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Charles (Loss)

1994 Recommendations

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TV:

11/25/94 Misawa & Kobashi vs. Kawada & Taue (Tag League)

 

John

Looking through his lists the other day, Lynch has a hand held version of this show (Bootleg 395). Has anyone seen it? I checked back on Jerad's run through and it didn't show up. If it's a good shot we might as well have that over the clipped TV version.

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It was a 30:00 draw. Just checked: it's JIP and the last 22:34 airs on TV. If there's a HH, I'd strong recommend:

 

* using the HH up to the point the TV starts, with possibly some overlap (similar to how great they did the 06/03/94 on TV)

 

* using TV from where it picks up to the end.

 

Reason: the camera work on TV is really good in catching all that's going on, the call is really good... and it's freaking heated as all hell.

 

I'd also strongly recommend this makes it. Down the stretch is quite good, and even with the draw coming up, the fans are really buying the last pin attempt until it's broken up. For those who think this is the best tag series of all-time, this one needs to be added to the mix with the other seven.

 

John

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I'd also add, with TV dates:

 

01/30/94 Misawa & Kobashi & Akiyama vs. Kawada & Taue & Omori

 

This is the one time to see what potentially could have been the six-man tag. Not an off the charts six-man, but good and Jun & Omori worked pretty well together at the time.

Just watched this for the first time in 17 years. This 100% *must* go on the set. About 26:50 of a 27:03 match aired, which makes you wonder why they bothered JIP'ing it. :)

 

Let me put it this way:

 

* this isn't the best six-man of the era

 

* if this was on Raw tonight with the WWE equivs of these six guys (beats the shit out of me who they are), and they put on this match (i.e. did their equiv of the spots at this pacing, selling, and drama), people would give it ***** and call it one of the greatest TV matches of all-time, if not the greatest TV match of all-time

 

I'm not shitting on the second point.

 

That's the level these guys were working at: they could fall out of bed, have a match that isn't even one of the best in this genre they mastered (tv taping six-man tags) and it was at a level way up there in the sky. And we fucking took/take it for granted.

 

Seriously... as you watch this match image the 1994 WWF equivs in here. Bret & Razor & 1-2-3 Kid vs Shawn & Diesel & Owen. Admitting that Owen is above the level of Akiyama and Omori, but what the heck... I can't think of another lower ranked 1994 WWF guy who can work a bit to slip in there. Then imagine them doing their 100% best possible in a straight, non-gimmicked match where your exchanging things the AJPW six do for things the WWF six did regularly... on the best level they could do it at where things are clicking... it would be an amazing match especially if the fans stuck with it, got into the beat down section (which is amazing since in this one it was the young *heel* getting beat down), then were losing their shit (and I mean LOSING THEIR FUCKING SHIT) down the stretch. People would cream over it.

 

This is an amazing match, but just one of many so we take it for granted.

 

The reason it needs to go on if for what I said in the earlier post, and have talked about many times. This is the clearest glimpse at what could have been. Omori hangs. He more than hangs: he fits in. He works well with Jun. He takes a monster sized ass kicking from Kobashi and Misawa, who seem to be channeling their Jumbo to payback Kawada & Taue for all the ass stomping they did of Jun the year before. Taue, Misawa, Kobashi and Kawada are as good as you would expect, with Misawa and especially Kobashi being roughter than you'd expect... and that Misawa-Kawada magic dynamic that was so regularly there early in their rivalry. What's great as they don't take away from the fact that Omori is in there and a big part of the story... but inturn, Omori doesn't take away from the fact that this is Four Corners with their junior parterns involved. Things just naturally fit together.

 

Pretty simple structure:

 

9 minutes of standard spots to suck the crowd in

9 minutes of kicking then shit out of Omori

9 minute ride to the finish

 

If you've watched enough All Japan six mans from this era, as you will have by the time you get this (thanks to the 1992 and 1993 and probably 1991 sets), you know that there's about an 80% chance that one of two people is eating the pin in this one. Bonus points in this one: the obvious two don't eat the pin. One of the Four Corners does, and the folks pinning him kick the living hell out of him to finally put him down. This is one of those where if you didn't know the finish you'd be thinking they set up for the finish right before* the very final run:

 

"Well, X is back in. He'll probably look good, then get cut off and they'll let him kick out of a few things before pinning him."

 

[jump ahead]

 

"Well... he's out... maybe Y? Or are they going to cycle through back to him."

 

[couple seconds later]

 

"Wait... they're really kicking the shit out of C... could it be?"

 

Real good match. In no way pimping it as a MOTYC since AJPW produced any number of better matches in the year. The six-man on the closing night of the series is the famous one, which Ditch rightly pimped earlier. But holy shit... better than I remember and better than I expected when popping it in. If something like this took place on WCW Saturday Night, people now would be thinking they found the Holy Grail of Lost Matches.

 

The loss of 60 minutes of AJPW TV a week was a tragedy because we stopped getting "****1/4" matches like this. Omori getting sent over to be Hansen's partner was a tragedy: the first of many bad booking decisions by the Babas after the Four Corners starts.

 

#1 Misawa & #4 Kobashi & #5 Akiyama & #8 Asako

#2 Kawada & #3 Taue & #6 Omori & #7 Ogawa

 

World Tag: Misawa & Kobashi vs Kawada & Taue vs Doc & Ace

All Asia: Can-Ams vs Akiyama & Asako vs Omori & Ogawa

 

Yeah... that would have sucked in 1994. I don't know about anyone else, but I also certainly could have done a better job of using the 20+ minutes a week of TV to showcase that talent. Fewer tapings, getting the crap off TV time, getting the All Asia matches onto TV, and doing a better job of using commercial tapes.

 

Can we blame this one on Baba's cancer?

 

Make sure to get the Akiyama vs Omori Cup final from the same series, then the Kawada & Omori vs Kobashi & Asako to start the next series.

 

John

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I know that when I start doing my big AJPW rewatch that it's right around here that I'm going to have those mixed feelings:

 

* the great stuff is off the charts

* Doc picking it up is fab

* the cut to 30 minutes really sucks

* the mid-cards vannish

* the depth of the product (i.e. non Big 4 + Doc) fades

 

Even things like in 1993 seeing Tracy Smothers or Bossman come in... there just isn't much of that in 1994. And the depth of Misawa and Kawada's "group" isn't handled well.

 

John

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I would argue thats one thing NOAH did fairly well in the mid 2000's was get over the lower level talent as threats to the upper tier. Rikio, Morshima, and KENTA were able to trade with Akiyama,Misawa, Kobashi and while it was not 50/50 it was definitely competitive with the ability for upsets.

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I'm a little less forceful on trading with the top guys rather than simply developing and getting involved in the mix.

 

06/18/62 Misawa (1981 debut)

12/08/63 Kawada (1982)

 

05/08/61 Taue (1988)

03/27/67 Kobashi (1988)

 

10/09/69 Akiyama (1992)

10/16/69 Omori (1992)

 

Misawa, Kawada, Taue and Kobashi never beat Tenryu. They simply were in the mix in various levels and ready to move up when he left and took a ton of talent with him. It was advancement earlier than planned, probably in the case of Kawada over *ever* being planned.

 

Only Misawa ever beat Jumbo. Kawada never did. Yet when Jumbo went out, Kawada moved over and up. That's something very telling in the six man recommended above: Misawa-Kawada was still insanely heated/over, and the two worked it intensely as all hell.

 

I think the development of talent was a bit too slow even at this point, but part of that is due to the hole of talent Tenryu took. Some of those guys fit into the gap between Misawa/Kawada and Kobashi/Taue. But the gap to Akiyama/Omori is a major black hole for the company. They were flat out poor in developing heavies there, and not a heck of a lot better after it.

 

They didn't need Akiyama or Omori to jump in and get wins over Misawa or Kawada in 1994. Kawada hasn't even beaten Misawa at that point... Kobashi didn't have a singles win over Kawada, and Taue's record was poor to say the least. They just needed to get them in the mix.

 

People are watching the 1992 set now. Keep an eye on the June Budokan:

 

TC: Hansen vs Kawada

TT: Jumbo & Taue vs Misawa & Kobashi

 

Kobashi isn't even Misawa's "regular partner" at that point: it's Kawada. But he's advanced far enough to be part of a double main event at Budokan.

 

Kawada isn't the top guy on his side nor the top young guun: that's Misawa. But he's advanced far enough to double main event at Budokan.

 

By getting Akiyama into the mix in 1993, and Omori into the mix in 1994, what you're looking at is those two being ready for credible Budokan main event roles in 1996 and 1997. Not to actually be pinning the top guys at that point, but to be holding their own and playing a strong role in big matches.

 

Jun got there.

 

Omori didn't, largely because he was taken over into being Stan's partner and missing out on the training environment of working opposite Misawa's side under the watch of Kawada & Taue.

 

And behind Omori... they screwed up Mossman by making him a junior for a stretch rather than putting him under Kawada's wing.

 

John

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I think Omori and Kea pretty much reached their potential when all is said and done. Akiyama is the one who fell short because of booking, since he had a much higher upside.

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The question would be to look at each year from 1995 to 1999 and ask if Jun, Omori and Mossman were each where they could have been.

 

Jun?

 

Generally... yes, other than being put under Kobashi's thumb in 1998. I think up to that point his career path was on a good arc. Some minor mistakes (no decent rivals in 1994-95 like Omori and Ace), some slightly larger (they didn't book singles matches with Kawada, Kobashi and Taue in 1996-97 in a helpful fashion). But overall, not bad.

 

Omori?

 

Lost in the weeds forever. Team No Fear was late 1998... that's a hell of a long ways from these early 1994 matches, and not a lot done in that period to grow him. Those three full years with the All Asia tag did nothing for him. Comparing early 1994 Omori (about year and a quarter into his career) with second half 1989 Taue (a year and a half into his career) and early 1990 Taue (two years into his career)... you don't think there's growth potential in Omori to be a decent worker, let alone a good one?

 

Mossman?

 

I always thought the Mossman push to the juniors was a waste of a year. I also thought he was a pretty obvious person to toss onto Kawada's team similar to Jun getting paired with Misawa and Kobashi to learn how to work.

 

We're not talking about projecting them to be Top 10 workers in the world... with he exception of Jun who certainly had that projection when he was young. Just becoming solid hands knowing how to work with the others. That's what Taue learned with Jumbo and Fuchi, opposite those other guys. Eventually he had the desire to be great, and pushed himself to it. Don't know if the others would have, but they certainly would have made the depth of the roster more interesting if in 1994-95 there were clear plans and pushes for them.

 

John

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So I'm sifting through all the 1994 Carny material (League, non-League singles, tags, six-mans) to give some recommendations, and came across on a Bob tape between two Carny show this:

 

02/27/94 WWWA Tag Titles: Toyota & Yamada vs Kong & Hasegawa

 

About 33 of the 45+ air. Korakuen Hall heat. For all the/our valid knocking AJW in the 90s and how it doesn't age great and how it's so spotfu-ish, it's hard not to watch this and come to the conclusion that if any over dudes in the WWE could put this off, or say KOW vs Briscoes or KOW vs WGTT or KOW vs the beloved Richards & Edwards could pull this off on a "big" ROH PPV, it would get five billion stars and be an easy top 5 in the 2011 WON MOTY voting. This isn't even one of the "great" WWWA Tag matches, and pretty much all the stuff folks rip on is there (though it's not terribly sloppy relative to the sloppiest matches). Perhaps moves have gotten more advanced, but given these four that's not really an issue: they pretty much could have done any move, and frankly the moves they do were pretty advanced at the time and hold up.

 

I'm not sold that I've seen any match live in PWG "better", and I've seen some good ones (and some that folks jizz all over themselves about). I certainly like Generico vs Richocett better since it plays to a type of match that I like a lot... but is it really "better" than this? I suspect if you could drop Naylor down in Reseda for that one, then send him back in the time machine to sit on press row in Korakuen Hall for this one with a 1994 mentality... he'd say this tag gave him more wood than the PWG match.

 

I'm not even recommending it. Suspect there's better (such as the really good Nakano & Kyoko vs Kong & Toyota a few nights later). But... yeah... if you like modern indy wrestling with all its positives and warts, AJW in the early-mid 90s was cranking out that stuff left and right. With more people watching it, more heat, frankly a hell of a lot more drama. Not always my cup of tea these days, but watching it and Taue-Kobashi go 30:00... yeah, I have my AJPW bias, but I can also get people going bonkers for AJW at the time. Actually, that tag match is fresher and less annoying to me than any iterations of the Misawa vs Kobashi vs Jun singles after 1/97.

 

Odd. :)

 

John

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There's a Williams vs Kobashi 6-man from August that does a wonderful job of setting up their big singles match, if there's still room on the set.

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02/27/94 WWWA Tag Titles: Toyota & Yamada vs Kong & Hasegawa

They lost me in the third fall, here. Aja goes mad, puts Yamada through a table, picks her up and discards her about ten feet away. Then puts Toyota through another table and left her there to get back in the ring of her own accord. Then, with Yamada still out selling for five minutes, she does a few top rope moves on toyota that feel half-arsed, and the crowd were clearly expecting her waterwheel(?) drop. Now, Aja doesn't need to be urgently trying to beat Toyota, but the segment was dead to me by the time she tagged in Sakie to try and get the win.

 

You should've put on the TV before that one (2/23; taped 2/18) which was awesome fun top to bottom, even the rookies (though they had Minami and Mita in with them).

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"This isn't even one of the "great" WWWA Tag matches, and pretty much all the stuff folks rip on is there..."

-jdw

 

My point is that if you put this on SmackDown! or ROH with their WWE or ROH equiv talent doing this spot for spot, people would cream over it. Sure, the folks who don't like Davey Richards would probably find stuff like the Aja spots you mentioned eye rolling stuff. But most fans?

 

"[Aja equiv] put them through the MOTHERFUCKING table like a KING!"

 

They'd accept the sloppiness and goofiness. Hell, we're people talking about the sloppiness/goofiness of a certain recent ***** match?

 

 

I think the Mita & Shimoda match was already pimped, and it's one that's been rated highly in the past decade. I'm just pointing to a match that ain't going to be on the set and it probably "better" than half the stuff on some of Will's annual MOTY sets, simply because what we bitch about these four doing in one of their not-so-great matches is acceptable these days, as long as they bring all the other great shit. These four bring a lot of shit that would be considered great in it's time... and frankly a lot of it that it it were on Raw, ROH or even DGUSA would be considered great.

 

Again to be clear: I'm not pimping it to be on the set. If someone were making a series of annual AJW Yearbooks, this would have to be on it because it's a title match and I'm a pretty firm believe that from the standpoint of annual promotional Yearbooks in Japan, the title matches need to be on it. But on the type Will and Loss are putting together? No... not pimped.

 

John

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I agree with the wider point about indys, definitely. That segment felt like AJPW done badly which might as well the default description for a lot of Indy wrestling I've seen. At least Yamada didn't come back in and play the "your my friend, I don't want to hurt you!" card with Aja like Davey did.

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So as I'm going through the '94 Carny stuff to make some recommendations, couple of random comments in advance of a longer one covering everything:

 

#1 - This migh be the most "covered" series of the era.

 

 

10 cards had tapings: 3 early cards on NTV, 6 cards on the primary Carny commercial tapes, Budokan on NTV as well as the Final making in full onto a commercial tape (about 4 minutes edited off of NTV). Coverage on the coms wasn't limited to cherry picking a top match off each card, but included about 3 full matches per card. In a sense, it was like if NTV TV shows in 1993 took 10 *different* Carny cards. Pretty unique in the era. I'll have to count up 1995 Carny with the commercial tapes, but don't think that makes up for NTV being way down. That's one major advantage that 1994 had:

 

* the last two one hour NTV shows each covered different cards in fashion not unlike earlier years

* the first two 30 minute shows were effectively a "one hour" devoted to another card (Williams-Kawada / Kobash-Smith)

* Budokan essentially got two hours (most of four 30 minute shows)

 

Granted, Budokan wasn't booked well, nor was TV handled well. But in a sense they got normal, semi old-stye coverage on NTV of 4 cards. I looks like roughly 2 cards in 1995. With the coverage on Samurai starting in 1996, the Tag League got really good coverage... arguably the best in ages. But even then, I don't think there were 10 different cards given decent coverage.

 

So a little unique, which makes it interesting.

 

#2 - moment in time

 

It's less than a year into the Four Corners. They might not be at their collective peak, but they collectively are very good. Doc is at his peak, while he would be gone the following year. Hansen coming off his great 1993 year, and frankly still quite good. You really have a lot of combinations of those six that you can mix around and have a chance at a watchable-to-great match. And of the 15 possible combinations, most of them are on here (with a double dip of Taue-Kobashi thrown in). Mix in the chance to see what Jun is up to in a fair number of singles matches against the Big 6, and there's depth + near peak + quantiy of matches that really isn't there the rest of the decade. Sort of lucky that they sent out the commercial crew.

 

#3 - 4/11 Misawa vs Kawada

 

This is prety much their Ric Flair match.

 

Like a long Ric match, there's plenty of stuff where "they're just filling time" in between picking it up for something cool. There's a bit of storyline where Kawada goes after the recent injury (a/k/a The Bad Neck/Back). Like Ric's opponents selling the leg, they don't have a huge desire to run hard with that one. Instead, they generally go with the Flairish "We Have Stuff To Do" and run through a ton of their spots and moves and usual stuff that we've seen them do in singles, tags and six-mans since May 1993. It's Misawa-Kawada, so they have a lot of that stuff and when "on" it's a well oiled machine. In the end, it's not a satisfying finish: the crowd just saw a big "first" right before this, and there was a big one the night before... and if Kawada was going to get his first, the injury was a perfect excuse to have you thinking you'd see it. Like a Flair match you don't really get the finish you want, and instead you need to come back for the next one.

 

Looking at this on two levels:

 

For a Flair-style match, it's really good. Pull it out of the context of wanting/expecting a rich, deep AJPW storyline where 90% of everything you want from a match is delivered. Instead put it in the context of wanting an entertaining match where two guys go at it hard, do a ton of shit, execute it very well, give you drama down the stretch where you're not sure who is going to win (again: this is set up for you to REALLY think Kawada can take it). In that context, it's pretty much a helluva Flair-stye match, without the Horsemen running in or the ref-bump or the dusty finish or some other silly DQ. Times up, and these guys are going to need more than 30 to settle it.

 

On the other hand, if you watch this and then watch 06/03/94 not long after (i.e. a Yearbook setting), or have 06/03/94 etched strongly in your mind from over watching and/or over writing/talking about it, then it crashes in on you: They worked a really good Flair-style match that within the context of their feud/rivalry is (and still will be after watching it on the Yearbook) pretty much an after throught. Then they went out and worked their classic where literally everything came together, and it's light years beyond the Carny match.

 

That doesn't make El Classico "the best of all-time" by default. It's more in the sense that the 4/11 Misawa vs Kawada is something that would be a great match if Flair had it against Steamboat in 1989 or there was a Shawn vs Bret in 1994 at that level or Steamboat-Savage had it in MSG prior to WM-3. With Misawa-Kawada the expectations are higher... it's pretty insane how high they've set them that you watch this and think, "Yeah... there's a lot of good stuff here, but they've got more in the tank."

 

#4 - 4/11 Taue vs Hansen

 

This is probably about 85% a great match.. and by great I mean GREAT!!!! Seriously, no bullshit. 50% in the form of 100% of what Hansen does is great. This is Stan's "12/03/93 Kawada Is Sublime" performance, and Hansen's performance doesn't in anyway have to take a backseat to what I've spent 18 years pimping as one of the best performances of all-time. Hansen is great before the bell even rings, selling what happened the night before. As the match goes on... he's off the charts.

 

35% in the form of about 70% to 75% of what Taue does is great. He's extremely focused on what needs to be focused on, and really never loses the thread on it to go into "I've Got Stuff To Do" or "I'd Rather Do Cool Stuff" mode. Those are massive positives. There are some minor knocks: about half of his early stuff looks weak, he's too slam centric without theatrically drawing well into the storyline why those are useful, and he kind of ignores something obvious to the point that he only rolls it out as the Barry Windham Transition... which kind of sucks since using it would have really tied into the storyline. They may seem minor, but they add up a bit to keep this from being a perfect-great match.

 

On the other hand, once he gets past some of the early weak stuff, Taue does bring a ton of great stuff to the storyline and most of it is well done. Even some things like the Claw that doesn't work out to well at least had good thought behind them.

 

This is a helluva match. I'm not sure anyone else could have had this match with Stan at the time. Hard to imagine any of the other members of the Big 6 letting themselves work what is essentially a 17 minute Single Storyline Match. At some point, they'd go off the page to mix in some of their other Cool Things. Misawa would whip out the jumping lariat and the elbows to the head... a lot. As *stronger* as Kawada's attack to the injury would be, he would stil have used the high kicks to the head. Kobashi would have gone longer, and lost the thread a few times Doc faces Hansen a few nights later, and while I like that match a good deal, the injury storyline isn't as focused.

 

Taue... he seems to have followed Stan's lead to a T, stuck with it, etc. When he whips out the nodowa, it's not losing the thread: it's that he's fucked up Stan so much that the nodowa is there for the taking (or fits into a transition). Pretty much everything that doesn't directly tie into the injury is like that, with the injury sitting there still on display. Hell... I don't think 1996 Taue could have this match because he had some cooler stuff that he'd want to mix in, and was more confident in his work.

 

Yeah... this is one of those moment in times. Stan creating something the night before that keyed a major loss that he inturn could use the next night to key a second major loss... with probably the one guy in the Big 6 that would/could be drawn into working a Single Storyline Match.

 

85% of a GREAT match, when most of the quibbles are early... that's great match. One utterly exceptional performance, with another one that was very focused on what needed to be done and then picked up some steam as he went along.

 

John

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I just want to say as someone who printed out the All Japan 1990's pimping post and carried it around like a sacred artifact for 2-3 years after first getting into puroresu, I am loving this long style, contemplative posts that JDW is making.

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The last time I re-watched Hansen/Taue '94, it definitely struck me that they were working a really smart match. I've shied away from recommending matches like that but I can certainly see it as a top 50-75 match of the year, such that it would deserve a place on the set, ESPECIALLY with the Kobashi match as a lead-in.

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I haven't put all my comments together from taking notes, and won't until watching watching the last four matches probably tonight (Baba & Hansen & Omori vs Kawada & Taue & Fuchi; Misawa & Kobashi & Akiyama vs Baba & Hansen & Omori; Taue vs Smith; Ace vs Honda). But I'll be recommending a fair number of matches.

 

It's too bad the Misawa & Akiyama & Kikuchi vs Can-Ams & Smith was JIP on TV. Not an overly long match anyway, and what was shown was a lot of fun. I suspect sitting in Korakuen Hall for that one would have been entertaining, not in a "Holy Shit This is *****+++" but rather in a "that's a lot of fun for a match third from the top... those guys put on a good show".

 

Not something that I'll recommend since it was JIP'd down to five or so minutes.

 

John

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Agreed on the jdw posts. I grew up reading his ballots and pimping posts too. Awesome stuff as always, John.

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1994 Matches available.

 

Notes:

 

JIP = Joined In Progress and then unedited to the finish

 

If a match was jump-clipped, I would use Clipped.

 

The are some match times given in "xx:xx" form. I'll mention them below in the comments section.

 

03/19/94 Korakuen Hall, Tokyo (03/20/94 NTV)

League: Williams vs Eagle (4:13)

League: Hansen vs Nord (9:03)

League: Kawada vs Smith (9:31)

League: Misawa vs Akiyama (13:57)

 

03/24/94 Hiratsuke (03/27/94 NTV)

League: Taue vs Kobashi (JIP: 21:31 of 30:00)

League: Hansen vs Kawada (19:38)

 

03/27/94 Matsumoto (Carnival Commercial)

League: Kawada vs Ace (15:47)

Non-League: Taue vs Kobashi (30:00)

Baba & Hansen & Omori vs Williams & Kroffat & Eagle (18:13)

 

03/29/94 Toyama (04/02/94 & 04/09/94 NTV)

League: Kobashi vs Smith (16:45)

League: Kawada vs Williams (JIP: 21:44 of 30:00)

 

04/01/94 Okayama (Carnival Commercial)

Taue & Ogawa vs Kobashi & Kikuchi (JIP: 5:38 of 23:59)

League: Kawada vs Akiyama (11:25)

Baba & Hansen & Omori vs Williams & Ace & Eagle (15:19 of "19:28")

 

04/10/94 Sendai (Carnival Commercial)

League: Williams vs Akiyama (12:26)

League: Hansen vs Kobashi (26:55)

Baba & Misawa & Kikuchi vs Kawada & Taue & Fuchi (21:47 of "23:47")

 

04/11/94 Osaka (Carnival Commercial)

League: Kobashi vs Akiyama (14:40)

League: Hansen vs Taue (17:31)

Non-League: Misawa vs Kawada (30:00)

 

04/14/94 Nagoya (Carnival Commercial)

Baba & Fuchi & Omori vs Kobashi & Akiyama & Honda (22:01 of "24:01")

Non-League: Misawa vs Smith (JIP: 2:18 of 15:14)

League: Hansen vs Williams (16:35)

League: Kawada vs Taue (20:20)

 

04/15/94 Korakuen Hall, Tokyo (Carnival Commercial)

Misawa & Akiyama & Kikuchi vs Kroffat & Furnas & Smith (JIP: 7:30 of 18:12)

Baba & Hansen & Omori vs Kawada & Taue & Fuchi (17:54 of "19:12)

League: Williams vs Kobashi (21:25 of "22:10")

 

04/16/94 Nippon Budokan, Tokyo (04/23/94 & 04/30/94 NTV + Special Commercial)

Ace vs Honda (10:45) - NTV

Taue vs Smith (6:34) - NTV

Misawa & Kobashi & Akiyama vs Baba & Hansen & Omori (JIP: 21:47 of 24:19) - NTV

Final: Kawada vs Williams (25:48) - Carnival Final Commercial

 

I dropped the Budokan Comedy Match that got way too much time on TV since it never was goign to be considered. I included stuff like the Misawa-Smith because there are times on Dan's list when not clear that it's clipped/severe JIP:

 

4/14 Nagoya Aichi-ken Taiikukan

Yoshinari Ogawa / Kentaro Shiga vs. Tsuyoshi Kikuchi / Satoru Asako. Highlights

Mighty Inoue vs. The Eagle. Highlights

Rusher Kimura / Mitsuo Momota vs. Haruka Eigen / Masao Inoue. Highlights

Johnny Ace / Big John Nord vs. Doug Furnas / Dan Kroffat. Highlights

Giant Baba / Masa Fuchi / Takao Omori vs. Kenta Kobashi / Jun Akiyama / Tamon Honda

Mitsuharu Misawa vs. Johnny Smith

That gives the impression that it might be complete, so I added it to my notepad to check out, then left it on so others would know it's JIP.

 

John

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03/19/94 Korakuen Hall, Tokyo (NTV)

League: Williams vs Eagle (4:13)

League: Hansen vs Nord (9:03)

League: Kawada vs Smith (9:31)

League: Misawa vs Akiyama (13:57)

 

Williams-Eagle is a watchable semi-squash, other than Doc oddly grabbing a chinlock in what otherwise is a sprint. No need to keep.

 

Hansen-Nord isn't any good. No need to keep.

 

Kawada-Smith is pretty watchable. Some goofiness, and Smith lacks anything that can put Kawada down so it's really hard for the fans to buy into it. They get heat down the stretch. For a 1994 AJPW Yearbook, I'd keep it and the other Smith matches in the Carny as a change of pace. In a overall Yearbook, no need to. The amount of Smith matches that aired during the series gives the impression that they were thinking of doing something with him. They didn't, and his use at Budokan pretty much brought that notion to an end.

 

Misawa-Akiyama is pretty much Misawa By Numbers as it was being developed. Lots of Jun on top. Misawa's selling is a bit goofy, especially the arm, and he generally looks disinterested. Perhaps he's suffering from a real injury and they cooked up the injury angle to cut down on his workload. Anyway, it's not as good as one would think, and Misawa takes it home fairly quickly when the time comes. That said, I'd recommend it for two reasons:

 

* comp for other Jun matches

* Misawa = #1 in the world argument

 

There are good Jun matches coming up. This is a good comp to them. Also, there no doubt is going to be some Misawa is #1 run for the year. One might get the idea from a really cherry picked Yearbook. I think folks need to see something like this: while a "good" match on some levels because Jun is busting his ass against his senior, Misawa is pretty much phoning it in.

 

 

03/24/94 Hiratsuke (NTV)

League: Taue vs Kobashi (JIP: 21:31 of 30:00)

League: Hansen vs Kawada (19:38)

 

It's a coinflip on whether to use this or the complete non-league draw on the 3/27 card. This has real NTV announcing along with a better mic'd crowd that makes it feel like a bigger match. The other one is complete. The last 20 minutes of each is pretty similar. I'd tend to recommend this one as a better comp to the Kawada-Williams draw as they're both JIP almost exactly the same length. If there's space, I wouldn't object to both being on there. But I think those 30 minutes of the non-league match could be better spent given to other matches.

 

Hansen-Kawada is a low tech match, but they sell the hell out of things for each other. A fave is the elbow Kawada eats at 10:00, but there are a lot of things along those lines. It's not as heated as their Budokan matches the prior two years. In a sense, they laid down a solid base but didn't really deliver down the stretch with good/strong nearfalls to work up the crowd. I'd recommend it simply because it's Hansen-Kawada, is a comp to their better matches in the League, and isn't really bad. The early Hansen Suicida is something to see when you follow his trajectory. :)

 

03/27/94 Matsumoto (Carnival Commercial)

League: Kawada vs Ace (15:47)

Non-League: Taue vs Kobashi (30:00)

Baba & Hansen & Omori vs Williams & Kroffat & Eagle (18:13)

 

In general, I'd keep the Kawada-Ace match. Good match. Within the Yearbook, it helps get across that Ace didn't come out of nowhere to suddenly be teaming with Doc and challenging for the World Tag Titles. He held his own in a singles match earlier in the year with Kawada, and Tosh did a pretty reasonable job of letting him look good. Also a stretch plum finish, that they work well. Don't get to see a lot of those, and since the Smith match (which also had one) isn't going to make it, this is a good example.

 

Taue-Kobashi was a special match added to the card because this was suppose to be the Misawa-Kobashi Carny match. Beats the hell out of me why they didn't do a finish with Taue winning.

 

The six man is surprisingly good. Not a keeper for this yearbook, but I would keep it for a 1994 AJPW Yearbook. This would be the type of thing you'd see in 1990-93 on TV tapings where the main event was one of those excellent/great Natives vs Natives six man, and in the semi you'd get some combo of gaijin putting on a *** to ***1/2 good/enjoyable match. Hansen was fired up to carry his team. They looked to get Omori over. Williams was excellent. If you like/accept 1993-94 Legend Baba in with the top guys, than you'd enjoy his performance here as he's having fun. Kroffat also knows how to work with him. This was pretty satisfying. It's 18+ minutes better spent on something else, but I dug it as a fun match.

 

 

03/29/94 Toyama (NTV)

League: Kobashi vs Smith (16:45)

League: Kawada vs Williams (JIP: 21:44 of 30:00)

 

Kobashi-Smith wasn't a bad match. Again, one for a 1994 AJPW Yearbook, but could be skipped here since the Smith push went nowhere.

 

I can't get across strongly enough how ridiculously good the Kawada-Williams draw is. It really gets across how great of a worker Doc is at this point. I can't recommend strongly enough that this be included in addition to the Final.

 

 

04/01/94 Okayama (Carnival Commercial)

Taue & Ogawa vs Kobashi & Kikuchi (JIP: 5:38 of 23:59)

League: Kawada vs Akiyama (11:25)

Baba & Hansen & Omori vs Williams & Ace & Eagle (15:19 of "19:28")

 

The JIP tag has a really good run to the finish, making you wish that all of it was available.

 

Kawada-Jun is a keeper. Good pairing between these two. Good comp for their prior year's match, and the other Jun matches on the set.

 

In the six man, Hansen is great again. It's similar to the prior Baba/Hansen six-man, with the slight difference of Kroffat not being there to stooge a bit for Baba. No need to keep.

 

One note on the time. There's a strange, quick time call in the match. I went back and watched the section between the two time calls, and neither had 5 minutes gone by, nor is there an obvious jump cut. Left me wondering if they shaved time, which I'd not seen in AJPW before. More later...

 

 

04/10/94 Sendai (Carnival Commercial)

League: Williams vs Akiyama (12:26)

League: Hansen vs Kobashi (26:55)

Baba & Misawa & Kikuchi vs Kawada & Taue & Fuchi (21:47 of "23:47")

 

Williams-Jun is a good match given their different rankings in AJPW. Early "amatuer" style wrestling, and frankly they do well with it without overplaying it. Then they do a short "old school" section, and it's not bad either. In general, it's having Jun get Doc's number early before of course Doc kicks his ass. When it's time for Jun to look good later and get his stuff in, they do a very good job of it. Quite enjoyable, and up there with Jun's best singles matches in 1992-94. I'd really keep this one... reflects well on Jun, but *really* well on Doc.

 

Hansen-Kobashi is a keeper. Rather epic down the stretch: Stan is awesome, and Kenta both has the goods to do what needs to be done and also to deliver it theatricality.

 

The six-man is about what you'd expect from these guys: good. Misawa and Kawada take something of breathers in it since they go to war the next night. Lots of old familar spots on Kikuchi by Taue & Fuchi. Of course Fuchi knows how to work with Baba. In a 1994 AJPW Yearbook, I'd be tempted to keep this as it's the one Misawa-Kawada group six man in the series that's available... but it probably would be dropped since they really don't key that aspect up.

 

This is where it gets a little clearer that we're getting some time shaving in Baba's matches. Another time call that came early in the middle of the match, whereas the other matches timed out well.

 

 

04/11/94 Osaka (Carnival Commercial)

League: Kobashi vs Akiyama (14:40)

League: Hansen vs Taue (17:31)

Non-League: Misawa vs Kawada (30:00)

 

I'd keep the Kobashi-Jun as a comp to the other three Jun singles. This is technically pretty solid/good, but it's also not terribly compelling. With Williams-Jun and Kawada-Jun, you get the sense of Jun in there battling guys for respect... and two guys who just as soon put him in his place. With Misawa-Jun, you get the sense of Jun wanting to get the respect of his mentor... but Misawa couldn't really be bothered. With Kobashi... Kenta isn't really good at delivering what Williams and Kawada can, or Stan did several years earlier with all these guys. Kenta kind of tries, but it doesn't come off super well... "forced" is the feel. Then of course Kenta wants to get in his cool stuff too. It's a good match, they do a lot of good stuff, and Jun is good in it. But it's just not as compelling as those other two matches Jun had. I think people should see all of them as it shows strengths and weaknesses of the various workers. Lord knows there are things Kenta did better than Kawada and Doc, and they'll be in display all over the yearbook.

 

Hansen-Taue was mentioned earlier. Awfully good match.

 

Misawa-Kawada was mentioned earlier. Really good match, even if it's not El Classico.

 

I'd keep all three of these.

 

 

04/14/94 Nagoya (Carnival Commercial)

Baba & Fuchi & Omori vs Kobashi & Akiyama & Honda (22:01 of "24:01")

Non-League: Misawa vs Smith (JIP: 2:18 of 15:14)

League: Hansen vs Williams (16:35)

League: Kawada vs Taue (20:20)

 

The six-man was solid, though nothing special.

 

Misawa-Smith is JIP, and one wonders what had to happen there to edit it down and instead go with the six-man. Obviously not a keeper.

 

I like Hansen-Williams and would recommend it. I think it might be their best match, Doc is hitting his peak, and Stan is very fired up to keep a top spot. In hindsight I wish all this stuff would have been on TV at the time because it would have done a good job of keeping people from thinking that Hansen dropped off in 1994 after the "career year" in 1993. He's great in the Carny series... really great. It's more likely that he got lost in 1994 with the push of Doc, and in not getting a decent partner to get into the Tag Title picture. In the end, he was back with Baba in the Tag League, which is a sign of how quickly the Hansen & Omori Experiment failed.

 

Kawada-Taue is Kawada-Taue. Their first match since joining hands. Good match, winner goes to the Final while a draw leaves them tied with Hansen, and of course it's a comp for what else the two are up to.

 

 

04/15/94 Korakuen Hall, Tokyo (Carnival Commercial)

Misawa & Akiyama & Kikuchi vs Kroffat & Furnas & Smith (JIP: 7:30 of 18:12)

Baba & Hansen & Omori vs Kawada & Taue & Fuchi (17:54 of "19:12)

League: Williams vs Kobashi (21:25 of "22:10")

 

The first six-man is one of those JIP's that you wish the whole thing was available because it's really quite good with Korakuen Hall heat. Finish is dumbass if there was a Smith Push, but you can take it as a sign that was out the window.

 

Second six man tag was good. Not need to keep as there were better six mans on the first two series.

 

Williams-Kobashi is a keeper. In a way, I like this better than their 1993 classic and their 1994 TC match. I suspect people will like it quite a bit as well. But... yeah... there's a lot about Kobashi at this point where you see all the signs of what will drive some of us bonkers.

 

I'm not sure if shaving was going on or not. First non-Baba match where the time didn't line up, and Korakuen Hall is just about the last place I'd expect shaving given the hardcore fans. When the Williams-Kobashi didn't line up, I wondered if my VCR was playing "fast"... but it hadn't been through the rest of it, and wouldn't for Budokan. So... strange.

 

 

04/16/94 Nippon Budokan, Tokyo (NTV + Special Commercial)

Ace vs Honda (10:45) - NTV

Taue vs Smith (6:34) - NTV

Misawa & Kobashi & Akiyama vs Baba & Hansen & Omori (JIP: 21:47 of 24:19) - NTV

Final: Kawada vs Williams (25:48) - Carnival Final Commercial

 

Ace-Honda was crapped on by Dave... I want to say it might not have even gotten a *. I actually thought it was a decently worked match. Some heat issues, but they decent enough heat down the stretch considering no one espected Honda to win. Generally speaking, the match reflects pretty well on Ace since he worked a smart, decent match with a rookie. You also see Honda here and really wish he was *instantly* put under Taue's win starting the next series. Honda already has his own spots, but could have learned stuff from Taue. He also didn't at all have the look to be a face, so accept it and be a Taue-ish heel. Anyway, I wouldn't recommend this for the set as Kawada-Ace is a better example of Ace in this period. But I probably would include this in an 1994 AJPW Yearbook because I'm not sure there's a singles match in 1994 that shows as much Honda as this, and like I say it does reflect well on Ace.

 

No one should read any of that to mean that Honda has GREAT~! potential, or that this is a really good match. It's just a surprisingly decent match on re-watch, and I'm not sold on that Honda had great potential. But here he looks like he might have been "useful" if they were smarter on developing him.

 

Taue-Smith is an odd sprint. Their Carny match was five minutes longer, and had to be good enough that someone had the bright idea to put this third from the top on Budokan and get TV time. Instead they just blew through stuff and took it home quickly. Not a keeper for this yearbook, but really a head scratcher. The undercard of Budokan could have been booked a hell of a lot better.

 

The six-man is a pretty good match. Strange to re-read Dave's comment that they worked over Omori for the first 10 minutes since that isn't really the case. Hansen's all fired especially at Kobashi. There are a few times in here where Omori is sloppy, and he doesn't really work as well with Misawa or Kobashi as he does with Jun in this one. Misawa's level of interest is extremely low relative to the others. That looks to change when Omori nails a really good looking backdrop on him, and you think we're going to get some Misawa In Peril. That... doesn't last long. I love Misawa, but he's just not feeling it in this series. :(

 

The finish is one of those Great-Bad things. Kobashi hits a Super Cool New Dangerous Move: the Organge Bomb. It's awesome... it's cool... it looks like he damn near kills Omori with it. But... rewind five minutes. Listen to the heat when Kobashi and Hansen are going at it, and it looks like Hansen might get his payback win for the two jobs. It's quite loud, and there seem to be a fair number of fans wanting Stan to win (along with the large number of fans pulling for Kenta). Then Omori tags in... and heat gets sucked out of the building because fans know he's not going to stay on top, and we're going to have The Expected Finish. Sure enough, someone pins Omori. It's not like Kenta needs this win, despite losing to Doc the night before. This really was a time where they could have crossed things up on the Big Card and had Stan chop his head off. Hell, at the last Budokan:

 

Misawa & Kobashi over Baba & Hansen when Misawa pinned Baba

 

If *Baba* can clean job to Misawa, then Kobashi could sure as hell clean job to Hansen a few days after Stan gave Kenta the biggest singles win of his career. And I think the fans would have rocked for it, since they really were on edge when it looked like it was going to happen.

 

Anyway, it's a keeper.

 

The Final of course is a keeper. The com of the Final is here from Dan:

 

112. AJ Converted comm. tape 4/16/94

Champion Carnival Final: Kawada vs. Williams

 

I suspect that Will already has this for the Kawada Set, but haven't checked to see if that was the commercial version or the NTV version.

 

A little light on comments, which I why I pulled out the longer items for the earlier post. Those two matches along with the Kobashi-Doc are the three that I probably that I have the most thoughts on. I'd just as soon not impact folks thoughts on Kobashi-Doc before they watch it. :)

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Round up of recommendations:

 

03/19/94 Korakuen Hall, Tokyo (03/20/94 NTV)

League: Misawa vs Akiyama (13:57)

 

03/24/94 Hiratsuke (03/27/94 NTV)

League: Taue vs Kobashi (JIP: 21:31 of 30:00)

League: Hansen vs Kawada (19:38)

 

03/27/94 Matsumoto (Carnival Commercial)

League: Kawada vs Ace (15:47)

 

03/29/94 Toyama (04/02/94 NTV)

League: Kawada vs Williams (JIP: 21:44 of 30:00)

 

04/01/94 Okayama (Carnival Commercial)

League: Kawada vs Akiyama (11:25)

 

04/10/94 Sendai (Carnival Commercial)

League: Williams vs Akiyama (12:26)

League: Hansen vs Kobashi (26:55)

 

04/11/94 Osaka (Carnival Commercial)

League: Kobashi vs Akiyama (14:40)

League: Hansen vs Taue (17:31)

Non-League: Misawa vs Kawada (30:00)

 

04/14/94 Nagoya (Carnival Commercial)

League: Hansen vs Williams (16:35)

League: Kawada vs Taue (20:20)

 

04/15/94 Korakuen Hall, Tokyo (Carnival Commercial)

League: Williams vs Kobashi (21:25 of "22:10")

 

04/16/94 Nippon Budokan, Tokyo (04/23/94 NTV + Special Commercial)

Misawa & Kobashi & Akiyama vs Baba & Hansen & Omori (JIP: 21:47 of 24:19) - NTV

Final: Kawada vs Williams (25:48) - Carnival Final Commercial

 

Yeah... 16 matches is a lot, even leaving off what is a pretty damn good Kobashi-Taue and some entertaining six-mans that are probably better than some of the WCW/WWF that will make the cut. That's the problem with AJPW: too much good stuff. :) If forced to cut that down, I would go in this order:

 

1. 03/19/94 League: Misawa vs Akiyama (13:57)

2. 04/11/94 League: Kobashi vs Akiyama (14:40)

3. 04/01/94 League: Kawada vs Akiyama (11:25)

4. 03/27/94 League: Kawada vs Ace (15:47)

5. 04/10/94 League: Williams vs Akiyama (12:26)

 

Where 1 is the first one I would cut: Misawa-Akiyama.

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I just want to say as someone who printed out the All Japan 1990's pimping post and carried it around like a sacred artifact for 2-3 years after first getting into puroresu, I am loving this long style, contemplative posts that JDW is making.

Nice to know I was not the only one who did that.

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Quit making him feel old. :).

 

***

 

But it's a great run-down, John, and I've been looking to re-watch that Carnival for a while. I figure I'll just run through with the 94 TV and Comms when I've re-watched '93 through.

 

I absolutely second Doc/Akiyama. The difference between that match and their one on the first show of '93 is staggering; Doc really looks like he's having a ball working with the guy and really wants to put him over.

 

I got more story from Kobashi/Akiyama, personally, the last time I watched it. It's "action-based", of course, but I recall getting an underdog story, and remember thinking some of the sequences were particularly well put together even by the assumed standards.

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