All Japan Pro Wrestling on 1/24/95
review by PdW2kX
Mitsuharu Misawa and Kenta Kobashi vs. Akira Taue and Toshiaki Kawada
Kobashi and Kawada start off with grudging respect for one another, but quickly lose it in the heat of the moment and begin to ruthlessly assault each other. Taue, meanwhile, gets a look of shock on his face as Misawa out-wrestles him. Kobashi is in a bad way before long, but Misawa saves his partner, leading us into a short melee that sees both Misawa and Kobashi hit some dives to the outside. Kawada is isolated momentarily, then Taue is able to do some pretty effective damage to Misawa, despite most of the damage resulting from heelish antics. For a long, long time, Kenta Kobashi is cut off from his partner. Taue and Kawada then throw everything but the kitchen sink at Kobashi, ruthlessly working over his legs to the point where he can barely stand, but somehow Kobashi keeps kicking out. After God knows how long, Misawa is finally able to tag back in, and "cleaning house" does no justice to Misawa's flurry of offense. "Seeing how many times you can elbow two men in the face before your arm breaks" is a much better description. A pair of Rolling Elbows carries us into a long line of last-ditch, last-stand offense that results in all four men barely having the energy to stand, but still finding the sheer will that allows them to not get pinned. In the end, no one wins the night, as the 60-Minute Time Limit expires.
Analysis: All told, this is one of my favorite matches of recent memory. It's an astounding match with an astounding story, and has got to be one of the greatest tag-team matches of all time. Although I liked the 6/9/95 match-up better, I consider that match the greatest match of all time, period, and coming in close to the greatest match of all time has got to say something about the quality witnessed here. Even the parts that stalled were perfectly placed- the match started out very slow, as both teams knew they were going to go the distance. Instead of burning out, all four men managed to save their energy for the long haul, while still hitting some very impressive and expertly-placed offense. Then the match immediately picked up as both teams found their flow, kicking and punching and chopping and all-around stiffing the ever-living hell out of each other to the point where all four were drenched in sweat. Kobashi was brutalized for an unmercifully long amount of time, only for Misawa to finally tag back in and get one of the greatest "hot tag" pops I've ever heard. Then, in the very end, all four men were reduced to semi-lifeless shells that could barely move. This match really exemplifies the limits all four men were willing to go in order to prove whose team was dominant, which one was strongest, etc. It's a completely-involving, completely jaw-dropping match that's excellent in every way. This is one of those matches that simply needs watching, no matter your preference. ****¼
Final Thoughts: Unlike some of the others, I really have no problem with this being a one-match-only DVD. It's 60 minutes of top-notch top-flight wrestling, featuring four of the greatest wrestlers of any era of professional wrestling. The video quality is actually better than some of the other single-match DVD's I've reviewed, and it seems that the idea of single-match DVD's loses its bite after time. Technically you should be entitled to more, even if it's an IVP DVD (which, admit it, are super-cheap anyway), but you find very little to complain about when the only match on this thing is the only match needed to justify purchasing this DVD. Anytime you see Kobashi/Misawa vs. Kawada/Taue, you've got something that needs purchasing, no matter the price tag, video quality, or length. Although my two main arguments of all single-match mid-90's AJPW DVD's still pertain to this set- it's only one match, and it can probably be found online- both arguments lose their luster over time, because I'm consistently blow away by the quality of these single-match DVD's. Face facts: no matter if it can be found online, no matter if it's only one match, this DVD simply must be picked up.
Final Rating for All Japan Pro Wrestling- January 24, 1995: ****
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