Jump to content
Pro Wrestling Only
Sign in to follow this  
Loss

[1997-08-26-AJPW] Kenta Kobashi vs Hiroshi Hase

Recommended Posts

Hiroshi Hase is now in All Japan! This does start off a little slower than most All Japan matches at the time, but I think that's a welcome change of pace considering how off the rails the style has been this year. I'll take a match that has a slower pace and less big offense over something like we got from Misawa and Kawada on June 6 any day of the week. It was cool to see Kobashi adapt to Hase's style by working slower and applying more holds on the mat. That aspect of his game is strong, which makes me wish we saw it more. Give Kobashi credit for working Hase's match instead of putting on the Kobashi show.

 

All of that said, this is a step down from the best All Japan matches. I know no one argues that it's in the top tier, but my point in bringing this up is that the difference in All Japan and New Japan was on my mind watching this. This is something that would be one of the best New Japan heavyweight matches of the 90s. Here, it's a great match, but just another in a long line of them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I’ve seen so little of Hase’s AJPW stuff. Reading about his reason on leaving NJPW which is sad. Felt like they were trying to re-educate fans on wrestling without the head drops. Props also to Kobashi to going along with Hase. The crowd came along as match went on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This wasn't a top-tier All-Japan match, but it is a feather in Kobashi's cap when I think about his place in GOAT discussions. He basically worked Hase's match and looked really good doing it, suggesting a versatility we didn't always see. Sometimes, I think I'm a little too hard on Kobashi because of his over-the-top moments. The list of wrestlers who hit the top level of performance as often as he did is extremely short.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Awesome match for Kobashi working Hase style. Hase looked good in the All Japan environment in just this match and for a mid size arena main event, I don't know what more you could ask for. Really mat heavy in the beginning but interesting work throughout and good escape counters. The finishing stretch was really hot and I do question Kobashi winning, but both competitors still looked strong coming out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey--did anyone else notice that this was a Hase-style match, not a Kobashi one? That's my big original insight here.

 

Yeah, this was slow enough that I was on the verge of tuning out at points, but I blame that on watching the faster-paced NXT show earlier this afternoon. The matwork is all very well-done, to Kobashi's credit, and we build to a hot finish where it really looks like Hase is going to pull off the upset. The only wonky moment was Kobashi's poor attempt at a giant swing, but I give him credit for having the audacity to try it *and* I think the poor execution actually worked in favor of the match, especially when Hase goes, "Oh, fuck that noise, lemme show you how it's done." I was eagerly anticipating finally getting to see an AJPW Hase match, and he didn't disappoint.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kenta Kobashi vs Hiroshi Hase - AJPW 8/26/97

 

Hase in All Japan! Kobashi working a Hase style match (Double Hot Take that no one has ever had ;) )! This match made me want to watch some New Japan heavies from the 90s. Loved the contrast, Hase being a technical wizard on the mat stretching Kobashi and really working those holds well. Kobashi uses his strength at times like the chops in holds or when it is a strength move like a surfboard, but for the most part Hase is in control on the mat by keeping it to his strengths. Great example of this is Kobashi using the surfboard a hold that suits him and Hase using a drop toehold to get out showing his technical ability. Love the leg work by Hase. Hase getting into a chop battle seems like bad for business for Hase. Big knees and delayed vertical for Kobashi. Picking up steam and Hase picks the leg and ends up into a stump pulller, which my non-wrestling fan looked over to my computer at that point and just shaked his head. Bad time to look over. Hase tries to go back to the leg, but abandons it to go up top, high risk. Superplex and now Kobashi wants a Boston Crab and Hase has a nutty reversal, awesome, loving this contrast of style. Ahhhhhh Kobashi was going for a Giant Swing. Shows it is not just power but technique to do it as he does not do it well. Hase ends up doing the Giant Swing and is way better at it of course he has a lot more practice. Great dueling leg psychology develops with Hase going for the Scorpion Deathlock, but Kobashi reverses into a kneebar. Hase does some great selling but goes back for knee and gets the Deathlock and then Figure-4 and they fall out. Hase goes into a chop battle, not smart and Kobashi wins, but when he goes for Powerbomb. He collapses. Hase gets missile dropkick and figure-4 back in ropes. Kobashi tries to engage in a chop battle but Hase is wily and hotshots Kobashi and gets a Dragon Suplex. Exploder attempt, but Kobashi hits a half nelson suplex. Feels like a huge moment unlike Misawa/Kawada. Kobashi and Hase milk it and Kobashi geta great dramatic cover. Hase actually gets a ton down the stretch way more than I expected. He goes back to the knee and sets up the Exploder and gets a good nearfall. They are going longer than they need to and the heat is diminishing. Kobashi gets a Samoan Drop off the top, Hase shouldn't try to fly. Hase kinda sucking at selling down the stretch after the powerbombs by Kobashi. They do he might do an Exploder before the Burning Lariat!

The first 90% of this is absolute gold. One of the best examples of a wily, technical wizard vs a powerhouse. Both are capable in each other's fields to make it work, but they make everything work around this. Hase uses scientific holds to transition out and Kobashi does his best when he can muscle and steamroll Hase. I felt the end was a bit flat because they tacked on too much of a typical AJPW finish stretch. I think the Dragon Suplex and an Exploder after the knee attack was great, but Kobashi there was a lot of superfluous minutes in there (Kobashi moonsault attempts, Hase STO). It was never excessive, just longer than it needed to be. Awesome, awesome first 90%, but last 10% kinda feels flat and just not totally in line with the uniqueness of the first 90%. Cool to see Kobashi basically wrestler a NJPW heavies match. Highly recommended to watch for uniqueness and well-done clash of styles match. ****1/4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This match rules. I thought Hase was just awesome here. The way sells the impact of each Kobashi blow (of any type) is fantastic. Each time it looks so devastating and draining to him. His offense is explosive and unique. That, coupled with my love for Kobashi, puts this one over the top for me. I'm a sucker for focused limbwork, so I was really feeling the left knee/leg attack on Kobashi.

 

#394 - placetobenation.com/countdown-top-500-matches-of-the-90s-400-351/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This was Hase's finest match in an All Japan ring. Only this and the 2001 Mutoh encounter were keepers from his ultimately disappointing run. With only working part time his performance level fell a lot from its peak.

 

It wasn't so much a blending of styles as Kobashi working exactly the style of bout that his opponent wanted. I feel like this should be pointed out as it may have escaped some viewers notice. A highly technical encounter with lots of chain wrestling. Quite deliberately paced. Kobashi's poor old knees took the brunt of the damage, back in the days when they still could. Seeing such an emphasis on body part work and submissions was really refreshing. Whenever they exchanged strikes it was clear that Kenta had a big edge in that department. Through 33m they always held my attention and everything came together nicely down the stretch. Both men emerged with a great deal of credit, especially KK. Giving is rewarding.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×