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Charles (Loss)

1995 Recommendations

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Kawada vs Kobashi re-aired on AJ Classics and is beautiful (and full!).

 

Kobashi vs Akiyama is just the last 5 minutes, but they're 5 very good minutes.

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The full Kawada-Kobashi Carny 30:00 draw was a special TV show. Buried somewhere on Lynch's list. The version Will references on his Kawada set:

 

Toshiaki Kawada vs. Kenta Kobashi (5/13/95 TV)

 

That would be the chop-o version of it. The full version was much less circulated at the time.

Lynch Bootleg #492.

 

Hansen vs Jun is also on it. That might be worth taking a look at. Only 10:46, if it's a ***+ match it might be work keeping as I don't think any other Hansen vs Jun match will make the yearbooks, and that might be worthwhile. Date is 4/13/95.

 

Edit: use the AJ Classics that Ditch referenced for Kawada-Kobashi. But still take a look at Stan-Jun to see if it warrants yearbook inclusion.

 

John

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Kawada vs Kobashi re-aired on AJ Classics and is beautiful (and full!).

 

Kobashi vs Akiyama is just the last 5 minutes, but they're 5 very good minutes.

Do you know when this re-aired? What is the best place to find more recent AJ Classics listings?

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Dan G is your man:

 

AJ Selection #31/32 Champion Carnival #5/#6

1. Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Mitsuharu Misawa (4/2/92) 3000 complete

2. Stan Hansen vs. Mitsuharu Misawa - Champion Carnival FINAL (4/17/92) 2006 complete

3. Toshiaki Kawada vs. Kenta Kobashi (4/13/95) 3000 complete

4. Mitsuharu Misawa vs. Akira Taue - Champion Carnival FINAL (4/15/95) 2443 of 2703

 

 

There isn't a ton of rhyme or reason to AJ Selection. Sometimes you get something like that. Other times you get the 15th re-reairing of Jumbo vs Brisco. There are a few gems like that which come out.

 

John

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So let's talk New Japan.

 

From Dave's star ratings, what I can ascertain was the story of the year was Muto. Tons of ****+ matches. I plan on including some of the ***1/2-range stuff too, but I suppose he has a strong WOTY case. What matches cover Muto's story?

 

In the juniors division, you have a lot going on also. Seems to be the emergence of Kanemoto and Otani. Benoit also had a strong year.

 

What is the overarching narrative of the year?

 

Edited: Changed Samurai to Otani. Samurai on the brain.

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Current Muto list of singles matches, just as a point of reference:

 

Keiji Muto vs Shinya Hashimoto (NJPW 05/03/95)

Keiji Muto vs Hiroyoshi Tenzan (NJPW 06/08/95)

Keiji Muto vs Road Warrior Hawk (NJPW 07/13/95) (Finish only)

Keiji Muto vs Shiro Koshinaka (NJPW 08/11/95)

Keiji Muto vs Masa Chono (NJPW 08/12/95)

Keiji Muto vs Ric Flair (NJPW 08/13/95)

Keiji Muto vs Scott Norton (NJPW 08/14/95)

Keiji Muto vs Shinya Hashimoto (NJPW 08/15/95)

Keiji Muto vs Sting (NJPW 09/23/95)

Keiji Muto vs Junji Hirata (NJPW 09/25/95)

Keiji Muto vs Nobuhiko Takada (NJPW vs UWFI 10/09/95)

Keiji Muto vs Shiro Koshinaka (NJPW 12/11/95)

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Mutoh?

 

TV dates and looking at Dave's ratings...

 

01/21/95 Hase & Muto vs. Steiners (World Tag) ****1/4

 

Dome show. Of course it goes on.

 

02/04/95 Enos & Norton vs. Yasuda & Muto ***

02/11/95 Norton vs. Muto ***1/4

04/29/95 Tenzan vs. Muto ***1/4

 

Don't remember these much. I'm sort of remembering Tenzan beat Mutoh in the Big Tenzan Push.

 

05/20/95 Muto vs. Hashimoto (World Title) ****

 

I wasn't enthused about this at the time. Fukuoka Dome... not really a great setting for anything, let alone Hash-Mutoh. That said, it needs to go on in full. End of Hash's first run of dominance.

 

06/24/95 Muto vs. Sasaki ***1/4

 

Blank.

 

07/08/95 Muto vs. Tenzan (World Title) ***1/2

 

This was a really heated match if I recall. Moonsault vs Moonsault, and the peak of Tenzan's initial push. I'd make sure to keep this.

 

07/15/95 Hell Raisers vs. Iizuka & Muto ***

 

Mostly leading into the title match.

 

07/29/95 Norton & Enos vs. Hirata & Muto ***3/4

 

Wow... why am I not remembering this. ***3/4 NJPW tags are typically the level of a keeper.

 

08/11/95 Muto vs. Hawk (World Title) ***1/4

 

From a historic standpoint, Hawk getting a World Title shot in Japan is worth keeping. It's not like they go 25+. Also one of the unintentional storylines of 1995 is that Mutoh wasn't Hash, and it "felt" like Hash was still the man at this point. Defending against Hawk doesn't do Mutoh a lot of favors.

 

G1... let me just say that this is one of my favorite G1's, which is saying something since I went to the 1996 one. :)

 

08/19/95 Hashimoto vs. Norton (G1) ***1/4

 

They had a singles IWGP title match earlier in the year. Not sure if they both need to be on, by I generally liked Hash's ability to have good matches with Norton. Not off the charts, but they felt pretty tough.

 

08/19/95 Tenzan vs. Sasaki (G1) ***1/2

 

Better than one expected.

 

08/19/95 Koshinaka vs. Muto (G1) ****1/4

 

Good match, and pretty much *every* Mutoh match from G1 needs to make the final cut. It really is where Mutoh became The Man (at least in this run).

 

08/26/95 Norton vs. Tenzan (G1) ***1/4

 

Watchable, but perhaps not Yearbook material.

 

08/26/95 Sasaki vs. Hashimoto (G1) ***3/4

 

Keeper.

 

08/26/95 Muto vs. Chono (G1) ****

 

Chono leaves his "mark" on Mutoh.

 

09/02/95 Hashimoto vs. Tenzan (G1) ****

 

This, along with Hash's match earlier in the year against Tenzan, helps gives some context to the match the next year. Plus since Hash-Mutoh is the Final, it's worth tracking their path.

 

09/02/95 Norton vs. Sasaki (G1) ***1/2

 

Another one that was better than expected... but I hated Sasaki at the time. :P

 

09/02/95 Muto vs. Flair (G1) ***3/4

 

Flair takes advantage of Mutoh's "fresh cut" from the match against Chono... and Mutoh BLEEDS ALL OVER THE MOTHERFUCKING PLACE!!!

 

Okay... all-cap-o-rama. But Mutoh is a faucet, it's actually dramatic as hell for a mid-90s Flair-in-Japan match (since he typically blew), and it's damn watchable. TV is JIP. Don't know if there's a commercial version, or in NJ Classics showed the whole thing. I *doubt* that the whole 23:33 minutes is better than the JIP TV version. They pick up before Mutoh has been re-opened, so all that early Flair stuff that might have sucked is cut out...

 

Hell, what am I saying. If there's a full version, put it on. People deserve to see what Flair-Mutoh could do to fill 23 minutes and not just the blood. Plus, I suspect that most people have only seen the TV version... I know that I only have. :) So get all this. Anyway, one the blood starts flowing, it's damn watchable. Even goofy things (like Flair scooting along on his ass because he thinks he's too far out for Mutoh to hit the moonsault) are entertaining.

 

09/02/95 Chono vs. Koshinaka (G1) ***1/2

 

This got Chono into the knockout stage. Only 11:10. Another sign of how NJPW valued Kosh: this was another time they rolled him out to main event Sumo Hall as a trusty hand to entertain the fans. His matches with Mutoh and Chono main event two of the five nights.

 

09/09/95 Muto vs. Norton (G1) ****

 

My recollection is that this was damn watchable. Mutoh and Norton had worked pretty watchable back in the early 90s when Norton first got over. This was good, with the cut opening up again... though not as bad as against Flair.

 

09/09/95 Hashimoto vs. Chono (G1) ***1/2

 

This was essentially a 10 minute Nitro match sprint for these two. Good as well.

 

09/16/95 Muto vs. Hashimoto (G1 Final) ****1/4

 

I've yammered about this before.

 

That's one of the nice things about the 1995 G1 for a Yearbook: other than the Flair-Mutoh, Flair-Chono (30:00) and Hash-Sasaki (21:46) and the Final, the matches aren't massively long. They won't eat up a ton of disk space.

 

 

09/30/95 Muto vs. Sting ***1/4

 

Not-so-hot.

 

10/07/95 Muto vs. Hirata (World Title) ****

 

The **** reflects that this was better than expected. Mutoh's TV defense after beating Hash in G1. It's worthwhile to see how over he is with the fans relative to earlier in the year, and prior to Takada.

 

10/14/95 Muto vs. Takada (World Title) ***1/2

 

Yeah... keeper.

 

12/09/95 Muto vs. Gotoh ***

 

Don't even remember.

 

12/16/95 Muto vs. Tenzan ***1/2

 

Might be Mutoh-Tenzan overkill. But worth checking out to see if it's watchable.

 

12/23/95 Muto vs. Koshinaka (World Title) ****1/4

 

Needs to make the final cut. Payback for the G1 loss, and another time Kosh is slipped into his Utility Player role.

 

I suspect that what will come out of the yearbook is people will think he had a GREAT~! year. It was a bit more mixed than that, but the highpoints are more in number and overall better than the stuff that are up his first IWGP reign.

 

John

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Current Muto list of singles matches, just as a point of reference:

 

Keiji Muto vs Shinya Hashimoto (NJPW 05/03/95)

Keiji Muto vs Hiroyoshi Tenzan (NJPW 06/08/95)

Keiji Muto vs Road Warrior Hawk (NJPW 07/13/95) (Finish only)

Keiji Muto vs Shiro Koshinaka (NJPW 08/11/95)

Keiji Muto vs Masa Chono (NJPW 08/12/95)

Keiji Muto vs Ric Flair (NJPW 08/13/95)

Keiji Muto vs Scott Norton (NJPW 08/14/95)

Keiji Muto vs Shinya Hashimoto (NJPW 08/15/95)

Keiji Muto vs Sting (NJPW 09/23/95)

Keiji Muto vs Junji Hirata (NJPW 09/25/95)

Keiji Muto vs Nobuhiko Takada (NJPW vs UWFI 10/09/95)

Keiji Muto vs Shiro Koshinaka (NJPW 12/11/95)

The change I would make to that would be dumping the Sting match and instead showing the whole Hawk match. There are lots of Mutoh/Muta-Sting matches over the years, even ones on bigger settings. This is it for Mutoh-Hawk IWGP Title Matches. :) And since it's right before G1 where he took off, it tends to be important to show exactly where he was at.

 

I think I'd also add the Tenzan match prior to winning the IWGP. That gives a little context. It's a lot of singles matches, but in a sense this is Mutoh's Career Year up to that point. He won all the Wrestler Of The Year Awards in Japan that year over Misawa.

 

As a side note, that's another reason to make sure to toss in Misawa's singles matches such as Carny. We very much have a Misawa vs Mutoh thingy going on this year. Mutoh has the advantage of (i) variety of Opponents, and (ii) his opponents aren't Kawada, Kobashi and Taue. Misawa has the advantage that his opponents *are* Kawada, Kobashi and Taue. :P

 

I a bit way, Misawa's year was semi-robbed of not having his rematch with Doc where he'd get his win back. That likely would have been good as Doc was very much at his peak when he went out.

 

In turn, Mutoh got the gift of Takada: he just happened to have the belt when it came down. If UWFi his a financial crisis in Feb 1996, it would have been Chono with the belt... and that would have been odd. :)

 

John

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Kind of a last second request and this may be too late but you might want to consider Scorp v. Mikey from Holiday Hell 95. It's a title change so it may be on there already.

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09/02/95 Muto vs. Flair (G1) ***3/4

 

Flair takes advantage of Mutoh's "fresh cut" from the match against Chono... and Mutoh BLEEDS ALL OVER THE MOTHERFUCKING PLACE!!!

 

Okay... all-cap-o-rama. But Mutoh is a faucet, it's actually dramatic as hell for a mid-90s Flair-in-Japan match (since he typically blew)

Flair vs Koshinaka from 8/12 & Flair vs Hase From 5/3 were also really good in 95.

 

Looking over my tape list i've got a Flair & Arn vs Sting & Muta match from November but I can't remember anything about it, should give that a re-watch sometime.

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09/02/95 Muto vs. Flair (G1) ***3/4

 

Flair takes advantage of Mutoh's "fresh cut" from the match against Chono... and Mutoh BLEEDS ALL OVER THE MOTHERFUCKING PLACE!!!

 

Okay... all-cap-o-rama. But Mutoh is a faucet, it's actually dramatic as hell for a mid-90s Flair-in-Japan match (since he typically blew)

Flair vs Koshinaka from 8/12 & Flair vs Hase From 5/3 were also really good in 95.

All I can remember abot the Kosh match is that it didn't strike me as much as the typical Good Kosh G1 Match did. I do see Meltzer gave it ***3/4. I'd defer to folks who saw it more recently that I did.

 

I really didn't like the Flair-Hase at all. I see Dave gave it ***, and that's pretty telling: he's as big of mark for Flair is there is in the world (Ric got an automatic *** for coming to the ring without falling down), and he was a huge fan of Hase's. *** isn't a positive reflection on the match. There are a lot of NJPW matches that are better than that in 1995. Two Flair vs NJPW matches isn't bad.

 

John

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Dreamer v. Cactus, ECW TV 11/12/95....This is great television. When praising the Cactus heel run, most bring up the promos. That's appropriate as those promos are all-time classics. However, I find that this match often gets forgotten. It's the showdown between Tommy and his now former friend who turned on him to join his arch-nemesis Raven. Cactus is on his anti-hardcore high-horse and has no interest in working an ECW-style match. Meanwhile, Terry Funk is in Tommy's corner and begging for Tommy to bring the fight. This TV version of the match is a highlight version with promos edited in and makes for some fantastic story driven television.

 

Chaparita Asari v. Aja Kong; WWF RAW 12/11/95....Just a sick near-squash match that supposedly ticked Vince off because of how stiff it was.

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