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[1998-08-23-AJPW-Summer Action Series II]Mitsuharu Misawa & Jun Akiyama & Satoru Asako vs Toshiaki Kawada & Yoshinari Ogawa & Takao Omori

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This is a high-quality six-man that is here mainly because the result sets up one of my favorite matches of the year on 9/11 in Akiyama vs Ogawa. Most of the All Japan matches we have seen to this point have featured the established favorites, but this has Omori and Ogawa playing a prominent role. You might expect Misawa vs Kawada to take center stage but it's Akiyama vs Ogawa that gets the spotlight. The two seem to already have an issue, as Ogawa tries to take cheapshots at him before the match and their exchanges are particularly heated. Omori is on the green side, and to me, he never really got past that, even when he gained experience. Ogawa as this persistent thorn in Akiyama's side is great. After years of being the guy who gets beat in these types of matches, Ogawa scores a huge win, suggesting that maybe he is on the verge of something special.

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Mitsuharu Misawa, Jun Akiyama & Satoru Asako vs Toshiaki Kawada, Yoshinari Ogawa & Takao Omori - AJPW 8/26/98

 

I am pretty sure I have watched this JIP both times.

 

So do we know why Akiyama and Ogawa hate each other. I loved, loved Omori backing Akiyama back into the ropes and on the break Akiyama, which Jun unleashes the vicious back elbow on Ogawa. The even better one is when he winds up to hit Omori with a running elbow and changes direction at the last minute to smoke Ogawa. Reading other eviews, it sounds like Ogawa was a dick to Akiyama at the beginning of the match which is totally in line with what I thought. Akiyama seemed like a bully against Ogawa just always singling him out, but I am sure if we knew the backstory that we would cheering right along. I have missed Misawa/Kawada interacting just so much greatness. Also, there is just so much energy, which was lacking from their Dome match. But also still doing the little things like Kawada blocking a suplex by smacking Asako's side really hard or side-stepping Asako and then just wiping him out with a spinning heel kick. Then he tells Omori to take care of his light work. Hell OMori, kicks Asako's ass then missile dropkicks Misawa and even takes it to Akiyama before tagging in Ogawa. I am a huge Ogawa fan, but I thought he looked too strong here. His greatness is predicated by being the guy who clearly cant hang but uses underhanded tactics to get under people's skin and take advantage. Here he seemed to be winning too many skirmishes with Akiyama. Maybe early on they still wanted to establish him a bit. Akiyama looks to destroy Ogawa, but Ogawa has answers in the form of the enziguiri and a little help from his friends. Ogawa pins him with jacknife cover. I cant wait for singles match. Perfect six-man to build towards a nice upper midcard singles match and still be very fun and breezy. ****

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Really good six man with a clear heirarchy and allowing AKiyma and Ogawa to take center stage. I don't know if this is Kawada's first match back but him vs. Misawa feels like a secondary issue here. I loved Ogawa being a prick using punches, eye pokes and hair pulling. Him gaining the upset with his trusty rollup got a big pop and put that match to the forefront of what looks like a well booked card. I really enjoyed this. (***3/4)

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They did a super job making me want to see Akiyama vs. Ogawa. I loved the way both guys had eyes only for one another and the way Ogawa seemed a tad incredulous that he'd pinned Jun. Everything else felt pedestrian, but that hardly mattered.

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Omori does his best to kill this, but this is pretty high-quality the rest of the way. They attempt to re-do the old Jumbo/Misawa angle with Ogawa and Jun and they pull it off, mainly because Ogawa is so good at being an opportunistic ratfuck. This has some really heated exchanges between the two that climaxes with Ogawa PINNING JUN. Was that ever a stunner--it's like Riki Choshu booked this show. Clearly Baba or whoever felt that AJPW needed some freshening up because this feels like a pretty monumental card.

 

For no particular reason I'll drop this hot take here: after two '80s sets and now most of the '90s, I've determined that I don't like Korakuen Hall as a venue. It's probably great to visit live and I like intimate atmospheres, but I don't like the feel of the place on tape at all.

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