IWGP Heavyweight Champion Shinya Hashimoto vs Scott Norton - NJPW 3/21/94
Having defeated Muta twice, Sasaki and Chono at the Dome, Hashimoto had burned through a lot of challengers, a perfect time for top gaijin in New Japan, Scott Norton to step up. Looking at Scott Norton, he seems like he should be a favorite of mine as a big brick shithouse type wrestler, but I have not seen much to judge.
The first ten minutes or so of this is excellent. Really riveting David vs Goliath type shit which is not something you get to see from Hashimoto often. Norton is trash talking him telling him to hit the ropes. Hashimoto cant budge the big man. I love how he no sells the rainbow heel kick and then no sells the railing and comes back with a big clothesline. I mean Hashimoto cant get anything going. He is outside collecting him and Chono is cheering him on. Kicks, chops nothing doing. He tries to stretch out Norton arm and Norton does a fucking bicep curl and then short arm clothesline. This was great stuff and they were working around Norton's limitations. Dude has no charisma and not much offense. Turns out he hits the same desperate lariat a lot. Eventually Hashimoto wrestles him down into a tight armbar when he sees that short arm clothesline come again. Credit where credit is dude, Norton sells that arm for the rest of the match. Best spot of the match is Hashimoto hits his DDT gets two and then goes for the leaping version, Norton catches him and puts him into the corner and hits a superplex. Great spot it is all down hill from there. Somehow Hashimoto is the one who takes over and he runs through a short finish stretch before Norton runs through his powerbomb, powerslam and Samoan Drop. He sells the arm and then Hashimoto hits some of the worst enziguiris this side of Tenryu. He hits like a half a dozen of them. Cant get the pin. Slop drop, nope. Jumping DDT finally. Awesome front half that just gets progressively worst as they run through a very tepid finish run. A good IWGP title run from Hashimoto but not one for the ages. ***1/4