AJPW Best of the 90’s Volume 1
Well I have returned with this new review. I have become a big fan of All Japan Pro Wrestling in recent months ever since I got some of the best matches of the 90’s on DVD from Squat Rocker. As always check out his site. This is volume 1 of an 8 volume set which is just an inkling has to how f*cking amazing AJPW was in the 90’s. For those of you who aren’t famillar with the company I suggest you read Gordi Whitelaws “The Beautiful Thing/The Art of Wrestling” columns here on Inside Pulse as he can explain it much better than I could. Anyway enough talk lets get going
Triple Crown Title Match
(C) Mitsuharu Misawa Vs Toshiaki Kawada
This is from 6/3/94 (Thanks to David Ditch for the dates)
Wow talk about starting with a bang! This of course is one of AJPW’s biggest rivalries. To give a bit of background these guys used to be a tag team but jealously and the Triple Crown came between them thus leading up to what many consider the greatest match of all time
This should be excellent. The crowd is rabid I mean they got nuts for the bell. Stand off at first and they lock up and begin a feeling out process. They trade some chops and forearms and the crowd isn’t taking their eyes off anything. Kawada gets some chops in and a couple of big kicks the second which floors Misawa. Misawa gets a backdrop which Kawada sells like death as the announcer loses it about 2 minutes in. We are back to the stand off as Kawada gets up to his feet. Kawada goes from a wristlock into an arm bar but Misawa fights out and gets a dropkick and fakes a dive outside. Misawa comes off the apron and tastes a forearm from Kawada. They fight outside with Kawada getting the best of it and rolling in. back inside Kawada takes over with some kicks and a front face lock with Misawa on his stomach. Kawada gets some stiff kicks on a fallen Misawa that Edge WISHES he could do. Ouch single leg lion tamer with Kawada’s boot on Misawa’s FACE. Into the corner for some chopping and kicking. Kawada goes to a rear naked choke as Misawa struggles to the ropes. Misawa fires off with some kicks to the leg to show he’s still alive and then targets the leg like Shinjiro Ohtani on pep pills. Into a half Boston but a kick to the face stops that for Misawa. Misawa puts Kawada in numerous holds to work the leg. You see this is pretty smart psychology as Kawada bases his offence on a lot of kicks but he needs a healthy leg to do it and the crowd picks up on that right away. The fans groan with every stomp and kick to the leg, not really loud ones but audible ones. Kawada uses his good leg to try to escape a leg lock and reaches the ropes. Misawa stands off and lets Kawada get back up before kicking the leg some more and Kawada just falls to the floor, which prompts the fans to get behind him. Kawada fights back with some elbows to the back of the head and they fight over a brain buster, which somehow ends with Kawada getting whipped to the ropes and taking a spin kick. Into the corner for some chops and a mule kick. Misawa charges out of the corner with a big elbow. Kawada dodges a dropkick and gets a high kick in a nice spot. He then gets a jumping Kawada kick to the face and Misawa sells it like he’s been hit in the head with a hammer. It should be noted Kawada is doing a Super Delphin and not bothering. to sell the leg anymore. Powerbomb attempt is reversed but Misawa ends up on the end of a dropkick and second rope knee drop. Kawada gets some chops to Misawa who is out on his feet and gets a near fall as the crowd start making noise. Another Powerbomb attempt is blocked and Misawa takes more kicks. Misawa is bleeding from his ear I think. No doubt from some of those kicks. Misawa goes for the Tiger Driver but can’t get it. They now do and awesome exchange of selling and no selling each others moves which ends with Misawa taking the advantage. Tiger Driver gets two for Misawa. He goes up top with a beautiful Frog Splash for another close near fall. Misawa locks in the Eastern Stretch, which is a Kawada move. Kawada makes the ropes and rolls outside where Misawa follows. Kawada gets thrown back in and Kawada kicks Misawa on the way down from a cross body and the fans start making a lot of noise. Kawada again can’t get a Powerbomb but does get a nice slap. Then in a brilliant bit he tries the Powerbomb and can’t get it and goes to slap Misawa again but Misawa knows its coming this time and blocks it. It’s the little things like that why I love Puro. Kawada unloads on Misawa with kicks and a lariat but doesn’t cover. Kawada gets a Neck Drop Back Suplex and goes for the Powerbomb but it ONLY gets two. Kawada gets an enziguri and drags Misawa up and does it again. Kawada gets a nasty German Suplex which causes to roll outside and he looks finished. Kawada scrapes him off the floor and shoves him back inside where he goes for another Powerbomb and gets it but again only manages two. He goes for ANOTHER. Do you want to kill him? Misawa fights out but ends up in the Octopus and then The Eastern Stretch. Misawa writhes in agony and Kawada decides to let go and try a pin but it only gets two. Misawa gets an elbow to the jaw out of nowhere but takes a big kick to the chin but fires right back with another elbow. Both men are recuperating now and Misawa is up first with a brilliant spinning shoulder block. They fight over a German Suplex and Misawa gets it as the commentator has a mild heart attack. Tiger Suplex gets two as the crowd goes crazy. Kawada fights for his life with a Kawada kick as the commentator just yells like crazy. Fans gets behind Kawada and some others get behind Misawa. Kawada gets the rolling kick and Misawa rolls to the outside. Stand off with Misawa outside and Kawada in the ring they get back in and do another great striking exchange which goes both ways. Man I can’t explain this, only I will say there is much kicking and elbows. Misawa floors Kawada with about 5 elbows. And picks him up for a Tiger Driver but tastes some kicks. Misawa gets the killer Tiger Driver which he uses when nothing else works (The correct name is Tiger Driver 91′ but I call it The Killer Driver) and involves dropping the guy STRAIGHT ON HIS HEAD and that’s the three count. I should f*cking hope so
WINNER – MISAWA
****3/4 – This match was incredible. Just back forth action with lots of great moves and false finishes. I can’t give it the full rating though because of Kawada totally ignoring all the work done to his leg but besides that this was perfect
AJPW Double Tag Titles
(C) Mitsuharu Misawa and Kenta Kobashi Vs Toshiaki Kawada and Akira Taue
The feud continues as both guys bring trusted partners into the scuffle in a fight for the tag titles. Long time allie Kenta Kobashi teams up with Misawa while Kawada enlists the help of ex sumo wrestler Akira Taue. Gordi goes into great detail about this whole situation in one of his columns so I suggest you hunt that down as it explains this story better than I could
Kobashi has a BIG bandage on his left leg so I think that’s going to be in for a lot of punishment in this one. Taue and Kobashi start us off. Kobashi gets some chops in and they fight over an arm bar. Taue gets a sly kick to Kobashi’s leg which the crowd don’t appreciate and makes Kobashi give him a “What’s that all about guv?” look. Kawada comes in and gets some stiff chops but fires off with some of his own. Kawada kicks Misawa off the apron and gives a “I don’t give a shit” look to Kobashi. Misawa tags in and he is less than happy. The fans are on Misawa’s side here as they lock up. They trade strikes and block each other’s big strikes and then Kawada knocks Kobashi off the apron. Kawada is being a total dick here. Taue comes in to fight with Misawa and ends up on the receiving end of a dropkick. Kobashi comes in and locks in a headlock. There’s some chop sharing and Kobashi takes the upper hand. Taue gets worked over for a while in the face corner. Nice brain buster by Kobashi into an abdominal stretch. Taue powers out but doesn’t tag and gets worked over some more. Taue goes outside and Kawada runs in but takes a elbow. Misawa dives out onto Taue and sends him back inside. Double vertical suplex on Taue gets two. Kobashi misses a move from the second rope and Kawada comes in with some kicks and nasty ones at that. He gets some in the left leg and Kobashi crumples down to the mat. Kawada now jumps on it! And kicks it some more being even more of a dick than before. Taue continues nailing the bulls eye and goes to a sharpshooter and its good one at that. Kobashi sells it brilliantly and Kawada comes over to kick the leg some more, glancing over at Misawa as he does it as if to say it’s his fault. Kawada gets some more kicks in and Taue comes in with an attempted knee breaker but Kobashi fights out and makes the tag to Misawa. Misawa comes in and nails Kawada off the apron twice and kills Taue with elbows. Walls of Misawa in the ring on Taue but Kawada comes in and kicks Misawa to heel heat from the crowd. Taue takes over in ring and tags in Kawada who destroys Misawa with vicious kicks and keeps kicking him even in the corner. This only pisses Misawa off and he nails some elbows as all 4 guys come in. during the scuffle Taue gets an Eric Watts dropkick to the knee on Kobashi. Misawa fights back as does Kobashi but he gets nailed in the leg again. Then Taue chokeslams Misawa onto Kobashi’s injured leg, which is so evil, and Kawada comes off the second rope on it sending Kobashi outside. Taue gets a spin kick on Misawa for two. Kawada works Misawa over in the ring as Kobashi lies hurt outside. Now Misawa takes a big beat down in the heel corner. Meanwhile Kobashi is having his leg re-taped outside. Kawada won’t let Kobashi get on the apron and keeps giving Misawa the beating of his life. Kobashi comes in and saves Misawa from a Powerbomb but Taue knocks him outside and drops his knee on the GUARDRAIL. What a rotten thing to do. Meanwhile Kawada gets a Powerbomb in ring for two. Into the Eastern Stretch but Kobashi saves again proving to be nothing but persistent and being the exact type of guy you’d want on your team. Double lariat by Kobashi and Kawada and everyone is out. Misawa tags out and Kobashi gets some killer chops on Kawada. Kawada no sells some chops and gets some kicks to knee so Kobashi kicks HIS knee. This is such a great exchange. Kobashi takes a kicking from Taue but no sells some strikes and gets a Hart Attack and both men are down. Double Powerbomb on Taue gets two and all 4 guys are in again. Kobashi goes for a moonsault but Kawada kicks him off the top. Kobashi makes the hot tag to Misawa who gets the spinning shoulder block. Misawa gets the Tiger Driver on Taue for two. Great visual spot as Misawa locks Taue in a sleeper and Kobashi gets Kawada in the sleeper from the apron to stop the save. Back Neck Drop on Misawa by Kawada and Kobashi runs across the ring to knock him off the apron so no tag is made. I love things like that. Kobashi tries for a moonsault but Kawada stops him. Kawada comes in and gets some STIFF kicks on Kobashi. Kobashi goes for the moonsault on Kawada but Taue stops him so while he’s fighting him off Misawa casually strides in and gives Kawada a Frog Splash. Finally Kobashi gets the moonsault but it only gets two. BULL SHIT whoops sorry marking out here. In comes Misawa who goes for the Tiger Suplex but settles on its German cousin. Once again all 4 guys are in as Misawa gets two from a Tiger Suplex. Tiger Driver is broken up by Taue and Misawa takes a chokeslam and another from the top rope. OUCH. Taue goes for one of the apron but Kobashi saves. Taue tries again however and this time he gets it. Kobashi crawls over and lies on top of Misawa to save him from anymore more beatings. Now THAT’S a tag team partner. Taue drags him off the corpse and Kawada rolls Misawa in for two. Kawada goes for a Powerbomb so Kobashi crawls in and grabs Misawa’s leg to stop it as that’s all he can physically do but Taue pulls him off and Kawada gets the Powerbomb for two. Misawa powers out of another attempt but is to beat up to mount any offence and just collapses. Kobashi again lies on top of Misawa to save him but he gets dragged off again by a pissed K Dojo and given a chokseslam/Back Drop double team. Misawa takes another Back Neck Drop for two and a final Powerbomb is enough for the pin after 42+ plus minutes of sheer drama
WINNERS – KAWADA & TAUE
***** – Sorry that’s probably a very long match review to read but giving this match any less would have felt wrong. It’s impossible to just explain the atmosphere in this match you have to watch it and see the selling and taste the drama. It is truly one of the greatest matches ever and I mean that. It’s one of the greatest episodes of storytelling I have seen in a wrestling match and Kobashi deserves an Oscar for some of his selling in this one.
Toshiaki Kawada and Akira Taue Vs Mitsuharu and Jun Akiyama
The fued rages on with the young Akiyama stepping up to replace Kobashi
Akiyama and Kawada start off with Kawada taking the upper hand. Akiyama gets some forearms and a high knee. Misawa comes in for a double dropkick and suicide dives out onto Kawada. Inside Misawa and Kawada got at it with Misawa getting an early Tiger Driver for two. He goes for another but Taue saves and comes in which a big DDT on Misawa followed by a nasty high kick. Misawa arm drags out of a chokeslam. Taue destroys both Misawa and Akiyama and gets a Powerbomb on Misawa for two. Taue goes for a top rope chokeslam but Akiyama saves and Misawa gets a diving elbow. Akiyama holds his own with Taue but takes a chokeslam ending his rally. Akiyama gets beaten over for a while and takes some double team moves and a brain buster from Kawada. Akiyama attempts a comeback but a Kawada spin kick to the mid section ends that. Taue and Kawada get some near falls and Akiyama gets locked in The Eastern Stretch. Kawada now goes to a sleeper but takes a back drop and its hot tag Misawa. Misawa takes it to both guys and has his usual striking contest with Kawada and as always it’s a brilliant exchange. Kawada wins that and tags in Taue who stands on Misawa’s face and gives him a vicious snake eyes in the corner. He goes for the chokseslam off the apron but Misawa fights him off to the outside and Akiyama gets a dive off the apron onto Taue. Back inside Akiyama gets two from a Northern Lights and gives Taue a taste of his own medicine by dropping him neck first on the top rope. Into the chin lock but Taue makes the ropes. Taue gets worked over now by Misawa and Akiyama. Some nice double team sequences leads to an Exploder but Kawada makes the save. A Misawa Frog Splash gets a two count on Taue. Kawada sends Akiyama outside and Taue gets a German Suplex and it’s a tag to Kawada. Taue comes off the top (!?!?) with an elbow which leads to Kawada trying for a Powerbomb but it’s reversed into a hurricanrana. Misawa gets a nasty German Suplex that looks to legitimately knock Kawada silly but only manages a two. Tiger Driver gets two thanks to a Taue save. Misawa knocks Taue out and goes for a Tiger Suplex and gets it which leads to a Akiyama German. What a sequence! Kawada is thrown back inside where Misawa gets a Tiger Driver but Kawada kicks out. BOLLOCKS, sorry marking out again. Taue sneaks in with a Hart Attack on Misawa as Kawada rolls outside. Meanwhile Taue gets a chokeslam off the apron to the floor on Akiyama. That’s such a cool spot! He then runs in and kicks Misawa square in the face and rolls Kawada back in for a tag. Taue Powerbomb is reversed to a pin for two. Taue takes over on Misawa and flattens him with a dropkick sending him outside. Taue gets a suicide dive!?!? FUCK. He then goes for a chokeslam off the apron to Misawa but Akiyama saves. Taue is a one-man destruction crew here. Kawada tags in and goes to town on Misawa with STIFF kicks but Misawa fights back but he’s fighting two men and Kawada crushes his head with a Back Neck Drop. Powerbomb gets two and EVERYONE thought Misawa was done there but he needs a miracle to save this one. Taue gets a ROUGH chokeslam on Misawa and gets the Dynamic Bomb but Akiyama saves at two. Taue and Kawada get the Chokeslam/Back Drop move on him but this gives Misawa time to fight back. Kawada gets a tag in and it takes two Kawada kicks to knock Misawa down. Akiyama spears Kawada to stop a Powerbomb so Kawada gives him some kicks and a Back Neck Drop. That’ll learn the youngster to f*ck with the veterans Powerbomb attempts (Incidentally the better a match is the more I cuss). Speaking of which Misawa back drops out of another Powerbomb attempt but Taue chokeslams him to stop any chance of a comeback. Kawada goes for another Powerbomb and Misawa fights it but ends up taking it, well he tried, but kicks out at two. I can see this going two ways Misawa makes a big comeback or he gets Powerbombed again. It turns out to be number 2 and this gets the win. Wow they just wore him down more and more till he could no longer kick out and that’s pro wrestling lads a ladies
WINNERS – KAWADA & TAUE
***** – Another flawless match and when I was watching it the first time I was marking out like nobodies business. I still would have liked for Misawa to make a miraculous comeback but really after all that punishment I think he couldn’t have kicked out if he’d wanted to.
Mitsuharu Misawa Vs Kenta Kobashi
They lock up to start and feel one another out. They both get some strikes and Kobashi ends up on the outside and takes a suicide dive sending his back into the guardrail. Back inside Misawa takes control with a backdrop. Kobashi fights his way back with a DDT for a close two count. Misawa rolls outside to regroup before coming in to taste some chops. Kobashi takes control for a while and gets a two from a Russian Leg Sweep. Misawa tries to fight back but takes a running knee to the gut. Kobashi works over the midsection with a bow and arrow. Misawa tries to fight back but a spear ends that. Kobashi keeps on the mid section and locks in an abdominal stretch. Shoulder barges and chops continue the work but Misawa fires back with an elbow and takes over with a surfboard stretch. Kobashi powers out of the move after 3 attempts but Misawa keeps in control. Kobashi no sells some uppercuts and gets some chops but a series of elbows sends him down to the mat. Frog Splash gets two for Misawa and we have a camel clutch. I can see how they want to slow the pace but this match really needs to take it up a notch. The fans get behind Kobashi while he’s locked in a hooked face lock. Kobashi gets up and starts no selling stuff and makes a comeback with chops and strikes but Misawa gains the better of the exchange and sends him outside but misses a move off the apron and hits the guardrail with a sickening thud. As he’s on the apron getting back in Kobashi MURDERS him with a lariat sending him into the rail again. Kobashi gets a two from it. I would have made that the finish it looked brutal. Now Kobashi is in command and he drags Misawa outside where he sends him into the rail a few times concentrating on the right arm. He targets it back inside and works it over ramming it into the turnbuckle a couple of times. He continues on the arm with holds and strikes including a fujiwara arm bar. This is another case of good psychology as Misawa uses his right arm for all his strikes and without it he won’t be able to stand up in a striking contest with Kobashi, which is what he’s been winning at for most of this match. Anyway Kobashi stays on the arm and gets a half nelson suplex into a cross arm breaker. Misawa doesn’t tap but Kobashi stays on that arm like a smell on a faecal variety of toilet waste. Misawa no sells a German and charges for an elbow but Kobashi catches him in a fujiwara but Misawa makes the ropes. Awesome exchange. Kobashi hammers Misawa with a back drop and sets up for the Burning Lariat but Misawa hits him in the arm and they both fall to the mat in agony. Brilliant visual spot although it shouldn’t have hurt Kobashi that much. Kobashi rolls outside and takes a baseball slide and Misawa then gets a vaulting press over the top rope. Back inside Misawa gets a two count. Misawa gets the spinning shoulder block but uses his uninjured arm. He goes for a Tiger Driver but the arm gives out however he manages a German Suplex. Misawa goes for a Tiger Driver but it only gets two. Misawa goes up top but gets caught with a big lariat to the kisser but Kobashi is too hurt to cover quickly and thus only gets two. Kobashi goes for a Powerbomb and it’s a mega one like Bob Sapp’s version of it but it only gets two. Kobashi channels Hulk Hogan and gets a running leg drop and gets The Orange Crush for only two. That’s it he’s losing. Misawa has kicked out of two of his big finishers and a big Powerbomb that is unless he’ll wear him down and beat him later. Misawa blocks the sure fire match winning Lariat by getting his hands up and rolls to the ropes. Misawa rolls out on the apron and Kobashi follows and gets him up for a Powerbomb but Misawa reverses and gets a hurricanrana to the outside. No wonder Misawa is the physical wreck he is these days. Both men crawl inside and trade strikes and Misawa is just plain ignoring the arm work now. Spinning elbow by Misawa which is something he shouldn’t be able to do without collapsing to the mat in agony after Kobashi has destroyed his arm in a such a manner. Kobashi gets the lariat but can’t cover. He’s selling his arm injury better than Misawa without more than two moves done to his arm this whole match. Kobashi fires off a German Suplex and goes for a lariat but takes a head butt to the gut and an elbow to the back on the head. Misawa tries to get a Tiger Suplex but Kobashi grabs the ropes but he finally gets it and both guys are down. Cover only manages two. Misawa gets The Killer Driver for TWO. Fuck I’ve NEVER seen anyone kick out of that version. I’m very excited now come on Kobashi! Misawa tries to pick Kobashi up but takes a weak lariat to the jaw and another. Kobashi is finished here unless he pulls something out. Misawa gets a nasty Tiger Suplex and this ones done…wait KOBASHI IS GETTING UP!!! Elbow by Misawa gets the win. What a f*cking weak ending and with the injured arm too
WINNER – MISAWA
**** – I can’t give this one anything more than that because of the lousy psychology. I wouldn’t have minded the no selling of the arm if it had only been a small part of the match but a big section of the story was dedicated to it and for Misawa to ignore it like that, and use the arm in the finish, hurt the match in my eyes. Plus, Kobashi kicks out of the Killer Driver but gets beaten by an elbow? AN ELBOW??? Screw that!
Mitsuharu Misawa Vs Kenta Kobashi
Let’s see if Kobashi can get his revenge in this one. Kobashi wastes no time in taking it to Misawa but he’s sporting a bandaged right leg so it slows him down.he gets a BIG German on Misawa to send him outside. A Powerbomb on the floor is reversed to the hurricanrana and then Misawa flattens him with an elbow. Back inside Misawa takes control and gets a diving elbow for two into a submission move. Misawa stays in control and targets the upper body of Kobashi with a sweet looking Diamond Cutter. Kobashi is sent outside and Misawa follows with a suicide dive. Back inside Misawa gets a missile dropkick for two and goes back to the face lock. Kobashi tries another comeback but Misawa pounds him onto the apron and they fight over a suplex which ends with Misawa getting suplexed outside, but he lands on his feet and goes for a back drop off he apron but Kobashi shifts his weight and lands on top. Kobashi now takes over with a cross body to the outside. That was a sweet visual. Back in we go and Kobashi is firmly in control. Hanging vertical suplex gets two on Misawa. Russian Leg Sweep into the Octopus Stretch. Now we know where Val Venis got that little sequence from. Hart Attack clothesline gets two for Kobashi. Implant DDT sets up a dropkick to the back for two. Now Kobashi goes to the face lock to wear Misawa down but Misawa makes the ropes. Tazmission in the middle of the ring but it’s not a deadly match ending finish in AJPW unlike ECW. Misawa makes the ropes and rolls outside where Kobashi goes for a half nelson suplex and gets it. Dear God that looked pretty damn rough. Misawa tries to stay outside to avoid being pinned so Kobashi whumps him outside for a while before sending him in for two. DDT in ring for Kobashi and Misawa is selling the neck really well. Kobashi shows a very Kawada like vicious streak and goes for a Powerbomb but it’s reversed into a hurricanrana. A second attempt works but only gets a two count. They fight over a piledriver and Misawa powers his way out. Misawa gets the roaring elbow to take the momentum and gets a flying elbow on Kobashi on the outside. Inside Misawa tries for a Tiger Driver but gets a double under hook suplex followed by a Frog Splash for two. Tiger Driver gets two. Another Tiger Driver attempt is fought of and Kobashi locks Misawa in a sleeper in the middle which is sound psychology on his part. The hand drops 3 times but the match continues? Kobashi goes for a pin but only gets two. Weird. Kobashi gets a Powerbomb into the corner to further f*ck Misawa’s neck up. The fans are really getting in to this now. Half nelson suplex followed by another gets two. Kobashi goes for the moonsault but Misawa drags him down and takes a Powerbomb and a body slam. Moonsault follows but it only gets two. That’s a pile of crap considering he’s beaten guys like Kawada and Takayama with that move. Lariat misses and Misawa fires back with some strikes and a Dragon Suplex. We have a good old-fashioned striking contest, which Misawa wins. Double lariat leaves both men down. Dragon Suplex is no sold by Kobashi but an elbow isn’t. Into Tiger Driver #2 for a two count. Elbow gets two. Thank God that wasn’t the finish this time. Kobashi makes the comeback with a Lariat for two. You’d think after Misawa had been killed in this match that Kobashi should have gone over with that. Two elbows floor Kobashi but it gets another close two. It should be noted Misawa isn’t selling the neck anymore. Misawa gets the Killer Driver for three. Well it was at least it was the right finish this time
WINNER – MISAWA
**** – Replace my complaint about not selling the arm with the neck and you have my reason why this one wasn’t more highly rated.
Mitsuharu Misawa Vs Jumbo Tsurta
This is All Japan legend Jumbo taking on the flag bearer of All Japan’s new generation Misawa
They lock up and Misawa gets an elbow, which only seems to only mildly irritate Jumbo. High knee is dodged but kitchen sink isn’t and Misawa goes down. Jumbo targets the mid section with strikes. Misawa gets some offence from the corner and a senton for two. Misawa wears down Jumbo with a headlock. He gets a two from a roll up. Fans are solidly behind Misawa here. Surfboard on Jumbo which ends up going no where and is just a feel out move. Jumbo throws Misawa outside but he rolls back in to stop a possible brawl on the outside. Smart decision. Back inside Misawa starts to dominate with strikes but a big boot stops any momentum. Jumbo slows the pace down with a Boston Crab. This match hasn’t really got going yet. Abdominal stretch leads me to believe that this one will be a time limit draw. Jumbo goes to the legs. I really wish they’d do something here as having such a slow paced match really doesn’t favour Misawa. Neck breaker gets two for Jumbo. Misawa gets the momentum back with a head scissors on the mat as I fight the urge to fast forward. Jumbo hammers on Misawa’s back but Misawa unloads with some kicks. Now you’re talking. Jumbo gets a forearm to stop Misawa and gets another for two. Jumbo gets a piledriver for two and a double under hook for two. Misawa cross body block gets two and an Irish whip is reversed sending Misawa face first to the mat for two. Thez Press gets two. backdrop is reversed when Misawa switches the weight to land on top for two. Now this match is going somewhere. Jumbo no sells some elbows and just UNLOADS with strikes. That was awesome. Misawa rolls outside to regroup but Jumbo follows and sends him into the guardrail and into the crowd where Misawa tastes a chair shot. Misawa climbs back in where Jumbo promptly throws him out again. Misawa fights back with a top rope elbow and a baseball slide to send Jumbo outside. Misawa gets a nice looking plancha and brings Jumbo back inside with a snap mare from the apron. Body slam leads to another flying elbow for two. Misawa beats on Jumbo with some elbows and a mud hole stomping. A jumbo series of head butts leads to a beautiful and graceful dropkick for two. Power Slam but Misawa is in the ropes. Jumbo Powerbomb is reversed into a hurricanrana for two. Misawa gets a German Suplex for a REALLY close two count. Jumbo gets two high knees but tastes a Misawa high knee. Misawa goes up top but is stopped with a superplex. Jumbo gets the backdrop for two and the crowd is on the verge of a heart attack. Jumbo gets a lariat and another backdrop for the win to piss off the crowd
WINNER – JUMBO TSURTA
****1/2 – started slow but wow did it lead to something!
The Inside Pulse
Overall you can’t lose with this DVD. All the matches are **** or above and this serves as a perfect introduction to those new to All Japan. The fact that Misawa is involved in every match shows how fucking awesome he used to be and why he is one of my favourite wrestlers. Overall this DVD is a must have if you like AJPW or want to learn why all us Puro nuts rant and rave about it all the time. I might do Volume II at some point and that has some awesome matches on it two.