Meltzer’s Classics: Jushin Liger vs. El Samurai, 30/4/92

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The closer we get to the modern day the closer we get to proper pictures.

Meltzer’s Classics slides into 1992 and a wrestling world that I am more familiar with. Although in saying that, I as of this match haven’t picked up the ability to walk yet, but I’m out there somewhere. Uncle Dave is introducing us to a certain Jushin Thunder Liger who in his full body get up looks exactly the same as he did at the G1 Special. This is the final of what at the time was called Top of the Super Juniors where he goes face to face with El Samurai.

And what an evil bastard that El Samurai is as he refuses Liger’s handshake and instead spits in the legends face. He then follows that up by opening this match like a total dick, slapping Liger and going straight for the mask. Jushin tries to escape to the outside, but Samurai follows him and beats him with a foreign object (no idea what it is, to be honest) before tombstoning him on the floor. Liger makes it back in but walks straight into another tombstone.

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The mask never ages.

This sets up the opening portion of the match which revolves around Samurai bullying Liger. He’s pushing the refs as far as he can regarding counts, all while focusing on Liger’s head and more importantly his mask. It’s not until Samurai begins to wail on our hero in the corner that The Thunder God emerges and smacks him square in the chops. Jushin is pissed, and there’s a touch of Kishin to his anger.

What follows is a period of brutal offence from Liger. He rips up the matting on the floor and powerbombs Samurai on the concrete. Back in the ring, he hits the first of many Abisegeris before taking his turn at ripping at Samurai’s hood, leaving his face exposed and the mask hanging limply around his neck. Once again they head to the outside and Samurai is slammed him on the floor before Liger comes off the top rope with a rolling senton.

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There’s a lack of decent photos of Samurai full stop.

At this point, The Shooting Star is destroying his opponent and Samurai is on the run. Liger continually takes to the top rope, and every move is hitting straight on, it’s only when Samurai is able to drop Jushin with a reverse DDT that he gets a breather. He follows this up with a side Russian leg sweep which he transitions beautifully into the chicken-wing armlock. Liger pries himself out but gets locked straight into a sleeper. As Liger passes out Samurai makes the decision to capitalise on it by setting Liger up for a superplex. It turns out to be some particularly poor decision making.

For Liger may be half asleep but he’s not dead, and he knocks Samurai from his perch before hitting a splash and a tombstone. Samurai gets a brief comeback, but Liger cuts off a frankensteiner with another powerbomb. He then hits an electric chairdrop from the second rope for a two as we begin to head home and it will be moves out of the corner that see this match off. Samurai gets one final comeback as he avoids a dropkick and gets a quick roll up followed by a bridging German for two. It’s not to be, however, as Liger swats him out of the air on a crossbody attempt and goes to work. A top rope DDT, followed by a belly to back suplex from the same spot and finally a Super Frankensteiner finally brings this war to an end as Liger gets the three count and the win.

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What a nasty man that Samurai is.

This might be a weird comparison, but this match reminds me of Liger vs. Taichi at this year’s Best of the Super Juniors. In both matches we start off with friendly Jushin Liger, ready to shake his opponent’s hand and do his best. This changes when his opponent starts messing with the mask. After being bullied for a while, the Thunder God emerges, and all hell is unleashed. This match is significantly better than the Taichi one, however, as we have a Liger who is twenty-five years younger and an opponent who is actually in his league. If you have ever wondered exactly why Jushin Thunder Liger is held in the esteem he is, then this might be a good place to start.

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