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[1978-07-27-NJPW] Bob Backlund vs Antonio Inoki

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This was quite the match, with solid limbwork and selling throughout, and a ton of offense in the back half. Terrific submission finish to the first fall with Inoki’s manjigatame, Backlund teasing the rope break and the crowd brewing in anticipation. For the second fall, Backlund initially focuses on the left leg, building up to a great bow-and-arrow hold, and then switching the focus to the back. Love his big releases on those back-to-back double arm suplexes. Backlund gets a few more two counts and out of frustration, scoop slams Inoki on the floor before picking up the fall after a running atomic drop. They fire up the offensive engines for the third fall, as Backlund continues targeting Inoki’s back, booting out of a leglock, applying a crab hold and even delivering a ridiculous over-the-shoulder backbreaker onto his knee. Inoki keeps coming after Backlund with the manjigatame attempts but Backlund manages to evade them and in turn, delivers suplexes and a piledriver. A bit messy there at the very end but a good match overall, probably my third favorite 70’s Inoki match behind Robinson and Brisco.

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