The second half of the East VS West themed show was a 12-man team elimination gauntlet captained by Kobashi and Akiyama.Team Kobashi (Kenta Kobashi, Daisuke Ikeda, Mohammed Yone, Takashi Sugiura, Makoto Hashi & Go Shiozaki) VS Team Akiyama (Jun Akiyama, Takeshi Rikioh, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Masao Inoue, Kishin Kawabata & Haruka Eigen) Elimination GauntletHaruka Eigen VS Makoto Hashi
It was interesting to see Eigen in a more or less serious match here. At least it was serious until they went outside and did his signature “spit into the crowd” spots! I don’t think it helped Hashi much either since it took him so long to put away the old guy. This was a fun match overall though.Match Rating: **
Makoto Hashi VS Yoshinobu Kanemaru
Kanemaru more or less squashed Hashi here who was tired from going almost ten minutes with Eigen. I’d really like to see what would happen if Hashi wizened up and stepped up his game to challenge Kanemaru for the GHC Jr Title.Match Rating: **
Yoshinobu Kanemaru VS Takashi Sugiura
Never thought I’d see the day that these two would be pulling comedy spots on each other! It started with Sugiura stealing Kanemaru’s GHC Jr title belt, then posing in the ring for photographers as if he just won the title! Later on, Kanemaru would sneak the time-keeper’s bell into Sugiura’s trunks and act as if he was hit by it! A page out of the Florida Bros playbook for sure, but Kanemaru didn’t get a DQ win. The beginning of the match was fun, but the middle was a bit dull due to the mat work and rest holds, but the closing minutes was fun as the paced picked up again. Match Rating: ***
Kishin Kawabata VS Muhammed Yone
Good back and forth match here. There really isn’t anything about Kawabata that stands out, so Yone’s striker offense at least adds something watchable to the match. Match Rating: *1/2
Muhammed Yone VS Takeshi Rikioh
This was a quick near squash for Rikioh who totally pummeled and destroyed Yone, who got in minimum offense, but Rikioh sold them well so Yone didn’t look completely useless against the big guy.Match Rating: **
Takeshi Rikioh VS Daisuke Ikeda
This was short, but what they did was just great! I really would like to see a proper singles match between these two as what they did in the short amount of time here was very hard-hitting and entertaining. Probably the best match in the series up to this point. Too bad about the ending though.Match Rating: ***
Masao Inoue VS Go Shiozaki
My first look at Shiozaki and he was quite impressive. The man definitely has a future in NOAH and it will be interesting to see him breakout in the future. Inoue was the right guy for his to face off with I guess as Inoue let Shiozaki get in a fair amount of offense to look credible, yet still rookie like.Match Rating: **
Masao Inoue VS Kenta Kobashi
It was pretty obvious the plan here was for Inoue to get himself counted out with Kobashi so that Akiyama could win by default! It was fun to watch, even the brawling out into the crowd parts. One really cool spot was when Inoue had Kobashi in a figure four out on the ramp, trying to get them both counted out, and Kobashi used his upper body strength to drag BOTH OF THEM back to the ring by his hands! I would have been preferred a better ending to the match though.Match Rating: **
Kenta Kobashi VS Jun Akiyama
They may have been given only ten minutes, but they used that time to the max! They both managed to hit their signature spots and Kobashi even used a new modified half-nelson exploder at one point! The way the match ended may be a bit disappointing, but it at least shows that Akiyama is still the top heel in NOAH. Great match to end the show.Match Rating: ***Overall:
Both shows overall was all about the wrestlers having fun. Don't set your expectations to high and hope for some great wrestling or you might be dissapointed. Nothing here would rate as a classic, but definately entertaining.
Pro Wrestling NOAH’s annual “East VS West” show where the roster is divided in half, with those hailing from the East of Japan taking on those from the West in a series of matches. The actual show itself was split into two halves, so I’ll do the same for my review here.Ricky Marvin VS Kotaro Suzuki VS KENTA VS Naomichi Marufuji
This was a fun opener, even if it did have a few botched spots here and there. But what do expect when you have four guys going at it at full speed at the same time? In addition to the fast paced action and big spot sequences, they even threw in some comedy and at one point all four men brawled to the back area! This wasn’t perfect, but still fun, which was really the theme of the night.Match Rating: ***Tamon Honda VS Mitsuo Momota
This was a very good mat-based match from the two veterans. I really enjoy watching Momota in serious matches like this one and he made it enjoyable. This was an old-school match which suited both guys here and they kept it short too.Match Rating: **Tsuyoshi Kikuchi VS Jun Izumuda
Battle of the headbutts! The sole purpose of this match was to see who had the hardest head as they constantly butted each other to oblivion. I would have liked it better if they didn’t make Kikuchi such an underdog here compared to Izu who’s head seemed more concrete than usual.Match Rating: **Takuma Sano VS Trevor Rhodes
My first look at Trevor Rhodes, and he’s sort of a young Stan Hansen wannabe. This match unfortunately didn’t give him the chance to show any outstanding offence to judge his ability on other than he’s a big, powerful guy.
I have no idea why this match was using the rounds system like it was supposed to be a shoot or something. The first round was all mat work. Things picked up in the second round before culminating in the third. They could have just done the whole thing in one round and save the hassle. Overall, I would rate this as the most boring match of the night cause it took too long.Match Rating: *1/2Yoshinari Ogawa VS Akira Taue VS Mitsuharu Misawa
Old Taue is working with a bad leg here, so his offense and movements were limited, yet he still carried most of the match! Taue had to fend off the tandem offense of the reigning GHC tag team champions, and manage to hold his own even with a bad leg. It was also funny watching Misawa pull some sneaky comedy spots like trying to pin both Taue & Ogawa when they were locked in a figure-four. Would be interesting to see how they would have played it out in a serious scenario.Match Rating: ***
Hopefully I can get Pt.2 up tomorrow, so check back!
Warning! This review contains spoilers!
Los Carros Exoticos (Gallardo, Lambo Miura & Murcielago) VS Mini CRAZY-MAX (Mini-CIMA, SUWA-cito & Small Dandy Fujii) VS Los Salseros Japonesas (Pineapple Hanai, Mango Fukuda & Takeshi Minaminno)
This is a three-way elimination match, with the winning team members having to face each other in a second three-way elimination match right after this to crown a new UWA Welterweight champion. The title was held up due to some controversy.
The good thing about multi-person tag matches like this is that everything moves fast and so they get to bust out their moves faster so we can check out what they are about.
Los Carros Exoticos are 3-guys dressed up as race cars! From what I’ve seen here, they work a very Lucha-style, which is fast with lots of dives and highspots. I’m sure they can do more than that, but I’d have to watch more of them to know for sure. I’ve heard a lot of praise for Gallardo on the net though.
Mini Crazy Max are a sad imitation of the originals. Other than Small Dandy Fuji, Mini-CIMA and SUWA-cito are mirror images of the originals, but lack the talent. For example, Mini-CIMA almost botched the Mad Splash. Why Ultimo Dragon couldn’t come up with an original concept (or none at all) for these guys is beyond me as making miniatures of the originals is like placing the “New” tag at the beginning or “2000” tag at the end of the names, which usually never work.
Los Salseros Japonesas definitely had the most potential from the three teams here. Takeshi Minaminno is the leader and the most into the Salsa band gimmick, as he’s also the best dancer. Pineapple Hanai is the green haired youngster with the guitar, though I don’t know if he can actually play the thing. Mango Fukuda is a HUGE heavyweight powerhouse of the group, though he also sticks out like a sore thumb in the colorful attire.
This was a very good opener with a lot of fast paced action, big spots and even some comedy thrown in. Like I mentioned above, a good way to introduce you to the three teams involved.
Match Rating: ***1/4
UWA Welterweight Title
Pineapple Hanai VS Mango Fukuda VS Takeshi Minaminno
Poor Mango is booted out of the match cause he’s a heavyweight and no way near being a welterweight. The big man does however return later when Hanai and Minaminno knock each other out and gets a big pop when he tries to get the win on his downed teammates! Hanai and Minaminao recover and work together to officially eliminate the big man from the match and continue an excellent bout between the two. This was said to be Hanai’s breakout match as prior to this he hadn’t shown much potential.
Everyone on the internet wasn’t kidding when they said Dragon Gate should have picked these guys up cause they have so much potential to be major heel players wherever they go.
Match Rating: ***1/2
Manabu Murakami VS Shinji Nohashi
Murakami looks like a bald shoot-fighter in a thong. NOT something I wanna see in a wrestling match. Shinji Nohashi on the other better just change his name to Mini-Shinzaki Jinsei, cause he’s another copy-cat gimmick. He’s got all of Shinzaki’s moves and mannerisms down, which doesn’t make for very exiting wrestling here. Murakami with the thong on the other hand likes using jumping hip attacks.
Match Rating: *1/2
King Ali Baba VS The Karaoke Machines
King Ali Baba is a brawler in league with Abdullah the Butcher, The Sheik and Tiger Jeet Singh. In other words, he can’t wrestle for sh*t other than throwing throat jabs and brawling into the crowd disrupting the seating arrangements.
The Karaoke Machines get their name by dining their way to the ring, but I can’t tell how well the masked men work since they were just squashed here by Ali Baba. This was a big waste of time other than it set up KAB VS Toru Yano for the next big Toryumon X show as Yano made the save when KAB went on a post match rampage and was about to squash the referee with a second rope splash.
Match Rating: *
Yuji Nagata, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Kaz Hayashi VS Manabu Nakanishi, Ultimo Dragon & Minoru Suzuki
Surprisingly, one of the best matches of the night, but it relied on outside talent. Suzuki was a mystery partner, and Nakanishi was not happy to be teaming with him. And as you’d expect, it lead to tensions between the teammates. Nagata was his good explosive self, and Tanahashi was even at his A-game here. Hayashi even worked well with his New Japan team mates and matched up nicely with Ultimo Dragon.
This was a good match, though the outcome was a bit predictable, but still better than most of the stuff I’ve seen from New Japan recently, which isn’t a lot anyways. Still, this could easily have been the main event of the show too.
Match Rating: ***1/2
UWA 6-Man Tag Titles:
CTU (Katsushi Takemura, Jado, & Gedo) VS Los Sailor Boys (Taiji Ishimori, Kei Sato & Shu Sato)
- This wasn’t as good as I expected it to be, mainly because the Sailor twins are REALLY green, and the CTU’s lack of selling the smaller teams offense didn’t help much either. Ishimori was OK as team leader, and he kinda reminded me of MIKAMI a bit. One of the twins got busted open the hard way, and when the other got the hot tag, he botched several spots in a row! NOT GOOD for a future prospect, and it didn’t help even more since this is the main event. The three CTU rudos who couldn’t do much more than brawl didn’t help the match all that much either and I didn’t see the point of them winning the titles since I don’t think they’ve even defended them since.
Match Rating: **
The show ends with Ultimo Dragon calling out all his students and thanking them for all their hard work and such. They then end the show with the Sailor Boys performing in the ring, and the rest of the UDG students dancing along (most rather badly) and a list of Gym graduates scrolls across the side of the screen as the show ends. Now I know when who graduated
This was an OK show, with three good matches and three bad matches to even things up. Worth checking out for the NJPW participation like I did, and a great look at Los Salseros.
Labels: Misc Indies