The second SEM show, and it starts off straight in the ring at the Differ Ariake.Yoshinori Ota VS Yoshinobu Kanemaru
I’m all for putting over the new blood, but I thought Kanemaru was having way too much trouble with Ota in this one. So far, Ota’s defining moves are the old-school airplane spin and a swinging bulldog, but not a whole lot else. There’s always room for improvement though. Ota was able to fight off Kanemaru’s multiple brainbuster attempts, but fell to his moonsault in the end.Match Rating: 1/2*Akihiko Ito VS Takashi Sugiura
Sugiura’s new theme song so doesn’t match him. I preferred the Pearl Jam song he used before.
This match was a lot more fun than the opener since they didn’t do a lot of the mat work. Ito actually has a lot of similarities to Sugiura. Ito definitely has an amaresu background as he was able to hit a good side-suplex, and even did that cool butterfly suplex floatover into an armbar move of his. The most surprising thing he did however was when he picked Sugiura up in a Gory Special for a submission attempt! The only thing he definitely needs to work on are his elbow strikes, as they look really weak and lame here.
Sugiura definitely looked good playing the grumpy senior in this one, and scored the win with a dragon suplex-pin. I think Sugiura teaming with Ito would make for a fun tandem.Match Rating: *1/2Naomichi Marufuji & Atsushi Aoki VS SUWA & Taiji Ishimori
Three veterans in the match and the biggest slip up came from Marufuji when he completely missed a thrust kick on SUWA after avoiding the John Woo! Other than that one slip up, this was an ok match with some heated exchanges between Marufuji and Ishimori. The match was especially good when Ishimori kicked it into gear with his high speed offense. There wasn’t a whole lot to see from Aoki here, but the ending of the match was really interesting as SUWA gave Ishimori a blind tag when he hit the Superstar Elbow, and then tossed him out when he attempted the cover and pinned Aoki himself after hitting the FFF! Ishimori confronted SUWA after the match, which led to a short altercation with Ishimori taking out SUWA with a handspring back elbow and a hurricanrana off the second rope. They could build a nice feud off these ex-Toryumon graduates.Match Rating: *Shuhei Taniguchi VS Takeshi Rikioh
Another strong showing by Taniguchi as he goes toe-to-toe with the former GHC heavyweight champion in a rather competitive contest. It still surprises me that Taniguchi was able to dead-lift Rikioh off the mat into a German suplex-pin for a near fall! The look on Rikioh’s face as Taniguchi lifted him off the mat was rather priceless too. It even added more to Taniguchi’s stock when he was able to kick out of a chokeslam and Rikioh’s slap/lariat combo before finally being put down by the Muso.
Next to Go Shiozaki, Taniguchi’s star is definitely shining brightest amongst the new blood of NOAH’s roster.Match Rating: **Bonus Match: Scorpio & Ricky Marvin VS KENTA & Kikutaro
Now this match was just a ton of fun as Kikutaro received a big pop when he came out, and that was even before the spotlight was shown on him! There were a lot of fun Kikutaro moments in this match, from his breakdance contest with Scorpio, his fun exchanges with KENTA, and the one thing I thought I’d never see KENTA get involved in: a 4-way groin grab with everyone in the match including the referee! Kikutaro’s matches in AJPW are usually too short for him to do much, so it was great to see him take center stage here and go all out with his comedic antics! Kikutaro was even able to kick out of a fair amount of offense, like an huge diving splash and diving guillotine from Scorpio before finally being put away by Scorpio’s trademark 450’ splash.
It wasn’t all fun and games though, as there were some awesome high-speed exchanges between KENTA and Marvin, and Scorpio was fun to watch as well as he can still fly with the best of them.
Nothing to complain about with this one, I just thought it would have been more fun if they let it go to the 20-minute time limit.Match Rating: ***
Post match, Kikutaro grabs the microphone and thanks the fans for coming out. He than says something that causes both KENTA and the ring announcer to take the mic from him, and KENTA has Kikutaro escorted out of the arena!
KENTA may have been all serious during the match, but he was finally able to let out a smile and a few laughs backstage during the interviews when Kikutaro said the two of them would be gunning for Morishima & Yone’s heavyweight tag titles!
The show ends with a quick look at a few of the fun contents in the free DVD given to the fans in attendance, which includes Taue looking all pimp backstage, Marufuji’s tour of New York, and Kentaro Shiga in the beginning stages of his turn into a Yakuza bad ass!Overall:
Another good showing by the rookies, but the main event was definitely a good bonus match for the fans and easily stole the show! They definitely need more Kikutaro in SEM!
Labels: NOAH, SEM