Friday, January 14, 2011

Scott Watches WCW/New Japan Supershow: Rumble in the Rising Sun

Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone are your hosts for this March 21 card from the Tokyo Dome, known as Starrcade 1991 in Tokyo Dome in Japan. Clips from the press conference. Then clips of the buffet. Then clips of Jim Herd getting some food. Then clips of Ric Flair and Arn Anderson trying on clothes.

Flyin' Brian, Z-Man & Tim Horner v. Shiro Koshinaka, Kuniaki Kobayashi & Takayuki Iizuka

Everything tonight is under Japanese rules, except the main event. JR assures us that the quiet crowd is not bored, unlike WCW's normal quiet crowds. The only guy likely to get much from the Japanese audience is, of course, Tim Horner. Haaa. No I mean it's Brian Pillman. Horner is barely even looking interested, and it kind of makes you wonder why he even came along. Luger got out of the show since his contract wasn't valid in Japan, apparently. That fuckin' Luger. He really is a thinking man's wrestler. Horner does sort of a ... turning flying splash, which meets absolutely no reaction except for what sounds like a few disgruntled folks finding his splash to be shit. But what do I know? Ol' Tim Horner's getting his chance to shine. JR remarks, "It's good he's back in," when Pillman is in. Iizuka winds up taking a long segment from the WCW guys, who tag in and out frequently. Iizuka and Pilman trade chest slaps, then Iizuka drops him with a standing dropkick, and another. This match has zero flow whatsoever. It's just guys doing stuff. "Pillman is the star of this match, it would seem thus far, but they've tagged in Horner." Koshinaka butt bumps Horner, then Kobayashi gets a near fall with a fisherman suplex. Iizuka pins Horner with a dragon suplex. Great job, Tim Horner.

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title: Jushin Liger (c) v. Akira Nogami

Tony Schiavone: Expert calls him "Juh-shin Thunder Ligger." And as you can see with the WCW graphic, they're up on things as well. But what can you expect from the people behind Stan "The Lariet" Hansen and Rey Misteric?

This is clipped to about four minutes, so here's the part where I lie to you and tell you I've definitely seen the full version, I've got it somewhere, but I totally didn't watch that right now, and I'm not going to, ever, and if you ever request it, I'll just make up some bullshit about how I must have misplaced that tape or, er...

The clip job is great, as they break, show a wide crowd shot, and go back to what might as well be a completely different match. Liger wins with the avalanche DDT. Tony Schiavone is revealing himself to be completely overmatched, but then again so is Jim Ross, so I shouldn't bust on Uncle Ton' too much.

Arn Anderson & Barry Windham v. Masa Saito & Masahiro Chono

This is, apparently, Arn Anderson's first time in Japan. Don't hate on Arn for it. My man was a southeastern type of fellow. He was the type of guy who knew how to do what he knew how to do and that was good enough. Arn in with Saito is kind of surreal, even. Arn just wasn't made for Japan. So it's up to Barry to carry the action for the Americans, and he does a fair enough job. This is clipped a bit, too, and just comes across as a pedestrian meeting of stars that doesn't really live up to the power of the four men involved. Chono gets the STF on Arn, and Windham breaks it up, which gets booed. So Chono knocks Barry out, then dives out onto him with a shoulderblock. Barry saves Arn again when he's locked into an abdominal stretch, and tries to get the crowd to react yet again. Chono with the MAFFA KEEICK on Arn, and now Saito is in, but Arn won't hear of it. So Saito hulks up. Saito suplex for both Horsemen. Windham nails Saito with a lariat, Arn pins, and the Americans take it.

El Gigante v. Big Cat

El Gigante is super tall, so Japan loves him. Gigante looks just thrilled to be here as he gets constant reaction for being tall. Seems like such a nice man. And to be fair, Gigante really was a sight. The way he dwarfed some big motherfuckers like Big Cat or Sid is just insane. Gigante bounces around, that gets a reaction. He ties up with Cat, shoves him down, that gets a reaction. He goes woo like Ric Flair, that gets a reaction. Gigante sets for a suplex, crowd goes wild. So Gigante soaks it in and Cat stands there like a fool. Gigante delays forever, then finally takes him over with a suplex. Jumping kick. And it's claw time. A couple minutes overall.

WCW World Tag Team Title v. IWGP Tag Team Title: The Steiner Brothers v. Hiroshi Hase & Kensuke Sasaki

"If you like suplexes, ladies and gentlemen..."

Hase and Scott start, Scott working Hase's legs on the mat, and Hase exploding back with some high impact offense, clotheslining Scott to the floor and celebrating. Rick gets the tag, Sasaki gets the tag. Crowd is very hot for this one. Sasaki is nasty with a powerslam and a bulldog, then he turns Rick inside out with a lariat. Rick shakes it off and Hase enters. Rick drags Hase over and tags Scott, and it looks like the Steiners have seen enough of this shit. Yep -- Scott has seen enough of this shit. Scott goes insane after a couple of big moves, screaming at everyone, and tags Rick back in. Steinerline! The Steiners don't even give a shit. Scott with a belly-to-belly. Wicked DDT from Scott, then tags Rick again. Rick very vocally calls out directions to Hase during a belly-to-belly superplex. I don't think that Rick being kind of daft thing was a total gimmick. Not that I think he was retarded like his character, just not always so sharp.

This is, as I'm sure you're quite well aware, a great match. The Steiners are forced to interact with a team that is not only their equal, but playing on their home field, and the type of guys who love to throw fools around just like they do. Scott has a bit of a fit at one point, showing his short fuse. And it adds some dimensions to the Steiners, too, showing their vulnerabilities when wrestling in a culture where their style isn't as incredibly unique as it is in WCW. Sasaki falls victim to the big double-team bulldog, and Scott DROPS THE STRAPS. Jerry Lawler didn't never do no frankensteiner, but Scott does for the finish. So the Steiners walk out with two sets of belts and trophies.

This was Wrestling Observer Match of the Year for 1991, but Flair-Sting was Match of the Year for '88 and I ain't buyin' that one, neither. Like Flair-Sting, this is great regardless of whether it's #1 or #4 or #17 or whatever, but unlike Flair-Sting, my early inclination to retardedly call this "overrated" in some way comes more from the fact that this style, as it were, continued to evolve and get better. The match feels slightly choppy. And I mean ever so slightly choppy. I prefer the War Games at Wrestle War to this one, but that's like saying I prefer apple juice to orange juice. I do, but they both kick ass.

Grudge Match: Sting v. The Great Muta

Muta jumps on Sting before the bell. The Steiners and Flyin' Brian and Z-Man and Tim Horner are out ringside for Sting, as Muta has Chono and other Japanese dudes ringside. Muta goes all kicky, Sting bails, and Muta slingshots out onto him. Muta sprays RED mist from the apron. That might explain the red shit that popped up on his shoulder. Tony says, "Sting has that red mist all over him now." There is not a single fucking drop of red mist on Sting. Not one bit. I have no idea what he's talking about. Sting tosses Muta outside, and unleashes his own dive. Sting grabs a front facelock and just starts to talk to Tim Horner or someone. Muta starts reeling, taking a big faceplant and a drop over the guard rail. Muta's comeback includes him continuing to heel on the crowd, even though Tony earlier insisted that they just love The Great Muta. Tony and Ross have some weird ideas throughout this entire show. They clothesline each other and stagger, then dropkick at each other and take a quick breather. Sting gets two on a backslide, Muta gets two on an inside cradle. Sting goes back to attempting the scorpion, and he "gets it," but Muta gets the ropes. Sting leaps with the Stinger Splash, Muta mists him, and Muta pins him on a crossbody. After the match, Sting hits the Stinger Splash and scorpion anyway. Then all the attendants get in and everyone plays grabass.

WCW World Heavyweight Title and IWGP Title: Ric Flair v. Tatsumi Fujinami

I'm hoping by the end of this I tell you that these two were a lot better together than I remembered. Flair works the knee for a bit, Fujinami gets the scorpion on and they just keep explaining why the fans don't shout and yell all the time. Flair seems, in a lot of ways, every bit as out of his element as Arn did earlier, and with Fujinami a few years past his prime, the whole thing just isn't what it was supposed to be, like the Horsemen tag earlier. But this is pretty good. I don't think the two so much had a lack of chemistry, as I've seen people say over the years, as the expectations were probably just too high. This is fine. Good, even. Chop and punch exchange is good stuff, and Flair winds up busted open because he's Ric Flair. Flair tries the flip, but doesn't make it over so he winds up in the TREEAWOE! and Fujinami delivers a couple kicks. Flair's mushroom haircut is just absurd. Flair winds up knocking out Bill Alfonso with a forearm. Fujinami backslides, but there's no referee. Inside cradle, no referee. Fujinami throws Flair over the top rope, which would be a DQ for this match, but no referee. Tiger Hattori takes over as referee and counts a pin on Flair moments later. And you know how it plays out. WCW doesn't recognize the title change, Flair takes his belt back at the presser, and they'll rematch at SuperBrawl.

The Great: Steiners-Hase/Sasaki
The Good: Flair-Fujinami
The Pretty Good: Muta-Sting
The Why: Cutting Liger's match to four minutes. As in, why even bother putting his match on the tape then?
The El Gigante: El Gigante
The Rock: Says

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