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[1996-09-05-AJPW-Summer Action Series II] Mitsuharu Misawa & Jun Akiyama vs Steve Williams & Johnny Ace

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The opening minute with Akiyama and Ace is awesome. Just one counter after another and neither guy being able to hit anything.

 

I think I like this better than the 6/7 match between these teams, just because this is a really fantastic Johnny Ace performance. There are some things he does that are a little physically awkward, but for whatever reason, it works. He was the guy who stood out the most to me here.

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I agree with this being on par with the 6/7 match. Both are good in similar ways, and the teams just meshed so well. It's funny how famous the MVC was, yet it seems clear to me that Doc & Ace produced better matches in the clutch despite Ace not being the wrestler Gordy was.

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When you shoot for the sky you can have a big success, a big failure or a partial success. Usually the 3rd isn't that noteworthy, but this is 90's AJ baby. 23m of 29m shown. Solid work, yet it felt a bit long and bloated. The crowd were flat before the finish spike. It still got hot at the close, and the highlight was Ace's awesome modified sleeper suplay headdrop. He was a guy who looked badly exposed in singles bouts, but could contribute well as the junior partner in tag matches.

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Similar story to the 6/7 match but I still liked that one a bit better--Ace had a good performance in that one, too. Misawa does another great job of letting Akiyama shine and basically coming in to make saves or swing momentum, and Doc does much the same with his partner. The result has everyone looking good.

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Agree that this is below the 6/7 match for me but I still enjoyed it a great deal. The storyline of Akiyama rising up has been done so well throughout 1996 and Misawa has hit the right median of helping him but also stepping in when he needs to. I enjoyed Doc being this energetic this late as this may be the last instance as we will see as the year progresses. ****

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#177 - placetobenation.com/countdown-top-500-matches-of-the-90s-200-151/

 

Yeah, loved the opening with Ace and Akiyama. Seemed like Williams kicked out of a frog splash and Tiger Driver pretty early, but I guess there are five minutes clipped that might change that feeling. Akiyama is the work horse here, and as always, looks great. Ace did look good here too. I really enjoyed his offensive spots in the closing stretch. Akiyama crawling to get the pin attempt on Ace was pretty awesome. ****

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I think this is only JUST below the very best matches of the year. These two teams knock it out of the park again. Great action packed match with lots of big moves, really felt like a top level title fight. Didn't quite have the drama and story of their June match but the work was still phenomenal. The Akiyama/Ace opening was indeed awesome, and Misawa and Williams follow it up well too with a really cool exchange building around grinding each others heads. Everyone looks good here, Doc is particularly impressive, Ace puts in a good performance including a really cool Ace Crusher over the ropes. Even though they lose, Akiyama and Misawa seem to be becoming more of an equal pairing -- Akiyama looks like less of the "junior partner" of the team throughout even though he takes the fall.

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All Japan World Tag Team Champions Mitsuharu Misawa & Jun Akiyama vs Dr. Death & Johnny Ace - AJPW 9/5/96

Clipping rears its ugly head again. Can I just watch these four badasses in peace?

Akiyama and Ace do a great opening teasing their finishers on each other. After that it gets a little workrate-y for me. Johnny Ace is the lost workrate wrestler of the 90s. Ace tags out to Doc and I love how Akiyama evades the splash in the corner and immediately tags out to get the fresh man in. I love little things like how Doc uses his amateur skills to position Misawa in the hostile corner and how Misawa reacts to it like he is spooked and needs to get out of the bad part of town. I also love Misawa's reaction to getting popped in the face. There is a rush of anger that overwhelms his face shortly. Speaking of interesting countenances does anyone else think that Steve Williams' resting face is quite doleful. I wonder why he is so blue?

This was the explosive Doc of 1994 on full display. Watch how throws himself into the feed for the powerslam or his ground to air missile dropkick on Misawa. Dude was so explosive. Then we get a shitty clip to Akiyama in peril. How we got there I dont know. Oklahoma Stampede caps off this heat segment. Akiyama tags out to Misawa. Misawa gets OWNED by a Wicked Dangerous Back Drop Driver. I love how Akiyama defends Misawa who has rolled to the outside and hits a Northern Lights Suplex on Doc before anymore damage can happen. Akiyama rolls Misawa in to tag himself in. Akiyama sets to work on Doc, but Williams just explodes out of the corner with a lunging thrust. Johnny Ace goes all workrate sprint king on us, just killing it. No Ace Crusher, but gets a Rocker Dropper and a Top Rope Oklahoma Slam. Then the match grinds to a halt and a hush fall over the Budokan. Doc lays in some of the tamest, weakest boots to Akiyama and Ace does an abdominal stretch. Akiyama evades a double team, hits a High Knee and here comes the Elbow Express courtesy of Misawa. I really liked the opening. Again the clipping really broke my rhythm. We see Doc again as a massive force to be reckoned with. So far, I think I have liked the initial match better by a hair.

Finish run is fucking excellent and puts this over the top of the initial match. Misawa is a one man wrecking ball. He is just going from one side of the ring to the other beating the shit out of the Americans. There is some great drama on the apron/ropes. Ace hooks up for an Ace Crusher on the ropes, but Misawa almost pops off a Tiger Suplex, but Doc saves and it is ACE CRUSHER TO THE ROPES! WOW! Doc cant capitalize and Misawa tags out. Akiyama is cruising at first poping off Exploders on Doc like he has this on lock. Then Ace decides to become the MVP I always knew he fucking was. Breaks up a pin, THROWS AKIYAMA DOWN WITH A POWERBOMB and dropkicks Misawa all so Doc can tag out. Last four minutes are the Johnny Ace show.

DOOMSDAY DEVICE~! Doc runs into an Elbow and Misawa breaks up. Akiyama rolls out. DOOMSDAY DEVICE ON MISAWA~! Doc & Ace got this! Lets Go Ace! Go Ace! Go Ace! He rolls in Akiyama. Oklahoma Stampede by the illegal Williams and only two for Ace. Thats ok we wants this for Ace by himself. ACE CRUSHER~! 1-2-NO! I was so pissed! Misawa wipes out Doc on the floor. Cmon Ace go for it. Super Ace Crusher? No here's Killjoy Misawa with a German. Fuck No! Not this way! 1-2-KICKOUT! HELL YEAH! Exploder, Exploder Again, Shit No, Shit No, KICKOUT! OH HELL YEAH! DOCTORBOMB BY Williams! Roaring Elbows to Doc...Doc ducks low and DEMOLISHES MISAWA WITH A BACKDROP DRIVER! HOLY FUCKING SHIT! Doctor Bomb by Ace 1-2-No! Are you shitting me? SLEEPER SUPLEX~! 1-2-3! HELL YEAH! JOHNNY ACE! JOHNNY ACE! JOHNNY ACE! YEEEEAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

The greatest moment in Johnny Ace history. I am fucking Supacharged now! I like 12/10/94 better as a match as a whole. The last 8 minutes of this are fucking glorious. Johnny Ace is the fucking man. Easy Top 100 Greatest Wrestler Ever Locked Up! ****1/2

 

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