Written by: Mike Campbell
REAL WORLD TAG LEAGUE 1995
December 5, 1995
1995 was one hell of a good year for All Japan, and the Tag League is no exception. The Four Lords of Heaven make sure to end 1995 with a bang.
Kenta Kobashi . . . becomes his own man.
Gary Albright . . . further shows how good of a worker he can be, with the right environment.
Tamon Honda . . . works at a level he wouldn’t reach again until the year 2003.
MITSUHARU MISAWA/KENTA KOBASHI vs. TOSHIAKI KAWADA/AKIRA TAUE (Real World Tag League finals)
Kawada and Taue are employing a unique strategy here, they won their titles by taking advantage of Kobashi’s leg and leaving Misawa two on one whenever they could. Well now its six months later and Misawa and Kobashi are both in better condition, so instead their goal is to isolate Kobashi by taking Misawa out. Misawa always saves Kobashi when he gets himself into trouble, so Kawada starts by spiking him with a backdrop, and then Kawada goes back to his Albright match and puts on a Juji-Gatame, and Misawa takes the bait. Kobashi is down and Kawada and Taue double team Misawa and then for good measure drop him in a double team version of Taue’s NOMDK with Misawa being on Kawada’s shoulders. Misawa is for all intents and purposes dead.
With that nuisance out of the picture, they start working over Kobashi’s arm again, although strangely enough, Kawada doesn’t venture back to the Juji-Gatame, now that Misawa is out of the picture for the time being, it’d be an easy check in the win column. Kawada does attempt a triangle choke though, but Kobashi does a power bomb out of it, which is a big sign that Kawada is using that type of intelligent offense against the wrong opponent. The arm slaughter continues with a double Juji-Gatame by the current champions and Misawa is finally able to make the save. The weird thing here is that Misawa is able to handle Kawada just fine, but has more problems with Taue, which is a sign at which direction the Triple Crown was going to be heading in. Kawada eats an elbow and gets dumped with a Tiger driver for two, Taue, on the other hand, eats an elbow, and counters the Tiger driver to a Nodowa Otoshi.
The champions try to once again, eliminate Misawa, by a backdrop/nodowa, but he’s still alive and kicking, so they attempt the double Nodowa with Taue coming of the top rope and Kobashi is making the save. Not only is Kobashi showing his growth by surviving the two on one massacre like he did, but he’s still able to save Misawa when its needed. Kobashi attempts his lariat only once, and Kawada turns that into a Juji-Gatame, and Misawa is able to return the favor. Kawada and Misawa begin to fight on the floor and Misawa takes out Kawada with a Tiger driver on the floor, as a receipt for Kawada’s part in the NOMDK he took. Misawa saves Kobashi from a Nodowa Otoshi and sacrifices himself to a Nodowa, so that Kobashi can hit a big German suplex for two, and then drop a moonsault for three. Kenta Kobashi’s graduation from Misawa’s sidekick, to his own man is complete. A fitting end to the tag feud, after this Kobashi would go on his own, while Misawa took on young Jun Akiyama for a partner. ****
GARY ALBRIGHT vs. TAMON HONDA
Honda is a good opponent for the style Albright is used to working, Honda doesn’t rely so much on the big high impact moves, but more on the mat aspect of the game. This match is almost completely on the ground, as Honda and Albright trade off submission attempts, the first suplex is actually thrown by Honda, believe it or not, when he hits a backdrop. Albright is able to work in two belly to belly’s though. Honda uses a lot of headbutts to wear down Albright, I doubt the headbutt was a big move used in UWFi. Honda slaps on a sleeper to a decent sized pop, and holds on when Albright tries to roll out of it, and forces Gary to go to the ropes. Honda scores a nice Northern Lights suplex for two and Albright is outside to take a break. Albright thought Kawada was tough, and here he is now, getting shown up by a complete nobody in All Japan. Albright scores a backbreaker and goes for the Juji-Gatame, only for Honda to reverse into his own, and Albright reverses that, to save himself from losing twice in a row to the same move. Albright hits Honda with a big German suplex, and then drops him in a second one and bridges for the win. Gary Albright may have won, but it was a hell of a fight he had on his hands to get there. ***
Conclusion: Nice tape this time around, a tag match that didn’t disappoint, and a shockingly good match, involving two guys who didn’t normally have good matches. Recommendation for Real World Tag League 1995.
31-year old currently living in Syracuse, New York. Longtime fan of the New York Mets, Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Vikings. Avid fan of professional wrestling and write reviews/articles on the product. Usually focusing on the old school wrestling.