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So before I go into 1993, I've decided to go back to the 1980s.  I rewatched a couple of matches, and updated my reviews, and I did a couple all new reviews.  I may do a couple more of these but I expect to get into 1993 in the next week or two.

 

7/28/78 - Tatsumi Fujinami vs Ryuma Go

 

I’ve seen exactly two Fujinami matches, and those were the two against Flair in 1990.  Around WrestleMania I told myself I needed to watch a few, but I kind of got caught up reviewing matches on Meltzer’s 4+ Star list and never got around to it.  So, since I’m going to be reviewing a much more comprehensive list of matches, I decided to give this one a shot.  Also of note, this may very well be the oldest wrestling match I’ve ever watched.  In general my wrestling fandom has been pretty contemporary, though I often check out the archives of some of my favorites.  This match starts with some of the smoothest mat wrestling I’ve ever seen.  Neither man really does anything I haven’t seen, but their execution is what is noteworthy.  This is built on a foundation of rock solid chain wrestling, whether it be Go working a side headlock series or Fujinami working from an STF to a hammerlock.  There is a really cool sequence where they trade snapmares.  Fujinami hits a snapmare, and Go bridges up to hit one of his own.  It is a fairly simple sequence, but it is an interesting spot in a match that is 75% matwork.  The beauty of this match is in those type of sequence.  This is a Jr. Heavyweight match that doesn’t have any dives, it has one flying head scissor, and one attempt at a top rope move.  The fact that this match kept me engaged throughout is a testament to how good their work is.  I’m not someone who needs a high spot a minute in my wrestling, but this is a match where no one even hits the ropes until the finishing sequence.  This is kind of like the first time you eat sushi, and you really don’t know what to expect going in.  I was watching this thinking, “Oh, this isn’t too bad.”  Then I thought, “This isn’t what I was expecting at all.”  Eventually I kind of just went with it and realized I kind of liked it, but don’t know if this is something I want to watch every day.  Now I’m sitting here thinking, “Hmm, I wonder if that was a good 70s Jr. match or if that is just me liking something I’ve never encountered more than I thought I would.”  I guess I’m going to have to eventually get some soy sauce and wasabi and give this another try.  I can’t rate this, because I don’t have enough context to what was happening at the time.  I could rate this against more modern wrestling, but I feel like that would also be inaccurate, because I don’t know if I really understand the nuances of what I just watched.  I’ll just say I’m more than intrigued to watch more Fujinami from this era, and maybe I’ll look for more late 70s wrestling in general going forward.

 

4/21/83 - Dynamite vs. Tiger Mask (NJPW) *****

 

This is the first match I watched for this project.  I started this mostly as a way to watch great wrestling matches in my free time.  It quickly turned into something I took more seriously.  I’ve enjoyed writing for years, and I’ve loved wrestling even longer, so I decided why not combine the two and use this as a writing exercise.  Not knowing what this project was going to evolve into, I didn’t give some of these matches much of a review.  So I’m going to rewatch some of these early matches and give more comprehensive thoughts.  Any time you see italics it will be my first review of a match, that I’ve since revisited and/or had some other comments about.

(From August 2014)This was a super fun match that would have been considered great in the Jr. Heavyweight heyday of the mid '90s.  The fact that it happened in 1983 is amazing.  You hear about people being before their time, but these guys were doing stuff in this match that didn't really become widespread until 10 years after.   The ***** rating was well deserved.

 

These two have experienced a bit of a backlash on the internet over the last few years, but this match still works in my eyes.  It isn’t perfect by any means, but this match seems like I’m watching the foundation being set for the NJPW Jr. Division.  There are a couple of things that seem to be out of place in 1983 for me.  The first sequence of the match is a stalemate worked off of a wristlock, that wouldn’t have looked out of place in a mid-2000s Ring of Honor match.  It was something you wouldn’t see in the States until the mid-90s with guys like Eddy Guerrero and Dean Malenko.  Then there were the dives that took this mostly mat based match to another level.  Tiger Mask and Dynamite Kid would have fit in the glory days of the NJPW Jr. Division of the 90s with Liger, Benoit, and Ohtani, except I don’t know if any of those guys exist without these two guys to pave the way.  Tiger Mask’s offense seems like a Jushin Liger starter kit.  Tiger Mask doesn’t do any Ligerbombs or fisherman busters, but Liger’s matwork is essentially identical to Tiger Mask’s.  It is well documented that Chris Benoit idolized Dynamite Kid and it is very apparent watching this match that Dynamite’s offense became the foundation for Benoit’s entire career.  You can’t watch Dynamite’s clothesline or snap suplex and not think of Chris Benoit, they look almost identical.  This match is really good, but I think the real story here is that these two are creating a style that influences wrestling for years to come.  Think of this like the Mike D'Antoni Phoenix Suns.  Those teams played a very fun, exciting, style of basketball that wasn’t unsuccessful, but never won a championship.  This last year the Golden State Warriors played a very similar style that was influenced by the Phoenix Suns, and won the NBA championship.  They took Phoenix’s system based on offensive versatility and expanded it to the defensive side of the ball.  They built their team full of players who could shoot 3s and get to the basket, as well as players who could guard multiple positions.  The Warriors probably don’t win a championship if those Phoenix Suns teams didn’t exist, just like the NJPW Jr. Division probably doesn’t reach their peak without Dynamite Kid and Tiger Mask.  Upon rewatch I wouldn’t give this match *****.  I fully understand why it was rated that high in 1983, but it is kind of a strange match.  The match has multiple false finishes, where the match has to be restarted, but somehow it still ends in a double count out.  The finish just left me cold.  I’m going to give this one ****1/4, it is really entertaining, but I can’t rate it any higher with all of the starts and stops.

 

12/5/84 - Takada vs. Yamazaki (UWF) *****

 

(From August 2014) This match is on YouTube, but it is clipped to shit and is a worked shoot.  I didn't know there was any such thing as a worked shoot in 1984, so I guess that is something, but I've never been a fan of this style.  For what I watched I can't say it is worth the *****, but I'm also the exact wrong person to ask to rate something like this.

 

I really wanted to rewatch this to see if my thoughts had changed, but I couldn’t find a version that wasn’t just the last six minutes.  I’ve watched a couple of worked shoots since I originally watched this one and I’ve liked them more than I expected.  This one still falls flat to me.  First of all I don’t know if this can even be described as a worked shoot, or if this is just a pro wrestling match that is worked in a style that is a precursor to the worked shoot style that would come later.  I don’t know if the disconnect is because I can’t see the entire match, so I don’t really have any context for what is happening or if I just don’t like the match.  The issue I’m having is that nothing seems to mean enough.  The strikes don’t really do enough damage that I feel like they are a legit threat to end the match.  They struggle and fight over every submission, but they don’t seem to have any consequence on what happens later in the match.  They kind of go from working strikes and submissions and start hitting wrestling moves out of nowhere.  Even those don’t feel like they’re doing nearly enough damage, especially when Takada hits two tombstone piledrivers only for Yamazaki to kick out.  I can’t rate this, but if I ever come across a complete version I’ll give it another try.

 

Andre the Giant vs. Stan Hansen (9/23/81)

 

This is a match I’ve always heard was great, but I somehow never got around to watching.  Stan Hansen is someone I’ve become a huge fan of, but the only Andre I’ve ever watched has been in the WWF.  This Andre is a completely different person.  The first thing that stands out to me is his mobility.  The Andre I remember didn’t run the ropes, he kind of just hung onto the ropes, because he couldn’t really move.  The Andre I remember damn sure didn’t work holds, like he is here.  Andre the Giant, is working over Hansen’s arm like a long lost Anderson cousin.  Hansen, who wouldn’t back down from a fight with a Minotaur, comes off as a huge bad ass in this match.  Andre is bigger, Andre is stronger, but Andre does not want to let this match turn into a brawl.  Hansen is in control whenever he can square up and tee off on Andre, but Andre can always go back to the arm to cut Hansen off.  I really expected this match to be a wild and crazy brawl, which it does turn into, but it is a very smartly worked match.  Hansen’s biggest strength as a wrestler is the fact that he is a rough, tough, brawler.  His biggest weapon is the Western Lariat, so why not work over his left arm.  If you were writing up a gameplan to beat Stan Hansen, working holds on his left arm would be the smartest strategy.  It takes away his ability to brawl, while making his biggest weapon less potent.  Hansen, on the other hand, has to keep hitting Andre with stiff punches, elbows, and chops, while always being aware of Andre’s massive strength.  There is a false finish when Hansen body slams Andre, and Andre rolls out of the ring.  Hansen goes after him, and they are both counted out.  Hansen, Andre, and the crowd all want the match to continue, so the referee restarts the match.  Hansen takes it to Andre to start, before Andre cuts him off and unties the turnbuckle pad.  Hansen blocks and sends Andre’s head into the exposed turnbuckle.  Hansen comes of the ropes to drop a big elbow, but Andre catches his arm and locks in a top wrist lock.  Hansen fights free, ducks a big boot, and hits a Western Lariat that knocks Andre completely out of the ring.  Andre, while on the outside puts on a Hansen style elbow pad and is ready to knock Hansen’s block off.  The referee tries to stop him and Andre hits the ref with a lariat and gets disqualified.  Andre and Hansen brawl for a bit before the young boys around ringside step in to break it up.  This was a great match, and the only real flaw is that it had to end without either guy taking a pin.  Andre is probably the most protected wrestler in the world at this time, and Hansen is probably the most protected wrestler in Japan, neither man was going to lose this match.  I fully understand the finish, so I won’t really hold it against them I’m going to give this ****3/4.

 

Magnum TA vs Tully Blanchard (I Quit Cage, NWA 11/28/85)

 

So either Dave Meltzer never gave this match a star rating, or the list I have is incomplete.  With that said, if you are any type of wrestling fan no one should have to tell you that this is an all-time classic match.  Magnum TA should teach a class at the performance center on ring presence.  He might as well be the Marlboro Man, he just radiates masculinity.  You know how people are talking about guys they wouldn’t want to run into in a dark alley?  You think of the meanest, biggest, toughest, scariest looking motherfucker on the planet and think I’d never want to run into him.  Well that same big, mean, tough motherfucker has nightmares about running into Magnum TA in a dark alley.  He is probably the best example of bad ass babyface, at least until Steve Austin comes around.  The difference between Magnum and Austin is that there isn’t anything edgy about Magnum, he is a hell of a good guy, but you don’t want to cross him.  Tully is almost the polar opposite of Magnum.  Tully couldn’t play the hero if he tried, there are port-o-pottys that don’t radiate asshole as much as Tully Blanchard.  So basically this is the story of the kid at school who everyone hates, picking a fight with the kid everyone likes.  Except at this school they don’t just fight by the flag pole they erect a cage so kids can mutilate each other for the entertainment of the schoolyard.  This is a bloody, viscous, fight that feels like it is going a little too far for it to be a work.  The match starts with them just rolling on the ground trying to claw and choke at each other and ends when Magnum jabs a pointed shard of broken chair into Tully’s face.  When people find out that you are a wrestling fan, they always ask the same stupid question, “You do know it’s fake right?”  Yes dipshit, we all know it is fake.  The beauty of the art form comes in matches like this, that allow you to suspend your disbelief for a bit and it feels like you are watching something real.  This is probably the best cage match of all-time.  This is also most likely the best I Quit match of all-time.  Matter of fact, this is on the shortlist of best US matches of all-time.  This is required watching for and all wrestling fans *****.

 

Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Dynamite Kid (WWF Junior Title) (2/5/80)

                                                           

Once again I’ve decided to delve into the career of Tatsumi Fujinami, and once again I’m impressed with his work.  The thing that stands out in this match is how different it is from the Ryuma Go match.  The Go match is fought on the mat for almost the entire match, but Dynamite is much more about high impact offense.  Dynamite brings the punches, headbutts, and suplexes, and Fujinami counters with cat quick arm drags and a couple of the best looking sunset flips I’ve ever seen.  There are some guys like Tenryu, who you watch and think that crisp execution is overrated, but then you watch Fujinami and realize how vital execution can be in a wrestling match.  This is a match that is built around the fact that Dynamite can beat Fujinami if the match turns into a fight, but Fujinami’s quickness and execution can instantly turn the match to his favor.  Dynamite takes 80% of the offense in this match, but everything Fujinami does leads to a near fall.  It works, because Fujinami executes his moves in a way that makes the near fall reasonable.  If those sunset flips didn’t snap Dynamite over so quickly, I don’t know if I would have bought them as legit pinning predicaments.  If this were an MMA fight Dynamite would be the ground and pound specialist who keeps getting takedowns and dropping elbows until his opponent can’t defend himself any more.  If he’s going to win he’s going to keep hitting you with high impact moves until you can’t take any more punishment.  Fujinami on the other hand is like the slick submission grappler who will take advantage of your every mistake and can win a match instantly.  The match ends with Fujinami hitting a drop toehold and turning it into a bridging roll up.  It perfectly fit the story of the match and what would look like a fluke roll up 90% of the time, in this instance it felt totally earned.  This is just super crisp, rock solid wrestling that is really hard to nitpick.  If I had one complaint it would be that it didn’t really feel like they ever hit second gear.  They started off fairly hot, stayed consistent, but didn’t really ever hit another level.  If Fujinami would have had a comeback where he could have shown some of his babyface fire (it is there, I can see it), this match could have gone from very good to great.  ****1/4

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CM Punk vs Randy Orton (WrestleMania XXVII - 4/3/2011)

 

I was curious what Punk's best Mania singles match was and realized I had zero memory of this match. I went in expecting it to be a boring match and came away very surprised by how good it was. From the hype package, Punk and the New Nexus interfered at the Rumble to cost Orton the title match against Miz. Punk's explanation tied back to two years earlier when Orton punted him in the head and he's never forgotten it. Orton punted each of the New Nexus members in retaliation and they all did stretcher jobs. Punk took out Orton's knee at one point out by Orton's bus. I vaguely remember some of this.

 

Orton comes in with his knee taped and starts off aggressively to try and put Punk away early. Punk targets the knee for much of the match and Orton does a strong job of selling it. Punk's in full heel dickhead mode here, mocking Orton and taking great joy whenever he goes back to the knee to cut off Orton's offense. The only real big move Orton hits that uses his knee is a superplex but he goes up very gingerly. Punk busts out the ringpost figure four.

 

The entire match builds to Orton finally getting Punk in position for the punt but his knee gives out on him. The look on Punk's face when he realizes what happened is brilliant. All his work had paid off and he'd avoided the dreaded punt of doom. The cocky Punk nearly walks right into an RKO but he slides out to the apron. He's so proud of himself! Punk springboards in and finally gets his comeuppance taking an RKO out of nowhere for the pin in 15 minutes.

 

Strong recommendation. I can see why people might have been miffed at the time with Orton going over or Punk even being in this feud instead of in Miz's spot but as a self-contained match, this was excellent. And no one kicked out of a finisher! I'd be interested in hearing some other opinions on this match because both guys are fairly polarizing.

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The Jericho "nobody's ever done that before" finish with Randy was more or less the same as this, right? I do remember this match being one of the few bright spots from an otherwise terrible WM. 

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I believe so. I went ahead and watched the rematch.

 

CM Punk vs Randy Orton - Last Man Standing Match (Extreme Rules - 5/1/2011)

The rematch from WrestleMania opens the show at Extreme Rules. Punk has Mason Ryan, David Otunga and Curtis Axel with him. The ding goes off and we get an email from the RAW GM Laptop banning the Nexus from ringside.

Punk removes a turnbuckle pad before the match even starts. They brawl and tease going into the steel but neither does. Punk uses a couple kendo sticks to gain the advantage. Once Orton is hurt, Punk goes for a springboard clothesline but instead of an RKO he gets a kendo stick shot in mid-air. Orton fires up with some kendo stick shots, clotheslines and his back breaker. He goes for the draping DDT but Punk's able to counter it and send Orton into the exposed steel. This crowd is super behind Orton here. Booker T is pretty bad here on commentary. I believe at one point he said "Randy Orton, the viper, he's like a cobra."

Punk wedges a chair in the corner which sets up a spot where Orton counters the GTS and sends Punk head first through the chair and out to the floor. Punk beats the count at 7. Orton hits a nice powerslam on the floor for an 8 count. Orton spends some time clearing off the announce table but takes a high kick from Punk and is down for 8. They fight their way back into the ring and Punk counters an RKO into the GTS. Orton barely gets up at 9 and stumbles into the corner. Punk hits a russian legsweep on a chair and then sets up the chair for another but Orton hits an RKO. This time it's Punk who barely gets up at 9 and stumbles to the outside. Punk posts Orton for an 8 count. He puts a chair around Orton's neck and posts him for a 9 count. GTS attempt on the announce table but Orton counters into an RKO. The table doesn't break which may have been by design because Punk only breaks the count by rolling off the table.

Orton goes for the punt but Punk counters and drops Orton onto the steps. Punk rolls Orton back in and uses a kendo stick as a cane to slowly make his way up the steps and drags himself to the top rope. Orton recovers and whacks him in the head with a stick then goes nuts on his back with about ten shots. Orton goes up and hits a Super RKO. That's it, Punk can't get up.

This was good if you enjoy WWE Last Man Standing matches. The violence was logical and escalated. Watching these two matches, I don't know what would have become of Punk if he had never cut that pipe bomb promo two months later. He seems slotted as a strong midcard heel who doesn't have much upward momentum at all. Meanwhile Orton was freshly moved to Smackdown and would soon enter into his feud with Christian.

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A lot of Nitro on the Network recently. God I miss the Horsemen. Nothing more fun or nostalgic or appealing to me when I was a teenager growing up in NC than the 98 Horsemen.

 

Just watched King of Trios Night 1 and absolutely loved Kingston/Ophidian/Shynron vs. Hallowicked/Frightmare/Silver Ant. SO much subtlety and story telling nuances all happening in a super fun match. Also really liked AAA vs. Gentleman's Club. Eager for the rough cuts of nights 2 and 3 to go up.

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I found this match this morning, and I'm just gonna go ahead and say this is my favorite comedy match ever.  It's not so much the antics that are funny, because they are, but it's the running commentary from both wrestlers that is aces.  The wrestling is solid and snug which is par for the course for classic World of Sport wrestling.  I haven't watched any Les Kellett matches before and to be honest, I thought I was going to click to another match but I pretty much felt like I was an audience member, that's how much I was into this bout.

 

 

 

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just watched WCW Road Wild '98.

 

is the nWo vs. Wolfpac vs. Goldberg Battle Royal the worst battle royal ever? it was terrible. Goldberg eliminated 6 of the 8 other competitors (Nash stepped over himself), lastly jackhammering the Giant. he speared Curt Hennig twice and the Giant once, otherwise he avoided everything. it just wasn't interesting. at all.

 

and i skipped the Leno tag match (i'm not THAT big a glutton for punishment).

 

otherwise,

Meng vs Barbarian was a fun brawl. i enjoyed it.

Public Enemy vs Disco Inferno/Alex Wright (w/Tokyo Magnum) wasn't very good.

Raven vs. Saturn vs. Kanyon was a fun triple threat.

Rey vs. Psychosis didn't really live up to hype.

Chavo Guerrero Jr. vs. Stevie Ray was an entertaining pseudo-TV Title match.

Rick Steiner vs. Scott Steiner doesn't happen and elicits boos.

Brian "Crush" Adams vs Mongo McMichael was, as expected, not good.

Jericho is awesome. his title defense against Juventud Guerrera was perfectly servicable but not fantastic.

 

overall, some OK moments. nothing amazing. but man, those lows are SO bad.

 

Kevin Nash was the laziest wrestler in the world in 1998. All he did in this battle royal was toss Scott Hall over the top and then step over the top to eliminate himself. I don't think he took one bump. Same in the WW3 battle royal. He eliminated like 30 dudes and I don't think he took one bump in that entire match either. I mean, kudos to him for making maximum money for minimal effort but as a fan, it was pretty shitty to watch.

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

 

Colossal. Tenryu is starting with his surly phase here, Jumbo is full in on his, and Stan's has existed forever. Every move Tenryu hits is far stiffer than his latter period (there's a slap to Kobashi that would cause whiplash), all his enziguiris connect and even his powerbomb is pretty good. Speaking of Kobashi, this is kind of his coming out party as he gets to dropkick everyone in the face and work his ass off to prove his worth.

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CM Punk vs Randy Orton (WrestleMania XXVII - 4/3/2011)

I was curious what Punk's best Mania singles match was and realized I had zero memory of this match. I went in expecting it to be a boring match and came away very surprised by how good it was. From the hype package, Punk and the New Nexus interfered at the Rumble to cost Orton the title match against Miz. Punk's explanation tied back to two years earlier when Orton punted him in the head and he's never forgotten it. Orton punted each of the New Nexus members in retaliation and they all did stretcher jobs. Punk took out Orton's knee at one point out by Orton's bus. I vaguely remember some of this.

Orton comes in with his knee taped and starts off aggressively to try and put Punk away early. Punk targets the knee for much of the match and Orton does a strong job of selling it. Punk's in full heel dickhead mode here, mocking Orton and taking great joy whenever he goes back to the knee to cut off Orton's offense. The only real big move Orton hits that uses his knee is a superplex but he goes up very gingerly. Punk busts out the ringpost figure four.

The entire match builds to Orton finally getting Punk in position for the punt but his knee gives out on him. The look on Punk's face when he realizes what happened is brilliant. All his work had paid off and he'd avoided the dreaded punt of doom. The cocky Punk nearly walks right into an RKO but he slides out to the apron. He's so proud of himself! Punk springboards in and finally gets his comeuppance taking an RKO out of nowhere for the pin in 15 minutes.

Strong recommendation. I can see why people might have been miffed at the time with Orton going over or Punk even being in this feud instead of in Miz's spot but as a self-contained match, this was excellent. And no one kicked out of a finisher! I'd be interested in hearing some other opinions on this match because both guys are fairly polarizing.

Orton's selling in that is insufferable and his terrible CAW offense sucks out loud. Punk does a lot to carry it to being very good with both his selling and mannerisms but then that stupid finish. Ugh.

This was also at the time when the leaping nothing into an RKO was super en vogue. He'd beat Christian with it 2-3 times the same year.

In general Punk was never really been able to put his best foot forward at Mania. The closest would probably be the Undertaker match followed by the very good if disappointing Jericho match.

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CM Punk vs Randy Orton (WrestleMania XXVII - 4/3/2011)

I was curious what Punk's best Mania singles match was and realized I had zero memory of this match. I went in expecting it to be a boring match and came away very surprised by how good it was. From the hype package, Punk and the New Nexus interfered at the Rumble to cost Orton the title match against Miz. Punk's explanation tied back to two years earlier when Orton punted him in the head and he's never forgotten it. Orton punted each of the New Nexus members in retaliation and they all did stretcher jobs. Punk took out Orton's knee at one point out by Orton's bus. I vaguely remember some of this.

Orton comes in with his knee taped and starts off aggressively to try and put Punk away early. Punk targets the knee for much of the match and Orton does a strong job of selling it. Punk's in full heel dickhead mode here, mocking Orton and taking great joy whenever he goes back to the knee to cut off Orton's offense. The only real big move Orton hits that uses his knee is a superplex but he goes up very gingerly. Punk busts out the ringpost figure four.

The entire match builds to Orton finally getting Punk in position for the punt but his knee gives out on him. The look on Punk's face when he realizes what happened is brilliant. All his work had paid off and he'd avoided the dreaded punt of doom. The cocky Punk nearly walks right into an RKO but he slides out to the apron. He's so proud of himself! Punk springboards in and finally gets his comeuppance taking an RKO out of nowhere for the pin in 15 minutes.

Strong recommendation. I can see why people might have been miffed at the time with Orton going over or Punk even being in this feud instead of in Miz's spot but as a self-contained match, this was excellent. And no one kicked out of a finisher! I'd be interested in hearing some other opinions on this match because both guys are fairly polarizing.

Orton's selling in that is insufferable and his terrible CAW offense sucks out loud. Punk does a lot to carry it to being very good with both his selling and mannerisms but then that stupid finish. Ugh.

This was also at the time when the leaping nothing into an RKO was super en vogue. He'd beat Christian with it 2-3 times the same year.

In general Punk was never really been able to put his best foot forward at Mania. The closest would probably be the Undertaker match followed by the very good if disappointing Jericho match.

 

 

In his book, Jericho said their match was really hampered by the "if the champ loses the title he gets DQ'ed" stip which was added very last minute. He said they had a much different match planned but Vince made them scrap it. He (Vince) thought that them having a straight wrestling match after Y2J insulted Punk's family didn't make sense so he was going to make them do a DQ finish where Punk lost his temper and pounded Jericho. Jericho and Punk thought that having two world title matches with lame finishes would piss off the fans so they convinced Vince to let them keep some of their original match but with that stip thrown in so that they could at least have a clean finish and an explanation as to why Punk wouldn't just get a chair and tee off on Jericho for insulting his family.

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  • 3 months later...

Genichiro Tenryu vs Shiro Koshinaka (NJPW 12/14/92)

 

Koshinaka is one of those guys I can’t really ever get a feel for.  I’ve enjoyed almost everything I’ve seen him in, but he feels like a guy who is basically nonessential viewing.  He’s the guy at the party that no one invited, but you aren’t upset that he showed up.  If I was to have missed his entire career I don’t think I would feel like I overlooked anything, but I always leave his matches wanting to see more.  Koshinaka jumps Tenryu to start, and pretty much dominates most of this match.  Tenryu, who is a star and runs his own promotion, gives career midcarder Koshinaka a ton of offense.  The thing I like most about Koshinaka is his cool semi-shoot offense.  He works over Tenryu with a series of Fujiwara armbars and kicks to the head.  When he really turns it up and goes for the kill, he goes into more pure wrestling moves like German suplexes.  If there is one thing I would knock him on is his goofy selling.  It is like he’s going for a combination of the Greg Valentine/Arn Anderson stanky legged selling, and the Kawada war of attrition selling.  The problem is it doesn’t look realistic enough for the Kawada style and his legs just ain’t stanky enough to do the Valentine/Anderson style.  He either needs to go for the cartoonish or the realistic, the combination just looks goofy.  This is one of those matches where you go into it not knowing what to expect, but somehow come out of it thinking that it is exactly what you would expect.  Tenryu is surly, and busts Koshinaka wide open with some kicks to the face.  They then trade bombs, and they have the crowd believing that Koshinaka could actually beat someone the caliber of Tenryu.  That is the magic of this match.  Tenryu and Koshinaka somehow always put together matches that are greater than the sum of their goofy, halfcocked, seemingly nonsensical parts.  Tenryu is the only wrestler I can think of who is great despite everything he does looking sloppy.  He wrestles like he just woke up with a hangover, and he’s pissed off about it.  So this is a half-karate guy fighting a surly drunk, and it is awesome.  I’d give this ****.

 

Rick Rude vs Masa Chono (NJPW G-1 Climax 08/12/92)

 

I was a huge Rick Rude fan as a kid, and this is probably his peak.  I’ve never really liked Chono, he’s probably my least favorite Japanese main event wrestler of all time.  With that said, the Chono I tend to like is from 1990-93.  Everything else I’m not even remotely interested in watching.  Madusa is out with Rude and she is dressed in a prom dress circa 1987.  She looks like her wardrobe consists of that dress, a bunch of Van Halen, Def Leppard, and Cinderella t-shirts and about 15 pairs of ripped jeans. This starts with Rick Rude being a dick, and Chono getting the crowd behind him my giving him a quick ass kicking.  Rude bails and buys a little time out on the floor.  Back in Rude gets in a bit of offense, before Chono cuts him off with a front facelock.  Rude is such a fun worker at this point.  He is keeping this together with his counters to all of Chono’s facelocks, chinlocks, and head scissors.  He counters the front face lock with a northern lights suplex, the headlock with a jawbreaker, and tries, unsuccessfully to handstand out of the head scissors.  Almost all of Chono’s offense is submission based to start, and Rude’s selling is the only reason I haven’t fallen asleep yet.  Before Rude takes over after a piledriver, Chono has already put multiple submissions on Rude’s head, legs, and arms.  All of those submissions are kind of excessive when they don’t actually lead to anything.  I understand this is the finals of a tournament, and this is supposed to be an “epic,” but it would have made more sense to pick a body part and stick with it.  Then again, if he would have done that I wouldn’t have been able to watch Rude sell them all, so I digress.  The match really picks up when Rude takes over.  This match should be taught in a college course called How to Put Your Opponent Over 101.  After Rude sold his ass off, he hits Chono with all of his big moves.  Rude, who is clearly calling the match, never lets himself get too much in before he gives Chono a hope spot.  Chono, who is getting his ass kicked for most of the second half of this match, comes off looking like a million bucks.  Chono, who does hold his own herI’e, needs to go put flowers on Rude’s grave.  Rude’s work in this match made Chono look like a huge star.  The finishing stretch of this match is basically Rude being the overpowering gaijin, and Chono being the conquering hero.  Rude gets locked in an STF, but gets to the ropes.  Rude cuts him off and hits another piledriver followed by a top rope knee drop.  Chono reverses an irish whip and hits a back body drop, and locks in another STF.  Rude gets to the ropes and rolls to the floor.  Chono brings him back in and hits an enziguri.  Rude grabs his tights and sends him flying out of the ring to buy a little time, but Chono climbs the tope rope behind him and hits a diving shoulder tackle from the top rope for the win.  It was a super hot finish and a perfect ending for the end of the G1 Climax.  I’m going to give this one ****1/2.

 

Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat vs. “Ravishing” Rick Rude – Beach Blast ‘92

 

The problem with this project is that it is both too broad of a subject and too narrow of a subject.  I’ve decided that I wanted to watch every **** match of all time, but that is flat out impossible.  So, I decided to watch the matches that Dave Meltzer rated higher than four stars.  That is more manageable, but the problem is that Meltzer’s opinion isn’t infallible.  For the most part Dave’s opinions are at least understandable, but I don’t understand how he didn’t rate this at least ****.  This match starts with Steamboat working over Rude’s ribs for what seemed like forever (in a I don’t know how Rude is going to continue kind a way) only for Rude to catch Steamboat with a knee and getting the first pinfall.  Rude immediately hits a Rude Awakening to get a second fall.  Rude then goes to the top rope, which was illegal at the time, and hits a knee drop.  The referee disqualifies him, but Rude immediately pins him to take a 3-1 lead.  Rude then proceeds to beat Ricky Steamboat like he stole something, from his momma, on Christmas, and somehow that lead to Rick Rude’s dog being hit by a car, and then Ricky Steamboat peed on said dog, and then when Rick Rude got home he caught Ricky Steamboat in bed with his wife.  Tangent Alert:  The front row of this crowd features two old ladies who are really into the match sitting directly next to a woman who as far as I can tell has never even attempted to look into the ring.  She not only isn’t watching, he constant talking is making difficult for everyone around her to watch the match.  Tangent Over.  So after Rick Rude beats on Steamboat within an inch of his life, he decides he wants to hit him with a tombstone piledriver. Steamboat uses Rude’s body like a ladder and pushes himself up Rude’s torso in order to shift his weight over Rude’s head to counter into a tombstone of his own.  OK, we’ve all seen tombstone reversals, but Steamboat adds the little extra touch that makes a spot that is always over a little more special.  Steamboat gets the pinfall, but Rude is able to throw Steamboat into the turnbuckle to regain the advantage.  Rude then makes a tactical error of going back to the top rope, Steamboat catches him and hits a beautiful superplex, but it only gets a two count.  Both men charge at each other and we get a double clothesline spot.  Rude drapes himself over Steamboat, but Steamboat bridges up and reverses into a backslide.  We are now tied at three falls a piece.  Rude, who has just taken two falls in a row is still the fresher man, and he is still in control here.  Rude locks in a sleeper with four minutes left, and holds it until there is a minutes left.  Steamboat, with the sleeper still tight around his neck, kicks off the top turnbuckle driving his body weight back to smash Rude’s injured ribs.  Steamboat gets the flash pin with 30 seconds left, and Rude is panicking.  He tries to get a pin after a clothesline, a small package, and a body slam, but can’t get another pinfall before time runs out.  This is how you put on a match that makes both guys look like a million bucks.  Rude controls 85% of this, and for the most part he doesn’t cheat at all.  He just plain outwrestles Steamboat, but Steamboat took advantage of every opportunity and pulled it out in the end.  This match was worked like Rude would have won 9 out of 10 times, but on June 20, 1992 Steamboat did everything he had to do to get the job done.  This is a great match, I’d rank it a ****1/2.

 

OK, so I’m done with 1992, and it seems to be about time for some awards.

 

Wrestler of the Year:

 

This is the hardest year to choose one wrestler for since I’ve started this.  This is a really fun year of wrestling, and trying to pick one wrestler is kind of a crapshoot.  I think the contenders are Jumbo, Misawa, Kawada, Liger, Kobashi, and maybe Rike Rude and Bret Hart as outside contenders.  Those are the guys who seemed to be special in 1992.  All of their performances felt like you were watching the best wrestler in the world at that moment, and if you asked me tomorrow who had the best year I very well could have a different answer.  If we go by pure numbers Misawa and Kobashi are on the list for 1992 17 times.  Kawada is listed 15 times and Jumbo is listed 14 times.  Liger and Hart on the other hand are only listed 4 and 2 time respectively, and Rude’s best performances had to be added to the list.  Here’s the thing, Liger, Rude, and Hart were as good in their limited spots as any of the other guys in consideration.  Hart’s two matches were the Bulldog match which may very well be the best carry job of all time, and the Michaels match that would have been good, but forgettable if it wasn’t for him adding super fun moments.  Liger was just the best in the world at Jr. wrestling.  His match with Pillman is the one everyone remembers, but the Samurai match is so much better.  The one that was the most fun to watch was him being a dickbag heel in the 12/11/92 tag match.  He was on the list 4 times and I only watched 3…and I liked them as much as anything else I watched from 1992.  Those three guys put on some great matches, and have to be considered for this award.  I’m going to go with Kawada, because I couldn’t in good conscious pick Hart, Rude, or Liger.  Misawa and Kobashi were also outstanding, but I liked Kawada’s singles matches better. 

 

Feud of the Year:

 

Jumbo and company vs. Misawa and company has been feud of the year for two straight years, and are definitely in the running this year.  The best feud, Savage vs. Roberts was better out of the ring than in it.  Since it isn’t represented on the list at all, it is out of the running.  Vader vs. Sting was as good as anything else, but with only two matches it won’t be overtaking the three time champion…Jumbo vs. Misawa.      

 

Most Overrated/Underrated: 

 

This is probably the easiest award to give this year, because the most overrated wrestler almost made me write off the most underrated wrestlers.  The most overrated wrestler is Manami Toyota.  She has been hyped up as the joshi wrestler du jour, but she is my least favorite of all the joshi workers I’ve liked.  So the most underrated is any joshi worker on this list not named Manami Toyota.  Every other joshi wrestler brings something more to a match than just spots, but Toyota is only spots.  Toyota is perfectly fine as a hot tag, but I have yet to see her carry a match that could be described as anything other than a spot fest.  I’m eagerly anticipating watching more joshi, because it is a style that much more diverse than I would have previously assumed. 

 

Promotion of the Year: 

 

This was hard this time, because All Japan, New Japan, WCW, and AJW had outstanding years.  The great thing about 1992 is that all of the great wrestling seemed to be its own particular brand of great.  The hard hitting All Japan heavyweights did something different than the fast paced All Japan Women.  WCW did something completely different than New Japan, and that doesn’t even take into account the great angles WWF ran in 1992.  Flair vs. Savage and Bret vs. Bulldog were masterful stories, but this project is about matches and no one put on more great matches than All Japan Pro Wrestling. 

 

Biggest Surprise:

 

I don’t know if there is anything I was surprised by from 1992.  There wasn’t some new super worker who came around and set the wrestling world on fire.  I wasn’t that surprised by joshi, because of the 1991 matches.  I only watched two lucha matches, and they were the two most hyped of the year, so I expected them to be good.  There is this one match that really surprised me though…

 

Tag Team of the Year:

 

1992 was a great year for tag team wrestling, but there is only one team that was in two almost perfect matches.  Kobashi and Kikuchi may very well be the best babyface tag team I’ve ever seen. 

 

Match of the Year:

 

The match that everyone points to as the Kobashi/Kikuchi magnum opus is the match against the Can Am Express from May 25th, but that isn’t my match of the year.  My favorite match from 1992 was between two guys who were born to be babyfaces, and two guys destined to be heels.  Kobashi/Kikuchi vs. Fuchi/Ogawa from July 5th is in my opinion superior to the Can Am Express match in every way except crowd heat.  It is absolutely everything you could possibly ask for from a tag match.  Kobashi and Kikuchi play babyface in peril equally as well as they show fire after a hot tag.  Fuchi and Ogawa are just assholes to the highest degree, and pull out every dastardly trick in their repertoire.  If you like the southern tag formula, but have never watched this match, you need to watch this one as soon as possible.(unfortunately this match is no longer on YouTube, but it is still pretty easy to find)  I loved this match.

So going into 2016, I’m going to be starting 1993.  I’ve made a resolution to watch and review at least 5 matches a week, so hopefully I’ll get through the year pretty fast.  I’m going through some personal stuff lately so I’m going to try to do as many things I enjoy so I don’t sink below the stress.  I enjoy doing this, when I’m not overcomplicating something as simple as watch great wrestling matches, and hope this will keep my mind off of the shit going on in my life right now.

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I love what you write, especially this, being exact as it is

 

 

 

Tenryu is the only wrestler I can think of who is great despite everything he does looking sloppy.  He wrestles like he just woke up with a hangover, and he’s pissed off about it

 

There's a bunch of us that have enjoyed reading this project, so keep it up man!

 

Oh yeah and I think Chono sucks too, aside from that Rude match, vs. Takayama, vs. Mutoh, and the WAR tags. I challenge anyone to name something else he was in that was interesting. Please.

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I love what you write, especially this, being exact as it is

 

 

 

Tenryu is the only wrestler I can think of who is great despite everything he does looking sloppy.  He wrestles like he just woke up with a hangover, and he’s pissed off about it

 

There's a bunch of us that have enjoyed reading this project, so keep it up man!

 

Oh yeah and I think Chono sucks too, aside from that Rude match, vs. Takayama, vs. Mutoh, and the WAR tags. I challenge anyone to name something else he was in that was interesting. Please.

I was entertained by his match against Kobashi in 03/04 maybe, in NOAH.  Kobashi pretty much murders him.

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I love what you write, especially this, being exact as it is

 

 

 

Tenryu is the only wrestler I can think of who is great despite everything he does looking sloppy.  He wrestles like he just woke up with a hangover, and he’s pissed off about it

 

There's a bunch of us that have enjoyed reading this project, so keep it up man!

 

Oh yeah and I think Chono sucks too, aside from that Rude match, vs. Takayama, vs. Mutoh, and the WAR tags. I challenge anyone to name something else he was in that was interesting. Please.

I was entertained by his match against Kobashi in 03/04 maybe, in NOAH.  Kobashi pretty much murders him.

 

Chono isn't terrible, but I never understood how he got his spot.  I understand how everyone else got to whatever level they're on, but he is just an average ass wrestler at the top of the card.  Mutoh had basically everything you want in a wrestler, even though he didn't always wrestle to his full potential.  Hashimoto is one of the most physically charismatic wrestlers ever.  Chono just looked cool in a pair of sunglasses, but he didn't even start doing that until much later.  When did his body start breaking down?  Maybe he was the guy who was the best in the dojo, but his body betrayed him before he actually became the fully formed wrestler New Japan thought he would be.  It could also be a cultural thing we don't fully understand, kinda like how Russell Wilson is the black quarterback white football fans take the most seriously while simultaneously being the one black people like to laugh at.  Maybe Chono is the very definition of cool in Japan, but us being westerners just don't get it.

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Yeah Chono'd already won the G1 twice before the neck injury. I don't think he was ever a particularly good wrestler but they were in a position where they had to push him and Choshu knew how to get people over. Chono also only won the IWGP title once.

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I'm watching Nasty Boys vs. Maxx Payne/Cactus Jack from Superbrawl '94.  I know the Spring Stampede rematch is better overall, but goddamn did Maxx Payne look like a killer, throwing all those insane suplexes around!  I forgot that he wasn't that bad of a worker and was a legit shooter, but it looked to me that he was sending a message to the Nasties about their recklessness.

 

I wish Payne could've gotten a better spot, even though his look(chubby Bikertaker) wasn't the best, he would've been a great monster heel.  I also remember a WCW Saturday Night match he had against Vader, and he was belly-to-belly suplexing Vader all over the place.  I guess I'm gonna search the internet for his matches, particularly in Catch, to see how good he really was.

 

And because this never gets old:

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Did Knobbs try to sandbag him on that suplex? Or was he so unathletic at that point that he couldn't go up and over properly? Because Maxx gave him the up and enough of the over, but for some reason Knobbs didn't roll and turtle up with it. It was like Knobbs was trying to land on his face the whole time.

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