Tiger Mask vs. Dynamite Kid Series
First of all, before you read or judge… Actually it was impossible for me to use star ratings for these matches, I still tried it but please don’t compare these ratings with other matches, because you can’t compare them. Use it to compare the different matches between these two. Why? Well the stuff you’ll see here is from the 80’s. People say they were ahead of time. I disagree.. what they did, has yet to be recurred in professional wrestling to this very date. They’re still ahead of time. All the matches are a bit similar, they’re all great, just not every match got the same amount of time. After watching all their matches I can truly say this was revolutionary. Still to this date, 25 years laters.
Tiger Mask was an insanely popular television character in Japan and NJPW decided to bring it into pro wrestling. It got a lot of criticism in the beginning, but Tiger Mask became one of the most popular wrestlers in the history of professional wrestling. This feud is the main reason why.
1) The Dynamite Kid vs. Tiger Mask.
(April 23, 1981
This was the debut of Tiger Mask, his first-ever match. He faced the great Dynamite kid, who was also pretty new in NJPW. Tiger surprised Kid in the beginning with his technical abilities and fast-paced wrestling. Kid got a bit frustrated and tried to put off Tiger’s mask, without success. They went back and forth, and even went outside the ring for a while. In the end Tiger surprised Kid with a German suplex followed by a cover for the three count. What a debut for Tiger Mask. Dynamite couldn’t believe it was a three count. It was pretty short, but set up the storyline between the two and it was a good teaser. You could feel it wasn’t over between the two.
2) The Dynamite Kid vs. Tiger Mask.
(January 01, 1982
Again a short energetic match nine months after their first encounter. Now Dynamite Kid controlled most of the match. He focused Tiger Mask’s leg in the beginning and actually finished Tiger after a Pildriver followed by a Diving Dynamite. He refused to pin him and took him up for another Piledriver. Tiger Mask could just escape a second Diving Dynamite, but never had decent offense. When he finally escaped a figure-four variation, he rolled Dynamite up and again he got a surprise pin. Dynamite controlled everything, but again went home with a loss. Again a very good match with a good pace and great storytelling. It was short, but perfectly booked, considering what still had to come.
3) The Dynamite Kid vs. Tiger Mask.
(January 28, 1982
This match was a bit longer than the two previous ones, but still around the 10 minute mark. It was a good back and forth match where both man had their offense. Dynamite using his combination of power and technique, while Tiger used his agility and technique. Both man worked on the legs with submission moves, but it was waiting for the end of the match to see the true explosion. Kid missed a Diving Dynamite, but Tiger Mask missed his high-risk maneuver as well. Very fast-paced final minutes with a cool finish as they both tried to hit the German suplex. Tiger succeeded and got the cover for another surprising three count. Unbelievable how he did it for a third time. Again a great match with great storytelling and psychology.
4) The Dynamite Kid vs. Tiger Mask.
(July 23, 1982
The longest match so far between the two as it went for almost 15 minutes. Interesting note, a VERY young Bret Hart was in Dynamite’s corner (Bret worked in Japan for a while and these two both worked in Stampede Wrestling). Again great action in the ring, this time Tiger Mask had much more offense. For the first time, Dynamite Kid never really controlled the match. Again much leg work with figure four variations from both man. Some great exchanges of fast-paced moves, but also a few restholds. Dynamite did some suplexes and backbreakers, while Tiger Mask used his crazy moves. In the end Bret Hart interfered and a little brawl started outside the ring. A bit strange, but it was Dynamite Kid who got the win after Tiger elevated him in the crowd and got disqualified. (at least that’s what I think because I don’t understand Japanese
5) The Dynamite Kid vs. Tiger Mask.
(August 05, 1982
First match between the two to go over 15 minutes and definitely the best so far. Just non-stop action from beginning till the end. Some amazing fast-paced moment, mixed with slower parts where both used figure four variations and the neck scissors. Great escape attempts from the neck scissors as Tiger uses his agility to escape, but Dynamite received a piledriver when he tried to do that. Tiger was amazing, but almost lost when Kid hit the Diving Dynamite. When Tiger Mask flew to the outside, delivered a piledriver and hit the Tigersault, it was all over for the Englishman. He couldn’t believe that little Japanese guy pinned him again. Tiger Mask was insanely over at this point, while Dynamite Kid still couldn’t find an answer to Tiger’s crazy style. Great, great stuff.
6) The Dynamite Kid vs. Tiger Mask.
(August 30, 1982
This match took place at MSG in New York and Tiger Mask defended his Junior Heavyeight Title. The match wasn’t even 8 minutes long, but tore the house down. The American crowd couldn’t believe what they saw and loved all the action. Again such a fast pace with lots of reversals and crazy technical moves. Again the same submission holds en escapes, but it’s still impressive to see. Tiger Mask got the pin when he escaped a Diving Dynamite and nailed the Tigersault. Dynamite got his shoulders up just after the three count. Again Tiger Mask was victorious. Awesome short match.
7) The Dynamite Kid vs. Tiger Mask.
(April 21, 1983
This is the match Meltzer gave 5 stars, and I agree that this was their best match. I can’t give it five for now, because I don’t understand Japanese and that’s necessary to truly appreciate this match. First fifteen minutes were quite awesome with lots of back and forth action. Insane pace with incredible moves from both man. No-one had control in this match, momentum changed every minute. Many piledrivers, innovative submission moves, over the top rope dives and so much more. Since this match was for the vacant Junior Heavyweight title there had to be a winner. I believe Tiger Mask got disqualified once after diving over the railing. Near the end Dynamite became frustrated and he tried to pull off the mask. Referee tried to stop him, but he simply gave him a headbutt. Then he tried to finish Tiger with a bottle, but they could stop him in time. I believe he got disqualified for this as well. Final two minutes were breathtaking again as they brawl outside the ring where both man get thrown viciously in the railing. Finish comes when both man gave eachother a piledriver outside the ring. Their bodies lie lifeless on the floor as the ref calls for the bell. Fantastic match, but you really need to know Japanese to understand the final part because the match gets restarted two times and Dynamite even takes the mic in the middle of the match. What I did understand what that they said ‘one more time’ after the ref stopped it.