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[1985-12-12-NJPW] Antonio Inoki & Seiji Sakaguchi vs Tatsumi Fujinami & Kengo Kimura

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Antonio Inoki & Seiji Sakaguchi vs Tatsumi Fujinami & Kengo Kimura - NJPW 12/12/85 IWGP Tag Team Championship


Fantastic intergenerational match! Babe Ruth & Lou Gehrig vs Mantle & Maris or Bruno & Pedro vs Hogan & Savage. Sakaguchi was the number two babyface in 70s New Japan behind Inoki. He is the biggest guy in the match, a bruiser and definitely the spark plug of the match. Kimura is Fujinami's running buddy. Fujinami is the biggest babyface star of 80s New Japan and Inoki is of course the biggest star of the 70s and the biggest star of all time in New Japan. To add to the stakes this is to crown the inaugural International Wrestling Grand Prix Tag Team Champions. As is customary, it was decided in a round robing format with actually Bruiser Brody & Jimmy Snuka actually in the lead at the end of the round robing format, but they NO SHOWED the finals and JUMPED to All Japan. Insane! Instead we get this badass native vs native match.


So there are three threads to follow in this match. The 70s superstars vs Kimura. Kimura is the junior partner on his team and definitely number 4 on the totem pole. When he is in the ring, can he survive the two best wrestlers in history. He faces two heat segments and manages to get out of both. Sakaguchi as a bruiser and Inoki as a wrestler are able to get their way with him, but Kimura does hold his own and we see down the stretch that he is pivotal to victory. The second thread is Fujinami vs Sakaguchi. This is the fiercest and chippiest of the matchups. Sakaguchi is larger than Fujinami and disrespects Fujinami early by picking him up over the top rope and placing him on the apron like a good little boy. Fujinami reacts by slapping the taste out of his mouth. IT IS ON! Classic David vs Goliath with lots of heat. The last match up and the biggest is Superstar vs Superstar, Main Event vs Main Event, 70s vs 80s, Inoki vs Fujinami. HUGE FIGHT FEEL when they are in the ring! This much more respectful.


Inoki vs Fujinami begins with a stalemate then we get Sakaguchi vs Fujinami, which is the apron spot I speak of above. Then we get Kimura getting his ass kicked by the 70s superstars. Sakaguchi bruises. Inoki hit Demolition Decapitation and a butterfly suplex. The middle of the match is a lot of jockeying for position and teasing different control segments. Kimura saves Fujinami from an Argentine Backbreaker from Sakaguchi by chopping down the big oak tree. Inoki and Fujinami have a great stand up battle with Inoki baiting with the right and tagging Fujinami good with a left. Inoki hits his enziguiri on Kimura who does a somersault bump, but Fujinami saves. The finish stretch is really good. Fujinami has Inoki in a figure-4 and the crowd is chanting for Inoki. They focused so much on Inoki & Sakaguchi beating up Kimura, but the crowd still loved the old guys. Inoki finally reverses and tags in Sakaguchi who comes in roaring against Fujinami. Hits a running high knee but hurts his knee in process! Gets a cover for two and then Fujinami & Kimura go to town on Sakaguchi's leg in the best control segment of the match. They are flying all around and kicking ass. Some really good double teams. Fujinami applies the Scorpion Deathlock on Sakaguchi while Kimura drops the kne eon his back. Fujinami is jawing with ref. Inoki gets tag and just starts kicking ass and throws Fujinami out of the ring. Sakaguchi is fucked. Inoki brngs him in with a suplex. Fujinami tags out. Inoki hits a picture perfect dropkick on Kimura right to head. He is hitting monster closed fists on Kimura's head. ENZIGUIRI~! 1-2-NO! BACK DROP DRIVER! 1-2-NO! Kimura hits his own! Tag out1 Fujinami OCTOPUS STRETCH! Will the Martial Arts master tap? He breaks free. They do a ring around rosie, Fujinami hooks in Full Nelson, hoists, DRAGON SUPLEX, BRIDGE 1-2-3! Fujinami & Kimura win! Fujinami is in total shock that he pinned Inoki. So am I!!!


Huge victory for Fujinami & Kimura. I was just as surprised as Fujinami that they won the match and that he got a clean as a sheet pinfall on Inoki! Huge momentum boost going into the UWF invasion angle, which will start in January 1986. Kimura was great as feisty junior surviving heat segments and being pesky by saving Fujinami. Sakaguchi was a great bruiser and generating heat in the match. Inoki brought that starpower and some great offense. Fujinami was the star. Standing up to Sakaguchi and then going toe to toe with the Great One and winning. Loved the layout at the end with Sakaguchi hurting himself and the 80s guys destroying the knee. The pivotal moment in the match is Kimura kicking out of two Inoki death blows and holding his own against Inoki. That was huge. Then Fujinami took care of the rest. The stars aligned with isolation of Inoki, Kimura stepping up to the plate and Fujinami bringing it home. Great story and an even bigger moment for Fujinami with a clean pinfall over Antonio Inoki. ****1/2

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  • GSR changed the title to [1985-12-12-NJPW] Antonio Inoki & Seiji Sakaguchi vs Tatsumi Fujinami & Kengo Kimura

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