August 27, 2009
Matt Peddycord

IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion Ultimo Dragon vs. Jushin Liger Ė (WCW/New Japan Supershow III, 1/4/93)
No Japanese jibba jabba here. We get JR and Tony Schiavone on commentary from WCWís PPV version of this show that aired in March of 1993, which is why WWECLASSICS lists the match as happening on March 1. More of a star in Mexico at this point, Ultimo Dragon captured New Japanís IWGP Jr. Heavyweight title for the first time in November of 1992 by beating El Samurai. This set up a pretty big match as El Samurai was the one to beat Liger for the belt in June, but then Ultimo Dragon beat El Samurai, so now you have this confrontation. They have canned in crowd noise because American fans wouldnít know WHAT to think of all the silence of 50,000 Japanese people watching high-impact wrestling. Lots of AWESOME armdrag counters from both men to start that leads to a stalemate. Liger tries to apply the Surfboard, but Dragon fights it off and works the leg. Liger gives up on the Surfboard for a while and locks in an Indian deathlock/front facelock combo to REALLY stretch out the Dragon. Dragon returns the favor with that same submission and then applies a Muta Lock. With Dragon in control on the mat, Liger escapes a headscissors and surprises Dragon with the Surfboard! Tilt-a-whirl backbreaker gets two. Liger hits a Rolling Koppou Kick in the corner and palm strikes Dragon around, but winds up taking a tilt-a-whirl headscissors for Dragon to take control. Now a front suplex sets up a Surfboard from Dragon into a Dragon Sleeper! Itís funny how Ultimo Dragon is very much like if Jushin Liger and the Great Muta had a baby. Muta supplies the kicks and the moonsault, Liger provides the submissions and the powerbombs. Dragon flubs a missile dropkick as he slips off the top turnbuckle. Whoops. Handspring Elbow connects and a baseball slide sends Liger into the VIP section. From there, Dragon ascends to the top and FLIES down on top of Liger in the VIP section! Dragon brings Liger into the ring with a short brainbuster for two. They have some issues with a tombstone reversal sequence thatís quickly resolved as Dragon hits the tombstone. He heads up top and slips off the top turnbuckle again. Aww. Fallaway slam from Dragon gets two. Nice floatover from Liger sets up a rolling clutch cradle for 1-2-NO! Straight jacket suplex from Dragon gets 1-2-NO! Liger puts on the brakes on a whip and nails Dragon with a Rolling Koppou Kick to the floor. LIGER BOMB connects on the floor to set up a Senton Bomb. Clearly not a moonsault, JR and Tony. Back in the ring, Liger covers Dragon nonchalantly after a release German suplex for two and then gives Dragon a Palm Thrust for a half crab. Dragon makes the ropes and catches Liger with a clothesline as he comes off the top. Out on the floor, Dragon delivers a springboard corkscrew senton! They both make it back inside before the 20-count. Liger shrugs off a victory roll, but Dragon counters a powerbomb into a rana for 1-2-NO! Dragon hits a Quebrada and delivers a Liger Bomb for 1-2-NO! La Magistral cradle gets 1-2-NO! Liger Palm Strikes Dragon when heís up top and delivers a Super DDT for 1-2-NO! The legit LIGER BOMB stuns Dragon long enough for Liger to hit a Super Hurracanrana for 1-2-3. (20:10) So Liger regains the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight title for the sixth time here. Certainly state-of-the-art stuff at the time of the match, but nowadays itís really just a standard junior heavyweight style match. Not that thereís anything wrong with that. ***Ĺ

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