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[2005-04-24-NOAH-Encountering Navigation] Kenta Kobashi & Go Shiozaki vs Genichiro Tenryu & Jun Akiyama

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Some really fun Tenryu/Kobashi interaction here. Kobashi gets a bit overzealous at times but it's mostly really, really good. Akiyama bringing out Revolution 2005 shirts makes me mark out (and want one). Tenryu beating up on Shiozaki is loads of fun. Kobashi steals a lot of the spotlight meant for Shiozaki here, which makes me a little unhappy. Will probably make the bottom quarter or a little above.

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I didn't feel that Kobashi stole the spotlight. He was there to be the heavy hitter. He was comes in red hot, but then overwhelmed. Shiozaki saves him and looks like he is going to start stringing things together, but Tenryu is too much for him. Shiozaki is spunky, but still biting off more than he can chew.


Kenta Kobashi & Go Shiozaki vs Jun Akiyama & Genichiro Tenryu - Budokan 4/24/2005


I want a Revolution 2005 shirt too!


After an over two year title reign as GHC Heavyweight Champion, Kenta Kobashi settled into a sort of legend's dream match role against the likes of Genichiro Tenryu (WAR/NJPW/AJPW) and Kensuke Sasaki (NJPW). He was still the big drawing card on the shows, but like Misawa in 2002/2003, it was clear that the title and the push would be going to the younger generation. This certainly did not pan out for Takeshi Rikio or any of the younger generation. There was no watershed 3/1/03 match for the younger generation in part because that generation did have a decade plus of backstory like Misawa/Kobashi did. I dislike fantasy booking, but it is clear to me that Akiyama who had history with Kobashi and still young enough to develop history with a Shiozaki or a Morishima could have been a great bridge champion. I think the Rikio victory over Kobashi could still work as it is blamed on sheer exhaustion of the two year reign, but then have Akiyama beat Rikio pretty much immediately and build to Kobashi/Akiyama II at the Dome in 2005 or 2006 with Akiyama going over. I believe Akiyama could have been salvaged after 2004, but the booking from 2005 onwards became very remscient of 2002 WWE or 2012 WWE where they are booking dream matches instead of progression. This match and the rest of the matches nominated from this time period prove this as the main focus is Kobashi/Tenryu or Kobashi/Sasaki and poor Akiyama takes a backseat.


I have no idea what the hell Tenryu did to Kobashi back in 1989, but boy does Kobashi hold a grudge because he is madder than a hornet at Tenryu. It could just be that Tenryu is the biggest prick in wrestling history and pearl harbors Kobashi early and fucking just chucks a table at him like the edge of the table. 2005 NOAH you are alright. Kobashi is just ripshit at this point. Akiyama is controlling Shiozaki, but Tenryu comes around the corner and whips a full water bottle at Kobashi. Kobashi is all like "Who the fuck you think I am? Satoshi Koijma?I ain't no jabroni." Tenryu lets Shiozaki tag in Kobashi. Tenryu would never make that mistake. What unfolds is one of the most brutal and barbaric events in wrestling history. With each Kobashi match, I am forced to attempt to describe these chops in different fashions. I will leave the reader with the the end result, it looks like a murder scene and that Tenryu had just been shot in the chest.

Go Shiozaki comes in with a missile dropkick. He gets derailed with a closed fist because Tenryu has had enough of this shit. Shiozaki does some fighting spirit bullshit to try to take down Akiyama who quashes him with a jumping knee. A melee ensues on the outside and Akiyama is able to DDT Kobashi on the floor. This leaves Go isolated and Akiyama hotshots him onto the railing and murders him with a jumping knee.


The story of the match is pretty much Akiyama and Tenryu will win if they can isolate Go, but Kobashi is a weapon of mass destruction that they need to neutralize. Then add that Kobashi hates both Akiyama and Tenryu while Go Shiozaki is trying to prove his worth by taking out one of the big dogs and you have yourself a pretty neat story.

Go is much better at selling and the fighting spirit bullshit than other "junior" tag partners I have seen. He is a pretty decent size, a little lean, but young so he will fill out. He is very scrappy, which is exactly what you want from him at this stage in his career. I have never watched any of his matches before I enjoyed him in this.

Tenryu is now in and just hits some wicked stiff chops on Shiozaki. Taking out your anger on someone else is just wrong. Weirdly botched slingshot suplex from Tenryu and a piledriver from Akiyama only gets two. Go gets all fighting spirit-y, but focuses on Tenryu who is on the apron, which is not very smart. Akiyama hits an Exploder and Shiozaki powders and milks the countout. Kobashi exhorts Shiozaki to get up. Go wins a suplex struggle and AAAAHHHHHHH SHIIIIITTT, Kobashi is in!


Akiyama tries to head Kobashi off at the pass, but eats a sleeper suplex and a Burning Lariat. Tenryu saves and wins a chop war with a closed fist. After teasing finishers, Tenryu hits an enziguiri and Akiyama knees Kobashi in the head and goes for the choke. Shiozaki saves! Shiozaki is hot against Tenryu, but does not have an answer for the closed fist. Kobashi helps out his buddy with a DDT. Go slaps Tenryu and goes for the moonsault, but Tenryu throws him down. No Spider German? Huge lariat with a great sell by Shiozaki gets two. Powerbomb polishes off the young whippersnapper.


2005 NOAH is off to a great start as Tenryu is a shot in the arm they needed. Kobashi is always at his best against a wrestler who is willing to heel like Ogawa or Takayama. Tenryu is such an asshole. I thought this was an effective use of Kobashi as the weapon of mass destruction. He came in, saw, and conquered, but he was never so overwhelming that the match became all about him. So I don't end this on a bad note, while Akiyama was effective, he was not a stand out. His role was just standard opponent that is a couple levels above Shiozaki. In such a pivotal period in his career, you would like to see Akiyama stand out more. Shiozaki knocked it out of the park as the plucky up and comer. He had his moments to shine, but most of the time he was getting the snot beat out of him, but he just kept coming until Tenryu finally overwhelmed him. After the Kobashi title reign, I don't know much about the heavyweight scene in NOAH, but this was a great start. ****1/4

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This match just clicked for me. I think this is going to be Top 20 or so for me. I guess it's the combo of the underdog story (kobashi cheering Go on) plus everything with Tenryu against Kobashi. It just worked pretty perfectly for me.

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I love this match and I especially love how it plays to everyone's strengths. I'm specifically speaking about Tenryu, Kobash, and Go. Tenryu is a fantastic heel. Like I pointed out before, the way he avoids going toe to toe with Kobashi is perfect heeling for NOAH. Kobashi's getting more and more worn down at this point so he's basically there to kick ass and tag out. Most of that ass kicking is in the form of the chops but Tenryu goes above and beyond in making you understand how serious Kobashi's chops are. Not only does he do his best to avoid them, when he finally gets hit with them he blades his old lumpy chest! The other bit of fantastic heeling comes in his interactions with young Go Shiozaki. Tenryu cutting off rookies and punching them in the face is well documented and Shiozaki is the perfect candidate.

 

Only negative I see is that the finish is obvious long before it comes.

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The best babyface veteran/young lion versus two heel pricks match of the decade and I love this genre because of the great, natural story it tells. Then add the amazing characters of Kobashi, Tenryu and Akiyama you have a recipe for something special. The amount of struggle is in this match is amazing. Everybody is contesting everything in a smart and heated fashion. There is no finisher overkill. Yes, they tease their finishers, but they never get to hit them instead they focus on telling the story through physical violence. Tenryu and Akiyama taking out their frustrations for Kobashi on Shiozaki. Shiozaki trying to prove his mettle. Kobashi cheering Shiozaki on and wanting to cave Tenryu's chest in. I loved how Akiyama was there to meet Kobashi right as he got in the ring and meet him head on. I loved Shiozaki attacking Tenryu on the apron and getting punched in the face. I loved Shiozaki stomping forever on Akiyama to get the choke broken up. I loved Tenryu being the world's biggest prick ending up with a murder scene happened on his chest. One of the best character performance matches of the decade. The only thing holding this match back is that definitely feels like the first in the series. Wrestling series unlike movies tend to peak with the final match. The first match just whets your appetite and it is the rematch that satiates you. This match will be in the 20s no doubt and one of the best matches of 2005. ****1/2

 

Exit Shiozaki, Enter Taue and you have a Top Ten Match of the Decade.

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Kobashi & Shiozaki vs. Akiyama & Tenryu - April 24, 2005

Pretty good tag match, with Shiozaki of course playing the Ricky Morton role again as he paid his dues. The most entertaining part of the match was the Kobashi vs. Tenryu matchup. They brawled outside the ring early. Then Tenryu had a sip of water while waiting on the apron, walked over and threw the bottle at Kobashi. This of course pissed off the first-ballot HOFer, who glared at Tenryu with a look that said "You want some of me, motherfucker?"

When Kobashi got tagged in with Tenryu in the ring, he delivered a receipt with nasty chops that first had left a beat-red chest, only for Tenryu to bleed profusely moments later from that same region. However, as pissed as Kobashi was, no matter how much tutelage he gave to his protege, Shiozaki was still the weak link and succumbed to the all-star tag team. ***1/2

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This was probably the stiffest NOAH match there's been so far in 2005. Tenryu's strikes on Shiozaki were brutal. I've never seen so much blood from someone's chest before, even if Tenryu did blade. It looked like they mugged an old man. Lacked some of the fluidity and exciting near-falls of other NOAH matches, but that would certainly be seen by some as a net positive. I've said I'm a NOAH mark, but they just seem head-and-shoulders above the rest in 2005. ****

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