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[2003-03-01-NOAH-Navigate For Evolution] Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Makoto Hashi vs KENTA & Naomichi Marufuji

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Kanemaru & Hashi vs. KENTA & Marufuji - March 1, 2003

Splendid tag match here, with one of the hottest opening sequences I've ever seen. But unlike Low Ki vs. Amazing Red in ROH (which was still good just not the OMG spectacle so many recall it to be), the rest of the match was great and truly fitting. In what had to be an idea based off of the apron DDT from the Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit match just several weeks earlier, Hashi managed to land an inverted apron DDT on KENTA, and Kanemaru followed it up working on the neck. Also in the match were tremendous alpha male striking sequences, with KENTA of course being the natural standout due to his kickboxing background. In a repeat of their singles match for the vacant Jr. Title the year before, KENTA also took the scoop-slam from the walkway apron to the padded floor from Kanemaru. And the finishing sequence is truly breathtaking too, ending with Marufuji getting a beautifully modified La Magistral cradle for the pin! Excellent match. ****1/4

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Nothing screams more "Mid-00's NOAH" than the KENTA & Marufuji team. Total post 2000 blowjob babyface japanese tag team. Marufuji looks like some hostess-boy for geek girls too. Kenta had evolved past the Kobashi understudy then and was all kicking and hitting hard. Kanemaru shines again in his dickish glory. Meanwhile, Makoto Hashi (damn, forgot about that fellow) thought it was a good idea for a junior to emulate Tenzan. People are odd. Well, this is mostly excellent, especially when KENTA is in, either kicking the crap out of the heels either being punted around. Hashi slapping him for no reason just after KENTA took that brutal bodyslam from the ramp was neat. This is also very much a modern junior style match : apron spot, kicking out of what looked like death spots. Excess incoming, but that was the style and they do a really good job at it, as KENTA is actually a great babyface both in peril, hope and kicking back. Marufuji.... well, I like Maru. He's an innovator, he truly is. For better or worse, he's kinda the blueprint for what was to come. Some of his stuff looks amazing. Some looks cringeworthy. It would be neat if he could hit at least one superkick that looks good from time to time. This really isn't it (ok, the last one on Hashi was nice), and since he hits like four of five of them... The ending sequence is a pretty awful botch too that he tries to catch up doing some fucked up La Majistral. More power to him, but really, Maru... Well, overall it was still a very good match thanks to strong performances especially by KENTA & Kanemaru.

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