Jump to content


Photo

Mitsuharu Misawa


  • Please log in to reply
122 replies to this topic

#41 Timbo Slice

Timbo Slice
  • Members
  • 1427 posts

Posted 23 September 2014 - 03:39 PM

The AJPW style that everyone who was a fan of from the 1990's basically ended after the 1/20/97 match with Misawa and Kobashi. That transitioned into the head drop heavy stuff that permeated the rest of the decade, and while the 1/20/97 match was the start, the 6/6/97 Misawa/Kawada match basically confirmed the direction they were going in and the Kobashi rematch in October kicked it into overdrive. 



#42 dawho5

dawho5
  • Members
  • 2790 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:North Dakota

Posted 23 September 2014 - 04:34 PM

I would agree that the final year or so of All Japan was toned down, but once NOAH took off it started again and continued to get worse.  I don't know if the younger wrestlers within NOAH (who had all been training while watching their heroes work in All Japan) just didn't get the reasons why Misawa and co. were toning things down or really wanted to get the big pops that the big guys got and went ahead with it anyway.  Either way it stuck.  And I wonder if Misawa couldn't have been a bit smarter and forced a general toning down of the style given it was his company.



#43 anarchistxx

anarchistxx
  • Members
  • 1641 posts

Posted 24 September 2014 - 05:02 AM

I think 01/22/99 is the most underrated match in the Misawa/Kawada series. Maybe just the pure intensity of watching after the broken arm. Almost wish it was the first time he had pinned him 1 on 1 because the finish is almost cathartic.



#44 Timbo Slice

Timbo Slice
  • Members
  • 1427 posts

Posted 24 September 2014 - 10:09 AM

That is definitely a standout match. The two late standout matches for me are the Kawada/Kobashi 6/12/98 match (and not just because it happened on my birthday) and that match. 



#45 Superstar Sleeze

Superstar Sleeze
  • Members
  • 3152 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 04 October 2014 - 07:51 PM

Preface: I love Misawa and he will be in my Top 5 unless something crazy happens. I just am looking to promote an interesting discussion is all. Selfishly, I would also like to see what people thought of Sasaki vs. Morishima because I thought it was crazy awesome.

 

I just watched the GHC title matches from 2008 between Misawa vs Morishima and then Sasaki vs Morishima. The Sasaki match blew the Misawa match away. I think it was a complete smokeshow. I do not think there is one person that would posit it Sasaki is a better worker than Misawa. So what happened?

I think Sasaki respected Morishima and how Morishima was different. He took what Morishima brought to the table: that he is fucking huge and used to create an amazing match. Where he, the veteran and great powerhouse, was totally overwhelmed by this behemoth. He kept preserving looking for those young champion mistakes and changing his strategy. The match started to tip in his favor forcing Morishima's hand into attempting a big bomb (moonsault) misses and bingo Sasaki is in the driver's seat.

In the Misawa match, Misawa did not respect Morishima. He treated him like he was Kawada. Kawada and Morishima are two very different wrestlers. Misawa's elbow was still the equalizer and he was still content to do his extended comeback. Misawa did come up with neat ways to get Morshima in Emerald Flowsion other than that it is just seemed ho-hum. Misawa match had some non-layout issues: they kept selling just by laying around and Misawa just was not in very good shape.

 

Should we chock this up to post-prime Misawa or is this systemic from basically wrestling the same handful of guys for a decade? Is this why the Hansen matches are not that well received (have not watched them in ages)? The questions is twofold. How do weigh the fact that Misawa really did not have a wide variety of opponents against the versatility of others? Secondly, is Misawa guilty of plug and play on a systemic level?

 

I will come to Misawa defense in this post by offering up the '94 Dr. Death match. I felt like Misawa treated Dr. Death as a unique entity. Doc has a unique brand of power and explosiveness. Misawa felt like he was always trying to contain that and never let match get away from him. Whereas the Kawada and Kobashi matches, never felt like Misawa could be so readily overwhelmed. You just wish you could get more non-Hansen/Non-Doc/non-Corners matches so you could compare Misawa to those with a wider vocabulary.
 



#46 fxnj

fxnj
  • Members
  • 493 posts

Posted 04 October 2014 - 08:10 PM

The thing to keep in mind with late Misawa matches is that he was probably in the worst shape of any guy to ever wrestle a full time schedule. He mentioned in his book that not only did the 2008 Morishima match send him to the hospital, but his body was in such pain by that point that he couldn't even do basic things like brushing his teeth or washing his face. I think he deserves credit just for being able to do a reasonably good of maintaining the illusion of still being The Man, even if he couldn't do GOAT level matches anymore.

#47 dawho5

dawho5
  • Members
  • 2790 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:North Dakota

Posted 04 October 2014 - 08:10 PM

I think the lazy Misawa stuff came more as his body started to break down, at least in the sense that it was really obvious.  He had different matches with Kobashi, Kawada and Taue throughout the 90s and worked a little differently for each of the big gaijin.  But my feeling is that by the time he reached NOAH there were only a few matches he really got away from the Misawa formula.  Don't know if the physical toll that had been taken on him was the deciding factor, but it certainly seemed to me that his willingness to deviate from his standard match was less frequent as time went on.  Not that it produced terrible matches all the time.



#48 Jmare007

Jmare007
  • Members
  • 1204 posts

Posted 04 October 2014 - 09:21 PM

I remember the 06' match between them being way better but can't recall if Misawa worked it any differently (aside from not being that broken down).



#49 anarchistxx

anarchistxx
  • Members
  • 1641 posts

Posted 05 October 2014 - 01:03 PM

I just watched the GHC title matches from 2008 between Misawa vs Morishima and then Sasaki vs Morishima. The Sasaki match blew the Misawa match away. I think it was a complete smokeshow. I do not think there is one person that would posit it Sasaki is a better worker than Misawa. So what happened?

 

Misawa was beaten up and a decade past his prime, after working the most physical style in wrestling history for twenty years?

 

This is really akin to saying that Kane had way better matches with Chris Jericho in 2002 than Ric Flair did. Just a case of Flair being in horrible shape and having little confidence, and Kane being carried to something reasonable. Nobody would use it to even play devils advocate on an argument that Kane is better than Flair.

 

 

 

but his body was in such pain by that point that he couldn't even do basic things like brushing his teeth or washing his face.

 

The guy was genuinely crazy and/or addicted to wrestling. How the fuck do you decide to go and work a match against a monster with a violent, loose style when you are in pain just brushing your teeth? Undertaker by most accounts did the same thing against Brock Lesnar, but at least that was a one time deal. Misawa was still working a reasonable scheduele at that point wasn't he?



#50 dawho5

dawho5
  • Members
  • 2790 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:North Dakota

Posted 05 October 2014 - 02:22 PM

I don't think he took any significant amount of time off from wrestling.  He's a guy who you almost wish would have suffered a broken arm or leg or something and been forced to take time off (even if it was only 9 months or so).  I mean, Kawada broke his orbital bone and he finished the damn match.  And continued touring.  If you don't think he's a little crazy after that I'm not sure what your criteria is.



#51 Childs

Childs
  • Moderators
  • 4441 posts

Posted 05 October 2014 - 03:08 PM

 

The guy was genuinely crazy and/or addicted to wrestling. How the fuck do you decide to go and work a match against a monster with a violent, loose style when you are in pain just brushing your teeth? Undertaker by most accounts did the same thing against Brock Lesnar, but at least that was a one time deal. Misawa was still working a reasonable scheduele at that point wasn't he?

 

 

I always got the sense he kept going because he felt a duty to the company he created, not because he was crazy or addicted.

 

As for the Sasaki comparison, I haven't watched the matches in  years, but I really liked Misawa-Morishima at the time. There was something poignant about this broken-down guy, still trying to be The Man because that was what he felt his company needed. And to my eyes, he wrestled the match that way. But I'll have to revisit it to see if I'm full of shit with that.

 

I also thought he was good in the NJ-NOAH stuff in his last year. For me, the 2000s will probably go to Misawa's credit, because he still managed some great big-match performances despite the fact his body was shot by the end of the '90s. His '80s stuff hurts him more for me, because he never really managed to get comfortable with the Tiger Mask gimmick, despite his great talent.



#52 GOTNW

GOTNW

    save all japan pro wrestling

  • Members
  • 1891 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Croatia

Posted 05 October 2014 - 05:05 PM

Misawa deviated from his formula and played a more classic FIP in the 2007 Sano match, which I also consider a lot better than the Morishima-Sasaki match. There was no reason for Misawa to work FIP in a match supposed to get Morishima over as NOAH's new ace, especially in his current condition, and Morishima playing FIP would've been a huge gamble. Competitive title matches are how NOAH operated 90% of the time and Misawa's formula gave Morishima his career match in 2006. They played it safe. It was/is a highly regarded match, more so than Morishima/Sasaki (which I actually slightly prefer myself).

#53 Childs

Childs
  • Moderators
  • 4441 posts

Posted 07 October 2014 - 10:12 AM


In the Misawa match, Misawa did not respect Morishima. He treated him like he was Kawada. Kawada and Morishima are two very different wrestlers. Misawa's elbow was still the equalizer and he was still content to do his extended comeback. Misawa did come up with neat ways to get Morshima in Emerald Flowsion other than that it is just seemed ho-hum. Misawa match had some non-layout issues: they kept selling just by laying around and Misawa just was not in very good shape.

 

 

Rewatched the match last night, and I'm not sure I get this take on it. Misawa took a horrific beating to make Morishima look good in winning the title. Of course he fired the elbow; that was the only gun he had that could keep this young bull off him. But the story of the match clearly seemed to be a tired champion who couldn't muster one more comeback against the latest young killer. What else should Misawa have done? He went above and beyond to give the best performance he could under the circumstances.



#54 WingedEagle

WingedEagle
  • Members
  • 5139 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 07 October 2014 - 10:32 AM

I'm curious to check out the Morishima match and a few others from that period, but am more interested in rewatching matches from the 90s that fall below the elite/classic level.  By the mid-aughts Misawa is MIsawa and I can't see my thoughts on him changing based on that period.  But definitely looking to the primes to help me order him, Kawada and Kobashi.



#55 pol

pol
  • Members
  • 818 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 17 December 2014 - 05:32 AM

Having made it up to mid-94 in my '90s All Japan viewing, one thing that strikes me about Misawa is that for a guy regarded as top 10 all-time, the opening third or so of his major singles matches is often awfully uncompelling. After the typical big opening spot to pop the crowd, there's a lot of methodically paced running through of low-end offense, with little of the stuff that tends to carry the early portion of a match for me such as matwork, wild brawling, charismatic selling or just cutting a decent pace. I think you can blame a lot of this on the '90s AJPW style that deemphasized matwork and required big matches to always go 30+ minutes meaning they had to take it really slow in the beginning, but given the role Misawa played in shaping that style I think it's fair to view this as a knock on him to some extent.



#56 WingedEagle

WingedEagle
  • Members
  • 5139 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 17 December 2014 - 09:33 AM

Misawa definitely turns to slow, methodical starts.  Perhaps I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt, but I find this appropriate and often compelling given how strongly he was established as the top dog in All Japan.  He defeats Jumbo and eventually takes the title from Hansen, after which his elbow is arguably the most protected move in the business.  Not always as a finisher like the Rainmaker, but its the all time equalizer.  He breaks that out and down goes the opponent.  As he vanquishes foe after foe, and is able to turn the tide against anyone with that elbow, it becomes incumbent on the challenger to overcome him.  This allows him to very often let the match come to him and pick his spots.  At least when I'm watching, the anticipation really builds waiting to see what his opponent brings and when/how he'll turn it on.

 

Take a look at the Akiyama matches in 2000 AJ and 2001 NOAH .  Watching the 2001 match last night was the earliest Misawa has looked like a grizzled old vet, almost Tenryu-like.  The athleticism isn't there but he almost does a Tenryu impersonation but with his own offense, centered around the elbows, of fighting off the rising star who overcame him the year before.  Loved it.



#57 pol

pol
  • Members
  • 818 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 04 May 2015 - 05:43 PM

There's a lot of talk of Misawa's great offense. Should it be held against him that he had the benefit of working in a style where it was acceptable and even expected for guys to stiff each other for real? If you're only concerned with the end result I guess it doesn't matter, but if you value working around limitations it's something to consider.



#58 GOTNW

GOTNW

    save all japan pro wrestling

  • Members
  • 1891 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Croatia

Posted 05 May 2015 - 04:16 AM

 

Should it be held against him that he had the benefit of working in a style where it was acceptable and even expected for guys to stiff each other for real?

No one is forcing a promotion to self-restrict. I actively hold it against WWE that they do, not because there's a lack of guys stiffing each other for real but because of how formulaic their matches are.



#59 El McKell

El McKell

    Actually The Worst

  • Members
  • 323 posts
  • Gender:Female

Posted 05 May 2015 - 05:10 AM

 
Should it be held against him that he had the benefit of working in a style where it was acceptable and even expected for guys to stiff each other for real?

No one is forcing a promotion to self-restrict. I actively hold it against WWE that they do, not because there's a lack of guys stiffing each other for real but because of how formulaic their matches are.

Yeah you can hold it against WWE and thats finebut can you hold it against the wrestlers working there, and any other wrestlers that didn't have the freedom to do the kind of stuff Misawa was doing

#60 pol

pol
  • Members
  • 818 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 05 May 2015 - 05:54 AM

Having made it up to mid-94 in my '90s All Japan viewing, one thing that strikes me about Misawa is that for a guy regarded as top 10 all-time, the opening third or so of his major singles matches is often awfully uncompelling. After the typical big opening spot to pop the crowd, there's a lot of methodically paced running through of low-end offense, with little of the stuff that tends to carry the early portion of a match for me such as matwork, wild brawling, charismatic selling or just cutting a decent pace. I think you can blame a lot of this on the '90s AJPW style that deemphasized matwork and required big matches to always go 30+ minutes meaning they had to take it really slow in the beginning, but given the role Misawa played in shaping that style I think it's fair to view this as a knock on him to some extent.

 

Another 6 months of working my way through AJPW stuff has changed my view on this. I've really started to dig that methodical style. Part what make Misawa so great is his workmanlike, business as usual attitude. He goes about working over his opponent like it's just another day at the office. I've recently realised that something I really get into is guys who effectively communicate "I'm really good at the sport of wrestling" through the way they carry themselves in the ring and execute their offense. Misawa is the epitome of that in 90s All Japan and I think the methodical openings are a big part of that. It also makes it all the more meaningful when he does show that he's in real danger.






0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users