Navigation Against the Current on 10/9/04
review by PdW2kX

Donovan Morgan vs. Mitsuo Momota

Momota leads the match with some slaps, but Morgan responds with some assorted stiffness and occasional choking. Momota tries some quick pins, but doesn't get it done. Morgan eventually nails a spinning fisherman suplex for the win at 7:02.

Analysis: Short, generic, to the point. It was just a typical throw-away match that had a brief amount of comedy. Most of the crowd was into Momota, though, and while the match was meaningless, it wasn't horrible. Still, it was nothing more than an all-too-short match with little-to-no meaning. **

Shiro Koshinaka vs. Go Shiozaki

Shiro hits a bunch of hip attacks to Go, and both men do some general brawling. Go tries to stiff Koshinaka, but just can't measure up to the full force of Shiro ramming himself into Go. Go is simply stiffed to hell, and even after he hits a fisherman suplex and some dropkicks, gets pinned at 7:37 following a flying hip attack/running hip attack combo by Koshinaka.

Analysis: Basically, the match boiled down to a squash; Shiro simply went ape-**** on poor Go. Go got in little offense, but enough so that he wasn't completely buried. With that said, the match was quick and entertaining, in a "wow, that's one hell of an ass kicking" type of way. Still, I can't help but dislike the match for being a squash, even if it was an entertaining one. **¼

Daisuke Ikeda and Mohammed Yone vs. Tamon Honda and IZU

After some mat wrestling by Honda and Yone, IZU is semi-playfully worn down, until he gets tired of the opposing team's shenanigans and dishes out some big headbutts, going so far as to even headbutt Ikeda's crotch, but "accidentally", since Yone hit IZU with a few elbows, causing him to fall right into Ikeda's nether regions. Ikeda, since he's badass like that, soon busts out some chairs and nails Honda and IZU a few times, even nailing a sick spiked Piledriver (that ended up more like a powerbomb since Ikeda didn't sit out and Honda hoisted himself up and took the move on his upper shoulder) on the floor and on top of the chair. IZU takes a stiff lariat for 2, but rebounds and hits two chokeslams on Ikeda, also for 2. However, IZU eventually submits at 11:59 once Ikeda traps him in a wakigatame.

Analysis: Part comedy, part stiff-fest, all quality. It was the type of match where everyone was comfortable enough about their standing in NOAH and the respect the crowd has for them that they weren't afraid to give the crowd a laugh. After getting "serious", they turned up the hard strikes, as can be expected. While it wasn't anything new in either of the fields it focused on (comedy or hard-hitting), it was always interesting, and becomes the first match of the night that didn't feel shallow. ***¼

Ricky Marvin, SUWA, and Low Ki vs. Naomichi Marufuji, Tsuyoshi Kikuchi, and Kotaro Suzuki

First, this match needs some explaining. Going into the event, I realized there could be a small problem: I've already reviewed this match before, in my review of an IVPvideos custom "Best of Low-Ki in NOAH" compilation. That said, I didn't know whether to fully review the match again or just copy and paste what I had already wrote. Eventually, though, I came to a conclusion: I'd watch the entire match again, in its entirety, and if I felt or noticed anything drastically different, I'd re-do the entire review since, as I tend to review all the matches and then give a blanket review to the whole DVD, seeing it on a compilation could give the match a different "feel" than when watching the entire show it took place on. And, of course, I'd leave a small note if this ever happened again, just to clarify if I'm sticking with the original or writing a new one. That said, I chose to stick with my original write-up of this match and just tweak it to cut out a bit of filler, since I didn't feel any better or any worse about the match but thought that the write-up could use a little revising.

Your average junior heavyweight opening moves to start- basic and a bit flashy. Both men work on each other's arms until Ki nails his headstand kick, and in a hilarious segment, Kikuchi tries to do the same move, but keeps failing at it. First, he gets too much elevation and rolls over. The second time he tries it, the ref actually holds both of his legs up, yet Kikuchi still rolls over. On the outside, Naomichi Marufuji shakes his head and tries to leave, but is pulled back by Suzuki. To make matters worse, Kikuchi then tries the move once more and this time gets too little elevation, so he falls back down. Finally, on the fourth time, Kikuchi barely gets it, but of course the crowd goes insane. Kikuchi then shakes hands with Ki. In another nice spot, Marvin hits a double springboard hurricanrana to Suzuki. SUWA tags in, and after a lot of varied offense from him and his teammates, Suzuki finally manages to tag out, bringing in a fired-up Marufuji. But, after a while, Kikuchi has his stomach flattened by Ki's cringe-inducing double-foot stomp, which really did look quite nasty, yet only gets 2¼. This leads to an awesome spot where everybody beats up each other in sequential order. Ki drills Kikuchi at 15:21 with a slightly-sloppy Ki Krusher for the win.

Analysis: A good, fun match. It had some very notable spots, good wrestling, a nice flow, and one very, very funny segment. Not a must-see match, but a strong showing from all involved and it definitely did not seem like a "we'll put six guys together so at least they know they're being used" kind of six-man tag match. In stark contrast, it felt a lot more like a bunch of crazy juniors beating up on each other in varied, very cool ways just to prove whose team, and essentially which man, is the best. ***¼

Doug Williams, Modest, and TAKA Michinoku vs. Jun Akiyama, Kanemaru, and Makoto Hashi

After some opening, stand-offish offense between TAKA/Yoshinobu and Modest/Hashi, Akiyama and Williams lock up, with Jun trying to out-grapple Williams only to end up being schooled by Williams's mat-heavy skills. TAKA comes in, but makes the pivotal mistake of trying to stiff Jun Akiyama. Michinoku and Kanemaru once again tangle up, and this time brawl into the crowd, where TAKA is triple-teamed. TAKA eventually tags out, leading to Jun/Modest, and when Modest tries to hit an Exploder Suplex, Akiyama responds by getting Modest in perfect position to receive a Hashi headbutt right to the crotch. Jun goads Hashi to hit the move, but when Hashi decides to play fair and just hit a normal headbutt, he's resoundingly booed. To end, everyone gets in a cluster-**** segment before TAKA gets the submission win over Hashi at 20:03, with a just facelock.

Analysis: Another solid, entertaining six-man match that mixed several elements together to create a strong showing. Particularly, this match excelled at mixing and mashing everyone's respective character flaws and weaknesses: TAKA can be a fierce competitor but gets cocky over time, Williams is a mat technician but suffers from relying on the submission game too much when he's facing unfamiliar opponents, Akiyama can be grounded with a few submissions but you're screwed if you try to stiff him, etc. Largely a character-driven match, but the actual wrestling was also above average, again proving how talented each man was. ***¼

Akitoshi Saito, Masao Inoue, and Takashi Sugiura vs. Bison Smith, The Gladiator, and Trevor Rhodes

After some brief Saito/Bison "delayed selling" segments, Awesome hits that big no-hands over-the-top-rope dive of his onto Saito. Saito eventually hits his stalling suplex segment (where he stalls, bounces his opponent off the ropes, stalls a bit more, and then suplexes his opponent) on Rhodes, but is grounded with a big Iron Claw Chokeslam by Smith. Sugiura comes in and impressively manhandles Bison with an over-shoulder slam and a gutwrench suplex, only for Mike Awesome to nearly kill Takashi with a sickening Release German Suplex. Rhodes eventually submits after an Argentine Backbreaker by Inoue, ending the match at 16:53 and giving us our third tapout victory of the night.

Analysis: A good, surprisingly fluid big-man brawl that featured little else besides power moves, but utilized them effectively and entertainingly. Everyone excelled at being big, bulky machines of ass kicking and brutality. While the match had lots of strong, hard offense, it still wasn't a classic. Nevertheless, it was pretty stable, and good for what it was. In fact, this type of match, the kind that featured six big and/or muscular guys, could and has produced a hell of a lot worse. ***

KENTA Single Match Trial #6: Kenta Kobashi vs. KENTA

Kobashi starts the match off with a show of respect (by grappling KENTA into the ropes and then not hitting him), but KENTA takes this as Kobashi babying him and begins nailing some stiff kicks. Kobashi then takes that as a sign of disrespect and begins hitting some even-stiffer-than-usual chops. KENTA actually grounds Kobashi with his kicks, even kicking him into the crowd. Kenta responds by hitting the Burning Sword, more stiff chops, and a backdrop. By this point, I'm actually starting to feel sorry for KENTA. Kobashi's hitting him that hard. KENTA doesn't make me feel sorry for him for long, though, as he nails some more stiff kicks, two springboard dropkicks, and a German Suplex that gets two. Kobashi soon resumes my feeling of pity on KENTA, however, by powerbombing him into a corner and giving him a Half Nelson Suplex. KENTA soon hits the Busaiku Knee, and the crowd nearly craps itself once it looks as if KENTA will put away Kobashi with the Burning Hammer! Alas, it was not to be, but KENTA doesn't disappoint by hitting a sick Inverted version of his Go 2 Sleep maneuver, which is basically shoving an opponent off his shoulders and kicking the guy as hard as he can right in the face. Still, Kobashi won't go down, and responds by hitting a powerbomb, a rolling kesagiri chop, and even a Dragon Suplex. Even after that still won't put KENTA down; Kobashi does indeed take the victory at 16:25 with the Burning Lariat.

Analysis: From the opening bell to the brutal end, a fan-****ing-tastic match, and one of the stiffest matches I've seen in forever. This was stiffer than Kensuke/Kobashi at Destiny, and by quite a large margin. Both men just killed each other. Unlike Kensuke/Kobashi, I actually liked this match's story more, since it was much more emotional. KENTA wanted Kobashi not to treat him like a child, and forced Kobashi not to by kicking him so damn hard. Kobashi, on the other hand, took KENTA's offense as a sign of defiance and was determined to put KENTA in his place by making his usually insanely stiff chops even stiffer. Psychology, pace, flow, and selling all delivered in spades equally as well, and, point blank, this was simply a great match. ****

Mitsuharu Misawa, Ogawa, and Takeshi Rikio vs. Akira Taue, Takuma Sano, and Kishin Kawabata

All six men exchange their fair share of signature offense, including some Ogawa/Misawa double team moves. Taue even hits the Ore Ga Taue onto Misawa, while Kawabata eventually nails a double stomp onto Ogawa. Rikio even eats a nasty chokeslam to flying double stomp to flying senton triple combo, but his partners make the save. Kawabata also ends up on the receiving end of a triple-team beat-down, but now his partners make the save. In the end, though, Rikio hits a powerbomb on Kawabata for the win at 21:28.

Analysis: This was pretty lackluster, actually. It just felt very slow and convoluted. Honestly, it felt like everyone, every last person, was having an "off" night. A very "off'" night. It wasn't horrible by any means, though, it's just that while I knew that all six men weren't near their primes in any way, shape, or form, I'm still a bit let down and even a bit wierded out that this was all I got. Even if it was a good match, even above the average NOAH match I'm used to, it felt really lackluster, and honestly a bit disappointing. ***

Final Thoughts: From top to bottom, a solid card ranging from average to fantastic. While I don't detract much anymore for having the first two matches not mean anything, it's not exactly the best praise to give a company when I find myself not minding that the first few matches aren't anything special. While I absolutely loved KENTA vs. Kobashi, the main event was pretty disappointing. While I wasn't expecting a great match, my expectations were, honestly, a bit let down. It's just the fact that I knew everyone could do better if they even remotely tried, but no one did. Yet, in order to not sound too particularly harsh, the main event was still good, just not main-event caliber. KENTA vs. Kobashi, on the other hand, was an absolute blast, and easily one of my favorite NOAH matches. Everything else boiled down to some fun and entertaining tag team matches, which is always a good thing. At the end of the day, this is a great show.

So, despite a few bumps in the road, this is another fantastic outing from Pro Wrestling NOAH, earning it a secure spot in my collection and a justifiably high ***½.

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