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[1989-04-24-NJPW-Super Powers Clash] Shinya Hashimoto vs Big Van Vader


Tawren
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Finals of the IWGP title tournament on this show. These two are just beasts - I'm on a Hashimoto run right now but might just start watching Vader matches for a while.

 

There's a great moment at the start where Vader has smoke come out of his mask and does a war cry or something and the camera cuts to the most unimpressed Hashimoto ever. They just clobber and stiff each other and Vader hammers Hash with a lariat to win the belt in around 15 minutes. Good, stiff fun that is outshined by Hashimoto vs Zangiev earlier in the card but still absolutely worth watching.

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  • 5 months later...

First of all, Vader doing his smoke-from-the-armor pre-match ritual which lead to Hashimoto having a "really?" look on his face was amazing. Then the match starts w/ both guys looking to gain the first control of one another - Hash ends up on the winning side of things, but he doesn't keep Vader contained & eventually Vader goddamn BLASTS him with a big backhand. Hashimoto's selling of this was amazing & he really comes off as a wounded bear after he received that one. Vader does his thing, beats the crap out of Hash on top. That sets the tone for rest of the match - it's mostly Vader on top, giving Hashimoto a beating, but Hash refuses to go down easily & every time he manages to get some offense going, the Dome goes unglued. Absolutely loved how he targeted Vader's arm throughout, he was relentless & wasn't gonna leave the place without destroying that left arm of Vader's. Hashimoto's selling is absolutely incredible throughout, but so is Vader's - he sells all of Hash's arm targeting & offense in general perfectly for his role in the thing. One of my favorite Tokyo Dome & NJPW matches - just two all-time greats demonstrating why they are exactly that via delivering all-time great performances. The way they conveyed the drama, the struggle & the emotion is simply unreal. Actually not just one of my favorite Tokyo Dome & NJPW matches, but one of my favorite matches of all-time, period. *****

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Hashimoto doesn't have time for Vader's hollering and smoke-spewing elephant head. He immediately goes after the injured arm of Vader, which Fujinami had worked earlier in the night. Vader does a good job initially of keeping the arm behind him but Hashimoto's able to snag it and Vader has to pop him with a spinning backhand. The tension between these two is pretty damn great and when Hashimoto lets loose with the kicks to the arm, Vader sells it terrifically. Vader does such a good job of playing the vulnerable monster in Japan who is scared (legitimately) of submission holds. Vader bodyslams out of a double wristlock, building some momentum, which includes a big dropkick, but when he goes up top, Hashimoto stops him with a spinning heel kick and once again goes back to the best shot he has at winning: that injured arm. But Vader is often able to clobber his way out of trouble and does so here, punching Hashimoto in the face and hitting two lariats, the second enough to score the win following an awkward hesitation by special guest ref, Lou Thesz, on the three count. A simple story of finding the dragon's weakness and exploiting it but in the end, the dragon eats the knight. Great stuff.

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Big Van Vader vs Shinya Hashimoto - NJPW 4/24/89 IWGP Tournament Finals

On a night of fantastic matches, this wins match of the night for me, just two of the greatest asskickers of all time going shot for shot. Hashimoto knows the strategy against Vader never deviates from the opening bell attack the left arm, attack the left arm, attack the left arm. Vader plays keeps away early but Hashimoto wrenches it and Vader screams in pain. Vader gets the ropes. He baits Hashimoto by dangling his bad arm and then hits a wicked spinning back fist to rock the young upstart. Vader smothers Hashimoto on the ropes and then on the mat. Hashimoto fights to his feet but Vader hits him with a straight right and then a lariat that sends Hashimoto out of the ring. Hashimoto is able to collect himself and when he gets back in the ring starts kicking the bad arm. Double wrist lock and Vader is hollering out with painful screams. Hashimoto gets a two count back on their feet Hashimoto tees off with kicks. Vader's selling here reminds me of Brock. Vader flaying wildly in pain and then just hits that wild swinging bear paw to quash the rally. Hashimoto rolls to outside while Vader collapses on the ropes and his second Rheingains massages the injured arm. Great pro wrestling! You can always tell when Vader is really injured by how quickly he goes for covers. Once they square up again straight front kick, Irish Whip, Vader Splash in corner for two. Boom! Safe, economical. Use his weight gets a quick cover. Goes right back to it this time Hashimoto moves and drives left arm to buckle. INSANE HEAT for Hashimoto doing the over the shoulder armbreaker. Vader body slams out of the double wrist lock. Then VADER HITS THE MOTHER OF ALL DROPKICKS! The Big Man has got ups!

Vader deviates from his safe, economical to go up top and is caught by a HUGE SPINNING HEEL KICK! Crowd goes wild! Can the kid do it? CROSS-ARMBREAKER!!! Vader powers out. Hashimoto rifles Vader's arm with kicks. BANG! Vader KNOCKS Hashimoto the fuck out with a right. Two monster lariats (it is a little anti-climatic and Thesz fucks up the count if they just went to the pin after the KO right I think that would have been better) and the Man They Call Vader wins his first IWGP Championship.

Man if you watch this with no backstory you never know this was Hashimoto's first big chance at the main event. Had the poise of veteran. Great offense from him never relented on the arm. He built some big time heat for himself. That cross armbreaker had me believing. But his selling ruled that sell of that KO right wow! Vader rules! Busting out shit like that spinning back fist and dropkick shows his variety! Here not feeding and bumping but focusing on selling that arm and kicking ass. Boy did he kick some serious ass! Match of the year contender in a fucking loaded year. These two rule! ****3/4

 

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  • GSR changed the title to [1989-04-24-NJPW-Super Powers Clash] Shinya Hashimoto vs Big Van Vader

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