From the UK: Best of Chris Benoit in Japan

Reviews, Shows, TV Shows

On The Wrestling Channel over here they did a 4 hour special on Chris Benoit and his exploits from Japan. Myself, being a big Benoit mark, happened to catch it all on video and now I felt I’d rant on it as my tape with Smackdown on it this week was barely watchable.

This is all from New Japan in the mid 90’s. I don’t have any exact dates but if I know the show I’ll tell you

Shinjiro Ohtani Vs Wild Pegasus
I missed the first 5 minutes or so of this one and we join it with Ohtani going for Benoit’s legs. This is from the Best of the Super Juniors 95. Benoit gets out of the hold and we have a stand off that leads to an Ohtani take down. Ohtani tries to key lock the arm but Benoit fights it. Ohtani goes to the rear chin lock but Benoit fights out of that and goes to a side arm lock and turns that into a reverse cross face going for the pin-fall rather than a submission. This turns into a test of strength and that leads to Ohtani going for an arm bar. Benoit locks his fingers to stop it and then rolls Ohtani to his back for a couple of near falls. They go to another test of strength and Benoit powers Ohtani down and fights him off to get a pin. Ohtani bridges out and that leads to a series of near falls. They again end up in a stand off and Benoit smashes Ohtani with a shoulder barge and goes to a head scissors. Ohtani turns it over and goes to an STF and then turns that into a cross face head lock but Benoit makes the ropes. Ohtani gets a body slam and a flipping senton splash for two and goes back to the chin lock and a head scissors of his own. Ohtani grinds his fist into Benoit’s face while in the head scissors, I love this guy! Benoit gets out of the hold and gets a mega snap suplex with some coleslaw and beans for two. Benoit gives Ohtani some chops in the corner and gets a corner clothesline. Ohtani gets a springboard dropkick sending Benoit outside and follows that with a no hands tope. Ohtani gets in first and he’s fired up and unloads with some stomps on a returning Benoit. Ohtani counters a Power Bomb but takes a big lariat and then the Swan Dive Head Butt from the top for two. Ohtani tries a Dragon Suplex but Benoit uses the ropes to break. A second attempt succeeds but Benoit is in the ropes so Ohtani can’t get the pin. Ohtani tries again but takes a MONSTER of a German Suplex and sells it in his usual awesome manner than makes Ricky Steamboat look like he’s doing The Undertaker sit up. Benoit capitalises with a Power Bomb for two and then gets another one on a helpless Ohtani for the win. Brilliant he used three big impact moves and capitalised on an unlikely showing of weakness by Ohtani.


***1/2 – the usual great match but it wasn’t a classic. The psychology seemed a bit off but the finish was gold.

Black Tiger Vs Wild Pegasus
Best of the Super Junior 96
This is a total copy and paste job from one of my old rants
Lock up to start as they feel each other out. Tiger goes to a leg takedown and Pegasus fights up to a hammer lock. Pegasus stays on the arm but Tiger gets out of the hold and goes back to the knee with a sweet counter. Tiger gets the Gory Special and somehow that turns into a pin fall sequence that the fans appreciate. They continue to do some awesome mat wrestling which leads to a lucha test of strength. Pegasus now targets the leg and gets an Indian Step Over Face Lock but Tiger makes the ropes. Tiger gets a Dragon Screw and goes to the leg lock. Pegasus somehow gets his own leg lock from that and goes to a sweet looking elevated Boston Crab. Tiger gets the flip over senton on the inside and then throws Pegasus outside and does it on the ramp. That was some ingenious use of the surroundings. Pegasus back body drops Tiger back in and gets a high angle back drop for two. Pegasus goes to the sleeper hold but Tiger makes the ropes. Pegasus gets some stomps in but takes a rana however being the cold blooded killer that he is he goes right back to the sleeper. After having his arm drop two times Tiger is able to fight out with some elbows but runs gave first into the elbow and Pegasus goes to back to the sleeper which is sound strategy. The Black Tiger section of the crowd gets behind him and he gets out of the hold only to slapped in it again. This is the fourth sleeper so far yet I like it as it’s realistic and really smart as it builds empathy for Tiger and as a result he gets a round of applause for making the results. Pegasus gets some chops in but Tiger gets a roll up as Pegasus gets ANOTHER sleeper. And now pretty much the whole crowd is behind Tiger showing how smart these two are at ring psychology. Pegasus gets a MEGA Power Bomb and heads up top but misses the flying head butt. Tiger back drops him outside and follows with a vaulting body press but Pegasus catches him and sends him into the rail. Pegasus gets a tope to the outside sending Tiger spine first into the rail. Back inside Tiger gets a Brain Buster and a Frog Splash for two. Another Brain Buster is reversed into a…Sleeper! That turns into a Pegasus Dragon Suplex for two. They fight over a Tombstone and Pegasus gets it for two. Pegasus gets a super back drop from the top but can’t capitalise and the fans get behind Tiger. Tiger gets a Splash Mountain Bomb for two. Pegasus goes for a top rope Tombstone but Tiger fights him off and gets a top rope hurricanrana for two. They go up again and Tiger gets a top rope Brain Buster for the win


****1/4 – Yes that’s how good they were. Most of the match was a f*cking sleeper yet it was still awesome which is a testament to both Benoit and Eddie. It’s all about the right mixture of big moves, psychology and realism and this match had it all.

The Pegasus Kid and Scorpio Vs Jushin Liger and Akira Noagami
I have no idea when this was from but I’m guessing 92-93. Scorpio shakes everyone’s hands to start but Benoit slaps Ligers away and is all in his face before the match even starts which should give you an idea of what to expect here. Liger and Benoit start out and Liger is pretty damn over. Lock up and Benoit gets a chop instead of a clean break but takes a shoulder block. They do a brilliant leap frog segment that it too quick to call and then tag out. Scorpio and Noagami lock up and do a nice sequence with the arm and Scorpio gets an arm lock and rides Akira down. Benoit comes in and stays on the arm but Akira turns the hold into one of his own and they do their own leap frog segment which ends with Benoit bailing and taking a time out. Benoit comes back in and is on the receiving end of a Liger swanton and gets locked the surfboard but Scorpio saves. Akira comes in and ends up taking a wishbone leg splitter and a big splash from Scorpio for two. Akira gets worked over but manages to tag in Liger who pounds away on Scorpio but takes an eye rake and some head butts. Scorpio gets a Stinger Splash but walks into some palm strikes and gets knocked off the top to the outside where Liger gets a big running cannonball off the apron. Back inside, Scorpio takes a double elbow and is put in a Boston Crab but he counters that and tags in Benoit. Liger gets a tag and comes in for another round with Benoit and they pick up where they left off and soon end up outside where Liger eats some guardrail. Liger counters a suplex inside and sends Benoit outside where he gets a baseball slide. Scorpio comes in so Liger does it to him too as he’s a generous fellow. Benoit fights back against Akira and gets a big lariat and Scorpio follows that with a twisting splash for two. Scorpio misses a flying lariat and Liger comes in but takes a standing moonsault press for two. Scorpio goes up top but Liger stops him and gets a superplex for two. Scorpio flips out of a back body drop and gets a big super kick. Benoit comes in with a leg drop for two and a big high angle back drop for another two. Liger gets a Liger Bomb from nowhere and Scorpio saves at two. Akira comes in and ends up taking a doomsday device and Scorpio follows that with a 450 but Liger saves. Akira gets a big dropkick for two and looks set to take another doomsday device but Liger saves and Scorpio ends up taking a big German Suplex for the three


***1/4 – Fun match with the usual good stuff from all involved.

The Steiner Brothers Vs Jushin Liger and Wild Pegasus
I’m guessing this is from around the mid 90’s. Liger and Scott start out and they look shockingly similar height wise even though Scott is much bulkier. Scott tries some of his amateur skills and Liger uses the ropes to break. Scott muzzles Liger to the matt trying for a lateral press but Liger rolls over to his stomach to avoid getting pinned. Scott goes to a side headlock and gets a running shoulder barge and we have a stand off. Scott goes to the leg and gets a standing leg lock and again tries to leverage Ligers shoulders down. Rick comes in and Benoit tags in too. Rick quickly tries a takedown but Benoit is able to get out of it and remain vertical. Rick German Suplexes Benoit right on his head. OH FUCK that was INSANE. Benoit landed on his f*cking temple their. Somehow he recovers from that and we have stereo frankenstieners on the Steiner’s. How’s THAT for irony? Benoit gets a roll up on Scott for two as Liger knocks Rick outside and flattens him with a cross body from the top. back inside Scott takes a double superplex but Rick saves. Benoit takes the lariat/German combo move and he’s out. The fans care enough to chant for him which is rather nice. Scott gets a big tilt a whirl and Rick comes in with a shoulder charge into the corner. Scott gets a Samoan Drop from the top for two and Rick comes in with a camel clutch. Rick gets a big belly to belly for two as The Steiner’s continue to pummel Benoit. Scott gets an under hook suplex but Liger makes the save. Benoit continues to have the shit suplexed out of him in various ways until runs in to halt a doomsday device and he’s able to make the tag. Liger is on fire with a bunch of strikes and kicks. He muscles Scott up top and gets a superplex as Benoit and Rick fight outside. Benoit and Liger get stereo Swan Dives on Scott but he kicks out at two. Scott goes for a super back drop on Liger but Liger shifts his body weight and land on top for two. Scott gets the Steiner Screwdriver out of nowhere for the win


***3/4 – There was some really good stuff in there and Scott sold like a champ for both Liger and Benoit even if Rick was a lot less giving. Everyone makes nice at the end and the fans approve.

Black Tiger Vs Wild Pegasus
This is from Super J Cup 94 and I’ve seen this match so many times I could probably call it in my sleep. Eddy flips Benoit the bird post match to set the tone that they don’t like each other that much. Eddy goes to a wrist lock to start but they end up fighting over the leg . They both grab a leg and it ends in a stalemate so Eddy gets a body slam and his flipping senton from the apron. Eddy gets a big side back drop and goes to the head scissors. Eddy trips Benoit up and goes for a Brain Buster but Benoit counters with a reverse suplex for two. Eddy tries a tilt a whirl but Benoit counters out of it and lariats Eddy out of his boots. Benoit gets a big front face flapjack and a kitchen sink knee to the gut before hanging Eddy out to dry on the ropes. German Suplex gets two for Benoit as does a Power Bomb. Benoit gets a big snap suplex for two and then goes to a head scissors of his own but Eddy makes the ropes. Eddy gets a roll up from no where for two and then a big rana followed by his own German Suplex for another near fall. Eddy goes to the Steiner Recliner and gets a fall away slam and heads up top but Benoit dodges his move and gets a back drop for two. Eddy bridges back to his feet and gets a rope assisted rana for two. Frankensteiner from the top gets two for Eddy and a Brain Buster sets up a Tornado DDT but Benoit throws him half way across the ring. Eddy tries a top rope cross body but Benoit counters with a power slam to pick up the win


***1/2 – Still a really fun match after multiple viewings

Gedo Vs Wild Pegasus
This is the following match in the tournament. Gedo became one of my all time favourites in the previous round by eliminating Super Delphin by countering that stupid Delphin Clutch move and then LAUGHING in his face about it. There’s no quicker way to my heart than making Super Delphin look like an idiot. Gedo goes to the headlock and they do a nice leapfrog segment which leads to Benoit nearly killing Gedo with a lariat. Benoit heads to the second rope with a leg drop for two. Crowd is very pro Gedo here as he was the Cinderella story of this tournament. Gedo dodges a dropkick and goes to his submission move that is like a ground level version of Ricky Steamboats Double Chicken Wing of making Ric Flair tap for the first time fame. Benoit makes the ropes so Gedo goes to the chin lock and rips away at Benoit’s face. they have a chop fest which Benoit wins but Gedo knocks him outside and gets a rough looking moonsault press off the top catching Benoit with his lower leg and taking the full impact on his chest. Power Slam inside gets two for Gedo as does a Northern Lights Suplex. Gedo misses the Swan Dive bit shifts his weight on a back drop suplex to get a two count. After a nice sequence Benoit gets a Power Bomb for two. Another Power Bomb sets up the Swan Dive to end Gedo’s dreams for that year


*** – Solid match that never really got going. Gedo gets a standing ovation post match.

The Great Sasuke Vs Wild Pegasus
Here’s the Final of the Super J Cup 94 and another match that I’ve seen many a time. All the other wrestlers are surrounding the ring for this one. Benoit goes to a wrist lock to start and they fight over that. Sasuke does some acrobatic countering and such and that leads to a stand off. Benoit, the tenacious wrestling machine, goes back to the arm and unloads some chops in the corner. They do a really nice sequence and Benoit bails to regroup. Benoit goes to the head scissors but Sasuke counters that with a bow and arrow back breaker. Sasuke gets a snap mare and goes to a sit out surfboard but Benoit gets out of it and they do another leapfrog segment which ends with Sasuke taking a big lariat with extra fries on the side. German Suplex gets two for Benoit and he ends up on the receiving end of a spinning wheel kick. Body slam and leg drop get two for Sasuke and he tries to key lock the arm. Benoit fights an arm bar and gets up to a vertical base. Sasuke counters a Power Bomb but can’t use the advantage and he gets hung out to dry on the ropes courtesy of Benoit. They fight on the apron and Benoit dives off the second rope with a cross body sending both guys to the outside. Back inside Benoit gets the Dragon Suplex for a near fall. Benoit gets a slam and heads up top with a beauty of a Swan Dive for two. Benoit gets a whopper of a Power Bomb but Sasuke kicks out of two. Benoit goes to the Sharpshooter but that leads nowhere and he releases it. Benoit gets a big tilt a whirl back breaker for two. Sasuke is able to dodge a dropkick and get a lariat of his own but he walks into another Dragon Suplex for two. Benoit tries another but it gets countered so he counters the counter into a pin for two. Try saying that while eating a bag full of marbles. Sasuke knocks Benoit outside and gets his beautiful handspring flip onto him. Back inside Sasuke gets a German Suplex for two and a Perfect Plex for another two. Sasuke heads up top and tries to get a front dropkick but Benoit swats him away. They fight on the apron again and Sasuke suplexes Benoit to the outside. Benoit tries to come back in but he gets kicked out and again and Sasuke gets an INSANE dropkick to the outside onto him landing right on his side. I bet he was bruised from that one. Amazingly they both manage to get back inside and Sasuke gets a side flip moonsault on Benoit for two. Sasuke heads up again but this time Benoit stops him and after a fight on top he gets a HUGE top rope Gut Buster for the win


***** – An absolute classic that is near impossible to match. No Super J Cup final ever lived up to this one.

Wild Pegasus Vs Super Delphin
For those of you who aren’t aware I can’t stand Delphin. If you want an in depth explanation check my review of Best of the Super Juniors 94 in my archives where I reveal all. Those of you who’ve been reading my stuff for a while will no doubt know why I don’t like him. Benoit clearly doesn’t either as he attacks him right out the gate with a big lariat and double arm back breaker. Delphin takes a king size snap suplex but surprisingly he doesn’t just jump up like nothing happened. Benoit murderises him some more targeting the mid section and back. Delphin gets hung up in the ropes and takes some stomps to the face. Benoit goes to an elevated crab which is pointless as Delphin won’t sell it but I appreciate the effort. Benoit gets a back breaker but Delphin counters a gut buster with a head scissors and sends Benoit outside but doesn’t follow him as that would necessitate him having a pair of testicles. Benoit comes back in and is on the receiving end up some clubs to the back and some stomps. Delphin gets a big kick to the mid section and then goes to an arm lock. Delphin gets something vaguely resembling a back breaker and goes to a single leg crab which Benoit sells with loud “ARRRGGHHHSSSS”. Delphin gets an under hook suplex for two and then goes to an abdominal stretch which Benoit powers out of so Delphin locks in another one. Delphin gets a school boy but pulls Benoit all the way over to totally negate it. Benoit puts some hair on Delphins chest with some chops and gets a German Suplex for two. Benoit hammers away with forearms and sets Delphin up top and gets a superplex for two. Benoit gets a couple more stingers that bring tears of joy to my eyes but that cheating bastard Delphin gets a low blow to end my amusement. Delphin gets a missile dropkick for two and sends Benoit outside where he gets a big cross body. Back inside Delphin gets a side back suplex for two and gets a Brain Buster for another two. I’m amazed he’s resisted the urge to try that shitty Delphin Clutch. Delphin gets a Macho Elbow for two but Benoit counters a victory roll and crushes Delphins head with a Dragon Suplex for two. Benoit tries a German Suplex for two and gets a tilt a whirl for another two. Benoit gets a beauty of a Swan Dive but Delphin even kicks out of THAT at two. Power Bomb doesn’t get it either and I’m loving the carnage. Delphin botches a roll up counter to a Power Bomb but tries the Tornado DDT but Benoit counters that. Delphin goes for a victory roll but Benoit counters it to a pin of his own for the win.


**** – I love matches that primarily involve Super Delphin getting destroyed by Chris Benoit

Dean Malenko and Ultimo Dragon Vs El Samurai and The Pegasus Kid
Dragon is wearing a fruity pink number here and he starts out with Samurai and they fight over a headlock. Dragon flips out of a head scissors and that leads to a leap frog segment. Samurai gets knocked outside but comes back in where he goes for Dragon’s leg and tags in Benoit. Benoit gets some forearms and a big running elbow to the jaw. He follows that up with a back suplex for two and then goes for a headlock. Malenko comes in and goes for a test of strength with Benoit that ends with Benoit getting powered down but he bridges up and that leads to a series of near falls that the fans appreciate. After some more nice wrestling Benoit tags in Samurai who goes to a wristlock on Malenko. They fight over the arm and then go down to the mat where Samurai gets a modified STF and then some kicks before settling on a camel clutch. Malenko powers him off into one of his own and the tries to roll Samurai over for a press and finally he does earning himself a two count. Dropkick gets two and Dragon comes in and Samurai takes a double elbow. Tilt a whirl back breaker sets up the single leg crab on Samurai. Samurai keeps getting worked over by the opposition as Malenko gets a jackhammer for two before getting a bizarre looking surfboard move where he’s in a sitting position but Samurais shoulders are down in a pinning predicament. Samurai finally tags in Benoit who gets a lariat and German Suplex on Dragon for two. Benoit gets a back break submission move before tagging in Samurai who gets a Tombstone for two. Neck Breaker gets two for Samurai as well and Piledriver gets two as Malenko saves. Malenko comes in to put some hurting on Samurai and everything breaks loose. Samurai gets two from a Benoit aided sunset flip when Dragon saves. Dragon saves again on another pinning move before getting the tag and getting a spinning wheel kick on Samurai. German Suplex gets two for Samurai but a Full Nelson is countered with a roll up for two by Dragon. The gajins brawl outside as Dragon gets a standing Asai Moonsault on Samurai inside. Malenko gains the better of Benoit outside and comes in where he and Dragon get a German Suplex/Super Kick combo move for the win


*** – Some really good wrestling here but there was not enough Benoit!

Well that’s the end of the Benoit matches but here’s a little extra for you

World of Sport
8 rounds, 3 falls
Dynamite Kid Vs Marty Jones
Marty Jones is a really solid mat technician who’s one of my favourite wrestlers from World of Sport and Dynamite I assume you’ve heard off.
Round 1
Lock up and Dynamite goes to a headlock but Jones gets a wrist lock which Dynamite counters with one of his own and we have a stand off. They go to a test of strength and into the corner for a break. Dynamite goes to a leg lock and Jones tries to fight him off and does eventually and Dynamite gets a slap in. Marty returns the favour and goes to a side headlock and gets a body check but Dynamite gets an arm drag as the round ends
Round 2
They pick up where they left off with Dynamite clubbing Marty down a few times and sending him face first into the corner before going for a chin lock but Marty doesn’t just sit down and take it he fights back up to his feet and they muzzle each other on the ropes. Marty gets angry and chucks Dynamite outside and the crowd likes that one. They go to a test a strength and Dynamite head butts him down but Marty bridges up and head butts Dynamite right in the gut before going to a hold just as the round ends
Round 3
Marty goes to Dynamites left arm and gets some arm tosses out of the corner which look brutal. Picture a hair toss but instead a guy getting flung across the room by his arm rather than his hair. Marty takes a forearm to the throat and Dynamite slams him down and gets another forearm, going for the knock out, but falls prey to an inside cradle to give Marty the first fall. Dynamite cheap shots Marty after the fall
Round 4
Dynamite asks for a handshake before the bell and cheap shots Marty before getting a European upper cut and then dropping a knee which earns him a public warning. You see in these rules when you knock a guy down the referee will start counting him out like in boxing. Dynamite dropped the knee while Marty was down so he gets warned by the ref. He gets one more and then he’ll be disqualified. Dynamite argues the warning and Marty is pissed and starts unloading with some kicks and gets a back body drop. Dynamite fights back and gets sine big chops but he runs right into a lariat but gets up at 8. Marty gets a hard Irish Whip and I mean HARD into the corner and Dynamite sells it like a gun shot. Dynamite gets another cheap shot but Marty nails him with some upper cuts and gets a butterfly suplex for two. Marty gets a knee drop as the round ends and he and Dynamite have a scuffle after the round
Round 5
Dynamite is all like “sorry I didn’t here the bell” and Jones isn’t buying that one for a second. Dynamite gets a second public warning for going down late again and he heads up top for a big head butt which is illegal but leaves Marty sufficiently weakened enough that Dynamite can pin him with body slam. Marty is PISSED
Round 6
Dynamite bails but eventually comes back in and takes his licks from Marty. Dynamite heads up again but he misses the head butt and Marty gets a huge cross body and then tumble over the top. Back inside Marty gets a missile dropkick but Dynamite knocks him down with a back suplex. Dynamite gets a roll up but Marty shifts his weight and rolls through to get the winning fall


***1/2 – Some top class technical wrestling there

The Inside Pulse
I’m a sucker for Chris Benoit. Not a must have collection but it’s just a great selection of matches and I love good wrestling for the sake of good wrestling