Akihiko Ito VS Takashi Okita
A good showing for both youngsters. Okita looks a lot like Tomohiro Ishii, and he has a nice spear tackle and a Jackhammer which he should be finishing people off with soon. He'll definitely be a good heavyweight prospect after a few years of work. I'm also still a big fan of Ito and love seeing his progression.
I thought it was a nice touch by the referee to not count the 3 when Okita didn't land properly from Ito's full-nelson suplex, and Ito had to do the move again to get it right for the 3 count.Match Rating: *1/2Masao Inoue & Genba Hirayanagi VS Mitsuo Momota & Masashi Aoyagi
Momota is wearing red tonight, matching Aoyagi. The usual comedy antics and slapfests ensue, and Inoue pulls out the win with a very weak looking pin on Momota. Would have been better if they gave Genba the rub of scoring the pin.Match Rating: 1/2*Mitsuharu Misawa, Yoshinari Ogawa & Atsushi Aoki VS Yoshihiro Takayama, Takuma Sano & Takashi Sugiura
Standard six-man warfare, with emphasis on Aoki getting to show what he's got. I liked the spot where Takayama blocked Ogawa's eye-poke and gave him one of his own! Everybody now seems weary to avoid Sano sobat kick, and Misawa didn't do much in this one. There was a good pop for Aoki when he kicked out of a big powerbomb by Sano, but fell to the Northern Lights Bomb seconds later.Match Rating: *Akira Taue & Akitoshi Saito VS Jun Akiyama & Takeshi Rikioh
This was an entertaining match, with good work from all four men, but I thought Taue deserved better the way Rikioh pinned him with a rather sloppy Muso.Match Rating: **1/2Takeshi Morishima VS Katsuhiko Nakajima
The match only went nine minutes, but I still feel Morishima gave Nakajima too much offense here. Sure Nakajima was smaller and faster, but even he shouldn't be recovering so quickly from a DDT on the concrete floor to take back control! Seeing Nakajima German suplex Morishima is always impressive though. Two big lariats and a backdrop suplex later, and Morishima gets the win.Match Rating: **2/3 Falls: KENTA & Taiji Ishimori VS Naomichi Marufuji & Ricky Marvin
Marufuji & KENTA did the more high-impact stuff, while Marvin & Ishimori did the speedy flippy stuff. It was surprising that Marufuji scored the first fall over KENTA, followed by KENTA scoring the second fall over Marufuji. And the final fall was Ishimori going over Marvin with a modified cradle.
I liked Marvin heeling the crowd of fangirls was cheering for the pretty boys in the match. Definitely a few missed spots in this one, but all 4 men put in good work here for an entertaining match.Match Rating: ***GHC Jr. Tag Team Titles: Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Kotaro Suzuki [C] VS Yujiro & Tetsuya Naito
Yujiro & Naito look like heavyweights compared to the NOAH champions! They weren't even treated as heel outsiders as there was a loud group of fangirls cheering for them throughout the match! Too bad Kanemaru or Suzuki didn't heel it up a bit by yelling at the fangirls like Marvin did in the 2/3 falls match. Having the champions be the face team against an outsider team that was getting cheered more than them just didn't work.
With that said, I actually had a hard time watching this match. For some reason NO LIMIT just weren't as interesting to watch here compared to seeing them in NJPW. I guess it didn't help that they didn't do anything to stand out and be considered a threat to the champions. Being the outsider team, even they didn't try to heel things up to get some heat. Things picked up by the end, with the champions retaining after Kanemaru pinned Naito with the Touch Out, but overall I didn't think the match was anything special.Match Rating: ***GHC Heavyweight Championship: Kensuke Sasaki [C] VS Mohammed Yone
Give them credit for starting this off different from other title matches, as Yone attacked Sasaki backstage and dragged him out to the arena! Sasaki was able to regain control though, and it took a while to convince Joe Higuchi to start the match without the official title match declaration and introductions!
One of the major complaints I have about this match was that they went overkill having Kensuke kick out of TWO Muscle Busters! And this was after Yone had already given him one out on the floor earlier in the match! Sure it might have built up a big hope spot for Yone, but kicking out of the move twice just cheapens the effectiveness of the finisher, like what they do all the time in Dragon Gate. Yone also seemed to have lousy facial expressions to sell the shock of Sasaki kicking out of his finisher, and some points he even did a lousy job of selling Sasaki's lariats! Heck, Sasaki did a better version of the Muscle Buster than Yone, making it look more like a fisherman's brainbuster before putting him away with the Northern Lights Bomb to retain.
Yone put up a good fight, but he looked nowhere near being a main event challenger. The overkill of his finisher not working didn't help either.Match Rating: **1/2
Labels: Kensuke Office, NJPW, NOAH