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[1988-01-23-AJPW] Genichiro Tenryu & Toshiaki Kawada vs Yoshiaki Yatsu & Tiger Mask II


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A match where the interactions between Misawa and Kawada are the least interesting thing to happen! Seriously-it was mostly pretty forgettable workrate stuff, though there was a nice moment where Kawada avoided Misawa's body press and almost took his head off with a spin kick. Kawada looked better than Misawa here-he still has some junior offence I could live without like pulling out a handspring elbow, but he showed good fire trying to hand with Yatsu. Tenryu was just out of this world great here-acting like the world's greatest prick. His slaps, chops and Lariats all looked amazing, but he would also bust out head stomps to break up pins that looked as vicious as what he was doing 5-10 years later, but he still had theathleticism and the explosivenes that make even just him running the ropes a much stronger image. Yatsu trying to match him in violence really made the match, he really upped his striking game and hanged with Tenryu. The match ends in the standard chaotic brawling, which is really good, and is skillfully tied up into the Tenryu-Jumbo angle. Tenryu even Powerbombs Misawa on the ringside table, though as sloppily as you'd expect. ***1/2

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  • GSR changed the title to [1988-01-23-AJPW] Genichiro Tenryu & Toshiaki Kawada vs Yoshiaki Yatsu & Tiger Mask II
  • 2 years later...

Genichiro Tenryu & Toshiaki Kawada vs Yoshiaki Yatsu & Tiger Mask II - AJPW 1/23/88

It's BABY KAWADA! Looking about as uncool as possible in his fuchsia-animal-print pants, baby fat and poofy hair. But the brutha still runs the ropes like he is out of control and you are worried he is going to go through him! The novelty of this by far is to watch Kawada vs Misawa in 1988. Weird that in 6.5 years, they would have what many consider the Greatest Match of All Time. Never give up on your dreams kids even if your boss makes you dress in fuchsia or in a Tiger Mask. 

I have said in the past that Kawada is the Ultimate Choke Artist or best Loser ever. He is the Wile E. Coyote to Misawa's Roadrunner. He came off as the Ultimate Try-Hard in this match. It felt like he was trying to win Tenryu's approval so badly and probably more likely win Baba's approval as a shoot. Tenryu comes in and SMOKES Misawa! I mean I am not sure Misawa knew where the fuck he was after that. WOW! Yatsu CRACKS Tenryu back with a slap. Tenryu sells it like he got shot in the face and just goes down in heap. No fighting back just crawling over to Kawada. Kawada tries to smack Yastu, but misses and Yatsu CRACKS Kawada! This is good craic indeed. I love these fun midcard tags. They begin working Kawada. Kawada gets a nice legsweep, but instead of trying to tag out, he tries to impress and lands a Missile Dropkick, only to fall back into danger. He learns his lesson and tags out the next chance he gets. Tenryu TRUCKS Yatsu in retaliation. This does not last long as Kawada is back in and they end up working over Kawada's knee. Before that Kawada randomly does a cartwheel into a back handspring elbow that pops me huge just because it is so un-Kawada like. This is not 1993 primetime Kawada knee selling but he is pretty good. I always knew Misawa's 90s kicks were a holdover from his Tiger Mask days like his Elbow Suicida feint. Even though the kicks look good and land well, there is always something that has felt off about Misawa kicking especially that hop kick he does. Kawada lands a reverse crossbody which feels weird given his knee was being worked over, but I dont mind much. I am just enjoying this as Misawa & Kawada in 1988. The finish is fucking awesome. Misawa crossbodies Tenryu from apron, topples him over the railing onto the announce table. They brawl. I wish Tenryu threw him down with a Powerbomb on the table but we get a shitty Tenryu powerbomb. Yatsu attacks Tenryu and KAWADA WAILS ON YATSU WITH A CHAIR. IT WAS RELENTLESS! Tenryu continues the merciless beating until the ref tosses it out. I dont speak Japanese but I assume Yatsu said "That's all you got" Tenryu comes back TRUCKS him with a Lariat only for Jumbo to save. It is a New Year and Jumbo vs Tenryu is red-hot. I really enjoyed the work in this match. Yatsu and Tenryu were great stiff main eventers. Kawada & Misawa brought the action and it has that extra boost because it is Kawada & Misawa in the 80s doing some very un-Kawada, un-Misawa things. ***3/4


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