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

[1995-04-13-AJPW-Championship Carnival] Toshiaki Kawada vs Kenta Kobashi

Recommended Posts

My take in '07: "this is my favorite of the CC broadways. It's everything good about the 1/95 broadway without the excessive downtime. It's got all the elements of great Kings Road matches and a top-notch '90s-level finish. This gets into the top three Kawada vs Kobashi bouts, and that's enough"

 

I hope that the new, complete version of this was used for the set.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, it definitely is a great match, but I'm thinking Loss would need to see their match in '98 to make that judgment. The two one-hour draws were fantastic matches, but this match and the '98 one are at a clearly different level.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well I definitely wasn't disappointed with this match, and I can see the praise. I don't think the gap is big, but this isn't a clear frontrunner to me when comparing Kawada/Kobashi matches. They each have a specific quality I love. Comparing this to their January draw, it's a more focused match with a far, far more dramatic conclusion (add the first 50 minutes of the January draw to the last 10 minutes of this one and I think you'd have a legit GOAT candidate). It starts with a lot of spots and sequences borrowed from the Taue match five days earlier, and I think they were spots that worked better with Taue than Kobashi. And my immediate thought was, "I bet people who praise this didn't watch it in the context of the Taue match, so it didn't resonate with them that this is a carbon copy." But that was a premature conclusion -- the match does take a different turn.

 

I always enjoy Kawada working over Kobashi's knee because I think he has a right to hold a grudge over the 12/93 tag. This match is largely a stalemate. Kawada goes after Kobashi's knee and Kobashi responds in kind. There are lots of great payback spots too. This is all about placing these two on equal footing (not that their other matches hadn't done the same thing in many ways). While the opening moments of the January match felt like the best possible classic NWA World title defense, this felt more like king-sized stadium wrestling. They milk incredible drama over the momentum shifts of a simple test of strength and get a couple of minutes out of just that, with the crowd popping for each twist and turn. That's when you know these two guys are among the greatest of all time -- you see how much less they could get by doing and still be great, yet they still do more anyway. Anyway, Kobashi breaking the stalemate with a tiger suplex was outstanding.

 

So I'm not sure I want to choose between my Kawada/Kobashi matches. The January match was a title defense and was worked really well as a classic title defense. This match was a 30-minute draw where they were placed in a workhorse position but weren't the central focus of the Carny, and they delivered the appropriate match for that. So far, Kawada/Taue remains my favorite Carny match, but it's a close call, and one I may change my mind about later.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll probably have a firmer opinion on this after going through the set, but was this the greatest Carny of all time? You had great matches from every possible combination of the pillars, several mid-level MOTYCs from the body of the tournament and an undisputed classic in the final. I like '94 as well with Hansen and Doc in the mix, and '93 featured some great matches, but this one seems pretty hard to top.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It has been a few years since I have watched a majority of this stuff but when I went through my All Japan kick the Comercial tapes of the 1995 Carny were one of my cherished possessions. I have seen the TV stuff from the 1993 Carny and most of the major matches from 1994, 1996, 1997, and 1998 and there is not another Carny that matches it in my eyes. Even the Baba 6 man hour long draw on the first tape is enjoyable in the 1995 Carny.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, I know it's not on the set but I thought that six-man was a total blast, with Baba having a great time and Kawada busting out old Footloose high spots.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's a tough call, as 1993, 1994 and 1995 all have their positives.

 

* * * * * * * * * * * *

 

1993 has good/interesting matches between:

 

Four Corners: Misawa-Kawada, Kawada-Taue, Misawa-Kobashi and Kawada-Kobashi

Four Corners vs Top Gaijin: Kawada-Williams, Misawa-Hansen, Taue-Hansen, Misawa-Gordy, Hansen-Kobashi (handheld)

Top Gaijin vs Top Gaijin: Gordy-Williams, Hansen-Williams (though that wasn't well received at the time)

Lesser Matches: Kobashi-Furnas, Kroffat-Smith along with Kawada-Davey Boy and Misawa-Furnas from the Hansen-Kobashi handheld

 

There's a lot of variety in terms of depth that really isn't matched later.

 

They also haven't quite lost their minds yet on spot-fu-o-rama. It makes for an interesting "before" snap shot. Also, it really is the moment where this generation of natives makes the promotion "theirs" in the absence of Jumbo. Really interesting developmental moment.

 

Negatives would be that much if it is JIP and that there isn't much support from interesting non-Carny matches.

 

There were two tags that got ***+: Misawa & Kikuchi vs Taue & Ogawa and Taue & Fuchi & Ogawa vs. Kawada & Kobashi & Kikuchi. The second was Kawada's last match with Misawa's group. Neither is really all that interesting. If you're making a pure AJPW 1993 Yearbook, the first wouldn't rate being on, while the second would only rate as being included for historical value.

 

The JIP issue only stands out because 1994 and 1995 have commercial tapes with quite a few complete matches. It's not really a major negative, and instead just an annoyance in wishing that the JIP matches had gotten an AJPW Classics treatment.

 

* * * * * * * * * * * *

 

1994... I touched on that over in the Yearbook pimping thread.

 

The variety with Gaijin is down due to Gordy being out. In turn, we have lots of matches between the Four Corners and Hansen & Doc: Hansen against Kawada, Kobashi and Taue, while there are Doc matches against Kawada (two excellent ones) and Kobashi. The Final is of course great... probably my favorite Final ever.

 

There is a Misawa vacuum due to his "injury", so we just have Misawa-Kawada among big matches, a mediocre Misawa-Akiyama, and a Misawa-Smith that had to be JIP to hell for some reason.

 

On the other hand, everyone else stepped up. Doc was really hitting his peak. Stan was still at his 1993 level. Kawada and Kobashi were peaking. Taue wasn't at his peak, but his match with Stan was something special, his match with Kawada was very good, and the two matches with Kobashi were at the level one would expect out of them.

 

There are other interesting singles. Kawada-Ace is about as good of Ace match as you'd get up to that point. Jun's matches with Kawada and Williams are quite good for Jun's level at the time, while his match with Kobashi at least had good spots tossed out even if it's not compelling. That Misawa match was mediocre, but it's worth watching just to balance out the view we have of Misawa in 1994. Kawada-Smith is pretty watchable even with Smith's limitations of credibility, and a match-up we didn't typically see.

 

Where 1994 has it all over 1993 is in the supporting non-Carny matches. There is a non-Carny Taue vs Kobashi, and Misawa-Kawada is technically non-Carny. I liked Ace-Honda from Budokan when rewatching it and is non-Carny: I'd actually keep it on an AJPW 1994 Yearbook as something different and as a sign of what Ace was up to before his push with Doc later in the year. The six-man at Budokan is good though not overall great. It's certainly a keeper in an AJPW 1994 Yearbook, though perhaps not in an world wide Yearbook. There are a number of good six-mans from the commercial tapes, with probably two of the Baba six-mans being keepers (the first with Hansen and then the one with Misawa & Kikuchi opposite Kawada & Taue & Fuchi). Misawa & Akiyama & Kikuchi vs Kroffat & Furnas & Smith is just 7:30 of JIP, but it's awfully fun and I'd keep on a 1994 AJPW Yearbook.

 

1994 might be a bit more enjoyable than 1993 just for the sense of "Series" that you get with all the coverage: 10 shows get shot, and it's not like any of the cards are ripped off in their coverage.

 

* * * * * * * * * * * *

 

1995 has the major positive of Taue becoming Really Good Taue. This is kind of important because he's all over Carny opposite Misawa (twice), Kawada and Kobashi in some of the signature matches of the series.

 

Misawa is "healthy", both in the sense of not working an injury that took him out of matches the prior year, but also in not seeming to be banged up like he was at the start of the 1994 Carny. Well... at least until Kawada kicks him in the eye. That doesn't seem to impact him in the match with Jun two days later, nor in the two matches with Taue after it.

 

There's a lot of Jun available on it. That doesn't seem to have made the set, which is a bit too bad. There's going to be a sense to folks that he comes out of nowhere in 1996, other than some six-mans here and there. The 1994 and 1995 Carnys are probably the best samples out there of where he was at as a worker in those series.

 

Negatives:

 

Zero of note from Hansen in it as he has no singles with the Four Corners that survived. Matches with Omori and Jun, edited with Spivey and one with Furnas. He is in the 60 minute six-man, and in the six-man at Budokan. There are other six-mans on the commercial set with him involved, but I haven't sift through that set in about a decade and none of them stick out other than the 60 and Budokan. Hansen is the TC Champ at the time and pretty much is a bit player in the 9 cards of Carny that were shot. Think about that.

 

Doc got busted at the start of the series. That's a massive hole since he was at his very peak. I'd have to go back to look at the WON to see what matches of his were lined up with the cards shot (03/21, 03/24, 03/26, 03/30, 04/06, 04/08, 04/12 and 04/13 in addition to the 04/16 Budokan). I want to say that 3/24 was going to be Doc vs Taue which is why they went with the six man going 60 minutes. Not sure about the other ones.

 

Ace is largely wasted, almost certainly due to his big matches being scheduled for non-taping dates. The possible exception to that might be his match with Doc which may have been slotted onto one of the tapings, but got wiped out anyway. This is a bit sad. I've talked a lot over the years about the Kawada-Doc that I saw live on a spot show. Kobashi-Ace was rolled out later in the year and was perfectly acceptable. Taue-Ace was also rolled out later in the year. Misawa-Ace and Jun-Ace would have been interesting to watch. Just the bad luck of the draw that AJPW was rigid in their booking: if matches are announced for a certain date, they're locked in and not going to get moved because Doc bombed out.

 

Other than the 60 minute six man and the Budokan six-man, it felt really light on non-Carny supporting matches. That's not a must for a good Carny, but was one of the pleasant things about 1994.

 

Overall it's a Carny carried by the Four Corners. They're off the charts collectively by this point, with whatever annoyance there might be for Kobashi wiped out by Taue's ridiculous jump up. There is no real top gaijin support, and no Ace vs top natives matches of note. The second tier support is largely Jun, with a slice of Omori put in. My recollection is the Jun stuff is good, and that I was generally disappointed with Omori relative to the promise of 1994.

 

* * * * * * * * * * * *

 

Without having re-watched the 1995 stuff lately, my general thoughts would be:

 

1995 have the best collection of High End Matches, and was fairly deep in that regards. It really lacked depth behind that, and much like 1995 in general felt almost entirely Four Corners-centric in what was really good. The one real moment is a continuing one in a sense: Taue jumping up.

 

1994 had some high end matches, several big moments (Kobashi over Hansen, Kawada winning Carny), some sleepers (Taue-Hansen being the most obvious), good depth and variety. You felt like you're watching a full promotion rather than just 4 guys carrying everyone else.

 

1993 was a wonderful snapshot of transitional moments: Jumbo dominated to no Jumbo, Kawada with Misawa before moving away from Misawa. There's quite a bit of depth with Hansen, Gordy and Williams all still in central roles. Some moments: Kawada-Taue feud ending on a hand shake, doubt on whether Misawa could hold the Ace spot with losses to Stan (2) and Gordy, Kawada's first pin on Stan (sadly of TV), Kawada leaving Misawa's group.

 

If you're looking for high end, I'd probably go with editing down 1995 to just the strong keeper stuff because much of the rest is marginal. For a good glimpse at an AJPW series when it was still fairly deep in delivering product, I think I'd go with 1994... which wasn't without some high end matches. 1993 sort of falls behind, but I think if one has a fuller view of the TV rather than just what made the Yearbook, it's a really good series as well. It doesn't really hit a strong note in the Final as my recollection is the Misawa-Hansen in League was the better one... but that also might be something that ages differently. Regardless of how it ages, it's unlikely anyone is going to think that the 1993 Final is up there with the 1994 and 1995 versions, which allowed those series to end on massive high notes.

 

John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well. No telegraphing of a draw here. This is pretty balls-out all the way. I wouldn't quite call it an all-time great match for psychology--the work over Kobashi's knee is pretty awesome, but doesn't really go anywhere and isn't really sold at all in the latter half of the match. But as a 30-minute sprint it's fun to watch while also being truly impressive in how well they were executing their shit down the stretch. Really good contrast to the solid but dry Misawa/Taue draw.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The early stages had the good ol' test of strength and spots rather similar to earlier matches. Then after 10m Kobashi had the dodgy knees worked over. He responded in kind because Kawada's lower limbs were also a vulnerable area. Wrestlers should sometimes think twice before attacking a weakness. It may give their opponent an idea.

 

After the body part work they moved onto the stretch. For me this felt like a draw all the way. If an hour between them can't produce a result then why should half the time be any different? This was a pretty good match, but the least of the Four Corners collisions from this Carny. The execution wasn't all that crisp. The stiffness wasn't full on. Kobashi's mannerisms grated. Low end top 100 for the year probably.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kenta Kobashi vs Toshiaki Kawada - AJPW 4/13/95
 
2012 Martin take it away...
 
In January, Kobashi extended Kawada to the limit in his only successful defense of the Triple Crown in a one hour draw. This is their first meeting since that match with both men eliminated from a spot in the finals these men will be battling for personal honor and the fact they plain just don’t like one another.
 
Kawada immediately indulges Kobashi by engaging in a test of strength, which Kobashi wins. Kobashi delivers a Tiger Suplex out of it and some of his patented leg drops across stuff (guard rails and the middle rope). (2020 Martin: I really liked the traditional All Japan Surfboard test of strength leading to the first big bomb, a Tiger Suplex). Kobashi has a lot to prove remember because he is yet to garner a victory over any of the other members of the Four Corners of Heaven. At the same time, Kawada is looking for some positive momentum, but the early going indicates that Kobashi is the aggressor.
 
Kawada fires off some kicks and then backs Kobashi into a corner before unleashing a barrage of vicious knees to the face. I’m sorry, Mr. Kawada for thinking you were not the aggressor. Kobashi is able to connect with a favorite All Japan spot the rebound lariat off the guardrail. Then we arrive at the hook of the match, Kobashi in his overzealousness high knees the guardrail. (2020 Martin: The first ten minutes are a blur of workrate. Misawa and Taue inherently bring structure to their singles matches that is a framework for these two workrate horses. Left to their own devices, it can just be whirlwind action, I like the addiiton of body part psychology to give this match some focus.) Kawada works it really strong. Kawada delivers a shinbreaker onto the neighboring timekeeper’s table another favorite All Japan spot. I approve, Kawada.
 
Kawada works over the leg some more with a half-crab and Scorpion Deathlock. Of course when Kobashi makes him comeback, Kawada immediately cuts that off with a dropkick to the knee. God Bless Dangerous K! Kobashi dropkicks Kawada’s trick knee (hurt it back in 1993) and then delivers his own shinbreaker onto the announce table. I love the symmetry as now Kobashi utilizes a half crab and Texas Cloverleaf. (2020 Martin: Dueling Leg Psychology I am definitely down for this.) I am just excited about all this because it means Kawada gets to sell the knee. Kawada on jello legs and his fall across the ring after a Kobashi Irish whip is some of the best wrestling theatre ever.
 
Lets take this bad boy home!  Kawada manages a desperation DANGEROUS~! Backdrop Driver, but Kobashi blocks the stretch plum attempt. (2020 Martin: There was also a pair of Kobashi powerbombs) Kawada gets a 2 off one powerbomb, but his leg buckles on the second and Kobashi gets a 2 count just from landing on top of him. Kobashi sets up for the moonsault, but Kawada rolls away. Finally Kobashi connects with a moonsault and it only gets two. The expression of shock on Kobashi’s face says it all. 
 
Kobashi runs through the rest of his bag of tricks: the Burning Lariat, the Rolling Cradle and another moonsault, but he misses that time to give Kawada a near-fall. Kawada delivers another powerbomb and DANGEROUS~! Backdrop Driver for nearfalls, but Kobashi keeps crawling away as the time limit expires. (2020 Martin: It was a very workrate heavy last ten minutes that was underpinned by great selling by both men which did not let it become overwrought)
 
All Japan was doing its damndest to prove these two men were exact equals with multiple draws in 1995 and 1996. Once again, Kawada was in control when the time limit expired, but did not have enough to put his opponent away. This match is a lot of fun because the symmetrical leg psychology, (2020 Martin: there is not enough of it) Kawada’s selling and the great finish run. I would place this behind Kobashi/Taue and Kawada/Taue (2020 Martin: I'd put this behind Misawa/Taue Carny round robin match too) because while it was heated, it did not have the emotion of the three Taue matches. (2020 Martin: 2012 Martin is right. This is workrate fireworks display, but I dont think it will stick with me in the long run). ****1/4 

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  

×