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[1993-09-03-AJPW-Summer Action Series II] Toshiaki Kawada & Akira Taue vs Stan Hansen & Ted DiBiase

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Last few minutes of what is pretty good action, with Hansen and DiBiase taking the tag titles. Not sure what led to DiBiase's jump from the WWF, but it's one of the few promotional jumps on the set.

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He'd gone as far as he could in the WWF, and this was in the days where where Ted could make more money while working less in All Japan than in the WWF given where he'd fallen to.

 

That changed in the Nitro era where even mid-carders were making good money. I recall Furnas talking about having an exact figure in mind that he needed to make from a US promotion to make him give up the AJPW gig. It wasn't until the Nitro era where the Big 2 were even throwing around enough money to get a mid-level AJPW guy.

 

You'd see guys make the move, but often it was people who had dreams of making it Really Big. Furnas was more practical than that. With Ted, he'd already made it big and was on the way down. The mindset was that at the age of 39 in 1993, he had a number of years left in AJPW as a main event partner with Stan, who at that point was five years older and doing better than he ever had.

 

I think what Ted didn't know is that AJPW had changed a lot since 1987, the style passed him by, and it was a lot more physically brutal.

 

There's part of me that wishes at least one of the two title matches between these teams made it to the set in full. Folks should see just how badly time passed him by.

 

It's been ages since I watched the matches (and I think there had a six-man or two on the next series), and it pretty much was "great" whenever Stan and Kawada were together, and largely very noticable "not great" or worse most of he time when the two of them weren't opposite of each other.

 

Ditch might host the two title matches somewhere.

 

John

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WWF was just going to let DiBiase fade away? He was such a bigger character for them and as a heel they should played up some angle with him leaving like a loser leaves town. Anyways, days after Summerslam in he is in Japan and quickly wins tag titles with Hansen. That spike piledriver attempt didn't go well. Ted looked so low key not being in the Million Dollar Man gimmick.

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DiBiase tries hard but he does sort of stick out here. The match isn't bad, but seems very short for a tag title match (it barely goes 15 minutes). Hansen & DiBiase regain the belts they never really lost to begin with.

 

I can see DiBiase's POV here The only thing left that he could conceivably do in the WWF was lose his money and turn babyface. With no bodyguard and no manager anymore and the Money Inc./Steiners feud more or less played out, DiBiase really looked to be spinning his wheels. I also imagine the days of the WWF comping him a limo and five-star hotel room at every stop were long past. There was more money in a fresher setting in AJPW at this point than getting $300 payoffs in White Plains, NY.

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My guess is that he was probably going to make the equiv of $200K to $250K a year in AJPW (given how taxes were handled) for working half the schedule that he did in the WWF. He wasn't going to make that much in the WWF, and WCW was in the Watts Austerity Era so there wasn't a big contract being dangled there for him in 1993.. He was 39, which meant he wasn't completely done as far as making money as he was right in the middle of this age group:

 

02/25/49 Flair

11/15/52 Savage

02/28/53 Steamboat

08/11/53 Hogan

01/18/54 DiBiase

05/14/55 Vader

07/02/57 Bret Hart

12/07/58 Rick Rude

 

Some of them might have looked washed-up-ish in 1993, some of them not... but everyone was under contract when Ted left that WWF, other than Hogan hitting the wall with Vince as well. Flair, Savage and Hogan would go on to make a lot of money the rest of the decade. So...

 

Parking in All Japan, making better money working less, and keeping an eye on what was going on in the WWF and WCW (both of whom were down in 1993) was a pretty obvious choice.

 

I don't think Ted understood how far removed Misawa, Kawada and Kobashi were taking All Japan's working style from what he'd last working in the promotion (back in 1987), nor how Hansen in 1993 was able to go along with it... and how Doc would step up massively once Gordy overdosed and pretty much hit his peak while clicking with those three over an 19 month period that happened to start exactly as Ted was coming in...

 

*pause*

 

*re-reads that*

 

Damn... that's a Meltzer sentence. :P

 

Anyway, it was the right move for Ted. Had he not gotten hurt so quickly (on his 3rd tour), my guess is that he would have found 1994 difficult. I don't know how much he could have picked up his work to fit in. Probably by the Carny he would have stuck out even more like a sore thumb, if not in the 1993 Tag League where he'd have big tags against Misawa & Kobashi, Kawada & Taue (for the 3rd time) and Williams & Bubba. Which makes me think that he probably would have have been looking for a WCW gig shortly after Eric brought Hogan into the company in 1994. Ted would certainly have fit into Eric's mentality that led to signing both Hogan and then Savage later that year. So Ted was well placed for that just by camping out in All Japan, keeping in shape, working half the year, making money, etc.

 

John

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DiBiase showing up in All Japan was quick turnaround. Still weird to see him willing relevant stuff here as him and Hansen gain the tag straps. The action looked good down the stretch and I know the consensus is that Ted at this point couldn't hang with these guys which is probably true to an extent, but it would be fun to view at some point and flesh out for myself.

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It was tough to judge from such a short clip, but I don't think Teddy looked too bad here. I get John's point about the brutality of the All-Japan style probably being too much for him by this point in his career, especially since he already had neck issues. For one night and a kind of surprise win, though, he was fine. He and Stan steamrolled Kawada and Taue like I haven't seen anyone else, including Misawa and company, do yet, and it was a welcome change.

 

Stan was far too established in Japan to consider this, but I wonder if Teddy would have been taken more seriously as a manager if he'd brought Stan with him as the first member of the Million Dollar Corporation. I didn't watch much wrestling in real time by '94, but I remember cringing when after weeks of buildup over his return, Teddy's first client was an ancient Nikolai Volkoff, and his second client was a slightly less ancient King Kong Bundy (who Vince tried to give the King gimmick to for about five seconds because his name started with the word; he never reached the coronation stage, but I clearly remember Teddy doing promos touting Bundy as the new King of the WWF).

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