Segunda Caida

Phil Schneider, Eric Ritz, Matt D and occasional guests write about pro wrestling. Follow us @segundacaida

Thursday, July 28, 2016

All Japan Motherload RIP (again): Harley Race/Crusher Blackwell vs Tiger Jeet Singh/One Man Gang

Harley Race/Crusher Blackwell vs Tiger Jeet Singh/One Man Gang

This one's on me. I saw this a few weeks ago and took too much time to post about it. So now the link's down. Maybe it's on that mysterious Meltzer-befuddling Google Drive account of AJPW matches that has been floating around?

Screw it, though. I'm still going to write about it. Almost certainly, it'll pop up again at some point. This was about nine minutes, of which only six or so was in the ring, but it's really great for what it was. Yes, Blackwell is virtually immobile at this point. Yes, Race is probably hurting to some degree. Yes, Tiger Jeet Singh is in the match. It's still tremendous.

Race is someone who is best when he's in a slightly askew situation. That is, I'm not excited to watch him stooge and sell and give a ton of a match as NWA champion. I am excited to watch him try to get something out of Singh while two lumbering behemoths crash into one another in the background. Here, he plays off Singh perfectly, making is garbage into gold. Right from the get go, he's fending off a pre-match ambush with grizzled bravado, standing on the second rope and leaning over, daring Singh closer as the ref tries to hold him back. Later on (after slamming Gang, but we'll get to that), he plays face in peril, actually bring some gravitas to Singh's throat poke BS. When the spike comes into play, he wrestles for the very back row with a broad shot to get it, and a picture perfect suplex that would have ended the match barring interference. They go tumbling out and brawl to close it out in AJPW style. I'm not sure I'd ever want to see the pairing again, but once was exactly what it should have been and it was all Race.

The match, in the ring, started with Blackwell vs Gang, though, and again, it was everything you could have wanted out of two minutes of them clashing. Sizing up. Shoving contests, slam attempts, Gang tarzan-ing his chest, a killer big boot out of nowhere, a clothesline, Blackwell coming back by bullying past a second clothesline, and then the missed shots, an Avalanche, a Splash, a Counter Splash, and Blackwell hitting this amazing falling dropkick thing, which set up the tag and the Race slam.

Sure, this was fairly short and had one of those inconclusive All Japan 80s finishes but it's a blast. Just a real battle of the titans.

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