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The Black Ninja vs Prince Iaukea


sek69
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I picked up Mike Graham's The Best of Classic Championship Wrestling Vol. 1 yesterday and this gem was on it. This match is notable of course because it's one of the first US appearances of the man who would go on to be much better known as the Great Muta. By the way (although it should be obvious), this Prince Iaukea isn't the one who was in WCW, he's the son of King Curtis Iaukea and bears a close resemblance to Taz with hair.

 

The first thing you get in this segment is a lengthy (and meandering) description of what exactly a ninja is by someone who's name escapes me at the moment who was challenging for the National Title. Hearing some barely coherent southerner lay out the finer points of being a ninja is unintentional comedy gold, and the look on Gordon Solie's face when they cut back to him is priceless. You could tell every fiber of his being wanted to ask the guy what the fuck it was he just said.

 

After a brief moment where Gordon asks an offscreen producer if they should take a break or go to the ring for the match (and why that couldn't be edited is beyond me), we go to the introductions where we see the Ninja looking much like Bruce Lee with his black karate gi pants with matching belt. Liu Kang from Mortal Kombat 1 = Mutoh in this matchup.

 

On to the match itself, it starts off as a standard wrestling match of the time, lots of mat work and jockeying for position, with a suplex thrown in for no obvious reason than to allow Gordon to add one of his famous "soo-play" calls. However when the Ninja reverses a whip to the turnbuckle and busts out the backflip elbow to the corner you can almost hear every jaw in the arena drop. Prince rolls out of the ring to get his bearings and the Ninja follows him out with a bodypress to the floor, which was nuts for what was basically a jobber match in 1986. The match goes back to the ring where the Ninja hits a backbreaker and goes up for what Mike Graham described in the intro clip as the first moonsault in US wrestling. He actually doesn't hit it very well, but its enough to finish and with that the landscape of wrestling changes.

 

All in all, it's a match not unlike the hundreds of other matches on NWA programming betweeen two undercard guys. Once the Ninja starts busting out moves no one's ever seen, it makes you wonder why it took til 1989 for him to get into a major US promotion.

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It's amazing to watch when you consider the time. When you hear Gordon Solie sound like a clueless WWE pretty boy announcer because a guy's doing moves *he's* never seen before, you know that's someone special.

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