Inoki Era: NJPW ON TOUR Sponsored by Takis
Antonio Inoki vs Roland Bock 11/25/78 Stuggart, West Germany
I know nothing about Bock. He looks like a guy you wouldn't leave your kids around. These Krauts are rowdy. Bock hits a pretty dope belly to belly. There are rounds in this and during the breaks they play late 70s German metal. Which seems very German to me. Inoki tries his grounded leg strikes and and Bock ain't falling for it. RAD German suplex. Deadlift from the mat style. I'm not sure what the rules are here. I'm going to assume standard wrestling rules, but with rounds. Bock completely no sells Inoki's slap and Inoki has no idea how to react. I'm ready to proclaim Bock TMF of the German contingent. This dude is no joke and is making Inoki look like a punk. Tossing Inoki around, knocking the shit out of him, not giving him ANYTHING on the mat. He even does a Backlund Lift. I knew I liked this dude. My view of 70s Germany, East and West, is that of blocky gray buildings and corduroy. And ugly cars. Pointy box cars. And graffiti. Late into the match, Inoki gets a yellow card for refusing to break a hold. Then Bock uppercuts that giant chin like a fiend. Both men tumble over the top rope. I'm not sure what that means to the rules. After this, Bock apparently gets pretty pissed because he repeatedly headbutts Inoki and then chokes the shit out of him. Dangerous piledriveuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu. By round 10, both are pissy. Bock throws more headbutts, ties Inoki's head up in the ropes. Inoki tries to get all fighting spirit, but Bock will have none of that shit. Bock is declared the winner by decision. What a weird match. This dude pretty much killed any tough guy aura Inoki had. Didn't give him shit, no sold all of his strikes, and then won by decision.
This was pretty dope. I'd like to see more of Bock. I see there is a rematch, so I'll have to watch that sometime.
Hiro Matsuda/Masa Saito vs Seiji Sakaguchi/Riki Choshu NWA North American Tag Team Championships 6/15/79 Los Angeles, USA
I don't believe I've seen a Hiro Matsuda match. To Americans, he's best known for training Hulk Hogan (and Lex Luger) and being part of the J-Tex Corporation in the late 80s in JCP/WCW. Young Choshu is weird. He aged oddly. He turned into a homely grandmother somewhere down the line. He and Saito begin. God damn, Saito had a dope double leg take down. Furious grappling. Matsuda tags in. He should wear boots. Dudes wrestling without boots always seemed like a bad idea to me. So easy to twist an ankle or bust your heels up on bumps and shit. I also think lack of knee pads is crazy and none of the four have them. Just begging for an injury. Little Choshu has no fear of TMF Saito. To be fair, Saito isn't quite the TMF he would become. He's also young and instead of looking like a hard ass older dude, he looks like a young dude trying to grow into being an old hard ass. I'm not very impressed with Matsuda, that's for sure. He's barely in the match and when he is, he looks old and weak. I mean, he's in shape, but nothing he does looks like it hurts. I'm not sure if he really knows how to bump, either. I haven't seen him do a single standard back bump. As Seiji has Matsuda in an abdominal stretch, I think a young Bad News Allen showed up and caused a DQ for the first fall.
A Saito suplex ends the second fall just couple minutes later.
A lot of slapping in the third fall. Moments later, Choshu pins Saito with a back drop. Titles retained. Wasn't very interesting.
Jose Estrada vs Tatsumi Fujinami WWWF Junior Heavyweight Championship 1/23/78 New York City, USA
Jose is aggressive as shit. That hot Latin Blood. The MSG fans seem to be pretty into Fujinami. He throws a lot of dropkicks. They're good dropkicks, but he throws a lot. Jose works over Dragon's arm for a while. Dragon suplex for the win. Title retained.
Tiger Mask vs Dynamite Kid WWF Junior Heavyweight Championship 8/30/82 New York City, USA
These little mother fuckers are pretty fast. These ropes are WAY too loose. Dynamite coming off with a King Kong knee drop looked dangerous as fuck. It also looked dangerous because it landed right on Tiger's head. I don't understand how Tiger Mask is so fast. I literally can't understand how fast this dude moves. Diving headbutto misses. Tiger wins with a suplex and moonsault. Very short and more just a quick exhibition than a real match from them.
MVP vs Yano IWGP Intercontinental Championship Philadelphia, USA 5/15/11
THIS JUST IN: The ECW Arena still looks like shit. So does Yano. And the camera man here. I hope it isn't Bronson. This shit looks like a fan cam. STOP MOVING. GET YOUR FUCKING HANDS OUT OF THE LENS. GET YOUR RAG OUT OF THE LENS. GOD DAMN IT. I don't understand Yano. A dude who looks like shit, wrestles like shit, and stalls all the time. I guess there's a place for that. I guess. I can not figure out why this match is just a one camera, hand held, shoot. I see other camera men. I know there is a hard cam somewhere. But this is just one camera, shaky, running around ringside, fingers in the lens. Shit. That, in addition to a shitty match. No idea why this is on NJ World. The ref sucks. Even if he didn't clearly see Yano choking MVP with a chain or tape for an extended amount of time, he was holding MVP on the ropes to do it, which should have had a 5 count starting. It never came. This match sucks. The camera work sucks. The arena sucks. The ref slapped Yano right into rolling German suplexes. MVP then does the Benoit throat cut and diving headbutt. Surely he sees how inappropriate it is to do full on Benoit tributes in his matches, right? Even if Benoit was important to his career for 2 months. Extremely distasteful. More so that the ECW Arena fans popped for it. There is a lot of fuckery and MVP wins. New champion. Shitty way to start out a championship. After the match, MVP cuts a pandering promo to the indie shit head smarks in the arena.
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Charlie Haas 5/14/11 New York, USA
This is mislabeled. Multiple times. It actually took place in 5/15 and this isn't Charlie Haas, it's Davey Richards. It also isn't in New York, it's in the ECW Arena. At first I was thinking, "Why in the fuck did they book CHARLIE HAAS against Tanahashi?" Then I found out it was actually Davey Richards. First, I lol'd. Then I thought, "Why in the fuck did they book DAVEY RICHARDS against Tanahashi?". Tanahashi is so far above both guys. I'm going to call Davey by Charlie Haas from now on. Charlie Haas is such a cunt. Sawed off indie fuck. I'd like to believe that NJPW was so embarrassed over booking Davey Richards that they thought mislabeling him as Charlie Haas was a better option. I'll also never get over that TNA had 10 years to pick up Davey and didn't show any interest at all until he did a job on NXT. Davey goes after Tana's knee. Tanahashi clearly is slowing himself down and taking it easy because fuck Charlie Haas. I wonder if Davey will also do a Benoit tribute and claim it is a Dynamite Kid tribute. THE WEEKEND AFTER THE MURDERS. What a cunt. "Oh no, I didn't intentionally get tights and a vest to look just like Benoit a week later, I was cosplaying as Dynamite." Piece of shit. Again, this is a one camera shoot. Really good if you want to see all the pulled punches and kicks. LOL at Davey's way of selling his knee. One dragon screw and he can't walk. Then he can run and dropkick just fine. Then when he tries to run, he screams and pats his knee and keeps running. Indie shit. To be fair, Tanahashi is pretty good about completely disregarding leg work and he's light years better than Davey Haas. With this bad knee, Davey is able to do a superplex, hold on and do a falcon arrow, and then jump up into an ankle lock with no issues. Then he can run full speed across the ring, again with no issues. Tanahashi wins with the frog splash.
Antonio Inoki vs Tiger Jeet Singh UWA World Heavyweight Championship 4/13/80 Mexico City, Mexico
The lighting rig for the ring is pretty great: Poles on each corner with flood lights attached to the top. This might be a WWF Martial Arts Championship match as well. Wait. Tiger Jeet Singh doing kimura take downs and head scissors? Wtf? Also wtf, it appears Tiger's thumb is bleeding. From what? Did he cut himself on his own blade before the match even started? Amateur fuck. Zandig wouldn't pull that shit. Inoki gets Singh all tied up on the mat. This is not at all what I expected. I had no idea Singh did any wrestling. I thought he was an Abdullah the Butcher level type of dude. I expected someone to get hit with a sword hilt seconds in and be a short and bloody brawl. It isn't that at all. It's grappling and trading holds and shit. Tiger most definitely runs his hand up Inoki's leg and cups his balls. That was strange. It was sweet, though. Very sensual. Singh chokes Inoki out with a head scissors and Inoki is counted down. First fall, I assume.
Tiger puts him back in the head scissors before the second fall even starts. Once it starts, Inoki goes after Tiger's leg and his fighting spirtuuuu meter is heating up. Apparently this ref doesn't give a shit about rope breaks. It takes Tiger getting to the ropes 4 times before the ref makes Inoki break a figure four. I think it was more he eventually realized that they were going to do this until the ref broke the hold. Octopus hold ends the second fall.
Fall 3 quickly heads to the floor. Tiger gets a board out and uses it in the ring, which apparently is okay in Mexico. Wait. No it isn't. Disqualification. Inoki wins 2-1. New champion! Tiger lays out the ref after the match.
Satoru Sayama/Gran Hamada vs Baby Face/Perro Aguayo 4/13/80 Mexico City, Mexico
Sayama is pre-masked Tiger Mask. Yo this place looks way cooler in the day. There are a SHIT LOAD of people there. Irony abounds here as Baby Face is actually a heel. Or at least he and Perro attacked before the bell, which seems pretty heel like to me. Tiger and Baby Face officially begin the match. Tags are made. Perro is a cunt. Actually, so is Baby Face. Running in and giving cheap shots constantly. Yo this is some state of the art lucha stuff here. Stuff that would be hot today. The faces win the first fall with double submissions.
Hamada and Baby Face start out the second fall and Hamada really knows his arm drags. A missile dropkick on Tiger Mask ends the second fall. Or maybe it didn't. I guess a Perro top rope senton actually did.
In between falls, Hamada was busted open. I think the ring bell is actually a train whistle. These cheap shotting rudo sons of bitches. Every chance they get, one of them will sneak in and grab one of the faces for a cheap shot. Cunts. Baby Face is a rudo sack of shit. I'm undecided on how I feel about Perro's boots. I get the Bruiser Brody kind of idea he's likely going for, but they also look like giant slippers or shoes that college freshman girls would wear with sweat pants and a North Face jacket. Hamada sends him head first into the ring post a couple of times. I'm sure he'll be busted open, because looking at his head in the 90s leads me to believe he bled in every match he was ever in. He is indeed busted open. He and Hamada GO AT IT. Luchamos en viernes por la noche, Miguel! Plancha from Baby Face. Shit is getting out of control here in the Zona de Impacto. Perro gets disqualified for a blatant low blow and doesn't even give a shit.
A weird collection, no doubt. Inoki/Bock was pretty rad. Bock was a mean mother fucker and made Inoki look like a timid punk for 40 some minutes. I liked him. The lucha tag was a lot of fun and I'm someone who doesn't like lucha at all. The matches in America...all are skip-able. The ones in MSG were okay, but super short. The one in LA just wasn't interesting. The ECW Arena ones were terrible (especially Yano/MVP) and had even worse camera work. Inoki/Singh was a pleasant surprise. Singh could actually wrestle. News to me.
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