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[1996-03-02-AJPW-Excite Series] Mitsuharu Misawa vs Gary Albright

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Albright is a man ahead of his time, coming out to "Voodoo Child." No air guitar, though.

 

Definitely a match of value if just to see the other AJPW types work with Gary and compare them to what Kawada did in October. This is decent but not nearly as good--the opening is a total waste as Misawa doesn't seem to know how to really work Albright's style of opening mat-wrestling, so we get a lot of lock-ups, stalemates, and resets that's broken up when Albright unleashes a German suplex. Gary locks on a cross armbreaker on Misawa's rolling elbow arm and doesn't break when Misawa's in the ropes, providing an opening for another psychological road to go down, but they don't follow up on it aside from Misawa paying Albright back by doing the same thing. I can't really call this a spotfest--there's some token psychology involving Albright constantly going for a dragon suplex and Misawa constantly foiling it--but there isn't a ton of substance outside of the big suplexes. Albright does take a great flying bump off Misawa's rolling elbow at the finish, and overall I think he was as good or better of a worker in this match than Mitsuharu. Not a bad effort, but unless Gary was going to work Kawada every match, this is strong evidence that he wasn't going to be a great fit for the company.

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The main takeout for me was also that Misawa couldn't adapt as well as Kawada to the unique challenge of facing Allbright. They still did quite a nice job of mixing the two styles in this Triple Crown contest. It all revolved around the suplexes, which were incredibly over and generated a real sense of danger. Misawa cut out some of his flashier moves and concentrated on hard strikes. Had it's moments and there was some excitement. Ultimately they needed more ring time together. It's a shame there wasn't a rematch as I'd have liked to see where they would've gone.

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