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[1965-02-26-JWA] The Destroyer vs Toyonobori

paul sosnowski

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  • GSR changed the title to [1965-02-26-JWA] The Destroyer vs Toyonobori
  • 2 years later...

WWA World Heavyweight Champion Toyonobori vs The Destroyer - JWA 2/26/65 Two Out Of Three Falls

There is a little title controversy here. This WWA Championship is the Los Angeles version of the World Championship not to be confused with Dick The Bruiser's Indianapolis promotion. On top of that, Toyonobori is the reigning & defending champion according to JWA but LA did not recognize this. This led to a weird split where Pedro Morales won the championship from The Destroyer and "Crazy" Luke Graham won it from Toyonobori then I guess Pedro defeated Graham to sync it back up.

First Fall: I think a lot of how much you like the Destroyer is predicated on how much you like his schtick. I would posit that a lot of the novelty is that he is a masked man known for his technical abilities but he is out there hootin' & hollerin' talking a lot of trash in 1965. All those things combined make for a very novel act when viewing through 21st Century eyes. There are people that do trash talk well filed under Henry, Mark. As much as I love verbal selling, actual talking in coherent sentences is usually a turn off for me. It can come off as inorganic and forced. Doing it for the sake of doing it. My personal jury is out on that aspect of The Destroyer. Toyonobori I dont know much about and I should have done some research first. He is a stocky, bare-foot fellow. The first 15 minutes of the match is worked around an arm stretcher (or arm puller). Destroyer is complaining about mask pulls at the start. I liked that Toyonobori swept Destroyer's head on a bridge with his right foot. I am a mark for sweeps and I enjoyed that a lot. Basic premise is Destroyer almost gets out and gets pulled back down. When he does get free, Toyonobori uses an Oo-soto-gari for 3-4 occasions to bring him back down into the same hold. I would predict that we are moving out of the arm-stretcher now. The last escape was Destroyer made it to the ropes and was barking at the ref about counting to five  and breaking the hold faster. This feels like a complete reset. That reminds me if you enjoy Destroyer trash talk probably the most memorable spot is when stands up in the arm-stretcher forcing Toyonobori's shoulders down and yells "Count 1-2-3!". Again this reminds me of 21st Century heeling as he did this in the Inoki match I watched. I am still forming my opinion. He is not a slam dunk, love at first sight wrestler like Dick Murdoch or Yoshiaki Fujiwara.   

They actually do go back to the arm-stretcher to both my surprise and chagrin (I have a lot of patience, but it was wearing thin). Destroyer is using more boot scrapes and seems to be angling for the Figure-4. As he was about to apply the Figure-4 while stepping on Toyonobori's head, Toyonobori pulls the mask of Destroyer to take him down. This leads to an amusing visual. Destroyer uses a combination of boot scrapes and eye pokes to gain the advantage. Then it is a flurry of knee lifts and the Tree of Woe that do Toyonobori in. Not the most climatic finish to the first fall. Toyonobori's camp and the referee accuse Destroyer of those knees being a little low. Destroyer's retort is "I have never hit a man below the belt, what do you think my name is Blassie?" popped me huge. Alright, Destroyer fans I think he has won me over. That was fucking awesome!  

Second Fall: Longer second fall than traditionally. Toyonobori gets a modicum of revenge in a firefight in the corner that leads to a biel by him. Destroyer goes to the Surfboard Test of Strength. The Puroresu fascination with Surfboard started early. I like tests of strength spots so I am all for it. Would like to see it make a comeback nowadays. Destroyer ends up on the losing end and goes to the ropes. Destroyer works a Short Arm Scissors next, which I love. Plenty of hootin' & hollerin' and shenanigans like the ol shin across the throat while barking at the ref. Toyonobori plucks at the mask. Toyonobori gets his foot on the ropes, but Destroyer is being purposefully obtuse asserting this his elbow to the side is not illegal, but the ref is really trying to break for the ropes. Destroyer sneaks in a knee. Toyonobori is finally pissed. Destroyer looks funny with his mask and doing the 'ol Timeout spot. Toyonobori asskicking levels dont get to where I want them to be. I want a Garvin or a Hashimoto that just tears through this asshole and we dont get that. Destroyer is outside complaining about something. What a blowhard! He wants the ref to raise his hand for some reason there was a sleeper/choke in the ropes, maybe thats it. Shut the fuck up and wrestle. A real slam, bang finish stretch. Bodyslam, backbody drop and Boston Crab dead center in the ring for the submission victory for Toyonobori. I think The Destroyer is entertaining but flirts with annoying. He definitely does not get to the intensity level I want in my pro wrestling. 

Needed to go to Mass, prayed for Destroyer & Toyonobori as they have both passed. Got me some Chipotle and I am ready to finish this bad boy.

Third Fall: Destroyer is cowering in the corner. I checked Cagematch and it said the match is a 60 minute draw. We dont have the complete match then. I think we are missing 8-10 minutes of the third fall. Unless they are counting the breaks in between falls as a part of the time. Nice Greco-Roman takedown from the Destroyer out of a bearhug. Lots of leg grappling near the ropes. Toyonobori wrenches the Destroyer's leg across the apron. Destroyer takes two of the Ray Stevens/Ric Flair Flips in the corner which were highlights. The heat was off the charts when Toyonobori went for the Boston Crab at this point. I thought this was the climax of the fall. The wrestling kinda petered out after that. Destroyer bodyslams Toyonobori on the fall. Drops the knee from the apron. The countout tease was pretty good there. Toyonobori has the Full Nelson on Destroyer stomps his bare feet and the bell rings signaling time has expired. 

Definitely not the best one hour draw I have ever seen. There are amusing parts to it. I like camp in wrestling and I like clowning. Destroyer has not really done it for me yet besides that one quip about Blassie that popped me. Toyonobori didnt quite bring the fire like I wanted him to. He would slug him here and there and I would be excited, he's really going to rip into him, but never happens. Baba and Inoki have much more charisma than him. I did look up his Wiki and it is extremely interesting. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toyonobori I highly recommend it. He was basically the second banana after Rikidozan. When Rikidozan died, he took over as the top star. It sounds like there was a power play and Baba took over as the top star expelling him. Then Toyonobori became affiliated with the first rival promotion to JWA, IWA. He was also a Rikishi in Sumo, which I kinda figure since he was bare foot. Baba & Inoki are the more interesting wrestlers so not surprised he was supplanted even if sucked for him. It was an alright match which is fine to say after 20 minutes or so, but after an hour that is damning with faint praise. ***

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