NOAH at Budokan
review by Kevin Wilson
Date: October 27th, 2007
Even though NOAH isn't even in my top five puroresu promotions, I tend to review their shows because their shows are available faster then New Japan and a hell of a lot faster then All Japan and I like to stay current sometimes. Plus I do enjoy quite a few of the individual wrestlers (Suzuki, Akiyama, and Marufuji are among my favorite puroresu wrestlers), so I know I will find something enjoyable on their shows. Here we see Samoa Joe get the chance to win the GHC Heavyweight Championship. Here is the full card:
- Junji Izumida and Tsutomu Hirayanagi vs. Mitsuo Momota and Akihiko Ito
And away we go!
Junji Izumida and Tsutomu Hirayanagi vs. Mitsuo Momota and Akihiko Ito
Match Thoughts: I know I can't get away from Momota and his style of wrestling in the opener of NOAH cards, so instead I tried to focus on the rookies. They looked ok, but did nothing in the match to stand out. It wasn't lackluster, but it wasn't heated either. Course there was no real rhyme or reason to it, but it was just the opener so I wasn't expecting much. I'd prefer something a little hotter to start the show, but you know with NOAH what you are getting before you even pop the DVD in. Not unwatchable, as it is fun seeing wrestlers slowly grow as their careers start. Score: 4.0
Kentaro Shiga, Kawabata and Makoto Hashi vs. Tamon Honda, Masao Inoue and Tsuyoshi Kikuchi
Kawabata goes up to the top turnbuckle and delivers a missile dropkick, cover, but it gets a two count. Honda throws Kawabata into the corner but Kawabata moves when Honda charges in. Kawabata goes for a vertical suplex but Honda blocks it, but after an uppercut he is able to hit the move. Cover, but Honda kicks out. Kawabata picks up Honda, but Honda ducks a lariat attempt and hits a backdrop suplex. Honda tags in Kikuchi, Kikuchi picks up Kawabata but Kawabata fights him off. Zero-sen Kick by Kikuchi, cover, but it gets a two count. Irish whip by Kikuchi to the corner, reversed, but Kikuchi kicks Kawabata when he charges in. Kikuchi charges Kawabata but Kawabata hits a Samoan Drop and tags in Shiga. Double Irish whip to Kikuchi, and they hit a drop toehold/senton combination. Jackknife hold by Shiga but it gets a two count. Back up, face crusher by Shiga but again he only gets a two. Shiga picks up Kikuchi and applies the abdominal stretch, but Honda breaks it up. Kikuchi and Honda headbutt Shiga and then Honda throws Kikuchi onto him. Cover, but Hashi breaks it up. Inoue is tagged in, Irish whip by Inoue from the corner and he delivers a lariat. Side Russian leg sweep by Inoue, he waits for Shiga to get up but Shiga blocks a lariat and sneaks in a backslide for a two count. Stunner by Shiga and Kawabata runs in to hit a shoulderblock. Hashi comes in as well and all three connect with strikes in the corner. Hashi goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits a diving headbutt, cover, but Honda breaks it up. The ring is cleared as Hashi hits a lariat onto Inoue, cover, but it gets a two count. Hashi picks up Inoue, but Inoue's teammates come in and make the save. Kikuchi slams Hashi and then Honda drops him with the Dead End. Cover by Inoue but it is broken up. Inoue waits for Hashi to get up and delivers a lariat, cover, but Hashi barely gets a shoulder up. Backbreaker by Inoue and he puts Hashi in the Argentine Backbreaker until he submits! Your winners: Tamon Honda, Masao Inoue and Tsuyoshi Kikuchi
Match Thoughts: If a black hole opened up and these six wrestlers went into it, I wouldn't care. In fact, I might even be happy (well, except for Honda, I like him). NOAH has the highest percentage of meaningless wrestlers of all promotions in the history of wrestling. That is not to say all of these wrestlers have never had a good match or are terrible wrestlers (some qualify, but not all), but they serve no purpose in the grand scheme of things and I am tired of six man tags that mean nothing and don't even attempt to be interesting. The wrestlers are useless by no fault of their own, but because NOAH makes them useless. But since they know their matches don't matter, there is no enthusiasm or special effort put into the match whatsoever. Once a year they pop up in a meaningful storyline, lose, and then go back where they were until their number is called again. Shiga and Kawabata are kinda in a storyline, but they both suck. Meaningless + Emotionless and Plodding = Rubbish. Score: 3.0
Ogawa, Doug Williams and Bobby Fish vs. Takeshi Morishima, Mohammed Yone and Taiji Ishimori
Ogawa quickly tags in Fish, Fish goes off the ropes but Morishima catches him with a hip attack. Morishima throws Fish onto the ramp, where Yone delivers a running jumping knee. Ishimori then runs up the ramp and he hits a jumping knee of his own. Fish falls back into the ring, but they bring him back out so that Morishima can hit a running lariat on the ramp. Satisfied, Fish is thrown back in the ring, where Morishima stands on his stomach. Morishima tags in Yone, Yone picks up Fish, scoop slam, and he delivers a quick leg drop. Yone applies a neck crank, cover, but it gets two. Spinning heel kick by Yone and he tags in Ishimori. Scoop slam by Ishimori, he goes out to the ramp and hits a slingshot elbow drop for a two count cover. Ishimori tags in Morishima, snapmare by Morishima and he hits a rolling hip attack. Morishima picks up Fish, Irish whip from the corner but Fish elbows him when he charges in and hits a missile dropkick. Fish tags in Williams, Williams goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits an diving elbow. Yone and Ishimori both come in to help, Irish whip to Williams but he fights them both off with a side headlock takeover/headscissors combination. Morishima floors him with a shoulderblock however, he goes up to the top turnbuckle but Williams is up in time and joins him. Superplex by Williams, cover, but Morishima kicks out at two. Both wrestlers slowly get up, Williams goes off the ropes but Morishima drops him over the ropes onto the apron. Williams goes for a sunset flip, but Morishima sits down on him and tags in Ishimori. Irish whip by Ishimori to the corner, reversed, Ishimori kicks Williams when he charges in and hits a cartwheel spinning heel kick for a two count cover.
Back up, roll-up by Ishimori but again he gets a two. Superkick by Ishimori, he goes off the ropes but Ogawa knees him from the apron. Ogawa holds Ishimori for Williams, but Ishimori moves and Williams accidentally hits Ogawa with a jumping knee. School boy by Ishimori but Williams kicks out. Jumping knee by Williams and he tags in Fish, Irish whip by Fish and he hits a spinning backbreaker. Fish goes up top and attempts a moonsault, Ishimori rolls out of the way but Fish lands on his feet. Backbreaker into a Falcon Arrow by Fish, but it gets a two count. Fisherman Buster by Fish, he goes up to the top turnbuckle and delivers a diving headbutt. Cover, but Ishimori kicks out. Irish whip by Fish, reversed, and Ishimori hits a release German suplex, allowing him to tag in Yone. Irish whip by Yone to the corner and he hits a jumping knee. Irish whip again, reversed, Yone kicks him away but Fish connects with the hurricanrana. Fish goes off the ropes and hits a jumping kick, cover, but it gets a two count. Scoop slam by Fish, he goes to the top turnbuckle and delivers the moonsault. Cover, but Yone gets a shoulder up. Fish picks up Yone, goes off the ropes, but Yone catches him with a spinning heel kick. Morishima and Ishimori come in, Irish whip to the corner for Fish and all three connect with strikes. Ishimori goes to the top turnbuckle and hits a Senton Bomb, then Yone picks up Morishima and dumps him onto Fish. Cover by Yone but Williams breaks it up. Ishimori takes care of Williams, Yone goes off the ropes and hits a lariat onto Fish. Cover, but it still only gets two. Headbutt by Fish and he rolls up Yone, but Yone kicks out. High kick by Yone, he puts Fish up in the corner and nails the Muscle Buster. Cover by Yone and he picks up the three count! Your winners: Takeshi Morishima, Mohammed Yone and Taiji Ishimori
Match Thoughts: The difference between this match and the last one is that in this match the wrestlers tried to put on an entertaining show even though looking at the big picture the match didn't particularly matter. From bell to bell they were going non-stop, and they even mixed up the usual start by having Fish fend everyone off himself rather then be triple teamed. The star power was here as you could hear the crowd rumble when Morishima was tagged in, which is always a plus. There were miscommunications here and there and the selling was suspect, but for a mid-card six man match it was pretty entertaining and I never felt the desire to fast forward to the next match. Score: 6.0
Akitoshi Saito and TAKA Michinoku vs. Jun Akiyama and Atsushi Aoki
Saito throws Aoki out of the ring and the referees at ringside check him as he seems quite hurt. He finally makes it to his feet and gets back in the ring, Saito picks him up and tags in TAKA. Stomps to the back by TAKA and he chops Aoki in the corner. TAKA picks up Aoki, Irish whip, and Aoki collapses in the corner. Front facelock by TAKA and he makes the tag to Saito. Clubs to the back by Saito, Irish whip from the corner but Aoki kicks him when he charges in and he hits a double jump dropkick in the corner. Aoki makes the tag to Akiyama, kicks to the chest by Saito but Akiyama absorbs them. Running boot by Akiyama, he goes for the jumping knee in the corner but Saito pushes him back. Exploder by Aoki but Saito jumps to his feet and hits a backdrop suplex. Akiyama returns the favor and gets back up, enzigieri by Saito but Akiyama connects with the running knee. Both wrestlers are slow to get up, and they both tag in their partners. Irish whip by Aoki, reversed, but Aoki hits a spinning heel kick. He goes for a backdrop suplex, TAKA blocks it, Aoki goes for a German suplex, that is also blocked, but Aoki hits the Northern Lights Suplex for a two count. Modified armbar by Aoki but TAKA gets to the ropes. Irish whip by Aoki to the corner, reversed, but Aoki blocks the jumping knee attempt. TAKA goes for the Just Facelock but Aoki rolls through it and applies a Cross Armbreaker in the middle of the ring. Saito breaks free from Akiyama and makes the save, with TAKA in the corner Aoki charges him but TAKA and hits a jumping kick. Two more kicks by TAKA, but Aoki fires back with an elbow. Aoki goes for an Irish whip but TAKA slams on the breaks and applies the Just Facelock. After struggling for a moment Aoki has no choice but to submit! Your winners: Akitoshi Saito and TAKA Michinoku
Match Thoughts: Aoki is probably my favorite "rookie," and I loved his sell job here (actually he appeared to be knocked loopy legitimately, but in that case he gets credit for continuing the match). Fast openings are fun as they immediately get you into the match, and I was glad how much Michinoku gave Aoki before putting him away. Akiyama and Saito were both solid as well of course, and the matches continue to get better. The length of the match fit since one of the wrestlers was a rookie, and the moves looked very crisp. Good stuff. Score: 6.5
Akira Taue, KENTA and Go Shiozaki vs. Yoshihiro Takayama, Takuma Sano and Ricky Marvin
Shiozaki picks up Marvin and hits a delayed vertical suplex, cover, but again it gets two. Scoop slam by Shiozaki and he drops a knee onto Marvin's face. Shiozaki applies a reverse chinlock before making the tag to KENTA. Irish whip by KENTA and he hits a back elbow. Elbow drop by KENTA, cover, but it gets a two. KENTA applies the Camel Clutch but Takayama breaks it up. KENTA tags in Taue, Taue picks up Marvin but Marvin slides down his back and delivers a dropkick. Marvin tags in Takayama, who manhandles all of his opponents, ending with a backdrop suplex onto Taue for a two count. Back up they trade chops to the head, elbows by Takayama, Irish whip, reversed, but Takayama kicks Taue when he charges in. Taue comes back with a jumping lariat however and makes the tag to KENTA. Takayama falls in the corner, and KENTA delivers a running kick to the face. Vertical suplex by KENTA, cover, but it gets a two count. KENTA picks up Takayama and kicks him in the chest, he goes off the ropes and gets Takayama to the mat so that he can apply an STF. Takayama slowly crawls to the ropes however and forces a break. Snapmare by KENTA, he goes for a kick but Takayama catches his leg. Takayama goes off the ropes but Taue grabs him from the apron, KENTA tries to kick Takayama but Takayama moves and KENTA ends up kicking Taue. Suplex by Takayama onto KENTA and he makes the tag to Sano. Missile dropkick by Sano, cover, but it gets a two count. Irish whip by Sano to the corner and he delivers a savate kick. Sano goes up to the second rope but KENTA avoids the double stomp. Enzigieri by Sano, cover, but KENTA kicks out. Sano picks up KENTA but KENTA fights him off, back kick by Sano and a kick to the back of the head sends KENTA to the mat. Sano goes off the ropes but Taue grabs him, again KENTA tries to kick his opponent, Sano moves, but this time Taue moves as well so that KENTA doesn't kick anyone. Sano goes for a backdrop suplex but KENTA goes down his back and delivers one of his own. KENTA tags in Shiozaki, chops by Shiozaki into the corner, Irish whip, and he delivers a jumping elbow strike. Second turnbuckle knee drop by Shiozaki, cover, but it gets a two count.
Shiozaki picks up Sano but Sano blocks the suplex attempt. Diving shoulderblock by Shiozaki, he picks up Sano and hits the Fisherman Buster. Cover, but Sano gets a shoulder up. Shiozaki picks up Sano but Sano elbows him back, Irish whip by Shiozaki, reversed, and the two trade their signature kicks. Sano gets the better of it, he goes up to the second turnbuckle and hits the double stomp down onto Shiozaki Sano makes the tag to Marvin. Marvin picks up Shiozaki, Irish whip by Shiozaki, reversed, and Marvin delivers a dropkick to the face. Cover, but it gets a two count. Marvin picks up Shiozaki and delivers an enzigieri, another cover, but again it gets two. Marvin goes up top and goes for the moonsault, but Shiozaki gets his knees up. German suplex hold by Marvin, but Shiozaki gets a shoulder up. Shiozaki fights off Marvin and his teammates, but they get the better of him and Marvin hits a rope running dropkick out of the corner for a two count cover. Back up they trade strikes, Shiozaki throws Marvin in the corner and hits a lariat. Taue and KENTA come into the ring, and Taue hits a chokeslam while Shiozaki delivers a backdrop suplex. Cover, but Takayama breaks it up. Shiozaki picks up Marvin and hits a German suplex hold, but it gets a two. Shiozaki charges Marvin but Marvin kicks him back. He goes for a springboard attack, Shiozaki moves, and KENTA runs in the ring in time to connect with the Knee Kick. Fisherman Buster by Shiozaki, cover, but it is broken up. Chops by Shiozaki but Marvin returns fire, Shiozaki goes for a roundhouse kick but Marvin ducks and sneaks in a small package. Shiozaki rolls through it however and nails a lariat, cover, but Marvin gets a shoulder up. Shiozaki picks up Marvin and delivers the Go Flasher, cover, and he picks up the three count! Your winners: Akira Taue, KENTA and Go Shiozaki
Match Thoughts: Not actively bad or anything like that, it had three of my favorite NOAH wrestlers in it so the match was watchable by default. People made a big deal of Shiozaki getting the pin, but he pinned a Jr. Heavyweight so I don't think it is nearly as special as people seem to want it to be. I am still waiting for Shiozaki to pick up his big pinfall. The wrestlers were all on-point and they kept the crowd into it, even though there really wasn't much of a story or anything like that in the match. Another standard six man tag, just with better wrestlers. Score: 5.5
(c) Mushiking Terry vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru
Terry eventually gets back in the ring, Irish whip by Kanemaru and he hits a back bodydrop. Cover, but it gets a two count. Kanemaru applies a Camel Clutch but releases it after a moment, elbows by Kanemaru but Terry returns fire. Kanemaru goes off the ropes and shoulderblocks Terry to the mat before dropping an elbow on him. Kanemaru picks up Terry and drags him so that his lower half is hanging outside the ring, he then gets back in the ring and applies a crab hold in the ropes. Kanemaru helps up Terry and they trade strikes, Terry goes for a dropkick but Kanemaru avoids it. Crab hold by Kanemaru but Terry eventually makes it to the ropes. Kanemaru picks up Terry, Irish whip, but Terry delivers a back kick. With Kanemaru against the ropes Terry charges, but Terry back bodydrops him over the top rope onto the ramp. Terry lands on the ramp but Kanemaru elbows him back and joins him on the rampway. They struggle in the suplex position, but Kanemaru gets the better of it and delivers a snap suplex. Back up, Kanemaru charges Terry but Terry catches him and drops him with a tombstone piledriver. Terry gets back in the ring first as Kanemaru tries to follow, Kanemaru ends up leaning against the ropes so Terry hits the Tiger Feint Kick from inside the ring, kicking Kanemaru squarely in the face. Kanemaru falls down to the floor as the referee chastises Terry before restarting the count at 17. Kanemaru quickly rolls in the ring, Terry waits for him to get up and connects with a jumping knee to the back of the head. Backdrop suplex by Terry, he picks up Kanemaru and hits the German suplex hold for a two count. Terry picks up Kanemaru and goes for the Blue Destiny, but Kanemaru goes down his back. Kanemaru gets onto the second turnbuckle and attempts the Deep Impact, but Terry catches him and hits a Death Valley Driver. Cover, but it gets a two count. Terry picks up Kanemaru and goes for the Myst Crash, but Kanemaru elbows him off. Terry drop toeholds Kanemaru into the ropes and goes for the Tiger Feint Kick, but Kanemaru has him figured out and ducks it. Tombstone by Terry, cover, but Kanemaru kicks out at two.
Back up, Terry picks Kanemaru onto the top turnbuckle and goes for Dragonsteiner, but Kanemaru reverses it with a top rope powerbomb. Kanemaru picks up Terry, scoop slam, he goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits the moonsault. Cover, but it gets a two count. Kanemaru goes to the second turnbuckle and nails the Deep Impact, cover, but again it only gets a two count. Back up, Kanemaru goes for a brainbuster but Terry reverses it with a small package for a two count. Irish whip by Kanemaru to the corner, Kanemaru rebounds out of it with a roll-up and the two trade pin attempts with neither finding success. Kanemaru goes off the ropes but Terry again gets a quick pin attempt for a two count. Kanemaru goes for a brainbuster but Terry reverses it into a crucifix pin for another two. Blue Destiny attempt by Terry but Kanemaru gets out of it and hits a brainbuster. Another brainbuster by Kanemaru, cover, but Terry gets a shoulder up. Kanemaru picks up Terry and puts him onto the top turnbuckle, he joins him and goes for a superplex, but in the air Terry rotates and Kanemaru takes the brunt of the fall. Both wrestlers slowly get up, and Terry hits a jumping knee in the corner. Terry puts Kanemaru onto the top turnbuckle and joins him, but Kanemaru pushes him off. Kanemaru jumps off the turnbuckle but Terry catches him with a shotei and hits a German suplex hold for a two count. Myst Crash by Terry, but Kanemaru kicks out at one. Terry goes off the ropes and nails a Shotei, he picks up Kanemaru and delivers the Blue Destiny. Cover, but Kanemaru gets a foot on the bottom rope. Terry picks up Kanemaru and puts him on the top turnbuckle, he goes for the Teradrive but Kanemaru reverses it with a DDT from standing on the top turnbuckle down to the mat! Delayed cover, and Terry manages to kick out. Kanemaru slowly gets to the corner and hits the Deep Impact, cover, but again it gets a two count. Brainbuster by Kanemaru, cover, but Terry kicks out at one. Back kick by Terry but Kanemaru levels him with a lariat for another two count. Kanemaru picks up Terry and puts him on the top turnbuckle, he joins him up top and delivers a top rope brainbuster. Cover, but Terry barely gets a shoulder up. Kanemaru picks up Terry, nails the Touch Out, cover, and he picks up the pin! Your winner and new champion: Yoshinobu Kanemaru
Match Thoughts: This was great stuff. It should be noted that I am a big fan of Suzuki and I was sad to see him lose the belt as I feel that there was more he could have done with it and Kanemaru has nothing really left to prove at this point. Beyond that, I thought this was a fantastic match that was exciting and had the crowd really into it the last ten minutes or so. They really didn't even bother much with the submissions, which is a NOAH tradition, and instead went right to trying to kill each other. They were so crisp in their execution and did so many unique moves that the time flew by, and Kanemaru was definitely motivated which isn't always the case. Overkill rarely bothers me, and while Suzuki kicked out of some hardcore stuff at the end he never put up a fight once Kanemaru got started with it. This is my favorite NOAH Jr. Heavyweight match of the year, as Suzuki is really growing and they put on a good show. Score: 8.0
(c) D-Lo Brown and Buchanan vs. Naomichi Marufuji and Sugiura
Brown picks up Sugiura, snapmare, and he applies a modified Dragon Sleeper. Cover by Brown but again it gets two. Brown tags in Buchanan, who hits a pair of elbow drops onto Sugiura. Buchanan goes up to the second turnbuckle and hits a forearm drop, cover, but it gets a two count. Abdominal stretch by Buchanan and Brown runs over to knock Marufuji off the apron. Sugiura finally makes it to the ropes and Buchanan tags in Brown. Lariat off the top turnbuckle by Brown, cover, but it gets a two count. Brown picks up Sugiura and punches Marufuji off of the apron. Back to Sugiura, punches by Brown and he hits another lariat. Two more lariats by Brown, cover, but it gets a two count. Brown tags in Buchanan, Irish whip by Sugiura and Buchanan hits a lariat. Marufuji is knocked off the apron again as Brown and Buchanan both hit lariats onto Sugiura. Sugiura ducks a Buchanan lariat and kicks Brown, but Buchanan knocks him down on his second attempt. Buchanan goes for a suplex but Sugiura reverses it into one of his own and makes the tag to Marufuji. Dropkick by Marufuji onto Buchanan, and a second one, and a third to the knee. He goes to attack Brown but Brown picks him up and dumps him out of the ring. Marufuji quickly recovers and jumps to the top turnbuckle to hit a missile dropkick onto Buchanan. Cover, but it gets a two count. Irish whip by Marufuji to the corner and he connects with a jumping elbow strike. He goes off the ropes, Buchanan goes for the Iron Claw Bomb but Marufuji flips out of it. Body slam by Buchanan but Marufuji hits a lariat followed by a superkick and another lariat. Cover, but it gets a two count. Marufuji goes for the Shiranui, Buchanan pushes him off, Marufuji goes off the ropes but Buchanan hits a powerslam and tags in Brown. Irish whip by Brown to the corner and he hits a lariat followed by a cutter. Cover, but it gets a two count. Brown picks up Marufuji, Irish whip, sunset flip by Marufuji but Brown rolls through and hits a grounded lariat. Cover, but Marufuji gets a shoulder up. Back up they trade strikes, Marufuji goes off the ropes but Brown catches him with a flapjack into a cutter. Shining Wizard by Brown, he waits for Marufuji to get to one knee and hits one to the back of the head. A third one finishes things, cover, but Marufuji barely kicks out. Brown drags Marufuji to the corner, he goes up to the top turnbuckle but Sugiura grabs his leg from the apron. This gives Marufuji time to hit a dropkick, he goes up to the top turnbuckle with Brown but Buchanan runs in and hits him from behind. Avalanche Sky High by Brown, but Sugiura breaks up the pinfall attempt. Brown picks up Marufuji, Irish whip, but Marufuji hits a hurricanrana. Headscissors by Marufuji and he delivers the Shiranui. This gives him time to tag in Sugiura, spear by Sugiura onto Brown, Irish whip, reversed, but he hits another spear. Sugiura throws Brown into the corner and hits a spear followed by an overhead suplex for a two count pinfall.
Karelin Lift by Sugiura, he picks up Brown and goes off the ropes, but Buchanan runs in the ring and they hit a double flapjack. Cover by Brown but it only gets two. A really slow spinning side slam by Brown follows, and then he hits a backdrop suplex for a two count. Cover, but it gets a two count. Brown goes up to the second turnbuckle but Sugiura gets up and joins him. Frankensteiner by Sugiura and he hits a release German suplex while Buchanan hits an Iron Claw Bomb onto Marufuji on the apron. Brown tags in Buchanan, and Buchanan chops Sugiura into the corner. Irish whip by Buchanan and he hits a lariat followed by a bridged vertical suplex for a two count. Irish whip by Buchanan to the corner, reversed, but Buchanan avoids Sugiura and lariats him in the back of the head. Cover, but it gets a two count. Double chokeslam by Buchanan and Brown, cover, but Marufuji breaks it up. Buchanan picks up Sugiura and hits a powerbomb, cover, but again it gets a two count. Buchanan slams Sugiura to the mat and goes to the top turnbuckle, he hits a diving leg drop while Brown hits a frog splash from the opposite corner. Cover by Buchanan but Marufuji breaks it up. Brown takes Marufuji onto the ramp and goes off the ropes, but Marufuji goes off the ropes behind him and hits a lariat. Inside the ring Buchanan has the claw onto Sugiura, Marufuji tries to help but Buchanan puts him in the claw as well. They kick out of it, double Irish whip to Buchanan and they hit a double flapjack. Superkicks by Marufuji and he goes for the Shiranui, but Buchanan puts him onto the top turnbuckle. Buchanan joins him, but Sugiura recovers and helps Marufuji hit an avalanche Shiranui. Cover, but Buchanan gets a shoulder up. Superkick/knee combination by Sugiura and Marufuji, cover, but Brown breaks it up. Spear by Sugiura onto Brown, Brown crawls out to the ramp and Marufuji follows him out. Marufuji and Brown trade blows and Marufuji hits a Shiranui off the ropes onto the ramp. Meanwhile, in the ring Sugiura hits a release German suplex onto Buchanan, Buchanan gets back up but Marufuji hits a superkick on him. Olympic Slam by Sugiura, but Buchanan gets back up. Superkick by Marufuji and Sugiura gives him a second Olympic Slam. Again Buchanan finds a way to his feet (groggy), so Sugiura gives him a third one. Cover, and Sugiura picks up the victory! Your winners and new champions: Naomichi Marufuji and Sugiura
Match Thoughts: While they occasionally did something interesting (powerbomb and Shiranui on the ramp, Sugiura's Frankensteiner, and a few other spots), the vast majority of the match was Brown and Buchanan slowly working over their opponents. Buchanan is ok in doses but he doesn't have a large enough arsenal to control so much of the match... it got a little boring. I know in the last match review I said I didn't mind overkill, but it taking three of Sugiura's Olympic Slams to take down Buchanan did seem to be a bit much. They seemed to have been building to Sugiura and Marufuji's big comeback the entire match, but it took 23 minutes to get there and the payoff wasn't worth the journey. Pretty average GHC Title match, it wasn't unwatchable but it was too slow and took way too long to pick up. Score: 5.0
(c) Mitsuharu Misawa vs. Samoa Joe
Seated Crossface by Misawa, snapmare, and he re-applies the hold. Cover by Misawa but it gets a two count. Misawa waits for Samoa Joe to get up and goes for an elbow, but Samoa Joe hits a powerslam for a two count. Samoa Joe applies an armbar but Misawa eventually gets a foot on the bottom rope. Samoa Joe picks up Misawa, Irish whip to the corner and he hits a back elbow followed by a front kick. Atomic drop by Samoa Joe and he connects with jumping kick. Samoa Joe hits a senton, cover, but it gets a two count. Samoa Joe picks up Misawa and goes for a powerbomb, but Misawa blocks it. Kicks to the chest by Samoa Joe and he hits the powerbomb, cover, but when Misawa kicks out he reverts it into an STF. Samoa Joe then applies the crossface but after a moment Misawa gets a foot on the bottom rope. Samoa Joe throws Misawa into the corner but Misawa elbows out of it. Snapmare by Misawa and he applies an armbar. Back up, elbows by Misawa but Samoa Joe nails an enzigieri. Samoa Joe picks up Misawa, puts him onto the top turnbuckle and hits the Muscle Buster. Cover, but it only gets a two count. Samoa Joe picks up Misawa and throws him into the corner, he puts him onto the top turnbuckle again and goes for the Island Driver, but Misawa blocks it. Exploder by Samoa Joe, he picks up Misawa and nails the Island Driver. Cover, but Misawa barely gets a shoulder up. Samoa Joe gets Misawa to his feet, elbows by Misawa and he knocks Samoa Joe to the mat. Running elbow smash by Misawa, cover, but it only gets a two count. Misawa picks up Samoa Joe and puts him in the corner before delivering a back elbow. He then puts Samoa Joe onto the top turnbuckle, puts him over his shoulder and hits the Emerald Frosion. Misawa places Samoa Joe sitting up on the mat, nails an elbow smash to the back of the head, cover, and he picks up the three count! Your winner and still champion: Mitsuharu Misawa
Match Thoughts: This match was really not very good at all. Misawa refuses to change the formula to his matches even though they are 15 minutes shorter (not complaining that he is in shorter matches, but that the match is structured as if the match is going 30+) and Samoa Joe really brought little to the table. I don't think it was all Samoa Joe's fault like some people do, Misawa is very hard to work with at this stage of his career as he really can only do one type of match - lots of elbows and lots of rest holds with a quick ending. Misawa only had one realistic near fall in the match before he won... which was eight seconds before he won the match. Up to that point it was all Joe, but Joe also only had one realistic nearfall. Up until the last four minutes they were still doing "wear down" submissions, which normally is reserved for the first 1/3 of the match. As I mentioned the match was structured like they were going 30 but instead went 17, lopping off the nearfalls and big moves that are a staple of NOAH title matches. Overall it was a disappointment, there was really nothing positive about the match and I hope that Misawa drops the belt soon so that we can go back to having entertaining GHC Heavyweight Championship matches. Score: 4.0
review completed on 11/13/07