Mike Reviews – All Japan Pro Wrestling TV (26/01/1985)

Hello You!

Back with some more All Japan TV from 1985, once again courtesy of Roy Lucier over on YouTube. Give Roy some likes and some subs you filthy animals!

The feud between Genichiro Tenryu and Riki Choshu has been all kinds of fun in the past couple of weeks, although all the non-finishes in their matches has started to get a tad tiresome. Still, I’m pumped whenever I get a chance to see them go at it, so the booking is doing its job I guess.

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

This week’s matches were taped from Kagoshima on the 14th of January 1985 and then aired on the 26th of January 1985.

Opening Match
The British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith and The Dynamite Kid) Vs Kuniaki Kobayashi and Isamu Teranishi

This is our first look at Kobayashi since starting these reviews, and he’s a bonafide legend when it comes to lighter weight class wrestling over in Japan, due to him having notable feuds with the likes of the first Tiger Mask and Shiro Koshinaka. He had started out in New Japan in 1973, but jumped over to All Japan for a few years in 1984 before going back in 1987. The Bulldog’s defeated Tiger Mask II and Masa Fuchi last week, whilst Teranishi was involved in a match against Tenryu’s gang.

We join this in progress, with The Bulldog’s laying an absolute whupping on Kobayashi, destroying him with vicious strikes and power moves. He manages to survive that though, which leads to Teranishi coming in to get worked over for a bit too. As you would expect from The Bulldog’s, their stuff looks good and the crowd is suitably impressed by their big moves, whilst the Japanese side sell it all well.

Kobayashi and Teranishi do eventually get a foothold in the match and do some nice stuff of their own, although their tandem offence isn’t quite as good as their English opponents. The action in general though is a lot of fun, although the referee does make a cardinal sin at one stage of standing between the wrestlers and the hard camera, blocking the wrestling itself. He’d probably have had a bottle of water flung at his head by Kevin Dunn if he did that in WWE.

Good as these Bulldog matches have been every week, I can’t help but think that they would have benefitted from a bit more standard tag formula, as the action is always top notch but the matches are all back and forth momentum switches with a lack of a proper heat segment and hot tag. Sadly we get a pretty rubbish finish though, with everyone brawling outside and Dynamite rolling in to win by count out, which leaves a bit of a sour taste after some good wrestling.

WINNERS BY COUNT OUT: THE BRITISH BULLDOGS
RATING: **1/2

Some really fun action in there at points, but the lack of proper tag formula and the lousy finish hurt it somewhat

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

Match Two
Riki Choshu, Killer Khan and Yoshiaki Yatsu Vs Jumbo Tsuruta, Takashi Ishikawa and Masanobu Fuchi

Jumbo is another big pro All Japan guy, so it makes sense that he wouldn’t get along with Choshu and his invading forces. Tenryu is in the ring with a crutch prior to the match taking place, which makes me think he was originally supposed to be involved in it but is having to sit this one out due to an injury. Choshu is mega over as usual, as this company always just comes across as being super hot whenever he’s involved in something. He talks some smack to Tenryu, who is sitting at ringside, which makes me think and angle is coming.

Choshu and Jumbo start us out, and the crowd is electric at the prospect of those two going at it. They do a decent little bit to start, which is mostly them working holds in an intense manner, and that leads into the All Japan team switching off and focusing on Choshu’s arm with arm bars and the like. Choshu survives that though and the match settles into the usual All Japan six man formula we’ve been seeing in these reviews thus far, which sees one team triple up on one member of the opposition for a bit until the opposing team gets to do likewise.

The work is solid for the most part and the match itself is fought at a pretty brisk pace. Khan is probably the weakest guy in the match when it comes to making his stuff look good, but everyone else is either decent or better, so the work is to an overall good standard and it’s a fun match to watch as a result. There’s good heat too, especially when Choshu is involved because he’s pretty much the hottest guy in the whole company and the crowd is into seeing him wrestle.

Ishikawa does his usual cheeky spot of trying to rile up Choshu by applying his Scorpion Deathlock hold to one of Riki’s teammates, but Khan rushes in to put a stop to that and Ishikawa takes a shellacking in the Revolutionary Army corner as penance. Choshu tries putting Ishikawa in the hold following that as a way to punish him for his insolence, and he manages to get it applied, which brings in Fuchi to break it up before Ishikawa can submit.

This is the closest I’ve seen one of these matches have what we would consider a traditional heat segment to bet, as they’ve been working over Ishikawa for a while. Sadly they don’t pay it off with a proper hot tag, as Ishikawa instead just kind of wanders back over to his corner to tag in Jumbo and it ends up feeling pretty flat as a result. Choshu and Jumbo do a fantastic little bit together, where they trade strikes and Jumbo delivers is trademark running high knee, only for Choshu to fire back with a back suplex. That was really fun.

Khan comes in and fires off some Mongolian Chops on Jumbo, which leads to he and Choshu giving Jumbo a modified Sidewinder into a Scorpion Deathlock attempt from Choshu. Jumbo fights that but eventually gets turned over, which brings in Fuchi for the rescue. I’ve enjoyed Fuchi quite a lot watching these shows thus far and I’m starting to get into Ishikawa’s work too. He’s a really solid mid-card player from what I’ve seen thus far. Eventually things break down and that leads to Choshu catching Fuchi with a lariat to give us a rare clean win in one of these matches.

WINNERS:  REVOLUTIONARY ARMY
RATING: ***1/4

Khan wasn’t great, but everyone else really delivered and it was a fun match as a result

Choshu of course isn’t happy with just the win and heads out to go after Tenryu, which leads to anarchy erupting as a result. I genuinely cannot wait to see those two have a high profile singles match, even though you can probably bet your house on it going to some kind of wacky non-finish.

Main Event
Giant Baba and Great Kabuki Vs Tiger Jeet Singh and Goro Tsurumi

This is the third consecutive week that Baba and Singh have gone at it. Singh is awful, Tsurumi is a passable brawler, Kabuki was past his best by 85 and Baba was only good on special occasions by this stage in his career, so I’m not overly optimistic about this one if I’m being honest. The heels actually work some heat on Baba at one stage, with it mostly being nerve pinches, chokes and stomps, but he of course survives it and brings in Kabuki, who promptly gets battered as well.

Singh’s total refusal to really selling anything for more than a couple of seconds makes him such a tedious heel to watch, as his offence is terrible and he doesn’t even have the decency to give the fans what they want to see by showing ass and taking a beating to pay off his heel antics. Tsurumi isn’t a great worker or anything, with his offence mostly consisting of punching and kicking, but he bumps, feeds and sells properly at least, which at least means he’s entertaining to watch when on the defensive. Eventually he ends up on the wrong end of a Kabuki fist drop (Which is so low impact it makes The Worm look like a Burning Hammer by comparison) and that’s enough for the pin whilst Singh acts crazy at ringside, once again not selling a chuffing thing.

WINNERS: BABA & KABUKI
RATING: ½*

Baba was trying in that one, and Tsurumi was perfectly cromulent as a cannon fodder heel there to eat a pin, but Singh was a tsunami of suck and Kabuki did nothing barring the bare minimum required, which made the match pretty lousy as a result

Singh gets dragged to the back yelling about how he’s going to get Baba and we get some replays to Baba’s awesome retro sounding entrance music.

In Conclusion

As usual this show is all about Riki Choshu, and his match actually had a clean finish this week after a couple lame non-finishes in recent episodes, so that’s enough for a thumbs up from me.