Inoki Era: Gaijin
Antonio Inoki/Bob Backlund vs Stan Hansen/Hulk Hogan 12/10/80
So many dope things in this. Inoki is Inoki. Stan Hansen is Stan Hansen. Hansen teaming with Hulk Hogan is weird as shit. Backlund being replaced by Hogan a couple years later for the WWF. It's all dope. And the crowd is hot for it. Hansen and Inoki start the match. Hulk's vocalizations in the ring are excellent. Lex Luger levels of weird. I just saw a Inoki in 1993. It's amazing how little he aged in 12 years. Backlund slams both heels. I don't think I need to mention his own vocalizations. OoooohhhaaaawwoooOOOOOOooaaaahhhhwwooooOOOOaaaa. Bobby both out smarts and out speeds Hulk. It's interesting how their careers never really matched up. Double row boat! ROW ROW ROW YA BOAT MOTHER FUCKERS. Inoki and Backlund take turns beating on Hansen's leg. I hope we get a Backlund Lift on Hansen or Hogan. Or both. Bob takes a weird bump over the ropes (well, everything he does is weird). Yo, imagine how hype a lariato countered into the chicken wing would be. This ref is killing me. He jumps over the wrestlers EVERY TIME to make a pin. Leg drop on Backlund! Historic. I guess. This was before the leg drop was a finisher or even semi-finisher. I'm not even sure if it was a signature move yet. Piledriver on Stan. I don't give a shit what people say, I think Bob Backlund is dope. Hot tag to Inoki. Lariatoooooooooooo. Backlund breaks the pin. Inoki pins Hulk with a back slide...OUTTA NOWHERE.
This wasn't as dope as what I thought it would be. It was fun, but Hulk felt really off. I've seen him from this time and even earlier. He was just off that night.
Tiger Mask vs El Canek 12/8/81
Oh shit, Canek attacks as Tiger is entering the ring. RUDO! He gets rammed into the ring post again trying to get in the ring. Now his face and forearm are busted. Once the match starts, Tiger's speed is on display right away. But Canek seems like a real cunt. And he's bigger and stronger. Tiger Mask appears to hurt his leg trying a weird flying kick from the apron. Gory special which is then turned into an inverted surf board. Seems simple, but I don't think I've seen anyone do it that way before. A lot more ground work than you'd probably expect from Tiger Mask and a lucha dude. Fans popped big for a Romero special. Canek does a pretty dope press slam into a back breaker. Then a standard press slam. 619 feint into a top rope cross body. Those ropes are too loose for that. Tiger comes back out with a tope, which Canek catches and then just fucking dumps him on the floor. They continue fighting and are both counted out. Wait. The match seemed to continue, but I guess not. I assumed since they were going for submissions that it was no longer a post match brawl, but I was wrong. Pull apart brawl. WE'RE OUTTA TIME!
I'd like to see more Canek. I believe this is the first time I've actually seen a match of his, despite seeing his name a lot.
Lou Thesz/Karl Gotch vs Antonio Inoki/Seiji Sakaguchi 10/14/73
Gotch and Thesz. Together forever. Inoki must have fucked EVERYONE in the 70s. Absolutely everyone. Seiji and Thesz start the match. I bet Thesz had that creepy old man strength. Gotch tags in, doing his World of Sport shit. Seiji gets tired of getting stretched by old dudes and tags out. Gotch is dope. All of his WoS shit looks like it actually is doing stuff and he understands pressure points and what not. He works and works to get out of a cravat. Like 4 minutes of just trying to twist his way out of a cravat and it wasn't boring at all. What kind of cunt slaps Lou Thesz? Seiji Sakaguchi is that cunt. THESZ PRESS THESZ PRESS THESZ PRESS AUSTIN AUSTIN RIGHT HAND RIGHT HAND. A second attempt is caught in a bear hug. Lou sells the shit out of it. Probably because his old man back can't handle that. Seiji works the fuck out of a head lock. Tags are made. Inoki and Gotch are fucking dope on the mat. SO DOPE. Which is not to say that Thesz isn't dope on the mat. He just wasn't as flashy and was working more with the much bigger Sakaguchi. Oh shit, back drop drivaaaaa from Thesz. This ends the first fall about 20 minutes in.
Thesz doesn't even want a break for fall 2. He's going to stay in and win it 2 straight. Lou is kind of a dick, both to Inoki and the ref. It's so weird seeing him stooge and beg off when Inoki gets mad. It's just not the mental image I have of him. Back drop drivaaaaaa on Inoki! One of Lou's favorite moves: Cheap knee to the face whenever someone is bent over at all. Seiji tags and in pins Thesz with an atomic drop.
Thesz decides to start fall 3 as well. DON'T PUT LOU THESZ IN A SIDE HEADLOCK. He will dump you on your head. He's getting pissy. Dude was 56 in this. That's crazy. Gotch was 49 and doing mat shit 28 year olds would have trouble with today. Mother fucking BACKLUND LIFT. 40 minutes in. By a 49 year old man. Fucking LOL at Lou slapping Inoki and then bowing into the ropes just to troll him. Who knew Lou Thesz worked as a trolling heel? Inoki pins Thesz with a rolling clutch. This shit was DOPE. I love the JWA/early NJPW/AJPW style. It slowed down a little by the 3rd fall, but Lou was 56 and Gotch was 49. I just love this style. Like if I was a wrestler, I'd want to be doing this kind of stuff than flippy dippy bullshit.
Scott Norton vs Don Frye 1/4/00
TMF: The Match. Frye apparently hears someone deep down the ramp that pissed him off, so he walked out and told that piece of shit he was (I assume) going to beat his ass and fuck his woman. Huge slam from Norton. Ugly back drop from Frye. Back body drop to the ramp. WE GOT US A FIGHT, MAGGLE. I'm pretty sure baby Shibata is one of the young boys at ringside doing security. Don Frye uses a chair. And now Norton is using it as Frye tries to run Mr. Perfect spots. This is weird. Fry goes back after this fan. That dude is going to get murdered. LARIATOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. Back to the ramp and floor. Powerbombuuuu. Frye turns the pin into an anaconda choke and nearly won if not for a rope break. A second powerbomb gets the win, although Frye definitely kicked out at 2 and Norton immediately jumped up and then yelled FUCK.
Brutus Beefcake vs Black Cat 1/4/94
Let it be known that Hulk Hogan is the best wrassle bro. Got Beefcake an 8 year run in the WWF, 4 years in WCW (plus a Starrcade main event), and a NJ dome show pay off. And let me tell you, there was NO reaction at all to the Beefer. And he sucks. God damn does he suck. This match is awful. NJPW going from bringing in Thesz and Gotch to Beefcake. Hard times, daddy. The Beefer wins with a HINEY. Garbage.
Dino Bravo vs Abdullah The Butcher 11/5/81
Bad News Allen is with Abby. Dick Murdoch is with Dino. Bad News has a dope sweater. There are about 10 minutes of everyone just standing around and talking shit over before the match ever starts. Looks like Dirty Dicky wants to fight. Sure seems like fans would rather see him than Dino. Who wouldn't? Who on earth would pick Dino Bravo over Dick Murdoch? So after 10 minutes, the match heads to the floor and Abby, who was already bleeding before the match, bleeds some more. Atomic drop on that fat fuck. Bad News throws a bunch of powder at Dino and the ref. Abby then stabs Dino in the head with a fork a few times. CZFW!
Victor Zangief vs Brad Rheingans 2/10/90
Listen. Zangief is fucking dope. I wish he had more matches. I'd watch them all. Some legit ass grappling here, friends. Can't wait for the SHOOT belly to belly that will happen. Well, there was a SHOOT belly to back, which is dope. Holy shit. SHOOT fall away slam! This is what pro wrestling would be if it was real. Belly to belly. German. Suplexes everywhere. Brad won with a pretty dope running Oklahoma roll, but video artifacts kind of ruin it. SHOOT.