Re: Official Indy DVD Help Thread
So, yeah, I watched that puro stuff earlier.
Jumbo Tsuruta, Akira Taue & Masa Fuchi v Mitsuharu Misawa, Toshiaki Kawada & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi (All Japan Pro Wrestling, 8/18/90)
HO-LY-SHIT... this fucking ruled. It's one of the few All Japan matches from the 90s that I had never seen before, since I had decided to skip it when I worked my way through the decade however many years ago I took that task upon myself. It was clearly a mistake, however, because there's no way I would've passed on this had I known it was this great.
The thing about All Japan that often turns those that are treading the waters of puro away is the unquestionable factorisation of past history into everything they do. All Japan isn't a promotion that you could really just casually stroll upon and watch a random match of if you don't know the extensive backstory. It's probably the biggest knock I could give against the promotion, because the actual wrestling is the best there's ever been. The thing that often deters me personally from really watching a lot of All Japan these days is its insistency on having the viewer pay close attention to every detail and subtlety, something I have little time or attention to do now that my brain's been effectively lariato-d to shit by that Jameson fella (anybody that gets that deserves a cookie) and two rampant, retarded dogs that I share a house with. Still, on the rare occasion I'm able to sit and actually watch and pay attention to an All Japan match, there's not much better in terms of watching pro-wresting to pass the time. Luckily enough, the dogs were asleep and Jameson ran out (there I go again), so I found myself in as good a position as any to watch some All Japan.
This bad boy starts out doing what most All Japan tags to exceptionally well - establishing the roles of the participants. Coming off the heels of Misawa scoring a huge win over Jumbo a couple months prior, their feud was in full swing at this point, and those two were the leaders of their respective armies. Jumbo was still the top dog in AJ, but Misawa wasn't far off. Then their respective right hand men; Kawada stood behind Misawa while Taue had stepped in recently as Jumbo's second. Kawada was still higher on the totem pole than Taue, though, and that's established early as Kawada kicks Taue in the face. Literally. Three times. Finally, you've got Fuchi and Kikuchi. Fuchi's not too far off Taue as Jumbo's second, and is also one of the true veterans on the scene; a mean, nasty motherfucker. Kikuchi's not even Misawa's third in command - that'd be an absent Kenta Kobashi - so he's basically the runt of the litter here, and everybody's above Kikuchi on the totem pole in this. Naturally, he takes a shit kicking. A real fuckin' MANLY shitkicking. After managing to get a decent spell of offence in on Fuchi (made possible by Kawada's face kicking tendencies which opened the door initially), he's met with a HUGE lariat from Taue, and that gives Jumbo's army the first real swing of momentum.
Soon enough Misawa's in there with Jumbo, and that's where they turn up the level of hatred, complete with face-caving forearms, knees, kicks, and the odd lariat thrown in for good measure. Kikuchi's second decapitation comes from Jumbo, who fucking NUKES him with a monster lariat, and without Misawa on hand to break the pin attempt, there'd be no chance of him getting up. Kawada manages to kick people in the face some more, too, and that's pretty glorious. Always is.
The finishing stretch is pretty indicative of a regular AJ finishing stretch. Y'know... awesome. Towards the end of the decade they'd rely heavily on headdrops and insane bumps down the stretch, but the first 7 or so years were much more focused, and that's definitely the case here. The roles that were established earlier in the match are constantly being played, and as a result, one would expect Tsuyoshi Kikuchi to be the fall guy. He was only a junior heavyweight amongst the mounds of beef and hatred of the heavyweights, after all. But, as he had done the entire match, he was surviving, and he apparently decided that Akira Taue should pay for some wrongs he had suffered, looking like he may actually be able to beat the lanky heavyweight. His partners did all they could to keep Taue's buddies away from the ring so Kikuchi would be able to finish the giant, who he seemed to be chopping down to size. That's until Taue got a hold of Kikuchi and dropped him with a big bomb of his own. Still, Kikuchi would survive - again - and the place exploded at the thought of the spunky babyface beating the grumpy heel. Then Taue drops him on his neck with a back suplex and there's no way he's able to get up from that. So close, but Kikuchi probably never really had a chance anyway. Misawa and Jumbo were far from settled, but they'd have to wait until the next month before they got a hold of each other again. (They'd have the best singles match I've ever seen when they did, btw.)
Tremendous match, and one that crept right up on me and blew me the fuck away. Everything I look for in a wrestling match is here, and it only makes me wish I could muster up enough motivation and attention to watch more of the same. Funny thing is, this probably isn't even a top 10 match for 4 of these guys. It's probably not even a top 5 match of 1990 for All Japan. It's not even a top 10 six man tag from All Japan, either. I guess that All Japan company was pretty good. Who knew?