WWE Vintage Collection Report: August 5th 2012
By Shaun Best-Rajah.com Reporter
Hosted by: Mean Gene Okerlund
Konnichiwa! We showcase some of Japan’s finest grapplers this week as the “Best in the World” series makes its fifth stop of eight in the Far East. Kampai!
WCW Nitro: December 30th 1996
WCW Cruiserweight Title: Ultimo Dragon w/Sonny Onoo vs Jushin Thunder Liger
Dragon is the reigning J-Crown champion and is also one day removed from beating Dean Malenko for the Cruiserweight Title at Starrcade. The man effectively holds nine championships, as the J-Crown was the unification of eight Junior Heavyweight Titles (which included the WWF Light Heavyweight Title for a short period). Both stand tall on clothesline attempts. Liger drops Dragon with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Liger follows up with a surfboard, rolling senton and powerbomb. Liger borrows a page from the Undertaker’s playbook as he gives Onoo the cut-throat signal. Dragon counters another tilt-a-whirl with a backbreaker of his own. Liger goes to the floor. Dragon connects with a suicide dive, then sends Liger into the guardrail. Inside, Liger gets his feet up to thwart a top rope splash. Liger follows up with a brainbuster and superplex, but can’t put Dragon away. Dragon gets on Liger’s shoulders and spins round to hit a Frankensteiner from the second rope. A Tiger Suplex is enough to give Dragon the 1-2-3. Winner: ULTIMO DRAGON. Phewph! This was quite an action packed five minutes. Liger would get his win back just days later in Japan and bag the prestigious J-Crown. Malenko would also reclaim the Cruiserweight Title less than a month after losing it.
WCW Clash of the Champions XXVIII: August 24th 1994
Lord Steven Regal w/Sir William vs Antonio Inoki
Back at Bash at the Beach, Regal got jealous after Inoki was presented with a lifetime contribution to wrestling award, which brings us to this. Regal’s TV title isn’t on the line. Regal jumps Inoki before he can enter the ring and the two go after each other with front facelocks along with various ground and pound tactics. The smash mouth affair goes back and forth with Regal kicking Inoki across the announce table stationed right by the apron at one point. Regal gets a nearfall from a butterfly suplex. Inoki soaks up several forearms and uppercuts before catching Regal in a choke sleeper. It’s lights out for Regal. Winner: ANTONIO INOKI. The crowd weren’t really into this worked shoot fight, which was clipped in order to edit out some Hulk Hogan shenanigans regarding a knee injury.
WWF Live Event: February 18th 1984
Mr Fuji & Tiger Chung Lee vs Tony Garea & Eddie Gilbert
We’re going way back to when the Hawaiian born Japanese Fuji has a full head of hair. The Devious One kicks Garea from behind to give his team the advantage. Gilbert is goaded into the ring to allow the Japanese to illegally switch and punish Garea with nerve holds. Fuji shuts down a Garea fight back. Garea crawls under Tiger’s legs to make the hot tag. A fired up Gilbert gets posted after Tiger avoids a corner charge. Fuji sets Gilbert up for his patented banzai elbow drop, but Gilbert rolls outside as Fuji crashes and burns. Tiger intercepts Gilbert, who reverses an irish whip and tags out. Garea takes the fight to Tiger, catching him with a hiptoss, dropkick and cross body. A cradle and sunset flip give Garea a couple of nearfalls. Fuji is still sprawled out as Gilbert gives Tiger a backbodydrop and applies an abdominal stretch. As the referee gets Garea out of the ring, Fuji reaches into his tights and throws salt into Gilbert’s eyes. Tiger rolls on top of the blinded rookie to steal the pinfall and the match. Winners: MR FUJI & TIGER CHUNG LEE. Although this was only a makeshift team, Fuji enjoyed five WWF Tag Title reigns with Toru Tanaka and Mr Saito. He retired in 1985 to go into management.
WCW/New Japan Supershow III: January 4th 1993
NWA World Heavyweight Title vs IWGP Heavyweight Title: Masahiro Chono vs The Great Muta
We’re coming from the famed Tokyo Dome and in a rarity, get to see both entrances down the loooong entrance ramp. Both titles are up for grabs. Muta sprays green mist in the air to begin. The two trade holds early on. Muta uses a mule kick to break free from a hammerlock, while Chono wraps his legs around Muta to get out of a side headlock. Muta stalls on the floor.
Both stay with the mat game as Muta applies a rolling armbar. Chono counters with a toehold, twisting away at Muta’s boot to soften him up for his patented STF. Chono drop toeholds Muta and applies a leg grapevine, but Muta makes it to the ropes. Muta tosses Chono through the ropes and into the guardrail. Inside, Muta goes high risk to land a big chop. Muta tosses Chono over the top rope which would be a DQ in WCW, but not in Japan. Muta bulldogs Chono on the ramp, then walks off, only to turn back around and hit a running clothesline from 30 yards.
The referee lays a 20 count on Chono, but he gets back in at 17 and surprises Muta with a forearm. Muta responds with a superplex and Saito suplex. A bridging german suplex gets Muta a nearfall. Muta hits a handspring backelbow in the corner, before missing his patented moonsault. Chono quickly applies the STF. Muta is in trouble, but manages to grab the bottom rope. A flying tackle and powerbomb can’t put Muta away. Chono foils a second Muta moonsault by getting his knees up. Muta sidesteps a second flying tackle, throwing Chono to the mat while he’s in mid-flight. A backbreaker softens Chono up for a third moonsault, which finds the mark. 1-2-thr-no! Muta quickly hits a fourth moonsault. 1-2-3. Winner: THE GREAT MUTA. Despite being clipped in parts, this was a cracking match. Muta’s NWA Title reign would only last a month as he would drop the belt to Barry Windham at SuperBrawl III.
Okerlund teases another set of countries for next week, but keeps us in suspense.
Until next week, it’s Sayonara from the Land of the Rising Sun.
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