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

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #115 6/19/05
taped 12/9/88 & 1/6/89

12/9/88 Tokyo Korakuen Hall

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Shiro Koshinaka vs. Keiichi Yamada 11:01 of 15:16. I remember loving this match when I was young, but I'm not really seeing it now. Not that it isn't really good, but while everything was well done, the chemistry didn't seem to be clicking. Yamada still isn't that threatening in his third title shot, which was one of the reasons it was probably below the average IWGP junior title match. It's not so much that Yamada never made me believe he would win, but that the match was simply lacking the usual spark, fire, and drama that Koshinaka is known for. Yamada relied on his kicks early, saving the flying for after he had Koshinaka in some trouble. ***1/2

IWGP & WCWA Heavyweight Double Title Match: Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Kerry Von Erich 5:40 & 6:15 of 18:26? I wanted to like this match, but it was one of those matches where you were just counting the minutes until the screw job. Fujinami was looking for a real match, but Von Erich just wanted to stall. Fujinami began with the strategy of using speed to beat power, but quickly got nasty, ramming Von Erich's broken fingers into the turnbuckle and stomping them. This instilled the intensity into the match, and had the crowd going. Fujinami continued in this fiery nature, giving one of his more charismatic performances, but it only does so much good when your opponent either does out and out rest holds or his iron claw, a rest hold that marginal, at best, talents used to use as a finisher. Von Erich even added a stomach claw to a cobra twist, but didn't really get a good one until they were on the outside, which of course led to a double ring out. They restarted the match, and Von Erich again had the claw on the outside, but this time Fujinami was able to whip him into the guard rail. Fujinami got pissed when Kerry tried to crack him with a chair, angrily using it on him then busted him open against the post. Kevin Von Erich rolled his brother back in to avoid the ring out, but once he saw how badly Kerry was bleeding, he began to have second thoughts and petition for the match to be stopped. Kerry kept fighting instinctively, mainly just keeping his arms up trying to protect himself, so once the ref identified this he did call it off. **1/4

1/6/89 Tokyo Korakuen Hall

Hirokazu Hata & Naoki Sano vs. Sergio El Hermoso & El Bello Greco 14:04. Hata looks something like Akira Nogami with Hiroshi Hase's mustache. Based on this match, he could hold his own with those guys in the ring, too. He was very nimble with excellent body control. Though this wasn't the greatest showcase for Sano & Hata's talents, both looked really good when they were on offense. The match was almost exclusively lucha style, but the rudos weren't particularly flexible, graceful, or athletic. They do the homosexual gimmick, spreading their arms and doing a fairy ballerina hop every time they ran the ropes. They initiated few running sequences, enjoying keeping the opponent's close a bit too much for the quality of the match. But overall, this was good stuff in the typical old school lucha variety where the technicos offense is really fun and the rudos offense is basically throwaway brawling. ***

Shiro Koshinaka & Kuniaki Kobayashi vs. Super Strong Machine & George Takano 13:55. I didn't expect this match to have any chance of being better than Koshinaka vs. Yamada, but it actually was because they did the match you'd hope for rather than the match you'd expect. Koshinaka & Kobayashi were super motivated, basically determined to have a good match. They kept the energy level high and the offense very good throughout. Takano was pretty lazy in '89 despite his only tag title run, but he came to wrestle today, perhaps because Koshinaka & Kobayashi gave him no choice. For once, he applied himself, and that allowed him to more than hang with the opposition. Takano hurt his calf, accidentally hitting the railing when Kobayashi tossed him to the floor. This improved the match, as it gave some focus to the down spots in between the action. SS Machine wasn't doing anything of note this year either, and he again managed this consistent mediocrity, although as Takano stepped up and it was basically a junior tag match with the other three, rather than actually hurting the match he was just typically non descript. ***3/4

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* Puroresu Review Copyright 2011 Quebrada *