Super Delfin & Monster Zeta Mandora vs. Jushin Liger & El Samurai (Osaka Pro 1/7/01)

Match ReviewsSuper Delfin

Interpromotional warfare continues!

This time our heroes have the home field advantage as we have Super Delfin teaming with Monster Zeta Mandora (and his wonderful googly eyed mask) taking on the invading force of Jushin Liger & El Samurai, dressed in their sick black gear. The sheer contrast between the invaders in their sleek black against the brightly colored Delfin and the goofy-looking Mandora perfectly sets the tone for what to expect from the match up.

What we get is pretty much as close to the modern take on southern tag formula as you can get. The early segments are about exploring the two key pairings of the match: Delfin against Samurai, and Liger against Mandora. Delfin and Samurai seem to be at least on rather even footing, with Delfin maybe having a slight advantage. It’s Liger and Mandora where the drama of the match comes as Liger has no issue asserting himself against the Osaka Pro homer.

Naturally, we get an extended heat segment that sees the invaders work over Mandora. It’s a real credit to both Liger and Samurai here for how mean they come across. One of my favorite moments sees Liger grab the Romero stretch on Mandora by the enemy corner, allowing Samurai space to grind his forearm across Mandora’s face. Just real nasty stuff.

Delfin’s in a familiar role here as the hot tag, but he actually feels a lot more central to this match than similar tag matches in the past. He’s the hot tag coming in to save Mandora here, but there’s a lot of emphasis placed on how Delfin sets up Mandora for success in the closing segments. Delfin absolutely cleans house, throwing lariats, hitting palm strikes, diving on people. It’s one of his finer hot tag performances, and that’s something he’s already been quite adept at for a while now.

I like how Delfin’s really the one holding the match together for his team. Mandora has his moments to shine and it looks like he might even come close at points, but it’s clear that Delfin’s the one who’ll have the ability to get the win here. Until then it’s a matter of survival with Delfin desperately trying to break up pin attempts on his partner until he finally has the space to lay in his offense to get the victory.

Great match with strong performances from everyone involved. It follows a familiar formula, but it’s a formula I love, and when combined with the stakes of an interpromotional rivalry, one that’s guaranteed to deliver.

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