So I got this DVD comp of the short but sweet, late eighties, heel run of Haku and Tama, The Islanders. Wasnâ€™t totally sure what to expect going in but I was assured it was great, so I decided to dive right into it when it came in the post.
May 30th 1987 Superstars
Islanders vs. Can-Am Connection
Going into this match both teams were babyfaces, and dammit, Bruno on commentary was oh so excited about the good clean technical match we had in front of us! However something smelled fishy as Bobby Heenan came down to ringside and Jesse Ventura seemed to have the scoop. He laughed a knowing laugh and Bruno and Vince werenâ€™t happy. Then the Islanders did the greatest pop-in interview, they simply did a nice big belly laugh. Bruno: â€œI donâ€™t know what dat was allll about Vinceâ€. Of course about 5 minutes in, Haku and Tama go rudo all over the Can-Ams asses and Bobby gets in the ring and hugs them.
The first three post-turn matches are a great squash, a match against THE YOUNG STALLIONS~! and a match against Rick Martel and JYD (I dunno where Zenk went). The main thing that came out of these was how unbelievably great Tama was as a heel. Just such a total cocky prick. He was great.
August 15th 1987
Strike Force arrives! (and my sister was born, but thatâ€™s significantly less important)
So with Zenk having disappeared, Martel was out on his own in singles action (against Big Bad Barry Horowitz). The Islanders apparently werenâ€™t through with making him a sad little model, so they hit the scene and beat the crap out of him. However they didnâ€™t account for Tito Santana (who was working the Spanish broadcast) hitting the ring for the save. Tito was all fired up and Strike Force was formed!
A couple of weeks later, the Islanders squashed a couple of fools and then made their way over to the Spanish table. They had a bone to pick with Tito. A brawl broke out, the feud intensified.
October 3rd 1987 Boston Garden
Islanders vs. Strike Force
Well haven’t done one of these in a while so I figured I should step up. Some random thoughts on old stuff I’ve watched recently.
ALL JAPAN 1993
Kobashi & Misawa vs. Hansen & BIG BOSS MAN (?)
Boss Man in All Japan!!! Weirdness, but greatness. He immediately gets the crowd into him by busting out a bunch of crazy athletic stuff with Kobashi. Yes Big Boss Man doing a bunch of crazy athletic stuff. IT RULED~! Misawa tries his hand with the former Midnight Express bodyguard and gets met with a sweet backbreaker. All his signature stuff like the slide to the outside into the uppercut and the windup punch gets met with a load of OOOHâ€™s and AHHHHâ€™s. Stan Hansen, not to be outdone, goes nuts on Kobashi, DDTâ€™ing him on the floor, throwing a chair at his face and then hitting the sickest kneedrop youâ€™ve ever seen (with knee pad rolled down I might add). Both gaijin then win my heart forever by taking turns droppinâ€™ PHAT ASS ELBOWS. Finish came with Boss Man making the crucial mistake of going for a top rope splash and getting a moonsault from Kobashi and Frog Splash from Misawa for the Uno-Dos-Tres.
IWA Japan 1995 2nd Anniversary
So I havenâ€™t seen much mid 90â€™s garbage wrestling from Japan in my time, but upon being directed to a bunch of stuff from someone who knows good wrestling, I decided to check it out. What I got was the greasiest, sleaziest, most scummy pro wrestling Iâ€™ve ever seen. AND IT WAS AWWWWESOME!
Cactus Jack vs. Tarzan Goto
Cactus was so the fucking man here. He cut a promo at the end, slapping himself and screaming and such and it was gold. So much heinousness in this match – bottle breaking, bottle STABBING, a giant flip bump from the top to the floor, etc. etc. I liked that Tarzan Goto guy too and man was that lad over. I’d only ever heard his name before, but never seen him. They did a bunch of hot nearfalls which I really wasnâ€™t expecting including one from the ugliest/greatest brainbuster Iâ€™ve ever laid my eyes on. Goto won with DDPâ€™s old pancake move onto a chair.
(No Rope Barbed Wire, Barbed Wire Boards & Thumbtacks Death Match)
Kenji Takano vs. Shoji Nakamaki
I donâ€™t know which guy is which so Iâ€™ll just go with â€œlittle guyâ€ and â€œbig guyâ€. The little guy was insane and WILLING to die for his cause. The big guy was more than happy to help him out by killing the hell out of him. Thereâ€™s a fine line for me between cool deathmatch stuff and grotesque, â€œI donâ€™t wanna watch thatâ€ deathmatch stuff. These guys went right up to said line but never crossed it which made it very enjoyable. Everything meant something within the context of the match (even the face first thumbtack bump). Big guy won with a big guy knee drop.
Itâ€™s taken longer than I thought but I got back to watching some KENTA & Marufuji stuff. On the docket today we have their final four big matches as a regular team – all three of their matches from the 2005 Differ Cup and the big June 2005 title change against Sugiura & Kanemaru.
Differ Cup 2005 1st Round: KENTA & Marufuji vs. Ibushi & Kudo
This was before Ibushi and Kudo had everyone’s attention and going into the match they were merely two young DDT (small indy group) guys who were gonna get their butts handed to them. What actually happened was they stepped right up to the plate and put on what was at that time a career performance for them. K&M sold their asses off throughout the match, eating all of Kudo’s kicks full on and taking Ibushi’s flying perfectly. The went about 15 minutes and it was a damn fine 15 minutes. KENTA & Marufuji of course progressed to the semi finals, with the end coming from a brutal Busaiku Knee Kick on Ibushi. ****
I decided to take a break from KENTA & Marufuji this week, but I did watch a ton of other random stuff. First up is an episode of Raw from right before No Mercy 2001. Weâ€™re deep into the invasion angle and RVD is the most over babyface on the roster. The show was built around a tag match which would be Stone Cold and a partner vs. Kurt Angle and a partner. Austin had the Alliance vote as to who his partner would be and he rigged it so that RVD wouldnâ€™t win. I had forgotten how funny he was as the leader of these jabroniâ€™s.
The tag match ended up being excellent. Undertaker was Angleâ€™s partner and worked harder than I remember him working back in 2001. Austin was the best guy in the match. The other main matches were The Rock against RVD and Jericho against Rhyno. These were both really good as well. RVD and Rock had excellent chemistry, itâ€™s a shame they never got to work more. In fact this may have been their only ever singles match.
Some other notes from the show:
Still on KENTA & Marufuji – THE TAG YEARS~!
4 matches this week. I’ll see if I can fire through the rest next week. While I’m definitely not getting sick of watching these matches, finding different things to write about them is becoming hard.
Kenta & Marufuji vs. Ogawa & Suzuki â€“ 4/3/2004
Former GHC HEAVY champ Yoshinari Ogawa drops down to the junior division here to get a crack at Kenta & Marufuji. He picks Kotaro Suzuki as his partner. This was the youngsters first title shot and easily his biggest match ever. They went a half hour and to itâ€™s credit it never got boring. Suzuki had some slip ups here and there but that added to the story. Marufuji got a huge win pinning Ogawa with a top rope Shiranui after surviving a couple of backdrop suplexes. Very good defense ****1/4.
Kenta & Marufuji vs. Misawa & Ogawa â€“ 4/25/2004
Quite the awesome dynamic here. Kenta & Marufuji go for the HEAVYWEIGHT tag belts, a true step up. Ogawa wants to prove himself after the junior champs beat him and Suzuki a few weeks prior, and Misawa wants to prove that pesky little men deserve nothing but elbows in the face, lots and lots of elbows in the face! Kenta & Marufuji have faced heavyweight competition before but never in a match of this importance.
And we continue on with the KENTA & Marufuji tag years here in the second week of the From The Vault series. Three more matches from our heroes as they close out 2003.
KENTA & Marufuji & Kotaro Suzuki vs. Kanemaru & Sugiura & Hashi 10/5/03
Kotaro added to the mix brought something a little extra to the equation. He was still in his young lion days here and thus took quite a beating throughout. Although he gave back plenty in return and was surprisingly the star of the match. Sugiura and Marufuji had some excellent exchanges, expecially down the stretch. Sugiura sure isn’t afraid to throw a man. Overall this was mainly just a build up type match, they didn’t go ALL OUT but it was still damn good. ***3/4
KENTA & Marufuji vs. Juventud & Marvin 11/1/03