Friday, December 19, 2008

Jushin "Thunder" Lyger Capsule Reviews

So far, I've tackled the first 4 discs of spanning this man's great career, from his debut in 1989 up to late 1993. Now, for the last 4 discs which cover his time from 1993 to the end of 1996, I'll be giving a write up for my favorite match on each respective disc. Enjoy:

Disc 5

1) Jushin Liger/ Kensuke Sasaki v. The Steiner Brothers (02/17/94)- 7
This was def. the best of the disc. Full impact body blows throughout the whole encounter, probably went about 17 or 18 mins. Your typical Steiners match, especially in Japan, but I think these two surprised them, especially when Liger started out shoving the palm of his hand into Scotty's obtruse nose. This was the closest thing resembling a human car crash at every turn. And great selling to go along with it so it wasn't just a showy match with no psych. Let's relive some of the blows: Liger's home run came when Rick first tagged in and thought he was going to maul the young Juniorweight instead he got a capo kick right in his grill. Sasaki ducked from a double clothesline at one point and came back to deliver two consecutive to his opponents, increasing the stiffness factor on each one. Scott was just powerbombing and suplexing both men at will all match long, hitting belly to bellys out of nowhere. The end was just awesome, all 4 men were in the ring, Scott was running to break up a pin on Rick when Sasaki grabs him by the arm and gives him an over the shoulder beil out of the ring. Then he sits Rick on his shoulders while Liger comes from the top rope for a splash, but Rick catches him in the most brutal belly to belly I've ever witnessed for the win. They used a similar finish at Wrestle War 92 but this one came off much better. Really hard hitting enjoyable match.

Disc 6

2) Jushin Liger v. Shinya Hashimoto (IWGP Title Match, 02/24/1995)- 6

This is during Hash's hottest period in the sport, when he became IWGP champion and beat everybody.....and I mean EVERYBODY. This was probably Liger's first shot at the Heavyweight belt and with him being Junior champion, this match felt big. Liger was huge crowd favorite, even though it was probably known Hash would pick up the win. He works very slow, methodical beat down, only doing a select few moves he knows works, kicks, elbows and knees. Liger's best chance is to wait for a mistake and he does and counters with the copo kick. That and his palm heel are really effective, and Hash doesn't sell them so much as just drops down to a knee like if it were really to hit you. There's an awesome moment where Liger puts Hash on his belly and hooks him in the Mexican surfboard where he picks you up over his own body and he tries and tries to hoist Hash up but can't do it and the crowd is just blasting loud cheers nonstop waiting for him to get the move on, but he never does. Hash doesn't get the chance to do underdog matches very often but he handles this one with great care, not overselling anything but defitinley showing that Liger can go with anyone. He sells some uncharacteristic moves like top rope hurricanrana and Liger bomb. Hash wins with a brainbuster kind of nonchalantly and that factor along with this being relatively short makes it recommendable but not a classic. Tremendous work and a quiet success; this kind of match really goes a long way in putting over the loser, just so long as you don't keep making them lose these matches over and over again (see Jeff Hardy.)

Disc 7

3) Jushin Liger v. Gran Hamada (05/01/94)- 5

Not a lot to choose from on this disc; I'm going with this one because the story was pretty simple and while it didn't excel, it worked nicely. Hamada was actually the star of this one, selling his ass off, making me believe his dire pain and struggling. He started out fast, bum rushing Liger like a gangbanger in L.A., by throwing him outside and hitting planchas left and right. He brought him back in and displayed his weaknesses, striking and ground work. Really sloppy execution on most of it. Liger went to the legs and spent a good chunk of time hurting the "Soul-Glo Warrior" badly. Hamada went back to basics and set Liger up for another plancha and it looked like shit, but i saw with his aftersell it was intentional! Great psych- Liger went back to the knee though and Hamada just fought to stay alive until hurricanrana out of nowhere for the upset. Nice little story, in-ring not superb but both men pros and turned in decent performances.

Disc 8

4) Jushin Liger v. Black Tiger (Eddie Guerrero) 08/16/96- 6

This was kind of a toss up; the Ultimo match is probably more technically sound, but I think Eddie matches up better with Lyger; he needs someone to get stiff and fight dirty with him and Ultimo's style is too clean cut. Not that Eddie's isn't, but even with a roll over key lock he puts a snap on it like Tiger Mask did back in the day and makes the move feel like it works. Both men can (and will) powerbomb you hard enough to make your grandfather quiver with pain. The high flying feels angry and suicidal with no Chavo Guerreros here; full fledged body on body contact, all or nothing, do or die, go splat on the concrete splashes to the outside and that's how it should be. No real flaws as far as styles not meshing, both guys work this mid90's NJ juniors style like they were born to or synthetically created to at least. I'm digging the ending, because every single move and spot leads up to the end, all building towards the biggest spot of the match, the way finishes were created to be- Eddie with the super brainbuster and it's all over. This didn't have a lot of time and the middle section with back and forth didn't really feel like the middle at all more like a slow paced ending but the finish makes complete sense and had to have given Liger another brain tumor.

Okay, that's it for my look into this stellar career….everyone do yourself a favor and seek out all this classic shit!

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