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[2015-09-19-NOAH-Great Voyage in Osaka] Minoru Suzuki vs Takashi Sugiura

Superstar Sleeze

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GHC Champion Minoru Suzuki vs Takashi Sugiura - NOAH 9/19/15

Damn Sugiura got old quick! This is during Minoru Suzuki's Reign of Terror in Pro Wrestling NOAH. According to VOW, this is the best match of his in NOAH in 2015 so lets see how it goes. 

First 15 minutes: Ultra-stiff! That's Sugiura's style to a tee. The matches I have seen him in against Kensuke Sasaki and Takyama are just these brutal, ultra-stiff stand-up contests. These two were just rifling each other with the stiffest elbows to the neck/jaw you will ever see. Sugiura got the best of the stand up initially but when he tried to kick Suzuki's head off, he ended trapped in a classic dangling armbar from the ropes by Suzuki. This set up the hook. Suzuki tortures Sugiura's using the guardrail, punishing holds and kicking it really, really hard. Sugiura made some valiant comebacks. I like how he used the injured arm, but it felt like he was fighting through the pain to use it. Best sequence thus far is Sugiura tries a fake-out during a criss cross but Suzuki is wise and kicks the bad arm as Sugiura charges and then wrestles him down to the ground with a tight Fujiwara armbar. Suzuki went for the cross-armbreaker, but Sugiura turned into an anklelock of all things. I kinda remember that being his go-to hold. So going into the second half of the match, it looks Sugiura maybe gaining some momentum and we are in for some dual limb psychology. 

Second Fall: Nope, they abandon all limb psychology and go full bore with "Stand & Bang". This is better than the usual New Japan Strike Exchange breakdown that is employed in all modern New Japan matches. In New Japan, it is a perfunctory ritual. Here it is the story of the match. They are working in and out of the Stand-Up game. They do a couple well-timed double KO spots. It was stiff as fuck. It was brutal. There was one shot I thought Sugiura killed Suzuki. Like legit knocked his head off. It was so hard. I liked Suzuki trying for his sleeper/piledriver combo at one point out of the stand-up game. Suzuki gets a closed fist cheapshot. Sugiura comes back and wins the stand up exchange with elbows that would make Misawa proud. German suplex. That KO elbow comes at this point and Suzuki kicks out. I thought they lost credibility. The way Suzuki was selling the KO. It just hurt the match. They went too far with the selling and asskicking for Suzuki to make a credible comeback. Suzuki did. It just didnt sit well with me. The slap exchange was brutal. They charge at each other and Suzuki pulls the trigger first and hits a dropkick. That was the final turning point. Sleeper->piledriver and Suzuki retains. 

I enjoyed this a lot. The closest thing to this would probably be BattlArts in how it was ultra-stiff, minimalist in regards to offense and stand-up oriented. However, I think it could have been 15 minutes shorter and gotten the point across. I thought they did go overboard at the end, but still a nice change of pace from modern pro wrestling. ***3/4

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