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[1992-07-05-AJPW-Summer Action Series] Kenta Kobashi & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi vs Masa Fuchi & Yoshinari Ogawa

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Not quite as memorable as their semi-match to start the 4/18 elimination match, but very good of course. I suppose it's a letdown after the title switch, but nobody had high expectations vis-a-vis Ogawa taking part in an 'epic'.

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Don't know which date is correct but i'm assuming this is the same match Ditch has labled as 7/5 on his site.

 

Anyways, there's a moment in this whear Fuchi & Kikuchi are frozen in time having a staring contest. Kikuchi is on his knees, looking up like he wants to kill him while the fans chant his name, Fuchi is blankly staring back like "well come on and try if you want". Kikuchi stands up and then Fuchi just calmy walks over and punches him in the face.

 

Geatest thing ever......

 

Not quite as memorable as their semi-match to start the 4/18 elimination match, but very good of course. I suppose it's a letdown after the title switch, but nobody had high expectations vis-a-vis Ogawa taking part in an 'epic'.

Awww, wish you hadn't mentioned 4/18 was part of an elim match. Now i'm disapointed I didn't get to see the whole thing.

Irregardless, I liked this match more then 4/18 which was also really good.

 

Didn't Meltzer rave about this as an equal to the Can-Ams match?

Can Am match is 5/22 right? I re-watched that one just now for comparisons sake. Both are great, woldn't call either 5* or anything close, but both are great.

 

I liked this more then the Can Am match though. This had a cooler story and was more engaging. Only thing Can Am match has in it's favour to me is that it took place infront of one of the most insane crowds ever. Kobashi & Kikuchi could have stood in the middle of the ring and took a deep breath and those fans would have lost their shit & jumped for joy.

 

1 other random thought, having watched a bunch of 92 All Japan over the past couple days and having not really seen much of him this early in his career before, I couldn't help thinking over and over that "boy, young Kobashi is kind of a dork". Don't know why, kinda funny.

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-Yes, this happened on 7/5. The sets are kinda all over the place on All Japan dates...

 

-The rest of the 4/18 tag isn't nearly as good IMO. Especially the anticlimactic end with crappy old Rusher.

 

-Yeah I meant the 5/25 match. There was a rematch in October that was JIP'ed to hell and isn't on the set (rightly so). Altogether they had four taped matches and none of them aired complete, including TWICE on comms!

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For All Japan, I'm hosting most of these and I have the date right 99% of the time. There's the Purolove archive of Kobashi results, and since he's on pretty much every show that's a good way to double-check the date of a taping:

http://www.purolove.com/noah/kobashi/kobashi.php

 

Or just post the whole list and I bet people will do it all for you, since you're doing so much work already with these! I can't even begin to imagine how long it takes to do all the individual threads...

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Aside from the 5/22 six-man, this is my favorite All Japan match of the year. I don't know if Dave said this was equal to the Can-Ams match, but I actually thought it was better, because the action is equally great, but you also have Kobashi doing a phenomenal job selling a knee injury and all the great Fuchi touches. Everything you can say about the Can-Ams match would apply here (although the crowd, while awesome, isn't quite as great), only this has a little more depth to it. It's definitely the best AJ midcard match I've seen.

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I thought this was boss. Kobashi knee selling was tremendous and added a ton of drama to this awesome match. I thought Fuchi and Ogawa were strong heels. Ogawa trying to trip Kobashi on the outside was a great spot that got a lot of heat. The finish though looked like a double pin. I too thought it was a tad better than the Can-Ams bout.

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I think it's a pretty good mid card match but still favor the Can-Ams match a lot more. It was nice to see Kikuchi and Ogawa get to do a bit more in a match. They had some good close pinfalls against one another. Finish was great and was refreshing to see Kikuchi pick up the win over Fuchi.

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19 of 32m shown and we jump straight into the Kikuchi beatdown. Fuchi is a sadistic bastard. There was also an excellent Kobashi knee segment. Ratboy had a weak offense but was fine in the #4 role. The other 3 shone.

 

It was such a twisting, winding epic with a multilayered story. I was never sure what was going to happen next. It wasn't as crisp or streamlined as other top matches, being more sprawling and organic in structure. It had great psychology, told a story and was always exciting. I loved it.

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After the intros we skip ahead to Kikuchi getting worked over before a hot tag to Kobashi, who proceeds to sell his knee as they're both up to selling and playing a great FIP here. Kobashi hits a moonsault but can't move on his bum knee. Pretty basic FIP formula throughout that was very well executed. Fuchi is such a great heel. In empty arenas I might just prefer this to the Furnas/Kroffat tag but tough to go that far when you factor in the crowds.

 

****

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This had kind of a slow start (or slow JIP point), but then just kept going and going and going ten minutes after you expected the actual, real finishing stretch to begin. The amazing part of this, aside from all the hot near-falls, was how great Kobashi and Kikuchi were at playing underdogs. Okay, that's nothing new for them, but...Kobashi is pretty clearly well ahead of Fuchi at this point even though both guys are each team's #3. Kobashi pinned Fuchi several times during the year (thanks, Purolove!) and I think Fuchi pinning Kobashi would come off as a major upset. And while I love Fuchi, Kobashi is so much bigger and more dynamic that it'd be easy for fans to wonder how Fuchi, much less Ogawa, could possibly beat him. Ogawa got a pinfall on Kikuchi in a 6-man at some point around here, and that came off as an upset though not nearly to as great of a degree. Yet a few fluky injuries like Kobashi buggering his knee on the moonsault and some miscommunication spots have the champs fighting for their lives against seemingly overmatched opponents. Anyway, I KNEW Fuchi & Ogawa never held the All-Asia belts and I was still totally biting on the near-falls, especially Kikuchi kicking out of every finisher Fuchi had. Then Ogawa gets a chance to shine, withstanding just about every big bomb the champs have. And the icing on the cake, Kikuchi pins Fuchi and gets one of the biggest wins of his career to that point.

 

Fantastic match and maybe just as big of a feelgood moment. Eventually on the same level as the previous All-Asia tag and Kawada/Kikuchi match. In its own way it also served as a strong illustration that it was maybe time to move on from Misawa's Army/Jumbo's Army. Jumbo was still the #1 man in the company, but the rest of his team was clearly behind everyone else on Misawa's side. It's unfortunate that AJPW's hand was once again forced the way that it was, but it's time for some shuffling to take place.

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I liked what I saw here. Fuchi was the star for his side, and he possesses the most lethal dropkick in professional wrestling, particularly when it's aimed at an opponent's bad knee. He and Ogawa nearly crippled Kenta, and at one point caused an accidental miscommunication when Fuchi ducked Kikuchi's dropkick, causing it to blast Kenta in the face. But none of that was enough to deny the plucky champions.

 

I think Kikuchi's about ready to shed the "merely a punching bag" role. I loved how he wasn't afraid of Fuchi or Ogawa, and hos fierce facial expressions showed how he's grown in just a few short months. It'll be interesting to see as the Jumbo/Misawa feud dies down if he gets a chance to show that fierceness to guys like Taue or the captain himself.

 

Great job by Kenta of selling the knee even after the bout was over. Sometimes in Japan guys forget to do that, particularly if their style requires a lot of high flying or knee strikes.

 

Here's how much the Misawa/Jumbo dynamic has impacted All-Japan: When I was watching this match, I was so into the implications it had for the feud that I forgot it was a title match. As unfortunate as Jumbo having to take a step back is, maybe it will clear the way for titles to get their just due at all times. (The only exception to this emphasis on feuds over titles has been the Triple Crown, especially when Hansen has held it )

 

The accident spot between Kikuchi and Kenta was a bit of a shock in that it didn't set up a turn, as it almost inevitably would in North America. Not only that, all of their subsequent doubleteams for the rest of the match were on target. American and Mexican bookers, take note!

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#153 - placetobenation.com/countdown-top-500-matches-of-the-90s-200-151/2/

 

I love Fuchi's offensive attack on Kikuchi. It's sharp, impactful, and violent. Kobashi was on fire after the hot tag. Like most everyone else, I found Kobashi's selling of the knee to be fantastic. He's truly one of the greatest. Both Kobashi and Fuchi really stood out for me in this bout. I've never been a fan of that rolling pin move... I'm not sure what it's called, but for some reason it always bothers me. ****1/4

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Dave did rate this as five stars and said it was better than the Kroffat and Furnas match and one of the greatest matches he has ever seen.

I don't think it's as good as the Kroffat and Furnas match but thought it was great. I rated it ****3/4
Dave's review is in the August 3, 1992 Observer, available at this link for those with a subscription

http://members.f4wonline.com/wrestling-observer-newsletter/august-3-1992-observer-newsletter-vince-drama-penthouse-false-stories

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