SUPER POWER SERIES on 5/26/95
review by Mike Campbell
Even in the midst of excellent periods of booking, and performance, all promotions have their bad points. It’s part of that theory of the business being cyclical. All Japan in no exception, unfortunately, so as much as 1995 ruled for them, there had to be a few disappointing moments as well.
Mitsuharu Misawa . . . takes back the Triple Crown that’s been kept warm for him.
STAN HANSEN © vs. MITSUHARU MISAWA (Triple Crown)
There is one thing that is great about being wrestling fans, the fact that our opinions and tastes actually effect the product. How often do we, the fans take a heel and turn him face? The turn isn’t always in some stupid angle, but simply because he gets more cheers than boos. Stan Hansen’s glory days in AJPW were as the nasty heel. But time went on and the fans more or less turned him into a good guy. Hansen and Brody were no longer terrorizing the fans. Hansen and Baba were doing all they could to survive against Misawa and Kobashi.
Hansen is the champion though and he didn’t achieve all of his success by being the nice guy, and he goes right into reminding the fans that he’s a heel. He attacks Misawa before the bell and has a big sneer on his face. Hansen sends Misawa into the corner and viciously stomps him and chokes him. Misawa, knows that Hansen will give him all he can handle. Misawa’s the top guy in the federation because of his wins over Hansen, and they weren’t exactly cake walks for him either. Hansen continues to pound on Misawa, and as soon as Misawa sees an opening, he goes for the lariat arm. Misawa attacks the lariat arm much like Kawada did back in March, and he even uses a Fujiwara arm bar to wear him down. Misawa even uses his trademark elbows and aims them for the arm, rather than the jaw. Hansen is stunned so Misawa reverts back to his usual set of moves, and of course this means the Facelock. However, while Misawa was studying Hansen vs Kawada, Hansen was studying Misawa vs Taue. Hansen does the same thing to escape that Taue did, targets the recently broken orbital bone of Misawa.
Hansen tries to do a slingshot into an inverted Hotshot, but doesn’t quite get it right, so Hansen goes back to what he knows will win matches and he breaks out the Brazos Valley Back breaker that he used to win the AWA Title. It doesn’t have the success it had back in December of 1985 though since Misawa powers out. With Misawa down and not moving, Hansen opts to once again establish himself as “the bad guy” by kicking Misawa and toying with him, before dropping him in a big power bomb.
Hansen makes the same mistake most heels make though, he telegraphs his big move. Hansen raises his arm to signal for the Western Lariat. As he charges for it, Misawa ducks and hits the enzui knee, and follows up with the running elbow. Misawa tries for the Tiger suplex and Hansen throws him off. Hansen tries for the Lariat and Misawa ducks and hooks on a head scissors hold and gets the three count. Hansen is in total shock, and refuses Misawa’s handshake, then attacks the ring boys just for fun. The ending was kind of unexpected, but nice since Misawa got the better of Hansen by outsmarting him rather that pounding him with elbows. If Misawa vs Taue from 4/15/95 (Champions Carnival finals) is the definitive “Misawa by the numbers” match, then this match is “Misawa on defense”. Misawa spent a good portion of the match selling and taking a pounding, he didn’t ‘win’ as much as he ‘survived’ and scored a pin ***
JOHNNY ACE vs. KENTA KOBASHI
Each wrestler is the #2 man here. Kobashi is second to Misawa (top guy in the promotion). Ace is second to Steve Williams (top gaijin in the promotion). However, in the grand scheme of things, Kobashi is much higher up, mostly because Misawa has allowed Kobashi to get a lot of glory for himself in their big tag matches. On 12/3/93, Misawa stepped aside and let Kobashi pin Kawada to win them the Real World Tag League. On 5/21/94, Misawa stepped aside to let Kobashi pin Akira Taue to retain their World Tag Team Titles, and on 3/4/95 Misawa stepped aside and let Kobashi pin Ace, partly to help Kobashi, and partly to show Ace where his position in the company is. Kobashi is on his own tonight though, and he’s got his leg taped up very heavily, from his knee almost all the way up his leg to his hip.
Kobashi has let all of Misawa’s generosity go to this head though, the early portion of the match is Kobashi using submission holds like the surfboard and full nelson, rather than his usual type of offense. Ace escapes a full nelson and does a kick to the back and Kobashi doesn’t even sell it. Ace ducks a lariat and tries a dropkick, and Kobashi tries one as well, so nothing happens there. Ace puts Kobashi in the corner and does a combination of headbutts and chops, only to once again have Kobashi no sell them. Ace gets his first offensive move using a vertical suplex, and puts on a chinlock, so that Kobashi can’t pop right up from that too. Kobashi powers his way to his feet and hits a backdrop on Ace. Ace rolls to the floor and Kobashi tries a vertical suplex, only for Ace to hit a DDT counter, however Kobashi once again pops up and gives Ace a backdrop. Forget “delayed” selling, Kobashi is putting on a clinic of not selling at all.
Ace finally has enough of Kobashi’s not selling, and he knows what Kobashi will be forced to sell. So when Kobashi is not selling some chops, Ace take a cheap shot at the bandaged up leg. Kobashi goes to the floor, and when he gets on the apron, Ace once again dropkicks the bad leg. Kobashi is clutching his leg and Ace takes advantage and comes off the top with a diving lariat and then drops an elbow for two, Ace has hit all of four offensive moves, it’s a little early to go for the victory. Ace drops a DDT on Kobashi and this time he’s selling it, Kobashi tries to kick Ace in the knee, so Ace just returns the favor. Kobashi hasn’t learned his lesson though and uses the “Fighting Spirit” to not sell Ace’s kneebuster and then comes back with a lariat. Now instead of simply not selling for Ace, Kobashi is using his fighting spirit gimmick to justify not selling.
Once again, Kobashi opts to not sell for Johnny Ace. Ace counters a sleeper with a jawbreaker and Kobashi just stands there and puts it right back on. Ace and Kobashi fight over a suplex from the apron to the floor, but Ace outsmarts him and does the Ace Crusher over the top rope. Ace takes too long to get in the ring though and slams Kobashi and attempts the moonsault, only for Kobashi to pull him down. Ace comes back with a Guillotine Ace Crusher and neglects to hook the leg so Kobashi kicks out of course.
Johnny Ace gets desperate and tries for the Doctor Bomb, since it always helps his tag partner so well. Williams even has wins over Kobashi, so it can’t hurt to try. The move isn’t quite suited for Ace and Kobashi shifts his weight and falls on top of him. Kobashi decides to take a page out of Misawa’s book though and uses a Tiger suplex. Kobashi goes up for the moonsault and Ace dropkicks the knee. Ace actually sells this more than Kobashi, since ten seconds later, Kobashi is on his feet and hitting a power bomb. There are thirty seconds to go and Kobashi hits the moonsault, but takes a second to sell his leg and when he can finally cover, Ace kicks out and the time limit expires. Whether Kobashi was pissed about Ace being booked to take him to a draw, or he just wasn’t feeling it, Kobashi’s lack of selling dragged this down quite a bit. Ace was actually very good for the most part, although he still has that aura of trying to be a bad ass, like Williams or Gordy. If Kobashi had stepped up and done a better sell job, other than when his leg was being attacked then this would have been loads better. ***
Conclusion: Tough call on this one, nothing is outright bad, but given the time period, it’s quite disappointing. Recommendation to avoid this one.
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