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Showing posts with label Tony Schiavone. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tony Schiavone. Show all posts

Monday, 4 April 2022

PPV REVIEW: WCW/NJPW Supershow 1 (1991)

March 21, 1991
Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan

WCW/NJPW Supershow 1 (1991) Review - Event graphic


The first WCW/New Japan Supershow is one of the few more noticeable omissions from the WWE Network’s huge archive of Pay Per Views.

As such, I’m reviewing this event as it’s presented in a video I found on DailyMotion.






You can watch the video for yourself below, or read on to read my thoughts on the first of three annual Supershows promoted by WCW and NJPW.


The Rumble in the Rising Sun

After a standard TV opening featuring clips of all your favourite WCW Superstars, announcers Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone welcomed us to the Tokyo Eggdome before putting over the magnitude of tonight’s major event.

WCW/NJPW Supershow 1 (1991) Review - Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone get set to call all the action


The duo then showed us clips from a recent press conference and ‘Launch party event’ (a giant buffet, basically) while explaining that our matches tonight would adopt Japanese rules in the form of a 20 count for count outs (rather than 10) and the rule that titles would change hands on a disqualification.

With all that out of the way, it was onto our first match.

Flyin’ Brian Pillman, The Z-Man, and Tim Horner vs. Takayuki Iizuka, Kuniaki Kobayashi, and Shiro Koshinaka

WCW/NJPW Supershow 1 (1991) Review - Tom Zenk gets stretched


You know, I’m watching this about 10 minutes after wrapping up my last WCW review, and I’m honestly just relieved to see that Brian Pillman was OK after getting dropped on his head by Sid in that nasty spot at the end of WCW Wrestle War ‘91.

Here, he looked in fine form as he, Z-Man, and Tim Horner dominated the bulk of this enjoyable match.

As they did so, Ross further explained that not only was throwing someone over the top not a grounds for disqualification, it was an actual artform here in Japan.

He and Schiavone also explained that the lack of reaction from the crowd wasn’t a sign of boredom but rather respect.

That was until Horner unleashed a poor version of a moonsault and the audience just laughed their collective ass off at him.

Anyway, After a good effort, things broke down between the six men, resulting in a win for the Japanese team when Takayuki Iizuka planted Horner with a truly beautiful dragon suplex.
Your Winners: Takayuki Iizuka, Kuniaki Kobayashi, and Shiro Koshinaka

Moving swiftly on...

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Jushin “Thunder” Liger v Akira Nogami

WCW/NJPW Supershow 1 (1991) Review - Akira Nogami gets set to battle Jushin 'Thunder' Liger


As this one got underway, our announcers told us that Akira Nogami has forced himself to take a year out to train after losing to Jushin ‘Thunder’ Liger the last time they met for for the title.

Unfortunately for Nogami, it didn’t seem to do him much good as he succumbed to Liger’s top-rope DDT after just four minutes.

The good news is that everything leading up to those four minutes was golden.

Though short, this was a fine, fine match indeed.
Your Winner and Still IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Jushin Liger.

After another word with our announcers, it was back to the action.

Arn Anderson & Barry Windham vs. Masahiro Chono & Masa Saito

WCW/NJPW Supershow 1 (1991) Review - Arn Anderson puts a hurting on Masahiro Chono


This was another solid match with non-stop action and a lot to like about it.

Arn Anderson & Barry Windham heeled it up big time here, using every trick in the book that they knew to get the advantage over Masahiro Chono and Mr Saito, but the NJPW boys just wouldn’t be kept down.

Eventually, the latter of the two drilled both of his opponents with some wicked Saito suplexes, but Windham popped back to his feet and Anderson got the fall.
Your Winners: Arn Anderson & Barry Windham

Post match, the Japanese men proved that they couldn’t be kept down and sent the Horsemen packing.

Before the next match, Schiavone and Ross thought we might want to look at how different the Japanese concession stands were to their US counterparts.

The Big Cat vs. El Gigante

WCW/NJPW Supershow 1 (1991) Review - El Gigante

I honestly thought this was going to be awful, but it really wasn’t.

The Japanese crowd were clearly in love with the enormous El Gigante, and the Argentinian clearly loved the attention.

Playing up to the crowd, the big man pulverised The Big Cat in no time at all, finishing him off with a huge vertical suplex and The Claw.

OK, so Gigante was never a great wrestler in terms of his technical ability, but he was very obviously having the time of his life here, and this fan for one found it rather endearing.
Your Winner: El Gigante

Moving on quickly…

WCW World Tag Team Championship vs. IWGP World Tag Team Championship
WCW World Tag Team Champions The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott Steiner) vs. Hiroshi Hase & Kensuke Sasaki

As The Steiner Brothers made their way to ring, JR told us that Rick & Scott were not only the WCW world tag team champions but also technically the US champs as well, so if they won tonight they’d have three sets of tag belts simultaneously.

Cool.

The first of two winner-takes-all title-versus-title matches then got underway, and quickly turned into one of the best matches this fan has ever seen.

Stiff, brutal, with hard hitting slams and suplexes galore, this match is an absolute must-watch for any serious pro wrestling fan.

Yes, I may be prone to getting overly excited sometimes and rating matches higher than they deserve, but i swear to you that this was a masterpiece.

Of course, it helped tremendously that the crowd were well on the side of Kensuke Sasaki and Hiroshi Hase, a fact that seemed to piss off Scott Steiner to the extend that he flashed us shades of the angry heel character he’d portray at the tail end of the decade.

Speaking of the future Big Poppa Pump, it was he who ended this incredible match by landing the Frankensteiner for the cover, the count, and the fall.
Your Winners and New IWGP Tag Team Chanpions (and still WCW tag team champions): The Steiner Brothers

Afterwards, Rick and Scott were handed their titles and a seemingly never-ending assortment of winner’s trophies, all of which they undoubtedly earned.

They also shook hands with their opponents, much to the delight of the live audience.


The Great Muta vs. Sting

A return match, of sorts, from the 1989 Great American Bash, this one saw The Great Muta go after Sting right from the opening bell before the two waged war on each other in a solid but not spectacular battle.

WCW/NJPW Supershow 1 (1991) Review - The Great Muta wears down Sting


Both men worked hard here, giving us a number of genuinely exciting sequences that flowed well from one to the other to create an exciting match that ended when Muta blinded Sting with the Green Mist and nailed him with a crossbody for the fall.
Your Winner: Sting

Post-match, Stint got a modicum of revenge by nailing his rival with a Stinger Splash in the corner and slapping on the Scorpion Deathlock, giving us the great visual of both men’s teams of seconds trying to break it up.

National Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Championship vs. IWGP World Heavyweight Championship
IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Tatsumi ‘Dragon’ Fujinami vs. NWA World Heavyweight Champion ‘Nature Boy’ Ric Flair

WCW/NJPW Supershow 1 (1991) Review - Bill Alfonso lays down the law to Ric Flair and Tatsumi Fujinami


To demonstrate the importance of this match, the usual in-ring introductions were preceded by the national anthems of each man’s country.

All the while, Ross and Schiavone went over the rules of this match, noting that while title changes on DQs and 20-count count-outs were still in force, WCW’s over-the-top-rope-DQ rule was also in effect here for the first time tonight.

The announcers all made sure to stress the significance of Bill Alfonso as the only official on record for this match, explaining how it was important to have a single official who knew what he was doing in order to avoid the kind of controversy that went down at the Mike Tyson vs. Buster Douglas boxing match which has also taken place in the Tokyo Dome.

Both of these points would prove to make a big difference to the ending of this contest.

Before we got there, Ric Flair and Tatsumi Fujinami gave us a battle for the ages.

A lengthy match which went longer than half the other bouts on this card combined, both champions traded the advantage several times in a compelling contest that kept this reviewer hooked from start to finish.

Towards the end, Flair ran right into Alfonso, knocking the official goofy and sending him right out of the ring.

From there, Nature Boy ran at his opponent, only to be backdropped over the top rope, a move which, if you recall, meant an automatic DQ.

Still, with Fonzie laying prone on the outside, there was no one around to make that call, nor was there anyone around when Fujinami rolled up his rival for multiple pinfalls.

Eventually, Fujinami made another cover and, this time, a Japanese official hit the ring to give the NJPW star the win.
Your Winner and New NWA World Heavyweight Champion: Tatsumi Fujinami

Out in the back, Jim Ross killed time before a scheduled press conference by sending us to pre-recorded comments from Sting.

Battered, bruised and covered in green mist, WCW’s franchise player was irate that Muta’s shenanigans were not what he expected when he came to Japan in search of good, old-fashioned competition.

Clearly, this was far from over.

Finally, Fujinami was in the middle of a press conference when an angry Nature Boy stormed in and stole the title, claiming he had won the match all along.

The two would meet in a rematch at Superbrawl.






WCW/NJPW Supershow 1991 was an excellent card from start to finish.

The last two matches in particular were fantastic, with the tag team title bout being one of the greatest tag matches of all time.

Elsewhere, Sting/Muta, the Junior Heavyweight Championship, the opening six man, and the Horsemen/Chono & Saito matches were all enjoyable in their own right, and even the Gigante/Cat exhibition proved not to be as terrible as it had the potential to be.

All in all, one of WCW’s better PPV efforts and one of the best PPVs of the early 90s.

Retro Pro Wrestling

New reviews of classic WWF/WWE events recalling every moment from Wrestlemania 1 - 30. You'll also find reviews of WCW, ECW, TNA and the occasional indie event, along with a look at old school magazines, merchandise and more.