The Can-Am Express vs. Toshiaki Kawada & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi (AJPW 2/22/92)

Match Reviews

Even with the names involved, this still caught me off guard with how great it was. I find it quite similar to the 1990 Fantastics vs. Kikuchi & Malenko match that I was over the moon for in my 1990 video. Whereas that match was clipped though, we have this in its full 15 minute glory. My god, what a 15 minutes it is.

This is one of those all action, no filler matches that the world sorely needs more of. Can-Am start the match by jumping Kawada and Kikuchi at the bell to get the advantage. Within a minute of the match starting we have Kikuchi being Gorilla press slammed to the floor and Kawada being nailed with a Tiger Driver onto the floor as well. Honestly, I don’t know why I need to explain further than that.

But if I must, there’s really just no fat on this thing. Everything’s executed to perfection which keeps the whole match feeling explosive and aggressive without exception. Kroffat and Furnas are absolutely nailing every piece of offense here and they’re working against two of professional wrestling’s greatest sellers ever.

Kikuchi’s a great ragdoll who can bump like a maniac or bend to silly angles to make things like a Boston Crab look devastating. Kikuchi’s also filled with that fiery babyface fighting spirit though, at one point being tossed out of the ring by Kroffat only to come raging back in with a flurry of elbows. How could you not love the man? Kawada’s a good tank for the team on this night but he’s badly compromised from the early bump on the floor. He still dishes out punishment as needed throughout the thing, however, and there’s a genuine uncertainty over who might leave this match victorious. For something so short, they’re actually able to cram in a whole lot of incredibly convincing false finishes into this. Even to the very last second, I was doubting who would get the win here.

A stunning match, something that would be the slam dunk best tag match of the year if plopped into the 2020s. Sudden and impactful, like a kick to the teeth.

Better than 6/3/94. I’m not trying to just bandy this label about like it’s nothing but this match has an explosive focus that the famous Kawada/Misawa match simply can not match. This isn’t better than 6/3/94 by any wide margin, but my own personal love for something so compact and surprising takes precedent here.

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