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[1991-04-30-NJPW-Explosion Tour: Top of the Super Juniors] Pegasus Kid vs Norio Honaga

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I'm generally fine with Honaga, but this was a Benoit production all the way. He contributed all of the interesting offense, and frankly, the bumps he took on missed moves seemed a lot more devastating than anything Honaga hit. As a result, Honaga's flash pin off a short clothesline bordered on preposterous.

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Yeah, I wanted to put this on to show a good sampling of the evening's matches, but I agree that this was really good, but it was because of Benoit's performance. I loved Honaga in the Liger match from 2/92, and I keep hoping to see one more performance at that level. This wasn't it. But I'm holding out hope.

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Benoit totally outclasses Honaga here. Everything Benoit does is crisp and looks devastating. Honaga comes across as baggage here and totally doesn't deserve the win.

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Some of Honaga's offense--like his pescado--is fun, because he's possibly the least-athletic looking wrestler in history who isn't morbidly obese. But that was a weak-sauce finish and Honaga looked completely overmatched even though that wasn't the apparent story of the match. I can't believe I'm saying this about any match, much less one from Japan, but this could have used more outside interference. You could buy Honaga stealing a victory from Liger because he cheated and had Saito helping him, but here he knocks Benoit out with a neckbreaker lariat and that's it.

 

But goddamn, what a crowd.

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Honaga had was doing a bunch of roll ups and Benoit finally caught on to him and dropped him with a suplex. Just felt like Benoit would put him away at that point. The clothesline finish didn't bother me as much at first as I kind of looked at it that he caught Benoit off guard. But watching Liger/Honaga later doesn't help it hold up that Benoit got pinned like that.

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Benoit seemed to have gotten really good from the 1990 stuff we saw until now. He took his impressive spots and put them together to lead this match. I have a soft spot for Honaga so his performance here was not as bad in my eyes as everyone else. Nothing extraordinary but really fun and a good sense of what is in store for the event.

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This seemed like it was going to be a semi-competitive Benoit squash until the end, when he and Honaga started trading near-falls. Even then, I didn't expect the finish to be quite that quick, considering the moves they'd hit each other with up until that point.

 

It's hard to believe that Honaga was the same guy who beat Liger as I watched him here. Whatever crispness and viciousness he had in that match never really showed up here; the closest we came to seeing it was the mask-tearing spot, and that doesn't really count. Still, beating Liger and Benoit in the space of a few weeks should be the start of a nice push for Honaga. Let's see what he does with it.

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