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[1976-12-09-NJPW] Antonio Inoki vs Willem Ruska


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Ruska has been wrestling since their first match and he's so much better now. This is one of Inoki's best matches as far as matwork goes, which means a lot I think. On the other hand, it's not very competitive and Inoki for the most part just beats Ruska down. Every hold is dramatic and Ruska has to go for a bunch of rope breaks, but you never get the sense that Inoki is in trouble. This is a huge improvement over the first match because Ruska can now do a couple different things, beyond just working in side control. He goes for an armbar! He gets in a boxing stance and throws some shit out there! Inoki gets low and throws a couple kicks, which makes sense after the Ali match and I think Ruska reacts better to those than to the few strikes thrown on their first bout. There's a very cool spot where Inoki applies the boston crab, Ruska stands up out of it and Inoki dives into the mat head-first. Inoki recovers pretty quickly (would've been cool if he sold that more) and after some outside brawling, he puts Ruska out with punches. 

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