Victor Zangiev (aka The Real-Life Zangief!) in UWF-I (and other Dream Matches)

Victor Zangiev | BWWE Wiki | Fandom

Welcome to another Dream Matches column! Kind of! I mean, didn’t you ever want to know how Zangief would do in a REAL pro wrestling ring?

Okay, so let’s get this out of the way- YES, probably, Victor here is the basis for Zangief from Street Fighter II. He is a hairy-chested, mustached Russian named “Zangiev”, often wearing red, with legitimate wrestling skill, and he trained and wrestled with New Japan in 1989 for a tour or so- this makes the timing match up pretty well for SFII, which came out a short time later in Japan. He even wrestled for WCW in their weird “Pat O’Connor International Tag Team Tournament” in 1990. That was it for four years, until he randomly did a tour for UWF-I. The short version of that promotion is that they were the biggest deal in the world for a hot minute- being a Fake Shootfighting promotion that pretended to be real, making grandstand challenges at all the “fake” wrestlers… at least until a combination of killing all their Ace’s challengers and the revelation that they were fake as hell (hard to pretend your stuff is real when UFC becomes a thing and people realize you can’t just “make the ropes” out of a fully-applied cross-armbreaker) completely destroyed them and the promotion folded right after they were huge.

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Mike Reviews HUSTLE House Volume 1 (28/06/2004)

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This week I’ve decided to look at a company from Japan that I haven’t done a review for before in the form of HUSTLE. For those not au fait, HUSTLE was a company ran by Dream Stage Entertainment and was a Japanese attempt at recreating a more WWE like product for the Japanese market. Rather than being Pro Wrestling, HUSTLE decided to market itself as “Fighting Opera” and it featured a lot of silly storylines and characters that the more serious promotions like Pro Wrestling NOAH or New Japan wouldn’t have included on their shows.

At first HUSTLE ran some pretty big venues and shelled out for some big name foreign wrestlers like Goldberg, Mick Foley, The Outsiders and Dusty Rhodes. However, the ticket sales were disappointing and they eventually decided to downsize a bit and run these smaller “HUSTLE House” events, where they featured fewer big names and filled the roster out with people from Shinya Hashimoto’s Zero-1 promotion. This was the first show of that type.

The big storyline centres around Nobuhiko Takada’s “Monster Army” heel group taking on the HUSTLE guys led by the likes of Hashimoto, Toshiaki Kawada and Naoya Ogawa. For some reason they decided to change Takada from being a serious shoot style worker in UWFi to a wacky general who spends the majority of his time dressed as M-Bison and taking part in odd backstage vignettes.

HUSTLE did eventually manage to cultivate somewhat of a fan base and this show apparently drew 2,200 people to Korakuen Hall, so as weird as this all was there was definitely an audience for it who dug seeing a strange WWE styled group, just not a big enough one to justify all the wild spending.

If you fancy watching this yourself then you can do so on YouTube by clicking HERE!

Let’s see how HUSTLE handles their first show in the smaller venue as we watch some chuffing wrestling!

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Bridge of Dreams- Tokyo Dome Supershow (Part 2)

WEEKLY PRO WRESTLING “BRIDGE OF DREAMS”:

* Welcome to Part Two! This is the part of the massive interpromotional show that sees Michinoku-Pro and All Japan put on their best stuff in 6-Man Tags, and then New Japan putting on… that match. The story goes that they were gonna put on a throwaway bout until everyone else brought their A-game matches, so they had to scramble and put their top stars in a bout to be a proper “Main Event”. But… oof. They also hit the YouTube video with an immediate copywrite claim over the Main Event, so it’s missing from the show above, but I managed to finagle an MP4.

See Part One here!

“TL;DR- What’s the Deal?”: 4-5 all-time classic matches, the women showing up nearly everybody, worked shoots, bloodbaths, spotfests, comedy- something for everybody. Two more ****+ matches to go!

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Mike Reviews: New Japan Pro Wrestling “Wrestling World In Tokyo Dome” – 04/01/1996

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Seeing as we’re just under a week away from Wrestle Kingdom 14, I thought I’d do a recap of one of the earlier New Japan Tokyo Dome spectaculars from 1996, as I happen to own the DVD for it.

I honestly can’t recall when I bought this or even where I got it from, but I think some of the matches from this are on New Japan World if you want to check them out. It looks like a rip of the official Japanese release, so that probably means they’ll dub out a lot of the entrance themes with wacky in house music. Hey, New Japan didn’t become the biggest wrestling company in the world in the mid 90’s by spending loads of dosh you know!

The 1996 event was built around guys from the UWFi group coming in to face New Japan guys, as well as one of the big matches on the countdown to Antonio Inoki’s retirement as he took on Vader. Vader was, I think, a WWF guy at this stage, or at the very least was on his way to the WWF in time for the Royal Rumble, so this was one of those occasions where Vince McMahon decided to be accommodating for whatever reason and let him work the Dome show.

I’ll look to have reviews for both nights of 2020’s Tokyo Dome event, hopefully quite soon after they happen as both shows fall on weekends this year and it’ll be in the morning time over here in the UK, so I should have enough time to watch them baring some kind of issue.

Anyway, less wittering from me, let’s watch some chuffing wrestling!

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What the World Was Watching: WCW Saturday Night – April 29, 1995

Tony Schiavone and Bobby Heenan are in the booth and they are taped from Atlanta, Georgia.

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