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Grimmas

Antonio Inoki

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OJ, I think I'm finally going to sit down with that Johnny Powers match from 12/10/73 later. I've read a couple of pretty interesting reviews of it putting it over pretty strongly.

 

It seems like in the NJ lore, Powers is one of the big scalps in Inoki's rogue's gallery. I seem to recall reading somewhere that when they made their championship belt, Inoki had to go through all his old foes and they invited Powers back for it. I'd love to know any more info about that deal.

 

Also, looking for a rogue's gallery for Inoki, I came across this internet page that can only be from the 90s: http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/~YF7M-ON/erival.html

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God, I need to see an Inoki/Bockwinkel match yesterday.

 

 

Hmm, I could see that being really great or kind of boring. But probably great given Bock's willingness to go hard on the mat.

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The Powers match I saw was good but not one of Inoki's best. If anything it epitomised how a lot of people see Inoki: as a guy who lies around on the mat for long periods of time, picks things up a bit, then lies back down again. I kind of see Inoki as more of an interesting worker than a great one, but I can see why people find his style boring. His matches don't build to a dramatic climax and despite the bid for legitimacy they're not that great shoot style bouts either. I respect his single-mindedness, though.

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Just watched the Great Antonio match. Was he drunk. I was laughing pretty hard when Inoki goes for a shoulder tackle and just goes flying off the fat guy. It is self-serious Inoki so it is pretty funny. Then Great Antonio starts hitting him pretty hard in the back of the neck and I was like this is not going to end well for him. Inoki beats the living shit out of his face for like a minute and he is a bloody pulp. Inoki was a bad muthafucka.

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The Powers match I saw was good but not one of Inoki's best. If anything it epitomised how a lot of people see Inoki: as a guy who lies around on the mat for long periods of time, picks things up a bit, then lies back down again. I kind of see Inoki as more of an interesting worker than a great one, but I can see why people find his style boring. His matches don't build to a dramatic climax and despite the bid for legitimacy they're not that great shoot style bouts either. I respect his single-mindedness, though.

 

Turns out the YouTube version only showed the first fall. The full version had more of a climax than I gave them credit for. Powers went into total heel mode after the first fall and Inoki had to fight through injury to take the title. Didn't change my opinion of the match much but at least it rounded out that rough edge.

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Inoki vs. Kintaro Oki was such a cool bout. Inoki potatoed him to start with and they worked this really awesome cagey defensive bout until Oki started unloading with headbutts. Kintaro Oki, where have you been all my life? Inoki bled hardway but fought back with that legendary punch of his. Perfect minimalist wrestling. If you're a fan of Fujiwara or Nishimura or Ishikawa vs. Ikeda then I don't see how you wouldn't see this as a spiritual forerunner to that type of wrestling. I need to see more Oki or die wondering.

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does anybody have the results from the puroresu.tv before the 80s project? Every 70s Inoki match that made tape was pretty thoroughly examined...

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does anybody have the results from the puroresu.tv before the 80s project? Every 70s Inoki match that made tape was pretty thoroughly examined...

I lost many an hour reading stuff from that project, especially when researching Dory stuff. If anyone finds it, might be an idea to try to preserve it somewhere.

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The '76 Inoki/Andre is another good one. It's memorable for the Andre blade job if nothing else. I'm interested in seeing whether Marty agrees that the first one you see is the best or whether I just get bored easily.

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The results are out there. We cross posted them on many other boards once we finished it.

http://www.puroresufan.com/discuss/showthread.php?tid=2569

Maybe wayback machine preserved some of the discussion. I should ask Daniel what the hell happened to the board.

 

I think once guys like Daniel and Matt stopped posting it just died a slow death. Once before the 80s wrapped it slowly deteriorated. Like the weekly match review thing died. Then best of 1990 died. Then it would be days without a post. Then weeks. Then months. It sort of seems like the same thing is happening over at puroresufan and wko

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Thanks for posting that list.

 

The Chris Markoff bout from '69 is interesting in that it's a total babyface performance against a cheating foreign heel as opposed to the usual catch-as-catch-can/strong style mix. And y'know what, Inoki's pretty good at it. It's not the first thing you think of when you think of Inoki, but he sells his ass off, bleeds a bucket and makes one hell of a comeback. It helps if you've seen him legitimately shoot on guys with his stomp, but it's an awesome comeback by any measure. He gets absolutely mobbed at the end and has another of those really triumphant yusho celebrations w/ a bandaged head and crimson mask. Markoff was really freaking good in his role. If you like cheating brawling heels then you'd do far worse than to watch some Chris Markoff.

 

My list of good Inoki matches sure is growing.

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My biggest regret is not finding a place for him in my ballot.

I'll have to vote for Maeda also, because they are so similar in their strenghts and weaknesses.

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In honour of Dusty finishing in the top 100 I thought I'd stop beating around the bush and watch the Inoki/Dust match from '79. Big Dust was clearly out of his element, but it could have been worse I guess. The finish had to have been something Dusty booked himself. Either that or he bent someone's ear.

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Watched a half-decent Ken Patera match from 1980 and it occurred to me that these are the type of bouts that really hurt Inoki. I'm guessing more people are familiar with Ken Patera's 1980 than they are Chris Markoff or Kintaro Oki, and more inclined to check out a Ken Patera match than either of those workers. The fact that Inoki doesn't have classic matches with workers like Patera has to be a knock on him in some people's eyes because of the type of mindset that says: "If you can't have a great match with Ken Patera in 1980 then..." Especially with the Texas Death Match being in the same year and right there as a direct comparison. And Patera is just an example. Hansen and Andre are other examples from the very early 80s. Inoki seemed much better at working these type of matches against foreign heels when he was younger and more of a pure babyface. After the Ruska fight and all of the worked shoot MMA challenges it became more difficult/unappealing for Inoki to work your dime a dozen pro-wrestling match. Somewhere around 1979 he began to decline not only physically but creatively as well. If you look at the different periods in his early work, you've got the JWA stuff where he's striving to be a star, the early New Japan stuff where he's fighting to make his new business a success, the mid-70s native vs. native stuff that hadn't been done in a decade, and finally the Inoki vs. the World mixed martial arts challenges. This early 80s period is hard to define but definitely meh. Maybe we can call the "siphoning all of New Japan's profits" phase. With my mind on my money and my money on my mind.

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Jeepers creepers, the heat for the Inoki/Tenryu match is off the charts. The beginning is everything you'd want from Inoki and Tenryu at that point in time. Then, just as I'm thinking "man this kicks ass," they go and do that sleeper spot. To Tenryu's credit he sold it well, but the match would have been SO much better if they'd just kicked each other's ass for 10 minutes.

 

Inoki vs. Masked Superstar was another mediocre bout against a foreigner. And y'know, Masked Superstar was a pretty good worker (some might say even better than that.) Inoki, at least once he became iconic, just wasn't very good at working against non-mat wrestling foreigners. Should he have found some way to adapt?I don't know .All I know is that it's the wrong Inoki to watch. I don't think much of Rusher Kimura, for example, but the heat for his matches with Inoki is tremendous and the sight of Inoki pummeling his bloodied face into submission is completely surreal. And Isamu Teranishi is such a tremendous little shit at ringside.

 

I enjoyed the Thesz/Gotch vs. Inoki/Sakaguchi tag for the maestro exhibition it was. Possibly the least conventional tag match ever, but it lulled you into its mat-based rhythm. Too bad the guy who uploaded it on YouTube forgot to include the final 10 minutes, or maybe he did and New Japan made a copyright claim seeing as how it's on the world site. The DM was taken down after a claim by Sky Perfect. Ah well, that's what you get for not paying for stuff I guess.

 

I've almost done my dash on Inoki. There's stuff I'd like to watch like more of his early JWA work but the only place I can find it is on some dodgy Russian site that wants my cell phone number to register. Yeah, that's not gonna happen. I'd also love to see more of his Backlund matches but apparently they're not in circulation. And that damn Bock match. Will it ever return from its online grave? Maybe a trip to Champion is in order.

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