Watching an old Steiner Brothers match, specifically the one against Road Warrior Hawk and Kensuke Sasuke (https://njpwworld.com/p/s_series_00114_1_8) which is a really good match even though I didn't review it, which inspired me to really go through the back catalog of matches that NJPW has instead of just watching the recent stuff. I avoided any of the singles matches and just stuck to their early tag team work in NJPW, especially as a counter to what I remember of them from WCW during the attitude era.
Steiner Brothers vs. Manabu Nakanishi & Kensuke Sasuke
Pretty standard tag match from two good teams here. It's fun to see Nakanishi back in his prime instead of the slow moving guy he is now when he shows up in NJPW. Scott and Nakanishi start the match with some grappling in real amateur wrestling style. Eventually Nakanishi gets an advantage then hoists Scott up for a big powerslam. Scott rolls out of the ring to recover then comes back in and hits a big exploder suplex. The match goes back and forth with a mixture of powerful strikes and big suplexes from each team before Scott lifts Nakanishi up on his shoulders and Rick hits the bulldog off it. A really good standard tag match from the two teams. Not a crazy main event type match, but just good wrestling.
Steiner Brothers & Keiji Mutoh vs. The Outsiders & Masahiro Chono
A fun six man tag match between the two teams. Back and forth early with everybody paired off to fight in turn. Eventually Scott plays the face in peril for the good guys and Rick gets a hot tag where he t-bone suplexes everybody. The heels start to just come in whenever and use the numbers advantage as Scott is still down and out from the beatdown to get the advantage. The Steiners manage to hit an electric chair bulldog on Hall, but his teammates come in and save him and four of the men brawl to the outside. Rick gets the advantage in the ring and climbs to the top for a bulldog on Hall, but Nash climbs onto the apron and punches him a couple of times to stop him. Hall grabs him off the top and hits an outsider's edge. Mutoh breaks up the pinfall then Chono throws him onto the ramp and they brawl out there. Nash rolls into the ring and hits a jackknife powerbomb and Hall covers Rick for the three count. At one point Rick came off the top for a crossbody block and Scott Hall caught him and hit a fall away slam. Scott Hall is really strong is what I'm trying to get at.
Steiner Brothers vs. Vader & Bam Bam Bigelow
A good tag match between these two teams and three out of the four guys really get to highlight what makes them great. Scott does too, but he's a little sloppy in this match and doesn't look that great, although he does a good job of playing the face in peril in this one. He did that in the previous match I talked about, but in that one Chono was the big hero, in this one we get to see Rick get a hot tag and he's impressive. Because of what Scott looked like in his biggest run we always think of him as the strong one, but Rick looks really impressive in this one. He hits a really good backbody drop on Bam Bam at one point. Bam Bam and Scott start the match off with a lockup that ends with a beautiful enziguri from Bam Bam. He spends a lot of this match proving he's agile for his size which is fun to watch. Vader looks good in the match as well and hits a brutal powerbomb on each of the Steiners that just barely falls to get a three count. Bam Bam hits a big rolling senton on Rick and would get the pinfall, but he had knocked the ref over on the powerslam preceding it and when he helps the ref up Rick grabs him with a belly to belly suplex and gets the three count.
This match would have been a bit better if Scott had been on his game, but he slipped coming off the top once, his frankensteiner was sloppy, and he just looked a little off. Thankfully his job was to get beat up most of the match so it worked out pretty well. And as I said earlier its cool to see Rick get the showcase in a match from these guys. Vader and Bam Bam were both killing it for their part as well. Just good stuff from those three guys.
Steiner Brothers vs. Hiroshi Hase & Keiji Mutoh 1994
This match is great. Back and forth mat wrestling to start between Hase and Scott. They eventually move to stand up and Scott grabs a single leg, but instead of a takedown just suplexes Hase over his head. Rick and Mutoh tag in and Rick just acts like a dog for a bit and pretends to pee on Mutoh then grabs a single leg and bites Mutoh who complains to the ref. Lots of back and forth wrestling between the teams here. Eventually Mutoh and Scott are the legal men and Mutoh throws Scott out of the ring onto the ramp and takes him down with a suplex then runs about twenty yards up the ramp then comes down with a clothesline on Scott. Rick comes over and Mutoh suplexes him and Hase runs up the ramp then comes back with a clothesline. Back in the ring Mutoh gets armbreaker on Rick who rolls him over onto his back then slowly lifts him up and hits a belly to back suplex, some guys can just lift a big guy up in that short armbar position quickly, but damn it looks impressive when Rick slowly hoists him up and over. Rick gets a tag and Scott comes in hot. Hase gets tagged in and we start to build to the finish. Scott starts hitting big moves and that culminates in him hitting a Steiner driver and getting so excited about it he starts taunting the crowd. I don't blame him it was perfectly hit. Scott lifts Hase up and starts slapping him and hitting steiner-lines, but Hase refuses to go down for a couple of them. Rick grabs Mutoh off the apron and brawls with him ringside. Scott picks Hase up on his shoulders and Rick comes off the top with a bulldog. Scott makes the cover and gets the three count just before Mutoh comes off the top rope to break it up.
Great back and forth action and lots of great work from all four men in this match. Which isn't really surprising considering who they are. I kind of forgot how good Rick Steiner was as a wrestler, because he didn't do much in WCW. I kind of undersold the offense that Mutoh and Hase got in, because I'm too focused on the Steiners, plus they hit a lot of suplexes and I love a good suplex. This is the kind of tag action that I love to see and definitely a match to check out.
Steiner Brothers vs. Hiroshi Hase & Keiji Mutoh 1995
This match is the follow up to the previous one at the next years Tokyo Dome show. This match builds up more slowly and has some nice callbacks to the match that occurred the year prior, but never builds up to the high points of the previous match. I like when Mutoh takes Rick outside for the ramp run clothesline that Rick ducks it and Scott nails Mutoh with a clothesline, and Mutoh runs almost the entire ramp this time. He is tired by the time he gets clotheslined. Early in the match we get the Steiners hitting a stereo gorilla press slams and Mutoh and Hase rolls to the outside and Hase gets a kiss from a fan who I'm assuming is his wife. Rick goes outside and gives a fan a kiss on the cheek that she is not into. Scott plays the face in peril for a large part of the match with Hase and Mutoh working on his legs. Rick gets a hot tag and cleans house for a bit. Scott gets back in and goes for a steiner driver, but Mutoh counters by landing behind him and lifting him up for a tombstone. It breaks down into chaos for the end of the match and we get Scott going up for the DDT off the shoulders of Rick, but Hase counters with a victory roll for two then Mutoh climbs up and hits a hurrincanranna to take Scott off the top rope. Hase hits a northern lights suplex and gets the three count just before the kick out.
A good match, but not as fun as their first encounter. Everybody's got some good stuff and it builds up to the climax so for a certain kind of fan this match might be more entertaining than their first encounter. Its still a really good match though, just not the great match that the first one was.
Everything I watched of the Steiner Brothers on NJPWworld was worth watching. It went from well done basic matches to top notch main event caliber tag matches against some of the best talent from Japan. Their style blends amateur wrestling with the pro style very well and the explosiveness of their suplexes is great. Their tag team maneuvers are really good and are what really elevated them above most of their opponents, who don't really have anything special going on with their team work beyond just being good wrestlers. Definitely a good dive into the back catalog and hopefully some of the other ones I do will be as much fun.