NEW JAPAN PRO-WRESTLING VIDEOS 1990-92

NJPW Handheld 1/6/90
-2hr. Q=Gd-VG

Hirokazu Hata vs. Hiroshi Dairi

Black Cat vs. Tora Katayama

Shiro Koshinaka vs. George Takano

Kuniaki Kobayashi & Osamu Kido vs. Masa Saito & Kantaro Hoshino

Akira Nogami vs. Osamu Matsuda

Hiroshi Hase vs. Takayuki Iizuka

Shinya Hashimoto & Naoki Sano vs. Masa Chono & Jushin Thunder Liger

Riki Choshu & Kengo Kimura & Strong Machine vs. Hiro Saito & Tatsutoshi Goto & Norio Honaga

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #136 1/14/06
-1 1/2hr. Q=Near Perfect

1/25/90 Sapporo Nakajima Taiiku Center

Kuniaki Kobayashi vs. Super Strong Machine

Riki Choshu & Hiroshi Hase vs. Tatsutoshi Goto vs. Hiro Saito

Big Van Vader vs. Masahiro Chono

1/31/90 Osaka Furitsu Taiikukaikan

Hiroshi Hase vs. Masahiro Chono

Super Strong Machine & Tatsutoshi Goto vs. George Takano & Riki Choshu

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #138 2/3/06
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

2/10/90 Tokyo Dome, AWA Heavyweight Title Match: Masa Saito vs. Larry Zbyszko

1/30/90 Gifu Tenjikan

Tatsutshi Goto & Super Strong Machine vs. Kuniaki Kobayashi & George Takano

IWGP Junior Next Challenger Decision League Match: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Owen Hart

Big Van Vader & Great Kokina & Brad Rheingans vs. Shinya Hashimoto & Masahiro Chono & Riki Choshu

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 World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #135
-1 1/2hr. Q=Near Perfect

1/18/90 Yamaguchi Toyama Shi Taiikukan

IWGP Junior Next Challenger Decision League Match: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Hiro Saito 12:53. This is the Liger we are used to with the red mask, red and white body suit, and Thunder as his middle name. 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 usually 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 have 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 the 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

Big Van Vader & Great Kokina vs. Shinya Hashimoto & Masa Saito

Tatsutoshi Goto vs. Riki Choshu

1/25/90 Hokkaido Sapporo Nakajima Taiiku Center

IWGP Junior Next Challenger Decision League Match: Black Tiger vs. Owen Hart 12:30. The biggest drawback of Owen Hart is, although the guy had all the talent in the world, he would so often do just enough to make the match good. Tiger wasn't exactly doing anything to get him out of that mindset either, in fact he wasn't doing much beyond setting Hart up. Despite the brevity, there were a lot of restholds early. They did surround these with some nice stuff though. Actually, the match was looking promising with Owen bouncing all around, pulling off a kip up or backflip out of much of what Tiger could hold him with, but it was somewhat derailed when Owen couldn't get up for his leapfrog and thus took a headbutt to the groin, which didn't do wonders for Tiger's neck, either. They slowed down to recover when they'd normally be speeding up, and by the time they were ready to go, the match was almost over. **3/4

IWGP Junior Next Challenger Decision League Match: Jushin Liger v 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. ***

NJ World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #137 1/17/06
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

1/31/90 Osaka Furitsu Taiikukaikan

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Senshuken Jiai: 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. Roughing Liger up and mauling him, 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 delivering his shooting star press. Liger wins because he has the greatest move and was able to will himself, or simply lucky enough, to hang around long enough to execute it. *****

IWGP Tag Title Match: Masa Saito & Shinya Hashimoto vs. Big Van Vader & Great Kokina

2/10/1990 Tokyo Dome:

Naoki Sano & Pegasus Kid vs. Jushin Thunder Liger & Akira Nogami 7:14 of 16:54. The final chapter in the amazing Liger vs. Sano fued, but they didn't face off with near the intensity we saw in their previous 4 singles matches, and the match was ultimately notable for the arrival of Pegasus. Pegasus was solid, certainly a few steps above Nogami, but not nearly in the class with Sano. It was a good state of the art junior match, though really rather standard for the first 13 minutes. The final 4 minutes was like a different, potentially exceptional match, heated and intense with great offense. Considering it was the Tokyo Dome, aka the mausoleum of juniors, I was surprised at how loud the audience was as soon as the finishing sequence kicked in. The offense was quite impressive, but the match had been very average for these guys up to that point, and wasn't exactly building to the explosion. ***1/2

Hiro Saito & Tatsutoshi Goto & Norio Honaga vs. Hiroshi Hase & Kuniaki Kobayashi & Kantaro Hoshino

Steve Williams vs. Salman Hashimikov

Super Strong Machine & Tatsutoshi Goto vs. Riki Choshu & George Takano

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 '90 SUPER FIGHT IN TOKYO DOME PART 1 Commercial Tape 2/10/90 Tokyo Dome
-1hr 10min. Q=Master

Jushin Thunder Liger & Akira Nogami vs. Pegasus Kid & Naoki Sano 16:57. The final chapter in the amazing Liger vs. Sano fued, but they didn't face off with near the intensity we saw in their previous 4 singles matches, and the match was ultimately notable for the arrival of Pegasus. Pegasus was solid, certainly a few steps above Nogami, but not nearly in the class with Sano. It was a good state of the art junior match, though really rather standard for the first 13 minutes. The final 4 minutes was like a different, potentially exceptional match, heated and intense with great offense. Considering it was the Tokyo Dome, aka the mausoleum of juniors, I was surprised at how loud the audience was as soon as the finishing sequence kicked in. The offense was quite impressive, but the match had been very average for these guys up to that point, and wasn't exactly building to the explosion. ***1/2

Hiro Saito & Tatsutoshi Goto & Norio Honaga vs. Kuniaki Kobayashi & Kantaro Hoshino & Hiroshi Hase 13:29. Blond Outlaws were at their most efficient here, doing a basic cheap heat heel routine that wasn't exciting but kept Saito & Goto out of trouble. The match was too much about them, but Kobayashi & Hase looked good, with slick precision offense. Grizzled veteran Hoshino was a cult favorite at this point, and the more he hammed it up, the more the audience erupted for his every action. One problem with Blond Outlaws is their matches tend to never improve. They can sustain an average to good level, but they have no offense, so the later stages rarely impress. This is one of their matches that seemed as though it was going to be good, then just sort of ended. **

AWA World Heavyweight Title Match: Larry Zybysko vs. Masa Saito 11:29. Saito was at his most annoying here, posing or hulking up in between every maneuver. He was also very selfish, forcing Larry Z to sell the entire match even though he was losing. Saito was motivated and Z wasn't stalling, so apart from the annoyances it wasn't too boring. If it was actually competitive, it might have been okay, but Saito was pretty much impervious to pain. *1/4

Koji Kitao vs. Bam Bam Bigelow 9:18. Bigelow wasn't getting much love from the bookers on the Tokyo Dome shows, first having to carry amateur wrestling star Hashimikov, who at least had some potential, through a passable few minutes on 4/24/89 and now trying to have a somewhat legitimate match with another debuting wrestler, goofy yokozuna Kitao. You knew you were in for it when Kitao began the match by ripping off his yellow tank top. He'd do one basic move than return to his fighting pose. Kitao was very awkward and showed only the most basic knowledge of the sport. Bigelow tried to keep it servicable, but quickly figured out there was little he could do. Kitao wasn't screwing up, but had no particular ability or aptitude for the sport. He was similar to the star football players that guest starred on a WWF or WCW PPV, except they had a lot more athletic ability. 1/4*

NJ '90 SUPER FIGHT IN TOKYO DOME PART 2 Commercial Tape 2/10/90 Tokyo Dome
-1hr 10min. Q=Good

Takayuki Iizuka vs. Osamu Matsuda

Brad Rheingans vs. Victor Zangiev

Steve Williams vs. Salman Hashimikov

IWGP Heavyweight Title Match: Big Van Vader vs. Stan Hansen 15:47. Dream battle of the top gaijin in NJ defending against the top gaijin in AJ. It's legendary because a couple minutes into the match Hansen's punches dislocate Vader's eye so badly it is pretty much held in only by the immediately super swollen eyelid, and Vader simply takes his mask off so he can do a better job of popping the eyeball back in and continues more or less as if nothing had happened. But apart from that, it's about the least dynamic match you'll ever see, and rather boring. The stand toe to toe the entire time, rarely is there more than a foot between them, and blugeon each other with short little blows that alternately hurt really badly and miss. Though these are the sort of blows you can really injure someone with, they actually don't work that well in a fake setting, as the audience can't hear, or half the time even see them, and thus the crowd is dead most of the time. I give Vader a ton of credit for being crazy enough to not simply mail it in, and he was making a genuine effort to entertain, but, at least for me, it wasn't translating that well. I was really annoyed by the pre UWF style lame countout finish, I guess because they could have just called the match off and sent Vader to the hospital, but they stuck with it to eventually find their way to a different means to no end. **1/4

Antonio Inoki & Seiji Sakaguchi vs. Shinya Hashimoto & Masahiro Chono

NJ World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #139
-1 1/2hr. Q=Near Perfect

1/30/90: Masa Saito & Hiroshi Hase vs. Osamu Kido & Kengo Kimura

3/2/90 Tokyo Korakuen Hall

Wild Pegasus & Cheetah Kid vs. Jushin Thunder Liger & Takayuki Iizuka 6:34 of 8:10. Entertaining little sprint. Liger was more motivated here, and beginning to get into a groove with Pegasus. These two are very good, and Cheetah, while hardly great, is at least more than happy to catipult his body.

Shinya Hashimoto & Masa Saito vs. Crusher Bam Bam Bigelow & Punisher Dice Morgan (The Undertaker)

Super Strong Machine vs. George Takano

Hiro Saito & Tatsutoshi Goto vs. Riki Choshu & Masahiro Chono

3/5/90: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Cheetah Kid (Ted "Rocco Rock" Petty) 9:24. 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

NJ World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #140 2/11/06
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

3/5/90

George Takano & Masahiro Chono vs. Super Strong Machine & Hiro Saito

Crusher Bam Bam Bigelow & Larry Cameron vs. Shinya Hashimoto & Riki Choshu

3/15/90

Hiroshi Hase & Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Norio Honaga & Hiro Saito 14:46. Simple, effective match with Blond Outlaws controlling through shady methods, setting up brief bursts of hot offense from Liger & Hase. Blond Outlaws jumped Liger & Hase before the bell and generally roughed them up, quickly cutting them off with a low blow or double team everytime they seemed to gain momentum. Liger eventually had enough, taking a chair to Saito then jumping off the top to stuff Hase's piledriver. Hase & Liger were very good, and Honaga & Saito were able to stay within their element. ***1/4

Masa Saito & Koji Kitao vs. Crusher Bam Bam Bigelow & Punisher Dice Morgan

NJ World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #141 2/17/06
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

3/15/90

Masa Chono & Shinya Hashimoto vs. Larry Cameron & The Barbarian (John Nord)

Seiji Sakaguchi Retirement Match: Scott Hall & Mike Kirchner vs. Seiji Sekaguchi & Kengo Kimura

Riki Choshu & George Takano vs. Strong Machine & Tatsutoshi Goto

3/19/90 Hiroshima Kenritsu Taiikukan: Hiroshi Hase & George Takano & Kuniaki Kobayashi vs. Norio Honaga & Tatsutoshi Goto & Hiro Saito 14:50. Though you want your main heel to not merely dominate, but strike fear in the audience's heart, what you really want from your other heels is to be annoying so they'll elicit fiery performances from the faces. Blond Outlaws jumping the faces at the bells, and taking their shortcuts only served to motivate the opposition, who wrestled with a spark. The difference in Takano was most noticable, as he's prone to being lackadaisical. You knew the match was working when you heard the audience's reaction to the faces all putting the boots to Goto at once. Fun and effective match. ***1/4

NJ World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #142 3/2/06
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

4/90 Tokyo Korakuen Hall

Tatsutoshi Goto & Super Strong Machine vs. George Takano & Masahiro Chono

Koji Kitao vs. Mike Kirchner

Crusher Bam Bam Bigelow & Larry Cameron vs. Riki Choshu & Shinya Hashimoto

4/27/90 Tokyo Bay NK Hall

Kengo Kimura vs. Osamu Kido

Jushin Thunder Liger & Kensuke Sasaki vs. Hiro Saito & Tatsutoshi Goto 9:18. Minor entry in the Liger vs. Blond Outlaws program. Liger is super over, getting reaction to everything he does, especially his flying. There's surprisingly little reaction to Outlaws double teams and low blows though. It's like the fans boo them once, then realize that's all these guys can do. Liger got a big pop for laying kicks into Hiro's chest until he released his Boston crab on Kensuke though. **

Super Strong Machine vs. Shiro Koshinka 10:46. This wasn't their finest moment. It had a few brief good segments, but they weren't clicking. Koshinaka missed a leap frog and hurt his ankle landing on his feet to counter a suplex. Machine worked the ankle, and I guess this played into the finish as Machine kinda grabs the ankle in midair to counter Koshinaka's hip attack, but it doesn't look like much. *1/2

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 World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #143 3/4/06
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

5/5/90 Tokyo Korakuen Hall

Super Strong Machine & Hiro Saito vs. Hiroshi Hase & Apollo Sugawara 16:34. Starts in the requisite Blond Outlaws manner with them jumping before the bell, but rather than the typical shady domination, Saito winds up doing quite a bit of selling. Sugawara has the posture of the thuggish bodyguard who can't get out of his own way, but althogh he lacks grace, he does his moves well enough. Still, you are begging Hase not to tag because he's the best wrestler in the match by miles, and is elevating the quality quite a bit without much assistance. Hase's enthusiasm keeps the crowd involved in this rather ordinary match. Finish doesn't really work, as although Blond Outlaws aren't getting their way as usual, this is one of those rejects from the pre-UWF era where they seemingly just pick an indescriminate time to end it via screw job. In this case, Animal Hamaguchi tooks the opportunity to flash his diving elbow. **1/4

Kensuke Sasaki vs. Masahiko Takasugi

Shiro Koshinka vs. Jushin Thunder Liger 16:52. Intense match in the style of the Koshinaka era, mixing UWF strikes and submissions with energetic running segments. Liger starts in full martial arts mode, blistering Koshinaka with kicks and now adding the shotei to his arsenal. There's a few too many indescriminate submissions, but these two are so motivated the time always passes quickly. They are also smart, doing something to pick the crowd up in between stretching each other out. Koshinaka might not have the best high spots, but his speed and enthusiam more than make up for it, and he always winds up getting some of the best crowd reactions. The fans are really hot down the stretch, but as with many of the junior matches of this era, it ends just when you begin to think it has the potential to be something special. ***3/4

Masahiro Chono & Shinya Hashimoto vs. Masa Saito & Riki Choshu

NJ World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #144 3/6/06
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

5/24/90 Tokyo Bay NK Hall

Hiroshi Hase vs. Norio Honaga 11:13. Match is just kind of there. Honaga is fine in tag, but has yet to figure out how to work around his lack of offense in singles. He has the advantage too much, and it hurts the match. Hase also isn't into this one as much as usual. **

Jushin Thunder Liger & Osamu Kido & Kengo Kimura vs. Hiro Saito & Super Strong Machine & Tatsutoshi Goto 13:45. Liger was a real spark plug, working brief fast paced segments that ignited the audience. He was singlehandedly making the match, which was lucky as he wasn't getting much help. Saito was the best on the heel side, taking a lot and showing something beyond the Blood Outlaw standard when he was on offense. Kimura wasn't doing much to distinguish himself from the heels, and Kido can always pop the crowd with his couple of over moves, but doesn't deliver a whole lot else. **3/4

5/28/90 Osaka Furitsu Taiikukaikan

Kensuke Sasaki & Kuniaki Kobayashi & Apollo Sugawara vs. Animal Hamaguchi & Super Strong Machine & Tatsutoshi Goto

Crusher Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Steve Williams 9:46. This battle of the super heavyweight gaijins had promise, but never really came off. They began structuring the match around parity spots, building up to who could knock each other down first. Williams nearly died when Bigelow couldn't bend low enough for Williams to leap frog him. Okay, I exaggerate, but Williams was down for two minutes, shoeing Bigelow away every time Bam Bam tried to restart the match. Eventually, when he was ready to go, Williams did the Chono reverse kick to the balls to make things even. The intensity picked up tremendously as they exchanged stiff shots, but that lead to them brawling on the outside forever. I kept getting ready to get pissed that it was going to be a countout, doubly so since with the interruption, they really hadn't even got going yet. The ref ignored that part, but then disqualified Williams for repeated chair shots once they'd reentered. Bigelow bladed, and they continued brawling until Williams had to be restrained because he'd beaten Bigelow helpless, but still this was really just the concept of these two having a wrestling match.

Big Van Vader vs. Koji Kitao

NJ World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #145 3/9/06
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

5/28/90 Osaka Furitsu Taiikukaikan

IWGP Tag Title Match: Keiji Muto & Masa Chono vs. Hiroshi Hase & Shiro Koshinaka 21:01. A nice combination of Chono and Hase's old school technical style with Muto & Koshinaka's fast paced junior match, getting excellent contributions across the board. The match built slowly, with Chono & Hase being the driving forces in the scientific early stages. The scientific wrestling was very well executed, but generally meandered as it lacked story or focus to either give it meaning or make us believe in the moves as finishers. The match would pick up when Muto & Koshinaka came in, but they saved most of the spots for the later portion. In stages, they picked up the pace and incorporated more spots until they were generally sprinting in the final minutes, apart from an attempt at a legit submission finisher such as Chono's STF. The fans were into it all the way, not showing any particular allegiance, but rather supporting whoever was losing or exciting them at that particular moment. ***3/4

Shinya Hashimoto vs. Riki Choshu 13:34. Although a bit on the short side, this is my favorite of the Hashimoto/Choshu matches I've seen. Their matches are always brutal fights, wars really, so the offense is more or less the same, but I like how they structured this one, and it resulted in awesome reactions to every notable event. Though Choshu is the legend and previous IWGP Heavyweight Champion whereas Hashimoto is more than 3 years away from his first title run, Hashimoto did defeat Choshu at the Tokyo Dome on 4/24/89, and they use that and his generally overwhelming toughness to play the match as though he's the favorite and Choshu is the underdog. Choshu was fine when he could tie Hashimoto up, though that doesn't provide any offense of interest, but lost every toe to toe battle because his headbutts were no match for Hashimoto's kicks and chops. He basically had to concede this fact, and figure out a surprise attack in order to go on a run. Choshu finally scored, catching a charging Hashimoto by laying him out with a wicked elbow. The good news for Choshu is he was able to bully Hashimoto once he seized an advantage. However, once Hashimoto countered with a DDT, he effortlessly resumed devouring Choshu. Choshu again had to pull something out of the hat, countering a charging Hashimoto, this time with his Riki lariat. Choshu totally unloaded on Hashimoto, using multiple Riki lariats, the diving kneedrop, sasorigatame, all his mainstays and anything he can think up. Hashimoto again had trouble regaining the momentum once Choshu was rolling, but could take everything Choshu can throw at him, and was simply too brutal and powerful for Choshu to handle. The result was another upset that went a long way toward solidifying Hashimoto's upper card status because at no time did the match ever feel like an upset, it instead felt like an inevitability, and that's really to Choshu's credit, as unlike the fluke during the IWGP Heavyweight Title Tournament, he put Hashimoto all the way over in this one. ***3/4

6/12/90 Fukuoka Sports Center: Keiji Muto vs. Masahiro Chono 26:26. A Chono style technical match of the slowest and dullest variety, the match quite simply dragged and was ultimately about as soporific as Muto vs. white Chono can get. Supposedly built around parity, it often seemed to have the motto "I can do nothing just as well as you." It was several steps down from what Chono was doing with Hase on 5/28/90, which is surprising even given how much better than Hase is on the mat than Muto. Thought Muto can be counted on to work a knee, the sort of continuity that was missing in the 5/28/90 tag, he is also at least as willing as Chono to lay around and do next to nothing, whereas Hase has a much better sense of when to move on to a different hold or leave the mat entirely. Chono eventually took Muto's knee, primarily with figure 4's, but most of this was getting little to no reaction as the activity level was generally very low. When they finally stood up, they did stereo dropkicks but Muto's elbow defeated Chono's jumping elbow and he put him away with the moonsault. **

NJ World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #146 3/11/06
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

6/26/90 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan

Kengo Kimura vs. The Soultaker

Owen Hart vs. Pegasus Kid 12:10. I wish these two would have had more matches, as you could see the potential for greatness, but they lacked the familiarity with one another, and mainly Benoit lacked the belief. It started great with Pegasus really taking it to Owen, guerrila pressing him to the floor and following with a snap suplex. Owen tried to use his speed to counteract Pegasus' power, but got caught in a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. This woke Owen up, and he began showing Pegasus he could be as stiff and powerful as him. For whatever reason, Pegasus lost his confidence as soon as Owen took over and began carrying the match. Pegasus didn't look at home during much of the body, which mixed Owen's gymnastic counters with too many rest holds. Though they hadn't developed their chemistry, causing a moment or two of uncertainty, Pegasus was really on early and nothing happened that should have changed this. Luckily, Pegasus got it back for the finish, surprisingly kicking out of the moonsault then scoring the big upset, knocking Owen out with the nadare shiki backdrop. ***3/4

Crusher Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Steve Williams

2/3 Falls: Riki Choshu & Kensuke Sasaki & Kuniaki Kobayashi & Shiro Koshinaka & Kantaro Hoshino vs. Animal Hamaguchi & Strong Machine & Hiro Saito & Tatsutoshi Goto & Masanobu Kurisu

NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Jushin Thunder Liger Hen~ #5~ 5/7/00
& NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Jushin Thunder Liger Hen~ #6~ 5/14/00
-1hr 50min. Q=TV Master

Wonderland Liger #5

3/19/90 Hiroshima Kenritsu Taiikukan IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Pegasus Kid 15:21. Liger vs. Pegasus would quickly be on its way to becoming the junior feud of the 1990’s, but Pegasus’ first title challenge was probably their worst Japanese match together and his least memorable IWGP junior title match. Both men were not only figuring out how to work together, but actually still deciding the wrestlers they wanted to be. Low dosage Benoit only threw 2 chops, instead trying to match Liger in quickness, athleticism, flying, and matwork, in other words trying to take the champion down on Liger’s own terms rather than crunch his bones. They hadn’t developed the great chemistry we’d see later in the year, so it was essentially the standard exciting Liger match of the period with a long mat sequence and no particular story that relies on the highspots to make or break it. Of course, Liger’s flying was tops in the world at that time, and Benoit was obviously no slouch in the days before his veins appeared ready to explode in some sort of chemically induced version of Scanners. Pegasus had his moments, but even though it was a little better than Liger’s big matches with Finlay, Villano V, and Casas, he didn’t exactly distinguish himself from the pack of junior contenders and the dropoff from the ultimate Liger vs. Sano to Liger’s first defense was immense. You couldn’t hope for the same atmosphere, but the lack of direction and unconvincing finish made it all the more disappointing. That said, if every feud started with a match this good... ***1/2

2/5/90 Hokkaido Sapporo Nakajima Taiiku Center: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. David "Fit" Finlay 9:33. The matchup had a lot of potential, but they didn’t really develop it, instead essentially working as individuals with Liger mainly selling Finlay’s basic bashing. It was essentially a reprise of the lesser portions of Fuji Yamada’s UK tour with the roughhousing heel controlling the match, and the face doing almost all the spectacular spots during his brief hot comebacks. Finlay is unlike any of Liger’s other opponents; he’s the ultimate bruiser. The fans didn’t seem to know what to think of him repeatedly bludgeoning Liger with knees and elbows, but his arrogance turned them against him. There was a huge pop for Liger’s Neal kick comeback, but the audience seemed in a state of shock when Finlay almost immediately reasserted himself. ***1/4

8/19/90 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Pegasus Kid 15:02. When I first began watching Liger’s Japanese matches in 1992, Liger, Naoki Sano, and Pegasus immediately became my definition of top quality wrestling. While the Liger vs. Pegasus feud couldn’t quite match Liger vs. Sano, it became quite an amazing one in it’s own right, beginning to escape the mammoth Sano shadow with this second junior title match. There’s certainly a night and day difference between this early classic and their first try 5 months earlier. Liger & Pegasus seemed far more confident as individuals with Kid finding his stride, still displaying his athleticism, but adding the stiffness he became synonymous with. He asserted himself as a wrecking ball early by guerrilla pressing Liger over the top and whipping him into the guard rail. The chemistry they developed together was the huge difference from 3/19/90 though. The backbone of this encounter was their numerous explosive, perfectly timed counter laded sequences, allowing them to pull off the difficult match where they repeatedly went back and forth with every aggression liable to be immediately reversed. You could feel they were beginning to think alike, and that allowed everything to become crisper, to be performed more emphatically because there was no doubt in their minds. The first half was intense, but generally not extraordinary. However, they completely emptied their tanks in the second half, just going back and forth with lightning counters until someone finally successfully executed a spectacular maneuver. Pegasus won with his guillotine leg drop, establishing himself and allowing for a series by taking the title. ****1/2

Wonderland Liger #6

9/30/90 Kanagawa Yokohama Arena IWGP Junior Heavyweight Challenger Decision Match: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Villano V 12:11. Rather than simply making former IWGP Junior Champion Liger the #1 contender, he was forced to defeat a formidable luchador to earn the rematch. Liger was the best junior even though he hadn’t really found himself yet, but this was an exciting time because he’d experiment and dabble into every style. The match was slanted about 15% toward Villano’s style, which was a nice mix since Liger is more proficient in lucha than Villano is in puroresu. Villano understands Japan enough to not go crazy with appendage grabs, but while he’s a good solid worker, he’s not particularly athletic, stiff, or powerful, so he simply doesn’t possess any weapons to use on Liger in a match of this magnitude. They ran around early with Liger eventually doing the majority of his best stuff to make the match. Despite the weak finish, it was a good match, it’s just not the sort of match you’d want to see Liger in repeatedly because while there’s little chance of it falling apart, there’s also very little upside. Pegasus & Liger had a post match staredown with Pegasus declaring he’d meet all comers. ***

11/1/90 Tokyo Nippon Budokan IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Pegasus Kid vs. Jushin Thunder Liger 12:32. Liger vs. Pegasus shifts toward Tiger Mask vs. Dynamite Kid in this exceptional sprint that put the Sano era to rest and ushered in the new era where you marked the upcoming Liger vs. Pegasus match on your calendar. Probably the best offensive match the junior division produced all year, delivering an exceptional mix of great brutal power with big suplexes off the ropes and exceptional flying, capped by Liger’s breathtaking shooting star press. Though the briefest IWGP Junior title change until the rightfully short Koji Kanemoto over Norio Honaga 2/19/95, they tested their now razor sharp reactions with one highly developed counter sequence after another. It was some of the greatest work of the year to be certain, but they didn’t really develop any story or address the rivalry in any way, so as impressive as it was it seemed a bit empty. They got me all stoked when Pegasus came right out establishing the kamikaze mode that helped make the Sano matches come off as a life and death struggle, but after the guerrilla press over the top followed by the suicidal missile kick to the floor, they followed with the brief mat portion then began attempting all their big spots. The fans had really taken to Liger, going nuts anytime his opponent was on the floor because they knew some amazing dive was on its way. I’d rate this slightly higher than their 8/19/90 match because their added familiarity allows them to further develop the match, but it seems a bit short and one-dimensional to bump up another 1/4*. ****1/2

12/26/90 Hamamatsu Arena. IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Negro Casas 9:40 of 16:37. Liger’s rivalry with Casas was one of his more disappointing ones because Casas had established himself as arguably the top worker in Mexico in the late 1980’s, so it seemed to be the super dream match with both great juniors in their prime. Luchadors are primarily six man tag wrestlers who rely on the rare use of near falls the couple times a year they actually wrestle a singles match, so despite their best efforts they never seem to have enough variety and diversity to walk in and dial up a great 15 minute singles match in Japan against an unfamiliar opponent. Casas in 1990 is several notches better than even peak Dr. Wagner Jr., but Wagner made a much greater impact in late 1990’s New Japan because he worked their regularly, not only honing his style to puroresu but also and developing the timing and chemistry with his opponents that’s so important to the step oriented lucha style. Anyway, Casas faired far better than Villano V, but he’s also a far superior athlete with the charisma to immediately get himself over as a heel. The match was about 75% puroresu, and very well executed with nice but not blowaway offense. It was quite solid, but lacked anything to distinguish it as a big title match. It doesn’t help that the complete match seems to be lost, as they showed it from a distant camera from the top of the arena for a minute or so until the old TV version kicks in. ***1/2

NJ World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #147 4/5/06
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

6/26/90 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan: Keiji Muto & Masahiro Chono vs. Masa Saito & Shinya Hashimoto

6/30/90 Nagano Ueda Shimin Taiikukan

Masahiro Chono vs. The Soultaker

Crusher Bam Bam Bigelow & Owen Hart vs. Steve Williams & Pegasus Kid

Riki Choshu & Shinya Hashimoto & Kensuke Sasaki vs. Animal Hamaguchi & Tatsutoshi Goto & Masanobu Kurisu

NJ World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #148 4/6/06
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

6/30/90 Nagano Ueda Shimin Taiikukan: Keiji Muto vs. Brad Rheingans

7/5/90 Iwate-ken

Masa Saito vs. Steve Williams

Masahiro Chono & Kensuke Sasaki vs. Brad Rheingans & Pegasus Kid

Keiji Muto vs. Owen Hart

Riki Choshu & Shinya Hashimoto vs. Crusher Bam Bam Bigelow & The Soultaker

NJ World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #150 5/3/06
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

7/22/90 Sapporo Tsukisama Green Dome

Tatsutoshi Goto vs. Masanobu Kurisu

Riki Choshu & Masa Saito vs. Great Kokina & Wild Samoan

Keiji Muto & Masahiro Chono vs. Animal Warrior & Hawk Warrior

8/16/90 Chiba Koen Taiikukan

Jushin Thunder Liger & Kensuke Sasaki & Kuniaki Kobayashi vs. Super Strong Machine & Tatsutoshi Goto & Pegasus Kid

Animal Hamaguchi vs. Masanobu Kurisu

Riki Choshu & Kengo Kimura vs. Mike Enos & Wayne Bloom 8:53

NJ World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #151 5/8/06
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

8/19/90 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan

Shinya Hashimoto & Masa Saito vs. Crusher Bam Bam Bigelow & The Soultaker

2/3 Falls: Masanobu Kurisu & Hiroshi Itakura & Ryuma Go & Masashi Aoyagi & Masahiko Takasugi vs. Tatsutoshi Goto & Super Strong Machine & Animal Hamaguchi & Hiro Saito & Norio Honaga

9/14/90 Hiroshima Sun Plaza

Masahiro Chono & Masa Saito vs. The Great Kokina & Wild Samoan

Shinya Hashimoto vs. Big Van Vader

NJPW Handheld 9/7/90 Osaka Furitsu Taiikukaikan
-2hr 20min. Q=VG. 1 DVD

Black Cat vs. Osamu Matsuda

Kengo Kimura vs. Tatsutoshi Goto

Higo Hamiguchi & Super Strong Machine vs. Kensuke Sasaki & Hiroshi Hase

Brad Rheignans vs. Osamu Kido

Pegasus Kid & Hiro Saito vs. Takayuki Iizuka & Jushin Thunder Liger

Great Kokina & Wild Samoan vs. Masa Saito & Shinya Hashimoto

Masanobu Kurisu vs. Riki Choshu

Masahiro Chono vs. Big Van Vader

Shiro Koshinaka vs. The Great Muta

NJ World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #152 5/9/06
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

9/14/90 Hiroshima Sun Plaza

Riki Choshu & Kensuke Sasaki vs. Shiro Koshinaka & Takayuki Iizuka

Hiroshi Hase vs. The Great Muta

9/30/90 Kanagawa Yokohama Arena

IWGP Junior Title Next Challenger Decision Match: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Villano V

Exhibition Match: Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Shiro Koshinaka

NJ World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #153 5/10/06
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

9/30/90 Kanagawa Yokohama Arena

Masahiro Chono vs. TNT

Great Muta vs. Ricky Steamboat

10/25/90 Green Dome Maebashi

Tiger Jeet Singh vs. Big Van Vader

Tatsumi Fujinami & Shiro Koshinaka vs. Riki Choshu & Animal Hamaguchi

NJ World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #154 6/7/06
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

1/90 Chiba Koen Taiikukan: Keiji Muto & Shinya Hashimoto & Masahiro Chono vs. Big Van Vader & The Soultaker & Crusher Bam Bam Bigelow

10/25/90 Green Dome Maebashi

Jushin Thunder Liger & Takayuki Iizuka vs. Masashi Aoyagi & Masahiko Takasugi

Shinya Hashimoto vs. Larry Cameron

Kensuke Sasaki vs. Masahiro Chono

NJ World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #155 6/10/06
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

10/90 Green Dome Maebashi: Hiroshi Hase vs. Keiji Muto 15:49

10/29/90 Mie Yokkaichi Civic Gymnasium

Jushin Thunder Liger & Takayuki Iizuka vs. Hiro Saito & Pegasus Kid

Hiroshi Hase & Kensuke Sasaki vs. Super Strong Machine & Tatsutoshi Goto

Keiji Muto & Masahiro Chono vs. Tiger Jeet Singh & Masanobu Kurisu

NJ World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #156 6/16/06
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

10/29/90

Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Animal Hamaguchi

Riki Choshu & Shinya Hashimoto & Masa Saito vs. Big Van Vader & Larry Cameron & Bad News Brown

11/28/90 Fukuoka Hakata Starlanes

Keiji Muto & Masahiro Chono vs. Shinya Hashimoto & Masa Saito

Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Ryuma Go

NJ Tadakai No Wonderland ~Chosenshi Gekiko Hen~ #416
& NJ Tadakai No Wonderland ~Chosenshi Gekiko Hen~ #417
- 1hr 45min. Q=Ex

Wonderland #416

10/29/90: Keiji Muto & Masahiro Chono vs. Tiger Jeet Singh & Masanobu Kurisu

11/1/90 Tokyo Nippon Budokan

Tiger Jeet Singh vs. Tatsumi Fujinami 9:19

IWGP Heavyweight Title Match: Riki Choshu vs. Shinya Hashimoto 16:14. The exceptional aspect of Choshu & to a far greater extent Hashimoto's heavyweight title reigns was not so much what they did, but the feeling that you were seeing an important, heated, desperate battle that really mattered. Even in it's time, this wasn't an amazing match from a technical or offensive standpoint, that's not their thing, and thankfully they didn't try to follow the exciting spectacle of Liger/Pegasus & Hase & Sasaki/Muto/Chono in the same fashion. Instead, they did their very basic efficient & effective match that built slowly, ultimately adding up to an intense and meaningful fight. Hashimoto was 25 at the time, and looking to become the first wrestler of his generation to unseat the old guard of Inoki/Fujinami/Choshu for the heavyweight title. He injured Choshu's left knee with a low kick early, and the match kept going back to that. It wasn't simply knee work, but a larger story of Hashimoto being younger, bigger, stronger, fiercer, etc. and at full faculties. He won their previous meeting & was dominating today's match both in standup & on the ground, so there was no reason he couldn't finally surpass Choshu, especially this wounded, hampered version who kept getting up slowly because his body was consistently betraying him. Consequently, this isn't one of Choshu's faster, more energetic matches, which normally would not be a good thing as Choshu's energy was his best attribute in his heyday, but made total sense given the injury storyline. They instead do a lot of slow, UWF leaning quasi shoot style work that's more credible than the usual pro wrestling, but would obviously look very half-assed once the UFC came around a few years later (though that still hasn't got many wrestlers to leave their vacuum & actually work more credibly). I couldn't fault anyone for finding the match boring, but at the same time, wrestling is an illusion, and a match like this is specifically successful because it so successfully gives the appearance of being a big desperate generational struggle for what they'd have us believe is the most prestigious strap in the sport. The illusion is that Hashimoto is just brutalizing the champion with his kicks, and although Choshu can use his guile from time to time, it's more his willpower & determination that keeps him in there for what ultimately seems to be a further beating. The highlight of the match comes after Choshu rope escapes Hashimoto's rear naked choke but Hashimoto keeps preventing him from getting back up by standing over him & blasting him with kicks. Finally Choshu catches a kick & kicks Hashimoto in the hamstring a few times then bounces off the rope & straight up decks him with a wicked closed fist to the jaw. Hashimoto tumbles to the canvas like he's KO'd, but Choshu also does a great job of putting it over, immediately grabbing his hand & flexing his wrist. Choshu doesn't care that he might break his hand if he already hasn't, he drops Hashimoto with a second punch as soon as he gets up then starts putting the boots to him. This was one of the absolute great comebacks I've ever seen because Choshu had to do something he normally wouldn't, and was breachng etiquette in the process, stooping if you will, but the title was more important than the rules, and nothing else was working. Normally I'm not a fan of the old challenger dominates then falls to 2 moves script, but this was actually the only finish that made sense given the story they were telling. This was an absolute war, it was violent, fierce, & heartless. The important thing is ending the war by any and/or all means possible, and Choshu did that. Hash gave Choshu his best shots for 15 minutes but more or less played fair, so Choshu reverted to a couple closed fist cheap shots, BAM, KO! Then you give people the idea that maybe Hashimoto should have stooped instead/first, or maybe Choshu can't beat Hashimoto in a fair fight, it's all a matter of perspective, but that kind of thing makes heroes & villians, and more importantly gives good reason for rematches. Certainly, nothing Choshu was going to do was going to top those 2 vicious shots, and they were perfectly within the theme of the fight. Having Choshu go through his regular offensive routine with Tiger Hattori fondling his butt so he didn't fall off the top rope doing his superplex was very apart from the rest of the match and certainly didn't add anything, & it's really tedious that NJ champs from Hogan to Choshu to Sasaki to Okada have to win with some version of simple lariat, but wrestling has yet to get that it's the ability to knock the opponent out rather than the repitition of a particular pattern that's interesting. In any case, Choshu, again, proved his storyline worth with another amazing comeback on the back of his trusty lariat, once again thwarting Hashimoto by snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. Though Hashimoto gave an excellent performance & looked more than ready here, he wouldn't actually win this title for another 3 years, and it was Muta that succeeded in leading his generation over Choshu in Choshu's subsequent title run. ***3/4

#417

10/29/90: Jushin Thunder Liger & Takayuki Iizuka vs. Hiro Saito & Pegasus Kid

11/1/90 Tokyo Nippon Budokan

11/1/90 Tokyo Nippon Budokan IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Pegasus Kid vs. Jushin Thunder Liger 12:32. Liger vs. Pegasus shifts toward Tiger Mask vs. Dynamite Kid in this exceptional, explosive sprint that put the Sano era to rest and ushered in the new era where you marked the upcoming Liger vs. Pegasus match on your calendar. Probably the best offensive match the junior division produced all year, delivering an exceptional mix of great brutal power with big suplexes off the ropes and spectacular flying, capped by Liger’s breathtaking shooting star press. The fans had really taken to Liger by this point, going nuts anytime his opponent was on the floor because they knew some amazing dive was on its way. Though the briefest IWGP Junior title change until the rightfully short Koji Kanemoto over Norio Honaga 2/19/95, they tested their now razor sharp reactions with one highly developed counter sequence after another. They got me all stoked when Pegasus came right out establishing the kamikaze mode that helped make the Sano matches come off as a life and death struggle, but after the guerrilla press over the top followed by the suicidal missile kick to the floor, they followed with the brief mat portion then began attempting all their big spots. It was some of the greatest work of the year to be certain, but they didn’t really develop any story or address the rivalry in any way, so as impressive as it was it seemed a bit empty compared to the Liger/Sano finale. That being said, while both would become much better storytellers in the next few years, and thus those matches probably have aged better, the beauty of their in ring speed, grace, & athleticism was at it's pinnacle here. I’d rate this slightly higher than their 8/19/90 match because their added familiarity allows them to further develop the sequences from a hold/counterhold perspective, but it's too short & one-dimensional to bump up to 4 3/4*. ****1/2

IWGP Tag Team Title Match: Keiji Muto & Masahiro Chono vs. Hiroshi Hase & Kensuke Sasaki 16:56. This has been one of those Holy Grail matches to me. I saw the Liger/Pegasus match on the 1st Liger compilation I got when I started watching puroresu in 1992 after being blown away by Liger/Pillman SuperBrawl II 2/29/92 match like nothing I'd ever seen before. Though not the best match on the comp (Liger/Sano 1/31/90), it was clearly a better match than Liger/Pillman, the way they were able to work together, the sequences they developed & crispness of the work were simply superior & although a spotfest, it was extremely well organized & choreographed. I got the original TV show in a trade in the mid 90's, but the quality was so bad I never bothered watching it then finally theroetically got a proper copy of the complete classics version cerca 2008, except my friend accidentally took the sharpie to the data side of the disk instead! So here I am 25 years later, finally sitting down to watch what's often been named as one of the best, if not the best NJ tag of the 1990's, and my reaction is quite simply WTF??? This is a great TV show, one of NJ's best of the decade, which makes the love for this match all the more perplexing as from a technical perspective, it doesn't even hang with the Liger/Pegasus match, & from a story perspective, well, it really doesn't tell one, so it's blown away by Choshu/Hashimoto. It's a fun half of a match that I'm sure would seem like an excellent sprint with the right edit, but it just meanders for the 1st half then picks up some, but never develops any substantial drama because there's no real organization or logic going on. The crowd is great, and definitely makes the match seem a hell of a lot better than it is, but ultimately, there's just a bunch of random unconnected sequences where they do a running move or two, grab a body part & rest, get up & do a move, tag, wash/rinse/repeat. There's maybe 8 minutes of pretty good action when they're not grabbing a rest hold, 2 minutes of good action when Sasaki then Hase picks it up with Chono, then 6 minutes of very good to excellent action, still without any real phychology or substance but with a crowd that's going wild for anything flashy they do so it somewhat doesn't matter . Generally Sasaki was by far the worst of these 4 in the '90's but by far the best in the '00's, but he was rather green & inconsistent in his days with Hase to the point that Hase normally took 2/3 to 3/4 of the match, and was almost a one man show. However, today Sasaki was actually the best of the 4, and the only one who really seemed to be trying to amp things up & move things in some kind of direction. Hase's performance was actually well below his average of the tag title matches in this run. He's still the 2nd best just on his talent alone, but there's way too much submission work going nowhere, and just no consistency to advance a match that simply never comes together. I don't want to bag the match, it was really enjoyable in a vacuum, but rather than being the NJ heavyweights actually make good as I was always led to believe (this doesn't hold a candle to the high end AJ tag of the season Jumbo Tsuruta & Akira Taue vs. Mitsuharu Misawa & Toshiaki Kawada 9/30/90), it reminded me a lot more of AJ's Asia Tag Matches of the period, which since AJ didn't push the junior division tended to feature guys who worked in the heavyweight division but had more of a junior flair & orientation to them. If we compare this match to an Asia Tag Title Match that AJ put on in the same arena just 2 months earlier, Tommy Rogers & Bobby Fulton vs. Joe Malenko & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi 9/1/90, I don't think there's even one technical aspect where Muto & Chono/Hase & Sasaki is comparably close. All that being said, this was a memorable show for NJ because the new generation were all realizing their potential. Outside of Choshu, everyone in the 3 title matches was in their mid 20's, and this was a night when you saw that they should go on to fulfill their promise. Hase & Sasaki were ranked considerably lower than Muto & Chono, Hase having graduated from the jr. division & Sasaki debuting 2 years after Muto & Chono. The crowd was into the idea of the upset, but this was never worked to develop any kind of new generation rivalry. The closest they came was Muto coming in taking free kicks when Chono was in the scorpion. He broke Hase's scorpion this way, but Sasaki just absorbed kick after kick until he had enough & released the hold so he could slap Muto into his place! These were the kind of spots I wanted to see more of, but there was actually almost an odd dynamic where Sasaki would try to take things up a notch, but Muto & Chono wouldn't necessarily respond, for instance, Chono taking a bunch of hard slaps to the face from Sasaki, and just selling them as he'd sell any other move that didn't offend him, and moving on. Chono did start off promisingly with Sasaki, but after the opening sequence, mostly didn't seem to want to take the bait, & Muto was basically just doing what Muto likes to do, as usual. Muto had a good work ethic in these days, & mixed his very ahead of his time athletic heavyweight offense in with his meaningless matwork & straight up rest holds. If this was truly a go go joshi style match, he & it would have been considerably more interesting, especially considering they weren't actually developing a match anyway, but this was more doing enough to keep the match going in stops & starts until they finally kicked into high gear, knowing that NJ always edited the matches for TV so they'd find the that point where the action picked up to give the audience the illusion of it being amazing. The finish was good in the sense that it looked like the expected result, Muto wins with the moonsault but was actually the upset result. I actually didn't mind that it was kind of out of nowhere, as Sasaki lariating Muto when he was complaining to the ref about a slow count when Hase kicked out of his moonsault was the kind of good thing Sasaki brought to this match, and if it were legit a lariat you didn't see coming would be devastating, so Hase then pinning Muto in his Northern Lights suplex finisher worked for me. ***1/2

NJ World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #157 6/20/06
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

11/28/90 Fukuoka Hakata Starlanes

Masanobu Kurisu vs. Hiro Saito

Riki Choshu & Animal Hamaguchi vs. Super Strong Machine & Tatsutoshi Goto

12/3/90 Baghdad Iraq: Riki Choshu & Masa Saito vs. Hiroshi Hase & Kensuke Sasaki

12/7/90 Kanagawa

Jushin Thunder Liger & Takayuki Iizuka & Kantaro Hoshino vs. Tatsutoshi Goto & Hiro Saito & Norio Honaga

Keiji Muto & Masahiro Chono vs. Andrei Sulsaev & Chimur Zarasov

 

NJ World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #158 7/7/06
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

12/7/90 Kanagawa

Tatsumi Fujinami & Shiro Koshinaka vs. Masa Saito & Kuniaki Kobayashi

Riki Choshu & Kensuke Sasaki & Hiroshi Hase vs. Brad Rheingans & Bad News Brown & Scott Norton

12/11/90 Nagoya Rainbow Hall

Masa Saito vs. Scott Norton

Keiji Muto vs. Crusher Bam Bam Bigelow

IWGP Tag Title Match: Hiroshi Hase & Kensuke Sasaki vs. Super Strong Machine & Tatsutoshi Goto

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #159 7/12/06
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

12/11/90 Nagoya Rainbow Hall: Tatsumi Fujinami & Shiro Koshinaka & Takayuki Iizuka vs. Riki Choshu & Osamu Kido & Kuniaki Kobayashi 11:43. With Fujinami, Koshinaka, Iizuka, & Kobayashi you basically had a who’s who of (former) juniors who are quick and willing to push the pace, but don't possess great offense. Choshu isn't as athletic, but bursts of energy define his heavyweight tag style. The offense was expectedly pretty basic, but the pace could have been a little better, especially since the match was on the short side. The heat was on Fujinami vs. Choshu, and they worked with each other enough to content the crowd, with Kobayashi, Iizuka & Koshinaka doing most of the running around. A decent effort and match, but nothing substantial. **

12/13/90 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan

Masa Saito vs. Ax Demolition 6:05. There wasn’t even an instance of skill on display in this WWF style match where Ax kept escaping to the floor for breathers, 6 minutes being a real iron man challenge and all. The match finally started when Saito went to the floor too for some brawling then they did some more punches in the ring and it mercifully ended soon after that. DUD

Keiji Muto & Masahiro Chono vs. Crusher Bam Bam Bigelow & Bad News Brown 13:18. A huge disappointment. Muto & Chono weren’t bad, they simply had little opportunity to do anything useful since Bad News was in full WWF street fighter gimmick and Bigelow was choosing to be lazy and join in the punching and headbutting. The gaijins were on the offensive for 85% of the match, with Muto & Chono mainly standing around waiting to get hit. As the match was merely striking, and they weren’t even exchanging strikes, it was incredibly methodical with no timing or flow. There was one good spot where Bad News hit his ghetto blaster on Muto but chose to taunt, allowing Chono to sneak up from behind with one of his own, but that was about it. *

IWGP Tag Title Match: Hiroshi Hase & Kensuke Sasaki vs. Shiro Koshinaka & Takayuki Iizuka 21:11. Could look like an excellent match with the right editing, but the structuring was somewhat crude and it took too long to get going. The majority of the match was disappointing, technically sound and certainly not bad but rather slow and not particularly intense. The main theme was Iizuka working on Hase’s knee, but without much in the way of a transition, they dropped the matwork and picked the pace up five notches, exchanging signature spots. Almost all the NJPW matches of this period had finishes that were much faster paced and more spot oriented than the rest of the match, and the crowd was really hot for this final portion. It's not that it wasn't quite good, but it was one of the most offensive examples of the general problem with the promotions matches of the period in that it really had little to do with the rest of the match. ***

NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Jushin Thunder Liger Hen #5~ 5/7/00
& NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Jushin Thunder Liger Hen #6~ 5/14/00
-1hr 50min. Q=TV Master

Wonderland Liger #5

3/19/90 Hiroshima Kenritsu Taiikukan IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Pegasus Kid

2/5/91 Sapporo Nakajima Taiiku Center: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. David "Fit" Finlay

8/19/90 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Pegasus Kid

Wonderland Liger #6

9/30/90 Yokohama Arena Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Villano V

11/1/90 Tokyo Nippon Budokan IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Pegasus Kid vs. Jushin Thunder Liger

12/26/90 IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Negro Casas

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #186 4/2/07
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

12/26/90 Hamamatsu Arena

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Negro Casas. Joined in progress

Keiji Muto vs. Tiger Jeet Singh

Lou Thesz vs. Masahiro Chono

Masa Saito vs. Nick Bockwinkel

IWGP Tag Title Match: Kensuke Sasaki & Hiroshi Hase vs. Super Strong Machine & Hiro Saito

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #187 4/11/07
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

12/26/90 Hamamatsu Arena

Ishu Kakutogisen 3Min 10Rd: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Tony Halme

IWGP Heavyweight Title Match: Riki Choshu vs. Tatsumi Fujinami

11/91 Matsumoto-shi Sogo Taiikukan

Kantaro Hoshino vs. Masayoshi Aoyagi

Masa Saito & Osamu Kido & Kengo Kimura vs. Kim Duk & Masanobu Kurisu & Hot Shot

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #160 7/18/06
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

12/13/90 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan: Tatsumi Fujinami & Kengo Kimura vs. Riki Choshu & Osamu Kido 16:13. A Choshu match needs to be inspired because its primary strengths are energy, emotion, and intensity. There was a little interplay and hatred, with Kimura & Choshu getting into it at the outset, but as a whole, this one wasn’t. so they weren’t able to make you forget how basic it was. Everyone was okay, but it was all rather standard. *3/4

taped 1/4/91 Tokyo Korakuen Hall

Keiji Muto & Masahiro Chono vs. Super Strong Machine & Hiro Saito 14:24. Muto & Chono were fairly motivated, and the match got off to a good start with the duo dominating Saito. Saito selling is never a particularly good thing, but he also has by far the worst offense in the match, which is usually the case if he's not teaming with Goto, so even though you can’t win with him, at least Muto & Chono were on the move. The match slowed considerably in the middle with some kneework on Chono leading to his hot tag, where Muto did a whole two moves before letting Chono close it out. No one was anywhere near outstanding, but they were all on and into making it an acceptable match. **1/2

Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Matthew Rambo 4:35. Despite it being a total throwaway, they didn’t seem to consider mailing it in. Rambo leans toward the awkward and clumsy side, but made a genuine effort, and Fujinami was showing some fire. It was far from the most graceful work, but it was passable. Fujinami seemed poised for the quick win when Vader snuck in behind him and broke up his Dragon sleeper. Vader wasn’t helping Rambo, who he soon knocked to the floor with a lariat, but rather wanted to get a headstart on his heavyweight title match with Fujinami on 3/4/91.

Riki Choshu & Masa Saito & Shinya Hashimoto vs. Big Van Vader & TNT & Mark Laurinaitis 8:35. Great booking, using an insubstantial small show match to advance the feuds and set up the big matches. Because it was done so well, it seemed important and as if you’d actually seen something, when neither was really the case. Not great wrestling by any means, but extremely effective because they had a firm grasp of how to play up the rivalries the audience cared about. There was tremendous heat on Vader vs. the natives, which they exploited from pre match to post match. Vader pretty much made the match, having intense if not overly stiff exchanges with Hashimoto & Choshu. No one cared about his partners, but the reaction to even wobbling Vader was impressive. Vader’s team lost, but he was still ready to have a go at any or all of the natives afterwards, and Fujinami wound up jumping Vader this time and brawling around the arena with him. It’s hard to rate this match because it wasn’t good or complete in any traditional manner, but it was so heated and intense when Vader was in that you were riveted throughout. ***

2/5/91 Hokkaido Sapporo Nakajima Taiiku Center: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. David “Fit” Finlay 9:27. An odd and disappointing match. They didn’t seem to have much timing or chemistry when they did work together, so after a couple off spots Finlay seemed to avoid sequences and counters as much as possible. They ultimately did so few spots where they actually worked together Finlay might as well have been wrestled a doll for the first 8 minutes. Finlay totally dominated Liger, stomping his hands and attacked his joints. His offense was precise rather than stiff. It was okay, but he didn’t do anything that was really impressive or brutal. The match got a little better at the end when Liger finally offered something in return, but they still didn’t seem to have a feel for one another. **

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #161 8/15/06
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

2/5/91 Hokkaido Sapporo Nakajima Taiiku Center

Keiji Muto vs. Ax Demolition

Scott Norton vs. Crusher Bam Bam Bigelow

Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Osamu Kido

Riki Choshu vs. Tiger Jeet Singh

3/6/91 Nagasaki Kokusai Taiikukan: Riki Choshu & Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Big Van Vader & Bad News Allen

NJPW Wonderland ~ Shinni Strongest Foreigners Story~ #6 Dusty Rhodes 11/26/02
-55min. Q=TV Master

Wonderland Foreigners #6 Dusty Rhodes

12/10/80 Osaka Furitsu Taiikukaikan: Dusty Rhodes vs. Tiger Jeet Singh

2/9/82 Osaka Furitsu Taiikukaikan: Dusty Rhodes vs. Abdullah The Butcher

6/4/81 Tokyo Kuramae Kokugikan: Dusty Rhodes & Bob Backlund vs. Bobby Duncum & Sgt. Slaughter

4/1/82 Tokyo Kuramae Kokugikan: Dusty Rhodes & Dick Murdock vs. Tatsumi Fujinami & Riki Choshu

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #162 8/25/06
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

3/6/91 Nagasaki, IWGP Tag Title Match: Super Strong Machine & Hiro Saito vs. Hiroshi Hase & Kensuke Sasaki 19:15. A fired up Hase gave a top notch performance, showing some of the best offense in the NJPW heavyweight division, doing an excellent job of depicting how his physical condition was effecting his wrestling, and generally keeping the fans into a match they had some reason to be frustrated with. Unfortunately, Hase didn’t get that much help, as Machine & Saito seemed to specialize in killing time. Though they ultimately transitioned from there into an effective attack on Sasaki’s knee, they relied way too heavily on filler such as brawling strikes and non threatening submissions. Hase managed to make the ordinary dramatic, and eventually the other three began to wrestle with conviction. Unfortunately, this didn’t occur until Sasaki’s hot tag, which was practically the end of the match. If Machine or even Sasaki would have wrestled with more fervor, it could have been damn good, rather than merely meeting the acceptable level. ***

3/4/91 Hiroshima Sun Plaza, IWGP Heavyweight Title Match: Big Van Vader vs. Tatsumi Fujinami 3:37 of 13:14. They seemed to bring their A game for this one, stepping up the pace and giving highly motivated performances. The fans bought into their emotion, as well as the high quality of the match, or at least going nuts for the finishing sequence. I enjoyed the style Fujinami employed against the Big man, vaulting his body at him with running and jumping attacks to put him down and then working for an arm submission. Fujinami’s left knee was injured before they joined the match, so Fujinami was hopping around when he ran the ropes, but Vader wasn’t attacking it anymore, as he'd moved on to his finishers. He was just using his size and strength to maul Fujinami when he could catch or corner him. Vader finally snatched Fujinami out of the air, trying to counter his diving body attack with a powerslam, but Fujinami recountered with a small package for the win. It looked like a memorable match, but most of these matches that are complete sputter and meander along and then suddenly catch fire for the final few minutes, so I’m hesitant to get too excited about a clip which only shows the portion of the match they are guaranteed to show up for.

3/14/91 Nagoya Rainbow Hall: Hiroshi Hase & Kensuke Sasaki vs. Shiro Koshinaka & Takayuki Iizuka 24:10. They did the desperate and energetic match they should have done when they met for the titles on 12/13/90. Universally better performances from all parties, with Hase being particularly excellent. Koshinaka vs. Hase was by far the best, with the longtime rivals showing excellent chemistry. Iizuka was excited to have an opponent that could actually go on the mat, and threw all his sambo techniques at Hase, while using more junior offense against Sasaki. It was the best performance I’ve seen from Iizuka in quite a while. Though the match slowed some in the middle, they were stiffer than expected to make up for it. As they picked the pace up again, the match kept looking as though it were about to end, but it continued to go back and forth for quite a while. ***3/4

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #163 8/25/06
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

3/14/91 Nagoya Rainbow Hall

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

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

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

3/21/91 Tokyo Dome

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

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

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #164 9/1/06
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

3/21/91 Tokyo Dome

Shiro Koshinaka & Kuniaki Kobayashi & Takayuki Iizuka vs. Brian Pillman & Tom Zenk & Tim Horner

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Akira

Arn Anderson & Barry Windham vs. Masahiro Chono & Masa Saito

Great Muta vs. Sting

NJ '91 Starrcade in Tokyo Dome Commercial Tape Part 1 3/21/91 Tokyo Dome
-1 1/2hr. Q=Near Perfect 1st Gen

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

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

Masahiro Chono & Masa Saito vs. Arn Anderson & Barry Windham 9:17. I wish Anderson & Windham had spent more time in Japan. This, unfortunately, wasn't a Japanese style match in the least. It wasn't American style either. In fact, I'm really not sure what it was. I expected to like this at least somewhat, but they didn't bother to actually wrestle. Instead, they did little beyond punch. The punching was fine, so if they had bothered to add a second half to the match, maybe it would have been decent. As it stands, it was just a waste of time and talent. 1/2*

IWGP Tag Title Match: Hiroshi Hase & Kensuke Sasaki vs. Scott Steiner & Rick Steiner 12:56. I wanted to be a member of the bandwagon, but this wasn't much of a wrestling match. It's supposed to be the match where the vaunted Steiners finally had opposition on their level, but that only matters if they don't demean them by treating them as the usual jobbers whose sole purpose is to get tossed around like rag dolls so the Steiners look impressive. Basically they did a pro style version of Greco Roman wrestling, or rather a Steiner held Hase and eventually threw him. Steiners have great suplexes and Hase is a great bumper, but there wasn't any context for the throws, and not even much setup. These teams really weren't working together that well in the first 10 minutes. There was no particular chemistry or interplay; it was simply functional. It did have great offense throughout, but I wouldn't even say it was that exciting because the suplexes were incorporated in the most basic manner. The finishing segment was impressive because there was finally some sense of back and forth, some countering, some actual offense from Hase & Sasaki, but before the last few minutes there was no surprise, no drama, no sense of having come up with or earned something. ***

Big Van Vader & Crusher Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Ron Simmons & Butch Reed 13:17. Hard fought American style match. They put a lot of effort into making it good from start to finish. The problem was it was good early, but tended to get worse and pretty much ended out of nowhere. The Super Monsters were pretty consistent, but Doom was a bit more erratic. They do some good things, but in between they kill time in the boring US style, in other words with mediocre punches and rest holds. Despite their tough guy image, Doom were more than willing to sell a lot and take a beating. I preferred the early portion because Vader & Bigelow were on them, but rather than building to a finish it began to meander. Doom got along fine, and Simmons wasn't mad that Reed was pinned while Simmons was battling Bigelow on the outside. However, Reed was apparently mad that Simmons couldn't save him, as he attacked the All-American when his back was turned. **1/2

Greatest 18 Club No Time Limit No Referee: Riki Choshu vs. Tiger Jeet Singh 11:07. Any match with Singh is a worst match of the year candidate, unless the inclusion of Singh simply disqualifies it from counting as actual wrestling. The only highlight of his latest abortion was Choshu bending Singh’s toy sword into a bow shape, which had me laughing long enough to spare me from some of the torture. Choshu tried his best to take this seriously, but as Singh may not even understand wrestling, he was mostly forced to just play along with the aimless brawling. Singh began by attacking the timekeeper for interrupting his endless traipsing about by ringing the bell, and busted Choshu open almost immediately. Singh bled heavily as well, so between the novelty of a double juice brawl and the audience’s frustration with Singh beating up wimpy officials and using weapons on their beloved Choshu, they took their anger out on Singh in the manner the wrestlers hoped rather than laughing this circus crap out of the building. Choshu actually used his signature moves at the finish, not that Singh can even take a lariat decently. The crowd went nuts when Choshu put Singh in an armbar after the match. -*

*COOP available*

NJ '91 Starrcade in Tokyo Dome Commercial Tape Part 2 3/21/91 Tokyo Dome
-1 1/2hr. Q=Master

Shiro Koshinaka & Kuniaki Kobayashi & Takayuki Iizuka vs. Z Man & Brian Pillman & Tim Horner 12:10. I've never heard much about this match, but perhaps that's because it has no real involvement in anything NJPW or WCW or any of these wrestlers were doing at the time. Though just rolled out, the match did an excellent job of showcasing the WCW team, who was more than up to the opportunity to win over a new audience. The American junior style of the period provided energy, pace, and gymnastics, but lacked the highspots their athleticism would suggest. Horner is the perfect example of a guy that had all the ability to be a standout junior, but despite his capacity to control his body and get off the ground, his flying was totally vanilla. His work in this match was as good as anybody's, but he wasn't creative and charismatic like Pillman. Pillman was the standout because he worked the hardest and put the most effort into differentiating his offense. He was the one guy that had the moves, and was happy to use them. Z Man isn't great on his own, but he worked very well with Pillman. The WCW team tagged repeatedly, with Pillman & Z Man always setting each other up in transition. I enjoy when the winning team really goes out of their way to put the losers over, but the match really needed to go longer, as it was silly that Iizuka was destroyed for the majority of the match only to have the WCW team lose as soon as he finally made the hot tag. In any case, the teams worked really well together and the WCW guys, particularly Pillman, really made a positive impression. ***1/4

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. AKIRA 16:08. AKIRA had a new Muta inspired face painted gimmick, but this was still a one man show for Liger. Liger started flying early, and was on the offensive a lot more than usual trying to keep the quality up and the audience into the match. The crowd reaction was better than expected given a merely good junior match at the Tokyo Dome, as although thier sustained interest was in question for a while, they did keep reacting to the spots. AKIRA was, at best, good enough to be in there with Liger, but he didn't look polished and wasn't adding much in any regard. He knew he couldn't come close to matching Liger's offense, but his alternative was working Liger's knee, which wasn't getting any reaction, especially since the crowd preferred to see more of Liger's flying. The match was entertaining enough, but the work was well below the standard of Liger's big singles matches. AKIRA would become much more graceful and better at controlling his body in later years, but at this point he kind of just threw himself around, recklessly relying on pure athleticism. Liger didn't seem to be in top form either, but AKIRA's lack of precision wasn't making things easy on him. The match seemed to have some potential, but the finishing sequence was pedestrian, and generally not even executed that well. ***

El Gigante vs. Big Cat Hughes 2:16. In case Norton vs. Equalizer wasn't bad enough, they needed to give us Cat squash fever as well. Hughes got no more than a punch in. DUD

The Great Muta vs. Sting 11:41. I enjoyed the Muto vs. Sting series, but this wasn't one of the better entries. Muta wasn't meandering too much, and actually looked to push the pace more often than not, but it just felt really unfocused. In particular, the brawling was killing the match through stagnation and too much of what they did seemed random. Muta was, for once, only a notch or two below Muto. Sting always gave an effort in these days, but he was considerably mediocre here, with no real aptitude for the excessive rough housing. The match was way short, ending out of nowhere when Muta countered the Stinger splash with his mist. **1/4

NWA Heavyweight & IWGP Heavyweight Double Title Match: Tatsumi Fujinami (IWGP champ) vs. Ric Flair (NWA champ) 23:06. These two wrestled their age, and then some. Flair’s lack of subtlety was so out of place. The harder he tried to get a reaction by overdoing every mannerism, the more he was greeted with utter silence. Flair looked a lot older than Fujinami, but Fujinami was suddenly lazy, doing one rest or submission hold after another in the first half. Flair began wrestling, and it was decent, but still flat. They just seemed to lack motivation, or at least they were unable to convey any semblance of intensity, emotion or enthusiasm that would get the crowd into it. They had some good chop exchanges, but nobody cared. Fujinami busting Flair open by repeatedly ramming his head into the guard rail helped a little. The match actually seemed to be gaining a little momentum when there was a ref bump of all things, on Bill Alfonso of all referees to be officiating a Tokyo Dome main event. Fujinami pinned Flair, but Alfonso was no where to be found. Flair kicked out of a second pin in time, not that it mattered, and Fujinami wound up “accidentally” back body dropping Flair to the floor. Alfonso still missed this, but when Fujinami went for another pin a Japanese official came in and counted the fall. As it was Fujinami who scored the victory, the finish didn’t go over too poorly. Overall though, it just seemed the wrong version of each wrestler doing the wrong match for the wrong crowd. It wasn’t bad, but it was a match that was simply hard to care about, which is exactly what a Tokyo Dome main is not supposed to be. **

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #165 9/3/06
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

3/21/91 Tokyo Dome

Greatest 18 Club No Time Limit No Referee: Riki Choshu vs. Tiger Jeet Singh 11:07. Any match with Singh is a worst match of the year candidate, unless the inclusion of Singh simply disqualifies it from counting as actual wrestling. The only highlight of his latest abortion was Choshu bending Singh’s toy sword into a bow shape, which had me laughing long enough to spare me from some of the torture. Choshu tried his best to take this seriously, but as Singh may not even understand wrestling, he was mostly forced to just play along with the aimless brawling. Singh began by attacking the timekeeper for interrupting his endless traipsing about by ringing the bell, and busted Choshu open almost immediately. Singh bled heavily as well, so between the novelty of a double juice brawl and the audience’s frustration with Singh beating up wimpy officials and using weapons on their beloved Choshu, they took their anger out on Singh in the manner the wrestlers hoped rather than laughing this circus crap out of the building. Choshu actually used his signature moves at the finish, not that Singh can even take a lariat decently. The crowd went nuts when Choshu put Singh in an armbar after the match. -*

NWA Heavyweight & IWGP Heavyweight Double Title Match: Tatsumi Fujinami (IWGP champ) vs. Ric Flair (NWA champ) 23:06. These two wrestled their age, and then some. Flair’s lack of subtlety was so out of place. The harder he tried to get a reaction by overdoing every mannerism, the more he was greeted with utter silence. Flair looked a lot older than Fujinami, but Fujinami was suddenly lazy, doing one rest or submission hold after another in the first half. Flair began wrestling, and it was decent, but still flat. They just seemed to lack motivation, or at least they were unable to convey any semblance of intensity, emotion or enthusiasm that would get the crowd into it. They had some good chop exchanges, but nobody cared. Fujinami busting Flair open by repeatedly ramming his head into the guard rail helped a little. The match actually seemed to be gaining a little momentum when there was a ref bump of all things, on Bill Alfonso of all referees to be officiating a Tokyo Dome main event. Fujinami pinned Flair, but Alfonso was no where to be found. Flair kicked out of a second pin in time, not that it mattered, and Fujinami wound up “accidentally” back body dropping Flair to the floor. Alfonso still missed this, but when Fujinami went for another pin a Japanese official came in and counted the fall. As it was Fujinami who scored the victory, the finish didn’t go over too poorly. Overall though, it just seemed the wrong version of each wrestler doing the wrong match for the wrong crowd. It wasn’t bad, but it was a match that was simply hard to care about, which is exactly what a Tokyo Dome main is not supposed to be. **

3/91

Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Negro Casas 6:52. The Liger vs. Casas series was immensely disappointing because the sum of the parts never came close to adding up to the whole. Even though they could do each other’s style, they didn’t have the timing, chemistry, and proficiency to do it at the level of overall lesser wrestlers doing their most comfortable style. Today’s match leaned more toward Casas doing the Japanese junior style, wrestling stiffer and on a move for move or brief sequence basis. He alternated athletic holds with rudo cheapshots. I loved the general malevolence of the match, particularly the sequence where Casas dove off the top to the floor with a chair then tried a tope, but Liger avenged by stopping it with the chair. They did Lucha sequences here and there, but as they didn’t have a great feel for one another or because of the communication barrier, it was rather easy to tell what they were setting up. Though I’m cutting the match up to some extent because a few sequences and counters were surprisingly deliberate, I enjoyed it quite a bit. It was one of the more offensively interesting Liger matches of the era. Liger actually didn’t have that much offense, but Casas pulled out a bunch of moves you don’t see in Japan. I always had a particular affinity for Casas’ boomerang headscissors. Though it does no particular damage, it's about as graceful a flying move as you'll see. The match could have been notable if they did even a normal length match, but for some reason they had Casas use the ropes for a cheap flash pin, which was kind of bizarre in that Casas had dominated the match up to that point, which would lead you to believe he’d either lose or at least win after Liger had a big run. ***

Tatsumi Fujinami & Shiro Koshinaka vs. Super Strong Machine & Hiro Saito 12:12. Koshinaka kept everyone moving, resulting in the most motivated Blond Outlaws performance so far in 1991. The intensity was there, so even though there was very little offense of interest before the finishing sequence, there was something to all the punching and stomping that made you feel as though they meant it. It wasn’t complex or pretty, but it was effective enough. **1/2

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #166 9/12/06
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

3/91

Riki Choshu & Masahiro Chono & Keiji Muto vs. Scott Norton & Wild Samoan & Great Kokina. Overachieving match. Chono & Muto came to work, and there was a lot of heat on Norton (especially vs. Muto) and Kokina. They did the smart match, with Muto & Chono using their speed to try to counteract Norton & Kokina’s power, but the sheer mass of the gaijins stifled them even on some of the most basic maneuvers such as the snapmare. Muto dove out of the way of Norton’s football tackle, and busted him open on the floor. Norton had something to prove here, and was at his most entertaining. Choshu was a non-factor, but Norton pinning him in his powerslam was huge for the world’s slowest Flash. Norton then attacked Muto on the floor twice to further promote their singles match. Samoan is the best worker on his team, but also played only a minor role. The match was short, but that’s a good thing because, knowing that, Norton & Kokina were able to “sprint”. **1/2

Hiroshi Hase & Kensuke Sasaki vs. Masa Saito & Kuniaki Kobayashi 13:21. Hase is wrestling at a level or more above the opposition in each and every match this year. Kobayashi was good here, slick and precise, but for the most part it was Hase who singlehandedly made the match good. Sasaki is still trying to find himself. He’s competent, but doesn’t know what sort of wrestler he wants to be, and Hase tends to take 60-75% of the match and let him have a few brief bursts of offense, unless Sasaki is in a long time because he’s selling consistently (not the case here). The surprise of this contest for me was how much Saito was selling, very willingly playing the underdog for Hase. ***

Negro Casas vs. Pegasus Kid 11:52. A much different match than Casas had with Jushin Thunder Liger on the previous SKY-A classics, this time playing more a technico role. Not that there was much cheating from either, but Pegasus did start laying into Casas and took it to the floor after Casas suggested a congratulatory handshake. Pegasus seemed much more comfortable doing Lucha than Liger did, so the match was more proficient in that aspect, yet there was little in the way of running sequences, so the level of difficulty was rather disappointing. It was one of those matches where they delved in a lot of different areas and kept changing things up, but none of it seemed to add up and they never gained any momentum. It was all entertaining and competent, but it felt rather incomplete. It seemed as though they were searching throughout, so I was rather shocked that they went home so soon without ever really sticking to anything or particularly picking the action up. ***1/4

Osamu Kido vs. Masahiro Chono 9:51. Kido is the sort of opponent who brings out the worst in Chono, happy to do as dated a match with as few highspots as possible. I don’t mind that it was 70’s style technical wrestling with no moves, but that it felt totally uninspired. They didn’t make me believe in anything they did; it had no intensity and seemed meaningless. The wrestling was as competent as could be, but none of it seemed to be doing particular damage or leading anywhere. It didn’t seem to be done with any particular aim, or have any special importance, and then it fittingly just ended with them rolling back and forth after a sunset flip. *1/4

4/28/91 Omiya Skate Center: Hiroshi Hase & Kensuke Sasaki vs. Super Strong Machine & Hiro Saito 18:45. I was disappointed enough by their 3/6/91 tag title match, but at least they made some effort there. Tonight they just phoned it in. It was the worst Hase & Sasaki match thusfar in 1991. They sold almost the entire match for opponents who were only concerned with stalling. Machine & Saito used one submission after the other, with no real attempt to make us believe in any of them. It was totally, obviously, just a ploy to sit in a Boston crab or stand in a sleeper for a minute at a time. Hase was still the best in the match, but this time he wasn’t doing much either, and didn’t find the willpower to try to save it. Everyone finally showed up for the final two minutes, but it was too little too late. I figured Blond Outlaws were going over to avenge their loss in the title match, but after a performance that cemented them in last place in my unofficial ’91 NJ tag rankings, I was more than normally excited to see Sasaki pull out his avalanche style powerslam for the win. *1/2

NJPW Top of the Super Junior II League Handhelds April 1991
-1hr 50min. Q=Ex

4/15/91

Scorpio & Owen Hart vs. Negro Casas & Black Cat

Top of the Super Junior II League Match: Pegasus Kid vs. Norio Honaga

4/17/91

Scorpio & David "Fit" Finlay vs. Kuniaki Kobayashi & Shiro Koshinaka

Masanobu Kurisu & Negro Casas vs. Kensuke Sasaki & Hiroshi Hase

Top of the Super Junior II League Match: Owen Hart vs. Pegasus Kid

Top of the Super Junior II League Match: Norio Honaga vs. Jushin Thunder Liger

4/28/91 Saitama Omiya Skate Center

Top of the Super Junior II League Match: Scorpio vs. David "Fit" Finlay

Top of the Super Junior II League Match: Negro Casas vs. Pegasus Kid

NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Jushin Thunder Liger Hen~ #7 5/21/00
& NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~Jushin Thunder Liger Hen~ #8 5/28/00

4/19/91 Top of the Super Junior II League Match: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Negro Casas 6:51. A match between the best junior in Japan and arguably the best junior in Mexico ought to be an all out effort, but they couldn't have done a more uninspiring match if they tried. These two didn't push each other in the least, instead turning it into a throwaway that served no purpose beyond Casas avenging his title challenge loss to Liger on 12/26/90 & allowing Liger, Casas, Pegasus, & Honaga to all tie for 1st in the Super Junior league with 8 points. Sure, there's too much talent in the ring for the match to simply be uninteresting, but the structuring was just that, and when you combine that with the brevity of the contest, they really set the bar miles below their capability. These two didn't build a match where they combined their skills, instead they pretty much just stood there and took the other's offense until it was time for the lead to change, and even that only happened a few times before the last minute or so. Once they decided to actually work together, the match got good with some interesting outside the ring spots involving a chair. Casas first dove off the top to the floor to give Liger a chair shot, but Liger avenged by stopping Casas' tope with the chair. I was expecting at least 5 if not 10 minutes of back and forth high flying to follow, but the match shockingly ended in cheap WWE fashion as soon as they returned to the ring. **

4/28/91 Saitama Omiya Skate Center, Top of the Super Junior II League Match: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Owen Hart 14:58. Graceful and precise wrestling, truly a thing of beauty. The junior division has been very disappointing in ’91, largely because there are no natives beyond Liger that are doing anything of note. This is the match that could have, should have been a classic. Owen was in top form and they were certainly wrestling at that level, both individually and collectively, from the get go. However, the second problem with the junior division in ’91 is the brevity of the matches. I can see that there might be some benefit in not having Casas’ matches go too long because his style is somewhat alien to NJPW rings, and this was actually quite a bit longer than any of the other junior matches that have been shown, but for a match where they were committed to doing some legitimate body work in the middle, they would have benefited from not having to pack so much into 15 minutes. The opening was great, then it slowed in the middle but Owen’s attack of Liger’s left elbow was very well done. It would have been a strong point if it wasn’t totally dropped due to time constraints or laziness, and Liger’s body attack that never really developed was another point where you felt as though the match would have really benefited from even 3 more minutes. As they transitioned to the finishing segment, there were a few spots where the choreography was a little off, but generally the match was better than their even shorter match from 1/30/90 because they seemed so much more comfortable working with each other. They were on the same page, and able to do whatever they could think of. The offense in the final minutes was highly impressive, but they didn’t do a great job of making it as dramatic as it could have been, of making you buy into the near finishes, which there also didn’t seem to be enough of. One could argue that 15 minutes should have been ample, but either way, this was not a blow away match by any means. Maybe I wanted them to do a final rather than a league match because that's what this should have been (unless Pegasus came through), but regardless, this was their only opportunity and as good as it was, they also very clearly left a lot in the tank. Still, it was the best NJ junior match thusfar in 1991 by a wide margin. ****

Top of the Super Junior II Final, IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Decision Match: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Norio Honaga 21:54. We were in the midst of a great period for heavyweights coming up the ranks with Hase, Muto, Hashimoto, Chono, Koshinaka, and Sasaki all on the rise, but there weren’t any particularly promising juniors. A repackaged Nogami failed to set the Tokyo Dome on fire on 3/21/91, so we were ultimately stuck with Honaga. Honaga had yet to show anyone why he belonged in big matches, but alas he was here. This was his coming out party, upsetting the two top juniors in one night (he defeated Pegasus in the semifinal) although he wasn’t sure who he was or what to do. Honaga tried for better offense early to make it memorable, throwing in a plancha, a powerbomb on a table, ripping Liger’s mask and so on, but he generally seemed to lack a sense of what defined him as a wrestler and was just getting by throwing in a little of this and a little of that. Or perhaps he knew he needed to step it up to compete at the highest level, but he didn't know how to? There was nothing he was better than Liger at, but he badly needed big match credibility so Liger sold and sold and sold. This is the one junior match so far in 1991 that had the time, but Honaga couldn’t fill it. 15 minutes into the match, Honaga was still stomping Liger. Honaga can be crafty, he can get heel heat, he can sometimes tell a story in his simple but effective manner, but sustained offense from Norio is never a good idea. Liger finally made his hot comeback, throwing his body around. This set up a great near fall that’s exactly the sort of thing Honaga does well, avoiding a back body drop by sliding and quickly hooking Liger’s arms with his legs to almost flash pin him. There was way too little of effective Honaga though, as he wasn’t really setting anything up, instead relying on quantity over quality, but quantity from him isn’t even good heavyweight offense. A Honaga match is much better when he sells and comes up with the well timed, probably shady counter then follows up with some cheap shots to sustain the heat, but in his first tour final singles main event, he simply lacked the credibility for that. They followed with one near fall after another until the finish, and the crowd was apparently responding to the effort over the quality, as they were really into it. Both men tried really hard, but ultimately Honaga is still a pedestrian wrestler who is in the junior division by virtue of being decidedly too small to be a heavyweight. It was a nice match because they worked so hard, but it was a poor showcase for a junior division that needed a jumpstart. ***1/4

#8

3/21/91 Tokyo Dome, IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. AKIRA 16:08. AKIRA had a new Muta inspired face painted gimmick, but this was still a one man show for Liger. Liger started flying early, and was on the offensive a lot more than usual trying to keep the quality up and the audience into the match. The crowd reaction was better than expected given a merely good junior match at the Tokyo Dome, as although thier sustained interest was in question for a while, they did keep reacting to the spots. AKIRA was, at best, good enough to be in there with Liger, but he didn't look polished and wasn't adding much in any regard. He knew he couldn't come close to matching Liger's offense, but his alternative was working Liger's knee, which wasn't getting any reaction, especially since the crowd preferred to see more of Liger's flying. The match was entertaining enough, but the work was well below the standard of Liger's big singles matches. AKIRA would become much more graceful and better at controlling his body in later years, but at this point he kind of just threw himself around, recklessly relying on pure athleticism. Liger didn't seem to be in top form either, but AKIRA's lack of precision wasn't making things easy on him. The match seemed to have some potential, but the finishing sequence was pedestrian, and generally not even executed that well. ***

7/4/91 Fukuoka Kokusai Center, Mask vs. Mask Match: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Pegasus Kid 16:25. A notable junior match for the era that would be a classic for most guys, but for these two it's kind of a lost match in a style that doesn't quite suite either of them that falls between the styles that really worked for them, the all out countering Tiger Mask vs. Dynamite Kid style of their great 1990 matches and the flying vs. brutality of their great 8/12/92 match. Today we get the Benoit show from start to finish since he was losing his mask. He was somewhat miscast as the all out flyer - this is the most flying I can ever remember him using in a single match - throwing in a lot of aerial moves that he didn't use as the decade went on. Though Benoit's offense is not only fun but obviously excellent even if he's lacking a bit of the athleticism to make his flying graceful so he kind of seems to be heaving his body through the air, what made their earlier matches so exciting is the interplay they had with one another, the way they could counter & seemingly top whatever their rival was throwing at them. This didn't have that Tiger Mask vs. Dynamite Kid athletic rivals feel, which in some ways was good, but they'd yet to figure out how to substitute that for their own match either. The other problem is they came out really flat with a mat portion that truly had nothing going on. There was no intensity, no struggling to counter the holds, just not enough movement and no urgency in general. When they picked it up on their feet though, they went straight to kamikaze mode with Benoit even doing a missile kick to the floor. However, as it was all Benoit, Liger was stuck in the standing/laying around taking mode and thus wasn't pushing Benoit to find the creative or surprising ways to incorporate his offense or at least hit his spots until Liger finally had some spectacular offense 12 minutes in. The offense here was really impressive, feeling rather dangerous & reckless given the era, but in most places they relied too heavily on the spectacular aspect at the expense of actually working it in or making it meaningful. Liger really did very little here, which was very unselfish & supposed to put Benoit over, but ultimately instead felt like the lazy late 90's Misawa stuff, particularly his series with Akiyama where he'd just take a bunch of big moves then get bored and knock the kid out. In this case Liger's 1 big move was an avalanche style DDT, a crazy newish move that rightfully no one was kicking out from at the time, but the dynamic was different in that these two are rivals & peers rather than the man vs. the future, and Liger's lack of at least trying things offensively simply didn't bring the best out of Benoit because it didn't push him to dynamically work these moves into the bout. As an oooh, look at Benoit's cool flying match, this might be as good as it gets, but the quality of the wrestling is nowhere near their 8/19/90 or 11/1/90 matches because we are forced to spend our time admiring what Benoit does rather than how he's able to do it. ***3/4

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #167 10/10/06
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

4/28/91 Saitama Omiya Skate Center

Top of the Super Junior II League Match: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Owen Hart 14:58. Graceful and precise wrestling, truly a thing of beauty. The junior division has been very disappointing in ’91, largely because there are no natives beyond Liger that are doing anything of note. This is the match that could have, should have been a classic. Owen was in top form and they were certainly wrestling at that level, both individually and collectively, from the get go. However, the second problem with the junior division in ’91 is the brevity of the matches. I can see that there might be some benefit in not having Casas’ matches go too long because his style is somewhat alien to NJPW rings, and this was actually quite a bit longer than any of the other junior matches that have been shown, but for a match where they were committed to doing some legitimate body work in the middle, they would have benefited from not having to pack so much into 15 minutes. The opening was great, then it slowed in the middle but Owen’s attack of Liger’s left elbow was very well done. It would have been a strong point if it wasn’t totally dropped due to time constraints or laziness, and Liger’s body attack that never really developed was another point where you felt as though the match would have really benefited from even 3 more minutes. As they transitioned to the finishing segment, there were a few spots where the choreography was a little off, but generally the match was better than their even shorter match from 1/30/90 because they seemed so much more comfortable working with each other. They were on the same page, and able to do whatever they could think of. The offense in the final minutes was highly impressive, but they didn’t do a great job of making it as dramatic as it could have been, of making you buy into the near finishes, which there also didn’t seem to be enough of. One could argue that 15 minutes should have been ample, but either way, this was not a blow away match by any means. Maybe I wanted them to do a final rather than a league match because that's what this should have been (unless Pegasus came through), but regardless, this was their only opportunity and as good as it was, they also very clearly left a lot in the tank. Still, it was the best NJ junior match thusfar in 1991 by a wide margin. ****

Tatsumi Fujinami & Riki Choshu & Keiji Muto vs. Scott Norton & Great Kokina & Wild Samoan 11:58. Muto being one of the only guys that ever made Norton look good is the obvious point, but Norton actually brought out the best in Muto as well. Norton’s size and strength forced Muto to rely on his quickness and athleticism, which was the most entertaining aspect of Muto when he actually had knees, and the fact that the fans were reacting to Flash calling Muto out and trying to bully him kept Muto focused and on the go. Muto was on top of his game here, and Norton, though somewhat clumsy and inflexible, did a great job of playing the obnoxious badass heel, taunting and challenging Muto at every turn. He even busted Muto open by dropping him on the exposed turnbuckle, causing Muto to bleed heavily enough to do a decorative spew. There was too much Kokina, and the rest of the match wasn’t particularly distinguished, but the others knew what the match was about, and were willing to make a minor contribution then get out of Norton & Muto's way rather than distracting from the focus or trying to steal their thunder. Norton got so far under Muto’s skin that Muto armbarred him after the match until his partners took pity on Norton and pulled him off. ***

5/11/91 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan

Karate vs. Boxing Ishu Kakutogisen 3 min 10 Rd: Masashi Aoyagi vs. Tony Halme R3 1:57. I expected an out and out travesty, but the match actually could have been good if Halme would only have punched believably. Aoyagi was entertaining, throwing a lot of nice kicks from the outside and trying to use his knees when Halme pinned him in the corner. The match was pretty good with Aoyagi on offense, but Halme was so atrocious one wonders how he was ever asked back. It was easily a worst match of the year candidate with Halme on offense. His showboating and hamming it up would have made it hard to take serious, if his whiffing on most of his punches and making minimal contact on the rest didn’t already render the notion impossible. The match would have been better if there were a third as many knockdowns, but of course the real problem was Aoyagi kept diving to the canvas from phantom punches. DUD

Hiroshi Hase & Kensuke Sasaki vs. Riki Choshu & Tatsumi Fujinami 19:52. Looking back, it’s hard to figure why Hase didn’t amount to more. Despite being a former junior he was as tall as the other three wrestlers in this match, who happen to have 14 IWGP Heavyweight Championship runs between them. He was stealing the show in every tag match, totally over, and had begun to seem to be the man in the tag division due to a successful push. Choshu & Fujinami were not only taking him seriously and totally motivated to wrestle him, they were putting extra effort into knocking him off his perch. Hase was diverse and cocky enough to take both on in their own element. Tonight's match was more about him matching technique with Fujinami, but I loved the intense bruising exchange he had with Choshu. Choshu was the disdainful grumpy old man here, on a mission to keep the new generation firmly behind the old one (in story, in booking he was taking a step toward the opposite). He was out to put a beating on the tag champs, and it was one of his stiffest and most intense performances of the year. Sasaki never did too much in any of these matches with Hase; he was always alright, but it was the Hase show with Sasaki playing a totally supporting role. Hase logging so much ring time finally didn’t work out here, and I disliked him doing the job which felt counter productive, but overall the match still seemed to put the duo on a higher plateau. I preferred this match to most of the other Hase & Sasaki tags because they actually got strong support from the opposition, mainly Choshu stepping up the intensity and making the contest feel important. ***1/2

NJ Handhelds 5/6/91
-2hr 15min. Q=Ex. 1 DVD

Black Cat vs. Osamu Nishimura

Handicap Match: Super Strong Machine & Hiro Saito vs. Michiyoshi Ohara & Koji Kanemoto & Hiroyoshi Yamamoto

Tatsutoshi Goto vs. Masanobu Kurisu

Shiro Koshinaka vs. Kensuke Sasaki

Masahiro Chono vs. Kuniaki Kobayashi

Hiroshi Hase vs. Jushin Thunder Liger. Great technical match with old style mat wrestling giving way to modern highspots.

Keiji Muto vs. Takayuki Iizuka

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #168 10/11/06
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

4/30/91 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan

Keiji Muto vs. Scott Norton 9:07. Muto was a man possessed here, actually wrestling to his capability and then some. This motivated Muto, unfortunately one we rarely see in future years, is indeed one of the great heavyweight wrestlers, and he carried Norton to a highly entertaining back and forth sprint that was one of the highlights of Scott's career. Norton isn’t exactly graceful and doesn’t always execute well, but he's intuitive about getting crowd reaction and willing to allow his size to work against him as much as for him. These two wanted each other badly, and Muto was catapulting himself all over the place from start to finish in an effort to counteract Norton’s mass, which made for an entertaining contest. He also worked Norton’s wrist, which was presumably injured from his post match armbar on 4/28/91. I wouldn't have been opposed to Norton incapacitating Muto, but as it was their first big singles match and Norton was the new monster, the finish of having Norton go over but not in a particularly decisive manner also made sense. I think keeping it short also helped because both were able to go full force the entire contest, and as Norton doesn’t have much more than he showed here he’d likely become counter productive if it went much longer. ***1/2

Top of the Super Junior II Final, IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Decision Match: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Norio Honaga 21:54. We were in the midst of a great period for heavyweights coming up the ranks with Hase, Muto, Hashimoto, Chono, Koshinaka, and Sasaki all on the rise, but there weren’t any particularly promising juniors. A repackaged Nogami failed to set the Tokyo Dome on fire on 3/21/91, so we were ultimately stuck with Honaga. Honaga had yet to show anyone why he belonged in big matches, but alas he was here. This was his coming out party, upsetting the two top juniors in one night (he defeated Pegasus in the semifinal) although he wasn’t sure who he was or what to do. Honaga tried for better offense early to make it memorable, throwing in a plancha, a powerbomb on a table, ripping Liger’s mask and so on, but he generally seemed to lack a sense of what defined him as a wrestler and was just getting by throwing in a little of this and a little of that. Or perhaps he knew he needed to step it up to compete at the highest level, but he didn't know how to? There was nothing he was better than Liger at, but he badly needed big match credibility so Liger sold and sold and sold. This is the one junior match so far in 1991 that had the time, but Honaga couldn’t fill it. 15 minutes into the match, Honaga was still stomping Liger. Honaga can be crafty, he can get heel heat, he can sometimes tell a story in his simple but effective manner, but sustained offense from Norio is never a good idea. Liger finally made his hot comeback, throwing his body around. This set up a great near fall that’s exactly the sort of thing Honaga does well, avoiding a back body drop by sliding and quickly hooking Liger’s arms with his legs to almost flash pin him. There was way too little of effective Honaga though, as he wasn’t really setting anything up, instead relying on quantity over quality, but quantity from him isn’t even good heavyweight offense. A Honaga match is much better when he sells and comes up with the well timed, probably shady counter then follows up with some cheap shots to sustain the heat, but in his first tour final singles main event, he simply lacked the credibility for that. They followed with one near fall after another until the finish, and the crowd was apparently responding to the effort over the quality, as they were really into it. Both men tried really hard, but ultimately Honaga is still a pedestrian wrestler who is in the junior division by virtue of being decidedly too small to be a heavyweight. It was a nice match because they worked so hard, but it was a poor showcase for a junior division that needed a jumpstart. ***1/4

5/31/91 Osaka Jo Hall

Hiro Saito & Tatsutoshi Goto vs. Masanobu Kurisu & Kim Duk 12:35. I can understand why Saito & Goto are here, as even though they aren’t good, at least they are young enough to potentially improve (too bad they only got worse). However, bringing Kurisu & Duk back when they are years past their prime and aren’t going to make any money for NJ makes no sense. I mean, Duk is slow as molasses and can hardly bend at the waist, and yet with these guys, he isn’t noticeably worse than the rest. I’d tell you about the wrestling, if they actually did any. Duk actually tried to slip a move or two in, but it was pretty much punches, stomps, and headbutts throughout. DUD

Riki Choshu & Keiji Muto vs. Crusher Bam Bam Bigelow & TNT 10:37. Muto continues to be one of the most consistent and motivated wrestlers in the league, an easy second best in the tag scene behind Hase. He put on a show again, completely overshadowing Choshu, who I hardly remember even being involved. Bigelow did a nice job as well, displaying the quickness, offense, and bumps of a man half his size. TNT was one-dimensional as ever, doing nothing beyond throwing kicks. I enjoyed Muto poking fun at TNT by making a bunch of corny gestures after kicking him. **1/2

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #169 10/21/06
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

5/31/91 Osaka Jo Hall, IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Norio Honaga vs. Jushin Thunder Liger

6/91 Tokyo Korakuen Hall:

Jushin Liger & Shiro Koshinaka vs. Kengo Kimura & Kuniaki Kobayashi

Tatsutoshi Goto & Hiro Saito vs. Kim Duk & Masanobu Kurisu

Pegasus Kid & Super Strong Machine vs. Hiroshi Hase & Kensuke Sasaki

Masa Chono & Riki Choshu vs. Bad News Allen & Brad Rheingans

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #170 10/24/06
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

6/20/91 Tokyo Korakuen Hall: Keiji Muto & Shinya Hashimoto & Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Ax Demolition & Canadian Giant & Scott Norton

6/26/91 Tokuyama City Gym

Masa Saito & Kengo Kimura vs. Ax Demolition & Canadian Giant

Pegusus Kid & Tatsutoshi Goto & Norio Honaga vs. Jushin Thunder Liger & Shiro Koshinaka & Kuniaki Kobayashi

Hiroshi Hase & Kensuke Sasaki vs. Hiro Saito & Super Strong Machine

Masahiro Chono & Riki Choshu vs. Kim Duk & Masanobu Kurisu

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #171 11/3/06
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

6/26/91 Tokyuma City Gym: Keiji Muto & Tatsumi Fujinami & Shinya Hashimoto vs. Bad News Allen & Scott Norton & Brad Rheingans

7/1/91 Kagoshima Kenritsu Taiikukan

Hiroshi Hase & Kensuke Sasaki vs. Tatsutoshi Goto & Norio Honaga

Hiro Saito & Super Strong Machine vs. Kim Duk & Masanobu Kurisu

Keiji Muto & Masahiro Chono vs. Ax Demolition & Canadian Giant

Shinya Hashimoto & Riki Choshu vs. Bad News Allen & Scott Norton

NJ World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #172 11/8/06
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

7/91 Kagoshima Kenritsu Taiikukan: Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Brad Rheingans

7/4/91 Fukuoka Kokusai Center

Hiro Saito & Super Strong Machine vs. Kim Duk & Masanobu Kurisu

Mitsuhiro Matsunaga vs. Masashi Aoyagi

Mascara Contra Mascara: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Pegasus Kid

Tatsumi Fujinami & Riki Choshu vs. Demolition Ax & Canadian Giant

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #173 11/19/06
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

7/4/91 Fukuoka Kokusai Center: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Scott Norton

Keiji Muto & Masa Chono vs. Kensuke Sasaki & Hiroshi Hase

7/91 Sapporo Nakajima Taiiku Center:

Hiroyoshi Yamamoto vs. Koji Kanemoto

Masao Aoyagi vs. Michiyoshi Ohara

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #174 12/1/06
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

7/91 Sapporo Nakajima Taiiku Center

Kengo Kimura & Kantaro Hoshino vs. Tatsutoshi Goto & Norio Honaga

Hiro Saito & Super Strong Machine vs. Shiro Koshinaka & Kuniaki Kobayashi

Great Kokina & Samoan Savage vs. Black Cat & Masa Saito

Jushin Thunder Liger & Masa Chono vs. Mad Bull Busters Rex & Spike

Crusher Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Tiget Jeet Singh

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #175 12/2/06
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

7/91 Sapporo Nakajima Taiiku Center

Great Muta & TNT vs. Kensuke Sasaki & Hiroshi Hase

Riki Choshu & Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Kim Duk & Masanobu Kurisu

Big Van Vader vs. Shinya Hashimoto

7/91 Obihiro City Comprehensive Gymnasium:

Shiro Koshinaka vs. Mad Bull Rex

Tatsumi Fujinami vs. TNT

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #176 12/8/06
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

7/91 Nagano Ueda Citizen Gymnasium:

Kensuke Sasaki & Hiroshi Hase vs. Mad Bull Busters Rex & Spike. Joined in progress

Tiger Jeet Singh & Kim Duk vs. Super Strong Machine & Tatsutoshi Goto

Big Van Vader & Crusher Bam Bam Bigelow & TNT & Wild Samoan & The Great Kokina vs. Keiji Muto & Masa Chono & Shinya Hashimoto & Riki Choshu & Tatsumi Fujinami

7/91 Iwate Prefectural Management Gymnasium: Big Van Vader & Crusher Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Keiji Muto & Masa Chono

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #177 1/6/07
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

7/91 Iwate Ken'ei Taiikukan

Hiroyoshi Yamamoto vs. Michiyoshi Ohara

Koji Kanemoto & Black Cat vs. Kuniaki Kobayashi & Takeshi Misawa. Joined in progress

Kengo Kimura vs. Osamu Kido

Jushin Thunder Liger & Kantaro Hoshino & Masayoshi Aoyagi vs. Hiro Saito & Super Strong Machine & Norio Honaga

Hiroshi Hase & Kensuke Sasaki & Riki Choshu vs. Tiger Jeet Singh & Kim Duk & Masanobu Kurisu

8/7/91 Nagaya Aichi-ken Taiikukan

Norio Honaga & Tatsutoshi Gotoh vs. Kim Duk & Masanobu Kurisu

Hiroshi Hase & Kensuke Sasaki vs. Hiro Saito & Super Strong Machine

Mitsuhiro Matsunaga vs. Masashi Aoyagi

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #178 1/13/07
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

8/7/91 Nagoya Aichi-ken Taiikukan

Jushin Thunder Liger & Shiro Koshinaka vs. Akira Nogami & Kuniaki Kobayashi

Brian Pillman & El Gigante vs. Osamu Kido & Kengo Kimura

8/11/91 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan

Akira Nogami vs. Norio Honaga

Big Van Vader & Crusher Bam Bam Bigelow & Scott Norton vs. Hiroshi Hase & Kensuke Sasaki & Tatsumi Fujinami

8/25/91 Yomiuri Land Co & Ltd EAST & Outdoors: Osamu Nishimura vs. Black Cat

NJPW Tadakai no Wonderland ~G1 Retsuden~ #1 11/2/99
& NJPW Tadakai no Wonderland ~G1 Retsuden~ #2 11/8/99
-1hr 50min. Q=TV Master

NJPW Wonderland G1 #1 taped 8/7/91 Nagoya Aichi-ken Taiikukan

B Block Koshiken: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Crusher Bam Bam Bigelow

B Block Koshiken: Riki Choshu vs. Masa Chono

A Block Koshikisen: Keiji Muto vs. Scott Norton

NJPW Wonderland G1 #2

8/7/91 Nagoya Aichi-ken Taiikukan: Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Big Van Vader 12:12

8/9/91 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan

Crusher Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Riki Choshu 10:11

Big Van Vader vs. Scott Norton 10:48

NJPW 1991 G1 Climax Handheld 8/11/91 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan
-2hr 55min. Q=VG. 2 DVDs

Hiroyoshi Yamamoto vs. Koji Kanemoto

Takeshi Misawa vs. Michiyoshi Ohara

Masanobu Kurisu & Kim Duk vs. Super Strong Machine & Hiro Saito

Handicap Match: Black Cat & Kantaro Hoshino & Kuniaki Kobayashi vs. El Gigante & Masa Saito

G1 Climax B Block Decision Match: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Masahiro Chono 15:50

Brian Pillman vs. Jushin Thunder Liger 13:53

Norio Honaga vs. Akira Nogami 11:06

Scott Norton & Crusher Bam Bam Bigelow & Van Vader vs. Kensuke Sasaki & Hiroshi Hase & Tatsumi Fujinami 14:28

G1 Climax Final: Masahiro Chono vs. Keiji Muto 29:31

NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~G1 Retsuden~ #3 11/16/99
& NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~G1 Retsuden~ #4 11/23/99
-1hr 50min. Q=TV Master

NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~G1 Retsuden~ #3 11/16/99 taped 8/9/91 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan

A Block Koshikisen: Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Keiji Muto

B Block Koshikisen: Masa Chono vs. Shinya Hashimoto

NJ Tadakai no Wonderland ~G1 Retsuden~ #4 11/23/99 aired 8/24/91 taped 8/11 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan

Yushosen Shinshutsu Ketteisen (Advance to the final decision match): Shinya Hashimoto vs. Masa Chono

Yushoketteisen: Keiji Muto vs. Masa Chono

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #179 1/20/07
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

8/11/91 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan, '91 G-1 Climax Final: Keiji Muto vs. Masahiro Chono

8/25/91 Yomiuri Land Co & Ltd EAST:

Kuniaki Kobayashi vsTatsuyoshi Goto

Kengo Kimura vs. Masao Aoyagi

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #180 2/10/07
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

8/25/91 Yomiuri Land Co & Ltd EAST

Jushin Thunder Liger & Akira Nogami vs. Hiro Saito & Norio Honaga

Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Osamu Kido

Elimination Match 4 vs. 5: Shinya Hashimoto & Koji Kannemoto & Osamu Nishimura & Hiroyoshi Yamamoto & Michiyoshi Ohara vs. Masa Chono & Kensuke Sasaki & Hiroshi Hase & Shiro Koshinaka

9/12/91 Tokushima-shi Taiikukan: Takeshi Misawa vs. Michiyoshi Ohara

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #181 2/15/07
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

8/25/91 Yomiuri Land Co & Ltd EAST: The Great Muta vs. Super Strong Machine

9/12/91 Tokushima-shi Taiikukan:

Koji Kanemoto vs. Frank Anderson

Kuniaki Kobayashi & Shiro Koshinaka vs. Osamu Kido & Kengo Kimura

Black Cat vs. Brad Rhenigans

Pegasus Kid & Brad Armstrong vs. Super Strong Machine & Masa Saito

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Tournament: Akira Nogami vs. Norio Honaga

NJPW Tokon V Special Vol. 1 BATTLE AUTUMN '91 Commercial Tape 9/10/91 Osaka Furitsu Taiikukaikan
-50min. Q=Master
NJPW Tokon V Special Vol. 1 BATTLE AUTUMN '91

Super Heel Tag: Great Muta & AKIRA vs. Kim Duk & Masanobu Kurisu. Dull methodic brawl. Muto is bad enough as Muta when he's in with an excellent wrestler, but with no talent brawlers like this he just wastes time and does equally unskilled brawling. AKIRA didn't curtail his own ability that much, but this gimmick wreaks of Muta wannabe. Kim Suk was way out of shape. He barely jumped over Muta after Muta did a drop down then on the way back couldn't Duk enough so Muta could leapfrog him despite Muta's crotch being like 6 inches higher than the top rope. Duk did some vicious chops and knife edges, but that was all he could do decently. He bled. They did do a good job of staying on Duk's cut, but they didn't do anything interesting or skilled to it and I can only take so much biting. Kurisu did his FMW routine with the stiff chair shots what little he was in. 1/2*

Hiroshi Hase vs. Tatsumi Fujinami. One of those technical matches that kind of sneaks up on you. It always has a certain quality to it becase the execution is so precise. What makes it so good though is how it builds believably (not in the shoot kinda way) and unpredictably. There were times I thought I had a read on it, like when Hase got frustrated with submissions and began roughing it up, but it didn't go down the obvious path. It was back and forth throughout without many near finishes; the good kind of inconsistent where the eventual ending came off an injury that was attacked but 15 minutes into the match you had no idea who would win or by exploiting what body part. Of course, it was highly technical, but done in an intense matter where even if you don't appreciate submissions you should at least appreciate their effort and drive. The selling was excellent. It was really helped by the precision of the moves; it's just so much easier to buy into their story when sweat is flying off they hit each other. The match was far more toward's Fujinami's style, but showed Hase as a flashier and more charismatic version of Fujinami. The fans were into this, and erupting for the occassional near finish. ****

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #182 3/2/07
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

9/12/91 Tokushima-shi Taiikukan

Hiroshi Hase & Shinya Hashimoto vs. Kim Duk & Masanobu Kurisu

Keiji Muto & Masahiro Chono & Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Great Kokina & Scott Norton & Wild Samoan

9/23/91 Yokohama Arena

Hiroyoshi Yamamoto vs. Michiyoshi Ohara. JIP

Koji Kanemoto & Masashi Aoyagi vs. Norio Honaga & Tatsutoshi Goto. JIP

Kim Duk vs. Super Strong Machine. JIP

Pegasus Kid & Brad Armstrong & Wild Samoan & Great Kokina vs. Osamu Kido & Black Cat & Shiro Koshinaka & Kengo Kimura

Frank Anderson & Masa Saito vs. Ron Simmons & Hiro Saito

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #183 3/9/07
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

9/23/91 Yokohama Arena

Big Van Vader vs. Scott Norton

Sting vs. AKIRA

1/4/92 Tokyo Dome

Black Cat vs. Hiroyoshi Yamamoto. JIP

Osamu Kido & Kuniaki Kobayashi vs. Kengo Kimura & Kantaro Kantaro Hoshino. JIP

Jushin Thunder Liger & Masashi Aoyagi & AKIRA vs. Super Strong Machine & Hiro Saito & Norio Honaga. JIP

Arn Anderson & Larry Zbyszko vs. Shiro Koshinaka & Michiyoshi Ohara

NJ Tokon V Special Vol. 2 SUPER GRADE SPECIAL Commercial Tape 10/13/91 Chiba
-50min. Q=Master

Hiroshi Hase vs. Shinya Hashimoto. One hell of a stiff match and good technically as well. It's funny how Hase always initiates striking sequences with more powerful strikes so he can go down for them. Hashimoto wasn't so great at this point, but Hase worked to his strengths and did his style match. It was a little sloppy because Hashimoto's weight was too much for Hase and Hashimoto wasn't exactly smooth in the transitions, but mainly they did what Hashimoto can do well which is give and take a beating. The match didn't really build, but it was always good and it wasn't too hard to look past the problems because it was such a nasty match for NJ. ***1/2

Scott Norton vs. Tiger Jeet Singh. The usual talentless display of bloodletting from Singh, with some of the least believable scenarios and acting ever to take place in NJ rings. Norton bled within a minute and Singh kept biting the cut. Norton eventually came back with a lariat that Singh took one of his ridiculously exaggerated bumps on. As bad as Singh's sword butt offensive attack is, it's even worse when he's trying to sell because he's so unbelievably phony that you just have to laugh. They didn't blow anything per se, but they didn't do any wrestling either. -**

Ishu Kakutogisen: Big Van Vader vs. Tony Halme. This was when boxer Halme was getting started in pro wrestling. The idea of using him in mixed matches was good, and Vader was so good here carrying this clueless putz that it should have been passable. The problem is someone had the bright idea that these guys are so tough they should do 6 rounds. 6 rounds in a real shoot is one thing, but when you have one guy that doesn't know what he's doing and another that's used to faking it in the pro wrestling sense, it's just asking for trouble. The match was generally good when Vader was on offense. His clubbing blows put the boxer's punches (which were more like haymakers than anything you'd actually throw in boxing) to shame, but he showed more diversity than in his UWF-I days as the top monster, actually pulling out some submissions rather than just relying on power. Halme's conditioning was poor, so he was sucking wind quickly. Even before that, he was just sucking. He basically just punched, which would be fine if they weren't either love taps or complete misses. Vader wasn't going to embarrass himself by flopping for these things, but since none of Halme's strikes were good he was stuck going down for the ones he could actually feel, resulting in his selling being exaggerated. The later stages were the worst because Halme took over after Vader bladed and the fighters and their tactics were just worn out. *

NJ Tokon V Special SG Tag League'91 Commercial Tape
- 1 1/2hr. Q=Near Perfect 1st Gen

10/7/91 Tokyo Korakuen Hall

Tiger Jeet Singh & Kim Duk vs. Great Kokina (Yokozuna) & Wild Samoan. Highlights

Shinya Hashimoto & Scott Norton vs. Keiji Muto & Hiroshi Hase. Hase made the opposition look good, and he sold a lot to put them over. Average.

Riki Choshu & Masa Saito vs. Tatsumi Fujinami & Big Van Vader. Choshu worked hard to make Vader look good, and that was a good rivalry. Fujinami was technically excellent as usual. Pretty good, but finish was rather sudden.

10/13/91 Chiba

Choshu & Saito vs. Masa Chono & Bam Bam Bigelow. Solid match

10/17/91 Fukuoka Kokusai Center

Semifinal: Fujinami & Vader vs. Chono & Bigelow. Gaijins worked stiff together. They were in the ring longer than I expected, but they both did a good job. Good match with everyone making a contribution.

Final: Fujinami & Vader vs. Choshu & Saito. Fujinami & Choshu both did dives here. Everyone worked really hard, with Vader & Choshu looked better than I expected. Good match.

10/18/91 Hiroshima Sun Plaza

Great Oz (Kevin Nash) & AKIRA (Akira Nogami) vs. Bigelow & Norio Honaga. Highlights.

Fujinami & Choshu & Hase vs. Chono & Hashimoto & Muto. All the big spots. Looked to be very good, but too much was edited out.

NJ Tokon V History Vol. 2 DVD
-2hr. Q=Master

10/17/91 Fukuoka Kokusai Center

Semifinal: Tatsumi Fujinami & Big Van Vader vs. Masahiro Chono & Crusher Bam Bam Bigelow

'91 SG Tag League Final: Tatsumi Fujinami & Big Van Vader vs. Riki Choshu & Masa Saito. Fujinami & Choshu both did dives here. Everyone worked really hard, with Vader & Choshu looked better than I expected. Good match.

Jushin Thunder Liger & Great Oz vs. Scott Norton & Hiro Saito

12/11/91 Nagoya Rainbow Hall: Jushin Thunder Liger & Koji Kanemoto vs. Tatsumi Fujinami & Michiyoshi Ohara

12/18/91 Ganryujima Island Death Match: Hiroshi Hase vs. Tiger Jeet Singh

NJ Tokon V Special Zokango (special edition number) THE BEST BOUT
-1 1/2hr. Q=Master

10/13/91 Chiba

Super Strong Machine vs. Tatsumi Fujinami

10/18/91 Hiroshima Sun Plaza

Hiroyoshi Yamamoto (Tenzan) vs. Takeshi Misawa

Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Pegasus Kid. From a work standpoint, this was everything you could ask for from a junior match. Every move was precisely executed. The offense was stiff and "believable," and they didn't waste any motion. Toward the finish they were constantly countering each other in such a natural manner. The finish was lame though, not the move itself, that was great. The problem was it basically came out of nowhere, and the guy who was pinned had taken so little after dishing out so much. ****1/4

6/20/92 Tokyo Korakuen Hall

El Samurai & Black Cat vs. Pimpinella Escarlatas & May Flowers. The WWF is usually less disgraceful than the transvestites in this match were.

8/3/92 Tokyo Korakuen Hall

Kensuke Sasaki & Takayuki Iizuka & El Samurai vs. Keiji Muto & & Shinya Hashimoto & Masa Chono

9/10/92 Osaka Furitsu Taiikukaikan

Riki Choshu & Takayuki Iizuka & Koji Kanemoto & Hiroyoshi Yamamoto vs. Kengo Kimura & Shiro Koshinaka & Masashi Aoyagi & Akitoshi Saito

10/18/92 Chiba Makucho (?) Messe

Riki Choshu vs. Tony Halme

9/10/92 Osaka Furitsu Taiikukaikan

Kensuke Sasaki vs. Masa Chono

NJ Tokon V Special Vol. 4 '91 Super Grade Tag League Commercial Tape 10/17/91 Fukuoka Kokusai Center
-50min. Q=Ex

'91 SG Tag League Semifinal: Tatsumi Fujinami & Big Van Vader vs. Masa Chono & Crusher Bam Bam Bigelow

'91 SG Tag League Final: Riki Choshu & Masa Saito vs. Tatsumi Fujinami & Big Van Vader. Fujinami & Vader win tag league.

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #187 4/11/07
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

12/26/90 Hamamatsu Arena

Ishu Kakutogisen 3Min 10Rd: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Tony Halme

IWGP Heavyweight Title Match: Riki Choshu vs. Tatsumi Fujinami

11/91 Matsumoto-shi Sogo Taiikukan

Kantaro Hoshino vs. Masayoshi Aoyagi

Masa Saito & Osamu Kido & Kengo Kimura vs. Kim Duk & Masanobu Kurisu & Hot Shot

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #188 4/16/07
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

11/91 Matsumoto-shi Sogo Taiikukan

Jushin Liger & Akira Nogami vs. Hiro Saito & Norio Honaga

Masahiro Chono & Tatsumi Fujinami & Shiro Koshinaka vs. Bad News Brown & Super Strong Machine & Mad Bull Rex

Keiji Muto & Hiroshi Hase vs. Shinya Hashimoto & Scott Norton

12/5/91 Chiba Koen Taiikukan: Shinya Hashimoto & Kantaro Hoshino & Masa Saito vs. Super Strong Machine & Hiro Saito & Norio Honaga

 

NJ Tokon V Special VOL. 5 SPECIAL DREAM MATCH
-45 min. Q=Master
NJPW Tokon V Special Vol. 5 SPECIAL DREAM MATCH

12/11/91 Nagoya Rainbow Hall: Koji Kanemoto vs. Michiyoshi Ohara. What they showed was alright.

10/17/91 Fukuoka Kokusai Center: Great Oz (Kevin Nash) & Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Scott Norton & Hiro Saito. Good match when Liger was in and bad when he wasn't. Liger did a good job making Norton look good. Nash was so lame back then. Short and the finish came out of nowhere. *3/4

12/11/91 Nagoya Rainbow Hall: Liger vs. Tatsumi Fujinami. Significant match for historical reasons because these two have been so influential to junior heavyweight wrestling. Unfortunately, Fujinami is a boring heavyweight by this time. Solid Fujinami style match, but Liger didn't push at all. ***

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #189 5/7/07
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

12/5/91Chiba Koen Taiikukan

Jushin Thunder Liger & Akira Nogami vs. Negro Casas & El Katara

Keiji Muto & Hiroshi Hase vs. vs Scot Norton & Brad Rheingans

Masahiro Chono & Tatsumi Fujinami & Riki Choshu vs. Crusher Bam Bam Bigelow & Kim Duk & Tim Horner

12/16/91 Osaka Furitsu Taiikukaikan

Osamu Kido & Kengo Kimura vs. Masa Saito & Tim Horner

Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Negro Casas

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #190 5/14/07
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

12/16/91 Osaka Furitsu Taiikukaikan

Crusher Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Tony Halme

Masahiro Chono & Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Akira Nogami & Riki Choshu

IWGP Tag Title Match: Keiji Muto & Hiroshi Hase vs. Shinya Hashimoto & Scot Norton

undercard digest

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #184 3/11/07
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

1/4/92 Tokyo Dome

Shin Nihon vs. WCW Tag Match: Masa Saito & Kim Duk vs. Dusty Rhodes & Dusty Rhodes, Jr. Bad and boring match. Copperdust gave his typical bland performance, while Duk used his riveting nerve holds. Dusty aged like rotten eggs, stunk more every day. His charisma came off more as comedy, but laughing at this match with it's flubs, mistiming, and consistently poor wrestling was the only way it could be tollerated. DUD

Super Power Special Match: Tony Halme vs. Scott Norton 8:41. Plodding deliberate match. These guys desperately need someone to carry them. They can do there moves okay, but that's about it. The fans were totally pro Norton even to the point of booing Halme when he posed and bragged. The fans popped huge when Norton bulled Halme off his feet. Halme was cut on the forehead. It looked like a razor job that didn't achieve the desired effect, but if that's the case it's hard to imagine what the purpose of having blood in this match was. *

Shin Nihon vs. WCW Special Match: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Bill Kazmaier 8:37. Kazmaier was one of those robotic musclemen that were so plentiful in the 80's and early 90's. I guess he deserves more credit outside the ring than most for his multiple championships in both powerlifting and strongman, but as a wrestler his excessive strength, typically, mostly led to the wrong kind of stiffness. The fans were into Hashimoto's offense, but Kazmaier was never much good at taking, much less putting it over. *1/4

Super Heavy Special Match: Big Van Vader vs. El Gigante 4:49. Vader, who was only up to Gigante's chest, tried, but you can't do much with Gigante. Thankfully it was short. The screw job finish was easier to stomach because the only true highlight of the match, Vader letting the steam out of his headpiece onto Gigante, came right after it. *

Special Match: Antonio Inoki vs. Hiroshi Hase 10:09. Hase did an excellent job carrying Inoki, but it was short and Inoki didn't put him over enough for the match to be all that great. Technically it was good with some nice transitions. There were a few lame strikes, but the suplexes were good. Obviously it had major heat. There was a totally ridiculous spot where Inoki put Hase out with his illegal masho sleeper in less than 2 seconds. **1/2

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #185 3/13/07
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

1/4/92 Tokyo Dome

Dream Tag Match: Sting & Great Muta vs. Scott Steiner & Rick Steiner 11:03. Lots of flashy moves without much selling. Steiners threw the opposition all over the place with crazy high impact suplexes, while Muto made up for his lack of size with his explosive quickness. This was pretty much a rehash of the 3/21/91 Dome match, and as you knew what you were going to get, you kind of had to be happy with the match because they executed well and excited the audience. Actually, although Hase & Sasaki were arguably the better team due to Hase being the best of the 6 at this point, I liked this match a little better because having the bigger stars opposing the Steiners made for more of a competitive match rather than just being an overrated exhibition of Steiners impressive suplexes. Speaking of suplexes, I liked Rick's overhead belly to belly off the 2nd the best of the bunch. You don't usually see a guy go for a ride on a suplex off the middle rope because holding on protects them some, but Rick just tossed Muto like a sack of potatoes. I also liked the spot where Rick was leaning against the ropes, so Sting press slammed Muta into Rick and both went over the top to the floor. ***1/2

WCW (NWA) World Heavyweight Title Match: Lex Luger vs. Masahiro Chono 15:09. Luger came to fight, but his fire didn't totally make up for all his uninteresting and lame offense such as the annoying test of strength. All things considered these two worked well together with Chono doing an impressive job of making Luger look "good." The match built pretty well. Fans were into the match, which had good drama. Simple schoolboys and small packages were dramatic because the stakes were high given WCW's big titles still meant something at this point. Even with Chono's excellent performance, it was still better as a spectacle than a wrestling match. **1/2

IWGP Heavyweight & Greatest 18 Club Nintei Belt Double Title Match: Riki Choshu vs. Tatsumi Fujinami 12:11. These two have much more interesting matches when they are more toward Choshu's fiery brawling style. Choshu doing a technical match, especially at this point, is just boredom with him sitting in the scorpion, and certainly doesn't get the crowd involved the way he's capable of. The moves were well executed, but they were very basic badly dated moves. Nostalgia at the Tokyo Dome is one thing, but not when it's the main event. *3/4

2/92: Chris Benoit & Flying Scorpio (2 Cold Scorpio) vs. Jushin Thunder Liger & Akira Nogami

NJ '92 Super Warriors IN Tokyo Dome Commercial Tapes 1/4/92 Toky Dome
-3hr. Q=Master. 2 DVDs

Black Cat vs. Hiroyoshi Yamamoto 10:28. Tenzan, who had almost completed one full year of wrestling, looked to weigh about 180 pounds here. Even though he had no move set, Cat gave him loads of offense. They didn't diddle around, and the fans got into the match mainly for this no wasting time attitude and the young lion putting up a good fight. *3/4

Jushin Thunder Liger & Masashi Aoyagi & AKIRA vs. Super Strong Machine & Hiro Saito & Norio Honaga 15:12. High impact match with some flying from Liger & Nogami and lots of roughhousing from the Blond Outlaws. Hardly a classic Liger match, but this one is special to me because it was the 2nd time I saw him and the first time I saw the others. I marked out for moves like Machine's guerrila press into stomachbreaker, Hiro's vicious sidewalk slam and senton off the 2nd, Liger's nadare shiki no doublearm suplex and single leg dropkick to counter Honaga & Saito's double press, & AKIRA's Dragon suplex hold. ***1/4

Shin Nihon vs. WCW Tag Match: Masa Saito & Kim Duk vs. Dusty Rhodes & Dusty Rhodes, Jr. (Dustin Rhodes) 14:23. Bad and boring match. Copperdust gave his typical bland performance, while Duk used his riveting nerve holds. Dusty aged like rotten eggs, stunk more every day. His charisma came off more as comedy, but laughing at this match with it's flubs, mistiming, and consistently poor wrestling was the only way it could be tollerated. DUD

Super Power Special Match: Tony Halme vs. Scott Norton 8:41. Plodding deliberate match. These guys desperately need someone to carry them. They can do there moves okay, but that's about it. The fans were totally pro Norton even to the point of booing Halme when he posed and bragged. The fans popped huge when Norton bulled Halme off his feet. Halme was cut on the forehead. It looked like a razor job that didn't achieve the desired effect, but if that's the case it's hard to imagine what the purpose of having blood in this match was. *

Shin Nihon vs. WCW Special Match: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Bill Kazmaier 8:37. Kazmaier was one of those robotic musclemen that were so plentiful in the 80's and early 90's. I guess he deserves more credit outside the ring than most for his multiple championships in both powerlifting and strongman, but as a wrestler his excessive strength, typically, mostly led to the wrong kind of stiffness. The fans were into Hashimoto's offense, but Kazmaier was never much good at taking, much less putting it over. *1/4

Special Match: Antonio Inoki vs. Hiroshi Hase 10:09. Hase did an excellent job carrying Inoki, but it was short and Inoki didn't put him over enough for the match to be all that great. Technically it was good with some nice transitions. There were a few lame strikes, but the suplexes were good. Obviously it had major heat. There was a totally ridiculous spot where Inoki put Hase out with his illegal masho sleeper in less than 2 seconds. **1/2

Osamu Kido & Kuniaki Kobayashi vs. Kantaro Hoshino & Kengo Kimura 11:54. Dated. The final minutes were strong with good near finishes, but for the most part it was solid, well executed, but not particularly interesting wrestling. **

Shin Nihon vs. WCW Tag Match: Shiro Koshinaka & Michiyoshi Ohara vs. Arn Anderson & Larry Zybyzko 12:32. Koshinaka & Anderson were impressive as usual. Zybyzko didn't even waste 2 glorious minutes since it was in Japan, but nonetheless his antics were largely out of place and he did little in the ring. Ohara was even more hopeless in these days where he was more "technical." Had it's moments, but not nearly enough of them. **

Super Heavy Special Match: Big Van Vader vs. El Gigante 4:49. Vader, who was only up to Gigante's chest, tried, but you can't do much with Gigante. Thankfully it was short. The screw job finish was easier to stomach because the only true highlight of the match, Vader letting the steam out of his headpiece onto Gigante, came right after it. *

WCW (NWA) World Heavyweight Title Match: Lex Luger vs. Masahiro Chono 15:09. Luger came to fight, but his fire didn't totally make up for all his uninteresting and lame offense such as the annoying test of strength. All things considered these two worked well together with Chono doing an impressive job of making Luger look "good." The match built pretty well. Fans were into the match, which had good drama. Simple schoolboys and small packages were dramatic because the stakes were high given WCW's big titles still meant something at this point. Even with Chono's excellent performance, it was still better as a spectacle than a wrestling match. **1/2

Dream Tag Match: Sting & Great Muta vs. Scott Steiner & Rick Steiner 11:03. Lots of flashy moves without much selling. Steiners threw the opposition all over the place with crazy high impact suplexes, while Muto made up for his lack of size with his explosive quickness. This was pretty much a rehash of the 3/21/91 Dome match, and as you knew what you were going to get, you kind of had to be happy with the match because they executed well and excited the audience. Actually, although Hase & Sasaki were arguably the better team due to Hase being the best of the 6 at this point, I liked this match a little better because having the bigger stars opposing the Steiners made for more of a competitive match rather than just being an overrated exhibition of Steiners impressive suplexes. Speaking of suplexes, I liked Rick's overhead belly to belly off the 2nd the best of the bunch. You don't usually see a guy go for a ride on a suplex off the middle rope because holding on protects them some, but Rick just tossed Muto like a sack of potatoes. I also liked the spot where Rick was leaning against the ropes, so Sting press slammed Muta into Rick and both went over the top to the floor. ***1/2

IWGP Heavyweight & Greatest 18 Club Nintei Belt Double Title Match: Riki Choshu vs. Tatsumi Fujinami 12:11. These two have much more interesting matches when they are more toward Choshu's fiery brawling style. Choshu doing a technical match, especially at this point, is just boredom with him sitting in the scorpion, and certainly doesn't get the crowd involved the way he's capable of. The moves were well executed, but they were very basic badly dated moves. Nostalgia at the Tokyo Dome is one thing, but not when it's the main event. *3/4

NJ World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #191 6/8/07
-1 1/2hr. Q=Near Perfect

2/4/92

Tony St.Clair & Brad Armstrong vs. Kengo Kimura & Masa Saito

Tony Halme vs. Kim Duk

Hiroshi Hase & Masahiro Chono vs. Tatsumi Fujinami & Shiro Koshinaka

Keiji Muto & Riki Choshu & Shinya Hashimoto vs. Crusher Bam Bam Bigelow & Scott Norton & Rambo

2/8/92 Sapporo Nakajima Taiiku Center: Shinya Hashimoto & Akira Nogami vs. Pegasus Kid & Brad Armstrong

NJ World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #192 6/8/07
-1 1/2hr. Q=Near Perfect

2/8/92 Sapporo Nakajima Taiiku Center

Scott Norton vs. Tony Halme

Keiji Muto & Hiroshi Hase vs. Tatsumi Fujinami & Shiro Koshinaka

Crusher Bam Bam Bigelow & Matthew Rambo vs. Riki Choshu & Akira Nogami

IWGP Junior & WCW Light Heavyweight Title Unification Match: Jushin Thunder Liger (WCW champ) vs. Norio Honaga (IWGP champ)

NJ World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #193 6/8/07
-1 1/2hr. Q=Near Perfect

2/8/92 Sapporo Nakajima Taiiku Center

Akitoshi Saito vs. Michiyoshi Ohara

Koji Kanemoto vs. Osamu Nishimura. Digest

Black Cat & Kantaro Hoshino vs. Osamu Kido & Hiroyoshi Yamamoto. Digest

Masa Saito & Kengo Kimura vs. Tony St. Clair & Kim Duk. Digest

2/10/92 Nagoya Rainbow Hall

Bam Bam Bigelow & Tony Halme vs. Rambo & Kim Duk

IWGP Junior & WCW Light Heavyweight Double Title Match: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Pegasus Kid

Ishu Kakutogisen: Kuniaki Kobayashi & Shiro Koshinaka vs. Akitoshi Saito & Shigeru Tajiri

Best of New Japan TV 1/92-2/92
-1 1/2. Q=VG (Liger vs. Pegasus is near perfect)

NJ TV 2/8/92 taped 2/4

Riki Choshu & Keiji Muto & Shinya Hashimoto vs. Bam Bam Bigelow & Scott Norton & Rambo

NJ TV 2/15/92 taped 2/8 Sapporo Nakajima Taiiku Center

Michiyoshi Ohara vs. Akitoshi Saito

IWGP Jr. Title: Norio Honaga vs. Jushin Thunder Liger. Liger wins title

NJ TV 2/22/92 taped 2/10

IWGP Jr. & WCW World Light Heavyweight Double Title Match: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Pegasus Kid. Excellent match

Riki Choshu & Masa Saito & Kengo Kimura vs. Masa Chono & Shinya Hashimoto & Akira Nogami

Shiro Koshinaka & Kuniaki Kobayashi vs. Akitoshi Saito & Shigeichi Tachigi

IWGP Tag Titles: Keiji Muto & Hiroshi Hase vs. Scott Norton & Brad Armstrong

NJ World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #194 6/11/07
-1 1/2hr. Q=Near Perfect

2/10/92 Nagoya Rainbow Hall

Masahiro Chono & Shinya Hashimoto & Akira Nogami vs. Riki Choshu & Kengo Kimura & Masa Saito

IWGP Tag Title Match: Keiji Muto & Hiroshi Hase vs. Brad Armstrong & Scott Norton

2/92 Osaka Furitsu Rinkai Sports Center

Osamu Kido & Masayoshi Aoyagi vs. Brad Armstrong & Kim Duk

Scott Norton vs. Matthew Rambo

NJ World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #195 7/2/07
-1 1/2hr. Q=Near Perfect

2/10/92 Nagoya Rainbow Hall

Crusher Bam Bam Bigelow & Tony Halme vs. Shinya Hashimoto & Masa Saito

Jushin Thunder Liger & Akira Nogami vs. Pegasus Kid & Flying Scorpio (2 Cold Scorpio)

Shiro Koshinaka vs. Akitoshi Saito

Keiji Muto & Hiroshi Hase vs. Riki Choshu & Masahiro Chono

NJ World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #196 7/7/07
-1 1/2hr. Q=Near Perfect

3/1/92 Kanagawa Yokohama Arena

Black Cat & Hiroyoshi Yamamoto vs. Kantaro Hoshino & Kotetsu Yamamoto

Seiji Sakaguchi & Strong Kobayashi vs. Tiger Jeet Singh & Umanosuke Ueda

Tiger Mask Kanemoto vs. El Samurai

Satoshi Kojima vs. Osamu Nishimura

Brian Blair vs. Michiyoshi Ohara

NJ World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #197 7/8/07
-1 1/2hr. Q=Near Perfect

3/1/92 Kanagawa Yokohama Arena

Shiro Koshinaka vs. Akira Nogami

Shinya Hashimoto vs. Masahiro Chono

Antonio Inoki & Osamu Kido vs. Riki Choshu & Kengo Kimura

NJ 20th Anniversary 1992 Chosenshi (super soldier) in Yokohama Arena Commercial Tapes 3/1/92 Yokohama Arena
-2hr 45min. Q=1st Gen. 2 DVDs

Osamu Nishimura vs. Satoshi Kojima

Shinya Hashimoto vs. Masa Chono

Strong Kobayashi & Seiji Sakaguchi vs. Umanosuke Ueda & Tiger Jeet Singh

IWGP Tag Titles: Keiji Muto & Hiroshi Hase vs. Big Van Vader & Bam Bam Bigelow. Vader & Bigelow win titles.

Michiyoshi Ohara vs. Brian Blair

Kotetsu Yamamoto & Kantaro Hoshino vs. Hiroyoshi Yamamoto & Black Cat

El Samurai vs. Tiger Mask (Kanemoto)

Shiro Koshinaka vs. Akira Nogami

Antonio Inoki & Osamu Kido vs. Riki Choshu & Kengo Kimura

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #199 8/24/07
-1 1/2hr. Q=Near Perfect

3/9/92 Kyoto Furitsu Taiikukan

IWGP Tag Title Match: Big Van Vader & Crusher Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Shinya Hashimoto & Masahiro Chono

Kuniaki Kobayashi & Shiro Koshinaka vs. Akitoshi Saito & Masa Aoyagi

3/11/92 Tokyo Korakuen Hall

Jushin Thunder Liger & Shiro Koshinaka vs. Madbull Rex & Madbull Spike (Madbull Busters aka Pitbulls)

Hiroshi Hase & Kengo Kimura vs. Crusher Bam Bam Bigelow & Brian Blair

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #200 8/25/07
-1 1/2hr. Q=Near Perfect

3/11/92 Tokyo Korakuen Hall

Masa Saito vs. Akira Nogami

El Samurai vs. Norio Honaga

Shinya Hashimoto & Takayuki Iizuka vs. Super Strong Machine & Tatsushi Goto

Big Van Vader & Kokina & Samu vs. Keiji Muto & Masahiro Chono & Riki Choshu

Koji Kanemoto vs. Osamu Nishimura

Satoshi Kojima vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #201 9/9/07
-1 1/2hr. Q=Near Perfect

4/16/92 Tokyo Korakuen Hall

Top of the Super Junior III League Match: Eddy Guerrero vs. Negro Casas

Top of the Super Junior III League Match: Koji Kanemoto vs. Norio Honaga

Top of the Super Junior III League Match: Pegasus Kid vs. Flying Scorpio

Top of the Super Junior III League Match: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. El Samurai

Hiroshi Hase vs. Larry Cameron

Akira Nogami & Takayuki Iizuka vs. Hiro Saito & Tatsushi Goto

Masahiro Chono vs. Super Strong Machine

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #202 9/12/07
-1 1/2hr. Q=Near Perfect

4/16/92 Tokyo: Keiji Muto & Shinya Hashimoto & Riki Choshu vs. Scott Norton & Bad News Allen & Tony Halme

4/21/92 Kanazawa Ishikawa-ken Sangyo Tenjikan

Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Norio Honaga

Hiroshi Hase & Akira Nogami vs. Scott Norton & Larry Cameron

Masahiro Chono vs. Tatsushi Goto

Riki Choshu & Takayuki Iizuka vs. Hiro Saito & Super Strong Machine

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #203 9/14/07
-1 1/2hr. Q=Near Perfect

4/21/92 Kanazawa: Keiji Muto & Shinya Hashimoto vs. Bad News Allen & Tony Halme

4/26/92 Oita-ken Hita-shi Sogo Taiikukan: Masahiro Chono & Akira Nogami vs. Bad News Allen & Masanobu Kurisu

4/26/92 Oita: Scott Norton & Tony Halme vs. Shinya Hashimoto & Kengo Kimura

4/26/92 Oita: Hiroshi Hase & Riki Choshu & Takayuki Iizuka vs. Super Strong Machine & Hiro Saito & Tatsutoshi Goto

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #204 9/18/07
-1 1/2hr. Q=Near Perfect

4/26/92 Oita-ken Hita-shi Sogo Taiikukan

Flying Scorpio & Kuniaki Kobayashi vs. Shiro Koshinaka & Kuniaki Kobayashi

Keiji Muto vs. Larry Cammeron

4/30/92 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan

Eddy Guerrero & Negro Casas vs. Pegasus Kid & David Fit Finlay

Hiroshi Hase & Akira Nogami & Takayuki Iizuka vs. Hiro Saito & Super Strong Machine & Norio Honaga

Shinya Hashimoto & Riki Choshu vs. Scott Norton & Tony Halme

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #205 10/5/07
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

4/26/92 Oita-ken Hita-shi Sogo Taiikukan

Top of the Super Junior III League Match: Negro Casas vs. Koji Kanemoto

Top of the Super Junior III League Match: Pegasus Kid vs. Norio Honaga

Top of the Super Junior III eague Match: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Dave Fit Finlay

4/30/92 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan

Top of the Super Junior Advance to the Final Decision Match: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Norio Honaga

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

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #206 10/16/07
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

4/30/92 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan

Kuniaki Kobayashi vs. Akitoshi Saito

Keiji Muto & Masahiro Chono vs. Bam Bam Bigalow & Big Van Vader

5/1/92 Chiba Port Arena

Jushin Thunder Liger & Pegasus Kid vs. Negro Casas & El Samurai

Akira Nogami & Masahiro Chono & Takayuki Iizuka vs. Hiro Saito & Tatsuyoshi Goto & Super Strong Machine

Shinya Hashimoto vs. Tony Halme

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #207 11/1/07
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

5/1/92 Chiba Port Arena

Shiro Koshinaka vs. Akitoshi Saito

IWGP Tag Title Match: Big Van Vader & Bam Bam Bigalow vs. Keiji Muto & Hiroshi Hase

IWGP Heavyweight Title Match: Riki Choshu vs. Scott Norton

Eddy Guerrero vs. Koji Kanemoto

Osamu Kido & Kengo Kimura vs. Bad News Allen & Osamu Kido

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #208 11/14/07
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

5/17/92 Osaka Jo Hall

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. El Samurai 26:06

Shinya Hashimoto vs. Oz 9:23

Antonio Inoki & Hiroshi Hase vs. Rambo & Brad Rheinghans 13:54

Pegasus Kid vs. Tiger Mask 12:56

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #209 12/1/07
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

5/17/92 Osaka Jo Hall

Big Van Vader vs. Tony Halme

IWGP Heavyweight Title Match: Riki Choshu vs. Keiji Muto

6/2/92 Hiroshima Sun Plaza

Shiro Koshinaka & Kuniaki Kobayashi vs. Norio Honaga & Super Strong Machine

Jushin Thunder Liger & Tiger Mask vs. Pegasus Kid & El Samurai

Satoshi Kojima vs. Hiroyoshi Yamamoto

NJ '92 Chosenshi IN Osaka Jo Hall Commercial Tapes 5/17/92
-2hr 20min. Q=Master

Kengo Kimura & Osamu Kido & Akira Nogami vs. Tony St. Claire & Brad Armstrong & Black Cat 11:06

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. El Samurai 26:06

Shinya Hashimoto vs. Oz 9:23

Vader vs. Tony Halme 9:18

Antonio Inoki & Hiroshi Hase vs. Rambo & Brad Rheinghans 13:54

Osamu Nishimura vs. Hiroyoshi Yamamoto 10:16

Shiro Koshinaka & Kuniaki Kobayashi vs. Hiro Saito & Tatsutoshi Goto 10:34

Pegasus Kid vs. Tiger Mask 12:56

SS Machine vs. Masahiro Chono 14:34. Digest

IWGP Heavyweight Title Match: Riki Choshu vs. Keiji Muto 15:55

NJ Tokon V Special 3 Musketeers Commercial Tape 5/21 & 5/25/92 Tokyo Korakuen Hall
-1hr 35min. Q=Master
NJPW Three Musketeers

5/21

Shinya Hashimoto & Keiji Muto vs. Big Van Vader & Matthew Rambo

Masahiro Chono & Akira Nogami vs. Tony Halme & Tony St. Claire

5/25

Keiji Muto & Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Takayuki Iizuka & Akira Nogami

Riki Choshu & Shiro Koshinaka & Kuniaki Kobayashi vs. Masahiro Chono & Shinya Hashimoto & Hiroshi Hase

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #210 12/8/07
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

6/2/92 Hiroshima Sun Plaza

Hiroshi Hase vs. Rambo

Brad Armstrong & Tony Halme vs. Super Strong Machine & Hiro Saito

Shinya Hashimoto vs. Akira Nogami

Keiji Muto & Masahiro Chono vs. Akira Nogami & Riki Choshu

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #211 1/6/08
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

6/18/92 Utsonomiya

Pimpinella Escarlata & May Flowers vs. El Samurai & Black Cat

Shinya Hashimoto & Masahiro Chono vs. Scott Norton & Killer Bee (Brian Blair)

Great Kokina & Samu vs. Super Strong Machine & Hiro Saito

Bam Bam Bigalow vs. Masa Saito

Keiji Muto & Kengo Kimura vs. Riki Choshu & Takayuki Iizuka

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #212 1/12/08
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

6/26/92 Tokyo Nippon Budokan

Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyshi Yammamoto vs. Koji Kanemoto & Osamu Nishimura

Pegasus Kid vs. Super Strong Machine

Great Kokina & Samu vs. Killer Bee & Scott Norton

Keiji Muto & Shinya Hashimoto vs. Takiyuki Iizuka & Black Cat

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. El Samurai

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #213 2/18/08
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

6/26/92 Tokyo Nippon Budokan

Hiroshi Hase vs. Kensuke Sasaki

IWGP Tag Title Match: Crusher Bam Bam Bigelow & Big Van Vader vs. Rick & Scott Steiner

IWGP Heavyweight Title Match: Riki Choshu vs. Masahiro Chono

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #214 3/1/08
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

7/8/92 Yokohama Bunka Taiikukan

Koji Kanemoto & Black Cat vs. Hiroyoshi Yamamoto & Satoshi Kojima

Big Van Vader & Crusher Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Scott Norton & Masa Saito

El Samurai vs. Masahiro Chono

Keiji Muto vs. Takayuki Iizuka

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #215 3/8/08
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

7/8/92 Yokohama Bunka Taiikukan

Hiroshi Hase vs. Kensuke Sasaki

Ishu Kakutogisen: Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Richard Byrne

7/16/92 Gifu Sangyo Kaikan

Hiro Saito & Super Strong Machine & Norio Honaga vs. Jushin Thunder Liger & El Samurai & Kantaro Hoshino

Takayuki Iizuka & Osamu Kido vs. The Untouchables (Buster & Ice)

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #216 4/5/08
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

7/16/92 Gifu Sangyo Kaikan

Masa Saito vs. Crusher Bam Bam Bigelow

Shinya Hashimoto & Kensuke Sasaki vs. Scott Norton & Tony Halme

Riki Choshu & Tatsumi Fujinami & Kengo Kimura vs. Keiji Muto & Masahiro Chono & Hiroshi Hase

7/31/92 Sapporo Nakajima Taiiku Center: Shiro Koshinaka vs. Masahiro Chono

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #217 4/12/08
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

7/31/92 Sapporo Nakajima Taiiku Center

Keiji Muto vs. TNT

Crusher Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Masa Saito

Tatsumi Fujinami & Kensuke Sasaki vs. Shinya Hashimoto & Hiroshi Hase

IWGP Heavyweight Title Match: Riki Choshu vs. Super Strong Machine

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #218 5/3/08
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

8/6/92 Shizuoka Sangyo Kaikan

Shinya Hashimoto vs. Shiro Koshinaka

Jim Neidhart & Pegasus Kid vs. Jushin Thunder Liger & Tatsumi Fujinami

Riki Choshu & Kensuke Sasaki vs. The Barbarian & Rick Rude

8/11/92 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan

Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Pegasus Kid

Super Strong Machine vs. Arn Anderson

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #219 5/10/08
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

8/6/92 Shizuoka Sangyo Kaikan, G1 Climax, NWA World Heavyweight Title Decision 1st Round

Steve Austin vs. Arn Anderson

Scott Norton vs. Crusher Bam Bam Bigelow

Barry Windham vs. Keiji Muto

Masahiro Chono vs. Tony Halme

NJPW Tadakai no Wonderland ~G1 Retsuden~ #5 11/30/99
& NJPW Tadakai no Wonderland ~G1 Retsuden~ #6 12/7/99
-1hr 55min. Q=TV Master

NJPW Wonderland G1 #5 taped 8/6/92 Shizuoka Sangyo Taiikukan

NWA World Heavyweight Championship Decision Tournament 1st Round:

Steve Austin vs. Arn Anderson

Keiji Muto vs. Barry Windham

Masahiro Chono vs. Tony Halme

NJPW Wonderland G1 #6 taped 8/10/92 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan

NWA World Heavyweight Championship Decision Tournament 1st Round:

8/6/92: Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Scott Norton

Steve Austin vs. Keiji Muto

Masahiro Chono vs. Scott Norton

NJPW Tadakai no Wonderland ~G1 Retsuden~ #7 12/14/99
& NJPW Tadakai no Wonderland ~G1 Retsuden~ #8 12/21/99
-1hr 55min. Q=TV Master

NJPW Wonderland G1 #7 taped 8/10/92 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan

NWA World Heavyweight Championship Decision Tournament 2nd Round:

Kensuke Sasaki vs. Terry Taylor

Shinya Hashimoto vs. Rick Rude

8/11/92 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan, Semifinal: Kensuke Sasaki vs. Rick Rude

NJPW Wonderland G1 #8 taped 8/11/92 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan

NWA World Heavyweight Championship Decision Tournament Semifinal: Keiji Muto vs. Masahiro Chono

Tadakai No Wonderland ~Chosenshi Gekiko Hen~ #533 7/13/99
-50min. Q=TV Master

Wonderland #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 Semifinals

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

NJ Tadakai No Wonderland ~Chosenshi Gekiko Hen~ #535 7/20/99
& NJ Tadakai No Wonderland ~Chosenshi Gekiko Hen~ #542 8/16/99
- 1hr 50min. Q=TV Master

Wonderland #535 taped 8/12/92 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan

Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Pegasus Kid 14:29. Two of the best wrestlers on the planet, at the very top of their game, delivering a classic despite the relative brevity. Pegasus was actually better than Liger here, though both were outstanding. This was Benoit at his peak, wrestling with the stiffness associated with his later career but without sacrificing his move set in the process. There was no real weardown, as he mixed good moves in with his brutality from the outset. Liger sold during the early stages, so his offense was mostly hot moves in the second half. The last 6 minutes provided some of the best work they've ever done together, and the fans were totally into it. The finish was great with Liger trying to set up a nadare shiki move, but getting powerbombed off the top rope! Definitely superior to their '93 G1 match, but what keeps it from being their best match is they didn't get much going in the first 8 minutes. It's longer than their 11/1/90 match, but the extra time wasn't really utilized for development, so their brevity of the earlier encounter is actually a slight advantage due to putting them into high gear almost from the get go. While there were many great moves here, the overall quality of the work wasn't quite as good as 11/1/90 or even 8/19/90, as this was more a heavyweight set up the killer move match than their earlier more strictly Tiger Mask vs. Dynamite Kid ones which relied more upon quick sequences, counters, and transitions. ****1/2

Tatsumi Fujinami & Osamu Kido vs. Riki Choshu & Takayuki Iizuka 11:13. A pleasant surprise because all the veterans showed up. Iizuka was still the standout, but Kido was working on a higher level than expected and Fujinami & Choshu were very smart, particularly when it came to understanding how to pop the crowd. Short, but the sort of good heated action motivated Choshu can provide. ***

Keiji Muto & Kensuke Sasaki vs. Rick Steiner & Scott Steiner 15:32. This is the kind of match that shows what a great talent Muto was, and thus how far he went downhill by the end of the decade. In the early 90's, he'd make a match like this on his own when he didn't have to, while in the later 90's he'd come closer to sabotaging it for no reason beyond being too lazy to put in the effort. I never realized just how weak a seller Scott was, probably because who can remember him actually trying? He would overact that he was taking a blow before it even hit him, and he managed to screw up his opponent's backdrop, of all things. It turned into a good match with Steiners doing what they do well, providing hot, suplex-laden offense. Muto made the match, bumping for Scott even though he was the big star of the match (unless you asked Scott). The match certainly had its flaws, but there was enough exciting and high quality work down the stretch to make up for it. ***1/4

Wonderland #542

9/23/92 Kanagawa Yokohama Arena: SS Machine & Tatsutoshi Goto vs. Wild Samoan & Great Kokina 9:12. SS & Goto looked like jobbers most of the match. They put Kokina over when they weren't double teaming him, and Samoan didn't sell much for them either. Goto did most of the selling, which is scary. SS won with seemingly his teams first offense, predicated on Kokina accidentally splashing his own partner. *

10/21/92 Hamamatsu Arena

Hiroyoshi Yamamoto & Isamu Nishimura vs. Yuji Nagata & Tokimitsu Ishizawa 13:52. Good technical wrestling from Ishizawa, Nagata, & Nishimura. Simple but sound wrestling. Better than their singles matches in early 1993. **

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Senshuken: El Samurai vs. Jushin Thunder Liger 15:06. Liger's '92 program was Samurai was sometimes similar to his '89 program with Naoki Sano, even in match quality, though it never gets even a portion of the credit. This match brought the two together, as Sano was in the crowd. Liger challenged him before the match, but Sano just ignored him. The early portion had some explosive moments that popped the crowd and bought them time. Samurai totally dominated the match, often seeming a step ahead of Liger. Liger would keep the hope alive by countering into a near fall, but didn't take over until the last two minutes of the match popping the crowd with an Orihara moonsault. Ended a bit early, but you were thinking Liger was doing so much selling because he was bringing the title home when suddenly Samurai turns the nadare shiki no blockbuster into a sunset flip for the win. Liger managed to put Samurai over huge without looking weak, partially making you forget how bad he should have come off by going back to the potential Sano rematch after the match. Unfortunately that match didn't wind up coming off for another three years, and with Sano then in a dying UWF-I it couldn't be wrestled like their initial classics. ****

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #220 6/1/08
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

8/11/92 & 8/12/92 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan

8/12/92 Tokyo: Scott Steiner & Rick Steiner vs. Keiji Muto & Kensuke Sasaki

8/11/92 G1 Climax, NWA World Heavyweight Title Decision Semifinal: Kensuke Sasaki vs. Rick Rude

8/11/92 G1 Climax, NWA World Heavyweight Title Decision Semifinal: Masahiro Chono vs. Keiji Muto

8/12/92 G1 Climax, NWA World Heavyweight Title Decision Final: Masahiro Chono vs. Rick Rude

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #221 6/7/08
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

8/12/92 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan

Barry Windham & Barbarian & Jim Neidhart vs. Crusher Bam Bam Bigelow & Tony Halme & Scott Norton

Riki Choshu & Takayuki Iizuka vs. Osamu Kido & Tatsumi Fujinami

8/15/92 Kobe World Kinen Hall

Jushin Thunder Liger & Koji Kanemoto & Kantaro Hoshino vs. Hiro Saito & Tatsutshi Goto & Norio Honaga

Super Strong Machine vs. Masanobu Kurisu

Kensuke Sasaki vs. Tony Halme

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #222 7/16/08
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

8/15/92 Kobe World Kinen Hall

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match: El Samurai vs. Pegasus Kid

Keiji Muto & Masahiro Chono vs. Shinya Hashimoto & Takayuki Iizuka

Tatsumi Fujinami & Riki Choshu & Osamu Kido vs. Shiro Koshinaka & Kengo Kimura & Akitoshi Saito

IWGP Tag Title Match: Rick Steiner & Scott Steiner vs. Crusher Bam Bam Bigelow & Scott Norton

NJ Tokon V Special Vol. 9 G1 Climax Special Great Muta vs. Riki Choshu Commercial Tape 8/16/92 Fukuoka Kokusai Center
-1hr. Q=Master

Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Koji Kanemoto

IWGP Tag Titles: Steiner Brothers vs. Shinya Hashimoto & Masa Chono

IWGP Heavyweight & Greatest 18 Club Double Title Match: Riki Choshu vs. Keiji Muto. Muta takes the titles.

NJ Tokon V Special Vol. 10 Commercial Tape 9/10/92 Osaka Furitsu Taiikukaikan
-1hr. Q=Master

Masahiro Chono vs. Kensuke Sasaki

Hiroshi Hase vs. Shinya Hashimoto

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #223 8/20/08
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

9/23/92 Yokohama Arena

IWGP Tag Title Match: Rick Steiner & Scott Steiner vs. Hiroshi Hase & Kensuke Sasaki

NWA World Heavyweight Title Match: Masahiro Chono vs. Steve Austin

IWGP Heavyweight Title Match: Great Muta vs. Shinya Hashimoto

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #224 8/23/08
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

9/23/92 Yokohama Arena

Black Cat vs. Hiro Saito

Wild Samoan & Great Kokina vs. Super Strong Machine & Norio Honaga

Jushin Thunder Liger & Hiroyoshi Yamamoto vs. Koji Kanemoto & El Samurai

IWGP Heavyweight Title Next Challenger Decision Match: Scott Norton vs. Tony Halme

Kengo Kimura & Shiro Koshinaka & Masashi Aoyagi & Akitoshi Saito vs. Osamu Kido & Riki Choshu & Takiyuki Iizuka & Tatsumi Fujinami

NJ BATTLE HOLD ARENA Commercial Tape 9/23/92 Yokohama Arena
-2hr. Q=Gd

Osamu Nishimura vs. Satoshi Kojima. 3:04 of 8:31

Hiro Saito vs. Black Cat. 3:05 of 10:49

Great Kokina & Wild Samoan vs. Super Strong Machine & Tatsu Goto. 3:26 of 9:12. Not bad. They stayed within themselves and did what they could do well, keeping everyone involved.

Jushin Thunder Liger & Hiroyoshi Yamamoto vs. El Samurai & Shinjiro Otani. 11:37 of about 17. Liger let Yamamoto sink or swim to the point it seemed like a handicap match at times. Yamamoto was largely destroyed, but he had a few moments and the fans got a kick out of his headbutts and mongolian chops. Liger vs. Samurai was top notch, as it always was that year. Good.

IWGP Heavyweight Title #1 Contender's Match: Scott Norton vs. Tony Halme. 9:14 shown. Norton did a good job of keeping this passable. He was energetic (at least relatively speaking) in these days, and even did some selling. Halme's idea seemed to be that his opponent should stand there and let him land some poorly faked strikes. *1/4

Kengo Kimura & Shiro Koshinaka & Masashi Aoyagi & Akitoshi Saito vs. Tatsumi Fujinami & Riki Choshu & Osamu Kido & Takayuki Iizuka. 14:37. Simple but effective Choshu style match. As much intensity as you can get out of kicking and stomping all day, which isn't as much as you could get if you eventually developed something of a wrestling match. **

IWGP Heavyweight & Greatest 18 Club Double Title Match: The Great Muta vs. Shinya Hashimoto. Muto postponed the first lockup for two minutes then tried to escape to the floor but Hash put the boots to him. One reason Muta matches are so damn boring is they have no pace. He still does nice moves, but there's no flow or sequence, mostly just waiting for the few saving graces. Fans reacted when Hashimoto would go after Muta to make him work, but that would die down once Muta found his latest opening to stall. Fans really wanted to get into this match, but Muta wouldn't allow them to stay into it. **

IWGP Tag Titles: Steiner Brothers vs. Hiroshi Hase & Kensuke Sasaki. 19:15. I'll give the devil his due, these matches were better with Muta, if only because that put Hase in the position to sell for the opponents. Here Sasaki was the bump boy, and though Hase's offense is much more interesting, it's much more important to have him selling when the opponent is the Steiners. The Muta matches seemed to have a lot more energy too. This one was 3/4 over with Hase out on the apron before it truly became dramatic. Sasaki wasn't that impressive, but Hase vs. Rick was damn good back and forth action. Scott took about 5 moves in a row once, seemingly a record, but made up for it by being on offense almost the rest of the time he was in. ***

NWA Heavyweight Title: Masa Chono vs. Steve Austin. 17:08. Considering what these two became, it almost seems weird bragging about what a good technical match this was. But in these days they both wrestled very solid matches that could have taken place a decade or two earlier. Good solid old school wrestling. Some roughhousing by Austin, when it was necessary. ***

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #225 9/15/08
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

10/21/92 Hamamatsu Arena

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match: El Samurai vs. Jushin Thunder Liger

Super Grade Tag League: Riki Choshu & Shinya Hashimoto vs. Manabu Nakanishi & Tatsumi Fujinami

Super Grade Tag League: Keiji Muto & Crusher Bam Bam Bigelow & Hiroshi Hase & Kensuke Sasaki

Super Grade Tag League Final: Hiroshi Hase & Kensuke Sasake vs. Riki Choshu & Shinya Hashimoto

AJPW & NJPW Genichiro Tenryu Retirement Commemoration Path of Violence Box Set
-20hr 20min. Q=Perfect. 12 DVDs

Discs 1 & 2

Intro from Genichiro Tenryu

10/15/76: Press conference with Genichiro Tenryu and Giant Baba

12/9/76: Knot cutting ceremony

3/20/77: Genichiro Tenryu & Jumbo Tsuruta vs. The Mafia. 4:11 shown

6/11/77: Genichiro Tenryu & Giant Baba vs. Mario Milano & Mexico Grande 12:04

12/2/77: Genichiro Tenryu & Rocky Hata vs. Dory Funk & Terry Funk 4:59 shown

7/30/81: Genichiro Tenryu & Billy Robinson vs. Giant Baba & Jumbo Tsuruta 7:43 shown

10/6/81: Genichiro Tenryu vs. Ric Flair 2:40 1st fall, 1:32 2nd fall, 2:00 3rd fall

2/4/82: Genichiro Tenryu vs. Mil Mascaras 3:00 shown

4/16/82: Genichiro Tenryu vs. Jumbo Tsuruta 5:53 shown

3/1/83: Genichiro Tenryu vs. Umanosuke Ueda 5:01 shown

2/23/84: Genichiro Tenryu vs. Ricky Steamboat 5:12 shown

2/5/85: Genichiro Tenryu & Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Riki Choshu & Masa Saito 5:13 shown

3/9/85: Genichiro Tenryu & Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Road Warriors 11:29 shown

6/21/85: Genichiro Tenryu vs. Riki Choshu 19:01 shown

4/26/86: Genichiro Tenryu vs. Ted Dibiase 15:21 shown

6/12/86: Genichiro Tenryu vs. Super Strong Machine 4:10

9/3/86: Genichiro Tenryu vs. Riki Choshu 19:59 shown

Discs 3 & 4

2/5/87: Genichiro Tenryu & Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Riki Choshu & Yoshiaki Yoshiaki Yatsu 17:02 shown

6/8/87: Genichiro Tenryu & Ashura Hara vs. Hiroshi Wajima & Takashi Ishikawa 12:16 shown

6/11/87: Genichiro Tenryu & Ashura Hara vs. Jumbo Tsuruta & Tiger Mask 7:02 shown

8/21/87: Genichiro Tenryu & Ashura Hara vs. Jumbo Tsuruta & The Great Kabuki 7:40 shown

4/15/88: Genichiro Tenryu vs. Bruiser Brody 30:00 shown

6/4/88: Genichiro Tenryu & Ashura Hara vs. Jumbo Tsuruta & Yoshiaki Yatsu 5:47 shown

7/27/88: Genichiro Tenryu vs. Stan Stan Hansen 14:34 shown

6/5/89: Genichiro Tenryu vs. Jumbo Tsuruta 24:04 shown

7/11/89: Genichiro Tenryu & Stan Hansen vs. Jumbo Tsuruta & Yoshiaki Yatsu 21:28 shown

8/19/89: Genichiro Tenryu & Yoshinari Ogawa vs. Jumbo Tsuruta & Kenta Kobashi 3:36 shown

Disc 5 & 6

11/29/89: Genichiro Tenryu & Stan Hansen vs. Giant Baba & Rusher Kimura 20:22 shown

12/6/89: Genichiro Tenryu & Stan Hansen vs. Jumbo Tsuruta & Yoshiaki Yatsu 28:56

1/26/90: Genichiro Tenryu vs. Isao Takagi 5:40 shown

4/19/90: Genichiro Tenryu vs. Jumbo Tsuruta 12:34

1/28/01: Genichiro Tenryu & Hiroshi Hase vs. Kensuke Sasaki & Toshiaki Kawada 23:48

1/8/05: Genichiro Tenryu & Shiro Koshinaka vs. Mitsuharu Misawa & Takeshi Rikio 6:24 shown

4/24/05: Genichiro Tenryu & Jun Akiyama vs. Kenta Kobashi & Go Shiozaki 5:30 shown

7/18/05: Genichiro Tenryu vs. Yoshinari Ogawa 10:24 shown

10/8/05: Genichiro Tenryu vs. KENTA 11:37 shown

11/5/05: Genichiro Tenryu vs. Mitsuharu Misawa 14:25 shown

Discs 7 & 8

2/10/90: Genichiro Tenryu & Tiger Mask vs. Riki Choshu & George Takano 19:00 shown

10/23/92: Genichiro Tenryu & Koki Kitahara vs. Shiro Koshinaka & Kengo Kimura 8:51 shown

11/23/92: Genichiro Tenryu & Takashi Ishikawa & Koki Kitahara vs. Shiro Shiro Koshinaka & Kengo Kimura & Aoyagi 4:46 shown

12/14/94: Genichiro Tenryu vs. Shiro Koshinaka 20:43 shown

1/4/93: Genichiro Tenryu vs. Riki Choshu 18:15 shown

2/5/93: Genichiro Tenryu & Ashura Hara & Takashi Ishikawa vs. Shinya Hashimoto & Keiji Muto & Akira Nogami 6:56 shown

3/23/93: Genichiro Tenryu & Takashi Ishikawa vs. Tatsumi Fujinami & Riki Choshu 4:26

4/6/93: Genichiro Tenryu vs. Riki Choshu 14:51 shown

5/3/93: Genichiro Tenryu & Riki Choshu vs. Antonio Inoki & Tatsumi Fujinami 19:23 shown

7/14/93: Genichiro Tenryu & Ashura Hara vs. Tatsumi Fujinami & Masa Chono 10:44 shown

8/3/93: Genichiro Tenryu & Koki Kitahara vs. Jushin Thunder Liger & Tatsumi Fujinami 5:37 shown

Discs 9 & 10

8/8/93: Genichiro Tenryu vs. Shinya Hashimoto 21:25 shown

9/23/93: Genichiro Tenryu vs. Hiroshi Hase 8:54

12/10/93: Genichiro Tenryu & Super Strong Machine vs. Shiro Koshinaka & Tatsutoshi Goto 5:27 shown

1/4/94: Genichiro Tenryu vs. Antonio Inoki 13:56

4/29/96: Genichiro Tenryu vs. Tatsumi Fujinami 9:16 shown

7/15/98: Genichiro Tenryu & Shiro Koshinaka vs. Masahiro Chono & Hiroyoshi Tenzan 15:01 shown

8/1/98: Genichiro Tenryu vs. Shinya Hashimoto 13:12 shown

5/3/99: Genichiro Tenryu vs. Keiji Muto 25:36 shown

6/8/99: Genichiro Tenryu vs. Shinya Hashimoto 14:10 shown

10/11/99: Genichiro Tenryu vs. Kensuke Sasaki 13:36 shown

11/1/99: Genichiro Tenryu & Manabu Nakanishi vs. Kensuke Sasaki & Kazuhiko Fujita 9:08 shown

Discs 11 & 12

12/5/99: Genichiro Tenryu & Shiro Koshinaka vs. Tatsumi Fujinami & Takashi Iizuka 7:15 shown

12/10/99: Genichiro Tenryu vs. Keiji Muto 26:31

1/4/04: Genichiro Tenryu vs. Manabu Nakanishi 7:14 shown

2/15/04, IWGP Heavyweight Title Tournament 1st Round: Genichiro Tenryu vs. Masahiro Chono 6:25

2/15/04, IWGP Heavyweight Title Tournament Semifinal: Genichiro Tenryu vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi 10:32

2/15/04, IWGP Heavyweight Title Tournament Final: Genichiro Tenryu vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan 13:01

3/21/04: Genichiro Tenryu vs. Tadao Yasuda 6:56 shown

3/28/04: Genichiro Tenryu & Manabu Nakanishi vs. Minoru Suzuki & Yoshihiro Takayama 6:43 shown

5/3/04: Genichiro Tenryu & Meng vs. Dolgorsuren Sumiyabazar & Dolgorsuren Serjbudee (Blue Wolf) 4:14 shown

6/5/04: Genichiro Tenryu & Tadao Yasuda vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Osamu Nishimura 10:26 shown

8/8/04: Genichiro Tenryu vs. Yuji Nagata 11:28 shown

8/15/04: Genichiro Tenryu vs. Kensuke Sasaki 8:10 shown

8/15/04: Genichiro Tenryu vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi 6:34 shown

10/9/04: Genichiro Tenryu vs. Katsuyori Shibata 4:45 shown

11/13/04: Genichiro Tenryu vs. Katsuyori Shibata 9:09 shown

WAR Shin Nihon Puroresu vs. W.A.R. 10/23 Korakuen Kessen Commercial Tape 10/23/92 Tokyo Korakuen Hall
-1hr. Q=Master
NJPW vs. WAR 10/23/92

Masao Orihara vs. Akitoshi Saito 11:14. Amazingly good wrestler vs. martial artist match, with fiery up and comer Orihara giving an all-star performance in carrying limited bruiser Saito to probably the most successful match of his career. Orihara was on the rise but far from exceptional at this point, and there are definitely some creaky moments where the fakeness was readily apparently, but as a whole they succeeded on desire, passion, and emotion. Everyone being jacked up for an early encounter in the NJPW vs. WAR interpromotional feud was a huge plus they were able to build the match around. From a technical standpoint, the match was no better than good, but the heat, hatred, and intensity coming from both the performers and the fans made it riveting and memorable. One reason the atmosphere was so great is the WAR fans are completely rabid, taking offense to the idea of NJPW being the better league, and just going nuts for their boys. They structured the match to not only play into their strengths, but garner the loudest pops. Saito is the tougher more dominant fighter who thrives on kicking the stuffing out of his opposition, so he dominated the match, with Orihara displaying enough quickness and guile to always be in the match. Orihara did an excellent job of putting over Saito’s strikes, which when they connected were extra brutal because interpromotional matches are “real”, including a knee that busted Orihara’s mouth hard way. Orihara would transition into a submission at regular intervals, often enough to keep the fans, who were standing up and swinging their fists from bell to bell, believing in him. He played the fiesty underdog who wanted so badly to succeed, making every choke sleeper or Achilles’ tendon hold into an event by playing them for all they were worth. The controversial finish where Orihara claimed he kicked out was not my favorite, but the post match was well played with Orihara grabbing the ref and threatening him then Masashi Aoyagi coming in and cleaning house on the WAR guys. ***3/4

Shiro Koshinaka & Kengo Kimura vs. Genichiro Tenryu & Koki Kitahara 19:45. Tenryu & Koshinaka know exactly what they are doing in these heated situations, putting on a clinic in simple but effective brawling. They don’t deal in garbage; they brawl by serving up fistfuls of hatred. They are not merely stiff, but malicious with Tenryu putting that little extra into everything to the point he ran so hard he went flying over the top rope after his own lariat! What separates these two from so many others and makes them superb at these rivalry matches is they know 100 ways to incite each other as well as the fans, and implement one at every turn. The primary story was Kitahara getting pummelled, with Koshinaka & Kimura making no real attempt to pin him because they preferred to goad Tenryu by mercilessly slaughtering his boy. There were only spurts of wrestling, almost all of which involved Tenryu vs. Koshinaka, and even then I’m mostly thinking of the finish, but this truly was a WAR. The bad blood from the earlier match carried over to this rival league must die match, as they started beating each other up from the moment the second team walked out. It didn’t take long for the blood to flow, with the seconds joining in from time to time, including Orihara gaining a measure of revenge by beating Saito & Aoyagi up with a chair. There was often too much going on to keep up with, but it was wild rather than chaotic. The fans were very unruly by Japanese standards, regularly littering the ring with objects including a fan scoring a bullseye on Kimura to punish him for having the gall to make a save. Though Kimura was at his most savage, he was by far the weak link. He played a Masa Fuchi style irksome pest, but in a very bland manner as he can stomp, but lacks Fuchi’s craftiness and meanspirited nature. Though a totally different style from the previous match, it was another spiteful, intense and passionate interpromotional battle with massive heat. No one cared that the match ended, the feud was just beginning! Kimura wanted revenge, but Tenryu dispatched of him and kept giving Koshinaka powerbombs until Masa Saito made the save. ****

NJ Tokon V Special Vol. 12 Eien no Rival (Eternal Rival) Great Muta vs. Sting Commercial Tape
-1hr. Q=Master

11/22/92 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan

IWGP Jr. Title: El Samurai vs. Ultimo Dragon. Dragon wins title.

IWGP Heavyweight Title: The Great Muta vs. Sting

IWGP Tag Titles: Steiner Brothers vs. Scott Norton & Tony Halme. Norton & Halme win titles.

12/1/92 Chiba Koen Taiikukan

Keiji Muto & Hiroshi Hase vs. Hell Raisers

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #226 10/6/08
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

11/23/92 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan

Yuji Nagata vs. Shinjiro Otani

Koji Kanemoto & Osamu Nishimura vs. Hiroyoshi Yamamoto & Satoshi Kojima

Dean Malenko & Pegasus Kid vs. Jushin Thunder Liger & Takashi Iizuka

Keiji Muto & Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Shinya Hashimoto & Akira Nogami

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #227 10/9/08
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

11/23/92 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan

Scott Norton & TNT vs. Ron Powers & Tony Halme

NWA World Heavyweight Title Match: Masahiro Chono vs. Scott Steiner

Genichiro Tenryu & Takashi Ishikawa & Koki Kitahara vs. Shiro Koshinaka & Kengo Kimura & Masashi Aoyagi

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #228 11/9/08
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

11/23/92 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan

Super Strong Machine vs. Akitoshi Saito

Road Warrior Hawk & Power Warrior vs. Hiroshi Hase & Riki Choshu

12/11/92 Nagoya Rainbow Hall

Satoshi Kojima vs. Osamu Nishimura

Super Strong Machine & Tony Halme vs. Tatsumi Fujinami & Osamu Kido

Keiji Muto & Akira Nogami vs. Shiro Koshinaka & Great Kabuki

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #229 11/24/08
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

12/11/92 Nagoya Rainbow Hall

Jushin Thunder Liger & Koji Kanemoto vs. Ultimo Dragon & Masao Orihara

Hiroshi Hase vs. Masahiro Chono

12/14/92 Osaka Furitsu Taiikukaikan: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Koji Kanemoto

NJPW World Pro Wrestling Immortal Fighting Spirit Tradition #230 12/24/08
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

12/14/92 Osaka Furitsu Taiikukaikan

Akira Nogami & Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Takashi Ishikawa & Koki Kitahara

Hiroshi Hase vs. The Great Muta

Tony Halme & Scott Norton vs. The Hell Raisers (Road Warrior Hawk & Power Warrior Kensuke Sasaki)

Shiro Koshinaka vs. Genichiro Tenryu

NJ Tadakai No Wonderland ~Chosenshi Gekiko Hen~ #548 8/9/99
& NJ Tadakai No Wonderland ~Chosenshi Gekiko Hen~ #549 8/10/99
- 1hr 50min. Q=TV Master

Wonderland #548

12/11/92 Nagoya Rainbow Hall: Satoshi Kojima vs. Osamu Nishimura 9:59. *3/4

12/14/92 Osaka Furitsu Taiikukaikan

Tatsumi Fujinami & Akira Nogami vs. Takashi Ishikawa & Koki Kitahara 14:01. ***1/4

Shiro Koshinaka vs. Genichiro Tenryu 20:43. ****

Wonderland #549 8/10/99 taped 12/14/92 Osaka Furitsu Taiikukaikan

Masahiro Chono & Takayuki Iizuka vs. The Great Kabuki & Akitoshi Saito 12:51. **1/2

Hiroshi Hase vs. The Great Muta 23:02. ****1/2

IWGP Tag Title Match: Scott Norton & Tony Halme vs. Hawk Warrior & Power Warrior 6:10. Hellraisers win titles.

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