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tonight on Raw (1997) they had the interview with Brian Pillman's wife Melanie. wow that was tough to sit thru. can't believe vince put that on tv.

on the other hand, it also had the Jim Cornette "shoot", which was awesome.

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08/18/90 - Tsuruta/Taue/Fuchi vs. Misawa/Kawada/Kikuchi(AJPW) ****1/2

 

This is on the list as 10/19/90, but that is the date of the previous six-man tag on the list, which remains the best six-man tag I've ever seen.  That isn't a slight on this match at all.  That match is Halle Berry in Boomerang, this match is Halle Berry in The Program.  Both are damn good, but one kind of has a funny haircut.  Kikuchi is switched in for Kobashi in this one, but it honestly isn't that big of a drop off.  Kikuchi if nothing else takes a lariat like he's trying to get decapitated for our entertainment.  He's the smallest guy in the match, but that doesn't stop him from trying to take it to the much bigger guys in the match.  He's like Steve Smith Sr. you might be bigger than him, but you do not want those problems.  The thing that makes these matches great is that these guys hit every single move like they are trying to win the match.  Jumbo's bodyslams look like he is trying to throw his opponent through the mat, they aren't just there to put a guy in position to do another move.  This is something that I think is missing from most current wrestling.  They spend so much time setting up their spots, that everything in between those spots loses meaning.  Everything here means something, they aren't just trying to get their moves in, they are trying to win the match.  They aren't posing and gesturing to let the crowd know what move is coming next, they are punishing their opponent.  This is a great match that starts off hot as an oven, and ends roughly the same temperature as a supernova.  Everybody gets a chance to shine here, except maybe Fuchi, but that could be because I think he looks like someone's wimpy grandpa.

 

5/26/90 - Tsuruta/Kabuki/Fuchi vs. Misawa/Taue/Kobashi (AJPW) ****1/2

 

Fuchi and Taue start this match with a competition to see who has the worst physique.  For the record Fuchi clearly has the worse physique, because at least Taue looks like he was put together by a mad scientist.  Either way, both guys have the ability to bring it, and that is what really matters.  As far as Kabuki goes, this is only the second time I've watched him and the first time his offense was repeated claw holds…he probably did six or seven extended claw holds in an 8 minute match.  It is safe to say, that I'm not a fan.  I don't know who or what caused this Misawa/Jumbo beef, but it is very clear in this match that these two just plain hate each other's guts.  Smack dab in the middle of this match the two of them basically have a brawl that gets so out of hand everyone else has to come in to break it up.  It was a pretty cool segment that really put over that this is not just a couple of guys competing to see who is the best.  These are two guys willing to end the other's career if that is what it takes to prove they are the better man.  It really raises the stakes of the match.  It really shows, because I can watch this match commentated in a different language and understand who is who, and what is what based on nothing but how these guys work in the ring.  After the brawl it is pretty apparent that Jumbo is pissed, and he takes it out on the young bucks.  He really knows how to turn on the viciousness, and he throws the best bodyslams I've ever seen.  I love how he plays his role as company ace.  He isn't just the face of the company, he is the best in the world, and he will defend his spot tooth and nail.  It isn't enough for him to know he's the best, he's going to make sure his opponent knows he is the best.  Misawa is right there with him going blow for blow and not backing down from Jumbo's legend.  He truly believes it is his turn and he is going to take his spot whether Jumbo likes it or not.  These matches are great on their own, but watching them play out over a series of matches really illustrates how incredible of incredible of a story they are telling.  Jumbo's time on top is coming to an end, yet he isn't dead yet.  Misawa's time has come, but he might not quite be ready.  These guys are heading to a showdown, and both are 100% confident that they'll be the one to walk out, but one of them is going to be wrong.  This is a great match, and my only regret is that I didn't watch these matches sequentially so I could watch this story play out as it happened at the time, but it is still damn good.

 

2/25/90 - Luger vs. Flair (NWA) ****1/2

 

(I wrote this for the Wrestlewar '90 review in the WWE Network Thread.)  Luger is out first and the crowd absolutely loves him.  Flair gets a good reaction too, but Luger is clearly the fan favorite here.  1990 Ric Flair is basically everything you could ask for in a wrestler, he is just a master of every little thing.  With that said, Luger is probably at his peak here, and Flair makes his power moves look like a million bucks.  The basic story of this match is that Lex is a super human force of nature, but a rookie.  Flair on the other hand is a wily veteran who is also the dirtiest player in the game.  It is basically a contest to see if Lex can overcome all of Flair's dirty tricks to gain the World Championship.  Flair bumps around like a pinball for all of Luger's offense, but when he gets Luger hurt he is focused like a laser.  Any chance Flair can get he uses the ropes for leverage,  goes to the eyes, or distracts the ref so Woman can get a cheap shot in, because he knows that he can't match Lex strength to strength.  So Flair smartly tries to take out an arm first to stop all the power moves and then goes to the leg to set up the figure four.  Everything Flair does makes sense, but Lex is essentially superhuman and his strength eventually overwhelms Flair.  Woman interferes again and distracts Lex and the ref allowing Flair to ram Luger into the ref and Nick Patrick is out cold.  Lex hits about 78 power moves including a powerslam and a superplex before putting Flair into the torture rack, but the ref is still out.  The ref recovers just in time to see the Horseman come out to attack the injured Sting, and Lex comes out to make the save.  The ref counts Luger out and Flair is still World Champion.  This was awesome, Flair was so fucking good at this point, and Luger was no slouch.  Everything just clicked, and the only real fault I have with it was the count out finish.

 

5/4/90 - Pantera vs. Fuerza (CMLL) ****1/4

 

OK, so as a disclaimer I think I need to say that I haven't watched a lot of lucha, and the little that I have watched I've found confusing.  I just don't understand how they build their matches.  For instance the first fall of this match was a lot of mat work that didn't really lead to anything.  They started off with a lot of holds that were a variation of a groin stretch, but it seemed to be in the match as an excuse to do some crazy matwork.  After a couple armdrags, Pantera pins Fuerza Guerrera with a Majistral cradle.  The second fall starts with a long sequence of complicated armdrags, and some cool rope running spots from Pantera.  He is really good at being the quick, flippy technico.  Fuerza on the other hand is basically a surly bastard who would rather stretch this asshole with crazy, overly complex submissions, and takes the second fall with a kind of chickenwing, deathlock.  The third fall starts and Guererra is taking it to Pantera.  He is hitting a bunch of bulldogs and slams and just generally kicking ass.  There is a cool sequence where Pantera kicks Fuerza's leg as he's running the ropes and he does the Chris Hamrick bump, and Pantera follows him to the floor with a tope con hilo…in 19 fucking 90.  They then trade Gory Guerrero specials and I really thought Fuerza was going to tap when Pantera rolled through and had him in sort of a rolling Boston crab.  They trade a few more submissions, that would take a paragraph in a half to describe, before Fuerza goes to the top and goes for what looked like a swanton, but Pantera moves and goes for a Romero Special.  Fuerza blocks a hurricarana with a powerbomb and locks in what I'm going to call a Tequila Sunrise(half crab with arm hooked, except not turned all the way over like Konnan used to do it).  This was pretty fun, and I think I followed it better than most of the lucha I've watched.  I can't in good conscious say whether it is worth its rating, because it is a style that still doesn't really click in my mind for some reason.  So I'll say that I liked it, and hopefully I'll start to understand it better with this project.

 

2/25/90 - Midnight Express vs. RNR Express (NWA) ****1/4

 

(I wrote this for the Wrestlewar '90 review in the WWE Network Thread.)  One of my biggest shames as a wrestling fan is my almost complete ignorance of this feud.  I mean just look at the mullets, how can I not love these guys.  Jim Cornette is wearing the same suit Michael P.S. Hayes wore at the Hall of Fame.  The Rock N Roll control early, and Cornette comically tries to help the Midnights and almost gets his ass kicked by Nick Patrick.  Cornette is such a stooge, he just knows how to get the crowd to hate his guts.  The Midnights take over and Ricky Morton is getting his ass kicked.  This is perfect old school tag team wrestling.  The faces are full of fire, and the heels are absolute technicians.  WWE needs to have a heel tag team like the Midnights who win with just pure execution with their quick tags and double teams.  Seriously, if they found two guys who could work that style, and put them with Heyman the tag division would take a huge step up.  All their best teams are faces, (The Wyatts excluded) especially with the Real American break up, an old school, technical heel team could really get the division over.

 

 10/10/90 - Tsuruta/Taue/Inoue vs. Misawa/Kawada/Kobashi (AJPW) ****1/4

 

This match started pretty slow, and I was all set to be disappointed, but by the end of the match I was once again amazed by how good these guys are.  This is one of those matches that builds from a competitive sporting event to a life or death struggle for superiority.  It is hard to write anything new about these matches, because they are all great in much of the same ways.  There is a feud between Jumbo Tsuruta, the company ace, and Mitsuharu Misawa the young lion trying to take his spot.  Between their big singles matches they continue their feud in multi-man tag matches that brings in another group of veterans and young guns that helps elevate Kawada and Kobashi.  It is apparent that these guys are future stars and you can already see the roles that they will fill.  Kobashi is already super sympathetic, taking the beating for the youngsters during the heat segment.  Kawada is a surly ass kicker, who gets the hot tag to get Kobashi's retribution for the punishment he endured.  You can see the foundation of the next decade of All Japan.  Misawa the ace, Kobashi the beloved sympathetic babyface, and Kawada the surly underdog have come into their own and it's only going to get better from here.  These series of matches can't be overstated, they have all been very good at least, and all-time great at best.  ****1/4 seems to be right in the range that I would have rated this match, but at this point it doesn't even matter.  I'm willing to watch any combination of Tsuruta, Misawa, Taue, Kawada, and Kobashi  from this time period with absolute confidence it will good.

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The Ding Dongs had a TV match in-between their debut at the Clash and their destruction by the Skyscrapers. They even got Ricky Bobby's kids from Talladega Nights to comment on the Ding Dongs. Then Jim Ross does a soliloquy trying to avoid constantly burying the Ding Dongs for 4 minutes.

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I just watched the entire Dynamite Kid/Tiger Mask series and I stand by my belief that they've aged worse than any other "great match" series. I think the Dynamite/Fujinami match on the disc was better than any of the TM matches by quite a bit.

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This is, as far as I can tell, the only Quasimodo match out there. He's an all-action savage with a freaky lump on the back of his head. I love the manic frustration he exhibits, like a techy Kamala. Poor Gil takes yet more punishment, but gets a bit more shine.

 

Three of my favourite wrestlers in the world, and Kid Cool, looking all fresh faced and rough around the edges. No idea what year this is from.

This youtube channel is pretty cool. About to watch Marty Jones vs The Barbarian.

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watched SNME #8.

 

1. IC Title, Randy Savage ©  vs.  Jake Roberts

very good match that incorporates both Liz and the Snake, and builds to a breaking point. this pre-dates their later feud. both men are heels, but Jake is getting huge "DDT" chants. Savage is all over the place because he's awesome. We get a Double DQ when both men shove the referee (Dave Hebner) down.

 

2. World Title: Hulk Hogan ©  vs.  Hercules Hernandez

the match itself isn't anything special, but Jesse Ventura sure makes it that way. Well, Heenan starts the awesome by purchasing Hercules' contract, then cutting a promo which almost gets you to believe that Hercules is going to take out Hulk Hogan. Hogan cuts a promo that includes "Hung and bung on the Titanic."  Herc gets Hogan in the backbreaker. After 45 seconds or so, he lets him down and starts to celebrate. the ref (Dave Hebner again) says that Herc hasn't won and the match continues. Jesse YELLS that he heard Hogan give up, and what is Gorilla Monsoon doing, assigning a referee who was just unconscious in the last match. He says it must be affecting his decision making and that Herc should rightfully declared the winner.  Hogan promptly recovers and wins with a leg drop.

 

3. Roddy Piper  vs.  Bob Orton

pretty decent match here, but the money's in the promos. Orton is saying that he was never friends with Piper. A later interview with Piper disagrees, saying that he's the one who had to keep propping Orton up and if that's not friendship, what is? he ends it with "i was rowdy before rowdy was cool".  Piper gets a pretty quick win in an enjoyable match.  Dave Hebner was once again the referee, which Jesse Ventura was again fuming about.

 

4. Hart Foundation  vs.  Killer Bees

this is unofficially for the #1 tag team contendership, according to the announcers.  the Hart's pre-fight promo was good, with Neidhart doing most of the talking and Bret just kinda agreeing.  the match started off good, but i fell asleep halfway through and missed the rest of the show.

 

 

overall, (or overhalf anyway), this show ticked all my boxes and put a big smile on my face. THIS. IS. WRESTLING. clapclapclapclapclap.

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That baby BritWres tag match is really fun, loved Dynamite just hurling Dean onto their opponents with little regard for Allmark's safety. I'd forgotten all about Kid Cool. I recall seeing him for All Star wrestling a guy called the Brooklyn Brawler (obviously not Steve Lombardi) in a "UK vs USA" match. Kid Cool let his country down worse than Rob Green that night.

I signed up for a Lovefilm account two years ago, and put on a load of wrestling DVDs alongside all the films on there. After two years, they've suddenly decide to stop sending me films and send me wrestling DVD after wrestling DVD. I've just sent back a Necro Butcher interview/comp and have two TNA shows on the go. Turning Point 2009 is pretty good so far. There's a great Tara/Kong cage match,which is sub-10 minutes, but has the two throwing lovely power moves at each other. Also, a Rhino/Team 3D vs Morgan/Hernandez/Pope 6-man that is a load of fun, surprisingly, with a hot finishing stretch. Still got Angle/Wolfe and Styles/Daniels/Joe to look forward to.

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The Raw Guest Host era had some pretty surreal episodes (with crazy dead crowds) but is this the most surreal? Between Vince and Jesse on commentary, Vince shitting on the commentary idea, Sheamus winning the thing and then an immediate contract signing where Jesse rants and raves about conspiracies for 5 minutes, I don't think there was a crazier one in it's entire run.

 

EDIT: oh man, I;m down the Youtube rabbit hole now

 

 

This is a so-so TLC match (with a crazy bump by Jericho toward the end) but it's a solo JR job on commentary and fucking damn, it's incredible. 

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watched SNME #8.

 

1. IC Title, Randy Savage ©  vs.  Jake Roberts

very good match that incorporates both Liz and the Snake, and builds to a breaking point. this pre-dates their later feud. both men are heels, but Jake is getting huge "DDT" chants. Savage is all over the place because he's awesome. We get a Double DQ when both men shove the referee (Dave Hebner) down.

 

2. World Title: Hulk Hogan ©  vs.  Hercules Hernandez

the match itself isn't anything special, but Jesse Ventura sure makes it that way. Well, Heenan starts the awesome by purchasing Hercules' contract, then cutting a promo which almost gets you to believe that Hercules is going to take out Hulk Hogan. Hogan cuts a promo that includes "Hung and bung on the Titanic."  Herc gets Hogan in the backbreaker. After 45 seconds or so, he lets him down and starts to celebrate. the ref (Dave Hebner again) says that Herc hasn't won and the match continues. Jesse YELLS that he heard Hogan give up, and what is Gorilla Monsoon doing, assigning a referee who was just unconscious in the last match. He says it must be affecting his decision making and that Herc should rightfully declared the winner.  Hogan promptly recovers and wins with a leg drop.

 

3. Roddy Piper  vs.  Bob Orton

pretty decent match here, but the money's in the promos. Orton is saying that he was never friends with Piper. A later interview with Piper disagrees, saying that he's the one who had to keep propping Orton up and if that's not friendship, what is? he ends it with "i was rowdy before rowdy was cool".  Piper gets a pretty quick win in an enjoyable match.  Dave Hebner was once again the referee, which Jesse Ventura was again fuming about.

 

4. Hart Foundation  vs.  Killer Bees

this is unofficially for the #1 tag team contendership, according to the announcers.  the Hart's pre-fight promo was good, with Neidhart doing most of the talking and Bret just kinda agreeing.  the match started off good, but i fell asleep halfway through and missed the rest of the show.

 

 

overall, (or overhalf anyway), this show ticked all my boxes and put a big smile on my face. THIS. IS. WRESTLING. clapclapclapclapclap.

 

Completely agree. I LOVE this show. They do a marvelous job of making Hercules SEEM credible as a challenger, with even Hogan questioning if he can beat him. Roberts-Savage is tremendous fun, 86 Piper is pure God status and while not mentioned here you also get Don Muraco and Mr. Fuji singing "Dixie" before Muraco's match vs. Dick Slater.

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Six months after the first part of this match showed up, the conclusion has surfaced, and it adds up to something pretty great. Duranton's valet really winds up the crowd, so much that some of them start pushing at him. The commentator even takes a swing at him and afterwards you see the commentator holding a shoe someone has presumably thrown. The match itself is fantastic, building to a crescendo as the strikes get looser and nastier. The finish is perfect. There's about 5 minutes overlap on the two videos.

 

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Halloween Havoc '97.

 

Ultimo Dragon/Yuji Nagata is a very good match. Dragon obviously should've won, since A. he's the face and B. Nagata was only around for a month and nobody cared about him.  But since he had to go away to have elbow surgery or whatever it makes sense. i'm still bitter about this one.

 

Jericho/Gedo is fun for what it is, even tho the crowd couldn't care less about Gedo to begin with. Jericho's super frankensteiner is still scary to watch, since he lands right on his head. good way to showcase some of jericho's stuff against an opponent who can match him in it.

 

Eddie/Mysterio is absolutely one of the tippy-top best matches that has ever happened. 

everything is so crisp, so flowing, and the match starts off with such a frantic pace but everything is still great. the little stuff like Eddie picking Rey up by the mask and tearing at the mask while in submission holds is just phenomenal (no AJ Styles).  Seriously, i don't know if i'd put a single match above this one, ever.

 

Disco Inferno/Jacqueline is ridiculous. the fact that they decided to hold a man/woman match in a town with laws strictly forbidding any male-on-female violence is so fucking WCW that it's not even funny.

 

Flair/Hennig is ok. honestly it doesn't do much for me.

 

Savage/Page III remains a guilty pleasure of mine. it really does feel brutal when compared to a lot of the other stuff going on at that time. Savage is my all-time favorite wrestler so that definitely plays a part too.

 

Hogan/Piper in the cage i don't hate as much as most people do, but mainly because Savage's terrible dive off the top of the cage and how the show pretty much ends with Hogan and Savage just putting a beating on the fan that climbs into the ring. i could see that dude get punched over and over and be perfectly content.

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the world has more Mega Maharishi/Buddy Rose promos now

 

 

 

 

if you're curious for a timeline, Wiskowski was doing this Rajneesh gimmick at the exact time that the Portland paper was running articles on the Rajneeshis. So Mega Maharishi was a thinly-veiled Ed Wiskowski who was cutting promos on Bobby Jaggers being a coward, Oregonian firefighters not being brave enough to put out fires and Buddy Rose not using steroids.

 

Here's the Bobby Jaggers response. This guy is uploading all the 1985 Portland right now.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

1/31/90 - Liger vs. Sano (NJPW) *****

 

I somehow couldn't find this on YouTube when I was going through these matches in order, but now there seem to be 10 different videos of it.  It is kind a gift to have misplaced because it breaks up the All Japan matches that have dominated 1990.  Liger is on the short list of greatest of all time, and this is one of his greatest matches.  He takes an ass whooping for the record books early in this match with his mask being ripped off and a pretty nasty blade job on top of it.  Sano tries to knock him the fuck out hitting big moves and backing off so the referee can make his 10 count.  Liger sells all of Sano's offense like absolute death and at one point has to use the referee's leg to pull himself up before he can complete the count.  Sano's throws every suplex in the encyclopedia in this match, and every single one of them is executed perfectly.  I'm a huge mark for suplexes so this is right up my alley.  Liger makes his comeback after reversing a back drop and they go into the finishing run.  Liger hits a stiff Ligerbomb and finishes Sano off with a Shooting Star Press.  If you haven't seen this match go to YouTube and give it a look.  It is probably 5 years ahead of its time and a pretty strong peek into what is to come during the NJPW Jr. division's incredible run in the 1990s.  This match deserves the 5 stars, it is one of the best examples of one of my favorite types of matches.  The NJPW Jr. division was what got me into Japanese pro wrestling and the run they had in the 90s was comparable to any run in history in my opinion.  This is basically the egg that hatched and gave birth to that run. 

 

9/29/90 - Misawa/Kawada vs. Kobashi/Ace (AJPW) ****

 

How bad of a wrestler would the fourth guy in a match with Misawa/Kawada/Kobashi for it to be a bad match?  I'm typing this as Johnny Ace, his mullet, and his absurd mannerisms and I have to say I'm not impressed.  My only Johnny Ace experience is his WCW run as a Dynamic Douche and as the Raw general manager, so forgive me for not coming into this with a positive opinion of him.  Business picks up as Kobashi and Kawada brawl, and Kawada decides he's going to murder Kobashi with a powerslam on the floor.  Not satisfied that Kobashi is still drawing breath Kawada then decides to suplex him from the apron to the floor.  Johnny gets a hot tag and takes over for a second before getting elbowed into oblivion by Misawa, and tagging in Kobashi.  Kobashi hits a series of slaps before getting kicked in the back by Kawada while running the ropes and eating a brainbuster.  As far as faces in peril go, you don't get much better than Kenta Kobashi, he is about as sympathetic a character as there has ever been in wrestling and this match takes full advantage.  Kobashi counters a Kawada powerbomb and tags in Johnny.  Kawada cuts him off on the top rope only to have Kobashi come in leading to Kobashi and Ace hitting a Doomsday Device.  Before too long Misawa and Kawada continue murderizing Kobashi before the match ends abruptly.  I think that this was a time limit draw, but I don't speak Japanese so I can't confirm.  This was essentially everyone doing what they do best, Kobashi being sympathetic, Misawa being the ace, and Kawada kicking ass…oh and Johnny being a big goof.  This was a **** match that seemed like they were going  through the motions.  I want you to understand that there is nothing at all wrong with this match, they do a lot of really fun sequences and Kobashi takes a couple insane bumps.  The only issue with this match is that in 1990 three of these guys are in at least 10 better matches that make this look average.  Seriously, if you don't pay attention to anything else I say here, know that the feud between Jumbo and Misawa is one of the greatest feuds ever and you should watch all of it. 

 

12/16/90 - Doom vs. Anderson/Windham (NWA) ****

 

This is a street fight for the titles and it is just a flat out brawl.  There really isn't much to say about this match other than that you probably don't want any problems with any of these dudes in real life.  All four guys beat the hell out of each other.  All four guys blade and bleed all over the place.  All of these dudes have been pretty good for most of their careers, and this is a pretty good performance from all four of them.  I don't think this is a **** match, but I also don't think that is the point.  This was a mid feud match that was designed to make the audience think that these are the four toughest motherfuckers on the planet, and set up a blow off to the feud.  It was a fun brawl between four absolute pros and it accomplished everything it set out to do. 

 

7/28/90 - Perfect vs. Santana (WWF) ****

 

Tito Santana is a wrestler I remember loving as a kid, but this is probably the first Tito Santana match I've even thought about in 20 years.  These guys have a really good chemistry.  Tito's simple babyface fire offense and Perfect's crazy bumping fit together seamlessly.  Tito has the match won about 75 time, except Mr. Perfect fell into Earl Hebner's knee making him unable to make a count.  We get a new ref, and Perfect takes control.  They battle back in forth in a really fun match that ends when Perfect reverses the small package, that Tito reversed the Perfectplex with.  I don't think this is a **** match, but this is a really good television match that I probably watched 75 times as a child.  I used to tape the Saturday Night's Main Events and watch them over and over, and this would have been right up my alley.  This is everything that a 9-year-old me could have wanted, but 33-year-old me found it to be a little less than ****.

 

7/12/90 - Tsuruta/Inoue/Kabuki vs. Misawa/Kawada/Kobashi (AJPW) ****

 

Guess who 's back in the mother fucking house with a **** match for your motherfucking mouth.  There are very few things in this world that are certain, but I think it is safe to say that 1990 All Japan is one of the best single year runs in the history of pro wrestling.  I started this project hoping to see some good matches and discover some wrestlers I may have missed over the years.  Before I started I had never watched one second of Jumbo Tsuruta, and now I feel like I missed the boat on one of the greatest wrestlers of all time.  I've been watching wrestling as long as I can remember, and in a couple of months Jumbo has climbed into a echelon of my fandom held by the likes of Flair, Savage, Foley, and Austin.  He is on the shortlist of guys that mere sight of their name on a YouTube clip piques my interest.  It doesn't matter who he's wrestling, because if Jumbo's in the ring I know I'm in good hands.  The YouTube version of this match is only 12 minutes, and it starts with Misawa, Kawada, and Kobashi doing their standard spots against Inoue and Kabuki.  I really thought this was going to be a bit of a letdown, but Jumbo wouldn't let it happen.  He let his partners shine, as much as they could, during their segments, but there was no mistake who the star was when he stepped into the ring.  I don't think there is an active wrestler in the world right now who has 5% of the presence that Jumbo had in the ring.  Everything about him just screamed, "THE MAN."                

 

5/26/90 - Fuyuki/Kikuchi vs. Kawada/Nakano (AJPW) ****

 

This one starts with Kikuchi taking it to Kawada and really laying in the kicks…bad fucking idea.  Kawada counters a snapmare and returns fire with a barrage of kicks that eventually became uncomfortable to watch.  I took the opportunity during the last match to write a fanboy love letter to Jumbo, and before this list is over I foresee myself writing one to Kawada as well.  He is just about everything I want from a wrestler.  This is clipped down to 8 minutes and while I wish I could watch and rate the entire match it doesn't seem to  lessen the emotion  of the match.  Both teams are working their asses off, the crowd is invested, and it feels like a big match.  Based on the I minutes I saw I'm going to go ahead and assume that this earned its **** rating, I'd like to see the whole thing though. 

 

Well that wraps up 1990 and now let's give out some awards.

 

Wrestler of the year:  This is simultaneously the hardest and easiest award to give, because there are only two people in contention, but I don't think it is possible to separate Mitsuharu Misawa and Jumbo Tsuruta.  This is the ultimate changing of the guard feud.  Jumbo is the epitome of old school surliness.  He doesn't tell kids to get off his lawn, he goes outside and kicks their ass until they leave and never come back.  Misawa is the one kid who wouldn't leave.  Sure, he took his beatings, but deep down in his heart he knew he had what it took to take his place.  Thankfully I'm an academy of one, and I get to make up these awards as I go along.  Both guys get the award, and 1990 for Misawa and Jumbo is every bit as good as 1989 was for Ric Flair. 

 

Match of the year:  10/19/90 - Tsuruta/Taue/Fuchi vs. Misawa/Kawada/Kobashi (AJPW) *****

 

The Jumbo/Misawa match from June is a close second, but while that is a great match this is the best six-man tag match I've ever seen.  The Jumbo/Misawa feud defined the year, and while the singles matches were great, the tag matches are what really told the story.  Jumbo and his crew of vets are defending their place in the world and Misawa's crew of young guns are coming to knock them off their perch.  Most wrestling feuds are told as simple man vs. man stories, but this one works better as army vs. army.  Jumbo and Misawa are unquestionably the generals of the armies, but Taue, Fuchi, Kawada, and Kobashi bring another layer of storytelling that pushes this feud over the edge of greatness into the realm of legendary. 

 

Those are the only two awards I'm giving this year based on the fact that no matter what other award I'd think of it would go to these guys for the exact same reasons I've stated above.  I'm not really one to tell people that they have to do anything, but if you are a wrestling fan you have to watch the Misawa/Jumbo feud and the tag matches that go with it.  Trying to talk about great wrestling without these matches is like trying to talk about the history of black music without mentioning James Brown.  The conversations would just be incomplete.

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2/24/91 - Sting/Pillman/Steiners vs. Sid/Flair/Zbyszko/Windham - War Games (WCW) *****

 

This is great from the very first second.  Pillman and Windham start and I would have been satisfied if it was just 20 minutes of these guys brawling.  Pillman is a house afire and Windham sells his ass off.  Windham blades maybe 30 seconds into this match and is wearin the crimson mask before Flair comes in and they commence to put the beatdown on Pillman.  Sting comes in next and this match has so far been structured perfectly.  Zbyszko comes in next and the heels once again get the advantage while they have the numbers advantage.  Rick Steiner is in next, and I honestly wonder if anyone has ever told him that he doesn't have to try to kill people with those Steinerlines.  Seriously he hit a couple of clotheslines where he launched himself in the air and put all of his strength into them.  I love the War Games concept, but there are a couple of reasons that I can see why they don't do them anymore.  The first thing is that the distance between the rings is problematic.  There are a couple of times where a guy would throw someone from one ring of the other only for them to realize in midair that their legs weren't going to make it over the second set of ropes.  The second thing, and I don't have any idea how they didn't realize this back then is that the ceiling of that cage is ridiculously low.  The end of this match is basically Sid's almost seven foot tall ass almost killing Brian Pillman with a powerbomb because his feet hit the roof on the way up.  To add insult to injury El Gigante comes out to drag Brian Pillman out of the ring and we don't really a satisfying ending.  Other than the last minute and a half, this was outstanding.  There was not a single dull second of this match.  The heels were vicious, the faces were full of fire, and everyone…OK, maybe not Sid…had on their working boots.  For an added bonus you should look up the bad ass poster for Wrestle War '91 with Arn Anderson, Barry Windham, and Sid in camo.  That is worth almost the full ***** all by itself. 

 

4/20/91 - Tsuruta/Taue/Fuchi vs. Misawa/Kawada/Kobashi (AJPW) *****

 

This is a rematch of my 1990 match of the year, and I have to say, I'm pretty much pumped to see what these guys give me.  The first thing that strikes me in this match is that the vets have stepped up their viciousness and are done fucking around with these punk kids.  Taue and Jumbo seem to have decided that these young bucks have gotten a little too big for their britches and it is time for them to pay for the last year of transgressions.  The main feud in 1990 was between Jumbo and Misawa, but it is very apparent that Kawada and Taue have grown to hate each other's guts.  Taue knocks Kawada off the apron a couple times early, leaving him unavailable for the first 5 minutes or so of the match.  When Kawada comes in to break up a submission he pays him back with about 9651658965165891653 thousand stiff ass kicks and that is before he mounting him (pause) and dropping a bunch of punches and elbows.  Kawada is absolutely everything I could ever want out of a wrestler, he sells his ass off, and hits some of the nastiest strikes of all time, and even does a brainbuster.  The first half of this match is basically a showcase for everything great about Kawada.  Another great thing about these matches is that there really isn't a face team and a heel team.  The vets work more like heels, but their work comes off more like wily veterans who know how to take a man apart than bad guys trying to injure their opponent(I typed this sentence before the systematic destruction of Kobashi's knee).  This dynamic allows both teams to have long heat segments, for there to be face in peril segments for both teams, and for the crowd to cheer loudly for both teams at different throughout the match.  Once again Kobashi is the world's most sympathetic babyface as the vets decide that they want to see if they can rip his leg off and beat him to death with it.  After about 15 minutes of some of the most vicious leg work you'll ever see, Kobashi gets the hot tag to Kawada and he elbows Fuchi about 75 times before hitting him with about 25 short arm clotheslines.  Kawada tags Misawa and a loud Misawa chant breaks out.  Fuchi turns the tide and a loud Fuchi chant breaks out.  Jumbo comes in and destroys Misawa with a lariat four a 2 count and the crowd chants for Misawa again.  The last 10 minutes of this match are fucking masterful.  So many two counts, so many momentum swings, and an ending that calls back to the very beginning of the match.  I am trying to decide whether or not I like this match than the one from 1990, and I think I like the 1990 one better.  With that said, this is fucking excellent.  In the 1990 match there was a bigger gulf between the vets and the young guns, and that is the only reason I'm rating it higher.  I prefer that dynamic just a tad more than this one…but this is an almost unbelievably good wrestling match. 

 

8/3/91 - Cactus vs. Gilbert (TWA) *****

 

This is a difficult match for me to actually rate, because it is a fairly crappy handheld video and all of the big spots seemed to happen on the exact opposite side of the ring from where the camera was set up.  They are not only taking crazy bumps in front of about 200 people, a good portion of the crowd can't even see what is going on.  This is billed as a 2 out of 3 falls match, but it is more like a best of three series of matches.  The first match is falls count anywhere, the next match is a stretcher match, and the third is a cage match.  I think it would be unfair for me to try to rate this match as a 33-year-old, who has been watching wrestling as long as I can remember, so I'm going to turn this over to 10-year-old Supremebve…Cactus Jack is a crazy person who is mad at "Hot Stuff" Eddie Gilbert, because he thinks he's so cool.  In the first match Cactus Jack beat up "Hot Stuff" and won the match.  In the second match "Hot Stuff" hit Cactus Jack in the head with a bottle and then stabbed him in the face with it.  He told Cactus Jack he was going to kill him and then gave him a piledriver and a DDT on the concrete floor.  I thought that Cactus Jack was dead.  The referees save Cactus Jack's life, by putting him on a stretcher and taking him away.  The third match was a cage match, and I didn't think Cactus Jack was going to be able to wrestle.  They played his music and he didn't come out, and Eddie Gilbert got on the microphone and called him gutless.  They played Cactus Jack's music again, and he still didn't come out.  The doctor said that Cactus can't wrestle, because he is too hurt.  People in the crowd started cussing.  Cactus Jack came out with his head wrapped up like a mummy, and said that he doesn't want any matches he wanted Eddie Gilbert's a-word.  He got in the cage and started kicking "Hot Stuff's" butt.  Cactus Jack climbed to the top of the cage and "Hot Stuff" drop kicked him out of the ring all the way to the floor.  Then they fought outside the ring, look I know wrestling is not real, but these guys are really fighting.  "Hot Stuff" clotheslines the referee and then Cactus Jack punches him in the face with some brass knuckles.  "Hot Stuff's" brother jumps in and beats up Cactus Jack, and starts choking him.  "Hot Stuff"  then tells Cactus Jack he's going to kill him again, and then starts kneeing him in the nuggets.  Doug Gilbert takes off his boot and starts hitting Cactus Jack in the face with it.  Bam Bam Bigelow jumps in and then him and Cactus Jack beat up the Gilbert brothers.  I really liked this match, because they did some stuff that I never seen anyone ever do before.  Cactus Jack did a lot of crazy stuff like doing a top rope elbow drop outside of the ring, and Eddie Gilbert hit him in the head with a bottle.  33-year-old me is coming back, and later he said he'd tell me what a boobie feels like…OK, he wasn't supposed to share that last part.  I turned this over to 10-year-old me because it is important to look at some of these matches the way they were watched at the time.  This is the earliest version of the brawling style that ECW made famous later in the decade.  There were table spots, big bumps to the floor, and all types of other nonsense.  The bottle spot was insane, only Foley would let a guy break a bottle over his head in a worked match.  With that said, this doesn't hold up very well.  The match itself isn't bad, but there is absolutely no selling despite putting each other through tables, hitting each other with chairs, and breaking a fucking bottle over Cactus Jack's head.  It told a decent story, and it was innovative, but those two things can't justify a ***** rating.

 

1/23/91 - Nakano vs. Hotta - Cage (AJW) *****

 

I've been watching wrestling for as long as I can remember, and I have very few blind spots when it comes to watching the squared circle.  Joshi is essentially the dark side of the moon in my universe of wrestling.  It is completely uncharted territory, that said the Joshi wrestler I've seen the most of is Bull Nakano.  I remember her brief runs in both WWF and WCW, but she isn't exactly a woman you forget.  This is an escape rules cage match against Yumiko Hotta, and not only is this the first Joshi match I've ever watched, I think it is the first Japanese cage match I've ever seen as well.  Bull comes into the match with a heavily taped left knee and Hotta targets it with kicks from the opening bell.  Bull uses her superior size and strength to take over and put a beat down on Hotta.  Hotta makes a comeback and hits a top rope back elbow that buckles Bull's knee and tries to make an escape.  Bull pulls her off the cage and hits a nasty backdrop followed by a series of jumping kicks that all look brutal.  Someone throws some nunchucks in the ring and Nakano proceeds to beat Hotta half to death with them.  This building needs better security, because every time one of the women tries to climb out, a bunch of fans runs up to the side of the cage so they can't make it to the ground.  This match ends with one of the most absolutely insane, why the fuck did Hotta agree to do that, spots I've ever seen.  Nakano, who is at least 200 lbs. hits Hotta with a flipping guillotine leg drop from the top rope, only to climb to the top of the cage and hit her with another guillotine leg drop.  There are a lot of women I'd like to sit on my face, but I don't think I'd let any of them sit on my face like that.  Seriously it has to be seen to be believed.  This probably isn't a ***** match, but it is pretty damn good and that finish really puts this in a whole different stratosphere.  There are a lot worse ways you can spend 20 minutes.

 

1/4/91 - Nakano vs. Hokuto (AJW) *****

 

Bull Nakano is back and this time she looks pissed…OK, she always looks pissed, but that isn't really the point.  Akira Hokuto looks to be on the losing end of about a 110 lb. weight disadvantage, but she is game and rushes Bull to start.  Nakano clearly doesn't like that so she proceeds to kick the shit out of Hokuto before taking her outside and hitting her in the face with the mallet from the ring bell.  Hokuto fires back with some forearms, and goes for a rollup only to have it countered into an oma plata…who knew that Bull had a jiu jitsu background?  Hokuto reverses into a liontamer and takes over for a bit with submissions before Nakano reverses into a liontamer of her own.  It turns out that the smaller Hokuto is the better submission wrestler and she once again takes control leading to a couple of picture perfect dropkicks.  Bull sells the dropkicks in a pretty unique but effective way.  She doesn't just take a snapback bump, she kind of leans back like she is doing everything she can to stay up, but the impact was just too much and she finally falls over.  It basically puts over her strength as the monster heel and the strength of Hokuto's drop kick.  Hokuto goes to the submission well once too often, and Nakano counters and hits her with a couple of nasty backdrops that drop Hokuto directly on her head.  Bull hits her top rope leg drop for two, and goes for another only for Hokuto to move and hit her with a tiger suplex.  Hokuto hits a series of top rope moves, until once again she goes for one too many and Bull takes over.  Bull Nakano then hits Hokuto with a tombstone piledriver from the second rope followed by a powerbomb.  Hokuto kicks out at two and Bull can't believe it.  Hokuto takes over once again and hits a fucking northern lights bomb and Bull just barely kicks out.  Just as Hokuto looks like she is about to win, Bull counters into another devastating backdrop and gets the one, the two, and the three.  This was outstanding, and I can see why Meltzer gave it the full ***** rating.  It was Bull dominating with her overwhelming power, and Hokuto countering with her superior speed and technical ability.  Every time it looked like Bull was going to just run Hokuto over, Hokuto would do something that would turn the tables.  When Hokuto took control she emptied her entire arsenal and tried to take Bull out as quickly as possible.  The strategy would work until she would get caught with her hand in the cookie jar and Bull would just cut her off and kill her dead with power moves.  I haven't seen many better examples of monster heels vs. fiery babyfaces, you should track this down if you are even remotely interested in Joshi.

 

5/24/91 - Tsuruta vs. Kobashi (AJPW) ****3/4

 

If I had to rank the AJPW heavyweights, at least the ones that matter, from favorite to least favorite Kobashi would be near the bottom, and that is saying something because I think he is fucking awesome.  He's undeniably great, but he is clearly number four when compared to Kawada, Misawa, and Jumbo with me.  That said, this is pretty damn good, and highlights what is great about both guys.  Jumbo is "The Man," and Kobashi is the fiery youngster who will give everything he has and never quit.  Kobashi hits him with everything he has, but Jumbo is still Jumbo and he doesn't lay down for young punks like Kobashi.  Kobashi takes Jumbo to the limit, and Jumbo kills him dead with a back drop to get the win.  The only version of this match I could find was clipped, so I can't say whether this is properly rated, but what I watched was outstanding. 

 

3/21/91 - Hase/Sasaki vs. Steiners (NJPW) ****1/2

 

So this is my first NJPWworld.com watch, and let me tell you I couldn't have picked a more fun match.  I've seen this match probably 15 times over the years, and while I don't think it holds up as a ****1/2 match, it is basically the best heavyweight tag spotfest ever.  There isn't much of a story, there isn't much psychology, and there isn't really much selling, but there are suplexes on top of suplexes on top of suplexes.  Scott does that one suplex where he basically just double legs Hase and turns it into a backdrop.  Rick does his top rope belly to belly.  Scott does his spinning belly to belly.  Hase hits a couple of those beautiful uranages.  Sasake hits a couple of those powerslams where he catches the guy in mid air and then turns him over.  There are probably 10 other big bombs that I don't remember.  If you like suplexes, and have 15 minutes to kill, there isn't much more fun you can have with a wrestling match. 

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I've been reading through old Observers and man, that Cactus/Gilbert match was getting a ton of hype at the time. I think the consensus was that the first two falls/matches were awesome but the crowd was burnt out by the cage match.

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I think that match more than any match on this list so far suffers from being years ahead of its time when it happened, and years behind its time now.  In 1991 I can totally understand why someone would call that a ***** match, because they lived in a pre-ECW/Attitude Era world before these wild brawls were just ran into the ground.  This match happened in a space where everything they did felt fresh and new.  In 2014, post-ECW/Attitude Era/concussions, this match seems dated, played out, and kind of irresponsible.  The problems with the match almost have anything to do with the actual match, they have much more to do with how wrestling was at the time, and what it has turned into currently. 

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I reviewed FMW's 5th Anniversary show in two parts here:

http://prowresblog.blogspot.com/2014/12/fmw-5th-anniversary-show-551994.html

http://prowresblog.blogspot.com/2014/12/fmw-5th-anniversary-show-551994_22.html

 

Overall thoughts: This show had a little bit of everything and was good overall. The M-Pro tag was the first highlight with all the M-Pro crew looking great. The women then stepped up and had a good match. Later on, Terry Funk stole the show with his selling and we got to see Mike Awesome murder junior heavyweights. The semi-main was violent but too long. The main event was easily the best thing on the show though and was a classic match. It had theatrics, cool gimmicks, a hot crowd and good wrestling. I do recommend this show and I think it has something for every fan.

 

Some shots from the show:

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12-21-2014%2B9-54-36%2BPM.jpg

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I reviewed RINGS Mega Battle Tournament '95 1st Round 10/21/1995 here:
http://prowresblog.blogspot.com/2014/12/rings-mega-battle-tournament-95-1st.html

Overall thoughts: This was a pretty good show. There were some really good matches like Zouev/ Ilioukhine, Petkov/Tariel and Kopilov/Zaza that made the show. Nothing was terrible. They also kept things moving with most of the matches being under 7 minutes, which really helped things out when you have some workers who don't really get wrestling. I think this would be a good introduction to RINGS and since it's on youtube, you can check it out if you'd like. Zouev/Ili was definitely the match of the night and Zaza/Kopilov would be close behind.

Some shots from the show:
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1/31/90 - Liger vs. Sano (NJPW) *****

 

I somehow couldn't find this on YouTube when I was going through these matches in order, but now there seem to be 10 different videos of it.  It is kind a gift to have misplaced because it breaks up the All Japan matches that have dominated 1990.  Liger is on the short list of greatest of all time, and this is one of his greatest matches.  He takes an ass whooping for the record books early in this match with his mask being ripped off and a pretty nasty blade job on top of it.  Sano tries to knock him the fuck out hitting big moves and backing off so the referee can make his 10 count.  Liger sells all of Sano's offense like absolute death and at one point has to use the referee's leg to pull himself up before he can complete the count.  Sano's throws every suplex in the encyclopedia in this match, and every single one of them is executed perfectly.  I'm a huge mark for suplexes so this is right up my alley.  Liger makes his comeback after reversing a back drop and they go into the finishing run.  Liger hits a stiff Ligerbomb and finishes Sano off with a Shooting Star Press.  If you haven't seen this match go to YouTube and give it a look.  It is probably 5 years ahead of its time and a pretty strong peek into what is to come during the NJPW Jr. division's incredible run in the 1990s.  This match deserves the 5 stars, it is one of the best examples of one of my favorite types of matches.  The NJPW Jr. division was what got me into Japanese pro wrestling and the run they had in the 90s was comparable to any run in history in my opinion.  This is basically the egg that hatched and gave birth to that run. 

 

I watched this for the first time in a loooooooong time the other night on a whim and it's great. Starts out with total hate from Liger and then he proceeds to eat it for 90% of the match. Normally that would make him winning look like a fluke, but Sano wears himself out with all the brutality so it makes sense. I could have gone for maybe a little more Liger offense at the end to seal the logic but otherwise, no complaints. 

 

After that I watched Koji Kanemoto vs. El Samurai finals from Best of the Super Juniors '96 (right year?) and it is indeed clear where the roots of that match are at, right back in 1990. The pattern is almost the same down to the mask ripping, Kanemoto's dominance, and the almost freak ending after Samurai has been more than just beaten the fuck up but almost legitimately murdered by the reverse Frankensteiner. It's better than Liger/Sano though I think, just because Koji is the biggest bastard to Samurai ever. King of All Junior Dicks, nobody else compares.

 

EDIT: Hey, what the hell? Merry X-Mas, watch some killer pro wrestling. 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNOEDxv7aqQ

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9tX3IDxeP_Q

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