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[2002-09-23-NOAH-Great Voyage] Takeshi Rikio & Takeshi Morishima vs Jun Akiyama & Akitoshi Saito

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GHC Tag Team Champions Wild II (Takeshi Rikio & Takeshi Morishima) vs

Jun Akiyama & Atikoshi Saito - Budokan NOAH 9/23/02


You know all those touring 80s metal bands with only one original member (looking at you, Quiet Riot) that's what this match felt like. It was a wicked bad All Japan tribute match that had one of the original members of the band performing. You know what this match is good for, though. You see why Akiyama is a cut above the rest. The way he throws himself into every bump and into every move makes you believe. Don't get me wrong, Rikio and Morishima had potential, but they were so tentative. Not tentative in a I am selling that match as a big deal let me be cautious, but tentative more like I don't want to hurt myself or my opponent and still pretty green. Atikoshi Saito is a lost cause and just a pretty atrocious wrestler. I have no idea how Akiyama got saddled with such a chump. He was apart of some of the slap exchanges and double clothesline spots ever. Jesus, in Japan, it is not like work their slaps just friggin' shoot slap him. Rikio and Morishima were not much above him in terms of laying it in, but they did try a bit harder with Akiyama. The Morishima side slam on Saito to transition out of his heat segment was pathetic and Saito visibly hopping into Rikio's arms for a bearhug was sad. I'll give credit where it is do, Wild II was effective in working Saito's ribs with lots of double stomps and Saito actually sold pretty well, but that part was merely decent. The best parts of the match were of course when Akiyama was in. The way he just bumped for Morishima and Rikio made them seemed so much more credible. When he slapped them, it definitely woke them up. Morishima finally started hitting some big clotheslines and because Akiyama is a total nut he took a wicked Doomsday Device. Akiyama gave as good as he got because he messed Morishima's face with his jumping high knee. The finish run features Saito and Rikio and it is about as anti-climatic as one can imagine. Saito wins after a bunch of jumping enziguiris. Easily the worst match I have seen so far in my 00s puroresu watching. It is full of trite slap exchanges and poor offense. How far has the once mighty All Japan has fallen! I am not even going bother rating it.

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Not much to say about this that's good. Rikio, Morishima and Saito all have some good late match offense. The work on Saito's ribs and most of the selling of it is good. So that's about it. Probably not making my ballot.

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Before now I have mostly seen praise for this match so I was surprised to see how much you two hate this one. I wasn't as crazy about it as some other people were but I still enjoyed it. This is four tough guys beating the crap out of each other so I was definitely able to enjoy parts of this. Not sure if it will rank for me as I thought it was a tad listless. This kind of clubbering would have made a much better sprint whereas this match is just too long.

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Rough and tumble, tons of stiffness. Other than that, not a ton to this match. I'm not crapping on it like some of you are. If it was on a random card I was watching I'd be pretty happy if it wasn't the main event. Acceptable midcard/upper midcard showdown. One of Akiyama'as weaker performances, not that he was bad. ***.

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I liked this a lot for what it was – a knock down drag out slugfest. It’s easily one of the best Saito performance I’ve ever seen – his stuff looked so good at the end. Akiyama was the ring general, making sure the match stayed together and he got the best out of his young opponents.

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The Takeshis. A blast from the past. Early NOAH was pretty fascinating as a company, they really were trying to build new stars left and right. This was not about Jun at all, akthough he was indeed the best of the four. It was about Wild Two taking on two veterans and trying to upstage them despite they lack of experience. Morishima already had tons of potential. Rikioh, less so in my eyes. He was a mauler, but never struck le as anything special apart from his size. Plus, this match was also about making Saito a legit upper-mid-card mainstay : he got the heat put on himslef and then got tons of offense and the pin. Saito is underrated. Superb striker, pretty good seller. The Wild Two working on top isn't the most interesting thing in the world, obviously, they're green and don't really have much in term of interesting stuff to do, but when they are reacting in the finishing stretch, it gets really good. Morishima was that young Terry Gordy like worker already. Tons of stiff shots back and forth as it should be. If one expect an old Four Pillars classic, of course he's gonna get badly disapointed, but it's really not the point. This match was four guys beating the hell out of each other, with two younger up and comer giving their all against a star pushing his new partner to stardom. In that way, it was actually quite good and successful.

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