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[2000-01-22-AJPW] Mitsuharu Misawa & Tamon Honda vs Yoshihiro Takayama & Takao Omori

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I am really starting to really like these meat and potato AJPW tags involving No Fear. They are showing a shift in the style but just be a brutalizing force. This is making Misawa show some aggression that feels different than his mano y mano contests vs. Kobashi and the long term "weve been here before" rivalry vs. Kawada. Honda here is the outlier and the star as he really takes it to both members of No Fear and works the meat of the match. It does seem like No Fear needs some type of better double team finish as they put away Honda here with a series of leg drops and elbows. ***1/4

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I really liked Omori in the Kobashi match earlier in the month, but he was pretty uninspiring here. Maybe that's just his ideal opponent. The match was really good when Takayama was in -- strong opposite Misawa and great opposite Honda -- and dropped when Omori came in. It wasn't because Omori didn't work hard, but he lacked Takayama's presence and ability to make things matter. If the goal here was to make me want a Takayama vs Honda match, they succeeded wonderfully. If they were just filling time, it was good too. I laughed at how the crowd didn't even bother to react to cover attempts on Misawa. I'll probably forget this quickly but I enjoyed it while it lasted. Tamon Honda has quite possibly the best German suplex in wrestling history. ***

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This was okay. The control segment on Honda dragged, especially when Omori was in the ring. He just wasn't that good. We got to see a little bit of Takayama standing toe to toe with the big dog, but it was pretty clear Misawa had little interest in imposing his will on this match.

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Average match. Takayama tossing the flowers was funny. Tamon Honda's all headbutt offense got old fast. I liked the section where Takayama and Omori worked over Honda's arm. Misawa didn't put forth much effort in this one. Takayama looks like a star everytime he appears. He's got that certain intensity in his movements that makes him stand out.

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Certainly not bad, but very unspectacular and simply lacking the type of highlights you become accustomed to from Misawa over the past decade. Takayama was very much the standout here in a sign of what was to come from him over the next few years. His brief interactions with Misawa definitely left me looking forward to revisiting their singles matches.

 

***

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Maybe it was because of how unhappy he was vis a vis where the company was going, but man Misawa seemed to just not want to even be there. His offense still looks good when unmotivated but just running through the move set paint-by-numbers is kind of dire to watch. Was pretty disinterested during this as a whole. I really like peak Honda so I look forward to every chance I get to see him but he didn't impress me here either.

I'd love to be the guy who got hit with flowers thrown by Takayama, if only to have the story to tell.

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