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AJ Chogei Selection 2000 Shinshun Special ~Sekai Saikyo Tag Meishobu~ 1/8/00
3hr. Q=TV Master. 2 DVDs

12/11/77 Tokyo Kuramae Kokugikan: Dory Funk Jr. & Terry Funk vs. Abdullah The Butcher & The Sheik. Dory gave a typically strong performance, but couldn't save the match with such unskilled opposition. Butcher & Sheik bled, but that was all they could do. *1/4

12/13/81 Tokyo Kuramae Kokugikan: Dory Funk Jr. & Terry Funk vs. Bruiser Brody & Jimmy Snuka 21:41. Dory was typically excellent here, and brought the best out of Snuka. Their stuff was quite good, with Snuka utilizing his athleticism including a swandive body press and Dory making him really work to keep his headlock. Brody was on offense most of the time he was in, though he found a way to bleed. Terry was alright, but really pales compared to Dory. He did a plancha, but he did one of his completely ridiculous oversells, a 360 degree spin after Brody kicked him. Funks worked the knee setting up the key spot where they had spinning toe holds, but Brody shot Terry to the floor and whipped him at Hansen, who took him out with the western lariat. Dory continued on his own, persistent on the knee, but Snuka was able to tag while in a subsequent spinning toe hold. Dory attacked after the bell, but Hansen beat him up then Baba & Jumbo jumped in and fought Hansen, who juiced. ****

12/13/83 Tokyo Kuramae Kokugikan: Jumbo Tsuruta & Genichiro Tenryu vs. Stan Hansen & Bruiser Brody 17:43. Jumbo & Tenryu were good at having action oriented match with the gaijins, making up for their technical deficiencies by keeping things moving and doing a number of good well executed simple spots. Though Hansen & Brody aren't exactly limited and are capable of a deeper match, this is certainly the kind of match they can excel in, especially since their moves are so over. Even though I prefer the other style, it's nice seeing a double dropkick from Hansen and Brody every once in a while. Surprisingly Tenryu carried things for his side, allowing Jumbo to eventually make the hot tag. Once this occurred the match really picked up; great action in the final three minutes. ****

11/30/85 Kanagawa Yokohama Bunka Taiikukan: Jumbo Tsuruta & Genichiro Tenryu vs. Riki Choshu & Yoshiaki Yatsu 30:00. One of those matches where it was obvious they were going long. Started slow and the pace never seemed to pick up, continuing to be technical in the boring wear the opponent down with rest holds kind of way. The crowd didn't react that much until Jumbo tagged in at 27:30 and used some finishers. It was a solid match, but what makes Choshu good is fire and intensity and for the most part that was sorely lacking here. ***

11/24/89 Hokkaido Sapporo Nakajima Taiiku Center: Genichiro Tenryu & Stan Hansen vs. Giant Baba & Rusher Kimura. Well thought out match that told a good story. If Baba & Rusher weren't so disgraceful on offense it might have been a great match, but man their offense is just terrible! As Baba was about to enter the ring Tenryu caught him with a tope, causing the match to begin without ring announcements. Tenryu & Hansen were nasty, and the match was quality as long as they stayed on offense. They beat Rusher up for 8 minutes while Baba was selling on the floor, causing him to juice a gusher. Baba eventually came in and cleaned house, but he has about 2 minutes worth of stamina and Rusher was still on the floor recovering. Soon the tide turned when Hansen chaired Baba in the stomach. ***

12/9/95 Tokyo Nippon Budokan, '95 Sekai Saikyo Tag Kettei League Yushoketteisen: Mitsuharu Misawa & Kenta Kobashi vs. Toshiaki Kawada & Akira Taue 27:00. Overshadowed because they had so many great matches in such a short period of time. This may have been the worst, and a half dozen in one year is too much, but these are the two greatest teams ever and 1995 was a peak year for all. Everything that made the other matches great except for crowd heat was present here, the big difference to me is the best stuff came early. Kawada stalled the start to incite Kobashi then when Kobashi finally got him in a headlock Kawada exploded with a backdrop driver, high kick to Misawa, and jumping high kick. Taue worked on Misawa while Kawada and Kobashi were legal, with Kawada assisting every time Kobashi was down. This led to the dynamic duo taking Misawa out with an elevated nodowa otoshi on the floor at 5:00. Kobashi's left arm was injured when Taue pulled him off the apron into the security rail, and they worked it over for several minutes while Misawa was out of it on the floor. When Misawa would make it back to the apron they would knock him off, which elicited some boos. Eventually Misawa got back in the match when Kobashi blocked Kawada's udehishigigyakujujigatame so Taue came in and broke his clasp, turning it into a double. Misawa did enough damage that Kobashi was able to make the hot tag at 13. The first half was tremendous, but they either used up their story points too early or didn't capitalize on them quite enough during the second half. The final half contained most of their top moves, but the fans didn't react as they should. For instance, at one point Kawada turns Kobashi's lariat into an udehishigigyakujujigatame and even though they'd worked over Kobashi's arm for all that time, the fans didn't buy it. It would have helped if Kobashi didn't rope escape so quickly, but Kawada didn't even get too negative a reaction for refusing to release. The tide turned when Misawa blocked Kawada's powerbomb on the floor and took him out with a Tigerdriver. Taue was getting the better of Kobashi in the ring, but finally Misawa's team was able to do some double teaming. *spoilers* Given they were beaten on almost the entire match, it was not very credible that they were able to put Taue away within two minutes. ****1/2

12/5/98 Tokyo Nippon Budokan, '98 Sekai Saikyo Tag Kettei League Yushoketteisen: Kenta Kobashi & Jun Akiyama vs. Vader & Stan Hansen 18:58. They delivered all you could ask for. Vader gives an excellent performance carrying his team and Hansen doesn't screw it up. Obviously the problem with the match, with any match involving a monster team, is it's completely one-sided. Vader & Hansen really don't take any legitimate bumps, but you knew that coming in. The crowd was going nuts anytime Kobashi & Akiyama did anything, which granted wasn't too often but shows the monster gimmick worked. In particular, they were exploding when Vader's knee was injured. The '95 final was way better in every other regard, but this at least felt like a tag final due to the fans. Kobashi & Akiyama gave regular performances, both very good but I would not say either were that impressive. The gaijins stepped it up a lot more than the natives, though obviously they were still the weak link, Vader is the only one that really impressed me in all he did to carry his team. One wicked spot where Akiyama tries to use his northern lights suplex on Vader, but Vader uses his weight to drive Akiyama straight down into the canvas nose first with Vader coming down on top. Finish was improbably but basically all they could do given the result and the limitations of those involved. ***1/2

AJ Retro Selection #2 Jumbo Tsuruta Hen 6/28/03
-2hr. Q=TV Master

5/1/76 Tokyo Nichidai Kodo, Champion Carnival: Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Giant Baba. I was really surprised by this match, which showed Baba to be a much more capable singles wrestler in his heyday than I would have guessed. Baba had some athleticism in these days, and was actually making moves look good rather than, at best, weird. Jumbo was also far more athletic here, getting Baba in the side of the face with a dropkick and the chin with his jumping knee. Slow match where they worked the holds, but they did an excellent job of working in a high spot or near fall to keep you on your toes. The match didn't feel long because of how well they spaced the action out, not putting you to sleep and then finally starting to work like Leizi Muto. They picked it up so much around 12 I thought it was going to be over by 14, but they were able to take it back to the mat and calm things down, perhaps making the crowd wait to explode again but certainly not losing them by "going in reverse". They made me consider whether the lost art of knowing how to take it down isn't more important than knowing how to take it up. They made the audience believe in moves that would never beat Giant or Jumbo because they made the when and how much more important than the what. 24:56 of 26:15. ****

8/28/76 Tokyo Nichidai Kodo, 2/3 Falls UN Heavyweight Title Decision Match: Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Jack Brisco. The first time I've seen the legendary Brisco in Japan, and he was quite a disappointment. I can see what people say about his technical ability, but his selling was so irritating. Every time he got hit in the back he would jerk his stomach out and his head back, like some kind of bobble head and waist doll, making the overselling of Terry Funk look like nothing. The first fall was pretty well ruined by this because Jumbo was on offense the whole time, and really it's hard for anything with Jumbo on offense to not be good. The second and third falls redeemed the match, as Brisco injured Jumbo's knee. Brisco won the second fall with the figure 4, refusing to release which kept the attack going strong into the third fall because it started before Jumbo had come close to recovering. Jumbo finally made a little comeback, but his jumping knee hurt him as much as Brisco. Jumbo was in top form and carried the match, with Brisco showing good focus. 11:09, 6:19, 5:34. ***1/2

2/23/84 Tokyo Kuramae Kokugikan, International Heavyweight & AWA World Heavyweight Double Title Match: Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Nick Bockwinkle. Bockwinkle worked Jumbo's arm for the first 15 minutes. Bockwinkle was never a big offensive guy, but by attacking the arm most of the match he provided the framework and let Jumbo add in the good moves. Terry Funk was the guest referee, which like every other example of an active wrestler being a ref, just detracted from the match. The bulk of the match was technical, so Funk should have had nothing to do, though he kept calling attention to himself by making rulings on the legality. To give Funk something to do, they worked in a few potential double KO's and count outs. Bockwinkle "didn't like" Funk being an active ref, and eventually shoved Jumbo from behind, knocking him into Funk and both to the floor. Joe Higuchi was a second official on the outside, and he nearly counted Jumbo out then took over in the ring because for some reason it took Funk much longer to recover than Jumbo. Funk recovered just in time to count the winning fall. Jumbo unified the titles. 32:00. ***1/2

4/16/91 Nagoya Aichi-ken Taiikukan, '91 Champion Carnvival Yushoketteisen: Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Stan Hansen. Exciting, stiff well wrestled match with great heat. Looked like it was going to be one of their best, but was surprisingly short. Jumbo started with an inspired arm attack, but this wasn't developed nearly as well as it normally would have been because they didn't have the time. They did a great job of making their blows look vicious, throwing them in a more abrupt and jerky manner and opening their hand just before impact so it would make a louder sound. Hansen hit the western lariat before 12, but Jumbo got his foot on the ropes. He tried it again almost immediately, but Jumbo ducked into a schoolboy. I was intrigued by these two spots early, wondering where they'd go from there. Unfortunately, I was then disappointed because they went home on the next spot. It seems odd to pick this match to be short considering they were bringing the Carnival back after an 8 year absense, but maybe it would make sense to me if I was watching in context. 12:53. ***1/2

AJ Retro Selection #5 Stan Hansen Hen 9/28/03
-2hr. Q=TV Master
RECOMMENDED!

10/30/75 Tokyo Kuramae Kokugikan: Stan Hansen vs. The Destroyer. Hansen looked hilarious with his bleached mop. Pretty well wrestled. The early portion was on the mat with some good quick moves into long locks. Around 10:00 they began doing some basic suplexes. Both used the football stance shoulderblock. Destroyer tried to help Hansen up after the match, but Hansen punched him in the stomach. 12:40. **1/2

11/15/82 Chiba Kisaradzu Kuragata Sports Center: Stan Hansen vs. Ashura Hara. Hara looked something like Hase would a decade later with the long hair, mustache, and tights with yellow in the front. Hara did a few good chops after Hansen controlled him with a chinlock. This just pissed Hansen off though, and he quickly took him out with the western lariat. 2:25

9/8/83 Chiba Koen Taiikukan, PWF Heavyweight Title Match: Giant Baba vs. Stan Hansen. They understood Baba's limitations, and tried to work around them. The early portion was weak, but the last few minutes were good for what they were. It was obviously awkward, but a good effort and with Baba that goes a long way. Baba actually hit a double axehandle off the top. Hansen hit the western lariat a little before 8:00, but Baba kicked out at 2 then rolled to the floor. Hansen followed trying to post Baba, but Baba pushed him off so Hansen's lariat arm crashed the post. 9:02. **1/2

12/12/83 Tokyo Kuramae Kokugikan, '83 Sekai Saikyo Tag Kettei Leagusen: Stan Hansen & Bruiser Brody vs. Jumbo Tsuruta & Genichiro Tenryu. Exciting well executed match with everyone performing to their ability. Jumbo is generally considered to have had a slight down period while adjusting to the faster paced matches of Riki Choshu, but here he was the guy that was pushing the pace and along with Tenryu he really excelled in the style. Jumbo was much more agile here than 3-4 years later, but it probably didn't make much difference since only a few of his moves like the jumping knee, Thesz press, and enzuigiri employed this ability. The jumping knee was the only one of these moves he stuck with, but that was probably more a stylistic change than anything else. Brody really executed his offense well. In essence, his move set was pretty basic and nothing special, but it didn't come off that way because he made the moves look so much more impressive than normal, mainly through his exceptional athleticism for his size. Jumbo has the best looking stomp for a different reason, the impact isn't necessarily more but his body language is so nasty and malevolent. 17:43. ****

12/6/88 Tokyo Nippon Budokan, '88 Sekai Saikyo Tag Kettei Leagusen: Stan Hansen & Terry Gordy vs. Genichiro Tenryu & Toshiaki Kawada. Great heat because it was a big match, but more importantly because they told a great story that was designed to get the fans behind faces Tenryu & Kawada. Kawada was the youngster that didn't belong, and Hansen & Gordy were out to put him in his place. Kawada was very fiery, trying to take it to the opposition with kicks and even a pescado but his attacks were very short lived. Tenryu tried to play big brother, actually making a hot tag at 2:00, but Hansen pulled Gordy to safety on the floor. The key to the match was Hansen injuring Kawada's knee, kicking it out when Kawada had Gordy in a German suplex hold. After kicking the knee repeatedly, Hansen pushed Kawada in the back as he was going to tag Tenryu, sending Kawada through the ropes to the floor instead with Hansen following through by lariating Tenryu off the apron. Hansen proceeded to destroy Kawada on the floor while Gordy took care of Tenryu in the ring. Kawada kept coming back for more, until Hansen rendered his knee useless. Kawada was down on the floor for several minutes, meaning Tenryu had to fight most of the match 2-1, which resulted in him also getting destroyed and even busted open from Hansen's knee drops. This set Kawada up to finally save his senpai, after Gordy's powerbomb, but Hansen made him pay for it. 21:02. *****

4/17/92 Nagoya Aichi-ken Taiikukan, '92 Champion Carnival Yushoketteisen: Stan Hansen vs. Mitsuharu Misawa. Very simple all arm match, but that was its strength because everything was built around the arm with no waste and just a bunch of simple but effective stuff. Misawa even used his elbows to Hansen's lariat elbow. Sure it wasn't the most exciting or diverse match, even diverse attack, but Misawa showed tremendous focus in attacking Hansen's lariat arm for the 1st 15 minutes. They really didn't even "do less" because of the arm attack, they just saved the high spots for the final 5 minutes, which I should add had major heat. Hansen did an impressive job of acting like his arm was in great pain, especially during the offense oriented portion where he was walking around like his arm was in an invisible sling. Hansen had to strike with his right arm, and even had to resort to trying his western lariat with his right arm. It was slow and awkward because he'd never done it before. The first time Misawa was able to get his foot on the ropes. The second time he blocked it, but Hansen immediately unleashed the usual lethal left arm western lariat to a prone Misawa. This was literall the only time Hansen used the left arm in the match, but that's Hansen at his best, finding a way to pull out the one move win. He seemingly had his weapon taken away, but sucked it up and withstood the pain to himself once to get the victory. Just a great finish. 20:06 ****

AJ Retro Selection #6 Genichiro Tenryu Hen 10/27/03
-2hr. Q=TV Master

6/11/77 Tokyo: Giant Baba & Genichiro Tenryu vs. Mario Milano & Medico Grande 12:09

3/1/83, Lumberjack Match: Genichiro Tenryu vs. Umanosuke Ueda

2/23/84 Tokyo Kuramae Kokugikan, UN Heavyweight Title Decision Match: Genichiro Tenryu vs. Ricky Steamboat 21:23

6/8/87 Fukuoka Kokusai Center: Genichiro Tenryu & Ashura Hara vs. Hiroshi Wajima & Takashi Ishikawa

7/30/87 Tokyo: Genichiro Tenryu & Ashura Hara vs. Giant Baba & Tiger Mask

6/5/89 Tokyo Nippon Budokan, Sankan Heavykyu Senshuken: Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Genichiro Tenryu

AJ Retro Selection #7 Bruiser Brody Hen 11/12/03
-2hr. Q=TV Master

1/5/79 Kanagawa Kawasaki Shi Taiikukan: Bruiser Brody & King Iaukea vs. Giant Baba & The Destroyer. Very dull match. Brody's team dominated with even Baba selling a lot. Baba & Destroyer don't take very well, but Brody & Iaukea basically do moves anyone could take. Destroyer was the only one that did anything skilled, but he was only on offense for 30 seconds. I guess this was significant because Brody pinned Baba. 9:50. *

4/27/81 Nagoya Aichi-ken Taiikukan, International Oza Sodatsu Tournament Ketteisen: Bruiser Brody vs. Giant Baba. Brody controlled most of the match with his brawling, including choking Baba with a chain. Brody bled from being rammed into the table and post. Bad match, but so short it wasn't painful. 5:59

12/13/81 Tokyo Kuramae Kokugikan '81 Sekai Saikyo Tag Kettei Leaguesen: Bruiser Brody & Jimmy Snuka vs. Dory Funk, Jr. & Terry Funk. Dory was typically excellent here, and brought the best out of Snuka. Their stuff was quite good, with Snuka utilizing his athleticism including a swandive body press and Dory making him really work to keep his headlock. Brody was on offense most of the time he was in, though he found a way to bleed. Terry was alright, but really pales compared to Dory. He did a plancha, but he did one of his completely ridiculous oversells, a 360 degree spin after Brody kicked him. Funks worked the knee setting up the key spot where they had spinning toe holds, but Brody shot Terry to the floor and whipped him at Hansen, who took him out with the western lariat. Dory continued on his own, persistent on the knee, but Snuka was able to tag while in a subsequent spinning toe hold. Dory attacked after the bell, but Hansen beat him up then Baba & Jumbo jumped in and fought Hansen, who juiced. 21:41 ****

10/20/82 Aomori Kenritsu Taiikukan, International Heavyweight Title Match: Bruiser Brody vs. Genichiro Tenryu. Tenryu was still developing and Brody was carrying the match, two things that didn't make me expect much. Brody got off to a quick start and was dominating until Tenryu came back around 5:00 with a couple suplexes. They mixed in some submission and weardown, which is far from Brody's strength, but since it was mostly good moves (his strength for his size) that weaknesses was less apparent. They did enough to keep it interesting and not expose themselves. 12:14. ***

11/22/87 Tokyo Korakuen Hall, '87 Sekai Saikyo Tag Kettei Leaguesen: Bruiser Brody & Jimmy Snuka vs. Stan Hansen & Terry Gordy. Fans just went nuts for Brody. Snuka was going to start, but the fans were so loud chanting "Brody" that he tagged in before the first lock up. I'm not sure if the fans or Brody were the problem, but he was more a side show than a wrestler on this tour. The fans were more into him than the match. The matches themselves weren't much, but one wonders if they would have been better if the guys had to actually work to get reaction. Gordy vs. Snuka was the best thing here, even though there wasn't much interest in it. Otherwise there was too much punching and kicking. This was one of those matches that wanted to be out of control, but other than stall they didn't really do much in any regard. 17:12. **

3/27/88 Tokyo Nippon Budokan, NWA International Heavyweight Title: Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Bruiser Brody. Didn't aspire to be anything, which luckily is not the kind of comment you'd usually make about an AJ Budokan main. Brody hadn't impressed me in a while. He was more sane and less selfish here, but his wrestling still wasn't what it used to be. Everything was well executed, but his stamina was down and the match just kind of meandered. They'd do one good move, but some meaningless momentum killer to keep it slow. I guess the idea was that Jumbo was trying to ground Brody, but Brody was also grabbing the front facelock. There was just too much down time until the final 5 minutes, which were quite good because they finally put some moves together in succession. I would have preferred they use less damaging moves, but more moves in succession rather than basically biding time and then doing a run of finishing type moves. 17:07. **1/2

AJ Retro Selection #9 Toshiaki Kawada Hen 1/17/04
-2hr. Q=TV Master

9/15/87 Tokyo Korakuen Hall, Sekai Junior Senshuken: Masa Fuchi vs. Toshiaki Kawada

9/15/88 Tokyo Korakuen Hall, Sekai Tag Senshuken: Shinichi Nakano & George Takano vs. Samson Fuyuki & Toshiaki Kawada 19:11

7/1/89 Omiya Shimin Taiikukan, Asunaru Hai Sodatsu Leaguesen: Toshiaki Kawada vs. Kenta Kobashi

4/16/94 Tokyo Nippon Budokan, '94 Champion Carnival Final: Toshiaki Kawada vs. Steve Williams

3/1/98 Tokyo Nippon Budokan, Sekai Tag Senshuken: Toshiaki Kawada & Akira Taue vs. Gary Albright & Yoshihiro Takayama

AJ Retro Selection #10 Riki Choshu Hen 2/15/04
-2hr. Q=TV Master

2/5/85 Tokyo Taiikukan: Riki Choshu & Masa Saito vs. Jumbo Tsuruta & Genichiro Tenryu 16:35. Good solid match. Never outstanding, but they kept the effort and intensity up resulting in strong heat. Everyone was about equal, though Tenryu seemed particularly at home in this style, which was more or less Choshu's simple but effective because they hate each other. ***1/4

1/28/86 Tokyo Taiikukan, International Tag Title: Jumbo Tsuruta & Genichiro Tenryu vs. Riki Choshu & Yoshiaki Yatsu 22:21. One of the greatest matches of the decade. Nothing spectacular wrestling wise, but the perfect rivalry match. What these guys, mainly Jumbo & Choshu, were able to do is make it look meaningful. It was always about Jumbo vs. Choshu rather than the match, which perhaps isn't coming out right, but the point is they were able to make their rivalry transcend this particular match. They made you believe they wanted to kill each other, and the fans ate it up. The wrestlers who weren't legal would wind up going at it in or out of the ring as well, they weren't going to let the rules get in the way of their bloodlust. And Jumbo did bleed. Early on Choshu's team kept Tenryu in their corner and big double team moves. Jumbo tried to help Tenryu, but the ref would force him out. When they finally gained control Jumbo's team worked over Choshu's bad ribs. Strong performances from everyone, but the match was so excellently developed  with tremendous heat and intensity. ****3/4

4/5/86 Kanagawa Yokohama Bunka Taiikukan, AWA & PWF Heavyweight Double Title Match: Stan Hansen vs. Riki Choshu 18:27. Slow dull match. Had it's moments, but lacked the intensity of Choshu vs. natives. Fans weren't that into it, at least considering how over Choshu was at the time and the fact it was a big double title match against the top gaijin. Hansen carried the match and utilized a few big moments to build the match around as usual, notably reversing a whip into the post and trying his lariat which Choshu ducked causing Hansen to injure his arm on the post, but something seemed missing and the lack of a finish didn't help. **1/2

7/31/86 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan, Death Match Rules: Riki Choshu vs. Killer Khan 16:56. Shockingly good extremely dramatic match where they got a great deal out of a little talent. In these days a death match was about beating the crap out of your opponent rather than utilizing plunder, and matches like this show that interest comes from intensity rather than gimmick. Choshu had the best disdainful look in wrestling, and it was fully utilized in this tough brawl. The wrestling was basic and fairly well executed. What made the match stand out is the super job they did of passing off the illusion, of elevating ordinary moves to the extraordinary, of making it seem like a chop or a knee drop did a ton of damage. Khan bled heavily, which obviously is not uncommon in a death match, but what is uncommon is that it was made meaningful. He bled early and always seemed to be on his last leg. Khan had a great run late in the match after stopping the Riki lariat with a big boot and kneeing Choshu in the groin where he kept Choshu from making it to his feet for four minutes. ****

9/3/86 Osaka Jo Hall: Riki Choshu vs. Genichiro Tenryu 20:01. Good match, but I expected more. I was hoping for something memorable, but it was not to be found. Choshu is better in tag since he's so limited moves. You have to believe everything is intended to injure or something has to be done to make the moves meaningful, otherwise he's completely pedestrian. Tenryu worked his ribs, which seem to have heeled some considering they weren't taped. Tenryu bled. Finish made no sense to me. ***

AJ Retro Selection #11 Terry Funk Hen 4/2/04
-2hr. Q=TV Master

6/11/76 Tokyo Kuramae Kokugikan, 2/3 Falls NWA Heavyweight Title Match: Terry Funk vs. Jumbo Tsuruta

7/18/79 Kanezawa: Terry Funk vs. Abdullah The Butcher

12/9/80 Osaka Furitsu Taiikukaikan, '80 Sekai Saikyo Tag Kettei Leaguesen: Dory Funk, Jr. & Terry Funk vs. Nick Bockwinkle & Jim Brunzell

9/11/82 Tokyo Korakuen Hall: Terry Funk vs. Stan Hansen

8/31/83 Tokyo Kuramae Kokugikan, Terry Funk Intai Jiai: Dory Funk, Jr. & Terry Funk vs. Stan Hansen & Terry Gordy

AJ Retro Selection #12 Mil Mascaras Hen 3/31/04
-2hr. Q=TV Master

8/25/77 Tokyo Daen Coliseum, 2/3 Falls UN Heavyweight Title: Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Mil Mascaras 22:18 (19:48 shown), 7:46, 3:20. This is the sort of traditional style match you either appreciate or you don’t. I’d rather see a shorter match with less submissions and more countering and exchanging holds, but the athleticism of the competitors probably made it a more interesting version of the sort of lengthy, technically sound big match you got in the mid 70’s. Mascaras finds as many positions to stretch an opponent from as humanly possible, and does an excellent job of moving between contortions, but the match is essentially a lengthy series of limb extensions. Mascaras was a great flyer for his time with the plancha and flying cross attack, but actually had few other moves that utilized his athleticism and greatly preferred elongating his opponent. Though Jumbo is much more apt to push the pace, they had a hold of each other almost the entire match. There was some action out of the clinch though, for instance a nice spot where Mascaras held onto a monkey flip and tried to roll on top of Jumbo, but Jumbo saw it coming and rolled up, locking a bodyscissors when they met halfway over. Generally, both men punctuated their matwork with brief spurts of action that may lead to a finish. Mascaras dropkicked Jumbo to the floor early in the 3rd, but took the brunt of the impact on his plancha since Tsuruta didn’t catch him properly, leading to the ring out. ***

8/24/78 Tokyo Daen Coliseum, International Tag Title Match: Giant Baba & Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Mil Mascaras & Dos Caras 14:55, 6:15, 3:10. Watching these matches of the Mascaras & Caras team, it’s difficult to imagine how Mascaras wound up being the world famous one. He’s a little bigger and more powerful, but Caras does all Mascaras’ flying moves better than Mascaras, but also has some good stuff of his own, not to mention being faster and a much better and more willing bumper. For me, the big difference is while Caras twists you up in knots similar to Mascaras, he does it with very quick movements on the mat, shifting from one stretch to the other, so he winds up doing five in a minute rather than just holding one. Caras work with Tsuruta was excellent, working their athleticism and flashiness into the submission game and being more willing to break from it entirely to deliver some running action. Jumbo didn’t exactly work lucha libre, but certainly held his own in the junior heavyweight segments, which along with the athleticism were quite impressive for the time. Though Baba isn’t able to display much litheness, he did alright, allowing Mascaras & Caras to match speed with size. Baba actually didn’t play that big a role because Mascaras’ beef was with Tsuruta. ****

8/22/79 Hokkaido Sapporo Nakajima Taiiku Center: Mil Mascaras vs. Abdullah The Butcher 8:58. I fully expected this match to suck, but both wrestled about as well as they are capable of. They really played the big man vs. little man well, slowly boiling as Butcher played the foil to Mascaras’ nimble dancing early until he got pissed off, following Mil to the floor and tossing him into the ringside seats. Once Butcher hurt Mascaras enough to attack him when he was down, he ripped his sacred mask, causing Mascaras to lose it and no longer care about technical wrestling. The match was much more enjoyable than the rating might suggest, as my problem with it is the lack of length and screw job finish. **3/4

12/3/79 Hokkaido Sapporo Nakajima Taiiku Center, '79 Sekai Saikyo Tag Kettei Leaguesen: Mil Mascaras & Dos Caras vs. Wahoo McDaniel & Frank Hill 7:15. I’m not sure what the significance of this match was to warrant its inclusion, as it seemed a short little nothing match. I really enjoy seeing Wahoo in the AWA classics as he works hard and knows how to maximize the ability he has, delivering stiff simplistic matches. This more technical younger version doesn’t seem as good, but then again Mascaras & Caras aren’t turning your heads too often in this one either. **

1/28/86 Tokyo Taiikukan, IWA World Heavyweight Title: Mil Mascaras vs. Kuniaki Kobayashi 8:42. Though a short contest, Kobayashi makes the most of his time. Classic Kobayashi is countering and controlling for the purpose of setting his opponent up to invariably get all the glory. Kobayashi is much more aggressive here at asserting his own offense to get himself over as a heel, coming as close as ever to showing his opponent up. Kobayashi looks really impressive here, a step too fast for the Mexican legend and far more diverse. What we are seeing once again is that although Mascaras has a lot of good entertaining matches, he making very few of them, and his main contribution is good unique offense. ***1/4

AJPW Retro Hour #7 3/4/08 Champion Carnival 1
& AJPW Retro Hour #8 4/1/08 Champion Carnival 2
-2hr. Q=Perfect

5/1/1976 Champion Carnival: Giant Baba vs. Jumbo Tsuruta

5/2/1980 Champion Carnival: Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Dick Slater

4/21/1993 Champion Carnival Final: Stan Hansen vs. Mitsuharu Misawa

4/16/1994 Champion Carnival Final: Toshiaki Kawada vs. Steve Williams

AJPW Retro Hour #17 Jumbo Tsuruta 3 1/6/09
& AJPW Retro Hour #18 Jumbo Tsuruta 4 23/09
-2hr. Q=Perfect

3/28/76 Tokyo Kuramae Kokugikan, 2/3 Falls UN Heavyweight Title Match: Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Rusher Kimura

3/23/77 Miami Beach Convention Hall 2/3 Falls UN Heavyweight Title Decision Match: Billy Robinson vs. Jumbo Tsuruta

Jumbo Tsuruta #4

11/4/85 Osaka Jo Hall: Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Riki Choshu 60:00

AJPW Retro Hour #29 1/4/10 Jumbo Tsuruta #5
& AJPW Retro Hour #30 2/1/10 Jumbo Tsuruta #6
-2hr. Q=Perfect

11/24/73 Tokyo Kuramae Kokugikan: Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Irish Mickey Doyle

8/31/83 Tokyo Kuramae Kokugikan, NWA International Heavyweight Title Match: Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Bruiser Brody

10/24/91 Yokohama Bunka Taiikukan, Triple Crown Heavyweight Title Match: Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Toshiaki Kawada

2/26/84 Osaka Furitsu Taiikukaikan, AWA World Heayvweight Title Match: Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Nick Bockwinkle

2/27/92 Matsumoto-shi Sogo Taiikukan: Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Kenta Kobashi

AJPW Retro Hour #31 3/1/10 Champion Carnival #5
& AJPW Retro Hour #32 4/4/10 Champion Carnival #6
-2hr. Q=Perfect

4/2/92 Yokohama Bunka Taiikukan, Champion Carnival League Match: Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Mitsuharu Misawa

4/17/92 Aichi-ken Taiikukan, Champion Carnival Final: Stan Hansen vs. Mitsuharu Misawa

4/13/95 Miyagi-ken Sports Center, Champion Carnival League Match: Toshiaki Kawada vs. Kenta Kobashi

4/15/95 Tokyo Nippon Budokan, Champion Carnival Final: Mitsuharu Misawa vs. Akira Taue

AJPW Retro Hour #35 7/4/10
& AJPW Retro Hour #36 8/1/10
-2hr. Q=Perfect

4/18/91 Tokyo Nippon Budokan: Toshiaki Kawada vs. Akira Taue

6/12/98 Tokyo Nippon Budokan, Triple Crown Heavyweight Title Match: Toshiaki Kawada vs. Kenta Kobashi

6/5/92 Tokyo Nippon Budokan: Mitsuharu Misawa & Kenta Kobashi vs. Jumbo Tsuruta & Akira Taue

5/24/96 Sapporo Nakajima Taiiku Center, Triple Crown Heavyweight Title Match: Mitsuharu Misawa vs. Akira Taue

AJPW Retro Hour #43 3/7/11 Champion Carnival #7
& AJPW Retro Hour #44 4/4/11 Champion Carnival #8
-2hr. Q=Perfect

3/27/92 Champion Carnival League Match: Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Terry Gordy

4/21/93 Yokohama Bunka Taiikukan: Akira Taue & Masa Fuchi & Yoshinari Ogawa vs. Kenta Kobashi & Toshiaki Kawada & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi

3/25/93 Tokyo Korakuen Hall, Champion Carnival League Match: Toshiaki Kawada vs. Steve Williams

4/14/93 Nagoya-shi Taiikukan, Champion Carnival League Match: Terry Gordy vs. Mitsuharu Misawa

AJPW Retro Hour #47 7/4/11
& AJPW Retro Hour #48 8/1/11
-2hr. Q=Perfect

8/31/90 Osaka Furitsu Taiikukaikan: Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Kenta Kobashi

4/18/91 Tokyo Nippon Budokan: Kenta Kobashi vs. Dan Kroffat

2/28/93 Tokyo Nippon Budokan: Stan Hansen vs. Toshiaki Kawada

1/15/91 Tokyo Korakuen Hall: Toshiaki Kawada vs. Akira Taue

5/21/94 Sapporo Nakajima Taiiku Center, World Tag Title Match: Mitsuharu Misawa & Kenta Kobashi vs. Toshiaki Kawada & Akira Taue

AJPW Retro Hour #52 12/5/11 World's Strongest Tag League #10
& AJPW Retro Hour #53 1/9/12 Jumbo Tsuruta #6
-2hr. Q=Perfect

12/9/80 Osaka Furitsu Taiikukaikan, World's Strongest Tag League Match: Shoehi Baba & Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Abdullah The Butcher & Tor Kamata

12/4/87 Fukuoka Kokusai Center, World's Strongest Tag League Match: Tenryu & Ashura Hara vs. Jumbo Tsuruta & Yoshiaki Yatsu

2/14/79 Hawaii Neal Blaisdell Center, 2/3 Falls AWA World Heayvweight Title Match: Nick Bockwinkle vs. Jumbo Tsuruta


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