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[1993-02-28-AJPW-Excite Series] Mitsuharu Misawa vs Akira Taue

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This wasn't the classic I hoped it would be, so I was a little disappointed, but it's still a great match. It's just not at the level of other All Japan matches of the year. Taue isn't useless, but this is a Misawa performance through and through, as he's the one pacing and carrying the match, and feeding Taue his big spots. In that regard, it's interesting to see Misawa work his magic, and that's what makes this match stand out to me. It's a great Misawa performance, and Taue looks better going out than he did coming in.

 

One thing Taue definitely has going for him though is a sense of timing. He is really good at timing his kickouts for maximum dramatic effect, just inching up at the very last possible millisecond. So while it's not blowaway awesome, it's every bit as good as it needed to be, and it's an interesting match for many reasons.

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I don't think anyone called this a 'classic', and it's REALLY hurt by having to follow Hansen vs Kawada. What I like is the solidness of it. Taue seems a bit sharper than he was in '92, a bit more in control of his own body. You get a sense that he's not 'there' yet, but coming along. Definitely agreed on Misawa in this.

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I know no one has called this a classic, but I've always believed in Taue. He wasn't at the level of the other three, but very few wrestlers are. Even during this period, he's top 20 in the world.

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I know no one has called this a classic, but I've always believed in Taue. He wasn't at the level of the other three, but very few wrestlers are. Even during this period, he's top 20 in the world.

So I slept on that comment and I don't think that Taue is top 20 in the world during that time.

 

Maybe I'll put together a wrestler's list when I'm done.

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This might be the first "Misawa By Numbers" match. I'm not sure exactly where I have it on the Misawa/Taue scale; obviously the 95 Final is #1, I probably have the '97 match at two even with the dodgy finish, and I'm unsure as to whether this or 9/95 is third. Still, it's a very strong match, and an easy MOTYC today. It's testament to AJ at this point (and for the next x years) that this probably isn't a Top 20 match for them. But still pretty great.

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I'm a huge Taue mark but I don't think he was top 20. He was barely even top ten for AJ.

Agreed. As soon as I said that, I wanted to retract it. I wasn't thinking about people like Hiroshi Hase, who didn't have the output of Taue in '93 but was considerably better. Now I am motivated to rank my top 50 (or 100, depending on my mood) wrestlers for the year at the end of '93 based on what is on this set, pretty much only because I want to see where Taue does fall.

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The tricky part is that you're basing it on the set. Probably would help to see stuff like Taue vs Bossman (and Kobashi vs Bossman for that matter) to get a bit more realistic placement of him. Even stuff like the tags and sixmans in the second half of the year where Kawada & Taue are on one side and Hansen & Ted are on the other. It's pretty noticable when Ted is in how far things slide. But it's kind of noticable when *anyone* other than the Kawada-Hansen match up is in there that things are pretty so-so. Or the reverse: a match is kind of blowing, then Hansen and Kawada happen to be in and you quickly remember they're fucking awesome... and wish it was longer than a short segment.

 

I think Taue is helped by the narrowness of the set. As odd as it sounds, Kobashi is *hurt* by the narrowness of the year, even if people end up putting him #1. Those singles matches of his that I mentioned earlier... you get the depth of his year. Then mix in the six mans were he's always up to something. In later years his stomping on the rest of matches with his go-go-go could be annoying. Here, he's trying to establish himself (those singles with Taue, Gordy, Misawa, Kawada, Hansen, Doc) and also later moving from #3 to #2. Pretty much what Jun did in 1996, except that Kobashi doesn't really need Misawa's help in shining: he just does.

 

Doc might be hurt a little as his two matches with Kawada are out, and they're pretty much his signature singles of the first part of the year along with the Gordy. Well, and the Hansen match that was pretty flat. :) The six-mans once Gordy was out also reflect a bit that he's stepping it up: he's clearly the #1 guy on his side, where as Gordy was there before. The natives sell their ass off for him... and overtime he develops a strong persona as a top guy. 1994 is a peak, but stepping into Gordy's place for that September challenge, and holding up his end of the deal for a match that was a solid enough Budokan main... he seemed to grow from that.

 

I do wonder where people would rank Kroffat in the All Japan context if they saw the match with Kobashi. It's a match that with All Japan's rigid slotting system no one thinks Kroffat is winning. So to draw heat from it takes some effort. Been a long time since I've seen it, but I recall it being a fun little Carny match.

 

John

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Kinda started slow for me but the middle section after the outside power bomb was spectacular. Hansen-Kawada than this, great pro-wrestling.

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I have felt that Taue was underrated in earlier 90’s but I can understand he seemed much better off in a tag setting than in singles. It's a good match but such a tough follow on the Hansen/Kawada match.

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Very good closing stretch, but not only did this have to follow Kawada/Hansen, it's very similarly paced for most of it--very methodical trading of strikes. Except the strike exchanges aren't as stiff and compelling. They do change things up towards the end as this becomes a classic All-Japan bomb-and-nearfall-fest rather than Kawada playing cat and mouse with Stan, and to this match's benefit. Definitely a standout Misawa performance, as he does a fantastic job of feeding Taue and making countermoves.

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Misawa works the arm early until Taue bodyslams him and lays in kicks and a dropkick. Maybe I'm just a a Taue mark, but I absolutely love his facials with smugness and disgust and can't praise him enough as an All Japan heel. Misawa is great eating Taue's offense and painting him as a real singles threat with teased hops spots that Taue gets to frequently erase. Misawa eventually pulls out a nice dropkick and elbow suicida, but Taue is righ tback on the attack with a backdrop suplex and powerbomb on the floor. Another powerbomb inside gets him a a near fall. Misawa counters a Nodowa but Taue fights through, hotshotting him into the turnbuckle. Misawa counters another powerbomb with a ran. Elbow, frog splash, facelock. Misawa German for a near fall. Taue blocks flying elbow and hits a pair of nodowas for a great near fall in his last gasp. Taue missile dropkick for big near fall, then Misawa hits enzuigiri. Misawa high angle German near fall. Tiger Driver near fall. Another tiger driver gets the pin. Just a great, great finishing stretch.

 

Sounds like I'm alone here but I thought this was just as good as and possibly better than Hansen/Kawada. Thought this finish built a lot better and enjoyed Misawa's selling more than Hansen's. Any comparison is purely an exercise in picking nits, but hey, they're back to back so why not.

 

****1/4

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I didn't like this as much as Kawada vs. Hansen but it was still great and this show provides an excellent 1-2 punch. This is worked in a really traditional style that displays Misawa's growth as an overall worker and leading someone like Taue to a very credible 25 minute title match. Nothing was spectacular throughout this match, but everything was executed well and the match carried the gravity a Triple Crown match should. Commendable effort from both men. ****

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This was a great match.

 

I loved Taue's strategy here; he didn't come to wrestle, he came to rough Misawa up. That's rare among native wrestlers, especially in Triple Crown matches. Yet his strategy came within half a second of working on several occasions. Only Misawa's heart saved him from defeat. The same was true when Misawa was on offense. Say what you want about Taue's tactics, but he's one gritty bastard. Even though Misawa managed to hit one more big move than Taue did and thus get the win, this isn't even close to being over.

 

Credit to Misawa for taking all those sick bumps on the back of his head, both in the ring and on the floor. Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't he die as a result of injuries from a bad bump on the back of his head during a match.

 

Unlike most of you, I watched this match before Hansen-Kawada, so I can't say which one is better yet. I will say this: Stan and Tosh have quite a high standard to live up to!

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AJPW Triple Crown Champion Mitsuharu Misawa vs Akira Taue - AJPW 2/28/93

The last classic native vs native match before the paradigm shift when Kawada joins forces with Taue. So for a short time Taue fulfilled his role as heir to Jumbo as the top native heel in AJPW. I like Taue a lot and I liked this match a lot, but it was clear they needed to turn Kawada to even out the sides. 

Misawa gains control early with an armbar uses it to set up a dropkick and then another armbar but with better positioning. Taue uses his size advantage to get out. Misawa elbows him so Taue THROWS HIS ASS DOWN! I liked that a lot. Taue goes for a headlock, but Misawa uses technique to attempt a cross armbreaker. Taue uses a combination of closed fists and his length to escape. The closed fists were the first sign that Taue had given up hope of wrestling this match on the up & up. Taue does NOT give Misawa a clean break. He beats him down with chops and open hand slaps. It is great shit. The Japanese really hate when Taue does the hot shot. He does that twice and the crowd is pissed each time. He beats Misawa up on the outside. He works over Misawa with some basic holds like Octopus stretch. Misawa starts to show some life like catching a charging Taue in a Tiger Driver attempt but Taue squashes that with his size and drops Misawa across the top rope neck first like I mentioned earlier. Misawa gets a dropkick sending to the floor. Misawa has heat-seeking engaged and flips over to the apron and nails Taue with an elbow. However, he turns his back too soon and Taue clobbers him and gets a back suplex on the floor. Then a Dynamic Bomb, but it has not been named as such so there for not as impactful as it would be in 1995. He gets a nearfall. Then Dynamic Bomb in the ring. If this was 1995, it would be curtains, but in 1993 it is another kickout. The novelty of this match is that Taue is wrestling like a true heel which is rare in Japan. He was stretching the rules and brawling on the outside. Can Misawa overcome or will Taue win with his dirty tactics?   

NODOWA?!? Now we are talking, but Misawa armdrags out. Taue rolls Snake Eyes to re-assert control. He smacks Misawa around in the corner this only serves to fire Misawa up who wants to hook up a Tiger Driver, but Taue breaks free. Taue wants a Powerbomb but Misawa-rana. Typically you cant powerbomb Misawa, Taue should consider himself lucky earlier. Misawa snaps off a lot of what we expect from a Misawa finish run but with special emphasis on the Facelock. He was really trying to get that over in his first Triple Crown reign because I dont remember that from the back half of the 90s. Theres a great sequence where Taue blocks the Diving Elbow and then throws MISAWA DOWN! The crowd is buzzing and NODOWA~! WOW! 1-2-NO! Bummer! Great nearfall. Take us home Misawa. First Taue hits a Missile Dropkick for one last nearfall. Alright, ok, I dig that. Misawa hits a spin kick and a German (which he already hit earlier which is unusual to see that in wrestling). It takes two Tiger Drivers to win the match. 

I think cut out the German and second Tiger Driver to make it more efficient. I liked Taue getting a lot of big nearfalls, Powerbomb, Nodowa and Missile Dropkick. I thought Taue held up his end of the bargain well. He was great playing dirty his Snake Eyes and open hand slaps looked great. Typical Misawa extended comeback but more compact than we would see later. There are plenty better Misawa/Taue matches, their 95 Carny final is a contender for my favorite match ever, but this one is still great. **** 

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