Thanks to for their badass righteous free counters

New Japan Pro Wrestling Super J-Cup 1994
by Alex Carnevale, Digable James Cobo, and Brendan "Shaddax" Welsh-Balliett

Emerald Frozien: Alex Carnevale
Orange Crush: DJC
Blue Thunder: Brendan Welsh-Balliett's

Digable James Cobo: All right, howdy; welcome to the first-ever Buster Time collaborative review. We are three strong today: Brendan, Alex and James, and we're going to tackle the famous 1994 J-Cup.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Well, I've heard it called the greatest card in wrestling history, and for pure workrate, it just might have been. By reputation, it had a full three ****+ matches, one a true near-***** all time classic. That's a heck of a reputation.
Digable James Cobo: It's one of those tapes that when you start to get into puro, is essential to pick up; people don't really even give explanations for why you should get it most of the time.
Alex Carnevale: I think it was the first puro tape I bought, actually.
Digable James Cobo: IIRC, I bought the '95 one before this one - that and a Best of Tiger Mask tape.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: When new prospective puro fans ask me what to get, this is always among the first 2 or 3 tapes I recommend. It's very accesible stylistically, yet rewarding even to the veteran fan. Perhaps even more so to the veteran.
Digable James Cobo: And when a tape has that good a reputation, it needs to be tackled.
Alex Carnevale: I'm shitting myself with anticipation.

Digable James Cobo: MATCH 1: Gedo vs. Dean Malenko

Brendan Welsh-Balliett: They had to start somewhere, I guess.
Alex Carnevale: This match reminded me of rottweiler murdering a pomerian. Actually, that's untrue.
Digable James Cobo: What a damn shame that the first puro match that a lot of people see has Gedo in it. If it was mine, I think I woulda stuck with the WWF.
Alex Carnevale: It didn't work as an opener, that much is for sure.
Digable James Cobo: I didn't think it was that bad, honestly - it just wasn't anything at all.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: I had this at **1/4. Dean almost does a great carry job, but there are still these dead areas where Gedoh's offense takes over. And it's kick, stomp, kick....
Digable James Cobo: Dean was crisp as a new $20.
Alex Carnevale: Dean hit a nice clothesline; I enjoyed that quite a bit. I liked the ending.
Digable James Cobo: Plus Gedo's about as lazy as they come. He bailed to catch his breath TWO SECONDS IN.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: All in all, not really offensive, just sorta there.
Digable James Cobo: I dunno. If you can appreciate Malenko's work by itself, it's not a bad match.
Digable James Cobo: The thing that bothered me psychologically about the match, though, was the fact that Dean was letting a lot of stuff slide for some reason.
Digable James Cobo: He wouldn't go for the obvious holds, even though Dumbass Gedo wasn't doing anything.
Alex Carnevale: I had it at **.
Digable James Cobo: Yeah, I had it at ** too.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Stuart had it at ** 1/2, Keith at ***. Let's note those for fun as well.
Digable James Cobo: Both of those scores seem ludicrously high to me.
Alex Carnevale: He hit a flying bodypress—it wasn't the usual Malenko match. It seemed like he was throwing stuff out there.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: I would almost have expected him to REALLY dominate, but he never imposed his will on the match.
Digable James Cobo: Yeah, like he was just showing off his moves.
Alex Carnevale: Agreed.
Digable James Cobo: So what did you'ns think the high point of the match was?
Alex Carnevale: Malenko clothesline that I was sure was going to get three.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Decent finish?
Alex Carnevale: I also laughed when Gedo pulled on what's left of Dean's hair.
Digable James Cobo: I thought the finish came out of nowhere, personally (and was ass-ugly to boot)
Digable James Cobo: Maybe I just hate Gedo.
Alex Carnevale: No, I thought it had a decent finish and the first pinfall has to come from a basic move.
Alex Carnevale: You're building finishers throughout the tournament.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: I just thought the powerslam was well-executed, and Dean struggled well. Selling that as a knockout would have been ludicrous.
Digable James Cobo: I guess... but Gedo wasn't working the back, and it came as a counter to a Malenko offensive surge... I can see it getting the pin with it in another minute or so, but that quick is retarded.
Alex Carnevale: That out of nowhere ending would mark the first round matches, which all had a similar structure.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: It was desinged to look a fluke, which it accomplised I thought.
Digable James Cobo: I can see that. But in that case he should have lost in the second round :)
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Ah, what can you do. Bitch at Liger ;)
Digable James Cobo: Wait for the BoSJ review :)
Alex Carnevale: I supposed they wanted to build parity. Oh, disgusting parity.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Ah, I can imagine. They also wanted to protect NJPW Dean from jobbing convincingly to WAR Gedo
Digable James Cobo: We good here?
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Yea, we're good.
Alex Carnevale: Truth. I think that's it.
Digable James Cobo: Cool.

Digable James Cobo: MATCH 2: Super Delfin vs. Shinjiro Ohtani

Digable James Cobo: I was pretty underwhelmed. I thought that the talent was there for a *** match, even with the time constraints. Delfin just wasn't working at top level.
Alex Carnevale: Match was above all, inconsistent.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: **1/2. I HATE Delfin's selling here, as he alternately no-sells and sells stupidly.
Alex Carnevale: There were hints of what would come later in both men's careers, but not in this match.
Digable James Cobo: Definitely. He sure didn't sell that leg work at all.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Stuart and the SmarK both have ***1/4
Digable James Cobo: Damn, I wouldn't go any higher than **1/4
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: I believe they may be blinded by the legend of this card.
Alex Carnevale: Ohtani reminded me of Owen when he was going after the knee in the early-going.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: I think that influenced them too; I love that section, whcih got it to **1/2 for me.
Digable James Cobo: Totally. They're a lot alike, actually.
Digable James Cobo: And Bret/Owen was what, three weeks before this match?
Alex Carnevale: That's funny, I didn't think about that.
Alex Carnevale: I disliked that it was an Ohtani squash out of a nowhere ending—much like the first match.
Digable James Cobo: If nobody's going to mention Delfin leaning face-first into that Ohtani leg lariat, I will :)
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: I think the same booking considerations plyed into this finish, as they did that of the first match. MPro Delfin, NJPW Ohtani.
Alex Carnevale: I thought the bitch was **1/2.
Digable James Cobo: It weakens both guys, though, to have the indy guys get that many fluke pins in a row
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Eh, Liger's never been the most stable or logical of bookers.
Alex Carnevale: NJPW has more talented guys, and withoutthe indy guys it may have been a better tournament in the early rounds.
Alex Carnevale: Witness the Fuji-Casas debacle.
Digable James Cobo: Hey now, don't blame Negro Casas for Ricky Fuji.That's like me blaming you for Julia Roberts
Alex Carnevale: I'm just saying it was a clash is all.
Digable James Cobo: :D
Digable James Cobo: I'm just joshin' ya
Alex Carnevale: Don't make me physically assault you, Cobo.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: I actually stopped hating Fuji for this show. Liger did wonders with him.
Digable James Cobo: Yeah, he tried to hang with him in their match, and it was a miracle of miracles.
Digable James Cobo: That's true. It's funny that we're reviewing this tape on the day of Invasion, since that's essentially what this is - the indy guys invading the NJPW junior ranks.
Alex Carnevale: I don't think Invasion will work as well as this did, if what we've seen is any indication.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Heh. I think not as well, but they're still getting my money ;)
Digable James Cobo: Ready to move on?
Alex Carnevale: Yay!
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Si

Digable James Cobo: Match 3: Taka Michinoku vs. Black Tiger

Digable James Cobo: First: DAMN, that's a big hat.
Alex Carnevale: Ha
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Indeed. Viva goofy head gear. E&C&TAKA
Digable James Cobo: Second: DAMN, this match isn't as good as it should be.
Alex Carnevale: I thought it was the most enjoyable match of the first round, all things considered.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: I liked it the best, just because i thought the work was the best.
Digable James Cobo: I had it behind Liger/Hayabusa, but it was pretty good.
Alex Carnevale: Maybe it was the familiarity with the wrestlers, but I just thought it was enjoyable seeing a wrestler like TAKA being put in his grave.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Things were better and more fluid than the earlier matches. I liked Liger/Busa better as well, but this was the best so far.
Digable James Cobo: I thought the work was crisp and tight, but there wasn't any real build or selling.
Digable James Cobo: And was it just me or was Eddy working stiff as a motherfucker?
Digable James Cobo: When he hit that European uppercut on Taka, I almost started crying in empathy.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Eddie was stiff, and the whole thing worked as a "listen up you punk kid" ass-beating
Digable James Cobo: Yeah, and it was cool that Taka hung with him on it :)
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: In that sense, it was the forst match with a story, which I loooooove.
Digable James Cobo: Yeah, although the you-don't-work-here beating story would later get topped.
Alex Carnevale: It was very much a spotfest but it didn't feel like an exhibition.
Digable James Cobo: Yeah.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: True that.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: The flow and the tightness of the work kept the aura of belivabillity intact, which is important
Alex Carnevale: I have a question—is it better to have elements of buld and not use them at all or not factor any initial psychology at all?
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Better to make the effort.
Digable James Cobo: Totally. It's the difference between Chris Benoit vs. Billy Gunn and Road Dogg vs. Billy Gunn
Alex Carnevale: I went to ***, I thought it was that decent.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: *** from me, fun match.
Digable James Cobo: I didn't think the whole thing was QUITE good enough to be 'good', but it was Perfectly Acceptable Wrestling. **1/2 from me
Digable James Cobo: True, but there were a few conspicuous non-credible pinfall attempts which hurt it for me.
Alex Carnevale: Such as...
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: **1/2 from Keith, ***1/4 from Stuart
Digable James Cobo: The one that I wrote down was when Taka rolled in from the apron and hit the German suplex... it was his first real nearfall in the match, and it didn't make sense.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Whoops, *** from Stuart
Alex Carnevale: Oddly enough, it sounded high.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Well, TAKA hit his big highspot just before, yes?
Digable James Cobo: the springboard crucifix plancha? I think that was earlier.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: I'm just reading Stuart's PBP, and he's got it there.
Digable James Cobo: Really? Hm...
Alex Carnevale: Anything else?
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Told ya, Stuart's my secret weapon! ;)
Digable James Cobo: I still didn't think it was enough build to a nearfall
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Not really, pretty simple match.
Digable James Cobo: Damn you and your resourcefulness, you Brendan Welsh-Balliett you!
Digable James Cobo: Yeah. Let's move it on.

Digable James Cobo: Match 3: Masayoshi Motegi vs. El Samurai.

Digable James Cobo: BLEH.
Digable James Cobo: I really, really hate Motegi, and I'm no fan of El.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Lemme think, BLEH.
Alex Carnevale: This match redefined the word sloppy for a whole new generation of matches.
Alex Carnevale: I like El Samurai, but's like someone took a shit in the shape of a wrestler.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Like a Sabu match, without the cool spots. SPOT wander SPOT
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: And I like Samurai.
Digable James Cobo: Yup. And they were hitting ENORMOUS spots early on.
Alex Carnevale: There was one dropkick where I don't think either of them knew who was suppposed to sell so they redid the spot.
Digable James Cobo: The thing about Samurai is that he's the goofiest seller in the universe.
Alex Carnevale: Was there a inverted gutwrench suplex in there somewhere?
Digable James Cobo: Yeah, I think so
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Yeah, early on.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: I think.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Really just unfluid, and neither man was comfortable with the other. Train wreck of a match. Really.
Digable James Cobo: Did anyone else notice that this was like the third time that the indy guy kicked out of the NJPW guy's finisher?
Alex Carnevale: I definitely wasn't bored, I will say that.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Yeah, rather odd.
Alex Carnevale: It wasn't that slow or anything, it was jsut kind of a mess.
Digable James Cobo: I liked the finisher-kicking-out as a way to get the indy guys over as a threat, actually
Alex Carnevale: I wonder if they'll use that at Invasion.
Digable James Cobo: I bet RVD will :)
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Bleh, if we think THIS is spotty....
Digable James Cobo: The part of this match that I *did* like was the fact that El was just DRILLING Motegi with his piledrivers and powerbombs and whatnot
Alex Carnevale: There were things to like, I just don't remember them all two well.
Alex Carnevale: That was good, yeah.
Digable James Cobo: I'm pretty sure this was the stiffest match of the first two rounds.
Alex Carnevale: I dunno, Eddy v. TAKA?
Digable James Cobo: Yeah, too bad we had Motegi assing it up. That headscissors he tried where he just ended up kneeing El in the face?
Alex Carnevale: I laughed out loud; it was that bad.
Digable James Cobo: I was quite anti-that.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Motegi deserved it ;) I'd go **, worst match of the night except maybe the next. I thought Eddie/TAKA was stiffer.
Digable James Cobo: I thought this was a little stiffer since it was less about highspots.
Alex Carnevale: I think I'd go **1/4.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: ** 1/4 from Keith, **1/2 from Stuart.
Alex Carnevale: I thought Malenko-Gedo was slightly worse along with the next match.
Digable James Cobo: I had it at *3/4 myself. The stiffness saved it.
Alex Carnevale: Keep on moving on?
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Bleh, Eddie hit that rana counter powerbomb on TAKA that might have been the rudest bump all night
Digable James Cobo: Sheeit... the Sasuke rana after The Spot where he put Liger right on his *FACE*?
Alex Carnevale: It was less "high-impact," but I see your point.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Don't remember that off hand. We'll get there.
Digable James Cobo: I know, I know, but I've got ants in the pants.
Digable James Cobo: Shall we move on?
Alex Carnevale: !
Digable James Cobo: From this fetid waste of ten minutes of wrestling?
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: !
Digable James Cobo: Figurative ants in the pants, that is.
Alex Carnevale: Phew.

Digable James Cobo: MATCH 4: Ricky Fuji vs. Negro Casas

Alex Carnevale: High point was when Fuji nailed Casas with the sitting suck-my-dick spot.
Digable James Cobo: the WHAT?
Alex Carnevale: You know, with the, the head, and the submission and the...
Digable James Cobo: I thought the best part was Fuji's Charlie Daniels entrance music
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: "Just a match". Really basic and sounder than the last (maybe), but less ambitious.
Alex Carnevale: Entrances were forever.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: FF for me.
Digable James Cobo: I really liked the transitions in this one.
Digable James Cobo: For the first half of the match, Casas didn't hit a non-counter move.
Alex Carnevale: Oh, I know.
Alex Carnevale: I dunno, I thought this was all kinds of nothing. Casas was fluid but the match was all build to nothing and no heat.
Digable James Cobo: Yeah, well, that's Ricky Fuji for you.
Digable James Cobo: He's the Japanese Billy Gunn.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: "The first half" is funny in a 6 minute match.
Alex Carnevale: This was nothing worth talking about. *1/2
Digable James Cobo: Yeah, well, I just watched Motegi so by comparison it's GOLD GOLD GOLD.
Digable James Cobo: I had it at **, actually.
Digable James Cobo: I really liked the transitions.
Alex Carnevale: Clearly.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: ** from me, ** from both S boys.
Digable James Cobo: You's the odd man out, Carnevale :)
Digable James Cobo: You stand alone on your island of *1/2ness :)
Alex Carnevale: I've been foiled by your superior intelligence once again Cobo.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Casas did yeoman's work dragging Fuji about on the mat.
Digable James Cobo: I liked his sentons, too
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Indeed, quite luchariffic.
Digable James Cobo: I mean, he wasn't Dick Togo or anything, but I had no complaints.
Digable James Cobo: Anyone else have like NO notes on this match? :)
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Nope. Virtually none.
Alex Carnevale: I have three sentences and one of them is "Chris Benoit."
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: 2 lines.
Digable James Cobo: Six notes total.
Digable James Cobo: Shall we stipulate a "Nothing to see here; move along" and get on with it?
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Indeed
Alex Carnevale: Touché

Digable James Cobo: Match 5: Hayabusa vs. Jushin Liger

Digable James Cobo: The thing that always gets me is that the "historical impact" of this card is that it was Hayabusa's debut, when he only got one match on the whole show.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Beat me by 1/2 sec ;)
Digable James Cobo: Bad booking (mess you up!)
Alex Carnevale: I didn't like this match. I thought it was formulaic and sloppy. Very un-Liger.
Digable James Cobo: Eizaki REALLY should have won his firstround match (he should have taken Gedo's place) to settle himself down.
Digable James Cobo: He was just SLOPPY in this.
Alex Carnevale: He wired himself right into the ground on that 450.
Digable James Cobo: Jesus, to say nothing of that SSP. He kneed Liger right in the neck.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: I really liked this. It's the first clue to the "character profile" of Liger in this show, as a dickhead overconfident veteran with no respect for younger/indy guys.
Digable James Cobo: Good point. I hadn't thought of that.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: I thought the show built 4 "profiles" toward the semifinals/finals of which Liger was one. characters they used to create those great matches.
Alex Carnevale: What was with him shaking EVERYBODY'S hands?
Digable James Cobo: His opponents were earning his respect.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: H was sloppy, which hurt this BAD, but I thought the story was there which heals many wounds with me.
Digable James Cobo: He wasn't just sloppy - he was hesitant. There were a lot of clutch-and-grab moments.
Alex Carnevale: I liked TAKA v. Eddy better in comparison. This match was not your usual Liger match.
Digable James Cobo: I could have used some more build - the only real build came with Hayabusa's comeback
Alex Carnevale: Busa had the master of timing off his game, and that's no good.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Note also: Liger got caught being overconfident in this match, but he won so his confidence only grew.
Alex Carnevale: Spots were ugly and the only selling going on was Liger's typical professionalism.
Digable James Cobo: Yeah, but he was no-selling early
Alex Carnevale
: True.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: As he sould have, given his character
Digable James Cobo: Good point.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: "I shouldn't show my pain to this young fool!" or something.
Digable James Cobo: I really liked how stiff this match was - that was the best part for me, even better than the story, which was pretty basic.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: True, within the match the story was just there. I like it more for how they expanded off thst as the show wore on.
Digable James Cobo: Definitely. This was a Perfectly Acceptable match, but in the big context it makes a lot of sense.
Digable James Cobo: I had it at **3/4
Alex Carnevale: This match was as good as Liger could make it, and he couldn't make it better than **1/4
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: **3/4, argued down by Cobo ;)
Digable James Cobo: <notches gun>
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: *** from Stuart, **1/4 from Keith
Digable James Cobo: **1/4 I can see, because it WAS really sloppy... but ***?
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Don't ask me. I actually had it there too breifly, based on the story, which Stu doesn't mention
Alex Carnevale: He's a Liger mark and a Busa mark.
Digable James Cobo: Oh. Well that explains that.
Alex Carnevale: :)
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Moving on....

Digable James Cobo: Match 6: Gedo vs. Super Delfin

Alex Carnevale: It was like thank god we're out of the first round OH NOOOOOOO
Digable James Cobo: I liked this match a lot.
Alex Carnevale: I would have preferred Ohtani v. Malenko. Has that ever happened?
Digable James Cobo: I'm sure it has. It might be in the BoSJ '94
Alex Carnevale: gotcha
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Two guys I never needed to see wrestle. Flowless, patchy, BLEH.
Digable James Cobo: I thought that Delfin did a lot of really subtle stuff, like stepping on Gedo's head in the half crab, then countering later with an enzuigiri
Alex Carnevale: Delphin's good at the latter.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: I saw that stuff, but little things didn't make up for the big stuff.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: I didn't HATE the match, just didn't think much of it.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: There will be 3 matches at Invasion tonight better, I wager.
Alex Carnevale: The only thing that got a reaction in this one were highspots and comedy schtick.
Alex Carnevale: At one point they ran the ropes like they were doing it for practice.
Digable James Cobo: Well yeah, but they were building the head and neck work towards the tornado DDT
Alex Carnevale: Then Delfin sells an atomic drop like a shotgun blast. Argue me that, Cobo.
Digable James Cobo: I question the BOOKING, since Gedo the Shitfuck kicks out of it...
Alex Carnevale: Well, you build it as a finisher in the first round and trash it in the second.
Digable James Cobo: I'm not saying it's a ***** classic or anything
Digable James Cobo: And if you got dropped on your assbone, you'd jump up like you'd been shot too.
Alex Carnevale: At one point I believe they blew a vertical suplex.
Alex Carnevale: Ha!
Digable James Cobo: I guess... it's just that they actually built towards the move this time.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: If the whole match builds to the tornado DDT, and that hits, and is immidiately reversed... AFTER it hits, what good did that build do?
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Especially if that reversal is the finish?
Digable James Cobo: None at all, which is why I don't have the match breaking ***. But there IS focused work, which is always good enough for goverment work.
Alex Carnevale: This match wasn't as bad as it should have been, but that doesn't make it good.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: It gets **1/2 from me.
Digable James Cobo: I had it at **3/4
Alex Carnevale: **1/2 here
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: ** from K, *** from Stu
Digable James Cobo: It might have cracked *** if Gedo hadn't been such a non-crisp pile of ass, and if they'd booked it differently
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Liger-san has much to answer for.
Digable James Cobo: Eh. Once the crap weeds itself out, it all makes sense to me.
Digable James Cobo: Ready to move on?
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Si
Alex Carnevale: yep

Digable James Cobo: Match 7: Black Tiger vs. Wild Pegasus (Chris Benoit)

Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Match 7: Black Tiger vs. Chris Benoit
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: FUCK!
Digable James Cobo: DAMMIT!
Alex Carnevale: Fellas, let's not quarrel.
Digable James Cobo: I woulda HAD you if not for those parentheticals.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: I'm'a getcha next time ;)
Digable James Cobo: I thought the match was a little underwhelming, all things considered.
Digable James Cobo: I really didn't like the matwork at the beginning.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Hell of a match, I thout. Best work yet in terms of fluidity and the appearance of legitimacy.
Alex Carnevale: I thought it was better than the RAW match.
Digable James Cobo: I mean, the match was about as good as a 10-minute match between the two of these guys could be.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: I'd agree with that.
Digable James Cobo: I agree - it was the best so far. But it could have been better without all that extraneous leg work
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Had it been longer, I'd be perturbed by the absence of psychology, but i'll live with that in a short match
Digable James Cobo: I can see that, actually.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: I thought thet had to do something to establish context for the big spots to come.
Alex Carnevale: There were a few awesome counter-counter sequences.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: If we bitch about Samurai and Motgi doing big spots out of the gate....
Digable James Cobo: Yeah, but leg work wasn't the way to set up things like rana sequences.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Yes, but for them to want to do ranas, they had to know they couldn't do leg work
Digable James Cobo: I, like Alex, really liked the counter sequences at the beginning.
Digable James Cobo: I thought that was more effective in the flow of the match than the leg work
Alex Carnevale: I mean, THAT'S how you establish parity.
Alex Carnevale: Not fluke pins.
Digable James Cobo: I guess...but both guys' finishers are unconnected to the leg.
Alex Carnevale: Well, you want to ground the high-flyer, I suppose.
Digable James Cobo: Has that ever worked? :)
Alex Carnevale: Not once, no.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Well, this is NJPW, not the WWF; they don't HAVE to use the same finishers
Digable James Cobo: I know, I know - but I don't think that ANY of their finishers are connected to the leg, and it would have been inconsistent for them to invent one on the fly
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Sharpshooter?
Digable James Cobo: Did he use that? I forget
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Benoit used it later in the show.
Alex Carnevale: It had been used in two matches already by this point.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: It's known to be in his arsenal.
Digable James Cobo: I guess... but it wasn't even teased in this match.
Digable James Cobo: Hell, he should have used it. Maybe it would have hurt Eddy enough so that he couldn't get that HIDEOUSLY PAINFUL-LOOKING hand-held rana
Alex Carnevale: that rana has to be seen to be believed.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Best you can have for 10 minutes. They tried to establish spot context, then hit the big spots fluidly. Not a classic, but very good.
Alex Carnevale: Well, I thought the match had a lot of extremely nasty stuff in it. I don't think it tried to be a classic but it was damn awesome as it was.
Digable James Cobo: It was "good"...nothing more, but I didn't get the impression that it was trying to be transcendant.
Digable James Cobo: I had it at ***
Alex Carnevale: I rating the bastard at ***1/2
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Me, Keith, and Stuie have it at ***1/2.
Digable James Cobo: D'aw... now I'M odd man out.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Now you're on the island, James ;)
Digable James Cobo: Is this the end of Zombie Shakespeare?
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Heh. I love that ep.
Digable James Cobo: Ready to move on?
Alex Carnevale: Boy am I!

Digable James Cobo: Match 8: The Great Sasuke vs. El Samurai

Digable James Cobo: I remember thinking "Boy, I sure hope Sasuke doesn't wear that ugly-ass gold mask."
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Yes children, the good stuff.
Alex Carnevale: These guys have good chemistry.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: The matwork means something here, as Sasuke only goes to the air after losing on the ground
Digable James Cobo: Yup. Plus it establishes his speed, which he makes use of in context for the rest of the show
Alex Carnevale: The first convincing nearfall end sequence of the tournament was in this match. Suspenseful
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Also, this builds Sasuke's profile of underdog abuse-magnet
Alex Carnevale: Samurai killed him on more than one occasion.
Digable James Cobo: I did think there was some spotty selling, but it didn't take away from the match
Digable James Cobo: Mostly because El Samurai had a good thing going with the leg work, but then for some reason shifted it over to arm/shoulder work.
Digable James Cobo: If I changed gears in my car that fast, my transmission would be lying in the highway.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Perhaps he saw an opportunity for a quick win? He went for a submission move, not a wear down
Digable James Cobo: Good point, but it was out of nowhere.
Digable James Cobo: I mean, the purpose of the match was to get Sasuke's spots over with the crowd first and foremost, and they did that in SPADES. The selling and stuff I can forgive, and really it wasn't that offensive anyway.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Indeed. the SFTD got a huge reaction, as well it should.
Digable James Cobo: It got a huge reaction from me on the couch, too.
Digable James Cobo: Did the rollthrough-ending work for you guys?
Alex Carnevale: I liked the build to the finish, point-blank.
Digable James Cobo: So did I. For some reason I liked this rollup ending and I hated the Gedo one...
Alex Carnevale: Well, it wasn't really a fluke here.
Digable James Cobo: It didn't feel like a fluke, I guess.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: For me this worked, since Sasuke was playing plucky guy who wins on luck after surviving on skill. Also, it seemed less fluky due to his huge spots in the match.
Digable James Cobo: <taps nose>
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: ?
Digable James Cobo: As in, "you've hit it right on this"
Digable James Cobo: I had the match at ***1/2, but I'm upgrading it to ***3/4.
Alex Carnevale: ****
Alex Carnevale: it's overshadowed by the last two, but this match was genuinely awesome.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: **** from me and Stuart, ***1/4 from el smarko
Digable James Cobo: Works for me.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: move on?
Digable James Cobo: Yup.

Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Match 9: Jushin Liger vs. Ricky Fuji

Brendan Welsh-Balliett: YEAH!
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: gotcha ;)
Digable James Cobo: Someone had it ready to go :)
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: yup;)
Alex Carnevale: You guys are going to emoticon yourselves into an early grave.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: :) :( ;) :p
Digable James Cobo: I liked this match a TON more than I thought I would.
Digable James Cobo: I thought Fuji was actually trying to hang with Liger here, which made me kindly disposed.
Alex Carnevale: Liger actually seemed to want to carry Fuji to a decent match and he worked hard at doing so
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: This did not suck, which surprised me. I had it at **1/2, bland but with a few good Liger spots and a decent story with Unchallanged Dickhead Liger
Digable James Cobo: Liger was compensating for Fuji's suckiness by working really crisply.
Alex Carnevale: What was the finish, the rana?
Digable James Cobo: Yeah.
Digable James Cobo: I wish Fuji had done more to earn his respect, though.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Nah, Fuji couldn't ear the respect. Liger had to be overconfident to make the Sasuke match work
Digable James Cobo: Good point. That makes a good deal of sense.
Digable James Cobo: And that double footstomp may have been my favorite spot on the entire show, outside of every time Samurai laid into Motegi.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: over the SFTD?
Digable James Cobo: Very possibly. It looked NASSSSSSSSTY.
Alex Carnevale: It was tame compared to the harsh brutality of the joshi double-stomp
Digable James Cobo: Yeah, I mean moonsault stomp it wasn't, but it was REALLY hellish.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: God love Liger for making Perro Aguayo's stuff look good ;)
Digable James Cobo: Hey, it's not like Perro's making it look good. Liger's working for two on two continents :)
Digable James Cobo: I had it at ***, which shocked and amazed me.
Digable James Cobo: I always thought that the only time Ricky Fuji would see three stars was if he looked up at night.
Alex Carnevale: I'm with Cobo.
Digable James Cobo: It was very much the Best Raw Undercard Match of 1994.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: **1/2 from Stuart, *** from Smarcules
Digable James Cobo: SMARCULES~! You've outdone yourself!
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: *bows*
Digable James Cobo: Ready to go?
Alex Carnevale: boo-yeah

Digable James Cobo: Match 10: Pegasus vs. Benoit (ed. note: actually Pegasus vs. Gedo, but laugh at my stupidity)

Brendan Welsh-Balliett: erm, wha?
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Benoit vs. Gedoh, maybe?
Alex Carnevale: I wish Benoit acquired the ability to wrestle hisself.
Digable James Cobo: GFLAH! Yes, of course. I = dumb.
Digable James Cobo: This match was like when your mom would have to stop at the grocery store before taking you to Toys R Us on your birthday.
Alex Carnevale: Nice analogy.
Digable James Cobo: I really, really, REALLY liked how stiff Benoit worked El Shithead.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: My entire notes consist of "BLAH, ***"
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: I really just was Gedoh'd out by this point, and while the match was stiff and good and stiff and stuff, I just wanted it off my screen.
Digable James Cobo: Yeah. I had no desire to be watching it.
Alex Carnevale: Defining moment of the match came when Gedo kicked Chris in the face on a plancha and asked him if he was allright.
Digable James Cobo: They did do the previous finisher kickout when Benoit kickd out of the Powerslam, which was cool and all.
Alex Carnevale: If you pretend it's not Gedo, the match was rather good. It was the best squash match of the night.
Digable James Cobo: And you WOULDN'T pretend it's Gedo getting squashed?
Digable James Cobo: Gedo puts his lips on the ass of wrestling and SUCKS REAL HARD.
Alex Carnevale: If Benoit had superbombed him off some kind of cage or ladder, I suppose it would have been worth it.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: He's rather worthless at this time, yes.
Digable James Cobo: All he does in this match is flail and miss a moonsault.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Benoit managed to carry him, but really only so far.
Digable James Cobo: Yup. I had it at *** too, which given the time and the Gedo Factor, is about as good as can be expected.
Alex Carnevale: Same here, it was shitty for where it was in the tournament but otherwise okay.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: It'd get wose the next year....
Alex Carnevale: You ain't kidding.
Digable James Cobo: Yeah. They should have put Hayabusa in the Gedo role - let him win his first two matches, then lose to the fresher Benoit in the semis.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: ***1/4 from Stu-art, *** from "smokin' the" keither.
Alex Carnevale: If you're going to book, book Ohtani and Malenko in and Gedo and Fuji out!
Digable James Cobo: The matches would have been better, Eizaki could have settled down...
Alex Carnevale: Cobo, you are the king of wishful thinking.
Digable James Cobo: Hey, there's only one NJPW vs. NJPW match.
Digable James Cobo: I don't know about you guys, but I'm SO ready to move on.

Digable James Cobo: Match 10: The Great Sasuke vs. Jushin Liger

Digable James Cobo: :D
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: yeah yeah
Digable James Cobo: I really, really, REALLY loved this match.
Alex Carnevale: I thought the matwork in this one was simply the best of the tournament. Period.
Digable James Cobo: Ditto. Brilliant, brilliant match.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Indeed, spantabularifious
Alex Carnevale: Liger showing once and for all that he's the master of pacing.
Digable James Cobo: Transitions out the ass absolutely MADE the match.
Alex Carnevale: The match moves at EXACTLY the right speed.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: And he finally gets a good space of time to work with.
Alex Carnevale: When Liger went from the tombstone to the submission hold and the crowd popped, I nearly shat myself with glee.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: This is really the collision of Liger's arrogant veteran and Sasuke's underdog face. the story is Liger pummling the underdog and Sasuke trying to hold on.
Alex Carnevale: The arm-work was weird-I'm not sure what arm-related moves Sasuke uses, but it seemed like a good idea.
Digable James Cobo: I LOVED the way the psychology manifested itself. Things like Sasuke using the quebrada instead of the SFTD or tope atomico because (a) Liger had weakened his arm, and (b) Liger was still fresh enough to move out of the way made me get all grinny.
Alex Carnevale: Hey, why don't Japanese fans pop for the piledriver AT ALL?
Digable James Cobo: Because it's Osaka, not Memphis :)
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Also, Sasuke only gets an advantage when they go to the air, and once he has it he uses and occasionally coming back with big stuff, everything he has to put Liger away quick.
Alex Carnevale: How about that nasty Sasuke crucifix powerbomb. That's when I said to myself, he's on now.
Digable James Cobo: Yeah, but he keeps using moves that have resonance for Liger, like the shoulder powerbomb (which El Samurai uses), or the moves used prior in the tourney
Digable James Cobo: That's why he can't put Liger away.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Also, the early near-knockout's from Liger feed into this.
Alex Carnevale: I just adored this match in a multitude of ways. As I watched it I asked myself how the final could be better.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Also, there are a few "Liger reversed while showboating" and lax-cover spots
Digable James Cobo: We probably should discuss The Spot...
Digable James Cobo: planned, or unplanned?
Alex Carnevale: Definitely unplanned.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: unplanned, doesn't matter
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: it actually fed the story better, especually with Liger's reaction
Digable James Cobo: Liger's reaction was GRRRRRRRREAT :)
Alex Carnevale: No, I think it matters. They covered well, but it takes me out of the flow of the match for a second when he slips.
Digable James Cobo: But it makes so much sense - Sasuke won his first match with a surprise rollup, and this one's just a continuation
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: To me, it's "has the underdog run out of gas? NO! HE'S STILL GOT IT!"
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: I assume the finish was intended to be a springboard rana rollup.
Digable James Cobo: I don't think so - I don't think I've ever seen Sasuke do a springboard Rana before. I think it was just going to be a dropkick
Alex Carnevale: I thought it was going to be the springboard side kick,
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: but he went to the rana immidiatly afterward, apparently to cover for the one he missed, and his using a new spot would have made sense in context
Digable James Cobo: I guess, but history shows that he'd never used it since...
Alex Carnevale: We could argue forever but forever makes me hungry.
Digable James Cobo: and if it's a once-in-a-lifetime spot, wouldn't he break it out in the final?
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: not necessarily, if it didn't fit
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: if he were winning the tourny, it would be a great finish, but with him jobbing....
Digable James Cobo: A valid point. I actually like the spot in some ways.
Digable James Cobo: It DOES keep me from going *****, since it's very, very aesthetically unpleasant
Digable James Cobo: but hey, ****3/4 ain't too shabby.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Either way, I think we all know we love the match, it's a 1/4 * either way, i suppose.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Oops, there you go.
Digable James Cobo: Absolutely.
Digable James Cobo: There I go?
Alex Carnevale: Spectacular fucking match, ****3/4
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: ****1/2. I mean you posted exactly what I did, except first.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: ****1/2 from sMARk, and ****3/4 from Stu.
Alex Carnevale: It's all the same.
Digable James Cobo: Wow, you'd almost get the impression that people thought the match was good or something :)
Digable James Cobo: Ready for the final?
Digable James Cobo: I've got a full page of notes on the final.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Same here.
Alex Carnevale: Page and a half.
Digable James Cobo: Well then...

Digable James Cobo: FINAL: The Great Sasuke vs. Chris Benoit

Alex Carnevale: The first thing to notice about Sasuke v. Benoit is that the early parts of the match are clearly made to look like Dynamite Kid v. Sayama.
Digable James Cobo: Hell, the whole match is. It's my favorite part.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Indeed. i saw about 6 of those matches recently, and the allusions are obvious.
Alex Carnevale: The teased tope, the sidekick, and the crisscross sequence is right out of 1981.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: The Tiger flip of Benoit in the corner
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: The flip out of the snap mare....
Digable James Cobo: Wasn't the diving forearm a DK move too?
Digable James Cobo: When Benoit hits the swandive headbutt (DK's big move) and Sasuke kicks out, it's like they're saying "This stuff is old, but we're Young and Hungry, and it'll take something new"
Alex Carnevale: "Now it's time to raise the bar."
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: yes, that's the point, and well told.
Alex Carnevale: Exactly.
Digable James Cobo: I also LOVED how they built the whole match around an early teased Dragon suplex
Alex Carnevale: Benoit anchors the whole match, carrying a blown-up Sasuke through minutes of the thing.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: the basic dynamic is the same, as wrestling machein DK/Benoit goes against speedster and athlete Sayama/Sasuke
Alex Carnevale: By the end of the match it's real drama and they are writing their own script.
Digable James Cobo: And then they had the whole Power Moves vs. Targeted Wrestling part, where Benoit's moves weren't effective because he hadn't worked the specific bodyparts (the Wildbomb, the dragon suplex, diving headbutt)
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Benoit also brings a palpable aggression to what he does, something Liger didn't. He's not going to get distracted or arrogant. he actually goes to the air before Sasuke, the first time anyone did in the tourney.
Digable James Cobo: That's a really good point, especially because he's not as effective in the air as Sasuke.
Digable James Cobo: Benoit had just been laying into Sasuke, but it wasn't focused agression
Alex Carnevale: What do you make of the finishing move?
Digable James Cobo: I thought it was allright. It was a move that DK would have done if he were still wrestling.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: True, though I'm always underwhelmed by it.
Alex Carnevale: Kind of like the top rope tombstone he broke out on Jericho the following year.
Digable James Cobo: Naw, THAT looked HELLISH.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: I want something more to put away plucky Sasuke.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Yeah, like that, even if he blew that spot.
Digable James Cobo: Well, Sasuke was - pardon the cliche - a victim of his own hubris.
Digable James Cobo: When he was posing on the turnbuckle, even Liger was down there in the corner of the screen saying TURN AROUND!
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: True, but I still want a bigger move.
Alex Carnevale: Can someone guess at the story they were trying to tell with the frequent cuts to Liger at ringside?
Digable James Cobo: Sasuke had earned Liger's respect.
Digable James Cobo: Yeah. I think the finisher shoulda been the top-rope Wildbomb.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Basically, "hey these guys got past Liger!" I think. And the respect.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Yes, top rope powerbomb.
Digable James Cobo: that's why Liger was over encouraging Sasuke to get up and go for the win with Taka and Delfin (ironically) et al.
Alex Carnevale: Maybe they felt to make the finisher so awesome might degrade what happened in the match.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: I HATED when that wasn't the finish in the Mutoh/Hase match on 6/6, and it would be perfect here, since it'd be a culminatory spot.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: As opposed to just another spot....
Digable James Cobo: Yeah, he teased it in him vs. Eddy IIRC
Alex Carnevale: Although didn't he win it with the superbomb before.
Digable James Cobo: Didn't he win the ToSJ '93 with it?
Alex Carnevale: That's what I meant. Maybe they felt it'd been done.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: yeah, that could be.
Digable James Cobo
: So where do you guys have it?
Alex Carnevale: It's hard to think of this match as belonging to Benoit, because it wasn't about him.
Alex Carnevale: it's kind of like the Owen Hart tribute match.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: other nice point: note that when he has a chance, Sasuke staye off the mat with Benoit, and even failed to cover on a springboard body block reversal,opting for a strike follow up
Digable James Cobo: Good point. Do you think that cost him in the end? He'd already proven that he couldn't hang with Liger, and if Benoit was an updated mat-god Kid...
Digable James Cobo: I have it at the full *****; it was a great match, and a fitting statement of the next generation of junior wrestlng
Alex Carnevale: The match was This Is Junior Wrestling, and it was *****
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: ****3/4, only becuase I can maybe think of one or two matches better than this.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: To a degree, because within the storyline his offense becoames predictable
Digable James Cobo: Not really - even though the diving headbutt raise-the-bar spot says what it does, he keeps going back to the old stuff, because he has RESPECT for it, which is why the gutwrench works for me.
Alex Carnevale: What junior match do you think is better than this one?
Alex Carnevale: What match period do you think is better?
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: A few ideas: finals of Junior tag league '94, Rey vs. Eddie HH '97
Digable James Cobo: I *do* think Sasuke should have won.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Dragon vs. Ohtani, J Crown '96
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: I also like Rey/Psicosis BATB '96 near to this.
Digable James Cobo: I'd say that this was better than Dragon/Ohtani, but it's personal preference.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: The rematch between these two from some days later is said to be superior
Digable James Cobo: I think JDW was just being ornery when he said that :)
Alex Carnevale: I like Dragon and Ohtani a bit better, but they are both five stars, come on.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: In the end, my specific objections are to a slightly weak finish and a choppy mid section.
Nothing huge, just enough to knock off 1/4
Alex Carnevale: I think Benoit going over was the right booking. Liger was basically saying that Benoit was the future of wrestling, period.
Alex Carnevale: Also he wrestles in New Japan.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: For the record: Stuart has ****3/4, Skeith has ****1/2.
Digable James Cobo: I guess... but Benoit was already working stateside around that time, and it was pretty obvious that he wasn't going to be around Japan for that much longer.
Alex Carnevale: Uh-huh.
Digable James Cobo: Sasuke winning would have been a better moment IMHO, plus the finish might have been stronger & better
Alex Carnevale: How would you have booked it?
Digable James Cobo: Well, I'd have had Sasuke kick out of the gutwrench - again reinforcing that the bar needs raising, then I'd have him win it when he counters a Benoit powerbomb with a rana
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: For me, Sasuke goes over off a rana reversal reversed threee times on the ground, leading to a JUST 3 count win off some hot reversals. mimics the first DK/Sayama finish and nods to history, even as it updates and improves it. better unity.
Digable James Cobo: I'm in total agreement.
Digable James Cobo: The rana finish wouldn't become commonplace until 1996, so in 1994 it would have been state-of-the-art
Alex Carnevale: Sounds good to me.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: Hence, ****3/4 ;)
Digable James Cobo: Eh. It's good enough for my five stars. As it is, it still makes sense and has meaning.

Alex Carnevale: So how do you fellas think the card compares to, say, WrestleMania X-Seven?
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: This is better.
Digable James Cobo: I think we all know what my response is :)
Digable James Cobo: I haven't seen X-Seven :)
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: I keep saying, you won't like, but you should see.
Alex Carnevale: I don't know...I think it's obviously two different types of wrestling and two cards that want to accomplish different goals, but I enjoyed them both.
Digable James Cobo: I'll probably see it sooner or later. I have all the big matches on the Alex comp.
Alex Carnevale: I think the workrate is better on J-Cup but for
Alex Carnevale: It's kind of sad, actually, that an era like this has passed and been documented on this night.
Digable James Cobo: Yeah. Those late-90s junior matches are irritating to the max.
Alex Carnevale: I mean, junior wrestling has come so far, as I'm sure we'll see with X-Pac v. Billy Kidman.
Digable James Cobo: To say nothing of Jeff Hardy vs. RVD <g>.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: For the record, those could both be decent ** matches.
Brendan Welsh-Balliett: And now we're drifting toward the shoot-style grave.
Digable James Cobo: But hell - every style of wrestling should be so lucky as to be epitomized by a card this good.

Alex Carnevale
Digable James Cobo
Brendan Welsh-Balliett

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