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[1994-12-10-AJPW-Real World Tag League] Toshiaki Kawada & Akira Taue vs Stan Hansen & Giant Baba

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Tough act to follow the last match. Love Hansen’s no sell of the Kawada kicks. Great body language when he just keeps walking at Kawada. There was a camera angle when Kawada is hitting Baba in corner with kicks and barely looks like he is touching him. I know you take it easy on the boss but it really can stand out in a match where Hansen and Kawada are so much more physically believable. Match was okay but wasn’t feeling Kawada getting taking the pin. I guess they are building to future happenings in 1995.

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I didn't think this was a GREAT match, but I did enjoy it. It seemed at least as good as the Baba/Hansen match against Misawa/Kobashi earlier in the year. Kawada's interactions with both Hansen and Baba I think were as good as what Kobashi did what both guys in the March match, and possibly better. The Kawada/Hansen stuff near the finish is my favorite part of this, as Taue has a victory over Hansen to his name (context be damned), but Kawada doesn't. At one point, he actually pulls Kawada on top of Hansen to try to help him get the job done and he still can't do it. A little sad to see Kawada lose a big match while holding the Triple Crown, and that's even more sad when you consider that he didn't have a single successful title defense (I guess the Kobashi draw was "successful", but you know what I mean) while champion. But I did think this was a good, solid match.

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The Kawada/Hansen stuff near the finish is my favorite part of this, as Taue has a victory over Hansen to his name (context be damned), but Kawada doesn't.

Kawada pinned Hansen in the 1993 Carny, a month after their 2/93 Budokan war. Not a tv taping, no hand held has washed up... yeah, Kawada's big first win there was pissed away.

 

John

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I can't recall in a singles match on TV or on commercial tape. Might be one... but I'm drawing a blank. It was one reason the 3/95 result was a little surprising: that looked like a semi-obvious Kawada win when it was announced.

 

Kawada pinned Hansen at the end of the 9/95 survival match at Budokan. That's a bit of a cheat, but from a format standpoint, it's a "series" of tag team matches, with the last one going (Kawada & Baba vs Kobashi & Hansen) right around 20 minutes. Anyway... clips of the 60+ minute match were on TV. Don't recall if it ever came out in full on commercial tape. I know the Misawa-Taue from the top of the card did.

 

Kawada pinned Hansen when Kawada & Taue won the tag titles back from Hansen & Alright in 2/96. That was on TV.

 

John

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The finish to the 2/96 title change is on the '96 Yearbook. That will be one of the fun parts of this project -- revisiting the highlights of each set after watching them all. Something like a Kawada pin over Hansen doesn't seem as significant when you're starting with 1996 as it would when walking through each year in order.

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This is true.

 

I suspect you'll find it isn't that big of a deal in rewatch. Just another thing that AJPW blew in terms of booking: Kawada's first win over Hansen. I mean... if you're going to have Kawada beat Hansen during Carny 93, there really isn't any reason not to have him beat him instead at Budokan the month before. Granted... it's a match I love, and I don't really want anything in it changed. But it's just dumbass stuff to so quickly and insignificantly give it away what you wouldn't just give to the fans.

 

Clearly they wanted Hansen to look strong going into the next challenge of Misawa:

 

02/93 Budokan: Hansen over Kawada

03/93 Carny: Williams over Hansen

03/93 Carny: Hansen over Misawa

04/93 Carny: Kawada over Hansen

04/93 Carny: Hansen over Taue

04/93 Carny: Hansen over Kobashi

04/93 Carny: Hansen over Gordy

04/93 Carny Final: Hansen over Misawa

 

 

And bingo, you have Hansen ready to challenge Misawa. They could probably have adjusted things around to give Kawada the Budokan win, and then Hansen coming right back to pin him in Carny. That wouldn't have hurt Kawada anymore than losing to Kawada in Carny hurt Hansen. It just would have given a higher profile to that first win.

 

Of course these are the folks who buried Taue and Kobashi's first wins over Hansen in Carny, and we're lucky that they had those commercial tapes running.

 

John

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Good match with puzzling finish in how it played out. If kawada would have been sucessful on 3/95 then it would have been forgivable. I am starting to think that 1995 was really when the All Japan booking faltered based on the follow up of 1994. Baba looked less spry and game here than he did in other performances this year and the match suffered as a result. I prefer Kobashi over Taue in their respective Baba/Hansen matches.

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A really fun match, and Baba showed lots of pep and energy for the first 2/3 of this at least, before seemingly running out of gas. This is actually worked at a sprint pace for those 2/3, which is almost unbelievable. Taue's maniacal save after Hansen's Lariat is pretty great and once again I was guessing all the way until the finish. Kawada does the job, which ideally sets up Hansen as a Triple Crown challenger which I'm fine with, but not as fine upon knowing the result of that match. Even in spite of the Carnival win there's a strong undercurrent throughout the year of Kawada getting fucked, sometimes subtly so like a modern-day, WWE-style start-stop-start push. Back to the match...the finishing stretch was good but it didn't quite build as well as last year's Carnival match, but it's not far behind and in some ways is an even more surprising latter-day performance from Baba.

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This was only 2 minutes longer than the semi main event to this show but boy this felt much, much longer. Baba and Hansen winning means Kobashi and Misawa are crowned World Tag Team Champions! I thought this was good in parts but awkwardly paced. The bits with Baba weren’t very good at all. Kawada seemed scared to even touch him, throwing kicks that clearly don’t touch him by a mile. The difference between Hansen in the match and Baba in the match was staggering. Thankfully Kawada redeems himself with Hansen. ***

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