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VIDEO: AJPW - 8/22/92 (Mitsuharu Misawa vs Stan Hansen)

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  • VIDEO: AJPW - 8/22/92 (Mitsuharu Misawa vs Stan Hansen)

    It took a few days, but its finally done: Today's highlighted wrestler is "The Standard-Bearer of Future Generations" Mitsuharu Misawa

    A little over four years ago, the world of Puroresu was turned upside down, as a legend left us way too early.

    To most Puro fans, Mitsuharu Misawa needs no introduction. The man wrestled for over twenty five years, first competing as the second incarnation of the Tiger Mask character. As Tiger Mask II, Misawa would face off against Dynamite Kid. In 1990, not long after wrestling Bret Hart, Misawa unmasked, and began wrestling with his real name. In June of 1990, Misawa upset Jumbo Tsuruta in a singles match, skyrocketing his career. Two months later, Misawa accidentally KOd Masanobu Fuchi with a Flying Elbow Strike, solidifying his Elbows as legit finishing moves. In September of that year, he faced Jumbo in a rematch. This time, the veteran was prepared, and defeated Misawa. A few months later, he would once again meet Jumbo, this time for the Triple Crown Title. After three devastating Backdrop Suplexes, Jumbo was once again victorious. However, in 1992, history was made. Misawa faced off against Stan Hansen, and defeated him after a massive Elbow Strike, winning the Triple Crown Title.

    This would prove to be a very historic reign as champion, as 1993 would be the only year that the Triple Crown didn't change hands. 1994 was just as grand. He would defeat Kawada in a Triple Crown defense in June, a match which is still heralded as the greatest of all time. Misawa then formed a tag team with Kenta Kobashi, and the duo feuded with Kawada and Taue for tag team supremacy for much of 1995. Before their huge meeting, Misawa would win the Triple Crown Title a second time. June would bring another classic to Misawa's resume, as the two teams faced off in what many consider to be the greatest tag team match in history. Kobashi and Misawa would then go on to win the Real World Tag League, defeating their rivals in the finals. 1996 was a bit of a slow year, with Misawa teaming with Jun Akiyama. They would fall short in the Real World Tag League, however, losing to the Holy Demon Army. 1997 started off with a bang for Misawa, defeating Kenta Kobashi for the Triple Crown, and Misawa was now a three time Triple Crown Champion. He kept a strangle hold over the title for the remainder of the year.

    In 1998, he gave Jun a shot at the Triple Crown, and finally put him away after debuting the Emerald Flowsion. Misawa would main event the Tokyo Dome spectacular in May, only to be defeated by Kawada, losing the Triple Crown. He would battle back, and face Kobashi in October of 1998, one week after taking the Burning Hammer for the first time. After a spectacular match, topped off with a Tiger Driver off the apron(no doubt payback for the week before), Misawa was once again the victor, now a four time champion. This reign wouldn't last, as he would be defeated by Kawada in January of 1999. However, Kawada's injury would force him to vacate the belt, and Misawa would once again win the title, defeating Vader, making him the first five time Triple Crown Champion, earning him the nickname "Five Crown King." His first defense would be against Kenta Kobashi, whom he put away with the Emerald Flowsion. Misawa would also hold the All Asia Tag Team Titles with Yoshinari Ogawa. However, the duo would fall to Burning(Kobashi & Akiyama), after Misawa once again took the Burning Hammer. A week later, he would lose the Triple Crown Title to Vader.

    In 2000, he would split from All Japan, and formed Pro Wrestling NOAH. He would defeat Vader in December, and won the newly christened GHC Heavyweight Title the following April. After a defense against Akira Taue, he would be upended by Akiyama. One year later, he defeated Takayama once again to reclaim the belt. He and Kobashi faced off in another epic title encounter. Kobashi became the first man to kick out of the Emerald Flowsion, and unleashed the Burning Hammer to win the GHC Heavyweight Title. 2004 would serve as a rebound, as he and Ogawa claimed the GHC Tag Team Titles, defending them against KENTA and Naomich Marufuji, and even Taiyo Kea and Keiji Mutoh. In late 2006, he would defeat Marufuji for his third GHC Heavyweight Title reign This would be the final title held by Misawa. In early 2009, he teamed with Takashi Sugiura in a spectacular tag team match against Shinsuke Nakamura and Hirooki Goto at New Japan Pro Wrestling's Wrestle Kingdom III event. He would then team with Go Shiozaki for a short time before his untimely death.

    The legacy of Mitsuharu Misawa cannot be put into words. The man made All Japan Pro Wrestling the must watch federation of the 1990s, along with Kobashi, Taue, Kawada, and so forth. Moves such as the Tiger Driver and the Emerald Flowsion were invented by Misawa himself, and though not his creation, the Tiger Driver '91 was done to perfection by Misawa. These three moves, along with his various Elbow Strikes, have defeated wrestling legends from all over the world.

    Here he challenges Stan Hansen for the Triple Crown

    Here we go: Mitsuharu Misawa vs Stan Hansen

    Tiger Driver '91 Montage

    Well, there's not a whole lot that can be said about this beast that hasn't already been said. Misawa certainly didn't invent the move, but damn did he perfect it. First unleashing it inadvertantly in 1991(hence the name), this variation of the Tiger Driver has since been destroying opponent after opponent, from Kobashi and Kawada to Taue and Johnny Ace. When all else fails, this one is brought out, and that often brings any match to an end. This aided Misawa greatly during his reigns as Triple Crown Champion.

    Double Tiger Driver '91
    I'd venture to guess this is retribution for Michael Modest destroy Kotaro Suzuki with the Reality Check off the apron a week prior to this particular match. Mitsuharu Misawa and Yoshinari Ogawa stalk Modest, and look to be ready for the Double Tiger Driver. However, the duo has other things in mind, and drill Modest with a Double Tiger Driver '91.

    Tiger Driver Montage

    We feature a move that Mitsuharu Misawa had used since his days as Tiger Mask II. The Tiger Driver may not have been Misawa's most brutal or dangerous move, but it was another of his innovations, and a move that continued to use beautifully until his untimely death. Often overshadowed by the Tiger Driver '91, the original form of the move was quite potent in itself, and even if it didn't get the pinfall as often as his other finishing moves, the Tiger Driver was often used to wear down the opponent. Even bigger men such as Akira Taue and Yoshihiro Takayama weren't safe from this one.

    Emerald Flowsion Kai Montage

    As we continue, we meet Mitsuharu Misawa's answer to the Burning Hammer in the Emerald Flowsion Kai. Another innovation of Misawa's, this was used primarily in big matches, most notably matches for the GHC Tag Team Titles, and the GHC Heavyweight Title. The idea behind the move is to ensure that the victim is coming down more vertically than with the original Flowsion, hence the move sometimes being known as the Vertical Drop Emerald Flowsion, or the Screwdriver Emerald Flowsion. Only a select few have been on the receiving end of this monster, and the end result was almost always final.

    Elbow Suicida To the Ramp

    Mitsuharu Misawa was well known for his Elbow Suicida, in which he would take flight, and destroy his opponent on the floor. Here, it's a bit of a twist, as Kenta Kobashi is on the ramp. That doesn't deter Misawa, as he takes to the air, and drops a well placed Elbow Suicida to Kobashi's jaw.

    Tiger Suplex '85

    Mitsuharu Misawa stalks Kenta Kobashi, and it's already too late for Kobashi. Misawa locks in what he needs, and introduces the back of Kobashi's head to the mat with a nice Tiger Suplex '85. This time, Misawa keeps the hold locked in, and bridges for a pinfall.

    Avalanche Emerald Flowsion

    Here, as he perches on the top rope, we know that Kenta Kobashi is in considerable danger. With the assistance of Jun Akiyama, Misawa spikes Kobashi with a beautiful Avalanche Emerald Flowsion.

    Sick Emerald Flowsion

    Mitsuharu Misawa and Toshiaki Kawada are battling in the Champions Carnival, in their final singles match in All Japan. Kawada is out of it, and Misawa looks to finish things off by spiking Kawada with a sick Emerald Flowsion

    Enzu Rolling Elbow

    The Rolling Elbow is devastating enough. Put it to the back of the head, and it's borderline deadly. Mitsuharu Misawa catches Kenta Kobashi coming in with a few short shots to the gut. Kobashi stumbles, and with his back turned, Misawa fires off an Enzu Rolling Elbow.

    Tiger Suplex '85

    Today, we take a look at one of Mitsuharu Misawa's most devastating finishers, the Tiger Suplex '85. Here, Kenta Kobashi has given his all, and Misawa refuses to go down. Kobashi doesn't see Misawa behind him, and Misawa wastes no time locking in the clutch, and dumping Kobashi right on the back of his head with the move.

    SICK Tiger Suplex '85

    Kenta Kobashi still has some fight in him, and tries to throw a Lariat from his knees. However, Mitsuharu Misawa isn't fooled, and uses Kobashi's momentum against him, and locks in the clutch. He pulls Kobashi to his feet, and throws him onto his head with a sick Tiger Suplex '85.

    Brutal Tiger Driver '91

    Mitsuharu Misawa has Kobashi rocked, and goes for the big one. After some struggle, he nails it, and Kobashi folds up over himself.

    Tiger Driver '91

    Mitsuharu Misawa has become a master of executing his variations of the Tiger Drivers out of nowhere, and this is a perfect example. Kenta Kobashi goes for a Chop, and in the middle of the swing, Misawa catches his arm, and hooks him up for the Tiger Driver '91. After a quick struggle, Misawa lands the move, and Kobashi lands even sicker than the previously uploaded clip.

    Tiger Suplex Off the Ramp

    Mitsuharu Misawa and Kenta Kobashi are battling for the GHC Heavyweight Title, and the bout has spilled to the ramp. From there, Misawa fires off an Elbow to stun Kobashi, and that leaves him wide open for devastation. Misawa hooks it up, and tries to end Kobashi's night with a Tiger Suplex off the ramp to the floor.

    Elbow Suicida

    Mitsuharu Misawa is in firm control, and sends Toshiaki Kawada to the floor. We all know he's not safe out there, and right on cue, Misawa hits the ropes, and dives with a perfectly placed Elbow to the jaw of Kawada.

    The Final Tiger Driver '91

    Not the sickest nor the best Tiger Driver '91 in history, but one that has historical significance, as it is the final time Mitsuharu Misawa used the move. Toshiaki Kawada is reeling, and Misawa goes to end the match right away with the Tiger Driver '91.

    Nice Sequence into the Tiger Driver

    Back to singles action. Mitsuharu Misawa has Toshiaki Kawada ready for the Tiger Driver, but Kawada isn't looking to get dropped with it, and uses his momentum to flip Misawa over for a pinfall attempt. Misawa manages to hang on to Kawada's arms, rolls over, and hits the Tiger Driver.

    Emerald Flowsion

    Mitsuharu Misawa doing battle with Kenta Kobashi for the GHC Heavyweight Title. A Rolling Back Elbow stuns Kobashi, and Misawa drills him with the Emerald Flowsion.

    Awesome Emerald Flowsion

    Misawa stuns Kawada with a rather stiff Elbow, and he goes right for the Emerald Flowsion, and hits it.

    Nice Tiger Suplex

    Kenta Kobashi is out of it, and Misawa gladly helps him to his feet. However, it's only to drop him with a vicious Tiger Suplex.

    Nice Tiger Driver

    Mitsuharu Misawa and Toshiaki Kawada at the Tokyo Dome. Misawa fires off a few Elbows, and Kawada stumbles right into position for the Tiger Driver. Kawada fights it off at first, but loses out, and gets slammed with a beautiful Tiger Driver.

    SICK Release German Suplex

    Mitsuharu Misawa and Donovan Morgan are trading Elbows. Against Misawa, that's the last thing you want to do. Morgan loses the exchange, and gets dumped on his noggin with a sick Release German Suplex.

    Awesome Tiger Suplex

    Mitsuharu Misawa looks to go for the German Suplex, but Kenta Kobashi puts up a fight. That proves to be a mistake, as insteads of the German Suplex, Misawa tosses him onto his head with a beautiful Tiger Suplex.

    Some Stiff Elbows

    Kawada tries to cut Misawa down with a Leg Kick, but Misawa is relatively unphased, and fires off a stiff Elbow. Make it two, and all that's left to do with waffle Kawada with a Running Elbow Smash.

    Nice Tiger Driver '91

    No struggle here, as Mitsuharu Misawa has Kenta Kobashi primed and ready for destruction. Applying the Double Underhook with Kobashi still on the mat, Misawa simply uses that to pull Kobashi to his feet, where certain destruction awaits.

    Tiger Driver

    Mitsuharu Misawa is defending the GHC Heavyweight Title against Jun Akiyama. Misawa has Akiyama in position, and drops him with a nice Tiger Driver.

    Emerald Flowsion

    Misawa has hit Kobashi with everything in his arsenal, as has Kobashi(sans the Burning Hammer, of course). Misawa pulls out the big gun in the form of his somewhat newly created Emerald Flowsion.

    Beautiful Rolling Elbow

    Mitsuharu Misawa doing what he did best: using his Elbows to destroy his opposition. Kenta Kobashi wills himself to his feet. However, Misawa is waiting, and that's not going to end well for Kobashi. Misawa drops him with a beautiful Rolling Elbow.

    Rolling Flurry

    Mitsuharu Misawa and Kenta Kobashi doing battle. Misawa gets the better of the exchange, and destroys Kobashi with a flurry of Rolling Elbows, both the regular version and the Back Rolling version.

    Emerald Flowsion Montage

    The Emerald Flowsion(or Frosion). This move wasn't innovated until 1998, but once it was unleashed, many felt the brunt of the move, including Jun Akiyama, Akira Taue, Kenta Kobashi, and Toshiaki Kawada. This move would aid Misawa in winning and defending the Triple Crown Title, the GHC Heavyweight Title, to name just a few. Unlike most finishers in wrestling, this beast never did lose its potency, and up until his final months, Misawa continued to rack up wins using the Emerald Flowsion.

    Awesome Elbow Flurry

    This could very well be a comprehensive look at most of the Elbow Strike variants in Mitsuharu Misawa's arsenal, barring a select few of those variants. Yoshihiro Takayama looks for a kick, but Misawa blocks it and fires off an Elbow, staggering the big guy. The Rolling Back Elbow is next, followed by a stiff One-Two Elbow combination. What better way to cap it off than with the Rolling Elbow?

    Mitsuharu Misawa Wins the Triple Crown for the First Time

    e enjoy arguably the biggest moment in Misawa's career. Stan Hansen had defeated Misawa before, but on this night, Misawa earned his place in the upper echelon of wrestling history. His upset against Jumbo Tsuruta made him a star, and this cemented his place in All Japan Pro Wrestling, and pro wrestling as a whole. Thus began the longest single reign in the history of the Triple Crown, leading to 1993 being the only year the title hasn't changed hands

    Mitsuharu Misawa Debuts the Emerald Flowsion Kai

    After the Emerald Flowsion and the Elbow Strikes failed to pin Shiro Koshinaka, Misawa thinks up this beast, and delivers what we now know as the Emerald Flowsion Kai. Koshinaka isn't getting up.

    Mitsuharu Misawa Debuts the Emerald Flowsion

    A huge weapon in the arsenal of Mitsuharu Misawa makes its debut against Jun Akiyama. The Emerald Flowsion has since become a move that very few have kicked out of, and has aided Misawa extensively in the winning and defending of many titles. Note how the move is ever so slightly different than the version we know so well today.

    Mitsuharu Misawa Debuts the Avalanche Emerald Flowsion

    he GHC Tag Team Titles are at stake, and Misawa is taking no chances. Yoshinari Ogawa hoists Takuma Sano up to Misawa, and the announcers know what's coming. Misawa gets his positioning, and drives Sano into the mat with an Avalanche Emerald Flowsion.

    Mitsuharu Misawa Wins the GHC Heavyweight Title For the First Time

    he final thirty seconds or so of the 2001 GHC Heavyweight Title tournament, featuring Misawa and Yoshihiro Takayama. Both men went through intense matches to get to the finals, and the finals were incredibly intense, making this quite an underrated match, in my mind.

    Mitsuharu Misawa Wins the Champions Carnival

    The Champions Carnival is a yearly tournament held by All Japan Pro Wrestling, somewhat similar to New Japan's G1 Climax. Misawa won two of the tournaments, in 1995 against a big rival in Akira Taue, and the second against former tag team parnter Jun Akiyama in 1998. Misawa's first Carnival paid off in spades, one might say, and a mere month after winning, he became Triple Crown Champion for the second time. These wins helped Misawa ascend to the top once again, as well as to cement his place as the best that All Japan Pro Wrestling had to offer.

    Mitsuharu Misawa Wins the GHC Heavyweight Title For the Second and Third Time

    First up, Misawa defeats the man he bested in the first GHC Heavyweight Title bout, Yoshihiro Takayama, to win the GHC Heavyweight Title for the second time. Second, Misawa defeats his hand picked successor, Naomichi Marufuji, in spectacular fashion to become the first(and only one of two) person to be a three time GHC Heavyweight Champion. Misawa would defeat many opponents during his second reign, and would also defend the belt in NYC in October of 2007. (Something happened to the sound on the first clip)

    Mitsuharu Misawa Destroys the Holy Demon Army

    Nothing quite says dominance like seeing someone take out a tag team single handedly. Here, that's exactly what Mitsuharu Misawa does. Akira Taue tries to avoid the Tiger Driver, and flips Misawa over. Misawa, however, lands on his feet, and drops Taue with a Rolling Elbow. Toshiaki Kawada tries to catch Misawa off guard, but he's also waffled with the Rolling Elbow. In the end, Taue receives the Tiger Driver Misawa was originally looking for.

    Mitsuharu Misawa Wins his Four Final Triple Crown Championships

    Mitsuharu Misawa is synonymous with the Triple Crown Championship, and with good reason. He won the title a record setting five times, and was champion a grand total of 1,799 days, defeating the likes of Stan Hansen, Kenta Kobashi, and Vader for the titles. Great competitors such as Akira Taue, Toshiaki Kawada, Kenta Kobashi, Jun Akiyama, Johnny Ace, and many others tried to end his reigns as Champion, only to fall at some point. He also holds the record for the longest Triple Crown reign of almost two years after he first one the title in 1992, and that reign is also historic in the sense that during his reign through 1993, that year is the only one that didn't see a title change

    Career Chronicles Volume 3: The Top 20 Moves of Mitsuharu Misawa

    RIP, Misawa-san, and Domo Arigato.

    Thanks for watching and of course I hope you enjoyed

    I'll be back tomorrow with Owen Hart

    Those who live without honor, end without honor.