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[2006-07-16-NOAH-Summer Navigation] KENTA & Naomichi Marufuji vs Takeshi Morishima & Takeshi Rikio

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Starts off good. Rikio and Marufuji work some really nice exchanges and Rikio works a good headlock. Then Morishima dn KENTA decide to sprint to an early finisher tease by Morishima. Which somehow leads to a Morishima heat segment that isn't bad. Mostly not overdone by either of the two juniors. Then we end up with a KENTA heat segment, which blows the Morishima one out of the water for obvious reasons. Finishing run is filled with big moves and lots of lariats and crowd popping, but not much structure or reason. There's certainly lots of fun stuff to watch. Rikio comes off great. Morishima is still a big dude with lots of heavy hitting moves who doesn't seem to know how to use them. KENTA comes off as a tough little guy who can do some damage. And Marufuji works smart more than he overdoes things. Just the match itself was all over the place. Won't be getting my vote, but some of it is really good.

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Disagree about Rikio and Morishima vehmently. Morishima brought it, man. He was looking to wipe the floor with some muthafuckas and prove that he belonged in the upper echelon. Rikio did absolutely nothing. He killed time early with Marufuji working inconsequential moves. In the middle of the match, he worked another boring stretch where he just threw out some stuff. His cross body was good because it was urgent and heated, but then he was content to go through the motions. Morishima was working like his job depended on this one performance. Yes, he let KENTA throw him around too frequently, but overall he seemed more confident in this match than ever before. I still cant get out of my head at the tail of the end of match the camera panning to Rikio/Marufuji on the floor barely touching to each other while KENTA and Morishima are killing each other and busting ass. Fuck both of them.



KENTAFuji vs Wild II (Morishima & Rikio) - Budokan 7/16/06


Mori-Fuckin-Shima, welcome to the party, brutha, why dont you stay awhile? Talk about a breakout performance in my eyes. He looked like a cant miss prospect in this match. Morishima is someone I have not explored fully (I really want to watch the Danielson series after this), but if he is hitting these highs he looks unstoppable. I don't if in the other matches it has been a lack of confidence, he looked like a star in this match. The number one reason I want to watch the Morishima/Danielson matches were for his double hot exchanges with KENTA. KENTA reminds me of 2013 Daniel Bryan so much. He is a wrestling in a body that is not his own and is three sizes bigger than he really is. He is just a friggin' dynamo. The dude can sell his ass off when the time comes for it. Now, my big qualm with him is sometimes he wrestles too big. A superplex to Morishima or a powerslam should be treated like a big deal because of the size disparity, but because KENTA is trying to really show the audience that he is an equal these moves come off as ordinary moves. It is like Misawa or Kobashi is doing them. KENTA should be leveraging his size as an actual advantage by getting people to pop by saying "Holy shit look at that little guy superplex Morishima" by really struggling to accomplish the feat.


EDITOR'S NOTE: Marufuji and Rikio fucking sucked. Yes, they took part in this match, but fuck them for ruining it with their laziness and apathy. I am a positive guy so I am going to focus on the good, but if the rating does not reflect my enthuasiam it is because I have to judge the match as a whole and unfortunately Rikio and Marufuji were a part of this match.


The majority of the first ten minutes were relatively tame (give you one guess who to blame). However, guess who just rocked it from the get go. KENTA and Morishima, BABY! KENTA is flying all around like D-Bry off a hot tag and Shima murders him with a lariat and then another one. Shima goes for the Back Drop Driver, but Marufuji hits a superkick and a double kick stuns Morishima. There was a boring control segment on Morishima. Morishima catches Marufuji coming off the top with an overhead belly to belly.


Rikio is a very pedesterian wrestler. He is just sort of there. His main source of offense is a slap. It is pretty much the only thing KENTA and Marufuji consistently sell from him. Rikio tags out. My notes just say MORISHIMA RULEZ~! Because he does. Morishima sprints in and bascially jumps and sits on KENTA. As a fuck you to Marufuji, he does a back handspring, but then just starts unloading on KENTA with forearms. He hits this ragdoll urnage/exploder thingy that looked awesome. The aforementioned KENTA superplex was in there somewhere, which I thought could have been highlighted more. The climax of this sequence was Morishima diving onto KENTAFuji on the floor. What follows was an excellently worked heat section on KENTA's ribs and midsection. Rikio would stand on KENTA and then Morishima would climb on Rikio for extra weight. Of course, double stomps and ab stretches. KENTA was really taking a pounding and he was milking it for everything it was worth.


I have to mention this. Marufuji at one point comes in to save with the weakest looking little kicks to Rikio back. They looked downright dainty. It is too bad Morishima never really got a hold of that little chump. Rikio runs into a corner and KENTA hits a back suplex to tag in Marufuji for the lukewarm tag. Marufuji fucks up a spot and runs through his usual stuff: dropkicks to knees, human capture suplex, superkicks. Morishima hits a massive missile dropkick. Marufuji only postive contribution to the match was that bump. Marufuji escapes the Doomsday Device with a victory (a pretty neat counter). KENTA much too easily hits a powerslam and German on Morishima. Fuck it though at least we finally get a hot tag after Rikio's and Marufuji's and the crowd goes mild tags. KENTA beats the piss out of Morishima with his exploding knee (Bryan's current finish), wicked kicks to head, Sliced Bread/powerbomb combo and the Go 2 Sleep. Punk's and Bryan's finish by the originator cant get it done. Morishima's big run is a back drop driver and a lariat I totally bit on. Once it became Morishima's lariat and KENTA's barrage of cradles, I knew the finish...Draw.


This is the tale of two matches: KENTA/Morishima rocking it and Marufuji/Rikio phoning it in. It is such a shame that Marufuji is bigger than KENTA. KENTA does suffer from trying to get all his shit in and not building to big moments. He definitely could sell, but needed to work on long-term selling. The offense and crowd connection was there. Morishima it was all about being able to hit that high level consistently. It is on the job training and thus it is a shame they just did not strap a rocket to these two's ass because the crowd was buying what they were selling. Just leave RIkio and Maurfuji in the dust. It is a tough match to rate. Rikio and Marufuji were not in there much. I tend to reward awesome more than subtract for apathy because I am a postive dude. ****

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KENTA & Marufuji vs. Rikio & Morishima - July 16, 2006

Excellent tag match here as expected. The juniors stepped up their physicality and utilized their speed to offset the size difference here, but Rikio did a great job at times using slaps to cut them off, and I assume he pulled that from his sumo background. Everyone here did a great job when hitting a bomb after being knocked out of immediately going down afterwards, making sure to still the sell the pain and show that they found a quick burst before reality kicked in.

However, this match was designed to be Morishima's breakout, and he fucking delivered with the opportunity. After 20 minutes of incredible tag team wrestling action with all kinds of cutoffs, strikes, kicks, suplexes, and size matchups, the match became molten-hot when it came down to KENTA vs. Morishima. The closing several minutes had the crowd in a collective orgasm, going apeshit when Morishima not only kicked out after a Busaiku knee, but then also a Doomsday Shiranui followed by a G2S! Rikio also did his best to keep Marufuji from helping KENTA, even pulling out a World Muso.

Morishima would dig down deep to hit KENTA with a sudden backdrop driver for another hot nearfall, but as the match inched closer to its 30 minute time limit, the two of them became desperate to get the win for their team. Rather than just rely on strikes and bombs, they turned to traditional wrestling as well, including a small package and school boy pinfall attempt by KENTA. Moments later, KENTA deadweighted Morishima on an attempted fireman's carry position, so Morishima quickly improvised and rolled KENTA over into a pinfall, structured similarly to a Death Valley Driver without an actual suplex and slam being involved. Moments later, the 30 minute time limit expired, with all four men getting the standing ovation they obviously from the awesome Tokyo crowd.

The only nitpick to point out were the juniors slipping on the ropes a couple times, but I don't factor that into my rating. We've seen plenty of times athletes slip in a flukey moment as well, causing them to miss a steal, touchdown, tackle, etc. and that doesn't take away from their respective sports either.
This match is a work of art that all aspiring strong-style wrestlers need to study, and one of the defining matches in NOAH history. No wonder so many ROHbots were getting hard at the thought of Morishima coming across the Pacific back in the day. ****3/4

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This was a great match. KENTA & especially Morishima were absolutely OUTSTANDING - Rikio was really good too, but holy shit was Marufuji awful or what? He actually came off as a comedy wrestler because of how bad he was in this.

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LOOK AT THIS. I legit laughed out loud when I saw him do that. Best pure striker in NOAH history, baybeeh. But yeah, great match. Could've been even greater had Marufuji not been involved. ****

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