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[1974-11-21-IWE Japan] Nick Bockwinkel & Ray Stevens vs Rusher Kimura & Great Kusatsu

paul sosnowski

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This is for the AWA and IWA tag team titles, both are on the line. Bockwinkel and Stevens have only just regained the AWA World Tag Titles from Billy Robinson and The Crusher about a month ago on October 24th. Kimura and Kusatsu have held the IWE tag team titles since May 14, 1973. It is a 2 out of 3 falls match. The footage is perfect and immaculate VQ. Bockwinkel and Stevens are wearing awesome purple ring jackets, with "California" written in gold on the backs. I was hoping for a match that lasted about 25 minutes....but that is not the case. It's only 6 1/2 minutes of CLIPS. Arrrrggghhh!!!!


We start with Bockwinkel and Kimura facing off and locking up, Bockwinkel aggressively pulls away, and it's clipped. Kusatsu has Stevens down on the mat in a chinlock, Stevens gets to his feet, whip to the ropes, shoulder tackle. Kusatsu leapfrogs and monkey flips Stevens, grabs control of the arm with a standing wristlock. Bockwinkel is reaching for the tag, but can't get it. Stevens rakes Kusatsu's eyes with his boot and makes the tag. Bockwinkel charges in with a side headlock and shoulder tackle. Kusatsu picks him up for a high vertical suplex, tags in to Kimura, who hits two running bulldog headlocks and gets the pin and first fall at 14:22 (only 1:52 shown)


Second Fall

We see Bockwinkel rams Kimura headfirst into the post on the outside and rolls him back into the ring. Bockwinkel and Stevens pick him up and drop his throat on the top rope. Bockwinkel drops a knee on his chest and pins him at 7:19 (25 seconds shown)


Third Fall

Kimura is down in the wrong corner. Stevens is choking him from outside and Bockwinkel is stepping on his throat. Bockwinkel knees him in the back three times, Kusatsu comes running over to try and make the save. Stevens throws Kimura between the ropes to the floor, Bockwinkel jumps down and twice rams his head into the apron. Kusatsu brawls with Bockwinkel on the outside and gets his eyes raked. Stevens and Bock work over Kimura in their corner and hit him with a big double team kneelift. Kusatsu runs in again and bonks their heads together, he chops Stevens and Kimura chops Bockwinkel. Kimura and Kusatsu whip Bock and Stevens into each other. They grab them again and bulldog their heads together. Kusatsu whips Bockwinkel into the corner, but inadvertently sents him into the referee. The ref goes down! Kimura brawls in the corner with Bockwinkel, Kusatsu hooks an abdominal stretch on Stevens and thinks he has won the match. But the referee gets up and DQ's the Japanese team at 3:30. (1:58 shown). Both teams keep their respective titles. Total match time approximately 24:41.


Goddamn, this footage was so great. This really could have been an excellent match if it was complete. I truly enjoyed everything that Bockwinkel and Stevens did, so many subtleties and heel maneuvers. Three stars *** based on what aired.




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Posted by Jerry Von Kramer--- 2/24/15 The Microscope


Ray Stevens & Nick Bockwinkel vs Rusher Kimura & Great Kusatsu (AWA vs IWA Tag Titles from Japan) (11/21/74)

Incredible upgrade in video quality for this Japanese footage. Two out of three falls. Stevens with who I think is Kusatusu. Shoulder tackle. Kuatsu gets a wristlock synced in. He has a weird face and expression. Bock in. Shoulder block. Suplex by Kusatsu. Bulldog by Kimura!! Three count! Wow, that was some hot action! Kimura looks really good. Bock's selling exceptional.

Stevens checks on Bock for the second fall. Heels on top. Double gullotine on the top rope. Ref bump gets a laugh from the crowd. Not sure what happened there, but Bock and Stevens take a quick second fall. I think this must be heavily clipped.

Third fall and they dump Kimura to the outside. Bock with cheap offense on the outside as Stevens goes after Kimura. Double teaming now. Kusatsu comes in with a double noggin knocker. And we get the collision spot between Bock and Stevens again. They do the Bushwackers battering ram spot. Abdominal stretch on Stevens by Kusatsu. And that's a submission.

I'm not rating this, too clipped despite excellent VQ. But the finishing sequence of the first fall was really good and Kimura looked great.

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  • 8 months later...

I wish we had more than the 6 and a half minutes of this but what we do have is a lot of fun. You always come into a match like this hyper-examining Stevens because it's relatively early footage for him and you want to find some glimpse of the magic. He throws himself into moves with abandon, almost enough so to make it comedic and there's a sort of emotional investment in his own moves that is well-appreciated but certainly nothing that paints him as an all time great. I do love the two of them on offense though. They have a double drape over the top rope which is really nasty for 1974 (and ends the second fall). It gets a call back to set up the end of the third fall which is really nice. They also have this cool double kick near the corner and cut off the ring well for as little as we've seen.


Bock looks pretty young, relatively and moves with a slight spring he wouldn't have in the following decade. I love the set up to the first fall's finish, where he's got the advantage off the ropes but Kusatsu leaps up mid-run to catch him in a front facelock and immediately suplexes him. That sets up two bulldogs and the pin. I don't think I've ever seen it done quite that way. I wish we had more Stevens/Bock than we do.



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  • GSR changed the title to [1974-11-21-IWE Japan] Nick Bockwinkel & Ray Stevens vs Rusher Kimura & Great Kusatsu

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