We return to Japan for this installment of Wrestling History Lesson and it’s a doozy. Here is the 1992 Match of the Year: Kenta Kobashi & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi versus Dan Kroffat & Doug Furnas for the All Japan Pro Wrestling Tag Team Championship, in Kikuchi’s hometown of Sendai.
Some important points to take away from this bout:
1. Kroffat and Furnas (the CanAm Connection) disprove the notion that big, muscular men are mere bruisers incapable of technical wrestling. One of them nails a FrankenSteiner in the match; a FrankenSteiner, foks. How these guys didn’t dominate in North America is beyond me.
2. Kenta Kobashi is an absolute god in the wrestling ring. If you don’t spend the 20 minutes of this match marveling at his ring generalship and then spend your free time this week tracking down his greatest matches on YouTube (including his appearances stateside), well I don’t know if we can be friends.
3. The crowd. My god, this crowd. Japanese wrestling fans are typically quieter than most fans. They like to carefully observe and save their cheers and applause for the beginning and ending of a match, rarely breaking out in cheers during a contest. Not this bunch of rabid fans. I’m sure it helped that the match took place in Kikuchi’s hometown, but this crowd is the epitome of what a wrestling audience should be. The fans here lose their collective minds several times throughout and it ultimately makes watching the match more enjoyable. Yes, the match would still be great even if the fans sat on their hands for most of it, but their keen interest and boisterous pops shows how an audience can almost will a great match out of great wrestlers.
Until next time, knuckleheads.