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[1988-02-07-NJPW] Antonio Inoki vs Big Van Vader

Superstar Sleeze

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Antonio Inoki vs Vader - NJPW 2/7/88

Vader has his black mask now and still has the Elephant Steam Helmet that he worships. This coming off the heels of his December debut where he demolished and squashed Inoki in 3 minutes flat. Very tentative match from both. Vader was not as unrelenting and vicious as he would become. Inoki bumped and sold for him. Selling shock at Vader's power on lock ups and powdering a lot. Vader was using the standing arm bar as a base which is fine but not Vader's forte. The real key to this match was to advance how Inoki could beat Vader. It was a match to give fans hope and show them where the opening lay. The opening was Vader could hurt himself and that Inoki needed to evade and create those opportunities for misses and capitalize. I t took three big misses before that happened. Two charges in the corner and a missed elbow drop and finally Inoki could hit an Enizguiri that rocked the Big Man. That is why this match is crucial to watch. It is not a great standalone match but it provides key progression to the climatic July encounter. They tumble to the outside. Vader smashes Inoki's back into the post, but then Inoki is able to push Vader into the post. This triggers a double countout. The Man In Hockey Mask & Pantaloons Is BACK! According to @KinchStalker, it is Black Cat and he successfully attacks the correct man, Inoki this time with powder and a cane. He ends up leaving. Was there ever a blowoff? Or a reveal? What is with this dude? Anyways, Vader kicks Inoki's ass post-match. He brings in a table and sets it up in the corner, but of course due to rule #607 of pro wrestling, he who sets up the table, eats the table. Vader is escorted out of the ring by Masa Saito as Inoki was looking to get the turnbuckle as a weapon. Inoki has made progress. Not a great match, but a meaningful match, I wish we had more of these type of matches to help bridge us throughout  feud or series. *** 

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  • paul sosnowski changed the title to [1988-02-07-NJPW] Antonio Inoki vs Big Van Vader

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