I’ll be the first to admit it, I haven’t seen as much of either Stan Hansen or Kenta Kobashi as I would like to have seen at this point. I’ve seen more Hansen matches than I have Kobashi, but I still haven’t seen as much of Hansen as some others I know of. Despite this, I know you can never go wrong with Hansen in Japan. These two had a match just 2 years prior to this in 1991 where Hansen dominated a young Kobashi for the most part until he achieved victory. Now, Kobashi is wiser and more experienced, can he prove to the world he can hang with The Lariat?
This match has a real sense of urgency and desperation. That’s made clear from the start when Hansen just stomps away at a poor guy at ringside who is just trying to clear the streamers out of the ring. Kobashi makes him pay with a DDT on the floor. They don’t slow down from there. The whole way through this thing these two just beat the living hell out of one another. As you would expect from these two this is a very stiff match and Kobashi hits Hansen with some chops that actually made me screech while I was watching. A trend that I’ve noticed when watching old AJPW matches is that the crowd is always hot. No exception here. The crowd was really diggin’ Kobashi and he was just feeding off their energy. Kobashi pulls out everything he can to try and put away Hansen, including a series of 4 guillotine leg drops in a row, gradually moving from the mat to the second rope to the top rope. Even though he puts up a great fight and proves to the world that he can hang with Hansen, Kobashi doesn’t prove to us that he can beat him. Hansen wins after laying waste to Kobashi with one of his signature lariats while Kobashi is seated on the top rope.
This is a very solid, physical match up that I would recommend to anyone who is going down the good ol’ 90s AJPW well.