— Days Without Shea —

While Kingman is on vacation, we indulge Loge13 readers with another entry in our series, "Wrestling at Shea."

The WWF hosted a showcase at Shea Stadium on June 25th, 1976. But the main event did not occur in Queens. Instead it happened a dozen time zones away, in Japan.

In Tokyo, Muhammad Ali, the reigning boxing heavyweight champion of the world, took on Antnio Inoki, Japan's top wrestler. The bout was shown on closed circuit TV to the Shea wrestling faithful and across the country. According to reports:

The rules of the match were announced several months in advance. However, two days before the match a whole bunch of new rules were added which severely limited the moves that each man could perform. The rule change that had a major outcome on this match was that Inoki could only throw a kick if one of his knees were on the ground. The truth behind the last minute changes will never really be known as there are many stories that have been floating around for the past three decades.

In this match, the only losers were the fans. The match itself was declared a draw. Ali made over $6 million for the match while Inoki made only $2 million. The wrestling company that he had a stake in got to keep the gate from the live event and portions of the closed circuit telecast.

Here is the fight/match/theater:

Ali remained champ (except for a few months in 1978) until he lost to Larry Holmes in 1980. Inoki remained a top wrestler in Japan and was elected into the Japanese House of Councils in 1989. In 1994, with over 170,000 fans in attendance, he beat Ric Flair in a match in South Korea that shattered previous wrestling attendance records.




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