NJPW Dream Matches
I'm using "dream" as both "Man I wish this would happen" and " Man that was a weird fucking dream". Results may vary.
Dusty Rhodes vs Antonio Inoki NWF World Heavyweight Championship 1/1/79
I can't even imagine how weird this will be. Dusty has a hot start, but Inoki dodges three elbows. Dusty's way of exiting the ring is amazing. Prissy strut and gently falling to the mat to roll out under the bottom rope. Here's what I was hoping for: Dusty doing catch holds to get out of jujitsu submissions. It's every bit as weird as it sounds. You can't expect Dusty to do a 30 minute proto-MMA match, though. He brings the Southern Wrasslin style and for once, Inoki has to work someone else's style. A table gets used multiple times. So does the ring post, which of course busts Dusty open. A ref bump gets the match thrown out. I think Inoki actually won by DQ. In the post match confusion, Greg Valentine and Tatsumi Fujinami got into it. That also sounds like a weird match, but one I'd like to see, especially if it was from the same time frame. Dusty calls for five more minutes. Inoki agrees to it, so Dusty prances away. It is good? I don't know. What makes a good wrestling match? This is a match that only Dusty and Inoki could have had against each other.
The Great Oz vs Shinya Hashimoto 5/17/92
Why yes...Kevin Nash vs Hashimoto happened. I expect this to be weird as fuck as well. Holy shit, Kevin Nash does a HEAD KICK. What the fuck is happening to my life. And his head kick is more graceful than Punk's ever was. Hash has the wise idea to keep Nash on the mat, trying to break his arm repeatedly. There aren't many strikes from Hash in this, but he makes them count. This is so weird. Kevin Nash doing head kicks, strike battles, and Sting like running face busters. Hash wins after a series of spiinning heel kicks and DDTs. So weird.
Hulk Hogan vs Abdullah The Butcher 5/26/82
Let's keep the weird train going. Although, this seems far more logical on paper than the previous two match. But in America, not Japan. Brody and Abby are pretty much the only 80s monster types that Hogan didn't get a match with as WWF champ, so at least it happened here. I'm sure it won't be great, but Hogan doing the Hogan Formula in Japan (which he rarely did) should be interesting. Abby takes a bump in the first minute, so that alone makes this a unique match. Also unique is Hogan carrying that fat fuck around the ring WIT DA GREATEST OF EASE. Bear hugging and walking around like Abby ain't shit. He isn't, but he is a big fat dude that would be hard to carry around for a normal human. Abby's bumping style is hilarious. Hulk does a JUMPING SPLASH, which I've never seen him do. Abby forgot to put his knees up, so it was super awkward. Mostly because about 5 minutes of action has Abby gasping for breath. He probably couldn't get them up. Fat fuck. Of course, the fork is used, Hogan bleeds. Come on, ref. It's hanging out of his waist band. Abby isn't even trying to hide it. DO YOUR JOB, ref. Hogan kicks out of the Sudanese Elbow, but doesn't exactly Hulk UP just yet. He takes a bit more of a beating before that starts. Hulk tries to BITE ABBY'S EAR OFF. What the hell? Lol. And unlike a normal Hulk Up, it doesn't immediately lead into the finish. In fact, there isn't a finish. They start brawling into the crowd and the match is thrown out. Seemingly half the roster on hand has to pull them apart. Barely. Pretend this happened in the Spectrum and enjoy it for what it is.
Jinsei Shinzaki vs Great Muta 4/29/96
This will be weird in a different way, no doubt. Lots of theatrics. Jinsei is announced as his Jinsei, but he's in the Hakushi paint and gimmick. Muta seems to be in a completely different class as Hakushi, though. Looks, ability, and gimmick. Signature moves are hit from both men early on. Hakushi takes a crazy bump from the apron, flying past the guard rail and landing in between the tables around ringside. He almost made it to the second guard rail. Worst of all, the camera missed most of it. A piledriver kind of breaks a table. That's a win to me. Oh shit, Muta broke Hakushi's paddle thing. What a son of a bitch. He uses it to stab Hakushi, who bleeds all over the god damn place. Muta tries to kill him for a while, hanging him with his belt, and writing something in kanji on the board. I assume it was "die" or "fuck you". In Hakushi's blood. When Hakushi finally gets back into it, he tries to suffocate Muta with a shirt. Hakushi basically piledrove himself on the apron doing the space flying tiger drop. Fuck. Muta mists out of a powerbomb and wins with the moonsault. Hakushi was a MESS after the match. The blood, his paint, and mist left him looking like something out of Evil Dead II.
Tiger King vs Antonio Inoki 4/12/97
Tiger Mask, after a 9 year absence from pro wrestling, returned in 1994 without the mask for a match against Jushin Liger. He had one match in 1995, then 19 in 1996, mostly for smaller promotions like Michinoku Pro and some dates with UWFI. This is by far the biggest match he had had since leaving the business in 1985. He alternated between Original Tiger Mask, Super Tiger, and Tiger King during this period, since there had been three other Tiger Masks in his time away. To the best of my knowledge, this is the only singles match between the two. They had never even been on opposing sides, all of their matches in the 80s being on the same side in six man tags. So, as part of Inoki's Final Countdown to retirement, this match finally happens. A decade and a half late, but whatever. Inoki was still spry as fuck, Tiger Mask looked pretty springy and fast even with the age, weight gain, and time away. Inoki's counter of the tiger spin was so simple, and I don't even know if it was intentional, but it was great. He just...dropped down into a shoot. That's it. But it stopped the move. As you'd imagine, this is very shoot style, as both of these guys are frustrated shooters who would have gone into MMA if it existed in their primes. Fat Tiger is still able to do the tiger feint, much to the delight of the crowd. Tiger Mask scores some big kicks, but ends up getting caught in the cobra twist and taps out. While this certainly isn't what it would have been in, say, 1983, it was still pretty fun even with the shortness. What really comes to mind is fuck Maeda for running Sayama out of the business for a decade when he had so much to offer for the next generation. So many matches that should have happened that didn't because Maeda was a cunt. Also FYI, this same show had a Benoit vs Sullivan match.
Genichiro Tenryu vs Shinya Hashimoto 2/17/94
I expect someone to get hit very hard, and the match to at some point fall apart and seem like a shoot. Both are tentative to start. Tenryu throws the first chop and it was a nasty one. Hash throws stiff as fuck leg kicks, and things already are starting to break down. Wonderful. Three minutes and and they're already both like "Fuck you". Hash's kicks are ridiculous. It's like he's trying to break Tenryu's arm. And at some point, Hash gets his nose busted open (probably from the dicky toe kicks), and Tenryu is chopping him so hard and high that Hashimoto actually cowers away from the strikes. Don't worry, he gets his revenge. You'll see a lot of dudes kick to the back super hard, but I haven't seen anyone kick to the arms and front as hard as Hashimoto in this match. I've also never heard Tenryu SCREAM in pain after getting hit. Hashimoto starts head hunting, apparently looking for a KO. Well, this just pisses Tenryu off, who ends up slapping the dogshit out of Hash for it. Still, a jumping DDT is what puts Tenryu away. This is exactly what you'd hope it would be.
Scott Norton vs Vader 5/31/91
All I can ask for here is some no selling of strikes, shoulder block battles, a few slams, and maybe a back drop or two. A powerbomb if I'm REALLY lucky. The first few minutes are...no selling of strikes, shoulder block battles, and slams. AND YELLING. So much yelling. The ease with which these dudes slam each other is frightening. Vader ends up switching things up by doing Fujiwara arm bars and cross arm breakers instead of big man chin locks. More yelling, more no-sold strikes, more slams. It's wonderful. They brawl on the floor and Norton wins via count out. Vader calls him back to the ring and they start brawling again. Here, Vader tries to murder Scott with a disgusting back drop and lariat. Then he spits on Scott as he leaves the ring. So Scott gets up and calls Vader back to the ring, because he's not done kicking his ass. Vader comes back and they end up brawling again, this time with a whole host of wrestlers and young boys getting flattened along the way. Some straight up King Kong vs Godzilla shit and I love it. Everything I could have hoped for.
Lou Thesz vs Antonio Inoki 10/9/75
Lou Thesz is the main event in my heart. I've seen him absolutely merk Inoki before, so I'm hoping to see that happen again. YES. The first move is a back drop from Lou. Don't put Lou Thesz in a headlock. Inoki should know this, as that's what got him so fucked up in the tag match. Lou is so awesome. Look at how this dude avoids Inoki's headlock out of a head scissors. So smooth, so simple. And he's such a dick, too. Those short punches to the ribs. Great double leg take downs, too. Basically, everything Lou Thesz does is awesome. Made even better by being an old dude with an old dude body and Bozo hair. His hammerlock crossface chickenwing choke is the meanest thing I've seen in quite some time. Inoki pins Thesz with a bridging fall away slam, which kind of looked like a reversal of a reversal and would have been much better if the ref (Antonio Rocca) wasn't the slowest fucking counter I've ever seen. It's been 20 years since Lou was having the most important matches in puro history with Rikidozan. 20 years later and against a far more athletic top star, he's still proving he is absolutely not to be fucked with. He put Inoki through the ringer.