Shootfight: Antonio Inoki vs great antonio

Here is a rather intense shoot that occured during a New Japan match between Antonio Inoki and the Great Antonio. I only just heard about this, and it seems it really isn’t too well known as far as ‘shooting’ during a worked match goes.

I gotta say, Inoki really puts it to him at the end there. At around the 4:30 mark the Great Antonio really stiffs Inoki with some blows to the back of the neck. Not only this, but the Great Antonio was no selling everything, not giving Inoki anything to work with, and making a joke of everything he did. Plus, Great Antonio seemed to be playing like the face here it seems like.

On a sidenote, it seems Great Antonio wrestled Rikidozan in the 60s and got over with the Japanese audience by doing feats of strength (such as pulling a bus). Apparently he got stiffed then too but I never saw the match. Also, during a tour of Japan around that time another gaijin beat the fuck out of him (I believe Karl Gotch was a possibility) and he left early. So he wasn’t liked by others. Great Antonio was known to be a terrible worker, so you have to question what he was really in there for.

it should also be note that Antonio Inoki was the promoter and Inoki was amongst the group of professional wrestlers who were tutored in the art of hooking and shooting by the professional wrestler Karl Gotch. Inoki named his method of fighting “strong style”. This method of wrestling (which was taught to Inoki by Gotch) borrowed heavily from professional wrestling’s original catch wrestling roots. It is one of the most important influences of modern shoot wrestling.