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[1976-07-24-AJPW] Giant Baba vs Billy Robinson


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  • 1 year later...
Robinson is awesome here. Not to sell Baba short, he was great too, but Robinson’s performance was fantastic. From the apprehension he conveys about locking up with Baba, maintaining a certain distance and treating him like a major threat throughout the match, to his movements, his takedowns, his quick snakebite strikes to the legs. He tries to overwhelm Baba rather than get tangled up in his spindly limbs, chopping him down at the knees. I’ve said it a million times but it’s the little things that add up and Robinson is a master at incorporating them into his matches. The way he pushes his weight back onto Baba’s chinlock in order to pin his shoulders to the mat, or cranking Baba’s leg over his own head, using it as a battering ram to weaken the leg. When Baba realizes Billy’s not going to tie up with him, he starts slapping and chopping away, picking up the first fall after a backdrop. Robinson sells Baba’s strikes so well, making them look extra painful, trying in vain to block them. He starts firing back on offense, hitting a gnarly neckbreaker, and when he’s unsuccessful with the double arm suplex attempts, Robinson takes out the leg and quickly submits Baba with a single leg crab to even the score. And he doesn’t let up, hitting leg enziguris at the start of the third fall, once again trying to submit him before Baba builds any momentum. At one point, Billy drapes Baba’s leg on the ropes and executes a tope onto the leg through the ropes, causing them both to tumble outside! By the end of this thing, Robinson is delivering everything he can in his arsenal to down the giant, including an impressive backbreaker, but when he runs into the neckbreaker drop, it’s game over, emphasizing once again the danger that is Baba and how every move could be the last.


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  • GSR changed the title to [1976-07-24-AJPW] Giant Baba vs Billy Robinson
  • 5 months later...

Robinson is a lot like a slightly less southern Terry Funk in this. He largely carries the action through mannerisms and bumping all over the place for Baba. At one point he even leans against Baba and gives him this really uppity „Why don't you chop me yeah“ look. Needless to say Robinsons grappling and counters aswell as the little touches such as going for a suplex in the middle of trading holds were all great and kept the match fresh the whole time. Baba doesn't exactly suck, but it's really blatant how Robinson is doing all the interesting stuff while Baba just sticks to his spots. He doesn't put Robinsons legwork over strongly either. This was a little too brief to be some kind of classic but watching Robinson work is truely a joy.

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  • 7 months later...

I consider this one of the most overrated matches of all time. Nothing close to a classic match, at least from a ringwork perspective. I've been watching it a couple of times for the last five years or so, and, while I used to think it was bad and now I kinda like it, I still consider it overrated af.

Baba was totally annoying here: his strikes were soft, his selling was non-existent, he moved very slow... he was at a point where his limitations began to show, I guess. I liked how he tried to use his size to his advantage while grappling (as he always does), and using his Jumping Neckbreaker Drop as a last ditch effort to secure the win was a cool spot, but that's kinda it. Robinson, on the other hand, gave a great performance and one of the best carryjobs I can remember. The way he puts Baba's size over, how he carefully targets one of his legs, his amazing selling and bumping, the facial expressions, those vicious forearms... He does everything he can to keep the flow of the match and he fucking succeeds, because I was never bored while watching it, and considering how bad Baba's performance was, that's trully something.

I also love the clean finish. In this time and place, a no contest result was the bread n' butter of bookers in an international title match, and the couple of times on the third fall they battle at ringside had this feeling of "aw shit it's going to finish now, isn't it?". I enjoyed how they played the audience with that and how it paid off with a clean, decisive, finish.

Nothing I would consider for a GME project, and I don't even think it's one of the best matches of their careers and/or the 70s, but still a match that proofs how amazing and intelligent Billy Robinson was. So yeah, despite its flaws, I always kinda enjoy it.

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Robinson reminded me a lot of Fit Finlay in this. He has a very European way of doing things. The opening exchanges don't go anywhere, but they do a terrific job of putting over Robinson's suplexes as a threat. Robinson has all kinds of ways to both put on a hold and to escape one. At one point, he uses his own head to wretch on Baba's leg! This is a Robinson carry job, but Baba knows when to bring out his big chops and boots to enhance the action. Perhaps it was the three falls breaking apart the action, but this match flew by and it's essential viewing to anyone who wants a taste of  70's AJPW, a very underrated decade for the company. ★★★★¾

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