A bit of backstory first. Andy Doran originated The Review Stands Alone which is a singular look at a solitary match from any given promotion in any given year and then proceed to give his initial thoughts and exemplary snowflakes if said match delivered. Don’t get me wrong, The Review Stands Alone was a fantastic idea that helped me discover countless matches I may not have given their due respect. However, I am not Andy Doran and even when I was continuing with the tradition and although I was honoring Andy’s memory, it felt like cheap imitation and something I could not be proud of. With this reason, I have decided to go in another direction with The Review Stands Alone series and expound upon the original idea while doing my very best to commit this in tribute to someone who meant the world to multiple people at Wrestling With Words. Rob Discovers is me essentially finding a match from any given year with myself having no prior knowledge of said match and possibly helping the reader discover or rediscover a match that they are not familiar with. Simple concept that should yield some positive results, that sounds like science talk and everyone came for the wrestling talk. So without further ado, Rob Discovers!
On the most recent episode of Bill & Rob’s Excellent World Of Sports, I lamented over the fact that I was only aware of three Horst Hoffman matches making tape. One against The Destroyer, one against Dory Funk Jr. and lastly one with Hoffman teaming with Billy Robinson to take on the Funks. I was quite impressed with Hoffman’s match against The Destroyer but knew that was only the tip of the iceberg. It came to my immense surprise that this match exists with Hoffman and Robinson teaming against a legend in Mighty Inoue and his buddy Takachiho. This brings me joy that I can unearth this match and share it with wrestling fans, isn’t that all we are in it for? Finding great wrestlers or matches and sharing them with fans so knowledge and appreciation of the craft can grow.
Takachiho and Robinson start with a collar and elbow tie-up and then struggle against each other with full nelsons. Robinson seamlessly weaves between Greco-Roman knuckle locks to judo throws and hammerlocks all within a span of a minute. Hoffman and Inoue tag in and now we can get into the meat and potatoes of this match. Plenty of mat based grappling and Inoue actually has Hoffman’s number which causes Hoffman to tag back into Robinson. Robinson tries to play technician until some provocation from Inoue causes Robinson to throw slaps to Inoue’s ear and now both men are looking to scrap.
Inoue quick on the offensive with flying headscissors and a hearty flipping senton sends Robinson back to his corner and Takachiho and Hoffman must go at it once again. An enjoyable sequence that involves some hip tosses and a tease of submissions moves this match along briskly. Takachiho gets the better of Robinson as the pace picks up down the stretch and Robinson regroups. Another wrinkle in this match is either Robinson or Hoffman waiting for Inoue or Takachiho even after they may have gotten the worst of an exchange. The men are deliberate in their movements but not to the point of choreography as almost every encounter has deep thought and purpose.
Robinson with a beautiful gutwrench suplex on Inoue helps Hoffman to be in control for a moment until Inoue hits a rattling back drop suplex. Hoffman and Inoue slow the match down after that high impact move but they are struggling with each attempt on the mat. Robinson and Takachiho tag back in and we get to see Robinson’s patented working of the leg until Takachiho answers with some jaw shattering punches. Takachiho and Inoue work Boston Crab’s until Robinson in a master class escape works a headstand into flipping out of the move. Absolutely flawless, someone please gif that, I could watch that for hours on end.
Hoffman works the arm of Inoue with a hammerlock while dropping knees to the affected area. Inoue comes back to life with a shoulder tackle but overshoots a flying press and we get a near fall. They know when to take this home as well, Takachiho with those punches from the gut and Robinson with a flying elbow smash combined with both Robinson and Hoffman wrecking the neck of Takachiho all the while Inoue runs interference. Robinson finally picks up the victory for his team with his one handed backbreaker.
So many sweet moments throughout this, the camera work with close ups of all four men showing their exhaustion and frustration during this bout. The pacing was breathtaking for the majority of the match where all four knew when to ramp up the intensity and also when to bring it to the mat for pure struggle. I’ve known of Inoue but had no inkling of Takachiho and am quite delighted I’ve found this under seen wrestler. Robinson being one of the best wrestlers in the ring let alone the world. Hoffman delivering on the promise of the first match I’ve seen him in and being completely the glue guy the majority of the match. I went into this match wanting to find more Hoffman matches and now I want to discover more tape on both Takachiho and Mighty Inoue. This is tag team wrestling where everything matters and makes sense and in the end makes me a happy wrestling fan. That pardon the pun-is a mighty success.