NJPW NEW JAPAN PRO-WRESTLING 1985-1989
Shin Nihon Puroresu Tapes DVD VHS Videos

NJPW Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #172 3/20/06
NJPW Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #173 3/27/06
-1hr 50min. Q=Perfect

1/25/85 Tokuyama-shi Taiikukan

Kantaro Hoshino & The Cobra & Shunji Takano vs. The Strong Machines No. 1 & No. 2 & No. 3

Antonio Inoki vs. Abdullah The Butcher

2/6/85 Osaka Furitsu Taiikukaikan

Keiichi Yamada (Liger) & Kengo Kimura & Kantaro Hoshino & Tatsutoshi Goto vs. The Strong Machine No. 1-4

The Cobra vs. Hiro Saito. Hiro was fairly athletic in these days and even seemed liked he belonged in this division. It's weird to write, but it was faster-paced and more exciting because of him. The match was good, but suddenly it had this terrible DQ out of nowhere. This was perhaps designed to get heat back onto the junior title matches, which were growing increasingly deader, but in any case no one reacted to Hiro's long post match attack. 11:21. **3/4

Hulk Hogan vs. Tatsumi Fujinami

King Kong Bundy vs. Antonio Inoki

NJPW Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #175 1/5/00
& NJPW Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #176 1/7/00
-1hr 50min. Q=TV Master

NJPW Wonderland #175

12/84 Okayama Budokan: Seiji Sakaguchi & Kengo Kimura vs. Strong Machine No. 1 & Strong Machine No. 2

12/28/84 Phillipines, WWF World Tag Title: Adrian Adonis & Dick Murdock vs. Tatsumi Fujinami & Kengo Kimura 18:17. US plotting with heels controlling the bulk of the match, keeping the face cut off from his corner and double teaming in their own. Fujinami & Kimura tended to wait until the last few minutes to deliver the action, so this worked well for them because they'd get a minute of hot offense when they were finally able to tag, spreading the action across the match rather than withholding it. Adonis & Murdock, aside from being smart tag wrestlers, also have much better offense than most of the faces of their day, so in spite of being heels the duo dominating the match actually helped the quality. Murdock & Fujinami were both very impressive, clearly outshining their partners. Fujinami was particularly fiery in stretches, which showed how great he could have been. He was NJ's best heavyweight of the decade because of his technical skill and diversity, but he actually had some of Choshu's fire in him, he just didn't show it often enough or with any consistency. ***1/2

1/18/85: Seiji Sakaguchi vs. King Kong Bundy

Wonderland #176 taped 1/18/85 Kumamoto

Shunji Takano & The Cobra vs. Black Tiger & Hiro Saito 12:09. Hiro's brawler push continues in this mixed bag. Black Tiger does by far the best wrestling, with Cobra having a good day with sharp execution for once and good chemistry with Tiger. Shunji is much taller than everyone else and not a junior, nor much of a worker, but he had a bad knee that they beat on to make his time passable. Hiro didn't have any chemistry with anyone, but Ueda was at ringside and eventually jumped in, causing a wild postmatch brawl where Shunji was beaten bloody and Fujinami eventually made the save. **3/4

Antonio Inoki & Tatsumi Fujinami & Kengo Kimura vs. Strong Machines 15:41. Fans were into this, but I found it rather dull and run of the mill. Hard to get into the Machines when they are one in the same, they don't even bother giving them numbers or doing anything to distinguish one from the other. They did a lot of triple teaming. Fujinami was fired up and it went up several notches each time he came in. *3/4

1/25/85 Tokuyama-shi Taiikukan: Antonio Inoki vs. Abdullah The Butcher

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #53
-1h 30min. Q=Perfect

1/25/85 Tokuyama-shi Taiikukan

Kantaro Hoshino & The Cobra & Shunji Takano vs. The Strong Machines No. 1 & No. 2 & No. 3

Tatsumi Fujinami vs. King Kong Bundy

Antonio Inoki vs. Abdullah The Butcher

6/15/93 Tokyo Nippon Budokan

Yuji Nagata & Shinjiro Otani & Osamu Nishimura vs. Yuji Yasuraoka & Nobukazu Hirai & Yoshihiro Ito

Satoshi Kojima & Manabu Nakanishi vs. Hiromichi Fuyuki & Koki Kitahara

NJPW Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #177 1/12/00
& NJPW Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #178 1/14/00
-1hr 50min. Q=TV Master

NJPW Wonderland #177 taped 1/25/85

Shunji Takano & Kantaro Hoshino & The Cobra vs. Strong Machines

Tatsumi Fujinami vs. King Kong Bundy

12/8/84 Phillipines: Antonio Inoki vs. Andre The Giant

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #54
-1h 30min. Q=Perfect

2/5/85 Nagoya Aichi-ken Taiikukan

Kengo Kimura & Kantaro Hoshino & Shunji Takano vs. The Strong Machines No. 1 & No. 2 & No. 3

Black Tiger vs. The Cobra

Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Hulk Hogan

Antonio Inoki vs. King Kong Bundy

NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Shinni Junior Gekitoshi~ #26 9/23/02
NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Shinni Junior Gekitoshi~ #27 10/1/02
-1hr 50min. Q=TV Master

Wonderland Junior #26

10/19/84 NWA World Junior Heavyweight Title Match: The Cobra vs. Black Tiger. Simplistic match. Started strong, but it was mainly highspots without sequences and they lack the firepower to keep this up for 14 minutes. There was really no interplay between the two, just switching control when someone missed. Why is it that the junors in the early to mid 80's did tombstone piledrivers so much more impressive than we've seen since the Underfaker adopted it? Dynamite Kid, Tiger Mask, & Cobra all had totally wicked tombstones. Cobra, unfortunately, was not very creative at all. He did actually do a new move here that was like a huracanrana except he tried to hook his opponents back rather than their neck, but it looked really bad and despite winning with it he never did it in any of the other title matches. Good action, but you felt like it should have been better. 13:58. ***

11/1/84 Tokyo Taiikukan NWA World Junior Heavyweight Title Match: The Cobra vs. Black Tiger. This time they did a lot more mat wrestling, inserting short spurts of action in between. On one hand this made more sense, but on the other they probably avoided the mat in the previous match more because neither are that strong there. If the mat didn't seem like rest holds and would have led to some damage accumulating this would have exceeded the 10/19 match, but it wasn't well thought out and kind of flat. Tiger attacked Cobra after the match then came back and broke his trophy. Cobra fought back and got some revenge, though is trophy was still ruined. If they did this before their first match it would have heated up this one, but instead you had a somewhat dull match building to a rematch (12/28) that wasn't helped by it since it was in America (perhaps that wasn't known at the time though?). 13:49. **3/4

2/19/85 Honolulu, Hawaii NBC Arena NWA World Junior Heavyweight Title Match: The Cobra vs. Ricky Magnet 5:58. Magnet was short enough to be a junior, but round enough to bounce. And all along I thought the only juniors announced as weighing 245 pounds were ones that shared their father's first name. This was the basic do moves until you miss style that Cobra reverted to when he wasn't familiar with the opponent or the opponent wasn't good enough to do most of the dirtywork for him. It was passable since it was so short, but Magnet had no business in any title match and Cobra doesn't raise the level of any opponent. *1/4

Wonderland Junior #27

2/6/85 Osaka Furitsu Taiikukaikan WWF Junior Heavyweight Title Match: The Cobra vs. Hiro Saito. Hiro was fairly athletic in these days and even seemed liked he belonged in this division. It's weird to write, but it was faster-paced and more exciting because of him. The match was good, but suddenly it had this terrible DQ out of nowhere. This was perhaps designed to get heat back onto the junior title matches, which were growing increasingly deader, but in any case no one reacted to Hiro's long post match attack. 11:21. **3/4

5/31/85 Saitama Omiya Shimin Taiikukan WWF Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Hiro Saito vs. Tony St. Claire. Danny Hodge was the ref and Cobra was watching from the front row. St. Claire was an old style technician that would have been a good opponent for Fujinami, but Hiro wasn't schooled in headlocks and headscissors. The crowd was dead and the match was a failure because of the style clash. Short and directionless. 8:48. *1/2

8/1/85 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan NWA World Junior Heavyweight Title Match: The Cobra vs. Don Arakawa. Arakawa was really over. It must have been one of those in jokes like with Ryuma Go because he was laugh out loud bad. Ironically, when he was trying to do comedy he was never nearly this funny. Arakawa had a good martial arts stance, but he hit like a fairy. It's even so much how bad Arakawa does things, but that he looks so ridiculous doing them even when they come out the way he wants. Arakawa took just about nothing and sold even less, but after hitting his German suplex Cobra for some reason popped up and did his own German suplex for the win. 9:57. *

NJPW Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ # 174 4/5/06
NJPW Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ # 175 4/12/06
-1hr 50min. Q=Perfect

#174 taped 2/5/85 Nagoya Aichi-ken Taiikukan

The Cobra vs. Black Tiger

2/6/85 Osaka Furitsu Taiikukaikan: Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Hulk Hogan 13:24. Meeting of the "best" Japan and US had to offer during the 80's could predictably be described as comical. One is completely serious and a master of his craft, the other is an artificial fruitcake concerned with everything but what he's purportedly there to do. The sad thing about this match is Hogan actually tried. He's such an inept technical wrestler it's funny, one often wonders how someone so amatuerish even made it out of wrestling school until they remember most of the promoters didn't care about wrestling either. Hogan actually executed a handful of moves credibly, and at least when he's a heel his constant stalling can be slightly justified as being done to incite the crowd (though of course we know he roided away what stamina he might have had). Hogan even bladed at the end. But any "highlight" was overwhelmed by minutes of clumsy boredom. *1/4

Antonio Inoki vs. King Kong Bundy

#175

2/5/85 Nagoya Aichi-ken Taiikukan: Kengo Kimura & Kantaro Hoshino & Shunji Takano vs. Strong Machines No. 1-3

2/19/85 Honolulu, Hawaii NBC Arena NWA World Junior Heavyweight Title Match: The Cobra vs. Ricky Magnet 5:58. Magnet was short enough to be a junior, but round enough to bounce. And all along I thought the only juniors announced as weighing 245 pounds were ones that shared their father's first name. This was the basic do moves until you miss style that Cobra reverted to when he wasn't familiar with the opponent or the opponent wasn't good enough to do most of the dirtywork for him. It was passable since it was so short, but Magnet had no business in any title match and Cobra doesn't raise the level of any opponent. *1/4

2/14/85 Honolulu, Hawaii Neal Blaisdell Center

Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Strong Machine

Antonio Inoki vs. Hacksaw Higgins

NJPW Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ # 176 4/19/06
NJPW Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ # 177 4/26/06
-1hr 50min. Q=Perfect

#176

2/14/85 Honolulu, Hawaii Neal Blaisdell Center: Superfly Tui & Sakalia vs. Seiji Sakaguchi & Anoalo Atisanoe

3/8/85 Kanagawa Yokohama Bunka Taiikukan

Tatsumi Fujinami & Kengo Kimura vs. Bad News Allen & Leroy Brown

Strong Machines 1 & 2 vs. Umanoseke Ueda & Hiro Saito 7:51. Out of control brawl. Ueda & Hiro can wreak some havoc, but they were overwhelmed by the Machine army, which was 4 plus manager Wakamatsu. Ueda bled early and Hiro bled heavily, his fake white hair colored red by the time the Machines were stopped. Not a good match, but it accomplished what it set out to do and was something different. **

Antoni Inoki vs. David Schultz 9:33. Atrocious and phony. Schultz was given every opportunity to display his awful cartoonish overselling as Inoki dominated the match. For some reason Inoki couldn't keep his temper under control. Schultz second had to make the save and they beat Inoki up, driving his head into a table. 1/2*

#177

3/8/85 Kanagawa Yokohama Bunka Taiikukan: Hiroka Hara vs. Shunji Kosugi

3/15/85 Kagoshima Kenritsu Taiikukan: Seiji Sakaguchi & Kengo Kimura vs. Pat Kelly & Mike Kelly

4/18/85 Tokyo Kuramae Kokugikan

Seiji Sakaguchi vs. Billy Jack (Haynes)

Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Strong Machine #1

NJPW Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ # 178 5/3/06
NJPW Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ # 179 5/10/06
-1hr 50min. Q=Perfect

#178

3/8/85 Kanagawa Yokohama Bunka Taiikukan: Keiji Muto vs. Masahiro Chono 14:22. 5 months into their career you could already see that at least Muto was going to be top notch. Solid well executed match. A bit dull, but they mixed things up pretty well and usually had something going on. Muto was such a great athlete that he was allowed to do some high spots, finishing Chono off with his space rolling elbow then moonsault. If they didn't have big plans for him he could already have been pushed in the junior division (granted it was at it's weakest). Chono was fine, but he didn't have an identity or a style yet, he seemed to be well trained but lack a direction. **

4/18/85 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan: Antonio Inoki vs. Bruiser Brody 26:16. These two worked extremely well together, and the match was elevated by the fans eating everything they did up. Just amazing heat. Inoki wore an athletic supporter under a mass of tape on his bum left arm, which Brody went right after, damaging it with a powerslam of all things. Inoki's rare offense knocked Brody back, but not off his feat. Even the first enzuigiri only staggered him. The second knocked him briefly onto one knee, but finally the third knocked him down onto both knees. Unfortunately they failed to capitalize on what they set up early, with the arm totally forgotten and Inoki having blown his best move to minimal effect. The fans stayed highly involved though, and get particularly excited when Inoki applies the manjigatame. They get something going again when some big spots lead to a Brody knee injury. Brody is one of the few no sellers that is actually a good seller and utilizes no selling to make it meaningful when he does indeed sell. As Inoki continued to attack the appendage Brody actually got a bloody knee. Brody is so tough that even beating on him takes something from the opponent, with Inoki being too spent to cover immediately on his backdrop allowing Brody to just kick out. They kept teasing every form of screw job, which was supposed to add to the drama, and did get reactions, but the problem was this was what you dreaded. The beginning was excellent, but didn't set up the match they did. The ending was excellent, but the egos prevent them from providing closure. The middle was somewhat wasted, but had enough good (for them) moves to keep things interesting. ***1/2

#179

4/18/85 Tokyo Kuramae Kokugikan: 1st Young Lion Cup Final: Keiichi Yamada vs. Shunji Kosugi

5/10/85 Fukuoka Sports Center: Kantaro Hoshino & The Cobra vs. El Canek & Hiro Saito

4/12/85 Osaka: Antonio Inoki vs. Billy Jack

NJPW Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ # 180 5/17/06
NJPW Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ # 181 5/24/06
-1hr 50min. Q=Perfect

#180 taped 5/24/85 Kobe World Kinen Hall

5/10/85 Fukuoka Sports Center: Seiji Sakaguchi vs. Masked Superstar

Pedro Morales vs. Super Strong Machine

WWF International Tag Title Decision Match: Adrian Adonis & Dick Murduch vs. Tatsumi Fujinami & Kengo Kimura

#181 taped 4/12/85 Osaka

Shinji Kosugi vs. Tatsutoshi Goto

Strong Machines vs. Tatsumi Fujinami & Kengo Kimura

5/10/85: Andre The Giant & Jimmy Snuka vs. Tatsumi Fujinami & Antonio Inoki

5/24/85 Kobe World Kinen Hall: Antonio Inoki vs. Andre The Giant

NJPW Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ # 182 5/31/06
NJPW Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ # 183 6/7/06
-1hr 50min. Q=Perfect

#182 taped 5/31/85 Omiya Shimin Taiikukan

Seiji Sakaguchi & Kantaro Hoshino vs. Pedro Morales & El Canek

Andre The Giant vs. SS Machine

WWF Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Hiro Saito vs. Tony St. Clair

Antonio Inoki & Tatsumi Fujinami & Kengo Kimura vs. Dick Murdock & Adrian Adonis & King Kong Bundy

#183 taped 6/7/85 Matsumoto-shi Sogo Taiikukan

Adrian Adonis & Dick Murduch vs. The Cobra & Shunji Takano

Andre The Giant vs. Tatsumi Fujinami

6/11/85 Tokyo Taiikukan, '85 IWGP Final: Antonio Inoki vs. Andre The Giant

NJPW Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ # 184 6/14/06
NJPW Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ # 185 6/21/06
-1hr 50min. Q=Perfect

#184

6/11/85 Tokyo Taiikukan WWF World Heavyweight Title Match: Hulk Hogan vs. Tatsumi Fujinami

6/13/85 Aichi-ken Taiikukan: Andre The Giant & Tony St. Clair vs. Seiji Sakaguchi & Kantaro Hoshino

6/13/85 IWGP Heavyweight Title Match: Antonio Inoki vs. Hulk Hogan

#185

6/11/85 Tokyo Taiikukan: Shunji Takano vs. SS Machine

6/7/85 Matsumoto-shi Sogo Taiikukan: Antonio Inoki & Kengo Kimura vs. Hulk Hogan & Mike Sharpe

6/28/85 Hoshikawa Prince Hotel Ice Arena: SS Machine vs. Strong Machine No. 2

NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #193 3/8/00
& NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #194 3/10/00
-1hr 50min. Q=TV Master

NJ Wonderland #193 7/26/85 taped 7/26 Hirosaki Shi Min Taiikukan

Shunji Takano & Super Strong Machine vs. Strong Machines. Basic match with a lot of punches and kicks. Takano and SS Machine had the expected break up, with Machine leaving Takano so it was 2-1. For some reason SS came back after the match and saved Takano from further beating. **1/4

Jimmy Snuka vs. Kengo Kimura. Uneventful. *

Antonio Inoki & Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Bruiser Brody & King Kong Bundy. Good match when Brody was in, but Bundy was always horrible. *1/2

NJ Wonderland #194

8/16/85 taped 8/3 Hawaii Aloha Stadium: Jimmy Snuka vs. Larry Sharpe. 2 minute squash.

8/2/85 taped 7/28 Osaka Jo Hall

NWA Sekai & WWF Nintei Junior Heavykyu Senshukenjiai: The Cobra (NWA champ) vs. Hiro Saito (WWF champ). Hiro showed nothing. Cobra tried hard, but had nothing to work with. The first match was really slow paced and rather dull with an awful screw job finish. They restarted the match and it was much faster paced and more exciting, but unfortunately this only lasted a couple minutes. Cobra unifies the titles. *1/2

Antonio Inoki vs. Bruiser Brody. Brody totally dominated, with the fans cheering the whole time for Inoki to come back. The pace wasn't very fast, but they did do a lot of "big" moves in the last 4-5 minutes. Good match largely due to Brody, but the finish sucked. **1/2

NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #195 3/15/00
& NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #196 3/17/00
-1hr 50min. Q=TV Master

NJ Wonderland #195

7/28/85 Osaka Jo Hall: Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Jimmy Snuka

8/1/85 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan, NWA World Junior Heavyweight Title Match: The Cobra vs. Don Arakawa

8/3/85 Hawaii Aloha Stadium: Antonio Inoki vs. Bruiser Brody

NJ Wonderland #196 taped 8/1/85 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan

Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Jimmy Snuka

Antonio Inoki vs. Bruiser Brody

NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #197 3/22/00
& NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #198 3/24/00
-1hr 50min. Q=TV Master

Wonderland #197 taped 8/3/85 Hawaii Aloha Stadium

Tatsumi Fujinami & Kengo Kimura vs. Jerry Fulton & Gene Lewis

WWF Junior Heavyweight Title Match: The Cobra vs. Superfly Tui. Another short match with a finish out of nowhere. Tui, who was in the division by size rather than style, showed nothing. Too often they didn't know what the other guy was planning to do next and couldn't react. 7:15. *

King Kong Bundy & Mark Lewin & Kevin Sullivan vs. Andre The Giant & Steve "The Kid" Keirn & Angelo Mosca

8/30/85: Antonio Inoki & Seiji Sakaguchi vs. Giant Machine & Super Machine

Wonderland #198

8/3/85 Hawaii Aloha Stadium: Seiji Sakaguchi vs. Matt Borne

8/30/85

Keiichi Yamada vs. Shunji Kosugi. A rematch from 4/18/85 when Kosugi defeated Yamada to capture the Young Lion Cup.

WWF International Tag Title Match: Tatsumi Fujinami & Kengo Kimura vs. Kerry Brown & Hacksaw Higgins

9/6/85: Keiji Muto & Don Arakawa vs. Umanosuke Ueda & Tony St. Clair

NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #199 3/29/00
& NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #200 3/31/00
-1hr 50min. Q=TV Master

Wonderland #199

9/19/85 Tokyo Taiikukan: Seiji Sakaguchi & Kengo Kimura vs. Giant Machine & Super Machine

9/6/85

Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Super Machine

Antonio Inoki vs. Giant Machine

Wonderland #200

10/4/85 Hokkaido Sapporo Nakajima Taiiku Center: Seiji Sakaguchi & Kantaro Hoshino vs. Bad News Allen & Roger Smith

9/19/85 Tokyo Taiikukan: Antonio Inoki vs. Tatsumi Fujinami

NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #201 4/5/00
& NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #202 4/7/00
-1hr 50min. Q=TV Master

Wonderland #201

10/4/85 Hokkaido Sapporo Nakajima Taiiku Center: Rambo Sakurada & Tatsutoshi Goto vs. Conga The Barbarian & Rick Oliver. Sakurada, the future Kendo Nagasaki, & Goto form a team known as The Rising Suns.

9/85 Fukuoka Sports Center

Keiji Muto vs. Tony St. Clair

Seiji Sakaguchi & Kengo Kimura vs. Kerry Brown & Hacksaw Higgins

Antonio Inoki & Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Giant Machine & Super Machine

NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Shinni Junior Gekitoshi~ #28 10/8/02
NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Shinni Junior Gekitoshi~ #29 10/15/02
-1hr 50min. Q=TV Master

Wonderland Junior #28

8/3/85 Hawaii Aloha Stadium WWF Junior Heavyweight Title Match: The Cobra vs. Superfly Tui. Another short match with a finish out of nowhere. Tui, who was in the division by size rather than style, showed nothing. Too often they didn't know what the other guy was planning to do next and couldn't react. 7:15. *

10/4/85 Hokkaido Sapporo Nakajima Taiiku Center WWF Junior Heavyweight Title Match: The Cobra vs. Fishman. The basic problems with Cobra are he doesn't string things together, isn't good at playing off much less to his opponent, and is sloppy. Though deliberate and lacking spontaneity, the match succeeded when they were running around. More often it was the slower more submission oriented Fishman stuff, which Cobra made no attempt to counter. What was good about the match is it had some nice moves that were uncommon at the time like Fishman doing the Ligerbomb, Cobra doing the 2 kaiten ebigatame (the Toyota move where she rolls up her standing opponents body and over into a sunset flip) and a Tiger suplex (though it was very sloppy). 16:44. **1/4

2/3/84 Hokkaido Sapporo Nakajima Taiiku Center WWF Junior Heavyweight Crown Decision League Match: Dynamite Kid vs. Davey Boy Smith. Kind of an odd match. It started out like it was going to be a classic, totally died in the middle with a bunch of pointless restmissions, then made a comeback but still never approached its stellar start. These two were obviously very familar with each other, and were able to put together excellent sequences with precise timing and execution. Unfortunately, they went away from this style and into something far more familiar, and thus less interesting and good. 14:08. ***1/2

Wonderland Junior #29

7/28/85 Osaka Jo Hall NWA & WWF Junior Heavyweight Double Title Match: The Cobra vs. Hiro Saito. Hiro not only kept the match moving, but his heel tactics got Cobra to be more aggressive. What hurt the match is Kotetsu Yamamoto actually DQing Hiro for not breaking by the 5 count. Of course they restarted it, but this portion was so short and slow. 12:30, 2:26. ***

10/31/85 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan WWF Junior Heavyweight Title Match: The Cobra vs. Don Arakawa. Arakawa had become more of a "wrestler" and less of a martial artist by ths point. The match was better due to this because Arakawa's martial arts was laughable and Cobra can't even put that style over. Arakawa wasn't over at all though. The fans did giggle at times, for instance when he hurt his head by German suplexing Cobra onto his face. Cobra had more offense here, which was an improvement even though Arakawa takes even worse. 13:30. *1/2

NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ # 207 4/26/00
- 55min. Q=TV Master

NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ # 207 4/26/00 taped 12/20/85 Nagoya Aichi-ken Taiikukan

Jimmy Snuka vs. Kengo Kimura

Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Bruiser Brody

12/26/85 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan

Bruiser Brody & Jimmy Snuka vs. Dick Murdock & Masked Superstar

NJPW Tadakai no Wonderland ~ Nobuhiko Takada Story ~ #3 8/1/99
& NJPW Tadakai no Wonderland ~ Nobuhiko Takada Story ~ #6 8/22/99
-1hr 50min. Q=TV Master

Wonderland Takada #3 8/1/99 originally aired 3/28/86 taped 3/26/86 Tokyo Taiikukan

5 vs. 5 Jikan Museigen (unlimited time) Elimination Match: Akira Maeda & Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Osamu Kido & Nobuhiko Takada & Kazuo Yamazaki vs. Antonio Inoki & Tatsumi Fujinami & Kengo Kimura & Umanosuke Ueda & Kantaro Hoshino. Incredible atmosphere because the crowd reactions were unreal. ****1/2

Wonderland Takada #6

8/5/86 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan, IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Nobuhiko Takada vs. Shiro Koshinaka

8/7/86 Toyohashi Sports Center, IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Nobuhiko Takada vs. Kazuo Yamazaki

NJ vs. UWF Elimination Match Commercial tape 3/26/86 Tokyo Taiikukan
-45min. Q=Master
RECOMMENDED!

5 vs. 5 Jikan Museigen (unlimited time) Elimination Match: Akira Maeda & Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Osamu Kido & Nobuhiko Takada & Kazuo Yamazaki vs. Antonio Inoki & Tatsumi Fujinami & Kengo Kimura & Umanosuke Ueda & Kantaro Hoshino. Incredible atmosphere because the crowd reactions were unreal. ****1/2

NJ Tadakai no Wonderland Nobuhiko Takada #4 8/8/99
& NJ Tadakai no Wonderland Nobuhiko Takada #5 8/15/99
-1hr 50min. Q=TV Master

Wonderland Takada #4

5/1/86 Shin Nihon vs. UWF 5 vs. 5 Single Kachinogisen: Seiji Sakaguchi & Tatsumi Fujinami & Kengo Kimura & Shiro Koshinaka & Keiichi Yamada vs. Osamu Kido & Nobuhiko Takada & Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Kazuo Yamazaki.

a) Yamada vs. Takada. Long very well worked UWF segment. Dull for Takada, but that made for a better match because it was more solid and believable with offense being hard to come by. As the match progressed, Takada, of course, found a few openings for his strikes. Once he put Yamada down he'd flurry on him as soon as he got up. Yamada was overmatched, but he showed a lot of heart and gained something despite the one-sided nature. 14:26

b) Sakaguchi vs. Takada. Sakaguchi wanted to work on the ground so his legs didn't get kicked out. After those token kicks by Takada at the outset, he was done for. Sakaguchi, of course, looked bad. His ground work was extremely fake because he has no flexibility. 4:41

c) Sakaguchi vs. Yamazaki. Waste of Yamazaki, who was real good in just making this watchable. He worked Sakaguchi's ankle, but Sakaguchi wanted to block everything so he didn't have to sell. Yamazaki was given one chance when he did a backdrop into udehishigigyakujujigatame. 5:26

d) Sakaguchi vs. Kido. Kido was fine, but Sakaguchi is a disaster. He has no energy, so he blew up here in spite of his first two "matches" being so easy on him. Kido kicked Sakaguchi when they went to lock up, then Sakaguchi just stood there hunched over jerking his head when Kido's subsequent kicks approached. Adding to the realism of the match, Kido didn't appear to hit Sakaguchi's knee when Sakaguchi atomic dropped him. 3:34

e) Koshinaka vs. Kido. Koshinaka brought the life back to the match right away, starting with a segment on the floor where he piledrove Kido. Had its ups and downs, but overall a good portion. They worked well together, mixing junior spots with more technical stuff. 8:11

Wonderland Takada #5

f) Kimura vs. Kido. Nothing portion. No energy. They didn't just lie around, but it was like they finished before they started. 4:42

g) Kimura vs. Fujiwara. Kimura attacked when Fujiwara was entering, throwing him to the floor and bloodying him. He attacked the cut, even digging into it to open it up more. Fujiwara came back with his headbutts anyway. Decent segment. The best stuff was early, then after a lull they did a dramatic finish with Kimura inching his way toward the ropes but having to succumb before he could quite reach them. 7:31

h) Fujinami vs. Fujiwara. Fujiwara got revenge, bloodying Fujinami with a piledriver on the floor. They were really laying it on thick with Fujinami supposedly verging on passing out from blood loss. Somehow when they finally reentered Fujinami managed to pull a backslide out of nowhere for the win. I thought Maeda was up next, but I guess that was it. The first portion was of the match was by far the best, but after that they wasted the talented guys and got away from what makes NJ vs. UWF good in favor of theatrics. 8:46

6/17/86 Nagoya Aichi-ken Gymnasium IWGP Junior Title: Takada vs. The Cobra. Great match. Takada's kicks were so stiff it was taking over the junior division by kicking Cobra right out. Takada was super over, and this had great heat. Cobra's best stuff was early in his tenure, but the gimmick was a failure and it was more than time for a change. Cobra was up for the match, which ironically was the best of his junior title bouts, even though is job was mainly getting the stuffing kicked out of him. 21:32. ****1/2

NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #222 6/16/00
55min. Q=TV Master

NJ Wonderland #219 taped 6/6/86 Hokkaido Sapporo Nakajima Taiiku Center

4th IWGP Koshikisen: Akira Maeda vs. Umanosuke Ueda

Antonio Inoki & Seiji Sakaguchi vs. Andre The Giant & Cuban Assassin

IWGP Tag Senshukenjiai: Tatsumi Fujinami & Kengo Kimura vs. Jimmy Snuka & Wild Samoan 17:59. My opinion of Snuka seems to show what I looked for in wrestling from different countries. The American wrestling of the time was so boring that Snuka and his few impressive flying moves really stood out. In Japan I expect good technical wrestling, so what stands out about Snuka is he's all rest holds. Still, Snuka carried his team and supplied the only quality on their end, though that's because it was incredibly Tame when Wild was in. Fujinami & Kimura were as always, a lot of generally uninspiring matwork and a few basic but very well done athletic spots before a hot minute or two at the finish. **1/4

NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #223 6/21/00
& NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #224 6/23/00
-1hr 50min. Q=TV Master

NJ Wonderland #223

5/1/86 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan: Antonio Inoki & Umanosuke Ueda vs. Andre The Giant & Shogun KY Wakamatsu

6/12/86 Osaka Jo Hall, 4th IWGP Koshikisen: Antonio Inoki vs. Yoshiaki Fujiwara

Wonderland #224 taped 6/12/86 Osaka Jo Hall

Seiji Sakaguchi & Umanosuke Ueda & Kengo Kimura vs. Andre The Giant & Dick Murdock & Masked Superstar

4th IWGP Koshikisen: Akira Maeda vs. Tatsumi Fujinami 22:02. They pulled out all the stops to make this intense highly dramatic match one of the top NJ heavyweight matches of the decade. Largely UWF style, which given Fujinami was Maeda's opponent isn't too much different than NJ style anyway. In any case they established UWF right off the bat, so when they did a brief sequence of jumping kicks the fans exploded. The progression was very smart, especially early on. Fujinami's knee was injured from a kneebar and he had trouble getting back to his feet, so Maeda attacked the knee. Fujinami rope escaped a later kneebar, but when he got up Maeda was waiting with a series of high kicks. From here on Maeda tried to exploit Fujinami's bad knee more for its immobility, making him an easier target for the kicks, than for submission. Fujinami wised up to Maeda's kicks, caught one, tripped him up, and tried for a submission. From here on Fujinami would use Maeda's proclivity to strike against him, attempting to win with the sasorigatame. Adding to the drama, Fujinami got a wicked cut near the eye from a Maeda's kneel kick, which Maeda followed by trying to defeat Fujinami with his own Dragon suplex. The one problem with this match was the finish, which though they went long and hard just did not feel earned. It felt very sudden, especially on Maeda's part because he seemed to be on a bit of a role. ****1/2

NJPW Tadakai no Wonderland ~ Nobuhiko Takada Story ~ #7 8/29/99
& NJPW Tadakai no Wonderland ~ Nobuhiko Takada Story ~ #8 9/5/99
-1hr 50min. Q=TV Master

NJPW Wonderland Takada #7

9/5/86 taped 9/5/86 Chiba Koen Taiikukan: Nobuhiko Takada & Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs. George Takano & Shiro Koshinaka

10/6/86 taped 9/15 Osaka Jo Hall 5 vs. 5 Jikan Museigen Elimination Tag Match II NJ vs. UWF: Tatsumi Fujinami & Kengo Kimura & George Takano & Shiro Koshinaka & Kantaro Hoshino vs. Akira Maeda & Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Osamu Kido & Nobuhiko Takada & Kazuo Yamazaki

NJPW Wonderland Takada #8

9/19/86 Fukuoka Kokusai Center, IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Nobuhiko Takada vs. Shiro Koshinaka 18:15. ****1/4

10/20/86: Nobuhiko Takada & Osamu Kido vs. Kengo Kimura & Shiro Koshinaka 16:17. **1/2

11/3/86 Tokyo Korakuen Hall: Nobuhiko Takada & Osamu Kido vs. Shiro Koshinaka & Shinya Hashimoto 9:55. ***

NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #229 7/12/00
& NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #230 7/14/00
1hr 50min. Q=TV Master

NJ Wonderland #229 taped 8/5/86 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Nobuhiko Takada vs. Shiro Koshinaka. Takada & Koshinaka were dominant in their own styles. However, though Koshinaka knew he couldn't beat Takada in a striking and submission game, he refused to back down to make a statement about his toughness. He wound up doing Takada's match because he was too proud to practice shoot style evasion. They worked most of the bout within the well known UWF limitations, with Koshinaka hitting a lariat. To my eyes, the problem is they didn't really develop or work the transition to Koshinaka's fast paced junior style. In fact, Takada initiated it, ascending to the top rope for no reason only to get superplexed, which ushered in a really exciting segment of Koshinaka's offense that was really out of place in the otherwise kick and submission match. Takada brought the match back to submissions quick enough, but despite the crowds roaring approval, the match would have been much better if they either scrapped this segment or took the time to show Koshinaka putting his ego aside and just concentrating on winning the match by any means necessary. As it stands, though well worked, the match mostly comes off as goofy. ***1/4

IWGP Tag Senshuken: Tatsumi Fujinami & Kengo Kimura vs. Akira Maeda & Osamu Kido

Wonderland #230 taped 8/7/86 Nagoya Tsuyuhashi Sports Center

IWGP Junior Heavykyu Senshuken: Nobuhiko Takada vs. Kazuo Yamazaki 17:27. A junior title match that made no concessions to "junior" style. There was an attempt at a tombstone and a dropkick, the former blocked the later missed. So it was kick, submission, and suplex all the way. Yamazaki grew as a wrestler more than Takada did from this point, both were pretty equal workers here but Yamazaki didn't have the setup, timing, and transition of his peak. Thus in a way the match was a bit repetitive because they didn't get as much out of the limited offense as they could have, but on the other hand, and I feel more importantly, it's arguably the most unique IWGP Jr. match because it's strictly technical. The fans certainly didn't feel it was too long, the biggest "Yamazaki" chants were for him to escape the hold he ultimately submitted to. ****

Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Alexei Smirnoff 7:29. Disappointingly brief match. Fujinami comes in with a scab on his lower back, so Smirnoff works over the back. They didn't waste time and the work was solid. **1/4

Antonio Inoki & Kengo Kimura vs. Steve Williams & Badnews Allen

NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #231 7/19/00
& NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #232 7/21/00
1hr 50min. Q=TV Master

Wonderland #231 taped ?/?/86 Mexico El Toreo De Cuatro Caminos

2/3 Falls: Tatsumi Fujinami & Kengo Kimura vs. El Canek & Fishman 13:04, 5:32, 4:42. Typical 80s match starting weak but building to a strong albeit frustrating finish. Everyone paced themselves for a long match, but Fujinami was very intense still acted like he was putting effort into his holds, while Kimura did everything with the minimum energy required. These two are as good as they want to be, and Kimura was good when he picked it up but there was too much wasted time, especially between falls. Up until the 3rd fall Fujinami's team wrestled technically while the Luchadores kicked and punched. Fishman picked it up in the third fall with his tope and regular highspots, and the third fall continued to be excellent. He seemed more into it than Canek, but Canek vs. Fujinami was really good down the stretch, going back and forth for a surprising amount of near finishes. Fujinami & Canek had swapped falls, and Kimura & Fishman fought outside for minutes letting them tease the decisive fall in a manner usually reserved for title matches. ***1/4

Wonderland #232 taped 9/16/86 Osaka Jo Hall

Antonio Inoki vs. Bruiser Brody 44:29 of 60:00. Shockingly good match where they attempted to do a match of the year and effort overcame skill. The quantity was certainly there, but so was their best quality. One would think this would seem very long, but it didn't because the finish was always near moves wise, even if you figured neither would do the job. Lots of action, especially considering the length. Both men showed tremendous stamina, especially considering age and size. Both threw everything at their opponent, but neither would stay down long. Brody was highly motivated, putting thought, nuance, and timing into his performance. He did a good job of mixing his selling of his knee with his usual no selling, particularly when Inoki would strike him and he'd make it look like he was forced to sell the knee because it was just in such bad shape. Inoki was mediocre in the first half, trying a lot of jumping moves with suspect accuracy, but came on pretty strong in the 2nd half. He certainly put all he had into it, and though that often hasn't been enough, in this case the booking and the crowd elevated it to another level. If Brody's performance ever approached this level again, it's in a match I've yet to see. ****

NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #233 7/26/00
& NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #234 7/28/00
1hr 50min. Q=TV Master

Wonderland #233 taped 9/19/86 Fukuoka Kokusai Center

IWGP Junior Heavykyu Senshukenjiai: Nobuhiko Takada vs. Shiro Koshinaka

9/16/86 Osaka Jo Hall: Antonio Inoki vs. Bruiser Brody. Digest

Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Bruiser Brody

Antonio Inoki vs. Hacksaw Jim Duggan

Wonderland #234 taped 10/13/86 Tokyo Korakuen Hall

10/9/86 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan: Kengo Kimura vs. Lance Von Erich

Kengo Kimura & George Takano vs. Conga The Barbarian & The Jackal

Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Keiji Muto

Antonio Inoki vs. Steve Williams

Kakuto Renaissance no Genryu (source/origin) #12 8/29/99 taped 10/9/86 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan
-1hr 25min. Q=TV Master

Puroresu vs. Boxing: Antonio Inoki vs. Leon Spinks. Outside of WCW's attempts at mixed matches (especially involving Johnny Punches Badd), this is about as bad as it can get. Spinks punches were so incredibly fake looking. He simply had less than no ability in a work. Inoki was exceptionally bad as well. Basically, this match consisted of three rounds of horribly fake boxing then Inoki started going for takedowns. The finish was particularly horrible, as Spinks wouldn't take the bump on a suplex. Instead, he just went to his back when Inoki set it up and Inoki literally laid on top of him for a five count. What made this so ridiculous was Spinks wasn't hurt at all, and there was no finishing move. I mean, two seconds ago Spinks was dancing around the ring. Suddenly he goes to his back and Inoki does something that could very marginally be construed as tying Spinks up, although even then this cover would make the Delfin clutch the equivalent of being put in a straight jacket, and Spinks doesn't even make the slightest attempt to kick out. -***

Puroresu vs. Martial Arts: Akira Maeda vs. Don Nakaya Nielsen. This match did a ton for Maeda because he proved his ability in a "shoot" and smoked Inoki's match on a show that drew a 28.9 prime time rating. Maeda was incredibly over and this had a ton of heat. The match was exciting, but it wasn't nearly as good as I had been led to believe. Probably the "problem" is that shooting has evolved so much in the past 13 years that this has been so far surpassed. It played really well then, but today it's more worth seeing for historical purposes. Mixed matches in New Japan have traditionally been horrible, and this certainly wasn't, so I'm sure that has partially attributed to it's legend. In any case, for heat, drama, intensity, and excitement, this match ranks pretty high. However, it doesn't look like a shoot by today's terms, particularly all the movie kicks Nielson was doing (although at least Maeda avoided them). From a technical standpoint, I wasn't particularly impressed. It just seemed like the substance couldn't come close the aura. Neilson's performance was very impressive for a name from another sports world coming into pro wrestling, so the match probably could have been better than it was. There are two spots from this match that really worked, the round ending while Maeda has Neilson trapped in a wakigatame and the finish because of Nielson's dramatic pained expression. There's no doubt in my mind that Yamazaki vs. Clarke 1/10/89 is better than this, although it didn't make nearly the impact. The match still looks good today, but Maeda's "shoot" matches against Takada & Han make much better viewing. I'm not sure how to rate this match. By today's standards, it's around ***. However, ratings should be done based on the time period the match is from, which would probably make it around ****

New Japan History of the Fight Commercial Tape Volume 2
-1 1/2hr. Q=1st Gen.

This details the key events in NJ from 1981-1986. Everything is shown in highlight form, typically lasting about a minute. Tons of Inoki, Fujinami, and Choshu.

NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #233 7/26/00
& NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #234 7/28/00
1hr 50min. Q=TV Master

Wonderland #233 taped 9/19/86 Fukuoka Kokusai Center

IWGP Junior Heavykyu Senshukenjiai: Nobuhiko Takada vs. Shiro Koshinaka

9/16/86 Osaka Jo Hall: Antonio Inoki vs. Bruiser Brody. Digest

Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Bruiser Brody

Antonio Inoki vs. Hacksaw Jim Duggan

Wonderland #234 taped 10/13/86 Tokyo Korakuen Hall

10/9/86 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan: Kengo Kimura vs. Lance Von Erich

Kengo Kimura & George Takano vs. Conga The Barbarian & The Jackal

Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Keiji Muto

Antonio Inoki vs. Steve Williams

NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #236 8/4/00
55min. Q=TV Master

Wonderland #236 taped 12/10/86 Osaka Jo Hall

IWGP Junior Heavykyu Senshuken: Shiro Koshinaka vs. Kazuo Yamazaki 21:50. Intense highly technical match with impressive movement on the mat largely due to Yamazaki. Koshinaka got off to a quick start with hip attacks then they took it to the mat and the match got progressively slower during the first 11 minutes. Yamazaki then teased a dive, one of many effective teases. Went back and forth with neither being able to sustain and advantage and both having legitimate chances to win. They weren't able to hurt each other either, so it seemed it would come down to whoever caught their opponent off guard or got lucky. In these days wrestlers still knew how to do a match to get over a finish, particularly one that wasn't with a finisher. This is a perfect example of how not winning with a finisher can be more exciting because by opening up other possibilities rather than the usual narrowing down to a few the intensity and drama can be increased and multiplied. When you can believe because they allow you to but you aren't sure because it's more based on being trapped or caught off guard than incapacitated there can be several edge of the seat moments. Fans were pro Shiro, but popped for all the near finishes. Yamazaki really brought a lot to this match, but Koshinaka also deserves a ton of credit for his ability to work the style of the UWF fighters. ****

Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Kengo Kimura 12:36. Big disappointment. Rather than develop the technical end they just sat in holds. Then it finally looked like it would get good with Kimura doing his big moves, but Fujinami flash pinned him out of nowhere. **

NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #237 8/9/00
& NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #234 7/28/00
1hr 50min. Q=TV Master

Wonderland #237 taped 12/10/86 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan

'86 Japan Cup Sodatsu Tag League Winner Advances To Championship Match: Akira Maeda & Osamu Kido vs. Dick Murdock & Masked Superstar

'86 Japan Cup Sodatsu Tag League Yushosen: Antonio Inoki & Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs. Akira Maeda & Osamu Kido

Wonderland #238 taped 1/2/87 Tokyo Korakuen Hall

12/10/86 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan: Tatsumi Fujinami & Keiji Muto vs. Kendo Nagasaki & Mr. Pogo

Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Osamu Kido vs. Buzz Sawyer & Bret Sawyer

Antonio Inoki & Keiji Muto vs. Conga The Barbarian & Black Bart

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #79 8/21/04
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

12/8/86 Aichi-ken Taiikukan, '86 Japan Cup Tag League: Nobuhiko Takada & Shiro Koshinaka vs. Osamu Kido & Akira Maeda

12/8/86: Keiji Muto & Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Antonio Inoki & Yoshiaki Fujiwara

12/11/86: Akira Maeda & Osamu Kido vs. Dick Murduch & Masked Superstar

12/11/86: Keiji Muto & Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Mr. Pogo & Kendo Nagasaki

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #80 8/21/04
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

12/11/86 Ryogoku Kokugikan, '86 Japan Cup Tag League Match: Antonio Inoki & Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs. Akira Maeda & Osamu Kido

12/10/86: Tonga Kid vs. Kim Jeon

12/10/86: George Takano & Keiji Muto vs. Mr. Pogo & Kendo Nagasaki

12/10/86: Shiro Koshinaka vs. Kazuo Yamazaki

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #81 8/25/04
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

12/10/86 Osaka Jo Hall: Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Kengo Kimura

12/10/86 '86 Japan Cup Tag League Match: Antonio Inoki & Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs. Akira Maeda & Osamu Kido

1/2/87: Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Osamu Kido vs. Buzz Sawyer & Brett Sawyer

1/2/87: Antonio Inoki & Keiji Muto vs. Konga The Barbarian & Black Bart

NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Nobuhiko Takada~ #10 9/19/99
& NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Chosenshi Gekiko Hen~ #561 9/21/99
-1hr 50min. Q=TV Master

NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Nobuhiko Takada~ #10 9/19/99

2/9/87 taped 2/9 Gifu Sangyo Kaikan: Nobuhiko Takada & Osamu Kido & Kazuo Yamazaki vs. Shiro Koshinaka & George Takano & Tatsu Goto

3/2/87 taped 3/2 Soka Shi Sports Kenko (health) Toshi (city/town) Sogo Taiikukan IWGP Oza Sodatsu Leaguesen: Akira Maeda & Nobuhiko Takada vs. Kendo Nagasaki & Mr. Pogo

3/26/87 taped 3/26 Osaka Jo Hall: Akira Maeda & Nobuhiko Takada vs. Shiro Koshinaka & Keiji Muto

NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Chosenshi Gekiko Hen~ #561 9/21/99 aired 2/27/93 taped 2/?/93 Okayama Budokan

Shiro Koshinaka & Kengo Kimura vs. Riki Choshu & Akira Nogami

Tony Halme & Brad Armstrong vs. Hiroshi Hase & Keiji Muto

NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Nobuhiko Takada~ #11 9/26/99
& NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Nobuhiko Takada Hen~ #12 10/3/99
-1hr 50min. Q=TV Master

#11

10/12/87 Osaka Furitsu Rinkai Sports Center: Nobuhiko Takada & Keiji Muto vs. Riki Choshu & Super Strong Machine

10/19/87: Nobuhiko Takada & Shiro Koshinaka vs. Super Strong Machine & Hiro Saito

10/25/87 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan: Nobuhiko Takada & Kazuo Yamazaki vs. Shiro Koshinaka & Keiichi Yamada

NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Nobuhiko Takada Hen~ #12 10/3/99

12/7/87 taped 12/7 Osaka Furitsu Taiikukaikan: Nobuhiko Takada & Keiji Muto vs. Kerry Von Erich & Kevin Von Erich

12/28/87 taped 12/28 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan: Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Osamu Kido & Nobuhiko Takada vs. Riki Choshu & Super Strong Machine & Kuniaki Kobayashi

1/11/88 taped 1/?/88 Kunantani Shi Min Taiikukan: Antonio Inoki & Nobuhiko Takada vs. Steve Williams & Owen Hart

NJ Nobuhiko Takada Super Fight Memorial Commercial Tape
-2 1/2hr. Q=Near Perfect 1st Gen
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Takada was awesome in the mid 1980's with NJ, and these are some of his best matches. Takada had such an aura even back then, as all but one match is after he returned to NJ after the first incarnation of the UWF folded. This tape shows a different side to the NJ junior division because there isn't one match on here that's about flying. This makes the matches on this tape seem much less dated because stiffness, psychology, crispness, and heat are never really dated, while high spots age fast because the bar is continually raised. What's cool about this tape is many of the matches are shown in complete form.

8/12/83 Calgary Victoria Pavilion: Takada vs. Anthole Foley. Foley was unimpressive, dominating the match mainly through cheating. Takada finally came back with a flurry in the last two minutes to put him away.

6/17/86 Nagoya Aichi-ken Gymnasium IWGP Junior Title: Takada vs. The Cobra. Great match. Takada's kicks were so stiff it was taking over the junior division by kicking Cobra right out. Takada was super over, and this had great heat. Cobra was always a really underrated wrestler, but in this case, that this match was great wasn't his doing.

8/5/86 Tokyo Sumo Hall IWGP Jr. Title: Takada vs. Shiro Koshinaka. This was joined about 15 minutes in, so it was the typical hot Shiro finishing sequence with near falls back and forth for the 6:17 shown.

8/17/86 IWGP Jr. Title: Takada vs. Yamazaki. Very good UWF style match that was a precursor to what these two would go on to do in the ring together in UWF & UWF-I.

9/19/86 Fukuoka Sports Center IWGP Jr. Title: Takada vs. Shiro. Only 4:39 was shown, but this appeared to be an incredible match with super heat. Shiro won the title here.

2/5/87 Tokyo Sumo Hall IWGP Jr. Title: Shiro vs. Takada. This is my favorite of the matches vs. Shiro on this tape. The psychology was strong and I liked the storyline of Shiro concentrating on Takada's fingers because it was effective and different. Takada couldn't really get any offense off because everytime they locked up Shiro went back to the fingers. Eventually Takada puts Shiro down with a high kick, but rather than let him up he starts kicking him fiercely. Finish really worked for me because the whole match built up to it.

3/20/87 Tokyo Korakuen Hall IWGP Tag Team Title League '87 Final: Maeda & Takada vs. Koshinaka & Muto. Good match with a hybrid style.

8/19/87 Tokyo Sumo Hall IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Tournament Round 1: Takada vs. Yamada. Clip.

8/20/87 Tokyo Sumo Hall IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Tournament Semifinal: Takada vs. Yamazaki. 2 minutes shown.

8/20/87 Tokyo Sumo Hall IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Tournament Final: Takada vs. Kobayashi. Kobayashi really wasn't over and his offense looked so weak compared to Takada's. The early portion was nothing much with Kobayashi doing matwork, but it turned into a good match with hot near falls back and forth before Kobayashi won the tournament.

3/11/88 Nagoya Aichi-ken Gymnasium IWGP Junior Title: Hase vs. Takada. Great match with such precise execution and superb technical work. Basically a technical masterpiece with great heat. On this night, these two looked like the two best workers in the world. They actually did a ref bump so when Takada pinned Hase with his Dragon suplex, there was no one but the fans to count the pinfall.

NJ TV 5/9/92 & 7/23/94
& NJ Classics 10/29/97
-2hr 15min. Q=1st Gen (2nd show is a little wavy). HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! VHS Only

NJ World Pro Wrestling 5/9/92 EXPLOSION TOUR '92 taped 4/30/92

Top of the Super Jr. III Semifinal: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Norio Honaga

Kuniaki Kobayashi vs. Akitoshi Saito

Top of the Super Jr. III Final: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. El Samurai. *****

NJ World Pro Wrestling 7/23/94 '94 Summer Struggle taped 7/8 Sapporo Nakajima Taiiku Center

Jushin Thunder Liger vs. The Great Sasuke. Great match.

Keiji Muto & Hiroshi Hase vs. Steiner Brothers

NJ Classics on FIGHTING TV SAMURAI! 10/29/97 taped 6/12/86 Osaka Jo Hall

Andre The Giant & Dick Murdock & Masked Superstar vs. Seiji Sakaguchi & Kengo Kimura & Umanosuke Ueda

Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Akira Maeda. Great match.

Tadakai No Wonderland Akira Maeda #14 7/11/99
& Tadakai No Wonderland ~Chosenshi Gekiko Hen~ #533 7/13/99
-1hr 50min. Q=TV Master

Tadakai No Wonderland Akira Maeda #14 7/11/99

3/16/87 Okazaki Shi Min Taiikukan: Akira Maeda vs. Steve Williams. Short match with a crummy screw job finish. *

3/20/87 Tokyo Korakuen Hall IWGP Tag Title League Final: Akira Maeda & Nobuhiko Takada vs. Shiro Koshinaka & Keiji Muto. Koshinaka & Muto win titles. ****1/4

3/26/87 Osaka Jo Hall IWGP Tag Senshukenjiai: Akira Maeda & Nobuhiko Takada vs. Shiro Koshinaka & Keiji Muto. Maeda & Takada win titles. ***1/4

Tadakai No Wonderland ~Chosenshi Gekiko Hen~ #533 7/13/99 originally aired 8/15/92 '92 G1 Climax taped 8/11 & 8/12/92 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan

8/11 '92 G1 Climax 2nd Round

Kensuke Sasaki vs. Rick Rude. 4:46 shown. Decent

Keiji Muto vs. Masa Chono. 4:14 shown. Excellent

8/12 '92 G1 Climax Kesshosen NWA World Heavyweight Title Decision Tournament Final

Rick Rude vs. Masa Chono. *3/4

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #82 9/1/04
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

1/2/87 Tokyo Korakuen Hall: Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Kengo Kimura

1/9/87

Keiji Muto vs. El Canek

Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Konga The Barbarian

Antonio Inoki & Seiji Sakaguchi vs. Black Bart & Buzz

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #83 9/2/04
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

3/2/87 Saitama Soka Sogo Taiikukan: Keiji Muto vs. & Jerry Grey

2/9/87 Gifu Sangyo Kaikan

Nobuhiko Takada & Osamu Kido & Kazuo Yamazaki vs. George Takano & Shiro Koshinaka & Tatsutoshi Goto

Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Akira Maeda vs. Seiji Sakaguchi & Umanosuke Ueda

Keiji Muto vs. Konga The Barbarian

Crusher Bam Bam Bigelow & Buzz Sawyer vs. Tatsumi Fujinami & Antonio Inoki

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #84 9/11/04
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

3/2/87 Saitama Soka Sogo Taiikukan

Mr. Pogo & Kendo Nagasaki vs. Nobuhiko Takada & Akira Maeda

Steve Williams & Rick Steiner vs. Antonio Inoki & Tatsumi Fujinami

3/9/87 Tokushima Kenritsu Taiikukan

The Sheepherders vs. Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Osamu Kido

Steve Williams & Rick Steiner vs. George Takano & Tatsumi Fujinami

Mr. Pogo & Kendo Nagasaki vs. Antonio Inoki & Keiji Muto

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #85 9/12/04
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

3/20/87 Tokyo Korakuen Hall

Young Lion Final: Masahiro Chono vs. Shinya Hashimoto

Antonio Inoki vs. Kendo Nagasaki

IWGP Tag Title Match: Keiji Muto & Shiro Koshinaka vs. Nobuhiko Takada & Akira Maeda

3/26/87 Osaka Jo Hall, IWGP Tag Title Match: Keiji Muto & Shiro Koshinaka vs. Nobuhiko Takada & Akira Maeda

NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #243 8/28/00
55min. Q=TV Master

NJ Wonderland #243 taped 3/9/87 Tokushima Kenritsu Taiikukan

Tatsumi Fujinami & Osamu Kido vs. Sheepherders

IWGP Tag Oza Kettei Leagusen: Tatsumi Fujinami & George Takano vs. Steve Williams & Rick Steiner

Antonio Inoki & Keiji Muto vs. Kendo Nagasaki & Mr. Pogo

NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #245 9/6/00
55min. Q=TV Master

 

3/20/87 Tokyo Korakuen Hall

3rd Young Lion Hai Yushoketteisen: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Masahiro Chono

IWGP Tag Oza Ketteisen: Akira Maeda & Nobuhiko Takada vs. Keiji Muto & Shiro Koshinaka

 


NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #246 9/8/00
& NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #247 9/13/00
-1hr 25min. Q=TV Master

 

Wonderland #246 taped 3/20/87 Tokyo Korakuen Hall

Antonio Inoki vs. Kendo Nagasaki

3/26/87 Osaka Jo Hall IWGP Tag Senshukenjiai: Keiji Muto & Shiro Koshinaka vs. Akira Maeda & Nobuhiko Takada

#247 3/26/87 Osaka Jo Hall

Antonio Inoki vs. Masa Saito

NJPW Shinya Hashimoto The Complete Works DVD Box Set
-21hr 25min. Q=Perfect. 15 DVDs

#1 & 2 Three Musketeers Masahiro Chono

3/20/87 '87 Young Lion Cup Final: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Masahiro Chono

7/29/88 Shinya Hasimoto & Masahiro Chono & Keiji Muto vs. Tatsumi Fujinami & Kengo Kimura & Shiro Koshinaka

12/5/88: Shinya Hasimoto & Masahiro Chono vs. Kerry Von Erich & Kevin Von Erich

8/9/91 '91 G1 Climax League Match: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Masahiro Chono

3/1/92: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Masahiro Chono

1/4/94 IWGP Heavyweight Title Match: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Masahiro Chono

8/28/99: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Masahiro Chono

#3 & 4 3 Musketeers Keiji Muto

4/27/90 IWGP Tag Title Match: Shinya Hasimoto & Masa Saito vs. Keiji Muto & Masahiro Chono

6/12/90: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Keiji Muto

7/13/93 IWGP Tag Title Match: Shinya Hasimoto & Keiji Muto vs. Hellraisers

12/10/93 IWGP Heavyweight Title Match: Shinya Hashimoto vs Keiji Muto

5/3/95 IWGP Heavyweight Title Match: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Keiji Muto

6/5/97 IWGP Heavyweight Title Match: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Keiji Muto

9/23/98: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Keiji Muto

#5 & 6 IWGP Title Part 1

4/24/89 IWGP Heavyweight Title Match: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Vader

11/1/90 IWGP Heavyweight Title Match: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Riki Choshu

9/23/92 IWGP Heavyweight Title Match: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Great Muta

12/13/93 IWGP Heavyweight Title Match: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Power Warrior

3/21/94 IWGP Heavyweight Title Match: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Scott Norton

9/23/94 IWGP Heavyweight Title Match: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Power Warrior

12/13/94 IWGP Heavyweight Title Match: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Hiro Hiroshi Hase

#7 & 8 IWGP Title Part 1

1/4/95 IWGP Heavyweight Title Match: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Kensuke Sasaki

2/19/95 IWGP Heavyweight Title Match: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Scott Norton

4/16/95 IWGP Heavyweight Title Match: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Lord Steven Regal

4/29/96 IWGP Heavyweight Title Match: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Nobuhiko Takada

6/11/96 IWGP Heavyweight Title Match: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Satoshi Kojima

2/16/97 IWGP Heavyweight Title Match: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Kazuo Yamazaki

8/10/97 IWGP Heavyweight Title Match: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan

#9 & 10 Fujinami, Choshu, Tenryu

4/24/89 IWPG Champion Decision Tournament Round 1: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Riki Choshu

5/28/90: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Riki Choshu

8/8/93: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Genichiro Tenryu

2/17/94: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Genichiro Tenryu

4/4/94 IWGP Heavyweight Title Match: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Tatsumi Fujinami

5/1/94 IWGP Heavyweight Title Match: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Tatsumi Fujinami

6/15/94 IWGP Heavyweight Title Match: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Riki Choshu

8/1/98 G1 Climax Tournament: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Genichiro Tenryu

10/9/00: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Tatsumi Fujinami

#11 & 12 G1 CLIMAX

8/11/91 G1 CLIMAX Final: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Masahiro Chono

8/3/93 G1 CLIMAX: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Hiroshi Hase

8/7/94 G1 CLIMAX: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Shiro Koshinaka

8/15/95 G1 CLIMAX: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Keiji Muto

8/2/96 G1 CLIMAX: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Riki Choshu

8/3/97 G1 CLIMAX: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan

8/2/98 G1 CLIMAX: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Kazuo Yamazaki

#13 Ishu Kakutogisen

7/22/90: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Alexis Chulin

12/26/90: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Tony Halme

5/31/91: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Randy Thornton

6/12/91: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Ramzin Shibiev

9/23/91: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Tony Halme

9/23/97: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Zane Frazier

11/2/97: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Hubert Numrich

1/4/98: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Dennis Lane

#14 & 15 Strongest Foreigners

4/24/89 IWGP Champion Decision Tournament: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Victor Zangiev

11/3/89: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Vader

12/5/89 World Cup League: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Salman Hashimikov

12/6/89 World Cup League: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Steve Williams

3/19/90 IWGP Tag Title Match Shinya Hasimoto & Masa Saito vs. Scott Hall & Punisher Dice Morgan

8/7/91 G1 CLIMAX: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Bam Bam Bigelow

5/17/92: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Great OZ

9/23/93: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Jake Roberts

7/17/96 IWGP Heavyweight Title Match: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Ric Flair

NJ Summer Night Kokugikan PART 1 & 2 Commercial Tapes 8/19/87 & 8/20/87 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan
-2hr. Q=Master

8/19/87 4th IWGP Junior Champion Decision Tournament 1st Round:

Tatsutoshi Goto vs. Norio Honaga

Kuniaki Kobayashi vs. Masaharu Funaki

Kazuo Yamazaki vs. Hiro Saito

Nobuhiko Takada vs. Keiichi Yamada

5 vs. 5 Elimination Match: Antonio Inoki & Seiji Sakaguchi & Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Kantaro Hoshino & Keiji Muto vs. Riki Choshu & Tatsumi Fujinami & Akira Maeda & Kengo Kimura & Super Strong Machine

8/20/87 4th IWGP Junior Champion Decision Tournament Semifinals:

Kuniaki Kobayashi vs. Tatsutoshi Goto

Nobuhiko Takada vs. Kazuo Yamazaki

Final: Kuniaki Kobayashi vs. Nobuhiko Takada

Antonio Inoki & Keiji Muto vs. Tatsumi Fujinami & Riki Choshu

Animal Hamaguchi retirement ceremony

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #86 10/4/04
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

3/26/87 Osaka Jo Hall: Antonio Inoki vs. Masa Saito

10/4/87 Island Death Match: Antonio Inoki vs. Masa Saito

NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #248 9/15/00
& NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #249 9/20/00
-1hr 50min. Q=TV Master

NJ Wonderland # 248 10/12/87 Osaka Rinkai Sports Center

Keiichi Yamada & Tatsutoshi Goto vs. Hiro Saito & Norio Honaga

Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Manny Fernandez

Keiji Muto & Nobuhiko Takada vs. Riki Choshu & Super Strong Machine

NJ Wonderland #249 taped 10/13/87

Nobuhiko Takada & Shiro Koshinaka vs. Super Strong Machine & Hiro Saito. Got off to a slow start, but was a solid match that kept getting better and better. The outcome became important as the match progressed and the wrestlers got psyched up and more desperate to win. 14:12. ***1/4

Keiji Muto vs. Steve Williams. They did very well running or off Irish whips, with Williams power vs. Muto's athleticism. It was pretty lame and pointless on the mat though. Still, I think it could have been quite good if they gave it some time and developed it, even though Williams was a far cry from 1993 form in these days. 7:35. **1/4

Antonio Inoki & Keiichi Yamada vs. Riki Choshu & Tatsumi Fujinami. Yamada was all fired up, excited about showing a total lack of respect for his elders. He was using his speed and quickness to try to embarrass them, but then Fujinami held him and Choshi used his Riki lariat then another for the win. 1:12

Handicap Match: Antonio Inoki vs. Tatsumi Fujinami & Riki Choshu. They did a second match since Inoki never got into the first. Even Inoki wasn't good enough to take Fujinami & Choshu 2-1. However, Fujinami & Choshu couldn't get along for long enough to take him out since both wanted to be the one that went over Inoki. Each saved Inoki once then it broke down. 4:42

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #87 10/5/04
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

10/5/87 Tokyo Korakuen Hall: Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Riki Choshu

10/26/87 Osaka Furitsu Rinkai Sports Center

Keiichi Yamada & Tatsutoshi Goto vs. Hiro Saito & Norio Honaga

Keiji Muto & Nobuhiko Takada vs. Riki Choshu & Super Strong Machine

10/22/87 Yonezawa-shi Taiikukan: Keiichi Yamada & Shiro Koshinaka vs. Hiro Saito & Norio Honaga

NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #250 9/22/00
& NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #251 9/27/00
-1hr 50min. Q=TV Master

 

NJ Wonderland #250 taped 10/26/87 Osaka Furitsu Rinkai Sports Center

Shiro Koshinaka & Keiichi Yamada vs. Hiro Saito & Norio Honaga

Riki Choshu & Super Strong Machine vs. Bad News Allen & Eli The Eliminator

Antonio Inoki & Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Keiji Muto vs. Conga The Barbarian & Manny Fernandez & Steve Cash

NJ Wonderland #251 taped 10/25/87 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan

IWGP Heavykyu Senshuken: Antonio Inoki vs. Steve Williams

Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Riki Choshu

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #88 10/6/04
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

10/22/87 Yonezawa-shi Taiikukan

Riki Choshu & Super Strong Machine vs. Bad News Allen & The Eliminator

Steve Casey & Manny Fernandez & Konga The Barbarian vs. Keiji Muto & Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Antonio Inoki

11/9/87 Tokyo Korakuen Hall

Mr. Pogo & Kendo Nagasaki vs. Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Seiji Sakaguchi

Keiji Muto vs. Dick Murduch

Masa Saito & Riki Choshu vs. Kengo Kimura & Tatsumi Fujinami

NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #252 9/29/00
-50min. Q=TV Master

 

NJ Wonderland #252 taped 10/25/87 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan

Shiro Koshinaka & Keiichi Yamada vs. Nobuhiko Takada & Kazuo Yamazaki

taped 11/9/87 Tokyo Korakuen Hall

Seiji Sakaguchi & Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs. Kendo Nagasaki & Mr. Pogo

Keiji Muto vs. Dick Murdock

NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #253 10/4/00
& NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #254 10/6/00
-1hr 50min. Q=TV Master

NJ Wonderland #253

10/4/87 Island Death Match: Antonio Inoki vs. Masa Saito

10/5/87 Tokyo Korakuen Hall: Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Riki Choshu

NJ Wonderland #254 taped 11/9/87 Tokyo Korakuen Hall

'87 Japan Cup Tag League Koshikisen: Tatsumi Fujinami & Kengo Kimura vs. Masa Saito & Riki Choshu

NJ Antonio Inoki vs. Masa Saito Chito (bloody fighting?) Ganryuujima Kyuukyoku no Kakutogi Densetsu (Extreme Martial Arts Tradition) Commercial tape 10/4/87 Yamaguchi-ken Shimonoseki-shi Funashima
-1hr. Q=Master
NJPW Antonio Inoki vs. Masa Saito 10/4/87

Antonio Inoki vs. Masa Saito. The famous "Island death match"

NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Foreigners Story~ Lou Thesz & Karl Gotch 10/29/02
& NJPW Tadakai no Wonderland ~Foreigners Story~ Steve Williams 12/10/02
-1hr 45min. Q=TV Master

10/14/73 Tokyo Kuramae Kokugikan, 2/3 Falls World's Strongest Tag Match Part. 2: Karl Gotch & Lou Thesz vs. Antonio Inoki & Seiji Sakaguchi

1/1/82 Tokyo Korakuen Hall: Karl Gotch vs. Yoshiaki Fujiwara

10/9/75 Tokyo Kuramae Kokugikan, NWF World Heavyweight Title Match: Antonio Inoki vs. Lou Thesz

Steve Williams

10/19/87: Steve Williams vs. Keiji Muto

12/6/89 Osaka Furitsu Taiikukaikan: Steve Williams vs. Shinya Hashimoto

12/11/90 Nagoya Rainbow Hall: Steve Williams vs. Masahiro Chono

 

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #89 10/21/04
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

Riki Choshu Documentary

12/3/87 Nagoya Aichi-ken Taiikukan: Kazuo Yamazaki & Shiro Koshinaka & Keiichi Yamada vs. Kensuke Sasaki & Hiro Saito & Norio Honaga

12/4/87 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan: Antonio Inoki & Dick Murduch vs. Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Masa Saito

NJ Wonderland #255 10/11/00
& NJ Wonderland #256 10/13/00
-1hr 50min. Q=TV Master

#255 taped 12/7/87 Osaka Furitsu Taikukaikan

Tatsumi Fujinami & Kengo Kimura vs. Masa Saito & Yoshiaki Fujiwara

Keiji Muto & Nobuhiko Takada vs. Kevin Von Erich & Kerry Von Erich

#256

12/7/87 Osaka Furitsu Taikukaikan, '87 Japan Cup Sodatsu Tag League Final: Antonio Inoki & Dick Murdock vs. Tatsumi Fujinami & Kengo Kimura

12/4/87 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan: Antonio Inoki & Dick Murduch vs. Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Masa Saito

NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #257 10/18/00
NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #258 10/20/00
-1hr 50min. Q=TV Master

NJ Wonderland #257

12/3/87 Nagoya Aichi-ken Taiikukan: Shiro Koshinaka & Kazuo Yamazaki & Keiichi Yamada vs. Hiro Saito & Norio Honaga & Kensuke Sasaki

6/9/87 Osaka Furitsu Taiikukaikan: Riki Choshu vs. Yoshiaki Fujiwara

12/4/87 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan: Riki Choshu & Super Strong Machine & Kuniaki Kobayashi vs. Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Osamu Kido & Nobuhiko Takada

NJ Wonderland #258

6/29/87 Tokyo Korakuen Hall: Riki Choshu vs. Yoshiaki Fujiwara

12/27/87 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan

Keiichi Yamada vs. Masakatsu Funaki

IWGP Junior Heavykyu Senshuken: Kuniaki Kobayashi vs. Hiroshi Hase

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #90 11/8/04
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

12/27/87 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan: Keiichi Yamada vs. Masakatsu Funaki

12/7/87 Osaka Furitsu Taikukaikan

Masa Saito & Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs. Tatsumi Fujinami & Kengo Kimura

Keiji Muto & Nobuhiko Takada vs. Kerry & Kevin Von Erich

'87 Japan Cup Sodatsu Tag League Final: Dick Murduch & Antonio Inoki vs. Tatsumi Fujinami & Kengo Kimura

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #91 11/15/04
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

12/27/87 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Hiroshi Hase vs. Kuniaki Kobayashi

IWGP Tag Title Match: Kazuo Yamazaki & Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs. Nobuhiko Takada & Osamu Kido

1/4/88 Tokyo Korakuen Hall

Big Van Vader vs. Antonio Inoki

Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Masa Saito

NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #259 10/25/00
& NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #260 10/27/00
-1hr 50min. Q=TV Master

NJ Wonderland #259

12/27/87 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan: Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Kazuo Yamazaki vs. Osamu Kido & Nobuhiko Takada

1/4/88 Tokyo Korakuen Hall: Antonio Inoki vs. Big Van Vader

NJ Wonderland #260 taped 1/4/88 Tokyo Korakuen Hall

Top Of The Super Junior Koshikisen: Hiroshi Hase vs. Owen Hart

Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Masa Saito

taped 1/11/88 Kumagaya-shi Taikukaikan

Top Of The Super Junior Koshikisen: Shiro Koshinaka vs. Kazuo Yamazaki

Tatsumi Fujinami & Kengo Kimura vs. Big Van Vader & Masa Saito

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #92 11/22/04
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

1/4/88 Tokyo Korakuen Hall, Top Of The Super Junior League: Hiroshi Hase vs. Owen Hart

1/11/88 Kumagaya-shi Taikukaikan

Tatsumi Fujinami & Kengo Kimura vs. Vader & Masa Saito

Riki Choshu vs. Buzz Sawyer

Antonio Inoki & Nobuhiko Takada vs. Owen Hart & Steve Williams

1/25/88 Gifu Sangyo Kaikan, Handicap Match: Vader vs. George Takano & Kantaro Hoshino

NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #261 11/1/00
& NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #262 11/3/00
-1hr 50min. Q=TV Master

NJ Wonderland #261 taped 1/11/88 Kumagaya-shi Taikukaikan

Riki Choshu vs. Buzz Sawyer

Antonio Inoki & Nobuhiko Takada vs. Steve Williams & Owen Hart

1/25/88 Top Of The Super Junior Koshikisen: Shiro Koshinaka vs. Keiichi Yamada

NJ Wonderland #262 taped 1/25/88 Gifu Sangyo Kaikan

Top Of The Super Junior Koshikisen: Nobuhiko Takada vs. Kazuo Yamazaki

Handicap Match: Vader vs. George Takano & Kantaro Hoshino

Tatsumi Fujinami vs. "Cowboy" Bob Orton

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #93 12/20/04
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

1/25/88 Gifu Sangyo Kaikan

Bob Orton vs. Tatsumi Fujinami

Steve Williams & Owen Hart & Buzz Sawyer vs. Riki Choshu & Masa Saito & Hiroshi Hase

2/1/88 Saitama Soka-shi Sogo Taiikukan

Top Of The Super Junior League Match: Hiroshi Hase vs. Shiro Koshinaka

Riki Choshu vs. Bob Orton

Big Van Vader & Masa Saito vs. Antonio Inoki & Seiji Sakaguchi

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #94 12/22/04
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

2/1/88 Saitama Soka-shi Sogo Taiikukan: Buzz Sawyer & Owen Hart vs. Tatsumi Fujinami & Kengo Kimura

2/7/88 Sapporo Nakajima Taiiku Center

Top Of The Super Junior League Match: Hiroshi Hase vs. Shiro Koshinaka

Antonio Inoki vs. Big Van Vader

IWGP Tag Title Match: Tatsumi Fujinami & Kengo Kimura vs. Riki Choshu & Super Strong Machine

NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #263 11/8/00
& NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #264 11/10/00
-1hr 50min. Q=TV Master

NJ Wonderland #263 taped 1/25/88 Gifu Sangyo Kaikan

Riki Choshu & Masa Saito & Hiroshi Hase vs. Steve Williams & Buzz Sawyer & Owen Hart

taped 2/1/88 Saitama Soka-shi Sogo Taiikukan

Top Of The Super Junior Koshikisen: Shiro Koshinaka vs. Hiroshi Hase

Antonio Inoki & Seiji Sakaguchi vs. Big Van Vader & Masa Saito

NJ Wonderland #264 taped 2/1/88 Saitama Soka-shi Sogo Taiikukan

Riki Choshu vs. "Cowboy" Bob Orton

Tatsumi Fujinami & Kengo Kimura vs. Buzz Sawyer & Owen Hart

2/4/88 Osaka Furitsu Taiikukaikan Top Of The Super Junior Koshikisen: Shiro Koshinaka vs. Nobuhiko Takada

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #95 12/23/04
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

2/4/88 Osaka Furitsu Taiikukaikan

Top Of The Super Junior League Match: Hiroshi Hase vs. Keiichi Yamada

Top Of The Super Junior League Match: Shiro Koshinaka vs. Nobuhiko Takada

Big Van Vader & Masa Saito vs. Kazuo Yamazaki & Osamu Kido & Yoshiaki Fujiwara

IWGP Heavyweight Title Match: Antonio Inoki vs. Riki Choshu

NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #265 11/15/00
& NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #266 11/17/00
-1hr 50min. Q=TV Master

Wonderland #265 taped 2/4/88 Osaka Furitsu Taiikukaikan

Top Of The Super Junior Koshikisen: Hiroshi Hase vs. Keiichi Yamada

Handicap Match: Big Van Vader & Masa Saito vs. Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Osamu Kido & Kazuo Yamazaki

2/5/88 Tokyo Korakuen Hall Top Of The Super Junior Koshikisen: Hiroshi Hase vs. Nobuhiko Takada

Wonderland #266 taped 2/4/88 Osaka Furitsu Taiikukaikan

IWGP Heavykyu Senshukenjiai: Antonio Inoki vs. Riki Choshu

taped 2/5/88 Tokyo Korakuen Hall

Top Of The Super Junior Koshikisen: Shiro Koshinaka vs. Kuniaki Kobayashi

Antonio Inoki & Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Riki Choshu & Masa Saito

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #96 1/11/05
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

2/5/88 Tokyo Korakuen Hall

Top Of The Super Junior League Match: Shiro Koshinaka vs. Kuniaki Kobayashi

Top Of The Super Junior League Match: Nobuhiko Takada vs. Hiroshi Hase

Handicap Match: Big Van Vader vs. Seiji Sakaguchi & Kantaro Hoshino

Mr. Saito & Riki Choshu vs. Antonio Inoki & Tatsumi Fujinami

3/11/88 Nagoya Aichi-ken Taiikukan: Mr. Saito & Riki Choshu vs. Billy Gasper & Barry Gasper

NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #267 11/22/00
& NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #268 11/24/00
-1hr 50min. Q=TV Master

Wonderland #267 taped 2/5/88 Tokyo Korakuen Hall

Handicap Match: Big Van Vader vs. Seiji Sakaguchi & Kantaro Hoshino

taped 2/7/88 Hokkaido Sapporo Nakajima Taiiku Center

Top Of The Super Junior Koshikisen: Hiroshi Hase vs. Shiro Koshinaka

IWGP Tag Senshukenjiai: Tatsumi Fujinami & Kengo Kimura vs. Riki Choshu & Super Strong Machine

Wonderland #268 taped 2/7/88 Hokkaido Sapporo Nakajima Taiiku Center

Antonio Inoki vs. Big Van Vader

taped 3/11/88 Nagoya Aichi-ken Taiikukan

Riki Choshu & Masa Saito vs. Billy Gaspar & Barry Gaspar

Antonio Inoki & Dick Murdock vs. Tatsumi Fujinami & Kengo Kimura

NJ Top of The Super Jr. 1988 DVD Part 1 & 2
-2hr. Q=Master. 2 DVDs

Owen Hart vs. Hiroshi Hase 1/4/88

Keichi Yamada vs. Masakazu Funaki 1/11/88

Hiroshi Hase vs. Shiro Koshinaka 2/1/88

Nobuhiko Takada vs. Shiro Koshinaka 2/4/88

Nobuhiko Takada vs. Kazuo Yamazaki 1/25/88

Nobuhiko Takada vs. Hiroshi Hase 2/5/88

Shiro Koshinaka vs. Kuniaki Kobayashi 2/5/88

Final: Hiroshi Hase vs. Shiro Koshinaka

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #97 1/12/05
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

3/11/88 Nagoya Aichi-ken Taiikukan

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Hiroshi Hase vs. Nobuhiko Takada

Tatsumi Fujinami & Kengo Kimura vs. Antonio Inoki & Dick Murduch

3/14/88: Masakatsu Funaki & Keiichi Yamada vs. Kazuo Yamazaki & Nobuhiko Takada

3/19/88 Tokyo Korakuen Hall, IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Hiroshi Hase vs. Shiro Koshinaka

NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #269 11/29/00
& NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #270 12/1/00
-1hr 50min. Q=TV Master

Wonderland #269 taped 3/11/88 Nagoya Aichi-ken Taiikukan

IWGP Junior Heavykyu Senshukenjiai: Hiroshi Hase vs. Nobuhiko Takada

taped 3/19/88 Tokyo Korakuen Hall

Antonio Inoki vs. Billy Gaspar

Wonderland #270

1/23/78 NY, NY Madison Square Garden WWWF Junior Heavyweight Title Decision Match: Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Carlos Estrada

5/9/80 Fukuoka Sports Center WWF Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Chavo Guerrero

2/6/85 Osaka Furitsu Taiikukaikan: Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Hulk Hogan

10/25/87 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan: Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Riki Choshu

12/12/85 Sendai Miyagi-ken Sports Center: Clip of Fujinami pinning Inoki in a tag match

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #98 1/13/05
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

3/19/88 Tokyo Korakuen Hall

Super Strong Machine & Mr. Saito & Riki Choshu vs. Tatsumi Fujinami & Kengo Kimura & George Takano

Antonio Inoki vs. Billy Gasper

2/7/88 Sapporo Nakajima Taiiku Center: Shiro Koshinaka Training & Being Injured During a Match

1987-88 Junior Heavyweights highlights in 1987 & 1988

NJPW Tadakai no Wonderland ~Nobuhiko Takada Story~ #13 10/10/99
& NJPW Tadakai no Wonderland ~Nobuhiko Takada Story~ #14 10/17/99
-1hr 50min. Q=TV Master

Wonderland Takada #13

1/25/88 Top of the Super Junior League Match: Nobuhiko Takada vs. Kazuo Yamazaki 14:07. ***1/2

2/15/88 Osaka Furitsu Taiikukaikan, Top of the Super Junior League Match: Nobuhiko Takada vs. Shiro Koshinaka 20:33. ****

Wonderland Takada #14

2/22/88 taped 2/22 Tokyo Korakuen Hall Top Of The Super Junior Koshiksen: Nobuhiko Takada vs. Hiroshi Hase

3/14/88 taped 3/11 Nagoya Aichi-ken Taiikukan IWGP Junior Heavykyu Senshukenjiai: Hiroshi Hase vs. Nobuhiko Takada

NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #272 12/8/00
-1hr 50min. Q=TV Master

Wonderland #271 taped 3/19/88 Tokyo Korakuen Hall

Tatsumi Fujinami & Kengo Kimura & George Takano vs. Riki Choshu & Masa Saito & Super Strong Machine

5/7/88 Nagoya Aichi-ken Taiikukan: Super Strong Machine vs. Steve Casey

IWGP Junior Heavykyu Senshukenjiai: Hiroshi Hase vs. Shiro Koshinaka

Wonderland #272

Feature on Shiro Koshinaka coming back from a bizarre right ankle injury that occurs when all his weight comes down on it due to the way he falls putting over a Maeda high kick. They do a career retrospective, show highlights of the tournament for the IWGP junior title that Koshinaka was forced to vacate, have footage of Koshinaka training for his comeback and then highlights of his first matches back

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #99 1/17/05
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

4/11/88 Tokyo Korakuen Hall

Masakatsu Funaki & Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Manny Fernandez & Steve Casey

Big Van Vader vs. Seiji Sakaguchi

Antonio Inoki & Shiro Koshinaka vs. Hiroshi Hase & Riki Choshu

4/22/88 Okinawa Onoyama Taiikukan

Super Strong Machine vs. Kengo Kimura

Keiichi Yamada & Shiro Koshinaka vs. Hiroshi Hase & Kuniaki Kobayashi

NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #273 12/13/00
NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #274 12/15/00
-1hr 50min. Q=TV Master

Wonderland #273 taped 4/11/88 Tokyo Korakuen Hall

Tatsumi Fujinami & Masaharu Funaki vs. Manny Fernandez & Steve Cash

Big Van Vader vs. Seiji Sakaguchi

Antonio Inoki & Shiro Koshinaka vs. Riki Choshu & Hiroshi Hase

Wonderland #274 taped 4/22/88 Okinawa Onoyama Taiikukan

Kengo Kimura vs. Super Strong Machine

Shiro Koshinaka & Keiichi Yamada vs. Kuniaki Kobayashi & Hiroshi Hase

Riki Choshu vs. Manny Fernandez

NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #275 12/20/00
NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #276 12/22/00
-1hr 55min. Q=TV Master

Wonderland #275 taped 4/22/88 Okinawa Onoyama Taiikukan

Antonio Inoki & Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Big Van Vader & Masa Saito

4/27/88 Osaka Furitsu Taiikukaikan: Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Big Van Vader

Wonderland #276 taped 4/27/88 Osaka Furitsu Taiikukaikan

Kengo Kimura & Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs. Riki Choshu & Masa Saito

5 vs. 5 Elimination Match: Shiro Koshinaka & Kantaro Hoshino & Keiichi Yamada & Tatsutoshi Goto & Akira Nogami vs. Hiroshi Hase & Kuniaki Kobayashi & Hiro Saito & Norio Honaga & Kensuke Sasaki

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #100 2/17/05
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

4/22/88: Antonio Inoki & Tatsumi Fujinami vs Big Van Vader & Masa Saito

4/27/88 Elimination Match: Kuniaki Kobayashi & Hiroshi Hase & Hiro Saito & Norio Honaga & Kensuke Sasaki vs Keiichi Yamada & Kantaro Hoshino & Shiro Koshinaka & Akira Nogami & Tatsutoshi Goto

4/27/88: Tatsumi Fujinami vs Big Van Vader

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #101 2/18/05
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

4/22/88 Okinawa Onoyama Taiikukan: Manny Fernandez vs. Riki Choshu

4/27/88 Osaka Furitsu Taikukaikan: Riki Choshu & Masa Saito vs. Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Kengo Kimura

5/5/88 Tokyo Korakuen Hall

Crusher Crunchky (Tom Urbanski) vs. George Takano

Super Strong Machine vs. Steve Casey

6/10/88 Hiroshima Kenritsu Taiikukan

Dick Murduch & Adrian Adonis vs. Billy Gasper & Barry Gasper

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Owen Hart vs. Keiichi Yamada

NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #277 12/27/00
& NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #278 12/28/00
-1hr 50min. Q=TV Master

Wonderland #277 taped 6/10/88 Hiroshima Kenritsu Taiikukan

Dick Murdock & Adrian Adonis vs. Billy Gaspar & Barry Gaspar

IWGP Junior Heavykyu Senshukenjiai: Owen Hart vs. Keiichi Yamada

IWGP Tag Senshukenjiai: Tatsumi Fujinami & Kengo Kimura vs. Riki Choshu & Masa Saito

Wonderland #278 taped 6/17/88 Niigata

Owen Hart vs. Kuniaki Kobayashi. Pretty much what you'd expect from these two except it was shorter and had a lame finish. ***

Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Dick Murdock. Their styles are very different, but both were willing to compromise. The match kept looking like it was going to end, which is good except most of the endings wouldn't have been satisfying. Actually, although it was a good match, the real ending wasn't satisfying. ***

Masa Saito & Riki Choshu vs. Billy Gaspar & Barry Gaspar. The Gaspars subscribe to the Tiger Jeet Singh motto of don't speak and hit your opponent with the handle of your big sword. Unfortunately, it's not just the sword, their whole offense is as pathetic as Singh's. What makes this so sad is that Bob Orton had one of the better heel move sets. Anyway, Gaspars dominated this crappy brawl, with Masa bleeding like crazy around his right eye to the point that the whole right side of his face was covered. DUD

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #103 3/8/05
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

6/17/88 Niigata

Owen Hart vs. Kuniaki Kobayashi 8:28 of 12:47. There was so much potential here. They got off to a great start with some vintage Kobayashi heel work, jumping Owen with his spinning roundhouse kick right after Owen did his ceremonial pre match backflip into the ring. This set the match down more of a brawling path, which was actually good for Owen because he's not just going to go with all his high flying, he mixes it in here and there, but mostly saves it for the later stages. Thus, they instilled some heat & hatred in place of a lot of the mat work, which created a stronger atmosphere. I'm sure this could have been a 4 star match, but the early stages laid a strong foundation for later stages that frankly did not exist. Around or perhaps even before the point the match should have taken off, Kobayashi just randomly pins Owen out of nowhere with a backslide of all things, so ultimately there was no finishing sequence and no real outlet to showcase Owen's flying. ***

Dick Murdock vs. Tatsumi Fujinami

Riki Choshu & Masa Saito vs. Billy Gaspar & Barry Gaspar

6/24/88 Osaka Furitsu Taiikukaikan

Masa Saito & Big Van Vader vs. Billy Gaspar & Barry Gaspar

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Owen Hart vs. Shiro Koshinaka 6:03 of 14:07. They pick the match up as they're seemingly easing from the body work - Owen on Shiro's back & Shiro on Owen's knee - into the energetic finishing sequence. The action & atmosphere are great down the stretch, but this portion seems to have little to do with whatever came before it. It's fantastic action, nonetheless. This finish is much better than the 6/17 Kobayashi match, even if it's along the same lines, this time it's one of Shiro's signature holds & after they've gone back & forth with their best stuff for 3 or 4 minutes. **** range

IWGP Heavyweight Champion Decision Match: Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Riki Choshu

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #104 3/9/05
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

6/26/88 Nagoya Rainbow Hall

Riki Choshu & Masa Saito vs. Gasper Brothers

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Shiro Koshinaka vs. Kuniaki Kobayshi

IWGP Heavyweight Title Match: Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Big Van Vader 13:27

NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen #283 1/17/01
NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #284 1/19/01
-1hr 50min. Q=TV Master

Wonderland #283 taped 7/29/88 Tokyo Ariake Coliseum

IWGP Heavykyu Chosensha Kettei League Koshikisen: Riki Choshu vs. Masa Saito

IWGP Heavykyu Chosensha Kettei League Koshikisen: Antonio Inoki vs. Big Van Vader

Wonderland #284 taped 8/8/88 Kanagawa Yokohama Bunka Taiikukan

IWGP Heavykyu Senshukenjiai: Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Antonio Inoki 35:59 of 60:00. Read Review

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #107 4/10/05
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

8/88: Antonio Inoki & Shiro Koshinaka & Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs. Riki Choshu & Super Strong Machine & Kuniaki Kobayashi

8/26/88 Tokyo Korakuen Hall

Scott Hall & Ron Starr vs. George Takano & Kengo Kimura

Masa Saito vs. Billy Gaspar

Keiichi Yamada & Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs. Riki Choshu & Kuniaki Kobayashi

Big Van Vader & Black Tiger (Marc Rocco) vs. Tatsumi Fujinami & Shiro Koshinaka

NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen #285 1/24/01
& NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen #286 1/26/01
-1hr 50min. Q=TV Master

Wonderland #285 taped 8/4/88 Otsuki Shimin Sogo Taiikukan

Keiichi Yamada vs. Hiro Saito

Tatsumi Fujinami & Kengo Kimura vs. Big Van Vader & Masa Saito

Antonio Inoki & Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Shiro Koshinaka vs. Riki Choshu & Super Strong Machine & Kuniaki Kobayashi

#286 taped 8/26/88 Tokyo Korakuen Hall

Kengo Kimura & George Takano vs. Scott Hall & Ron Starr

Masa Saito vs. Billy Gaspar

Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Keiichi Yamada vs. Riki Choshu & Kuniaki Kobayashi

9/12/88 Fukuoka Kokusai Center: Seiji Sakaguchi & George Takano vs. Billy Gaspar & Barry Gaspar

NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen #287 1/31/01
& NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen #288 2/2/01
-1hr 50min. Q=TV Master

#287

8/26/88 Tokyo Korakuen Hall: Tatsumi Fujinami & Shiro Koshinaka vs. Big Van Vader & Black Tiger

9/12/88 Fukuoka Kokusai Center: Big Van Vader vs. Crusher Bam Bam Bigelow

10/7/88 Tokyo Korakuen Hall: Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs. Tony St. Clair

#288 taped 9/12/88 Fukuoka Kokusai Center

5 vs. 5 Elimination Match: Masa Saito & Hiro Saito & Kuniaki Kobayashi & Riki Choshu & Super Strong Machine vs. Keiichi Yamada & Shiro Koshinaka & Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Kengo Kimura & Tatsumi Fujinami

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #108 4/24/05
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

9/12/88 Fukuoka Kokusai Center

George Takano & Seiji Sakaguchi vs. Gasper Brothers

Big Van Vader vs. Crusher Bam Bam Bigelow

10/10/88 Tokyo Korakuen Hall: Tony St. Clair vs. Yoshiaki Fujiwara

10/19/88: Steve Williams & Tont St. Clair vs. Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Osamu Kido

10/27/88 Murayama Shimin Sports Center: Steve Williams vs. Yoshiaki Fujiwara

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #109 5/1/05
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

Samurai Shiro Koshinaka special with digested matches leading up to the complete 10/10 match

6/24/88: Owen Hart vs. Shiro Koshinaka

2/6/86: The Cobra vs. Shiro Koshinaka

12/10/86: Kazuo Yamazaki vs. Shrio Koshinaka

2/5/87: Nobuhiko Takada vs. Shiro Koshinaka

3/19/88: Hiroshi Hase vs. Shiro Koshinaka

10/10/88 Tokyo Korakuen Hall: Perro Aguayo & El Canek vs. Keichii Yamada & Shiro Koshinaka

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #110 5/8/05
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

9/12/88 Fukuoka Kokusai Center, 5 vs. 5 Elimination Match: Masa Saito & Hiro Saito & Kuniaki Kobayashi & Riki Choshu & Super Strong Machine vs. Keiichi Yamada & Shiro Koshinaka & Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Kengo Kimura & Tatsumi Fujinami

10/10/88 Tokyo Korakuen Hall

Hiro Saito & Riki Choshu vs. Steve WIlliams & Steve Casey

Antonio Inoki vs. Crusher Bam Bam Bigelow

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #111 5/9/05
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

11/11/88 Tokyo Korakuen Hal

Dick Murduch & Bob Orton vs. Masa Saito & Seiji Sakaguchi

'88 Japan Cup Elimination League Match: Tracey Smothers & Steve Armstrong & George Takano vs. Shinya Hashimoto & Masa Chono & Tatsumi Fujinami

'88 Japan Cup Elimination League Match: Antonio Inoki & Riki Choshu & Kantaro Hoshino vs. Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Osamu Kido & Kengo Kimura

11/26/88 Osaka Furitsu Taiikukan: Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Buzz Sawyer

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #112 6/3/05
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

11/26/88 Fukui-shi Taiikukan (Osaka Furitsu Taiikukan?)

Shinya Hashimoto & Masahiro Chono vs. Tracey Smothers & Steve Armstrong

'88 Japan Cup Elimination League Match: Super Strong Machine & The Tiger & The Jaguar vs. Shiro Koshinaka & Hiro Saito & Kuniaki Kobayashi

'88 Japan Cup Elimination League Match: Antonio Inoki & Kantaro Hoshino & Riki Choshu vs. Scott Hall & Dick Murduch & Bob Orton

11/25/88 Hiroshima Kenritsu Taiikukan, '88 Japan Cup Elimination League Match: Seiji Sakaguchi & Tatsutoshi Goto & Masa Saito vs. Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Osamu Kido & Kengo Kimura

NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Shinya Hashimoto Hen~ #2 4/8/01
-55min. Q=TV Master

Wonderland Hashimoto #2

11/11/88 Tokyo Korakuen Hall, '88 Japan Cup Elimination League Match: Tatsumi Fujinami & Shinya Hashimoto & Masahiro Chono vs. George Takano & Steve Armstrong & Tracey Smothers

11/25/88 Hiroshima Kenritsu Taiikukan, '88 Japan Cup Elimination League Match: Tatsumi Fujinami & Shinya Hashimoto & Masahiro Chono vs. Antonio Inoki & Riki Choshu & Kantaro Hoshino

11/26/88 Osaka Furitsu Taiikukan, '88 Japan Cup Elimination League Championship Match: Tatsumi Fujinami & Shinya Hashimoto & Masahiro Chono vs. Antonio Inoki & Riki Choshu & Kantaro Hoshino

NJPW Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #299 3/14/01
& NJPW Tadakai no Wonderland ~Showa Hen~ #300 3/16/01
-1hr 50min. Q=TV Master

Wonderland #299 taped 12/7/88 Osaka Furitsu Taiikukaikan

'88 Japan Cup Elimination League Decision Tournament 1st Match: Seiji Sakaguchi & Masa Saito & Tatsutoshi Goto vs. Dick Murdock & Cowboy Bob Orton & Scott Hall

'88 Japan Cup Elimination League Decision Tournament 2nd Match: Dick Murdock & Cowboy Bob Orton & Scott Hall vs. Antonio Inoki & Riki Choshu & Kantaro Hoshino

Wonderland #300

12/5/88 Nagoya Aichi-ken Taiikukan: Shinya Hashimoto & Masahiro Chono vs. Kevin Von Erich & Kerry Von Erich

12/7/88 Osaka Furitsu Taiikukaikan, '88 Japan Cup Elimination League Decision Tournament Final: Antonio Inoki & Riki Choshu & Kantaro Hoshino vs. Tatsumi Fujinami & Shinya Hashimoto & Masahiro Chono

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #114 6/14/05
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

12/7/88 Osaka Furitsu Taiikukaikan

'88 Japan Cup Elimination League Advance to Final Decision Tournament 1st Match: Seiji Sakaguchi & Masa Saito & Tatsutoshi Goto vs. Dick Murdock & Cowboy Bob Orton & Scott Hall

'88 Japan Cup Elimination League Advance to Final Decision Tournament 2nd Match: Dick Murdock & Cowboy Bob Orton & Scott Hall vs. Antonio Inoki & Riki Choshu & Kantaro Hoshino

12/7/88 Osaka Furitsu Taiikukaikan, '88 Japan Cup Elimination League Final: Antonio Inoki & Riki Choshu & Kantaro Hoshino vs. Tatsumi Fujinami & Shinya Hashimoto & Masahiro Chono

12/9/88 Tokyo Korakuen Hall: Dick Murduch & Bob Orton vs. Antonio Inoki & Riki Choshu

NJ World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #115 6/19/05
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

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

NJ World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #116 7/6/05
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

1/6/89 Tokyo Korakuen Hall

Crusher Bam Bam Bigelow & Big Van Vader & Rip Morgan vs. Antonkio Inoki & Tatsumi Fujinami & Riki Choshu 8:57. Intense, fiery performances from Fujinami, Choshu, Bigelow, & Vader had the Hall rocking from start to finish. A thoroughly enjoyable little match. Though ultimately it didn't go anywhere and had the most predictable finish of Inoki over Morgan, it left you wanting more. **

1/10/89 Chiba Koen Taiikukan

Masa Saito & Hiroshi Hase vs. Antonio Inoki & Shiro Koshinaka 17:57. I expected a lot more from this match than they gave me. They wrestled as though it were a really long match. It was slow and had no intensity. That would have been okay if it ever actually picked up. I could have lived with Saito & Inoki killing time if Hase & Koshinaka were being themselves, but they seemed sucked into the complete indifference. *1/4

Crusher Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Tatsumi Fujinami 4:27. A peculiar match. It was going as planned and seemed on the way to being a good one when Bigelow ascended to the top rope, and just fell off! He seemed okay when Fujinami back body dropped him, but I guess his selling of his shoulder after his crash landing may have been legit because he shockingly failed to kick out of Fujinami's weight shift vertical suplex counter. Fujinami had a priceless look of disbelief when the ref raised his hand in victory. DUD

Riki Choshu vs. Big Van Vader

1/16/89 Osaka Furitsu Taiikukaikan: Super Strong Machine & George Takano vs. Tatsutoshi Goto & Antonio Inoki

NJ World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #117 7/14/05
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

1/16/89 Osaka Furitsu Taiikukaikan

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Shiro Koshinaka vs. Hiroshi Hase 16:40. Well focused technical match with sporadic spots to spice things up. Hase worked over Koshinaka's lower left leg for the bulk. When Koshinaka finally came back, he tried a diving kneedrop to the floor with very little setup, only to reinjure himself. After sustaining more legwork, Koshinaka finally hit his Dragon suplex and thought he had the pin because he couldn't see Hase grab the ropes. This brought on a thrilling, but exceptionally short finishing sequence, culminating in a lucky victory for Koshinaka as he turned Hase's Northern Light suplex into a small package. Hase was disgusted he'd dominated the entire match only to lose like this, petitioning for a rematch. ***3/4

Riki Choshu vs. Big Van Vader

IWGP Heavyweight Title Match: Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Crusher Bam Bam Bigelow

1/20/89 Kumamoto Shi Taiikukan: Crusher Bam Bam Bigelow & Big Van Vader vs. Antonio Inoki & Tatsumi Fujinami

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #118 7/18/05
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

1/20/89 Kumamoto-shi Taiikukan

George Takano vs. Shiro Koshinaka. joined in progress

Riki Choshu & Hiro Hase vs. Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Kengo Kimura

1/26/89

Antonio Inoki & Shiro Koshinaka vs. George Takano & Strong Machine

Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Tatsumi Fujinami joined in progress

Big Van Vader vs. Riki Choshu

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #119 8/27/05
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

2/3/89 Yamagata-ken Taiikukan

El (Bello) Greco & (Sergio) El Hermoso vs. Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Kengo Kimura

Naoki Sano & Shiro Koshinaka vs. Hiro Hase & Hiro Saito

Antonio Inoki vs. Rip Morgan

Big Van Vader & Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Riki Choshu & Tatsumi Fujinami

2/9/89 Sapporo Nakajima Taiiku Center: Italian Stallion & Rip Morgan vs. George Takano & Super Strong Machine

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #120 9/8/05
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

2/9/89 Sapporo Nakajima Taiiku Center

IWGP Tag Title Match: Riki Choshu & Masa Saito vs. Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Kengo Kimura

Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Big Van Big Van Vader

Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Antonio Inoki

3/3/89 Fukuoka-ken: Super Strong Machine & George Takano vs. Shiro Koshinaka & Kuniaki Kobayashi

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #121 9/12/05
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

3/3/89 Fukuoka-ken

Antonio Inoki vs. Ron Starr

Vicious Warrior (Sid Vicious) & The Avalanche (P.N. News) vs. Riki Choshu & Tatsumi Fujinami

3/7/89 Shimane-ken Masuda Shimin Taiikukan

Super Strong Machine & George Takano vs. Tatsumi Fujinami & Kengo Kimura

Vicious Warrior vs. Riki Choshu

3/16/89 Yokohama Bunka Taiikukan

Carribean Express (Miguel Perez Jr. & Daniel Castillo) (Huracan Castillo) vs. Osamu Kido & Kuniaki Kobayashi

Black Cat vs. Don Arakawa

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #122 9/13/05
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

3/16/89 Yokohama Bunka Taiikukan

Antonio Inoki vs. Yoshiaki Fujiwara

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Shiro Koshinaka vs. Hiroshi Hase

Naoki Sano & Hirokazu Hata vs. Kenichi Oya & Osamu Matsuda

Super Strong Machine & George Takano vs. Riki Choshu & Masa Saito

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #123 9/18/05
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

3/16/89 Yokohama Bunka Taiikukan, IWGP Heavyweight Title Match: Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Jerry Lawler

4/13/89 Niigata Joetsu Region Plaza

Norio Honaga vs. Hirokazu Hata

Brian Pillman vs. Masa Saito

Antonio Inoki vs. Shiro Koshinaka

Big Van Vader & Buzz Sawyer & Brad Rhenigans vs. Riki Choshu & Tatsumi Fujinami & Kengo Kimura

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #124 9/22/05
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

4/13/89 Niigata Joetsu Region Plaza: Tracy Smothers & Steve Armstrong vs. Super Strong Machine & George Takano

4/24/89 Tokyo Dome

Young Lions Cup Final: Naoki Sano vs. Hiro Saito

IWGP Title Tournament 1st Round: Masahiro Chono vs. Big Van Vader

IWGP Title Tournament 1st Round: Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Vladimir Berkovich

IWGP Title Tournament 1st Round: Victor Zangiev vs. Buzz Sawyer

IWGP Title Tournament 1st Round: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Riki Choshu

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #125 10/8/05
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

4/24/89 Tokyo Dome

Super Strong Machine & George Takano vs. Hiroshi Hase & Shiro Koshinaka. Lou Thesz Ref

Jushin Liger Debut: Jushin Liger vs. Kuniaki Kobayashi

Crusher Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Salman Hashimikov

5/25/89 Osaka Jo Hall

Naoki Sano & Shiro Koshinaka vs. Kuniaki Kobayashi & Hiro Saito

Masa Saito vs. Timur Zalasov

NJ SUPER POWERS CLASH Commercial Tape 4/24/89 Tokyo Dome
-1hr 55min. Q=Near Perfect 1st Gen

IWGP Title Tournament 1st Round

Masa Chono vs. Big Van Vader 2:04 of 5:52. Chono had aspirations of standing up to Vader, but it was quickly apparent he was two Musketeers short of having a prayer. The monster gaijin easily overwhelmed him, KOing Chono with a lariat then giving him a diving body press for good measure.

Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Vladimir Berkovich 4:51. Fujinami did an excellent job here, adjusting his style to fit into Berkovich's comfort zone while still maintaining the pro wrestler vs. amateur wrestler concept. Essentially a mixed style match with Fujinami doing kicks, suplexes, and submissions and Berkovich working the clinch game. Within the context of the time period and the general knowledge of shoots, the match was more or less credible, with the couple of pro wrestling moves such as the leg pick and standing dropkick theoretically working because Berkovich was a noob who was still trying to get over the fact you could be down for three, much less get used to all the new techniques available. Berkovich showed potential because he was willing to let Fujinami make the decisions and dictate the positions. He'd basically just try for the techniques he's a master of, and see if Fujinami went for it or countered.

Victor Zangiev vs. Buzz Sawyer 3:56. I never understood why NJ decided to give Hashimikov the title run rather than Zangiev. Zangiev was simply a great athlete, one of those naturals who probably could have excelled in any number of sports. Extremely nimble and had a great arsenal of suplexes, Zangiev more importantly understood the transition game well. He didn't merely deposit his opponent on the mat, he went right into an arm bar. I always liked Buzz Sawyer, but I thought Zangiev was pretty clearly the better wrestler here, and this was with minimal time in the dojo and in practically his first match.

Shinya Hashimoto vs. Riki Choshu 3:41. One reason NJ has long been the most successful promotion in Japan, sometimes in the world, is they understand how to use leagues and tournaments to both elevate wrestlers and keep them strong. Every league can run flukish results, but NJ picks their spots and follows them up by putting the victor in important matches, even if they go on to lose them all. Hashimoto had been moving up the ranks since he returned the previous July, but this win over the legend in front of this many people really put him on the map. It was by no means the greatest win, as he rather sloppily countered the sasorigatame into something of a small package, but his run to the finals somewhat made up for it. The match itself was rather forgettable, not that it was bad but simply too short for these two, who win by bludgeoning each other until someone can no longer answer the bell. Hashimoto pissed Choshu off by twice slapping him instead of rope breaking, so Choshu returned the favor with short elbows when Hashimoto was in the corner. This is the sort of nice early stuff you get from them to build to them pounding the hell out of each other, but they had to go in another direction because they are too tough to have one knock the other out so quickly.

Non Tournament Match: Masa Saito vs. Wakha Evloev 5:28. Evloev did a pretty good job, showing some nice throws and generally being competent. Started out as a judo match, but Saito was no match, so he started roughing it up, using lariats and headbutts. Evloev didn't know what hit him, but quickly stabilized and surprised Saito back with a flying headscissors to set up the submission win.

IWGP Title Tournament Semifinals

Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Big Van Vader 14:37. Simple match. Everything was very well done, but there was nothing particularly deep or difficult. It was something of an odd match, in that although Vader dominated the first half as expected, he wasn't using his power to do so. In fact, it was Fujinami who had almost all the throws, but that was the majority of his offense, as Vader kept him close, tying the more dynamic fighter up and grounding him as if it were a shoot. Fujinami finally had an opening, hurting Vader's arm with an armbar. Though Vader did a nice job of selling this throughout the match and the next one, the immediate result was this prompted him to open up, nearly knocking Tatsumi out with a lariat. Vader began giving Fujinami distance so he could use his weight and power, but this allowed Fujinami to evade and get a hope armbar. However, when Vader caught Fujinami's diving body attack it was the beginning of the end. ***1/4

Victor Zangiev vs. Shinya Hashimoto 7:28. Zangiev was once again very impressive. He throws as fluid a suplex as you'll ever see, just a superb arch. He's also quick, aggressive, and doesn't like to waste time. I didn't particularly care for his overexaggerated head bob selling, but that was about it. Zangiev was tossing Hashimoto all over, putting on a suplex clinic. Hashimoto eventually got so frustrated he hocked a loogie at the Russian, who was probably thinking that was all Hashimoto had. I enjoyed the match, but I wasn't impressed by how they got from this point to Hashimoto's victory. The transition to the finish was just crude, and the finish itself came way too suddenly to really be believable. I mean, Zangiev was trapped in the figure four too long, if anything, my problem is the match was essentially laid out so he lost the moment Hashimoto went on offense. **1/4

Non Tournament Match: Crusher Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Salman Hashimikov 2:26. One can hardly call this a match. Bigelow gave Hashimikov his initiation to puroresu, giving him a standing dropkick when Hashimikov requested a pre-match handshake, a forearm to the back when Hashimikov tried for the single leg takedown, and an enzuigiri when Hashimikov picked his leg. This would have been a nice lesson on the way the pro game works, if they actually attached a match to it. Instead, they just ended it when Bigelow was, in turn, caught off guard by the suisha otoshi. DUD

IWGP Title Tournament Final: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Big Van Vader 9:47. This match was a bit of a letdown after the two semifinals, which were more heated and intense. It had a lot of potential, but didn't really fulfill it, and I think got kinda goofy by the end, though not to the point of being ruined like Hashimoto/Zangiev. Hashimoto was clearly the underdog, but he was coming into the final in much better condition. He is one of the few guys who can reasonably be expected to stand toe to toe with Vader, especially with Vader having to make as many adjustments as possible to protect his injured arm. Vader got off to a good start, but the match turned as soon as Hashimoto found the bad arm. Hashimoto sought a Kimura, but even after knocking Vader off the top with a spinning kick that resulted in Vader's foot getting caught in the ropes, he couldn't get it. I thought the booking broke down here, as it was ridiculous to have Hashimoto not even be competitive slugging it out with Vader. Hashimoto would even kick the bad arm, and Vader would still just lay him out with one blow! I realize they were putting over Vader as extra super dominant, but in the end, Hashimoto was only competitive because Vader had a bad wing, and even that and a weird slow count by Lou Thesz on the finisher didn't make a difference. **1/2

World Martial Arts Heavyweight Title Match, Ishu Kakutogisen: Antonio Inoki vs. Shota Chochishvili R5 1:20. I rarely enjoy NJ's clumsy attempts at shoots because they always seem at war with themselves. On one hand, they are trying to limit what they can do so they'd be more realistic, but on the other they are trying to entertain, so the result tends to be that diversity goes out the window and they simply replace it with a bunch of spots of the same variety. Tonight's effort was particularly clumsy, as Shota didn't know how to take and Inoki is so steeped in the pro wrestling mentality that his storytelling and selling killed any illusion of reality rather than enhancing it, as he was making such an effort to do. Georgian Chochishvili was the 1st Soviet judo champion, capturing the gold medal in the Half-Heavyweight division at the 1972 Olympics. They took the ropes down for this "shoot", so the ring was essentially just a large platform. They were allowed to continue on the ground, trying for a submission, but were stood up no matter what after 20 seconds. Inoki didn't wear a Gi, so in theory it was much more difficult for Chochishvili to throw him, and in fact Inoki had the first suplex, a UWF style not so smooth backdrop. Nothing else happened in the first round, but I kind of preferred that to all the preceeding rounds where throws were a dime a dozen, particularly the second round, which was a loop where Shota would immediately throw Inoki and go for an armbar. Inoki fought with one arm from the 3rd round on, holding the other behind his back, which bent sort of like Quasimodo, to show it was "dead". He was desperate, so he fired up and suddenly Shota just stood there and allowed him to hit every sort of glamorous quasi shoot style move in the book, doing a lame job of selling them to boot. Inoki even connected with his enzuigiri, but then the throw into armlock loop resurfaced and Inoki was ultimately saved by the bell from Shota's choke in the third. In the fifth round, Shota gave up following with submissions because he was either bored of trying for the armbar or figured Inoki was so close to out of it he had a better chance of getting a 10 count KO, which soon worked. I give Inoki credit for jobbing to Chochishvili to give the Russians all sorts of credibility that would allow a full Japan vs. Russia program, but this suplexfu was only marginally more credible than the admittedly fake matches. *

NJ '89 Kakuto Satellite Commercial Tape 4/24/89 Tokyo Dome Part 2
-1 1/2hr. Q=Master

Martial Arts: Benny Urquidez vs. Shinya Asuka 5R.

Masa Saito vs. Wakha Evloev 5:28

SS Machine & George Takano vs. Hiroshi Hase & Shiro Koshinaka 17:10

Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Kuniaki Kobayashi 9:55

Crusher Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Salman Hashimikov 2:26

Ishu Kakutogisen: Antonio Inoki vs. Shota Chochyshvili R5 1:20

NJ World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #126 10/10/05
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

5/25/89 Osaka Jo Hall

IWGP Tag Title Match: Super Strong Machine & George Takano vs. Osamu Kido & Kengo Kimura

Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Wakha Evloev

Riki Choshu & Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Victor Zangiev & Vladimir Berkovich

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Hiroshi Hase vs. Jushin Liger 8:39. Kind of an odd match, as they wanted the title on Liger as soon as possible because he was the new sensation, yet they didn't seem to trust him so Liger was pretty much protected in a short match that Hase totally carried. Hase surprised everyone charging at the bell with a dropkick and using a front suplex to set up a plancha, but soon showed it was going to be his style of diverse technical match rather than a Liger aerial assualt. Hase would have his way with Liger except when Liger would find an opening to use his speed and athleticism to counter than have a burst of flying before Hase countered back. Hase was precise and skilled as ever and Liger was all sorts of scrappy, so the match was fun, albeit not exactly developed. ***

NJPW Kakuto Satellite in Osaka Jo Hall Commercial Tape 5/25/89 Osaka Jo Hall
-1hr 40min. Q=Near Perfect

Hiro Saito & Kuniaki Kobayashi vs. Shiro Koshinaka & Naoki Sano

Masa Saito vs. Timur Zalasov

Super Strong Machine & George Takano vs. Osamu Kido & Kengo Kimura

Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Wakha Evloev

Takayuki Iizuka vs. Habieli Victashev

Riki Choshu & Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Victor Zangiev & Vladimir Berkovich

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Hiroshi Hase vs. Jushin Liger 8:39. Kind of an odd match, as they wanted the title on Liger as soon as possible because he was the new sensation, yet they didn't seem to trust him so Liger was pretty much protected in a short match that Hase totally carried. Hase surprised everyone charging at the bell with a dropkick and using a front suplex to set up a plancha, but soon showed it was going to be his style of diverse technical match rather than a Liger aerial assualt. Hase would have his way with Liger except when Liger would find an opening to use his speed and athleticism to counter than have a burst of flying before Hase countered back. Hase was precise and skilled as ever and Liger was all sorts of scrappy, so the match was fun, albeit not exactly developed. ***

Big Van Vader vs. Salman Hashimikov

Antonio Inoki vs. Shota Chochyshvili

NJ World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #127 10/12/05
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

6/10/89 Fukuoka Kokusai Center

Big Van Vader & Italian Stallion vs. Antonio Inoki & Takayuki Iizuka

Jushin Liger vs. Shiro Koshinaka 9:21. It's amazing how much things can change in 6 months. When Yamada challenged on 12/9/88, the division was Koshinaka & Hase plus Owen Hart when he was around, with Yamada in contention but not to the point they were even able to make me believe he was a threat to win. Now Liger is the new sensation soon to be the man, and Koshinaka & Hase are graduating to heavyweight. Or rather, Koshinaka is getting booted out of the division with force, as Liger totally dominates him in this fun little slaughter. Koshinaka is really just there to take Liger's kicks and catch him on his flying moves. The match is really about Liger gaining confidence and becoming comfortable with his new aerial oriented style. ***1/2

Japan vs. Russia 5 Match Series:

Timur Zalasov vs. Tatsumi Fujinami

Wahka Evloev vs. Kengo Kimura

Victor Zangiev vs. Osamu Kido

Vladimir Berkovich vs. Riki Choshu

Salman Hashimikov vs. Masa Saito

NJ World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #128 11/9/05
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

3/16/89 Yokohama Bunka Taiikukan: Vicious Warrior (Sid Vicious) & The Avalanche (PN News) & Ron Starr vs. Seiji Sekaguchi & Kengo Kimura & Tatsutoshi Goto

5/25/89 Osaka Jo Hall, IWGP Heavyweight Title Match: Big Van Vader vs. Salman Hashimikov

6/16/89 Tokyo Korakuen Hall

Kengo Kimura vs. Timur Zalasov

Jushin Liger vs. Beef Wellington 7:19. Wellington wasn't the right opponent for Liger, as he's one of those mini musclemen who can't take that well. Liger had to tone things down and revent to they can't screw it up if I just jump at them mode. Wellington had a couple nice power moves, but didn't add to the match, which was very standard. **1/2

Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Great Kokina (Maximus)

Big Van Vader & Brad Rheingans vs. Riki Choshu & Masa Saito

NJ World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #129 11/16/05
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

7/12/89 Osaka Furitsu Taiikukaikan

Big Van Vader vs. Timur Zalasov

Super Strong Machine & George Takano vs. Shiro Koshinaka & Takayuki Iizuka 15:06. Koshinaka, Iizuka, & Takano were juniors who were being used in the heavyweight division, but weren't quite sure what style they wanted to wrestle. The match was fast paced, especially when Koshinaka was in. However, in the early stages they didn't use the pace to any particular advantage, as they were doing unskilled heavyweight striking, so it didn't really help to run first. Once Koshinaka began his hip attacks, the crowd got into it and they continued to do their more junior oriented signature spots until the finish. Koshinaka made the match as usual, but Takano tended to appear to just be doing stuff for the hell of it, for instance doing pushups while in Koshinaka's half crab amidst an otherwise serious match. **1/2

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match 3Min 10Rd: Jushin Liger vs. Black Tiger R5 2:53. Liger was the new ultra athletic superhero, so it was only natural that Black Tiger would be brought in to carry him and help get him over, just as he did for Tiger Mask. Though Rocco is a very talented wrestler, Sayama's matches with Rocco weren't as exciting as his other main rivals, and I wasn't overly thrilled with the direction Rocco took here. He got the crowd to react, but it was largely to his rudo techniques and Liger's subsequent fighting fire with fire rather than Liger's athleticism, which at this point was what made him special. Dives were so much rarer in these days that the entire crowd seemed to stand when Liger ascended to the top for his plancha. Tiger wrestled technically in the first and they got spot happy in the 5th, but in between Tiger was content to employ such deadly manuevers as choking Liger with his towel and attacking him with a plastic bucket of ice. The other aspect that seemed to hinder the match from reaching it's potential was the rounds style, which, more often than not, prevented flow and rendered the action that much more random. ***1/4

IWGP Heavyweight Title Match: Salman Hashimikov vs. Riki Choshu

7/13/89 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan: Great Kokina vs. Masa Saito

NJ World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #130 12/2/05
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

7/13/89 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Naoki Sano 13:55. Liger & Sano kicked off their legendary fued that first announced their arrival at the top level and soon made them household names with this futuristic aerial war, an insane battle of one-upsmanship that always ultimately proved how evenly matched they were because neither could sustain an advantage no matter what risks they took or how much they disregarded their safety. The match was way ahead of its time for highspots, athleticism, and daring, but also had depth because they were able to get across the idea they were so evenly matched they were pushing each other to previously unattained levels of excellent. The fued was so notable for its intensity, starting before the bell even rang as they wouldn't take their eyes off each other, their stone-faced stare unbroken even by a reluctant pre-match handshake. They matched each other's athleticism at the outset to pop the crowd then technical skill exchanging Romero specials. When the ordinary was not enough, they began raising the bar for daring further and further including Liger doing a rolling senton to the floor, Sano vaulting himself over the top rope Kamikaze style with a body press then following with a missile kick to the floor. There was a Sano huracanrana that didn't quite work and then Liger was too close after Sano's backflip out of the corner for Sano to do his rolling heel kick, but otherwise their chemistry was awesome and anything that didn't hit perfectly added to the recklessness factor. The fault of the match is the double knockout finish came out of nowhere because there was no selling to lead up to it. I understand the idea that this level of opposition called for them to do anything they could think of until they succeeded or their body gave out, but because they couldn't really gain an advantage it didn't make sense for them to both suddenly be unable to get up from Sano's avalanche backdrop. The finish drew gasps from the stunned audience that had been going nuts for quite a while; you could sense their disappointment but they soon gave both a good highly appreciative hand. ****1/2

Big Van Vader vs. Salman Hashimikov

IWGP Tag Title Match: Super Strong Machine & George Takano vs. Riki Choshu & Takayuki Iizuka 16:08. Choshu & Iizuka worked hard, but Machine and especially Takano weren't up to the task, so the effort of Choshu's team wound up resulting in them simply outworking the opposition by a wide margin. Iizuka stepped it up, showing he was more than worthy and capable of the big match. He was in suplex and submission mode, trying to use his sambo background to make up for his size and experience disadvantage. Choshu pushed the pace and tried to instill the expected intensity and urgency, but SS Machine gave one of his non descript performances and Takano simply wasn't good. Takano kept overacting and even mistimed his overacting once or twice. His big move was the Neal kick, but he kept connecting with his ass instead of his thigh. **

8/89

Masa Saito vs. Mike Huff

Dick Murdoch vs. Evgeny Artyukhin

NJ World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #131 12/4/05
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

8/89 Hamamatsu Shi Taiikukan

Super Strong Machine & George Takano vs. Italian Stallion & Billy Jack (Haynes)

Kendo Nagasaki vs. Hiroshi Hase

9/89 Iwate Ken'ei Taiikukan: Buzz Sawyer & Manny Fernandez vs. Super Strong Machine & George Takano

SUPER POWER BATTLE IN OSAKA 9/20/89 Osaka Jo Hall

Owen Hart vs. Tatsutoshi Goto 11:51. Goto was so outclassed you got the idea even he didn't believe he was a match for Owen. Hart wanted to wrestle a scientific mach, so Goto cheated or brawled when he could just to annoy him. Owen wasn't firing up for this, but was very precise and efficient. Goto was able to follow, and given his limited ability, faired better than expected, certainly wrestling a competent match. **

Kendo Nagasaki & Billy Jack vs. Kengo Kimura & Osamu Kido

Salman Hashimikov vs. Italian Stallion

NJPW WORLD Classics SUPER POWER BATTLE IN OSAKA 9/20/89 Osaka Jo Hall
-1hr 30min. Q=Perfect

Owen Hart vs. Tatsutoshi Goto 11:51. Goto was so outclassed you got the idea even he didn't believe he was a match for Owen. Hart wanted to wrestle a scientific mach, so Goto cheated or brawled when he could just to annoy him. Owen wasn't firing up for this, but was very precise and efficient. Goto was able to follow, and given his limited ability, faired better than expected, certainly wrestling a competent match. **

Kendo Nagasaki & Billy Jack vs. Kengo Kimura & Osamu Kido

Salman Hashimikov vs. Italian Stallion

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Naoki Sano vs. Jushin Thunder Liger 18:23. One of the greatest aspects of the Liger/Sano fued is every match we'd seen in complete form was considerably different. The first is a state of the art athletic spectacle between equals raising the bar for recklessness & desire to get over & win, which neither can do because they're so damn equal. The 2nd is more of a heavyweight style story match where Liger does a masterful job of selling his injured shoulder, but Sano gets the 1st decision because Liger's body doesn't allow him to be Sano's equal. The 4th is the ultimate blowoff match. They really crank up the story even that much more, both single match & across the program, & rivalry aspects with the mask ripping, blood, etc., but the crucial fact that Liger hasn't actually won a match yet in the series so often gets overlooked because Liger became the all time greatest while Sano got lost in the shuffle after selling out to the glass company. What's critical to that 4th match though is the seeming impossiblity of a Liger win, after being the star going into the program & playing so evenly in the 1st match, he's now lost 2 in a row & gets dominated for 90% of the final. With all that being known, it's interesting to look at the previously "lost" 9/20/89 match, now finally rebroadcast in complete form after a quarter century of only being available in the highly edited original World Pro Wrestling TV version. They kind of want to play this one straight, finally see who the better man is now that they are back on an even playing field. They can't quite do it because they want the title too badly & don't particularly like each other, but their emotions are somewhat, I'd say too muted in this one. The first half is pretty tame, the standard solid technical early portion, then they flip the switch & it gets crazy. Liger is just beginning to take over when he blows a swandive move, playing it as though he's been betrayed by an injured knee, which Sano goes right after. From the old TV version, I asssumed there was some better stuff leading up to this injury that was left on the cutting room floor, but ultimately, it was basically just an excuse, hence the only momentary pause in the string of flying & finishing moves. What disappointed me about this match is that after Liger did such a brilliant job of selling injuries in their 2nd match, this was pretty much back to just being go time. I mean, their stuff is amazing, but Liger would become the most amazing because he had so much more than just stuff, & got more out of it whereas here he's getting less. A crucial spot sees Liger land on top for the avalanche style backdrop that caused the double knockout in the 1st match & was his demise in the 2nd, and you feel like he's going to finally come good here to even the series at 1-1-1. I loved the spot where Sano countered the whip with his backflip out of the corner, but Liger just kept going & caught him with a moonsault attack before Sano had full balance to avoid. Sano counters Liger's superplex though dropping him stomach down & retains with an implausibly setup Tiger suplex. Overall, although one of the better NJ matches of 1989 to be certain, this is clearly the least of the series both for overall quality & certainly for originality. It's definitely closest to the 1st with the overall theme of parity only yielding with the final pinfall. It shows progress in terms of their chemistry & ability to much more cleanly & precisely work a spectacular, high level of difficulty athletic contest. They no longer seem to be wrestling over their heads or above their ability, and this may actually be the most effortless of the series , but as great as the 2nd half is action wise, it just doesn't have the awe factor of the other matches. It's more a timelessly high end match that looks a lot better when you compare it to what a junior spotfest looked like at the end of the 1980's than a unique classic like the others. ****

Shinya Hashimoto & Masa Saito vs. Riki Choshu & Takayuki Iizuka

Vader vs. Bam Bam Bigelow

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #132 12/17/05
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

10/13/89 Tokyo Korakuen Hall

Matt Bourne & Great Kokina vs. Super Strong Machine & George Takano

Darryl Peterson (Man Mountain Rock) vs. Osamu Kido

11/24/89 Gunma-ken Sports Center

Salman Hashimikov vs. Hiroshi Hase

Naoki Sano & Kantaro Hoshino & Kuniaki Kobayashi vs. Tatsutoshi Goto & Hiro Saito & Norio Honaga

Masahiro Chono vs. Timur Zalasov

Riki Choshu & Shiro Koshinaka vs. Shinya Hashimoto & Super Strong Machine

11/1/89 Toki-shi Sports Center: Naoki Sano vs. Norio Honaga

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #133 12/18/05
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

11/1/89 Toki-shi Sports Center

Hiroshi Hase & Kuniaki Kobayashi vs. Tatsutoshi Goto & Hiro Saito

Shinya Hashimoto vs. Great Kokina

Jushin Liger & Masahiro Chono & Riki Choshu vs. Big Van Vader & Tony St. Clair & Tom Pritchard

11/29/89 Ishikawa Sangyo Tenjikan

Hiroshi Hase & Shiro Koshinaka & Kuniaki Kobayashi vs. Norio Honaga & Tatsutoshi Goto & Hiro Saito

Salman Hasimikov vs. George Takano

NJ World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #134 1/5/06
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

11/29/89 Ishikawa-ken Sangyo Tenjikan

Steve Williams vs. Osamu Kido

Shinya Hashimoto & Super Strong Machine vs. Riki Choshu & Masahiro Chono

Manny Fernandez vs. Andrei Sulsaev

12/6/89 Osaka Furitsu Taiikukaikan

George Takano & Super Strong Machine vs. Kunaki Kobayashi & Hiroshi Hase

Shiro Koshinaka & Kantaro Hoshino vs. Tatsutoshi Goto & Norio Honaga

NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Jushin Thunder Liger Hen #1~ 4/9/00
& NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Jushin Thunder Liger Hen #2~ 4/16/00
-1hr 50min. Q=TV Master

Wonderland Liger #1

4/24/89 Tokyo Dome: Jushin Liger vs. Kuniaki Kobayashi 9:55. Liger made his debut about 6 weeks after Go Nagai's anime began on TV Asahi, with remarkable expectations as he was expected to not merely be a a flesh and blood incarnation of an imaginative super hero, but no less than the successor of the biggest star in the history of junior heavyweight wrestling, Tiger Mask. In order to follow in Tiger's footsteps, he changed his style considerably, focusing on speed, quickness, gymnastic based counters, and daring aerial manuevers. This is not to say Yamada by any means grounded before, but as he came up during the junior divisions UWF dominated era, kicks were a big part of his offense and flying was only one aspect of his well rounded game. Kobayashi was his opponent because he did the best job of carrying Tiger Mask. He was there to do all the dirtywork while being the afterthought, to set Liger up, provide a base for his flying, get some heat with a few questionable tactics, and give him a few breathers by momentarily grounding him. Kobayashi gave his typical unselfish performance, doing nothing to steal Liger's thunder. He got Liger crowd support by trying to rip his mask and giving him a low blow, standard rudo stuff, and Liger got Liger crowd support by awing them with his athleticism. Liger had a nice flashy start, but ultimately didn't do doing anything drastically different than he did as Yamada. He was simply performing the spots quicker and chaining them together in more rapid succession, which was good when it didn't cause mistakes. Kobayashi wrestled with confidence, and did everything that was expected of him, but the match wasn't awesome because it was rather short and Liger was understandable still trying to find himself. ***1/4

5/25/89 Osaka Jo Hall, IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Hiroshi Hase vs. Jushin Liger 8:39. NJ wanted the title on Liger as soon as possible because he was the new sensation, yet they didn't seem to trust him, so Liger was pretty much protected in a short match that Hase totally carried. Hase surprised everyone charging at the bell with a dropkick and using a front suplex to set up a plancha, but soon showed it was going to be his style of diverse technical match rather than a Liger aerial assualt. Hase would have his way with Liger except when Liger would find an opening to use his speed and athleticism to counter, setting off a brief burst of flying before Hase countered back. Hase was precise and skilled as ever and Liger was all sorts of scrappy, so the match was fun, albeit not exactly developed or nearly as good as if Liger was simply Yamada. ***

7/12/89 Osaka Furitsu Taiikukaikan, IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match 3Min 10Rd: Jushin Liger vs. Black Tiger R5 2:53. Liger was the new ultra athletic superhero, so it was only natural that Tiger Mask's arch rival Black Tiger would be brought in to help get him over. Though Rocco is a talented wrestler, Sayama's matches with Rocco were bottom rung of his main rivals, largely because Rocco tends to spend too much time being a rudo and not enough time showing his actual wrestling skills. Once again, I thought Rocco was again making decisions that were neither adding to the match nor doing their job of getting the opposition over in the manner they were being promoted. Dives were so much rarer in these days that the entire crowd seemed to stand when Liger ascended to the top for his plancha, but while Tiger did get the crowd to react, it was largely to his rudo techniques, which set up Liger to fight fire with fire rather than to showcase his athleticism, which at this point was what made him special. Tiger did wrestle technically in the first and they got spot happy in the 5th, but in between Tiger was content to employ such deadly manuevers as choking Liger with his towel and attacking him with a plastic bucket of ice. The other aspect that seemed to hinder the match from reaching it's potential was the rounds style, which, more often than not, prevented flow and rendered the action that much more random. I'd say this is the best match of the three because it's the only one with any real length and substance, but minute for minute, it's the worst of the three. ***1/4

Wonderland Liger #2

7/28/89 Toda Shi Sports Center, Jushin 5 Match: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Akira Nogami 10:42. Nogami has passed the point of being a good athlete with a lot of desire, and is beginning to show a good deal of promise. Although they debuted in the same year, Nogami is just beginning to show up on TV, and gets a star vs. promising youngster match with Liger, who goes out of his way to give him credibility, selling for him quite a bit, although he does ultimately dispatch of him with ease. Nogami's offense is somewhat lacking, but he's beginning to develop a nice arsenal of bridging suplexes. I liked his doublearm suplex hold, but the follow up where Nogami fully extends for a diving body attack only to have Liger put out his knee is totally badass. ***

11/3/89 Tokyo Korakuen Hall: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Takayuki Iizuka 14:11. Sambo Iizuka puts his newfound skills on display, destroying Liger's knee in this well focused technical match that's a treat for the hardcore fans. I don't remember caring for this match all that much when I first got into Liger, but it's a nice change of pace, and a rare example of Iizuka within his element, giving us a good indication of just how technically good he was even at this early stage in his career. This is basically Liger reverting back to mid 80's Yamada: there's minimal flying, and the basis is a quasi UWF shoot style. Liger sells for the majority of the match, doing a champion job of putting over Iizuka's kneebars. Given Iizuka had recently held the tag titles with Riki Choshu, I expected him to be a tougher out, but once Liger woke up in a desperate effort to stop the blizzard suplex, he quickly dispatched of Iizuka. ***3/4

7/13/89 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan, IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Naoki Sano 13:55. Liger & Sano kicked off their legendary fued that first announced their arrival at the very top level and soon made them household names with this futuristic aerial war, an insane battle of one-upsmanship that always ultimately proved how evenly matched they were because neither could sustain an advantage no matter what risks they took or how much they disregarded their safety. The match was way ahead of its time for highspots, athleticism, and daring, but although admittedly more of a spectacle, it did have some depth because they were able to get across the idea they were so evenly matched they were pushing each other to previously unattained levels of excellent. The fued was so notable for its intensity, starting before the bell even rang as they wouldn't take their eyes off each other, their stone-faced stare unbroken even by a reluctant pre-match handshake. They matched each other's athleticism at the outset to pop the crowd then technical skill exchanging Romero specials. When the ordinary was not enough, they began raising the bar for daring further and further including Liger doing a rolling senton to the floor, Sano vaulting himself over the top rope Kamikaze style with a body press then following with a missile kick to the floor. There was a Sano huracanrana that didn't quite work and then Liger was too close after Sano's backflip out of the corner for Sano to do his rolling sole butt, but otherwise their chemistry was awesome and anything that didn't hit perfectly added to the recklessness factor. The fault of the match is the double knockout finish came out of nowhere because there was no selling to lead up to it. I understand the idea that this level of opposition called for them to do anything they could think of until they succeeded or their body gave out, but because they couldn't really gain an advantage it didn't make sense for them to both suddenly be unable to get up from Sano's avalanche backdrop. The finish drew gasps from the stunned audience that had been going nuts for quite a while; you could sense their disappointment but they soon gave both a good highly appreciative hand. ****1/2

NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Jushin Thunder Liger Hen #3~ 4/23/00
& NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Jushin Thunder Liger Hen #4~ 4/30/00
-1hr 50min. Q=TV Master

Wonderland Liger #3

8/10/89 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Jushin Liger vs. Naoki Sano 15:38. A totally different match from 7/13/89, much more toward later (peak) Liger. Having shown no particular aptitude for selling since he donned the hood, Liger suddenly shows why he'd soon be known as the king of the junior sellers, doing a beautiful job of putting over the shoulder Kantaro Hoshino & Sano destroyed in a tag match two days earlier. Liger wears football shoulder pads, but they, like everything else, do little to aid his injured left wing, which Sano continues to attack mercilessly throughout. Liger can't seem to get out of his own way, injuring himself performing his own offense such as a shoulderblock. He winds up doing a lot of stomps because they are among the safest things he can do, but even with these, he's selling his shoulder between each and every one. Still, Liger manages to bust Sano open. One big change here is they are breaking each other down, so the match is much slower paced. It isn't nearly as high flying or insane as 7/13/89, it's more a traditional, even leaning toward a heavyweight match despite their athleticism, with crisp technical wrestling and badass hatred spots. They get a lot out of the flying they do use, and just about everything else for that matter, as we can see them not only knowing how to counter, but beginning to counter with reasoning and timing. I loved the spot where Liger countered a go behind, but Sano then dropped down into a wakigatame. Basic stuff, but it worked perfectly within the context of the match. I'm guessing the shoulder injury is all about NJ not having confidence in the fans willingness to accept Liger's mortality, but luckily the fans wouldn't demand he be essentially undefeatable as Tiger Mask was. They understood Liger gave all he had, and took it as a heroic showing even though only Sano got up from his avalanche backdrop this time. ****3/4

1/18/90 Yamaguchi Toyama Shi Taiikukan, IWGP Junior Next Challenger Decision League Match: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Hiro Saito 12:53. The 3rd generation of the Liger character with the red mask, red and white body suit, and Thunder as his middle name is the one that would stick (I suppose partly because Go Nagai's anime went off the air on 1/27/90). Hiro heels it up, introducing a chair, and Liger is more than happy to give it back to him, even piledriving Saito on a table. Hiro is not the least bit spectacular, but nonetheless effective on offense as he sometimes was in the early 90's, having enough impact on his suplexes and senton to be credible. He will never have a match of the year, but he's fine for minor matches, the thing is they should be minor heavyweight matches. The downside of Hiro is woefully apparent here, as he doesn't possess nearly enough athleticism for the junior division. He can't take a decent bump off the middle rope, and more importantly, he lacks the flexibility for even simple counters into basic pins, which by the way kills the finish of this match. Despite Liger having to dumb down and Hiro's girth getting in the way a few times, the match was both effective and entertaining. Unfortunately, it just kind of ended when you thought it was about to take off. **3/4

1/25/90 Hokkaido Sapporo Nakajima Taiiku Center, IWGP Junior Next Challenger Decision League Match: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Akira Nogami 11:59. Nogami had the athleticism, and Liger was of the mindset to carry him. Nogami wasn't wrestling with a great deal of confidence, slowing down to make sure he knew the next spot, but he generally faired well. Liger sold a lot for him, especially early on to give him credibility. The fans weren't reacting, but I thought it was a fun little match. It was weird seeing Liger win with an Argentine backbreaker, as it was not only out of nowhere, but I don't recall him even using the move before. ***

Wonderland Liger #4

3/5/90: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Cheetah Kid (Ted "Rocco Rock" Petty) 9:24. It's nice to see Rocco before he got into grunge, but I have no idea why they included this match in the Liger series, as it's one of Liger's absolute worst. Cheetah had a way of making everything look at least a bit awkward. For such a good athlete, he was rather mechanical and, next to Liger, came off as nothing more than an imposter indy junior. The match was very much of the you do your spots and I do mine variety. Liger tried, but they had no chemistry. *3/4

1/30/90 Gifu Taiikukan, IWGP Junior Next Challenger Decision League Match: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Owen Hart 12:28. This match is, in a way, responsible for the greatest junior heavyweight match, as if Liger didn't win here to take the next challenger league, he wouldn't have faced Sano the next night. All the matches in the league that aired seemed to share the "we'll give 'em a good twelve minutes" mindset, so this wasn't the blowout match we hoped for. Liger was pretty much along for the ride, as this was clearly Owen's match, and Owen had the advantage most of the time. Hart has a tendency to make everything look easy because he's so exceptionally graceful. While this is often to his advantage, it can be a detriment as well. He never did a very good job of instilling a sense of urgency into his matches, particularly the openings, which were filled with great athletic counters, so they could still seem somewhat empty because there was no real sense of anything having been gained. Though Hart had more ability to deliver an entertaining opening than almost any junior of his era, and certainly once again did so tonight, you can see in a match such as this one that it can still come off very flat if we aren't given a reason to believe in it. The audience didn't react until he picked up the pace, not because the slower stuff wasn't well done, but because he wasn't moving us, so we didn't take that much notice until we identified some sort of manipulation, in this case reverting to our programming of equating quicker tempo to action of greater importance and enthusiasm. Anyway, they were both wrestling on a very high level and built the match up pretty well. A memorable match was a possibility, but they went home early and rather unconvincinglywith Liger just cutting Owen off on the top and taking him out with an avalanche brainbuster then a Ligerbomb rather than having a run of offense first. ***3/4

1/31/90 Osaka Furitsu Taiikukaikan, IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Naoki Sano vs. Jushin Thunder Liger 20:00. The ultimate climactic battle, the greatest junior heavyweight match bringing perfect indecisive closure to the greatest junior heavyweight feud of all-time. Not merely a grudge match of epic purportions, but right up there with Akira Hokuto vs. Shinbobu Kandori 4/2/93 as the greatest ever. Not simply state of the art wrestling with awesome drama and great intensity, but the measuring stick. An extremely rich and deep match, with great single match story and psychology, but also playing off the entire brilliant feud in many ways. Heel Sano offers to put the past behind them at least long enough for a display of pre-match goodwill only to get embarrassed when Liger slaps him across the face. Liger roughs up his incited opponent, but Sano quickly exerts his will, proceeding to control 90% of the contest. Abusing and mauling Liger, Sano uses a piledriver on the floor and in-ring tombstone to set up embarrassing him by ripping his sacred mask. Posting Liger until he bleeds, Sano is soon at his cockiest, not wanting to settle for a simple pin, but wanting to prove a point and knock his opponent out. Their first singles meeting on 7/13/89 ended in a double KO, but this time Sano is going to drain his opponent of his lifeforce if not his blood and pummel him until he can no longer stand. Sano nearly succeeds with moves such as the superplex. Liger finally makes a hot comeback, introducing his flying into the match, but it’s suitably short lived. The match is about making the prospects of Liger’s victory look as bleak as humanly possible. At the same time, Liger’s refusal to surrender despite losing a bucket of blood subtly shifts Sano into deciding the victory is more important than the manner, as the belt is what proves he’s the best and will make the fans and promotion eventually see it. The selling is quite simply amazing, more toward Misawa & Kawada dominated All Japan heavyweights from a few years later than anything we'd expect from juniors before or since, with Liger down for lengthy periods as a good deal of drama is placed on each attempt to simply stand. In the best hope spot, Sano tries to take it to the next level with a superplex with both standing on the top, but Liger saves himself by shifting his weight to land on top, though he’s still unable to gain control. Liger’s inability to mount an offensive continues until the final seconds of the match when he counters Sano’s huracanrana with a Ligerbomb. Everything we are used to about pro wrestling tells us Liger will turn it on now, but the series is about making stars of both wrestlers, so even though it’s the blowoff Liger isn’t going to prove true superiority. He’s a beaten down man with nothing left, so he decides to go for broke, positioning Sano with a tombstone and pulling out the most spectacular move of the time period, the shooting star press. Liger wins because he has the greatest move and was able to will himself, or simply be lucky enough, to hang around long enough to execute it. *****

NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Foreigners Story~ Lou Thesz & Karl Gotch 10/29/02
& NJPW Tadakai no Wonderland ~Foreigners Story~ Steve Williams 12/10/02
-1hr 45min. Q=TV Master

10/14/73 Tokyo Kuramae Kokugikan, 2/3 Falls World's Strongest Tag Match Part. 2: Karl Gotch & Lou Thesz vs. Antonio Inoki & Seiji Sakaguchi

1/1/82 Tokyo Korakuen Hall: Karl Gotch vs. Yoshiaki Fujiwara

10/9/75 Tokyo Kuramae Kokugikan, NWF World Heavyweight Title Match: Antonio Inoki vs. Lou Thesz

Steve Williams

10/19/87: Steve Williams vs. Keiji Muto

12/6/89 Osaka Furitsu Taiikukaikan: Steve Williams vs. Shinya Hashimoto

12/11/90 Nagoya Rainbow Hall: Steve Williams vs. Masahiro Chono

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