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[2006-03-05-NOAH-Navigate For Evolution] Jun Akiyama vs Minoru Suzuki


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Minoru Suzuki’s rocking the pure white, a clear indication that he’s gone good, and I loved the teased confrontations, knowing that Suzuki is going to turn heel within the match at some point but initially, he’s wrestling clean with some reluctance. Then he locks on the jujigatame and refuses to let go, the bastard, and the referee nearly throws himself atop Suzuki to break it up. Having shown his true colors, Suzuki uses a hanging sleeper on the ropes and it’s sold like straight death by Akiyama – in fact, Suzuki grabs him, yells “wake up!” and slaps him in the face. He’s nasty with his boots and chokes, shoving the intervening referee out of the way, but Akiyama equally as nasty with his knees and likewise tosses the ref out of the ring! Akiyama’s weakness in the taped ribs is exploited in the dirtiest of fashions by Suzuki, and throughout, you get the impression that Akiyama is legitimately hurting here. I can’t recall ever seeing a top rope octopus hold but Suzuki pulls it off, cackling like a Batman villain before double stomping Akiyama. He tenderizes him with snug kicks before really working that octopus hold, digging the elbow in, stretching him on the mat, then toe punching the ribs. Really good selling from Akiyama as always and when Suzuki tries to sneak in with a sleeper hold, Akiyama quickly backdrops to set up a little run of offense. But again, Suzuki is able to exploit those ribs, ducking a running knee and blasting Jun with a knee to the midsection before spiking him with a delayed Gotch-style piledriver.

Then the match shifts gears…and perhaps, that shift is a little too discordant for some, I hear you. But come on, they basically work in their version of the infamous Kobashi/Sasaki chop exchange…but with face slaps. They slap and slap and slap themselves silly, slapping to the point of exhaustion. Akiyama finally abandons the slaps for the knees, taking Suzuki down. Suzuki’s selling is terrific here as he crumbles to the canvas, screaming defiantly in Akiyama’s face when he Jun picks him up, only to get smacked and finished off with the wrist-clutch Exploder. This is probably a polarizing match for some as the first half of the match is hunked out the window in exchange for endless slap action but I loved Suzuki’s character work.

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