Scout Report by Wrestlingscout

Is Kawada the Best in the World?

Five-hundred lists are always interesting reads and I recently read's 500 List, which came out a while ago and it was certainly more thought out than say the PWI 500. The boys there know their stuff and certainly put a lot of time into making this list. On the other side of the coin is Lance Storm, who feels such lists are "ludicrous" as no non-worker can rate workers, especially in a list of this sort. They can rate workrates as "great," "fair," "poor," etc., but to put numbers on workers is impossible.

DVD's list was headed by puroresu hero, Toshiaki Kawada and why not? "Dangerous K" has had great matches with people, who are not the cream of the crop like he was used to only a year ago. Since the split, he's almost single-handedly carried the All Japan flag and he's floating around forty. The fact this guy has been wrestling this style for as long as he has is testament to his greatness.

Lance Storm thinks a little different about the selection. On his weekly commentary on his site,, "His stuff looks good because its ¾'s legit…Does anyone honestly think he could wrestle non All Japan style matches? Could he work someone who has a neck injury and still have a good match? Could he pull off a decent match with a very limited North American style worker? Kawada is very good at his certain style of match with the workers he's been working with for the last 5-10 years. Is he truly well rounded and diverse enough to be considered the best this sport has? I doubt it."

Now I'm not going to rip on Lance Storm, he has a right to say that and to his credit, he said he's not seen much recent Kawada stuff. I think viewing Kawada-Sasaki, Kawada and Fuchi-Nagata and Iizuka, or Kawada and Tenryu-Hansen and Kea would change his mind. These matches have proven excellent and are hardly the same match. All three are diverse in there own way. The first was pitting two stylistically different wrestlers together and they put out perhaps the match of the year. Sasaki is not a superlative worker and has a somewhat "North American style." Then there's an unbelievable tag match that is basically everything a tag match is supposed to be and more. The other tag match is similar, but it's more historic as Genichiro Tenryu made his homecoming to All Japan, Stan Hansen readied for retirement with his last great match, and Taiyo Kea was elevated to main event status. These are three of Kawada's matches that I've viewed in the past month that were part of the Driver's time period in which they narrowed it. Though Storm makes some good points and a nice rebuttal in his follow-up commentary saying Kawada is not deserving of the top spot is "ludicrous."

The Death Valley Driver does have its favorites including Chris Benoit, El Hijo Del Santo, and Mitsuharu Misawa, who have made the top ten everytime (except Misawa on this last one). I won't comment on Santo for various reasons, but Benoit I will. I have thoroughly enjoyed Chris Benoit's matches, no matter where I've seen him. Though his past year in the WWF has been decent, it was hardly the best.

Although I feel a list of this nature is a matter of opinion as taste is one of countless factors that determine whose ahead of whom. If I was to choose the top star of the past 1/2 year, I probably would say Kawada. What this man has done for All Japan is admirable by not leaving he saved it and he is perhaps the only reason this promotion is still alive today. Perhaps that single fact makes him the best in the world.


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