July 13, 2023

AJPW TV (21.9.85) review 

AJPW TV (21.9.85) review 


Hello, back to All Japan for a TV block before I start doing some weird and wonderful stuff. We’re in Yonago, Japan at the Industrial Gymnasium.  

This isn’t the gym, it’s an advert for some sort of cooking oil. I’m having as much fun watching Japanese adverts from the 80s as I am the wrestling to be honest.  


Kuniaki Kobayashi & Norio Honaga vs. Tiger Mask II & Takashi Ishikawa 

Honaga is a name I’m very familiar with. He was around the Liger Junior Takeover phase of New Japan, when the shows were all based around how great the juniors were. Kobayashi does a cool spot here where it’s a scoop slam but he follows it down. Like a scoop slam/powerslam variant. Kobayashi and Misawa do a load of highlight reel stuff, showcasing that great singles match they’ve had but within the confines of a tag. So, they can go 100mph and then tag out. Ishikawa is a weak point because he’s a big sumo lad who thinks he can keep up with this (he can’t) and tries to execute cool state-of-the-art offence (he can’t). He’d have been better off being the Akira Taue of this match. There’s nothing wrong with being Taue. Taue is glue. He eventually slows it down and beats Honaga with a Sharpshooter. This was good but too short to mean anything. The cameo of Kobayashi-TM2 was nice. **3/4 


The Great Kabuki & Killer Brooks vs. Genichiro Tenryu & Motoshi Okuma 

Okuma is a slightly thick gentleman. He’s a 20+ year veteran and has decent size. He used to be a sumo wrestler. He’d keep grinding away at AJPW undercards until his death in 1992 of kidney failure. He has epic 70s sideburns. Killer Brooks has been a surprise for me. He’s pretty good and this is his penultimate Japan tour. He’d disappear back into the Texas indies after this, barring a tour of NJPW in 1987. Tenryu being a jerk works here because he’s against Kabuki, who deserves to be treated abusively. Brooks chinlocks the match to death in the middle, misreading the crowd but this leads to attempted heel double teams, which Tenryu refuses to let happen. Everyone in this match is an asshole. It’s marvellous. Kabuki knee drops the unfortunate Okuma for the pin. I enjoyed this. I might, MIGHT, be starting to see something in Tenryu.  


I might start doing a thread of ‘guess what the advert is for’ on the Twitter. This was some sort of children’s biscuit so at least that makes sense. 


Riki Choshu vs. Tim Horner 

They throw confetti on Choshu. Horner is on his first AJPW tour. His next tour of Japan would be with WCW in 1991. He looks perfectly fine in this. Choshu batters him with a lariat and the Sharpshooter finishes. Basically, a squash but Horner acquitted himself.  


Giant Baba & Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Harley Race & Tor Kamata 

Race has been to AJPW every year since 1973. A run that would only end when he signed with the WWF to earn some end-of-career coin.  

Harley does a bang-up job selling for Jumbo here, unlike some other Yanks who don’t seem to realise their job is to get guys like Jumbo over. When they’re in, the match is decent. Baba vs. Tor doesn’t have the same energy. I’d politely describe it as “slow”.  

Baba does a good job of selling for Race. He understands his role is to indirectly make Tsuruta look better by being worse than him in the ring. But he also knows he needs to land all his stuff because the crowd have come, at least partially, to see his weird looking ass. Race is due to challenge Jumbo for his NWA International belt, so this is the warmup for that contest. Ideally Race would pin Baba to show his capabilities as challenger but Baba ain’t taking that job. Logically he could beat Jumbo to show that he can ahead of their title match. But no, Tor is only in this match to take the job. Baba gently kicks him in the belly and drops the leg for the win.  


The 411: 

Race vs. Tsuruta was ok. The rest of the action was passable. This is a bridging show though and there’s no disguising it. Next is Jumbo vs. Race for the title. They brawl around at ringside after the match is over to sell that. It’ll be in Korakuen Hall.  

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