Koji Kanemoto and Minoru Tanaka Vs. Jushin Thunder Liger and Togi Makabe, IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Titles, NJPW 9/12/2000
I think I'm just gonna go through all of Ditch's weekly pimped matches instead of revisiting "All heart, no knees" Kobashi like I want to.
Could not possibly tell you anything I've seen from these guys except, of course, a ton of Liger. I've seen maybe 10 or so Makabe matches but they were all after he had already made the full transition to the heavyweight ranks.
Right from the start Makabe is put to a real test with an early double team and Kanemoto really laying in the kicks and cranking on the holds. I dig the chemistry between Liger and Makabe. Looks a lot like Liger is content to let the young lion shine and only really steps in to help Makabe out of something or to set something up. Liger's piledriver at around 10:00 of the file is nasty looking and makes you wish it was more than a transition. Spot on observation by Ditch in noticing Makabe doesn't really have much in his arsenal. His offense really consists of taking advantage of opportunities with simple throws and strikes instead of taking a risk on a more complicated move.
You have to love Kanemoto's dick move of coming in and stomping Liger and SIMULTANEOUSLY telling the ref to keep Makabe on the apron. The match as a whole would have worked perfectly fine with Makabe taking a king sized beating in order to feed a hot tag, but instead we see Liger getting worked over pretty good and Makabe having to make a few saves of his own. Thought that was really cool and makes me want to see more of Makabe from around this time. Tanaka hits a damned flying heel hook on the floor and I smile. Makabe gets a near fall off a German suplex on Kanemoto that starts the finishing sequence off with a bang. Liger playing cheerleader for the last few minutes is awesome and really gets over the idea that it's Makabe's match and if he gets the win it's not going to be because Liger served it to him on a platter.
I dug this for what it was and feel I would probably be way more in to it if I saw a bit more of Makabe's 2000. Worth checking out.
Where I'll have it - Near the bottom if all I watch is ~100 matches. Probably won't make it if I watch much more.