Re: Official Indy DVD Help Thread
Watched a ton of 80s New Japan and UWF over the last few days.
Tatsumi Fujinami v Antonio Inoki (New Japan Pro Wrestling, 9/19/85)
This is one of those "company icon challenged by current ace" matches, and it's worked really damn well. It's predominantly mat based, which is where Inoki's strengths lie, not really deviating from that dynamic until the final 5 minutes or so, but there's never a dull moment. Even the marathon figure four leglock Fujinami lays on Inoki for what seems like an eternity - which would without doubt get boring in most matches - is fine here, especially given the fact Fujinami goes after the leg with some sweet kicks to follow up. The stretch is really awesome, as Fujinami tries to pull out everything he can to slay the dragon, while Inoki must resort to his octopus stretch before being dumped on his skull too much costs him the match. All in all, it goes just over 35 minutes, but it really flew in for me, and their rematch a whole 3 years later goes an hour. That one's even better. ****1/4
Yoshiaki Fujiwara v Kazuo Yamazaki (UWF, 1/7/85)
Fujiwara rules. Always. Yamazaki is pretty damn awesome as well, so this is a no-lose prospect on paper... and it delivers execution. Fujiwara is just tremendous at taking a beating, something Yamazaki is more than happy to dish out, so every near submission attempt from Fujiwara has the crowd popping huge. The absolute best moment in this is where Fujiwara is backed into the corner trying to defend Yamazaki's kicks somehow, and Yamazaki just fucking MURDERS him with a high kick to the back of the head. No bullshit, this is the sweetest sounding kick I've ever heard in shoot-style, and there's one area of the crowd that collectively shit themselves because they think Yamazaki legit dislocated Fujiwara's head from his shoulders. It's not even a "OOOOOOOOHHHHHH" reaction from them, it's a "WWWWWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH" because they think someone just died. Fucking wonderful. ****1/4
Tatsumi Fujinami v Akira Maeda (New Japan Pro Wrestling, 6/12/86)
The New Japan v UWF feud -- always great. This is probably the best thing to come out of it, as both guys just stiff the living daylights out of the other. Especially Maeda, who's a royal dickhead at the best of times anyway. The story's simple enough; UWF had recently folded, so the UWF guys - many of which had previously worked in New Japan - came back to NJPW where they feuded with the New Japan guys, resulting in a super hot run for the company. Maeda's the emitome of shoot-style dickheadedness, and with Inoki gone for the time being and Chosu over in All Japan, Fujinami is the main defender of the New Japan - and pro wrestling - style. The best comparison I have for this is a Rocky movie. Even that doesn't quite cut it though because Maeda will KILL any motherfucker that thinks they're a better villain than he is, and Fujinami takes more of a monumental beating than Sly would ever dare to (well, maybe not as Rambo, but John Rambo is a living, breating God), eating the most awesomely lethal shots I've ever seen straight to the teeth, and the crowd is completely rabid for all of it. Unfortunately, Maeda almost legit decapitates Fujinami with a rolling kick, busting his eye open HUGE, so they have to go to a double KO finish before Fujinami dies or something, and that's really the only disappointment in here. If this had continued like it was supposed to, you're looking at a top 10 match of the decade. As it is, it's "only" top 20. ****1/2
Nobuhiko Takada v Shiro Koshinaka (New Japan Pro Wrestling, 8/5/86)
Technically this is a juniors match, but it's worked much more along the lines of one of those "Strong Style" matches that people often refer to, with the blend of pro-wrestling and MMA that Inoki has wet dreams about. Lots of MMA-ish work in the beginning, with Takada ruling shit as usual on the board and Koshinaka trying his best not to have one of his appendages removed from its socket, and that's all good and everything, but the story as it progresses is what I really dug. See, Takada will kick your nose a couple inches across your face. He'll also take your arm or leg home with him after the show. Koshinaka has the ability to do neither of those, really only surviving with his massive heart, crowd support and whatever pro-wrestling skills he has, so it becomes a battle of what's going to win out in the end; Takada's superior abilities, or Koshinaka's heart and will. Crowd are also super hot, and the last 10 minutes or so are awesome with some really great near-falls. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that both guys HATE each other and the amounts of HATE and DISGUST are monumental... the moment where they stop jockeying for holds on the mat so they can slap each other across the face really fucking hard is something I love about the ol' pro-wrestling. You should too. If you don't, go away and listen to Pretty Ricky talk about his Chevy or something because you are not worthy of the MANLINESS contained in this match. ****1/4
Nobuhiko Takada v Shiro Koshinaka (New Japan Pro Wrestling, 2/5/87)
Remember that time I told you how much these guys hate each other (it was about 3 minutes ago, depending on how drunk/slow you are at reading)? Well, they still hate each other. Thank God for that. Not quite as good as their 8/5/86 match, but there is just no way this is anything less than great either. It's probably most famous for Koshinaka's strategy of learning from his mistakes (in that he just can't hang with Takada on the mat), and noticing Takada's broken fingers before attempting to remove them from the rest of his hand. Takada sells like a king, and as the match progresses Kosh just will not let up until he hears Takada cry like a bitch. Once again, there's HATE and DISGUST and MANLINESS. If the Pretty Ricky statement in the last match applied to you, then you might as well skip this one too. Actually, don't bother with any of these if that's the case. ****
Riki Chosu v Yoshiaki Fujiwara (New Japan Pro Wrestling, 6/9/87)
Remember what I said about Fujiwara ruling? Well, even I was not prepared for the sheer fucking greatness of Yoshiaki Fujiwara in this match. Honestly, it's difficult to explain how friggin' AWESOME this match is, even though it's only 13 minutes long. Seriously, the people that love Savage/Steamboat from Wrestlemania III need to see this match, because I really don't see how the former compares in terms of intense, sub-15 minute matches go. As you've probably guessed already, I'm a fan of a number of things, two of which are Yoshiaki Fujiwara and wrestlers showing HATE towards each other. Well, when Yoshiaki Fujiwara heels like a motherfucking hateful, vengeful GOD before the match even starts, you know I'm gonna love it. Right from the bell he headbutts the shit out of Chosu, rams him into things that people's faces shouldn't be rammed into, jumps on his head, kicks him in the teeth, and tries to break his arm, all with a bastard smile on his face... and the crowd LOVE it. Chosu circa 1987 is really the equivalent of John Cena circa 2006 in terms of crowd backlash (Chosu jumped to rivals AJPW 2 years previous and only recently returned), and no matter what Chosu tries to do, whether it be selling like a champ to get crowd sympathy or get all fired up like a fired up babyface should, the crowd just respond with utter indifference as if to say "Meh, whatever, I'd totally like to see Fujiwara make you dead right about now". It's even more awesome when he fires up against Fujiwara in the corner, stiffing him in the face plenty of times, only for Fujiwara to give him that utterly PISSED off look that would even have Kazunari Murakami shitting his drawers, before laying him out with an elbow. The crowd fucking love that too, btw. The last few minutes are just sensational with both guys bleeding (Fujiwara is a freaking massacre, bleeding from ear to ear) and battering each other. Fujiwara's cross armbreaker attempt draw a MASSIVE pop from the crowd (again, Fujiwara is supposed to be a prick heel here), and Riki's lariats almost cave Fujiwara's face in on more than one occasion, so it's really all about who's the tougher of the two when it comes down to who's gonna win. I know who the crowd are rooting for. The fact that one person in the match is Yoshiaki Fujiwara means that it should now be clear who I was rooting for. And you should be too. Once again, this is aaaaaaaalllll about the manliness. Batshit phenomenal! ****3/4
I also watched a Backlund in UWF match, but I'm gonna stop typing now because my wrists hurt and I have training in an hour, which is about half as long as I'll need to get the point across that Bob Backlund is better than anything you've ever seen. Him and Yoshiaki Fujiwara.