So I obviously haven't written anything in a few months. I HAVE been watching quite a bit, though. My motivation to write about it has basically been non-existent, but I figure if anything is going to get me back into the swing of things, it's Hansen.
Stan Hansen v Kenta Kobashi (All Japan Pro Wrestling, 7/29/93)
Well at this point I'm pretty much convinced Stan Hansen is the best wrestler that's ever lived. I literally don't remember ever reading anything that wasn't praise for this, and I'd assume it's still generally considered the best match of Stan's career. These days I'd rather watch him and Kawada beat the ever loving shit out of each other or see him play borderline-underdog babyface to Andre the Giant, but this is still a Hell of a fight that's better than 90% of anything in the history of pro-wrestling. Hansen is so great here. He gives Kobashi more of the match than I had remembered, but Kobashi is really good in his own right at filling the time. He goes Hell on wheels practically from the jump, and Hansen is almost left fighting an uphill battle the entire match. Match doesn't really tell the same story as Jumbo/Misawa from 9/1/90, but I got the same vibe from Hansen that I did from Jumbo at a few points -- he's a man that's been at the top of the food chain for a long ass time, and here comes this young guy trying to knock him off his perch. He had already come close earlier in the year, and he's coming close again. This is Hansen trying to hang on to his place in the world. Everything Hansen does looks like it's just about the stiffest version of it possible. For his first big transition/breakthrough he catches Kobashi coming into the corner with a boot to the face, and within minutes Kobashi's cheekbone is swollen and bruised. Then after the boot he goes and powerbombs him on the fucking concrete. His splash off the middle rope looks like it would obliterate your ribcage. Then there's the lariat, which might've been the nastiest lariat in the history of forever. Still, this is Hansen mostly fighting from the bottom, and for a guy that is maybe the best pure shitkicker in wrestling history, it's a tremendous performance and something you don't get to see from him all that often.