Sunday, April 03, 2011

"Project 33" - Match #108 - Ultimo Dragon vs Great Sasuke

Ultimo Dragon vs Great Sasuke
5 August, 1996
Sumo Hall; Tokyo, Japan
"J-Crown" Tournament Finals

So, this match was a pretty big deal back in 1996 when it went down.  It holds up very well today, but the ending comes off with a big thud.  It is OK though, Sasuke broke his skull right before that.

Yes.  Really.

At about the 13:00 mark of the video, Sasuke does the front flip to the outside, and doesnt quite rotate far enough, so when his ass hist Dragon on the floor, he ends up smacking the back of his head on the floor of Sumo Hall.  And he legitimately broke his skull.  No, he didn't get a concussion or something less sever, the crazy ninja looking mofo broke his f'n skull.  How he was able to stand, let alone pull off a couple crazy ass high flying moves is ridiculous.  That is a guy that has a skull that Chris Nowinski needs to examine.

Which doesn't really take away from the finish being a turd.  After all kinds of brilliant exchanges and counters throughout the match, Sasuke wins with a rana.

The J-Crown ended up being a big, and somewhat controversial accomplishment.  The brainchild of Jushin Liger, the J-Crown essentially gathered up all the non-heavyweight championships floating around Japan (courtesy of our friends in Mexico selling them off to Japanese independent groups for nice paydays), and had the holder of each championship put them on the line in a winner-takes-all tournament.  With the winner having all eight championships, what essentially happened was Liger created a mega cross-promotional championship.  Plus, it looked badass when Sasuke or Dragon came to the ring with eight belts.

See... that is pretty badass. 
The problems started when Dragon defeated Sasuke for the championship, and then went to WCW and won the WCW Cruiserweight Championship, which WCW didn't allow it to be part of the J-Crown.   Then, Dragon defended the WAR International Junior Heavyweight Championship separately from the J-Crown, which led to other companies demanding their belts back, including the WWF, who found out their old light heavyweight championship was somehow part of this mess. 

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