Posted this somewhere else & thought I'd throw it over here:
Andre the Giant vs. Stan Hansen (New Japan 23/9/81)
Yeah here it is, possibly my favourite puro match ever. I know some would look at Andre's name on a match and think 'eh....', but this is outstanding. Like Stan Hansen....STAN HANSEN.....playing an underdog babyface (STAN. FUCKING. HANSEN. AS AN UNDERDOG BABYFACE).
The first thing I noticed was the prescence and 'aura' of Andre, is unexplainable really, but just looking at him walk to the ring here in itself is....awesome. Then he goes ahead and walks over the top rope, and boots Hansen with one of his legs on the way in. After that, it's really nothing special at all, just chops, headbutts, punches, boots, elbows, etc. But damn, they made it seem so important, and it felt like a big-time anime monster fight or something. The way Andre was yelling, there was something about his booming voice 'AHH's that made the match feel BIG.
Andre's selling really helped the match feel big too, he would tilt backwards into the ropes and there would be like slight bounce on the ropes. It made him seem like a monster who could only taken down after being rocked back and forth after some hihg-impact move. Even then he didn't go down, which helped built to the LARIATOH near the ending (almost like that's the only thing that could take him down). Speaking of which, the double count-out was great, it built a whole 'nothing will contain these two from whooping each other' dynamic.
Found it weird how Inoki seemed to like double count-outs with the match starting again, but yeah, I didn't mind it at all because I didn't want the match to end.
And after the LARIATOH spot, Andre got knocked out of the ring and was all 'fuck it, I can't take this, I'll get my loaded elow pad'. and then the referee nearly dies when Andre Lariat's him after the ref tries to pull it off of him. Great ending, if you ask me. ^_^
I don't generally like using the term 'psychology', but there was some cool psychological stuff here also, like Andre targeting the Lariat arm for a part of the match, and Hansen shoving on a camel Clutch thing after he slammed Andre. But it was mostly a BIG FIGHT atmosphere-ish match, and the crowd dug it (they went bezerk when Hansen sammed Andre). So yeah, get it, watch it, love it, but just not as much as me, because....I dont think it's possible.... ****1/2