Ditch Decades 11
Andre The Giant vs Antonio Inoki NJPW 6/1/79
This was supposed to be Andre vs Fujinami. Fujinami had a badly injured foot. He wanted to compete anyway. Inoki wanted him to not do the match, so he kicks Fujinami in the injured foot to prove a point and takes his spot in the match. Which is an interesting way to get your point across. I watched an Andre/Inoki match from 6/1/77. Andre did a pedigree. I don't know if the date is a factor in Inoki filling in for Fujinami. Andre had put on quite a few pounds since their prior match. Inoki scores a sun set flip early on. To Andre. He's also able to use the ropes to flip out of a Canadian back breaker and use the momentum to flip Andre. He's frustrating the shit out of Andre. Maybe Andre's game is off since he was expecting Fujinami, who at this point was right between being a junior and a heavyweight. BACKSLIDE TO ANDRE. The hell. Andre gets sick of of Inoki besting him standing up and takes it to the ground. It looks like he might literally be ripping Inoki's leg off his body. Apparently someone was talking shit to Andre, and he heads into the crowd to chase this person. Inoki attacks as he reenters the ring. Leg kicks. That was a big mistake from Andre. Can you imagine how terrifying it would be to have an angry Andre running into the crowd after you? Holy shit. So scary. Andre seems to have some real issues with this ref. Andre keeps it on the mat, smashing legs and doing leg holds. Andre tries a Romero special. He has too much momentum and Inoki slips out. He also lands ass first on Andre's face. A dropkick gets Andre caught in the ropes. Inoki tries a back drop. On Andre. What a maroon. OUTTA NOWHERE, Stan Hansen hits the ring and attacks both men. The match is thrown out and it turns into something of a triple threat for a few moments. Andre sits on both of them.
Shinya Hashimoto vs Victor Zangiev NJPW 4/24/89
A. That's really his name. B. He's the most Russian looking Russian you can imagine. C. Zangief was modeled after him. Zangiev made one appearance in the US, as part of an international tag team tournament at Starrcade 1990. Hashimoto looks dope with the beard. Zangiev was a successful amateur, winning the US-Soviet Cup and World Cup in 1985, and the Soviet Championships in 1988. Inoki got wacky in 1989 and decided to train a bunch of amateurs and fighters. Zangiev trained for what appears to be only about 2 months before being sent out on shows. All I know from his WCW appearance was that he and his Russian partner had some dope suplexes. And he hits an over head belly to belly about 2 minutes in. Hash seems like a hard guy to suplex, what with his odd center of gravity. Hash shows off some of his judo training to fend off Zangiev's wrestling. But on the mat, Hash is out matched. Good thing he knows how to kick really hard. You ever wanted to see a SHOOT Perfect Plex? Well, this match has one. Hash is in danger of tapping or getting his arm broken. He gets out of the hold and tries a head scissors. Zangiev is not going to get stuck in a hold like that and rolls and flips out. Almost World of Sport style. He also totally does a squat with Hash on his shoulders at an awkward angle. And had no issues with it. Which is crazy because Hash is FAT. Is there a Scott Steiner/Hash match up out there? Hash spits at Zangiev and at that moment you see the eyes of a stone cold killer. Another big belly to belly from the Russian. Hash kicks him in the head and slaps on a figure four. Zangiev ends up tapping to it. Short match, but a lot of action packed into it. If Zangiev had really only been a pro for about 4 months at this point, he was excellent. Never once looked lost, sold very well, had great mat skills, could throw a mean suplex. He came back to wrestling in 1994 for UWFI and wrestled through October before retiring. I might have to track some of those down.
Toshiaki Kawada vs Akira Taue AJPW 1/15/91
Hopefully this will shed some light on why Taue was such a dick to Kawada in the 6 man tag. This starts with the end of what appears to be a crazy pull apart brawl that happened on a previous show. Taue knocks Kawada off the apron during his entrance and shit is ON. Lariatoooos. AKIRA TAUE DID A SUICIDE DIVE. Chairs are used. A lot of stomping on Kawada's head until he can't stands no more. More chairs are used. One shot busts Taue open. Kawada throws kicks and gets his knee violently rammed into the guard rail. That cut is bad. Taue gives no fucks. There are holds to apply and faces to slap. And kick, if you're Kawada. The ref was in the way, but Taue just blasts Kawada in the ear with a kick while he had a heel hook on. The announce table is used and Kawada's knee crashes into it. Jumbo is watching and seems to enjoy it. Taue's face is ridiculous. You don't see a whole lot of blood like that in puro matches too often. Now the ring post gets used. And more chairs. This is more like a wild Southern territory brawl than I'd have ever expected. Kawada can't throw kicks like he'd like since Taue has been tearing his knee apart, but he can still throw elbows, punches, and knees with reckless abandon. It's a Memphis brawl, but with Taue trying to do leg submissions in between the brawling. You know how in a lot of matches you'll see a hard shot and see the cloud of sweat? Well, this one has a cloud of blood flying off of Taue's face from a slap. Taue SPIKES Kawada with a DDT from the bottom rope. Kawada has blood all over his head from all the headbutts. A lot of hate in this. Kawada gets sick of all this shit and blasts Taue with a lariatooo to the back of the neck, which ends the match. Amazing that these guys would end up forming such an excellent tag team. So much hate between them. I expected a slug fest. I didn't expect blood, chairs, and a table. Kawada doesn't even seem like he knows he just won the match. He's dazed and pretty out of it while Taue takes a couple of parting shots and walks out.
Giant Bernard vs Yuji Nagata NJ Cup NJPW 4/30/06
A-Train left WWE and initially went to All Japan. Now he's in New Japan and trying to show that he was misused in America. Yuji throws a lot of kicks to the arm. His speed is hard for Albert to handle, but Albert's power is way too much for Nagata. A rope decapitation a minute in might have Yuji out of it for the rest of the match. Short arm lariatooo. Nagata is getting bodied in here. No offense since the decapitation. Such things happen when you lose your head. Most of the offense since then has been on the neck and throat. Running powerslam WIT DA GREATEST OF EASE! Scott Norton walks out to the announcers, looking fat as fuck. God damn man. I'm not sure I'd want to get into a slap battle with a guy the size of Albert, but it mostly works out for Yuji until a Damon Kane like throat chop. A low dropkick takes the big man off his feet. Explodaaaa. Haluba kick. Corner shining wizard. Bernard might be out. He gets a weak kick out. Enzuigiri. Back drop. Yuji has hit pretty much all his impact moves in one big flurry. Arm bar. Rope break. Damon Kane arm bar. Albert just boots Yuji's head off. Vader Bomb! Albert Bomb OUTTA NOWHERE. 2 count. Torture rack neckbreaker. Shades of Kanyon! Albert can't get the Last Ride due to the arm work. 3 Shining Wizarduuuuuuuuus. 2.9. OOOOOOOHHHH *STOMP STOMP STOMP STOMP* Wrist clutch exploder. Northern lariato puts Nagata down. Albert tries 3 more times for the Last Ride. He eventually settles for just a regular Bateaster Bomb. Albert wins with a fire thunder driver.
Decent stuff here. Nothing too blow away. Kawada/Taue was definitely the best of these four matches. A hate filled ECW brawl, but in 1991 All Japan. Blood, chairs, stiff moves and strikes. And hate. A lot of hate. Andre/Inoki was fun. Kind of showy and almost comedy at times. I'd really like to see more of Zangiev. If he was only a pro for TWO MONTHS and training for a total of 4, he was great. Albert/Nagata...eh. It was fine. I find mid 2000s NJ really boring. This was allegedly one of the top NJ matches from 2006, but it was just a pretty standard big man vs little man match.