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Found 13 results

  1. This won't make you forget about the Carny 94 final but it is a fun match with about 5 out of 12 minutes clipped. Williams is at least aware of his limitations and takes a much more calculated approach to his matches in 2000 and allowing for his taped up ribs and other vulnerabilities to be worked over. As a tournament match, this also worked as Kawada had to get past a big gatekeeper type that had lost a step on his road to the finals. I think I can find a spot for Dr. Death on my top 100 workers of 2000 and Kawada is building up his case for a top 10 finish towards the end stretch of the year. *** (6)
  2. Wow, what a great match to start the new era of All Japan. Everything looks a little different including the venue but Kawada and Fuchi really went out to prove they could still have a compelling match in this promotion and not sell out to the glitz and glammor that was promised from NOAH in the opening press conference. It is such a great contrast and one where I feel both promotions have pros/cons in the way they went about things. Maybe Kawada and Co were a bit too stubborn and they even had to sort of backtrack on things with the influx of Mutoh but for this night, Fuchi and Kawda rolled around on the mat for 20 minutes. One powerbomb was enough to put Fuchi away for Kawada but not before he made Fuchi’s chest look like hamburger meat. In between those strikes, the mat work was really engaging with each wrestler shooting on the other and locking in some tough submissions to work out of. Fuchi especially hadn’t been in this type of marquee singles match in a while and he delivers in spades here. A wonderful match to watch and one that made me really excited for the main promotions in Japan in the 2nd half of 2000. ****1/4 (8.5)
  3. A strong tag match to end the show. Overall, a very good show for All Japan. This set up Tenryu vs Kawada as they really went after each other. Tenryu and Williams interacting is fun to see as they haven’t interacted since 1990. Hansen is certainly winding down and he has only five more matches after this. A couple of moments saw Doc being visibly light with him which takes the match down overall but Hansen is still there in the big moments and he ends up getting the final pin with the lariat. Hansen overall is going to be tough to gauge when I do my top 100 wrestlers list. Really all four of these men are. The punches Doc threw against Tenryu were much more vicious than the stuff he threw at Hansen. Tenryu had a few awkward moments himself but nothing that glaring considering the source. Overall, this probably would have been a MOTYC four years before but Doc/Tenryu and especially Hansen have lost just enough steam that it peaks out in the very good range. ***1/2 (7.1)
  4. Time for another dose of NJ vs AJ and I am all for it. Koshinaka shows more fire here than at most parts in the 90’s and he actually integrates the ass based offense in a fun way culminating in the climax of the match where he neutralizes Tenzan with a butt butt off the apron. Fuchi is a prick like usual and the Chono vs Kawada segments are electric. Everything surrounding the buzz of the match helps pick up Saito and Tenzan execution in ring. I thought it was a clever way to show Kawada in danger after the STF and triple team only for the AJ trio to make a comeback and Saito being the most likely person to be prone to a pin being in there with Kawada and losing to the powerbomb. This feud is still crackling. **** (7.9)
  5. This starts big with Taue giving a big throw to Takayama and overall showing more fire than he does at any other point in January. The crowd is really hot as all four of these men stare off at each other. No Fear takes over and this is a great showcase of them being the biggest bullies in the yard brutalizing the previous biggest bullies in the yard. After Kawada gets beat down including the big knee from Omori on the top, Taue has had enough of this shit and comes in with a house of fire. It isn’t enough though as No Fear gives him a double clothesline to send him to the outside. This awakes Kawada and he shows some fire kicking complete ass for a few seconds. Takayama goes for the eyes to a chorus of boos. This allows No Fear to take over again and Omori gets the HUGE pinfall on Kawada following a big lariat. Awesome showcase for No Fear here and this was a hell of a show for All Japan overall. The promo with H D A is amazing and really shows them questioning their identity and having to go back to the proverbial drawing board. ****
  6. Another great match between these teams. After their dominating win in January, No Fear ahem has no fear and goes right after HDA. Taue has his shoulder taped up and they really pounce on that. This was really good action and Taue was awesome in selling the damage as the wounded warrior that was refusing to give up. However, Kawada got tagged in and is a man possessed. I am watching this match a little out of chronological order but between this and the forthcoming 7/1 Fuchi match, Kawada certainly has a fire under his ass and is back to a near peak level. He unloads a ferocious attack on No Fear here that culminates in him locking on a great sleeper/pin combo on Omori that felt like a pissed off choke out. This also follows the plight of Omori as being able to take the big guns to the brink, but not getting that big win besides the surprise 7 second Akiyama victory. **** (7.9)
  7. Once again, a melancholy match to watch knowing what is directly looming. Putting aside those emotions, this was another fun encounter. This was probably the most seemless and best Ikeda has looked in an AJ ring and him and Kawada especially have a lot of beef in this match. Check out the lariat that Kawada gives him in the latter stages that is absolutely brutal. Misawa and Kawada have a good bit of interaction and it is always fun to watch these two mix it up between the wrestling, strikes and some of their signature bombs. Taue also takes it Misawa quite a bit and is really grumpy in this one. Final even ends up with Inoue and Ogawa which is two junior members but it felt like they had mixed it up well enough that a pin could be costly. Ogawa ends up putting him away with a back suplex. ***1/2
  8. Pretty good looking sprint from the clips we saw. Koshinaka looked game and his bombs had more impact than they normally do. He also showed some fire after the front kick from Kawada with the lariat. Kawada weathers the storm and is able to put him away leading to a great looking final match on paper of him vs Tenryu. NR
  9. Good match but one I was expecting more given the talent involved. Holy Demon Army just really don’t have a lot of steam or momentum after the No Fear loss. Everything they did here was fine but the highlight and energy mostly came from Akiyama as he entered in the closing stages of the match. Taue predictable puts Mossman away. Mossman looked good again and hit a floatover DDT that looked smooth. ***
  10. Life comes at you fast. A good but typical six man from these guys that will be raised when you think about the fact that this is the second to last time ever that Kobashi and Kawada stepped into the ring against one another. Even Misawa and Kawada only have a handful of these on tape. That is what made me cherish every interaction here a little more. Beyond that, Fuchi was really game and as someone that was forced to step into a more prominent role with the wake of the exodus that is looming, it was really nice to see him already bringing his working boots pre split. Goodbye 1990's All Japan. ***1/2
  11. HDA returns to the drawing board. This was a perfectly fine match but it suffered from me watching the tag title match first. This didn't seem to have the urgency or the stiffness and even things I typically enjoy like Smith's nip up didn't come off as well here. Taue wins which was surprising to me as Hansen and Kawada brawled on the outside. **3/4
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