NJPW Wrestling World 1999
Manabu Nakanishi vs Kazuyuki Fujita
Two muscled up brehs squaring off. Not a super common sight in Japan, especially around this period. Power hammerlocks and shit. This isn't quite shoot style, but it is very grappling heavy. Fujita hits a huge spear. Fuck it, this is a HOSS battle. This is super basic, but it's pretty good. Just two strong as fuck dudes trying to hit or squeeze the other harder. And throw each other farther. This is the kind of match where a Russian leg sweep is treated as a power move and a high spot, and it pops the crowd. At some point, Fujita gets pissed and beats the SHIT out of Nakanishi. Nakanishi won with the torture rack. I liked this A LOT. Reminded me of the dope Warlord/Bulldog match from WM 7. Kind of like a precursor to the the BJW HOSS style 15 years later.
Kengo Kimura/Michiyoshi Ohara/Tatsutoshi Goto vs Osamu Kido/Tadao Yasuda/Tatsumi Fujinami
Another weird match for Fujinami to be in. I wonder if he'll find a way to do less than his tag match from last year. Seems like it would be pretty easy considering the extra people in the match. Still, he starts, at least. The ring is SO loud. Sounds like thunder cracking after every bump. This was like the friendly old man tag. Absolutely nothing of note. Yasuda won for his team.
Dr. Wagner Jr./Kendo Kashin vs Shinjiro Otani/Tatuhito Takaiwa IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship
I never realized Dr. Wagner Jr. and Silver King were brothers until right this moment. And that was just because they have such similar bodies that I felt compelled to look it up. Seems like Takaiwa had a pretty good 12 months, considering he got squashed in under 90 seconds at last year's show, and now he's heading into this year as a champion. The story of the match seems to be which team can be the bigger pair of dicks. Kashin hit Otani with the Shattered Dreams, so that probably answers the question. Kashin gets slapped around and dropped on his head, so I can't complain too much. His ball based offense is weird, though. Blatant low blows in front of the ref without even a reprimand. Weirdly, Takaiwa and Kashin have almost no interactions in this. Kendo somehow wasn't completely dead after taking a doomsday powerbomb/dropkick combo into two more powerbombs, plus a dragon suplex, plus a spiral bomb, all in about 3 minutes. He popped up to hit a super flying armbar for the win. New champions. Fuck Kendo Kashin.
Jushin Liger vs Koji Kanemoto IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship
Man, if Koji doesn't win this match, he better never challenge Liger ever again. I believe Liger is 9 out of 12 matches with Kanemoto at this point. Both seem sick of each other, and things are heated right from the start. Koji does a ton of leg work that Liger doesn't give a fuuuuuck to sell. Then he hits a brainbuster on the floor. Kanemoto throws EVERYTHING at Liger, and none of it matters at all. Liger won with an avalanche brainbuster. Title retained. You ain't shit, Koji.
Atsushi Onita vs Kensuke Sasaki
Weird match on paper. Onita starts the match by breaking a chair on Kensuke's head. It does nothing but piss Kensuke off, who lariats the fuck out of Onita and then rips his clothes off. Just straight up manhandling him all around ringside. Onita's strikes have no effect. And then he breaks another chair on Kensuke. That slowed Kensuke down a bit. The piledriver through a table slowed him down a lot. Well, for a second. Then it pissed him off. Jeeeeezus, Kensuke hits a lariat and a spray of blood shoots out of Ontia's mouth upon impact. FIRE BALL! FIRE BALL! BY GAWD HE THREW A FIRE BALL! That fire stayed on Kensuke's face for a while, too. Onita is disqualified. He gets his jacket and leaves. Kensuke's hair is singed all over. Onita talked some shit on the way out, so Kensuke ran him down and beat his ass again. Took about 8 people to hold him back. Fans throw thrash at Onita as he leaves the arena. I wouldn't say this was a great match, but it sure was heated and fun.
Yuji Nagata vs David Beneteau
Beneteau is likely best known for losing to Dan Severn at the UFC 5 tournament in 1995. After that, he has losses to Oleg Taktarov and Dan Bobish. But he's a shooter, and we all know how Inoki loves his shooters. Yuji is officially back in NJ full time after his WCW excursion came to an end. He's also now familiar in shoot style from the UWFI feud a few years back. This was a very short and boring "shootstyle" match that ended with Yuji winning via the shittiest looking triangle.
Don Frye vs Brian Johnston
I initially read this as Brian Johnson and had visions of Don Frye invading an AC/DC show to beat the shit out of him as he wailed into the mic. Alas, wrong guy. But this Brian is shooting to thrill, as he flies down the ramp and dives over the ropes to tackle Frye from behind before the match even starts. I'm not sure that is a regulation MMA move. I've never seen Don Frye man handled like this. It's pretty crazy. I wonder why these guys hate each other so much. They are wearing the same gear, with the same logos on their tights, so I assume either they were tag partners or training partners. Or something. Regardless, they are not fucking around. They're both blown up about 4 minutes in, but fucking LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL at Don Frye doing Mr. Perfect spots. That's wonderful. Frye wins by stoppage, but they continued to brawl to the back.
This spot should feature Naoya Ogawa vs Shinya Hashimoto, but rights issues again have led to NJPW somehow scrubbing the match off the internet. Much like Frye/Ogawa from the last year, I can't find this anywhere. However, it's a pretty famous angle where Ogawa came in and utterly demolished Hashimoto in what said to be a shoot, where he attacked an unaware Hashimoto and left him bloody, while the NJPW and UFO crews got into a big brawl. Legend has it that Inoki himself told Ogawa to shoot on Hashimoto in order to increase his popularity and notoriety in NJPW.
Hiroyoshi Tenzan/Satoshi Kojima vs Genichiro Tenryu/Shiro Koshinaka IWGP Tag Team Championships
Team nWo try to start the match early, but the vets were ready for it. Kojima immediately gets cunty by hitting Koshinaka with multiple hip atttacks. Definitely feel like Tenryu is going to fuck one of these dudes up in this match. Probably both, since they're such disrespectul shit heads. Kojima is the first to get it, getting chopped in the throat and dumped on his head. And kicked in the eye. The eye becomes the focus of the next few minutes of the match, then Tenzan tags in and gets the shit chopped out of him, too. Tenryu does a Kanyon Cutter to Kojima! BANG! Kojima no sold it, though. Somehow, with three people to catch him, Tenzan manages to bounce his face off the floor doing a moonsault. Tencozy hit a combo rush on Koshinaka to win the match. New champions. Pretty good. Certainly not great, but Tencozy were righteous cunts, and Tenryu was grumpy and hitting hard. All you can ask for.
Scott Norton vs Keiji Mutoh IWGP Championship
Fuck yes, my main HOSS Scott Norton main eventing the 1/4 dome show. NWO Japan EXPLODES! You would expect this to be a power vs speed type of match up, but you never know with Mutoh. Dude had been putting on a lot of mass over the prior 2-3 years, and he might be able to kind of compete in the power game. At least not be totally blown out of the water. Mutoh spends the first few minutes of the match trying to keep Norton on the mat, mostly with various arm holds. Then BACKLUND LIFT SUPLEX! Norton sticks with the power moves and chops and shit. He seemed to tweak his leg doing the shoulder breaker. Then he tweaks his head taking a rana directly on it. Mutoh goes after the bad leg, and that's where we're at for the rest of the match. I think it's supposed to be a "chopping down the big man" type of story, but Norton is so weirdly sympathetic for a guy his size that it kind of feels like he's the underdog babyface struggling to stay alive against a ruthless heel. After probably 25 low dropkicks (including multiple missile versions), Norton finally has to give up to the figure four. New champion!
Certainly the best 1/4 show of the 90s. More about building a good show than getting everyone on the card. Started off with a bang and never looked back. Always glad to see Norton headline an event, and the biggest event of the year at that. Fascinating how sympathetic he could be in his selling despite his size and look, although I believe the NWO might have been faces at this point anyway.