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[1991-11-29-AJPW-Real World Tag League] Mitsuharu Misawa & Toshiaki Kawada vs Jumbo Tsuruta & Akira Taue

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Outstanding performance from Jumbo, as he looks like The Man as much as he does in any match during 1991. Working over Misawa's eye, which was already bruised coming into this, was awesome. Taue looks great doing it too, almost like a precursor to the awesome face work at the '95 Championship Carnival final. They also attacked Kawada pretty aggressively, working over his stomach and ribs. Misawa usually isn't put in a position to sell this much in tags and six-mans around this time, so him doing it here makes this seem special. And unlike the Doc and Gordy match, Jumbo and Taue are much better at giving Misawa and Kawada a few openings, so all hope never looks lost. Anyone who thinks AJ crowds don't boo wrestlers should check this out, as Jumbo and Taue both get huge boos. Kawada gets put in a position to be the savior of the team, but Jumbo is on fire tonight and cuts him off too. This got ****1/2 in the WON at the time, which was well deserved. High rating aside, I am not sure I've ever heard much talk about this match.

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High rating aside, I am not sure I've ever heard much talk about this match.

All Japan from '90-'92, other than the really historic matches, didn't get nearly the attention that '93-and-on received for a long while. Also, a match like this doesn't quite stand out relative to other matches the promotion had in the decade. Good chance it's top 100, top 50 is maybe a reach, top 20 is pretty much out of the question... so there's not much reason for it to get random mentions when people talk about top matches for the promotion or one of the wrestlers.

 

All that said it's REALLY GOOD.

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High rating aside, I am not sure I've ever heard much talk about this match.

All Japan from '90-'92, other than the really historic matches, didn't get nearly the attention that '93-and-on received for a long while. Also, a match like this doesn't quite stand out relative to other matches the promotion had in the decade. Good chance it's top 100, top 50 is maybe a reach, top 20 is pretty much out of the question... so there's not much reason for it to get random mentions when people talk about top matches for the promotion or one of the wrestlers.

 

All that said it's REALLY GOOD.

 

Really? I thought it was better than the Jumbo singles matches with Kawada and Kobashi, and all the Jumbo/Misawa singles matches except 9/1. And those are mentioned pretty frequently.

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Singles matches inherently get more talk and higher ratings from most sources. I lean towards tags myself and that frustrates me.

 

Also, looking at my AJ '90s ratings, I put this at #45 for the decade and #5 for 1991. So it's definitely up there.

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Taue and Jumbo continue their attack on Misawa’s face. This had great crowd heat as fans were booing Taue and Jumbo for their unsportsmanlike antics. Though after Jumbo interfered at one point their boos turned to cheers when he did his arm raise to crowd. The fans are really vocal about Taue. He gets booed just tagging in. AJPW has been providing some of the best matches during the year.

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Misawa's gone from having a busted shoulder to a busted nose to a busted eye. He had one messed-up second half of the year, storyline or not. All four guys cut an incredible pace through this that never drags once, which is very tough to do in a 30-minute RWTL draw. Taue targets Kawada's ribs (a STOMACH CLAW makes an appearance in a '90s All-Japan match, which is all kinds of awesome) while both men work over Misawa's eye in as dickish a manner as possible. It also leads to some great counters like Jumbo eye gouging Misawa to get out of the facelock. One thing that I'd say about 1989-92 All-Japan crowds is that they're very prone to booing tactics that they don't like, like saves and dirty fighting like the eye work. They're not nearly as quick to boo wrestlers themselves--Jumbo can get booed for mercilessly brutalizing Kikuchi but one "OH!" and the crowd is back to responding favorably. Most of their antipathy was reserved for Fuyuki in '89 and Taue in these two years, for whatever reason.

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This is one of the best examples I've seen of working to the draw without telegraphing it. I loved the spot where Misawa tried to win with the facelock, as he had on 9/4, only for Jumbo to counter by goring his eye. The match was a great summary of this rivalry, though I might have it No. 4 of their four matches since 9/30/90. Tough competition.

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Far be it from me to object to another AJ classic. They never paced it like a draw, working what looked to be a 20m bout of very high quality. Kawada's ribs were worked on early and the heels du jour had the majority of the offense. Misawa came in with an eye injury and it was so clever the way they held back the segment where it got attacked. This meant that after the false stretch they'd have something to keep up the momentum until the final 2.9ers near expiration. Such intelligent construction. Everyone performed really well and Jumbo was once again the star of the show. He always seemed to know just the right move to choose. Surprisingly this ended up being my favourite AJ match of 1991, though I would project it won't make my top 20 for the promotion in the 90's.

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I love this series. The seeds were set in the early goings with Misawa and Jumbo starting off at the start. The match really ratcheted up with the work on Kawada's stomach and then of course the final ten minutes was amazing with all the eye work and callbacks to the previous matches in the series. Shame the match ended in a draw but it was not telegraphed at all and made me want to see one more definitive match between these two in late 1992.

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Most of what I had to say has already been said. These four brought the house in this one; as Pete said, the action never stopped even briefly, and each team came within a whisker of taking it all at the end.

 

Zenjo mentioned how they held back the eye work until it could be most effective, and he's absolutely right. Kawada's ribs were the first target, and only when Kawada desperately needed a tag to give himself a rest did the fun begin. I've seen work like Jumbo and Taue did here on limbs quite a bit, but never an eye. Most guys here in the States just don't work body parts that aren't limbs quite that viciously. This was so well done that it was actually tough to watch at the end, especially when Jumbo raked Misawa's eye along the guardrail in what has to be the most heelish action of the year that didn't involve a cobra or a casket. If this had been the States, Jumbo may not have gotten out of the arena alive. To top things off, he went to the eye to get out of pin attempts numerous times in the final minutes. I wouldn't have expected such sick work out of someone like Jumbo, but was it ever effective.

 

And so the Misawa/Jumbo feud wraps up for '91 no closer to being settled than it was at this time last year. Each side has had big wins over the other, but neither side has put the other away yet. I already know that Jumbo left the sport for a while due to illness sometime in '92, so I'll be interested to see how close Misawa came to a definitive final victory before Jumbo left. One thing's for sure: in terms of match quality, this is the feud of the nineties so far, bar none.

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

 

This is an incredible match that I can't wait to get back to in the 91 YB. I'll be glad to watch everything chronologically and probably gain even more appreciation for how great this is. Even out of context, I still loved this match. Jumbo's presence in this, as always, is just off the charts. There's not much that I enjoy more than watching Jumbo in a tag setting. The eye certainly adds to the drama. Great final 10 minutes. High end of the ****1/2 for me. I really loved this match.

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One thing that gets overlooked in this match is how the opening moments were really good. Kawada hits an early powerbomb and Jumbo breaks it up. Then after Kawada's ribs take the beating they do, Misawa comes in hot and knocks Jumbo off the apron. Wouldn't you know it, but Kawada pays back Jumbo after he powerbombs Misawa and Jumbo takes an opportunity to knock Kawada off the apron after a tag later as well. Saving the eye for later was such a great choice. Just adds so much to an already great match and becomes the most memorable part. I think part of that is how the anticipation of it is built. The cameraman gets a generous look at Misawa's eye pre-match and you're waiting for Taue and Jumbo to attack it, but it never seems to happen. Great, great match and top tier for 1991.

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