143. ‘Dr Death’ Steve Williams vs Kenta Kobashi (AJPW Summer Action Series II 31/8/1993)

I’ve found myself going down the Kenta Kobashi rabbit hole… undoubtedly, he is one of the greatest wrestlers of all time. After watching his bout against Stan Hansen, I looked forward to his much acclaimed match against ‘Dr Death’ Steve Williams from 1994. However, thanks to blindly clicking on the first Youtube video that came up, I found myself watching their lesser-acclaimed match from 1994 (click here for my review). I loved their 1994 bout, so felt compelled to find the 1993 one. It left me a little disappointed…

This was a No.1 Contendership bout for the Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship. Kobashi, just like in his 1993 match with Stan Hansen (click here for my review), had a lot to prove. Like in that match, he was the underdog. Williams was the foreign monster, an extremely dangerous wrestler. With an arsenal of devastating moves and a barrel-chested body, he looked wholly intimidating. I prepared myself for the two tell the same story as Kobashi and Hansen did: the underdog vs the foreign menace.

Ane yes, that is the story they did tell, and they told it more successfully than Kobashi and Hansen. In that match, Kobashi dominated the match, and Hansen didn’t look like an indomitable threat. Here, Kobashi still has a fair amount of offence, but Williams looks, acts and move like a monster. Even at the start, he laughs Kobashi off, not taking him seriously. To him, Kobashi is a minor inconvenience on the way to the World title. He laughs off Kobashi’s chops, for example. However, as the match goes on, and Kobashi manages to take Williams down, Dr Death has no choice but to recognise Kobashi as a worthy opponent and act accordingly.

So, in essence, the story of the match is solid, told with more finesse than Kobashi vs Hansen. However, there are some minor flaws that detracted from my enjoyment of the match. For one, Williams, although his selling was mostly fine, sometimes failed to sell things appropriately. Of course, being the monster, he could shrug off chops and basic moves that Kobashi threw at him. That makes sense. However, Kobashi hits a DDT on the concrete floor (with a leg up on the barrier)…and a few seconds later, Williams is powerslamming Kobashi, not phased my hos head being smashed on the cold concrete. He then executes another move! At least sell a big move lole that properly!!!

Also, like the Kobashi/Hansen match, the match seems to stop and start, failing to engage with an adequate flow. Hansen, particularly towards the end of the bout, appears to rush proceedings and cause miscommunicaion and a few small botches. At one point, he attempts a cartwheel elbow stike, only to lose his balance and nearly fall over.

But is that just me nitpicking? I expected a great match after their 1994 classic; what I saw was merely a very good match. A tight story was told, that of the underdog facing the terrifying foreign menace. Every time Williams attempts his Dangerous Backdrop finisher, Kobashi looks terrified as he blocks it, and the commentators scream in horror (even with a translation you can tell they don’t want to see his finisher!). And the rest of his offence looks brutal as well. This is certainly a match to watch, but it isn’t the classic I’ve read about. I’ll remember the final few minutes more than anything else, because they are some of the most wince-inducing moments I’ve seen in wrestling! I much preferred their 1994 bout, an easily decided upon 5* match.

Hammy’s Rating: **** (out of 5)

(Click here for more of ‘A Wrestling Match A Day‘)

My Other Reviews of ‘Burning: The Greatness of Kenta Kobashi’ (in date order)

And here are some other reviews of Kobashi’s matches:


6 thoughts on “143. ‘Dr Death’ Steve Williams vs Kenta Kobashi (AJPW Summer Action Series II 31/8/1993)

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