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Thursday, October 13, 2016

1975 Match of the Year

The Destroyer v. The Spirit AJPW 7/25/75

ER: I had never seen Kox as The Spirit, although it was not uncommon for him to work as The Spirit in AJPW. But right when I see him in his black mask, looking like Timothy Carey playing an executioner, I'm hoping against hope that we'll get some loaded mask cheating. And we do. Match starts slow but very satisfying, with some really cool controlled strength matwork. It's far slower than all this hot Catch Point stuff we're all used to, but I really dug it. It's all a long old man strength test, with little one ups peppered in, each man just trying to muscle the other down. Kox locks his arms in a cool way I've never seen, behind Destroyer's back so that he can roll him into an uncomfortable upside down position. Destroyer reverses a couple times so both men end up sorta twisted. Destroyer kneels on Kox's throat, and Kox comes up popping him with his punches that I love so much. All the lock ups in this felt tight, felt tough, and would always end with one of them tossing a punch, an elbow, a headbutt; Kox starts ripping at Destroyer's right eye and busts him open with a loaded mask headbutt, and Destroyer starts bleeding through his mask. We go through a long and wonderful hide the weapon portion, with each man hiding somewhere between 1 and 4 weapons between them, loading their masks and their fists. Kox starts picking apart Destroyer with loaded shots and Destroyer is great falling into the ropes, onto his knees, getting knocked to the floor. Dick gets his own weapon and Kox is great whipping himself into the mat off loaded headbutts, and always eventually turns the tide by punching back to offense. Punching, headbutting, kicking Beyer in the face and chest as he's falling from punches. At one point Kox goes to plant his knee in Beyer's face and Beyer moves, and these old dudes are tough so they don't wear kneepads, meaning them knees get planted right into the mat. Destroyer pounces on Kox's hurt knee, and locks on one of the best figure 4s you've seen (on the correct leg!), and Kox does a great scramble to the ropes. Ending is a little surprising as Jumbo finally has enough of The Spirit's cheating, grabs his leg, which leads directly to Destroyer rolling him up with a super snug cradle to win the third fall. I could see some people not liking this, but this match was right in my wheelhouse. From the early stalemate tough old guy mat work, to all the loaded masks and fists, I loved it. There were no slams of any kind, no suplexes, minimal bumps (Destroyer had a big one to the floor and Kox bumped big a couple times off loaded mask shots), just two brutes elbowing eye sockets and wearing the other out.

PAS: End of the road Killer Karl Kox might be one of my favorite wrestlers ever. Just a nasty old bastard who will split your eyebrow with a right hand or knee you in the throat. I also loved the early matwork portion too, nothing fancy, nothing tricky but really impactful. These are a pair of old dudes with crazy tendon strength and it was fun to watch them struggle in tests of strength in weird angles. Wrestling matches are full of traditional knuckle lock tests of strength, these guys were struggling from their back or their knees. Then we get the great mask hiding foreign object section. Destroyer is an old master at that and it is fun to see him have to deal with someone using his own tricks on him. It is like a Lawler match with the heel hiding a chain too. Every one of those foreign object shots were extra violent looking, the headbutts were sold like they should be, and the chain assisted punches really thudded. These no bump Kox matches are the best, I could watch him not bump forever.

All Time MOTY List

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