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Mitsuharu Misawa

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#21 ohtani's jacket

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Posted 12 September 2014 - 03:01 PM

That remedial thread was so different from how you usually watch wrestling (with a strong emphasis on context, etc.) Personally, I think you should watch the Jumbo & Co. vs. Misawa & Co. six mans as they're much more up your alley. 


The matches getting longer was a natural progression of the same group of workers trying to top what they'd already done. I don't have any use for one hour All Japan matches, but I don't agree with you that a 25 minute tag needed to be a third shorter. Japanese fans love nearfalls. The whole reason the 2.99 culture exists in Japan is because Japanese fans love their nearfalls. They were giving the people what they want, and besides the style was basically about receiving damage (like the life bar in a video game) so there was that whole finish 'em video game vibe.

#22 Matt D

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Posted 12 September 2014 - 09:05 PM

Which matches would you say that most rings true for? It's definitely true in some cases.


This is relevant for the the 6/1/93 match (Which was the first one I saw of these guys):


"The major problem is that it just went on and on and on during the finishing stretch. If the thing ended with the moonsault after the tandem DDTs or especially Kobashi's powerbomb with the flip pin, I think I ultimately would have loved the match instead of just being happily surprised with some parts of it and frustrated with other parts. It just kept going and going after that though with a sort of escalation i wasn't feeling at all, and I had actually been REALLY into it when Kawada tagged in after Misawa's flying elbow to the floor. I thought they were going to take the thing home there because it felt really right to me and they just didn't."


Here's everything I said about the 12/3/93 match:



"An really awesome 17 minute match and a very frustrating 30 minute match all in one! 
Seriously, this one was more egregious than the last in losing me. I really sort of loved it right until the hot tag to Misawa and Kobashi fighting back and what not. The match should have ended there, or maybe i guess gone into a second FIP or something, like in AWA matches. Instead, they just hit things in and out of giant moments and by the missed Kobashi moonsault I was done. It's really frustrating too because there are so many great little moments and really clever bits and very strong selling and facial expressions and the stuff just looks so good, but when half the match is this back and forth big bomb finishing sequence where they've given up on working any sort of tag team match after spending the first half of the match working a really great tag team match, I just get desensitized. 
I sort of love each guy in his role. Taue as a big man bully asshole is really great. Kawada is the surliest wrestler ever and a stubborn idiot to boot. Kobashi is a good FIP with these fiery moments of really quick offense and MIsawa is one of the best hot tags ever because his execution and the energy and emotion he's able to put behind it is just so iconic. You really get the feeling that this person is a PROFESSIONAL WRESTLER and not just someone pretending to be one. 
That said, everything just fizzles apart for me. My gut tells me that everything's come to a head and that they should bring the match to a conclusion and you know what? Fifteen minutes later they do."
You get the idea after this. These could go into yearbook notes, but I know you were curious so I just posted a bunch. I'll go post the 6/9 one in the yearbook note.
Also, I do plan on seeing some of those six mans. It's a great way to see a bunch of guys at once after all. 

#23 Childs

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Posted 12 September 2014 - 09:15 PM

Well yeah, you might be in trouble, because the finishing stretches only got longer from there.

#24 Matt D

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Posted 12 September 2014 - 09:19 PM

I'm not sure if I'll be in trouble or if Misawa might not just be #67 on my list after I watch a whole bunch of stuff that drives me more and more nuts.

#25 ohtani's jacket

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Posted 12 September 2014 - 09:22 PM

That 12/93 match is only 23:34.

#26 Matt D

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Posted 12 September 2014 - 09:25 PM

I guess i was going on feel there.

#27 Timbo Slice

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Posted 14 September 2014 - 02:15 PM

Top 10 automatic. Not sure about Top 5. I've grown to like him more than Kawada over the years because of his match layout, subdued selling, stretch runs, attention to detail.

#28 dawho5

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Posted 14 September 2014 - 08:36 PM

Misawa matches I enjoyed (or did not) from the 90s:


Misawa vs. Hansen 7/27/90
Misawa/Kawada vs. Gordy/Williams 7/24/91
Hansen vs. Misawa 8/22/92
Misawa/Kawada vs. Williams/Gordy 1/30/93
Misawa vs. Kawada 3/27/93
Misawa/Kobashi/Akiyama vs. Kawada/Taue/Ogawa 7/2/93
Misawa vs. Kawada 4/11/94
Kobashi vs. Misawa 3/26/95
Misawa vs. Akiyama 4/8/95
Misawa/Kobashi/Asako vs. Kawada/Taue/Honda 6/30/95
Misawa/Kobashi/Akiyama vs. Kawada/Kikuchi/Ogawa 7/8/95 - pissed off Misawa!
Kobashi vs. Misawa 10/25/95 - this one gets me because it starts the really bad trends that Misawa and Kobashi continue on and off, it was

necessary when it was done because of the difference in stature between the two though
Misawa vs. Kobashi 3/31/96
Williams/Ace vs. Misawa/Akiyama 6/7/96
Misawa/Akiyama vs. Williams/Ace 9/5/96
Williams/Ace vs. Misawa/Akiyama 11/16/96
Misawa/Akiyama vs. Kobashi/Patriot 11/22/96
Misawa/Akiyama vs. Williams/Ace 11/30/96
Misawa vs. Kawada 4/2/97
Akiyama vs. Misawa 5/27/97
Misawa vs. Kawada 6/6/97 - finish derails an otherwise great match
Misawa/Akiyama vs. Williams/Albright 8/25/97
Misawa/Kawada/Hase vs. Kobashi/Taue/Akiyama 9/15/97
Misawa/Akiyama vs. Johnny Smith/Wolf Hawkfield 11/17/97
Misawa/Akiyama vs. Kobashi/Ace 11/23/97 RWTL
Misawa vs. Akiyama 1/26/98
Kobashi/Ace/Smith vs. Misawa/Akiyama/Kea 2/14/98
Misawa/Akiyama/Asako vs. Kobashi/Omori/Ogawa 8/23/98
Holy Demon Army vs. Misawa/Shinzaki 1/15/99
Burning vs. the Untouchables (Misawa/Ogawa) 3/6/99
Vader vs. Misawa 5/2/99 - must see
Kawada/Kobashi vs. Misawa/Taue 6/4/99 - must see
Misawa vs. Kobashi 6/11/99 - odd match that works until they just cycle through their bobms for nearfalls
Misawa vs. Takayama 9/4/99
Burning vs. the Untouchables 10/23/99
Misawa vs. Vader 10/30/99
Misawa/Ogawa vs. Vader/Smith 11/99
Burning vs. Untouchables 11/20/99
Misawa/Akiyama vs. Vader/Taue 1/17/00
Kawada/Taue/Fuchi vs. Misawa/Kobashi/Shiga 3/11/00
Kobashi vs. Misawa 4/2000 Champion Carnival

#29 goodhelmet

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Posted 22 September 2014 - 08:08 PM

Top ten guy. 

#30 Lee Casebolt

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Posted 22 September 2014 - 10:13 PM

I need to force myself to go back and watch his stuff, but he legit may not make my list at all. I hate how the 90s AJ style evolved, and the fact that it literally killed him doesn't improve my opinion any.

#31 dawho5

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Posted 22 September 2014 - 10:46 PM

I can understand that argument because the driving force behind the way All Japan (and later on NOAH) evolved was the way Misawa was Mr. Invincible for so long.  It went from no natives being able to beat Misawa for so long to them slowly catching up to his levels of invincibility, which led to longer matches with more ridiculous nearfalls off of head drops and refusals to submit afterwards.  Then you get to NOAH and midcarders are surviving big amounts of damage like that and things have spiraled completely out of control.  I don't know if I necessarily blame Misawa for all that came after, because a lot of it was everyone trying to be Misawa.  I have a hard time separating the influence, positive or negative, from the great performances he did put on entirely.  I still rank Misawa really, really high, but I think that some of what he did was really bad for wrestling as a whole.  I felt like there was this competition between the Misawa/Kobashi/Akiyama school of big match wrestling vs. the Kawada/Taue "less is more" approach that one side was destined to win before it even started.  And I can't help but think it was the wrong side.  That doesn't keep me from loving a lot of what Misawa did, but it leaves me with a lot of mixed feelings about the way things played out.

#32 MJH

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 06:19 AM

Kawada and Taue were not "less is more" - compared to Kobashi and Misawa their movesets are smaller, sure, whose aren't?, but on an all-time heavyweight scale they're both top 10 in terms of their moveset size/variety.


And I'm not going to hold his death/the rise of dangerous moves/etc against him (or Kobashi). One can certainly argue that a Tiger Driver off the apron or a Tiger Suplex off the ramp is far more physically-risky than a wrestler ever needs to be... however... in both their 10/98 and 3/03 matches said spots are built to perfectly, utilised within the story/structure for their full potential, and, in their own way, necessary for the purpose/narrative/etc of the match(es). I've pushed the 10/98 match as a classic for several years without doing a full breakdown on why and this poll is, I suppose, as good a time as any. But I mean, the long-term selling in those (and other) matches, that they rarely if ever degenerated into the now-common your-move-my-move 2.99 routine... and it's not as if Misawa's (or Kobashi's) moveset was top-heavy: they had way more low-mid-level moves than anyone else too.    


What absolutely shouldn't be overlooked with Misawa (and to a lesser degree Kobashi - especially as GHC champ - but it's a Misawa thing) is that he worked the babyface comeback better than anyone else. For as cool as "Lawler pulls down the strap!" is, etc... (NB: I realise the superman comeback is entrenched in US wrestling and I'm not going to hold it against someone for working it that way) the way Misawa would prolong it over a gradual four/five minutes is on a different level of work for one, and both more dramatic and offering up more dramatic possibility (think 12/96) for two.    

#33 anarchistxx

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 07:08 AM

He was always my least favorite of the AJPW guys. I remember arguing with Loss about him a few years back, with me saying his lack of emotion or reaction often took me out of the matches. He responded with "You just don't get it, he is stoic" to which I responded "I get why he does it, that doesn't mean I have to like it", no idea why I remember that exchange.


Anyway, he has grown on me since then but it is pretty hard to watch him taking all the huge bombs given what happened, and I would still put him individually behind Kawada, Kobashi and maybe even Akiyama, despite the fact that out of all of them he likely has the most amount of great matches. Should probably watch some more Jun from the last few years, loved him in 2004-2007 when he decided to play the grumpy old bullying hoss. There is one tag match I remember where he is just an absolute cunt to one of the younger guys.

#34 NintendoLogic


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Posted 23 September 2014 - 07:54 AM

I think what it comes down to is that Misawa and company were too good for their own good. Wrestlers who could work at the level they were operating at were hard to come by, so they had to continually up the ante to keep repeated matches between the same three or four guys interesting.

#35 fxnj

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 10:16 AM

The idea that AJPW style was going way overboard right before the split is one of the worst myths. If you actually watch the stuff from after they brought in Vader, you'll see that they went in the opposite direction by focusing more on the fundamentals as the bodies of the big stars were clearly breaking down. That they recognized things needed to be toned down may have been why they brought him and the shoot-style guys in in the first place. There were some matches in Misawa's 2nd reign that go a bit far (1/98 vs. Akiyama, 2/98 vs. Ace) but if you watch the more conservative first Akiyama TC match and see how poorly he comes across you'll see it was more about trying to keep Misawa strong without burying his challenger rather than any inherent problem with the style.

#36 goodhelmet

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 10:36 AM

I am pretty sure people are starting the peak of insanity around the debut of the Burning Hammer through the Ganso Bomb. They may have toned down after that but it isn't wrong to say they were getting into some dangerous territory at that point. 

#37 Lee Casebolt

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 10:48 AM

I'd given up on AJ well before the split.

#38 MJH

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 11:16 AM

The issue shouldn't be the moves (they're dangerous, not convoluted/ridiculous) but rather how they're used. As I remember the 1/99 match, it's an inferior retread of the Misawa/Kobashi match three months earlier, with the Ganso Bomb in place of the Apron Tiger Driver, and I don't recall Misawa doing anything offensively afterwards. I also don't recall the Burning Hammer being used as anything but Kobashi's Ultimate Death move nor it having ever been kicked out of. There've been plenty of equally risky or even riskier bumps in wrestling, many of which purely for shock value. These guys aren't Vic Grimes.

#39 Karl

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 12:37 PM

Whenever I think about who my #1 is, I automatically go to Kobashi and have done for a long time. It's my default.....but Misawa...what a wrestler...the sheer volume of quality matches he has been in, the execution, the intensity, the crowds...just everything about Misawa suggests that he absolutely has what it takes to be the #1 guy. 


Tough choices to be made.

#40 BillThompson

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 12:53 PM

I'll admit, Misawa is a guy I haven't seen enough from. I see the greatness in what I have seen, but I haven't seen anywhere near enough for me to place him all that high.

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