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[1981-11-05-NJPW] Antonio Inoki vs Rusher Kimura

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Man, you gotta give some credit to these guys for understanding how to work these exciting matches. You won't get any workrate or high end grappling in a Rusher match, but they knew how to set the crowd into a frenzy. Man Inoki blocking Kimura's chops is about the coolest basic thing nobody ever does. Lumberjack stip didn't come into play match except to force wrestlers back into the ring. Inoki trying to snap a bloody Rusher's arm repeatedly probably would've been better if Kimura knew how to sell, but the crowd sure went wild for that armbar. This is why you don't mess with Inoki.


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This match was super fun. The matwork is pretty simple but they do everything to keep the crowd invested and it works really well. Inoki goes to the armbar over and over again but he's always doing interesting stuff in them, whether it's just portraying the struggle with his face/body language or trying to get more leverage, or kicking Kimura. I like that they only used the lumberjacks to sort of cover up Kimura's bladejob, although I truly wanted to see the tracksuits try to brawl with either of the wrestlers and that never happens. I think it ends up being a time limit draw? Not sure though, and it doesn't matter. Good stuff.

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