NOAH at Budokan
review by Kevin Wilson
Date: October 29th, 2006
This event took place only a week or so ago, but I managed to acquire it a few days ago and figured I'd take a break from older events to review something new. This is a pretty weak undercard, as the entire show was built around the main event. Marufuji defeated Akiyama for the title back in September and this was his first defense on Japanese soil. The main event is getting mixed reviews around the Internet, so let's see how it is, shall we? Here is the full card:
- Mitsuo Momota and Atsushi Aoki vs. Tsuyoshi Kikuchi and Tsutomu Hirayanagi
No need to kill time, let's get right to it.
Mitsuo Momota and Atsushi Aoki vs. Tsuyoshi Kikuchi and Tsutomu Hirayanagi
Momota picks up Hirayanagi and makes the tag to Aoki. Aoki comes off the top turnbuckle with an ax handle to the back, Aoki picks up Hirayanagi and clubs him into the corner. Irish whip by Aoki and he hits a jumping forearm followed by a Northern Lights Suplex for a two count. Aoki goes for a backdrop suplex, but Hirayanagi lands on his feet and delivers a dropkick. Hirayanagi tags in Kikuchi, Irish whip by Kikuchi to Aoki and he hits the Zero-sen Kick. Cover, but it gets a two count. Kikuchi hits a trio of snap suplexes, the last one with a bridge, but it gets a two count as well. Kikuchi picks up Aoki and elbows him in the back of the head. Forearm by Kikuchi and he knocks Aoki into the corner. Kikuchi headbutts Aoki to the mat, picks him back up and tags in Hirayanagi. Hirayanagi comes off the top turnbuckle with a missile dropkick, cover, but it gets a two count. Irish whip by Hirayanagi from the corner and he hits a running elbow. Hirayanagi goes for a suplex, Aoki elbows out of it but he misses the dropkick. Hirayanagi tags in Kikuchi, Irish whip by Kikuchi to the corner and he hits a series of shoulder tackles. Kikuchi puts Aoki onto the top turnbuckle, joins him, and hits a spider belly to belly suplex. Momota runs in and throws him off the top turnbuckle though and Aoki manages to tag him in. Momota picks up Kikuchi but Kikuchi forearms him. Momota ducks another forearm attempt and hits a backdrop suplex, Hirayanagi runs in the ring but Momota plants him with a DDT. Chops by Momota to Kikuchi in the corner but Kikuchi forearms him back. Irish whip by Kikuchi, reversed, but he hits a Zero-sen Kick. Back up, the two trade strikes and Momota drops Kikuchi to the mat. Momota goes for a backdrop suplex, Kikuchi gets out of it, but Momota rolls him up for a two count. Kikuchi rolls up Momota in retaliation but he only gets a two count as well. Momota goes for a backslide, but Kikuchi reverses it into a backslide of his own and picks up the three count! Your winners: Tsuyoshi Kikuchi and Tsutomu Hirayanagi
Match Thoughts: Momota can retire any time he wants to since his long-time opponent Eigen is gone now, but he seems to be hanging around for the long haul. I would have loved to have gotten the chance to watch Hirayanagi and Aoki more but they did very little in this match since Kikuchi and Momota controlled much of the action. Kikuchi seemed a bit out of place here since (as far as I am concerned) he is on a higher level then these three, but at least he picked up the pinfall. I don't really like old man matches, I'd rather watch dojo matches, so I can't really say I enjoyed this much as I didn't find it particularly entertaining even if it was fundamentally sound. Score: 3.5
Ricky Marvin and Taiji Ishimori vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru and SUWA
Camel clutch by Kanemaru and he tags in SUWA. SUWA picks up Ishimori and chops him in the chest. Irish whip by SUWA and he hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. SUWA picks up Ishimori, Irish whip and he hits a spinebuster before applied a crab hold. Kanemaru runs over to knock Marvin off the apron, but SUWA releases the hold after a moment and tags in Kanemaru. Irish whip by Kanemaru but Ishimori kicks him in the head and hits a handstand back elbow strike. Ishimori tags in Marvin, who kicks down Kanemaru and kicks SUWA off the apron. Kick over the ropes by Marvin and he goes for a springboard sunset flip, but Kanemaru rolls through. Roll-up attempt by Kanemaru but Marvin rolls through as well and hits a Shining Wizard. Cover, but it only gets a two count. Marvin goes off the ropes but Kanemaru kicks Marvin in the head. Kanemaru tags in SUWA who comes off the top turnbuckle with a diving lariat. SUWA picks up Marvin, Irish whip, and he hits a flapjack. Cover, but it gets a two count. Kick to the stomach by SUWA and he goes for the John Woo, but Marvin hits a superkick as he charges in and makes the tag to Ishimori. Hurricanrana by Ishimori on SUWA and with Marvin they hit a double 619. Cover, but SUWA barely kicks out. Irish whip by Ishimori from the corner, SUWA back bodydrops him over the top rope but Ishimori lands on the apron. Ishimori hits a springboard quebrada off the side ropes, cover, but it only gets a two count. Ishimori picks up Kanemaru, puts him in front of the corner, goes up top and hits a somersault senton followed by a standing SSP. Cover, but it gets another two count. Scoop slam by Ishimori and he goes for the Superstar Elbow, but SUWA gets up and nails a backdrop suplex. SUWA goes off the ropes and kills Ishimori with a lariat, cover, but Ishimori gets a shoulder up. SUWA goes into the corner and hits the John Woo on Ishimori, he picks him up and plants him with a running FFF. Cover, and he picks up the three count. Your winner: Yoshinobu Kanemaru and SUWA
Match Thoughts: This is the type of action I would expect from an opener: fast paced wrestling that gets the crowd into it but doesn't show a lot of substance. Ishimori looked a little off a few times but the rest of them hit their spots very well. The ending wasn't really ever in doubt as SUWA and Kanemaru are a lot more accomplished in NOAH then Marvin and Ishimori are, although I hope that Marvin gets a push at some point since he is really fun to watch. A simple match but pretty entertaining. Score: 6.5
Scorpio and Murat Bosporus vs. Tamon Honda and Shuhei Taniguchi
Scorpio picks up Taniguchi and tags in Bosporus and Bosporus applies a half nelson on the mat. Taniguchi wiggles to the ropes after a moment and gets a foot on the bottom one, forcing the break. Samoan Drop by Bosporus, cover, but Taniguchi kicks out. Bosporus tags in Scorpio, Bosporus slams Taniguchi onto the mat and Scorpio comes off the top turnbuckle with a body press. Cover, but it only gets a two count. Scorpio picks up Taniguchi and delivers a release German suplex, Bosporus grabs Taniguchi and hits a German suplex of his own. Bosporus then goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits a body press, he puts Taniguchi closer to the corner and Scorpio comes off the top with a 450 splash. Cover, but Honda breaks it up. Honda lariats both Bosporus and Scorpio, he throws Bosporus in the corner, tries to do the same to Scorpio, Scorpio reverses it but Honda headbutts both of them in the midsection. Honda holds Scorpio for Taniguchi so that Taniguchi can hit a backdrop suplex and Taniguchi makes the tag afterwards to Honda. Scorpio promptly kicks Honda and tags in Bosporus, Irish whip to the corner by Bosporus and he hits a lariat. Another lariat by Bosporus and he delivers a third for a two count cover. Waistlock by Bosporus, but Honda gets out of it. Irish whip by Honda to the corner, he charges Bosporus but Bosporus rolls out of the way and hits a belly to belly suplex. Cover by Bosporus but Honda kicks out. Bosporus goes up to the top turnbuckle, but Taniguchi grabs him from the outside. Honda hits the Rolling Olympic Hell 0 out of the corner, cover, but Bosporus barely gets a shoulder up. Honda keeps the hold locked on but Scorpio breaks it up. Honda picks up Bosporus and goes for the Dead End, Scorpio tries to help, but Taniguchi runs in and hits a German suplex hold on Scorpio. This allows Honda to deliver the Dead End to Bosporus, cover, and he gets the three count! Your winners: Tamon Honda and Shuhei Taniguchi
Post match: Scorpio shakes the wrestlers' hands and salutes the crowd after the match, as this was his last NOAH appearance before his return to WWE.
Match Thoughts: An odd match. I had heard good things about Taniguchi but here he looked hesitant and a step behind at times. Bosporus was really into it and trying as hard as he could, but he and Taniguchi were simply not on the same page at times and while its hard to tell who was at fault it didn't make either one look good. Honda didn't have to do a lot and Scorpio unfortunately was pretty much only there to hit his spots. Between the miscommunications and sloppy moments I can't really say this was a good match, but I'd like to see more of Bosporus before I pass too much judgment as its hard to get a feel of a wrestler by only watching one match. I liked his energy, he is a big guy but he didn't move around like one. Not much to see here. Score: 4.0
Doug Williams, Nigel McGuinness, and Ares vs. Masao Inoue, Kishin Kawabata, and Ippei Ota
Irish whip by Williams and he hits a jumping knee followed by a suplex. Cover, but it gets a two count. Irish whip to the corner again by Williams but Ota kicks him as he charges in. Ota jumps up onto the second turnbuckle and goes for a missile dropkick but Williams steps out of the way. Williams goes for a backdrop suplex, but Ota lands on his feet and hits a jumping lariat. Ota tags in Inoue, and Inoue shoulderblocks Williams to the mat. Irish whip by Inoue, reversed, but Inoue kicks Williams when he charges in and hits a shoulderblock off the second turnbuckle for a two count cover. Irish whip by Inoue to the corner and he hits a series of lariats followed by a side Russian leg sweep. Lariat by Inoue, cover, but it only gets a two count. Inoue picks up Williams and rakes him in the eyes, he goes off the ropes but Williams headbutts him in the stomach and hits a gutwrench suplex. Williams tags in McGuinness who uppercuts Inoue into the corner and hits a running forearm. McGuinness goes off the ropes, Inoue knees him as he comes in but McGuinness slams him to the mat. Cover, but Inoue kicks out at two. McGuinness picks up Inoue, Irish whip to the corner, reversed, but McGuinness elbows him as Inoue charges. McGuinness does a handstand on the top turnbuckle and when Inoue runs at him he jumps behind his back and delivers an uppercut. Cover, but it gets a two count. McGuinness picks up Inoue, Irish whip from the corner but Inoue gives him a boot and delivers a lariat. Inoue tags in Kawabata, Kawabata goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits a missile dropkick. Irish whip by Kawabata and he hits a lariat in the corner on McGuinness. Another Irish whip but this time McGuinness gives him a boot when he charges in. McGuinness runs at Kawabata but Kawabata hits a Samoan drop. Senton by Kawabata, cover, but it gets a two count.
Atomic drop by Kawabata, he goes off the ropes and hits a lariat. Cover, but again it gets a two. Kawabata waits for McGuinness to get up, he goes off the ropes but McGuinness ducks the lariat. McGuinness goes off the ropes but Kawabata hits the lariat anyway, cover, but it gets a two count. Kawabata picks up McGuinness, scoop slam, he goes up to the second turnbuckle but McGuinness is up and hits the Tower of London. Cover, but Kawabata gets a shoulder up. McGuinness tags in Ares, Ares goes for a suplex on Kawabata but instead hits a swinging slam for a two count cover. Ares picks up Kawabata, Kawabata gets away from him but Ares puts him up on his shoulders and hits an Argentine Backbreaker into a front slam for a two count cover. Ares picks up Kawabata, Irish whip, reversed, but Ares kicks him in the chest. Ares goes off the ropes but Kawabata catches him with a powerslam and makes the tag to Ota. Inoue comes in too and they knock McGuinness and Williams off the apron. They then send Ares into the corner and all three connect with strikes. Acid Drop by Ota, cover, but Ares barely kicks out. Airplane spin by Ota with his partners helping and Ota hits a Samoan drop as Ares screams. Ares is up first, but he is dizzy and Ota hits a side slam. Cover, but the pin attempt is broken up. McGuinness comes in with Williams, Williams hits a jumping knee in the corner and McGuinness follows with an elbow. McGuinness then picks up Ota in a powerbomb position and Williams comes off the top turnbuckle with an elbow strike. They place Ota in front of the corner, Ares goes up to the top turnbuckle and nails a senton bomb. Cover, but Inoue breaks it up. Williams and McGuinness clear the ring, Ares picks up Ota and hits a vertical suplex. Cover, but Ota kicks out. Back up, they trade forearm shots and Ota hits a backslide for a two count. On their feet again, Ares grabs Ota and plants him with a Tiger Driver. Cover, and he picks up the three count! Your winners: Doug Williams, Nigel McGuinness, and Ares
Match Thoughts: You know, this wasn't a bad match. Normally mid-card six man tags come up short but the European team made this match interesting. McGuinness is fun to watch and the crowd was really into Ares' shtick. Kawabata and Inoue didn't do much but Ota played the part of rag doll quite well and took a lot of offense. The only thing I didn't like was the ending, its odd to say for a 16 minute match but the ending felt sudden. Ota was literally seconds before exchanging forearms but Ares hits a Tiger Driver and Ota is out cold, even though that move rarely gets pins anymore in NOAH. But overall it was surprisingly good, and while it won't really mean anything in the long run it was solid mid-card filler. Score: 6.5
Akitoshi Saito and Go Shiozaki vs. Akira Taue and Kentaro Shiga
Shiga tags in Taue and Taue chops Shiozaki in the corner. Taue picks up Shiozaki, Irish whip, but Shiozaki avoids the big boot and knocks down Taue with a flying shoulderblock. This gives him time to tag in Saito and Saito shoulderblocks Taue to the mat. Lariat by Saito, cover, but it gets a two count. Knees to the stomach by Saito, he goes off the ropes and hits a scissors kick. Cover, but Taue kicks out. Saito goes for an exploder, but Shiga runs in and breaks it up. Taue goes for a big boot on Saito but Saito punches him low. Saito picks up Taue but this time Taue hits him low and makes the tag to Shiga. Face crusher by Shiga on Saito, cover, but it gets a two count. Irish whip to the corner by Shiga, reversed, but Shiga avoids Saito when he charges in and hits a stunner. Back up, Saito goes for a backdrop suplex but Shiga lands (somewhat) on his feet. Shiga charges Saito but Saito hits a leg sweep and tags in Shiozaki Irish whip by Shiozaki and he delivers a dropkick. Cover, but it gets a two count. Shiozaki chops Shiga in the corner, Irish whip, and he hits a jumping forearm. Another jumping forearm strike by Shiozaki, cover, but it gets a two count. Shiozaki picks up Shiga, Irish whip, but Shiga applies an Octopus Hold. Shiozaki hiptosses out of it and hits a superkick, fisherman buster by Shiozaki but it only gets a two count. Shiga is thrown into the corner, Shiozaki hits a forearm and Saito follows with a running knee strike. Shiozaki goes to the top turnbuckle and hits a diving knee, cover, but Taue breaks it up. Shiozaki goes to the top turnbuckle again but Shiga avoids the second knee drop. STF by Shiga on Shiozaki but Shiozaki gets a hand on the bottom rope. Shiga picks up Shiozaki, Irish whip to the corner but Shiozaki kicks him when he charges in. Oklahoma Roll by Shiozaki on Shiga and he delivers a lariat. Cover, but Shiga barely kicks out. Back up, scoop slam by Shiozaki, he goes to the top turnbuckle and nails the moonsault. Cover, but Taue breaks it up. Saito takes Taue out of the ring, Shiozaki goes for a German suplex but Shiga gets out of it. Backslide by Shiga, but it only gets a two count. Shiozaki goes for a lariat, but Shiga ducks it and rolls him up for the three count! Your winners: Akira Taue and Kentaro Shiga
Match Thoughts: Pretty slow and there really wasn't any structure to it. I gave Shiga a pass for awhile since he missed time due to an injury, but he still looks a step behind at times and I don't see why he had to get the pinfall over the (in theory) raising star Go Shiozaki Taue did a few of his normal spots but in general was not the focus of the match at all, which is a bit odd as he had the most star power of the wrestlers in the match. Not even good for a NOAH mid-card tag match, no one stood out positively and the layout left me scratching my head. Score: 4.5
Jun Akiyama and Makoto Hashi vs. Takeshi Morishima and Mohammed Yone
Hashi eventually gets to the ropes and Yone has to break the hold. Yone tags in Morishima, Morishima clubs Hashi in the back of the head but Hashi hits him back and the two trade blows. Morishima gets the better of it with a series of clubbing blows, Irish whip from the corner and he delivers a cartwheel splash. Morishima goes for a vertical suplex but Hashi blocks it and hits a suplex of his own. Hashi tags in Akiyama, Irish whip by Akiyama and he delivers the jumping knee. Irish whip to the corner by Akiyama and he hits another jumping knee. He goes for an exploder, Morishima elbows out of it and goes off the ropes, but Akiyama catches him with the exploder anyway. Cover by Akiyama, but Morishima kicks out at two. Akiyama picks up Morishima but Morishima hits a back bodydrop and tags in Yone. Irish whip by Yone to the corner and he hits a jumping knee. Scoop slam by Yone in front of the corner, he goes to the second turnbuckle and hits a guillotine leg drop. Cover, but it gets a two count. Morishima comes in the ring and they hit a lariat from both sides onto Akiyama. Cover by Yone, but Hashi breaks it up. Morishima throws Hashi out of the ring, they toss Akiyama into the corner and both hit lariats. Morishima puts Akiyama onto his shoulders while Yone goes to the top turnbuckle but Akiyama fights his way towards the corner and in an awesome spot he hits an exploder onto Yone down to the mat while still on Morishima's shoulders. Unreal. Running knee to Morishima by Akiyama and he tags in Hashi. Hashi goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits a diving headbutt onto Yone. Cover, but it gets a two count. Headbutts by Hashi, he goes up top again and hits a diving headbutt to the chest. Cover, but Morishima breaks it up. Scoop slam by Hashi, he goes up top for a third time and this time Akiyama assists him in hitting the diving headbutt. Cover, but Morishima barely breaks it up. Hashi goes for a driver, but Yone gets out of it and nails a heel kick to the head. Morishima comes in the ring, he picks up Hashi, double Irish whip and they hit a double kick to the stomach followed by a Yone kick and a Morishima hip attack. Cover by Yone but Akiyama breaks it up. Yone bounces off the ropes and hits a lariat, cover, but Hashi barely kicks out. Yone puts Hashi on the top turnbuckle and nails the muscle buster, cover, but he rolls off at two (more on this in a minute). Another cover, but this time Hashi kicks out. Yone picks up Hashi, scoop slam, he goes to the top turnbuckle and kills Hashi with a guillotine legdrop. Cover, and he picks up the three count! Your winners: Takeshi Morishima and Mohammed Yone
Match Thoughts: A fun match, it's kinda sad seeing Akiyama in meaningless matches like this but it helps the overall quality. At the end, Yone heard Akiyama slap his hand against the mat and thought it was the first count, which is why he rolled off early. Course he immediately realized his mistake and they improvised a different ending. The exploder off the top turnbuckle I thought was a fairly innovative spot and in general all the wrestlers looked good. Even though Hashi took a good deal of punishment and fought on, he did lose rather decisively to a wrestler that really isn't going anywhere in NOAH which surprised. I would have assumed that Morishima would pick up the win, but in the grand scheme of things it really doesn't matter. Overall it was very entertaining as the wrestler quality was top notch... even though I'd have liked on a big show to have Morishima and Akiyama in a more important role. Score: 7.0
Mitsuharu Misawa, Ogawa, and Kotaro Suzuki vs. Takayama, Takuma Sano, and Takashi Sugiura
Misawa tags in Suzuki and Suzuki kicks Sano down in the corner. Irish whip by Suzuki and he hits a dropkick. Cover, but it gets a two count. Side headlock by Suzuki, but Sano hits a backdrop suplex to get out of it. Sano tags in Sugiura, Irish whip by Sugiura and he knees Suzuki in the stomach. Cover, but it gets a two count. Sugiura applies a reverse chinlock, he picks up Suzuki and goes for a vertical suplex but Suzuki lands on his feet and hits a back kick. Suzuki tags in Ogawa, and Ogawa dumps Sugiura out of the ring. Ogawa joins him and tries to throw Sugiura into the railing, but Sugiura reverses it. Sugiura slides Ogawa back in the ring and he is assaulted in the corner by all three of his opponents. Sugiura tags in Sano who kicks Ogawa in the corner while Takayama chokes him from the apron. Ogawa tries to kick Sano but Sano catches his leg and applies a bow and arrow submission hold. Suzuki eventually comes in and breaks it up, and Sano tags in Takayama. Takayama picks up Ogawa and clubs him in the chest, Ogawa fights back with chops but Takayama pushes him into the corner. Snapmare by Takayama and he applies a reverse chinlock. Ogawa elbows out of the hold after a minute and takes Takayama in the eyes. Backdrop suplex by Ogawa and he makes the tag to Suzuki. Kick by Suzuki to Takayama but Takayama hits an elbow strike. Suzuki returns fire but Takayama grabs him by the back of the neck and throws him to the mat. Front slam by Takayama, he picks Suzuki with one foot but it gets a one count. Takayama tags in Sugiura, Irish whip by Sugiura and he hits a back bodydrop.
Camel Clutch by Sugiura and Takayama kicks Suzuki in the chest while he is in the move. Cover by Sugiura but it gets a two count. Sugiura tags in Sano, and Sano applies a crab hold. Suzuki gets to the ropes, Sano picks him up and hits an elbow, but Suzuki returns with his own elbow strikes. Kick by Sano, cover, but it gets a two count. Sano applies a leg lock but Suzuki inches to the ropes and forces the break. Sano tags in Takayama, who knees Suzuki in the stomach. Takayama hangs Suzuki onto the second rope and kicks him in the back before throwing him out of the ring. On the outside Sugiura throws Suzuki into the railing before sliding him back into the ring. Cover by Takayama but it gets a two count. Irish whip by Takayama and he hits a back bodydrop. Cocky cover by Takayama but it barely gets a two count. Another one foot cover but Takayama and again it gets a two count. Back up, Suzuki elbows Takayama but Takayama kicks him in the head and delivers a knee to the stomach. Takayama picks up Suzuki, puts him onto the second rope and gets a running start before jumping down onto Suzuki. Takayama goes for a backdrop suplex but Suzuki lands on his feet and delivers a dropkick. This gives him time to tag in Misawa, Misawa goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits a missile dropkick. Misawa goes off the ropes and hits an elbow strike, he picks up Takayama and goes for the Tiger Driver but Takayama blocks it. Takayama and Misawa trade elbow strikes but Takayama knees Misawa in the midsection and tags in Sano. Sano kicks Misawa in the chest, cover, but it gets a two count. Sano throws Misawa into the corner and connects with a back kick to the sternum. Second turnbuckle double stomp by Sano, cover, but it gets a two count. Sano applies a waistlock but Misawa reverses it with a snapmare and makes the tag to Ogawa. Ogawa picks up Sano and hits a jawbreaker, backdrop suplex by Ogawa and he gets a two count cover. Irish whip by Ogawa to the corner, reversed, and Sano hits a back kick. Drop toehold by Sano and he applies the Romero Special. After a moment he releases the hold and tags in Sugiura. Sugiura tackles Ogawa into the corner but Ogawa hits him when he charges in. Sugiura tackles Ogawa into the corner again and this time hits a slam for a two count. Gutbuster by Sugiura and he hits a Horizontal Drop. Sugiura goes for a spear in the corner but Ogawa moves out of the way and Ogawa hits a backdrop suplex.
Ogawa tags in Suzuki, who comes off the to turnbuckle with a crossbody for a two count. Irish whip by Suzuki, reversed, Suzuki goes for a handspring attack but Sugiura catches him. Sugiura attempts a backdrop suplex but Suzuki lands on his feet. Satellite armbar by Suzuki but Sano breaks it up. Ogawa and Misawa run in to take care of Takayama and Sano, Ogawa hits a jawbreaker on Sugiura and Misawa follows with an elbow smash. Suzuki picks up Sugiura and hits a German suplex hold, but Sano breaks it up. Suzuki goes for a 619, but Sugiura moves and hits an overhead German suplex. Sano and Takayama run in, they pick up Suzuki and all three hit strikes on Suzuki in the corner. Sano comes off the top with a double stomp on Suzuki, he covers him, but Misawa breaks it up. Sano picks up Suzuki and goes for a powerbomb, but Suzuki reverses it with a rana for a two count. Sano goes for a backdrop suplex, Suzuki lands on his feet but Sano delivers a back kick to the jaw. Release German suplex by Sano, cover, but Suzuki kicks out at two. Sano puts Suzuki onto the top turnbuckle, joins him, but Suzuki hits a sunset flip powerbomb. Sugiura runs in the ring and knees Suzuki in the head, but Ogawa comes in and gives him a DDT. While their partners battle outside the ring, Sano hits another release German suplex onto Suzuki. Cover, but Suzuki barely gets a shoulder up. Sano puts Suzuki onto the top turnbuckle and goes for an avalanche-style Northern Lights Bomb, but Suzuki reverses it and lands on top of Sano. Suzuki hits the 619 on Sano, cover, but Sugiura breaks it up. Suzuki picks up Sano and goes for the Blue Destiny, but he can't get him up and slams Sano to the mat instead. He goes for it again, and this time with Misawa's help he nails it. Cover, but Sano kicks out. Suzuki puts Sano in front of the corner, he goes up top but Sano is up in time and joins him. Avalanche-style electric chair by Sano, cover, but Suzuki gets a shoulder up. Northern Lights Bomb by Sano, cover, and he picks up the three count! Your winners: Takayama, Takuma Sano, and Takashi Sugiura
Match Thoughts: This really came across as nothing special, unlike the last match where at least they tried to throw in some interesting sequences to break through the normal NOAH mid-card tag match monotony. Misawa hardly did anything at all, which is unusual for him at such a big show. It wasn't that the match was bad, just nothing ever happened to peak my interest. Suzuki gets beat down for awhile, but a simple dropkick is all it takes for him to make it to his corner. No real struggle or challenge, he just walks over and tags out. The ending Northern Lights Bomb was about as gentle as I have ever seen him hit it and even though there weren't any bad botches in the match it didn't seem as if they were really going anywhere until the match finally ended. A disappointing match to lead up to the main event. Score: 5.5
(c) Naomichi Marufuji vs. KENTA
Marufuji applies a modified cobra clutch and then a sleeper hold, but KENTA makes it to the ropes. Marufuji picks up KENTA and throws him into the corner, kicking KENTA repeatedly in the chest. Marufuji punches KENTA but KENTA gets back to his feet and returns fire. The two trade shots, KENTA gives Marufuji a hard kick to the midsection and both men fall to the mat. KENTA is up first, he picks up Marufuji and gives him a straight kick to the chest. Another kick to the chest by KENTA, he picks up Marufuji, Irish whip and he knees Marufuji in the stomach. Running double stomp by KENTA, cover, but it gets a two count. Marufuji rolls out of the ring, but KENTA goes out after him and throws him into the guard rail. KENTA puts Marufuji up on his shoulders and then drops him sternum-first onto the guard rail before getting back into the ring. Marufuji slowly rolls back in, KENTA places him onto the top rope and hits a knee drop off of the top turnbuckle. Cover, but it gets a two count. A body scissors is applied by KENTA, but Marufuji rolls to the ropes and forces a break. KENTA kicks Marufuji, but Marufuji gets to his feet and the two trade strikes. KENTA gets the better of it with multiple kicks to the midsection. More kicks by KENTA while Marufuji is against the ropes, he goes up to the second turnbuckle and lands with both knees hitting Marufuji in the stomach. Cover, but it gets another two count. KENTA applies a body scissors, but after a moment he releases the hold. KENTA tries to suplex Marufuji over the top rope to the floor, Marufuji blocks it and reverses positions with him, Marufuji goes for his own suplex but KENTA lands on the apron. Marufuji hits a springboard dropkick however (with Marufuji still in the ring afterwards as KENTA falls out of it), he goes off the far ropes and slingshots himself over the top rope, KENTA moves but Marufuji lands on his feet. KENTA kicks Marufuji against the railing, but Marufuji ducks one and kicks KENTA to the other side. He then moves out the railing and hits an Asai Moonsault off the top rope, but he doesn’t move the railing out enough and he hits it throat-first while kneeing KENTA in the head, busting him open hard way right around the eye.
Luckily, Marufuji is ok (somehow) and rolls back into the ring, with KENTA eventually following him. Marufuji picks up KENTA as he rolls himself back in the ring and goes for a powerbomb, KENTA gets out of it and goes for a kick, but Marufuji catches his leg and hits a capture suplex. Cover by Marufuji but it gets a two count. Marufuji picks up KENTA and puts him in the corner, Irish whip, and he hits a jumping elbow strike. Marufuji goes up to the top turnbuckle, but KENTA is up and joins Marufuji. KENTA goes for a superplex but Marufuji blocks it. Marufuji goes for a sunset flip powerbomb, KENTA won’t go down but Marufuji jumps back up to the top rope and bulldogs KENTA into the ring post. Marufuji slides back into the ring (he landed outside of it after doing the move), he goes for a superkick, KENTA avoids it but Marufuji trips KENTA so he falls back to the mat. Marufuji tries to dropkick KENTA in the head but KENTA moves and gives Marufuji a kick to the back. Marufuji rolls to the corner and gets up, KENTA charges him but Marufuji kicks him as he comes in. Marufuji goes for a body press off the second rope but KENTA reverses it with a cutter. Irish whip by KENTA and he knees Marufuji in the head. KENTA measures Marufuji and hits a kick combination, he goes out to the apron and hits a springboard lariat for a two count cover. Back up, KENTA kicks Marufuji into the corner and connects with a running boot. Fisherman buster by KENTA, cover, but it only gets a two count. KENTA hits a punch and kick combination on Marufuji, he goes off the ropes, but Marufuji goes off the ropes as well and delivers a lariat. Marufuji hits a jumping elbow in the corner and hits a powerbomb, cover, but it gets a two count. Superkick by Marufuji and he goes for the Shiranui, but KENTA blocks it and tosses Marufuji over the top rope to the floor. KENTA rolls out of the ring after him and he throws Marufuji into the ramp. KENTA joins him, he tries to suplex Marufuji off the ramp to the floor but Marufuji blocks it. German suplex attempt by KENTA but Marufuji mostly lands on his feet. Marufuji then goes for a Shiranui using the ramp, but KENTA pushes him off. KENTA gets up onto the apron, Marufuji joins him and tries to hit a German suplex off of it, but KENTA grabs the top rope to block it. Superkick by Marufuji and he goes for a Shiranui, but KENTA blocks it and nails a Falcon Arrow down to the floor! KENTA then gets back in the ring and hits a slingshot foot stomp onto Marufuji, who still was lying on the floor outside the ring.
KENTA gets in the ring again and Marufuji gets back in at around the 14 count. KENTA goes out to the apron and hits a slingshot missile dropkick followed by a knee to the back. Tiger suplex by KENTA into the turnbuckles and then he hits a regular version for a two count cover. KENTA calls for the Busaiku Knee Kick, he picks up Marufuji, goes off the ropes and knocks off Marufuji’s head with it. Cover, but Marufuji barely kicks out in time. KENTA picks up Marufuji and goes for the Go 2 Sleep, but Marufuji slides down his back and hits the Shiranui. Marufuji rolls out to the apron and goes to the top turnbuckle, KENTA charges him but Marufuji kicks him back. KENTA tries to catch Marufuji as he jumps off the top turnbuckle but Marufuji falls to the mat. KENTA puts Marufuji on his shoulders and goes for the Go 2 Sleep, but Marufuji gets out of it and hits a backdrop suplex. KENTA springs up and hits a backdrop suplex of his own, but Marufuji is up and hits a release German suplex. KENTA replies with a release German suplex of his own, Marufuji pops up and goes for another one but KENTA lands on his feet. Lariat by KENTA but Marufuji absorbs it and hits a superkick, and both men lay on the mat. Marufuji is up first and superkicks KENTA back into the corner, he picks up KENTA, goes for the Shiranui, and connects with it for a two count cover. Marufuji picks up KENTA again and puts KENTA onto the top turnbuckle, he goes up top as well to go for an avalanche reverse Shiranui, but KENTA blocks it. Marufuji elbows KENTA off the top turnbuckle but KENTA springs back up and hits an avalanche-style tiger suplex to the mat! Cover, but Marufuji barely kicks out at two. KENTA picks up Marufuji and kicks him three times in the head, cover, but again it gets a two count. KENTA calls for the Go 2 Sleep, Marufuji slides off his back and goes off the ropes, but KENTA catches him and delivers the move. Cover, but Marufuji gets a foot on the bottom rope. Marufuji knees KENTA in the head while he is draped over the second rope, he runs off the far ropes, Marufuji runs off the ropes as well but KENTA ducks the lariat and nails the Busaiku Knee Kick. Back up, they trade strikes, Marufuji hits a superkick, he then ducks a KENTA high kick and connects with a kick of his own. Two more kicks by Marufuji, cover, but it gets a two count. Marufuji picks up KENTA, puts him onto the top turnbuckle and nails the avalanche reverse Shiranui. Cover, but KENTA barely gets a shoulder up! Marufuji picks up KENTA, plants him with a wrist-clutch fisherman’s driver and picks up the three count! Your winner and still champion: Naomichi Marufuji
Match Thoughts: Well that was quite a match. First, the good things. These two know each other so well that they were able to do a lot of different counters and evasive moves that you don't always see, and with the exception of one time they did all the moves with flawless execution. Considering how fast these two go that is quite a feat. The match also had its fair share of brutality such as the top rope tiger suplex, falcon arrow to the floor, and the Asai Moonsault that almost killed both of them, but they didn't over-do it with lots of head drops like we have seen in NOAH before. Also, the crowd stayed extremely into it and by the end were counting along to every near fall, which is definitely a good sign and automatically makes his reign better then Rikio's reign as at least Marufuji has the crowd's support. Finally they did a good job for much of the match of focusing on a body part, KENTA even gave Marufuji the Go 2 Sleep lower then usual since that was the part he had been focusing on.
Now the bad things. The botch really wasn't that bad, but the no selling sequence spot was lacking. I don't mind those sequences but it really didn't fit here at all, especially since Marufuji had to literally turn around for the last German suplex for no reason. Also, Marufuji still really over-uses the Shiranui which was pretty noticeable since it was such a long match. Finally, even though I am a fan of lots of near falls they could have sold some of the moves a little better... Marufuji is great at looking dead but a lot of time he springs back to full strength too fast and it kills a bit of the realism. Overall I can say I thoroughly enjoyed the match, it wasn't perfect but it sure as hell was entertaining. They worked together really well and didn't over-do the death spots, with the most painful looking move being unintentional. A possible Match of the Year candidate and easily the best match of the show. Score: 8.0
review completed 11/7/06