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[1993-03-07-WAR] Koki Kitahara vs Kuniaki Kobayashi

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Brutal spectacle of a match. I don't think I had seen Kobayashi post-80s before. Kitahara wins by countout. Really blends in for me in some ways because of all the great NJ/WAR matches on this set that are wrestled in the same style, but good nonetheless.

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Great fired up inter promotional match. Kobayashi jumps Kikihara in the aisle and they keep at that frantic pace throughout. When they get into the ring each guys spits in the other guys face and you palpably feel the seething dislike between the two. I loved how whenever one guy would get the advantage on the other, they would chuck them out of the ring and start flinging chairs. Finish was great with Koki being a brutal bastard and just kicking a bloody Kobayashi into oblivion. Then just to add to the fun we get a pull apart NJ v. WAR brawl.

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This would benefit more of being officially taped as they continue to spill out into the crowd. Very physical match. Kitahara with a real dick move kicking Kobayashi in the head after the match ended.

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Oh, now this is more like it. I really, really didn't want to bring this up when talking about Samurai/Dragon, because like Roger Ebert I believe in reviewing the match (movie) that actually happened, not the one that you wish had happened. But I'll say it now after watching this: as an interpromotional juniors match I wanted to see two guys tearing each other's masks open and wanting to bloody and cripple one another, instead of the pretty roll-ups that we got. I get not reviewing the fantasy-booked match in your head and I get the idea of booking and match layouts with regard to a whole card as opposed to matches individually--I get all of that. But goddamn, guys, show some fucking FIRE. Give me some sympathetic selling from Dragon or Samurai being a dick (refusing a handshake in the poutiest, whiniest manner possible doesn't count).

 

I mean, here we have a WAR mid-carder taking on a junior who hasn't been relevant in this decade, and they put on a match that's just as heated with regard to crowd reaction and a damn sight more aggressive and hate-filled as befitting this interpromotional war. These guys brutalize each other in and out of the ring, and there's an unexpected wrinkle of an ending that's nonetheless given serious and sensible build, with some good similar "near-falls" earlier. There was even some Snowman/Lawler-esque "is this getting out of control for real?" moments. Kobayashi had better brawls than this, with Tiger Mask ten years earlier and with Masa Fuchi in AJPW. And one could question the logic of the "invading" wrestler (one who's been a heel most of his career to start with) being put in such a sympathetic role. But this was an enjoyable addition to the feud and an example of how knowing how to work can trump knowing spots and moves. The more Dragon I watch the less I'm sure he ever really grasped the former concept--which sure doesn't say much for Toryumon/Dragon Gate and may be why I was cold on the little of that that I've seen, even back in 2000-01 when it was a semi-rage.

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Kitahara goes after Kobayashi as he walks to the ring. Nice! Trading slaps, chops and spitting at each other! Kitahara misses pretty blatantly with a kick that Kobayashi sells as a KO. Crowd seemed oblivious but that was bad. More brawling outside, stiff kicks and Kobayashi with a chair shot. Kobayashi eats another big kick, but back with fisherman suplex for near fall before Kitahara is on top again. Kikahara back with a kick to the head of a kneeling Kobayashi, then a couple stomps and a punt, and ref declares it a knockout. Kitahara attacks again after the match, then gets on the mic and into it with someone else from NJ, and its awesome. These were some violent junior heavies, and heated in a very different way than Dragon/Samurai. Best. Feud. Ever.

 

***1/2

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Another surprise showing this feud can do no wrong. Kobayshi dips into the fountain of his best 80's stuff and we get a rugged rough and tumble brawl here with them going around the whole arena and showing complete disdain for each other. This feud is awesome and really brought up highlights from both groups. ***1/4

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This definitely had some anger to it, but there was also a lot of laying around. The overreliance on kicks hurt this too, as it almost seemed like a shoot-style bout at times. Shoot-style is fine when that's what I'm paying to see; but I would have liked a bit more pro-style here. Having said that, the kicks from Kitahara looked brutal, and from the way the referee was fussing over Kobayashi I wonder if he wasn't legitimately knocked silly by at least one of them.

 

The pull-apart at the end ensures that this war's far from over, and that's good, as I'm looking forward to more action from the front-liners on both sides.

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