Segunda Caida

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

Saturday, December 17, 2016

All Time MOTY List Head to Head: Onita/Goto v. Kurisu/Nagasaki V. Liger v. Sano

Jushin Liger v. Naoki Sano NJPW 1/31/90

PAS: This was the final match of their awesome late 80s early 90s triology, and it is a hell of a finish. Liger starts out the disrespect by slapping Sano in the face, but Sano takes the early lead by piledriving Liger on the floor, ripping his mask and posting him. The rest of the match is this great visual of Liger with his mask ripped off, adding a bunch more red to the iconic red and white outfit. I loved all of Liger's comebacks in this match, he would squirm out of a Sano bomb attempt and hit a crazy dive or a desperation throw, but then get overwhelmed. This was Liger trying to ride a tidal wave, rather then a back and forth battle. Sano was great in this, such a vicious prick, there is a moment where he is just pounding on Ligers bloody head that you can see the joy in his face. I also loved his intelligence, there is a moment where he charges Liger in the corner, Liger moves, so Sano backflips out, Sano knows the kappo kick is coming so he just dives on his stomach to avoid it. Finish may have felt a little abrupt, with the level of punishment, but I dig the tombstone as a death move (Sano did a great post match sell of it) and Liger breaking out his first Liger SSP to close it out was pretty cool. I have a feeling that when I revisit NJ juniors for this project, the less juniory matches will stand out, and this was a great one.

ER: Man what a fight! Phil is right that when we revisit juniors stuff the best stuff will be the stuff centered around hate, not the stuff centered around "hot spots". But this had all the hate AND all the hot spots. It's great seeing Sano as almost a pushover, and then having that immediately blow up in his face. This is like CM Punk slapping Teddy Hart without realizing Hart was a trained boxer. Liger slaps him before the bell and hits palm strikes which leads directly to Sano beating his ass for 15 minutes. I love that this isn't some back and forth, big moves, pause for response, nearfall match. This is one man executing his perfect gameplan, while a legend hangs on and breaks out every desperate trick he knows. Sano was so cold and calculating, you can picture an announcer talking about how he's been reviewing film of Liger. He seemingly knew Liger's moves before Liger knew them, and looked awesome in executing his plan. Liger would get these annoying little escapes: gets dumped by a tiger suplex, but his foot almost accidentally falls onto the ropes; gets tossed with another dangerous suplex and almost accidentally lands in a crossbody for a nearfall. But this whole match is just violent and awesome. I can't believe the guardrails didn't go flying into the fans with the way these two were getting launched into them. And there were so many killer visuals of a bleeding Liger stumbling around with his mask barely hanging on, just trying to get a breath before Sano would maul him again. Only minor complaint was they peaked Liger's damage way too early, making him look pretty unconscious after that crazy piledriver at around the 6 minute mark of a match that went 20. But they sucked me right in and the whole thing just felt epic. Great match.

FMW Tag Review

Verdict: 

PAS: Both matches are awesome hate filled brawls and great ones. The FMW tag has more reckless violence, but Liger v. Sano tells more of a story. Very close, I am giving it to Liger v. Sano by a hair, but could easily be talked into a different verdict on a different day.

ER: As much as I loved this, I'm still leaning FMW tag. As Phil mentioned they were both violent, and violence is a pretty easy sell. But I loved the recklessness of the FMW tag, loved how unstructured it felt, loved moments like Onita running through the crowd trying to get away from Nagasaki like he was Jason Vorhees, all the insane chairshots, all the hardway juice, Kurisu showing up in a dad shirt button down; that FMW tag has a special charm to it, and I'm not actually sure what it's going to take to dethrone it. This match came damn close though.

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