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Kopylov is a lot of fun. I may even like him more than Volk. Grom really isn't as flashy, but he's really good and definitely is a nitty gritty type of guy. I recommend checking out Zouev if you can as he wrestles exactly like Volk. Zouev/Volk have a a few matches on dailymotion that I want to check out.

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So I'm still trying to watch every single match Dave Meltzer ranked 4*s or better, and until WWE gets its shit together I'll probably focus most of my wrestling watching time to this list.  So here we go again…

 

4/28/91 - Liger vs. Owen (NJPW) ****1/2

 

This is a match I've seen maybe 5-10 times over the years and for some reason it always surprises me.  Liger is either the best or tied for the best Jr. Heavyweight wrestler of all time(Rey Mysterio Jr. is his only real competition in my eyes.) and Owen Hart is generally stellar, but this match still exceeds my expectations every time.  There are a couple of sloppy transitions and a slight botch on a tombstone reversal, but otherwise this match is essentially perfect.  Not only that it has a little bit of everything that you could possibly want from a Jr. Heavyweight wrestling match.  There is some pretty good submission work, where Liger does a series of crazy bow and arrow variations.  There are some good suplexes, especially Owen's best ever belly-to-belly.  The high flying is also very great, with Owen hitting a really good moonsault, that he apparently stopped doing as soon as he went to WWF.  Then there is the finish of this match, which is absolutely devastating.  This is a very deserved ****1/2, and could have been more if it wasn't for a couple of slight awkward moments.  This is a great match and a personal favorite.

 

1/27/91 - Misawa/Kawada/Kikuchi vs. Tsuruta/Taue/Fuchi (AJPW) ****1/2

 

While these matches continue to be incredibly fun to watch, they are becoming increasingly difficult to write about.  How many times can I really say that Jumbo, Kawada and Misawa are on the short list of best wrestlers of all time.  It is getting redundant reiterating that this is one of the best feuds of all time.  All of these matches are excellent.  Trying to describe their greatness is kind of like trying to describe the most beautiful woman you've ever seen to a blind man.  No matter what I say, it is not going to be as good as seeing it for yourself.  Instead of trying to describe why this is an incredible match, I'm just going to encourage anyone reading this who hasn't seen this match or any of the matches in the feud to watch them.  If you love wrestling, you'll love these matches.  They are all on YouTube.  They all build in a logical, easy to follow way.  You might not understand the commentary, but you will understand the role that everyone plays.  They feature some of the absolute best wrestlers of all time at a level that is close to their peak.  I implore any wrestling fan who has not watched the feud between Jumbo Tsuruta and Mitsuharu Misawa and their respective teams, do yourself a favor and seek these out, you will enjoy them.

 

9/14/90 - Muta vs. Hase (NJPW) ****1/2

 

The Great Muta is the first Japanese wrestler I ever had the pleasure to watch.  I was in Alexandria, Virginia visiting my mom, and had the rare opportunity to watch NWA wrestling on TBS.  I grew up in a very small town in Ohio, and cable wasn't even available where I lived.  My mom after graduating from college, left me and my sister with my grandparents and moved in my cousin's apartment in northern Virginia hoping to find better opportunities for work than existed in Ohio.  We visited often, and on one of those visits, Sting, a guy who I only saw in wrestling magazines was wrestling this guy called The Great Muta.  Sting was someone I was very excited to see, based on his face paint, and surfer dude personality, but it was Muta who left the bigger impression on me.  Muta walked to the ring in a robe with a mask that completely covered his face.  His entrance music was dark and brooding with some vaguely Japanese xylophone riffs, and I was spellbound by his mere presence.  He got into the ring, took off his hood, and spit a bright green mist into the air, and my life was changed forever.  I was so used to seeing big bulky guys wrestle a slower, more deliberate pace, but this guy was completely different.  The Great Muta had a presence, everything about him was different than everyone else.  He did all types of cool moves, like a handspring elbow, a bunch of karate kicks, and best of all a moonsault.  Randy Savage is my favorite wrestler of all time, and his top rope elbow is probably the thing that drew me to him as a child.  High flying wrestling to me at that time was that elbow, and the Rockers fist drop, I was not prepared for someone doing a backflip and landing on his opponent.  It just never crossed my mind.  That day is probably a top 3 reason I've watched wrestling my entire life.  This match reminded me a lot of that day.  Muta is at his mysterious, devious, almost sinister best.  The match started as a regular match between rivals, but then they go to the outside and Muta busts Hase wide open.  I know that all blade jobs are judged on the Muta Scale, but Hase's blade job here is almost as crazy.  The match picks up speed as Muta seems to go after Hase like a wolf goes after a crippled deer.  Hase comes back like a house afire, and hits all his big moves , including that beautify uranage.  As soon as it looks like Hase is going to get the wind, Muta hits him with the mist and decides to get himself disqualified.  This is pretty much a perfect setup for the bloodbath in 1992, which is funny because it happened over two years before that match.  This is pretty good, and thanks to NJPW World, I was able to track it down.

 

7/26/91 - Misawa/Kawada/Kikuchi vs. Tsuruta/Ogawa/Fuchi (AJPW) ****1/2

 

 OK, I'm going to combine some of my thoughts about this match and the one from 1/27/91, because they kind of have the same theme.  When this feud started, Tsuruta and his team were not necessarily heels, more like grumpy veterans that were telling Misawa and company to get the hell off their lawn.  As the feud has evolved, not only are they heels, they are total, shitbag, fuck your shit up and laugh about it heels.  Misawa entered the match selling a knee injury and about halfway through this match Jumbo takes Misawa outside and goes for a shin breaker on the retaining barrier.  In doing so he basically says, "Oh, poor baby does your knee hurt?  How bout I break it you fucking bitch.  I hate you and your whole fucking family, and I wish them nothing but pain and suffering for the rest of the life of your entire bloodline, you fucking piece of shit…I'm Jumbo FUCKING Tsuruta and I will FUCKING end you."  Jumbo's shin breaker is more of a bend your leg, lift you in the air and slam you as hard as he can on a steel rail and a concrete floor.  It is one of the hardest moves to make look malicious, but he did it, and I legit felt bad for Misawa.  With that said, Misawa is not the person you should feel worse about, because Kikuchi seems to be in this match to collect an ass whooping.  Jumbo hits him with a lariat about 2/3rds into this match and I think I heard Rick Steiner say, "Dude, chill out."  He hit him as hard as I've ever seen anyone hit anyone with a clothesline, and just the sound of it made me cringe.  Jumbo spent most of his career wrestling as the ace babyface, but he is a great heel.  He finishes this match with a trio of brutal backdrops on Misawa for the win.  I'd say that this is worth the ****1/2, but then again, I'm quickly starting to believe that this is the greatest feud ever.

 

5/19/91 - Steiners vs. Luger/Sting (WCW) ****1/2

 

1991 was essentially the most WCW of all the WCW years.  They had a roster of really good young wrestlers, and absolutely no idea how to use them.  Every once in a while though, they got out of their own way and just put 4 of their best, most over guys in a ring and let them wrestle.  These guys spent the entire match trying to figure out different ways to suplex, slam, and clothesline each other, and it is pretty much everything you want from a match from these four wrestlers.  The only real problem is that Dusty Rhodes was the booker, and there was a DQ finish.  This was essentially the story of WCW in one match.  They always had a roster of guys who could flat out work, and somehow they always found a way to put unnecessary obstacles in their way of doing their best work.  ****1/2 is a tad bit high for this match, but it is still tons of fun for a match with a stupid finish. 

 

10/24/91 - Tsuruta vs. Kawada (AJPW) ****1/2

 

So I get to watch a match between my new favorite AJPW wrestler, and my old favorite AJPW wrestler…they'd literally have to jump through the TV and defecate on my carpet for me not to like this.  With that said, this match starts with Kawada working a long headlock sequence, followed by a abdominal stretch/stretch plum sequence, and then the guys trade sleepers…not exactly thrilling stuff.  Don't worry though, they also try to decapitate each other with nasty strikes.  These two come off as the exact last two people on earth you'd ever want to fuck with, and the submissions seem to act as wear down holds more than rest holds.  It's almost like a boxer who doesn't know if he can win in a slugfest so they go to the body to wear their opponent down instead of trying to stand toe-to-toe with someone with the ability to knock them out.  There are a couple of really cool sequences that illustrate this.  The first is when Jumbo hits a big lariat.  He signals to the crowd that he's going for another one, only to have Kawada counter it by kicking him in the face.  Jumbo sells it like death and is writhing on the ground clutching his face like he was just hit with a baseball bat.  The next sequence is when Kawada hits his repeated kicks to the face only to have Jumbo cut him off and hit him with a couple of slaps to the face.  Kawada was on a roll, hitting a couple of big moves only to get cutoff and lose all momentum in a split second.  This match and the 7/26/91 six man seem to be planting the seeds for the more head droppy matches that come later in the decade, because Jumbo's backdrops are getting more and more brutal.  He hits Kawada with a couple here that look absolutely devastating.  This was a damn good match that could have been even better if they would have chose more interesting submissions to work the match around.

 

12/6/91 - Misawa/Kawada vs. Williams/Gordy (AJPW) ****1/4

 

This is my first experience with the Miracle Violence Connection, and I'm pretty psyched to see how the two gaijin match up with Misawa and Kawada.  I think it's safe to say that this crowd absolutely loves Misawa and Kawada, and they are pretty vocal about it.  I've watched a lot of Japanese wrestling, and I don't really get where the myth about Japanese wrestling fans not being vocal comes from…this list has been full of rabid crowds.  The Americans are playing the bullies to our Japanese heroes and the match is structured around Williams and Gordy using their superior size and strength to wear down their Japanese counterparts.  Misawa and Kawada tend to use more speed and quickness to hit and run and try to take their opponents out with quick strikes.  Eventually they trade heat segments and the match devolves into a brawl.  You do not want to brawl with Williams and Gordy.  They take Misawa and Kawada out to the floor and Williams bodyslams Kawada on the floor…only to have Gordy powerbomb Misawa on the floor.  Back in Williams and Gordy try to take Kawada out while Misawa is on the floor recovering, but Kawada is not having it.  He counters all of their big moves and locks in a camel clutch.  Williams breaks it up only to have Kawada hit him with a lariat from behind and knocks him all the way to the floor.  Kawada hits a powerbomb and a diving elbow but can only get two before Williams comes back in and hits him with a nasty powerslam.  Gordy then hits a powerbomb and it looks like it's going to be over only to have Misawa recover and break up the pin.  Misawa fights Williams off, but it is too late because Gordy still has the advantage on Kawada.  Gordy hits his powerbomb and it is all over.  This was great, Gordy and Williams came off as the biggest ass kickers in the world.  Misawa was the sympathetic babyface and Kawada was the double tough, bad ass, who would not go quietly into the night.  This is another great match from Misawa and Kawada and I have a feeling we haven't seen the last of these guys.

 

7/4/91 - Hase/Sasaki vs. Mutoh/Chono (NJPW) ****1/4

 

I found this match, and I tried to watch it but Daily Motion is the worst video site in the history of the world.  I'm watching on my iPad and their  ads open the app store which boots me out of the web browser which basically makes me start all over.  The first five minutes are so were really good though, but hopefully they put it on NJPW World so I can watch it at some point.

 

11/21/91 - Misawa/Kawada vs. Kobashi/Kikuchi (AJPW) ****1/4

 

So what has a higher probability of disappointment?  This match or me not enjoying a night with Angelina Jolie?  I guess it would come down to what era of Angelina Jolie we are talking about... Mother, philanthropist Angelina Jolie…I can see a slight possibility of disappointment, but young, crazy, amulet of blood around her neck Angelina Jolie…well there are a lot of things I'd predict about that encounter…disappointment ain't one of them.  So I think it's safe to say that I'm pretty psyched about this match.  These guys play such clearly defined roles, and they fit together so well.  Kawada is the surly ass kicker, Misawa is the world beater, Kobashi is the sympathetic babyface, and Kikuchi is the spunky underdog with the little man complex.  Kawada and Misawa look like killers when they are on top , and Kobashi and Kikuchi seem like they are overcoming the greatest odds in the world when they take over.  I'm beginning to think Kikuchi's only purpose in life is to get killed by bigger wrestlers.  After watching Jumbo hitting him with a lariat that was bordering on cruel a couple of matches ago, he takes another hellacious beating from Misawa and Kawada.  Kikuchi is the weakest of the three guys in the match from a workrate standpoint, but that is kind of like being the 4th best looking Bond girl.  He is a great underdog who bumps like a pinball, but hits all of his strikes like he is trying to legit knock out his opponent.  He is the star of this match to me.  He takes an unbelievable ass kicking, but his never say die attitude and unwillingness to back down makes you believe that if he can just string some offense together he can pull out a win.  This was about as good as I thought it would be…which means it was fucking awesome.  For the record, if Angelina Jolie was to approach me about a secret rendezvous at any point of her life, these guys do not stand a chance.

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IWA-Mid South is posting some classic matches in full. Honestly, I never watched any of this. I watched CM Punk vs Eddie vs Rey last night. It's kinda odd to see 02 Eddie/Rey in a place with a visible concession stand.

 

Now i'm gonna watch Samoa Joe vs Necro Butcher. With all the Rob Naylor name drops. Indy commentators, kinda suck

 

(....)

 

Necro is taking so many headbumps on hard surfaces (on a powerslam, exploder, powerbomb on a guardrail)

 

(...)

 

I'm kinda unsettled that i'm in the same country as Necro Butcher. But they have a 29 minute video and the match ends after 11 minutes. Wait, there's Ian Rotten. Who looks like he bathes in a pool of razors. Oh, we'll get a rematch after this. Because it's not like Necro needed those brain cells. Until then. A replay. What the world needs nowwwww, is replays of Necro getting dropped on his face. Sleazetacular

 

IWAMS on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/IWAMidsouthWrestling/videos

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^Yeah those fucking replays.. I used to watch a shitton of IWA-MS and I could never get into that super slomo replay stuff of big ridiculous spots, or slomo closeups of people's gaping flesh wounds.

 

Kopylov is a lot of fun. I may even like him more than Volk. Grom really isn't as flashy, but he's really good and definitely is a nitty gritty type of guy. I recommend checking out Zouev if you can as he wrestles exactly like Volk. Zouev/Volk have a a few matches on dailymotion that I want to check out.

ugh, thanks for perpetuating my rediscovery of weird eastern grapplers :)

 

yeah I dig kopylov so much, if only because he looks some uncle, or a security guard at the supermarket (not even the mall)

 

 

edit: dang it, I'm finding three Han/Zouevs online but one seems to be missing (the one between 11/18/93 and 3/18/95)

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I'm reading Eddie Guerrero's book right now. It must have come out right before someone decided that all Wrestling books must have a reading age of 7, because it's full of fucking swearing and drinking stories (although Eddie's drinking stories are full of regret and shame, unlike Jericho who considers his drinking stories to be hilarious and legend-worthy).

 

He says Kevin Nash is evil. He'd probably be quite upset that Vickie ended up doing the 'Extremely Unattractive Woman' gimmick, because he thought she was gorgeous. He is flabbergasted that they never merchandised LWO or "Eddie Guerrero is my Favourite Wrestler" T-shirts, and says Vince would have been selling Offiicial WWE Hobby Horses by the vanload if Chavo had done the Pepe gimmick there.

 

And he says CM Punk is a great Wrestler. That's about where I'm up to, where he was Wrestling Punk in IWA-MS. I think that match is on youtube now.

 

EDIT: THis isn't the Wrestling book thread? What the hell?

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I've been writing short intro pieces to puro matches on FB recently (I have a shitload of local wrestlers and fans on my list but all these fucking people know is raw, so I'm always throwing non-mainstream shit out there in the hopes one or two people will at least take a look)

 

anyway it's fun and I think mostly functions to get myself hyped for puro shit - today I've been reconnecting with contemporary AJPW

 

 

oudou vs. muga

 

nishimura entrance theme: tina turner
fuchi entrance theme: kenny loggins

 

fuchi is 60, and now actually co-booking the entire promotion alongside a bald pirate called Jun Akiyama

 

osamu nishimura is ageless and made of 85% rubber, and enjoys politics and headstands

 

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2d8sp1_masanobu-fuchi-vs-osamu-nishimura_sport

 

//

 

short little champion's carnival match

 

joe doering looks like the lovechild of blackjack mulligan and stan hansen and is basically the most important gaijin AJPW has had since giant bernard (who is now back to being less than marginal in WWE) - also he is a motherfucking SUPER HOSS, and a lot of his matches have a 90s main event feel to them (but not in a throwback way - joe doering is here & now), which is a nice foothold in the mega randomness that is current AJPW

 

when jun akiyama left AJPW he was at the bottom of the quintet of (native) aces (Misawa/Kawada/Kobashi/Taue/Akiyama) - now he is back (along with a big chunk of NOAH) and everyone else has died or retired, and even though he never reached ultra-legend status like the others (which maybe explains why he is always grumpy and throws a lot of headbutts) he is a GRIZZLED vet who basically runs the entire show

 

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2c28l3_jun-akiyama-vs-joe-doering_sport

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  • 2 weeks later...

I was looking at the Complete and accurate Dick Togo at Segunda Caida and it led to a few things not on the list.

 

The match where Togo wins the 100% Lucha title. Fun, short match inexplicably split into three parts - if anyone wants to wade through the load of 100% Lucha episodes that Telefe have uploaded to find it in better quality, that'd be great.



 

Togo's retirement tour took him all over the place. Aside from these, he had matches in Ecuador, Peru, Guatemala, Spain, Germany(including a Finlay match!) and Belgium that sadly don't seem to be on youtube.

 

Togo in Chile!



 

Togo in Bolivia! - Both clipped, the first more than the second. It seems his final match was in Bolivia too but that's not online.


 

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Well, it wasn't similar to the .gif above, but it was a solid match. Lots of typical Finlay -- tearing at the face, stomping the hands -- and Togo trying to keep up by trying to wrench his leg off. The total of actual wrestling moves come down to a suplex and a Tombstone and everything else is matwork and some nasty forearms and elbows. No problem with any of that. It's nice to see them still bring their A game while working a simple match in front of a handful of German rubes in a boiler room somewhere, and also still managing to get a reaction. 

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watching a NWA WCW show from November 1985 where Tony congratulates Joe and Julie Laurinaitis of Minneapolis, MN on their wedding. You can probably guess who Joe was.

 

The random flags in the World Championship Wrestling studio will always be amusing.

 

Also watched another fun hour of January 1984 MidSouth. Where Wrestling II and TA are on commentary for an MX match and told they will be fined if they interfere. You can guess what happened after MX tried to tar and feather a job guy.

 

----

 

edit: Manny Fernandez v. Abdullah the Butcher in a Mexican Death Match with Manny's sombrero on the line on a future show. Then a replay of TA kissing Baby Doll ("she likes it!"), and our hero grabbing Baby Doll and the strap on her top post-slap.

 

edit2: Koloffs wanna hang the Soviet flag in the studio in place of the US flag... cut to the side of the ring with a visible Cuban flag. Schiavone calls Nikita the Soviet Union's "Ambassador of Destruction"

 

edit3: Schiavone kept referring to "Jimmy Backlund" in an apparent Jimmy Valiant/Jimmy Black match. So it might have been a Boogie Woogie Man vs Jimmy Del Ray squash. Also, since Ron Garvin didn't squash anybody in this episode, that should tell you who Miss Atlanta Lively is. Probably not the only time a crossdresser knocked out Jimmy Del Ray

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So this is the tenth installment of my review of every match Dave Meltzer has ranked 4*s or better, and I'm about a 3rd of a way through 1991.  I turned 10 years old in 1991, so most of these matches have been new to me or part of a distant memory.  So I have to say, this project has been pretty rewarding.

 

11/19/91 - Anderson/Zbyszko vs. Dustin/Steamboat (WCW) ****1/4

 

This match has a lot in common with the last match I reviewed…three guys I  love to watch and a fourth that isn't exactly a weak link.  Anderson could be the best tag wrestler ever, Rhodes might be the best active tag wrestler on the planet, Steamboat is an absolute legend, and Zbyszko is a crafty veteran who knows exactly what to do in the ring at all times.  Zbyszko and Anderson could teach a master class on how to work as a heel tag team.  There heat segment of this match starts with one of the best blind tag sequences I've ever seen.  It wasn't even really cheating, as much as it was taking advantage of the babyface fire that the crowd loves so much.  Zybyszko slaps Steamboat and then bails to the outside, Steamboat being the fiery babyface chases him around the heel corner back into the ring where he doesn't see Arn Anderson get the tag only to have Zybyszko go back to the outside and around again allowing  Arn, the new legal man to hit Steamboat in the back when they get back into the ring.  That one sequence illustrates why this match is great, it is four really smart workers working a really well put together match.  This is almost like a Pixar movie, it is just smart storytelling put in a concise easy to digest package.  This might be a little underrated at ****1/4 this is a really good southern tag match worked by four masters of that particular form of match.  There just isn't much more you could ask for from these guys.

 

3/23/91 - Misawa/Kobashi/Kikuchi vs. Tsuruta/Taue/Fuchi (AJPW) ****1/4

 

I wouldn't go as far as to say that I'm tired of watching these matches, but I'm thoroughly tired of writing about them.  If it is OK with you guys, I'm going to skip this one.  Honestly it is becoming too hard to figure out new ways to describe the greatness of these matches.  Just know that Misawa, Kobashi, and Tsuruta are three of the best wrestlers ever and you won't be disappointed in any matches from this feud. 

 

3/24/91 - Warrior vs. Savage (WWF) ****1/4

 

I don't think I need to give a play-by-play for this match, because this is one of the most talked about matches for an entire generation of wrestling fans.  This is not Savage's best match, but this very well may be his best performance.  He bumps around and makes The Ultimate Warrior look like a million bucks, while also wrestling with a sense of desperation fitting a man who is fighting for his career.  Savage is my all-time favorite wrestler, mostly because he can equally be the toughest, baddest, motherfucker on the planet, and the most sympathetic, scrappy, underdog.  This match is him switching from one to the other in a blink of an eye and the crowd eating up his every action with a spoon.  Warrior carries his weight here for the most part, but The Sensational Queen Sherri goes above, below, around, and beyond the call of duty.  First of all her dress is ridiculous, her makeup is absurd, and her mannerisms make her the most loveably loathsome woman on earth.  This match is 60% worse without Sherri, she is absolutely perfect in her role.  The storytelling in this match is outstanding, both guys wrestle as if this is their last match.  Savage hits 5 elbow drops, Warrior hits 4 diving shoulder blocks, and Sherri avoids having a titty pop out at least 3 different times.  The post match angle is everything you could ask for as an ending to Savage's career in the WWF.  People are literally crying as Savage and Liz reunite.  ****1/4 is way too low, this is basically everything anyone could ask for from this particular match.  This also is the beginning of one of the best years of a single wrestler has ever had.  Starting here and ending with the Flair match, I can't think of a single wrestler who was in more compelling storylines over a single year than Randy Savage.  He went to reuniting with his ex, to getting married, to having a cobra bite him on national television, to getting his revenge, to winning the title from a man who threatened to leak nudie pictures of his wife.  That is a hell of a year, and I was 10 years old watching it all, and loving every second of it. 

 

As an aside, Savage did understand that he didn't have to dive head first into the safety rail when he missed his double axe handle to the floor right? 

 

4/18/91 - Williams/Gordy vs. Hansen/Spivey (AJPW) ****1/4

 

I've watched an embarrassingly small number of Hansen matches, but I'm sure this list is going to remedy that.  From the introductions this looks like it is going to be the ultimate hoss tag match, as these four dude's the total combined weight  is roughly equal to weight of an Angus Steer.  The beginning of the match is clipped, and we're joined with Hansen in control.  The momentum quickly swings, and Hansen plays hoss in peril for a good long while, as Gordy and Williams give his ass a miracle whipping(see what I did there?)  Hot tag to Spivey who comes in and immediately hits a powerbomb.  He then hits a back elbow drop that very well may have crushed Terry Gordy's orbital socket.  Gordy gets the tag to Doc, and a pretty unique bit of tag psychology takes over for the rest of the match.  Hansen gets a blind tag, and Gordy blindsides him knocking him out of the ring before the ref acknowledges the tag.  Doc continues to beat the living shit out of Spivey as Gordy and Hansen brawl in, out, and around the ring.  The ref, Doc, and Spivey are all clueless about what is going on and they are basically going on with the match with Spivey as the legal man.  Every time Doc is about to end Spivey's night Hansen just makes it in time to break up the pin or submission.  Then…matter of fact, don't read another word, YouTube this match and watch the best tag team finishing sequence I've ever seen.  Seriously, it is the most insane, ridiculous, out of the box finish, that still makes perfect sense when it all wraps up.  This is easily ****1/4, and I'm tempted to rate it higher.  This is like a pretty good movie with an all time great ending.  If it was the ending of a bad movie, you might be tempted to say the movie was good, but if it is the ending of a pretty good movie I don't know if it takes it to a higher level.  I've watched more wrestling than probably 85% of wrestling fans, and it is rare that I see something brand new to me.  The ending to this match was something I've never really seen before, and I absolutely loved it.  

 

1/15/91 - Taue vs. Kawada (AJPW) ****1/4

 

If you've been paying attention, you'd know that the biggest feud in All Japan Pro Wrestling in 1991 was Misawa's army vs. Jumbo's Army.  The feud within that feud between Taue and Kawada has been just as hot, and probably twice as mean spirited.  Misawa and Jumbo are wrestlers who want to prove they are the best, Kawada and Taue are bad asses who want to beat the shit out of each other.  The Jumbo/Misawa fights seem like big time main event wrestling matches, this seems like a straight up fight.  This is a really good break from the epic six man tags that have dominated so much of 1991.    Sometimes a good ol' slobberknocker is what you need to break up the monotony .  I'd say ****1/4 is just about right, but then again a match where Kawada and Taue get to beat the shit out of each other is right up my alley.

 

  9/7/91 - Kobashi/Kawada vs. Taue/Fuchi (AJPW) ****1/4

 

So this is a match between those two teams without those two guys.  Fuchi looks like a PE teacher who thinks he's tough because he torments 4th graders for a living.  He is clearly at a lower level than the rest of these guys, but that just makes his smarmy behavior that much better.  He gets very little offense that isn't set up by Taue, and he gets to do the vast majority of the cheating.  It is heel work that makes Kobashi and Kawada look like killers when they're on offense, and gets Taue over as big time muscle in this ongoing feud.  The match is very focused on continuing the Kawada/Taue conflict as Taue tries to kill Kawada with a suplex and a chokeslam on the floor.  Taue comes off as a ruthless bad ass who does not give a single solitary fuck about Kawada and is trying to end his career.  Kawada is laid out for a long ass time, until that bitch Fuchi comes over and just starts kicking him in the head.  After a long face in peril segment, Kawada kills Fuchi with a lariat leading to the go home stretch of the match.  Of course they bring it home with Kawada getting even with Taue for trying to publicly kill him, and this was pretty damn fun.  This is a match that is clearly made to push a feud forward, and it does its job well.  Kawada and Taue hate each other, and this match made them hate each other more.  This is like that scene in The Wire when Omar robs Marlo, and Marlo looks at him and says, "This ain't over."  This relationship has clearly gone south and it is going to get worse before it gets better.  ****1/4 is right on point for this match.

 

1/19/91 - Rockers vs. Orient (WWF) ****

 

This match happening in 1991 WWF is kind of like putting LeBron James in a game against the George Mikan Lakers.  They were essentially playing a different game than everyone else in the company at the time.  WWF just plain didn't do matches like this at the time.  The WWF at the time was a big man territory that was much more focused on storylines and angles than great wrestling.  The Rockers were a team that wouldn't have been out of place 10 years later, and this match is one of my all time favorites.  There are stereo topes, stereo planchas, a moonsault, and about 94 other super fun things that you didn't see in the WWF until the late 90s early 2000s.  If you have never watched this match, stop reading this bullshit and put it on.  Make sure you stay tuned for the super uncomfortable angle featuring Sherri and Ultimate Warrior.  **** is too low for this match.  This is the best WWF match of 1991, and probably in the top 10 tag matches in WWF history. 

 

8/26/91 - Bret vs. Perfect (WWF) ****

 

This match is pretty highly touted, and based on the participants I'm not surprised.  This is kind of a funny duo, because Bret was always came off as super serious, and Perfect is always goofy.  Hart controls early with a series of headlocks, and Perfect can even sell a side headlock goofy.  They feel each other out for a while and Hart is controlling everything.  Perfect takes a powder and decides to take an early exit, but Bret goes out and damn near rips his singlet off.  There is a 3-man booth with Gorilla, Piper and The Brain, and it is a perfect illustration of if something isn't broke, don't fix it.  Piper is obnoxious and is just talking over Gorilla and Brain, which sucks because Brain and Gorilla have really good chemistry.  Piper is really like that last drink that takes you from having fun, with a good buzz to crazed and out of control drunk.  His energy is on 24552554522145562141652% and it is grating.  The match is really good by the way.  Perfect is a great heel, he bumps around like a goof, but really knows how to turn up the mean when he's on offense.  He kicks the shit out of Bret with his usual spots and eventually just gets sick of Bret and throws him across the ring by his hair.  Bret is also really good here, but that is expected.  I think Bret's biggest strength is that he never really does anything he isn't really good at.  I know he gets shit for his five moves of death, but everyone has their signature spots.  He's not the most exciting worker, but you know you're going to get quality when you watch a Bret Hart match.  This wrapped up with Perfect trying to drop a low blow leg drop on Bret, but he catches the leg, and hooks up the Sharpshooter, and wins the Intercontinental Championship.  This may be the very definition of a **** match.  There is a whole lot to like with a couple of problems that stop it from being an all time great match.  This is the type of match that could very easily be someone's favorite match, but they'd admit they've seen better matches. 

 

3/14/91 - Hase/Sasaki vs. Koshinaka/Iizuka (NJPW) ****1/4

 

This is from a handheld so the video quality isn't great, but it's watchable.  I imagine I've watched somewhere between 75-100 matches since I've started this project, and most of the video quality has been very good.  The amount of wrestling available on the internet between YouTube, WWE Network and NJPW World has made this project easy and enjoyable.  Of course there have been matches I couldn't find, but for the most part I've had very little trouble finding these matches.  This one I downloaded from our ol' buddy Ditch's site, which has bailed me out a couple of times so far.  Hase and Sasaki, who have been in a few really good matches here in 1991, are squaring off against Koshinaka and Iizuka, who I've never seen(So it turns out I have seen Iizuka, he's the crazy guy who always beats up the announcer.  He is a completely different character here and pretty much unrecognizable.  Fun fact, Koshinaka is the first IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion.  Thank you Wiki.).  Hase and Sasaki dominate the first 5 minutes of this match in a way that seems excessive, but the match picks up and picks up fast as soon as Koshinaka tags in Iizuka(I hope I'm calling them the correct names, but all I really have to go on is the prematch introduction).  Koshinaka and Iizuka's offense is kind of shoot style lite which works well as a contrast to Hase and Sasaki's traditional puro style offense.  Hase and Sasaki are also working like full-blown dick head heels, which I didn't expect.  Hase is particularly good at being a dastardly heel.  I'll never know why he wasn't as big of a star as Mutoh, Chono, and Hashimoto.  I like almost every Hase match I've seen better than any Chono matches I've seen, but maybe this project will open my eyes to more good Chono matches.  Hase is a great fiery babyface, and he proves here that he is more than capable of being an asshole as a heel.  For a match that New Japan didn't even bother to tape, this shit is fucking good.  Hase and Sasaki control the vast majority of the match, but Koshinaka and Iizuka's comebacks are all really good.  Hase and Sasaki kick all types of ass here, but not so much that Koshinaka and Iizuka  are totally squashed.  This is a fun match, but I wouldn't call it essential.  ****1/4 might be slightly too high, but it's not a complete waste of time. 

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I really enjoy reading your reviews, please do keep them up!

 

Question: What do you feel some of the problems are with Perfect/Bret that keep it from being more than ****? While that match holds a big spot in my (and many others') fandom, after rewatching the '93 KotR bout I would say the latter tells a better story with crisper execution even if it's less heralded.

 

I haven't watched the '91 match in a while, so while I'm not disagreeing with you that it does have a few issues, I'd like to hear what specifically you thought they were (other than coked up Piper on commentary, which I enjoy).

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Whichever Bret/Perfect match is the later one of the two featured on the Bret DVD, that's the one I like better. The one with Piper and Savage on commentary marking the fuck out the whole time. 

 

 

 

 I'll never know why he wasn't as big of a star as Mutoh, Chono, and Hashimoto.  I like almost every Hase match I've seen better than any Chono matches I've seen

 

Me too. I think Hase had all the charisma of Chono but better workrate. Most Chono matches to me are a lot of charisma, a lot of yakuza kicks, and not much else. Him getting injured early probably had a lot to do with that though, I mean Mutoh was adding different moves and varying his match style years after his peak. Maybe if Chono had injured his knees instead of his neck?

 

 

 

 Fuchi looks like a PE teacher who thinks he's tough because he torments 4th graders for a living.

 

Quote of the Day

 

I really need to see almost all of these matches like, yesterday. Your reviews remind one of all the shit they've missed out on, thanx man. 

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I really enjoy reading your reviews, please do keep them up!

 

Question: What do you feel some of the problems are with Perfect/Bret that keep it from being more than ****? While that match holds a big spot in my (and many others') fandom, after rewatching the '93 KotR bout I would say the latter tells a better story with crisper execution even if it's less heralded.

 

I haven't watched the '91 match in a while, so while I'm not disagreeing with you that it does have a few issues, I'd like to hear what specifically you thought they were (other than coked up Piper on commentary, which I enjoy).

I don't know if there are issues per se, or if it seems to reach it's apex at an 8 instead of climbing to a 10.  I wrote most of that a few months ago, and rewatched it directly after the Rockers vs. Orient Express match.  That Rockers match is one of my favorite matches of all time, and I could be nitpicking it because I like that match so much better than Hart vs. Perfect.  I just felt like it was a good match that didn't jump into great territory. 

 

Whichever Bret/Perfect match is the later one of the two featured on the Bret DVD, that's the one I like better. The one with Piper and Savage on commentary marking the fuck out the whole time. 

 

 

 

 I'll never know why he wasn't as big of a star as Mutoh, Chono, and Hashimoto.  I like almost every Hase match I've seen better than any Chono matches I've seen

 

Me too. I think Hase had all the charisma of Chono but better workrate. Most Chono matches to me are a lot of charisma, a lot of yakuza kicks, and not much else. Him getting injured early probably had a lot to do with that though, I mean Mutoh was adding different moves and varying his match style years after his peak. Maybe if Chono had injured his knees instead of his neck?

 

 

 

 Fuchi looks like a PE teacher who thinks he's tough because he torments 4th graders for a living.

 

Quote of the Day

 

I really need to see almost all of these matches like, yesterday. Your reviews remind one of all the shit they've missed out on, thanx man. 

Seriously, it has been fun and I've found some really good matches that I would have probably never watched otherwise.  Thanks for reading them guys, I honestly didn't know if anyone was reading these or not.  I think the best part of doing is this is just the huge variety of matches(other than the never ending AJPW six man tags, which are great by the way), and rediscovering matches from my childhood.  It hasn't become a chore yet, and I enjoy watching these much more than current WWE, so maybe I'll try to get them out a little faster. 

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1/15/91 - Taue vs. Kawada (AJPW) ****1/4

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vSjPKJHXUy8

 

If you don't watch this you're not a wrestling fan. The closest AJ will ever come to BattlARTS is Taue fighting for an ankle pick while Kawada kicks him in his bleeding head. Pure spite oozes out of this one. Do yourself a favor, revel in it.

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