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[2004-04-25-NOAH-Encountering Navigation] Mitsuharu Misawa & Yoshinari Ogawa vs KENTA & Naomichi Marufuji

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GHC Tag Team Champions Mitsuharu Misawa & Yoshinari Ogawa vs KENTAFuji - Budokan 04/25/04

 

Misawa rushes over to catch Marufuji as he coming down on Sliced Bread and hits EMERALD FLOWSION!!! Ogawa covers. KICK OUT! WHAT THE FUCK JUST HAPPENED!!!! KENTA flies in with a springboard legdrop and takes out Ogawa with roundhouse kicks. Misawa restores order with elbows and heads to the top. KENTA hits enziguiris to stun him. Marufuji joins him on top and hits a fuckin Moonsault Rock Bottom on Misawa! KICK OUT BY MISAWA! EVERYONE LOSES THEIR SHIT! WHAT THE FUCK JUST HAPPENED!!!!

 

That is what we like to call in the business "in medias res". If I was not so pressed how time I would craft a Vergilian simile to explain how bitchin this match is. It is like the Light of Love emitting from the Emerald Elbow that vaporizes the Clouds of Despairs in order to guide you on the Righteous Path towards the True Gate of Miracle Ecstasy. That simile is not exactly Aeneas ascending out of Hell, but it is how I felt during this match because this was fucking awesome.Everybody understood their roles to a tee and the output was magnificent. KENTA & Marufuji knew they were going to be outgunned by Misawa, but that does not mean they did not believe in themselves. KENTA & Marufuji definitely gave every indication they could hang with the Almighty MIsawa, but they always respected the Misawa Legend. They were not cocky. They knew this was going to be a tall task and they were going to be forced to preserve and they did. KENTA & Marufuji wasted no time and they just bull rushed Misawa & Ogawa immediately. They dispatched Ogawa relatively quickly, but even though they gained the advantage on Misawa, they were overwhelmed by the Indomitable Elbow of Misawa. That opening really set the tone for the match. KENTA & Marufuji were here to play ball and if Misawa & Ogawa overlook them they will get burnt.

 

Misawa and Ogawa then put on an absolute clinic on how to work control segments. They work two back to back within two minutes of each other. The first is on KENTA, who does his best selling ever in this match and the second is Marufuji and you best believe I loved Misawa lighting that dude up with some elbows. I love the Misawa/Ogawa dynamic. Ogawa allows the match to breathe with some lighthearted moments (I loved the moment when he plays "Made you flinch, bitch" with Marufuji on the apron) and also gives KENTAFuji a point of entry into the match. This is contrasted so well with the heavy hitting, ultra-serious Misawa. Misawa and Ogawa just work over KENTA's back, but KENTA is always struggling. He is always throwing elbows. There is this great exchange between KENTA and Misawa where Misawa goes to pull him to rock him with an elbow and KENTA is always one step back and then moves a step in to hit Misawa. It looks mis-timed if you expect neat chereography, but it fits a real contest so well because it is two people responding to one another rather doing a dance routine. I was really impressed with KENTA's hope spots and just his constant work. I thought the eventual transition to the hot tag was pretty lukewarm. In the first of many, what the fuck moments. Marufuji becomes of the one of the few people to cutoff the heat-seeking Misawa elbow to the floor by dropkicking his knee and hitting his own dive. While I think KENTA is clearly the better wrestler of the two, Marufuji is also the bigger of the two thus why I think he got more of a push in this match. Marufuji looks to hit sliced bread on Ogawa, but Ogawa counters and sends him crotch first into the post. God Bless Ogawa! Thus the heat segment on Marufuji begins and it is not as good as KENTA's because there are some more elaborate numbers, but credit where due Marufuji definitely upped the physicality with nice chops to Misawa and headbutts to Ogawa. At this point of the match it has been 95% Misawa and Ogawa with KENTAFuji just hanging on by a thread. The story becomes how much longer can they last and what if anything can they do to defeat the underhanded Ogawa and the heavy hitting Misawa.

 

Misawa and Ogawa are finally done playing with their food and begin unleashing their series of awesome double teams on Marufuji, which KENTA obviously saves, but then he is taken out. The turning point comes on the ramp where Marufuji hits a wicked superkick and then SLICED BREAD ONTO MISAWA ON THE RAMP! KENTA DEMOLISHES OGAWA WITH THE KNEE! In 15 seconds, the entire complexion of the match changes. It was such a powerful and well-laid out transition. KENTAFuji were getting their asses handed to them and BOOM! They are back in it. It is just like any sports game where you leave a team hanging around all it takes is a well-timed special teams touchdown or a big three-point shot to rattle the cages. They tease the countout finish and then there is an awakward exchange between Misawa & Marufuji that leads to KENTA's tag in. KENTA shows while he may be small, but he has a big set of balls because he starts doing Kawada kicks, Kawada's big boots and the stretch plum on Misawa. Be careful, KENTA, you dont want Misawa having flashbacks to 1994 and really fucking your ass up. KENTA's Tiger Suplex only gets two as Misawa gets up and unloads a big elbow. At this point, we hit a tremendous finish stretch filled with great fireworks. In the opening, I ran down the craziest portion of all time. I can't believe Marufuji kicked out of Emerald Flowsion even if it was Ogawa covering and then for Misawa to take the Inverted Rock Bottom Moonsault. Yes, it is just a front flip, but HOLY SHIT, I did not expect that at all. I loved the finish being Misawa's take on the Steiner Screwdriver with a Spinning Emerald Flowsion to pick up the win.

 

The match checks off all the boxes. Great character work. Great lay out. Great selling. Great Build. Awesome Action. Yes, there are some quibbles with some of the transitions and the overwrought Marufuju sequences, but for the most part it told the tale of two experienced veterans dismantling a young, hot team with a combination of wile and strength. However, they let them hang around and it nearly cost them the match. When Marufuji and KENTA turned the tide, it really affected Misawa & Ogawa's ability to concentrate their attacks. The match became more chaotic, which was a boon to the high-flying and quick team. Still it was too little too late because the match ended in a familiar fashion with Misawa on top of a vanquished opponent. ****1/2

 

 

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There is so much that works here. The beating KENTA takes right off the bat is stellar. Ogawa cutting off Marufuji's hot tag is the only way to save this match from early disappointment, because Marufuji's offense makes him the world's shittiest hot tag. Which really makes him a terrible partner for great FIP KENTA. Marufuji flopping all over the place for his beating is great. As are the Misawa/Ogawa double teams. As is Ogawa's always simple counter to all of Marufuji's contrived shit. Love how Ogawa just waits for the right moment and...goes for the eyes. Simple > contrived, always. Then the big turnaround and the first part of the chaotic ending is really well done. Right up until Marufuji kicks out of the emerald frosion. So vecause it wasn't Misawa covering the move loses all of it's devastating impact? Come on. I mean, that last few minutes wastes a perfectly good first 25 which includes a great KENTA impression of Kawada. This may make the bottom 25, but the way they finished it made me really, really unhappy. Also, Marufuji matches should be kept short of 30 minutes...no, kept short of 25 minutes. Too much Marufuji can only be a bad thing.

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So unsurprisingly Marufuji does lots of goofy shit and it does take away from the match but everything else is so good that I can't complain too much. Misawa gives these juniors a lot but it's also nice to see Misawa kicking ass. He and Ogawa make for good rudos. KENTA, as usual, is better when outranked or outweighed so he puts in a good fight in this match. I even thought the finish was well executed.

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This match rules the school and is my pick for the best GHC Tag Team Title match of the decade. The young, upstart juniors weather the storm from the Ace and his punk best friend and then in a shocker give them a run for their money. The turning point where KENTAFuji finally turns the tide is one of the great transitions of all time. It is an immediate shit just got real. It made to be worth so much because how well they had established Misawa's & Ogawa's supremacy. At the beginning, KENTAFuji tried to jumpstart the match and Misawa calmly elbowed his way through trouble into the amazing KENTA FIP segment, which was amazing by all three wrestlers. I loved the cutoff where KENTA whipped Misawa into the railing and he rebounded with a swift kick to his back and then wiped Marufuji out with an elbow. Finally, Marufuji going for the big bombs upon getting the hot tag. He hits one on Misawa, but falling short when Ogawa runs him crotch first into the post. The Marufuji goes on a bit too long, which my complaint that will keep this from the Top Ten. At this point Misawa & Ogawa have owned KENTAFuji and then that double turning point with Marufuji Sliced Bread and KENTA explosive knee on Ogawa. It is such a cool momentum shift. I loved the finish stretch just great action all the way to the awesome climax. Tighten it up a bit and it gets into my Top Ten, but as is a definite Top 15 match. ****3/4

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First time watching this & I was absolutely blown away by how absolutely perfect it was. Seriously couldn't have asked for a better match layout. It started off with KENTAFuji taking out Ogawa right away & then going after Misawa - but Misawa fights back & sooner than you know, him & Ogawa are in complete control. They beat the shit out of KENTA for a loooong time, KENTA was a tremendous FIP & the heavies sure knew how to work over him in super compelling fashion. Eventually KENTA gets some offense in & he is just CRAWLING desperately to make a tag to his partner, but Misawa had taken care of Marufuji outside. I love it. Misawa & Ogawa continue to work over KENTA, but now KENTA gets a brief comeback in with his quick combos & he FINALLY makes the tag to Marafuji - Marafuji makes a super energetic comeback, but the shine of the juniors doesn't last long as Misawa & Ogawa gain the control VERY quickly. Marufuji works as a FIP for quite a while, eventually he starts to get some offense in as he starts to headbutt Ogawa, but then Ogawa pokes him in the eye. What a dick move! Brilliant. The heavies continue to work over KENTAFuji in awesome fashion, but then Marufuji counters Misawa's move and just BLASTS him with an awesome looking superkick! Might seriously be the most devastating superkick the man has ever thrown. Then the juniors make the heavies pay with Marufuji destroying Misawa on the ramp w/ a Shiranui & KENTA throwing a nice Busaiku Knee to Ogawa who was on the apron. That ruled. The match continues to rule with another awesome moment in the ring as KENTA starts doing Kawada Kicks to Kawada's biggest rival in Misawa, which leads to Misawa waking up like a motherfuckin' demon! Then the finishing stretch kicks in & it's just unbelievably hot. This was perfect professional wrestling. *****

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On 22 avril 2017 at 12:37 AM, ShittyLittleBoots said:

This was perfect professional wrestling. *****

Pretty much. The more I watch Misawa's post-prime in NOAH, the more I'm struck by how brillant he was, despite looking like an overgrown pixie. And yeah, this match was as great as pro-wrestling can be.

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