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Rolling Germans Retro Rant: Battle Formation 1996 – Part 2

September 8, 2002 | Posted by Justin Baisden


BATTLE FORMATION 1996 – PART 2

I was going to put this off until Friday night but then I realized that’d never work because something will come up. Then you’ve got Saturday, which is always a write off and Sunday, which is usually “we’re bored; lets do something… ANYTHING night.” So with Thursday night already here and Smackdown! in the bag already (Hardy vs Holly kicked ass) I’m going to hit the second half of this show before I end up putting it off and forget about it for weeks.

Once again props to DA MAN TABE for hooking this rare set up.

This review is brought to you by… well… nothing. We’re out of chips, popcorn, cookies, EVERYTHING! I did drink some water though. OK OK… so this review is brought to you by Rexall Bottled Water, which I got from work for 29 cents a bottle MINUS DISCOUNT! HA!

WE’RE ON SIX YEAR TAPE DELAY IN THE TOKYO DOME BECAUSE THIS WAS IN 1996 AND THIS REVIEW IS IN 2002!

KOSHINAKI/NOGAMI/SAITO/OHARA vs IIZUKA/NISHMURA/KOJIMA/CHOSYU
WHOA, who in the blue hell did Chosyu piss off to be put in the throwaway eight man tag? The lights are still bright so this is either the first or second match on the card. Oh… in case you didn’t know, NJPW kind of hacks up its card to fit on two tapes so you get some shit and some good stuff on each tape. As such, you can end up with the opener on the second tape. Anyway, this was a total throwaway match. The crowd sits on their hands while each team goes through a bunch of crap that means nothing because there’s no flow and people just tag in whenever they feel like it. We get the obligatory pier six or eight or whatever until Chosyu randomly decides that he’s the legal man and STEAMROLLS Nogami with the Riki Lariat for the victory. Hmm… Chosyu didn’t seem happy. Odds are he was pissed he didn’t get to ruin another man’s career like he did to Masahito Kakihara at the 1/4/96 Dome Show. Whatever… *1/2

THE GREAT SASUKE vs JUSHIN “THUNDER” LYGER (IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title)
RIGHT ON! NOW WE’RE TALKING! Lyger won the Jr. Title back in January in a great ****+ match with Koji Kanemoto. Sasuke was Lyger’s best friend (I think they’re buddies now, they had a falling out after Lyger fucked around with Sasuke’s wife, or vice versa, I forget) and NJPW was working with Michinoku Pro around this time (I’m pretty sure) so you’ve got this match. We start off quick as Sasuke fires off a spin kick sending Lyger outside and he hits a gorgeous Tope Con Hilo. Back in the ring and Sasuke settles it down with various submission work, with a strong emphasis on the left arm (which I should note leads nowhere). He lets up for a bit and Lyger capitalizes with a SWEET dropkick to the right knee. Hmm… I wonder if Sasuke was injured in that knee before this match. Japanese wrestling works like North America in that it’s “left based.” Anyway, Lyger pulls off a nice Standing Figure Four followed up with a Missile Dropkick to the knee. The dismantling continues as Lyger hits two sweet DRAGON SCREEEEEWS and slaps on another Figure Four. Sasuke is SCREAMING in pain. He makes the ropes and rolls out but pays for that in spades as Lyger hits a KNEEBREAKER ON THE RAILING and it gets botched leading to Sasuke’s leg getting hurt AND getting crotched on the steel. EEEWWW! More creativity, as Lyger ties up Sasuke’s leg in the ropes and then hits a lariat. You see the brilliance comes in the fact the blow is in the upper body but the torque is all on the tied up leg. LYGER IS A GENIUS! He charges but Sasuke comes out of nowhere with a dropkick (what about the leg?), sending Lyger out where he follows up with a Quebrada. AWWWW FUCK! SO MUCH FOR PSYCH! THANKS FOR NOTHING SASUKE! Back in the ring and Sasuke hits a Moonsault for 2 and Ѕ. Shoulderblock – Moonsault gets 2 and Ѕ. Rolling Reverse Cradle nets 2 and ѕ. He looks for a Diving Rana but Lyger KILLS him with a Powerbomb. UGH! That takes me back to Hayabusa trying the same thing on Lyger at the J Cup. Sasuke rolls out and Lyger hits a picture perfect Plancha. Back in the ring and Lyger DRILLS him with a BRAINBUSTAAAAAAH and follows up with a FISHERMAN’S BUSTAAAAAAH! 1… 2… 2 AND 9/10! TOP ROPE RANA! 1… 2… 2 AND 9/10 REVERSED INTO A SUNSET FLIP! 1… 2… 2 AND 9/10! Sasuke heads up but Lyger cuts him off and hits a SUPER FISHERMAN’S BUSTAAAAAH! 1… 2… 2.999999! Lyger hits a slam and looks for The Shooting Star Press but Sasuke cuts him off and looks for a Rana only to have Lyger block and hits a Flying Knee to the back of the head. SICK! SHOTEEEEEEI! 1… 2… 2.999999! He charges for another but Sasuke catches him in a Frankensteiner to stop the pain. Lyger was dropped right on his head and doesn’t look to good as Sasuke hits THE THUNDERFIRE POWERBOMB and THE TIGER SUPLEX! 1… 2…3! Bet you were expecting “2.999999” weren’t you? Anyway, this match kicked all kinds of ass and would have rated higher if the arm work meant something and if the leg work was even acknowledged after Sasuke transitioned to offense. I place this match fourth out of their five big matches and it ranks a measly ****

THE ROAD WARRIORS/POWER WARRIOR vs THE STEINER BROTHERS/SCOTT NORTON
OK… the first team is kind of a hybrid deal. After the LOD left the WWF, Hawk left for New Japan and teamed up with a young Kensuke Sasaki. Sasaki was re-named Power Warrior and the LOD was changed into The Hellraisers. Well Sasaki kind of outgrew that whole deal and Animal returned just in time to “save” his longtime partner from obscurity. HA HA! Anyway, it’s the reunion boys vs the roided up guys that used to be really good in the early nineties. As a side note, Scott Steiner will be called “Scott” and Scott Norton will be called “Norton” to keep the confusion down. Scott and Hawk start out with Scott getting in the patented Belly to Belly and follows up with a nice Pumphandle Slam. He looks for a Superplex but Hawk knocks him off and hits The Flying Clothesline. Hangman’s Neckbreaker gets 2 and Ѕ. Hawk telegraphs a Backdrop and takes a Tiger Bomb for his trouble. Animal and Norton tag with Animal on the attack with his usual shoulderblock and Powerslam. Big pop from the crowd as they’re not used to seeing Norton manhandled. Double clothesline puts both guys down and… we’re…. spent. Scott tags in and hits a FUCKING RELEASED DRAGON SUPLEX! HO… LY… SHIT! He follows up with a Boston Crab but Animal no sells (idiot). He comes back with a BIG TIME Powerbomb and tags Hawk who hits a RUNNING SLINGSHOT SHOULDERBLOCK FROM THE RAMP! WOW! Man, everyone is working hard here. They must have been getting a big payday or like 20 Japanese whores each if they worked hard. Sasaki and Rick tag leading to a Sasaki Powerslam. He charges but basically hotshots himself off the sidestep. Norton tags but Sasaki hits another Powerslam. He cues the Chinlock but Norton is all “I WANT MY 20 JAPANESE WHORES” and puts the resting to an end with a Backdrop Suplex. Scott tags and hits a Super Belly to Belly suplex for 2 and Ѕ. Rick tags and hits a Steinerline for 2 and Ѕ. Norton tags and hits a Samoan Drop for 2 and Ѕ. Sasaki is getting pasted here. HUUUUUGE POWERBOMB gets 2 and ѕ. Rick tags and FUCKING KILLS HIM with a Released German Suplex. RIGHT ON THE HEAD! BRUTAL! Scott tags and hits THE FRANKENSTEINER! 1… 2… 2 AND 9/10! Sasaki reverses an Irish Whip and hits Ippon Seionage and follows up with Strangle Hold Gamma but Norton saves. Hawk tags and smokes the Steiners but Norton sells nothing (WELL DUH!). Everyone is tied up outside and the LOD hit THE DOOMSDAY DEVICE on Rick but Norton saves. More crazyness leads to the Steiners hitting THE BAGWELL BUSTER on Hawk but he’s not legal. Uh… what? Rick and Animal are left and Steiner SPIKES him with an Overhead Belly to Belly on the neck for 2 and ѕ. Rick looks for a Superplex but Hawk saves and puts Steiner on Animal’s shoulders for a SUPER POWERSLAM and the victory. The ending was a total mess but the rest was WAAAAAAY better than I ever could have imagined. This was one of the best post 1990 LOD matches I’ve seen that didn’t involve any weapons from the outside like at WMXIII. The Steiners always take it up a notch when they work in Japan and I’m grateful. ***

SHINYA HASHIMOTO vs NOBUHIKO TAKADA (IWGP Heavyweight Title)
The back story works pretty simple here. Keiji Mutoh beat Shinya Hashimoto for the IWGP Title back in 05/95. Takada beat Mutoh at the 1/4/96 Tokyo Dome Show. So now we have the completion of the cycle and the major nail in the coffin of the NJPW vs UWFI feud with Hashimoto vs Takada. Get it? Got it? Good. The crowd is JACKED for this one. They roll around on the mat but it goes nowhere. Hashimoto gets in a couple of stiff kicks to the legs but Takada comes back with MEGA STIFF KICKS leading to a FUCKING BRUTAL ROUNDHOUSE TO THE FACE! I LOVE IT! He looks to put it away early with The Jujigatame but Hashimoto rolls away like a bat out of hell. See how easy it is to get a move over? RUN FOR YOUR LIFE! Hashimoto brings HEFTY BAG KNEES and looks for The Vertical Drop DDT but Takada reverses into a Small Package into the ropes. Takada looks for a Single Leg Drop but that’s blocked and Hash slaps on a Wakigatame. Again we’re back to square one but Hashimoto hits a stiff kick to the inside of the leg and Takada wobbles just for a second. Hash goes right to work with MORE MEGA STIFF KICKS and THE CROWD IS ON FIRE! Hash is all “JUST BRING IT BITCH” and Takada obliges with EVEN MORE MEGA STIFF KICKS and hits a FAT ASS BACKDROP SUPLEX! I LOVE ALL THIS! He again looks for The Jujigatame but Hashimoto manages to lock his hands and the move goes nowhere. More kicks but Hash brings the pain with BRUTAL CHOPS! Takada retreats and we’re again back to square one but Takada goes right to work with the ever faithful SUPER STIFF KICKS and looks for that beautiful FUCKING ROUNDHOUSE TO THE FACE but Hashimoto is all “I saw that shit before” and hits a SWEEEEET Leg Sweep. You’ve got to love the double helping of psychology as Hash shows he’s learned his lesson while also going after the injured left leg from earlier in the match. Hash looks for The Vertical Drop yet again but that’s reversed into a WAKIGATAME! HE’S GONNA TAP! “HASH MO TO! HASH MO TO! HASH MO TO!” Hash makes the ropes and Takada rewards him with more kicks but Hash absorbs it all and KILLS HIM with a kick to the chest followed up with a BIG TIME DDT! 1… 2… 2.999999! THE CROWD IS GOING NUTS! Takada is on Dream Street and Hash capitalizes as he hits THE VERTICAL DROP DDT! TRIANGLE CHOKE! TAKADA IS FLAILING EVERYWHERE! THE CROWD IS INSANE! AAAAAAND…. TAPTAPTAPTAP! This was awesome from start to finish and proves yet again that simplicity can be beautiful. I don’t think these two had ever faced each other before and yet they still pulled off a hell of a match. This was super stiff (which I always love) with heaping mounds of psychology around the injured leg and the danger of various submissions. The crowd played their role perfectly and I’m a happy viewer. ****

Final Analysis: On it’s own, this tape is an automatic thumbs up. You’ve got four matches of which two are **** and one is a really surprising *** power match. The first match was meant to be throwaway and that’s how I’ll treat it. As a combined set there’s quite a bit of garbage but with the two **** matches on this tape and the two bloodbaths on the first tape; I’d definitely have to give Battle Formation 1996 a thumbs up. Buy it from me or buy it from Tabe because well… no one else has it as far as I know. HA!

Justin Baisden
Rolling Germans Wrestling

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