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[2006-09-09-NOAH-Shiny Navigation] Jun Akiyama vs Naomichi Marufuji


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Akiyama vs. Marufuji - September 9, 2006

Akiyama dominated early, but Marufuji got the advantage when he hit a dropkick on Akiyama's left knee. That became the story of this match, as Akiyama was never able to make a full comeback against the smaller, less experienced Marufuji. Sure, he got in a nice submission sequence of putting the challenger in the Scorpion Deathlock followed by a Bow-and-Arrow Stretch, as well as backdropping Marufuji on the entrance apron, but the damage was done. And Marufuji was quite vicious on Akiyama's left knee, slamming it on the ring post and locking in numerous submissions including the figure four leg lock.

With that said, none of Marufuji's bombs could take down Akiyama, not even a standing Shiranui that had Akiyama's back landing on the top edge of a steel guard rail, or even a Super Shiranui inside the ring. Instead, Marufuji took advantage of his work on Akiyama's left leg, ultimately ducking a lariat in a nice finishing sequence, and securing the GHC Heavyweight Title in a pumphandle style small package, which Akiyama didn't have the leg strength to kick out of. Nice sequence to pay off a solid but unspectacular story.

I must point out that the commentary specifically mentioned ROH and New York City, obviously alluding to Glory By Honor V Night 2. I wonder if something special is planned for that event. This was a historic business risk taken by NOAH, as Marufuji was the first true junior heavyweight to claim the top prize in the company. I'll chronicle that as I continue watching vintage NOAH. ***1/2

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  • 1 year later...

I've come to like this match a bit more than when I first saw it. I "get" 'Fuji now and the look on their faces after the bell is rung for the win is timeless. Marufuji is elated and Akiyama while upset has got a grin on his face like, "I can't believe he beat me without beating me."


The thing is Akiyama in AJ held the same spot Marufuji does...the guy who got elevated quick and has to take his lumps in the ring but is damn athletic & damn talented. The ring work is mostly spots akin to a RVD/Jerry Lynn match so; it's entertaining and amazing but also not capable of a "classic." Akiyama is like Jerry Lynn in giving the match a skeleton from which M-fuji can perform.


It's like a "Did you see that move? I can't believe he did that!" match which probably translates well to contemporary NJPW than let's say pre-split AJ.


It bit off more than it could chew at times but, it's still quite good. I'd probably say **** all things said and done.

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  • 2 years later...

Marufuji had proven himself capable against heavyweights earlier in the year and so earned an opportunity for the GHC title. Marufuji utilized his usual strategy of targeting the knee of his larger opponent and it worked quite well until he ate a brutal backdrop on the ramp, which allowed Akiyama to somewhat recover. They worked over each other’s back and neck and Akiyama even had to resort to using unusual moves like a top rope frankensteiner since Marufuji had pushed him further than expected. A final Akiyama control stretch looked to be the end of Marufuji, but he shockingly kicked out of the Sternness Dust α and recovered enough to take advantage of Akiyama’s famous susceptibility to flash pins and pull off a stunning upset. The crowd didn’t really buy a potential title change until that near fall, which was slightly disappointing, but they definitely worked a match worthy of the occasion. ****1/4

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