The Best of New Japan (New Japan Classics 34)

Inoki battles beasts like Abby the Butcher, while Andre battles Stan Hansen in a classic brawl!

From Samurai TV

Tiger Mask and Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Ultraman and El Polaco

The luchas are dominated by the locals for the first several minutes of action. This is all armbars and other such basics to feel out the competition. Mask does hit some beautiful flying kicks to show off his unique combination of martial arts and acrobatics. The Luchas get very little heat on the Japanese legends as Mask and Fujinami find themselves in limited bits of peril. Things spill out to the floor and things end abruptly after 10 minutes or so as both teams find themselves counted out of the ring. I wasn’t wowed by this or anything, minus Mask’s highspots. The teams talk trash on the mic after the match, but since I speak neither Spanish or Japanese, I can only assume a rematch is being set up.

Seiji Sakaguchi and Tiger Chung Lee vs. Andre the Giant and Bad News Allen

Andre goes after several audience members as he storms toward the ring. The Giant and Bad News try and double up on Lee right away, but the heels end up colliding and Andre falls off the apron. The babyfaces waste no time in in taking advantage of the situation and they double up on Allen.

Andre, now upset, storms in and dominates Lee. Stan Hansen interrupts the ass kicking by coming to ringside and the Giant is immediately off his game. Hansen is ushered away, but Andre remains distracted by his intrusion. The Giant makes up for this by entering the fray and taking the fight to both of his opponents. Sakaguchi eats a big boot and is then sat on for the win at about the six-minute mark. Hansen returns after the bout and he and Andre exchange threats. This ends with Andre taking a swing at Hansen and falling out of the ring when the blow misses. The Giant then storms away. It’s always fun to see Andre playing monster heel during a period when he could still move.

Antonio Inoki vs. Stan “The Lariat” Hansen

Crowd is hot for their man Inoki. Hansen starts trying to maul and brawl with Inoki, while Inoki tries to grab his limbs to slow down the attack. Hansen hits a lariat to rock Inoki badly, then takes him to the floor for more stomping.

Back in the ring, Inoki tries to grapple on the ground with Hansen, but Stan is too big to be snared in anything substantial. Hansen works over Inoki’s arm on the mat to show he can play that game too, then sends him to the floor with more clubbing blows. Inoki absorbs a solid suplex back in the ring, followed by Hansen driving knees and elbows into the back of his neck.

Inoki manages to tangle himself around Hansen’s leg, but Stan powers out of that, allowing him to continue to reign blows into Inoki’s arm. Hansen takes the fight to the floor again, where he posts Inoki’s arm. Back in the ring, Inoki hits a dropkick and enziguri out of nowhere, but misses a diving knee from the top rope. Hansen charges a knee into Inoki, then sends him back to the floor. Inoki is posted, and back suplexed on the cement. Both men end up counted out during this beating at a bit past the ten minute mark. Solid enough match here, with Hansen being the rugged gaijin and Inoki having little means to combat with his power and grit.

Antonio Inoki and Kengo Kimura vs. Bad News Allen and Abdullah the Butcher

We are joined in progress with Kimura being mauled by the heels two on one. Inoki tags in, but the Butcher hacks away at him and delivers a brain buster. Kimura comes back in, but the heels go right back to double teaming him. Abby produces a spike and splits Kimura open on the cement floor. That allows Allen to hit a powerslam for the pin. Inoki then single handedly backs down the heels.

The bell rings again, as this is apparently multiple falls. Kimura is bloody and the heels control things until Abdullah misses an elbow. Inoki tags in as the house of fire, but Allen hits him with a weapon right in front of the ref for the quick DQ. Allen hits the Butcher accidentally while trying to deliver another shot, and Abby goes nuts and runs through the crowd knocking chairs everywhere as the fans flee.

The Butcher sells the weapon shot big time on the floor and starts bleeding. Then the bell sounds and the match is over? I can only assume we missed a round of action? I did enjoy what was here as the monster heels created chaos. Blood is always a plus in these kinds of situations.

Tatsumi Fujinami vs. El Solitario

The two men spend the first several minutes feeling one another out with basic grappling holds and counters. Fujinami delivers the first significant move of the match by trapping Solitario in a figure-four. Once the luchador escapes, the Dragon continues to attack his legs.

Solitario responds by starting his own attack on Fujinami’s legs, including locking him in a half-crab. Fujinami finds success by taking things to the mat, including a goofy looking spot where he maneuvers Solitario to the mat, then bridges him up while the men were belly to belly. Solitario could have easily slide out of that if things were on the up and up.

Solitario gets in some big high spots by sending Fujinami to the cement, then delivering a dive to the floor. He dumps Fujinami on his head with a brainbuster back in the ring, but misses a splash from the turnbuckles. This allows Fujinami to dump Solitario to the floor, giving the Dragon a chance to hit a dive of his own. Fujinami suplexes him back in the ring and that’s enough for the pin at around the 10 minute mark.

Stan Hansen vs. Andre the Giant

This is a famous battle. Hansen attacks the big man before Andre can even get in the ring. Hansen has the Giant reeling from this surprise attack, so Andre wraps him up in a bear hug to slow the big Texan down. Hansen tries to headbutt his away out of that, but quickly realizes the folly in that idea. A forearm blast to the Giant’s head does the trick though. Hansen rocks Andre with more big shots, but Andre uses his size to engulf Hansen in a corner.

A missed corner charge turns the tide as Andre hits the mat and Hansen is able to get some licks in, including a failed slam attempt. The Giant grabs a hold of Hansen’s arm and tries to manually remove it, then suplexes Hansen with ease.

Hansen catches Andre with a kick and SLAMS the big man. While Andre is downed, Hansen lynches in a chinlock to try and sap some energy from the beast. Andre powers out and the men hit the floor for the double count-out after about 8-minutes of near non-stop action. Hansen and Andre return to the ring. Andre wants the match to restart, Hansen is game. The ref okays it to a big reaction from the crowd. That was a nice twist on the usual bullshit finishes we see in star vs. star matches.

Andre is charged at and taken down with a hip toss type of throw. The staggered Giant gets caught in the ropes, but fights his way out. Andre continues to sell big for Hansen, doing a back bump off a single turnbuckle shot. The Giant traps Hansen in a surfboard, delivering headbutts to his spine for added pain. Andre caps this off by executing a body slam on Hansen with SCARY ease. He misses the follow up splash however.

Andre tries a big boot, Hansen ducks and the Giant is nailed with a lariat, knocking him to the floor. Andre puts on an elbow pad discreetly, but both Hansen and the ref want it checked. Andre responds by whipping the ref into the ropes and clotheslining him. Hansen and Andre then resume their brawl, before an army of young boys charge the ring to break up the fight. The melee that follows lasts several minutes. Great match by Andre standards as he moved with hustle and grace despite already being well into the 400 pound plus range. If anyone ever tries to tell you Andre didn’t work at a hard pace, this is the match to prove them wrong.

Tiger Chung Lee vs. Antonio Inoki

Lee controls the early portions of this bout, working a fast paced offensive heavy attack. He delivers a piledriver, suplex and other impactful moves in quick succession. Inoki has to head to the floor to regroup. Inoki comes back in with a series of strikes that rock Lee.

The men exchange submission minded grappling holds on the mat, before Lee turns up the heat again with some vicious power moves including a back breaker. Another piledriver scares Inoki into desperation mode and he responds by delivering a series of enziguris, which culminates with him trapping Lee in the Octopus submission hold for the win at around the 10-minute mark. The friends shake hands afterwards. Good match with Lee going for home run shots as often as possible and Inoki fighting through all the adversity.

Final thoughts: Andre vs. Hansen makes this DVD a winner, and Inoki facing monsters is almost always a treat.

Written by Andrew Lutzke

The grumpy old man of culturecrossfire.com, lover of wrasslin’ and true crimes.

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