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[1984-08-02-NJPW] Antonio Inoki vs Riki Choshu


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Man, I love this matchup. Young Punk Choshu was the best. You can say what you want about Inoki, but he was great at portraying himself as an untouchable badass. You look at some of the stuff Inoki does here and it's no wonder people thought he was a genius. He also always has these crazy facial expressions. I think the first 15 minutes or so of this didn't even have a bump but still ended up mesmerizing pro wrestling. This was worked like a technical battle of megastars so that was really cool. Both guys struggled hard and every movement could possibly lead to a finish which is exactly what you want from a match with really high stakes. Choshu was aggressive and really putting Inoki through the wringer, not just when he throw punches and stomps, but also in his grappling, butting heads when looking up and uncorking a super tight front headlock roll. Inoki came across as calm and cool headed so exactly the perfect counterpart to Choshu's rage. His selling was really strong too, at the beginning of the match he was dominating on the ground, but after Choshu really put the torque on him with the Scorpion Deathlock he was limping and stalling. Seeing the cool headed Inoki getting into desperation mode when Choshu tried the move again was great too. A limping Inoki punching Choshu in the face from the knees was epic and so was Choshu trying to bulldoze the legend with lariats and suplexes. I think if they had continued in that vein the match would've cruised into my all time top 10-20, but instead they slowed down again and went back to the holds. It was still really strong work and they delivered a great, clean finish. For a clash of the titans type match in front of a super hot 80s crowd that was mostly built around matwork this pretty much delivered all you can ask for.

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  • GSR changed the title to [1984-08-02-NJPW] Antonio Inoki vs Riki Choshu
  • 7 months later...

The match is great. Truly is. Choshu puts on a master class clinic. Choshu like he really does plays up the subtle heel role almost to perfection. His work over Inoki was so great, he can make the simplest moves look like the utmost difficult to execute, like his Sasori-Gatame submission hold. He spent 30 seconds trying to lock it in before it was fully on and when he did, it got a huge reaction. Which is what you want from a move like that. His cut offs are great too, he'll have you in a hold but whenever Inoki looks to be getting a foothold, he switches gears and regains control like that. Inoki can be lazy at times, and given he gets a big response doing nothing, you can get it but he earned his popularity here. His selling was exceptionally strong which put over Choshu big time and his comebacks were quick and effective. What else do you need? ****3/4

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  • 3 years later...

You know what is an underrated concept that wrestling rarely exploits that well? Defense. Choshu getting his hands up instantly after smacking Inoki while being trapped in the Indian Deathlock. Inoki turning his back to Choshu to absborb the impact of the Lariat. Small things go a long way in adding flavour to a match. I'm sure he's done it many other times, but Choshu putting on a modified  Abdominal Stretch to finally trap Inoki's arm so he couldn't block his Scorpion Deathlock and using that to transition into it felt like such an epic spot. They make everything feel earned, turn every single thing into a struggle, put on an epic, insanely dramatic match without sacrificing the aura of any move used and smartly protecting their big ones (see: Choshu smelling blood and not even bothering to pin Inoki after hitting him with a Lariat and going straight for the leg once he started limping).  Phenomenal bout.

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