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Charles (Loss)

[1994-12-10-AJPW-Real World Tag League] Mitsuharu Misawa & Kenta Kobashi vs Steve Williams & Johnny Ace

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Check out Johnny Ace in this match. Williams and Ace keep Misawa in their corner of the match putting him in various submissions. Kobashi will come in and try to break it up but this justs irks Ace and Williams to punish Misawa more. Misawa is in the ring for the longest time as Kobashi just remains on the apron. Kobashi tries to interfere more but gets a german suplex. Misawa takes on both Williams and Ace before Kobashi gets back in the ring.

 

It is around 15 minutes of match show time before Kobashi makes an official tag in. Ace kicks out of the moonsault which surprised me. But then Ace gets the upper hand and has two very believable close two counts only on Kobashi. Had me there. Misawa tags back in and Ace kicks out of a couple moves but losing to tiger driver. Excellent match where Ace looked very impressive overall. Quite the improvement since his Carnival match earlier on set.

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I like the bootleg that we dug up better than this, but not by much. This is by far the best I've ever seen Johnny Ace look. He's not Misawa or Kobashi (or even Doc), but he tries hard and for one night looks like a peer. I love the dueling moonsaults with him and Ace. That kickout from Ace felt like there was no way he was going to go down like that after Kobashi just kicked out of his own moonsault. but even more than Ace's performance, Misawa and Kobashi really look like the best tag team in the world here because of how in tune they are with each other. On more than one occasion, they give offensive moves to Doc and Kobashi in stereo, and Kobashi instinctively blocks Doc from interfering when he sees Misawa going for the Tiger Driver. For working coherently as a team, this is one of their better performances.

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I much prefer this to the July iteration, and think it's really underrated. My take from '07:

 

"Daaaaaaamn this rules. This isn't just [top 50], it's probably top 30. They establish the hate and intensity early on, then go through the really incredible heat sequence on Misawa with steady escalation and *actual* peril before the hot tag, then hope spots, then an extended comeback leading to a whole bunch of credible but non-overkill nearfalls. I think this has to go above Jumbo/Taue vs Misawa/Kobashi and I love that match. Jumbo-era matches had tons of heart but very basic moves. Misawa-era you get bigger moves but often lose a lot of the spirit; this has both in spades."

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Thought this was awesome. Misawa in real peril and his ranking as the ace feels in jeopardy, Misawa/Kobashi working amazing as a team, Ace hanging with great submissions and a moonsault, and Doc capping off a great year. The ending Misawa comeback is awesome and so was the build and aftermath of the backdrop driver by Doc. Great match.

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Can't ask for more out of a tag match than this. A LONG southern-cooked FIP segment on Misawa which is really well-done, with great sympathy selling from Misawa and perfectly timed teases and comebacks. Kobashi doing great work as the "saver" on the apron. A great dramatic twist as Doc levels Kobashi with a backdrop driver, taking Misawa's hot tag away and forcing him to make his own comeback. Then *Misawa* eats a backdrop driver and is saved only because Doc isn't legal and Ace is too slow to cover. Doc also has an awesome deadlift off the mat directly into the Oklahoma Stampede in here somewhere. Then to Southern Tag this up a little more, Ace does Kobashi's own moonsault and mocks him the whole way, complete with arm pump. Some truly fantastic stereo sequences here too, with Kobashi saving Misawa from Doc who was saving Ace from a tiger driver and then all the dueling tiger suplex attempts. Plus this match had me guessing the entire way through--Ace looked like job material from the start, of course. Kobashi's the clear #2 for his team. And Misawa took such a beating that I could actually see Doc pinning him, too. And of course there was the possibility of a draw. Possibly one of the 10 or even 5 best AJPW matches of the year.

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Clipping the first 5m or so out of a 25m match on the surface may not seem all that important, but it often is. Some of the selling in the middle of this threw me as it wasn't stacking up to what had been shown. Misawa spends a solid 15m in there without tagging, nearly all on the receiving end. It was like a handicap match with MVC levels of offensive domination. I didn't care for the structure at all.

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#342

 

This was a bit of a slow burner until Williams hit a pair of backdrop drivers on Misawa and Kobashi and the match kicked into another gear. Nothing they did really blew me away. It was more "predictably great" than anything else. Sometimes with these All Japan matches it's clear that they're being laid out to be great instead of getting there of their own accord. That may have been more pronounced with Ace involved, but it pretty much looked like everyone was sticking to the script. Misawa's selling was excellent as usual. He really was a beautiful seller around this time. Even when he was being rocked by big moves, you knew he was capable of a comeback that only the Man and company ace can deliver. This wasn't his most memorable comeback ever, but it was a solid tag and everyone worked hard to do their bit.

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#342 - placetobenation.com/countdown-top-500-matches-of-the-90s-350-301/

 

Ha, I love the first time Kobashi comes in and tries to break up the Sharpshooter that Ace has on Misawa. The ref turns around to back him out, and Williams goes in and starts stomping the shit out of Misawa's head. Then, when Williams quits, the ref turns around, and Kobashi comes in and strikes Ace anyway. I just like the protectiveness here of Kobashi over Misawa. When they hit the lariat on Misawa on the outside, Kobashi charges over. As mentioned above, he is continuously trying to break up the work over of Misawa in the corner of Ace and Williams. At one point, Kobashi catches a DDT on the outside from Ace. He eventually recovers, returns to the ring, and delivers a hard chop to the neck of Ace. He then falls over with exhaustion and tries to crawl towards Williams to save Misawa from more punishment. I really liked the way Kobashi sold the Fatigue instead of just bouncing right back into the action after taking a DDT to the floor. Overall, I thought this was really good. During the closing moments, I was just ready for Ace to be put away.

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