Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Complete WCW run of Jushin "Thunder" Liger: Disc 1

This is another part in the ongoing love saga I've had with Liger for years. I watched and reviewed most of his 8 disc Japanese stuff and now am on the WCW years. I'm a huge WCW mark, miss the promotion immensely so this is going to be a lot of fun. Hope you enjoy the ride and Merry Christmas

Disc 1

1) v. Akira Nogami (WCW/NJPW Supershow 1991)- 3
This is like a time machine for me; this match was the first I'd ever seen of Liger, albeit this looks clipped as I've seen this several times since. One nice touch is Jim Ross doing commentary and giving some backstory. Nogami shoots Spidey webs at the beginning for no apparent reason. I remember the music he used here, loud thumping Japanese gong beat, so classic. Not much here but in this small time Liger goes high risk, begins a story of selling his leg and pulls off a crazy DDT from the top rope

2) v. Chris Benoit (WCW Saturday Night 12/07/91)- 7
This aired on Sat. Night but took place in Japan, may have even been on the original Liger review. Was Benoit nuts already? Perez Hilton may think so with those eyesore tights. This has a real measured pace, and again, the added bonus of JR calling the action. Loved how he always called matches "contests" gave it that authentic feel. Some really mean submissions that would look rough in Stu hart's dungeon and they just trade them like kids did those Pokemon cards back in the late 90's. Damn, late match back suplex added to Benoit's ruptured psychosis. Both guys are so dynamic and there's a reason I and I think most fans would rather watch these guys bouts over and over again as opposed to more pimped Dynamite Kid-TM stuff. Man the way it built up to the end was a thing of beauty, like those Torrie Playboy nudes.

3) v. Brian Pillman (WCW The Omni, 12/25/91)- 2
We got the last 2.5 minutes of a 16 minute match, which unfortunately wasn't a lot to get a feel of. I didn't care for the heatless ending to what looked like a pretty exciting bout, funny thing about the business where this was Liger's big WCW debut and it wasn't even on tv.

4) v. Brian Pillman (WCW Event East Rutherford, NJ 12/27/91)- 5
I could recommend this on oddity alone; first off sounds like Paulie D and some other Jersey Shore jerkoff are doing commentary, dropping references to wrestling Observer newsletter and such. This feels like a feeling out match for these two as they play on the mat for a good part then they start working out timing spots. The crowd is pretty responsive to a lot of it too. Finish was a cop out but Liger actually broke out the Asai which was pretty nuts

5) w/ Bill Kazmaier v. Mike Graham/ DDP (WCW Starrcade 1991)- 3
6) Double Ring Battle Royal (WCW Starrcade 1991)- N/C
I've reviewed both of these matches before; the Battlebowl tag was just an oddity, and I really don't know who was driving this train; Liger i guess? Graham seemed to have filled his quota of pay per view time but sucking up nearly the whole match; what a gross looking human. The battle royal was clipped until Liger was eliminated and you can't really grade that

7) v. Brian Pillman (WCW Superbrawl 2)- 7
We've all reviewed this show back in the early NHO days and i think 1992 Jushin Liger is one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time; Pillman of 92 wasn't far behind. There wasn't really any feeling out here, they just went at it. It felt like a recording at the Dudesons house because both guys just kept trying to one-up each other and it made this a classic. Seek it out, fuck, watch that whole Super Brawl 2 show and bask in it.

8) w/ Brian Pillman v. Chris Benoit/ Beef Wellington (WCW Clash of the Champions 19)- 7
9) w/ Brian Pillman v. Ricky Steamboat/ Nikita Koloff (WCW Great American Bash 1992)- 8

This Clash match was a great matchup, which Ross acknowledges. Benoit and Liger we know of their history but Pillman and Wellington knew each other from Stampede and it all shines. Liger and Benoit hit each other hard, a lariat from Benoit sounded like it made Jim Ross choke on his brisquet sandwhich. Wellington bumped like he was from Stu hart's dungeon. Ventura almost like product placement repeats over and over there are no mats on the outside because both teams repeatedly dive out but as it's done, it builds up and is better each time. Beef went limp on Liger on few setups but take a good look near the end of the bout when Pillman and Benoit go outside and chop the living flesh out of each other; god damn it was brutal.

Our next bout we all screened at our attempt at watching 24 hours of wrestling last year in full and I remember the bout being a standout among a tremendous show in GAB 1992. This match really blew most of my expectations out of the water. Looking at this match, you would think Koloff would be the weak link but he fits very well in amongst all these legendary workers; in fact I would argue Nikita is the most expressive of everyone in this bout, playing up his hurt arm, surprise at their opponents overcoming them, etc. Liger goes on an offensive flurry of great nearfalls on steamboat that was one of the most exciting of this bout. Everyone holds their own here and the crowd keeps wetting their pants over and over. see this now.

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