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[1996-07-09-AJPW-Summer Action Series] Mitsuharu Misawa & Jun Akiyama vs Toshiaki Kawada & Akira Taue


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  • 1 month later...

SLAP HIERARCHY! Akiyama slaps Taue multiple times and definitely phases him, but Taue lands one slap and knocks Akiyama off his feet. Akiyama is wrestling as a young guy who is somehow hanging on, and it's pretty awesome to watch. Misawa bails him out early on (again), clearing the way for a big offensive flurry for him when he re-enters the match fully rested.

 

Kawada goes nuts, obviously irritated by this little shit, and just brutalizes him with kicks.

 

But for most of this match, it's Misawa who's in peril. The Misawa/Kawada genuine struggle over the vertical suplex that lasts at least two minutes is fantastic. The crowd pops huge every time Misawa teases a comeback because they so effectively brutalize him for so long. Akiyama is groggy on the apron, and every time he comes to his feet, Kawada and Taue take a little pride in knocking him back down.

 

Because of this, when Misawa is finally able to tag Akiyama, he fares a little better, but he's still pretty beaten down.

 

Kawada's staggered selling of Akiyama's German, making it to his feet, but stumbling, then barely able to stand and finally collapsing, is off the charts.

 

Misawa and Akiyama get the win with Misawa pinning Taue.

 

Great, great match. Maybe one of the two or three best of the year so far.

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  • 1 month later...
  • 5 months later...

Fantastic! I have never seen Taue move as fast as he does throughout the early bits of this match. He and Kawada are so grumpy - it makes me smile.

 

The crowd is really behind Jun. He gets his ass kicked pretty solidly early on, and they are thrilled when he makes his comebacks (and when Misawa gets all elbow-y).

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  • 2 years later...

The All Japan boys deliver once more. It was oozing quality from every pore. All four men brought their A game, with Tosh vs Aki being the most fun matchup. There wasn't a moments rest during the 26m. The action flowed organically and didn't feel at all compartmentalised. Misawa gained some measure of revenge for losing the TC to Taue. The crowd were certainly appreciative, yet I think this would've been even better at Da Budokan. It didn't quite catch fire enough to reach MOTYC levels, but wasn't that far away.

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  • 9 months later...
  • 3 months later...

Small things like Taue getting announced second now that he is the Triple Crown is why I love All Japan.

 

This match again set the stage for so much stuff for the rest of the year. Akiyama continues to hang with the big boys but has to do a lot to overcompensate for his still lack of experience. Misawa bails him out and it really rewards the viewer when he is able to in the latter stages of the match. Taue/Kawada were machines in this match working over both men. Misawa essentially gets his win back from Taue and that seems a little suspect for him to pin the Triple Crown champ but it still sets up the hierarchy and that Taue was able to score the win of his life in the May singles match. I have this slightly below the first match but this series is fantastic so far. ****1/2

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  • 2 years later...

Outstanding action as to be expected, but somehow this didn't quite have the spark for me that the truly great AJPW matches do. That's in no way a knock against this match which is excellent by any standard. The story is mostly the same -- Akiyama is the clear #4, Taue and Kawada are a much more cohesive unit, and Misawa has to shoulder a lot of the weight. Although toward the end of the match, it does feel like Akiyama asserts himself a bit more, is able to defend himself from big offense a bit more and contributes more at the end to the victory. The slap exchanges between Akiyama and Kawada/Taue were definitely the highlight of this match. Misawa chips away at Taue with big moves until he can pick up the win with a Tiger Suplex; that Misawa got the pin actually sort of feels like a credit to Akiyama, as Akiyama was able to keep Kawada at bay.

 

I feel like I should rewatch this before ranking it. Watching it I didn't really feel *into* it in the sense of having an active "wow this match fucking rules" response, but thinking back to the action, yeah it did fucking rule. No matter what it would still rank strongly, but I feel I might be somewhat underrating it in my mind right now.

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  • GSR changed the title to [1996-07-09-AJPW-Summer Action Series] Mitsuharu Misawa & Jun Akiyama vs Toshiaki Kawada & Akira Taue
  • 1 year later...

All Japan World Tag Team Champions Mitsuharu Misawa & Jun Akiyama vs Holy Demon Army - AJPW 7/9/96

The World Tag Team Title Rematch but now Taue is the Triple Crown Champion having defeated Misawa and made his first successful defense against his own partner, Kawada. There seems to be no lingering hostilities as expected in Japan between the two. In fact, I remarked a lot in their first match that Misawa and Akiyama were really gelling as a team, Kawada & Taue really show that off here. Especially Taue, who is almost telepathic in how he responds to Kawada's movement, Kawada attacks Misawa on the apron, Taue knowing this will draw Misawa in, heads him off at the pass and scoops him up for Snake Eyes. Also, he knows Kawada is looking for a double team and steps in the ropes no signal and delivers the blow to Akiyama. It is very good tag team wrestling. As can the be the case in tag team wrestling sometimes, one man can take over. After Kawada landed a big Powerbomb on Akiyama minutes after the opening bell, the Misawa Express came into town and steamrolled everything Holy Demon including a Spinning Plancha. I thought Misawa/Kawada felt like they were going through the motions of Misawa teasing his big moves... Taue well-timed interference. Once Kawada tagged out, it was all Taue. AIR TAUE~! He was rolling Snake Eyes everywhere including the railing. He tries for the Top Turnbuckle. Misawa catches himself, Quick Elbow and tag out. I like the addition of Akiyama a lot because he add some pep and zip to everything. The Misawa pairing do feel old hat and too comfortable. Sometimes they recapture the old glory but more often it feels like a dance routine where each man knows the steps and sleepwalks through it. Akiyama adds dynamism. 

Akiyama fares well at the outset scoring a Northern Lights Suplex. He is full of piss & vinegar. Taue ultimately chops him down and the Holy Demon Army settles into a groove of pummeling Akiyama. The only instance when they lose their cool is when Akiyama fights back with some slaps and Kawada SNAPS at this insolence just pummeling him in the corner with furious strikes. Otherwise, it is business as usual for the Holy Demon Army. Taue does it back suplex toss, which I love and a Powerbomb, not Dynamic to climax here. Misawa starts to worry and bails Akiyama out. Misawa comes in for a routine hot tag you know the drill, Elbows, Spinning Clothesline, Facelock. Taue hits a Neckbreaker Drop though and tags out. Kawada lights Misawa up with kicks and chops. Stretch Plum! Tags out to Taue as they consolidate their advantage. Kawada & Taue commence to working their third face in peril segment, second on Misawa. Good double teams to start, foot on head Single Leg Crab by Kawada, Taue even busts out the Piledriver to show how Southern they are. :P Kawada is beating back Akiyama's interference. Misawa is able to block a suplex with his own, but cant capitalize in a great hope spot. He tries to Elbow out of the Back Drop Driver, but eats a particularly DANGEROUS BACK DROP DRIVER! Kawada gets a good nearfall and then goes for the Cross-Armbreaker. Akiyama leg drops Kawada and Misawa tags out. This match is very Southern-Fried. 

The finish run is typically great All Japan. Kawada heads Akiyama off at the pass with a massive boot to the mush and Kawada Kicks. Akiyama would not be denied. High Knees for everyone! Akiyama and Misawa hit stereo dives that put them back in the driver's seat. Exploder on Kawada! Great selling by Kawada. He really rules at putting someone big. JUMPING HIGH KICK! Just like in the previous match he hurts his ankle, but unlike last time, he tags out to Taue! Taue wants to put the punk out with his biggest weapon, Nodowa of Death, but Misawa saves. Taue hits the DYNAMIC BOMB~! for two and the biggest nearfall of the match for the Holy Demon Army. Misawa just comes in as a One Man Wrecking Crew and KOs everything in sight. He tags in and he just goes to town. I loved the missed Kawada Spinning Heel Kick seamlessly into the Roaring Elbow. Misawa basically treats this like a Triple Crown match and runs through his biggest bombs...Tiger Driver...German Suplexes...TWO Tiger Suplexes to finally pin the Triple Crown Champion, Taue and get a modicum of revenge for losing the Triple Crown. Akiyama was great holding Kawada at bay with Exploder and German Suplex. He was playing defense really well. 

A lot of people call the Doc/Ace match the great Southern Style match, but man does it get more Southern Fried than this with two meaty extended face in perils with the best heel tag team of all time, Kawada/Taue on offense. Southern Style Tags produce great matches consistently but for me not as many classics. I always enjoy them, but they never really reach the stratosphere. It something like I to groove to rather than knock my socks off. Finish run was great after two big Akiyama wins, it was time for Misawa to get his and he had a score to settle with Taue. That felt more routine and comfortable. Kawada putting over Akiyama by the way he sold his bombs was great. Falls short of the 5/23/96 epic but there's no shame in that, this was still fun. ****1/4 

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