Kenta Kobashi Vs. Tamon Honda, GHC Heavyweight Championship, Pro Wrestling NOAH 4/13/2003
Underdog matches are great and all, but I particularly like the "Every dog has his day" type of underdog match. This match pulled that idea off very well and Kobashi being so selfless to Honda was cool to see.
The early mat work in this was killer. Honda goes for amateur throws and old-school submissions and Kobashi does a really good job of keeping up with him in terms of tricked-out mat wrestling. The headlock section around the 9:00 minute mark works so well after all the counters and submissions. Kobashi grinds Honda down a bit more before Honda manages to pull out THAT GERMAN SUPLEX on the ramp. That one suplex I felt was really important in setting the tone for the rest of the match. Kobashi was in control for much of the match, so every big suplex/throw/hold Honda was actually able to pull off carried a lot of weight. I don't know if that makes sense...
Very smooth escalation throughout the match that was helped by the selling. Honda very much looked like an old man who had been dropped on his head (which I'm sure wasn't hard to pull off). Kobashi's facial expressions were awesome as always. The finishing stretch is all kinds of painful looking and features one of my favorite near falls ever when Honda counters a lariat with a shoulder throw in to a pin. That was so awesome to see. Kobashi of course finally puts down Honda with a lariat and all is well.
All the important stuff about this match has already been written, so I'll just add myself to the people who dig it.
Where I'll have it: Top 30.