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1994 Super J Cup

By Thomas Sherrill
Dec 11, 2004, 10:43


...

Here's my review of the 1994 Super J Cup which I believe to be one of
the greatest events in the history of professional wrestling. It's
rather long but I believe it to be worth it. If you have any questions,
feel free to reply back.

NJPW 1994 Super J Cup

This is probably one of the greatest moments in the history of
professional wrestling. I know thatís saying a lot but I believe it to
be true. The tournament features 16 of the greatest wrestlers from New
Japan, FMW, Michinoku Pro, along with other free-lancers from Japan and
Mexico. This event took place on April 16, 1994. This was a
joint-production event but since Jushin Liger of New Japan booked the
event, New Japan got its name on the title.

I also will be using the five star scale for these matches. I consider
myself to be a tough grader, so I wont be throwing ***** scores out
left and right. I consider * to be not good, ** to be okay/somewhat
good, *** to be solid, **** to be great/classic, and ***** to be match
of the year. Anything after *** is worth remembering for me.

To start, all the wrestlers are introduced to the ring. (The subtitle
shows their name in English which is awesome) The prize championship
belt is then shown. I donít know who introduced it or what they said as
I donít speak any Japanese, but Iím pretty sure the belt said ďWWWF
Junior Heavyweight ChampionĒ.

First Round

Dean Malenko vs. Gedo
Good opening match that shows off both wrestlers strengths. The mat
work in the first four minutes helped build up for the series of near
falls in the end. One gripe though is that match was a little too slow
at times but thatís due to Malenkoís style. Finish comes when after a
top-rope cross-body by Malenko, Gedo catches Malenko off the ropes with
a power slam to get the three at 8:04. ** A little sudden with the
ending but good nonetheless.

Shinjiro Otani vs. Super Delfin
(Note: Otani resembles Antonio Inoki very closely in terms of body
structure with the long legs and no body fat whatsoever) This match was
better than the first one for two reasons. One, the pacing was very
fast and efficient. Two, the story that was told a good one. Otani
worked on Delfinís leg the entire match which got the crowd behind
Delfin. Highlights include a killer delay brain buster by Delfin, and a
springboard plancha by Otani to the outside. The end comes when Delfin
hitís a Tornado DDT off the top and uses the Delfin Special (a pinning
combination where the arms are crossed, the legs hooked and Delfin sits
on the arms which is interesting to say the least) for the three count
at 8:04. **(Ĺ) Whoa, they timed that perfectly with the first match.
Coincidence?

Black Tiger vs. Taka Michinoku
(Fun Note: Takaís hair looks like an afro of sorts.) (Serious Note:
Black Tiger is Eddie Guerrero: Rest in Peace Eddie) With that being
said, this match was okay. Taka was very young at this point and only
did high spots in this match. Tiger was a house of fire early, but a
lack of flow plagued this match in the middle as some spots were
repetitive. Highlights include all of Takaís high spots (including the
running springboard plancha which always is a favorite of mine). End
comes when Tiger hits a Tornado DDT for the pin at 6:47. *(ĺ)

El Samurai vs. Masayoshi Motegi
(Note: Motegiís corner men have matching Zubas on.) This was definitely
the worst match so far. It wasnít Snitsky terrible but there was no
flow and FOUR blown spots which include Motegi slipping off the top
rope attempting a dive to the outside, Samurai missed a drop kick two
feet to his left, Motegi barely getting Samurai up in a surfboard after
three tries and Motegi attempting a head scissors and Samurai just
falling down like he was hit by a clothesline. There was some nice
stuff in this but the botched spots hindered it. Hopefully this holds
up as the worst match of the night. Samurai wins it after a man-sized
power bomb at 7:10. *

Negro Casas vs. Ricki Fuji
(Note: Ricki Fuji comes out to country/bluegrass music. He is wearing
sunglasses and a black Canada jacket. After he poses, I am convinced he
is imitating at-the-time WWF Champion Bret Hart) All in all, it was
okay. A lot of mat work for a six minute match, which hinders it a bit.
Highlights include a springboard leap to the outside by Casas (which he
almost missed) and thatís about it. After Casas misses a senton, Ricki
hits a Tiger Driver for the win at 5:54. *(Ĺ)

Jushin ďThunderĒ Liger vs. Haybusa
When they show the graphic of the names of the two men right after
Liger get in the ring, Hayabusa dropkicks Liger. Liger rolls out and
then Hayabusa hitís a running somersault placha. All of this while he
still has his robe on. Then they ring the bell. Great match for only
ten minutes. Good leg work early on and the ending got the crowd into
it. Highlights include obviously the beginning 15 seconds, the stiff
kicks all around, Hayabusa almost killing himself by over-shooting the
shooting-star press (and barely rotating around enough), and the rest
of the high spots in the final three minutes. Finish comes after Liger
reverses a an attempted West Coast Pop from the turnbuckle into a rough
power bomb. Then Liger picks up Hayabusa, nails a fishermanís brain
buster and gets the three at 10:18. *** The tournament looks like itís
kicking into second gear now.

Though I rated the first round matches seemingly low, there was still
some solid stuff that is better than your average RAW/Smackdown match.
ItĎs just that with less than 10 minutes, you can only get a to a
certain level before you have to go home.

(This is where disk one ends. The rest of the matches are on disk two.)

Second Round (Quarterfinals)

They show the highlights of the first round which are pretty much the
same highlights I wrote down. Also, they show post match interviews
after some of the matches but since there all in Japanese, I ignore
them. The announcing is also all in Japanese. The only thing I
understand is when they say a wrestlers name.

Gedo vs. Super Delfin
This match was better than I thought it was going to be considering
that I donít like Gedo all that much. He can be sloppy at times and
doesnít pick his spots all that good. Delfin was really good here as he
was able to carry this match. Highlights include a brutal tilt-awhirl
backbreaker by Delfin, a cross body from the top by Delfin, and a
moonsault by Gedo. The ending comes after Delfin hitís a Tornado DDT,
he goes for the Delfin Special (just like the first round) but Gedo
rolls him up for the upset win at 8:19. **(Ĺ)

Wild Pegasus vs. Black Tiger
(Note: Wild Pegasus is obviously Chris Benoit and he got a first round
bye along with the Great Sasuke) This match wasnít nearly as good as
what it could have been, but since itís a tournament, it not a big
deal. It was great for ten minutes. There wasnít the amount of high
spots that other matches had, but thatís just Guerrero and Benoitís
style. The mat work and psychology was pure for this match. Highlights
included a head scissors/hurricarana by Tiger of a whip, another
hurricarana by Tiger, this time jumping off the ropes holding onto
Pegasusí arm; plus the array of suplexes these two can do. Finish comes
when Tiger goes to the top rope, jumps at a standing Pegasus, and
Pegasus hits an arm drag (Iím sure it was supposed to be a power slam
of sorts) for the three at 10:23. ***

Great Sasuke vs. El Samurai
(Note: Sasuke comes out with fellow Michinoku Pro wrestler Taka. Taka
also came out with Delfin to matches ago It later becomes a trend as
eliminated wrestlers come out with fellow promotion members.)
Good mat work early on by Samurai, working on Sasukeís leg early on.
Crowd gets really hot for a Sasuke comeback seven minutes in and he
delivers with a Space Flying Tiger Drop. (A cartwheel in the ring, then
a back flip over the ropes onto the outside, never touching the ropes).
After that, the crowd was way into this match more than any other match
so far. Highlights include the aforementioned Tiger Drop, a somersault
plancha by Samurai, a flying head but most the way across the ring by
Samurai, and Sasuke reversing an attempted top-rope electric chair into
a sunset flip power bomb pin. Great match which ended with Samurai
doing a standing hurricarana pin, but Sasuke rolled through to get the
three at 11:40. ***(Ĺ) Samurai is redeemed after his horrible opening
match.

Jushin ďThunderĒ Liger vs. Ricki Fuji
(Note: The crowd really gets into Ligerís theme music, which sounds
like Japanese pop.) Really uninspiring match. It never got out of first
gear and when it seemed like it was about to, it was over. This
definitely (hopefully) will be the last match under ten minutes as
there are only three matches left. Only highlight was when Liger hit a
double stop from the top all the way to the floor (ouch!). End came
when Liger hit a head scissors/hurricarana pin for three at 7:50. *(ĺ)
One of the guys directing Liger to the exit was wearing a Wrestlemania
10 jacket, which I find interesting.

Semifinals

Wild Pegasus vs. Gedo
(Note: This is the first match where it was clipped to when the
wrestlers are already in the ring, which is odd.) I guess I was wrong
about the last match being the final match under ten minutes. With
that, I enjoyed this match, mostly due to Pegasus. His intensity alone
carried it as his chops were brutal and his execution crisp. I canít
say the same for Gedo who looked winded for this being his third match.
Highlights include the chops, mentioned earlier, and a moonsault from
the top to the floor by Gedo. Finish come after a power bomb, Pegasus
hits his (now trademark) flying head butt for the three at 6:18. **(ľ)
Mostly for Pegasusí intensity. Not to worry, the next two matches are
legendary even to this day by many Japanese fans.

Jushin ďThunderĒ Liger vs. Great Sasuke
(Note: Another match where the entrances were clipped) The mat work in
this match lasted longer than the entire previous match. And it was
great mat work too which was dominated by Liger. After Sasukle got back
to his feet, the highlight reel ensued. This was a phenomenal match as
Liger played the cocky heel and the previously 50/50 crowd got
completely behind Sasuke. The moves were done to crisp perfection and
this crowd was hot almost the entire match. Highlights included a
surfboard mixed with a dragon sleeper by Liger (which looked really
uncomfortable), a perfect Asia Moonsault by Sasuke, a sommersault
senton off the top to the outside by Sasuke, a perfect crucifix power
bomb by Sasuke, Sasuke kicking out of the Liger Bomb, a Frankenstein by
Liger only to be rolled over by Sasuke for a two count and a suplex by
Liger from the apron to the floor. The end came when Sasuke was looking
for a springboard hurricarana, but slips off the top rope. Liger, now
adlibbing, mock applauds Sasuke, picks him up, but Sasuke hitís a
standing hurricarana pin for the three at 18:10. ****(ľ) Crowd loses it
when Sasuke wins and coming from a usually reserved Japanese crowd,
thatís saying a lot.

Finals

For the finals, the house lights are turned off (they had been on the
entire tournament) and the spot lights and colored lights are used to
give it that big match feel. All the other wrestlers are at ringside
for this along with the dozens of photo journalist that have been out
there all night. Itís fun watching them all scamper to one area when a
highspot is about to happen to get that good shot. Itís resembles the
paparazzi following a celebrity out to their car.

Wild Pegasus vs. Great Sasuke
(Note: I donít know how much time they clipped from between the
matches, but props to Sasuke for doing back-to-back 20 minute matches.)
Wow! Another great match. The mat work in this one (dominated by
Pegasusset up with final seven minutes of near falls (dominated by
Sasuke) mixed together to make a memorable finale. Highlights include
the opening three minutes with all the flip outs and roll outs, a
springboard forearm by Pegasus to Sasuke who was on the apron which
sent them to the floor, the German and Tiger suplex pins, an even
better Space Flying Tiger Drop than before (this time Sasuke throws in
a 180 in the backflip), a suplex by Sasuke from the apron which
flipped Pegasus to the floor, a missile dropkick by Sasuke from the
top rope to the floor and a twisting moonsault pin by Sasuke. The end
comes when Sasuke goes to the top for another move but Pegasus meets
him up there and hits him with a nice gut wrench suplex from the top
for the J Cup title at 18:47. **** Not quite as good as the semifinal
(which Iíve seen a lot of people debate about) but still a classic in
its own right.

After the match, all the wrestlers are in the ring and Pegasus is
presented with the WWWF Junior Heavyweight Championship belt (I knew
thatís what it said) along with a gold sports jacket with ďwinnerĒ on
the back and two medium sized trophies. Great Sasuke is presented with
a HUGE runner-up trophy (as in huge I mean over five feet tall), Black
Tiger is presented with a three foot high trophy, Gedo is presented a
tiny trophy, and Liger is presented a three foot high trophy. I donít
know why all those trophies were given out, but thatís beside the
point. The sixteen men pose for a group picture in the ring. After that
,Pegasus is thrown in the air in a victory celebration in the ring.
This moment shows how tightly knit professional wrestlers are and how
rewarding moments like this makes their job feel worth it all.

Final Thoughts: This event lived up to all the hype it was given as the
greatest display of the true style of the junior heavyweight, light
heavyweight, cruiserweight, X Division or whatever you call it. This
goes in my Top Five events of all time with Wrestlemania 17, ECW One
Night Stand, Sumerslam 1994, and The Super J Cup 1995 (which I will
review next). The only reason a lot of these matches arenít four or
more stars is due to the tournament structure, which is understandable.
This was a great event to watch and worth the $6.99 I paid for it here.
Do yourself a favor and pick this up. If youíre willing to pay $30-$35
for Wrestlemania each year, spend under $10 to get this. This is what
the TNA X-Division should be along with the cruiserweight division in
the WWE today.



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