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This week on Wrestling Omakase we talk some pretty incredible Japanese wrestling, including a triple dose of Toshiaki Kawada! If you haven’t listened to a 5 Matches episode yet, every week John and the guest each choose 2 matches to watch and talk about on the episode. Then we each choose a third match, which is put up to a vote on the @wrestleomakase Twitter account, letting the listeners choose our fifth and final match of the week. It’s a fun retro format featuring all sorts of different wrestling!

Wrestling Omakase has launched its brand new Patreon. Head to where you can get, right now, two episodes in our new series covering all of the Kazuchika Okada vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi matches in order (with a third to follow shortly after this goes up) as well as the first edition of Anime Omakase. And next week it will be the ONLY place to catch Wrestling Omakase #148, our first Patreon-exclusive episode of the podcast, with debuting guest Alan Counihan (@Alan4L) from PWTorch. Get all of our Patreon audio for just $5 a month!

John is joined by debuting guest Brandon Thurston from the Wrestlenomics podcast, right here on the VOW network. John and Brandon open things up discussing a little about getting into Japanese wrestling at a similar time, and Brandon talks a bit about how he evaluates matches as a wrestling trainer. Then we get into our 5 picks of the week, and it’s a real stacked lineup:

1. Toshiaki Kawada & Akira Taue vs. Mitsuharu Misawa & Kenta Kobashi, AJPW 6/9/95 (Youtube)
2. Toshiaki Kawada vs. Shinya Hashimoto, AJPW 2/22/04 (Dailymotion)
3. Toshiaki Kawada vs. Kensuke Sasaki, NJPW 10/9/00 (NJPW World)
4. Kazuchika Okada vs. Tetsuya Naito, NJPW 3/4/12 (NJPW World)
5. Hikaru Shida vs. Aja Kong, OZ 9/17/18 (Dailymotion)

Topics that come up along the way include: how you can break all the rules when you get over, that old school AJPW Budokan vibe, little bro Kawada, two wrestlers meeting toward the end of their careers, Japan’s long history of interpromotional matchups, the NJPW/AJPW feud of the early 00s, babyface Naito was more over than you remember, Okada and Naito having an absolute classic that you may have never even watched, Aja Kong says you have to bring the action to her, and much, much more! This is an episode where we honestly go on so many tangents I can’t even recall them all now writing this description, but it’s definitely one I think you’ll find enjoyable. Brandon brings a great perspective as someone who’s been in the ring before.

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Missed any of the 5 Matches episodes or just want to revisit one of the matches discussed previously but aren’t sure what episode it took place on? Here’s a handy Google Doc with links to every single match we’ve discussed on this series so far, which will continue to be updated every week.