Kollision in Korea
Date: August 5, 1995
Location: May Day Stadium, Pyongyang, North Korea
Attendance: 150,000 (Day 1), 190,000 (Day 2)
Commentators: Eric Bischoff, Mike Tenay, Kazoa Ishikawa
So a lot of you have heard about the World Peace Festival that Inoki held that had over 300,000 people there. Well this is it. WCW filmed most of it and made it into a PPV. Now this was filmed back in April of 95 but it aired just after the NWO debuted. No idea why there was a delay but it did indeed occur. The crowd here is bigger than Mania 3 and nearly double that so it’s indeed epically huge. The main event is Inoki vs. Flair, so let’s get to it.
First off, anyone find it odd that a festival promoting PEACE is based on a violent sport? That always made me chuckle.
Regarding the crowd, allegedly the people were told to go or risk being shot. Given the insanity of their leaders, that wouldn’t surprise me.
This aired on a Monday. I’m sure there was nothing else on TV at that time.
We’re told that Koreans don’t know much about professional wrestling. Good to know. And yet over 300,000 people showed up to see it. Yeah I’m sure there’s nothing to that rumor of the government forcing the people to go at all. Not a thing. Oh and Sonny Onoo is named Mr. Ishikawa here and is just a normal person.
2 Cold Scorpio vs. Chris Benoit
Benoit is named Wild Pegasus here. Eric talks about how the lives in Korea are as so much is closed off to them and they have never seen anything like this. This really is something to see. New Japan is co-promoting with WCW here so you’ll see a lot of puro in this. This is a pretty choreographed and gymnastics based match to start which the fans applaud.
It’s so strange to see a totally new audience see something like this. If nothing else it’s cool to see their reaction to seeing something like this which they’ve never seen before. Onoo is playing a heel here that only likes the Japanese guys. His voice is very hard to hear as he’s really soft spoken. Benoit hits a jumping tombstone and the headbutt hits on Scorpio for the pin.
Rating: C+. These are hard matches to grade. There are no angles or anything to them as this is really just an exhibition and an attempt to expose wrestling to a brand new audience, even though they’ll hardly ever see it again. That being said, I’m not expecting much from these matches, but it’s nice to see. The grades will be far less harsh based on how these matches are going to be drawn up.
Yugi Nagata vs. Tokimitsu Ishizawa
Nagata you might know from a really boring run in WCW. Eric says they look alike and they’re wearing identical tights. This could be hard. This starts as a submission thing as Onoo talks about how much better this is.
Ok make that most of the match is submission stuff. You can hear the Japanese announcers over the American ones which makes things a bit complicated and hard to pay attention. The announcers are in Tokyo as they couldn’t get into Korea. That’s really hard to believe. I don’t mean they’re making it up but it’s hard to fathom. This isn’t much as far as a match goes but Nagata hooks a Crossface and that’s it.
Rating: D. Even new rankings considered, this was pretty boring. Nagata was a guy that I never could get into at all. To be fair though in four minutes, how much can you really do? Still though, this wasn’t much at all. It was all submission stuff but the commentary was far more interesting.
We see stuff from the buildup to this show, which is a lot of people in choreographed dancing etc. It’s kind of cool I guess.
Masahiro Chono/Hiro Saito vs. El Samurai/Tadao Yasuda
The first team is using Rey Mysterio’s future music. We talk about Chono’s recent heel turn. Samauri is in the mask which should help me remember that. Chono and Yasuda start us off. Yasuda is a big old boy and of course you’ve heard of Chono. Muhammad Ali is supposed to be an important part of this show but we haven’t seen him yet. Apparently this a compilation of two days of matches and we’re just seeing the best stuff I guess. The rest wasn’t filmed.
I figured something like that was the case. I’ve heard a lot about Samurai but haven’t seen much of him. Chono hits the Mafia Kick and of course Eric knows nothing about it. Tony asks if if it’s called an Irish Whip in Japan. That’s actually a good question. Thesz trained Chono. That explains a lot. Chono kicks him low three times in a row and Eric and Tenay try to analyze it. That’s rather funny. Chono hits a shoulder off the top for the pin Samurai.
Rating: C+. Better. This was probably the best match of the night so far because they gave it some time and had heels and faces in there. It was a very basic match but it came off as watchable. Other than this it’s been just random pairings with no story at all. This wasn’t much but by comparison it was solid.
We go to a package of Flair, Inoki, Ali and some other wrestlers touring Korea. This is cool. It’s 15 seconds long but it’s cool.
Bull Nakano/Akira Hokuto vs. Manami Toyota/Mariko Yoshida
This should be good. Bischoff points out the culture shock of this as women have little to no rights in Korea, which is very true. The more famous names here are far more aggressive as we’re told that Nakano is a lot like Vader, who would have been about to main event Summerslam when this aired in America. Well it’s a squash so far. I’m not entirely surprised. The smaller girls start using a lot more speed stuff and it’s far more successful.
This has turned into a pretty decent match actually. We finally start busting out some high spots and it gets more fun. Toyota hits a nice moonsault for two. The heels finally realize they’re about twice the size as the other girls and just beat the hell out of them and Nakano’s leg drop ends it. Also Tenay, the legdrop and moonsault are not holds.
Rating: B-. This was FAR more fun than the rest of the card. Power vs. speed is pretty much the quintessential tag team combination and this one was that to the letter. This was actually a fun match with some good high spots and decent wrestling. I’ve seen some stuff from these four and I’d like to see more. Fun match.
IWGP Championship: Scott Norton vs. Shinya Hashimoto
I’ve heard a lot about Hashimoto and how much better Norton is in Japan. Hashimoto is champion here and comes out to what would become . We get a funny story about Norton having issues in Korea because everyone kept following him and making sure he didn’t break any rules. Hashimoto is like 30 here so he’s young and in solid shape. Norton of course is just a power guy.
Norton beats the hell out of him with basic power stuff but Hashimoto uses a bunch of great kicks to destroy him. Eric is in heaven explaining the physics of kicks etc. They talk about Hashimoto getting training in Canada at the same place as Benoit and Brian Pillman. That place would be more commonly know as the Hart Dungeon. The problem with Eric doing this is that he gets WAY too complex with the descriptions as he calls something like a spinning back leg round kick.
Translation: he kicked Norton in the head and spun a bit. We hear about a charity football game that the AWA held where Norton allegedly beat up Dave Caspar who is in the NFL Hall of Fame. Norton gets to no sell as he invites Hashimoto to kick him. Onoo is REALLY annoying as he talks about how smart Hashimoto is and how bad Norton is. He belongs in the IWC. Hashimoto does have some great kicks. I can’t argue that.
I love the racism from Onoo as he talks about how the Japanese wrestler is better even though Norton was primarily a wrestler in Japan and had the majority of his success there. And let’s hit that chinlock! We talk about bringing New Japan guys to WCW which would happen about 7 months after this. This is a decent match but the size of both guys is kind of hampering things a bit.
Both guys are big power guys and it makes the power moves look weaker as they can’t throw the other guy around as much. We hear about how there has been no press in Korea (note that when I say Korea I’m referring to North Korea every time. South Korea has no bearing on this show whatsoever but I do know the difference) since the end of the Korean War which was about 40 years ago at this point. That’s very bizarre to think of.
This is getting mainstream international press though and while it’s likely that a lot of this is being put on to make Korea look good and isn’t really indicative of what the country is like, it’s still saying a lot that wrestling managed to get inside the country first. Norton hits a top rope splash but the time limit expires as he’s about to win the title. Hashimoto would lose the title to Great Muta about a week or two later.
Rating: C-. Pretty cheap ending but I can understand why they did it. The thing here like I said was the clas of styles. This just didn’t work as far as a good match goes. It was two power guys that didn’t have much chemistry at all. That’s never a good thing but it’s nice to see a title match to give the match a bit of meaning.
We get a video about the festival which more or less was something like the opening ceremonies at the Summer Olympics in Beijing.
Hawk vs. Tadao Yasuda
It’s the same guy from the Chono tag match so I’m assuming this is from a different day. Hawk and Animal are big deals in Japan but Hawk usually teamed with Kensuke Sasaki in Japan and the team was called the Power Warriors. They do some sumo stuff and Yasuda loses. Hawk isn’t very good on his own. He misses a top rope splash as Eric is getting into his traditional style. This is a great one apparently. I’m thinking no on that one. A top rope clothesline ends it.
Rating: N/A. I can’t grade a 2 minute match, but if I did this one would be pretty bad. There just was nothing of note here and it was a total squash. Hawk was a big deal in Japan though so that’s fine I guess.
Steiner Brothers vs. Kensuke Sasaki/Hiroshi Hase
The Steiners of course you know and Sasaki would actually win the US Title later in the year. Here the Steiners are actually NJPW guys. That’s a weird thing to see. These teams had a GREAT match at the first New Japan/WCW Supershow. We’ll get to that one soon. So far this is intense if nothing else. No one can accuse any of these guys of not working out there. Well they could but they would be incorrect.
Scott busts out an STF. And yes he knows more than 5 moves. I could watch this Scott Steiner throw suplexes all day. Oddly enough the Steiners are dominating here and are beating the hell out of Hase. Onoo of course says this isn’t important. Hase comes back and hooks a Giant Swing on Rick.
Apparently he’s famous for spinning people around a lot and his record is 44 spins. Ok then. Sasaki might have been in this for 30 seconds. He and Rick fight on the floor and in the ring, Scott hits the Steiner Screwdriver for the pin. For those of you that haven’t seen that move, it might be the craziest move in history. Look it up.
Rating: B-. We got to see the Steiners look awesome, but this was almost a glorified squash. The Steiners as heels makes for a very odd showing but it pretty much works. The key thing to it is that they’re really good wrestlers and can bust out a lot of stuff when they want to. This is one of those moments. The lack of competition hurt it for me though.
We see Flair and Inkoi getting ready.
Ric Flair vs. Antonio Inoki
Any bets on who wins this one? Inoki actually has an experience edge in this. We hear about Flair’s heel turn that was going on in America at this time which is kind of interesting. Inoki is the protégé of Rikidozan who is like the Hulk Hogan of Japan and was born in North Korea so this is a very symbolic match. This is their first match ever actually so it’s a cool thing.
The commentary is definitely being performed afterwards as they talk about stuff that happened later. We hit the mat to start so we’re going with the basic stuff first. Ali is here and we hear about Ali vs. Inoki in the 70s which is considered to be one of the first mixed martial arts match. The crowd moves a bit for Inoki which is a real sign of respect. They’re very quiet during the matches but would pop for the endings. I guess it’s a cultural thing.
Bischoff talks about going out jogging with Inoki and getting tired after about half an hour due to the pace of Inoki. That’s pretty cool. Flair is dominating for the most part here which is about what I expected to set up the big comeback win for Inoki. Oh like he’s losing in the main event of the show he set up. Flair throws on an STF. Well ok then. Time to work on the leg. Eric talks about how evil Flair must look by trying to make a man not be able to walk.
And let’s talk about Hogan. We’re told that Hogan is better than Flair and so and so, which makes me ask the obvious question: Hogan isn’t here…why? Oh that’s right: he might not get cheered and worshipped. Figure Four goes on but there’s little drama to it. I was looking away to type and they didn’t even mention it going on. And now we punch it out. Inoki punching looks odd for some reason.
Flair goes up and of course it doesn’t work. Bischoff says he thinks Flair might be getting tired. Has he ever watched a Flair match? Inoki was in his early 50s here so he’s likely the one that’s going to get tired. We’re getting more or less a Flair match without much outside of the basics.
That’s fine though as a vast majority of the fans here have never seen wrestling or especially Flair. Inoki Inokis Up and hits a few kicks and ends it with the Enziguri (one of his finishers) to get the pin. Flair comes after him post match but shakes his hand.
Rating: B-. Not bad, but this was far more about closure to the show than anything else. It’s certainly not a terrible match or anything but just not that great. Flair was having his first match in a long time here so he was a bit rusty. The lack of drama hurt it a bit but this worked for the most part and it made Inoki look good which is how this should have ended.
Overall Rating: C. This is an odd one to say the least. The wrestling is decent at best and boring at more realistic. This was far more of a spectacle than a show though and it worked very well I thought. This was about showcasing athletic competition to a whole new audience and on that level it worked.
Also factor in this was part of a festival promoting peace and I think in that respect it worked very well. This is worth seeing if you never have before as it’s a sight if nothing else. It’s about two hours long and it’s on Youtube although that version of Flair and Inoki is clipped. Worth seeing, but not for the wrestling.