Monday, 27 June 2011

DVDVR All Japan Set, Disc 2

Starting to work my way through this a little quicker now, so here's hoping I can finish it before the deadline (which will still probably be a while, anyway). Hansen showing up and RULING IT will likely spur me on.

Ricky Steamboat & Chavo Guerrero v Mil Mascaras & Dos Caras (9/6/81)
- Thought this was pretty damn good, but by the time it got to the half hour mark I was kind of hoping it'd just hurry up and end already. First fall had some really nifty lucha matwork and managed to convey a nice sense of struggle, plus it had Chavo Guerrero and Ricky Steamboat as a tag team. That is a fucking dream tag team. Ricky Steamboat and Chavo Guerrero v Sgt. Slaughter and Dick Murdoch is now my dream match. God damn. Finish to the first fall was really good. Second and third falls both had some more neat stuff on the mat, and we even get a Dos Caras bullet tope as the cherry on top. Mil's outfit is truly splendiferous.

Terry & Dory Funk v Umanoseke Ueda & Buck Robley (10/6/81)
- Man, Ueda and Robley are just about the most random pairing ever. Although both guys look pretty fucking scuzzy so maybe it isn't random after all. Thought this was really good, and my favourite tag on the set up to this point. Robley and Ueda just keep tossing the Funks out to the floor any chance they get early on, and this seems to wind Terry and Dory up more and more every time it happens. Leads to some great "put your dukes up and fight like a FUCKING MAN" moments and Terry unloads with a couple amazing punch combos on both guys. Eventually Ueda and Robley get what they want - which is basically a riot on the floor - and at this point I figured we were heading to a double DQ or count out of whatever the non-finish of the day was that day. Except that doesn't happen and things get AWESOME when Terry blades his fuggin' ear and the scumbags start working it over. I love it when guys work a cut. I love it when guys target some obscure body part for a beatdown. This had both. And above all else it's Terry Funk selling the shit out of being stomped and rabbit punched in the EAR. Dory pretty much sucked the life out of the Funks tag on disc one, but his hot tag here is a trillion times better and he comes much closer to bringing the sort of piss and vinegar that you'd want from a guy whose brother's just had his ear cut to bits by a pair of ratty looking alcoholics. And then there's the post-match angle with Brody murdering some kid that I'm guessing is a Funk relative. This won't land top 50 or anything, but it's pretty much exactly what I wanted out of it.

Dory Funk Jr. v Bruiser Brody (10/9/81)
- I don't much like either of these guys, but this was a really good sub-ten minute back alley fight with all the blood and heat you'd want. Brody basically smacks the shit out of Dory for the first six minutes; cuts him open, throws him into ring posts, boots him in the face, etc. Crowd is totally nuts for Dory and they just blow their stack when Dory fires back with a single forearm. Then he dishes out as good as he got in the first place and this crowd wants blood. And of course it's Brody so not only do you get the blood, but you also get to see him taking the blade and creating the cut the blood will come from. Post-match is great again with Robley hitting the scene, Dory and Brody whipping each other with a chain, and finally Terry showing up in a plaid jacket and amazing cowboy boots. Riots ensue, fans scatter for their lives, ring boys get abused. I'm a happy camper.

Ric Flair v Jumbo Tsuruta (10/9/81)
- I was hungover like a cunt when I watched this and wasn't paying a great deal of attention, so I'll probably give it another spin before the deadline, but for the most part I thought it was good. First fall sort of lost me and felt a little dull at points. Jumbo controlling things early with the headlock wasn't really done in any sort of particularly compelling way, but his flurry of offense to end the fall was great and had the crowd amped. Flair taking the second fall and visibly becoming more and more cocky, "wooing" left and right, was really good. Third fall was... I dunno, maybe I passed out for a few minutes because I'm not remembering much about it other than the finish. Yeah, I'll toss this one of the re-watch pile.

Terry & Dory Funk v Bruiser Brody & Jimmy Snuka (12/13/81)
- I've always loved this, and after another watch I still love it. Seems pretty silly to say something is better than it probably has any right to be when that something has Terry Funk in it, but still, I've always thought this was sort of a miracle match. Snuka is fucking aces in this. Dude has crazy hops (while I'm talking about guys jumping real high, Brody always gets huge height on his knee drop), busts out a bunch of sweet highspots, generally looks like a psycho, etc. There's a spot early on where he does this awesome double leap frog over Dory, then when he tries it again later on Dory catches him, hits a spinebuster and winds up the old spinning toe hold. This is also the Stan Hansen All Japan debut as he comes out to the ring with Brody and Snuka, and I guess this is a pretty famous match as a result. He nukes Terry with a lariat down the stretch, and that leaves Dory to fight the odds on his own. You really want Terry being the guy in that role, but Dory brings as much piss and vinegar as I think I've ever seen him bring before and I thought he was perfectly good. Crowd really explode for some of the nearfalls, too. Arguably a career match for three of the guys in this, and another great match for Terry's resume. Top of the pile so far, although I'm going back and forth between this and Bock/Billy.

Genichiro Tenryu v Mil Mascaras (2/4/82)
- Super nifty match. I love Tenryu and will pretty much enjoy anything he is in, but I didn't expect this to be as fun as it was. Tenryu isn't a guy I think of as being a great mat worker, but the stuff on the ground here was really cool and slick, and it built nicely to them throwing bombs at the end. Final few minutes are actually awesome with Tenryu hitting a tope and coming close to pulling out the upset. Finish isn't executed very well, but I liked the idea (and I was buying it being over after the cross body). Tenryu is the fucking greatest.

Stan Hansen v Giant Baba (2/4/82)
- Oh man, HANSEN is also the fucking greatest. I don't really have much of an opinion on Baba either way - he doesn't annoy me or anything and I can't hate big goofy pro-wrestlers whose nipples are level with their bellybutton - but this was just ridiculously fun. Jingus on PWO said this about Hansen that's really a perfect description and reason why this match worked as well as it did: "Hansen might've been Baba's best opponent. Stan sold Shohei's offense perfectly. And when I say that, I don't just mean "he pinball-bumped around the ring and screamed in pain for even the weakest strikes". I mean he had this way of selling the hell out of it while very much *not* looking like he was over-selling. Some guys would try too hard to make Baba's offense look good, and it ended up almost looking like a comedy match when they'd fling themselves around for those weak-ass chops and such. Hansen walked a tightrope and made it look like the stuff hurt without insulting your intelligence about it." He really sold everything here like a champ. Story here is basically Baba going Roman on Hansen's lariat arm while Stan tries to cut the big man down to size by going after the leg. Crowd is fucking nuclear as well. Baba also takes a real nasty bump off of the lariat at the end, falling backwards into the ropes and whipping his neck against the bottom rope. Looked like someone threw a tree into the side of a house. Finish is what it is, but I can deal. Might be my favourite Baba match ever.

Bruiser Brody v Dory Funk Jr. (4/21/82)
- Eh, first half was pretty shitty and featured some of the driest matwork I've ever seen (especially from a guy with a rep as a great "technical wrestler"), but then Brody thankfully gets fed up and starts assaulting Dory with a chair. Dory bleeds all over the ship then Brody winds up doing the same, and the second half doesn't exactly set my world on fire either, but there's tonnes of blood and the crowd pick up and there's no more shitty greco-roman knuckle locks. Not really good, though, and probably gonna finish somewhere towards the bottom.

Stan Hansen v Giant Baba (4/22/82)
- Liked their first match better, but this was different in that they eschewed the dueling body part work in favour of a bomb throwing sprint. Totally have a broner for Hansen right now. I mean I'm probably overrating this just based on the fact he's in it, but fuck it, everything he did in the two matches opposite the big man was great and this was as hectic and crazy as I wanted it to be. Hansen so much as whips Baba into the ropes and there's this sense of impending doom because there's the chance he's about to decapitate him with a lariat. How many people can make an Irish whip seem like the deadliest thing ever? Post-match he kills some guy in a tracksuit. I'm guessing I'll be a high voter for both Hansen/Baba matches so far.

Ric Flair v Ricky Steamboat (6/4/82)
- Might be their "weakest" match of the decade (that I've seen), but this is still one of the all-time best match-ups in pro-wrestling and I could probably enjoy it any time they wrestle each other. They run through a few spots that they'd bust out in their better matches and they both lay into each other with the chops like it's Flair v Steamboat. Dug the finish as well. I suspect I'll have this top half, although top 50 seems unlikely.

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