By JD Woolley

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 29

Place: (All Matches From AJW @ Omiya Skate Center, 4/27/1989 & AJW @ Korakuen Hall, 3/4/1989)

All Japan Tag Championship: Miori Kamiya & Reibun Amada vs. Kaoru Maeda & Mika Takahashi (AJW @ Korakuen Hall, 3/4/1989)

Initially, the excitement level for another Reibun Amada match was high. Unfortunately, this tag was super quick, a bunch of quick suplexes, and before one could even breath the match ends with Kamiya and Amada winning. It was over in a few minutes. This was a shame.

WWWA Tag Championship #1 Contendership: Marine Wolves vs. Fire Jets (AJW @ Korakuen Hall, 3/4/1989)

Uno and Mika Suzuki now known as Akira Hokuto and Minami Suzuka respectively vs Hotta and Mitsuko Nishiwaki. I suppose in a funny kayfabe sort of way, after getting metaphorically murdered by Bull Nakano a month ago, Uno and Mika got their names beaten out of them.

This tag match in particular is an interesting topic of discussion. With the Crush Gals and the Jumping Bomb Angels on their way out of retirement along with ½ of the Calgary Typhoons, AJW is in desperate need of pushing new stars. Here are the next 4 in front of us. The Marine Wolves win in a nice simple highlight sort of match. Each wrestler basically showcased their best stuff to the audience until the finish was to happen. We can look at this match and see Hokuto was the prime star while Hotta would be the respective number 2. More to come later on in their careers.

Mika Komatsu Retirement Match: Yumi Ogura vs. Mika Komatsu (AJW @ Omiya Skate Center, 4/27/1989)

Calgary Typhoon send-off match. Besides your typical AJW retirement match, this is more notable for the horrible camera work. They did this weird thing where the cameraman would follow the wrestler’s movement and move the camera in accordance with their motion. It’s very off putting and strange to watch to say the least. The year of retirements for AJW continues on.

WWWA World Tag Championship: The Crush Gals vs. Marine Wolves (AJW @ Omiya Skate Center, 4/27/1989)

This match should have been the Marine Wolves coming out party. The young new team overcoming the top tag team of the promotion just before the Crush Gals both retire this year. This would be in accordance with the usual “passing of the torch” type match as AJW has done throughout the 80’s. That is not what happened in this match.

Instead we see the Crush Gals proceed to dominate and destroy the young tag team. Sure, the Marine Wolves get a little offense in, but it’s really very mute in the long term. One key moment worth writing about comes off when Suzuka goes for a top rope senton. Instead of landing upper back onto the stomach of Nagayo, Suzuka misses and lands straight on her heads and the momentum also causes them to clash skulls too. Nagayo and Suzuka are possibly concussed as Suzuka rolls to the ringside trainers and never gets back into the match. Meanwhile, Rambo-Nagayo over here staggers to her feet and can barely stand, but she’s Rambo after all. She manages to barely connect a kick and clothesline to Hokuto and gets the pin.

The match itself was basically german suplexes and sleeper holds. For such a simple structure it was mostly entertaining, but the wrong team went over, two wrestlers got seriously hurt, and the finish was cringe. Nagayo is helped to her feet and held by Asuka and an assistant as the show goes off the air.

The next classic episode continues in order with episode 30 found through the AJW Classic archive. Plus, 2 older classic matches featuring Jackie Sato.

New Japan through the 90’s (NJPW) – Feb 1993
note: matches covered are what’s available in the archive on njpw world

Other notable matches from the time watched were: none this time.

Feb 1993 5 Sapporo Nakajima Sports Center

Shiro Koshinaka & Kengo Kimura vs. Takayuki Iizuka & Riki Choshu

Young pink stuff Iizuka is back with big lariat man Chosu. Koshinaka continues to be "THE" guy for good wrestling matches within NJPW. Him and Kimura make for an exciting team to watch as their tandem strikes roll over their competition in this match. Koshinaka gravitates to rely on his leaping hip attack while Kimura has his jump boot strikes. This match was incredibly fun. It ends after a member of Koshinaka's faction rips Chosu out of the ring, and in the ensuing brawl outside from a host of people representing both sides. The heels take advantage and kills Iizuka with an assisted powerbomb double team move to win. Fun match with an excellent finish.

Power Warrior & Hawk Warrior vs. Hiroshi Hase & Masahiro Chono

Kensuke Sasaki plays the Power Warrior role well as Animal is injured and away from the Road Warriors team during this timeframe. Hawk is a total beast and press slams both Chono and Hase with ease. It’s quite a site to see every time. Chono loses off a modified doomsday device that looks like a top rope 'heart attack.' There really isn’t much else to the match as it’s short and sweet. It’s what somebody would expect from a Warrior match currently.

Tatsumi Fujinami vs. The Great Kabuki

A painfully slow and boring match which was easily 90% holds without much else. There was a small 20 second flurry of punch strikes from Fujinami but outside of that, it was nothing until the finish. Kabuki is old, melted cheese, and out of shape. The finish came off a ref distraction for Kabuki to green mist Fujinami. Strangely enough considering the build going for Kabuki currently within NJPW, Fujinami mounts a comeback and then shockingly jumps onto the shoulders of Kabuki. He rolls over and victory-rolls up Kabuki to win. A good finish, but a terribly boring affair.

Genichiro Tenryu and Ashura Hara & Takashishi Ishikawa vs. Keiji Mutoh & Hashimoto Shinya & Akira Nogami

A continuation match between WAR and njpw. Akira Nogami played the role of sacrifice basically. There was a fun moment in the match where all three NJPW dudes beat up Tenryu with a flurry of elbow drops that the crowd absolutely loved. The match ends with Tenryu getting one over the good guys as the feud shall continue until the Inoki showdown at the very least.

Mar 23, 1993 Tokyo Gymnasium Hashimoto Shinya vs. Hiromichi Fuyuki

Unfortunately kind of slow and plodding. Shinya talking trash to evoke some heat as Fuyuki at least played a subtle heel role alright. It’s a very straight forward basic “hold” kind of match. This is something of the old 80’s style that NJPW continues to put out while AJPW and AJW are innovating the business. The crowd had a hard time reacting to much even with the finish being Hashimoto winning.

Next up are the matches in the njpw archive are May-June 1993.

Watch along!

WCW Nitro Dec 28, 1998
from Baltimore, MD

Meanwhile on WWF Raw it's DQ city across the show.

We begin with Bischoff, Henig, Buff Bagwell, and Steiner celebrating in a limo with a little bit of the bubbly over beating Ric Flair.

Commentary teams brings us into the show recapping Bischoff's victory, and then they proclaim Nash as the new heavyweight champion. Cue, not joking, the same nWo recap clip we saw more than once on last week's Nitro. When it ends, Schiovane says Bischoff was the culprit to showing that video again. It sure didn't come across that way. Ironically, in hindsight, Larry Zbysco tells us without a doubt the year of 1999 will be of WCW.

Nitro party clip is shown. Very 1990's as expected. Yes, this is still a thing. Followed by the very attractive Nitro girls dancing. 11 min into the show.

Finally our first match: The Cat w/ Ohno

Cat is the greatest promo and out comes, of all people, Chris Jericho w/ Ralphus and a very shy young (black hair, white tips) Cima! Jericho says he and Ralphus scouted an opponent and found Cima Nobunaga or as Jericho calls him, Cima-ding-dong.

It's a quick awakward squash match, and not sure if there is a real point to all of this, nor why Nitro starts this way after their biggest show of the year.

We recap Goldberg Nash highlights from Starrcade, and again the Ric Flair heart attack angle. I am baffled.

Second match: Norman Smiley vs Chavo Guerrero Jr w/ Pepe his stick horse

I am going scream over these worthless matches. WCW deserves to lose this war as commentary plugs Raven, his therapy, and his Mom later. At least I am excited to continue to see the train wreck angle of Raven.

This match is dumb and boring as expected. I am so sick of these Norman Smiley dancing hold matches, and especially his "push." Smiley sexually assaults the stick horse. This upsets Chavo. They keep going back to the horse and dancing. "Only on Nitro," says Schiovane. Words have never been truer. At 7:42 Smiley wins with the chicken wing. No way was this match less than 35 years. Horrible.

Raven, Kanyon, and Raven's Mom at the estate

There's a lot to break down here. All 3 exit a car as the driver helps Raven out of the car. Kanyon sees the house and acts like he’s never seen one before. They enter and Raven’s mom forcibly takes off Raven’s leather jacket. Raven says “I like my jacket mom” like a disjointed 14 year old going through his ‘emo’ phase in life.

Raven immediately heads to the bar and wants Kanyon to pour him a drink. Unfortunately, Raven’s mom says he’s going to get chocolate milk instead. Raven heads into the living room and fails at turning the TV on with the remote. He yells for mom to fix the TV. This is all into the territory of “It’s so bad, it’s good.” Since WCW has completely destroyed the Raven character, we are all just enjoying this ride at this point. I can’t wait for more.

Fit Finlay vs Booker T

I need these matches to have purpose and the wrestlers actually have some upward movement. This is desperately needed on the show as Tenay tells us that possible TV title purposes could come out of this match. That isn't good enough considering this has been the same thing for at least 18 months at this point in time for WCW. I also want to point out that we have no main event nor any other matches on the show being said. As for the match, it was fine. 6:52 Booker T wins.

Mean Gene in the ring to interview Ric Flair

Ric Flair comes out with Florida Gator bag and suit coat luggage for some reason. He is ashamed he got his ass kicked last night as Gene tries to save it by the interference. Flair got drunk with Arn Anderson, got on the plane, and then changed his mind about going home.

He calls out "the man" Eric Bischoff, "I've lived the life of a king because the people have allowed me to." Yes, this is the infamous stripping promo, "It's yours."

He opens his luggage, rips money, strips to his boxers, struts, torpedoes his gucci shoes into the audience, give him one more shot on the stipulation of if he wins he gets to run Nitro for 90 days or he leaves WCW. He then handcuffs himself to the top rope until he gets what he want. If he doesn't get it then he will be naked when the cameras come

Back from commercial. "Mean-by-God-Gene" cue Bischoff's music after Flair goes off and back from commercial. This is surreal. Bischoff mocks the cuffed Flair. He revels in the idea of taking all of Flair's money, hopes, and dreams. After psycho Flair spits and fires, Bischoff accepts the challenge after more glorious shit-talking. There's our main event. This is the reason why I remember this Flair Bischoff match to come more than the Starrcade match. This was good television.

Nitro girls dance and plug their calendar.

Barry Windham (and his recovered balls) vs Prince Iaukea

Kill me. Yes another worthless undercard type match. The crowd is very dead. Windham wins inside 4 minutes.

Mean Gene to interview a security guard

They explain the use of the cattle prod aka stun stick that hit Goldberg last night at Starrcade. Clearly this isn't the same one that was used in the main event match, and they further explain the danger of using such a device and was it indeed the reason Goldberg lost the title? Yes.... yes it was Mean Gene. A dumb question and segment.

We get a commercial plug for N64 WCW vs nWo Revenge. Nostalgia hit hard here with this.

Mean Gene (third appearance) again to interview DDP this time.

DDP loves his victory at Starrcade last night, but is very angry over the black cloud aka Sleezy E (Bischoff), and the act of Scott Hall. He wants to work for Flair, and basically back him up. Feel....the... bang! Not bad, simple.

Cut to backstage with Konnan and Disco Inferno.

The Wolfpac boyz berate Disco as Nash has a script in his hand before he heads to the ring and books Disco a match. Woo boy. I can't wait for more Nash (heavy sarcasm).

Eddie Guerrero and Juventud Guerrera defeat Kidman and Rey Mysterio Jr. (16:23)

Huge plug by commentary before the match putting over the triangle cruiserweight match from Starrcade last night and the Eddie v Kidman match. Indeed, both were quite good. Strangely enough, Mysterio Jr also comes out to the lWo music. Not sure why considering he's been kicked out multiple times, and has come out to different music. Fun story of Eddie having dissention with Juvi as Rey and Kidman are in control. Occasionally Eddie and Juvi take control themselves. It was a real fun lucha style match. Stereo topes from Rey and Kidman and Nitro heads to commercial.

When we return, Juvi is in control missing the match turnaround. Very confusing and very modernized wrestling as well as production reminiscent of modern WWE and Western TV wrestling in many ways. Unfortunately, the crowd is out of it mostly due to the booking, and that looming lWo feel which fails. The crowd does eventually get into some of the high spots and near falls near the end of the match because how good these guys are. After a miscommunication team instance and no interference shockingly, the heels simply win. A horrible finish, a sloppy match, and yet fun.

Kevin Nash (c) and the Wolfpac (Konnan, Luger, no Sting or Savage still) are out.

A lot of boos towards Nash despite cheering for the Wolfpac entrance. Nash claims to right the wrong at Starrcade. Also, if Disco wants in the Wolfpac so bad, he can join if he beats Bam Bam Bigelow later tonight. Woo boy.

Now, Scott Hall, Nash understands Hall's motives, but Nash takes this still as an insult, and has respect for Goldberg. Resounding boos from the crowd still. Nash still wants to make this right, and demands next Monday night on Nitro a World title rematch in Atlanta. Mixed cheers for this strangely enough, and Nash proclaiming he will kick Goldberg's ass. Amazingly mute reaction for this promo and announcement. You can feel the damage done after Starrcade with this crowd.

Bam Bam Bigelow defeats Disco Inferno (2:42)

Almost total and complete squash to no crowd reaction. Unfortunately, Disco gets enough offense in to basically tell us the audience two things: Disco has a chance, and makes Bigelow immediately enough of a mid-card guy from this point forward. There was at least an awesome one armed sit-out piledriver by Bigelow. That was awesome!

Backstage

Bischoff jokingly training with Hennig backstage. Commentary recaps the heart attack angle to make clear of what happened with Flair's doctor. The doctor explains all the symptoms Flair went through and makes up Flair being treated to which on Nitro never happened. It's a lot of doctor speak, and says he did not suffer a heart attack but actually suffered poisoning due to over use of a drug call 'digitoxin.'

I can't believe WCW went through with the poisoning angle after this heart attack. Unbelievable.

Mean Gene (4) approaches Bischoff and Hennig and they are upset.

Gene says food poisoning which makes no sense as Bischoff is totally distraught.

Scott Steiner w/ Bagwell and their personal ref vs Konnan (TV champion)

Title on the line!? Okay, I am paying attention. Konnan takes out the personal ref and ref Scott Dickenson comes out for the match. Bagwell frequently interferes and it isn't a DQ. Commentary explains this as intimidation from Steiner. This was not a good match. Luger comes out to chase off Bagwell, but the interference and timing costs Konnan via distraction and inadvertent assistance from Luger. One steiner-recliner later new TV champion Steiner wins.

Scott Hall defeats Brian Adams (5:35)

Note to Hall wearing a Goldberg shirt when he came out. Hall's promo is that he's disgusted about Nash's response. Great... we're back to the Hall and Nash dissention. Crowd is dead quiet and barely chants Goldberg for a couple of seconds. The split of Hall and Nash and their eventual return together, and most of all the journey of it should have been easy money. Unfortunately, WCW and the story telling of this has been absolutely horrible. A huge miss of 1998 to add to their growing list of blunders. Now, the match was shit boring. The moment Adams puts Hall in a bear hug, the match and time stands still. Hall wins eventually. I may have blacked out.

Buffer out for the Flair vs Bischoff match

Flair comes out in a slick black and silver robe with ALL of the pyro as Buffer breaks down the match stips. Bischoff however, delays and delays as Buffer says the intro and also delays. Bischoff tries to leave the building into a limo. Hilariously, Mongo with a huge grin along with the other horsemen emerge from the limo and carry Bischoff to the ring. Flair's new gimmick these days is violently attacking the testicles of his opponents. Luckily, the ref doesn't care. Flair beats the hell out of Bischoff and the crowd pops hard for the delayed suplex (Flair’s old finisher).

All of the nWo comes out as the Horsemen provide interference. The Giant does get into the ring and attacks Flair which isn't a DQ. Surprise surprise as Macho Man with Elizabeth in a nWo hollywood shirt, whom we haven't seen since Spring after joining the Wolfpac and taken out by nWo Hollywood, heads into the ring. He 'too-sweets' Giant to his surprise. Giant is a dumbass and turns his back as he then gets low-blowed and taken out by Savage.

We figured by the promo and connection this role would go to DDP, but he just hangs out outside the ring. Flair puts in the figure-four as Bischoff taps out. All the people on team WCW get into the ring to celebrate (no Wolfpac is noted). A huge angle and post-match celebration to close out WCW 1998. Flair now has control of WCW for the next 90 days along with the Nash vs Goldberg main event title rematch on next week's Nitro. Could 1999 really be the year of WCW?

Next show is WCW Nitro Jan 4, 1999

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