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Dark Pegasus Video Review: WCW/NJPW Supershow III

May 3, 2009 | Posted by J.D. Dunn
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Dark Pegasus Video Review: WCW/NJPW Supershow III  

WCW/New Japan Supershow III
by J.D. Dunn

  • January 4, 1993
  • Live from Toyko.
  • Your hosts are… Japanese.

  • Opening Match, Six-Man Tag: Takayuki Iizuka, Akira Nogami and El Samurai vs. Nobukazu Hirai, Masao Orihara and Koki Kitahara.
    This is pretty good for a bunch of young guys. Most of the guys are taking their cues from Muta at this point instead of copying Inoki. Everything is crisp and quick. Not much of a storyline or anything; they just run through good sequences. Orihara apparently gets knocked out cold by a Iizuka powerbomb, so they all hop in and try to buy him time. He’s not responding, though, so Iizuka just pins him at 15:12. **3/4

  • Masa Saito & Shinya Hashimoto vs. Dustin Rhodes & Scott Norton.
    Mysteries of wrestling: why would someone with what could only be described as a beer keg for a torso call himself “Flash.” This is a sluggish match, but all of these guys are appropriately surly. I like how they haphazardly just toss each other around like sacks of garbage. Dustin seems inordinately pissed here. Hash gets him with the jumping DDT, though, and knocks him out with the enzuigiri for the win at 13:56. Norton’s half-hearted effort to break up the count sums up this match nicely. **

  • Sting vs. Hiroshi Hase.
    Hmm. This should have been better. Sting is in full powerhouse babyface mode early, press-slamming Hase. Hase takes a breather on the outside and comes back for some Sambo Suplex goodness. Weird spot as Sting comes off the top and just kind of fumbles into Hase. Both guys look like they got hurt on that one. Sting lofts Hase up into the Canadian Backbreaker, but Hase backdrops him over into a bridge for two. Finally, Sting just comes off the top with a Superfly Splash for the win at 15:30. Moved back and forth from exciting to clumsy and amateurish with ease. Maybe with more experience together, these guys could have produced a classic. **1/4

  • Sting says he would like to tag up with Muta or Hase.
  • Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Takashi Ishikawa.
    Fujinami shows he’s still got it with a very Austin Aries-like suicida. Ishi comes back with a pescado to even up the dives. With that out of the way, they just start slugging each other. That’s the formula for the match. Slug it out, highspot, mat wrestling, back up, “bring it bitch”, repeat. Fujinami gets him down into the cross armlock. Ishikawa won’t submit, though, and slugs his way out of it, so Fujinami kicks the everloving s*** out of him and goes for the Dragon Sleeper. Ishikawa is able to kick his way to freedom and powerbombs Fujinami twice. Fujinami gets PISSED and fires off enzuigiris. Ishikawa is staggered, so Fujinami chokes him out with the Dragon Sleeper at 11:37. To look at them, you wouldn’t think these guys had the best match on the card so far, but you’d be wrong. Both of these guys were 40 at this point (but both looked 60). What the match lacked in athleticism, it made up for in psychology and grumpiness. ***

  • NWA World Title vs. IWGP Title: Masahiro Chono vs. The Great Muta.
    This is title-for-title. Chono is coming in as the NWA Champion, while Muta is the IWGP Champion. This is loads better than their Starrcade match only a week earlier, although it suffers early from Muta’s casual stalling. Turns out he’s actually trying to sneak in the ring wrench. Chono works the knee in anticipation of the STF, and this part also drags. Just when I think it’s about to start sucking, Muta bulldogs Chono on the entrance ramp and delivers that sprinting clothesline from 30 yards away that the Japanese were so fond of. Back in, Muta gets two of a bridging German. The moonsault misses, and Chono quickly slaps on the STF. Muta escapes this time, unlike at Starrcade, so Chono makes with the Yakuza kicks. Muta tumbles to the apron and suplexes Chono out onto the ramp. Muta tries a handspring elbow on the outside, but Chono just ducks out of the way. That’s why you only do that in the corner, where there’s no lateral movement. Back in, Chono powerbombs Muta for two and turns him over into the STF! Muta makes the ropes again and hits a huracanrana. Muta’s really reaching into his bag of tricks here. That sets up the moonsault, but Chono gets his knees up. Chono goes up, but Muta just sidesteps him, hits the backbreaker, and hits the moonsault. ONE, TWO, THRE-NO! SECOND MOONSAULT! ONE, TWO, THREE! Muta picks up the long-awaited win and the NWA Title at 19:48. This could have been a big moment for the NWA as Muta was a fairly big name here as well as Japan, but politics intervened. This started very slow, but they took time to establish the psychology and finished strong. ***1/4

  • Shiro Koshinaka, The Great Kabuki, Masashi Aoyogi, & Akitoshi Saito vs. Hiro Saito, Tatsutoshi Goto, Super Strong Machine & Norio Honaga.
    As far as I know, none of the wrestling Saito’s are directly related. This match is notable for Goto’s epic “time-to-make-the-donuts” moustache. Karate kicks abound, and – as with a lot of 8-man tags – the sheer number of participants tends to overwhelm the match. We do get a nice, brief battle between Kabuki and Strong Machine, but beyond that, they’re just running through moves. Kabuki catches Honaga with the backdrop suplex at 14:25. Not dull, but not terribly involving either. **1/2

  • Ron Simmons vs. Tony Halme.
    Simmons had just lost the WCW title back to Vader earlier in the week. Halme is the artist futurely known as Ludwig Borga. Halme calls for a boxing match, but it doesn’t go off. Closed fists are illegal, Tony! They have a shoulderblock duel, and Simmons decides to outsmart him with a drop toehold. Ha! Stupid Fin. Halme dominates with power moves like spinebusters and powerslams. It’s like Simmons is wrestling himself – if he were a right-wing European. Halme misses a wild swing, and Simmons spinebusters him at 6:01. Strict power match. WCW missed the boat by not bringing Halme in as an evil foreigner to feud with Simmons before his title reign ended. That’s why Vince is Vince. *

  • In the post-match interview, Simmons admits to underestimating Halme’s power.
  • IWGP Junior Title: Ultimo Dragon vs. Jushin Lyger.
    Oh, now don’t you know this kicked all manner of ass. Dragon had been around for a while, but he certainly didn’t have the reputation of Jushin Lyger. This is kind of his big coming-out party. He does slip off the ropes twice, though, so his boots probably weren’t ready for the big time. Outside of that, though, everything is on-point. Dragon busts out his spiffy Fallaway slam into a pin and a straight-jacket suplex. Lyger finally has had enough of this whippersnapper and turns a simple Irish Whip into a Kappou Kick. That knocks Dragon to the floor, and Lyger has the nerve to powerbomb him on the floor and then hit a senton off the top. Back in, Lyger powerbombs him again, but they catch each other with clotheslines. Dragon busts out the springboard twist, and they tease a countout. Back in, Ultimo goes hard and fast after the pin with a quebrada and the Majestral Cradle. Dragon goes up, but Lyger recovers and hits him with the Avalanche DDT! Lyger sets him on top and hits the Top-Rope Frankensteiner into a bridge to pick up the win and the title at 20:08. Mind-blowingly great at the time, and it cemented Dragon as a superstar junior wrestler. You can always depend on the New Japan juniors. ***3/4

  • IWGP Tag Team Titles: The Hell Raisers vs. The Steiner Bros.
    Hell Raisers = The Road Warriors – Animal + Kensuke Sasaki. This was actually hyped as part of WCW’s version of the PPV, but when the Steiners jumped to the WWF, WCW cut it from their release. Interestingly, Hawk was coming back to WCW at the same time the Steiners were leaving. Sasaki makes a pretty good Animal from a wresting perspective, but his unwillingness to go with a Mohawk hurts the team, I think. He plays the face-in-peril as the Steiners taunt Hawk on the apron. Don’t poke the bear. Scott hits Sasaki with the Frankensteiner, but stands up right into a flying clothesline from Hawk. Scott must have REALLY pissed off both guys, because Sasaki follows him to the floor and puts him on his shoulders, and then Hawk hits the Doomsday Device to send Scott tumbling onto the railing! Both teams get counted out at 14:39. After the match, everyone makes nice with handshakes, hugs, and S’mores at Mrs. Sasaki’s house. Had the feel of a reconciliation match, and the Steiners were still in the midst of their awesome run. ***

  • After the match, Hawk says he’s disappointed they didn’t win, but they still have the belts. He also calls Sasaki the best partner he’s ever had. Awk-ward.
  • Genichiro Tenryu vs. Riki Choshu.
    These two were on opposite sides of a bitter war between Choshu’s army and Jumbo Tsuruta’s loyalists back in the mid-eighties. It doesn’t look like that anger has abated in the ensuing near-decade as they absolutely lay into one another early. Tenryu goes for an enzuigiri early, but Choshu blocks and goes for the sasorigatame. That triggers a disturbingly realistic brawl in the corner. Tenryu hits his enzuigiri, and Choshu’s all, “Yeah, I suppose I could sell that, but right now I’m too mad.” Choshu stomps on his face, which I guess, would be one of the bad points of doing a kick that puts you on your back. Tenryu’s eye is busted open, so he apparently doesn’t see Choshu coming with the Riki Lariat… after lariat… after lariat. None of them can put Tenryu away, though, because he’s a seething ball of rage himself. He blocks a final Riki Lariat with the ganmengiri. Choshu blocks a powerbomb and goes for the Sasorigatame, but Tenryu blocks. Tenryu’s back elbow misses, but he lands on Choshu’s neck anyway. Serendipity. Choshu staggers up and rolls Tenryu right into a small package. They’re in the ropes, so Choshu drops him with the German Suplex for two. Tenryu fights back and finally gets Choshu up for the powerbomb… but he drops him on his head. Tenryu shakes it off and hits another one for the win at 18:17 after an exhaustive match. This was Tokyo Sports’ Match of the Year for 1993, and while I won’t go that far, it’s certainly a contender. Just brutal (almost shootish) strikes coupled with some good mat wrestling and TONS of intensity. ****1/4

  • After the match, Antonio Inoki puts over Tenryu as a great wrestler, a fine champion, and a helluva bowler (maybe, I don’t speak Japanese).
  • The 411: A marked improvement over the previous year. This show really did have a WrestleMania feel to it. WCW's involvement in the show was minimal, and maybe that's a good thing as it kept it from becoming overly political. This one truly had a little bit of everything from a big title change to a grudge match to juniors.

    Thumbs up.

    Final Score:  8.0   [ Very Good ]  legend

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    J.D. Dunn


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