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Thread: Ed's Kings Road Journey

  1. #41
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    Re: Ed's Kings Road Journey

    Kawada Vs Akiyama 9/7/93 - Probably Akiyama's first great singles match. For sure his best to date. This is basically a veteran vs rookie match, in the vein of Jumbo Vs Kobashi from a few years earlier. Kawada is a prick destroying Akiyama, but Akiyama shows fire in his spirited comebacks. There's a nice choice in finisher here by Kawada where he ends Akiyama with a hellacious lariat, the type Stan Hansen used to defeat him with years ago.

    Misawa, Kobashi and Akiyama Vs Kawada, Taue and Fuchi 12/7/93 - Haven’t seen mad man Fuchi in a while. I have a criticism of Kobashi. When Akiyama is in a submission, he’ll come in to break it up, but decides he needs to bounce off the ropes first to kick Kawada. Not the first time I've seen him do this and it's an irritating quirk. Misawa doing wrecking ball elbows to everyone might be my favourite hot tag ever. Misawa gets put in a tree of woe and then everyone drop kicks him to put him on the back foot in the match. Misawa’s backdrops come off as next level when you see Fuchi do then in the same match with little elevation. Kawada kicks out of tiger driver and survives the facelock in the build up to the TC title match coming up. I love how when one wrestler hits their finisher, the other teammates rush to prevent the opponents breaking up the pin, it's most notably on kobashi’s moonsault for a 2.9 count. Kobashi hits a Oklahoma stampede on Fuchi which caught my eye. A bunch of nodawas on akiyama ends it for a victory for the Holy Demon Army.

    Misawa and Akiyama Vs Kawada and Fuchi 19/7/93 - On the weaker side of things compared to the rest of this batch, but still a lot of merit here. Akiyama works maybe 80% of the match, in fact a lot of the match is just Fuchi Vs Akiyama, but it all builds wonderfully to Misawa coming into the match and letting his dislike for Kawada boil over. In particular there's a moment where he's firing off with elbows to Kawada in the corner and both the ref and Akiyama are trying to pull Misawa away and he pushes them both off to continue elbowing Kawada. It's glorious. Akiyama, to my shock, gets the pinfall on Fuchi. Great build for the TC match, even if it's not a go out of your way to see it match like some of these have been in the latest batches.

    Up in the next batch is Kawada Vs Misawa and Kobashi Vs Hansen
    Last edited by Ed; 01-18-2022 at 07:03 PM.
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  2. #42
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    Re: Ed's Kings Road Journey

    Nope I was wrong, there was another batch of matches first:

    Holy Demon Army Vs Steve Williams and Terry Gordy 26/7/93 - Another successful defence of the tag titles here by HDA, this was alright in parts, not bad at all for Gordy matches of this era, but you do feel the drop in quality if it's not a HDA/SGA tag.

    Misawa, Kobashi, Kikuchi and Akiyama Vs Kawada, Taue, Fuchi and Ogawa 28/7/93
    - Decided to watch this as I could not believe they were wrestling for an hour a day before the big TC match, but as it turned at it was a weird gauntlet tag match where by whoever is pinned gets replaced by another member of the stable. It started off a lot of fun with the lower rung guys in Akiyama and Kikuchi Vs Ogawa and Fuchi for about 15 minutes, then Taue replaces Ogawa after a roll up pin, and then he quickly Nodawa's Kikuchi to bring in Kobashi. Now Kobashi stays until the end of the match so that's about a 40 minute stretch of work, a day before he battles Stan Hansen, so that dude earned his money this week from Baba. Things do drag somewhat in the middle of this match, Fuchi in particular slows it down. It predictable comes to pass that Kawada replaces Fuchi, but what grabbed my attention is that Akiyama got the pin, not Kobashi. This summer tour has pretty much confirmed that a year into his career, Akiyama has overtaken Kikuchi as the 3rd in the pecking order guy and someone they really see a big future in. Misawa replaces Akiyama so we end up with 15 minutes towards the end of the match with the classic pillars set up. They actually spend more time with Kobashi/Kawada interactions than Misawa/Kobashi interactions during this stretch. Kobashi gets the win with a pinning powerbomb ahead of his big match tomorrow. I can't really recommend this given the length and at times it was a 'house show' level effort on display, but it was fun to see this stipulation in action and getting the vibe of these guys the day before the big show.
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  3. #43
    Mr. Victory Through Guts

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    Re: Ed's Kings Road Journey

    You undersold that tag match from 7/19, I loved that match not just in terms of the wrestling but the context of it and it being so good in a variety of ways. It was almost a perfect buildup and damn if it didn't make Akiyama look great. Or more accurately, he made himself look great. But actually Fuchi deserves a lot of credit too. He did his heel veteran grimy stretching stuff but if you look at the match Akiyama was always a step ahead. Always faster paced by just a smidge and then ending up getting his first win. Fuchi rules and Akiyama already feels like the next star in waiting. And the Kawada/Misawa pop! That was a strong match, my favorite of July in AJPW (to that point).

  4. #44
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    Re: Ed's Kings Road Journey

    July 29th 1993!

    Kikuchi and Akiyama Vs Dynamite Kid and Johnny Smith
    - This is the last match of Dynamite Kid's in AJPW, and really his last match in any major promotion, so my expectations were low here given he was way past his peak at this point. His hair looked like a haggard version of Shawn Michael's 2002 Lord Farquaad barnet. Anyway, the match was fine, Smith did the heavy lifting for his team and this was a nice win for Kikuchi and Akiyama on a big show.

    Akira Taue Vs Big Bubba
    - Big Bubba is Big Bossman. This match was pretty ugly. Most of the match was Bubba in control of Taue, and his offence just wasn't interesting. There's an awkard moment when a clothesline over the guardrail doesn't go to plan and they both take a painfully long time to go from being horizontal on the rail to falling to the floor. Bubba misses a splash which starts a quick Taue comeback where two Nodawa's are enough to put the bossman down. Didn't see anything here to make me check out more of Bubba's tour of Japan.

    Stan Hansen Vs Kenta Kobashi - I first watched this match in 2017 when I was on a kick of watching Stan Hansen matches randomly from any point of his career. I thought it was a great match, but preferred the 1991 match because that was a proper Hansen kills a rookie performance where as the 1993 match is more focused on Kobashi. This is where the chronological context of this project helps so much because I've been following Kobashi's journey up to this match, I've seen how close he's come to beating Hansen in the 1993 Carnival, I've seen him beat Terry Gordy, I've seen him grow into the role of #2 in the Super Generation Army and become Misawa's lieutenant, so now the crowd being molten for Kobashi and his desperate, spirited performance hits on a level it couldn't possibly reach when I watched it in ignorance 5 years ago. I now want to see Kobashi beat Stan Hansen. It doesn't happen again for Kobashi here, but it's a hell of a effort.

    Hansen stomps on a young boy during his ring introduction, and that pisses Kobashi off enough to launch into his attack before the bell has rung. And off to the races we go. No word of a lie, Kobashi DOMINANTS Hansen for the entire first ten minutes of the match. In the '93 Carnival match, Kobashi started with a period of dominance too but focused his attacks more on the arm of Hansen to stop the lariat, but he ate a mid-air lariat for his troubles. This time around, Kobashi's gameplan is to unleash his entire arsenal on Hansen, but in particular focus on Hansen's head. There's a standout moment in Kobashi's offence when he hits a beautiful vertical suplex on Hansen and the crowd gasp at it. I've watched a lot of early 90s AJPW by now, and I can tell you rarely does Stan Hansen's large frame go up for a suplex, and never does it go up so effortlessly and perfect as it does here. Kobashi is an athletic gfreak.

    But of course, this wouldn't be the classic match it is with just 24 minutes of non-stop Kobashi offence. There has to be a Hansen comeback, and after 22 years of watching wrestling I'll be damned if I've seen a better tide turning, get ya boot up counter to a wrestler charging into the turnbuckle. Stan's slumped in the corner, sat on his arse, Kobashi comes in for the kill, and Stan slams his boot in Kobashi's face for good measure. It's brilliant, and Hansen follows up with an equally awesome splash off the apron and powerbomb onto the concrete floor just to really turn the tables on this match. When Kobashi gets back in the ring, you can see that he is starting to bruise and swell under his left eye; a visual reminder that no matter how in control you think you are against Stan Hansen, Stan Hansen will always hit harder than you so it won't take many shots to even up the score.

    From here on in the match enters a near 10 minute closing stretch where both men look like they've been through the wars and fight it out for control. Kobashi rain downs on Hansen with leg drops, even escalating things up to a super leg drop off the top rope, improvising on the fly on how to put Hansen down for good. He tries multiple roll ups too to out-smart Hansen, but that doesn't work too. There's a fantastic nearfall off the first moonsault of the match too. Of course the fire is always there from Kobashi too when he has to ate Hansen's strikes and he has a classic fighting spirit moment when he gets up and screams in the cowboy's face. He tries for a second moonsault, but Hansen rolls to the apron and fights back, eventually nailing him with a vicious lariato off the top rope for the finish. Another Hollywood finish to one of their matches. Kobashi came so close but tastes defeat again. Maybe next time dude. Maybe next time. I love this match. MOTY for 1993.

    Misawa Vs Kawada
    - For the Triple Crown. I mean, how can it follow that? I'm not even gonna try to follow my recap of it It can't top Kobashi/Hansen, but they go out there and still have a good match. Kawada takes it to Misawa, but doesn't have that final knockout blow, he doesn't have an elbow from god, he does have some closed punches, but it's just not the same. Misawa weathers the storm, hits a god-damner of an elbow and then takes him to suplex city bitch for the last 5 minutes of the match. Think I preferred the CC match.
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  5. #45
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    Re: Ed's Kings Road Journey

    Furnas and Kroffat Vs Kobashi and Asako 20/8/93 - First time seeing Satoru Asako and he leaves a pretty good impression because the poor guy bleeds from the mouth and that always gives a match a bump. It should be against the law in this company for anyone else to wear green trunks, but Asako does. Kobashi takes a backseat for most of the match outside of a hot tag, so this is mainly just Can Ams beating up Asako. Really fun detour among the heavy matches I've watched in this project recently. If this was available in full, it would get a strong recommendation.

    Misawa, Akiyama and Kikuchi Vs Kawada, Taue and Fuchi 20/8/93 - Really good six man, but struggled to stand out after how good the previous 2 on 2 tag was earlier in the show. This was a comfortable victory for the HDA with Kawada getting the pin with a powerbomb on Akiyama, rebuilding him up after his loss to Misawa.

    Kobashi Vs Steve Williams 31/8/93
    - I originally watched this match back in 2020 at the start of this project, but I watched it randomly out of order so thought I'd check it out again with the added context. This is all systems go now for the Dr. Death top gaijin push with Terry Gordy gone, and thankfully he now starts having matches that don't bore me. Overall this isn't as good as Kobashi/Hansen from the month before, but it's still hard hitting and effective in it's aim to elevate Williams. This is all about the end of the match where Williams hits a series of backdrop drivers, one of which literally drops Kobashi on his head in a sickening bump. Kobashi may well have been legitimately loopy from it, but if not, his selling of it was superb as he dizzily got back to his feet. Doc wins and moves onto a Triple Crown shot against Misawa....

    Misawa Vs Williams 3/9/93
    - Seems unfair for Doc's title match to come 3 days after his gruelling battle with Williams I didn't think this was all that much to write home about, it's weaker than the Kobashi/Williams match for sure. Typical Misawa title match, he takes a beating, then comes back with the elbows from god. Both men kept a lot of tricks up their sleeve, with Doc not hitting the Oklahoma Stampede for example, so I think they knew they would have more big matches together in the future.
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