Written By Alfredo Esparza
NJPW WPW Classics #11
Antonio Inoki vs. Pak Song for the NWF World Heavyweight Title
Taped 10/10/1976 at Jangchung Gymnasium in Seoul, South Korea
There’s a lot done before the match with introductions and a ceremony.
Armdrag takedown by Pak Song to start the match. He goes for a second and Inoki quickly reverses it into a headscissors. They reach the ropes and have to break. Crowd applauds the early action. Pak Song takes Inoki down with a wristlock but Inoki quickly reverses it. Good reversals early in the match with the fans applauding every time one of them escapes a hold and reverses it.
Double underhook suplex by Pak Song. He follows with some kneedrops across Inoki’s face and then follows with a legdrop. Inoki gets back up and goes for a leg takedown into a leglock on Song. Song breaks out of the hold and reverses it on Inoki. They stay on the mat with Song on top trying to get Inoki in a pinning predicament. Inoki powers out and catches him with a dropkick. Song counters with a dropkick of his own.
Pak Song with an armlock takedown on Inoki. He gets him by the arm and headscissors. Inoki lays in some forearms and chops at Song in the corner. Follows with a chinlock but the referee has him break the hold. Quick takedown by Song into a leglock. Inoki reaches the ropes and trips up Song.
They lock-up again and Song is able to take Inoki down which gets some applause from the fans. Inoki gets Song in a bodyscissors but Song is fighting from the top and gets in a few punches on him. Song gets Inoki with a body slam. Inoki counters with an inside cradle for a two-count.
Inoki goes for a toe hold on Song. Song grabs hold of Inoki by the chin and escapes. He follows with a couple of elbow drops followed by a punch. He lands a knee on Inoki who rolls to the outside. Inoki pulls Song by the leg and slams it into the ring apron before returning back into the ring. Song however is ready and gets a near fall on Inoki. Inoki starts to kick at Song’s legs. Song counters with some chops.
Inoki gets Song in an abdominal stretch but Song reaches the ropes and they both fall to the outside. Song stomps on Inoki outside the ring. Inoki reverses Song’s attempt to charge into the ring post and sends Song into it. He slams Song’s head a second time into the ring post. Song is bleeding from his forehead and struggles to get back up. Referee counts out Song. Inoki wins via count out.
WINNER: Antonio Inoki via count out
Pak Song is helped back to the locker room.
Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Gypsy Rodriquez for WWWF Junior Heavyweight Title
Taped 3/20/1978 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York
They get tangled up on the ropes to start the match before the referee has them break it up. Fujinami catches Rodriguez with two quick armdrag takedowns. Rodriguez gets in a few punches in on Fujinami and then starts to choke him. Eye rake from Rodriguez. Rodriguez controls the early action by using some questionable tactics.
Rodriguez slams Fujinami head-first into the top turnbuckle a few times. Follows up with an armlock. Keeps Fujinami down on the mat by pulling on the trunks. Lands a few kicks and elbows on Fujinami. Rodriguez switches over to an armbar. Fujinami gets in a big forearm on Rodriguez but Gypsy is back at it and keeps pounding away on Fujinami.
Fujinami mounts a comeback and dropkicks Rodriguez into the ropes. He kicks away at Rodriguez. Side headlock by Fujinami. Shoulder block off the ropes and Fujinami goes for a toe hold on Rodriguez. Rodriguez kicks him off but Fujinami is quickly back after his legs. Gypsy begs for a break but Fujinami continues his attack.
Fujinami goes for a Boston Crab but Rodriguez reaches the ropes to break the hold. Rodriguez gets Fujinami with a chop and goes for a choke hold. He uses the ropes to choke Fujinami. The fans start to boo Rodriguez. Fujinami with a comeback and he whips Rodriguez into the ropes and catches him with a dropkick. He goes for a pin but can’t get it so he gets Gypsy in a reverse chinlock.
Rodriguez recovers but Fujinami again catches him with a dropkick. Fujinami whips him into the ropes and goes for a leg takedown. He slides over Rodriguez and hooks the arms with his legs and gets the pin.
WINNER: Tatsumi Fujinami
Fujinami is interviewed after the match.
Riki Choshu vs. Tatsutoshi Gotoh
Taped 1/18/1990 at City Gymnasium in Tokuyama, Yamaguchi, Japan
Riki Choshu is screaming at everyone and that seems to signal to the wrestlers ringside to remove the padding off the turnbuckle area in the corners. Hiro Saito gets involved early on as Gotoh whips him into Choshu. Gotoh tosses Choshu to the outside. He whips Choshu into the guardrail and later into the ring post.
Gotoh rolls Choshu back into the ring and continues his attack. Headbutt at Choshu. He whps Choshu into the corner and continues to kick and punch him. Gotoh slams Choshu into the corner and goes after Choshu’s cut on his forehead. Fans start to chant for Choshu. Another headbutt from Gotoh on Choshu. He continues to punch at the cut on Choshu’s forehead.
Choshu makes a comeback and slams Gotoh into the corners! Some hard strikes by Choshu at Gotoh. He stomps on Gotoh and camera shows that Gotoh is now bleeding as well. Choshu kicks at Gotoh. He picks Gotoh up and places him on the top rope and goes for a superplex! Choshu follows with a lariat! He goes for the pin on Gotoh but instead goes after Hiro Saito and suplexes him into the ring. He gets Saito in the Scorpion Deathlock! Breaks it to knock down Gotoh and goes back and gets Saito in the Scorpion Deathlock. Super Strong Machine runs in and clotheslines Choshu. Bell is ringing as referee has stopped the match. Riki Choshu wins via disqualification.
Super Strong Machine slaps Hiro Saito. He grabs the mic and cuts a promo. Animal Hamaguchi gets in the ring and he continues the attack on Riki Choshu!
WINNER: Riki Choshu via DQ.
Owen Hart vs. Black Tiger in an IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title #1 Contendership Tournament match.
Taped 1/25/1990 at Nakajima Sports Center in Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan
Black Tiger shoves Owen Hart before the match starts. Armdrag takedown by Owen Hart to start the match. Black Tiger gets Owen in a hammerlock but follows that up with a forearm to his back and takes him down by the arm. Elbow smash follows and a knee drop. Black Tiger’s very aggressive to start the match. He gets Owen in a headscissors.
Hart leaps out of the headscissors and Tiger offers to shake his hand but it was a trick as he attacks Hart and sends him to the outside. Elbow off the ring apron by Black Tiger. He tosses him into the guardrail. Owen pulls Black Tiger by the leg and slams it into the ring post. They get back in the ring and Hart goes to work on Black Tiger’s leg. Black Tiger gets back up and gets him with a hip toss. He gets a couple of near falls on Hart.
Snapmare into a reverse chinlock by Black Tiger. He gets in an elbow across Hart’s forehead. More elbows and a pin attempt. Owen reverses an armdrag and ends up getting Black Tiger up in the air with a backdrop. He follows that up with a backbreaker for a near fall. Hart with a chinlock on Black Tiger who reverses it and gets Owen in an armbar submission hold. Black Tiger whips Hart into the ropes and elbows him.
Black Tiger gets Hart in a wristlock but Owen uses this to climb up the ropes and whips Black Tiger into the ropes and catches him with a clothesline. Tiger heads to the outside. They fight a bit near the ropes until Hart goes for a baseball slide to knock Black Tiger back to the floor. Black Tiger climbs to the top rope and grabs Hart by the hair and drives his knee to his head and drops to the mat. He gets a two count.
They botch a leap frog with Owen Hart getting caught by Black Tiger’s head in the mid-section which knocks both of them down. Black Tiger attacks Owen but he ends up slipping behind and sliding Black Tiger down on the mat for a pin attempt. DDT by Black Tiger gets him a two-count. He kicks at Hart. Black Tiger drops Owen head-first to the mat and climbs up the ropes and lands an elbow across his forehead.
Black Tiger gets Hart in a chinlock. He whips Owen into the ropes but Hart goes for a sunset flip. Black Tiger punches at Hart to break the hold. Tiger climbs up to the top rope but Hart follows. He headbutts Owen off the ropes and dives off but Hart moves out of the way. Hart whips Black Tiger into the ropes but Tiger kicks him and goes for a senton for a pin attempt. Owen kicks out.
Headscissors by Black Tiger on Owen Hart. Black Tiger continues to drop Owen down to the mat. He misses a senton on Hart. Hart gets caught in a piledriver but he reverses it and piledrives Black Tiger instead. Owen climbs to the top rope and dropkicks Black Tiger! He whips Black Tiger into the ropes but Tiger holds the ropes and Owen misses a dropkick. Shoulder backbreaker by Black Tiger. Owen escapes and catches him with a clothesline.
Black Tiger suplexes Owen Hart to the outside. Both fall to the floor. Black Tiger tosses Hart into the guardrail. Hart climbs to the top rope but Black Tiger gets him and suplexes him back into the ring. Another slam by Black Tiger and he climbs to the top rope and misses a reverse elbow. Owen Hart grabs Black Tiger with a German Suplex and gets the pin.
WINNER: Owen Hart
Jushin “Thunder” Liger vs. Akira Nogami in an IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title #1 Contendership Tournament match.
Taped 1/25/1990 at Nakajima Sports Center in Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan
Jushin Liger gets Akira Nogami in a wristlock and they follow with a series of cool reversals. Side headlock takedown by Liger. Nogami whips him into the ropes but Liger uses his speed and catches him with a dropkick followed by a pair of armdrags. Liger showing off his quickness early in the match. He finally takes Nogami down on the mat with a headscissors but Nogami escapes and gets Liger in a leglock.
Reverse surfboard by Nogami on Liger. He stomps on Liger’s back. Nogami whips Liger into the ropes and backdrops him. He follows that up with some elbows and a legdrop. Another submission hold by Nogami that switches over into a half crab. Liger reaches the ropes to break the hold.
Nogami continues his attack on Liger with some kicks to the back. Bodyslam by Nogami and he goes for a pin which Liger quickly kicks out of. Nogami gets Liger in a camel clutch. He stomps on Liger after breaking the hold. He gets Liger in a Boston Crab. Nogami raises up to apply more pressure on Liger’s back with the hold. Liger reaches the ropes to break the hold. Nogami with a knee at the mid-section. Liger misses an enziguiri and Nogami gets him again in a half crab.
Jushin Liger reaches the ropes to break Nogami’s half crab. Nogami continues to beat on Liger’s back. He places Liger on the top rope but Liger knocks him off and catches him with a dropkick. Nogami’s back up sooner and whips Liger into the ropes and gets him with a jumping knee attack! Liger gets Nogami with a headscissors but Nogami is able to send Liger to the outside. He kicks him back down off the ring apron and onto the floor. Nogami dives off the top rope onto Liger!
Referee starts to count Liger but Liger gets back in the ring. Nogami slams Liger and climbs up to the top rope and lands an elbowdrop for a two-count! He whps Liger into the corner and catches him with a high knee! He whips him again but Liger headscissors Nogami to the outside. Liger follows with running Thesz Press off the ring apron. He follows that up with a top rope senton onto Nogami!
Nogami crawls back into the ring. Liger whips him into the ropes and slams him down. He gets another two-count on Nogami. He slams Nogami again and climbs to the top rope. Liger dives off but Nogami catches him with his legs. Nogami gets Liger with a German Suplex for another near fall. Liger goes for a pin attempt after but Nogami escapes.
Nogami and Liger exchange pin attempts. He misses a dropkick at Liger. Liger gets Nogami in La Atlantida backbreaker and wins the match!
WINNER: Jushin “Thunder” Liger
Kuniaki Kobayashi vs. Super Strong Machine
Taped 1/25/1990 at Nakajima Sports Center in Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan
A well-dressed Animal Hamaguchi shows up. He sits ringside for this match. Kuniaki Kobayashi quickly goes on attack mode against Super Strong Machine. Sends him to the outside and into the guardrails. Follows that up by slamming Super Strong Machine into the ring post. They get back in the ring and that is where Super Strong Machine takes over.
Camera shows Hamaguchi ringside a few times. They exchange shots before Super Strong Machine gets Kobayashi up in a suplex. He gets a two-count but Kobayashi quickly gets him in an armbar. Super Strong Machine tosses Kobayashi to the outside and he takes him into the crowd were he tosses him into the chairs.
Kobayashi gets back in the ring and he chops, kicks and headbutts Super Strong Machine. Machine takes him down again and whips him into the ropes and delivers a dropkick. He gets Kobayashi with a clothesline in the corner. Kobayashi counters with a kick. They exchange near falls. Kobayashi misses a spin kick at Machine. Super Strong Machine with a clothesline. He goes for a second but Kobayashi gets him in an armbar. Super Strong Machine counters with a backbreaker. He follows that up by grabbing Kobayashi in a hammerlock and lifting him up in a suplex and getting the pin.
WINNER: Super Strong Machine
After the match, Super Strong Machine has some words to say to George Takano. Super Strong Machine offers him a handshake but Takano attacks him. More wrestlers including Riki Choshu get involved.
SHOW THOUGHTS: Okay episode. I liked the Owen Hart vs. Black Tiger match the most. Also enjoyed Liger vs. Nogami. Choshu vs. Gotoh had some heat in their match. The other matches were okay at best. Some of them seemed to drag along a bit despite not being too long. Just not a lot was going on in those other matches.