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Found 14 results

  1. Amaresu shootstyle! This was a really cool match. Apparently this was Sugiura's 3rd match ever so it's good that he gets to fight Honda, who is a master of a nifty short match like this. The early matwork here felt a bit like Negro Navarro doing an exhibition in Coliseo Coacalco, quick movements and then a break, but they get into some good extended mat sections later on. Really cool stuff that feels different from your typical UWF inspiried japanese shootstyle matwork. Honda looks like a troll but he can move really fast. Sugiura (in his amateur singlet) looks good throwing the much bigger Honda around. He survives some of Hondas unorthodox submissions and even hits a massive Karelin throw on the big guy. Nifty Fujiwaraesque finish.
  2. There was one really great FUTEN-esque exchange between Ikeda and KENTA in this. I can see KENTA having a pretty great career in BattlARTS/FUTEN or WAR just acting like a kickboxer. Unfortunately, Sugiura & KENTA immediately cooled that excitement down by working a rather lame control segment. Taue does almost nothing in this, but the 2 times or so he is in he really kicks people in the face or ragdolls KENTA around, so it's fair to say that he rules. It picks up again for the finish and Ikeda even gets to pick up the win with the Kinniku Buster in a nice moment.
  3. One year later, Sugiura looks much more rugged. Can he take down Honda now? He can't, but here's another really fun match. Plenty of grappling, and that is a good thing because Honda rules so much on the mat. His cradles, takeovers etc. are so much cooler than your average UWF matwork. His super tight headlocks etc. also help emphasize how much it must suck to wrestle this guy and they also have significance, he might just lock in a basic front headlock then yank the guy over and crank his neck. Sugiura brings a lot more to the table in this match. Not outstanding and he does look a little awkward at times but he is a fun dance partner for Honda. The finish was pretty fun and unpredictable even if you've seen a lot of Honda as he wasn't doing his usual finishers (yet?) and instead some more experimental things.
  4. Kanemaru is the first GHC junior champ and he's a dick. Sugiura is the Kurt Angle of NOAH. Almost. His Olympic Slam looks a lot more devastating (headrop baby). Again, this is a slow burner turning into a hot sprint at the end. Hearing the crowd slowly and slowly getting louder and louder is a pleasure, really. Instead of simply busting out intense sequences at the start, Kanemaru is dominating by being a veteran, keeping Sugiura down (and not exposing him as green). So yeah, it starts kinda mundane, but then Sugiura catches Kanemaru outside and slams the fuck out of him, which is nice since that's the kinda of dick stuff Kanemaru likes to do. Sugiura is all about amaresu (I wonder if that word sounds bad in Japanese), suplexing Kanemaru on his head and showing his strenght. Yet another very good, slow building match by Kanemaru, Suguira looks promising here as a powerhouse amateur style junior. Kanemaru proceeds to kill him off by ways of several brutal brainbusters in a row, without any kick-outs BTW, because Kanemaru is that much of a dick.
  5. This was just an outstanding match. Superb interactions between all involved - highlights were definitely the Nakamura vs. KENTA stuff, they showcased intense, hard hitting, great chemistry in this one. It's a shame that this excellent, classic tag match was never followed with a big singles match between the 2. ****1/2
  6. A month before KENTA has beaten Sugiura in a grueling, thirty minute match to become the #1 contender for the GHC Heavyweight Championship. You can see that tensions are still high even before the match, as their postures and facial expressions tell you they're ready to duke it out, and boy do they ever. This match is kind of like the world's most awesome Pancrase sprint, as they just go out there and slap the hell out of each other, but they don't just exchange strikes by doing the "I strike you-you strike me" spot for two minutes before going to a finish, they bust out combinations, duck, block and counter. KENTA stops for a moment before the Go 2 Sleep, and it's uncertain whether KENTA was genuinely unbalanced, selling his knee which was tapped up or the lines blurred, but it's not even that important as the effect is the same. The finish plays up the urgency really well, as it's not something usually used as a finish, rather a swift adaption to the attacks and a more definitive method than insisting on finisher spamming and a war of attrition unfit for what they were going for here. All time great 2 minute sprint. ***3/4
  7. I think no one's really accurately depicted the way modern NOAH matches are worked. Obviously that is in direct correlation with the dropping interest in it but when it gets some attention the focus is mostly put on the more obvious and uninteresting stuff. Looking at this match and thinking about how it's worked and how that relates to NOAH's recent success or lack thereof was interesting. The body of the match is worked with them exchanging control segments-but unlike in most workrate matches here the control segments actually last a good couple of minutes. The transitions used to get from one control segment to another were quite good-Nakajima's first High Kick in particular was just magical, the sheer speed and technique in that kick were unreal and Sugiura fell down as picture perfectly as it gets. Sugiura focused his offence on Nakajima's injured back as was the case in the transitions he used. The one thing I also liked in them is that there was danger behind the moves attempted-it's feasible Nakajima would do a Penalty Kick on the ramp or Sugiura would connect with a Big Boot after Gutbustering Nakajima on the ropes. I've seen them do spots like those a million times. What was most staggering about the match, and what feels most distinctive about NOAH is the pace it was worked at and the way they filled time. The complete lack of urgency in the movement inbetween spots is not something I remember seeing in any other promotion-and even if other promotions had the lack of trying to fight back from the wrestler eating offence they would at least get over with it faster. But you'd have a moment where Sugiura is holding Nakajima by the arm, and he's going to lift him up, he's kinda looking at him, and it takes him five to ten more seconds than it should and Nakajima just stands there. That's nowhere near as compelling as Sugiura lifting up Nakajima and Nakajima trying to fight back with all he can from Sugiura's big move would be. When they're walking around you have Sugiura eat a Nakajima kick, and he'll take few steps back, then eat another move and move more, it's inexplicable how they got so bad at projecting human movement naturally. There's also the fact that the pace they work it doesn't work for anything, with the way they work it they sell less and less as the match goes on but don't finish it with a big nearfall heavy clasically "exciting" finish you'd expect, they hit a couple of big moves that feel out of place and just finish the match. When Nakajima pulled out his Superkick/Dropkick combos at the end it felt big and important because everything beforehand had been so slow, but really at least the last 10 minutes of the match should be just them doing stuff like that. I still enjoyed the match because I like both guy's offence and there was enough violence in the knees, elbows, kicks etc. to keep me hooked, but to steal a phrase from Loss this definitely felt like a match that didn't know what it wanted to be, and I imagine the same is through for NOAH currently. ***
  8. I've avoided NOAH like the plague since KENTA plague-the only time I ever think about them is when I wonder what exactly went wrong with the style. One of the theories I remember is that the AJ/NOAH guys took the style too far and nothing the new guys did could make the crowd care-but after seeing Zack Sabre Jr. get his matches hugely over in Differ Ariake I came to the conclusion the newer guys just have no clue how to build a match. This wasn't even the best example of that as most NOAH main events are structured worse than this one was-Sugiura vs. Shiozaki or Marufuji is just 30 minutes of repeating the same strike exchanges. Here you actually have something resembling a heat section-Sugiura has really great, reckless offence and Nakajima has improved tremednously at garnering sympathy. And they at times they really *do* get that heat from the remaining two thousand NOAH fans. But overall....the match lacks direction, and more than anything it lacks urgency. You get a spot, then a bunch of down time where nothing happens and so on, and it shows they really don't know what to do to fill so much time. The match created a lot of strong visuals and could be edited into a great highlight video-Nakajima being busted open with an unprotected chairshot in particular was something else. NOAH really does need a proper change. You can what you want about all the Sugiura and KENTA 2010-2013 main events but at least they had an identity. I have no idea whom this style is supposed to cater to. It's moving the style closer to New Japan's but just by taking away some of the tools the workers used to fill the time yet insist on the workers filling the same amount of time. Either slice 10-15 minutes off these matches or let them Dragon Suplex each other for ten minutes like they used to. There was at least a natural progression and structure in the style that required 4 finishers for a big match victory. **3/4
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