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[1995-12-09-AJPW-Real World Tag League] Mitsuharu Misawa & Kenta Kobashi vs Toshiaki Kawada & Akira Taue

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As much as anything, this match just didn't feel like it accomplished anything. Baba hits the reset button to have Misawa/Kobashi win the league, but wusses out and has Kawada/Taue keep the tag belts, then breaks Misawa/Kobashi up. It worked out in '96 with the Akiyama storyline, but man, it would get REAMED if someone did that today. It's good action and all but there's 20+ minutes of good action in like two or three hundred All Japan '90s matches.

 

This needed to be on the set, and maybe I'm underestimating the quality, but it's still a letdown.

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Agreed with the earlier comments. There's nothing wrong with this match, but this is the least of the Four Corners tag matches I've seen to this point. It's a match almost any other four wrestlers in history would be proud to have, but the match feels a little tired at this point (and I say that without having seen the '94 stuff). It makes sense why they decided to move Akiyama up around this time.

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I think I liked this better than anyone else here, but agree that the result is pointless at best and extremely troublesome at worst. Still, I liked Kawada & Taue's opening flurry, the electric chair/chokeslam off the apron, and I *really* liked all the work on Kobashi's arm and Kobashi's sell. Also, Misawa's eye is still a problem for him, as he's immediately cut off on more than one occasion with a simple shot to the eye. It's not at the level of these guys' best, so maybe in some sense it's disappointing, but I still thought this was a hell of a good match.

 

Still...all that aggressiveness from the Holy Demon Army is pretty much for naught, as they do the job anyway. No idea what purpose that served, and this seems like a perfect spot to pay off what we saw earlier in the year and have Taue get his first (?) pin of Misawa.

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This was another awesome match put on by four of the best of all time. It started out really well and settled in nicely but was not the best of the year which considering how awesome 10/15/95 was, it’s not too shabby. In fact, if memory serves me this was akin to the all action 5/21/94. This was better though because it lacked the awkwardness of that incarnation. This was like a beautiful trainwreck at times. The stiffness and viciousness was Bull Nakano-like. In that I mean you could tell they weren’t really in control all of the time and it was more brutal because of it. Otherwise, story laden with nice variations, even though the Nodowa Otoshi was a bit too much of a part but, it worked and was never too much. Not as engrossing as the 6/9 or 10/15 match but a great match nonetheless and the Misawa/Kobashi team’s swan song. Put that way it was rather fitting and continued the story.

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The final chapter of this legendary rivalry, but let's just pretend it never happened shall we?

 

Misawa and Kobashi win the Tag League for the third straight year. Only Baba knows what that was supposed to accomplish. A comparatively terrible match that proves it ain't simply what you do, it's how you do it. They began with a closing stretch. Unless you're having a sprint there's nowhere you can go after that. There's value in experimentation, but this didn't work out at all. I didn't even watch it through to the end this time around. In contrast to the vast majority of 1995 All Japan, a total fail.

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Oof, I didn't like much, relatively. Two of the best teams of all time, great rivalry but this was just fine. They hit their notes, attacking the arm of Kobashi. Kawada catching Misawa trying to come in. Taue throwing people left and right. It had its moments but ultimately, I was left flat. ***

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What a difference 6 months makes.  From quite possibly the best tag team match of all time, you never really hit the highs again.  But this was super disappointing.  This match dragged for me.

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Ya'll are super harsh.

Holy Demon Army vs Super Generation Army - AJPW 12/9/95 Real World Tag League

After 2.5 years and eight matches later (we only have seven of the eight), here's the last match of the most celebrated tag rivalry in history. This is generally considered one of their least regarded efforts. I am only 15 minutes into it, but I am surprised to say the least. The October 1995 match which is generally considered their fourth best affair was a slog of maximalist overdrive reminiscent of NOAH. To me, this is the leaner, meaner version of the October 1995 match which I appreciate and on top of that it is distinctly more memorable than the ultimately forgettable 1994 Tag League match. 

The first five minutes is the demolition of the Super Generation Army. Kawada does his best Larry Zbyszko and disengages from lockups to casually stretch. When he does engage he hoists Kobashi into a DANEROUSSSSSS BACK DROP DRIVER! Smokes Misawa on the apron and Jumping High Kick to Kobashi (Kawada's Roaring Elbow). It is off to the races as loyal henchmen without any urging knows it is his duty to keep Misawa at bay. When Kobashi starts to stir, he gets a NODOWA for his troubles, Cross-Armbreaker! DOOMSDAY NODOWA TO THE FLOOR!!!! HOLY SHIT! Taue throws Kobashi from the apron to the railing on his injured arm! Misawa is fucked and now Kobashi's arm is fucked too. 

It seems after 6/9/95 that the believe the only way to create drama was to put the Super Generation Army into a massive hole at the start, just have them get routed. Then watch them claw back. This is far from my favorite layout and made the October match a slog, BUT at 30 minutes long, this does not get as long in the tooth. In addition, the 6-7 minute heat segment has much more purpose than the first heat segment on Kobashi in October. There is great arm work and Kobashi selling, which we dont see until the back half of October. They are cutting out the filler and keeping the best parts of October. Kawada and Taue are a pleasure to watch on offense but they dont feel like fools not trying to kill Kobashi like in October when they were not going for the kill. In October, they were aimless, here they have a focus. The double Cross-Armbreaker when Kawada cant break Kobashi's clasp is great. Misawa has awoken and has the Holy Demon Army in his crosshairs. Pissed off Misawa is great. Misawa smokes everyone. German on Taue! HUGE TIGER SUPLEX ON KAWADA! Kobashi tags out and Misawa crushes Kawada! Tiger Driver! Frogsplash! FACELOCK! Taue breaks up and saves Kawada. Kawada tags out. Efficient, condensed version of October with more energy and heat. 

I watched the last 15 minutes and the haters are crazy. This blows the October 1995 match out of the water. I need to get ready for tennis but I will come back and do a full review. In the meantime, the last 15 minutes were an insane tour de force. Taue earns his control back and the heat segment on Misawa is dripping with drama and urgency. Kobashi comes in and it is rock n roll. Misawa bails Kobashi out twice once with Elbow Suicida on Taue and then later with the Tiger Suplex on Taue. The brawl on the floor between Misawa and Kawada is epic. Blocking the powerbomb and closed fist to hit the Tiger Driver on the floor. 

I liked how chippy Misawa and Taue is. It is non-obvious who is in control. Taue really has to use his size advantage to bully Misawa even then doubles up his dropkicks using the ropes to make this very even. He tries for Tiger Driver and Tiger Suplex, well-timed interference by Kawada and a Nodowa regains the advantage for the baddies. Kobashi breaks up the first Kawada powerbomb. DANGEROUS NODOWA/BACKDROP DRIVER COMBO! Nice nearfall. I will say the heat is not great even though the action is. Misawa-rana prevents first powerbomb. Kawada finally muscles him up and throws him down. Again a very good nearfall. I like how they really built their control over Misawa. Kobashi blocks the potential Doomsday Nodowa by attacking Taue. Taue comes back in and illegally NODOWAs Misawa. Stretch Plum was the next logical step. Kobashi has had enough of this bullshit and Lariats Taue and punches Kawada. Kawada releases the hold and kicks Kobashi in the bad arm repeatedly. He catches the kick and cleans Kawada's clock. Misawa tags out. Kawada Fujiwara Armbar takedown, nope, cross-armbreaker. I like how Kawada did not just fold. Kobashi back drops out of Powerbomb, but a Jumping High Kick and the Holy Demon Army remains firmly in control. Kobashi sandbags Taue on a powerbomb, but Taue gets him up for  DYNAMIC BOMB~! Misawa breaks it up. This is better than October match as Super Generation Army is in trouble but it does not feel insurmountable. Misawa saves Kobashi from the Nodowa Of Death (Apron Nodowa) and hits an Elbow Suicida on Taue. This shifts everything back to the good guys. 

Kobashi sells his bad arm so well, dangling at his side. Jackknife Powerbomb...Bodyslam...Fist Pump...MOONSAULT! 1-2-NO! Tough crowd! Kawada kicks Kobashi in the face to stop the second Moonsault and kicks Misawa in the face. Powerbomb to Kobashi and Taue needs to make the cover. 1-2-NO! The best part of the match is when Kawada's obsession gets the best of him. He wants to Powerbomb Misawa on the exposed floor, but Misawa blocks. Kawada goes for punch, but Misawa blocks elbow...TIGER DRIVER~!  Taue NODOWA ON KOBASHI! NODOWA ON MISAWA! It is 1995 can Taue do this on his own? Taue looking at Misawa doesnt see Kobashi German Suplex him! Kawada is out. This is all on Taue. Misawa TIGER SUPLEX! 1-2-NO! Misawa handing Kobashi the win would have been so 1993. MOONSAULT! 1-2-3! Amazing match!

I don't want to complain too much about this but the Kawada supporters are incorrigible. Kawada is Wile E. Coyote. He is not supposed to succeed. He was never supposed to capture the Roadrunner and don't let others convince you otherwise. He was a fucking asshole prick in 6/9/95 and how anyone can come out of 6/9/95 not burning with passion to see Kawada get smoked is beyond me. That was his glimmer of hope and a moment of doubt in the good guys. You never give up on the good guys! He got struck down in 7/24/95. Misawa & Kobashi did not get their win back as a team. That's what this was! Triumph for all that was good in the world! I know there is a time-honored tradition of going out on your back. First it was just Misawa & Kobashi tag team that was being broken up, both were continuing. Furthermore, it would have been just sad if the heels won the last encounter. It just wouldnt feel right. If there was a team like Akiyama and another young buck that would be a cool moment, but why should we be rewarding assholes like Kawada & Taue. I was very happy that Misawa & Kobashi got the win. It is sheer madness that this not more well-regarded. I watched the last 15 minutes again and the crowd heat is missing even though I think there is plenty of struggle and earning the moves. These were not just four men going through the motions, they had a lot of pep in their steps and zing on everything. The match-up had grown stale and there was not much room to grown. It did not feel like a true blowoff. Misawa hitting the Tiger Driver on Kawada on the floor felt good after all the torment Kawada put Misawa through the constant exploitation of the eye injury. I would have liked something more rousing. The 6/9/95 match is so emotionally draining and so brutal to watch. I would have liked Misawa/Kobashi to really beat the pulp out of them in retaliation. Regardless still a great match. I need to watch it again, but I think this might be better than 5/21/94, which I think is a superb workrate match but lacks the heat/stuggle/hate of 12/3/93 and 6/9/95. It never reaches the heights of 12/3/93 or 6/9/95. I am not that confident yet. I will rate as I would 6/1/93, ****1/2.

Here is my official ranking of the eight:

1. 6/9/95

2. 12/3/93

3. 5/21/94

4. 1995 RWTL

5. 6/1/93

6. 1/25/95

7. 10/15/95

8. 1994 RWTL (The most forgettable)

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