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The Destroyer vs. Mil Mascaras (AJPW 10/9/1973)

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#1 fxnj

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 02:35 AM

Watched this for the first time in a while and this blew me away.

It's hardly some hidden gem as it's been a favorite among tape traders since forever ago, but I guess some combination of me forgetting just how good this match is and me not being attentive enough in my viewing when I first saw it led to this really surprising me. I love it from the opening bell with the amateur style positioning work they did. They did a really good job working at a stalemate with lots of great struggle like you'd see in Golden Age matches. The boston crab spot was so good. I got a kick out of it being a tight headlock that leads to Destroyer pulling out the strikes and ultimately losing the first fall. The beginning of another one of my favorites in Kawada/Kobashi 6/12/98 follows as a similar structure as the first fall of this. 

By the second fall it looks like Mascaras starts to have Destroyer figured out. Destroyer starts looking like the clear underdog in the match, but it's hard to count him out as he's known to be crafty and the commentators even bring up his stuff with Rikidozan at one point I assume to put that over. I love the detail work in how Mascaras moving really quickly out of the way in a rope break because he knows how sneaky Destroyer can be. Soon, though, Destroyer manages to surprise him with a figure four and Mascaras's selling is fucking great as mentioned. Love the ring attendants coming in at the end of the fall to break up the hold to get over just how deep Destroyer had it locked in.

Third fall is what really puts it over the top as a classic. It's ironic Mascaras has a rep for not selling considering how great he is in selling the leg in the fall. Just so much great drama as he tries to come back with the tables suddenly turned on him. Awesome watching him even resorting to cheap shotting Destroyer. Great nearfall as well with him hitting the cross body on Destroyer. The actual finish with him taking a hard bump to the outside and just barely being too late in beating the count is tremendous. Great show of respect after the match too. 1973 MOTY and a strong candidate for 70's MOTD. ****3/4

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