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DVD #3: Antonio Inoki vs Jack Brisco


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  • 2 weeks later...

Ahhh, so much to like on this one. First, I want to commend Will.i.am on this gorgeous VQ for a match 40 yrs old. Beautiful!

 

Second, I should get some of my complaints out of the way, even though they are fairly minor. First, this match is very slow for a long time. It was just not that exiting. Now, we're not talking about that Duke Kiomuka match on the Triumph of WCCW set slow, but it had moments where I wanted to yawn a bit. And also, the crowd here is the kind of audience that gave rise to that whole "Japanese crowds are silent and polite" myth. For me, the crowd's involvement is a major part of liking a match. Fortunately, they got riled up when big moments happened, so it wasn't so bad.

 

Now on to the good stuff. Both guys look great. Inoki does not look like the giant-faced cartoon he would become years later, and Jack's hair is so crazy it's like a 3rd character. Much of the early bit is as much submission wrestling as it is going for the big moves and the pin, and I appreciate it. (I have been watching a lot of battlarts lately.) They really go back and forth, and the sense is a mutual respect between two masters just trying to outdo each other -- a little like Benoit/Bret on the Owen tribute match. The use of big moves makes sense and comes out only at rare intervals, so an underhook suplex attempt which is countered into a freaking backslide is exciting and a little suspenseful. I love how Inoki will adjust his tights from time to time, with an expression of calm danger on his face. It's like he's saying, "Just give me a second here, and then I am going to kick your ass."

 

The slow pacing I complained about earlier is especially useful here, though, in that when the pace does pick up in the end, it's awesome. Inoki pins Jack with the German for the 2nd fall, gets energized, and basically hulks up for the 3rd fall. It's ridiculously exciting, more than it really probably should have been.

 

But then, that dead crowd after the final fall. Amazing. . .

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I haven't watched this in a few years. I thought it was disappointing relative to Spunky Jumbo vs Brisco and the Baba-Brisco matches a couple of years later. I really am not a fan of Inoki in this time period, be it this match, the one with Murdoch, or the one with Destroyer. :/

 

 

John

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I was kind of distracted when I first watched this and came away thinking it was boring. But I rewatched it and thought it was pretty terrific. You watch a match like this and it's not hard to tell why the shootstyle guys revered Inoki. In spirit, this was a precursor to what they would try to do. Inoki and Brisco didn't work many long control sections or spend any time establishing moral points of view. Instead, every moment was a struggle for control. Some of the mat stuff was a little slow but by and large, they kept it intense and dynamic. I liked Brisco's little punches and knees on the ground. And I really dug his quick reversal of the abdominal stretch to take the first fall. Inoki's equally swift German to take the second fall brought a nice symmetry to their story. They really got across that either guy needed only the smallest opening. I thought it was a little weird that Brisco made no attempt to match Inoki's fire in the third fall. That kept it from being an all-time classic. But it was damn good.

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