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Complete Playbook: AJPW Classics on Samurai TV February 24, 2001

May 2, 2007 | Posted by Ryan Mancuso
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Complete Playbook: AJPW Classics on Samurai TV February 24, 2001  

Hello again. After a brief hiatus, I have returned with another review. This was one in which I did for TWTF back in the day, but there are some slight modifications to it now. This episode aired on Samurai TV on February 24, 2001. The first match was taped on March 31, 1990 and the last two matches were taped on April 13, 1990. April 13 1990 was a very big day in the pro wrestling world. It was “Japan-U.S. Wrestling Summit” that took place at the legendary Tokyo Dome. The same venue where sports history was made two months earlier as James “Buster” Douglas pulled one of the biggest upsets in boxing to knock out Mike Tyson in winning the World Heavyweight Title. New Japan, All Japan and WWE promoted this joint card. New Japan was isolationist for this event, because they only wanted New Japan wrestlers to face other New Japan wrestlers. All Japan and the WWE would allow talent from their companies to have matches with each other. Onto the review:

First from March 31, 1990:

Terry Gordy & Steve Williams vs. Tiger Mask II & Shinichi Nakano

This was a pretty decent match as the Miracle Violence Connection was dominate. Misawa was decent but you could tell that the Tiger Mask persona was holding him back. From this match, you would have never expected Misawa to succeed as a main event level wrestler three months later. Nakano would be the one taking the beating from the MVC. He tried to comeback, but too little too late. Doc and Gordy won after using a double team powerbomb on Nakano.

Now to April 13, 1990:

Jumbo Tsuruta & Haku vs. Mr. Perfect & Rick Martel

This is what I call an AWA reunion match. The reason is that Jumbo, Martel and Hennig were all former AWA World Heavyweight Champions. Haku spent a good amount of his career in the AWA. This was pretty good. I would have loved to seen Jumbo vs. Hennig from 1990. Jumbo was the heat machine of the match, as the Tokyo Dome crowd responded to everything he did. I never thought I would say this, but Haku was the Ricky Morton of the team as he took most of the punishment until he made the very hot tag to Jumbo. Haku was a lot of fun to watch here. Martel was also very fired up here, as he would bust out flashy moves like the Frankensteiner. Hennig was in what I like to call “pinball mode”. He would go flying around the ring about every time Jumbo or Haku nailed him. Yes, he probably did tilt a few times. Jumbo got the pin after using a big time backdrop suplex on Martel. The replay on the sky cam made that move look even more brutal. Very exciting 10+ minute tag.

Stan Hansen vs. Hulk Hogan

This match was actually the main event of the “Japan-U.S. Wrestling Summit” Interesting side note, Stan Hansen had a small role as a tough guy bar fighter who (sadly) got beat up by Zeus from Hulk Hogan’s movie “No Holds Barred” in 1989. I would have liked “No Holds Barred” more if the final showdown was between Hogan and Hansen. This was a really good match. The first minute or two of the match had a few surreal moments, for those who never watched Hogan wrestle in Japan, with Hogan doing some chain wrestling. After that, it went into a crazy brawl with both men bleeding a lot. I was very surprised that it was Hansen who was taking the beating for most of the match. Since it was a WWE co-promoted event, I expected Hansen to dish it the punishment and Hogan to take it before coming back to win the match. The crowd was really hot for this match. They were cheering for Hansen, and Hogan did get booed a few times. Here is the play by play of the match:

A pretty funny moment happened during Hansen’s entrance. As soon as Hansen enters the ring, he runs over the ring announcer who was standing in the middle of the ring. Now I see why the All Japan ring announcer stands in the corner. He has probably gotten knocked down a few times while Hansen was running like a madman in the ring.

They tie up. Hogan uses a side headlock, and then transitions into a wristlock. Hansen gets to the ropes, and Hogan lets go. Hogan pushes Hansen, and Hansen responds. Hogan uses a drop toehold, and transitions into a front facelock. Hansen pushes Hogan into the corner, which got a clean break. Hansen with the armbar, and they get back to the ropes. This time Hansen elbows Hogan’s arm. They tie up, and Hogan again succeeds in getting the drop toehold. He transitions it into a half nelson cradle for a 2 count. Hansen pushes Hogan into the corner, and they trade punches, chops and eye rakes. Hansen wins the exchange, and throws Hogan out of the ring.

Hansen tries to ram Hogan’s head into the ring post, but Hogan blocks and drives Hansen’s head into the ring post. Hansen is busted open, and Hogan is punching at the wound. They get back in the ring, and Hogan uses a backdrop suplex on Hansen. Hogan again punches at the wound, which gets some boos from the crowd. Hansen falls out of the ring, and Hogan stomps on the wound. Hogan throws Hansen back in the ring. Hogan uses a Cobra Twist, but Hansen powers out with a hiptoss. Hogan gives some punches and chops that knock Hansen back to the floor.

Hogan follows out. Hogan throws Hansen over the guardrail, and to the ring announcers table. Hogan gets hardcore by bodyslamming Hansen on the table. They get back to the floor, and Hogan rams Hansen’s head into the ring post. Hogan throws Hansen back in the ring. Hogan Irish whips Hansen into the corner, and follows with a lariat. Hogan stomps on the wound. Hogan Irish whips him to the opposite corner. Hogan charges, but Hansen gets the boot up. Hansen charges at Hogan with a shoulderblock.

Hogan rolls out, and Hansen follows. It is payback time as Hansen throws Hogan into the commentators table. Hansen drills Hogan with a vicious chair shot. Hogan is bleeding big time. Hansen climbs on the guardrail, and uses a double-axe handle. Hansen throws Hogan back in the ring, and nails him with an elbow. Hansen uses an elbow drop, and then punches Hogan’s wound. They get back to the floor. Hogan grabs Hansen’s cow rope, and tries to choke him with it. Hansen blocks it, and whips Hogan with the cow rope. Hansen throws Hogan back in the ring, and continues to punch at the wound. Hansen bounces off the bottom rope, and uses a kneedrop. He does it again.

Hansen is calling for the Western Lariat. Hansen whips Hogan off the ropes, but Hogan gets the first strike by using the Axe Bomber. Hogan is going for the Big Legdrop, but Hansen gets out of the way. Hansen goes for the Western Lariat again and whips Hogan off the ropes, but Hogan again counters with a crossbody press. Hogan is leaning off the ropes, and gives Hansen the Big Boot. Hogan uses a stiff Axe Bomber! 1, 2, 3! It’s over. After the match, Hogan does his usual post-match posedown celebration.

The 411: This was a great episode of All Japan classics. Hogan & Hansen delivered big time with their brawl. Jumbo & Haku vs. Perfect & Martel was a whole lot of fun with everyone motivated in wanting to put on a good show. MVC vs. Tiger Mask Misawa & Nakano was a decent match with the MVC looking very strong. Overall, this epsiode is definitely worthy of my recommendation with Hogan vs. Hansen as must see material.
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Final Score:  8.5   [ Very Good ]  legend

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