Ditch Decades 8
Jumbo Tsuruta vs Billy Robinson UN Championship AJPW 3/5/77
This should be dope. There are some good hold exchanges, with Jumbo proving that he can keep up with the expert on holds and wacky Euro shit. Robinson still gets the better of him, but Jumbo proves that he's no slouch and that Robinson isn't going to eat him up on the mat. What he lacks in mat skills (which Jumbo doesn't lack, he's just not as good as Robinson), he makes up for with being faster and possibly stronger. Jumbo seems to be focusing on the arm. Billy gives a disrespectful slap and all it does is fire Jumbo up. Robinson hits his dope neck breaker and then jumps with all of his body weight right on Jumbo's neck. Robinson works the SHIT out of a cravat. A big back elbow sends Billy flying over the top rope. Huge dropkick from Jumbo. The ref won't even let him go for a pin and instead insists on a 10 count. They have a pretty heated strike exchange before Jumbo gets a Boston crab applied. Billy does a lot of rolling, twisting, and head standing to get out of it. And then he blasts Jumbo with a running forearm. Oh shit, running bulldogs from Jumbo. 2 in a row get him the win in the first fall at 11 minutes in.
Second fall starts with Jumbo trying to continue the neck work. Robinson's way of getting out of a headlock is just wonderful. Can't even describe it. It's just wonderful technical great looking stuff. There is a rad spot where Jumbo has a side headlock on and Robinson has a cravat on and Jumbo ends up bridging with both holds still on. It looked so cool and I don't think I've ever seen quite that spot. And this headlock lasts for quite a while, with short breaks and escapes only to return to it. But it is great. Robinson's escapes are so awesome and Jumbo works a headlock like a FIEND. Big back suplex from Billy ends the headlock spots. High knee. A bulldog attempt is countered this time. Robinson gets the second fall with his back suplex back breaker.
Robinson immediately works over the back with some hard Irish whips and slams. Guillotine. I think Big John would have stopped the fight. Gut wrench suplex. Back breaker. This time Jumbo was close to the ropes. Boston crab. Things get a little testy when Billy hits some chops to the neck that Jumbo doesn't like. Butterfly suplex. Gut wrench. Jumbo attempts a German suplex. Billy pushes off the ropes and both fall. I thought that was going to be the draw, but both men made it up before 10. Robinson rolls through the O'Connor Roll to score the pin. Robinson wins 2-1. New champion! Man, this was great. You'll never see a match where a 7 minute headlock spot is so hot and interesting. Robinson was so great. Jumbo was great even at such a young age. But it's pretty easy to see why he was so great when he got to work with the best guys from all over the world, all with different styles. So by the time Jumbo was really in his prime, he could do anything with anyone and it would be awesome.
Stan Hansen/Terry Gordy vs Genichiro Tenryu/Toshiaki Kawada AJPW 12/16/88
This is still pretty early into Kawada's career as a guy who matters at all. Tenryu had taken him under his wing and this is probably the biggest match of his career at this point. Tenryu's track jacket is BOSS AS FUCK. God damn I want one of those. REVOLUTION: CATCH US IF YOU CAN. Stan catches a big wad of streamers and throws them back while running to the ring. All in one stride. Gordy and Kawada start. You know Kawada is a baby as he has yet to adopt his traditional yellow color. Of course the foreigners wreck him for a few minutes before he gets a lucky tag to a pissy Tenryu. That's HIS guy. Only he can beat the shit out of him god damn it. Huge vertical suplex to Gordy. Gordy comes right back with a dropkick. Stan and Tenryu starts slapping the shit out of each other and neither guy is holding back in the least. Chop battle with Tenryu and Gordy. Tenryu won't sell shit for him. Kawada comes in with kicks, but he's so out sized. But he's game and trying to prove he can hang with the top heavyweights. In fact, he's the first one to throw a lariat, and it knocks Gordy for a loop. Double team spinning heel kick/enzuigiri. Stan really has it out for Tenryu in this. Stomping his head and slapping him every chance he gets. From the apron, breaking pins, whatever. Then he runs into a lariatoooo. And Tenryu pays him back with some stiff as fuck chops. Kawada beats Stan down in the corner and shows a lot more emotion and fire than what he'd come to be known for. But he's young, the smallest guy, and really wanting to prove himself. German suplex to Gordy. Stan breaks the pin by soccer kicking Kawada's knee. God damn. Tenryu gets lariatooooooooooed off the apron and ends up falling over the guard rail as well. Kawada tries to pick a fight with Stan on the floor. He's got spunk. But Stan beats the shit out of him and kicks his knee another 15 times. Lariatoooooooo from Gordy. Double shoulder tackle mows right through Tenryu. Tenryu has been busted open. I think from knee drops. Kawada no sells a chair shot to break a pin after a powerbomb and fights like your little brother when he finally gets pissed. Stan is trying to break his leg for real. I'd probably fight like that too because the prospect of Tenryu being mad at me in the locker room seems worse than Stan Hansen being mad at me in the ring. Tenryu gets a knee bar OUTTA NOWHERE on Stan and almost gets the win, but Gordy breaks it with stiff kicks to the back and head. Tenryu throws some mean slaps and chops at Stan. Gordy runs in with a lariato. Enzuiguris. Flying elbow. Tenryu tries to boot Stan's mustache right off. Powerbombuuuuuuuuu. Powerbombuuuuuuuu from Gordy. Lariatoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo. Hansen and Gordy win. A lot of fun here. I would have liked more of Kawada's beating to have taken place in the ring. I think him being the actual face in peril could have taken the match up a notch.
Miracle Violence Connection vs Mitsuharu Misawa/Toshiaki Kawada AJPW 12/6/91
It will be interesting to see how Gordy and especially Kawada has changed over the last 3 years. Misawa has pretty much been established as being on Jumbo's level or even ahead of him by this point. Kawada had a big jump up and has adopted his familiar yellow and black. He and Doc start. He throws some kicks at Doc's knees and that pisses the good doctor off immensely. Tags are made. Misawa took a hard shot to the gut and I think it knocked the wind out of him for a bit. Boy are there some angry elbows thrown between Gordy and Misawa. Lariatooo from Kawada. Gordy responds with one of his own. Doc comes in and can't handle that pesky Kawada. Misawa's senton was so rad. Huge lariato from Doc rocks the shit out Kawada. He had to roll to the floor to recover from that. Doc brings him back in with a jackhammer. MVC settle into tearing up Kawada's leg for a while. He finally fires back with knees and an enzuiguri and gets the hot tag to Misawa, who hurts himself doing a spinning lariato. Didn't stop him from kicking and elbowing Gordy in the mouth, especially with the vicious elbow suicida. Doc pays him back. Or tries. Kawada is back in and kicks Doc's face off while he was trying a football tackle. Missile dropkick from Misawa. Frog splash. Double jumping elbows. Little green and yellow dudes got some hops. Diving elbow attack from Misawa. 2 count. Doc does one of the most ridiculous slams on the floor I've ever seen to Kawada, and then Misawa eats a double powerbomb on the floor. In the ring, Kawada avoids the Oklahoma Stampede, but not a lariato. Kawada powerbombs Gordy. He then hits a flying back elbow in tribute to his mentor Tenryu. Misawa is just barely stirring now. Huge powerslam from Doc. Double powerbomb to Kawada. Misawa springs to life to break the pin and elbow Doc's head off. Gordy pins Kawada with a huge powerbomb. Kawada was still the lowest man on the totem pole in this, but not nearly as much as he was in the tag 3 years prior. He's close to being equal and would be equal within a year or so. It's good.
Jun Kasai vs Jaki Numazawa BJPW Razor Board Death Match 6/8/05
I don't know about this. In one corner is a barbed wire board. In the other is a crucifix with a board with straight razors glued to it. Who throws streamers for a match like this? They hug and kiss before the match. In case one of them gets a sliced artery maybe. There is some very rudimentary straight wrestling and teasing of the barbed wire board in the opening minutes. Numazawa gets whipped into the barbed wire and then smashed into it. To the floor they go. Jun gets a table from the other side of the building and Numa runs into it. Sure, a DDT on the floor 6 minutes in. Why not? Jun does a splash from the top through a table and in a shocking SWERVE, the table breaks. This is gross. Mostly because the crowd is silent and it feels like a weird snuff film. Chair shot. Numa is bleeding and Jun is biting the wound. Numa spits blood in Jun's face and powerbombs him on the crucifix. The next shot is of Jun's back all sliced up. Gross. His back is COVERED in blood. Now a bucket of thumb tacks gets dumped in the ring. This is neither fun nor playful. Somehow this feels scummier than IWA MS and DS death matches. Here's a fun spot: Jun gets his mouth filled with thumbtacks and then gets punched in the mouth. This is terrible. Even worse than I imagined. Kasai wins. There was nothing enjoyable about this. Nothing at all.
Jumbo/Robinson was fantastic and everyone should watch it. The tag matches were pretty good. The deathmatch was a bummer and made me sad.