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

NJPW World Pro Wrestling 7/23/94 '94 Summer Struggle
taped 7/8 Hokkaido Sapporo Nakajima Taiiku Center
NJPW Tadakai no Wonderland ~Chosenshi Gekiko Hen~ #668 3/12/01

Jushin Thunder Liger vs. The Great Sasuke 15:15. Sasuke was the best flying wrestler to come down the pipe in quite some time, but it still took the great New Japan juniors to incorporate his amazing offense into superb singles matches. His rematch with Liger was even more of a Sasuke showcase, as The Great One ultimately had to repay Liger for putting him over in the 4/16/94 SUPER J-CUP semifinal. Sasuke came out in kamikaze mode, but injured Liger’s arm during the initial aerial surge. Though Sasuke can certainly go on the mat, the biggest liability of his game is he’s almost never able to make the stretching and submission meaningful in a match he’s carrying. With Liger taking the initiative, they bounded that hurdle in less than 30 seconds, as Jushin beginning to sell his arm before we should have had any reason to believe it had been damaged, thus urging Sasuke to spend the early portion taking it apart. Liger typically came back with his shotei, except now performing the move hurt him almost as much as it hurt Sasuke. Knowing he can’t match Liger’s power long before Liger tossed him like a rag doll with a released German suplex, Sasuke kept the pace as fast as possible in standup. He performed 3 dives including a suicidal plancha with Liger in the guard rail gate, which is just big enough for Sasuke to land without coming down upon the standing metal, but Sasuke still hurt his knee landing on the metal connector that rests on the floor. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the match is just how fast it seemed. Even the most ardent groundwork hater couldn’t get bored with the submission spots, yet on the other hand it never appeared as though they were plowing through the submissions. Moreover, as dazzling as the offense consistently was, the contest never felt like a spotfest. That said, if there’s a downside, it’s the bout being a bit on the short side. Sasuke, who had noticeably improved in the brief time since the J CUP, mostly through his success lending him the confidence to know he belongs on the largest stage with the best wrestlers in the world, gives another memorable, show stealing performance. Liger was at his most unselfish - everything while seeming to be nothing - to the point he has little offense until the final few minutes. A brilliant match apart from Liger actually having to remind Sasuke which arm he’s supposed to be working over. Full Match Review ****3/4

Keiji Muto & Hiroshi Hase vs. Rick Steiner & Scott Steiner 20:55. Seeing them in later years, it's difficult to remember the excitement generated by The Steiner Brothers matching up with the best tag teams in New Japan. The Steiners felt they had something to prove when they journeyed to the orient, and actually respected the top opposition leading to matches such as this where everyone fired up and put each other over. Yes, even Scott Steiner sold today, not necessarily in believable fashion, but we'll take what we can get. For the most part, even Scott's substandard selling came off very well because Muto & Hase, who were in top form, were wrestling a very athletic style that didn't require much help from the opponent. Scott was tossing them around with every move, and they were making him look like a million bucks. The crowd was into it early, really reacting to what Muto & Hase were doing. They pulled out all the tricks here to get reaction - saves, double teaming, going alone because partner is down and out, etc. Comparative to the New Japan matches involving their peers, the heavyweight tag was actually far more spectacular than the previous Liger vs. Sasuke junior singles match. ****

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