Hi folks! A short impromptu post this week. I actually wasn't going to have much of anything to post as this has been a stressful week. Sometimes a good wrestling match can help blow off some steam or whatever but, I wasn't feeling it. Much of the stuff scheduled for this week was more high stakes than I was in the mood for. So I thought I'd give some AJ Jr. wrestling a shot. It just so happens that everything I picked out features Kuniaki Kobayashi
Mighty Inoue/Tarzan Goto vs Kuniaki Kobayashi/Norio Honaga (07/28 aired 08/17): joined in progress. An actual quality Tarzan Goto in AJPW match - alright! And he's really good despite being young... man 80's Goto vs Kawada is probably out there somewhere. This was a very good action match. Kobayashi is an absolute boss.
Goto takes flight!
Kuniaki Kobayashi vs. Norio Honaga (07/30 aired 08/10) What the fuck!? That opening was amazing! However this was a pretty standard junior title match. Nothing wrong with that but Honaga didn't stand a chance. That first minute or so is worth checking out if you're interested... would've been cool if they could have brought more of this energy/excitement later on. It was like Hayabusa Super J-Cup exciting.
Kuniaki Kobayashi vs Tiger Mask (08/31 aired 09/07): So it looks like Misawa and Kobayashi were having a classic feud back in '85. This was awesome and really felt like the type of match Misawa would be having in the early 90's. Of course it's not as polished and smart as those classics but, it belongs in the conversation of classic singles AJPW matches. This style is not what we saw Tiger vs La Fiera & Pirata Morgan in '84. This not what we were seeing with Masa Fuchi, Onita, the Guerreroes, etc. This closer to what we'd see as Kings Road Style. This is top shelf junior wrestling. That said, I think we need to give Kobayashi his credit. We need to give ref Kohei Wada credit too. This maybe one of the earliest instances of his 2.9 counts that I've seen. I am rambling on about it as this is 1985 and I feel like conventional wisdom is that Misawa didn't do much until his '88 match with Jumbo (the La Fiera & Morgan matches are more novelty showcase exhibition). I feel that the story goes he didn't do anything great until he unmasked and feuded with Jumbo in '90. This match along with their 6/21 classic disproves that misconception...A misconception that I admit I had.
Tiger Mask/Takashi Ishikawa vs Norio Honaga/Kuniaki Kobayashi (09/09 aired 09/21): Pretty darn exciting tag wrestling. Tiger Mask Misawa was doing all kinds of things. Honaga was impressive with Misawa. The highlight was the Kobayashi/Misawa stuff. They were in their own league. I think this raises a good point in regard to the previous review. I don't want to give the impression that everything featuring these two was akin to Kawada vs Misawa era stuff. Those big matches were exceptions to the rule. I do feel like the Riki vs Tenryu match on 06/21 was getting there as well although that did have an 80's finish whereas the TM vs KK matches were clean finishes.
This was a fun & quick little subproject. This past week was pretty crazy for a bunch of reasons. I wasn't really in the mood for wrestling. I'm glad that I was able to fit these matches in. As always stay safe and thanks for reading