Quebrada Pro Wrestling, Puroresu, & Mixed Martial Arts Reviews by Mike Lorefice

Best All Japan Pro Wrestling & New Japan Puroresu Matches of 1991
by Jerome Denis

Here are the matches I enjoyed the most (and some not as much) in 1991

All Japan

Jumbo & Co vs Misawa & Co:

The best feud in puroresu continues in 1991. A personal rivalry emerges between Akira Taue and Toshiaki Kawada; Mitusharu Misawa finally challenges Jumbo for the Triple Crown before getting injured and letting his partner carry the load of their team for the rest of the year; Kenta Kobashi is getting better and better; Taue is getting worse; Fuchi still like to stretch and torture Tsuyochi Kikuchi; and Jumbo is as grumpy as ever.

01/02 Toshiaki Kawada & Mitsuharu Misawa vs Jumbo Tsuruta & Mighty Inoue (10:16//)

This kicks off the feud between the respective number 2 of their teams as Taue gets all pissed off at Kawada.

01/15 Toshiaki Kawada vs Akira Taue (11:41)

First single match between the two. Kawada kicks Taue's ass.

01/15 Mitsuharu Misawa & Kenta Kobashi & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi vs Jumbo Tsuruta & Masanobu Fuchi & Mighty Inoue (12:33//)

01/26 Masanobu Fuchi vs Tsuyoshi Kikuchi (5:25//)

01/26 Toshiaki Kawada & Kenta Kobashi vs Jumbo Tsuruta & Mighty Inoue (9:17//)

01/26 Mitsuharu Misawa vs Akira Taue (7:24)

Akira Taue hits a tope con hilo from the apron to the floor, so Misawa gets hot and finishes the match with some sort of Tiger Driver variation that would become somewhat meaningful in the future.

01/27 Toshiaki Kawada & Mitsuharu Misawa & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi vs Jumbo Tsuruta & Masanobu Fuchi & Akira Taue (20:26//)

Pretty much as good as you'd expect, with Kikuchi getting Kikuchi'd and Taue and Kawada getting at each others with hatred.

02/23 Toshiaki Kawada & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi vs Akira Taue & Yoshinari Ogawa (7:58//)

02/26 Kenta Kobashi & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi vs Jumbo Tsuruta & Masanobu Fuchi (7:51//)

03/23 Mitsuharu Misawa & Kenta Kobashi & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi vs Jumbo Tsuruta & Masanobu Fuchi & Akira Taue (13:52//)

As great as it gets, with the younger team being clear underdogs. Lots of Kikuchi busting going on, as Jumbo and Fuchi are awesomely grumpy.

04/06 Jumbo Tsuruta vs Toshiaki Kawada (17:12)

Carnival match in which Kawada pushes Jumbo pretty far. An excellent first glimpse at what would come later in the year between those two.

04/16 Masanobu Fuchi vs Tsuyoshi Kikuchi (5:05//)

04/16 Toshiaki Kawada & Mitsuharu Misawa vs Akira Taue & Yoshinari Ogawa (13:47//)

04/18 Toshiaki Kawada vs Akira Taue (15:52)

Taue takes his revenge at Budokan. Pretty damn good job on Kawada's part; he carries the very hit and miss Taue to a meaningful match.

04/18 Jumbo Tsuruta vs Mitsuharu Misawa (23:27)

Biggest single match of the year as Misawa finally challenges Jumbo for the Triple Crown. Its nowhere near as magic as their 1990 encounters, but its still an excellent match.

04/20 Toshiaki Kawada & Kenta Kobashi & Mitsuharu Misawa vs Jumbo Tsuruta & Masanobu Fuchi & Akira Taue (28:18//)

Awesome match at Korakuen. The top of All Japan is there and they nearly go broadway. Akira brings the Kawada hatred and Kobashi gets his left knee pulverized. Fuchi is at his best too.

05/17 Jumbo Tsuruta & Masanobu Fuchi vs Mitsuhara Misawa & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi (13:56//)

The mix of #1 and junior of their respective teams makes this one particularly interesting.

05/24 Jumbo Tsuruta vs Kenta Kobashi (9:29//)

Kobashi has no chance in hell to win, but Jumbo still makes you think he can. Kobashi looks like gold, and Jumbo shows why he's the best. Awesome.

06/07 Kenta Kobashi & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi vs Jumbo Tsuruta & Akira Taue (10:33//)

Jumbo & Taue continue to destroy Kenta's left knee.

07/06 Toshiaki Kawada & Mitsuharu Misawa vs Jumbo Tsuruta & Yoshinari Ogawa (9:01//)

Ogawa shows some spunk and its fun to see him getting all excited and try to beat Kawada and Misawa's asses.

07/14 Jumbo Tsuruta & Masanobu Fuchi vs Kenta Kobashi & Johnny Ace (14:13//)

If you like watching Kobashi's knee getting destroyed by grumpy old assholes and Kenta getting back at them before a hot crowd, this is just designed for you. Super fun match.

07/18 Toshiaki Kawada vs Masanobu Fuchi (12:18//)

Fuchi is the best stretcher, knee tourmenter ever an Kawada sells like a master. The Korakuen crowd is going crazy for the old Fuch. Who said you needed big time offense to make a real good match?

07/20 Toshiaki Kawada vs Akira Taue (10:00//)

Another really good match even though Taue seems worse in execution than he was earlier in the year. Kawada wins with the sleeper, which is important.

07/26 Kenta Kobashi vs Akira Taue (10:14/30:00)

Hard to tell how good this match really was, as the thought of ungood Taue going 30 minutes is scary, but what is showed is excellent thanks to the goodwill of Kobashi.

07/26 Jumbo Tsuruta & Masanobu Fuchi & Yoshinari Ogawa vs Toshiaki Kawada & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi & Mitsuharu Misawa (13:55//)

Misawa is banged up and doesn't contribute much. His weakness actually adds a nice twist to the story as Kawada and Kikuchi are forced to cover him. Jumbo and Fuchi are as grumpy as ever. Jumbo pins Misawa.

08/17 Kenta Kobashi & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi vs Jumbo Tsuruta & Yoshinari Ogawa (13:20//)

When Jumbo and Kobashi are in opposite corners, it delivers all the time. The best babyface team in Japan get a big win at Korakuen. Very good match.

08/18 Kenta Kobashi & Mitsuharu Misawa vs Jumbo Tsuruta & Akira Taue (18:56//)

Nowhere near as good as it looks. Probably the worst match involving this four, although Kobashi and Jumbo still bring the goodness. Taue is no good.

08/29 Mitsuharu Misawa & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi vs Jumbo Tsuruta & Akira Taue (21:33)

Impossible match for Misawa as he's injured and he cannot let his partner do the work. Too one-sided to be special, but it's still very enjoyable to watch Kikuchi act like hes a big shot and getting punished for it.

09/23 Toshiaki Kawada & Kenta Kobashi vs Masanobu Fuchi & Akira Taue (21:52)

Excellent match before the hot Korakuen crowd. Taue is pretty decent for once, but Kawada and Kobashi opposing old bastard Fuchi make the match.

09/23 Jumbo Tsuruta & Yoshinari Ogawa vs Mitsuharu Misawa & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi (12:52//)

Jumbo exploits Misawa's weakness and break Kikuchi in half. Good stuff, even though its not nearly as competitive as it would have been with a healthy Misawa.

09/27 Toshiaki Kawada & Kenta Kobashi vs Jumbo Tsuruta & Akira Taue (20:17)

Kawada is finally assuming the role of number one of his team, as he's the next Triple Crown challenger. Watch him stretch Taue and point the finger to Jumbo, then watch Jumbo do the same to Kobashi. Taue has one of his best night of the year, and the other three are the best wrestlers in the company, so it ends up being a great match worked at a sprint pace before the ever hot Korakuen crowd.

10/02 Toshiaki Kawada & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi vs Jumbo Tsuruta & Yoshinari Ogawa (15:55//)

Better than Misawa's versions of the same match. Kawada and Jumbo play the stretching game, foreshadowing their TC encounter. Kawada beats Jumbo's team.

10/10 Toshiaki Kawada & Mitsuharu Misawa & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi vs Jumbo Tsuruta & Yoshinari Ogawa & Akira Taue (24:46)

Excellent, super heated match in which Misawa takes a backseat to Jumbo and Kawada pissing each other off. Ogawa is spunky and gets Kikuchi'd by Kawada. As a reply Jumbo murders Kikuchi a bit. Misawa and Taue works some nice sequences too.

10/15 Jumbo Tsuruta & Masanubo Fuchi & Akira Taue vs Toshiaki Kawada & Tsuyshi Kikuchi & Mitsuharu Misawa (23:54)

Essentially a handicap match as Misawa barely gets involved because of his broken nose. So Jumbo & Co are just vicious and kill Kikuchi with a hundred new creative methods. Kawada is all alone to carry the load, and the heat is pretty nuclear, even by Korakuen high standards.

10/27 (TV) Toshiaki Kawada & Kenta Kobashi & Tsuyshi Kikuchi vs Jumbo Tsuruta & Masanobu Fuchi & Akira Taue (28:31)

The interactions between Kawada & Jumbo are great, and the old bastards working on Kobashi's nose to make up for Misawa's absence is nifty, but the match drags a bit.

10/27 Toshiaki Kawada vs Jumbo Tsuruta (19:04)

Best AJ single match of the year. Kawada challenges for the TC and pushes Jumbo far, holding him down, trying his sleeper (credible finisher) on him and showing what progress he has made during the year. Jumbo is awesome too in his grumpy role, putting Kawada over and at the same time showing that he's still the Man. Not as great as Chono vs Mutoh in terms of pure work, but no match this year has the same depth.

11/21 Toshiaki Kawada & Mitsuharu Misawa vs Kenta Kobashi & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi (12:23)

RWTL. Interesting to watch Misawa's group fighting each other. The gap in ranking prevents it from being too great, but its still very good, Kobashi vs Kawada being the highlight.

11/29 Toshiaki Kawada & Mitsuharu Misawa vs Jumbo Tsuruta & Akira Taue (30:00)

RWTL. Great match, but not as good as their RWTL match the previous year. Taue has actually gotten worse, and Misawa is hurt again (this time, to the right eye), although this allows Jumbo to get in complete heel mode at one point. Kawada is just awesome once again, his growth against Jumbo being one of the theme of the match. The best native vs native match of the year.

Tag Team Mess:

The other main focus of All Japan revolves around the Real World Tag Titles, as four teams (two natives, two gaijins) battle for it. But the main point of this mess is pushing Misawa and Kawada as the number one native team and finally becoming champion by defeating the dominating team of the last year, Gordy and Williams.

01/?? Jumbo Tsuruta & Akira Taue vs Stan Hansen & Danny Spivey (9:54//)

First disapointing match between those two teams.

02/23 Kenta Kobashi & Mitsuharu Misawa vs Terry Gordy & Steve Williams (12:27//)

A very good warm up match for Misawa before the title challenge.

02/26 Toshiaki Kawada & Mitsuharu Misawa vs Terry Gordy & Steve Williams (21:17)

Misawa and Kawada chasing Gordy & Williams is the big tag team feud of the year. Excellent title match, culminating with Gordy knocking off Misawa for good with a powerbomb on the canvas. Misawa sells it like he just OD'd.

03/02 Terry Gordy & Steve Williams & Richard Slinger vs Jumbo Tsuruta & Akira Taue & Yoshinari Ogawa (9:38//)

Warm up for the title match.

03/04 Jumbo Tsuruta & Akira Taue vs Terry Gordy & Steve Williams (22:14)

Very good title match.

03/26 Mitsuharu Misawa & Kenta Kobashi vs Stan Hansen & Dan Spivey (11:46)

04/18 Terry Gordy & Steve Williams vs Stan Hanson & Dan Spivey (14:42//)

Not as great as their 1990 match, but its still a definitive one as far as gaijin vs gaijin matches go.

05/17 Toshiaki Kawada & Kenta Kobashi vs Terry Gordy & Steve Williams (8:26//)

Very good match.

05/20 Kenta Kobashi & Mitsuharu Misawa vs Terry Gordy & Steve Williams (16:17//)

Misawa try to get even with Gordy on the outside, and he gets KO'd once again, for good.

05/24 Toshiaki Kawada & Mitsuharu Misawa vs Terry Gordy & Steve Williams (16:07)

Misawa & Kawada finally hit their first win over Gordy and Williams in another excellent match. Misawa is aiming at Gordy, but he finally avenges his loss to Williams in their previous match.

06/01 Toshiaki Kawada vs Steve Williams (15:52//)

The number two of their respective teams against each other. Its the first single match in which Williams shows some real goodness, and Kawada makes the whole thing an enjoyable affair.

06/01 Mitsuharu Misawa vs Terry Gordy (13:06//)

First single match between the two, as Misawa tries to avenge the powerbomb humiliation and defeat the number 2 gaijin in the company. Excellent match.

06/01 Jumbo Tsuruta & Akira Taue vs Stan Hansen & Dan Spivey (13:47//)

Title match which doesn't get that good. These two teams don't really click, maybe because Taue doesn't work that well with gaijins.

06/03 Toshiaki Kawada & Mitsuharu Misawa vs Stan Hansen & Joel Deaton (13:07)

Deaton facing a big time opposition and looking good doing so. A preparation of sort for Misawa & Kawada's challenge for the titles. Fun stuff.

06/03 Terry Gordy & Steve Williams & Richard Slinger vs Jumbo Tsuruta & Akira Taue & Yoshinari Ogawa (5:32//)

The very few showed is really good.

06/07 Toshiaki Kawada & Mitsuharu Misawa vs Stan Hansen & Dan Spivey (18:24)

Another disappointing title defense by Hansen & Spivey. Hansen vs Kawada is the best part of the match.

07/06 Terry Gordy & Steve Williams vs Stan Hansen & Dan Spivey (12:23//)

Very forgettable match which ends a very disappointing title reign by Hansen & Spivey.

07/14 Toshiaki Kawada & Mitsuharu Misawa & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi vs Terry Gordy & Steve Williams & Rick Rude (15:10//)

Nothing excessively good, with Rude being out of place, but it has a meaningful ending: Williams squashes Kawada on the floor while Gordy get his win back on Misawa with the dreaded powerbomb.

07/18 Terry Gordy & Steve Williams & Rick Rude vs Jumbo Tsuruta & Mighty Inoue & Akira Taue (10:36//)

Gordy and Williams are on fire, and Rude actually looks good here. Williams gets on Jumbo's nerves as hes the next TC challenger. Usual hot Korakuen crowd.

07/20 Jumbo Tsuruta vs Steve Williams (20:34)

Not good at all. Williams is clueless about how to play his role and Jumbo doesn't figure out a way to make this look compelling. Disapointing TC match.

07/24 Toshiaki Kawada & Mitsuharu Misawa vs Terry Gordy & Steve Williams (25:46//)

So-so match that goes way too long. Misawa is all banged up and pretty sad to watch; Williams has a bad night. Only Gordy and Kawada prevent this from being a dog. Misawa & Kawada finally defeat the number one gaijin team and become champions. Misawa actually cracks up a smile in the locker room, which is always a site to see.

08/17 Toshiaki Kawada & Mitsuharu Misawa vs Stan Hansen & Johnny Ace (13:18)

Its all about Tosh vs Hansen. Ace actually looks good. The match is pretty good but too short, and bad referee Joe Higuchi blows the finish.

08/29 Toshiaki Kawada & Kenta Kobashi vs Stan Hansen & Dan Spivey (13:57//)

Yet another mediocre performance by Hansen/Spivey. The best part is Kobashi pissing off Hansen.

09/04 Toshiaki Kawada & Mitsuharu Misawa vs Jumbo Tsuruta & Akira Taue (21:15//)

Excellent match, mostly thanks to awesome performances of Jumbo and Kawada. Misawa's injured shoulder prevent him from working like he should, although his weakness is well exploited. Taue just plain sucks here. Historical match, as Misawa because the first man to make Jumbo submit.

09/27 Mitsuharu Misawa & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi vs Terry Gordy & Steve Williams (11:15//)

Good match at Korakuen Hall, in which the natives, particularly poor little Kikuchi, get their ass kicked.

10/02 Kenta Kobashi & Mitsuharu Misawa vs Terry Gordy & Steve Williams (12:45//)

Misawa is getting healthier but Kobashi still tries to protect his elder by going the extra extra mile. Strong performances from everyone, with the requisite Misawa trying to make Gordy submit sequence.

11/16 Toshiaki Kawada & Mitsuharu Misawa vs Stan Hansen & Dan Spivey (12:23)

RWTL. Short all action sprint at Korakuen Hall. It's much better than their title match, with Hansen being particularly active. Misawa is coming back from injury and looks healthy.

11/21 Jumbo Tsuruta & Akira Taue vs Terry Gordy & Steve Williams (12:18/30:00)

RWTL. What is showed is very good, but its doubtful that its better than their title match earlier in the year, as 30 minutes is a long time to fill for Williams and Taue.

12/04 Terry Gordy & Steve Williams vs Stan Hansen & Dan Spivey (20:44)

RWTL. Better than their last title match and their tag league match from 90, although there are some downright ugly moments. Hansen actually pins Gordy.

12/06 Jumbo Tsuruta & Akira Taue vs Stan Hansen & Dan Spivey (7:00//)

RWTL. From what is shown its the best match these two teams had with each other.

12/06 Toshiaki Kawada & Mitsuharu Misawa vs Terry Gordy & Steve Williams (25:21)

RWTL. The final match of the league offers a conclusion to the feud of the year. Like in their first title match this year, Misawa ends up KO'd on the outside after the infamous Gordy powerbomb, and Kawada has to fight alone (another typical AJ storyline). One year of booking coming full circle, with everybody in top form. My favorite tag match of the year.

Miscellaneous Heavyweight Matches:

01/ ?? Kenta Kobashi vs Abdullah the Butcher (9:24)

Quite enjoyable for an Abby match, as the old Butcher actually gives Kobashi a lot of respect and sells for him the most he can.

01/19 Jumbo Tsuruta vs Stan Hansen (15:48)

Jumbo regains the TC, in another forgettable match between the two.

03/23 Stan Hansen vs Dynamite Kid (6:59)

Two legends meeting.

03/23 Toshiaki Kawada vs Dan Kroffat (9:28//)

Excellent stuff, as expected, which brings back some memories from Can-Am vs Footloose.

03/29 Jumbo Tsuruta vs Akira Taue (12:36)

Mentor vs student. Jumbo gets less out of Taue than Misawa and Kawada did.

04/06 Mitsuharu Misawa vs Stan Hansen (12:46//)

04/16 Jumbo Tsuruta vs Stan Hansen (12:52)

These matches are rather good, but nothing special. Hansen in single isn't that impressive at this point and can't seem to have an excellent match even with quality opposition.

04/18 Kenta Kobashi vs Dan Kroffat (4:47//)

07/24 Kenta Kobashi vs Doug Furnas (3 :52//)

09/04 Kenta Kobashi vs Stan Hansen (4 :44//)

A bunch of really good extracts from Kobashi's single matches.

12/21 (TV) Kenta Kobashi vs Terry Gordy (8:58)

Very good match. Gordy gives the much inferior ranked Kobashi a lot of offense and some credible near-falls.

All Asian Tag Titles:

The Can-Am toured All Japan regularly again in '91, and that gave the All Asian scene a boost of interest. Joel Deaton and Billy Black were the good surprise of the year, as they delivered quality stuff and got over with the crowd very quickly. Most of these matches are at least good.

01/27 Kenta Kobashi & Johnny Ace vs Joel Deaton & Billy Black (4:49//)

First glimpse at Black & Deaton, who would become a highlight of the division during the year.

04/20 Dan Kroffat & Doug Furnas vs Johnny Smith & Dynamite Kid (4:29//)

Dyno is nearly at the end of the road.

05/20 Toshiaki Kawada & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi vs Dan Kroffat & Doug Furnas (4:19//)

07/06 Dan Kroffat & Doug Furnas vs Tommy Rogers & Bobby Fulton (4:10//)

Dream match, but way too few is showed.

07/18 Kenta Kobashi & Johnny Ace vs Billy Black & Joel Deaton (8:10//)

Black & Deaton were a good All Asian team. This match takes place at Korakuen and the hardcore crowd is hot for the gaijins. Really good stuff.

07/26 Dan Kroffat & Doug Furnas vs Billy Black & Joel Deaton (6:08//)

Yet another very good All Asian title match from Black and Deaton, this time against the Can-Am. Furnas quickly became the best Scott Steiner ever in '91. Can-Am regain their old title.

10/02 Dan Kroffat & Doug Furnas vs Billy Black & Joel Deaton (5:04//)

What's shown is excellent. The gaijins work a strong match and get hot reactions from the audience. The culmination of the feud for the All-Asian title, with the Can-Am retaining their titles.

12/04 Dan Kroffat & Doug Furnas vs Jumbo Tsuruta & Akira Taue (8:01//)

RWTL. Very good match, and interesting to watch what Kroffat does with Taue (who sucks). It shows how great Kroffat was, either in a junior or a heavyweight setting.

Other Junior Matches:

The junior division was nothing important, but Fuchi and his opponents still delivered some quality matches, although in a very different style from NJs juniors.

03/02 Dean Malenko vs Masanobu Fuchi (4:56//)

03/04 Masanobu Fuchi vs Joe Malenko (4:26//)

07/24 Dan Kroffat vs Tsuyoshi Kikuchi (3:28//)

08/17 Masanobu Fuchi vs Joe Malenko (4:23//)

What's showed of these match is enjoyable, to different degrees.

10/24 Dan Kroffat vs Masanobu Fuchi (9:07//)

Excellent title defense by Fuchi, who literally destroys Kroffat's already injured knee. Kroffat's selling is wonderful. Not spectacular in a junior way, but memorable, with some great drama.

New Japan

Singles Matches Rise of the Musketeers:

This year saw the emergence of the infamous Three Musketeers, the new generation who was supposed to dethrone the old guard of Fujinami and Choshu. The G1 Climax was booked to put them over, and Choshu just did a wonder with this idea, revealing Chono as one of the best heavyweight in the world. His booking efficiency also showed in the way he created a new gaijin monster in Scott Norton, who, despite being limited, got over perfectly (thanks to Vader and Mutoh) and found a way to work some entertaining matches. The heavyweight division was stained by a very hit and miss champion however, as Fujinami delivered some truly disgraceful performances and looked like a washed up and lazy caricature of his old self on occasion.

01/17 Big Van Vader vs Tatsumi Fujinami (12:57)

Vader and Fujinami renews their feud, and its still pretty damn good. Fuji actually works hard and Vader is better than he was two years before, so its quite enjoyable to watch.

02/?? Shiro Koshinaka vs Masaji Aoyagi (R4 2:44)

Its goofy as hell, but Shiro makes it work.

03/04 Big Van Vader vs Tatsumi Fujinami (3:40//)

Fuji regains the IWGP title. In retrospect, Vader holding it would have been much more enjoyable.

03/21 Tatsumi Fujinami vs Ric Flair (9:50//)

Flair works as if he is really suffering from jetlag or something, but its not a complete disgrace. It's not particularly good either.

03/21 Great Muta vs Sting (10/16//)

Pretty good match, but nothing special.

05/31 Masahiro Chono vs Tatsumi Fujinami (13:26//)

Quite an abortion, as Fuji decides he's too old to work and Chono is more than happy to follow the lead. All in all, a pretty disgraceful and nonsensical affair.

06/12 Big Van Vader vs Scott Norton (12:46)

07/04 Shinya Hashinoto vs Scott Norton (11:13)

Two matches that did wonders to put Norton over.

07/19 Big Van Vader vs Shinya Hashimoto (14:40/18:34)

Just a mess of a match.

08/09 Big Van Vader vs Scott Norton (5:55/10:53)

G1 match. As good as it gets for a Norton single match. His feud with Vader is what made him a credible monster in NJ.

08/09 Keiji Mutoh vs Tatsumi Fujinami (9:16/13:56)

Good G1 match in which Mutoh pushes the pace and make Fujinami get up his ass for once. Mutoh scores the upset win over the IWGP champion.

08/09 Masahiro Chono vs Shinya Hashimoto (17:18/30:00)

Excellent G1 match. Hash's selling is a bit suspect sometimes, but Chono is just wonderful to watch.

08/11 Masahiro Chono vs Shinya Hasimoto (7:30/15:50)

Same workers, same results. Probably better than the previous match is since it was shorter, and Hashimoto is not a guy to work for 30 minutes.

08/11 Masahiro Chono vs Keiji Mutoh (21:29/29:03)

G1 final. State of the art heavyweight match, and probably the best match of the year in term of pure work, although it cannot touch the depth of Jumbo's matches with Kawada and Kobashi. It's basically the young generation taking over and becoming stars in their own right. The best wrestler and right man wins, as goofy Mutoh was already considered the biggest star of the two. Chono establishes himself as one of the best wrestler in the world with his performance.

08/25 Super Strong Machine vs Great Muta (9:28)

Working as a mask ripping heel can be acceptable if you let the match develop into something when the face makes his comeback. But as t is, its a pile of shit.

09/10 Hiroshi Hase vs Tatsumi Fujinami (18:14)

Good technically, but flat because Fuji won't do much to make the match special. Disapointing for Hase.

10/23 Shinya Hashimoto vs Tony Halme (4R 1:15)

Goofy martial art match which works actually pretty well, with a good drama. It's not pretty to watch, but its efficient and gets the New Japan crowd hot.

10/23 Great Muta vs Tatsumi Fujinami (13:45/16:01)

Basic Muta match in which he makes his opponent bleed. Fujinami actually decides to get up his ass and work, so its quite good for what it is. As usual, it gets screwy in the end, but its ultimately satisfying considering the Muta character.

11/05 Shinya Hashimoto vs Riki Choshu (12:25)

For the Greatest 18 Club belt. Its always fun to see these two got at it. Its simplistic as ever; but despite the low level of actual workrate it just works. Not as good as their matches from 90 though.

11/05 Masashiro Chono vs Tatsumi Fujinami (9:52/19:49)

Best Fujinami match of the year, because he actually shows up, and mostly because Chono is just excellent again. Despite some suspect selling for Fuji at some point, the match is very good, with some nice counters and spots around the dragon sleeper. Finally an IWGP title match that looks like one.

12/11 Jushin Liger vs Tatsumi Fujinami (15:44)

Another pathetic performance from Fuji, who shows even less interest than in the Hase match. Whatever good here comes solely from Liger, who is aggressive and works the match he should to look good. Fuji brings nothing to the table, and looks bad as an IGWP champ since he's dominated by a junior (that's because he's too lazy to actually work).

Tag Matches - Hase Rules the Division:

Hase is probably the best heavyweight in New Japan and he's the anchor of the tag team division. Along Kensuke Sasaki and Keiji Mutoh, he delivered a large number of good to excellent matches with a number of opponents, from different native teams (babyface, heels, veterans) to gaijin monsters. The Blond Outlaws, who are a better that they are given credit for, constitute a good element in the tag scene.

01/04 Masahiro Chono & Keiji Mutoh vs Super Strong Machine & Hiro Saito (14:22)

02/?? Shiro Koshinaka & Jushin Liger & Masashi Aoyagi vs Super Strong Machine & Tatsutoshi Gotoh & Norio Honaga (7:06//)

Fun junior/heavyweight matches, despite the august talent of Aoyagi.

02/14 Masahiro Chono & Keiji Mutoh vs Super Strong Machine & Tatsutoshi Gotoh (11:06//)

03/04 Hiroshi Hase & Kensuke Sasaki vs Super Strong Machine & Hiro Saito (19:01)

Hase and Sasaki regains their title against the Blond Outlaws. A really enjoyable feud, as it gave competent workers like Machine and Saito an opportunity to shine.

03/14 Hiroshi Hase & Kensuke Sasaki vs Shiro Koshinaka & Takayuki Iizuka (17:18//)

Excellent match against the Dragon Bombers. This is your typical high quality New Japan tag match from this time frame.

03/14 Big Van Vader & Super Strong Machine vs Riki Choshu & Tatsumi Fujinami (13:51)

Good heel vs veteran matches. Choshu brings more to the table than his partner, which would be the story of the year.

03/21 Hiroshi Hase & Kensuke Sasaki vs Scott Steiner & Rick Steiner (12:54)

This really didn't do much for me. The Steiners are impressive as suplex machines, but they throw all of them randomly and it never develops into much of anything. The spots are indeed awesome, but I take any Blood Outlaw match over this spotfest. Maybe the least enjoyable match involving Hase & Sasaki.

04/15 Masahiro Chono & Keiji Mutoh vs Super Strong Machine & Tatsutoshi Gotoh (5:06//)

04/19 Shiro Koshinaka & Tatsumi Fujinami vs Super Strong Machine & Hiro Saito (12:10)

Good stuff, but Fuji doesn't look very good once again, and Shiro is the one carrying the load here.

04/30 Hiroshi Hase & Kensuke Sasaki vs Riki Choshu & Tatsumi Fujinami (12:46//)

The old guard show they can still go with the young punks. Choshu is more efficient here than Fuji, once again.

05/31 Hiroshi Hase & Kensuke Sasaki vs Scott Steiner & Rick Steiner (10:01//)

Very good match with the requisite suplexes from Hell from the Steiners. Only this time, there's a real underdog/monster gaijin dynamic in the match, which makes it worlds better to me than the overpimped Dome match. Scott still finds a way to blow his own signature spot, what a retard.

06/20 Hiroshi Hase & Kensuke Sasaki vs Pegasus Kid & Super Strong Machine (9:43/16:32)

Very good match with Pegasus working as if he was a legit heavyweight.

07/19 Hiroshi Hase & Kensuke Sasaki vs TNT & Great Muta (10:55)

It's Puerto Rico in Sapporo as Muta makes Hase bleed like a pig. TNT actually looks good.

06/26 Hiroshi Hase & Kensuke Sasaki vs Super Strong Machine & Hiro Saito (8:42/19:08)

Yet another good match from these two teams, better than any Outlaws matches against Mutoh and Chono.

07/04 Hiroshi Hase & Kensuke Sasaki vs Masahiro Chono & Keiji Mutoh (11:10/31:05)

Hard to tell what the match was worth as a whole, but what is showed is pretty much state of the art NJ heavyweight work.

08/25 Masahiro Chono & Hiroshi Hase & Shiro Koshinaka & Kensuke Sasaki vs Shinya Hashimoto & Koji Kanemoto & Michiyoshi Ohara & Osamu Nishimura & Hiroyoshi Yamamoto (17:26/25:56)

Fun elimination match with four Young Lions against their elders. Kanemoto already showed the most potential, but Ohara was pushed hard as a Hamaguchi clone.

11/05 Hiroshi Hase & Keiji Mutoh vs Rick Steiner & Scott Norton (12:10/17:53)

For the vacant IWGP titles. Much better than any Steiner matches, as there is a real drama in this one. The two gaijin monsters just throw the natives around like rag dolls with killing suplexes and stiff shots. Hase and Mutoh make for a great babyface team. NJ gaijins monsters vs native match at its best and the NJ tag match of the year.

11/?? Hiroshi Hase & Keiji Mutoh vs Shinya Hashimoto & Scott Norton (10:27/15:33)

Mutoh let Hase carry the load of the work. Not that dramatic because its a non-title match, but its a good foreshadowing of the much superior title defense.

12/16 Masahiro Chono & Tatsumi Fujinami vs Riki Choshu & Akira Nogami (13:28/15:53)

Good match, mostly thanks to Choshu and Chono, with Nogami bringing some good stuff too. Fuji shows some energy when he's with Choshu, but he doesn't bring anything particularly good. The difference between the two veterans is striking.

12/16 Hiroshi Hase & Keiji Mutoh vs Shinya Hashimoto & Scott Norton (17:41/19:49)

Very good title defense against another sort of monster team. Norton has one of his best performance of the year, being actually more focused than Hash, who slows things down a bit too much at times. Hase takes one hell of a beating, for a change.

Juniors: are they still alive?

Extremely week year for the juniors, even moreso than '90 which had some really memorable matches at least. Barely featured on TV, with no real feud, they were a complete afterthough. The comeback of a vanilla worker like Nogami didn't spice up things either.

03/21 Jushin Liger vs AKIRA (13:51//)

Nogami works as a Muta-like character. Good match, but nothing memorable.

04/15 Jushin Liger vs Dave Finlay (5:25//)

04/19 Jushin Liger vs Negro Casas (6:50)

My ignorance in Lucha makes it hard to judge, but it doesn't look that good, especially with a stupid finish.

04/28 Jushin Liger vs Owen Hart (8:46//)

Great match with an Owen Hart at the top of his game. Much better to me than anything with Benoit from the previous year.

04/30 Jushin Liger vs Norio Honaga (12:52//)

Not great technically, but the atmosphere and the story made it extremely enjoyable to me. Add the incredible upset at the end and you've got a winner.

06/26 Jushin Liger & Shiro Koshinaka & Kuniaki Kobayashi vs Pegasus Kid & Norio Honaga & Tatsutoshi Gotoh (5:01/10:37)

Enjoyable six man match, mixing current and former juniors. Too bad Pegasus didn't work more matches with Liger this year (his mask match wasn't even shown on TV).

11/05 Norio Honaga vs Akira Nogami (2:08//)

What is showed is excellent.

11/?? Jushin Liger & Akira Nogami vs Norio Honaga & Hiro Saito (9:42/14:18)

Very good match, especially Liger vs Honaga.

12/05 Jushin Liger & Akira Nogami vs Negro Casas & El Katana (8:37/13:48)

Of the few junior matches they showed in '91, why in the hell this mediocre lucha flavoured stuff?

BEST MATCHES BY TYPE

All Japan

Single matches:

10/27 Toshiaki Kawada vs Jumbo Tsuruta (19:04)

05/24 Jumbo Tsuruta vs Kenta Kobashi (9:29//)

04/18 Jumbo Tsuruta vs Mitsuharu Misawa (23:27)

04/06 Jumbo Tsuruta vs Toshiaki Kawada (17:12)

06/01 Mitsuharu Misawa vs Terry Gordy (13:06//)

07/18 Toshiaki Kawada vs Masanobu Fuchi (12:18//)

Tag matches:

12/06 Toshiaki Kawada & Mitsuharu Misawa vs Terry Gordy & Steve Williams (25:21)

11/29 Toshiaki Kawada & Mitsuharu Misawa vs Jumbo Tsuruta & Akira Taue (30:00)

09/27 Toshiaki Kawada & Kenta Kobashi vs Jumbo Tsuruta & Akira Taue (20:17)

02/26 Toshiaki Kawada & Mitsuharu Misawa vs Terry Gordy & Steve Williams (21:17)

10/02 Kenta Kobashi & Mitsuharu Misawa vs Terry Gordy & Steve Williams (12:45//)

09/04 Toshiaki Kawada & Mitsuharu Misawa vs Jumbo Tsuruta & Akira Taue (21:15//)

04/18 Terry Gordy & Steve Williams vs Stan Hanson & Dan Spivey (14:42//)

05/24 Toshiaki Kawada & Mitsuharu Misawa vs Terry Gordy & Steve Williams (16:07)

6-man Tag:

04/20 Toshiaki Kawada & Kenta Kobashi & Mitsuharu Misawa vs Jumbo Tsuruta & Masanobu Fuchi & Akira Taue (28:18//)

03/23 Mitsuharu Misawa & Kenta Kobashi & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi vs Jumbo Tsuruta & Masanobu Fuchi & Akira Taue (13:52//)

10/15 Jumbo Tsuruta & Masanubo Fuchi & Akira Taue vs Toshiaki Kawada & Tsuyshi Kikuchi & Mitsuharu Misawa (23:54)

10/10 Toshiaki Kawada & Mitsuharu Misawa & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi vs Jumbo Tsuruta & Yoshinari Ogawa & Akira Taue (24:46)

07/26 Jumbo Tsuruta & Masanobu Fuchi & Yoshinari Ogawa vs Toshiaki Kawada & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi & Mitsuharu Misawa (13:55//)

Junior matches:

10/24 Dan Kroffat vs Masanobu Fuchi (9:07//)

New Japan

Single matches:

08/11 Masahiro Chono vs Keiji Mutoh (21:29/29:03)

08/11 Masahiro Chono vs Shinya Hasimoto (7:30/15:50)

08/09 Masahiro Chono vs Shinya Hashimoto (17:18/30:00)

11/05 Masashiro Chono vs Tatsumi Fujinami (9:52/19:49)

Tag matches:

11/05 Hiroshi Hase & Keiji Mutoh vs Rick Steiner & Scott Norton (12:10/17:53)

03/14 Hiroshi Hase & Kensuke Sasake vs Shiro Koshinaka & Takayuki Iizuka (17:18//)

12/16 Hiroshi Hase & Keiji Mutoh vs Shinya Hashimoto & Scott Norton (17:41/19:49)

03/04 Hiroshi Hase & Kensuke Sasaki vs Super Strong Machine & Hiro Saito (19:01)

07/04 Hiroshi Hase & Kensuke Sasaki vs Masahiro Chono & Keiji Mutoh (11:10/31:05)

Junior matches:

04/28 Jushin Liger vs Owen Hart (8:46//)

04/30 Jushin Liger vs Norio Honaga (12:52//)


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