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Charles (Loss)

[1991-04-06-AJPW-Championship Carnival] Jumbo Tsuruta vs Toshiaki Kawada

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Such a great match in so many ways. It wasn't really an epic, but it didn't need to be. It was another example of Jumbo giving a younger guy so much of a match, only to win in the end. Kawada got plenty of time to shine, which in turn got Jumbo over for beating someone so good. This was the first singles match they had that I know of - if not, definitely the first one since Kawada really found himself, and they made the most of it. Kawada's aggression and Jumbo's selling were a great combination.

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This is a damn good bout. The wrestlers really compliment each other here. I loved Jumbo's work on the leg. I really liked Kawada's intensity. Good stuff all around.

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One of the cool things about '91 is that Jumbo had just as interesting a rivalry with the No. 2 guy in the enemy faction as with No. 1. You don't see that often, but it added a real depth to everything. This was an excellent match. It will be interesting to compare it with the more lauded Triple Crown match from October.

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Add in that Kobashi (#3 on the side) also was trying to prove himself against Jumbo in tags and the occasional singles match.

 

Add in that Kikuchi (#4 on the side) was also trying to prove himself against Jumbo in the tags, even as he had his rivalries with Fuchi and Ogawa. He would fire off at Taue as well, but it was taking the beating from Jumbo, firing stuff back, getting Jumbo pissed off with it, and never losing his desire against Jumbo that got some of very good pops from the fans in the feud.

 

I'll never say that you could throw any three wrestlers with Jumbo and the feud would have worked, as those three were the *right* guys for that moment. But Jumbo... we saw what happened when he went out and his side even happened to have Super Rookie Akiyama added. It just wasn't the same dynamic at all. Part of that is from being the Ace for close to a decade, and being on top when those other guys were in elementary school, so he had credibility that couldn't be replaced. :) But part of it was also how he worked with the four, what he gave them, what he gave back, what he knew about playing the right character opposite them. Masterful guy.

 

John

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I might have to give this a rewatch--somehow the matwork opening held my attention less than Lawler vs. Embry. The closing stretch was fun and Tsuruta's righteous indignation that Kawada had the chutzpah to kick out of the power bomb was fantastic, as he gratuitously backdrops Kawada a second time, just to prove his point.

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Jumbo has a single leg crab on but Kawada still is able to kick him in the face. The ringside table as already bent so somebody must have done the dropping opponent knee first on it spot. Kawada’s kicks play a big part in him getting the advantage in middle of match. However, Jumbo gets all pissed off getting kicked in the face too much. Below their January 92 match but still a good one. Crowd was into it.

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Good match here with a subtle underdog dynamic. Kawada was able to hold his own and survived quite a bit of punishment before falling. I liked how Jumbo didn't let him go close to an upset. This set the baseline so that next time Kawada could threaten a win and show his progression. Sure enough they did this on 1/92 in a fabulous match.

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After watching a ton of NWA lately, this match was pretty refreshing for me to see the ace of a promotion have a competitive match but certainly dictate the action and feel dominant throughout. Kawada had a lot of nice moments in this but Jumbo was always able to weather the storm and eventually pick up the victory. Jumbo especially stomping to the back clearing his head was awesome. Great match.

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The story that I took away from this is that Kawada had Jumbo on the run, but the work that Jumbo had done earlier in the match on Kawada's knee had left him unable to follow up after he'd hit Jumbo with some of his big kicks and had him ready to go. Kawada's plan seemed to be to knock Jumbo silly, then try for the win, which is a good plan when you're in there with a veteran like Jumbo. Unfortunately, he can't take advantage of his opportunities, and eventually Jumbo overwhelms him.

 

I like how each man tried his best to block his opponents' big maneuvers, and even succeeded at times. It was the two Kawada couldn't block that did him in: the lariat and the Jumbo Driver.

 

Even though Kawada lost, he acquitted himself beautifully, which should give him confidence the next time he locks horns with Jumbo, either in singles or tag competition. Whenever it is, I'm looking forward to it!

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I really loved this one. Jumbo was so explosive in the beginning and I like how his left leg came into play after his initial charging blows with it. Kawada played the underdog role perfectly with his selling and giving it all he had. It seemed like the crowd was super into this down the stretch, and so was I. This is a great match.

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Love this matchup. Jumbo is so good at making a lesser guy like Kawada looks like he has a glimmer of a chance. Then slamming the door shut with enough authority that you know Jumbo is still The Man.

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The story of big daddy Jumbo having to deal with all these fucking younguns runnin' around his house in 1990-1991 is one of my favorite things. Probably the most insolent prick of the bunch of Kawada. Jumbo shows his dominance early on, with Kawada bumping like a maniac for Jumbo's kitchen sink knees, and while Kawada hacks out Jumbo's leg with kicks and overexerts himself with a single leg crab, Jumbo's soon tossing him around and busting his knee on the timekeeper's table. He keeps working Kawada over with the single leg crab, at one point, transitioning into a side STF. Desperation mode Kawada has to sacrifice that injured leg to connect with a gamengiri and the selling by both men in that moment is amazing. After an lariat to the back of the head, Kawada continues being a shithead on the outside by repeatedly stomping Jumbo's head. The powerbomb tease is great but when he starts in with the shitty face kicks, Jumbo's had it and smacks him absolutely silly. Kawada survives the powerbomb but falls after two consecutive backdrops. A solid effort from Kawada, showing off the tenacity that makes him so lovable.

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Pretty excellent stuff despite feeling slightly mailed in on Jumbos part. We get a fun opening with Kawada slapping the big guy and trying to ground him, while Jumbo hits all his moves double hard on the little punk. I also liked how Jumbo would sell his own leg a bit setting up Kawada transitioning to offense by reversing a leglock. The ending stretch was great, simple and brutal and they just timed everything perfectly. Kawada having Jumbo on the age stomping on his face and hitting repeated lariats ruled and Jumbo swatting him was suitable. It's no surprise the fans were going bonkers for this.

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