Written By Alfredo Esparza
NJPW WPW Classics #19
Antonio Inoki vs. Tiger Jeet Singh for the NWF Heavyweight Title
Taped 2/3/1978 at the Nakajima Sports Center in Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan.
Tiger Jeet Singh is accompanied by Umanosuke Ueda to the ring first and he starts waving for Inoki to come out while also holding his sword.
Referee takes away the sword before the match starts. Tiger Jeet Singh charges at Antonio Inoki as soon as the bell rings but Inoki backs away. Inoki hits the ropes but he keeps sizing up Singh. They lock-up but quickly separate. Leg takedown by Singh on Inoki with him quickly going for a leglock and into an STF variation. Referee warns Singh about choking Inoki and then forces him to break the hold which he does cleanly.
They tie-up again and reach the ropes and are forced to break. Fans are surprised to see Singh break away cleanly. Inoki with a leg takedown gets Singh on the mat and into a leglock of his own. Singh reaches the ropes to break the hold. Inoki with a backdrop takedown but Singh quickly gets him in a front facelock on the mat. They reach the ropes but this time Singh gets in a cheap shot on Inoki.
Inoki takes Singh back down on the mat and goes for an armlock on Singh with his legs across his left arm. Singh tries to break out of the hold but Inoki keeps it on very tightly. Singh escapes and tries to get Inoki with a waistlock but Inoki moves away very quickly. Singh takes Inoki down with a cradle but they are near the ropes. Singh is forced to break the hold and Inoki slips to the outside.
Back in the ring and Singh goes for a figure-four leglock on Inoki. Inoki tries to block it. They both get back up and Singh attacks Inoki and again gets him in the figure-four leglock. Inoki reaches the ropes forcing Singh to break the hold again. Singh quickly grabs Inoki and attacks his left leg by stomping and dropping his knee across it.
Singh pulls Inoki back to the middle of the ring in an attempt to get him in the figure four leglock once again but Inoki fights him off. Tiger instead gets him down on the mat trying to keep him grounded on the mat. Referee forces another break as Inoki reaches the ropes but Singh attacks Inoki.
Inoki catches Singh with a kick across the face! Singh grabs his face in pain and the referee checks on him. Singh gets back up but Inoki quickly catches him with a dropkick that knocks him back down. Inoki gets Singh with some forearms that rock him into the corner. Singh counters with some kicks and a knee lift and quickly takes Inoki back down to the mat holding his left leg. Inoki grabs Singh in a reverse chinlock while on the mat but Singh breaks it off.
Singh starts to choke Inoki on the mat and the referee forces him to stop. Inoki tries to escape Singh’s grasp but he keeps choking Inoki underneath the bottom rope. He keeps choking Inoki who now is hanging partially off the ring apron. They both head to the outside.
Tiger Jeet Singh grabs a chair and hits Inoki with it. He then heads back into the ring. Inoki returns and Singh quickly attacks him and Inoki rolls back out of the ring. Singh keeps attacking Inoki but Inoki grabbed him by the foot but Singh again chokes Inoki on the ring apron. Referee starts to hit Singh with some forearms to break the choke.
Singh again attacks Inoki as he tries to get back in the ring. He kicks at Inoki and that seems to fire up Antonio. Singh brings Inoki back in with a suplex and gets a two-count! He whips Inoki into the ropes and catches him with a knee to the mid-section. Another whip into the ropes but Inoki catches Singh’s leg and trips him up and starts stomping on him. Both head outside and start to brawl.
Inoki gets tossed into the ring post by Singh. Singh then grabs a chair and hits Inoki. He tries to smash Inoki again into the ring post but Inoki sends Singh into it instead. Both men continue to brawl as the referee calls for the bell. Inoki dropkicks Singh and then starts to stomp on him as the referee tries to stop them. Referee raises Inoki’s arm. Inoki keeps attacking Singh.
WINNER: Antonio Inoki
Inoki after the match grabs the mic and has some comments to share with the fans.
Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Tony Rocco
Taped 10/6/1978 at the Niigata City Gymnasium in Niigata, Japan
Tatsumi Fujinami and Tony Rocco get tangled on the ropes and break cleanly to start the match. Fujinami with a quick armdrag takedown on Roco. They lock-up again and Fujinami with anothe armdrag. Rocco gets Fujinami with a waistlock and takes him down to the mat. Fujinami reverses it into a hammerlock and goes to work on Rocco’s left arm.
Rocco breaks out with an elbow to Fujinami’s face and hits the ropes and charges at Fujinami but Fujinami backdrops him and again takes him down with an armdrag and now into an armbar. Wristlock and back into an armbar. Rocco goes for a slam to break the hold but Fujinami keeps him in an armbar.
Rocco gets back up on his feet and takes Fujinami down with a fireman’s carry takedown but Fujinami keeps the armbar on Rocco! They switch over to a test of strength And Fujinami takes Rocco down but Rocco powers back up. They twist around and Rocco takes Fujinami down to the mat and tries to get a pin on him but Fujinami bridges up. Fujinami is able to reverse a pin attempt into one of his own on Rocco but Rocco escapes.
Fujinami goes for an armbar on Rocco but Rocco counters into an abdominal stretch. Fujinami tries to escape but Rocco drops down to the mat and switches over to a leglock. They end up on the ropes and have to break. Rocco with a leg takedown and he holds onto Fujinami’s left leg. He applies pressure on it and Fujinami tries to kick him off. Rocco keeps dropping across Fujinami’s left leg. He places Fujinami’s left leg across his neck and shoulders into a submission hold but Fujinami reverses that and he gets control of Rocco’s upper body with his legs.
Rocco escapes and goes for La Tapatia on Fujinami! Takes him a little bit of time but does it only he can’t keep Fujinami up and Fujinami rolls over him and through the ropes. Fujinami gets back into the ring. Rocco catches him with some kicks and takes him back down onto the mat where he continues to work on Fujinami’s left leg.
Rocco takes Fujinami back down to the mat and grabs hold of his left leg again. Referee forces Rocco to break because they are on the ropes. Fujinami kicks at Rocco while he’s arguing with the referee. Fujinami starts whipping Rocco into the corners hard. Second time Rocco gets stuck in the corner and Fujinami kicks him a few times. Referee has to help him up.
Fujinami catches Rocco with a standing dropkick for a near fall. Rocco gets back up and slaps at Fujinami and then gets him with a side suplex. He follows with a front facelock and gets Fujinami on the ropes. Referee separates them. Rocco catches Fujinami with a forearm and knocks him down a few times.
Fujinami whips Rocco into the ropes and leap frogs over him and then slams him. He climbs up to the top rope but Rocco gets back up and slams him off! He catches Fujinami with a dropkick and goes for a second but misses. Fujinami then catches Rocco with a dropkick and covers him for the pin but Rocco kicks out. He then whips Rocco into the ropes and kind of slams him down.
Fujinami with a snapmare but Rocco bridges out of that. Rocco tries to grab hold of Fujinami but Fujinami slides him into a pin and gets the win. They shake hands after the match.
WINNER: Tatsumi Fujinami
Gran Hamada vs. Babe Face for the UWA Jr. Light Heavyweight Title
Taped 4/5/1979 at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium in Tokyo, Japan
Hand shake before the match starts. Hamada goes for a waistlock but Babe Face blocks it and gets him in a hammerlock but Hamada slams him. Leg takedown by Hamada and he gets Babe Face in a leglock. Babe Face counters into a headlock but Hamada escapes and gets him in a hammerlock. Babe Face slams Hamada.
Single arm takedown by Hamada on Babe Face who quickly gets Hamada in a head scissors. Babe Face grabs hold of Hamada’s arms to punish him but Hamada slips out and gets Babe Face in a side headlock that Babe Face quickly breaks out of. Some good mat work with Hamada grabbing hold of Babe Face’s leg. Crowd can be heard cheering. Babe Face tries to escape the leg hold but Hamada keeps him in it until he tries to go for a quick pin attempt.
Babe Face with a takedown but Hamada counters it into a headscissors. He escapes and gets Hamada down on the mat. Hamada gets back up and gets Babe Face with a wristlock and attacks his left arm. Babe Face slaps Hamada’s stomach and then picks him up and gets him in an armbar. He goes for a second attempt of lifting Hamada up but Hamada uses his speed to counter it and catches Babe Face with a headscissors. He gets him with another headscissors after hitting the ropes and then twirls Babe Face out of the ring!
Babe Face gets back into the ring and kicks and chops Hamada. He gets Gran Hamada in a suplex and into a reverse chinlock. Referee forces a break as Babe Face was choking Gran Hamada which upsets Babe Face. Gran Hamada with a takedown and he attacks Babe Face’s left arm. He gets Babe Face in a hammerlock but switches over to a headlock. Babe Face sends Hamada into the ropes and then knocks him to the outside.
Gran Hamada blocks Bab Face from hitting him as he’s getting into the ring and climbs up to the top rope and sends Babe Face flying across the ring. Gran Hamada misses a couple of kicks at Babe Face. Babe Face slaps Gran Hamada and then knocks him down to the mat and gets him in a sleeper hold. He bites Hamada’s ear! Babe Face hip tosses Gran Hamada and gets a near fall. Hamada gets Babe Face on the mat with a submission hold. Babe Face reaches the ropes to break the hold.
Gran Hamada with some armdrags and a headbutt while they run the ropes. Babe Face with a side suplex for a two-count! Hard chop from Babe Face and he charges at Hamada but Hamada tosses him out of the ring. Gran Hamada dives off the top rope with a plancha onto Babe Face on the floor! They get back in the ring and Hamada shoves him down. Gran Hamada charges at Babe Face but Babe Face reverses momentum and gets Hamada with a roll-up for a near fall!
Babe Face with a punch and he whips Hamada into the corner. Gran Hamada goes for a plancha out of the corner but Babe Face moves out of the way. Babe Face whips Hamada into the ropes and it looks like he’s going to backdrop him, but Hamada lands on his feet and catches Babe Face with a dropkick! He misses a second dropkick. Babe Face picks up Gran Hamada but Hamada gets him with the victory roll for the pin. Babe Face attacks the referee after the match.
WINNER: Gran Hamada
They follow that up with an interview with the winning Gran Hamada.
Hiroshi Hase, Jushin “Thunder” Liger, Manabu Nakanishi & Akira Nogami vs. Tatsutoshi Goto, Hiro Saito, Super Strong Machine & Norio Honaga
Taped 2/10/1993 at Gifu Industrial Hall in Gifu, Japan.
They quickly start brawling as Honaga and his team enter the ring. They brawl all around the ringside area and head into the crowd. Gotoh and Hase start the match in the ring. Everyone else continues to brawl outside. Super Strong Machine helps Goto against Hase. Everyone returns to the ring. Saito pulls Hase by the hair and hold him so Super Strong Machine and then Honaga beat on him.
Norio Honaga with a dropkick on Hiroshi Hase. Goto pulls Hase by the hair to get him in their corner where Honaga shoulder blocks him in the mid-section. Fans cheer for Hase. Hase catches Honaga with a kick followed by a clothesline and tags in Liger! Liger with a quebradora. Saito attacks Liger from behind. Honaga tags in Super Strong Machine who picks up Liger and drops him down across his knee. He then stomps on him in the corner.
SS Machine follows with an elbow drop for a near fall on Liger. Saito comes in and stomps on Liger. He and Honaga pick up Liger and drop him down onto the mat! Saito with a backbreaker on Liger and then he sends him into Goto’s knee. Goto comes in and punches Liger. He whips Liger into the ropes and slides and punches him in the gut. He stomps on Liger and wants the ref to count a pin but ref doesn’t. Another clothesline from Super Strong Machine and he goes for the pin but again the referee doesn’t make the count and gives a warning to SS Machine.
Honaga climbs to the top rope but Liger climbs up as well and he gets Honaga with a superplex. Liger tags in Nakanishi who slams Honaga and gets him in a reverse chinlock. Hanaga picks up Nakanishi across his shoulders and tosses him to the floor! Goto and Saito attack him on the floor and send him back into the ring. Honaga with a piledriver on Nakanishi only gets a one count. Saito tags in and he gets Nakanishi with a DDT and follows with a legdrop for a two-count.
Saito tosses Nakanishi into his corner were they all beat on him. Super Strong Machine tags in and catches Nakanishi with a short-armed clothesline for a near fall. Reverse chinlock by Super Strong Machine on Nakanishi. Snapmare and back into a reverse chinlock before taggin in Goto who stomps on Nakanishi. All four get in and stomp on Nakanishi which gets a few boos from the crowd.
Goto tries for an armbreaker on Nakanishi but he rolls out and Liger and crew all get in the ring and return the favor to Goto by stomping on him. Akira Nogami now in the match against Goto. He whips Goto into the ropes and catches him with a beautiful dropkick and follows it up with a slam and into a half crab. Honaga and Saito kick Nogami off. Hase tags in and he and Honaga exchange chops.
Hase gets Honaga in the giant swing! Super Strong Machine knocks down Hase while he’s dizzy but Hase reaches out and tags in Liger. Liger quickly goes for La Tapatia on Honaga. Goto stomps on Liger to break the hold. Nogami comes in and slams Honaga and climbs up to the top rope and hits a splash but Super Strong Machine breaks the pin attempt.
Nogami grabs hold of Honaga but Honaga gets him with a low blow and tags in Saito. Saito with a jawbreaker on Nogami. Super Strong Machine tags in and kicks Nogami. Saito whips Nogami and Super Strong Machine catches him with a clothesline off the ropes. SS Machine gets Nogami on the top rope and takes him down with a double under hook suplex that gets him a two-count. Nogami escapes a suplex attempt and dropkicks SS Machine. He then tags in Nakanishi.
Nakanishi and SS Machine exchange forearms until Machine gets him in the corner and Goto tags in. Goto with a clothesline on Nakanishi. He goes for a backdrop driver on Nakanishi but Hase and Liger make the save from a pin attempt. Goto tags in Saito. Saito with a German suplex followed by an elbow. He snapmares Nakanishi and follows with another elbowdrop. Nakanishi back up and picks up Saito on his shoulder and slams him down for a near fall.
Hase tags in and he and Nakanishi get Saito with a double suplex. Hase with a legsweep for a two-count. He follows with a neckbreaker. Hase whips him into the ropes and gets Saito in a sleeper hold. Saito escapes with a jawbreaker but Hase tags in Liger. Liger with some kicks at Saito and he lands the koppo kick on him! SS Machine grabs hold of Liger and that gives Honaga time to tag in but Honaga gets sent to the outside by Liger. Liger with a baseball slide sends Honaga into the guardrail.
Nogami tags in and gets Honaga in a submission hold attempt but Goto makes the save. Honaga gets Nogami with a clothesline and tags in SS Machine. SS Machine whips Nogami into the ropes and catches him with a clothesline but Nogami is able to tag out. Hase, Nakanishi and Nogami all kick at SS Machine in their corner. Double-team Russian legsweep on SS Machine.
Hase gets SS Machine ain an Indian Deathlock and tags Nakanishi back in. Nakanishi stomps on SS Machine’s back. He gets SS Machine in a German Suplex but Goto makes the save again. Belly to belly suplex by Nakanishi gets him a two-count. SS Machine slaps at Nakanishi and knocks him down. He whips Nakanishi into the corner and charges in with a clothesline. Follows that up with a suplex and tags Goto back in. Goto whips Nakanishi into the ropes and kicks him.
Goto sends Nakanishi into his corner and tags in Saito. Goto slams Nakanishi and Saito lands a senton. SS Machine gets in and does a senton as well. All four get in the ring and each charges into Nakanishi with clotheslines and forearms. They run at the others and a brawl ensues outside the ring. Saito slams Nakanishi and climbs to the top turnbuckle and lands a senton for the pin!
WINNERS: Hiro Saito, Tatsutoshi Goto, Norio Honaga & Super Strong Machine
SHOW THOUGHTS: Thought this was an okay episode. I kind of enjoyed the last match on the show more than the singles matches. Thought the singles matches had some good moments especially the Gran Hamada vs. Babe Face match that had a strong finish but weren’t quite at the level of the 8-man tag. The 8-man was fun.