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Jushin Liger vs El Samurai (NJPW Explosion Tour Top of the Super Juniors 04/30/92)

NJPW Top of the Super Juniors April 30 1992 Jushin Liger El Samurai Liger vs Samurai Tokyo 5*

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#21 shoe

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Posted 24 August 2011 - 01:37 AM

I loved the hate here. The hate usually isn't evident in jr.s match.It was here. Samurai was great in his rudo role. The mask ripping was cool. Both guys worked hard. I have it as a MOTY condender in the 4 1/2* range.

#22 DocSarpolis

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 04:37 AM

I remember the 1st time that I ever saw this match. One of the very 1st (if not the 1st) tape that I got through the mail was a comp that I'm pretty sure I got from an Omar Delgado out of his mailing list. My primary attraction that particular tape was this match as it had been described as the MOTY. And, being a teen whose mind was blown by what he had seen from Liger and other Japanese juniors, I was pumped to see what I was sure would be a ultra high-end match of a style that had really just been teased to me prior to that. I mean, up until that point, my point of reference for this stuff was Apter mags and the NJPW/WCW Japan Supershow which had a pretty disappointing Liger-Nogami match. Anyhow, my reaction to this match when I saw it was pretty strange. It wasn't at all what I had anticipated, expected, and hoped for and yet I loved it. My 14-15 year old self was hoping for the 1992 equivalent of today's ROH/DG with tons of moves. Instead, I got a story and some violence that I thought we only got in the states. The meshing of the styles blew my little mind and I loved this match. On 1st viewing I really liked, but was slightly disappointed by it but was utterly compelled to watch it again. On 2nd viewing I absolutely loved it. Nearly 20 years later I get to watch it again and it holds up well. I completely understand all of the detractors, but it doesn't hurt the match for me. For example, the suggestions that Liger should have fought back here & there resonate well with me because I'm someone who thinks Liger is an all-time great, but not in the class of Ricky Morton & Ricky Steamboat. Meanwhile, I also agree on the indictments of Samurai. I couldn't put my finger on what the detractors were suggesting until the KENTA-SUWA match was referenced and that was like a light bulb in my brain as SUWA gives 1 of the all-time great heel performances in that match. In short, I get most of what the detractors are saying and I feel like we're arguing why a 4.5-4.75 star match isn't 5 stars. This is a great, great match

#23 smkelly

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 10:14 PM

Just watched this tonight on a Schneider Comp with my dad and fiancee. I've seen this match several times over the years; first time was in '02 IIRC, so it isn't new to me, but it was brand new to them. They dug it for about all the same reasons all us hardcore or smart fans do. The early rudoing of Samurai, the brawling on the floor, the revenge spots, the comeback of Liger, the comeback of Samurai, and then the comeback and finishing run of Liger's. My fiancee actually clapped when Liger pinned Samurai.

#24 Chess Knight

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Posted 05 December 2011 - 02:29 AM

Haven't seen this in a while, but the last time I did I adored about as much as I ever had. El Samurai awakening pissed off "don't touch my fucking mask" Jushin Liger is one of my favourite things ever.

#25 Badlittlekitten

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 02:17 PM

Just watched this match for the first time (I come clean, I'm a complete puro newbie) after reading good stuff about it around here somewhere. I agree with everything MJH said about it. Loved the early heel work, my favourite part of the match, and although the two early tombstones puzzled me, I was banking on Liger and Samurai to work it into the story as a vital part of the match. And maybe they did. And maybe I'm to used too the WWE/NWA style. But my enthusiasm for this match scuppered when Liger suddenly took control. I mean it wasn't even a transition, it was Sammurai dominating, a switch flicked, Liger is dominating. I get the "Fool, now Liger's PISSED boy" argument but there still should of been some semblance (Am I using that word in the right context? Yes I'm a bit thick. Oh HI! btw) of a fightback and a bit of selling would have been nice too, cos pissed off guys can still feel twitches of pain, even if only occasionally. Especially after two tombstones ONE OF THEM ON CONCRETE! I didn't find myself sympathising with Liger at any point in the contest. I Also thought the closing part of the match felt a tad contrived. Good match though. Never five stars. I suppose context has a lot to do with it as I understand this broke the mould in terms of junior matches in 1992. But as I watch this cold in 2012 it looks like a good match that told a good story which had huge flaws within it. I've spent the last couple of months watching loads of wrestling through youtube in my increasing spare time. I have a wealth of grappling available to me that I've never seen (and I mean shitloads compared to you guys. 1986 onwards WWF is the only wrestling I have any real authority on ATM) and plan to catch up with as much as I can. In this time of blessed unemployment I have seen many memorable and highly enjoyable matches. This wasn't quite one of them. It's only like the 3rd junior match I've seen (!). I hope this means that I just found this one match to be overrated and doesn't mean I dislike the entire Japanese style. Time will tell.

#26 Kevin Ridge

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Posted 26 August 2012 - 07:53 PM

What's up with the referee taking his sweet time cleaning the mat of streamers? Anyways, I thought this was really good to great. I wish they could have kept up the hatred throughout the match after the mask ripping. It was very unusual to watch a masked man wrestling with his mask completely torn off his face. Camera wise they don't zoom in that much and any close shots are quickly switched to another camera angle. Kind of hurts not having the visual of someone's face when they are hit with a big move or in submission. As match goes on they do show a bit more and more of El Samurai's face. He seems to not care at all though and wrestles as is. Which is good as would have been annoying if he was trying to cover his face up over and over. They busted out some nice big moves at the end towards the finish. All around, match was very enjoyable.

#27 Zero


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Posted 15 October 2012 - 09:48 AM

This was AMAZING! This is my match of the year so far. I loved Samurai just being a total asshole, then Liger finally just snapping and ripping his mask right the fuck off.

#28 MikeCampbell


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Posted 11 January 2013 - 01:27 PM

Good lord, this rules beyond belief. Lyger and Sammy hate one another and that's pretty much all you need to know. They work rather tight, Sammy really seemed to be trying to stretch Lyger in that armbar, and they throw in some stiffness and mask ripping for good measure. I can see why some wouldn't care for Lyger getting right up after missing the senton, but it wasn't a big deal to me, Lyger appeared to roll through the spot rather than take a flat bump.

#29 ohtani's jacket

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 09:16 AM

This has been one of the more interesting yearbook discussions thus far. I watched this match for the first time in years with scant recollection of it and basically wound up enjoying it because of Liger's offence. I don't like El Samurai's mask or his gimmick, and I don't think much of him as a performer so I wasn't buying the whole hatred thing. To me it looked strategic rather than hated filled. I didn't mind the way Liger took over the match, in fact I thought it was pretty cool. He was much better at acting pissed than Samurai was and his run of offence was spectacular. It didn't strike me as casual at all. I also didn't have a problem with Samurai's transition back onto offence and I thought that short spurt was his best part. I hated the submissions, though. What a momentum killer they were. Then they went to the turnbuckle and made a hash of that spot. The match never really built to anything after that and there's far more drama in other Liger matches with better opponents. I tend to agree that it had a squash feel to it, but Liger's offence was aces. I liked the pinfall, but to win the yusho like that was kind of telling.

#30 jdw

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 06:52 PM

Probably best to watch this one after watching their match from earlier in the series:


#31 WingedEagle

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 04:29 PM

A little backstory here that no one probably cares about but is absolutely relevant to this match for me. I was 11 in '92 and recently subscribed to the Torch. The Torch had a monthly column about Japan and one month pimped the hell out of this match to the point that I absolutely had to get my hands on it. I sought it out in their classifieds and got a comp tape featuring it. It may have been the first Japanese match I ever saw, but it blew me away then and still blows me away today. This is two weeks after their first tourney match where Samurai started things by slapping Liger prematch and winning in typical heel fashion using a low blow. Liger offers a handshake to start. Samurai spits in his face and the war is ON. Sammy immediately rips at his mask, cracks a beer bottle over his skull, delivers a tombstone on the floor, another in the ring and further rips at his mask. I'm biased but you've got tombstones on concrete, beer bottles and mask shredding 3 minutes in which already makes this the best light heavyweight match you'll ever see. Liger's transition comes with a big fist and he doesn't just go on the attack, he brings his own version of hate to the dance. Sammy eats a power bomb on the floor and then Liger starts working on his mask which eventually is just about completely ripped off and hanging like dead skin from his neck. Samurai takes a sick bump on a dropkick. Liger brings a ringpost moonsault and Samurai is right back with a tope con hilo. The stretch run is sick -- Liger gets a near fall out of a power bomb to counter a Samurai rana. After a DDT and back suplex off the ropes Liger wins it with a top rope frankensteiner. This wasn't just Jushin Liger showing his versatility in the ring and having an opponent who was more than game to rise to the occasion with him, it brought the hatred and violence of Flair/Funk, Austin/Hart or any other classic and applied it in a junior HW setting. ****3/4 I began the yearbook expecting this to be my MOTY and it didn't disappoint. Its possible the AJ 6 man tag from May surpasses it if i I can be objective, but we'll see what happens come ranking time. What eventually prompted Samurai's face turn and team with Liger? I wasn't paying keeping current with the scene at that time and don't recall the specifics.

#32 PeteF3

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 10:38 PM

No, Samurai isn't as good as Liger, at least not here, but this is not Liger vs. a broomstick by any stretch. Sammy is awesome just destroying Liger at the start and heeling it up to the crowd, he's awesome selling the beating (and I love that he never bothers to remove the remnants of his mask, wearing it like a bandana and having it flop over his eyes when he's prone on the mat), and he makes an awesome comeback after Liger's paid him back several times over. Incidentally, another little bit that I thought was great was Liger trying to hit a German suplex, and being ready when Samurai tries to do the reverse punt to the nuts--shifting his body turning it into a backdrop suplex instead. Great little play off the previous encounter. I didn't think the submission portion dragged this down at all--they worked it so well with so much hatred and urgency that it was one of my very favorite parts of the match. There are some spectacular spots, of course, but this is all about Samurai coming in as an overconfident dick and Liger coming back to kick his ass, with Sammy showing that he's a little more than just a lucky cheapshot artist towards the end. On the contrary, I expect this to age BETTER than just about any NJ juniors match to come, because the storytelling element is there and the layout is different than the typical juniors contest. This match had a great deal of buzz in the first Liger/Samurai thread, so I came in with pretty high expectations. For better or for worse, expectations can play a huge role in how I view a match, so that means this match had strike 1 going against it from the start. To me it's *****. Easily. It's one of the 2 or 3 best matches of the 2.33333 Yearbooks I've watched, possibly better than any '80s NJPW match. It was really fucking good, is my point here.

#33 Loss

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Posted 18 November 2014 - 11:36 PM

What a difference a few years makes. I still love this match, but I'd take it down ever so slightly. I'm making a note here to remind myself to do a direct comparison to Liger-Sano from 1/90 because this seems more on par with that now. Looking back at my comments, there's not much I'd say differently. It's just that my enthusiasm waned a little after seeing it again. Still an all-time classic, but this is three matches I've watched tonight that I thought were five-star matches originally and three matches I wouldn't give that distinction anymore. I didn't expect that.

#34 Zenjo


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Posted 25 February 2015 - 09:52 PM

Liger had a superstar entrance and Samurai initially wasn't that over in the Ryogoku. In a surprising turn of events the underdog fought dirty from the bell, which shocked his opponent during the early stages. Liger fought back with furious anger and kicked Sammy's ass, nearly ripping his mask all the way off in the process. Like Sano and Aoyagi found out in the 1990 Yearbook, you piss off Liger at your peril. I felt like a blade job would've been beneficial and it's not often I say that. The changes in momentum here were very clear cut before they went to a more traditional Junior stretch. Though there were impressive moves it felt a little disconnected to what had gone before. In the end Liger went over strongly and there was no doubting he was the ace. Put me in the really good but not a classic camp.

#35 Jimmy Redman

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Posted 29 December 2015 - 08:02 AM

So just as a preamble, I have such wrestling fatigue - literally - at this point that I can barely sit through a ten minute match without nodding off, let alone anything longer, PARTICULARLY something in a style that I'm largely unfamiliar with. Puro juniors matches are not my favourite thing in the world, and I keep trying to watch Liger matches in a kind of "eat your vegetables" way, without ever having really "got" him.


This is all to say that the fact that I am sitting here at almost 1am in the morning, having just sat down and watched two half hour Jushin Liger matches back to back, and I am wide a-fucking-wake...is unexpected to say the least.


I had never seen a Samurai match in my life before I'm pretty sure, so I don't really know what I was expecting from him here, but I can say that it wasn't him being a fucking asshole rudo from hell. He was great in this, from the hot, hate-filled opening with the mask ripping and the bottle shots, to then being taken over and putting up a fight, but just gradually dying because once he woke the dragon, this shit was over and the question was merely how long it would take. I get the feeling that this performance of his is an exception, which is a shame because he's great here and I'd like to see more of this Samurai if such a thing exists.


Liger I am starting to appreciate more and more. I think on the whole it's just a matter of adjusting my own expectations. Going into the juniors scene quite blind, I see this cartoon character in a crazy mask who is the anchor of a juniors division and my instinct is to expect pace, more pace and highspots up the wazoo. Where instead he (and they) basically just works like a smaller heavyweight, with some dives sprinkled in. Once I got past that expectation and started to see him more as simply an ace of a slightly smaller division and not a spot monkey, I've started to get him a lot more. And I can see how he matches up to the classic babyface aces, guys like Misawa, or Hijo del Santo, or even Cena. Liger absolutely nails the aura, just the gait of an ace. And here we get someone willing to test him, to try his luck, but that only awakens the anger in Liger and you just don't fuck with that.


This match fucking rocked, basically. I've never enjoyed a 90s juniors match so much in my life. In fact the only other one I enjoyed this much was the other match I watched tonight, Liger/Otani 97, which was also tremendous. So yeah I am certainly turning a corner on Liger, which I wasn't sure was even possible a few hours ago.

#36 garretta

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Posted 15 February 2016 - 07:45 AM

I thought this was just as much about Matsuda's comeback as Liger's ultimate victory. (I'm using Matsuda's real name here because he wrestled most of the match with his mask off.) I've seen a pissed-off Liger/Yamada beat guys to within an inch of their lives and overwhelm them to the point where they're completely helpless in the bargain, but Matsuda not only refused to be overwhelmed, he got a few close counts even after Liger's offensive roll started. Ultimately, though, he couldn't take Liger's repeated suplexes off the top; I think I counted one regulation superplex and two back superplexes, plus the finishing Frankensteiner. Kudos to Matsuda for taking so many vicious bumps on the back of his head in so short a time.


I knew about the ferocity of the first few minutes from reading about it in this thread, but I didn't expect the sequence in the middle where Liger tried to rip Matsuda's arm off. That has to be some of most painful limb work I've ever seen; I got the feeling that Matsuda was literally trying to keep his arm attached to the rest of his body. Of course, Liger had to get to his flashier finishing offense, so he never really followed up on it, but it would have been interesting to see just how far he'd gone with it if he'd had the time.


Matsuda's work on Liger's neck shouldn't be discounted either; not only fid he hit the tombstone on the outside, but he hit another one in the ring right afterward that might have won him the bout if he'd gone for the cover, then followed it up with a Rude Awakening, a recliner chinlock, and a dragon sleeper. I have a feeling that if this wasn't a blood feud already, it's going to be one going forward, as these two have established that they're not only out there to beat each other, but to cripple each other. I'm sure we haven't seen the last of this issue.


I wonder who got the idea to hide not one, but two bottles under the ring for Matsuda to use. I've never seen a spot like that done twice in a row before.


I haven't seen enough New Japan juniors matches to call it the greatest match ever for that division, and I'm pretty sure it's not the best match in New Japan history, either. But it's certainly the match of the tournament and the start of what should be another memorable rivalry in a long and distinguished line for Liger.

#37 Microstatistics

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Posted 17 May 2016 - 03:20 PM

 On the contrary, I expect this to age BETTER than just about any NJ juniors match to come, because the storytelling element is there and the layout is different than the typical juniors contest.

Strongly agree with this. Does not age well is literally the last thing I would say about this match. Meltzer's review of this match is honestly pretty bad because he puts all the emphasis on Liger's spots (which are amazing mind you) but completely ignores the aspects that truly make it great.


Anyways PeteF3's review and the initial reviews of Loss are tremendous and pretty much sum up why this is a near perfect absolute all time classic, IMO. *****

#38 JKWebb

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Posted 07 March 2017 - 02:41 PM

#35 - placetobenation.com/countdown-top-500-matches-of-the-90s-50-1/


I love how Samurai starts this off.  He's going for the mask, he's hitting him with objects, he doesn't care what the ref says, he's out for blood.  Might as well hit a piledriver on the outside and ask the crowd what's up.  You get a second piledriver, then back to the mask.  I really dig the heelish antics of Samurai in this bout.  He really lays it in on Liger for about the first 10 minutes.  Once Liger gets the upper hand, he eventually rips the majority of the mask off and gets in some great offense on Samurai.  You really can feel the hate.  There's one spot I love, where Liger is working a facelock or chinlock and decides to quit and just slam the head of Samurai on the ground (followed by multiple strikes in the corner).  I'm still a bigger fan of the 01/90 Sano match, which remains my favorite Liger match to date (and I have that one at ***** for me).  But, this is a great match.  ****1/2ish to me. 

#39 CapitalTTruth

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Posted 07 May 2017 - 03:58 PM

I am closer to the "this is all time great" side of things on this match.  The details have been outlined clearly enough. The match builds well to me and I have no issues with the execution. I think the end where Samurai comes back one more time and adds that last tinge of doubt is great. The hate is palpable throughout but in that final few stretches it turns into desperation. The mask rips, the drama, the stiff shots, the dives, that pinfall at the end... this is great wrestling. ****3/4 (I could see bumping it at some point).

Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: NJPW, Top of the Super Juniors, April 30, 1992, Jushin Liger, El Samurai, Liger vs Samurai, Tokyo, 5*

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