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Antonio Inoki (1943 - 2022)


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He was supposed to show up for the upcoming 50th years of Tokyo Dome show for Okada. Have to do his memorial instead.

I remember reading online that he used to give out extra money for the rookies to spend.

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Say what you want about his career; it doesn't matter. This is an enormous loss. 

For some reason I immediately thought of the moment when we thought he was dead in the ring. 

See the source image

We need to be reminded that when he wanted to he could really go in the ring, too. A true legend. 


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I'll have a lot to say tomorrow. In the meantime, I posted this for someone yesterday coincidentally. It's a bed of nails match between Inoki and Ueda from the late 70s. The bed of nails never really come in but watch the moment of transition when Inoki starts to come back by targeting the arm. Watch what a real ace do by making a moment special. Listen to the crowd. There's only been a handful of wrestlers ever that could make the most of something like Inoki could in that moment:

It'll probably get pulled at some point of course.

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13 minutes ago, odessasteps said:

Sadly, it looks like the island death match is no longer on YouTube. 

Nope but my train of thought review of it is still with us.:

and here's what I wrote about his 1986 in my watching thread the other day in case people missed it:


Inoki: Inoki's as good a place to start as any. Watching Inoki helped me rethink how I look at an "ace." I'm not sure I ever gave it too much thought. Hogan's an Ace. Misawa's an Ace. Hijo del Santo's probably an Ace. Cena. Reigns. Flair. Bruno. Douglas or Taz? Sting? 94 Bret?  I always joked that Christian was the best WWE one (And ECW one!) but what I learned from watching Inoki is that you ought to expect an ace to excel at maximizing moments. It took me by surprise a bit because the implicit storytelling inherent in AJPW matches don't often allow for it. In a lot of ways, NJPW matches follow a similar bent, guys pressing up against each other with what passes as accepted reality as opposed to overt, explicit storytelling with build and payoff and obviously (but again accepted and normative) storytelling. The difference with Inoki is that he's excellent at dropping in a single pivotal moment of that blatant artifice in the midst of the implicit narrative. It's the use of red in an otherwise black and white movie, a lone firework to cap off an orchestra's performance. In fact, the biggest problem with the hour long Brody match was that he wasn't able to insert that well enough in so long a match when the setting and opponent should have been the ultimate opponent for him to do it with. In the Spinks match, on the other hand, it was absolutely there (even if Spinks didn't go up for the suplex in the end like he was supposed to). Where he excelled was against the Murdochs and Andres of the world, or even guys like Sakaguchi. Against random foreigners and monsters like the Maxxes. Against Maeda or Kido, he stumbled because he tried to keep up with them as a point of pride and he simply couldn't. He did far better when he leaned into his strengths and his strengths were only 2/3rds legit, but made all the stronger by that 1/3rd of beloved bullshit. Against a Fujiwara, it worked because Fujiwara was good enough to transcend being a shooter. I'm glad for the time I spent with him. I see right through him, but I'm still glad for the looking.


Edited by Matt D
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