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Matches From 1965


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The Destroyer v Toyonobori - JWA 02/26/65

I don't really have a lot to say about this one, other than this is a valuable match to see because Toyonobori pretty much does nothing and Destroyer has to carry him every step of the way. He does a terrific job doing so, but in a match like this, the better worker is pretty much stripped down to formula, but lucky for Beyer, he has a great formula that's enough to make this a three-star match with virtually no help from his opponent. The difference between Destroyer going all out in a match with a slug and someone like Kurt Angle doing it is that Beyer doesn't forget that he needs to make his opponent look good in the process. Actually, there are a million differences in how Angle and Destroyer approach their opponents, but that's the most important distinction to me. An hour was really pushing it here, though, despite Dick's best efforts.

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  • 1 year later...

Toyonobori vs The Destroyer 2/26/65 for the WWA World Heavyweight Title

AUTHORS NOTE: Please note this is my first review, as well as one of my first attempts at Japanese wrestling. I have seen enough (the first 8 AJPW classic disks) to know I like it. However I am not the hardcore “know everything about Puroseau” type of guy yet. I am working through a ton of it and where else to start but at.......well near the beginning. I watched but didn't review three or four matches previous to this.

First off I love all things Destroyer. In a slower wrestling age, he adds the perfect amount of ringwork, psychology and comedy for my liking. He is a master of the figure four leglock, which happens to be one of my favorite moves ever thanks to also being a Ric Flair fan. The Destroyer began his fabled career in 1954 and was 11 years into the sport. The Destroyer won one major title, that being the World Wrestling Association (WWA) title on the line here.

The WWA title was created, as many were in this time period, amidst controversy. In 1957 NWA Champion Lou Thez defended his title against Edouard Carpentier in the standard two out of three falls match in Chicago, IL. After twenty-five minutes of action with each wrestler standing at one fall apiece Thez was unable to defend himself and Referee Ed Whalen signaled for the bell awarding the match by disqualification to Carpentier. Even though the NWA does not recognize a title change by disqualification, the State of Illinois recognized Carpentier as champion and the WWA title was formed. The WWA title became based in sunny California, and The Destroyer held the title on three separate occasions, until bringing the title to Japan. On April 12th of '64 Toyonobori won the title from The Destroyer, however The Destroyer took the title back to California with him. In this 2/26/65 match The Destroyer is still considered the WWA title holder in the states. Since we are in Japan he is the challenger to Toyonobori's WWA title.

The Judo influenced Toyonobori was, at one time, a powerful figure in Puroresu. The one time president of JWA, he split to form the short lived promotion Tokyo Pro Wrestling. With the failure of the promotion Toyonobori lost most if not all of his power in Puroresu. But for now the former holder of the All Asian and IWE tag titles comes into the 2/26/65 match the WWA World Heavyweight Champion against the masked American whom he beat for that very title. Can he once again defeat the American recognized WWA Champ? We shall see....



It is nice to see title matches mean something. We have the ring full of people, from women carrying flowers to men in suits that I can only believe are promoters. In a day and age where title matches can be created anytime at anyplace, which can add to the excitement of a show, usually drags the prestige of the title down a notch or two. Also I have never known a wrestler to have a corporate sponsor. Toyonobori has the Mitsubishi name and logo on the back of his robe. While the ref checks the wrestlers knee pads for foreign objects Destroyer jaws at Toyonobori and gives him a slap in the mush for good measure.


They try an overhead wristlock test of strength of which Toyonobori wins easily. Toyonobori locks in a crucifix version of the armbar, where the arm is hyperextended and Toy's feet (of which he is barefoot) is throughly lodged in Destroyer's cheek and ribs. The Destroyer has a big problem in that Toyonobori has this hold locked in pretty good. Multiple attempts to gain a vertical base have failed as Toyonobori has the advantage in leverage especially when Destroyer is standing. A simple tug of the arm will either bring Destroyer down to the mat or separate his shoulder and/or elbow. Any wrestler worth his weight in good sense would fall back to the mat of which Destroyer does in his several attempts. The Destroyer makes some headroom by rolling up the entire length of Toyonobori's body and gaining the advantage with a headlock. Toyonobori grabs a headscissors to gain the advantage then transitions back to the Crucifix Armbar as we hit the ten minute mark.

Destroyer makes his way out of the armbar only to blindly walk into Toyonobori's Judo throw and back to the armbar we go. So nothing has worked so far for The Destroyer, time for a new strategy. He tries to grab Toyonobori's foot that is firmly planted on his cheek and simply lift it off, but that is quickly shrugged off. The Destroyer finally reaches the ropes but the referee kicks his hand from the rope. Now I have seen a lot of referee bending of the rules when it comes to heels coming close to gaining a break but The Destroyer's hand was completely around the rope! The tips of his fingers were touching his palm. I think that qualifies as a rope break! Alas back to the armbar we go. The Destroyer regains a vertical base and starts screaming at the referee to count Toyonobori's shoulders down. Toyonobori's right shoulder is clearly off the canvas to the ref and the camera therefore no count is made. Destroyer escapes the hold and hits the ropes and nails Toyonobori with a shoulderblock, however he gets caught in a judo throw with the second attempt. That got a pop from the crowd and The Destroyer finds himself in the armbar once again. Destroyer makes a smart decision and goes with what he knows best the figure four. Destroyer grabs the leg and gets to the stepover toe hold position but gets kicked off for his efforts. He is up and thats what counts however one judo throw later he is back where he started, in the crucifix armbar. Destroyer reaches the ropes and gives the ref a good tongue lashing for his slow rope break, which gets a reaction from the crowd. Destroyer has a plan however he walks into yet another judo throw and armbar combination. This time he is quick to get up into the figure four which is then countered with a firm pull of the mask, sending Destroyer outside the ring. The Destroyer is animated outside requesting a disqualification from the ref. Back in, The Destroyer asks for a grecco roman knuckle lock and gets it, then proceeds to run to the ropes. Destroyer keeps trying to use the knuckle lock as a bait to trip Toyonobori and gain the advantage. He settles for a hammerlock that gets reversed to a bodyslam and back to the armbar. After gaining a vertical base Destroyer goes all dirty and grinds the toe of his boot into Toyonobori's nose and eyes. Destroyer levels Toy with several standing knees to the gut and puts Toyonobori in the Tree of Woe. Destroyer uses several knees and a few kicks and finishes the first fall, just over the twenty minute mark, with a knee drop to the face.


Between falls Destroyer is all talk, and he is ready to go. Toyonobori looks a little stunned and wastes five minutes before starting the second fall. Destroyer backs Toyonobori into the corner and uses knees and shoulderblocks to weaken him down some more. Toyonobori shakes it off and lands a solid punch to the mush and takes the advantage with a hiptoss. Toyonobori attempts a bearhug which Destroyer slips out of and gets to the ropes. Destroyer takes a solid advantage with a standing surfboard, placing a knee or even his foot into Toyonobori's back. Toyonobori reverses the hold, which has Destroyer doing everything in his arsenal to reverse the hold. Destroyer's reversals are countered with a double chicken wing that Toyonobori slides back into the standing surfboard. Destroyer's attempts at reversing are countered by stepping back, letting Destroyer drop to the map then stepping forward and grabbing his foot and rolling him backup to a standing surfboard. Destroyer reaches the ropes to gain a break, and with that he complains at the refs slow rope break. Destroyer armdrags Toyonobori into a regular armbar. Destroyer does some cheating away from the camera, then adds to the armbar by elbowing Toyonobori in the ribs. Destroyer transitions to a keylock at we hit the thirty minute mark. Toyonobori attempts a rollthrough to escape however Destroyer keeps the momentum going and we are back to where we started. Toyonobori gets to the ropes, but after a hiptoss he is back to the keylock. Destroyer turns the keylock into an armscissors which allows him to throw some nifty elbows to Toy's body. Toyonobori reaches the ropes and Destroyer backs off. Toyonobori gets physical with some punches and throws Destroyer by the mask, then a punch sends Destroyer over the top rope and to the floor. The Destroyer is none too pleased with that and DEMANDS a DQ. Back in Destroyer controls with a headlock. Toyonobori sends Destroyer to the ropes for a body slam then again for a back body drop then hits his famous crab hold (Boston Crab) for the submission and the tie.


Funny that in between falls Toyonobori is shown drinking a beer. Never would have expected that from this era. The Destroyer begs off as the rest period was MUCH shorter than the first rest period. Destroyer finds himself in a bearhug that he fights out of only to get trapped in a bodyscissors. Destroyer slides outside the ring to counter and slams the back of Toyonobori's knee into the apron which sadly is no sold. However Destroyer jumps on Toyonobori and works the leg to setup a figure four attempt. Sadly its blocked, but that never stopped him from trying again however Toyonobori reverses it to a Indian Deathlock-ish maneuver. Destroyer gets out and bodyslams Toyonobori and tries a figure four attempt once again but gets kicked to the outside. A good ole thumb to the eye gets things going correctly once again and back to the figure four we go. Destroyer tries the “jump in the air and crash down on the knee” thing Ric Flair always does, but it doesn't go so well. Toyonobori works a half crab variation, then tries to go into the full crab hold as the fans start clamoring for it. Destroyer reaches the ropes and they are outside. Destroyer goes dirty with a bodyslam and a elbow off the apron to the floor. Back in Destroyer applies a headscissors which the referee deems a choke. Fun stuff as the crowd starts counting with the referee, something I have not seen in Japan. Back up they slug it out until Toyonobori goes for the crab hold again, which is unsuccessful. Destroyer starts working over Toyonobori's chest but gets caught running in by a boot to the chest. Toyonobori grabs a full nelson, which Destroyer reverses by stepping on his foot. Figure four is applied as the time limit expires around the 55 minute mark. Toyonobori is declared the winner as he keeps his title belt.

Toyonobori would hold the Japan version of the WWA title until 09/20/65 when he was defeated by Luke Graham in Los Angeles, CA. The Destroyer would never hold another title for the rest of his career, when he wrestled his final match in 1993

My Thoughts

I most certainly enjoyed this match, as I have started liking the chess match pace of these early Japanese matches. Sure the armwork didn't really go anywhere, outside of just trying to find an opening for the figure four or crab hold. Certainly not for all tastes but I liked what I saw.
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