review by Kevin Wilson
The Date: May 1st, 1998
Location: Tokyo Dome Show
What an important day this was for All Japan - their first ever Tokyo Dome Show. And who else to main event then Misawa and Kawada, the two men that have perhaps the most storied rivalry in all of professional wrestling. To set the stage properly, up to this point Kawada had never defeated Misawa in a Triple Crown Championship match. Never. He was a unique underdog... one that could beat the best of them (Hansen, Vader, Kobashi, Akiyama, and even Misawa himself during the Champions Carnival) but couldn't put down his old nemesis when the belts were on the line. This would be Kawada's sixth attempt to take the Triple Crown from Misawa since 1992, could he finally pull it off? The rest of the card was solid as well, with every important player of the 1990s (and even the 80s) in All Japan taking part. Here is the full card:
- Satoru Asako vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru
- Maunakea Mossman vs. Daisuke Ikeda
- Jumbo Tsuruta, Rusher Kimura, and Momota vs. Masa Fuchi, Haruka Eigen, and Tsuyoshi Kikuchi
- Tamon Honda and Shigeo Okumura vs. The Headhunters
- Jado and Gedo vs. Wolf Hawkfield and Johnny Smith
- Akira Taue, Takao Omori, and Masao Inoue vs. The Gladiator, Tetsuhiro Kuroda, and Hideki Hosaka
- Steve Williams and Gary Albright vs. Yoshihiro Takayama and Masahito Kakihara
- Giant Baba, Hayabusa, and Kentaro Shiga vs. Giant Kimala, Jinsei Shinzaki, and Jun Izumida
- Hiroshi Hase vs. Jun Akiyama
- Kenta Kobashi and Johnny Ace vs. Stan Hansen and Vader
- All Japan Triple Crown Championship: Mitsuharu Misawa vs. Toshiaki Kawada
On the released tapes, the matches were shown completely out of order, with the Triple Crown Championship match actually coming first. I am going to put the review in the order that the crowd saw the card.
Satoru Asako vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru
Kanemaru looks completely different here then he does today, since he is wearing a pony tail. JIP, Asako throws Kanemaru into the ropes, but Kanemaru shoulderblocks him to the mat. Asako is back up, they go off the ropes, but Kanemaru hits a dropkick. Asako falls out of the ring, Kanemaru goes to do a dive, but flips back in the ring. Asako gets back on the apron, but Kanemaru immediately dropkicks him back down to the floor. Kanemaru goes for a pescado, but Asako seems him coming and rolls back into the ring as Kanemaru flies over. Asako then hits a dropkick on Kanemaru through the ropes, with both wrestlers now on the outside. Asako slides Kanemaru back into the ring, picks him up, and elbows him in the back of the head. Snapmare by Asako, he goes off the ropes and hits a quick leg drop. Asako gets Kanemaru to his feet, scoop slam, he drags up Kanemaru again, Irish whip, and he hits a back bodydrop. Senton by Asako, cover, but it gets a two count. Asako applies an elevated crab hold, but Kanemaru eventually makes it to the ropes. Asako picks up Kanemaru and throws him into the corner before connecting with a series of chops. Irish whip by Asako, Kanemaru springboards out of the opposite corner and moonsaults over Asako, but Asako kicks Kanemaru when he charges towards him. Kanemaru manages to kick Asako back though and connects with a missile dropkick off the top turnbuckle. Kanemaru goes to the top turnbuckle again, waits for Asako to get up and hits a flying crossbody for a two count cover. Kanemaru picks up Asako, scoop slam, he goes out to the apron and hits a slingshot senton. Moonsault by Kanemaru off the side ropes, cover, but it gets a two count. Scoop slam again by Kanemaru, he goes to the top turnbuckle and delivers the moonsault. Cover, but again it only gets a two count. Back up, scoop slam by Kanemaru, he goes to the top turnbuckle, but Asako is back to his feet and knocks Kanemaru off. Dropkick by Asako, cover, but it only gets a two count. Asako picks up Kanemaru and goes for a backdrop suplex, Kanemaru lands on his feet, but Asako catches his kick and sweeps him to the mat. Asako picks up Kanemaru, delivers the Super Driver Asako for the three count pinfall! Your winner: Satoru Asako
Match Thoughts: This match wasn't clipped too much, as it was less then seven minutes to begin with and around five minutes were shown here. Asako, for those that don't know him, was a very solid mid-carder for All Japan and later NOAH, but was forced to retire in 2002 due to injuries. Last I heard he was still working for NOAH. This was a pretty simple veteran/young wrestler match, as really there was little doubt who would be winning. Even though the match was short Kanemaru did get in some offense though and it was fairly even for much of the match. With the beginning cut off its hard to really rate the match, but it was perfectly acceptable for a early match on a big event. Score: 5.0
Maunakea Mossman vs. Daisuke Ikeda
JIP, scoop slam by Ikeda, he goes to the top turnbuckle and hits the moonsault. Cover, but it gets a two count. Mossman gets Ikeda to his feet and delivers a side Russian leg sweep followed by the ankle lock. Mossman makes it to the ropes however and Ikeda has to break the hold. Ikeda puts Mossman onto the top turnbuckle, but Mossman fights back and hits a missile dropkick from the top turnbuckle. We get a clip, as now Ikeda has Mossman in an abdominal stretch by Mossman makes it to the ropes. Kick to the chest by Ikeda and he hits a backdrop suplex. Cover, but Mossman barely kicks out. Ikeda charges up the Bomber, but Mossman reverses it with a DDT. Mossman puts Ikeda onto the top turnbuckle and nails a reverse DDT down to the mat. Cover, but Ikeda barely kicks out. Mossman lays the kicks into Ikeda and follows up with a jumping heel kick. Hawaiian Smasher by Mossman, cover, and he picks up the three count! Your winner: Maunakea Mossman
Match Thoughts: Mossman is better known today as Kea, the current Triple Crown Champion. The match was too clipped to get a good feel of, but both wrestlers looked fine. Mossman didn't show some of the fire that he shows today in the ring though, but this was still fairly early in his career. Decent for what was shown, which wasn't much. Score: N/A
Jumbo Tsuruta, Rusher Kimura, and Momota vs. Masa Fuchi, Haruka Eigen, and Tsuyoshi Kikuchi
Momota and Eigen start things off. Eigen seems to have the full support of the crowd, they criss cross, drop down by Momota, but Eigen does a roll and both men are back on their feet. A *clip* follows, but it is still Eigen and Momota, and Eigen headbutts Momota out of the ring. Eigen goes to do a dive, Kikuchi comes in to help, but Eigen won't let go of the rope. Eigen then reverses it, and Kikuchi falls out of the ring instead. Eigen jumps out afterwards, but Momota chops and and slides him back in the ring. Momota gets in as well and chops Eigen, which causes Eigen to spit on Momota's team mates. Eigen goes to the top turnbuckle, but Momota throws him off. Another clip, as now Tsuruta and Kikuchi go at it. Irish whip by Kikuchi, reversed, Kikuchi ducks a lariat, but Tsuruta connects with the boot. Another boot to the face by Tsuruta, he picks up Kikuchi and hits the backdrop suplex. Cover, but Fuchi breaks it up. Tsuruta tags in Momota, Momota picks up Kikuchi and goes for the backdrop suplex, but Eigen runs in to break it up. Eigen comes in again, but Kimura throws him out of the ring. Kikuchi hits a calf kick on Momota and goes for the German suplex, but Momota drops down and rolls him up for a three count! Your winners: Jumbo Tsuruta, Rusher Kimura, and Momota
Match Thoughts: They clipped the hell out of this match, and I am not complaining. I was glad to see Jumbo on the card since he had helped All Japan so much in the 80s and early 90s, but this was the right type of match for him to be involved in. I felt sorry for Kikuchi, who I think could have done a bit better then be in an old man undercard match. Not much was shown, and what was shown wasn't very good. Score: N/A
Tamon Honda and Shigeo Okumura vs. The Headhunters
Yes, it is that Headhunters team, and no, I don't know why they are on this card. Since I can't them apart, I will randomly call one A and one B. JIP, as the Headhunters give Okumura a double Irish whip and slam him to the mat. Body press/leg drop combo by the Headhunters, cover, but Honda breaks it up. Headhunter B hits a vertical suplex on Okumura, cover, but again it gets a two count. Headhunter B picks up Okumura and tags in Headhunter A, Headhunter A goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits a missile dropkick. A killer running senton by Headhunter A follows (really, he actually tried to kill Okumura), cover, but again Honda breaks it up. Headhunter A picks up Okumura, scoop slam, he goes to the second turnbuckle, but Okumura rolls out of the way of the senton and tags in Honda. Headbutts by Honda on Headhunter B and Headhunter A, and he hits a backdrop suplex on Headhunter A for a two count cover. Back up, another backdrop suplex by Honda, but this time Headhunter B breaks it up. Double Irish whip on Honda and the Headhunters hit a double shoulderblock. Okumura goes to the top turnbuckle, but his dropkick attempt is shoved off by Headhunter A. Headhunter B comes over, but Okumura lariats him to the mat. Back to Headhunter A, Irish whip by Okumura and he hits a jumping lariat. Cover, but Headhunter A kicks out at two. Punches to the back by Okumura and he goes for a backdrop suplex, he can't get him over, but Honda runs in to help him with the move. Elbow drop by Okumura, cover, but Headhunter B breaks it up. Honda runs in and gets Headhunter B into a corner, Okumura and Honda try to Irish whip the Headhunters into each other, but it is reversed and Honda collides with his partner instead. Headhunter A then drills Okumura with a powerbomb, goes up to the top turnbuckle, and nails an amazing 350 pound moonsault for the three count pinfall! Your winners: The Headhunters
Match Thoughts: The Headhunters are amazing. When you first look at them, you think "man these are some fat wrestlers, why don't they just use Cheeks?" But then you see them wrestle and you are more then likely speechless. The Headhunters have done a lot of death matches, including one famous match against each other, but really for men their size their wrestling ability is incredible. Sure, they are limited by their enormous girth, but all things considered they aren't too bad. Anyway, the match itself was pretty heavily clipped, which is probably a good thing, but I was entertained by what I saw. Score: N/A
Jado and Gedo vs. Wolf Hawkfield and Johnny Smith
Gedo and Smith start things off. Tie-up Gedo gets Smith into the ropes and gives a clean break. They circle each other, tie-up, and Smith hits a monkey flip. They keep their hands locked, Smith breaks free, but Gedo rolls him up for a two count. Smith avoids a headscissors, but Gedo gets off an armdrag. They trade reversals, armdrag by Gedo, Smith puts Gedo into a headscissors, but he gets out of it and both men are back on their feet. Hammerlock by Smith and he tags in Hawkfield. Forearm by Hawkfield and he throws Gedo back into the corner. Hawkfield then picks up Gedo and throws him to the mat, allowing him to tag in Jado. Waistlock by Jado, but Hawkfield muscles out of it. Eye rake by Jado, Irish whip, reversed, but Jado hits a drop toehold. A front facelock is applied by Jado, but Hawkfield picks him up and drives him back into the corner. Snapmare by Hawkfield and he kicks Jado in the back. Jado fires back and applies a side headlock, Hawkfield Irish whips him off, and the two collide with no result. After they bounced off each other a second time, Gedo runs in the ring and helps Jado lariat Hawkfield to the mat. Smith comes in to help, but he eats a double dropkick. Double dropkick for Hawkfield, he rolls out of the ring, but after a moment he returns. Kick to the stomach by Hawkfield on Jado and he slams Jado to the mat before tagging in Smith. Hawkfield throws Smith onto Jado, cover, but it gets a two count. Irish whip by Smith from the corner and he arm drags Jado to the mat before dropping an elbow. Smith forearms Jado into the corner and goes for a powerbomb, but Jado back bodydrops him over the top rope. Smith hangs on to the top rope and tries to skin the cat, he can't get himself back in, but Gedo saves him by dropkicking him down to the floor. Gedo then goes to the top turnbuckle and sails out onto Smith with a plancha. Gedo slides Smith back into the and rakes his face across the top rope before tagging in Gedo. Gedo and Jado give Smith a double shoulderblock, cover by Gedo, but it gets a two count. Gedo rakes Smith in the eyes, picks him up, and punches him in the face. Smith returns with a forearm shot though, but Gedo tags in Jado. Gedo and Jado double team Smith, and then Jado rakes Smith's eyes until Hawkfield comes in to make the save. Jado tags in Gedo, Gedo goes to the top turnbuckle and they hit Decapitation. Cover, but it gets a two count. Irish whip by Gedo, reversed, and Smith delivers a powerslam before tagging in Hawkfield. Hawkfield clotheslines both Gedo and Jado, and then gives Gedo another one. Irish whip by Hawkfield, Gedo gets away from him, but Hawkfield delivers an overhead suplex. Cover, but it gets a two count. Irish whip by Hawkfield to the corner and he connects with a lariat. DDT by Hawkfield, cover, but it gets a two count. Hawkfield picks up Gedo and goes for the tilt-a-whirl slam, Gedo blocks it, Hawkfield gets him up anyway, but Jado runs in and they give Hawkfield a double vertical suplex. Gedo tags in Jado, Jado goes off the ropes, but Hawkfield catches him with a tilt-a-whirl slam and tags in Smith. Smith comes off the top turnbuckle with a missile dropkick, he goes off the ropes, and hits a German suplex. He goes for another one, but Jado hits him low and delivers a lariat for a two count cover. Vertical suplex by Jado, cover, Hawkfield breaks it up. Gedo dropkicks Hawkfield out of the ring and hits a moonsault on the outside while in the ring Jado hits another lariat for a two count. Jado picks up Smith and goes for a suplex, but Smith goes over his back and applies the Cobra Clutch. Gedo gets free of Hawkfield to make the save, but Hawkfield throws him back out of the ring. Double Irish whip on Jado and they drop him over the top rope. Cover, but it gets a two count. Scoop slam on Jado by Smith, Hawkfield goes up top and hits a flying body press and Smith follows with an top rope elbow drop. Cover, but Gedo breaks it up. Reverse DDT by Smith on Jado, cover, and he picks up the three count! Your winners: Wolf Hawkfield and Johnny Smith
Match Thoughts: I was a little surprised that this match wasn't clipped. In case the name rings a bell, Wolf Hawkfield was part of a deal with Sega to have one of the Virtual Fighters wrestling in All Japan. I think it is silly too, but that is why there was a video game character wrestling in Japan. Anyway, I was all ready to hate this match, but it was watchable. Hawkfield is your typical big man muscle wrestler, but at least he hit all his moves correctly. He reminded me a Test.... I am not sure if that is a compliment or not, so take that for what its worth. It was a really simple match with little thinking required, but it wasn't completely pointless as most of the action wrestling itself was passable. Smith is pretty useless though, and the biggest thing missing from this match was someone to carry it to mediocrity. Score: 4.0
Akira Taue, Takao Omori, and Masao Inoue vs. The Gladiator, Tetsuhiro Kuroda, and Hideki Hosaka
Taue and Gladiator start things off. Tie-up, wristlock by Gladiator, but Taue chops him in the head to get out of it. Tie-up again, side headlock by Gladiator, Taue Irish whips out of it and the two collide with neither man budging. Gladiator goes off the ropes, Taue greets him with a boot to the head, but Gladiator lariats him out of the ring and then sails out with a MAN SIZED tope suicida! Gladiator kicks Taue against the guard rail before finally throwing him back in the ring. Slingshot strike by Gladiator from the apron, cover, but it gets a two count. Taue fires back with a backdrop suplex however and follows with an enzigieri. Wristlock by Taue and he delivers the back kick before tagging in Omori. Uppercut by Omori, Irish whip, and he gives Gladiator a dropkick. Cover, but it gets a two count. Modified chinlock by Omori, but Gladiator pushes him down and tags in Kuroda. Kuroda picks up Omori, snapmare, and he kicks Omori in the back. Omori gets back up and slaps Kuroda and the two trade strikes. An uppercut by Omori knocks Kuroda down, but Kuroda is quickly back to his feet. Kick to the midsection by Kuroda, but Omori pushes Kuroda to the mat and tags in Inoue. Eye rake by Inoue and he rubs his face against the ropes. Snapmare by Inoue and he stomps on Kuroda. Kuroda sneaks in a leg sweep however and makes the tag to Hosaka. Hosaka and Inoue circle each other, tie-up, waistlock by Hosaka, reversed by Inoue, but Hosaka applies a wristlock. Inoue pushes Hosaka to the mat and applies a leg lock before tagging in Omori. Omori kicks Hosaka in the leg repeatedly before twisting back on it and re-applying a leg lock. Omori releases the hold to tag in Taue, Taue picks up Hosaka and drops him over the top rope. Back up, lariat by Taue, and he delivers two more. Cover, but Gladiator breaks up the pinfall. Taue cranks on Hosaka's neck before making the tag to Omori. Stomp to the back of the head by Omori, he goes for a vertical suplex, but Hosaka reverses it and tags in Kuroda. Irish whip by Kuroda to the corner, reversed, and Omori hits a lariat. Irish whip by Omori, but Kuroda drop toeholds him into the second turnbuckle and tags in Gladiator. Omori is triple teamed by Gladiator and company until Gladiator hits a sit-down powerbomb for a two count. Scoop slam by Gladiator, he goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits a body press. Cover, but Taue breaks it up. Kuroda is tagged in, he picks up Omori, but Omori headbutts him. The two trade headbutts, but Kuroda dropkicks Omori in the knee. Hosaka helps from the outside until Omori falls out of the ring. Kuroda slides him back in, where Hosaka is waiting for him.
Hosaka applies a knee lock to Omori, but after a moment he tags in Gladiator. Gladiator applies a standing leg lock, Omori almost makes it to the ropes, but Gladiator pulls him back. Inoue runs in and hits Gladiator from behind, but Omori can't take advantage as Omori lariats him against the ropes. Gladiator tags in Kuroda, and they give Omori a double elbow. Kuroda goes back to the leg and drops several elbows on it while Gladiator goes outside and gets a table. he removes the mats at ringside before setting up the table in the spot he cleared off. In the ring, Kuroda tags in Hosaka and Hosaka kicks Omori in the leg. Hosaka drives his knee into Omori's leg before tagging in Gladiator. Gladiator grabs Omori and sets him up for an Awesome Bomb, but as he gets close to the ropes (aiming for the table), Omori slides down his back and catches him with an enzigieri. Omori tags in Taue, who boots Gladiator twice in the face. Taue picks up Gladiator, Irish whip, and he hits lariat. Cover, but it only gets a two count. Taue sets up Gladiator for a chokeslam, but Hosaka and Kuroda break it up. Lariat by Gladiator on Taue and he tags in Kuroda. Irish whip by Kuroda to the corner, reversed, and three lariats knock Taue to the mat. Cover, but Taue quickly kicks out and delivers a DDT. Taue tags in Inoue, Inoue goes up to the top turnbuckle and delivers a missile dropkick. Lariat by Inoue, cover, but it gets a two count. Hosaka runs in to help Kuroda, and they hit a double vertical suplex on Inoue. Kuroda covers him, but again it gets a two count. Kuroda tags in Hosaka, Irish whip by Hosaka and he hits a sit-down spinebuster for a two count. Irish whip by Hosaka from the corner and he connects with a lariat. Hosaka puts Inoue on the top turnbuckle and nails the Frankensteiner. Cover, but Taue breaks it up. Hosaka goes for a powerbomb, but Inoue fights out of it and powerslams Hosaka to the mat. Inoue tags in Omori, who comes off the top turnbuckle with a missile dropkick. Cover, but Hosaka kicks out at two. Omori picks up Hosaka, but Hosaka fires back with a slap. They trade strikes, and Omori knocks Hosaka to the mat. Omori goes off the ropes, but Hosaka catches him with a hurricanrana for a two count cover. Hosaka gets a running start, but Omori ducks the lariat. Omori goes for a German suplex, Hosaka blocks it for a second, but Omori gets it anyway for a two count. The ring is cleared by Taue and Inoue, Omori hits a spinning heel kick on Hosaka, cover, but it gets a two count. Scoop slam by Omori, he goes to the top turnbuckle and nails the diving knee drop. Cover, and he picks up the three count pinfall! Your winners: Akira Taue, Takao Omori, and Masao Inoue
Match Thoughts: Not a bad match. Gladiator is Mike Awesome, in case you didn't know. I like logical matches, and this match was pretty logical even if it was simple. Omori's leg is worked over for awhile, Gladiator goes for the high risk kill, but when it fails it allows Omori to make a tag and Gladiator's team is never in the advantage again. If Gladiator had been more patient, would the plan have worked? Six man tags are always a mess to a degree so I appreciate them making an effort of telling a story in there. Perfectly acceptable, and considering the workers it was about as good as it could be. Score: 6.0
Steve Williams and Gary Albright vs. Yoshihiro Takayama and Masahito Kakihara
Now things are heating up, as Albright and Kakihara start things off. Williams asks for the tag though and calls for Kakihara to tag in Takayama. Kakihara resists for a minute, but eventually does so. Takayama and Williams go face to face, and they trade elbows. Knee to the midsection by Takayama and he hits a dropkick, but Williams charges back and pushes Takayama to the mat. Takedown by Takayama, he gets Williams into the ropes, Williams reverses it with a wristlock, but Takayama gets to the ropes. Takayama tags in Kakihara, and the two trade slaps. Kicks to the chest by Kakihara, but Williams takes him to the mat and then lifts him up to put him on the top turnbuckle. Punches by Williams, he goes up top as well, but Kakihara pushes him off and hits a missile dropkick. Side headlock takedown by Kakihara and he applies the cross armbreaker, but Albright breaks it up. Williams tags in Albright, Kakihara goes for a kick, but Albright catches his leg. Albright tries to take Kakihara to the mat, but Kakihara grabs the ropes and Albright gives a clean break. Leg sweep by Albright and he applies an ankle lock, but Kakihara makes it to the ropes and tags in Takayama. Takayama catches an Albright kick attempt and connects with a jumping knee to the face. Ankle lock by Takayama, but Albright quickly gets to the ropes. Kicks to the leg by Takayama, but Albright pushes Takayama back and tags in Williams. Williams mounts Takayama, but Takayama reverses it and applies a single-leg crab hold until Albright breaks it up. Leg takedown by Williams, and he applies a leg submission hold. Takayama tries to reverse it and after a minute manages to do so before applying a headlock until Albright breaks it up. Williams tags in Albright as Takayama tags in Kakihara. Albright blocks a Kakihara kick and hits a belly to belly suplex for a two count pinfall. Albright goes for a German suplex, but Kakihara grabs the top rope. Scoop slam by Albright and he tags in Williams. Punch to the face by Williams, but Kakihara comes back with kicks to the head. Kicks to the leg by Kakihara, but Williams ducks a jumping kick and delivers a spinebuster. Takayama breaks up the pinfall attempt, but Albright runs in and gives him a powerbomb. Kakihara kicks Albright out of the ring, Williams goes for a backdrop driver on Takayama, but Kakihara kicks him in the leg to break it up. More kicks to the leg by Kakihara, knocking Williams back down to the mat. Kakihara applies a leg submission hold but after a moment he releases it and lays in more kicks. Dropkick to the knee by Kakihara, cover, but it gets a two count. Single-leg crab hold by Kakihara, Albright comes to in to break it up, but Kakihara kicks him before he can do so. Kakihara goes for a German suplex, Williams reverses positions with him, but Kakihara rolls him up with a grounded ankle lock until Albright makes the save. Albright then gives Kakihara a pump-handle slam before leaving the ring so that Williams can tag him in. Butterfly suplex on Kakihara by Albright, cover, but Takayama breaks it up. Albright punches Kakihara into the corner, Irish whip, but Kakihara avoids the charge and hits a backdrop suplex. Kakihara tags in Takayama, Takayama goes off the ropes and hits a running boot to the face. Another kick by Takayama and he delivers the leg drop. Cover, but Williams breaks it up. Takayama clubs Williams out of the ring, Albright grabs Takayama and goes for the full nelson slam, but Takayama gets out of it. German suplex by Takayama, and he applies the cross armbreaker until Williams breaks it up. Takayama walks over and jaws with Williams, the two trade blows, but Albright catches him from behind and then tags in Williams. Williams comes off the top turnbuckle with a shoulderblock on Takayama and then knocks Kakihara off the apron. Splash in the corner by Williams and he suplexes Takayama to the mat. Cover, but it gets a two count. Williams picks up Takayama so that he can lariat him back down, does the same thing again, he goes for the backdrop driver, but Takayama grabs the top rope. Elbows by Takayama, but Williams delivers the Dr. Bomb for a two count cover. Albright runs in to knock Kakihara out of the ring and then helps Williams hit a full nelson slam on Takayama. Cover, but Kakihara breaks it up. Albright throws Kakihara out of the ring, both he and Williams go to the top turnbuckle, Kakihara pulls Albright to the outside, but Williams connects with the flying body press for the two count cover. Backdrop driver by Williams on Takayama, cover, and this time he picks up the three count! Your winners: Steve Williams and Gary Albright
Match Thoughts: Steve Williams had been wrestling pretty regularly for All Japan at this point for many years, but a month after this event he would leave for the WWF. This was definitely an interesting match. Both teams used team work well, but there were stretches that the match seemed disjointed and less fluid then you'd expect. There was no weak link in this match, as Williams and Albright could still go at this point, but there wasn't a stand out either. The end came somewhat suddenly, as Kakihara pulls Albright out of the ring but Williams finishes off Takayama with no real resistance. So the match was good, but there were no parts of it that went beyond that and to be honest I was really expecting more brutality when I saw who was in the match. Score: 6.5
Giant Baba, Hayabusa, and Kentaro Shiga vs. Giant Kimala, Jinsei Shinzaki, and Jun Izumida
This is the freak match, so Izumida is dressed like Kimala. Shiga seems terribly out of place, and I am only watching this match because Hayabusa is in it. Shiga and Izumida start things off. Tie-up, Shiga pushes Izumida back into the corner and clubs him in the chest before backing off. Scoop slam by Izumida, but Shiga is back up and goes for one of his own. Izumida blocks it though, another scoop slam by Izumida, but again Shiga is up fast and goes for a slam of his own. Izumida clubs out of it, Irish whip to the corner, but Shiga flips over Izumida and connects with a pair of dropkicks before finally hitting the body slam. Tie-up, wristlock by Shiga, but Izumida punches his way out of the hold. Giant Kimala is tagged in, tie-up, side headlock by Giant Kimala and he punches Shiga to the mat. Giant Kimala picks up Shiga, but Giant Baba chops him from the apron and leads Shiga back to his corner so that he can tag in. Man, Giant Baba looks rough. Both wrestlers go off the ropes, but they collide with no result. They do it again, but this time Giant Baba chops Giant Kimala to the mat afterwards. Tie-up, Giant Kimala gets Giant Baba against the ropes and punches him to his knees. Choke by Giant Kimala and he chops Giant Baba in the back. Giant Baba finally blocks one and chops Giant Kimala in the head, but Giant Kimala tags in Izumida. Tie-up, Izumida gets Giant Baba against the ropes and he tags in Hayabusa. Hayabusa kicks Izumida in the stomach and connects with a jumping back kick. Snapmare by Hayabusa and he applies a reverse chinlock. Izumida picks up Hayabusa to get out of it, brings Hayabusa to his corner and tags in Shinzaki. Shinzaki and Hayabusa circle each other, tie-up, side headlock by Shinzaki, Hayabusa Irish whips out of it, but Shinzaki shoulderblocks him down. Dropkick by Hayabusa, Irish whip, Shinzaki avoids Hayabusa, but Hayabusa rolls out of the way of the savate kick. Hayabusa tags in Giant Baba at Giant Baba's request, tie-up, side headlock by Shinzaki, Giant Baba Irish whips out of it and they collide with neither man budging. Shinzaki goes off the ropes, but they block each others chop attempts. Tie-up, Giant Baba gets Shinzaki into the corner and chops him in the chest and head. Shinzaki finally blocks one though, grabs Giant Baba by the arm and goes to the top turnbuckle, but Giant Baba pushes him to the outside of the ring. Shinzaki gets back in the ring and gets to the top turnbuckle again, but he jumps back in the ring and tags in Giant Kimala while Giant Baba tags in Shiga. Tie-up, kicks by Shiga, he applies a wristlock, and hits a series of armbreakers. Headbutt by Giant Kimala, he picks up Shiga and chokes him in the air before Hayabusa comes in to break it up. Giant Kimala tags in Izumida, Izumida picks up Shiga, but Shiga punches him and connects with a dropkick. Izumida fights back, but Shiga kicks him in the stomach. Shiga goes for a kick, but Izumida catches it and hits a dragon screw leg whip. Crab hold by Izumida, but Hayabusa comes in and breaks it up. Izumida knocks Hayabusa out of the ring and then goes back to Shiga, re-applying the hold. This time Hayabusa comes in with a springboard punch to the head, double Irish whip on Izumida, but Izumida clotheslines both Shiga and Hayabusa. Izumida tags in Shinzaki, and he punches Shiga in the throat. Scoop slam by Shinzaki and he chops Shiga in the throat again. Cover, but it gets a two count. Shinzaki applies the deadly neck nerve hold before chopping Shiga to the mat.
Scoop slam by Shinzaki and he nails the reverse splash from the second rope for a two count. Irish whip by Shinzaki, but Shiga lands on his feet after an attempted back bodydrop and hits a dropkick followed by an enzigieri. Shiga tags in Hayabusa, Irish whip by Hayabusa and he kicks Shinzaki out of the ring. Hayabusa then gets a running start and flies out of the ring with a beautiful somersault tope suicida! Hayabusa rolls Shinzaki back in and hits a springboard leg drop, cover, but Shinzaki kicks out. Giant Baba is tagged in, Irish whip by Giant Baba and he chops Shinzaki in the chest. Hayabusa suddenly flies in the ring and connects with a body press off the top turnbuckle. Shinzaki hits Giant Baba however, goes to the top turnbuckle and delivers the flying shoulderblock. Cover, but it gets a two count. Shinzaki picks up Giant Baba and goes for the powerbomb, but Hayabusa comes in for the save. Shinzaki thrusts Hayabusa in the throat, grabs Giant Baba by the arm and goes to the top turnbuckle, does his praying rope walk, but Giant Baba chops him when he jumps off. DDT by Giant Baba, and he tags in Shiga. Shiga comes off the top turnbuckle with a missile dropkick, cover, but it gets a two count. Shiga then hits a tornado DDT, cover, but again it gets a two count. Shiga tags in Hayabusa, who delivers the Falcon Arrow for a near three count. Scoop slam by Hayabusa, he goes to the top turnbuckle and hits a corkscrew senton. Cover, but Shinzaki kicks out! Hayabusa goes off the ropes, but Shinzaki catches with a hurricanrana. Dragon screw leg whip by Shinzaki, he picks up Hayabusa and delivers the praying powerbomb. Cover, but Hayabusa kicks out at two. Shinzaki tags in Giant Kimala, Giant Kimala picks up Hayabusa, Irish whip, and he connects with the dropkick. Cover by Giant Kimala, but Giant Baba breaks it up. Izumida comes in the ring, Irish whip by Izumida and both he and Giant Kimala splash Hayabusa in the corner. Body press by Izumida and Giant Kimala follows with a front flip senton. Cover, but it gets a two count. Izumida comes in, and both he and Giant Kimala hit elbow drops on Hayabusa. Cover by Izumida, but Hayabusa kicks out. Back up, Irish whip by Izumida to the corner and he hits a running boot. Izumida charges him again, but this time Hayabusa gets a foot up. Izumida catches him with a diving lariat however, cover, but it gets a two. Club to the back by Izumida, he goes to the top turnbuckle and hits a diving headbutt. Cover by Izumida, but again it only gets two. Izumida goes up top once again, but this time Hayabusa rolls out of the way of the diving headbutt. Izumida goes off the ropes, but Hayabusa kicks him when he charges in and delivers a release German suplex. Shiga then flies in with a springboard body press and Hayabusa follows that with a standing moonsault. Cover, but Shinzaki breaks it up. Giant Baba comes in and throws Shinzaki out of the ring, leaving Izumida all alone. Izumida picks up Hayabusa, but Shiga clubs him from behind. Elbow by Shiga, but Giant Baba boots him in the stomach. Scoop slam by Hayabusa in front of the corner, he goes up to the top turnbuckle and nails the Firebird Splash. Cover, and he picks up the three count! Your winners: Giant Baba, Hayabusa, and Kentaro Shiga
Match Thoughts: What do you say about a match like this? Hayabusa looked great, and his exchanges with Shinzaki showed what "These Days" could have been like. But Shiga was too young to have an impact, Giant Baba was 60 years old and less then a year from his passing, Shinzaki is a gimmicky wrestler, Giant Kimala is... well I couldn't tell if this was the original or not but either way its Giant Kimala, and Izumida didn't show much here even though he is a decent wrestler. But Hayabusa was at his spotty best, which is good enough for me. Score: 4.0
Hiroshi Hase vs. Jun Akiyama
They jockey for position to start the match, but neither man can get the upper hand. Finally they tie-up, Hase gets Akiyama into the ropes, but he gives a clean break. Akiyama goes for a single-leg takedown, but Hase blocks it. Again Akiyama goes for it, he gets Hase's leg, but Hase grabs his as well. Hase applies a leg lock on the mat, but Akiyama rolls until he can reach the ropes, forcing the break. Back up, front facelock by Akiyama, but Hase grabs Akiyama's leg and both men go to the mat. Akiyama gets Hase into the ropes and he also gives a clean break. Side headlock by Akiyama, but Hase reverses it with a waistlock. Akiyama reverses it, but Hase spins to the ground and pulls back on Akiyama's leg while they are on the mat. Hase releases the leg so he can go after Akiyama's arm, but Akiyama reverses positions with him and pulls back on Hase's arm. Hase wiggles out of that however and both men are back on their feet again. Tie-up, roll-up by Hase, but Akiyama easily gets a shoulder up. Hase gets a hold on Akiyama's leg however and drops down onto it before applying a leg lock. Hase sits up and applies the bow and arrow, Akiyama slaps Hase, but Hase maintains the hold. Akiyama manages to reverse the hold into a leg lock of his own however, but Hase reverses that into a stretch hold. Akiyama rolls over and slaps on an ankle lock, but again it is reversed by Hase and he applies the Muta Lock. After a moment Hase releases the hold and applies a crossface while keeping Akiyama's legs together. Hase then applies a stretch hold, but he picks up Akiyama and kicks him back into the corner. Chop by Hase, but Akiyama fires back with a forearm and the two trade shots. Knee to the midsection by Akiyama and he kicks Hase into the corner. Irish whip by Akiyama and he delivers a jumping knee. Irish whip again by Akiyama, it is reversed, and Hase hits a face crusher. Hase goes to Akiyama's legs to go for the Giant Swing, Akiyama tries to slap his way out of it, but Hase lifts him up anyway and spins him around 15 times or so before dumping him onto the mat. Hase is also a little dizzy, but he is up first and slaps Akiyama in the face. Akiyama naturally slaps him back, and the two trade blows until Akiyama falls down to his knees. Akiyama gets back up and gives Hase another slap and the exchange continues until Akiyama knocks Hase to the mat. Kick to the head by Akiyama, but Hase begins absorbing the blows.
Akiyama goes off the ropes, but Hase catches him and nails the uranage. He goes for another one, but Akiyama blocks it and hits an exploder. Hase is up quickly though and hits an uranage, but Akiyama absorbs the attack and fires back with another exploder. Hase tries to get up, but he can't and both men fall to the mat. Hase is up first and drives an elbow into Akiyama before applying the Scorpion Deathlock. After struggling for a moment Akiyama makes it to the ropes, forcing Hase to break the hold. Hase stomps Akiyama in the back repeatedly, but Akiyama suddenly gets up and forearms Hase in the face. Dropkicks to the knee by Akiyama and he hits a dragon screw leg whip. Figure four leg lock by Akiyama, but after a minute Hase gets an arm over the bottom rope. Hase goes out to the apron, Akiyama grabs him and goes for a suplex, Hase blocks it, Akiyama gets Hase over the ropes, but Hase lands on his feet. Dropkick to the knee by Akiyama and he hits a German suplex hold for a two count. Akiyama then goes up to the top turnbuckle and connects with a jumping knee. Back to the figure four by Akiyama, but Hase reverses it. Akiyama swings it back to his favor, but Hase won't submit so he releases the hold. Kicks to the leg by Akiyama, but Hase gets back up and the two trade strikes. Hase slaps Akiyama down to the mat, Hase picks him up and nails an uranage. Another one by Hase, cover, but Akiyama barely kicks out. Hase picks up Akiyama and gets the Northern Lights Suplex Hold, but Akiyama quickly kicks out at one. Hase picks up Akiyama again and gets another Northern Lights Suplex, and this time he picks up a two count. Dragon suplex hold by Hase, but Akiyama kicks out at two. Hase goes off the ropes and kicks down Akiyama, but Akiyama gets back up to one knee. Another kick by Hase, but Akiyama absorbs it and gets to his feet. Akiyama takes another kick, but fires back with a kick of his own. They trade kicks to the head, but Akiyama floors Hase with a forearm to the head. Double armed DDT by Akiyama, he picks up Hase and nails the wrist-clutch exploder! Cover, and he picks up the three count pinfall. Your winner: Jun Akiyama
Match Thoughts: This was an odd match. Everything was fine, except for Akiyama's random and meaningless leg work in the middle of the match that was never sold and meant nothing in the grand scheme of things. Maybe he was trying to show up Hase, I don't know, but it didn't seem to fit in what they were doing at all. Other then that I enjoyed the match, Akiyama is one of my favorites and Hase is very solid in the ring even if he lacks flair at times. I was shocked how much time this match got, but I guess since they were in the Tokyo Dome they didn't want to hold back. If this was the main event it would have fallen flat (like Akiyama/Suzuki), but third from the top it was very solid and a fun match overall. Score: 7.0
Kenta Kobashi and Johnny Ace vs. Stan Hansen and Vader
Guess who the weak link is here (It is important to note that I am a big fan of Kobashi, Hansen, and Vader)? Kobashi and Vader start things off, and the crowd is hot. Tie-up, but Vader pushes Kobashi back. Tie-up again, and again Vader pushes Kobashi off of him. Tie-up a third time, and Vader connects with a series of punches until Kobashi is in the corner. One final blow sends Kobashi to the mat. Vader continues punches Kobashi, but Kobashi fires back with chops in the corner. Irish whip by Kobashi, but Vader knocks him out of the ring with the a running avalanche. Kobashi gets back in the ring after a moment, but Vader punches him as he comes in. Vader punches Kobashi against the ropes, Irish whip, but Kobashi ducks the lariat and hits a flying shoulderblock. Vader gets back up and asks Kobashi for a Test of Strength, but Vader punches him in the stomach instead. Kobashi blocks a Vader lariat and lays in the chops, but Vader takes him down with an armbar. Kobashi eventually makes it to the ropes and Vader tags in Hansen. Hansen and Vader club Kobashi to his knees, double Irish whip, and they connect with a double elbow. Elbow drop by Hansen, he picks up Kobashi, but Kobashi fights back. They trade strikes, Irish whip by Hansen, and Hansen shoulderblocks Kobashi to the mat. Kobashi manages to tag in Ace, who comes in the ring with a flying lariat. Ace picks up Hansen, Irish whip by Ace, and he hits a lariat. He goes for another one, but Hansen catches him with the shoulder. Vertical suplex by Hansen and he chops Ace into the corner. Snapmare by Hansen and he elbows Ace in the chest as he applies a reverse chinlock. Vader comes in to kick Ace for good measure, Hansen picks up Ace, but Ace applies a wristlock and elbows Hansen in the arm. Hansen punches his way out of the hold, Irish whip, but Ace meets Hansen with an elbow. Stomp by Ace and he chops Hansen in the chest. Ace tags in Kobashi, chops by Kobashi, but Hansen headbutts him back. Hansen chokes Kobashi in the corner with his knee, picks him back up and knees him in the head. Hansen tags in Vader and Vader punches Kobashi in the midsection. Belly to belly suplex by Vader, he picks up Kobashi, but Kobashi fires back with chops. Kobashi goes for a vertical suplex, but Vader reverses it into a suplex of his own. Vader throws Kobashi out of the ring and follows him out, kicking him in the ribs. Vader brings Kobashi with him over the railing and then rams him back-first into the ring post. Kobashi ducks a lariat though and scores with the DDT on the floor. Hansen comes out to help, but Ace runs over and knocks Kobashi over the railing with an ax handle. Kobashi then goes to the top turnbuckle and nails a plancha onto Vader! Kobashi rolls him back into the ring and hits a rolling back chop, cover, but it gets a two count. Kobashi tags in Ace, Irish whip to the corner, and they hit a backdrop/neckbreaker combo for a two count cover. Ace Irish whips Vader into the corner and connects with a kick, but Vader pushes him off when he goes for a DDT and lariats him to the mat. Cover by Vader, but it gets a two count. Vader tags in Hansen, who immediately knocks Ace out of the ring. Hansen throws Kobashi over the railing before going after Ace and doing the same to him. Hansen grabs a table and props it up against the post in the ring, and he Irish whips Ace into it. It doesn't break of course, so Hansen throws it at him as well. The referee gets him back, and Vader rolls Ace into the ring. Cover by Hansen, but it only gets a two count.
Hansen tags in Vader, and they hit a vertical suplex. Vader picks up Ace, Ace fights back, but Vader floors him with a punch to the face. Vader then picks up Ace and drops Ace right on his head with a release German suplex. Ace rolls out of the ring, Kobashi tries to protect him, but Hansen rams Kobashi into the ring post. Hansen picks up Ace and slides him back into the ring, running body press by Vader, cover, but it gets a two count. Vader tags in Hansen and Hansen drops a knee on Ace's head. DDT by Hansen, cover, but it gets a two count. Vader is tagged back in, they give Ace a double Irish whip and hit a double back bodydrop. Vader drags Ace to the corner, he goes up to the second rope, and nails a body splash. Vader then knocks Kobashi off the apron, goes to the second rope, and hits an avalanche on Ace for a two count cover. Back up, Irish whip by Vader, but Ace kicks him back and nails the Ace Crusher! Ace makes the tag to Kobashi, Hansen comes in to help, and he engages Kobashi in a strike exchange. Chops to the neck by Kobashi followed by the rolling chop, and he gives Vader a pair of leg drops. He covers Vader, but it gets at two count. Side suplex by Kobashi, another cover, but again it gets two. Scoop slam by Kobashi, he goes to the top turnbuckle, and nails the moonsault. He then sends Hansen to the mat as well, picks up Vader and goes for the brainbuster, but Vader falls on top of him and gets a two count cover. Hansen throws Ace out of the ring as Vader goes out as well, and Vader lariats Ace on the outside. Vader rolls back in with Kobashi, Irish whip by Vader, and he delivers a lariat. Cover, but Kobashi barely kicks out. Vader picks up Kobashi and with Hansen's help delivers the powerbomb! Cover, but Ace breaks it up. Hansen kicks Ace out of the ring before getting on the apron so that Vader can tag him in. Hansen picks up Kobashi, scoop slam in front of the corner, Hansen goes to the top turnbuckle and hits an elbow drop (barely). Cover, but Kobashi kicks out at two. Hansen calls for the lariat, Vader picks up Ace for him, but Kobashi kicks Hansen back when he charges in. Hansen then holds Kobashi for Vader, but Kobashi moves and Vader hits Hansen on accident. School boy by Kobashi on Hansen, but it gets a two count. Hansen goes for the lariat, but Kobashi ducks it and sneaks in a small package for the three count pinfall! Your winners: Johnny Ace and Kenta Kobashi
Match Thoughts: Vader was still actively wrestling in the WWF during this time (he actually wrestled Kane in a mask vs. mask match on May 31st), so what he is doing here I have no idea. Not that I am complaining, but that might explain why Hansen took the fall since Vince probably didn't want his guy getting pinned. This was a fun stiff match, as you would assume, as Vader got to bust loose for the first time in awhile and maul people just because he can. Hansen didn't get any more careful with age, and even though he was towards the end of his career he still was solid in the ring. Like I mentioned, to me Ace is the one that seemed out of place, as Kobashi was definitely the crowd favorite here. My only complaint is the Kobashi never really got what he had been going for (a brainbuster or even a vertical suplex on Vader), and the fact that he gave up and won with a small package I thought made him look weaker then Hansen and Vader since he took the easy way out. With a stiff match like this I was expecting a conclusive ending, especially at the Tokyo Dome, but instead it was a rather soft way to end the match. But it was still fun all the way around and a suitable semi-main event as the crowd was hot throughout. Score: 7.5
(c) Mitsuharu Misawa vs. Toshiaki Kawada
This match is for the Triple Crown Championship. They circle each other to start, tie-up, Kawada gets Misawa into the ropes and chops him in the chest. Misawa hits him back however and Kawada retreats to the corner. Kawada comes back out of the corner, tie-up, waistlock by Kawada and he kicks Misawa in the legs. Misawa kicks him back however and Kawada falls to the mat. Irish whip by Misawa and he delivers a jumping lariat. Misawa picks up Misawa and goes for a suplex, but Kawada blocks it and hits Misawa twice in the head. Misawa blocks the third kick attempt and goes off the ropes, but Kawada rolls out of the way. Tie-up, side headlock takedown by Kawada, but Misawa gets out of it with a headscissors. Kawada re-applies the side headlock, but Misawa struggles to his feet. Irish whip by Misawa, but Kawada shoulderblocks him down. Scoop slam by Kawada and he kicks Misawa in the back. Kawada picks up Misawa and goes for the brainbuster, but Misawa lands on his feet. They trade forearms, with Misawa getting the better of it and hitting a rotating backdrop suplex. Misawa then goes to the top turnbuckle and delivers a missile dropkick. After kicking Kawada out of the ring, Misawa gets a running start and sails out onto Kawada with a tope suicida and hits the railing himself in the process. Misawa is up fairly quickly however and slides Kawada back into the ring. Senton by Misawa, cover, but Kawada easily kicks out. Misawa applies a reverse chinlock, but Kawada makes it to the ropes. Snapmare by Misawa and he re-applies the modified reverse chinlock until once again Kawada makes it to the ropes. Elbows to the back of the head by Misawa and he goes for the Tiger Driver, but Kawada blocks it. More elbows by Misawa and he hits a rolling kick. He goes for the Tiger Driver again, but Kawada grabs the ropes. Irish whip by Misawa, but Kawada slams on the breaks and connects with a high kick. Kawada picks up Misawa and slaps him to one knee. Kawada goes for the brainbuster, but instead puts Misawa up on the top turnbuckle. Kawada joins him up top and goes for the vertical suplex, Misawa manages to lessen the blow upon landing, but Kawada quickly boots him back down to the mat. Kawada then picks up Misawa and drops him right on his head with a brainbuster! Kawada knees Misawa in the back of the head before picking him up and slamming him back to the mat. Knee drop by Kawada, cover, but it gets a two count. Kawada applies a headscissors, but Misawa eventually makes it to the ropes. Kawada goes for the powerbomb, Misawa reverses it with a hurricanrana, but Kawada immediately boots him back down to the mat. Kawada picks up Misawa and goes for it once again, Misawa blocks it, so Kawada kicks him rapidly in the face. Running boot to the face by Kawada in the corner and he lays in the kicks as Misawa is in the slouched position. Misawa fights back to his feet, Kawada kicks him back down, but Misawa forearms him to the mat. They exchange blows, but Kawada has no chance and Misawa delivers an elbow smash that knocks him down. Release German suplex by Misawa, he goes off the ropes, Kawada ducks for elbow twice, and drops Misawa on his head with a release German suplex. Misawa is up quickly, but Kawada drops him with a Gamengiri. Another release German suplex by Kawada, he picks up Misawa, but Misawa hits a series of elbow smashes. Misawa goes for the Tiger Driver, Kawada blocks it, so Misawa gives him a German suplex hold instead for a two count. Kawada falls out of the ring to recover, but Misawa follows him out and rolls him back into the ring.
Elbows by Misawa and he goes for the Tiger Driver again, and finally hits it for a two count cover. Misawa goes for the tiger suplex, but Kawada grabs the ropes. Elbows by Misawa, but Kawada kicks him in the legs and delivers a dragon screw leg whip. Kawada picks up Misawa, scoop slam, and he applies the single-leg crab hold. After a moment Misawa makes it to the ropes, so Kawada releases the hold and slams Misawa's leg into the mat. Again Kawada sends Misawa's leg into the mat and he applies the figure four leg lock. Misawa briefly makes it to the ropes, but Kawada quickly pulls him back in the middle of the ring. Finally Misawa makes it to the ropes, but Kawada pulls him back to the middle of the ring and continues working on the leg. Knee breaker attempt by Kawada, but Misawa elbows out of it and sends Kawada crashing to the mat. Cover by Misawa, but Kawada kicks out at one. Misawa gets Kawada up and goes for the tiger suplex, Kawada blocks it, but Misawa elbows him in the head and gets the move off for a two count pinfall. Misawa picks up Kawada, but Kawada slaps him and they trade blows. Misawa blocks the high kick, he gives Kawada some more elbows and goes off the ropes, but Kawada boots him twice to knock him off his feet. Kawada applies the cross armbreaker, but Misawa makes it to the ropes. Kawada picks up Misawa and hits an armbreaker, but Misawa elbows him to the mat. Misawa goes for the Tiger Driver, Kawada gets out of it, but Misawa immediately sets Kawada up again and this time delivers the move for a two count. Misawa goes for an elbow, but Kawada blocks it and kicks Misawa in the arm. Lariat by Kawada, cover, but it only gets a two count. Kawada goes for an abdominal stretch, but Misawa gets out of it and hits a release tiger suplex followed by a German suplex hold for a two count. Misawa picks up Kawada and sets him up for the Tiger Driver, but Kawada rams him back into the corner. Misawa blocks a kick and goes off the ropes, but Kawada connects with a rolling kick to the head. Gamengiri by Kawada, cover, but Misawa barely kicks out in time. Kawada picks up Misawa and goes for the powerbomb, but Misawa backdrops out of it. Kawada lariats Misawa in the back of the head however and nails a release German suplex. Another Gamengiri by Kawada, he gets Misawa to his feet, but Misawa elbows him to the mat. Kawada gets up quickly with a rolling kick and then plants Misawa on his head with a release German suplex. Gamengiri by Kawada and he drills Misawa with the brainbuster! Cover, but it only gets a two count. The crowd is buzzing now as Kawada gets Misawa up and sets him up for a powerbomb, Misawa blocks it for a second, but Kawada hits it anyway. Cover, but Misawa kicks out once again. Back up, Kawada sets up Misawa once again, nails the folding powerbomb, and picks up the three count pinfall! Your winner and new champion: Toshiaki Kawada
Match Thoughts: A historic match, as Kawada finally defeats Misawa. Shame that he held the belt for only a month, but that's the way it works sometimes. In matches like this I almost wish that they'd just forget the mat work and just knock each other silly like they did at the 2005 NOAH Tokyo Dome, for it wasn't sold and we all knew that the match wasn't ending with a Kawada figure four leg lock. In the grand scheme of things this was far from their best match, but by this point they were both banged up and weren't the young pups they were in 1992 when the feud started. If you didn't know any of the history this match might come across as simply "very good," but when you factor in how pumped the crowd was and the storied history between these two, the match becomes legendary. Obviously the match was stiff and brutal (especially the brainbusters), and even though I think towards the middle they over-did the mat work (beyond the initial obligatory mat work) overall the match was excellent and exactly what All Japan needed at the time. Score: 8.0
What a day this was for All Japan - nearly filling up the Tokyo Dome the first time they entered it and putting on a top to bottom entertaining show. Like I said, everyone was there that represented all the work the promotion had put into becoming one of the top promotions in Japan. This event gets an instant recommendation just for the main event, but the matches leading up to the main event were very good as well. Besides the normal All Japan silliness in the middle of the card, the only downside of this event is that the beginning matches are clipped. Unfortunately that's how they were released, but at least it was only four matches and the rest were shown in full. Overall a really fun card and one that you should get if you are a fan of All Japan. Check out the Puroresu Shop if you would like to purchase this event.
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