6th JAPAN TOUR
New Japan/WCW Starrcade '91
The US PPV "was edited to show
Pillman as the star ..." - (Meltzer, WON 04/15/91)
The U.S Cut .... what was left on the cutting room floor
Back in the US, the whole show was edited from four and a half hours hours down to one hour fifty minutes. The six-man tag match was cut to seven minutes or roughly half the match. Meltzer who had seen both the live event and the US PPV told his readers "The six-man tag match was a lot better LIVE because half the match was edited out ….supposedly to show Pillman as the star.” Just in case fans didn't get the point, Jim Ross underlined it throughout his US commentary - "In my estimation Pillman is the HOTTEST guy - he's the STAR of this match......"
Not so, said Meltzer - "everyone in the match, except Kobayashi, looked very good." Even PWI got the story right, rating "Brian Pillman, Tom Zenk and Tim Horner's high powered accounting of themselves against the equally athletic Kuniaki Kobayashi, Takayuki Iizuka and Shiro Koshinaka" among the "more memorable moments" of the supercard.
Review - "Okay, so this is the 90s. All the Americans have huge, fluffy mullets, and all of the Japanese guys have ridiculously high pants and shiny jackets. Also good to remember, is that this is probably the first time that an American audience was in any way exposed to Japanese wrestlers to this extent, and certainly to the Japanese fanbase. JR has to make a point of telling the audience that the fans aren’t bored, but are instead maintaining a respectful silence. I’m actually blown away, initially, by how amazing Ross and Schiavone are working together as an announcing team. They complement each other incredibly well, and Ross especially is just fantastic to listen to. Seeing this really does drive home how much of a shell of himself he’s become these days. Depressing, really. The match itself was hard to get used to at first, because we as wrestling fans have gotten used to some truly incredibly displays of high flying, and exciting opening match wrestling in the past 18 years, and to see this, I wasn’t even conscious, at first, that that’s what they were going for. As the match unfolded, though, it became more clear, and I actually found myself impressed, not with Pillman or the Japanese guys, and certainly not with Horner, but instead with Tom Zenk. What the shit happened to Tom Zenk? The guy had an amazing look for the early 90s, and his offense was actually really fun to watch. To say nothing of how fluid a team he and Pillman were. I was really getting into the guy, and it’s a good thing, because I just finished watching the match twelve seconds ago, and I couldn’t tell you anything about the Japanese guys, aside from the old one with the Harley Race sideburns. They were basically just there, and seemed like complete cannon fodder for the Americans. Which, of course, made it even weirder when the young one (Kobayashi I think?) ran in and hit a Dragon Suplex on Horner to get the win. Seemed completely contrary to the match altogether, but it was probably booked by arrangement between the two companies anyway, so I guess I can see how it would work out that way."
The 'Verne Gagne' replaces the 'Dusty' finish
the final match, Fujinami defeated Flair. "Flair's begging and upside down
bump into the corner don't get over at all here. The begging was really
out of place in this environment. Flair was booed, but it wasn't "heat"
booing if you get my drift, it was more groaning booing..... Fujinami ducked
out of the way of a tackle and Flair hit ref Alphonso (Alphonso was the
only ref around ringside for the match - Hattori was announced as the sub-ref).
With the ref down, Fujinami did two pinning maneuvers on Flair and got
three counts as counted by the crowd but no ref.... Hattori came to ringside
to help Alphonso and ...at this point Flair charged at Fujinami and was
flipped over the top rope. The Dusty finish hits Tokyo. Hattori jumps in
the ring to ref... Fujinami... taking Flair down into a cradle and getting
the three count as the place went nuts." Fujinami becomes unified world
champion. "Just about every reporter thought this was a legit world title
change except for those few who knew English.... After the show was a sayonara
party at a night club in another part of town.
Friday- Friday morning's Nikkan Sports came out and the entire front page of the newspaper was devoted to Fujinami becoming the 75th NWA World Champion...
- The story that Flair had left Japan wiith the belt hit the papers. "I
heard that [the finish] was supposed to be ..the American ref would say
Flair won and the Japanese ref would say Fujinami won. The reason they
didn't do the Dusty finish as it's done in the U.S. is because ... doing
that screw-job would have ended up with the place rioting ...So they did
the Verne Gagne and sent the fans home thinking it was a title change until
two days later when they read the real story in the newspaper" (WON 04/01/91).
Post Script - a wrestling record.....
The Supercard crowd set an all-time indoor sports attendance record for Japan (64,500), meaning that, with Wrestlemania III, at Pontiac Silverdome (93,173), Tom Zenk had wrestled the biggest shows in the history of both U.S. and Japan wrestling.