1) Liger v. Naoki Sano (IWGP Jr. Title Match- 08/10/1989)- 8
2) Liger v. Hiro Saito (01/18/1990)- 4
3) Liger v. Akira Nogami (01/25/1990) -6
4) Liger v. Villano III (09/30/1990)- 6
5) Liger v. Pegasus Kid (IWGP Jr. Title Match- 11/01/1990)- 6
6) Liger v. Negro Casas (IWGP Jr. Title Match- 12/28/1990)- 4
The first match is a phenomenal way to start this DVD and the best we've seen so far. Liger's selling here, even with a mask on, blows away most anything I can remember in recent years. He gets his arm wrenched at one point, it's not even a big move and it bothers him the rest of the match as Sano keeps going after it. Liger just sells and sells it and it's hard not to think he's a master. Then the match takes a turn and they go outside where Liger gingerly but recklessly hits his front flip plancha and when they come back in Sano has been busted open. Well, Liger fucking takes it to the streets on his head and just continuously kicks it for nearly the next 6 minutes, viciously stomping his head like he's a Marvel Zombie. Sano fights back and snags a few armlocks for some really close calls while Liger struggles to fight with one arm. I'm forgetting to even mention the spot where Sano does a missle dropkick from the top buckle to the floor and where Liger decides to commit homicide and tries superlpexing Sano from the top the arena floor, while he fights it with everything he's got. Both guys are seemingly fighting for every move and the finish is breathtaking- a super back suplex from the top that folds both guys in half- i won't reveal who gets the duke but this is an awesome match and for two guys still who are still fairly rookies in the sport at this time,it's an amazing acheivement.
This begins like a high school mugging for a free lunch ticket with Saito just throwing chairs at Liger (who is now officially in his body suit that we all know and love now) Saito has always languished in New Japan's midcard and there's a reason; he's not that great. His offensive section is really lacking in fire or execution- the best sequences are when Liger leads him through some good pinfall reversals. Liger beats his ass in the crowd as well even piledriving him on the table but it just doesn't get me going. Very lackluster match. The 2nd Nogami match was very much like the first, mostly on the ground, Nogami controlled a lot more of the match this time really working a boston crab for long periods. The finish was pretty abrupt and even Liger was surprised he won after picking Nogami up in a Torture Rack to which he tapped to, althought Liger still dropped him in a backbreaker and went for a pin. This, I believe, is my first look at Villano 3 although I'm very familliar with his predecessors. He's just as quick as Liger even though you can tell he's older. His strikes are open hand chops and he has a lot of technical prowess although they mostly use Lucha sequencing here, never going outside of their realm and trying new things, just applying the techniques they are good at. Liger matches him hold for hold and even takes the match with a nifty submission that these darling brown eyes have never seen- kind of a version of an upside down pretzel lock with the legs.
Benoit and Liger is just as stiff in the beginning of their run as they were at the end of it. Benoit is pure aggression, like Andy Dick on coke errantly wandering into a Claire's at the mall. He pulls out a swank yet suicidal missile dropkick, Owen Hart style to the outside floor that kills both men. Liger's Capo kick is prevalent throughout the DVD, using it early and often and he pinpoints the spot between Benoit's eyeholes in the mask and kicks it in every chance he gets. Just like on his offense, Benoit's sells are fierce and sudden and both men have a similar move set they use to lead to a satisfying finish to a recommendable match. Casas looks like Giant Gonzalez' offspring, adorning a flesh colored outfit with a fur stripe along the shoulders. The crowd is so damn hot for Liger in this match and I never knew how much heat Casas garnered as a heel. I'm wondering if it's like a battle of nations here. Well, they play it up quite well, measuring out Liger's offense to work up the pops he gets as Casas plays most of the match like the veteran he is, sidestepping a lot of moves and putting his foot on the rope on pinfalls. Liger wins the match in satisfying fashion to a massive pop from the fans; it's the most like an American crowd I've ever seen a Japanese arena.
Disc 2 building on Liger's stellar legacy and I'm just pumped to get through the other 6 discs in this set.