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Thread: Ed's Puroresu Review Thread

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    Ed's Puroresu Review Thread

    So this is something I've been planning for quite a while now. I think it's no secret that over the last few years I've become a big fan of Japanese wrestling, and thanks to Zero and a few others I've always been keen to discuss the current puroresu scene on WC, particularly New Japan Pro Wrestling although I did branch out a bit last year. However my experiences in watching Japanese wrestling doesn't really go any further back than 2012 when I first started watching New Japan, and in the last 4 years I haven't really put any effort into watching any of it's deep, rich history. It's kind of embarrassing how many of the legendary wrestlers from Japan that I have only scratched the surface in watching. I've been a New Japan World subscriber since Day 1 and up until about a couple of weeks ago I had ignored it's archives and only used it for watching the new content, and I've known about Ditch's site for years and never really used it. Now that my schedule has freed itself up a little, and with me not being head over heels in love with the current wrestling scene, I've decided to finally to take some time looking at some Puroresu history.

    I'm still not sure what I want this thread to be yet, but I figured I might as well share my thoughts on what I'm watching in some form of a review thread because I'm sure that'll motivate me to stick at it and it could be a place for people more knowledgeable to recommend stuff for me to watch. Some entries might be full show reviews, some might be a collection of matches from one wrestler, some might be a look at a lesser well known promotion and some might be something completely random. I want the thread to focus on the old stuff, but I'll probably stick some current day stuff in here if it happens to dominate my viewing (like this week for example watching 7 BOSJ shows and little of anything else) and I feel like writing about it.

    Entries:

    #001 - Super J Cup 1994
    I take a look at one of the most famous and important wrestling shows in Puroresu history, the first ever Super J Cup where a collection of the world's greatest Junior Heavyweights work a one night tournament that sees Wild Pegasus (Chris Benoit) take home the trophy.

    #002 - Ali Vs Inoki
    Following the death of Muhammad Ali, I took the time to learn about Ali's showcase 'match' with New Japan Pro Wrestling founder Antonio Inoki.

    #003 - Ed Loves Dick...Togo
    Inspired by the recent news that Dick Togo was coming out of retirement, I dived into a selection of matches from the M-Pro legend.

    #004 - Reviewing Every G1 Final Part 1

    In celebration of NJ World finally putting up every G1 final ever on their on demand service, I vowed to work my way through every final match of arguably the most famous and anticipated wrestling tournament of the year, The Grade 1 Climax. In this first entry, I look at the 1991-1995 finals that are dominated by the Three Musketeers of 1990s New Japan.

    #005 - Reviewing Every G1 Final Part 2
    After a year long delay, I return to part 2 of my G1 finals project by looking at the 1996-2000 tournaments which sadly includes the dark ages of Manabu Nakanishi reaching the finals in back to back years. This project unsurprisingly died after watching these matches.

    #006 - LARIATOOOOOO: An Introduction To Stan Hansen

    I finally dive into the rich history of All Japan Pro Wrestling with an in depth/hodge-podge look at arguably the most successful gaijin in Japanese Wrestling history - Stan 'The Lariat' Hansen.

    #007 - LARIATOOOOOO: An Introduction To Stan Hansen Part II
    The Stan Hansen viewing continues as I work my way through Dylan's recommendations and discover that Stan Hansen had a hell of a lot of different tag team partners.

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    Re: Ed's Puroresu Review Thread

    Entry 1
    Super J Cup 1994



    So for those of you that keep up with the current day puroresu news, you'll of heard that New Japan Pro Wrestling are bringing back the Super J Cup this year and will work with the likes of Ring of Honor, Dragon Gate, Pro Wrestling Noah, CMLL and Zero-1 in an international Junior Heavyweight summer tournament. Sounds a little like NXT's Global Cruiserweight Classic tournament doesn't it? Well, I'm pretty sure the Super J Cup was brought back in response to NXT's 2016 sudden interest in cruiserweights and still being sour about the January exodus of their talent. To kick start this thread I thought I'd take a look at one of the more famous shows in Japanese wrestling history, the 1994 Super J Cup.


    April 16th 1994 was a pretty big day in Tokyo for wrestling, All Japan Pro Wrestling had their Champions Carnival 1994 finals take play in Nippon Budokan where over 16,000 fans witnessed Toshiaki Kawada defeat Steve Williams, while New Japan put on an all Juniors show in Sumo Hall. NJPW were represented by Jushin Liger, Shinjiro Otani, El Samuri, Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero and Dean Malenko, Michinoku Pro were represented by TAKA Michinoku, The Great Sasuke and Super Delfin, WAR were represented by Gedo, FMW by Hayabusa and Ricky Fuji, CMLL by Necro Casas and Social Progress Wrestling Federation by Masayoshi Motegi. As 14 men don't go into a tournament nicely, Benoit and Sasuke received byes, and the other 12 men were put into first round matchups.

    Before we get any further, I feel it's necessary to point out that the ring announcer is dressed like the 5th member of Sergeant Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band.

    First Round
    Dean Malenko Vs Gedo

    Now Gedo to me has always been the bandana wearing, beard sporting, Rainmaker merchandise shilling, spokesman of Kazuchika Okada who has the book on New Japan, so I'm immediately taken back by his Mohican Samurai haircut, cleancut babyface, red rags appearance. Meanwhile Dean Malenko looks like Dean Malenko has always looked. Malenko dominated most of the match with his technical prowess although he got a 2 count off a jackhammer which would go on to be one of the most iconic finishers of the 90s. Gedo would come back with some hope spots, but really this match was about Dean. Ending was pretty abrupt, Gedo pinned Malenko straight off a powerslam to get the 3 count but Malenko got his shoulder up bang on three and he didn't look pleased about the referee's decision.
    It was a solid enough way to start the show, but not edge of your seat action. I would of preferred Malenko winning but I'm not going to turn down seeing how ridculous Gedo looked at this point in time again.



    First Round
    Shinjiro Otani Vs Super Delfin

    Super Delfin sounds like one of those weird English translations you get on New Japan World for non-japanese workers like The Big Bang Vader or Bad Rack Whare because Delfin is clearly a supposed to be a Dolphin, he looks like a 90s version of Shark Boy. Otani went on to be Mr. Zero-1, but spent the 90s in the New Japan Jr. Division and was only a few years into his career here. Otani to me was the star of the match, killing Delfin's leg for most of the bout as Delfin struggled like a fish out of water That's not to say all of Otani's offence was mat based submissions, he got the biggest pop of the match with his springboard missle dropkick. Delfin hit a tornado DDT and a tight pinning clutch to win the match. I really liked this but was disappointed in the result as I much preferred Otani's performance and would have liked to have seen against someone better.

    First Round
    Black Tiger Vs TAKA Michinoku

    Black Tiger is Eddie Guerrero in a Black version of the famous Tiger Mask, and I'm just gonna call him Eddie for the purpose of this review. Taka Michinoku looks like a baby, but he doesn't look that much older 22 years later. Eddie dominates most of this match to the point where I'm struggling to see why Taka was invited to the tournament, but he busts out a top rope somersault counter which wows the crowd. This cat like jump to the top rope is a trick Taka keeps repeating and on one occasion he follows up with a sweet belly to belly suplex. They trade big nearfalls for the last few minutes, most notably Taka kicks out of the worst frog splash I've ever seen Eddie execute. Eddie drills Taka with a tornado DDT to advance to the 2nd round.

    First Round
    El Samurai Vs Masayoshi Motegi

    First time seeing either wrestle. It starts off lightning fast with a dropkick out of the bell and then Motegi botches a dive outside the ring; you only have one chance to make a first impression kid. Compared to the other three matches before it, this match came across pretty sloppy, more so for Motegi's performance who would mess up a simple headscissors later on. Because of these mistakes, the match didn't have much flow or story to it, they just traded spots. I was very relived to see Samurai win the match with a powerbomb because I couldn't of handled another Masayoshi Motegi match on this show.

    First Round
    Negro Casas Vs Ricky Fuji

    Casas has the reputation of being one of the greatest Mexican wrestlers of all time, so naturally I've never seen him wrestle. Ricky Fuji I'm convinced I saw on the Tenryu retirement show work a comedy tag match against Kikutaro and The Winger because I'm reminded of him being a Japanese Michael PS Hayes/Shawn Michaels in gimmick only. This match follows the same pattern of Otani/Delfin where one guy dominated the majority of the match (Casas) and his opponent came to life at the end of the match to win (Fuji). After Casas missed a top rope senton dive, Fuji followed up with clotheslines and kicks in quick succession before a picture perfect Tiger Driver. This was quite short, about five minutes; really not enough time to conclude anything more than Casas is the better worker and it's a shame he didn't advance.

    First Round
    Jushin Thunder Liger Vs Hayabusa

    Embarrassingly this is the first Hayabusa match I've ever watched outside of 5 second gifs, and after doing some research it appears as though this was the first ever Hayabusa match in Japan.after Eiji Ezaki's excursion to Mexico. He literally got off to a flying start, with a somersault senton outside the ring with his coat still on which was awesome. That gave Hayabusa the head start and he controlled the opening minutes of the contest until Liger kicked out his leg and placed him in a figure four. It's odd to see that even 22 years ago, Liger was working like the seasoned vet as he continues to work the leg. Hayabusa messes up both a 'rana and a shooting star press in pretty quick succession on his comeback which was a shame and brought the match down. Later Hayabusa went for a diving 'rana but Liger countered into a powerbomb and followed up with a fisherman's suplex to end it. Good match, probably the standout tie of the 1st round; Hayabusa shows a lot of promise here, but he's also sloppy at times especially compared to Liger, and hopefully he ends up smoothing over those edges as the 90s progresses and he becomes someone I really enjoy watching. After the match Liger brings Hayabusa back around by pouring water on his head to wake him up, Hayabusa bows to Liger and Liger raises his hand in a show of respect.

    That's every first round match and at this point the shows doing alright, most matches have been short but solid outside of some sloppy moments. New Japan for some reason doesn't have the Super Delfin Vs Gedo and Jushin Liger Vs Ricky Fuji quarter finals on their network and I can't find them elsewhere, so I'm going to skip them, but Gedo and Liger won which I'm fairly happy about.

    Quarter Finals
    Black Tiger Vs Wild Pegasus

    aka Eddie Guerrero Vs Chris Benoit. It started off with chain wrestling before Eddie took advantage with some stomps and a nasty backdrop. Benoit comes back with a nice reverse suplex and a stiff clothesline. Things really pick up in the closing stretch with Benoit throwing out suplexes and powerbombs and Guerrero is fighting back with rana's from all angles. After a failed attempt at a tornado DDT, Eddie goes high risk again with a flying crossbody but Benoit counters it into a pinning powerslam deal to keep Eddie down for 3 seconds. Another good match, a tad underwhelming considering some of the great matches they've had with each other in their career, but they weren't in a position to steal the show here, they got 10 minutes slap bang in the middle of a tournament where Benoit has 2 more matches to come before the night is done. Recommended.



    Quarter Finals
    The Great Sasuke Vs El Samuri

    In keeping with tonight's theme, I have not seen The Great Sasuke before and he is very over with the crowd. Samuri starts off by working over Sasuke's leg, at one point he has him in a Octopus type hold, trying to ground the high flyer. That doesn't really work as in a scene that Vader wouldn't appreciate, Sasuke hits his insane cartwheel over the top rope moonsault that Samuri watches and doesn't think to move out of the way off. Not wanting to be outdone, Samuri gets back in the ring and hits a beautiful tope con hilo. I'm sorry Samuri, but you were kind of upstaged there in terms of dives. This crowd is so hot for this match and they're popping for all the highspots. Samuri gets a 2 count off a flying headbutt, Sasuke counters a powerbomb into a rana for 2, Sasuke nails a sunset flip powerbomb for 2. In the end the frantic match concludes with Sasuke rolling through a rana to keep Samuri down for 3. I thought this was the first great match of the show and I'm annoyed that El Samuri was wasted in the first round with Motegi had more to offer the Super J Cup than one quality match with The Great Sasuke. Recommended

    Semi Finals
    Wild Pegasus Vs Gedo

    I'm not a big fan of Gedo getting through to the semi finals here, his performances have been 'ok' but not really worthy of getting three matches on this show. This match is very short compared to some of the quarter finals, and the semi that would follow it. It's just shy of 7 minutes long, but it was cramped full of back and forth action. Gedo executes a big moonsault to the outside, but Benoit wraps things up not long after with 2 powerbombs and a flying headbutt.

    Semi Finals
    Jushin Thunder Liger Vs The Great Sasuke

    Good god this was amazing. I touched on it in the Hayabusa match, but Liger seemed to have a veteran edge to him in this tournament, and it was on show again in this semi-final match as Liger was the more polished and dominate performer of the two. Liger controlled Sasuke with submission moves like the surfboard and a kimura lock which meant Sasuke had to make his comeback moments count big time, which he did with some risky dives. The crowd were hot as hell when it broke down to exchanging the big nearfalls which only added to the quality of the match. Sasuke unfortunately botched at the worst possible moment, the finish; as he went for a springboard rana he slipped on the ropes and fell back into the ring. As Liger clapped, mocking Sasuke, he was caught seconds later by a hurricanrana pin, I highly doubt the botch was planned but some quick thinking by Liger made it look like his cockiness cost him the match. This was a near perfect Jr's match which for me was only let down by that botch by Sasuke in the final minute. Highly Recommended.

    The Final
    Wild Pegasus Vs The Great Sasuke

    Well I guess that's why these two got byes in the first round, they were booked to go to the final and they didn't want them in 4 matches on the night. Sasuke has had two of the best matches of the tournament, and Benoit's been a solid performer in his matches but hasn't been in a position to deliver something great, so I'm a fan of the choice of final. Benoit took an early lead with some chops in the corner and it looked as though Sasuke's fatigue might play into the match as he had wrestled almost twice as long as Benoit had on this show. Sasuke selling in his match is probably understated compared to his offence, he really does a great job making Benoit kicking his ass seem more painful than it is. The nearfalls in this match are something else; Benoit comes really close with a bridging german and a pinning powerbomb, and Sasuke returns the favour with a fisherman's suplex and moonsault for his nearfalls. Sasuke busts out his cartwheel sommersault plancha again, this time with a different rotation for good measure. After about 20 minutes of scintillating action, Benoit picks up the win with a gutwrench suplex from the top rope. This was an excellent way to end the tournament; a match full of dramatic nearfalls, great selling and crisp action which made both men look like superstars. Highly Recommended.



    Overall I think this show merits the reputation it has as one of the great wrestling shows of the 90s. I didn't think that after the first round! After seeing a bunch of short, ok matches and a few sloppy performances I was failing to see why this show was so hyped up. Once Chris Benoit and The Great Sasuke entered the tournament in the Quarter Finals, the quality of the show took a sharp increase. Sasuke was the MVP of the show and I think it would have been more fitting if he had won the trophy. I wonder if anyone has ever had three matches in one night that were as good as Sasuke's matches with El Samuri, Jushin Liger and Chris Benoit.

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    Awesome! I can't wait to see more of this and keep an eye out for a new series I've got in the works that will go great into conjunction with this.

    To continue my plugging I've written articles about a number of these guys on this show, in particular my articles on Sasuke & Hayabusa some of my finest work.

    Just to give some thoughts on these guys in general because I essentially agree with pretty much all of these match ratings in general. Clearly Sasuke had the 3 best matches on the show and elevated it to its legendary level.

    Sasuke & Hayabusa are both somewhat similar to me in that they had an aura and were way ahead of their time at their best but watching more and more...they were both really sloppy. It didn't hurt Hayabusa as much since recklessness was part of what made the Hayabusa character so likable in FMW.

    Don't sell Delfin short now, as goofy as he was he was a heck of a talent in MPro. Part of some really incredible 8 man tags along with TAKA.

    If I had to pick the best wrestler in the world in 1996, it probably would be Otani. I can't stress enough how great he was in his peak. He was still very green here though, still a Young Lion technically but you can already see he was the man. Just a whole nother level.

    Casas was right up there with Otani in 96-97 but here I guess...he still really shouldn't have lost to Ricky Fuji. Native bias at its worst.

    El Samurai's awesome! Such an underrated worker and even at this point had an absolute classic with Liger to his name. (And they'd later form an equally underrated tag team/Trios with Kendo Kashin) I really liked his theme song and his mask, loved Sammy a lot.

    The rest I think you mostly know but just to echo your sentiments they really wasted a lot of potential in the 1st round with these shit workers coming in, but it was necessary for political purposes. Get this, Motegi was representing the Social Progress Wrestling Federation.

    Benoit's WINNER jacket he got at the end was epic.
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    Re: Ed's Puroresu Review Thread

    Nice review. Also happy it was this show. I hope you do more of these that showcase Benoit. I found out he was doing these tournaments even while competing in ECW and WCW.

    I have never seen this show outside of the main. Some even say the main between Sasuke and Pegasus is a 5 star match . Strangely when I watched it, I felt it was a tad over rated. I guess people screaming five star match could do that though. I did enjoy it a lot but I'd only give it ****1/4.

    Never saw El Samurai but heard he had some great matches with Benoit. I hope you end up reviewing those shows as well!!

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    Re: Ed's Puroresu Review Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Zero View Post
    Awesome! I can't wait to see more of this and keep an eye out for a new series I've got in the works that will go great into conjunction with this.

    To continue my plugging I've written articles about a number of these guys on this show, in particular my articles on Sasuke & Hayabusa some of my finest work.

    Just to give some thoughts on these guys in general because I essentially agree with pretty much all of these match ratings in general. Clearly Sasuke had the 3 best matches on the show and elevated it to its legendary level.

    Sasuke & Hayabusa are both somewhat similar to me in that they had an aura and were way ahead of their time at their best but watching more and more...they were both really sloppy. It didn't hurt Hayabusa as much since recklessness was part of what made the Hayabusa character so likable in FMW.

    Don't sell Delfin short now, as goofy as he was he was a heck of a talent in MPro. Part of some really incredible 8 man tags along with TAKA.

    If I had to pick the best wrestler in the world in 1996, it probably would be Otani. I can't stress enough how great he was in his peak. He was still very green here though, still a Young Lion technically but you can already see he was the man. Just a whole nother level.

    Casas was right up there with Otani in 96-97 but here I guess...he still really shouldn't have lost to Ricky Fuji. Native bias at its worst.

    El Samurai's awesome! Such an underrated worker and even at this point had an absolute classic with Liger to his name. (And they'd later form an equally underrated tag team/Trios with Kendo Kashin) I really liked his theme song and his mask, loved Sammy a lot.

    The rest I think you mostly know but just to echo your sentiments they really wasted a lot of potential in the 1st round with these shit workers coming in, but it was necessary for political purposes. Get this, Motegi was representing the Social Progress Wrestling Federation.

    Benoit's WINNER jacket he got at the end was epic.
    Thanks Dylan,

    I remember reading your article on Hayabusa after his passing, but I must of missed the Sasuke one. Bit disappointing to hear their careers are marred with sloppiness, although I can't say I'm too surprised after watching Hayabusa's match.

    I'm not writing Delfin off, wasn't too much to judge off only seeing one of his matches. Otani is a guy that stood out to me from the show as someone I want to see more of, I'm pretty sure he was in that 5 on 5 gauntlet match from Zero 1 you showed me last year, and I enjoyed him in that too. I'll be sure to take a closer look at him in the future.

    Social Progress Wrestling Federation intrigues me

    Quote Originally Posted by indyfan View Post
    Nice review. Also happy it was this show. I hope you do more of these that showcase Benoit. I found out he was doing these tournaments even while competing in ECW and WCW.

    I have never seen this show outside of the main. Some even say the main between Sasuke and Pegasus is a 5 star match . Strangely when I watched it, I felt it was a tad over rated. I guess people screaming five star match could do that though. I did enjoy it a lot but I'd only give it ****1/4.

    Never saw El Samurai but heard he had some great matches with Benoit. I hope you end up reviewing those shows as well!!
    Thanks dude, I'd definitely recommend Sasuke/Liger as well from the show that's right up there with his match with Benoit.

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    Re: Ed's Puroresu Review Thread

    Entry 2
    Inoki Vs Ali

    So circumstances this weekend has altered the topic of this entry drastically. I was all set to write about someone completely different before the news came through a few days ago about legendary boxer Mohammad Ali dying at the age of 74, a man I and many others consider to be the greatest sportsman of all time. Once I heard he passed, he became the only thing I wanted to watch this weekend on my random youtube searches be it fights, press conferences, interviews or documentaries and that cut into the time I had to watch wrestling. I said last week that this thread could sometimes touch on random events, and they don't come more random than the time Mohammad Ali 'fought' New Japan Pro Wrestling founder Antonio Inoki in 1974. Yep, second entry in and I'm already not talking about a wrestling match, although this could count as a chapter in the wacky career of Inoki.


    'Isn't there any oriental fighter who will challenge me? - I'll give him one million dollars if he wins'

    That's the challenge Ali made at a reception when talking to Ichiro Hatta, the president of the Japanese Amateur Wrestling Association in 1975. The challenge made headlines in Japan, and Inoki wrote Ali a letter accepting the offer and starting the negotiations with Ali's camp. Ali agreed to a worked fight with Inoki after reported being offered six million dollars by Inoki's backers. As good a reason as any I suppose. Supposedly the original agreement was for Ali to beat up Inoki for most of the match until Inoki caught him with a lucky kick to the head and win the match, and the date was set for June 24th 1976 at Budokan.

    The fight was scheduled to broadcast all over the world on CCTV, and even Vince McMahon Snr used the fight to promote his big event at Shea Stadium making the telecast of Ali/Inoki the main event of his show which over 30,000 attended. To raise awareness of the fight McMahon sent 'Classy' Freddie Blassie to be Ali's manager and had him appear on talk shows and events to hype it up. Blassie promised that Ali would destroy Inoki and leave the people of Japan in tears.

    It was all fun and games to start with vintage Ali antics. He dubbed Inoki 'The Pelican' due to Inoki's gigantic chin at a press conference, which Inoki quickly countered by saying Ali would break his hand if he landed a punch on his chin. Inoki also played Ali at his own games by presenting him with a gift - a crutch to use for after the fight after he breaks Ali's leg. The interactions between the two got a lot of laughs from the press, especially when Ali started doing impersonations of his boxing rivals, but the lighthearted, tongue in cheek banter at the press conference soon went away as the bout drew closer.


    A couple of days before the fight there was an open training session at the famous Korakuen Hall, where fans would pay to go see both men show off their skills in training. Ali would beat up a couple of local boxers with Blassie screaming advice, while Inoki displayed his kicks and submission holds. Immediately after this training session, Ali's management changed the goalposts and demanded the banning of some of Inoki's moves and now Ali didn't want to lose the fight either. They proposed that the only way Inoki would be able to kick Ali is if he was on the ground and that no grappling would be allowed. Inoki's hands were tied as he couldn't risk Ali calling off the fight because of how much money he would lose, so he reluctantly agreed to the demands of Ali's camp. It was also decided that the legendary Gene Lebell would referee the match.

    So with these new rules in place (that weren't made public to the paying fans before the fight happened), the 'fight' stunk and was about as unentertaining as it gets. As the bell rang, Inoki dashed across the ring and fell on his ass, and stayed on the ground kicking at Ali's legs from the center of the ring for literally the majority of the fight - in line with demanded stipulation that Inoki could only kick at Ali if he was grounded. As Inoki stayed grounded for the entire 15 rounds of the right, Ali couldn't really land any punches, in fact he only threw six punches in 15 rounds! The Greatest became The Frustrated as he had no way of fighting Inoki if he refused to stand up, and taunting him with chants of 'coward - fight like a man' weren't convincing Inoki to leave the canvas. The only time the match took a different path was when Inoki popped up, grabbed Ali's leg and took him down to the mat where he would land an illegal elbow (remember that). Halfway through, Ali's corner complained that Inoki's loose shoelaces were causing cuts on Ali's legs which could cause an infection which the commentators focused in on to try and create some drama out of a slapstick fight. After 15 painful rounds, the match was declared a draw after Inoki had 3 points docked for fouls.



    The Budokan crowd started throwing rubbish into the ring and chanted 'money back'; it took almost a full day to clean the garbage up from the protests of displeasure. Ali and Inoki disagreed on where the blame fell on why the match was shit, Ali blamed Inoki for fighting on his back all match and Inoki blamed the rules forced upon him. Ali's camp had bigger concerns than the match being a flop; all the kicks to Ali's legs left him with two blood clots and it has been suggested that Ali was never the mobile fighter he was after that night in Tokyo and the repeated infections he caught.

    Ali and Inoki became friends after 1976. Inoki started using Ali's theme, 'The Greatest', as his own ring entrance and borrowed the infamous catchphrase 'bo-ma-ye' from the Rumble in the Jungle. Of course that has links in today's wrestling scene with Shinsuke Nakamura, who used the name Boma-Ye for his finishing move (later Kishasa). Ali flew over to Japan to watch Inoki fight for the last time in 1998, and after his final victory, Ali had this to say about his friend.

    'It was 1976 when I fought Antonio Inoki at the Budokan. In the ring, we were tough opponents. After that, we built love and friendship with mutual respect. So, I feel a little less lonely now that Antonio has retired. It is my honour to be standing on the ring with my good friend after 22 years. Our future is bright and has a clear vision. Antonio Inoki and I put our best efforts into making world peace through sports, to prove there is only one mankind beyond the sexual, ethnical or cultural differences. It is my pleasure to come here today."


    After watching and researching the match, I'm still not sure on the whole truth at the core of this story, how much was a legit fight and how much was a work; there's differing accounts on that matter although I'm of the opinion of if everything was a work, how on earth did they agree to a fixed match that dull. All I know is, it's one of the more embarrassing moments in a great man's career. RIP Ali.

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    Re: Ed's Puroresu Review Thread

    Now if you'd ran this past me, I probably would have heavily warned against watching this, especially not now. But at the same time, it is a very important match and moment so I get the appeal.

    Pretty much everything I know has said that it was real and played out with Ali changing the rules and that was the strategy Inoki adopted. If so, real or worked, the match was doomed once the rules changed in terms of being entertaining. I also do believe that the stuff about the legs is totally true and had an effect which is just another reason to dislike Crazy Inoki.

    RIP Greatest, but this match was SO BORING. Not to be remembered.
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  8. #8
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    Re: Ed's Puroresu Review Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Zero View Post
    Now if you'd ran this past me, I probably would have heavily warned against watching this, especially not now. But at the same time, it is a very important match and moment so I get the appeal.

    Pretty much everything I know has said that it was real and played out with Ali changing the rules and that was the strategy Inoki adopted. If so, real or worked, the match was doomed once the rules changed in terms of being entertaining. I also do believe that the stuff about the legs is totally true and had an effect which is just another reason to dislike Crazy Inoki.

    RIP Greatest, but this match was SO BORING. Not to be remembered.
    Well I figured if I'm going to watch old Japanese wrestling to get more of an appreciation of it's history, I shouldn't ignore the high profile bad stuff because it's still interesting to learn about it even if the match was as dull as it gets.

    Hopefully I'll return to some good graps next time out.

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    Re: Ed's Puroresu Review Thread

    The match is a joke and the rules favoured Ali. Ridiculous.

    Inoki would have absolutely wrecked him if the rules were equal and he was allowed to grapple and throw kicks without having a knee on the mat. If anything, this fight only contributes to my dislike of Ali rather than Inoki.


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    Re: Ed's Puroresu Review Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Chat Shake, Get Banged View Post
    The match is a joke and the rules favoured Ali. Ridiculous.

    Inoki would have absolutely wrecked him if the rules were equal and he was allowed to grapple and throw kicks without having a knee on the mat. If anything, this fight only contributes to my dislike of Ali rather than Inoki.
    And vice versa if it was a straight boxing match.

    I think it was just silly that both knew it could only clearly work as a work and neither could successfully come up with a swell plan that benefited both. Why not just have equal amounts of offense and toss it up to a draw at the end.

    Fun history lesson here.

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    Re: Ed's Puroresu Review Thread

    The point of the match was to do a boxing vs wrestling showcase. Sort of like MMA.

    Completely ridiculous to stifle just about all of Inoki's offensive weapons.

    I think they both agreed to do a work but Ali refused to job.


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    Re: Ed's Puroresu Review Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Chat Shake, Get Banged View Post
    The point of the match was to do a boxing vs wrestling showcase. Sort of like MMA.

    Completely ridiculous to stifle just about all of Inoki's offensive weapons.

    I think they both agreed to do a work but Ali refused to job.
    We'll always have Big Show vs. Mayweather.

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    Re: Ed's Puroresu Review Thread

    Entry #3
    I love Dick.....Togo



    A couple of weeks ago, hidden among the climax of the BOSJ finals, there was some Puro news that sort of flew under the radar.

    Since about 1 year ago, I've wanted to return to the ring. That feeling grew with every passing day, and I can't hold it back anymore. I've still got mixed feelings about coming out of retirement. But hey, you only live once! So on today, the anniversary of my debut, I'm making a choice I know I won't regret. I, DICK TOGO, will be coming out of retirement!
    So yeah, Dick Togo is returning to the ring; So far I've heard him announced for an 4FW show in England against Mark Haskins. He's a guy I've really only seen in a handful of mulit man tags so I figured this was as good a time as any to jump into his history, starting this week with his early work in Michinoku Pro Wrestling in the 90s.

    Super Delfin Vs SATO - M-Pro 12/10/93
    A quick return to this thread for Delfin, SATO is Togo in a mask. This is a mask vs mask main event from M-Pro and while I didn't know the result of the match going in, logic told me SATO must of lost as Togo wrestled the majority of his career without a mask. This was pretty good to start with, Delfin was in control with a series of submissions and he came off in this match a lot better than when I initially saw him at the '94 Super J Cup, but SATO kept fighting back with some highspots. There's an insight into just how athletic for his size Togo is with a no-hands somersault plancha. I started to fall out of love with this towards the end where it was a bit heavy on forced dramatic nearfalls that were hard to buy. As SATO missed a top rope senton, Delfin quickly took advantage with a pinning german suplex. SATO was absolutely dejected as he was forced to unmask himself after the match.

    SATO, Great Sasuke and Shiryu Vs Super Delfin, Gran Naniwa and Jinsei Shinzaki - M-Pro 2/4/94
    A highly exciting 6 man tag which look a staple of Michinoku Pro Wrestling with the amount of multi-man tags they ran. They start off a little tame with 3 pairs of two getting the chance to have their own little match before tagging out; Togo and Delfin to start which was a great exchange playing off their chemistry together, then Shiryu and Naniwa had more of a mat based affair and then the owner Sasuke came up against Shinzaki and they ended up brawling outside the ring. All bets were off after they went outside and those initial partnerships broke off into the fast paced, chaotic tag team matches M-Pro is known for with a little bit of everything from crazy lucha moves, to lighthearted comedy spots to daredevil dives outside the ring. First time seeing Shinzaki and he was pretty forgettable outside of doing an Undertaker 'old school' but walked 3 quarters around the ring before jumping off and onto his opponent's arm. Specifically for Togo, this was another showcase of his impressive athleticism, especially against Delfin. Recommended.

    Sato/Shiryu Vs TAKA Michinoku/Super Delfin - M-Pro 20/9/94
    I'm not sure what arena this match takes place in, but it's one of the weirdest layouts to a show I've seen in a while; it looks like a massive gymnasium that is far too big for the crowd they have there, and there's no seats, everyone is standing up, it's like ICW at 20% capacity. It's a hot start as Shiryu and Delfin brawl through the crowd and Sato and TAKA fight backstage, but as I say everyone in the crowd is standing up and free to roam about so the fans just follow the brawls wherever it takes them. In scenes reminiscent of WWF Hardcore Championship matches, Sato is beating the shit out of TAKA in the lobby; throwing him into concrete posts, slamming him onto ping pong tables and choking him out with a fan's umbrella. Sato leaves TAKA for dead on the ping pong table and looks to join Shiryu's fight with Delfin and all the fans follow Sato out of the lobby. When TAKA recovers he walks back into the arena, he's desperately trying to find where his partner is but can't see anything because a large crowd is blocking his view and he has to fight through the crowd of fans first before fighting Sato again. Once they get back to the ring, Delfin eats a Spike Piledriver and is written out of the rest of the match so it's left for the young TAKA to battle against the odds 2 on 1. He sells for the majority of the match but lands a few cool highspot comebacks, although they're quickly shot down like when TAKA dropkicked Sato to the floor and as he goes to dive out, Shiryu wastes him with a lariat from behind. For some reason, Shiryu gets a little too aggressive with the ref and chucks him out of the ring for a DQ finish. Terry Boy rubs salt into the wounds by joining in a 3 on 1 attack on poor TAKA. Fun beat down by Sato and Shiryu.


    Michinoku Pro Vs Kai En Tai DX - M-Pro 16/12/96
    Considered the peak of the KDX/M-Pro feud. Kai En Tai are represented by TAKA Michinoku, Funaki, Togo, MEN's Teioh and Shiryu while M-Pro are represented by The Great Sasuke, Delfin, Gran Hamada, Gran Naniwa and Masto Yakushiji. You'll need eye drops after watching this match because it's blink and you miss it action for about 25 minutes. The pacing of the match is off the charts as two teams who you can just sense that hate each other collide. KDX are a great unit, the match felt like a combination of the heels teamwork (and cheating) to overcome the force of M-Pro's top babyfaces; When one of the KDX dudes hits a potentially match ending move, the rest of the team dash across the ring to knock their opponents off the ropes. I don't want to go too deep describing Togo in the match, but most memorably he gets into a battle with Hamada. I can imagine the Dragon Gate guys being influenced by this style of wrestling growing up. There's a 6 man tag from Barely Legal 1997 that's better than this match that I urge anyone doing Crocker's ECW project to watch, but this is still fantastic stuff. Highly Recommended

    Dick Togo Vs Tiger Mask IV - M-Pro 25/8/02
    I have spent my entire time watching Puro thinking Tiger Mask IV was a poor wrestler in New Japan who I had never seen have a good match; well by going through some youtube searches I have found a match of Tiger Mask in his prime against Dick Togo and to cut to the chase, it's the best Tiger Mask IV match I've ever seen. This match was a tournament final to decide the first ever Tohoku Junior Heavyweight Champion in M-Pro. Dick was a giant dickhead in this match, hitting Tiger Mask with chairs, taking the turnbuckle pads off, bashing him headfirst into the exposed turnbuckle, ripping away at his mask, choking him out with a piece of rope, all in plain sight of the referee who did nothing, so a timely reminder that Japanese referees turn a blind eye to everything. This tremendous heel work makes a valiant Tiger Mask sympathetic and you cheer him on in the comeback. Karma bits Togo on the ass as he's later thrown into the exposed turnbuckle and struck with a chair to the face which cuts his forehead open. From there it all goes a bit nutty, Togo hits a pedigree but as he goes for his top rope Senton, Tiger Mask recovers and double underhook suplexes him off the top rope for a nearfall followed by a Tiger suplex for another nearfall. There's another struggle on the top rope as Tiger tries for a Super Tiger Suplex but Togo kicks him in the balls a few times to avoid it. After some quick pinning combinations, Togo rattles off a DDT, Pedigree and crossface in quick succession but the ropes are Tiger Mask's friends and he returns the submission favour with a heel hook on Togo. Even a pedigree from the middle rope isn't good enough to end this for Togo! it takes a 4th pedigree quickly followed by the top rope Senton to hand him the win and the Tohoku Junior Heavyweight Championship. After the match Togo celebrates with an inflatable beer, presumably from a sponsor. I loved this match, maybe due to lowered expectations as Tiger Mask IV was apart of it. Highly Recommended



    I think that's a young Tomohiro Ishii behind Togo

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    Michinoku Pro was one of my favourite promotions in the 90s. They were the masters at the six-man tag and they were frequently in the ****+ range. I always got a kick out of the arm wringer spot, which is one of the best comedy spots in wrestling, that you don't see much of anymore. There is a twelve disc Best of Michinoku Pro set out there, which covers their best matches from 1993 to 1998, and I highly recommend it. It includes so many great matches including the ten-man tag that is easily one of the best highspot-style matches of all time.



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    Re: Ed's Puroresu Review Thread

    Entry #4
    G1 Finals 1991-1995


    So I'm dubbing this month G1 month. To those that are unaware, the G1 Climax is the biggest wrestling tournament in Japan hosted by New Japan Pro Wrestling. It's traditionally a round robin tournament consisting of two blocks, with the winners of each block facing each other in a tournament, although there have been some years when a single elimination format was used. The G1 Climax winner usually gets a shot at the top title, The IWGP Heavyweight Championship, and recently it's become the way to punch your ticket to the Wrestle Kingdom main event as January 4th is the date set for the winner's title shot. It's equivalent to WWE's Royal Rumble in that regard, only it's much tougher to win, and rather than one long match it's a journey of 4 weeks of great heavyweight wrestling.

    To celebrate the return of my favourite 4 weeks of the wrestling calendar on July 18th, I'm going back and watching all the G1 Climax finals that New Japan World have helpfully put into a playlist. Here's the first five to start us off.

    1991 Final - August 11th 1991
    Keiji Mutoh Vs Masahiro Chono

    After a decade where Antonio Inoki dominated the tournaments of the 80s, it's nice to see the first ever G1 tournament in the 90s has two young guns in their 20s battling it out in the final. Mutoh and Chono graduated from the same NJPW dojo class and made their debuts against one another seven years prior in 1984; they would continue to cross paths for the rest of their career. This match really sets the standard for the epic G1 Finals I've come to love in modern day New Japan. You've got an electric crowd watching two young wrestlers going at it in a tightly contested match to earn a career defining victory. The match was booked to make both men look like they could win the match at any given moment, and in turn that made they look like equals and future stars of the company. It was a mistake from Mutoh that turned the match on a knife edge as his moonsault attempt was countered by Chono's knees and he followed up with a powerbomb on Mutoh take write his name in the history books. Recommended


    1992 Final - August 12th 1992
    Masahiro Chono Vs Rick Rude

    The second G1 Climax tournament was a total shakeup in format to the year previous; they changed from a round robin block system to a single elimination tournament and the prize was the vacant NWA World Heavyweight Championship after the existing champion Ric Flair had signed with WWF. Steve Austin, Terry Taylor, Arn Anderson, Barry Windham, Jim Neidhart and Bam Bam Bigelow were all part of the '92 G1. Given WCW's involvement in the tournament it shouldn't be a surprise to see one of their own make the final in Rick Rude. I've only ever seen his WCW work, but Rude's 1992 was amazing and earlier in the tournament he overcame Hashimoto and Sasake which I imagine were pretty good. Chono as the reigning G1 winner was the hot favourite going in, but Rude's experience came in play and he cut off Chono at just the right times to keep control. The match is a real grower that the crowd went along for the ride with, and eventually Chono was able to put up enough of a fightback that Rude couldn't prevent. Rude tried to send Chono out to the floor, needing to take a break from the onslaught, only for Chono to shoot up to the top rope and catch Rude with a diving shoulder tackle for the win. Highly Recommended


    1993 Final - August 7th 1993
    Tatsumi Fujinami Vs Hiroshi Hase

    This is a bit of a step down from the two 'epic' 30 minute G1 finals between guys in their prime that I just watched in Mutoh/Chono and Rude/Chono, but I really enjoyed it regardless, a welcome different vibe to a G1 final if you will. Fujinami, now into his 40s, was willing to bump hard to make the match work and took a couple of exploder suplexes from Hase outside of the ring. The story of the match was a little disjointed; Hase took a previously injured left knee into the final and that was the initial focus of Fujinami, but then that idea was forgotten about for the middle section of the match. The injured left knee came back into play for the finish where repetitive sharpshooters from Fujinami wore a vailiant Hase down into submission. Good match, but could of been great if they followed a consistent narrative.


    1994 Final - August 7th 1994
    Masahiro Chono Vs Power Warrior

    It's Chono's third final in 4 years and he's building up a reputation of the G1 Climax being his tournament. In 1994 he finds himself opposite the ring with the Power Warrior, aka Kensuke Sasake cosplaying as The Ultimate Warrior who during this face painted period teamed with Road Warrior Hawk to form the Hell Warriors. I don't want to bury this match, but when you compare it to all the other G1 Finals from this time period, it's clearly the weakest that appears in this list today. Chono proved in the 1991 and 1992 finals that he can have great matches if he's in there with the right opponent. On the evidence in this match, Sasake is not the right opponent for Chono. It's just so dull and ploddy and I'm willing the match to end; everything a G1 Final shouldn't be. A sweet STF struggle to win the match from Chono didn't come close to saving this.


    1995 Final - August 15th 1995
    Keiji Mutoh Vs Shinya Hashimoto

    This is my first time watching Hashimoto and from what I saw from one match, I think this is someone I'll really enjoy, but moreso against a different opponent. Mutoh had defeated Hashimoto earlier in the year to claim the IWGP Heavyweight Championship for the first time so the next thing on his checklist was to win the G1 Climax for the first time. This match is a reverse Taker/HHH from mania 27 to me; the first half is some of the dullest wrestling I've ever seen that would make Timothy Thatcher yawn. For about 10 minutes they just sit in rest holds and leg locks to pass the time; there's no effort to make the moves seem like a struggle and a battle to keep in control, and there's no effort to sell that these holds hurt. To make matter worse, all this leg work is just blown off and has no baring on the finish. All that being said, this match EXPLODES in the second half. Hashimoto turns the screw and beats the crap out of Mutoh to the point where he's busted open after a sick DDT and the sight of blood awakens the crowd to rally behind the champion. Hashimoto avoids the moonsault and Mutoh avoids the top rope splash, but it's these high risk moves that would decide the match as a rana pin Mutoh is escape but followed up quickly by two moonsaults to get the win. The consecutive finishers in quick succession to win a G1 can be seen in modern day New Japan with 3 rainmakers and 2 High Fly Flows deciding the last two G1 winners. The last 10 minutes of this match are an absolute blast, but the dry first 10 minutes really anchor it down from being something special. Recommended (for the 2nd half)


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    Recently watched both the 1991 and 1992 finals. I thought Chono vs. Rude was better, and I liked them both, but they still had some flaws that really bugged me. In Chono vs. Muto, I hated some of the no-sell stuff, especially when Muto takes a big move on the mats, I think it may have been a piledriver, and he's up and ready to do spots before Chono is. With Chono vs. Rude, Rude does the lengthy chinlock spot, which he does in all his matches, and I always hate it because it kills the momentum dead, but I felt it was worse here, because it's completely out of place in a Japanese style match. It's still a great match but it could have been better without that spot, because it was both out of place and it killed the momentum they'd built up.



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    Re: Ed's Puroresu Review Thread

    I think your thoughts pretty much fall in line with mine and a lot of people's. I wish I had more to add but I pretty much agree with you completely. The first two were probably the peak of the G1 Finals until '03 at least. Am interested on your thoughts on '98's considering the style we were seeing there.

    Chono was really great at the early point but never the same after his neck injury suffered shortly after that Rude match (vs Steve Austin).

    Hase was one of my favorites of the 90s and Fujinami's one of my favorites of the 80s so you can imagine I wanted more than we got for the reasons.

    I thought Sasaki sucked for a large portion of his career until his strange resurgence in '04. This Final didn't disprove that theory.

    Hashimoto/Muto is what JIP was made for.

    Doing rankings and following along.

    1. 1992
    2. 1991
    3. 1993
    4. 1995
    5. 1994
    Last edited by Zero; 07-11-2016 at 10:58 PM.
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    Re: Ed's Puroresu Review Thread

    I had some free time this weekend, and I was able to see the first two matches. I can't find the other G1 Climax Finals matches anywhere though.

    Muto vs Chono
    -A really great finals to watch between the two legends. Man were those fans fickle, first they boo Chono for scrapping the face of Muto and taking advantage of it, then they boo Muto for a piledriver on the cement floor lol. I have only see a handful of matches with Muto, and man it feels weird to not see him wearing the face paint. He does the same moves, no real difference in him Wrestling wise, but when he's the Great Muta he takes it up another notch to me. Chono using that STF, just vicious and the way he puts his arm under the face chin, just perfect.

    Chono vs Rude
    -What a amazing match to watch. You know I tired of hearing people say Rude was just a body and a not a good Wrestler in his own right. Have you seen his matches with Steamboat, Sting and this man with Chono might change your opinion on him. As I think about it, how did Rude get to the finals in 92 anyways? I mean by this time the talent was deep, he must of used ever trick in the book to get pass some of his opponents. It was great to see Chono repeat as G1 champ, how often has a champion made it back to the finals the following year I'm wondering? Money, prestige, and you win the NWA World Heavyweight Championship that's a great day at the office for him.

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    Re: Ed's Puroresu Review Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by HoHo View Post
    You know I tired of hearing people say Rude was just a body and a not a good Wrestler in his own right.
    Who has ever said Rude was just a body without any talent? I don't think I've ever heard anyone claim that on the IWC.

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    Re: Ed's Puroresu Review Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim View Post
    Who has ever said Rude was just a body without any talent? I don't think I've ever heard anyone claim that on the IWC.
    Sadly I have over the years, and it pisses me off. He was the real total package in my eyes.

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