SWS/WWF Wrestlefest in Tokyo Dome 1991
This intro is amazing. Starts with the Warrior laser intro from superstars, into Tenryu posing, into Hogan doing an ax bomba, and a CGI Tokyo Dome.
The Rockers vs Hart Foundation
Bret and Marty begin. The Rockers' AWA run is immediately mentioned, which is kind of weird since WWE certainly wasn't going to acknowledge such things at the time. This ring seems SUPER stiff. Even stiffer than the ring WWE was using at the time, which seemed brutal to bump on. Anvil's power game comes into play very early. He's the type of dude I could see being very popular in Japan just for his beard, power, and general weirdness. The laughs seem like enough to get him over there. Although I can see the Rockers being over big for their style and heartthrob looks. And Bret for his ring skills. So what I'm saying is this seems like a perfect WWF match to put in front of this crowd. What started as a pretty respectful face vs face match turned when Bret does a cheap shot to HBK. From there, the Hart Foundation are pretty close to full heel. HBK is stuck as FIP, with a focus on his back. He finally gets the hot tag and Marty lays Bret out with a superkick. Most of Marty's superkicks looked pretty bad, but this was dead on. Then he misses a Stinger Splash that sends him bouncing to the floor. I think that was a regular bump of his at the time, which seems pretty crazy considering it included bouncing off the apron shoulder/neck first. Bret pins HBK after rolling through a top rope cross body. This was good. Unless they have a really great taped house show match that I haven't seen, this is probably the best match between the teams. Very interesting to see the Foundation turn and work heel in the middle of the match, particularly as they had been faces for 2 years now and Bret was about to embark on his singles run.
Earthquake vs Koji Kitao
Damn, Koji is a big dude. He's just a bit smaller than Quake. I'm just going to assume he's a former sumo dude without doing any research. And he easily puts Quake down with a lariat. On the first try, too. Quake responds in kind and fans love this. They start clubbering. The next lariat doesn't work as well. Just a simple stepping out of the way pops the crowd. Back drop. TO EARTHQUAKE! Quake is not amused any longer. He catches a kick and splatters poor Koji with a powerslam and Aftershock for the win. After the match, Quake's promo says he's going to keep beating Kitao until he quits. They had a match two days later that turned into a shoot, with Kitao grabbing the mic to tell the fans that wrestling is fake and Tenta couldn't really beat him. He was fired. But somehow got hired back for Tenryu's next promotion.
Great Kabuki/Takashi Ishiwaka vs King Haku/Ted DiBiase
Weird ass match about to happen here. Ted and Ishiwaka start the match. Ted had quite a few tours in Japan before his WWF days, so fans are pretty familiar with him. I'd almost rather just watch a Kabuki/Meng match just for how weird it would be. This is not particularly interesting, but I'm not really a fan of Kabuki or Haku unless he's merking fools with Barbarian. Greg Valentine is watching at ringside with the most fabulous hair. I don't even understand how that cut works, but I'm sure his hair felt like silk. Haku trying to break necks with a piledriver. Why am I not surprised? Ted takes Kabuki to the floor and uses a chair. No DQs in SWS I guess. God damn, Kabuki, you don't actually have to take the face plant into the table. Kabuki spends way too much time in the ring in this match. Ted pins Ishiwaka with a backdrop after a superkick from Haku.
Sgt. Slaughter vs Ultimate Warrior
A rematch from the Royal Rumble. Warrior makes his entrance through the crowd, running over people like he's Bruiser Brody. Kind of weird since he's a superface, but is just shoving people out of his way. The match itself starts in the crowd and on the floor as well. The announcers seem very amused by Warrior until Sarge gets knocked into them and he shoves one of them out of the way. Maybe he just didn't like Japanese people. Look at those shoulders. Like god damn bowling balls. To my knowledge, Warrior never got a singles rematch against Sarge, so he's taking out his frustrations here. Oh shit, table in the ring! Warrior sure is pissed about losing the title to this bald shithead. Sarge brings a chair into the ring. Fans are all over him for it. He even tries to take Earl Hebner out. I wish he would have. Garbage ref. The camel clutch can't put Warrior away, but it does slow him down for a while. Then he Warriors up and wins with a splash. Sadly, he doesn't run back through the crowd. I was hoping he'd be knocking people on their asses for no reason again. What a strange match this was. Warrior shoving fans, tables, chairs, announcers screaming as they're getting squashed by wrestlers.
The opening 8 man tag is shown in clipped form. As is Jim Duggan vs Kendo Nagasiaki, which was under 3 minutes to begin with. I remember this match on a Colloseeum Home Video tape I had. Despite being so short, it would put me to sleep every time I watched it. The tag had what appears to be a murder in it.
Demolition vs Shinichi Nakano/Shunji Takano
Sadly, this is the shitty version of Demolition. The one with Crush. Thankfully, this is short, but the crowd is into it. There definitely shouldn't be rest holds in a match that goes under 6 minutes, but there are anyway. Demos almost do the Faces of Fear Bomb, but Crush does a hybrid of his shitty powerbomb mixed with his shitty piledriver. Demoltion won with the decapitaion elbow.
Masakatsu Funaki vs Naoki Sano
Well, this should be a radical departure from the rest of the show. The UWF/shoot style influence is quite a change from Demolition and Ted DiBiase. Shoot style is what it is. Either you like it or you don't. I like it, so I'm hoping this match gives some much needed fire and heat to the show. I like these announcers. They make a lot of "whoooo" sounds. Sano is the first to get any kind of advantage with a double underhook suplex. Fujiwara is just chilling at ringside. Presumably, he's a second for someone. It's a pretty perfunctory grappling match until Funaki kicks Sano in the face to get out of a leg lock. Then the strikes flow. Funaki gets a German suplex transitioned right into a cross arm breaker for the iwn. Fujiwara was SO HAPPY.
Mr. Perfect vs Texas Tornado WWF Intercontinental Championship
Perfect attacks as Kerry is getting in the ring, then sends him back to the floor. And then he won't let Kerry get back in the ring. KVE wises up and gets heated. Perfect takes the Jannetty bump for the discus punch. On the floor. Which seemed softer than the ring. Some LOUD chops in this. Huge pop for the iron claw. This has one of Perfect's best standing dropkicks. There was a ref bump. Pretty accidental. Chioda just got caught in the corner on an Irish whip reversal. While he's down, Perfect hits the Perfect Plex and has Kerry pinned for a good 10 seconds. Chioda heads over there to count...and then stops, disqualifying Perfect for the bump, even though Kerry was the one to cause it. Fans were not at all pleased. Kerry beat Perfect up after the match.
TO THE BACK. The Road Warriors had a promo. "Hulk Hogan, the WWF Champion, you haven't been in the ring with the Road Warriors before, and you ain't gonna like it."
Jimmy Snuka/Barbarian vs Ishinriki/Yoshiaki Yatsu
There aren't many times when you can go from teaming with Bruiser Brody and have your other partners not be a let down, but Barbarian is about as awesome of a replacement as you can get. Barb is surprised by arm drags to start the match. Please boot this dude, Barb. That's all I want. Ishinriki hits two running headbutts and tries for a pin. Barb kicks out WITH AUTHORITY. Fans fucking love Yatsu. They pop huge when he gets tagged and chant with all of his strikes. Snuka gets his shit pushed in and immediately tags out. And Barb don't want none of Yatsu. I can't believe I glossed over headbutts working on an islander. Ishinriki hits a springboard dive and running headbutt off the apron. Why have I never heard of this guy? Young breh is taking over this show. JUMBO TSURUTA BELLY TO BELLY! BIG BOOT. Finally. Slow little dude's roll. God damn, Barb nearly dies on a powerslam. If he didn't have such ridiculous traps and neck, that could have been bad. Yatsu pins him with a backdrop.
Randy Savage vs George Takano
Despite Macho having been retired at Wrestlemania just 6 days earlier, he still had some contractual obligations to fill. That's one way to get around a retirement stipulation. Macho is spitting already. Match just started, man. Macho finds himself outmatched and frustrated in the opening minute of the match. His only offense has been spitting and slaps. But god damn, look at the vasularity on Randy. This dude out there looking like a cave man who teleported into the opening of Saved By The Bell. He finally baits Cobra into a trap. It doesn't last long. Why would Macho Breh try to mat wrestle with The Cobra? Probably too coked out to think straight. A koppo kick in the corner hits Macho right in the damn mouth. Takano actually beats the shit out of Macho every chance he gets. You don't see a whole lot of matches where Macho gets stiffed, but this is one of them. Jesus CHRIST that tombstone. What the fuck did Macho do to piss Takano off? Macho wins with the flying elbow, but god damn did he take a beating to get there. Macho will get a rematch with Tenryu in Kobe.
Road Warriors vs Genichiro Tenryu/Hulk Hogan
Road Warriors in Japan are far and away the best Road Warriors. Shout out to Tenryu for the red and yellow kimono. Fucking lol at Hulk just shoving one of the young boys off the apron for being in his way. Hawk is so big god dman. LOL and Hulk kicks a camera man for no reason, too. Tenryu and Animal begin the match, with Animal's power advantage immediately being established. And then Hulk tags himself in, and he is able to over power Animal. Oh shit, stereo press slams from LOD! Ax Bombas and enzuigiris in response. Huge dropkick from Hawk. Cameras miss Animal's powerslam because Hawk and Hogan are trying to tear ringside apart. There are chairs, tables, even parts of the railing being ripped apart. Hogan is busted open. Shit is getting real real . Hawk is busted open, too. "AX BOMBAAAAA." Thanks, Hulk. God damn, Hawk somehow found an artery in his forehead. The blood and paint make for a gruesome sight. Tenryu has a chop that literally sounds like a gun shot. What the fuck. Hogan and Hawk go at it again with chairs. Tenryu wipes out the announce table. Hawk's throwing shit again. These unruly Americans I swear. Hawk and Hogan better have had a singles match on this tour, because they look like they'd have a great 6 minute war with no finish. Speaking of finishes, LOD wins via count out after leaving the ringside area looking like a war zone. The fight continued after the mathc, with chairs and young boys getting blasted. Chair stand off! Officials from both companies have to calm things down.
Strange show. Of course. LOD vs Hogan/Tenryu was a great spectacle. Hogan getting down in the shit with LOD was neat to see. Macho/Takano was not like many Randy Savage matches you'll see. The only guy I can think of that roughed him up as much was Scott Norton. Harts/Rockers was good, and the Barb/Snuka tag was surprisingly good. Hogan and Warrior knocking fans and staff around was pretty weird, but very enjoyable.