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Puroresu Show Reviews

Reviews of puroresu shows in my collection

Thursday, April 15, 2004

 

AJPW Best Bouts Fall 1994

The All Japan Best Bouts Fall 1994 tape I ordered turned out to actually be two commercial All Japan releases on one tape. The first being the lone All Japan Triple Crown Title Match commercial tape that features only ONE MATCH! But what a match it is!



All Japan Triple Crown Title Match
Steve Williams VS Kenta Kobashi

1994 was a big year for Steve Williams in All Japan as he would have the some of the best matches of his career in that year alone. The biggest win being when he defeated Mitsuharu Misawa for the prestigious Triple Crown championship, becoming the 21st champion and the 3rd gaijin to hold the title.

Kenta Kobashi was the rising ace of the company, teaming successfully with Misawa on several occasions to win the double tag titles as well as winning several Real World Tag Leagues. Kobashi had a big singles match with Williams in 1993, and this would turn into another of Kobashi’s big breakout singles matches at the time.

Match starts and Kobashi steals a quick two count with a rolling cradle early on. The two then lock up in a test of strength that brings up the crowd heat level, neither man giving an inch. The two then trade chops and shoulder blocks before Kobashi dropkicks Williams out of the ring DDTs him on the floor! Kobashi then body slams Williams on the floor, climbs up the top turnbuckle and hits a HUGE flying cross body press on Williams on the floor!!! Kobashi follows up by leg dropping Williams’ head while straddled on the steel guard-rail (Ouch!).

Back in the ring, Kobashi continues control as he works on Williams’ neck, and lands a big delayed suplex before locking on a rear chin lock. The two then trade chops and jabs and Kobashi nails a big jumping knee in the corner for a two count. Kobashi tries a top rope flung shoulder tackle, but Steve dodges it and drops Kobashi on his head with an avalanche brainbuster! Williams then wears down Kobashi with a ground cobra-twist and a camel clutch before nailing ANOTHER avalanche brainbuster for a two count!

Kobashi tries to chopping his way back, but Williams spikes him with a spinebuster pin for another 2 count. Dr. Death locks on a bear hug, and then leans Kobashi forward for a pin while still locking on the hold for a 2 count! Still holding on, he over-head release suplexes Kobashi! Kobashi’s feet never touch the floor the whole time the hold was locked on! Williams sets up in the three-point stance and runs in but Kobashi counters with a neckbreaker drop!

Kobashi unleashes the machine-gun chops and Williams punches back and tries for his ever dangerous backdrop, but Kobashi counters out of it with a sweet DDT. Kobashi tries for a suplex, Williams tries to counter with one of his own, but Kobashi counters his counter with a DDT! Kobashi locks on a big sleeper hold and turns that into a neck-breaker when Williams reaches for the ropes. Kobashi runs in and Williams takes him over with an arm drag, but Kobashi pops right back up and nails the LARIAT! Kobashi then lands a backdrop, but had some difficulty getting Williams huge frame up.

Both men get up and Kobashi tries another lariat, but Williams blocks it and nails a quick right hand that staggers the challenger. Kobashi come back with a big right hand of his own and hits a running LARIAT!!! But only gets a two count for it. The crowd goes nuts sensing were close to crowning a new champion! Kobashi slams Williams and nails a leg drop, followed by another leg drop to the back of the head, and a big chop to the back of the downed champion’s head. He then hangs Williams head on the second rope and drops another guillotine leg drop on his neck! Kobashi covers to only get another two count.

The two trade some big shots before Williams counters a lariat and takes down Kobashi with a modified overhead slam. He then whips Kobashi into the ropes and picks him off his feet with a gorilla press before tossing him right out of the ring to the floor!!! Kobashi struggles to his feet only to get taken down again by a flying shoulder tackle off the apron! Kobashi finally gets back in the ring, but it’s the hard way via a super over head belly to belly suplex off the top rope! Williams quickly back up to his feet and connects with the Doctor Bomb! 1-2-2.5!!!

The crowd then PANICS as Williams tries for the backdrop, but Kobashi escapes only to get caught in the Oklahoma Stampede! Kobashi manages to hold on to the corner ropes to escape the hold though. Williams loses his footing on a second attempt at the Stampede which gives Kobashi a two count.

Kobashi lands an enzuguiri and smartly takes out Williams’ leg with a low dropkick. Backhand chop by Kobashi! Neckbreaker drop! Kobashi goes for the moonsault, but Williams gets up so Kobashi does a flying shoulder block instead as we hit the thirty minute mark! Then hits a big backdrop and lands a German suplex hold to get a two count. Kobashi then goes up top and nails a PERFECT MOONSAULT!!! Williams kicks out at 2.8! Kobashi goes up again, but this time misses the moonsault!

Both men stagger to their feet and Williams gets knocked out of the ring by low dropkick to the knee, referee Wada Kyohei checks on Steve as he clutches his knee in pain. Back in the ring, Kobashi lands a sobat kick followed by a famousser! He then nails two consecutive leg drops before going up top and hitting a HUGE guillotine leg drop from almost three quarters of the ring away! Cover! ONE, TWO, KICK OUT!!! Kobashi gets psyched and lands a powerbomb into a jackknife pin! ONE, TWO, KICK OUT!

Williams fights back to his feet and takes down Kobashi with a big shoulder charge, followed by an overhead release suplex. Back to their feet, Kobashi escapes a backdrop attempt, misses a spinning backchop! DANGEROUS BACKDROP!!! The crowd goes ape-shit as the Triple Crown champion finally lands his move!!! Williams is exhausted as he crawls over for the cover, ONE, TWO, KICK OUT!!! Williams is dumb-founded as he can’t believe Kobashi kicked out of his finisher! Kobashi struggles to his feet and still tries to fight back, but Dr. Death backdrops him HEAD FIRST INTO THE CORNER TURNBUCKLE!!! But Kobashi STILL struggles to get to his feet!!! Williams then hits a THIRD DANGEROUS BACKDROP and holds on to FINALLY get the three count and retain the Triple Crown at 41:23 and end a KILLER match!!!
Big sign of respect between the two battered combatants post match as Williams celebrates a hard fought title defense. After the post match interviews, the tape ends with an awesome music video recap of the match played to Dr. Death’s entrance theme.

Overall: THIS is the reason All Japan can put just ONE match on a tape and make it worth your money! Collectors and fans of classic matches MUST own this match! Heck, get this if you wanna watch an awesome match in general. This ONE match is so worth it! To quote George Mayfield, this tape is short on matches, but HIGH in quality!
Match Rating: *****!!!!!

There are two other matches on the tape, taken from the All Japan October Giant Series '94 commercial tape which I'll review and post at a later date, so check back.

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