On the most recent edition of “Something to Wrestle”, Bruce Prichard spoke on the showdown between Muhammad Ali and Antonio Inoki. He discussed the rationale behind the bout, why Inoki was chosen instead of Bruno Sammartino, how important of a role Gorilla Monsoon played in the build and whether or not it was a shoot. Here are some of the highlights:
On Why Ali Wanted To Do It:
Ali grew up as a wrestling fan. He got his wrap from Gorgeous George back in the ’50s. He loved Bruno and those guys from that era. Monsoon to him was like a larger than life character. A boxer, even Mike Tyson, they were afraid of the wrestler because they knew if the wrestler ever got you down you were dead. As good as you are with your hands if that wrestler gets you down and ties you up in a knot there’s not much you can do, especially with boxing gloves on.
On The Important Role Gorilla Monsoon Played In The Build:
What they had to do was they had to bring Ali into these different territories and do something with their local guy. In Minneapolis, they did it with Buddy Wolfe, in New York, they did it with Gorilla Monsoon. Monsoon’s whole thing is that you’re (Ali) not going to embarrass me. Just to let Ali know that he can take him anytime he wanted to, Monsoon went and got him and did the airplane spin. Bundini Brown’s on the outside of the ring, Ali’s manager, they didn’t know, so they’re all upset. Not everybody was smartened up. Monsoon does this airplane spin, drops Ali and Ali’s dizzy, and it was picked up by everybody. I remember seeing it in Houston as a kid.
On Whether It Was A Work Or Shoot:
It became a shoot to a point, but it was always designed to be a work.
You can check out the full episode of “Something To Wrestle” below:
Credit: Something To Wrestle. H/T WrestlingInc.