Ricky Marvin & Yoshinori Ota VS Mitsuo Momota & Akihito Ito
I guess with Eigen now retired, Momota gets to play the grumpy senior role to the rookies. I’m still surprised at the rate Momota can work at his age, he doesn’t look like he’s slowed down at all and can still go when needed. He even took a pretty sick sounding enzuguiri from Marvin in this one.
The rookies looked ok against each other, and I like that Ota is indeed using the swinging bulldog for a finisher by the look of things, and Ito has a bit of a grappler style going for him the way he did a sweet float-over out of a butterfly suplex into a cross-armbreaker! Will be interesting to see how these kids develop in the coming months.Match Rating: 1/2*Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Takashi Sugiura & Shuhei Taniguchi VS Junji Izumuda, Kentaro Shiga & Atsushi Aoki
Shiga is still using the bad-ass sunglasses look! Coolness!
This was a fun tag match with another great showing from the rookies, and a bit of comedy from Izumuda & Shiga. I think Taniguchi is going to make a great heavyweight rival to Go Shiozaki, and Aoki has definite junior heavyweight potential considering the punishment he took and the amount of offense he got in, even being able to counter Sugiura’s Olympic Slam!
Like I said before, I love Shiga’s new look, and here’s hoping he teams more with Akiyama as they make a pretty good tandem.Match Rating: *Akitoshi Saito & Kishin Kawabata VS Tamon Honda & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi
Not a lot to this one. You could actually see that they were holding back a bit and just did this one by the numbers. Honda catching Kawabata out of the Axe Bomber into the Rolling Olympic Hell was nice, but that was a really weak Dead End he hit that ended the match.Match Rating: 1/2*Akira Taue & Takuma Sano VS Scorpio & Eddie Edwards
This was short, but entertaining thanks to Scorpio & Edwards bumping their asses off for Taue. Edwards still hasn’t impressed me, even if he did hit a good Shining Wizard on Sano off Scorpio’s back. The gaijins controlled the beginning of the match, but when Taue came in and cleaned house was when things really picked up. Heck, Taue even did a diving foot stomp off the second rope! Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? The stereo Northern Lights Bomb and Nadoa Otoshi double pin finish was fun too. This was easily the first match that brought the crowd alive at the Budokan.Match Rating: *1/2Takeshi Rikioh, Takeshi Morishima & Mohammed Yone VS Doug Williams, Nigel McGuiness & Keith Walker
This was a fun six man tag with a lot of unexpected surprises, like Morishima doing a jumping hip attack, and a cartwheel corner splash! Nigel McGuiness was also rather entertaining with his probably unintentional comedy style. Walker was rather ok playing the thuggish heel calling out Rikioh, and it looked like the two could put on an interesting singles match down the line if Walker wasn’t such a jobber, falling to the Muso tonight.
Another fun match to follow up the previous one. Rather short in length, but still entertaining.Match Rating: *1/2Mitsuharu Misawa & Yoshinari Ogawa VS Minoru Suzuki & SUWA
Now this was a rather odd but entertaining match. You couldn’t tell if this was really serious considering all the small comedy bits they threw in between Misawa and Suzuki all over the match. The only thing really missing from this one that I was hoping to see was Ogawa & Suzuki trying to out-weasel each other.
But we did get the afore mentioned fun Misawa/MiSuzuki stuff, and SUWA was given a great showing against Misawa, hitting the John Woo and almost getting the biggest win of his career before Misawa kicked out of the FFF. Misawa had to pull out the Emerald Frosion which I think he hasn’t done in a while to put out SUWA, which just adds to SUWA’s stock a bit I guess.Match Rating: **1/2Kenta Kobashi VS Naomichi Marufuji
This was rather better than Kobashi/KENTA from the previous Budokan show as it really felt like it had more structure to it with Marufuji attacking Kobashi’s legs. Though why anyone would think it would be a good idea to have Kobashi’s legs worked over knowing the condition they are already in beats the heck out of me as I would not risk wanting to injure the franchise of the company.
Other than, we got the usual Kobashi chop-spots and Marufuji doing superkicks like they were going out of style. They did innovate some spots though, like Marufuji’s springboard missile dropkick out to the floor on Kobashi! And there was also a good share of near falls like when Marufuji hit a cross-armed German suplex-hold on Kobashi, and the Shiranui. Marufuji also showed that he could take punishment when he able to kick out of a killer top rope half-nelson suplex as well as the deadly Burning Lariat before being put out by a sick Real Brainbuster.
Like Kobashi said, he recognizes the strength of the next generation, but he still doesn’t intend to go down without a fight.Match Rating: ***1/2GHC Jr. Heavyweight Title: KENTA VS Taiji Ishimori
Ishimori makes his grand NOAH debut in a match where he gets stiffed all over the place by his good buddy KENTA. It was pretty obvious the fans knew Ishimori didn’t have a chance as he barely got any reaction for his near falls and it took a lot for him to win the crowd over, but he more or less did by the end of it.
This also wasn’t the all out spot-fest everyone thought it would be as KENTA dominated the early portions of the match by stiffing the hell out of the little guy and no selling most of Ishimori’s strikes. But Ishimori was a treat to see when he finally got some offense going, pulling off some innovative moves I have never seen before like this bizarre flipping cradle DDT move and a top rope flipping fall-away slam!
A fun match, but the major flaw being that Ishimori was no where near established enough for the fans to buy that he could actually beat KENTA for the title tonight. The match probably would have benefited more if Ishimori had at least done a tour with NOAH so that the fans could get a grasp of who he is and what he had to bring to the table.Match Rating: ***1/2GHC Heavyweight Title: Jun Akiyama VS Masao Inoue
Big pop for Inoue when he came out, and he had a whole entourage of wrestlers wearing “Yoshia!” t-shirts accompanying him! The wrestlers were actually the other 7 men in the tournament he won to earn his shot tonight.
Inoue attacks Akiyama right at the bell with a big lariat, then immediately hits a big time COBRA-CLUTCH SUPLEX for a near fall! Inoue quickly lifts up Akiyama in the Argentine Backbreaker, but Akiyama quickly counters into a sleeper and puts Inoue in a front neck lock before slamming him over with a quick Exploder for a near fall!
In case you couldn’t tell from that opening MINUTE of action from the match, it was a hell lot better than it had any right to be! Seriously, Inoue looked to have a better chance at beating Akiyama here than Ishimori did against KENTA. Inoue took a massive beating from the champion, but still managed show a lot of heart and fighting spirit by getting up everytime Akiyama thought he had him down. And you can’t blame Inoue for almost winning the match twice by count out!
And you could tell Akiyama was loving every minute of getting booed by the Budokan crowd as he intentionally tried to get under their skin and make them cheer for the biggest underdog in GHC title history. Akiyama won the match after battering Inoue with a barrage of running knee attacks and a wicked wrist-clutch Exploder, but for one night, Inoue was a true main event star in my view.Match Rating: ****Overall:
This wasn’t one of the best Budokan shows ever by far, but definitely had one of the more memorable and fun main events. Masao Inoue’s Cinderella story might be over, but it was quite a ride he took to get there.