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

[1995-06-09-AJPW-Super Power Series] Rob Van Dam vs Dan Kroffat

Recommended Posts

This might just be the best RVD match ever, since Kroffat is a hell of a lot better at structure than 99.9% of RVD opponents. Kroffat is fun as the overconfident champ, RVD is fun as the athletic underdog, and they piece together a fine juniors match. Maybe the best AJ junior match of the decade, while we're at it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It would be interesting to figure out the best All Japan matches of the decade not involving Misawa, Kobashi, Kawada or Taue. This has to be in the running. It is easily the best RVD match I've ever seen. If only Van Dam could have worked his whole career against the Can-Ams, because I think his singles matches against Furnas and Kroffat are the two best matches he ever had. He looks good here, but he's clearly working within a template set up by Kroffat, and Kroffat is clearly carrying him. It's almost like he was born to work with RVD, because he does a great job eating his offense and allows RVD to do the stuff he does well like the footwork and flying, the split-legged moonsault and the awesome looking spin bump off the lariat. I also enjoyed the hair pulling surfboard. Excellent match, and I'm glad I finally got the chance to see it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It would be interesting to figure out the best All Japan matches of the decade not involving Misawa, Kobashi, Kawada or Taue. This has to be in the running.

Looking at the ballot I did in '07, it is the ONLY match I had in the top 50 to meet this criteria. Not a heck of a lot does in general. Pretty much only going to be...

 

-Post-Kobashi All Asia tags

-Junior title matches

-Gaijin vs gaijin

-Jumbo vs Gaijin

 

None of which is '90s AJ bread-and-butter. Some good matches, to be sure, but few epics.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This smokes a hole in anything else I've seen from RVD. I thought Rob looked a hell of a lot better here than he did anywhere else. Kroffat was doing the load, but I got an Austin v Angle vibe where wrestler A is sort of "leading" wrestler B without it being a complete carryjob, but wrestler B couldn't have a match like this with anyone else.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One of the first puro match I've seen actually, it was one of of those 6 hour tapes I bought at the very beginning when I got into the scene. From what I remember, it's ridiculously good, especially with a young RVD (although one could argue it was easier to get a good match out of him before he got all those stupid idiosyncrasies and chair shot spots). Kroffat was an amazing worker.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If only Van Dam could have worked his whole career against the Can-Ams, because I think his singles matches against Furnas and Kroffat are the two best matches he ever had.

Didn't RVD/Sabu vs. Can Ams happen in ECW?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, but it was nowhere as good as it could have been elsewhere. Too much "Eliminator" vibe to the match, although not as bad obviously. This and Sabu/RVD vs Hayabusa/Shinzaki are the two missed opportunities for the ECW alumnis to work a really strong match.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It would be interesting to figure out the best All Japan matches of the decade not involving Misawa, Kobashi, Kawada or Taue. This has to be in the running.

Good question, and one of those rare times with AJPW 90s that I don't have a pontificating opinion. :) I did like this match at the time.

 

Ditch's comment is probably spot on:

 

-Post-Kobashi All Asia tags

-Junior title matches

-Gaijin vs gaijin

-Jumbo vs Gaijin

On the All Asia tags, perhaps expanding to 1990 and 1991 as they bounced the title around. It wasn't always a match up with Kawada (Footloose) or Kobashi (with Misawa, Ace and Kikuchi) in them. Some of those might age okay. Problem is that most would be JIP, and the "great" ones tended to have Kobashi in them.

 

I would toss out Fantastics vs. Malenko & Kikuchi as one of the other obvious candidates. All Asia tourney.

 

The other expansion would be some of the Tenryu stuff before he left. The last Jumbo-Tenryu match isn't as well loved as their earlier singles matches, but it's possible that the combo of Tenryu Luv and Jumbo Luv might have people rate that higher now. The other match that was good as Tenryu headed out was Tenryu-Savage. Liked quite a bit at the time, and both Tenryu and Savage are liked online now a hell of a lot.

 

The big problem with the first two categories is that so much of it's JIP that it's hard to know just how good it is.

 

On Gaijin vs Gaijin, there aren't any singles that massively jump out. I like the Doc-Gordy from Carny '93, but it's not an off the charts match. I can't think of a Hansen-Gordy that is !!! in getting one going. Some solid, but nothing that's a monster. I like the Hansen-Williams in Carny '94, but it doesn't strike me as a MOTYC.

 

On the tags, Hansen & Spivey vs Gordy & Williams had a series of good matches. Their big April title matches in 1990 and 1991 were well received at the time. It's possible that they may not age well... but the Gordy & Williams vs Steiners matches are now pretty well loved, so a pair of big gaijin teams beating each other up might have come full circle in folks like it.

 

Jumbo vs Gaijin... I can't think of one folks would go bonkers for. His best gaijin matches have Taue as his partner.

 

That's one of the hiccups here: you often get almost there (Aikyama & Ogawa vs Mr. K & Kikuchi) where Mr. K is Kobashi. It goes back to my oft repeated point about them screwing up with Omori, where we almost certainly would have had good Akiyama & Asako vs Omori & Ogawa vs Can-Ams matches (along with some more good Jun-Omori matches) if they'd just dropped Omori with Kawada & Taue.

 

Anyway, here are the matches that Meltzer rated ****1/4+ that fit the bill i.e. no Four Corners (tv air dates rather than match dates):

 

09/23/90 Fantastics vs. Malenko & Kikuchi ****3/4

05/05/91 Hansen & Spivey vs. Gordy & Williams (World Tag title change) ****1/4

11/03/91 Fuchi vs. Kroffat (PWF Jr.) ****1/4

03/14/93 Fuchi vs. Kikuchi (PWF Jr.) ****1/4

06/18/95 Kroffat vs. Van Dam (Jr. Title) ****1/2

01/31/99 Ogawa vs. Kakihara (Jr. Title) ****1/4

06/06/99 Omori & Takayama vs. Shinzaki & Hayabusa (All Asia, 6’ shown) ****1/4

 

The 4/90 Hansen & Spivey vs. Gordy & Williams wasn't rated as it was before Dave got in the mode of reviewing *every* AJPW & NJPW tv show. I do think it rated quite high in his list of matches in the Yearbook, and that by looking at the star ratings of the matches right above it and right below it determine how many stars he thought it was. I wasn't to say no worse than ****1/4 and possible ****1/2. Obviously don't have the Yearbook here at work. :)

 

Fuchi-Kroffat was JIP: the last 9:10 was shown according to Dan's notes. One wishes the full thing aired to see how Danny worked before selling the knee, as one suspects he opened hot before getting cut off.

 

There are a few more All Asian matches that weren't available on TV for star ratings, but made either commercial or Samurai. I recall one big blood bath that people liked as a change of pace.

 

I have a soft sport for Fantastics vs. Malenko & Kikuchi.

 

John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Even the last of the Jumbo vs Tenryu tags in '90 had Tiger Misawa and/or Kawada in there. I don't think the last Jumbo vs Tenryu match would get a huge push for Tenryu's sake; there's countless better Tenryu outings circulating now.

 

Rating the No Fear vs FMW tag 4 1/4* based on 6 minutes of a 27 minute match... oh Dave...

 

The bloodbath you're probably thinking of is one of the Team FMW vs Honda & Izumida bouts from early '99. I like them but they're *maybe* top 100 for the decade material. Fans vs Joe/Kikuchi is fun but 4 3/4* is insane and there were probably 150-200 better matches.

 

It was a very deep decade, but when you remove the four corners it gets thin in a hurry.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Even the last of the Jumbo vs Tenryu tags in '90 had Tiger Misawa and/or Kawada in there. I don't think the last Jumbo vs Tenryu match would get a huge push for Tenryu's sake; there's countless better Tenryu outings circulating now.

Looking at Dan's 1990 list, that appears to be the case. The only ones that fit before he left were:

 

01/03/90 Genichiro Tenryu vs Ivan Koloff

01/28/90 Genechiro Tenryu vs Isao Takagi

03/04/90 Genechiro Tenryu & Stan Hansen vs Terry Gordy & Steve Williams

04/10/90 Genechiro Tenryu vs Randy Savage

 

Dates may be off just a bit. I do recall Dan was missing 2-3 shows out of his set, and one of them was before Tenryu left.

 

I suspect Tenryu Fans will love the Takagi match, especially if they saw what led to it. Probably not enough to think it's a MOTYC... :)

 

 

Rating the No Fear vs FMW tag 4 1/4* based on 6 minutes of a 27 minute match... oh Dave...

Well, he does that on occasion. :)

 

The bloodbath you're probably thinking of is one of the Team FMW vs Honda & Izumida bouts from early '99. I like them but they're *maybe* top 100 for the decade material.

That would be what I was thinking of.

 

 

Fans vs Joe/Kikuchi is fun but 4 3/4* is insane and there were probably 150-200 better matches.

I think that's why I've gotten tired of ranking matches.

 

I love Misawa & Kobashi vs Kawada & Taue. But there are 8 of them on tape. If I had to pitch one of those to keep Fans vs Malenko & Kikuchi, I wouldn't give it a second thought. If I had to pitch a second of them to keep Kawada-Albright, I wouldn't have a tough time at all. If I had to pitch a third one to keep the 11/93 Misawa & Kobashi vs Hansen & Baba, it would be an easy choice. I could live with 5 of them: 6/93, 12/93, 05/94, 06/95 & 10/95. If the cut was another match that I thought was really good, I probably could easily carve off 10/95... and folks know how highly I think of that.

 

 

It was a very deep decade, but when you remove the four corners it gets thin in a hurry.

If you're looking for MOTYC? Sure. But then again, I don't think Danny vs RVD is a MOTYC. It's just a fun match, similar to me as watching Hansen vs Williams in the 1994 battle it out for the top gaijin spot.

 

Jumbo, Misawa, Kawada, Kobashi and to a lesser degree Taue were the MOTYC workhorses. I think we all knew that. :)

 

John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This and Sabu/RVD vs Hayabusa/Shinzaki are the two missed opportunities for the ECW alumnis to work a really strong match.

This is why I've mellowed out to the booking of running Van Dam vs. Mahoney at Anarchy Rulz '99, rather than going ahead with Van Dam vs. Johnny Smith. While the latter would have been a fresh match, it'd have most likely wound up not being all too different from what we got instead.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had somehow managed never to see this, but it was a lot of fun. RVD's more innovative spots translate to just about any wrestling audience, a virtue for which he probably doesn't get enough credit. And Kroffat put together sequences that allowed them both to look good. I did think RVD's strikes came off as embarrassingly weak in this context, but it wasn't like that killed the match or anything. In fact, I enjoyed the goofiness of their karate exchanges. I'd put this below the Hansen/Spivey vs. Doc/Gordy tags from the aforementioned list, but it's certainly a highlight of non-four-corners All Japan and one of the promotion's few memorable juniors single matches from the decade.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After working on the ECW set and being underwhelmed by RVD, I saw this on the 1995 list and was ready to cut it before I even started doing transfers. I was talking to Loss and he insisted this had to stay on so I transferred the match and began watching it out of the corner of my eye. About 3 minutes into it, I stopped working on all other projects and waatched the match. The next time Loss and I talked, I was the one who was adament about its inclusion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This was really fun. I haven't seen much of Kroffat and I heard he was good but not this good. I liked his cocky attitude and he carried RVD to a real good match. The mid air bellly to belly suplex by RVD was nice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Terrific match, probably the best RVD match period and the best Kroffat singles bout. Van Dam's somersaults and general act are still really fresh and innovative at this point, and Kroffat crafts an excellent use of them. He also adds some awesome character work, trying to provoke RVD by spitting at him and then using his ponytail on a surfboard in an awesome spot. RVD's chops and punches are pretty laughable but that's the only thing to complain about here. His flippy stuff fits the match well and he takes one of the most awesome lariats in history that pretty much wipes him out of the match, despite some great kickouts afterward. There were some terrific little bouts during Masa Fuchi's reign but this is one of the better defenses of the PWF Jr. title. I can't remember if Fuchi-Kobayashi was a title match or not, but if it's not, then it's probably the best.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

#386 - placetobenation.com/countdown-top-500-matches-of-the-90s-400-351/

 

I think there was a thread on the board not too long ago about favorites that you soured on. At this time, I can't think of anyone higher on my list than RVD. I really liked RVD as a kid, but I really don't care to watch his matches at all anymore. Someone mentioned this above (about this match), but a lot times I can't get around how weak his offense is in any match. I think his striking still looked weak here at times, but I'm on board that this is probably his best match. Granted, I haven't watched much RVD over the past few years outside of some of the hyped Jerry Lynn matches, but for now I'll jump on that train. I thought he did a good job of selling the high impact offense from Kroffat. I absolutely LOVED the pulling of the RVD ponytail from Kroffat. I agree that some of the spots did come off as pretty innovative. I also want to give RVD props for one thing specifically - RVD always takes DDTs like a champ. I can watch RVD take DDTs all day. I really liked when Kroffat kicked the leg of RVD keeping him from going to the top. That's pretty logical, and not something you see often. I thought RVD's kicks actually looked pretty good after that. The nearfall after the split-legged moonsault was good. I can imagine thinking that might be the finish had that spot not been played out the way it became in WWE. He delivers some pretty weak ?punches? to Kroffat before eating a vicious lariat. I thought that was it. But, it took a little more from Kroffat to get the pin. I came away from this thinking it was a great match. ****

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This was a bonafide juniors epic. I mean, this is pretty much the match all those PWG nerds dream of having. It works because they put the ECW high spot mania into an AJPW match. RVD only blows about 1/5 of his spots and Kroffat absolutely manhandles him. Kroffat absorbing a series of cute RVD high spots, then making a comeback by nuking RVD with throws was pretty great. Everything Kroffat did looked awesome as if he was a prototype Super Dragon: big fat sentons, yanking by the stupid ponytail, knees to the face etc. The Hokuto(?) style headdrop move off the top was hellish too. Very entertaining match.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

AJPW World Junior Heavyweight Champion Dan Kroffat vs Rob Van Dam - AJPW 6/9/95

Very famous match: potentially RVD's career match (I think I like the Bigelow match from ECW a hair more), the best non-Four Corners 90s All Japan (I need to rewatch a couple Hansen/Spivey vs Miracle Violence) and it is on the undercard of maybe the Greatest Wrestling Match Ever (no not Edge vs Orton...man that comment is not going to age well). Also what better way to transition from ECW to All Japan than this match, well maybe Tommy Dreamer vs Akira Taue...the ECW/AJPW loose affiliation could have led to some weird pairings. Kenta Kobashi vs Sandman in the ECW Arena would have been insane. 

Genius match laid out by Kroffat here as he made RVD look like a million bucks. Karate RVD > Carrot Top RVD. Basically, RVD is working a headlock, Kroffat does something dickish and RVD shows him up. Dont overthink babyface/heel psychology folks. The commentator I think keeps pointing out that the challenger, RVD, has a ponytail. Lo and behold, Kroffat keeps yanking on it. RVD flips him off and I am pretty sure the Japanese commentator says "Fuck you". RVD runs through some flashy offense and stylized kicks. It is good fun. Kroffat spits on him from outside the ring. In 2020, RVD would have destroyed him, here he just kicks him in the head. The point is Kroffat is a dick and RVD is making him pay. 

Kroffat snaps off a couple suplexes including one out onto the floor and then on the floor to establish the heat segment. Best spot of the match he pulls the ponytail hard in a surfboard and RVD sells it like a million bucks. Great shit. Kroffat hits a senton for two for the first nearfall. Then they work a really nice finish stretch with lots of good transitions and nice nearfalls. They built to RVD's split-legged moonsault well making him attempt it twice before he hit it. That was his big nearfall. He crashed and burned on the 450 Splash which I dont think Ive ever seen him do. This was Kroffat's opening. HE SMOKED HIM WITH THE LARIAT! I thought that was it and it really should have been. I liked how it was out of nowhere. Of course this is 90s All Japan so it draws on and it takes a Swanton Bomb (really nice), Tiger Driver (Jesus can anyone win with this move) and A Super Reverse Suplex to win. 

Really great face/heel layout that established heat in a match that easily could have been a bland workrate match. RVD showed up the dick champion which made you invest in RVD and thus when they went to heat you were looking for that comeback. Then finish stretch was All Japan magic sprinkling in some RVD acrobatics to give it a unique twist. I thought this was better than ECW Furnas which is just really violent but I kinda liked the Bigelow ECW with its David vs Goliath a little more but same rating. I am excited to get back into All Japan. ****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  

×