On This Day: January 4, 1992 – WCW/NJPW Supershow 1992: KB Does Puro (Kind Of)
Date: January 4, 1992
Location: Tokyo Dome, Tokyo, Japan
Commentators: Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone
We’re back in Tokyo for the second co-promoted show with WCW vs. New Japan guys. There will once again be some matches cut here but those are pretty much gone period. The main event here is Sting/Muta vs. the Steiners as well as the IWGP Title being on the line with Choshu vs. Fujinami. On paper this looks pretty good so let’s get to it.
This wasn’t aired in America for about two months which is why Luger is still world champion here despite losing it to Sting in February and bolting.
Bischoff, still an annoying backstage interviewer, runs down the card for us.
Jushin Thunder Liger/Masashi Aoyagi/Akira Nogami vs. Hiro Saito/Super Strong Machine/Norio Honaga
From what I can find, this is a junior heavyweight match and Liger is the undisputed biggest star in it. He’s also the only one of these guys I know anything about. I’ve heard of all but one of them but I’m likely going to be confused here. There were two all Japanese matches before this by the way but from what I can tell they were nothing special.
Saito and Aoyagi start us off. We get perhaps the only tennis comparison in wrestling history not involving Jim Cornette as we’re told that the crowd here is like that of a tennis match in America which makes sense. Strong Machine comes in and hooks a sleeper. Aoyagi is in a gi here. Ah ok Nogami was on the show last year. I knew I had heard that name before.
Liger comes in and gets a small reaction but it’s more than anyone else has gotten. He cleans house but Saito stops him cold. It looks like Liger is going to be playing Morton here. Rolling Liger Kick allows him to get the tag so forget what I just said. Aoyagi is short. Keep in mind there is a 20 count here. Pretty fast paced match so far.
Honaga and company work on Nogami’s leg as the tagging gets quicker. All three heels (I think they’re heels at least) work over Nogami and he’s in trouble. He gets a nice dropkick though to bring in Liger. No one is really staying in trouble here very long and it’s going back and forth pretty quickly. Middle rope moonsault to Saito gets two for Liger.
Nogami sounds like a goat when he’s breathing hard. His abdominal stretch lasts a few seconds as we’re kind of shifting styles to more submission based stuff now. The faces (again I think) take over on Saito and as I say that he hits something like a spinebuster on Liger to get out. Honaga and Saito are regular partners apparently and wear matching tights.
Honaga gets a top rope Hart Attack style clothesline to take down Liger for two. Tilt-a-whirl backbreaker gets two for Liger. This crowd is a bit off putting but I get why they’re sitting quietly like that. It’s still just very odd. In a nice counter, Nogami hits a hard knee to the head of Strong Machine to get out of a pin. That’s different.
Strong Machine is in a mask which looks like Mr. JL. Aoyagi kicks the heck out of everyone but pure strength from Strong Machine ends that pretty quickly. Everyone comes in after some close two counts and Saito hits a Senton Back Splash (Husky Harris’ move) from the middle rope for two. Nogami gets a Dragon Suplex on Saito to end this rather quickly.
Rating: C+. This was fifteen minutes long? How is that possible? This seemed to absolutely fly by and while nothing spectacular it was certainly pretty good. Liger was clearly the biggest star out there as he should have been. None of the other five have had much of a career as far as I can tell. This was a fun match and pretty good on top of that. Good start.
The Enforcers vs. Michiyoshi Ohara/Shiro Koshinaka
The Enforcers are Larry Zbyszko and Arn Anderson. Both faces seem to be fairly big names but nothing huge. This is in the days of the Dangerous Alliance. Anderson wants a handshake but gets a hand slap instead. Larry and Ohara start us off. Larry of course stalls to start, or not start I guess, the match. Anderson comes in as Larry talks a lot.
Anderson throws out a Hennig neck snap which is probably the most aerial he’s ever gotten in his career. It’s weird hearing Larry yell like this when you can hear him so clearly. This is a lot more mat wrestling than we’re used to. Ohara comes back in and is apparently very young here. Larry shouting things like “hit that punk!” or something like that is rather funny.
This is a very basic match with the Enforcers not being as dirty as they would like I don’t think. Larry busts out some of his martial arts on Koshinaka which get him nowhere at all. Anderson is like move over and beats up Shiro. Now we get to some old school Anderson cheating and Koshinaka is in trouble.
Ohara gets the, I guess you can call it hot, tag to clean some house in there and we get the third Boston Crab in two minutes. Ross talks about how unsure Ohara seems which is true. Granted he’s a rookie so that makes sense. He’s also not incredibly good but there we are. Ohara gets one of the most awkward looking top rope elbows of all time.
Koshinaka comes in with some flying hips to the face and Ohara adds a suplex to Larry for two. Larry throws in an extra knee to the back of Shiro and the spinebuster just ends Ohara with ease.
Rating: C-. This was a bit weak but nothing all that bad. I couldn’t get into this one that well and it came off like a glorified squash that just happened to run almost thirteen minutes. It was ok but nothing really that special with the Enforcers never really being in any real danger. Decent enough though.
Dustin Rhodes/Dusty Rhodes vs. Masa Saito/Kim Duk
Well of course Dusty just had to grace us with his presence in a huge match like this. I mean it’s not like there’s some young guy that needed the exposure here or anything like that right? I’m sure there isn’t a guy that has never really gotten a spotlight before that could use a match on PPV in front of 60,000 people. Nah we’d rather have old fat men! Let’s get this over with.
I’ve never heard of Duk. Sweet merciful crap Dusty is a fat man. Saito is a big man but looks tough. Dusty simply doesn’t at all. Dustin and Duk start us off and we get a criss cross which Dustin controls. Ross REALLY likes the refereeing tonight for some reason. He’s complimented it in every match so far tonight.
Duk has been in two big spots so far: a head scissors and a back drop and both have looked very bad. The other guy was Dustin Rhodes who is usually very solid in the ring. I’m pretty sure I think I know who screwed up there. We hear about Saito being in the Olympic Games in 64. He refuses to tag in here, merely brushing him off. That’s rather funny.
The two fat men come in with Dusty gettinga nice round of applause. We fight to the ramp with Dusty firmly in control. Saito drops to his knees in front of Dusty. If he wants to blow him he’s going to have a lot of gut to hold up. Ross says Dusty has been inactive for a year or so. That’s very funny, as if Dusty has been active in his life.
Ross explains the difference between ring attendants and managers which is fairly interesting. Is there ANY reason why we have Dusty working the majority of the match here? Did anyone thought that was the right idea? We hit the nerve hold so we talk about the language barriers between Duk, a Korean and Saito, who is Japanese.
Saito misses a running kick and drills Duk to bring in Dustin again. Duk hits a Piledriver on Dustin for two. Back to Dusty vs. Saito which still isn’t incredibly interesting. Saito is good though so we have that to fall back on I guess. Thankfully Dusty isn’t in there long and Dustin walks into a Saito Suplex which is of course his namesake. It’s a modified belly to back.
They ram heads and both guys are down. Duk comes in but since he isn’t incredibly talented Dustin just beats the tar out of him, getting a dropkick for two and then after a few more seconds the bulldog (I can’t stand that move) ends this. The total lack of a reaction is still weird to me.
Rating: D+. Weakest match so far. Dusty and Duk weren’t worth much at all here. Ross saying he was funky like a monkey in total deadpan is hilarious for some reason. This was pretty bad but it could have been much worse. It got nearly 15 minutes and for some reason Dusty was in there more than his son. Odd.
El Gigante vs. Big Van Vader
No mask for Vader here and he’s a much bigger deal in Japan than he is in America at this point. There were two matches between the Rhodes’ match and this: Tony Halme vs. Scott Nortan and Shinya Hashimoto (JMT’s Avatar) vs. Bill Kazmaier with the former winning both times. Halme is more famous as Ludvig Borga.
This is of course a clash of the titans match which is rather interesting. Ross points out that Vader could be a monster in America if he tried to be a dominant singles wrestler and he’s absolutely right. If you don’t believe me just ask Sting. Dang that was a great feud. Nothing but clubbing blows here and we get the Claw by the giant. It’s weird seeing Vader as a face. He goes to the ramp and we get a double countout.
Rating: D. Bad match, but if you expected anything else other than a big brawl you’re an idiot. Vader looked great here and Gigante was very popular in Japan so this worked rather well. Nothing good at all but a fun brawl so all is fine.
Vader’s helmet shoots steam in El Gigante’s eyes post match.
Ad for Wrestlewar 92 which had an AWESOME main event.
Antonio Inoki defeated Hiroshi Hase in between these matches.
WCW World Title: Lex Luger vs. Masahiro Chono
It’s weird seeing Chono as a young guy. To you extremely old school guys, Chono was Lou Thesz’s protégé so you know he was great. Chono is yelling a lot. Luger is the monster heel at this point and incredibly arrogant but no one could beat him. Oddly enough, Chono’s finishing move here is the STF and Luger’s is a Piledriver called the Attitude Adjustment. It’s the Cena Special here I guess.
Ross talks about his days as a referee which I’ve never heard of at all. We get into a debate of Jack Brisco vs. Lou Thesz which is rather interesting. This is power vs. technical here with Luger’s basic offense vs. the ground game of Chono, who is rather good on the mat. Suplex gets two for Luger and the fans applause. Luger gets a DDT of all things.
Rack is countered into a backslide for two and there’s the Mafia Kick. If you’re not familiar with it, in short he gets a running start and kicks the other guy’s head off. STF goes on but rope is grabbed. Luger ducks a charging Chono who goes flying to the floor. We speed things up and Luger is in trouble. Chono comes off the top but Luger simply moves to the side and Masahiro eats canvas.
The Rack goes on but Luger loses his balance and we head to the floor. Rack goes on again on the floor and Chono is in big trouble. He slides in at about 15 which is a No Mercy trick. And of course Chono is fine seconds later. Low blow from Luger is enough for the pin. The no selling twerp deserved to get kicked in the balls.
Rating: C+. This was pretty good here and a very nice balance here of different styles and two guys doing pretty well against the other. Chono remains awesome of course and Luger played the role of the jerk to near perfection, making this pretty solid. I liked it if nothing else.
IWGP Title/Greatest 18 Club Championship: Riki Choshu vs. Tatsumi Fujinami
Choshu is the Greatest 18 Champion which is some weird deal where the WWF Martial Arts Title was renamed and meant little still but whatever. There’s a Hall of Fame thrown in too but I’m not particularly clear on it. This is a big rivalry apparently. Tatsumi is of course the IWGP Champion by default. Choshu invented the Sharpshooter in his biggest claim to fame.
Fairly long feeling out process to start us off. Choshu hits an FU on Fujinami, making me think Cena rented this tape a lot as a kid. Inoki trained Fujinami so we talk about his Ali fight because nothing of note is going on in this match. Lots of snapmares and chinlocks in the first four minutes or so. Tony forgets who is in the match, saying Chono is doing something or other.
Choshu gets the Scorpion Deathlock on and we debate whose is more effective. And of course Riki just lets go of it for no apparent reason. Fujinami puts the hold on Choshu but ropes are grabbed. Ross points out that both guys are in tights and are no frills wrestlers. You know, because black boots and black tights can work for promoting a wrestler, right Uncle Eric?
Dragon Sleeper goes on and not a lot is happening in this match. Octopus Hold from Fujinami which is an abdominal stretch with a leg wrapped around the head. It looks awesome if you didn’t get that. Choshu hits a top rope suplex for no cover. Dropkick from Tatsumi blocks the lariat. Choshu hits a Saito Suplex and then a second one. A lariat doesn’t put him down. A second doesn’t. The third does and it gets the pin. Well I’m glad he mixed up the moves there at the end like that.
Rating: C+. It’s ok but again, and I know I harp on this a lot, but when finishers are constantly kicked out of or don’t work, they kind of stop being finishers. That’s an argument I can never get through to people that are fans of this though so I won’t even try. This was a pretty good match but not a classic or anything. The lack of enthusiasm was kind of weird on the ending for a title change but it was still good.
Steiner Brothers vs. Sting/Great Muta
This should be good. Everyone here is rather popular and the non-traditional partners have separate entrances here. Muta gets a big old entrance with all kinds of acrobats for no apparent reason. Muta points to his throat immediately and spits some mist out. Sting comes in rather quickly to take on Rick. Rick gets the top rope bulldog maybe 90 seconds in for two.
Stinger Splash misses (called the Scorpion for some reason by JR) and Scott gets a powerbomb for no cover. Sting hits a tombstone and doesn’t cover either. What’s up with that as I channel my inner Helms. Muta comes in to a nice pop. Rick hits a nice suplex on Muta for two. Steiner gets what we would call an Angle Slam from the middle rope for two.
And there’s a Dragon Sleeper from Scott which is odd to see to put it mildly. Total Steiner dominance here so far. Spinning belly to belly from Scott and STILL no cover. What’s up with these guys here? Muta finally gets a suplex and tags in Sting to fight the fresh Rick. Muta back in and in a nice counter, Rick catches the handspring elbow in a German suplex. That was nice.
Sting takes Rick out with a plancha on the floor and Muta does the same to Scott. The Steiners both go up and hit both with shoulderblocks. We get a weird ending as Sting pins Scott and Rick pins Muta at the same time but Sting and Muta win for some reason. I think Rick wasn’t legal but it was an odd choice for an ending.
Rating: C+. This got a lot better at the end but the opening stuff wasn’t much at all. Not bad here but it could have been more as they only had 11 minutes which was one of the shortest matches of the night. Solid stuff though and nothing really bad. It just came off as lackluster and not meeting its potential.
A LONG highlight package takes us out. The replays show that the referee screwed up the last match as Sting wasn’t legal and Rick got the right pin but whatever.
Overall Rating: C+. Good show overall with nothing particularly bad outside of the short giants match. This was a fun show with solid Japanese stuff. It’s nothing great at all but at under two hours it’s hard to complain. Solid stuff overall though and kind of interesting to see a different style like this for a change.
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