Matches listed in chronological order. NOTE: Front page only contains a few months worth of updates. This page has everything.
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Kawada, Ace & Albright vs Misawa, Kobashi & Akiyama, 4/20/96. As happened the year before, this is at the end of the Champions Carnival tour and features 6 participants. Unlike the '95 iteration, there is no super-weak loss post, which means any result will feel important. What makes this especially worthwhile is the Kawada/Akiyama pairing, which REALLY sets the table for the rest of the year. Big finish to boot. Get on it! Repost.
Misawa/Kawada/Kobashi round-robin, CC '97 final. Slight clipping. Quality upgrade.
Misawa vs Akiyama, Champions Carnival '95. The thought process for a match like this isn't "can Akiyama score the upset", it's "how far can he take the champ". Early on we it's clear that Akiyama is bringing his best, showing plenty of aggression. However, Misawa is still able to take control with relative ease after a few minutes, because Akiyama can't absorb nearly as many elbows as the top heavyweights. The middle isn't very inspired, but they kick off the finish in style with a fantastic 10-step sequence. Akiyama does end up with a moral victory as he survives several Misawa trademarks and forces Misawa to bust out something you normally wouldn't expect from him. Repost.
Misawa vs Kobashi, Champions Carnival '95. Their first singles match in two years. Given how much Kobashi accomplished in that span, he is now a full threat to Misawa rather than a guaranteed win. The opening minutes establish this quite well: Kobashi dominates right out of the gate. Even once it looks like Misawa is finally in position to take control for a couple minutes, Kobashi refuses to stay down and comes back. That's why the crowd buys nearfalls on Misawa just 10 minutes in, and why Misawa has to struggle with even 'small' trademarks like the facelock. Huge finishing run by tournament standards, which is a fitting end to a hard-fought battle. Repost.
Kawada & Taue vs Misawa & Akiyama, Tag League '96 final. Upgrade.
Misawa & Akiyama vs Williams & Ace, tag titles, 9/5/96, slightly clipped. Heck of a match. With, you guessed it, an epic finishing stretch. Definite contrast with the Misawa/Akiyama vs Kawada/Taue bouts, as this is more about pace and bumps rather than story. There are some unlikely highlights, including a nasty back elbow and a nastier back-bodydrop bump. This is the fifth time Johnny Ace has been in position to win the tag titles. Will he finally come out on top? Repost.
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Misawa & Akiyama vs Taue & Kawada, tag titles, 7/9/96. Was last time a fluke, or does young Akiyama really have what it takes to hang with the headliners? Making that proposition even murkier than the first time is Taue's title win over Misawa, meaning the challengers come in with an advantage in both team experience and individual capability. Taue and Kawada waste no time taking it to Akiyama; no feeling-out process here. Having Akiyama in Kobashi's place produces a completely different dynamic, and Akiyama's underdog role allows them to produce a great match with a fraction of the bombs that were dished out a year before. Make no mistake: this is a GREAT match. In any other promotion it would be a standout by virtue of the action, layout, and finish. All Japan was just so loaded that anything short of 'ultra epic' wasn't a MOTYC. Going back and revisiting matches like this proves how special '90s All Japan was. Repost.
Kawada, Ace & Albright vs Misawa, Kobashi & Akiyama, 4/20/96. Upgrade.
Taue vs Kawada, Triple Crown, 6/7/96. Oddly enough, this is their only title match. A pity, too, considering that they don't pull off what they're capable of. The layout is like a standard '90s Triple Crown match, but with everything compressed by 30%. The result is efficient yet not quite satisfying. Repost.
Kawada vs Kobashi, Triple Crown contendership, 5/24/96. Winner gets a shot at the Budokan just two weeks later. Kawada beat Kobashi in just under 30 minutes during the Carnival. What's more, Kobashi hasn't gotten a fall on Kawada since '93! So you could either say that Kobashi is overdue for a win, or that Kawada just has his number. Maybe Kobashi realizes he needs to up his game, as evidenced by the stuff he busts out around the 1/3rd mark of the match. This match isn't their A-game, but they still deliver what would be a notably great match for 99.9% of wrestlers. Dramatic exchanges, big moves, callbacks, stiffness; it's all there. One of them even busts out a variant on the GOLDEN ARM BOMBER~. I remember Hiroshi Wajima and I care. Wait, no I don't. But I do care about Kawada and Kobashi, and I'd wager you do as well, so watch this. Repost.
Kawada vs Taue, Champions Carnival '92. Upgrade.
Misawa vs Kobashi, Champions Carnival '96. This got the main event slot over Kawada/Taue, and they definitely bring a main event level effort. They would top this later in their series, but it says something that they produce a much tighter match that their title bout 5 months earlier while still bringing plenty of impact and heat. I love how intense Kobashi gets when he smells blood in the final minutes, wanting so badly to get his first-ever win on Misawa. Does he have enough to fend off The Misawa Comeback and fell the ace, or will Misawa triumph as usual? Also, take note of the finish. Repost.
Kawada vs Taue, Champions Carnival '96. Tag partners put everything aside to kick each other in the face. It doesn't take long for them to get to a really big exchange, and from there it's a natural progression. The exchange winner takes advantage; there's a big counter to set up the other guy taking over; there's a protracted comeback. It takes sustained effort for either of them to stay on top because there's a block or counter coming down the pike. Although not as intense as the '95 tournament match or as heated as their early battles, I would absolutely rate this higher than the Bret/Shawn ironman match from the same day. They set up the bombs really well and build to a couple gigantic nearfalls in the final minutes. Repost.
Williams & Ace vs Kobashi & Patriot, tag titles, 10/12/96. I love how the crowd collectively pronounces 'Patriot' as 'patori'. Kobashi and Patriot earned the title shot by taking Williams and Ace to a 30 minute draw on the last tour. This is clearly a step below the classic tags of the decade, especially with a slow first half, but they do build to a sufficiently big finish to make this worthwhile. A tag title match with the last ten minutes they deliver here would stand out in pretty much any other promotion, but now it's an afterthought just because '90s All Japan was so loaded. Repost.
Kobashi vs Kawada, Triple Crown, 10/18/96. Very, very lightly clipped, with the finishes of Kobashi's last two title matches worked in to cover the clips. This match is famous for its length, and I'd say they do a better job of spreading the dramatic moments across the duration. Tons of big moves, trademarks, and massive nearfalls. At the same time, this would have benefitted quite a bit if they'd gone a good 20 minutes shorter. It wasn't easy to go this long using old-school mat-based wrestling, let alone when both of them are throwing and eating nasty suplexes. It's amazing that it was their knees rather than their necks that would haunt the remainder of their career considering some of the car wreck bumps they take in matches like this. Repost.
Kobashi vs Misawa, Triple Crown, 10/31/98. This match is famous for the final ten minutes, which features about as big a run of finishers as you can imagine. What I think makes this match worthwhile is everything that comes before the finish. The slow trading of control, the comebacks and cut-offs, the counters and payoffs; all are done far better than you'll see elsewhere. They're so good at putting simple moves and strikes to use. They fill over 20 minutes compellingly without digging into their big bag of bombs. That's no small feat. Repost.
Kobashi vs Kakihara, 7/15/98. Kakihara uses his one relative strength (submissions) to its maximum effect. Lord knows he's not gonna make Kobashi tap, but he does inflict damage that sets the table for Kobashi's troubles later in the tour. Repost.
Taue vs Williams, Champions Carnival '96 final. Upgrade.
Misawa vs Kawada, Champions Carnival '98. At first you think "oh, here comes a few minutes of their usual stuff as they feel things out". Then BAM, a big counter (missed by the camera) followed by a big impact move to break things wide open. This leads to their eternal theme of control and the battle of wills to maintain it. There's a certain amount of "not bringing the A game because it's a tournament match", but that reliance on the fundamentals actually makes for something that holds up darn well. Certainly more than their June '97 title match, which had way more bombs but without any more drama than they build to here. They draw the maximum amount from every big move, and even after so many years of them going at it they still manage to pull out some surprises. That's incredible. Repost.
Misawa & Akiyama vs Kobashi & Ace, tag league '97, slight clipping. Good action throughout, building to a GIGANTIC finishing run. Massive effort for a mid-tour tag. Repost.
Misawa vs Kobashi, 10/21/97, Triple Crown. SEGA SATURN~. Ahem. In the wake of the epic war they had in January, the temptation would be to try and top the previous effort. Thankfully, they don't go for quite as ambitious a match, while still bringing tons of action and a sufficiently big finish. Kobashi comes in having beaten Misawa with a lariat during the Champions Carnival, and in the closing minutes he has a one-track mind. Misawa counters many attempts, but can he dodge them all? Repost.
Hansen & Tenryu vs Jumbo & Yatsu, Tag League 1989. Last match in the tournament, and the winner takes it. Yatsu has been working with a head injury. This, as you can imagine, comes into play. They build to a very high level of tension and keep it up for a prolonged home stretch. Excellent way to close the decade.
Kawada, Taue & Omori vs Kobashi, Ace & Patriot 5/18/97. Holy Demons (plus one) versus Global Energy Team! Lead-in for the first Kawada/Taue vs Kobashi/Ace clash. Although each side has a weak link, it isn't a rookie or a junior, so it's going to take serious effort for either team to win. Kobashi's crew seems to understand this better and is much more aggressive, both in cutting off the ring and using bombs. Will Kawada and Taue's team experience dig them out of the hole? Repost.
Misawa & Akiyama vs Kobashi & Patriot, Tag League '96. The first 2/3rds are fine, but the final third is what makes this. You would neeeeeever expect nuclear-heat nearfalls involving the Patriot, let alone several. Welcome to '90s All Japan. Repost.
Kawada & Taue vs Williams & Ace, Tag League '96. All Japan in the '90s didn't have clear-cut face/heel roles, but in general you'd say that Misawa's crew were more sympathetic than the opposition. To that extent, this is a heel vs heel match, especially at a point where the gaijin vs natives dynamic was no longer significant. This pairing also wasn't likely to result in an action-packed sprint. How, then, will they put together something compelling? The answer is sound fundamentals and basic tag match structure. It isn't a barn-burner from start to finish, but it does show how good they are that even a second-tier match in the middle of the tour gets a hell of a lot right. The area they're wrestling in is one of the harder parts of Japan to get heat, and when they get the crowd riled up, it's because they earned it. Trust me: the crowd is plenty riled up by the end. Repost.
Misawa vs Kawada, Triple Crown, 7/23/99. The last and least of their title bouts. There's quite a contrast between this and Misawa/Kobashi from the month before in terms of build and effort, with this seeming very small by comparison. That said, the struggle for control seen in previous bouts remains central here, and the last few minutes keep you guessing as to whether there will be one last big comeback. Repost.
Kobashi & Akiyama vs Hansen & Taue, RWTL, 11/30/99. Fun match with just the right amount of bombs at the end for a main event, while saving something for the final.
Misawa vs Kobashi, Triple Crown, 6/11/99. Their fifth title match, and it builds in several ways off the predecessors. The heat they get for even basic moves and sequences early on makes it obvious that the crowd will go bonkers towards the end (and they do). Not their best match, but they still get a hell of a lot right. Some amazing nearfalls down the stretch. Repost.
Jumbo vs Tenryu, 6/5/89, some clipping. Upgrade.
Flair vs Martel, 10/21/85, some clipping. Upgrade.
Hansen vs Jumbo, 10/21/86. Upgrade.
Bockwinkel vs Robinson, 12/11/80. Upgrade.
Best of Japan 2000-2009 project. Details in the Excel file. Updated 7/21. DEADLINE EXTENDED TO DECEMBER 31ST!!
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