When we last saw Tiger Mask, he was trapped in an agonizing Torture Rack applied by his enemy, Yellow Devil. This match is from a tournament where the two foes both made it to the final round. We see the villain’s sharp claws pressing down on Tiger’s exposed throat, implying he could rip out our hero’s jugular if he wanted to. Tiger escapes by slamming a knee into Devil’s head, so the Devil proceeds to strangle him:
After holding his victim overhead in the “Neck-Hanging Tree” for a while, the Devil pulls him down suddenly, meeting him skull-to-skull with a brain-rattling Head-butt. He calls this deadly move the “Hangman’s Crush.”
Poor Tiger Mask is stunned, dropping to his knees as blood soaks his mask. This shit is getting vicious now!
Oh hell yeah, Yellow Devil — standing in dominance over your helpless victim like a Boss and flexing all those big muscles! Why not pick up that wimpy Tiger Mask and bearhug all the air out of him against that massive chest?
Is it possible to fall in love with a cartoon image? If so, then I think I’m experiencing a Hangman’s Crush of my own — or should I say, a Crush on the Hangman himself.
The camera pans slowly down Yellow Devil’s spectacular physique, eventually taking us below the belt-line.
This scene portrays a trope we often see in the pro wrestling ring — the repeated use of an effective hold, the Heel going back to deliver another Pile Driver, to slap on a second Figure 4 Leglock, after the first one nearly killed the Baby-Face. This young man is in trouble, wrestling fans.
As Yellow Devil prepares to deliver the Death Blow, we’re able to see a reflection in his red eye — the image of Tiger Mask still hopelessly trapped, still being held up and strangled in the unbreakable Neck-Hanging Tree maneuver.
I’m telling you, this cartoon is a beautiful work of art — no wonder you nerds out there get off on Japanese Anime!
The laws of Physics apparently don’t apply to Tiger Mask, as he somehow sneaks in a last-second kick to prevent the Hangman’s Crush. Our hero then Drop-Kicks the villain into the corner and sets up his own complicated and elaborate Finishing Move.
Step One is to run up the victim’s body and leap off his chest to catapult yourself in the air.
Step Two is to turn yourself over in mid-air and soar down at terminal velocity, ramming both knees into the helpless man’s stomach.
Again we get to watch the action unfold from Yellow Devil’s viewpoint — from a reflection in his eye. And our heart skips a beat when all we see is Tiger Mask’s hulking physique and stiff knees barrelling down on us!
And he’s not finished yet. In Step Three, you grab the back of his head and fall backward, Monkey-Flip style. Then you impale his stomach on your bent knees, allowing the force of the impact to expunge all the oxygen out of his body.
Would some of you wrestlers out there please use this complex finishing move in your matches? I want to see it IRL.
And for the fourth and final step, you just fling him across the ring with your feet (after making it look like he’s blowing you for a moment), causing him to crash-land on his back for total annihilation.
The awesome Yellow Devil is defeated on his back, all strength drained from his body with Tiger Mask assuming the Alpha Male position.
At last our hero has exacted revenge on the evil villain for injuring his coach, and for scratching poor Takuma’s face, leaving a permanent scar. This injury is what caused Takuma to go into hiding within Tiger’s Den so that poor Naoto lost his bestie, which is the true reason why Tiger Mask is so pissed and and wanted to fuck up Yellow Devil in retribution.
Tiger Mask peels off the villain’s mask to reveal Billy The Kidman — a jobber we met in an earlier episode. But surely he is not the REAL Yellow Devil, because the two were seen together at the same time!
Oh well, we will get to experience more tension and teasing as the story-tellers string us along.
Who ever wants to see the Baby-Face hero achieve justice and secure his final success anyway? Certainly not me — as a wrestling fan, I prefer to see the feuding Heel gain the upper hand and torture the Good Guy without ever paying the price, over and over and over again.
This is the first time that the two Tigers realize they both want revenge on Yellow Devil (or perhaps that they’re both in love with Yellow Devil and competing for the right to be with him.)
The episode ends with Tiger Mask strolling dramatically past the other Tiger, not realizing it’s his long lost BFF under that mask.
Too bad they didn’t take this opportunity to talk over WHY they both hate Yellow Devil so much. This could’ve been their chance to recognize each other and rekindle their lost bromance!
By the way, did anybody else notice that their open mouths met for an instant, as if they shared an intimate kiss? Surely that wasn’t just a coincidence.