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Steve Williams vs Kenta Kobashi (AJPW Summer Action Series II 09/03/94)

AJPW Summer Action Series II September 3 1994 Steve Williams Kenta Kobashi Budokan Hall 4*

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#1 Loss

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Posted 24 March 2012 - 12:37 PM

Talk about it here.

#2 Loss

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 08:10 PM

I think they overreached going this long, but they still had a great match. Childs made the point in the thread on their Carnival match a few months prior about this matchup being one of two meatheads posturing for bragging rights, and that is definitely on display here, with all the staredowns, stalemate shoulderblocks and other such spots in the early stages. This is Doc's first title defense, and common logic tells you he's retaining, but they did an excellent job in selling everyone on Kobashi's chances, starting from the moment he clipped Doc's knee. Kobashi gets some great close calls on Doc from there, but can't put him away. When Doc rallies his comeback, he's great in the champion role. Each time he tries something on Kobashi and it doesn't secure the win, he doesn't have the emotional reaction Kobashi does to his nearfalls, so it's a nice contrast between champion and challenger. I enjoyed this.

#3 jdw

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 01:27 AM

This was the first one that really struck me as excessive, self indulgent, masturbatory... pick the cliche. The "unified" era started with the PWF & UN Titles merging on 03/09/88, with the World Tag Titles getting unified on 06/10/88. Progression of Longest Singles Titles Match 14:40 03/09/88 Hansen vs Tenryu (PWF vs UN) 17:07 03/27/88 Tsuruta vs Bordy (Int'l) 30:00 04/15/88 Brody vs Tenryu (Int'l vs PWF & UN) 35:50 06/03/94 Misawa vs Kawada (TC) 41:23 09/03/94 Williams vs Kobashi (TC) Longest Singles Title Matches (28+) 41:23 09/03/94 Williams vs Kobashi (TC) 35:50 06/03/94 Misawa vs Kawada (TC) 30:00 04/15/88 Brody vs Tenryu (Int'l vs PWF & UN) 29:52 10/21/92 Misawa vs Kawada (TC) Progression of Longest Tag Match 13:48 06/10/88 Tsuruta & Yatsu vs Road Warriors 18:37 07/16/88 Tsuruta & Yatsu vs Hansen & Gordy 29:51 08/29/88 Tsuruta & Yatsu vs Tenryu & Hara 31:57 07/19/90 Gordy & Williams vs Tsuruta & Kabuki 40:25 05/21/94 Misawa & Kobashi vs Kawada & Taue Longest Tag Title Matches (28+) 31:18 03/04/92 Gordy & Williams vs Tsuruta & Taue 29:59 12/07/90 Gordy & Williams vs Hansen & Spivey 28:57 12/06/89 Hansen & Tenryu vs Tsuruta & Yatsu 28:00 07/24/91 Gordy & Williams vs Misawa & Kawada 28:28 05/20/93 Gordy & Williams vs Kawada & Taue 29:12 06/01/93 Kawada & Taue vs Misawa & Kobashi 31:04 07/26/93 Kawada & Taue vs Gordy & Williams 40:25 05/21/94 Misawa & Kobashi vs Kawada & Taue The 05/21/94 tag match blew through the old tag record of the era. There was something compelling about the long run home: it was new and fresh, and we hadn't seen dozens of matches like that. Then the 06/03/94 TC match broke the TC record by close to six minutes, and topped the forgotten "first TC match" which failed to unify the belts. El Classico doesn't really feel like it's a minute too long, or they over stay their welcome, or even really like they're stretching it. They fill time early with stuff that plays off the past six months (neck/back and knee), and Kawada ad libs working over the ear because... well... it's right there, and they'd been taught to play off what's there rather than ignore it. In turn, when they pick things up, it feels neither rushed nor stretched, neither kitchen sink nor that there's anything missing that should be there. In the end, it feels like an epic match, you know they've gone long, you feel they've pushed each other like they never have before... and wondered if anyone ever had that way before in a TC match (five years before Jumbo and Tenryu killed each other for 22:38). Then... Kobashi and Doc pretty much indulge themselves and blow through that length. I've never figured out why. It's Kobashi's first Triple Crown match. 29:25 01/30/74 Brisco vs Tsuruta (NWA) (12:55, 7:32, 8:58) It tops Jumbo's first NWA Title bid in Japan... by a mile, despite that one being 2/3. 11:22 01/02/88 Hennig vs Tigersawa (AWA) 13:47 03/08/89 Steamboat vs Tigersawa (NWA) 16:16 07/27/90 Hansen vs Misawa (TC) 23:17 04/18/91 Tsuruta vs Misawa (TC) It blows away Misawa's first two title challenges against US world titles in Japan. Then smacks Misawa's first TC challenge, and his first challenge against Jumbo the Ace... both by a mile. 19:05 10/24/91 Tsuruta vs Kawada (TC) 21:18 06/05/92 Hansen vs Kawada (TC) 29:52 10/21/92 Misawa vs Kawada (TC) Kills Kawada's first challenge for the TC, and kills his first solo Budokan main even (part of a double main) challenging Hansen for the TC. Even beats the heck out of Kawada's first challenge against his soon-to-be rival. 14:41 07/31/92 Hansen vs Taue (TC) 22:33 02/28/93 Misawa vs Taue (TC) And of course crushes Taue's first TC bid, and Taue's first Budokan main challenging Misawa. There's a lot of good matches on that list... some of them great matches. I honestly don't know why someone didn't tell them to go 25 and have a war, rather than suggesting and/or letting them go 41+. Like a lot of matches starting right here, it would have been better off with some self editing, or booking control. Doc-Hansen in October just isn't as succesful as their match in April, nor really even as well as their Carny draw that went 8 minutes shorter. Hansen-Kawada and Hansen-Misawa were both way too long for where Hansen was at that point. Misawa-Kobashi that same year was similar to this one: it could have had 10+ lopped off and been better. This is the first of two points where I kind of loath the future completist rewatch of all of the 90s AJPW stuff in order. The other is the 07/24/95 Misawa vs Kawada where they went 10 minutes shorter than 06/03/94 but probably crammed in more highspots. This one the start of excess/self indulgence and that one as the start of big-spot-o-rama, each reflecting a lack of backstage control/vision to reel it in. Which is to a degree sad: this one I never cared a ton for this one though it technically has a lot of good stuff in it. I was fond of the 7/24/95 match since it felt like a moment where they edited themselves down from feeling the need to go 40+ (which these two could easily have done... but never did... which is perhaps telling in and of itselt)... but in hindsight it gave away what would be pitched when editing: the body of the match, and instead move more quickly into bigger spots. John

#4 Kevin Ridge

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 03:56 PM

Felt like they were trying to do something epic by going this long. It was a great match but they would have been better shaving off some time from this one. I enjoy watching these guys going against each other and I'm a sucker for their excessiveness and who is more tougher. It does bring for some fun moments. I thought they were kind of stuck on moving into high gear during the middle of match but once it did get going down the stretch it was entertaining. Nice to see Williams defend the title successfully as would have been hard on him to lose the title right away after his good year.

#5 Exposer

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 05:15 PM

Great match that I enjoyed but this was excessive and too long. The mechanics were fine and the selling was great but it could have ended at 30 minutes instead of 41. It became evident at the 30 minute mark that they were prolonging the match to make an "epic." I loved that Kobashi threw the kitchen sink at Doc but it took too long to do that. I still found this great but it could have been excellent if it'd been shortened.

#6 soup23

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 04:45 PM

I loved this match. Maybe too long but it worked here as the crowd was crazy especially the audio level when Kobashi hit the powerbomb. This was also their last big singles match that I can recall so I didn't mind them emptying the kitchen sink. I can't really detract from this match onto the ramifications of later matches. As a stand alone match I thought this worked really well. Only nitpick would be that Doc covered Kobashi a little too quickly after the first backdrop driver. The 41 minutes didn't drag to me much at all. Great match.

#7 Superstar Sleeze

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 12:21 AM

This is a fun match, albeit not very efficient. I think it accomplished the goal of making Kobashi into a credible Triple Crown-Level contender and promoting his brand of testosterone-addled, hyper-masculine fighting spirit with him on offense the majority of the match. The match definitely felt developed around Kobashi and he was the mover of the match. Especially in the beginning, Doc relied on his power moreso than his explosiveness. In the beginning, he seemed to be fighting for respect and to prove himself with all that bravado. It seemed like Doc was baiting him until he was able to capture him with a brainbuster. After putting over Kobashi's resilience, they did the usual Kobashi bomb barrage, which helped cement him as a worthy opponent. Then finally Williams displays some of that lethal quickness and power and really kicks the match into high-gear. The final Kobashi control segment that begins with the basement dropkick is critical to the belief that Kobashi has an actual chance. He begins wrestling with intelligence and you believe that he might just have it. However, he just doesnt have that big weapon yet and Williams is able to outlast him and hit his KO punch. I actually did not think it felt long until the ending portion with Doc on the outside then I was like ok I think they ran out of stuff to do. It felt kind of like an old-school Flair touring defense without all the heel histrionics (Kobashi always brings the histrionics) and cheating. Williams really put over Kobashi huge in the loss and you really felt like Kobashi had a chance to win the match. I think there was a more efficient way to get to this end goal, but all in all it was a fun 41 minutes.

#8 WingedEagle

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 09:58 PM

Their 8/93 match used to me my favorite between the pair. Upon a rewatch as I go through things chronologically that is no no longer the case. This was fantastic even if it was 8-10 minutes too long. The crowd was bananas almost from the beginning for Kobashi, almost like 5/21/94 or the TC win over Taue, only without being able to see them shaking in the stands like a video game. It was fascinating to see Williams approach Kobashi as more of a threat than Misawa -- he was much more cautious and more apprehensive about Kobashi's ability to match up with his power. The Hansen match in 7/93 is undoubtedly a classic, but Kobashi seemed to take another huge leap to being on an equal level with the big boys here.

#9 PeteF3

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Posted 31 May 2014 - 09:13 PM

Doc's first defense and I believe Kobashi's first TC challenge. This was good, really good, though I can't help but call it a disappointment in the face of how good Doc has been over the past 12 months and how great Kobashi was in '93 particularly. They were mostly victims of their own high standards. The first part of this was very '00s-Kobashi, with all the chops and staredowns. It's a little slow going but it's a little something different for an AJPW main event. It's long and not an all-time classic, but I didn't really see it as "masturbatory." The first 25 minutes of this, the most advanced move we see is a Doctor Bomb. Kobashi only provides a moonsault and a German, and except for being bodyslammed to the floor was pretty light on the super-crazy bumps. Doc finally puts him away with a backdrop into the turnbuckle followed by a backdrop suplex for the pin. Really good match but not as good as 7/93 or Doc's matches earlier in the year.

#10 Zenjo


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Posted 23 April 2016 - 03:46 PM

Doc's only successful Triple Crown defence, and he sure had to work for it. The way they set their stall it was likely going long. Plenty of goofy machismo from both. In terms of pacing themselves to avoid exhaustion whilst maintaining the workrate, you'd have to say they did an excellent job. The quality level was consistently good+, occasionally higher. I wouldn't say there were any major technical flaws. Execution had no problems. It just didn't have that many interesting or exciting aspects, feeling like a Carny time limit draw that was allowed to continue past the 30 minutes. The key to Kobashi's success thus far had been underdog psychology, but they just went 50/50. There weren't many noteworthy moves or moments. It felt long for the sake of being long. They needed more references to the Dangerous Backdrop/Backdrop Driver throughout the contest. Still it kept me entertained for over 40m, which isn't easy.

Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: AJPW, Summer Action Series II, September 3, 1994, Steve Williams, Kenta Kobashi, Budokan Hall, 4*

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