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[1982-11-04-NJPW] Tatsumu Fujinami vs Riki Choshu

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In their first match-up, Fujinami is the assertive champion, rushing Choshu out of the gate with strikes and tossing him out of the ring, as if dismissing the challenge and Choshu’s credibility. He still maintains that spitfire energy that made him such an exciting junior heavyweight and Choshu is a bit more hesitant and methodical. What this match represents is a long feeling out process, as the two fight over holds, at times almost bumbling along with little to no selling and that lack of familiarity seen in subsequent contests. The end result is a double count out but Choshu continues attacking Fujinami’s leg after the match, setting the stage for their rematch the following year.

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This is a defense of Fujinami's WWF International Heavyweight title. Choshu just has to get a slap to the face in as the champ enters the ring, and Fujinami quickly returns the favor with a toss out of it. There's still a lot of matwork here, some of which feels like Choshu trying (and failing) to outdo Fujinami in his court, but this is an improvement over their 11/22 buildup match, and feels like the proper start of this feud. Choshu no-sells a diving knee drop to hit a lariat right afterward, which takes us into the finishing stretch. Fujinami blocks a second lariat with his hands but Choshu powers forward, sending both to the outside. Fujinami gets an abdominal stretch on the outside but Choshu tosses him over the barricade, which disqualifies him. Interesting spot afterwards where Choshu puts Fujinami in an apron variation of the tree of woe and hits him with kicks and hip strikes.

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