Jump to content
Pro Wrestling Only

[1992-04-02-AJPW-Championship Carnival] Mitsuharu Misawa vs Jumbo Tsuruta


Recommended Posts

  • 1 month later...

Despite some inescapable picture problems in the middle, this is good stuff. The crowd is a bit lukewarm considering who is in the ring. Compared to the 6/90, 9/90 and 4/91 matches, this is the worst of the lot, but still good. The call back to Jumbo submitting a few months earlier was really well done. There is a REF BUMP. Misawa is saved by the bell, as they go to a 30-minute draw as the ref has just counted two after a backdrop driver from Jumbo.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...
  • 5 weeks later...

I consider this 'solid', which is a step down from 'very good' in '91 and 'incredible' in '90. Jumbo really didn't need to be going 30 minutes at this point, and I assume that if Baba realized that this was Jumbo's last singles match (IIRC it was, maybe I'm wrong) that Misawa would have gone over.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's their last singles match.


I'm not sure if Baba would have changed the booking if he knew. Hard to know how Baba thought in those ways. He never put over Jumbo himself, while putting over Tenryu. So his views on that are a little different.


The Feb-Mar series ended with Hansen-Misawa for the TC. If he knew Jumbo was ill, would he have kept the belt on Jumbo in the January series and instead had Jumbo drop it to Misawa at the March Budokan thinking it might be his last chance? I... don't know.


I do think that Baba cleared the deck of a lot of Misawa-Jumbo in 1992 for two things:


* only Jumbo & Taue vs Misawa & Kawada of 1992 to be the climactic Last Match Of The Year


* highly anticipated Misawa-Jumbo in Feb 1993


The first was booked and announced. The second got replaced by Misawa-Taue as part of those first three series of the year where the top program was a little aimless without Jumbo there, and Taue not enough to carry the other side with Misawa-Kawada-Kobashi as a trio of heavies on the technico side.


They did a really good job of avoiding Jumbo & Taue vs Misawa & Kawada, both in how the June Budokan was booked, and also going back to Jumbo & Taue vs Gordy & Doc in October on a card where they could have put Misawa & Kawada into it.


It's an interesting contrast to 1995 which was the "third" year of the Four Corners feud, and they:


* ran Misawa & Kobashi vs Kawada & Taue into the ground before the Final

* you didn't get much of a sense that they were heading into anything clear in 1996



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jumbo had a singles with Fuchi on the next TV show. That would be the last Jumbo singles match that aired in 1992.


Looking at the Kobashi record book on PuroLove.com, the League part of Carny was 03/20/92 - 04/14/92, with the Final on 4/17. Nine card between 4/3 and 4/14. Suspect there are a number of Jumbo singles matches in there, just no taped.


Other than TC matches and Carny, they really didn't air many Jumbo singles matches in 1991-92. The only ones that I can recall was the 5/91 Jumbo-Kobashi and 1/92 Jumbo-Kawada. Balance of 1992 was non-Carny, and Jumbo was being held out of the TC until it was time to get it back from Misawa.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

So the reason why they're not taped/released is because they were probably bad matches. They showed his great ones against Misawa, Kawada, and Kobashi in '91. Showed his TC matches against Kawada in both '91 and '92, and Hansen, IIRC. Maybe he was already that severely ill that he just couldn't go anymore.


The Feb-Mar series ended with Hansen-Misawa for the TC. If he knew Jumbo was ill, would he have kept the belt on Jumbo in the January series and instead had Jumbo drop it to Misawa at the March Budokan thinking it might be his last chance? I... don't know.

Having him go over Hansen worked.


7/17/90 Terry Gordy vs. Stan Hansen

-- Gordy is stripped of the title in 7/90 due to a serious illness.

7/27/90 Stan Hansen vs. Mitsuharu Misawa (for vacent title).


His match against Jumbo from June pushed him to the level of quick stand-in title contender.


1/19/91 Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Stan Hansen

4/18/91 Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Mitsuharu Misawa (1st defense).


Jumbo takes Stan and repels Misawa again.


10/24/91 Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Toshiaki Kawada (3rd defense)

1/28/92 Stan Hansen vs. Jumbo Tsuruta


Stablemate and #1 gets a shot. It is nearly a year before it is Misawa against Kawada in '92.

1) Hansen gets his job back

2) Baba knew Jumbo was ill but wasn't ready to splurge on a less than stellar payout, Jumbo dropping the crown to Misawa.

3) Maybe it was a part of the plan because they were hotshotting the title back-and-forth, which is a thing Misawa ended, but Jumbo's illness simply came at the wrong time. He would have likely dropped it to Misawa at some point in the coming year. It was clear who the next Ace was and it was clear that his time was approaching cause Jumbo had slowed down considerably.


Any three could be correct. Hansen got his jobs back, Baba made people wait to see things go to climax, and the evolution of Misawa was too meteoric to doubt that he'd be the Triple Crown Champion in 1992, even by year's end. He was the #2 Native and was 3rd overall behind Jumbo and Stan.


Or, maybe it is just a case of Baba not knowing the severity of the illness. I mean, when did it go public that Jumbo was sick and then really ill.


3/4/92 Stan Hansen vs. Mitsuharu Misawa (1st defense).

Hansen again beats Misawa.


6/5/92 Stan Hansen vs. Toshiaki Kawada (2nd defense).

Kawada takes a crack at it again.


7/31/92 Stan Hansen vs. Akira Taue (3rd defense).

Jumbo's #1 gets his first ever TC match.


8/22/92 Mitsuharu Misawa vs. Stan Hansen

Misawa finally becomes TC champion. Even though it wasn't nearly as spectacular as it could have been if it had been Jumbo that took the running elbow smash, but Misawa ko'ing the #1 in the company, and he's not a native, and its Stan Hansen, then it is still an awesome moment. I'm willing to bet that it was the day Misawa would have won the title on anyway. Baba had things planned out well-ahead of time.


10/21/92 Mitsuharu Misawa vs. Toshiaki Kawada (1st defense).

2/28/93 Mitsuharu Misawa vs. Akira Taue (2nd defense).

5/21/93 Mitsuharu Misawa vs. Stan Hansen (3rd defense).

The goal was accomplished all along, Misawa is the new Ace. Beats his #1, Jumbo's #1, and the former champion. Then goes on to beat Kawada two more times, Hansen again, and Steve Williams.



Dave talked about this pretty well too:

History of Triple Crown

When the decision was made to finally have Misawa go over Jumbo, they didn't want to give away Misawa winning the world title that early in the game. So they had to take the belt away from Jumbo and they had the Americans fight over it for a long time. And Misawa didn't win the belt for two more years. That was the big thing... Misawa was going to start beating the top guys but they didn't want to give away the World title. It was all about the chase.

Baba's strength was creating something that people couldn't wait to see and he made you wait. You couldn't wait for Misawa to win it and you waited two years for it because that was the hook. You knew it was going to happen, you knew it would. The whole story of All Japan in the 1990s was the rise of Misawa.



Most of the title switches show signs of continued story as well. It isn't as random as looking at WWF title histories.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So the reason why they're not taped/released is because they were probably bad matches.

I assume that's a joke about the "Jumbo Was Lazy" stuff.


If not, these were the TV Tapings during the 1992 Carny and Jumbo's matches on the cards:


03/20/92 Jumbo/Ogawa vs. Misawa/Kikuchi


Aired 03/22/92.


03/27/92 Jumbo vs. Gordy


Aired 03/29/92.


03/31/92 Jumbo vs Blaster


Finish of it aired on 04/05/92, along with the finishes of Doc vs Kroffat and Gordy. They focused the time on the Misawa-Kikuchi and Kawada-Taue.


"Only the finished aired but it looked good."



04/02/92 Jumbo vs. Misawa


Aired 04/12/92.


04/06/92 Jumbo vs. Fuchi


Aired 04/19/92.


04/14/92 Jumbo vs David Isley


Jumbo was "in the clubhouse" with 16 points in the same group as Misawa and Gordy, who each started the night with 15 points. Jumbo had been booked against Deanton, while Taue was booked against Kroffat. Both Deanton and Taue got injured during the tour and were off this card, with Kroffat and Jumbo getting the points via default. Jumbo got a slapped together non-Carny match, nothing but a throwaway. Didn't air, and not something that would have aired in 1991 either. Kroffat got tossed in a sixman lower in the card, likely taking Isley's spot in the match. Hansen-Doc and Misawa-Gordy were the matches that determined who would end up in the Finals, and ate up the TV time. We likely would have gotten the finish of the two other matches if not for the injuries.


04/17/92 Jumbo & Ogawa vs Kawada & Kobashi


Aired 05/03/92. Semifinal to the Hansen-Misawa Carny Final. Went 22:00 and was a pretty good match. If it had been in WCW or the WWF or SMW or even NJPW in 1992, it would have made the year book.


So all of Jumbo's matches aired from the tapings other than:


* finish of throwaway against jobber Blaster

* slapped together match with even lower Isley after Deaton got hurt


They showed his great ones against Misawa, Kawada, and Kobashi in '91. Showed his TC matches against Kawada in both '91 and '92, and Hansen, IIRC. Maybe he was already that severely ill that he just couldn't go anymore.

The 1992 match with Kawada was a non-title ahead of the TC match with Hansen later in the series.


I'm not certain if you're serious on Baba knowing/thinking Jumbo was severely ill by the time of Carny 1992, or some point in 1991. We could look at it in two directions: work, and push.


On the work side, watching the matches in 1991 and early 1992, that doesn't appear to be the case. Jumbo was the better worker in the 10/91 TC match... and that's coming from the biggest Kawada fan on the net. It's Misawa in the 1992 Carny match who looks the lesser worker having trouble "going", while Jumbo has to reel him back onto the thread. Jumbo slowing down didn't come until later in the year, and even then there were times where it looked consistent with an injury and just coming back slowly from it rather than being completely washed up there in the ring.


On the push side... there's zero evidence that Baba thought Jumbo was severely injured / not able to hold up his end at the top until... well... frankly not until Jumbo was pulled from the Tag League right before it started. Evidence in the other direction?


* Jumbo double main evented the first Budokan of the year


He went on *last*, and won the Tag Titles. Yes... Jumbo & Taue vs Gordy & Doc went on Last, not Hansen vs Misawa for the TC. Think about that one for a bit. Baba had confidence in one of those matches being the safer bet to go on last, over his most trusted gaijin of the past decade, and his hot babyface. Any bets on it because he was confident in Taue holding up his end of a Budokan main event? [hint: look up the times that Taue had gone on last at Budokan up to that point] Gordy & Doc? Well, he did like them a good deal. But it's safe to say Jumbo factored into the decision.


* booked both of Jumbo's top matches in Carny for TV tapings


Gordy and Misawa were the other contenders in that group. Baba didn't hide those matches, instead putting them on the tapings and on TV. It's hard to say it was due to confidence in Gordy, who hasn't had a strong singles push since his OD in July 1990. Confidence in Misawa? Certainly against Jumbo.


* Worked a full load in Carny


Nothing really jumps out in looking at the results that indicates he was booked / working any different than he had in 1991.


* April Fan Nights


Jumbo was tossed into working 38:59 in a series of three straight four-man tags the first night, then going 35:47 the next night in a six-man. Not exactly the workload you give a guy who you think is severley sick.


* Jumbo is again booked into the double main event at the second Budokan of the year


TC match or Jumbo in a Tag Title match... which did Baba have confidence going on last on the June Budokan? Again it was the tag title over Hansen-Kawada.


We talked about this somewhere in the yearbooks: if Jumbo was in bad shape, Baba could have booked this Budokan in a way to take the belts off him. Could have slipped Gordy into a TC challenge of Hansen, and gone with Misawa & Kawada challenging.


* August Budokan double main event


Jumbo is in it again, opposite Gordy & Doc. If Jumbo was trashed, he could have easily made this for the title and put over Gordy & Williams. Instead, he made it non-title... and put over Gordy & Williams to set up *another* tag title match between the teams later in the year.


* last Tag Title defense of the year


Jumbo & Taue vs Gordy & Williams in October... and Baba keeps the belts on Jumbo & Taue.


* Last Match Of The Year


Announced for Budokan: Jumbo & Taue vs Misawa & Kawada for the only time in 1992, clearly with the Tag League on the line. Probably one of the two biggest matches of the year. Baba thought Jumbo was healthy enough for it... until it was clear that Jumbo wasn't. That announcement didn't come until days before the Tag League started in November 1992.


Baba wasn't Verne. He didn't false advertise.


I think we've all known people who have illnesses, which at times are just something they're having a tough time shaking... and other times far worse. With Jumbo, there really aren't any indicators that anyone thought it was as bad as it turnd out to be until November 1992.



Or, maybe it is just a case of Baba not knowing the severity of the illness. I mean, when did it go public that Jumbo was sick and then really ill.

It never really went public until 1993 that he was Really Sick. Folks could sense that when he was pulled from the tag league, but Dave had to carefully talk about what it might be since nothing was official.



Dave talked about this pretty well too:

Yeah... that piece was painful to read at the time. If I click through onto it, I'll likely put my skull through my monitor. :)



Most of the title switches show signs of continued story as well. It isn't as random as looking at WWF title histories.

The title changes in the 90s weren't random, other than Gordy's OD and probably Kobashi beating Kawada.


I've talked about the story continuing as well: Jumbo was getting the belt back in his next challenge for it, and Misawa would keep on chasing getting a TC win over Jumbo. Similar story as Baba would later tell in Kawada and Kobashi's first title wins: they didn't beat Misawa for it, and Misawa *always* won the title back in his first challenges for it until he left All Japan. 5/95, 1/97, 10/98, 5/99. It's what Ace's did in Baba's eyes: they might drop the title, but backs to the wall they'll win it back when they challenge for it.


06/27/68 Int'l: Baba over Bobo

12/19/70 Int'l: Baba over Kiniski

11/17/78 PWF: Abby DCOR Baba

02/10/79 PWF: Baba over Abby

11/02/82 PWF: Race DDQ Baba

02/11/83 PWF: Baba over Race

09/03/86 Int'l: Hansen DCOR Jumbo

10/21/86 Int'l: Jumbo over Hansen

04/19/88 Int'l: Jumbo over Brody

10/11/89 TC: Jumbo over Tenryu

01/19/91 TC: Jumbo over Hansen

05/26/95 TC: Misawa over Hansen

01/20/97 TC: Misawa over Kobashi

10/31/98 TC: Misawa over Kobashi


Baba didn't "book" the ones while he was in JWA. I left off Misawa winning the title from Vader since it was after Baba died, though it's probably what he had or would have booked. Anyway... 11-3-0. Since DCOR and DDQ where off the booking sheet for title matches after the TC was merged, it was 5-0-0.


Misawa became the Ace in 5/93 because he had to: Jumbo was out, and he wasn't coming back.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 10 months later...

I've only seen 6/90 match so can't compare the rest to this. The video issues during middle hurt match but we still got the audio at least. For a 30 minute draw thought this was pretty good. Felt like there was some really believable close finishes for both guys towards the end. Jumbo looked pretty good as far as any health issues he had/was developing. If this is the last of his marque singles matches than I am glad it was included on yearbook.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

Another tremendous match in this classic rivalry. They went full out in a 30m war that never looked like a draw. High workrate throughout and well paced. They stepped things up in the 2nd half and both fighters took no end of punishment. Bomb throwing and teriffic selling all around. They fought to a standstill and I was marking out at the awesome commentary at the climax. It's really sick that they had 2 or 3 better singles matches against each other.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...

This is probably the worst Jumbo/Misawa match I've seen, and it's still pretty damned good. Misawa's selling was really good when Jumbo was wrenching his arm, or throwing the bombs. I didn't really care for the finish at first, I thought it made Misawa look lucky. But then I saw he'd already gotten his foot on the rope for the break, so it wasn't too big a deal.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

This doesn't measure up to their previous singles matches but its still very good in its own right and feels like a big deal from the start. We get both Jumbo and Misawa countering their trademark moves early on. I think this match is a great example of what made All Japan in the era great -- even when they were working at a slow pace and not going for a classic, their selling was above and beyond what anyone else was doing and makes you feel like you're watching something special.


Fun stretch run with Jumbo blocking the frog splash after Misawa elbows, Jumbo hitting his backdrop suplexes and power bomb, and even a tease of the submission with the facelock. Time expires with a 2 count on another backdrop.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 months later...

Dragging beginning, as these two are unable to escape the "this is going to a draw" feeling. This does pick up towards the end, with some good back-and-forth action and a very well-timed finish. This is the least of the 5 matches, I'd say, but it's still quite good overall.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

The issues with the picture kind of made me nostalgic for my years of watching old VHS tapes. Enjoyed the match, the crowd was going nuts for all the facelocks Misawa was doing. I didn't really see the point of the ref bump, the time limit hit immediately after. I get what they were going for with the second ref coming in but it seemed like the timing was slightly off.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

First of all, the picture problems weren't all that bad; from the looks of things, I didn't really miss anything major.


As for the match itself, if I didn't know better I'd swear that this was the first Jumbo/Misawa match instead of the fifth. This was worked like Triple Crown champion Jumbo vs. up-and-coming youngster-with-a-ton-of-guts-and-not-much-else Misawa, about what you'd have expected when Misawa still had the mask. Jumbo took most of the offense, including no less than five applications of the sleeper, but Misawa still wouldn't go down. He didn't get much offense himself, though, except for a few forearm exchanges and the facelock binge he goes on at the end that almost, but not quite, put the better man out. I'd have expected this kind of Jumbo match from Kikuchi or another young guy from Misawa's team, not from the captain himself. He looked a lot better in the final against Hansen, a match which most of the board seemed to be disappointed in.


It's a shame that this was Jumbo's last really big singles bout; if John's right (and I assume he is), Jumbo's illness robbed us of at least one more singles confrontation. But if he had to take a step back, this was the kind of effort to go out on, as he busted out every bit of offense he had and looked every inch the former World champion he was. The only shame of it in my eyes was that Misawa, who should have been treated as almost being on his level, was his opponent. No matter what the booking was supposed to be, if you'd shown me this match without John's explanatory posts above, I would have said that Misawa's push was being halted for some reason. Thank heaven he regained his footing in the final against Stan, even though he lost.


The ref bump we saw here might have been the first I've ever seen in All-Japan. Come to think of it, I can't remember seeing all that many in any Japanese promotion I've watched. That's quite a difference from here in the U.S., and it's one I like for the most part.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • GSR changed the title to [1992-04-02-AJPW-Championship Carnival] Mitsuharu Misawa vs Jumbo Tsuruta
  • 3 months later...

I did like this, but for some different reasons.  I will get to those.

Jumbo took a LOT of this match though.  He started hot after the countering sequence and really put Misawa in a hole.  It never really seemed like Misawa got in enough to truly be a threat to take the match though.  The reason Misawa got the facelock win was because he had worn Jumbo down.  Here the facelock is used to wear Jumbo down to where Misawa has an outside shot at winning.  Jumbo never really looked in danger of losing this.  And yes, this felt like a 30 minute draw from the early going.

One thing I liked was one of the callbacks to earlier matches.  Jumbo crotching himself on the ropes when he went for the dropkick and finding a way to recover this time was a very nice touch.  

Another thing is the narrative that mirrors later ideas Baba used.  This is the match after we have established Misawa can hang with Jumbo and push him, but not quite beat him.  The match where Jumbo re-asserts his dominance and lets the kid know that it's not time yet with authority.  We see this later on with Misawa and Kawada.  It also gets across the idea that Misawa's basic offense is dangerous and even peppered in between taking a massive beating it is effective.  That is the very base of Misawa's match-long comebacks, which we see here with him as the underdog instead of the top dog.

Easily the worst of their singles matches, but it has a lot going for it nonetheless.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...