My Journey Through 1990s AJPW – Part 4: Tiger Unmasked

Hello everyone and welcome to part 4 of My Journey Through 1990s AJPW! Here we have one of the most important turning points in AJPW and pro wrestling in general, the death of Tiger Mask II and the birth if Mitsuharu Misawa. Lets get the review started!

tiger-mask-ii-toshiaki-kawada-vs-samson-fuyuki-yoshiaki-yatsu

Tiger Mask II & Toshiaki Kawada vs. Samson Fuyuki & Yoshiaki Yatsu – AJPW Super Power Series 1990 Day 1 – 5/14/1990

Once again, Tiger Mask II is Mitsuharu Misawa

            This wasn’t a particularly “good” match by most standards, but it is one of the most important matches in wrestling history. The story here was pretty solid, with Yatsu and Fuyuki being great bullies constantly ahead of the faces. While Kawada and Tiger could get short bursts of offense, they always lost control rather quickly, which frustrated them. However, the pivotal moment where the heels’ attacks turned malicious was when Yatsu started headbutting Tiger, and did so even when Tiger was in the corner. Even with referee protest, Kawada’s attempted interference, and more, Yatsu kept raining in headbutts. Then, both Fuyuki and Yatsu went full on heel mode and began throwing Tiger around by his mask and tearing at the mask. This pissed Tiger off royally, even though he could not get the advantage he needed. Then, when he finally did, he laid in a beating on Yatsu in return for the headbutts and commanded Kawada to remove his match. With that, Tiger Mask II was dead and Mitsuharu Misawa was born. When the mask came off and Misawa threw it with rage, the crowd erupted as loud as they would all match. Then, the tables turned, as this new fire allowed the faces to get great revenge on the heels while the heels made sparse comebacks. Admittedly, watching Yatsu get his comeuppance was highly satisfying and really rewarding. Misawa and Kawada showed great fire, selling the revenge so well. However, two big flaws here keep this match from being anywhere near great. First is the crowd. While they popped when Misawa took the mask off and any time he was tagged in afterwards, they were entirely dead throughout. This made the whole match feel lifeless and the finish was super flat. Also, some action (especially with Fuyuki) was awkward, if not botched. For example, Fuyuki took maybe the worst bump off a DDT I have ever seen. Little things like that done poorly hold this match back from becoming something more. As is, the match is fine, but because it spawned Misawa from Tiger Mask it cannot be deemed forgettable.

Rating: ***

(Sidenote: It is really interesting to note that Kawada takes Misawa’s mask off. Keep that in mind as the series continues.)

Master List for AJPW 1990s Matches

So that was the part 4 of My Journey Through 1990s AJPW! I’m very happy you took the time to check this review out. So far, AJPW 1990s has been a total joy (as expected). I’m still working on Starrcade 1993, the next part of Rivalries, and some random matches, so stay posted! Otherwise, I’m still working at all my other series, so they should be coming out at some point. Check out new updates and such here, and check out some of my other writings at freeprowrestling.com. If you want to contact me, check here. Otherwise, like, comment, share, or do whatever else you want to do. Thank you for reading and see you next time!

-Terrance Smith

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