As noted in prior columns, this show was a joint effort by the WWF, New Japan Pro Wrestling, and All Japan Pro Wrestling. The WWF was looking to expand its global presence while New Japan and All Japan felt threatened by Akira Maeda’s shoot-like Universal Wrestling Federation, which drew a 50,000 person crowd to the Tokyo Dome for a big show in November 1989. To counter them, New Japan and All Japan worked together on a supershow at the Tokyo Dome on February 10. Then, they built on that effort by partnering with the WWF for another big card in Tokyo on April 13 that was named The Wrestling Summit. According tothehistoryofwwe.com, the show drew a crowd of 53,742.
Welcome back to more Dream Matches! This time, we’ve got something weird- apparently when John Tenta was just starting out in wrestling, he was in ALL JAPAN of all places, teaming up with the Ace and weighing only 300-ish lbs., and fighting the legendary Road Warriors!
Also I found more of that bizarre Land of Giants team, as they take on… The Undertakers? Yes- it’s a pair of obese twins with a name the WWF actually bought off of them. Then wen see a “Battle of the Kings” as King Mabel decides to take out Ken Shamrock shortly after his King of the Ring victory- a shockingly good attempt at putting a guy over from MABEL of all people! And then, in a fantastically-terrible bout, come see the legendary POWER UTI, villain of Mick Foley’s first book and national hero of Nigeria, take on the worst wrestler in AEW- Doc “Super Festus” Gallows! And then we cap things off with WCW’s Wrath & Mortis vs. The Faces of Fear in a shockingly-good Hoss Brawl!
JUMBO TSURUTA & JOHN TENTA vs. THE ROAD WARRIORS (Hawk & Animal, w/ Paul Ellering):
(All Japan, 1987.6.8)
* Haha, oh Jesus- look at this! Baby John Tenta, fresh out of sumo and having lost a LOT of weight, is in the early stage of his pro wrestling career in All Japan as the Ace’s tag team partner, and they’re going up against the early form of the Road Warriors, in full black spike-vests and ’80s facepaint! Tenta, in his navy-blue singlet with a Canadian flag on it, is almost unrecognizable, being barely 300 lbs. and scarcely larger than Jumbo- he’s all straight lines! Even at 24 he’s lost almost all the hair on top of his head, though.
Tony Schiavone and Gorilla Monsoon are doing commentary and they are taped from Fort Myers, Florida.
Live from Chicago, IL
Airdate: September 28, 1985
Hosted by Larry Nelson
Can Magnum defeat Flair for the NWA World title? Will Martel retain the AWA World title against Hansen? How will the Road Warriors fare in their hometown? Does Slaughter stand up for America against Zhukov? Let’s sink our teeth into this delicious supershow!
Hogan & Hansen: Main Event in the making!
WWF/AJPW/NJPW WRESTLING SUMMIT:
(Tokyo Dome, April 13th, 1990)
* This is a pretty wild and wacky card, full of the kind of “Dream Matches” you’ll never see again- I’m really shocked it’s not more famous. I mean, it’s a triple-show with All Japan, New Japan, AND the WWF all at once! In the Tokyo Dome! Apparently highlights were aired on Japanese TV, but complexities with the rights led to the full event never being shown in its entirety (which might be why it’s so obscure). The biggest matches are Hulk Hogan vs. Stan Hansen, Macho Man vs. Genichiro Tenryu, and the Ultimate Warrior vs. Ted DiBiase. The WON awards declared this the “Best Major Wrestling Show” of 1990!
“TL;DR” Version: So come see Bret Hart vs. Mitsuharu Misawa in the most disappointing Dream Match of all time! Hogan with his “Japan working boots” (where he’s more “Unstoppable Monster” than the Technically-Gifted Powerhouse I was led to believe he was) on against Stan Hansen in one of his greatest matches ever! Macho King & Queen Sherri doing their schtick against a stoic top-tier Japanese legend in a befuddled Tenryu! Grumpy ol’ Jumbo Tsuruta dealing with hard-working heels in Martel & Perfect!
The show had two dark matches- Dan Kroffat, Doug Furnas & Joe Malenko beat Samson Fuyuki, Tatsumi Kitahara & Toshiaki Kawada in (11:56), and Jushin Liger beat Akira Nogami in (8:37). An extremely shaky fancam of the latter exists- it’s mostly hold-trading. They trade corner moves and Liger hits a surfboard and a rock-the-cradle. They trade flash-pins and Nogami hits a very good plancha and German Suplex for two, but Liger dropkicks him coming off the top and hits a Tope Con Hilo to the floor! He misses a roundhouse kick but gets a powerslam and finishes with a Moonsault Press. Looks **1/2-ish but holy god am I not gonna go move-for-move with such a shaky vid.