Thanks to http://www.digits.com for their badass righteous free counters
J-Crown '96 Recap
Show opens with video of Jushin Thunder Liger making an announcement of some sort (a challenge possibly?) and the gathered competitors all lay their belts down on a large BVD (not the underwear??) logo in the center of the ring.
Included amongst those assembled for this event are: Great Sasuke, Masayoshi Motegi (UGH!), Ultimo Dragon, Jushin Liger, Shinjiro Ohtani, Negro Casas, El Samurai, and El Gran Hamada. Whew! Let's get started!
-Nice J-Crown "All or Nothing" graphic-
-Video Package of Tournament Highlights- Notice, there is no Limp Bizkit in this, which is unusual, but it was 1996. However, I do have another NJ tape that is from '97 and has a commercial for watching NFL highlight films on Toshiba DVD (IN '97!!!!) that is set to 'Living on the Edge' by Aerosmith, as well as a commercial for "Wild America" (Ah-Mah-Tee Ah-Shtoo-fah) videos, which is completely in Japanese. You haven't LIVED till you've heard that.
-Crazy batch of Japanese Characters with two '8's interspersed, I've NO idea what that means-
1. Great Sasuke (IWGP Junior Title) VS. Masayoshi Motegi (NWA Junior. Heavyweight Title) Not to be mean, but I have to say, I'm glad we're getting Motegi out of the way in the first match. He tends to…how to say this nicely…sloppy things up. Anyway, they've paired him with Sasuke, which is good, because he will probably be able to pull a good match out of him. Motegi intro is first, he gets a mild pop and sports a Commander Rikeresque beard and a nicely cared for mullet. Sasuke intro is next. He gets a pretty good pop.
And we're off! Motegi Dropkicks Sasuke out of the ring (before the bell?!) and hits a Pescado. He places Sasuke's ankle in the fence and attacks his right leg with some weak looking kicks. He rolls Sasuke back in the ring. Irish whip, and does an immediate dropkick to the right knee. Motegi yells something to the crowd and points at Sasuke. He goes to work on the leg in various ways, eventually ending up in a knee bar, but Sasuke makes it to the ropes. Sasuke rolls outside, selling the leg. Back in, Spin Kick by Sasuke, they trade some slaps, but Motegi wins and slaps on a Figure Four. Sasuke reverses the hold and rolls to the ropes, but instead of breaking, both men roll out of the ring onto the floor! The ref follows out and forces them to break. Back in, Sasuke with a Drop ToeHold and is all over Motegi with a Rear Chinlock. Motegi tries to reverse this into another knee bar, but Sasuke reverses and slaps on a Cross-Arm Breaker. Motegi lets his grip go and BITES SASUKE'S LEG to get out of the hold. Motegi goes back to working Sasuke's leg. Motegi applies a standing headlock, Sasuke pushes him into the ropes, but Motegi delivers a Shoulderblock to knock him down. Motegi to the ropes, Sasuke Leapfrogs him, attempts an Hiptoss but gets Clotheslined instead. Motegi going for the pin, 1…2…NO! Motegi goes for the ½ crab. He pulls Sasuke over to the turnbuckle, drives the knee into the post. Sasuke rolls out. Motegi wanders into the crowd and grabs two (non-folding) chairs and delivers a weak shot to the knee. Brings Sasuke back in and continues to work the knee. Sasuke comes back with two Gutshots and a roundhouse kick to the jaw followed by an Irish Whip and a Spinning Heel Kick. Sasuke goes for it, 1…2…NOO! Motegi takes Sasuke into the ropes, shot to the sternum into a choke. Sasuke reverses and reciprocates the choke, adds a Headbutt for flavor. Irish Whip, Motegi ducks the Spinning Heel Kick!! Motegi heads for the ropes but Sasuke is following with a gorgeous Handspring Elbow that takes Motegi out of the ring! Sasuke then hits an incredibly beautiful Tope Con Hilo. The commentator is INSANE at this point. Sasuke walks to the opposite side of the ring to get in, still selling the leg damage. Both men back in, Sasuke with Shoulderblock, Motegi is following, 2nd Rope Moonsault!!! 1…2…NOOO! Sasuke pulls him up for a Piledriver, but Motegi lowers his center of gravity (for better examples of this, watch AJ matches, why don't more NA Wrestlers do this?) Motegi with a dropkick. Sasuke rolls out, but Motegi hits him with a Tope Suicida driving Sasuke's head actually BETWEEN the bars of the fence. Motegi brings him in the hard way and hits the Rolling German Suplexes (Ah-jah-mahn ah-suu-prex)!!! 1…2…NOOOO! Motegi looks absolutely worn out at this point. Motegi with a Power Bomb, 1…2…NOOOOO! Motegi puts him on the top turnbuckle. Gutwrench Suplex! But Sasuke rolls through in mid-air to reverse! 1…2…NOOOOOO! Sasuke hits a German Suplex with Bridge…1…2…NOOOOOOO! Sasuke pulls him up, TIGER SUPLEX!!! 1…2…3! Sasuke is the first to advance!
Match was well done, Sasuke can pull a good match even out of Motegi (ok, that was low, I know, I just don't dig the guys skillz)
PostMatch- Sasuke takes the titles and shakes Motegi's hand. He bows to the crowd on all 4 sides of the ring.
interview with Motegi- No idea what he's saying. Lots of yelling. I believe
the HHHutch translation would be "I'm really glad they paired me with
Sasuke so that I could have a decent match before going out."
2. Ultimo Dragon (War Intl Junior Heavyweight Title) VS. Jushin Thunder Liger (British Junior Heavuweight Title) Before this match takes place, I'd like to preface it with a piece of historical information. At the time of this match, Liger (one of the best, if not THE best Jr ever) was suffering from a brain tumor. He was told to 'take it easy'. While this match isn't anything crazy, I don't think it fits most people's definition of 'taking it easy'. It says a lot about his dedication to wrestling that he's even here. Ultimo shakes hands of fans around the ring. Liger gets a BIG pop; he's wearing his crazy red and white outfit. As we all know, LIIIIIIIIIIIGAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH makes all the little girls SCREAM!
Feeling out sequence to start, then Ultimo Dropkicks Liger to the outside and proceeds to hit the Tope Suicida, crushing Liger against the fence, follows up with a Somersault Plancha from the top Turnbuckle. Back in, Ultimo goes for the handspring, but Liger catches him and tosses him about ¼ of the way across the ring with a Release German Suplex! Liger hits the Koppo Kick, but waits a second to pin, 1…2…Ultimo kicks out. Liger with chops, Irish Whip, reversal by Ultimo, laying in wait, Drop ToeHold! La Magistral! 1…2…NO! Liger up again, going for Palm Strike, but Ultimo dodges, Drop ToeHold, La Magistral! 1…2…3! Ultimo with what HAS to be considered the upset victory. He plays very well that he can hardly believe he won, even though, with Liger's health problems, that HAD to be the plan. The crowd seems really stunned here.
PostMatch- Ultimo holds up the titles. Ultimo's theme music is some strange English Language song about secrets. That's too weird…
interview with Ultimo- HHHutch Translation: "I hope Liger gets better!"
3. Shinjiro Ohtani (UWA Light Heavyweight Title) VS. Negro Casas (NWA Welterweight Title) This match leads to a quick question. How do they work out matches between people who don't speak a common language? Is wrestling a universal language? Ohtani RULES in a way that is hard to describe. He's got great facial expressions, he can wrestle REALLY stiff, and can make other people look really good. He has kind of a non-descript look, but it really lures you in.
Both wrestlers tease lock ups and work each others arms in the beginning, Ohtani is really good at applying submission maneuvers here, as he's VERY enthusiastic about it, especially when he's really cranking one in. Finally, Chops are traded and Ohtani Bodyslams Casas twice. Goes for a Somersault Senton, but Casas rolls away at the last second. Casas with a Tiger Driver! UGH! That always looks like it kills. Following this there is an awkward moment where Casas runs to the ropes, but is waiting for Ohtani to get up, so he has to wait for him. Springboard Headscissors! Casas leaps a charging Ohtani, but eats a NASTY Spinning Heel Kick for his trouble. Sit Out Holding Powerbomb! 1…2…NO! Casas into corner, Ohtani with the Irish Whip, reversal, but Ohtani flips over the other Turnbuckle to the apron, one right for Casas, Springboard Dropkick, and MISSES! Casas with Stiff Kicks, Headbutts, and various other strikes. Casas with Snapmare, Spinebuster, La Magistral! 1…2…NOO! Casas is up and delivering more arbitrary kicks. Snapmare Takeover. He's going to the top turnbuckle! Top Rope Senton (this is not what NA fans are used to seeing when something is called a 'senton'. I call it that because the Japanese announcer goes through the trouble of saying "Topah Ropah Senton!") 1…2…NOOO! Casas up to the top turnbuckle again, but before he can get there, Ohtani Dropkicks him off to the floor below! Ohtani hits a (hesitant) Springboard Plancha! Replay! Ohtani whips him into the fence. Casas up to the apron, Springboard Dropkick! Casas with a Legdrop gets 1! Ohtani kicks out VERY angry! Casas Dropkicks him out of the ring! Tope Suicida! Casas up first. Snapmare, Kick to sternum, Casas up on the apron, Senton! Replay! Casas back in the ring leading some sort of clap. He attempts to bring Ohtani in the hard way, but he almost has it reversed. 2 Slaps for Ohtani, takes him over to the turnbuckle to slam his head into it, reversed! 2 more shots for Ohtani, going up, but Ohtani delivers a STIFF chop to put Casas back in the middle of the ring. Ohtani with the Springboard Dropkick! To the opposite ropes, Springboard Dropkick to the back of Casas head! Springboard Spinning Heel Kick! 1…2…3!!
PostMatch- Ohtani seems very frustrated but happy with the victory. We switch to a shot of some mask on a mannequin head, but I don't know whose it is. Ohtani helps Casas up, handshake, bow, and Casas raises Ohtani's arm. That's sooooo cool. Ohtani shows off his belts.
interview with Ohtani- HHHutch Translation: "He's going to be sore tomorrow"
4. El Gran Hamada (WWA Jr Light Heavyweight TITLE) VS. El Samurai (WWF Light Heavyweight Title) -I enjoy both competitors in this match. Hamada is about 45 or 50 but is built like an EVEN MORE stocky Dean Malenko. He sports a SWEET mullet and has on WWF Main Eventer Ring Gear. El Samurai has a Geordi LaForge-like (is that my SECOND TNG reference? LORDY!) mask, and a ponytail hanging out the back.
There is quite a bit of submissions, reversals and MORE submissions in the beginning of the match. Both men are trying to find their opponents weakness and exploit it. Finally, Hamada fights out of a Rear Chinlock and whips Samurai into the ropes and delivers an absolutely THUNDEROUS Lariat. (LAHHRIEHTO!) He pulls Samurai up to a sitting position and delivers two more Lariats with Samurai just sitting there. 1…Samurai kicks out. Another Sitting Lariat, into a Cross-Arm Breaker, but Samurai is able to rotate into the ropes and get the break. They play with a Knucklelock, but Samurai delivers a kick to the gut! Elbow to back of Hamada's head! Elbow! Elbow! Piledriver! 1…2…Hamada gets a foot on the ropes! Samurai with another elbow to the back of the head! Elbow! Elbow! Elbow!! ELBOW!!!! But this only makes Hamada mad! BIG HEADBUTT! Pulls Samurai up AND ANOTHER! Hamada has a great way of pulling back when he delivers a Headbutt that makes them look brutal. I've seen others do it before, but he ads a certain flair to it. ANYWAY…Hamada with an Irish Whip, reversed, Samurai with a Gut Kick into a Suplex. Samurai sets up for the Powerbomb, but Hamada reverses it with a Hurricanrana! 1…2…NO! Hamada Lariats Samurai through the top two ropes, he's going up to the top turnbuckle, Plancha!! After some recovery, both men return to the ring, where Hamada pays that bitch Samurai back with his OWN elbow to the back of the head (sorry about that, just getting into the match). Irish Whip and he delivers another stunning Lariat! Hamada whips him into the turnbuckle, reversed, but he kicks Samurai in the gut coming in. Up one rope, two ropes, Tornado DDT! 1…2…NOO! Hamada up, goes back to second rope, waits for Samurai to turn around…JUMPING TORNADO DDT! 1…2…NOOO! Hamada is up first, Belly to Back Suplex 1…2…NOOOO! Hamada is frustrated, he punches the mat while getting up. He puts Samurai on the top turnbuckle, he goes up with him, Samurai gets a shot in, Top Rope Atomic Drop! Samurai takes a couple of seconds to recover from his beating then goes to the ropes for a clothesline. He goes for another, but Hamada reverses into an Urnage-type thing and goes right for a Cross-Arm Breaker, but Samurai is in the ropes! Samurai with a reverse DDT! Powerbomb! 1…2…NOOOOO! Samurai back up first, hits a perfect Tombstone Piledriver! To the top turnbuckle! DIVING HEADBUTT! 1…2…HAMADA KICKS OUT! Samurai places him on the top turnbuckle, facing out. He's going for a Crucifix? Dragon Suplex? It's not working out like it's supposed to and he's force to settle for a Belly to Back Suplex that looks like it should have broken Hamada's neck! 1…2…3!!!!
PostMatch- Samurai celebrates with his belts.
interview with Hamada: Someone is spraying something on his shoulder while
he gets interviewed. HHHutch Translation: "That is very soothing!"
5. Ultimo Dragon VS. Shinjiro Ohtani This match should absolutely ROCK. Let's see how it goes. Stare down between our two competitors before the bell rings.
We're off! Cool sequence to begin. They tease the Knucklelock, but neither wants to lock it in. Ultimo finally gets a Hiptoss, Ohtani goes for the Headscissors, but Ultimo slips out. Both guys pop up and the crowd applauds. Another reversal sequence follows. Then, Ohtani goes to the ropes, but Ultimo gets the Drop ToeHold and Ohtani slips out of his grasp before he can get La Magistral applied! A couple of seconds later it happens AGAIN and Ohtani kneels on the mat waving his finger at Dragon, almost to say, "That's not going to work on ME!" More submissions and reversals follow. At one point, Ohtani has Ultimo in a Knee Bar. Ultimo makes it to the ropes, but before he is forced to break the hold by the ref, Ohtani uses his arms to drag both of them back to the center of the ring! Dragon slips out enough to get his foot on Ohtani's throat and after he's Regained His Vertical Base (WINK!) he steps on Ohtani's throat. He then delivers stiff kicks to Ohtani's head and neck, Bodyslam, elbow drop 1…Kick Out! Ultimo goes to a Half Crab and then into an Indian Deathlock! He draws the big "OOOOO" reaction from the crowd by excess hip gyrating before he bridges back to lock it in. Ohtani breaks the hold. Ultimo goes for a Suplex, but Ohtani lowers his center of gravity and delivers a KNEE TO THE CROTCH! You can tell this is what happened because Ultimo holds his nuts after this. A Lot. Ohtani with some stiff kicks, Irish Whip, Dropkick, Bodyslam, Somersault Senton! Rear Chinlock, but Ultimo is to the Ropes! Ohtani delivers a Snapmare, Dropkick to the back of Ultimo's neck. Into Cross Arm Breaker. Dragon tries to flip through the hold, but Ohtani holds on and turns it into a Reverse Arm Bar of some sort. Dragon is going NUTS trying to get out, flopping his legs all over. He manages to flip back to the original position, but Ohtani goes right back to the Cross-Arm Breaker! This sequence was really neat to see! Finally Dragon rolls back over and managers to roll legs first into the ropes. BREAK! Ultimo is flexing his arm, selling the arm work. Ohtani applies a Hammerlock with the ropes and holds for a 3.5 count. Back to the middle of the ring and he takes Ultimo down and drives his knee into the rear of his left shoulder joint. He keeps his knee there and just CRANKS back on Ultimo's arm. Back into a Cross-Arm Breaker. Ultimo rolls him backward, 1! Ohtani rolls back, and Ultimo slaps on his OWN Cross Arm Breaker! Ohtani quickly rotates the both of them so his feet are on the rapes. Ultimo is up fast, with stiff kicks to Ohtani's back, pulls him up and slams his head into the turnbuckle. Chop, whips Ohtani to other corner, but Ohtani flips out onto the apron, BUT Ultimo is READY for this and hits a Springboard Dropkick to send Ohtani to the floor. Ultimo runs across the ring and sees Ohtani waiting for him, so he does that little move that Rey-Rey does where he swings between the top two ropes to reverse his momentum back into the ring! He slides between the top two ropes to kick Ohtani in the chest and then flips himself back up above the top rope and back into the ring before Ohtani can get him! Goes over the top rope! Plancha! But Ohtani MOVES! Not only does he get out of the way, but he SLAPS ULTIMO IN THE FACE on the way down! Ohtani back up to the apron, Somersault Plancha! REPLAY THAT! Ohtani throws Ultimo back in the ring and hits a Springboard Spinning Heel Kick! 1…2…NO! Announcer is going NUTS here, as is the crowd! Ohtani goes for the Springboard Dropkick, but Ultimo moves out of the way! Goes for La Magistral! 1…2…NOO! Ultimo hits a Tombstone, to the Top Rope, Moonsault! 1…2…NOOO! Both competitors are lying on the mat, worn out. Ultimo goes for a Rana, but Ohtani rolls through with the help of a quick Sunset Flip! 1…2…KICKOUT! Ohtani looks PISSED now. Pulls Ultimo up, Irish Whip, tries for the Backdrop, but Ultimo lands on his feet behind him, Dragon Suplex! 1…2…Ohtani Kicks Out Somehow! At this point, Ohtani makes some VERY 'Regalesque' facial expressions. Dragon goes for another Hurricanrana, but Ohtani reverses it into a Powerbomb! Springboard Dropkick to the back of Dragon's head! He kneels and flexes, almost looking like he's Hulking Up! Pulls Dragon up, Dragon Suplex with Bridge! (crowd counts along!) 1…2…NOOOO! Ohtani places Ultimo on the top turnbuckle, going for a Suplex, but Dragon pushes him off! He gets up and heads right back up, Dragon knocks him off again! Ohtani heads RIGHT BACK UP and straight into a Front Suplex! Dragon hits a corner-to-corner RUNNING LIGER BOMB! 1…2…3!!!!! The end of this match was the best executed false finish stuff I've ever seen. This match as a whole was simply unbelievable. The submission trading at the beginning, Ohtani using his arms to pull them back into the middle of the ring, Ultimo's aerial stuff. All awesome. The tape is worth it just for this! Neither man was carried here, what this was, was two equals going at it. The level of skill displayed here was just off the charts. I'm not a star kinda guy, but if I were this match would get about a billion.
PostMatch- Ultimo is so tired he can hardly stand to celebrate with his 4 belts! Ohtani insists on the handshake, Dragon is suspicious, but shakes it, then raising Ohtani's arm, which he promptly jerks away. You can tell he doesn't feel like a winner.
interview with Ohtani- HHHutch Translation: "We tore the house down!"
6. Great Sasuke VS. El Samurai I just got done recapping that last match, and boy are my arms tired! Sasuke looks REALLY geared up for this match!
Let's GO! Teasing lockups, Samurai Dropkicks Sasuke, who then rolls out. Tope Suicida! Back in the ring, Samurai goes for a Piledriver, but Sasuke lowers his center of gravity, so Samurai delivers a clubbing blow to the back, brings him back up, Piledriver! 1…Kickout. Samurai goes for a Rear Chinlock, but Sasuke rolls through and turns it into a HammerLock. 2 driving Kicks to Samurai's helpless elbow later, he rolls back and locks in the Cross-Arm Breaker, but Samurai is able to hold on and rotate into the ropes. Both up, teasing Knucklelock, Sasuke with Drop ToeHold into Lying Rear Chinlock, which he then rolls into a Cross-Arm Breaker. Samurai tries to turn this into a Knee Bar, but Sasuke rolls into the ropes before he can lock it in. Sasuke rolls out. Sasuke with Spin Kick to the gut and a Snapmare, into a Rear Chinlock. He locks the legs around and lies back, but Samurai turns this into a Knee Bar, but Sasuke reverses AGAIN into a Cross-Arm Breaker! Samurai fights dirty and gouges the eyes to get Sasuke to release. Samurai with a Knee to the gut. Knee. Sasuke with a Punch to the gut. Samurai with Elbow to back of head! Punch! Elbow! Punch! Sasuke with Headlock, Samurai whips him into the ropes, Sasuke with a Shoulderblock, Sasuke to the ropes, Samurai Leapfrogs him, Japanese Armdrag! Sasuke into the ropes but Samurai dodges him, and hits a dropkick to Sasuke's right knee! Samurai goes straight to the ½ Crab, but Sasuke pulls himself to the ropes. Samurai pulls him back to the middle of the ring, and DRIVES the knee into the mat. And again! Back to the ½ Crab, Rope Break! Sasuke rolls out, favoring the right leg. Rolling back in, Samurai is there to meet him, Knee to midsection and a quick Kick to the Knee. Samurai turns him upside down and puts him in the turnbuckle and cranks his right knee over the top rope. Ref counts 1…2…3…Breaks. Kick to knee. Again. Again! Picks him up by the leg, two Elbows to the knee! Sweeps left leg out from under him and back into the ½ Crab! Sasuke manages to make it to the ropes. Samurai pulls him back up, 2 Kicks to the knee, pushes him over the turnbuckle and drapes the right leg over the second rope. 3 MORE Kicks to the knee! Sasuke pulled back out into the middle of the ring, Knee Bar, but Sasuke lunges to the ropes. Samurai with more kicks to the knee. This is just BRUTAL. And great, all at the same time. Samurai goes for a Powerbomb, but Sasuke Backdrops him! Sasuke quickly drops into the Cross-Arm Breaker, but Samurai gets him to release by DRIVING HIS KNUCKLES INTO THE INJURED KNEE! Absolutely FANTASTIC. Irish Whip, Sasuke dodges the Lariat, Spinning Heel Kick! But Samurai dodges! Samurai with a Shoulderblock into the ropes, Sasuke goes for his INSANE Handspring Crossbody! 1…2…NO! Sasuke to middle rope, Samurai up and all over him, Top Rope Hurricanrana! 1…2…NOO! Samurai tries the Irish Whip, but, sure enough, Sasuke reverses it, leapfrogs him, but Samurai stops just behind him, turns around German Suplex (AHJAHMAN SUPLEXOLAAAHHH!!) w/ Bridge, 1…2…Kickout! Samurai up fast with a Backdrop, into ropes, but Sasuke hits the Spinning Heel Kick to the face, and Samurai stumbles out of the ring! Oh You Know What Time It Is!! Sasuke SPRINGS over the top rope, lands on the apron, Kicks Samurai in the chest, springs to the second rope, MOONSAULT! This particular Moonsault lands Sasuke right on the commentary table. Sasuke whips Samurai into the fence, to the top turnbuckle, Single Leg Dropkick! Man, it REALLY looked like that could have separated Sasuke's shoulder. Sasuke goes to the other side of the ring to come in, Samurai in, and it's ON! Sasuke goes for the Shoulderblock, to the ropes, springs to second rope, Moonsault, but Samurai dodges AND helps him on his way down. Samurai with the Reverse DDT! Attempts a German Suplex, but Sasuke blocks! Another Reverse DDT! Samurai to the top turnbuckle. DIVING HEABUTT! But Sasuke rolls away! Sasuke with a Suplex, Samurai twisting in the air, landing on his feet, ANOTHER REVERSE DDT! Samurai with THUNDERFIRE POWERBOMB! 1…2…NOOOOO!! How did he kick out???!? Samurai to top turnbuckle again, Sasuke dropkicks him, Superplex! 1…2…KICKOUT! Sasuke to the top turnbuckle this time, Senton, Samurai rolls away, Sasuke rolls through! Up, Sasuke with the Hurricanrana! 1…2…NOOOOO!!! Sasuke with a German Suplex! He can't hold the bridge! THUNDERFIRE POWERBOMB! 1…2…3!!!!! Wow. Another FANTASTIC Match. This card almost makes you feel worn out! This match was another perfect example of how two guys telling a story in the ring can make you root for one and hate the other. I don't know SQUAT about what these two guys represent in Japan, but I know I HATE Samurai (not because he sucks, but because he's a dick) and LOVE Sasuke. The same dynamic was playing in the Samurai-Hamada match. This is what Samurai really excels at. He's good at making me root for the other guy. He's an excellent wrestler and a really great performer.
PostMatch- Handshake and Sasuke celebrates with the belts
6. J*Crown Final: Ultimo Dragon VS. Great Sasuke Each man is escorted to the ring by 4 girls in bathing suits, each holding a belt for display. Sasuke is also escorted by Tiger Mask!
Ring that bell! They circle each other. Sasuke is the first with some offense, kicks which Dragon blocks. Back to circling, Ultimo moving in, Kicks that Sasuke doesn't block, Sasuke grabbing a leg, sweeps the other, trying for a Knee Bar, Ultimo rolls through, grabbing Sasuke's leg for a Knee Bar of his own, Sasuke reverses THAT into a Cross Arm Breaker! Ultimo rolling through for a Stretch, Sasuke rolls him back over, quick pin attempt, Kickout! Both men spring up and the crowd shows their appreciation with some applause. Knucklelock, Ultimo flips Sasuke over, into Cross Arm Breaker, but gets countered by a Knee Bar, Dragon locks in one of his own, both men rolling, Rope Break! Sasuke with a quick Spinning Heel Kick to the chest, Japanese Armdrag, Dragon with a Shoulderblock, into the ropes, Sasuke leapfrogs him, rolls under him, into the ropes, springs over him, Ultimo with a Legsweep, Pin Attempt, Sasuke rolls him off, Legsweep, Pin Attempt, Ultimo rolls HIM off, Japanese Armdrag, Sasuke with a Japanese Armdrag, both men repeat! It's just like dancing! -This whole opening sequence here is just awe inspiring. These two guys can both go, and go like crazy. The dynamic of trading moves and countering that plays throughout the match is an EXCELLENT vehicle for getting across the fact that these guys are equals, and the outcome is undetermined. Matches where they take the time to do this RULE. Dragon hits a Dragonscrew Legwhip on the leg Sasuke has had punished through the WHOLE tournament. Cloverleaf! Ultimo lets up and switches to the ½ Crab, Indian Deathlock, but Sasuke gets to the ropes before he can get it locked in. Ultimo with a Spinning Kick to the gut, Knee to the Midsection, Abdominal Stretch. Sasuke reverses this into his OWN Abdominal Stretch. Dragon Hiptosses him, Leg Drop, 1…Kickout. Front Face lock by Sasuke, reversed by Dragon. Dragon with the Irish Whip, Sasuke Sunset Flips him, 1…2…NO! Sasuke with an Armbar, Dragon counters with a Knee Bar. Both men up, Dragon with an Irish Whip, dueling Lariats! Both men into the ropes again, dueling Spinning Heel Kicks! They hit each other in mid-air! Dragon with Shoulderblock, to the second rope, Moonsault! 1…2…NOO! Ultimo with the Irish Whip, goes for a Backbreaker, Sasuke flips out, Sasuke with a Shoulderblock, to the second rope, Moonsault! Ultimo Dropkicks him in mid-air! Sasuke rolls out of the ring, Ultimo hits a Tope Suicida! Ultimo back up onto the apron, Moonsault onto Sasuke across the fence! Back inside, Ultimo on offense, Brainbuster! Head Dropping Goodness! (that looked REALLY ugly by the way) 1…2…Kickout! Dragon with the Liger Bomb! 1…2…NOOO! Ultimo with an EMPHATIC Bodyslam. Up to the tope rope, Sasuke following, Dropkicks him to the outside! Sasuke SPRINGS over the top rope, Kick to Dragons chest, to the second rope, Moonsault! Sasuke went clean over the fence on that one! Tiger Mask is over to encourage Sasuke. Sasuke in first, Suplex, Moonsault misses! Ultimo with an Irish Whip, reversed, Sasuke tries a Tilt-a-Whirl, Ultimo flips out, DRAGON SUPLEX! 1…2…Kickout! Dragon puts him on the top turnbuckle…Frankensteiner! 1…2…NOOOO! Ultimo in control. Irish whip, Spinning Heel Kick, Ultimo out on the apron, brings Sasuke out with him! Going for the Powerbomb onto the floor! Sasuke wriggles out back into the ring, comes back out, Spin Kicks Ultimo to the floor! To the top turnbuckle, TOP ROPE SOMERSAULT PLANCHA! And YES, the sound you heard RIGHT before he hit Dragon was his SKULL CRACKING on the floor! Other wrestlers are over to encourage Sasuke to get up, but he can't. He VERY unsteadily makes his way back into the ring, Holding his head the whole time. This is just agonizing. Sasuke with a Bodyslam, shaking his head again, to the top turnbuckle, MOONSAULT MISSES! (Did he REALLY just do that in the condition he's in? Admittedly, he didn't know his skull was cracked, but he had to know SOMETHING was wrong!) Ultimo grabbing him, La Magistral! 1…2…HOW IN HELL DID HE HAVE THE STRENGTH TO KICK OUT? Back up, Ultimo in control, Powerbomb! Sasuke hangs on and hits a Hurricanrana! Sitting on his chest…1…2…3!!!!!!! Sasuke WINS!!! SASUKE WINS!!!
PostMatch- Sasuke needs help getting up, and is lifted onto the shoulders of other wrestlers for a walk around the ring. Sasuke finally somehow forces himself to walk, but he's holding his head a lot, and with good reason. Sasuke is then presented with the belts, one at a time and poses for pictures with THREE belts on each arm and TWO around his waist. He's sweating up a storm. Those belts have GOT to be heavy in his condition, he's probably going into shock.
PostMatch interview with Sasuke- He's sitting on some steps flanked by the models. He's not talking much and seems to be in bad shape. He shakes his head a lot and holds it almost constantly. He tries to get up to leave, but can't stand and just slips to the next step.
The final match was just insane. It was excruciating to sit there and watch it knowing what happened to Sasuke, but amazing that they still finished the match. Luckily, Sasuke recovered and is still wrestling today. It had a fantastic dynamic to it, but actually was carried very well by all three of the last matches. By setting up the matches with Ohtani-Ultimo and Sasuke-Samurai so well, it helped set up the final. Tournaments like this can be some of the best vehicles for getting people over. It's all in the storytelling in the ring. It really doesn't get much better than the last 3 matches on this tape.
WELL! All in all, it was a great show. There were a couple of matches that weren't CRAZY good, but they were all good. As you can see from the recap, there is SO MUCH action in this show. I tried to capture the spirit of the show without boring you, I hope I succeeded at least mildly.
Thanks for reading!
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