Segunda Caida

Phil Schneider, Eric Ritz, Matt D and occasional guests write about pro wrestling. Follow us @segundacaida

Thursday, July 15, 2010

New Japan 80s Top 30 Countdown! Match #26

Match #26: Antonio Inoki vs. Dick Murdoch, 6/19/86

OK, cards on the table: I had this match at #107 on my ballot. For a Murdoch singles match, I thought his match against Fujinami from 7/6/82 blew this one out of the water (I had that one at #31, it finished #68). But this shit right here is a democracy, and the people spoke and they thought this was #26. Maybe Disc 9 was just really bad (it DID have to follow the unreal asskicking festival that Disc 8 delivered to us), but maybe I just got distracted by some shiny objects (raccoon-style!) during the 30 minutes of match #26.

But that was then, and this is with fresh eyes. We're going at it a 3rd time. Unbiased, unaffected, ready and willing to give YOU your 26th favorite match of New Japan's 80s (and 6th favorite from New Japan's 1986).

Inoki doesn't have his slick pompadour here and instead has a buzzcut. Huh. Opening staredown/circling was pretty entertaining, with Murdoch pointing at him to cut the crap and engage him (I assume). Dick snaps and starts with the bodyslams, then the knees in the tree of woe, then a BOSS elbowdrop across the throat and who CAN'T get behind that!?

Inoki's hair is buzzed but Dick's is getting long and kinda combed forward. While working Inoki's arm he kinda resembles a crazy Capt. Kangaroo, just clubbering and working that arm. Inoki has to take a 2nd breather, stretching out said arm and selling it pretty admirably. the fine selling continues as he rubs his elbow a bit while attempting to grasp a chinlock.

Dick continues just hanging onto that arm for somewhere between 1 and 9 minutes, and finally Inoki just kinda scoots into the ropes and takes another powder. Murdoch is sick of the constant breaks in his "holding Inoki by the arm" clinic and follows after him, throwing Inoki arm first into the guardrail (which wimpily gives way and totally minimizes the impact and Murdoch has a disappointed look on his face that reads "should have thrown him into the ringpost").

Inoki beats the count and hits his first offense, a nice enziguiri that places foot to face, and dammit if there's one thing Dick fucking Murdoch knows how to do, it's sell awesome head-based offense. He wheels around 180 with the impact and faceplants, legs splayed. Inoki starts bringing the straight rights and Murdoch goes spaghetti leg and crumbles in neat new ways after every one of them. Another enziguiri and things and looking up for Inoki, but he cockily goes for a brainbuster only to have Murdoch wisely small package him.

Dick bails to the corner and Inoki just runs and kicks him right in the face. Inoki tries it again and Dick shows how much more awesome his straight right hand is and socks Inoki in the gums.

My FAVORITE spot in the match comes immediately following, when Murdoch goes for an immediate fistdrop only for Inoki to counter with a NASTY upkick which staggers Dick. Yes, please.

Inoki foolishly goes for a knee off the top and Dick rolls out of the way, gives him a big back suplex, and starts bringing the even bigger rights and Inokie starts firing back and the cameraman truly hates me as Dick staggers all the way across the ring into the opposite corner after one of them, but he HAD to show Inoki reacting to Dick staggering, INSTEAD of Dick staggering. That's like porno flicks that show the dude's face during the money shot. I have to imagine the demand for that is very little, so why does it happen? Do NOT cut away from Murdoch stooging!!

Murdoch ramps up the arm work at this point, really wrenching in a Fujiwara armbar to the point Inoki's arm is perpendicular behind his body. Inoki tries to whip him into the corner, but Dick throws a fine back elbow, drops another on him, and goes back to that arm, ELBOWING Inoki with the same fucking arm he's using to armbar him! THAT is awesome. Inoki tries rolling to the floor again, and Murdoch calmly follows and just SLAMS Inoki's arm into the apron. Ouch.

We roll back in and Inoki gets a flash dropkick, and the cameraman learned his lesson as Dick does a full-on arms flailing, backpedaling semi-circle around 2/3 of the ring before flopping. Thank you. Inoki chops Dick in the face and nails the vertical suplex and then starts kicking at the leg (which Murdoch staggers and limps around on very believably. Dick's desperately trying to drag Inoki down by his bum wing, but Inoki's just picking the leg apart while Dick won't let the arm go.

Dick eats some rights and the spit goes flying, so Dick suckers him into the ropes and bumrushes him to the floor, and then just POSTS Inoki while running with him over his shoulder. Inoki's busted open and Dick starts punching the cut and then nails the Cattle Branding.

Dick misses a dropkick and Inoki capitalizes with some kneedrops and Dick is a toothless sweaty mess at this point. He keeps getting more and more gassed, while Inoki seems to always have some energy in reserve! He tries to post him again but Inoki escapes out the back and shoves Dick hard into the post! Dick's on his last legs and we go to the Octopus, but Inoki sets up too close to the ropes and Dick hiptosses him over!

Back in and Murdoch hits the most beautiful delayed brainbuster for a great nearfall. Inoki staggers him with some kicks and Murdoch does a hilariously awesome delayed somersault bump. It went enziguiri...stagger...stagger...somersault and it ruled!!

Somebody blows something and Murdoch doesn't kick out or something and the ref just stops counting and the fans go apeshit at Inoki's....uh....victory (?) and streamers are thrown, and then they do the actual finish to almost dead silence. Hmmm. Well that's a shame.

Inoki's still selling the arm afterwards and gets handed about 13 different certificates, belts, trophies, giant checks, yellow blazers, participation ribbons, tubs of rice, and has to shake hands with a bunch of people. I have no clue what's going on. Murdoch is just kinda lingering in the corner waiting to be acknowledged or something while reps from every local business give gifts to Inoki.

You know, this was a good match, but I really wish the arm work went somewhere. It's not the Inoki didn't sell it, because he did, really nicely. But it didn't really affect anything other than the length of the match. It didn't prevent Inoki from hitting any moves, and it didn't make him think twice about even attempting to hit movies. Murdoch was like a fighter who goes in with a strategy and even after 10-15 minutes when that strategy has proven ineffective, he still stubbornly sticks to his guns. It's amusing to watch those guys get tooled, but doesn't always make things exciting. If we trim some fat and throw in some more clubbing and bleeding and stumbling, I would have dug this even more. Even so, it was a real entertaining match.


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