SWS/WWF Super Wrestle in Tokyo Dome
A joint show between the WWF and Tenryu's promotion, SWS. SWS shows had a lot of WWF talent on them in 1990-1992. Often in bizarre matches.
Masakatsu Funaki vs Jerry Flynn
Jerry Flynn! Somehow, his mullet looks even more out of place in late 1991 than 1999. If you know anything about either guy, you would know this is definitely going to be a shoot style match. This is only about 5 minutes, most of it spent struggling over submissions. Funaki gets kicked right in the fucking eye. What aim. Funaki counters a fireman take down straight into full mount and into an inverted triangle. That was pretty neat. Funaki gets a submission win with what was essentially a full nelson mixed with the rings of Saturn. Funaki would go on to form PANCRASE in 1993, being one of the top stars of both shoot style and actual shoot fighting in Japan. Jerry Flynn would go on to say FUCK right into a WCW camera, then realize he was about to get in trouble.
Ultimo Dragon vs Jerry Estrada
Jerry Estrada had a long career in EMLL and AAA. He was also in the lucha match Royal Rumble 1997. Ultimo's gear looks a lot more basic than what he'd eventually have. He's still pretty early into the Ultimo gimmick. Not even a year in. Which also means he doesn't quite have all of his spots worked out, such as the corner headstand, which does not go his way at all. Whatever. I'm learning that Ultimo was actually super sloppy and botched almost as often as Sabu in Japan. He also appeared to injure himself on the headstand spot, and then match stars falling apart with neither guy knowing what to do. His Asai Moonsault goes over the guardrail and over the announce table. Did he ever hit a clean one in Japan? Ultimo wins with a German suplex rolled into a prawn hold.
Ashura Hara/Davey Boy Smith vs King Haku/Yoshiaki Yatsu
Wow, Meng's music is tremendous. I hope that's his and not Yatsu's. So exquisitely 1991. Repeated vocal samples, generic Casio beats. Them 909s. Hara and Bulldog come out to Dreams by Van Halen. After the entrances, this cuts right to the middle of the match, where Hara is chopping the SHIT out of Haku, and Haku actually sells it. I guess we're just going to get into a lot of chop battles here. Beefy dudes throwing chops. Meng looks completely gassed. I don't know how long into the match this is, but he looks dead. Bulldog enters the match and...immediately grabs a rest hold. Lol. He literally tagged in to do a rest hold and tag right back out. Why was Haku still a king in Japan? Was his loss to Jim Duggan not recognized in Japan? This is just awkward and weird. Bulldog is also completely blown up. He pins Haku with a small package OUTTA NOWHERE. Bulldog got his ass kicked after the match.
Highlights are shown of two six man tags with a brutal ganso bomb, plus Minoru Suzuki beating the shit out of Beef Wellington.
The Rockers vs George Takano/Shunji Takano
George Takano is also known as Cobra, a pretty popular junior who had feuds with both Dynamite Kid and Tiger Mask. Shunji is his brother. This is also JIP, which kind of sucks. I got nervous that I had tuned into a Young Bucks match when I saw a double super kick. Luckily, they were like...5 or younger in 1991. Marty appears to bang up his knee. Cobra straight no sells an HBK superkick. It was more of a minor annoyance to him than anything. Marty settles in the FIP role, and he really takes a beating. It's kind of awkward since the audience doesn't seem to care that much. Lol, Shawn throws another superkick. He's up to 3 for the match. To be fair, Cobra has done 3 Superfly Splashes. Shawn totally costs his team the match. Jannetty was having trouble climbing the ropes due to the leg work, so Shawn got pissed and shoved him when he wasn't ready, which sent him right into George's feet. They argue after the match. Interesting that they were working the break up angle in Japan on a show 99% of their audience would likely never see.
The Texas Tornado vs Ted DiBiase
This probably would have been a hot match 3-4 years prior. Kerry has one foot and a drug habit, while Ted is on the downside of his career. Kerry gets the CLAW on early, but Ted is somehow able to get free. And then again. Sherri is fucking LOUD in this. Nonstop shit talk. Once Ted goes on offense, the match grinds to a halt, because Kerry can't really do much. A whole match based around Ted scrambling to avoid the claw sounds a lot more fun than what actually happened. Kerry put Sherri in the claw. Ted attacked him from behind and won with a DDT.
Rick Martel vs Naoki Sano SWS Light Heavyweight Championship
I'm confused about everything about this match. Martel is obviously not a light heavyweight. He was a heavyweight world champion a few years prior and he's bigger now than then. His style also does not at all match up with the shoot style of Sano. Just bizarre all around. Poor Sano almost crashes and burns during his entrance. Actually, Sano doesn't look like a light heavyweight, either. Unless it's like a 230 limit or something. Interestingly, Martel controls the opening minutes with wrestling. Holds and takedowns. Martel gets cocky and hit with a tope. Martel works the back, Sano works the leg. Easy to follow story. Sano tries another tope and mostly misses, with his ankle smashing on the guard rail. Fear not, shortly after Sano murders Martel with a German suplex to become the first SWS Light Heavyweight Champion. This was way too short. It was shaping up to be something potentially really good, but only lasted 7:29.
Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs Ishinriki
Ishinriki comes out to a rock cover of Eleanor Rigby, which is a strange choice for wrestling entrance music. YES. Young punk vs grumpy old vet. Fujiwara shows from the start he doesn't give a shit about his much younger opponent. He also won't sell any of his shit. Then they start throwing headbutts at each other as cheap shots. Fujiwara hits a similar kick to the eye that Flynn hit earlier. Who is that rad dude at ringside in a samurai helmet? LOL, Fujiwara teases a dive just to be a dick. Fujiwara will just not sell shit. It's wonderful. Then Ishi hits a fucking bolo uppercut that immediately swells Fujiwara's face up, and clearly pisses him off. Then he runs at Fujiwara and grabs at his throat. Fujiwara comes after him with death in his eyes, but he's taken down and gets his head stomped in. Fujiwara finally gets tired of this shit and locks in an inverted double arm bar for the win.
Natural Disasters vs Legion of Doom WWF Tag Team Championships
Dopely, LOD come out to Iron Man instead of their WWF theme. Also announced as the Road Warriors, which they never were in the WWF. Not only are LOD making their return to Japan, but so is Earthquake, who got his start first as a star sumo wrestler, and then moving to AJPW, where he was personally trained by Giant Baba and Jumbo Tsuruta. The match starts with a wild brawl with tables and chairs. And then weird shit like Animal press slamming Hawk into Typhoon, who catches him, then Animal dropkicking them over. Animal and Quake start doing sumo shit. Holy shit, Animal has some fucking hops. I kind of love that this match is portraying Animal equal in power and strength to Earthquake, who is 5 inches taller and 200 pounds heavier. Weirdly, Hawk is not portrayed the same way against Quake or Typhoon. Oh shit, table bump! Even HAWK can't break a Japanese table. To be fair, I think it was actually metal. Double dropkicks from LOD? This is the third RNR Express spot they've used. So weird. Double backdrop to Typhoon! LOD get the win with the original Doomsday Device, which itself was pretty impressive. Titles retained.
Genichiro Tenryu vs Hulk Hogan
God damn, Tenryu's entrance is dope. A giant dragon with Godzilla's roar. Code of Honor is respected. Hulk immediately hits a rolling cross arm breaker. That's his working boots move. If he does that, you know he's putting in extra effort. Hogan wants to avoid those chops. First one was enough to leave him shook. Hulk is actually more of a dick than usual here, with extra eye rakes and even cocky slaps. He seems to be enjoying it, though. Tenryu works over Hulk's leg. Also kicks him in the face a few times. Powerbomb gets a 2 count. Leg drop gets a 2 count. Ax BOMBA. 12HEGOTHIMNOHEDIDN'T. Another AX BOMBA. Another leg drop. Tenryu kicks out! It took an enzugiri and 3 more ax bombers to finally put Tenryu down. I don't think anyone has ever looked as strong in a match against Hogan that didn't win. Kicked out of 2 leg drops AND ax bombers. That's crazy talk. In total, it took Hogan 7 finishers to beat Tenryu, plus using one of Tenryu's signature moves a couple of time as well.
This was a pretty dope little show. For as much shit as SWS/WAR gets for being weird and random, it paid off for this show. You have shoot style, lucha, American heavyweight, Japanese junior, and American/Japanese hybrid matches. Enjoyed the shit out of the Fujiwara match. LOD/Natural Diasters was shockingly good, too. Especially when you compare that with the matches they had in the US together that were just boring as shit. Much like Hogan, LOD actually had to work in Japan. Tenryu/Hogan was an interesting spectacle. Hogan was trying hard, and Tenryu kicking out of both the leg drop (twice) and ax bomber (twice) is pretty crazy.