The SmarK Retro Repost – Super J Cup 1995

The Netcop Retro Rant for Super J Cup 1995 (Dreams Come True, Again).

– Interesting clash of styles to start, as the first show on my tape

is AWA’s Superclash III, which is quite possibly the opposite of this

show in every way possible.

– No title on the line this year. It’s Samurai, Hanzoh, Benoit,

Jericho, Liger, Gedo, Damien 666, Gran Naniwa, Ohtani, Motegi, Ultimo

Dragon, Sho Funaki, Dos Caras and someone named Mockizuki, who I don’t

recognize. Ah, well.

– Opening round:

– Damien 666 v. Gran Naniwa. This shit is so high concept it goes all

the way around to low concept. Or maybe it’s the other way around.

Anyway, the idea is that Damien yells out the name of a famous wrestler,

then does one of their moves. I mean, that’s BRILLIANT! How come no

one in the US ever thinks of stuff like this? Gran Naniwa is, of

course, the guy with the crab legs on his arms, although he’s not

sporting that look tonight. Damien starts with a Hulkster riff by

posing for the crowd. He adds Muta’s martial arts pose during the

intros. Crowd chants for Naniwa, so Damien walks until they chant for

him. Naniwa does the same. Cute bit. A posedown ensues. Damien calls

“Choshu” and hits a lariat, followed by a scorpion deathlock. See the

bit? I don’t quite follow a couple of the references, but the comedy

bits are hilarious. He even pulls out Hakushi’s ropewalk, then more of

Muta’s posing. Damien with the opening highspot, a simple plancha.

Naniwa starts to get into the mimic act and they proceed to do a really

neat “greatest hits” match, paying tributes to the greats. Misawa’s

rolling elbow looks lame done by Damien, but that’s not the point.

The “Muta” moonsault misses and Naniwa snaps off a rana-rollup (what IS

the proper name for that move?) for the pin. Not technically sound to

watch or anything, but the match was an absolute hoot. *** Damien’s

post-match ribbing of Atsushi Onita has the crowd in stitches. Great

choice for the opener.

– Shinjiro Ohtani v. Masaki Mockizuki. Can’t say as I’ve ever heard of

the guy in the gi before, but he fights like a motherf*cker. This

sucker is ULTRA-STIFF~! and no one acts like a better asshole than

Ohtani. Talk about a change from the last match. Ohtani works on the

knee like he owns it and Masaki was just borrowing it for the duration

of his life. A wicked german suplex out of nowhere gets two for

Mockizuki. I take it this guy is usually a shoot-style worker from the

evil kicks he’s dishing out. Ohtani keeps going for the submission, and

when he lets him up Mockizuki will hit a high-impact move to knock

Ohtani down again. Wild stuff. Crowd is “ooing” and “aaing” all

through this abbreviated match, until Ohtani dropkicks the knee and

applies a submission move from which Mockizuki can’t escape. Brutal

match, but way too short. But then it’s a one-night tournament. ***

– Shochoi Funaki v. Ultimo Dragon. And in YET ANOTHER drastic shift in

style, we get these guys. Funaki is of course 1/4 of the late, great

Kaientai. Man, Liger is a booking genius to mix up the match styles

like this and pair up the right guys. I know all the workrate guys

cream over Dragon, but I’ve never been a fan. Funaki wants to go

shootstyle and Dragon wants to fly, which makes for an interesting

match. Dragon decides to one-up Funaki and starts countering his

submission holds. Much kicking in the head ensues. It’s a good thing

Japanese fans are more patient, because there’s no way in hell a normal

US audience would take 5 minutes of fighting over a leglock. That’s not

a knock on US audiences, it’s just a different style of wrestling.

Dragon mangles a rana, but rebounds with a nice springboard moonsault

for a two count. Funaki keeps it grounded and gets a couple of two

counts. Dragon, like a jerk, kicks out of the fisherman’s buster

(Funaki’s big finisher nowadays) and then does his own. Was he working

heel at the time? Anyway, a moonsault to the back and my LEAST FAVORITE

MOVE IN ALL OF JAPAN, la majastral, finishes it for Dragon. **1/2 Good

technically, but I wasn’t into it like the first two.

– Gedo v. Masayoshi Motegi. WAR is hosting this year, so Gedo

(STUPID-ASS hairstyle and all) is very over with the crowd. I suppose

it could have been worse (I mean, there’s always Jado to push…) but if

a WAR guy *HAD* to go all the way, why couldn’t it have been Dragon, who

I can at least watch without retching? Nice plancha from Motegi to

start. How could a fatboy like Gedo qualify for this tournament,

anyway? Motegi just beats the hell out of Gedo, to my delight. Gedo’s

offense mainly consists of kicking and choking. Otherwise he’s taking

abuse. A lot of it. Motegi even pulls out the rolling german suplex.

It’s an absolute and total squash in every sense of the word, but Motegi

misses one move and Gedo puts on his

so-lame-it-makes-the-Rings-of-Saturn-look-like-Flair’s-figure-four

submission move and Motegi submits. Sheeyah, right. **

– Dos Caras v. El Samurai. They trade some basic lucha stuff to start,

and Caras puts on a submission move so wonderfully goofy I won’t even

attempt to describe it. I mean, do these guys have LSD trips and wake

up thinking of this stuff? Samurai is actually taking a pounding here.

Yet another infinitely bizarre submission hold. Samurai responds with a

good ol’ piledriver for two. The referee is counting in Spanish for the

benefit of the luchadore. Caras takes a powerbomb, but rebounds with a

flying bodypress for the surprise win. Pretty lacklustre, especially

for Samurai, who I don’t like but expect a good match out of at the

least. **

– Hanzoh Nakijiwa v. Chris Jericho. Jericho seems so subdued compared

to today. I saw Hanzoh in MPro from a couple of years ago, and he

seemed pretty okay there, keeping up with Kaientai with no problem.

Chris is constantly jawing with the crowd, yelling “C’mon baby!” and

“Are you ready!” from time to time. Pretty much a by-the-numbers Super

Junior match otherwise, which is still very good. Jericho’s best moment

was yet to come this night. Jericho hits a fisherman’s buster and gets

the pin off the Lionsault. Good but unremarkable match. ***1/4 End of

round one.

Quarterfinals:

– Jushin Liger v. Gran Naniwa. Liger gets the bye, and who are you to

argue with the bookerman? It must be a special occasion, because Naniwa

breaks out the crab claws. And what’s with the different theme music

for Liger? Of course, someone actually sent me a PERFECT MP3 copy of

his WHOMP-ASS theme, so I can play it whenever I want. Now all I need

is the nWo Japan theme and I’m set. Anyway, Naniwa goes BATSHIT on

Liger, hitting a couple of highspots right off the bat. THE CRABWALK

ELBOW OF DOOM is too short the first time (Liger rolls out of the way)

so Naniwa moves a bit further down the ropes, only to miss anyway.

Cute. Liger takes him down and mocks him. Then drops him on his head

for good measure. I really like Liger. They exchange bow-and-arrow

submissions, then Liger applies a camel clutch the RIGHT way, making it

appear to actually hurt. Look out, it’s the PALM STRIKE OF DEATH!

Naniwa comes back with his own, then a DDT for two. I don’t know how

people can mock the People’s Elbow in one breath and talk about Liger’s

palm strike as a legitimate finisher in the next. Really nice

somersault off the apron from Naniwa. The man is FEELING IT tonight.

Money Shot gets two. Top rope rana gets two. Could the end be near for

our hero Liger? Spinning doctorbomb gets two. Japan Rule #1 comes into

effect as a second doctorbomb fails and Liger kicks some ass. Randy

Savage elbow gets two. Naniwa reverses the Ligerbomb for two. Liger

hits a fisherman’s buster (popular move tonight, no?) for the pin.

Damn, that one got good. ***1/2

– Chris Benoit v. Chris Jericho. OH YEAH, BABY! Benoit gets the other

bye because he’s Chris FUCKING Benoit. Big staredown to start. Jericho

goofs around with the crowd and Benoit is ice. Jericho freely uses

“motherf*cker” in his chatter. Jericho dominates with some really nice

stuff, unfortunately blowing himself up in the process. Benoit takes

the hint and drops him on his head so he can work defense and let Benoit

do the work. Benoit applies the move that would come to be known as the

Liontamer at one point. Jericho comes back with a senton and debuts the

arrogant cover. This obviously makes Benoit unhappy, so he pounds

Jericho, and counters a moonsault press by moving out of the way. More

people should try that one. They suplex each other on the top rope, and

Jericho’s works better so he gets the springboard dropkick in. Then a

KILLER plancha for good measure. They end up on the top rope and Benoit

powers down for a two count, and then nearly kills Jericho with a

powerbomb for two. They fight over a suplex, which results in serveral

twos, before Chris hits a german suplex for two. Flying headbutt misses

and Jericho gets two. Butterfly powerbomb for two. Benoit comes back

and backdrops Jericho onto the floor, then pulls out his own plancha.

Great bumping from Jericho. Jericho reverses a powerbomb and goes into

a tiger suplex for two. Another fisherman’s buster (what is WITH that

move this year?) but misses the Lionsault. Rana-rollup gets two for

Jericho. Now the Lionsault hits, and a rollup gets two. Jericho goes

for a superplex, but Benoit reverses to a top rope tombstone for the

pin. Both men are god, what can I say? ****1/2 I liked the “big”

finisher, which was something sufficiently neckbreaking to put away the

spunky Jericho, who would use this match to go ECW->WCW almost right

after this.

– Ultimo Dragon v. Shinjiro Ohtani. Nasty dropkick from Ohtani off the

apron, followed by a pescado, starts us down the road to SWANKNESS right

off the bat. A highspot war seems imminent, as Dragon hits a quebrada.

Nope, it’s a submissions war, as they trade leglocks instead. Ohtani

just isn’t needlessly violent enough here, for whatever reason. The

goofy tombstone wars start in earnest, as they no-sell each others’

piledriver. I still don’t get that spot. Top rope rana from Dragon

gets a two count. Ohtani reverses a powerbomb to a rollup for two, then

hulks up. OHTANI-MANIA IS RUNNING WILD, BROTHER! They trade rollups.

Ohtani’s springboard dropkick misses, and Dragon hits a dandido for two.

Ohtani is PISSED. He kicks Dragon right in the face to show it, then

proceeds to hit that springboard dropkick. Dragon suplex gets two.

Crowd is INTO it. Dragon blocks a second dragon suplex. Ligerbomb out

of nowhere gets two. Yet ANOTHER fisherman’s buster. Did someone just

learn that move in 1995? Dueling heel kicks both miss. Dragon with a

sky twister press and a (you guessed it) majastral cradle for the pin.

Slow start, good finish. ***1/2

– Gedo v. Dos Caras. This seems so…anticlimactic after seeing such a

great assortment of matches. Caras offers some words to a guy in the

front row before we start. Have I mentioned that not only is Gedo is a

bad wrestler, but he also has stupid hair and a dumb name? Just

thought I’d get that in. Not much going on for the first little while,

as they trade mat stuff and weak submissions. Question about the

surfboard: Why does slapping the sides of the guy being surfboarded

cause him to instinctively offer up his hands to finish the move?

Anyway, Caras keeps going with some fun lucha stuff to keep Gedo down,

including a weird inverted figure-four and a modified indian deathlock.

Gedo yells a lot. I like to hear that. Gedo’s pain is my pleasure.

Caras puts him in the most bizarre and painful looking submission hold

I’ve ever seen — sort of a stump puller rolled over into an inverted

surfboard. Wild stuff. Ever hear Herb Kunze’s explanation of why the

stump puller illicits an instant submission? Popular legend says that

the applicant gets an erection, which is in turn pressed into the back

of the victim’s head, thus getting an instant submission. Ask Herb,

it’s true. Gedo gets his own submission hold and goes for the cheap

heel heat by trying to unmask Caras. Kaientai material you are NOT, fat

boy. Caras hits some SWEET power stuff, and a flying bodypress for two.

Gedo uses a low blow and DDT to turn the tide, and quickly rolls him up

for the pin. **1/4, all Caras.

End of the quarterfinals.

– Semi-Final #1: Jushin Liger v. Ultimo Dragon. Test of strength into

a really neat matwork segment to start. Nasty modified surfboard from

Liger — instead of using Dragon’s legs, he just balances Dragon on his

feet by the small of Dragon’s back. It’s kind of hard to describe. Odd

bit follows as they fight for a cradle, with neither getting it. Then

the high-flying shit starts as they jump all over the ring in a complex

sequence. Neither gets the advantage until Liger dropkicks Dragon’s

knee. Twice. And a third time, just in case Dragon forgot who the

booker was. Man, did Liger take his Dick Pills that day or something?

Figure-four, on the wrong leg, but it’s Liger so I can forgive him.

Dragon escapes and reverses to a half-crab, and then into the ONLY

acceptable way to use an indian deathlock — with the full Benoit

bridge. Handspring elbow and Perfectplex get two, then Dragon gets his

own figure-four. Mid-ring collision sends Liger to the floor, and

Dragon teases a highspot before hitting a tope to stun Liger, followed

by a somersault plancha to knock him out. Back in the ring a powerbomb

gets two. Tiger suplex gets two. Dragon misses a dropkick and Liger

shoots him outside and hits the somersault attack off the apron. Back

in the ring, powerbomb gets two. I like Liger’s better. More feeling.

Brainbuster gets two and three quarters. Tombstone and diving headbutt

get another close count for two. Dragon gets a suprise rollup for two,

reversed for two. Discus punch from Liger misses, and Dragon gets a

Northern Lights suplex for two. Sadly, he walks right into the rolling

kick in the corner, and Liger tries the top rope brainbuster, but Dragon

pushes him off. La majastral gets two. Lionsault knocks Liger down,

but the moonsault misses. Ligerbomb gets two. Dragon with la

majastral, reversed by Liger (AHAHAHAHAHAHA!) for the pin. Good, I hate

that move. As Bart Simpson said in the mafia episode…soo-poib.

****1/2

– Semi-Final #2: Chris Benoit v. Gedo. Benoit destroys Gedo’s

worthless ass to start, hitting the running elbow and backbreaker for

two. Legdrop and suplex, both done with nasty, surgical precision. He

rips Gedo’s ugly face off with a clothesline. Liontamer, but Gedo sadly

makes the ropes. More glorious destruction as Gedo screams in pain.

Vicious german suplex gets two. STF, again no submission. Damn, I keep

hoping that the next time I watch this tape will be the time Gedo quits.

Superplex, but Benoit hits his own head on the way down, which is the

ONLY scientifically plausible explanation as to why Benoit would ever

sell offense from Gedo. Gedo gets a german suplex for two, but it

sucked anyway. He puts his STUPID submission finisher on, but Benoit is

a REAL MAN and Gedo is a mongoloid freak, so it has no effect. He

simply powers out and continues slapping Gedo around like the bitch he

is. Gedo hits a sloppy rana off the second rope which sends Benoit to

the outside, then hits something which can loosely be termed a plancha,

although as usual he f*cks it up. Benoit slams him onto a handy table

and goes back to work. Back in the ring, Benoit hits a top rope rana

for two. Another german suplex gets two…holds on, hits another one,

gets another two. Gedo reverses a tombstone, hits an ultra-weak one of

his own, and goes to the top, but Benoit wisely no-sells. He makes my

night by ripping Gedo’s head off with a clothesline, causing Gedo to do

a Jannetty 360 degree somersault oversell. Powerbomb gets two. Dragon

suplex gets two. I think the ref is crooked. That’s the only

explanation. Benoit misses the swandive, but comes back with another

powerbomb, which Gedo allegedly reverses to a rana for two. Brainbuster

for two, then Gedo hits his own swandive…and my tape suddenly cuts

out just before the ref was about to count three! Man, that was

mysterious. What could possibly have happened? I mean, Benoit must

have kicked out, right, there’s no way he’d allow himself to job clean

to Gedo the Monkey Boy, would he? Oh well, I’ll just check it and try

rewinding…

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

There is no justice. ***1/4

– Special Bonus Match: Psychosis v. Rey Mysterio, Jr. Wow, remember

when Rey had a mask and dressed like a human being and everything? We

start on the mat, but you just know that won’t last. By way of

perspective, this is about a year before either guy showed their face in

WCW. Psi gets a splash in the corner, and they go into one of their

usual intriciate sequences that puts Psychosis on the floor. Rey

follows with a highspot. Back in and Psychosis dropkicks the knee, and

it leads into another intricate lucha sequence that we’ve all seen 20

times each by now. Psychosis gets alley-ooped to the floor, and Rey

hits a rana, from the top turnbuckle, onto Psychosis on the floor below.

Nice visual. Rey ends up on the floor and Psychosis hits a half-assed

tope con hilo. The match strikes me as more of a technical exhibition

than anything else — there’s very little feeling in any of this stuff.

Rey with a springboard tope, which nearly knocks Pyschosis’ wig off!

Back in and Rey snaps off the rana for two. Back out again and Rey hits

a very nice quebrada. Back in and Psychosis suddenly revives and snaps

off a powerslam, followed by the guillotine legdrop for two. Powerbomb,

but the moonsault misses. Leg lariat and Rey gets the top rope rana,

and another rana for the pin. Pretty good, but the definitive match

between these two either happened in ECW or in the opening match of Bash

at the Beach 96, depending on your viewpoint. ****

– J-Cup Final: Jushin “Thunder” Liger v. Gedo “The Retard”. Okay, I

made that second one up. Gedo has switched to a new YELLOW bodysuit.

Yeah, that really makes you look cool, Gedo. Liger pulls on his arm a

lot, illiciting more of the pathetic screams of agony which bring a

smile to my face. Liger hammerlocks the arm and literally kneedrops it

about 20 times. Watagijimekitime, or however the hell you spell that

armbar thing. Liger coldly continues working the arm, causing Gedo to

pull his hair to retaliate. Liger calmly puts him in a cross-face

chicken wing to show him who’s boss. Cross-armbreaker, and he

absolutely CRANKS on it, like he was jacking up a car or something.

Pussy tombstone, and Liger tries the CFCW again, but Gedo kicks him in

the nuts to escape. Yeah, I can see why this guy made the finals. What

skill. Out of the ring, where Gedo misses a quebrada, although Liger is

generous enough to sell for him anyway. Back in the ring and Gedo

suddenly forgets the crippling arm injury he’s been selling like a

banshee for the past five minutes. Oh no, it’s the SHITTY SUBMISSION

MOVE OF DOOM! Liger makes the ropes. He hits the rolling leg lariat,

then sets Gedo up in Shattered Dreams position and does another one.

Gedo rolls out and Liger follows with a tope, but Gedo dropkicks him

coming down. Back in and they do a double KO spot. Gedo no-sells a

german suplex and hits a rana for two, reversed by Liger for two.

Fisherman’s buster gets two. Curt Hennig should start using that move.

Ligerbomb gets two. IN WHAT UNIVERSE? Gedo should consider himself

f*cking HONORED that Liger let him kick out of his finisher. They go to

the top and Gedo can’t get a superplex, but Liger misses his missile

dropkick. Gedo with a brainbuster and rollup for two. That shit might

work on Dos Caras, but not on a REAL MAN. Liger reverses a suplex for

two. Gedo goes to the top and Liger says “Enough of this asshole” and

blocks it by giving him the WHOMPASS~! brainbuster off the top rope for

the pin. Good riddance to bad rubbish. *** Unfortunate that the

tournament had to end on a middling match.

The Bottom Line: As long as you can suspend your disbelief and accept

Gedo in the finals of a major tournament like this, this is a very fun

show with some AWESOME wrestling. A definite recommendation.