The second half of my All Japan Best Bouts Fall 1994 tape featuring a big tag match and Dr. Death Steve Williams’ second Triple Crown Title defense. That’s right, this commercial release features only TWO matches! But watch them yourselves and I’m sure you’ll agree that both are AWESOME contests!
Kenta Kobashi & Akira Taue VS Mitsuharu Misawa & Stan Hansen
This was a special ‘dream’ tag match, and would turn out to be a really awesome contest. All four guys worked really hard here, and this was when Misawa and Kobashi were in their prime. But the older Hansen and Taue also showed their worth here. A lot of credit has to be given to Hansen for the awesome work he did in this match, the old Texan did some wild stuff including a springboard elbow drop off the bottom rope (!?!) and a suicide dive through the ropes out of the ring! Heck, Taue even did the same! Another cool sight was Misawa and Hansen hitting a stereo tiger driver and powerbomb. Hansen even instrumented a cool double elbow drop with Misawa. Kobashi and Taue wouldn’t be outdone, as they hit the tandem backdrop-chokeslam combo usually done by Kawada and Taue! At one point the announcer went nuts when Kobashi almost scored the pinfall with a picture perfect moonsault on Misawa. But this was Hansen’s night as he showed how powerful the Western Lariat
can be when he blasted big Taue off his feet with it for the win at 28:22! Great tag match and one of the few Hansen would have in his later years.
Match Rating: ****
All Japan Triple Crown Title Match
Steve Williams VS Toshiaki Kawada
Up to this point in his career, Williams had won the ’94 Champion Carnival beating Kawada in the finals, ended Misawa’s two year Triple Crown title reign with his ever dangerous Backdrop Driver, and successfully defended the title against Kobashi in an incredible contest just a month earlier. This match would be Kawada’s 7th Triple Crown challenge and a rematch of the Champion Carnival finals with Kawada looking to avenge his loss and win his first Triple Crown.
The match starts with a long feeling out sequence and a lot of mat work for the first five minutes or so. Kawada then takes the advantage as he mercilessly attacks Williams’ knee. Williams escapes to the outside to catch his breath. Back in, Williams makes a comeback, teasing a backdrop before himself going to work on Kawada’s knee! Williams switches his attack to a surfboard, and Kawada reverses it before Williams reverses it again then drops Kawada with a release tiger suplex!
Kawada immediately gets to his feet before stumbling out of the ring! Another example of his masterful selling!
Back in the ring, Williams goes to work on Kawada, wearing him down with rest holds and some blatant choking. They start slugging it out and Williams gorilla presses Kawada and launches almost halfway across the ring
landing throat first on the top rope! Williams whips Kawada into the corner and follows in with a lariat twice before Kawada drops like a rock! More classic selling from the master!
Williams gets some major heel heat as he stands on Kawada in corner, choking him out. Dr. Death follows with a splash in the corner and drops Kawada on his head with a brainbuster! Williams make the first cover of the match for a two count.
Kawada escapes a head-scissors submission and a second attempt at a backdrop, and nails Williams with a spinning back kick out of an irish whip! Kawada starts laying into Williams with some stiff shots, but Williams no sells and decks Kawada off his feet with a big right hand! Back to his feet, Kawada hits two big face kicks, gets shoved off attempting a third, but nails a fourth!
Williams fights off an Irish whip and gives Kawada a face kick followed by a big shoulder tackle. Dr. Death dropkicks Dangerous K into the corner and follows in with another dropkick! Williams barely lands the Oklahoma Stampede
as he knee gives out. Both men struggle to their feet and Kawada lands a big right hand and dropkicks Williams out of the ring. Kawada gets shouldered in the gut trying to drag Williams back in, and Dr. Death goes up top but almost loses his balance due to his bad knee. He dives in with a shoulder tackle, but Kawada barely dodges and nails a kick to the mid section as Williams crashes and burns.
Both struggle to their feet and Kawada nails a big running face kick followed by a hard hitting lariat
, but only gets a ONE
count! Williams starts bleeding below the eye from the big kick! Kawada tries for a powerbomb, but Williams breaks out of it and the two start trading slaps and jabs, Williams winning the exchange till Kawada takes out his knee with a big leg sweep! Kawada then FOLDS
Williams with a big backdrop
of his own!
Cover only gets a two count, so Dangerous K locks on the Stretch Plum!
Kawada gets two for a pin attempt, so he locks on the Stretch Plum again! Another pin attempts gets another two count and Williams escapes out of the ring to catch his breath.
Back into the ring and Kawada slams Williams and follows with a knee drop off the second turnbuckle. Kawada tries for backdrop, but Williams escapes only to get caught in a sleeper hold, which Kawada turns into an illegal choke and is forced to break the hold by the referee. Kawada tries for the powerbomb again, but Williams picks him off the ground and plants him with a high angle spinebuster
at the thirty minute mark!
Both struggle to their feet and escapes a tiger suplex attempt and a backdrop attempt, but Williams nails a second big release tiger suplex and Kawada lands in a heap! The crowd goes nuts as Williams immediately picks up and slams Kawada down with the Doctor Bomb but only gets a two count! They get to their feet and Kawada struggles to escape but gets dropped on his head by the BACKDROP DRIVER!!!
Kawada quickly escapes getting pinned by exiting the ring! Williams follows and picks Kawada’s limp body off the ground, rolls him into the ring and covers for a near fall! Williams can’t believe it as Kawada rolls out of the ring again!
Williams goes out and tries to backdrop Kawada on the floor! But Dangerous K manages to kick off the corner post and send both their heads crashing back into the guardrail! And it’s not the padded type of guardrail WWE uses! Back in the ring, Williams slams Kawada down hard for another two count. Kawada comes back with some strike and takes down Dr. Death with a rolling heel kick right in the head!
Kawada fights for another powerbomb and manages to get Williams’ near 300lbs frame up and down into a pin for a near fall! Kawada tries for ANOTHER powerbomb, but Williams flips him over only for Kawada to immediately connect with a face kick! Kawada runs in for a lariat, but Williams takes him down with a judo hip throw! Williams comes back with some big punches and tries for the backdrop, but Kawada holds on to the ropes. Williams tries to pull him off but Kawada stuns him with a big back fist followed by a low kick, taking his knee out!
Williams gets to his feet. Enzuigiri
by Kawada! Williams gets up and blocks a second enzuguiri! He then blocks a rolling heel kick but immediately get plastered by a GAMENGIRI
(jumping face kick)! Williams staggers off the ropes, ENZU-LARIAT!!!
Williams rebounds off the ropes from impact and right into ANOTHER GAMENGIRI!!!
COVER! ONE! TWO! THREE!!!
SHIMATA!! SHIN CHAMPION!!
The announcer and the crowd go APESHIT as Kawada has won his first Triple Crown at 37:58!!! Kawada’s cornermen (Takao Omori, Masa Fuchi and Masao Inoue) lift him high on their shoulders for all to see with a deafening ‘Kawada’ chant going! Kawada then does the post match interview and the tape ends with an awesome highlight reel of the match played to Kawada’s Holy War theme!
Match Rating: ****1/4
I’ll admit the Triple Crown match wasn’t as good as the Kobashi/Williams match due to all the mat work that started it off and that lasted for about the first ten minutes of the match. The big spots also weren’t as many, but both men did a masterful job of selling and taking each others offense. Add that to an awesome all-star tag match and this is a must see tape even though it only has TWO matches on it!!!