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Charles (Loss)

[1991-12-08-NJPW] Hiroshi Hase vs Tiger Jeet Singh (Island Death)

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One of the more odd matches of 1991 -- an ISLAND DEATH MATCH -- with Singh and a very very bloody Hase duking it out in a ring set up on some remote island. It's a very weird sight seeing them brawl all over the grass while surrounded by photographers, young boys, police and men in suits. The amount of blood on Hase is pretty gross. Doing it indoors in a ring is one thing, but juicing like that in the great outdoors while bumping on dirt and grass seems stupid. This feels way more IWA than New Japan. I'm not really sure why they did this match and would appreciate any insight anyone has.

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Inoki vs Singh was scheduled for the Dome show but Hase went to parliament and "demanded" to wrestle Inoki. Inoki said he'd have to get Singh out of the match so Hase went to Canada to challenge him which led to this match.

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Bizarre set up. Even though it is a controlled environment with no fans you still have certain security holding back the photographers. We get a boat horn going off at one point. Being all bloody with open wounds and rolling around in the grass and dirt can’t be fun. So after all that, Hase jumps on a boat to leave the island. Hope he is not sea sick.

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A bizarre angle leads to a bizarre match in a bizarre setting, even moreso considering the promotion that put it on. And to top off the surrealness we have announcers calling this in a low-key style as though it were Phil Mickelson deciding between a 5- and 7-iron instead of two psychos bleeding and choking each other. The athletic socks and sneakers really add to Jeet's Indian madman image. The regular NJPW announcer is apparently there live doing commentary. You can't accuse Hase of not putting forth an effort here, at least. Hase suplexes Singh a bunch until he's unconscious and acting referee (???) Masa Saito declares Hiroshi the winner. Singh is placed on a gurney and has a blanket put over him, as though he'd died. This isn't as terrible as one might expect considering Jeet was involved, and in a weird way this sort of feels like a legit triumph for Hase considering how few decisive jobs I've seen Singh do. Would be a MOTYC if we'd gotten Hase doing a spinning toe hold on the bank and then Singh bodyslamming Hase into the water. Hase pays tribute to some monument or another, and what could be more touching than a bleeding half-naked NJPW mid-carder paying silent respects?

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Well this is the oddest match I have seen in a minute. Everything from the atmosphere to the "death" of Tiger Jeet Singh is bizzare. This didnt deter me from thinking Hase has had a hell of a year though as he really brings out what he can to this match and bleeds like a maniac.

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This is one of those matches I'm glad I saw once but don't ever want to see again. After all the blood and gore, Tiger does the job to a bunch of suplexes. Talk about irony!

 

If the finish hadn't taken place in the ring, I'd have questioned why they even bothered to put it up in the first place, since 95% of what we saw happened outside. By the way, I hope they didn't get too much dirt in their cuts, which could have led to something a lot worse than a kayfabed injury.

 

Nice use of the top rope, which had apparently broken earlier, as a weapon. A broken rope doesn't really matter much in a match like this, of course, but at least they didn't completely forget about it.

 

Applause for the attention to detail in showing the medical staff covering both wrestlers afterward in order to avoid hypothermia. I have a feeling that most American promotions would forget about something like that.

 

I actually remember reading about the original island match between Inoki and Saito in PWI and thinking 1) "How cool is that?" and 2) "How the hell did they actually pull it off in the first place?" Guess I got my answer.

 

Finally, does anyone know what monument Hase was praying in front of after the match? Maybe that will give us a clue as to why this match was staged the way it was.

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Put me in the boat with those that won't come back to this. Bizarre seems to be the trending description. The outdoors setting, the extremely quiet crowd, the monotone announcers, the ignoring of the ring, the insane amount of violence - all this was the recipe for something wasn't right for my tastes. Garretta made a good point. Why bother with the ring, and then after all the violence, it's suplexes to a finish? It just doesn't make much sense to me. Bizarre/weird/gross... any of that works for me.

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I liked Pete's callback to Hansen vs Funk by the lake. I also enjoyed the Hell out of this as a bizarre spectacle. It makes zero sense that it happened, but it was entertaining in a Puerto Rico kind of way.

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