Page 1 of 4 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 88

Thread: AJPW: The Golden Years

  1. #1
    Moderator Emperor's Avatar
    Asteroids Champion! Breakout Champion!
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    England
    Age
    28
    Posts
    13,439
    vCash
    16992
    Mentioned
    118 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)

    Default AJPW: The Golden Years

    Greetings, History of Wrestling! Those of you who read the Match Review thread know that a while back I was watching 90s AJPW in chronological order from about 1990 to 1993, checking out all of the big matches and most of the not-so-big matches involving the top guys. It is simply my favourite wrestling product of all time, a promotion who does almost all of its storytelling and character development within wrestling matches. Personally I don't think any other wrestling company comes close to AJPW in terms of consistency and extraordinarily high quality.

    The last AJPW I watched was the Real World Tag League at the end of 1993. That was over a year ago, perhaps even two years by now. At that time my free time was becoming more and more limited and the slice of time I would devote to AJPW watching ceased to exist. Now things have changed. I have time to spare, and a fresh calendar year of AJPW to watch!

    This post is not only an introduction to the project, but also a place to set the scene for what is to come. In other words, what is the state of AJPW as 1993 ticks into 1994? I address this both to refresh my memory and to give the readers of this thread some perspective on the promotion. My plan was to use my old posts in the Match Review thread to answer the question, but the search function on PW is busted, so I have to rely on the internet beyond PW. The internet is usually a treasure trove for information on anything you can think of, but there is surprisingly little on 90s AJPW. I have only Wikipedia and Cagematch to rely on.

    AJPW Roster 1994
    Spoiler


    The rivalry that dominates AJPW is between Mitsuharu Misawa and Toshiaki Kawada. Misawa became the company ace in 1992, after triumphing over longtime rival and former ace Jumbo Tsuruta and winning the Triple Crown from Stan Hansen in August 1992. Misawa successfully defended the belt six times up to the start of 1994. Two of those defenses were against Kawada. Kawada was Misawa's second in the feud against Jumbo Tsuruta, but the cracks began to form in their friendship when they lost the AJPW Tag Team Championships in early 1993. Several months later, Kawada turned on Misawa and partnered with former rival Akira Taue to form the Holy Demon Army. They picked up a huge victory against Misawa and Kobashi shortly after their formation before capturing the tag team titles in their first shot. They remained dominant until they lost the belts to Ted DiBiase and Stan Hansen. They placed third in the Real World Tag League at the close of 1993, notably losing to winners Misawa and Kobashi in the final round (Stan Hansen and AJPW booker Giant Baba placed second).

    Heading into 1994, Misawa is unquestionably the top dog. I don't think he has been pinned or submitted since winning the Triple Crown in August 1992, and he holds both the Triple Crown and the AJPW Tag Team titles. However, his main rival Kawada is only getting stronger, and the gaijins Hansen, Williams and Gordy are hot on his heels, all seeking both single and tag team gold. Kobashi, Akiyama and Taue are also not too far from becoming legitimate threats. How long will Misawa be able to keep his gold, and who will be the men to dethrone him? Stay tuned and find out with me!

  2. #2
    Senior Member The Icon's Avatar

    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    5,681
    vCash
    2050
    Mentioned
    62 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: AJPW: The Golden Years

    After the discussion in the PWO thread and rediscovering ClassicsPuro83 on youtube I'm also getting back in the saddle. I just watched Hansen and Kobashi from July of 1993 again last week. I just want to sit back and enjoy these matches which is why you won't be seeing a review though. Looking forward to more in this thread.
    Last edited by The Icon; 05-10-2016 at 01:28 PM.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fezz View Post
    "Big P, every day I praise Raven. He is in my top 10- OF ALL TIME. He may reach 9 soon."

  3. #3
    ≡≡≡≡|≡≡≡≡

    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    7,252
    vCash
    1000
    Mentioned
    95 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: AJPW: The Golden Years

    Very excited and intrigued by the prospect of this thread. Ever since picking up a copy of VPW2 for the N64, I've been wanting to learn more about the puroresu scene... I've just been too lazy to do any direct exploring myself. This seems like it'll be a fascinating solution.
    : 04/02/11}:forever&always
    ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...
    http://forums.prowrestling.com/showthread.php?t=121686

  4. #4
    PW Champion The Dazz's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    10,021
    vCash
    2735
    Mentioned
    91 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: AJPW: The Golden Years

    I've actually created a list of a bunch of 90's AJPW matches that are rated highly that I want to go through, so the timing of this is near perfect.


    Excited to see this progress.

    Big thanks to Surrender!


    PW Accolades

    Spoiler

  5. #5
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    5,302
    vCash
    2000
    Mentioned
    123 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: AJPW: The Golden Years

    This should be good. I'll be following.

  6. #6
    Moderator Emperor's Avatar
    Asteroids Champion! Breakout Champion!
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    England
    Age
    28
    Posts
    13,439
    vCash
    16992
    Mentioned
    118 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)

    Default Re: AJPW: The Golden Years

    Thanks for the positive response! It means a lot.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Icon View Post
    After the discussion in the PWO thread and rediscovering ClassicsPuro83 on youtube I'm also getting back in the saddle. I just watched Hansen and Kobashi from July of 1993 again last week. I just want to sit back and enjoy these matches which is why you won't be seeing a review though. Looking forward to more in this thread.
    Indeed, it's often nice to sit back and enjoy a match without feeling obligated to type something. But it's also nice to share one's thoughts with the community and to keep a record for looking back many years down the line. Different strokes for different folks.

    Emperor subscribes to ClassicsPuro83

  7. #7
    Atodaso Strobe's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    5,158
    vCash
    2332
    Mentioned
    49 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: AJPW: The Golden Years

    I once planned a comprehensive documenting of a thorough work-through of 90s All Japan. It was about 200 matches in total, including a handful of scene-setting pre-90s matches (such as Jumbo/Tenryu 6/5/89) and epilogue matches (like Misawa/Kobashi 3/1/03). Writing the backstories and match reviews was just taking so long when I didn't have much spare time, so I abandoned it mid-way through 1990 but always planned to return to it. I might not need to now, which isn't a bad thing, as this project will no doubt be a tremendous resource and I can just chime in with my thoughts now and then.

    Might as well start now with two random thoughts:

    It was circumstance that gave us the Misawa/Kawada feud, more than outright planning. Perhaps it would have happened eventually, but it certainly was not planned to be this epic thing as early as it happened. Misawa was always highly regarded by Baba, given that he was given the Tiger Mask gimmick, but I don't think there was any real thought to have him drop the mask yet until Tenryu decided to break off and form SWS. Out of nowhere, Misawa was out the mask, had beaten Jumbo and it was all about Jumbo fighting off this new generation. Then there was no real plan for Kawada as Misawa's main rival until Jumbo's illness. They quickly had Kawada split from Misawa, team with Taue and the Four Corners of Heaven era began. Baba may have been conservative as a booker, but when things like that forced his hand, he acted fast.

    I also love that the main natives in this mid-90s spell each have their own colours. Misawa is green and white. Kawada is black and yellow. Kobashi is orange. Taue is red. Akiyama is blue.

    Thoroughly looking forward to this.

  8. #8
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    5,302
    vCash
    2000
    Mentioned
    123 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: AJPW: The Golden Years

    Quote Originally Posted by Strobe View Post
    I also love that the main natives in this mid-90s spell each have their own colours. Misawa is green and white. Kawada is black and yellow. Kobashi is orange. Taue is red. Akiyama is blue.
    I've always liked this as well.

  9. #9
    Senior Member The Icon's Avatar

    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    5,681
    vCash
    2050
    Mentioned
    62 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: AJPW: The Golden Years

    Quote Originally Posted by Strobe View Post
    I also love that the main natives in this mid-90s spell each have their own colours. Misawa is green and white. Kawada is black and yellow. Kobashi is orange. Taue is red. Akiyama is blue.
    Perhaps a jab at or an endorsement from Tenryu since his colors were also yellow and black?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fezz View Post
    "Big P, every day I praise Raven. He is in my top 10- OF ALL TIME. He may reach 9 soon."

  10. #10
    Moderator Emperor's Avatar
    Asteroids Champion! Breakout Champion!
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    England
    Age
    28
    Posts
    13,439
    vCash
    16992
    Mentioned
    118 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)

    Default Re: AJPW: The Golden Years

    When did Tenryu wear yellow? I thought he was a plain black everything kinda guy.

  11. #11
    American Nightmare SM?'s Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Illinois
    Age
    30
    Posts
    23,866
    vCash
    1227
    Mentioned
    89 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: AJPW: The Golden Years

    Quote Originally Posted by Emperor View Post
    When did Tenryu wear yellow? I thought he was a plain black everything kinda guy.
    I could be mistaken, but I think he had yellow on his boots.
    surrender

    First Ever PW Heavyweight Champion!

  12. #12
    Senior Member The Icon's Avatar

    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    5,681
    vCash
    2050
    Mentioned
    62 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: AJPW: The Golden Years

    Quote Originally Posted by SM(TBD) View Post
    I could be mistaken, but I think he had yellow on his boots.
    We have a winner! He also wore a yellow and black jacket.

    Another thing I liked, they all wore track jackets to the ring.
    Last edited by The Icon; 05-10-2016 at 06:05 PM.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fezz View Post
    "Big P, every day I praise Raven. He is in my top 10- OF ALL TIME. He may reach 9 soon."

  13. #13
    Atodaso Strobe's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    5,158
    vCash
    2332
    Mentioned
    49 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: AJPW: The Golden Years

    Quote Originally Posted by The Icon View Post
    Perhaps a jab at or an endorsement from Tenryu since his colors were also yellow and black?
    Definitely a homage, since Tenryu was his mentor. He also took his powerbomb. Worked well, since Kawada was essentially the Tenryu to Misawa's Jumbo.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Icon View Post
    Another thing I liked, they all wore track jackets to the ring.
    Yeah, the jackets are fantastic.


  14. #14
    Senior Member The Icon's Avatar

    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    5,681
    vCash
    2050
    Mentioned
    62 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: AJPW: The Golden Years

    Also cool, their PR car.



    Thanks to Masanori Horie from View From The Rising Sun for the pic. This was my early puro bible on the internet in the late 90's/early 2000's. I'm surprised it's still up and running(although not updated in FIFTEEN YEARS!). Their are some great articles and very rare pictures.
    Last edited by The Icon; 05-10-2016 at 10:55 PM.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fezz View Post
    "Big P, every day I praise Raven. He is in my top 10- OF ALL TIME. He may reach 9 soon."

  15. #15
    Big Pimpin' Big Pete's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Brisbane, Australia
    Age
    27
    Posts
    8,034
    vCash
    2332
    Mentioned
    48 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: AJPW: The Golden Years

    Quote Originally Posted by PI View Post
    Very excited and intrigued by the prospect of this thread. Ever since picking up a copy of VPW2 for the N64, I've been wanting to learn more about the puroresu scene... I've just been too lazy to do any direct exploring myself. This seems like it'll be a fascinating solution.
    I'm in a similar boat. Booted up VPW2 almost a decade ago, didn't recognise any of the major stars but always wanted a better idea of what was happening.

    I'm looking forward to this.

  16. #16
    Moderator Emperor's Avatar
    Asteroids Champion! Breakout Champion!
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    England
    Age
    28
    Posts
    13,439
    vCash
    16992
    Mentioned
    118 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)

    Default Re: AJPW: The Golden Years

    Until now I have no idea how AJPW organised their shows. I just pulled off all the matches I could find from Ditch or Youtube and that was that. I'm going to be more thorough with this AJPW coverage, with the assistance of Cagematch.net, the incredible pro-wrestling encyclopedia. Here is the list of shows for the first part of 1994. The schedule doesn't look that gruelling compared to America. They work in four week periods, or series, with one or two days off per week, with a 2-3 week rest in between. I don't expect travelling in Japan to be as time consuming as that in the USA, so it seems like a decent schedule. A select few shows per series are televised. Presumably these are at the larger arenas with the most significant matches. There doesn't seem to be a concept of a PPV, or a specially-named event. Big shows just crop up every so often as part of the regular tour.

    Each new year kicks off with the New Year Giant Series. Let's get to it.

    AJPW 1994: New Year Giant Series

    Our first stop is the January 7th show with an enticing main event featuring the tag team champion in a non-title match.

    ---------------------------------------------

    Mitsuharu Misawa and Kenta Kobashi vs Toshiaki Kawada and Masanobu Fuchi

    Numbers one and two of team Misawa take on numbers one and three of team Kawada. Misawa and Kobashi are the favourites on paper: at this point in time Kobashi is above Fuchi in stature, but Fuchi is a great ally to have. Although he is a junior heavyweight, he is as ruthless as they come and isn't afraid to bend the rules.

    Kobashi and Fuchi kick things off, the crowd firmly behind the former. Fuchi takes charge at first but is unable to knock his larger opponent down with a shoulder tackle. Instead he hits a dropkick, but Kobashi remains on his feet and greets Fuchi with a hard shoulder tackle. A delayed vertical suplex follows from Kobashi with an early two count. Kobashi with three hard chops, sending Fuchi reeling into his corner. I'm not sure if the chops are a Kobashi signature yet, but he's already learnt the delicate art of chopping people really hard.

    Kawada tags in and the crowd get excited. Kobashi pounces, striking first with forearms and chops. Kawada stands his ground and a chop battle ensues. Kawada pushes Kobashi's head down to waist height and repeatedly kicks him in the face. Also known as the Kawada kicks. Kobashi does the same, but with knee strikes that look rather pitiful if I'm being honest. Stick to the chops. Or the slaps, as I witness Kobashi wallop Kawada with a massive palm strike to the cheek, folllowed by a DDT. Kobashi goes for a second but Fuchi runs in to punch Kobashi in the face, allowing Kawada to launch Kobashi over his head. Kawada launches Kobashi a second time, this time with a very high angle German suplex. Kobashi lands almost vertically on his head, something that is becoming more and more common in AJPW, particularly when Steve Williams started using the very high angle Back Drop Drivers with frequency in 1993. Kobashi rolls to the outside to collect himself.

    Kobashi looks out, perhaps legitimately. It takes over a minute for Kobashi to get back in the ring, with significant assistance from Misawa. Misawa rolls him in near his own corner, gets on the apron, and tags himself in. Fuchi tries to get the jump on Misawa, but the Triple Crown champion is having none of it, scoring with a flurry of offense. Fuchi slows him down by grabbing an arm wringer, barely managing to tag in Kawada before Misawa breaks free. Kawada gets the advantage after catching a spinkick and shoving Misawa hard to the mat. Kawada and Fuchi start to have their way with Misawa. We catch a glimpse Kobashi on the outside, still laid out and barely moving. It's basically a handicap match until Kobashi recovers. If Kobashi recovers. Misawa has to hold out for as long as possible. Misawa may be near-invincible, but this isn't WWE where a top face can (and is expected to) beat two or more guys by himself, even guys at the very top.

    Misawa starts wrestling cautiously and intelligently, keeping his distance from Fuchi and knocking him down with forearms when he gets close. However, Fuchi is no slouch and soon grabs a hold of Misawa by scissoring his legs from the ground, allowing him to take control and tag in Kawada. The focus is Misawa's chest: both his opponents land chops and knee drops on that area. Six minutes after Misawa first entered the match, we see Kobashi crawling on the apron, but at the same time Misawa is hung on the tree of woe being kicked by Fuchi. Fuchi spares a kick for Kobashi's head, sending him back to the floor.

    Three minutes later, Kawada is ready to end the match, locking in the Stretch Plum. But Kobashi is back. He punches Kawada four times before Fuchi intervenes. Kawada keeps the hold applied, but the punches loosened Kawada's grip enough for Misawa to hip toss out of it. Misawa sneaks a kick to the leg and tags in Kobashi, who immediately unleashes a torrent of kicks to the same leg. Kawada collapses and Kobashi applies a half crab. Fuchi breaks the hold with an enziguiri, and Kawada drops Kobashi on his head for a second time with a Backdrop Driver. Enter Fuchi, who once won a match against Akiyama by hitting something like eleven Backdrop Drivers in a row. I'm sure he won't hesitate to do the same to Kobashi. Oh, there's the first. Some kicks to the head. There's the second. You know what? Brock Lesnar didn't discover Suplex City. He was just wandering around Parts Unknown one day, stumbled upon Fuchi's old (and abandoned) stomping grounds, and claimed it as his own.

    Fuchi is merciful and decides two (three if you include Kawada's) Backdrop Drivers is enough, and goes for the pin. Kobashi kicks out at two. Fuchi covers again, Kobashi kicks out. Fuchi gladly accepts the invitation to hit more Backdrop Drivers, but Kobashi doesn't want to play ball. He blocks, but Fuchi backs off and hits an enziguiri. Then a second. Then Kawada enters and wallops Kobashi with a lariat just because he can. Fuck the rules. Fuchi covers. One. Two. Kobashi kicks out! Kobashi fires back with chops, then the machine gun chops in the corner to a huge pop. OK, I guess chops are his signature. He was probably doing that in 1993 too. I just forgot. Fuchi goes down. Kobashi stumbles towards Misawa. No! Fuchi grabs the trunks! Backdrop Driver number three! For some reason Fuchi is selling after hitting the move, allowing Kobashi to extend an arm just enough for Misawa to reach for the tag.

    Misawa goes for the Tiger Driver almost immediately. Fuchi fights out but eats a German Suplex. Misawa is unable to maintain the bridge, grabbing at his chest. Long-term selling is good. Misawa picks Fuchi up and applies the Facelock. The mighty Jumbo Tsuruta once famously submitted to this move. How long do you think Fuchi will last? Kawada is well aware of the danger and quickly breaks it up. Misawa nails him with a Roaring Elbow. Misawa tags in Kobashi, who is still very woozy. Scoop slam. Leg drop. Leg drop. Fuchi kicks out at 2.9. Why would such a weak move get a 2.9 count, you might ask? Because Fuchi is almost done. He hasn't taken as much punishment as Kobashi, but he has much less endurance, and he's almost out of gas. Kobashi goes for the Moonsault, and nails it! That's all she wrote. No! Kawada makes the save! Kawada eats a German Suplex from Misawa. Kobashi hits a top rope leg drop. Fuchi is motionless, as he pretty much has been since Misawa suplexed him, and Kobashi pins him for the victory.


    ---------------------------------------------

    It's so refreshing to watch AJPW tag team wrestling again. The main story of the match, isolating one wrestler, is something you see in literally every single US tag team match. It's not the same in Japan. Tag team matches are worked organically, in any number of ways, instead of blindly adhering to a strict "crowd-working" formula. So when you get a match like this in AJPW, where one guy is isolated, it's much more significant than in the US. To emphasise the story, the wrestlers changed how they wrestled according to the situation. Misawa was much more cautious, knowing he has to buy time for Kobashi to recover. When Fuchi and Kawada took control, they worked at a much slower pace than usual, knowing they had all the time in the world. Combine that with the quality of offense and selling, and it genuinely felt dangerous for Misawa. My only gripe with this match is that Fuchi looked very weak. I understand he's on a lower level than the other three, but Kobashi took four or five big head drops, in addition to other offense, and kept kicking out and fighting back, while Fuchi was completely done after some machine gun chops by Kobashi and a single German suplex from Misawa. Good match nonetheless.

    Looking at these cards I'm seeing some new faces. Young Lions Takao Omori and Masao Inoue (I assume the son of Mighty Inoue for those who care) are appearing in tag team matches with Kawada and pals, while Tamon Honda and Saturo Asako are on Misawa's side. The only one of these names I've heard of is Honda, whom I've seen in the upper midcard in NOAH. He's weird, and not in a good way, but I imagine his wrestling will be much different in AJPW. These guys are unknown commodities. I'm sure they'll pop up semi-frequently in tag matches to come. I should also take the time to mention Yoshinari Ogawa, a young guy who rose almost as quickly as Akiyama, who is allied with Kawada; and Tsuyoshi Kikuchi, who has been loyal to Misawa since his feud with Jumbo and someone who I think is very underrated as he's been part of some very high quality tags with Kobashi (vs Kroffat and Furnas on May 25th 1992 being the most well-known). Kikuchi is not present at the moment. Maybe he's injured. But don't worry, fans of Kikuchi. All zero of you. He'll be back soon enough. Another notable name is John Nord, best known as The Berzerker, who has been teaming regularly with Stan Hansen. I bet John Nord is a Baker guy. He has to be.

    The Holy Demon Army are back to their winning ways, beating Kobashi and Hansen on January 6th, John Nord and Johnny Ace on January 9th, and John Nord and Stan Hansen on January 12th. In addition to their win against Kawada and Fuchi above, the tag team champions also defeated Johnny Gunn and Stan Hansen on January 15th.

    Oh look, it's January 20th! How the time flies. Here's another match.

    ---------------------------------------------

    Mitsuharu Misawa, Kenta Kobashi and Jun Akiyama vs Toshiaki Kawada, Akira Taue and Takao Omori

    The previous match was #1 and #2 versus #1 and #3. This match is #1, #2 and #3 against #1, #2 and probably #5. Misawa's team are again the favourites on paper, but the gap is much smaller than to the previous match. Akiyama is still quite green, despite the speed with which has picked up the art of wrestling, and he wouldn't be far above the equally green Omori (both debuted in 1992). An exciting battle awaits us, with the first appearance of Akiyama, Taue and complete unknown Omori.

    The video starts about a minute or two into the match with Omori making Akiyama his bitch. Then Omori misses a dropkick. Akiyama slaps him around, hits a lariat, and tags Kobashi. Omori slaps Kobashi three times. Kobashi slaps Omori once. Omori goes down. That is what it means to be a Young Lion. Powerbomb from Kobashi. Yikes! Kobashi calmly walks away and tags in Misawa. He probably could have pinned him right there. Misawa stands and watches as Omori writhes on the mat. Misawa helps him to his feet and drills him with a forearm, sending him to his corner. Enter Kawada. The crowd pops. This feud has lasted close to a year and the crowd still love it. It will last another thousand years, and the crowd will love it right to the end. How quickly do we get sick of feuds in [insert any other promotion]? It's remarkable, especially considering Kawada and Misawa are facing each other in tag team matches all the time. AJPW must be doing something right.

    The next few minutes see back and forth action. Misawa and Kawada face off, then Taue and Kobashi, then back to Akiyama and Omori. Omori gets the best of Akiyama and the latter is isolated for a brief spell, suffering a piledriver at Taue's hands, before countering a second piledriver with a backdrop and reaching Misawa. Then it's back to frequent tags. Everyone gets a chance in the ring, but the young guys Omori and Akiyama have the worse of it. Omori has a brief spell of decent offense on Kobashi, but Kobashi reverses a submission hold, takes control, and suddenly Omori is suffering at the hands of all three of his opponents.

    We saw frequent illegal interference in the last match. It doesn't happen at all here until the 13 minute mark, when Taue breaks up Kobashi's abdominal stretch on Omori. Taue politely leaves once the hold is broken, and Misawa and co. get on with their business. Three minutes later Taue is back in again to break up Kobashi's boston crab. Misawa tags in and does a forward roll on Omori's back into a camel clutch. That's cute. Misawa hits a backdrop at the 18 minute mark and sends Kobashi in to stop any interference. One. Two. Kick out! At 2.9! Omori is just about surviving. He's been in the ring for close to 10 minutes now. Akiyama tries a Northern Lights Suplex. Taue enters and knees Akiyama in the back. This gives Omori the space he needs to finally tag out! Enter Taue. Legally.

    Taue picks Omori up in a body slam position and tosses him neck first on the top rope. A signature move. The Japanese crowd don't like moves that use the ropes, and they give Taue some heat. The crowd are not biased, however, they also boo Misawa when he enters illegally to cut off Taue. Rule breakers are rule breakers, whether you wear green or red. This allows Akiyama to tag in Kobashi and the fight is on. Kobashi very quickly hits the Moonsault on Taue, a big surprise, but Omori is there to make the save, hammering on Kobashi's back like a petulant child. Kobashi no sells and aggressively dispatches of the young one. Misawa tags in and hits some moves, but Taue catches him with a powerslam and tags in Kawada. Huge pop. The crowd are firmly behind Kawada. Kawada and Misawa don't duke it out for long, suddenly Akiyama is in. He hits a Northern Lights Suplex on Kawada for a tiny scare. Kawada dodges a top rope dropkick, kicks Akiyama around a bit, and tags in Omori.

    The action is heating up, and so is the crowd. Akiyama fights free of Omori and tags in Kobashi. Kobashi rapid fire chops Omori in the neck, and Omori unusually drops down and sandbags as though he was knocked out. I guess Kobashi...struck a nerve? Kobashi tries a powerbomb but Kawada enters and the two start brawling. Kawada catches Kobashi with a gamengiri as we see Omori in the background crawling towards Taue. I guess Omori was legitimately knocked for a loop. Good improvisation by Kawada. Taue with a neckbreaker drop on Kobashi. Taue tries the Chokeslam, but Misawa enters. Taue bullrushes Misawa right into Akiyama, sending him flying off the apron. Spot of the match. Taue and Kawada then hit a Chokeslam/Backdrop double team on Misawa. New spot of the match. Kobashi fights off the Holy Demon Army by himself for a few seconds before he gets overwhelmed. Taue whips Kobashi into a nasty Kawada lariat. Most Kawada lariats look pretty weak, but that one was on point. Taue chokeslams Kobashi! One! Two! Kick out! Kobashi hits a leaping shoulder tackle on Taue, but Kawada cuts him off with a weaker lariat. Taue hits a second chokeslam, but Misawa makes the save. Kawada with a gamengiri on Misawa, leading to an awesome stereo powerbomb spot. New spot of the match! Kobashi ruins everything by kicking out, but Taue hits a final huge chokeslam for the three count. A crushing victory for Kawada, Taue and Omori.


    ---------------------------------------------

    Remember when The Shield were running amok in WWE and had awesome six-man after awesome six-man? Remember how they worked the matches in such a way that it always appeared as though The Shield had the numbers game even though it was three on three? Ditto with the Holy Demon Army. When they burst on the scene in late 1993, that's what they did every match. Completely outclassed their opposition at tag team wrestling. And that's exactly what they did in this match. The Army is on point. The finishing stretch was amazing, but the match as a whole is brought down by the pretty dull first 20 minutes.

    The New Year Giant Series concludes next time!

  17. #17
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    5,302
    vCash
    2000
    Mentioned
    123 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: AJPW: The Golden Years

    Quote Originally Posted by Emperor View Post
    Another notable name is John Nord, best known as The Berzerker, who has been teaming regularly with Stan Hansen. I bet John Nord is a Baker guy. He has to be.
    Nope. And believe me, I hate having to burst your bubble. Well....I did like Nord as one-half of the Lumberjacks with Scott "Flapjack" Norton in AWA. But the Berzerker was pretty stupid......except for that one time he tried stabbing Undertaker with a sword. That was cool.

  18. #18
    Moderator Emperor's Avatar
    Asteroids Champion! Breakout Champion!
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    England
    Age
    28
    Posts
    13,439
    vCash
    16992
    Mentioned
    118 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)

    Default Re: AJPW: The Golden Years

    AJPW 1994: New Year Giant Series

    The first series of 1994 is coming to a close. Something I neglected to mention is that "Dr. Death" Steve Williams joined the tour on January 16th. Maybe he was able to negotiate more time off than the rest of the roster, or perhaps he had commitments elsewhere. Williams is teaming with Johnny Ace and Richard Slinger quite frequently. This led me to ask myself where Terry Gordy is, and now I realise that Terry Gordy sadly left AJPW at the end of 1993. I'm going to quietly remove him from the OP now

    Two televised shows remain, although I am only able to find matches from the final show of the tour on January 29th. But before we get there, what happened from January 21-28? There were a couple of big clashes in the ongoing faction wars between Misawa and Kawada. Kawada, Taue and Ogawa defeated Misawa, Kobashi and Akiyama on the January 24th show, and The Holy Demon Army defeated Misawa and Akiyama on the 26th. Kawada's doing well for himself. Also on the 26th, Kobashi defeated Fuchi in a singles match I would have loved to see. On the 28th Misawa and Kobashi defeated Hansen and Nord to get a bit of momentum leading into the last stop on the tour.

    We travel to the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, which according to the internet is the Madison Square Garden of puroresu because Japanese promotions frequently stop there for their biggest shows. That said, it has about a tenth of the capacity of MSG. The Budokan is a more accurate comparison to MSG in terms of capacity, but I assume pro-wrestling shows at the Budokan are less frequent than those at the Korakuen. In fact, the Budokan is the largest regular venue for AJPW shows. There's also the famous Tokyo Dome, but that has only hosted four AJPW shows in history. I'm rambling now. Let's get on with the January 29th show!

    ---------------------------------------------

    Asunaro Cup Tournament Final Match
    Jun Akiyama vs Takao Omori


    No doubt you read the words "Asunaro Cup" and asked yourself, "What the hell is that?" Well, you'll be pleased to know I had the same experience and did a little bit of research. The Asunaro Cup is a rather random tournament. It has occurred five times in history: 1989, 1994, 1996, 1998 and 2000. The first three editions were standard Round Robin juniur heavyweight tournaments. Kawada won the 1989 tournament, also featuring Kobashi and Taue. At that point Misawa was much more experienced and working more high-profile matches as Tiger Mask. The 1998 edition was a tag team tournament, and the 2000 instalment was a four man single elimination knockout tournament.

    This match is on Youtube! If you want to check out the match, it's best to do so before reading on.

    I'm not convinced that this tournament has any huge significance, but it's a good way to showcase the younger talent on the roster. I expect that this is the biggest and longest singles match of both men's careers up to this point. Despite being in opposing factions, the two shake hands as the bell rings. They start off with some fairly interesting chain wrestling before Akiyama hits the first big blow with a jumping knee. The jumping knee was a signature move of the legendary Jumbo Tsuruta. Akiyama would take the strike as his own, a move he used with regularity throughout his career. The knee he hits Omori with at the start of this match is one of the best I've seen if I'm being honest. A furious strike exchange follows. Akiyama wins, but Omori takes the advantage by reversing an Irish whip into the corner and charging with a solid running elbow.

    The crowd are very into this match in spite of the inexperience of the participants. They pop when Omori stubbornly holds on to a side headlock despite Akiyama trying to push and backdrop his way out of the hold. The headlock is milked for a very long time, including an impressive spot where Akiyama top wristlocks Omori down to a bridging position, only for Omori to push himself to a standing position and reapply the headlock. Akiyama finally gets a moment of reprieve when he charges Omori into the turnbuckle, but Omori quickly reapplies the headlock. Akiyama manages to escape properly with a backdrop and quickly pounces on his fallen foe. Omori fires back with a dropkick. Akiyama rolls to the floor but Omori is hot on his tail. Omori is whipped into the crowd barrier but fires back with a running elbow. Omori rolls Akiyama in the ring and hits a running powerslam for a 2 count.

    Omori dominates from here, briefly working over Akiyama's back before hitting a botched neckbreaker, a missile dropkick and a lariat for a very near fall. The crowd are getting very excited. Omori slams Akiyama and hits a running elbow drop. He climbs the top rope but Akiyama evades the diving elbow drop. Akiyama has a brief flurry of offense, but he is unable to hit the Northern Lights Suplex, which I'm guessing is his finisher at this point in time. Omori counters the second attempt with a DDT. After a brief struggle on the turnbuckle, he connects with the top rope elbow rop for another very near fall. The crowd are going absolutely bananas. Akiyama hits a deep arm drag which is apparently a believable near fall spot. I'm not accustomed to that one. He hits a backdrop driver but takes a bit of time to make the cover, and Omori kicks out. Akiyama tries a German, and a Northern Lights, but Omori valiantly blocks both, countering into a backslide for a near fall. Akiyama explodes with a lariat and hits a Northern Lights for yet another very near fall! The two weary foes collide in the centre of the ring. Akiyama catches Omori with a strange move. I'm not sure whether he intended an Exploder Suplex or a Uranage, but it ends up being halfway between, awkwardly dropping Omori on his head. The commentators call it a backdrop. Watch the video from 16:20 to see for yourself. Akiyama hits a final Northern Lights Suplex to win the match and the tournament!

    They shake hands again, and Akiyama is presented with a trophy that is small by Puro standards. Omori exits the ring to loud "Omori" chants. Akiyama receives only mild applause as he raises the trophy in the centre of the ring. I don't think the crowd were pleased at that outcome


    ---------------------------------------------

    The match is nothing extraordinary but it's a very good match and far better than I would expect from two wrestlers who are not even two years into their careers. They had the crowd right from the start, they looked comfortable in the ring, and they worked a very solid, smooth match with many dramatic moments. Akiyama is the guy who gets touted as the best from this crop of rookies, an opinion that could be partially retrospective because Akiyama went on to become a top star in AJPW and NOAH, while I don't have a clue what became of Omori. In my opinion Omori is just as good. At this point in time, I'd say both wrestlers had an equal amount of potential.

    That was the third from last match on the show. The penultimate match saw Stan Hansen and John Nord defeat Steve Williams and Johnny Ace. About time Hansen and Nord won a match of significance.

    ---------------------------------------------

    Mitsuharu Misawa, Kenta Kobashi and Giant Baba vs Toshiaki Kawada, Akira Taue and Masanobu Fuchi

    The next match in the Misawa vs Kawada saga features a wildcard in Giant Baba. Giant Baba is the owner and booker of AJPW. He wrestles regularly as a gap filler to add some variety to frequently-seen tag matches. He's almost always in the lower card but he seldom wrestles at the top of the card. He's always well-received by the crowd because of his legendary status. He's a competent wrestler, but he's well past his prime and the fast-paced style of the 90s does not suit Baba and his physical limitations at all. Baba has no particular allegiance, having teamed with both Kawada's crew and Misawa's crew in the past. This time he is fighting with Misawa as the champion attempts to stem the tide of recent Kawada victories.

    Kawada's team receive a lukewarm reaction, while Misawa's team come out to loud Misawa chants. Interestingly, Giant Baba's name is announced after Misawa's. I get that Baba owns the company, but come on. Misawa is the ace, the champion, and Baba is an old guy. If this was a one-off appearance, I'd get it, but Baba wrestles at pretty much every show. In any case, Misawa and Baba receive by far the strongest crowd reactions.

    Kobashi steps up to the plate for his team. Fuchi deliberates with his teammates in their corner for a moment. Then he tags Kawada. No handshake here. Kobashi and Kawada start running at each other. Kobashi knocks Kawada down twice with shoulder blocks, but Kawada fires back with kicks. Kawada runs through a Kobashi chop, screaming in pain but not leaving his feet. They trade a couple of chops, then Kawada whips Kobashi and hits his beautiful but deadly spinkick. Fuchi tags in and applies a kimura. After a brief struggle, Kobashi makes it to his corner. Giant Baba tags in and we have the largest size mismatch possible. Baba quickly ties Fuchi up but Kawada waltzes in the ring and kicks him in the back. Taue tags in, and we have a battle of the most physically awkward wrestlers in the company. Taue quickly gets the advantage, for he is less awkward than Baba. He doesn't keep it for long, and Taue finds himself in an Abdominal Stretch, one of Taue's own preferred holds. Fuchi runs in and pops Baba in the face to break the hold. Baba calmly retreats to his corner, and Misawa makes his first appearance, working over Taue.

    This match is very long so I'm not going to play-by-play the whole thing. For the next few minutes we get the usual fast and furious AJPW tag team action, with frequent tags and neither team being able to get a lasting advantage. At least until Kobashi hits Taue with a delayed vertical suplex. From then on it's relentless offense on Taue. Misawa and Kobashi work him over for a couple of minutes, including a baseball slide/diving forearm sequence on the outside. Misawa then goes for the kill with a Tiger Driver, but Kawada interferes, allowing Taue to surprise Misawa with a chokeslam. Kawada tags in, finding himself in the pleasant position of sharing a ring with a Misawa who has just been hit with a finisher. Kawada hits a backdrop driver for a two count. Misawa's neck is the focus, and few are better than ruthlessly working a body part than Fuchi. He stomps, knees and grinds Misawa's neck, and works it over with sleeper holds and chin locks. Taue tags in and dishes out some more pain. A strange and amusing spot sees Taue hit snake eyes on Misawa, only for Misawa to no-sell and pop Taue with a forearm. Fuchi immediately runs in the ring and jumps Misawa from behind. Fuchi is definitely a guy I would want on my team. He's not the toughest or the strongest, but he's ruthless and has great tag team instincts. The secret is not to tag him late in the match, or he is likely to get pinned.

    Misawa's neck continues to be ground down when Fuchi and Kawada hit a spike piledriver on the floor. Then Taue picks Misawa up and drops him neck first on the crowd barrier. It's been eight minutes since Misawa was chokeslammed. He grabs Fuchi in a front facelock and tries to walk to his corner, but Fuchi resists and Taue enters to keep control. Team Kawada goes for the kill. Taue and Kawada hit a Chokeslam/Backdrop double team, but Misawa's foot is under the ropes in a bit of an anticlimax. Kawada applies the Stretch Plum to Baba, but Kobashi is able to break it up after getting past Taue. Stereo powerbomb from Kawada and Taue. One! Two! Misawa kicks out! The disadvantage of having Baba on your squad is that he's far too slow to break up pinfalls. But that doesn't matter if you're invincible, and Misawa kicks out of what would have put anybody else down. Fuchi tries a Backdrop Driver but Misawa hits a forearm. Misawa collapses. He gets back up, hits another forearm, and finally tags out to Baba, having been in the ring for almost 13 minutes.

    Giant Baba with the world's worst comeback, simultaneously beating up Fuchi with slow Irish whips and slower big boots while effortlessly tossing Kawada and Taue out of the ring. Baba applies a sort of Cobra Clutch hold on Fuchi that actually looks good. At the same time, Misawa applies the Facelock to Kawada and Kobashi sleeper holds Taue in the corner for a crowd-pleasing spot. Fuchi pokes Baba's eyes to break the hold, and dropkicks him in the corner. Enter Kawada. "Enough of this bullshit", says Kawada as he hits a high-speed corner lariat. Taue hits Baba with a "chokeslam". Remember that hilariously bad chokeslam delivered to Hulk Hogan by The Undertaker? It's pretty much that. In Japan. Kobashi makes the save. Kawada applies Stretch Plum. The crowd agonise over their leader's peril while Kobashi struggles in Fuchi's grasp. Kobashi eventually breaks free and breaks the hold. Baba catches Kawada with a knee to the gut and tags in Kobashi. The two K's start chopping the crap out of each other. Kawada wins with a big slap and tags Taue in. he takes Kobashi to the outside, removes the padding, and DDTs Kobashi on the hard wood floor. Looks like Misawa's neck isn't the only neck to be wrecked tonight.

    Fuchi and Taue double team Kobashi, culminating in a wonderful chokeslam. Fuchi points to the opposite corner before making the cover, but his partners are too slow: Misawa makes the save. Fuchi knew that was coming. Kawada and Taue did not. Fuchi is the best tag team wrestler in the damn company. Misawa's desire to win means that Kobashi is going to suffer for a while. Kawada notably hits a Tombstone Piledriver for a near fall. Don't think I've seen that one in AJPW before. Kobashi eventually manages to tag out to Misawa after catching Kawada with a lariat. Misawa with a much more exciting and believable hot tag than Giant Baba. Kawada manages to cut him off and tag in Taue, who hits a DDT. He then takes Misawa's head and smashes it into his own knee. That's a Giant Baba special. Taue knows this, and gives Baba a look after delivering the move. Great stuff. Taue hits a second knee smash. Taue hits an Atomic Drop. Misawa lands, turns around, hits a forearm, walks to his corner like he was taking a morning stroll in the park, and tags in Baba. What the hell, Misawa? Did you forget how to sell?

    Baba enters and shows Taue how the knee smash is done. It's a move he can still do pretty well. Fuchi interferes, and Taue suplexes Baba. Baba comes back with a neckbreaker drop, another move he can still do pretty well, and Fuchi makes the save. Man of the match right here. He deserves a trophy. Bigger than the one Akiyama got. Kobashi tags in and activates furious chopping mode. Taue slamming Kobashi to the mat twice cannot stop the chop. After chopping Taue into oblivion in the corner, Kobashi hits a jumping knee and a DDT from the corner. Taue retaliates with a powerslam and tags in Fuchi. Uh oh. Remember what I said earlier about not tagging Fuchi late in the match? This does not bode well. Fuchi steps on Kobashi's neck for about 20 seconds, smiling and glancing at Misawa and Baba while doing so. This is enough to earn a Fuchi chant. Fuchi works over Kobashi while dodging a couple of chop attempts. Kobashi manages to catch Fuchi with the Infinity Roll! Haven't seen that one for a while. Fuchi kicks out. Kobashi hits a body slam. Leg drop. He goes for the Moonsault, but Kawada cuts him off. Misawa disposes of Kawada, and Kobashi has to settle for a diving shoulder tackle. Top rope leg drop! One! Taue with the save! Baba with his first run in of the match to take out Taue. Kobashi tries the moonsault again, and nails it! One! Two! Three! Big win for Misawa's team! And do you know why that happened? Because they tagged Fuchi late in the match. Fuchi is fucking awesome, but he's not a late match player.


    ---------------------------------------------

    That match was 40 minutes long, and there wasn't a single dull moment, which is an impressive feat. However, it didn't have any standout moments either. In fact, it was like an dragged out, inferior version of Misawa/Kobashi vs Kawada/Fuchi from the January 7th show. That match was crisp and to the point. This match was much more drawn out, with the extended Misawa heat stretch (which wasn't as potent as the Misawa heat segment in the other match), the weak Baba comeback, the Kobashi heat segment and the decent finishing stretch (again, not as good as the closing stretch of the other match). A fun ride, but I wouldn't watch it again.

    That concludes 1994's New Year Giant Series. Next up is February's Excite Series! Stay tuned.

  19. #19
    Moderator Emperor's Avatar
    Asteroids Champion! Breakout Champion!
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    England
    Age
    28
    Posts
    13,439
    vCash
    16992
    Mentioned
    118 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)

    Default Re: AJPW: The Golden Years

    AJPW 1994: Excite Series

    Not much to cover on this series - just the first and last shows of the tour. Let's get straight into the action with the February 19th show.

    ---------------------------------------------

    Kenta Kobashi and Satoru Asako vs Toshiaki Kawada and Takao Omori

    I mentioned Satoru Asako in a previous post. He's a young boy on Team Misawa. This is the first time we see him in action. Kawada and Omori are the clear favourites here, but upsets are always possible.

    The footage starts with Kobashi in Kawada's side headlock. Kobashi counters with a shin breaker and tags Asako, who is wearing rather ugly bright green trunks and boots. On the plus side, at least he stands out. He wraps Kawada in a Half Boston Crab, one of Kawada's preferred moves. Kawada quickly fights out of the hold and takes it to the young pup with hard chops.

    Asako is the shortest of the regular Japanese guys, probably even a bit smaller than Fuchi, but it doesn't stop him from bringing the fight. He catches Omori with a a nice diving attack from the second turnbuckle, and later demonstrates a bit of power by hitting a Neutraliser-type move on Omori. Kobashi and Asako work over Omori's back and legs with various holds, but it isn't long before they start going for the kill. Kobashi hits a big lariat for a near fall. They then hit a suplex/crossbody double team. After hitting the move, Asako gets up casually. Kobashi points to Omori and he dives for the cover. Clearly it's not only Asako's tights that are green, but that is forgiveable. Everyone has to start somewhere. Omori kicks out, backdrops his way out of Kobashi's powerbomb attempt and tags in Kawada.

    Kawada is rarely containable on a hot tag, but to Kobashi's credit he manages to stem the tide for a while, trading blow for blow until running into a big lariat. Kawada goes for a quick kill with a powerbomb but Asako flies off the top rope with a missle dropkick to thwart the attempt. Lariat by Kobashi! Asako tags in and slaps the woozy Kawada multiple times in the face. Not a wise move. Kawada with a "fuck you" body slam and soccer kick to the back. He then tags out. Asako got off lightly. Omori charges in with a lariat and headbutts Kobashi off the apron. It's not long before Kobashi is on the top rope, ready to moonsault Omori, but Kawada thwarts the effort by roundhouse kicking Kobashi off the top rope. This leads to another short but hot Kawada/Kobashi face off.

    The main story of this match is the battle between Kawada and Asako. Kawada gets the advantage on Kobashi by securing a Fujiwara armbar, but Asako breaks up the hold and then overstays his welcome, booting Kawada in the face instead of leaving the ring. Kawada body slams Asako hard on the mat, allowing Kobashi to dropkick the leg from behind. Kobashi tags Asako in, holds Kawada for an Asako dive. Kobashi lets go too early allowing Kawada to not only sidestep the dive but to kick Asako's back on the way down. To his credit, Asako manages to hit Kawada with a couple of dropkicks, and even has the audacity to slap Kawada's face some more. Kawada knocks him down with a big slap, followed by a beastly lariat. Kobashi makes the save, but Omori drags him out of the ring. Kawada casually takes Asako to the corner and hits a powerbomb. Not his standard folding powerbomb, more of a launching jackknife powerbomb. One. Two. Three.


    ---------------------------------------------

    Fun match, certainly above average and a great showing from Asako in possibly his most high-profile match to date.

    The main event is up next. The sixth match I have covered in this thread and the first involving gaijins! One of those gaijins is a chap called The Eagle. His real name is George Hines, who spent almost all of his pro-wrestling career in AJPW. There's actually a fair number of North American wrestlers who spent all their time in Japan, but we don't tend to hear about them for obvious reasons. The most famous example is Johnny Ace, most well-known for his non-wrestling roles in WWE, but he spent the 90s wrestling almost exclusively in AJPW. Another well-known example is Karl Anderson, who spent his entire career in NJPW until very recently. Richard Slinger is another one, who is wrestling in the undercards of these AJPW shows. I doubt we'll ever see him though. To the match!

    ---------------------------------------------

    Mitsuharu Misawa and Jun Akiyama vs Steve Williams and The Eagle

    The Eagle wrestles under a mask. A red, white and blue mask adorned in stars and stripes. His tights are striped blue and white. I'm sure there's a bit of red on there too. You don't need to wear that kind of attire for the audience to figure out you're American, but yeah, patriotism. I get it. While I'm still rambling about The Eagle, I should also mention he's been wrestling on the AJPW circuit since the late 80s. He clearly must spend a lot of time on the undercard because I've never seen or heard of him before, but I doubt this is his first main event. I mention his longevity because this should put him higher on the totem pole than Akiyama, making the gaijins the favourites.

    Eagle and Akiyama spend a few minutes chain wrestling, or feeling each other out as commentators would say. It isn't very interesting. On their fourth or fifth tie up, Eagle decides he's bored and starts elbowing Akiyama, following it up with a very nice dropkick. Enter Williams, who starts bulldozing Akiyama. Akiyama catches Doc with a dropkick, and reaches Misawa. Huge pop for Misawa entering the match. They tie up, Doc pushes Misawa against the ropes and slaps him on the break. Rope break psychology has been a puroresu trope forever. Misawa just stands there, stoic as ever. Williams calmly strolls up to Misawa. When he gets close enough, Misawa slaps him. It's on. They trade forearms, irish whip, Misawa hits a dropkick almost as good as Eagle's.

    Williams is double teamed for a short while before catching Misawa with a gigantic stinger splash in the corner. Best one I've ever seen. He follows up by gorilla pressing Misawa and dropping him head first on the top turnbuckle. Doc hits a powerslam, and the pinfall is broken up by Akiyama. Eagle continues to work over Misawa with a missile dropkick and a backbreaker. Then Doc tags in and drops Misawa on his head with one of his monster backdrop drivers. Everyone gets excited and Misawa rolls out of the ring, eerily reminiscent to Kawada backdropping Kobashi in the first match I reviewed in this thread. After a minute or two, Misawa is brought back into the ring with a vertical suplex. Akiyama again makes the save. This is the closest Misawa's come to being defeated in a very long time. Misawa's recovery spot is a bit odd. He tries a desperate spinkick. The Eagle ducks, then just stands there, giving Misawa time to hit a spinning elbow strike. I'm guessing he expected Misawa to be a bit faster with the elbow, but it looked very awkward. This gives Misawa the chance to tag in Akiyama.

    Akiyama with a fantastic comeback, proving his worth as Misawa's #3. He takes it to Eagle before he is suckered in towards the gaijin corner, allowing Williams to hit a clothesline from the apron. Doc tags in, charges at Misawa to knock him off the apron while screaming, and hits a Doctor Bomb on Akiyama. This guy gets tag team wrestling. He doesn't fanny about with long heat segments. He just tags in and hits his biggest moves. Wrestling has never looked so simple. Steve Williams and Fuchi would be the greatest tag team wrestler ever. Unfortunately for Williams, he didn't hit Misawa hard enough and the champion comes in to break up the pinfall. Unfortunately for Akiyama, this means Williams and Eagle have a fun time beating the crap out of Akiyama. Williams even takes a moment to spit at Misawa. He's clearly trying to surpass Stan Hansen as the angriest gaijin.

    It won't surprise you to hear that Akiyama eventually gets to tag in Misawa. Misawa has the Facelock on Eagle in a matter of seconds, but Williams makes the save. Akiyama with a lovely dropkick to get rid of Williams. Eagle stays alive, escaping the Tiger Driver as we see Williams whipping Akiyama to the guardrail in the background. Akiyama forearms Misawa off the apron. Misawa promprly applies the Facelock to Eagle once again, who doesn't take long to pass out. After the match, Williams gets in Misawa's face, requiring the entire ring crew to hold him back. Misawa and Akiyama walk away while Williams shouts at them from the ring. Steve Williams, you are not the angriest gaijin in All Japan. Stan Hansen would have spent five minutes beating up the entire ring crew. You have a long way to go.


    ---------------------------------------------

    Solid match, but below the standards I would expect for a main event. The previous match was a lot better. But they are establishing that Williams is also hot on Misawa's tail, and the match certainly succeeded in getting that point across. I like what I saw from The Eagle. He's very capable in the ring. I'm sure we'll be seeing more of him in future Williams vs Misawa tags.

  20. #20
    Moderator Emperor's Avatar
    Asteroids Champion! Breakout Champion!
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    England
    Age
    28
    Posts
    13,439
    vCash
    16992
    Mentioned
    118 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)

    Default Re: AJPW: The Golden Years

    AJPW 1994: Excite Series

    Last time I reviewed two matches from the first date of the tour. There's only one other match I can find from this series, and it's from the last show. But before we get there, I'll summarise the going on in late Febuary and early March. There are four main groups who frequently face off in tags or six man tags. We are very familiar with Misawa and Kawada's stables. The other two teams consist of gaijins. Steve Williams regularly teams with Richard Slinger, Johnny Ace, The Eagle (as we saw in the last post) and The Patriot. The Eagle and The Patriot typically wrestle as a tag team on the undercard. They are probably the most patriotic tag team in the history of wrestling. Meanwhile, Stan Hansen is allied with John Nord and a young Rob Van Dam. My guys the Can-Am Express occasionally grace the top of the card, but always in losing efforts. In consecutive shows they lost to Eagle/Patriot and Williams/Ace. But they got a win on the next show against the world-beating tag team of Johnny Gunn and Rob Van Dam. The February 24th show was televised, but none of their matches seem to exist. The main event saw Misawa, Kobashi and Akiyama defeat Hansen, Nord and Rob Van Dam. The Holy Demon Army defeated The Eagle and The Patriot in the penultimate match.

    The rest of the tour is more of the same. The only notable matches are two championship matches, the first two of the year if I'm not mistaken. On February 27th, Masanobu Fuchi retained his Junior Heavyweight Championship against Dan Kroffat. Three days later, Dan Kroffat competed in another title match as the Can-Am Express retained the All Asia Tag Team Championships against The Patriot and The Eagle.

    The final show took place in the Budokan Hall, the largest venue AJPW visits on a regular basis. The match that concludes the tour is Stan Hansen teaming with Giant Baba in a non-title match against the AJPW World Tag Team Champions Misawa and Kobashi. The match is interesting for a couple of reasons. The last time we saw Giant Baba, he was teaming with Misawa and Kobashi. Also, it's the first time we're going to see Stan Hansen in 1994. It's been too long since I've watched that rage-filled Texan in action. It's curious how Giant Baba wrestles in the undercard except for the biggest shows where he magically pops up in the main event. A comparison could be made to WWE's habit of trotting out guys like The Rock and Triple H at every Wrestlemania, but in AJPW's case I doubt that their big shows would draw significantly less if Giant Baba wasn't headlining.

    ---------------------------------------------

    Giant Baba and Stan Hansen vs Mitsuharu Misawa and Kenta Kobashi

    Kobashi and Hansen tussle around for a bit. Hansen tags out to Baba. Massive cheer from the crowd. Misawa tags in moments later to an audible but much quieter reaction. I guess that's the reason Baba main events the big shows. Baba has the audacity to pop Misawa with a forearm at the ropes. It was actually a pretty decent forearm. But Misawa isn't going to take that shit, not even from the legendary Giant Baba. He nails the boss with several much harder forearms to knock him to the mat. Baba gets up and endures more forearms, but he catches the arm and starts working it over. He lifts Misawa's arm, drops it on his own shoulder, and hits a nice Japanese arm drag followed by his signature Russian leg sweep. He keeps working over the arm, not once letting go of the wrist. Baba can't work the 90s style at all, but his technical wrestling is still pretty good. Misawa rolls out of a cross armbreaker and takes Baba down with a spin kick. Both men tag out.

    Kobashi storms in with a dropkick, picking up the pace for a moment, and then they are grabbing chinlocks. Soon Kobashi peppers Hansen with a few strikes and tags in Misawa. Misawa tries to continue the onslaught but the bullish Hansen effortlessly grabs Misawa, body slams him, and tags out. Baba picks up where he left off, going after the arm, but Misawa quickly gets away and tags in Kobashi. Kobashi with a side headlock on Baba for a few minutes, but the big guy eventually escapes, countering into an armbar. He hits a hiptoss and tags out.

    Hansen tries to powerbomb or piledrive Kobashi on the outside, but Kobashi backdrops out of it and hits a diving shoulder tackle from the apron. This is followed by a neckbreaker drop on the floor. Back in the ring, Miisawa tags in and hits a missile dropkick. Finally one team has an advantage. It doesn't last long, though, as Hansen rolls out of the way of Misawa's senton to take control. He manages to do what he couldn't do to Kobashi, powerbombing the champ in the centre of the ring for a two count. Misawa is now the target of abuse. Hansen does something I've never seen before - a "superplex" not from the top rope or even the second rope, but the first rope! Hansen and Baba mercilessly work over Misawa's back. Kobashi is eventually coaxed into illegally entering in order to break up Hansen's camel clutch. Baba joins the fray to double team Kobashi and then Misawa. Baba and Hansen continue to hit moves and try to pin Misawa. It's getting boring now. Just as I type that, Misawa catches Hansen with a forearm and tags Kobashi.

    Kobashi nails two DDTs and grabs a sleeper hold. Hansen makes the ropes and tries to counter a second sleeper with a backdrop, but Kobashi rotates in order to land on top of Hansen. Misawa tags in and leaps off the top rope with a forearm, followed by the Facelock! Baba tries to make the save but Kobashi cuts him off. Hansen looks to be out but Baba makes the save in the nick of time with a world's-worst-kick to Misawa's face. Misawa and Kobashi with a stereo vertical suplex on their opposition. Hansen rallies back with an awkward counter to Kobashi's diving shoulder tackle followed by a decent dropkick. Baba's hot tag consists of one chop before Kobashi fights back. It's for the best. Baba can't chain offense together at a fast pace. A nice sequence sees Baba and Kobashi trade chops in the corner. Baba wins, but he is soon caught in the Infinity Roll! Baba kicks out to a large cheer. Kobashi tries to end things with the moonsault but Hansen cuts him off, giving Baba enough time to hit a backdrop for a near fall.

    Now all four men are in the ring. Hansen powerbombs Misawa. Baba piledrives Kobashi! I honestly wouldn't put my faith in a guy like Baba who can barely move to piledrive me safely, but would you refuse your elder boss, especially in Japan of all places? In any case, Kobashi is fine, Misawa is on the floor, and Baba and Hansen are going to finish Kobashi off. Hansen signals for the lariat. Baba whips Kobashi. LARIATOOO!!! Kobashi is dead. Fortunately for the team, Misawa storms the ring, taking down both foes with mighty forearms. He tries to drag the dead weight of Kobashi to his corner, but Kobashi won't move, and Baba cuts Misawa off. In the background Hansen covers Kobashi! One. Two. Thr- no! Kobashi's foot is on the bottom rope! Hansen signals for lariat number two but Misawa is being a constant distraction. Misawa hits a forearm, but Hansen doesn't go down, and he charges Misawa off the apron. Kobashi fights back with slaps and manages to tag in Misawa at long last.

    Baba also tags in and grabs an abdominal stretch, killing the fast pace of the match. But, honestly, I'd rather see Baba work holds than try to do strikes and things. Kobashi interferes. Baba takes him down with a lariat. He takes Misawa down with a big boot and a backdrop. One. Two. Misawa kicks out! Neckbreaker drop! Cover! One! Two! Kobashi with the save! Baba tries another backdrop but Kobashi, having sent Hansen over the top rope, backdrops Baba instead. Misawa hits a second backdrop, but Baba kicks out at two. Kobashi and Baba are now duking it out. Baba hits a neckbreaker, but Kobashi comes back, hitting a body slam, a leg drop, and the moonsault! One! Two! Baba kicks out! I actually thought that might have been it. Kobashi tags Misawa. They hit a double suplex. Misawa climbs the top rope. Diving neckbreaker drop. One! Two! Three! Misawa and Kobashi win! Big respect session after the match with everyone shaking hands and celebrating and stuff.


    ---------------------------------------------

    That match wasn't very good. And it's not just because of Baba. Stick a competent wrestler in his place and it would have certainly been better, but not that much better. The match lasted somewhere between 35 and 40 minutes, so they had a lot of time to fill, and the match plodded as a result. Also, everyone seemed off their game. There were several sloppy moments, near botches and miscommunications which I don't expect from these guys. The finish was a bit weird as well. Kobashi pinning Baba with a moonsault would have been a good finish, but then Misawa tags in and wins after a move you wouldn't expect to win a match, so it fell a bit flat to me. It worked reasonably well as a big spectacle match, and the crowd were into it, but it didn't work for me. Thumbs down.

    1994 hasn't been very interesting so far in terms of big moments. We've had a bunch of good quality but rather meaningless tag team matches, and a pretty good tournament final between Akiyama and Omori. That's about to change. The Champions Carnival is coming, a round robin singles tournament, the equivalent to NJPW's G1 Climax. We'll see all the top guys face each other in singles action in their quest for glory.

  21. #21
    Moderator Emperor's Avatar
    Asteroids Champion! Breakout Champion!
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    England
    Age
    28
    Posts
    13,439
    vCash
    16992
    Mentioned
    118 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)

    Default Re: AJPW: The Golden Years

    AJPW Champion Carnival 1994

    AJPW's Champion Carnival tournament is the longest-running singles tournament in professional wrestling. Giant Baba introduced the first edition in 1973, six months after founding the company. The first instalment of NJPW's G1 Climax would take place a year later (then called the World League), so the gap in longevity is very small. The tournament runs in a round robin format. Everyone wrestles each other once. Two points for a win. One point for a draw (reaching the time limit and double countout are the only ways to draw). Zero points for a loss. The top two wrestlers fight each other in the final. Champion Carnival typically has a single block round robin, in contrast to G1's two block system, although both tournaments have had editions using the other format. Champion Carnival 1994 is a single block. The participants are below.



    The usual suspects are there, some lesser gaijins, and a generically-named chap called Johnny Smith. No idea who he is, but he's been in AJPW since 1989, so good for him. Spoiler alert: Johnny Smith is not going to win this Champion Carnival or any other. It's interesting to note that out of the 12 participants, only five are Japanese. That is explained by the fact that large chunk of the Japanese roster are young boys, and more familiar names such as Masanobu Fuchi, Yoshinari Ogawa, Tsuyoshi Kikuchi, and Takao Omori are Junior Heavyweights. I'm assuming Akiyama recently graduated to heavyweight status, perhaps after winning the Asako Cup. One could argue that AJPW is pretty weak on the top level as far as native wrestlers are concerned, but history tells us that the Big Four was more than sufficient to carry the company to great heights over the next 5+ years.

    I'm going to keep a running score, so that we can all enjoy the high drama of a Japanese tournament in 1994. We're going to be seeing a more matches than we have seen in previous tours, and a good chunk of the CC matches not featuring Johnny Ace, John Nord, Johnny Smith, Doug Furnas, and The Eagle. Sorry guys. You don't matter. You're just there to make up the numbers. Each show has three or four tournament matches. The first show has four. Three of those feature guys on that list I just listed. Four minus three is one. That means there's one match to watch.

    ---------------------------------------------

    Mitsuharu Misawa vs Jun Akiyama

    Let's face facts: Akiyama is good, but he's not going to win many matches (he might beat Johnny Smith, but we'll see). So perhaps it's a good thing that he gets his match against the Triple Crown Champion out of the way. Misawa hasn't been pinned or submitted in about a thousand years. Can Akiyama pull off one of the biggest upsets in history?

    Akiyama starts off strong, scoring two deep arm drags and a dropkick. Akiyama tenaciously works over Misawa's left arm. After three minutes of armbars, Misawa's had enough of the boredom and socks his stablemate with a forearm after a ropebreak. Misawa wins a very brief strike battle and hits a dropkick to take control. Misawa decides to focus on the head with a mixture of holds and clobbering. Smooth gutwrench suplex into a rear chin lock. Akiyama escapes with a jawbreaker and makes the mistake of chopping the champ. Misawa dispatches of him easily with forearms and chest kicks.

    Misawa picks up the pace with a leaping clothesline, a cross body and a backdrop. Akiyama blocks a vertical suplex attempt and catches the running Misawa with an arm drag suplex thing. He hits a Northern Light Suplex for a two count. The crowd heats up. Akiyama escapes a Misawa German suplex attempt and hits one of his own for another two count. Diving elbow by Akiyama! That's Misawa's move! Another two count. Misawa backdrops out of a powerbomb attempt, but is too weak to get up. Akiyama captalises with a nice dropkick to the back of Misawa's head. Akiyama hits a lariat. Powerbomb! One! Two! Kick out! I'm impressed they got a genuine near fall out of this match. Well done, gents.

    Misawa escapes the Exploder, then ducks a lariat and grabs the Facelock. Akiyama quickly makes the ropes and hits a lovely Exploder suplex, perhaps the first great one of his career. Misawa looks out. Akiyama hits a second! One! Two! Foot on the ropes! Akiyama chants from the crowd. Akiyama engages in yet another strike battle. This one is only slightly more competitive than earlier ones. Akiyama gets a couple of big hits, but Misawa hits a devastating combination, ending in a spinning back elbow and a roaring elbow. A Tiger Driver seals the deal. Misawa with a surprisingly challenging victory.


    ---------------------------------------------

    That match was nothing until the last few minutes, but they were a very exciting few minutes indeed. Misawa gave Akiyama a lot more than I thought he would. Two finishers and a foot-on-the-rope near fall. That says Akiyama could have pinned Misawa clean if the circumstances were a little better. A huge endorsement from the ace. I might have to take back my statement that Akiyama isn't going to win many matches. He could place fairly highly if he keeps that form up. Not above the main six, but conceivably above all the rest. Another pre-match comment I made is that Misawa hadn't taken a fall in a very long time. I decided to find out when exactly he took his last fall. Appropriately enough, he lost in the finals of the 1993 Champion Carnival tournament against Stan Hansen. He also lost to Terry Gordy and Stan Hansen in the round robin.


    Day 1 Results
    Spoiler


    Standings
    2 points: Mitsuharu Misawa (1), Stan Hansen (1), Steve Williams (1), Toshiaki Kawada (1)
    0 points: Akira Taue (0), Doug Furnas (0), John Nord (1), Johnny Ace (0), Johnny Smith (1), Jun Akiyama (1), Kenta Kobashi (0), The Eagle (1)

  22. #22
    Moderator Emperor's Avatar
    Asteroids Champion! Breakout Champion!
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    England
    Age
    28
    Posts
    13,439
    vCash
    16992
    Mentioned
    118 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)

    Default Re: AJPW: The Golden Years

    AJPW Champion Carnival 1994

    We're heading to day 5 for the next aired matches, but before we get there, here are the results of days 2-4.

    Days 2-4 results
    Spoiler


    Doug Furnas going sixteen minutes against the ferocious Stan Hansen is pretty impressive. Especially considering Hansen ran over The Eagle in six minutes and Nord in nine. He also lasted over ten minutes against both Taue and Misawa. A tough start for Furnas, but at least he will end the tournament on a high note. Hopefully.

    As expected, Johnny Smith is the resident jobber. He lost to Johnny Ace and Akiyama, who are middle-of-the-pack guys. Still, I doubt he will win a single match. AJPW is pretty much an upset-free environment. Upsets only happen when they really matter, and you'll never see the equivalent of G1 upsets such as Toru Yano pinning Tanahashi, Shibata and Ibushi, whatever that would be.

    Standings
    6 points: Stan Hansen (3)
    4 points: Akira Taue (2), Mitsuharu Misawa (2)
    2 points: Johnny Ace (2), John Nord (3), Jun Akiyama (2), Kenta Kobashi (1), Steve Williams (1), Toshiaki Kawada (1)
    0 points: Doug Furnas (3), Johnny Smith (3), The Eagle (3)

    In the standings I've placed the number of matches wrestled by each competitor next to their name in brackets.

    ---------------------------------------------

    Akira Taue vs Kenta Kobashi

    The number twos of their respective stables do battle. This is as evenly-matched as it gets. Kobashi gets the action started early with a chop after a rope break. They start running the ropes. Kobashi sidesteps a Taue big boot, bounces off the ropes, and aims a kick at Taue's chest. The kick doesn't come anywhere close to connecting, Taue sells as is it would have, and Kobashi backs off. Awkward spot. Kobashi stares at Taue while he just walks off. The crowd are kind, ooo-ing at the awkward moment. They're well established wrestlers. It's fine. Mistakes happen.

    Following this we get a long sequence where Kobashi holds onto a side headlock forever. It's a strategy frequently used by Kobashi in the early stages of a match. Taue tries all the escape attempts, eventually escaping with a bounce off the ropes. He withstands a shoulder block, hits a big boot, counters Kobashi's leaping shoulder block by faceplanting him, and surprisingly hits a dropkick on his fallen foe to slide him out of the ring. Taue then surprises me even more by hitting a very nice dive through the ropes. Taue drops Kobashi neck first on the crowd barrier. Twice. The formation of the Holy Demon Army came from a long and heated feud between Taue and Kawada which featured a lot of ringside brawling like this. By doing this, Taue is taking the fight to his own domain.

    Taue in firm control of the match. He relentlessly attacks Kobashi's head with holds, foot chokes, neck drapes on the top rope, and a big DDT. Kobashi gives himself some time to breathe by connecting with a spinning chop to the neck. This is sold to an almost comical degree by Taue. I liken it to when Jumbo would oversell Misawa's forearms before they were established as lethal strikes. Kobashi with an impressive vertical suplex for a two count. Taue goes down like he was shot after a second spinning neck chop. The fight goes to the outside, where Kobashi shows he also has a killer instinct, ripping away the floor padding and DDTing Taue on what lies beneath. Taue is suplexed back into the ring, barely able to kick out of the following pinfall. Kobashi hits two DDTs in a row. He goes for a third, and something strange happens. Taue lifts Kobashi up as if to backdrop him. Kobashi goes back down hard, but Taue goes down with him. I think the intention was for Taue to slam Kobashi, but Taue unintentionally fell forward, making it look like he was DDT'd. What follows is a double down spot, which was perhaps the plan anyway. It would have actually been pretty innocuous if Taue hadn't flailed around looking puzzled immediately after the spot.

    The fight moves to the turnbuckle. Kobashi insists on his DDT-until-death strategy, climbing on the second rope for a super DDT of sorts, but Taue slams him to the mat Samoa Joe style. Taue follows up with a beautiful butterfly suplex for a two count. Taue applies an abdominal stretch, a hold he's really good at making look vicious. Kobashi manages to hip toss out of it and rolls to the floor. Taue is immediately on him, whipping Kobashi into the guardrail and lariating Kobashi over the barrier. At least, that was the intention. Instead Kobashi doesn't move an inch, clearly not expecting the move. Another awkward botch. Taue pauses for a moment, then punishes his inattentive opponent by removing the padding and hitting a piledriver. Kobashi crawls to the apron and Taue hits an impressive dropkick, getting enough height to connect with the chin. Did Taue drink a glass of luchador's blood before coming to the ring? He's doing some crazy (for Taue) shit.

    Kobashi regains control and works over Taue with a couple of holds. Taue hulks up, endures many Kobashi chops, and hits a gamengiri to take Kobashi down. Taue then slowly works over Kobashi with forearms, harking back to Kobashi's weakened head and neck. Kobashi sells this brilliantly. Taue with Kobashi-like machine gun chops in the corner. This leads to a really nice sequence where Kobashi machine gun chops Taue in the corner, Taue rallies back with rapid fire brain chops, rinse and repeat. Kobashi's fire here is excellent, as usual, and Taue's selling is also fantastic. They start to trade counters and big moves. Taue is the first to successfully hit a potential match-ender, drilling Kobashi with a powerbomb for a very near fall. He follows up with a monster chokeslam. One. Two. Kobashi kicks out! Taue doesn't hesitate to go for another chokeslam. Kobashi resists, and struggles hard enough to make the ropes. Taue pulls him away and tries again. Kobashi smartly hooks his leg behind Taue's leg in order to hit a Russian leg sweep. Lovely reversal. Kobashi hits a German suplex, a powerbomb and a moonsault, but none are able to put Taue away. Kobashi looks especially distraught after the moonsault near fall, justifiably so.

    Soon after, it is announced that two minutes remain, and things get very frantic. It's mostly Taue on offense from this point forward. He hits a move and immediately covers, no matter the strength of the move. He pins after a neck drape on the top rope, a lariat, and a back suplex. After each pinfall, both guys stay down for a moment, Taue picking up Kobashi to hit the next move. I like the sense of urgency. With seconds to go, Taue tries a chokeslam, but Kobashi is still able to resist, and the bell rings. Time limit draw. Taue insists on the chokeslam attempt until the wrestlers at ringside separate them. They reluctantly shake hands after the match, both men visibly disappointed.


    ---------------------------------------------

    For me, this is Taue's first great singles match. He's had a few high profile singles matches in the past, notably his series with Kawada and his Triple Crown shot against Misawa, but I wouldn't call any of them great. In this match Taue was as vicious and as ruthless as ever (his best quality), but furthermore his selling, pacing and execution were much better than what I've seen from him before. I say that in spite of the three botches, at least two of which looked pretty bad at the time, but they barely hurt the match. One of the reasons this match worked so well is that Taue is a great foil to Kobashi's never-say-die fiery babyface character. I'm very surprised they went the distance without the match going beyond overkill considering they were go-go-go from the start and hitting big moves on the floor in the first ten minutes. But somehow they paced the match extremely well, and I could buy into both guys kicking out of each other's killer moves despite the heavy punishment they both took throughout the match. Bottom line, it was a war between two rivals, and they both got across their desire to win extremely well.

    That was one hell of a slog. But it's not the main event. I'm not going to play-by-play the next match. I'll watch the whole thing and write a retrospective review.

    ---------------------------------------------

    Stan Hansen vs Toshiaki Kawada

    The first five minutes of this match make me think that Hansen and Kawada were sitting in the back watching Taue vs Kobashi and saying "That was amazing. Let's do that, but in less time." They start brawling as soon as the bell rings, Hansen hits a dropkick to send Kawada to the outside, hits a dive through the ropes ("Anything Taue can do, I can do better!"), and DDTs him on the hard floor. Minutes later, Kawada is suplexing Hansen on the padding, and then suplexing him back in the ring from the apron.

    As we progress to the halfway point, the match starts to form its own identity. There's a resthold phase. Hansen grabs a chinlock for a while. Kawada then applies a sleeper hold. They both Boston Crab each other. Then there's a lot of clobbering and stomping, mainly from Hansen. Hansen does something very strange in this phase. He lowers his knee pad, climbs to the second rope, hits an elbow drop, then immediately lifts the knee pad back as though he just hit a knee drop. Kawada tries fighting back on several occasions but keeps getting dropped by forearms and closed fist punches.

    Eventually Kawada takes control, and goes into video game mode, relentlessly spamming Stretch Plums, lariats and gamengiris. He hits at least six gamengiris, but most of them only stun Hansen for a moment or two. Kawada's lariats look as weak as ever but they are the only source of unconvincing near falls for Kawada this match. Hansen eventually stops the assault by blocking a gamengiri and stomping Kawada's head a few times. This is apparently enough for Hansen to hit a huge powerbomb after being on pure defense for the past few minutes. He goes for a lariat a couple of times, but Kawada counters with Fujiwara armbars, more a last gasp for survival than a serious attempt to win. Hansen hits a second powerbomb, drops Kawada with a punch, and finally scores with the lariat for the victory.


    ---------------------------------------------

    Hansen and Kawada had an unenviable task to follow Taue vs Kobashi. They didn't come close. It didn't look like Kawada was in Hansen's league, which should not be the case. Kawada got a lot of offense in, but almost none of it seemed to phase Hansen much beyond a bit of short-term selling, and he didn't have anything close to a convincing near fall. On the other hand, Hansen was able to take control far too easily, and although it took a lot to finish off Kawada, that didn't help Kawada's cause all that much. The only drama was seeing how many times Kawada could avoid the lariat. Disappointing match.

    Day 5 Results
    Spoiler


    Standings
    8 points: Stan Hansen (4)
    5 points: Akira Taue (3)
    4 points: Mitsuharu Misawa (2)
    3 points: Kenta Kobashi (2)
    2 points: Johnny Ace (2), John Nord (3), Jun Akiyama (2), Steve Williams (1), Toshiaki Kawada (2)
    0 points: Doug Furnas (3), Johnny Smith (3), The Eagle (3)

  23. #23
    Moderator Emperor's Avatar
    Asteroids Champion! Breakout Champion!
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    England
    Age
    28
    Posts
    13,439
    vCash
    16992
    Mentioned
    118 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)

    Default Re: AJPW: The Golden Years

    AJPW Champion Carnival 1994

    Our next stop is Day 9. I'll collate the results from days 6-9 at the end of the post. It makes more sense to do it that way than to have two results sections before and after the match commentary. At least until the later shows, where it's important to know the standings going in. Day 9 has two huge matches. The first is Misawa vs Hansen, which for some tragic reason is not available to watch despite this being a televised show. The main event is another very important match. It's clipped so that lessens the sting of the fact that I unintentionally spoiled myself while doing the research for this post.

    ---------------------------------------------

    Toshiaki Kawada vs Steve Williams

    The video starts with Kawada kicking Williams who is on his knees. He takes Williams to the outside, whips him into the barricade, and clotheslines him over. Kawada enters the ring and waits for him to recover, only to kick him from the apron and body slam him on the floor for good measure. After a short strike battle on the apron, Kawada connects with a roundhouse kick to the head to send Williams tumbling to the floor once again. Williams takes some time to recover before climbing on the apron, but he is again kicked in the head. This time Kawada follows and starts shoving various body parts into the ring post. Kawada kicks Williams while he is leaning against the ring post. Williams dodges the second kick, causing Kawada to kick the post. Kawada is the first to his feet but Williams kicks the leg, immediately pouncing on the fresh wound, and then dropping Kawada shin first on the crowd barrier.

    Back in the ring, Kawada connects with a spin kick. It connected fully, Williams going down hard, but he gets up immediately, in effect no-selling the move and pouncing on the injured leg. Kawada fires off a kick to Williams' leg, which he has the decency to sell for a while, but Kawada is still on the ground by the time he has recovered. Williams sinches in a Boston Crab, probably the most common hold in AJPW. He transitions to an STF for a few moments before Kawada grabs the ropes. Williams with a shin breaker. Kawada grabs the ropes to stay on his feet, but his facial expressions are tremendous. I think Kawada is an underrated seller. Kawada catches Williams with a lariat, but again it doesn't keep Williams down for a sufficient time, and the American keeps control.

    Williams goes for a Backdrop Driver twice, exciting the crowd and announcers. Kawada resists on both occasions, connecting with a gamengiri after the second. And then other. The crowd chants Kawada's name. Both men are on their feet. Kawada kicks Williams' chest and head repeatedly, deciding that his leg no longer bothers him. Williams no sells it all, catches a Kawada kick, slams him down, and hits the three-point-stance shoulder charge. Kawada escapes from the Oklahoma Stampede by dropping down the back, and hits a kick to the head followed by a third excellent gamengiri. Kawada decides to drop Williams on his head with his own move, the Backdrop Driver, to a huge pop. One! Two! Kick out!

    Kawada, limping slightly, tries a powerbomb, but Williams fights out. Kawada grabs the Stretch Plum. Williams quickly escapes by throwing Kawada over his head, but soon Kawada has the hold applied again. Williams grabs the ropes. He then no sells a bunch of Kawada kicks and gets in Kawada's face. Kawada's response is to slap him repeatedly and to hit yet another gamengiri, sending Williams to the outside. Whip into the guardrail, but Williams rebounds and hits a lariat.

    Back in the ring, Williams leaps off the top rope with the most forceful diving shoulder tackle I've ever seen. This earns a two count. Sitout Doctor Bomb! One! Two! Kick out! Sitout Doctor Bomb!! Sorry, that's me replaying that move because I love it so much. Williams tries the Backdrop Driver again, but Kawada desperately scrambles to the ropes. I love how these guys are establishing his Backdrop as such a killer move just by the way they react whenever he tries it. Williams hits a powerslam and goes for the Backdrop again. This time he's able to lift Kawada, but Kawada rotates in the air to land on top of his opponent. Kawada catches the charging gaijin with a Fujiwara armbar, much like he did to Hansen a few days prior.

    Williams nails a lariat, and again tries the Backdrop, but Kawada reverses into a Fujiwara armbar. Two minutes to go is announced as Williams struggles in the hold. Eventually he makes the ropes. Kawada nails a lariat for a very near fall. Roundhouse kick! Folding powerbomb! One! Two! Kick out! Another announcement is made. Thirty seconds to go! Kawada with a few weak-ish kicks and a cover. Two count. The bell rings. It's a draw!


    ---------------------------------------------

    The verdict: much better than Kawada vs Hansen. Despite me knowing the result in advance, the drama was real, and I bought into every near fall. The intensity was there, and Kawada came out of this match looking great, as he came closest to victory and was on offense at the end, but not at Doc's expense. The random no-selling from both guys drags the match down a bit, especially Kawada spamming kicks for the last ten minutes of the match after getting his leg torn to shreds, but still a great way to close the show.

    Days 6-9 Results
    Spoiler


    Standings
    10 points: Stan Hansen (5)
    9 points: Kenta Kobashi (5)
    7 points: Steve Williams (4), Toshiaki Kawada (5)
    5 points: Akira Taue (3)
    4 points: John Nord (6), Jun Akiyama (3), Mitsuharu Misawa (5)
    2 points: Johnny Ace (4), The Eagle (4)
    0 points: Doug Furnas (5), Johnny Smith (5)

    EDIT: Misawa forfeited the tournament due to injury before his match with Kobashi, but cagematch reports these matches as Misawa losing by "Nichtantritt", or no-show in German. This confused me a lot, but Strobe cleared everything up below. Much credit to him.

    The other five favourites are still in the fight. Stan Hansen maintains a flawless record, having knocked off Misawa and Kawada. Can he keep it up against the other big boys, or will he be caught?

  24. #24
    Atodaso Strobe's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    5,158
    vCash
    2332
    Mentioned
    49 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: AJPW: The Golden Years

    Quote Originally Posted by Emperor View Post
    The big news is that the seemingly unbeatable Misawa lost three matches in a row! The first of his losses was what I consider a huge upset to stablemate Kobashi. That's a historic match that really should have been televised. Alas, the first time Kobashi defeated Misawa will never be seen. It only exists as a "you had to be there" moment. A real treat for those in attendance. His losses to Williams and Hansen are very minor upsets, if they are even upsets at all, but still pretty shocking results. But there are some very strange things about these card reports on cagematch.net. No match time is given for any of the three Misawa losses, replaced by the cryptic "by Nichtantritt" after the result. And none of them main evented the show. No match in the tournament is bigger than Misawa vs Williams or Misawa vs Hansen. The Triple Crown champion facing his biggest threats. If Day 8's card is to be believed, Akiyama vs Nord and Kobashi vs Furnas took place after Misawa vs Williams, which is outrageous. All the other cards I've seen have logical match orderings. An even stranger issue with the Day 9 show is that apparently Stan Hansen also wrestled a tag team match in the semi-main event. See for yourself. Unfortunately it seems no other websites exist with the complete AJPW results, so there's no way to verify this. We'll have to take cagematch's results as gospel. I mean, it's likely that they're true, but the contents of these results are suspicious. Perhaps Nichtantritt is the leader of the Misawa fan club and has edited the cards to try and hide the fact that his guy lost three times in a row. In any case, Misawa is basically out of the running now.
    http://www.dict.cc/german-english/Nichtantritt.html

    Misawa was hurt, so forfeited the tournament after the Furnas win and before the scheduled Kobashi match. Therefore "losing" all those remaining matches. Good for you to find out now, before you start seeing him "losing" to John Nord, The Eagle and even Johnny Smith and start questioning your sanity.

    So Hansen was in that tag match because that was his only match of the night. The Hansen def. Misawa by forfeit is just written there as a formality.

    And when you get to Day 18, you now won't be confused by how it will look like Kawada beat Misawa in the middle of the show and then they also fought in the main. The "match" listed in the middle is the formality of the forfeit. Due to the nature of their feud, they decided to have a non-tournament match anyway that night.

    Apparently the claimed injury (neck) was not legit, but Misawa was pretty banged up at the time. So doing this made it easier to book the tournament to get to the desired final (rather than needing to have Misawa lose or draw with people - meaning he'd have to go 30 mins often) and gave him a lighter tour so he could recover a bit.
    Last edited by Strobe; 07-11-2016 at 08:26 PM.

  25. #25
    Moderator Emperor's Avatar
    Asteroids Champion! Breakout Champion!
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    England
    Age
    28
    Posts
    13,439
    vCash
    16992
    Mentioned
    118 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)

    Default Re: AJPW: The Golden Years

    Wow, thanks for that, Strobe. I feel pretty foolish now. Why did they put "no-show" in German on an English page? I legitimately thought "Nichtantritt" was a username

    How do you know all this? Did you do this AJPW marathoning years ago as I am doing now?

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •