57. Big Van Vader (c) vs Crusher Bam Bam Bigelow (IWGP Championship Match, NJPW Bloody Fight Series 1989)

The first match between these two super heavyweights left me more than a little disappointed. This match, for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, is a little better, featuring pretty much exactly what you’d expect from two super heavyweights. But it still struggles to stretch above average.

Bigelow is still a relative rookie here, but has obviously improved since his first bout with Vader. Vader, as IWGP Heavyweight Champion, has matured, becoming a dependable worker. He carries Bigelow with more confidence, laying out the match with a better ebb and flow. They have plenty more chemistry here than in their first match.

But still, the action remains merely watchable, than must-watch. To pace themselves, they use rest holds that have nothing to do with the story of the match. This was a big problem in their first match, and it is still a problem here. I know these big guys struggle to keep a fast pace a for long time, but surely they can work in the rest holds to the rest of the bout? They stick out, like absurd adverts for a different show.

However, they each hit a dropkick, which is about the only thing I’ll remember from this bout! An improvement on their first outing, but Bigelow had a long way to go before becoming a solid worker, and Vader still was adjusting to becoming a main eventer. And I don’t think they got a chance to face each other again before joining together as a tag team.

Hammy’s Rating: *** (out of 5)

(Click here for more of ‘A Wrestling Match A Day‘)


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