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NOAH You Might Have Missed - 2006 part 2

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G. Badger

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Installment numero dos por la lista de la lucha libre NOAH en 2006. No idea if that is correct. It sounds sorta right. Spanglish perhaps. I took a lot of Spanish in middle school, high school, and university. That's all I've got left. Terrible. Absolutely terrible. And I blame myself really. I'm not going to claim that the 'system' failed me or such nonsense. I was an average student in middle school. High school, I actually did really well. Well enough that my college courses in Spanish were after thoughts really. In fact, I got an A on a test that I studied only 30 minutes for! Plus I had a bad case of diarrhea!

On to the wrestling!!!

KENTA vs Naomichi Marufuji (01/22/06): GHC Jr. belt is on the line, KENTA defending that. From the first few minutes, we can see why Misawa & co. pushed Marufuji ahead of KENTA. Naomichi has a brain for crafting a match whereas KENTA chooses his opportunities for spots and kick assaults. This starts with Mr. K doing just that until it's Marufuji's chance to take the match. Here he uses his agility and brains to attack his opponent's leg. Sure, that's run of the mill in 2006 but, his flair for offense make this something special to watch.

Eventually, KENTA comes back and blows through his moves, not once showing that 'Fuji did damage. Now, I'd like to think that 'Fuji realizes that his game plan of hobbling the champ has failed. Plan B is to go for the knockout. Maybe Maybe Not? The fact that they never return to the leg gives some credence to that story. From here on out, we get a competitive, explosive Jr. title fight. Each man having the same plan - go for broke. I like that Marufuji still keeps his wits about him and tries pinning combinations in the middle of a fire fight. KENTA on the other hand is fully on the warpath. An honest NOAH Jr. classic and more streamlined than their better known October match. This may be the superior encounter.

Yoshinari Ogawa vs Takeshi Rikio (03/05/06): Ogawa gets the jump on Rikio but, the big man can squash the Rat Boy in an instant. So, the vet needs to use all the tricks he can muster to stay alive & maybe pick up the victory. This isn't quite a comedy match but, dang if Ogawa isn't funny! Totally different match for '06 NOAH plus it's under 10 minutes. Go watch this!

Akira Taue vs Naomichi Marufuji (03/05/06): Taue is limber as the Tin Man in the early goings. Seriously, Marufuji is doing like 85% of the moving! He eventually loosens up or perhaps I'm just used to it because this gets good. I'm talking about clever cut-offs and shoot holds from outta nowhere by both competitors. The finish works perfectly as well. 15 minute match that may be Taue's final standout singles match. It's a goodie and surprising since Taue doesn't always work well with others. Highly recommended and perhaps a Great match for the books. I think it really does stand the test of time.

Mitsuharu Misawa vs Takeshi Morishima (03/05/06): Takeshi brutalizes Misawa. Plain and simple. But, Misawa is always selling that fact. He's not trying to be a tough guy...acting like it doesn't hurt or that he's unbeatable. It's easy to see this as skill especially after watching a load of 2010s stuff. Misawa may have been one of the most dominant aces in puro but, man did it look like he was in trouble often. He's selling the moves but, also the story they're trying to tell. This bout was no different.

I'm guessing he told 'Shima to go nuts but, when I come back hard, you've gotta push even harder. So, Morishima is absolutely barbaric with his Vader forearm shots & lariats. So, when Misawa gets his opportunity to turn the tide, he busts out. Picturesque tope elbow where Misawa just dives into the void. But, the big TM unloads with suplexes from H-E-L-L!!! But then, it's on more than Donkey Kong. That is how you strike battle!! Berserker mode Misawa is something the youngster didn't expect. Can the bloodied behemoth defeat the hero & legend? Classic match in my book.

Kenta Kobashi vs KENTA (03/05/06): I believe this was the final Old Guard vs New Generation match from this show and at 22 minutes, this was about as perfect as the NOAH Ark style gets. A mash of hard as oak strikes and spine smashing suplexes. I cannot believe that I hadn't seen this earlier. I cannot recommend watching this back to back with the Misawa/Morishima bout. It's a little too much honestly. I think the impact of the fights will be lessened if watching these sequentially. That's my opinion :) Classic NOAH.

Taiji Ishimori vs KENTA (04/23/06): Title Fight! A damn impressive fireworks match. Ishimori is like a ninja or something here. Of course Kenta Kobayashi comes with the kicks! My reservation with calling this a great match is the lack of storytelling. KENTA's Jr. Champ and we wants to keep the title as well as prove that he's a worthy threat to the heavyweights. Ishimori is a recent roster addition who's looking to make a name for himself here. That certainly came through but, it didn't reach it's dramatic potential. The selling of fatigue or injury was minimal here and that hurt the bout. For as gnarly as the moves looked, they could have taken this a lot further had they put over the moves. Nevertheless, this was a really exciting fight but lacked a certain depth akin to a G1 match perhaps. I'd highly recommend it for those looking for a 20 minute move fest. We all need one of those now and again :)

Naomichi Marufuji vs Kenta Kobashi (04/23/06): I certainly appreciated Marufuji doing legwork but, it was as feather soft as his hair. I did not like this segment save a few moves. This got good once Kobashi took over and Maru had to make his big dive comeback. It looks like Kobashi got hit in the eye, perhaps...Whatever! Take it Marufuji! Kobashi is gonna kill you! :@ Good start and strong finish but, the middle is kinda like unflavored Quaker Oats. It's gotten a lot of talk in the past so, I'll still recommend it.

KENTA, Naomichi Marufuji & Taiji Ishimori vs Low Ki, SUWA & Yoshinobu Kanemaru (05/19/06): 23 minutes of NOAH Junior mania in Korakuen Hall. They displayed near flawless execution at a machine gun pace. Certainly, extended selling is out of the question but, for sheer athleticism and technical percision, this is is your ticket! This IS what earns 5 stars from Dr. Dave and the Academy nowadays. So, if chronological relativism is an argument as to why matches today are getting 4.5-6 stars then, I present this match. This did not receive those ratings and in fact, I've never heard of this match before surfing the 'Tube. However, this thing does stand the test of 12 years time. I think it's a great match and not a classic BUT if the modern INDY or NJ style is your cup of tea then, check this out. This might be a great introduction into mid 2000's NOAH for you. Great match

OK so, that's all for now but, Part 3 will wrap up the 2nd half of 2006. It's been a doozy thus far :)

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