Chris Benoit vs Great Sasuke
16 April, 1994
Sumo Hall; Yokyo, Japan
Super J Cup Finals
I have an old ass pair of boots that I have had since like 2002. They aren't really anything special, just a pair of brown boots that I bought to wear in the winter instead of gym shoes. Plus, I was kinda getting past that age where it is cool to have badass new athletic shoes all the time. They were just a nice pair of hiking boots that I got at Steve & Barry's. Now, they are very comfy, well broken in, and probably my favorite shoes. I wear them all the time, even though the leather is cracking, the eyelets are coming off, and the stitches are starting to rip. I would totally get another pair, but Steve & Barry's went out of business, and I cannot find another pair like them.
This match is like those boots.
Chris Benoit is dead and gone. He will never be able to have these kid of matches again. And no matter who tries, there will never be a guy to survive the Hart Dungeon and the New Japan Dojo ever again - it is impossible. That era has passed us. The NJPW dojo is different. Stu Hart has passed on.
Sasuke was a Japanese wrestler who was unable to get a break in a promotion in his own homeland, so he went to Mexico to train, and became a star in Mexico. He then returned to his homeland and worked as a freelancer, and founded his own promotion outside of Tokyo. He became such a big independent star that the major promotions of the world were willing to work with his company just to get him in their rings. With all of the promotions throughout Japan now, this era has also passed us by.
What you have in this match is a prototypical Japanese style wrestler (Benoit) and a revolutionary Japanese outlaw (Sasuke) going at it in a wonderful match that is beautiful, yet brutal. Some of the bumps these guys took were just plain crazy. Benoit took a vertical suplex from the ring apron to the floor. Sasuke delivered a missile drop kick from the top rope, to the floor. And insane amount of suplexes and dives.
Every time I watch this match I feel good inside. After it is over I feel sad, because I know that nothing like this could ever happen again. I don't know about you, but I do not think we will ever see a Japanese trained gaijin main event a major Japanese show against a Japanese freelance wrestler in a "five star" match.