Saturday, November 13, 2010

"Project 33" - Match #9: Steiner Brothers vs. Mutoh & Sasaki

Steiner Brothers vs. Keiji Mutoh & Kensuke Sasaki
12 August, 1992
Tokyo, Japan



I love that New Japan is starting to upload some of their classic stuff to YouTube. 

This match is a great example of two teams working a style that isn't the old "isolate one guy and work him over" style.  Not that there is anything wrong with that, but this is a match that just illustrates the difference between Japanese and US style.  There wasn't and extended spot where someone was worked over for awhile and then tried to make a tag, etc.  I like that style, but it works a lot better in Japan where they watch the action, than in the US where they want to cheer for someone. 

With that said, at this point in time the Steiners were widely considered the best team in the world.  They had already held the IWGP Tag Titles, and had held the NWA Tag Titles, but had not yet made the jump to the WWF.  Muta and Sasaki were two of the top guys in NJPW, but Sasaki & Hase were more of a regular team at this point in time. 

In short, you can see what made the Steiners huge in Japan in this match.  They tossed the two heavyweights around, and knew how to work the Japanese crowd.  Their brutal offense made every throw and bump look like it could get the pinfall.  At the same time, they sold well enough to make their opponents look like they could win too.  Part of that is because the crowd was solidly behind the native team, but had enough respect to cheer for the Steiners too.  It made every move exciting. 

Also, there were a lot of cool spots on this match.  Sasaki reversing the leap-frog-powerslam spot on Rick Steiner was terrific.  Mutoh sneaking in to add more leverage to Sasaki's crab hold was nice.  Rick & Scott switching spots after drawing in Mutoh was classic Memphis heel schtick that didn't make the Steiners look like cheaters, because the natives had done it first. 

Just an all-around solid main-event level tag team match. 

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