The Event: New Japan Handheld 9/8/90
The Date:Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â September 8th, 1990
Location:Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â Tokushima, Japan
Every now and then I like to review something different, something that hasn’t been reviewed before on the Internet. There are so many great matches from the early 90s that no one talks about simply because no one has seen them. Most tape traders don’t have the old handhelds because a lot of people don’t like watching non-professional events, but I rather enjoy it and even though I also like watching commercial releases sometimes its fun to watch the handheld events to see if there are any hidden gems. So sit back and enjoy. Here is the full card:
– Black Cat vs. Takayuki Iizuka
– Kantaro Hoshino vs. Osamu Matsuda
– Apollo Sugawara vs. Osamu Kido
– Hiro Hase and Kensuke Sasaki vs. Strong Machine and Pegasus Kid
– Jushin Thunder Liger, Shiro Koshinaka, and Kobayashi vs. Tatsutoshi Goto, Hiro Saito, and Honaga
– Brad Rheingans vs. Shinya Hashimoto
– Masa Saito and Kengo Kimura vs. Steve Williams and Masanobu Kurisu
– Riki Choshu, Keiji Mutoh, and Masahiro Chono vs. Vader, Great Kokina, and Samu
I know these reviews won’t be as popular as my Dome Show reviews or reviews of the bigger shows, but I enjoy doing them and I think its important to show fans that the wrestlers still bring it even when the event is not scheduled to be on TV. Besides, sometimes interesting things happen on house shows, such as Big Van Vader and F’ING YOKOZUNA tagging up in the main event. 🙂
Black Cat vs. Takayuki Iizuka
They circle each other to start, tie-up, Iizuka gets Black Cat into the ropes and he gives a clean break. Tie-up again, Black Cat pushes Iizuka into the ropes this time and he also gives a clean break. Tie-up, waistlock by Black Cat and he applies a wristlock, reversed by Iizuka, but Black Cat hits a drop toehold to get out of it. Reverse chinlock by Black Cat, Iizuka gets back to his feet and pushes Black Cat back into the corner. Iizuka gives another clean break, single leg takedown by Black Cat and he applies the bow and arrow submission hold. Kicks to the leg by Black Cat and he applies a leglock, but Iizuka reverses it with a headscissors. Black Cat eventually gets a foot on the ropes and Iizuka breaks the hold. Slap by Black Cat in the corner and he backs off, challenging Iizuka. Wristlock by Black Cat and he hiptosses Iizuka to the mat. An armbar by Black Cat is applied, but Iizuka reaches the ropes and Black Cat releases the hold. Single leg takedown by Iizuka and he drops an elbow on Black Cat’s leg. Another elbow drop by Iizuka, but Black Cat reverses it into an attempted cross armbreaker. Iizuka manages to get out of it and applies a stretch hold, but Black Cat makes it to the ropes. Stomps to the back of the head by Iizuka and he chops Black Cat in the corner. Scoop slam by Iizuka, cover, but it gets a two count. Kicks to the head by Black Cat and he hits a vertical suplex. Cover, but it gets a two count. Black Cat applies a leg submission hold, but releases it and chops Iizuka against the ropes. Snapmare by Black Cat and he knees Iizuka in the face. Black Cat picks up Iizuka, snapmare again, and again he drives his knee down into Iizuka’s head. Irish whip by Black Cat to the corner and he connects with a running kick to the face. Snapmare by Black Cat and he applies a stretch hold. Iizuka struggles to his feet and hits a flip kick to get out of it. Iizuka picks up Black Cat, Irish whip, and he delivers a dropkick. Cover, but Black Cat kicks out at one. Iizuka grabs Black Cat’s leg, but Black Cat quickly grabs the bottom rope. Iizuka pulls Black Cat away and applies a submission hold anyway, but again Black Cat gets to the ropes. Black Cat then rolls out of the ring to re-group, but after a moment he gets back in the ring. Iizuka knees him as he gets through the ropes, but Black Cat chokes him and throws Iizuka to the mat. Side headlock by Black Cat, Iizuka Irish whips out of it, but Iizuka shoulderblocks him down. Black Cat goes off the ropes, pancake by Iizuka, but Black Cat lands an elbow drop to his back. Cover, but it gets a two count.
A reverse chinlock is applied by Black Cat and he elbows Iizuka in the head. Black Cat picks up Iizuka and throws him out of the ring. Black Cat goes outside to get him, but Iizuka quickly rolls back in himself. Black Cat gets back in the ring as well, but Iizuka attacks him as he does so. Snap suplex by Iizuka, cover, but it gets a two count. Slaps by Black Cat, he picks up Iizuka and punches him in the head. He punches Iizuka in the head again, but Iizuka returns with chops. Irish whip by Black Cat, but Iizuka shoulderblocks him to the mat. Iizuka goes off the ropes again, but Black Cat catches him with a lariat. Cover, but it gets a two count. Black Cat slaps Iizuka into the corner, Irish whip, and he hits a running shoulder tackle. Another Irish whip, but this time Iizuka avoids his charge and rolls him up for a two count. Back up, scoop slam by Iizuka, he goes to the top turnbuckle, but Black Cat avoids the missile dropkick. Running senton by Black Cat, cover, but Iizuka barely kicks out. Irish whip by Black Cat, but Iizuka knocks him down with a dropkick. Black Cat avoids the second dropkick attempt however, he applies a waistlock, but Iizuka reverses it and hits a German suplex hold for a two count. Iizuka picks up Black Cat, rolls him to the mat, and applies an ankle lock. Black Cat struggles for a minute but finally reaches the bottom rope. Iizuka goes for a takedown, but Black Cat punches him in the stomach to get out of it and punches him against the ropes. Irish whip by Black Cat, he goes for a back bodydrop, but Iizuka avoids it and re-applies the ankle lock. This time Black Cat can’t reach the ropes and he has to tap out! Your winner: Takayuki Iizuka
Match Thoughts: Not a bad opener, although I have an odd complaint (for me anyway): it went too long. I really don’t think that Black Cat and Iizuka needed 15 minutes, as there were definitely times during the match that they seemed to be doing not much at all. Also the last two minutes of the match were not built up at all, as Iizuka hadn’t touched the leg all match and suddenly he slaps on two ankle locks for the win. Couldn’t he have done something to the leg before that? The wrestlers both looked fine, but I would have preferred a shorter and smarter match then we saw here. Score: 4.3
Kantaro Hoshino vs. Osamu Matsuda
JIP, as the camera man had to change his location. Double stomp by Hoshino on Matsuda and he elbows him in the back of the head. Snapmare by Hoshino, roll-up cover, but it only gets a two count. Matsuda stomps Hoshino in the back of the head, but both men are back on their feet. Tie-up, Matsuda pushes Hoshino into the ropes and slaps him before backing off. Tie-up again, Hoshino pushes Matsuda into the ropes this time and punches him in the midsection before backing up. Takedown by Hoshino, but Matsuda applies a head scissors. Matsuda then goes for the cross armbreaker and gets it applied, but Hoshino rolls Matsuda over while still in the move to force a two count cover. Hoshino keeps Matsuda rolled up in that position for a moment, but Matsuda eventually flips him back over. Back up, waistlock by Hoshino, but Matsuda gets out of it and applies the chickenwing armlock. Hoshino gets to the ropes however, so Matsuda stomps on him repeatedly. Body press by Matsuda, but it only gets a two count. Matsuda applies an ankle lock on Hoshino and then drives his knee into Hoshino’s leg. Hoshino gets out of the situation and applies a hammerlock, he gets Matsuda’s shoulders on the mat, but he gets a two count. He holds Matsuda there for multiple covers, but he can’t get the three count. A stretch hold is applied by Hoshino and he then nails a piledriver. Cover, but it only gets a two count. Neck snap by Hoshino, followed by a snapmare and he jumps down on Matsuda’s neck. Matsuda forearms Hoshino into the ropes, Irish whip, but Hoshino knees him right in the face when he goes for the back bodydrop. Irish whip by Hoshino, sunset flip attempt by Matsuda, but again he catches a fist to the face. Knee drop by Hoshino, cover, but it gets a two count. A headscissors is applied by Hoshino, but Matsuda rolls to the ropes to break the hold. Punches to the face by Hoshino and he elbows Matsuda in the back of the head. Matsuda fires back with a scoop slam and a pair of knee drops, cover, but it gets a two count. A single leg crab hold is applied by Matsuda, but Hoshino reaches the bottom rope. Repeated stomps to the back and chest by Matsuda, he slams Hoshino to the mat, and he nails a missile dropkick from the top turnbuckle. Cover, but Hoshino kicks out. Irish whip by Matsuda from the corner and he delivers the running dropkick. Vertical suplex by Matsuda, cover, but it gets a two count. They trade full nelsons, cover by Matsuda, but it gets another two. Irish whip by Matsuda, but Hoshino catches him when he goes for the back bodydrop and tries to KILL him with a spike sit-down powerbomb! Cover, and this one is certainly over. Your winner: Kantaro Hoshino
Match Thoughts: For such a simple match it sure did have a vicious ending, I wonder if Hoshino did that on purpose. Anyway, you young kids might know Matsuda better by the name he uses now: El Samurai. He wouldn’t start wearing the mask until 1991. I don’t think we missed much with it being JIP, as they both seemed to still be fine when the clip started. Hoshino was fun to watch, as the first half of the match he was going for backslides and the second half he was using his closed fist and spiking Matsuda on his head. Matsuda looked really fluid here with his moves, as by now he wasn’t technically a young lion (he debuted in 1986). A fun match that was oddly structured with little rhyme or reason, but I can’t think of anything obviously wrong with it either. Score: 6.3
Apollo Sugawara vs. Osamu Kido
Tie-up to start, Sugawara pushes Kido into the ropes but he gives a clean break. Tie-up again, now it is Kido that gives Sugawara into the ropes and he gives a clean break as well. Another tie-up, side headlock by Kido and he tags Sugawara to the mat. An armbar is applied by Kido and he knees Sugawara in the arm. Back up, Sugawara rolls out of the wrist lock and both men are back on their feet again. Tie-up, single-leg takedown by Sugawara and he twists on Kido’s ankle. Elbow drop to the leg by Sugawara and he applies a leg lock. Sugawara kicks Kido repeatedly in the leg and he applies a single leg crab hold. Kido eventually makes it to the ropes however and Sugawara breaks the hold before kicking Kido in the leg again. Kido rolls out of the ring, but gets back in under his own power. Sugawara charges Kido as he gets back in the ring, puts his leg up on the ropes in the corner and kicks it a few times. Takedown by Sugawara and he drops an elbow onto Kido’s leg. Sugawara then pulls Kido’s leg over to the ring post, gets out of the ring, and slams his leg repeatedly into it. Sugawara climbs back in the ring and stomps Kido in the chest. The figure four leg lock is applied by Sugawara, but Kido rolls to the ropes and Sugawara has to release the hold. Kido rolls out of the ring again, and this time Sugawara goes out after him. Kido quickly rolls back in the ring to get away from him, Sugawara follows, Irish whip by Kido and he delivers a back elbow. Now it is Kido that grabs Sugawara’s leg and he slams it into the ring post. He then pulls on both of Sugawara’s legs so that Sugawara’s groin connects with the steel. Back in the ring, Kido sets Sugawara’s leg up onto the second rope and kicks it until the referee lets Sugawara down. Tie-up, knees to the stomach by Sugawara and he elbows Kido in the back of the head. Another elbow by Sugawara, Irish whip, and he delivers a dropkick. Scoop slam by Sugawara, cover, but it gets a two count. Kido comes back with a series of uppercuts, he goes off the ropes and shoulderblocks Sugawara down. Kido goes off the ropes again, but this time Sugawara catches him with a lariat. Cover, but it gets a two count. Back up, Sugawara hits a vertical suplex, another cover, but again it gets a two. Side headlock by Sugawara, but Kido gets out of it with a backdrop suplex. Fujiwara Armbar by Kido, and Sugawara taps out! Your winner: Osamu Kido
Match Thoughts: I can’t really say I liked this match, the ring psychology was mind boggling. They take turns working on each other’s legs, never bother to sell them, and then Kido wins with a Fujiwara Armbar? Now if Kido had worked on the arm instead of the leg, I’d be applauding him, but the way it worked out it made it seem that the first 90% of the match meant nothing. All he needed to do was a backdrop suplex and slap on the armbar and he could have won at any point. The wrestlers didn’t blow any spots or show any signs of miscommunication, but the match was too illogical for my brain to comprehend. Score: 3.7
Hiro Hase and Kensuke Sasaki vs. Strong Machine and Pegasus Kid
Hase and Machine start things off. Tie-up, and Machine pushes Hase back into the ropes. Tie-up again, takedown by Machine and he applies a wristlock before yanking on Hase’s arm. Armdrag takedown by Machine, Hase gets back to his feet, Irish whip by Machine and he elbows Hase to the mat. Scoop slam by Machine and he tags in Pegasus. Sasaki tags himself in, tie-up, side headlock by Pegasus, Sasaki Irish whips out of it but Pegasus shoulderblocks him down. Snapmare by Pegasus and he applies a reverse chinlock on the mat. Sasaki gets back to his feet, picks up Pegasus, and while he has him in the air he tags in Hase. Hase jumps off the top turnbuckle and elbows Pegasus in the back before Sasaki slams him to the mat. Irish whip by Hase and he gives Pegasus a back elbow. Hase goes for a suplex, but Pegasus reverses it into a snap suplex of his own. Irish whip by Pegasus and he gives Hase a hard lariat. Pegasus tags in Machine, who kicks Hase in the ribs. Chop to the chest by Machine, Hase returns fire, but Machine headbutts him to the mat. Wristlock by Hase, and he makes the tag to Sasaki. Now it is Sasaki that applies the wristlock and he kicks Machine in the midsection. Snap suplex by Sasaki, cover, but it gets a two count. Snapmare by Sasaki and he applies a reverse chinlock. Hase tags himself into the match and kicks Machine in the ribs. Hase goes for the mask of Machine, but Machine hits an atomic drop and throws Hase out of the ring. Machine goes out after him and he and Pegasus Irish whip him into the railing. Machine assaults Hase with a chair before finally throwing him back into the ring. Machine tags in Pegasus, who kicks Hase in the ribs. Irish whip by Pegasus and he connects with a back elbow. Cover, but it gets a two count. Backdrop suplex by Pegasus, cover, but Sasaki breaks it up. Pegasus grabs Hase, Irish whip, and he hits a back bodydrop. He picks up Hase again, throws him into the corner and tags in Machine.
Machine chops Hase, Hase chops him back, but Machine gets the better of it and delivers a delayed suplex. Hase manages to roll to his corner however and makes the tag to Sasaki. Machine tags in Pegasus, who chops Sasaki in the corner. Irish whip by Pegasus, but Sasaki connects with a knee lift. DDT by Sasaki, cover, but Pegasus kicks out at two. Sasaki picks up Pegasus and nails a running powerslam, cover, but Machine breaks it up. Irish whip by Sasaki, but Pegasus kicks him in the head and makes the tag to Machine. Backdrop suplex by Machine on Sasaki, cover, but Hase breaks it up. Irish whip by Machine to the corner and he hits a running lariat. Snapmare by Machine in front of the corner and he tags in Pegasus. Irish whip by Pegasus and he hits a running knee to the midsection. German suplex hold by Pegasus, but Hase breaks it up. Pegasus picks up Sasaki, Irish whip, reversed, and Sasaki connects with a powerslam. Cover, but Pegasus barely kicks out. Irish whip by Sasaki to the corner and he delivers a dropkick. Sasaki tags in Hase, Hase kicks Pegasus in the corner, Irish whip, but Pegasus ducks the heel kick and clotheslines Hase to the mat. Pegasus tags in Machine, and Machine throws Hase into the corner. Irish whip, Hase ducks the lariat attempt and hits a Northern Lights Suplex hold, but Pegasus quickly breaks it up. Hase tags in Sasaki, and they deliver the Hart Attack. Irish whip by Sasaki, but Machine avoids the dropkick attempt. Running boot to the head by Machine, he signals Pegasus to get on to the top turnbuckle, and Pegasus nails the diving headbutt. Pegasus runs over to take care of Hase while Machine goes off the ropes and he hits the lariat onto Sasaki. Cover, and Machine picks up the three count pinfall! Your winners: Strong Machine and Pegasus Kid
Match Thoughts: I am so used to how wrestling is now, my first thought when I saw the line-up was “well Benoit is certainly jobbing in this match.” Instead, even though I was under the impression he was a Jr. Heavyweight in New Japan, he had a lot of offense in the match and got one-over Sasaki on more then a few occasions. As for the match, it was a very solid mid-card bout. There were things that didn’t seem right (such as Hase’s hot tag after taking a power move), but both teams worked well together. I was surprised that since Hase was the targeted man in the match that Sasaki took the pin. Overall it was fun, and I enjoyed seeing Benoit when he was still early in his career. He looked very crisp, I know hindsight is 20/20, but he really looked like a future star in this match as he made the biggest impact of the four. Score: 6.8
Jushin Thunder Liger, Shiro Koshinaka, and Kobayashi vs. Tatsutoshi Goto, Hiro Saito, and Honaga
Goto and company charge Liger and company as soon as they come towards the ring and they brawl in the crowd. When they finally get back in the ring, Saito is kicking Kobayashi in the corner. Kicks to the leg by Saito and he pushes Kobayashi into his own corner. Saito tags in Honaga, and Honaga stomps Kobayashi to the mat. Kobayashi almost makes the tag, but Saito runs in to help and they drag Kobayashi back to their corner. Goto is tagged in and he punches Kobayashi in the corner. After slamming him into the corner a few more times, Goto tags in Honaga. Kick to the ribs by Honaga, Irish whip, but Kobayashi catches him with a knee and tags in Koshinaka. Honaga rams Koshinaka back into his corner however and he is triple teamed by all three of his opponents. Saito is tagged in and he chokes Koshinaka down in the corner. Thrust to the throat by Saito and he clubs Koshinaka to the mat. Saito sends Koshinaka into the corner and tags in Honaga. Chops by Honaga, but Koshinaka comes back with an eye rake and tags in Liger. Saito runs in and clubs Liger from behind, and Honaga tags in Goto. Scoop slam by Goto and he chokes Liger with his boot. Honaga and Saito then grab Liger from the outside and pull him groin first into the post. Not done, they drag him outside the ring and throw him into the railing before sliding Liger back in the ring for Goto. Goto throws Liger into the corner and tags in Saito. Double Irish whip on Liger, and Saito hits a running back elbow. Stomp to the back by Saito, he picks up Liger and punches him back to the mat. Irish whip by Saito, he goes for a back breaker, but Liger reverses it with a tilt-a-whirl headscissors. This sends Saito out of the ring, Liger gets a running start and sails out onto him with a somersault tope suicida. Liger rolls back in the ring while Saito is checked on by his team mates.
Kobayashi is tagged in as Saito makes the tag to Honaga, Kobayashi throws Honaga out of the ring and hits a baseball slide. Koshinaka then throws Honaga into the railing before sliding him back in the ring. Irish whip by Kobayashi and he hits a back kick. Single leg crab hold by Kobayashi, but it is broken up. Kobayashi tags in Koshinaka, and Koshinaka applies the single leg crab hold as well. Back up, backbreaker by Koshinaka, cover, but it gets a two count. Irish whip by Koshinaka, but Honaga rebounds out of the corner with a crossbody and tags in Goto. Lariat in the corner by Goto, cover, but it gets a two count. Goto hits a scoop slam and he applies a crab hold until Kobayashi breaks it up. This gives Koshinaka time to tag in Liger, and Goto tags in Saito. Honaga clubs Liger from behind, Irish whip by Saito and he hits a spinebuster. Cover by Saito, but it gets a two count. Saito then picks up Liger and drops him onto the top rope. Hart Attack by Saito and Honaga, and Honaga is tagged in. Scoop slam by Goto and he applies a crab hold, but Kobayashi breaks it up with a series of kicks. Another scoop slam by Honaga, he goes to the top turnbuckle, but Liger joins him up there and hits a superplex. Liger tags in Kobayashi, Kobayashi picks up Honaga, Irish whip, and he applies a grounded Octopus Hold. Saito quickly breaks it up, but Kobayashi tags in Koshinaka. Double Irish whip to Honaga and he is hit with a double elbow. Honaga comes back with a low blow however and makes the tag to Saito.
Irish whip by Koshinaka, but Saito knocks him down with a shoulderblock. Saito goes off the ropes, Koshinaka goes for a monkey flip, but Saito kicks him in the chest. Irish whip by Saito, reversed, and Koshinaka hits a back bodydrop before tagging in Liger. Waistlock by Liger, but Saito gets out of it with a low blow. Saito picks up Liger, Irish whip, but Liger ducks the clothesline and hits a spinning heel kick. He goes for a spike piledriver with Kobayashi up on the top turnbuckle, but it is stopped by Saito’s teammates. Scoop slam by Saito on Liger, he goes to the top turnbuckle and hits a senton. Cover, but Kobayashi barely breaks it up in time. Irish whip by Saito, but Liger cartwheels out of the way and connects with a dropkick. Liger tags in Koshinaka, who knocks down Saito with a hip attack. Irish whip by Koshinaka and he hits Saito with another one. Koshinaka tags in Kobayashi, Kobayashi hits the Fisherman suplex hold, but it gets a two count. Irish whip by Kobayashi, reversed, and Saito connects with the lariat. Saito tags in Goto, Irish whip by Goto and he delivers a flying forearm. Irish whip to the corner by Goto, he applies a waistlock, but Koshinaka dropkicks him in the back of the head. Double Irish whip by Koshinaka and Kobayashi, but Goto manages to tag in Honaga. Spinning backbreaker by Kobayashi to Honaga and he slams Honaga to the mat. Kobayashi quickly tags in Liger who comes off the top turnbuckle with a diving headbutt, cover, and he picks up the three count! Your winners: Jushin Thunder Liger, Shiro Koshinaka, and Kobayashi
Match Thoughts: Fairly straight forward, not a lot of thinking required for this one. Liger and Koshinaka clearly were the crowd favorites, and again I am surprised to see the Jr. Heavyweight doing so well, even picking up the pinfall. The ending was silly as Goto and Saito could have easily broken up the pin, but for what the match was (a crazy six man match) it really wasn’t that big of a deal. Saito and company did a good job heeling it up, as up to the end they always seemed one step ahead of the good guys. They just seemed to wrestle randomly until someone told them to go to the finish though and the end came off as anti-climatic. Your usual mid-card six-man tag… not terrible, but nothing really worth noting either. Score: 4.9
Brad Rheingans vs. Shinya Hashimoto
They circle each other to start, tie-up, front waistlock by Rheingans, but Hashimoto reaches the ropes and Rheingans breaks the hold. Tie-up again, waistlock by Hashimoto, reversed by Rheingans, Hashimoto slaps on a wristlock, but Rheingans gets to the ropes and again there is a clean break. Rheingans goes for a single-leg takedown, but Hashimoto maintains his position. Rheingans finally gets him down and applies a reverse chinlock, Hashimoto struggles to his feet and armdrags Rheingans to the mat. Both men are back on their feet, tie-up, side headlock by Hashimoto, Rheingans Irish whips out of it, but Hashimoto shoulderblocks him down. Scoop slam by Hashimoto and he chops Rheingans in the throat. Hashimoto connects with a few chops in the corner, but Rheingans punches his way out of it. Snapmare by Rheingans, elbow drop, cover, but it gets a two count. Rheingans snapmares Hashimoto to the mat again and this time he applies a reverse chinlock. Headscissors by Rheingans, but Hashimoto gets out of it and stomps Rheingans in the head. Shoulder tackles by Rheingans in the corner, Irish whip, but Hashimoto moves when he charges in and connects with a kick to the chest. Back kick to the chest by Hashimoto, he picks up Rheingans and goes for the brainbuster, but Rheingans quickly grabs the top rope to stop from going over. Belly to belly suplex by Rheingans, cover, but it gets a two count. Rheingans picks up Hashimoto and hits a backdrop suplex, another cover, but again it gets a two count. Again Hashimoto is dragged to his feet, Irish whip by Rheingans, but Hashimoto catches him with a kick to the shoulder. Two more kicks by Hashimoto, Irish whip, reversed, but when Rheingans goes for the back bodydrop Hashimoto grabs him and nails the DDT. Cover, and he picks up the three count! Your winner: Shinya Hashimoto
Match Thoughts: Well that was rather to the point. You might recognize Rheingans’ name, he trained quite a few wrestlers and came to Japan with Brock Lesnar when he first started showing up for New Japan. Hashimoto was already a star at this point and the victor was never in doubt. Rheingans is a good hand in the ring, but not much came out of his New Japan run. He did get his spots here though and it wasn’t a squash. The match actually ended really suddenly, as Rheingans had been controlling the match pretty well until two kicks and a DDT put him away. A fine match for what it was, but nothing special here. Hashimoto looked strong though and the crowd was solidly behind him. Score: 6.0
Masa Saito and Kengo Kimura vs. Steve Williams and Masanobu Kurisu
Kimura and Kurisu start things off. Kick by Kurisu, and he immediately throws Kimura out of the ring. Kimura quickly rolls back in though, kick by Kurisu and he throws Kimura out of the ring again, but once again Kimura quickly gets back in. Tie-up, and Kurisu tags in Williams. Side headlock takeover by Williams, Kimura Irish whips out of it but Williams shoulderblocks him to the mat. Kimura tags in Saito, tie-up, Saito pushes Williams into the corner and he gives a mostly clean break. Tie-up again, Saito gets Williams into the corner but this time slaps him as he backs off. Now Williams gets Saito into the corner and he also hits Williams as he gives the break. Tie-up, into the corner goes Williams and Saito hip tosses him back to the middle of the ring. Kick to the stomach by Williams and he gives him a headbutt. Williams tags in Kurisu, who gives Saito a series of headbutts. Kurisu pulls Saito out of the ring and Irish whips him into the railing. He then hits him repeatedly in the head with the chair before throwing the chair in the ring. Kurisu gets backs in, but the referee yells at him and he throws the chair out. Saito eventually gets back in the ring, and Kurisu greets him with a headbutt. Irish whip by Kurisu, but Saito catches him with a dropkick when he charges in. Lariat by Saito, he picks up Kurisu and makes the tag to Kimura. Spike piledriver by Kimura and Saito, Kimura picks Kurisu up and kicks him in the chest until he falls back over. Kimura throws Kurisu out of the ring, he goes for an Irish whip, but it is reverses and he is sent into the railing. More chair shots by Kurisu until Saito comes out to help and gives Kurisu a chair shot. This brings Williams around, who beats up both of them and throws Kimura back into the ring where Kurisu is waiting. Vertical suplex by Kurisu, cover, but it gets a two count. Kurisu tags in Williams, Irish whip by Williams and he delivers the lariat. Cover, but it gets a two count. Irish whip by Williams from the corner, but Kimura avoids the tackle. Williams quickly recovers, he picks up Kimura and nails the Oklahoma Stampede. Cover, but Saito breaks it up. Williams tags in Kurisu, who chops Kimura in the chest. Headbutts by Kurisu, Irish whip to the corner, but Kimura kicks him when he charges in. Irish whip by Kimura and he hits the leg lariat. Kimura tags in Saito, and he chops Kurisu against the ropes. Snap suplex by Saito, he picks up Kimura and nails the backdrop suplex. Cover, and he picks up the three count! Your winners: Masa Saito and Kengo Kimura
Match Thoughts: Kurisu never stood a chance here, as soon as he was isolated with a stronger opponent he was history. The spike piledriver was sick, and all the wrestlers did their parts well. I have no idea what Williams was doing here since in early and late 1990 he was winning belts over at All Japan, but I didn’t search around enough to figure it out. Kurisu’s use of chairs shows me that he knew he was the weakest of the bunch, so it made sense that he would cheat whenever he got the chance. A little shorter then I’d have liked (around 8 minutes), but pretty solid. Score: 6.2
Riki Choshu, Keiji Mutoh, and Masahiro Chono vs. Vader, Great Kokina, and Samu
Chono crazily attacks Vader (of all people) as soon as the bell rings, but Vader pushes him into the corner and mauls him Vader-style. Irish whip by Vader and he gives Chono a short-arm clothesline. Irish whip by Vader, but Chono ducks the clothesline and hits a dropkick. Flying forearm by Chono and he tags in Choshu. Lariat by Choshu, and Vader bails out of the ring. Vader plays with the crowd for a bit before climbing back into the ring. Tie-up, Vader gets Choshu into the corner and connects with a series of headbutts. Irish whip by Vader, but Choshu catches him with a lariat and Vader falls to the mat. Vertical suplex by Choshu, cover, but it gets a two count. Vader tags in Kokina, who gives Choshu a headbutt. Chops to the throat by Kokina, Irish whip, but Choshu hits a lariat. Kokina doesn’t go down at first, but a second one does the trick. Choshu tags in Mutoh, as Kokina tags in Samu. Tie-up, side headlock by Mutoh, Samu Irish whips out of it, but Mutoh shoulderblocks him down. Mutoh goes off the ropes, pancake by Samu, but Mutoh rolls to the side and kicks Samu in the head. Snapmare by Mutoh and he nails the Flash Elbow. Mutoh tags in Chono, who jumps down onto Samu’s knee. Samu pokes Chono in the eye though and tags in Kokina. Punches by Kokina in the corner, Irish whip, and Kokina slams Chono to the mat. Kokina goes off the ropes, but Chono avoids the elbow drop and dropkicks Kokina out of the ring. Kokina gets back in on his own power, tie-up, and Kokina makes the tag to Vader.
Club by Vader in the corner, Irish whip, and Vader delivers the running splash. Elbow drop by Vader, he picks up Chono and clotheslines him to the mat. Vader tags in Samu, who chops Chono in the throat. Back kick by Samu, cover, but Choshu breaks it up. Mounted punches by Samu, he picks up Chono, snapmare, and he applies a reverse chinlock. After a moment Chono makes it to the ropes, but Samu tosses him out of the ring where he is decimated by Kokina and Vader. Half a ton of awesomeness right there. Choshu eventually saves Chono and rolls Chono back into the ring. Dropkick by Samu on Chono and he kicks him into the corner. Chono fights back with a series of knees, but Kokina headbutts him from the apron. Samu tags in Kokina, Irish whip by Kokina to the corner and he delivers a running butt smash. Vader immediately follows with a running splash of his own, as Chono is now significantly flatter then he was a few minutes ago. Kokina picks up Chono and chokes him against the top rope. Snapmare by Kokina and he makes the tag to Samu. Chop by Samu, scoop slam, he goes to the second turnbuckle but Chono rolls out of the way of the diving headbutt. Enzigieri by Chono, and he tags in Choshu. Vertical suplex by Choshu on Samu and he nails the Riki Lariat. Scorpion Deathlock by Choshu as Chono and Mutoh run over to stop Samu’s teammates from coming in, and Samu submits! Your winners: Riki Choshu, Keiji Mutoh, and Masahiro Chono
Post match: Vader and Kokina are pissed and keep fighting. Choshu and company quickly leave as Vader goes through the crowd causing general carnage as he tosses chairs around while fans run for cover.
Match Thoughts: As I mentioned above, Great Kokina is better known as Yokozuna, but here he was a bit smaller and had long crazy hair. He and Vader would have made a kickass tag team in the early 90s. Anyway, this was a fun match that the crowd completely ate up. Obviously since it was a house show the good guys went over, but not before Vader got in some good shots. Choshu was really built up here to be a monster as well as he had the most luck against the bigger heel team. I was actually surprised by how much Vader sold for Choshu, but the house show factor might have influenced that. Vader going through the crowd and throwing chairs while the fans scrambled for safety was awesome. If you have never seen New Japan Vader you are really missing out. Even though the match was short it was action packed, and this was a simple but enjoyable match. Score: 7.1
Even though this was a handheld show, the man working the camera was close enough to the ring (as you can see from the pictures) that it didn’t really take away from the matches much at all. One of the sure signs that this was a house show was that all the good guys went over and it was generally a feel-good event. The matches were relatively short (ranging from seven minutes with a few in the upper teens), but the matches were action-packed with little resting. The matches didn’t do a whole lot in terms of in-ring psychology (in terms of focusing on a body part, etc.), but the tag matches in general were worked smarter as the strongest wrestler pinned the weakest wrestler after they finally got him isolated from his team. This is the shortest of the handhelds I purchased (clocking in at under 2 hours), but from top to bottom it was a pretty fun show with most of the matches delivering to some degree. With the combination of it being a handheld, it being a relatively short show and there not being any really great matches I can’t recommend this too strongly, but if you love early 90s New Japan you might want to track this event down.
No clips for a handheld event, but picture for the event can be seen at www.puroresucentral.com within the review of the event itself. Feel free to email me at email@example.com if you have any questions, comments, or snide remarks.