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

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #163 8/25/06
taped 3/14/91 & 3/21/91

3/14/91 Nagoya Rainbow Hall

Riki Choshu & Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Big Van Vader & Super Strong Machine 13:53. Vader is still a ways away from becoming the greatest fat man in the history of wrestling, but one of the reasons he was able to attain that status is he possesses the desire of a half pint who everyone repeatedly told didn’t have a chance of making it. Vader always brings it, and since he has so much push and heat on him, his opponents always bring it against him. Choshu & Fujinami could get away with a mediocre performance, but because it’s Vader they are wrestling with intensity and urgency. Vader really is the perfect big man for the Choshu style of match because he doesn’t have a lot of big moves at this point, but he loves to work fast (even if he stands and the opponents charge him) and clobber people. Choshu was on top of his game today, not showing any particular skill, but giving an energetic performance that was extremely efficient, showing great timing that got him his pops. Machine was better than he’s been of late, but doesn’t fit the match because he’s so flat, showing no energy or emotion. Fujinami may have been legitimately stunned from a sandwich lariat because Choshu got away with saving him and rolling him to the side of the ring, continuing as if a legal tag had been made. Choshu went 2-1 while Fujinami lay on the apron for around 3 minutes, but Fujinami looked fine when he made the hot tag to finish off the match. ***1/4

Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Norio Honaga 10:18. An effective little match that got sidetracked at the end. Honaga was at his most merciless, injuring Liger’s ribs immediately by laying him out on the guard rail and working them over throughout with actual wrestling such as the stomach breaker and some good old fashioned chair shots. Honaga is far from the ideal junior, but his lack of skilled offense didn’t hurt this match to the normal extent because his kicks and stomps were all directed at the injured area. What hurt the match was Liger failing to do a particularly convincing job of selling the rib injury, particularly in the later stages. Honaga would immediately cut Liger off with a shot to the tender area, but Liger finally came back, bloodying Honaga on the turnbuckle whose padding he removed. Saito distracted Liger to end his nice little run, and then they went home at least 5 minutes too soon with a finish that needed to be explained. It looked as though the ref counted three, but everyone pretended someone rang the bell at two. The stunned ref awarded the bout to Honaga, and it was soon revealed that Liger’s next challenger, Akira Nogami, was sitting at the timekeeper’s table. Liger’s injury should have been enough reason for Honaga to beat Liger, the Saito distraction was somewhat unnecessary and the whole Nogami deciding the outcome out of nowhere bit was just silly. Focusing on what’s next is obviously good in theory, but it just stole Honaga’s thunder. If they had to have Nogami play a role, I would rather have had him distract Liger and Honaga take him right out with a shot to the ribs. ***

Keiji Muto vs. Mike Rotundo 9:40. I figured this could be incredibly boring because Muto doesn’t usually need much impetus to play for time, and few wrestlers are more prone to stalling than Rotundo. Muto surprised me though, counteracting Rotundo’s restmissions as well as one could hope. Rotundo would tie him up, but Muto would push the pace whenever he broke free. It was nothing extraordinary, but they did a solid job of following a basic premise from start to finish. **

3/21/91 Tokyo Dome

Kengo Kimura & Osamu Kido & Kantaro Hoshino & Animal Hamaguchi vs. Super Strong Machine & Tatsutoshi Goto & Hiro Saito & Norio Honaga 12:10. I have no idea what the purpose of this match was beyond getting a bunch of guys on the show. There was no particular story or heat to the old generation wrestling the new generation, and the match just kind of went along without developing, well, anything. They switched often, but the lack of guys who gave well or received well was extremely limiting. There weren’t many quality moves and no one seemed to wrestle enough to find their rhythm, much less get on any sort of roll. They seemed to try, but didn’t know how to use the numbers to their advantage, so it wound up falling into the trap of the baseball all star game, just giving everyone an at bat and whatever happened, happened. *

Scott Norton vs. Equalizer 2:23. Saturday morning enhancement at the Tokyo Dome? They matched Norton against a gaijin who was as tall, and had him run right through him. Norton capped it off by not catching Equalizer properly on his powerslam finisher, resulting in there being less impact than placing a throw rug. DUD

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