This was a little long. Robinson is so great to watch though. Not only did the holds they were using here look clinical, it was also fascinating to watch them zoning in whenever an opening for a potential finish presented. Robinson looked ultra slick and his escapes were great without being overly showy or contrived. Robinson coming up with different ways to go for the Butterfly Suplex was also highly entertaining. There are some slow parts and meandering. I thought it took Inoki a little long to start raising his fist and firing up the heat. Then he starts throwing hands, but Robinson makes him do a more generic sequence involving armdrags and a dropkick. I also disliked how Inoki didn't sell any exhaustion. Guess they were a little over their heads here going 60.
I found this jdw post which I guess explains why parts of the match came across as awkward:
I'll have to pop it in again, but there is a very clear point in the second fall where Inoki is picking it up and heading towards the "finish" of it... and Billy just cuts him off. When Billy finally gets around to giving Inoki the fall some time later, he's farting around, the clock is really running down, the natives (including Inoki) aren't looking to happy at all, and Billy almost gives it to him in a kayfabe breaking fashion with his selling. It leaves the match no real time for a third fall, again everyone is look extremely unhappy... other than Billy who doesn't seem to mind. The post match is similar with the NJPW side not happy and Billy not giving a shit. One very much gets the feeling that "the match as laid out" left considerably more time for the third fall to build through. More than that, there looked to be some real concern for a while that Billy wasn't going to even give Inoki the one fall and that it would end 1-0 for Billy... before he farted around and gave it to him late. I've seen worked finish and post match "heat" spots in New Japan from the era to build for a rematch. I've seen sort of work-shoot finish and post match spots the make you think more is there, such as the two Backlund vs. Inoki title changes (Bob selling in the first that he thought he was quick counted, then all the nonsense in the second). This came across far closer to the looks on people's faces when a real trainwreck is in progress in the ring, such as Andre-Maeda and "Break Gary!". One of Inoki's strong points as a work are his facials, and the ones in here after the match veers off the script aren't something you typically see out of him. The only other match I can think of is the one with Roop where Roop goes off on long stretches of doing his own thing and cutting Inoki off. But but that match never goes far off the bend since Bobby does eventually get back into working towards what appears to be the planned finish. The various times that I've watched it I've never bothered to take notes with times. So again, I'd have to pop the match in and point to it. John