1982 · AJPW · Genichiro Tenryu · Umanosuke Ueda · Uncategorized

Genichiro Tenryu vs Umanosuke Ueda-AJPW 22.7.1982.

Almost an FMW match, every other move was a chairshot. Tenryu may not have had the intensity he would later display but you do see signs of his later greatness with THE FIRE~! he portrays which, as Hashimoto told once Samoa Joe, is the most important part of being a pro wrestler. It’s a 1982 All Japan finish so you can take an educated guess on how it finished, Tenryu did a pretty insane blade job and this brief (~5 min) match is worth watching for that alone. **3/4

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1978 · AJPW · Billy Robinson · Jumbo Tsuruta · The Destroyer · Uncategorized · Wild Angus

Jumbo Tsuruta & The Destroyer vs Billy Robinson & Wild Angus-AJPW 5.12.1978.

One of the strengths of the traditional All Japan style is that irish whip maneuvers have a good success rate which makes transitions done via irish whips feel more special. Case in point-Jumbo’s High Knee here. Combined with his impressive leap and Robinson’s perfect sell it made for a wonderful moment. Wild Angus continues to look ~fine I guess~. Match is mostly about the struggle for holds and building to the transitions. Nothing here feels redundant-Robinson gets his knee worked over for a bit and the next time he’s in the ring and he hits a Backbreaker he sells the impact of his own which I vastly prefer to someone questionably falling down from “exhaustion” on his their own move to move onto the next sequence. Robinson-Destroyer bits were fun but weren’t transcendent like one might hope from the two. ***1/4

1978 · AJPW · Billy Robinson · Giant Baba · Jumbo Tsuruta · Wild Angus

Giant Baba & Jumbo Tsuruta vs Billy Robinson & Wild Angus-AJPW 1.12.1978.

This is a weird to match to rate because of Wild Angus. He looked…..somewhat servicable. Hit some solid clubbing blows but was pretty bad at tying his offence together and selling. He wasn’t of much use. However-this was pure magic whenever Billy Robinson was in the ring. Completely enchanting performance by him. It’s not just that he himself looked great, everyone looks better than they usually are when they are matched against him. He brings a certain intensity and legitimacy that instantly transform his matches into something special. Jumbo aggressively shoved him aside when Robinson was going for a hold and hooked his leg to pick him up for a Piledriver which I really liked. I like how wrestlers go for the rope break instantly when they are near the ropes here and dive to break up pins and make actual contact when doing so. I love how Robinson sold Baba’s big chop like he ran him over. I love how he counters moves mid sequence in ways other wrestlers don’t that totally make sense and are incredibly aeshetically pleasing. ***1/4-***1/2

1975 · AJPW · Horst Hoffman · The Destroyer

The Destroyer vs Horst Hoffman-AJPW 17.12.1975.

Total dream match for me right here. A lot of time you’ll get “traditional build” as an excuse for long segments of boring headlock and whatnot, these two guys are constantly working and always looking to improve their position. I’m sure not watching 70s puro for quite some time has a lot to do with it but regardless so many of the sequences felt fresh. There was a cool spot here where Destroyer tried to escape Hoffman’s Headscissors and Hoffman used his hands to pull himself back, it looked really cool and I don’t remember ever seeing it before and the match was filled with stuff like that. I love the gags Destroyer pulled during the match, and while this was mat heavy both of these guys can strike, I loved Hoffman’s right hook counter to the Figure 4 and he busted out some nasty kneedrops. ***3/4

1975 · AJPW · Giant Baba · Horst Hoffman · Uncategorized

Giant Baba vs Horst Hoffmann-AJPW 18.12.1975.

More Horst Hoffman fun! I don’t buy into the idea Baba was ever a superworker, but he could certainly hang his own on the mat-which you’re going to get plenty of in 70s All Japan. Hoffman’s kicks to the back as a means of countering an armbar are great. This also had quite a lot of striking, Hoffman blasted Baba with vicious forearms, knees etc. and while Baba gets a bad rep for weak strikes his strikes here looked really good, his big chop was awesome as were his knee strikes. Hoffman looks like a really great seller, I loved how he sold Baba’s chop and he put over his Russian Legsweep and Neckbreaker so well you’d totally buy him being KO’d, I also love it when wrestlers sell Bodyslamming someone bigger than them like he did here. ***1/4

1979 · Abdullah The Butcher · AJPW · Uncategorized · Wahoo McDaniel

Wahoo McDaniel vs Abdullah The Butcher-AJPW 5.12.1979.

I’m sure it is common knowledge to many but I had no idea Wahoo worked All Japan. I was worried about this because of Abdullah but it ended up totally ruling. Abdullah has maybe two or three moves he can do right and he sticks to them here, I do love his goofy selling though, and Wahoo’s brutal chops totally make you buy into the combination of the two. I love how Wahoo grabbed Abdullah’s chin when they locked up and two minutes in both guys were bleeding, slamming each other into the timekeeper’s table and doing epic strike exchanges. Finish kind of sucked as they went out of the ring for no reason for the dreaded double count-out buh man oh man you can FEEL Wahoo is an all time great here. Five minutes of awesomeness. *** (I’m not sure I can justify rating it more, it’s not like it was Ikeda-Ono but I enjoyed it more than I usually would a *** match? IDK. watch it it’s really good)

1975 · AJPW · Horst Hoffman · Jumbo Tsuruta · Uncategorized

Horst Hoffman vs Jumbo Tsuruta-AJPW 9.12.1975.

This was a bit dry at times but that’s Jumbo for you. Watching this it seems pretty clear to me a Jumbo=Best 70s worker argument would have to heavily skewed towards him being involved in good matches and not on his personal contribution. Or people could have different taste than me and be wrong but let’s temporarily ignore that. Hoffman totally carried him here. Jumbo knows the usual classic hold battles I wouldn’t have needed to rewatch any 70s stuff to remember as mundane for the time while Hoffman busts out a bunch of awesome ones, just twisting his body in the most unusual ways. Early sequence here has Hoffman transition from an Indian Deathlock to a Gutwrench Suplex in breathtaking manner-it’s an insane power spot that would fit right in with what Cesaro was doing a few years ago. Jumbo gets right back up after it and sells it like an Armdrag. Then he does a suplex of his own and gets confused when Hoffman actually sells it. He looks at the crowd before stomping Hoffman looking for their approval-sounds good in theory but his execution is nowhere near as good as say, Kobashi’s. I also disliked his selling of Hoffman’s Schmidt Backbreakers-the “shaking from the impact” might’ve worked without the odd delay between the move and Jumbo’s selling. It just didn’t look natural and the crowd didn’t respond to it either. I could pick on him more but I’ll just say if someone sold like he did here today they would get bodied. And he blew a Double Underhook Suplex fwiw. Hoffman did enough nifty things to keep me entertained and I loved the counter flash pin finish. ***