Quick disclaimer, chronologically, I should be covering Tenyru, Kawada and Fuyuki vs Tsuruta, Fuchi and Yatsu. However, I can’t find it anywhere. If anyone knows where I can get a copy of it or even some highlights, let me know. For now, we must move on.
And we move on to another six-man tag including four of the same men and a hell of a lot of legendary names. Misawa, Kobashi and Jumbo all in the same ring? Yes, please. We’re in 1990’s AJPW, and we’re beginning to catch up to where we were before I discovered the expanded list of five-star matches. Let’s see how this one holds up, shall we?
The first thing that stands out is how over Misawa is. The second his music hits the fans are chanting his name. What’s got into those quiet Japanese crowds? This is a couple of months after the legendary Misawa and Jumbo match that we’ve covered before, so Misawa is well on his way to stepping into Jumbo’s considerable shoes.
It would be easy to then assume that this was all about Misawa and Jumbo. However, all six men play a significant part in making it what it is. Taue and Kawada have a running war throughout, taking it in turns to go out into the crowd and slam/suplex each other on the floor. Towards the end of the match, they break into a fight, swinging at each other wildly. Meanwhile, Kobashi and Fuchi aren’t exactly going easy on each other. Fuchi at one point drives a chair into Kenta’s face, bloodying the future legend.
It is hard to ignore Misawa and Tsuruta, though. Jumbo is so clearly the man here. When he is in the ring, he is dominant. Dishing out a beating on everyone that stands in the way. He’s got the aura of a champion, and it takes a gargantuan effort to even get him off his feet.
They manage it, though and it’s Misawa who deals the blow. After a Kawada spinning heel kick, Mitsuharu scents blood and comes charging in. He’s like a wound-up dog chasing its tail and even when Jumbo tags out he continues the attack. It’s the moment which leads to everything breaking down and the final few minutes are all-action.
Suddenly there are two-counts all over the shop, Kenta hits a moonsault, Jumbo hits a backdrop from the second rope, and it looks like this could go either way. Neither team seems capable of giving up. Until suddenly one was. Jumbo would prove himself to still be the man, as a second backdrop to Kobashi put an end to the dramatic action.
This was great. You can see the blocks being laid for Misawa eventually usurping Jumbo. They are exposing more and more chinks in Tsuruta’s wrestling zen but when he needs to he can still dig deep and get the job done. On top of that, it’s a fantastic six-man tag. Starting slow and building all the way to those frantic last few minutes. This match was packed with legends, and it was the kind of performance that shows you why they reached that level.
It really blows my mind that baba was able to maintain that level of ring action and heat in his company after Tenryu’s departure. I mean, for a cold point of view, I have no doubt that Tenryu was a better ring worker than Jumbo (I do love both of them, though). Either way, the plan always seems to be Misawa x Jumbo, but I like to think that if Tenryu did stay, we would have a Tenryu x Kobashi or Kawada feud, and that would be gold.