AJPW: Gaijin in the 1970s
The Destroyer vs Mil Mascaras United States Heavyweight Championship 2/3 Falls 10/9/73
I've seen one of their later matches, and it was pretty good. I'm sure this will be of similar quality. Mil's mask is TREMENDOUS. Black and white ghost mask. Cool as fuck. I hope he has another one under it and pulls if it for the second fall. Destroyer is so good I'd watch him against Brain Knobs or Konnan. That's how strongly I feel about his abilities. Some really nifty mat stuff in the first fall. Not surprising, since Destroyer was doing dope shit a decade before this. Lots of neat instead of WOW sequences in the first fall. Stuff to pop the live crowd more than the televised crowd. Although, it is very interesting how little TV coverage of wrestling has changed since the 70s. Outside of cuts being more frequent, it is still the same angles and perspectives for the most part. You might have a crane shot once in a great while, but otherwise, very little had changed beyond how often angle changes are made. The first big offensive move came about 12 minutes in with Destroyer throwing a hard knee to the gut that was probably a low blow. Tempers flare, and Mil wins the first fall with his jumping headbutt.
Mil starts the fall by hitting it again and trying to score a quick submission. Destroyer isn't really the dude to fuck with on the mat, though. Lots of working over hammer locks and standing bow and arrows. Second fall is all about Destroyer throwing dirty elbows. And working a courting hold like a fiend. Mil has some neat submissions, but they don't really seem to be leading anywhere. Destroyer wins the fall with the figure four.
Fall three continues with Destroyer tearing up the leg. Mil really seems to be kind of half assing this. Destroyer then wins by countout after Mil completely stopped selling the previous two falls. Then they hug after the match. Weird.
Giant Baba vs Dick The Bruiser PWF Championship 2/3 Falls 4/10/75
Dick really was a barrel chested sumbitch. He was also in his mid 40s at this point. He starts the match with classic heel moves of eye rakes and chin locks. Baba really was such an impressive sight in his youth. You don't give a shit about how skinny his arms were, because look at the rest of him. And he knew how to work. Dick had that weird shit where dudes change their hair line in the back, so basically hair in the back of his head is normal until the middle of his ears, and then it is shaved off. Not like modern fades or anything, but just a hard line. Dick is a real roughneck American in this, taking shit to the floor and using chairs and whatnot. He drops the first fall via DQ for I think choking Baba on a chair. Perhaps he was willing to drop the first fall to weaken Baba for the next two. You never know with these god damn unruly foreigners.
I'm not sure Dick even needed to do that chair shit, since he had been pretty much dominating anyway. He and Jumbo get into it on the floor. I'm sure there was probably a Dick/Jumbo match before or after this. So, you've got Baba, the giant, fighting from underneath, which seems to be a pretty regular thing with his matches for some reason. Unlike Andre, the thing with Baba was that he was a normal wrestler who happened to be a giant. That meant he was as vulnerable as normal wrestlers, and he rarely if ever really used his size to his advantage, but still got to use the visual advantage and novelty of his size. He also got busted open on the ring post. As Dick was trying to fucking lynch him. The rope that dick was trying to murder Baba with ends up tying the two together, and then Baba is disqualified for trying to kill Dick. Dick has a lot of blood on him, but I think it is all Baba's. A lot of attempted murder in this.
Baba is just a mess. I can't tell who Dick's seconds are (one of them is Bob Orton Jr.), but they get involved on the floor, which ends up with Jumbo throwing punches and hitting Dick with a chair. Baba then quickly pins Dick with a dropkick. Title retained. Not what I would call a great match by any stretch, but interesting to see the booking around the limitations of Dick's age and the set up for Jumbo against Dick/his seconds in the future.
Stan Hansen vs The Destroyer 10/30/75
This was Stan in his "pretty boy" days, with long, blond hair and beard. Destroyer quickly uses his speed and trickery to get Stan all out of sorts. Twice Stan ends up storming around the crowd after being made dizzy by arm drags. Stan is just bewildered by headlocks and arm drags. Lol at Destroyer doing his headstand escape from a head scissors directly into thumbing Stan in the eye. HE GOT MY DAMN EYE! Stan's vocalizations in this are hilarious. Dude sounds like a cartoon out there. Destroyer wins with the figure four in a very simple, very light, very enjoyable match.
Harley Race vs Dusty Rhodes 12/6/75
Neat. Both guys arguably in their prime wrestling each other in front of a foreign audience with much different expectations than fans in America. Dusty's hair is so strange. It's like...wool or something. Dream is content to work headlocks. A lot of them. Occasionally with a hip gyration. Harley goes the low road with shots to the throat and tries to use a chair and the ring post. Both fail miserably for him. Harley throws some mean ass punches, which get Dusty all fired up. Harley wins with the diving headbutt in a short, but enjoyable little match.
Giant Baba vs Billy Robinson PWF Championship 7/24/76
Should be fun. Always neat when Baba gets to show off his mat skills. Billy is wearing a singlet for some reason. Probably to squeeze that gut in a bit, but it isn't helping. Billy goes after the leg, which is probably the best way to wrestle a giant. Billy does a bizarre submission of grapevining one of Baba's legs, while using his head for leverage underneath the knee of the other one awhile pulling down on the shin/foot. So weird. Lol at Robinson getting hot at accidentally getting chopped in the face. Baba wins the first fall with a big boot and back drop.
Baba continues to work the head/neck at the start of the second fall. Lots of head chops. Almost like he's going for a KO. Via head chops. Billy is able to hit some big strikes and to make a comeback and return to the leg work. Frequent attempts for the butterfly suplex. None of them work out, but Billy makes Baba submit to a half crab to tie the score.
The game plans continue, but both guys are pretty washed at this point. They end up on the floor, and I was sure it would be a double count out, and so was the crowd, but they subvert by continuing for a few more minutes. Then tease it again. Oh shit, the Robinson backbreaker! Things really heat up with strikes and scrambles to win, and Baba ends up hitting the falling lariat OUTTA NOWHERE for the clean, decisive win. Title retained. Great match, great subversion of the double count out stuff.
Giant Baba/Jumbo Tsuruta vs Dos Caras/Mil Mascaras NWA International Tag Team Championships 8/24/78
Once again, Mil's mask is looking cool as shit. Hopefully he puts more effort into this match than the Destroyer one. Interesting to see that Alberto Del Rio has the same weird hunch issue that his dad did. Jumbo and Caras begin. I don't know about that Freddy Krueger color scheme Caras is rocking, though. There is some good establishing moments of the danger of Jumbo's high knee and suplexes, as well as Caras' technical skills. Very weird to see Caras completely no selling a piledriver so early on into the match. A random piledriver that early into a first fall is usually a surprise quick win spot, but Caras didn't sell it at all. Mil tags in and his technical skills give Jumbo a lot of issues. Baba is starting to get hot on the apron. He finally gets tagged in and shows off his own mat skills. Baba is so underrated as a wrestler in general, and technical wrestler specifically. Jumbo throws out a number of Funk spots, and they're all neat. Mil wins the first fall by putting Jumbo in a wacky lucha submission, which was basically a pedigree set up turned into the spladle/banana split. There is a large contingent of Mexican fans here, to the point where I can't tell if this is in Japan or Mexico. I think it is Japan, but the quality and just the fact that there are so many fans with Mexican flags and shit makes me question that.
Baba works far more heel than I'm used to seeing, which also lends me to thinking this is in Mexico in a city that happens to have a large Japanese population. Jumbo is not fucking around in the second fall. He gives Mil THE BUSINESS and gets him to quickly submit to a Canadian back breaker.
Fall three starts with much of the same. Jumbo is trying to end it while he can against an already hurt Mil. Mil being Mil, he quickly stops selling any of the second fall. Such is Mil Mascaras. Much more interested int the Caras/Jumbo sequences. I'm sure they probably had a singles match at some point that I'd like to see. Baba pins Caras with a gutwrench suplex to win fall three and the match. Titles retained.
Mil Mascaras vs El Halcon ALLL Championship Mask vs Mask 9/13/78
Well, I didn't intend to have this many Mil Mascaras matches, but that's just how shit turned out. Halcon attacks before the bell, and keeps going after Mil, to the point where the ref won't start the match until Mil gets a chance to recover. That...doesn't seem right. Anyway, Halcon is trying to win as quickly as possible, repeatedly taking Mil to the floor, using the post, using chairs. Anything to fuck Mil's ass up and take his mask. These lucha brehs need to tighten their shit up. Halcon uses what I think is a beer can as a weapon. All this did was fire Mil up and he quickly wins with one of those kind of shitty lucha submissions that really make no sense when looking at them. Halcon unmask to reveal a handsome as fuck dude who shouldn't have been wearing a mask in the first place.
Giant Baba/Jumbo Tsuruta vs Nick Bockwinkel/Blackjack Lanza 12/9/78
Wish it was Mulligan instead of Lanza, but this still has Bock against Jumbo and Baba. I like the camera work making sure to keep Lanza's black glove in the center of the frame as much as possible. Baba stomps on that hand as soon as he can. Lanza makes comically evil faces when doing the claw. Bock is out here working headlocks like a fiend. Baba/Bock seems like it would be wonderful. Jumbo pinned Lanza with a sunset flip in a pretty short match.
Baba/Robinson was great. I can't say anything else was, but most of it was at least fun and enjoyable. 1970s AJPW is just a great thing to put on and relax while watching.