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[2005-11-05-NOAH-3rd Great Voyage] Kenta Kobashi & Go Shiozaki vs Kensuke Sasaki & Katsuhiko Nakajima


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  • 4 months later...

There's good and bad here. Shiozaki vs. Nakajima is lots of fun. It's pretty clear they both have lots of work to do before being great wrestlers, but they put together some solid exchanges early and late. Sasaki is actually pretty damn good in this match. He's not overbearing like a certain other heavyweight that's in this match. He even gives Shiozaki some decent hope spots when they are in the ring together. Kobashi vs. Sasaki very often ends up as an awful chopfest that I fast-forwarded through. More than once. Finish is pretty good, Shiozaki looks like a million bucks coming out of it. Not getting a vote, but worth watching for the non-Kobashi stuff.

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Yes, Kobashi was the worst wrestler of the four, but still thought this was a badass match. Sasaki is really good as the powerhouse you cant get off his feet. Shiozaki is the best young lion in Japan in what seems like a decade. I just love everything about Nakajima. The ending is great with Shiozaki demanding into the match, but just is not there yet in terms of firepower to compete against Sasaki and Nakajima.

Kenta Kobashi & Go Shiozaki vs Kensuke Sasaki/Katsuhiko Nakajima - NOAH 11/5/05

In 2009, there was no wrestler I was a bigger mark for than Katsuhiko Nakajima, who I just thought was a tremendous talent. I really can't wait to watch his series with KENTA again to see if it holds up. Of course, when I heard he was coming stateside courtesy of ROH to Detroit, I just had to go. It was one of the most awesome experiences seeing him wrestle and one of the best pure mark out moments. Even though, I always stayed a wrestling fan my last two years of undergrad were pretty heavy so puroresu was the hobby that got cut. Unfortunately, it seems like Nakajima never rose the ranks to reach the level of a Liger or a KENTA as a top junior heavyweight.

I am proud to say that in 2009, I did have some semblance of good taste because Nakajima is still fucking awesome. Nakajima reminds me of a young Kobashi or Ohtani with his emotional selling and his never say die attitude. This time around Shiozaki has a peer in the match in the likes of Nakajima so that changes the heirarchial dynamic to showcase more of Go's offense. Nakajima and Shiozaki have a really energetic and hard-hitting sequence that establishes they are equals. Kobashi and Sasaki have the same equality sequence, but in the mold of their style playing off the Dome Chop War, trash talking and the test of strength. Shiozaki tags in and like all challenges in life, he meets them head on and gets slapped the fuck down on first pass. Nakajima lights him up, but Go hits a dropkick to get Kobashi in. Kobashi easily handles the undersized Nakajima. Sasaki chops Go off when he has the camel clutch in. A nice spot sees Go have Nakajima up in the surfboard and Kobashi chops Nakajima in the midsection. Nakajima uses a dropkick to get the powerhouse, Kensuke Sasaki into the match.

Sasaki has a great intensity chopping and now lariats to Kobashi. It is always impressive to seem someone overwhelm Kobashi even if only lasts briefly. Here comes the Chop War! Sasaki chest turns a nasty shade of purple-red with these strange ripples. Sasaki hits a Back Drop Driver, but still engages in chopping. Thats just plain stupid. Kobashi chops Sasaki's chopping hand. Kobashi tags in Go. Shiozaki just cant get Kensuke off his feet, who swats him away. Sasaki ain't messing around and brutalizes him with fists. Nakajima roundhouse kick nearly KOs Go Shiozaki and Go does the fall on the Irish Whip, which I am a mark for. Shiozaki actually has a really good suplex struggle with Sasaki and gets him over in what looks like a deadlift.

Given that Sasaki seems the worse for wear compared to Kobashi, I don't think Nakajima will be able to make up the difference. Kobashi hits two half-nelson suplexes, but Nakajima stops the bleeding with a timely German on Kobashi. Shiozaki hits the Back Drop Driver on Nakajima and Sasaki hits the Dragon Suplex on Sasaki. I am ready for "This Is Awesome" chants but thankfully we are in Japan in 2005. Sasaki armdrag and armbar combo just is not a very good spot for him to keep going back to. One of the best spots of the match is Kobashi blocking a Nakajima dropkick by chopping his legs mid-air. BEHOLD THE MIGHTY HAND OF KENTA KOBASHI! Kobashi follows up with a Texas Cloverleaf, you gotta love the psychology.

Shiozaki wants in and he is a firecracker and he takes out both. GO GO GO! Missile Dropkick! Fisherman Buster! GO GO GO! Nakajima hits a ridiculous spinwheel kick to knock him off the top. Wicked high angle German by Nakajima, but Kobashi chops him on the bridge. Nakajima whiffs on the KO Kick to head and Shiozaki Germans him into the turnbuckles! Shiozaki goes for the kill with the moonsault, but eats knees. Tag to the Brickhouse, Sasaki. Go superkicks Sasaki. Sasaki blocks the Dragon Suplex. Shiozaki slaps him a whole bunch, but Sasaki gives him the "Dont Bring That Into My House" Lariat! Sasaki directing traffic slams Nakajima into Kobashi. Wicked high angle powerbomb only gets two?!?!?! Sasaki turns Shiozaki inside out with a lariat to give Kensuke Office the victory.

Again, the opponents of the Kobashi/Shiozaki tag team, weather the Kobashi storm, isolate Shiozaki and pick up the victory. This time I thought with Sasaki coming out the worse for wear in the chop war that Nakajima would not be able to make up the difference like Akiyama would for Tenryu. Nakajima was able to hit a timely German just when Kobashi was about to get on roll and after that Kobashi was basically a non-factor. Shiozaki bit off more than he could chew when he demanded to get in. It was the right thing to do given Kobashi's state, but he stayed in against Sasaki when he should have tagged out, but pride got the best of him. We all want to prove ourselves to the veterans to earn their respect, but sometimes we try to do too much and in this case it was Shiozaki's downfall as Sasaki ate him up. Sasaki is a great powerhouse with a low center of gravity. He is not going to fall unless you earn it. Nakajima was so versatile in selling and bumping around for Kobashi/Shiozaki, but hitting timely spots to keep his team in it. ****1/4

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  • 4 months later...

I know this was a popular match online back in 2005 and I was definitely really into it when I first started watching NOAH. I also liked Kobashi vs Sasaki back then. It's been a while and after seeing how poorly the Kobashi/Sasaki dome match aged I was a little worried about this one.


So I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked this. It's still not MOTY but it may end up making the lower half of my ballot. It's funny to think that Go Shiozaki's two best performances happened this early in his career but here it is. It's a shame how disappointing he turned out. He and Nakajima actually work together pretty well. The dynamic of Go as rookie heavyweight allows Nakajima to work a bit more evenly with him but the weight difference forces Nakajima into a more focused match than he'd had up until that point. Kobashi and Sasaki are there for chops and big bombs and the match wouldn't be as special without them. This is like a fun summer blockbuster. Big explosions, cool looking stuff, fun personalities, and not a lot to think about.

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This definitely is not thinking man's wrestling, but why overcomplicate something like Kobashi/Sasaki. It is a testament to Shiozaki and Nakajima that this match does not become Kobashi/Sasaki with props. They do a great jab establishing the hierarchy. Kobashi/Sasaki and Shiozaki/Nakajima are equals, but Kobashi will dominate Nakajima and Sasaki will dominate Shiozaki. In a lot of ways, it seems like who wins the Kobashi/Sasaki war will will lead his team to victory because a weakened captain would be the death knell. When Sasaki's chest turns a nasty purple hue, Kobashi wins that skirmish and puts Kensuke Office in the hole. Kobashi is a great tag wrestler. We know this from the 90s, but he does not get to showcase it enough in the 00s. He works the apron like the best damn cheerleader. You really feel how badly he wants to get into the match. When he does, you can't help up pop because you know shit about to go down. Once everybody hits a suplex the match just goes into spotfest overdrive, but in a good way. It is not totally mindless because the overarching theme is Kobashi has let Go Shiozaki in the match, this is his big moment, can he get that big first victory? For the most part, it is just crazy spot after crazy spot with a ton of shit and it is so entertaining. On rewatch, one of my favorite things was watching crowd reactions. These people were losing their shit down the stretch the whole time, which only enhanced it for me. All four played their roles perfectly. I liked my initial placement of this match in the 30s. ****1/4

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  • 1 month later...
  • 1 year later...

Sasaki & Nakajima vs. Kobashi & Shiozaki - November 5, 2005

The proteges start off the match with a hot sequence, establishing this as an even matchup between both teams. The match gets really heated when the heavyweight HOFers step in and re-enact their Destiny classic with a spectacular chop and strike exchange, almost like a blinking contest to determine who was the true alpha male between them. Sasaki's chest because scabbed purple, and I shudder to imagine what Bryan Danielson's pasty skin would've looked like taking these same chops.

I'd say in this match that Shiozaki had his breakout performance, as he took a fucking beating, paid his dues, and had to have raised his stock (although considering NOAH's questionable booking throughout its history, that may not be the case.) I have to mention that his traditional dropkick is a thing of beauty, one that reminds me of Ricky Steamboat.

In the third act of the match, Kensuke Office cut the ring in half, of course using Shiozaki as the weak link. Once Kobashi got tagged in to give the 17-year old Nakajima some receipts, Nakajima used his youth and quickness, including giving Kobashi a taste of his own medicine with rapid strikes in the corner. However, instead of chops, Nakajima delivered rapid and gorgeous kicks. Moments later Kobashi chopped him down during an attempted leg strike (Kobashi also did the same earlier in the match to Sasaki during a strike and chop fest), and then applied the Texas Clover Leaf. However, Kobashi was too tired and beat up and released it before Nakajima could submit.

The four men have a head-drop segment that makes me cringe post-Misawa, but I can't deny the heat it added to the match, and they all sold it incredibly well. I also remember Nakajima getting a German Suplex pin on Shiozaki, but was so exhausted that he fell in a yoga pose during the pinfall attempt. Considering that he was still a teenager, his performance was absolutely amazing, even better than Mark Briscoe's ROH debut in 2002.

For all of NOAH's questionable booking, the finish was perfect with Shiozaki doing the job to Sasaki. Both members of Kensuke Office were in the middle of title reigns, and there was no way Kobashi was going to look up at the lights in this match. Tremendous tag match, just a tad below Kobashi & Homicide vs. Low Ki & Samoa Joe, and the second best match to take place on this date. ****1/2

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  • GSR changed the title to [2005-11-05-NOAH-3rd Great Voyage] Kenta Kobashi & Go Shiozaki vs Kensuke Sasaki & Katsuhiko Nakajima

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