WCW/NJPW Supershow III

WCW/New Japan Supershow III
January 4, 1993
Tokyo, Japan
Commentators: Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone and Eric Bischoff

The show opens with Eric Bischoff introducing the audience to the Tokyo Dome.

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match
Ultimo Dragon (c) vs. Jushin Thunder Liger

The match begins with Dragon and Liger exchanging holds, and it leads to an exchange of arm drags and trips then ends with a double dropkick. Fantastic pace at the start. Liger then locks in a submission, but is soon countered into a leg lock from Dragon. The Ultimo Dragon works over the leg for the next minute or so, but Liger soon reverses it.

Liger Irish whips Dragon and hits a nasty looking dropkick to Dragon’s knee, and continues to work over his legs. The switch back and forth of leg holds goes on for a few minutes, establishing that both men are trying to keep each other grounded, as both are known to be aerial wrestlers. At one point Liger locks in a surfboard stretch and chinlock combination, a very nice looking submission.

After a backbreaker, Liger locks Ultimo Dragon in headscissors, sends Dragon to the corner, and hits the Koppu kick.  Dragon turns it around with a headscissors takedown. Dragon then gets his own surfboard stretch, but combines it with a Dragon sleeper. Liger counters, but Dragon doesn’t let up and locks in a camel clutch.

Dragon is the first one to go up top, and he hits a slightly botched kick, but it’s followed by a cartwheel elbow and and baseball slide that sends Liger over the guardrail. Dragon then dives from the top rope over the guardrail onto Liger. Liger crashes into some tables behind him. Awesome spot. Once both men get back into the ring, they exchange attempts at piledrivers, with Dragon hitting the tombstone. Dragon makes his way to the top rope, but he slips again. Got to feel bad for Dragon after that.

After an exchange of near falls by both guys, Dragon hits a nice German suplex. Liger nails Dragon with a Koppu kick, then a powerbomb on the outside, followed by a senton bomb (which Tony calls a moonsault…) to the outside from the top rope. Great sequence. Liger hits a German suplex, and then a sick looking palm strike to Dragon. Liger locks in a single leg crab, and then hits another powerbomb after Dragon escapes. Liger heads to the top, but both men go down when they hit each other with a double clothesline. Liger heads to the outside, and Dragon hits a springboard senton and smashes into the guardrail with Liger.

Liger faceplants Dragon after both get back in the ring, followed by another powerbomb attempt that Dragon reverses into a hurricanrana. Dragon then hits his Asai moonsault, followed by a sitout powerbomb. Liger kicks out to applause from the audience.

Dragon heads to the top rope, and Jim Ross points out that this hasn’t worked for him yet. Liger counters and hits a top rope DDT on Dragon. Awesome move. Liger then hits another powerbomb and places Dragon on the top rope. Liger climbs and hits a Frankensteiner. Liger gets the 3 count to end a very good match.

RATING: 4.25/5
Great match. Lots of action that included technical wrestling, high flying, and high impact moves. If you are a fan of either man, you should see this match.

Singles Match
Ron Simmons vs. Tony Halme

We go from two lightweights to two heavyweights, and this match is important for Ron Simmons, who just lost the WCW World Heavyweight Championship to Vader, so Simmons is motivated to win. Lots of high impact offence early by Simmons, and he hits a nice piledriver on Halme. There’s an awkward spot when Halme looks like he’s supposed to hit Simmons after Simmons hits the ropes, but it looks like he mistimed it, and Simmons just kind of falls over after colliding with Halme.

Halme takes over the offence at this point, and hits some high impact moves and strikes.  Halme hits a spinebuster that Tony  calls a sidewalk slam (sigh), and Simmons soon falls to the outside of the ring. Simmons attempts to suplex Halme to the outside of the ring, but Halme reverses it. Halme hits a powerslam, and then Simmons hits his own after both men get up.  Simmons hits his own spinebuster and gets the win.

Ugly match, but Simmons can’t be blamed for that. Anything I’ve seen of Halme has led me to think he wasn’t a very good, or safe, worker.

Tag Team Match
Dustin Rhodes & Scott Norton vs. Masa Saito & Shinya Hashimoto

The match begins with Norton and Hashimoto in the ring, and Hashimoto hitting kicks on Norton, with Norton no selling them. Norton takes his head off with a stiff clothesline, followed by a shoulder block. There was a miscommunication when Hashimoto is going for a back body drop, and Norton just runs through him and knocks him over. They adjust quickly and Hashimoto hits a back body drop, followed by a spinning wheel kick. They exchange hard chops.

Saito and Rhodes are tagged in recently, and Saito goes after Rhodes as if Rhodes stole his candy when they were children. Ross attributes this to Saito being angry at him from the previous year’s supershow when they were on opposite teams.

Norton is tagged back in and he continues to dominate with stiff strikes. Satio eventually hits a Satio suplex on Norton and then Rhodes. Hashimoto is tagged in and goes after Dustin with some hard kicks. Dustin channels his father and hits some elbows, and then locks in a chinlock. Norton is tagged back in and continues the offence.  Hashimoto is placed on the top rope and Norton hits a superplex. Norton plays the heel well in this match, demonstrating  arrogance towards his opponents. While Dustin Rhodes is trying to win the match, Norton seems more interested in bead his opponents up.

Dustin and Norton exchange offence against Hashimoto for a few minutes, with the big moves being a DDT from Dustin and a powerbomb from Norton. Hashimoto turns it around with a DDT of his own against Norton, and tags in Saito, who then proceeds to beat the tar out of Norton and hits him with multiple Saito suplexes. Norton turns it around with a powerslam and tags out to Dustin Rhodes, who soon thereafter is dropped on his head with a Saito suplex. Hashimoto comes back and in lands some hard kicks against Dustin, and then takes his head off with a clothesline. The match ends after Hashimoto hits and enzuigiri on Dustin Rhodes.

Nothing spectacular. Somewhat decent match, but hurt by a few of the botches early in the match.

IWGP Heavyweight Title / NWA World Heavyweight Title Match
Great Muta (c) vs. Masahiro Chono (c)

Champion vs. Champion. This one is a big one. The crowd reacts beautifully to Muta spitting the green mist before the start of the match. Tony plays up the recent victory Muta had in the Battlebowl, showing that he has a lot of momentum going into this match, although Jim Ross points out that Chono has momentum too, as he is the current NWA World Heavyweight Champion.

The two men try to feel each other out in the opening seconds of the match with some quick chain wrestling.  Muta rolls outside the ring and tries to grab a weapon from underneath the ring. The referee quickly takes it from him. Muta takes Chono down and hits his trademark running elbow, followed by an armbar.

Chono reverses and locks in a leglock. Chono begins to work over the legs of Muta with several strikes and submissions, including the Indian Death Lock.

Muta sends Chono to the outside of the ring and sends him flying into the guardrail. He follows it up by sending Chono back into the ring and hitting a flying chop. He throws Chono onto the entrance ramp, hits the ropes and runs towards Chrono and hits a nice bulldog. He walks up the ramp, and sprints towards Chono full speed and hits a hard clothesline that sends both men flying. Neat spot that got the crowd to pop.

Chono recovers as Muta is in the ring and hits a hard elbow. Chono goes to the top rope, and Muta grabs him and hits a superplex, followed by a Saito suplex. Muta hits a great looking German suplex and gets a near fall. He follows this with a cartwheel elbow, and then attempts a moonsault, but Chono moves and locks in the STF quickly. Muta frantically goes to the ropes to escape. Muta hits a really nice dropkick on Chono.

Chono heads to the top rope and hits a shoulder block, picks up Muta, and hits a powerbomb for a near fall. Muta quickly scales the top ropes while  Chono is down and goes for a moonsault, but Chono puts his knees up and Muta lands face first on Chono’s knees. Chono misses a top rope move, and Muta goes for a moonsault again, and this time connects, but Chono kicks out. Muta hits another and gets the pinfall. The winner, and your new NWA World Heavyweight Champion – The Great Muta!

Perfectly good match. Nothing too special, but definitely a good one.

Six Man Tag Team Match
Koki Kitahara, Masao Orihara & Nobukazu Hirai vs. Akira Nogami, El Samurai & Takayuki Iizuka

Eric Bischoff takes over commentary at this point, and tells us that Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone are heading for the sushi bar. Bischoff comments that the introduction is the longest he’s ever seen. Just wait until Hollywood Hogan comes to WCW, Bischoff.

El Samurai and Hirai open the match with some very fast offence to open match. Sanurai almost dives to the outside after hitting Hirai with a dropkick, but decides not to. Hirai makes his way back into the ring with a headscissors followed by two dropkicks that send Samurai to the outside. Hirai goes for a moonsault from the apron, but Samurai dodges and Hirai lends on his feet.

Unfortunately it seems that Bischoff only knows who Samurai and Hirai are, so it leaves me with a difficult time commenting on the exact events in the match.  I know the names of the other competitors, but it’s hard to identify them if Bischoff doesn’t tell me who is who.  His commentary isn’t terrible, it’s just incomplete. He may have actually confused Hirai with Orihara, but I’m not sure.

In any case, this match is actually very good. Lots of back and forth action, very fast paced and hard hitting. One amusing part is when the referee gives a slow count to Samurai covering Hirai (or Orihara), and Samurai grabs the referee by the hair when he voices his displeasure.

The match ends with Hirai (or Orihara) taking a stiff powerbomb, and it looks like me was legitimately knocked out, as his head hits the mat rather hard. The ending was a bit of a mess where it looks like they are trying to wake Hirai (or Orihara) up. but fail to do so, and just end it with a pinfall.

RATING: 2.5/5
The ending hurt this one a bit, but that can’t really be blamed on anyway as  poor Hirai looked in pretty bad shape after that powerbomb.

Singles Match
Hiroshi Hase vs. Sting

Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone are back on commentary (thank goodness) for the main event of the American version of this show.

Hase gets the crowd going early on as he locks up with Sting. Sting shows his strength by pressing Hase over his head several times, to a great “ooooooooohhhhhhhh” from the audience. Sting goes to the corner and yells, and draws a huge pop from the crowd. This man gets over anywhere he goes. The franchise in WCW is loved everywhere by everybody.

Hase hits some hard chops and locks Sting in a headlock. Sting sends Hase to the ropes, and both go for a dropkick at the same time, then Hase counters by taking Sting down and locking on a single leg crab. He switches to an Indian death lock, and continues to work on the legs. Hase pulls a Rick Rude and gyrates his hips before locking in a Muta Lock. Hase locks up the legs and it looks like he’s going for the Scorpion Death Lock, but Sting counters. As soon as they get back to their feet, Hase starts striking the legs. He takes Sting down and locks in a brutal looking single leg crab. Hase picks Sting up and hits some chops that send him into the corner. Sting starts to strike back, and hits a suplex. Sting and Hase attempt to Irish whip each other, but fail to do so, and Hase hits a Russian leg sweep, followed by a version of the stun gun and a neckbreaker. Hase gets a near fall. Hase then hits a piledriver on Sting, and then heads for the top rope and hits a flying knee on Sting. Hase locks a sidehead lock on Sting after an Irish whip, and takes Sting down and changes it to a sleeper hold.

The action spills outside of the ring as Hase gives Sting a beating around the outside of the ring.  Hase takes it back to the ring and hits two sambo suplexs and a German suplex. Hase locks in a full nelson, but Sting pulls Hase towards the ropes and they both fall to the outside. Sting then returns the favour from earlier by beating Hase up around the ring. Sting heads up to the top rope, but Hase was a little too far away for Sting and he hits Sting with a knee.

Hase chops Sting, but Sting wakes up and feels no pain! Sting follows this with two bulldogs and a near fall. Sting picks Hase up on his shoulders and holds it as a submission, but Hase reverses into a pin attempt, Sting bridges out, and Hase goes for a back slide, but Sting flips over Hase’s back to escape, and runs to the corner and jumps backwards and lands on Hase.  Sting hits a German suplex on Hase for a pinfall attempt, and follows it with a clothesline. Sting tries for the suplex again, but Hase, ducks and tries to hit another sambo suplex. Sting elbows Hase, runs to the ropes and hits a running DDT. Sting climbs to the top rope and hits a flying splash that brings an end to the match.

Solid match. Sting and Hase seemed to gel well in the ring, and they provided good action from start to finish.

Not a bad show at all. Lots of good action. It’s easy to see why WCW wanted to do these shows with NJPW as they always produced solid matches.

Best Match: Jushin Thunder Liger vs . Ultimo Dragon
Worst Match: Ron Simmons vs. Tony Halme
Highlights: Some crazy spots in Liger vs. Dragon

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