Red Leaf Retrocast
Learn, remember, and re-live the past.
Audio version of the retro review is available through the Red Leaf Retrocast podcast.
All Japan Women’s Pro-Wrestling (AJW) Classic Eps 25
Place: All Matches from AJW @ Yokohama Cultural Gymnasium, 4/2/1988
Japanese Tag Team Championship – Championship Vacant: Eriko Shisido & Nobuko Kimura vs. Mika Takahashi & Kaoru Maeda
There really isn't much to say here other than it's interesting to see a young Aja Kong in action and Kaoru (still wrestling today) wrestling at their early stages. Shishido wins for her team.
Dynamite King, Dynamite Queen & Dynamite Jack vs. Lioness Asuka, Hisako Uno & Mika Suzuki
Now, this is way more interesting. With Dump's retirement, her faction goes with her. In comes the Dark Order...I mean the Dynamite squad of card, or whatever they may be called. This is Bull Nakano's faction. Nagayo's friends are here to stop them as the heated new feud with Dump retired its Bull Nakano's takeover of AJW. Asuka, Uno, and Mika eventually get overwhelmed in brawling to the outside as the Dynamite squad keeps Asuka from getting back into the ring in time to lose the match. This is far from over.
WWF Women’s Tag Team Championship: The Jumping Bomb Angels (c) vs. Fire Jets
Coming back fresh off their tour of WWF and America, The Angels are back and cooler than ever. They are now world-wide superstars and massive heroes of sort to the Japanese audience. Of course, The Angels return in denim jackets with American flags tied around their arms. The poor young Fire Jets must be their first opponents to take on the returning super heroes. Angels are just awesome here be it their massive smiles, the crowd screaming for them, and even their gear screams stars. They left Japan as second place to the Crush Gals, and now have returned more over than they left. Nice showcase match for the returning champions.
WWWA All Pacific Championship Match: Chigusa Nagayo (c) vs. Bull Nakano
Two words....blue-kano. A fully blue painted face, red lipstick, black markings, and sparkles along with her biker-esc outfit evokes a huge scary presence and demeanor ahead of this big White belt match. Blue-kano is accompanied by her Dynamite faction with banners much like her mentor Dump would do. Meanwhile, the beloved double champion Nagayo is dressed in all camo pulling off as close to Rambo as one could get. This is a big match feel and the wrestlers in special gear and appearance with big entrances create a bigger environment. This is something desperately missing in today's wrestling where wrestlers and promotions when they have a big money match to put on, create this environment to match up with it no matter a specific pre-determined annual time (if you catch my drift). The match is an utter one sided blood bath with Bull Nakano beating the hell out of Nagayo including using a spike to stab Nagayo systematically in the match. Each time the ref would get suspicious or listen to the pleas of Nagayo, Nakano would hide the spike from the ref in various places in her gear where he wasn't checking. She would even pass the spike off to her stable-mates outside when the ref insisted on checking her person. This is brilliant heel work. More of this in my modern wrestling please. Just when you thought Nagayo was finished, she hits a dragon suplex out of nowhere to pin Nakano in a shocking flash. Pissed off, Nakano beats the hell out of her now victims and leaves the ring in a fury. Nagayo refuses to accept such a weak win for her, and unaccepting of the poor sportsmanship from Nakano demands another match. Everything about this was awesome and an easy high recommendation to watch for wrestling fans.
The next classic episode continues in order with episode 25 found through the AJW Classic archive.
New Japan through the 90’s (NJPW) – June to Aug 16, 1992
note: matches covered are what’s available in the archive on njpw world
The other notable match that I watched for fun was...well the Chosu Muta match which I will review about later here.
June 26, 1992 Nippon Budokan IWGP TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH Big Van Vader＆Crusher Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Rick Steiner＆Scott Steiner
What a fun match this was! Bigelow and Vader are such an enjoyable team to watch. Before each match they do something absolutely cocky and whacky. This time they criss-cross running the ropes and give each other big high fives before staring a hole through the Steiners. The crowd absolutely love both of these teams. This match was pretty basic with a few nuance good moments. Moment one was Bigelow and Vader messing about with Scott and toss him outside because they are very cocky. As they celebrate, both Steiners run up the same turnbuckle and do jumping clotheslines. They rally the crowd with their Steiner pose and the match really begins. This means of course Vader and Bigelow beat up Scott Steiner. Side note, it's extremely weird and funny watching a match like this with Bigelow and Scott Steiner as I am watching them 6 years later ham it up on Nitro in their more Americanized personas.
The match leads to a huge Rick Steiner hot tag but his suplex romp is stopped soon enough. Vader pummels one, Bigelow whollaps the other. Moment to finish comes from a ref bump off a Bigelow scoop slam gone array. Without a ref Bigelow's splash can't be counted. He wakes up the ref, turns around right into a huge Rick Steiner belly to belly. Scott cuts off Vader to prevent the break up, and the Steiner Brothers are the new tag champions. A simple and effective match.
July 31, 1992 Sapporo Nakajima Sports Center Masahiro Chono vs. Shiro Koshinaka
To recap here, Shiro Koshinaka is coming off that hot wrestling vs karate feud that just ended with Kobayashi and Masashi Aoyagi and Akitoshi Saito (the latter two being the karate guys). The match is heated and sees frequent jaw jacking between Chono and Shiro.
Story wise, this is focused on Shiro and his devastating quick strikes while Chono and his deadly STF could end the match at any time. This is exactly how it should have played out. I may not have understood the wrestler vs karate feud from 1992 and why the crowd reacts the way they do, but putting Chono in here and his presence and demeanor to selling Shiro's strikes worked out perfectly. They frequently dared and challenged their opponent to 1 on 1 strike battles, ground battles, and multiple top turnbuckle power exchanges to prove which one of them is indeed the tougher individual. It's of course not the greatest and best match out there, but for what these two can bring into the ring, it amplified their characters more than the wrestling ever could. Chono absolutely obliterated Shiro busting him open, but Shiro has been established as a tough mother F.* Shiro fights back and the crowd has become red hot for the near falls and Shiro escaping the dreaded STF. Chono turns absolute bad ass as he finally locks the STF in the middle of the ring and refuses to break the hold even after the referee calls for the bell. Eventually he lets go and when Shiro gets back to his feet he brawls with Chono from the way he acted. Shiro's seconds and I believe his partner Kobayashi duking it out with a livid Chono. A hot angle and really emphasized how hot Chono is at this point in time. The new era is certainly upon NJPW in 1992 here. Keep this in mind for the next few months of events.
Aug 12, 1992 Ryogoku Kokugikan 2nd G1 CLIMAX NWA World Heavyweight Championship tournament finals Masahiro Chono vs. Rick Rude
Recap to last year where it was the crowning moment of the 3 Musketeers where Mutoh and Chono put on an absolute classic finals culminating in the audience pelting the ring with their tatami mats in celebration. This year culminates in the vacant NWA World title. Chono defeated the up and coming Scott Norton and already storied rival Mutoh while one Ravishing Rick Rude defeated the beloved Hashimoto and another rising star of Japanese wrestling Kensuke Sasaki on their respective way to the finals.
The match went about 30 minutes and turned into another G1 Climax classic. Nobody sells and probably will ever sell like Rick Rude. Be it off the leg kicks from Chono or receiving back body drops, Rude just knows what to do and when. The match started hot with Rude really embellishing his over sexual character with his hot woman with him. Chono immediately runs wild on Rude with clotheslines at the bell. The pace of the match would switch between Chono and Rude gaining advantage with much of the middle being Rude really selling his knee. After the 20 minute mark, this is where the match became the classic. Each and every near fall would be from a big move built up to in the match be it both guys hitting a superplex, Rude's spinning neckbreaker (not the Rude-awakening), and even various piledrivers. The biggest near fall reaction came off of Rude hitting a top rope knee drop. This crowd chanted for Chono blowing the roof off the building. Chono reverses the whip hitting a back drop on Rude, and follows up with the STF. The STF is so established as this killer move that whenever Chono locks this in, the crowd thinks it is instant victory. Rude does reach the ropes and falls to the outside. Baby face Chono is not taking a cheap count out victory. He throws Rude back in, but Rude knows he is in trouble and last ditch effort cheaply deposits Chono to the outside. The crowd then suddenly goes nuts as Chono races to the top turnbuckle and hits a diving shoulder block with a shoot pin to surprise Rude on all accounts. Our hometown hero has won his second G1 climax and the big gold belt.
Aug 15, Kobe World Memorial Hall in 1992 Tatsumi Fujinami & Riki Choshu & Osamu Kido vs. Kengo Kimura & Shiro Koshinaka & Masashi Aoyagi
This venue strikes me a bit funny since today, the later Dragon Gate promotion is more associated with Kobe World. The violent best style feud of wrestling vs karate had passed and a new promotion called WAR came into existence. Now, bitter rivals have formed the stable Heisei Ishingun. It is now that Heisei Ishingun are feuding within the promotion WAR (remember this for later), and now "soft" taking over NJPW. Cue up Fujinami, Chosu, and NJPW's ace in the hole in Kido being a founder of NJPW. Shiro before the bell swipes at Fujinami and the heat begins. It's by in large a standard trios match until the finish. By the way, Fujinami with a perm and black mustache is a strange sight.
Basically, Fujinami locks in a full nelson, then Heisei Ishingun jumps in for advantage. Brawls to the outside and kicks Fujinami behind his back. Kimura jump kicks Fujinami giving Aoyagi the pin. Naturally, Fujinami immediately jumps to his feet and a brawl between the groups goes after the bell. It's a heavy heated feud all stemming from that heated wrestling vs karate feud earlier in the year.
Aug 16, 1992 G1 Climax Riki Chosu(c) vs The Great Muta
This was the match of matches in the early 90s of NJPW I was really looking forward. To changing of the gaurd match. Keiji Mutoh lost to Chosu earlier in the year in a disappointing match, and the story went that Mutoh would have to dig deep and "evil" to beat the star of the 80's.
Out comes the Great Muta in full ominous East Asian music (more commonly known as Oriental of the time). Muta saunters to the ring with his full garb. Chosu's 80's more rock focused music hits, and out comes the champion. Bell rings, Muta reveals his face fully painted black and red, and spits the green mist in Chosu's direction getting some across his chest. Then, Muta stalls for time outside even possibly seeking a weapon. A totally different match and feel than their previous encounter. The second Muta hops back into the ring Chosu lariats his head off. It wasn't until Chosu goes for a superplex that Muta spits green mist in his face. Why this was not a DQ when we have seen mist
DQs from Muta in the past I don't understand. Regardless, Muta has the advantage from here and follows up with a bulldog jumping off the apron. Chosu comes back into the ring busted open. Chosu would never recover. Muta beats him up until hitting 2 straight snap moonsaults to win. Right after the bell Muta locks in an armbar, and then weirdly sprints to the back as his music plays. Chosu is attended to in the ring after this one sided beating. Muta returns to the ring (music still playing) with a fire extinguisher. He nails a couple young lions with it, and then fires off the extinguisher in the ring as the smoke hides Chosu underneath as the audience gasps. Muta is an enigma and now the IWGP champion.
Next up are the matches in the archive are the remainder of 1992 matches and I got a couple extra special ones to watch as well.
WCW Nitro Dec 7, 1998
From Houston at the Astrodome and yes I remember being at this show which got me hyped to watch Starcade later this month as a kid.
However, I remember nothing from the show itself. I only remembered going. Little did I know, I was about to watch why.
Meanwhile on WWF Raw a main event no DQ no holds barred match breaks into a regular tag and The Outlaws hit the ring for a DQ. This is followed by the Undertaking crucifying Austin.
Tenay informs us of WCW's close door meeting about Goldberg demanding he gets Bam Bam Bigelow.
After much discussion, it will be the main event tonight!
Then, this big announcement is proceeded by Schiovane recapping for us on video Scott Steiner beating the hell out Wildcat Willy (a mascot) before Nitro went on the air. Okay, I will admit I loved this. Schiovane again informs us on Thanksgiving on the Jay Leno, Hogan has announced his fake retirement. With every up, there is certainly a big down when it comes to WCW.
We get a Scott Steiner recap from last week's Nitro and even Thunder, but weirdly they show Kevin Nash running wild instead.
So new nWo leader Scott Steiner is shown twice him getting beaten up by The Outsiders. Again, only on Nitro.
Scott Steiner does indeed follow all this talk by coming to the ring looking massive and his usual attire these days in sunglasses, no shirt, his personal heel referee, and tight black jeans. Promo time for Scotty! Yes, it's about as weird and non-sensible as one could imagine. Lots of puns and sexual innuendos in Scott Steiner fashion. Holla if ya hear me! He continues on with talking up Hogan's retirement and bow to him being the new nWo leader. He challenges Scott Hall again and actually gets some real heat from the crowd. I am slowly coming around to this Steiner Hall feud, but still very wary. Finally, the Nitro intro plays.
On with the show, but first a Nitro party recap of a bunch of late 90s nerds with bad vhs audio. It's real funny WCW is still doing this.
Time stamp mark on the show is 14 minutes in and finally we get our first match.
It's one Kendell Windham. Damn. We can't even get the good Windham wrestling to start off. Boooo! At the very least we get DDP here. Clearly still the people's champion, and doesn't seem to have a care in the world he lost the US title last week in garbage fashion. No doubt he will turn up the heat in this wrestling match? Incorrect. Instead, this match goes more or less 50-50 including terrible Windham low blowing DDP right in front of the ref's eyes. Not a DQ by the way. Thankfully it ends quickly enough via the diamond cutter. DDP wins.
Up here is, according to Schiovane, the first of more videos focusing on character work on each of the Nitro girls. First is Tygress.
Recap of Bigelow and Goldberg from last week.
Norman Smiley vs Prince Laukea
We haven't seen Iaukea on Nitro in many months. Surprisingly, we get another rendition of charisma from Smiley like what we saw in his Benoit match recently. Not too bad to watch fundamentally I will admit. Smiley gets the win fairly easily with a weird looking chicken wing.
Mean Gene out and recaps Eddie Guerrero from Thunder before his interview with him. I don't remember ever seeing multiple Thunder recaps on Nitro ever.
Basically, Eddie wants Juvi to get the cruiserweight title shot at Starrcade over Mysterio Jr. Schiovane informs him on the next Thunder it will be Juvi vs Mysterio Jr and the winner gets the shot at Starrcade, not chosen by Eddie. A good recap segment. Now, back to Gene for the Eddie interview. Eddie calls out Silver King to teach Rey Mysterio a lesson tonight and prove he deserves to wear the lWo colours. We have seen much worse lWo segments before, and this actually functions to the story. Not bad. However, we can't ignore the larger issue of the dead crowd, and the point of the lWo in the first place which was the luchadores not fighting each other and wanting to move up. What we've gotten is the exact same issue as before, but now they have matching t-shirts and terrible interference in their matches.
Silver King vs Rey Mysterio Jr
This was a real fun super lucha match. I describe this as super lucha because the powerful Silver King added the great element of throwing Rey around. Rey flew around in great fashion as the crowd cheered him on. There was an awesome move of Rey jumping over the corner turnbuckle onto Silver King on the outside flipping senton style. Rey wins via a top rope bulldog. This is something I can recommend checking out.
Goldberg arrives at the building wearing a jean shirt and jeans.
He's a jean jacket away from being as cool as Orange Cassidy. He's also surrounded by at least 10 plus police and staff. Up comes Mean Gene and followed by Kevin Nash wearing what I can only describe as an ugly brown rug. Rug-man here is upset Goldberg has a match and vows it won't happen.
Wrath def Renegade (formally The Warrior's double when Warrior was doing his magic tricks)
The best only really only good part of this match is when Renegade tries a cartwheel into and handspring elbow, or at least tried. He was way too far away from the turnbuckle where Wrath was. Wrath simply pushes his back and clubs Renegade upside the head. I laughed and about as much emotion a match like this will get out of myself and the crowd ever since Wrath got buried by Kevin Nash.
Disco Inferno with a mic calls out Konnan at the entryway.
Disco here asks Konnan to tell everyone the 'big' announcement. Konnan has no idea and threatens to beat him up with a scowl on his face. Disco says Kevin Nash says Disco is the newest member of the Wolfpac. Disco hugs Konnan and the nWo Hollywood music plays for reasons unknown. Well, as it turns out this was for Horace and Stevie Ray to come out to a tag match against Disco and magically appearing in the ring Chavo.
Just a thought, so glad The Flock was broken up for everything we are seeing in WCW now (heavy sarcasm).
Let's cut to the end of this short crappy wrestling match as commentary keeps plugging Hogan's retirement so he can run for President. Chavo gets a hot tag as Horace is the legal man (keep this in mind). He hits a big tornado ddt on Horace after he dropkicks Stevie Ray into the nWo's corner. Stevie Ray simply pulls Chavo off and this ref does not care Stevie Ray is still in the ring yet as soon as Chavo quickly tags Disco in, this ref is hell bent on keeping Chavo out of the ring. I would like to say this lead to a nWo paid ref, but this is Nitro. Horace and Stevie hit an elevated piledriver on Disco and the non-legal man Stevie Ray gets the pin. To say the logistics in this match were a total mess would be putting this mildly.
To the ring comes Kevin Nash in his terrible brown fur looking baggy shirt for a promo.
Basically, Nash inserts himself into the hot Bigelow Goldberg match because of course he does. This makes zero sense why he even cares because the title isn't on the line.
Glacier gets his full entrance.
4 out of the last 5 shows have given us this awesome-ness. At least this will never not be awesome. Shockingly, he is facing Saturn continuing their feud based on last week's interference. Before the match, much like the previous couple of weeks, The Cat and Onoo looking fly cut a promo on the ramp. I must describe the clothes these two goofs are wearing. Onoo is wearing a neckbrace with an oversized 3 piece teal green suit and The Cat is wearing a full brown corduroy suit himself with an elf looking hat. Amazing attire. Oh yeah, Cat's ankle hurts so he can't compete hence Glacier. Off camera Glacier cryonic kicks Saturn and beats him up. The Cat talking trash outside the ring is something we hear throughout and it's actually pretty funny. Glacier holds Saturn so Cat can karate kick him as Onoo takes the ref, Saturn ducks so Glacier takes the kick. Ref sees this and DQs Saturn as Saturn runs off the heels. Saturn pissed off at the ref's correct call and gives him a death valley driver for his trouble. The crowd pops for this at least. All this was I suppose okay.
In between everything going on, we get the "treat" to a commercial plug of a new "property of nWo" t-shirt from Konnan and Kevin Nash. A tshirt combining nWo faction done just for us the fans, so call the number ### (all extremely corny and un-cool from Kevin Nash's voice).
Lex Luger to the ring with pyro.
I am convinced Luger these days will simply just have a terrible wrestling match for him to win with zero direction. Welp, look in the ring and he's facing very tall jobber Emery Hale. In fact, it was a terrible wrestling match with no direction and wasn't a squash. The match goes 50-50 until finally the rack happens. Horrible. Probably safe to say Luger is just a more over Wrath at this point.
Disheveled Chris Jericho to ring.
He cuts a promo about how he hates cowboys and in turn all us Jerichoholics also hate cowboys. This gets good heat. Jericho spouts him being a role model and true home town hero....yall. More heat. Simple and effective for Jericho before Duncam Jr comes out for a match. Side note, this entire Nitro is built off of Bigelow vs Goldberg being the only match announced which of course was changed by one Kevin Nash.
This probably has been occurring for quite some time, but it's become extremely apparent in the back half of 1998. Jericho is one of the few guys on the show that is getting an actual genuine crowd reaction. Crazy, Jericho gets pushes off the top and does a front flip to the floor outside. Duncam and Jericho are starting to have pretty good chemistry with each other as the match wasn't too bad. Jericho gets away with one rolling up Duncam using the very top rope for leverage. Thumbs up.
Third hour starts with Scott Putski to the ring.
Giant comes out, gets in the ring, match starts, chokeslam, pin. He then cuts a slobbering inaudible promo challenging DDP to a match at Starrcade. What a waste of time.
Benoit and Maleko w/ Arn Anderson vs Kanyon and Raven
However, Raven still won't come to the ring, and the trend continues of no progress in this. Kanyon cuts a promo saying no match cause the odds don't add up, but he will face one of them on Thunder. Arn backs him into the ring with the tire iron, Horsemen beat him up, and Kanyon flees. Another waste of time. At the very least this is followed directly by another Ric Flair promo.
"Get off your girlfriend, lists legends of Houston wrestling, and he then lists all the horrible things he's going to do to Bischoff at Starrcade." ie. choke, chop, etc *play audio clip* He's going to take his paycheck, job, life, and dignity. Wonderful promo. Hats off.
Konnan def Booker T via DQ
No Konnan rap video this week, so already a loss. Plus, we got a long boring match with a shit finish. Stevie Ray walks out, hits Konnan in the shoulder with the slapjack for the DQ. I hate this. It's every week with Stevie Ray. Booker T at least shows some fire he's mad, and Stevie wanted to see that. I still hate it.
Then, Scott Hall comes out to cut a promo and says "I'm too stupid to quit wrestling."
At this point, couldn't agree more. Anyways, Steiner vs Hall with an actual referee to the ring despite the ref's being afraid of the crazy man. In the end, this was not a match which the nWo run in and the Wolfpac run in and as the crowd finally comes to life in what feels like the first time all night and explode when DDP runs in with a chair to make the save. Anarchy at least won on this day for the crowd.
There are less than 11 minutes left in the show and there is still the 3 hour advertised main event to go.
Bret Hart to the ring for a promo with Mean Gene. Fans are throwing trash into the ring and thus begins Bret Hart's great promo. He says to Gene "they're throwing things at you not me" as he puts his arm around Gene. Gene responds disgustingly with "don't you get comfortable with me!"
Bret continues (to DDP) "You can fight me for the title or you can fight the Giant. You're probably better off taking the coward’s way out and fighting the Giant." He continues on hyping up himself gaining back the US title including how his cat Smokey is the only real fan he has and Smokey was so happy to see the US title again in Bret's arms. Bret Hart wins another week for best guy in WCW.
Michael Buffer out for the entire intros of Bigelow and Goldberg.
Bigelow sprints to the ring in a baggy shirt and pants because there is no time left on the show as Buffer describes Bigelow as man whom has bullied his way from paid admission to the center of the ring. I think we all love how absurd and funny the things Buffer says. Kevin Nash's turn to sprint to the ring and even Goldberg starts to run from the back but not before giving Roger Clemons a high five (lolz).
40 seconds left in the show. As soon as Goldberg hits the ring the bell rings as the ref DQ's the match cause Nash is in the ring and brawls with Bigelow.
First off, 30k people in Houston (including my childhood self) paid and got this incredibly boring show.
Two, the advertised main event goes 40 seconds to an immediate DQ.
Three, the big built match over a few weeks plus a ppv interference is not delivered for Bigelow and Goldberg.
Last (although there could easily be a thousand more), it's yet another Nitro where the world champion Goldberg is in the ring for less than
120 seconds. The tally continues. Yes, a lot of trash was pelting the ring in fury. Horrible.
Next show is WCW Nitro Dec 14, 1998.