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1994 AJPW Carnival Series

 
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jdw
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2015 5:21 pm    Post subject: 1994 AJPW Carnival Series Reply with quote

One of the more recent things that I've written of any length... and even it's nearly four years old. ;)

It's not a match-by-match review, but more recommendations on what's "keeper" material in a Yearbook setting. Posted on PWO, but was behind the curtain so really isn't available for reference material. Thought I'd toss it up here.

John
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2015 5:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Posted 02 August 2011 - 11:51 AM

So as I'm going through the '94 Carny stuff to make some recommendations, couple of random comments in advance of a longer one covering everything:

#1 - This migh be the most "covered" series of the era.

10 cards had tapings:

* 3 early cards on NTV
* 6 cards on the primary Carny commercial tapes
* Budokan on NTV as well as the Final making in full onto a commercial tape (about 4 minutes edited off of NTV).

Coverage on the coms wasn't limited to cherry picking a top match off each card, but included about 3 full matches per card. In a sense, it was like if NTV TV shows in 1993 took 10 *different* Carny cards. Pretty unique in the era.

I'll have to count up 1995 Carny with the commercial tapes, but don't think that makes up for NTV being way down. That's one major advantage that 1994 had:

* the last two one hour NTV shows each covered different cards in fashion not unlike earlier years
* the first two 30 minute shows were effectively a "one hour" devoted to another card (Williams-Kawada / Kobash-Smith)
* Budokan essentially got two hours (most of four 30 minute shows)

Granted, Budokan wasn't booked well, nor was TV handled well. But in a sense they got normal, semi old-stye coverage on NTV of 4 cards. It looks like roughly 2 cards in 1995. With the coverage on Samurai starting in 1996, the Tag League got really good coverage... arguably the best in ages. But even then, I don't think there were 10 different cards given decent coverage. So a little unique, which makes it interesting.

#2 - moment in time

It's less than a year into the Four Corners. They might not be at their collective peak, but they collectively are very good. Doc is at his peak, while he would be gone the following year. Hansen coming off his great 1993 year, and frankly still quite good. You really have a lot of combinations of those six that you can mix around and have a chance at a watchable-to-great match. And of the 15 possible combinations, most of them are on here (with a double dip of Taue-Kobashi thrown in). Mix in the chance to see what Jun is up to in a fair number of singles matches against the Big 6, and there's depth + near peak + quantiy of matches that really isn't there the rest of the decade. Sort of lucky that they sent out the commercial crew.

#3 - 4/11 Misawa vs Kawada

This is prety much their Ric Flair match. Like a long Ric match, there's plenty of stuff where "they're just filling time" in between picking it up for something cool. There's a bit of storyline where Kawada goes after the recent injury (a/k/a The Bad Neck/Back). Like Ric's opponents selling the leg, they don't have a huge desire to run hard with that one. Instead, they generally go with the Flairish "We Have Stuff To Do" and run through a ton of their spots and moves and usual stuff that we've seen them do in singles, tags and six-mans since May 1993.

It's Misawa-Kawada, so they have a lot of that stuff and when "on" it's a well oiled machine. In the end, it's not a satisfying finish: the crowd just saw a big "first" right before this, and there was a big one the night before... and if Kawada was going to get his first, the injury was a perfect excuse to have you thinking you'd see it. Like a Flair match you don't really get the finish you want, and instead you need to come back for the next one.

Looking at this on two levels:

For a Flair-style match, it's really good. Pull it out of the context of wanting/expecting a rich, deep AJPW storyline where 90% of everything you want from a match is delivered. Instead put it in the context of wanting an entertaining match where two guys go at it hard, do a ton of shit, execute it very well, give you drama down the stretch where you're not sure who is going to win (again: this is set up for you to REALLY think Kawada can take it). In that context, it's pretty much a helluva Flair-stye match, without the Horsemen running in or the ref-bump or the dusty finish or some other silly DQ. Times up, and these guys are going to need more than 30 to settle it.

On the other hand, if you watch this and then watch 06/03/94 not long after (i.e. a Yearbook setting), or have 06/03/94 etched strongly in your mind from over watching and/or over writing/talking about it, then it crashes in on you: They worked a really good Flair-style match that within the context of their feud/rivalry is (and still will be after watching it on the Yearbook) pretty much an after throught. Then they went out and worked their classic where literally everything came together, and it's light years beyond the Carny match.

That doesn't make El Classico "the best of all-time" by default. It's more in the sense that the 4/11 Misawa vs Kawada is something that would be a great match if Flair had it against Steamboat in 1989 or there was a Shawn vs Bret in 1994 at that level or Steamboat-Savage had it in MSG prior to WM-3. With Misawa-Kawada the expectations are higher... it's pretty insane how high they've set them that you watch this and think, "Yeah... there's a lot of good stuff here, but they've got more in the tank."

#4 - 4/11 Taue vs Hansen

This is probably about 85% a great match.. and by great I mean GREAT!!!! Seriously, no bullshit.

50% in the form of 100% of what Hansen does is great. This is Stan's "12/03/93 Kawada Is Sublime" performance, and Hansen's performance doesn't in anyway have to take a backseat to what I've spent 18 years pimping as one of the best performances of all-time. Hansen is great before the bell even rings, selling what happened the night before. As the match goes on... he's off the charts.

35% in the form of about 70% to 75% of what Taue does is great. He's extremely focused on what needs to be focused on, and really never loses the thread on it to go into "I've Got Stuff To Do" or "I'd Rather Do Cool Stuff" mode. Those are massive positives. There are some minor knocks: about half of his early stuff looks weak, he's too slam centric without theatrically drawing well into the storyline why those are useful, and he kind of ignores something obvious to the point that he only rolls it out as the Barry Windham Transition... which kind of sucks since using it would have really tied into the storyline. They may seem minor, but they add up a bit to keep this from being a perfect-great match. On the other hand, once he gets past some of the early weak stuff, Taue does bring a ton of great stuff to the storyline and most of it is well done. Even some things like the Claw that doesn't work out to well at least had good thought behind them.

This is a helluva match. I'm not sure anyone else could have had this match with Stan at the time. Hard to imagine any of the other members of the Big 6 letting themselves work what is essentially a 17 minute Single Storyline Match. At some point, they'd go off the page to mix in some of their other Cool Things. Misawa would whip out the jumping lariat and the elbows to the head... a lot. As *stronger* as Kawada's attack to the injury would be, he would stil have used the high kicks to the head. Kobashi would have gone longer, and lost the thread a few times Doc faces Hansen a few nights later, and while I like that match a good deal, the injury storyline isn't as focused.

Taue... he seems to have followed Stan's lead to a T, stuck with it, etc. When he whips out the nodowa, it's not losing the thread: it's that he's fucked up Stan so much that the nodowa is there for the taking (or fits into a transition). Pretty much everything that doesn't directly tie into the injury is like that, with the injury sitting there still on display. Hell... I don't think 1996 Taue could have this match because he had some cooler stuff that he'd want to mix in, and was more confident in his work. Yeah... this is one of those moment in times. Stan creating something the night before that keyed a major loss that he inturn could use the next night to key a second major loss... with probably the one guy in the Big 6 that would/could be drawn into working a Single Storyline Match.

85% of a GREAT match, when most of the quibbles are early... that's great match. One utterly exceptional performance, with another one that was very focused on what needed to be done and then picked up some steam as he went along.

John
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jdw
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2015 5:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Posted 02 August 2011 - 01:21 PM


I haven't put all my comments together from taking notes, and won't until watching watching the last four matches probably tonight (Baba & Hansen & Omori vs Kawada & Taue & Fuchi; Misawa & Kobashi & Akiyama vs Baba & Hansen & Omori; Taue vs Smith; Ace vs Honda). But I'll be recommending a fair number of matches.

It's too bad the Misawa & Akiyama & Kikuchi vs Can-Ams & Smith was JIP on TV. Not an overly long match anyway, and what was shown was a lot of fun. I suspect sitting in Korakuen Hall for that one would have been entertaining, not in a "Holy Shit This is *****+++" but rather in a "that's a lot of fun for a match third from the top... those guys put on a good show". Not something that I'll recommend since it was JIP'd down to five or so minutes.

John
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2015 5:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Posted 03 August 2011 - 11:49 AM


1994 Matches available.

Notes:

JIP = Joined In Progress and then unedited to the finish

If a match was jump-clipped, I would use Clipped.

The are some match times given in "xx:xx" form. I'll mention them below in the comments section.

03/19/94 Korakuen Hall, Tokyo (03/20/94 NTV)
League: Williams vs Eagle (4:13)
League: Hansen vs Nord (9:03)
League: Kawada vs Smith (9:31)
League: Misawa vs Akiyama (13:57)

03/24/94 Hiratsuke (03/27/94 NTV)
League: Taue vs Kobashi (JIP: 21:31 of 30:00)
League: Hansen vs Kawada (19:38)

03/27/94 Matsumoto (Carnival Commercial)
League: Kawada vs Ace (15:47)
Non-League: Taue vs Kobashi (30:00)
Baba & Hansen & Omori vs Williams & Kroffat & Eagle (18:13)

03/29/94 Toyama (04/02/94 & 04/09/94 NTV)
League: Kobashi vs Smith (16:45)
League: Kawada vs Williams (JIP: 21:44 of 30:00)

04/01/94 Okayama (Carnival Commercial)
Taue & Ogawa vs Kobashi & Kikuchi (JIP: 5:38 of 23:59)
League: Kawada vs Akiyama (11:25)
Baba & Hansen & Omori vs Williams & Ace & Eagle (15:19 of "19:28")

04/10/94 Sendai (Carnival Commercial)
League: Williams vs Akiyama (12:26)
League: Hansen vs Kobashi (26:55)
Baba & Misawa & Kikuchi vs Kawada & Taue & Fuchi (21:47 of "23:47")

04/11/94 Osaka (Carnival Commercial)
League: Kobashi vs Akiyama (14:40)
League: Hansen vs Taue (17:31)
Non-League: Misawa vs Kawada (30:00)

04/14/94 Nagoya (Carnival Commercial)
Baba & Fuchi & Omori vs Kobashi & Akiyama & Honda (22:01 of "24:01")
Non-League: Misawa vs Smith (JIP: 2:18 of 15:14)
League: Hansen vs Williams (16:35)
League: Kawada vs Taue (20:20)

04/15/94 Korakuen Hall, Tokyo (Carnival Commercial)
Misawa & Akiyama & Kikuchi vs Kroffat & Furnas & Smith (JIP: 7:30 of 18:12)
Baba & Hansen & Omori vs Kawada & Taue & Fuchi (17:54 of "19:12)
League: Williams vs Kobashi (21:25 of "22:10")

04/16/94 Nippon Budokan, Tokyo (04/23/94 & 04/30/94 NTV + Special Commercial)
Ace vs Honda (10:45) - NTV
Taue vs Smith (6:34) - NTV
Misawa & Kobashi & Akiyama vs Baba & Hansen & Omori (JIP: 21:47 of 24:19) - NTV
Final: Kawada vs Williams (25:48) - Carnival Final Commercial
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2015 5:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Posted 03 August 2011 - 11:49 AM

Comments:

03/19/94 Korakuen Hall, Tokyo (NTV)
League: Williams vs Eagle (4:13)
League: Hansen vs Nord (9:03)
League: Kawada vs Smith (9:31)
League: Misawa vs Akiyama (13:57)

Williams-Eagle is a watchable semi-squash, other than Doc oddly grabbing a chinlock in what otherwise is a sprint. No need to keep.

Hansen-Nord isn't any good. No need to keep.

Kawada-Smith is pretty watchable. Some goofiness, and Smith lacks anything that can put Kawada down so it's really hard for the fans to buy into it. They get heat down the stretch. For a 1994 AJPW Yearbook, I'd keep it and the other Smith matches in the Carny as a change of pace. In a overall Yearbook, no need to. The amount of Smith matches that aired during the series gives the impression that they were thinking of doing something with him. They didn't, and his use at Budokan pretty much brought that notion to an end.

Misawa-Akiyama is pretty much Misawa By Numbers as it was being developed. Lots of Jun on top. Misawa's selling is a bit goofy, especially the arm, and he generally looks disinterested. Perhaps he's suffering from a real injury and they cooked up the injury angle to cut down on his workload. Anyway, it's not as good as one would think, and Misawa takes it home fairly quickly when the time comes. That said, I'd recommend it for two reasons:

* comp for other Jun matches
* Misawa = #1 in the world argument

There are good Jun matches coming up. This is a good comp to them. Also, there no doubt is going to be some Misawa is #1 run for the year. One might get the idea from a really cherry picked Yearbook. I think folks need to see something like this: while a "good" match on some levels because Jun is busting his ass against his senior, Misawa is pretty much phoning it in.


03/24/94 Hiratsuke (NTV)
League: Taue vs Kobashi (JIP: 21:31 of 30:00)
League: Hansen vs Kawada (19:38)

It's a coinflip on whether to use this or the complete non-league draw on the 3/27 card. This has real NTV announcing along with a better mic'd crowd that makes it feel like a bigger match. The other one is complete. The last 20 minutes of each is pretty similar. I'd tend to recommend this one as a better comp to the Kawada-Williams draw as they're both JIP almost exactly the same length. If there's space, I wouldn't object to both being on there. But I think those 30 minutes of the non-league match could be better spent given to other matches.

Hansen-Kawada is a low tech match, but they sell the hell out of things for each other. A fave is the elbow Kawada eats at 10:00, but there are a lot of things along those lines. It's not as heated as their Budokan matches the prior two years. In a sense, they laid down a solid base but didn't really deliver down the stretch with good/strong nearfalls to work up the crowd. I'd recommend it simply because it's Hansen-Kawada, is a comp to their better matches in the League, and isn't really bad. The early Hansen Suicida is something to see when you follow his trajectory. :)

03/27/94 Matsumoto (Carnival Commercial)
League: Kawada vs Ace (15:47)
Non-League: Taue vs Kobashi (30:00)
Baba & Hansen & Omori vs Williams & Kroffat & Eagle (18:13)

In general, I'd keep the Kawada-Ace match. Good match. Within the Yearbook, it helps get across that Ace didn't come out of nowhere to suddenly be teaming with Doc and challenging for the World Tag Titles. He held his own in a singles match earlier in the year with Kawada, and Tosh did a pretty reasonable job of letting him look good. Also a stretch plum finish, that they work well. Don't get to see a lot of those, and since the Smith match (which also had one) isn't going to make it, this is a good example.

Taue-Kobashi was a special match added to the card because this was suppose to be the Misawa-Kobashi Carny match. Beats the hell out of me why they didn't do a finish with Taue winning.

The six man is surprisingly good. Not a keeper for this yearbook, but I would keep it for a 1994 AJPW Yearbook. This would be the type of thing you'd see in 1990-93 on TV tapings where the main event was one of those excellent/great Natives vs Natives six man, and in the semi you'd get some combo of gaijin putting on a *** to ***1/2 good/enjoyable match. Hansen was fired up to carry his team. They looked to get Omori over. Williams was excellent. If you like/accept 1993-94 Legend Baba in with the top guys, than you'd enjoy his performance here as he's having fun. Kroffat also knows how to work with him. This was pretty satisfying. It's 18+ minutes better spent on something else, but I dug it as a fun match.


03/29/94 Toyama (NTV)
League: Kobashi vs Smith (16:45)
League: Kawada vs Williams (JIP: 21:44 of 30:00)

Kobashi-Smith wasn't a bad match. Again, one for a 1994 AJPW Yearbook, but could be skipped here since the Smith push went nowhere.

I can't get across strongly enough how ridiculously good the Kawada-Williams draw is. It really gets across how great of a worker Doc is at this point. I can't recommend strongly enough that this be included in addition to the Final.


04/01/94 Okayama (Carnival Commercial)
Taue & Ogawa vs Kobashi & Kikuchi (JIP: 5:38 of 23:59)
League: Kawada vs Akiyama (11:25)
Baba & Hansen & Omori vs Williams & Ace & Eagle (15:19 of "19:28")

The JIP tag has a really good run to the finish, making you wish that all of it was available.

Kawada-Jun is a keeper. Good pairing between these two. Good comp for their prior year's match, and the other Jun matches on the set.

In the six man, Hansen is great again. It's similar to the prior Baba/Hansen six-man, with the slight difference of Kroffat not being there to stooge a bit for Baba. No need to keep.

One note on the time. There's a strange, quick time call in the match. I went back and watched the section between the two time calls, and neither had 5 minutes gone by, nor is there an obvious jump cut. Left me wondering if they shaved time, which I'd not seen in AJPW before. More later...


04/10/94 Sendai (Carnival Commercial)
League: Williams vs Akiyama (12:26)
League: Hansen vs Kobashi (26:55)
Baba & Misawa & Kikuchi vs Kawada & Taue & Fuchi (21:47 of "23:47")

Williams-Jun is a good match given their different rankings in AJPW. Early "amatuer" style wrestling, and frankly they do well with it without overplaying it. Then they do a short "old school" section, and it's not bad either. In general, it's having Jun get Doc's number early before of course Doc kicks his ass. When it's time for Jun to look good later and get his stuff in, they do a very good job of it. Quite enjoyable, and up there with Jun's best singles matches in 1992-94. I'd really keep this one... reflects well on Jun, but *really* well on Doc.

Hansen-Kobashi is a keeper. Rather epic down the stretch: Stan is awesome, and Kenta both has the goods to do what needs to be done and also to deliver it theatricality.

The six-man is about what you'd expect from these guys: good. Misawa and Kawada take something of breathers in it since they go to war the next night. Lots of old familar spots on Kikuchi by Taue & Fuchi. Of course Fuchi knows how to work with Baba. In a 1994 AJPW Yearbook, I'd be tempted to keep this as it's the one Misawa-Kawada group six man in the series that's available... but it probably would be dropped since they really don't key that aspect up.

This is where it gets a little clearer that we're getting some time shaving in Baba's matches. Another time call that came early in the middle of the match, whereas the other matches timed out well.


04/11/94 Osaka (Carnival Commercial)
League: Kobashi vs Akiyama (14:40)
League: Hansen vs Taue (17:31)
Non-League: Misawa vs Kawada (30:00)

I'd keep the Kobashi-Jun as a comp to the other three Jun singles. This is technically pretty solid/good, but it's also not terribly compelling. With Williams-Jun and Kawada-Jun, you get the sense of Jun in there battling guys for respect... and two guys who just as soon put him in his place. With Misawa-Jun, you get the sense of Jun wanting to get the respect of his mentor... but Misawa couldn't really be bothered. With Kobashi... Kenta isn't really good at delivering what Williams and Kawada can, or Stan did several years earlier with all these guys. Kenta kind of tries, but it doesn't come off super well... "forced" is the feel. Then of course Kenta wants to get in his cool stuff too. It's a good match, they do a lot of good stuff, and Jun is good in it. But it's just not as compelling as those other two matches Jun had. I think people should see all of them as it shows strengths and weaknesses of the various workers. Lord knows there are things Kenta did better than Kawada and Doc, and they'll be in display all over the yearbook.

Hansen-Taue was mentioned earlier. Awfully good match.

Misawa-Kawada was mentioned earlier. Really good match, even if it's not El Classico.

I'd keep all three of these.


04/14/94 Nagoya (Carnival Commercial)
Baba & Fuchi & Omori vs Kobashi & Akiyama & Honda (22:01 of "24:01")
Non-League: Misawa vs Smith (JIP: 2:18 of 15:14)
League: Hansen vs Williams (16:35)
League: Kawada vs Taue (20:20)

The six-man was solid, though nothing special.

Misawa-Smith is JIP, and one wonders what had to happen there to edit it down and instead go with the six-man. Obviously not a keeper.

I like Hansen-Williams and would recommend it. I think it might be their best match, Doc is hitting his peak, and Stan is very fired up to keep a top spot. In hindsight I wish all this stuff would have been on TV at the time because it would have done a good job of keeping people from thinking that Hansen dropped off in 1994 after the "career year" in 1993. He's great in the Carny series... really great. It's more likely that he got lost in 1994 with the push of Doc, and in not getting a decent partner to get into the Tag Title picture. In the end, he was back with Baba in the Tag League, which is a sign of how quickly the Hansen & Omori Experiment failed.

Kawada-Taue is Kawada-Taue. Their first match since joining hands. Good match, winner goes to the Final while a draw leaves them tied with Hansen, and of course it's a comp for what else the two are up to.


04/15/94 Korakuen Hall, Tokyo (Carnival Commercial)
Misawa & Akiyama & Kikuchi vs Kroffat & Furnas & Smith (JIP: 7:30 of 18:12)
Baba & Hansen & Omori vs Kawada & Taue & Fuchi (17:54 of "19:12)
League: Williams vs Kobashi (21:25 of "22:10")

The first six-man is one of those JIP's that you wish the whole thing was available because it's really quite good with Korakuen Hall heat. Finish is dumbass if there was a Smith Push, but you can take it as a sign that was out the window.

Second six man tag was good. Not need to keep as there were better six mans on the first two series.

Williams-Kobashi is a keeper. In a way, I like this better than their 1993 classic and their 1994 TC match. I suspect people will like it quite a bit as well. But... yeah... there's a lot about Kobashi at this point where you see all the signs of what will drive some of us bonkers.

I'm not sure if shaving was going on or not. First non-Baba match where the time didn't line up, and Korakuen Hall is just about the last place I'd expect shaving given the hardcore fans. When the Williams-Kobashi didn't line up, I wondered if my VCR was playing "fast"... but it hadn't been through the rest of it, and wouldn't for Budokan. So... strange.


04/16/94 Nippon Budokan, Tokyo (NTV + Special Commercial)
Ace vs Honda (10:45) - NTV
Taue vs Smith (6:34) - NTV
Misawa & Kobashi & Akiyama vs Baba & Hansen & Omori (JIP: 21:47 of 24:19) - NTV
Final: Kawada vs Williams (25:48) - Carnival Final Commercial

Ace-Honda was crapped on by Dave... I want to say it might not have even gotten a *. I actually thought it was a decently worked match. Some heat issues, but they decent enough heat down the stretch considering no one espected Honda to win. Generally speaking, the match reflects pretty well on Ace since he worked a smart, decent match with a rookie. You also see Honda here and really wish he was *instantly* put under Taue's win starting the next series. Honda already has his own spots, but could have learned stuff from Taue. He also didn't at all have the look to be a face, so accept it and be a Taue-ish heel. Anyway, I wouldn't recommend this for the set as Kawada-Ace is a better example of Ace in this period. But I probably would include this in an 1994 AJPW Yearbook because I'm not sure there's a singles match in 1994 that shows as much Honda as this, and like I say it does reflect well on Ace.

No one should read any of that to mean that Honda has GREAT~! potential, or that this is a really good match. It's just a surprisingly decent match on re-watch, and I'm not sold on that Honda had great potential. But here he looks like he might have been "useful" if they were smarter on developing him.

Taue-Smith is an odd sprint. Their Carny match was five minutes longer, and had to be good enough that someone had the bright idea to put this third from the top on Budokan and get TV time. Instead they just blew through stuff and took it home quickly. Not a keeper for this yearbook, but really a head scratcher. The undercard of Budokan could have been booked a hell of a lot better.

The six-man is a pretty good match. Strange to re-read Dave's comment that they worked over Omori for the first 10 minutes since that isn't really the case. Hansen's all fired especially at Kobashi. There are a few times in here where Omori is sloppy, and he doesn't really work as well with Misawa or Kobashi as he does with Jun in this one. Misawa's level of interest is extremely low relative to the others. That looks to change when Omori nails a really good looking backdrop on him, and you think we're going to get some Misawa In Peril. That... doesn't last long. I love Misawa, but he's just not feeling it in this series. :(

The finish is one of those Great-Bad things. Kobashi hits a Super Cool New Dangerous Move: the Organge Bomb. It's awesome... it's cool... it looks like he damn near kills Omori with it. But... rewind five minutes. Listen to the heat when Kobashi and Hansen are going at it, and it looks like Hansen might get his payback win for the two jobs. It's quite loud, and there seem to be a fair number of fans wanting Stan to win (along with the large number of fans pulling for Kenta). Then Omori tags in... and heat gets sucked out of the building because fans know he's not going to stay on top, and we're going to have The Expected Finish. Sure enough, someone pins Omori. It's not like Kenta needs this win, despite losing to Doc the night before. This really was a time where they could have crossed things up on the Big Card and had Stan chop his head off. Hell, at the last Budokan:

Misawa & Kobashi over Baba & Hansen when Misawa pinned Baba

If *Baba* can clean job to Misawa, then Kobashi could sure as hell clean job to Hansen a few days after Stan gave Kenta the biggest singles win of his career. And I think the fans would have rocked for it, since they really were on edge when it looked like it was going to happen.

Anyway, it's a keeper.

The Final of course is a keeper. Get the full Commercial Tape version, not the NTV version that is JIP.

A little light on comments, which I why I pulled out the longer items for the earlier post. Those two matches along with the Kobashi-Doc are the three that I probably that I have the most thoughts on. I'd just as soon not impact folks thoughts on Kobashi-Doc before they watch it.

John


Last edited by jdw on Wed Mar 25, 2015 5:49 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2015 5:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Posted 03 August 2011 - 11:50 AM

Round up of recommendations:

03/19/94 Korakuen Hall, Tokyo (03/20/94 NTV)
League: Misawa vs Akiyama (13:57)

03/24/94 Hiratsuke (03/27/94 NTV)
League: Taue vs Kobashi (JIP: 21:31 of 30:00)
League: Hansen vs Kawada (19:38)

03/27/94 Matsumoto (Carnival Commercial)
League: Kawada vs Ace (15:47)

03/29/94 Toyama (04/02/94 NTV)
League: Kawada vs Williams (JIP: 21:44 of 30:00)

04/01/94 Okayama (Carnival Commercial)
League: Kawada vs Akiyama (11:25)

04/10/94 Sendai (Carnival Commercial)
League: Williams vs Akiyama (12:26)
League: Hansen vs Kobashi (26:55)

04/11/94 Osaka (Carnival Commercial)
League: Kobashi vs Akiyama (14:40)
League: Hansen vs Taue (17:31)
Non-League: Misawa vs Kawada (30:00)

04/14/94 Nagoya (Carnival Commercial)
League: Hansen vs Williams (16:35)
League: Kawada vs Taue (20:20)

04/15/94 Korakuen Hall, Tokyo (Carnival Commercial)
League: Williams vs Kobashi (21:25 of "22:10")

04/16/94 Nippon Budokan, Tokyo (04/23/94 NTV + Special Commercial)
Misawa & Kobashi & Akiyama vs Baba & Hansen & Omori (JIP: 21:47 of 24:19) - NTV
Final: Kawada vs Williams (25:48) - Carnival Final Commercial

Yeah... 16 matches is a lot, even leaving off what is a pretty damn good Kobashi-Taue and some entertaining six-mans that are probably better than some of the WCW/WWF that will make the cut. That's the problem with AJPW: too much good stuff. :) If forced to cut that down, I would go in this order:

1. 03/19/94 League: Misawa vs Akiyama (13:57)
2. 04/11/94 League: Kobashi vs Akiyama (14:40)
3. 04/01/94 League: Kawada vs Akiyama (11:25)
4. 03/27/94 League: Kawada vs Ace (15:47)
5. 04/10/94 League: Williams vs Akiyama (12:26)

Where 1 is the first one I would cut: Misawa-Akiyama.

John
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jdw
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2015 5:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Posted 03 August 2011 - 01:20 PM

Tossing out a few other comments:

* Baba

So either one accepts Baba in "competitive" matches with the top guys in 1993-94, or one doesn't. It would be tough to come up with a golden rule in the sense of "If you like X or Y or Z, you'll be fine with Baba in these matches". I just don't know what the various XYZ's would be. Perhaps the closest I can come up with is that if you're a fan of Baba's stuff in the 60s and 70s, you'll probably have an easier time accepting / enjoying him in these.

My analogy would be Flair Fan still enjoying Flair after say 1993 when it was becoming really clear time passed him by. That might be late 70s Baba. Then Flair Fan still enjoying him in the 00s, when it was clear that Ric was really washed up, and pretty damn embarrassing at times. That's probably Baba in competitive matches in the late 80s and on into the 90s. Or people who still like Flair.

I suspect that I've over time become a Baba Fan, going a complete 180 from someone who didn't want him on the screen when I first starting watching puroresu in 1989. One of the turning points was the 11/30/93 tag, though I can't say I enjoyed watching Baba on my TV regularly after that. Some matches were okay, others weren't. The next turning point was watching his older stuff, where it became pretty clear that he was Good Taue in his era, except probably twice (or three times) as smart as Good Taue... who wasn't exactly a complete moron in there. You watch enough good Baba matches you start accepting the limitations... then you accept the aging... and you're picking up on the crowd still popping for his stuff, his willingness to do whatever the opponent wants (within the limitations of his body), and that pretty much everyone is having fun with it while at the same time taking it serious... all in a competitive match.

One of the nice things about 1993-94 is that Baba had largely taken himself out of competitive matches while Misawa & Co. vs Jumbo & Co. was going on. He still worked the Tag League, in "contending" teams with Andre in 1990 & 1991, and pairing with Kobashi in 1992 to move Kobashi higher up in the standings with a "near contending" rub. But in truth, those teams didn't drag attention away from what was essentially a Big 4 grouping of teams that chased the prize each year. Andre & Baba and the Funks were just Special Attractions. In turn, Baba didn't get involved in the regular six man tags or key storylines much.

When the Four Corners feud started in 1993, he wasn't involved to a notable degree. Then Gordy went out, and Ted went down... and Baba stepped in to team with Hansen to help save the 1993 Tag League. And after close to three years of not being in the mix, there was something "fresh" about the old fart being in the mix. Even then, it was a bit of picking spots. The focus was on the Four Corners, but Baba was a little spice added in here and there.

And in a sense, everyone had fun with it. The wrestlers sold their asses off for him, but he also ate a ton of their stuff. Double Main Event at Budokan? The result was to job to Misawa.

It's a short window here in 11/93 through 4/94 where it's nice, you accept it, have a good time with it. There are occasions afterwards where he pops up: had to step into the 1994 Tag League when Omori didn't work out, and the special one hour draw in the 1995 Carny when Doc got busted.

So I have to confess... I found all six of the Baba matches above enjoyable in one degree or another. When I had issues with them or some things that were subpar, it rarely had anything to do with Baba. He pretty much nailed his role, and the folks in with him did as well. If someone is putting together a Baba Comp, there's some stuff off here that warrants going on it, and I'm not just talking about the Budokan match. Entertaining stuff.

* Doc

Doc is really quite good at this point. I'd say the three best workers in the series were Doc, Hansen and Kawada... and it's not like the two gaijin need to take a backseat to Kawada. Hansen never seemed to take a night off, often working in a difficult role. Doc was full of confidence in his bigger push, and seemed to want to drive himself to show he was worthy of it. But more than just being an ass kicker in the big push, he was extremely confident and improving in his selling and making others look good. Earlier in the decade it often looked like the wheels were moving when he sold, akin to someone dancing while counting off the steps in their head... rather than just feeling the music and knowing the moves. By this point, Doc was feeling it. Terrific stuff.

* Misawa

It won't come out in what makes the Yearbook, but it's really clear he's "off". Like I said in the post above, it's not clear if he was injured coming in and they worked the injury angle to ease his load, or if he was gassed out from the load he carried over the past year plus since Jumbo went out. But he was off his feed. He's generally pretty damn fine the rest of the year in his Big Matches. I haven't watched the non-big matches in a long time. In the tag league he's got Kobashi at his side, and Kobashi is just going to overwhelm matches anyway... so I don't recall anything off the top of my head where he seemed out of it in those. This may have just have been taking a breather.

John


Last edited by jdw on Wed Mar 25, 2015 5:56 pm; edited 3 times in total
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2015 5:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Posted 03 August 2011 - 01:30 PM


MJH, on Aug 3 2011, 01:00 PM, said:
Quote:
I absolutely second Doc/Akiyama. The difference between that match and their one on the first show of '93 is staggering; Doc really looks like he's having a ball working with the guy and really wants to put him over.

I got more story from Kobashi/Akiyama, personally, the last time I watched it. It's "action-based", of course, but I recall getting an underdog story, and remember thinking some of the sequences were particularly well put together even by the assumed standards.


Jun is always going to be the underdog against those four in that time period, so it's kind of a given. I'm kind of looking for more than just that in the match.

I think I had quick summary that I deleted out. Something along the lines of:

Misawa-Jun
- Misawa By Numbers
- Misawa By Bored

Kobashi-Jun
- Technically Good
- I Think This Is How I Work With Someone Lower But I'm Not Really Sure
- Just Roll It Out
- Not Compelling

Kawada-Jun & Williams-Jun
- Tighter
- Interesting
- You Actually Give A Shit About The Wrestlers Rather Than Just The Spots They Roll Out
- You Care About Just How Tough He Can Make It For The Tough Guys

I recommend all of them. But if two have to go, I'd pitch the two with his partners rather than the other two. Which is a bit sad: you want to see how well he does with his regular partners. The problem is that one isn't terribly interested, and the other isn't at the time really good at knowing how to work with a younger guy like Jun. Kenta does have lots of cool stuff to do, and they do it well... so it's still better than say an average 1994 Shawn Michaels match. :) But the other two are just better, more interesting matches.

John
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elliott



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PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2015 7:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh sweet! Thanks for sharing this.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2015 10:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did this at PWO "behind the curtain" in the pimping process for their 1994 Yearbook. Initially I was going to just toss out what was worth keeping. I blocked out in Notepad was on the commercial tapes and TV, the times, pulling from the JWJ the locations, etc. It kind of donned on me then that I'd never really written about what was available from the series in an organized fashion, something that folks could use as a reference. Didn't really plan on writing as much as I did. Thought it would just be a "Matches available" and "Recommendations" posts, with the times to help Will & Loss be able to block out what would fit for them if they needed to cut things.

Of course I couldn't help but ramble a bit. ;)
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