Talk about it here.
Mitsuharu Misawa vs Kenta Kobashi (AJPW New Years Giant Series 01/20/97)AJPW New Years Giant Series January 20 1997 Mitsuharu Misawa Kenta Kobashi Osaka Title Changes Misawa vs Kobashi 5*
Posted 24 July 2013 - 09:40 PM
Posted 25 July 2013 - 12:11 PM
Posted 25 July 2013 - 02:20 PM
Posted 26 July 2013 - 10:05 PM
Posted 27 July 2013 - 01:29 PM
P.S. I've always found it strange that Dave didn't go five stars on this one. Seems like the perfect match for him.
If I'm not mistaken, Dave based his rating on the TV edit that only showed 22 minutes of the match.
Posted 30 July 2013 - 06:40 PM
Posted 30 July 2013 - 06:50 PM
Posted 10 August 2013 - 03:37 PM
Posted 05 October 2014 - 12:30 AM
Posted 13 June 2015 - 09:16 AM
Darn. 1996 was building all the way up to the MOTY at the end and '97 blows it off in the first month. But what a fucking match it is. Kobashi's the champion but he feels throughout this contest like the challenger, because in essence that's what he is. Misawa will have to fight to keep his spot but it's Kenta who really has something to prove. He comes through with probably his best performance to date--his selling, his timing, his comebacks and aborted comebacks, and his work on Misawa's arm are all top-notch--the arm work particularly stands out because Kenta's not really a "grab a body part and go to work on it" kind of guy, but he works that sequence perfectly here. And in fact his usual formless offense actually adds to the dynamic here--you're wondering in a kayfabe sense, "Uh-oh, Misawa blew out his arm...but does Kobashi know how to capitalize on that? Oh, shit, yes he can." MJH compared this to Bret-Owen earlier but the US match analogue I actually saw here was Shawn-Mankind, in terms of how the match built and progressed through a series of mini-matches. Misawa shines to start, Kobashi gets a token run of control where he never *really* seems to take control, Misawa shines again before blowing out his arm, then Kenta blows out *his* arm, etc. Over the course of 42 minutes this thing never went off-track and always felt like it was going somewhere. It's a close call, but I really think I enjoyed this more than 6/3/94--the suspense down the stretch was greater as both guys were working with one arm and it seemed impossible for either to put the other away.
Posted 27 August 2015 - 10:01 AM
Incredible match overall. An absolutely beautiful story told through breathtaking brutality and selling. I've seen it several times a year since my first viewing around 5 years ago and I still notice new things or come up with different interpretations on every rewatch. By the end of this viewing, I thought I had seen the best match ever, but I've also felt that way at points about several of their other matches. At least I have this solidly pegged as the best singles series ever, even as my mind keeps changing on what their true masterpiece is.
Posted 05 May 2016 - 10:13 AM
My thoughts on this:
Mitsuharu Misawa beat Kenta Kobashi at 42:05 with a running forearm smash. I honestly didn't like this. Neither guy knew whether they wanted to do a technical match or an AJPW head dropping bonanza, so they just combined the two.
They match was most focused on Kobashi working Misawa's arm before it became the usual head drop fest. Kobashi worked it for the entire middle portion of the match but the arm work ended up meaning nothing anyway as Misawa ended up winning with the same injured arm, like I knew he would. The kicking out of the Tiger Driver '91 infuriated me. Following it up with Kobashi getting up from a dragon suplex didn't help matters either. I honestly was starting to think that a Tiger Driver off the building wouldn't have mattered at that point.
I also didn't like the length of this match. It went 42 minutes and could have used about 10 minutes or so less. These two didn't need the extra time and all the extra time did was allow things to escalate more than they needed to. It felt like it could have went all night with the way things were going.
I'm going to hold off a rating on this one. I used to think it was a great match back in the day but this viewing totally soured me on it. There were some good things and the story was good up until the end, but they just had to blow it. At least the crowd was hot and ate all of it up, while I was here throwing it up.
Posted 11 May 2016 - 11:15 PM
The level of complexity in this match is just mind blowing. Someone during one of the GWE podcasts said that no other two wrestlers ever could have had a match like this and I think it is definitely true. What I had said about about Misawa's arm selling and Kobashi in some other thread.
That was one thing that had always bothered me about the match because I thought he used the bad arm for throwing elbows too many times so I used to have it around **** 3/4. But on rewatch a few months, I noticed his subtle selling of the pain every time he threw a rolling elbow (crumbling in the corner from the pain, his arm going limp on his side) was a thing of beauty and also fit his character so I bumped it up to *****. And really Kobashi's performance and the rest of the match is too good for it not to be five star.
Posted 26 June 2016 - 01:14 PM
I don't really mind Kobashi's kick-outs at the end. It is not like he kicked out and came back. After the Tiger-Driver 91, he was a beaten man. His character was such at this time that unless he was rendered unconscious, he was not keeping his shoulders down regardless how damaged he had suffered. This was further emphasised by the length of time he lay motionless after the final fall.
Posted 08 October 2016 - 09:13 PM
Despite going 42m it never felt like they were stalling for time. The opening 15m were of a brisk pace and action packed. Yet they didn't overdo it and held back the biggest moves. Then you had the memorable arm work on Misawa. Having not watched this for a long time I thought it was a bigger focus than it actually was. Whilst a fundamental aspect of the match it didn't take up that high a proportion of the time relatively. Misawa's philosophy of 'I don't care if I get injured, the Triple Crown is more important than my health' really stands out. It was a true epic with plenty of exhaustion selling and near falls. Kobashi kicked out of the Tiger Driver '91. In a rare display of emotion Misawa unleashed a guttural roar before delivering the killer blow.
I'm with Pete in that it kind of sucks in a way having the MOTY 20 days into 1997. Plus both guys had a better match the previous month. Just.
Posted 17 October 2016 - 08:31 AM
AJPW Triple Crown Champion Kenta Kobashi vs Mitsuharu Misawa AJPW 1/20/97
A lot has changed in the last 15 months, namely, Kenta Kobashi is the Triple Crown Champion having won it from Akira Taue in the middle of 1996. Misawa had dropped the title to Taue. Baba used Taue like he would a gaijin as the transitional champion between two major native stars. Kobashi main evented the October Anniversary show going to a draw with Kawada. Thus the hierarchy had become Kobashi and Kawada are equals (60 minute draws in 95 & 96) and that Misawa was superior to Kawada. Until Kobashi beats Misawa one on one in a singles match, Misawa will be considered his better. So even though Misawa is coming in the challenger, no one should mistake Kobashi for the favorite, he is the definitive underdog to Misawa The Ace.
The basic narrative of the match is that Misawa is the challenger so he is going to start hot. Kobashi has learned from his mistakes of October 95 is much more focused (midsection, arm). However, each man makes pivotal mistakes in the match that create meaningful momentum shifts and lots of drama surround dueling arm psychology (Misawas elbow & Kobashis lariat have been compromised).
First 15 minutes: Misawa gets off to a fast start because he is the challenger. He lands his diving elbow. Misawa is on point and wants to win back HIS titles. Misawa goes for a quick Tiger Driver. Kobashi does not let the match get away from him and scramble. He manages a DDT. Misawa powders and grabs neck. Back in and Kobashi hits some lethal spinning back chops. Brutal. He works over Misawas midsection; thats different. Punches to midsection, shoulderblocks, front suplex and ab stretch. Misawa getting an elbow here and there but Kobashi is cutting off by going to the midsection. More focused.
Kobashi Irish whips Misawa, dumb move basically creating separation for Misawa. Misawa puts on brakes and elbows him. Small mistakes against Misawa matter. Misawa is able to get a surfboard. Good control, but feeds into Kobashis strength. Misawa mule kicks out once Kobashi reverses. Kobashi comes running at him with a shoulder block and elbowed out of the sky. Another dunderhead move by Kobashi this time macho pride gets the best of him. Small mistakes will cost you against Misawa. You need wrestle a nearly perfect match.
Misawa karate kick and Kobashis powders. Misawa waits for him and gets butterfly suplex. Misawa in command grabs facelocks. Starts kicking Kobashi but doing more to fire him up. Great sequence where both men are unleashing strikes and it feels like a pivotal moment like whoever wins this exchange will take a big lead. Misawa wins and Kobashi ends up on the floor. At this point, Misawa is sticking to the game plan of slow & steady wins the race and after a couple Kobashi mistakes. It seems like a routine finish.
Misawa goes for his diving elbow again (ruh roh say all seasoned wrestling fans), but he ends up flipping over on apron. He kicks Kobashi into guardrail and then DIVESEATS STEEL!!! OW! That look like it hurt! Misawa comes up clutching his arm as Kobashi takes the high ground. Kobashi made some serious mistakes, but Misawa made the biggest in the first 15 minutes! Just like that the entire complexion of the match changes.
Second 10 minutes: Big lariat takes Misawa off apron. Big Misawa chants. Kobashi rolls Misawa in the ring to pin him, but only gets two. Barely lifts a shoulder. In one ten minute stretch, Kobashi works like the best Taue and Misawa in one awesome package. Focused with great counterwrestling! Misawa throws a weak elbow to show his elbow is hurt. Big knee from Kobashi crashing into the bad elbow and then a dropkick too the elbow. Then just ramming the elbow into hard objects. Great armwork that is laserfocused. Misawa is throwing elbows no effect. All three of Kobashis arm submissons are well set up. First Half Nelson suplex set up by all arm work leads to an armbar with lots of heat. Then Kobashi counters an elbow into a Fujiwara armbar. When Misawa blocks a German and charges Kobashi counters that into a cross armbreaker. Misawa tries a spin kick and Kobashi catches and throws and dumps him on his head. Laserfoucsed like Taue and excellent transition of Misawas offense into arm-related offense for his own purposes like Misawa would do. FANTASTIC Kobashi control segment!
Third Ten Minutes: KOBASHI goes for the kill shot: a LARIAT. Misawa gets up a lucky elbow that cripples Kobashis arm in one blow. He rolls to outside. Misawa hits a corkscrew plancha to outside that wipes up Kobashi. Misawa cant use the elbow might as well use whole body. Blocks Kobashi Lariat with double elbow. OW! Release German right on his skull! Then Tiger Driver, but in too much pain to get a proper cover. He goes up top for an elbow but Kobashi Lariats him out of the sky. Kobashi writhes in pain before covering. Kobashi selling his ass off. Powerbomb and the Orange Crush. Neither get him the duke. Kobashi is frustrated and in a lot of pain. Lariat blocked, but Misawa just rolls to outside. Kobashi stalks prey and is wounded himself. Powerbomb on apron NO MISAWA-RANA! Huge spot! Kobashi sells. Very critical stretch here. Misawa finally is able to make in roads by getting a desperation elbow to Kobashis arm that basically levels the playing field. However, Misawa is having a hard time capitalizing and when he goes for a high risk move (diving elbow from top) Kobashi makes him pay, but now he cant capitalize. It all comes down to the apron spot. Kobashi, bad arm, tries a powerbomb off the apron which would have been the home run shot, but a timely Misawa counter pretty much seals Kobashis fate.
Last 5 minutes. Misawa elbows. Shitty German due to bad arm. One Roaring Elbow, Two Roaring Elbows, Third One NO Lariaoto! Kobashin in pain. Dumps Misawa on head with headdrop German. It is on! Misawa ducks low and headbutts him in abs when he comes in charging. Roaring elbow to back of head. Tiger Suplex gets two. TIGER DRIVER 91~! ONLY GETS TWO! Kobashi chants. Kobashi clubs Misawa from knees and lunges again, but has nothing behind them. On third one, Misawa gets a Sleeper SUPLEX! AND Blowaway Elbow gives Misawa the win!
Stone cold classic. Everyone and their mother knows that. Selling by both men was off the charts great. Offense was incredible. Excellent transitions between segments. Every move had consequence and everything had a purpose. Love the story of ramping up mistakes. First it is small stuff like charging at your opponent with a shoulder block then it is diving from the apron into the steel railing and then it is the hurricanarana off the apron! The dueling arm psychology was tremendous especially when you have Misawas elbow and Kobashis lariat in play. Loved the inability to follow up down the stretch due to their injuries. Basically it came down to two things, Misawa got a lucky elbow that landed in just the right place to render Kobashis arm useless. Kobashi was running away with the match. When Kobashi had re-established himself, he went for that high risk move (powerbomb off the apron) thats how you have to beat Misawa with big time high risk moves and he paid for it. The last five minutes is pretty great you have to kill me before you beat me stuff that All Japan does well. Kobashi looks great in a loss and Misawa proves that when Triple Crown is on the line he will stop at nothing to retain and he just always has a little extra.
Greatest match of all time? No, I dont think so. Lock for top ten of 90s All Japan and pretty easy Top 25 match of all time. If someone has it as their greatest match of all time, I have no problem with that. *****
Posted 14 March 2017 - 08:32 PM
Well there you have it. The MOTD. On my short list for GOAT. An incredible match with an incredible story. Kobashi had me so sucked in. I'd say this is the third time I've seen this match, but it felt like the first. Sometimes something hits you at the right time and moment and this one did that for me this time. I always had it as *****, but I used to have Misawa/Kawada ranked higher in my mind. I don't think so anymore (not taking away from how awesome they both are). A few moments I love...
-Kobashi catching Misawa with that monster lariat after he has tried to recover on the outside (knocking him back down to the floor)
-Kobashi's perfectly timed fatigued kick out at 2 9/10 after the Tiger Driver '91
-How bad ass Kobashi looks standing beaten half to death taking the final blow from Misawa
I really loved the moments when Kobashi had those submissions locked in on the arm of Misawa. So much has been reviewed. It's all great. I have three more matches to go on this countdown, and I'll be surprised if this is topped for me, But hey, I've never actually seen the three ahead of me. So, that's exciting.
Posted 01 August 2017 - 10:50 AM
One of my favorites from either man. Like Loss said, tremendous offensive heavyweight match, possibly the best ever. And while Misawa hitting that last forearm after Kobashi spent most of the match brutalizing it seems weird, it actually works. Despite how much punishment Misawa was put through, he still had JUST enough power to make it lethal. Like Hansen hitting a lariat with an already-damaged arm. A wounded animal is still dangerous. It's been a few months since I've seen this one but I was absolutely blown away. Perfect example of why these are two of the GOAT's.
Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: AJPW, New Years Giant Series, January 20, 1997, Mitsuharu Misawa, Kenta Kobashi, Osaka, Title Changes, Misawa vs Kobashi, 5*
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