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Matt Watches 1989 AJPW on a Treadmill


Matt D
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11 hours ago, Curt McGirt said:

Here's the match that gif of Tenryu getting fed up with Misawa is from. The gif doesn't linger enough; Tenryu starts laying in elbows that look like he was trying to bust open Misawa hardway. 

Gif machine is not working well right now but here's the match:

Spoiler

 

Like I said, it's just ok, but skip to ~4:29 to see Tenryu having enough.

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Posted (edited)

12/6/89: Jumbo/Yatsu vs Tenryu/Hansen: RWTL Finals: I don't think this is the best match of 1989 but it might be the best balanced one. It's just right. It also makes me, once again, feel justified in hanging out in this year. I am going to go into 1990 and possibly even into 1991, but this is pretty much what I want, this match right here, with the level of build and escalation, and struggle, and the finishing stretch that we have here. It's all MORE from here. Some of that means we get more learned psychology but we also get more excess. It's going to be a while before it actively bugs me, but trust me when I tell you that this was enough. It's a pretty glorious match, and I have to believe Yatsu's greatest, but most typified, moments:

We are still in the Headgear Yatsu phase. Obviously, Tenryu and Hansen are coming in off that pinfall on Baba. They're all action to start with Tenryu trying to goad Jumbo in. I love that he doesn't really try to goad anyone else. No one else deserves his goading. That's one side effect of hierarchy. I couldn't really imagine that in the States. It'd be like Ric Flair only acting heelish in a certain way to Dusty and not acting that same way to anyone else. Especially if it was only when Dusty was teaming with Magnum and he was goading Dusty to come in instead of Magnum. That's not a great comparison but it's the best I have. It's even to start until a dodge for a double charge and Tenryu falling over the top. They work him over, but he fights back against Yatsu's suplexes more than usual (and this makes sense as it's still early and Yatsu is hurt). Yatsu gets one or two but eventually Tenryu just falls upon him and Hansen makes it in.

From here, Hansen gets the headgear off and it's a big beatdown. They build up tension by having Tenryu go over and whack Jumbo on the apron. It's palatable. They work in a hope spot after Tenryu misses the elbow off the top but that's all it is (and you don't get a lot of hope spots in 89 AJPW). That just raises the tension for Jumbo coming in more. Eventually, Hansen has him in an abdominal stretch and Tenryu just chops the hell out of him. That leads to Tenryu picking him up and chopping him down over and over but Yatsu is no chump and he ducks it for a suplex and the hot tag.

Jumbo comes in like an absolute beast destroying both of them as Yatsu tries to recover. Tenryu plays the long game though, sliding across the ring to knock Yatsu off the apron. That leaves Tenryu totally open to Jumbo, but Revolution has the numbers advantage now, and advantage is everything in AJPW. Tenryu holds on during a German attempt just long enough for Hansen to hit a lariat on Jumbo from behind. As they take over on Jumbo, people outside are patching Yatsu up though he's a mess. Hansen tosses Tenryu off the top with a Rocket Launcher on Jumbo, which they never did before. Tenryu takes out a recovering Yatsu on the apron and they hit a spike pile driver, but in a match-changing moment, Yatsu just makes it in to break it up, showing an absolute ton of heart, especially considering how Kimura ended up a non-factor after he got taken out just a few days before.

Jumbo does his part in the ring, reversing a whip and kneeing Hansen out. Yatsu is upon the floor, grabs him, and bulldogs him on the floor (with the mat up). Hansen blades. All of this means that the Jumbo/Yatsu team can recover enough to take over again, with Yatsu in hot throwing bloody headbutts and Jumbo killing Tenryu. Yatsu stays on bloody Hansen with another bulldog (the second) in the ring and by slapping the hell out of him, but that just pisses Hansen off. He holds Yatsu and calls Tenryu over but Yatsu ducks the front brain kick and it's a heel miscommunication spot (Right into Hansen's bloody wound!)

Yatsu holds Hansen for a Jumbo knee off the top but Tenryu's back to get revenge and take Jumbo out. Yatsu goes for the THIRD bulldog and it feels like a huge moment. If he hits it, maybe they win and it's the biggest pinfall of Yatsu's life. If Hansen shrugs him off though... and he does, creating a huge buzz in the crowd, for now there's distance and with distance comes the Lariat. Hansen runs right into a dropkick though! And it feels like Yatsu's finest moment. Just electric. Hansen charges in again with the clothesline and Yatsu ducks! Another great moment. He hits the back brain kick and holds him for the Jumbo knee/Yatsu German combo. Tenryu's in again with the back brain kick of his own though, which lets Hansen hit the lariat for the win. A great finishing stretch that had the fans buzzing and didn't wear out its welcome at all. It had one or two twists but felt absolutely right. Just brilliant stuff.

It's a war. It's a perfect match, but again, not necessarily my favorite one of the year as there were stories told during 1989 that I liked better. I'm not ready to say it's all downhill from here, but this was the ultimate of what a standard style 1989 main event AJPW heavyweight tag could probably be.

EDIT: And with this I'm done with the year. Wow. I'll clean up whatever tv matches I might have missed next, I guess. I've started to take stock of 90 and I can tell it's immediately going to be a little trickier footage wise. My previous source is a little more scattered so I'll be relying on TV and Ditch a little more. The flip side is that we have a lot of HHs once we get going, some of them new to the community in the last few years. I'll still get a comprehensive view but maybe not an all-encompassing one.

Edited by Matt D
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Lightning round to finish up the year!

10/29/89 (TV) Baba vs Singh: This didn't really get time to be anything. Singh is one of those guys who I'd probably get sick of pretty quickly, but it's fun to watch him come to the ring grinning with the sword. It just is. Early on here, Baba gets the sword, which is a great visual. It ends a little bit abruptly with a neckbreaker drop and then some crazy second one from a standing position where Baba drops Singh onto his own ribs.

Takano/Kabuki vs Nasties: Nasty Boys shouldn't be doing a bear hug in every match but they do. This was JIP. Not a lot to see. The double splash towards the end where they come from opposite directions off the ropes was a good spot. I still get the sense that they would be very fondly remembered if they worked a bunch of tours over the next few years.

Abby/Singh vs Hansen/Tenryu: Tenryu bled here! This was actually really good with Tenryu getting taken out and Hansen having to fight off both guys to protect him and get him back into the ring. Vulnerable but valiant performance by Tenryu as Hansen just did what he did. Abby might have hit the elbow after lining it up for ten seconds, but there's no way that'd win the thing so long as Hansen was given so much warning the pin was coming. Pretty good finishing stretch on this too.

BONUS MATCH: AMERICAN FORCE (Michaels/Diamond) vs JAPANESE FORCE (Kawada/Fuyuki) w/Gary Hart from Texas All Star 1986: Actually, I didn't find this. Does anyone have this? I want to watch this.

Bonus match: Destroyer/Baba vs Patera/Brazil: We don't get a ton of this but it's cool for what we have. For one thing Destroyer is a face teaming with Baba. This is from 77 so Patera's not fully formed and really focused on the strength stuff. Him getting out of a Destroyer full nelson was a great way to get over his power. Heel foreigner Brazil felt huge and dangerous and I should probably the Baba singles matches that are out there. Destroyer got to work from underneath a bit here. This gave us the end, but it felt like the end of a fall and I was ready for Baba/Destroyer to come back and win the thing but it's not to be (in the footage at least). Pretty unique match up though.

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Bonus match: 10/3/77: Jumbo vs Wahoo. I'll be interspersing some rare Destroyer stuff as I move forward. I'll pull the bandaid off and start on 90 soon but I really wanted to hit this one that was attached to the last tag, I did. I've never actually heard anyone talk about this match. It's interesting as Wahoo's in a pretty unique role for the 70s, but it's also very much a 70s Jumbo match. It's a great sign of just what Wahoo could do on the mat, which we'll see occasionally in a NWA title match but not all that often. He was the aggressor in the first fall with a lot of interesting chaining of holds, a lot of driving force behind the holds, and some unique bits of tying Jumbo up. Jumbo worked from underneath for the most part, but was always able to find an escape. Increasingly, Wahoo worked meaner, most especially after he got hit by the knee and then had to work out of a double-underhook suplex attempt halfway through the fall. The finish had him hit his own double arm suplex but Jumbo winning the rope running that followed. Second fall had Wahoo do more outright stooging until he came back with hard shots and a suplex/brainbuster. Then the third fall was fairly quick with the finished teased around that suplex again. Ultimately, it was good stuff though the first fall maybe had one too many mat segments towards the end (I'm thinking of a Wahoo headscissors, which was worked ok with some grinding, but probably too much). Still, I was glad to be able to see it. It's definitely a different sort of look at Wahoo.

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Posted (edited)

1-2-90: Kobashi vs Yatsu: Just the last five minutes, which is a shame as this felt really good. Kobashi reversing a German attempt to hit one of his own. Yatsu catching a flying body press into a power slam. Grounded headbutts (headguard is gone). A jamming punch counter to a cross body that was really cool, and some elaboration on the finish which is more of what you'd expect a few years later. I wonder if Kobashi came in with a bunch of imaginative ideas and Yatsu let him go with it or what?

1-7-90: Taue vs Steve Gaterwolf: This is a HH and what's most surprising is just how big Gaterwolf (who came out with the whole Native American regalia) is. I'm waiting for Taue to become more Taue-ish and there are maybe signs here? A good charging elbow in the corner, some physicality and presence. He still leans a little too much into awkward attempts at athleticism like leaping onto the second rope. The finishing stretch had a huge belly to back given these guys' size and then a dangerous looking Samoan Drop where he barely got him contained; sometimes that adds to the feel of things and sometimes it detracts. Here it added.

Bonus match: 10/5/77: Destroyer/Tenryu vs Wahoo/Jay Youngblood: Given the JIP, we didn't get a ton of this. The most interesting bit was Destroyer and Wahoo brawling on the floor towards the end and after the match. The transition was Wahoo tossing Tenryu into Jay (And then them doing a double chop) and the finish had Tenryu use the sumo rush palms across the ring, toss Jay into Destroyer and hit a rolling cradle, which makes so much more sense than Jumbo doing it. Ok, but we just got a bit of it and I wanted more. I especially wanted some heeling from Jay.

 

Edited by Matt D
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50 minutes ago, Matt D said:

Bonus match: 10/5/77: Destroyer/Jumbo vs Wahoo/Jay Youngblood

 

I think you mean Destroyer/Tenryu here. Looks like Tsuruta was wrestling with Rocky Hata against Brazil and Patera that night.

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Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, KinchStalker said:

I think you mean Destroyer/Tenryu here. Looks like Tsuruta was wrestling with Rocky Hata against Brazil and Patera that night.

Thanks, edited accordingly. I was watching on a tiny screen and given the VQ I remembered the listing wrong. I was really confused by Jumbo doing all of Tenryu's stuff so this makes so much more sense. I am obviously addled by this vaccine dose.

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1/7/90: Yatsu/Kobashi vs Abby/IVAN KOLOFF: My first thought is that Koloff is surprisingly credible for 1990. His stuff looks good. He asserts himself. He and Abby together are a force. Yes, he loses control once or twice but it's to be expected, and Abby is the one who gets clowned a little more. This was overall pretty good. My favorite parts were the brawling on the floor (especially when Yatsu gets revenge for getting tossed over the rail by getting a piece of equipment and smashing Abby over the head with it repeatedly), and Kobashi's final run against Abby where he gets some good shots in before getting caught on the top, hugely suplexed off and crushed with the elbow. Yatsu taking it right to Abby with shoulder block exchanges where he doesn't fall over is pure gutsy Yatsu. That guy, huh?

BONUS: 1/11/78: Destroyer/Baba vs Mark Lewin/Johnny Rodz: I've really dug Rodz in a bunch of TV matches against Patterson in 80 lately, but he didn't get to show a lot here. There are three sorts of 70s-80s Lewin: (1) boring, nervehold heel Lewin; (2) kind of cool, grumpy babyface Lewin; and (3) pretty frigging crazy heel Lewin. Thankfully, we get three here. This jumps to 5 minutes in and gets exciting when Lewin decides to dismantle the ring for kicks and they start to use part of the ring and the ropes to then dismantle Baba. Eventually Destroyer comes back on the outside and turns a headlock charge into the post into a toss-off into it and that spiritually lets Baba fire back in that lucha shift-of-fate sort of way and the good guys score a win. Fun and chaotic while it lasted.

BONUS: 2/5/78: Destroyer/Baba vs King Curtis/Bull Ramos: So, weirdly, both Curtis and Ramos are non-factors here. Why is that weird? Because the few minutes of this is just insane, crazy action, with chairs and the ring falling apart again and a table, and that cool metal wall that sometimes they slam their heads into in this old footage, like how they do it with the wall in Arena Coliseo. The problem is that it's all because Lewin is interfering all over the place in the match. It's basically 3 on 2 until they're able to finally get their hands on the bit of the ring that was floating about and get rid of him. Then it's a couple of back body drops on guys who can barely get over for them and the good guys take the win. I wish we had more meaningful stuff from Ramos in the early 70s when he was a draw because I just never see it in the stuff of his from the late 70s.

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1/2/90: Jumbo/Kabuki/ISAO TAKAGI vs Tenryu/Fuyuki/Kawada: New plan. I'm going to use the AJPW Classics archive on FB to figure out my way through things. So, I guess 1/90 is the month where they tried to push Takagi. This is 100% his match. He has an early moment against Tenryu (who then beats him up), gets to win strike exchanges from a disadvantage against both members of Footloose, has a long, long time in the ring during the middle which goes pretty well for him until Tenryu takes him out and bloodies him up. Kabuki has some really great moments here including one awesome stand up strike exchange with Tenryu, but he's just hot fire a few times. They can't do hot tags right in Japan but Takagi gets to finally tag in Jumbo and when he does he just kills people. One of my favorite thing about this version of Jumbo is that he 100% knows when to use the knee and when to just kick someone in the face (this was the time to kick Footloose in the face). Fuyuki has this amazing moment towards the end where he rushes across the ring and knocks Jumbo off the apron for basically no reason. Jumbo then comes right back in and kills him, but good on Fuyuki. Both Tenryu and Kawada utilize the Kawada Kicks (hold head, kick face; Tenryu's were better), which I really don't remember seeing much in 89 but have been seeing more lately, I think. It all works out like a lucha trios with the final pairing being Takagi trying for one last breath of defiance and a pile driver attempt on Tenryu only to ultimately fall to the Power Bomb because there is an order to a universe.

Let's see how the rest of the month goes for the big guy.

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Posted (edited)

1/2/90: Bulldogs vs Nakano/Tiger Mask: Breaking my Bulldogs rule (which I'll be more lax on in 90, probably) because this is my first chance to see Misawa since he went down in March. He was ok. Still lacking some presence. The kicks looked fine with some looking pretty snazzy actually. His first move was a big sweeping twisting headscissors takeover and it didn't quite work so that was a shame. Match was a little bit of a blur and ended abruptly with Davey taking over on Nakano with a headbutt and pulling him to the corner for a superplex. Dynamite was harmless, though he amusingly took some stuff just so he could kick out at one.

1/2/90: Randy Rose/Abby/Ivan Koloff vs Taue/Akio Sato/Takano: Just 6 minutes or so. Come on Taue, start being Taue already! Weak strikes abound. Takano was three years older than Taue but he definitely felt like more of a future player at this point. It was cool to see Sato and he was mostly matched up with Rose. Rose was there to lose the advantage and take stuff, so that was a little disappointing. Koloff didn't do much but everything he did was hugely credible. He's looked very good in tag settings in this run so far. There are a couple of singles matches and I'm curious how they'll go. Abby was Abby, with the first rope assisted headbutt and the elbow (on Sato of course) to end it. This was fine.

Bonus match: Arashi (Isao Takagi) vs Kawada: 3/22/02: I wanted to see how the Takagi story ends and it ends with him as Arashi. This was a fun six minute Kawada vs hefty guy match. Arashi looked pretty solid here, though I'm not convinced he could be so in a match twice this long. My favorite bit was Kawada pulling Arashi's shirt over his head to try for the Power Bomb (it didn't work). And the big transition point where Arashi just ran headlong into a forearm. Most of the other Arashi matches out there seem like big multi-mans and I've no time for that, so I'm happy with the small look I got.

Edited by Matt D
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2 hours ago, Matt D said:

Come on Taue, start being Taue already!

Didn't Taue not really become the Taue we know and love until 93?

2 hours ago, Matt D said:

Most of the other Arashi matches out there seem like big multi-mans and I've no time for that, so I'm happy with the small look I got.

As someone who watched his final years in AJPW back then I can tell there isn't much there worth catching as far as Arashi goes. He didn't have anywhere near the same interest or passion that he did as Isao Takagi.

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1/3/90: Kobashi vs Kabuki: As best as I can tell, there was some sort of 7 match singles series for Kobashi, which seems like a pretty good way to continue his evolution. All of these have been JIP so far, so maybe we get these in full with the new classics eventually? I liked this a lot. When we come in, Kobashi's hitting a couple of dives and he holds the offense a bit until Kabuki totally flattens him with a clothesline. The Kabuki control bit that follows is really good but Kobashi's selling is maybe a bit too over the top; delay flying into the corner off a throat shot, that kind of thing. Eventually they move into a pretty cool short arm scissors sequence, which is not something I've seen much in AJPW and here Kobashi's selling is great, as is his grinding escape by working the ankle with his knee. It all builds to a pretty exciting finishing sequence but Kobashi falls short. Good stuff.

1/3/90: Fantastics vs Footloose: 1990 Kawada, still coming out to Kenny Loggins. These all action tags need a pretty overt story or they just end up a lot of noise. Solid action, cool moves, but diminishing returns. Fantastics either need to be able to work full on southern babyface or outright aggressor and they don't do either here. It gets a little heated with some stuff on the floor and Fuyuki swinging a chair but never to any real purpose. My favorite bit of this was probably how quickly Kawada tried to get the flowers out of his hands and to the second (maybe Ogawa?) after the girl handed it to him. There was a pretty cool veg-o-matic where Rogers was selling so he could barely hold the guy up and Fulton used a knee.

1/3/90: Bulldogs vs Tiger Mask/Fuchi: Fuchi was pretty cool here, just scrapping from underneath especially against Davey's strength. Davey is a star and you feel for Dynamite who both seems diminishing in comparison but is also savvy enough to know Davey's his meal card. Tiger Mask looked maybe a little better here, though I just don't like his little flip kick. The flip looks better than the kick which is never a good thing. Some good moments (like the initial bit where Davey deadlifted Fuchi and Dynamite hit a weird jumping kick off the top), but also in the diminishing returns category. The all-action tags aren't doing it for me.

BONUS MATCH: Black Terror (Tank Patten) vs Destroyer: 3/11/78: Tank's a guy we got to see a bit in Houston and he lives up to the name, just a bruising scrapper journeyman type guy, nothing special but if he's up against someone you like, you know he'll hold up his end. He did so here, with just big hammering blows at every point. Destroyer would fight back only to get beat down. Eventually, the tide started to turn and Patten turned to shots to the throat while in a headlock, leading to a big moment where Destroyer blocked it dramatically (really milking it expertly) and hit one of his own.  It finally spilled to the floor and Destroyer sure likes that headlock-shrug-off-into the post spot. it let him with via countout here.

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1/3/90: Tenryu vs Ivan Koloff: I have no real sense of anything. I know Tenryu leaves mid-year and takes half the roster. I know Misawa and Jumbo have a big match. I know Andre show up eventually. That's pretty much what I know about 90 AJPW. So I'm watching Tenryu come down and BOOM, Takagi just totally blindsides him and nails him with a chair out of nowhere. What a baffling feud. Anyway, obviously Koloff takes advantage with his super credible stuff. Tenryu eventually fires back but keeps getting cut off, eventually with eyerakes. But he's one of the toughest guys ever, so he eventually gets the advantage and takes Koloff out with the best elbow drop off the top I've ever seen him do. Match was perfectly fine but the pre-match angle was great. This Tenryu vs Takagi feud is for real.

1/7/90: Fantastics vs Inoue/Ogawa: HH. It was the best I've seen Ogawa look even if he really doesn't have the personality yet and it's only 90 so who knows when he'll get it. Fantastics (especially Fulton but not just) gave a lot to Inoue who looked king-sized like usual. Ogawa had some spirit early but then spent most of the match losing the offense. He finally got a run in the end and I think the lack of hope spots and fight leading up to it meant that the crowd only got behind him so much. This was still a pretty good match but I get the notion that the Fantastics weren't exactly positioned right in 90 (here they threw out shirts before the match but Ogawa was the face in peril).

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It's all a little scattershot since I'm sourcing footage from a few different places and not exactly how I want it. Plus, between us, I'm starting almost every run with a ten minute mile now, which is totally kicking my butt and making things a blur. I got up to 12 minutes of 6 mph (at 3.5 altitude, always at 3.5 altitude).

But let's see what we've got.

1/11/90: Takano/Yatsu vs Abby/Koloff: Ok, look, Abby is really good. He's got incredible timing, some of the best in wrestling history. He has a way of just being present within a match where things don't go exactly as you'd expect against him. For instance, he blocks things, things you wouldn't expect to be blocked (like the back brain kick). And he can cut someone off as good as anyone in wrestling, ever. I'm ok with the monkey flip off the corner spot in matches against him, even for guys who never do a monkey flip because it's one of the only ways to get him down and people know it works. Here, though, they don't do it, but instead, Yatsu basically power body slams him out of the corner, which is nuts. The fans weren't really up for it though, so they're nuts. It didn't look perfect or anything but it's not a spot you'd see every day. Abby also did an atomic noogie to the temples which was more interesting than a nervehold. Koloff was credible, but he was there to lose the offense a few times. I would say that this January 90 run is, however, a post-prime feather in his cap. Not everyone could be dropped into 1990 AJPW and hang, especially not a guy pushing 50 who was after his last major run.

Bonus match: 1978: Baba vs The Angel (Frank Morell): Not much to see here. It spilled out early and Angel looked like he could maybe do some damage to Baba in that setting, but Baba jammed him, came back, and quickly won. Five more minutes with Angel doing damage on the floor would have been better.

Bonus match: 1978: Don Leo Jonathan vs Abby: Abby seemed almost exactly the same in 1978 as 90. The same step up bottom rope headbutts. The same elbow. The same cut off moves. No noogie. This was a bit of a clash of the Titans and Jonathan was surprisingly spry for 78, including flipping into the ring (a bit clumsily) to hit some dropkicks towards the end. That said, it was a little meandering, the sort of match that would make you interested to see either guy against another opponent but not necessarily the two of them against one another.

 

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Posted (edited)

1/8/90: Tenryu/Kawada/Fuyuki vs Jumbo/Tiger Mask/TAKAGI: Doing a scan of the house show which wasn't available to the community until a year or two ago. It's cool to see this stuff which I know @jdwor @ditchor any of the other guys who got there first years before me haven't been able to see. We'll do this one on Segunda Caida as a New Footage Friday at some point and I'll be more meticulous there, but here's the short thoughts: Whenever Takagi is in, it's really good. Whenever Tenryu's in, it's amazing. I think this is the absolute meanest I've seen him chronologically so far; it makes sense for two reasons. First and foremost, yeah, Takagi ambushed him before the Koloff match a few days earlier. This isn't the first match after that but it's the first one we have footage of. But second, in 89, most of the times we saw Tenryu, he was up against Jumbo, yes, but the other guys paired with Jumbo were usually Yatsu or Kabuki. Sometimes Takano. Rarely was it Takagi or Kobashi or Taue and Tiger Mask was most of the year. So this mini-feud is a real chance to see him in there against a younger upstart, let alone directly paired with the guy stepping to him. There was a bit of clunky stuff with Tiger Mask vs Footloose in here (botched run-up something in the corner) and some really good stuff too (his flip off the top rope especially) and I thought he actually matched up really well against Tenryu. Jumbo was fierce as a papa bear type coach, clapping on the apron and rushing in when his guys were getting maligned. But the best stuff was after Takagi knocked Tenryu off the apron. Oh man, was that a mistake.

Edited by Matt D
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Posted (edited)

The Tiger Misawa/Tenryu stuff being good would track. Their one singles match during this era (the 1987 one) gets overshadowed by TM's Jumbo match, and understandably so, but going week-to-week in 87-88 there was definitely something there in tags. Kekkigun (which also had Takagi, funnily enough, as well as baby Taue) ultimately didn't do all that much but the TM/Tenryu matchup was consistently the best thing to come out of their tags against Revolution. Ironically considering the Misawa/Kawada rivalry, TM had more trouble gelling with Footloose.

Edited by KinchStalker
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1/8/90: Doing some recon on the rest of the card. These'll be really quick in case we do write it up for NFF.

Momota vs Kikuchi: 90 Kikuchi looks like he has just a ton of potential. Great dropkick. Good selling for the most part. Momota tears apart his arm with a lot of relatively advanced control. Unfortunately, while that's 2/3rds of the match, it stops mattering at all at the end, so that's the "most part" part. There are ratios about how important selling should be to the overall match relative to what % of the match is the limbwork and this sort of tilts.

Goro Tsurumi vs Steve Gaterwolf: Man,Gaterwolf's chops suck. I'll just lay that out there. He's big, has some presence, but Wahoo he is not. You know who could have had a good match against Tsurumi? Wahoo. Tsurumi's stuff is all good. Good knees, etc., but this was too long and Gaterwolf disappoints. I joked that I was watching stuff that ditch or john hadn't seen but this feels like a match that no one's seen ever, that no one would ever watch, including the people that were actually in the crowd that night.

Rip Rogers vs Ogawa: Rogers is infinitely entertaining. If I'm Baba I put him right in the comedy six mans (That aren't quite comedy six mans yet, which is part of the problem). He's super over the top parody babyface here with lots of clapping and oh yeahs! I think he carried a kid around the ring on his shoulders before the match. And if this was 97 Ogawa or 02 Ogawa or whatever, he would have been able to react and respond to it and it would have been amazing. 90 Ogawa? He plays grumpy with a chip on his shoulder as Rogers is just having a good time. Hugely entertaining.

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Quick thoughts on the rest of the 1/8 card:

Inoue/Teranishi vs Fantastics: Inoue looks like the 3rd or 4th best guy on the roster consistently, better than Footloose even. Fantastics gave a lot and had big spots like usual, but just work so much better either as clear faces or clear heels. I have literally nothing to say about Teranishi. 

Baba/Kimura/Kabuki vs Ruchi/Okuma/Eigen: Fuchi really does get to both hang with the other side and stooge for them. Given the HH, I had a bit of a hard time telling Okuma and Eigen apart. There's a better world where Destroyer is in these matches. Or Rip Rogers! He's right there. I wish I knew what Kimura was saying afterwards. 

Nakano vs Randy Rose: I remember liking this fine but very little specific. Let me put it this way though: much better than the Steamboat vs Nakano match. Rose liked to do a double axe-handle from the apron. Nakano had decent fire. 

Takano/Taue vs Abby/Koloff: Nothing match. Koloff continued to look credible. Taue did not. Abby being literally the only guy in the world who can block things like kicks never gets old.

Yatsu/Kobashi vs Bulldogs: Very good. Mostly Davey Boy. Fun to watch him put Kobashi through his paces and eat dropkicks. Yatsu came in hot towards the end and got to hit all his stuff. People who love the Bulldogs will like this.

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9 hours ago, Matt D said:

I wish I knew what Kimura was saying afterwards. 

 

It's a pretty loose translation, but:

We all had hard times together, and I admit, I don’t look like the athlete of the day supposed to look. My forehead’s just a lil’ scarred up, my heiny’s a lil’ flat... But brother, I am bad. And they know I’m bad.

There were two bad people… One was Rikidozan and he’s dead brother, and the other’s right here. Big Hayabusa Genichiro Tenryu. 

The PWF World and NWA International tag belts belong to these people!

I’mma reach out right now, I want you at home to know my hand is touchin’ your hand for the gathering of the biggest body of people in this country, in this universe, all over the world now, reachin’ out because the love that was given me and this time I will repay you now. Because I will be the next  PWF World and NWA International Tag Team Champion on this hard time blues. Rusher Kimura tour, ‘89.

And Genichiro Tenryu, Big Hayabusa… Let me leave you with this. One way to hurt Tenryu, is to take what he cherishes more than anything in the world and that’s the  PWF World and NWA International Tag title. I’m gon’ take it, I been there twice. This time when I take it daddy, I’m gon’ take it for you. Let’s gather for it. Don’t let me down now, ‘cause I came back for you, for that man, Rikidozan, upstairs, that died 25, 26 years ago and never got the opportunity to see a real  PWF World and NWA International Tag Champion. And I’m proud of you, thank Buddha I have you, and I love you. I love you!

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Now that you've made a Rusher/Dusty link in my brain, Gordi, I now have no choice but to contemplate who would be the target if Dusty were to cut Kimura-to-Fuchi style promos about trying to get them laid/married. I hope you're proud of yourself.

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Bit of a tricky patch here as the matches have been so good that they need a little more attention than I usually give them. January 1990 has just been really strong so far. These two below don't even have anything to do with the Takagi vs Tenryu angle. Here's what Jumbo, Misawa, Tenryu, and Fuyuki were up to on 1/11 and 1/14 (with Kabuki and Kawada along for the ride for 1/11)

I absolutely loved this one:

and this one has just an amazing finish and a great mauling of Tiger Mask:

So give them a look when you're not watching AEW and I'll try to get some thoughts together in a few days. 

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1/11/90: Jumbo/Tiger Mask/Kabuki vs Tenryu/Footloose: This had a few choices I wasn't 100% on board with in the back half, not bad choices, but choices that could have been made better. For instance, there's a pretty long beatdown on Kawada that should have been Fuyuki for a couple of reasons 1) that he wipes out hard in the first five minutes (more on that later) and 2) that it would have helped the build to what happens in the 1/14 match). Those first five minutes were off the charts great. Tiger Mask got the better of footloose (again) only for Tenryu to intervene. That led to Kabuki tagging in and Tenryu intervening again. Kabuki NEVER puts up with that and it leads to everything breaking down and Kabuki getting whacked with a chair. Revolution capitalizes but only because Tenryu intervenes again after Fuyuki wipes out on a top rope body press. Eventually, Kabuki outstrikes Kawada and Tiger Mask comes in only to have his shoulder wrap ripped off and Tenryu and Kawada demolish the shoulder. This is all really great stuff. It lasts until Fuyuki's ready to come back in but not ready enough as he loses control of Tiger Mask and Jumbo comes in to smash everyone. It gets a little wishy washy after that, which is a shame, because, as I said, if they controlled Fuyuki instead of Kawada after this, it really could be an all-time match. There is a neat bit here where Jumbo catches a Kawada kick in the corner and slams him down hard and then later on Tenryu does that to Tiger Mask though. Anyway, there's still a good chunk of action left, with it breaking down once or twice more before Tenryu blocks a back drop driver on Fuyuki but Jumbo takes him out so Tiger Mask can hit the Tiger Driver on him on Fuyuki for the win. Really good stuff.

1/14/90: Jumbo/Tiger Mask vs Tenryu/Fuyuki: It's great that in a month that Hansen really isn't around, everything's been so good. Tiger Mask, who didn't really impress me in the first few months of 89 has been a shot in the arm, making things feel new and fresh. Meanwhile there's the Takagi push and surprisingly game foreigners in Randy Rose, Ivan Koloff, and Rip Rogers, plus the Kobashi 7 match series (more on that soon). I didn't rewatch this one, so I'll just highlight a couple of things. First, there's a long FIP on Tiger Mask here, including mask ripping. Tenryu's side is always so much better at intervening and cutting off the ring. Second, the finish is awesome, with Fuyuki barely hanging on, having his leg demolished on the rail, and Tenryu hitting a clothesline as Jumbo had a half crab on, only for Jumbo to hang on and redouble the pressure! Brilliant stuff. Post match, Tenryu abandons Fuyuki in frustration (partially at his own misfire) and Jumbo and Tiger Mask help him up, which felt like a big moment.

1/20/90: Jumbo/Takagi vs Tenryu/Kawada: It's a little sad how Kawada didn't advance at all from January 89. He developed the kicks a bit more and was a little more seasoned and a little tougher, maybe, but Hansen allying with Revolution really cut him off at the knees. The first couple of minutes of this were great (a common theme as they really gave a lot of thought in how to enter matches) with Takagi really wanting Tenryu and vice versa. Tenryu survived the initial rush, however, beat him up a bit, and handed him over to Kawada. Kawada couldn't contain him and Takagi sicced Jumbo on him, and so on. For a lot of the rest of the match, Tenryu cut off the ring, very quick to drag his opponent over the corner to keep control. Takagi looked good, having big moments against both guys, but boy did Tenryu ever beat the crap out of him. Finish seemed to continue Tenryu's crazy wanderlust tension, as he took out some of Jumbo's seconds and then ended up brawling with all of them, making it so Kawada was alone to lose the advantage and ultimately (after a good little exchange with Jumbo) the match. If it helps, Tenryu grabbed a bunch of chairs and tossed them about post-match, so at least he felt bad.

1/14/90: Kobashi vs Randy Rose: this was match 3 in the 7 match series. I think 2 was Kabuki which I'm pretty sure we don't have. My favorite bit of this, by far, was Rose hitting a full nelson facebuster (like the Stroke, but with a full nelson; Jericho's Breakdown, right?) and the crowd going nuts for it because it was so interesting and novel a move. Otherwise, this was solid, with matwork to start and escalating to dives (Rose liked to do an apron clothesline and a top rope elbow/axehandle). It had some good drama towards the end with Kobashi missing a dive but Rose landing on Kobashi's knees off a Vader Bomb, before Kobashi put him away with the moonsault. Nice little sub 10 minute match. 

Bonus 3/14/78: Destroyer vs Abby. They have an 80 match I really like. This was ok, a battle of the titans that you knew would end with chaos. I liked how they really sized each other up before engaging. They worked some solid holds before everything went tumbling outside with pretty great crowd brawling. It ended with Abby destroying everyone at ringside, including a poor guy in the orange tracksuit. 

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9 hours ago, Matt D said:

1/14/90: Kobashi vs Randy Rose: this was match 3 in the 7 match series. I think 2 was Kabuki which I'm pretty sure we don't have.

We do. A JIP of most of it opened the 1/7 TV episode.

 

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You're right and I guess I covered it at that. I think I'm mainly hoping for the full things to pop up with the new Classics. I'd love to see how they start out because the start of the Rose match was actually fairly interesting. 

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