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Thread: Saturday Night's Main Event - Misawa & Kobashi vs. Kawada & Taue - December 3rd 1993

  1. #1
    Brick Shithouse

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    Saturday's Night Main Event Saturday Night's Main Event - Misawa & Kobashi vs. Kawada & Taue - December 3rd 1993

    AJPW World Tag Team Championship Real World Tag League 1993 Decision Match (vacant) - Mitsuharu Misawa & Kenta Kobashi vs Toshiaki Kawada & Akira Taue - December 3, 1993

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lW18bPdcH7A
    (don't worry, it's not 50minutes, skip to about 15:00)

    I wanted variety and based on the talk from the WrestlingClique Hall of Fame discussion from last year, I knew I needed to throw in a Kawada match. So my choices were between this match, and the December 1988 tag match between Tenryu and Kawada vs. Gordy and Hansen. Now if you get the time to watch that match first, I’d recommend it (it’s one of my favourite matches ever and the one that got me into AJPW), because it's quite relevant to this match because Gordy and Hansen completely destroyed the knee of Kawada, that would go on to be his Achilles heel for his entire career.

    For further context for this one, Misawa and Kawada (and later Kobashi) were once teammates, and Taue and Kawada were bitter enemies. After Taue and Kawada had a few battles and wrestled to an hour draw, they gained a mutual respect for each other and began teaming, coming up against Misawa and an up-and-coming Kobashi. Misawa was fully established as the biggest name in AJPW, he was the man and famously someone that Kawada could not pin. The other key is that Kobashi couldn’t pin Kawada, meaning that there was a clear hierarchy in AJPW: Misawa > Kawada > Kobashi. As for Taue, his story is a fascinating one when you get into it because he's very much the wildcard of the Four Pillars. He could beat Misawa, he could beat Kawada and he could beat Kobashi on any given night.

    About midway through 1993, these two teams went from being competitive rivals (in their first tag match) to hating one another, which leads to this match.

    (also these four are considered to have the greatest match of all time - this isn't that match because that match really needs all the context of this one, plus several other matches).

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    Re: Saturday Night's Main Event - Misawa & Kobashi vs. Kawada & Taue - December 3rd 1

    I think this is the Holy Demon Army match I watched last month, but I shall watch it again to write up some fresh thoughts and comments.

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    Sky Blue Hyper Technican

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    Re: Saturday Night's Main Event - Misawa & Kobashi vs. Kawada & Taue - December 3rd 1

    Wait? It's NOT 50 minutes? Just love watching these types of tag matches. Great Tag Team wrestling by people who primarily you don't associate with tag teams.
    Spoiler:


    Milano Forever!

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    Brick Shithouse

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    Re: Saturday Night's Main Event - Misawa & Kobashi vs. Kawada & Taue - December 3rd 1

    Quote Originally Posted by MC 16 View Post
    Wait? It's NOT 50 minutes? Just love watching these types of tag matches. Great Tag Team wrestling by people who primarily you don't associate with tag teams.
    On the contrary, it's their tag team efforts that stand out to me almost as much as anything. So many of these tags, six man tags, etc. Their resume of incredible tag matches is as impressive as their singles matches.

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    Sky Blue Hyper Technican

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    Re: Saturday Night's Main Event - Misawa & Kobashi vs. Kawada & Taue - December 3rd 1

    Quote Originally Posted by Shock View Post
    On the contrary, it's their tag team efforts that stand out to me almost as much as anything. So many of these tags, six man tags, etc. Their resume of incredible tag matches is as impressive as their singles matches.
    Yes. Forgot the way it works. 6 man and 8 man tags constantly. Actually, that explains a lot about the chemistry between the two teams.
    Spoiler:


    Milano Forever!

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    Brick Shithouse

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    Re: Saturday Night's Main Event - Misawa & Kobashi vs. Kawada & Taue - December 3rd 1

    Misawa & Kobashi vs. Kawada & Taue – December 3rd 1993


    There’s a reason I picked this and it’s because of Kawada’s performance here. Very rarely will you see a performance with such attention to detail. Not just in his selling between moves, but how he was able to sell during moves, e.g. allowing his leg to buckle. I think in terms of selling you will struggle to find anything that matches up to this. It's not just his selling that makes this match, it's everything he does. I almost can't put into words why I think his performance is so good, it just needs to be watched to be appreciated. I loved his show of desperation towards the tail end of the match. He's a dick, but he's also sympathetic, an almost shakespearian tragic figure because of - not only his inability to beat Misawa - but now his defeat to Misawa's protege, Kobashi.


    The story of this match is amazing. It kicks off with Kawada disrespecting Kobashi, essentially saying “you’re not on my level”, and once that becomes established Kobashi – determined to finally beat Kawada – goes after the knee injury, something that hadn’t been done at all in this feud. It shows the escalation of these former partners to bitter enemies.


    Misawa, though, he’s the ace. For starters, his interactions with Kawada have a great parallel with Kawada’s to Kobashi. Zero respect “you’re not on my level”. But he’s also the guy that knows he can beat Kawada again and again, so he doesn’t go after Kawada’s knee. It’s only Kobashi who needs to rely on that, but Misawa doesn’t have to resort to such things to win. I love this story because it taints Kobashi’s big win over Kawada – he could only win by going after Kawada’s injury. And perhaps more importantly, Kobashi could only win after Misawa’s moves finally finished him off. It leaves more room for the story – can Kobashi win fairly over Kawada? And it creates an interesting dynamic as well. Kawada is a dickhead, he's emotional and he's determined by his inability to topple Misawa, and now he's been defeated by Kobashi. And Kobashi, despite being one of the most natural babyface wrestlers ever, had to resort to attacking an obvious weakpoint of Kawada to finally get the edge on him (and also revenge for Kawada disrespecting him). I think that epitomises everything that is great about this era: layered motivations and storylines.


    I think you might watch this and think “what about Taue”, but that’s just the story they were going for – Taue wasn’t a big factor in the second half of the match because he wasn’t allowed to be. It compares with the Gordy & Hansen vs Kawada & Tenryu match I referenced earlier where Gordy and Hansen were able to double team and destroy Tenryu because of Kawada’s injury, which stopped Tenryu tagging out. Kawada couldn’t tag out here. It also helps for an introduction to AJPW because Misawa, Kobashi and Kawada are far more recognisable figures than Taue (who is a dangerously underappreciated talent). The things Taue did have to do here, he did in typical Taue fashion – no nonsense, simple, effective.

    This is one of the best tag matches ever, yet might not crack Kawada or Misawa’s top 10 for me - it's not even the best match of these two teams. The two subsequent matches in May '94 and June '95 are even better than this in my opinion. That’s the sort of quality we’re talking about here. This is all the best wrestling story ever told, the whole arc is just magnificent, and I think this is a decent place to start if you want to get right into the story and see them bringing hate. Though I can't emphasise how good the stuff before this is too, but this is the part of the feud where it really kicks into high gear. 1993 MOTY.

    *****
    Last edited by Shock; 01-13-2018 at 08:07 AM.

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    Sky Blue Hyper Technican

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    Re: Saturday Night's Main Event - Misawa & Kobashi vs. Kawada & Taue - December 3rd 1

    Before I get to the match, let's talk about the entrance music and how amazing it is. Misawa's Spartan X and Kawada's theme (don't know the name, Holy War I think) just get me pumped for any match they are in. Anyway onto the match. I liked the camera work here since as soon as Kawada came out they focused on his leg (the injured leg), that is a great way to show the viewers that the leg means something important and foreshadows the match. It's an excellent use of the cameras.


    They quickly establish that Kobashi is the weaker of the two (Kobashi and Kawada) with Kawada confidently going for the early cover after a kick. Kawada just beats up Kobashi with nasty kicks and chops which leads to Kobashi having no choice but to go after the injured leg. The crowd seemed shocked at this and Kawada retaliates with viscous knees to the head. Thought it was a great way to showcase the dynamic between the two. Kawada treating Kobashi like a no body with nasty strikes and Kobashi having to resort to going after the leg. Misawa and Kobashi constantly went after the leg, with Kobashi putting Kawada in a texas cloverleaf for a long period of time. Kawada's selling is excellent. Early in the match, he hit Misawa with a kick and instantly went to his knee selling pain. Then he went for a bridging german suplex but sold his knee when he was pinning Misawa and collapsed. Again, he failed to hit a powerbomb on Misawa after his knee buckled in mid motion.

    Misawa and Kobashi's strategy in this match was great. They kept on beating on Kawada's led, limiting Kawada's movement. Not even letting him get anywhere near Taue in the match, using quick tags and submission hold wearing down Kawada. Every time Taue would come in, in came Misawa who spent most of the time on the outside, saving his energy to take out Taue. It was a ingenious strategy and it was excellently done.

    I feel like I mostly talked about Kawada and it's because he made this match. His selling of the leg, his storytelling with Kobashi in the early parts of the match, everything. This match was Kawada. Performances like this is what makes Kawada Hall of Fame Worthy Kobashi was excellent as well, his urgency, his facial expressions were pretty good. The match felt like a handicap match with Taue unable to help due to the strategy of Misawa and Kobashi and that's what I loved most about it.


    ****3/4
    Spoiler:


    Milano Forever!

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    Re: Saturday Night's Main Event - Misawa & Kobashi vs. Kawada & Taue - December 3rd 1

    Ahh, this is truly uncharted territory for me. Won't be in the next few days but will definitely get in done in the week

    Sent from my E5823 using Tapatalk


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    Re: Saturday Night's Main Event - Misawa & Kobashi vs. Kawada & Taue - December 3rd 1

    I've watched some AJPW but all I think involved an American in the match. With the backstory you gave, I really look forward to watching this.

    Great job on the detail.

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    Re: Saturday Night's Main Event - Misawa & Kobashi vs. Kawada & Taue - December 3rd 1

    Man, I love these All Japan intros where they're just hanging out backstage waiting for their music to hit.

    My takeaway from this match is that I want to watch some Kobashi Vs Kawada matches now, because they were the two guys who sucked me into the match . Really good point from Shock about how Misawa was already established as a guy that could beat Kawada so he didn't need the shortcuts, but Kobashi was desperate for his biggest win to date so he gave in to the dark side so to speak. That was fantastic when he just went bat shit crazy and punched Kawada's knee over and over again. I wasn't quite feeling the 'greatest sell job ever' performance from Kawada until he hit the german suplex pin on Misawa and the pinfall failed because his leg gave out and the bridge collapsed under his body weight and I thought god damn that's a phenomenal spot. From there Kawada's performance just grew more and more sympathetic because he knew he was fucked but had too much fighting spirit not to give it his all chasing the big win. The finish is tremendous with the more experienced Misawa instructing to Kobashi 'I've got Taue covered, you put Kawada away and we've won' before flying out of the ring with a suicide dive forearm and the slow dead weight lift of Kawada's corpse into one last suplex from Kobashi. It's a sad moment for any Kawada fan because you know he's out for the count and it's a painful last 10 seconds of the match to watch.

    One nitpick, I felt it went a bit tornado tag like at times with quite a lot of all four men being in the ring at the same time fighting and the ref doing nothing to stop the illegal men. It led to some cools moments like the stereo germans and the submission battles, however it sort of devalues a little the rules of tag team matches if Taue is allowed to get in the ring whenever he wants to to help out Kawada.

    Still, brilliant match.

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    Sky Blue Hyper Technican

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    Re: Saturday Night's Main Event - Misawa & Kobashi vs. Kawada & Taue - December 3rd 1

    Quote Originally Posted by Ed View Post
    however it sort of devalues a little the rules of tag team matches if Taue is allowed to get in the ring whenever he wants to to help out Kawada.

    Still, brilliant match.
    Actually, I think the rules in Japan are different to US rules. In the US, you have one chance to break up a pin or submission (I think it's called burning your tag, Dean Ambrose mentioned it once) but in Japan, there isn't a rule about it. May be wrong though.
    Spoiler:


    Milano Forever!

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    Brick Shithouse

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    Re: Saturday Night's Main Event - Misawa & Kobashi vs. Kawada & Taue - December 3rd 1

    One nitpick, I felt it went a bit tornado tag like at times with quite a lot of all four men being in the ring at the same time fighting and the ref doing nothing to stop the illegal men. It led to some cools moments like the stereo germans and the submission battles, however it sort of devalues a little the rules of tag team matches if Taue is allowed to get in the ring whenever he wants to to help out Kawada.

    Still, brilliant match.
    This is something that does kind of bother me too when I think about it (so I try not to!) and it's something they're quite lax on in these AJPW epics. I don't mind it as much in that the refs are very good at making sure that only the legal competitors make a pin.

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    Re: Saturday Night's Main Event - Misawa & Kobashi vs. Kawada & Taue - December 3rd 1

    This is the best selling performance of all time and probably one of my favorite, if not outright best finishing sequence. Kawada was a hell of a worker, and he was strong here. Character-wise AJ was at an interesting time here as Jumbo was basically out of the main picture, and these 4 were truly cemented as the 4 pillars. Kobashi in particular moved up to #2 in the pecking order and Kawada in his role as the unchosen one that is so relatable to many fans, myself included that led to many declaring him the best of the 4. For all the talk of Kawada, Kobashi's performance was excellent as well. He was incredible during the first half before the focus shifted and deserves nearly as much talk. The dude rocked this match and there's never been a better babyface.

    Something AJPW continues to do is that their tag league actually means something to this day, and this as the final of a great tournament really delivered that home for me.

    Also of note that considering the direction things went for the rest of the decade, specifically in AJ, it kind of makes me wish there was much more matches like this rather than the head dropping bombfest style we became accustomed to. These guys kept it under 25, wrestled an excellent match that both had plenty of action, great psychology, and a perfect finish but they didn't throw the kitchen sink at you in the name of "excitement" and manufactured drama. This is more Hideki Suzuki than Kazuchika Okada, and has to be up there as one of my favorite matches of the 90's. Amazingly not even my MOTY because 93 was such a damn awesome year but can see it as high as 2 and no lower than 4 in a beautiful year. Amazing performances from Kobashi & Kawada and Misawa & Taue played their role in support as you would want them to. I love this match and there's no way I don't go all the way.

    *****
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    Brick Shithouse

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    Re: Saturday Night's Main Event - Misawa & Kobashi vs. Kawada & Taue - December 3rd 1

    I think most people when they watch this part of AJPW latch on to Kawada first of all. I know I did. He's the most relatable and sympathetic of all of them. Then I latched onto Kobashi as the tremendous babyface that he is. So after I made my way through most of the big AJPW matches of the 90's my order of favourites was Kawada > Kobashi > Misawa > Taue.

    It was only when I started to re-watch them that I really appreciated Misawa for what he was, and now I consider him the best of the four pillars (hot take, I know ...). Unfortunately this match isn't the best representation of Misawa - though he's still excellent in his role. This is very much Kawada and Kobashi's match.

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    There was so much that was great about this match. Kawada’s selling of his knee/leg was great; it started off subtle, and he initially brushed off the pain, but as the knee/leg got worked on or he used it more, Kawada sold it more. Kobashi’s ‘look’ was in full force. Misawa had two great moments with Kawada. The first was early in the match when Kawada delivered kicks to the face, the spot where he holds Misawa’s head in place to do so; after Kawada was done, Misawa just stood up and gave Kawada this ‘bitch, please’ look and elbowed him in the face. They did something similar later in the match, when Kawada was holding on to Misawa’s tights to keep him close; Misawa pulled free, gave Kawada that same look, and then elbowed him in the face again.

    The referee, Kohei Wada, was great as well. He did some great leaps when he had to get into position to make a count, and he was so smooth in going straight into making the count right as he landed, landing and counting in one fluid motion. This was a great match, although I feel that some more near-falls at the end would have it so much better.

    ****1/2



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    Re: Saturday Night's Main Event - Misawa & Kobashi vs. Kawada & Taue - December 3rd 1

    Quote Originally Posted by Zero View Post
    Something AJPW continues to do is that their tag league actually means something to this day, and this as the final of a great tournament really delivered that home for me.
    I've only really viewed late 80s/early 90s stuff, but it's the tag league that jumps out to me every time from this promotion and feels super important. It's a vehicle to tell stories on a deeper level than 'what's next for the tag team titles'. I know New Japan have never been a big tag team promotion, but it's a shame that in this golden era they're having and with the talent on the roster, you know you will never see the top 4 stars in the promotion have a tag team match against each other. The only thing I can think of that comes anywhere close is before WK8 there was a Christmas week show that had a 30 minute time limit draw Okada and Nakamura Vs Tanahashi and Naito match on it, but obviously nothing was on the line.

    has to be up there as one of my favorite matches of the 90's. Amazingly not even my MOTY because 93 was such a damn awesome year but can see it as high as 2 and no lower than 4 in a beautiful year.
    That's high praise.

    I reckon I'd go with Hansen/Kobashi over this match, but not by much. Do your other '93 MOTYC come from AJPW in this year, or is there something from the states or lucha that tops it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shock View Post
    I think most people when they watch this part of AJPW latch on to Kawada first of all. I know I did. He's the most relatable and sympathetic of all of them. Then I latched onto Kobashi as the tremendous babyface that he is. So after I made my way through most of the big AJPW matches of the 90's my order of favourites was Kawada > Kobashi > Misawa > Taue.

    It was only when I started to re-watch them that I really appreciated Misawa for what he was, and now I consider him the best of the four pillars (hot take, I know ...). Unfortunately this match isn't the best representation of Misawa - though he's still excellent in his role. This is very much Kawada and Kobashi's match.
    I feel like I'm going through the same kind of journey with Misawa. I'm very early on in my AJPW viewing, but it's Kawada and Kobashi that I connect with much more than Misawa and come away more impressed by. I enjoyed the matches with Jumbo, but then when I started diving into Stan Hansen matches, his matches with Misawa just didn't live up to Stan's matches with Kawada and Kobashi. Perhaps it's his stoic nature and it's gonna take longer to appreciate him, but I'm waiting for that performance where I truly 'get him', ya know? Obviously I still think he's a great wrestler and I really did enjoy his role in this tag match.

    I think this is the only Taue match I've ever seen. He's an awkward kind of guy but he does the basics really well and plays his role to a tee.

    I definitely think independent of SNME I want to really increase my AJPW viewing and watch as much as I can from the 90s in order.

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    Re: Saturday Night's Main Event - Misawa & Kobashi vs. Kawada & Taue - December 3rd 1

    If you want to watch more All Japan in the 90's, got to the All Japan Archive. Lot's of matches for you to watch.


    https://drive.google.com/drive/u/0/f...XJuaE44bm40eHc
    Spoiler:


    Milano Forever!

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    Re: Saturday Night's Main Event - Misawa & Kobashi vs. Kawada & Taue - December 3rd 1

    Quote Originally Posted by MC 16 View Post
    If you want to watch more All Japan in the 90's, got to the All Japan Archive. Lot's of matches for you to watch.
    I'm aware of the All Japan Archive mate, I'm the one that posted it in the VIP forum

  19. #19
    Brick Shithouse

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    Re: Saturday Night's Main Event - Misawa & Kobashi vs. Kawada & Taue - December 3rd 1

    Definitely understand what you mean, Ed. Misawa is someone that I find you need to "get" but him being so stoic works well because he's the unflappable ace. His selling ends up being really subtle. And of course when he does change from the stoic nature it's amazing. I think him being calm and reserved means that his personality works well with the much more animated Kobashi and Kawada.

    Some people will tell you Taue was only passable and just there for the ride, but he's had so many great matches (not just tag matches either, he had a singles match with Misawa in 95 that is as good as most other matches from this time period) that I think you can't help but call him a great wrestler. He's somebody that knows what he does well and what he can and can't do. He isn't an amazing all-round talent like the other three, but what he could do well he did as good as anyone.

  20. #20
    Sky Blue Hyper Technican

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    Re: Saturday Night's Main Event - Misawa & Kobashi vs. Kawada & Taue - December 3rd 1

    Quote Originally Posted by Ed View Post
    I'm aware of the All Japan Archive mate, I'm the one that posted it in the VIP forum
    Sound.



    Taue is very underrated. Love watching him.
    Spoiler:


    Milano Forever!

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