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[1990-10-19-AJPW-October Giant Series] Mitsuharu Misawa & Toshiaki Kawada & Kenta Kobashi vs Jumbo Tsuruta & Akira Taue & Masa Fuchi

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The feud seems to have settled into a groove now. There is palpable hate, and the execution and timing of everything is really sharp. This is the best six-man tag on the yearbook, and one of the best matches of the year overall for that matter. The work on Kobashi's nose is pretty nasty, and Fuchi can't help but get in a cheapshot with a chair. Misawa/Jumbo, Kawada/Taue and Kobashi/Fuchi are all advanced nicely as rivalries. Jumbo kicking out of Kobashi's powerbomb is a great moment, especially considering how aggressively Jumbo cut off Misawa's attempted save prior to the move. Kobashi still has a little fight in him, but Jumbo smells blood and stays on him. Kobashi gets his name chanted post-match, which shows how much that performance did to get him over. Great, great match!

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Taue and Kobashi both take a real beating here, as both men step up to fill the void of Tsuyoshi Kikuchi as designated whipping boy. I loved Kobashi popping out of his half crab to level Jumbo with a lariat when he tried to make the save, and Jumbo replaying the same spot later when Misawa tries to break up the power bomb attempt. This is based a little more on heated brawling than later 6-mans in this feud which were based on pretty moves, though we had those here, too. All that said, I think the two earlier 6-mans were both better.

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There was a holy shit sequence in the middle of this where Kawada ducked a huge Jumbo lariat, caught Jumbo coming back with a full-speed spinning kick to the mouth, then tagged Misawa, who flew in to drill Jumbo with an elbow. There was a combo of pace, precision and violence to it that you just don't see very often. Jumbo was awesome throughout. Loved his vicious forearms to Misawa's body, and he looked every bit the ace at the end, pausing to flatten Misawa with a forearm before he power bombed Kobashi. We got more Taue-Kawada hate as well, though it wasn't the ultimate focal point. This match is probably best known for the work on Kobashi's busted nose. It didn't last as long as I remembered, but it did pump up the drama. Overall, they delivered one spectacular moment after another to a nuclear crowd. As much as I loved the two earlier AJPW six-mans, this one deserves its rep as the best of the year.

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Watched about 10 minutes of this earlier when I was tired and liked it but was something was off. Turns out it was me because I took a nap, went to the gym, and then fired this up and this is just Fantastic. Pace doesn't let up and the work on Kobashi is nasty as hell with Fuchi especially doing little dubious things to fuck with it. I think the 5/26 6-man was full of energy and exuberance from the Misawa side but here combined sharper execution and everyone on Misawa's team feeling like they belong. Taue also continued his rise. MOTYC.

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Jumbo runs the ropes to build up some steam to break up a submission by Kobashi. Kenta just lets go of the hold and clotheslines Jumbo. When Jumbo tags it first thing he does is hit Kobashi with a clothesline. Like that sequence. Misawa/Jumbo have strong moments in these matches but I’m also enjoying Kawada and Taue going at it. Fuchi seemed to be absent in this match outside of his interference stuff. Another strong match and Kobashi continues to improve.

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A solid, hardworking match to give the Korakuen fans their money's worth. They didn't try to do anything as elaborate as some of the other 6 mans, which I for one approve of. Unsurprisingly at 25m it dragged at times. Kawada and Taue increased their rivalry and the top two kept their eye in. There was also a plain nasty segment where Kobashi's face was viciously worked over and his nose busted.

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Previously at PWO:

 

Tsuruta/Taue/Fuchi vs. Misawa/Kawada/Kobashi 10/19/1990 - A unbelievably awesome six-man tag team match. I think I may have to retract my statement about 7/2/1993, as this match may have replaced it as my #1 six man tag. This match had great psychology, some of the best I've ever seen, I loved the revenge spots i.e Taue suplexs Kawada on the floor, then later on Kawada goes out of his way to drag Taue into the crowd and suplex Taue on the floor, or Jumbo giving Misawa a huge elbow, and Misawa running in and trying his hardest to dish it back.

Matches like this make me thank the Lord that puroresu wrestling was invented. Japanese wrestling is an art form.

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I know nothing about the context of this match. Therefore, I'm doing that thing that I do where I glue pieces together and try to make sense of them.

 

Frankly, I thought this was a wonderful match. Most of the All Japan I've seen is from a few years later and has way more in the way of excess with kick outs and bombs and multiple iterations of big moves. Here we just had Jumbo's back drop driver twice and the first time was sort of a stumbling one off the top rope and the kick out really played into what I am guessing was the development of Kobashi into the "fighting spirit" monster that he would become. Basically, it took all the stuff I liked from those later matches (like the carefully planted call backs) and didn't suck it down with all the stuff I didn't like. Plus, because it was a six man, there was more room for guys believably recovering and what not, and I really bought into the development of Kobashi here, or at least what i saw in my head as that.

 

I'm not going to list all the call backs here, but they were all cool (the coolest being Kobashi dropping the crab to hit the clothesline and then Jumbo dropping the powerbomb to hit the forearm/elbow). I want to talk about Taue. To me this thing was about Kobashi, sure, and it was about Jumbo and Misawa getting to hit each other, but mainly it was about Taue being a colossal screw up that just wanted to please his partners. Follow me here: He was desperate to be the one to start the match, convincing his partners to let him start and then immediately the aggressor. He was too aggressive though, kicked Kawada on the apron and then ran right into Kobashi's arm drag. Then Kawada came in and kicked the hell out of his leg, then, when he came back, his head. Finally as Misawa is in pounding on him, Jumbo's had enough of this and tagged himself in.

 

Later on, Taue lost control of Kobashi (for the first time) but was able to desperately reverse Kawada's bodyslam on the outside. They work on his back a bit but eventually he messed up again, put his head down on a back body drop and Misawa made it in (Taue ended up stomped a million times by Kawada on the apron AND suplexed on the outside in revenge). Eventually Taue got a hail mary DDT reversal out of nowhere and his partners bloody up Kobashi on the outside. This lasted a while and was brutal. Eventually, Taue, in again, hit a big facebuster and samoan drop but then lost Kobashi (for the second time, and this time in am much worse spot) on a suplex attempt.

 

This brought Kawada in and Taue found himself driven back into the corner with kicks. So now he'd lost the advantage three times and was getting beaten to hell. Embarrassed, humiliated, shamed. He came out of the corner with this amazing flurry of rapid fire palm strikes to drive Kawada back and it's awesome. He still was on the worse end of this, though, and Jumbo had to tag himself back in shortly thereafter, but it was a great moment of desperate grief and frustration. Misawa tagged himself in a minute or two later and it was on. This ended with Misawa pressing the advantage on Jumbo on the floor and Taue awkwardly diving through the ropes onto Misawa, which I completely saw as him trying to make up to Jumbo for his multiple failures in the match. Misawa got him back into the ring though and after one last, futile palm rush (that Misawa cuts through with a death elbow) and a desperation clothesline and powerslam on Kobashi that at least let him escape from the ring and tag Fuchi, Taue's pretty much done for the match.

 

It was a great ride for him though, poor bastard.

 

I await someone who actually knows something about any of this to come in and tell me I'm crazy now. I'd take this thing over any of the later AJPW matches I've seen, I think, though. Those might have had higher highs but they were also messes of excess for the most part. This felt just right.

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I'd call this the best All Japan match of the year so I don't think your enthusiasm is ridiculous. I do prefer the 4/91 version of this match. it's longer so I fear that you may find that one to be more bloated but it's been so long that I couldn't tell you how much more nearfall heavy it was. When I remember that match it's mostly character things and not the nearfalls that I think of.

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Just rewatched this and it is only the second match of 1990 that had me going all the way through. Everything is sharp, well-placed and brutal. Only thing that comes close to this so far in 90 is Fuchi vs. Kikuchi as a total package. The Misawa vs. Jumbo rematch on 9/1 has an incredible finishing run to go with the incredible story of Jumbo's fight to remain on top, but the lulls drop it just below this one. The wrestlers and the crowd were on fire from the get-go and it's a great, great watch.

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I'm glad I'm not doing rankings beyond the top three in each promotion or country, because it's hard sometimes to tell these six-mans apart. That's not a bad thing at all, as you know you're going to get a great match every time Misawa and his friends take on Jumbo and his friends. But it makes it hard for me to say, "I like this aspect of this match better than that aspect of that match." This reminds me in so many ways of the Jumbo/Tenryu feud; the entertainment factor's off the charts, but it's like trying to break down the chapters of a book individually; is Chapter 4 of a mystery better than Chapter 8 when the "book" plays out over multiple volumes and we're only now getting familiar with the ancillary characters, at least some of them?

 

Anyway, the MVP of this match was definitely Kobashi; it wasn't just that he took a ton of punishment, it was where he took it and how he responded to it. I can't imagine what its like to wrestle a match, particularly one as intense as this was, with a broken nose. But he not only managed it, he thrived in spite of it. He took all of Jumbo's best offense in rapid succession and managed to kick out at the last second at least three separate times before he was finally pinned, and before that he had Jumbo on the run from his own offense for quite a few minutes. That's the main thing I like about these matches; they're truly back-and-forth contests, with neither side getting a sustained advantage for very long and no one looking like they're outclassed. Yes, the classic Southern tag formula is great as well, but it would be tough for any one man to sustain a beating for twenty minutes of a thirty-minute match like this one and still have the match come off as believable. I'm sure it's happened, but it's pretty rare.

 

We saw just enough of Misawa/Jumbo to whet the appetite for Round 3, and Kawada and Taue are developing quite a neat little shadow rivalry; I loved their spots in the crowd, and the work done on Taue's back by Misawa's side was just as vicious as that done by the Nasties against Scott Steiner, though they didn't sustain it for nearly as long.

 

This was probably the best of the three Misawa/Jumbo six-mans we've seen so far, but I still like the forty-five minute tag draw the best out of every match in the whole series, singles bouts included. It certainly did what it was designed to do, though, which is leave the people wanting to see more of Misawa/Jumbo as a main course, with a side dish of Kawada/Taue. Count me in for that combo meal!

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One thing that wasn't really mentioned is the reflective property of Kawada/Taue when compared to Jumbo/Misawa in the earlier 6 man tag. Jumbo/Misawa broke out and destroyed each other for a few moments before being pulled apart. As the Kawada/Taue feud was intensifying, they did the same thing in nearly the same part of the ring. It was a beautiful symmetry that I do not frequently see in other matches.

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My 2nd favorite 6 man behind the May match, although this one is probably better. Jumbo really delivers the goods early on and looks strong and mean. I really liked the Kawada/Taue stuff and I'm looking forward to an eventual singles match between them. Taue looked really good here. There was a moment when he was trying to do the sumo push thing and Misawa just strips him short and levels him. Taue looks exhausted and desperate trying it and just gets creamed. Fuchi destroys Kobashi's nose and Kobashi shows early signs of that great fire of his. Great match.

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#118 - placetobenation.com/countdown-top-500-matches-of-the-90s-150-101/2/

 

I actually think I prefer this one to the match in May, and I have it around ****1/2 as well. It was my second favorite match of the month (only behind 10/26/90 Dandy/Satanico). Kobashi taking those brutal kicks while having his nose busted was pretty spectacular. And, Jumbo is always the man in tag settings. Taue was great here too. Great match.

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Yeah this is it. This is the stuff.

 

A few things about this:

 

1. It's the first Fuchi performance where he acts like a vicious bastard.

 

2. It's also the first time where Taue really brings something to the table, from being the weak link, to acting like a dick, to having heated interactions with Kawada.

 

3. A previous six man had a finish involving Kobashi and Mighty Inoue, so they tease the same thing by having Kobashi go against Fuchi at one point.

 

Another thing is the structure and them really making use of the length. In the opening they shuffle through all the matchups in some nice, fast paced wrestling exchanges, the best move being of course Taue kicking Kawada in the face to start their story. They tease Jumbo working the back but then Taue gets it. The in peril sections here are done better than in previous tags because they have slightly more showy selling. Still haven't developed better build to hot tags, but they are getting there.

 

The section where Fuchi is stomping and punching a bloody Kobashi in the face was some beautiful violent pro wrestling. I also really dug how Taue just drove his face into the mat. Taue was getting it that night. His reckless dive also ruled. However, the section also kind of sets up the only problem of the match, which is that Kobashi wasn't vicious enough later on against Fuchi. I mean, dude, this guy chucked the edge of a steel chair in your nose. You sure a rolling pin combo is the best way to exact revenge?

 

The end run was as great as these matches can have. Lots of awesome flurries of strikes and brutal shots, my favourite being Jumbo near decapitating Kobashi with a lariat and the crowd going wild for it. It had almost a boxing like feel where guys would throw but could get caught with a good surprise shot. I also actually liked the somewhat deplaced nearfall section with Kobashi and Taue. As these guys are so close in their standing that their exchanges actually felt like two young guys trying to prove who's superior.

 

So yeah. Blood, hatred, heat, battling for supremacy, elbows to the kidney. The best AJPW match of 1990.

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On rewatch, this time for the overall 1990, this comes in just a little short of my favorite MX vs. RnR and Dandy vs. Azteca. HOWEVER...it still completely and totally rules. Taue and Kawada start building the hate, which I have been waiting for since they both showed up in 90. :) Their tag team is my favorite of all time and I'd rather see them together. But damn when Kawada just starts wailing away on Taue it's almost as fun. :) The above mentioned sequence with Kawada ducking a lariat, leveling Jumbo and tagging in a FIRED UP Misawa was beautiful in ways you just don't see often in a pro wrestling ring. Jumbo's early work on Misawa's ribs was vicious and great. Fuchi lives up to the "MF" on his tights working over Kobashi's nose for sure. Kobashi really establishes himself here as somebody to watch. He's shown flashes of it, but he really and truly shines in this match. Taue continues to grow and really feels like he belongs in this match.

 

One thing I do have to say here is that under 5 months ago, these guys were all midcarders (besides Jumbo) with no real great prospects for the future. And here they are putting on a match as well-executed as you'll see anywhere in the world. It's a real testament to how far the 4 Pillars have come in that time. Fuchi surely had this in him all along, he was never called on to do it until now. But to me this match shows some insane progress from Taue, Kobashi, Kawada and Misawa.

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Jumbo Tsuruta, Akira Taue & Masa Fuchi vs Mitsuharu Misawa, Toshiaki Kawada & Kenta Kobashi - AJPW 10/19/90

 

First 15 minutes: Lots of heat segments early on. Each of the Four Corners take heat in the first 15 minutes. Two out of four were started by Jumbo ramming a huge kneelift to the gut. See 9/1/90 which how he started with Misawa then bouncing him off the ropes and punching them in the midsection. Notice how each heat segment ends when the New Generation army gets the best of Taue. Interesting Kawada goes to the floor pretty early with Taue. I was like when too early and rolled my eyes. Wouldn't you know Taue reverses it and bodyslams him on the floor! Awesome, I love Kawada being punished for being over eager. You need to earn that floor bump. He pays for it when the bigger Taue counters him. This sets up Kawada taking heat on the back. So Jumbo bounces him off the ropes and hits him in the back. All three of the New Generation guys are great sellers in three completely separate ways. I love how once Kawada gets out of the predicament against Taue that once Misawa softens him up that he takes him out to the floor to suplex him on the floor. Kawada is such a prick. Taue takes heat but manages to get a way from Kobashi. JUMBO DRILLS KOBASHI WITH A LARIAT! Then blasts him in the face with a punch that Kobashi sells like he is Ricky Morton in 1985. Glorious!

 

Final minutes: Awesome finish stretch! The work on Kobashi's nose was brutal. Fuchi was just torturing him throwing his face into the steel and those nasty stomps. He got Koashi's nose nice and bloody. The only thing better than Misawa's elbow was Jumbo's Lariat in 1990. That shit looked he was hitting people like he was a Mack Truck! Kobashi's selling and hope spots par excellence. Notice how he overcame Taue to get the tag to Kawada. KAORI BAR THE DOOR THERE IS A PIER-SIX BRAWL A BREWIN'! I loved Kawada coming in like a whirlwind and Taue Sumo Slapping his ass back into the corner. Kawada vs Jumbo is great as Kawada ducks the Jumbo Mack Truck Lariat and hits his Spin Kick to get Misawa in. Misawa vs Jumbo was molten hot! The elbows and that High Knee from Jumbo. I love how Taue just flies out of the ring to wipe out Misawa when Misawa is going after Jumbo. Kobashi vs Taue is great, but Taue tags out to Fuchi thinking he has Kobashi under control. The rolling cradle->moonsault is the most Kobashi thing ever! I bit hard on those nearfalls where Jumbo was killing Kobashi. I really think the finish should have been Jumbo blasts Misawa in the head and powerbombs Kobashi into smithereens, but the kick out did get a big pop and Kobashi chant. I think that went a long way to making Kobashi credible. Kobashi actually looked poised to hit the moonsault on JUMBO! But Fuchi stalled him out long enough for Jumbo to hit two Back Drop Drivers to win the match.

 

Lots of heat segments early on. Kawada/Taue is established. Misawa/Jumbo makes the match feel hot, but they don't over do either. They strike a healthy balance. Fuchi is a nasty bitch to Kobashi. Kobashi looks great as he takes the best heat segment, but gets a big nearfall on Fuchi and looks totally credible down the stretch against Jumbo. I think Kobashi is the big winner in this match. From Kobashi getting punched in the face on, this is just classic All Japan. ****1/4

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Fuchi is such a surly fucker in this, between his chair jab and dirty, nose-busting stomps to the face. Of course, the bloodied Kobashi plays a terrific face in peril but the underlying narrative of the match is that the young lads can't quite catch a break. Sure, they get a little revenge here and there, like Kawada suplexing Taue on the floor and Kobashi's moonsault press and German suplex hold to Fuchi. But even when Kawada gets that hot tag after Kobashi's beatdown, he unloads on Taue only to get shut down soon thereafter. The crowd turns molten when Misawa gets the tag and starts elbowing Jumbo in the corner, taking the fight to the outside but getting taken out by an awkward Taue plancha. Daddy Jumbo eventually gets the kids reined and I love that final interaction with Misawa, stopping Misawa's attempt to save Kobashi from the powerbomb with an elbow to the face. Kobashi tries one last comeback effort but the thorn in his side, Fuchi, cuts him off up top, allowing Jumbo to the super backdrop and a regular one to put Kobashi away. As always, this is the good stuff.

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While not quite the 5 star all-timer I recorded it as a few years ago, this was still an outstanding match and legit MOTYC.  Kobashi's FIP sequence with Jumbo's squad working over his face was incredibly vicious and compelling, with the selling as pointed and impressive as the offense.  It didn't go as long as I remembered but still made Kobashi a legend in Korakuen and brilliantly brought the crowd behind him for the finish.

****1/2

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The team of Misawa, Kobashi and Kawada isolate the lesser experienced Taue and work on him. Taue and Kawada hate each other and start brawling whenever they are near each other. I love the spot where Kawada makes a point of throwing Taue out to the floor and slamming him in the crowd area, just because Taue did the exact same thing to him earlier in the match. The first ten or so minutes are smartly worked, but this really shined when Kobashi is worked over by Tsuruta. Kobashi lands a lucky lariat on Tsuruta when Jumbo tries to save Taue, and now that Jumbo has got Kobashi in control, he's going to make him pay. Fuchi busts Kobashi nose with a chair and Jumbo makes him eat some brutally stiff clotheslines. Kawada goes for the ace and the Korakuen explodes with joy. Both Kawada and Kobashi benefited greatly by being able to stand with the mighty Jumbo. This gives the 4/20/91 tag a run for it's money. 

★★★★¾

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