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Charles (Loss)

[1999-07-17-AJPW-Summer Action Series] Toshiaki Kawada vs Yoshihiro Takayama

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Really cool stuff for how short it is. This is a real fight with some great strike exchanges that feel dangerous and like a big deal. Ending is cool too.

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Pretty fun match with Kawada getting his ass beat and resorting to punches, goading Takayama into the ring, and winning on a countout. Different tone from other All Japan stuff. **

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Was Takayama legit KO'd at the end there? I replayed it in slo-mo and that final head kick from Kawada was just brutal. It didn't feel like that was the planned finish.

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We're in a different world for All-Japan, all right. This has similar elements to their other Yearbook singles match in that it doesn't look all that cooperative, but it's quicker-paced and more heated until the out-of-nowhere finish. Just like the match before I'll be interested to see what Dave has to say about this--the ending did look brutal but why would they carry Takayama out like that if he were knocked out as a shoot?

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90s All Japan is best known for the long, epic-style main events and I love when we get to see something different from their top guys like we do here with Kawada. Takayama is still the former UWFi guy here and not the bad ass main-eventer he would become. This is a sub seven minute slug fest with a fair amount of stalling, so we get staggered bits of sustained violence and intensity. Takayama shows that he can hang with Kawada and possibly beat him if they go toe-to-toe so Kawada does the smart thing and bails out of the ring and goes for a stroll. When Takayama decides to come after him, Kawada dives back in the ring and takes the tactical advantage and goes to work on Takayama before finishing him with KO. This reminds me of the type of match Genichiro Tenryu was so great at having with undercard guys that you knew stood no chance against him, but not as dramatic.

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