I am for all intents and purposes what you would call a “wrestling nerd”. And being such a nerd and also being super young, I am constantly looking for new, cool stuff that will peak my interests when it comes to that multi-faceted, wonderful thing that is pro wrestling. That’s why I’ve started a hopefully reoccurring post on this blog called “What Wrestlefan Watched”, where I talk about a match, segment or something interrelated with pro wrestling that I found interesting. So, let’s get into it.
Recently, because of the great stuff that I have seen from them recently, I have been diving into tons of New Japan Pro Wrestling, a company rich with lineage and one that I thinks does a perfect job of intertwining aspects of sport into pro wrestling. One of the examples of this, which they do every year, is the Best Of The Super Juniors tournament, which is a round-robin tournament that compiles some of the best junior-heavyweights in the world, competing for a future opportunity at the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship.
I just got done watching the first night of the 2011 tournament, a show that features great matches like Davey Richards vs. Prince Devitt in the main, TAKA Michinoku vs. The Great Sasuke as well as the legendary Tiger Mask taking on TJ Perkins, all of which we’re entertaining contests. However, the one I want to talk about may be overlooked by some when watching the entire event, but it is the one that stood out to me.
It pits the well-known Jushin Thunder Liger against CMLL star Mascara Dorada. Both of these men are great athletes in it of itself, but the key to this match is how it is composed. The clocked-in match time goes a little bit over 3 minutes, and I’d estimate that about 10% or less of the actual match takes place in the ring. That is because a majority of this match features Dorada continually diving to the outside onto Liger, in order to wear him out enough for him to get counted out. And, that is exactly what he did.
Now, not to be all uppity about it, but if this same match was placed in front of an American crowd, I believe, even in it’s context, it would be met with anger from people. For example, I remember that people were confused and a bit put off back at the ACW Queen Of Queens Tournament, when Matthew Palmer beat Rodney Mack in a extremely short match, doing so because he defeated him in Rodney’s famous “Five Minute White-Boy Challenge”. Even though they were trying to tell a certain story, some people were upset because they wanted a longer match between the two. But, to me, that match was perfect. I think at times companies tend to focus a bit too much on giving fans their monies worth, meaning giving them a lengthy wrestling match. But, you do have to stand by the belief that quality is better than quantity. If a shorter, quick match is used to tell a great story, I am all for it.
This is exactly what this match did. Even with the language barrier that comes with this match, I understood this story completely. Dorada was trying to get a quick, easy win over Liger in order to preserve himself for the 7 other upcoming matches he had in the tournament, so he hit Liger with everything. They also did a good job of showing how tired and exhausted Liger was after the defeat, having to be carried to the back afterwards. If instead, this match was 10-15 minutes long and Dorada and Liger went at each other like they are known to do, it would still be good, but would not mean as much in the end.
Overall, I felt thoroughly entertained by this encounter, and it also made me intrigued for the other matches for these two further in the tournament. This for sure deserves a watch, as well as this entire show, because it has something for just about everyone.
So, give this match a look and tell me what you thought of it. Also, would you like to see more of this column? If you have any suggestions of things I should watch, leave a comment, tweet to me, or contact me in one of the many possible ways on the internet. I’ll watch it and write a 500+ word thing about it, because what the hell else am I going to do. Socialize with people who don’t watch wrestling? Are you kidding me?