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Toshiaki Kawada vs Keiji Muto (AJPW Championship Carnival 04/14/01)

AJPW Championship Carnival Budokan Hall April 14 Toshiaki Kawada Keiji Muto BOJ 2000s

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#1 Loss

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 05:28 PM

Talk about it here.

#2 Superstar Sleeze

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 12:29 PM

Keiji Mutoh vs Toshiaki Kawada - Champions Carnival 04/01
I have seen their Triple Crown Match from 2002 and remember liking that even though it did not make the voting list. So I was pretty excited to see this and this did not disappoint. The one thing you can expect from Mutoh is you will not get a lot of those macho pissing contests that can dominate heavyweight puroresu in the 2000s. This is wrestled more in the vein of traditional Strong Style. Kawada was definitely the best suited of the King's Road guys to perform in NJPW as he can hold his own on the mat. They jockey for some holds with Muto having a slight edge. The story early seems to be Mutoh knowing he can't out-strike or out-power Kawada so he tries to leverage his ground game into an opening. However, he is unable to avoid the DANGEROUS~! kicks from Kawada, which are all targeted at Mutoh's head and neck. On second watch, I realized that this control segment went on for 10 minutes where Mutoh just got his ass handed to him. I actually appreciated this segment more on how well Kawada worked this and did not get off track. Muto did his best selling in this segment really forcing you to observe how concentrated Kawada was on damaging his neck. Kawada even mocked Muta a bit with his run down the ramp doing a Kawada Kick to Muta's head. Even though, Kawada was in control of a lengthy time, Mutoh still made it feel like a struggle by mixing in a tasteful amount of hope spots. Kawada was able to hit the powerbomb on his second attempt, but Mutoh kicked and rolled to outside. Tired of getting his ass kicked, he grabs a chair from a fan, but ref stops him from bringing it in and the fans applaud (well that is different from America). Mutoh blocks the enziguiri and wastes no time capitalizing with dropkicks to the knee and arm. You have credit Muto getting over dropkicks as a legitimate setup move. Muto is nullifying Kawada's biggest weapon while at the same time putting himself into a position to win by submission. There is nothing Muto really does better than Kawada and he knows that, but if he can take away Kawada's legs then he can win the match. Kawada blows Mutoh out of the water with his selling throughout the home stretch. For whatever reason, Kawada was just fucking on in this match as he is making Mutoh's offense look like a million bucks. The dragon leg screws and figure-4 look devastating while Mutoh seems focused just on doing his offense. Kawada gets the stretch plum going back to the head/neck, but misses a knee drop (OW!). Muto wastes no time again, but this time all the dropkicks are focused on the arm. They trade cross-armbreakers, but once again Kawada outshines Mutoh in the selling. Kawada with a relentless flurry on lariats before Mutoh blocks them. Mutoh wrenches his leg with another dragon leg screw. His Shining Wizards more like they are pushing Kawada over rather nailing him with a high velocity impact, but to his credit Kawada does his best loopy sell of them. ****1/4
It is a little bit slow to start and there are some times in the Kawada control that lose their place a bit. However, once Mutoh hits his first dropkick this match goes to another level with one of Kawada's best individual performances. While Mutoh could have been better at selling and really putting some energy into his offensive strategy was excellent. I prefer this sort of straightforward wrestling match to macho pissing contest matches. So I have it behind only Tenryu/Sasaki so far.

#3 Alan4L

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Posted 31 March 2014 - 10:02 AM

I loved this. Muto was like a dragon slayer in there just hanging around, staying alive and gradually chipping away at Kawada. I really enjoy the Muto big matches from this period because they're so different from most Japanese main events.

#4 Timbo Slice

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Posted 31 March 2014 - 10:12 AM

This was a great match, kills the Triple Crown match 10 months later. This was the first time I had seen Mutoh's new wrestling style and I dug it, especially with Kawada really putting over everything so well. The Wizard to finish was awesome thanks to how Kawada took it. Going forward, Mutoh really had to dig-in deep to make his matches compelling, and it normally didn't happen if he wasn't in there with a great seller.

#5 dawho5

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Posted 24 May 2014 - 01:59 PM

I really liked Kawada working over the neck early.  Mutoh's strikes are pretty weak, but they actually worked that into the story of the match which is nice.  The early matwork avoids a lot of the filler stuff and targets things that come in later.  Mutoh working the leg and arm at the same time was a little odd but it worked.  Kawada deciding to lariat Mutoh just to say "your armwork was useless" is pretty nice.  Wish there had been a bit more leg selling on kawada's part after he had it worked over.  Kawada made the SW's look as good as possible, I'd say it's gonna be in the 30-50 range somewhere.

#6 Graham Crackers

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 06:27 PM

Y'know, I was prepared to hate this but it ended up not being so bad. I guess Kawada still had enough left in 2001 to carry crippled Mutoh. Mutoh doing legwork still isn't my thing and I don't think this'll make my ballot but I was very pleasantly surprised by this.

#7 Superstar Sleeze

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Posted 03 November 2014 - 10:12 AM

Loved this match even more on second watch. This was just an all-time Kawada performance. It reminds you why he is one of the greatest of all time. I am at an all-time high on Misawa and Kobashi and Kawada has sort of lagged in the background because of some weak individual performances in the 2000s. He brought it here on offense and defense. The neck targeting was just pinpoint accurate. Then he continued to sell the leg and arm throughout the match as Mutoh was changing his strategy. One of the hardest things I have found in my wrestling watching is conveying that struggle to still perform offense. Several will just blow off and then return to selling, most will just blow off altogether. Kawada really conveys that struggle demonstrating why he is elite. 


Tanahashi could learn a thing or two from Mutoh. Mutoh is not perfect in this match, but gives a great performance. I loved the early work to avoid Kawada's strikes only to fall prey to them. He did blow the selling of the neck off to get to his offense, which is why I would say this is not the greatest performance ever from him. From offensive standpoint, this is incredible. I really don't know how you can fault his urgency in his attacks. He was just pressing and pressing. Dropkicking Kawada's entire right side just peppering with dropkicks the knee and arm. I just loved the suffocation. This was the full court press, but in pro wrestling. Would love to see Tanahashi pick up something like this because he shows great urgency on his High Fly Flow, but would love for him to extend this to his entire game.  I would say from strategic standpoint just an absolutely genius performance that has not been replicated frequently enough. It also leads so seamlessly and beautifully into the Shining Wizards, which are sold so well. Between Mutoh's offense and Kawada's selling, it made for an all-time great finish run. The slow start and Mutoh blowing off the neck selling on the transition (loved him getting so frustrated and trying to get a chair) keep it from Top 10. I see this in the #15-25 range. Really high-end stuff from both wrestlers. ****1/2

#8 superkix

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Posted 17 May 2018 - 08:34 AM

This was a pretty hot-cold match, especially during the early goings. After Kawada nosedives Mutoh with the overhead suplex counter, he starts wearing down Mutoh's neck, which in theory and execution, was cool but Mutoh blows it off for the most part. Loved Kawada's running boot in the corner and the way Mutoh sold it. Wada stopping a frustrated Mutoh from using the chair was pretty great, too. Of course, Mutoh works the leg in the last third of the match and we get a bunch of pretty great dropkicks targeting Kawada everywhere. Mutoh refuses to break the figure-four after a ropebreak and Kawada's selling is better than anything else he does regarding the leg. Didn't care for the final act, other than Mutoh's nasty dragon screw legwhip>proto Shining Wizard combo. This had its moments but on a whole, it wasn't that great. 

Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: AJPW, Championship Carnival, Budokan Hall, April 14, Toshiaki Kawada, Keiji Muto, BOJ 2000s

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