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Meltzer Can't Leave Jumbo Alone


Sean Liska
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Meltzer had a little tweak in today's update that I'm assuming is aimed at jdw and the rest of the "Jumbo wasn't lazy" fans (of which I am one).

 

 

"--There is an interview with Rick Martel as yesterday was the 25th anniversary of his AWA title win over Jumbo Tsuruta at http://slam.canoe.ca/Slam/Wrestling/2009/05/11/9427566.html He wasn't that high on his title win match over Tsuruta which no doubt will cause some people's brains to short circuit."

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Guest Kenta Batista

I have seen some Jumbo matches recently (mainly tags) and I don't see where the lazy factor comes in. Jumbo seems like an unmotivated brawler to me who is really trying to kick someone's ass but not get too physical and violent as that means that the match will have to go on longer then he wants it to because he has girls waiting back at the hotel he wants to bang before the midnight hour.

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I agree with Loss, you need to see the match to see how credible his comments are, as 25 years is a long time, memories fade and people misremember things from so long ago, not to mention all wrestlers are workers to a degree. I'm sure Jumbo was difficult for Martel to work with due to the language barrier, different styles of working and the fact that he wasn't a well known star to the AWA fans. But there's a difference between being easy to work with and having quality matches that stand the test of time. For example, Martel puts over working with Jimmy Garvin (easy heat perhaps), yet no-one remembers their matches together, while people still talk about his matches with Jumbo. I mean if we were to believe Martel, Japanese fans always sat on their hands and were quiet during a match, yet he and Flair were so great they could draw heat from such a stoic, unmoving crowd.

 

I'm also surprised Dave's brains didn't explode with the praise for Bob Backlund as a great wrestler.

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By comparison to Martel's other matches with Jumbo, the title switch is the worst one of the bunch by far. I was never a big fan of it myself and what I've seen of their other matches reinforced my feelings on it.

 

I know jdw likes their Japan bouts a lot better (I've only seen JIPs of them and from what I've seen, I do as well), but my personal favourite is their 9/29/85 match in St. Paul the night after SC I (probably Martel's best title defense, IMO). I'd go with that one on the next PWO dvd if you need a Martel-Jumbo match...maybe put it next to the title change on that dvd if you would be inclined to do so, for comparison.

 

Ideally if I can get the two Japan matches in full or as full as they come, a Martel vs. Tsuruta comp would be the best way for people to compare them all. IIRC Martel also teamed with Terry Gordy in late 1984 over there against Jumbo and Tenryu which could be added as well.

 

But IMO Martel's rememberances about the title switch aren't wrong.

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For example, Martel puts over working with Jimmy Garvin (easy heat perhaps), yet no-one remembers their matches together, while people still talk about his matches with Jumbo.

I remember them and they were very good. :)

 

As I noted in my last post, the Martel-Jumbo bouts outside of the title switch are very good. I would argue that Jumbo match discussions and dissections come up a lot more often than Martel's matches do, and that fond remembrances of their bouts are probably more from those that watched a lot of Jumbo.

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Double post, sorry.

 

I'd rate off the top of my head these as excellent Martel title matches:

 

9/29/85 vs. Tsuruta, St. Paul, plus the ones in Japan I've seen part of in later 1984

8 or 9/84 vs. Bockwinkel in Winnipeg

early 1985 in Winnipeg vs. Garvin

Fall 1985 cage match against Boris Zurkov (yes, Boris friggin Zurkov) in Winnipeg.

20-minute draw vs. Terry Gordy, mid-1985 TV (probably PW USA).

Early 1985 vs. Saito in Winnipeg

title vs. title against Flair in Japan (I liked it but not as much as I thought I would when I finally saw it).

 

Also notable was a title defense against Billy Robinson on Thanksgiving 1984 in St. Paul that was pretty good considering that nobody thought Billy had any sort of a chance to win the title. Turned out to be fun to watch.

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They had these matches:

 

05/13/84 AWA Title: Jumbo Tsuruta vs Rick Martel (Title change)

07/25/84 Int'l Title: Jumbo Tsuruta vs Rick Martel

07/31/84 AWA Title: Rick Martel vs Jumbo Tsuruta

10/11/84 AWA Title: Rick Martel vs Jumbo Tsuruta

09/29/85 AWA Title: Rick Martel vs Jumbo Tsuruta (St. Paul)

 

The title change isn't good. I wouldn't defened it.

 

The 07/25/84 match is solid, but it's a spot show TV taping so it doesn't have Big Match aura to it.

 

The 07/31/84 match is terrific. Major heat, really good work, the crowd seriously thinking they were going to see Jumbo win it back. I'm not sure if I've seen a better Martel match. Runs circles around his match with Flair.

 

I haven't seen the 10/11/84 match. Don't know if it was even taped. Dan would be the one to check with if he's close to a 1984 Season Set for AJPW.

 

The 09/29/85 match seems to be well loved. Good heat from the crowd, and good work from the two. I think for Khawk this is the match because from an AWA Fan viewpoint, seeing them work together in the AWA and the AWA crowd responding well to it gives him a bit of a buzz. I'm an AJPW fan, so seeing them nail a match in Japan on a major card (Sumo Hall) and the crowd digging it gives me a bit of a buzz. They both flat out are must matches on a Jumbo comp, as they would be for a Martel comp. The title change would need to be there for historic value. And at this point simply to offer the contrast that they didn't nail it the first time, but in both Japan and in the AWA they later nailed it well.

 

Ginnetty had a disk with the two AJPW episodes with the July matches. Khawk and others have the St. Paul match.

 

I can't be too critical of Martel saying the title change wasn't good. I tend to think it's an example of the knowledge of the Slammer interviewing him, and to a degree in making the smack, that they didn't bring up later matches between the two. *That* would be interesting to have the thoughts of Martel on - how one can improve a match when working again with a wrestler.

 

John

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Double post, sorry.

 

I'd rate off the top of my head these as excellent Martel title matches:

 

9/29/85 vs. Tsuruta, St. Paul, plus the ones in Japan I've seen part of in later 1984

8 or 9/84 vs. Bockwinkel in Winnipeg

early 1985 in Winnipeg vs. Garvin

Fall 1985 cage match against Boris Zurkov (yes, Boris friggin Zurkov) in Winnipeg.

20-minute draw vs. Terry Gordy, mid-1985 TV (probably PW USA).

Early 1985 vs. Saito in Winnipeg

title vs. title against Flair in Japan (I liked it but not as much as I thought I would when I finally saw it).

 

Also notable was a title defense against Billy Robinson on Thanksgiving 1984 in St. Paul that was pretty good considering that nobody thought Billy had any sort of a chance to win the title. Turned out to be fun to watch.

That match against Rheingans on your Martel comp was pretty awesome. I remember thinking both guys looked super smooth on the mat. Too bad the crowd tuned out.

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I did find it odd that Martel portrayed Jumbo as out of step with the American style of work. I'd argue that Jumbo worked a more U.S. style than any of the other top AJPW guys. He threw in all kinds of little flourishes to play to the crowd and he built his matches in a way that was fairly typical for main event workers in the 1970s and 1980s. You watch that Flair-Jumbo match that just went out on the PWO disc and hardly get the sense that you're watching guys from radically different traditions. That match could've worked in the U.S. with a few months build to get Jumbo over as a top guy.

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