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Charles (Loss)

[1992-01-10-AJPW-New Year's Giant Series] Mitsuharu Misawa & Kenta Kobashi & Toshiaki Kawada vs Jumbo Tsuruta & Masa Fuchi & Yoshinari Ogawa

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So the action was good, but I wasn't getting the praise. Then Fuchi clipped Kobashi's knee out of frustration after Kobashi slapped him, and the match is on! Jumbo and company spend some time working over Kobashi's knee, which Kobashi sells masterfully. The hot tag to Misawa and subsequent slugfest had great heat. I love Kobashi's springboard bulldog, for lack of a better way to describe it. Really enjoyed the ongoing Kobashi/Fuchi mini-feud, climaxing with Kobashi's rolling cradle. Kawada finally puts Ogawa away with the stretch plum.Much simpler match than most of the 1993 classics, but that's kind of a nice change of pace after all the sprawling epics. If 1992 All Japan is a year of basic matches, I can go for that.

 

I look forward to comparing the six mans on this set from All Japan, WCW and Mexico. From what I can tell of this match, WCW Dangerous Alliance six-mans aren't too far behind this, with the biggest difference being the much hotter finishing stretches in All Japan.

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This is another very good six-man that just blurs into many others for me. The Fan Appreciation Show stands out for it's length and format, Misawa's injury stands out for, well, Misawa's injury, but the freshness was gone by this point; they're mostly kind of "there". Now, that's a remarkable "there", but "there" nontheless.

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Not a ton to add here, a very good match as expected considering the talent involved. One thing that pleasantly surprised me, given his rep and from what I've personally seen was Ogawa's performance. I thought he looked quite good.

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I wasn't getting the praise

I wasn't aware this got significant praise. I wouldn't put it in the top 5 for AJ 6-man tags in the year.

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Watching a match like this *after* the '93 and '96 sets is not a good way to get a sense of why it was rated **** or more by Meltzer at the time. In 2011 we're used to quality 6-man tags from Japan. They were still reasonably novel in '92. Starting with Choshu's Army in '83, you only tended to get a couple good 6-or-more-man tags a year from Japan as a whole. Then AJ found a groove with the Jumbo/Misawa feud and it was good 6-mans every month.

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So I watched this after watching the 4/19 match with these same teams. Huge huge disapointment in comparison. 4/19 had Fuchi finding 8 million diffrent ways to choke mother fuckers and hitting people with chairs and Jumbo smacking people in the face a lot and Kobashi getting droped on a table. It had a way better "lets break Kobashi's leg" section and a really good "let's break Ogawa's leg and punk him out in other amusing ways as revenge section". It had hatred and emotion, felt like an epic, important match between 2 teams going to war with a bat shit crowd going nuts for everything.

 

This had none of those things, just a random pedestrian match, ok stuff but nothing to really stand out in any way. The only 2 things that were memorable to me were 1) Fuchi droping Kobashi back first on the edge of the apron in a really awkward painful looking way that I re-wound like 4 times. If anyone else had done it i'd think they botched the move but I completely buy that Fuchi would do that just to be a dick. And 2) the anouncers hilarious call of Jumbo atempting an STF as if there was any doubt as to whether he'd get it on all the way "step over toe hold...with?...with?....WITH FACELOCK!!!!!"

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Good match with Fuchi being a lot of fun. The way he took out Kobashi's knee was great and him dropping Kenta on the edge of the apron was a nice touch. Kobashi does most of the work selling the knee. When Kobashi is getting worked over outside the ring the camera switches to a view where you see Misawa and Kawada remaining in their corner. Both have the look on their faces that says "Let him get out of this mess himself".

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As much fun as it was watching Fuchi and Jumbo work the knee, and Kobashi's selling. I preferred the Misawa/Jumbo and the Kawada/Jumbo exchanges just for the intensity involved. Most people only remember the Misawa/Jumbo feud for obvious reasons, but the Jumbo/Kawada exchanges serve as a good reminder that Kawada was just as eager to knock Jumbo off of his pedestal as his partner was.

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Decent 6 man with a solid Jumbo/Kawada sequence early, followed by Kikuchi being treated like a rag doll and Kobashi having his own FIP segment thereafter. I didn't think this was anything too special, which by the standards of a '90s AJ six man tag means it was still one of the better matches of the month. Just not anything to write home about given the standards they'd set for themselves time and again.

 

***3/4

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Considering they were each Army's respective #3 guys I never seemed to get a vibe that Kobashi vs. Fuchi was a major feud or issue. There are card placement and style match-up issues getting in the way of that, for one thing. But we get plenty of it here, with Fuchi blindsiding Kobashi with a dropkick to the knee and then Kobashi getting his knee torn apart again. Misawa works very little here as he has been for the past few AJ 6-mans. Jumbo works more but is still in less than Ogawa. Good hot finishing stretch that ends with Jumbo getting neutralized by the facelock while Kawada camel clutches Ogawa for the submission. A real good showcase of the Armies' lower-ranked guys, but yeah, no way this is ****1/2. Ogawa looked good but he's still not anywhere near the level of the others, in terms of either push or working ability. Plus his presence in any given tag match that doesn't also have Kikuchi pretty much telegraphs the finish.

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I liked this match quite a bit, but a lot of the stuff in it seemed like it was a rehash of 91 stuff. The setup for Kawada's finish of Ogawa hurt me watching it. Ogawa was the best he's been so far here. He brought a lot more emotion to the table in this match than in a lot of the major matches he was in during 91.

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This feud's finally almost equal, as Kawada puts Ogawa away to win the match while Misawa holds Jumbo off, which would have been unthinkable even three months earlier. The destruction of Kobashi's knee was choice, of course, but let's not forget the run Misawa's side had at Ogawa's lower back just before that. Whatever move that Kawada was doing on the floor looked like it should have put Ogawa in the hospital.

 

Hierarchy aside, no one really looks out of place here, like Kikuchi or even Kobashi did a few months back. The fans know what to expect from each side, and the sides know what to expect from each other, but the execution's so tremendous that no one thinks it's boring or overplayed. I haven't seen nearly as many DA tags as I have tags in this series, but there's not nearly as much action in the American matches, plus you seldom see the "captains" of the respective "sides" (Sting and Rude). Even when they are in the match, it's not for very long. In this series, Misawa and (particularly) Jumbo more than pull their weight along with their partners. Then again, WCW's matches are designed to be quick sprints for television, not arena matches that are then clipped as needed to fit into a TV program, so that could account for part of the difference.

 

I can't compare these matches to lucha trios matches very well, because I still have trouble with the trios style from time to time. But I enjoy the fact that the All-Japan and WCW matches aren't bound to a specific formula as tightly as the trios matches are; the matches happen organically and are thus much easier to get emotionally involved with, even if the finishes or the people who take the pins become predictable at times. Every house style has its own clichés; the trick is to not let them become too noticeable.

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Very good six man that like everyone says really ramps up once Kobashi starts getting worked over. Fuchi is such a prick in these things just raking and getting cheapshots in whenever he can. Jumbo also had the viciousness. I liked the positioning of Misawa as the clear leader here and showing more stoic qualities than he was displaying as the young gun knocking off Jumbo in the prior two years. ***1/2 (6.8)

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