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[1992-09-09-AJPW-Summer Action Series II] Toshiaki Kawada vs Akira Taue

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Kawada and Taue always come after each other with such hate that I still haven't seen a match between them that I haven't liked. Kawada heels it up in this one and Taue fights from underneath after a strong start, where you'd think otherwise after he piledrives Kawada on a table. Near the end, Taue makes a comeback that makes him look great, with Kawada become really desperate to escape pins, more so than normal. Kawada finally wins after multiple stretch plum attempts, with the move finally working. I suspected Kawada would go over since he's challenging for the Triple Crown in October, but they did a good job creating doubt over that near the end.

 

Was Kawada helping him up after the match intended to foreshadow what would happen in '93?

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I don't recall them having any plan at this point. There isn't really any evidence in this series or the next that they expected Jumbo to go out for good. They had the opportunity to get the belts off Jumbo & Taue the following series, but had them go over Gordy & Doc in the rematch of the August non-title match. They also booked the final match of the year to have Jumbo in it. They probably would have booked things differently, and possibly pulled the trigger instantly if they thought otherwise.

 

Kawada-Taue talk started early in 1993 when it became clear Jumbo wasn't coming back.

 

At some point they would have had to split up Misawa-Kawada and Jumbo-Taue for Kobashi to move up. There really wasn't a 6th native ready for that spot anytime soon. Jun didn't move up until 1996... kind of hard to see him being the #2 to either Jumbo or Misawa (if they did the pretty unthinkable of making Kobashi the #2 to Jumbo) in 1993.

 

John

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The build was mediocre. The pacing felt off, like they were doing things in the wrong order. Fortunately it picked up a lot in the 2nd half as they showed what they could do. Rare submission finisher in a big bout.

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Taue looked real good here. Really good match that started off well with Taue piledriving Kawada on the announce table which set the tone. These guys were showing some hatred here. Nice battle at the end with each guy really determined to get their finisher in with the chokeslam versus stretch plum.

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Taue dominaties early sending Kawada to floor and piledriving him on a table, and he's relentless in controlling the action. Taue again worked great as a heel here, kicking Kawada in the head while he's down. Kawada eventually turns things around and forces Taue to work out of a tight headlock after Taue had him in the same spot earlier. Kawada hits a lariat for a hot near fall before Taue lands a big slap that looks to set up the finish as Kawada kicks out of one nodowa, gets a foot on the rope on the second and twice blocks a third attempt before going to the submissions with a Misawa facelock, stretch plum and another stretch plum for the win. Great finishing stretch.

 

***3/4

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Winner of this gets a shot at the Triple Crown. I've made noise about this Army vs. Army feud having run its course, but I'm sure not tired of seeing this match-up yet, and this is the best match in the series since the 1/91 brawl. It may be Taue's best performance in a singles match, period. Loved Taue busting out the enzuilariatio that had put him down so many times, and Kawada's desperation attempts to avoid the nodowa. Kawada gets the win with the Stretch Plum and this sets up the intra-army TC match the next month. Intrigue!

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This was a lot like the joshi matches I've been watching lately: back and forth, with neither man having the advantage for more than a few seconds at a time. But for whatever reason, it never felt like that; it was grittier, with a lot more substance to it. What a knockdown drag-out fight, with a shot at the promotion's biggest prize on the line.

 

Each man started out trying to work a body part: Kawada's neck and Taue's arm. But it soon became apparent that neither man was going to give up, so they switched to just beating the hell out of each other while trying to avoid each other's finishers. There was definitely the feeling here that each man knew the other so well that it would be impossible for the chokeslam and stretch plum to work. When it came time, though, we saw each in its devastating glory. Taue's chokeslams looked particularly vicious, especially since he'd piledriven Kawada on the table and also DDTd him on the floor. Taue eventually passes out in the stretch plum, but never actually gives up, thus giving Kawada a decisive victory heading into his match with Misawa while keeping Taue strong for later.

 

I liked Kawada helping Taue up at the end, whether it was foreshadowing their partnership or not. The fans popped for it too, which may have been one reason Baba ultimately decided to team them. From the way they beat the hell out of each other, I can tell that they should be an awesome team once they get together.

 

Misawa and Kawada team in the Tag League in November and December, according to the match list, so it's going to be interesting to see how they put their upcoming title match behind them and get back in the tag team groove when the time comes.

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So 2 of my top 10 wrestlers ever and the first instance of my favorite wrestling theme song (Kawada's theme is so amazing!) on the yearbooks.  Week made.

Loved how chippy the transitions are in this match.  It's always something like a few kicks to the head from the ground while the other is trying to pick them up or a counter off of a big move into something that opens up a big move for the other guy.  Everything feels earned.  And the way they worked those headlocks was great.  Taue really was scrappy early on with his.  Finishing run was amazing with a lot of out-of-nowhere counters basically out of desperation because they didn't want to eat the next big bomb.  I liked the short, terse handshake.  It's so characteristic of both of these guys not to make a huge deal out of it, just a quick handshake and walk away.

Just want to say it extremely clearly.  Matches like this are why I love pro wrestling and AJPW.

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