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[2002-04-07-NOAH] Jun Akiyama vs Yoshinari Ogawa


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Controversial match, but I thought this was a stroke of genius as far as pro wrestling booking can go. Sometimes keeping a promotion fresh and unpredictable is more important than having the biggest and most credible guy on the roster be champion. And the match is really good too because they do a tremendous job messing with the audiences expectations. Working cutoffs in such a way has become a lost art, I'm afraid.


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  • paul sosnowski changed the title to [2002-04-07-NOAH] Jun Akiyama vs Yoshinari Ogawa
  • 4 years later...

GHC Champion Jun Akiyama vs Yoshinari Ogawa - NOAH 4/7/02

The surprise of the century and a stroke of booking genius! Kobashi is back from injury and they clearly want to do Misawa/Kobashi in a year but Akiyama can’t afford to lose either guy clean because it would ruin all his progress. So let’s protect him by having slip on a banana peel to this scuzzball loser that nobody thinks has a shot. You protect Akiyama, show that NOAH can be unpredictable and put yourself on the road to Misawa/Kobashi. Wins all around.

Fun little match with Ogawa coming out hot with a DROPKICK and DDT. He goes Brock Lesnar Suplex City with the Back Drop Driver barrage. When that doesn’t work he charges and eats post. Akiyama has hit eat railing. Akiyama looks in firm control. Tries to finish off with an Exploder but Ogawa cradles. He gets two Exploders but can’t win. He signals for a Wrist-Clutch Exploder…Ogawa shifts the weight and cradles him and because AKIYAMA’S WRISTS CLUTCHED HE CANNOT KICK OUT! GENIUS! Crowd is in shock!  ***** booking, **** match. 

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  • 7 months later...

I agree this was a really fresh angle that culminated in this match. Seeds of dissent were sown in a 01/16 match where Ogawa seemed like he wanted to break up the Untouchables team with Misawa. There was a moment where it looked like he had turned on his friend and sided with Jun...only to sneak attack the champ and pin him!

He gets eliminated in the 01/20 match, does get another pin on Akiyama on 02/10 by reversing an exploder and doesn't get the pin in 03/14 tag with Marufuji vs Jun/Hashi, and straight up gets jacked up by Jun on 03/25 (Akiyama & Akitoshi Saito vs. Yoshinari Ogawa & Takuma Sano) although Jun doesn't pin him. So this match is very much anyone's match...which is awesome since Ogawa has some weak looking offense if we're being real :)

It's very technical and crafty but not the hard hitting, bone crushing style we associate with AJPW or NOAH.

It's a 4+ minute match though so it's almost like a great WCW Nitro main event. Like it's awesome for what it is...awesome angle, fantastic execution here but not a "great match" in the traditional sense.


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