SUMMER ACTION SERIES I on 7/24/95
review by Mike Campbell
The big tag title match may be out of the way, but the personal feuds aren’t even close to being over. This time however instead of a tag setting, it’s a couple of singles matches.
Mitsuharu Misawa . . . isn’t happy about losing the tag titles, and wants to decimate Kawada.
MITSUHARU MISAWA © vs. TOSHIAKI KAWADA (Triple Crown)
The tag title match is over, but the feud rages on. Kawada got his first pin and won the tag titles, and now he’s got his sights set on the titles he held just four months previous. What makes this match interesting is that Misawa is the champion, but after Kawada got the pin and won the tag titles, this time its Misawa who’s angry and out for vengeance. Kawada starts off by using the same tricks that worked for him a month ago and targets Misawa’s eye. Kawada was the one who injured the eye in the first place, and he knows that although its been almost four months since he originally hurt it, that Misawa is still going to have some soreness in there. With Misawa distracted with protecting the eye, Kawada can then start to do some of his bigger moves and tries for the power bomb, all Misawa can do though is drop to a knee to block it. Kawada has secured himself a very early advantage
Misawa knows that he’s in big trouble though and lets his anger at losing in June, combined with his frustration at Kawada picking up such an early advantage fuel him, he starts to unload with elbows and then hits a big rolling elbow to send Kawada to the floor. Kawada gets back in and gets hit with another dose of the elbow shots and then Misawa puts on his famous facelock. Kawada is able to play opossum though and lures Misawa into a ganmengiri and drops him like a big cherry tree. Kawada does some more eye shots to insult/distract the champion and then puts on a sleeper to wear him down in the neck area, and then he switches over to the Stretch Plum and scores a near fall. Things are really shaping up for Kawada, his distract and attack strategy has Misawa reeling here and he just may well be on his way to a second pin and his second title reign.
The big problem that lies in Kawada’s strategy is that he’s doing what worked for him in June, but in June Misawa also had to deal with taking things like the tossing backdrop, the Dynamic Kick, the Nodowa Otoshi, and the NOMDK. Taue can’t help Kawada here, and Misawa is taking only half the punishment that put him away in June. Kawada is still dishing out all he can, but he’s getting tired by this point and now he’s doing all of the work instead of half of it. Kawada scores a near fall with his Power bomb, and Misawa finally starts to fight back. They trade off kicks and elbows, and surprisingly enough its Misawa doing the kicks and Kawada doing the elbows. Misawa wins the strike battle and then hits the rolling elbow, and Kawada sucks it up for the third Dangerous backdrop but he’s too spent to take advantage. Kawada used a move that could possibly win it for him, but now with the punishment he’s taken he can’t reap the glory. What does Kawada want more? To be the champion? Or to just beat Misawa?
Misawa and Kawada both get to their feet and Kawada attempts the Ganmengiri that he used to win the belts from Williams in October, but Misawa blocks it and hits a big German suplex, then picks up Kawada and hits a big Tiger suplex. Its still obvious that Kawada isn’t ready to get his win yet. It took Kawada and Taue to do it last month, and a one legged Kobashi to slay the giant, and Kawada can’t do it alone yet. Kawada gets to his feet and Kawada realizes that “its over, I can’t do it yet”. Misawa hits the big running elbow and scores the pin. The usual great match from these two. Disappointing, considering what they did on 6/3/94, but the match is still excellent. ****½
AKIRA TAUE vs. KENTA KOBASHI
Kobashi proves very early on in the match that despite Misawa’s willingness to step aside and let Kobashi get the big wins and look like a million bucks, he’s still not ready for a top spot yet. Kobashi starts off quick with a flurry of chops and kicks at Taue, then stupidly puts on a sleeper hold and Taue is able to counter that with a jawbreaker. The match spills to the floor and Taue sends Kobashi into the guardrail, and Kobashi comes charging out like a bull, only for Taue to catch him and plant him with a Nodowa Otoshi. Taue throws Kobashi in and plants a Dynamic Bomb for two, however, its only five minutes into the match and if Kobashi is already this worn down, it should only be a matter of time before he’s had enough.
One thing that makes this era in AJPW so great is that they knew how to work the viewer and keep the match interesting, without having to use big moves. Kobashi just took a hell of a beating, and he’s able to make a comeback, not by dumping Taue on his head, but by simply using simple striking moves. All of a sudden Taue is the one on his knees almost down and Kobashi is laying on the pain with the chops. One month earlier Kobashi had taken a brutal beating from Taue and now with Taue like this, Kobashi realizes that Taue is human after all. The match once again goes to the floor and Taue is thrown into the guardrail and he’s not able to make the big rebounding charge like Kobashi did. Although Taue got in the big flurry of offense to really take down Kobashi, he also used a lot of energy and he’s not able to withstand a lot of this even though Kobashi hasn’t used his big guns yet. Kobashi hasn’t learned his lesson though and he tries to come off the second rope and Taue side steps him and he crashes and burns. Kobashi rolls to the apron and Taue follows and the fans begin to cheer because they know what Taue is trying to attempt. The move that nobody survives, the move that helped slay the mighty Misawa on 6/9/95. The Nodowa Otoshi from the apron to the floor, also called the Nodowa Otoshi Murder Death Kill, or NOMDK.
Kobashi begins to kick Taue in the head to fight it off and when Taue falls back, Kobashi rolls back into the ring before he does something stupid and walks right into it. Kobashi once again attempts the sleeper hold and this time he rolls through the jawbreaker counter and keeps it applied, Taue rolls to the floor and Kobashi actually follows along and holds the sleeper hold until the referee breaks it up. Kobashi gets Taue back in and Taue can barely keep his eyes open, so Kobashi drops a moonsault for two. Kobashi suddenly snaps though, all the beatings he’s taken from Taue and his buddy Kawada have caught up with him. Kobashi wants his big win, Kawada got it the month before, while Misawa was off winning the Triple Crown, Kobashi was stuck with little Johnny Ace, who used to wave the flag for the Sheepherders. Kobashi wants that bit of personal glory, without Misawa’s help. So Kobashi pulls back the mat and tries to power bomb Taue on it, but the personal glory bites him in the ass and he gets countered. Taue and Kobashi once again get back in and Kobashi attempts a lariat only to get planted with the Nodowa Otoshi. Taue doesn’t trust it to get the job done, although with the backdrop on the exposed floor, it probably could have done it. Taue puts Kobashi on the top and Kobashi fights him off, and does a sunset flip, but can’t hold the pin. In a weird attempt (this late in the game especially). Kobashi decides to play mind games and give Taue a Nodowa Otoshi and time runs out. Maybe Kobashi didn’t trust any of his big moves to put away Taue, but at least he held him to the time limit. ***3/4
Conclusion: Must see stuff in the Triple Crown match, Taue vs Kobashi is great stuff too. I’d have preferred a clean finish, but I can’t really complain too much on that. Thumbs up on Summer Action Series I 1995.
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