We kick off with a look outside the Differ Ariake where the event is being held, and the line of fans waiting to enter the event. We are then shown that all the fans who attend the event are given a free DVD containing information on the SEM wrestlers. After a quick shot of the purple and pink SEM ring, we get a short interview with NOAH president Mitsuharu Misawa discussing the concept of SEM before we go to our first match.Tsutomo Hirayanagi VS SUWA
Misawa (as well as other NOAH seniors like Kobashi & Ogawa) was watching this match from the rafters, and I’m sure the last thing he wanted to see was Hirayanagi bleeding allover the new SEM ring mat! Hirayanagi was bleeding a gusher from his mouth after taking a hard right hand from SUWA, and it definitely looked like he may have lost a tooth judging from all the blood pouring out from his mouth. I haven’t seen anyone bleed from the mouth that bad since Wanderlei Silva KO’d Quinton Jackson in PRIDE with a knee to the mouth.
Hirayanagi definitely had some balls though, giving SUWA the finger during the ring introductions. Maybe that was the reason SUWA stiffed him till he bleed? Anyway, the match was the basic grumpy veteran beating the snot out of the young lion format match. Hirayanagi didn’t get much offense in, but from the looks of it this kid definitely needs to bulk up a bit as his missile dropkick hardly had any visible effect on SUWA, and he had difficulty just trying to turn SUWA over in a Boston crab. SUWA downs the youngster with a powerbomb-pin, but this was definitely a learning experience for the youngster as he can expect to be stiffed a lot while working NOAH shows.Match Rating: 1/2*
We see Hirayanagi being led to an ambulance outside the arena and being sent to the hospital to get his mouth checked. I wonder why they had a fire truck on standby outside the Differ Ariake too?Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Yoshinori Ota VS Kentaro Shiga & Akihiro Ito
Funny start to this one as the referee found a wooden mallet hidden in Shiga’s pants when checking him! Shiga immediately used the mallet to bonk Ota on the head as Ito took Kanemaru to the outside, and Shiga whacked Ota on the head several more times with it! But Ota was able to fight back and disarm the yakuza wannabe and tossed the mallet out of the ring instead of using it himself when he had the chance. Kanemaru on the other hand wasn’t shy about using the foreign object as he hid it in the back of his trunks after receiving the tag and bonked Shiga on the outside while Ota distracted the referee! Kanemaru than tossed the mallet to Shiga and faked getting hit in the head himself so the referee ended up scolding Shiga for using it! Great stuff!
The crowd was in to this one since it was given good time and the youngsters got to show their stuff, including Ota hitting a nice half-hatch suplex-pin on Shiga, and Ito with a beautiful double-arm suplex-bridge pin attempt. The closing moments were really hot too as Ito survived a split-legged moonsault from Kanemaru and almost scored an upset on the veteran with a small-package, but was finally put away by Kanemaru’s brainbuster.Match Rating: *1/2Shuhei Taniguchi VS Mohammed Yone
Taniguchi is definitely getting the Shiozaki treatment as far as rookie pushes are concerned, as he put on a solid showing. Taniguchi actually beat Yone at a face kick battle, and score a near fall with a sweet German suplex-pin and a double-arm suplex. The look on Yone’s face when Taniguchi kicked out of his lariat was rather priceless too.
I’m not sure if it’s just me, but Yone has been looking rather bland lately. Seeing him in the grumpy role somehow doesn’t suit him as he’s better at being the fired up youngster. Most of his offense in this match consisted of kicks too, which sort of wore thin after a bit. There was one cool spot where Yone caught Taniguchi in mid air off the second rope with a spinning heel kick though, before finishing him off with the muscle buster for the win. Would have liked if this was given more time.
Taniguchi definitely made this match worth watching, and I seriously hope they either team him with Shiozaki soon, or become his generation rival as Taniguchi has future greatness etched all over him like Go does.Match Rating: **Ricky Marvin & Atsushi Aoki VS Naomichi Marufuji & Dakota
Marufuji definitely did not like being shown up earlier in the match by Aoki, and beat him down mercilessly after Dakota took control of the match for their team! Like Taniguchi, Aoki definitely has the makings to be a great junior heavyweight, feud or rivalry with Marufuji based of this match could be the thing needed to help in Aoki’s progression. Aoki showed a good series of arm-submission locks, including a flying cross-armbreaker before being put out by a sick sounding thrust kick by Marufuji.
Marvin seemed to be holding back in this one as we didn’t see him unleash his all out aerial assault and fast paced offense like we’re used to. Dakota didn’t seem to get much time either, and I still wonder if NOAH will ever bring him back to tour since he’s rather fun to watch in the ring.Match Rating: *Bonus Match: Takeshi Rikioh & KENTA VS Takeshi Morishima & Takashi Sugiura
I wonder how long they let the about 500 fans in attendance wait before announcing the bonus match of the show?
Now this match was a ton of fun to watch. I’m not really sure why, but KENTA had a serious beef with Morishima and attacked him before the match even started, as well as taking every opportunity he got to cheap shot the big man, even if it left him open to be attacked by Sugiura from behind! Rather surprising that KENTA was able to take Morishima’s barrage of Vader-hammer style punches, and was even able to get Morishima’s massive frame up for a fisherman’s buster! The back and forth war between the two ended in a time limit draw with both men literally on their knees throwing strikes with whatever they had left in the tank. Apparently the feud between these two would carry on throughout future SEM shows to come, and I’m not complaining if it all results in fun matches like this one.
As far as trying to get over on a guy bigger than his size goes, Sugiura looked much more convincing than KENTA with his exchanges with former GHC champion Rikioh, using his mat skills to take down the big man on multiple occasions, and despite a having a taped up back, Sugiura was actually able to dead-lift Rikioh up into a Greco-Roman slam off the mat!
There wasn’t anything noteworthy between KENTA and Sugiura in the match, but Rikioh and Morishima had some good exchanges, especially the slap/hammer exchange that Rikioh won with his slap/lariat combo.
A great match marred only by the short 20-minute time limit.Match Rating: ***
We end the show with a look at what was on the DVD given to the fans.
First we had Tsutomu Hirayanagi sneaking around Misawa’s office in the middle of the night! He tried on Misawa’s ring coat, than rummaged through the boss’s table before stealing something and play-acted as a big shot in the boss’s chair!
Than we had Shuhei Taniguchi’s 3-Minute Cooking Lesson where he prepared a beef stew in just three minutes!
And that was followed by Atsushi Aoki’s 3-Minute Eating where Aoki tried to finish a bowl of rice and Taniguchi’s just made beef dish! Unfortunately, Aoki failed to take into account how hot the meal would be since it was fresh off the cooker and he failed in his task. Kudos to whoever the cameraman was who pulled away his glass of water so he couldn’t cool down his mouth in the middle of the challenge!
And the final bit of footage we are shown is NOAH boss Mitsuharu Misawa staring us right in the eye as a thank you message is read out by an announcer, and ends with Misawa losing his cool and laughing cause even he couldn’t keep a straight face for too long.
Overall, definitely a successful fun little project by Misawa to help in the training and exposure of the future stars of the company. Simple fun from top to bottom.
Labels: NOAH, SEM