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[2000-01-04-NJPW-Wrestling World 2000] Wild Pegasus vs Hiroyoshi Tenzan

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We are still going by the Pegasus moniker but Benoit is in with the big boys now and they waste no time attacking each other with strikes. Benoit’s chops in the early going are some of the most lethal chops I have ever seen as they ring out across the cavernous Tokyo Dome. Benoit really taking control here helped the match speed along and it didn’t overstay its welcome. Tenzan is someone that can have some sympathy built up for him in the right setting and this was exemplified here. Benoit is really ferocious on top and stops Tenzan at every turn including catching him on the top rope and sending him crashing down with a super plex. Benoit is also able to hoist the big man up for the triple German. That followed by a diving headbutt earns a nearfall. Tenzan starts mounting his comeback which feels well earned and picks up the victory. I enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I would coming in. ***

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Not a ton I'd say about this one. Really fun slugfest. This Tokyo Dome crowd is definitely responding to stiffness more than just about anything else. Wow on those Benoit chops for sure. Funny that this match had more flying than the juniors tag. ***1/4

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Good match overall. A hard hitting match as you might expect with these two. It's funny to hear the crowd go absolutely nuts for Benoit's throat slash. These two seem to make for good opponents and put together something enjoyable once the match started to really get going in the second half.

 

***

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Yeah, Benoit was really swinging for the fences with those knife edges. We can probably put Tenzan in with Finlay, Regal and Daniel Puder as the guys that got absolutely shredded with Benoit chops. This was a perfectly solid ten minutes. I've never cared much about Tenzan, but he gave Benoit a decent amount and the crowd at least responded for his stuff, especially the Mongolian chops. Crowd reaction for the triple Germans suggests this was aruond the time Benoit started using it. From memory it feels like he has a pretty big year ahead of him, and this was a fine way to start it.

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Fun hossy sprint. I've never been a huge Benoit fan but he seemed to be keeping this one on course a bit. It's a fun match but I never feel like I get much nuance from Benoit matches. Here he is intense, he hits hard, cuts a good pace, etc. It just doesn't add up to anything more compelling than "solid" to me. I always mark out for Tenzan's mongolian chop for some reason. He landed directly on his head on that rana from the top which was really scary.

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What a great tough guy battle this was. Benoit with perhaps the stiffest chop in history, which could be heard in the cheap seats. Both guys went for it and made for a thoroughly enjoyable match ***1/2

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I've never liked Tenzan, so I enjoyed watching Benoit beat the piss out of him. The crowd seemed entirely on board with the idea of Benoit as a heavy, and it would have been interesting to see him have a more extended run against the top guys in the company. I understand why Tenzan won, but it didn't feel earned.

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I liked this quite a bit. Benoit’s chops are crazy as mentioned above, but Tenzan’s overhead chops don’t look pleasant either. Benoit had some great suplexes in here including the superplex and the rolling Germans. Tenzan threw a nice leg lariat which always gets points from me. Tenzan really commits on a missed moonsault. Tenzan winning with the diving headbutt was interesting to me given Benoit’s earlier in the match didn’t do the job. I would think Benoit could have been successful in NJPW as a heavyweight but given that finish I don’t know if they had it in the cards.

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Fucking Benoit. Well, guess I'll just get used to him being a dude I watch again for the next six and a half years. Interesting that he's fully made the transition to heavyweight at this point even in the eyes of Inoki, apparently. Was he working against heavyweights in NJ before this?

 

This feels dull overall. Maybe with some heat it would have worked better for me. Good striking throughout, but I really just wasn't feeling it. Benoit hits his standard spots, top rope superplex, rolling Germans, crowd finally comes to life for the cut throat taunt. Tenzan kicking out of the headbutt was surprising. Tenzan looks like he nearly broke his freaking neck on the frankensteiner from the top. Strong finish that got the crowd into it. This didn't totally redeem itself or anything, but by the end I didn't feel like I had wasted my time.

 

I do have to be honest, I don't know how much Benoit bias is getting me here. I've watched and enjoyed a number of his matches in the past years, but I never usually seek them out. I'm going to try really hard to judge them based on the quality of his work. If I can still enjoy a Polanski movie, I should still be able to enjoy a Benoit match.

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I am not a big fan of Tenzan. But this match was interesting. Benoit as a heavyweight is made believable by this match. I agree that he could have been succesful as a heavyweight in NJPW, but somehow that didn't happen. Man, those chops were stiff, LOL! I enjoyed it for what it was.

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I enjoyed Benoit's WWE run but man I would have much preferred him having a heavyweight run in either of the three big Japanese companies during the first half of the decade. I don't know how they would book him, was kind of disappointed to see him drop the fall kind of suddenly here, but his performance in the match was really good. Stiff as hell chops and it was cool to hear the big crowd pop for his throat slash. Fun match overall.

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Interesting match for what I'm guessing is Benoit's last match in New Japan. He just destroys Tenzan with chops. Those ones one the floor were the most brutal. Did they ever stop calling him Wild Pegasus? Good match and nice to see JJ dillon at ringside.

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Wild Pegasus vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan - NJPW Wrestling World (01/04/00)

 

Fun slugfest, but nothing more. Tenzan is dreadfully boring to watch, but thankfully Benoit is in control for most of the match. The highlight here is definitely Benoit’s stiff, reverberative chops. I’m surprised he didn’t straight-up flay the skin right off of Tenzan’s chest with his bare hands.

 

Rating: ***

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Hard-hitting match that was nothing more, nothing less. Everyone is not kidding about the chops; Benoit was hitting those like he wanted people in the concession stands to hear them.

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