Jump to content
Pro Wrestling Only
Sign in to follow this  
Loss

[1995-03-21-AJPW-Championship Carnival] Kenta Kobashi vs Akira Taue

Recommended Posts

This is remembered as "the one where Taue destroys Kobashi" but that's only the last ~5 minutes. In the rest of it Kobashi is really stubborn, way more than usual for him. He makes Taue earn it, and based on the crowd reaction it actually gets Taue over as an underdog (?!). Oddly enough, even though Kobashi had never beaten Taue, at this point he was higher ranked in the fans' eyes by virtue of more big-time singles matches and several big tag wins. So, Taue winning means a lot, and not just because he debuted a new finisher.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

More big time singles matches? It's pretty even. The fans liked Kobashi more. They didn't "rank" him above Taue. He'd never taken a singles match of Taue, while Taue had put him down. He'd never taken a singles match off Kawada, while Taue had put Kawada down.

 

It's a bit akin to them liking Kobashi more than Kawada in early 1997. Kobashi wasn't "ranked" above Kawada. They liked him more, and he was getting a similar push.

 

On the match... I've never seen this as Kobashi making Taue earn it. Instead, Kobashi is Kobashi by the point: he's going to do his own shit, a chunk of it is over-the-top and at times pulling away from whatever it was they just did, but it tends to add up to an "entertaining match". He's pretty much in his Ric Flair phase: he's got shit to do, and TONS of it. Except that he also plays the face in the Flair matches: boy does he like coming out on top whenever doing a toe-to-toe spot with someone. Not *every* time, mind you... but boy did he love winning those, and you get the sense often that his opponents (even Doc and Kawada who might reel him in) tend to go, "Aw fuck it... let the little bastard have these if he wants them." With someone like Misawa, it seems like they'll just let Kobashi do whatever he wants for large stretches, having confidence he'll carry his share... and a part of their's. With others, especially Kawada at times, it seems more the working equiv of tapping out: you're not going to change how he works, he's just going to do it anyway, might as well turn off the brain a bit. Lord knows there's that exact same vibe in Mutoh-Kawada. :)

 

I think the point is: Kobashi probably doesn't even grasp the concept of "make him earn it". He's just doing his shit.

 

It's probably projecting when we toss it around at Kawada in some of his matches such as the one with Taue in this Carny. But he does have a bit more of a track record of putting together some matches where it appears to be a theme... rather than just Kawada doing shit kind of randomly.

 

John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In the two years before CC '95, Kobashi had two TC shots to Taue's zero; he had important non-carny singles matches against Hansen, Kawada, Doc and Gordy while Taue had none; had a longer tag title reign. Kobashi hadn't beaten Taue in singles but he was a lot hotter.

 

I also disagree with "Kobashi had stuff to get in". The way he was cutting Taue off and/or stuffing his offense was very unlike Flair or Kobashi, both of whom are known for eating a lot of offense and taking their share of bumps. Totally unlike how Kobashi wrestled other big singles matches at this stage in his career. I kept saying to myself "damn Kenta, let Taue get a turn". I have never thought that in any other Kobashi match.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In the two years before CC '95, Kobashi had two TC shots to Taue's zero;

This really is just Kobashi getting a pair of title shots, his first ever, in a short period of time:

 

09/94 Williams vs Kobashi

10/94 Williams vs Kawada

01/95 Kawada vs Williams

 

It's not terribly different from Taue getting his first shots in a short period:

 

07/92 Hansen vs Taue

08/92 Hansen vs Misawa

10/92 Misawa vs Kawada

02/93 Misawa vs Taue

 

Did that mean Taue was ranked ahead of Kawada, Williams and Gordy at that point? No.

 

 

he had important non-carny singles matches against Hansen, Kawada, Doc and Gordy while Taue had none;

I think this is more of a case of Baba not really trusting Taue to hold up his end of a big singles match between 3/93 and 3/95. It's entirely likely that Taue wouldn't even have gotten the 4/95 Budokan match if Doc didn't get busted. Luckily, Taue picked up his game and changed his own future there.

 

 

had a longer tag title reign.

Kobashi's partner had the longer title reign(s). :)

 

 

Kobashi hadn't beaten Taue in singles but he was a lot hotter.

Hell, Kobashi was hotter back in 1990 and 1991 and 1992 as well. Fans liked him. They were mixed on Taue.

 

 

I also disagree with "Kobashi had stuff to get in". The way he was cutting Taue off and/or stuffing his offense was very unlike Flair or Kobashi, both of whom are known for eating a lot of offense and taking their share of bumps. Totally unlike how Kobashi wrestled other big singles matches at this stage in his career. I kept saying to myself "damn Kenta, let Taue get a turn". I have never thought that in any other Kobashi match.

I thought Kobashi was cutting off Doc in the 1994 Carny to degrees that he really shouldn't have been given Doc's push. Since Doc was headed to the TC by the time of Carny 1994, and Taue *wasn't* by the time of Carny 1995, I find the cutting off of Doc to be more jarring.

 

Most of the Kobashi from the era that I watch now has a hell of a lot more cutting off that I recalled at the time. Folks pretty much let him have his head after a point. Perhaps not Hansen, but most of the rest rolled over in a lot of ways to The Kobashi Show.

 

Not say that Kobashi didn't eventually bump and eat offense to other folks. But it's not like Taue had *zero* offense prior to the end run.

 

John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Taue getting nothing for two years, *regardless of the reason*, was a de-push. I'd say that at this point Kobashi was ahead of him; maybe the fans felt otherwise but that's not the impression I got based on the reaction. Taue pouring it on got a babyface reaction, rather than making the crowd root for a Kobashi comeback. Based on the Japanese pro-underdog default that leads me to think they viewed Taue winning as an upset, even if a very mild one. Or maybe he just won them over. Either way this was the start of a big Taue push and he took full advantage.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Taue getting nothing for two years, *regardless of the reason*, was a de-push.

He actually got to job to Hansen in January in a #1 contenders match. :) It wasn't quite nothing: it was akin to Kobashi jobbing to Doc in 1993 in a #1 contenders match.

 

As far as others:

 

* Kobashi (Budokan) then Taue (Sapporo) got wins over Spivey in 1993

* Taue (Carny) then Kobashi (Sapporo) got wins over Gordy in 1993

* Kobashi (Carny) then Taue (Carny) got wins over Hansen in 1994

 

Neither got the win over Williams, likely due to timing in the period when one of them would have gotten it:

 

* Doc's push in 1994 towards the TC

* Doc's dope bust in 1995

 

They both got beat like a drum by Misawa, though one of them got a TC challenge against him: Taue.

 

Among the natives behind Misawa in the period where Taue was "de-pushed":

 

1991 leading into Carny 1995

9-2-2 Kawada

4-4-5 Taue

0-4-6 Kobashi

 

1993 leading into Carny 1995

4-2-0 Kawada

2-4-1 Taue

0-5-4 Kobashi

 

You're not ahead of someone you've never beaten in a singles match, who inturn has traded wins with the #2 native in the promotion who has cleaned your clock over the years.

 

 

I'd say that at this point Kobashi was ahead of him; maybe the fans felt otherwise but that's not the impression I got based on the reaction.

The fans liked Kobashi more. They knew Taue was ahead of him and where hoping to see Kobashi finally drop him in a singles.

 

 

Taue pouring it on got a babyface reaction, rather than making the crowd root for a Kobashi comeback.

It's Korakuen Hall. There were some interesting reactions in the building in that series. Watch the 60 minute six man again and listen to the fans at times pull for the rudo Kawada & Taue while at times treating the techinco Misawa & Kobashi as almost the heels. They were pulling in some of the hardest of the hardcores on those two shows, and they were having some fun with it.

 

It's not representative of "All Japan Fans" in general. Clearly Misawa passed Taue by... well... he was always ahead of Taue. Did it sound at Budokan that there were more Taue fans than Misawa fans? Beyond the normal "we're rooting for a great match crowd" that we see when Misawa is against every opponent, by the point all of whom were well behind him as the top star in the promotion.

 

Taue gets a better reaction in Budokan in April 1995 and beyond than say February 1993 not because an underdog (he's was in 1993 even more), but because he's putting on a much better performance and giving the fans more to pop for. But still the majority of fans in the building are pulling for the overwhelming favorite, the guy who was a favorite against everyone in the promotion, and a guy who obviously was much more of a favorite against Taue than Kobashi: Misawa.

 

 

 

Based on the Japanese pro-underdog default that leads me to think they viewed Taue winning as an upset, even if a very mild one. Or maybe he just won them over.

Pro underdog default? This is why the fans rooted for Misawa opposite Kawada in the majority of their matches, despite Kawada always being behind Misawa?

 

You are literally the first person I've ever spoken with who thought/thinks Taue beating Kobashi in 1995 would be an upset. :)

 

 

Either way this was the start of a big Taue push and he took full advantage.

Opening night of Carny with Doc busted. Big opportunity and Taue did nail it.

 

John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

He actually got to job to Hansen in January in a #1 contenders match. :) It wasn't quite nothing: it was akin to Kobashi jobbing to Doc in 1993 in a #1 contenders match.

Never heard of this one before! Details?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have it as:

 

01/25/95 Hansen b Taue (17:59) #1 Contender - Fukushima

 

Must have gotten it from the WON at the time, unless Koichi faxed it.

 

John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I thought this match layout did a great job of putting Taue over strongly. The first 15 minutes of this are a stalemate, but a really great stalemate. It's less "My turn, your turn" and more that each guy is prepared for the best the other guy has to offer. Taue looks worlds better than he did in January, so I suspect jdw's theory is correct. One thing they establish early in the match that they continue to pay off is that even if Taue takes his lumps from Kobashi, he's insanely determined to overcome whatever Kobashi throws at him. I love how decisive the last 10 minutes are. Kobashi hangs on as long as he can, but Taue gets in three nodowas, a powerbomb outside the ring and then closes the deal with a dynamic bomb to seal the deal.

 

I didn't see this as Kobashi dominating prior to the last few minutes as much as it being pretty even. Like I said, it was pretty compelling because it was well-worked and they were putting over familiarity and struggle.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This was an awesome way to launch Taue's big Carnival run. They wrestled a tough, even match for the first 2/3 and then Taue showed he had an extra gear with the run of big offense. It's natural to focus on the guy delivering the killer moves, but Kobashi deserves a lot of credit for the way he put Taue over as well. After the nodowa off the apron, he clearly switched to survival mode and thus, gave the spot the respect it deserved. It's always cool to see a performance that serves the exact right purpose for the bigger picture.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another great fight that tells its story and gets in and out. I have to agree that Kobashi has "seemed" hotter over the past year, starting with his win over Hansen (even though Taue did the same thing later in the Carny) to Misawa & Kobashi controlling the tag titles. But Taue showed he had another gear here, busting out some new offense and utilizing the floor and the Dynamic Bomb to decisively put Kobashi down. Kobashi looked gutsy in defeat with the way he tried to hang on, but it seemed like Taue's match to lose in the closing moments and he came through.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I really enjoyed this match. For me, it's the first time Taue really looks like he's on the level of the other three pillars in terms of having these incredible singles matches. It wasn't the perfect match, for reasons mentioned above. I was also disappointed that after Taue's really nice looking drop kick to Kobashi's knee followed by a leglock that Kobashi sold like sheer agony, the whole knee attack seemed to be forgotten.

 

One thing that has to be complimented here is how this match was filmed. The director and camera guys were spot on in accentuating the wrestlers work. I love how the choke slam off the apron was filmed from low down and behind which made the height Kobashi fell that bit more dangerous. The power bomb on the floor also looked awesome from that angle where you couldn't see Kobashi's landing and he just seemed to disappear into an abyss behind the fans. It's something that doesn't get talked about enough but something that can really add to a match.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

#338

 

This was a solid bout. In fact, it may have been the most solid bout in the countdown thus far. Taue had a game plan here and stuck to it, chipping away at Kobashi until he was able to put him away. I liked how the early stalemate led to heated sumo slaps and the general burliness of the first 15 minutes. Taue was still a bit blue-collar here, but Kobashi added plenty of pep to the bout. He did a great job of selling his destruction, which made it seem even more thorough than it was. I liked his theatrical selling of the choke slam struggle and the final lights out moment. Vintage All Japan, a notch or two below the best stuff.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

#338 - placetobenation.com/countdown-top-500-matches-of-the-90s-350-301/

 

I loved Kobashi's performance in this. The fighter that won't go down. It really put Taue over as Taue's approach felt more methodical and haunting than anything. He was the dominant big man, and Kobashi was fighting from underneath. They were both excellent here. The slap exchange that escalated to the brawling on the mat was a great moment. That's a cool point about the camera work. I wouldn't have thought about that, but you are exactly right. The way they filmed that powerbomb on the outside was perfect. I love the last big slap that Kobashi delivers to Taue, and then he just sort stumbles backwards and sideways falling down after exerting all he had left.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A really intriguing match going in. I felt like three potential outcomes were about equally likely at this point in time. A Taue win, a Kobashi win or a time limit draw.

 

It was worked as an even battle of peers for a time as they went back and forth. Kobashi certainly looked the more stylish on offence. Yet Taue was every bit as effective in a rougher edged way. The pivotal moment came when Akira delivered a devastating chokeslam to the floor. From then on Kobashi was in deep trouble and fighting defensively to survive. After 25m he could hold on no longer. Though it never threatened higher levels this was a consistently good bout with an effective storyline.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Akira Taue vs Kenta Kobashi - AJPW Champions Carnival 3/21/95
 
The 1995 edition of the Champions Carnival is my favorite Carnival of all time (even though 1994 has made a serious play for number one when I just watched it a month ago). To me this is when the Four Corners were all peaking together, Taue was a bit of a laggard, but in 1995 he took a big step forward and was every bit their peer and it all starts with this Carnival run. Dr. Death is to 1994 what Taue is to 1995. The most important thing to note is Kobashi has never beaten Taue, BUT he does hold a time limit draw against then Champion Kawada and several big Tag pins. If you were setting odds, this was a push 'em, but I'd say whoever does win this match was getting the big push for 1995. I reviewed all these matches in 2012 and actually wrote one of my very first blogs on the 1995 Carnival. I will throw in some editorial notes from 2020 as I watch the match.
 
The first match is a contest between the two junior partners in their respective teams. It really feels like both these men are out there with something to prove (2020 Martin: Effort level is very high). This gives this match a real sense of struggle  as both men are making each other work for their moves (2020 Martin: Damn straight). Everytime, Kobashi looks like he is putting something together, Taue will throw him down (2020 Martin: Noticed this theme of Taue being very reactionary. Kobashi was fire up and Taue would have to just defend himself from being overwhelmed). There is a theme among most Kobashi matches of his macho posturing costing him matches as he gets too involved in one up manship that he loses sight of winning the match. Taue, for his part, avoids getting sucked into this like Kawada sometimes will by avoiding the test of strength and going for shortcuts like eye-rakes and throwdowns. Taue is going his best to disrupt Kobashi’s offensive flow. For his part, Taue looked his best on offense that I has seen up to that point. His Jumbo high knee and enziguri combo looked fantastic. He delivered some stiff blows a particularly vicious lariat comes to mind. (2020 Martin: I know the exact lariat that I am talking about. I marked out for that again and I would add the Taue elbow drop from the top was a great highspot). 2020 Martin: I would add that there is a fist fight that breaks out mid-match that Kobashi actually starts when they scrap to the ground. Then Taue comes up swinging. You can tell how badly each man wants it. There is a desperation to win in this match unlike almost any other I have seen. It makes for very engaging viewing. 
 
Kobashi continues this theme of struggle by doing his best to cut off Taue during his offense. Kobashi comes off like a warrior with dogged determination to press on even in bleak circumstance. My favorite spot of the match is when Taue does a throwdown to stop a Kobashi flurry into the corner only for Kobashi to rebound off and lariat him to a great pop. (2020 Martin: I would no longer say thats my favorite spot of the match, but it is a great spot. Noticed how Kobashi needed a Spinning Back Hand Chop, this lariat, and a DDT to just level the playing field.) Eventually string together two pinning combinations off of a bridging german suplex and a powerbomb, but then misses his put-away: the moonsault. This gives the feeling that Kobashi was one move away from his getting his big victory. (2020 Martin: Always smart booking. I am an advocate for missing the finisher. The finisher-kick out is one of the most damaging trends in pro wrestling). 

As part two of my favorite spot of the match, Taue Irish whipped Kobashi into the guardrail and Kobashi went to do a rebound lariat only for Taue to catch him this time and throw him back into the guardrail. That was sweet! (2020 Martin: This is my favorite spot. 2012 Martin seems like a good dude. :) ) Taue follows this up with a HUGE Nodowa off the apron onto the floor! (2020 Martin: This would become a theme throughout the '95 Carnival and a signal that end is nigh. This being the first match we didnt know the pattern yet). Kobashi sells it like death. (2020 Martin: Kobashi's selling from here on is sublime). Taue has to bring him back in to get the pinfall, but Kobashi kicks out. Kobashi is working under the “lights are on, but no one is home” guise just trying to extend Taue to a 30 minute draw by rolling to outside. Taue obliges him by POWERBOMBING him on the floor. There is no safe haven! Taue is such a prick and the fans love it oddly enough as they cheer his name. Kobashi desperately trying to avoid the NODOWA~! EPIC! Taue polishes him off with the DYNAMIC BOMB~! This is Taue’s new and improved finisher to add a bomb to his arsenal.

I liked (2020 Martin: I believe the word you are looking for is "LOVED") this match a whole lot as Taue really blew me away with his performance. He reigned Kobashi in and made sure that Kobashi never ate him alive with all his offense. Taue worked hard to impress and deliver some great offense. The match did a great job to put over two moves: the Nodowa off the apron and the Dynamic Bomb. In addition, it really Taue over as a scrappy, ruthless competitor that would never let a match get too far out of control. Kobashi was able to work his moves in a logical fashion and his facial expressions added to put over how much of a struggle this match was. His most important role was selling like he dead after the Nodowa to the floor and really putting Taue over as a threat. It felt like he was one moonsault away from winning, but at the day he went for one too many rebound lariats and got caught. That was turning point because it allowed Taue to set up the Nodowa to the floor. A fantastic start to the tournament and I think one that places the bar very high for all the matches to follow. (2020 Martin: Wants to add the effort level was extraordinarily high, I loved Kobashi's dogged determination to keep charging & Taue's equally dogged determination to keep throwing him on his ass. I came in thinking we going to start with a kickass match, but this could be the second best match of the tournament). ****3/4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×