Tiger Mask vs. Dynamite Kid
23 April, 1981
Sumo Hall; Tokyo, Japan
Supposedly the Tiger Mask/Dynamite Kid matches are the best series of matches between any two wrestlers, ever. While I do not know if I would go that far, the series of matches between the two are certainly noteworthy, and important. This was the first, as this was the debut of Tiger Mask.
Tiger Mask was already known in Japan under his real name, Satoru Sayama, but had been sent on the traditional learning excursion to Mexico, where he established himself there. When he returned to Japan, he was given the Tiger Mask gimmick, and his first opponent was the established gaijin Dynamite Kid.
I have seen other matches between these two, and this certainly does not stack up. Here, Dynamite is essentially a bump machine for Tiger Mask, which is logical. Tiger Mask is going to get the big push, and Dynamite is going to be his rival. By Dynamite selling and putting him over this way here, it assures him of a rival to make money against in the future, because it establishes someone else. A lot of times, people seem to forget that it takes matches to draw money over time, not stars.
At this point, Dynamite and Tiger do not have the chemistry and fluidity that they would later have. There are actually quite a few clumsy spots in this match. But, the purpose of the match was served - Tiger Mask got over like gangbusters here with is quick offense that was suited for a smaller wrestler. Tiger essentially brought the lucha libre style to Japan here.
If you are looking for a "five star" classic here, this certainly isn't the Dynamite/Tiger match to watch.