Written By: Matt Peddycord
NJPW/WCW Collision in Korea
April 28-29, 1995
Pyongyang, North Korea
(Shown on US PPV 8/4/1995)
Even crazy North Koreans love the NATURE BOY! WOOOO!
Your hosts are Eric Bischoff, Mike Tenay and Sonny Oono. Possibly the most boring announce team ever. Bischoff and Oono make some elitist exchanges for their country throughout the show. It seems unnecessary considering this is supposed to be an exhibition for peace.
Wild Pegasus vs. Too Cold Scorpio
Alright! We finally get the Superbrawl III rematch on PPV! Both guys working for ECW and Japan at this point. We see some flips and rolls early on traded back and forth between these two out of a wristlock that leads to a stalemate. They trade monkey flips from a knucklelock position into a rollup sequence. Scorpio hits Benoit with a moonsault press and a superkick. Pegasus avoids a flying splash and hits Scorpio with the kitchen sink. Benoit hangs Scorpio out to dry on the top rope. He dropkicks Scorpio to the apron and attempts a suplex back in, but Scorpio flips out and catches Benoit with another superkick. From there, Pegasus reverses a tombstone piledriver to set up the SWANDIVE HEADBUTT for the 1-2-3. (6:03) Dynamite Kid would be proud. Well, maybe. This was short, but these two still can’t have a bad match together. ***
Tokimitsu Ishizawa vs. Yuji Nagata
Ishizawa is an Inoki student and more of a shoot-style wrestler than anything else. Some nice mat wrestling from these two. Ishizawa controls a lot with a body scissors sleeper. He makes one great transition from the sleeper into a near cross armbreaker as Nagata makes the ropes. Nagata comes back with a Capture Suplex and hooks on the NAGATA LOCK III to get the quick submission. (4:28) Nothing wrong with that. **
El Samurai & Tadao Yasuda vs. Masa Chono & Hiro Saito
Bischoff tells us Hiro Saito is not related to Masa Saito even though the similarities are uncanny. Yasuda is a long-time sumo wrestler who recently decided to become a professional wrestler and of course El Samurai is a legendary Japanese junior heavyweight. Chono and Saito work over Yasuda’s arm to start. Tag to Samurai, he pounds Saito down and then slams him for a legdrop for two. Chono tags in and nails Samurai with a YAKUZA KICK. He backs Chono into the corner and tags Yasuda. He terribly telegraphs an elbow drop to turn the momentum. Seriously, Chono was just about to his feet when Yasuda started the elbow drop. Double-clothesline takes Yasuda down to set up a senton from Saito. Samurai tags back in and whiffs on a dropkick. The heels punish just about every part of Samurai’s body before Saito ducks low off a whip so Samurai can tag Yasuda. SUMO ATTACKS! Yasuda hits an avalanche on Chono and tags Samurai for a Flying Headbutt for 1-2-NO! Samurai grabs a waistlock as Chono’s trick knee acts up into the balls of El Samurai. Chono whips Saito into Samurai in the corner and then throws him into a YAKUZA KICK. Chono follows that up with a FLYING SHOULDERBLOCK to pick up the win. (8:06) Plenty of action for this glorified squash, but you could tell Yasuda’s inexperience. **¼
Bull Nakano & Akira Hokuto vs. Manami Toyota & Mariko Yoshida
Well this is going to rule. Nakano and Hokuto concentrate on Yoshida to start until Toyota comes off the top rope for to crossbody them both down. Nakano kills them both with a clothesline and then hits Toyota with another one to turn her inside out. Toyota comes back with dropkicks for two. Another clothesline from Nakano puts her down for a flying splash from Hokuto for two. Yoshida tags in and takes a SICK spin kick to the jaw. Hokuto hooks her in a surfboard and then tags in Nakano. She applies some sort of Octopus Stretch deathlock hold. Yoshida cartwheels away from a Hokuto clothesline and nails her with a crossbody. She follows that up with a couple handspring elbows. Fisherman’s suplex gets two. Hokuto stops Yoshida on the top rope for a superplex. Cover, 1-2-NO! Nakano tags in and clotheslines Hokuto by accident to allow a tag for Toyota. Hokuto brings both feet up to block a flying splash from Toyota. Sitout powerbomb from Nakano gets two. She tries for another, but Toyota rolls through into a sunset flip for 1-2-NO! Toyota can’t suplex Nakano by herself, so Yoshida comes in. That still doesn’t help as Nakano suplexes them both at the same time! This chick is CRAZY! Hokuto misses a flying splash and the heels get tossed out for a suicide dive by Yoshida and a springboard plancha by Toyota! Back in, Toyota hits a flying moonsault on Hokuto for 1-2-NO! OCEAN CYCLONE SUPLEX? No! Hokuto counters into a rollup for 1-2-NO! Tag to Yoshida, Hokuto ducks a clothesline and delivers a bridging German suplex for 1-2-NO! In comes Nakano, she gets caught with a double-jump crossbody out of the corner from Yoshida for 1-2-NO! Nakano NO-SELLS Yoshida’s dropkicks, but can’t help but go down when Toyota joins in on the fun. Nakano baits Toyota and Yoshida in for a missile dropkick from Hokuto. Nakano takes her opponents to the floor for a flip dive from Hokuto. Once that’s over with, Nakano ascends to the top while Hokuto sets Yoshida up for the Flying Legdrop. That will do it. (8:35) Just the kind of action you would expect from these four. ***½
IWGP Heavyweight Champion Shinya Hashimoto vs. Scott Norton
By the airing of the PPV, Muta had already regained the IWGP title. We get a feeling out process to start. Norton begins splashing Hashimoto in the corner until he runs into some kicks. Spinning heel kick gets two. Bischoff talks about Norton’s AWA days and going to the same high school with him. Hashimoto works the arm for a long while. He starts kicking again, but Norton absorbs the kicks and ducks a second spinning heel kick. Clothesline from Norton gets two. Reverse neckbreaker gets him another two-count. Once this airs on PPV, Norton should have already or is pretty close to rejoining WCW for his biggest run here in the states. He drops some elbows and goes for a powerbomb, but Hashimoto backdrops out. Hashimoto tries to break Norton’s arm over the shoulder, but Norton rakes the eyes to break it up. He scrapes Hashimoto’s face across the ropes and then hits a pump splash for two. Norton works a chinlock and continues with his methodical offense. Hashimoto blocks a chop and legsweeps Norton to mount a comeback. He kicks Norton around and hits a DDT for two. Hashimoto works a chinlock. Norton fights out and they botch a powerslam pretty badly. Powerbomb is blocked again by Hashimoto, but Norton can get him over for a suplex. Norton finally gets that POWERBOMB and heads to the top for a flying splash for 1-2-NO! That brings us to the 20-minute time limit draw. (20:00) Oddly enough, the time limit draw causes streamers to explode all over the floor seats! Rather boring match. *
Road Warrior Hawk vs. Tadao Yasuda
Yasuda’s not doing double duty. This is from the second night of the festival. Tenay tells us that the Road Warriors were supposed to team up tonight, but Animal was still out with a back injury at the time. Real quick squash match. Yasuda shows off his sumo skills and takes down Hawk, but Hawk jumps right back to his feet and drops him with a clothesline. Hawk misses a splash off the top and takes a butterfly suplex. Of course he NO-SELLS and connects with another clothesline. Powerslam and a fist drop sets up the FLYING CLOTHESLINE for the 1-2-3. (2:22) We’re in and we’re out.
Rick & Scott Steiner vs. Kensuke Sasaki & Hiroshi Hase
This is a rematch from the ’91 Tokyo Dome show. Back in April, Hase was actually the IWGP tag team champions with Muta. Kensuke Sasaki was just breaking out to be a main event star in NJPW in his post-Hell Raiser days. Hase and Scott start the match on the mat. Scott corner Hase and then throws him out on who I believe is Yuji Nagata. Meanwhile in the ring, Rick Steiner drills Sasaki with a Belly-to-Belly Suplex. Sasaki and Hase regroup on the floor while the Steiners do their barking routine inside the ring. Back to the match, we see Hase bridging out of a knucklelock and blasting Scott with a hook kick. Scott comes back with a t-bone suplex and a tilt-a-whirl sideslam. Rick and Sasaki tag in. Sasaki nails Rick with a release German suplex and comes off the top rope, but falls victim to a overhead Belly-to-Belly Suplex! Sasaki reverses a whip and nails Rick with a powerslam. Bischoff and Tenay are talking about the recent love interests of Hase and Sasaki like it was truly interesting celebrity news. Tag to Hase, Rick NO-SELLS his blows and connects with a clothesline of his own. Rick lifts Hase up and drives him stomach first into the corner. Scott tags in and hits the Spinning Belly-to-Belly Suplex. Hase catches Scott with a dropkick, but Scott grabs an ankle and pulls him back into his corner for a tag to Rick. He gives Hase a release German suplex right on his head for 1-2-NO! Scott tags again for an STF. Hase makes the ropes, but gets whipped right into an overhead Belly-to-Belly Suplex. With the Steiners working heel, they keep Hase in their corner and put the boots to him. Hase tries to make it to his corner, but Scott cuts him off with a Butterfly Slam. That gets two. Hase catches Rick with the GOLDEN ARM BOMBER out of nowhere and makes the tag to Sasaki! He levels both Steiners with dropkicks and clotheslines. Sasaki tags Hase for a back suplex/flying neckbreaker combo. Hase follows up with the Giant Swing and gets a good 12 repetitions on Rick Steiner. After a standing switch with an already dizzy Hase, Rick nails him with another release German suplex on his head. Tag to Scott, he delivers a Pumphandle Slam for 1-2-NO! Rick and Sasaki brawl to the floor while Scott gives Hase the STEINER SCREWDRIVER SUPLEX! Cover, 1-2-3. (11:48) Some terrible directing there with the finish. We don’t even get to see the impact of the move, but we know what it is. Good, high-impact wrestling with plenty of suplexes. ***¾
Antonio Inoki vs. Ric Flair
So now Flair can scratch Inoki off his list of legendary Japanese wrestlers he’s faced over the years, as this is the first time these two have met in the ring. According to the timeline, this would be Flair’s first televised match since his retirement match with Hogan back in October 1994. Bischoff talks about a good match between Flair and Hase that took place a week later at the Fukuoka Dome. YOUTUBE IT! Long feeling-out process to start. Inoki catches Flair with a shoulderblock and stomps him to the floor. Back in, Flair corners Inoki and chops away. Now Inoki takes a breather. Flair keeps Inoki on the floor and runs him into the guardrail. Flair delivers a suplex back in for two. He follows up with a shin breaker and grabs a Regal stretch. He takes Inoki to school (WOO!) and connects with the Rolling Knee Drop. Another shin breaker sets up the FIGURE-FOUR. Inoki powers Flair’s leg off his to break the hold. Flair tries to reapply the hold and caught in a small package. Backslide by Inoki gets two. Inoki begins to FIRED UP and punches Flair from one side of the ring to the other. Flair heads to the floor to slow Inoki down. Back in, Flair goes low on Inoki and goes up top only to be slammed down. Dropkick by Inoki gets two. Flair wins a slugfest and drops an elbow for two. Back suplex connects, but Flair can’t capitalize. Wow, Inoki counters a slam into a headscissors to set up Flair for a Rolling Koppou Kick. Flair is down and prone for the Flying Knee Drop for 1-2-3. (14:53) And the wrestling hero in North Korea picks up the win as if there was any doubt that he would. Standard Flair match for the time. If you’re like me, the man should have just retired from the ring after the cage match with Hogan. **½
Final Thoughts: Not a bad show, but the matches were way too short. I don’t know if that was because they didn’t want to overwhelm or bore the North Koreans with long matches when they weren’t used to it or what. This show was all part of Inoki’s way of trying to turn a new leaf on Japanese-North Korean relations since he was an elected part of the Japanese government. Overall, I’m feeling pretty neutral for this show.