Our match of the week is Terry Funk vs. Tiger Jeet Singh, on July 19, 1983, from Osaka, Japan (AJPW).
It’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall Of Fame season, so for the next few weeks we’re going to use Match Of The Week to highlight some of the most famous matches of select candidates. This week, we take a look at Tiger Jeet Singh, who terrorized top babyfaces (and fans) all over the world from the late 60’s through the early 2000’s.
Tiger Jeet Singh will never be accused of being a great worker, in fact he’s probably one of the worst main event wrestlers in the history of wrestling, but 5-star matches, technical wrestling, and fancy highspots wasn’t his game. Despite spilling gallons of blood over parts of six different decades, it’s hard to even call Singh a brawler. Singh got over by mucking it up with the babyfaces in bloody spectacles that more resembled street muggings than pro wrestling brawls, oftentimes just standing in a corner with his opponent and stabbing each other in the head, and by scaring the shit out of fans by trouncing through the stands with his SWORD and swinging it at anything that moved. I’ve seen plenty of Singh matches where he didn’t take a single bump, but I’ve seen very few Singh bouts, at least during the prime of his career, where someone didn’t get attacked with a fork (or shiv or spike or sword) and bleed.
Singh’s matches weren’t pretty, and were almost always bad, but he worked on top and drew money across the world for 40 years, digging into the foreheads of virtually every top star from the era, from Antonio Inoki and Giant Baba, to Jumbo Tsuruta, Dory Funk Jr, Riki Choshu, Atsushi Onita, Seiji Sakaguchi, Abdullah The Butcher, The Sheik, Bruno Sammartino, Gene Kiniski, Ric Flair, Nick Bockwinkel, El Canek, and nearly every other main event wrestler during his time. Singh was a big star in Toronto (Singh vs The Sheik headlined the first wrestling event ever in Maple Leaf Gardens in 1971), had a legendary feud with Antonio Inoki in New Japan (which began with an angle where Singh beat up Inoki in a shopping mall), and later jumped to All Japan where he worked on top with everyone from Baba to the Funks. Singh worked (and headlined) virtually everywhere in the world where there was wrestling, including Australia for Jim Barnett, Mexico (where he won the UWA title from Canek), Detroit (where he was a major star) and Mid-Atlantic in the United States, and late in his career transitioned smoothly to deathmatches in the mid-90s and comedy in the 2000’s with HUSTLE.
I chose this bout against Terry Funk, because it’s one of the best Singh matches I could find. Funk, as usual, works extremely hard, while Singh, well, Singh is there too. Funk does all the heavy lifting, but if you’ve never seen Singh, this match will give you a decent feel for what he was all about. He does his trademark wild entrance through the crowd, swinging his sword while fans run for their life. The match ends in a DQ. And as was usually the case, it was the main event.
Watch & discuss: https://www.patreon.com/posts/match-of-week-11-74626268