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[1983-01-06-NJPW] Tiger Mask vs Kuniaki Kobayashi

Superstar Sleeze

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WWF & NWA Junior Heavyweight Champion Tiger Mask vs Kuniaki Kobayashi - NJPW 1/6/83


Pretty cool that Tiger Mask was both NWA & WWF Junior Heavyweight Champion at the same time.


Absolutely night & day between this and his awesome UWF stuff, Tiger Mask is just throwing shit out there and seeing what sticks. I now understand why he gets a lot of hate from fans because there are just a lot of awkward portions in this match. People standing around waiting to be kicked. Building to a finish run and plopping into a short arm scissors. At least Tiger Mask had awesome spots to draw on, Kobayashi could not decide what he wanted to do. It was a mess that did coalesce into a hot finish run. I have no problem with spotfests at all. Tiger Mask can hit some really jaw-dropping spots. I thought his back drop driver looked crisp. His dive to the outside was totally out of control and awesome as he nailed the railing. The tombstone was great and love that as the setup for the moonsault, which missed. His kicks looked great not as good as UWF. His submissions were fine. Everything from an offensive perspective was there just not put together. Selling from each guy was non-existent and there was no consequence to moves. Kobasyahi gets a "nearfall" in the form of almost countout finish. Tiger Mask catches him and they go over the top. Tiger Mask does hit an awesome German suplex on the floor. He beats the count to win the match. The finish stretch almost makes this worth it, but the first 2/3rds is a clusterfuck.


I will say everybody must see the spot of the match, which did make me pop big time on my couch. Tiger Mask hits a backflip mule dropkick perfectly. It was insanely incredible. It really is amazing this is the same guy having those matches with Fujiwara just a couple years later in UWF.

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  • GSR changed the title to [1983-01-06-NJPW] Tiger Mask vs Kuniaki Kobayashi
  • 10 months later...

I think this is my favourite Tiger Mask in NJPW match. Tiger Mask barely sold anything in most of his matches and he's the one doing the most selling in this match. Kobayashi just takes moves and fires back until about 15 minutes in. But the pace was pretty fast and the match is stiff, which makes up for most things for me. I didn't really see either standing around waiting to get kicked in this match, not in an egregious way. I liked Kobayashi's work when he had the upper hand, the kimura (?) trap sleeper hold a few minutes in is neat, and him slapping TM in full guard was great. The finish is pretty cool.

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  • 1 year later...

I thought this was the best match in the first week of 1983. Hot pre bell spot with Kobayashi attacking and tempers flaring and then everything calms down for the Japanese National Anthem to play. The match settles in and it struck me as a good contrast beginning of Kobayashi working the mat and grinding TM while TM showed more flash and flurries. It provided a good contrast to the two and then escalated into a finishing run that was exciting and intense with a lot of close calls. The finish sucks but it is 1983 Japan so that comes with the territory. ***3/4 

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