Starrcade at the Tokyo Dome 1991
review by Kevin Wilson
Date: March 21st, 1991
This is good stuff right here. I am not referring to the actual match content per se as I haven't watched the event yet, I am just excited to have so many old WCW stars on the card since I haven't reviewed an American event in several months. So that you aren't confused, this isn't the same as the American WCW Starrcade as this event took place in March. It should be noted that this is Doom's last match together EVER as they had already broken up in the States prior to this match. If you haven't ever seen Bigelow and Vader team up then you are in for a treat, and all the stars of World Championship Wrestling during 1991 are on this card. Here is the full line-up:
- Animal Hamaguchi, Kimura, Kido, and Hoshino vs. Strong Machine, Saito, Goto, and Honaga
The first match will be fun since I don't know who the hell the people are, but other then that this review should go smoothly. I forgot to mention El Gigante was on the card, now I know I am going to enjoy this.
Animal Hamaguchi, Kimura, Kido, and Hoshino vs. Strong Machine, Saito, Goto, and Honaga
Saito goes off the ropes and shoulderblocks Hoshino down. He goes off the ropes again, but this time Hoshino moves and Saito flies out of the ring. Hoshino then kicks Saito through the ropes before finally allowing him back into the ring. Saito tags in Honaga, who knees Hoshino before tagging in Strong Machine. Scoop slam by Strong Machine and he slams Hoshino into the turnbuckle. Another scoop slam, Strong Machine goes to the top turnbuckle, but he misses the diving headbutt. Hoshino tags in Hamaguchi, scoop slam by Hamaguchi on Strong Machine and he hits a running elbow drop. Another elbow drop by Hamaguchi, Hoshino runs in and he gives Strong Machine an elbow drop as well. Hamaguchi picks up Strong Machine and makes the tag to Kido. Double Irish whip on Strong Machine and he is hit with a double elbow strike. Double leg takedown by Kido and he applies a crab hold. It is eventually broken up though, and Strong Machine makes the tag to Honaga. Honaga throws Kido into the corner and all four men hit running strikes. Strong Machine and Honaga then give Kido a spike piledriver, snap suplex by Honaga, cover, but it only gets a two count. Honaga applies a crab hold, but Hoshino runs in to break it up. Honaga tags in Goto, but Kido makes the tag to Kimura. Punches by Kimura in the corner, but Goto pushes him back and tags in Strong Machine. Double Irish whip to Kimura and he is hit with a double clothesline. Vertical suplex by Strong Machine, cover, but Kimura kicks out at two. Strong Machine picks up Kimura, scoop slam, he tags in Honaga, and Honaga comes off the top with a knee drop. Elbow drop by Honaga, cover, but it gets a two count. Goto is tagged in, but Kimura avoids their attack and tags in Hoshino. Goto Irish whips Hoshino, but Hoshino gets the better of it and connects with a series of open hand strikes. An armbar is applied by Hoshino, but Honaga breaks it up.
Goto tags in Saito, Saito puts Hoshino on the top turnbuckle and goes for a superplex, but Hoshino punches him off. Flying bodypress by Hoshino, but Saito kicks out at two. Hoshino tags in Hamaguchi, Irish whip by Saito, reversed, and Hamaguchi hits a jumping lariat. Cover, but Honaga breaks it up. Hamaguchi puts Saito on his shoulders and tags in Kido, who comes in with a double ax handle. Irish whip by Kido and he shoulderblocks Saito to the mat. Forearm by Kido, but when he tags in Kimura, Saito makes the tag to Strong Machine. Strong Machine pushes Kimura to the mat, Irish whip from the corner, and he connects with the running lariat. Strong Machine tags in Honaga, who kicks Kimura in the stomach. Goto comes in as well, Irish whip by Honaga to the corner, Kimura avoids Goto but Honaga hits the lariat. Honaga tags in Saito, who comes off the second rope with a senton. Cover, but Kimura barely kicks out. Goto is tagged in, he sends Kimura for a ride and lariats him to the mat. Goto goes for the backdrop suplex, but Kimura reverses it and lands on top of him for a two count. Irish whip by Kimura on Goto and he nails the leg lariat. Powerbomb by Kimura, cover, but Strong Machine barely breaks it up. German suplex by Goto on Kimura, but Hamaguchi breaks it up. Goto holds Kimura for Strong Machine, but Kimura ducks and Strong Machine lariats Goto on accident. Kimura covers Goto and he picks up the three count! Your winners: Animal Hamaguchi, Kengo Kimura, Osamu Kido, and Kantaro Hoshino
Match Thoughts: I really don't like these matches that New Japan seemed to put on at every major show from 1972 to 1998... I'd much rather watch young lions. It is just random and there is no structure to the match at all. There is a spike piledriver used amongst other "big" moves, but the wrestlers don't sell the moves for more then a few seconds before tagging out and the process is repeated. Its just pointless, eight man matches are hard to put together anyway, but ones like this I can do without completely. Score: 3.5
Brian Pillman, Tom Zenk, and Tim Horner vs. Shiro Koshinaka, Kobayashi, and Takayuki Iizuka
Irish whip by Kobayashi and he hits a leg lariat. Kobayashi applies the abdominal stretch, but Horner breaks it up and Zenk tags in Pillman. Irish whip by Pillman and he delivers a jumping lariat. Cover, but Kobayashi quickly kicks out. Single leg takedown by Kobayashi and he tags in Koshinaka. Koshinaka and Pillman trade strikes, Pillman gets the better of it, cover, but he gets two. Pillman tags in Horner, wristlock by Horner into an arm wringer, and he hits a sidewalk slam. Horner tags in Pillman, who comes in with a double ax handle onto Koshinaka's arm. Pillman then tags in Zenk, they give Koshinaka a double Irish whip and connect with a double dropkick. Koshinaka tags in Iizuka, tie-up, and Zenk tags in Pillman. Zenk then holds Iizuka so that Pillman can hit a dropkick, Zenk goes to the apron so that Pillman can slingshot him back in, cover, but Kobayashi quickly breaks it up. Pillman comes back in, he puts Iizuka onto the top turnbuckle and dropkicks him down to the floor. Pillman then dives out with a flying body press from the top turnbuckle before sliding Iizuka back into the ring. Pillman tags in Horner, who kicks Iizuka in the ribs. Snap suplex by Horner, cover, but it gets a two count. Back suplex by Horner, another cover, but again it gets two. Horner picks up Iizuka and makes the tag to Pillman. Pillman goes up top and they hit Decapitation onto Iizuka. Cover, but Iizuka kicks out. Pillman chops Iizuka against the ropes, Irish whip, and he kicks Iizuka in the stomach. Zenk then runs in with an enzigieri and follows it with a lariat for a two count pinfall. Zenk tags in Horner and he connects with the swinging neckbreaker. Cover, but it gets a two count.
Horner tags in Pillman, scoop slam by Pillman, he runs to the turnbuckle and hits a twisting splash from the top. Pillman tags in Zenk, who comes off the top turnbuckle with a missile dropkick. Cover, but Kobayashi breaks it up. Zenk tags Horner back in, scoop slam by Zenk and Horner comes off the top with a splash. Cover, but again it only gets two. Snapmare by Horner and he drops a knee onto Iizuka's head. Cover, but Iizuka kicks out. Pillman is tagged in, clubs to the back by Pillman and he hits a back kick. Pillman tags in Zenk, double Irish whip by Iizuka and they both deliver back kicks. Piledriver by Zenk, cover, but Iizuka gets a hand on the bottom rope. Zenk tags in Pillman, chops by Pillman, but Iizuka returns fire. Dropkick by Iizuka, and he dropkicks Pillman again. Pillman returns with a heel kick however, and he makes the tag to Horner. Double Irish whip to Iizuka, but Iizuka dropkicks both of them and tags in Koshinaka. Koshinaka hip attacks Zenk, Irish whip to Horner, and Koshinaka gives him a hip attack as well. Kobayashi runs in the ring, hits a Fisherman Suplex hold on Horner, but it is broken up. Iizuka goes to the top turnbuckle and hits a missile dropkick, and he follows with a dragon suplex hold for the three count! Your winners: Shiro Koshinaka, Kobayashi, and Takayuki Iizuka
Match Thoughts: Unlike the last match, at least this match was fast-paced and fun while being incredibly random. The Americans tagged in and out so much it made my head spin, but its not necessarily a bad strategy as it kept them all fresh. Koshinaka was the most popular one here, so naturally he wasn't used that much and only came in to do his spots and tag back out. Overall the match was fine for what it was even though it lacked the substance that you'd have expected if it was higher on the card. Score: 5.5
Scott Norton vs. The Equalizer
Match Thoughts: Some of you may know The Equalizer better by his other ring name, Dave Sullivan. Course if you didn't watch mid-90s WCW then you probably don't know who he is at all. Consider yourself lucky. This is early in both of their wrestling careers, as Norton had just joined New Japan in 1990 and this was when Equalizer had just joined WCW. As for the match, I can see what they were trying to do but it was a really bad idea. They wanted Norton to look awesome as he manhandled someone equally large, but they forgot to factor in that The Equalizer sucks and Norton was too green to carry him. Equalizer couldn't even hit a big boot right and the powerslam was one of the worst powerslams I have ever seen. Add in that Norton managed to do the same move four times in a match less then three minutes long, and you don't have yourself a very good match. The crowd wanted to get behind it, but they were silent by the end. Score: 3.0
Jushin Thunder Liger vs. AKIRA
Limping, Liger picks up AKIRA and delivers the Liger Kick, collapsing AKIRA into the corner. Liger puts AKIRA onto the top turnbuckle, joins him, but AKIRA pushes him off. AKIRA goes for the flying body press, but Liger gets both feet up and rams them into AKIRA's midsection. Liger goes for a German suplex, but AKIRA reverses it into a roll-up for a two count. Liger goes for a brainbuster, but AKIRA gets out of it and rolls up Liger for another two count. AKIRA picks up Liger and hits a German suplex, but it gets a two count as well. AKIRA grabs Liger again and goes for a Dragon suplex, Liger tries to roll out of it, but AKIRA sits down for another two count. AKIRA goes for a Victory Roll, but Liger reverses it into a pinning situation of his own for a two. Irish whip by Liger and he goes for the Tombstone, but his leg gives out and he crumbles to the mat. Kicks to the leg by AKIRA, he goes for the figure four, but Liger reverses it into a small package for a two count. Dropkick by AKIRA, and he hits Liger with a second one. AKIRA goes up to the top turnbuckle, but Liger moves when he dives off. Still limping, Liger picks up AKIRA and hits a powerbomb, but he is too hurt to cover. He picks up AKIRA again, Liger Bomb, but AKIRA barely kicks out at two. Back up, Liger goes for a second one, but AKIRA gets out of it. Liger hits a lariat instead, he puts AKIRA up on the top turnbuckle, joins him, and delivers a stiff DDT down to the mat! Cover, and he picks up the three count. Your winner and still champion: Jushin Thunder Liger
Match Thoughts: A really fun match... Liger was early in his career but he still knew how to tell a story in the ring. This is probably one of the earlier times that Akira Nogami used the "AKIRA" name, but I couldn't confirm the first time he did. The leg work was good by AKIRA, and right as I was afraid that he had forgotten about it, Liger collapsed while trying for the tombstone and AKIRA went back to focusing on it. You also might notice that Liger used a finishing move that looked devastating, but one that didn't require him to use his leg. AKIRA was the underdog here, and you could sense that with his desperation roll-ups throughout the match. I can't think of anything really wrong with the match, it didn't have all the high spots you might expect, but it was really solid all the way around. Score: 8.0
Arn Anderson and Barry Windham vs. Masahiro Chono and Masa Saito
Anderson catches him as he comes back in, but Chono applies an abdominal stretch. Again Windham breaks it up though, and Anderson grabs Chono before tagging Windham into the ring. Windham gives Chono a vertical suplex, cover, but it gets a two count. Back up, Windham tags in Anderson, double Irish whip, and they both punch Chono in the stomach. Irish whip by Anderson and he plants him with a spinebuster. Cover, but Chono barely kicks out. Another cover by Anderson, but it has the same result. Back up, Chono manages to hit a suplex, but Windham is tagged in before he can make it to his corner. Chono and Windham trade strikes, but Windham dropkicks Chono to the mat. Cover, but it only gets a two count. Windham picks up Chono and makes the tag to Anderson. Anderson applies the abdominal stretch while Windham helps him from the apron, but the referee notices and makes him break the hold. Irish whip by Anderson, but Chono holds into the ropes when Anderson goes for a back bodydrop and gives him a yakuza kick. This gives him time to tag in Saito, but Anderson kicks Saito as soon as he gets in the ring. Saito shakes off the punches however, goes off the ropes, and punches Anderson to the mat. Clubs to the back by Saito and he gives him a backdrop suplex. Windham comes in the ring, but he gets a backdrop suplex as well. Saito applies a waistlock, but Windham runs over and clotheslines him just as Anderson ducks out of the way. Cover by Anderson and he picks up the three count pinfall! Your winners: Barry Windham and Arn Anderson
Match Thoughts: A fairly straight-forward match with an odd ending. It followed the Tag Team Formula down to the letter, but they did a few small things (such as Chono getting the better of Windham with the tope suicida and the referee not being fooled at all by Windham's cheating) to make it seem like more then just your average match. The ending was odd though as Saito was completely unhurt and yet was pinned after a rather normal-looking lariat. I don't know if that was done as a "flash" pin to protect the Japanese wrestlers but it came off looking a bit weak. It also made the match shorter then I would have liked (around eight minutes)... with these four I wouldn't have minded a long battle, especially if Chono was wrestling the bulk of it. But for what it was, it was perfectly fine, I just had higher expectations. Score: 6.0
(c) Hiroshi Hase and Kensuke Sasaki vs. The Steiner Brothers
Release German suplex by Rick, he picks up Hase and clubs him in the back of the head. Scott is tagged back in, snapmare by Scott and he applies a reverse chinlock. Hase gets out of it with an overhead belly to belly suplex however, but Scott tags in Rick before Hase could make it to his corner. Rick applies an armbar to Hase, but Hase gets out of it. Takedown by Hase and he gives Rick the 'ol Giant Swing until Scott runs in and hits him with a lariat. Rick tags in Scott and Scott nails the Liger Bomb. Cover, but Sasaki breaks it up. Scott tags in Rick, double Irish whip by Hase, but Hase kicks Scott and gives Rick an uranage. Scott eats an uranage as well, and Hase makes the hot tag to Sasaki. Dropkick by Sasaki to Rick, and Scott gets one as well. Irish whip by Sasaki to Rick and he nails the powerslam. Cover, but Scott breaks it up. Running powerslam by Sasaki to Rick, he tags in Hase and then superplexes Hase onto Rick. Northern Lights Suplex by Hase, but it only gets a two count. Hase goes for a lariat, but Rick ducks it and both men end up hitting lariats on each other. Rick makes the tag to Scott, and Scott delivers a dropkick to Hase. Irish whip by Scott and he hits the tilt-a-whirl slam. Hase tags in Sasaki, Scott Irish whips Sasaki, but Sasaki plants him with a DDT. Sasaki puts Scott up on his shoulders as Hase goes to the top turnbuckle, but Rick runs in and kicks Sasaki before they can hit a move. Rick then throws Hase off the top turnbuckle, Scott puts Sasaki onto his shoulders as Rick is on the top turnbuckle and they nail the super bulldog. Scott then picks up Sasaki, gives him an Irish whip, and hits the Frankensteiner. Cover, and he picks up the three count! Your winners and new champions: The Steiner Brothers
Match Thoughts: A fun hard-hitting match, which you would expect with any match involving The Steiners in Japan. Sasaki wins the award for sickest move however, as he took off Rick's head with that lariat. Like the previous tag match this rather formulaic, but The Steiners work really well together as a team (as one would suspect) so they still kept it entertaining. In general the power moves were hit very well (I've seen better Frankensteiners but that move is pretty hit and miss), I just wish that Sasaki was in the ring more as he has no problem trading blows with Rick and Scott. Hase added something different to the match though as he was trying to out technique The Steiners while Sasaki wanted to manhandle them. Overall the match was entertaining even though it was a bit short for a title match. Score: 7.0
Big Cat Hughes vs. El Gigante
Match Thoughts: Ew. Score: 2.0
Big Van Vader and Crusher Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Doom
Simmons quickly tags in Reed, who cuts off Bigelow from making the tag to Vader. Reed chokes Bigelow over the top rope, picks him up, Irish whip, but Bigelow kicks Reed in the head when he goes for a back bodydrop. Reed tags in Simmons, who drops an elbow on Bigelow. Cover, but it gets a two count. Simmons goes for a scoop slam, but Bigelow reverses it with an inside cradle for a two count. Simmons comes back with stomps, cover, but Vader breaks it up. Simmons tags in Reed, body slam by Reed, he goes to the top turnbuckle and delivers the elbow drop. Cover, but Bigelow barely kicks out. Reed applies a reverse chinlock, Bigelow struggles to his feet, elbows out of the hold, but Reed tags in Simmons. Kick to the ribs by Simmons and he delivers a dropkick. Cover, but Bigelow kicks out. Irish whip by Simmons, but Bigelow tags Vader while he is rebounding against the ropes and then headbutts Simmons as he pancakes on the mat. They ignore the tag (so one of the three didn't know what was going on), vertical suplex by Bigelow and this time he makes a tag to Vader that counts. Vader picks up Simmons, Irish whip and he hits the Vader Attack. Simmons tags in Reed, Irish whip by Vader and he hits a short-armed clothesline. Vader clubs Reed against the ropes, Irish whip, Reed ducks the clothesline though and hits a series of elbows. Irish whip by Reed and he connects with the shoulderblock. Cover, but Vader kicks out at two. Reed tags in Simmons, Irish whip by Simmons and he catches Vader with a powerslam. Cover, but it only gets a two count. Reed comes in and they hit a double vertical suplex, but Bigelow dumps Simmons out of the ring. Reed goes to the top turnbuckle, but Vader avoids the dive. Running splash by Vader, and he picks up the three count! Your winners: Big Van Vader and Crusher Bam Bam Bigelow
Post match: Simmons and Reed get into a fight, thus ending the Doom tag team once and for all.
Match Thoughts: I love these guys, but this match was disappointing. Doom dominated 90% of the match, which is fine except that Bigelow and Vader are so awesome on offense that I would have enjoyed the match more if it had been more even. It doesn't help that this is the third tag match in a row that followed the Tag Team Formula, which usually isn't as prevalent in Japan as it is in America. I wonder if the language barrier (which is no excuse for this match) forced them to put on more simplistic matches. It didn't help here that the hot tag sequence was messed up, which I think was Simmons fault but might have been Vader's. The end was anti-climatic as Reed had been dominating the entire match but was beaten by a single running splash. True, the splash was from Vader, but it didn't look as good considering there should have been a bit more leading up to it. I won't say the match was bad as there were entertaining parts but as a whole it was a pretty dull beatdown put on by Doom followed by a lackluster finish. Score: 6.0
Great Muta vs. Sting
Backbreaker by Muta, he goes to the top turnbuckle, but Sting gets his knees up when Muta goes for the moonsault. Sting picks up Muta and goes for another Press Slam, but Muta lands on top of him for a two count. Back up, backbreaker by Muta, he goes up top, but Sting is up and dropkicks him before he can launch. Sting then joins Muta on the top turnbuckle and delivers a belly to back suplex down to the mat. Cover, but it only gets a two count. Sting goes to the top turnbuckle and goes for an elbow drop, but Muta moves out of the way. Back up, both men go off the ropes and they clothesline each other. They then both go for dropkicks, with both missing. Muta is up first, Irish whip, but Sting blocks the hiptoss and applies the backslide for a two count. Sting picks up Muta, but Muta sneaks in an inside cradle for a two count. Scorpion Deathlock by Sting, but Muta quickly gets to the ropes. Muta rolls out of the ring, but Sting goes out after him and slams him into the railing. Sting then brings Muta back to the ring, Irish whip by Sting from the corner, he goes for the Stinger Splash, but Muta spits green mist in his face! As Sting is stunning, Muta quickly goes for the top turnbuckle and hits a twisting body press for a three count! Your winner: Great Muta
Post match: Sting is mad, so he gives Muta a Stinger Splash and puts him in the Scorpion Deathlock until New Japan wrestlers get him off.
Match Thoughts: I have seen this match a dozen times and I love it every time. The story was so clear here... Muta and Sting had wrestled many times in WCW and thus knew each other very well. None of their moves were working.... they were reversing all their normal moves and even up to the end of the match (both going for lariats and both going for dropkicks) they showed that they were equal competitors. So to win the match, Great Muta caught Sting when he was doing one of his telegraphed moves with the green mist and quickly hit a crossbody to pick up the victory. Besides it being logical, it was a fun match that the crowd was really into. It was too short to be deemed a classic (around 11 minutes), but Sting and Great Muta have such great chemistry and I enjoyed this match quite a bit. Score: 7.5
Riki Choshu vs. Tiger Jeet Singh
Post match: Choshu slaps the cross armbreaker on Singh, but they eventually get Choshu off and his hand is raised in victory.
Match Thoughts: Well, this match had nothing to do with workrate, it was about putting a big star in New Japan (Choshu) over one of the most famous heels in puroresu history (Singh). Singh has never been a good wrestler as far as I can tell, but he was the perfect foil for Inoki back in the day and he was one of the biggest heels in wrestling for several decades. By 1991 he was past his prime and no longer wrestling with any regularity in New Japan, but it was still a big deal for Choshu to knock him out. The crowd showed that this was a big deal as they booed Singh unmercifully and cheered whenever Choshu managed to get in some offense. Choshu won in a decisive manner and it was nice to see Singh taking the clean loss (well, a spike was used, but he used it plenty as well). For in-ring work this match was the suck, but it was very emotional and the crowd was happy with the outcome. Score: 5.5
Ric Flair vs. Tatsumi Fujinami
Elbow to the back of the head by Flair, snapmare, cover, but it gets a two count. Knee drop by Flair, he picks up Fujinami, he then goes off the ropes and shoulderblocks Fujinami down. Flair goes off the ropes again, but this time Fujinami hits a drop toehold. Scorpion Deathlock by Fujinami, and he then modifies the hold until he ends up with a camel clutch on Flair. Flair armdrags his way out of the hold however, Irish whip by Flair, but Fujinami ducks a chop and delivers the lariat. Cover by Fujinami, but it gets a two count. Fujinami picks up Flair, but Flair hits an atomic drop. Snapmare by Flair, he goes to the top turnbuckle, but Fujinami catches him up there. He tries to throw him off, but Flair (legitimately) loses his footing and slides out to the apron. Flair then snaps Fujinami's neck over the top rope before dragging him out of the ring. On the outside now, Flair takes Fujinami and throws him into the railing. Fujinami slowly makes his way back as Flair gets into the ring. Flair pulls Fujinami onto the apron and punches him back into the ring. Stomps by Flair, and Fujinami rolls back out. Flair snaps his neck on the top rope again as he gets on the apron, which leads to Fujinami going to the outside for the third time. Again Fujinami gets on the apron, but this time Flair pulls him into the ring. Chops by Flair in the corner, but Fujinami fights back. Irish whip by Fujinami, but Flair kicks him and elbows him in the back of the head. Irish whip by Flair, reversed, and Fujinami hits a back bodydrop. Fujinami picks up Flair, but Flair kicks him and hits a swinging neckbreaker. Cover, but it gets a two count. Kick to the head by Flair, cover, but it only gets a two count. Kneedrop by Flair, he picks up Fujinami and hits a double armed suplex. Cover, but again it gets a two. Flair picks up Fujinami and delivers a delayed vertical suplex, cover, but Fujinami kicks out at two. Elbow drop by Flair, another cover, but Fujinami kicks out once again. Flair hits another knee drop, another cover, but it gets a two count. Back up, chops and punches by Flair in the corner, but Fujinami fights back. Eye rake by Flair, snapmare, he goes to the top turnbuckle, but Fujinami is up in time and throws him down to the mat.
Fujinami punches Flair into the corner, Irish whip, and Flair flips himself onto the apron until Fujinami dropkicks him to the outside. Fujinami joins him and rams Flair into the railing, as Flair's white air begins to turn red. Fujinami throws Flair back into the ring and hits a series of mounted punches in the corner. Flair flops to the mat, Fujinami picks him up, Irish whip, he goes for a kick, Flair catches it, but Fujinami hits an enzigieri. Cover, but Flair barely kicks out in time. Irish whip by Fujinami, and he back bodydrops Flair to the mat. Lariat by Fujinami, cover, but again it gets a two count. Back up, Flair knees Fujinami in the stomach and hits a series of chops. Flair punches Fujinami against the ropes and chops him in the corner, but Fujinami returns with chops of his own. Fujinami punches Flair down to the mat, picks him up, Irish whip, and Flair ends up in the Tree of Woe. Stomps by Fujinami, but Alfonso gets Flair free. Vertical suplex attempt by Flair, Fujinami lands on his feet and rolls up Flair, but it gets a two count. Side headlock by Flair, but Fujinami gets out of it with a backdrop suplex. Cover, but Flair gets a foot on the bottom rope. Flair rolls out of the ring to recover, Fujinami goes out after him, and the two trade blows on the outside. Flair slides back in the ring first, Fujinami follows him, but Flair accidentally knocks out the referee. Roll-up by Fujinami, but there is no one to make the count. Irish whip by Flair, Fujinami reverses it with a backslide, but again there is no referee. Inside cradle by Fujinami, but no one is there to make the count. Flair charges Fujinami, but Fujinami back bodydrops him over the top rope. The referee as recovered as Fujinami suplexes Flair back into the ring. Fujinami grabs Flair, and applies the ground Cobra Twist for the three count cover! Your winner and new NWA Heavyweight Champion: Tatsumi Fujinami
Match Thoughts: First, a history lesson. The NWA recognized this as an official title change, but WCW did not. The relationship between the NWA and WCW from 1989 to 1993 is blurry so I won't get into all of that, but in essence at the time WCW recognized Flair as their world champion since he was the NWA champion. But after he lost to Fujinami, he was still considered the WCW Heavyweight Champion, but not the NWA Heavyweight Champion. This problem was solved when two months later Flair defeated Fujinami, "reuniting" the belts once again. Course, Flair would cause more problems when he quit WCW a few months later still has champion, but that is a different story.
As for the match, to be honest I really didn't like it. I thought it would be a good match since Flair and Fujinami are both really solid technical wrestlers, but they simply didn't mesh very well. There was no structure (what was with Flair hitting so many knee drops?), they were sloppy (when was the last time Flair messed up being thrown off the top rope?), and they didn't hit moves crisply (most the knee drops missed by quite a bit and every time Flair snapped Fujinami's neck over the top rope it looked horrible). Add in the pointless ref bump and the really slow pace and this quite simply was not what I was expecting at all. Flair worked on the leg for all of two minutes (which is normally his focus) and Fujinami didn't work on anything at all. I have read that some people love this match, but I simply don't see it... if you pretend it isn't Flair then there is no way this match could be considered much above average, fans just give him the benefit of the doubt sometimes due to his track record. Overall I was really disappointed, the match wasn't horrible, but they didn't click and considering the importance of the match they should have been able to put on something that was more entertaining. Score: 5.0