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[2001-09-05-NOAH-Departure] Jun Akiyama vs Tamon Honda


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Another great Tamon Honda underdog tale. I’d previously only seen the last seven minutes of this match before but seeing it in its entirety really fleshes it out. Here, Honda’s the dopey but mat dangerous Deputy Dawg. They work the opening few minutes to a stalemate, before Akiyama DDTs Honda on the rampway and continues working the neck, using his knees, legscissors, and at one point, slapping on a rear headlock and cranking Honda around into a modified front facelock. Akiyama is able to keep cutting off Honda's momentum – hitting an Exploder in response to Honda’s backdrop and then putting him in a crossface hold – but eventually, Honda breaks out, delivering a couple of awesome slow German suplexes, yanking Akiyama off the ropes, then he goes to the ground with the STF and anaconda vise. Alas, Akiyama’s the man, and he goes back to that neckwork he established so well, utilizing the front necklock, dropping Honda with Exploders to break him down even further before finishing him off with that necklock.

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  • 6 months later...

Man, Tamon Honda rules. I had no idea he was related to former AC Milan player Keisuke Honda. This is one of his first big Noah singles matches and it's a GHC heavyweight title match and he doesn't disappoint. Honda is different than all the other Noah heavyweights and he's not a guy who will take a tiger suplex off the ramp to the floor or a half nelson suplex off the apron to the floor, but he will throw someone on their head with his Dead End and will roll on the mat and build a match slowly which is what he does here. He really has no chance of beating Akiyama, but they do such a great job at escalating this slowly and building up the drama for the finishing stretch that they begin buying into the false finishes from the Dead End. He also goes out like a hero as he refuses to tap to the King Crab Lock and he rather gets choked unconscious.

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  • GSR changed the title to [2001-09-05-NOAH-Departure] Jun Akiyama vs. Tamon Honda
  • 1 year later...

This was a good match. Honda reminds me of a Japanese Gary Albright if Gary Albright were a plucky underdog who sold big instead of a suplex machine. (I guess he's not that similar to Albright after all.) The best thing about this match was that instead of the usual barrage of finishers and nearfalls, there was a submission battle down the stretch. That's rare in this style of wrestling and it was cool to see Akiyama doing something different for a change instead of an endless battle of "Can you top this?" One of the more enjoyable Akiyama matches so far.  

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  • 2 years later...

GHC Heavyweight Champion Jun Akiyama vs Tamon Honda - NOAH 9/5/01

Ahhhhh I have been avoiding NOAH, but it seems like early NOAH actually has some shorter matches. Honda is one of those wrestlers a lot of people seem to like but I really have only watched the Kobashi match and maybe one or two others. I think sometimes on these projects, it is a disservice that the only Honda match I have watched was the biggest match of his career. Here he is challenging for GHC Title but this time against Akiyama in a much smaller venue, according to Cagematch just 3000 people. It is interesting that post-split All Japan was running the Budokan more and doing very good business even though they lost all these big stars. Obviously NOAH would get there with some big Dome shows. 

Interesting match, kind of confirms what I remember about Akiyama, he lacks personality compared to the other pillars. You know exactly who Misawa, Kawada, Kobashi and Taue are when they are in the ring. But who is Akiyama? Honda is another dude who instantly get as soon as he enters the right. He is the shoot amateur wrestler who is going to suplex you to death and then try to choke you out. He is like a better Yasuda. Scratch better. A more capable and dynamic Yasuda. I like how because Yasuda is limited he causes workers to get creative. Even though I have not watched NOAH in years, I just know Honda is getting Akiyama out of his comfort zone and working a different match. 

Man I wish we got Honda vs Yasuda or Honda in Inokiist Japan against any of the shooters he would have been interesting. Atypical NOAH start, doing more New Japan style matwork. The highlight by far is Honda's drop toehold to block a spinning toehold and counter into his own leglock. That was amazing! Someone needs to steal that spot. I love also how Akiyama slapped on a lazy leglock and Honda immediately countered into his own tight one. 

AJPW/NOAH transition to the action, Akiyama uses a drop toehold on a charging Honda to the steel railing to kickstart the match and consolidate control. DDT on ramp puts Akiyama firmly in control. King of the Mountain. Then some neck work. Honda back drops out of the piledriver. Akiyama shifts weight on the Saito Suplex, but in the scramble, Honda gets a leglock and looks like he has an opening. Back Drop Driver, but Akiyama responds with an Exploder. Akiyama charges, but Honda scoops him up and powerbombs him! Honda finish run here we go. He uses a choke to sap Akiyama energy and then throws him around with some HIGH German Suplexes that would make Takayama jealous. STF into Olympic Hell Choke and great nearfall here as the crowd is perking up. Akiyama grabs a Guillotine Choke out of desperation which stymies Honda's run. Honda throws a headbutt, Akiyama counters with a Jumping Knee. This sets up the Exploder Head Drop and Guillotine Choke (he had been using that as a finisher since he choked Kobashi out with it as the Second NOAH show). 

Tight, economical and efficient (usually not words associated with NOAH). Really solid wrestling. Honda leaves me wondering what could have been if we worked New Japan at this time. ***3/4

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