Tuesday, October 16, 2012

WCW/New Japan Supershow Review

WCW/New Japan Supershow Review

I thought of going the extra step here with this review. While I have seen the WCW/NJPW Supershow many times, I've never seen the full japanese version. Now, that will change!

As I said in Starrcade 1991 post, Turner Home Video would often clip shows. Well, WCW clipped a ton of stuff from the original WCW/NJPW Supershow. They skipped full matches and clipped others, missing out on a ton of stuff. Since I've never actually seen the full show, I thought I would review it.

This show took place in the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan. While the Tokyo Dome does have legendary status for some of the matches held there, it is actually a terrible place to go see wrestling. The arena is a baseball stadium, and a japanese one naturally. This means that the seats are small and uncomfortable. The seats, especially as you get away from home plate are angled towards the outfield, so you have to sit in odd directions to actually see the show. Due to it being a baseball stadium, there is protective foul ball netting up everywhere, which is not taken down for wrestling. It makes taking pictures impossible. One final thing is that since it is a baseball stadium, the only tron is way in the outfield where there is no wrestling happening. Therefore if you don't get ringside seats, you should invest in a pair of binoculars. I actually passed up going to two or three Tokyo Dome shows due to how bad of a place it is to see wrestling.

Animal Hamaguchi, Kantaro Hoshino, Kengo Kimura & Osamu Kido vs Hiro Saito, Norio Honaga, Super Strong Machine & Tatsutoshi Goto
This is your basic, let's get everyone a payday match. The big names here are Animal Hamaguchi who is a famous trainer in Japan and has a daughter named Miyum Hamauguchi who is attractive and an olympic wrestler in Japan. Almost all of these guys were big 80's names in Japan. If you notice, there is a Machine in there. The Machine's gimmick started out in Japan actually kind of as a joke and Super Strong Machine stuck around forever.
Kengo Kimura beat Tatsutoshi Goto with a lariat. Not alot of highlights in this one and way too many people in there to even try and capture it. It was overall rather not interesting until they sped it up for the finish. Rating:1/2*

Scott Norton vs The Equalizer
Scott Norton beat The Equalizer with a bad powerslam to win this. No highlights at all here. This was all elbows and stomps. The Equalizer looked like a giant goof. It seemed like they were going for Bruiser Brody with him but he was worse than the Missing Link. Thankfully this was short. Rating: DUD

Arn Anderson and Barry Windham vs Masa Saito and Masahiro Chono
Masa Saito was an olympian in amateur wrestling and an AWA heavweight champion. Chono became an international star in WCW and NJPW. He held the IWGP title just once but is a huge name and star.
Saito Suplex

The finish
Arn Anderson pinned Masa Saito after a lariat from Barry Windham. This was not good. It was slow and the crowd was totally dead. The only highlight besides the finish was Barry playing with the japanese crowd and being a jerk. Other than that it was quite boring. Rating:1/2*

They had an intermission after this in which Inoki basically beat up a few ring attendants. He looked fast and really sharp here. Too bad he wasn't on the card.
IWGP Tag titles - Kensuke Sasaki and Hiroshi Hase vs The Steiner Brothers
Sasaki would be a multiple time champion in almost every major federation in Japan and he would eventually marry Akira Hokuto. They became a famous celebrity couple in Japan and they often appear on television. Hase got involved in politics and booked New Japan.
"He's down now." - Scott Steiner
Scott Steiner pinned Hiroshi Hase with a frankensteiner. This match is completely different from the version WCW aired. I would dare call it almost a different match altogether. While the WCW version featured pretty much all the big moves and nothing else, this had the whole match which showed that the match was a little slower then shown. The match had tons of awesome head-dropping moves but there were definitely some miscommunications between the two teams. I think the edited WCW version of this is over **** easily but the real and true version is about ***3/4. The heat was really not there and it appeared to be more of a collection of dangerous moves without much else going on. I'm sure I'm going to get heat for this, but check out the full version of the match and you'll see what I mean. Rating: ***3/4

Crusher Bam Bam Bigelow and Big Van Vader vs Doom
Here is one match that didn't make the cut of the WCW PPV. If you are wondering why, there is a somewhat good reason for it. This show was taped after Wrestlewar and aired after Wrestlewar in America. If you didn't see Wrestlewar, I reviewed it here - http://prowresblog.blogspot.com/2012/10/wcw-wrestlewar-1991-review-part-2.html . At Wrestlewar, Doom broke up. This presented a problem because they were signed for a match and still had to do it even with the angle already happening. Therefore, NJPW covered by pretty much explaining it just like that. I guess that WCW didn't want to deal with that hassle and figured they would just never air it.
"I signed up for this match many months ago and I came prepared to fight and I hope my partner feels the same way." - Ron Simmons
Ron and Butch turn on each other after the match

Vader beat Butch Reed after a splash. This was a pretty good match. They gave it alot of time and maybe a little too much but it was good. Gotta love the Vader/Bam Bam team as they are just about the coolest. Doom worked well here together and didn't even fight with each other until after. Rating: **3/4

The Greatest 18 Club title - Riki Choshu vs Tiger Jeet Singh
The Greatest 18 Club title was started for Inoki's 30th anniversary. It was kind of like a hall of fame and this was the title, but it was more geared towards martial arts.
Tiger Jeet Singh is notorious for being one of the worst wrestlers of all time. I don't know why but India seems to produce the worst wrestlers ever with Khali, Raja Lion and Singh.
Riki Choshu beat Tiger Jeet Singh by knockout after he lariated Singh into an exposed turnbuckle. They had a total dud of a match like all Singh's matches are. This was all about Singh doing his poor-man's Sheik routine and bad brawling. Rating: DUD

Brian Pillman, Tim Horner and Z-Man vs Shiro Koshinaka, Takayuki Iizuka and Kuniaki Kobayashi
Koshinaka is the master of the butt-bump, Iizuka is still going strong as a brawling heel in NJPW over 21 years later and Kobayashi was famous for his feud with Tiger Mask.


BUTT BUMP
The finish
Takayuki Izuka beat Tim Horner with an almost perfect dragon suplex to win the match for his team. This was a good opening match that wasn't an opening match. They did a bunch of flying moves and kept a quick pace. I was surprised the Japanese one because they got little offense in here and looked like jobbers. Rating:**1/2

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title - Jushin Thunder Liger vs AKIRA
AKIRA is Akira Nogami, a long-time NJPW affiliated wrestler.
The finish
Jushin Thunder Liger beat AKIRA with a top rope DDT. This was a very strong match. Nice submissions, flying and some head-dropping lead to this being good. I would say that it's probably better than the Supershow version because it's longer and you can see how it built up. Good stuff right here that's worth checking out. Rating:***1/2

Big Cat vs El Gigante
El Gigante beat Big Cat with an Iron Claw in no time at all for the win. This was not that bad for what it was. El Gigante was clearly having fun out there and it was just a squash.

The Great Muta vs Sting
The announcers brought up Sting teaming with the Ultimate Warrior to form Power Team USA here which was really interesting.
The finish
The Great Muta beat Sting with the Green Mist and then a top rope twisting splash. This was a strong match. Lots of cool moves here and both guys work so well together. Muta was at his best here and really living up his persona. Sting was also really good at the face. I really like this match and it had a little something for everyone. Rating:***1/4

After the match, Sting got revenge and put The Great Muta in the Scorpion Deathlock.
IWGP Title vs NWA Title - Tatsumi Fujinami vs Ric Flair
Tatsumi Fujinami beat Ric Flair with a pin, or did he? This was a pretty creative screwjob here. WCW at the time had a rule where if you throw your opponent over the top, you get DQ'd. However, this isn't WCW and is Japan, so it shouldn't count right? Well, there was never a clear answer to it. Bill Alfonso got knocked out the of the ring and witnessed Flair getting thrown over the top, but Tiger Hattori stepped in to count Flair down for the three.

This is one of the few places where the WCW version is better. While the Japanese one doesn't explain it, Jim Ross cut an interview with Tatsumi Fujinami in the back and with an enraged Flair who took his title off Fujinami. Fujinami was confused as he got the three count. WCW explained it as Fujinami not winning the NWA title due to him throwing Flair over the top. Japan recognized Fujinami as the champion while WCW did not. Confused? Yeah.

As for the main event, it was your typical Flair match. All the Flair spots, his usual working on the leg with him bringing Fujinami along for the trip who didn't really offer that much at all. This is no different than a match that Flair had with 100 other people and was actually a little boring. The crowd was not very into it and they even booed when the ref went down. My rating for this is ***.

Overall thoughts: This show was mostly good. Only one really bad match here with a few good ones and alot of different names. This show featured a little bit of everything and overall was good. As for the japanese version of this vs the american version, the japanese version is better. It had more matches and less clipping. The only good things about the WCW version is that it's in English, they make the matches seem to be better than they are(which could be a bad thing too) and there's not production music for everyone like there was here.

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