Segunda Caida

Phil Schneider, Eric Ritz, Matt D, Sebastian, and other friends write about pro wrestling. Follow us @segundacaida

Friday, September 22, 2023


Dory Funk Jr./Terry Funk vs. Abdullah the Butcher/Kimala II AJPW 12/7/90

MD: On paper, this played out pretty much how one would think it might. Actually, even on paper, it had a little more to it than a lot of the Funks' matches on these 1990-1991 tours and the Abby/Kimala ones around the 1990 RWTL. I like almost all of those matches but so many are handheld so you don't quite the full smack of Dory's uppercuts or the fully joy of Terry's antics and they usually have a bit of a ceiling to them. Still good, still full of mastery, but they don't push it quite over the top.

This goes over the top and we get to see it in jarringly crisp video quality. The first third of it was back and forth. Dory's uppercuts were brisk. Terry's punches were amazing. Even just seeing them do a spinning footwash onto Kimala 2 looked gnarly giving the sheer size of his head. They were even able to double slam him. Kimala always had just enough "stuff" too, coming off the top with a headbutt as Abby held on to a poor victim, that abrupt dropkick that could change the trajectory of a match. And then Abby's throat shots or clothesline drop looked great in this VQ. Amazing moment here to end that first third as they set things up for Terry vs Abby, only for Abby to give a maniacal smile and tag out to Kimala once again.

It was the prelude to blood and panic; Terry would almost immediately get the spinning toehold on Kimala only for Abby to rush in for the fork and go right after his ear. What followed was a beautifully symphony of Terry Funk, blood running down the side of his head, flailing, bumping, writhing, and menacing a poor cameraman as he convalesced around the ringside area. Also lots of crazy, wild punch combos that were pure Terry. This, of course, let Abby and Kimala have the advantage (including bloodying Dory up too) until we rolled into the third act with Terry getting the fork and the fans going nuts for the Funks' revenge. We've seen some of this act before: Abby with the fork, Abby getting comeuppance from it, he made a career partially out of it, but the Funks had a way of making it weightier and more visceral than anyone. At a time where they felt a little more like an attraction in their All Japan matches, they still do a match like this whenever they wanted.

PAS: Man I loved this! Chaotic Terry Funk is one of the true treats in pro-wrestling, he is the greatest wrestler ever and his true mastery is when things go off the rails. When he gets stabbed in the ear and everything goes pear shaped, we get some awesome out of control Terry including him roughing a poor innocent cameraman and bleeding all over his shirt. Terry and Abby is as great a match up in 1990 as it was in 1979, Abby isn't as mobile, but mobility isn't his calling card anyway. I am a low voter on Dory as a technical wrestler, but have always enjoyed him in brawls, and he was super fun here, throwing thumping uppercuts, bleeding, and even doing a spot where he propelled Kimala over the top rope with a legscissors. Kimala 2 is a guy with a lot of bounce and was fun as sort of a hyperactive brother to Abby's more slow moving menace.  Still this is special because of the GOAT, and anytime we get to see him add another page to his novel it is a blessing.

ER: Man I could watch exclusively All Japan matches to the very end of my days. I loved every man in this tag, all doing the exact things they do best. But of course, the most exciting thing to all of you is the fact that none of us have ever seen Terry Funk square off against Kimala II before. Kimala works a lot of this match and seemingly has zero issue getting the shit beaten out of him by Funk. It's hilarious that Terry appeared to be throwing worked punches at Abby - even after Abby started to slice the man's ear off with a fork - but appeared to actively hit Kimala as hard as possible. When Kimala misses an avalanche, Terry hits a BEAST of a standing lariat, making some of the hardest contact you can make from a flat footed swing, then drops the full weight of his knee on Kimala's face with a very much Not Worked kneedrop. When Kimala gets to his feet after that kneedrop, Terry shoot punches him in the face in the exact same spot he just dropped a knee. Later on when the square off again, I was shocked to see how excited Kimala looked when Terry tagged in, slapping his belly and running in place as if he couldn't wait to walk out with a shattered orbital bone. And sure enough, Funk almost instantly overwhelmed him with punches to knock him to his back, then threw more pounding fists from his side while Kimala lay motionless. 

But while Funk/Kimala was the unique unseen match-up, the Terry/Abby interactions were legendary. When Abby pulled out the fork for the first time on the apron he did it with the showmanship of a magician, turning to the crowd and wiggling his fingers and making lil' stinker faces. "You know what I'm getting out!" before just walking into the ring and stabbing Terry straight in the head. Abby stabs the fuck out of the Funks, and when he starts stabbing Terry in the ear Terry goes nuts at ringside, sprinting at and then getting tangled up in a camera guy, then falling over a table like only Terry Funk can fall over a table. Not one fucking person can ape Terry's body movement, and his falling glacier bump onto and over a table is Uncut Terry. I love the first full reveal we get of Terry's badly bleeding ear, that realization of "Oh yeah obviously Abby was just stabbing him as hard as possible in the ear with the fork" leading directly into him forking the hell out of Dory's bald head. 

Abdullah's fork work here was incredible. The reaction he gets pressing it into Dory's fucking eyeball was real, and I loved the sicko fucking way that Kimala kept tagging in and going mouth first after every fresh fork slicing that Abby opened up. Kimala and Abby were such a fun team, as aside from Kimala licking and chewing up all the Funk's blood we got two different moments of Abby running full speed into Kimala as he had a Funk pressed into a corner. One of the most special things in pro wrestling is seeing one of the fattest men you've ever seen, running as fast and hard as he can into another one of the fattest men you've ever seen, for the sole purpose of squishing a third man. Terry gets a Stone Cold level reaction when he finally wrests the fork away from Abby and starts stabbing and punching him around ringside, and Kimala takes a flat out instant bump tumbling headlong over the top to the floor from a Dory low bridge headscissors, and his screams as Dory locking in the spinning toe hold made that hold feel as dangerous as it ever looked. Men Kimala's size aren't built to fall that fast onto concrete, and him fucking up his leg should be almost expected from such a fall. Hearing him yelp while Dory pulled on his leg added realism I was not expecting from a match that already had a fake Sudanese man stabbing two men hard enough to get 8 years for assault, had he done it anywhere other than in a ring at Budokan. 

Rusher Kimura vs. Haruka Eigen AJPW 1/27/91

MD: This was the last show of the tour so they were in a singles match instead of a tag. It amazes me that these two would still be going at it ten years later in NOAH, but it really was a timeless act. In the months that preceded this, Baba was teamed with Andre in the RWTL. At this point, he was out with an injury I think, and wouldn't be back til June. That meant Rusher was captaining the comedy for AJPW and Eigen was a perfect foil for him, just a total shitheel. From around this period, we have a few tags with rough vq as they're HHs and an even tougher singles encounter that you can barely make out. With tags, they usually did a good job of delaying the gratification of Rusher getting his hands on Eigen. It was trickier with the singles match but still worked out pretty well here. It started with Rusher chasing him around the ring to get a handshake, Eigen shaking, and then Eigen immediately slapping Rusher to a big reaction. 

Following that were a few unclean breaks by Eigen and then some real advantage. He was even able to position Rusher on the apron, facing the crowd to hit the smack to the chest (like Sheamus') which were his own signature spot to take. Eventually, he started chopping the heck out of Rusher and Rusher went from wincing in agony to powering back, flooring Eigen with one shot and taking over, never to look back. He'd smack him on the apron twice; Eigen always spit into the crowd when taking this and we have two good shots, first of the crowd grossed out by it and then all of them running from the impending spit like they were at a Gallagher show. Post match, we even can translate a bit of what Kimura was saying (hopeless on old fancams). He ended the show and his part of the tour by reminding Eigen that it was cold out there and telling him not to catch a cold, cracking the crowd up. I love watching these guys do their thing.  

ER: I'm sure it's easy to see the names Haruka Eigen and Rusher Kimura and write this off as comedy, but you'd be missing out on one of the most savage Eigen matches you've ever seen. Haruka Eigen's All Japan/NOAH run is one of the best comedy runs of any wrestler ever, maybe the funniest comedy worker of my life not named Super Porky. And he is plenty funny in this match, he just decides to segue from comedy to outright ass kicking in a way that he rarely did once he hit his mid-40s. When Rusher offers him a handshake at the bell, he accepts it and then slaps Rusher, skipping away and running behind the referee, then slaps Rusher again when they finally lock up. I laughed hard, and was fully expecting a match filled with his cherubic face making pleading faces as Rusher softly punched and shuffled after him, but instead Eigen begins throwing stiffer and stiffer strikes until he is hitting Rusher harder than I've seen him hit anyone during any part of his 15 year King's Road career. Rusher chimes in with open hand chops directly to Eigen's throat (which Eigen sells with alarmed screams), but Eigen is the one throwing headlock punches, hard flat boot kicks into Rusher's ribs, and graduates to caving in Rusher's chest while turning his own legendary comedy spot on its ear. 

"You guys think it's funny to splay me out on the ropes and have me spit on the fine Korakuen attendees? Here's how it feels. You think I'm a joke? Am I a joke to you? Here's what it feels like you motherfucker." Eigen clubs Kimura in the chest as hard as I've ever seen him hit anyone, forcing the ref to hold him back by the shoulders as he kicks at Rusher from the apron. In a world where Eigen typically uses the referee as a shield, we have now seen the referee forced to hold him back from furthering a beating. I love him. And when it eventually all catches up to him and Rusher throws him to the floor, you know he turns the tables and makes Eigen spray spit into the 6th row. Haruka Eigen is a man who tried to break free from his comedy roles and make his way into action dramas, only to be dragged back into comedy. The finish is excellent, as both men start wailing on each other with punches and chops, and Eigen gets up steam to elbow Rusher right in the ear. Rusher's selling is excellent as Eigen hits the ropes to comeback with a killshot elbow, but Rusher hooks him with a clothesline hard enough to put down any man. I have waited far too long to start a Haruka Eigen Complete & Accurate.  

Konaka Pale One vs. Nori da Funky Shibiresasu Sportiva 10/3/18

MD: There will always be room for Japanese warehouse nightclub wrestling here on Segunda Caida. Sebastian tells us that Nori da Funky is a guy who was in a Japanese hip hop group that did the opening song of Naruto and who wrestles like a powerhouse. Konaka we've seen before with his white face paint and ghost look and awesome combo of tiny close-up adjustments to get in and out of holds and abruptness in putting things on. The video's 30 minutes but the match itself is more like 15. It's a war though.

Konaka has Nori da Funky's number early, able to twist him about in hold after hold. Nori's able to at least put up a fight and just power his way through and into certain things. They go into strike exchanges a couple of times and I appreciate the way they sell each and every shot. There's no standing and taking everything. It all has weight and consequence. Every hold, every shot, every suplex. Even the roll-ups and kickouts seem grueling. Konaka's abruptness plays into his mid-match strategy as he keeps locking in a sleeper hold out of nowhere with Nori having to use all of his strength and savvy to escape, never the same way twice. In a test of strength Nori's going to win. In a game of chess, Konaka has the advantage, and the finishing stretch roll-ups leans more towards chess, ending with a clever spot that Yuta should steal. There's stuff on the mic after and entrances to start so don't be daunted by the time on this one. It's well worth watching.

PAS: We are in the glory days of weird Japanese indy footage shaking loose. Mutoah is selling their stuff and other micro indies, guys are finding tapes over in Japan, and digging into weird archives like this. Pale One is pretty cool, he really wrestles like the ghost of Shu El Guerrero or something, and I love the fact that the Japanese version of Shaggy 2 Dope wrestles like a WAR trainee in 1995, and the strength versus technique part of this match was really nifty. Love the final roll up, such a cool way to get a pin when you are out matched physically. Really looking forward to digging in to this stuff further. 

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Anonymous Jetlag said...

FWIW Sportiva Arena is a sports bar where they serve food like curry, not a night club.

5:16 AM  

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