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Found 69 results

  1. You could classify the matwork here as "NWA" style-in that holds are worked and worked over until there is a transition and that transition really determines the quality of the match. Sometimes it feels like a waste of time but sometimes it's worth sticking through it. It's worth sticking with it here. Before the match Andre gets annoyed by Inoki getting a bigger reaction than him and refuses to shake hands. He attacks Inoki's arm early on-no sitting in a hold for five minutes but repetead wristlocks and armlocks that really establish his dominance. Andre easily drags Inoki to the middle of the ring once Inoki reaches the ropes and does a cool hammerlock slam, both of which make for cool visuals. Andre gets frustrated with the ref over.....something, leaving himself open to Inoki who goes for his leg, thereby establishing Inoki could get in control that way. When Andre goes to attack Inoki's arm again Inoki tries to kick away at Andre's legs, but they don't transition into Inoki's control quite yet. Eventually Inoki manages to counter Andre's armlock with a Headscissors-which looks amazing. Andre then manages to cross over Inoki's legs and changes his focus on attacking them. Inoki eventually manages to counter that with a Keylock-another big visual. They do tease Andre countering it a couple of times but before countering it Inoki turns him back into the Keylock to further establish the armwork. Once Andre does pick Inoki up into the air instead of placing him on the top rope like the norm is in 70s matches he throws him out of the ring, putting over the peril of the situation. Andre nurses his arm for a bit but Inoki quickly returns to the ring and we get to the finishing stretch, with Inoki nailing a couple of big Enzuigirs that connected well and Andre doing a Suplex and a ot of headbutts. I particularly liked the Canadian Backbreaker counter where Inoki pushed the corner-post instead of the ropes to counter Andre into a Back Body Drop. Unfortunately politics get in the way here-as Inoki can't even get a visual count-out win, Andre immediately no-sells him and only loses because he started brawling with a remember wrestler ringside, then gets back in the ring and lays out Inoki to get his heat back. Damn that 50/50 booking Very good match based around strategy, though I doubt Andre had the skills to produce anything truly great with lots of matwork. ***1/2
  2. I have to have watched this match like ten times already. Great Antonio is this giant fat guy, he no-sells everything Inoki does and slaps his stomach to showcase dominance, then if that wasn't enough starts stiffing Inoki with brutal clobbing shots to the neck which infuriates Inoki and results in one of the most famous and brutal wrestling shoots of all time. An absolute spectacle, I love battles of carnies and you can't go much better than this match in that area. The strongest image is probably the one that comes after the match as a bloody and likely concussed Antonio contemplates where he is and what happened to his greatness.
  3. Pretty simple match. Tiger comes in with his goofy rapier and is ambushed by an overzealous Inoki throwing wild punches. Jeet produces forth a foreign object and stabs the fuck out of Inoki and from then it's Singh procuring every dirty tactic in the book to work over Inoki. Choking, hits to the throat, bashing his into turnbuckle post, tables and chairs, and then some more chairs... Inoki quickly comes up bloody and there seems to be a DQ of some sort but the match is restarted (or 2/3 falls?) and Singh continues the beating. Inoki finally makes a pretty cool comeback by ramming into Singh like a bull. After some good payback using the steel posts again Jeet is bloodied aswell and Inoki finishes him off by snapping his arm, forcing the ref stop. This match had good pace but at over 20 minutes it was far too long. You can argue whether Singh's tactics were effective heel work or lazy garbage brawling... if the later, atleast give him credit for being the patron saint of the art form. Inoki ate an epic beatdown and gave gruesome comeuppance, so the match did everything right in that regard.
  4. Microstatistics

    [1971-08-05-JWA] Antonio Inoki vs Jack Brisco

    Inoki was ok here but Brisco pretty much drags him to a great match when his selling, intensity and attention to detail. One of the finest individual performances I've seen in a match. The matwork in the initial few minutes was mindblowing and felt like the precursor to shoot-style in some ways. ****
  5. Man, you gotta give some credit to these guys for understanding how to work these exciting matches. You won't get any workrate or high end grappling in a Rusher match, but they knew how to set the crowd into a frenzy. Man Inoki blocking Kimura's chops is about the coolest basic thing nobody ever does. Lumberjack stip didn't come into play match except to force wrestlers back into the ring. Inoki trying to snap a bloody Rusher's arm repeatedly probably would've been better if Kimura knew how to sell, but the crowd sure went wild for that armbar. This is why you don't mess with Inoki.
  6. Man, I love this matchup. Young Punk Choshu was the best. You can say what you want about Inoki, but he was great at portraying himself as an untouchable badass. You look at some of the stuff Inoki does here and it's no wonder people thought he was a genius. He also always has these crazy facial expressions. I think the first 15 minutes or so of this didn't even have a bump but still ended up mesmerizing pro wrestling. This was worked like a technical battle of megastars so that was really cool. Both guys struggled hard and every movement could possibly lead to a finish which is exactly what you want from a match with really high stakes. Choshu was aggressive and really putting Inoki through the wringer, not just when he throw punches and stomps, but also in his grappling, butting heads when looking up and uncorking a super tight front headlock roll. Inoki came across as calm and cool headed so exactly the perfect counterpart to Choshu's rage. His selling was really strong too, at the beginning of the match he was dominating on the ground, but after Choshu really put the torque on him with the Scorpion Deathlock he was limping and stalling. Seeing the cool headed Inoki getting into desperation mode when Choshu tried the move again was great too. A limping Inoki punching Choshu in the face from the knees was epic and so was Choshu trying to bulldoze the legend with lariats and suplexes. I think if they had continued in that vein the match would've cruised into my all time top 10-20, but instead they slowed down again and went back to the holds. It was still really strong work and they delivered a great, clean finish. For a clash of the titans type match in front of a super hot 80s crowd that was mostly built around matwork this pretty much delivered all you can ask for.
  7. After a failed attempt to get into the NFL, Brock Lesnar turns his attention to the world of Japanese wrestling. We cite Lesnar's autobiography "Death Clutch" as to get an idea of Lesnar's mindset going into NJPW and touch on his mindset wrestling his what was perceived as his final match in IGF as well. Also get an interesting peak into how the Inokis did business when they were heads on NJPW.
  8. Weird psychology as both teams cheat (and sometimes right in front of the referee). I understand the expression fight fire with fire but I didn't like how Inoki & Oki cheat that quick in the match - I even think they start switching without tagging before the heels. It's fun to see Royal & Jones (a babyface tag team in Crockett) being the dirty Texans before the Funks & Hansen & Brody. Royal has a great punch !! Love the antics after the match.
  9. The most impressive thing about this match is that in 90 minutes there is literally no downtime at all. Even the Inoki vs. Choshu matwork was compelling. The crowd heat is insane and the fact that that level of heat was consistently maintained for 90 minutes is even more insane. I would say Fujinami was the MVP with Animal as a close second but everyone was great in it. Incredible match to say the least but one I have had trouble rating because it is difficult to distinguish the individual pairings from the overall story.
  10. I'm trying to put into words how much I liked this match but I don't think I'll be able to do this justice. If the match was about ten minutes shorter I think it could've rated it as a top ten match of all time. It's still an absolutely incredible match, an the crowd never really dies but after a certain point they just aren't buying the submissions as much as they did and it's more of a "clap for rope breaks/escapes/general effort" thing. This was a perfect showcase for both wrestler's abilities, the matwork was phenomenal and they managed to escape a perfect sense of one-upmanship. It is a match that manages to excel both at the little things and the big things, there's a moment where Inoki does a bridge and Fujinami tries to drive him to that and I swear Inoki did the most beautiful bridge I've ever seen, the kind of thing that could only be possible because of stuff like this: The crowd was fucking insane, you get shots of people standing up and not leaving their feet for about ten minutes just mesmerized by the drama of the match, Inoki firing up while Fujinami had him in a Figure Four was one of the greatest spots I've ever seen and Fujinami responded appropriately by pushing himself up as far as he could and trying to rip apart Inoki's leg, the struggle over everything was so well done here and the match also served as a great display for their character though I'd find it understable if people used to gigantic bumps for irish whips and WWF wrestling didn't pick it up (not actually trying to call anyone out here fwiw), Fujinami has a chip on his shoulder and while being a great athlete in his own right doesn't really possess Inoki's strength and they play it up really well, Inoki goes for an illegal Sleeper in the beginning and Fujinami sells it like a huge threat, later on Fujinami uses the same maneuver several times but never manages to damage Inoki as much as Inoki had damaged him, I think that came off really well every time Fujinami would grab a hold for a longer period of time where, he'd just come off as the most tenacious wrestler ever, and later in the match when Inoki stars slapping the shit out of him and Fujinami sells it enough so it doesn't come off as no selling (especially with his facial expression) but no sells it enough so the crowd can put his awesome facial expressions together with him refusing to go down to Inoki's strikes and it's this humongous amazing moment and everyone is losing their shit and pro wrestling fucking rules mate. I also find it amusing how Fujinami's character seems to consistent both in his on air presentation and in scummy backstage videos and stories (him slapping Kevin Nash comes to mind, also there was a video where him and Inoki just yell at each other for five minutes and Fujinami responds to Inoki's weak fifth grader bully slap by Bas Ruttening him). ****3/4
  11. 12/2/69 Antonio Inoki vs. Dory Funk Jr. Inoki makes his 1st challenge for the NWA World Title. Harley Race riles the crowd up to the point where they're throwing stuff at the ring,
  12. Why doesn't this get brought up among „passing the torch“ type matches more often? It's quite the epic destruction of Inoki.Choshu immediately catches Inoki in a nasty headscissor and almost cranks his neck. Now Inoki wants a fight, throwing fists and all, but Choshu immediately nukes him with suplexes. A lariat should finish the job, but Inoki narrowly escapes and hangs on by a thread. Choshu is totally the dominant force in this though. Inoki hits some fast enzuigiris and they trade awesome punches and headbutts and this is great. Choshu ain't selling crap from this fossil though and another back suplex later he starts hitting the lariats. Choshu is like an airplane flying around Inoki now and just dropping him again and again. After like 20 lariats even Inoki has had enough. If you wonder why Inoki worshipper Yuki Ishikawa wrestles the way he does check out this match. Inoki's time had come, and Choshu was the cold blooded killer to put the old gunslinger down.
  13. Hey, look... it's two ultra charismatic dudes in a hot battle! This was exactly the kind of uncooperative high-resistance technical contest I like so much. Nothing fancy, just two guys who can grapple hitting the mat hard and battling it out. Give Inoki credit where it's true, there are not a lot of aces who could believably hang with Fujiwara in a match like this, let alone come across as the dominant force. When not on the mat, Inoki would constantly increase the pace by attacking Fujiwara with great looking punches and kicks. It's almost needless to say but Fujiwara's selling and was flawless and he had a ton of great facial expressions and thus came across as the most tenacious dude on the planet taking on the legend. Amazing how he can go from a smirking dick to that. Last few minutes were great with Inoki downing Fujiwara with an epic punch and Maeda taking offense to an Inoki kick leading to a near riot. But we still get a decisive finish, so it's all great. Hell of a thrilling contest and one of the finest 80s japan singles matches I've seen.
  14. The Thesz/Gotch team may be old school wrestling incarnated. You have Gotch, that gentleman european technician who is just a trip to watch, with his beautiful judo-esque throws, slick transitions and all kinds of funky moves, including a physics defying bridge. And then there's Thesz, who will cheap shot and stall incessantly and knee you in the face in the middle of a grappling exchange. Don't get me wrong, Thesz was gold here. In fact the whole match was gold. This was really long, but there was not a single dull moment. Just one cool exchange after another. Well, if you like grappling, that is. I really enjoyed Thesz' psychology as his strategy was basically about countering into a backdrop or Thesz press. He hits some great backdrops too. The whole match was built like, there would be hold exchanges, but occasionally one guy would attempt a move and then the other would try to counter into a potential finisher and then it was all about squirming out of that situation. And sometimes one guy would slap the other's shit too. That's how you keep a viewer on the edge of his seat. Well, it worked for me atleast. Also, Sakaguchi's reaction to Gotch lifting Inoki with one arm was priceless. I also really liked how he got fed up and almost choked Thesz out with a nasty front choke. The japanese team won't leave a huge impression on you but they are perfectly fine in their roles and the Thesz/Gotch duo was a delight to watch.
  15. This was another cool match altough way closer to your typical 70s match. The opening was pretty hot with Sakaguchi taking the fight to the outside to bash Inoki's head in and then landing a big press slam and atomic drop soon after. They move into a more technical bout and it's pretty much akin to something you'd see in WoS or AJPW. Lots of hold/counterhold stuff, monky flip sequences, Inoki working 4 or 5 Indian Deathlock variations etc.. Nothing mindblowing but they looked good working this style and the 30 minutes flew by.
  16. Ok, so here's the thing. I kinda watched this match. I didn't sit down and stare at the screen for two hours, since not even my love of Inoki is that strong, but I went through the entire match in a span of, idk, 20-30 minutes steadily skipping ahead, because I needed to know what happened in it. And what impressed me more than anything is how badass the whole thing looked-there was prety much an unlimited number of amazing shots. The setting is as big of a part of the match as anything the workers do, as you get these amazing shots of mountains and the ocean while Inoki and Masa Saito are fighting, really it's something you'd expect to see on a "Visit Japan" commercial with no context and just be in awe of what you've just witnessed. The biggest accomplishment of that match is probably its strange allure of a symbiosis between man and nature: Why did this image speak so much to me? Is it the nostalgia of my childhood, where I'd often run around parks with grass fields, (play)fighting and so on....or is it just an universal human feeling, something that we truly all sure, when we see a scene like this, of two men settling their issues by duking it out on grass. Will humans still relate to this picture if those futuristic movies ever turn into real life and we're slowly shut down in our own four walls? The shots reach another level when Inoki starts bleeding: And peak when they burn a bunch on wood on fire to provide lightning for them, really showing their dedication to evoke a scene of cavemen fighting. I guess calling this a shitty match that lasts is easy and the way people got out of even discussing it for so long, but it's about time it's recognized for the incredibly ambitious endeavour it was. These metamodernistic times in which meme wrestling is celebrated so freely give me hope this interpretation won't fall on deaf ears.
  17. G. Badger

    Assorted NJPW Tags from 1986

    Here are some really great tag matches from New Japan in 1986 that don't get much talk. Thought I'd share the love! Nobuhiko Takada & Osamu Kido vs Antonio Inoki & Keiichi Yamada (02/05/86): Wow what a great little match! The crowd really lets you know what's up since the work isn't mind-blowing or anything. This is the beginning of the legendary UWF/NJ feud and you can tell right here that dammit! It means something. Each guy just does his job well and it really pushes the intensity. Takada is such a bastard here & Yamada is such a good underdog but, we always knew that! Kido was impressive & Inoki is such a badass that anytime he was in the ring the place blew up with cheers as if the smallest offense could end the UWF guys chances. Tatsumi Fujinami & Kengo Kimura vs Akira Maeda & Osamu Kido (08/05/86): An excellent strong-style tag match that was awesome when Fujinami & Maeda was were in together. They did some neat allusions to their 06/12 classic with Fujinami dodging the corner wheel kick. Maeda was sort of all over the place with his kicks, in the dangerous kind of way for instance he blasted Kengo in the mouth that almost killed the match. Still that makes him exciting and dangerous...adding to the combat sport aspect of strong-style. I would've liked a smoother finish. Overall pretty great match and fun compliment to the 06/12 match. Takada & Fujiwara vs Shiro Koshinaka & George Takano (09/05/86): A very good tag match with Takano being much better here than as Cobra, Takada was also much better here especially with his kicks, Fujiwara & Koshinaka are awesome throughout. Akira Maeda, Kazuo Yamazaki, Nobuhiko Takada, Osamu Kido & Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs George Takano, Kantaro Hoshino, Kengo Kimura, Shiro Koshinaka & Tatsumi Fujinami (09/16/86): People don't think this one is as good as the one in March & maybe they're right but, I didn't think so. I thought this one was much better from an in-ring stand point. It was a sprint like the last one but there was actual sprinting and much more involved one-on-one action as the feuds had developed & the NJPW team was better without the fat old blonde guy Ueda & Inoki wasn't there to be the spoiler...it helped put the finish in doubt.
  18. Man this wasn't any good. Nothing match that consisted of them just spamming moves. There was some glimpse of character work-but it was more of "this is stuff I usually do so I better get it in" than a case of them bothering to properly construct a match with anything interesting. Grab an armlock, hold it for a while, move on to a hammerlock, hold it for a while, and so forth. Red botched a Headscissors and looked sucky in general, Inoki was better but this was one of his worst showings. Crowd didn't seem to care much. **
  19. Strong Kobayashi, a rather troll-like looking wrestler (to put it mildly). Dude looked like a DNA experiment between Inoki and Baba. This was a rare early match between top natives and a hell of a fight. Basically Inoki bullies Kobayashi some and then gets his shit pushed in repeatedly. What a weird way to work a match against an outsider, but they did succeed in garnering tremendous heat. Inoki dominates the early going with a bunch of quasi-amateur holds which I dug a lot. He scored a really nice toe hold riding takedown and would constantly do leg rides and toe holds. After getting grinded for a while Kobayashi finally scored a simple arm roll which felt like a nice victory, but dickhead Inoki won't break clean in the ropes. Inoki keeps taunting and slapping Kobayashi between the holds and this is building tremendous intensity. Kobayashi is reacting to all this in really amusing exaggerated ways too. Finally, Kobayashi grabs a bear hug and just manhandles Inoki like a ragdoll. Inoki had pretty great facial expressions here, as he went from looking pained to annoyed to filled with contempt. Later on, when he had regained the upper hand he would look really smug and self satisfied. There was also a great moment where Inoki went for another back ride, only for Kobayashi to use his indicated by name strength to muscle up and reverse him into an awesome Cobra Twist of his own. Shozo smells blood and starts laying stiff clubbing blows to Inoki's neck, but as we learned from the Great Antonio's example Inoki does not take kindly to this and nearly KO's him with a huge punch in another awesome moment. Inoki is looking to finish this now with his grapevine moves but they end up on the outside and Kobayashi makes him eat a posting. Inoki is bleeding huge now and Kobayashi smells his chance going to town on him with punches. Really liked how a bloody Inoki would pop up with a smug grin after catching Shozo with a supex. Man what a spectacular match. Molten heat, cool grappling, blood, punches, neat story, it's all there. Thought both guys did a great job here. Also, gotta give them credit for working a pretty long match that still leaves plenty on the table. I'm surprised this isn't mentioned more often among the best of the 70s bouts, I found it highly captivating.
  20. Man Choshu is sick of doing hold for hold wrestling. Anytime he gets the chance he is stomping Inoki's ass. Inoki is not having it and... removes the turnbuckle pad? Choshu also agrees to remove 1 turnbuckle pad and this is now an Onita deathmatch with the exploding barbedwire boards replaced by exposed turnbuckles! They do some cool phone booth fighting throwing punches and trying to be the first to smash the other guy into the corner. Inoki dominates for a bit, but Choshu finally catches him and... breaks his own hand doing a backdrop. Choshu bloodies Inoki and works over him with nice punches but they are forced to do a quick finish with Inoki choking Choshu in the ropes and getting DQ'd. This was looking good until the unfortunate finish. Admittedly a bloody Inoki was really crazy looking, his face was turning very pale and he did these creepy groans and growls. When all the jumpsuit trainees jump on him and he erupts it looked like something from a 60s horror schlock movie.
  21. A sprint! Inoki stalls to begin with, then tries a leg trip to the outside and Choshu is fighting for dear life against that damn leg trip. Earth to wrestlers: this is how you tell your audience why your moves are important – by creating STRUGGLE. Choshu immediately blitzes Inoki and just tries to run him over basically, but Inoki takes it to the ground and dominates him there for a while, also hitting some great enzuigiris and Ali kicks. Inoki seems to have the upper hand for a few exchanges, but then Choshu clocks him with a lariat out of nowhere! Inoki is seeing stars and narrowly avoids another one, but Choshu connects another to the back of the skull and that's it. Choshu does the impossible in less than 10 minutes! Ferocious stuff and the equivalent to something like Dundee/Rich. Two guys doing what they do best, sticking to their roles and putting eachother over.
  22. Yeah, like Inoki hasn't buried those IWE dweebs enough!! How about burying them all in a single stroke! Admittedly, this was some highly entertaining pro wrestling. The IWE boys couldn't really play the number's game at first, so Inoki just ate them all up, busting out lots of cool shit in the process. We also got to see referee Kotetsu Yamamoto tackling guys trying to run into the ring like the world's greatest security guard. Inoki slowly tires out and the IWE dudes go to town on him. Kimura hits some really stiff chops and Hamaguchi is just a dynamo in this match, attacking Inoki's leg like a terrier and taunting him. Hamaguchi ain't backing down from anyone. Inoki looked convincingly tired and wounded by the end (check out that leg selling) which helps even the dull Rusher Kimura to a heated finish. The only thing about this that bugged me was how quickly Teranishi was eliminated. Ah, can't win em all, or in this case, pin em all.