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[1976-02-06-NJPW] Antonio Inoki vs Willem Ruska


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Wim Ruska is a big dutch judoka who seems very fond of the ude-garami. It's cool to actually see one of Inoki vs. martial artist bouts, but I don't think it's a great pro wrestling match. There's a couple of interesting moments, like some of Inoki's pinfall reversal and two of the funniest Inoki punch spots (the ref goes "no it's a forearm" and Ruska throws his hands up in exasperation), but I don't think Ruska's style lends itself to good matwork. He basically just wants to sit in side control and try to get the aforementioned ude-garami. Inoki uses Ruska's black belt to pull him up into the backdrop suplex for the pinfall, which was quite the thing to watch.

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  • paul sosnowski changed the title to [1976-02-06-NJPW] Antonio Inoki vs Willem Ruska
  • 4 months later...

Antonio Inoki vs Willem Ruska - NJPW 2/6/76

New Japan runs the Budokan for the first time as Inoki faces Olympic gold medalist Dutch judoka, Wim Ruska. This is a primer for Inoki's crown jewel fight against Muhammad Ali which would happen in the summer of '76. This is the thick of Inoki's ultimate shooter gimmick bringing in foreign shooters to do the job. Ruska looks like a lumbering Frankenstein looking for a hug. He is quite fond of the oo-soto-gari aka Space Tornado Ogawa. He lacks the intimidation and charisma of Naoya Ogawa. His attempts at heeling do little to stir emotion whether cowering from strikes, not breaking in the ropes and feigning a handshake. Inoki is bested early probably to establish Ruska as a credible challenger worth beating. Ruska wrestling in a Gi causes quite the scrape over Inoki's eye and get gets his receipt in the form of a stiff bow to the face. I thought it was weird that Inoki struck first but then I saw the scrape. That was the story Ruska would do something heeling and then Inoki would retaliate with strikes. I was surprised Ruska broke the Octopus Stretch mid match. Inoki won with an onslaught of Back Drop Drivers like it was 1998 All Japan. Interesting historically but a tame match. 

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