Quick question. What do you guys think of Misawa/Kobashi from 03? I am watching it right now and the match is awesome so far but my biggest problem is Misawa's selling at some points of the match. He gets blasted with moves that look like they could kill a person yet he gets up before Kobashi does actually.
It's my favorite Misawa vs. Kobashi match, but it's not their "best" match. It's the start of Kobashi's reign as the Absolute Champion and the match where Misawa passed the torch to him. The match itself is the logical conclusion for the Misawa vs. Kobashi feud and they never had another singles match again, with the exception of a special random 10 minute X-mas match.
It was established before this match that if Kobashi could hit the Burning Hammer on Misawa, he would beat him. It took over ten years for Kobashi to pin Misawa for the first time and Kobashi had to create the Burning Hammer for it to even happen. Kobashi debuted the Burning Hammer in a tag match on October 24th, 1998 on Misawa to show Misawa his unstopppable move for his Triple Crown title defense
against Mitsuharu Misawa on the 31st. Kobashi could not use the move, as Misawa blocked it multiple times and he lost the Triple Crown to him. In June of 1999, Misawa defended the Triple Crown against Kobashi, but again, Kobashi could not use the Burning Hammer and lost the match. On October 23rd, 1999, nearly a year after Kobashi's first pin of Misawa, Kobashi would pin Misawa once again with the Burning Hammer and win the AJPW Unified World Tag Team Titles with Jun Akiyama.
Flash forward to 2003, Misawa is the GHC Heavyweight Champion and Kenta Kobashi is the number 1 contender. In a special tag match in Jan of 2003 (Mitsuharu Misawa & Masahiro Chono vs. Kenta Kobashi & Akira Taue), Kobashi pins Misawa again, but with a special Vertical Drop Brainbuster. He uses that move in the 2003 Misawa vs Kobashi match, but Misawa kicks out. He uses the Burning Hammer and beats Misawa decisively.
It's too bad that you didn't watch all their previous matches before you watched that one. Watching All Japan and to a lesser extent NOAH matches in context makes the enjoyment of the matches even better.