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[1991-09-04-AJPW-Summer Action Series II] Stan Hansen vs Kenta Kobashi

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What a fantastic match! This wasn't even available until the Kobashi box set, I believe. Kobashi takes a ridiculous beating from Hansen in order to get the match over. Hansen lariats Kobashi right at the bell and tries to cover him, but the referee won't count since the match hasn't been started. From there, Kobashi works underneath for most of the match until he makes a huge comeback around sleepers and has Hansen reeling. Kobashi's selling is top notch, as is Hansen's, as he really puts over that he lucked out a victory here. Other than the '93 match, this is the best I've seen of theirs, and it's one of the better matches of 1991 too.

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What a fantastic match! This wasn't even available until the Kobashi box set, I believe. Kobashi takes a ridiculous beating from Hansen in order to get the match over. Hansen lariats Kobashi right at the bell and tries to cover him, but the referee won't count since the match hasn't been started. From there, Kobashi works underneath for most of the match until he makes a huge comeback around sleepers and has Hansen reeling. Kobashi's selling is top notch, as is Hansen's, as he really puts over that he lucked out a victory here. Other than the '93 match, this is the best I've seen of theirs, and it's one of the better matches of 1991 too.

This aired reasonably complete IIRC; because of how it began they couldn't do a standard 50% JIP clip.

 

Damn good match that would be a standout in any other promotion.

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I see it on Lynch's list on his August-September 1991 TV tape:

 

September 4 Tokyo (AJ)

8. Stan Hansen vs Kenta Kobashi

9. Mitsuharu Misawa & Toshiaki Kawada vs Jumbo Tsuruta & Akira Taue

 

Looking at the times:

 

Stan Hansen vs Kenta Kobashi (18:36)

Mitsuharu Misawa & Toshiaki Kawada vs Jumbo Tsuruta & Akira Taue (26:34)

 

I'm guessing there was some editing going on. Looking at Dan's times for the big card in April:

 

4/28/91 (taped 4/18/91)

1. Kobashi vs. Dan Kroffat 4:48 shown

2. Jumbo vs. Misawa 23:26 shown

 

5/5/91 (taped 4/18/91)

1. Kawada vs. Taue 15:53 shown

2. Gordy/Williams vs. Hansen/Spivey 14:42 shown

 

It would seem like they would have to cut down 18:36 + 26:34, especially since the tag title with the submission would be given a chunk of pre-match and post match time as well.

 

Maybe a heck of a lot, since if Dave gave it a star rating, it didn't make it to the AJPW Star Ratings list when Chris compiled it (while the tag title match did).

 

I'm not even sure if I've got that one at home. It doesn't look like this tv show made Dan's 1991 set.

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Calling it their 2nd best match is absolutely a valid opinion, and hell I lean that way myself based on not actively enjoying the '96 match and thinking the '94 match was flabby.

 

Between that and the 10/15/91 6-man (if you still haven't seen it), there's some AJ hidden gems yet for ya!

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Hey, the #3 and #4 AJPW match on one card. Funny how often that sort of thing happens. This gets off to a different start as Hansen waylays Kobashi with a Lariat before the bell, and Kobashi spends the first half of the match in a coma before managing to mount a furious comeback. Kobashi clings to a sleeperhold despite getting suplexed, rammed into the ring apron, and sent over the guardrail in an awesome display to get over Kenta's determination. Eventually he falls to the Lariat but Kenta gets one step closer to finally getting a huge singles win.

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What a start with Hansen hitting the lariat before the match even starts. Kobashi takes a powerbomb right on the floor. Tough opening stretch to match for him. He gets a table thrown at him too. He’s taking a big beating. He shows great spirit fighting back and really testing Stan towards the end. Excellent match.

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Man, what an unheralded feud sometimes. Everyone knows about 7/93 but the other matches between these two seem to get shafted sometime. When the 96 match is probably their 4th best together, it is a great series. This started out well with the lariat and Joe Higouchi doing his best referee work refusing to work. Kobashi wisely rolls to the floor but of course Stan keeps on pounding him. Kobashi's comeback really had me going here especially with the moonsault nearfall. I don't want to make this a current wrestling debate and I do like Okada but the way Hansen hit the lariat on the outside to regain control was so much more believable and effective to me than some of the Rainmaker spots I have seen in the past two years. Kobashi was a defeated man once that happened but he took Hansen to the edge and Hansen knew it. My #4 MOTY so far.

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Some small things about this match because the big things have been covered. Kobashi hit an enzuigiri from the apron that Hansen banged his head into the top turnbuckle selling. On purpose or not that was fantastic. Hansen chopping Kobashi in the corner after the second vicious floor beating of Kobashi (body slam into the rail and Oklahoma stampede into the post) and turning to jaw with Higuchi only to eat a side kick from Kobashi was so fucking great. The sleeper sequence was mentioned, but the floor lariat that Kobashi sprints into afterwards and the desperate struggle to get off the floor afterwards are awesome. As is the fight to get back into the ring that ends with a Kobashi crossbody for his biggest nearfall of the match. I would put this behind the 7/29/93 match and ahead of the 4/93 fancam match and the 94 CC match. I'm not sure which of those two I have a 3 and 4, but I can say that any feud wth that kind of quality is something else. Also, at this point of 91 this is right behind 4/20 as my MOTY for All Japan.

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Wow, was this a war. Each man had the advantage at one time to the point that those watching absolutely knew the other guy was done, and yet the match continued. Kenta was the underdog throughout most of this, and rightly so, but the were quite a few tines where Stan looked to be finished too, like after the long sleeper sequence. But Stan showed the heart of a champion and came back to level Kenta with not one, but two more lariats to match the one he connected with before the bell, after which not even Supeman could have gotten up.

 

So many of the big spots have been mentioned already, but the overall general pounding Kenta took, especially to his neck and back, was almost unspeakably brutal. Stan wrestled this match angry, and angry Hansen might be the most relentless wrestler there is. At some points he even looked like he wanted to give Joe Higuchi the lariat after Joe refused to count the pinfall Stan tried for before the bell. I loved how he threw the table at Kenta almost over Joe's head and still managed to connect. He also went out of his way to bump for Kenta's kicks and strikes, smacking his head off the post after one kick and clotheslining himself on the top rope after another. Kenta's fighting spirit was the top story here, and it deserved to be, but don't forget about Stan's superb performance on both offense and defense. This match was truly the product of Hall of Fame-level performances from both men.

 

Like Dawho, if I still ranked matches I'd put this one at number two for the year in all of Japan (behind the 4/20 AJPW six-man) and in the top five for the year overall. It would also be in my top three overall singles matches (behind Warrior-Savage at Mania VII and Hogan-Slaughter Desert Storm).

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The 9/91 Kobashi bout is a lot of fun. Novel start with Joe saying he hit the Western lariat before the bell and Stan being all pissed at him. Great selling from Kobashi and a well timed comeback. Nice variety from Hansen during his control segments, switching action in and out of the ring with more fluidity than you sometimes get in an All Japan match. Nicely laid out finishing stretch with the teased ring outs, making me wonder who the equivalent of an All Japan road agent was. Great pump fake finish. Kobashi looked great in this. Self-assured, confident. The only false note was getting a bit too animated in the lead-up to the finishing stretch. I can understand the adrenaline kicking in and everything, but after being put through the ringer I think it's better to sell like you're in a daze than jacked up on adrenaline. Was pretty minor, though.


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Nicely laid out finishing stretch with the teased ring outs, making me wonder who the equivalent of an All Japan road agent was.

I remember reading somewhere (possibly here?) it was Fuchi.

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Well, we found Stan Hansen for Dutch. Hansen delivers a really great dominating heel performance here. Hansen hits a lariat on Kobashi right before the bell, and he expects a three count. The best part about this is that he won't let it go. He's complaining to ref as the match goes on at least five minutes later into the match. It's great. He's grinding his boot on Kobashi's head and gets angrier when he can't collect the pinfall. Kobashi does great as the FIP. This match totally delivers in every way. I don't think this match was included in the top 500 matches of the 90's, or possibly it was one of the few I was unable to find online at the time. Either way, if it was or wasn't, I'm glad I watched it today. It will end up as one of my favorite matches of the year, and easily a MOTYC.

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Stan Hansen vs Kenta Kobashi - AJPW 9/4/91

To think the only Hansen vs Kobashi match I have ever watched before today was 7/29/93. What have I been doing with my life? This was fantastic and a total contender to make my Top 100 matches of all time list. 

Hansen OBLITERATES Kobashi with the Western Lariat. Covers him, but wait it happened before the bell! Joe Higuchi refuses to count the pin. We have the ultimate underdog Kobashi in a 6 foot hole against the Grizzly Bear from The Revenant. It is every bit as epic as you would hope it would be. Hansen MAULS Kobashi. He is besides himself that Kobashi is kicking out. Then it becomes Kobashi just getting his foot on the ropes. He powerbombs him on exposed concrete. He hurls a table down on him. He exposes the knee smashes it into his head. He steps on his head for great heel heat. Kobashi just will not die! I loved the touch of Hansen starting to sell exhaustion. Kobashi is weather the storm and Hansen is starting to slow down. We see little openings for Kobashi here and there where he will get a strike in. It is the full nelson by Hansen when we know he is fatigued. He is going for a hold so he himself can recover. Once Kobashi gets out, thats when he starts his onslaught. It is gradual. Kobashi is selling an epic beating. He will hurl himself at Hansen but need to stop to collect himself in between. Eventually Hansen powders, Kobashi gives chase and slams his head into the post. Then it is enziguiri on the apron that sends Hansen head first into the exposed part of the turnbuckle. Finally it is the DDT on the exposed concrete. It took 5 minutes but Kobashi EARNED that comeback. Now it is a level playing field. Sublime pro wrestling. 

Is there a better moment in pro wrestling than Kenta Kobashi's fist pump before he goes for the Moonsault. It is so electric. It is so passionate. How could you root against Kobashi? Kobashi HITS the Moonsault! 1-2-NO! Awesome! He goes for another top rope move. You need to take risks against a Monster like Hansen, but they need to be calculated. This time Hansen is standing so he evades the dropkick and immediately goes to work on the back with a Boston Crab. Kobashi makes the ropes and powders. Hansen BODYSLAMS Kobashi on top of the railing and then puts him in a Boston Crab on the floor. Thats when the match from ok this is a great novelty match to stone cold classic. Hansen then Oklahoma Stampedes Kobashi's back into the post. WOW! Back in, Hansen starts lighting Kobashi up in the corner, but the ref tells him to break and this is Kobashi's chance. Great stuff to break up the onslaught. Then the match takes yet another interesting twist. Hansen misses wildly on a chop and Kobashi wraps him up with a sleeper. Hansen suplexes Kobashi, BUT Kobashi HOLDS ONTO THE SLEEPER! I am such a mark for that spot. Kobashi puts the Grizzly to sleep! 1-2-NO! Kobashi does his barrage of leg drops, still no dice. Right back to the sleeper. They end up rolling to the floor, but Kobashi will not relinquish the sleeper in the crowd. He does however to beat the count. Kobashi is the personification of determination and perseverance. However, his honor gets the best of him. He goes back out so that he can collect Hansen so he can beat him in the ring. Hansen SMOKES Kobashi with a Lariat on the floor! MARK OUT CITY! They do a second countout tease this time with Kobashi. I think it could have ended there and I would have been happy. They tussle on the apron. Kobashi shifts his weight on the back suplex into the ring. I love that finish and it was a great nearfall here. Kobashi dodges the first Lariat, but Hansen FUCKS HIM UP ON THE REBOUND! 1-2-3! I love Pro Wrestling! ****3/4  

 

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I did not expect that Lariat at the start of the match, caught me completely off-guard. After that the next five minutes consists of Hansen going to town on Kobashi. Hansen's a joy to watch in control. He's as snug as ever and judging by just sportsmanship-lacking stomps, he's extra pissed off on this night. Kobashi, being the world's best babyface behind Ricky Steamboat, rallies the crowd behind him. Kobashi cinching Hansen in with a sleeper might just be my favourite ever sleeper spot. The only way Kobashi can win is if he literally stops the big Texan from breathing. Just when I think I've seen all the high end AJPW matches for 1991, this fucker surprises me! 

★★★★¼

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The crowd is doing the wave before the match starts, which was supposedly a big thing in the early 90s.  This is a great match.  Kobashi here is especially charismatic and Joe Higuchi might be the best referee ever.  Hansen is just a big bad motherfuckin' Texas terminator in this and he just mauls Kobashi in the first half, the body slam on the rail was nasty as shit. Kobashi doesn't back down and manages a comeback, you could see the fire in his face.  The way Hansen regains control on the outside is beautiful, no bullshit.. Just a half blind former Texas football player running at you like a maniac with his arm extended and hes aiming for SOMETHING. I love it.  ★★★★

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