Mike Reviews – All Japan Pro Wrestling TV (30/03/1985)

Hello You!

Yup, it’s time for some more mid-80’s All Japan goodness courtesy of that there YouTube machine. Thanks as always to Roy Lucier for uploading this stuff!

This week’s matches took place for Korakuen Hall on the 29th of March 1985 and aired on the 30th of March 1985. If you want to watch along with me you can do so by clicking right HERE.

Opening Match
Rusher Kimura and Goro Tsurumi Vs Giant Baba and Great Kojika

Kimura and Baba have been feuding on and off in recent weeks, so this is just more of that. Baba and Kojika’s team name should be “The Feather Dusters” because their offence looks like it tickles at best. The heels choke Baba and hit him with chairs, but they are very nice about it and don’t hit him too hard, possibly because they don’t want to hurt him and also possibly because he’s the boss and clocking him hard with a chair might end up taking a bite out of their pay at the end of the night.

This one is mostly a slugfest, with little in the way of actual wrestling, as both teams just throw kicks and slaps at one another. It’s a feud match, so that’s not especially an issue but, Tsurumi aside, everyone’s strikes look pretty rubbish, which is kind of a problem when you’re working this style of match. The crowd doesn’t seem to mind that much though, which is a benefit that comes when you’re as over as Baba is. Eventually things breakdown and Kimura gives Kojika a clothesline for the pin

WINNERS: KIMURA & TSURUMI
RATING: *

Not much to this one

Kimura chats some smack on the mic post-match

Match Two
Killer Khan and Yoshiaki Yatsu Vs Genichiro Tenryu and Motoshi Okuma

Khan is another guy whose offence looks kind of rubbish, but Yatsu and Tenryu are both good workers so they should hopefully make this a good match. It’s your typical All Japan tag match from this era, with both teams trading the momentum and having spells in control, with no real heat or hot tag segment. Tenryu throws a lot of stiff chops and slaps, with them making the expected loud noise and looking night and day from Khan’s hokey efforts at throwing strikes.

It’s decent enough, and is pretty much your standard under card bout, where they don’t do anything especially flashy or exciting, but put the effort in nonetheless. The crowd is hardly at a fever pitch, but they follow the action and you can tell that they’re watching intently. Okuma’s big thing is that he throws head butts, and they look alright, but that’s all. He’s no Shoji Nakamaki, let’s just say that. Yatsu looks good as always, doing some very nice throws and flinging the hefty Okuma around with ease and then tagging in Khan for the match winning knee drop off the second rope.

WINNERS: YATSU & KHAN
RATING: **

This was alright, but I’m not going to go out of my way to watch it again or anything

Tenryu is bummed that his team lost, and Khan talks some smack on the mic following the win to compound it.

Match Three
Riki Choshu Vs Bulldog Bob Brown

Brown is a hefty lad from Canada who transitioned from police work to the wrestling business. He wrestled for Stampede in Canada and also for NWA Central States, where he also had the pencil at certain points. Choshu remains super over, with his entrance always being one of the highlights of the show each week owing to his awesome entrance theme and the fact he crowd is always psyched to see him.

This is mostly on the mat in the early going, and it’s decent enough, if somewhat uneventful. Brown wasn’t in especially great cosmetic shape here, being heavily barrel chested, but he moves well and eventually eats a Lariat so that Choshu can pick up the quick win.

WINNER: RIKI CHOSHU
RATING: N/A

Bordering on a squash

We get a replay of the two notable spots in the whole match, which was a vertical suplex from Choshu and the match winning Lariat.

Main Event
Jumbo Tsuruta and Takeshi Ishikawa Vs Stan Hansen and Ron Bass

Hansen is famously known for being the man who broke Bruno Sammartino’s neck due to a botched body slam (In storyline they said his vicious Western Lariat was actually to blame) leading to Bruno legitimately coming back whilst still not 100% to face him in rematches because the issue was so hot and they had to capitalise on it. He first came to prominence in Japan in 1977 when working for New Japan and feuding with Inoki, but he skipped across the park in 1981 to become an All Japan guy and, outside of some matches in 1990, he was pretty much an exclusive All Japan guy when wrestling in Japan up until his retirement, with him deciding not to join Misawa and the others when they left to form NOAH in 2000.

Bass worked in the territories of the NWA from 1971 to 1987, most notably in Florida, before jumping to the WWF in 1987. The highlight of that particular run was a feud with Brutus Beefcake, where he split Beefcake open with spurs and then went on to become one of Brutus’ most famous haircut victims, with him leaving the WWF not too soon after having his head shaved. The referee has a bizarre yellow shirt and green pants look here, which looks more like an alternate attire for Eddy Gordo in a Tekken game than a refereeing uniform.

This is a good match, with Hansen and Bass having decent chemistry as a team, whilst Jumbo and Ishikawa are both strong workers who can hang in there with a star of Hansen’s calibre. Jumbo in particular seems genuinely invigorated to be in there with Hansen and is well up for throwing down with him, and Hansen of course is happy for doing that. He even throws a dropkick at one stage, which for a man approaching the 300 pound region is pretty darn impressive.

Bass is mostly “there”, and he’s clearly the weakest of the four guys in the match, but it’s not like he’s bad or anything. He doesn’t look out of place in this kind of setting, and he compliments Hansen well as a partner, as he’s solid enough to not drag the team down but he doesn’t outshine the star player either. It’s interesting watching Hansen after weeks of Bruiser Brody actually, as Hansen does get plenty of offence but there’s far more give and take from him than there is from Brody, and he sells a lot more for the Japanese guys too, whereas Brody would basically sell for Baba and that was it.

Eventually Hansen gets a blind tag whilst Ishikawa is doing the ten punch on Bass and suplexes him into the ring, which gets a two but Jumbo has to break it up. Bass and Jumbo spill out to the floor following that, which allows Hansen to adjust his elbow pad and take poor Ishikawa out with his Western Lariat, a move that was far more precarious than the usual move of its kind due to Hansen being pretty much near blind without his glasses, meaning his just swung his arm and wherever he hit you was up to fates personal whim. Ishikawa not surprisingly is out from that and gets pinned.

WINNERS: HANSEN & BASS
RATING: ***

Good match, and Ishikawa took that Lariat bump like a CHAMP!

Jumbo makes sure his partner survived that finish, whilst Hansen and Bass storm to the back.

In Conclusion

So-so effort this week, but the Main Event was a decent way to close things out and I’m excited for more wild Stan Hansen action in the coming weeks.

If you’d like to get in touch to suggest shows to review, ask questions, share your love of those wonderful Royal Blue Toffees, or just generally chat the grapple game, then feel free to hit me up at [email protected]