Retro Wrasslin'

A look back at pro wrestling history.

NJPW WPW Classics #14

Written By Alfredo Esparza

New Japan WPW Classics #14

Antonio Inoki © vs. Stan “The Lariat” Hansen for the NWF Heavyweight Title

Taped 9/2/1977 at the Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium in Nagoya, Aichi, Japan

Stan Hansen’s accompanied by Blackjack Mulligan. Early portion of the match was on the mat with Hansen going with an armbar to keep Inoki grounded. Kicks Inoki out of the ring. Inoki takes his time to get back in the ring including jogging a bit to get the blood flowing back to his legs.

Inoki goes with kicks to Hansen’s legs. Back to wrestling on the mat with Hansen getting a side headlock reversed into a headscissors by Inoki. Cross armbreaker by Inoki. Mulligan kept teasing getting in to the ring when Hansen was in trouble.

Inoki focused his attack on Hansen’s left arm. Hansen slams Inoki and lands an elbow. Goes for a body slam but Inoki reverses it into a headscissors. Scissors variation across Hansen’s shoulders. Hansen reverses into a leglock. Inoki picks up Hansen across his shoulders and slams him down. Octopus hold by Inoki. Hansen kicks, punches and forearm smashes Inoki.

Dropkicks by Inoki. He whips Hansen into the ropes and backdrops him and goes for the pin. Hansen kicks out and punches Inoki. Kneedrops across Inoki’s lower back. Hansen beats on Inoki near the ropes. Referee tries to pull him off, including pulling him by his hair. He uses the ropes to hurt Inoki’s legs. Three referees try to break him off Inoki. Mulligan shoves the two referees outside off Hansen. He kicks Inoki to the outside. Inoki grabs onto his left knee.

Inoki gets back in and chops Hansen Knocks him down with a big right. Forearms exchanged. Hansen with a big boot at Inoki’s head. Hansen beats on Inoki. More kicks. Double ax-handle across Inoki’s back. Inoki fights back with some punches. He knocks Hansen around the ring.

Inoki with a shoulder tackle knocks Hansen down. He hits the ropes again but Hansen tackles him. Hansen goes for a backbreaker but Inoki is near the corner and kicks at it and reverses momentum on Hansen for a near fall.

Hansen kicks out and goes for the over-the-shoulder backbreaker again and Inoki’s foot his the referee and knocks him over the top rope. Hansen and Inoki fall over the top rope as well. Mulligan attacks Inoki and tosses him at Hansen who gets him with the lariat! Hansen and the referee get back in the ring. Referee starts the count on Inoki but Seiji Sakaguchi tells him that Mulligan interfered. Another referee gets in the ring and tells the other about Mulligan’s interference.

Some fans throw trash into the ring. Inoki and Hansen continue to fight with Inoki slamming Hansen’s leg on the ring apron. He gets back in the ring and body slams Hansen. Hansen goes for a lariat and misses. Inoki gets Hansen with a backdrop suplex and gets the pin.

WINNER: Antonio Inoki

Inoki does a post-match interview.

Seiji Sakaguchi & Shozo “Strong” Kobayashi © vs. Pat Patterson & Steve Wright in a 2/3 Falls match for the NWA North American Tag Team Titles

Taped 12/8/1977 at Kuramae Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan

Steve Wright and Strong Kobayashi start the match and Wright quickly catches him with a pair of dropkicks. Goes for a quick pin attempt but Kobayashi kicks out. Side headlock by Wright and Kobayashi shoves him off. Full nelson by Wright but Kobayashi breaks out of it easily.

Kobayashi uses his strength to counter Wright’s attempts at getting him in holds. He takes down Wright with a wristlock. Wright does a nifty escape from Kobayashi’s hold but Kobayashi picks him up and places him on the outside portion of the apron before breaking away. Wright gets back in and takes Kobayashi down with a headlock. He briefly breaks from the hold to land a knee drop on Kobayashi but Wright gets him back in the hold. Kobayashi tries to power out and finally does so. He tags in Sakaguchi.

Sakaguchi with a wristlock takedown into an armbar. Wright escapes. Armdrag takedown by Wright. Sakaguchi escapes but Wright reaches out and tags in Patterson. Patterson gets a knee into Sakaguchi but Seiji knocks him down. Side headlock by Sakaguchi into a takedown. Sakaguchi hiptosses Patterson and then gets him in a headscissors. He reaches over and tags in Kobayashi who lands a few knees across Patterson before following up with a headscissors of his own.

Kobayashi tags Sakaguchi back in. Patterson is able to back away. He complains to the referee. Leg takedown by Patterson and he gets Sakaguchi in an armlock. He drops a knee across Sakaguchi’s left arm a few times before going for an armlock again. Sakaguchi winces in pain as he can’t break out of the hold. He gets up and stomps on Patterson’s head which breaks the hold. Patterson tags in Wright.

Wright goes after Sakaguchi’s left arm as they are focusing on that body part. He catches Sakaguchi with a dropkick and follows with an armlock. Sakaguchi picks up Wright and places him on the top turnbuckle! Sakaguchi tags in Kobayashi. Side headlock by Wright on Kobayashi. Kobayashi whips him into the ropes and armdrags Wright. He goes for a surfboard on Wright. Wright counters by dropping down to the mat and kicking at Kobayashi.

Wright gets Kobayashi in the corner and then hiptosses him. Kobayashi does the same to Wright. He does it a second time. He whips Wright into the ropes and backdrops him. Front facelock by Kobayashi. Kobayashi sends Wright crashing into Patterson to knock Pat away. He then tags in Sakaguchi who slams Wright and then gets him in a giant swing! Sakaguchi follows with a Boston Crab but Patterson makes the save. Sakaguchi tags Kobayashi back in.

Kobayashi with an atomic drop on Wright and he goes for a Boston Crab of his own. Patterson jumps off the top rope with a knee at Kobayashi. Wright tags in Patterson. Patterson drags Kobayashi towards the ring post and slams his left leg into it a few times.

They get back in the ring and Patterson continues to attack the left leg. Kobayashi kicks at Patterson’s head in attempt to escape but Patterson continues to attack Kobayashi’s leg. He drags Kobayashi towards his corner and Wright drops a knee off the ropes onto Kobayashi’s leg. Patterson gets Kobayashi in a figure-four leglock and they both fall to the outside. Wright and Sakaguchi head out to help their partners gets back in the ring.

Patterson tags in Wright and they continue to attack Kobayashi’s left leg. Steve Wright hits Kobayashi with a headbutt to the mid-section and then whips him into the ropes a second time for another headbutt attempt only as he charges at Kobayashi, he moves and Wright goes flying thru the middle rope to the floor!

Kobayashi lays in some forearms across Wright’s back as he tries to return to the ring. He then gets Wright in an over-the-shoulder backbreaker. Patterson dropkicks Kobayashi and both Wright and Kobayashi fall to the outside. Patterson and Sakaguchi brawl outside the ring. Kobayashi rolls back into the ring and referee calls for the bell as Wright has been counted out. Kobayashi and Sakaguchi win the first fall.

Steve Wright and Strong Kobayashi start the second fall. Wright gets him in a side headlock. Patterson removes the corner padding and yells at Wright to toss Kobayashi at it but Kobayashi reverses momentum and sends Wright into the corner. Sakaguchi then removes the corner padding on their side and Wright gets sent into that as well. Snapmare into a headlock by Sakaguchi. He whips Wright into the ropes and gets him in a sleeper hold but Patterson makes the save. Kobayashi back in.

Kobayashi gets Wright in a chinlock. He gets in a knee across his head and then follows with a neck breaker. Kobayashi goes for a couple of pin attempts on Wright. Wright counters and goes for a pin attempt and eventually tags Patterson in. Side headlock on Patterson but he picks Kobayashi up and drops him on his knee. Kobayashi rolls to the outside.

Patterson goes after Kobayashi’s left leg but Kobayashi is able to slam Patterson into the mat and then tag in Sakaguchi. Sakaguchi backdrops Patterson. He whips him into the ropes again and picks him up with a choke hold! Sakaguchi does it a second time. Atomic knee drop on Patterson and he goes for the pin but Wright makes the save. Kobayashi tosses Wright out of the ring.

Sakaguchi gets Patterson with a body slam and covers him for the pin but Wright jumps off the top rope but Sakaguchi moves out of the way and Wright stomps on Patterson instead. Uppercuts on Sakaguchi by Wright but referee gets him out. Patterson tags in Wright. Wright misses a dropkick and Sakaguchi slams him. Patterson climbs to the top rope but Sakaguchi punches him and that sends Patterson off the top rope but with his leg caught so he’s dangling in the corner! Sakaguchi puts Wright in a backbreaker and gets the win. Sakaguchi and Kobayashi win in two falls!

WINNERS: Seiji Sakaguchi & Strong Kobayashi

Sakaguchi and Kobayashi do a post-match interview.

Tatsumi Fujinami vs. “The Russian Bear” Ivan Koloff

Taped 3/30/1978 at Kuramae Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan

Fujinami grabs the mic prior to the match starting. Ivan Koloff enters the ring holding the bouquet of flowers that wrestlers are given prior to their matches and tosses it at Fujinami. Umanosuke Ueda shows up before the match starts and slaps Fujinami! He has a few more words for Fujinami but Fujinami attacks Ueda. Koloff gets involved and Ueda attacks him as well. Fujinami heads over to help Koloff but Ueda continues his attack on both. He finally leaves the ringside area after a few minutes.

Fujinami heads over and attacks Koloff before the bell rings! He goes to work on Koloff’s left leg that was attacked by Ueda. Leglock on Koloff and Fujinami kicks at his leg. Half crab on Koloff! Fujinami continues his attack until Koloff grabs him and attacks by going after his face. Elbow to the back of Fujinami’s neck. More elbows! Knee drop by Koloff across Fujinami’s head. Punches thrown by Koloff.

Fujinami counters with a dropkick! He whips Koloff into the ropes and backdrops him. Dragon Suplex for a pin attempt. Referee calls for the bell as Koloff landed awkwardly and seemed to give up. Ueda returns! Fujinami dropkicks him off the ring apron and goes for a tope suicida to the outside at him!

WINNER: Tatsumi Fujinami

Fujinami and Ueda brawl in the crowd! They get separated and several wrestlers help Koloff out of the ring.

Masa Saito & Shinya Hashimoto © vs. Big Van Vader & The Great Kokina (Yokozuna) for the IWGP Tag Team Titles

Taped 1/31/1990 at the Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium in Osaka, Japan

Vader and Kokina entrance is pretty awesome as Vader’s helmet is mic’d up so you hear him scream. Vader slaps Hashimoto before the match starts! All four stare each other down before introductions.

Hashimoto and Vader start the match. Vader charges at Hashimoto but he catches him with some kicks and a suplex for a near fall. Elbow to Vader, followed by a takedown. Vader quickly back up and catches Hashimoto with some strikes. Headbutt knocks Hashimoto down. Vader with a short-armed clothesline. Forearms at Hashimoto and Vader whips him into the corner and misses a splash. Hashimoto goes after Vader’s left arm!

Hashimoto tags in Saito who gets in some chops on Vader before he gets knocked down by a headbutt. Kokina tags in and continues the attack on Saito. Diving headbutt on Saito for a two-count! Kokina continues to attack Saito but he powers up and fights back with some hard chops. He goes for a slam but can’t lift Kokina up. He tries a second time, fails. Third time he does it!

Shoulder block takes Saito down. Kokina misses a kick off the ropes at Saito and quickly tags in Vader. Vader gets Saito in a headlock and lets him go. Hashimoto gets in the ring. Vader with a hammerlock on Hashimoto. He slaps Hashimoto! Whips him into the ropes and catches Hashimoto with a clothesline. Vader tosses him out of the ring and Kokina attacks Hashimoto. He whips him at Vader’s direction with Vader catching Hashimoto with a clothesline.

They get back in the ring and Vader tags in Kokina. Kokina with a powerslam on Hashimoto for a two-count. He follows that up with a running legdrop for another near fall. Vader tags back in and they whip Hashimoto into the ropes and shoulder tackle him. Hashimoto is bleeding from his nose. Vader powerslams Hashimoto and gets another two-count. He punches at Hashimoto and tags in Kokina.

Kokina gets in some forearms on Hashimoto and chokes him on the ropes. Hard chop to Hashimoto’s chest by Kokina. He punches at Hashimoto and tags in Vader. Vader whips Hashimoto into the ropes and takes him down with a clothesline. Vader places his boot across Hashimoto’s face.

Vader whips Hashimoto into the ropes but Hashimoto reverses and gets Vader in a headlock. Kokina makes the save and Vader continues to beat on Hashimoto! He whips Hashimoto into the ropes again but Hashimoto ducks a clothesline and gets in a couple of kicks on Vader. He follows that up with a DDT for a near fall. Hashimoto tags in Saito.

Saito comes in and clotheslines Vader and covers him for the pin but only gets a two-count. He slams Vader and goes for another pin but Vader kicks out. Vader gets Saito in his corner and tags in Kokina. Kokina follows with a diving headbutt on Saito for a two-count. He delivers some chops on Saito and yells at him. Headbutt by Kokina gets him a one-count. Nerve hold on Saito’s shoulder.

Double-team work by Vader and Kokina as Vader gets back in the ring. Vader with a shoulder block on Saito knocks him down. Hashimoto tries to aid his partner. Vader whips Saito into the corner and Kokina and Vader with corner splashes! Vader gets Saito with a powerslam and tags in Kokina. Kokina goes for a splash off the ropes but Saito moves. Saito goes for the pin but Vader makes the save.

All four men get in the ring. Vader tosses Hashimoto out of the ring. Saito then clotheslines Vader over the top rope. Vader and Hashimoto brawl outside the ring. Saito catches Kokina with a backdrop and covers him for the pin!

WINNERS: Masa Saito & Shinya Hashimoto

After match, Hashimoto and Vader continue to talk.

SHOW THOUGHTS: Great episode! Best match was the Inoki vs. Hansen match. The two tag matches were good and very different. Thought the Patterson and Wright duo did a great job bumping for Kobayashi and Sakaguchi who were the bigger team. The other tag match was just a match featuring some powerhouses in there with Vader and Kokina being the bigger team but Saito and Hashimoto were able to match them at times in the match. Enough to get the win. The Fujinami – Koloff match turned into a pretty fun angle between Fujinami and Umanosuke Ueda. Was surprised to see Ueda also attack Koloff which was a good way to lead to Fujinami getting the win in the match.

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