Archive for the ‘Wrestling Compilations’ Category

Hope everyone had a happy holidays, I know I did. Let’s get this baby started cause there’s a lot of them coming these days.

Michinoku Pro is a promotion based off the Iwate Prefecture in Japan. Known for their colorful appearance, the promotional is heavily influenced by Mexico’s lucha libre style with high-flying moves and masks. Many of their homegrown performers like Great Sasuke, Jinzei Shinzaki, Taka Michinoku have done crusades over various promotions in the US such as WWE, ECW, Chikara and many more.

1. Great Sasuke & Gran Hamada vs. El Signo & El Rudo – March 16, 1993

Sasuke who’s a legend in the sport of professional wrestling needs not introduction. However, Gran Hamada was a very craft veteran who captivated everyone with his athleticism and fighting spirit which ignites the Japanese crowd in roars. This match was very simple and expressed the lucha libre element of being a spot fest. Very well executed by the four performers.
Grade: C+

 

2. UWA World Welterweight Championship
Super Delfin (c) vs. Great Sasuke – July 24, 1993

The UWA World Welterweight title was a championship defended in various lucha libre promotions all over the world. Starting in Mexico, the title eventually made its way to Japan. Sasuke takes on another legend in the junior heavyweight division in Delfin, who is the founding father of the current promotion Osaka Pro. Both are very fierce rivals like Misawa/Kobashi, Hogan/Piper & Austin/Rock. It was quite a spectacle between these two as you can see the huge chemistry between these two rivals.
Grade: B

 

3. Great Sasuke & Sato vs.  Super Delfin & Gran Naniwa – July 26, 1993

Two days later, Sasuke & Delfin face once again but in tag team action. A notorious mention in this match is Gran Naniwa, who’s another Michinoku Pro legend who’s famous for sporting a crab mask. Decent tag team match but nothing special to recognize.
Grade: C

 

4. Great Sasuke, Sato & TAKA Michinoku vs. Super Delfin, Jinzei Shinzaki & Gran Naniwa – August 19, 1993

In this trios match we have TAKA Michinoku who’s most known for his time in the WWF’s Attitude Era and being it’s first Light Heavyweight Champion. We also have Jinzei Shinzaki who’s wrestled in various US promotions and had a stint in WWF as Hakushi. This was a spot fest extravaganza but Lucha Libre is defined like this and all six performers are experts at this craft which blends very well and gives a good presentation.
Grade: B-

 

5. Great Sasuke vs. Shiningami – August 20, 1993

This very average and bland for the most part which is surprising for a person with Sasuke’s knowledge and talent but everyone has their off days.
Grade: C-

 

6. Great Sasuke vs. Super Delfin – August 24, 1993

Once again the rivals meet in a contest just as good as their first encounter in this DVD. This one had a little bit of everything with strikes, submissions, high fly maneuvers, etc. Nothing but good came from this encounter.
Grade: B

 

7. Super Delfin vs. Sato – September 28, 1993

This started slow but then it picked off quite nice. Nothing much to say here but Delfin is a beast.
Grade: C

 

8. Great Sasuke & Atushi Onita vs. Jinsei Shinzaki & Mr. Pogo – September 28, 1993

This match had a little twist with the addition of FMW’s Onita & Pogo who are regarded as the Kings of Hardcore. Just as you would expect from them it was bloody and violent.  Quite interesting seeing Sasuke & Shinzaki in this match environment.
Grade: B-

 

9. Mask vs. Mask
Super Delfin vs. Sato – December 10, 1993

Delfin and Sato face again and this time their masks are on the line. Whoever loses has to unmask. This type of match is a sacred match in Mexico where the loser wages either their hair or mask and it’s one to end a lengthy feud. With that being said, neither wanted to relinquish their masks so they were back and forth all the way trying to get the W. This one was a classic.
Grade: B

 

Final Thoughts:

I was very entertained all the way through with this compilation which was focused on their early days with founding fathers Sasuke, Shinzaki, Delfin, Naniwa, Sato and others. If you’re a fan of the lucha libre style then I definitely recommend this DVD to you otherwise I’d temper with it because I know some don’t like the overdoing of high-flying spots, it all depends on what your taste is. I will definitely check out more of these volumes so expect more reviews coming in the near future.

Verdict: 7.5/10

You can get this DVD and many more at IVP VIDEOS. They also provide downloads as well.

Barry Windham was a natural athlete and prodigy in the world of professional wrestling. Windham was born in the wrestling industry thanks to his father Blackjack Mulligan and has capitalized on his family heritage to it’s fullest and achieved numerous goals in his career. The second generation wrestler possessed amazing athleticism for a man of his size which made him a very lethal competitor. Many titles were under his possession wherever he went along with the membership of the prestigious and legendary group, Four Horsemen.  Barry has competed all over the world and has represented many NWA territories and WWF on more than one occasion. This 90 minute compilation profiles some of Windham’s best matches from Land of the Rising Sun.

 

1. Barry Windham vs. Genichiro Tenryu – December 5, 1983

First off in the compilation is Windham facing a former sumo wrestler and one of the hardest hitting competitors out of Japan, Tenryu. This was highly enjoyable to watch with both applying scientific wrestling with one another. Good things happened in under 10 minutes.
Grade: B-

 

2. Barry Windham & Ron Fuller vs. Bruiser Brody & Stan Hansen – 1983

Next up is Windham teaming with the Tennessee Stud Ron Fuller against one of the most feared and dangerous combinations in  Stan “The Lariat” Hansen and Bruiser Brody, With only taking a loot at the team of Brody and Hansen on paper you can imagine how this one went. Imagine a huge bar brawl with four men who wouldn’t die. I’m surprised that Brody and Hansen didn’t kick the living shit out of Windham and perhaps is attributed to two things, 1. They took him lightly as he’s Mulligan’s kid or 2. They trust in his abilities. Nevertheless, fun match.
Grade: C+

 

3. Barry Windham & Ron Fuller vs. Jumbo Tsuruta & Genichiro Tenryu

Once again Windham and Fuller team up to face this time the team of Tenryu & Tsuruta who are at their very prime during this time period which made things interesting from the start. This was a nice back and forth hard-hitting contest. Those flying knees by Tsuruta were sick.
Grade: B-

 

4. Barry Windham vs. The Great Kabuki

Up next is Windham vs. Kabuki, who has gained huge notoriety in the western hemisphere. It was very decent and enjoyable match that could have kicked it up a notch knowing the talent involved but I’m no one to complain.
Grade: C+

 

5. Barry Windham vs. Keiji Mutoh

Windham now the less ominous counterpart of the Great Muta in Mutoh. This match was joined in progress and ended a few minutes away but for what was seen it was very good.
Grade: DUD

 

6. Barry Windham & Arn Anderson vs. Masahiro Chono & Masa Saito – March 21, 1991

The Horsemen battle two of New Japan’s top performers in Chono & Saito. This took place during a pay-per-view called WCW /New Japan Supershow in Tokyo. It was OK for the most part but it was mad slow on the beginning but it took on towards the end. Not a bad match by any means but just average.
Grade: C

 

7. The New Blackjacks (Bradshaw & Windham) vs. Johnny Ace & Kenta Kobashi – November 15, 1997

While in the WWF for the second time, Windham was lost in the shuffle as the Stalker and never lived up to the hype; However, he was later paired with fellow Texan Justin Hawk Bradshaw who was also lost in the shuffle and they became the New Blackjacks as a tribute to his father Blackjack Mulligan and partner Blackjack Lanza. In a special invitation match they face Johnny Ace (PEOPLE POWER!!!! LOL) and the Great Kenta Kobashi. This was very intense with the Blackjacks letting loose from their strict WWF playbook along with Ace’s impressive brawling and Kobashi’s legendary tenacity. Great stuff!
Grade: B+

 

Final Thoughts:

We all know how Barry was in America and we always recognize him as the Fifth Horsemen. This DVD profiled his work in Japan which was quite impressive facing great names in the Land of the Rising Sun. The last match really takes the cake and I advise you all get this for that match specifically. It’s great seeing IVP Videos providing these rare matches from Japan that we can’t get anywhere else as we get great wrestling from our favorite stars.

Verdict: 7.25/10

You can get this DVD and many more at IVP VIDEOS. They also provide downloads as well.

Harley Race is a wrestling legend. An 8-time World Heavyweight Champion, Race dominated many territories such as Georgia, the Carolinas, Florida and his home state of Missouri. Not only that but he has traveled all over the world and has met the best of the best in Canada, Australia, Puerto Rico, England, Germany & Japan. Now that we mention that, Japan is considered by many wrestlers,past & present, that Japan is the mecca of the sport of professional wrestling. The fighting spirit that is seen over there has been adopted by a great number of performers in North American and Harley was one of them. This DVD profiles some of Race’s matches in the famous All Japan Pro Wrestling  facing off against some of the all-time greats.

 

1. Harley Race vs. Giant Baba – December 9, 1975

Race steps in to face an individual who is almost the size of Andre the Giant and as popular as Hulk Hogan. Baba is an iconic figure in the Puroresu history books as a wrestler and promoter of the legendary All Japan Pro Wrestling. I’ll be completely honest with you, this match is a total snooze; However, wrestling around this time and age was like this. If you’re familiar and appreciate the “ancient ways” then you’ll find it intriguing.
Grade: C-

 

2. Harley Race vs. Abdullah the Butcher – May 13, 1976

“Handsome” squares off with a mean, nasty and dangerous individual in Abdullah. Abby is known worldwide for his unorthodox style and constant use of his trademark fork, in which he stabs it in his opponents forehead. This was quite short but a brutal war that started  before the bell even rang. Abby has always been overweight and not a quick guy but this was almost 40 years ago and the Butcher can move like if he was a 200 lbs. which made him even more dangerous and enjoyable to watch. This match didn’t have a finish but this is a must watch for everyone.
Grade: DUD

 

3. NWA World Heavyweight Championship
2 out of 3 Falls
Harley Race (c) vs. Jumbo Tsuruta – June 11, 1977

Race is at the top of his game as the NWA World Heavyweight Champion. He defends the prestigious belt against AJPW’s then poster boy and Puro Legend, Jumbo Tsuruta. This was pretty good and you can see both Race & Tsuruta showing a lot of courage and desire to pick up the W. Tsuruta was still an young gun and was years away from his unimaginable peak but you can tell that he was born to wrestle.
Grade: B-

 

4. NWA World Heavyweight Championship
Harley Race (c) vs. Mil Mascaras – September 12, 1980

This time around “Handsome” Harley defends the his title against perhaps the greatest wrestler/luchador to every come out of Mexico, Mil Mascaras. This one had a bit of everything like high-flying, dirty tactics, brawling, submissions, etc. Highly watchable and a hidden gem for those collectors out there such as myself. I think everyone has come to know Mil Mascaras or at least can identify who he is but if you’re unfamiliar with his work then I suggest to take a gander at this match.
Grade: B

 

5. Harley Race vs. Ric Flair – May 22, 1984

I believe there should be no need for introductions here as we know Flair very well and the history these two have. Definitely one of the greatest rivalries in the history of professional wrestling. This was 5 months after their famous cage match at the first ever Starrcade. With all that being said, this match showed how well they can work together and get that respectfully silent Japanese crowd roaring for 19 minutes.
Grade: B+

 

Final Thoughts:

Harley Race has had a legendary career in professional wrestling and you can see why. I highly suggest everyone to get this DVD to experiment on many elements in pro wrestling such as the Hall of Famer’s career, Puroresu, the 70’s & 80’s wrestling, other featured Wrestling Legends, etc.

Verdict: 7/10

You can get this DVD and many more at IVP VIDEOS. They also provide downloads as well.

This next review is from something that means a lot to me since it has a direct impact on my ethnic roots.

Puerto Rico is a beautiful island located in the Caribbean that has the distinct notoriety of being a commonwealth of the United States of America. One thing that Puerto Rico had very special was Professional Wrestling. The WWC promotion, headed by Carlos Colon, was an essential part of the history of pro wrestling as it was one of the many successful territories from famous National Wrestling Alliance and very known for it’s violent presentation. Wrestling legends such as Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes, Harley Race along with hundreds of wrestling legends were part of this organization’s rich history. The promotion’s main show was it’s Anniversary show and each year it celebrated it’s show like a WrestleMania with a whole weekend of activities and wrestling cards.

Anniversary 1985
San Juan, Puerto Rico – September 21, 1985

1. The Road Warriors (Hawk & Animal) w/Paul Ellering vs. The Fabulous Ones (Stan Lane & Steve Keirn)

The Fabulous Ones are one of the legendary tag teams from 80’s boom wrestling in the prestigious territories of Memphis & Florida. What can we say about the Warriors that hasn’t been already said?……Exactly. Unfortunately, this match was extremely short but it was done on purpose due to the out of control crowd that wouldn’t behave, which is a shame.
Grade: DUD

2. WWC North American Tag Team Championship
                             Barbed Wire Match
The Invaders (1 & 3) (c) vs. The Sheepherders (Luke & Butch)

WWC was very prominent for it’s tag team wrestling and always brought the best of the best to compete under their banner on a regular basis. Before the jolly Bushwhackers made their way to WWF, they had an extremely dark and violent side of them that was displayed for over two decades. The Invaders were among the elite wrestlers from the island that brought a lot of positive influences to their fan base. BTW, Invader #1 is the one who stabbed Bruiser Brody to death. THE IRONY. Anyways, this was extremely graphic for it’s time and very violent despite the time given but it’s a perfect example of a true grudge match.
Grade: C+

3. WWC Universal Heavyweight Championship
Carlos Colon (c) vs. Abdullah The Butcher w/JJ Dillon

Colon was the Hulk Hogan of Puerto Rico. He’s one of the most beloved and respected athletes in the island and a national hero. Abdullah for the vast majority of his career was one of the most despised and feared competitors with his trademark fork, no one has bled more nor drawn more blood than Abdullah, nobody. These two were the fiercest rivals in Puerto Rico and for many years have held a mutual hatred in-ring and at times out of the ring. This match was a nasty war between both rivals that literally traveled the entire baseball stadium. Abby has always been overweight but at this point of his career he could move as much as Vader. This match is a true classic.
Grade: B+

4. NWA World Heavyweight Championship
Ric Flair (c) vs. Hercules Ayala

Ric Flair…..Nuff Said. Hercules Ayala was one of the most beloved and hated competitors in the WWC who had a huge mean streak as multi-time champion. As athletic as Randy Savage and as dangerous as Harley Race, this guy was the real deal. This match sealed that year’s anniversary with a bang. Highly competitive and athletic competition which is why Ric Flair is arguably considered the greatest wrestler of all time.
Grade: B

 

Anniversary 1986
Ponce, Mayaguez & San Juan Puerto Rico – September 20, 1986

1. Giant Baba vs. Abdullah The Butcher w/Gary Hart

Baba is the founder of the famous All Japan Pro Wrestling and was one of the most admired wrestler’s from Japan with his unique stature, pretty much the Japanese Andre the Giant. However, at this time his age has heavily slowed his movement which isn’t as keen as it used to be and this match with Abby only lasted a few short minutes but it was a great showcase.
Grade: DUD

2. Barry Windham vs. Boris Zukhov

Barry Windham was one of the most successful second generation wrestlers of all time. His size and agility is only matched to the likes of Undertaker & Kane. Boris Zukhov was a very intense and dangerous performer from various territories and a competitor in the WWF as part of the Bolsheviks. This was pretty good with both men being as menacing as they can be in front of the hot crowd.
Grade: C

 

Anniversary 1987
Mayaguez & San Juan, Puerto Rico – September 20, 1987

1. TNT vs. Mr. Pogo

Before having success in the United States as Savio Vega, TNT was one of the hottest commodities in Puerto Rico with his unique style of wrestling and karate. During the whole year he has been feuding with Mr. Pogo, who is most known for his death matches in W*NG and FMW. This was very intense and it told a story like the old classic Bruce Lee movies involving martial arts experts from different ethnicity.
Grade: B-

2. Career vs. Hair
Invader I vs. Chicky Starr

If Invader loses, he must retire; If Chicky loses, he gets his head shaved. These two are the most hated rivals in Puerto Rican wrestling history. Chicky is perhaps the greatest heel from Puerto Rico and it’s a rare occasion that fans don’t throw anything they can find at him. Invader had his fair share if alignments but he’s never and I mean EVER been on the same side as Chicky despite sharing locker rooms. This match is probably 20 of the most intense minutes you can witness between two unknowns for the most of you. Phenomenal match.
Grade: B+

 

Anniversary 1988
Bayamon, Puerto Rico – September 10, 1988

1. Jimmy Valiant & Rufus R. Jones vs. The Wild Samoans (Afa & Sika)

Boogie Woogie Valiant was a regular in WWC while the rest have done sporadic appearances. This was alright but it was pretty slow and when it was kicking off, a DQ finish.
Grade: D+

2. Ronnie Garvin vs. The Iron Sheik
These two legends did a few crusades over the island over the years and have been a lot fun to watch. This was fantastic but if it had a legit pin or submission finish instead of a count-out it would have told a better story but for what was seen here, it was good.
Grade: C-

3. Wahoo McDaniel vs. Dan Spivey

Wahoo is a very respected legend in the wrestling business and Spivey had a lot of potential for a big man but injury ended it too soon. Unfortunately this wasn’t something I would recommend to anyone. It’s that bad.
Grade: D-

4. Fire Match
Carlos Colon vs. Hercules Ayala

These two have no love for each other as they already headlined a previous anniversary show but this escalated so much that not only the Universal title was vacated but also Colon’s wife was beaten to a bloody pulp by Ayala. They now face in a fire match in which the ring is covered by barbed wire and with portions of it on fire. This was so brutal and it was amazing to see them work around with all the fire and everything. This match is written in the history books and it’s a great privilege for me to watch this.
Grade: A-

5. Hair vs. Hair
Miguel Perez Jr. & Huracán Castillo vs. Bobby Jaggers & Dan Kroffat

Stipulation self explainable. Perez & Castillo are known for being Jesus and Miguel from Los Boricuas while Kroffat did a stint in the WWF as Phil Lafon. The tag division was very hot at the time and these two teams escalated even further than the belts and were always at each others throats and costing the other’s matches constantly. Like in Mexico, they put their hairs on the line in one of the greatest pure tag team match you could ever see. Not only you must have chemistry with your partner but also with your opponents if you ever want to pull off a classic, this was one of them.
Grade: B+

 

Final Thoughts:

This is a fantastic two disc set that you get to see some of the greatest matches ever held in Puerto Rico along with the many foreign wrestlers who were key elements in the WWC’s success. The set gives you an idea of how big wrestling was in the 80’s but not only that but also how much the crowd plays an important part the matches psychology. There are matches that aren’t on my high regards but the entertainment value is priceless. I honestly do not know where this was made or available since it was a gift but if you managed to cross paths with this, don’t hesitate on picking it up.

Verdict: 9/10

Big Van Vader is one of the greatest big men to ever step foot in the squared circle. Very known for his powerful strength and stiffness, Vader is also very agile for a man of his size and is capable of doing such maneuvers like a Moonsault. He’s also one of the most hated and feared villains of all time as he showed no mercy to his opponents and crowd alike. This compilation consists of four of his best matches in the Land of the Rising Sun, where he honed his skills.

1. IWGP Heavyweight Championship Tournament Final
Big Van Vader vs. Shinya Hashimoto (April 24, 1989)

The Mastadon sets foot with beloved Japanese legend and former NWA World Heavyweight Champion, Shinya Hashimoto. This was a tournament final to crown the vacant IWGP Heavyweight Championhip and had wrestling legend Lou Thesz as the special guest referee. These two behemoths went on a huge war. Vader being the unstoppable force that he is used brute strength to combat the Japanese star while the Musketeer used his quickness and wits to counter The Mastodon’s offense. Great match between both big men in this high-profiled extravaganza at NJPW’s first show in the Tokyo Dome.
Grade: B+

 

2. Big Van Vader & Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Koji Kitao & Riki Chosu (April 27, 1990)

WOW! Vader teaming up with another big man with a far superior agility than his own.  Bam Bam Bigelow left the US after stints in the WWF and Jim Crockett Promotions and immediately pared with the Mastodon. Former sumo wrestler Koji Kitao had retired and moved on to new pastures in Pro Wrestling and was well received by the great Riki Chosu. This was a colossal war, really good back and forth match. This felt like a Godzilla film where you see Godzilla & Anguirus battle King Gidorah & Gigan. Very lethal combination in Vader & Bigelow.
Grade: B

 

3. IWGP Heavyweight Championship
Big Van Vader vs. Tatsumi Fujinami (c)  (January 17, 1991)

This time the Mastodon goes one on one with the original Dragon, Tatsumi Fujinami. They’re no stranger to each other as they been rivals for a few years now. Fujinami used his speed and submissions to take down Vader, while the latter as always used brute force. It wasn’t as keen nor intense as the Hashimoto match but it still left a good taste in your mouth while watching it.
Grade: C+

 

4. Big Van Vader vs. Antonio Inoki (January 4, 1996)

This was Vader’s last match in NJPW and what batter way than to leave than wrestle with the man he had his debut with, WWE Hall of Famer, Antonio Inoki. For those that don’t know, Vader started in Japan in 1987 and in his first match ended Antonio Inoki’s 4 year undefeated streak. Inoki was the Bruno Sammartino of Japan so just imagine how beloved and respected the guy is. This encounter was wild & stiff, right up Vader’s alley. Inoki was over 50 years old at the time and could still go. Fun & Emotional Match.
Grade: B-

 

In conclusion, this is a sweet compilation that can be appreciated for seeing Vader unleashed in the squared circle. While he has gain heavy notoriety in the US with WCW and WWF, Japan was really his domain where everyone knew better than to cross paths with the behemoth. I salute IVP Videos for another wonderful compilation.

Verdict: 7/10

You can get this DVD and many more at IVP Videos.