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Charles (Loss)

[1996-11-16-AJPW-Real World Tag League] Mitsuharu Misawa & Jun Akiyama vs Steve Williams & Johnny Ace

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Now this is a great wrestling match. It does drag a little at times, and truth be told, it's probably a little longer than it needs to be. But it hits so many positives from a wrestling and booking standpoint that it's hard to fault it too much. Misawa repeatedly saves Akiyama -- over and over and over again, as Williams and Ace are obliterating him. So Doc & Ace figure out that the best game plan is for Doc to voluntarily take out Misawa on the outside so Akiyama has no one to rescue him when they have him beat. It works to a degree, but Misawa finally mounts a comeback of his own, then comes in and tries to bring victory home for his team. But it's too late in the match to make a difference, as Doc and Ace still have too much in the tank. This is a war that goes to a 30-minute draw. Misawa has the upper hand on Ace when the bell sounds, but I think the booking point was that Doc & Ace were "supposed" to win, as they looked like the better team.

 

If you've only seen the regular TV version of this match, it was clipped to shreds. Here you see the full match from Samurai TV.

 

Of the three matches between these on this set (6/7 & 9/5), they do run neck and neck. Overall, 6/7 is probably the best match, and this one is really close in quality to the title change in September. It's little more basic in style, which I actually appreciate, as the Misawa/Williams matwork in the beginning is really enjoyable, and the pacing is a little bit slower than your usual big All Japan tag. But it works in getting over the big picture really well.

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(30:00) when the time limit expired.

 

There was a chilled out vibe and atmosphere to this one. Going the distance was nid. Consistently good quality action and very easy to watch. There weren't many highs and lows but the time flew by. A nice B show main event. Johnny Ace is the fucking man baby!

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Good match and Ace was AWESOME here. Just so much intensity and velocity to everything he did. Jun wrestles virtually the whole way, as again he's a target of abuse but still gets some moments to shine, thanks to Misawa knowing when to pick and choose his spots to showcase himself. What a great breakout year Akiyama has had. This really picks up when Misawa eats the backdrop driver, but he has enough to come back and attain a moral victory for his team by he and Jun going the distance. I have to confess I missed the pre-match graphic and thought this was a tag title match with a 60-minute time limit, so the final bell got to me. I knew they were going long, but I'll always appreciate it when a time limit draw happens that I don't see coming.

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These four guys have created a pretty awesome unheralded feud. This was really strong in the front half and back 7-8 minutes. The middle portion lost me a bit but everything with Ace throwing forearms at Jun and Misawa and Doc stretching each other out was extremely entertaining to me. I liked Ace escaping the Tiger Suplex at the finish too as that put him over as a player in the promotion and at least right now, he feels like he belongs. ****

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This was a very good ajpw real world tag league match. You could tell that misawa in particular was holding back and so were Jun and Williams. Ace however played a blinder in this match showing real grit and intensity in all he did.

 

Now one thing that hurt this match was the crowd, for an ajpw kouraken crowd I expect them to be loud for most of the match but here they only came alive for the last five mins, but good lord did they come alive.

 

There were periods of drag in the mid 10 mins of this match where it felt like they really were just filling in time to go thirty. But all four guys are such good wrestlers that they could carry through on three quarter speed.

 

Misawa not being involved all that much does not bother me as he is playing the big brother and knows perfectly well where to pick his spots.

 

The final stretch is magnificent with the nearfalls the saves and the struggle of akiyama. The backdrop driver was utilised very well with one of the most disgusting ever to misawa and Williams going for one on the outside was a real please god no moment.

 

In all I agree with zenjo that this was a very strong b show main event that could have done with a bit better crowd. ***3/4

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For a thirty minute draw this breezed by for me, and I never thought it dragged. These teams keep delivering and would have to be my feud of the year so far. This was a particularly rough match, with Williams especially dishing out some nasty, not-graceful offense directed toward Akiyama. The standout is a truly vicious lariat closer to the end. The long peril segment with Akiyama and the fact that this match doesn't go quite into the high end offense and extended run of dramatic nearfalls we got in their other matches made this feel like a bit more of an American style tag match. Doc teases his back drop drive throughout and after finally hitting it on Akiyama after a great extended struggle, is all about trying to hit it again at any opportunity for the rest of the match. A step down in quality from their other two big matches but to me those are a pretty damn high level of quality, this was still great and has a unique flavor among big All Japan tags.

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