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JerryvonKramer

Do you hate Inoki?

Do you hate Inoki? (as a worker)  

67 members have voted

  1. 1. Well?

    • Yes
      7
    • No
      41
    • Not seen enough to make a call
      13


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Seldom has a worker inspired such visceral hatred in me as Antonio Inoki. I mean how boring was this fuck? Honestly, I'd take Dory Jr over him at this stage.

 

As I've said, he feels like a guy who was perfectly content to just sit on the mat and run out the time if you let him. Seems like every bit of selling, every high spot, bit of excitement, or basically anything that isn't laying on the mat has to be dragged from him by his opponent. I've got this impression seeing him vs. both Hansen and Backlund now. But mostly he's been rubbish.

 

Now, I haven't seen more than 20 Inoki matches in my life total, but how on earth was Inoki such a legend being as sickeningly dull as he was?

 

Any thoughts welcome on Inoki. What are some examples of Inoki being "on", rather than his opponent basically forcing him to have a good, watchable match?

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For the Vader match in 1996 alone, you can't hate Inoki. And really, one of the most charismatic wrestler ever, and a complete lunatic. Can't help but love Inoki san.

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I don't hate him per se, but his rep took a massive hit with me after the NJPW set where he was more than content to ruin otherwise good matches with the worst sort of "going through the motions" routine and/or not doing anything if the situation called for it. Watching old and out of shape Andre out work him was one of the most absurd examples of him being a lazy fuck I've ever seen, but then he'd do something like really push Brody into something semi-watchable and win me back from completely falling over the cliff into abject hatred of him. I find him much better in tags in the 80's FWIW. Childs says his older stuff ages better and I'm willing to believe that, but I'm not sure I'm willing to watch the matches to confirm it.

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Inoki seems like he has friends in some high places because this poll keeps resetting! 6 votes cast and it's back to 0. It went back to 0 after 3 votes too.

 

I mean "as a worker" obviously rather than as a man, or a booker. His chin is something else too.

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Here in the UK we have two very big chinned men. One is Bruce Forsyth.

 

Posted Image

 

He's been on TV for something like 50 years. I think I mentioned to you once that he's in the film Bedknobs and Broomsticks. He also had a go at breaking America at one point and during that run had a guest spot on The Muppets Show.

 

Another very big chinned man is the former football manager and pundit Jimmy Hill.

 

Posted Image

 

But I think Inoki has them both beat. Look at it!!

 

Posted Image

 

My god. You could put a banana next to his face and there'd probably still be chin left over.

 

I have to respect that.

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He has some great stuff, like his second draw with Backlund... though Backlund is quite terrific in it. He has some nicely solid stuff, like one of the widely circulating Johnny Powers matches... though Powers is pretty damn choice in it, including his exceptional Perm-Toupe. He has some stuff that is oddly overrated because people want it to be good, like the Billy Robinson match... which is really something of a mess when you compare it with Billy's well laid out and worked matches. And you have a whole lot of stuff that's just there, or solid in stretches, or solid but could have been better. An example would be his Victor Rivera match, which is really nice as it's going along, showing Victor is far better working holds than anyone might have thought... and then Inoki just takes it home, wham bam thank you mam.

 

I'm not going to say Inoki is the Don Muraco of Japan. But there are chances for him to show a helluva lot more, and they just end up coming up short. I mean... Brisco had better matches with Jumbo and Baba, with the Jumbo one really giving you an idea of how Jack probably worked as NWA Champ when facing a home town hero babyface. The Inoki match is just... there.

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I know this doesnt fit into the "hate reason" for Inoki...but I dont hate him cause he started NJPW....which is giving me TONS and TONS of enjoyment right now..

 

As a wrestler, not so much...but what is strange is that when I first saw his matches with no other NJPW viewing, I thought he was really good compared to a lot of the US guys, as that was all I have seen. Over the last 60 or so days, he has fallen FAR and FAST in terms of being good to watch..

 

Hate in ring? No, but not a fan..

 

Hate the man? Not at all, he gave us NJPW...

 

But I dont know enough about him as a human being and how he treated others or if he did any or had any shady dealings....

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His biggest problem was laziness. When I watch something like that horrible Inoki vs Brody match where Inoki works his ass off and Brody doesn't seem willing to cooperate I find myself wishing he'd just put that effort into something worthwhile. That said he has shown up and worked with the right people enough times to have plenty of great matches and it's hard for me to hate someone with so many great matches. His charisma is definitely one of the factors in those 80s NJPW elimination matches being so memorable (of course, having guys like Fujinami, Fujiwara, Maeda, Choshu, Hoshino, Saito, etc helped too).

 

Outside of those I really like:

 

Inoki vs Fujiawar 2/6/86

Inoki vs Choshu 2/22/89

Inoki vs Vader 7/29/88

Fujiwara/Inoki vs Fujinami/Maeda 9/7/87

Inoki vs Hogan IWGP finals

Inoki vs Saito 4/27/87

The Inoki vs Hansen series (can't remember which I liked best)

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I hated watching every Inoki match that made tape from the '80s, because he mailed in way too many performances. But I like his best stuff too much to say I hate him. Not sure why John felt the Brisco match was just there; I thought it featured lots of hardfought matwork with effective build to the highspots. And Inoki worked hard in it. I think Loss is a fan of that match as well. I also liked the Robinson match, and as Dylan mentioned, I've generally not hated the '70s Inoki I've seen. That was his athletic prime. I genuinely loved that 2/6/86 match against Fujiwara in which Inoki was the lesser guy but held his own. Others have mentioned his willingness to let Vader slaughter him when he was past 50. I feel weird defending Inoki, because I've probably suffered through as much of his worst shit as anyone. But there you have it. JVK, I feel like you're generally not a fan of older-school matwork, so I'm not sure you're ever going to like some of Inoki's better stuff from the '70s. You've already expressed your aversion to the Hansen series, and I thought he was pretty good in those matches. So the gulf might simply be too wide.

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I've always liked the Brisco match too, the Robinson match I thought was awesome as well. With Inoki it's really frustrating because he's capable of having killer matches. Instead he opts out and coasts through a lot of the matches .

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The fact that the Robinson match was a mess is precisely why I think it's so great. It's not quite as good as Robinson/Baba but there's no shame in that--that's a MOTD contender. There's no Inoki match of that era where it looks so likely that he's going to lose and therefore none quite so dramatic. Even if it's Billy going off on his own, that just adds to the match's mystique for me.

 

I liked the Brisco match when I saw it too, but almost entirely because I thought it was an otherworldly performance from Jack while Inoki was sort of along for the ride.

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Don't hate him, but wouldn't seek out his matches. His ring stance and body movement were awkward for mine, but he had some exciting matches where his popularity added to the atmosphere. Had the chance to meet him, but didn't want to spend a month's wages on boozing.

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I've never been able to understand why the Japanese fans loved Inoki so much as he comes across as such an unlikable person to me. But it's not like I'm ever going to meet the guy, and he did build my 2nd favourite wrestling promotion of all time.

 

As a worker I'm definitely a fan. Sure he was in a load of bad matches and was lazy sometimes. I prefer to judge wrestlers by their positive contributions to the art form. If it's good I'll watch it, if it's bad I'll skip it.

 

Inoki had some of the most famous matches of the 70's. My experience of this decade is thin. A 70's Decadebook or two would be awesome down the line. Just looking back at my 80's NJ set rankings it's surprising how well Inoki comes off. My number 1 match was him vs Masa Saito. He also had strong singles bouts vs Vader, Fujiwara, Choshu, Hansen and even Hogan. You don't even need to have any appreciation for matwork to enjoy some of these.

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Been a long time since I watched it but I remember loving the 60 minute draw w/ Dory. He was a very different worker when he was young and not the top guy/legend.

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I hated watching every Inoki match that made tape from the '80s, because he mailed in way too many performances. But I like his best stuff too much to say I hate him. Not sure why John felt the Brisco match was just there; I thought it featured lots of hardfought matwork with effective build to the highspots. And Inoki worked hard in it. I think Loss is a fan of that match as well. I also liked the Robinson match, and as Dylan mentioned, I've generally not hated the '70s Inoki I've seen. That was his athletic prime. I genuinely loved that 2/6/86 match against Fujiwara in which Inoki was the lesser guy but held his own. Others have mentioned his willingness to let Vader slaughter him when he was past 50. I feel weird defending Inoki, because I've probably suffered through as much of his worst shit as anyone. But there you have it. JVK, I feel like you're generally not a fan of older-school matwork, so I'm not sure you're ever going to like some of Inoki's better stuff from the '70s. You've already expressed your aversion to the Hansen series, and I thought he was pretty good in those matches. So the gulf might simply be too wide.

Well I did give the 5/9/80 Hansen match an A, which is a pretty high rating from me. I was also the high vote on the 12/06/79 Backlund match on the recent Titans show -- and by some margin.

 

But in both cases, it felt like I liked these matches despite Inoki. I'm just wondering if there are matches where the match is good primarily because of Inoki rather than his opponent.

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Not a huge fan of Inoki, just don't hate him. Sometimes he can get annoying though. Now Baba on the other hand I would probably put in the hate or strongly dislike category.

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The match vs. The Great Antonio is the first memory for me when I think of Inoki.

 

El-P is right, the match vs. Vader in 1996 was absolutely great, and for that alone I can't hate Inoki. He is wacky and he has a son called Simon. What's not to love?

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I hated watching every Inoki match that made tape from the '80s, because he mailed in way too many performances. But I like his best stuff too much to say I hate him. Not sure why John felt the Brisco match was just there; I thought it featured lots of hardfought matwork with effective build to the highspots. And Inoki worked hard in it. I think Loss is a fan of that match as well. I also liked the Robinson match, and as Dylan mentioned, I've generally not hated the '70s Inoki I've seen. That was his athletic prime. I genuinely loved that 2/6/86 match against Fujiwara in which Inoki was the lesser guy but held his own. Others have mentioned his willingness to let Vader slaughter him when he was past 50. I feel weird defending Inoki, because I've probably suffered through as much of his worst shit as anyone. But there you have it. JVK, I feel like you're generally not a fan of older-school matwork, so I'm not sure you're ever going to like some of Inoki's better stuff from the '70s. You've already expressed your aversion to the Hansen series, and I thought he was pretty good in those matches. So the gulf might simply be too wide.

Well I did give the 5/9/80 Hansen match an A, which is a pretty high rating from me. I was also the high vote on the 12/06/79 Backlund match on the recent Titans show -- and by some margin.

 

But in both cases, it felt like I liked these matches despite Inoki. I'm just wondering if there are matches where the match is good primarily because of Inoki rather than his opponent.

 

 

 

Well, you didn't ask: Was Inoki a great wrestler who carried lots of guys to classics? The answer to that would be no. But he was a game participant in a lot of really good matches. Thus, I and a lot of others seem to be saying that "hate" is too strong a reaction to his body of work. I just think that if you disliked him strongly in the Hansen matches and the Backlund match, you're unlikely to find religion on Inoki.

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I'll watch the Brisco match again. It's possible that my thoughts if it being just "there" are due to what Pete is pointing to: Brisco is Brisco which is good, while Inoki is along for the ride when I was hoping for Inoki to flash some quality work.

 

Been ages since I watched Dory-Inoki, and my recollection is that it was as much of a teeth pulling experience as Dory-Brisco's 60 minute match. And I like long matches in that era.

 

On Billy-Inoki, I never got the sense that Inoki was going to lose: it was the second fall, and of course Inoki was going to win the fall to even things up. Then Billy dicked around in not working on the same page with him down the stretch of it. There's a fair amount of good stuff up to a certain point, then it goes into trainwreck mode. :)

 

John

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