Tatsumi Fujinami vs Tully Blanchard
ATC Hall Osaka, Osaka, Japan
(reviewed 03/18/2019) Awesome little gem that, as far as I know, is only now surfacing online for the first time. With two guys in their 40s who are either semi-retired or nursing old injuries it’s no surprise that this isn’t as spectacular as you’d hope it to be, but it’s gritty and mean in all the right ways. I’m not as versed on Tully’s work as I’d like to be so he stood out in a big way here, bringing a level of physicality I didn’t expect to match one of the most rock solid wrestlers the world’s ever seen. In turn Fujinami busted out some great reversals to out-trick the trickster, leaping over leg sweeps and sneaking into ankle picks in delightful ways. What ties this whole thing together is the atmosphere, with a few hundred people tucked away in a mid-sized room ready to boo the foreigner and cheer for their hero. We get to hear every bit of Tully’s trash talk and banter back and forth with the referee, which lends some character to a match that would otherwise be lacking in meaningful stakes. If you’re at all interested in what these guys could bring in ‘95, you really should see this.
HOW DOES THIS COMPARE TO SHAWN VS TAKER FROM WM25: As much as I’d like to push this past one of the most frustrating matches of all time I don’t think I can. This is a breezy joy to watch whereas Shawn/Taker is something of a slog, but Shawn/Taker manages to really knock me on my ass in a few places where this match can’t. If it had built its back end a little more or gone longer than 13 minutes maybe things would be different. As it stands Shawn/Taker edges it out.
VERDICT: Worse than Shawn Michaels vs The Undertaker from WrestleMania 25