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Superstar Sleeze

[1988-05-27-NJPW] Tatsumi Fujinami vs Riki Choshu

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IWGP Heavyweight Champion Tatsumi Fujinami vs Riki Choshu - NJPW 5/27/88

How the fuck have I never seen these two wrestle? I know, I know I should have my pro wrestling fan license revoke! Better late than never! This was fucking awesome! If every match is as good or better than this then I am in for a treat. Background on the match, Inoki vacate the title due to injury (work or shoot? @KinchStalker?). Fujinami defeated Vader to win the vacant title. That match didnt make the DVDVR set nor is it on NJPW World. I will try to track it down separately. This is for the IWGP Championship. 

Choshu has vaulted into my top ten maybe even top five favorite wrestlers at the moment. He has everything I love...badass power moves, oodles of charisma and most importantly everything matters in a Choshu match. He is the king of weaving narrative, escalation and consequences. I have found Fujinami to be amazing at execution and technique, but he doesnt have the personality to take over a match. This is my favorite match I have seen of him in a long time because Choshu builds a match where Fujinami can really shine. At the beginning of the match is that Fujinami always has an answer for anything Choshu attempts. Running shouldertackle, eat a dropkick, Riki. Trying for a Saito Suplex, watch that textbook grapevine block and into a double wristlock takedown. God the technique has me going from six to Midnght. Oh you want a Scorpion Deathlock, Choshu let me punch you a bunch and slap on really painful Figure-4. Sublime opening sequence. Fujinami hits a Robinson backbreaker in what seems out of character for Fujinami, he exposes the turnbuckle bashes Choshu head into it and takes Choshu on a tour of all the hard metal objects he can find until he busts him open. I can only conjecture that the reason for Fujinami getting so violent is because of previous transgressions by Choshu back in their original 83-84 feud. Back in the ring, Choshu nails a last ditch Saito Suplex! He needed that desperately. He nails another one. Then he gets a massive lucky break, Fujinami hurts his knee running the ropes. I thought at first it was Fujinami playing possum but Choshu immediately stomps the knee. Fujinami's selling rivals that of Savage or Kawada which is the highest praise I can give a man. Fujinami seeks refuge on the outside. He eats a Lariat off the apron. Fujinami ends having his buddies take off his boot and wrestles the rest of the match in a sock. He ends up in a Scorpion Deathlock but mans up and makes it to the ropes. Fujinami gets one last ditch hope spot a Dragon Sleeper, but Choshu is too close to the ropes. Fujinami hobbled, collapses in his corner. The referee has to call it. Choshu is pissed. I cant speak Japanese so I dont understand the fallout. Cagematch has it listed as a No Contest. It seems like the match should be awarded to Choshu via TKO. The one thing that is certain is that IWGP Heavyweight Championship is vacated again and there will be a rematch in June between Fujinami and Choshu to determine the new IWGP Champion. 

Terrific match in every regard, offense, selling, narrative, psychology, character/charisma, heat/hatred. God, I am so looking forward to devouring so much Fujinami vs Choshu! ****1/2

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9 hours ago, Superstar Sleeze said:

Antonio Inoki had diabetes?!?! If he has/had it, what hope do any of us have? I think I need to do some more reading on diabetes. Was he Type I or Type II?

Type II. It was discovered when Inoki was 39; he felt the change when he was in Dubai in the spring of 1982, and after catching a fever in Korea he went to his family doctor. They did bloodwork and his glucose level was 590, over five times normal. Inoki recalls his binge eating habits of old in a 2010 article; by his own account he always felt that no food should be left uneaten, so eating ten bowls of ramen in one sitting or downing a whole bottle of sake was normal for him. The doctor advised retirement, but Inoki went on a diet and underwent a natural healing regimen to lower his glucose to 180, and returned to the ring just 44 days after his previous match with a 1:37 squash against Scott McGhee in June. Insulin injections were against Inoki's ideals, so after he was discharged from the hospital he opted for an ice water bath to make his muscles twitch and consume his blood sugar. The doctor was aghast, as you might imagine.

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