News from Kochi-power Research Institute (Part 1２)
Today, I would like to look back on what the “Antonio Inoki vs. Muhammad Ali" match was in 1976.
There are many enthusiastic fans in professional wrestling, and they have a strong feeling for the players and their organizations, so if you say something wrong, you will be criticized.
You are wrong. “Inoki vs. Ali" is not a professional wrestling in the first place, and is said to be the first match played in a realistic fight in mixed martial arts held in Japan.
I heard that its reputation at that time was terrible …
Yup. The match started on Saturday at 11:50 am, but I remember watching TV at school for some reason. I was a junior high school student, but honestly, I thought it was boring at that time. Inoki just lay down and gave only low kicks aiming at Ali’s leg, and Ali often provoked Inoki but gave almost no punch, and there were no effective hits for both. The game went on like that until the 15th round. Even at school, students booed the match, and the only topic in my school was that the Ali’s screaming phrase “Inoki is girl!" I favored New Japan Pro-Wrestling, to which Inoki belongs, rather than All Japan Pro-Wrestling, to which Baba the Giant belongs. The game I was most excited about was “Inoki vs. the Iron man Lou Thesz" (1975), followed by “Inoki vs. the human windmill Bill Robinson" (same as above). The vs Ali match looked really faded compared to those matches. I believed that Inoki, who was suffering from Ali’s punches, took a moment to hit Ali with a series of drop-kicks and Ali would lose the match due to the Antonio Special, such as Abdominal Stretch or Grapevine stretch.
Some people say１）: Three games including “Inoki vs. Korean giant Pak Song Nam (Inoki put his fingers in Pak’s eyes)" and “Inoki vs. Pakistani hero Akram Pahalwan (Inoki broke Akram’s arm)" (both held in 1976) were only so-called “Cement match," the match played in realistic fight, and all other games were “professional wrestlings" as shows that proceeded according to the scenarios. Therefore, it is possible that the endings of the two games that Professor likes have already been decided.
"Truth is stranger than fiction," but I think there are not so many strange truths than the fictions. To put it simply, professional wrestling has too many interesting matches compared to boxing probably done in realistic fights. So, for a long time, I didn’t understand why the century event “Inoki vs. Ali" was played in a realistic fight and the match was unacceptable to fans and the media at the time. In the Japan-US baseball game, MLB teams may be called to Japan, but Japanese teams never be called to the United States. Because it’s the “Event," the ones that are usually ranked high come to the lower countries to make money. So, I’ve never seen MLB teams playing baseball seriously without fear of injury in Japan. “Inoki vs. Ali" is also completely in this pattern, so it seems that Ali came with the intention of an exhibition match. Therefore, it was definitely Inoki side who set up the real fight, and Inoki would have prioritized his thoughts as a warrior or a wrestler over the success of the business.
I heard that Ali side was afraid of Inoki’s determination and imposed unfavorable rules on Inoki, and that Ali had cemented his fists on the day …
It is revealed from a source close to Inoki that the story of the rule was a fiction 2). Ali is often misunderstood because of his behaviors and surrounders, but he is the definitely top-notch athlete. I want to believe that the match became like a mediocre game at first glance because Ali received the challenge from Inoki in a straightforward manner. There is also an opinion that if Inoki was a master of tackles, he would have laid down Ali.
Now, when we watch the game again, we can enjoy the service spirit of Ali, and Inoki isn’t lying down as much as we expected. Isn’t both nice fights?
Yes. Ali suffered a serious injury to his left leg, shortening his player life, but it’s good that he didn’t fall to the end. It is commendable that Inoki showed for the first time that if strong people confront each other, it would be such a way of fighting. However, it seems that the ringside seats were priced at a maximum of 300,000 yen, and even the cheapest ticket was priced at 5,000 yen, so the anger of the spectators at Nippon Budokan, who were expecting the “professional wrestling" like me, was probably terrible.
１）"Complete book: Antonio Inoki in 1976" (Author: Takeshi Yanagisawa, Bunshun Bunko)
２）Same as above; quoted from Hisashi Shinma's memoir of “Asahi Geinō" (January 31, 2002 issue) (Tokuma Shoten).
■The review of “Antonio Inoki vs. Muhammad Ali"
Video source: “Burning! New Japan Pro-Wrestling: A great game that will be revived on DVD Collection extras" (Shueisha)
1R: Inoki rushes at the same time as the gong and tries to do a sliding kick.
2R: Ali sticks out his tongue and provokes Inoki.
3R: Inoki’s so-called “Ali Kick" hits the back of Ali’s thigh.
4R：Ali cornered in a neutral corner. Climbs the rope and dodges Inoki’s attack.
5R：“Ali Kick" hits, and finally Ali drops his hip to the ground.
6R-1：Ali trying to grab Inoki’s leg.
6R-2：Inoki takes this chance to lay down Ali, but Ali grabs the rope. Inoki hits Ali’s face with an elbow (1 point deduction).
7R：Ali delivers today first left jab to Inoki.
8R：Ali side protested that something was in Inoki’s shoes, and for some reason the tip of the shoe was decided to be wrapped with tape.
9R：Ali kick" hits Ali directly. His body leans violently, but he does not fall down.
10R-1：Ali’s left jab finally hits. Inoki wobbles for a moment, but immediately counterattacks.
10R-2：Inoki catches the waist of Ali, but again Ali escapes to the rope.
11R：Ali tries to grab Inoki’s ankle and twist it.
12R-1：Ali’s paw swelling becomes severe and careful treatment is given before the gong.
12R-2：Ali raises his left hand and provokes Inoki.
13R-1：Inoki jumped into Ali from his head. During the rope break, Ali performs a tongue out performance.
13R-2：Inoki, who was angry at the repeated rope breaks, kicked Ali’s testicles with his right foot (1 point deduction).
13R-3：Angry Ali returns to the corner and shows a gesture to get off the ring, but the referee persuades the match to resume.
14R：The expression of Ali like a beast aiming for prey. After this, the lightning-fast left jab catches Inoki.
15R-1：The stalemate continues even in the final round. The two glaring at each other on the ring.
15R-2：Inoki stuck to “Ali Kick" until the end, but he couldn’t bring it to the ground fight at last.
After the end, the two praised each other for their good fight.
As for the judges, Kōkichi Endō on the professional wrestling side was the winner “Ali," Kou Tōyama on the boxing side was the winner “Inoki," and the referee Gene LeBell was “tied," resulting in a draw. However, Endō’s scoring was a rough one, with almost 5 points for both Ali and Inoki in all 15Rs. If there was no Inoki’s foul (6R, 13R), Endō’s score would have been “tied," so it seems that Inoki had won the decision. However, I think the “adjustment," that the professional wrestling side recognized the boxing side Ali as the winner, and the boxing side recognized the professional wrestling side Inoki as the winner, should be evaluated because it did not cause much confusion after the match and protected the honor of Ali and Inoki.
My favorite robot toys; Episode ８ “Super Robot Giant Slalom"
This section introduces my favorite robots, but this time it’s a little different.
Introducing TOMY's “Super Robot Giant Slalom." According to the book “Electric Kingdom" (Ohmsha) written by An Hanuma who unfortunately died in 2011, its release date was 1969, its price was 1,000 yen for the first edition, and it was a popular product that sold 1,200,000 units in two years. Certainly, I remember that many children had this robot, especially in relatively wealthy families. I myself wasn’t very interested in this kind of large and medium-sized robot, so I didn’t own it at that time. The one I have was obtained in 2015 at a lower price than the list price. It works normally, and comes with a box. According to “Electric Kingdom," it is “No. 3." As shown in the book, this robot is not just walking with its arms rotated. At the time of a fall, just before the body rises and becomes upright, the tip of the wrist retracts a little so that the tip of the hand does not touch the ground. This facilitates the movement of the fulcrum from the arm to the foot and prevents re-falling. I think the engineers who designed this robot at that time were really great.
I imagine that most of the recent toys that parents buy for boys, except for game software, are highly complete and tied up with children’s programs. I wonder how many such toys, like this robot, evoke intellectual inquisitiveness, such as “Why does it get up?" Looking at the noisy robot movements, I cannot help but feel the happiness of having spent my childhood in the 1960s and 1970s. Because, in my case, my current life is made up by acquiring the basic background as an engineer through disassembling toys and reworking them into different ones in my childhood.
Celebration! “Return of Ultraman" 50th Anniversary.
The project to make soft vinyl monster dolls walk on batteries
（No.12 fossil monster “Stegon"）
This time, it is the fossil monster “Stegon" that appears in the 10th episode “Dinosaur bombing order." This story has the impression that it is a little likened the 15th episode “Terrifying cosmic rays" of “Ultraman," and the atmosphere of Stegon is similar to the Seabozu that appears in the 35th episode “Monster cemetery." However, I think it was an important episode in terms of sending a message to the viewer that not all are scary monsters, and that the new Ultraman is also kind and a child’s ally. Unlike the anthropomorphic Seabozu, Stegon also has a terrifying monster nature, such as by releasing a saliva-like solution from the mouth to dissolve humans. In addition, the costume modeling by Ryōsaku Takayama, who worked on many monsters of the “Ultraman," “Ultraseven," is wonderful. The biological feeling of Stegon, which walks without bending all four legs, is an excellent one that does not make you feel that the actor is inside.
Now for the electrification project, I used the old Bullmark soft vinyl doll. I thought that normal walking would not give the impression of the real Stegon, so I decided to let it walk with the same vibration mechanism as the vibe function of a mobile phone. Vibration is generated by eccentric rotation of the weight inside the body. By changing the mounting angle of the four legs of the soft vinyl doll, It makes various movements such as moving forward and stepping on. This weight uses a thick disk-shaped metal purchased from Tokyu Hands, but it was really difficult to drill a hole for the gear shaft to pass through. Also, like the real Stegon, the LED lights the eyes red and the mouth opens and closes quickly.
Photo 1: Metal weight attached to the Universal Gearbox
Photo-2: The eccentric movement of the weight is also used to open and close the mouth.
Photo-3: Front side and back side after completion
Photo-4: Ventral side after completion. By freely changing the angle of the foot, “Stegon" makes various movements.