Segunda Caida

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

Thursday, March 22, 2018

New Japan Handheld Cherry Picking: Buzz Sawyer! Vader! Manny Fernandez! Russians!

Manny Fernandez vs. Timur Zalasov  NJPW 8/5/89

ER: Cool match. I've never heard of Zalasov before and he seemed pretty green, but it's impressive how adept these Russians were. Even if they don't always know how to fall, they always know how to fall interestingly. This had a bunch of cool almost shoot looking armdrags. They were obviously too stylish to be a shoot, but they were executed as if someone was trying an armdrag in a shoot. Manny would kind of tug-o-war with Zalasov over a knucklelock, with Manny getting his momentum  going one way and using that leverage to toss Zalasov the other way. They would hook each other's elbows and drop each other down to a neck bridge, in a couple ways I haven't seen before, cool little twists on common spots. Zalasov appears to be sandbagging Manny a bit (though it doesn't really look intentional) but it doesn't stop Manny from dropping him with a couple cool deadlift Germans. Manny's strength was really impressive here as he doesn't really work a grappling style, but his throws look professional. I liked Zalasov's wobble leg selling, and it looked especially good after Manny surprised him with a nice straight right to the jaw. Zalasov finished it with a great high angle belly to belly, popping those hips and tossing the heavy Fernandez with what looked like ease.

Big Van Vader vs. Wahka Eveloev  NJPW 8/5/89

ER: What a weird little match. It seems vaguely unprofessional from the first minute, and it only goes about 4 minutes. Eveloev tries to keep his distance and Vader keeps rushing him with sumo slaps, and aims to punch him in the face. Russians start angrily climbing into the ring and we get a little pull apart. Vader does more of the same, bullies Eveloev into the ropes, shit is clearly being talked, and more Russians try to get into the ring with NJ ring crew holding them back, and now Sawyer and Murdoch are getting up on the apron. My god I would go into war if I had Vader, Buzz Sawyer, and Dick Murdoch backing me up. Vader hits a quick headbutt but Eveloev hits a boss belly to belly and tries to lock in an armbar, but it's tough to keep a 400 man down and Vader escapes the armbar by rolling over and punching Eveloev in the face, then stands up and kicks him right in the temple, sending Eveloev reeling into the ropes. Russians are actively spilling into the ring to stop this now and Manny Fernandez is in the ring telling them to back off, so Vader slams Eveloev with a super stiff bodyslam, and then full weight splashes him right on the neck/chest for the win. Vader talks shit from the ring to the Russians, Eveloev stands up slowly and cautiously, the way you imagine a man would after getting a 400 lb. weight dropped onto his lungs. Jokes on you, bub. Wahka, Wahka.

Buzz Sawyer vs. Victor Zangiev  NJPW 8/5/89

ER: This match was on the DVDVR New Japan 80s set, but I thought it finished criminally low (which I assume was because it was only 5 minutes or so) and we've never written about it before. This show had a 5 match series of America vs. Russia matches (as you might have guessed from reading the above reviews). This was the 5th match, with the series tied 2-2. Even though the match goes just about 5 minutes, it is straight fire. This star couldn't have burned much longer the way they worked. Brawling bumper Buzz Sawyer is awesome, but bald GaryAlbright Sawyer is maybe just as awesome. Zangiev is super chippy throughout, really showing off and rubbing it in Sawyer's face, tripping him to the mat, snapping on maybe the best sharpshooter I've ever seen (and flexing while doing it!), doing a kip up out of some mat grappling, and really chucking the larger Sawyer around with freak strength. The knucklelock sequences are awesome, real struggle, and seeing Zangiev bridge up high on his neck with burly Sawyer on him. Sawyer decides to not fuck around and rushes in with a great knee to the gut, and then begins showing off his suplexes. I thought we were going to get a KO finish when Zangiev deadlifts him into a backdrop suplex. It feels like Zangiev is cockily moving in for the kill when Sawyer grabs him and throws him practically straight overhead with a gorgeous amateur suplex for the quick pin. The Americans rushing the ring with an American flag to celebrate was an awesome moment. Zangiev was such a natural and I really need to see what other grappling style Buzz is out there.

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