52. Big Van Vader and Crusher Bam Bam Bigelow (c) vs Hiroshi Hase and Keiji Mutoh (IWGP Tag Team Championship Match, NJPW Big Fight Series 1992)

Another day, another tag team match featuring the team of Big Van Vader and Crusher Bam Bam Bigelow! I was left disappointed with their tag team match against The Steiner Brothers. It was entertaining, no doubt about that, but because of the talent involved I expected so much more. Here, they face the team of Hiroshi Hase and Keiji Mutoh. I’ve seen the latter wrestler on a few occasions, but nothing of the former wrestler. So I had few expectations about this bout…but it didn’t entertain me as much as the tag match against The Steiner Brothers.

That’s no bad thing, by the way. It’s a watchable match. Everyone puts in a great effort, Hiroshi Hase in particular. But the two super heavyweights are thrown about by the relatively svelte Japanese wrestlers with ease! That happened in The Steiner Brothers match, but I could accept that because…well, because it’s the Steiner Brothers! Here, Hase and Mutoh suplex Bigelow and Vader like the two big men are big fluffy teddy bears. Make it look hard, at least! It reminds me of the “effort” involved in suplexing super heavyweights in the video game WWF No Mercy. You’d have to rapidly tap the ‘A’ button to hoist Mark Henry up for a body slam. It did get tiresome over time, but initially, it feels like a grand effort. The same should apply in real life, surely? Here, it’s all too easy. It only takes two clotheslines to take Bigelow down at one point!

There seems to be a lot of miscommunication as well. For example, Bigelow goes to splash Hase from the top rope. Hase appears to roll out of the way, but Bigelow acts like he hit the move. I assume Hase wasn’t supposed to move. At another point, Mutoh stomps on Vader to break up a pinfall, but Vader doesn’t even flinch. Mutoh stomps a few more times, but Vader just looks at him! These noticeable problems increase towards the end, which is a bit of a mess. They also seem to swap the roles of faces and heels, leading to a confusing story in the ring.

Maybe this one is worth a watch if you’re curious about the tag team of Vader and Bigelow, but I had much, much higher hopes for their team. I know I’ve only watched two of their matches (and the third match on NJPW World, against Ron Simmons and Butch Reed, doesn’t look promising at all!), but these two super heavyweights should have starred in a tag team classic.

Hammy’s Rating: *** (out of 5)

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