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Found 36 results

  1. PWF Heavyweight Champion Giant Baba vs NWA Missouri Champion Harley Race - AJPW 12/9/75 Harley Race is still in Handsome Harley Race mode with his bleached blond hair. During one of the long headlocks early, I was thinking about Race's tattoos and how unique they are, but do they depict exactly? They just look dark blobs on his arms. The first half of this match is dullsville. Baba works the headlock well and anytime Race gets up it is usually chop, throw, and headlock. Race is able at one to get a kneelift to set up a chinlock, but it is not sustainable. They establish Baba's dominance especially in terms of stand up over Race. The match gets good once Harley takes over. It develops into actually the most heated 70s puro match yet, which offers an interesting departure from the consistently great Brisco matches and the escalation towards a hot finish. Harley is able to turn Baba over on his side in a headlock and bury the knee thus negating the stand up advantage. Harley gets a pair of kneedrops to head, his headbutt and a piledriver to set up a wicked headscissors. They both worked really hard in this hold and the struggle of Baba to get out between Harley's thighs was compelling as it was a bit funny. When he came up gasping for breath and discombobulated, it was amusing. Baba sold disoriented well and they end up doing the best head collide spot yet. Harley picks up and slams the Giant, but Baba comes back with the big boot and then stands on Harley and jumps on him. Throughout the match, they used rope escapes well to protect finishes. Harley throws a beautiful suplex. Harley was definitely a trend setter. He follows Baba to the outside, which was a bad decision as Baba throws him into the post and he is left bloody. Baba tries to finish off with a pair of dropkicks, but Harley hooks the ropes on the second one and he is bleeding a gusher. Again, Baba is using the chop to set up his offense like t]he Russian Legsweep which won a fall over Brisco and then the backbreaker. He is pouring it on, but Harley comes back with punch to throat, second piledriver, a pair of headbutt and now seeing this is his best chance goes for the top rope headbutt, but crashes and burns! I totally bite on this being Baba's opportunity to win the match. He starts throwing awesome overhand chops to the cut. Baba is frustrated and Harley is hanging on for dear life. Baba nails a big boot, but it is too late as time has run out. This match definitely had the hottest finish of the 70s puro matches I have watched so far, but the first half of the match was pretty dull. I thought they did an excellent job with the headscissors, which sadly would be an anachronism in today's landscape. Harley was definitely a forward thinking wrestler taking the press slam off the top, blading and throwing suplexes and slams at will. His piledriver is not Backlund piledriver. Baba is great as hero and giant of All Japan. He uses his size well and throws a mean chop. The last half is really high quality stuff so check it out for that. ****
  2. Just a three minute match showcasing how over JYD was and how excellent Harley Race was, even in his advancing years. The stipulation of this match is that the loser must bow to the winner. Harley bumps like crazy for JYD here. He misses a nasty falling headbutt of the apron and you can see why he regrets inventing that move. I'm not sure why a non-finish was needed here. Surely JYD could of done with the win, especially considering he's the man standing tall in the aftermath of this segment. ★★¾
  3. I received my DVDVR "Best of the 1980s Portland" discs from Will. This is disc 1, match 1. (I hope it's alright I'm posting about it here. This will have "match spoilers".) The announcers are cooing over the NWA belt. Rick Martel is given a glorious shine by Harley Race. If you like arm bars, this the match for ya. Referee's Sandy Barr's red outfit seems straight out of a 1970's JC Penny's catalog. There's a great spot where Race goes for a gutwretch suplex and Martel reverses it. Later Martel catches Race on the top rope and flings him "12... 15 feet across the ring" (according to the announcers). They explain the arm-bar obsession on commentary: "Why is Martel concentrating on armbars? He's giving away weight." Note: Portland crowd in 1980 dresses like a Brooklyn crowd in 2016. Race escapes from an armbar by dropping Martel across the top rope. We get Harley Race delivering a piledriver. We get the falling head butt from Race. He takes control. Eventually, Race wins the first fall with a big suplex. The second fall has Martel returning the piledriver favor. Race gets the foot on the ropes. What a ring veteran! There's a great elbow smash by Martel on Race. Falls two ends with Martel putting Race in a sleeper and knocking him out. There's an incredible moment after this where Martel has to decide whether to do the "right thing" and wake up Race. Referee is threatening Martel if he doesn't do it. So eventually Rick gives Harley Race a judo chop to the neck and awakes the champion. Third fall is a time-limit draw. Good match. Martel was massively over with the crowd and Race not only made Rick look great, but he's a lot more fun to watch than I remembered. His facials after the sleeper wakeup were fantastic.
  4. NWA World Heavyweight Champion Harley Race vs Jumbo Tsuruta - AJPW 6/11/77 Two out of Three Falls Wow! Harley Race is a vast departure from Jack Brisco and even Terry Funk in his style of work. This is a total bomb throwing sprint. If you are going to have a bomb throwing sprint, Jumbo dishing it out and Harley eating the offense ain't too shabby of a pairing. The coolest spot was definitely hitting a backbreaker to get out of an armbar. Overall, it was a lot of slam trading with Jumbo mostly on top working the armbar and Harley creating that movement. Jumbo's armdrag is not as smooth as a Brisco or a Steamboat, but it seems more violent. Like you have no choice, but to go with him. Harley tries to use headbutts to midsection to gain an advantage, but Jumbo unleashes two wicked high knees. The second high knee is something to behold. After trying so hard to get the butterfly suplex early in the fall, he finally unleashes that beastly suplex to win the first fall. Jumbo definitely comes out of the gate strong, but he has a hard time finishing. Let's see what happens here. Jumbo 1-0. 1977 Spotfest baby! Harley just picks Jumbo up shoulderbreaker and then piledriver. Jumbo counters with gutwrench suplex. They settle down start to struggle with Jumbo throwing some nice European Uppercut and Harley throwing the best, most violent kneedrop this side of Misawa. Harley works the front facelock (Kelly would be pissed if we were reviewing this match). Jumbo sits out to get a nasty chickenwing and works hard to get a pinning combination before going into the standing surfboard (complete with foot in the back, which impresses the hell out of me). The one thing that has been dragging some of these 70s matches down for me is that they arent laying their shit in all the time. Jumbo and Harley just smacking the shit out of each other, which makes me happy. Shout to those Harley kneelifts to the head! YOWZA! Jumbo gets overzealous and runs into the turnbuckles. Harley looks to have trouble with the figure-4, but uses a reverse figure-4 with him falling back and Jumbo selling the hell out of it before finally succumbing. Selling is definitely not Harley's strong suit. Jumbo can go bomb for bomb with him, but is keeping the match together by adding selling and struggling. Tied 1-1. To be continued, going to go see Motley Crue for the fifth and final time! SHOUT AT THE DEVIL!!!! Back, I FUCKING LOVE MOTLEY CRUE! Lets finish this bad boy off before bed. Once again, the NWA Champion has the momentum going into the deciding fall and Jumbo is left playing catch up ball. Great selling by Jumbo and smart work by Race try to go back to the same hold to win early after that it just becomes a total spotfest. They really like the running the ropes head collision spot in 70s All Japan, but man I don't. Jumbo should have known Harley always sidesteps the second dropkick by watching the '75 Baba match. Gotta do your homework, kid. Great first dropkick! Harley takes a press slam off the top rope. Jumbo really commits to the missed high knee, which I love. So many wrestlers when they know they are going to miss a move half-ass it or do it safely to protect themselves. Not fucking Jumbo on this night he went for that high knee and crashed and burned. Harley nice small package to retain the title. Again, Jumbo takes that early lead, but can't put the champ away. Is he a choker? He does have the '76 win over Brisco. Total Harley Race spotfest with Jumbo going move for move. Jumbo brought the selling and kept the struggle alive. Better than your average spotfest because they were working towards a victory and there was still some sense of struggle. Still not as great as the other 70s matches. ****
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