Arena: Tokyo Dome
Masashi Aoyagi, SUWA & Takashi Sugiura vs. Katsuhiko Nakajima, Mitsuo Momota & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi
Katsuhiko Nakajima was only 17 at this time and he is making his Noah debut which is very shocking. Nakajima has been around for ever and based of his match, he has been very good for a long time. The match is a pretty good oponer. Very faced paced. Nakajima being the the rookie in this match, took most of the damage and made Sugiura, SUWA and Aoyagi look great. The match ended when SUWA hit Nakajima with a facebuster planter in 9:32. Good start to the show. **¾
Mohammed Yone & Takeshi Morishima vs. Go Shiozaki & Tamon Honda
This was a good tag match. Morishima showing his brutal strength throughout the match, stiffing poor Shiozaki. Honda didn’t really do much though, it looks like he was only in the match to have the other three on the show. Yone was fine, he is a usually good to watch when in tag matches and he never dragged the match down. Shiozaki was really good. He sold really well but I doubt he had a choice in the selling. He showed great babyface fire, have some great spurts of offence and was involved in the best parts of the match. The match ended after a Muscle Buster by Yone on Shiozaki in 8:26. ***¼
Akira Taue, Haruka Eigen, Jun Izumida & Takuma Sano vs. Dark Agents (Akitoshi Saito, Kishin Kawabata & Masao Inoue) & Shiro Koshinaka
This is the veterans match of the show, but surprisingly they move pretty spritely to start off. Then Taue and Koshinaka leave the ring where the action gets a bit slow, just wrestlers tagging in, chops, punches and then tags out. Standard stuff. The crowd seems pretty into the match but there isn’t much going on. Taue comes in and the match tarts to get more interesting, bumping very well and quicken up the pace despite being the biggest of them all.Sano and Koshinaka come in and have exchange drop kicks and kicks and chops. They action quickly gets more interesting with everyone coming in and starts to beat each other up but suddnetly Inoue rolls up Izumida for the three count in 11:56. The match ends a bit abruptly as soon as it was starting to get good which was a shame. The match was very boring with the best parts being the opening two minutes with Akira Taue and Shiro Koshinaka starting off the match. **
Black Mask (Ricky Marvin) vs. Mushiking Terry
The next match I think is a special match, similar to last year’s Tiger Mask W vs Red Death Mask match. They have a pretty quick start exchanging forearms,arm drags and headscissors. Mushiking Terry hits a plancha on Black Mask on the outside from the top rope. Black Mask evades a drop kicks and hits an elbow and then hits a springboard flip senton for a two count. He looks in a nice looking octopus stretch which he transitions into a modified Koji Clutch. Then Terry gains back control with some nice looking headscissors and heel kicks.
Terry gets a near two count with a frankensteiner but soon gets trapped in a cross face by Black Mask. They head to the top rope where Black mask hits a neck break off the top rope and a headbutt for a near two. He get another near to with a snap front oildriver. Terry fights back with a rollup for a two and hits a drop kick regaining control. After a near fall, Mushiking Terry hits a bridging german suplex for the three count in 7:59. This was a very quick match that had many counters and quick transitions that reminded me of lucha. As far as a special gimmick match, it was very fun to watch. There wasn’t much selling but for a 10 minute match, I don’t mind as much. ***¼
GHC Junior Heavyweight Title Match: KENTA vs Yoshinobu Kanemaru (c)
Here we go, KENTA vs Kanemaru. This is the match that I wanted to watch the most of this card. I think it’s the only “big match” from the show that I have yet to watch so, I’m excited for this. They square off face to face to start before going to separate corners for the introductions. They begin the match with forearms and kicks. Before get the round of applause from the crowd. They transition to some mat based wrestling with Kanemaru attacking the legs of KENTA. KENTA fights his way out and starts to attack Kanemaru’s arm before taking him to the outside.
KENA throws Kanemaru into the ring post, arm first before going back in the ring. KENTA goes to irish whip Kanemaru but Kanemaru favours the arm which prevents him from running. After short comeback from Kanemaru, KENTA locks in a fujiwara armbar. Some nice work on the arm from KENTA which Kanemaru is selling fairly well. KENTA attempts a superplex from the top rope but Kanemaru counts into a DDT and sells landing on his arm afterwards. KENTA is stunned after Kanemaru hits another DDT on the outside.
Kanemaru tries to ground KENTA with a headscissors but KENTA gets to the ropes. Kanemaru continues to ground KENTA with a camel clutch but gets back body dropped by KENTA. KENTA hits a springboard dropkick and nails some stuff kicks to Kanemaur’s chest before knocking him down with a big boot. Kanemaru counters a dropkick with a powerbomb before hitting a splash of the top rope. Kanemaru gets a close two count with a DDT but misses a moonsault. KENTA goes for a GTS but it gets counter but he soon hits a tiger suplex. Kanemaru hits a basement dropkick and a suplex but KENTA no sells and his the Busaiku Knee and they both sell. The crowd goes crazy at this.
Forearm strikes from KENTA but a suplex attempt gets reversed by Kanemaru for a close two count. Moonsault for a near two and another suplex, again for a near two. KETNA reverse a superplex from the top rope into a suplex of his own. Sitout powerbomb from KENTA gets a two count. Kanemaru almost gets the win with a O’Connor roll but KENTA answers with three busaiku knees which only get a two. KENTA hits the Go to sleep but only gets a two!!!!! Kicks and a nasty busaiku finally puts Kanemaru away for the three count in 20:31.
Fantastic match. The opening part with KENTA targeting the arm was really well done and Kanemaru sold it well. Kanemaru hit a few big moves on KENTA early on which get the crowd really into the match. They have a great back and forth match where they just beat the hell out of each other with vicious kicks and strikes. Excellent match. ****¼
GHC Tag Team Title Match: Minoru Suzuki & Naomichi Marufuji (c) vs. Jun Akiyama & Makoto Hashi
My copy of the show skips some of the opening parts of the match and cut to Makoto Hashi hitting a diving headbutt to Marufuji on the outside. Then Jun Akiyama and Minoru Suzuki tag in. They tease each other before locking up in the ropes which is quickly broken. They repeat the spot but Suzuki slaps Akiyama, who doesn’t take kindly to that and attempts to do the same but the ref intervenes. Suzuki tags in Marufuji and they do some ltag work in the corner. Akiyama no sells some chops by Marufuji but gets stunned by his forearms but fires back with a big boot before tagging in Hashi who gets a good reaction from the crowd.
Hashi works over Marufuji in the corner but Marufuji hits a kick and a sunset flip on the outside with the help of Suzuki, hitting the back of his head. Thye take Akiyama onto the ramp who tries to fight them off but gets nailed with a ddt from Suzuki. They takes turns beating on Hashi, who is now on his own. Hashi tries to fight back but Suzuki is too much for him and is cut off. Suzuki and Marufuji take turns kicking Hashi while he is hung up in the ropes. After a while, Hashi hits a brainbuster and gets the tag. Akiyama comes in and knocks Suzuki off the apron but Marufuji takes him down with some drop kicks. Suzuki tags in and they have a slap battle. Exploder suplex blocked and another slap battle ensures.
Hashi gets in the tag and hits some mongolian chops but Suzuki fires backs with punches to the gut and kicks to the chest. And Suzuki locks in an octopus stretch. Akiyama breaks it up and Hashi gets the tag after an enziguri to Suzuki. Akiyama hits a powerbomb to Marufuji, who comes in, and locks in a front face lock. Marufuji goes for a Shiranu but Akiyama counters and hits a knee and tags in Makoto Hashi. Hashi hits a diving headbutt on Marufuji for a two count and then a spinning heel kick in the corner. Lariat by Hashi and a modified face buster for a two count. Marufuji lands on his feet after a back body drop and hits the Shiranu on Hashi.
They head to the top rope but Akiyama comes from behind and hits a belly to back suplex, followed by a diving headbutt by Hashi. Suzuki breaks it up and Marufuji hits a Shiranu on Akiyama. Suzuki and Marufuji double team on Hashi with strikes and hits a gotch piledriver and a dropkick but Akiyama just breaks it up. Marufuji then hits a top rope Shiranu on Hashi for the win in 24:55.
Really good tag match. There was some very good tag psychology with Suzuki and Marufuji double teaming Hashi, separating him from Akiyama and it worked. Akiyama tired his best but the tag champions stuck to their plan and isolated the weaker Hashi. Beating Hashi to a bloody pulp. Hashi had a great babyface performance in this match, selling really well and being a great face in peril. There was a lull in the match at the beginning where Suzuki and Marufuji weren’t doing much to Hashi but the rest of the match was great. The sections with Jun Akiyama and Minoru Suzuki were fantastic to watch and made me want to watch a match between the two. Great tag team match. ****
GHC Heavyweight Title Match: Takeshi Rikio (c) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi
Tanahashi starts of by wrenching the arm of Rikio but gets overpowered by the big champion. Rikio grounds Tanahashi and attempts to wear him down using a headlock but Tanahashi reverses it into his own. Tanahashi rolls Rikio up for a small package but gets a clothesline as recept. Tanahashi fires back with a flying forearm, knocking Rikio to the mat. He locks in a headlock but Rikio hit a belly to back suplex and locks in a dragon sleeper in the middle of the ring. Tanahashi gets to the ropes but gets caught with a running clothesline in the corner.
Takeshi Rikio heads to the top rope and hits a high cross body!!! Followed by a delayed vertical suplex. Rikio goes to hit a belly to back suplex off the top rope but Tanahashi counters with a moonsault and then a suicide dive to the outside. Then another. Then another. Tanahashi then hits a missile dropkick from the turnbuckle and hits three german suplex, which on someone as big as Rikio, are very impressive. Back to the rear naked choke but Tanahashi transitions into an arm trapped modified dragon sleeper.
They get out of it and Rikio goes to hit a running powerslam but Tanahashi hits high fly flow instead. He goes for another one but gets nailed with a stiff lariat by Rikio. They have a slap battle which Rikio wins, slapping Tanahashi to his knees and hits a standing powerbomb. Rikio then pounds on Tanahashi in the corner and hits another lariat. Then Rikio hit Muso for the win in 17:11.
The match was fine. It was a bit heatless though. Tanahashi looked good but something was off with the match. The ending was very flat and the beginning part had too many headlocks/restholds. **½
Genichiro Tenryu vs. Yoshinari Ogawa
They start off with Tenryu chopping the hell out of Ogawa. Then Ogawa grabs the wrist and puts on a wrist lock. And hits two basement drop kicks onto Tenryu and works on his leg, dragging him to the corner and locking in a figure four on the post. In the ring, Ogawa ties Tenryu’s legs in the corner but he firs back with chops. Ogawa fires back with a kick to the leg and a ddt.They both take turns doing an inverted surfboard. Tenryu gives up and start kickin Ogawa in the head and locks in the inverted surfboard again.
Ogawa sends Tentru to the outside using a headscissors and goes to use a table but Tenru counters and sends Ogawa head first into the table. Stiff boots to the head by Tenryu and a nasty looking clothesline gets a two count. Enziguri by Ogawa then a belly to back suplex. Afterwards Ogawa hits the same boots to the head of Tenryu which causes the crowd to react strongly. Both exchange slaps but Tenryu wins after two stuff lariats to Ogawa. Vertical brainbuster gets the two for Tenryu. Another lariat by Tenryu puts down Ogawa for the three count in 10:27.
Another abrupt ending which is a shame. The match was good I thought. Classic veteran vs new guard match. ***
Kensuke Sasaki vs. Kenta Kobashi
Going to start this off by saying this is my favourite match of ALL TIME. No match comes close this in terms of my liking it, this match is the peak of wrestling for me. Let’s get to it.
Grand Sword!!!!!! Epic Theme. Right off the bat, this match has big match feel. The moment the package came on, you knew this was going to be huge. They circle the ring with chants of Kobashi from the crowd. Belly to back suplex from the off by Sasaki. CHOP, CHOP, CHOP, CHOP, CHOP. Belly to back suplex. Lariat!!!!!!! Awesome start.
Kobashi goads Sasaki and they both square off again. Test of strength by both men. Sasak takes Kobashi overhead and they stand off each other. Kobashi with a chop on the ropes and hanging chop to Sasaki knocking him to the floor. Kobashi with a dropping chop on the apron and a springboard plancha onto Sasaki. CHOP. Kobashi locks in a front facelock but Sasaki takes him to the corner and hits a frankensteiner from the top rope.
Diving Clothesline by Sasaki and Kobashi heads to the outside. Sasaki heads to the top again and his a crossbody onto the floor!!!! Sasaki hits a chop followed by a running bulldogs. Sasaki hits a kick to the gut but Kobashi is having none of it. Thye have a never ending chop battle which lights up their chest. Rapid chops in the corner by Kobashi, Sasaki fires back with chop of his own. You know what happens? More chops and it’s awesome to watch. Kobashi finally ends the battle with a running chop sending them both down. The crowd goes absolutely mental at this.
Scoop slam by Sasak who now has horrible welts on his chest. Kobashi hits off Sasaka, who is on the top rope and hits a brainbuster, Sasaki no sells it and Kobashi hits a half nelson suplex!!!!!! Another Half Nelson by Kobashi. Sasaki and Koabshi both goes suplexes on the outside but both attempts are blocked. Kobashi hits Sasaki with a chop in the neck, sending him down. Sasuke then hits a northern lights bomb on the outside to Kobashi!!! Kobashi only just beats the 20 count.
Sasaki with a tiger suplex gets a close two count. Sasaki hits a stiff running lariat for another close two. Kobashi chants from the crowd. Kobashi then reverses powerbomb and hits a lariat of his own. Sasaki then hits a judo throw and locks on his power special submission but Kobashi gets to the ropes. Spinning back chop by Kobashi, brainbuster, NO SELL by Sasaki, northern lights, NO SELL by Kobashi. They run into each other and collapses.
Lariat by Kobashi gets the two. Moonsault by Kobashi only gets the two as well. Sasak attempts a lariat but Kobashi blocks and hits three spinning back chops and BURNING LARIAT!!!!!!!! This gets the three count in 23:38.
Wow. What a classic. Two brutes just going balls to the walls. A three minute chop battle which made up the famous number of over 180 chops by both men. You would think it would get boring but it never did, it got better and better. The work afterwards were absolutely amazing. The crowd was rabid for everything and Kobashi and Sasaki had them in the palm of their hands. Nothing has ever topped this match for me and I can’t see anything that will. *****
Mitsuharu Misawa vs. Toshiaki Kawada
They lock up to start, feeling each other out. Misawa teases his elbow which Kawada flinches at. Kawada fires of a chop,Misawa with an elbow and repeat. Running boot by Kawada, followed by a running elbow by Misawa, spinning heel kick knocks Misawa down. Kawada locks in a single leg boston crab and stomps on Misawa’s head whilst doing so. He transitions into a cross legged bow and arrow. Kicks by Kawada but Misawa fires back with a running elbow and a tiger driver early on which gets a two count. Frog Splash by Misawa gets a two as well.
Slaps and knees by Kawada knocks Misawa to the outside of the ring. Kawada removes the matt and goes for a piledriver on the concrete. Kawada kicks to misawa who hits his elbows and hits another tiger driver, this time on the concrete floor!!! They go back in the ring where Misawa attempts a tiger suplex but Kawada gets to the ropes but gets caught with a rear naked choke. Irish whip by Misawa but Kawada collapses in exhaustion but then hits a running boot then a high kick to Misawa. Big boot into the corner followed by Kawada beating Misawa down with knees and kicks to a downed Misawa.
Kawada followers him out to the apron where Misawa goes for a tiger driver but Kawada grabs the ropes quick forcing a break. Misawa goes for his trademarked running elbow of the apron but Kawada nails Misawa with one of his own.They head up the ramp where Kawada hits a humping high kick on Misawa before hitting a powerbomb on the ramp!!!
They go back to the ring where Kawada hits some kicks. Kawada goes for another powerbomb but it’s block and he and Misawa exchange forearms. Stretch plumb by Kawada. German suplex but Misawa no sells, again a german suplex by Kawada which Misawa no sells again and attempts his own but Kawada hits a jumping high kick again. Another high kick by Kawada gets a close two count.
Suplex from Kawada, powerbomb from Kawada. Kawada goes for a PK but misses, so he goes for a powerbomb which Misawa takes a disturbing bump on his neck. His head land sideways. Kawada goes for another one but Misawa reverses it into a frankensteiner. Misawa hits a running elbow and then a rolling elbow knocking Kawada down who tries to fight back. Emerald Flowsion by Misawa only gets a two count.
Both men are very tired at this point. Misawa goes for a tiger driver but Kawada block. Tiger Suplex by Misawa, followed by a tiger driver gets two again.The two exchange elbows but Misawa wins and knocks him down and gets a two. Kawada gets up and they have a kick/elbow combo which ends with hard elbow by Misawa to Kawada, getting a two count. Misawa elbows Kawada over 10 times before Kawada finally collapses and is pinned for the three count.
Very good match. It didn’t reach the height of their previous matches and I didn’t expect it two. But to get this match, in the shape they were in, was very impressive. You can tell that Misawa was done at this point as he was tired in the opening five minutes, Kawada looked great and was easily the star of the match for me. Whilst the flair and excitement was there, the story they told was fantastic with them constantly counting each other and blocking each others moves. Going all out to beat each other. Good main event. ***¾
My thoughts on the show.
This was a show that went over 4 hours long and it flew by. The only match you could feel the length of the show was the main event and that was due to being exhausted after Kobashi vs Sasaki which was MOTN by a huge margin. KENTA vs Kanemaru was a fantastic match to watch, still it had its flaws. Minoru Suzuki & Naomichi Marufuji vs. Jun Akiyama & Makoto Hashi was great at well. Other than the veterans match, nothing was bad. Fantastic show. If you have the time, watch this show. You won’t regret it at all.