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[1991-06-12-NJPW-Fighting Connection] Jushin Liger vs Norio Honaga


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  • 3 months later...

The fourth match between these two. Not quite as good at the last two matches they've had, but still very good. Liger in this one shows what he can do as a high flyer, but the match still feels like a chapter in a series, and not just a showy exhibition. It's not as hate-filled as some of their previous matches, but Liger does wrestle like he has something to prove, and I like it in the context of the feud as a whole. Surprised to see Liger bust out a Macho Man elbow yet again. I don't know that these nearfalls would have had as much as they did had Liger not put Honaga over twice, which gave him instant credibility. Liger finally avenges his previous losses with a top rope DDT. Really good.

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This lacked the hatred of their 5/31 match and the "big" feeling of their 4/30 match. But it was still good, with Liger reeling off all his offense to get his win back. Even without the nastiness, this felt less exhibitiony than some of Liger's other stuff from the period. Between this feud, the Owen match and the Nogami dome match, Liger has been more consistent in 1991 than he was in 1990.

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This one goes back to being wrestled on the level. On one hand that's a logical progression in the story--like with Ricky Steamboat in 1987, Liger going for brutal bloody revenge didn't get him the final result he wanted, so to get his title back he had to dial back the hate a bit. On the other, Honaga is less interesting here because we see that when he's not yanking on turnbuckle pads or punching Liger in the nuts, he's not that interesting on offense except for his 37 neckbreaker clotheslines. They do run through some hot near-falls. I loved Liger busting out the Billy Robinson/Johnny Saint counter that I can't describe but you know when you see, and Honaga's baseball slide-into-sunset-flip had me (and everyone else) believing he'd stolen yet another one. The early slower parts hold this back from being as good as the previous bouts in this series but this was a satisfying conclusion to Liger's quest.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I was thinking how Honaga hadn’t tried to rip Liger’s mask yet and at that moment he make the signal to try rip it. Need a replay of Honaga’s missed dive to the outside as looked like he went head first into guard rail. I liked it but both guys wrestled more straight up match. Very little hijinks from Honaga which hurts his overall package. Still a good match but not the hate of previous matches. Nice to see Liger win with his top rope DDT.

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  • 3 months later...
  • 1 year later...

Yes, it was time for Liger to finally get a win over Honaga before his reputation was damaged for good, and he did it in spectacular fashion here. Honaga wrestles a match similar to the one in March, trying to keep Liger grounded with basic offense, but eventually gets too full of himself and decides to go to the air, which leads to his doom courtesy of the top-rope DDT. As others have said, this isn't the match you're looking for if you want to find a bloody brawl where Liger tears Honaga apart; that was the May match in which Liger wrestled the second half as Yamada after Honaga ripped off his mask. This bout was about Liger regaining the belt. and he did so with authority.

 

I hope we haven't seen the last of Honaga; he has too much potential as a foil to the more scientific and high-flying NJPW juniors to simply fade away. I'd even like to see one more Liger/Honaga match where Liger seeks to end Honaga's challenge to his title once and for all.

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  • 2 years later...

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Norio Honaga vs Jushin Liger - NJPW 6/12/91

 

Jushin Liger finally gets the monkey off his back. He does so by wrestling within himself and not letting himself be provoked into anger. As a standalone match this is good, but in the context of the matches beforehand, this is excellent. Liger got all his hate out in May and now it is time to win the championship back. He knows he cant afford another loss and this may be his last crack at his title for a while if he loses. So he cant go apeshit and leave himself open to a fluke loss. Honaga has the balls to offer a handshake, which makes me smile and Liger slaps his hand away in disgust. You see Honaga try to goad Liger to the outside or to lash out in anger by going for the mask, but Liger stays cool. Honaga definitely loses a lot of his charm without the ballshots and scumbag tactics, but he still had some good cutoffs and offense. His dive to the outside where he completely belly flops on the concrete is insane! Liger beats the living shit out of him after that. Honaga gets some offense in, but this is the best hits of Jushin Thunder Liger in one compact, badass package. He finishes with Top Rope DDT to prove that he still is The Man.

 

Not as great as their bloody brawls prior, but as a definitive climax that showed Liger needed to stay calm, play his own game and not play Honaga's game I thought it was excellent in the context of the story. ****

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  • 5 months later...

I liked this match as well and thought it was the right match for the circumstances. Honaga trying to match up to Liger and missing the dive completely was awesome both in concept and execution. Did anyone else get the "master of the Diamond Cutter" vibe off of how many ways Honaga has gotten his lariat/neckbreaker deal in this series? I liked how Liger was ready for all of Honaga's shit early too, skinning the cat, rolling him up when he went for the mask ripping. It made more sense that Honaga would keep it more on the level when all of his heel bullshit wasn't working. I dig the baseball slide-into-sunset flip deal too, very interesting take on the move. It kind of ties into the way Honaga overcomes his lack of athleticism compared to other juniors. He's always finding ways to even the playing field, Liger was ahead of the game on his big one (cheating) and didn't go overboard, so Liger got the win.

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  • GSR changed the title to [1991-06-12-NJPW-Fighting Connection] Jushin Liger vs Norio Honaga

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