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[1976-10-07-NJPW] Antonio Inoki vs Andre the Giant

Superstar Sleeze

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WWF World Martials Arts Champion Antonio Inoki vs Andre The Giant - NJPW 10/7/76


At one point, Inoki & Andre 69 each other. *****


Seriously though this is an incredible spectacle and another fabulous Andre performance. Vince McMahon Sr. sighting for Parv! It was like he was wrestling two men, Inoki and the ref. Andre was probably the best at ref interactions until Flair in the 80s. I loved the little bit at the get go when ref goes to check his boots so Andre lifts his leg and then pulls it down taking the ref with him. Then does it again with the other leg! He was shoving the ref around. The ref got his little digs whenever Andre was using the ropes he would kick his arm off, great spot during Inoki's short arm scissors. Inoki came out of the gates with a dropkick. Andre, unphased, just had this sinister smile on his face and even the Almighty Inoki did not seem that confident. That was the beauty of this match was Andre was able to make the shoot badass, Antonio Inoki, a sympathetic underdog. Andre was just toying with his early until Inoki got a nice armdrag into a short arm scissors. I thought they did a really good job of grabbing a hanging limb. Anytime Inoki was attacking Andre, Andre would just grab a hold of that limb and then start to work it and same for Inoki. It led to some really interesting passes, Inoki slapped Andre! What a reaction by Andre just a perfect "Muthafucka, tell me you did not just do that" and then only to slam his hand against the ring post and bellow. There was the aforementioned 69 incident where they both headscissored each other. Some Indy sleazeball must have stolen that spot by now, but I think it would make for good comedy now. Andre took some great bumps into the turnbuckles. I loved when he was holding onto the ropes for dear life and the ref kicked his hand off. Andre did a BOW & ARROW! I didn't like the cross armbreaker no matter your size that is a legit dangerous flash submission hold and for Andre just lay there was lame. Andre got up and then tried to choke Inoki out with the bottom rope by standing on it. OW!


The finish is Andre has Inoki in the cobra clutch and Inoki hops over the top rope to escape and drags Andre out with him. They brawl on the floor and Andre headbutts the post and busts himself open. The wounded Giant throws everyone away the ref, Inoki and even his handler, which causes the match to be thrown out and Inoki awarded via TKO. Pretty lame finish. Inoki goes over, but really does not look like a winner. Double countout would have been more satisfying.


Great Andre performance, but not at the level of Khan performance. I thought Inoki added and subtracted from the match from Khan. He has a lot more presence than Khan and I thought his offense looked really credible. You also cared more about what happened to him. The negative was a lot more time on the mat. I thought Inoki was great in some holds really selling the drama and in others I found myself drifting away. Also, I am finding this more and more with New Japan is that are not much in the way of overarching narratives. Everything exists in the short run. Attack the limb that is attacking my now and then reset. So there is not a real feel of progression. However, still an awesome David vs Goliath match, which felt very different with all the matwork and a great heel Andre performance. ****1/4

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