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[2006-09-09-NOAH-Shiny Navigation] KENTA & Katsuyori Shibata vs Akira Taue & Go Shiozaki

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Yet another instance of an outsider coming in and freshening up NOAH. Shibata wants a piece of Taue right away and gets more than he bargained for. Including Taue doing a Karate Kid pose! Taue isn't overly interested in messing with Shibata, so he tags in Shiozaki. Shiozaki seems to be doing well enough until he puts down KENTA (the legal man) and Shibata does a slippery routine on the apron before locking Shiozaki up in a sleeper. Great heat segment as the two kick-happy juniors mess with Taue in multiple ways while putting the beatdown on Shiozaki. Taue finally gets the tag and it seems like the de-facto heels may get the better of him as well, but he's a crafty old veteran and also much bigger. Taue has Shibata right at the point of being put away and hands it to Shiozaki. Finish is pretty damn good, fits well with the rest of the match and ends when it seems like it should. Taue doing his part and getting out of the way was really sweet. Shiozaki seems like he deserves a lot more time to shine than he gets and Taue wasn't going to take any of that away. I would say that Shiozaki is the centerpiece of this match and that is what makes it work. He's not quite on the level of Shibata and a step below KENTA, so small victories that are hard-fought become big things for him. And I like his more simple-but-effective wrestling style over the KENTAfuji flip/kick/springboard-to-pop-the crowd style. Also, Shibata brings a certain...otherness to him that rivals Minoru Suzuki. He's just got his own way of doing things that seems a bit different and tends to make matches more interesting.

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This match was a total blast, with Shibata and KENTA acting like such punks toward Taue and a finishing stretch devoid of NOAH excess. Taue in this period delivered such a great combination of pride and bewilderment that these young fuckers kept coming at him with such vigor. And I've loved the Shibata-KENTA team in general. Shibata, in stark contrast to Marufuji, brought out the best parts of KENTA--all pace, violence and surliness. Give me this over another 30-minute "epic" every day of the week.

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KENTA & Shibata vs. Taue & Shiozaki - September 9, 2006

Fun tag here especially the story told between Taue and Shibata. The taller veteran Taue got the advantage to the crowd's approval during an early strike exchange via multiple slaps and then crushing Shibata's face on his knee. Minutes later, Shibata used the same knee-to-face move on Shiozaki and taunted Taue on the apron. Taue also gotten taken off the apron, causing the younger Shiozaki to have dig deep and hold his own against the fast kickboxing-background duo. Ultimately, the combined quickness of KENTA & Shibata was too much, as Shibata was taken out and Shiozaki went down to a springboard Doomsday Device. ***1/2

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The last time the Takeover lads tagged & much like their other 2 matches - this was a classic. Loved the beginning with Shibata & Taue starting things - Shibata invited Taue to mat wrestle with him & then Taue makes fun of Shibata's "martial arts" by doing the generic kungfu pose. Tremendous moment. The whole story of the match was KENTA & especially Shibata being complete dicks to Taue and it was just so FUN. They took cheap shots at him all the way through. Go was easily the most forgettable performer in the match, but even he did one helluva job in it - he rocked his FIP segment very well & the hot tag Taue gave to him was really good. So everybody was on point. And with that, the Takeover trilogy is complete - instantly when I finished this match my thought was "if KENTA & Shibata would've had a legit few year run as an active team, they would've gone down as one of the best teams ever". ****1/2

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The pairing of Shibata with KENTA works on so many different levels. It’s a shame we only got three tag matches out of them. Hot opening as Big Taue chicken-steps around the ring and Shibata tries to bully the vet with elbows and boots. Taue slaps him silly and gives him a coconut crush to the entertainment of the fans. They eat up Taue’s dive tease. Shibata really brings out the best in the veterans because he gives zero fucks regarding their age. Shiozaki makes for a good whipping boy, especially against a pissed off Shibata. They have great chemistry together. Shibata mocks Taue with a couple of coconut crushes over his knee to Shiozaki and oh boy, Taue is pissed, shaking the ropes. Shibata puts Taue in the octopus hold and when Go comes in and breaks it up, Shibata pedigrees him! They try to set Taue up for the Doomsday Device but he chops his way out. He catches KENTA with a great chokeslam counter to the springboard before chokeslamming Shibata and hitting a sit-out powerbomb for a huge false finish. After Shibata takes down Taue with the sleeper hold > PK combo, they finish off Go with the brutal springboard Doomsday Device for the win. Probably the best Takeover match of the three and a hot crowd for the Shibata/Taue exchanges.

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