Background: A battle over the NWA Tag Team title featuring the legendary Jumbo Tsuruta and amateur wrestling Olympic hopeful turned pro-wrestler Yoshiaki Yatsu taking on the NWA Tag Team champions The Road Warriors.
NWA World Championship Wrestling
March 3, 1989
Road Warriors vs. Jumbo Tsuruta & Yoshiaki Yatsu
Road Warrior Animal had the distinct pleasure of kicking off this bout against the fired-up Yatsu. Thankfully for Yatsu he had the speed advantage to avoid Animal’s clubbing forearms in the early going. But the power of Animal allowed the NWA World Tag Team champions to take over. Even a piledriver from Yatsu on the now legal Road Warrior Hawk couldn’t stop their momentum. A wild enzuguri kick gave Yatsu the chance to tag out to the legendary Jumbo Tsuruta. Tsuruta was shocked by Hawk’s power and agility. Pair of flying knees by Jumbo set up double team flying knee strikes by the Japanese contingent.
Hawk had to muscle his way out of Jumbo’s abdominal stretch, tagging out so Animal could toss Jumbo around. Big clothesline from Jumbo after hitting the turnbuckles almost gave him a victory over Animal. Yatsu did a great job-keeping Animal grounded until the big man rolled out of the ring. When Animal reentered, he led the power charge Hawk continued until Jumbo took him down with a heel hook. It seemed Jumbo found a point of interest, but was determined to match power for power with Hawk.
This strategy proved detrimental for Jumbo as he ran into a bearhug that only his partner could help break thanks to a well-timed dropkick. Sleeper by Jumbo pulled Hawk to the mat and almost made him pass out. Spike piledriver by Yatsu and Jumbo infuriated a hurt Hawk, causing him to almost elbow Yatsu’s face in. Animal tagged in, power slamming the stunned Yatsu. Yatsu slipped past Animal, tagging out so Jumbo could attack. Sadly, Jumbo got tossed the floor and beaten with a chair by Hawk.
The referee let the illegal action slide, leaving Jumbo in bad shape when he rolled into the ring and was locked in the camel clutch. Tsuruta survived the submission, though Hawk’s power grip just kept him on the mat as well. The Road Warriors had Jumbo reeling, but not out. Animal uncharacteristically scaled the ropes, missing an elbow drop. Jumbo took his chance, tagging out so Yatsu could German suplex and power slam Animal until Hawk made the save and set up the Doomsday Device … for a near fall!
Jumbo helped his partner recover, kneeing Hawk into another German suplex. The fans were going wild as the action spilled to the floor. The referee counted both teams out unbeknownst to the champion.
Winners: Draw (12:37)
Is It A Classic: A definitive hard-hitting affair that didn’t set the world on fire, but was thoroughly enjoyable. Seeing a team break The Road Warriors down momentarily was so rare that it felt like the most unique thing ever. Not a bad match in the least, but not something you need to go out of your way to see.