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Charles (Loss)

[1992-05-25-AJPW-Super Power Series] Kenta Kobashi & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi vs Doug Furnas & Dan Kroffat

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There must have been some botching for them to STILL clip it on the big Kobashi comp that this was taken from. The added footage is good, though the thing it adds the most is the intros. Things only really get in gear after the TV JIP, and man do they ever GO. Kikuchi at his best as FIP, Can-Ams at their best in control, Kobashi is a very effective hot tag, and the finish is molten. Not as 'deep' as the very best AJ of the decade, but as a de facto juniors match it's as good as anything else you'll see.

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Looks like from an earlier Bix post when this first turned up that 19:00 of the 22:11 aired. How much aired on the original JIP?

 

Thought from the thread here back in 2008:

 

Fun to watch this in near complete form after all these years.

 

I wonder why they bothered to edit three minutes out of it. If they needed to cut three to fit the air time, I almost would have been tempted as a producer to cut out the intros instead, JIP it roughly three in, and include the title presentations. It was Kikuchi's first title win if I recall correctly.

 

To things jump to mind watching it:

 

It's far more My Turn, Your Turn down the stretch than I recall, rather than "runs" on offense down the stretch. To a degree that makes it feel more "modern", as in Nitro-style and what we see all over the place since.

 

It also is probably a good exhibit for what was being talked about in relation to Alverez. I tend to think if a match *exactly* like that happened today on Raw with wrestlers who were over with the fans _and_ who were held in respect of hardcores as workers similar to how the Can-Ams, Kobashi and Kikuchi were held in those days, and that had the sort of emotional payoff this did (fan favorite faces winning the title) that it would be rated as a *****. Easy.

 

Someone might say it would need to be updated to "modern moves", but I don't think that's the case at all. The flying was perfectly modern enough - diving headbut (Benoit), moonsault (Kobashi's always smoked the fuck out of Shawn's pancy ass versions), splash (Eddy's frogsplash is a variation), and a pair of sky high lariats with wicked bumps. I don't think you need to update any of that to a shooting star press, or dives out of the ring.

 

The non-flying was modern enough, and didn't have the some of the overworked set up you'll see with the Kanyonesque moves that form flashy non-flying moves these days.

 

The mat work wasn't off the charts, but if someone got Kikuchi'd like Kikuchi did in the crabs, the ground back stretchy thing (my memory of the Big Book Of Moves is fading) and the later corba clutches, with the moves being as over as these were here, then it would have gotten some big bonus points (especially for stuff like Kobashi's cool legdrop to break on, and his efforts to break Furnas' crab).

 

I don't think this is the best All Japan tag of the era seeing it in near-full. But it's pretty darn watchable.

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The best crowd in the entire history of pro wrestling combined with wrestlers going all out with tons of big moves and great nearfalls makes for a classic match. I agree that it's not the "deepest" match in All Japan, but it may be the most satisfying. Not too much for me really to say because I think the match speaks really well for itself.

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I'm not so sure it's the loudest/most responsive crowd, though. It goes without saying but Crush Gals...

 

There's also, this, which surely has to be piped, but they didn't pipe any of the other comms, certainly nowhere near to that extent, and the other two matches are noticeably quieter (though not quiet by any means).

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It might not be the best All Japan match but it sure is the most fun. Loved the crowd going nuts and the announcer too. Kroffat and Furnas were just so great and brutal. Poor Kikuchi.

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I thought this was awesome. I was biting on all the false finishes. You can see how the indy's just try to duplicate this style. You really wish the Can-Ams would have made a run in the states when they could still go. All I can say is wow.

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Anybody who said that this match doesn't hold up due to lack of MOVEZ is a blithering idiot. And in the thread that jdw quoted from, I see that Baba had a policy of giving wrestlers their first title wins in their hometowns. I guess that makes him the anti-Vince.

 

I agree that this represents the Southern tag in its highest form. Bonus points for Fukuzawa yelling "FIYAAAAA!" after Kobashi's double clothesline and again after the moonsault. I also liked the ref's decision to raid Joe Higuchi's closet.

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Anybody who said that this match doesn't hold up due to lack of MOVEZ is a blithering idiot.

I don't think anyone did. It's pretty close to state of the art level for 1992.

 

John

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As said above one of the best crowds for a wrestling match. Looks to be standing room only in the back. Anytime Kikuchi hits a move they just flip out. When he gets locked in a submission they freak out until he gets out of it. Fun match with a crowd that brings it to another level. Kroffat seems to be enjoying playing the bad guy here. Editing the first couple minutes off didn't hurt it all for me. Remains a lot of fun to watch after multiple viewings.

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An all time classic and one of those magical nights in wrestling history. This was the greatest crowd of all time and you had 3 of the wrestlers delivering career best performances. The execution was top notch, the structure was spot on, the pacing flawless. The FIP segment was timed to perfection and I'd forgotten how amazing the stretch is. Thrilling near falls, fantastic double team moves and such emotion with of course the right result. Of course the Kikuchi beatdown was awesome but that was just the start. Even with a regular AJ crowd from the era this would probably end up in my top 10 for the year they worked the match so well. As it is this is my #2 for 92.

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How many crowds have ever approached this one? I've read about Misawa-Jumbo and always heard you had to be there to feel it, but by comparison this made Budokan look like it was populated by mutes that night. I don't know what the legacy of this match is without that crowd nor am I all that concerned with it. Just a phenomenal performance by all involved, one of those matches you show someone when they ask why you're a wrestling fan.

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This was awesome! I watched this a few years ago, and I remember the crowd being bonkers. My memory was dead on. As like others said their might have been better matches, but I don't know if I'd want to watch many other over this.

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DEE DEE TEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.

 

One of the most joyous wrestling experiences you could ever imagine. This was one of my puro gateway drugs and I suspect it was for a lot of other people as well. In addition to all the other awesomeness this is probably Kikuchi's peak as an *offensive* wrestler, at least so far. He hits some nice moves and comes off as perfectly credible going up against Furnas. I guess I can't really give it a full ***** but once it gets going after the initial JIP point it's about the most perfectly executed wrestling match ever done.

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I'm gonna steal my own metaphor that used for the Shawn/Foley match from Mind Games. For one magical night, the stars were aligned just right. The perfect team of gaijin dick heels, the perfect face in peril, the perfect hot tag, and the perfect, rabid, crowd. Kikuchi's goal seemed to be to make sure his life ended on this night, he takes every bump that he can possibly take, and Doug almost breaks him in half with the crab hold.

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The full match was uploaded to Youtube. It is i think taken from this 2012 Kobashi comp:

 

DVD 1
9/5/96 Kenta Kobashi vs. Stan Hansen 26:07 complete
10/23/99 Kenta Kobashi/Jun Akiyama vs. Misawa/Ogawa 27:25 complete
6/5/92 Kobashi/Misawa vs. Jumbo/Tsuruta/Akira Taue
9/3/94 Kobashi vs. Steve Williams

DVD 2
1/24/95 Kobashi/Misawa vs. Kawada/Taue
7/24/96 Kobashi vs. Taue
1/20/97 Kobashi vs. Misawa
7/25/97 Kobashi/Johnny Ace vs. Steve Williams/Gary Albright
10/21/97 Kobashi vs. Misawa
10/31/98 Kobashi vs. Misawa

DVD 3
3/1/03 Kobashi vs. Misawa 33:28 complete
7/16/03 Kobashi/Tamon Honda vs. Takayama/Shinya Makabe 27:13 complete
10/19/02 Kobashi/Shiga vs. Akiyama/Saito

DVD 4
4/13/03 Kobashi vs. Tamon Honda
8/26/03 Kobashi vs. Bison Smith
3/6/04 Kobashi vs. Takeshi Rikio
7/10/04 Kobashi vs. Jun Akiyama
12/4/04 Kobashi vs. The Gladiator
6/4/06 Kobashi/Honda vs. Morishima/Mohammed Yone

DVD 5
1/27/91 Kobashi/Johnny Ace vs. Joe Deaton/Billy Black 16:46 complete
5/25/92 Kobashi/Kikuchi vs. Kroffat/Furnas 22:11 complete
******This match is considered to be a holy grail! They claim it is uncut on the box, but it seems to be 28 seconds short of complete. Based on my observations, I don't see any edits, and they have gotten times wrong before******
1/29/94 Kobashi/Misawa/Baba vs. Kawada/Taue/Fuchi 39:02 complete

DVD 6
5/1/98 Kobashi/Ace vs. Hansen/Vader 22:12 complete
5/2/99 Kobashi/Akiyama/Hakushi vs. Ace/Road Warriors 17:37 complete
7/4/99 Kobashi/Kentaro Shiga vs. Takayama/Omori 8:45 complete
12/7/02 Kobashi vs. Bison Smith 8:47 complete
1/26/03 Kobashi/KENTA vs. Misawa/Marufuji 16:18 complete

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Does look pretty complete, and one assumes a DVD release in Japan since there are no network logos. I assume that's a listing from Dan? Looks a bit like his styling.

 

Anyway, we're now up to about 21:45 of the "22:11", and it does look a bit like the timer guy was off on one end of the bells. :)

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This is a great match, but in a year where the Royal Rumble featured the greatest Flair performance ever, and in a promotion where Misawa and Jumbo and their friends have great matches at the drop of a hat, I can hardly heap the praise on it that some of you have. Having said that, Kikuchi finally gets to the top of the mountain, which is a great thing to see, and I've never seen Kroffat and Furnas look better. I get that Bill Watts wanted to bring his boy Doc home, so that's why the MVC got the call to WCW, but I wonder if he couldn't have gotten better matches for the Steiners out of the Can-Ams.

 

I wasn't really paying attention to the crowd, but one of the reasons they may have been so hot is because these four guys took everything to the limit. The pin saves were timed to the very last possible instant, the submission holds looked like they were designed to break bones and impossible to get out of without help from the respective partners (Furnas' crab in particular looked excruciating), and the kickouts were true escapes at the two and three-quarter mark more often than not. This being a hometown crowd for Kikuchi put the cherry on top.

 

Even though this may not be the best Japanese tag match we've seen this year so far, it beats the hell out of anything we've seen from the States. I've been waiting for a place to mention this, and this is as good as any: It utterly amazes me that we haven't seen a WWF tag match featuring regular teams since LOD/Nasties at SummerSlam '91. Nothing from the LOD's title reign made either the '91 or '92 sets, and now we're deep into the first run of Money Inc. and we've still seen nothing.

 

Over in WCW, the last tag title match we saw was Steamer and Dustin winning the belts at the November '91 Clash; Arn and Bobby's reign, though mentioned a few times during other bouts, wasn't represented on this set, and by now they've lost the belts to the Steiners. That's not a knock on Will by any means, but rather an indictment of how bad tag team wrestling was in the Big Two, at least at the championship level, during this time.

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#1 - placetobenation.com/countdown-top-500-matches-of-the-90s-50-1/2/

 

Well, this countdown has led me here. I was pretty excited to watch this match because I had never seen before today. It lived up to the hype. It's not going to be my top match of the 90's, but this match was probably the most fun. I loved Kikuchi's super hot opening swinging those elbows. Kobashi with the save after those two deadly suplexes on Kikuchi was timed perfectly. I don't know what they may have called it, but the lion tamer spot was awesome. Kobashi hit one of the best double-lariats I've seen. My favorite spot might be Kikuchi saving Kobashi after the frankensteiner. Speaking of that, to garretta's point, I would love to see Furnas and Kroffat take on the Steiners in their prime. Man, would that be awesome. I'm not sure where I have this just yet, but ****3/4 to ***** sounds about right. If someone told me this was their favorite match from the 90's, or even if they thought this was the best match from the 90's, I'd totally understand why.

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Wow, what a tag match (and a thank you to Loss for your top 500 matches of the 90's list that led me to finding it)! This is the only AJPW tag match I've seen that follows the simple yet effective "babyface in peril" formula. Kikuchi was great in this match, showing a ton of fire in his offense while also selling absolute desperation for Kroffat and Furnas. Builds beautifully to Kobashi tagging in and clearing house. Usually when I watch 90's AJPW, I just take in everything I see and enjoy it for what it is rather than get invested in a winner. This time, I was on the edge of my seat pulling for Kobashi and Kikuchi.

 

Great stuff.

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I just watched this match again for the first time in a few years, just because I felt like it. Having watched it again, it struck me that this might be first time I've actually seen the complete match - I think when I saw it the first couple of times it was back when only the JIP version was available.  I'm so glad that this match is now widely available in it's complete form.

It's funny...if you put a gun to my head (and why would you do that, I'm Canadian and no threat to any of you) and asked me to pick my favorite Tag Team matches of all time, I would probably list the usual suspects from the Four Pillars of AJPW: 06/01/93, 12/03/93, 01/24/95, 06/09/95, 10/15/95, or probably my personal favorite of the bunch...05/21/94.  However, one thing that I sometimes find (depending on my mood) is that it can be hard to enjoy a match that is so damn LONG.  I think this is one of the reasons I don't care for some of the so-called "Six Star" matches that Omega, Okada etc. have been having in New Japan the past few years.  Some of those NJPW matches strike me as being long just for the sake of being long...you could trim 10-15 minutes off and nothing would be lost.  I guess my point is, as I get older as a fan, I am less blown away by matches that strike me as manufactured epics.

When I first got into AJPW, North America was in the death-grip of Vince Russo and "Crash TV."  Matches were short, pointless, had no structure and sometimes didn't even end up happening at all, in order to advance some insipid "story." Discovering AJPW was like a breath of fresh air compared to that, those matches from the 90's took the sport seriously and were presented as dramatic athletic contests with real stakes. Obviously, I don't begrudge those Misawa & Kobashi vs. The Holy Demon Army matches their length, but one thing this match between Kobashi & Kikuchi and the Can-Ams proves is that the "King's Road" style could be done without the match stretching to 45-60 minutes.  To me, this match proves you can still pack a punch and tell a story in 20-30 minutes...provided the talent is there.

I don't think enough can be said about the effect the crowd has on the enjoyment factor of this match, either.  I distinctly remember being surprised the first time I saw this match, because I had become used to the quiet and reserved Japanese fans who only made noise at certain points.  This crowd was white-hot from the get go, there is literally no lull in crowd noise during this entire match and it really adds to the drama.

I loved the spot where Kroffat and then Furnas would not release Kikuchi from that sadistic looking Boston Crab (if you can even call it that, it looked like a torture technique) even after Kobashi booted them in the head twice.  It took Kobashi hauling off and smacking Furnas in the face as hard as he could in order to break the hold.  Kobashi and Kikuchi were such a fun team...I even enjoyed them years later in NOAH when Kikuchi was 25 pounds heavier, could barely walk and was basically being held together with athletic tape.  The whole vibe you get from the superstar Kobashi and his never-say-die friend who takes an ass kicking and gets bounced around like a rubber ball...so perfect a dynamic for a team.

Some people have (justifiably) criticized Kobashi over the years for being a bit over-the-top, almost like he's too theatrical and showy. In my opinion, he hadn't gotten to that point in 1992,  his performance during this match was perfectly restrained and appropriate.  Not to mention, having a smaller partner who is getting his ass kicked and stretched is a perfect reason to act dramatic.  And poor Kikuchi.  I've heard that he patterned himself after Dynamite Kid, and I think the announcers even allude to that during this match.  (DK's name gets tossed out a couple of times, for sure.)  He sure busts out some DK classic moves, namely the snap suplexes and flying headbutts. He really is one of the best underdog babyfaces I've ever seen, honestly. A lot of credit for this match has to go to Kroffat and Furnas too, without a doubt.  Their execution was on point and they played their roles to perfection. 

This is one of those matches where everybody seemed to be at the pinnacle of their game, in sync and firing on all cylinders simultaneously. Between the work of the wrestlers and the molten crowd, everything converged to create a near-perfect match. If there is a valid criticism for this match, I can't think of it.  If you're naming the greatest Tag Team matches of all time, I can't see how this wouldn't be in the discussion.  An all time classic.

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