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Charles (Loss)

[1996-01-04-NJPW-Wrestling World 1996] Vader vs Antonio Inoki

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The harpsichord player in the pre-match is amazing, and it's kind of hard not to get sucked into the aura of Inoki just by watching how much people love him. It's amazing to me that he was still using his disco entrance music in 1996 after all those years. Anyway, this is a war. Even the cameraman seems startled by Vader's slap at the beginning of the match. This is famous for the German suplex spot, which is awesome, but there is lots to love about this match aside from that. Inoki gives an inspired performance. I love his apron desperation sleeper. Vader is always great when there is an elevated ramp nearby of course, taking a nice backdrop into the ring, and both guys are a bloody mess. Fantastic match.

 

I'm interested in making a comp to the Shawn match at Summerslam, as Shawn is younger and way less limited than Inoki. We'll see how that goes.

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This holds up very well. Crazy to see the difference in crowd for this and the title match vs the other two matches from the card. Vader slipping off the ramp while trying to intimidate Inoki during the entrance was kind of embarassing, but they played it off well. The German suplex is still awesome.

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Well... this is certainly special, though I'm not sure how 'great' it is.

 

The opening few sequences set everything up perfectly; the slap, the casual, emphatic slam, the ear boxing in the corner and Vader no selling the shots before one big one sends Inoki down. The German suplex is, of course, infamous, but people forget both how early it is in the match (about 1/3rd of the way through) and that within thirty seconds Vader is calling a transition for Inoki into his (Inoki's) only real sustained run of offence leading into Vader juicing. Vader quickly takes over by punching his way out of a cover, kills Inoki with a huge chokeslam, Vader bomb and moonsault... and then another quick transition into a weak slam and the sudden armbar finish. The lay-out of the match is all over the place, really, even by what I've come to expect from most of Vader's work. You can't call Inoki on them as it's clearly Vader leading him through everything.

 

I mean, the match is good, and more importantly it's very, very memorable and a strong spectacle... but as a wrestling match I can't really call it great at all.

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This ruled. It was more a war than a wrestling match. Loved Vader punching a bloody Inoki right in the face while lying down. The Entrance was just classic Inoki as was the finish.

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Been meaning to watch this one forever, and it does not disappoint. I have to make a quick comment about the awesomeness that is Inoki's hair at the end of the match.

 

I can't believe that suplex! Inoki looked legit dead.

 

I agree with most things said in this thread. I will say that Vader is one of those guys who grows more on me every viewing. He just can do so much for a superheavyweight. What other 400 pounder bumped like he did? Jerry Blackwell, maybe? And there's no point in mentioning the moonsault is there? He's just so much fun to watch, and he ought to be boring.

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This is fun to watch. This was the first time seeing this, and that includes the german spot. Inoki's sell of the suplex is what makes it for me. He looks dead, mouth gaping not moving a single bone in his body. Vader the bully is always an easy story to tell and he does it well. The shots of the crowd throughout the match interest me as I am not used to a Japanese crowd so energetic. The joy on their faces as they root Inoki on is quite a sight.

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This match also demonstrate how whiny the WWF workers were at the time. I believe both Taker and Shawn complained about Vader's stiffness, and it really ampered his aura there, while a 60 year old Inoki allows Vader to just kill him. And Vader was clearly not in good shape here, fat, in need of an operation I believe. Amazing match, what a Dome show match should be, it had no right to be that great. Compare that to the ass-half matches Vader had in WWF with Shawn and Taker in the months to come. Well... And it's not even a thing about US wrestling, as Vader worked über stiff with Sting and Dustin Rhodes in WCW (I'm not mentionning Cactus Jack because that crossed the line between stiff and stupid). Even the Bulldog allowed him to work his style there.

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Well I'm not going to call out wrestlers for not letting someone work stiff with them (I mean, it's not as if Shawn and Taker haven't taken a fucking beating over the years, I don't want to feel how they must now when I turn 45).

 

The thing with Vader was, though, his offence was so intrinsic to his aura. He bumped SO much. He loved to bump for the cheap pop. Someone called him a 400lb Flair once and that's not too far wrong, really. Yokozuna got over a few years earlier without killing people (and he stooged his share, too, I love the backwards through the ropes/stagger into the post spot). Umaga a few years ago had quite the aura for a while for someone who's finish was a running ass to the face and a thumb strike.

 

I think, ultimately, the "fault" (if you want to attribute some) is in various directions than just blaming Shawn. Shawn treating him badly is still, probably, the biggest and most costly, but Vader was talented enough to've done more himself, too. No one should "have to work stiff" in order to get over (not to sound like Lance Storm or someone).

 

And we're talking about the WWF/E. Something like Harts/Steiners gets pimped despite being a mess because "the Steiners were the Steiners! Screwdriver~!" and something like a bridging Tiger/Dragon/whatever would be a "holy shit" spot in 2011 when it's been almost routine (though a strong near fall/finish) in Japan for 30 years.

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Add me to the "hadn't seen this before" list. Not sure whether I enjoyed the German more, or the announcers losing their shit over it.

 

Inoki takes an absolute beating here, and Vader did a fantastic job as the superheavweight gaijin monster.

 

Lots to like here. The pomp and circumstance surrounding it just give this an epic feel.

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This match is definitely on my 'desert island' list, and I've probably watched it 20 times over the years. It is the wrestling equivalent of a late 80s/early 90s action flick, with Inoki as your Riggs-like hero who is simultaneously too old for this shit and will never back down and let this mothfucker beat him. This felt like a fight scene from a Die Hard or something, and is still great every time I watch it.

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Vader looks terrible falling on his ass off the ramp in front of Inoki. Watch your surroundings. Inoki’s entrance music continues to rule. That release German suplex by Vader is awesome. Inoki sells it like he has just been crippled. Still love seeing that after all these years. I’m amazed Vader didn’t actually lose an eye wrestling NJPW. Vader was having his fun on dropping Inoki on his head. Really good match overall.

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I should point out that Inoki was 52 at the time, not 60. Whatever his age he rolled back the clock and delivered the last great effort of his long career. Vader dished out quite a beating including the infamous Release German. Inoki's brains were literally scrambled after that one. The dynamic worked perfectly with the American monster heel beating down the old Japanese hero. Coming straight to this from December '93 it's noticeable what bad shape Vader is in at this point in time. In a funny way that could've helped this match as Inoki's comebacks would have looked less convincing against a peak Vader. The Rocky Mountain man also bladed. Antonio survived all of his opponents top end offense and hung on long enough to grab the submission.

 

I would say it's as strong a match as possible considering the participants physical condition at the time. Not a great one outright. My favourite moment of the whole thing was right after Inoki had kicked out the moonsault. The camera pans to the crowd and there's an old lady who just gives a nod of approval. All was right with the world.

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Only my second time ever watching this. Having just watched the 99 Dome show feel so inconsequential, this certainly feels huge and has a great aura to it with the Inoki entrance. The slap and way the crowd gets deafly quiet is amazing. Inoki getting this type of beating at 52 is still impressive to watch and this is one of the better performances of his historic but inconsistent career. Inoki's comeback was good and Vader comes back bloody. I really liked how the match ebbed and flowed where each person got some extended bouts of beatdowns but Vader got more time on top to put himself over and to play into the natural narrative of the match.. Finish was fun with Inoki getting a swift comeback, the super slam, and locking in a nasty armbreaker that allows him to get the win but the feeling that Vader more got caught than beaten. Great stuff. (****)

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Inoki's entrance is amazing, hampered only by the site of Vader falling backwards off the ramp onto his ass. Not the last time that would pose a problem for him. Now, Inoki is old and washed-up and Vader is working with one shoulder, so for the bulk of this these guys have to rely on their natural charisma and character work and milking every little bit out of a few moves to carry this along. And they do that in droves. This is stiff, yes, but if you take the stiffness away this is worked VERY much like a WWF main event of the time. Move, pause, work crowd, move, pause, etc. Then Vader unleashes just about everything he has. We all know about the German but Inoki eats a SICK chokeslam, as well as the Vader Bomb and a moonsault (!!!--yes, we'd seen it, but not when Vader was packing an extra 50 pounds and in need of his shoulder being surgically repaired). The one thing holding this back from being a top 15-20 match of the year candidate is that Inoki's comeback and victory came a little too easily for my liking.

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#wrestling365

 

What a really fun war this was. Of course there was the German Suplex, but these two battled! Vader was the monster and Inoki was the legend and it was played up perfect. Especially perfect since Vader was going to the WWF. Really loved this. ****

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I love the Inoki music. What an entrance! I love the comparison to a 90s action flick. Late 80s/early 90s action flicks are movies I throw on when I just want to chill and have a good time. There isn't too much to think about, other than how awesome this is. What a spectacle - ***3/4

 

#445 - placetobenation.com/countdown-top-500-matches-of-the-90s-450-401/

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Loss #445. Hadn't seen this in donkey's years. Hate to be a killjoy since the crowd were so into Inoki but I've seen plenty of better Inoki fights and plenty of better Vader matches. Inoki sold pretty well, and afterward he claimed he couldn't remember a thing about the fight, but I don't think Vader was at his menacing best here. In fact, I think he was pretty clearly past his prime and well into his physical decline. Didn't really think this was any better than Flair/Vader, to be honest with you.

 

EDIT: I forgot to mention that the commentators compared the fight to Inoki's matches with Andre, which I thought was a fairly apt comparison. And I didn't really love those matches, either.

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It's been a long time since I watched this one last and I really liked it here. Really had the feeling of a blockbuster NJPW Dome match, the aging legend vs. a super killer. Vader unloads the offense, the famous suplex but also a killer chokeslam and moonsault. I loved Inoki's brief comeback on the outside, whacking Vader with a chair leading to a great overhead camera shot of Vader tipping over a barricade and freaking out. I feel like the ending was too abrupt -- it works to keep Vader looking strong but for what the match was I think Inoki needed more offenses in places and a somewhat more decisive win.

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Not only was this my first time watching this match, it was the first Inoki match I've watched. I'm just not well versed on Japanese stuff, outside of the garbage promotions. Inoki's entrance was awesome. I'm going to have to get his theme so I can blast it in the car. Vader falling was kind of sad to see especially because he looked so intimidating right up until that point. The charisma these two had was off the charts. The crowd was hot. The match itself was a stiff war and was a lot of fun to watch. I'm planning to rewatch it later as I was pretty tired on my first viewing. The ending coming out of nowhere was kind of offputting, to be honest.

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Antonio Inoki vs Vader - NJPW 1/4/96

A match befitting the Dome to the tee. Antonio Inoki the biggest Japanese save for Rikidozan on his Final Countdown tour against the last behemoth he made, Vader, with history dating all the way back to 1988. Vader is in between WCW and WWF stints. This match does drag in parts due to the fitness limitations of both wrestlers, Inoki (age) and Vader (weight), BUT these are two of the best of all time and they more than enough tricks to knock one out of the park. Vader slaps the taste out of Inoki's mouth before the bell. He set the tone this was going to be a fight and he was ready to kick the old man's ass. He proceeded to do just that, those trademark Vader punches and that big slam on the table. It looked like Inoki was about to be forced into retirement. I love shit like Inoki grabs a sleeper, but Vader goes to the eyes to break. He is a 400lbs monster kicking this old man's ass, but he goes for the eyes. What a prick. Then comes the most famous spot of the match, The German Suplex. VADER HURLS INOKI BACKWARDS ACROSS THE RING CRUMPLING THE OLD MAN IN HALF! You got to see it. Vader sets up his own transition. He goes flying over the ropes from the apron. Inoki hits a diving knee drop. On the outside, Inoki creams him with a steel chair, busting the Mastodon open, a modicum of revenge. In Japan, Vader's arm has always been seen as weak, with Inoki, Hashimoto and Takada all targetting it. Inoki looks to get the submission, but it is too early and this grizzly bear bear paws him on the ground. Not far behind the German, is the chokeslam Inoki takes. Inoki evades the Powerbomb, but eats the Vaderbomb and the Vadersault each for two! The raucous pro-Inoki crowd is eating this up with a spoon. This David vs Goliath done right. Vader squishes him in the corner, but on the second charge eats nothing but turnbuckles. I love how Vader sets up these transitions with missed moves. Inoki uses his momentum to bodyslam him and Cross-Armbreaker gets the tapout victory to a MASSIVE POP! This has the David vs Goliath feel with the additional bonus of David as the aging warrior and everyone always want to see their hero live forever and one of the nice things about pro wrestling is that it can become a reality. ****

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