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[1991-11-21-AJPW-Real World Tag League] Mitsuharu Misawa & Toshiaki Kawada vs Kenta Kobashi & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi


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  • 4 months later...

Fantastic match between teammates. Misawa and Kawada dominate most of this, putting Kobashi and especially Kikuchi in a position to sell and work from underneath. Kikuchi in particular puts on an excellent performance, both in terms of selling and the way he timed his offensive comebacks on both Misawa and Kawada. I love how he's so similar to Misawa in how much he relies on the elbows and forearms. Kobashi and Kikuchi also have some really good doubleteam spots. Not quite in the elite matches of the year, but just outside of that.

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  • 1 month later...

Kobashi tries to give Kikuchi a helping hand but Kawada kicks him in the head. Kawada then bodyslams Kikuchi from the ring outside on to Kobashi. Take that! Kikuchi actually holds his own against Misawa in a forearm exchange. This is more sporting than some of the recent AJPW matches since the guys are tag partners. Kikuchi delivers another strong performance. Misawa’s Tiger Driver at the end was so impactful that it even knocked the cameraman off balance.

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Real good match and a nice novelty in the stream of Super Generation vs. Jumbo's Army tags. Misawa actually takes a Jumbo-esque role here when in with Kikuchi, sort of casually dismissing his attempted offense and forearming him to death. He doesn't channel Jumbo completely but it's still a neat role change for Mitsuharu. Kobashi and Kikuchi rarely appear ready to pull off an upset but they get a lot of kickouts to get them over as never-say-die underdogs.

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  • 1 month later...

If you wondered whether this might be friendly Kawada vs Kobashi gave the answer in the opening minute. It was also competitive as the underdogs gave a strong effort. There was even a period where Kikuchi was trying to be manly and assert himself. Naturally he soon got slapped down and was FIP. A quality match and after the final bell they were friends once more.

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  • 10 months later...

I like how this set up the feuds of Kobashi vs. Kawada/Misawa to come. They showed a lot of fire here and mixed in some interesting stuff like the crab Kikuchi puts on Kawada. The huge moonsault to the knees that Kobashi takes and their double team moves trying to hang on. Greatly enjoyable match.

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  • 8 months later...
  • 8 months later...

This is how all babyface matches of any sort should be wrestled. Too often, promoters book matches like these to be resthold after resthold, or have guys doing obscure matwork no one's ever seen attempted before. Even forearm exchanges are only done occasionally and as a prelude to some non-finish cooked up so that the fans won't think of either man or team as a loser.

 

Needless to say, that's not the case here, as Misawa and Kawada turn into Jumbo and Taue for one match only, mostly focusing their offensive efforts on Kikuchi, the weak link who really isn't. He keeps up with both guys, and unlike Pete, there were times that I believed he and Kobashi would pull the upset just for the sake of variety. Unfortunately, Kikuchi still couldn't absorb a ton of high-end offense, so he was eventually worn down and put away by Misawa. I keep looking for Kikuchi to turn the corner in one of these matches and actually score a fall on a bigger star to jumpstart his career, but that hasn't happened yet, unfortunately.

 

Kobashi and Kikuchi's doubleteam finisher is one of the few of that particular type which actually looks like it can knock the wind out of someone. It's sort of le bomb de Rougeau with a frog splash at the end, and it looked tremendous here.

 

Heel spot of the match: Kawada throwing Kikuchi out on top of Kobashi after Kobashi had just checked on Kikuchi before Kikuchi went back into the ring. It was like Kawada was saying, "If you're worried about him so much, here he is!"

 

The next match we have from this tournament is at least Round 3 between Misawa/Kawada and Jumbo/Taue, which should be yet another classic in the series. Can't wait for it!

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  • 2 years later...

On rewatch, I dug Kawada setting the tone early and Kobashi coming right along for the ride. Kwada was all kinds of surly here and that's always the best Kawada. Do you think Kawada and Kobashi ever got tired of working the leg each match they had? I really liked how Kobashi and Kikuchi would use teamwork to the maximum when they got the chance. Good way to show they are trying to find ways to equalize things. Kobashi and Kikuchi get the crowd rocking during their nearfalls everyone will go nowhere. You know how I know it's a great match? That last part about the crowd, that's how. Awesome stuff.

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  • GSR changed the title to [1991-11-21-AJPW-Real World Tag League] Mitsuharu Misawa & Toshiaki Kawada vs Kenta Kobashi & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi

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