Super Delfin, Takehiro Murahama, & Tsubasa vs. Jushin Liger, Minoru Tanaka, & Shinya Makabe (NJPW 12/14/00)

Match ReviewsSuper Delfin

There’s nothing quite like an interpromotional tag. It’s almost a guaranteed way to add a little more spice and intrigue to any match up, but especially so in Japan. For these we have the Osaka Pro contingent of Delfin, Murahama, and Tsubasa against New Japan’s home team of Liger, Tanaka, and a young man who would be Togi Makabe.

The interpromotional animosity is clear from the start. Everyone is rearing to go before the bell even rings, and there’s a very palpable tension in the air. That naturally translates into in-ring aggression as no one wants to be the weak link that gets shown up in such a high stakes affair. That works especially well with both Tanaka and Murahama really just blasting each other with big strikes early on and all throughout.

Murahama, especially, is somewhat of a standout in this match. Not only does he bring the heat with the strikes, but his focused arm attacks also add a little more depth to the match in the latter half. Not to mention that Jushin Liger’s a better arm seller than Super Delfin, and what results is Murahama’s arm work feeling far more consequential than it did previously. Also, Murahama’s tope con hilo does not both in this match, and it is truly quite an impressive feat when done so smoothly.

Not to demean Delfin too much though, as he remains charming and enjoyable as ever. It’s a familiar role for him in this tag as the elder statesmen for a scrappy underdog team. He’s focused on dishing out punishment with big punches and big suplexes. I also love Delfin having basically reverse engineered his own old partner miscommunication spots. He does a delightful one here where he goads both Tanaka and Makabe into a trap that allows Tsubasa to drop them both. It’s great that Delfin’s able to do those kinds of spots from the offensive end as well as the receiving.

The result of all these elements is a rather breathless six-man junior showcase. It’s nice that the New Japan contingent brings a bit of a styles clash here that forces Delfin out of the typical six-man formula he’d grown used to. Someone like Murahama on the Osaka Pro team also helps create some real novelty in terms of the kind of offense brought to the table. Real great match here, promotional pride remains the most important thing yet again.

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