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Charles (Loss)

[1998-09-11-AJPW-Summer Action Series II] Jun Akiyama vs Yoshinari Ogawa

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Ogawa shocked everyone when he pinned Akiyama in the six-man on August 23. Now he has a singles match with Akiyama and a chance to continue his momentum. This match is great. A switch flipped somewhere in Ogawa's mind and he's tired of being the whipping boy for the real stars. So he uses every tactic at his disposal - some legal and some not - to try to win this one. He's trying to ground Akiyama and work over his arm, so there is a strategy. But the bigger thing going on here is that Ogawa seems surprised every time he has any success in the match. From what I've seen of Ogawa in 1999, I love him there too. His push wasn't something All Japan fans of the time particularly enjoyed, and I can only surmise that's because he didn't fit the mold. But that's precisely why I like him so much. That's the whole point - that he's on this run where he's making surprisingly good showings (even when he loses) and he has no idea how he's doing it, only that he is doing it. His "inexperience" shows here, not as a worker as much as a guy who makes fatal mistakes in pressure-packed singles matches, a position new to him at this point. My absolute favorite moment of the match is when he's trying to go toe-to-toe and it absolutely isn't working at all, so he pokes Akiyama in the eye amidst a bunch of flash pin attempts. He also gets a few surprise kickouts before Akiyama ultimately puts him away. This isn't the MOTY, nor is that what they are really going for here. But this is probably one of my ten personal favorite matches of the 90s. Misawa coming out to check on Ogawa after the match and help him up is just perfect.

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Agreed. That this is a totally awesome match. Wanted to investigate this sentence, "His push wasn't something All Japan fans of the time particularly enjoyed, and I can only surmise that's because he didn't fit the mold."

 

Do you mean American fans? I can see American fans rejecting Ogawa for the reasons you mention. However it is clear the Budokan was loving Ogawa cheering for him right from the outset. To me All Japan fans in Japan were clearly behind the Ogawa push 100%.

 

I thought this played more like a very underdog version of "Lie Cheat Steal" Eddie Guerrero and really compelling. You wanted Ogawa to prevail and be that Cinderella Story. As opposed to later Ogawa matches especially the amazing 2003 Kobashi match where you just want to Ogawa to be destroyed by Kobashi. You have to love the series of nearfalls to end it before Ogawa is caught complaining to the ref and Akiyama kills him dead. This was a great way to create a new star when All Japan needed one.

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I can see this being a match that is shifted over based on its length and who is in it and everything else that is going on in All Japan in the 1990's. This may not make my top 50(?) matches of All Japan in the 1990's and that is a conservative guess. However, if a set of 1990's All Japan was made, this has to go on it. Everything was great from Ogawas shortcuts to the onlooking Misawa and him making his choice to kickstart what felt like a new feud. This almost felt like a transitioning moment for Misawa where he would go into Grumpy Jumbo mode vs. Kobashi and Akiyama. I don't think we got much of that but it is a fun narrative to see and almost happens in the same vein as himself kicking Jumbo off the apron in the 5/26/90 six man. The match is simple but highly effective. Bravo. ****

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From my understanding, in real time, DVDVR was really the only group of American fans that weren't shitting on Ogawa's push when it was happening.

 

Following the boards in the late 90's & early 00's practically no one seemed to talk or give a fuck about anyone in AJPW in the 90's boom era except the big 5 (and most seemed to hate Taue), Ogawa (also mostly shit on), Kikuchi, No Fear a little bit, and the bigger name foreigners. It legit was years before I even knew like 75% of the rest of their roster even existed. Like prob not until NOAH started and I was like "whoah, who are all these other guys? and holy shit they were around that far back???"

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It's interesting to see some Ogawa love here. This was kind of surreal to me as the crowd were going crazy over him and I was mystified as to why? He looked like a Junior and had a shitty moveset. My best guess is that the fans were crying out for something different and he brought that to the table. He pushed Jun hard and the heat brought some entertainment. Concise too at 11m. I should say that I don't have a problem with Ratboy in tag action, just as a singles competitor.

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I found this really disappointing relative to how much Loss and Chad enjoyed it. Aside from the novelty of Ogawa going tit for tat with Akiyama in a singles match, I didn't see anything overly exciting or creative about it. The six man to set it up carried more intensity. It wasn't bad or anything, but it didn't hold a candle to Ogawa's best matches from NOAH, which are some of my favorites from that promotion. Maybe a top 250 AJPW match for the decade? Maybe.

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This was great--it took me back to years ago when I tried to make my way through all of Dan Ginnetty's AJPW season sets of the early '90s and seeing all these awesome forgotten mid-card matches that got time to breathe in the 1-hour AJPW timeslot. But I also liked it for all the reasons Loss mentioned--Ogawa stands out precisely because he's not on the level of the other top AJPW guys and he wrestles like it, with a tinge of guts, desperation, and a willingness to do anything to get an edge. I always think of him as a perpetual rookie, even though he was actually a 12-year pro by this point. I also liked how two big turning points came on guys borrowing moves from their respective new partners: Ogawa busts out a tiger driver and Akiyama turns the tide later on with a Kobashi double arm DDT. I don't feel like it can be a true MOTY contender, but who knows--but I did enjoy it as much as any other 1998 All-Japan match, and it deserves an extra snowflake just for Ogawa getting one over on Jun and stopping to point at his own head, as though he'd stepped out of the Budokan and into the Mid-South Coliseum.

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it deserves an extra snowflake just for Ogawa getting one over on Jun and stopping to point at his own head, as though he'd stepped out of the Budokan and into the Mid-South Coliseum.

 

Definitely!

 

I really enjoyed this too. It has a different, slightly more American feel than your standard AllJapan house-style heavyweight matche, but not in a bad way. It told a fun story and was always exciting. I don't think we should underestimate the contribution of the woman in the front row either, who was so obviously into this match. Her enthusiasm was quite infectious.

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Jun Akiyama vs Yoshinari Ogawa - AJPW 9/11/98

 

Just rewatched this and this fun as fuck. Don't usually describe AJPW in the 90s as fun, but this was wicked fun. Budokan was totally 100% behind the Rat Boy Cinderella as he Lied, Cheated, Stole their hearts. The DDT at the beginning got a massive pop and when Akiyama rammed his shoulder into the post the crowd was cheering. Surreal. Ogawa did a great job working some nifty submissions and outsmarted Akiyama on a drop down sequence. You know how I know he pointed to his head. Akiyama had enough of this bullshit and just throwing elbows and murdered him with a high knee. Rat Boy never says die and hits a freaking superplex and then a fucking TIGER DRIVER! The crowd loses their shit! Just starts chanting Ogawa! He was having so much fun. Nice cradle back drop driver and he cant believe he did not get three. Akiyama fires up off Ogawa punches, but cant get Exploder and we get a barrage of Ogawa cradles including the jackknife pin that won him the six-man. This was a super hot sequence! Of course, Akiyama finally wrangles him in and DESTROYS RAT BOY WITH EXPLODERS. Awesome, fun match. A great fucking way to spend 12 minutes of your life. Both wrestlers played their characters to a tee and the Budokan was AWESOME! ****1/4

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#383

 

This was the first match from the list that I thought was just "there." I've never been on the Ogawa bandwagon and I'm not much of an Akiyama fan either, so your mileage will vary, but to me there wasn't anything special about this at all. I get liking the match if you're really into Ogawa, but if you're not then it's a lower tier All Japan match.

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

 

I've really gotten into Akiyama over the past year, so I was glad to check this out. I actually thought the presence of Ogawa was pretty reckless and awesome here, and the DDT that starts this off was pretty rad. I enjoyed Akiyama's consistent selling of the left arm throughout the match, which consistent selling is standard for him from what I've seen. I really liked the Ogawa's little block and pin attempt then poke to the eyes and pin attempt segment. I lean on the - this was tons of fun side. I thought this was really good and very entertaining.

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While I'm on the Ogawa bandwagon, I don't quite think this match was as good as it was due to him. He does the cocky rookie role fine enough but it was light and day between his performance and Jun's. Jun is a world class wrestler when it comes to levelling lower-pecking guys and knows how to layer in a beating and he did it tremendously here. Whenever Ogawa got too cocky and Jun could take control, he was the ass-kicker of all ass-kickers. His elbow shots and suplexes were rough.

 

Cool match I wouldn't have watched if not for Secret Santo, but this was another feather in Jun's cap more than it was a good match.

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Cool little sprint. All the Ogawa control and cutoff spots ruled. It's not mindblowing when you know Ogawa, but this was him after years of being a nobody. Now this scrawny geek is playing all the cards right and turning the tables on that pushed wonderman Akiyama. I liked this mostly because unlike Akiyamas matches against higher ranked guys earlier, Ogawa doesn't put a metric ton of punishment on his higher ranked opponent, but there is still the illusion that he might bag it if he just puts it all together.

 

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