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Charles (Loss)

[1993-11-24-AJPW-Real World Tag League] Toshiaki Kawada & Akira Taue vs Stan Hansen & Giant Baba

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There are moments when it's obvious Kawada and Taue are working around what Baba can do. Taue sells Baba's strikes and kicks like death and they end up looking really good. Kawada isn't quite as stiff with his kicks as he is with Hansen. But they still keep the match progressing in a fun way and Baba keeps up. The end result is a good match that isn't at the level of the best AJ tags, obviously, but is still very good and comparable to the high end stuff going on in most other promotions. Baba even pulls out a DDT and some double team moves with Hansen, which is more than I expected. Baba getting the last second lariat right before the bell was a cool moment. I look forward to seeing the Misawa/Kobashi match since that's the one I always hear so much about.

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This was JIP already but would've been optimal if they'd have joined it 20m in. The good stuff was in the final 3rd. Of course if they'd have gone 15m in the first place then it could've been much better. But I know Giant Baba didn't do (whisper it quietly) J-O-B-S.

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Taue was especially doing big bumps off clotheslines from Baba. I know it is the boss and all but Kawada and Taue selling at least makes up for Baba's softer looking strike offense. The thing I like about seeing old Baba in these matches is that he looks to really be enjoying himself out there.

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Sort of a longer version of Steiners/Money Inc.--not a ton of high-end offense considering Hansen can't bump the way the others can, Baba is Baba, and Kawada was practically working on one knee. But the basics are so well-done that it makes for a pretty good, '70s-style match anyway. They sort of telegraph the draw as no one is in any real danger of losing until about the 27-minute mark, but the last minute is pretty cool with Baba taking all the offense he's capable of taking and almost hitting a miracle last-second victory.

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Previously at PWO:

 

I wrote this quite a while back. Thought I'd post it here, as I feel this is quite an underpimped match - not a classic or anything but still worth wathing if you get a chance.

Giant Baba/Stan Hansen vs. Toshiaki Kawada/Akira Taue 11/28/93
All Japan, in 1993, was one - if not the - greatest era for any promotion. They produced some of the best matches ever - and because of that you'll often find many matches that aren't really discussed, even if by today's standards they?d probably be considered MOTYC.

A few minutes in and Kawada is on the outside getting assistance for his injured knee while Taue is left carrying the bulk for his team ? and when you're up against Stan Hansen and your boss, that's not an easy thing to do.

Even though the early wear-down segment on Taue may not be fast paced or high-tech, it certainly looks brutal enough to get the message across that Taue and Kawada are in trouble. This goes on for a while, until Taue is just a Western Lariat away from defeat. At this point Kawada realises he has to do something. He pulls himself together and zones in on the Lariat Arm - he kicks, stretches and rams it into the ring post. It's the move they fear, and Hansen's not going to be hitting it when he's in an armbar. Kawada makes sure he doesn't stay in the ring for too long (and considering his vulnerabilities, that's probably a smart thing to do), but so long as he creates a weakness for Taue to work over; he buys his team some more time.

The stretch with Baba is really good, although they were obviously limited in what they could hit him with. Kawada and Taue make constant tags when they try to polish the old bastard off, so they can keep their offence fresh whilst not risking getting dominated. The match ends on a fitting note, with the Vets regaining control and Baba giving Taue his Neckbreaker before the bell sounds at the 30-minute mark. Afterwards, Baba and Hansen raise their hands as if to say "You're lucky the bell saved you. If this had continued, you'd have been ours. "

I find it interesting to compare this with the 11/30/93 tag between Hansen/Baba and Misawa/Kobashi. 11/30 is also a draw, only Misawa/Kobashi are much more dominating than Kawada/Taue were here ? and come close to finishing their opponents off where Kawada and Taue barely survive.

Even though this match is not on the level of other tags that would follow it just days later, it does an excellent job complimenting them. Probably around 4 stars.

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This didn't have a lot of neartfalls, but there was plenty of drama. Kawada's knee remained a major storyline as it has been throughout the tournament, and because of it Kawada couldn't stay in the ring too long at any one time. To make things even, Kawada and Taue did their best to break Hansen's arm, thus rendering the lariat useless.

 

Then, of course, there was the story of Baba. How could he hold out against two young guns who were looking to use him and Stan as a stepping stone to a possible career-making tournament victory? Pretty well, as it turned out. He wasn't an offensive juggernaut, but he did just enough to let Kawada and Taue know that he wouldn't just roll over for them, and he took a tremendous amount of punishment for someone of his age and physical condition. Kawada and Taue may have had to work around him to an extent, but it certainly didn't look like they were taking it easy on him, at least no more than usual. In fact, Taue looked like a real strongman for being able to slam and suplex him with such ease.

 

I guess I would have preferred it if the match had had a clean finish, but who were Kawada or Taue going to pin? They were lucky that Baba agreed to take the stretch plum from Kawada for as long as he did. It may not have hurt Stan to do the job, but why do it if you don't have to in order for the booking to come out the same way? Kawada and Taue eventually were put in position to win in the final match, and Baba and Stan looked like they could give the younger generation a fight, even if they didn't quite have what it took to put them away anymore.

 

I've heard great things about the 12/3 match, and I can't wait to check it our!

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Another really good match that didn't have near the execution of the previous match but had Baba smiling from ear to ear throughout most of it and that old man smiling with getting his face kicked in couldn't help but bring a big smile to my face. This also starts the Kawada leg issues as they really work it over and he needs the magic spray on the outside. The tease for the draw was really well done. I thought Taue in this match was a little clunky working with Baba but again what this lacks in execution is made up for in heart. ***3/4

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