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Charles (Loss)

[1992-05-22-AJPW-Super Power Series] Mitsuharu Misawa & Kenta Kobashi & Toshiaki Kawada vs Jumbo Tsuruta & Masa Fuchi & Akira Taue

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I feel like I want to get a comment in before this one picks up steam, because I know I'm out on my own with this one, and people are going to disagree with my important opinion on the interwebz and we all know how THAT ends. But this is probably my favorite 6-man tag of all time, and seriously one of 10 matches that really shaped me as a wrestling fan. I remember when a buddy of mine first got some AJPW TV in glorious grainy, shitty 4-th gen VHS (of which I made a grainier, shittier 5th gen copy, of course, and I played the hell out of them all... God bless the good old days), this was a match that just totally blew me off the face of the planet. Watching Raw and Nitro every week, this was certainly about as different a planet for match length as you could step into. And really, these are probably at the end of the day six of my (more or less) 25 favorite wrestlers ever, as it turns out. My transition out of just watching what was readily in front of my face went ECW > Japanese Hardcore stuff > All and New Japan > everything else. This is definitely one of the matches that really stoked the fires to me, it was just a story I could watch all day. And probably did if you add the times I've watched it together.

 

I don't expect anyone else to love it as much as I do, but there you have it. It's my baby and so it's perfect, to me.

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You're not alone. Dave gave it ***** back in 1992. In the entire Jumbo & Co. vs Misawa & Co. feud, he only gave out four ***** ratings. The first singles match, and three six man tags between these six guys: 1990 nose bleed, 1991 long match, and this.

 

John

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No, you are not alone, man. It is one of the best six-man's of all-time, but I'd need to watch the other three big six-man's in order to definitively say that.

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At this point with the six-mans, I toss in the towel of trying to say which ones at #1, #2, #3, etc. I think watching the Kawada & Taue & Omori vs Misawa & Kobashi & Akiyama last night just brings that more to bear in my mind.

 

Is it a MOTYC? Who knows, and who cares.

 

Where does it rank in the six mans from 1990-95? Who knows and who cares.

 

It's a terrific match. Fun, intense, cool, heated. They're not blowing shit in there. There's freshness in what they do where everything isn't the 6th counter of a move that they did previously. It captures a general moment in time (Four Corners and Misawa-Kawada still fresh) and a specific moment in time (when you felt that month that you were watching the next two years of AJPW open up infront of you). And in hindsight while you see one thing missed (Omori growing into this role), you know that Misawa, Kawada and especially Taue get so much better than this over the course of the next two years (I'm less sold on Kobashi being any better in 1995 than he was in 2/94 and instead pretty much at the same level of greatness).

 

Figuring out where it ranks is of less value that saying:

 

"People need to see this... and here's a few hundred words on why rather than some snowflakes or a number."

 

And that's not fully knocking the snowflakes and the rankings. I enjoy seeing stuff like Loss's year end rankings.

 

John

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This was spectacular. I think what's interesting about it on one hand is how much when people talk about All Japan six-mans, the first six-man I've always heard the most about has been the 7/2/93 six-man. I liked that match. This is so, so much better. Jumbo and friends heel it up quite a bit while Misawa and friends are put in positions to make great comebacks.

 

You could really divide this match into three parts before the final stretch:

 

* Misawa in peril

* Taue in peril

* Kawada in peril

 

Of them all, I think I liked Misawa in peril the most. I'm not sure if that was because it was the *best* or just because it's not as often during this era that you see him in that position for an extended amount of time as it is that you see Kawada in that position. M/K/K do have fun working over Taue's knee though. After the (tremendous) triple pescados to the floor early on, you see Taue grabbing his knee. I wasn't really watching him on the apron, so I'm not sure if he was really selling the whole time. But I liked that Kawada seemed so eager to get in the match because he had the secret to bringing victory to his team. He ends up dragging Misawa to his corner and tagging himself in and goes right after Taue's knee. Keep in mind that this is several minutes later. So Kawada noticed something that either no one else on his team picked up or had the opportunity to capitalize on. I also like how Kawada and Kobashi are having too much fun working Taue's knee and Misawa is slow to come along, but eventually does.

 

Another guy that I need to acknowledge is Jumbo. Jumbo doesn't make a big production of a lot of simple transition stuff where he is the one who comes out ahead because he doesn't have to. But he always makes sure to put it over strong when someone else does it to him. Case in point: Misawa cutting off his offensive flurries gets a big pop and he sells it big time. Toward the end of this match, he knocks Misawa outside the ring to clear things for Kawada and Taue to work the finish, and it's just another spot. It's really terrific timing to do something logical within a match that moves it in the direction it needs to go, but because it's not the story, he's able to execute it in a way where it doesn't take away from the Kawada/Taue finish. Kawada and Kobashi are also put over big by a few key kickouts where Misawa is isolated and they have to save themselves.

 

This is one of the most "feel good" finishes I can recall in All Japan. All three members of Jumbo's team are being held in holds while Kawada has the stretch plum on Taue. Taue gets the superhuman kickout after the first time is broken up, then finally succumbs the second time to give Misawa, Kawada and Kobashi the win. I'm not sure I've seen too many other matches ever where this many people came out looking this good -- not just the winning side but also Taue for withstanding the knee attack for so long and holding on at the end when he was in the same position as Kawada and Kobashi and couldn't be rescued. Best AJ match so far without question.

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I almost worry about you watching 1992 before 1990 & 1991. You're missing the context:

 

It was two years in, everyone was sick of Jumbo & Co. vs Misawa & Co., and they just wanted it to go away so the company could come up with a new storyline.

 

For you... it's all "fresh" and "new".

 

;)

 

John

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I know there was a match around this time that went 74 matches in full, but they only showed 34 minutes. I am assuming that is this one.

 

If so, I think that's a good case of JIP. I loved this, but considering they did three wrestler-in-peril segments within 35 minutes, I don't need to see them just keep trading off guys for double the time. The amount of time they showed was just right.

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I think the only one pimping 7/2/93 as the best was JDW ;)

I may have said it first. Doubt I was the only one to have pimped it as such.

 

Also copped recently to it being flat the last time I watched it, though that may have been the setting.

 

John

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This one went 36:36.

 

I recall something about a 74 minute match, but the six mans pretty much always had 60 minute time limits. I don't think one in this era went to 60 until the 1995 one.

 

04/20/91 went 51:32, though through Dan G, we believe that bell time is incorrect. 01/24/92 went 44:23.

 

The 04/18/92 survival went 66:50. The 07/29/93 survival went 54:11.

 

I wonder if the survival one is the one that got tagged as going 70+.

 

*heads over to WO-4.com*

 

But what will turn out to be the most memorable match of the weekend took place Saturday night in Tokyo's Korakuen Hall, an eight-man, three-out-of-five falls tag team match in which Misawa & Kenta Kobashi & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi & Toshiaki Kawada beat Jumbo Tsuruta & Rusher Kimura (subbing for injured Akira Taue) & Masa Fuchi & Yoshinari Ogawa, which from start-to-finish lasted 74:40, which would make it the longest pro wrestling match in many years.

Apr. 27 1992 Observer Newsletter

 

Behind the firewall, of course. Dave was a little off on his facts.

 

John

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Eh? Dave was talking about the 4/18 match. Technically it was 3/5 Falls.

What I meant was Dave was a little off on his facts: it wasn't 74:40, and he didn't mention that it was an elimination match.

 

It's too bad Taue got hurt in Carny. The thing could have ruled if the last two matches were Tsuruta & Taue vs Misawa & Kobashi then Misawa & Kawada vs Tsuruta & Taue.

 

John

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Never seen this before but truly is incredible. Jumbo just adds so much to these native 6 man matches with his heeling and double teams. I could have lived without the constant nearfalls but I guess that's part of the charm and is a staple in All Japan.

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Excellent match. Loved the heeling up by Jumbo and company when they get Misawa isolated in their corner. Felt like Fuchi spent more time in the ring interfering than being the legal man. He was a lot of fun in the match and just fits so well in these six mans. Crowd were really jeering all three of them but then Jumbo raised his arm and they cheered him briefly. Misawa and team some double teaming themselves when they get an injured Taue in the ring. Finish is great with everyone in the ring and Kawada, Misawa and Kobashi having their opponents in submissions.

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Somehow in going through the month's threads I skipped over the likely MOTY to this point. Not a ton to add here as most has been covered quite thoroughly. I thought this match featured some of the better heel work that I've seen from Jumbo & co., as they dialed up the antics here quite a bit -- i.e. during Misawa's extended FIP run, Taue ramming Misawa against the turnbuckle and then quickly tagging in Fuchi like a third down sack specialist to brutalize a dazed QB, grinding his boot into him.

 

On the other side you had Kawada flipping out, staring down and raising a middle finger at Jumbo's squad when he's in there. His performance here solidified him as one of the year's standout individual performers along with Negro Casas. The finish was great and felt huge too. Try me tomorrow and I may go full monty on this one.

 

****3/4

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Goddamn, the beginning of May was a teensy bit of a lull from the awesomeness of the early spring, and now we've got back-to-back matches approaching the ***** range. (I was not a big star-ratings guy for a long while but I began thinking of matches in terms of ratings more and more through the '80s projects, and now star ratings in particular thanks to the Where the Big Boys Play guys.) I don't like to just pass out snowflakes for the fuck of it, but man, it's hard not to.

 

Two things I love most about this among many, many things to love: the Super Generation Army is out to show they can be just as good at being bastard motherfuckers as Jumbo's Army usually are. So we get Kobashi doing a faceslam on Fuchi to the arena floor and the babyfaces paying the heels back for just about every spot, like strangling them against the ropes and doing double-teams. I can't remember if we got a spot where Taue or Jumbo got his knee dropped on the barricade or table, but that would have been heavenly. Second is how Southern Wrasslin' this feels. This is easily the most electric crowd of any AJPW match of the '90s, there is a clear good/evil divide, we get babyface payback spots as mentioned above, Jumbo actually TURNS AROUND TO YELL AT THE FANS who are chanting for Kawada, and the finish is right out of a Crockett 6-man where the whole Horsemen team gets figure-foured. We also see our first Yearbook look at Taue's "proper" nodowa otoshi, which is about the 97th most notable thing about the match but is instantly a better move than his golden arm bomber thing.

 

Liger/Samurai instantly became one of my favorite matches ever. I'm not sure this match isn't just as good.

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Goddamn, the beginning of May was a teensy bit of a lull from the awesomeness of the early spring, and now we've got back-to-back matches approaching the ***** range. (I was not a big star-ratings guy for a long while but I began thinking of matches in terms of ratings more and more through the '80s projects, and now star ratings in particular thanks to the Where the Big Boys Play guys.) I don't like to just pass out snowflakes for the fuck of it, but man, it's hard not to.

I was in the same boat as you forever Pete. In the past two years, I have watched a good bit of wrestling though and do find that star ratings do provide a tidy area to locate the tiers of matches you have watched and what you instantly thought of it on last watch. It is not a perfect system by any means and I am actually tinkering towards more of a grading system myself, but it is one of the best systems for categorizing the matches I think.

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Lots of great stuff here from all six. I think Kawada was the standout performer here, which was fitting with him picking up the win for his team. The stuff that mostly stuck with me was from Kawada, like taking that knee to the midsection from Jumbo and jumping back to his feet and leveling him with the elbow. Right before the finish, when Taue charges and Kawada levels him with the ganmengiri was another spot I liked, the timing was a bit off, but it still worked for me.

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