August 06, 2012

Mat Classics: Innovation and Perfection

As if a 3 HOUR RAW wasn't enough for a Monday's pro wrestling quota, here's another two matches to sink your lousy yellow teeth into.  The first: the debut of Tiger Mask, locked in contest with the irascible Dynamite Kid.  Saturo Sayama, the first of five Tiger Masks, had spent years wrestling in both England and Mexico before he returned to Japan to adopt the persona of the already popular anime character Tiger Mask.  It was the bookers at New Japan that came up with the gimmick, and chose Sayama to fill the role.  Sayama would later say that the Tiger Mask character was "small and shameful", though his matches during this phase are his best remembered (at least by non-Japanese audiences).  Particularly famous are his bouts with Tommy "shotgun" Billington, whose real-life mean-guy exploits may now outshine his legacy as one of the most influential pro wrestlers of all time.  Bret Hart will swear up and down in interviews that D. Kid was absolutely the greatest wrestling mind he has ever known.
The special thing about the Dynamite Kid-Tiger Mask matches is that they're obviously so far ahead of their time.  They're each individually ahead of their time, and they work together in such a fantastic way that their chemistry in itself is also very much ahead of its time.  The following match, dated April 23, 1981, represents the "Innovation" half of this post.

Representing the "Perfection" half of the post is this slice of technical mastership, courtesy Quack and Bryan and the good people of ROH.  Now, I've seen each of these guys in more emotionally jarring matches, but what seems special to me about this contest is that they're only just trying to put on a great scientific match, and to have fun doing it.  They've had the Tiger-Dynamite matches, the Guerrero-Malenko matches, the Bret-Owen matches to study and serve as precedent, so that in this modern era guys like them can just go out and put on a clinic just for the fun of it, and the crowd will have a rich history of context through which to appreciate it, and therein lies the perfection.  This match happened on March 20, 2009.

No comments:

Post a Comment