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Found 55 results

  1. This was a lot of fun. You got some brief interactions between Kobashi & Misawa, and those were pretty wild as you'd expect, then you got KENTA & Marufuji doing their thing - some fast paced, energetic sequences. My favorite thing though was just seeing KENTA & Kobashi kick Marufuji's ass - my goodness their offense looked so great & Marufuji sold the beating well. Great match. ****
  2. Man I love NOAH. Even a minor lead-in tag like this will have a unique, unpredictable structure, everyone playing their role and guys unloading on eachother with stiff shots. Great opening which gets the crowd by the balls immediately. Marufuji putting Hashi in the tree of woe so he and Ogawa can double team Akiyama is something we all did in WWF No Mercy. I like Akiyama a lot but I thought he was outshone by Hashi here, who was just way stiffer, more intense, etc. I thought Akiyama could've done a better job giving Ogawa & Marufuji receipts for their rat boy tactics. Ogawa looked great as usual outsmarting his opponents. Marufuji didn't do anything stupid, even showing some viciousness dropkicking Hashis skull repeatedly. Loved the finish.
  3. Here is my list of the best matches that I watched this year. Again, this isn't a MOTY list but, is more of a year in review for me AND a guide for folks looking for wresting to check out. So first is my January to May list: Inoki/Sakaguchi vs Thesz/Gotch (NJ 1973) Strong BJW vs SUWAMA/T. Soya (AJ 11/26/11) Onita/Tarzan Goto vs M. Kurisu/Dragon Master [Kendo Nagasaki] (FMW 04/01/90) Jun Kasai vs Takeshi Iizuka (TAKA Prod. 01/28/18) Roderick Strong vs Kyle O'Reilly (ROH 02/21/15) Briscoe Bros. vs Mike Bennett/Matt Taven (ROH 02/21/15) Tomasso Ciampa vs Johnny Gargano (NXT: New Orleans) Kurt Angle/Ronda Rousey vs Triple H/Stephanie McMahon (WWE WrestleMania) Shinjiro Otani vs Masato Tanaka (Z-1 07/31/02) Masato Tanaka vs Yuji Nagata (NJ 03/19/11) Chris Hero vs Big Van Walter (wXw 2010 16 Carat Gold Final) Masato Tanaka vs Daisuke Sekimoto (Z-1 08/02/15) Shuji Ishikawa vs SHINGO (AJ 04/29/18) June 1st to Dec 31st Naomichi Marufuji vs Jun Akiyama (AJ 04/25/18 CC) Sakuraba vs Nakamura (NJ 01/04/13 WK7) Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Masato Tanaka (NJ 08/15/09 G1) Nakamura, M. Tanaka, Takahashi & Naito vs H. Tanahashi, Makabe, Nagata & W. Inoue (NJ 12/04/10) KENTA vs Naomichi Marufuji (NOAH 01/22/06) (I left off 10/29/06 because everyone already knows of that) KENTA vs Kenta Kobashi (NOAH 03/05/06) Misawa vs Takeshi Morishima (NOAH 03/05/06) Misawa vs Naomichi Marufuji (NOAH 12/02/06) Choshu, Koshinaka, Hoshino, Sasaki & Kobayashi vs Super Strong Machine, Hamaguchi, Kurisu, Tatsu Goto & Hiro Saito (NJ 06/26/90 2/3 Falls) Hase & Sasaki vs Koshinaka & Iizuka (NJ 12/13/90) BxB Hulk & YAMATO vs Ben-K & Big R Shimuzu (DG 07/22/18) BxB Hulk vs Shingo Takagi (DG 12/28/14) Shingo Takagi vs YAMATO (DG Kobe Wrestle Fest 2016) reDRagon vs The Briscoes (ROH 05/11/13 11th Anniv. Show) Eddie Edwards vs Matt Taven (ROH 06/01/13) Eddie Edwards vs Kyle O'Reilly (ROH 07/12/13) Michael Elgin, Jay Lethal, Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander vs Adam Cole, Matt Taven & reDRagon (ROH 10/26/13 Glory by Honor XII) see: https://forums.prowrestlingonly.com/blogs/entry/693-enter-the-redragon-part-4/ Kevin Steen & the Young Bucks vs Michael Elgin & the Briscoes (ROH 03/07/14 Raising the Bar Nt. 1) * not yet reviewed* There's a month worth of classic wrestling right there. I'm really not sure what the Best Match I watched is...damn. I go through and think of different reasons I like one over another. OR there's some that I cannot recall as clearly as others. A few of these are known as great or classic matches already so, I won't pick those. I mean, hopefully many of these are matches you've only heard a little about...or maybe nothing at all. That's really what I want to do - expose people to different stuff and let them know that there is really awesome wrestling to be found where others may have said it does not exist. So with that I'm going to pick Eddie Edwards vs Kyle O'Reilly (ROH 07/12/13) as the Best Match Watched. Frankly, I'm pretty strong on that point even without those qualifiers. Some may not like it just because of the participants or the company. OK that's fine. Others may see it derivative or formulaic but, I disagree. I feel it builds off of classic styles and encounters while adding its own flair. Plus it tells a great story, is excellently performed, intense as hell, and I just love that finish. It's really quite perfect in my book Recency bias is totally acknowledged. Before I move on, I'm going to hype up Masato Tanaka here Shinjiro Otani vs Masato Tanaka (Z-1 07/31/02), Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Masato Tanaka (NJ 08/15/09 G1), Nakamura, M. Tanaka, Takahashi & Naito vs H. Tanahashi, Makabe, Nagata & W. Inoue (NJ 12/04/10), Masato Tanaka vs Yuji Nagata (NJ 03/19/11). DAMN SON! Now let's see who gets cheers and jeers: Standout Wrestler: Daisuke Sekimoto, Atsushi Onita, Masato Tanaka, Shingo Takagi, Naomichi Marufuji, Eddie Edwards, Jay Lethal, The Briscoes, reDRagon, Roderick Strong, The Young Bucks The Winner: Tanaka had the early part of the year for sure. Eddie Edwards has the very end with his re-invigoration of the GHC belt and 2013 ROH matches. The winner is Naomichi Marufuji though. The 09-10 NJ Jr. stuff was pretty great but, along with Shingo, he stole the show at the 2018 Champion Carnival. What put him over the top was his 2006 in NOAH. From his start with KENTA in the 01/22 to the amazing title fight vs Misawa, 2006 was Marufuji's. He may not have the quantity of classic matches that Tanaka accrued this year but, he had his share along with a bevy a great ones with a variety of opponents in different promotions and years. Probably not a popular pick again but, I know what I saw and the dude killed it. Surprise of the Year: Early FMW Onita, SHINGO & Marufuji and the 2018 Champion Carnival, 2010's ROH, Yoshi Yatsu in 87-89 AJPW, WWE 205 Live, digging WWE Women's division. Finding out the greatness of YAMATO, Matt Taven & Togi Makabe. Akira Taue still had it in 2006 as he knew how to play his older broken down/comedy character but still be aggressive and serious when called upon (similar to 1989 Giant Baba). Realizing that '89-90 JCP/NWA Muta was awesome especially when considering his 90's NJ stuff. Weekly ROH TV reminding me of WCW Worldwide in a good way. The Winner: The Maufuji pick is kind of the Surpise of the Year because I really did not think that going into this post. But, overall - I'm going to say Early FMW & Onita. Onita and FMW were some of my first experiences with Japanese wrestling but, to circle back around 20 years and find something really awesome was a heck of a surprise. Not only were the matches a blast (no pun intended) but, finding out about the history was really interesting as well. The late 80's and early 90's are a really neat time & place to visit in Japanese wrestling and FMW at that time should not be missed. Favorite Project: FMW 89-92, Post ECW Tanaka, Hayabusa in AJPW, NOAH 2006, reDRagon/2013-14 ROH, and NJ vs CHAOS in 2010 The WInner: CHAOS vs NJ because I never heard anyone talk about it despite it scratching that old school night in-night out feud itch. It was so much fun to watch these house show matches that felt like Jumbo vs Misawa, or M-Pro vs Kaientai DX.I gained a lot of respect for Tanahashi here and found something from the NJ 2010's that I could wholly dig! Disappointment of the Year: Munenori Sawa in wXw 2010 could have been better, Brock vs Roman at WM, Nakamura...Ballshot Expert, Kobashi vs Marufuji '06, American Wolves vs reDRagon not living up to its potential save Edwards vs O'Reilly The Loser: Wolves vs DRagon because it was THE reason the Wolves re-united and reDRagon was formed but, it felt too much like WWE or TNA than ROH. Or at least the ROH I was used to. It was inconsistent and did not feels as big & epic as ROH was making it out to be. ReDRagon would go on to be so much better without the Wolves feud. Never got around to: Getting deeper into FMW past 92- the two big Youtube channels that had a ton of FMW footy were removed so that was a big blow to that project. 2010's NJ Jr project- I wanted to look into the phenomena that got the NJ hype train going - Apollo 55 & Golden Lovers. This is something I do want to get around to soon. Looking forward to watching in 2019: David Starr, Jonathan Gresham, getting back to 2010's AJPW, 88-90 NJ/AJPW (my massive DVD set is still waiting), more ROH & PWG from 3-5 years ago Also, want to check out early 80's Gran Hamada pretty soon here. Thanks for reading! I hope I gave you some ideas! Happy New Year
  4. Jeez, I've been watching a lot of NOAH lately. I suppose it's because I'd turned a blind on it for so long after so many drawn out strike battles, over long "epics", and a roster that resembled a pop talent show more than puro company (at least from their names and appearances..more on that later). Eddie Edwards is one of those guys that I've come to consider a favorite of mine recently. I'm not exactly sure why however. He doesn't have a real remarkable look and he doesn't seem like a real 'character.' He seems very much like an athlete who's chosen profession is wrestling. I suppose that's why I like him. So, I was pleased to see that he popped back up in NOAH (on a talent exchange) last year. For those that don't know (or care), Edwards developed a true professional over in the NOAH promotion in the mid-2000s. So, when he came into ROH (again as sort of a talent exchange) he was looking like top talent in the making (except for his braided Jason Newsted haircut). I pretty much forgot about him for awhile (3 years perhaps?) as I focused on other promotions and older puro. Occasionally, his name would pop up in tape/DVD listings or reviews. It was good to see that he was still around and thriving. So many of those mid card guys in ROH had a lot of potential but, something happened and their careers never blossomed (Erick Stevens and Brent Albright are two I recall). I think the match that put Eddie on my radar as a serious talent was a 2011 match in NOAH vs Kotaro Suzuki. Kotaro had the GHC belt and much like Eddie, it was fantastic to see a lower ranked guy was getting pushed AND was doing well. This match had gotten some praise at the time and probably was one of the the more positively reviewed matches in NOAH at the time. Or at least that I can recall...2011 wasn't getting a lot of love. Gosh, to be honest after that, it probably wasn't until 2015 where for whatever reason, I thought I'd give PWG & ROH a try again that I started seeing Eddie Edwards clips on the 'tube. But, I'm rambling because all I want to cover in this entry is Eddie Edwards short lived but, historic GHC title run. A transitional champion? Yes but, the first non Japanese to hold the belt. Plus, he's the man to have ended Katsuhiko Nakajima's 307 day, 7 defense reign (the longest since KENTA's 2013 championship reign). That's pretty significant to me even if NOAH is in umm...transition??? Nevertheless, Eddie's involvement (through Impact's agreement with NOAH) helped bring me back into the viewership. Plus he really cut his teeth during his early years on the ARK so, it was a bit of a coming home story with him winning the title. So, let's take a little look back: Eddie Edwards & Ricky Marvin vs Katsuhiko Nakajima & Kota Ibushi (08/23/08): I am expecting fireworks from the get-go but, it begins with conservative striking and grounded holds. This is the first five minutes until Nakajima gets a bug up his ass about Marvin. He gets in the ring like a junkyard dog off his chain to save Ibushi. Then it picks up with the combos like Marvel vs Capcom 2. None of it is really engaging me though. Everyone is doing a bunch of running, kicking, and jumping. It's not that I even care who is doing it OR why. It's pure fireworks for the sake of going:'Oh wow!' *BANG* 'Cool!' *POP* 'Oh that was neat...' until you kinda get bored until the spectacular finish where all kinds of shit is blowing up. Sounds familiar with some wrestling matches, right?? That was this 100% to me. It was good but, nothing more. Eddie however (since this is his little feature) looked the strongest to me. He was most in contol of his movements as well putting forth the most effort for the longest period of time. A. Ito & I. Ota vs Ricky Marvin & Eddie Edwards (09/06/08): This is how you do a tag match- bring some hate, desire to win, desire to inflict pain or embarrassment...something right? You've got to have some energy! 8 minutes of great shit beats 21 minutes of blech. Marvin & Edwards were flipping awesome here. Ito & Otis looked good too but, mainly vehicles to put Rick & Ed over. Fun stuff so, I'd recommend going outta your way to watch this as it's under 10 minutes. Eddie Edwards & KENTA vs Prince Devitt & Ryusuke Taguchi (Apollo 55) (07/10/10): An all action match that I never knew happened. Apollo 55 was pretty big at this time so, it was a big deal for them to be in a NOAH ring. KENTA & Edwards look as good as any team against them. In fact, they looked better. Maybe it was the different environment or the green ring but, 55 seemed a little of this evening of combat. It's nothing embarrassing or even noticeable but, KENTA & Eddie were hell of a hard hitting tandem compared to the more Junior move-centric Devitt & Taguchi. Nevertheless, it was a very satisfying fantasy match up come to life. Very Good match! vs Kotaro Suzuki (01/29/11): GHC Jr. strap is on the line. They set a really good pace here for a title match. The highspots were simple but, spectacular. Both guys sold the exhaustion & pain from the match and it appeared that it was a struggle to win an athletic contest- not a performance of some maneuvers. It looked like a title fight. It really clicked for me. I am a fan of both guys but, in a way that makes me a harsher critic. I wanted to see both guys kick ass and if either were dogging it, I took note. I mean Kotaro's elbows looked tired toward the end. But to be honest, I think he was rattled as all hell. Eddie did not go easy on him and wouldn't put over the elbows until it was believable. If it was all selling then, double kudos to them for getting the story across that well. This was a great match! So I'll only do a little bit for Eddie's title fights because it was an unfortunately quick run... vs Katsuhiko Nakajima (08/26/17): A nice quick pace. The intensity and the drive to win for Edwards is really apparent. Whoa! he almost crippled Naka' on that tope! Ed's working the back...very nice. The strikes are there but, there are a variety of them as well as actual moves. At least 3 Evel Knievel suplexes. This feels like NOAH from a decade ago! A minute or 2 could have been shaved but, this was a great match! You should check this one out. vs Naomichi Marufuji (10/01/17): Marufuji had been competing in Impact (TNA) so, this in a way an Impact & TNA event (ya know how ROH & NJPW do co-shows?). Anyhow, I liked this but, it felt a little too smooth to me. The crowd was sedated as a psych ward too. That was a bummer but, it was still a Very Good match. It would have gone over better in front of the Impact crowd I think...it certainly was wrestled in that style. vs KENOH (12/22/17): I really got into this one despite KENOH looking like a Blade Runner Brian Jones. These guys had great chemistry together and put on a fantastic match where I'd like to see them compete again or team up in the future. Great match for sure! I think Edwards gave the company a shot in the arm in terms of experience and talent. NOAH feels very unfamiliar to me in 2018. There are few faces from the past to root for & those there seem unenthusiastic or uninspired (Shiozaki & Sugiura). The newer guys like KENOH have an off-putting look about them. It's sorta like whatever glamour B.S. Marufuji & Ibushi (and Tanahashi) brought to puro really rubbed off on these guys (HAYATA & YO-HEY). Masa Kitamiya doing a Masa Saito tribute and Nakajima channeling Ashura Hara is promising though. But, I looked on the NOAH roster page a moment ago and thought, "Who are these guys? and why should I watch this?" I get a very 'local independent wrestling' promotion vibe from NOAH. They have guys you know and maybe bring in big names but then have a load of guys you may be heard of or saw in a match or two that have a goofy name or look (much like Eddie Edwards early on) or complete no-names. I guess it behooves me give them a chance though. KENOH, who may look the goofiest of the bunch & has an all CAPS name, is A-OK in my book. He let his wrestling do the talking much like Edwards did in late 00's ROH. So, perhaps it's fitting that Ed lost the title to him. Changing of the guards? Maybe...who knows? Again, it would be great to see Ed in that green ring with KENOH in some shape or fashion. NOAH might be heading in a good direction. Again, who know? Good stuff and a fun little spotlight for me Thanks!!
  5. The final installment of my 2006 NOAH Navigation. It is pretty stacked so let’s get on with it! Takeshi Morishima & Mohammed Yone vs Takeshi Rikio & Takashi Sugiura (11/17): To be up front, I was not excited about this match. 3 out of 4 of the guys are good only in tags or short matches so, I’m tuning in for Takeshi M. Frankly, this starts out bland as unsalted popcorn. Even the Korakuen krowd were not into this! Business eventually picks up and this is actually fun to watch. Wait a minute! This is actually something I’d recommend to fellow Morishima Maniacs…damn this just gets better & better. False Finishes & saves abound! It’s a blast! Both teams really worked their butts off to put on a great match. It wasn’t really deep or anything but, their effort really made this something special. Shinjiro Otani, Kazunari Murakami & Tatsuhito Takaiwa vs Jun Akiyama, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Makoto Hashi (12/02): Akiyama vs Otani is dream match-up stuff to me. I’m excited. Also I’ll say that I miss Makoto Hashi. He was a tough impactful scrapper type of guy. Sort of a utility wrestler who go in any spot he needed to. I will say that I don’t miss his bouncy bosom though :I Its here in full effect but, shit he gets hardway juice from a Murakami headbutt and gets his face eliminated by Otani so, jiggle away my man! In all seriousness, this is some very nice 6 man wrestling. Once Akiyama gets in there to save Hashi, this opens up like a cheap bag of chips. Akiyama is directing rush hour traffic here and it’s wonderful. Guys are going everywhere, Hashi’s bleeding from the head and mouth- this is Sterness vs Zero-1 for sure! This never steps outside of it’s place on the card and that is a testament to Otani & Akiyama. It’s something I’d highly recommend checking out. KENTA vs Bryan Danielson (12/02): 2006 methodical surgeon, Bryan Danielson? Yes, please! Oh man it’s been awhile seeing Dragon work this style and it is a joy. He takes the reigns here and forces KENTA to restrain himself- both real and in-ring. This is brilliant because it only magnifies KENTA’s explosive ferocity. When he gets an opening, he’s like a Tasmanian Devil. That being said, this is more of a dry athletic contest than their ROH title fight in October. I could watch this forever though. It was really perfectly executed and perfectly matched competitors. For that I’d say it was a near classic encounter and should be watched right along with their others. I will say this style really shows the limitations of KENTA however. He doesn’t seems to really add much of anything different to the bout despite this being a different style. He just does his thing when he gets a chance. This is OK but, it does really show that Danielson (and Marufuji indirectly) are superior workers. Nonetheless, these two work so well together, it was just an awesome competetive match. Takeshi Morishima vs Go Shiozaki (12/10): This starts really solid with Go being like 1995 Jun Akiyama. Morishima is a generous fellow here but, that soon wears thin. Its time to show Go who’s the Tag Champ. This is over way too soon for my liking but, got the point across with both guys. Recommend this match to fans of either. Akira Taue, Mushiking Terry, Taiji Ishimori & Atsushi Aoki vs SUWA, TARU, Shuji Kondo & "brother" YASSHI (12/10): This is a fine match to show friends and loved one who are used to traditional heel/babyface dynamics. Taue is the man in this and the younger babyfaces bring all kinds of fireworks when its their time to shine. The heels are dastardly and feed the faces at just the right times. This is fun, fun stuff for non-fans and wrestler dorks alike Naomichi Marufuji vs Mitsuharu Misawa (12/10): GHC belt is on the line. A quick cardio opening shows us that not only can Misawa go but, much better than his peers (see 03/05 & 04/23 Marufuji matches). ‘Fuji baits Misawa to gain control and locks in a fierce stepover facelock. Misawa again uses his elbows to create space but, the champ is using his brain and is damn quick. He focuses in on the challenger’s legs like a laser. Naomichi is almost heelish in his ruthlessness. Misawa calls for the ref to break Marufuji on two occasions. This appeal to the official is a clear departure from the collected Mitsuharu of youth. Further, Naomichi seems to welcome the legendary elbow strikes. He’s proving that Misawa is no longer the invulnerable hero & that he IS the rightful holder of the GHC championship. Of course, our Emerald Hero finds an opening and hits back hard. He has to or this is going to be over before it begins. They’re both wounded and desperate- shit gets good! An organic, excellently executed and paced bout. The escalation of violence and the moves chosen have contextual significance. They wrestlers don’t just do things because that’s when they’re supposed to do the big moves. Additionally, the omission of some key attacks are also significant. The finish was just fantastic as well- Very reminiscent of Hansen/Kobashi 07/93 in my opinion. It felt like a struggle up until the end. And let’s be honest- that’s how it is supposed to be! The fans storm the barricades after the bell like White Walkers at Hardhome. Classic match man. Tatsuhito Takaiwa vs Takashi Sugiura (12/23): GHC Jr. belt on a SEM show. SEM was (is?) like a 205 Live of NOAH shows. This is fought like a NJPW NEVER championship match. Seriously…stiff as a starched shirt, good power moves, and transitions of control based on toughness/powering through more than finding openings. Sugiura eventually has to use his Cro-Magnon brain to save himself from the Japanese Karl Pilkington Terminator. But damn if, Sugiura isn’t a beast himself. Holy Shit! No doubt this would be a 4.5-5 star match if this were in NJ today. I’ve watch a nice chunk of the G1 and this fits right alongside the touted matches from the tour. Likewise, I don’t think it was classic stuff nor even a great match on the whole. It WAS a great display of toughness & neck-death though! Highly recommended. ****** Pro Wrestling NOAH 2006 is completed in my books! Woo-hoo! It’s been one of those watch-projects that I’ve been putting off for about 3-4 years. I had seen a few matches that I really dug back then and heard about on the NOAH USA website. Plus this year was really strong in various opinion polls and boards. So, I got a few DVDs with the purpose of watching the stuff that seemed most interesting to me but, like all of us, got sidetracked. I think what was most interesting was that I realized I hadn’t seen a Misawa singles match in probably a couple years. That is so strange considering he was ubiquitous in my formative puro watching years and even in those early NOAH explorations. So, I was pleasantly surprised with his classic bouts against Morishima & Marufuji. He really still had “IT” in 2006. Unsurprisingly, Morishima & Marufuji’s stock went up with me as well. I’ve always liked them but, they had some high quality performances this year. Naomichi especially shone bright. I think his big push to be champion was well deserved despite it being so short. Takeshi Morishima had one classic singles match but, felt like the glue and future star of NOAH in 2006. KENTA is one person whose stock fell a little bit. He seemed really one dimensional. It’s a good dimension to have in pro-wrestling but, other than his match with Danielson, he didn’t show a lot of variety. This is not terrible since he frequently brings the intensity of the Sun at noon in the middle of July. Still, I would put him below Marufuji & Morishima at this point. This is a big shift in perspective for me since KENTA was near the top of my list for the 2000’s for a long time. He’s most likely top 10-15 still but, that’s still a downgrade. Also want to mention Taue & Akiyama being really fantastic as well. 2006 was about the elevation of the Marufuji, KENTA, and Morishima so, these two legends played a great supporting part in that as well as delivering some standout performances both in singles and tags. I want to see what ’07-’09 holds although probably not as in depth. I’m really interested to see Go Shiozaki develop to challenge Morishima, KENTA, & Marufuji. Sugiura gets pushed but, that seemed to be out of necessity than talent. I’m hoping that he gets a bit better in crafting his matches since he does play a big role in the GHC title later in the decade. Also, I want to see more of Taiji Ishimori. I remember not really caring for him at the time but, in today’s puro climate he’s relatively moderate. Top 5 Matches of the Year: KENTA vs N. Marufuji 01/22 KENTA vs K. Kobashi 03/05 T. Morishima vs M. Misawa 03/05 N. Marufuji vs KENTA 10/29 N. Marufuji vs M. Misawa 12/02 Biggest Letdown: N. Marufuji vs K. Kobashi 04/23 Biggest Surprises: Misawa/Akiyama vs Takayama/Sasaki 07/16 Shiozaki/Taue vs Shibata/KENTA 09/09 Morishima/Yone vs Rikio/Sugiura 11/17 2006 Akira Taue in general Big take away from this venture- 2006 NOAH is comparable to contemporary NJPW in my eyes. The crowd excitement, atmosphere & presentation may not be as slick as NJ but, the quality and style is very similar. I’ve said this in various reviews yet, I think it’s worth stating again especially coming of the 2018 G1 tournament where people raved about similar or lesser matches. Seriously…go back to NOAH 2006, it’s just as good or better.
  6. So, I decided to make this a 4 parter after all. There was way more NOAH that I wanted to watch than I thought. So, this installment will cover July to October. There's a ton of stuff at the very end of the year so, I figure that can have its own entry. Takeshi Rikioh & Takeshi Morishima vs Naomichi Marufuji & KENTA (07/16/06): This is a tremendously exciting match where they did a sprint without going over board with moves or sequences. Morishima vs. KENTA was of course the sweetest thing here but Rikioh was a good partner for him while Marufuji was um not as good as could as he could have been. He was best during the double team segments but his super complex spots were just silly in a hard-hitting match like this. It helped that Rikioh usually made 'Fuji pay for his trickiness. Once the match picked up both were pretty awesome in their roles as back-ups. A good way to get past Marufuji is to consider him as this generation's Yoshinari Ogawa: weak strikes but speedy, crafty & exciting. It harkens back to the late 80s/early 90s when you didn't need to kill the guy to have a great match. The main difference is that Marufuji indulges in the unnecessary or esoteric where Ogawa "Keeps It Simple Stupid." There are some cock-ups that keep this from being a classic encounter. The stuff with KENTA & Morishima was awesome. Great match Jun Akiyama & Mitsuharu Misawa vs Kensuke Sasaki & Yoshihiro Takayama (07/16/06): Takayama return dream match. Kensuke is filling in for the ill Kobashi. Everyone looked really good in this hard hitting, action filled NOAH big time tag match. They didn't exactly empty their tanks but, fantastic effort and nice Kobashi tribute spots helped make this a great match. 16 minutes in duration. This doesn't get the talk like the Kobashi return but, man this is still a nice dream bout. It delivers like Dominoes, fool! ...man, that's lame. Ah screw it, I'm going with it! Katsuyori Shibata & KENTA vs Akira Taue & Go Shiozaki (09/09/06): Shibata starts with Taue and gets all karate on the old timer. Taue is like, "Fuck yo' karate, man!" Yes! Akira Taue don't fake the funk, Shibata or not. This reminds me of when Baba would fight Tenryu in a 6 man match. Tenryu (like Shibata) would open a can of whoop ass on Baba...to the extent that Baba might get hurt. But! It would only turn Grandpa Baba into Badass Baba who would just hit some indignant mean ass chops and neckbreakers. So, yeah this is Taue. Everything is up in the air with this puppy. A slept on great match. 15 minutes of action. Jun Akiyama vs Naomichi Marufuji (09/09/2006): GHC belt is on the line. Spoiler in this review so, skip to end of this if you'd like to see this match. I've come to like this match a bit more than when I first saw it. I "get" 'Fuji now and the look on their faces after the bell is rung for the win is timeless. Marufuji is elated and Akiyama while upset has got a grin on his face like, "I can't believe he beat me without beating me." The thing is Akiyama in AJ held the same spot Marufuji does...the guy who got elevated quick and has to take his lumps in the ring but is damn athletic & damn talented. The ring work is mostly spots akin to a RVD/Jerry Lynn match so; it's entertaining and amazing but also not capable of "greatness." Akiyama is like Jerry Lynn in giving the match a skeleton from which to operate. It's more like, "Did you see that move? I can't believe he did that!" Still it's really fun and probably a neat way to start someone out on puroresu especially someone who's younger and wants to see wrestling instead of crud. It bit off more than it could chew at times but it's still quite good. Highly recommended KENTA vs Bryan Danielson (ROH 09/16/2006): ROH title match. This probably is the closest thing to prime 90's junior puroresu that we'll see in the United States. Both men brought everything to the match- intensity, stiffness, psychology, & pacing. The only reason it's not rated any higher is because there is some noticeable stalling, especially for the top rope moves. When put in comparison to the rest of that night's card & ROH in general, this flaw is barely noticeable. In an era where legends are fading away and style is valued over substance, it is reassuring that wrestlers like KENTA & Danielson are out there. This match had its goofy American-indy moments and the aforementioned stalling but, its greatness cannot be diminished. In a post-Baba, post-Misawa world, this is required viewing. Jun Akiyama vs Tsuyoshi Kikuchi (10/13/06): Jun's in his old AJ gear. This is a pretty entertaining match where Jun destroyed Kikuchi and that gravel throated bastard shows how tough he is. I'd recommend this if you're coming home after a long day at work and you wanna grab a beer, a sandwich, and some simple but, entertaining wrestling. Naomichi Marufuji vs KENTA (10/29/06): Title match ya'll. This certainly wasn't your typical NOAH main event and looked so far away from traditional AJPW it was astonishing. This style they were wrestling or maybe always wrestle with is more a derivative of Michinoku Pro or even Ring of Honor than AJPW. It's no secret that both were in the midst of their ROH touring and which direction the influence rubbed off...well, I debate that with myself sometimes. They always seem to want to go back to the spectacular spots which is unfortunately the legacy of their seniors but hopefully is not the legacy that 90's AJPW has left the wrestling world. To speak more specifically about KENTA & Marufuji, they are Junior wrestlers not apt to use deep tactics in their offense. They play with the idea but, tend to go for the high-impact moves when push comes to shove. With all of that said, this was an excellent display of skill & athleticism and even a bit of psychology. Of course, they didn't sell it once it was time to do the spots but neither did 90% of the great NJPW Jr. wrestlers. So with that in mind, like many of the great Jr. matches the work done cannot be denied it's due. Re-Watch: I'd have to say this stands up with the best Jr. matches that NJ produced. Seriously, I can only think of a couple matches that were as satisfying as this one. Granted I don't know as much about stories in NJ as I do with Noah but, from a wrestling standpoint this was pretty awesome and about as good as you can get. So, I go back to a point that I made in a post on the main page that the 2000 Juniors were more influenced by NJPW Jrs. There was a little overkill at times but they brought it back so that the finish was believable and logical. If you could shave 5 minutes of it would have been better but, as it stands it's still fantastic and one of the better matches that the 2000's had. I'd keep the rating and call it the Jr. version of Misawa/Kobashi 03/01/03. Not the BEST but, still a classic. Whew! Some heavy hitters this round! Last but not least, November and December in part 4. Thank you for reading! Hope this helps you get excited to watch wrestling.
  7. 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
  8. Pro Wrestling NOAH was probably the first puro promotion that I actively followed in "real time." They had an English language website, top talent appearing on ROH DVDs, and of course Misawa, Akiyama, Taue & Kobashi. Having never seen any of their 5 star classics, keeping tabs on NOAH was the closest thing for me at the time. They had great photos of fights & a nice archive of results. Looking back, I think I got in at the tail end of their golden period in 2006. However, it wasn't until years later that I got to see the actual matches from that year. I'd like to sort of pull back from the 2010's for a bit and this seems like a good start...even if it is just 4 years earlier Naomichi Marufuji & Kotaro Suzuki vs KENTA & Ricky Marvin (01/08/06): This match was just what I wanted. It was really quick and right on point with execution. The middle segment controlling Marvin and breaking apart his knees fell a little flat because the crowd wasn't really buying it. Marvin was screaming though which was a nice touch. Of course, as most of his offense is dependant upon his legs, the long term selling of the damage wasn’t great. Still, he limited his activity to one or two bursts of energy. Plus he did hobble and slow his running down…so I think this was more of an “audience not getting it” situation. Ricky did what he needed to in order to keep up the excitement level but not brush off the damage. The small town fans just wanted to see Marufuji and KENTA. They were not disappointed. Akira Taue vs Jun Akiyama - (GHC Title) (01/22/06): This was as fantastic as it needed to be. It was very brutal in the spot oriented match sense. Two of my Dad’s least favorite (in a sense) wrestlers murdering one another. It was fun to show him this one! This was quite gruesome at times especially when there were a couple occasions where I thought each guy was crippled. Still, I admire both guys and it warmed my heart when people were cheering for Taue at the opening. Here we saw Akiyama as dominant ace...if only for a moment. Yeah NOAH, yeah! Great match Low Ki vs Kotaro Suzuki (02/17/06): A fun Junior contest between two guys who are brilliant on offense. Their defense was less than developed although Low-Ki showed an avenue of genius. Still this was a fun, highly athletic and competitive bout. Ki was going to win because he out ranked Kotaro but, it was dramatic and exciting. Kenta Kobashi, Tamon Honda & Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs Takeshi Morishima, KENTA & Mohammed Yone (02/17/06): Oh sweet Jeebus this match was all kinds of fun. It was a drag with Yone as the crowd seemed to collapse when he was in there, the same with Honda & Kanemaru too for that matter. Eventually, it turned into K-Hall pandemonium. It was as if the Funks with Jumbo were fighting Abby, the Sheik and Brody. I never thought that they’d 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 held the excitement in the slow parts in the beginning, this would have been one of those secret Korakuen gems. It’s one of those matches where Kobashi is Mr. Puro! Austin Aries vs KENTA (ROH 06/24/06): My formal introduction to the awesome talents of Austin Aries and KENTA and boy, is this a match! Just an athletic Jr. weight match that is so damn stiff at just the right times. And the crowd is electric and both guys just eat it up and go for broke. The commentators make note that they’re mirror images and I was thinking, “Now let’s get real…” but, man Aries is great here and matches the future Mr. Itami. This truly may be one of Aries' best bouts. A proper "swing for the fences" match with a great enthusiastic crowd. Nice build, great crowd reactions, beautiful execution; just an awesome match…this is an overlooked ROH classic. I loved it the first time I saw it but, was surprised just how good it is on the rewatch. See this if you want to remember who KENTA was! More 2006 NOAH rewind to come! Gonna try to be a chronologically consistent as I can Thanks!
  9. So, I got hyped on Naomichi Marufuji after his fantastic job during the Champion Carnival and Triple Crown challenge. Generally speaking, I am lukewarm on him. Sometimes, he's really a treat to watch as his execution and timing can be impeccable. Other times, his execution is spotty and over ambitious. Additionally, depending on what time period you're watching, his offense can look weak or perhaps predictable. I eventually tempered my negative feelings by re-watching his 2006 GHC title win over Akiyama. It clicked then. He's not going to be KENTA and not be one of the AJ heavies regardless of his muscles. He's Yoshinari Ogawa with pizzazz. He is sneaky, quick, and smart. Yes, he does have a bit more flair but, he's brains over braun. Or at least when he's great...Other times he just goes for junior fireworks. vs Jushin Thunder Liger (12/22/09): Super J Cup. Wow! This was way better than I thought it would be. It follows the classic Jr. template but 2009 Liger has still got it. I really would have liked the leg attack on 'Fuji to have gone somewhere BUT I'm glad they didn't focus on it either. They moved on or Liger moved on, if you will. Highly recommended stuff. vs Tigers Mask (12/23/09): Semifinal Super J Cup. Nice under 10 minute match. I don't know for sure if that was exactly the finish they wanted but, Marufuji was channeling Ogawa there at the end. This is slept on but, man it was nice, neat, and to the point. vs Prince Devitt (12/23/09): OK this is the Super J Cup Finals! Anyhow, this is a case of a fireworks display. The story was the invading Marufuji, who's always done well in NJ Super J, going for their top Junior (and top gaijin). This was and was meant to be a cool looking Finals match. I'd highly recommend it based on its flashy new (to me) moves and action but, I didn't have a real drama. The fans were flipping out so, others may get more out of it than me. But a great way to end the tournament. Naomichi shines in tournament settings. vs Prince Devitt (01/30/10): The rematch...this time for the IWGP Jr. strap! We get a very similar opening but, with a bit more focus on wrestling. Its not a lot but, more than you'll see in Jr. fights nowadays. The great improvement was that this match had a story to tell. Devitt had learned from his mistakes and was prepared for the NOAH hotshots stuff. 'Fuji had to be careful on what he could pull out of his bag AND when because the Irishman could hit him with a surprise. Great finishing segment. I'd have to say this was a great match and perhaps scratching a classic if you're feeling it. This shows the brains both in performance and layout. vs Koji Kanemoto (03/05/10): Ah what could have been! This was looking to be a classic but fell into that 2010 trap of epic overkill. They provided us with 2-3 matches worth of wrestling and false finishes in one bout. It was like an arc all in one contest. Maybe it should have been 2 out of 3 falls?? I wrote a lot more in my notebook but, I'll spare you my lamentations. I hesitate to call it a great match but, the first 25 minutes really had me- more grappling & striking focused, Koji's persona & charisma, Marufuji trying to hang on against a vet. Koji and Marufuji man... Overall, this has been a rewarding little batch of matches despite the last one. It's a clear step in the evolution of Marufuji. Speaking of that, the highly evolved 'Fuji vs Tenryu-like Akiyama CC match is up on the 'tube. Gonna check that out before that chap's account is terminated like the last dude's. Be sure to check out the amended 2018 Champion Carnival post shortly! Thanks for reading!
  10. There were a lot of positive comments about this Carnival on the main page. Kudos to those folks for taking the time to go through and watch most or perhaps all of the Carnival matches in real time. It certainly was my impetus for tracking what I could down on the 'tube. Here's a link to that post for the participants, outcomes, and discussion. There are spoilers after the first couple entries so be warned. As usual, I'll try to be spoiler free here in the blog. https://prowrestlingonly.com/index.php?/topic/41548-ajpw-2018-champions-carnival/ I'll begin by saying, I did not nor did I have a desire to watch the entire run of matches. I'm a cherry picking bastard. I'm sure I missed some neat bouts but, I've got a brick of DVDs I want to get to so, this could only be a brief diversion. With that said, I wanted to see 14 matches but, only half were available. So, branched out from the 7 matches and did so chronological as possible. These are my brief take-aways from the matches. -04/14- SHINGO vs Bodyguard: Surprisingly sweet, energetic & charismatic with a great pace. 2 cameras helped (most CC matches are 1 camera from the stands). Highly recommended!! -04/15- SHINGO vs Yuji Hino: Good action with a vocal crowd. Its mainly macho stuff but done with gusto. Highly recommended!! Kento Miyahara vs Shuji Ishikawa: Deliberately paced with Ishikawa focusing on Kento's neck. Killer apron move but, overall its repetitive and somewhat dull. OK match Jun Akiyama vs SUWAMA: Despite the funeral crowd, they fought with purpose and vigor. That's a different kind of finish. Recommended match! -04/20- Joe Doering vs SHINGO: Very good big man-small man dynamics with excellent intensity. Recommended match! Naomichi Marufuji vs Zeus: Zeus is getting really good. They had great chemistry and enthusiasm for fighting. Great match!!! -04/21- SHINGO vs Ryouji Sai: Great attack psychology and selling. Its not an even steven match like some (most?) matches nowadays but, damn SHINGO is bringing the goods. Simple well told story, a Great Match!!! Jun Akiyama vs Zeus: Fought like the Finals, hot damn! Great match perhaps!!! Naomichi Marufuji vs SUWAMA: Best day so far. Headlock focus, nice surprises, good striking. 'Fuji looked like a kool killer here. A great finish too..this felt like a classic 90's AJ CC match. They really put it out there. Great match!!! -04/22- Naomichi Marufuji vs KAI: Alright KAI! Another really good fight with body work giving it focus. Both dudes kicks were right on the money but, the single fixed camera hurt this. We (I) needed to see the full impact though. Highly recommended nonetheless!! Kento Miyahara vs Joe Doering: Started slow but turned out pretty good. Recommended match! ...whew...still going... -04/25- Zeus vs KAI: Oh yeah! great action, good selling, a nice match indeed. Great or highly recommended!! Jun Akiyama vs Naomichi Marufuji: Unfortunately, the YouTuber loaded the wrong match but should he or she fix that, I desperately want to see it and I will put that review here. (Added 06/15/18): Finally someone put this up! Oh and I'm so glad that they did. Of course there's a backstory but, all in all its the head honcho of NOAH facing the head honcho of AJPW. And damn! It delivered like the mailman! The move selection is something that really sets AJ apart from modern stuff. Its really back to basics compared to NJ for instance. Just good solid hits, holds, and throws. I wouldn't say its Sekimoto/Okabayashi simple all of the time but, it definitely resembles AJPW from the 90's. Anyhow, the moves chosen, the pacing, the fakeouts, taking the time to do nothing but sell, and the truly select few false finishes made this a classic CC match to me. -04/29- Kento Miyahara vs Yuji Hino: Very good contest where the outcome was in doubt (its round robin so Kento could lose but still make the Finals...to me at least!). The finish was a bit too sudden but a Great Match nonetheless!!! Shuji Ishikawa vs SHINGO: Holy shit man! Wolverine vs the Hulk. Ishikawa is great but, SHINGO added so many nice touches and knows when to explode and how to intelligently cut guys off. It came across so well here...dude blew the CC up! Fantastic, classic match. Best bout!!!! -04/30- FINAL Kento Miyahara vs Naomichi Marufuji: A great finish to the Carnival. There were perhaps 2 better matches but, stylistically and business wise, this an awesome closer. Miyahara's comebacks puzzled the fuck outta me though. See:https://prowrestlingonly.com/index.php?/topic/41898-kento-miyahara-vs-naomichi-marufuji-ajpw-champions-carnival-4302018/&do=findComment&comment=5851519 It makes it sound like I loathe the match but, damn it was so close to a classic that I couldn't let it go Out of the Carnival we get a Triple Crown challenge. Kento Miyahara vs Naomichi Marufuji: NOAH leader, old school AJ trained, Misawa endorsed Marufuji vs AJPW's new ace, Kensuke Sasaki trained and hardened Kento Miyahara. It was a great match which featured allusions to their CC 2018 Final. I liked that Marufuji & Kento sorta address the issue of Kento's burst offence. In this match, 'Fuji just about cuts him off every time and with authority. If this was a cognizant decision then, they are in the headspace of the 90's greats of AJ & AJW. Hopefully, we get a rubber match because with the over-time/match-to-match psychology it appears they're employing, that bout has the potential to be a classic. I really, truly hope that happens! Ha! What a dork!
  11. In true Mixed up Monday fashion, I'm going to do a whole show review which is all mixed up since, I usually just toss a couple random fun match reviews up. I bought the official NOAH DVD from Highspots. Its got English commentary. Its not very good commentary but, its not awful either. Its laughable that at every (yes, every kickout), the lead commentator asks, "Did he kickout!?" Does he mean that he literally cannot see the kickout or is that a dramatic phrase? I wonder even as I write this. It doesn't step on the matches and well, damn that's good enough. On to the show! A. Ito & I. Ota vs Ricky Marvin & Eddie Edwards: This is how you do a tag match- bring some hate, desire to win, desire to inflict pain or embarassment...something right? You've got to have some energy! 8 minutes of great shit beats 21 minutes of blech. Marvin & Edwards were flipping awesome here. Ito & Otis looked good too but, mainly vehicles to put Rick & Ed over. Fun stuff so, I'd recommend going outta your way to watch this as it's under 10 minutes. Akira Taue & Mohammed Yone vs Takuma Sano & Yoshi Takayama: Stiff as a drink. Yone channels his BattlArts days. Taue's still got it in '08. Fun match. Mitsuharu Misawa, Yoshinari Ogawa, Takashi Sugiura vs Jun Akiyama, Takeshi Rikioh, Atsuhi Aoki: Good mix of styles here. They keep is interesting without going move crazy. Haven't seen Misawa (RIP) in awhile (at the time of this viewing). Ogawa is awesome as Rat Boy here. All action inside and out of the ring, double teams, triple teams- Fast and simple 6 man where everyone looks great. Highly recommended. Naomichi Marufuji & Kento Miyahara vs Bryan Danielson & Davey Richards: NOAH is where Bryan & Davey belong...damn. Marufuji is in a goofy mood tonight but, it's all good, the gaijin team are being especially brutal. Oh shoot! That's Akira Hokuto, yay! Highly recommended? Recommended? Just a fun match? Kinda an extedned squash but, it's a blast to see Danielson & Davey in NOAH. Under 10 minutes. The Briscoe Brothers vs Katsu Nakajima & Kota Ibushi: Prematch worry: Let's see if Ibushi gets wacky. Match starts and they are pretty evenly matched. The Briscoes look fantastic with their rough house brawling. They do well in taking the Japanese team's offense...I say that considering the range in offense of their opponents. Really, both teams are leaving it all in the ring - I'm really impressed! This is 100% bananas. 16 minutes of insanity. If you're gonna do a Jr. sprint match, this is it! Classic, classic match in this style. As the kids say, OMFG! Kotaro Suzuki & Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs KENTA & Taiji Ishimori: I don't know how anyone can follow that. It is a bit slower but, still exciting. I appreciate Kanemaru & Kotaro acting as straight heels with their second causing mayhem and cheating like a M.F. 20 minutes and it's a great match. So, I failed to mention that there's a Jr. Tag tournament and this was the last match but, both teams are tied OR they are #1 & #2 and they need to have the final TONIGHT! Either way, we get a second match. I feel this 2nd bout diminished the awesomeness of the first but, still paid off and was pretty good as a whole. If you wanna take a break between matches, that might be a good idea. In total it was 31 minutes. I tend to side toward brevity nowadays but, I enjoyed the heck out of this nonetheless. I felt KENTA was subdued here so, that could be taken as a plus or minus depending on your preference. Highly recommended stuff but, again the first was my favorite. Takeshi Morishima vs Kensuke Sasaki GHC Title Match: Stiff clubbering wrestling. Oh so many club shots and clotheslines! I wouldn't say this is a classic title match but, on a super Jr. heavy show, this was a nice change of pace & an awesome way to close out the show. You got tons of speed, fancy manuevers, and nearfalls and now...Here's the tried and true NOAH beatdown title match. Two battleships facing off for the belt. It's that intense Choshu main event style so, if done right it's an easy 4 star match for those keeping score. Great match. The 09/06/08 NOAH Shiny Navigation was an outstanding show that offered alot of fantastic matchups that really paid off. If a full show DVD is available still and you're into that kinda thing, I say go buy it. This is especially true if you were digging ROH back in the day. Lots of cross pollination at the time between the two companies and very much the style they were going for at the time. Highest Recommendation on this show.
  12. This Liger vs NOAH stuff never ceased to be awesome. This is all about planting the seeds of the upcoming Jr. tag title match, as Liger is now teaming with the awesome Osaka Pro ass-kicker Takehiro Murahama. Marvin is an unmasked luchador was kinda was the talk of the day back then, while Suzuki is still a rookie, mostly, but shows very good potential. But really, as KENTA and Murahama trade great kicks, the crux of the match is Liger & Marufuji not respecting each other. And damn, this is awesome. Maru blocking Liger's shotei and holding his hand while badmouthing him, Liger deviating Maru's superkick and slapping him in the mouth. Meanwhile, Murahama and KENTA are kicking each other again, really hard. Excellent six-men match in front of the hot Korakuen crowd, with tons of purpose and heat, foreshadowing the big match to come.
  13. A very good match. Loved Marufuji showcasing those technical skills of his in the beginning & the Headlock stuff was lovely. I think by the end the match dragged a bit w/ those nearfalls & all, but it didn't hurt it too much, because it was still indeed a very good one. ***1/2
  14. Shibata's interactions in the early stages w/ Marufuji & especially Morishima are all kinds of awesome. His stuff w/ Maru has some really great back & forth exchanges, and his stuff w/ Morishima, my goodness. Really made me bummed out that we never got a singles match between them during this time period, as they were involved in 2 excellent tag classics on the opposing teams. Ibushi is very much treated as an afterthought by Maru & Mori, as he had only been in the business for about 2 years around the time this happened. Love when Shibata & Mori are trading blows, and Ibushi tries to join in by striking Morishima from the back, Morishima just completely ignores him. He doesn't feel the strikes by this young flippy fella. That leads to a great FIP segment w/ Ibushi getting beaten & stretched by Maru & Mori. Great stuff. Shibata's hot tag is great too, he runs wild on Marufuji for quite a while until Maru tags in Morishima, which leads to him & Shibata rocking the place again. Once Shibata tags Ibushi in, the lad FINALLY gets to unleash his offense on Morishima - he shows him that he is no joke as he manages to briefly stun him. That doesn't last for long though, as it ultimately lead to Morishima just crushing him with a DISGUSTING Lariat & a Backdrop. Amazing stuff. ****1/2
  15. This is boatloads of fun. This kicks off with a pretty brutal slap fest between the Takeshi's. After there's a pretty awesome moment with Ogawa getting tagged in and goading Akiyama who then comes in and Ogawa gets him to turn his back on Marufuji and Rikio who then jump in the ring and jump him from behind. This then breaks down into a southern-esque six man tag with Marufuji working from underneath as the FIP and he takes a brutal beatdown including some nasty body slams and getting put into some nasty manjigatames, namely from Morishima who tries to break the dude's spin in half. His comeback was not bad, as he kept it short and tagged out as soon as he could and smartly jumped off the ring apron and stayed on the floor to put over the beating he had taken before instead of jumping back on the ring apron and waiting to get tagged back in immediately. This breaks down and there's this cool spot where Marufuji tries his flying corner elbow on Akiyama, but Jun catches him in midair and hits him with a gut buster, sucks he doesn't really put that over much and is back to hitting highspots seconds later including an extremely weak looking dropkicks on Morishima. There's also this sweet looking double team spot here between Morishima and Akiyama on Marufuji where Morishima picks him up in front the turnbuckle and Akiyama dropkicks Marufuji from behind and he goes neck first into the turnbuckle. The guy who shines the most to me in this match is Shiga, who continues to look great in multi man tags. He hits some smooth looking submission attempts on Marufuji including a manjigatame during the beatdown and some slick armlocks in the finishing stretch one which he catches Marufuji in off a flipping dive from the top rope. Really fun match.
  16. Great match. Marufuji's performance in this is excellent. He targets Danielson's neck like if he was Akiyama or something; very focused & brutal with his work. ****
  17. This was a lot better than it had any right to be and is entirely different than what you'd expect as it's worked more in Aoyagi's favor than in Marufuji's. Aoyagi works this complete in a sleeve cut gi and sneakers and the match is Marufuji trying to outpace Aoyagi and Aoyagi using his karate to wreck Marufuji with kicks and awkward, but great looking punches. Aoyagi is working as a heel and he drops Marufuji with a spinning kick, but he lifts him up by the hair and he blasts him with a right hand. Perfectly fine match.
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