Mohammed Yone & Akihiko Ito VS Takashi Okita & Kento Miyahara
I know Yone is coming off challenging Sasaki for the GHC title and all, but it didn’t look right seeing him no selling and single handedly handling two guys here! I wouldn’t mind if he was someone the size of Rikioh or Morishima, or a senior like Taue, but he is neither so it sort of buried the Kensuke Office guys for me.Match Rating: ½*
Yoshinari Ogawa, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Kotaro Suzuki VS Doug Williams, Bryan Danielson & Atsushi Aoki
I find it funny that despite the rivalry between Ogawa and Williams, that they never decided to throw them together to form a tag team, even for short term. Their styles match up well and it would have made for an interesting tandem. It was funny seeing Ogawa not wanting any part of the cheating tactics of his partners, and even took out Genba with a backdrop on the floor! It got to the point Kanemaru & Suzuki attacked Ogawa! They still ended up winning when Kotaro pinned Aoki with the Blue Destiny, but that just lead to Williams & Danielson assisting Ogawa to lay out the junior tag champions.Match Rating: **
Akira Taue & Makoto Hashi VS Yoshihiro Takayama & Takuma Sano
Despite being the newly crowned hardcore openweight champion, Hashi was still the job guy here. I really hated that he connected with TWO of his finishers on Sano, but it still wasn’t enough to put him away! He added a nice spinning backfist to his arsenal at least, but after being with the company for so long, it wouldn’t hurt to give the guy a decent push, and being hardcore openweight champion doesn’t count.Match Rating: *1/2
Takeshi Morishima & Takashi Sugiura VS Nigel McGuinness & Superstar Steve
The ROH rivalry between Morishima and McGuinness, the man that beat him for the ROH title, are brought to the Budokan, and two go right at it! It was a good tag match, with a solid showing for Superstar Steve, who looked more than just enhancement talent. Maybe one day he will be a superstar? It was still determined that he’s pretty low in the rank and file though, since it took Sugiura to catching him in mid-air with a German suplex-hold to be enough to put him away. And at least we got to see Morishima give McGuinness a wicked looking backdrop suplex.Match Rating: **
Kensuke Sasaki, Katsuhiko Nakajima & Kota Ibushi VS Mitsuharu Misawa, Taiji Ishimori & Ricky Marvin
I actually had high hopes for this one, since there’s a good deal of talent involved. But it seemed by the end of it a lot of them messed up their timing and botched quite a few moves! I liked seeing Ibushi changed things up with his offense when instead of doing a double moonsault when his opponent rolled away, he did a moonsault followed by a standing shooting star press when his opponent rolled inward instead! I will admit though, it was a bit hard seeing Misawa take big bumps here, like Sasaki tornado-bomb, when you knew that fate that awaited him just eight months later.Match Rating: **1/2
GHC Tag Team Titles: Akitoshi Saito & Bison Smith [C] VS Jun Akiyama & Takeshi Rikioh
They tried to make it look like the deck was stacked against the champions since Bison was working with a heavily taped upper body, which I hate to say resembled a bra. But he fought through the pain the champions were able to pull out a victory. I know Akiyama is more than willing to put people over, but it just damages himself when we’ve seen him take so much more in previous matches, but here it just takes a Bisontenial followed by a lariat and a Sickle of Death to put him away. I thought they could have done a better job with the near falls to build up some suspense, but you know they had the match go shorter than the usual half-hour blockbuster tag title match since they were going for the 60-minute match next.Match Rating: **1/2
GHC Jr. Heavyweight Title & AJPW World Jr. Heavyweight Title – Double Title Match: KENTA [GHC] VS Naomichi Marufuji [AJPW]
Kyohei Wada is the referee for the match. Bell rings and both men stare each other down rather than charge into each other like they have in the past. Collar and elbow tie-up, and KENTA backs Marufuji into the ropes before breaking clean. Lock up again, and Marufuji backs KENTA into the ropes. Marufuji tries a cheap shot high kick, but KENTA ducks and responds with one of his own that Marufuji blocks. Lock up again and they trade elbow strikes. KENTA hits a sobat kick and runs the ropes. Marufuji follows him and they avoid each other before KENTA tries a kick which is caught by Marufuji, who also ducks an attempt at an enzuguiri. Marufuji tries for a sliding dropkick but KENTA avoids it and they stare off. They trade positions trying to get each other’s back before trading arm-wringers back and forth. Marufuji uses a hammerlock to get KENTA onto the mat, and starts driving his knee in to work the arm. KENTA tries to get to his feet, but is grounded as Marufuji transitions from a kimura to a headscissors. KENTA teases going for the old Muga hand-stand to escape, but instead pops his head out and tries to take off Marufuji’s with a quick kick, but the AJPW Jr. champion is quick enough to avoid it.5 MINUTES
They trade strikes and Marufuji forces KENTA into a corner with a sobat kick. He charges him but KENTA kicks him off. KENTA runs the ropes, Marufuji tries a leapfrog, but KENTA meets him in mid-air with a big jumping kick! KENTA with a double knee drop and a cover for the first 2 count of the match. Marufuji sitting in the corner as KENTA lays in several kicks and stomps. Irish whip and KENTA turns Marufuji inside out with a kitchen sink knee to the gut. He pins him for a 2 count before locking on a body scissors. Marufuji drags them to the ropes, but Referee Wada kicks the ropes away when Marufuji touches them! Seems Wada wants full contact with the ropes rather than a light touch. Marufuji is able to grip the rope with both hands to get the hold released. KENTA works the mid-section with knee strikes and body shots in the corner. Whip into the corner and KENTA follows in, catches Marufuji as he tries to kick him, ducks and head kick, but gets caught with a headscissors and Marufuji pulls him face first into the 2nd turnbuckle. Marufuji charges in and hits a big jumping elbow. Off the ropes and Marufuji runs into a big boot, but catches KENTA with a dropkick as he comes of the ropes, sending him to the outside. Marufuji tries an Asai moonsault, but KENTA kicks his legs out and both collapse out on the floor. KENTA tries to bring Marufuji back into the ring with a suplex, but Marufuji escapes by slapping him in the nose and follows with a triple jump moonsault attack for a 2 count!10 MINUTES
KENTA flips out of a backdrop attempt and catchess Marufuji with a zero-sweep kick off the ropes. KENTA tries a running high-kick in the corner, but Marufuji ducks it and kicks out his other leg while he caught on the ropes. Marufuji seems to botch a springboard move so he ends up just kicking out KENTA’s leg again before going back to work on it. Marufuji locks on a figure four and KENTA manages to get to the ropes after struggling for a bit. Marufuji stomps and stands on KENTA’s leg in the corner. Marufuji straddles KENTA on the top rope and dropkicks his knee before bringing him back in the ring with a dragon screw. Rolling leglock by Marufuji and KENTA has to struggle to the ropes to break the hold again. KENTA tries to fire back, but Marufuji with a low dropkick to the knee to cut him off. Marufuji out on the apron and tries to dragon screw KENTA through the ropes, but KENTA fights it off with elbow strikes, and takes him down with a kick to the leg of his own followed by a kick to the body that knocks him off the apron to the floor.15 MINUTES
KENTA rests up Marufuji climbs back into the ring. Marufuji catches KENTA with a low dropkick off the ropes, but KENTA recovers in time to drop Marufuji as he comes off the ropes with a big lariat. KENTA now with a barrage of kicks and flings Marufuji into the corner turnbuckle with a double-underhook suplex! Strike combo followed by the Busaiku Knee! Cover, but only a 2 count! KENTA tries for a powerbomb, but Marufuji escapes and drives the back of his head into the corner buckle, and follows with a kick to the back of the head. Marufuji off the ropes, but KENTA trips him into the 619 position. KENTA follows up with a springboard out of the ring driving his knees into Marufuji’s face! Both men out on the floor now. Marufuji reverses an Irish whip into the guardrail and follows in, but KENTA trips him and he crashes chest first into the steel. KENTA picks him up on his shoulders and drops him chest first on the guardrail! KENTA follows with a neckbreaker, dropping Marufuji’s back across the rail! Back into the ring and KENTA covers for a 2. KENTA starts to work on Marufuji’s neck with a pair of elbow drops and one off the second rope. Pinfall attempt gets another 2, and KENTA locks on a figure-four headlock. Marufuji struggles to the ropes to break the hold.20 MINUTES
Neckbreaker by KENTA for another near fall. Marufuji flips out of a neckbreaker kicks KENTA as he charges him in the corner. KENTA tries to suplex him off the second rope, but Marufuji lands on his feet and kicks him in the head before driving him into the opposite corner with a knee to the back of the head for added measure. Marufuji grounds KENTA with a modified headlock, which ends up as a crossface. KENTA struggles to the ropes to break the hold. KENTA struggles to his feet and is met with a superkick followed by a kick to the back of the head, and a Shiranui! Marufuji covers for a 2 count. Marufuji tries for a second Shiranui, but KENTA pushes him off. KENTA charges in but is met with a kick to the face. Marufuji tries a springboard move out of the corner, but KENTA catches him with a stunner! KENTA places Marufuji on the ropes and goes up top, but Marufuji recovers and knocks him off the top to the floor with a springboard dropkick! Marufuji sends KENTA into the corner post before driving him into the guardrail. Back in the ring and Marufuji covers for 2 count before clamping on a sleeper. Back to their feet and Marufuji uses a cravate.25 MINUTES
Marufuji with a snapmare before giving him a neck snapper. Marufuji off the ropes with a double stomp on KENTA’s face! KENTA rolls out of the ring in pain, but eats a dropkick in the face when he tries to get back in and the back of his head smacks the guardrail. Marufuji next with a sick brainbuster dropping KENTA’s back on the standing guardrail! KENTA struggles back into the ring to beat the count, but Marufuji then places his neck across the ropes and stands on his face! KENTA is able to struggle to his feet and trade slaps with the AJPW Jr. champion, but Marufuji takes a cheap shot at his neck. With KENTA down on his back, Marufuji gives him a swift soccer kick to the side of his head! Piledriver by Marufuji for a near fall, and Marufuji uses a sleeper hold with a body scissors to continue his work on KENTA’s neck. KENTA eventually gets to the ropes to break the hold30 MINUTES
Marufuji props KENTA in the corner and continues his assault with a knuckle punch to the back of KENTA’s neck. KENTA reverses an Irish whip and hits Marufuji with a lariat in the corner followed by a big running kick. KENTA tries for another running move, but Marufuji follows him into the corner and hits a lariat of his own! Marufuji with an Irish whip into the ropes, but KENTA comes out with a running forearm smash and follows up with a pair of lariats. Whip into the corner again, and KENTA launches Marufuji with a big back body drop. KENTA goes up top and connect with a diving lariat for a near fall. Fisherman’s buster for another near fall. KENTA tries for the STF, but Marufuji quickly scrambles to the ropes. Marufuji trips KENTA off the ropes, and KENTA trips him right back before locking on the STF! Marufuji is able to struggle to the ropes to break the hold. KENTA tries for a tiger suplex, but Marufuji holds on to the ropes. KENTA tries a charging attack, but Marufuji ducks and KENTA flies over the top rope out to the floor. Marufuji tries a plancha, but KENTA dodges and kicks him into the guardrail. KENTA charges in, but Marufuji flips him over the guardrail into the audience. Marufuji then hits a HUGE springboard moonsault off the top rope over the guardrail out on KENTA! Shades of the GHC title match 2 years prior, but Marufuji didn’t almost kill himself again by landing throat first on the railing this time. KENTA barely beats the 10 count back into the ring as the ring announcer signals the 35 minute mark!35 MINUTES
Marufuji with a big jumping knee in the corner, followed by a German suplex for a near fall. KENTA fights off a second German attempt, and tries a lariat but ends up in a cross-armed German position! KENTA gets to the ropes to break the hold, so Marufji changes it to a cobra clutch, and flips the GHC Jr. champion down to the mat with a triangle cobra clutch! KENTA struggles to his feet, but Marufuji brings him right back down with a back cracker while maintaining the cobra! Marufuji wraps his legs around KENTA’s head for added pressure! KENTA struggles and eventually makes it to the ropes to break the hold, but Marufuji instead modifies the hold into a cobra & wrist-clutch backdrop suplex-hold for a near fall! KENTA is dazed and bleeding from the mouth as Marufuji sets him up in the Tree of Woe. Marufuji springboards from corner to corner, but KENTA avoids the move by pulling himself up the corner! KENTA gets to a seating position up top, but eats a big jumping superkick!40 MINUTES
Marufuji tries for a hurricanrana, but KENTA counters by tossing him off with a powerbomb! While Marufuji is on all fours, KENTA dives off the top with a double stomp on the back of Marufuji’s neck! KENTA covers for a 2 count. KENTA sets up Marufuji on the top rope and hits a big diving knee to his back, following with a kick off the ropes while Marufuji is in a sitting position for a near fall. Marufuji catches KENTA with a thrust kick, but gets sent over the top to the apron. KENTA hits the strike combo followed by a Busaiku Knee, knocking Marufuji off the apron onto the guardrail and almost knocking the announce table! Marufuji beats the 10 count back into the ring, but is met by a springboard missile dropkick and a barrage of high impact running kicks in the corner. Sit-out powerbomb by KENTA for a 2 count. KENTA tries for the Go 2 Sleep, but Marufuji flips out and tries for a Shiranui, but KENTA counters that wrapping him in an Octopus Stretch! Marufuji actually carries KENTA’s weight to try to get to the ropes, but loses his balance and falls down. KENTA maintains the hold and gets a pinning combination out of it for a 2 count. Strike combo by KENTA, but Marufuji follows him off the ropes and hits a Busaiku Knee of his own!45 MINUTES
Referee counts both men down, but Marufuji to his feet first. He goes up top, but KENTA recovers as well and cuts him off. KENTA tries to superplex Marufuji out of the ring to the floor, but Marufuji is able to fight out of it. With KENTA dangling on the top rope, Marufuji makes a mad dash down the isle and hits KENTA with a dropkick! Marufuji then slams KENTA off the top down to the floor! KENTA is hurt and barely gets back in the ring in time, but Marufuji is waiting for him and hits him with the springboard dropkick from one corner of the ring to the other! High angle spinning powerbomb by Marufuji gets a 2 count! KENTA struggles to his feet and is met by a superkick followed by a Shiranui for a near fall. They trade strikes, but Marufuji drops KENTA with a lariat off the ropes for another near fall.50 MINUTES
Marufuji sets up for another Shiranui, but KENTA blocks it, so Marufuji turns it into a flipping neckbreaker! Cover and another near fall! Frustrated, Marufuji sets up KENTA for a super Shiranui! KENTA fights it off and tries for a super tiger suplex, but Marufuji flips over and lands on his feet! He charges at KENTA with a lariat, but KENTA counters into a tiger suplex-hold for a very close 2.9! KENTA with a running knee to the back of Marufuji followed by a Busaiku Knee for another 2.9! KENTA with 3 hard kicks to the head and covers him for another near fall! KENTA tries for the Go 2 Sleep, but it’s Marufuji who catches him with a knee to the face out of the move! Both men struggle to their feet. Marufuji with a thrust kick! KENTA with a lariat! KENTA with a high kick! Marufuji with a spinning back kick to the head! Both men down again! Both men struggle to their feet again and trade strikes. KENTA with two high kicks to the head, and Marufuji responds with a spinning back kick knocking KENTA to one knee!55 MINUTES!
Marufuji with another kick to the face and a cover for a near fall. Marufuji sets up KENTA and hits the Pole Shift! But he’s too hurt to make the cover! He eventually gets over for the pinfall, and KENTA barely lifts a shoulder for the 2 count! Marufuji tries for the Pole Shift again, but KENTA pick him up for the Go 2 Sleep! Marufuji tries to fight out with a barrage of elbow strikes, but KENTA connects with the move! KENTA crawls over for the cover, but only gets a big near fall!57 MINUTES!!
Both men are exhausted and are fighting just to get to their feet. They both charge and take down each other with lariats, but KENTA is able to crawl over and pin Marufuji for another near fall!58 MINUTES!!!
Marufuji with another big spin kick to the head and a cover, but KENTA gets his foot on the ropes! They get to their feet again and start throwing serious elbow strikes at each other! KENTA picks up Marufuji out of nowhere and hits another Go 2 Sleep! Cover! 1-2-2.9!59 MINUTES!!!!
They struggle to their feet and trade strikes again! Sobat kick by Marufuji! POLE SHIFT! Marufuji with a deep cover, but only gets a 2.9 with 10 seconds left on the clock! Both men are on their knees trading strikes as the time limit comes to an end, signaling the bout as a DRAW!
Wow. They worked kind of a smart match here, and not the all out spot fest you’d expect. If you didn’t know the match ended in a draw, you could pretty much tell that was the direction it was headed since they hadn’t really busted out any of the big spots by the half way mark. All the body work from the first half of the match seemed to go out the window by the third quarter though. It was still a solid effort by both though, and a great match overall.Match Rating: ****1/2Overall:
From top to bottom, this was another entertaining show. Maybe it had to do with the undercard matches being so short? The main event didn’t really break any new ground, but it was definitely a spectacle.
Labels: AJPW, DDT, Kensuke Office, NOAH