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[1998-06-05-AJPW-Super Power Series] Toshiaki Kawada & Akira Taue vs Kenta Kobashi & Johnny Ace


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  • 2 months later...

Really strong match. The Kobashi-Kawada stuff is really well done heading into their TC match in one week. Kobashi and Ace work over Taue's knee and do a great job of it. Ace has a few what the hell moments in this, but nothing too major, and Kobashi is so good in this match that it almost doesn't matter, and it's not like Ace is terrible. They go for broke with all the nearfalls at the end, and Taue takes a lot of punishment in this match while managing to kick out before ultimately staging a comeback and pinning Kobashi. Knowing how much higher Taue was in the hierarchy than Kobashi at one point, it's cool to see Kobashi as his superior now, even though Taue got a win to set up Kobashi's TC defense a few months down the line. I like how Kawada and Taue work together as a team, including the spot where Taue grabbed Kobashi out of desperation to keep him from going anywhere so Kawada could do a high kick. There's a cool rhythm to this where one big spot is immediately followed by someone else doing a big spot. Despite the work being really good, at a certain point, I wanted them to just get to the finish, because there were way too many kickouts. So the finishing stretch of stuff did get really excessive after a while. Still, I thought this was great at times and very good overall.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Wow, this match kind of blew me away. I know that seems foolish given who is involved but I had watched this match before and never heard any hype about it and I thought it was great with a ton of interweaving interesting stuff. Kobashi vs. Kawada is to the forefront for their big Budokan showdown. Initially, Kobashi getting pinned seemed weird but knowing where they are headed, it makes a lot of sense. Taue gets his leg attacked in good fashion by both Ace and Kobashi and makes a valiant comeback. This is essentially the swan song for Ace and he did himself well on the way out with some slightly awkward moments but otherwise, he was a plus instead of a subtraction in this match. I thought the nearfalls and saves all made good sense and didn't get into ridiculous excess with people kicking out of multiple finishers. I really adored this. (*****1/4)

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This struck me as an example of the All Japan guys pissing away a good first half by going overboard with the finishing stretch. The legwork on Taue was good, but he didn't sell it much, other than by staying out of the match for a few minutes. Then Kobashi had to do his Kobashi thing at the end, kicking out of everything but a gunshot to the head. And I didn't really get why they put the focus on Kobashi vs. Taue with the Kawada-Kobashi TC match a week away. There was some great stuff in this, as you'd expect with these guys. But honestly, I lost my patience with it.

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  • 1 month later...

It's amusing that I was marking out the most for Johnny Ace here. The man is an absolute God of Puroresu. I liked that they cut down on the Kobashi vs Kawada action as they had an upcoming singles bout you may have heard of. Firstly Ace and then Taue worked longish FIP segments. One would have sufficed. There was no need for this to go half an hour, less would've been more. I entertained myself by looking at a cute girl in the front row whilst they were treading water. The final third picked up the ante with plenty of twists and turns. There were numerous counter moves to play off their familiarity. Several double team manouvers and all the thrills and spills I've come to expect over the decade. Taue getting the win over Kobashi was mildly surprising. Very good match, but at this point of the year it's bugging me that the best stuff is stopping at third base.

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  • 1 year later...

Well, on the subject of excessive kickouts, I thought Kanemoto/Wagner was a badly laid out, overindulgent mess and I thought this was incredible. Was that because the table-setting portion of the BOSJ final got cut? You'll have to take that up with the NJPW TV editors, not with me. This had me guessing all the way until the very end and even wondering if there was a hidden 60-minute draw I didn't know about. Kawada is pretty firmly established as the Man for most of this, as the tide turns drastically every time he comes in and Kobashi and Ace are almost worrying *too* much about trying to neutralize him. Taue does a very good job in a somewhat unfamiliar FIP role before getting the big comeback and chance to shine at the end. Maybe you could say there were a few too many reversals, especially Taue having his "double nodowa" attempt countered twice, but when the reversals were this well-done and sensibly timed and executed, it's hard to quibble that much. I enjoyed this as much as any match on Japanese soil so far in 1998.

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  • 3 months later...
  • 1 year later...

Not as great as their match earlier in the year, but still a pretty good showing. Some nasty work on Ace's neck early on, with Kawada working some nice snug sleeper holds and what not. Some nice more-pissed-off-than-usual stiff exchanges between Kobashi and Kawada ensue, and they tease a big spot from their previous match. Kobashi using the guardrail to soften up Taue's leg was unexpected and nasty, and Ace brings the US style work with some nice looking elbows to the thigh. Unfortunately, the legwork ends up being meaningless heatless filler (gee what's up with every 98 AJPW match having a pointless Figure 4 spot in the middle of it?). The finishing run was as big and dumb as a finishing run can get, but had plenty of fun moments. I expected Kobashi come out and assert himself because he was facing Kawada for the Triple Crown soon, but instead they just destroyed him and it was awesome. Flawed match, but brownie points for having a 30 minute long All Japan match that didn't bore me to tears.


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  • GSR changed the title to [1998-06-05-AJPW-Super Power Series] Toshiaki Kawada & Akira Taue vs Kenta Kobashi & Johnny Ace

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