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

[1995-04-15-AJPW-Championship Carnival] Mitsuharu Misawa vs Akira Taue

Recommended Posts

2007: "I think 9/10/95 feels more like the best possible non-epic Misawa title defense; this feels like the best Champions Carnival final, and it feels really epic. And it's Taue's best singles match. Taue is more focused, Misawa is more vulnerable, it's so great"

 

I stand by that sentiment. I don't know what really could have been done to improve this, with the possible exception of one last big Taue comeback and Taue winning. Even that isn't a sure thing since the tiger suplex is a really satisfying finish.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In a career filled with great matches and moments, this may be my favorite for Misawa, because it's such a triumphant conquering of the odds. This is probably Taue's finest hour, but in the end, Misawa was still The Man. The dynamic bomb had secured wins over Kawada and Kobashi. Misawa kicked out. While Kawada didn't shy away from Misawa's face, Taue went after it far more aggressively than anyone else had. The heat he gets every time he does it is amazing, and he managed to shock me every time that he would go there yet again. Taue had a clear strategy and he pulled it off in excellent fashion, but it just wasn't enough to put Misawa away. As we had seen before, when it looked like someone finally had his number, Misawa always found a way to bounce back. My easy MOTY to date, and pretty safely in the top handful of matches for the decade as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since the Carny commercial tape wasn't out before this aired, it was really the first time that most gaijin got to see him pick up his game. I don't even think it was noticable to us at the Dome earlier in the month, but that also had Misawa, Kawada, Kobashi and Hansen in there to draw attention. Another reason the 4/2 match (and card in general) would be intersting to watch again just to see how much "new Taue" stood out.

 

John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hadn't watched this in a long time, but it's even greater when viewed in the context of the whole Carny. The first half was great fun with all kinds of nifty counter spots, very little fat and a nutty crowd. The build to Taue's nodowa off the apron took it to another level. No one had been able to recover from that move, and the crowd kind of roar/gasped at the real possibility of a Misawa loss. That, of course, made his long rally so much better. I loved the way he fell to his knees after the first few elbows, keeping open the possibility that he might not be able to fight his way back. Once his comeback picked up steam, he threw some of the fiercest elbows of his career. Taue took and sold them like a champ. Taue's last-ditch attempt to claw at Misawa's bad eye was also great, showing his desperation as his brilliant Carny run slipped away. They didn't go back and forth unnecessarily or push it a second too long. Hard not to feel energized after watching a match this fucking good. If this isn't MOTY, it's probably No. 2.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After thinking about it, I'm wondering if Taue clawing at Misawa's eye in an attempt to salvage his chances is my favorite moment in any wrestling match I've ever seen.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's little to add - we all know it's a classic - but I'll just re-itterate that, for all the stuff people have lifted from All Japan, I can't fathom how some babyface hasn't stolen Misawa's elongated comebacks. It's no better on show than here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The payoffs are when the comeback doesn't work. We'd seen so many times where the trusty elbows turn the tide. When they don't... when there's just not enough juice in them to turn it, or he's too toasted from something to be able to take advantage, it's even better than when he does comeback.

 

The title change with Doc is a case. He tries to fire the trusty elbows. Doc sells them as slowing him down. But Misawa is too toasted from the backdrop driver to recover, and Doc finally puts him down.

 

12/06/96 is similar. In that one Misawa recovers enough to have been able to take out... except that Kawada & Taue have killed off Jun.

 

Suspect you'll run across it later in the year as well.

 

John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's late and I'm tired, so maybe this needs a re-watch with fresh eyes. I saw a fine match, but I didn't see a MOTY here. This had some real-life things going against it, as they had to work 30 minutes with Misawa having a broken orbital bone. But the opening control holds by Taue, while logical in a real sense since he can't just pound the shit out of Misawa, aren't that compelling. Now, this picks up in a hurry when Taue starts digging his forearm into Misawa's eyeball, raising eyebrows all across Japan, and there are a good number of holy-shit spots like Taue splattering Misawa's face on the turnbuckle and on the mat, which are sold great by both guys (Taue's body language even comes across as, "I can't believe I just did that"). And Misawa manages to avoid the nodowa off the apron, and come back from the Dynamic Bomb and nodowa on the floor, to the point where the draw feels like a win but at the same time it also feels like a win for Taue, too. Classic work and booking that elevates both guys. I guess I'm talking myself into liking this more the more I write, but as it stands it's the #2 match of the Carny for me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fucking Christ, how late is it? There are two Misawa-Taue matches and threads. Disregard the post above.

 

Day later edit: So, okay, watching the actual match that everyone else was talking about, this is my running MOTY (I have a hard time believing 6/9/95 will be unseated by the time the year is out, unless another joshi bout surprises me, but that's ahead of us). This is the best combination of work and psychology seen all year. Taue tries to drop Misawa on the turnbuckle right at the start, but Misawa's ready for it this time, and thus Taue has to put the eye work in his back pocket until he can either get an opening or get desperate. It's what Loss has said about making you wait for the spot that you know is coming, but this is a new dynamic in that Taue is the heel. When he finally does hit the eye, it gets a huge reaction from an already-pumped crowd, and then things pick up big time. Misawa takes the nodowa off the apron, but his trusty elbows are enough to buy him some time and weather Taue's bigger moves. Taue gets in a fantastic kickout off a tiger suplex but goes down to the second one. Putting Misawa over in the CC was the right move, considering he was the ace but without the Triple Crown, and considering they did an excellent job of getting Taue over as a top singles star even with the loss.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I watched this, I had it in my head that Taue won this, so as the match wore on, I started doubting myself and then going into the finishing stretch I really wasn't sure who was winning to the point the kickouts really felt exciting.

 

This was a tremendous match. I guess this is technically the better, cleverer match, withTaues work targeting the face and what-not but part of me found the Kobashi vs Taue match from a few weeks earlier more fun. I think it really does depend on the day you catch me whether I prefer the fun match or the clever match. Either way, watching these matches from Carnival 95 have really changed how I view Akira Taue.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

http://placetobenation.com/countdown-top-500-matches-of-the-90s-50-1/2/

 

#14

 

****3/4

 

I love the the dramatic strike to Misawa knocking his arm off the rope for the chokeslam to the outside. Misawa won't die and eventually Taue is just stomping him repeatedly on the ground. By the end he's clawing at the inured eye of Misawa as his last glimpse of hope knowing his chance has likely passed him by. Misawa has an epic comeback in an unforgettable match.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wouldn't argue with ***** at all. I went back and forth on it. It could just boil down to watching it again. There were some parts that I thought drug just a tad, but the finishing moments are so unforgettable. Sometimes I think it boils down to context, and I think a lot of people probably are much more knowledgeable in that sense (around here) than me. I'm about to start the 91 YB, and I have no doubt I'll be on my way to 1995 down the line. Watching so many great matches like this in a row probably has me looking at them competitively at times, and I really shouldn't look at it that way. When you watch stuff like this in a more linear fashion, then you're just along for the ride, and it might be easier to just let it sink in and enjoy the moment that you are currently attached to (or more invested in). I'm not exactly sure that makes sense the way I wrote it, but it makes sense in my head :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you had to pick a singular year for Misawa's best in my opinion it would be '95 and this might be his masterpiece. Every time I watch this it's always incredible to see just how extended and almost subtle his comeback is. It's like watching a team have Golden State down 14 with like 5 minutes left and then Curry just finds time to hit some threes over about 3 minutes and you realize where this is going. Misawa's elbows carry that kind of potency and you really believe if a guy starts eating too many late he's just got no shot. Taue from the start sets that he's going to attack Misawa's broken face and it's so well done, from Misawa's selling to Taue's attack. And they gradually build to it. He takes a few shots early but he really starts to go after it at the perfect time (when it feels like Misawa is really gaining momentum) and then for the next few minutes you're treated to a great beatdown and some exquisite selling from Misawa. The way he jerks his body around after getting thrown into a turnbuckle manages to show just how painful his orbital bone injury is to the fans in probably the best way possible. The set up for the bombs in general throughout have that great peak 90s AJPW sense of struggle but the Nodowa off the apron is easily the best one and feels like a clincher for Taue. Until of course Misawa finds his opening again, again and again for his elbows. Taue's last stand to try to keep his CC hopes alive by grabbing at Misawa's face is a great moment but equally great is that simple but defiant shove Misawa does to Taue's hands followed by caving his face in with one more elbow before putting him away. As satisfying a victory as I can remember from Misawa.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This was great from the bell. Even before the bell considering the atmosphere. They began with a counter sequence to reference only having met 3 days beforehand. It didn't look choreographed like such things normally would. It's all down to the split second timings of the counters to make yourself look reactive rather than following a set pattern. As Indy wrestling shows this actually takes a fair amount of skill.

 

I loved how the bout was structured with meaningful periods of domination before the momentum switched. The timings of each segment and the transitions were excellent. Whenever Taue got desperate he'd go after the injured eye, drawing heel heat. The crowd couldn't keep up dai boo-ing for long as he was such a fucking boss all tournament. The ring apron nodawa again caused devastation. Just like Kawada and Kobashi before him, Misawa was fighting defensively to survive. The difference was that he was able to cling on and then launch a glorious fightback. Some killer near falls down the stretch. They absolutely could've gone with a Taue win. Any criticisms would be nit-picking. An all time classic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not as high on this match as most of you. It wasn't bad but I didn't like. I much prefer their matches from 91 and 93. Taue chockeslaming Misawa outside the ring is impressive. Misawa's eye seems injured ...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mitsuharu Misawa vs Akira Taue - AJPW Champions Carnival Final 4/15/95

There are two sleeper picks for best 90s All Japan matches of all time, this and the Doc/Misawa title change. In a world where the canon is so explicit: 7/29/93 (Kobashi/Hansen), 12/3/93, 5/21/94, 6/3/94, 6/9/95, 12/6/96 and 1/20/97, these two Misawa/Doc and Misawa/Taue stand in defiance as possible challengers to the throne. I know most people give this ***** and Loss ranking this as #14 in his best matches of the 90s is a huge win for the match. I don't know where I will rank it, but this is my favorite match of the bunch. 2012 Martin Take it Away!

I am just going to get this out of the way. This is one of the greatest matches of all time and in top 10 of the greatest All Japan matches of all time. Full Stop. Don’t pass Go and collect $200, sit your ass down and watch this match. I was skeptical of the rep this match has because I did not think Taue as a singles competitor could deliver that time of performance. Who am I to doubt Akira Taue? (2020 Martin: Jeez dont have to get hot about it. I think most people think this match is awesome. Don't worry a lot of people underrate Taue at the beginning, as long as you have seen the light, all is forgiven.)
 
The match begins with a series of counters to put over their familiarity with each other. Taue side-steps a Misawa flying lariat and drives him into the ground sending Misawa to the outside. (2020 Martin: The scouting here was really choice. Taue evading Elbows. Misawa catching himself on Snake eyes and armdragging out of NODOWA. Misawa takes more damage because he misses two flying moves and hits the mat hard. Also on the leaping lariat, Taue drove his face into the mat, it looked like it bothered Misawa's injured eye) All of sudden, we get Air Taue as he dives onto Misawa on the outside and Misawa chants begin in earnest. I loved this because it established that with both men so familiar with each other that they would have to wrestle outside their moveset to keep their opponent off-balance. (2020 Martin: Air Taue was a good way for Taue to get the first offensive move of the match)
 
The hook of the match is Taue aggressively attacking the injured eye of Misawa (remember Misawa legitimately broke his orbital bone in match with Kawada earlier). Taue utilized this tactic to cut off Misawa offensive flurries and to setup his own offense. A good example of this is when Misawa slides over the back of Taue on a suplex attempt only to receive a stiff elbow to his eye. (2020 Martin: Lets break this down further, Misawa tries to trap Taue in a facelock shortly after Air Taue, but Taue grabs at the eyes and Mares him over. The attack on the eyes are the beginning was not overt but if you watch closely Misawa was wincing and touching his eye. We get Dragon Sleepers but they are not around the neck but around the eyes and nose. Taue had a game plan. As for the stiff back elbow that I did mention it is genius because it plays into the scouting aspect of the match. How many times have seen Misawa use the slide down the back on a suplex to start his Comeback, here Taue has it scouted and stiffs him right in teh injured eye. This is when Misawa really starts selling.) Misawa for his part puts on a offense clinic of his own.

Against Kawada and Kobashi, Misawa is more than willing to let them have their spotlight, but against Taue Misawa has more free reign to take larger chunks of the match to himself. Misawa actually taking so much offense is indicator to the viewer that his normal rope-a-dope strategy would not work here because the injury is that much of liability. Thus Misawa is looking to end this match much earlier rather rely on his normal strategy of extending his opponent and then taking advantage. This gives a different feel from normal Misawa matches as he is much more aggressive and urgent with his offense. After a flurry of spin kicks, elbows, two elbows dives and a ROARING ELBOW~!, they actually tease Taue losing by countout. (2020 Martin: I never give credit to Misawa for his kicks but he has some nice kicks especially his spin kick. There is a great moment where he has started his comeback and has Taue stunned but he does not immediately follow it up because hie eye hurts...once he gathers himself he hits the Spin Kick and then Elbow Suicida) I have to mention the normally stoic Misawa seems a bit pissed that Taue was so willing to take advantage of his injury. (2020 Martin: That Roaring Elbow was fucking HUGE! I have to say it caught me off guard because it came so early in the match. I can buy that Misawa wanted to get out of this match sooner rather than later because of his injury).
 
At around the 12:00 minute mark, all hell breaks loose as Taue claws Misawa’s eye repeatedly to stop his elbow flurries. This culminates with Taue stepping on Misawa injured eye. The Japanese crowd and announcers collectively lose their shit at the ruthlessness and audacity of Taue. I have watched a lot of Japanese wrestling and never remember a crowd actually booing a wrestler that is how heated this got. Seventeen years after the fact that spot is still fuckin sweet. (2020 Martin: I was waiting for this moment. This and when he claws at the end. I forgot how lusty those boos are. The Japanese crowd was pissed and the Japanese announcer could not believe at the shamelessness of Taue. Taue was a desperate man and desperate man do desperate things. This is the moment where Taue's strategy became overt; he was going to target the injured eye.)
 
Taue tries to negotiate his kill shot: the Nodowa off the apron to the floor, but Misawa elbows his way out of it. (2020 Martin: Before that Misawa fought to regain control only to be picked up from behind and hit with a back suplex off the apron. Never turn your back on an opponent especially one as ruthless as Taue. The tease of the Nodowa off the apron is an excellent spot). Misawa in desperation runs through more of his arsenal: spinkick, senton, frogsplash, german suplex, Tiger Driver, but can not garner the victory. Then we arrive at the spot of the match and maybe my favorite sequence in all of pro wrestling. (2020 Martin: I was thinking the same thing! TWINNING!)

Misawa floats over Taue back on a vertical suplex attempt and lands on the apron. UH OH! Taue immediately takes the edge of his hand and drives it into Misawa’s injured eye. (2020 Martin: I love how Taue holds his Chop Hand frozen to brazenly demonstrate to the world what he did. Was he proud or was he shocked? We will never know) Taue goozles him, but Misawa is clinging to the ropes for dear life, but Taue chops his hand to break his clasp. (2020 Martin: Shawn Michaels eat your heart out. This is how you do high drama!) NODOWA TO THE FLOOR!!!! (2020 Martin: The crowd, the announcer and me 25 years later collectively lose our shit). Now the entire ending is in doubt. Before, Misawa was the favorite even with eye injury because he was the ace and none of the Four Corners had beaten him. However, this is the move that killed Kobashi and Kawada dead. This is the move that signals the end is nigh! Either ending is totally satisfying to customer as Misawa will either overcome this adversity as before or Taue will prove to be the Misawa-Slayer. As a smart wrestling fan, I can predict 95% of the outcomes of all matches because I have just watched that much wrestling. Sometimes the journey is more fun than the ending. However, then there are matches like these when the irresistible force (Nodowa on the floor) and the immovable object (Misawa) meet and I don’t know who will win, but fuck it is going to be one helluva ride. (2020 Martin: I didnt think about it in this way, but it is true. If I was watching this for the first time and didnt know the outcome, I could buy into either finish. Great work!)
 
Taue runs through his offense (German, DDT, Atomic Legdrop) and punctuates this run with a DYNAMIC BOMB~! MISAWA KICKS OUT!!!! O SHIT!!!! NUCLEAR NEARFALL! Built so well in this Carnival! That was the payoff to Taue pinning Kobashi and Kawada. What a payoff! The ending is a great illustration of why Misawa one of the best ever. John Cena would have hulked up and ran through his offense to get the win, but Misawa presents his twist on the babyface comeback. (2020 Martin: 2012 Martin is wrong. Cena became the Misawa of Comebacks in WWE. More apt would have been Hogan. I am sorry for my ignorance in 2012). Misawa strikes with his elbows, but with each elbow he is falling down or powdering. He is using these desperation elbows to create breathing room for himself to recover. (2020 Martin: You nailed it, 2012 Martin) You get the feeling as a fan that he just did not stop being injured or fatigued, but that he is fighting through it. Taue is both dazed by these vicious elbows and fatigued from running through most of his offense. Taue is still able to kick out of a german suplex and a Tiger Driver. Taue, sensing that the end is near, tries one last ditch effort by clawing at the eye and the crowd is molten with heat at this. (2020 Martin: Another iconic moment in an iconic match) Misawa elbows through the claw and TWO Tiger Suplexes finish it for Misawa! Misawa perseveres and overcomes!  

One of the greatest matches I have ever seen. (2020 Martin: Damn straight!) It is one of those matches where you feel like you reached a Pro Wrestling Nirvana as a pro wrestling fan. This is one of the best individual Misawa performances I have ever seen as he puts over Taue as a force to reckoned with and himself as a resilient wrestler that overcomes adversity with his heart and elbows. Taue stepped up his game huge throughout the Carnival and there was no brighter moment than this match where he ate Misawa’s offense well and was totally ruthless against the eye. This match represents what pro wrestling should be: the simulation of human struggle. Taue is struggling to step out from Misawa’s shadow and is willing to do anything to finally end his “Reign of Terror”. (2020 Martin: I think added element of this is Taue is plagued by self-doubt. He is driven to shameless, ruthless tactics because he does not believe he can best Misawa on his own merits. He needs to exploit a weakness with illegal tactics. Clawing the eyes is illegal regardless of health. This was not merely taking advantage of an injury, this was combining cheating with kicking a man while he is down. It is offensive and should be resoundingly condemned as unsportsmanlike conduct and savory. The beauty of this is the levels. Taue does not come out attacking the eye. It is only after he struck with a vicious Roaring Elbow. It is out of survival and lack of self-confidence to get the job done that he resorts to these blatantly disgusting tactics. He is desperate because he does not believe in himself. He is shameless because he values the victory over human decency. Desperation + Shamelessness = Ruthless. This is best type of heel work.) Misawa is struggling with overcoming his broken orbital bone and an opponent willing and able to exploit it. (2020 Martin: Misawa is the valiant hero overcoming two big obstacles and ultimately triumphant. It is not his offense but rather his selling that wins him the day. His decisions to pause and and take the time and let us know his pain allows to become a part of his journey. He let us in and in doing so made us all the more invested. Vulnerability humanizes and the humanization process creates empathy & understanding. Misawa tapped into that. If Taue's performance is the greatest heel performance, then Misawa's was the greatest babyface performance) When pro wrestling is done right, I do not think there is a greater medium of entertainment. On April 15, 1995, Mitsuharu Misawa and Akira Taue did pro wrestling right. The only question is this the Greatest Match of All Time? The answer is I dont know, but it is in the Top 10 of all time. *****

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's so nice to see Taue finally get a chance to shine in singles action. When his unique offence isn't keeping Misawa down, he goes for the eyes to keep control. Taue was never presented as Misawa's equal, but on this night he makes you think that he might actually have the chance to topple the ace, chokeslamming him to the floor and using his new Dynamic Bomb finisher to attempt to get the win. There are parts of this that actually felt like a sprint and the 27 minute match time felt more like 15. This is an underrated gem for AJPW! 

★★★★★

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Outstanding match. I admittedly have gotten a little jaded from Misawa in the past few months in this timeline but this was a tremendous effort that quickly reminded me how fantastic Misawa is and what he brings to the table. And it’s not just an incredible comeback - which this match has (And oh boy, does it have it!) - it’s the ability to create an intense, epic atmosphere, drawing everyone in to what he (and what his opponent) is doing. This is Taue’s finest hour as a singles wrestler (maybe not, I’ll see down the line) but Misawa smoked him in performance despite bringing what is also a great performance. Taue kicked Misawa’s ass with all his new, excellently built up new moves while trying to avoid Misawa’s deadly elbows as much as he could. I loved the opening sequence with Misawa blocking the Snake Eyes attempt, returning with an elbow which Taue blocked. 10 seconds of wrestling that set up the match story superbly. The match’s drama was superbly built until the crowd was rocking (along with the hard camera). The reaction for Taue hitting Nodowa was insane. Any attempt by Taue was met with a rise in the crowd and it was only matched by Misawa’s attempts to escape that fate until it inevitably came. Taue’s selling for Misawa’s epic comeback surge was tremendous. The more Misawa popped off his elbow strikes, the more devastating the effect they’d get. First just rocking Tuae. Then Taue would fall to his knee before Misawa floored him and essentially won the match for himself with a wicked elbow strike that included a pin-point rolling elbow. Well deserving of its reputation. ****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  

×