Inoki Era: Gimmick Matches

Jushin Liger vs Shinya Hashimoto IWGP Indiscriminate Class Battle 2/24/94

Liger is in his "heavyweight" gear, which is a different mask, with his hair not pulled out, regular tights and no body suit.  He's much thicker than he looks in his body suit. IWGP Heavyweight vs Junior Heavyweight champion bout.  Hash controls the pace with his size, but he's frustrated that Liger is a lot stronger than you'd expect a junior to be.  But look at him.  Liger is jacked.  Hash throws some kicks.  Liger responds with sumo slaps and a koppo kick that puts Hash on his fat ass.  Because HE'S FAT.  Hash throws a dropkick. It'd be dope if he came out with a dive.  From that point on, he tries to break Liger's arm for a few minutes. Then knocks the shit out of him with chops and kicks.  Just like you'd hope for.  Liger hits a basement dropkick OUTTA NOWHERE and keeps that fatty on the mat. Liger tries so hard to get Hash up for the Romero special, but he's too FAT.  So instead, Liger just slaps the shit out of him. I'm sure that will end up being a mistake.  You can't slap Hashimoto and get away with it.  Liger Bomb attempt.  It doesn't work.  Super kick!  Hash is getting pissed.  Missile basement dropkick.  Figure four!  Liger Bomb! 2 count.  Avalanche DDT!  Super frankensteiner!  Hashimoto kicks out!  German suplex.  Fans are so hot for Liger to get the win here.  Missile dropkick to the base of the neck.  Liger is pulling out all the stops.  None of them work.  Hash kicks the shit out of Liger and finishes him off with a vertical drop brainbustaaaaaah.  This had some slow moments while Liger was in control on the mat, but it picked up a ton at the end with Liger throwing his flurry of moves and the fans dying for him to get the win.

Great Muta vs Great Nita Barbed Wire Current Mine Blast Double Hell Deathmatch 8/28/99

The match starts seemingly JIP with Nita stabbing Muta repeatedly with a scythe.  Muta is immediately thrown into the exploding barbwire ropes.  Both are wearing white, so you can expect some blood.  Mist!  Mist!  Mist!  More mist!  And then slow choking with chains and stuff.  Nita mist! Mists everywhere.  More stabbing, but somehow no blood.  Nita just spins around a lot.  That's his version of the Muta gimmick. And then gets sent into the exploding barbed wire himself.  Nita narrowly avoids falling into the mines.  FIRE BALL OUTTA NOWHERE. Nita sets the timer on the bombs.  This sets off air raid sirens, which seems in poor taste considering what happened the last time air raid sirens went off in Japan.  It's also super annoying.  The timer counts down. Nita is knocked to the floor but clearly avoids the explosions. Then the mistimed explosions go off on all sides of the ring and on the corner posts.  Nita crawls back into the ring and gets hit in the gut with the scythe, spitting blood everywhere.  Maybe it was supposed to be mist.  He then misses a fire ball and gets sent into the boomy wire again.  Muta pins him after stabbing him in the head with the scythe.  This...sucked.  Mutoh > Muta just about any day.  Mutoh is the wrestler for great matches.  Muta is the wrestler for weird spectacles. After the match, Nita tries to attack some fans.  And despite both wearing white, neither of them bled.  That's wrestling 101.  Come on.

Yuji Nagata vs Kensuke Sasaki LIFE OR DEATH FIGHT ~ Clash ~ 1/4/04

I'm not sure what the gimmick is here, but it sounds cool, so I'm going to count it.  The match STARTS with a strike battle.  Yuji throws a belly to belly.  Sasaki throws lariatoooos.  Sasaki won't let go of an arm bar and they roll to the floor.  Sasaki gets a chair and gets it kicked into his face.  Explodaaaa on the floor.  Kensuke is busted open.  Yuji gets lariatoooed from behind head first into the post.  And then rammed repeatedly into the post. I can't tell if Yuji is bleeding or if it is Kensuke's blood on him.  Headbutts everywhere.  They are knocking the SHIT out of each other.  It's rad.  Lariatoooo.  UGUUUUUU, you can see the blood just POOLING under Yuji's head.  Jesus Christ. That is disgusting.  Blood everywhere.  Another lariatoooo.  I'm assuming the only way to win is via KO/TKO.  Northern lights bomb.  Head kick from Nagata OUTTA NOWHERE.  Corner shining wizard.  SO MUCH BLOOD.  Head kicks.  Rings of Saturn.  I guess this is KO/submission only.  Holy fuck, Nagata is on some CZW level blood shit here.  It is EVERYWHERE.  When he locks the hold on, it pours all over his arm and Sasaki's chest.  There is also a puddle of blood from Sasaki's head.  The ref calls for the bell and stops the match.  Nagata wins. A short, compact, bloody WAR.  It's pretty rad.  Liked this a lot.

Ron Waterman vs Masayuki Naruse vs Manabu Nakanishi vs Toro Yano vs Dolgorsürengiin Sumyaabazar vs Mitsuya Nagai vs Yuji Nagata vs Blue Wolf Ultimate Royal Match 1/4/2005

I think this is an MMA battle royal. But it only starts with four people in the ring.  The idea of Yano doing MMA stuff is hilarious to me.  This absolutely a MMA battle royal.  Inoki, you son of a bitch.  Waterman eliminates Blue Wolf via KO after a triangle powerbomb. It looks like Yano is eliminated via submission. Wait.  So when a dude gets eliminated, the guys who did the eliminating get a break?  So it isn't really a battle royal.  It's like some weird battle royal round robin MMA pro wrestling match.  This is so weird.  Two MMA matches going on in the same ring at the same time.  A yellow card comes out I think for Nagata.  Nakanishi taps out to a guillotine from Waterman. This leaves Nagata and dude to fight for a bit. Nagata gets a stoppage via strikes. So now it is Waterman vs Nagata in a singles match.  This is the weirdest shit.  Only Antonio Inoki would come up with a worked MMA round robin battle royal.  Brock Lesnar and Sable are at ringside for this.  Looks like Josh Barrnett is also out there.  Waterman wins with an Americana.  What a weird match.

Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Prince Devitt Lumberjack Death Match 9/29/13

Bullet Club and random NJPW mid carders are the lumberjacks.  Now normally, lumberjack mathes can go fuck themselves.  I'm watching this due to lack of gimmick matches in NJPW and because of who is in it.  Tanahashi gets knocked to the floor and the BC go to town on him.  The mid carders fight and lose out.  BC are...for real, I guess.  Devitt gets a hood OUTTA NOWHERE to put on Tanahashi's weird face.  Maybe covering up that garbage hair. BC members get up on the apron and are all knocked off. Slingblade OUTTA NOWHERE.  It gets a 2 count.  When is the last time that actually won a match for Tanahashi?   Tanahashi drops a frog splash onto the entire Bullet Club.  Makabe fights Devitt on the ramp and brings him back to the ring.  High Fly Flow is countered with Devitt getting the knees up.  Devitt gets Tanahashi in a tree of Keanu, hits a dropkick, and then dives onto the face lumberjacks.  Anderson hits an apron powerbomb.  Fucking Karl Anderson.  Hate that egg piece of shit.  Double stomp only gets a 2 count.  Guitar shot OUTTA NOWHERE! Bloody Sunday.  Tanahashi kicks out.  Devitt keeps kicking at the ref, so the ref slaps him.  Well, that's unprofessional.  Ref bump!  Of course.  The lumberjacks go after each other.  Finisher spam between all of them.  Tanahashi hits...the Styles Clash?  High Fly Flow for the win. It was fine.  I think they'd have a much better regular singles match.  Lumberjack matches are generally pretty stupid no matter who is in them and this is no different.  Especially since it was full of Russo booking kind of shit that the BC is known for.

Riki Choshu vs Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs Masahiro Chono Dog Fight 1/4/2005

It's just a triple threat, but triple threats in the heavyweight division is rare so this counts. Choshu starts by Yakuza kicking Tenzan.  Choshu hits a lariatooo on him.  Scorpion death lock!  They Yakuza is hanging out on the floor.  Tenzan just hangs out on the floor.  Is this like...a triangle and not triple threat match?  Piledriver from Chono.  Another piledriver.  Old man Choshu hitting a superplex.  Choshu lariatooooo. Tenzan gets involved once it hits the floor.  He gets kicked in the face.  Choshu and Chono trade boots/lariatos in the ring.  Of course.  What else would they do?  Wrestle?  That's ridiculous. You are ridiculous for thinking that.  Shame on you.  SHINING KENKA. A second one eliminates Choshu.  Tenzan enters the match.  They brawl on the apron, with a Yakuza kick sending Tenzan to the floor.  Then another one in the ring.  Another.  Just about 80% of Chono's moves have been Yakuza kicks.  Lots of headbutts from Tenzan.  Maybe headbutts and diving headbutts is why he's such a mess in 2015.  Just a thought.  Tenzan fights for the Anaconda Vise a couple of times.  I thought I saw some blood.  It's coming from Tenzan's ear.  It's amazing the different 10 years has made for Tenzan.  I think Chono is in better shape in 2015 and half of his body is atrophied.  But in 2005, Tenzan was still pretty dope.  Buffalo lock!  I definitely used that for every single CAW I made in No Mercy.  Even for dudes that it didn't make sense to have that move.  Shining KENKA kick!  Right in that giant fucking head. TTD! Back to the Anaconda Vise.  Chono gets to his feet and hits a low blow.  What a HEEL. Tenzan misses the moonsault.  STF!  Inverted STF!  Tenzan taps.  Chono wins!  I enjoyed this.  Both matches.  I didn't realize Chono could still go in 2005.