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Charles (Loss)

[1993-07-29-AJPW-Summer Action Series] Mitsuharu Misawa vs Toshiaki Kawada

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These two had a really tough act to follow, but they still had a really awesome match. At times, it feels slower than it deserves to feel because of the match before it -- whereas Hansen/Kobashi was all-action, this match is more focused around Kawada attempting to tear off Misawa's arm and possibly feed it to him, and Misawa sells this throughout the match. Kawada makes a great showing at first, with Misawa putting him over strong with lots of classic NWA champ match layout. I love the timidity early on with Misawa getting caught very quickly with a couple of kicks. As the match progresses, Misawa feels like he outwrestled Kawada, because he did a better job pacing himself. I really enjoyed the dead lift of the finish. This is a match Misawa won with an exclamation point. Kawada pushes him, but Misawa comes out ahead.

 

Whereas Hansen/Kobashi had the guy who won giving his opponent most of the match, this match had the guy who won being patient, letting an eager challenger tire himself out, then capitalizing when he had very little left. Both were right. Both worked.

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I disagree that Misawa sold the elbow throughout the match. He was still doing rolling elbows, but, I will say this, it works. Misawa pretty much KO'd Kawada in their previous match and Kawada definitely wanted to avoid that. This is one of those things that All Japan used to do really well. Building layers of accumulated knowledge throughout a decade long feud. Excellent match.

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The arm angle died when Misawa did the kick flurry: even if his arm fell off he could still kick Tosh's ass. Kawada doesn't get any kind of breakthrough until the punches, uses one too many, and pays dearly.

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Misawa's selling struck me as rather curious. Shortly after Kawada's arm work, he throws elbows with no apparent ill effect. Later in the match, long after Kawada had abandoned the arm, he does a rolling elbow and acts like his arm is about to fall off. This is their third-best Triple Crown match, but it's pretty far behind 6/94 and 7/95. This is notable mainly for establishing the recurring theme of Kawada throwing punches when he gets frustrated.

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The crowd were unsurprisingly a bit burnt out after the Lord Mayor's show. The build was very restrained and patient. I was waiting for it to burst into life. It developed into decent enough finish where Misawa unloaded a devastating salvo of suplay and came through with conviction. He had paced himself like a long distance runner. Not their best bout of the year but even their lesser matches were still good stuff.

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It is subdued to start before Misawa hits and elbow and then Kawada kicks him in the chin. Yeah, tough to follow Hansen/Kobashi but this is still pretty good on it's own. Kawada is still going about trying to figure out how to beat Misawa. This and the 92 match is a great lead up to their 94 encounter. Part of what endears me to Kawada is how he goes overboard and gets reckless. Like he has a solid game plan to win but goes off it when he gets desperate. He's total putty by the end before Misawa finishes him off with a Tiger Suplex.

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Not as good as their two earlier singles matches, but very good in its own right and a good contrast to Kobashi vs. Hansen. Up until the closing stretch, every effort is made to portray these two as equals or near-equals. Both guys are tentative to start, and there are lots of faceoffs/"toe to toe" spots. Plus Kawada seems to have the early advantage. As things progress, however, Misawa reasserts himself. Kawada makes a gallant effort on the arm but not enough, and eventually Misawa is absolutely murdering him with some sick Germans. Kawada hangs on but Misawa basically lifts up his carcass and tiger suplexes it to put him away. Two straight matches with the established star getting pushed, but Misawa's victory actually feels more decisive. As this went on, my mind started to work over how unfathomable it was that Kobashi's payoff would come so much sooner than Kawada's. That question is still there, but by the end of this it's more clear that Kawada actually has a longer way to go.

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Interesting to watch after the previous match but still really great. The opening arm work was good for me and built how over Misawa's elbow is. I wouldn't say he extensively sold the elbow down the stretch but that to me was the point. Kawada was defiant and really took it to Misawa but he didn't have that one knockout blow he could execute and Misawa was able to weather the storm and go on the offensive for most of the last 5-10 minutes of the match. Kawada looks courageous kicking out of some of Misawa's arsenal but Misawa is the man still here. ****1/4

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I really enjoyed this one. It was more of a brawl than I expected. Scratch brawl; war might be a better word, as these two beat the living hell out of each other for almost half an hour.

 

Kawada surprised me with how varied his attack was. I knew all about his kicks and knees, but he really tried to tear off Misawa's arm early on and almost made it. He also used the dropkick to devastating effect, more than I've ever seen him do before. You wouldn't think that a moose like Kawada could throw dropkicks well, but throw them he did. His punches were great too, most notably the first one which was totally unexpected and folded Misawa up like a deck chair.

 

I liked Misawa trying to go knee for knee, kick for kick, and punch for punch with his challenger. If Kawada wanted a fight (which he did), Misawa felt honor bound to give him one, and that's how he prevailed: by knocking Kawada out. He could have stood to sell the arm a little more, I suppose, but part of being a champion is ignoring pain and doing what needs to be done to win, and that's what it felt like he was doing here.

 

I'm sure there are plenty of great matches ahead for these two, maybe some better than this one. But this was a great way to spend a half hour and get back into this Yearbook. I'm looking forward to more!

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#424

 

I thought this was a good match. It was a bit slow and methodical at times, and the build didn't quite match the finish despite Misawa continuing to sell the elbow after the bout, but I liked that Kawada had a game plan. He's pretty clearly the best mat worker in All Japan. The work itself is pretty basic but his holds look nasty and he looks nasty doing them. Ultimately, he didn't have enough in his arsenal to best Misawa. Misawa was a bit like Michael Jordan here, or maybe a Pete Sampras or Michael Shumacher, to run with some 90s examples of champions who always had that little bit extra up their sleeve, or in reserve, no matter how hard their opponents tried or how stiff their challenge was. Misawa was probably a bit too dominant given how many times he suplexed Kawada at the end, but this was his absolute physical prime and I guess he deserved to show off his class a bit.

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A little slow to start but things really picked up Kawada grows more and more defiant in the face of impending defeat. It seemed to me that throughout this match, Misawa just came across as the better man, always matching and topping anything that Kawada dared to throw at him. You get the feeling that maybe if Kawada strung together just the right amount of offense together and with the right momentum, he could pull of the win. But once Misawa gets his elbows in, it's night night. Probably my favorite moment of the match was Kawada getting bombed on and just diving for a takedown as a last resort.

****1/2

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