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[1993-09-03-AJPW-Summer Action Series II] Mitsuharu Misawa vs Steve Williams


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I thought the storyline was that the backdrop driver wasn't fully hit (Misawa being able keep it from fully being hit), thus he wasn't Killed Dead (as he had been in the six-man earlier in the series) and could come back.

 

Misawa often came back "too easily" relative to say Kawada. A bit of his persona. Never quite as harshly as say Super Shawn Comebacks, but it usually was an element. Kawada is literally kicking the shit out of Misawa in the corner down the stretch of 6/3/94 and Misawa starts blocking them... and Misawas Up.

 

John

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Did Misawa take one on a non-taped show? Kobashi is the one who ate it in the taped 6-man.

 

I just looked at the BDD in this match and it's pretty rough. I can see how they might have wanted it to seem like less than the full Kobashi-killing BDD, but... it looked like a BDD to me.

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You're right, it was Kobashi who ate it and sld the shit out of it in the earlier six-man. :)

 

On the one in the TC, they way they had it hit (Misawa kicking the ropes in some way if I recall) and the way they *both* sold it (seem to recall Doc selling the impact) gave a story of "this one isn't like the ones in the six-man and the Doc-Kobashi".

 

Whereas the one in the title change the next year was pretty much "holy shit he finally nailed one on Misawa!" vibe, with Misawa only surviving the pin by falling out of the ring, being "out" on the floor, needing Doc to even get back in the ring (Greatest Wada Moment Of All-Time*), and having nothing behind his attempts to Misawa Up before getting put to bed.

 

I thought the first TC came across closer to block + dangerous backdroppy + Doc damaged rather than Misawa Just Got Dropped Straight Down On His Head And Is Fucked!!! :)

 

John

 

* Wada signaling to a still slightly out of it (and selling his ass off) Doc to come out and get him: symbolically a "you ain't winning the TC via a COR... it's not just the AJPW anymore as Baba-san has clean finishes to all the title matches now."

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What I've always loved about this match is the importance they place on Misawa's elbows. I can't think of another example where they were treated as, really, the key to him winning the match. From the outset, Doc puts them over huge; he's bigger, stronger, and can throw Misawa around, but his head's just as weak and prone to getting knocked silly as anyone else. I'm actually somewhat surprised that basic idea hasn't been used more.

 

Where the match suffers is in two real areas for me. The first is that it's one of the most New Japanish All Japan matches I can remember. By that I mean, the gear shift around 15:00 is really sudden. The parts of the match before that aren't wasted, but they're much more deliberate. If my version was off a comm I'd swear the TV version cuts in right around then and they worked it for the JIP. As it's actually the TV version (and the match is obviously complete), it's a bit strange. That's not to say it doesn't work as such (the crowd's right with them); I guess I expected a steadier incline.

 

The second is that, as Ditch said, Misawa's comeback is one of his weakest. Whereas in the Kawada match John mentioned it's pretty clear to me that it's Kawada's capriciousness getting the better of him, here Misawa goes from avoiding the BDD** to hitting his Tiger Driver much quicker and easier than one expects from him. He's the king of the gradual comeback. But... once the transition is done it's great. Elbows aplenty and Misawa's facials put over Doc as much as any bump he could've taken, quite honestly.

 

Overall, though, it's a pretty great match. That it isn't a MOTYC for me is more a testament to the year both AJ's had. Whether I prefer it to the Kobashi one... in certain moods yes; and in others no. I guess they're inevitably going to be compared. Both are great, but different in so many ways that I can't pick between them.

 

**As for the avoided BDD, that's clearly the intent. Misawa is very deliberate in putting his leg inside Doc's. The spot they're going for is that old UWF (? I associate it with them) blocked suplex spot where they both crash out (similar to how they use the kick off the ropes spot, maybe that's where John's confusion comes in, but obviously not the exact same spot). Presumably a combination of Doc's strength and Misawa's default lightness when it came to getting thrown around, it ended up looking closer than they wanted to as if it hit (ie; Misawa is folded over). But it's not the Kobashi bump or anywhere close to what Misawa and others would generally take for it.

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  • 2 years later...

Williams was certainly justifying his push, stepping it up big time once more. Having great opponents doesn't hurt either. There was a world title feel, although it took a while to really get motoring. Doc presented a serious threat with his Backdrop Driver. He hit the Dangerous Backdrop, but not the move he needed to win. There was a long and winding stretch. It amused me how Misawa's elbow went over in every exchange, so it's only appropriate that it won it for him. Forget head drops, the most deadly weapon in all of Puroresu is Misawa's forearms. It didn't have the problems of the Kobashi match, but lacked the high end feel of that contest. So it ranks a bit lower.

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  • 2 months later...

Williams has done a good job in these matches with Kobashi/Misawa. Getting away from the Gordy tag matches is refreshing for me. Kobashi took three Backdrop Drivers to be put away so Misawa surviving was okay. They weren't as vicious as the ones Kobashi took either. Misawa was ruling with the forearms in cutting off Williams as much as possible.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Doc has stepped up in a huge way with Gordy suddenly out of the picture. What a week this has been for him. This isn't up with the very best Misawa singles matches of '93 but it's a hell of an addition to Doc's career even if it isn't the best Doc match of the week. I don't have much else to say...Doc had some way cool takedowns in the early going and the backdrop suplex looked nasty without being a full-blown head spike like the ones Kobashi took.

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  • 1 year later...

Really enjoyed this one given the context. Doc had to look strong given that a. Gordy had OD'd and the writing was on the wall b. Hansen was supposed to be winding down. No one gave Doc a chance I assume in this match but they do a good job of establishing him early on. Misawa had been the man for a while now and really established himself lately. Here, he is reeling a bit and looks like he can't quite figure out Doc and must avoid the Backdrop Driver. Misawa does however have old reliable and that is the elbow which he uses to great effect throughout this match peppering it in and cutting Doc off time and time again. I agree with JDW that the BDD was hit in a way that didn't emphasize the full impact and make it become the death move it can be. One of those great matches that may not be top 10 for All Japan for the year which is more an indication of how great their year was overall than a reflection of the flaws of the match. ****

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  • 1 year later...

This felt less like a match and more like a mutual vuttkivcking contest: Misawa and his forearms against Doc and his tackles. Doc ran over Misawa like a truck at least four or five times during the match, which is what led Misawa to start cutting him off with his foreaems and elbows.

 

Doc looks like a monster here from start to finish, someone whom Misawa simply doesn't measure up to in terms of pure physical might. I didn't know before I read this thread that he was supposed to be the top gaijin in the company by now, but that would fit with how he was presented.

 

Nice work by Misawa to avoid both the backdrop driver and the Oklahoma Stampede. His ability to block those moves meant that as much as Doc was able to pound him, he really had no idea how to finish him off. The snake eyes drop off the turnbuckle looked nasty, and would be a fine finisher when the other two either can't be used or don't work.

 

By all accounts, Doc's entering his peak period of dominance now. I've always thought he was a fine worker for a big man, so he won't improve to me as much as he will to some of you. At any rate, I'm looking forward to seeing him tackle the best that AJPW has to offer, including a rematch with Misawa down the road.

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  • GSR changed the title to [1993-09-03-AJPW-Summer Action Series II] Mitsuharu Misawa vs Steve Williams
  • 1 year later...

Triple Crown Champion Mitsuharu Misawa vs Steve WIlliams - AJPW 9/3/93

The Doctor Is In The House! With Gordy's unfortunate drug overdose and Hansen's getting up there in years, the mega-push of Dr. Death as the top gaijin was launched. It began a couple days prior to this with the heralded hoss workrate bombfest with Kobashi and he is immediately thrown into the fire expected to main event a Budokan Hall main event with Misawa. 

I think the Misawa/Hansen matches can be underrated but they have definitely had clunkers so the reputation is deserved. I feel that Doc is better suited for the Misawa formula because he is more interesting on top, in control, grinding it out than Hansen who is much more suited for brawling (once you get past the exposed knee and Cowboy Kick, Hansen doesnt have much). My recollection is that the 1994 match is incredible and one I have earmarked to pay extra close attention to as a possible dark horse pick for the best 90s All Japan match. This match I known I have seen I remember liking it but not to the same level because I didnt think Doc had truly become 1994 Dr. Death yet. 

This is very much Misawa by the numbers and whenever you encounter formula matches like this. The interest is to see what wrinkles the opponent can add. I think what Williams brings to the table is a raw-bone power and explosiveness that Misawa has a hard time stymieing. On three occasions, we see Williams immediately snuff out a Misawa rally with a explosive lunge or turning his arms into whips (I love how he chops) or just hurling his body weight at Misawa. Misawa tries elbows and some aerial tactics like a dropkick/tope suicida (I love when I hear random English during Japanese commentary, random Spanish really made my day). It is Doc's power/weight/explosion combo that makes him so tough. Doc definitely uses a lot of holds in between his quick counters so I can see that getting tiresome for some. Misawa for his part also tends to use holds including his FACELOOOCCKKKK when he is trying to contain the explosive Williams. I would say Dr. Death's weakness is his desire to emasculate with Misawa with slaps. We see that at the beginning of the match and he gets popped real good by an elbow. However, he doesnt really learn his lesson and again Misawa SMOKES with an elbow. It will be interesting to see if Doc's pride costs him the match. Doc's power bails him out as he presses Misawa high and rolls Snake Eyes. Taue would be proud. OKLAHOMA STAMPEDE! Nope Misawa slithers free, but Doc mows him down and goes again but still cant hold him. He ends up hitting a powerslam for two. I loved all that struggle set up a hot nearfall. Now Williams tries for the Back Drop Driver. Crowd reacts to that. I love how they have gotten that move over and I love a good tease. 

Doc goes balls out, does his own suicide dive and a shoulder tackle from the high rent district. The big man was leaving his feet. Doctor Bomb gets two! That was a great flurry of moves that led to a big time nearfall. Lots of tussling here and leads after a lot to a partially hit Back Drop Driver. It looked more like a conventional Back Suplex than a Back Drop Driver, which I think some AJPW fans push as Baba trying to protect the move. After that, you know the end is nigh, Doc whiffs on a lariat and ELBOW~! Tiger Driver only gets two. Misawa just WRECKS HIS SHIT WITH ROARING ELBOWS GALORE! It was brutal! Tiger Driver with Doc kicking out at three to keep his heat but c'mon no one is buying that. Misawa just beat the shit out of him.

It is clear from the finishes of this and the Hansen October match both kicks out at three that Baba was worried about the thiness of his roster, but not to worry All Japan would keep delivering for years to come. Trademark Misawa match, he takes a lickin', but keeps on tickin'. It should be noted Williams did not hit Oklahoma Stampede or the BackDrop Driver fully. He was working off high-angled powerslams and the Doctor Bomb so they have plenty of gas left in the tank for a rematch. Misawa also to his credit stuck with Elbows and Tiger Driver so he has plenty left in his arsenal. In that respect this is a great first match, you establish the power vs striker dynamic and left some tricks in your back pocket for rematches. They grind for the first 12 minutes, but they start kicking ass down the stretch. If you like the Misawa style you will like this match like I did and I think this plus the Kobashi match show Dr. Death was poised to explode in 1994. ****

 

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