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[1993-07-29-AJPW-Summer Action Series] Stan Hansen vs Kenta Kobashi

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Hell you could almost take the words Stan Hansen out of that sentence and have it stand. I know at least a couple fans that would make the case. Though it wouldn't be my pick. Is really awesome though.

 

Back in the days when I still did the rasslin' votes, this was what I had to say about this on the billionth rewatch or so. long assed ramble 4 U on the internet. If you want the tl;dr version, it says this match rules a lot and Stan Hansen's strikes make me giddy like a 14 year old girl for Justin Bieber. And I go overboard with hyperbole, because it's the internet, I'm a wrestling fan, and that's what you're supposed to do:

 

This match right here, this is right up there in terms of pro wrestling matches held anywhere.

 

I think a great pro wrestling match isn't that different from a great movie, in that you can watch it again and find new little details that impress you each time. The new detail that I found this time was right around 5 minutes in, Kobashi does this suplex on Stan Hansen, and you really don't get the impression Hansen puts much lift into it, it's just a freakish andrenaline rush powerlift by Kobashi, and one of the cooler displays of strength in this set. Anyone that watches All Japan in the '90's knows there's not a lot of people suplexing Stan Hansen, and there's even fewer that do it and make it look pretty. He's just too big for that. But man, this suplex was a thing of beauty. The crowd really buys a nearfall off it, which is funny because it's a suplex, it's 5 minutes in, and it's Stan Hansen. But they make that work because this match is just that good.

 

One of the things I've come to love about wrestling that I look for is can you make what has become considered a "basic move" to look really good and nasty. And really, this whole match is "basic stuff that looks nasty". It's so awesome. Jumbo Tsuruta is probably still my favourite wrestler of all time, but I'm pretty confident saying that Hansen has the best looking strikes ever, and it's really on display in this match. His chops are awesome. His punches actually look like punches. Hansen's elbow drop is for me a consistant piece of artistry, one of the best looking moves in wrestling. His standing elbow strikes are suitably nasty as well, just as good as anyone's. Hansen even breaks out an elbow drop off the apron to the floor, which for a football lineman sized guy is really big stuff. He really works with his knees well in this match too, the kneedrop is a move that looks awesome when done right as it is here. He also works in a ton of sneaky knee strikes to the head just about every time he goes to pick Kobashi up and they all look suitably nasty. And there's that nasty splash off the second rope that is a totally credible nearfall. Hell, Hansen even pulls an enzuigiri out of his ass in this match which shocked the hell out of just about everyone, and he even manages to do it better and make it look nastier than most anyone else that used the move regularly. It's pretty much all simple but has so much more impact than any number of other wrestler's stuff. It just looks so damn good. He doesn't even break out his big shoulderblock in this match, which is by far and away the nastiest and most credible looking shoulderblock in wrestling, nor does he break out the dropkick which for a guy his size always looked awesome. Hansen was the last guy who really could get the dropkick over as a near fall. And of course, above all the Lariat. Oh hell, the Lariat.

 

So basically Hansen is just a masterclass in simple pro wrestling strikes and making a credible match out of them. I don't really think he has a peer in this area. And this match is as good an example of that as anything.

 

I haven't even touched on Kobashi much but he's really awesome here too. Firey babyface Kobashi struggling for survival was much more interesting to me than legendary Kobashi destroys all comers. Kobashi's great here at bringing this huge amount of fired up energy, and he also really works in a lot of big moments without taking away from the "credibility" of the contest. He's also really good at taking his part of the match but letting Hansen guide the match where he wants it to go when Hansen wants, which is smart because fighting Hansen for his control sections would just result in an ass kicking anyway. This is a pretty rare match in that they run the ropes a fair amount, yet it very rarely as ever felt "fake" and it never really breaks you out of the expereience of watching it. Even the top rope leg drop doesn't seem out of place because they don't fuck around with it "here's the part where I taunt and take my time getting to the top" or any of that shit, they just snap it out there and it fits. This is the kind of fight that marks want to imagine "if pro wrestlers had a street fight it would look something like this". This match doesn't really have any "okay this is the middle filler" part, you really get a sense these are two guys both playing for a first round knockout from bell to bell, and they work that so well that nothing really seems out of place. Not Kobashi busting out a DDT in the first minute, not Hansen transitioning to offense by powerbombing Kobashi on the fucking floor (nasty as hell and I love it), nothing. This is just a fight, a great great fight, and probably the best singles match of Hansen's illustious career. This is up there for Kobashi too.

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Best Stan Hansen match ever?

Yes and I would also say it is the best Kobashi singles match ever.

 

I don't know if I can make a similar claim, as 1-20-97 against Misawa is epic in its own right. I might need to watch both matches back-to-back.

 

Hell you could almost take the words Stan Hansen out of that sentence and have it stand. I know at least a couple fans that would make the case. Though it wouldn't be my pick. Is really awesome though.

 

Back in the days when I still did the rasslin' votes, this was what I had to say about this on the billionth rewatch or so. long assed ramble 4 U on the internet. If you want the tl;dr version, it says this match rules a lot and Stan Hansen's strikes make me giddy like a 14 year old girl for Justin Bieber. And I go overboard with hyperbole, because it's the internet, I'm a wrestling fan, and that's what you're supposed to do:

 

This match right here, this is right up there in terms of pro wrestling matches held anywhere.

 

I think a great pro wrestling match isn't that different from a great movie, in that you can watch it again and find new little details that impress you each time. The new detail that I found this time was right around 5 minutes in, Kobashi does this suplex on Stan Hansen, and you really don't get the impression Hansen puts much lift into it, it's just a freakish andrenaline rush powerlift by Kobashi, and one of the cooler displays of strength in this set. Anyone that watches All Japan in the '90's knows there's not a lot of people suplexing Stan Hansen, and there's even fewer that do it and make it look pretty. He's just too big for that. But man, this suplex was a thing of beauty. The crowd really buys a nearfall off it, which is funny because it's a suplex, it's 5 minutes in, and it's Stan Hansen. But they make that work because this match is just that good.

 

One of the things I've come to love about wrestling that I look for is can you make what has become considered a "basic move" to look really good and nasty. And really, this whole match is "basic stuff that looks nasty". It's so awesome. Jumbo Tsuruta is probably still my favourite wrestler of all time, but I'm pretty confident saying that Hansen has the best looking strikes ever, and it's really on display in this match. His chops are awesome. His punches actually look like punches. Hansen's elbow drop is for me a consistant piece of artistry, one of the best looking moves in wrestling. His standing elbow strikes are suitably nasty as well, just as good as anyone's. Hansen even breaks out an elbow drop off the apron to the floor, which for a football lineman sized guy is really big stuff. He really works with his knees well in this match too, the kneedrop is a move that looks awesome when done right as it is here. He also works in a ton of sneaky knee strikes to the head just about every time he goes to pick Kobashi up and they all look suitably nasty. And there's that nasty splash off the second rope that is a totally credible nearfall. Hell, Hansen even pulls an enzuigiri out of his ass in this match which shocked the hell out of just about everyone, and he even manages to do it better and make it look nastier than most anyone else that used the move regularly. It's pretty much all simple but has so much more impact than any number of other wrestler's stuff. It just looks so damn good. He doesn't even break out his big shoulderblock in this match, which is by far and away the nastiest and most credible looking shoulderblock in wrestling, nor does he break out the dropkick which for a guy his size always looked awesome. Hansen was the last guy who really could get the dropkick over as a near fall. And of course, above all the Lariat. Oh hell, the Lariat.

 

So basically Hansen is just a masterclass in simple pro wrestling strikes and making a credible match out of them. I don't really think he has a peer in this area. And this match is as good an example of that as anything.

 

I haven't even touched on Kobashi much but he's really awesome here too. Firey babyface Kobashi struggling for survival was much more interesting to me than legendary Kobashi destroys all comers. Kobashi's great here at bringing this huge amount of fired up energy, and he also really works in a lot of big moments without taking away from the "credibility" of the contest. He's also really good at taking his part of the match but letting Hansen guide the match where he wants it to go when Hansen wants, which is smart because fighting Hansen for his control sections would just result in an ass kicking anyway. This is a pretty rare match in that they run the ropes a fair amount, yet it very rarely as ever felt "fake" and it never really breaks you out of the expereience of watching it. Even the top rope leg drop doesn't seem out of place because they don't fuck around with it "here's the part where I taunt and take my time getting to the top" or any of that shit, they just snap it out there and it fits. This is the kind of fight that marks want to imagine "if pro wrestlers had a street fight it would look something like this". This match doesn't really have any "okay this is the middle filler" part, you really get a sense these are two guys both playing for a first round knockout from bell to bell, and they work that so well that nothing really seems out of place. Not Kobashi busting out a DDT in the first minute, not Hansen transitioning to offense by powerbombing Kobashi on the fucking floor (nasty as hell and I love it), nothing. This is just a fight, a great great fight, and probably the best singles match of Hansen's illustious career. This is up there for Kobashi too.

Well said, man. No worries, I read the whole thing. TL-DR does not apply to you or your post.

Since the discussion/argument for "good for its time" has reared up recently, does the powerbomb on the floor hold up? I think it does, as I wouldn't want to be powerbombed on the floor.

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Well, that was a war. Everything said here was true. I especially appreciate Kobashi's desperation stretch at the end. Beating the hell out of Hansen wasn't doing him any good, so he just kept trying every pin attempt he could think of in rapid fire succession, and it didn't work. This is also incredibly brutal from the beginning, and on top of the stiffness, you have a match that is paced brilliantly with a super hot crowd. Also, that was a hell of a finish that was perfect, because Kobashi losing may have helped him more than winning could have, if only because Hansen gave him so much of the match. Not sure what takes the top spot between this and Hokuto/Kandori at this point, but one of them definitely does.

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My current choice for great wrestling match of all time. I watched it again due to Kobashi's retirement over the weekend. It is such brilliant work and a compelling story. The Underdog Kobashi lives and dies by his big bombs as he tries to overwhelm the unstoppable force known as Stan Hansen. Kobashi was relentless in the first ten minutes just an excellent display of urgency by never letting Hansen breathe. Hansen was fucking great both on offense and defense, his deadweighting on the pinfall attempt off the top rope legdrop was so awesome. I have always loved this match and love it more each time.

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I watched this for the first time yesterday. No way is this the greatest Stan Hansen match ever, atleast not for me. I much prefer his more all out brawls with Funk, Kawada, Andre hell even Colon. My favourite Hansen is the pissed off redneck badass Hansen and this didn't have much of that. I mean, just to make that clear this match is really great mostly thanks to Hansen's masterful selling. It's not something that people think of first about Hansen but it's something that he could do extremely well and seemingly whenever he wanted. I really dug how every attack that Kobashi tried he did five times in a row, because it's fucking Hansen you better give him twice the normal dose and then twice again. I mean it's weird, I can't think of a thing to make the match better, except maybe remove that dumb ropewalking move Kobashi tried, it's flawless for what they were doing and it does a heck of a job putting Kobashi over, it's by far the best of their matches that I've seen, but it's just that another match in their series to put Kobashi over. I can't call it a top level classic. Maybe I'll love it on the rewatch. But right now I just think it's "only" really good. Victim of hype, I guess?

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Probably a top 10 match from the promotion for me. They had a fantastic Carny bout a few months earlier and this took it up several levels.

 

The start immediately engaged as Orange Crush dominated the opening stages. After weathering the early storm Hansen came up with a great counter and the momentum reversed in a hurry. Quite a straightforward build that was so effectively done. There was such a natural chemistry between the combatants who were both perfect in their roles. Kobashi unloaded absolutely everything he had in search of the win. All his top end offence, any cradle he could think of. Damn I was marking out hard. Yet Stan kept on kicking out and refused to stay down. Amazingly this ended up putting both men over for their superhuman efforts. And then the final lariat in the corner was ridiculously awesome. A perfect finish to an all time classic.

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Not much to add but this really is an amazing performance by both guys. What I've really come to love about Hansen and Jumbo too is how much they give to their opponents. From Misawa down to Kikuchi they make their adversaries look great. Great start with Kobashi just absolutely taking it to Hansen. One of my all time favorite finishes with Hansen just walloping Kobashi with the lariat. It's not shown here but when I first watched this they showed an almost autopsy still in the locker room of Kobashi's messed up face. It summed up this brutal physical match.

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They really took that Carnival match template and expanded and perfected it for the TV and video audience. Hansen wrestles the majority of this match on the defensive, and has to resort to desperation moves like powerbombing Kobashi on the floor just to keep his head above water. Unfortunately Kobashi exhausts his arsenal, and when he tries for the Moonsault again, Hansen has an answer for it. But it's another table-setting match--Kobashi's first victory is now a matter of time. Somewhere between the #2 and #3 MOTY, I think.

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Previously at PWO:

 

Kenta Kobashi vs. Stan Hansen 7/29/1993 - I remember liking this match a lot more a few years ago. Then, I thought it was near perfect. Now, I noticed a few things, like with 6/3/94, in this match, the wrong person won. The crowd wanted Kobashi to win so bad, it was ridiculous. And, Kobashi killed Hansen nearly the entire match, only for Hansen to litterally knock Kobashi out with one of the stiffest lariats I've ever seen. Also, the powerbomb on the floor was incredible, all concrete. Recommended, regardless of my dislike of the victor.

 

 

 

Kenta Kobashi vs. Stan Hansen 7/29/1993 - I remember liking this match a lot more a few years ago. Then, I thought it was near perfect. Now, I noticed a few things, like with 6/3/94, in this match, the wrong person won. The crowd wanted Kobashi to win so bad, it was ridiculous. And, Kobashi killed Hansen nearly the entire match, only for Hansen to litterally knock Kobashi out with one of the stiffest lariats I've ever seen. Also, the powerbomb on the floor was incredible, all concrete. Recommended, regardless of my dislike of the victor.


I don't think the wrong person won here imo. Kobashi was still climbing and I don't think it was quite time for the fans to climax by seeing him at the very top. We all obviously wanted to see it happen as fans because we know in our hearts Kobashi is special. However, seeing Kobashi just inch closer and closer is satisfaction enough. Save the climax of seeing Kobashi at the top for later. That's what makes the match soooo good. It's a conflict of emotions. We see and feel Kobashi getting closer and improving so it leaves us hope but on the other hand it leaves us frustrated as well. It leaves us wanting to watch next time.

You should watch their 94 match too. Sorry, I can't think of the date right now. It's excellent and is wrestled differently. Very much story oriented especially when you watch this back to back with the 93 bout. Watch the fans pop for Kobashi in that one. I did! :)

 

 

 

Yeah... the right guy won in 1993. To a degree, it's too bad that the 1994 match didn't have a bigger setting (such as Budokan or Sapporo in May) as it would be remember as a strong match as well. Kobashi didn't really dominate the 1993 match. He opened strong. He ran into the boot that crushed his face. Hansen had a run. That sort of was the ebb and flow of the match - each had runs of control, then later runs of picking up their offense to a higher level. John

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Incredible match. Hansen is superb here but I was expecting him to really carry things based on the latest All Japan Excite Series and I didn't get that sense here. Kobashi takes the fight to Hansen here and really goes full force into the boot which was amazing. He takes a beating but keeps coming back. After the strikes failed, he tries to do everything from pinning combinations to win. Hansens final knockout blow is defiant but shows that Kobashi was right there fighting to the bitter end which wins him over huge with the crowd. A tremendous match and a star making performance. *****

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The first time I've seen this since my dive back into wrestling. I remember not particularly caring for it then. Now? Holy shit, it blew me away. I'm sure that comes from watching it in (relative) context through the yearbooks, and also having a different appreciation of Hansen. Interesting to see how some of the other super clasicos look to my aged eyes.

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I'm really ​late to the party on this one. I can't say for sure that it's the greatest Hansen performance, because he's had so many great ones in so many different promotions. I can't say that it's one of Kobashi's greatest either, because he lost after dominating the match almost from the opening bell. Even in a worked atmosphere like that of wrestling, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory is a negative.

 

What I can ​say is that I don't know how these two could possibly have a better match together. This had everything: an insane opening that made it look like Kobashi was going to steamroll Stan, Stan's incredible comeback, including that sick powerbomb on the floor, Kobashi's desperation bordering on panic as literally everything in his arsenal can't put Stan away, and then the finish. I've seen Stan hit desperation lariats for wins before, but I'd be hard pressed to find one quite as spectacular as this one was. You absolutely knew that that was it, that Kenta, for all his great work, had come up short again.

 

Normally, wrestlers of Stan's age who take beatings like he has regularly would be slowing down by now, but he's still churning out classic after classic, even if he's giving his opponents a bit more offense than he used to. How in the hell was he so misused (for the most part) in the United States? Other than his program with Bruno in '76, almost all of his other runs fizzled out, including his stint as Verne's World champion. He may have been difficult to deal with, and his first loyalty may have been to Baba, but wasn't talent such as we see here and in other AJPW matches worth the bother? Unfortunately, we all know the answer to that. At least we have matches like this to show how great he truly was.

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http://placetobenation.com/countdown-top-500-matches-of-the-90s-100-51/2/

 

#63

 

Woah, I was surprised to see this hit on the countdown already. This is one of my favorite matches of all-time. It easily hits ***** for me. I was glad to throw this on tonight. Hansen's selling in this match is phenomenonal and the lariat at the end is possibly the greatest in history. This climbed my all-time favorite list tonight, and would definitely be in my top 5 or so of the 90s. I'll see how that shakes out as I continue this countdown.

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All Japan 90's, man. Best stuff in the world. Cliched because it's true.

 

Brutal, urgent, exciting. Stiff strikes accompanied by a constant fighting from underneath by BOTH GUYS (Hansen is incredibly underrated in this aspect) creates a match that sends the already molten hot crowd into overdrive. One of the best moments is that it has probably the best "get-your-foot-up-as-your-opponent-charges" spot in wrestling history with Hansen slumped in the corner but getting his boot up to kick Kobashi in the face. Hansen's a brutal bully and Kobashi is the ultimate fiery babyface made of pour TOUKON~!!! The finish is iconic and a 5-star moment without a doubt.

 

*****

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A complete and total masterpiece. All-time great performances from both men with some of the coolest spots in either's career. *****

 

The fact that Hansen had this and the Kawada match in the same year is so awesome and crazy.

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A complete and total masterpiece. All-time great performances from both men with some of the coolest spots in either's career. *****

 

The fact that Hansen had this and the Kawada match in the same year is so awesome and crazy.

 

1993 is loaded but Hansen does have a pretty damn amazing year. He also has the Kobashi carnival handheld, the Misawa Carny final and May Misawa match (Both around ****1/4 for me) and a really fun RWTL pairing with Baba.

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For a while I actually preferred the '91 bout between these two, but after a few re-watches I really gained a much deeper appreciation for this match. The whole Hansen-Kobashi feud over the course of the 90's is just a fantastic bit of storytelling, as each time Kobashi just gets a liiiiiiiitle bit closer to finally beating. This time around, he walloped him for damn near the entire match but was still susceptible to a sneaky lariat.

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Hansen special check list: Stiff as fuck. Uncontrollable aura of the match. Undying heat. Great selling. This has it all. The brawl to the outside was a great start to the match. And it's Kobashi who instigates it although Hansen makes him pay for it, by slamming him on the hard floor on the outside. Hansen then does some excellent work on top, destroying Kobashi with his nasty offence, who then makes some wicked comebacks. Kobashi gets more of his fair shots in too, proving he is a tough son of a gun and won't go down easily. The selling is great and puts both guys offence over so much, especially Kobashi who is just now being considered on that level. The finish wasn't crazy by any means but it was very genitive. The call itself is pretty famous. ****1/2

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Stan Hansen vs Kenta Kobashi - AJPW 7/29/93

Greatest match ever? That's the million dollar question, aint it? I certainly seem to think so back in 2013. I voted Flair vs Morton in the cage as my greatest match ever because I was only voting based on matches that I have done full reviews on and I hadnt done my All Japan rewatch yet. So here we are. Is this the Greatest Match Ever?

The difference between now and 2013 is I have seen pretty much every Hansen vs Kobashi match up to this one. I thought the '91 match and the '93 Carnival match from just a  few months prior to this are also classics and contenders for a Top 100 match. The key is the dynamic. It is 100% centered around the Kobashi victory. Kobashi does not need revenge. He does not need to hurt him. He just needs to pin him or submit. It is so pure. Kobashi is such a pure and human pro wrestler. Anyone from any time period and any culture will understand Kobashi because he is the epitome of the human condition: the emotion, fire, desire, passion, agony, disappointment, dedication, willpower, distraught everything all wrapped up in one superball of human energy. Then you have Stan Hansen who is not just a man. This is a Grizzly Bear. a Killer Whale, and a Bull IN A China Shop, all mixed into one human. There's no humanity to Stan Hansen. He's an Animal, a Beast. When you wrestle Stan Hansen it is not Man vs. Man, it is Man vs Nature. Kobashi had proven he could survive in previous encounters but could he ever conquer Hansen?

Now that I've seen the '93 Carnival match this really is an extension of that match. There are some differences but for the most part they follow the same layout of Kobashi dominating the first 10 minutes or so. Big transition. Competitive finish run and a Massive Lariat finish. So lets breakdown the differences. 

This match Kobashi is more focused on attacking the head of Stan Hansen as opposed to the arm in the previous match. I like how this is set up. Hansen is stomping a young lion and Kobashi rushes over takes advantage and kicks him in the head. This immediately rings Hansen's bell and it is clearly from Hansen's selling he is at an immediate disadvantage. Kobashi cements this with a DDT on the outside. There are a lot of DDTs and legdrops to the head in his match. Hansen just a couple bearpaw swings but Kobashi is immediately overwhelming him with firepower. There were a lot of chops, BIG TIME Lariats, and blow to the head from Kobashi. I did like Kobashi using the Cowboy Kick to get back at Hansen. This was an all-out offensive assault from Kobashi. It was a full court press where he never let up on Hansen. Much like the Carny match, it was a low-risk offense targeting setup with facelocks, combine that with dogged determination Kobashi it just overwhelmed Hansen. Just as mentioned in the '93 Carny match, the mystique of Hansen is obliterated in this match. Kobashi has taken him to task and Hansen is left a wounded Grizzly. Now a wounded Grizzly is a dangerous grizzly, but he is not the hellraising Bull In The China Shop we are used to. 

Then comes the moment that has been burned me in my mind since I have first watched this match some 15 years ago. Hansen is slumped down in the corner battered and bruise. Kobashi comes charging in for the kill and Hansen just gets a straight boot up and CLOBBERS Kobashi in the face. Kobashi just crumples into a heap with the perfect glassy eye sell and I love how he just flops out of the ring. Just like the entire complexion of the match changes. Hansen dives onto Kobashi from the apron, then it is the Super Famous Powerbomb onto the concrete, another spot etched in my memory and then the elbow drop off the apron.  Hansen was using his body weight and gravity do the work against Kobashi. Hansen is not able to activate Hellraising, Chaos mode, but he is 100% in command and this creates that dynamic we love. Kobashi the underdog taking on the Force of Nature. Can the human spirit overcome?

They do a great job down the stretch duking it out for control. They beat the dog shit out of each other but those last 5 minutes or so are just perfect. Hansen just back suplexed Kobashi and he tugs on the elbow pad. I love this. I love when little things like this elicit such a big crowd response. Kobashi uses a drop toehold to evade and immediately leg drops the back of the head. It was so urgent. It was so electric. Then comes the barrage of leg drops because this is here chance. He was getting the shit beat out of him and now he is not going to let go. He just keeps crashing down with leg drops, climaxing with one from the top rope. 1-2-NO! Awesome nearfall. Then we gets the classic Fist Pump->Moonsault->Connects! 1-2-NO! HUGE NUCLEAR NEARFALL! Kobashi goes full Ricky Steamboat just going for a ton of quick pinning combinations desperately trying to win. At this point in his career, it was moonsault or bust, so you can really feel his anxiety and fear. He shot his best shot and Hansen still kicked out. Like the what the fuck can he do? What I love about Kobashi is that he doesnt give up. He just keeps trying. He just keeps throwing shit at Hansen. It maybe a basic as fuck schoolboy rollup but goddamnit that's all he has got. Kobashi realizes he can try to hit the Moonsault again as a way to win the match. After all if you at first dont succeed, try, try again.

This leads to the iconic finish, where Hansen blasts Kobashi off the top rope with one wild swing of his bear paw and the underdog is vanquished once again, but his flame is not extinguished. He got closer than ever before. 

Is this the Greatest Match Ever? No. It is for a weird reason. We all advocate for watching more wrestling to give us context and a flesh out the narrative of a match, but for the first time, this may have backfired. I think the '93 Carny match exposed some flaws in this match that I had never seen. I think the opening ten minutes of this match are too easy for Kobashi. I think Hansen is much more active in playing defense in the Carny match and making Kobashi earn his offense. In this match, Hansen is content playing ragdoll. I think the Carny match having arm psychology allowed for a more focused Kobashi offensive effort. Now what the Carnival match lacked where big spots. The Foot in the Face in the Corner, The Powerbomb on the Floor, The Legdrop Sequence, The Moonsault and The Iconic Lariat finish are all very famous. In the Carny match Kobashi gets a shit ton of offense, but he does not get The Legdrop or Moonsault nearfalls which are nuclear. I think the Lariat finish off the top rope is one of the best finishes of all time. In fairness to the Carny match, the Lariat to Kobashi coming off the middle rope fit that match better. I think it comes down to do you prefer minimalism or maximalism. I am a Maxed out guy so I prefer this match to the Carny match slightly but I love well-done minimalism and that the Carny match exposed enough flaws in this match that I dont think either of these matches are the Greatest Match Ever. Both will finish in my Top 50 of all time for sure. I think if you take the first ten minutes of the Carny match and marry it with the last ten minutes of this match with some slight edits then you could say thats The Greatest Match Ever. It is ***** all the way but sometimes you gotta pick those nits. 

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My second time watching this and only raised its stock with me. I loved the opening bit with Hansen attacking a young boy leading to Kobashi to attack Hansen and taking it to him. And Hansen making Kobashi pay going to the outside - his playground - with a brutal powerbomb on the mats was great. I’m really struggling to determine who was the better of the two in the match. Both put on pure clinics in this. Hansen was probably at his best in terms of selling his vulnerability. His defensive offence like his big boot to an incoming Kobashi in the corner, the little palm strikes he’d throw. Just a great defensive effort from Hansen. Kobashi in contrast was on the offence for most of the match, in the driving seat for 60% of the match, him beating Hansen in the strike exchanges, refusing to be belittled again, proving that he is on Hansen’s level now. Both Kobashi and Hansen delivered to the best of their capabilities by this point. The closing stretch with Kobashi using the leg drops, which Hansen had zero answer for, to slowly knock Hansen out was great. The amature wrestling pins being used to great incredible nearfalls with Hansen’s fatigue slowly dropping with each cardio busting pin.  And the set up for the final Western Lariat was incredible. It was so last gasp with it practically being a wild swing to defend against Kobashi ramming Hansen’s face into his knee. What an encounter. ****3/4

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