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

WAR Yumeno All-Star Tournament
Genkotsu Tenryu vs. Kegeki Takada Shotaiketsu
(All-Star Dream Tournament Tenryu's Fist vs. Takada's Kick Attack First Showdown)
Commercial Tape 7/20/96 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan

WAR 7-20-96WELCOME W.A.R! OPENING MATCH: Nobukazu Hirai & Ultimo Dragon vs. Big Tido & Liondo 1:25 of 15:19. After classic anniversary show matches with The Great Sasuke & Chris Jericho, the best they could do for Dragon was the kind of tag match that could be meaningless on any house show? Dragon & Jericho did a nice finishing sequence where whoever initiated came out on the wrong end, but unfortunately that was about all that made the tape.

SUPER BATTLE 6 MEN ’96 1st Round:

Kazuo Yamazaki & Takashi Iizuka & Osamu Kido vs. Kodo Fuyuki & Jado & Gedo 11:53. All the heat was on Fuyuki vs. Yamazaki, with Yamazaki finding ways to make the match intriguing without having Fuyuki destroy it by playing a large role in the actual wrestling. Yamazaki always knows what has to be done, and goes about business putting the company over himself, even when it’s not his company. He had the shooter team, so he immediately set a serious and intense tone against Fuyuki, who would render Yamazaki’s team impotent by taking the match in the direction of clowning if given the opportunity. Fuyuki turned it into a brawl when he had the chance, resulting in Yamazaki taking it to him on the outside. Fuyuki, who wasn’t the legal man, broke up Yamazaki’s figure 4 when the ref was distracted. Gedo’s “smarts” were displayed when Iizuka still had an arm bar on the legal man Jado while Kido had his wakigatame on Fuyuki, who had come in to break up the triple submission on Jado. Gedo, of course, elbow drops Kido, leaving Jado to find his way to the ropes. Jado worked most of the way with Gedo making the hot tag and Yamazaki and Iizuka carrying them to good solid action. Finish was unfortunately early and abrupt. Yamazaki attacked Fuyuki after the match to build up the rivalry and get some heat back. **1/2

Riki Choshu & Satoshi Kojima & Osamu Nishimura vs. Yoji Anjo & Yoshihiro Takayama & 200% Machine 10:23. Dull match. Kojima showed fired, getting the crowd into the match, but outside of Choshu, who gets pops simply for being Choshu, their reactions were fairly minimal the rest of the time. The UWF-I team’s mix of shoot style and heel tactics is contradictory to the point of not really meshing. 200% gave his famed effort from the apron, so there was a heavy dose of Takayama, which in the ’90’s was never a good thing. Nishimura should have been good, but the size difference between he and Takayama made everything seem more awkward than typical Takayama. *1/2

Koji Kitao & Masaaki Mochizuki & Koki Kitahara vs. John Tenta & Arashi & Osamu Tachihikari 11:46. A showcase for Tenta, featuring slow and incompetent performances by several big men. Tenta only wanted to shark attack fellow sumo slug Kitao, which makes sense until you see them actually try to work with each other. Compared to loose and sloppy Kitao, who either misses his spot or makes it look wimpy, Tenta almost seems a good wrestler. Mochizuki & Kitahara had their moments, but as Tenta’s team lacks a decent worker even their best efforts rarely raised it to a level above passable. There were a few decent little man/big man spots such as Mochizuki throwing his knees until Arashi tossed him with a front suplex, but I’m really reaching for positives. *

Genichiro Tenryu & Nobutaku Araya & Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Nobuhiko Takada & Masahito Kakihara & Naoki Sano 16:40. Often the best way to sell an interpromotional singles match is to have a tag match that spikes the public’s pre-existing expectation. It’s hard to imagine less than a good match with this talent, but in WAR, even a match that will obviously make or break a heavyweight tournament is no given. Luckily, these guys were not only motivated but seemed to really enjoy working with one another, putting so much effort into putting over the opposite. The match could easily have been all about Tenryu vs. Takada, but everyone contributed with none of the veterans pulling rank. Takada did the old wise guy trick, offering Tenryu a handshake then pulling his hand away as Tenryu tried to grab it, prompting Araya to quickly decide not to give Tenryu the same opportunity with him. Though the worst worker in the match, Araya held his own here. Kakihara tried to kick and run from him early, but Araya pursued until he tackled him and got in some mount punches. Spunky Kakihara always stands out due to putting so much attitude and energy into everything. The fans went crazy when Fujinami caught Takada’s leg and Dragon screwed him, as it was shades of Takada vs. Muto. Tenryu vs. Takada heated up when Takada saved Sano from Tenryu’s half crab by blasting his prone nemesis with a kick. When Takada made a hot tag and was ready to put Araya away, Tenryu returned the favor breaking up Takada’s arm bar with an elbow drop and stomps. The ending seemed to come a bit soon, but the key was Sano holding Tenryu’s leg so he couldn’t get in to make the save. ***1/2

International Junior Heavyweight Tag Title Match: Yuji Yasuraoka & Lance Storm vs. Jushin Thunder Liger & El Samurai 15:45. The WAR team is good, but not on the level with the opposition Liger & Samurai work with every night in New Japan, and thus have better chemistry with. The bigger problem is the WAR team wasn’t treated as if they were on the level. I thought they might get dominated then pull off a flash pin, but they got no such hope. It turned into something of a spectacular match after a slow start. Yasuraoka & Storm don’t have great moves, but have enough athleticism to make some more common junior moves look good. For instance, Yasuraoka has a really high plancha, partially because he has the most vertical body press around. Good action, but I expected a lot more. ***

SUPER BATTLE 6 MEN ’96 Semifinals:

Kodo Fuyuki & Jado & Gedo vs. Riki Choshu & Satoshi Kojima & Osamu Nishimura 11:23. Heated interpromotional match. I expected the Choshu vs. Fuyuki rivalry to be played up more, but was content to get some good wrestling from the Jado & Gedo vs. Kojima & Nishimura combos. Gedo was more prominent in this one, as he was stranded in the ring until Fuyuki lariated Kojima to give him time to tag Jado. Kojima is a good partner for Choshu, as in addition to being a good worker who can carry the load, he shows a lot of attitude. Well-worked if a bit short due to the tournament format. **1/2

Nobuhiko Takada & Masahito Kakihara & Naoki Sano vs. John Tenta & Arashi & Osamu Tachihikari 11:22. All about Takada vs. Tenta. Their interplay was good, but the lesser names had no real role or heat on them, so it was even less of a match than it sounds on paper. Takada didn’t give Arashi much respect, laughing him off as he blasted away with kicks and locked his arm bar, forcing Tenta to save. Takada came in and kicked Tachihikari hoping to break his clasp so Sano could lock his arm bar, challenging a worked up Tenta to follow him to the floor. Tenta preferred to wait and call Takada out in the ring, but it was Takada who got the big pop for body slamming him. *1/2

WWA World Welterweight Title: Juventud Guerrera vs. Rey Misterio Jr. 8:36. 1996 was the big year for these two, as they took their match around the world. Before Rey became Misteroid and Juvi discovered The Juice, no one could touch their match for spectacular athleticism choreographed with the utmost complexity. It’s not simply doing great flying moves, but doing them in sequence with perfect timing and remarkable speed. It was as if Shodai Tiger Mask got to wrestle himself with another move set. A great sprint, but their normal match that’s at least twice as long is obviously far more developed. Today they did wall to wall high spots, similar to Misterio’s WAR introduction against Psicosis at the 12/13/95 J CUP. It would take far less time to denote the moves where both remained on their feet, but for me the most impressive are Rey’s Frankensteiner off the apron because he takes off from the top rope and hooks his opponent midway down and Rey’s swandive style Frankensteiner off the top because he has to turn 180 degrees after slinging himself onto the top rope to pull off the Frankensteiner. A beautiful spotfest. ****

SUPER BATTLE 6 MEN ’96 Final: Nobuhiko Takada & Masahito Kakihara & Naoki Sano vs. Kodo Fuyuki & Jado & Gedo 12:35. I realize this isn’t the greatest matchup stylistically, but I expected more from the final. It wasn’t in any way bad, on the contrary quite competent, it was simply rather nondescript. Sano sold early with Fuyuki turning the match into a brawl, taking it to the floor where he hit Sano with a title belt. Gedo was once again the whipping boy for his team. The match picked up with the Dos getting Takada in trouble, connecting with their double vertical suplex and diving body press combo to set up Fuyuki putting Takada in the figure 4 ala Keiji Muto. But there was never any real drama, with Takada easily withstanding what was hardly the opposition’s best offensive before dispatching of their lowest rated wrestler Gedo. **1/4


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