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[1978-12-05-NJPW] Antonio Inoki vs Kantaro Hoshino

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This match is such a huge mismatch-Inoki is like two heads taller than Hoshino and their difference is status is even larger. It's worked like that and that's precisely what makes it so intriguing. Hoshino has to desperately throw everything at Inoki not to get 2.99 counts that and interpreter then twists as "surviving"-he has to do that just to make Inoki register his offence. When Inoki trips Hoshino it's a show of dominance. "look how easy it was for him". When Hoshino does that he has to time it perfectly because he doesn't have Inoki's strenght and size that would allow him to just push him away-and the narrative makes it work even more when you add the meaning of a payback spot to it. Hoshino's offence consists of super awesome punches that Inoki sells *perfectly* which ties into the finish-in a modern match after Hoshino's managed to weaken Inoki you'll usually see a wrestler in his position spam go into the *I do big moves/nearfalls now*. Inoki still fights him off-culminating in one of the best Snapmare spots I've ever seen if not the best (I doubt those 2006 ROH "Snapmare is suddenly the world's deadliest move" matches are going to hold up seamlessly). And then, in the portion of the match where you'd usually just have Inoki go on a rampage Hoshino immediately dives at his legs because he knows he's dead if he doesn't stop him. Hoshino sells Inoki's palm strikes like death which adds another dimension to the strike exchanges and makes them feel more significant and consequent AND they do the "Jumbo slams Misawa's head into the canvas" spot 12 years before Misawa/Jumbo! ****

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