(by PHIL RIPPA)
Here we have a mini bunch of matches from the insanely underrated Tsuyoshi Kikuchi. The Bobby Eaton of Japan.
301) JOE MALENKO/TSUYOSHI KIKUCHI vs. THE FANTASTICS (Bobby Fulton/Tommy Rogers) – ALL JAPAN (09/01/90 All Asian Tag Titles)
JOE MOTHERFUCKING MALENKO in what is probably his best match. If you haven’t seen any Fantastics in Japan, this is a really good place to start. Is it any surprise that Fulton and Rogers can have an outstanding match with the man I just called the Japanese Bobby Eaton? Meltzer went 4 3/4 stars on this match.
302) MIRACLE VIOLENCE CONNECTION (Terry Gordy/Steve Williams)/RICK RUDE vs. MITSUHARU MISAWA/TOSHIAKI KAWADA/TSUYOSHI KIKUCHI – All JAPAN (07/14/91)
So when MVC needed backup, they called Rick Rude. But when Misawa and Kawada needed back up they called Kikuchi. (At least that is the wonderful story I have concocted in my head.) An always fun early 90s All Japan 6 man which as per usual was “Let’s see how much we can kick the shit out of Kikuchi”.
303) JUMBO TSURUTA/MASA FUCHI/YOSHINARI OGAWA vs. MITSUHARU MISAWA/TOSHIAKI KAWADA/TSUYOSHI KIKUCHI – ALL JAPAN (07/26/91)
Another chapter in Jumbo’s Army beating the hell out of Misawa and whoever he was teaming with. Kikuchi gets a lotta run here and there is a “surprising” finish. Another waypoint towards Jumbo/Misawa.
304) TSUYOSHI KIKUCHI vs. MASANOBU FUCHI – ALL JAPAN (02/28/93, World Junior Heavyweight Championship)
Kikuchi going for singles gold!
305) TSUYOSHI KIKUCHI/YOSHINOBU KANEMARU vs. JUSHIN LIGER/MINORU TANAKA – NEW JAPAN (08/29/02 – IWGP JR Heavyweight Tag Titles)
306) TSUYOSHI KIKUCHI/YOSHINOBU KANEMARU vs. JUSHIN LIGER/KOJI KANEMOTO – NEW JAPAN (01/26/03 – IWGP JR Heavyweight Tag Titles)
These two matches are part of the New Japan/NOAH juniors feud of the early 00s that were primarily centered around the IWGP Junior Tag Titles. Well that and Jushin Liger being the biggest prick you have ever seen.
The former match was reviewed as part of a round table in DVDVR #140
“The third match was great for Liger and Tanaka playing heel in front of a New Japan crowd against outsiders. Kikuchi may be the greatest babyface in puro history and will never be booed, even if you put him in a suit and make him Thomas Kikuchi. So Liger and Tanaka decide to heel it up, and few do it better. This was the longest of the three, and probably the best in the ring, as they work a long great match, and then climax in a mini singles match between Kikuchi and Liger with the seconds running in and making saves.”
“Kikuchi sells the beatdown NOT like Ricky Morton. Kikuchi sells the beatdown NOT like Dusty Rhodes. Kikuchi sells the beatdown like Jimmy Stewart in IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE. It’s fucking awesome. Each setback, he is completely broken as a man and has to find some glimmer of hope to continue. His survival is an odyssey and his face tells the story the whole way, the struggle etched on every line in his face as he ties his manhood to the sticking place and fights through with his completely broken down body and you see as he sees when he has the slightest glimmer of hope. The joint erupts at his comebacks. You cry when he makes the tag – as if he were running past the Bedford Falls movie house, and when they get the pin, it’s like his brother flew in through the blizzrd to toast Tsuyoshi Kikuchi, the richest guy in town.”
The later match was reviewed by DEAN in DVDVR #142
“The continuation of the NOAH Jr vs New Japan Jrs feud with tag match between Kanamaru/Kikuchi vs Kanemoto/Lyger was about at the pinnacle of wrestling…. Best motherfucking feud ever.”