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Found 14 results

  1. This starts big with Taue giving a big throw to Takayama and overall showing more fire than he does at any other point in January. The crowd is really hot as all four of these men stare off at each other. No Fear takes over and this is a great showcase of them being the biggest bullies in the yard brutalizing the previous biggest bullies in the yard. After Kawada gets beat down including the big knee from Omori on the top, Taue has had enough of this shit and comes in with a house of fire. It isn’t enough though as No Fear gives him a double clothesline to send him to the outside. This awakes Kawada and he shows some fire kicking complete ass for a few seconds. Takayama goes for the eyes to a chorus of boos. This allows No Fear to take over again and Omori gets the HUGE pinfall on Kawada following a big lariat. Awesome showcase for No Fear here and this was a hell of a show for All Japan overall. The promo with H D A is amazing and really shows them questioning their identity and having to go back to the proverbial drawing board. ****
  2. No Fear has changed their look dramatically from All Japan sporting all white gear and blonde highlights. This was a good slugfest style match with Ogawa, Asako and Ikeda all having extended periods of being worked over. Kakihara is such a spunky worker that I appreciate in tags for the way he is able to come in with quick flurries. The Kakihara vs Takayama UWFi memorial slugfest was built up as the big showdown for the match and given a good reaction from the crowd. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention in the intros, Omori was introduced last from his team so coming into NOAH, he is higher on the current pecking order. That will change rapidly. Even in the closing moments of this match, Takayama is given the signature spots and battles with Ikeda and Kakihara. Asako was seen as the weakling overall as he gives a flurry of punches to Kakihara that are shrugged off before Kaki gets the submission win with a cross armbreaker. Good match. *** (6.1)
  3. These two are strongholds with NOAH in a lot of ways but I can’t recall that many singles encounters with them over the years. Takayama starts off dismantling Akiyama but Akiyama isn’t going to stand for that. He grabs Takayama’s leg and starts working it over in a huge way on the guardrail. I loved the way Akiyama goes into the ring and runs through a sharpshooter, figure four, and STF in quick succession to really crank on the leg. Takayama isn’t someone that is going down with a fight though as the “Hound” character in All Japan. He starts retailiating and really clobbers Jun including cranking his arm over the top rope in effectively painful fashion. Exceptional resourcefulness shown by Akiyama as with him really reeling, he goes back to the leg well and then throws in an Exploder to get a nearfall. He attempts a second one but then gets two crafty rollups and the second one is enough to put Takayama away. This was a load of fun to watch. ***3/4
  4. Funny to see AJPW embracing the late 90’s attitude with the all black faction shirts. Kanemaru is someone will we get a healthy dose of throughout the decade but he is just starting out here as Burning’s underling. Akiyama and Omori start off by taking it to the mat. This I think is a throwaway segment but actually one that feels fresh against the big talking point that late 90’s All Japan and up to the split was all about head drops. This was as 1970’s feeling out process as you could get. Kanemaru mixes in some comedy right from the beginning when he headbutts Omori in the dick. Omori doesn’t take kindly to that and they start teeing off naturally on the junior member of the match. Good to see Asako show some fire here as someone who feel off from the latter half of 1990’s footage we watched. I know I am referencing the 90’s a lot here but I do think the gradual step into the 2000’s that we know when we think of pro wrestling is gradual over the calendar year 2000. This is why we can watch this footage so I can try to hash out that theory. Asako actually gains the advantage over Kobashi for a moment and tags in Takayama. Those two have a nice mano y mano exchange and bring the crowd to life. Akiyama gets tagged in and he starts throwing forearms with Takayama but this time Taka is able to gain the advantage. Nice triple team boot attack by No Fear. We get our first bit of true control in the match at the ten minute mark on Kanemaru. Asako sends him to the outside, posts him and hits a front senton. Takayama’s kicks and forearms look on point and he seems poised to be a big force in All Japan in the new decade. Really nice hope spot for Kanemaru where he fires off multiple elbow shots but gets pulled by his shirt from Takayama before he can make the tag. Kanemaru is able to make the tag and the leg of Asako is honed in on with the Burning unit. Akiyama does a great job of ratcheting up the intensity level as he tees off on the leg of Asako. A nice flash knee with the good knee and DDT allows Asako to make the tag and we enter the final stanza of the match with some No Fear double team moves. Nearfall happens on Kobashi from an Omori missile dropkick. This makes Kenta stop screwing around and he reels off a nice combo of offense before tagging out. Kanemaru hits some more offense and mixes in some comedy bits including a big Rick Rude hip swivel after a baseball slide. Match breaks down with Taka and Kento firing away and the two junior members in the ring. Omori sends Jun into the railing and then keeps things at bay as Asako hits a Fisherman Buster and Michinoku Driver to pick up the win. A real good way to ease us into the decade. The structure was predictable as Kanemaru > Asako > Omori > Akiyama > Takayama (those two are close) > Kobashi (1b of promotion) but it is fun to see the little tinges of offense that is made by anyone below the depth chart. I rag on NJ for their young boy treatment but that usually involves the up and comers jobbing to relics like Nakanishi and Tenzan. Everyone here still felt fresh and in the peak of their career. ***
  5. Vader has run roughshod in NOAH. This was used a vehicle to show him as a threat and the interactions with him vs Takayama which predictably was beefy. Everything else was sort of window dressing. I am again thinking about year end stuff and where someone like Vader should fall because he has that huge gap where he has nothing but he was pretty damn good in Jan/Feb and he looked pretty awesome here. Everyone here looked pretty good including Slinger getting beat down and Scorpio showing some flash. I appreciated when the match breaks down in the waning moments, No Fear teams up in a 3 on 1 attack against Vader to beat him down a bit. Scorpio ends up getting the win with a big legdrop on Asaka. **1/2
  6. I am really starting to really like these meat and potato AJPW tags involving No Fear. They are showing a shift in the style but just be a brutalizing force. This is making Misawa show some aggression that feels different than his mano y mano contests vs. Kobashi and the long term "weve been here before" rivalry vs. Kawada. Honda here is the outlier and the star as he really takes it to both members of No Fear and works the meat of the match. It does seem like No Fear needs some type of better double team finish as they put away Honda here with a series of leg drops and elbows. ***1/4
  7. Burning and No Fear are all exploding in one match. Akiyama and Kobashi start off and Jun backdrops Kobashi 10 seconds in. The young punk has learned from his mistakes the night before. They stare each other down and get violent as the crowd erupts again. No Fear then gets a go and while it is a step down from the previous encounter, it is still pretty damn great with Omori winding up with his uppercuts and Takayama not holding back at all on his kicks. After an extended feeling out process from there with a nasty test of strength and Takayama and Kobashi having a go, Sterness takes over and goes to work on Kenta. Running knees for both members in the corner and sending Kobashi into the guardrails. Kobashi is able to reverse the guardrail attempts and hits chops to show he is pissed off. Omori is also worked over for an extended amount of time. This wasn’t at the tip top level of the tags we saw in AJPW in the 90’s but to me it was only a step behind and is actually comparable to something like the Burning vs Ogawa/Misawa tag from October 1999. Ending run is really heated and this is where some people may be divisive. Omori pleads with Kobashi to go for the Burning Lariat and then he takes it out on Kobashi. One Takayama German later and Takayama has pinned Kenta and No Fear is reunited. We get a backstage promo hopefully explaining Omori’s reasoning but it was pretty suspect. Either way, this leads to a great scene of a pissed off Taue coming out and having to be restrained from taking Omori’s head off. Backstage, Taue throws a trashcan at Omori and Kobashi is stomping around all pissed too. This aint ya mommys Kings Road. **** (7.8)
  8. Kikuchi kicks Takayama as he comes in the ring and Taka just stares him down. NOAH is making Taka look awesome and I am here for it. After Taka takes it to Kikuchi for around five minutes, he has no choice but to resort to some dirty tactics. A rake of the eyes and then he cranks out the arm of Takayama. A great submission with Kikuchi hanging on the outside of the ring just wrenching on the arm. Takayama is feeling the pain and starts cranking it up a notch with some knees that looked brutal to regain an advantage. A couple of more knees and the referee has to call for the bell. Takayama is pissed off now though so he gives another for good measure. Kikuchi should just stay down but he refuses and Takayama drills him again and then stands triumphantly on top of Kikuchi. The push of Takayama keeps going and it is glorious. ***1/2 (7.1)
  9. Kobashi vs Akiyama rivalry is freaking sweet so far. Jun jumps Kenta on the ramp to start things off heavy here and the fight is on as a carryover from the night before. This match was worked with a lot of urgency and overall it was extremely enjoyable even if it didn’t reach the absolute peaks of the six man the night before. With Kikuchi securing the big win the previous night, the come down was bound to happen but he puts forth a valiant effort getting bloodied up in the mouth and dishing it back out at Kobashi and Akiyama. Kobashi and Akiyama in the finishing stretch are again fantastic and they are making a big push for feud of the year from August onward. Both of them are also making a push to be in consideration for my WOTY. ***1/2 (7.1)
  10. Kikuchi starts this off cheapshotting everyone and gaining the early advantage with others giving a WTF reaction. That gets the crowd lit and was an awesome moment. Rikio also has some pep in his step going toe to toe with Takayama and holding his own. Akiyama gets the tag and throws Rikio to the corner begging for Kobashi to tag in. What a prick. Kobashi gets the tag in and him and Jun tee off on each other. Big chop on the outside sends Akiyama over the rail. Back inside, Takayama tries to bully Kikuchi and he again has none of that. Kenta and Taka now fire up and Kenta gets the best of a chop exchange. I love seeing the face team not backing down an inch here. Really impressive long vertical suplex by Kobashi onto Takayama. Match settles in a bit now but it isn’t awful work between Kanemaru and Kikuchi/Rikio, just less than the fever pitch the match was at before. Kikuchi becomes the FIP and they work him over with some vicious and prickish work. Kobashi gets the tag and is a complete house of fire. In a great bit of resourcefulness, Akiyama is able to go after the leg of Kobashi and they regain the advantage with Takayama kicking away. Rikio helps out by stomping away and having a fun offensive flurry at the 20 minute mark. Finishing run happens now and it looks like Kikuchi is in deep shit against both Taka and Jun but he ducks and Taka hits Jun. Kikuchi takes out Taka and then hits two Germans and a powerbomb on Kanemaru to gain the win to a huge pop. Great match. **** (8.1)
  11. Another great match between these teams. After their dominating win in January, No Fear ahem has no fear and goes right after HDA. Taue has his shoulder taped up and they really pounce on that. This was really good action and Taue was awesome in selling the damage as the wounded warrior that was refusing to give up. However, Kawada got tagged in and is a man possessed. I am watching this match a little out of chronological order but between this and the forthcoming 7/1 Fuchi match, Kawada certainly has a fire under his ass and is back to a near peak level. He unloads a ferocious attack on No Fear here that culminates in him locking on a great sleeper/pin combo on Omori that felt like a pissed off choke out. This also follows the plight of Omori as being able to take the big guns to the brink, but not getting that big win besides the surprise 7 second Akiyama victory. **** (7.9)
  12. This wasn’t as bad as the tag before it but it also didn’t have a lot of teeth within in. Omori is clearly not a priority in NOAH like he was in later day AJPW and Takayama and Taue had some decent but disappointing for them sequences with each other. The main purpose of this match was to raise the profile of Izumida overall. I have always thought Izumida was fine as a lumpy lieutenant but am unsure if he will crack my list of top 50 workers in the promotion. He was pretty baseline here until the finish where he does show more fire and gets a big pop when he wins with a headbutt. Life comes at you fast if you are Omori. **1/2
  13. Beefy hoss tag that was about what you want from these four. A lot of clubbering clotheslines and some good double team and control sections. The only suspect part of this match was the finish. No Fear has just beat HDA and riding a wave of momentum so them losing here feels ill advised even given the story arc of Doc having a revival as a good worker. *** (6.0)
  14. Shiga had a good showing here. Between this and the Akiyama match, he's having a nice, semi-quiet 2000 so far. Kobashi cedes most of the match to him, which probably sacrifices some quality, but also is an admirable choice for helping Shiga get some ring time and attempt to get over. I love the slowness of Takayama's German suplex at the finish. Solid match. ***