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Charles (Loss)

[1999-11-20-AJPW-Real World Tag League] Mitsuharu Misawa & Yoshinari Ogawa vs Kenta Kobashi & Jun Akiyama

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I enjoyed this match but this series has definitely played to diminishing returns since March. There's a moment of miscommunication when Misawa and Ogawa are attempting an Irish whip double team move of some kind that results in a pretty bad looking spot, and the Ogawa underdog story has already been told, so repeating it here without any progress being made doesn't really do much for me. But it's these four, the match is still strong. The highlight for me is how Misawa and Ogawa work as a team. I loved Ogawa booby trapping Akiyama's ankle so he couldn't move out of the way of Misawa coming off the top rope. This goes to a 30-minute draw and I think they did make good use of the time. Misawa and Kobashi had their sequences, and the Burning Hammer is still being very protected. Nothing too memorable, but a great match anyway.

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The two teams had only met three weeks beforehand, as well as earlier in the year. So the matchup felt stale. Had Baba still been alive he'd have kept this off TV. His booking philosophy centred around the long term and not flogging a good rivalry to death. That vision and confidence made him such a rarity amongst wrestling promoters.

 

Whilst the booking might have been poor the 30m certainly flew by. Consistent quality through the build before peaking at the right stages. Ogawa naturally took the most punishment, although he did hold his own. The underdog had become a more formidable wrestler than would've ever seemed possible in previous years. He brought his A game here. The other three all brought their rock solid B games. Not a match of any significance or that I'll remember anything about. But it was good quality, and a pleasant way for an AJ fan to spend half an hour of his time.

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I didn't think this was anything special but it went fairly quickly for 30 minutes. And the spot where Ogawa is whirling Misawa around to whip him into Kobashi and Akiyama breaks it up with a low dropkick is great.

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Weird venue, not one I remember seeing much of for AJPW. The slow start to this almost telegraphed a draw and the match took awhile to get going, but by the end I had forgotten all about the time limit with some strong work down the stretch, with a nice tease and cut-off of the Burning Hammer. I agree that this series doesn't really seem to be going anywhere, but maybe we'll get some progression for one or both of these teams in the Final.

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