New Japan ran this show from the Nippon Budokan, and the Budokan is NOAH country!
El Samurai & Tiger Mask IV VS Pablo & Hi69
The only heat this match got was when the K-Dojo team’s valet, Ryoko, got involved and hit a swinging DDT on Samurai! The rest of the match was pretty bland and heatless.
Match Rating: **
Jado & Gedo VS Ikuto Hidaka & Curry Man
This was pretty good, though I wonder why the fans were laughing when Curry Man and Jado exchanged multiple near pinfalls near the end. Again, this match suffered abit due to lack of crowd heat.
Match Rating: **1/2
Wataru Inoue VS KENTA
They tore right into each other at the opening bell! This was a really great match between two rising Jr. heavyweights and Inoue showed a lot of guts challenging KENTA to hit him hard with his kicks. But the ending was also a bit of a surprise, questionable even.
Match Rating: ***1/4
Koji Kanemoto VS Makoto Hashi
This was a great match! Honestly, I have never enjoyed a Makoto Hashi match as much as I did here! Kanemoto played up the veteran bullying the junior, but did a heck of a job putting over and selling Hashi’s offense when he got fired up. Both men did a fantastic job in this one, and I’m sure it was MOTY material back then.
Match Rating: ****1/4
Masayuki Naruse VS Takehiro Murahama
If you ever wondered what U-Style was like, this would probably be the best example. Lots of heavy kicking and submission attempts. Murahama has a legit MMA/K-1 background compared to Naruse. This started off good, but after about 10-minutes, just seems to drag on with all the mat submission attempts. Even the heavy strikes can get boring to watch when they don’t have that put-away, match ending effect that it should have considering there were no rounds to rest in between exchanges. Still it had it’s good points if this is what your into.
Match Rating: ***
Giant Silva VS Giant Singh
Two huge 7ft+ monsters going at it! I was really looking forward to this, but then I would find they cut the match down from 10-minutes to just under 5-minutes! Needless to say this was never expected to be a five star mat classic, but these two giants did the best they could with each other and you could even tell they deliberately slowed down when being Irish-whipped to prevent themselves from flying over the top rope due to their height! Give Silva some credit for willing to take some big bumps here too, though there was one ugly scene when Singh tried to put him in a cobra twist but neither giant is flexible enough for that! I might have rated this just a bit higher if the match was in full.
Match Rating: **1/4
Shinsuke Nakamura VS Tadao Yasuda
Nakamura’s debut! Too bad he was paired with the hairless ape known as Tadao Yasuda. But due to it being Yasuda, the crowed was immediately backing Nakamura and popped big when he managed to take down the big man! I would have liked to have seen this go longer than 2 minutes though.
Match Rating: *
Kensuke Sasaki VS Minoru Fujita
This was a total squash, and even I don’t get why it was booked in the first place. If this was the payoff K-Dojo was getting for Shinya Makabe’s services down the line, then K-Dojo seriously got ripped off.
Match Rating: DUD
IWGP Jr Tag Team Titles
Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi VS Minoru Tanaka & Jushin Thunder Liger
This was just loads of fun and heavily heated! The NOAH team totally brutalized the champions early on, but they would retaliate back and brutalize veteran Kikuchi! I did think it was weird that the Jr. ace of Kobashi’s Burning squad was teaming up with the Jr. ace of Akiyama’s STERNESS squad, but the two got along great as they shared a common hatred for the NJPW Jrs! This was a great match overall, and should have been the show closer instead of what was to follow.
Match Rating: ****
NWF Title King of Gladiator Tournament Semi Finals
Yoshihiro Takayama VS Kazuyuki Fujita
This was hard to watch as these two big bulls worked a shoot-like match much like Naruse/Murahama earlier, just nowhere near as good and probably could have been a lot better. Maybe Fujita was "protecting" himself again for an upcoming MMA fight???
Match Rating: **
This was a great show overall! You DEFINITELY want to get this for the NOAH VS NJPW Jr wars, as the three matches totally rocked!