TAPE 612

Quality: EX

Length: 129 min (DVD)

NEW JAPAN YOSHIHIRO TAKAYAMA SPECIAL (As I predicted way back in 1999 - see my comments on the All Japan Super Power Series '99 tape elsewhere on this site - Yoshihiro Takayama became a big star in 2002. He worked a series of incredibly stiff matches in New Japan, often with terrific results. To commemorate that series of matches, NJ ran this special on Samurai TV. VQ is EX.)
Yoshihiro Takayama vs Yuji Nagata, 5/2/02 (Ultra-stiff match that features a particularly nasty punch exchange where the guys just blast each other in the face with punches that make plenty of contact. Ouch! Excellent match too - ***1/2) Yoshihiro Takayama vs Manabu Nakanishi, 6/7/02 (Another stiff one, Takayama's chest gets all battered and bruised and turns this ghastly purple color. See the screen cap up above. Another excellent match - ***1/2) Yoshihiro Takayama vs Kensuke Sasaki, 8/3/02 (From the G1 Climax) Yoshihiro Takayama vs Hiroyoshi Tenzan, 8/4/02 (JIP - from the G1 Climax) YOSHIHIRO TAKAYAMA VS OSAMU NISHIMURA, 8/10/02 (Although I've seen Nishimura before, this is the first match of his that's really stuck with me. He's a total Antonio Inoki clone - only better. Terrific match with lots of good WRESTLING. Great stuff from the G1 Climax.) Yoshihiro Takayama vs Masa Chono, 8/11/02 (More from the G1) Yoshihiro Takayama vs Kazayuki Fujita, 8/29/02 (King of Gladiator Semis - looks like Takayama gets a busted ear drum here as bleeds pretty badly from his ear) Yoshihiro Takayama vs Tsuyoshi Kohsaka, 1/4/03 (King of Gladiator Finals - Takayama wins the NWF title in this disappointing match that comes to an end way too soon)