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[1978-12-18-WWWF-MSG, NY] Antonio Inoki vs Texas Red

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Man this wasn't any good. Nothing match that consisted of them just spamming moves. There was some glimpse of character work-but it was more of "this is stuff I usually do so I better get it in" than a case of them bothering to properly construct a match with anything interesting. Grab an armlock, hold it for a while, move on to a hammerlock, hold it for a while, and so forth. Red botched a Headscissors and looked sucky in general, Inoki was better but this was one of his worst showings. Crowd didn't seem to care much. **

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Thanks to NintendoLogic for this rec. Apparently it's Red Bastien under the mask. Always a treat to see him in action even this late in his career. I was really caught off-guard by how this match was worked. I expected a competitive squash based on who was in it, but it's actually a pretty evenly fought match where Red continuously gets the better of Inoki through a combination of trickery and underhanded tactics. It's really cool how the aggression in their work progressively picks up as the match goes on. First, they just leisurely trade armlocks, then they're grabbing tights and hair, and then they're punching and headbutting each other. It feels like they run out of ideas a few minutes before the finish, though, as they return to the slow trading of holds until it's time for Inoki to hit a series of big moves for the finish. Really fun mat-based contest that flew by for most of its duration. ***1/2

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