Written By Alfredo Esparza
NJPW WPW Classics #16
Antonio Inoki vs. Pat Patterson for the NWF Heavyweight Title
Taped 12/1/1977 at the Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium in Osaka, Japan.
Pat Patterson yells at Antonio Inoki, telling him that he’s going to take the belt. He yells at the fans to shut up right before the bell rings. Patterson takes Inoki down and they both start the match off quickly with Patterson getting Inoki in a figure-four leglock. They roll to the ground and the hold breaks. Patterson quickly gets back in the ring while Inoki paces outside while Patterson yells at him.
Inoki gets back in the ring and kicks at Patterson’s right leg. Patterson tries to return the favor which leads to fans booing him. He steps out of the ring and covers his ears. Pat gets back in the ring and Inoki quickly takes him down with a toe hold. Inoki swithces over to a leglock and stands above Patterson while he has him in the hold. He falls back a few times to apply more pressure on Patterson’s legs. Patterson escapes and Inoki rolls to the outside. Pat threatens to kick him as he calls Inoki out.
They both get back in the ring and Patterson gets Inoki in a backbreaker. He follows that up with a headscissors on Inoki. Patterson pulls at Inoki’s nose but stops as the referee warns him. He keeps yelling at the fans to look at their “Japanese champion”. He breaks the headscissors and uses the middle rope to choke Inoki. Patterson slams Inoki to and again gets him in a headscissors. He breaks the hold briefly just to elbow Inoki and again gets him in the headscissors.
More elbow drops delivered by Patterson and again back to the headscissors only this time Inoki quickly reaches the ropes to break the hold. Patterson knees Inoki in the corner and then snapmares him. He drops another knee across his chest and he goes back to the headscissors to wear down Inoki. Inoki reaches the ropes but Patterson gets him quickly and elbows him a few times. He gets Inoki in a chinlock.
Inoki reaches the ropes but Patterson catches him with a few knees to the back and then slams him. He gets Inoki in the headscissors once again. Inoki escapes and gets Patterson in the Indian deathlock. He threatens to choke Patterson as they reach the ropes. Patterson heads to the outside and is upset at the fans. He slowly gets back in the ring. Patterson kicks at Inoki who counters with a slap. Pat gets Inoki and slams him into the turnbuckle. He gets in a few punches and removes the top portion of the turnbuckle as he tries to slam Inoki’s head into it but Inoki counters and sends Patterson into it instead.
Patterson threatens to punch Inoki as he gets into a boxing stance. He misses a few swings at Inoki. Patterson is able to grab hold of Inoki by the legs and rags him to the ring post were he slams his right leg into it. Pat attacks Inoki’s leg. Referee gets him to back off. Inoki gets Patterson in a side headlock but Patterson picks him up and slams him into his knee. Patterson continues to attack Inoki’s right leg.
Inoki pulls at Patterson’s hair trying to get away from him. Patterson whips Inoki into the corner and charges at him but Inoki moves and Patterson lands with his legs on the middle and top rope. Inoki stops on his thigh and then pulls him to the ring post and slams his right leg into the post a few times. Patterson gets back in the ring and Inoki quickly attacks his right leg with a kick. Referee seperates them and Patterson goes after Inoki who ends up getting Patterson in a body scissors but they end up falling near the ropes.
Patterson goes for an armlock on Inoki. Inoki reverses and tries to break out but Patterson rolls him back over and keeps the hold on him. Inoki goes for another escape and picks Patterson up and onto his shoulder! They both fall over the top rope to the floor. Inoki gets Patterson back into the ring. Patterson gets Inoki in an airplane spin and again they fall over the top rope to the floor.
Patterson grabs Inoki and charges into the ring post but Inoki blocks him and Patterson ends up going into the ring post. They both get back into the ring and Inoki whips Patterson into the ropes and catches him with a pair of dropkicks. He follows with a back drop and a slam. Inoki climbs to the top rope and lands a knee drop on Patterson. He quickly gets Patterson in the octopus submission hold for the win!
WINNER: Antonio Inoki
Inoki gets interviewed after the match.
Antonio Inoki vs. Eddie Everett – Wrestler vs. Kick Boxer match. (8/2/77)
Taped 8/2/1977 at Nippon Budokan in Tokyo, Japan.
Prior to the match, they air a pre-recorded interview with Antonio Inoki. They also air Eddie Everett preparing for the match.
Match was joined in progress. Everett wore gloves for this match. He swings at Inoki who counters by grabbing hold of him. Referee has to stop the action every so often whenever one was doing something not permitted in the match. Inoki gets Everett on the ropes and lands an elbow at him in the third round. Everett kicks at Inoki while also trying to punch him. He knocks Inoki down but the referee stops the action.
Inoki charges at Everett but gets caught in a front facelock. Referee breaks them apart. Everett catches Inoki with a couple of knee strikes. He kicks at Inoki. Inoki counters with a dropkick and stays on the mat for a bit. Everett gets in a few more shots before the bell rings to end the third round.
Fourth round starts with Everett trying to kick Inoki who seems to be timing his attack. He lands on the mat and when Everett strikes, Inoki catches him by the arm. Everett reaches the ropes and threatens to kick Inoki again. He catches him with a kick but Inoki ties him up before they reach the ropes. Inoki tries to slap Everett. Everett’s second gets upset and Everett quickly charges and catches Inoki with a kick to the face that sends him down to the mat. Inoki gets back up and takes Everett down.
Everett reaches the ropes while Inoki tries to get him in a leglock. Inoki catches him with a dropkick. Everett delivers a couple of punches before the referee breaks it up. More kicks from Everett. Inoki grabs him by the head and then swings around and takes him down by the leg. He elbows Everett across the head as the bell rings ending the round.
Fifth round starts with Everett jumping around and striking Inoki every chance he gets. He catches Inoki with a series of kicks. Inoki grabs him and shoves him down to the mat. He picks Everett up by the waist and powerbombs him. He lands a legdrop on Everett who is grabbing his shoulder. Referee counts him out and Inoki wins.
WINNER: Antonio Inoki
They continue airing the Inoki interview.
Seiji Sakaguchi vs. Buffalo Allen Coage (a.k.a. Bad News Allen) – Judo Jacket match (10/25/77)
Taped 10/25/1977 at Nippon Budokan in Tokyo, Japan.
Prior to the match they air highlights of Seiji Sakaguchi and Allen Coage training in judo. They also show Wilhelm Ruska. That’s followed by more of the Inoki interview.
Match is joined in progress starting in round four. Ruska is the special referee. Coage with a quick takedown on Sakaguchi and he keeps him grounded on the mat. They get back up and Coage gets in a forearm on Sakaguchi who strikes back and they both get upset and remove their judo jackets. Referee Wilhelm Ruska grabs the jackets and tells both to put them back on.
Once they get their jackets back on, match continues. Sakaguchi with a takedown on Coage. Coage reaches the ropes to break the hold Sakaguchi has on him. Allen Coage takes Sakagughi down with a hiptoss but Sakaguchi counters and gets him in an armbar submission hold. Coage can’t break out of it but the bell rings ending the fall.
Round five starts with both on the ground. They argue a bit with the referee trying to keep control. Sakaguchi slaps Coage and then kicks him out of the ring. Fans cheer that loudly. Coage tries to get back in the ring but Sakaguchi kicks him again. He finally returns and Coage argues with the referee. Sakaguchi chops Coage and then catches him with a knee. He hiptosses Coage and gets him in an armbar submission hold which leads to Coage tapping out and losing the match.
WINNER: Seiji Sakaguchi
Bob Backlund & Tony Garea vs. Tatsumi Fujinami & Riki Choshu in a 2-out-of-3 falls match. (5/30/78)
Taped 5/30/1978 at Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium in Osaka, Japan
Bob Backlund starts the first fall of the match getting Riki Choshu in an atomic knee drop that leads to Choshu tagging in Fujinami right away. Fujinami comes in and catches Backlund with a dropkick. He goes for a slam but Backlund surprises him and gets him in a cradle for the pin. Backlund wins the fall in 34 seconds for his team.
Second fall starts with Tony Garea going up against Tatsumi Fujinami. Fujinami gets Garea with a hammerlock and then takes him down into a side headlock. Choshu tags in and he picks Garea up and slams him. He gets Garea in an armbar and Garea tries to escape early on but has no luck. Garea goes for a headscissors on Choshu but Choshu slams him off and keeps the armbar locked in.
Choshu switches over to grab both of Garea’s arms and Garea uses this time to reach the ropes. He gets Choshu and punches him across the face and tags in Backlund. Choshu gets Backlund with an armbar and takes him down to the mat. Backlund gets Choshu with a side suplex and goes for the pin but Choshu knees him to break the pin attempt. Fireman’s carry takedown by Backlund and now he gets Choshu in an armbar.
Backlund tags in Garea who quickly attacks Choshu with some knee drops across his right arm. Garea gets Choshu in an armbar as well. Choshu gets Garea on the ropes to break the hold but Garea gets in a few punches to the mid-section and tags in Backlund. Backlund gets him in a wristlock and quickly tags Garea back in who continues to attack Choshu. Choshu fights back but Garea keeps him on the ropes and continues to attck his right arm. Backlund tags back in.
Garea back in after a brief break and he continues the attack. Choshu gets Garea on the ropes and lays in some forearms on him. Garea counters with some forearms of his own. Choshu grabs him and backdrops Garea. He tags in Fujinami who comes in on fire and catches Garea with a dropkick followed by some forearms. Garea recovers and gets in some elbows and punches at Fujinami. Garea grabs hold of Fujinami for a slam but Fujinami slips out and drops Garea. He then cradles him and bridges over Garea for the pin to tie it up 1-1.
Third fall starts with Tatsumi Fujinami locking up with Tony Garea. He gets Garea in a full nelson. Garea breaks out of the hold but Fujinami takes him down with a side headlock. Some near falls from Garea. He gets back up and escapes briefly only to be taken down to the mat again. Fujinami tags in Choshu. Choshu with a kick at Garea. He elbows Garea and then slams him.
Choshu with a takedown and he attacks Garea’s legs. He goes for a Boston Crab. Fujinami tags back in and attacks Garea’s right leg. He quickly tags Choshu back in and they double-team attack Garea’s leg. Choshu gets him in the Scorpion Deathlock but they are near the ropes and both are holding a rope. Referee breaks it up.
Garea and Choshu exchange forearms until Garea knocks him down. He’s able to tag Backlund back into the match. Choshu whips Backlund into the ropes but can’t do anything so Backlund gets him in an armlock. Choshu reaches the ropes and goes for a leg takedown but Backlund counters him. Again on the ropes and Choshu with a leg takedown and again Backlund reverses and gets Choshu in a waistlock. He goes for an abdominal stretch on Choshu.
Fujinami threatens to jump off the top rope. Choshu is able to reverse the abdominal stretch briefly. Backlund breaks out of it quickly and gets Choshu with a double under hook suplex for the pin.
WINNERS: Bob Backlund & Tony Garea
Salman Hashimikov vs. Steve “Dr. Death” Williams (2/10/90)
Taped 10/2/1990 at Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan. “NJPW Super Fight in Tokyo Dome”.
Match is joined in progress with Steve Williams having Salman Hashimikov on the mat until the referee breaks it up due to them being near the ropes. Williams with some forearms to the back followed by a slam for a near fall on Hashimikov. Hashimokov gets Williams in a waistlock and then drops him with a belly-to-belly suplex into an armbar on the mat.
Dr. Death battles out of the armbar and keeps Hashimikov on the mat and gets him in a half nelson as he yells at the referee to ask Hashimikov if he gives up. Hold gets broken. Test of strength with both showing no quarter and breaking away. Williams gets Hashimikov with a backdrop. Hashimikov picks up Williams and drops him but Williams is quickly back on top and they both fall to the floor. Williams with some chops while Hashimikov delivers some forearms. Doc picks him up and slams him into the ring post and rolls him back into the ring to end the count.
Williams whips Hashimikov into the ropes and catches him with a short-armed clothesline. They battle on the mat for a bit more before breaking away again. Williams with a knee to the mid-section followed by some punches but Hashimikov fires up and delivers some hard chops that send Doc into the corner. Hashimikov tries to fight off a suplex but Doc gets him. He whips Hashimikov into the ropes and charges at him but misses an elbow. Hashimikov picks him up and slams him. He goes for the pin but Doc reaches the ropes.
Hashimikov gets whipped into the corner and Williams gets him with a corner splash. He follows with a clothesline and motions to the fans that it is over. Doc picks up Hashimikov for the Oklahoma Stampede and covers him for the pin.
WINNER: Steve Williams
“Living Legend” Larry Zbyszko vs. Masa Saito For the AWA World Heavyweight Title
Taped 10/2/1990 at Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan. “NJPW Super Fight in Tokyo Dome”.
Zbyszko gets Saito near the ropes and is forced to break to start the match. He goes for a waistlock on Saito and takes him down to the mat. He gets him in a half crab but Saito gets back up and breaks the hold. Saito with a quick armdrag on Zbyszko. Zbyszko counters with a fireman’s carry takedown into an armbar. He keeps the armbar locked in for a good stretch of time.
Masa Saito escapes and armdrags Zbyszko into an armbar of his own but Zbyszko quickly reverses that into a headscissors. Saito escapes and goes for a side headlock on Zbyszko but they are near the ropes and forced to break. Zbyszko gets Saito in a side headlock but Saito escapes and takes Larry down on the mat and gets a near fall before he switches over to an armlock. Zbyszko escapes.
They break near the ropes again. Saito again takes Zbyszko down and gets him in a Cobra Clutch. Zbyszko battles his way out of the hold by reaching the ropes and then gets in a cheap shot on Saito. He suplexes Saito and gets a one-count. Zbyszko follows with a backbreaker for a near fall. He goes for another near fall hooking Saito’s arms. Saito blocks a suplex and gets Zbyszko in one instead.
Saito charges at Zbyszko with a lariat and goes for the pin but Larry kicks out. He goes for an Indian Deathlock on Zbyszko but Larry reaches the ropes. Saito grabs hold of Zbyszko’s legs again and gets him in another deathlock. Fans start to cheer loudly as Zbyszko struggles in the hold. Saito gets fired up as well. Zbyszko’s finally able to reach out for Saito’s foot and knocks him over. Referee forces them to break the hold.
Zbyszko is lipping noticeably so Saito kicks at his legs. Saito whips Zbyszko into the ropes and gets him with a clothesline followed by a near fall. Saito picks up Zbyszko with the Saito Suplex for another near fall. Crowd gets louder. Saito grabs Zbyszko again with a Saito Suplex and covers him for the pin but Zbyszko kicks out at TWO!
Saito with some hard chops. He kicks at Zbyszko’s leg. Zbyszko goes for another kick but Saito grabs his leg and fouls him. Crowd boos this. Larry kicks Saito and then gets him in an abdominal stretch. Saito hip tosses Zbyszko off him. Zbyszko back up and he suplexes Saito and gets a two count. Larry stomps on Saito and gets in a few forearms and punches at him. Saito fires up! He chops Zbyszko out of the ring!
Saito continues with more chops as Zbyszko tries to get in the ring. Zbyszko snaps Saito’s head with the top rope. Saito gets Zbyszko with a roll-up but Larry kicks out. Zbyszko then goes for a cradle of his own for a pin but Saito kicks out. Zbyszko misses a dropkick. Saito suplex on Zbyszko! Saito goes for a small package on Zbyszko and gets the pin. Masa Saito wins the AWA World Heavyweight Title!
WINNER: Masa Saito
SHOW THOUGHTS: Good episode of New Japan WPW Classics. Thought the best match on the show was the Antonio Inoki vs. Pat Patterson match. A few of the matches were joined in progress. The Saito vs. Zbyszko match picked up late and had a good finish. Some of the early portion of the match was worked a little slower than I like. I liked the Dr. Death vs. Hashimikov match and the tag match as well.