95 cavalier bucking

Chevy Cavalier, 95, manual transmission, 170,000 miles.
Thought I had solved my bucking problem by changing the plugs and wires but turns out not. When I hold the needle to 40, the car will
buck/hesitate/surge. Hard to tell what's going on because it happens to fast. Also happens at other speeds as well. It isn't horrible; you just know that something isn't right.
However, when you accelerate through the gears, it's much worse and this is where you really get the bucking. As you're ramping up in second gear, the car will start bucking wildly and the only way to cure it is to shift into third. The thing is it seems to me that you're always shifting at a speed lower than normal.
Is this what a transmission problem looks like?
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