Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Vader Maims Japan!

These are the early days of his destruction, evidence why he was, arguably, best big man in the history of the business, as well as most feared.

1) Big Van Vader v. Shinya Hashimoto- 6
IWGP Title Tournmanet Finals
Lou Thez referee

Two of the most legendary strikers in the game in a classic; Hash was sporting a devilish "Man with No Name" beard and Vader was evil incarnate in his black attire. He pounded Hash early and often, just bulling over him. One of my favorite sequences was when Hash came back from outside, regrouped, and attacked Vader's arm with pulverizing kicks which Vader screamed out loud selling. Hash worked a kimura every chance he got to make Vader tap but his offense was too much in the end. Both guys had really good game plans and this felt so much more real than a pro wrestling match should.

2) Big Van Vader & Bam Bam Bigelow v. Riki Choshu/ Koji Kitao- 4

I really was disappointed here, and for one reason: Kitao! This guy is a blight on the wrestling world, guess that's why he's not around anymore. He was more green than a frog's warts and couldn't sell for shit. He wouldn't go up for a Bammer suplex and nearly dropped Vader on his head trying to do a bodyslam. He was wearing this hideous one piece sporting the Lakers colors adorned with a cartoon drawing of a musclehead who resembled Duke Nukem. And he was mostly in the ring. My only real enjoyment came from watching Vader and Bam Bam work this dude over after he lost his wind. Choshu brought the fire and lariats when he was in but the one man show thing couldn't help pull this one to recommendable.

3) Tatsumi Fujinami v. Big Van Vader- 6
IWGP Title Match

For some reason the ref made Vader take his mask off before the match started? Another match similar to the Hash one where Vader used power move after power move and bullying strikes to keep Fuji down and out. Tats was a master of MOMENTUM and it was a beautiful thing, he would used Vader's forward mobility to keep getting him in compromising positions: hiptosses, slams, and drop toe holds. Vader got his eye busted open in a skirmish outside and Tats got bloodthirsty and worked it over something fierce. Finish was so out of nowhere it kind of caught me off guard as well as the crowd. Near level of classic title match.

4) Antonio Inoki v. Vader- 8
Inoki's Final Countdown

Surprisingly, this was my favorite of the show. First, a hilariously funny moment, Vader came out to the runway to greet Inoki, then went to hold the ropes open for him, but tripped and fell his fat keester. So, he must have decided to kill Inoki even more for his embarrassment. Match kind of started slow, really slow as Inoki looked like he couldn't deal with Vader's vicious strikes because he was constantly getting knocked down for a while. There was a brawling section early where Vader had no regards for the legend throwing a table on the prone dude, who was in his famous "Ali position" on the ground kicking up. Inoki came back with a stiff chair shot that sliced Vader's face like provolone and incensed the big man. After that, there's several spots that come to mind to highlight both the awesome immense strength of Vader and the demon like brutality and the first is his relase German: Kind of used as a transition move, in the context of the match, but it became quite possibly the ugliest landing I've ever seen. Inoki was launched, like he was in one of those kids' bungee bouncers in the middle of your local decaying mall, and landed knees to eyeballs and folded over. The camera did an awesome job of zooming in on only his face for this good 30-45 second shot as his eyes were completely closed and flittering. He looked presumbly dead. Later he takes a chokeslam that would make Kane quit the business and a top rope moonsault and gives the greatest dead man kickout of all time. The finish was very reminscent of the classic Flair v. Vader title change, as it's sudden but it's also less believable. This is still a sure fire classic and I'd highly recommend seeing this legends' final match. Puts Flair's retirement match to shame because this feels like a fight for his life, not a friendly affair with too many moonsaults.

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