Ditch Decades 9
Andre The Giant vs Osamu Kido/Haruka Eigen NJPW 5/25/79
Some weird crazy old guy is Andre's manager for this. Eigen would go on to be the in the comedy tag matches in NOAH openers for years. Both men are in the ring with Andre at the same time. Not like it matters. It could be 4 on 1 and Andre would still have a huge advantage. Double wrist lock doesn't work. Double shoulder blocks don't work. Double single leg take downs don't work. There are some fun spots with each guy slapping Andre on the back, with Andre running back and forth between the two to get who ever hit him last. Andre gets both men in a body scissors at the same time and slams them into the mat. Andre easily wins in what was a short , comedy squash handicap match.
Akira Maeda vs Super Tiger UWF 9/11/84
These two are the top stars of the UWF. They also have very different views on where they think the promotion should go. Maeda wants it to be submission based. Tiger Mask, a kick boxer, thinks it should be more strike heavy. Their disagreements behind the scenes led to disagreements in the ring. Some stiff leg kicks in the opening exchange. It hits the mat with Maeda in control. Kimura! Tiger immediately struggles to get to the ropes. SHOOT drop toe hold. Tiger has full mount. The story of this so far seems to be Maeda is better on the mat and Tiger has to find ways to stay out of holds. Which is not to say that Tiger is bad on the mat. He's very proficient. He's been able to get some subs on, but they don't seem like they can end the match as early as a Maeda hold. TM hits a loud as fuck spinning back kick and follows it with a SHOOT Pele kick right in the mush. Then he goes up top and misses a knee drop. Maeda goes back to the kimura instead of throwing a leg lock on. He turns it into an Americana. Tiger gets out and Maeda throws a series of kicks and puts him back in an arm bar that TM struggles for dear life to get out of. After a stiff leg kick, TM gets his own kimura on briefly. Maeda gets a rope break, does a judo throw, and goes back to the arm lock. Oh shit, a triangle! A full, legit triangle! TM is able to stand up and walk to the ropes. I was hoping for the triangle into a powerbomb spot in 1984. TM is able to get his own, but again, too close to the ropes. Back drop. Big looping wheel kick to the back of the head. Kick flurry from Maeda. Bridging hatch suplex. Maeda gets pissed the the ref won't count since a shoulder is up, so he goes back to the arm bar. TM breaks free, hits a tombstone, then a moonsault into a kimura. See, in this kind of match, it makes sense. It does not at all make sense when Davey Richards does a SSP into a kimura out of the blue. Maeda fights to the ropes. TM throws some kicks, the last of which is countered with a leg sweep. Maeda fires off some kicks, does a belly to belly, and locks on an Octopus Hold. TM tosses out and locks in a TIGHT crossface chicken wing, which gets him the win. As far as this version of shoot style, it's about as good as it gets. It's still very pro wrestling in many ways and really is basically the Inoki strong style taken up a couple of notches. Still pins and rope breaks and someone might do a tombstone or a moonsault, but the submissions are tighter, the struggles are harder, and the strikes are harder. They would eventually have two matches that turned into shoots, with one that had Maeda hit a real low blow that made Tiger Mask leave the promotion and the business in general for 11 years.
Genichiro Tenryu vs Ric Flair WAR 9/15/92
This was part of the working relationship with WWF and WAR. WWF had one with Tenryu's previous company, SWS. One of the joint shows in 1991 had Tenryu vs Hogan. Now the story goes that Flair really wanted a match with Tenryu at Starrcade 1988, but they couldn't get the deal made. So now it is 1992, Flair is the WWF Champion, and he's getting the match he wanted in Tenryu's promotion. On paper, this sounds like it could be a mess. Tenryu is not known for his mat wrestling, and Flair is not known for his strike/suplex heavy finish stretches. We'll see how this goes. It is 2/3 falls, so Flair should have some time to do what he does.
I'm definitely expecting some chops in this. Flair gets control on the mat very early on. He even does a rolling cross arm breaker, which I've never seen him do. Ric throws the first chop. Tenryu didn't like it and throws one twice as hard. Flair seems to like it. The chops start up again. Look, I'm pretty sure Tenryu is going to out chop you every time, Ric. Stop baiting him into it. Flair Flop! Flair goes back to the arm work and throws some cheap punches. Right in the nose. One definitely got through hard and it looks like there might be some blood. Dope knee drop. Flair seems a lot more snug and aggressive than normal. Lariatoooo. STOP CHOPPING TENRYU, it just pisses him off. Flair counters the second attempt of a corner lariat. Then he goes up top. What a bright move. Flair blocks a lariat, which really surprises Tenryu. Then he goes for a knee breaker, but lost control of Tenryu and they both fell. Tenryu wins the first fall with a powerbomb.
The second fall starts with Tenryu getting a rear naked choke on. Flair finally begs off from chops, which Tenryu falls for and gets poked in the eye for it. Delayed vertical suplex from Flair. Showing some power. Another eye poke. And punches in the eye. Tenryu goes for a figure four. Flair blocks it. Chop block. We're about to go to school! Flair looks so happy to be having a hard hitting match like this. He didn't really get any of those in the WWF. After a few minutes of leg work, Flair gets the figure four. Tenryu blocks it for a while, but eventually succumbs and submits. Actually I think he was pinned. Regardless, the match is now tied.
Fall 3 starts with Tenryu still down in the corner. Flair allows him to get up. Tenryu won't do it and tries to throw kicks from the ground. Flair does an STF, another move I've ever seen him do. For the third time, Flair tries a knee breaker. This is the second time he fell back with it into a suplex instead. He locks on the figure four. Tenryu grabs a heel hook at the same time. Rope break. Flair keeps the hold on and the ref allows it. Yet he forces Tenryu to break the heel hook when Flair gets to the ropes. Tenryu is going to fire that guy. Shit guy, Flair is going to be gone after this show. Tenryu is your boss for every show. Tenryu throws some chops and goes back to the heel hook. Ish. It's not technically a heel hook, but isn't a knee bar either. Series of roll ups from Tenryu. The knee breaker finally connects. And then Flair Flops. Tenryu goes up for the flying elbow. Flair gets up and hits him in the knee, sending him crashing into the ropes. Flair Flip! LATE into the match. I almost thought it wasn't going to happen. It's kind of fallen apart at this point. Tenryu is blown up and they've had a lot of miscommunications and awkwardness. Flair randomly just starts walking around on the apron. Tenryu pops up with an enzuiguri and lariatooo that sends Flair to the floor. Tenryu tries to throw Flair back in the ring, but both are counted out in the process. The match ends in a 1-1 draw. Until the last 5 minutes or so, this was really good. A lost Flair gem that likely will never be seen in America due to weird rights issues with joint shows. But before the last 5 minutes, it was a really interesting match with Flair much more snug and doing moves I've never seen him do before or after. Tenryu held up his end of the mat work, which he's not at all known for. And Flair isn't really going to get stuck in a big AJPW finishing stretch, so what they ended up with was a good match where both were outside of their comfort zones. But to be Fair to Flair, he always had weird finishing stretches. For Tenryu to not be able to go into the full clip back drops and hard lariats/brainbusters, it must have been weird as fuck.
Steiner Brothers vs Kensuke Sasaki/Hiroshi Tanahashi NJPW 5/2/02
I had no idea that Scott did anything besides WWA between WCW and WWE. Oh, I forgot to mention that CHYNA is the special guest ref. This is baby Tanahashi. He had stupid hair even as a baby. I can't see how this can possibly be good. Rick had been broken down since early 1998. Scott's body pretty much gave out on him by the end of WCW. The Steiners attack before the bell and dispose of the native team. Sasaki and Rick start. T-bone from Sasaki. He had recently become a top star over the prior year or two after years of kind of staying in the same spot on the card. Rick leap frogs Tanahashi, who then runs into and is knocked down by Chyna, who then poses. What a weird spot for a ref. Scott tags in and knocks the shit out of baby Tanahashi. Chyna won't allow Scott to do a superplex. Tanahashi does a missile dropkick and Rick argues Chyna. Then Tana/Sasaki mock the Steiner pose. Tanahashi gives it to Scotty. Flying forearm. Moonsault press. Chyna is one of the worst and most involved refs I've ever seen. Sasaki and Rick seem to start SHOOTING on each other. Would watch a Chyna/Scott porn. Spinning belly to belly. Rick stiffs Tanahashi. So does Scott. Rick tries to kill him with a German suplex. And another. Mean as shit. Tanahashi blocks the third, hits an enzuiguri and tags in Sasaki. Who pays Rick back with a stiff German of his own. Oh shit, they hit a Doomsday Device on Rick. And Tanahashi hits an equally stiff German as revenge. Rick lays him out with a Steiner Line. Scott gets to hit his super belly to belly. Then a super Samoan drop. Sasaki intercepts the Steiner Bulldog and Tanahashi hits Scott with a frankensteiner. They hit it moments later. Scott hits the SSD on Tanahashi, which is more like an Owen Driver, for the win. This was...a lot more enjoyable than you'd think.
KENTA vs Yuji Nagata GHC Championship NOAH 12/7/13
Gotta say, KENTA looks like a pimp with his hair cut. He also does Cena's entrance way better, as he signs his shirt, ties it in a knot, and then throws it into the crowd. And people are excited to get it. Harley Race announces that this is an official sanctioned title match. God damn he looks old and can barely walk. He should probably be in a wheel chair, or at least be using a cane/walker. Instead, he uses who ever is next to him as a substitute cane. I expect a lot of stiff shots. That's it, really. Why does Nagata's hair have a purple tint to it? Nagata has a lot of size on KENTA, but KENTA has defeated bigger men to retain his title. The strike battle starts early on. KENTA wins that exchange. So many kicks. Strike battle 2. Slapping the dog shit out of each other. Nagata wins this one. It heads to the outside. KENTA gets kicked on the rail and slammed on the floor. This crowd is a far cry from the early days of NOAH, both in size and excitement. Nagata is imposing his will on the champion right now and this match is not nearly as interesting as you'd think it would be with these two. I think the silent crowd probably makes the match seem lifeless. A New Japan crowd this is not. I think one of the announcers just name dropped Dave Meltzer. KENTA gets a STF lock in. Rope break. Nagata counters a tornado DDT into his rope hanging spinning neck breaker. Exploder. It heads back to the floor, where KENTA hits a DDT in the crowd. He follows it up with trying a double stop from the top rope way past the guard rail. Instead, he lands on his feet and falls into a splash. I'm sure his knees regretted that move instantly. He goes on a bit of a flurry in the ring with various kicks and dropkicks, but he definitely hurt his legs. Double stomp from the top. Kind of. More like an ass bump. DAMON KANE ARMBARUUUUU!! Avalanche Explodaaaaaaaaa. KENTA with the Yes Lock OUTTA NOWHERE. Tiger suplex. 2 count. KENTA gets a standing 8 count after a knee to the face. Spinning brainbuster. Back drop drivaaaah. 2 count. Strike battle. KENTA catches a kick right into the G2S for 2. Strike battle. Nagata wins that one with a kick to the head. Back to strikes. GO 2 SLEEEPUUUUUUUUU. KENTA wins. Title retained. This picked up towards the end, but most of the match was heatless, both in and out of the ring. Most of all, it was hateless, which is unacceptable between these two.
Definitely recommend Flair/Tenryu and Maeda/Tiger. Flair/Tenryu was really good. It did fall apart at the end, but the previous 35 minutes were quality stuff, with both guys going outside of their comfort zones and Flair in particular doing stuff I haven't seen him do before or after. Tenryu couldn't rely on knocking the shit out of people and dropping them on their head, and instead had to rely on selling for most of the match. Flair had to be snug and vary his submissions. But it REALLY completely fell apart at the end. I don't know what happened. But before that, it was good. I doubt many people have seen it, since it was at a WAR/WWF joint show and has never been shown outside of Japan. I knew of the WAR/SWS joint shows with WWF and never knew this match existed. I knew about Hogan/Tenryu, but not Flair Tenryu. Maeda/Tiger was top level mid 80s shoot style, which was Inoki strong style but much stiffer for the most part.
Maybe watch the Steiners match since it was a lot more enjoyable than I could have imagined. Not anywhere near early 90s Steiners or anything, but both tried harder than I would have thought, Chyna was a ref for some reason, and babay Tanahashi took a beating.