Mr. Fuji v Chief Jay Strongbow (WWF, 6/30/73)
This was like 70% carny horse shit and 30% nipple cripple. It was very Memphis, like something you'd expect to see in the Mid-South Coliseum rather than Madison Square Garden. Fuji takes his time early on and does his pre-match ritual, throwing salt around while some old lady comes up to the apron and hurriedly sweeps it away (in case he tries to use some of the residue later?). Strongbow is unmoved, stern faced and statuesque in the corner. They do a criss-cross rope running sequence and Fuji keeps going out to the apron for powders, but he only ends up being humiliated every time when Strongbow headscissors him back in the ring. Fuji then teases the foreign object, reaching into his tights, shifting his body away from the ref', taking it out before quickly having to hide it again. When he eventually uses it the crowd react exactly how the wrestlers would want them to. Then Strongbow steals it, uses it himself and everyone just loses it for Fuji stooging around the ring throwing blind punches and falling on his face. At this point Fuji goes to the pectoral nerve hold and for a hold that basically consists of you grabbing your opponent's nipples this was worked about as well as you'd want. Strongbow teases his comebacks, comes closer and closer to escaping, but Fuji keeps finding ways to clamp nipple. Then he makes a mistake and gets slammed off the top as the crowd hoot and holler for Strongbow lacing into him with kneelifts. This was two guys who knew their audience to a tee, who knew their audience knew THEM to a tee, working the exact match that audience wanted to see. And for what it was I kind of loved it.
Mr. Fuji & Mr. Saito v Rick Martel & Tony Garea (WWF, 10/13/81)
The title change which led to the rematch from yesterday. I actually preferred the latter, but this had Fuji and Saito working on top some more so you got to see how they'd control things. It was more of the same basic stuff from yesterday, but they know how to work it and it led to Rick Martel coming in as a hot tag so you know that ruled. One thing that absolutely stands about it, though -- that finish. Salt being flung in someone's eyes has been about forever and it's not a terribly difficult spot to pull off if the people involved have half decent timing. This had an awesome twist to it, where Fuji turned and flung the salt just as Martel was coming off the top with a cross body to Saito. He hit the cross body, but he was too busy clawing at his eyes to grab a leg or anything, so Saito just rolled through and stole one. The devious one strikes again.