I was originally gonna post this as a preview to the 2005 Great Voyage show on 1/8/05, but never got around to it due to a busy schedule which limits my tape watching time. Anyways, this was the first big NOAH show of 2003, which featured Masahiro Chono's first NOAH apprearance as he teams with Misawa against the team of Kobashi & Taue. Plus, Akiyama & Saito put the GHC Tag Titles on the line against The Zero-One EMBLEM team of Shinjiro Ohtani & Masato Tanaka!
Rusher Kimura & Mitsuo Momota VS Haruka Eigen & Kishin Kawabata
- The standard old-timers match you get with these four: slaps & chops, giant swings and Eigen spitting into the crowd. They did innovate that a bit by having Momota & Eigen go out onto the ramp-way so Eigen could hit targets further out in the crowd. Nothing special as usual, and these matches were a lot more fun back in the day when Giant Baba was involved.
Match Rating: ½*
Makoto Hashi VS Kentaro Shiga
- Interesting match with Shiga stretching Hashi with his vast array of submission skills. Hashi mounts a good comeback later, and when he was on the offensive, the match was easier to watch, but the youngster still falls short to a guy I feel is very overated.
Match Rating: *3/4
KENTA & Takashi Sugiura VS Takuma Sano & Kotaro Suzuki
- This was fun, but not as good as I expected it to be considering who is involved. Suzuki showed a lot of fighting spirit as he always does in his early days, and it was interesting to watch Sano go back to his Jr. heavy roots.
I’m guessing they toned down their offense a bit so that the other junior tag match later would look better, and not take any thunder off Marufuji’s return.
Match Rating: **1/2
Masao Inoue, Takeshi Rikioh & Jun Izumida VS Yoshihiro Takayama, Daisuke Ikeda & Masashi Aoyagi
- This was a really fun match as Takayama was billed as his return to NOAH after winning the NWF Title at NJPW’s Wrestling World 2003 show, and his team consisted of heavy strikers like himself, too! Takayama also had a big target on his head as he was instantly triple-teamed at the start of the match by the opposing team!
There was even a fun cool spot where Ikeda had Inoue pinned and Takayama counted the fast 3 count to get a laugh out of the crowd, later Inoue had Aoyagi pinned, and Izumuda made the fast three count to get back at Takayama!
Everybody hit their spots well here to make this a fun match overall.
Match Rating: ***
Yoshinari Ogawa & Naomichi Marufuji VS Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi
- This is Marufuji’s return match from a nasty ankle injury that forced him to forfeit the GHC Jr. Title during a match with Makoto Hashi a few months prior. This makes for an interesting match as Marufuji & Ogawa are taking on the IWGP Jr. Tag champions, who aren’t embarrassed to show off their belts during the intros. Both champs also seem to have their eye on Marufuji.
Everyone worked well year, including Ogawa surprisingly. Marufuji didn’t even miss a beat and surprisingly still did the flip over spot that injured his ankle in the first place! Kikuchi & Kanemaru were fun to watch usual. This was an OK match, but I didn’t like the ending of it either since it didn’t make much sense to me.
Match Rating: ***
Tamon Honda VS Takeshi Morishima
- A great battle between to big men, and they aren’t shy to bust out the big power moves to toss each other around either! The only real problem I had here was that the match was kinda short, but still fun none the less.
Match Rating: **
GHC Tag Team Titles
Shinjiro Otani & Masato Tanaka VS Jun Akiyama & Akitoshi Saito
- You have to wonder how smart Saito really is when during the contract signing ceremony, he rushed Ohtani who was holding a real, unsheathed samurai sword!
This was originally the main event of the show, but they moved it up to the semi-main on the TV airing of the show. This was a great back and forth match, flawed a bit by Akiyama not selling Tanaka’s elbows, which by right should be hitting as hard as Misawa’s! It got to the point Tanaka took off his elbow pad just so it would have some effect. EMBLEM were the obvious heels here, but the STERNESS squad sort of brought their momentum down by no-selling some of their shots. But they still got in some good offense though, like EMBLEM’s trademark Doomsday Device Diamond-Cutter combination, which looks really awesome! The ending seemed a bit anti-climatic though, and I wish it could have gone longer just a bit more.
Match Rating: ***1/2
Kenta Kobashi & Akira Taue VS Mitsuharu Misawa & Masahiro Chono
- This was great match! The fans welcomed Chono with open arms and popped for every exchange he had with Kobashi and Taue! They booed him for awhile when he gave Kobashi a low blow, but still cheered him on later. Kobashi’s first contact with Chono was very heated as they exchanged strikes to the point of brawling on the floor! Taue once again showed that he may be old, but still can bring out the big guns, as he himself pulled out some great exchanges with Chono. Surprisingly, Misawa was the one that didn’t do much here other then his signature spots, as he gave the main focus to Chono. This was another great match I wished had gone on just a bit longer.
Match Rating: ****1/4
This was a very good show, which you definately will want to check out for the two tag main events alone. The Takayama six-man tag was also loads of fun, though I felt the junior tag matches could have been better.
Michiko Ohmoukai, AKINO & Ebessan VS Momoe Nakanishi, THE APEWOMAN & Kuishinbo Kamen
A fun six-person inter-gender opener! The clowns and the 4 women even managed to get a few comedy spots out of senior AJPW referee Kyohei Wada! It was interesting to see Ebessan & Kuishinbo start a match by WRESTLING before moving on to the comedy spots, and the women did good work too. Interestingly, AKINO went from being happy babyface the first day, to hard hitting heel on this day! But she still played along well to the comedy antics of the Gods of Comedy.
Seeing the women in action during these two shows makes me hope that the joshi scene doesn’t die out in Japan despite the hard times it’s currently going through.
Match Rating: **
Kazushi Miyamoto, Taichi Ishikari, Nobukazu Hirai & Nobutaka Araya VS Big Boss MA-G-MA, Black Buffalo, Daioh QUALLT & GOA
Originally scheduled to be a tag match with MA-G-MA & QUALLT VS Miyamoto & Ishikari, till Buffalo gets on the mic and calls out AJPW and the four Kishiwada Guretai members start beating down Miyamoto & Ishikari. This brings out Hirai & Araya to make the save and we get an instant, fun eight-man tag!
This was a good match when they weren’t brawling all over the place. But it did feel a little like it was being done “by the numbers”, where two guys square off, exchange holds, the tag out to the next pair and repeat the process till everyone has entered, the we get the big eight-man brawl leading to the big “everyone hits his finisher” sequence before the match gets ended by that last pair in the ring.
I also thought this match was a bit too short, and I really would have liked to see Araya face off with MA-G-MA instead of QUALLT.
Match Rating: ***
Hardcore Match: Kintaro Kanemaru & Hideki Hosaka VS Tomoaki Honma & Jun Kasai
Two FMW veterans VS two Big Japan veterans in a hardcore match! Lots of brawling as expected with Honma getting busted open and taking the brunt of the punishment from the former Team No Respect members, including taking a sick looking splash through a LADDER! Hosaka looked good here, and decked in his BAPE gear, looked almost like ICP’s Violent J! But of course he could wrestle better. Kanemura was his usual self, busting out the pain combined with some small comedy spots here and there. I don’t think Kasai did much, but was still fun none the less, and he got along better with Honma then Miyamoto did from the previous day.
Match Rating: **1/4
Takehiro Murahama, TAKA Michinoku & Miracle Man VS Toshiaki Kawada, Ryuji Hijikata & Katsuhiko Nakajima
This was a great match, with the story of Nakajima getting the snot beat out of him. But I can’t believe they went the course of the entire match with ZERO Kawada/Murahama contact! And that was one of the things I was most looking forward to!
When Nakajima wasn’t getting stretched, TAKA was taking the heavy punishment from the team composed of three hard hitting strikers. He even took a nasty bump when Kawada kicked him off the apron and he landed right on the timekeeper’s table.
Hijikata is still a treat to watch, and I only felt that Miracle Man looked a bit out of place since he was the only one with a flashy gimmick.
Match Rating: **1/2
Super Delfin & Kensuke Sasaki VS Kazu Hayashi & Keiji Mutoh
This started out as fun, but got serious when Mutoh & Hayashi switched on total heel mode! They almost tore Delfin’s mask completely off, and at one point Mutoh attacked Akira Hokuto at ringside, whipping her into the railing, and then picking up one of Sasaki’s kids and threatening to slam them on the mat! Normally I’d expect this kind of behavior if he was under his Great Muta gimmick, but not as Mutoh. I also usually expect to see this kind of story played out in WWE.
Still, it was a good hard-hitting match, and they got the crowd into it a lot with the great ring-work, but mostly Mutoh & Hayashi’s heelish tactics, which gave the match that "big match" feel.
BAPE STA!! Tag Team Titles: Satoshi Kojima & THE APEMAN VS Arashi & E!-BAPE-Man
From the seriousness of the previous match, to the more fun main event of the night. Less than a minute into the match, and APEMAN’s identity is revealed, if you didn’t already know who it was. Kojima just shook his head and covered his face in shame when everyone found out! Even Arashi himself once again found himself in comedic situations even though he didn’t express any emotions, but was still game to play along. This was another really fun match, and of course there was some stiffness and hard shots from Kojima & Arashi to balance out the comedy from their partners. A great way to end the tour overall.
Match Rating: ***
The show ends with everyone who participated on the two shows coming out and Kojima thanking the fans for coming out and supporting them. “ICHIAOZO BAKAYARO!!!”
The second of two REALLY fun shows. Great laughs and great wrestling combined. This is definitely recommended along with the previous show, and I can’t wait to get my hands on more BAPE STA!! Pro Wrestling shows!
Labels: AJPW, Osaka Pro
My first post here in 2005 and sad to say it is to announce the closing of the Japantapes.com
site run by Trent Walters. It was probably the fastest tape dealer I know as the guy would send out your order before he even received the payment, and he always received the latest shows before most other sites and sold them at reasonable prices.
In his closing announcement, Trent recommended PuroresuDVDSource.com
as an alternative to order cheap puroresu DVDs. I've actually ordered from them, and while the prices are indeed cheap ($5-$8), the bad part is it takes TWO MONTHS to order from them here in Malaysia. So if you have the patience, check it out.