I consistently enjoy early 90s AJPW, far more than I enjoy mid or late 90s AJPW. If I ever free up some time, I'll dive deeper through those first few years of the decade. Some of it is excess, as in the style hadn't eaten its own tail and force increasing levels of escalation upon itself. Some of it is that it can fly closer to the ground, closer to more traditional pro wrestling. That's not to say you have that with 80s AJPW tags, though, which are generally amorphous attempts at one-upmanship. There's a sweet spot of a few years where maybe the way the style was progressing allowed it a bit more. I don't know. I'd be curious to find out.
Here is an example of that, though. The foreigners were undeniably working as heels. Some of that was because Rick Rude who is the heel of all heels was in there. I had no idea what he was doing in between the end of his WWF run and showing up at Halloween Havoc 1991. Apparently it was this. He's a weirdly natural fit with Gordy and Williams, undeniably triple-tough, but also cartoony in a way that helped bring out their natural over-the-top nature. He was something fresh and enjoyably out of place down to the announcer going nuts as he opened the robe.
I really enjoyed the layout for two reasons. First, a huge chunk of this was heat on Kawada (Kikuchi, who you'd expect in that role, was barely a factor in the match, weirdly enough). The Americans cut off the ring, kept working Kawada back into their corner, built up the tension. It's a formula you don't see all the time in AJPW and you half think it wouldn't work, but here it did. Every time they did something underhanded or that frustrated the crowd somehow, booing would break out a chant would start for the native wrestler. Second, this ended like a lucha trios in a way that you don't often see outside of lucha. Despite everything else that was happening, Misawa and Gordy were treated like captains of their respective teams. The match was ultimately heading to the two of them facing off, presumably to set up a future match (one that I'd be happy to track down at some point). It was an environment where Gordy could get the pinfall without some of the same costs/implications of a big singles match.
I really do need to see more 91 AJPW.