Retro Wrasslin'

A look back at pro wrestling history.

NJPW WPW Classics #7

Written By Alfredo Esparza

NJPW WPW Classics #7

Antonio Inoki © vs. Tiger Jeet Singh for the NWF World Heavyweight Title

Taped 2/10/77 at the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo, Japan

Tiger Jeet Singh charges out of the locker room and runs around crazy thru the fans while also chewing on some newspaper. Referee goes over to calm him down and he finally heads to the ring. Singh attacks the ring announcer. He threatens to head outside the ring again as he sees Antonio Inoki walking down the entrance.

Referee thorougly checks Singh’s shoes to make sure he doesn’t have any foreign objects in them. Riki Choshu is shown in Inoki’s corner. Singh pulls something out of his turban and places it in his trunks. Bell rings and Inoki chases Singh around the ring. Singh grabs Inoki in a side headlock and punches him. He whips him into the ropes and kicks him. He kicks him a second time and then pulls something out of his trunks. He hits Inoki with it and covers him for the pin. He wins the first fall. Referee sees the weapon and takes it away from Singh. Referee reverses the decision and gives Inoki the first fall win.

Singh kicks at Choshu while the next fall is about to start. Inoki kicks at Singh’s leg. Inoki slaps at Singh. Singh counters with a punch. Inoki hiptosses Singh to the mat. Singh back up and grabs Inoki by the arm but Inoki is able to slam him. However, Singh keeps Inoki’s left arm locked in an armbar. Singh pulls Inoki’s hair to keep him down on the mat. Singh punches Inoki on the ropes and grabs hold of his throat. Referee warns Singh.

Tiger Jeet Singh continues to go for Inoki’s throat. Inoki reaches the ropes and the referee tries to get Singh to break the hold but he keeps a strong grasp on Inoki’s throat. He finally breaks it briefly but kicks Inoki and grabs his neck again. Inoki gets up and elbows Singh. He follows by grabbing him with a front facelock and then going for a suplex. Inoki gets Singh down by grabbing hold of his arm with his legs. Singh shoves Inoki into the ropes and he’s able to grab hold of the bottom rope. He escapes and immediately goes for Inoki’s neck. They both get up and threaten to punch each other.

Antonio Inoki hits Singh with an enziguiri across the top of his head. He gets in a few more kicks to knock Singh down to the mat. Inoki goes for a toe hold! He switches it over to a leglock. Singh grabs Inoki by the neck. Inoki gets up and keeps the leglock on Singh. Singh grabs hold of Inoki and takes him down to the mat and starts biting him.

Tiger Jeet Singh tosses Inoki to the outside and as he chases after him, Inoki rolls back into the ring. Singh gets Inoki with an armbar takedown. He switches over to the headscissors. Inoki escapes but Singh grabs him with a hammerlock. Singh grabs Inoki by the neck and takes him down. He keeps the hammerlock on Inoki and keeps attacking Inoki’s right arm by stomping on it. Inoki heads to the outside and Singh follows. Singh slams him into the guardrail and tosses Inoki into the ringpost.

They head back to the ring and Singh kicks at Inoki until Inoki grabs hold of Singh’s right leg. He uses the ropes to apply more pressure on Singh’s leg. Inoki goes back to another leglock and keeps applying pressure on Singh’s leg. Inoki tries to go for a Boston Crab but referee tells him to break due to Singh having reached the ropes.

Inoki takes Singh down and grabs him in a headlock but the referee forces him to break as its more of a choke hold. They exchange knees until Singh gains the advantage and knocks Inoki down. Singh chokes Inoki near the ropes. Singh sends Inoki head first into the unprotected part of the corner. Inoki fights back and slams Singh into it as well and then tosses him to the outside. Singh’s forehead is shown bloody as he is standing outside. Inoki continues to punch at Singh’s forehead. Referee tries to stop Inoki but he tosses Singh to the outside.

Singh gets back into the ring and Inoki kicks him and covers him for the pin but Singh kicks out. Inoki with a suplex on Singh and he goes for another pin but Singh kicks out again. He chops Singh across his bloody forehead. Singh falls to the outside. He struggles to get back in the ring. Referee calls for the bell and declares Singh is unable to continue the match.

WINNER: Antonio Inoki

Inoki slams Singh into the ringpost one more time. Singh gets back in the ring and the two continue to fight. Referees and other wrestlers try to break them apart.

Inoki is given his title and a trophy and does an interview.

Seiji Sakaguchi & Shozo “Strong” Kobayashi © vs. Tiger Jeet Singh & Umanosuke Ueda in a two-out-of three falls match for the NWA North American Tag Team Titles

Taped 2/2/1977 at the Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium in Osaka, Japan

Singh and Ueda go at it with the crowd as they walk thru the entrance. Singh threatens Sakaguchi & Kobayashi with his sword. Swings it around a bit before the start of the match. Ueda holds Singh back during introductions. Referee finally takes Singh’s sword away and everyone is back in the ring to continue with introductions.

First fall starts with Sakagauchi beating on Ueda! He sends Ueda into his corner and he and Kobayashi beat on him. Singh charges into the corner and all four men brawl until Sakajaguchi & Kobayashi toss both of their opponents out of the ring. Ueda gets back in the ring against Sakaguchi. Sakaguchi kicks at Ueda. He sends Ueda into his own corner where Singh accidentally kicks him out of the ring.

Ueda gets back in the ring. He gets Sakaguchi in a full nelson and takes him into his corner. Singh takes a swing at Sakaguchi but Sakaguchi ducks and he ends up hitting Ueda. Sakaguchi tags in Kobayashi who beats on Ueda. He gets him in a chinlock. Singh runs in and kicks Kobayashi. Referee gets distracted and Sakaguchi takes over in the match. Big knee lift by Sakaguchi. Ueda makes a short comeback. Sakaguchi chokes Ueda and picks him up and slams him down to the mat.

Kobayashi back in the ring and he gets Ueda with a neck breaker. He goes for the pin but Singh makes the save. Kobayashi tags in Sakaguchi. Singh now in the match and he beats on Sakaguchi. Grabs hold of Sakaguchi with a choke hold. Referee argues with Singh and Ueda while trying to break the hold. Ueda gets back in the ring and continues to attack Sakaguchi.

Tiger Jeet Singh gets back in the ring and he kicks Sakaguchi and continues to keep him down with a nerve hold. Quick tags by Ueda and Singh as well as some double-team work keep Sakaguchi down. They keep Sakaguchi near their corner as they continue to keep him on the mat. Singh kicks and goes for the nerve hold again but Sakaguchi armdrags him a few times before Ueda gets back in the ring. Sakaguchi trips up Ueda but can’t get to his corner.

Ueda uses the ropes to choke Sakaguchi. Singh back in and again he takes down Sakaguchi to the mat. Sakaguchi kicks out of Singh’s grasp. He gets in a few knees into Singh and hiptosses him out of the corner. Sakaguchi is able to tag in Kobayashi and Singh promptly heads to the outside.

Test of strength by Kobayashi takes Singh down to his knees. Singh kicks his way out of it but Kobayashi strikes back. Referee warns Singh and Ueda. Ueda gets in the ring and gets Kobayashi in a headlock. Kobayashi and Ueda bump into each other off the ropes. Kobayashi lands a knee across Ueda’s stomach. He sends Ueda into Sakaguchi. Kobayashi tags in Sakaguchi and he catches Ueda with a knee lift. He tosses Ueda into the ropes and gets him with a jumping knee! He gets a near fall on Ueda.

Kobayashi back in and he backdrops Ueda and slams him. Atomic drop into the knee by Kobayashi on Ueda. He goes for a Boston Crab on Ueda but Singh runs in and tosses Kobayashi to the outside. All four men brawl outside the ring. Singh attacks both with a chair. They return to the ring.

Ueda hiptosses Kobayashi and gets him with a Fujiwara armbar. Kobayashi uses his legs to break out of the hold. Ueda tosses him back to the outside again. Singh uses the chair on Kobayashi again. Double-team work by Singh and Ueda on Kobayashi back in the ring. Singh grabs onto Kobayashi’s right arm with a submission hold. Sakaguchi tries to break it but the referee gets him out of the ring. Referee calls for the bell as Kobayashi submits giving Singh and Ueda the first fall win.

Second fall starts with Tiger Jeet Singh and Strong Kobayashi. Singh goes to work on Kobayashi’s left arm. He slams it into the top of the corner post and tags in Ueda. They both continue to work on Kobayashi’s left arm. Sakaguchi heads towards their corner and grabs hold of Singh. They both brawl outside the ring. Singh returns to the ring and hiptosses Kobayashi. Everyone keeps getting involved in the match. Kobayashi surprises Singh with a pin attempt but Singh kicks out.

Tiger Jeet Singh continues to stomp on Kobayashi’s left arm. He tags in Ueda who continues the attack on the left arm. Singh ties Kobayashi up to the ropes. All four men brawl in the corner. Singh shoves the referee a few times. Referee calls for the bell and disqualifies Singh and Ueda in the 2nd fall. All four continue to fight with Singh still attacking Kobayashi’s left arm. The wrestlers ringside are finally able to get Singh away from Kobayashi.

Singh continues to attack Kobayashi who is down on the mat. One of the other wrestlers slaps him to wake him up. Singh and Ueda attack Sakaguchi and toss him to the outside. The bell rings to start the third fall. It keeps ringing so it appears the referee has called off the match. Sakaguchi is bleeding from his forehead as Ueda and Singh focus all their attention on him. Antonio Inoki gets involved and attacks Singh and Ueda.

Inoki removes his shirt and pants and shows that he’s already in his wrestling trunks. Singh and Ueda grab the tag titles and celebrate their win. Inoki continues to attack Singh. Referee talks to Inoki while checking on Sakaguchi. Inoki grabs the mic asking for another fall with him teaming with Sakaguchi against Ueda and Singh.

WINNERS: Tiger Jeet Singh & Umanosuke Ueda

Tatsumi Fujinami © vs. Mando Guerrero for the WWWF Jr. Heavyweight Title

Taped 8/11/1978 at the Grand Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles, CA

Handshake between the two as the bell rings for the start of the match. They lock-up and go down to the mat and back up. Guerrero with a armdrag takedown on Fujinami. Quick reversals by the both. Guerrero gets Fujinami down with a leglock. Fujinami uses his other foot to trip up Mando Guerrero and goes to work on Guerrero’s left leg. Leg whip takes Mando down but he’s quickly back up. The crowd applauds him.

Hammerlock by Mando Guerrero on Fujinami. He tries to get Fujinami’s shoulders on the mat. Fujinami tries to reverse it. Clean break gets more applauses from the fans. Guerrero with another takedown on Fujinami and they both struggle for position. Guerrero keeps Fujinami on the mat with an array of submission holds. Fujinami is finally able to escape.

Fujinami with a takedown on Mando and he gets him with a leglock. Mando escapes to the delight of the fans. Another leg takedown by Guerrero.He tries to get a pin on Fujinami but can’t. They again battle for positioning on the mat. Fujinami picks Guerrero up and slams him on the mat but still can’t get a hold of him. Another clean break as they reach the ropes.

Armdrag takedown by Fujinami into a wristlock on Guerrero. Mando’s able to reverse the hold and take Fujinami down. Fujinami powers out of Guerrero’s test of strength and gets a near pin fall. Mando powers out but Fujinami quickly reverses it. Good back and forth between the two. Fujinami and Guerrero continue on the mat.

Guerrero grabs hold of Fujinami and slams him down on the mat by hooking his arms. He keeps hold of Fujinami’s arm and grabs hold of his head. Fujinami grabs hold of Guerrero’s waist to go for a pin attempt. He’s able to pick Guerrero up and knock him down on the mat to break out of his hold. More matwork by both with Guerrero continuing to have the advantage.

Fujinami with a side headlock on Guerrero. Mando escapes and takes Fujinami down by the right arm. He gets Fujinami in an armbar and tries to keep him on the mat. Fujinami escapes and reverses into a pin attempt on Guerrero. Mando then reverses for a pin attempt of his own. They both get up and Fujinami quickly gets Guerrero in a full nelson. Mando escapes and attacks Fujinami’s right arm. He uppercuts Fujinami’s right arm and takes him back down to the mat with an armbar.

They reach the ropes and again a clean break. Guerrero again takes Fujinami down on the mat. He escapes and tries to get Mando but he quickly rolls out of the way. A cool headscissors spot by Guerrero but they are near the ropes and have to break again. Fujinami with a suplex on Guerrero to take him down and again he gets him by under hooking both his arms. He reaches the ropes and another clean break.

Mando Guerrero grabs Fujinami’s left leg but Fujinami kicks him with his right leg. Fujinami rolls up Guerrero for a pin attempt. Guerrero escapes and goes for a pin of his own but Fujinami kicks out. They get a little rough against each other so Mando offers his hand and as Fujinami goes for it he tries to take him down. Fujinami ends up catching Guerrero with a headscissors to the mat. Mando slips over and lands on top of Fujinami for a pin attempt. He finally escapes the headscissors.

Guerrero gets Fujinami in a bow and arrow submission hold. He switches over to a leglock as Fujinami moves away. Fujinami grabs hold of Guerrero and gets him in a headlock. Mando escapes with a snap mare and gets Fujinami in a headlock of his own. Fujinami with an armdrag escapes. He then hits Mando Guerrero with a standing dropkick. Guerrero counters with a standing dropkick of his own. They both go for dropkicks at the same time and knock each other down. Atomic drop by Mando Guerrero gets him a two-count! He goes for a second attempt but Fujinami reverses into a Dragon Suplex for the pin!

WINNER: Tatsumi Fujinami

Post-match interview with Tatsumi Fujinami to close out the show.

SHOW THOUGHTS: Okay episode. The only problem with the early run of WPW Classics shows was that they didn’t mix it up enough so you were getting some matches that were a bit similar with the same group in those matches. I would have preferred a mix rather than getting TWO matches featuring Tiger Jeet Singh. First two matches were brawls as you would expect with Singh and Ueda being involved. I kind of enjoyed the Inoki vs. Singh match but the tag match went a little too long. The Fujinami vs. Mando Guerrero match was more technical and mat-based which comes off very different from later junior heavyweight singles matches. I enjoyed the closing minutes of that match but it was somewhat slow for my own personal taste.

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