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Views from the Hawke’s Nest: NJPW Super J Cup 1994

February 14, 2015 | Posted by TJ Hawke
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Views from the Hawke’s Nest: NJPW Super J Cup 1994  

April 16, 1994
Tokyo, Japan


Super J Cup 1994 First Round Match
Dean Malenko vs. Gedo

Gedo is of course unrecognizable at this time. Neither man could get firm control for a while Malenko finally seemed to after hitting a Jackhammer of all things. I was wrong. They basically started going back and forth right after that. Malenko avoided a diving headbutt and then took his head off with a lariat: 1…2…NO! He then got a nearfall with a diving crossbody. Gedo managed to catch him with a snap powerslam though: 1…2…3! Malenko kicked out at 3.0001

This was a solid way to kick off the tournament. The match itself did not build to much, but the action was crisp and worked at an enjoyable clip. I would have personally preferred Malenko to go on, but Gedo made him look strong in defeat.

Also, Gedo’s look at this time never ceases to slay me.

Match Rating: **3/4


Super J Cup 1994 First Round Match
Shinjiro Otani vs. Super Delfin

Otani took Delfin down right away and went after the left leg. Delfin had the briefest sign of life, but Otani cut him right off. He went after the left leg some more. Delfin made a comeback after a backdrop driver. He then hit a big brainbuster for a great nearfall. Otani came back with a springboard plancha. Delfin came back with a sick slap to the face and a swinging DDT; he then pinned him with a leg-trap pin: 1…2…3

Otani was so good in this match, but Delfin was bothering the fuck out of me. As brilliant as Otani’s work on Delfin’s leg was, Delfin’s refusal to sell while he was on offense basically rendered it meaningless. It’s not the end of the world at least, as Delfin was not on offense too long.

Match Rating: ***


Super J Cup 1994 First Round Match
Black Tiger vs. TAKA Michinoku

Eddy Guerrero was Black Tiger at this time. He dominated TAKA early on. TAKA came back with some delightfully athletic offense. He hit double-jump plancha to the floor. They started going back and forth in the ring. They were throwing bombs at each other but could not put each other away. Tiger eventually blocked a moonsault and came back with a brainbuster: 1…2…NO! Tiger then hit a swinging DDT: 1…2…3

If you’re into fun, exciting, and brainless action, this is the match for you! I genuinely mean that as a compliment.

Match Rating: ***


Super J Cup 1994 First Round Match
El Samurai vs. Masayoshi Motegi

Motegi quickly took him out with a tope suicida. He then fucked up a second dive attempt. Samurai came back in the ring after a punch and then a piledriver. Samurai then worked him over for a bit. There was shitty-looking dropkick match. They then repeated the spot. Samurai hit a tope suicida. I was trying to remember which matches from this tournament were not good. This seems to clearly be one of them. They then appeared to fuck something else up. Motegi hit rolling Germans. Samurai hit a German of his own and then killed Motegi with a folding powerbomb.

This was easily the weakest match of the night so far. It was pretty much a mess all the way through with Motegi blowing some spots in a really distracting manner. You can honestly just skip this one.

Match Rating: 3/4*


Super J Cup 1994 First Round Match
Negro Casas vs. Ricky Fuji

They stayed on the mat early and often, This is a nice change of pace from the rest of the show. Negro had control. He connected on some gnarly kicks. He then almost undershot on a springboard dive. Back in the ring, Fuji immediately made his comeback after Negro took him out with a dive. Hashtag pet peeve. Negro caught him with La Magistral Cradle for a nearfall and then hit a Togo senton for another nearfall. He missed on a second one though. Fuji made another comeback. Fuji finished him with Tiger Driver.

Negro Casas was clearly the more interesting performer of the two here and naturally lost. Fuji just did not seem to be an interesting performer at all, and his victory took away from the match for me. There was some cool stuff in here though, and I liked how they maximized their time.

Match Rating: **3/4


Super J Cup 1994 First Round Match
Hayabusa vs. Jushin Liger

Hayabusa took it to Liger early and wiped him out with a tope con hello. Hayabusa was in control for a few minutes until Liger kicked out his leg and applied a figure four. Hayabusa got to the ropes, but Liger remained in control for a while. Liger beating up smaller guys is my favorite Liger. Hayabusa made a comeback after connecting on a spinning sole butt. He hit a moonsault for a nearfall. They botched an overly complicated diving ‘rana. Hayabusa nearly crippled himself seven years earlier on his failed shooting star attempt here. Liger then hit a Liger Bomb: 1…2…NO! Hayabusa went for another diving ‘rana, but Liger reversed it into a powerbomb. Fisherman suplex from Liger: 1…2…3

I would say this was the standout first round match. The contrast of Liger trying to keep things settled down, and Hayabusa being out-of-control crazy at times made for a really nice dynamic. I always prefer Liger controlling a match as well. This was just a fun match with lots of excitement.

Match Rating: ***1/2


Super J Cup 1994 Quarterfinal Match
Gedo vs. Super Delfin

This match was doing nothing to capture my interest early on. Delfin seemed to get control but Gedo quickly came back. Delfin came back. I think I understand why this match is not on New Japan World. Delfin hit a plancha. They traded some nearfalls. The crowd seemed politely invested, but maybe I’m not giving them enough credit. Delfin hit the swinging DDT that finished Otani, but Gedo then caught him with an inside cradle: 1…2…3

This was a case of really poor execution completely undermining a match. Delfin looked terrible in both matches, and I hope I never have to see him again. Gedo was fine, but he was hardly one of the four guys who should have gone on to the semifinals of this tournament.

Match Rating: *


Super J Cup 1994 Quarterfinal Match
Black Tiger vs. Wild Pegasus

Obviously, this could be something. Tiger got control first and worked him over. Pegasus came back after a reverse suplex. He controlled Tiger for a while. He was throwing everything at Tiger, but Tiger kept kicking out. Eddy managed to snap off a hurricanrana and then made a comeback. Pegasus came back again. Tiger *just* managed to pull off a springboard ‘rana and followed it up with a Frankensteiner: 1…2…NO! Pegasus avoided the swinging DDT though. Eddy avoided a top rope but then dove into a pinning combination: 1…2…3

Considering who was in the ring, this was a tad underwhelming. Watching these two work is still a treat though (even with Benoit turning into a lunatic murderer at the end of his life).

Match Rating: ***


Super J Cup 1994 Quarterfinal Match
El Samurai vs. The Great Sasuke

Samurai got control early on in the match. I did not find this heat segment to be particularly interesting. Sasuke finally came back with a handspring back elbow and a Sasuke Special. Samurai fought back and hit a tope con hello. Back in the ring, Samurai planted Sasuke with a bridging German: 1…2…NO! He followed it up with a diving headbutt: 1…2…NO! They traded a few more nearfalls. The crowd was hot for this. Samurai eventually went for a hurricanrana, but Sasuke rolled through: 1…2…3!

While this match took a very long time to get going, it eventually became the hottest thing on the show and a ton of fun to watch. If they had only done a better job in the first half of the match, we could have had a great one here.

Match Rating: ***1/2


Super J Cup 1994 Quarterfinal Match
Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Ricky Fuji

I’m curious to see if Fuji looks better here than he did in the first round.

Fuji took out Liger early on with a pescado and then hit a powerbomb on the floor. Fuji then went for a diving attack in the ring, but Liger blocked it. It was hard to tell what was supposed to happen on that one. Liger then hit a double stomp to the floor! ALL IS FORGIVEN. Liger was then in control in the ring. Fuji kind of reversed a superplex attempt into…a crossbody? Were Fuji and Delfin competing to see which one could suck more in this tournament? Fuji was temporarily in control until Liger caught him with a diving ‘rana: 1…2…3!

Well, Fuji did not do anything in this tournament to make me want to watch him ever again. This match had no flow whatsoever, and it was hard to get invested at all. There were a few good moments though that prevented it from seriously competing for worst match on the show.

Match Rating: **


Super J Cup 1994 Semifinal Match
Gedo vs. Wild Pegasus

Pegasus got control first. Gedo came back quickly enough though and got a chance to be in control. He hit a moonsault to the floor. Well, he kind of connected on it. He came very close to completely undershotting it. Gedo has been *fine* in this tournament, but it’s a shame he got three matches. Certainly would have rather seen Hayabusa, Negro Casas, or Malenko go to the semis. Gedo couldn’t put Pegasus away in the ring. Pegasus came back and finished Gedo after a powerbomb and a diving headbutt.

This was solid but unspectacular. They match seemed cynically designed to protect Gedo in defeat quite frankly. Watching Gedo control a match for an extender period of time is probably something that I don’t need to see much more of quite frankly. He’s just not a super compelling performer based on the matches of his that I’ve seen.

Match Rating: **1/2


Super J Cup 1994 Semifinal Match
Jushin Thunder Liger vs. The Great Sasuke

Liger got control early on. Sasuke couldn’t get anything going whatsoever for a while. The crowd really rallied behind him during this beatdown. Liger was applying all sorts of submissions, but Sasuke survived them all. Liger started going after the left arm and even applied a kimura. He was tearing at it! Sasuke finally was able to come back after hitting an Asai Moonsault. Sasuke eventually followed it up with a crazy senton to the floor where he seemed to land badly on the floor. Sasuke now had all the momentum. I love how Sasuke had to rely on big bombs to get back in the match, and that they actually gave him the advantage. This is how you integrate big spots to make them mean more. Liger came back after hitting a big palm strike. Sasuke started kicking out of big movez. It was awesome. This crowd wanted nothing more than Sasuke to win this match. Liger hit the Fisherman Buster: 1…2…NO!!!! Liger then suplexed him to the floor and wiped him out with a giant plancha. He tried to win via countout. Sasuke managed to get to the apron but he fucked up a springboard move. Liger then clapped! Cocky Liger then got caught with a hurricanrana: 1…2…3!!!!

This was an absolutely fantastic match. Liger controlling Sasuke with various submissions really established Liger as the dominant (and better rested) performer. Sasuke *needing* to use risky dives to get back into match (and that actually working) was beautiful to watch unfold. By the time Sasuke started to survive the big nearfalls, the crowd was molten. I even loved the finish where Liger was trying to win via dishonorable means (countout) because he couldn’t put Sasuke away. Sasuke then fucking up a springboard move and causing Liger to get overconfident again was the cherry on top of a near-perfect match. Love. Love. Love.

Match Rating: ****3/4


Super J Cup 1994 Final Match
The Great Sasuke vs. Wild Pegasus

They traded control early in the match. Pegasus teased going after the arm that Liger injured in the semis, but that didn’t appear to be going anywhere. Pegasus seemed to finally get control, and he worked Sasuke over for a while. Pegasus had Sasuke on the metaphorical ropes, but Sasuke kept surviving Pegasus’ biggest offense. Sasuke could not get anything. He’s going to need to bust out some big dives. Right on cue, he hit the Sasuke Special! It was then Sasuke’s turn to throw some big offense at Pegasus. Pegasus avoided a missile dropkick but then got suplexed to the floor. Sasuke then hit a missile dropkick to the floor. What the fuck. Sasuke followed it up with a crooked moonsault in the ring: 1…2…NO! Sasuke went to the top rope, but Pegasus reversed it into a side superplex: 1…2…3

This match featured a fairly similar structure to the semifinals match that Sasuke and Liger. As a result, it suffered a little bit for feeling a tad too derivative of that. Out of context, I can totally see someone liking this match even more than that one though. Again, Pegasus threw everything he had at Sasuke, while Sasuke had to resort to big dives to get back into it. There were some great small touches like Sasuke doing a missile dropkick to the floor after it failed in the ring. I might go back and watch this one again at a later date to see if it stands out more out of context.

Match Rating: ****


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The final score: review Amazing
The 411
I've watched this show a couple of times now, and I think I appreciate it more and more each time. If you're one of the few people who have not seen any of this show yet, make sure you do so. Most of it is up on New Japan World.