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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

1981 Match of the Year

Andre the Giant v. Stan Hansen NJPW 9/23/81

PAS: The greatest King Kong v. Godzilla match in wrestling history and that is one of the most fun styles of wrestling ever. Worked exactly as you want it to be, both guys hurl right into each other, Hansen is so awesome here, you can't turn a sledgehammer into a scalpel, so he going to smash right into Andre even if a monster comes calling. One thing I noticed re-watching this was how great Andre is at working simple holds, when he grabs an arm it really feels like he is going to rip it off and floss with it. The restart and Andre killing the ref for a DQ were perfect spots for this match, no reason to think this war would be contained by the rules, and it made perfect sense that this would end with both guys smashing the ring boys trying to keep them apart. Andre getting hit with the lariat and spilling outside only to come back to kill the ref was a great bit of business. Hansen finally hit Goliath with the slingshot (although this match was more Goliath v. smaller Goliath) and when you wound a maddog he is going to lash out. Not an enormous fan of Face Andre, but Evil violent Andre is one of my favorite wrestlers ever, and this is one of his masterpieces.

ER: My #1 match from the New Japan 80s set! Monster vs monster, hoss vs. hoss, two enormous men bashing the hell out of each other. There's too much I love about this and it's no different from what everybody else loves about it. Andre ripping at the arm is so amazing to see in this modern day of Catch Point, because as he was bending and wringing out that lariat arm it looked exactly the same as somebody like Gulak or Thatcher doing it. Andre as Billy Robinson just seems unfair. The Hansen elbow drop that Andre turns into an armbar just incredible. I love all of Andre's bumping. As I watched it I tried to think why Big Show's bumping never hit me on the same level as Andre's did. Big Show was bigger, it should be more impressive! But I think it never hit me as much because Big Show is taking bumps, whereas Andre looks like a man trying not to fall. Big Show bumps like a giant version of anybody. Andre looks like a real time avalanche. The bump to the floor off the lariat was perfection, his fall into the ropes from Hansen's opening match short lariat was perfect (with him falling into Hansen, into the ropes), his teetering and lumbering and stumbling were perfect. Hansen would batter him with these short strikes and every time Andre would eventually grab at him and just knock him silly. Both men completely understood everything about what would make this work: They knew how fans saw them, Hansen knew he was a monster, Andre knew Hansen was a monster, Andre knew he was the bigger monster, Hansen knew Andre was the bigger monster. Seems easy, but there are so many wrestlers that work the same match regardless of opponent, that seeing two guys with massive presence, that both fully grasped WHY they both worked so well, is just a wrestling gift. This match will be hard to beat.

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Jetlag said...

1981 recs -

- Terry Funk vs. Lawler matches from Memphis - you know what these are

- Memphis Tupelo brawl maybe? If you are a fan of it

- Jean Corne/Rene Cabellec vs. Jacky Richard/Guy Renault (France 10/12)

- Jon Cortez vs. Steve Grey from World of Sport - likely the best 80s WoS match

- Terry Rudge vs. Alan Kilby from WoS - awesome Terry Rudge master heel performance

- Jaguar Yokota & Jackie Sato vs. Jumbo Hori & Nancy Kumi (AJW) - "technical" girl wrestling with some fantastic stuff in it & one of the best 80s AJW matches

- Otto Wanz vs. Sailor White (Moondog King) - fat guy slugfest with a brutal violent finish. Probably a few restholds too many though but a fun match

4:35 PM  

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