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Antonio Inoki


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#21 Childs

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Posted 15 January 2016 - 10:52 AM

Inoki is no doubt a strong candidate if you're going by his best stuff. A 5-disc best of Inoki comp would be wall-to-wall fucking awesome. A 20-disc best of Inoki? Well, that starts to get more problematic. As Parties indicated, I watched Inoki mail in so many performances when we were putting together the DVDVR set that it'd be hard for me to put him in my top 100. But I wouldn't fault anyone who does. When the guy was on, he carried huge star presence and could really go physically.

 

As for the Fujinami match, we had it in full. We opted not to include it because we thought it would bore people to tears. I've said this in other threads, but it's one of my few genuine regrets from assembling the NJPW and AJPW sets. At this point, I both enjoy the match and find it interesting.



#22 DR Ackermann

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Posted 15 January 2016 - 03:27 PM

The problem with Inoki is that he doesn't do much of the little stuff at all. He has a big picture that he sticks to in his matches but he doesn't do anything interesting with it. For example his selling. He will sell in the sense that he's taking a beating and will stay down but it is so dry and lacking emotion as if he's just going through the motions. He has a match against Brody on the 80s NJPW set that I liked. It was well laid out, but both guys kind of suck in it. They don't do anything with the framework to make it more dramatic. World's best Ultimate Warrior.

#23 Exposer

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Posted 15 January 2016 - 05:02 PM

Inoki won't make my ballot. I think he's had a few top 100 level performances in his career, but they're muddled in average or poor performances. I thought I was going to die watching his matches with Brody. He also went a half hour or something with Andre which annoyed the hell out of me. He's definitely one of my least favorite top stars of a promotion. I will give him credit for great performances in the UWF feud including some stellar matches with Fujiwara, but his negatives feel like they consume his positives for me.



#24 BimBimBigelow

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Posted 16 January 2016 - 08:35 AM

I'm going to preface this by saying that I am not compiling a top 100 list as I have way too many blind spots and am too new to this community. That said, I just wanted to chime in to say that Inoki (well, at least 70s era Inoki) did not need to be in the ring with a great wrestler to have good-to-great matches.

 

Two matches in particular that I enjoyed watching this past year that fall into that category were his 1974-03-19 match against Strong Kobayashi (one of my favorite 1970s New Japan matches from what I have seen) and his 1975-06-26 match against Tiger Jeet Singh. The latter match wasn't great by any means, but in my opinion it was a good, enjoyable match against Tiger Jeet Singh of all people. Then again those two wrestled each other enough that perhaps the odds dictated that they were bound to stumble into a good match at some point! :)  



#25 Benbeeach

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Posted 18 January 2016 - 11:36 PM

As for the Fujinami match, we had it in full. We opted not to include it because we thought it would bore people to tears. I've said this in other threads, but it's one of my few genuine regrets from assembling the NJPW and AJPW sets. At this point, I both enjoy the match and find it interesting.

Damn shame. I wasn't in the war room obviously, but I would've fought tooth and nail for it. Thought it was top 10 material on an absolutely stacked set. But you guys were watching boatloads of footage at the time, it's somewhat understandable. That said if someone asked me to name the best Inoki singles match ever, it'd probably be heads on an "I don't really care what other match you pick as tails" coin. Felt unjust to not include it, in relation to something like this.



#26 ohtani's jacket

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Posted 01 April 2016 - 04:37 AM

I've been watching some Inoki matches from the 70s and it's been interesting to say the least. I watched a 1979 match against Bob Roop that was a bit too grinding when it came to the matwork and featured a lot of BS with the outside manager, but that was close to the 1980 cutoff where I think it ought to be expected that he's not that great. The Destroyer bout from '71 was disappointing but thatwas a pretty average performance from Beyers. Watching Inoki try to have a scientific title match with Ernie Ladd was interesting. I'm not sure how much of a success it was, but it was interesting. He had a neat catchweight bout with Hoshino in the late 70s and I thought his match with Sakaguchi in '74 was good. I don't think he was ever a "super worker," but he was far from a dead weight. The simple answer is that he was Inoki, but I think that means something different in the West than in Japan. 



#27 El McKell

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Posted 01 April 2016 - 04:54 AM

 

Watching Inoki try to have a scientific title match with Ernie Ladd was interesting. I'm not sure how much of a success it was, but it was interesting. 

If that's the match from the US that's on Youtube, it's really horrible.



#28 ohtani's jacket

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Posted 01 April 2016 - 05:09 AM

It's the one from Ohio and I saw it on YouTube, so yes and yes. 



#29 ohtani's jacket

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Posted 03 April 2016 - 08:10 AM

I really liked the Robinson/Inoki match. If I'd made a list, I would have put serious consideration into voting for Inoki in the lower half of the ballot. He simply had too many good matches from 1969-75 to ignore. And it wasn't a case that he was in there with the best talent of his day. I genuinely believe he added something tangible to the bouts through his presence and his fundamental knowledge of holds. I don't think he was ever truly great, but I sat through three broadways and didn't get bored which has to count for something. 



#30 ohtani's jacket

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Posted 03 April 2016 - 04:41 PM

I got a kick out of watching Inoki wrestle a potbellied Akram Pahalwan under the rounds system in 1976. Worth it alone to see the fashions Pakistani gentlemen were wearing in the 1970s and the subtle heeling from Inoki's camp. 

 

#31 ohtani's jacket

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Posted 05 April 2016 - 05:24 PM

The Gotch footage jumps around a bit. Looks like something went wrong with the conversion as it's sped up. Pretty cool bout. Inoki's never going to be a popular worker around these parts, but I think if you're judging him on the 80s set then it's a bit like judging Flair on his 90s work. That 80s stuff really ought to be seen as post-prime footage where every decent match is a bonus ala Fujinami in the 90s. Post-coup at any rate. He's not a very theatrical or dramatic worker, and his matches get weaker when he has to work that style, and he's not the most pure technician either, but he has a distinct brand of charisma and a singular focus to strong style that makes him interesting to watch. And even though he's not wildly expressive when he cocks that fist you know he means business. 



#32 JerryvonKramer

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Posted 05 April 2016 - 05:27 PM

I ranked him primarily on his 1970s work.

#33 Childs

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Posted 05 April 2016 - 05:34 PM

I'm generally a fan of his '70s work as well, but for me, the '80s Inoki vs. '90s Fujinami comparison doesn't quite work because Inoki remained the dominant figure in the promotion for so much of his decline phase. And aging ace was not a role he wore well, especially if viewed week to week. I take your point, and it's something I might think about in more detail when/if we do this again. But I'm not comfortable dismissing the '80s as a minor part of his biography. The '90s? Sure. But not the '80s.



#34 JerryvonKramer

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Posted 05 April 2016 - 05:38 PM

I'm generally a fan of his '70s work as well, but for me, the '80s Inoki vs. '90s Fujinami comparison doesn't quite work because Inoki remained the dominant figure in the promotion for so much of his decline phase. And aging ace was not a role he wore well, especially if viewed week to week. I take your point, and it's something I might think about in more detail when/if we do this again. But I'm not comfortable dismissing the '80s as a minor part of his biography. The '90s? Sure. But not the '80s.


How do you see the comparison to Baba in the 80s?

#35 Childs

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Posted 05 April 2016 - 05:47 PM

I found Baba much more graceful in stepping back to his secondary legend role. He wasn't as good an athlete as Inoki, but he accepted his limitations and remained effective in modest doses. To be fair, Inoki's 2/6/86 match with Fujiwara was better than anything Baba did in the decade.

#36 ohtani's jacket

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Posted 05 April 2016 - 06:13 PM

Things were so messy and political in New Japan that it's hard for me to judge his work from the point of view of an aging ace stepping back and letting a heir take over. Whether he jumped to the UWF or not, he was still going to be the top star of a thin roster. It's not a defense of him because the situation was a result of his own politicking and fraudulent business activities, but I have a hard time judging his work against the smooth transition of Baba to Jumbo. To me that's more an issue of booking and infighting and backstage politics.

From what I've seen thus far, Inoki began declining physically as the 80s loomed and moreover the type of worker coming out of America and Europe had changed dramatically. Not only that but the roughhouse style had been popularised by that stage. I mean I'd rather watch Pat Roach vs. Inoki than Brody vs. Inoki but the scene had changed.

#37 JerryvonKramer

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Posted 05 April 2016 - 09:18 PM

OJ, is there a difference in your view between the NWA style of matwork you've said before that you don't care for and Inoki's style? Can you talk through it?

#38 fxnj

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Posted 05 April 2016 - 11:01 PM

I don't get the hate for his 80's work at all. He was in a lot of the top matches of the DVDVR and always looked like he could hang just fine with whoever he was in with. Even the stuff I've seen that didn't make the set like the match with Abdullah was still awesome largely because he had such great charisma in the ace role and such a great connection with the crowd.

#39 ohtani's jacket

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Posted 06 April 2016 - 07:41 PM

OJ, is there a difference in your view between the NWA style of matwork you've said before that you don't care for and Inoki's style? Can you talk through it?

 

I think there's more of a catch-as-catch-can influence to Inoki's matwork whereas the NWA style is more about grinding away at a hold and wearing your man down. I don't think anyone is going to confuse Inoki with the great catch exponents, but I generally find the catch style to have a greater display of speed and skill than the NWA stuff.  



#40 ohtani's jacket

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Posted 06 April 2016 - 11:44 PM

Whoa, I watched the Roland Bock bout from '82 and Bock wouldn't give him anything. I wish I could find their '78 bout from Stuttgart which is even more notorious. Bock had such an amazingly scummy look for a shooter. West German sleaze at its finest. Incredibly shitty match, but I was curious to see how it would finish. 






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