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[1996-11-22-AJPW-Real World Tag League] Mitsuharu Misawa & Jun Akiyama vs Kenta Kobashi & The Patriot

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Lots of bland matwork early on, and probably the least of the tag league matches so far. It gets really, really good in the final stretch, but there is too much time wasting at the beginning. This is a match that is meant to be seen JIP.

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Lots of bland matwork early on, and probably the least of the tag league matches so far. It gets really, really good in the final stretch, but there is too much time wasting at the beginning. This is a match that is meant to be seen JIP.

Watching it JIP for the first time it looked like a MOTYC. Then watching the full version it's clearly NOT.

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Good reason for it to be on the set. :)

 

John

Agreed. Even if some of these matches don't hold up in full, it opens up the floor for an interesting discussion about whether JIP skewed how good matches seemed to be.

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Totally agree. And also what forms of JIP impact less or greater.

 

We've talked in the past about how AJW could slice a 20+ minutes match down into a 8 minute epic, and the editing is so well don't think people don't get that they're watching a massive clip job. On the other hand, the Hokuto-Kandori was much more moderately edited on TV. Seeing the full is a positive, but not really the massive difference that say the Toyota-Kyoko 1992 singles match that Dave gave ***** to the radical clip-o version.

 

Kroffat & Furnas vs Kobashi & Kikuchi is nice to have in an extended version, but it's not quite the same as have the full versions of the 5/94 and 6/95 Kawada & Taue vs Misawa & Kobashi matches where 40-50% were on the cutting room floor. I'd really love to have the full version of the 11/93 Misawa & Kobashi vs Hansen & Baba to see just what was popping the crowd when they joined it about 7 seven minutes in... but there's the final 23 minutes of the match, and you get a really good sense of what they did to make the match work really well. :)

 

The other thing is that Carny, G1, the RWTL and TOTSJ/BOTSJ are good annual pulses of AJ and NJ. Most things from those are worth looking at for one reason or another. Even a solid *** G-1 match, if there isn't a comperable matches involving the wrestlers elsewhere in the year, is worthwhile. It would have been nice to have at least one Sasaki match from G-1 a something like people thinking about the difference between Sasaki and Taue isn't too bad a thought to be bubbling through the year. Not that I can remember a Sasaki match at G-1 that stood out. :)

 

Stuff like Koshinaka-Kojima... that's really cool that it made the cut.

 

So somthing like this tag making it... very good.

 

John

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Slower start but a hotter finish. MUCH hotter. Call me easy to please but I liked this more than the first tag match on this card, because this truly felt like anybody could conceivably pin anybody else down the stretch, which isn't a dynamic you often get in All-Japan. Kobashi really has Misawa on the ropes at one point, especially after an awesome combination power bomb/Patriot Missile that looks great and would have killed Mitsuharu dead if not for a save. Then Akiyama and Patriot each have each other beaten, then Misawa's beating up Kobashi outside...even though the two partners were clearly on a lower level, in isolation it didn't feel that way. This is also one of the better Patriot performances you'll see--he's not a Triple Crown-level guy and probably never will be, but his moves have more snap to them now and he works some nice little exchanges with both opponents, and really knows how to build up and tease the rather pedestrian-by-AJPW-standards full nelson buster as looking like a killer move. He has some great kickouts down the stretch too. Ultimately this gets monster bonus points for having me truly believe Misawa might do the J-O-B to Kobashi--I understand why he didn't, but I think Baba would have been perfectly justified had he chosen to pull the trigger on that right here.

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An iffy opening but I wouldn't call it bad. I agree with everyone that the back half was fantastic and especially the mixing of Akiyama and Patriot. I thought it was clever with the makeup of this match in that Kobashi is now the strongest of all being the TC holder but together AKiyama and Misawa are better as a team. ***3/4

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Sure the first half was nothing to really write home about, but I don't think it took away from the match as a whole. Overall it was definitely a great tag with an awesome home stretch. The crowd is really hot for Kobashi and Misawa facing off at the bell and it's cool that it's an extended Kobashi/Misawa segment that really kicks the match off later on. Patriot looked good and worked great with Akiyama at the end.

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Mitsuharu Misawa & Jun Akiyama vs Kenta Kobashi & The Patriot - AJPW 11/22/96

I will reiterate my desire that I wish Kobashi's partner until teaming up with Akiyama in 1998 was Hansen. It was probably hard to justify Kobashi/Hansen finishing in 4th even with a stacked tag division of Misawa/Akiyama, Doc/Ace and the Holy Demon Army, but still even if they jobbed a lot those matches would be great. Second time, I am watching The Patriot and I like him. He is not as much of a revelation as Johnny Ace, who is legitimately great, but Patriot is competent and is very animated. He is pumped about shouldertackling Misawa at the beginning and he is pissed when he did not get the pinfall on Akiyama. 

The first half of this is pretty bland and tepid. I would say it was noteworthy as this was the first time Kobashi and Akiyama squared off in any meaningful manner. Even though Kobashi is the Triple Crown Champion coming into this, it is Akiyama who wins their first battle with a Fireman's Carry and then a high knee brings in Misawa. Misawa's hits a hellacious Senton on Kobashi. Just full body weight flush on the chest. Kobashi does make his comeback against Akiyama and puts him in his place with Chops. Patriot squanders an advantage for his team twice, but surprisingly also wins the advantage twice. It finally sticks with Akiyama who he plants with an Alabama Slamma for two. Kobashi comes in and consolidates their advantage. The Patriot even busts out the Torture Rack, which being a Luger mark totally popped me. The Torture Rack is a great finish someone should bring that back. Now that we are in the home stretch lets see if business picks up. 

This match makes you believe Uncle Slam is the most vicious move in the history of pro wrestling. If Patriot could have just hit it, Misawa & Akiyama had no prayer. Three times he tried and three times he failed. Akiyama escapes the first one and tags Misawa to end his heat segment. Patriot actually powerslams Misawa to quash the hot tag and tag out to Kobashi. Misawa/Kobashi work the best sequence of the match. Beautiful missed strike exchange that showed will to win and scouting that Kobashi won with a pair of DDTs. Again Kobashi had Misawa scouted and won with a Half Nelson Suplex. The Patriot Top Rope Shouldertackle into a Kobashi powerbomb was a pretty cool double team move. Misawa's spinkick to escape was a bit too ordinary for me. Akiyama fares well against Kobashi for a bit before a Neckbreaker Drop and a tag out. With both Junior partners in there, you can smell the finish. Akiyama escapes Uncle Slam, but not the Powerbomb...good nearfall. When Patriot goes for Uncle Slam again, Misawa hits a missile dropkick to his back! Great spot! I missed Akiyama's comeback was not just fire up in a Powerbomb, too my turn, your turn. Akiyama hits a Northern Lights Suplex. Misawa/Akiyama go all crazy double teams with rolling Germans and a Northern Lights into a Flying Bodypress. It takes two Exploders to put The Patriot down because this is All Japan. Patriot hits lighter and is a bit clunkier than Johnny Ace, but I like his raw enthusiasm. Fun finishing stretch, good use of Patriot so that Kobashi was not overexposed (Kobashi didnt hit his big spots meaning shit was not kicked out of and Patriot ate the fall). You could say The Patriot earned his stars & stripes in this match. :P Misawa & Akiyama are a really great team. Well Kobashi & Patriot, we hardly knew 'ya! Next up Kobashi & Ace! ***1/2 

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