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Best of Puroresu: Before the '80s Noms & Voting プロレスのベリーベスト - 1979年まで

#1 User is offline   Daniel 

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 02:37 PM

Best of Puroresu: Before the '80s
プロレスのベリーベスト - 1979年まで

Objective
Produce a definitive and comprehensive shortlist of excellent matches from Japan before the 1980's kicked in. This will inform a ranked vote of the Top 20 matches that will be compiled to form a final Puroresu.tv list of recommendations.

Scope
Any match occuring in Japan before 1st January 1980.

Deadlines
Nominations: Closed (November 1st 2012)
Submissions: December 17th 2012

What to do?
Please first have a read through our guide to nominations and voting. The only difference here, is that you should vote Yes on matches that you think meet a standard high enough to be considered during list-making. Voting 'yes' around 30-50 times is reasonable.

Get to watching some of the material available on the net (Ditch's site is a great starting point) and then participate in the nominations/voting. Even if you don't think you will submit a final list (I hope you will!), helping out during this shortlisting stage is strongly encouraged.






Current List:

New Japan Pro Wrestling - 新日本プロレス
Antonio Inoki & Sakaguchi Seiji -vs- Lou Thesz & Karl Gotch (NJPW; 1973-10-14) || YouTube || Yes 1 || No 2 || Score = -1
Sakaguchi Seiji -vs- Andre the Giant (NJPW; 1974-03-19) || Video || Yes 1 || No 2 || Score = -1
Sakaguchi Seiji -vs- Antonio Inoki (NJPW; 1974-04-26) || Video || Yes 1 || No 2 || Score = -1
Antonio Inoki -vs- Lou Thesz (NJPW; 1975-10-09) || Video || Yes 1 || No 2 || Score = -1
Antonio Inoki -vs- Billy Robinson (NJPW; 1975-12-11) || Video || Yes 11 || No 0 || Score = 11
Antonio Inoki -vs- André the Giant (NJPW; 1977-11-09) || Video || Yes 3 || No 4 || Score = -1
Andre the Giant -vs- Antonio Inoki (NJPW; 1978-05-30) || YouTube || Yes 2 || No 0 || Score = 2
Antonio Inoki -vs- Bob Backlund (NJPW; 1978-06-01) || Video || Yes 1 || No 0 || Score = 1
Gou Ryūma -vs- Fujinami Tatsumi (NJPW; 1978-07-27) || Video || Yes 3 || No 1 || Score = 2
Antonio Inoki -vs- Bob Backlund (NJPW; 1978-07-27) || Video || Yes 3 || No 3 || Score = 0
Fujinami Tatsumi -vs- Tony Rocco (NJPW; 1978-10-06) || Video || Yes 1 || No 0 || Score = 1
Fujinami Tatsumi -vs- Chavo Guerrero Sr. (NJPW; 1978-10-20) || Video || Yes 2 || No 2 || Score = 0
Gou Ryūma -vs- Fujinami Tatsumi (NJPW; 1978-11-30) || Video || Yes 6 || No 0 || Score = 6
Antonio Inoki -vs- Hoshino Kantarō (NJPW; 1978-12-05) || Video || Yes 1 || No 2 || Score = -1
Andre the Giant -vs- Antonio Inoki (NJPW 1979-06-01) || Video || Yes 1 || No 0 || Score = 1
Gou Ryūma -vs- Fujinami Tatsumi (NJPW; 1979-10-02) || Video || Yes 7 || No 0 || Score = 7
Fujinami Tatsumi -vs- Hoshino Kantarō (NJPW in Seoul; 1979-10-05) || Video || Yes 4 || No 2 || Score = 2

All Japan Pro-Wrestling - 全日本プロレス
Giant Baba -vs- The Destroyer (AJPW; 1972-12-11) || Video || Yes 2 || No 1 || Score = 1
The Funks -vs- Giant Baba & Tsuruta Tomomi (AJPW; 1973-10-09) || Video || Yes 1 || No 1 || Score = 0
Mil Máscaras -vs- The Destroyer (AJPW; 1973-10-09) || Video || Yes 1 || No 0 || Score = 1
Jumbo Tsuruta -vs- Jack Brisco (AJPW; 1974-01-30) || Video || Yes 3 || No 2 || Score = 1
Mil Máscaras -vs- The Destroyer (AJPW; 1974-07-25) || Video || Yes 10 || No 1 || Score = 9
Jack Brisco -vs- Giant Baba (AJPW; 1974-12-02) || Video || Yes 1 || No 3 || Score = -2
Giant Baba & Jumbo Tsuruta -vs- The Funks (AJPW; 1975-03-13) || Video || Yes 6 || No 1 || Score = 5
The Destroyer -vs- Abdullah the Butcher (AJPW; 1975-10-12) || Video || Yes 1 || No 2 || Score = -1
The Destroyer -vs- Stan Hansen (AJPW; 1975-10-30) || Video || Yes 2 || No 3 || Score = -1
Don Leo Jonathon -vs- The Destroyer (AJPW; 1975-12-13) || Video || Yes 6 || No 2 || Score = 4
Pat O'Connor -vs- Dick Murdoch (AJPW; 1975-12-15) || Video || Yes 2 || No 1 || Score = 1
Dory Funk Jr. -vs- Horst Hoffmann (AJPW; 1975-12-15) || Video || Yes 6 || No 2 || Score = 4
Jumbo Tsuruta -vs- Terry Funk (AJPW; 1976-06-11) || Video || Yes 13 || No 0 || Score = 13
Giant Baba -vs- Billy Robinson (AJPW; 1976-07-24) || Video || Yes 12 || No 0 || Score = 12
Jumbo Tsuruta -vs- Jack Brisco (AJPW; 1976-08-28) || Video || Yes 3 || No 1 || Score = 2
Dick Murdoch -vs- Karl Kox (AJPW; 1976-12-09) || Video || Yes 5 || No 0 || Score = 5
Jumbo Tsuruta -vs- Billy Robinson (AJPW; 1977-03-05) || Video || Yes 8 || No 0 || Score = 8
Jumbo Tsuruta -vs- Billy Robinson (AJPW; 1977-03-11) || Video || Yes 6 || No 0 || Score = 6
Jumbo Tsuruta -vs- Harley Race (AJPW; 1977-06-11) || Video || Yes 4 || No 0 || Score = 4
Mil Máscaras -vs- Jumbo Tsuruta (AJPW; 1977-08-25) || Video || Yes 3 || No 1 || Score = 2
The Funks -vs- Billy Robinson & Horst Hoffman (AJPW; 1977-12-06) || Video (save-as) || Yes 6 || No 0 || Score = 6
The Funks -vs- Abdullah the Butcher & The Sheik (AJPW; 1977-12-15) || Video || Yes 6 || No 2 || Score = 4
Jumbo Tsuruta -vs- Harley Race (AJPW; 1978-01-20) || Video || Yes 1 || No 0 || Score = 1
Abdullah the Butcher vs. Billy Robinson (AJPW; 1978-10-18) || Video || Yes 1 || No 3 || Score = -2
The Funks -vs- Nick Bockwinkel & Blackjack Lanza (AJPW; 1978-12-05) || YouTube || Yes 5 || No 0 || Score = 5
The Funks -vs- Abdullah The Butcher & The Sheik (AJPW; 1978-12-09) || YouTube or Download || Yes 1 || No 3 || Score = -2
Giant Baba & Jumbo Tsuruta -vs- The Funks (AJPW; 1978-12-15) || Video || Yes 2 || No 0 || Score = 2
Nick Bockwinkle -vs- Jumbo Tsuruta (AJPW; 1979-02-14) || Video || Yes 1 || No 0 || Score = 1
Jumbo Tsuruta -vs- Dos Caras (AJPW; 1979-03-24) || Video (save-as) || Yes 2 || No 3 || Score = -1
Jumbo Tsuruta -vs- Dick Slater (AJPW; 1979-05-01) || Video || Yes 1 || No 0 || Score = 1
The Funks -vs- Abdullah The Butcher & The Sheik (AJPW; 1979-07-15) || YouTube or Download || Yes 7 || No 0 || Score = 7
Harley Race -vs- Giant Baba (AJPW; 1979-10-31) || Video || Yes 3 || No 1 || Score = 2
The Funks -vs- Giant Baba & Jumbo Tsuruta (AJPW; 1979-11-30) || Video || Yes 3 || No 2 || Score = 1
The Funks -vs- Mil Máscaras & Dos Caras (AJPW; 1979-12-07) || YouTube or Download || Yes 2 || No 1 || Score = 1
Giant Baba & Jumbo Tsuruta -vs- Mil Máscaras & Dos Caras (AJPW; 1979-12-13) || Video || Yes 2 || No 4 || Score = -2
The Funks -vs- Abdullah The Butcher & The Sheik (AJPW; 1979-12-13) || YouTube or Download || Yes 3 || No 2 || Score = 1

Japan Pro-Wrestling Association - 日本プロレス協会
Rikidozan -vs- Kimura Masahiko (JWA; 1954-12-22) || Video || Yes 2 || No 1 || Score = 1
Rikidozan, Toyonobori & Giant Baba -vs- Killer Kowalski, Gino Marella & Killer X (JWA; 1963-03-27) || Video || Yes 1 || No 3 || Score = -2
The Destroyer -vs- Toyonobori (JWA; 1965-02-26) || Video || Yes 1 || No 2 || Score = 0
Giant Baba -vs- Fritz Von Erich (JWA; 1966-12-03) || Video || Yes 2 || No 0 || Score = 2
Giant Baba -vs- Bruno Sammartino (JWA; 1967-03-07) || Video || Yes 6 || No 1 || Score = 5
Giant Baba -vs- Gene Kiniski (JWA; 1967-08-14) || Video || Yes 4 || No 0 || Score = 4
Giant Baba -vs- Bruno Sammartino (JWA; 1968-08-07) || Video || Yes 1 || No 2 || Score = -1
Giant Baba -vs- The Destroyer (JWA; 1969-03-05) || Video || Yes 9 || No 0 || Score = 9
Antonio Inoki -vs- Chris Markoff (JWA; 1969-05-16) || Part 1 Part 2 & Part 3 || Yes 3 || No 0 || Score = 2
Antonio Inoki -vs- Dory Funk Jr. (JWA; 1969-12-02) || Video || Yes 2 || No 0 || Score = 2
Antonio Inoki -vs- Dory Funk Jr. (JWA; 1970-08-02) || Video || Yes 1 || No 0 || Score = 1
Antonio Inoki -vs- Jack Brisco (JWA; 1971-08-05) || Video || Yes 4 || No 1 || Score = 3
Antonio Inoki -vs- Dick Murdoch (JWA; 1971-12-04) || Video || Yes 3 || No 0 || Score = 3

International Wrestling Enterprise - 国際プロレス
Animal Hamaguchi -vs- Mighty Inoue (IWE; 1973-09-26) || Video || Yes 2 || No 3 || Score = -1
Billy Robinson -vs- Verne Gagne (IWE; 1974-11-20) || Video || Yes 8 || No 0 || Score = 8
Yamamoto Kotetsu & Hoshino Kantarō -vs- Animal Hamaguchi & Mighty Inoue (IWE; 1979-01-29) || Video || Yes 4 || No 3 || Score = 1
Yamamoto Kotetsu & Hoshino Kantarō -vs- Animal Hamaguchi & Mighty Inoue (IWE; 1979-02-23) || Video || Yes 4 || No 3 || Score = 1

Miscellaneous
Jumbo Tsuruta -vs- Rusher Kimura (AJPW & IWE; 1976-03-28) || Video || Yes 8 || No 0 || Score = 8

This post has been edited by Daniel: 17 December 2012 - 12:33 AM
Reason for edit: Scores updated

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#2 User is offline   gordi 

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 03:23 PM

Nominating: Billy Robinson vs. Giant Baba 07/24/76, The Destroyer vs. Giant Baba 03/05/69, Harley Race vs. Giant Baba 10/31/79, Jack Brisco vs. Giant Baba 12/02/74.

You know how we had that whole thing about re-evaluating Taue? Well, get ready to multiply that by a factor of several hundred. There are still people in the world who consider themselves pro wrestling fans but who think of Baba as an emaciated old tall guy throwing weak chops and... Man... At his peak Giant Baba was easily one of the best pro wrestlers in the world, and his peak lasted a pretty long time. Here are four no-fooling **GREAT** pro wrestling matches from the full decade leading up to the 80s. The Robinson match is a legit contender to come out at the very top of our final list. It just might be the birthplace of the King's Road style, I mean the actual source spring from which all that subsequent greatness flowed. The Destroyer match is perhaps the apotheosis of that classic "Japanese Hero vs. Gaijin Invader" formula that was the original basis for the birth of puroresu itself. So, if seeing the second peak if the original Japanese pro wrestling formula (Rikidozan vs. Fred Blassie was the first great peak) and the birthplace of the greatest style of Main Event pro wrestling ever isn't enough, how about one more match that sincerely belong among the best of all time: Race stands out for making Baba look better than anyone else ever did in the ring, and the match is a total barn-burner. It's one of the matches I'd show to my educated friends who found it ridiculous that I consider pro wrestling an art form. Race vs. Baba opened some eyes! Finally, the Brisco match is perhaps a half-step down from the other three in my opinion, but has great historical importance and maybe the best mat-work you'll ever see out of Baba. I can hardly wait to watch these again and compare opinions with you guys! In particular when watching these: Check out how each and every move actually means something. If that sounds to you like kind of a stupid thing to say, I'm willing to bet it will make perfect sense after you've watched these matches.

This post has been edited by gordi: 31 August 2011 - 03:49 PM

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#3 User is offline   gordi 

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 03:47 PM

Nominating: Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Terry Funk 06/11/76, Jumbo Tsuruta v Jack Brisco 08/28/76, Jumbo Tsuruta vs Rusher Kimura 03/28/76, Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Giant Baba 05/01/76.

Baba's protege was also a pretty good pro wrestler! '76 is a great year for Jumbo matches, because you get to see him in the role of young feisty talented underdog which probably isn't the role that first leaps to mind when you think of Tsuruta. If I was a betting man (I'm not), and if Vegas had a line on what match will win this poll (I'm pretty sure they don't), I'd lay all my money on the Terry Funk vs. Jumbo match I've listed here. It's pretty much perfect pro wrestling, with supremely beautiful counters and transitions and some of the finest chain wrestling you'll ever see. Personally, I actually somwhat prefer the Brisco match. The third fall, with Jumbo fighting back from his knees after having his leg worked over mercilessly, is one of the highest expressions of the art of selling that I've ever seen. Also, this match makes perfect use of the three falls as a way to structure a match in three acts. It's another match I'd honestly consider a true work of art. The Kimura match is probably the defining Japanese inter-promotional match of the 1970s. The Baba match is just wonderful to watch if you've seen how Jumbo treated Kawada and Kobashi when they were starting out. Baba does the same here, giving a ton but also cutting young Jumbo off and showing who is boss. It's a trip seeing the shoe on the other foot, and for that reason it's probably one of the most easily enjoyable matches from this period.

This post has been edited by gordi: 31 August 2011 - 11:47 PM

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#4 User is offline   Matt 

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Posted 01 September 2011 - 06:01 AM

Good timing, I've been going through the JWA/70s AJ Ditch has, I'm at the 75 World League. Fresh in my mind:

Yes to Baba/Destroyer 69 for sure.


Nominating: 7/25/74 - The Destroyer vs. Mil Mascaras: Mat wrestling at its absolute finest between two of the best ever.
12/13/75 - Don Leo Jonathon vs. The Destroyer - Might be my favourite match so far. Destroyer is the underdog against the surprisingly incredible (surprisingly because I'd never heard of him before) DLJ and his fight from survival to trying to lock in the Figure Four is a wonderful story.
1-30-74 - NWA Title - 2/3 - Jack Brisco © vs. Jumbo Tsuruta - This was fantastic as is, but add in the fact that Jumbo has but 10 months experience at this point, incredible! The "OH!"s are endless and it is simply a treat to watch him hang with and have a great, great match with the world champ.
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#5 User is offline   Daniel 

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Posted 01 September 2011 - 11:52 AM

Ah boys! Getting this off to such a good start sends a love letter addressed directly to my soul~!

Baba/Destroyer '69 is another clear Yes from me. One of the amazing things about the match is how incredibly well they could keep my attention right the way through. We've seen pro wrestling 'explode' into more and more dramatic material, but the simplicity and subtleties in this match trump any highspots focused build when it comes to really rewarding your viewing efforts. The execution and selling are really sound and believable, which is sometimes an obstacle when it comes to the earlier days of puroresu - but not here! Seeing Destroyer on All Together was really sweet, and he's definitely a 'great' gaijin wrestler.
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#6 User is offline   Matt 

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Posted 01 September 2011 - 12:37 PM

This list is going to be absolutely phenomenal and will hopefully help to educate us and others on some of the early careers of the 80s stars and the primes of the older guard. I'm most excited to see the gaijins, personally. Can anyone tell me if that JWA set floating around is worth picking up?

****1/2 and up will be my cut-off to make that amount of matches most likely. That said, this is the last of that quality I've seen since I started watching/re-watching these matches a few months ago (up to the end of AJ-stream '75 only).

Nominate: 3/13/75 - Baba/Jumbo vs. The Funks - They had met (once?) before, but this is the first classic they'd have. Fantastic pace, clean finish, unique double teams and that third fall is the perfect climax!

This post has been edited by KawadaFan83: 01 September 2011 - 12:38 PM

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#7 User is offline   gordi 

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Posted 02 September 2011 - 01:20 PM

View PostKawadaFan83, on 01 September 2011 - 12:37 PM, said:



Nominate: 3/13/75 - Baba/Jumbo vs. The Funks - They had met (once?) before, but this is the first classic they'd have. Fantastic pace, clean finish, unique double teams and that third fall is the perfect climax!


Pretty easy YES from me. I imagine we'll probably have four matches from this pairing on the final list (this one, and their '77, '78, and '79 RWTL matches). It'll be interesting to see what order they finish in relative to one another!

Loved the suplex-and-double-team-rich third fall in this one, LOVED Jumbo in the Ricky Morton role...

I found that there were one or two rough-ish spots in the early going (Worst one, unless I just miss-saw something: There was a move that looked like Terry was going for a jumping knee pat that Jumbo didn't seem to reverse, but Terry ended up selling the effects of the move... I'm not sure at all what they were going for there). That might be enough to knock this out of the single-digit area on my list since I guess we'll have to be darned picky to be able to rank so many truly awesome old-school matches.

This post has been edited by gordi: 04 October 2011 - 02:37 PM

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#8 User is offline   gordi 

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Posted 02 September 2011 - 02:34 PM

View PostKawadaFan83, on 01 September 2011 - 06:01 AM, said:


12/13/75 - Don Leo Jonathan vs. The Destroyer - Might be my favourite match so far. Destroyer is the underdog against the surprisingly incredible (surprisingly because I'd never heard of him before) DLJ and his fight from survival to trying to lock in the Figure Four is a wonderful story.



That's another YES from me.

What a joy it was for me to watch this match! my first experiences with pro wrestling were as a little kid watching NWA All Star Wrestling (The local Vancouver promotion) on TV as a little kid in the mid-1970s. Even at that age, it was clear that Gene Kiniski and Don Leo Jonathan were something special. They were the guys whose charisma lit up the small screen and made me into a pro wrestling fan. I didn't realize it at the time, but both men had been wrestling for over two decades at that time! Don Leo made his debut in 1949!!

Keep that in mind as you watch this match.

It's astonishing to see Jonathan pulling out his "very agile for his enormous size" move-set here, in his 26th year of pro wrestling. Having just watched the Baba's epic battle with The Destroyer, I got a kick out of seeing Jonathan use similar tactics to desperately evade the Figure Four. Basically, the first part of the match is all Don Leo working headlocks, the second part is all full nelsons, and the finale is Beyer trying to lock in the figure four and Jonathan doing everything in his (not inconsiderable) power to avoid it. For such a simple, basic match structure it's a wildly entertaining match, highlighted by Destroyer's low-key sense of humour and Don Leo's kip-ups and back-flips.

I'm getting the feeling that we're all going to come out of this project as big fans of The Destroyer. He seems to have an amazing ability to adjust to any kind of in-ring style and put on a killer match with just about anyone from this era. His matches with Hoffman and Toyonobori are pretty great cases-in-point. Ditch has both of them. There's also a tremendous basic-but-great match featuring a young blonde curly-haired Stan Hansen vs. The Destroyer that's well worth seeking out. I don't think Ditch has that one up at the moment, though. I hope I'm wrong about that!

This post has been edited by gordi: 03 September 2011 - 02:27 AM

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#9 User is offline   gordi 

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Posted 03 September 2011 - 12:49 AM

Nominating: Inoki vs Andre the Giant, NJ, 11/9/77:

Not a **GREAT** match, but a damned interesting one and potentially a very good list-filler. Still-mobile Andre is a real joy to watch. In this match, it's almost all simple mat work from The Boss, but as David quite correctly points out in his match description, Andre really knows how to use his size to make basic holds look interesting and dangerous. It's kind of similar to Don Leo vs. The Destroyer, in that it's largely a big man using his size and power advantage to utterly overwhelm a superior technician. The Don Leo match will finish higher on my ballot, because it's more of a balanced match and they did a much better job setting up the predictable 70s ending.

I'll also predict that the sheer number of DCOR and other Broadway finishes will be the biggest downside of this project. The upside of that, however, is that I think I'm already gaining a renewed appreciation fro the "all clean finishes" booking that Akira Maeda introduced and Baba eventually adopted... and that we all take very much for granted these days.

This post has been edited by gordi: 03 September 2011 - 02:28 AM

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#10 User is offline   gordi 

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Posted 03 September 2011 - 06:35 AM

Nominating: Baba & Jumbo Ricky Morton vs Mil Mascaras & Alberto "Dos Caras" Del Rio, Sr. RWTL '79 (I don't have an exact date yet):

Upside: Very fast-paced by 70 standards, great "Jumbo in Peril" sequences, plenty of exotic Mexican pro wrestling holds, a HOT crowd, a monster pop when Baba gets the hot tag, an exciting and creative clean finish. Downside: Mascaras really shows how he earned that rep as a guy who is terribly selfish in the ring.

This post has been edited by gordi: 03 September 2011 - 09:34 AM

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#11 User is offline   Daniel 

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Posted 03 September 2011 - 11:19 AM

Does anyone have an exact date? In any case, I'm about to go link-finding, then possibly watch some of these if I can get through some more of my money-work project.
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#12 User is offline   gordi 

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Posted 03 September 2011 - 11:53 AM

View PostDaniel, on 03 September 2011 - 11:19 AM, said:

Does anyone have an exact date? In any case, I'm about to go link-finding, then possibly watch some of these if I can get through some more of my money-work project.



December 13, 1979.
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#13 User is offline   gordi 

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Posted 03 September 2011 - 12:15 PM

Nominating: The Funks vs Baba & Jumbo, RWTL '79 (I'm pretty sure this was from the first day of the tournament, thus 11/30/79):

As I said, I won't be surprised if most ballots have four matches with these two teams facing off. What stands out in this iteration: Terry's crazy bumping and selling, Some great highspots including a dropkick and later a backdrop from Terry on Jumbo outside the ring and a backdrop by Junior on Baba inside the ring that's also a tremendous visual, a lack of mat-work and a big emphasis on submission holds: Camel Clutch, Abdominal Stretch, and of course the Spinning Toe Hold, A very hot crowd again, including several Japanese girls dressed like cheerleaders going nuts for... ... ... Terry!!

Currently, I have this ranked right below the '75 match that KF83 nominated (It just held my attention a bit better, but that may be because I'm mildly 70s'd out at the moment. I have lots of match-watching time due to the typhoon keeping me indoors). I'm curious to see how others rank them relative to one another.
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#14 User is offline   Daniel 

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Posted 03 September 2011 - 01:24 PM

View Postgordi, on 03 September 2011 - 12:15 PM, said:

I have lots of match-watching time due to the typhoon keeping me indoors


Unexpected positive consequence of shitty Japanese weather! :D/>

England is desperately trying to persuade me not to go back to Australia by being sunny and warm today. I shall be doing no wrestling watching as my tv room is a sun-room as well, meaning you can't see ANYTHING on the screen if the sun is out. This evening will be final All Together viewing + 70s puroresu bonanza. For me, this is pretty damn exciting as I haven't see all that much material from to the 80s. My eyes shall be opened; my world lit up!
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#15 User is offline   Aaron 

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Posted 04 September 2011 - 12:36 PM

View Postgordi, on 31 August 2011 - 03:47 PM, said:

Nominating: Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Terry Funk 06/11/76

Baba's protege was also a pretty good pro wrestler! '76 is a great year for Jumbo matches, because you get to see him in the role of young feisty talented underdog which probably isn't the role that first leaps to mind when you think of Tsuruta. If I was a betting man (I'm not), and if Vegas had a line on what match will win this poll (I'm pretty sure they don't), I'd lay all my money on the Terry Funk vs. Jumbo match I've listed here. It's pretty much perfect pro wrestling, with supremely beautiful counters and transitions and some of the finest chain wrestling you'll ever see.

Yes to this, however, I found the three falls to be far too disconnected from each other. It was a problem I wasn't expecting to see from these guys, but see it I did. The first fall is absurdly great and features a fantastic struggle for control. Jumbo in control is active & alert and mostly all of Funk's cutoff attempts are awesome. It built expectations high for the inevitably successful Funk comeback, and while it wasn't great I was okay with the finish they had. Second fall though, I'm struggling to find many redeeming qualities about. Funk takes control without as much struggle, which makes kayfabe sense considering who's champ but wasn't great to watch. The best thing I can say about the second fall is that it returned both wrestlers to equal footing with each other, thus making the third fall make sense for the struggle of control that it was. So, first fall = great, second fall = weak and third fall = good. More than enough for a yes, but it's not without its flaws.
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#16 User is offline   Daniel 

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Posted 09 September 2011 - 09:49 PM

View Postgordi, on 31 August 2011 - 03:47 PM, said:

Nominating: Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Terry Funk 06/11/76


It's summer in Japan, it's stinky sweaty and hot. Perfect for a summer classic.

The start to this is really smartly worked. They're actual fighting for control of each other's head/neck. Actual wrestling! They work even until Funk gets the advantage through wily means. Love it! His catch-style rides are grimace-inducing stuff. He follows with a fabulous knee drop. Then came the test of strength spots. Funk is selling it so well. The girls in the crowd are going silly over what would otherwise be a resthold. THIS is working. How are they making me, in 2011 mark out for that? Damn. :blush:/>

The arm drag counters to Jumbo's first pinfall attempt were slick as anything. Boy this is good already. Jumbo's control segments could be better, but then he goes for this arm-bar (in the old catch terminology, none of this BJJ bs!) clutch pin fall that looks painful (Funk's selling again, wow!). They escalate to the first fall and I'm going silly. Over leapfrogs, a rolling clutch and a sunset flip pin.

"Nippon Shoubu" is the question mark Aaron raised about quality. I'm not sure Funk needs to sell much at all here because he's champ (as Aaron pointed out) but also because he was flash pinned, rather than beat down. When Funk starts running the match, we get these fantastic old school piledrivers and so on. These are sold as meaningful, and I have no problem with the way Funk comes back into control. Funk also starts bending the rules, which makes perfect sense in the context of losing the first fall as the champ. Plus, the headlock stuff is really nice.

Funk sells Tsuruta's rather mediocre strikes like death. Takes that sick bump over the ropes. Funk kicks out of the brainbuster that you could just about buy as a pinfall, then counters the cobra body twist into a rolling cobra twist rolling cradle hold. ACTION REPLAY~!! Oh man that was good.

"Sanbon Shoubu" - Solid stuff battling over the side clutch throws. Then Funk sells a European uppercut like it's Stan Hansen wearing a Misawa elbow. OH MAN this is great. Surprised the crowd didn't lose their shit for it, I did. Jumbo sells the backdrop nearly as well (which is bloody well!) which could have been the third fall without complaint. Jumbo loses his way a tiny bit after that, with a couple of big throws that don't really seem necessary. Then we got the obligatory old school weird finish.

Easy Yes. Not only that... 92%. Great. A serious contender for the top of my list. Some of the selling is beautiful, and it all serves the way they milk simple (but very very good) wrestling into something highly dramatic. Some great counters as well. This isn't a Terry carry job, as Tsuruta was really good at times, but Funk is absolutely spectacular.
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#17 User is offline   Aaron 

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Posted 10 September 2011 - 04:53 PM

I have it at 83-85%. I'm even more convinced it's not a classic after what I just watched. Watch this and tell me that Funk/Jumbo is comparable. In my mind, this SMOKES it.

View PostKawadaFan83, on 01 September 2011 - 06:01 AM, said:

Nominating: 7/25/74 - The Destroyer vs. Mil Mascaras: Mat wrestling at its absolute finest between two of the best ever.

Yes isn't a strong enough word to describe what I felt watching this. I was blown away by so much. They work the mat for 15 minutes and rarely does it stray from equal competition. They're JUST as good as each other. With lesser workers you'd start to question if they were accomplishing anything, because lesser workers can't engage themselves in a struggle for control as good as this one. These guys can because they're awesome. I was also marvelling at the fact that they could insert moments of graceful athleticism from Mascaras while working the mat and never once did it feel like an exhibition. The first fall has two things that become important later. 1) Destroyer is going for a figure four and 2) Destroyer's advantage is in his strikes, which is what leads him to victory.

Second fall, and Mascaras is reeling. He's hurting, and he needs to get it back on the mat where he was at least equal to Destroyer. He can't deal with Destroyer's strikes! Watching him try to contain Destroyer to the mat was really cool, and watching Destroyer escape his holds was even better. There's a sequence where they're just testing the LIMITS of their leg strength that was absolutely amazing. Mascaras varies it up, hits some big spots and keeps his game plan unpredictable. The best way to even the score, says I.

Third fall, and Mascaras is eager to continue the strategy that won him the previous fall, so he brings out the piledrivers. But Destroyer gets back in it, and desperation calls for that figure four. That figure four that was teased in the first fall! The teases in the third fall are on another level, and when he eventually locked it in I was cheering like crazy. GREAT escape route and having the referee pry them apart was such a nice touch. Mascaras strives to dodge Destroyer while selling the damage, and then they return to equal footing with the double shoulder block spots. Best use of that spot I've ever seen. They could have done more to milk some drama in the aftermath of the figure four, but honestly at that point it would have taken a LOT to sour me on the match. I don't even care about the weird old school finish. The biggest thing they could have delivered on was the build up to the figure four and in that respect they delivered above and beyond. Best build up to a 'finisher' I think I've ever seen.

Rating: 93%

If I ever find 10 pro wrestling matches I like more than this I'll be stunned. If anything else overtakes this for the pre-1980s list I'll be stunned. I love this match.
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#18 User is offline   Daniel 

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 03:40 PM

Mil Mascaras -vs- The Destroyer (AJPW; 1974-07-25)

Seems like Aaron and I reverse roles! I was a little under-whelmed by this. I still think it's outstanding, but not 'great'. The first warning signal to me was that a lot of the early grappling looked good, but lacked the sense of competition that I enjoyed so much in Funk/Jumbo. Destroyer is always at least slightly light-hearted, and Mascaras is more of the lucha variety than a strict grappler. The work was fine, and interesting, but I didn't really start to care about it until they raised the tempo.

The first two falls were both good, but there weren't any Daniel-marking-out moments outside of the big knee-drop highspot. I was also a little drawn out of the action when I felt Destroyer was underselling the piledrivers from Mascaras. There's a noticeable difference between the selling of Funk and Destroyer.

The non-finish also loses it a couple of points because it was a little weird to think of how he was supposed to have pulled his groin from that collision.

I think it boils down to what things you could really get into, or what things pulled you out of the match a little. I'd have this at 85% (which makes it a serious MOTYC if it occured in 2011) but I don't think it's quite enjoyable enough or flawless enough to sit in the upper echelon. Might even slip off my ballot depending on what else I really get into. It's very good though. Yes.
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#19 User is offline   Aaron 

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 04:03 PM

Someone else needs to vote and tell us which match is better. Destroyer match will win!
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#20 User is offline   Aaron 

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 08:59 PM

More Destroyer love:

Baba/Destroyer '69 gets a comfortable yes from me. This didn't have me jumping like the Mácaras match did but few matches will do that to the same degree. Still there's too many positives here to deny its quality. Baba boasts great offense, I especially liked his most concentrated attempt to de-mask the Destroyer. He's strong on transitions and trapping his opponent in holds unexpectedly. Destroyer is great in his heel ways and when he's trying to escape Baba's holds. They hold your attention all the way through and there's a solid finish by old school standards. It should do just fine in rankings.

Destroyer/Don Leo Jonathan is another yes. Just plain fun. They brought it to life with their charisma, and Jonathon's agility makes a simple story immensely enjoyable even if you've seen the same idea in wrestling dozens of times before. The figure four evasions were fun, they had a good sense of when to insert humour and the finish felt strangely appropriate given how equal they had established it as being.

View Postgordi, on 02 September 2011 - 02:34 PM, said:

I'm getting the feeling that we're all going to come out of this project as big fans of The Destroyer. He seems to have an amazing ability to adjust to any kind of in-ring style and put on a killer match with just about anyone from this era. His matches with Hoffman and Toyonobori are pretty great cases-in-point. Ditch has both of them. There's also a tremendous basic-but-great match featuring a young blonde curly-haired Stan Hansen vs. The Destroyer that's well worth seeking out. I don't think Ditch has that one up at the moment, though. I hope I'm wrong about that!

I'm with you on this. I'll have to watch more to be totally convinced of his versatility, but so far it's been all positive. His strengths are on the mat, teasing drama around the figure four, and the charisma he brings to the ring. And I love it all. The Toyonobori match is apparently a complete Destroyer carry job, and it lasts for an hour! If I find myself entertained by that for the duration then I can't see there being any argument not acknowledging Destroyer as being very very good.
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