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[2011-07-23-NOAH-Great Voyage] Takashi Suguira vs Kensuke Sasaki

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GHC Heavyweight Champion Takashi Suguira vs Kensuke Sasaki - NOAH 7/23/11

 

I looked up that Suguira was in the middle of a 500+ day GHC Title reign holy shit no wonder this promotion went into the commode. To be fair, in terms of quality it does not seem that happened until Akiyama left for AJPW in 2012 and Sasaki retired, which was under Morishima. After 2012, you see almost zero recommendations for NOAH matches as match of the year contenders. It is really not that crazy when you look at NOAH's roster. It was not sustainable and the new stars just were not there. So once Akiyama and Sasaki left, it became a barren wasteland until becoming a New Japan puppet promotion.

 

Big, dumb macho pissing contest very much in the vain of Kobashi/Sasaki. Suguira has none of Kobashi's charisma nor his flair for the dramatic. Credit where credit is due these guys each other really fucking hard. The opening strike exchange puts every strike exchange in modern New Japan to shame Suguira, neck and upper chest just a nasty shade of purple once Sasaki is through with him. Sasaki beat the living shit out of Suguira in this match. If I didn't know he was champion, I thought he was just some young lion jabroni. I liked the German suplex transition and Suguira firing up. Suguira's moments on top were fleeting Sasaki just dominated. There was really no story. One big moment was Sasaki went for a Northern Lights Bomb and Suguira countered and blasted away with elbows until he knocked Sasaki off his feet, which had not accomplished until that point so that felt big. He went through some suplexes and the Olympic Slam. Sasaki would just comeback and beat the piss out of him. There was lariat to the back of the neck I thought legit knocked Suguira out. They got to a seven count. I thought the finish being a draw was the right call and really enhanced everything that happened in the match. They just started unloaded closed fists on one another and then punched each other simultaneously. Neither man could stand for a ten count. Things like Shibata/Goto are fun because they beat the shit out of each other, but it is a sprint. These big long drawn out beatings can get tedious at times. Kobashi is such a BIG wrestler that felt like a Clash of Titans. This felt drawn out. I still love stiffness and this is as stiff as they come. They did not hold anything back. Not a big fan of the style, but they executed the style well and I do enjoy a good Sasaki shit kicking. ***1/2

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This is a lot closer to how many japanese matches are worked these days than the Kensuke matches I've recently reviewed, partly due to when it took place and partly due to who he was facing. There isn't a lot to it-there's a million strike exchanges which make up almost the entire match, Sasaki overwhelms Sugiura in the beginning, beat the shit out of him and Sugiura gradually comes back before the match finishes in total parity with a double KO. Lacking the other ingredients needed to reach greatness, but it's still fun two see two guys just shitbeat each other without any eye-rollingly dumb spots, and these two sure brough the violence, and also varied their striking combinations a lot, particularly as the match went on, and appropriately finished it off with shoot punches. It is telling of how poorly Sugiura protected his offence that winning a strike exchange got a significantly louder reaction than his Dragon Suplex. Kensuke using elbow strikes once a year and them then being sold like death brings me joy. The German Supex popping up in a 2011 match won't surprise anyone, but this match felt chaotic enough that it hardly mattered. There are probably inherent limitations in a match where you limit how much the input variables can matter, but this match isn't relevant enough to thoroughly analyse that. ***1/2

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