check it out! Its cool stuff for sure.

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If you must do a heavyweight bomb-fest, this is how it ought to be done. Not my cup of tea, but I do get why there are those who love it.

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I love a good suplex and the Steiners know how to toss a few. This was about 80% Steiner domination over poor Hase with shitty matwork but you ain’t paying the Steiners to paint the canvas – no way, baby, you get tiger drivers, suplexes, superplexes, and superduperplexes. When Hase hits the uranages on both Steiners, the crowd loses their collective shit for the Kensuke hot tag! They work a little magic, with Sasaki superplexing Hase onto Rick and Hase delivering the Northern Lights suplex hold. But alas, our heroes fall to the best meatheads after a double team bulldog and the Scott Frankensteiner.

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I don't think this classes as a spotfest. It's filled to the brim with big spots and bombs, but it has a classic tag team structure and tells a cohesive story. The Steiners steamroll Hase with a wide variety of suplexes. Seeing them throw the politician/nonce all over the place is a joy to watch. When Hase finally makes the hot tag, the place erupts. I wish they were able to have more of a finishing stretch, but the decisive win made the Steiners look like a million bucks, and Hase and Sasaki showed enough fire for this to not feel anything close to a burial. There's better matches in 1991 for sure, but this will most likely make my top 25 by the time I'm down with my watching.

★★★★

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