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KinchStalker

2019 FOUR PILLARS BIO: CHAPTERS 10-17, PART SIX [LATE 1991 - MISAWA/KAWADA BARFIGHT, "ACE OF GLASS", ETC]

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2019 FOUR PILLARS BIO: CHAPTERS 10-17, PART SIX

CHANGED PLANS

 1947568840_misawaanimenosebleed.png.c67d5bbeba52dde98fe94c2f9cb5fb85.png1646731291_tauenosepinch.png.e0b488001ad577e4bd3b6c191d015971.pngtvk102491wpw.thumb.jpg.c678bfa0a70e57c9467c7f28b77c7065.jpg

Above: A Tsuruta elbow shot during a six-man tag on October 14,1991 fractured Misawa’s nasal bone. While forced to work the following night’s match, he was written off the rest of the tour in kayfabe when Taue reaggrevated the injury. Toshiaki Kawada was substituted for Misawa in the scheduled October 12 Triple Crown title match, which Tsuruta won decisively.

After the submission loss of September 4, 1991, Tsuruta seemed to be on a downswing heading into his scheduled October 24 Triple Crown defense against Misawa. (Ichise recalls writing in his 9/4 match report that it seemed to be a point of inexorable decline for Tsuruta, which he would later consider negligent of him after the following tour proved him very wrong). Meanwhile, during the Giant Series tour, Misawa seemed to have recovered from the subluxated shoulder he had suffered during the July 26 AJPW World Tag Title match against the Miracle Violence Connection. However, these plans would be derailed in Osaka on October 14, during a Misawa/Kawada/Kobashi vs. Tsuruta/Taue/Ogawa six-man. Chosedaigun won this match in 27:30 with a Kobashi moonsault to Ogawa, but about seven minutes earlier, Tsuruta fractured Misawa’s nasal bone with an elbow shot. Although Misawa was forced to work the following night’s Korakuen show with a bandaged nose against doctor’s orders, he would be written off the rest of the tour with an end-of-match angle. This match, a Misawa/Kawada/Kikuchi vs Tsuruta/Taue/Fuchi six-man, saw Taue rush in and pinch Misawa’s nose after he broke up a Tsuruta powerbomb pin to Kikuchi. Kawada was substituted for Misawa in the Triple Crown match.

 

SOMEDAY HE IS GOING TO HIT BACK

 mkvkk112191wpw.thumb.jpg.2f0e3e8f4f48b41e5add3298eb7335c9.jpg1920808001_misawarwtleyeinjury.thumb.jpg.5661c995d3fbc6b59ede0d7853052961.jpg

Above: An injury to Misawa’s right eye caused him to miss a couple dates of the 1991 RWTL tournament. While AJPW stated that it was inflicted during his November 21 tournament match against the team of Kenta Kobashi & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi, Misawa actually acquired it later that night during a real-life altercation with his own partner. [Source: Weekly Pro Wrestling, Issue #467 (dated December 10, 1991)]

Misawa & Kawada entered the 1991 Real World Tag League as one of two teams representing the Super Generation Army, alongside Kobashi & Kikuchi. The teams would cross paths in a televised match on the November 21 Osaka show, the fourth tournament match for both teams. With a Tiger Driver pinfall on Kikuchi in 18:51, Misawa & Kawada left the show continuing their four-match win streak, and Kobashi & Kikuchi left continuing their four-match loss streak.

Misawa & Kawada were scheduled to wrestle Rusher Kimura & Mighty Inoue the following night in Takamatsu, a slam-dunk win if there ever was one. However, Misawa arrived at the venue with his right eye blackened and swollen shut, while Kawada was nursing his right knee. The party line was that an elbow attack during the Kobashi/Kikuchi match had reaggrevated an old wound on Misawa’s right eyelid, and while this was incongruous with the match as it had occurred, the people who would know the truth were tight-lipped, and so reporters had no choice but to report the announcement at face value.

But eventually, this kind of stuff comes out.

After the Osaka show, Misawa and Kawada hit up a bar in the city, accompanied by a crop of younger wrestlers and ring crew. Kawada happened to notice that Keiichi Yamada—that is, Jushin Thunder Liger—was a fellow patron. Yamada, who had lost the national high school wrestling championship to Kawada ten years before, had remained cordial with him. He had even attended the September 4 Budokan show with his wife.

Misawa was hostile to the notion of commiserating in this way with a wrestler from a rival promotion, at least at this point (he would later become drinking buddies with Hayabusa), and things escalated when Kawada said that he’d go home in that case. To which Misawa responded with a punch.

It is true that Kawada considered Misawa “a small oasis in hell” during their days at Ashikaga. Misawa was light on him in the sense that he was the only senior classmate who did not hand any of his personal chores off to Kawada. However, as Ichise’s digression here makes clear, this did not mean that Misawa’s overall treatment of Kawada was all roses. Misawa himself admitted in his autobiography that he had beaten Kawada in high school for “slandering” him, and when Kawada joined All Japan, Misawa responded to a similar incident by kicking Kawada’s knee on the stairs as he cowered, which horrified a witnessing Fuyuki.

Kawada had never struck back, but tonight, he wanted to set an example for the younger wrestlers in the room. As you can see, he got him good.

Kawada left and returned to Tokyo, while Misawa went to an Osaka hospital. The following day or thereabouts, Kawada went to Misawa to apologize, and Misawa’s response was apparently gracious. It would be dishonest to peg this as the point when the relationship between the two began its inexorable shift; they tagged together for another fifteen months, and they continued to duet on karaoke into the following year. But it’s a story that reveals a lot.

The previous year, when Misawa had been sidelined with a knee injury, the team lost their scheduled match against Giant Baba & Andre the Giant by forfeit. This time, though, special measures were taken, and the Kimura/Inoue match was rescheduled to take place on November 26. This kept Misawa & Kawada in the running, at the cost of having to pull double duty; after winning their originally scheduled tournament match against the Dynamite Kid & Johnny Smith, M & K only had a Kobashi/Kikuchi vs. Hansen/Spivey match’s worth of time to rest before going back out to wrestle the ex-IWE job team.

“THE ACE OF GLASS”

The rate of injury which had impeded Misawa’s growth during his days as Tiger Mask had not gone away when he unmasked, and the back half of 1991 laid that out plainly. It was likely during this period when Misawa garnered a derisive nickname in certain corners: the ace of glass.

On January 4, 1992, Tokyo Sports held their annual awards ceremony. Misawa and Kawada were both absent. In fact, Misawa would snub the ceremony for four consecutive years. Ichise dismisses a theory that Misawa boycotted the ceremony in retaliation for having lost the 1990 MVP award to Atsushi Onita; no, it was the “ace of glass” narrative. Ichise scoured Tokyo Sports All Japan coverage from the second half of 1991 in search of this term, and while it was never used, a reporter in the December 27 issue wrote that he didn’t understand why the Misawa/Kawada vs. Kimura/Inoue RWTL match had been rescheduled. Misawa wasn’t the kind of man who would turn on Tokyo Sports because they had given him an honorable mention instead of the top award in 1991, but this was something that could have set him off. Soichi Shibata, the head of Tokyo Sports’ AJPW team, recalled that while he himself didn’t feel this way, there were colleagues who felt that Misawa was unsuitable for the MVP award after this. Misawa would eventually play ball with them again, but he would not win the award until 2007.

However, Weekly Pro Wrestling held an annual, fan-voted set of awards known as the Pro Wrestling Grand Prix. Concurrent with his Tokyo Sports boycott, Misawa won the Grand Prix’s MVP award in three consecutive years. His first win in 1991 quite surprised the publication’s staff, as their NJPW coverage was clearly what sold more units (as determined by the sales of both issues with NJPW cover stories and NJPW special issues). But for the core fans who bothered to submit the Grand Prix voting postcards, All Japan was clearly a subject of attention. In February 1992, when Ichise asked Misawa for his response to winning the award, Misawa made an overt statement of defiance towards Tokyo Sports, stating that it was a greater honor to be chosen by the fans than by the papers.

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On 9/25/2021 at 3:39 PM, KinchStalker said:

2019 FOUR PILLARS BIO: CHAPTERS 10-17, PART SIX

CHANGED PLANS

 1947568840_misawaanimenosebleed.png.c67d5bbeba52dde98fe94c2f9cb5fb85.png1646731291_tauenosepinch.png.e0b488001ad577e4bd3b6c191d015971.pngtvk102491wpw.thumb.jpg.c678bfa0a70e57c9467c7f28b77c7065.jpg

Above: A Tsuruta elbow shot during a six-man tag on October 14,1991 fractured Misawa’s nasal bone. While forced to work the following night’s match, he was written off the rest of the tour in kayfabe when Taue reaggrevated the injury. Toshiaki Kawada was substituted for Misawa in the scheduled October 12 Triple Crown title match, which Tsuruta won decisively.

After the submission loss of September 4, 1991, Tsuruta seemed to be on a downswing heading into his scheduled October 24 Triple Crown defense against Misawa. (Ichise recalls writing in his 9/4 match report that it seemed to be a point of inexorable decline for Tsuruta, which he would later consider negligent of him after the following tour proved him very wrong). Meanwhile, during the Giant Series tour, Misawa seemed to have recovered from the subluxated shoulder he had suffered during the July 26 AJPW World Tag Title match against the Miracle Violence Connection. However, these plans would be derailed in Osaka on October 14, during a Misawa/Kawada/Kobashi vs. Tsuruta/Taue/Ogawa six-man. Chosedaigun won this match in 27:30 with a Kobashi moonsault to Ogawa, but about seven minutes earlier, Tsuruta fractured Misawa’s nasal bone with an elbow shot. Although Misawa was forced to work the following night’s Korakuen show with a bandaged nose against doctor’s orders, he would be written off the rest of the tour with an end-of-match angle. This match, a Misawa/Kawada/Kikuchi vs Tsuruta/Taue/Fuchi six-man, saw Taue rush in and pinch Misawa’s nose after he broke up a Tsuruta powerbomb pin to Kikuchi. Kawada was substituted for Misawa in the Triple Crown match.

 

These are great threads. Thanks for the great work, Kinch.

One quibble here, which is odd.  The 10/24 Triple Crown match was always going to be Jumbo defending against Kawada. It was announced in advance. It was in the WON in advance of Misawa's injury. The series was booked that way on television from the start:

9/27 opening night taping at Korakuen Hall had Jumbo and Kawada in the tag team main event working spots to build heat for it. Misawa was in the semifinal tag opposite Gordy & Doc to avoid distracting from it

10/3 second taping had Jumbo and Kawada in the semifinal tag working spots. Misawa was in the main with Kobashi against Gordy & Doc to again not distract from it.

10/10 was the third taping which had a six man main, so Misawa and Kawada were both in it. Again, more focus on Jumbo-Kawada while Misawa more paired off with Taue.

10/14 was the injury.

10/15 Misawa worked the six man main at Korakuen because it was another TV taping, but was largely taken out of the match to make it two-on-three most of the way.

He was out after that.

Key thing to remember: 10/24 was at Yokohama Bunka Gym. If they were going to run a second Jumbo vs Misawa match in the year, it wasn't going to be at a 5000 seat arena in the Tokyo metro given where the post-unmasking singles matches between the two took up to that point took place, and what they drew:

06/08/90 - packed Budokan

9/01/90 - packed Budokan

04/18/91 - packed Budokan

Baba may have been conservative, but at that point he wasn't going to piss away extra 10000 tickets by booking a match that would pack Budokan into Bunka Gym.

Example - the anniversary match the follow year was a fan voted match where everyone knew the match that would win... and would draw a ton... and Baba booked it into Budokan to expand the number of matches in the building per year.

So like I say, it's odd. There are other things in the threads that I could quibble with, and avoid it unless it reaches a certain level. This is just odd from Ichise given the level of detail he brings to the table, and clear ability to pull from notes or other historical records.

Of course I'm a well know Kawada fanboy, so things like his first Triple Crown match, that it happened against Grumpy Jumbo, and that they worked some stuff from the start of the series (as they typically did for these things) pretty much has always stuck from me since picking up the weekly tape of that opening night match some...

Holy Shit! It was more than 30 years ago!

Pretty nuts the shit that sticks with you all these years later.

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The Ace of Glass stuff is a hoot. His injury issues were noticeable, and pretty much a worry up to the point he he became the real ace in 1993. One wasn't sure he could hold up. Pretty amazing that he did through 1993 and 1994, not just in the TC matches but also when the world tag titles weren't cake walks, the Carny and Tag League weren't either, and the tv taping tags and six-man tags were still worked at a high/tough level. Misawa tended to pick his spots in the normal tv taping matches more than his match-mates, which wasn't hard when he was pairing with Kobashi through almost all of the period who was going to put on the Kobashi Show whether you wanted him to or not. But Misawa wasn't typically sleepwalking through many of those matches. He worked his spots to build up the TC or WT match that might be on the tour.

Didn't think he would hold up.

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