My Journey Through 1990s AJPW – Part 5: The Foundation of All Japan

Hello everyone & welcome to part 5 of My Journey Through AJPW 1990s! Last time, Tiger Mask II finally unmasked to spawn Mitsuharu Misawa, the hottest thing in the company. This next match is vital to the ascention of Misawa and the next 10 years of AJPW. Lets dive in!

Akira Taue, Kenta Kobashi & Mitsuharu Misawa vs. Jumbo Tsuruta, Masanobu Fuchi & The Great Kabuki

Akira Taue, Kenta Kobashi & Mitsuharu Misawa vs. Jumbo Tsuruta, Masanobu Fuchi & The Great Kabuki – AJPW Super Power Series 1990 Day 10 – 05/26/1990

            Holy shit! I’m not sure I’ve seen many matches denser than this. The seer amount of content jammed in here is incredible, not to mention how it never felt rushed or cluttered. The intertwining stories and characters here were just brilliant. Firstly, Misawa and Tsuruta were rivals and had a big match coming up. This meant any interaction they had is brief and very heated. The hatred shown between the two sold the match so well. Often times, they would just go after eachother and take cheap shots to hurt the other whenever possible. One awesome instance of this was when Misawa hit an elbow, knocking Tsuruta off the apron. About 2 or 3 minutes later, Tsuruta recovered and charged Misawa, causing a bench clearing brawl. The intensity there was incredible. Also, the story of the young wrestlers wanting to prove themselves against the old guard was multifaceted and awesome. For example, Taue was a house of fire in this match, taking it to the veterans with stiff shots and violence. He even brought the fight straight to Tsuruta, which helped put him over as gutsy and formidable. Not just anyone can hold their own against the top star. Kobashi also tried to prove himself, taking a sensational beating in the match but continually fighting through the pain to survive. The structure played into this, as Kobashi was the victim in the heat segment. He had to fight through the combined powers of the veteran team for minutes on end as he was getting destroyed. Its interesting to note the story of Kobashi as the weak link and I’m curious to see where it goes. The structure of the heat itself was also amazing, as little story moments, like the bench clearing brawl or Taue running wild, would break up segments of control, allowing for a long heat segment which doesn’t lag. Then, the finishing stretch was pure brilliance, with all the story threads coming together nicely, with fun action and stellar nearfalls. I also love the finish, where Misawa fought through hardships, especially Tsuruta’s interferecne, to get the win. Misawa was a made man here, even before his big match. One final piece to note of the match was the brilliant power hierarchy. Everyone had their spot in the match and everyone had a clear relation of power with everyone else. For example, Kobashi was at the bottom, so he was weak in his relationships with everyone. Regardless of this, he kept fighting, putting over his heart even more. Similarly, Misawa was near the top of the pack, where only Tsuruta (the most powerful person in the match) could give him serious trouble. Having defined and clear relationships structured the match well and made moments that break the heirarchy, like Taue taking it to Tsuruta, all the more effective. It’s not often that I see a 26-year-old match and not be conscious of the age. Even in Starrcade reviews, I alter expectations depending on the age of the event. This match didn’t need any expectations tampered with. Put this in any era and it’s a classic. This match is the foundation of the AJPW six man tag, which was often used to build to big matches, and what a foundation it is.

Rating: ****½

Thank you so much for reading part 5 of My Journey Through 1990s AJPW! I’m very happy you took the time to check this review out. As this series goes on, it keeps getting more and more fun. I’m so excited to keep venturing forward and discovering new, great matches. I also have another “My Journey Through…” series planned, so stay tuned. Also, as per usual, all other series are being worked on as well. Other than that, 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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