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Charles (Loss)

[1992-04-18-AJPW-Fan Appreciation Day] Mitsuharu Misawa & Kenta Kobashi & Toshiaki Kawada & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi vs Jumbo Tsuruta & Akira Taue & Masa Fuchi & Rusher Kimura

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There's some good stuff in this match, but nothing you can't get from other, better matches with less filler and time commitment. I watched it a couple of years ago expecting a classic and was disappointed. It's a good match, but it's not a match that I'd call essential viewing, even if it does have a really good rep. I'll just copy/paste what I said when I watched this a couple of years ago, since I have no desire to watch it again:

 

Such a mixed bag of a match. The match was always 2-on-2, and as each team lost someone, someone else came in to replace them. The first team to beat three guys from the other team would win. Fuchi was awesome, probably my favorite guy in all of this. The first of the matches (Fuchi/Ogawa vs Kobashi/Kikuchi) was the best of the bunch. I love Fuchi's matwork. Misawa, Kobashi, Kawada, and Jumbo were reliable. I guess that would be the word. Good stuff, but nothing you haven't seen them do better in dozens of other matches. The match was really just way too long and isn't quite as good as it seems on paper. Kimura at first I was comparing to '84 Ernie Ladd in Mid South, someone who physically can't keep up with those around him, but can do other things well enough that he adds to the match, but not really an apt comparison.

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Damn this was hard to watch. A hour and 12 minutes with really no slowing down. Like Loss said, these guys have been in better matches and no reason to ever watch this again. Baba should have taken Kawada's place. Rusher reminds me of Shu El Guerrero in one of those Maestro's tags from the late 2000s

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Damn this was hard to watch. A hour and 12 minutes with really no slowing down. Like Loss said, these guys have been in better matches and no reason to ever watch this again. Baba should have taken Kawada's place. Rusher reminds me of Shu El Guerrero in one of those Maestro's tags from the late 2000s

Why would you replace Kawada with Baba? Do you mean replacing Rusher in the Taue slot?

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On paper, I was expecting a classic Survivor Series elimination type match with all eight guys involved so was disappointed to see it was just a series of tag matches with loser getting replaced. It had it's moments but did go a very long time. There were some stretches in middle of match that made it hard to focus. I actually preferred the first "match" of them all and Fuchi was the best. He hung around for a long time which was good but missed him once he was eliminated.

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I watched this several years ago and have no desire to sit through it again. Some of the best NJ matches of the 80's were singles elimination. But the format just didn't work for tag wrestling. From what I recall the first fall was the strongest and it was all downhill from there with Rusher stinking it up the last 2 falls.

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I skipped over this on the actual set. I've seen it before, and didn't have any desire to sit through it again. An interesting concept that doesn't play out as well in execution. I always hated the rules about three needing to be eliminated, feels like they're trying to put over the young team, but still protect Jumbo.

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I sat down to watch this one night thinking I'd bang this out in 30-35 minutes and maybe have time for Flair/Tenryu afterwards. I was wrong. It was fun to see this and probably a hell of a spectacle if you were there live, but not something I'd seek out again or recommend to someone. As others have noted, you can get a whole lot more with less from this crew. The highlight for me was actually the opening with Kobashi & Kikuchi vs. Fuchi & Ogawa. This was some of the best heel work I've seen from Fuchi/Ogawa as they looked like a regular Tully & Arn out there. Kobashi put on a show going over an hour here. Kudos to the crowd for staying hot right through Kawada joining for the stretch run.

 

***1/2

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I suspect this works just fine if Taue wasn't hurt during the Carny. Block it out like this, putting Taue into Rusher's matches:

 

Jumbo Tsuruta & Akira Taue & Masanobu Fuchi & Yoshinari Ogawa vs. Mitsuharu Misawa & Toshiaki Kawada & Kenta Kobashi & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi

 

- Masanobu Fuchi & Yoshinari Ogawa over Kenta Kobashi & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi (17:30)

- Mitsuharu Misawa & Kenta Kobashi over Masanobu Fuchi & Yoshinari Ogawa (10:11 / 27:41)

- Mitsuharu Misawa & Kenta Kobashi over Jumbo Tsuruta & Masanobu Fuchi (17:22 / 45:03)

- Jumbo Tsuruta & Akira Taue over Mitsuharu Misawa & Kenta Kobashi (10:52 / 55:55)

- Mitsuharu Misawa & Toshiaki Kawada over Jumbo Tsuruta & Akira Taue (10:55 / 66:50)

 

I suspect that would work fairly well. Six of these guys, with two less men, went 50 with little issues. Another 17 minutes, two more men, broken up falls... that would be fairly easy for them.

 

On suspects that even with Rucher in there, there were some injury issues given the booking. Misawa coming in so early rather than Kawada, it booked for Rusher to go twice as long as Kawada... that smacks of Kawada not being 100%. If everyone was healthy, it probably would have been booked closer to:

 

1. Masanobu Fuchi & Yoshinari Ogawa over Kenta Kobashi & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi

 

Kobashi & Kikuchi were the strong team, but heel initial win and having Kawada go longer than Taue is likely how they would have gone.

 

2. Toshiaki Kawada & Kenta Kobashi over Masanobu Fuchi & Yoshinari Ogawa

 

Something of a squash. That is one thing in the alternate of having Kobashi & Kikuchi win the first one: they would be underdogs to Taue & Fuchi, but more competative.

 

3. Toshiaki Kawada & Kenta Kobashi over Akira Taue & Masanobu Fuchi

 

But this is probably a better spot for Taue to come in: instant hate with Kawada after Kawada likely was the one kicking the shit out of Ogawa. Still, this would be an upset to see the heels win. Which of course brings in the Big Dawg:

 

4. Jumbo Tsuruta & Akira Taue over Toshiaki Kawada & Kenta Kobashi

 

And the advantage swings to the heels, with Kawada & Kobashi the underdogs. This would be fun. Only one possible result so we get:

 

5. Mitsuharu Misawa & Toshiaki Kawada over Jumbo Tsuruta & Akira Taue

 

My guess is that both of the last two matches would go longer than 11 minutes, so this match probably would have gone over 70:00.

 

That's really the problem with this one: with no Taue, the building tension of being able to bring in the Kawada-Taue feud hald way through it, and then the Big Dawg to cap his side (rather than Rusher) and then the Big Tag Match in the closer spots... it's a natural build and tension is gone.

 

So if you don't like the 1992 version of this match, blame Taue.

 

;)

 

I do generally agree that Baba would have been better in this than Rusher, but that leaves Baba & Jumbo vs Kawada & Kobashi and Baba & Jumbo vs Misawa & Kawada in the last two matches, and a little problem with the winner of the last match. In a sense, it would have to be Kawada going down: Misawa isn't going to beat Jumbo on such a lesser card, Baba isn't jobbing to either of them, and Kawada isn't beating Jumbo yet. Probably why Rusher was in there: he looks like the obvious loser, but there's still a possibility that Jumbo beats either Misawa or Kawada.

 

Yeah... this whole concept books easier if Taue hadn't gotten hurt.

 

John

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Ha guess you've thought about this one. I also found it curious that Kawada closed for his side rather than Misawa so him coming in with an injury definitely makes sense. No question it'd have been stronger with Taue in Kimura's place. A lot stronger.

 

But after the opening this didn't have the same urgency or focus that I'd want from this crew. THey were going to go over an hour and that's that -- whatever it took get there the were getting there, no matter what shortcuts they had to take. I'm a fan of this layout but when you look at it in comparison with their straight tags and six mans, it juts doesn't seem like anyone was looking to blow the roof off the building.

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Ha guess you've thought about this one.

I like the format in "concept", a bit more than Survivors style elimination. It's just that AJPW in this era never really nailed one. So yeah... I've thought a lot over the years on how they could have nailed it. :)

 

John

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I haven't seen any of the highly touted NJ elimination matches as I've yet to grab that 80s set, but I agree that this format is great -- keep it simple while avoiding silly handicap situations.

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Watched this years ago and didn't think much of it. There's a novelty of seeing Rusher work with the '90s guys that lasts for about 45 seconds and aside from that there simply isn't much to this.

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Here we go, fall by fall:

 

Kobashi/Kikuchi vs. Fuchi/Ogawa: The midcarders start, and they put on a nice show. Ogawa and Kikuchi are in peril for their respective sides, and there's plenty of solid teamwork. Eventually Kikuchi settles down to his usual punching bag role, and the spot of the bout so far comes when Fuchi uses the ropes to aid him with a Rude Awakening neckbreaker and cranks on the hold at least seven or eight times.

 

Eventually we get the tag to Kenta, but when push comes to shove after the usual sequence of nearfalls, it's Kikuchi who's pinned by Ogawa. There were so many nearfalls in the last few minutes that I've honestly forgotten what move Ogawa used to get the pinfall (I want to say a German suplex with a bridge, but I could be wrong.) Misawa comes in to replace Kikuchi. Jumbo 1, Misawa 0.

 

Misawa/Kobashi vs. Fuchi/Ogawa: I like the Fuchi/Ogawa team a lot, as despite being out there for close to a half hour they maintain their cohesion, particularly against Kenta, who's been out there as long as they have. Naturally, Misawa's the freshest and looks it, and Fuchi and Ogawa spend most of their time trying to get rid of the already exhausted Kenta, but failing. Ogawa in particular feels the effects of back-to-back hard-hitting matches, as he looks like he's trying to swim upstream through a river of maple syrup for most of this. Fuchi's not a lot better, but he's supposed to move like an old man.

 

Eventually, Kenta nails Ogawa with a pretty good-looking moonsault (considering Kenta's condition by this point anyway) and Misawa cuts off Fuchi to cement the win and even things at a fall apiece. Needing to change the momentum in a hurry and down to himself and old man Rusher, Jumbo enters the fray. Misawa 1, Jumbo 1.

 

Misawa/Kobashi vs. Jumbo/Fuchi: This was the best of the three bouts so far. Jumbo and Fuchi make for a devastating pair as they target first Misawa's neck, then Kenta's knee, reducing both to pudding. Fuchi's particularly vicious with a pair of pinpoint dropkicks right to Kenta's knee, one to start the legwork sequence and one almost at its end. He also drops Kenta knee-first on the railing, which is a common spot in matches like this but is made more dramatic by the fact that Kenta's already taken such a terrible beating.

 

Meanwhile, Misawa's neck is stretched seven delicious ways courtesy of some beautiful doubleteaming, and there's one sequence where Jumbo almost puts Misawa out with a regular sleeper while Fuchi puts an interfering Kenta all the way out with the cobra clutch. Only a last-second foot on the ropes from Misawa saves the day for his side. By the end of this fall, the only one moving with any crispness whatsoever is Jumbo, but Fuchi can't fight off the Misawa facelock and goes to dreamland after an incredible forty-five minute masterpiece of a performance. Kimura has to come in for Jumbo's side, which has been pushed to the brink. Misawa 2, Jumbo 1.

 

Jumbo/Rusher vs. Misawa/Kobashi: Say this for the old man: He's fresh blood in a match that desperately needs it. As such, he's in there for the first half of the fall, and things slow to a crawl, though how much of that is actually his fault is open to question by now, as the other three guys are totally exhausted. Business picks up when Jumbo and Rusher remember that Kenta's knee is hurt, and Rusher really looks alive when he grabs a chair and jams it into the injured knee twice. Back in the ring, Jumbo tries an STF for the first time in memory, but the experiment fails due to abject exhaustion.

 

Eventually, all four men end up in the ring for entirely too long, and while Misawa and Rusher pretty much lay on each other in one corner, Kenta eats what's left of Jumbo's high end offense, including a pair of Jumbo Drivers, and bows in defeat after over an hour. He fights to the end, blocking the second Jumbo Driver for what seems like five minutes before a series of Rusher headbutts take the fight out of him for the final time. We're even at two falls apiece, and Kawada comes in to decide the issue for Misawa's squad. Jumbo 2, Misawa 2.

 

Misawa/Kawada vs. Jumbo/Rusher: Not surprisingly, the least of the five bouts. Jumbo and Misawa are beyond exhausted and Rusher's old and slow. Kawada doesn't inject as much energy as you would think, and the majority of the action here is centered on Rusher's Samoan-like hard head. There are several multiple headbutt sequences which look surprisingly good; not much else does until the finish. Kawada appears to put Rusher out with the sleeper, but inexplicably drops the hold. This leads to the finish, where Misawa and Jumbo are too tired to do more than stare each other down when one or the other attempts interference. The actual finish is nicely done, as Misawa locks Rusher in the stretch plum while Misawa neutralizes an interfering Jumbo with the facelock at the same time. It's a knockout either way you slice it, and Misawa's team survives. Misawa 3, Jumbo 2.

 

I thought this was wonderful. I've never seen this format before, but I liked it very much. There was little downtime except between falls, and even at the end when three of the four guys were moving slower than three-toed sloths, everyone was trying as hard as they could. I wonder how much of what some of you saw as subpar work was just excellent selling of exhaustion. Special kudos to Kenta, who put in the year's Iron Man performance so far, going nonstop for over an hour while Jumbo's team pounded him unmercifully. I rate his perfortmance over Flair's in the Rumble because he took a lot more actual holds and maneuvers than Flair, who mostly engaged in fisticuffs and got at least some rest while people were trying to eliminate him. It's a close contest, though, and I enjoyed them both immensely.

 

This is my Japanese Match of the Year for '92 so far, and just like the Rumble in the U.S., I'm not quite sure what can possibly top it.

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I am not as high as garretta on this match, but I do think I must be higher on it than most of the other reviews.  Sure, this was long, but I enjoyed the format.  This is worth checking out for fans of Kenta Kobashi for sure.  I also thought Kikuchi was great with his selling early on.  And, I loved how aggressive Fuchi was in this match.  Great spot with him draping Kikuchi over the turnbuckle and grinding his boot under his chin.  With the unique rules, I found this to be a fun edition for something different out of All Japan. 

 

 

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Way too much in the way of filler here.  Towards the end Kawada shows his Choshu roots and goes into the grounded headscissors spot to fill time when he doesn't know what to do with Rusher.  Rusher was out of place for sure if he wasn't just there to eat the fall.  Kawada and Misawa do come up with some interesting ways of working around him.  I liked the opening match-up a lot with the harassment of Kikuchi to get him off his game and set up the beating he took.  Kikuchi's offense really stands out for me in this one.  He gets to show off more of his arsenal against Ogawa and I was thinking it was a shame there weren't more juniors for Kikuchi to get his offense in on in AJPW at the time.  Once that first matchup is done the whole thing starts to unravel.  Misawa can take down Jumbo but not an already beaten and battered Ogawa within 15 mniutes?  Seems like we are stretching for time and it only gets worse from there.

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