ANTONIO INOKI & KEIJI MUTOH VS FUJINAMI TATSUMI & RIKI CHOSHU 8/20/1987
I guess Choshu's back from All Japan, and I have to say that I don't approve of him and Fujinami as a team. These men were meant to be enemies.
And here's Muto! He's a frustrating wrestler. He had (had) breathtaking physical charisma, so it's easy for him to get over in any environment. But he has bad habits, like laying around on the mat for 30 minutes at a time, acting like getting beaten up by Kawada doesn't hurt, and running All Japan Pro Wrestling into the ground. It'll be interesting to see him in his larval form.
Lots of drama as we begin. Choshu grabs the microphone to bellow something, and there's a great deal of finger-pointing back and forth. Absent in all this is Inoki's partner. Any of number of dudes in t-shirts that say "FEVER" are in his corner, but no one gets in until they decide to rip off Cactus Jack and Mikey Whipwreck's first ECW tag title win and hustle Muto in from the back. He takes a moment to prepare himself, aided by Inoki slapping him in the face, and we're off.
Off to some very deliberate matwork. Lots of it. Choshu gets Inoki in the scorpion deathlock, and that's the only highlight.
Every wrestler in Muto's position reenacts the Patroclus story - in over his head, he fights bravely and accomplishes just a little more than you think he can before he is killed. New Japan fans have recently seen Hirai Kawato just Patroclusing his ass off before running off to Mexico.
It takes some time for the story to kick in here, but once it does we get something worth watching. Choshu procures a second scorpion on Inoki, and Muto comes in to break it up. He fails, as Fujinami savages him and throws him out of the ring. But the young fellow is undeterred and comes back in to break the hold.
Muto has shown his mettle, and he gets to display his skills as he takes over on Fujinami. He hits a piledriver then goes to the top for a moonsault. Fujinami moves, so Muto lands on his feet, runs back to the top, hits a cross-body, and then nails the moonsault. Cool stuff.
He gets a few other moments to shine, but it all ends when, with all four men in the ring, Choshu back suplexes him for the three count.
Hard feelings after the match ends, as Sakaguchi starts peeling off his clothes as if preparing to throw down. We de-escalate, and then they bring out the trophies. I have no idea what they're for, but congrats to Choshu and Fujinami for winning them.
This was a fifteen minute match, and ten of it might as well have not happened. The last five were exciting, if a touch awkward. Everyone seemed just slightly out of sync.
And once again, Fujinami was an afterthought. Choshu's sidekick.