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AJPW & NOAH Matches You Might Have Missed

G. Badger


I'm a big giant fan of tag team wrestling. I'd say that I prefer tag and 6-man matches over singles competition. All Japan and NOAH are more known for their epic title matches but, have always had great team wrestling. I don't think that's a surprising statement however, there are others worth enjoying besides the classics. Here are some that I've enjoyed:


Steve Williams & Terry Gordy vs Stan Hansen & Joel Deaton (06/03/93 AJPW): Although it was only 6 minutes & 47 seconds this match was all action. It was rather one sided though, as Gordy ambushed Hansen and the Miracle Violence Connection double teamed the whole time like it was a Tornado Tag match (maybe it was). Deaton tried his best to save Hansen but he was no match for Gordy & Dr. Death. There was no pacing or a match just a display of violence and Hansen's toughness.


Kenta Kobashi, Johnny Ace & Johnny Smith vs Mitsuharu Misawa, Jun Akiyama & Satoru Asako (08/22/97 AJPW): This started out pretty routine although Johnny Smith was the clear bright point. He was very adamant about making the arm work something special. Hes British so, that probably explains a lot ??? It was different, in a good way, and helped slow down Akiyama, who was the fireplug of his team. Jun wanted to take it to Ace and Kobashi but, Smith wasnt going to be ignored. He darn near ripped the Blue boys arm out of the socket. Thats alright because he was pumped and gave the match a little depth. Stop the burgeoning contender! Now, thats not to say the other guys were slouches but, no one else brought the intensity like he did. That is to be expected in a match like this. Akiyama, Smith, Asako are the ones with something to prove.


The story was about ranking and status but, ultimately the athletic competition. This set the outcome in question and was exciting as all hell. The execution, pacing and timing was flawless from all. This the type of match Id love to see at night right before going to bed when I was in high school. I'd be so hyped that couldn't sleep. I'd go through the match in my head and marvelling in how much fun it was and how awesome wrestling can be. I highly recommend finding this match to watch.


Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi vs Gedo & Jado (12/07/02 NOAH): Oh those bastards. Team NO RESPECT!!! Jado & Gedo are some nasty looking dudes. Go back and watch the match they had as Coolie and Bulldog from the 8/19/90 AJW show and scratch your brain. Ok so what happened!? FMW, WAR and all those other mid-90s Indy promotions turned these guys evil! Haha I have not a clue what Im talking about! So the match is kinda like NOAH style American wrestling. It was a ton of fun with Gedo and Jado heeling it up in all those fun US ways. This is stuff that we lost in the 90s as the brawler was phased out of mainstream puroresu because that stuff was left to "garbage" wrestling. Then the hardcore companies gave up quality brawling en lieu of mindless punching in between insane spots. So, Jado and Gedo are a call back to that good stuff from the 70s-80s. And god knows Kikuchi is all for that. Still this is 2002 wrestling so, theres some nice moves from both teams as well. Its a different match especially from this time in wrestling and its damn good!


Takayama & Sano vs Misawa & Rikio (11/01/03 NOAH): People have given Rikio a bad reputation. He's not an all time legend but, he's a big dude that bowls people over and throws a mean clothesline. I cannot hate a guy that stays true to who he is. When tagging, especially with a ring deity like Mr. Green Jeans, he can be downright great! Such is the case with this bout. Stiff elbows, kicks, and knees, oh my! UWFi team vs NOAH could have been an amazing feud if only the stars aligned. Takayama and Sano are such a tough meat and potatoes type team. I always try to watch their matches when available. So, I recommend checking this one out.


Kenta Kobashi, Tamon Honda & Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs Takeshi Morishima, KENTA & Mohammed Yone (02/17/06 NOAH) Oh sweet Jeebus this match was all kinds of fun. In the beginning, Yone seemed to collapse the excitement when he was in ring...the same with Honda & Kanemaru too for that matter. So, when things start to percolate, it just sneaks up on ya and turns into K-Hall pandemonium. It was as if the Funks with Jumbo were fighting Abby, the Sheik and Brody (fantasy dream match anyone?). I never thought that theyd get back in the ring! The highlight and focus was KENTA vs Kobashi, they brought Budokan level stiffness for sure. Oh my goodness this was brutal. Eventually, Honda and Kanemaru were getting hot and Morishima was pure ruler here too. I mean, Morishima vs Kobashi seemed just as great. If they could have generated that excitement in the slow parts in the beginning, this would have been one of those secret Korakuen klassics. Nevertheless, it is a great match and one where Kobashi is clearly the New Mr. Puro!...as of 2006, at least :)


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