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[1987-03-20-NJPW] Keiji Mutoh & Shiro Koshinaka vs Nobuhiko Takada & Akira Maeda

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All four men played their parts to perfections in this action-packed tag. The UWF invaders laid some brutal shots into the young NJPW upstarts. Koshinaka gets in a number of incredible hope spots here, including one where he changes the tide of the match by evading a potential match-ending wheel kick into the corner by Maeda. I know Mutoh gets a lot of stick for being lazy and dull these days, but in his prime, he was a fired-up babyface with one of the best moonsaults in the business. Although there are a few people in the crowd cheering on Maeda, by the time they reach the molten-hot finishing stretch, everyone in the building is rooting for the NJPW lads. Every match I've seen so far in the NJPW vs UWF storyline has been brilliant, and this was no different. Everyone here impressed, but I thought this was career-best performance from Koshinaka. ★★★★½

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Akira Maeda & Nobuhiko Takada vs Shiro Koshinaka & Keiji Mutoh - NJPW 3/20/87 Vacant IWGP Tag Team Titles

Dont know the full story (maybe @KinchStalker does), but Fujinami & Kimura started wrestling each other in singles in December of 1986 and it really exploded in January of 1987 with January 2nd match being one of the best of the year from New Japan. This feud resulted in Fujinami & Kimura vacating the tag team titles. 

Maeda & Takada are heavy, heavy favorites. This is the betting equivalent of a 17 point spread. Mutoh is basically a rookie and Koshinaka is on Takada's level. So with Maeda who is considered on the level of a Fujinami or dare I say an Inoki, this should be slaughter sides. For 15 glorious minutes, the UWF boys kick the ever loving shit out of the New Japan boys. I do quite literally mean kick. These are some of the most ferocious kicks you would have ever seen. Takada is at his best as the valiant Ace Babyface fighting from underneath or in chess matches against Fujiwara. Very rarely if ever does Takada look violent or aggressive. This is aggressive Takada. He was just rifling off kicks. He was kicking Koshinaka and Mutoh when they were in the ropes. He was throwing kicks when Mutoh was shooting for takedowns. He was on fire. This was the best possible Maeda too. Maeda was LIGHTING FOOLS UP! He was WRECKING their shit! He threw some mean suplexes along with those wild kicks. This was the best extended squash you have ever seen. Koshinaka & Mutoh were totally pros feeding and selling for them. When I say "sell" I mean they would register but keep fighting. If they sold in a traditional Southern way, it would have ruined the rhythm of the match. Their version lent a more shoot-style feel to match and got Maeda's & Takada's offense more over. Mutoh & Koshinaka got some hope spots like a Mutoh knee drop or a Maeda missed Koppou Kick in the corner, but almost immediately the UWF boys would retaliate. It is great that when Mutoh & Koshinaka did try to get their famous spots in they were quashed. Koshinaka's Rear View got countered into a German Suplex how as Naomi/Asuka never worked that spot...Mutoh misses the Back Handspring Elbow in the corner. I cant stress enough even though this was lopsided it was wicked fun. One of the most obvious tropes in Puroresu, is he who takes the majority of the match is he who takes the fall. I smelt a rat from a mile away. Koshinaka got a small package I bit and here comes Mutoh. The discombobulated Takada falls prey to the Backbreaker/Moonsault combo! Which is ELETRIC IN 1987! Maeda saves. SPIKE PILEDRIVER~! Maeda saves. Maeda comes in and demolishes Koshinaka but Kosh gets a backslide! Takada back in. Mutoh saves before the Scorpion Deathlock is applied but Takada throws him out. Maeda detains Mutoh, but Koshinaka reverses the Scorpion Deathlock into an inside cradle for the UPSET WIN OF THE DECADE! Really cool upset win, wicked fun, awesome layout, kickass action. ****1/4   

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1 hour ago, Superstar Sleeze said:

Akira Maeda & Nobuhiko Takada vs Shiro Koshinaka & Keiji Mutoh - NJPW 3/20/87 Vacant IWGP Tag Team Titles

Dont know the full story (maybe @KinchStalker does), but Fujinami & Kimura started wrestling each other in singles in December of 1986 and it really exploded in January of 1987 with January 2nd match being one of the best of the year from New Japan. This feud resulted in Fujinami & Kimura vacating the tag team titles. 

Basically, Kimura was shaken by his loss to Fujinami in the December match; he'd been able to take Fujinami to a DKO draw back in 1980, but was decisively beaten here. So, he was a desperate man, and things got ugly at the 1/2 match, which was ruled a no-contest after it was found that Kimura had loaded his supporter (with this) for the Inazuma leg lariat. Their rematch the following night saw Fujinami disqualified in a sub-5:00 brawl. A blowoff match on 1/14 had unlimited time and no count-out stip, with even the springs removed from the ring to make it harder; to top it off, Umanosuke Ueda was made the special guest referee, as the now-babyface had enough experience working dirty to call the match straight down the middle. Fujinami put Kimura away, and the belts were vacated. Their paths didn't really cross until the intergenerational feud angle later that year, which saw them reconcile. In early 1988, they ended the nine-month period (which started six days after the upset match which is the subject of this thread) that the IWGP tag titles spent in ex-UWF hands, and would hold onto them for six months before a loss to Saito and Choshu. Unless you count Heisei Ishingun (by which point Kimura wasn't a major player anyway) they were never really rivals again; Kimura wanted to wrestle him in his retirement match, but Fujinami was unable to make this happen and he sent Nishimura in his stead.

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