Segunda Caida

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

Monday, March 23, 2020

It's Reached Top Speed and I'm Getting Inside of Tony Halme

Tony Halme vs. Masahiro Chono  NJPW 8/6/92 - VERY GOOD

ER: Unique layout for a big singles match, and this was a big singles. This was the main event of the very first night of the '92 G1, the 4th and final G1 match of that night. 1992 was one of the years they did a single elimination tournament for G1, which is kind of a shame as it left a lot of killer matches on the table, but also gave us matches we hadn't seen at that point like Arn Anderson vs. Steve Austin, or this match. I put myself in the shoes of the fans, and the single elimination style really adds to the drama of some of these matches. Imagine being so excited for Masahiro Chono to attempt a repeat G1 victory after taking '91, and then being met with him taking a complete one sided 10 minute drubbing to start off his '92 bid. The bulk of this match looked like Chono had no actual shot at beating Halme, OR getting any kind of offense. Halme was landing body shots at will, and Chono was selling the way I would be selling after taking one shot from Tony Halme. The match was in danger of being stopped several times, with Halme punching Chono's guts into the mat and then waiting for him to get back up before doing it all over again. At one point it appears the ref even throws out his own rulebook, giving Chono a 10 count that Chono clearly will not beat, so the ref just stops the count while Chono rolls to the floor! *I* know the end result of the '92 G1, but I'd never seen this match and I actually thought they were going to have Chono get decimated, then think of some reason to DQ Halme after the fact so that Chono could continue. And that's where our story finally turns, as Halme goes out after him and ends up accidentally throwing a lariat to the ringpost, leading to Chono working over his arm and shoulder until he gets the win. Halme sold well and apparently likes to swear in English, as he was dropping Effs and Son-of-a-Bitches all over the place while Chono went after the arm. The structure of this was so cool and odd, you can see a Lesnar match worked this same way. Halme absolutely owned Chono for the first 8-10, and then the last few minutes were entirely Chono working for the same sub, Halme basically slowly drowning with no hope for survival. I loved how Chono slowly set up the STF, the way he slowly worked into it made it seem like a huge deal once he had it locked in. And I love that Halme basically wasn't going to tap to the STF, so Chono shifted quickly to an armbar. Weird layout, but it definitely worked off the charisma and character of these two.

Tony Halme/Brad Armstrong vs. Hiroshi Hase/Keiji Muto  NJPW 2/13/93 - VERY GOOD

ER: The Halme/Armstrong team is like the Kane/Danielson tag with an actual great Kane. And really this whole match would have been better with nearly anybody else in there other than Muto. And, thankfully, Hase does the lion's share of the work, and the match only benefits from it. Armstrong and Muto start, and it's all headlocks baby! Muto works a couple so loose that he keeps losing them, but it's all headlock takeovers and lying on the mat in a headlock. There's a chance this match had a clip, and brother I have no clue what could have been clipped because we got Muto lying on his side aplenty. Thankfully Halme and Hase got in there, because their long section was great. Halme had real charisma at this point, beyond being "imposing Aryan man", as he was really great at building to big parts and milking small parts. He knows when to throw big body blows and how many to throw, and can work a compelling match based wholly around wrecking Hase's spleen. Seeing Hase in action against the much larger Halme was cool, as after getting pummeled by fists the size of his head he uses his amateur grappling and muscles Halme down to the mat, and Halme is smart to not go down right away for the takedown, so we really got to see Hase dragging him down. But most of this was Halme pummeling, and then Brad comes in and the Brad/Hase stuff is great! Hase aims to rip Brad's leg off with a beautiful drop toehold, but after getting cut off from Muto for too long with some big Halme moments (a lariat off the middle with Brad holding Hase, a massive powerslam) we get a big hot tag.....and Muto hilariously comes in and starts working more headlock takeovers. This fucking guy. It all builds to him hitting an okay handspring elbow on Brad, except Halme totally steals his thunder by running the length of the apron to lariat him right after. The breakdown is cool with Hase catching Brad up top and hitting a superplex (both men on the top rope) and Halme getting run into the ringpost hard on the floor after trying to catch a Muto pescado that falls short (great ringpost bump, believable enough to keep him out for the finish), and Hase makes quick work of brad with the uranage (back bump edition) and northern lights. This was overall really good, but literally any other native would have turned in a more interesting performance than Muto.


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