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Tuesday, September 26th 2017.
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Best of Dusty Rhodes in Japan - Volume 1

by Mad Dog

This was a free download on IVP Videos this week and I found it to be an interesting compilation DVD. When you think of gaijin in Japan, Dusty Rhodes isn't the first, second or even tenth name you would think of. I double checked his Wikipedia page and as far as that single source, he's never held a single championship in Japan.

This is also interesting because the matches all take place in late 1980 till mid 1982. That means Dusty Rhodes is in his prime and at the absolute apex of his stardom. Footage of Dusty in his prime isn't as easy to come by as his Crockett run from the mid to late 80s. I want to see what a younger Dusty is capable of in the ring.

Antonio Inoki and Dusty Rhodes vs. Hulk Hogan and Stan Hansen (5/26/81)

There's some serious star power in this match. I bet you hae almost 30 World Title reigns between these guys. Inoki and Hogan start us off here. They run the ropes and Inoki catches Hogan with a chop. Hogan hits an elbow and then slams Inoki to the mat. Hogan and Hansen drop elbows on the downed Inoki. They hit a double clothesline and then Hogan hits the leg drop for two. Inoki ducks a clothesline and hits a series of dropkicks. Dusty in and the crowd pops pretty big. Dusty dodges a punch and hits the Bionic Elbow. Hansen tags in and takes Dusty down with a headlock and works the hold. Hansen and Dusty brawl a bit until Dusty gets Hansen down and applis a headlock. Hansen suplexes Dusty to escape the hold and then slams him into the corner. Hansen goes for the trapezious hold and tags Hogan in. Hogan beats on Dusty and goes back to the trap. Dusty fights his way loose and then hits a Bionic Elbow. Dusty's arm is injured and Hogan regains the advantage. Hansen tags in and they hit a double elbow. Inoki tags in and climbs to the top rope and Hansen dares him to do it. Inoki backs off and Hansen pummels him on the apron. Inoki gets in the ring and hits a back body drop but Hansen quickly recovers and hits a backbreaker. Hansen hits a knee lift for two. Hogan tags in and brutalizes Inoki. Hogan hits a shoulder breaker for two. Hogan rams Inoki into the corner a couple of times and tags Hansen in. They hit a double back body drop and then Hansen drops a knee for two. Hansen works a headlock and the crowd chants for Inoki. Hogan tags in and hits a big flying knee. Dusty manages to tag in and hits a double noggin knocker on the bad guys. Bionic Elbow for everyone in sight before he levels Hogan with the combo punches. The numbers finally prevail and Hogan applies the bear hug. Hogan tries to use the move for a pin but only gets a two count. Dusty springs to life but can't break the hold. Hogan gets a two count with the bear hug again. Dusty finally breaks the hold with the Bionic Elbow and tags Inoki in. Inoki kicks Hogan repeatedly and then fights off Hansen. Inoki hits a vertical suplex and covers but Hansen makes the save. Dusty tags in and hits the Big Elbow and covers. Tiger Jeet Sighn runs in with a fencing foil and starts beating Dusty with it. Needless to say Hogan and Hansen got disqualified. Dusty blades his arm to sell the beating. This was very typical of a tag team match you would see at the top of a house show in the 70s and 80s. Even right down to the heel run in to end everything in a DQ. This was well executed. Everything was in the right place and at the right time. But past that, it was very paint by numbers. I didn't feel like I saw anything different from any of the guys involved. This was a fun little historical oddity though as you have Hogan pre-Hulkamania and what I'm assuming are two unique pairings in Inoki/Dusty and Hogan/Hansen. All in all, I'll give this **1/2 for a pretty standard tag.
WINNERS: Antonio Inoki and Dusty Rhodes

Dusty Rhodes vs. Killer Kahn (12/10/81)

You know what doesn't say "this is going to be a good match."? Killer Kahn that's what! Seriously, I'm thinking through all the Kahn matches I've ever seen and I can't think of anything better than passable out of the guy. Long feeling out process to start us off here. They lock up a few times and resort to some dirty tactics. Khan hits a knee and then puts the boots to Dusty. Double thrust and then a big chop get Dusty in the ropes. Dusty fights back with a Bionic Elbow. Khan gets an armlock and then knocks Dusty out of the ring. This turns into a brawl outside of the ring. Back in the ring as Kahn goes back to the arm lock and hits a couple of kicks. Big chop and the double thrusts to the head. Khan hits a knee drop for two. Dusty powers out of a piledriver attempt and hits the punch combo on Kahn. Dusty hits an elbow drop and takes off Kahn's boot. Dusty beats Khan with the boot until the referee takes it away. Kahn gets the boot and starts beating Dusty with it. The referee tries to take the boot away and Kahn repeatedly pushes him away. Dusty does the blade job as the referee calls for the disqualification. Kahn argues with the referee until Dusty pulls him out of the ring and they continue to brawl on the outside. Let's just say that this match was in no danger our changing my opinion of Killer Kahn. I hate this type of match. You get this extended feeling out phase and the second things start to pick up it ends with a DQ or count out. Kahn was an issue here as he seems to know how to do the double thrust and chops. Thankfully my hunch was correct and this was a pretty short match. Sadly, the length was the strongest merit this match had. 3/4* because of the blade job Dusty did at the end and the referee could take a bump.
WINNER: DUSTY RHODES

Dick Murdoch and Dusty Rhodes vs. Rusher Kimura and Tiger Toguchi (12/8/81)

I don't believe I've ever seen Kimura or Toguchi wrestle before so this should be an interesting introduction. I will fess up right here. The Outlaws are one of my favorite tag teams from the 70s. So this match is already up by a few scores before the bell even rings. Dusty and Toguchi start us off in this one. Dusty ducks an elbow and hits the Bionic Elbow right off the bat. They run the ropes and Dusty gets a hip toss. Murdoch tags in and goes to the arm to wear down Toguchi. Murdoch works the wrist lock and then tags Dusty in. Dusty continues the work on the arm until Rusher tags in. The crowd pops pretty big for that. Rusher and Dusty exchange blows and then Rusher works the arm. Murdoch tags in and Rusher hits a headbutt. Rusher works a headlock and tags Toguchi in. Toguchi continues the headlock until Murdoch gets loose. Murdoch misses an elbow drop and Toguchi goes back to the headlock. They run the ropes until Murdoch hits an elbow. Dusty tags in and tosses Toguchi out of the ring. They brawl on the outside and the crowd gets fired up. Back in the ring Toguchi works some sort of peck hold. I'm not sure what he's doing. Dusty starts dancing as the crowd cheers him on but Toguchi gets him back down. Rusher tags in and continues to work the hold. Dusty breaks the hold with the Bionice Elbow but gets a chop right in the throat. Things spill to the outside and Rusher just beats his ass on the outside. Multiple head butts and a ram into the ring post. Dusty does the blade job. Back in the ring and Rusher continues the beatdown. Toguchi tags in and continues the beating. Toguchi back in with a head butt and Dusty seems to be Hulking Up. Toguchi back in and Dusty crawls through his legs and tags Murdoch in. Murdoch goes to town on Toguchi and then slams him to the mat. Double noggin knocker for Rusher and Toguchi. Murdoch hits the Brainbuster and covers but Rusher makes the save. Dusty and Rusher tag in. Dusty hits an elbow and then the Big Elbow but Toguchi makes the save. Everyone in the ring and all hell breaks loose. The referee calls for the disqualification as Rusher throws Dusty over the guard rail. The Outlaws clear the ring in the aftermath. This one started slow but really picked up as things progressed. Rusher and Toguchi put a real beating on Dusty towards the end of this one. I was really digging this one but in typical fashion, there was a screwed up finish that hurt the match. This is one of the frustrating things about Japan in the 70s and 80s. There was just a constant stream of screwjob finishes like this. So far on this DVD, Dusty has bladed 3 out of 3 times and we've had a DQ ending 3 out of 3 times. Are you sensing a theme here too? **1/2 for a fun tag match here.
WINNERS: Dick Murdoch and Dusty Rhodes

Dusty Rhodes vs. Tiger Jeet Singh (12/10/80)

Remember what I said about Killer Kahn? That does about triple for Tiger Jeet Singh. If you don't know much about the history of New Japan, Tiger Jeet Singh was the main rival for Antonio Inoki as the promotion was trying to get it's feet off the ground in the 70s. His son is the talentless Tiger Ali Singh in case you were wondering. Singh attacks before the belt and chokes Dusty with his head gear. The referee and some of the ringside crew break this up after a lot of effort. Singh attacks Dusty outside of the ring and just lays a beating on him. Dusty grabs a table and smashes it over the back of Singh. Dusty rams him into the ring post and gets things back in the ring. Dusty hits a Bionic Elbow and then rams Singh into the ring post. Back out of the ring as Singh and Dusty brawl into the crowd. The referee calls for the bell and the fight continues. Dusty grabs a chair and just lays Singh out with it. Yeah, this wasn't even a match, just a brawl. 4 for 4 on the blading and screwjob finish count. The brawl continues on as both men put a beating on each other. This match makes me guess that the sword attack from the first match was related to this. No rating because it was just a brawl. A fun brawl though.
DOUBLE COUNT OUT

Dusty Rhodes vs. Abdullah the Butcher (2/9/82)

Bad News Allen sighting as he leads Abby down to the ring. Fun Abby fact! Abby was 41 years old when this match took place. Who would have thought that Abby and Dusty would have outlived a vast majority of their contemporaries? I'm not a huge Abby fan so Ii'm not looking forward to this one. Well, maybe if the fork makes an appearance. Let's get it on shall we. Abby attacks Dusty during his entrance and we're off with a giant brawl. Abby just rams Dusty into the guard rail repeatedly and then drags him into the crowd. Abby stabs Dusty in the head with a water bottle and we've got a blade job! Let me check that off of my Dusty in Japan checklist right here. Dusty appears to be hurt and Abby continues to attack him as the ring crew check on him. They help Dusty to the back as Abby hangs out in the ring. Dusty comes back and he looks fired up. Shit just got real bro! Abby rams Dusty into the ring post and we're finally in the ring. Abby pounds on Dusty as the bell signals the start of the match. Abby continues his merciless assault as the crowd chants for Dusty. Dusty beats the referee's count and starts fighting back. Abby gets a series of Bionic Elbows before Dusty drops. Abby hits the elbow drop but Dusty kicks out. Dusty struggles to his feet and blocks a head butt with an eblow. Dusty hits the Bionic Elbow and then unloads on Abby. Dusty hits a running elbow and then just beats on Abby. Dusty gets so pissed off that he bites Abby on the side of the head. Now, that's hardcore! Dusty pulls on Abby's ear and just elbows him into oblivion. Dusty hits the Big Elbow and then a second one. Dusty only gets a two count so he decides to bite Abby again. The referee tries to break things up and Dusty finally punches him out to draw the DQ. Really? Abby tried to murder the guy before the match and that was just a-okay but punch a zebra and you went too far? Double standards right there. Dusty continues beating up Abby as the referee and ring crew try to break it up. Bad News Allen gets involved as things continue to be wild. I might be delirious here but I thought this was awesome. This was just a hated filled brawl. This was easily the best Abby match I've ever seen. I'm giving this ***1/2. Don't look at this for technical perfection, don't even agree with me on that rating but this match was incredibly fun. The only shot against it was the non-finish but I saw that coming a mile awau. So no biggie. They do a crowd shot of the ring and you can still hear the mayhem going on somewhere in the stadium.
I'M GUESSING DOUBLE DISQUALIFICATION?

Bob Backlund and Dusty Rhodes vs. Bobby Duncam and Sgt. Slaughter (6/4/81)

I kid you not, Duncam and Slaughter come to the ring to "Under the Rainbow". This gets automatic points for that. This one jumped out at me from the match list before I watched this. Backlund and Duncam are going to start things off here. Backlund dodges some charges and Duncam falls out of the ring. They run the ropes and Backlund gets a slam. Backlund catches Duncam with a series of dropkicks and Duncam bails to the outside. Slaughter tags in and hops over the top rope. Backlund gets the better of Slaughter in a hold exchange. Slaughter grabs a headlock and punches Backlund in the face. Backlund returns the favor with some rough stuff of his own and tags Dusty in. Dusty ducks a punch and hits a Bionic Elbow. Slaughter hits some elbows to the head and Dusty takes him down with a Bionic Elbow. Dusty gets a takedown and works the arm in the corner. Backlund tags in and continues to attack the arm. Slaughter gets to his feet and escapes with elbows. They run the ropes and Backlund catches him by the arm in mid run. That was pretty cool looking. Backlund works the arm but Slaughter powers out with a backbreaker. Slaughter roughs up Backlund and they double team him in the corner. Backlund reverses an irish whip but charges into a boot. Slaughter rolls Backlund up and puts his feet on the rope for two. Slaughter thinks it was a three count and Backlund rolls him up for two. Backlund hits a swinging neckbreaker for two and then hits a piledriver. Dusty tags in and hits a knee drop off the top rope for two. Dusty whips Slaughter into the corner and hits a snap mare. Dusty misses an elbow drop and Slaughter attacks the arm. Duncam tags in and they double team Dusty in the corner. Slaughter tags back in and hits an atomic drop for two. Dusty crawls through Slaughters legs and tags in Backlund. Backlund hits a back body drop and then knocks Duncam off the apron. He applies an abdominal stretch but Slaughter escapes. Backlund rolls Slaughter up and gets the three!!! OH MY GOD!!! It's a clean finish. It's a miracle. I dug this match quite a bit. Really good pace to it and Slaughter sold like a champ in this one. I would've liked to see a little more Dusty/Slaughter but Backlund/Slaughter matches are always fun. Slaughter bumping never gets old and it's a nice change of pace to see a younger, more agile Slaughter in the ring. The streak on both counts ended here. No blade job and a clean finish. *** for an energetic tag and a clean finish.
WINNERS: Bob Backlund and Dusty Rhodes

Dick Murdoch and Dusty Rhodes vs. Riki Choshu and Tatsumi Fujinami (4/1/82)

There's some serious talent in the ring for this one. I'm going to guess that this will probably be the best match on this DVD. Choshu and Murdoch start us off. Lock up leads to Choshu getting a toss and working the arm. Murdoch powers out and the lock up again. Murdoch gets a fireman's carry for one. Murdoch gets a front face lock. Dusty tags in and hits an elbow off the top rope. Dusty works the arm with elbows and an arm lock. Choshu backs Dusty into the corner and tags Fujinami in. They run the ropes and Dusty gets a hip toss. Murdoch tags in and goes to the arm lock. Fujinami breaks the hold with a punch and they run the ropes at lightning speed. Murdoch hits a dropkick and goes back to the arm. Fujinami gets to his feet and holy crap this guy can run the ropes. He catches Murdoch with a cross body block and Dusty makes the save. Dusty tags in and they hit a double elbow. Fujinami escapes a suplex attempt and hits Dusty with a dropkick. He dropkicks Dusty out of the ring for good measure. Fujinami grabs a headlock and Choshu tags in. Choshu attacks the leg and drags Dusty into the corner. Dusty escapes a double team move and we're standing again. Dusty rams Choshu into the corner and Murdoch abuses him on the outside of the ring. Dusty goes for the leg and tags Mmurdoch in. Murdoch drops a series of elbows on the leg that look brutal. INDIAN DEATH LOCK time!!! God, I love that hold. Dusty tags in and they hit a double elbow on the leg. Dusty applies a Figure Four Leglock but Choshu manages to get into the ropes. Murdoch tags in and applies his own Figure Four Leglock. This time Fujinami comes in and stomps the hell out of Murdoch. Dusty tags in and goes for the Figure Four again and Fujinami stomps him too. Dusty takes down Fujinami and Murdoch applies another Figure Four. Fujinami makes the save again. He must have tagged in because he applies his own Figure Four until Dusty makes the save with an elbow drop. Murdoch goes for another Figure Four but Fujinami kicks him off. Fujinami charges right into a boot and Murdoch whips him into an elbow from Dusty. Dusty tags in and flattens him with combo punches. They hit double elbow drops and they let him tag Choshu in. Dusty tosses Choshu into their corner and Murdoch tags in. Fists to the face and then a big elbow on Choshu. Dusty tags in and Murdoch hits an Oklahoma Stampede followed by the Big Elbow from Dusty for the three. Fun little match here. It felt more like an extended squash match with how it played out. The Outlaws had a majority of the offense here which was kind of surprising. I really dug the middle portion when the Outlaws were just bound and determined to use the Figure Four to wear down the opponents. Fujinami stomping the hell out of them was fun as well. I really dug this match as it was really fast paced and high energy. They worked holds but they always kept the match moving. This is a good match to watch if you want to see why the Outlaws were such a great tag team. ***, for a fun sprint of a match.
WINNERS: Dick Murdoch and Dusty Rhodes

Overall Thoughts: The first couple of matches were a little rough but business really picked on for the last half of the match list. The Dusty/Abby match was a surprisingly fun brawl and the final two tags were good viewing. If you're a Dusty Rhodes fan or want to see him in his prime, this is a good DVD to check out. If you don't want to go to the trouble of paying for this or downloading it, most of these matches can probably be found on Youtube. I recommend checking it out, it was a fun time.

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