NOAH's 3rd big Budokan show of the year where two big moments occoured: Toshiaki Kawada made his first appearance in a NOAH ring and met Misawa face to face for the first time in almost 5 years, and the first match for the July 18 Tokyo Dome show was announced.
But what about the wrestling parts of the show? Read on.Jun Izumida & Makoto Hashi VS Masao Inoue & Kishin Kawabata
I would have just skipped this if not for Kawabata being in it. I like the man’s work even if he is the job-boy for just about every match he’s in. Not really much to this one save for Kawabata’s always fun Axe Bomber on Izumuda which scored a pop from the crowd but couldn’t put the big guy away. Hashi is being groomed for his eventual heavyweight run here and he looked good playing the eager youngster. There was a fun spot with Inoue where referee Mighty Inoue pulled him off Hashi by the ears when he wouldn’t quit with scrapping Hashi’s eyes. I think I’d enjoy seeing Kawabata VS Hashi in a singles match down the line.Match Rating: *
Tamon Honda, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Takashi Sugiura VS Bison Smith, Rick Steiner & Ricky Marvin
Honda was just dead weight in this one for the most part, but it was fun seeing him give Steiner a Dead End German. Steiner hasn’t changed much since I last saw him in WCW, and he’s still a loud mouth barking off at the referee every now and then. It was really fun watching Kanemaru being all cocky trying to get under Bison’s skin, which resulted in a painful looking spot where Bison dragged him out of the ring and he hit the apron hard. Marvin was aces to watch whenever he’s in the ring with Kanemaru or Sugiura. Standard six-man tag overall.Match Rating: **
Scorpio, Michael Modest & Donovan Morgan VS Yoshinari Ogawa, Tsuyoshi Kikuchi & Richard Slinger
Not a lot to this one. Morgan is HUGE now by the way, almost like a gaijin Jun Izumuda. No wonder they dropped the plan to have Modest & Morgan go after the Jr. tag titles, no one would buy them as junior heavyweights! Morgan did do a fun spot where he mocked Kikuchi’s falling headbutt attacks on Kikuchi himself. It was fun seeing Ogawa & Modest mouth off at each other and try to one-up each other. And the ending moonsault legdrop (Drop The Bomb) by Scorpio was pretty sweet as well and got a pop out of the crowd.Match Rating: **1/4
The ring announcer announces a special guest, and the fans go NUTS as they already know who it is, and the Budokan erupts as “Holy War” hits on the loudspeakers and out comes none-other than Toshiaki Kawada! The former Triple Crown champion received an almost Hogan-esque pop from the crowd!
Kawada introduced himself and called out Misawa, who came out through the audience. Kawada then challenged Misawa to a match at NOAH’s 7/18 Tokyo Dome show and Misawa accepted, which got another huge pop from the crowd. The two shook hands then left their separate ways.Akira Taue & Takuma Sano VS Mohammed Yone & Takeshi Morishima
I was about to write this off as just another standard youngsters VS veterans tag match, then Yone goes and pisses off Taue, leading to a very good and heated climax to the match! A lot of fans on the internet complained about Yone jobbing here since he’s the GHC Hardcore Open-weight champion, but after watching it for myself, it basically made sense that Yone jobbed to veteran Taue, who was seriously pissed at Yone for using his own jumping face kick on him. Taue just unloaded on Yone with nadoa-otoshis and Dynamic-bombs, culminating in the I AM TAUE for the win, and teaching the young punk a lesson he probably won’t soon forget.
Another thing, I never noticed this before when he had long hair, but Morishima is seriously FAT. The guy really could stand to lose about 20lbs to make himself look better.Match Rating: ***
SUWA VS KENTA
KENTA pulled a subterfuge attack on SUWA as he ran in through the audience while the lights were on to blindside the former Toryumon champion! It was impressive what these two could pull out in the six-minutes the match went, and they really let loose on each other! Basically saw SUWA get frustrated and grab a steel cargo box from under the ring and shoved the referee aside to try to hit KENTA with it. KENTA stopped SUWA and tried for the Busaikyu Knee, but SUWA dodged it and threw the iron box right into KENTA’s face, causing the DQ! The fans heavily booed the DQ, but they loved the swerve that followed, where Sugiura pulled off SUWA from beating down KENTA and helped KENTA to his feet only for Sugiura to drop KENTA on his head with an Olympic Slam! Then Kanemaru shoved off both Sugiura & SUWA and helped KENTA to his feet only to drop him with a big backdrop! Ricky Marvin tried to help but was easily disposed by SUWA. SUWA said something on the mic after the match and I clearly made out the word “masturbation”. Ok…
Hopefully these two will have a proper singles match down the line, like possibly KENTA defending the GHC Jr. Heavyweight Title against him like everyone seems to be pointing to.Match Rating: **
Minoru Suzuki & Naomichi Marufuji VS Mitsuharu Misawa & Kotaro Suzuki
Damn did MiSuzuki & Marufuji bring the big time SUCK to this match! I swear I almost fell asleep when they controlled the match and Suzuki was streatching KoSuzuki with various submission locks. MiSuzuki’s laziness also seemed to rub off on Marufuji as he didn’t do much to impress here either as he played the ground game on KoSuzuki as well.
I was really hoping Misawa would be the guy to put MiSuzuki in his place, and during the opening elbow strike exchange between the two it looked like it might happen, but then he switches to “Lazy-Misawa” mode and actually allows himself to get outsmarted by MiSuzuki who laughs in his face about the elbow strikes! Misawa basically let KoSuzuki carry most of the match for his team and when he received the hot tag, he tagged back out just as fast as he got in, giving KoSuzuki almost no time to rest up after the stretching he took, which of course led to them losing. I was really hoping for more from Misawa here, and I seriously hope he steps up his game with his big match with Kawada coming up.Match Rating: **
Jun Akiyama & Genichiro Tenryu VS Kenta Kobashi & Go Shiosaki
The main attraction here obviously was the Tenryu/Kobashi confrontation, and it delivered big time! From the opening bell, they brawled out to the floor where Tenryu whipped Kobashi into the railing then tossed an announcers table at Kobashi! Kobashi NO SOLD the table throw and went on to chop Tenryu so hard that his man-boobs started bleeding heavily! Kobashi must have thrown a hundred chops at Tenryu throughout the match at least, and at one point you could definitely see the look on Tenryu’s face was like “I gotta get out of this business!”. Priceless stuff!
The fans were also heavily behind Shiozaki also as he squared off with Akiyama & Tenryu. The crowd went nuts as Kobashi screamed at him from their corner to suck it up and get up every time Akiyama or Tenryu knocked him down. It was fun seeing Kobashi in a coach’s roll here doing this too. Very reminiscent of when Akiyama used to team with Kobashi back in All Japan.
This was easily the most heated and probably best match of the night.Match Rating: ***
GHC Heavyweight Title: Takeshi Rikio VS Akitoshi Saito
On any other show, this would have been a passable match, but the problem was that this was a GHC Heavyweight Title match, and they made Saito carry and lead most of the match instead of Rikio, who came off looking very strong when he won the belt against Kobashi a month back but was almost the opposite here. It’s kinda like the way Batista is looking over at WWE right now. And the fact that most of Rikio’s offense consisted of wild strikes and shoulder blocks didn’t add much to his credit either.
Rikio should have been busting Saito’s ass all over the arena instead of getting constantly outwitted and easily losing his advantage a lot like what you expect from a rookie instead of a GHC Champion. Heck, I’d swear the fans were more into Saito than Rikio even, cause Saito owned most of the match and did the moves that got the crowd popping, like his heavy kicks to Rikio’s head and a big Rock Bottom off the entrance ramp to the floor. Saito even kicked out of Rikio’s over-head Muso for crying out loud! And the crowd also didn’t seem to buy the modified Muso Rikio used at the end, even if it did look cool. After he won, the crowd reaction was like “that’s it? OK…” which was also what I was thinking. Hopefully, Rikio’s next defence will be better handled and Rikio will be made to look stronger than he did here.Match Rating: **
This probably counts as the weakest NOAH big show I’ve ever seen. It looks ok on paper, but the execution left much to be desired. Recommended only to check out the Kobashi/Shiozaki VS Akiyama/Tenryu and Taue/Sano VS Yone/Morishima tag matches. KENTA/SUWA was good for the angle it pulled, but you’d be better off waiting for a complete match instead of the DQ one here. The Kawada appearance was a great moment in the show, but I doubt many people would want to shell out the cash just to watch the 5-minute interview bit they did here.