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wrestling / Video Reviews

The Puro Review: Super J Cup 1995

June 29, 2002 | Posted by Jake Metcalfe

Thanks for the all the random bits of feedback I’ve been getting, even the negative stuff, I like to hear both sides of the coin. But, I want more damn it. So, if you have anything at all to say about this review, good or bad, then email me. Go on, you know you want to.

As an aside, I think my exams went alright, but I’ll not know until the end of August when the results come out. I need a B in English and a C in Economics to get to where I want to be in a couple of years, so as long as I get that I’m safe. Anyway, enough about myself, on with today’s review…

WAR: Super J Cup 1995 (The 2nd Stage)

The first Super J Cup tournament, held in 1994, was a worldwide success that gained acclaim from all corners of the globe. In Japan it was the most heated and generally over juniors tournament up to that time, the inter-promotional nature of it forcing it past any of the ‘Best Of The Super Juniors’ tournaments that NJPW held each year. In the USA and the rest of the western world, it became a beacon for puroresu lovers, suddenly they had a show they could recommend to any wrestling fan and know for a fact that they would enjoy it. The show became legendary and the commercial release of the video must have made an absolute packet, it would have been foolish not to follow it up with a sequel. That brings us to one year later, 1995, and the second of the three Super J Cups. On this occasion though, Lyger has teamed up with Ultimo Dragon, and the WAR (Wrestle And Romance or Wrestling Association R, depending on who you ask) promotion to hold it there instead of on NJPW territory. So, this year we get two bookers and a more diverse batch of talent due to the more flamboyant booking style of the Japanese independent promotions when compared to the traditional nature of NJPW.

Just like the 1994 version, the Super J Cup 95 takes the form of a one night, single elimination style tournament. If you are beaten, you are out of the tournament, if you win, you advance to the next round. Like a Japanese version of the King Of The Ring I suppose, although with about five tons more prestige.

This year, the participants are as follows… Shinjiro Ohtani, El Samurai, Jyushin ‘Thunder’ Lyger, Wild Pegasus, Damien 666, Masayoshi Motegi, Gran Naniwa, Hanzo Nakajima, Shoichi Funaki, Ultimo Dragon, Gedo, Lionheart, Dos Caras and Masaaki Mochizuki. Wild Pegasus and Jyushin Lyger get the free allowance into the second round this time for being good. As well as that motley collection we have Psicosis and Rey Misterio Jr. who will be putting on an exhibition match later. Formalities out of the way, lets have a match!

FIRST ROUND

Gran Naniwa vs. Damien 666

Mixture of odd gimmicks right here to kick off the show. One very young crab-man and a crazy fat bloke with black and white face-paint and hair that is all sorts of weird. With wrestlers like that, you just cannot go wrong. Oh boy, and my prediction is correct as Naniwa’s ‘coming to the ring’ mask signifies that this is going to be a comedy match. Naniwa kicks it off by pretending to be serious, but Damien is annoyed at the crowd for not cheering his name, and so threatens to walk out until they do. Of course they indulge him and he struts back to the ring, only to have Naniwa threaten the same thing! He waits for his name to be cheered and then takes the piss by doing the same strut back to the ring! Well, that’s one way to heat up a crowd… Damien does some Hulk Hogan based posing but Naniwa says ‘that sucks’ and takes the piss again by doing some better Hulk Hogan based posing! Damien offers a test of strength, but Naniwa slaps his hand away and Damien does a brilliant comedy oversell before popping back up and whipping Naniwa. They run the ropes until Damien screams ‘Chosyu’ and hits the RICKY LARIATOOO! Scorpion deathlock is locked in but Naniwa swiftly makes the ropes, only to have Damien call out ‘Tenryu’, and nail the chops in the corner followed by THE WEAK ASS KICK FLURRY~! Comedy sell and Damien gets a two count before whipping Naniwa again and nailing a butt bump. Another one followed with a snap mare gets another 2 count and Damien hits the chinlock. Naniwa breaks out of that and whips Damien to the corner, but he tips up out of it… what follows is the strangest series of reversals ever, which I am not even going to try and describe other than saying that they are hilarious… Damien gets the upper hand and screams ‘Jinsei’, before performing the praying ropewalk and ending with a springboard arm drag to send Naniwa out of the ring. Damien tries a dive, but Naniwa moves and crabwalks around the other side of the ring, only to take the dive after all! Naniwa gets a sunset flip on the way back in for 2.9 and whips Damien to the corner. Another strange series of reversals and Naniwa gets the upper hand off some hair pulling before nailing a bulldog from the top! He taunts, giving Damien enough time to gain control again, and they run the ropes until Naniwa resorts to comedic hair pulling again and dumps Damien outside. Plancha from the top from the crab-man, and this match is now a bit dull. Back in, Damien calls ‘Misawa’, and hits some elbows following by the ROLLING ELBOW for 2 Ѕ! Slam, but the “Mutoh” moonsault misses, and Naniwa fires off a ‘rana-rollup for the win!

Comedy matches are odd beasts, wrestling matches that distort the conventions of wrestling matches to make a crowd laugh and to get the level of heat up for the rest of the card. This is a great way to begin this show as it got the crowd into the night, necessary especially because there isn’t as much ‘name’ talent here as there was in 1994. As far as this match goes, the comedy bits, the funky reversals especially, are really good and genuinely funny. When they try wrestling, however, it’s a bit pointless, and the crowd dies for these sections. That’s the problem with comedy matches, once a crowd knows they are watching a comedy match they will only enjoy the comedy sections of the match, none of the wrestling will get them going. Anyway, I can’t rate this match, but I will say that it’s a great thing to watch, very entertaining.

Shinjiro Ohtani vs. Masaaki Mochizuki

Ohtani is focused, but Masaaki comes right out of the starting blocks with a harsh leg lariat and a series of NASTY knee strikes in the corner! Ohtani is pissed off, but once again Masaaki kicks him and takes him down with a SWIFT drop toe hold into a leg grapevine! Ohtani is all ‘HA!’, and reverses the grapevine for one of his own, but the ropes are made. He doesn’t let go until it’s absolutely necessary and Masaaki attacks with mid-kicks when they get back a vertical base. Ohtani kicks his leg out from under him and stamps on his head though. They exchange slaps and low kicks, Ohtani is asking for Masaaki to ‘respect’ him with those slaps, and he gets his wish with a spinning back kick! He stamps on Masaaki’s leg and takes it to the mat with a kneeling leg lock. He works the leg some more before hitting a snapmare into the leg grapevine, but Masaaki makes the ropes. Back up, Ohtani punches him and tries a german, but Masaaki reverses it with a german suplex of his own for 2 ѕ! Ohtani had to check he hadn’t been pinned there, in a nice little touch. Masaaki kicks the snot out of him, but Ohtani is all angry, and reverses a punch into a wakigatame arm bar! The crowd goes mental! Back up and Ohtani tries for some more arm work, but Masaaki breaks out of it with a leg lariat and nails the TRIANGLE ENZUIGURI for 2.9!! I love that move, he basically runs up the turnbuckle, spins round and nails an enzuiguri, but it’s so smooth! Masaaki waits for Ohtani to stand and hits an axe kick, but Ohtani no sells and comes back with a dropkick to the knee! He’s all like ‘I’ll teach this punk some manners’, and goes outside to hit a springboard dropkick to the knee!! Leg grapevine is casually locked on, and that is all she wrote for Masaaki!

That was really, really good. Screw the fact that it was only five minutes long, this match was packed full of psychology and great spots. Ohtani was his usual focused, evil, self, taking the young punk to school and really teaching him some damn manners. The facial expressions this man produces speak volumes about his level of anger and how much he wants to slap his opponent around today. Masaaki played his role well too, by stiffing out the king of stiffing out he really showed his punky ways. He sold the submissions work well while he was in the holds too, although he didn’t when he was on offence, but this is barely noticeable because the match was so fast. Overall, this match was stiff and a whole lot of fun, and a great start from Ohtani… 70%

Ultimo Dragon vs. Shoichi Funaki

Well, I wonder who is going over here then? The booker and producer of the show or one of the lowest ranking workers here? I don’t think Funaki was even a part of KDX at this point, and he’s even wearing HIDEOUS white, yellow and orange tights. He has no chance in hell of winning this match. They start off alright, with Ultimo working the crowd well before nailing a drop toe hold and walking over Funaki, just to be nasty. Springboard crossbody is hit and they run the ropes until Funaki grabs a wakigatame arm bar in a nice reversal. Funaki leaps up into a victory roll for two before segueing into the leg grapevine! Ultimo rolls to the outside to escape the hold and Funaki fakes a dive before firing off a pescado. Back in, Funaki hits a dropkick to the knee and gets the leg grapevine again! This is interesting actually, they are working off what happened in the last match. A usual occurrence for Japanese matches one might think, but not usual when neither of the participants in this match were involved in the last. This is logical as well though, Funaki’s thinking ‘if a strategy works for Ohtani, then it can work for me’. Good stuff. Ultimo breaks out of the matwork and hits a snapmare followed by a kick, but Funaki fires back with punches before grabbing a headlock and taking Ultimo down to the mat with it. It’s reversed into a jujigatame and we’ve got some standard juniors matwork people! They wrestle, utterly pointlessly, over a leg lock on the mat for absolutely ages before finally getting back to a standing base. Ultimo whips Funaki, but MESSES UP a ‘rana on the rebound… oh dear. A springboard moonsault press gets 2 Ѕ for Ultimo, but Funaki rolls him up for a 2 Ѕ of his own and he segues into the leg grapevine! Ultimo completely shrugs it off though and doesn’t really sell the hold, just makes the ropes very quickly. Funaki gets a backdrop for another 2 Ѕ and nails a fisherman’s buster for 2 ѕ, but Ultimo smacks him on the rebound off a whip and nails his own fisherman’s buster. Funaki is put up top for a hurricanrana, and Ultimo follows up with a NASTY DDT and a moonsault across the back. La Majistral finishes for Ultimo soon after…

And this, on the other hand, was not very good. Both of these two have the basic skills, I suppose, but Ultimo’s selling is weak and Funaki suffers from the ‘no distinguishing features’ problem which plagues many Japanese juniors. This match was alright, I suppose, if they hadn’t have messed up that ‘rana, and hadn’t have wasted all that time on the useless matwork then it would have been much better. Maybe they should have just booked a straight squash match in favour of Ultimo, I mean, Funaki wasn’t exactly made to look great here anyway so… 24%

Gedo vs. Masayoshi Motegi

Uh oh, sir fat head, Masayoshi Motegi, returns for yet another terrible outing no doubt. Gedo probably isn’t gonna be good enough to carry that slug here, although I’m loving the rudo facial expression Gedo has when entering the ring, and you have to dig that purple coat. Motegi starts us off with a headlock, but he gets shot off, only to come back with a shoulderblock on the rebound. He waits around too long though, and Gedo gets his own headlock and shoulderblock before going into a running the ropes sequence. Motegi ends that with a back kick and hits a decent belly-to-belly followed with a dropkick to send Gedo out of the ring. A good tope suicida from Motegi, and he grabs his title belt and starts nailing Gedo in the arm with it. Decent stuff there, Gedo plays the rudo heel in this tournament, but he’s also a sort of default babyface to the crowd because he’s a WAR wrestler, so it’s alright for Motegi to twist the roles a little and use a foreign object. Gedo sells the arm work and gets posted before they both roll back into the ring, Motegi receiving a really healthy round of boos from the crowd. He hits an arm-breaker followed with a snapmare and a kick, before locking in a jujigatame to make Gedo scream! Motegi transitions into another arm lock before dealing death with a lovely series of rolling arm drags on the mat. This is amazing, could Motegi actually be a good wrestler now?! Gedo manages to reverse and rake the eyes to escape before pounding Motegi with elbows and headbutts. Motegi only needs to nail one elbow to that arm though, and Gedo is once again his to play with. He bends the arm around the ropes for as long as he can before hitting another arm-breaker and a dropkick to the arm. Gedo breaks out of it though and reverses a hammerlock only to take a LUCHA SNAPMARE and a hip toss! Gedo reverses a whip but takes a headscissors takedown on the rebound to send him outside. Motegi hits a pescado, but soon goes back in for more heel heat before suplexing Gedo into the ring as well. He goes up top and DRILLS Gedo with a front dropkick for 2 Ѕ! Brainbuster gets 2.9! Gedo is whipped to the corner, but gets his feet up on the charge and nails a dropkick to put Motegi down! He calls for the diving headbutt, but it misses, and Motegi capitalizes with ROLLING GERMANS for 2.999!! He goes up top, but Motegi also misses the diving headbutt! He tries a ‘rana, but Gedo reverses it into a powerbomb and locks in the GEDO SUBMISSION THING!! Motegi inches towards the ropes, but Gedo pulls him back to the centre of the ring and he HAS to submit!

Shockingly, that was really quite good! Actually not far behind the Ohtani / Masaaki match, remarkable. Motegi has really come along as a worker since the 1994 J Cup, which he was horrible in, and he surprised me here with some really good arm work that didn’t go on too long and entertained me quite a lot. The arm work didn’t really go anywhere however, which is the only major bad point about this match, but Gedo didn’t really do anything with the arm so it didn’t really matter. Gedo himself was also better than in 1994, and although some of his offence still looks sluggish, he has decent selling and general mannerisms which somehow endears him to me. He gets a lot of bad press which I don’t understand as well, he’s as solid a worker as anyone and entertains me. Overall, a good match, and another surprise thrown at me by the J Cups… 67%

El Samurai vs. Dos Caras

They tie up to start, and Caras backs Samurai into the ropes and gives him a clean break, establishing himself as an honorable person there. Drop toe hold from Caras, and he spreads Samurai’s legs in a painful manner but the ropes are made. They exchange some arm wringers until Caras whips Samurai into a FLYING CROSS CHOP! The Japanese crowd go mental for that slice of lucha offence and Caras hits a spinning splash for 1. Here comes ludicrous hold #1 as Caras hooks Samurai’s head with his legs, grabs Samurai’s leg, places Samurai’s arm under his own leg and pulls backwards creating some form of elevated stump puller! Samurai powers out of it though, stamps away and gets a suplex for 2 Ѕ. Caras comes back with an arm wringer into a hammerlock, and he steps round, rolls himself and Samurai forward on to the mat and places his leg around Samurai’s head! That’s a MONSIEUR SALTY with added hammerlock, and I am a happy bunny watching this! Samurai tries to come back, but he is thwarted with another takedown and Caras bring the lucha with a mexican surfboard. The ropes are made though, and Samurai slips outside, safe from dives because Caras is all about honour. Back in, Samurai decides he can’t win with matwork, and so smacks him down and hits a shoulderblock instead, only to be destroyed with another FLYING CROSS CHOP! Caras sends him out with a dropkick, and Samurai didn’t respect him with those stomps, so this time he decides to hit a nice little tope suicida! Back in, Samurai tries a kick, but his leg is caught and Caras pushes him down. He grabs Samurai’s other leg and crosses it with the other, before leaning forward and grabbing his head, finally rolling on to his back for a FANTASTIC elevated inverse butterfly lock with crossover leg hold! This is just mental stuff. Samurai manages to power out though, and gets a legdrop followed with a FINE piledriver for 2 ѕ! Good psychology there as Caras had been working him with lucha offence the whole match, so Samurai decided to a move that is illegal in lucha libre, and it even works on the body part Caras hurt performing that tope suicida earlier. Caras is whipped, but he grabs a backslide on the way back for 2 ѕ! He grabs another hammerlock, hooks the other arm and rolls forward once again, hooking a leg on the way down and into an AMAZING pinning combination for 2.9! Samurai comes back with a couple of boots and gets a weak thunderfire powerbomb for a 2.9 of his own. Caras is whipped in the corner for a dropkick, and Samurai puts him up top and nails a hurricanrana for 2.99! Slam, and Samurai goes up top, but the flying headbutt misses for the third time this tournament and Caras lands the FLYING CROSSBODY for the win!!

That was another really fun match with bits of lovely lucha vs. Japanese based psychology thrown in for very good measure. Samurai’s offence is a bit standard, but what he did meant a whole load in establishing Caras’ honorable nature. Caras, on the other hand, is an absolute joy to watch, his funky matwork making me grin from ear to ear just for pure innovation. He’s remarkably impressive from an athletic standpoint as well, considering he looks quite, quite old, and is much larger than the standard junior wrestler. This match was impressive to me, despite being a relative squash, and I really look forward to seeing more of Caras later in the show… 68%

Lionheart (Chris Jericho) vs. Hanzo Nakajima

Hanzo is in pink (?!) and stands on his head on the top turnbuckle to show his high flying ability. Lionheart is decked out like one of the new blackjacks from mid-90’s WWF and is a cocky little heel who shouts ‘let’s go baby’ at every available opportunity. Hanzo gets flipped the bird to start before they do a standing switch reversal sequence and Lionheart pulls an arm drag out. A tiny lucha sequence pops up in quick succession, but it goes no where, and we back to the vertical base. Hanzo gets dumped for some pointless leg work before Lionheart lifts him into a ‘let’s go baby’ delayed suplex, which Hanzo sells by clutching his stomach. Weird. He comes back with a spinkick and downs Lionheart with that leg grapevine but the ropes are easily made. Hanzo gets chopped into the corner for a lariat, but he manages to reverse a whip and hip-toss Lionheart to the mat before following up with a lovely spinning senton for 1. A dodgy moonsault press gets 2 and he follows up with the top turnbuckle headstand into a ‘rana to a nice pop! Lionheart cuts him off with a nasty lariat though for 2 Ѕ, and Hanzo is still clutching his stomach… legitimate injury perhaps? Lionheart pounds him for another 2 Ѕ and looks genuinely annoyed at how this match is going so far. Hanzo comes back with a decent ‘rana-rollup for a 2 Ѕ of his own before sending Lionheart out of the ring with a spinkick. A baseball slide keeps him there long enough for Hanzo to hit a tope suicida! Back in and Hanzo goes up top, but he is caught and dropkicked off to the floor! Lionheart riles up the crowd before hitting his springboard splash to the outside! Back in, Hanzo gets whipped, but comes back with a PATHETIC rollup for 2 ѕ. He comes off the top with a high crossbody but Lionheart rolls through on the pinning attempt for 2.9! That was good stuff, if Caras can win with a high crossbody, why can’t Hanzo? Because he just ain’t a lucha libre god, that’s why! Fisherman’s buster, and Lionheart hits the lionsault to the injured stomach for the win!

Apart from a handful of alright spots and that tiny little piece of psychology, this match gave me very little to get excited about. Lionheart’s character of the loud mouth American is pretty cool, but his offence consisted of very little apart from slow, basic transition moves and his spots. Chris Jericho has come a very long way since 1995, believe me. Hanzo Nakajima is very inexperienced, and appeared out of breath very soon into this match. He too has a limited moveset, and even though his spots were fairly impressive I can’t really rate this pink-suited child very highly. Overall, the match was unstructured, unfocused and without much substance. The occasional impressive spot and Lionheart’s ability to work the crowd earn this a rating, but not much of one… 22%

QUARTER-FINALS

Jyushin ‘Thunder’ Lyger vs. Gran Naniwa

LYGER IN THE HOUSE BABY! My favorite wrestler ever goes up against Naniwa, who I also really like. You’ll have to forgive a hint of bias. Naniwa attacks before the bell by dropkicking Lyger on the top rope during his entrance!! He follows Lyger up there and hits a hurricanrana! The crowd is going absolutely mental! Lyger drops to the outside and sells like a god before being hit with a plancha from the top and being thrown back into the ring. Naniwa brings more of the aerial offence with a missile dropkick to the back of Lyger’s head! He taunts and removes his ring jacket before nailing his CRAB-BOMB for 2.9! The crowd is well into this match as Naniwa locks on a torture style stretch plum, but the ropes are made. Backbreaker, and Naniwa heads to the second rope for the CRAB-WALK! He almost nails the elbow drop, but Lyger moves and Naniwa has to steady himself to stay on the second rope. He crab-walks slightly more to try another elbow drop, and this time Lyger moves out of the way a second later, Naniwa misses his elbow, and Lyger waves his finger in dismay! That was a godlike opening, full of mannerisms that clearly got the characters in this match over. Naniwa is the young punk with everything to prove by beating Lyger, the granddaddy of all juniors. Lyger himself is the experienced veteran, and when Naniwa tried such a rediculous and convoluted move such as the crab-walk elbow drop, it was easy for him to gain the upper hand. Back to the match and Lyger heelishly stalks Naniwa, intermittently stomping him in his head, before whipping him. The lariat is ducked though, and Naniwa comes right back into control with a ‘rana-rollup for 2.9! He tries another, but Lyger casually dumps him with a powerbomb and really rubs it in Naniwa’s face by doing a crab-walk of his own! Absolutely brilliant. Lyger lifts him to his feet at an agonizingly slow pace, before just locking in a standing waist lock and tossing Naniwa over his head into an unprotected release german! He walks over to Naniwa’s body, conveying every inch of anger with his body language, and locks on the mexican surfboard with inverse headlock! Naniwa pokes him in his eyes to escape though, and does the exact same move on Lyger! The veteran doesn’t need to eye-poking, and escapes on pure power, only to have Naniwa slap the Gedo Submission Thing on him. It’s reversed into the LYGER SUBMISSION THING however, and that is segued into a NASTY camel clutch! Lyger really wrenched that in. He lets him go, and Naniwa tries to fire back with punches, but Lyger doesn’t like it and SLAPS him in the face! Naniwa tries punching back again, and is more successful this time, backing Lyger into a corner with a LYGER SLAP FLURRY! This use of Lyger’s moveset by Naniwa is wonderful. He whips Lyger to the opposite corner for a lariat and gets a DDT for 1. Headscissors on the mat, but Lyger reverses it and hits the chinlock. Segued into a headlock, but Lyger gets shot off and takes a STIFF lariat! A dropkick sends Lyger outside and Naniwa follows up with a SWEET rolling senton from the apron! Back in and Naniwa hits a slam followed by a splash from the top for 2 ѕ! Lyger is put up top and Naniwa hits another ‘rana for 2.9! CRAB-BOMB gets another 2.9 but he can’t pull him up for the third one and Naniwa feels a LYGERKICK for his troubles! He chops Naniwa and sends him to the corner for a running LYGERKICK! Naniwa bails to the outside and Lyger goes up top for a revenge plancha, but Naniwa catches him, gets slapped back into the ring again and feels a diving elbow drop for 2.999! Lyger says ‘that’s all’ and goes for the lygerbomb, but it’s reversed into a ‘rana-rollup for 2.999! Naniwa tries a charge but gets kicked in the gut to set up the FISHERMAN’S BUSTER, which is all Lyger needs to get the pin!

That match was just under ten minutes, but it was just so jam-packed full of character, storytelling, great spots, great workrate and simple, downright, fun that it has to be one of my favorite matches ever. The whole concept of young punk vs. experienced veteran is such a classic wrestling storyline and has been brilliantly executed for years, but Naniwa and Lyger took the concept and made it their own with their brilliant and amusing trademark mannerisms. Naniwa’s inherent daftness gave the match it’s sense of fun and added an extra dimension to the moves he stole from Lyger. Lyger himself was awesome as he always is, the body language and mannerisms make him the quintessential experienced veteran. Superb match, with only the one portion of rest holds stopping it from being classic… 87%

Wild Pegasus (Chris Benoit) vs. Lionheart (Chris Jericho)

They get in each others faces to start and Pegasus hits a nice arm drag out of a tie up. Lionheart hits one of his own and shouts some expletives at Pegasus before they head into a reversal sequence with Pegasus trying to get his dragon suplex. Lionheart slaps him, so Pegasus SLAPS him back and hits a snapmare into a chinlock. He surfboards the arms and Lionheart screams in an amusingly high pitched voice before he reverses it and they go back to the vertical base. Test of strength and Pegasus gets the upper hand, but Lionheart kicks him off and uses his momentum to hit a lovely sunset flip, but they mess up the pin attempt at the end and Pegasus smothers him for 2. Back up again and Lionheart kicks him to set up the ‘let’s go baby’ delayed suplex, which gets 2, and he heats the crowd some more before hitting a lovely chinlock. Slam, and the slingshot splash gets 2 before Lionheart hits a sleeper. Pegasus works it into a headlock and he fires back with the RADICALZ BACKDROP! Best snap-suplex in the game gets 2 Ѕ and Lionheart is whipped into the HARSH lariat for 2.9! Backbreaker, and Pegasus turns it into a submission move to make Lionheart scream some more, before letting go and slapping the VICIOUS lion-tamer on him! Lionheart is let go once again and whipped, but Pegasus misses the dropkick and takes a senton for 2 Ѕ. Pegasus gets whipped into a MANLY lariat and Lionheart gets all arrogant on us and whips Pegasus into the corner for a dropkick. He heats the crowd yet again before unleashing a couple of chops on Pegasus, only to get slapped down with another lariat! Pegasus whips him and Lionheart tries to come back with a springboard moonsault press, but it misses and Pegasus gets the kitchen sink. He hangs Lionheart on the ropes and he falls to the apron where Pegasus just pounds him to death! Lionheart slips out of a suplex attempt though, and gets his revenge with a few kicks before hanging Pegasus on the ropes in revenge. Pegasus ends up on the apron and Lionheart hits the springboard dropkick to send him to the floor before nailing the springboard moonsault to the floor! Pegasus manages to kick him on the way back in and goes up top, but he is caught and Lionheart tries a super-backdrop… but Pegasus reverses in mid-air and lands on top of him for 2.99!! Lionheart is dragged to the centre of the ring and Pegasus literally throws him into a HORRIBLE powerbomb for 2.999! Excellent stuff as Lionheart was screaming in mid-powerbomb, you almost felt like he truly feared for his life. Pegasus tries a german but he is reversed, so Pegasus reverses Lionheart and tries for the dragon suplex, but Lionheart rolls him up for 2… but Pegasus reverses that for another 2. Back up and Lionheart tries for a german but he is reversed and Pegasus nails the DRAGON SUPLEX for 2.999! Slam, but Pegasus misses the swandive headbutt and Lionheart covers him for 2.9! A gorgeous folding powerbomb gets Lionheart another 2.9 and he tries a suplex, but Pegasus reverses and ends up on the apron. He dumps Lionheart to the floor with a backdrop and follows up with a lovely tope suicida! Pegasus signals for the murderous powerbomb, but Lionheart flips out of it and NAILS a tiger suplex!! Fisherman’s buster to set up the lionsault, it misses but Lionheart lands on his feet and fires off a ‘rana-rollup for 2 ѕ! Lionheart kicks him down and hits the lionsault to the back before rolling him for another 2 ѕ. He sets Pegasus up top and follows, but Pegasus punches him on the way up and twists him round for a LAME tombstone off the top for the win.

That was a pretty good match. Lionheart looked decent, his rudo character was in good contrast to Pegasus’ straight wrestler personality (if you can call it a personality). The bits of his offence where he was being a complete punk were great, it was only when he became slow and forgot his character that his work was dull. He also appeared to be less well conditioned than he is now, seeming out of breath towards the end of this match. Pegasus was fun to watch, instilling each of his moves with stiffness and an apparent disregard for his opponents safety. At it’s core though, this match was limited despite the good work. It possessed little in the way of structure or build as neither of the participants focused their attacks on a limb or attempted to get a move consistently throughout the match. Also, Pegasus’ selling leaves quite a lot to be desired, although Lionheart did well to convey the emotion of the match. Overall this match was a lot of fun to watch but it was also ultimately shallow… 71%

Ultimo Dragon vs. Shinjiro Ohtani

Ohtani holds the ropes open to let Ultimo into the ring… that’s certainly an interesting move. They both miss kicks to start and Ultimo gets a shoulderblock, but it’s no sold and Ohtani tries a back body drop… but Ultimo flips out of it and boots Ohtani to the floor! Ultimo fakes a tope and tries a pescado, but Ohtani dumps him to the concrete and follows up with a nice missile dropkick from the apron! Back in, and Ohtani keeps to the aerial offence with a springboard plancha to the outside! He throws Ultimo back in and gets all evil with a NASTY springboard leg lariat to the back of the head! Now that is the way to start a match… Slam, and Ohtani goes to the apron to climb the turnbuckle, but Ultimo drills him with a springboard dropkick to send him to the outside! He keeps him there with a kick and hits the ASAI MOONSAULT! Ohtani is thrown back in and whipped into a GORGEOUS lariat for 2, and Ultimo hits the chinlock. Ohtani sells well and Ultimo segues into a headscissors on the mat, but it’s reversed for an evil face lock. Ultimo reverses and tries a pin, but Ohtani escapes that and tries for a jujigatame, which is in turn reversed for the leg grapevine. They wrestle over a leg lock before Ultimo slaps him, and Ohtani gets all pissed off and stamps on Ultimo’s head before whipping him into a sweet dropkick for 2! They head into some more mat work with Ohtani really trying to get the jujigatame locked on, but it is denied each time. Ultimo tries for a single leg crab, but he can’t put it on and so kicks Ohtani instead. He murders him with a knee to the face and tries the single leg crab again, but Ohtani swiftly reverses it into the leg grapevine! The ropes are made quite easily though, and they do some more matwork before Ultimo stands on his face for fun and nails a lariat in the corner. Ultimo gets a nasty camel clutch, but soon lets him go to try a suplex, which is denied and Ohtani hits one of his own for 2. Ohtani shoves an elbow in Ultimo’s face and lifts him up just to kick him down again! Tombstone, but Ultimo pops up and no sells it! He hits one of his own, but Ohtani no sells it! He SLAPS Ultimo and gets another tombstone, which is no sold in the most casual way possible and Ohtani gets SLAPPED and tombstoned, which he no sells in the same casual manner! Ultimo is expecting it though and is on him with kicks before whipping him to the corner. Ohtani bounces out of it with a crossbody though, only to get dropkicked in mid-air for 2 ѕ! Ouch, Ohtani is dead. He tries to pick up Ohtani, but he is too dead to stand so he stamps him in the head before putting him up top and connecting with a lovely hurricanrana for 2.9! Ohtani desperately tries to shake the cobwebs off and Ultimo tries a powerbomb, but it’s reversed into a ‘rana-rollup for 2.9! Ohtani is REALLY fired up, and he puts Ultimo up top to hit a hurricanrana of his own for 2.9… but the pin is reversed for 2.99!! Both men have to check that wasn’t a three count! Ultimo tries a suplex, but Ohtani slips out and lands on the apron. He tries a springboard dropkick, but Ultimo sees it coming and steps out of the way so he can lock on LA MAJISTRAL for 2.999!! Ohtani looks bewildered and confused, yet still VERY fired up. Ultimo chops him and sends him to the corner, but Ohtani connects with a roundhouse kick on the charge and slips to the apron to hit a springboard dropkick to the back of Ultimo’s head! Ohtani signals for the end and fires off a PERFECT DRAGON SUPLEX for 2.9999! Ohtani is in despair that that didn’t work and so tries another, but Ultimo scrambles to the ropes twice to avoid it, really selling the fact that if he is hit with another dragon suplex, the match will be over. Absolutely blow away stuff. Ohtani whips him but gets pounded on the rebound, and Ultimo nails a LYGERBOMB for 2.99999! The crowd are willing Ohtani forward, but Ultimo puts him down with a FISHERMAN’S BUSTER for 2.999999! They both sell their injuries, but pop up at the same time and both try a leg lariat to put themselves down again! Ultimo recovers first though and hits a slam follows by a sky twister press, which misses by miles unfortunately, but he locks on another LA MAJISTRAL to get the pin!

Damn the missed sky twister press, this would have been even better had that of hit. Both guys here were really, really great. Ohtani’s selling and facial expressions are some of the best in the business, and you can always count on him to convey more emotion than a woman in labour. Ultimo has less distinguishing features in terms of his wrestling style as he works more like the typical junior wrestler, but here he was really on his game, contributing everything he could to this contest. Overall, this match had superb build, great spots, a whole load of emotion and a great and consistent story concerning the equality of the two competitors. Everything about this match just oozes greatness, with the only bad points being the missed sky twister press, and the slightly pointless matwork after the hot start… 90%

Dos Caras vs. Gedo

They hook up and Caras brings him down with a headlock, but it’s reversed into a headscissors by Gedo, only to have Caras escape. He bows to Gedo to establish his honorable intent and gets an arm wringer. Gedo flips out though and gets one of his own, only to have Caras flip out of his and grab Gedo’s arm, placing one of his legs on Gedo’s neck and one below the arm. He pulls the arm out of the socket and Gedo almost powers out, but Caras shakes his boot against Gedo’s face to put him down again. Funny stuff. Gedo manages to power out and hits a snapmare into a sleeper, but Caras reverses into a RINGS OF SATURN variation! Gedo makes the rope, and Caras gives him a clean break. Another good start to a match here, although the crowd is not cheering we have established that Caras is a fair and honorable man, as well as the fact that he can beat Gedo on the mat with ease. Back to the vertical base and Caras gets a drop toe hold into a STIFF mexican surfboard variant to make him squeal like a little piggy, and rolls Gedo on to his shoulders for 2. Back up and Gedo rakes the eyes, but it just serves to make Caras pissed off and he chops Gedo and whips him for the FLYING CROSS CHOP! He whips him again for a massive back body drop and leaps into a victory roll! He doesn’t cover though, instead choosing to put on THE IDIOT LOCK~! Gedo makes the ropes though, only to have Caras bring the offence with a scorpion deathlock variant, only turning it over to form the usual move when it looks like Gedo will make the ropes. Good matwork here and good selling from Gedo, who is literally screaming in pain. Gedo finally makes the ropes and Caras drops an elbow, following up with a snapmare. Caras then sits on Gedo’s neck, facing forward, and hooks his legs under his feet before rolling over to the side and grabbing Gedo’s arms to form another brilliant submission move! Caras is so entertaining to watch! An announcement concerning the time limit of the match convinces Caras to let go and nail Gedo with an elbow to the head. Powerslam gets 1, and Gedo looks very weary after all those submission moves… but it’s an act, and Gedo dropkicks Caras in the leg! Gedo hooks Caras’ arms and start undoing his mask to serious heel heat! Caras makes the ropes but Gedo shoves the referee away and continues in his task. He almost pulls the mask off, but fails and whips Caras instead. The lariat is ducked though and a FLYING CROSS CHOP followed with a dropkick sends Gedo out of the ring! Caras hits a lovely pescado and throws Gedo back in to hit a HORRIBLE folding powerbomb for 2 ѕ! A butterfly backbreaker gets another 2 ѕ and Caras chops him harshly in the corner before whipping him to the other corner, but Gedo gets his feet up on the charge and runs at Caras… but Caras converts it for a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker!! Caras goes up top and hits the HIGH CROSSBODY… but Gedo rips his mask off to make him break the pin!! Brilliant! And now Caras is REALLY pissed off, and just pounds Gedo into the corner with a barrage of harsh strikes. He mounts him for the ten punches and the referee comes over to check he’s not using closed fists, so Gedo TURNS THE REFEREE’S HEAD away so he wont see the cheating and connects HARSHLY wit a LOW BLOW! How heelish can you get? He drills Caras with an EVIL DDT before locking in the GEDO CLUTCH for the pin!

That was so good, I’m stunned at the quality of this show so far. Neither Gedo’s nor Caras’ talents are particularly suited to the standard juniors match as Gedo lacks an extensive moveset and Caras doesn’t really have any selling ability, so instead they carved out a match which worked perfectly to their strengths. Caras’ offence is wonderful, bringing the innovative and varied matwork. Gedo’s selling is also wonderful, always screaming and managing to convey his emotions. The story of the match was also very good. They established Caras’ honorable nature early on, as well as his ability on the mat, so when Gedo failed to beat Caras by normal means and cheated to win, it all made sense in the context of the match. Overall, a brilliant slow paced contest, but it had no sourcing from the previous matches on the card, which is the only place it falls down on… 83%

SEMI-FINALS

Jyushin ‘Thunder’ Lyger vs. Ultimo Dragon

Two of the greatest juniors of all time, and two producers of this show, wrestle to see who will be the first wrestler in the final. They go into a test of strength and wrestle over that until Lyger smartly brings Ultimo to the mat with a smooth headscissors takedown. They wrestle over a hammerlock on the mat for a bit until Ultimo hits a reverse dropkick, and we back to the vertical base. Ultimo grabs the leg and works it over in fine style on the mat until Lyger reverses and tries some arm work. That is escaped, with Ultimo being flippy and we are back to a stand-off again. Lyger grabs him this time and works in a couple of great surfboard variants, but Ultimo escapes and whips Lyger for a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker! He tries whipping him again but Lyger reverses and hits a STIFF tilt-a-whirl backbreaker of his own on the rebound! We go back to the mat as Lyger hits a snapmare into a headscissors on the mat, trying to put Ultimo in a slightly confused state. Ultimo reverses in a SWIFT manner, but Lyger is better than him and puts on a lovely, wrenching, surfboard variant to inflict some pain before continuing the arm work with an arm wringer. He chops away at Ultimo, but gets reversed and Ultimo gets in some chops of his own before whipping him and trying an abdominal stretch, but they lose their balance and sort of fall over each other on to the mat. Shame that, all the work up to that point had been smooth as anything I’ve ever seen. Lyger continues the arm work to an extent with another arm wringer, before whipping him into a back body drop, but Ultimo flips out of it. He tries to nail Lyger with a lariat, but it is blocked and Lyger fires off one of his own, but that is ducked and Ultimo kicks him in the stomach. He whips Lyger and they run the ropes in SWIFT style before exchanging knock-downs and arm drags before reaching a stand-off again! That was the best sequence I’ve ever seen, just awesome communication and speed with just the right amount of flashy stuff! Lyger gets a surprise knee to Ultimo’s gut and whips him into a dropkick to the knee! Amazing selling of that from Ultimo. Lyger stalks him before lifting him to his feet only to hit another dropkick to the knee! Now that is vintage Lyger, what a complete asshole he is! He stomps the leg and hits another dropkick to the knee before firing off a RELEASE GERMAN to keep Ultimo’s head confused, and locks on the FIGURE FOUR to get the submission! Ultimo refuses to give up though, despite Lyger dragging him back to the middle of the ring, and the ropes are made. Lyger locks on a crossover leg hold to keep putting pressure on the limb though, and adds a hammerlock to it for added pain, but Ultimo manages to reverse it into a single leg crab. He segues into the GYRATING INVERTED STF… Lyger gets out of it, but Ultimo keeps the leg hold on to give him time to recover from his leg injury. He finally breaks it and whips Lyger into the corner for the HANDSPRING ELBOW and a fisherman’s suplex, but Lyger breaks the pin by slapping Ultimo on his stomach. The offence is constant though, and Ultimo locks his own FIGURE FOUR on! Ultimo really wrenches it in, and Lyger sells it like it’s death, but the ropes are made! Both men now favoring their legs, but Ultimo manages to fire off another handspring elbow to send Lyger outside and fakes a tope… but hits a tope suicida through the corner! Ultimo climbs the turnbuckle, and lands a SENTON ATOMICO to the outside! Back in and Ultimo hits a folding powerbomb for 2 Ѕ and follows up with a TIGER SUPLEX for 2 ѕ! Lyger sells it like he’s dead and Ultimo picks him up and locks on that abdominal stretch until he lets go and whips Lyger, but the dropkick misses and Lyger slingshots him over the ropes to the outside! He follows up with a rolling senton from the apron before going back in and hitting a folding powerbomb of his own for 2 Ѕ! Lyger drops him with a HARSH brainbuster for 2.9! He nails Ultimo with a tombstone and hits the flying headbutt for 2.999! He whips Ultimo, but gets kicked on the rebound and Ultimo leaps for a victory roll… but Lyger reverses the pin for another near fall!! Lyger tries a lariat, but takes a northern lights suplex for 2.9! Ultimo whips him, but it is reversed and Lyger sends Ultimo to the corner and drills him with a LYGERKICK! Lyger puts Ultimo up top and tries for the super fisherman’s buster, but it is denied and Ultimo dumps him face first on the mat and slaps on LA MAJISTRAL for 2.9999!! Ultimo hits a springboard moonsault press and a slam, but the moonsault misses, injuring Ultimo’s leg again! LYGERBOMB gets 2.99999!! Lyger charges, but takes a drop toe hold and LA MAJISTRAL… but Lyger stops the rollup halfway and pins Ultimo for the victory!!

Now that was one of the best finishes in history. The La Majistral rollup has won the last two rounds for Ultimo Dragon, but here it was his undoing for a number of reasons. His legs weren’t powerful enough to take Lyger’s shoulders to the mat after the work on them early in the match and the re-injuring of them from the missed moonsault, Lyger wasn’t hurt enough, and he’s too damn smart not to realize that Ultimo would try and use the move to finish him off. The rest of this match was awesome, with the exception of the messed up abdominal stretch, all of the extensive matwork and sequences were amazingly smooth. This is something you don’t usually notice in a wrestling match, but here I was just very impressed with these two wrestlers immense grasp of the wrestling basics; communication, smoothness, and the illusion of reality. Superb. My only criticism is the lack of a deep and consistent story as the matwork was not focused on any body parts for a significant amount of time, but this is a very minor thing… 89%

Wild Pegasus (Chris Benoit) vs. Gedo

Pegasus teases a test of strength but boots Gedo in the gut, pounds him down and whips him into a STIFF back elbow! He dumps Gedo with a HORRIBLE backdrop for 2.9! Pegasus lifts Gedo and chops him right back down again before dropping a nasty legdrop and hitting the best damn snap suplex in the business! Pegasus levels him with a MANLY lariat and follows up with a slam into that EVIL lion-tamer of his. Gedo makes the ropes though, after doing some of his trademark screaming and gets pounded and CHOPPED back into the corner! One hell of a HARSH snapmare leads into a half-surfboard from Pegasus, and he wrenches it in for a good few moments before hitting the GERMAN for another 2.9! He tries an STF, but there is no way Gedo is submitting at this stage, so he lets him go and puts him up top for a superplex! It gets yet another 2.9 and Pegasus tries a german, but Gedo reverses it into one of his own for just a 1 count! Gedo continues the offence with a snapmare and the GEDO SUBMISSION THINGY! Pegasus sells it very well, bringing lots of emotion, before working the move to a vertical base and dropping Gedo into a jawbreaker to escape the hold! Gedo continues in control though, and whips Pegasus, it’s reversed however, but Gedo manages to get his knee up on the blind charge and nail Pegasus with a DIVING ‘RANA to send him outside! Gedo lines up and hits FAT PIGLET TOPE~! Pegasus recovers first however (daft) and suplexes Gedo HARSHLY against the SIDE OF A TABLE! Mmm, back crackingly good! Pegasus takes him back inside the ring, puts him up top and hits a hurricanrana for 2.999! He hits another GERMAN for 2 Ѕ, so he rolls it into a second one for 2 ѕ! Gedo is about to take a tombstone, but reverses it into one of his own and goes up top. Pegasus catches him, but gets headbutted off… but Gedo’s splash MEETS KNEE! That was NASTY! They both recover… and Pegasus DECAPITATES HIM WITH THE BEST LARIAT EVER FOR 2.999999!! Oh… my… god… that was SO vicious! A folding powerbomb gets another stupidly near fall and the DRAGON SUPLEX also just fails to get the job done! Slam, but the flying headbutt misses! Pegasus tries a powerbomb after much selling, but it’s reversed into a ‘rana for 2 Ѕ! Gedo looks wasted, but manages to slip out of a suplex attempt and hit a VICIOUS brainbuster, and HITS THE FLYING HEADBUTT for the win!

Gedo gets the revenge win from last year and I’ve just watched the best squash ever! I mean, alright, Gedo didn’t get much offence, but he bumped like an absolute MADMAN for Pegasus, who was just unbelievably harsh throughout. That bump from the vicious lariat was especially wonderful, with Gedo flipping over and landing directly on his face, classic stuff. Gedo’s selling was also great, and Pegasus’ conveyed hatred and a desire to get the job done well through the way he was striking Gedo. They also sourced from earlier in the tournament and their match from last years tournament, which Pegasus won with his flying headbutt. This time Gedo was expecting the headbutt and moved out of the way, knocked out Pegasus with a brainbuster, using his trick of stiffness against him, and hit his own, trademark, flying headbutt for the win. At the end of the day though, there wasn’t much substance to this match I suppose, as Gedo got in very little offence before the win, it was just a glorified squash. I do rate matches on how much they entertained me however, and this one entertained me a great deal… 74%

SPECIAL ATTRACTION, NON-TOURNAMENT

Psicosis vs. Rey Misterio Jr.

They do some good but half-hearted matwork for a while until Rey breaks us out of it with a lovely tilt-a-whirl slam followed with an equally lovely tilt-a-whirl backbreaker! Psicosis gains control and hits the split legged splash in a corner before working in a hammerlock. Rey breaks out of that with a lucha snapmare and they run the ropes into a FANTASTIC lucha arm-drag sequence and a Rey Misterio ‘rana over the top rope! He follows up with a springboard rolling senton to the outside! My that’s some good high spotting! Back in and they run the ropes some more until Psicosis hits an entirely pointless dropkick to the knee and whips Rey again. They run the ropes some more until Rey pulls out an amazing spinning ‘rana to send Psicosis down. Rey charges and gets dumped to the apron, Psicosis follows him and they chop each other before the hotshot into the turnbuckle spot! Psicosis goes down on the outside and Rey climbs the turnbuckle, waiting until Psicosis stands up and then hitting a WONDERFUL diving ‘rana to the outside! Psicosis tries a suplex on the way back into the ring, but Rey slips out only to be dumped to the outside again and Psicosis hits a slingshot plancha! Back in and Rey hits a lovely springboard dropkick to the back of the head to send Psicosis flying all the way across the ring and back outside. Rey follows up with a gorgeous springboard rolling senton! This is the true meaning of the phrase ‘spot-fest’. Back in, Rey hits a SWEET springboard diving ‘rana rollup for 2.9! They run the ropes yet again and fall to the outside in a crumpled heap allowing Rey to hit a SPACEMAN QUEBRADA! Back in, Psicosis gets token offence with a powerslam, a MANLY powerbomb and a diving legdrop for 2 ѕ! A meat-filled powerbomb sets up the twisting, rolling senton, but it misses and Rey hits a leg lariat. He puts Psicosis up top, but the ‘rana is denied, only for Psicosis to take a springboard ‘rana from the top instead! Rey lines up and hits one final, snapping, hurricanrana for the pin!

A complete spot fest with no substance, build, or anything substantial for me to get my teeth into. Psicosis also hardly got any offence in, which was odd considering he was supposed to be the heel here, so it was a virtual squash too. Having said that, the spots were mind blowing at times. When you consider this was 1995, and not the era when great high spots are common, the stuff Rey was pulling out here was just awesome. A diving ‘rana to the outside? That’s just great entertainment right there! If they had just taken the time to give Psicosis some more offence to establish a heel / face dynamic and done more transitional sequences to set up the high spots, this would have been much better… 43% for the high spots.

SUPER J CUP FINAL

Jyushin ‘Thunder’ Lyger vs. Gedo

They hook up and exchange standing reversals until Lyger takes him down with a hammerlock and the arm work begins! Gedo’s arm is snapped backwards a couple of times and then stamped on before Lyger gets a NASTY arm drag into an arm wringer on the mat. Gedo is already screaming in pain as Lyger wrenches in the arm lock further and then goes absolutely mental on the limb, dropping a knee into it numerous times. Each time Gedo tries to escape, Lyger segues into a more vicious arm lock and keeps Gedo on the mat and in pain. Lots of emotion here from both guys as well, as Gedo is showing his pain well and Lyger obviously really wants to get the job done, constantly shouting at the referee to “ask him” to submit. Gedo gets a renewed sense of aggression and makes the ropes, but Lyger dropkicks him HARSHLY in that arm, and flicks his hair back behind his horns in that cocky way he does. He picks Gedo up and is about to suplex him… but switches it into a WAKIGATAME! That was so evil, he went for the suplex just long enough to convince Gedo that was really what he was doing, but switched to an arm lock at the last minute to catch him off guard. Lyger is god. He REALLY wrenches in the arm lock, but the ropes are made, so Lyger hits the ARM-BREAKER! Gedo sold that like a bullet in the arm! Lyger hits him with another vicious dropkick to the arm and stalks him before firing off another ARM-BREAKER! I’m just in awe watching this. He beats on the arm some more, Gedo tries to escape another arm-breaker by pulling the hair, but the referee stops that and Gedo takes the arm-breaker and Lyger locks in the CHICKENWING CROSSFACE! That’s a bit of sourcing from last years J Cup as Lyger used the same move on Sasuke then. The ropes are made here though, but Lyger continues the pain with a JUJIGATAME! Gedo just isn’t tapping though, and the ropes are made once again! He shoves Gedo into the corner with his boot and pounds on the arm some more before locking in another CHICKENWING CROSSFACE, but Gedo will not go down and gets towards the ropes! The referee goes over to check for when Gedo makes the ropes, and Gedo kicks back, hitting the LOW BLOW!! Lyger sells like the god he is, but he falls for Gedo’s trick of making him pissed off and charges at him, meeting a boot to the face for his trouble! Gedo hits a shoulderblock to send Lyger outside and follows up with a moonsault to the outside from the turnbuckle! Go on piggy, fly! Back in, Gedo takes time to partially recover from the arm work, and hits a powerbomb before heading upstairs to nail the FLYING HEADBUTT for 2 ѕ! GEDO SUBMISSION THING! Lyger nearly makes the ropes but gets pulled back to the centre of the ring twice before finally making them on the third attempt! Gedo tries a whip, but he is reversed and Lyger nails the RUNNING LYGERKICK~! He sets Gedo up in the corner with his legs apart and lines up for another NASTY RUNNING LYGERKICK! Revenge for that low blow there people! A baseball slide sends Gedo outside and Lyger climbs the turnbuckle and flies with a plancha to the outside… but Gedo dropkicks him in mid-air! They both get in the ring at exactly the same time and in the same way to show how equally hurt they are. They recover at the same time too, but Lyger uses the only advantage he has at this point, and goes back to the arm work with another ARM-BREAKER! Gedo reverses the whip, however, and they run the ropes. Gedo ducks a lariat and they both hit one on the rebound to knock each other out once again! Everything is even at this point. Once they get back to their feet, Gedo tries a lariat, but it is ducked and Lyger tries a released german… but Gedo flips out of it and lands on his feet and fires off a ‘rana-rollup for 2.9! They head into a pinfall reversal sequence for a couple more near falls and Lyger boots Gedo in the stomach once they are back on their feet and hits a MEATY fisherman’s buster for 2.999! LYGERBOMB for 2.99999! Lyger goes up top, but he is caught and they wrestle over a superplex until Lyger SLAPS Gedo into the ring and tries a front dropkick… but it doesn’t connect properly and Gedo nails a brainbuster and THE GEDO CLUTCH for 2.99999! Gedo tries another brainbuster, but he can’t quite get him up, and Lyger snaps backwards with a snap suplex for another 2.9! Lyger goes up, but he takes far too long doing it and is caught and tossed off so Gedo can take his place on the top turnbuckle. He takes too long getting up there as well and Lyger follows him up, cinches him in and hits the SUPAFISHERMANSBUSTA for the win!!

Good lord, that was a great and highly emotional contest if I’ve ever seen one. The early portion with the arm work was superbly done, Lyger is at his absolute best when working on a limb and here he was wonderfully vicious. The latter portion of the match was also brilliantly worked, with the two guys here working in the moves that worked for them in previous rounds to try and get the job done. Gedo tried to cheat to win as he did against Caras but Lyger denied him. He then tried to get the job done with his stamina, but Lyger did what Pegasus couldn’t and hurt him so much he couldn’t get up. Overall this was a great final; highly emotional, heated and well worked… 87%

Overall

This has to be my favorite show of all time. Five matches over 80% and a large portion of the rest all well above average… you can’t really turn your nose up at ratings like that. The thing with this tournament, and the thing that really takes it a notch up from the 1994 Super J Cup is the variety of the matches. My main problem with the 1994 J Cup is the fact that virtually all the matches follow a similar formula on that tape, but here, with a more free style of booking and more diverse base of talent, each match has just enough of a different theme to make them all worthwhile. This is also once of the factors that make this tape the best tape possible to start a puroresu collection with, there is enough variety to stop it from getting dull, enough big name talent to give you a good taste of the juniors, and just the right amount of sportz entertainment style stuff to help the transition from WWE to Japanese all the easier. Buy this tape. Buy it now.

Jake Metcalfe
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