SWS/WWF Wrestle Dream In Kobe
Masao Orihara vs Kenichi Oya
Oya is in red. Orihara is in blue. It's kind of weird that SWS/WWF went from doing 36,000 in the Tokyo Dome to under 6,000 two nights later in Kobe. Oya has quite a size advantage. Orihara has the speed, but he doesn't get to use it much. A lot of mat work. A lot of grunting. Not a lot of entertainment. Orihara tries a springboard crossbody and gets just enough height to headbutt Oya in the balls. Those loose ass ropes aren't meant for that shit. Oh shit, moonsault to the floor! Orihara follows that with a missile dropkick in the ring, a Dynamite Kid kip up, and a German suplex. It is not enough to put Oya down. Nor is the giant back drop enough to put Orihara down. God damn, look at the mule kick. Oya won with a surprise short arm lariat. Started slow, but got pretty fun towards the end.
Tatsumi Kitahara vs Samson Fuyuki
This also starts out with a lot of grappling, and a lot of grunts. Neither man is able to get an advantage on the mat, but tempers flare when Samson slaps Kitahara a few times. Kitahara responds by kicking him in the fucking face. Then again. Then a series of kicks to the chest. He did not appear to like those slaps. Just kicking the shit out of Samson. It's actually starting to get awkward. He's thrown like 15 kicks with no response. Super weird finish of Samson trying to backdrop Kitahara, Kitahara kind of countering/falling, and Samson rolling through to score a pin. Looked terrible.
Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs Fumihiro Niikura
YES. Can't wait to see Fujiwara fuck this dude up. He STARTS with headbutts. You're fucked, Niikura. Just toying with this dude, trying to ruin his legs forever. Shoot backdrops straight into full mount. Fujiwara is eating this dude alive and it is great. Niikura gets a dirty punch that rocks Fujiwara a bit, but otherwise, he's been dominated. Fujiwara just lets him throw a flurry of shots, not even attempting to dodge or counter them. Fujiwara wins via a particularly harsh kimura.
Masakatsu Funaki vs Naoki Sano
This should be good. Karl mother fucking Gotch is hanging out at ringside watching this. Funaki seems to be the aggressor here, with more strikes landing, and Sano on the run. A nice palm strike combo sends Sano down for an 8 count. GERMAN SUPLEX HOLDU! Transitioned into an armbar attempt. Sano fights out and they struggle over who can get one on first. Big knees to the gut send Sano down again, but he responds with an unintentional low blow. OR WAS IT? Sano hits a German suplex. Funaki counters the pin attempt with an armbar for the win. Sano was really outclassed in this and spent most of the match getting peppered with palm strikes and knees, but I think this was clipped and that might have something to do with it.
Ishinriki/Kendo Nagasaki vs Takashi Ishiwaka/Great Kabuki
Not too enthused about Kabuki and Kendo in the same match. I'm not much of a fan of Kabuki, but I think Nagasaki is garbage. I'll leave it to Ishinriki and his flippy shit to entertain me. Not that this match lasted long, nor did anything happen. Ishikawa pinned Ishinriki with a backslide.
John Tenta vs Koji Kitao
This is a pretty infamous match. Both guys came up in sumo wrestling before pro wrestling. Earthquake spent about a year in, while Kitao became a Yokozuna. Before this match, Kitao had been thrown out of the sumo world for kicking an 88 year old master, then throwing his wife through a sliding door. He had been fired from NJPW for using ethnic slurs against the Korean-born Riki Choshu. What I'm saying is, he had a pretty shitty reputation in Japan. The guys barely lock up and seem to not want to work with each other at all. Kitao throws one of the announce tables. 90% of the match is the two men circling each other, Kiato refusing to to cooperate at all. At one point, he legit tries to poke Earthquake's eyes out, which as you can imagine did not make the big man very happy. Tenta is furious and screaming shit at Kaito. He says "THIS IS PRO WRESTLING" at one point, and shortly after, Kaito legitimately kicks the ref, which gets the match thrown out.
But the story doesn't end there. After the match, Kaito would tell the crowd that wrestling was fake, and was fired from SWS. He also repeated this in the press afterwards. After this, he became a martial artist, which led to him fighting in UWFI, where he was legit ass knocked out by Takada in a shoot double cross. Tenryu would hire him again for WAR, then he returned to NJPW in 1995, fought at UFC 9 (in a loss to Mark Hall), and at PRIDE 1 (defeating Nathan Jones). He also appeared in the JCVD movie The Quest. A busy 90s for that guy.
George Takano vs Bret Hart
Cobra's entrance music is INCREDIBLE. Bret gets hit with a couple of arm drags and immediately goes full heel, eye raking, throwing George over the top rope, and all around ringside. Vicious. George responds with a tombstone, because that's the most standard move after lariats, back drops, and body slams in Japan/Canada. Things settle down into the more mat based stuff that you'd expect. It is kind of weird that Bret can hang out in an armbar for a minute when it was an instant tap out in other matches on the show. Bret is being a real piece of shit in this. It's very interesting. Lots of eye rakes, inverted atomic drops, and usage of the guard rail. Takano won with a Superfly Splash in a match that was more interesting than technically good. Bret was being such a shithead.
Genichiro Tenryu vs Randy Savage
Oh shit, this is heated before the match even starts. Tenryu throwing shit at the ring, Macho trying to stomp his buddies. Then the match starts, and Macho is full of stalling. Macho beats on Tenryu on the floor, then hits a very sharp elbow to the throat. I'm sure that didn't help Tenryu's already weird ass voice. Lol at Macho trying to out stiff Tenryu. Macho kicks out of a (very weak) powerbomb. Tenryu follows it with two of his top rope elbow drops. Of course Macho isn't going to lose to his own move. Things just kind of fall apart at the end. Macho hits a couple of elbow drops, but doesn't try to pin. A second, also weak, powerbomb gets Tenryu the win. This was fun until it all fell apart. I think Tenryu got a concussion.
Yoshiaki Yatsu vs Hulk Hogan WWF Championship
Hogan fought both of Jumbo's main partners, but never Jumbo himself. A real shame. Crowd is chanting for Hogan. Is there anything more American than Hulk Hogan coming out to Real American in Japan to face a Japanese star and getting cheered for it? USA USA USA! Yo wtf, Hogan is doing a half nelson cravat with a toe hold. I mean, Hulk always does some technical stuff when in Japan, but that was more advanced than anything I've seen him do. Actually, the majority of this match is Hogan working holds on the mat. Hogan gets popped in the nose and is not happy about it. He just kind of stops selling anything and keeps checking his nose for blood. Big powerslam from Yatsu. Hulk is still checking his nose. LOL at Hogan trying to avoid a missile dropkick and still getting one boot in the face. Hulk wins with the Ax Bomber and seems very pissed. Title retained.
Certainly not the spectacle show from two nights before. Tokyo Dome to Kobe Hall is a big difference. The big WWF/SWS matches all had weird issues, one breaking into a shoot, two with injuries, and Bret/Takano being a strange heel showcase for Bret. It was basically a taped house show, so it has to be watched with that in mind.