Wednesday, 1 September 2010

WCW/New Japan Collision on Korea - Retro Review


It was the one-time meeting of legends as over 300,00 fans gathered over a two day period in April 1995 in Pyongyang, North Korea as World Championship Wrestling and New Japan Pro Wrestling joined forces for Collision in Korea, with Mike Tenay, Eric Bischoff and Sonny Onoo handling commentary duties.



The show began with 2 Cold Scorpio facing Wild Pegasus, otherwise known as he whose name must never be spoken again.

An excellent opening encounter between two wrestlers in the prime of their careers. These guys were well suited to each other, and it’s a shame that they weren’t given much longer.

Pegasus came out on top in this one, setting up Scorpio with a tombstone pile driver before finishing him off with the trademark flying head butt.

Tokimitsu Ishizawa against Yuji Nagata followed.

Those not familiar with these two would be a little confused with this match as both men wore black trunks, black knee pads and black boots. Thankfully I’d seen Nagata a few times before so I had a slight advantage.

This was a match very much in the Japanese style, solid action, hard hitting and a slice of what would now be called MMA-style exchanges, with Nagata getting the submission win with a face lock. Nice stuff, but like the previous match a little too short.

Tag-team action followed as Hiro Saito and Masa Chono faced El Samurai and Tadao Yasuda.

An interesting match that had it’s good and bad points. Chono and Saito looked great as a team, but then again I don’t think I’ve ever seen Chono in a bad match, and while El Samurai looked good Yasuda looked a little limited. But then again this former sumo star had only been a pro for about a year.

The impressive Chono got the win for his team after taking Samurai down with a shoulder block off the top rope.

The tag-team action continued with women from All Japan taking centre stage as Mariko Yoshida and Manami Toyota went up against Bull Nakano and Akira Hokuto.

A little messy to begin with until it developed into a nice back and forth encounter, and definitely not the kind of match you’d see a Diva or a Knockout in.

Nakano was as good as I remember, while Toyota and Yoshida pulled off some great high flying moves, as did Hokuto.

The end came when Nakano took Yoshida out with a top rope leg drop.

It was back to singles action next as Scott Norton faced IWGP Champion Shinya Hashimoto.

No flying head scissors or hurricanrana in this match. This was a battle of sheer strength between two old rivals with a combined weight of nearly 700 pounds.

And it was also very entertaining. Hashimoto pulled off some good moves for a man of his size, especially his running spin kicks, while Norton’s brute force was put to good use time and time again.

No winners in this one as the twenty minute time limit expired, with some heavy blows in the final few moments.

Tadao Yasuda made his second appearance of this compilation, taking on Road Warrior Hawk. Originally this was meant to be a tag-team match, the big reunion of the Road Warriors, but sadly Animal had to withdraw because of a back injury.

A very quick encounter with a Yasuda putting on a better performance second time around. But it just wasn’t enough against the more experienced face-painted on, who simply overpowered his bigger opponent before finishing the job with the one man doomsday device.

It was back to tag-team action for the next match as the Steiner Brothers took on Hiroshi Hase and Kensuke Sasaki.

Now this brought back a lot of memories, memories of a time when Scott Steiner could actually work, before he became a freakazoid just a few years later.

These to teams had a great match at the first WCW/New Japan super show in Tokyo in 1991, and while this was a good example of their rivalry it just wasn’t a patch on that first encounter.

Scott Steiner took the win for his team here, taking Hase down with a move we didn’t see because the director was more concerned with the brawl between Rick Steiner and Sasaki outside the ring.

The main event was the one-time battle of the legends between Ric Flair and Antonio Inoki, a mouth watering prospect for fans of the grappling game.

Now while these two may not have been in the first flush of youth at the time of this match they certainly knew how to put on a great exhibition.

Flair was at his heelish best here, pulling off his usual moves as he worked over Inoki’s leg so he could set up the dreaded figure four leg lock.

Inoki managed to escape as the match developed into a nice back and forth affair, with Inoki getting the win after an enziguri. Not bad for a couple of old guys.

In conclusion - from beginning to end this WCW/New Japan collaboration proved to be a very entertaining show, and while some of the matches may have seemed a little short that didn’t stop the wrestlers delivering the goods.

However, the production side of things left a little to be desired. I would have thought that a company like WCW would have al least put graphics on the screen introducing the wrestlers, especially when you consider that this was shown on pay-per-view in America, and some of the audience may not have been familiar with some of the Japanese talent.

The commentary team of Tenay, Bischoff and Onoo was also quite annoying. While Onoo offered very little, it seemed as if Bischoff knew very little about the majority of the Japanese  stars, and while it was obvious that Tenay knew what he was talking about Bischoff hardly gave him the chance to relay that information to the television audience.

So in all the wrestling ranges from good to great, while the production side of things ranges from bad to poor. By all means try and get a copy of this from a trader of look for the matches on YouTube, just be prepared to shout “shut the hell up” whenever Bischoff imparts his knowledge.