Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Burning Spirit: The Best of Kenta Kobashi - Disc #1

1. Kenta Kobashi vs. Toshiaki Kawada (7/1/89) – 5
2. Kenta Kobashi vs. Ricky Fuyuki (7/11/89) – 7
3. Kenta Kobashi & Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Stan Hansen & Genichiro Tenryu (7/15/89) - 9
4. Kenta Kobashi vs. Johnny Ace (9/2/89) – 5
5. Kenta Kobashi vs. The Great Kabuki (1/3/90) – 4
6. Kenta Kobashi & Tiger Mask II vs. Davey Boy Smith & Dynamite Kid (1/20/90) – 5
7. Kenta Kobashi vs. Tiger Mask II (3/6/90) - 6

Damn, this set doesn’t waste any time in kicking things off the right way. Kawada and Kobashi keep the pace slow and work submissions on each other early on. There was a mesmerizing section where they traded slaps so hard my jaw started to hurt just from watching it. Kawada had a nice dive over the tope and threw Kobashi so hard into the railing that it broke. Kawada’s German suplexes are a thing of beauty. The match wasn’t very long, probably around 12-14 minutes and was just an inkling of what was to come in future battles between them. I remember the first time I watched this DVD, I was totally awestruck by the bout with Fuyuki, however, upon a second viewing (or is it my third), it wasn’t that memorable but it was a definite battle. Name two other guys who can beat the living hell out of each other for 30 minutes and still have the deceny to shake hands afterwards … see, you can’t do it can you! Upon first glance, Fuyuki, in all his weathered-down and curly haired splendor, doesn’t exactly look like a guy who can bring it but I’ll be damned if he doesn’t have some of the stiffest chops this side of a Brooklyn butcher. He smacks Kobashi so hard with a chop that he falls off the ring apron. Kobashi doesn’t back down, though. He busts out a sick cross-body block from the top rope to the floor and some German suplexes so nice, they could possibly make Kurt Angle blush. The bell rings on a pinfall attempt and a fabulously stiff contest comes to an end.

The tag match against Hansen and Tenryu started off hot and never let up once. The bell rang and Kobashi and Tsuruta exploded onto their opponents. Kobashi paired off with Hansen who was bludgeoning him with chairs while Tenryu and Tsuruta exchanged chops in the ring. This was a back and forth contest where no one gained the advantage and everyone was being a totally stiff prick. Hansen was destroying everyone with stiff clotheslines, Kobashi with chops, Tenryu with slaps and chops, and Tsuruta with chops and submissions. Everytime someone would work a submission, their opponent would fight out and get even more pissed with every shot they traded. The crowd was super hot too. It was probably the hottest Japanese crowd I’ve ever seen. At one point, Tenryu slapped the shit out of Kobashi and knocked him on his ass. Everytime Tsuruta and Tenryu were in the ring together, they just pounded the living crap out of each other. The finish was Tenryu muscling up Kobashi in a powerbomb and dropping him hard for the winning pin. Damn. I’m so exhausted after watching that, that I have to stop and catch my breath! I don’t really see why the Ace was included on this set. Ace and his blonde mullet didn’t really present anything out of the ordinary for me. He did, however, bust out a nice dropkick and some nice chops but, that didn’t make up for the sloppy bump over the top rope and a pretty ugly headscissors that sent Kobashi over the top rope. Kobashi was the saving grace of this bout. He worked the ground solidly and whipped out a very swank dive from the top turnbuckle to the outside. Two Ace-Crushers in three minutes defeated Kobashi in a match that didn’t really have any memorable moments for me.

Kabuki appeared here sporting a thin Ron Jeremy-esque moustache and in pretty awful shape. I didn’t really get much out of the match aside from Kobashi’s regular offense. Suprisingly, Kabuki took the win … then again, maybe it wasn’t too suprising since Kobashi has lost every match except for the second match on here. I really enjoyed the exchanges between Dynamite and Tiger Mask as they were getting after it pretty hard and trading some nice shots back and forth. On the contrary, the primary exchanges between Davey Boy and Kobashi didn’t offer anything exciting. Davey was executing his regular power moves with some nice efficiency but it just seemed like he was out of place. Closing out the first disc was the good contest between Kobashi and Tiger Mask. At this particular juncture, Tiger Mask was being portrayed by the legendary Mitsuharu Misawa and, to the best of my knowledge, this was the first meeting between the two. Kobashi jumped out on to the floor onto Tiger Mask and the camera angle they used was tremendous. It made Kobashi look like he was sailing through the air. Much like the Kawada match, this was just a glimpse of what they would put on in future battles.

1 comment:

Brian said...

you gave the Kobashi v. Tiger Mask match a "6", but, outside of mentioning one spot (a Kenta dive), you didn't really tell us why it warranted such a good grade.. - tell us more!