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Charles (Loss)

[1996-11-29-AJPW-Real World Tag League] Mitsuharu Misawa & Jun Akiyama vs Toshiaki Kawada & Akira Taue

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Amazing that these guys can have a match this great the week before the tag league final, and still not be out of new stuff to do when they get there. I knew I'd like this match, as I have liked all the matches between these teams. I didn't expect for this to be one of best matches of the year in its own right. This is more visceral and all-action than the other matches between these teams earlier in the year, which is really saying something. And I know the tag league final will take the top spot, but other than that, this is my favorite match between the teams.

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What I really enjoyed about this is the way it puts a spotlight on the potency of The Misawa Comeback. And you're right about it being distinct from the others. It adds yet another dimension to the year-long story.

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Watched this with Hoback today. He went nuts for it: five starring it and going off on how great it was.

 

What's kind of interesting is if this had happened at say the 9/96 Budokan as the semi to Kobashi-Hansen and what people would have thought of it. My guess is that it would have been way up the 1996 MOTYC list. Big match, big setting, well paced, big spots, great run to the finish. It doesn't overstay it's welcome as being too long, and leaves the "epic" vibe to the Kobashi-Hansen. Yeah, probably would have finished well up.

 

Then what's more interesting is that they then would have topped it with the Tag League Final. Really is kind of batshit crazy that you could have a match this good, that they not just top it, but blow it completely out of the water to the point that this is almost a throw away. No, it's not really a throw away since it helps play into the Tag Final to a degree. But the Tag League Final is really on another level. Pretty amazing.

 

John

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A week before the super classic, and this was one hell of a dress rehearsal. Bad blood between Taue and Akiyama early on. There was never any question that the two teams didn't hate each others guts. Misawa took a couple of big outside bumps and they did a really good FIP segment. I loved that when Jun came in full of energy he landed a few shots but didn't gain an advantage. Just think about it for a minute. Yes he's the fresh man, but it was still 1 vs 2 whilst Misawa was recovering on the outside. And yes it's going to take Misawa a while to recover from an extended beatdown. It's so much more thoughtful and sophisticated than pretty much any other wrestling. Kings Road, the connoisseurs choice.

 

They moved onto a hot finishing run where they displayed their familiarity by countering. Kawada got isolated for a spell and that led to his downfall. There were a couple of minor bits of selling from him and his partner that I particularly appreciated. Overall it was very well structured and paced. By only going 20m they left themselves a little something for the following week. It's crazy they could be holding something in reserve and still produce a top 10 match in such a great year.

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There were a couple of minor bits of selling from him and his partner that I particularly appreciated.

 

In particular, I'll mention Taue countering one of Misawa's elbow flurries with an enzuigiri, but then immediately grabbing his ankle that Misawa had worked on a little bit earlier and being forced to tag out. Just a neat little touch to get the opening matwork stuff over.

 

But that's a relatively tiny and inconsiderate portion of the match. What a fucking match it is. Misawa gets completely destroyed in the first 5 minutes, taking an amazing nodowa off Kawada's shoulders to the floor. Akiyama really feels like a peer in there--he'd already reached that level, but it's still notable to see him taking on Kawada and Taue by himself and actually holding his own. And the counters are out of this world--like the '93 Taue/Kawada Carnival match but quicker and even more numerous. At one point the HDA tries to execute a combo power bomb/choke slam on Misawa, but he huracanranas out of it in another holy-shit spot. Eventually Taue gets taken out and Kawada is left alone with Jun and Misawa and is overwhelmed. Cannot, cannot, cannot wait until 12/9 now.

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http://placetobenation.com/countdown-top-500-matches-of-the-90s-150-101/2/

 

#108

 

This is one of my favorite discoveries on this countdown so far. I had not seen this and absolutely loved it. The action is great. All the creative spots and counters are excellent. Love the Taue/Akiyama exchanges in the beginning and that killer chokeslam spot on the outside. There is huge boot to Akiyama (in the corner) from Kawada that Jun sells so phenomenally. This is a match I could watch anytime when I just want something action packed, creative, and fun. I'll say ****1/2 for me. I'll want to come back to it though.

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An awesome match. Misawa is rocked in the early going and Akiyama has grown to where he is not a liability at all. Then we get the moment where Kawada gets his leg worked over a bit and then the big Misawa comeback to take us home. This plays into the final so well but as a stand alone, this is also super action and at 20 minutes, all action without letting up. ****1/2

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Wow, I wasn't expecting this match to be this good. Yeah, given the match-up and the feedback here I had very, very high expectations, but not THIS high! The three real canonical classic AJPW 90s tags -- RWTL 93, RWTL 96 and 6/9/95 -- are still in another league, but this isn't that far off. And at only 20 minutes it packs in a whooole lot of action. There's a nice, rough beginning with Taue and Akiyama and soon into the match Kawada and Taue get in control of Misawa and really give him a beating, including a Doomsday Nodawa on the floor(!) and a powerbomb on the floor. Misawa's extended comeback is so great with some intricate sequences, and they take their time paying it off. With Akiyama in the ring it soon becomes evenly matched and boy do they go balls to the wall right up to the end. Some really creative, intricate wrestling too. Akiyama and Misawa eventually go after Kawada's leg and it leads to his downfall. Kawada still puts up fight but his kicks get less and less effective as his leg gets more and more damaged, and Misawa takes him out with two Tiger Drivers in a row.

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