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Lou Thesz Vs Rikidozan (10/13/57)

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1957.10.13 JWA at Korakuen Stadium, Tokyo

Lou Thesz (Champion)



They work a pretty good pace early on, but theres no way they can keep it up. They go to the mat for a bit, and Thesz works a short-arm scissors. This being the 1950s, they spend a LOT of time on the mat. Rikidozan works a leg lock in the middle of the ring, but Thesz wont give up. Thesz eventually makes the ropes for the break, but hes in a bad way. He does a great job of playing the heel, constantly backing away from Rikidozan, wrestling very defensively. Rikidozan takes him down with a hammerlock and works that on the mat. Thesz eventually escapes that, but Rikidozan takes him back down with a body scissor. They work some spots around that, including a near-fall. Thesz takes a shoulderblock and goes down for a four-count, but they come back to neutral. Rikidozan takes him down with a headlock, and thats the hold they work around for little while. Thesz attempts to murder him with a STIFF AS HELL backdrop suplex, then he gets a full body ride for a couple of near-falls. Thesz tries like mad to hold his shoulders down, and Rikidozan uses a damn near superhuman effort to keep them up, eventually reversing. They go to neutral again, and Rikidozan takes him over with a headlock again. Thesz tries the backdropper again, but Rikidozan blocks it and takes him down again. Very nice callback to earlier. Lather, rinse, repeat. They go to standing, and Rikidozan just NAILS him with an elbow and a chop. More headlockery, but Thesz gets a rollover into a cradle for 2. And again. When Rikidozan counters back to sitting, Thesz lifts him and drops him on his spine and rolls him back over. Rikidozan manages to escape and he gets an Indian Deathlock. Thesz reverses into a press, which Rikidozan reverses into a press. This has a very amateur feel to it, like if pro wrestling was a legitimate contest, this is what it would look like. Riki takes him over with the headlock, which gets a big pop. I swear to god, this match is about 37 minutes in, and it has been about 30 minutes of Rikidozan having Thesz in a headlock. Thesz takes him down and gets a keylock, so at least theyre changing things up, I guess. Rikidozan reverses that into a keylock of his own, and hes got Thesz on the mat. Thesz is almost to the ropes, and the film jumps a bit (WTF, its almost 60 years old, I can live with a few seconds missing). Thesz worms his way to the ropes, then begs off. Hes great, yelling at the officials at ringside. I always thought of him as such a gentleman and awesome technical wrestler that I never realized how awesome of a heel he was. He was never the best heel, mostly because he was around at the same time as Buddy Rogers (who he wrestled circles around), but he certainly held his own. Rikidozan goes back to the keylock and holy shit this is going to a time-limit draw with no falls on either side. Thesz makes the ropes again, we break again. Back to standing, and Rikidozan shoots him off the ropes and hits a press slam (!) for 2, but Thesz is in the ropes. Chops back and forth, and Thesz is down in the corner. And then along the ropes. He runs, and gets in some cheap shots. Rikidozan fires back, and they start trading forearms and chops. Rikidozan slams him for 2, and Thesz apparently has to answer the 10-count. What a bullshit rule. The bell rings, and we have a time-limit draw. It was mind-tinglingly boring, but cool to see Thesz in his prime (although Im thinking this was definitely on the downside at least of that) and way cool to see Rikidozan at all. Im thinking the date I have is incorrect, because Cagematch.net has the time limit draw with no falls as 10/7/57. I will leave it labeled as-is, because thats what it is on the DVD. (*** ½ 60:00)

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The one hour draw with no falls is 10/7/57. They had a rematch six days later


NWA World Heavyweight Title Best Two Out Of Three Falls Match
Lou Thesz © vs. Rikidozan [1:1] - Draw
- Lou Thesz besiegt Rikidozan (15:00)
- Rikidozan besiegt Lou Thesz (10:40)
- Double Count Out (6:53)



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It's hard to fathom the TV rating that this drew (87? Holy shit!). I feel like the crowd really made this so much more enjoyable, because it's a whole lot of grappling and not much else.


(Somehow when I copy and pasted this from Word, it removed all of my apostrophes. How annoying.)

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