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Charles (Loss)

[2008-08-17-SEM/Kensuke Office] Kensuke Sasaki & Katsuhiko Nakajima & Takashi Okita & Kento Miyahara vs Kenta Kobashi & KENTA & Atsushi Aoki & Akihiko Ito (Elimination)

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Sixty minutes with lots of filler. Nakajima takes a 3 count when he's not supposed to (KENTA German around 10 minutes before the actual finish). Some of it was worthwhile, but it was given at least 20 minutes too much.

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Kensuke Office (Sasaki, Nakajima, Okita, Miyahara) vs Burning (Kobashi, KENTA, Aoki, Ito) - KO 8/17/08

 

The long running Kobashi/Sasaki feud finally comes to a head in an elimination gauntlet match which sees two members of each team start in a tag match and a one member replacing the fallen member of their team. Going into this match, Kobashi/KENTA went to a 30 minute draw with Sasaki and Nakajima. Now each side takes two young lions under its wings and we see if Burning or Kensuke Office is better.

 

Kensuke Office sends out its two weakest wrestlers. Okita and Miyahara. I believe Miyahara has had a quite year for himself this year in All Japan taking on Akiyama, but this being a rookie year I was not expecting much. Okita I think has an American football gimmick as he is built like Sasaki, but does a lot of shoulder tackles. Miyahara's offense was pretty basic and his selling was good, but in the role of rookie getting his ass beat and making a comeback I have seen better. KENTA and Aoki start for Burning and they are awesome as the heel prick tag team. I really enjoyed this opening 15 minute contest. KENTA was a violent bully and a Aoki cocky asshole who normally would get his ass beat, but has confidence bolstered by KENTA's presence. I was worried about the hot tag, but Okita was great with all his shoulder tackles. KENTA sticks up his knee and Okita runs into it, which was a good spot. Aoki gets a double wristlock on him, but they go with an extended finish with Miyahara trying to prove himself, but his offense is pretty basic and it is not the same as the awesome Miyahara or Shiga performances. Aoki forces the submission with an armbar. I liked this opening a good deal and would have given it. ***1/2 just for that.

 

Kensuke Office elects to send out its heavy hitter Kensuke Sasaki to stop the bleeding. The KENTA/Sasaki showdown with Kensuke repeatedly throwing down Aoki was fucking awesome and the best part of the match. Sasaki destroys KENTA with a lariat. Sasaki applies a Boston Crab to Aoki to force a submission. Just like that it is not only tied, but I would say Kensuke Office has a slight lead.

 

Ito, who I have never heard of, comes in and becomes tangled in the streams drawing audible laughter from me and the crowd. Kensuke bowls him over to eliminate him, which means Burning is down to its last two. However, Sasaki looks gassed and needs Okita to come in, but here comes Kobashi. Okita try as he might with an early double takedown was no match for the Almighty Kobashi. Kobashi eliminates with a sleeper.

 

Going into the final match, we have KENTA spent, but basically just had a ten minute respite. Sasaki a bit worn, but in overall good health. Kobashi expended little to no energy and Nakajima is fresh as a daisy. Guess what that first 25 minutes barely has any bearing on this match. Which begs the question why didn't they just do this tag match instead of having the jabronis?

 

Surprisingly even though this was 5 minutes longer than the previous tag match, I liked this one better because of KENTA's selling and the general urgency of the wrestlers in trying to win the match. The beginning is the usual establishing that these two teams are very very equal. The victory will come in how the heavyweight vs junior heavyweight contests go. Kobashi forces Nakajima to come in, but Nakajima being relatively fresh weathers the storm and forces Kobashi into the Kobashi corner to tag in KENTA. I would say that is a considerable victory for Kensuke Office. Nakajima and KENTA fire off some wicked stiff slaps and I actually get pretty into it. Nakajima wins and tags Sasaki in. That's the turning point, Sasaki consolidates it by mauling KENTA and now Kensuke Office looks fully in command. Already, the match feels more important with each segment having consequence. Plus Nakajima seems really motivated. I really liked this beatdown on KENTA and constant attacks on Kobashi on the apron. It was not as good as a BatBat tag, but it felt like a full court press. KENTA wins a suplex struggle by hanging Nakajima out to dry and Kobashi holds him as he hits his kneedrop. I liked that transition and a fresh Kobashi kicks Nakajima's ass on the outside. I thought the Nakajima heat segment went on too long, but KENTA was selling so psychologically sound that I was so pumped. Whenever he did not want to be tagged in he would drop to the floor, but he sensed Kobashi was getting tired he would tag in and hit the chinlock so as to keep Nakajima under control and regain his own energy. Then he would tag back out. That was really superb shit. Kobashi worked strong with some tight submission holds, but lacked the urgency of the others. I think more Nakajima hope spots could have saved this. KENTA finally feels ready to hit some big moves to take Nakajima out, but Nakajima sweeps the leg and tags in Sasaki. SASAKI DESTROYS KENTA~!

 

Again, Nakajima weathering the storm sets Sasaki up to maul KENTA and put Kensuke Office in control. However, KENTA snaps off a powerslam and we get the dreaded Kobashi/Sasaki matchup. Once the Kobashi/Sasaki is over, KENTA and Nakajima just trade highspots with each other. It is fast and frantic, but the moves lack consequence because no long term selling. I loved Nakajima's Germans and his rainbow kick looked great. Nakajima PINS KENTA!!!!!! WAHOO~! The match just ends even though Kobashi was never eliminated. They could not do a Sasaki/Kobashi double countout so KENTA and Nakajima could take the main spot. It really feels like a major deal for Nakajima and should have kicked off the best Junior Matches of the Decade, but those turned out to be disappointing. I hate how the first 25 minutes really had no bearing on the last 35 minutes, but the first 15 minutes was pretty good. Also this tag match was definitely the better version than one from the previous month. All the wrestlers besides Kobashi seemed urgent in their actions and each segment of the match seemed important. Still for 35 minutes, it was not that compelling. There was no real hook to the match. The Nakajima segment while psychologically sound, dragged. The finish run did not really build off anything else they just started going home. Given that it was an hour total, it needed to be a lot better to make my list. Watch this once if you like the participants, but does not warrant a rewatch. ****

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An awesome match with multiple levels of false finishes. The survival tag format made it interesting because expectations were much different from what transpired. The match showed two teams go at it and then whoever was defeated would be eliminated and would be replaced by a new member. Essentially, it was an Iron Man tag match for KENTA and a lesser extent Kensuke Sasaki. Those two, in particular showed tremendous endurance. That statement doesn't mean to diminish Nakajima or Kobashi though. They weren't in as long but, *ahem* that just means they were in 15 less and this thing went an hour! The excellent team dynamics were played up early on but the inevitable tag match took place and in essence the real match began. The two teams of mentor and student showed equal amounts of toughness and skill. They were able to work complex sequences deep into the match as well as pull out K-Hall awesomeness like you know they could! The diehard crowd was hot throughout (even though I watched this with no sound) and the selling was strong especially in the case of KENTA. The length harkened back to the great AJ 6 mans in 90-91. Like those, I just didn't want the match to end. The men showed maximum heart, ability and toughness.

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The beginning of the match with KENTA & Aoki vs. Miyahara & Okita was so great. Great chaotic brawl to start if off & once everybody got to their corners we got an awesome FIP segment w/ Miyahara. Loved watching KENTA & Aoki kick his ass, he sold it tremendously. The eventual hot tag to Okita absolutely ruled too, he came in w/ a house of fire. Then the whole finishing stretch of that segment of the match. Lovely stuff. Truly set the pace for rest of the match. Kensuke comes in looking intense as hell - the staredown between him & KENTA was awesome; loved the way Kensuke just pushed & threw Aoki out of the way when he tried to break the staredown. He did it again when Aoki came to try to break Kensuke's move to KENTA. Loved it. The story of this portion of the match was that Kensuke treat Aoki like a complete afterthrought - he just wanted to beat the shit out of KENTA, which he did for a while (& it was very enjoyable). KENTA makes the hot tag & Aoki gets to run wild on Kensuke for a while - until he taps out to Kensuke's Boston crab. Super well done storytelling. Loved Ito's brief visit in the match too - he came in fired up & tried to go for Kensuke right away, only for Kensuke to put him down very quickly. Kobashi comes in looking pretty worried & as he is talking with KENTA, goddamn Okita spears him to a pile of streamers. Awesome visual. The whole Kobashi vs. Okita segment was pretty similar to Ito vs. Kensuke - Okita got to shine for a while, only for him to ultimately be put down by the legend. Now it was time for Kensuke & Nakajima vs. Kobashi & KENTA - the same match up that went into a 30 minute draw 2 months earlier. KENTA's big FIP segment during this was simply fantastic - loved his selling + Nakajima & Kensuke came off as blood hungry sharks in their onslaught on him. Nakajima's FIP segment was tremendous as well - loved Kobashi just chopping him around & putting him in those submissions. Great stuff. Kensuke's hot tag was great & as was Kobashi's - they do their beefy chopfest special. The whole Kenskay vs. Kobashi segment was super heated. After that the match really kicks in the finishing gear w/ the action getting more focused, intense & fast paced. Just freaking red hot interactions by everyone involved; hot sequences, counters, nearfalls, callbacks to their previous 2-on-2 match. Amazing stuff.

This had the vibe of a 90's All Japan multi-man tag classic w/ all the great action & storytelling. I think it was perfectly put together & executed. *****

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