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Puroresu Show Reviews

Reviews of puroresu shows in my collection

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


NOAH “Autumn Navigation” 10/06/2006

The show starts off with a 10-bell salute to the late AAA founder Antonio Pena, with Ricky Marvin in the ring holding his picture. We then see Jun Akiyama in the back with a big smile on his face as he points to his name on the event program as he’s in the opening match as part of his plan to rebuild himself from the bottom up after losing the GHC heavyweight title to Naomichi Marufuji the month prior.

Jun Akiyama & Atsushi Aoki VS Tsuyoshi Kikuchi & Go Shiozaki
Interesting how Akiyama looks a lot younger when wearing his old blue tights and not coloring his hair? He didn’t even do any of his big move offense and had a fun elbow strike exchange with Kikuchi, which I think would have been better if Kikuchi won or switched to a headbutt to throw off Akiyama’s momentum during the exchange. Akiyama & Aoki in matching blue gear makes them look like a regular tag team too.
I’m not sure how it happened, but Aoki got busted open the hard way during an exchange with Shiozaki. Both youngsters looked great in there, with Shiozaki showing more moves added to his arsenal again and finally having someone he can have seniority over. I don’t know why also, but Kikuchi felt the need to yank up Aoki’s tights into a wedgie to half moon the crowd while shouting “Aoki-chan!” before giving him a pair of snap suplexes.
The ending came off as a bit anti-climatic too, as the crowd didn’t react to Kikuchi beating Aoki with the fireball-bomb. Maybe cause they didn’t give Aoki any hot kick outs?
Match Rating: *1/2

Makoto Hashi Return Match: Makoto Hashi, Tamon Honda & Mitsuo Momota VS Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Kentaro Shiga & SUWA
First off, Hashi looks really big compared to the last time I saw him. He’s even bigger than SUWA. He looked great in there though, and seems to be heating a rivalry with SUWA here. A lot of good back and forth action here, though nothing really memorable. Interestingly enough, Hashi lost his return match as expected, but it was Momota that dropped the fall to a school boy roll-up from Shiga.
Match Rating: *

Akira Taue & Takuma Sano VS Scorpio & Ares
This was mostly a comedy match, especially when Taue and Scorpio were in there doing things like giving each other a testicular claw! Ares probably had the best match of his career against Kobashi in Germany a few years back, and he fit the comedy bill here the way he kept stopping to adjust his tie. Taue even got in on it telling Ares to tuck in his shirt. Though he did botch a fisherman’s neckbreaker that probably wasn’t all his fault, Ares had a nice showing in the closing moments, hitting a forward flip senton on Sano for a near fall as well as countering a Northern Lights Bomb into an inside cradle for another near fall before Sano finally hit his move to take the win while Scorpio mooned the crowd due to Taue pulling his pants to prevent him from breaking the cover!
Match Rating: *1/2

Akitoshi Saito, Masao Inoue & Kishin Kawabata VS Takeshi Rikioh, Mohammed Yone & KENTA
A fun six man tag mostly due to KENTA being the little bastard that he is always trying to pick a fight in a big dog like Saito, and the fighting spirit of Kishin Kawabata as he again put on a good showing being the underdog that he is. It was fun seeing Kawabata add Giant Baba’s atomic drop-to-backdrop suplex combination to his arsenal, and he hit a pretty good Axe Bomber on Yone for a nearfall. The match broke down to a wild brawl all over the ring and Yone managed to score the fall on Kawabata with the muscle buster.
Match Rating: **1/2

Yoshinari Ogawa & Kotaro Suzuki VS Nigel McGuinness & Ricky Marvin
In one of those “What the heck was he thinking?!” moments, Marvin hit a huge dive over the top rope on Kotaro out on the floor and slammed his leg into the guardrail really early in the match (the very FIRST exchange!). The guy was obviously in a lot of pain as he slowly rolled back on the ring and to his corner to tag out to McGuinness before immediately being checked on by the ring seconds and officials. Marvin was able to continue after getting his leg heavily taped up, but it became an open target for Ogawa and Suzuki to attack for most of the match. Despite this though, Marvin put up a heck of a gutsy performance and almost won the match on several occasions! He was finally put away by Suzuki with a tombstone piledriver at the end.
I haven’t seen much of McGuinness, so it was good to see what his Tower of London finisher actual was, which is a hangman’s Ace Crusher. Interestingly enough, they even managed to pull out a pair of 4-way comedy spots, first with all four men giving each other ground headscissors, than the classic Osaka Pro spot where 3 guys lock each other in figure four headlocks, and the third guy does a Boston crab to the last guy in the line.
Overall, I’m not sure if the Marvin smashing his leg into the guardrail was part of the plan, but it made for telling a good underdog story in the ring as he fought through the pain to continue the match.
Match Rating: **

Mitsuharu Misawa, Takashi Sugiura & Ippei Ota VS Kazunari Murakami, Katsumi Usuda & Manabu Hara
Well this was rather disappointing! The only time Misawa and Murakami got it on was after Sugiura and Ota beat down Murakami, and Murakami quickly tagged out then too! So it was mostly just the younger guys getting it on, and Sugiura got to show a bit of his MMA side too. Wasn’t a whole lot to this one at the end either, as Murakami totally destroyed Ota and pinned him with a big left handed punch. The fans were obviously expecting more too.
Match Rating: *

Naomichi Marufuji & Takeshi Morishima VS Doug Williams & Murat Bosporus
Bosporus is a short pudgy guy, almost like Taz, and I think his gimmick is similar since he has suplexes drawn all over this tights and favored using several suplex variations, including a big second rope belly-to-belly on Morishima. He also hit an impressive looking Lo-Down/Mad Splash for a near fall, and that move even got the biggest pop of the match. He even managed to block Marufuji’s Shiranui twice, but with a little help from Morishima, Marufuji was able to hit the move on Bosporus from a standing position to get the win for his team.
Not really a lot to this match other than seeing what Bosporus could do in there. Everything else felt by the numbers.
Match Rating: *1/2

Tsutomu Hirayanagi VS Shuhei Taniguchi
Interestingly enough, they decided to end the show by airing a dark match from before the show began earlier in the day. It was a good showing for both rookies, with Hirayanagi grounding the bigger Taniguchi for the opening minutes before surviving a ton of punishment and scoring a few near falls on the big man before the 10-minute time limit ended and the match was declared a draw.
Match Rating: *


Thursday, February 15, 2007


NJPW G-1 Tag League Finals 6/11/2006

Yujiro, Ryusuke Taguchi & Wataru Inoue VS Jado, Gedo & Minoru
I’m really digging Taguchi’s Funky Weapon gimmick, he sort of looks and acts like a Dragon Gate character and he’s got an afro going for him! Inoue played the serious guy of the team, which didn’t suit him if you ask me. There was a cool spot where Jado countered a spear by Inoue into the Crossface of Jado. The biggest surprise of the match though was Yujiro actually scoring the big upset pin on Minoru after Minoru was heeling him and all. Yujiro ducked a big kick off the ropes and rebounded with a spear to score the win. Good ending, okay match.
Match Rating: *

Naofumi Yamamoto VS Tomohiro Ishii
Now this was a lot of fun! Started out with a whole lot of brawling and no selling, and it got really nasty once they took it outside to the floor as Yamamoto brutalized Ishii on the isle before Ishii regained control and bombarded Yamamoto with chairs regardless of how close the audience were! Ishii controlled most of the match once it got back in the ring, but Yamamoto showed a lot of spirit kicking out of a big lariat and a powerbomb before being put away by a sweet brainbuster. Wonder how much of a push Ishii would get if Choshu wasn’t booking this?
Match Rating: **1/2

G1 Tag League A Block 2nd Place Decision Match: Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Jushin Thunder Liger VS Hiroshi Tanahashi & Koji Kanemoto
Another big brawl off the bat. Tenzan and Liger were great in their roles of being the dastardly heels, as they cheated on several occasions to try and steal the win. Comparing the confrontations between the heavies and the juniors, Liger seemed to get more killer offense in on Tanahashi than Kanemoto got in on Tenzan. Kanemoto almost made Tenzan tap with the ground heel lock, but Liger scored two big near falls on the IWGP heavyweight champion with a Liger-bomb and a top rope brainbuster. Tanahashi managed to rebound back and hit the Slingblade followed by the High Fly Flow (both of which still look weak) to win the match.
Match Rating: **1/2

Akebono, Manabu Nakanishi & Riki Choshu VS Toru Yano, Togi Makabe & Shiro Koshinaka
I rather enjoyed Akebono in the ring every time I see him and I so wanted him to do a hip attack to Koshinaka here! Yano flubbed a scrapbuster by the big man, but the spot of the match went to Nakanishi catching Koshinaka in mid air off the top out of a diving hip attack into the Argentine Backbreaker! Choshu continues his old man no selling ways as he finished off Yano with a Riki-Lariat after Akebono squashed Yano and Koshinaka in the corner with a corner press.
Match Rating: *1/2

G1 Tag League Semi Final: Shinsuke Nakamura & Masahiro Chono VS Giant Bernard & Travis Tomko
This was my first time seeing Bernard and Tomko teaming together, and I was really impressed! They even moved surprisingly quick together and pulled off some cool tandem moves like a modified neckbreaker and a sidewalk-slam/elbow drop combination. Bernard and Tomko did a whole lot more in this match than I can remember them ever doing in WWE come to think of it! Tomko was still a bit sluggish, but still looked good there.
The other team on the other hand, Nakamura had to play up having bad ribs, so he took all the beatings throughout the match, making the hot tag to Chono to clean house. They pulled off the win when Chono pinned Tomko with a ground cobra-twist after a Shining Yakuza Kick from Nakamura. Fun finish, and the gaijins had a good showing.
Match Rating: **

G1 Tag League Semi Finals: Yuji Nagata & Takashi Iizuka VS Hiroshi Tanahashi & Koji Kanemoto

This was a ton of fun! You got the experienced team of Evil Nagata and veteran Iizuka stiffing, slamming and stretching the two division champions and putting up a great struggle! Nagata was just relentless here, stiffing both opponents and even giving Kanemoto an Exploder out on the floor! Iizuka was just as fun to watch as he dished out Blizzard suplexes and almost put out the IWGP champion with his trademark choke sleeper.
Kanemoto and Tanahashi had a great showing as well. Note to Kanemoto though, don’t apply an ankle lock on the LEFT leg immediately after giving the RIGHT leg a dragon screw! They did flub things a bit though not entirely their fault. Iizuka should have eased up on the sleeper a bit so Tanahashi could have hit the Shiranui properly, and they almost lost their balance when Tanahashi pinned Iizuka with a ground cobra-twist for the win. Hard fought win for the two champions, and Nagata looks like he’s ready to kill someone!
Match Rating: ***

NWA International Junior Heavyweight Title: Tiger Mask [C] VS Milano Collection AT

Honestly I expected more out of these two. The now heel Milano played up his part well, and even tried to steal the win by cheating, hitting Tiger on the head with the ring bell hammer when the referee got bumped! The work between the two was rather ok, and the closing sequence of exchanges and counters was fun, I just wished they could have came up with a better finish than Tiger pinning Milano with a crucifix out of the quick paced exchange.
Match Rating: *1/2

G1 Tag League Finals: Masahiro Chono & Shinsuke Nakamura VS Hiroshi Tanahashi & Koji Kanemoto
Is it just me or was Chono again letting Nakamura do all the work here? And what’s up with Nakamura playing up the bad ribs that was worked over constantly in the previous match, but yet he didn’t show any effects of it in this match! On the other team, I noticed it was Kanemoto doing most of the work and getting the bigger reactions for his team. Other than that, it was a really hot back and forth match, with the Black team winning out in the end with Nakamura hitting his new Landslide finisher on Kanemoto for the win.
Nakamura’s Landslide is a bit like a fireman’s carry into a Michinoku Driver II. Nakamura also has a killer modified backdrop now, where he flips them over and slams them on their stomachs. Fun match and a good final I guess.
Match Rating: ***1/2

This was a really strong show from top to bottom, and it’s good to see how much the youngsters are improving their game now.


Monday, February 05, 2007


NJPW G1 CLIMAX 2006 Day 1 6/03/2006

Starts off with a video look at the ten men taking part in this year’s G1:

Block A: Hiroshi Tanahashi, Manabu Nakanishi, Giant Bernard, Jushin Thunder Liger and Satoshi Kojima
Block B: Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Yuji Nagata, Togi Makabe, Koji Kanemoto and Naofumi Yamamoto

We than the official in-ring introductions of the 10-men, as well as 2005 winner Masahiro Chono coming out to return the G1 trophy. And the show kicks off!

Yujiro VS Wataru Inoue
Yujiro seems to have bulked up a bit, and had some good offense going for him, hitting a nice front suplex off the ropes, and doing Takashi Sugiura’s corner tackle, pick-up and slam move. He also managed to escape the dreaded “Boston crab of doom” which usually puts away young lions. Inoue didn’t look too impressive, and his Triangle Lancer that he finished Yujiro with was really weak looking.
Match Rating: 1/2*

Minoru & Tetsuya Naito VS El Samurai & Ryusuke Taguchi
My first look at Naito, and he’s still at that stage where he’s got nothing much going for him other than the fighting spirit of a young lion. Minoru seemed to sit out most of the match and Naito took the brunt of the punishment. The crowd popped big when Naito was able to counter a brainbuster from Taguchi into a small-package for a near fall though, but he ultimately fell to Taguchi’s Dondon, which is a modified reverse powerbomb where he picks up his opponents in a double chicken-wing from behind, then slams them face first into the mat.
Match Rating: *

Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii VS Shiro Koshinaka & Togi Makabe
Started off as a big brawl and the crowd was really into Koshinaka and his hip attacks and he finished Ishii with a powerbomb. Nothing really memorable here, but it’s good to see Makabe getting some kind of push and a rub from one of the veterans.
Match Rating: 1/2*

Giant Bernard & Black Strong Machine VS Riki Choshu & Akebono
Akebono is still rather green and out of place sometimes, but it’s still rather interesting seeing what the big guy can do in there. Choshu is Choshu of course, meaning he doesn’t have to sell anything if he doesn’t want to. Bernard did what he could to make Akebono look good, but seems to be pushing it just a bit too much if you ask me. Akebono scored the win with a big (literally) splash after a big Samoan drop.
Match Rating: *

G1 Climax – Block B: Yuji Nagata VS Naofumi Yamamoto
If you like your matches with a whole lot of stiff kicks, this is the one for you! Yamamto tried to get an early advantage by jumping Nagata at the bell, but Nagata came back and brutalized Yamamoto’s arm with kicks and armbreakers throughout the match which eventually lead to the referee stop via step-over armbar submission. But Yamamoto showed a lot of fire kicking away at Nagata for all he was worth when he could get in what little offense he could on the former IWGP heavyweight champion. Yamamoto is the future, but Nagata is the present, and the sooner they give him a belt, the better I think.
Match Rating: **

G1 Climax – Block A: Satoshi Kojima VS Jushin Thunder Liger
Kojima gave Liger more offense than he really needed to. He dominated Liger for the most part, but also gave Liger a lot of credible offense and near falls, including a big powerbomb and a pair of brainbusters, not to mention all the cradles and shotei slaps. Too bad Liger couldn’t repay the favor and sell Kojima’s lariat more convincingly when he hit him with it. I would have preferred if he did a flip or something instead of just dropping like deadweight.
Match Rating: *1/2

G1 Climax – Block B: Koji Kanemoto VS Hiroyoshi Tenzan
Tenzan had more control over Kanemoto than Kojima had over Liger. Kanemoto hit some high impact offense early on till Tenzan slowed things down and heeled the crowd when they backed Kanemoto. There was a cool spot where Kanemoto slipped out of the TTD and countered it into an ankle-lock for the near submission. He also managed to hit the moonsault but only got a 1 count! Kanemoto almost snapped Tenzan’s neck when he flipped out of a powerbomb into a sunset flip for a near fall, but Tenzan was able to hit the powerbomb on the second attempt, and spike Kanemoto with the TTD before he locked on the Anaconda Vice. Kanemoto was able to bridge out of the hold, but Tenzan slammed him back down with the Anaconda Slam and applied the hold again for the submission.
Match Rating: *1/2

G1 Climax - Block A: Manabu Nakanishi VS Hiroshi Tanahashi
Well this one just seemed to plod along. Nakanishi controlled most of the match thanks to his power game, but seemed winded for the most part. Tanahashi showed fire, but his offense is still really weak looking, including the top rope Slingblade he won the match with, which didn’t get much of a pop when he pinned Nakanishi after hitting it. The best part of the match was the sequence where Tanahashi slipped out of the Argentine Backbreaker and tried for the Dragon Sleeper, but Nakanishi lifted him off his feet into the powerslam position only for Tanahashi to bring him back down by using a Final Cut!
Match Rating: *1/2

Overall: Hate to say it, but the video package of highlights from the 2005 G1 at the end of the show was probably the best part of this one. Sure it’s only the first day of the tournament, but shouldn’t they go all out since they all want to win the thing so badly?


Thursday, February 01, 2007


NOAH "Shiny Navigation" 9/09/2006

Mushiking Terry VS Atsushi Aoki
I was rather surprised at the amount of offense Aoki got in the match, working over Terry’s arm to set up for his arm-bar finishers. The rookie in blue even showed a bit of cockiness and also tried to steal the win by hitting Terry with a low blow followed by his cradle backdrop-hold for a near fall! He still needs a bit of work on his Mysterio-rana into an armbar, and he did slip up his timing on one corner Irish whip, but was able to cover up for it nicely. He also showed his fighting spirit by kicking out of a death valley bomb (which I don’t think I’ve ever seen Terry do before!), and a 619 before the hero of NOAH finally put him away with the Mist Crash.
Match Rating: **

Akitoshi Saito, Masao Inoue & Kishin Kawabata VS Scorpio, Joe Legend & Ace Steel
This match was better than it had any right to be! Everyone was working on full cylinders here and didn’t slow things down for a minute! I was actually rather surprised at Ace Steel playing up the insane maniac role as he was constantly biting all the Dark Agents and drew the ire of Inoue who he bit him back when he had the chance! Legend even surprised me with his agility for a big man as he was able to turn himself in mid-air out of a diving body press into a diving leg drop! Legend ultimately scored the win over Kawabata with a high-angle Complete Shot to end a darn entertaining match.
Match Rating: ***

Tamon Honda & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi VS Takuma Sano & SUWA
What the heck is up with Kikuchi’s new entrance music? It’s sounds something like him singing it repeating the words “I am Kikuchi” over and over! He was also going for the wild man entrance, taunting the audience and headbutting a soccer ball into the crowd! The match itself also mostly centered around him as he goes iron-head again, blasting SUWA with a big headbutt twice outside the ring with the microphone held up to it to enhance the effect! After seeing what happened to SUWA, even Sano did all he could to avoid getting hit by Kikuchi’s cranium!
SUWA even tried to steal a page from the old Dragon Gate Florida Brothers playbook when he brought in a Halliburton briefcase and tossed to Kikuchi before faking being hit by it behind referee Mighty Inoue’s back, prompting Inoue to accuse Kikuchi of hitting him with it! Unlike in Dratgon Gate, Kikuchi wasn’t disqualified though, and the match continued, with Sano and SUWA getting the win after SUWA hit the John Woo followed by the FFF on Kikuchi. Honda barely had any time in the match, and the only thing of significance he did was lifting SUWA off his feet in a chancery while he sat on the top rope! That was before Sano knocked him off and hit the diving foot stomp leading up to the finish.
Match Rating: **1/2

Mohammed Yone & Ippei Ota VS Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Kentaro Shiga
Another match that was just a ton of fun! After the confrontation here, I can only imagine the kind of singles match Yone and Shiga could have since both men targeted each other’s trademark hairdo! There was even a very fun camera view of Yone and Shiga dragging each other out on the rampway and getting the crowd to mess-up each other’s hair while Ota put Kanemaru through a 30+ rotation airplane spin! Kanemaru also did a fun job of selling the airplane spin as he stumbled to his feet and dropkicked thin air cause he still dizzy! You got to give Ota credit also, as he was able to kick out of the superstar press and the moonsault before Kanemaru put him away with the brainbuster.
I seriously hope we get to see Shiga defend the Hardcore Crown against Yone sometime down the road.
Match Rating: **1/2

Akira Taue & Go Shiozaki VS KENTA & Katsuyori Shibata
This one was all kinds of awesomeness, and seemed to almost have the same heat level as Kobashi/Shiozaki VS Sasaki/Nakajima from 2005! Shibata and KENTA irritated Taue a lot during the match, constantly kicking him off the apron while they abused Go, and Shibata even did Taue’s coconut crush move to annoy the big man! So needless to say the crowd was hot and exploded when Taue got the hot tag and went it beating down the two disrespectful punks! Team TAKEOVER managed to battle back though, and Shibata took out Taue with the PK, giving them the opening to hit a springboard doomsday device on Go to get the win. Awesome match!
Match Rating: ****

Mitsuharu Misawa & Yoshinari Ogawa VS Bison Smith & Keith Walker
As far as fun factor goes, this was probably the least fun, but still good none the less, with Smith and Walker playing the badass big power gaijin team. I also liked the little heelish touch they added by having Joe Legend and Ace Steel as their cornermen and cheating behind the referee’s back when they had the chance! Ogawa had his problems due to his size, and it was up to Misawa to match power and technique with them even if he did have his share of difficulties. The gaijins almost scored the win with an awesome powerbomb/top-rope iron-claw bomb combination on Misawa, but the two time GHC tag champions were able to battle back and score the win pinning Walker after an impressive combination Emerald Frosion/brainbuster move.
Match Rating: *1/2

Takeshi Rikioh & Takeshi Morishima VS Yoshihiro Takayama & Takashi Sugiura
I thought the tag match with Shibata earlier would be the best of the night, but than this match comes along! The crowd was heavily behind Sugiura and went nuts every time he was able power up the two super heavyweights who comprise WILD II! Sugiura was able to dead-lift Rikioh off the mat, and hit the Olympic Slam on Morishima, as well as delivering several German suplexes to the bigger men! He even almost made Rikioh tap out to the grapevine ankle-hold! The crowd really wanted Sugiura to win here, and he gave it all he got up to the very end when Rikioh finally put him away with the Muso. Heck, the look on Rikioh’s face by the end of it clearly shows what a war they were just put out Sugiura!
I really hope Sugiura gets a heavyweight push much like Marufuji and KENTA have been getting lately.
Match Rating: ****

GHC Heavyweight Title: Jun Akiyama [C] VS Naomichi Marufuji
Let’s face it, NO ONE expected Marufuji to win this one, but that all changed late in the match when Marufuji kicked out of a big head-drop Exploder as well as the Sterness Dust Alpha (so much for Akiyama having a move that could beat Kobashi?). It was there that the big Marufuji chants started and things turned in his favor after hitting a big top rope Shiranui, quickly followed by a sequence of counters leading to Marufuji trapping Akiyama in the Perfect Inside Cradle, which looked like a wrist-clutch small package hold, to pull off the upset of the year and win the GHC heavyweight title!
Once again, as per Marufuji’s MO, there was leg-work at the beginning that really didn’t play much of a factor in the ending if you ask me. But he did do a rather sick looking Shiranui on to the guard rail, trying to break Akiyama’s back! He also gave him a Shiranui on the floor and a dropkick knocking off the apron landing hard on his back too. Akiyama also spent a period working over Marufuji’s back, slamming him off the rampway to the floor and locking on the old Scorpion Death Lock!
But the night of course was Marufuji’s, and the crowd erupted in shock and surprise that he actually pulled it off, but gave the man big cheers and chants of his name as his theme played. Nice touch by Marufuji to go out and thank Misawa at ringside who was doing guest commentary for the match.
Match Rating: ***1/2

Overall: Top to bottom, this was a great show! Highly recommended!



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