Kings Road: Chapter Three on 4/9/06
review by Mike Campbell
The third show is highlighted by NOAH participation. Is this a homecoming for Misawa, Shiga, Marufuji, and Kikuchi, or is it an invasion by the Green ring? You decide! Also Tenryu returns, and Miyamoto is in the main event yet again. Will the Kings Road ace finally win? Probably not!
Shota Takanishi . . . bleeds in the opener, thus continuing to be my favorite wrestler in this federation.
SHOTA TAKANISHI vs. JUNJI INAZUMA
The usual fun stuff that Takanishi matches contain, namely the rookie taking an ass whooping. INAZUMA is good for heaping abuse, but his offense is all over the place. Takanishi also doesn’t get fired up and try to hand it back this time either. What Takanishi does do is bust his nose, resulting in some nice juice. Takanishi gets a few fluke cradles in, but with no other offense in the match besides forearms, they don’t give the impression of an upset. Takanishi tries to get too advanced in his offense with a vertical suplex, and that gets countered to a Fujiwara armbar, and then INAZUMA finishes off Takanishi with a Chickenwing. This could have been pretty good if they’d had more time to build the match, but it’s rushed state just makes it the usual fun at times match that Takanishi always has.
TSUYOSHI KIKUCHI vs. MORI BERNARD
If you ever wanted to see what SUWA would be like if he wasn’t such a tough guy, witness Bernard. He’s got a similar look, and all the cheating, and none of that tough guy attitude. Kikuchi must not have been clued in that this was supposed to be a comedy match though, as he’s awesome at selling Bernard’s offense, right down to great facial expressions. Bernard drops a senton bomb on Kikuchi and he lets out a big grunt with a look of agony on his face. Kikuchi doesn’t get much offense in, he uses his patented elbow smashes, and unleashes the Fireball bomb when Bernard drops his head too early, and one cool moment saw Kikuchi unleashing the locomotion vertical suplexes, which the announcer referred to as ‘The Three Amigos.’ The match also has its share of shenanigans in the form of Bernard’s manager interfering, and distracting Kikuchi, including a chase scene on the floor. He tries to throw powder in Kikuchi’s face, but misses, and Kikuchi rolls up Bernard for the win. After watching this, I’d suggest watching something that involves either Kikuchi and Lyger, or Kikuchi and SUWA in the same ring, to see Kikuchi’s greatness displayed properly.
KENTARO SHIGA vs. YUTO AIJIMA
The pre-split AJPW guy vs. The post-split AJPW guy. Props to both of them for trying to tell a story and actually sticking with it throughout the match. The story is simple enough, Aijima uses his strength advantage to down Shiga with various suplexes and clubbing forearms, and Shiga goes after the big man’s knee, and then wears it down with submissions, and tries to keep Aijima on the mat. Where they go wrong though is that Aijima isn’t always consistent with his selling. He’ll get hit with a simple kick from Shiga and go down like a ton of bricks, but when he does a jaw breaker, dropping down on both of his knees, he only needs to shake it out for a second and he’s fine. Shiga is supposed to be the heel here, but aside from the pre-match bits with the hairbrush, he doesn’t play it up at all. When he’s going after the roll ups toward the end, he doesn’t grab the ropes or pull the tights. When he’s going after Aijima’s knee, he’s not nearly as big a punk about it as he could be. The backslide finish makes sense in the vein of Shiga using his wrestling skills to overcome Aijima’s power, but there was much more fun that could have been had on the road to the finish.
TADAO YASUDA/TOMOHIKO HASHIMOTO vs. GENICHIRO TENRYU/KOKI KITAHARA
At least this is short. It had potential to be fun, with things like Yasuda cheating and being a punk in general, and Tenryu being a grumpy old man. But this is far too rushed to allow either of those things to play out like they should. There isn’t any sort of real story going on, as they’re basically just pasting away at each other and working in their signature spots like Yasuda’s double arm suplex and the WAR team tries their lariat/spin kick combo, but it backfires. Hashimoto is once again made out to be the weak link of his team, losing the match after getting hit with Tenryu’s brainbuster.
SHIRO KOSHINAKA/RICKY MARVIN vs. MITSUHARU MISAWA/NAOMICHI MARUFUJI
While this is certainly fun at times, it’s more along the lines of a NOAH mid card match, than a Kings Road style match. It’s no shock given that 3/4 of the participants are NOAH workers, and that Koshinaka has made several appearances in the green ring. As expected the bulk of the match is carried by the smaller guys, they work together rather well, and they both have their share of flashy spots to bring. The highlight being Marvin’s attempts at the 619 only for Marufuji to counter it by kicking him off balance. Marvin also supplies some comedy as well, by taunting and mocking Misawa. The spot where he mocks Misawa’s hair wipe out of his eyes, is priceless, as is Marvin’s reaction when Misawa comes after him. When Misawa gets his hands on Marvin though, bless him, Marvin bumps and sells like a fiend for him.
Neither of the heavyweights have much to offer, both of them more or less do their stuff to get their pops and leave the work to their partners. Koshinaka makes a nice hot tag for Marvin, after he takes some extended abuse from Misawa and Marufuji, but Koshinaka tags out very soon after the big tag. He makes one nice save, by leg dropping Marufuji, when he’s on his back holding Marvin in a bow and arrow, both saving Marvin and getting some revenge for Marufuji mocking his hip attack gesture. Misawa and Marufuji do a couple of nice double team moves, the assisted surfboard with Marufuji on the apron looked brutal and Marvin’s wailing only made it seem worse. Marvin taking the fall isn’t a shocker, but doing so after basically getting decimated by Misawa and Marufuji without any big near falls of his own or any surprising kick outs is a bit on the anticlimactic side. It’s fine that the Shiranui is the final nail in his coffin and that Marufuji wasn’t pulling an Ogawa and just stealing the pin. But there’s nothing to build anticipation to Marufuji finally keeping him down. It’d have come off a bit better if Misawa had done more of his bigger stuff to Marvin, seeing that Marufuji/Marvin isn’t the mismatch that Jumbo/Kikuchi was in the early 90's.
KAZUSHI MIYAMOTO/TAICHI ISHIKARI vs. DAISUKE IKEDA/MITSUYA NAGAI
The first half of this is almost hard to watch. Nagai and Ikeda are unusually stiff with Ishikari. They don’t hold anything back with the shots they level him with. It’d be one thing if they were in there with someone like Takayama or Vader, someone who could actually hand it back and make it seem like an actual contest, but this is like Ikeda and Nagai just showing off how hard they can kick and punch. To his credit, Ishikari takes the abuse like a champ and does try to hand it back, although he’s woefully unsuccessful. To Nagai’s credit, when Ishikari finally gets an offensive run, he’s there to sell like a champ for the kid, and create that hope that was noticeably absent from the previous match, before he almost tears his head off with his running knee and pins him.
Miyamoto looks better there than he did in the two previous main events, but he still doesn’t look like the company ace. He looks like he’s one or two rungs below it. If he’d develop his own offense, it’d help him along a lot faster. Not only does he again steal Kawada/Tenryu’s soccer kicks, and the Stretch Plum, he’s also plagiarizing Kobashi’s offense with the lariat and chop flurries in the corner. At least when Corino was using the lariat it was meant to be funny, Miyamoto just looks silly. The most telling aspect of the match is when Miyamoto does the soccer kicks to Ikeda, and he just stands there completely unhurt. Miyamoto does cause both of the major runs of offense for his team. The first being after a brawl on the floor with Ikeda, the catalyst for the shift in momentum is Miyamoto sending him into the guardrail. The second comes after Miyamoto finds himself two-on-one with Nagai and Ikeda. He ducks a charging Ikeda and hits a dropkick on Nagai, before tagging out to Ishikari. Tagging out may not have been very ace-like, but it was smarter given that Ishikari has his own offense, and that Nagai and Ikeda both do a nice job putting it over. For all the nasty looking shots they leveled him with, they’re both more than willing to return the favor. Ishikari’s near falls from the German suplex and Black Mephisto are both quite hot, and Ishikari’s surprise crucifix after Nagai’s capture suplex is just as hot, and finally Nagai hits the running knee and finishes him off. This is the most Kings Road-style match yet. Of course it helps that tag team main events happened more often in Baba’s All Japan than single matches. Now if the promotion can either get their ace where he needs to be, or get one who can fit the bill, they’d be set.
Conclusion: The best of the Kings Road shows yet, the NOAH participation was a big shot in the arm this time around, with all three matches bringing some enjoyment, and then capping things off with their best main event yet. Definite recommendation for Kings Road: Chapter 3.
For more of Mike Campbell's reviews, visit his site at http://splashmountain.150m.com