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[1990-09-01-AJPW-Summer Action Series II] Mitsuharu Misawa vs Jumbo Tsuruta

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Love Jumbo's performance here. Just the right mix of vulnerability and strength for this part of the feud. Delivering both "wow, Misawa is tough..." and "dammit I'm the ace you little punk!" with facial expressions is quite something. Even though Jumbo wins, his selling puts over Misawa as a force to be reckoned with. Also, I think Misawa does a better job of wrestling heavyweight-style. I much prefer the match to the June iteration, though it does have some filler.

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It's much better than the June match, more coherent and as Ditch said, better at establishing Misawa as a guy who could go toe-to-toe with a heavyweight instead of having to wrestle as an opportunistic cruiserweight. The June match had the "holy shit" ending, but this one featured better performances from both guys.

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better at establishing Misawa as a guy who could go toe-to-toe with a heavyweight instead of having to wrestle as an opportunistic cruiserweight.

I would argue the opposite: Misawa working more cruiser-ish in the June match gave it a David-vs.-Goliath aspect that made it more compelling.

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Jumbo is just ready to finally end this bullshit parade. He hopes everyone had a great summer, really, but yeah, these kids can find something else to do. The play off of the June finish is an awesome spot, with Jumbo rolling through on Misawa's quick pin attempt. The match then goes to a different level, as Jumbo completely snaps and obliterates young Misawa, building quite a bit of fan sympathy for him in the process. I don't think this match would have been as good without the June Budokan preceding it, simply because that result made Misawa's pin attempts so much more credible. I understand why the June match connected so much with fans at the time, but this one worked so much better for me because it was so much more action-packed, and the two had more history as well. This and the tag were a great 1-2 punch.

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Top 3 MOTYC. I don't have a lot to say about this, frankly, but this is definitely a "past midnight" feeling with how long the near-fall stretch goes. I thought the suplex-reversal callback came towards the end of the match, having forgotten there were 10+ minutes of bomb-throwing to come afterward. Even the first backdrop nearfall I thought would be followed up with just another backdrop for the pin. It was, but not without yet another teased Misawa comeback in-between. Just awesome stuff all around that makes Misawa look pretty much as strong as the June victory did.

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Jumbo Fucking Tsurtua. Following up a great match with Kobashi the night before he delivers an all time classic here. Misawa is also great but to me this is one of Jumbo's signature performances. I watched this match back to back which is rare and on the second watch the stuff they did in the first 10 minutes was really well done and set up everything from the tease of the first match finish on. I also loved how Jumbo narrowly escaped the hot shot. In contention for my #1 MOTY.

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Haven’t seen this one. Couple spots where Jumbo is catching on to Misawa’s moves. That flying elbow/headbutt move Misawa has been hitting Jumbo with in previous matches but Jumbo is ready now. Jumbo whacks Misawa with a chair in the back. Things picking up. Misawa is hot when it gets back in the ring and he is throwing forearms. Jumbo counters with headbutts and a drop kick. Misawa leap frogs and lands on his own head almost beating himself. Getting sloppy but Jumbo hits a big superplex. Misawa kicks out of the backdrop. Second one does it though. Really strong match. It doesn’t have the special moment of Misawa winning like the June match but still delivered. But is not that far behind overall.

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It was many years ago during my initial viewing when I first began to understand Jumbo's greatness. He was the wounded old lion trying to fight off the pretender to his throne. Misawa was the young punk with more strength, better conditioning and the desire to prove that last time was no fluke.

 

For the first 15m they set the scene. It was like a volcano waiting to explode. When Misawa came close to a pin Tsuruta lost his professional calm and briefly displayed all of the humiliation and anger that had been building up inside of him. That set in motion an extraordinary stretch. Such emotion as Jumbo was so desparate for the win and the redemption it would bring. It made me emotional too as I wanted him to do it so badly. The selling of exhaustion was magnificent. Tsuruta looked like he was on his last legs and I genuinely believe he was. A couple of spots were messed up because of the tiredness but that actually fitted in with the story being told. Misawa had nothing taken away in defeat as he himself had ascended to greatness over the two matches. For Jumbo this was arguably the crowning glory of his legendary career. 1990 MOTY.

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A tremendous match, but not quite as epic as the tag from 9/30, which I watched earlier. Of course, that's nothing against it, as that match had four guys beating the hell out of each other for forty-five minutes with no resolution. This time, Jumbo gets the win, but you see how he was pushed to his limits to get it, having to hit each of his big moves in rapid succession until Misawa was simply too overwhelmed to kick out.

 

This match featured more anger and desperation from both men, as evidenced by the brief but extremely heated sequences outside the ring. This has definitely reached epic feud territory since their first hookup (that we saw, at least) in late May.

 

Was Jumbo having legitimate problems with his equilibrium? I've noticed in his last few bouts that he shakes his head a lot after being in a side headlock for a long time or having forearms or punches thrown at the side of his head. Maybe he's getting a cauliflower ear, which wouldn't be surprising after all the time he's spent in the ring.

 

So now the one-on-one score (again, at least in the matches we've seen) is even at one match apiece, and the buildup begins for Round 3. It should be a classic!

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Agree with everyone else here, I liked this more than the June match. June had the surprise and the emotion, but this told a better story I think. Misawa looks more like his equal throughout the first part of the match, I lost it for the pin reversal, and then Jumbo just goes off. The exhaustion towards the end of the match was excellent, whether it was intentional or not. Them kind of falling on each other was awesome. What a match.

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http://placetobenation.com/countdown-top-500-matches-of-the-90s-50-1/2/

 

#24

 

A favorite match and moment, and a true classic. *****

 

This ended up being my #2 match of the year (only behind 12/14/90 Dandy/Satanico). Although, I'll end up watching this one more over time. I love Jumbo in this match. Lots of emotion and a great story. I love the closing moments as drew discussed above.

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Yeah this match is no joke.

 

My favourite thing about this was the continuous game of one upmanship. Something that would become a theme with the Misawa/Kawada series later on, except here it was about the dominant guy avoiding a loss rather than the other guy chasing the win. The clobbering throughout is nice and the pace is really strong with impeccable build towards bigger and bigger moves, but the either guy keeps edging just ahead of other aspect is what makes it so compelling.

 

As it has been mentioned before Jumbo does a monster job here selling for Misawa's elbows. The progression though is remarkable. Early on he's not troubled much, but Misawa getting the better of him is clearly bothering him, so he throws the Regular Match Wrestling out and just really beats the hell out of Misawa as if to shut that door entirely. But Misawa comes back and starts landing bigger blows including the type that sent Fuchi seeing stars before and this is where shit gets real serious. After that it's just boiling with Jumbo being pushed to the edge and fightig back for dear life. Seeing Misawa with gritted teeth was something else too.

 

Really, truely great match. I can see why one would prefer the previous match as it shows this incredible new athlete breaking onto the scene, but this is long, excellently worked and eliminates the problems from the previous match while playing out like a boxing or lucha title match. Great stuff, deserves it's rep.

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Hard to say any more about this than has been already said. If the 6/8 match was Misawa's match, this was Jumbo's match in answer to that. Not that Misawa (or Jumbo the first time around) is not represented, but this match is about Jumbo staving off Misawa's challenge. And Misawa definitely delivers on a level that Jumbo is threatened, which is pretty amazing when you think that just over 3 months ago he was meandering around the midcard as Tiger Mask.

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Jumbo Tsuruta vs Mitsuharu Misawa - AJPW 9/1/90

 

Have watched this match in the past and I know it is the REMATCH~! I am twenty minutes in and I am pretty underwhelmed. Transitions have been poor and the story has just been lets hit each other really hard. The beginning was great with each blocking the other's elbow, but Jumbo sneaking in a short elbow. Short heat sequence on Misawa's abdomen with a big Misawa reaction. I thought this was going somewhere good. Liked Misawa's quick reverse crossbody headbutt and chinlock to quell Jumbo's momentum. Then match lost me. Poor transition into the surfboard test of strength. A really lazy Misawa armbar. There was a long stretch where the match did not feel like anything was being accomplished. Misawa would elbow the hell out of Jumbo and then Jumbo would elbow the hell out of Misawa. But the energy was not there. It was more of each other just taking it. Jumbo was doing a lot of holds that ultimately did not mean anything. Misawa was also hold happy. Thing that really stuck out to me was Jumbo hitting a piledriver and a butterfly suplex and Misawa just popping up, it was not a no sell, but a not sell. No selling is a form of selling that can pop the crowd. This is a not sell. It was jarring. The match finally kicked into gear when Jumbo threw Misawa's head to the ground. The Thesz Press. Now it felt like things had consequence. When Misawa elbow, JUMBO WENT BEZERK~! HERE WE FUCKING GO! Loved the play off the 6/8 finish with Misawa shifting his weight on a back drop driver and then Jumbo floating over for two.

 

Jumbo tossing him out repeatedly and whacking him with a chair was great. They were really hitting each other hard. This is the match that established the Misawa Elbow as The MISAWA ELBOW~! You can see how much he relies on it and never gives up on it. He was really bashing Jumbo and he eventually does make in roads with it. Jumbo resorts to primal counters like nasty headbutts. I loved Jumbo's dropkick with the explosive extension at the end. Misawa-rana out of the powerbomb is that debut or was he doing that as Tiger Mask II? Misawa is unrelenting with that HUGE elbows. This is classic Misawa. Loved the German. Jumbo gets him with a supeplex and then a Back Drop Driver. Kick out, damn I bit hard on that! Classic All Japan is here. Huge Misawa elbow to the side of the face. Loved the finish. It was who could pull the trigger first with Jumbo hitting the lariat before Misawa could hit the elbow and Jumbo wins with a back drop driver!

 

JIP to Jumbo losing his mind and going to town on Misawa and this is ***** easy. What is interesting is that while this firmly confirms Jumbo as the Ace with the clean victory with his finish. Misawa did kick out of one Back Drop Driver and really had Jumbo reeling. This was not a dominating Jumbo victory. Jumbo had to be resilient. It was a great fight. The thought first half meandered a lot and drops this out of greatest match of all time discussion, but still a classic. I think I prefer 6/8 for the entirety of it and the cool finish. This had the better finish run. ****1/2

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This is definitely my favorite Misawa-Jumbo singles match. While I really liked the June match, I had the same issue with Childs in that Misawa looked too much like an opportunistic cruiser as opposed to a rising heavyweight star challenging Jumbo's supremacy. Misawa was great as always but this was primarily a Jumbo match, just absolutely beating the tar out of this guy who just won't go away. Misawa first goes for his barrage of forearms to soften Jumbo up but when those aren't quite getting the job done, he opts for the jumping kicks which look to do more damage but leave him open for offense. Jumbo gets to a point where he's absolutely had enough and just wallops Misawa with a chair on the outside, driving home just how badly he wants to prove that he's better than Misawa. Still, Misawa won't go away and tells Jumbo he has to earn it. My only issues were a few weird things Misawa does during this match. He might be my pick for the GOAT, but him adjusting his tights while selling will never not be weird to me. Not to mention once getting hammered with the chair he's able to make it back to the ring under his own power without much issue, but when Jumbo immediately throws him out THEN he sells like he's exhausted. Nevertheless, a great match and arguably the best non-tag Jumbo-Misawa meeting.

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Here's a match I've seen quite a few times over the years and haven't really got it until today. I was always looking for a heavyweight slugfest and was always left disappointed with a match where it seems Misawa wasn't quite yet comfortable working heavyweight offense and where Jumbo took too much. People always focus on Jumbo's story coming into this match as the ace trying to fend off the younger challenger, but order to understand things I found I had to dial things back a little bit and also try to look at where Misawa was at coming into this match. Though he did have his first TC shot against Hansen in July, we're still just a few short months out from when scored his big win over Jumbo while wrestling as a blown-up cruiserweight. As much as this match is emphasizes Jumbo's concern with extinguishing the fire of Misawa's rising star, it's also about Misawa finding his footing as a big match heavyweight and trying out new things, many of which would become trademarks for him later on like the elbows, the stoic persona, and the late-match comeback.

 

The first 15 minutes of this are basically an extended Jumbo squash. He just batters Misawa. Jumbo wants to leave no doubt this time that he's above Misawa in the pecking order and he demonstrates this by having everything Misawa attempts scouted already and giving him almost no room to gain any momentum. Misawa tries to sneak in an elbow and Jumbo blocks it to sneak in one of his own. Misawa attempts a flying headbutt and Jumbo steps out of the way. Misawa tries to reverse a backdrop and Jumbo responds with a receipt for the finish of their prior match.

 

Misawa's longest segment of control in the initial part of the match comes when he manages to lock in a reverse triangle choke. In my initial viewings, I took this as Misawa not really knowing how to string together a good offensive control segment yet, but on this viewing it came across more as the prospect in over his head just trying whatever he can to control the match for longer than a few precious seconds. You can see a look of desperation on his face that stands in contrast to the stoicism he was already display earlier in this match. But, as should be expected, Jumbo finds a way to slip out and just continues his beating. The segment went from one of my least favorite parts of the match to one of my favorite on this viewing.

 

I'd argue there are no transitions in the first 15 minutes in the traditional sense, only hope spots. Sure, Misawa sometimes finds an opening to string a few moves together, but it never feels like he has Jumbo in any real danger, and Jumbo is never far from regaining the upper hand. What Misawa does when he tries to attack doesn't amount to controlling the match but, rather, simply reminding Jumbo that he's still alive despite his best efforts to keep him down.

 

Soon, Jumbo lets his emotions get the better of him and just rages out on Misawa. Aside from being a great spectacle, it also leads to the big transition of match as Jumbo starts to seem to start to tire out and Misawa displays the late-match resiliency that would become a key part of his later matches. This is when the match really starts to get dramatic as it finally looks like the old lion might be in danger. I love how you can sense the growing desperation from Jumbo to put Misawa away as he suddenly starts going for all his moves. Though, like Icarus flying too close to the sun, Misawa takes an unnecessary risk and pays for it when he goes to the top rope only to end up getting thrown off by Jumbo and hit with a backdrop driver. He gets in some offense after that, but his fate is pretty much sealed as Jumbo is soon able to hit another for the win.

 

The match definitely has quite a bit more to it than I gave credit to it when I watched it in the past, but the match doesn't quite have the magic of the June match or the drama of the TC match from the next year. Still, this is a beautiful match to see Jumbo at the peak of his powers and Misawa on the cusp on the greatest ace run in history.

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This is a match that truly clicks into place after trying to find the right pieces, and when it clicks, it’s awesome…and at this point in time, a little disheartening, as you watch Misawa at the birth of his stardom and Jumbo besieged by it, struggling to hold onto his place at the top of the mountain. I like that Misawa thinks he’s not just some young boy Jumbo can bully around, blocking the elbow on the ropes and avoiding the jumping knee. But then he gets caught and put in his place. Jumbo relies on experience and his tried-and-true ways of dealing with the opposition – the clubbing offense, the wear-down holds, the occasional bombs but mostly reserving his energy. On the other hand, Misawa’s spry and hasty, trying to catch Jumbo off guard with kicks or a crossbody. But Jumbo figures it out and there’s a great counter spot to Misawa’s rounding body press out of the corner. When Misawa starts popping Jumbo with elbows, that’s when it all clicks, when Jumbo’s like “are you fucking kidding me with this horseshit?!” and unloads on him. The referee’s trying to maintain order but Jumbo’s fed up, ragdolling Misawa into guardrails and smashing him with a chair, turning the crowd against him. Misawa’s able to exact some revenge and lets loose with the elbows in the corner, stunning him with another in order to deliver the German suplex hold. In the final minutes, Jumbo’s worn out, Misawa’s huffing, and the execution isn’t quite cookie cutter as they’re just lobbing themselves at each other. Jumbo folds Misawa in half with a brutal backdrop and I like how Misawa tries to buy some time with that desperation elbow but it’s not enough to overcome the inevitable and Jumbo pins him down with the backdrop hold.

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The action is good for the first 15 minutes with them trying to one-up each other, but it certainly isn't great. It isn't until Jumbo goes "well, fuck this shit" & starts delivering a grumpy badass beating to Misawa that the match truly picks up. After that it's 10 minutes of explosive, high energy action w/ a very good sense of urgency. Shame that the build up to Jumbo exploding wasn't as great as I remembered. ***1/2

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Yeah, this is the business. I think if you'd asked me ten years ago where I'd put this on an all time list I'd probably have gone somewhere around the top 20. I guess it's a decent barometer of where I'm at with the pro-wrestling these days because it probably wouldn't be within a hundred spots of that now, but even still it's a cracking match. Ageing star trying to hold onto his place in the world is one of my favourite stories in wrestling and this is mostly an awesome telling of that story. Misawa's already beaten Jumbo once. Jumbo's been blitzed by those elbows and still hasn't quite figured out what to do with all that cruiserweight offence. So he either comes up with some answers or he'll be handing over the reins long before he's ready to. 

Like the June match I thought the first few minutes were shit hot. Misawa throws his first elbow but Jumbo knows all too well what to expect and gets a block. Jumbo then tries his own and Misawa has that scouted...so Jumbo just knees him in the guts. Last time he couldn't deal with Misawa flying around, so this time he won't let him get the chance. The knees to the body and the clubbering looked good too, so that was a bonus. I thought the middle part meandered a bit, much like in the first match. They worked a few holds and it wasn't as if they sat in them for minutes at a time, but it didn't feel like there was a great deal of urgency to them either. A headscissors, an abdominal stretch, Jumbo wearing Misawa down without it ever really grabbing me. There were a few cool moments sprinkled in, though. They play off the finish to the first match with the roles reversed, this time Jumbo flipping the pin attempt for a nearfall. Misawa had some of that flying to fall back on as well, like his Super Astro headbutt off the turnbuckle, and those elbows were always useful in a pinch. He came across as more of a heavyweight this time, whereas before it was a bit closer to cruiserweight stepping up a division. Then Misawa drills Jumbo in the ear one time too many and Jumbo goes apeshit. He didn't survive two years of Tenryu chopping him in the throat only to have his brains scrambled by the new kid's elbows. The new kid had even been Jumbo's understudy for chrissakes! He just batters Misawa all over the place, slams him over a table, hits him with a chair, dismissively chucks him through the ropes when Misawa makes it back in. The crowd can boo if they want but Jumbo's had enough and it's time for this foolishness to end. Everything that comes after this is pretty tremendous. Jumbo walked that line between desperation and frustration and his progressive selling for Misawa's elbows was amazing. The moment he snapped again and started throwing headbutts was doubly amazing, like a man who'd exhausted all other options and been driven to near frenzy. I loved the spot where Misawa tried the same leap off the turnbuckle from earlier only for Jumbo to finally have it scouted and drive him to the mat. Of course that little glimmer of hope is squashed not long after as Misawa catches him AGAIN coming off the top. It's like whack-a-mole where every time you get rid of one problem another one pops up. Misawa combining his two biggest weapons and hitting an elbow off the top rope was awesome, but I guess it was fitting that he went to the well once too often and it ultimately cost him. He had his own little glimmer after kicking out of the first backdrop, but Jumbo catching him with the lariat as he fires up for another elbow was a fitting way to shut him down for good. 

There are clear parallels between this and things like Hansen/Kobashi. Jumbo was probably as good in this as Hansen's best with Kobashi, but the best Hansen/Kobashi engaged me way more from start to finish. I think the biggest strengths of both matches is how the young guys came out looking great in defeat while the old dogs showed they weren't ready to step down. It's just that neither victory came decisively and you knew it wouldn't be long before those victories stopped coming altogether. I'd comfortably call this great, but I'm not sure it's what I really want to be watching at this stage in my fandom. 

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For whatever reason, I was under the belief that this match pales in comparison to their June match. Thankfully that wasn't the case and this more than delivered. There's a lot of callbacks to their last match and the crowd are molten hot and are dying for Misawa to shock Japan yet again. Tsurata puts in a wonderful performance. He's grumpy and pissed off, but you can see that he's starts to doubt himself. He blocks Misawa's first elbow and neutralises Misawa from doing any of his junior stuff by going after his abdomen. The middle portion of this match loses some steam, but once Tsuruta starts getting frustrated and releases the hate, the match becomes shit hot again. Misawa stuns the audience by kicking out of a Backdrop Driver, but he has no chance of kicking out of a second. Good shot, rookie, but you've got plenty to learn! 

★★★★¾

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Forgot I already commented on this match, but I re-watched it about a year ago and it still holds up. Still much better than the June match which, while very good, is over-hyped by its historical significance. This is more of a straight-up fight with Misawa looking to beat Jumbo at his own game rather than win by any means necessary. Meanwhile, Jumbo turns in one of of his finest performances by just beating the shit out of this dang punk who won't get off his lawn. Misawa hadn't reached his prime yet but the potential is clearly there and Jumbo is still rather giving despite re-establishing his dominance.

****3/4

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