Mike Reviews – All Japan Pro Wrestling TV (19/01/1985)

Hello You!

Back with some more All Japan TV from 1985, once again courtesy of Roy Lucier over on YouTube.

Last week the Main Event between Riki Choshu’s crew and the All Japan guys ended in a wild pull apart brawl, so let’s see if that gets followed up during this week’s show.

If you feel like watching along with me then you can do so by clicking right HERE

This week’s matches were taped from Kitakyushu, Fukuoka on the 10th of January 1985 and then aired on the 19th of January 1985.

Opening Match
The British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith and The Dynamite Kid) Vs Tiger Mask II and Masanobu Fuchi

The Bulldogs went to a double count out with Tiger and Mighty Inoue last week, so Tiger is having another crack at them by teaming with Fuchi. There is a lot of good back and forth action, with all four guys being technically sound and Dynamite and Tiger both being particularly quick on their feet. The crowd is most into Dynamite and Tiger going at it actually, due to Dynamite’s previous feud with the original Tiger Mask.

The Bulldog’s do some cool double team moves, such as Dynamite suplexing Tiger up into a Davey Boy power slam from the second rope. It’s not surprise that they took the WWF by storm when you consider there wasn’t anyone else up there at the time doing those sorts of hot moves. Both teams have a period where they control things briefly, but it’s normally not long before a tag is made or someone dodges/counters an attack in order to turn the tables.

As a result there isn’t really anything you’d class as a proper heat segment, with the match instead being a constant tug of war where the two opposing teams trade the initiative by doing some really nice wrestling and the occasional cool double team spot from The Bulldog’s. Davey eventually manages to power slam Fuchi though and Dynamite comes off the top with a head butt for the clean pin.

WINNERS: THE BRITISH BULLDOGS
RATING: ***

Good match. I assume this is all building to some kind of singles blow off between Dynamite and Tiger at some stage?

The Bulldog’s awesome “Car Wars” theme plays over some replays following that victory.

Match Two
Genichiro Tenryu, Takashi Ishikawa and Mighty Inoue Vs Riki Choshu, Animal Hamaguchi and Isamu Teranishi

This is more of the Tenryu and Choshu rivalry, with Choshu and his Revolutionary Army basically getting presented as an outside invading force, whilst Tenryu is fighting for the honour of All Japan. Choshu is still super over despite ostensibly being an invader though and his “Power Hall” music gets a healthy pop when it hits. The crowd is here to see Tenryu and Choshu knock seven shades of tiramisu out of one another, and they both seem to be up for that too, but Inoue demands to start for his side, thus causing the fans to have to wait a bit.

The work here is decent, with Tenryu and Choshu both being top level guys and their teammates all being capable of holding their own, so the match is very watchable, even if the heat isn’t quite as good when the team captains aren’t involved. Tenryu and Choshu do eventually get to go at it with one another, and its good stuff, with the work being solid and the crowd being into it. Inoue shows some good fire at points and sells well throughout.

The match is actually fought at quick a quick clip all told, with it being relatively back and forth, similarly to the opener. What tends to happen is that one team will briefly triple up on one member of the opposing team in their half for a bit and that wrestler will eventually tag out, which will lead to his team doing the same to a member from the opposition. Occasionally Tenryu or Choshu will come in to break up a pin or submission attempt, with Choshu notably coming in when Ishikawa tries mocking him by putting Teranishi in a Scorpion Deathlock, which would normally be Choshu’s finishing hold of choice.

This is really good and I just hope they actually give us a finish this week rather than going with yet another DQ or Count Out. One of the fodder guys can easily eat a Powerbomb/Lariat from Tenryu/Choshu and get pinned without it cooling off the feud, because all of the other four guys are ultimately expendable at the end of the day and the important thing is making sure Tenryu and Choshu stay strong before their eventual big singles bout, which we’re likely a way off from seeing. Sadly, as I type that, everyone runs in for a pier six and the ref ends up getting attacked by Revolutionary Army to give All Japan the DQ win.

WINNERS BY DISQUALIFICATION: TENRYU, ISHIKAWA & INOUE
RATING: ***

Good match with a fun energy until the rubbish non-finish, but this was pretty much standard All Japan booking until 1989, so I kind of expected it to happen.

Everyone gets separated following that and the crowd is very into the idea of Tenryu and Choshu settling this once and for all, so the match achieved what it needed to I guess. Just as last week, it’s easy to tell that this is a hot angle and they’re clearly going to milk it as much as they can, with non-finishes being a good way to stretch it out. Again though, I really don’t see why they can’t have the supporting cast doing some jobs so we can actually have a finish sometimes.

Main Event
Giant Baba, Jumbo Tsuruta and Great Kabuki Vs Tiger Jeet Singh, Goro Tsurumi and Rusher Kimura

Baba and Singh crossed paths last week in a tag match, so this is more of them going at it. This is the first time we’ve seen Kimura during these reviews. He started out in sumo with the express desire of increasing his mass so he could work in the pro-wrestling and eventually quit to pursue his dream in 1964. He started out in Japan Pro Wrestling Alliance before moving onto Original Tokyo Pro Wrestling and then settling in for a 14 year run in International Wrestling Enterprise. When that group folded in 1981 he worked in New Japan for a few years before enjoying a 16 year run in All Japan before jumping over to NOAH in 2000, where he eventually retired in 2004.

I’ve never seen IWE before but quite a few of the guys we’ve seen on these All Japan shows seem to have had a stint there. Is it any good? Should I bother seeking some of it out? The crowd heat for this one is really good, but sadly the work isn’t really on the same level. It’s mostly a lot of punching and kicking, with the heel side in particular hardly being spoilt for choice when it comes to wrestling technicians. Eventually Baba catches Tsurumi with a big boot and supposedly gets the pin, although it looked like the big afro lad actually kicked out.

WINNERS: BABA, KABUKI & JUMBO
RATING: ¼*

A real mess sadly

We have a big brawl following that, so this feud will be ticking over.

In Conclusion

Lousy Main Event but the first two matches were good and the Tenryu/Choshu stuff continues to carry the show. Thumbs up overall.