We’re hitting number four in wXw’s best of 2005, and it’s an appearance from the legendary Mitsuharu Misawa.

Andy Jackson intros the match, as he has done all series long, which comes from March 20, 2005 and a show called Navigation To A New Level. Misawa coming to wXw was a big deal, such was the status of Pro Wrestling NOAH at the time… he mentions how there was some nervousness over how Ares was using Misawa’s finisher at the time – but ended up getting permission to use that move in the finish, and also invited Ares to NOAH for a tour the following year.

Mitsuharu Misawa & Tiger Emperor vs. Ares & Ahmed Chaer
Tiger Emperor may be better known to some today as Kotaro Suzuki, while Ahmed Chaer currently runs the Berlin-based German Wrestling Federation. Of course, Misawa got streamers…

Misawa and Ares start, with Ares taking Misawa into the ropes before backing off. Misawa returns the favour, but slaps Ares on the break, before a chinlock was fought out of. Ares has to escape a hammerlock next, which he does by rolling out and countersign with one of his own, only for Misawa to elbow his way free.

Tags bring in Chaer and Tiger Emperor, who lock up as Tiger’s taken into the ropes for a clean break. A headlock takedown from Chaer’s quickly countered, but Chaer’s back in with an arm winger before Ares tagged in to keep it going. Tiger flips free and takes down Ares with an armdrag, only for Tiger to get free and snap back on Ares’ arm.

Misawa tags back in to club away on Ares, then hit a leaping kick, before Ares got annoyed and charged back Misawa in the corner. Ares starts an exchange of elbows, but comes off second best from those before he took Misawa into the corner so Chaer could tag in. Uppercuts and kicks briefly have Ahmed ahead, but Misawa escaped a chinlock and ended up taking down Chaer for a wishbone leg splitter.

Tiger Emperor’s back in to work over that leg, dropping knees and locking it up, before Tiger tried to get a pin from a toe hold. Chaer manages to kick his way free and tag out to Ares, who snuck in some double-teaming as Misawa protested to the referee. A double-team hiptoss drops Tiger for a two-count, while Ares’ fist drop keeps the momentum going. Some choking with Ares’ tie keeps the “home” team ahead, as Char looked to go for an Exploder… eventually getting it after some clubbing strikes weakened Tiger Emperor.

Ares is back with uppercuts, but he takes a sunset flip for a two-count, prompting Ares to quickly tag out as Chaer tried to take back control. Stomps from Ares keep Tiger Emperor at bay, but out of nowhere, some headscissors took down Chaer, along with a leaping back kick as Misawa finally got the tag in.

Boots in the corner and a missile dropkick from Misawa drop Chaer ahead of a slam and a frog splash for a two-count. Chaer cuts him off with a dropkick, then brought Ares in for a swinging Fisherman suplex, but Misawa’s foot is on the rope to break the count. A second suplex gets a similar result, before Misawa’s back elbow out of the corner took Ares down.

Tiger Emperor comes back in and ducks a charge in the corner, then scaled the ropes for a big crossbody that almost put away Ares. A handspring back elbow keeps Ares down as Misawa hit the ring for a double-team, with Tiger almost getting the win again with a flying ‘rana. Chaer’s in to toss Misawa outside, which upsets the crowd as Tiger Emperor’s met with a running high-knee in the corner from Chaer, then a spinebuster from Ares for a two-count… before Tiger Emperor telegraphed a back body drop and was swiftly put away with a Tiger Bomb. A little out of nowhere, but this was a tidy tag team match that didn’t outstay its welcome – and didn’t turn off a crowd that would have been happy just seeing Misawa for 20 minutes.

Result: Ares & Ahmed Chaer pinned Tiger Emperor & Mitsuharu Misawa in 18:57 (***¾)