Ditch Decades 1
Since I might have killed the great INOKI ERA Youtube channel, I'm going to keep the random puro stuff up via Ditch, who will not have his site killed by a few extra hits. And because of how he has his site laid out with a chronological way from the 50s-today, I've decided that I'm going to do a match from each decade in every review I do from there. The plan is all from one promotion (which would really only be possible with NJ/AJ, but this could change) per review.
Antonio Inoki vs The Destroyer 5/19/71 JWA
This technically isn't New Japan. I am aware of that. But for the purposes of when I do these, anything available from JWA I will count for New Japan and All Japan. Both companies spun out of it, Inoki and Baba were the stars. So whatever. That's how I'm going to rock it. Inoki would form New Japan just barely over a year after this match, in June of 1972. Baba would form All Japan in October of 1972. Now, if you haven't seen the Destroyer, you are missing out. He was WONDERFUL. Inoki in the 70s-early 80s was as good as anyone in the world. In just about every Destroyer match I've seen, he's so far ahead of the other guy that it seems like he's working for two. To see him against someone like Inoki sounds like a recipe for greatness. Early on, Destroyer gets Inoki on the mat with a school boy. Inoki turns this into an arm bar, and almost an early version of a triangle. After no movement from either man, the ref stands it up. Inoki works a side head lock. When Destroyer gets out, he throws a wild punch that sends him over the top and into fans, who he gives shit to for being in his way. Back in the ring, Inoki nearly locks on the abdominal stretch. Destroyer gets to the ropes and then forces a young boy (as in corner man, not actually a young boy) to the back. Test of strength. Inoki wins with a dropkick. Right in the ugly mug. Old timey head scissors take down. Inoki keeps that shit on tight on the mat. Destroyer kips out of it and starts with some cheap shots. Corner assisted head lock take down. They start running the ropes and Inoki gets it back to the head scissors. Destroyer's NO NO NO NO is so funny. He gets out of this one with the smoothest Euro head stand straight into the weirdest Fargo strut. They trade hip tosses and Inoki hits 3 arm drags and goes back to the head scissors. NO NO NO NO NO. NO. The next time Destroyer tries to head stand out, Inoki grabs him like a piledriver. Destroyer keeps rolling, causing Inoki to break due to being pinned. They bridge up and Inoki does a weird jumping body scissors thing to get it back to the mat. Destroyer does the weirdest rest hold I've ever seen, basically just laying on Inoki's back. Inoki turns that into a pin and they're back up. Someone in the crowd says something that gets Destroyer's attention. Some nice Euro arm work. Destroyer blocks a small package and has to tell the ref to count because this ref is a DOLT. He looks like an out of work construction worker. Destroyer settles into a body scissors, transitioned into a bow and arrow, then a standing one. Interesting full nelson variant, which is actually the way I was trained to do take downs from behind at a former job. Instead of going up from underneath, you come in from the side, slide up, and pull your own arms together instead of locking your fingers at the base of the neck. Destroyer gives the ref a wedgie for being in his way. What a MONSTER. The guys get locked in a small package and neither can keep it in balance, so they just kind of roll back and forth for quite a while. Second rope knee drop from Destroyer gets the first real near fall. Inoki blocks the figure four for the 3rd time, this time sending Destroyer to the floor in the process. He comes back in with a big drop kick. He misses the next one. Destroyer again counters the abdominal stretch, right into the figure four. Inoki rolls through until fully under the ropes. Destroyer won't break and they roll to the floor. Definitely saw a fan swat a cop with a rolled up paper in the crowd for some reason. Both men are counted out as they are still tied up on the floor. Both men were ready to continue with each wearing one boot.
Tatsumi Fujinami vs Dynamite Kid 2/5/80 WWF Junior Heavyweight Championship
Dynamite has has this weirdly ominous British horn music. He gets hit with a roll of toilet paper and didn't appreciate it one bit. Fujinami's music is FUNKY. Dope bass line, lots of horns. Definitely something straight out of the late 70s. Dude is mobbed on the way to the ring and had to fight to actually get to the ring. Dynamite throws his ceremonial flowers to the floor. Because he's a dick head like that. National anthems are played before the match as well. A lot of fluff before this starts. About 8 minutes of intros and what not. Code of honor is followed. Some tight lock ups and Dynamite gets the first offense with a hip toss, followed by uppercuts, and a stiff slam. Then another hip toss. Octopus Hold! Almost. Dragon is barely able to block it and get out with a dragon screw. Test of strength. Dynamite starts throwing head butts. He's throwing some heat behind his strikes. I think he's trying to bust open a previous cut on Fujinami's head. Dragon does what he can to prevent this and gets Kid on the mat. Man, Dynamite seems just legit mean. Octoppus Holduuuuuu! Fujinami is close to the ropes and they both tumble over the top. Dynamite rips off the bandage and starts knuckling and headbutting the wound. This blood just fires Fujinami up. He almost hits the dragon suplex. Dynamite gets to the ropes and goes back to headbutts. One knocks Dragon to the floor. As he comes in, Dynamite throws him out on the other side. More headbutts and stomps, knee drops, punches to the head. Offense is 100% focused on the cut. BITING the cut. Dynamite is a vicious little cunt. Butterfly suplex. Fujinami fires back with a gut wrench but it doesn't matter. Second rope stomp to the head. Dynamite then fires a snot rocket into the ground. Octopus holduuuuuu. Fujinami hip tosses out. Dynamite side steps a dropkick. Joe COMPLETELY stole that spot from him. Vertical suplex. Diving headbutt. 2 count! Kid is shook. He takes it back to the floor to slam Fujinami's head into the announce table. Another big slam. Diving headbuttuuuuuu misses. Stiff dropkicks from Fujinami. Dynamite bails to the floor. Then his side steps a pescado and Fujinami crashed and burned hard. Fujinami wins with a rolling prawn hold. Title retained. This is MUCH different from the Dynamite/Tiger Mask matches. It was mostly Dynamite being the meanest little cunt and doing everything he can to bust Fujinami open more.
Owen Hart vs Jushin Liger 4/28/91
Whole lotta arm based chain wrasslin to start things out. Owen hits his rope flipping hip toss and then a standard hip toss. Head scissors. A dropkick sends Liger to the floor. Big pescado. Snap suplex back in the ring. Kitchen sinkuuuu from Liger. Another. Liger suplexes Owen off the apron. Liger throws him into the rail and dropkicks him. Liger does an inverted Muta Lock. Owen counters into a roll up and they both struggle for holds on the mat. Cross arm breaker from Owen. Liger gets to the ropes, but has a new point of attack for Owen. Hammerlock slam. Crossface chicken wing. Butterfly suplex. Stiff divorce court. Tearing that arm apart. Quick backslide from Liger. Owen didn't like it and stomped Liger right in the face. Oh shit, Liger reverses a suplex with his own Fujiwara arm bar. Romero Special! Some weird double arm bar thing. Koppo kick! Lariato sends Owen to the floor. Big dive from the top rope. Back in the ring, Owen hits his dope belly to belly for a 2 count. German suplex. 2 count. Crowd is hot. Liger blocks a cross body with a dropkick, but then misses another koppo kick. Owen goes back for the moonsault cross body. Roll through. 2 count. Tombstone from Owen. Diving headbutt. 2 countuuuuuu. Moonsault. 2 countuuuuuuuuuu. Owen goes back up top. Second rope electric chair from Liger! 2 countuuuuu. HOLY JEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEZUUUUUUUUUUSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS FUCK SUPER DDTAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA. Owen died in 1991. The one who died in 1999 was a clone. Fuuuuuuuuuuuuck.
Jun Akiyama/Yuji Nagata vs Keiji Mutoh/Hiroshi Hase 10/8/01
This is a weird combination of guys. Nagata was the 2001 G1 Climax winner. Akiyama was the GHC Champion in NOAH. Mutoh had jumped to AJPW and was the Triple Crown Champion. And Hase was a congressmen in the Japanese Diet. So this is All Japan/GOVERNMENT vs New Japan/NOAH in a New Japan ring. God damn, NJ has the most awesome sets. So did PRIDE. Akiyama and Muta start the match. Obviously, Muta had been the ace of New Japan for most of the 90s. Akiyama was one the top guys in All Japan in the 90s And then there was a mass exodus of All Japan guys, which would lead to the formation of NOAH, of which Akiyama was able to finally get on Misawa/Kobashi's level. And in turn, Muta jumped to All Japan to try to save it and really kicked his career Renaissance into high gear. A lot of weird wrassle politics in this. In 2014, Muta led his own exodus of All Japan to form WRESTLE 1, while Jun Akiyama is now president of AJPW.
Muta has the advantage on the mat. No clean break from Akiyama. Muta dodges the high knee and rolls through to hit a dropkick. Hase is tagged in. Jun fairs slightly better on the mat with him. Muta is tagged back in. And Nagata is tagged in for the first time. Yuji is now the ace since Muta jumped ship. Some nifty dodges from Muta, for exploders and arm bars. He tags out. These two are having a straight Grecco-Roman grappling match here. SHOOT belly to belly from Nagata. Tag to Jun. Just some hard ass wrestling in here. Double shoulder block from the AJPW team. Power drive elbow. Leg work on Akiyama begins. Akiyama gets tired of everyone else feeling left out and gives Hase a dragon screw before tagging out. Nagata throws some kicks and they start slapping the DOG SHIT out of each other. I'm feeling some legit heat there. Muta tags himself in and calms it down a little. Scorpion death lock is transitioned into a Muta Lock. Nagata tags back in and is hit with a low dropkick, which Hase was very proud of. Long as FUCK giant swing. 30 seconds. Muta is back in and goes after Nagata's leg. Yuji is able to get a quick tag. Muta powerbombs Jun out of a flying knee in a corner, but is then caught in a Crippler Crossface. Hase tries to break it and is put in a guillotine. Rope break. Jun attempts an exploder off the apron. Muta blocks it and does a dragon screw on the apron. Then comes off the apron with a low dropkick. Then multiple in the ring, including one from the second rope. Dragon screw. Shining Wizard variant. Nagata runs in just to get a dragon screw. Hase and Muta both have figure fours on in the ring. Rope break. Super frankensteiner. 2 count. Moonsault! Muta lands hard. 2 count. Shining Wizard is blocked. Explodaaaaaaaa. Koppo kick from Muta. Tags are made. Head kick from Hase. Rolling Reich suplexes! 4, ending in a pin. 2 count. Pump handle back breaker. 2 count. Back to slapping the PISS out of each other. Nagata belly to belly OUTTA NOWHERE. Nagata Lock! Muta stomps Yuji's head and knocks Jun off the apron in one stride. Yuji knocks the shit out of Muta with a koppo kick. He then kicks Hase until he's down. Muta hits a Shining Wizarduuuuuuuuuu off the back of Hase! Akiyama hits Muta with a Shining Wizard! Hase MURDERS Akiyama with a uranage suplex. Everyone is down. Northern lights from Hase on Nagata. 2 count. Nagata blocks the second and hits a weird lay out DDT before locking on a Crossface. Muta is caught in a guillotine. Rope break. Muta is pretty much dead though. High knee in the corner from Akiyama. Explodaaaaa. Back drop holduuuuuu. 2 count. Another back drop. 3 count. Nagata and Akiyama win. This was AWESOME. So wonderfully worked from everyone, with all the added stuff around the politics of the match. Loved this.