March 30, 1991
From the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan
The Rockers vs. The Hart Foundation
Bret and Marty start things off with a fast-paced reversal sequence that ends in a stalemate, earning applause from the crowd. The Rockers briefly double-team Bret but Neidhart runs in with a double clothesline. Shawn and Neidhart are in now as Shawn works the arm. Marty tags and gets knocked outside but returns as The Rockers neutralize Neidhart in the corner. Bret tags in and catches Shawn with an inverted atomic drop before tagging out. The Hart Foundation cut off the ring as Shawn is in trouble. Neidhart works a bearhug then tosses Shawn outside. The crowd gets behind Shawn, who flips out of a side slam and hits a slam of his own as both men are down. Bret tags out as Neidhart beats on Shawn before grabbing a chinlock. Bret is back in and drops an elbow before hammering away in the corner. Shawn reverses an Irish whip as Bret bounces off of the turnbuckles. Bret is able to get up first and tag out but Shawn rolls away from a slingshot splash as both men are down. Bret tags back in as Shawn takes him over with a sunset flip for two. Shawn gets dumped outside where Neidhart rams him into the apron. Shawn eats boot on a corner charge but avoids a flying elbow drop then finally tags out. Marty runs wild until he misses a corner splash and bounces out to the floor. Marty comes back in and soon afterwards tags out as Shawn gets two off of a crossbody. Bret tags in then Shawn hits him with a crossbody but Bret rolls through and gets the win (14:40) ***. After the match the Hart Foundation are interviewed with Neidhart ranting and raving about never taking it easy as Bret says he’s the best technical wrestler to ever hit Japan and cannot wait until Kobe.
Thoughts: Good way to open the show. Shawn continues in the face-in-peril role and I can see why some people in the company thought he could not work as a heel. He was great here. The opening sequence between Bret and Marty was fantastic.
Earthquake vs. Koji Kitao
They bounce off of each other then Kitao drops Earthquake with a clothesline. Earthquake fights back with a clothesline of his own then both guys slug it out. We get more back-and-forth until Earthquake cheap shots Kitao after a break. Earthquake works a chinlock but Kitao escapes and fights back. Kitao hits a Saito suplex for two as the crowd cheers. Earthquake blocks a kick and hits a powerslam then sets up for the sit-down splash and hits that for the win (6:10) **1/4.
Thoughts: Good, hard-hitting match. A far cry from what would happen two days later. Kitao looked better here than he did at WrestleMania VII.
Takashi Ishikawa & The Great Kabuki vs. Ted DiBiase & Haku
DiBiase and Ishikawa start off on the mat. They tag out as Haku runs over Kabuki. DiBiase is back in and chosps Kabuki in the corner. Kabuki fights back and lights up DiBiase with chops until he eats boot on a charge. DiBiase follows with a suplex for a two count then tags out. Haku works a chinlock but Kabuki escapes and tags out as Ishikawa beats on Haku. We keep getting a lot of tags on both sides then DiBiase & Haku finally take control of the match by neutralizing Kabuki. DiBiase gets two with a brainbuster then dumps Kabuki outside where he hits him with a chair. Back inside, Haku hammers away on Kabuki. DiBiase & Haku manage to pull off a few nearfalls as they continue to wear down Kabuki. Haku misses a splash then Ishikawa finally tags in and runs wild on DiBiase. He locks on a scorpion death lock but Haku breaks that up with a thrust kick. Ishikawa then runs into another thrust kick and DiBiase catches him on the rebound with a back suplex for the win (15:16) *3/4.
Thoughts: This was a slow-moving, basic tag match. There was no real heat for anything but it was fine from a technical standpoint.
Sgt. Slaughter vs. Ultimate Warrior
Warrior attacks Slaughter at ringside and throws him into the crowd. Warrior then chops Slaughter over the announcers table and continues to beat him down. The match finally heads into the ring where Warrior stays in control. Slaughter is dumped outside so Warrior follows then tosses a table into the ring that he uses to hit Slaughter across the back. Warrior slingshots Slaughter into the post but gets tossed in the corner as Slaughter finally takes control. Slaughter heads out and grabs a chair then uses that to beat on Warrior. Slaughter now uses the Camel’s Clutch then starts softening Warrior up before reapplying the hold. Warrior escapes and hits several clotheslines before putting Slaughter away with a splash (7:14) *1/2.
Thoughts: The stuff that happened outside of the ring was exciting but in the ring this was quite bad. Luckily, they used smoke-and-mirrors to make this entertaining to a degree.
Clips of undercard matches are shown.
Naoki Sano vs. Masakatsu Funaki
Both men start off by kicking each other then take it to the mat but it does not seem to go anywhere. They get back to their feet and after squaring off Sano hits a suplex and they struggle back on the mat. They stay on the mat and have another struggle until Funaki takes control. Sano comes back with another suplex and grounds Funaki briefly until they do some more back-and-forth. Funaki drops Sano with an upkick but Sano beats the ten count then Funaki uses a bunch of palm strikes until Sano knees Funaki down. Funaki hits a German suplex then submits Sano with a cross armbreaker (10:23) **.
Thoughts: Solid from a technical standpoint but still dull to watch. Funaki stood out a lot more than Sano did as the two worked a shoot-style match, which was the norm for the UWF promotion. I really do not know much about the history of these guys so I have little to add about that.
Mr. Perfect vs. Texas Tornado
Perfect jumps Tornado before the bell then attacks him outside of the ring. Tornado gets pissed and yanks Perfect outside and hammers away. He drops Perfect with a discus punch then knocks him off of the apron a few times. Perfect gets tossed outside again but returns and chops Tornado in the corner. Tornado fights back then puts on the claw as the crowd approves. Tornado then puts on a Boston Crab but Perfect turns himself enough to grab Tornado’s tights, which exposes his ass. Perfect blocks a second claw attempt and soon after that dropkicks Tornado out of the ring. Perfect slams Tornado on the floor then ends up hitting Tornado with a chair and screams how he’s perfect while the crowd boos. Perfect hits an axe handle but gets caught with a claw trying it again. Tornado reverses an Irish whip and inadvertently sends Perfect into the ref. Perfect then hits the Perfect Plex but the ref breaks it up and raises Tornado’s hand as he apparently won by DQ (6:59) *1/2. After the match, Perfect tries to attack Tornado but fails and the fans even boo this finish.
Thoughts: This match was okay until the finish, which is among one of the worst I’ve ever seen. Even though this had little to do with the current WWF programming, why not just give Perfect the win? Was Tornado over in Japan enough in ’91 that he needed to be protected?
Legion of Doom are being interviewed as they are facing Hulk Hogan & Genichiro Tenryu.
Jimmy Snuka & The Barbarian vs. Ishinriki & Yoshiaki Yatsu
Ishinriki takes Barbarian down with a few arm drags to start. Ishinriki drops Barbarian after a pair of flying headbutts then gets two with a somersault senton. Yatsu tags in and slugs it out with Barbarian before hitting a back drop. Barbarian gets dropped with a double clothesline but is able to tag out after that as Snuka beats on Ishinriki. Yatsu tags but gets chopped down by Snuka after an Irish whip sequence. Yatsu comes back with a suplex then tags out as Ishinriki knocks Snuka outside then flies out with a springboard splash, which overshot Snuka. Ishinriki hits a flying headbutt from the apron then nearly puts Snuka away with an overhead suplex as Barbarian makes the save. We get some back-and-forth between the teams until Barbarian takes Ishinriki down with a big boot. Snuka & Barbarian cut off the ring until Ishinriki counters a chinlock with a jawbreaker and tags out. Yatsu almost puts Barbarian away with a powerslam, and it seemed like that was supposed to be the finish but Ishinriki missed his cue, then Yatsu hits a bridging German suplex for the win (10:00) **.
Thoughts: Another fine match. Ishinriki did some decent flying stuff and Barbarian had a good showing, looking better than everyone in the match.
“Macho Man” Randy Savage vs. George Takano
Takano actually wrestled under a mask as “The Cobra” and was the WWF Light Heavyweight Champion back in 1984. Savage bails after spitting at Takano then yells at the announcers. Savage lands a shot after a lockup but misses a knee drop then takes a breather outside. He bails again after getting dropkicked then has Takano chase him around. Savage brings Takano back inside with a snapmare and follows with a suplex for two before applying a chinlock. Takano escapes and hits a rolling koppu kick in the corner then gets two with an enziguiri. Savage is able to toss Takano outside and takes him out with a flying double axe handle. Savage rolls Takano into the ring but Takano fights back. Savage manages a nearfall with a small package then uses a front facelock. He tosses Takano outside and heads out to hit a suplex. Back inside, Savage chokes out Takano with his foot. Takano fights back and hits a slam and a falling headbutt that gets two. Clothesline gets two. Takano hits another clothesline for two then goes up top for a splash but still cannot put away Savage. Takano sets up for a tombstone and hits that but neglects to cover and goes for another splash but Savage got his knees up. Savage hits a gutwrench for two then sets up for the flying elbow drop and hits that for the win (13:42) **1/4. After the match, Savage runs down Tenryu to hype up their match in two days.
Thoughts: Disappointing match. Savage did not do a whole lot in the match as Takano was on offense most of the time. Savage gets the win to give him momentum in his match two days later against Tenryu.
Legion of Doom vs. Genichiro Tenryu & Hulk Hogan
Strong reaction for the Legion of Doom, who are actually announced as the Road Warriors here. Tenryu gets shoved into the corner and tags out. The LoD beat on Hogan then hit stereo press slams. Hogan catches Animal with a boot in the corner and follows with a clothesline. Tenryu clears the ring then all four men have a staredown. Things settle down and Hawk catches Tenryu with a dropkick. Animal tosses Hawk at Tenryu after a blind tag then Hawk and Hogan brawl outside of the ring and even take apart the guardrails. Animal whacks Tenryu with a chair as the match has completely broken down. Animal now has Tenryu in a chinlock as the action is back in the ring. Hawk and Tenryu slug it out as Hawk is busted open. Hogan tags in and runs wild on Hawk as his face is busted open too. The LoD trap Hogan in the corner now then Animal hits a flying shoulder tackle that gets two. Hogan and Animal both go down after a double clothesline but Hawk tags in as the LoD stay in control. Hogan manages to tag out as Tenryu takes down Animal but gets tossed outside after a pin attempt. Hogan chases off Hawk by beating him with a chair then Animal tosses Tenryu over the announcers table. Animal takes Tenryu back inside and hits a belly-to-belly suplex for two. Tenryu manages a back suplex but Animal prevents the tag then Hawk runs in to knock Hogan off of the apron. Hawk tags in but ducks his head for a back drop and ends up getting powerbombed. Hogan tags in and hits the big boot and leg drop but Hawk makes the save. Hogan gets tossed then the LoD hit Tenryu with the Doomsday Device. Hogan breaks up the pin with a chair shot and then everyone brawls in the crowd. Animal whacks Hogan with a chair then runs inside just in time to get the win via countout (14:03) ***1/2. After the match, Hogan & Tenryu clear the ring. Animal comes back with a chair and kicks down the referees before swinging at everyone in sight. Hogan comes in with a chair now but both teams get separated
Thoughts: A quality main event match to close out the show. The finish was a bit lame but this was a wild match with all four guys working hard. According to the “Wrestling Observer Newsletter,” there were reports that the fans did not care for the countout finish and wanted to see a pinfall. Anyway, this match was really fun and worth checking out.
Final Thoughts: The opening match and main event are worth seeking out but the rest was filler and not particularly exciting. The show was announced as having over 64,000 in attendance but in reality it was around 42,000 with 25,000 paid. I’ll also recap the Wrestle Dream show that took place two days later and is more memorable for all the wrong reasons.
Here is my schedule for the next several days:
Monday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 3/31/91
Tuesday: SWS/WWF Wrestle Dream 4/1/91
Wednesday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 4/6/91
Thursday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 4/7/91
Friday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 4/13/91
Saturday: Mid-South Wrestling 7/7/83
Sunday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 4/14/91