Matches That Time Forgot #56

This is a rare instance where the match that time forgot is friggin' incredible.  The year?  1972.  A young Andre the Giant (billed as Monster Roussimoff) squares off against Strong Kobayashi in a 36-minute "two out of three falls" match.  I know what you're thinking.  It sounds like laborious torture, but reserve your judgment.  Andre was in spry shape.  Many people forget that he could go in his early matches.  In fact, he hadn't even hit 400 pounds yet.  Now, this contest took place in Japan, and Andre wouldn't work for the McMahon family until a year later.  He is packaged completely differently.  Promoters weren't sure how to capitalize on his mammoth proportions.

Case in point, The Giant is bodyslammed with relative ease.  It's surreal seeing him work as a heel, but he does a commendable job of connecting with a typically chastened audience.  This fight has it all...ring psychology, mat grappling, bare-chested brawling, you name it.  My favorite moment comes when Andre secures the first fall with a tombstone piledriver (!).  If you have only seen the man's work from the late 80's, you need to set aside time to watch this beauty.  Again, don't be deterred by the stipulation or the video's length.  Just shut up and watch it.

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