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[1995-03-04-AJPW-Excite Series] Stan Hansen vs Toshiaki Kawada


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  • 1 month later...

I don't recall having a huge problem with the concept of Kawada losing to Stan at the time, since the belts were always going back to Misawa. It held off Kawada jobbing to Misawa.


I would have preferred that Kawada pin Kobashi, and it could have been done 55+ minutes into the match if Baba wanted to give the fans something special after the Quake.


I did have a problem with Kawada and Hansen working a long match. The promotion seemed locked in the punch that these needed to go long. Perhaps Kawada learned his lesson and went "sprint" in the 7/95 match with Misawa. This one would have been far better if they went 15 minutes of kicking the living shit out of each other throwing bombs. The tag title match, which actually went on *before* this one, went long enough to give the fans one epic on the night.



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  • 2 years later...

Okay-ish psychology-based action but slow. Evidently Kawada tore up Hansen's arm because Stan is selling like it's hanging by a thread, and does a full-blown Triple H laying for 30 seconds after hitting his finisher before covering for the 3. Not an auspicious reign for Kawada, winning the title in a disappointing match, not having a victorious title defense, and still firmly behind Misawa in the pecking order as best I can tell and closer to even with Kobashi than with Misawa.

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  • GSR changed the title to [1995-03-04-AJPW-Excite Series] Stan Hansen vs Toshiaki Kawada
  • 1 year later...

AJPW Triple Crown Champion Toshiaki Kawada vs Stan Hansen - AJPW 3/4/95

I have become very interested in these Triple Crown defenses with no hype. Are there hidden gems hiding in plain sight?

I have watched the first ten minutes and I will say this is definitely entertaining and definitely has its moments of heat, but whats weird is the crowd is so dead even in spots I wouldnt expect. Hansen uses a closed fist to break up a nearfall and Kawada sells it like his jaw is broken and not a peep. There were two tackles by each men that felt heated to me, but whole lotta nuthin from the crowd. Hansen busted out a diving shouldertackle through the bottom rope within the first minute and an out of nowhere elbow drop as Kawada was on the outside that was great. There were some really damn good highspots. There was no heat. 

Besides what I mentioned I liked Kawada responses to two Cowboy Kicks was to hit a Spinning Heel Kick and rifle him with his own Cowboy Kick. Just as Hansen looked to be running away with it, Kawada dropkicked the knee. They worked on that for a few minutes and then Hansen uses the aforementioned punch to break up the pinfall. 90s Hansen was forced to grind in these matches because of the length. When you are a guy Hansen's size and age, you cant do your "Bull In A China Shop" routine for 30 minutes so there was more of a grind to his work. He picked his spots and he had two big highspots. I liked the shouldertackle on the floor. Yeah so far, so good. It is definitely not a 5 star classic, but I am enjoying it. 

I have some thoughts on 90s Hansen...much better at selling. When I watch these 90s Hansen matches, I find his wounded bear selling to be the most enjoyable part of his matches. His grinding offense is good but I know it be better if he was in a spirited barroom brawl so I like his selling. I will say before the arm psychology hook I thought he was overselling exhaustion around 12 minutes. He made it seem like the match was even based on his selling but he was dominating. 

I liked the off camera lunge into the picture wiping Kawada out and then he hit two powerbombs, but like I was saying even though he was dominating he was acting as if he was every bit as worse off as Kawada. He goes for a third but Kawada starts hitting Jumping High Kicks. I like the head hunting strategy. I like Hansen's instinct is to go for a desperation Lariat to end the rally but Kawada ducks and hits another one. Kawada starts charging big booting Hansen in the mush. Hansen is great at selling but also struggling piefacing Kawada at one point or dumping him on his ass. Kawada was thinking powerbomb but couldnt make it happen. Hansen really started firing off those closed fists to the face. All Japan is really into having the heel use a punch to get heat when they are desperate. This crowd is dead as a door nail and I have given up on them because this match is great. Hansen is thinking Lariat, but Kawada kicks the Lariat arm! Jumping High Kick connects with the Lariat arm! Hansen does his wounded bear selling on the outside. He comes back in to the ring and is greeted with a kick so hard that Kawada sells his own foot. Great shit! Yeah this match rocks!

I really enjoyed Kawada's work on the arm. The Fujiwara Armbar Takedown and the Cross Armbreaker should have had nuclear heat. That was great. Hansen goes back to using the closed fists, but not as much pep behind them. Kawada desperately wants the Powerbomb but he just cant get the big man up. He goes for a suplex, but nope Hansen reverses I thought the end was night but they go back to Kawada who hits a top rope kneedrop. They loses me here. They just run out of steam and the crowd is so dead. Hansen guts through and hits his first Lariat but it doesnt have any swing to it. It is just a concrete wall. Kawada sells like death and then he hits the Swinging One and he sells like he broke his arm to do it and after like 30 seconds makes the cover for the win. 

Besides being totally bereft of crowd heat, I thought this match was great. Hansen was throwing his body around with reckless abandon and there were some great scraps at the beginning. I liked Kawada trying to kick Hansen's head off and then moving to targeting the arm. I have theory why there may have been no crowd heat. I think the crowd wanted to cheer for Hansen but the match was not designed in a way to make it easy for them to do it. Hansen had become Baba's tag partner and he was the senior guy on the roster. I think Baba assumed in a native vs gaijin match that Kawada would be cheered but I think Hansen had truly become one of them and add that Kawada is a heel native, I think the crowd wanted to cheer for Hansen, notice there are Hansen chants during the Fujiwara Armbar. Or it could be that this was heel vs heel which is the worst type of match because the crowd hates both men and does not cheer for anyone. I dont know but the crowd being dead is a reason I suspect this match is lauded. I did feel the finish was a bit flat and they did not crescendo into the Lariat. The first 28 minutes or so are great and that's worth something! ****


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