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Jumbo Tsuruta v Ricky Steamboat


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Jumbo Tsuruta v Ricky Steamboat - AJPW 12/01/80


This is a very nice match, but it's not at the level you'd expect it to be considering that Jumbo Tsuruta is wrestling Ricky Steamboat for a half hour. The problem isn't the quality of the wrestling, which shouldn't be surprising; the problem is the direction of the wrestling, which probably is surprising. This is basically an extended feeling out process that lasts an entire thirty minutes, with flashes of good offense mixed in. Both deliver some great butterfly suplexes, both work the mat very well, both sell well. In that sense, it's a good match. What this match was missing was any sense of urgency at all, as any pinfall attempt seemed either arbitrary or coincidental. You don't get a feel for much in the way of strategy from either guy, because they can't seem to figure each other out. That's fine for a story in and of itself, but it usually leads to something happening afterwards, whether it's one guy missing a high-risk move and the other capitalizing, or even something as simple as one guy just taking it to the other guy in a way that forces his own opening.


Going the distance with Jumbo did a lot to make Steamboat look good, and it certainly didn't make Jumbo look weak, which is the best quality this match has. This was one of Steamboat's first appearances in Japan, and they took to him nicely, which can probably be attributed to performances like this. I do think anyone who watches this will like it, but don't expect anything on the same level as the best of either guy. Making it obvious they're going long is a problem a lot of longer matches have, unquestionably, but this one is paced more like they're going 60 minutes than going 30 minutes, although technically, everything is put over in proper fashion and the match does withstand the test of time.


***1/4, 30:00

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