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[1995-07-24-AJPW-Summer Action Series] Mitsuharu Misawa vs Toshiaki Kawada

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They're still working off of Misawa's injury, which I love, with Kawada going after his face pretty ruthlessly and Misawa selling a few shots as cheapshots. The line on this has always been that it's a sprint, but it doesn't feel all that differently paced than, say, their 7/93 match. It's probably a mildly better match because they've advanced their feud and working style more in that two-year period, but it's not something that particularly stands out to me. Kawada dominates most of this, with Misawa getting in brief hope spots that are well-timed. Anyone who likes laser-sharp body part work will enjoy this, especially because "work the face" isn't exactly as common as "work the leg" or "work the arm". Knowing Kawada, he was probably looking forward to building a match around face work. Kawada's major dominance for most of this makes Misawa's comeback and decisive win pretty satisfying. Sudden, and not as built up as I would have liked, but still satisfying.

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My 2nd favorite of their matches. I love me some non-standard bodypart focus, and they bring the strike exchanges and struggle-for-control and such that make them such great opponents. They don't swing for the fences like with 6/3/94 but it's still plenty 'big' and satisfying. I wish they stuck with this general match rather than going for too much on 6/6/97.

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What I remember most about this match is how well they handle 'momentum': how it swings from Kawada to Misawa, and how down the stretch Kawada doesn't have it like he did earlier. Beyond that, there's little more to add. Just a super, super match.

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7/24/1995 seems to be a good day for All Japan. I liked this match too. Started off kinda slow but it got going quick. Kawada gets dropped right on his head. Good finish too.

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Liked this match a whole lot. What I really liked about the beginning half was how the roles felt reversed. You had Misawa wrestling more like a challenger due to his injury. He wanted to end the match early with big bombs when he got the chance. Kawada was wrestling like a champion looking to pick his spots using the eye injury to set up his offense down the line. My favorite sequence was the Kawada drop toehold -> kick to Misawa eye -> two DANGEROUSSSS Backdrop Drivers it felt so intelligent. It was a really great way to layout a match that was different in a series that ran the risk of getting stale. I felt at least after three Tiger Suplexes the end was inevitable for Kawada as he once again did not have enough in his arsenal to put away the ever-resilient Misawa. The finish was built better to me by not doing an extended Misawa comeback because this was just not any title challenge. His eye was fucked and he needed to get this over with and so he went with elbows and Tiger suplexes until he got him out of Dodge with his belts intact.

 

In a year where you are competing with Misawa/Taue and 6/9/95 (when a match is known just by its date, you know it is a big deal like Titus O'Neil :) ), your match is just not going to win MOTY, but I think this is an easy number three on the year edging out Kawada/Kobashi's 60 minute broadway and Misawa/Kobashi Carny match. There is nothing to be ashamed of being AJPW #3 MOTY.

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To be honest...I am now wondering if it is the same match I am thinking of. My favourite match ever is Kawada v Misawa from June/July....I'm just not certain now that it was this year....

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To be honest...I am now wondering if it is the same match I am thinking of. My favourite match ever is Kawada v Misawa from June/July....I'm just not certain now that it was this year....

Oh, okay; you're probably thinking of their revered June 1994 Triple Crown match. That's a 35 minute epic masterpiece.

 

This July '95 match is outstanding in its own right but more of a sprint. It's well liked but not in the "all-time favorite" conversation.

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What a great one-two punch this card provided. Now, I know they weren't going to change the Triple Crown three times in 6 months (and four times in about 8 months, going back to '94)...but I daresay Kawada seemed like he had a better chance going into *this* match than he did in the 6/3/94 epic. After all, he's coming off a pin of Misawa this time, whereas Champion Carnival notwithstanding he had been on a cold streak from the end of '93 into most of '94. And it's wrestled that way too, with Kawada coming out smacking Misawa in the face figuratively and literally. It's really refreshing to see a Triple Crown match that tells everything that needs to be told and wraps things up in 24 minutes without feeling rushed. The one thing that sort of got glossed over was Misawa's sell of the backdrop driver--a move that's normally an achilles heel that's shrugged off disappointingly quickly. That's a very minor nitpick, though. After starting to grow weary of the style, it's great to see two back-to-back singles wars from All-Japan that both leave me wanting more. Not sure where this will place in the MOTY listings but top-10 is certainly not out of the question.

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This was so stiff. I've seen a lot of vicious and painful stuff in wrestling but I genuinely cringed at some of the shots being thrown in this one. Kawada's kicks to Misawa's face were particularly harsh.

 

Now, this was a good match, and I did enjoy it. Maybe it was my expectations or maybe because I watched it back-to-back with Kobashi vs Taue from the same show (which I enjoyed enormously), but I felt this one was very good but not great. I think, after eeading the comments here I'll need to give it some time and revisit this one, because I seem unusually low on it.

 

God they hit each other so hard though.

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Pretty straightforward badass match. Kind of a precursor to where (for better or worse) their matches would go structure wise in the late 90s. There's no way I can't love Misawa breaking out kicks to the face and KO elbow finishes.

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Yeah, what a great match. So hard-hitting... those Kawada kicks were stiff, but one of the most badass Misawa elbows was thrown too. The camera shot was perfect from the outside and below waist level at their backs. It rocked Kawada's world, and looked awesome. Anyway, really enjoyed this. ****1/2

 

http://placetobenation.com/countdown-top-500-matches-of-the-90s-150-101/

 

#139

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More traditional in structure than the previous Taue vs Kobashi contest, and far better for it. After quickly establishing familiarity Kawada went straight for the orbital bone. A dick move and so, so cool. He went on to have most of the offence and after the win on 6/9 this could be his night right? Misawa soaked up punishment and launched comebacks. Some of Tosh's selling was divine. They built up so well through the phases and delivered another excellent battle. It looks like the only reason Kawada pinned his nemesis in the tag bout was the damage done by Taue's chokeslam. At 24m it was full length without any fat. The only minor downsides were a bit of repetition on Misawa's offence and that the finish was a little underwhelming after what had come before. Overall a fine addition to this legendary rivalry.

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Excellent match. Great start with the two exchanging counters before Kawada recks Misawa with a nasty kick to the face to take control. Kawada delivers a nasty beat down of Misawa with his various kicks and suplex variations. Misawa's selling and bumping was sensational and Kawada's too. The finishing stretch was pretty great. Riveting action from start to finish. ****1/2

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On 10/29/2012 at 2:42 AM, Superstar Sleeze said:

In a year where you are competing with Misawa/Taue and 6/9/95 (when a match is known just by its date, you know it is a big deal like Titus O'Neil :) ), your match is just not going to win MOTY, but I think this is an easy number three on the year edging out Kawada/Kobashi's 60 minute broadway and Misawa/Kobashi Carny match. There is nothing to be ashamed of being AJPW #3 MOTY.

I am so happy that 2012 Sleeze loved Titus just as much as 2020 Sleeze does albeit for different reasons. Titus O'Neil rules! Kobashi/Taue was a better carny match and KawadaKobashi was not really in contention for MOTY

AJPW Triple Crown Champion Mitsuharu Misawa vs Toshiaki Kawada - AJPW 7/24/95

Based on the first ten minutes, I think this is on pace to be better than 6/3/94. There's really not much need to review. It is self-evident once you watch it. They do an excellent scouting routine early and they are working a ferocious clip. No one is fucking around. I liked Misawa blocking the Jumping High Kick to the face. You see on one of the German reversals that Misawa clutches his face and not soon after Kawada CRUSHES his face with a big boot. KOPPOU KICK~! I popped huge for that. This match is built around Kawada breaking Misawa's face in the Carny about 4 months prior. Kawada is merciless attacking the face. I love how he is elbowing the neck and then all of sudden changes gears and goes high. There are some fucking great Kawada Kicks where he really rears back and rifles Misawa in the face. Misawa sold this onslaught well. I would say Misawa feels more in danger of losing than any other Singles match (even moreso than the Doc loss). Kawada is relentless. Just when I think they may be going over board with Misawa taking too much of an asskicking, he blocks some kicks with his elbows and then starts firing back. I love how Misawa has to earn that comeback. there is a lot of tussling before Misawa SMOKES him with the Roaring Elbow. Misawa always has a puncher's chance and Kawada sold this blow wickedly. Lots of classic Kawada selling: Cant run the ropes, stumbling & fumbling until he falls on his ass, great stuff. Misawa is folding him in half with German. But cant land the Tiger Driver. Misawa went from looking he was getting blown out to routing Kawada. The Elbow bails him out again. As the ten minutes come to a close, they do Misawa's Facelock, the Facelock does not have the heat of 1992 and it is a dead in the water move...come to think of the match has not had much heat, but it more minimalist, body part focused. They transition to Kawada by doing one of All Japan's favorite transitions one guy holds onto the ropes for dear life to avoid the Suplex and then lets go and SMOKES the other guy in the face with a strike. Kawada hits two MEATY Lariats after this that are just wicked to take command. 

Yeah this is better than 6/3/94, there are so many nice little touches from Kawada that make this stand out from a traditional King's Road match. In one case, it is how the ref sells it. Kawada guzzles Misawa up quickly and goes for a chinlock/sleeper, but the ref urgently breaks it up and freaks out. Making you believe Kawada was choking Misawa. The crowd booed. It was all thanks to the ref. Kudos to him. Another bout of frustration saw Kawada mount Misawa and just rain down punches on his face. I wish we got a better camera angle on that, but it was things like that made this so much more heated. 6/3/94 was the ultimate King's Road match, this feels more personal and like there is more hatred in it. I LOVED the droptoehold and RIFLE KICK to the bad eye that was sick. The twin DANGERRRRROUSSSSSSSSSSSSS Back Drop Drivers was a great climax to that. I liked Kawada going for the Powerbomb, being thwarted and going for Stretch Plum instead. Two great Powerbombs ensued look at the drive in his legs on the second one. I loved how when Misawa ever connected with any offense, Kawada would either kick him in the face or drop him on his head. It just looked like Misawa had no prayer. I should mention those two heated moments, the choke and full mount punches came after especially frustrating nearfalls(two Dangerous Back Drop Driver and two powerbombs). You could see the momentum start to shift to Misawa as Kawada was running out of gas and Misawa's elbows were really starting to land. Kawada whiffing on the Jumping High Kick was the first signal to me that the end of was nigh for the challenger. Misawa OBLITERATES him with an Elbow and just goes Full Head Drop Mode with devastating German and Tiger Suplexes. Kawada comes up swinging with two big closed fists as he makes his Last Stand. Misawa headbutts the abdomen! I love it! Elbow and ROARING ELBOW~! Kawada is fucked. It takes two more massive Tiger Suplexes but it is all over for Kawada. 

6/3/94 with the Tiger Driver '91 finish did not give them much room to grow outside of a Kawada victory here. I think that's one of the main reasons 6/3/94 is more fondly remembered is the finish is more epic.  Baba's booking in 6/9/95 really heeled Kawada in my eyes. He went from competitive archrival of Misawa to fucking asshole consumed by jealousy stopping at nothing to win. You dont want Kawada to win this match because he is a prick. Misawa needed to win this match because of that. I wonder if Kawada winning at 6/3/94 and Misawa winning the comeback match in 95 which then causes Kawada to lose his mind and go full heel trying to injure Misawa in their '96 match would have been the best arc. Baba's booking has been analyzed to death regardless 6/3/94 and 7/24/95 are fucking amazing. I am more confident in who I am as a reviewer to say this is the better than 6/3/94. To me 6/3/94 is the ultimate workrate wet dream match. There is so much more to wrestling than workrate and I think this match does a better job capturing the personal animosity between these two and just how unhinged Kawada had become. *****

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