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[1994-05-31-AJPW] Akira Taue, Giant Baba & Toshiaki Kawada vs Kenta Kobashi, Mitsuharu Misawa & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi


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All the boys are here! The Super Generation Army is in full force! The Holy Demon Army has emerged! Baba.....idk why Baba is here but he's here anyway. The starting sequences establish the scene: Taue is a very mean bully, Baba is here to hit limp strikes, and Misawa and co have to struggle to succeed. To be fair this is one of the stronger Baba performances of the 90's: he actually takes big bumps and doesn't look completely done in-ring like he did in 1998/1999. Limited? For sure, I would say he can still "go" in the way you'd expect. Misawa/Kawada are of course great together and so on point with their sequences that it never looks contrived or anything like that, everything comes naturally with them. It was also cool that Kawada was the guy in danger in places here than the usual "Kobashi in danger" formula that was abused so much even by this time. Of course we still get them, but they aren't the main theme of the entire match, which was seriously refreshing. 

I will say that while the usual Pillar interactions are solid, this did lack any underlining story to it bar some small stuff like Kikuchi just being useless at maintaining any momentum and Baba being really quite petty here with his antics. There wasn't really any big heat segment until way into the middle half as Kikuchi spends a good few minutes doing what he does best: selling and bumping big. This was fun with Kawada as he threw nasty kicks and chops, it was great with Taue just endlessly scoop slamming Kikuchi and dropping him endlessly.....the match definitely downgrades when Baba is doing his slow chop routine. Kikuchi actually making him take a bump was a epic spot, but to lead up to it we had to go though some fairly slow stuff. Taue holds on to Kikuchi in the corner to do some dirty strikes, Baba just lets him go anyway to tag in Misawa as he doesn't want to get involved in their heelish antics, which does get a nice lead-up near the end when he relents and works off a Kawada distraction to land a big back suplex off the top rope. The last 10 is namely focused around Baba, so erm, it wasn't great, it's about as good as 90's Baba can go at this point; him and Kobashi have a undeniable chemistry that gets this way more solid than it should have been as they went back and forth with surprisingly fluidity: it's a bit sad that we never could've got a proper match between the two bar this and the Baba 1998 birthday bash.

Road to the finish is typical AJPW bomb-spamming and it's still great, just kind of flavourless for the most part as there wasn't really any main story for the crowd to work with. Finish comes with Kikuchi trying (and failing) to handle Taue and Baba one final time, who wreck him with some great spots until he finally falls to a chokeslam. Listen, I'm a big fan of these, this felt more like a "here's stuff you've already seen" match without much original to follow up on, so it was lots of solid work you've probably already seen with bigger crowds and better intensity. Baba being here and game to work is great, but he still slows things way down and Taue by this point was a way better giant who does his job a considerable amount more competently. Pillars and co are on good form, however bar some cool moments this didn't have much of a spark to it to really set it off proper. That said, it's still a pretty good showing, just with obvious flaws that come with this being a B-show. 

 

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  • paul sosnowski changed the title to [1994-05-31-AJPW] Akira Taue, Giant Baba & Toshiaki Kawada vs Kenta Kobashi, Mitsuharu Misawa & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi

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