wrestling / Columns

Into the Indies 12.27.11: Super World of Sports (Part 2)

December 27, 2011 | Posted by Ryan Byers

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to Into the Indies, home of the shrimp burger.

Last week, we started a review of December 12, 1991’s SWS “Super Wrestle in Tokyo Dome,” a show from a failed puro promotion that heavily featured the company’s working relationship with the World Wrestling Federation. I had hoped to wrap the review this week, but, due to the Christmas holiday and a last-minute fill-in on my part for 411’s Raw recap on Monday, we’re going to have to split things up further and review the last two matches of the card next week.

However, for the time being, enjoy my look at the next three matches from Super World of Sport, featuring models and million dollar men on the same card as proto-BattlArts action.

Match Numero Cinco: Ted DiBiase vs. Kerry Von Erich

In a move that caught me off guard, the company actually flew Sensational Sherri to Japan to manage Ted DiBiase, which is unusual because oftentimes when promotions go overseas, managers get the short shrift in order to save on international airfare. Here Sherri is, though, in all of her glory.

It’s a lockup to start, with Kerry pushing DiBiase back into the ropes and giving him a clean break. Ted does not offer the same when he wins the next lockup, connecting with some forearms to set up a highspot off of the ropes. At the end of the sequence, Von Erich actually manages to grab the Claw, but the Million Dollar Man slips out under the bottom rope quickly. After a bit of stalling with Sherri, DiBiase reenters the ring, at which point I realize that we’ve even got a Hebner in refereeing, so this is about as WWF as a match on this card can get. DiBiase looks for a sunset flip, but Von Erich blocks it and reapplies the Claw, causing Teddy to take a powder again. We eventually go back to the ring, where DiBiase gets an arm wringer and a headlock before we hit the ropes again. KVE gets the advantage there with a hiptoss and a headlock takedown. The Texas Tornado holds on to DiBiase’s head for a bit but ultimately gets pushed back into the corner to force a break. DiBiase connects with a shoulder to the gut and some basic strikes, next using a back elbow to set up dumping Kerry to the outside. DiBiase throws him into the front row of chairs and even whacks the Tornado with one of the weapons, which I would not have expected in this sort of match.

Sherri even clocks Von Erich square in the jaw with her right hand while DiBiase has the referee distracted. More brawling on the floor by the men follows until Ted shoots Von Erich back into the squared circle, giving him a lariat and his trademark fistdrop for two. A vertical suplex gets a nearfall for DiBiase, though the real highlight is Sherri yelling “Dumbass!” at the referee when he fails to count to three. KVE is positioned for DiBiase’s second rope elbow, truly one of the most awkward flying moves in wrestling history, but it misses. Kerry comes back with fists and clotheslines, followed by his own vertical suplex. Up next is his discus punch. He signals for the claw, but DiBiase blocks it and Sherri gets up on the apron. This results in SHERRI taking the Claw, which distracts Von Erich just long enough for DiBiase to hit him with a kneelift to the back and a DDT to wrap up the match.

Match Thoughts: This match was fairly disappointing in a couple of different regards. The first is that they essentially went out there and had what would have been a passable house show match . . . except this wasn’t on a house show. It was on a major card at the Tokyo Dome of all places, and it really looked out of place when everybody on the card to this point had at least tried to put on something special. The second reason it was disappointing was the use of DiBiase. Given his style and his history in Japan, I would’ve loved to see him lock up with one of the native SWS talent, but here he was in a match with Kerry Von Erich that any number of other wrestlers could have had. Oh well, I suppose it could’ve been worse. *

Match Numero Seis: Naoki Sano vs. Rick Martel in the SWS Jr. Heavyweight Title Tournament Finals

This is, as noted above, the finals of a tournament to crown what is referred to here as the “SWS-WWF Junior Heavyweight Championship.” The title was not a long-lived one and was defended, to my knowledge, exclusively in SWS. In fact, this tape is the only time that I’ve heard it referred to as an “SWS/WWF” title as opposed to just being an SWS title. An actual WWF Junior Heavyweight Title had existed at one point in time (not to be confused with the Light Heavyweight Title), but it was ditched in 1985 after being recognized for several years by both the WWF and its former Japanese affiliate, New Japan Pro Wrestling.

For those of you who are fans of the current wrestling scene, the Naoki Sano in this match is the current Takuma Sano in Pro Wrestling NOAH, who held the GHC Tag Team Titles as recently as this year. Rick Martel is in his full-on “Model” attire at this point, though for some reason the atomizer full of Arrogance didn’t make the trip across the Pacific Ocean.

We go to the mat early, with the men trading rapid-fire holds and quickly returning to their feet each time. Eventually they take to running the ropes, where Martel scores with a dropkick and a series of kneelifts, followed by shoulders in the corner. Sano gets to make a comeback when Martel showboats, clocking him with a lariat that sends him down to the floor. Naoki isn’t satisfied with that, and decides he’s going to follow Martel out with a flip dive off of the top rope and to the floor. Sano slingshots Martel back into the ring from the apron and connects with a jumping enzuguiri for a nearfall. Martel comes back quickly with a headlock, but Sano reverses it into the old Ric Flair knee-crusher before applying a Funk-esque toe hold. Martel shoves him off with his free leg, and it’s got enough force to shoot Sano out between the ropes and down to the arena floor.

While there, Martel scoops Sano up and runs him back-first into the ringpost. He maintains the advantage on the inside, dropping knees into Sano’s back and applying a variation on the camel clutch. Martel’s next high impact move is a gutwrench suplex, followed with a backbreaker. The Model decides that he’s going to head to the top rope, but he takes too long and gets nailed with a Sano palm strike as he steadies himself. Martel falls to the floor . . . NO HANDS TOPE CON HILO BY NAOKI SANO~! Sano almost overshot his opponent on that one, but it was so quick and out of control that it still looked cool. Naoki throws Martel back into the ring but gets cut off by a kneelift . . . only to come back seconds later with a PHAT German suplex when he sidesteps a charging Martel and causes the French Canadian to collide with the turnbuckles. The German includes a bridge, and it’s enough for Naoki Sano to walk out with the victory and the Junior Heavyweight Title.

Match Thoughts: This wasn’t quite as good as the earlier junior heavyweight match on the show (Jerry Estrada vs. Ultimo Dragon). However, it was still fast-paced, high quality in-ring action aside from the fact htat it was a little bit on the short side. It was an interesting match to watch, because, although Martel was one of the better in-ring performers on the WWF roster at this time and rarely seemed to dog it in his matches, he wasn’t doing anything NEARLY as hard hitting or high flying as he was in this particular bout. It makes sense that he wouldn’t, given his status as a heel in the US, but that doesn’t make it seem any less out of place watching this match and thinking about it in the context of the 1991 World Wrestling Federation. ***

Match Numero Siete: Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs. Koji Ishinriki

As noted earlier in the reviewing the Masakatsu Funaki/Jerry Flynn match, SWS had a bit of a working relationship with the “Fujiwara Gumi” promotion that Yoshiaki Fujiwara was running at this time, so here’s the man himself for an appearance on the card. His opponent, Ishinriki, was in his first year as a professional wrestler, and he was getting a bit of an exposure to the shoot style here. He’s actually still active on the professional wrestling scene today, though he never quite got a slot in a major promotion. In one of the more perplexing theme music choices in pro wrestling history, Ishinriki hits the ring to “Eleanor Rigby” by the Beatles. Fujiwara gets his classic “Ride of the Valkyries,” which should answer any questions as to where Daniel Bryan came up with the idea.

The younger Ishinriki bounces around the ring early on, while crusty old Fujiwara just stares at him. The two eventually go into a clutch and try to throw each other out of it, though they wind up in the ropes. There’s a lot of shoving and groping at each other blindly early in the match with nobody really getting any advantage. Eventually Ishinriki is able to score with a couple of palm strikes to a big reaction from the crowd, but it’s not long before Fujiwara is responding in kind and doing it much more effectively. Then there’s more groping and clutching. The wrestlers start testing each other with light leg kicks, and, before long, Fujiwara catches his man with a boot to the jaw out of nowhere. This causes Ishinriki to fall out of the ring. Fujiwara hits the ropes as if to tease a dive but then stops and has a shit-eating grin spread across his face as if to say, “Yeah, right. I’m Yoshikai Fujiwara. I fly NOWHERE.”

When Ishinriki gets back into the ring, he actually meets with a measure of success. He misses a dropkick early but comes back with some palm strikes. However, before long, Fujiwara avoids a shot and slaps on his patented Fujiwara armbar, at which point the crowd EXPLODES. Fortunately for Ishinriki, he is right next to the ropes, so he forces a break easily. More strikes are traded, and the audience is amazed when Ishinriki manages to catch Fujiwara’s boot off of a kick and take him down for the first time in the match. Koji goes to the top rope after that but climbs back down which Fujiwara gets to his feet, much to the disappointment of the fans in attendance. More grappling stalemates follow, with Ishinriki regaining the advantage thanks to a fairly weak single leg. He grounds Fujiawara off of that and starts kicking him in the back, eventually putting the veteran under the ropes and allowing him to regain a vertical base.

Once he’s back on his feet, Fujiawara gets Ishinriki back into the corner and gives him a clean break. He regrets it for a second, as Ishinriki takes advantage and immediately starts slapping him in the face. Angered, Fujiwara decides that he’s not going to take anymore B.S. off of this young punk and puts him into a crucifix-style submission virtually at will, garnering an immediate submission victory.

Match Thoughts: In my eyes, this match was an example of how a great crowd can take what would otherwise be a blah match and turn it into something better than it had any right being. There were a lot of gaps in between the action here and a fair amount of laying around on the mat, but, every time there was a big move by either Fujiwara or Ishinriki, the place EXPLODED. They were behind Ishinriki as an underdog babyface, but they were also behind Fujiwara as the crusty old veteran who they knew could murder this bugger anytime that he wanted to. The result was a unique, solid dynamic that singlehandedly saved the match for me. **

And that’s a wrap for round two of our SWS Super Wrestle coverage. The show has slowed down a little bit after a strong opening, but it’s still holding up well overall. We’ll see how things go with the main events next week!

Looking forward to the next installment of Into the Indies? Keep an eye on 411’s Twitter accounts, and you just might see it pop up!



See you all next week!

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Ryan Byers