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Phil Schneider

Heads Up Battle 1999- All Japan Tag vs. Lucha Apuestas

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Posted (edited)

Here's what I wrote about the All Japan tag a few months ago:

"The story here is Ogawa’s attempt to prove he can hang with the big boys. He makes no pretense of being able to go toe-to-toe with Kobashi and Akiyama. Instead, his gameplan is centered around baiting them into making mistakes so he can catch them with one of his trademark sneaky flash pins. He’s also not above going for his opponent’s eyes. And if all else fails, he has Misawa as the ultimate insurance policy. I love the Misawa/Ogawa pairing because they basically work like an American heel tag team. One sequence in particular is a textbook example of high-end American-style heel work. Akiyama tries to fight his way out of the corner, but Ogawa cuts him off with an eye rake. Misawa then stomps on him from the apron while the referee is admonishing Ogawa. That’s in addition to all their kickass Midnight Express-esque double-team offense. I guess they figured that Misawa being such an icon and Ogawa such a natural underdog gave them carte blanche to heel it up. With all that said, this absolutely did not need to go 30 minutes. With the story they were going for, 20 would have more than sufficed. I also thought the closing stretch was a bit too competitive. But the crowd popped huge for all of Ogawa’s rollups, so what do I know?"

I would add that I thought Kobashi did a great job as a Fuchi-esque dungeon master. I especially loved his abdominal stretch on Ogawa. This is only my third-favorite Burning tag of 1999, but it's still a worthy selection. With Phil as a gatekeeper, though, most All Japan matches are going to be fighting an uphill battle.

Edited by NintendoLogic
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I didn't love the Burning team, but really loved this match and thought it was them at their heel best. This match was just the thing I needed the day I watched it, thought it would easily take over the 1999 throne. I don't think I realized Phil's bearish King's Road stance, although that would explain why we haven't yet done our 1995 and 1996 champs yet. I thought the saves and layout of this match were so strong, and loved the partnerships on both sides of the ring. 

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