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superkix

[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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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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