Tamon Honda, Tsuyoshi Kikuchi & Kishin Kawabata VS Takuma Sano, Jun Izumuda & Makoto Hashi
Nothing really special about this one, save for Kawabata trying an Axe Bomber but accidentally hitting Kikuchi instead! For some reason, I’ve noticed Kawabata seems to be growing on me. I also noticed he looks kinda like early Yutaka Yoshie here, with the single strap tights and all. One thing I didn’t like in this match was they way they kept Sano & Honda from having almost ZERO contact with each other. I don’t get what’s the deal with that since both aren’t even big name main-eventers. The match did a good job being the opener of the show.Match Rating: *KENTA, Ricky Marvin & Low Ki VS Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Takashi Sugiura & SUWA
This was a lot of fun, of course you would know that already given the participants involved. KENTA was a total @$$hole here though, he KO’d Sugiura to the point he couldn’t continue the match, and later on, KENTA would stomp allover Sugiura’s lifeless body at ringside! Needless to say this became a handicap match do to Sug’s unfortunate incident, but the heel duo managed to hold their ground and it was just awesome watching SUWA here! A great match definitely worth checking out!Match Rating: ***1/4The Gladiator, Bison Smith & Ace Steel VS Akira Taue, Yoshinari Ogawa & Go Shiozaki
Ace Steel goes from being underutilized in TNA’s X-Division, to getting his hair cut by Eugene on RAW, and now he’s wrestling on a grand NOAH stage! And if Misawa was going to drop the tag titles to a gaijin team, why not drop them to Gladiator and Bison? The monster gaijin duo would have made for a really fun championship duo that the local workers would have a tough time beating.
I’ve only seen Shiozaki wrestle twice, but I’m REALLY impressed with the guy! The man definitely has a bright future ahead of him, especially with Kobashi as his mentor. Taue was his good old-self, and the crowd was really into his exchanges with Gladiator. Reminded me of the ’98 AJPW Tokyo Dome show where Taue & Gladiator also clashed to similar reaction. Would be great to see these two in a singles match down the line. Ogawa was his old self here too, being the sneaky little rat he is. Another fun match worth checking out.Match Rating: **3/4Akitoshi Saito & Masao Inoue VS Scorpio & Doug Williams
While it was no means anything special, I think they should have made this a tag title match. Or were they just afraid that the Dark Agents would lose some credibility for losing another title match? This was really nothing special either save for the BIG 450 splash Scorpio pulled at the end when he 450’d all the way into the centre of the ring!
Also should note the Williams really didn’t do anything to stand out here. So I’m not sure what the hype in giving him the tag title push is.Match Rating: *1/2GHC Hardcore Openweight Title: Naomichi Marufuji VS Muhammed Yone
This was interesting as both men were sporting similar cocky attitudes. But I thought the match stalled a bit with all the breaks in between big spots and near count outs. There were some good spots though, like the Shiranui out to the floor and Yone using some sick kicks to Marufuji’s head, as well as the real Muscle Buster where he sits down instead of slamming the guy on their back.Match Rating: **1/2Mitsuharu Misawa & Kotaro Suzuki VS Shinjiro Ohtani & Tatsuhito Takaiwa
This was OK, but seemed to suffer from “Lazy Misawa” syndrome. That being, it takes a lot to knock him down, but he can pop up almost immediately and no sell everything else. So it was left to Suzuki to shine here and bump his ass-off for the Zero-One MAX team. And make no bones about it, Suzuki was the star of this one as he put on an amazing underdog performance, including TWO top rope powerbomb counters! I really wish they would have given him the fall when he hit the Blue Destiny on Takaiwa too. This was an OK match, and I really would have preffered to see more of Misawa in it since Ohtani originally singled him out when he made the challenge.Match Rating: **Jun Akiyama & Takeshi Morishima VS Genichiro Tenryu & Minoru Suzuki
I’ve read all about it, and now that I’ve seen it for myself, the look on Tenryu’s face when Morishima came out to Jumbo Tsuruta’s “J” theme is indeed PRICELESS! The fans went nuts for Morishima’s intro and even more so when he did Tsuruta’s “OH!” pose! Heck, even Akiyama got into the act after doing one of his trademark jumping knee attacks which Jumbo was also famous for! This was definitely one of the better heavyweight tag matches I’ve seen in awhile, but I only wasn’t too fond of the ending where Akiyama was outside arguing with Suzuki while leaving Morishima all alone with Tenryu, which of course led to Tenryu picking up the win.Match Rating: ***GHC Heavyweight Title: Kenta Kobashi VS Takeshi Rikioh
This definitely wasn’t the best of Kobashi’s title matches from what I’ve seen as it was kinda sloppy in places, and they weren’t Kobashi’s fault. To his credit, Rikioh did show a lot of fire in this one and the ending was just as I pictured it with Rikioh overwhelming Kobashi with big offensive moves and a barrage of finishers.
Unfortunately, when you compare this match to Kobashi’s previous defences where he took more devastating punishment like Gladiator’s super-powerbomb, as well as the tons of other sick bumps in just about every defence, it’s feels weird that a simple high-angle slam like the Muso would be the move that finally puts him down for the count. I also would have preferred if the match went a little longer. Still, a great match that will go down in wrestling history as the day the changing of the guard happened in NOAH. Now if only Misawa would put Rikioh over…Match Rating: ***3/4 Overall:
Overall a pretty good show, with the highlight of course being the three main events which more or less delivered. Kotaro Suzuki was given a push, Tenryu made a big impression in his NOAH debut, and of course, the changing of the guard with Kobashi dropping the GHC Heavyweight Title to Rikioh. Definitely a show worth checking out.