Quebrada Pro Wrestling, Puroresu, & Mixed Martial Arts Reviews by Mike Lorefice

MPW MASKMANS WORLD BATTLE LEAGUE '95
Commercial Tapes 7/27/95-8/25/95

7/27 Iwate

Super Delfin vs. Gorgota Cross (Jerry Lynn) 11:38. Good entertainment, but I was hoping they'd challenge themselves. The early portion, a series of 80's style clutch and athletic escape spots, showed promise, but after that they settled into the standard you do a few strikes/spots then I'll do a few strikes/spots rather than continuing to develop their potential to truly work together. The execution was fine, but in the end, it was pretty standard undeveloped junior action. Cross scored the upset with a tombstone on the floor, but rather than reacting to the winner or the surprise, the fans just booed the countout, which I was all for. **1/2

The Great Sasuke vs. Gran Naniwa 20:37. Sasuke had all the ability to be one of the greatest singles wrestlers of all time, but matches such as this show why he was generally only great in tag unless he had a really strong (generally NJPW) opponent to carry him. The match meandered endlessly, going nowhere on the mat. The matwork was technically competent, but it was very obvious they were killing time rather than putting the effort into developing the match dramatically. Of course, it got interesting as they approached the finish because Sasuke can pull spots with anyone that ever wrestled, but had there been a thoughtful bridge during the first 13 minutes to the thrilling final 7 minutes of spots, instead of Sasuke just getting by on his amazing athleticism, the match would have been excellent. Sasuke's no touch tope con hilo was some kind of awesome though. It's hard to hate too much on a guy who is willing to take an avalance style Frankensteiner to the floor, but on the other hand, it's hard not to feel he injured his lower back and hip for nothing. Naniwa, at least, followed with his powerbomb for the upset win. **

8/12 Yamagata Shi: The Great Sasuke vs. Super Delfin 21:14. A perfect counterpoint to the Naniwa match, here we see the awesome potential Sasuke had in singles. Sasuke comes out strong to ignite the crowd, but spends the body of the match selling his previous back injury extremely well. Finally, Sasuke makes his hot comeback for the finishing sequence, so basically he just sells his ass off and takes advantage of his fantastic offense, but he's wrestling a smart match in the process. Delfin killed as much time as anyone else, the thing is since he kept advancing the match by using moves that attacked the back it didn't feel as though he was doing so. That's basically the difference between doing a good body and doing a bad one. You know you are accomplishing something when a hiptoss becomes a big move, but again, if you can tell a story, relevant offense will work even if it isn't equal to what we'd describe as good or interesting offense. It was also a perfect match for Delfin, as he really lacks of the offense for a big singles match, but in this context, keeping it simple and merely focusing on stretching Sasuke out, it was easy to ignore the fact he's not the most dynamic junior in the business. Granted, this was the marquee match in the company at this point, but the fans were really into the contest because they built up the intensity by continually using moves that, however big or small, could be said to have a potential bearing on the outcome of the match due to fitting into the context. They were able to get over just how much agony Sasuke was in, and Sasuke showed the heart of the champion with this pained performance where he hung on when he really had no right to, and even made it pay off despite having only sporadic bursts of offense. Unfortunately, the Naniwa match was more typical of Sasuke, but in any case, this was some really impressive stuff. ****

8/13

The Great Sasuke vs. The Convict (Sergio "Super Boy" Torres) 14:03. Sasuke may have pulled the upset against Delfin, but it took pretty much everything he had left physically. Trying to come back the next day against a tough, and much bigger opponent was a hard ask. Sasuke was having a difficulty simply walking at the beginning of the match, and Convict made sure to work on his back early and often, mixing submissions and somersaults. Sasuke may not have had to do that much acting, but, in any case, he delivered some of his best and most consistent selling ever in this league. Sasuke had a few highlights, but he was essentially too injured to sustain any offense. Convict resorting to using a chain on his back, which the fans booed heavily, didn't exactly make things easy on him. The match was basically a squash, but it was also an intelligent, well focused and laid out story match that was entirely successful. There was no potential for excellence, but I think they got about as much out of the match as they could have. ***

Super Delfin vs. Gran Naniwa 16:28. A flat match where Delfin sold for his understudy the whole time then put him away. These two generally had the problem in these days of being unable to decide if they want to be badass heels or comedic jokers. One minute Naniwa wasn't being too friendly to his mentor, low blowing Delfin and trying to rip his mask, but the next they were clowning around, so there was never any intensity. Naniwa's offense wasn't looking that good, to the point it was generally hard to take the moves that were intended to do damage seriously. In particular, his submission work was Mexican level loose. **

8/18 Yamagata: Dos Caras vs. Super Delfin 18:16. As bad a performance as Delfin gave in the 90's. He just didn't care. They meandered for a while on the mat then Caras picked it up to set up his tope. Though they soon returned to the mat, submission master Caras was working from this point forward yet Delfin remained half asleep. Caras was beginning to wonder what would get Delfin to do something, as Delfin had clearly graduated the Keiji Muto school of refusing to bite at your opponents openings for counters. I was beginning to think this was going to be a draw, but, as weak an excuse as that would have been, Delfin ultimately had no reason pace himself as the match was shorter than his excellent match against Sasuke. Delfin finally showed a little motivation doing a couple of his favorite holds, but promptly pinned Caras. *1/4

8/23 Aomori-ken Mutsu Shi: The Great Sasuke vs. Dos Caras 19:47. Dos isn't the wrestler you want to fight when you're injured. He has such a vast arsenal; he'll stretch you, bend you, then break you. Caras showed great focus, quite simply dismantling poor Sasuke's back for the better part of 20 minutes. Unlike Delfin, Sasuke was very responsive and active, but was just too injured to come up with more than the occassional hope spot. Sasuke once again did a very nice job of selling. The match was very solid, with a strong performance by Caras. I don't think Sasuke should have won this match, but given that he "had to", I actually didn't totally hate that he got a fluke countout after a quebrada and space flying Tiger drop, as it at least elevated the risk moves to something above mere spectacle. The finish certainly didn't help the match, but it was at least more creative than the usual flash pin. ***1/2

8/24 Aomori-ken: Super Delfin vs. Mongolian Yuga 9:27. Delfin seemed to be sulking that he had to job to this chump and miss the finals. The expected win would have put him in a 3 way tie with Sasuke & Caras. Delfin decided to be Super Lazy, just going along with Yuga as if sleepwalking. Yuga is a very standard, non-descript junior. He did his moves fine, but his moveset is from a decade ago. Delfin finally woke up for the briefest of finishing segments, getting pinned setting up his Delfin clutch. *

8/25 Aomori-ken Aomori Shi

Mascara Contra Mascara: Gran Naniwa vs. Gorgota Cross 16:26. A fantastic life or death effort from start to finish. They had a memorable match largely do to their desire to do so, as the execution was far from perfect (typical of Naniwa, who was by far the sloppiest of the Michinoku main players), but they wrestled over their head, showing tons of heart. Though Lynn, who was mediocre throughout the round robin, can wrestle at this level, Naniwa was pretty much willing it. That will was very infectious as the fans were super into him and the match itself. They pulled out all the stops and the match was very dramatic, even the seconds were into it with TAKA jumping up and down and smashing the canvas to urge Nanaiwa on. Lynn instilled the urgency and intensity from the get go with a hot start, but injured his knee landing on his pescado, setting up Naniwa to attack it throughout the body of the match. Lynn went rudo on his comeback, ripping Naniwa's mask and piledriving Naniwa on a chair to bust him open, or rather, Naniwa wasn't used to blading so he and/or the seconds shredded his mask and put three or four gashes in between his eyes. Naniwa did a good job of looking run down, half out of it, to put over the beating and blood loss, including some nice touches such as laying back exhaustedly after a Frankensteiner off the top for the dramatic near fall. There were several other impressive near falls, and I'd say the audience was on the edge of their seat for them, except this is Michinoku, where you get great wrestling even though they can't afford chairs! ****

Fukumen World League Final: The Great Sasuke vs. Dos Caras 20:07. In their league match, Caras picked on Sasuke's bad back merciliously but lost, albeit on something of a fluke. In the final, Sasuke got a miracle cure and Caras more or less ignored his back - he threw in a couple ceiling holds early but that was about it - but won. I don't get it. There wasn't any particular storyline to them deciding to wrestle as equals or Caras being above attacking the back, as far as I could tell they just inexplicably did a match that was apart from the rest of the league. It was otherwise well wrestled and entertaining, but I was too distracted and annoyed by it not fitting the story they spent the last month telling. The effort was fine, but it was about the same as their very good league match rather than the expected attempt to do a blowout match for the final, and they wound up looking bad considering what Naniwa vs. Lynn had done - mostly through effort - especially since they are certainly more talented. Sasuke did a bunch of dives, but though he generally sold well, it was almost surreal to see him not even act hurt when he landed on his hip missing a dive over the top. Sasuke was badly injured legit taking Caras's powerbomb off the apron, cracking his skull for the 1st time. Ted Tanabe could tell Sasuke was hurt right away, but while Caras probably knew because they went home two moves later, one has to wonder why he'd choose to make them two more powerbombs considering that means Sasuke has to take the same sort of impact, and was thus likely to aggravate the same injured area. Satoru Sayama presented Caras with the championship trophy. ***


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