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ShittyLittleBoots

[2003-01-26-NOAH-The First Navigation] KENTA & Kenta Kobashi vs Mitsuharu Misawa & Naomichi Marufuji

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This was a lot of fun. You got some brief interactions between Kobashi & Misawa, and those were pretty wild as you'd expect, then you got KENTA & Marufuji doing their thing - some fast paced, energetic sequences. My favorite thing though was just seeing KENTA & Kobashi kick Marufuji's ass - my goodness their offense looked so great & Marufuji sold the beating well. Great match. ****

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Thanks to Richeyedwards for the rec. Feels kind of odd that I haven't seen this match before. KENTA and Marufuji start this off and look great working an exchange that looks like it's out of a kung fu movie. Kobashi and Misawa and it's kind of marred by a botched half nelson suplex that Misawa does a rather poor job of covering for into some arm lock. They get up and repeat the spot just so Misawa can do a ridiculous no sell (seriously, he just pops straight up and nails a tiger driver like it's nothing). More Marufuji vs. KENTA stuff and it still looks great. Though there's not much psychology at play, both guys look really impressive hitting their spots and come across as the future of the company. There's a brief KENTA heat segment, which is really good, and then we get a longer Marufuji heat segment that I'd agree is probably the best part of the match. He does a great job ragdolling for both guys' brutal looking offense, though I wish we had a better crowd. Hot tag to Misawa and he seems inspired to do better this time, moving around about as fast as you'd expect out of a guy with his mileage. We get a pretty nice Misawa/KENTA exchange where hegives KENTA a good chance to shine until he manages to hit his elbows and take back over. I love how everyone respects Misawa's elbows as a great equalizer no matter how old he looks at points. KENTA and Marufuji trade bombs as the match goes into its finishing run. Final pairing is Kobashi/Marufuji, which is also really good with Kobashi selling a bit before inevitably taking over. Misawa tries to save his partner but gets laid out with a lariat, and Kobashi hits another lariat on Marufuji for the win. ***3/4

 

Really fun buildup tag. The match feels a lot shorter than it actually is, the juniors look like future stars, and every pairing with the odd exception of Kobashi/Misawa delivers. The match doesn't quite hit that next gear to get into great match territory, but I think these guys were going for more a showcase type deal and they delivered great on that front.

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