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Mitsuharu Misawa vs Toshiaki Kawada (AJPW October Giant Series 10/21/92)

AJPW October Giant Series October 21 1992 Mitsuharu Misawa Toshiaki Kawada Misawa vs Kawada 4.5*

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#1 Loss

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Posted 18 June 2011 - 11:49 AM

Talk about it here.

#2 Loss

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 10:51 AM

What a match! Not sure why I was down on this when I watched it last, but I am definitely not now. They would have better matches over the next few years, but there's a charm this match has that makes it special -- Misawa and Kawada are still tag team partners and no one really had any idea of what to expect when they locked up. Kawada showed he meant business right away by turning a simple side headlock into a backdrop driver, and the match never really looked back. Some of my favorite nearfalls are in this match that are totally made by crowd reaction. They don't quite have some of the standard sequences and counters yet that they have in later matches, and this is a simpler match than later Misawa/Kawada. But I consider that a good thing -- it's a high-middle guy challenging the new top guy, and it doesn't need much more than that to make it work. This is an interesting comparison to Bret/Davey Boy. That's the best WWF match of the year. This may not even be in the top five AJ matches of the year, but it smokes it.

#3 jdw

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 12:14 PM

I always thought that these would make an interesting comp, to the point of being a broken record: Ric Flair vs. Randy Savage (Mania 4/5/92) Vader vs. Sting (GAB 7/12/92) Rick Rude vs. Masa Chono (NJ G-1 Climax Final 8/12/92) Randy Savage vs. Ultimate Warrior (Summerslam 8/29/92) Bret Hart vs. Davey Boy Smith (Summerslam 8/29/92) Mitsuharu Misawa vs. Toshiaki Kawada (AJ 10/21/92) Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels (Series 11/26/92) Vader vs. Sting (Starrcade 12/28/92) They're the fairly high rated heavyweight of the year. I may be forgettng one, and intentionally leave off Piper-Hart since I've tossed out a different comp for it over the years (Pillman-Zenk). What I've usually tried to point to is that Misawa-Kawada, though highly rated at the time (****1/2 before snowflakes were handed out left and right), it was thought to be "disappointing" on some level because expectations were so high. Star Calculator was one of the jokes tossed around when it was announced. Most of the other matches weren't thought to be disappointing, other than perhaps Flair-Savage if people were hoping the two would have a MOTYC. Most of the ended up were thought to be a bit better than expected. So I was looking for to seeing how people viewed these matches in the context. John

#4 smkelly

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Posted 02 September 2011 - 12:52 AM

Who thought this match was disappointing? What were they using to base those conclusions off anyway? It was their first taped match against one another, no? Misawa was still pretty fresh as the Ace by this point and he brought Kawada up to his general vicinity in this match. Crowd was very pro-Kawada too. The face lock near the end was pretty heated and the gamengiri popped the crowd as well the stretch plum. Easily in the running of MOTY for 1992.

#5 MJH

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 01:27 PM

Two things hit me watching this for the DVDVR '90s Poll... the first being how all of Kawada's transitions are quick sudden counters rather than him out-fighting Misawa in anyway. The second being, I got a certain "following the leader" sense down the stretch, as in a lot of what Kawada did for near falls came after Misawa had done something similar and then, obviously, Misawa had more weapons in the arsenal to put him away. Comparing this match to, for instance, the first KENTA/Marufuji singles match proves the beauty of having patience. I guess these guys hadn't really "gone all the way" that set the bar for what the KENTAs and Marufujis of the world would ape but, this didn't feel like "this is the best match we can have" but rather "this is the best match we can have given our roles and places and positions etc at this time".

#6 Tim Evans

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Posted 10 September 2011 - 01:36 AM

I don't know what to say about this other than it's real good and the announcer is just totally awesome with the call. Love Misawa's tope.

#7 jdw

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 11:27 AM

I always thought that these would make an interesting comp, to the point of being a broken record:

Ric Flair vs. Randy Savage (Mania 4/5/92)
Vader vs. Sting (GAB 7/12/92)
Rick Rude vs. Masa Chono (NJ G-1 Climax Final 8/12/92)
Randy Savage vs. Ultimate Warrior (Summerslam 8/29/92)
Bret Hart vs. Davey Boy Smith (Summerslam 8/29/92)
Mitsuharu Misawa vs. Toshiaki Kawada (AJ 10/21/92)
Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels (Series 11/26/92)
Vader vs. Sting (Starrcade 12/28/92)

NR Ric Flair vs. Randy Savage (Mania 4/5/92) ***1/4
#19 - Vader vs Sting (WCW Great American Bash 07/12/92) ****1/2
#21 - Rick Rude vs Masa Chono (NJPW G-1 Climax 08/12/92) ****1/2
NR Randy Savage vs. Ultimate Warrior (Summerslam 8/29/92)
#40 - Bret Hart vs Davey Boy Smith (WWF Summerslam 08/29/92) ****1/4
#9 - Mitsuharu Misawa vs Toshiaki Kawada (AJPW 10/21/92) ****1/2
NR Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels (Series 11/26/92) ***
#10 - Vader vs Sting (WCW Starrcade 12/28/92) ****1/2

Interesting to see 4 of them all end up in the same general range, and a fifth just a shade below.

Loss didn't rip the work of Savage-Warrior, but more the clusterfuck booking and nonsense.


#8 shoe

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 02:49 AM

This was pretty awesome. I loved how it started with some work targeting certain body areas. Misawa working over Kawada's back. While Kawada worked over Misawa's arm. I loved how Kawada just shredded Misawa's arm, and a perfect example of why I love wrestling just on presentation. How Kawada worked over Misawa's arm could be a comedy spot in Southern tags. Not here though. The limb work was a good base to work from, and made the match feel like an old school NWA title match. We get this great base to go from. Then we get some great submissions. Then we get high impact moves. Then a super strong run for the finish. Just great, great stuff.

#9 NintendoLogic


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Posted 10 January 2012 - 03:28 PM

This was fine as the beginning of a rivalry, but it felt like they hadn't quite figured out how to fill out the body of a match with each other yet. The body part work felt like more of a time sink than anything else. Kawada in particular seemed kind of aimless. He started by working on Misawa's arm (his non-elbowing arm at that), then he went to the back, then he went back to the arm for a bit. I'd say this is their fourth-best Triple Crown match.

#10 Zenjo


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Posted 21 September 2012 - 12:03 AM

The start of one of the greatest rivalries in the history of wrestling. Here they were still partners and yet to develop the bitterness that would soon grow between them. That was the only thing missing as this was a masterclass in match construction. Nobody knows how to do a build anymore these days. Here they did it slowly and effectively. They always maintained the audience's attention whilst gradually increasing the move level. Giving themselves the base made the elongated stretch all the more rewarding. This was Kings Road greatness and a tantalising glimpse of what was to come. As a stand alone match a classic in its own right.

#11 Kevin Ridge

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Posted 12 October 2012 - 07:44 PM

Can't imagine how this was considered a disappointment at the time because it's pretty great to watch now. Great start to this epic feud. What a way to start the match with the immediate backdrop by Kawada. He means business. One of my favorite matches of the year. It's cool to see tag partners battle it out like this and sets things up with Kawada goes his own way and these guys get more serious against one another.

#12 PeteF3

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Posted 03 September 2013 - 07:00 PM

Baba had to be seeing dollar signs in this as a full-blown rivalry, right? Even if Jumbo's status may still have been up in the air? The chemistry these two have as opponents is just as apparent as what they have as partners. This isn't as intense and hate-filled as this would become later, but the dream-match dynamic is just as effective. One of the best AJPW singles matches of 1992.

#13 WingedEagle

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Posted 19 September 2013 - 02:59 PM

Such an historic match, and its just as great today as the first time I saw it. They'd certainly top it but they set the bar incredibly high from the start, and worked this very differently coming in as partners rather than rivals. Some of my favorite moments: * Kawada's backdrop suplex off of the initial lock up shows he means business right away. * Misawa's work on Kawada's legs. * The story that as much as Kawada has his big guns -- the power bomb, stretch plum and lariat -- Misawa is the champion and simply has more bombs to throw. By my count he had to bust out multiple elbows, a facelock, 2 tiger drivers and 2 tiger suplexes to secure the win. This would make for a terrific climax to most feuds, and here its just the first face off. ****1/2

#14 garretta

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Posted 29 May 2016 - 04:29 AM

I may be alone here, but I didn't see this as a five-star match. There wasn't enough aggression for that. This was a very good, basic match, but although they were obviously working hard, they were also holding back because they had to be partners again when this all was over, and if they beat each other to a pulp no one would believe in their tag matches anymore. I guess I expected more of a fight than a match, considering Kawada's usual temperament. We didn't even see what I call the jackhammer kneelift (rapid-fire knees to the head) from Kawada, and he's dome that in almost every other match I've seen him in.


I liked Kawada's early work on Misawa's arm and Misawa's corresponding work on Kawada's back, but neither ended up figuring in the overall story of the match. They stuck mostly to kicks and forearms, and Misawa's uppercuts looked really good. My favorite sequence actually came toward the end: Kawada, knowing that Misawa has already survived the stretch plum, turns to the Misawa facelock, only for Misawa to make the ropes. I wonder if we'll get a callback sequence next time where Misawa tries the stretch plum.


The backdrop driver off the opening lockup by Kawada may be the most heated sequence of the whole match, as it showed that Kawada was serious about taking Misawa down. But as well-done as the rest of the bout was, it didn't live up to the first minute in my view. Then again, it probably would have taken serious heeling and/or blood to do that, and given the current situation between the two, neither one was happening.


When I went to post this, I found that although I remembered that this was good, a lot of the details had slipped my mind. That's hardly the mark of a five-star match in my book. Maybe some of you are seeing things that I'm missing, or maybe my expectations were just different. It certainly wouldn't be the first time that's happened, especially with a match that didn't take place in North America.



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Posted 03 January 2017 - 10:05 AM

I have a heard time envisioning enjoying a Misawa/Kawada match more than I did this one. Easily better than the june 94 one.


The opening exchange was picture perfect-Kawada countering a Headlock with a surprise Backdrop instantly established him as a threat, and the strike teases that followed ruled too. I've talked about how those elaborate conter after counter sequences fit better at the beginning of the match than they do at the end but here it was just a badass 1-2 evasion, the kind you'd see in a real kickboxing or MMA fight. One might complain about how Kawada working the arm didn't lead anywhere-but it wasn't supposed too. It really isn't any different from the many New Japan matches where the same is done-just because he did armwinger and hammerlocks doesn't mean it's automatically limbowork. They're wear down holds just as much as the camel clutches and headlocks and are used in the same vain. Those long portions off grinding down the opponent with holds are one of the key elements of what makes the match work, along with the selling and the struggle. Take a look at the kick Kawada throws at a kneeled Misawa after the armwork. It's a good looking kick-but it could (and probably would) be brushed off in many different settings and styles. Here Misawa goes down, grabs his face and emotes pain in a very visceral way, really as much as you can in pro wrestling without going over the top, and it creates a huge dramatic moment. So when he goes on a comeback in means that much more. The sheer speed and intensity of Misawa's comebacks are unreal-quite possibly unmatched in wrestling history-but they just might be the last thing workers should be looking at when they try to rip him off. Somwhere around the middle of the match it started getting kind of repetitive, with Misawa doing a Bodyslam and a Vertical Suplex to no heat, really felt like he was trying to keep the crowd awake with the sound of bumping. They work the holds well and usually do enough things to make it interesting (Kawada busting out an amateur style single leg was badass) but it felt a little too long here at first. The finishing stretch that followed was pretty long as well, and while you could use that as a retroactive defence if this were a better match that issue simply wouldn't exist. The finishing stretch is built on great, exciting action-the kind of workrate where most wrestling fans can just sit back and enjoy. The desperation in the work ruled-whether it was Kawada trying to kick away at Misawa every time he'd just try to pick him up or desperately kicking away at his feet, Misawa eating a couple of Kawada's shots only to heroically stand up and fire back, or any of the million transitions that everyone gasped at. Which worked because the crowd believed the wrestler attempting a move could actually execute it. Unlike these days when wrestlers just run the ropes and run into moves. Stealing rope running moves when you're stealing transitions that depend on them should be a must. I was wondering how they could possibly finish a finishing stretch that gigantic with so many nearfalls and big moves in a satisfying way but Kawada's leg giving out and that allowing Misawa to nuke him was brilliant. A match worked in this style isn't going to make my list of favourite matches but for those big on it this is an absolute must watch. ****1/4

#16 JKWebb

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 09:16 AM



This was great, but for me it didn't blow anything out of the water that has been in this area of the Top Matches of the 90's on the list created by Loss. I'd have it around the **** to ****1/4 range for me as well. I loved the left arm work by Kawada, and the finishing stretch as well. A great match that didn't hit MOTYC for me, however I still loved it. The match of theirs coming up on this list is one of my favorites of all-time.

#17 Kronos


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Posted 31 March 2017 - 10:13 PM

Face lock! Face loccccccckkkkkkkkkk!

That announcer is awesome.

Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: AJPW, October Giant Series, October 21, 1992, Mitsuharu Misawa, Toshiaki Kawada, Misawa vs Kawada, 4.5*

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