Home Wrestling NJPW 10-Man Gauntlet Match (1984)

NJPW 10-Man Gauntlet Match (1984)

NJPW 10-Man Gauntlet Match (1984)


The Wrestling 101 Match #10
10-Man Gauntlet Match
Antonio Inoki, Kengo Kimura, Nobuhiko Takada, Tatsumi Fujinami & Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs. Ishin Gundan (Animal Hamaguchi, Isamu Teranishi, Kuniaki Kobayashi, Riki Choshu & Yoshiaki Yatsu)
April 19, 1984
New Japan Professional Wrestling
Kuramae Kokugikan

Watch a clipped model of the match on New Japan World

When I attempt to clarify what I like about wrestling to strangers, one factor I all the time come again to is the concept it’s type of like “sports activities plus.” That’s, wrestling provides you all the joy of an precise aggressive sporting occasion, however on high of that, it’s optimized for Most Drama by the bookers and performers. 

So, you may present as much as Citi Subject in September to spend three hours watching a 7-0 snoozer between two groups who’ve lengthy since stopped contending for the MLB playoffs. However a professional wrestling essential occasion can all the time be scripted to return all the way down to the ultimate thrilling moments between two evenly matched, high-level opponents.

On this sense, the 5-on-5 gauntlet match between Antonio Inoki’s babyface crew and Riki Choshu’s heel Ishin Gundan steady is a good “sports activities plus” match. The wrestlers do excellent, detailed work to create the expertise of watching a severe wrestle for athletic dominance, however in a means that continues to be compelling all through a 65-minute match. And naturally, reasonably than being a blowout the place one of many groups simply dispatches the opposite, this one comes all the way down to a dramatic showdown between the match’s two greatest stars.

What sticks with me most about this match is the way it felt like the 2 groups have been actually scratching and clawing for the victory. The match begins with Tatsumi Fujinami within the ring for the house military and Kuniaki Kobayashi for the Ishin Gundan facet, and proper from the early going, it seems like each little transfer issues. Fujinami seems to be to hit both a dragon suplex or a sleeper maintain, and Kobayashi maneuvers for a rope break with the depth of somebody who needs nothing greater than to keep away from no matter Fujinami has cooking. Later, Kobayashi misses a giant spin kick, and Fujinami instantly capitalizes with a German suplex to attain the primary elimination and convey on the following competitor from Choshu’s crew. It’s like sports activities—one unsuitable transfer, and also you’re fucked. Blink, and also you may miss one thing necessary.

I particularly beloved the sequence between Fujinami and Isamu Teranishi, the place Teranishi simply does every little thing he probably can to harm Fujinami’s hand. He rolls his knee backwards and forwards over Fujinami’s hand on the mat, bends his wrist backwards and forwards, and goes to nice lengths to repeatedly headbutt the injured hand from quite a lot of inventive positions. At one level, Teranishi is principally doing pushups from his knees, however he’s banging his brow into Fujinami’s hand on the mat halfway by way of every rep. 

This depth carries all through the match. The strikes are swift, emphatic, and comfortable, and the holds compel the recipient to slither and squirm for an escape like a fish caught on a hook. It’s giving grapplefuck vibes, however there’s extra motion, and so they’re doing it in entrance of an electrical enviornment crowd in Tokyo as an alternative of 100 bored civilians in Joppa, Maryland.

And naturally, there’s the drama and the showmanship. Yoshiaki Fujiwara enters the match with a bandage prominently displayed on his brow. Naturally, Animal Hamaguchi punches him within the head till it’s eliminated, then scratches and bites on the wound till Fujiwara is bleeding.

Later, the match comes all the way down to the grand finale between the 2 massive superstars Inoki and Choshu. Whereas the precise wrestling on this part is much less spectacular than maybe any of the earlier pairings, it’s the high-stakes climax the followers have been ready for. Sports activities actually are extra enjoyable when the end result is mounted. 




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