TAKESHI MORISHIMA vs. MAKOTO HASHI
I never wanted someone to stop hitting some one in the face as much as I did here. Makoto gets his bell rung big time. He was stumbling and bumbling and could barely stand up straight and they continued to do strike exchanges with Morishima blasting him in the head. The ref should have counted him out on the outside and moved on.
AKITOSHI SAITO & MASAO INOUE vs.TAIJI ISHIMORI & KENTARO SHIGA
Ishimori tried really hard to keep the pace up, but he spent too much on the apron, which allowed us to indulge on a Inoue/Shiga match up.....yikes. There were some comedy bits sprinkled in, thanks to Inoue, but none of it really improves this match substantially. Too long for the four involved, and it honestly felt like they thought so too.
KENTA, MOHAMMED YONE, YOSHINOBU KANEMARU & GENBA HIRAYANGI vs KENSUKE SASAKI, TAKASHI OKITA, KENTO MIYAHARA & SATOSHI KAJIWARA
Some good and some bad. It's an 8-Man so it keeps Mohammed Yone from taking up too much time so that's a plus. I really like Okita, he's kind of like a baby Sugiura. Not nearly as good but he comes in with similar fire and intensity and it helps the match pick up. Kensuke is awesome as he usually is and I love him chopping the hell out of Genba, and I'd really like to see KENTA and Miyahara mix it up for 8-10 minutes. They seemed really game to work together. Kajiwara spends the big chunk getting beat down but doesn't draw out the hot tag. It's kind of annoying. DISOBEY is supposed to be a heel stable, and they cut the ring off on who ever they're working but eventually they just tag out. It kills the tension.
And the finish kills everything. KENTA and Kanemaru just decide to turn on Yone. They drill him hard and leave throw one of the KO guys on top of him to lose. Genba looked shocked and they made him blast Yone with a chair. I have no idea why they wrestled for 13 minutes if they're just going to beat up Yone. Why didn't they tell a story where Yone gets in trouble in the match, and they lose and then they kick him out of the group? I don't get it.
YUTAKA YOSHIE vs. JUN AKIYAMA
This was pretty tasty. There's about a 4 minute stretch in the first half where it's not anything special, but the rest of it is fun. Yoshie kills Akiyama with a splash of an apron to the floor. Jun was selling it brilliantly. Or he was in real pain. One or the other. Jun's Exploder Suplexes look amazing on Yoshie. Just watch it, it's good stuff.
JUNIOR HEAVY TAG TITLE MATCH
NAOMICHI MARUFUJI & ATUSHI AOKI (c) vs. YOSHINARI OGAWA & RICKY MARVIN
This is pretty damn good stuff. It's great "game plan" wrestling. Marvin and Ogawa come in with a plan and it's kind of brilliant. It honestly feels like Ogawa spent weeks teaching Marvin how to combat Aoki and Marufuji. Both guys offer solid counters, especially Marvin, who seemed to have an answer for EVERYTHING. Each moment seemed to feel like it was apart of a whole story, and nothing felt out of place. Marufuji, after having everything countered figuring out a logical and realistic moment to fit in his dropkick from the floor to the apron was a highlight, just because it wasn't some long drawn out affair.
My big complaint was the ref, who was horrible at counting near falls. Everytime he'd give brief pause before an eventual third count. It felt like he was literally stopping and going "Okaaaaaaaaay, here it comes." And then he'd never look like he really intended to make a count. That kind of stuff can kill a match, and it certainly undermined the work they had put into it.
GHC JUNIOR HEAVYWHEIGHT TITLE MATCH
KOTARO SUZUKI (c) vs. KATSUHIKO NAKAJIMA
There's some AWESOME stuff in this match, and you should absolutely watch it. I've seen three of Suzuki's title defenses I think and he's done solid work in all of them. While he's totally good in this one, he totally gets overshadowed by the amazing Nakajima, who just kills it the whole match. He's a total prick the whole time and just beats the snot out of Suzuki. He decides pretty early on that if he can't win he's going to at least kick Suzuki's face off, and he nearly succeeds. Just watch this match NOW:
My only problem is that Nakajima was so good that I was disappointed in the finish. I didn't really feel any need to cheer for Kotaro or feel any sympathy for him. I don't know what the problem was, but he just didn't grab me enough to be excited for him to pull of the win. He just looked totally outclassed. Nakajima is a god.
GHC HEAVYWEIGHT TAG TITLE MATCH
YOSHIHIRO TAKAYAMA & TAKUMA SANO (c) vs. GO SHIOZAKI & SHUHEI TANIGUCHI
Oh man were these guys on. Just some heavyweight nastiness. Shuhei Taniguchi really stood out and his work Takayama was especially good. They tell a really solid story with Takayama and Sano wanting to focus on Taniguchi and trying to disable Shiozaki by stomping the hell out of his injured hand. It's another strong "gameplan" wrestling match, where it feels like people working strategically to win as opposed to just exhibiting moves with no rhyme or reason. Definitely check this one out
GHC HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH
TAKASHI SUGIURA(c) vs. GIANT BERNARD
Sugiura can take some amazing beatings. Bernard gives him everything and Sugiura looks pretty close to Death's door by the time it's over with. Sugiura is one of the best "fiery comeback" wrestler's in the world. When he sees his window to get back in the match, he comes back with a vengeance and you can't help but get excited. Him eventually picking up Bernard felt like a super feat of strength, the way the built it up, but I'm a little iffy on him doing it so much to finish the match. I don't know what I would want them to do instead, but it felt like it kind of ruined the mystique behind whether Sugiura could over power him. Still a fun bout though.
OVERALL SHOW THOUGHTS:
Some really good stuff from top to bottom. The DISOBEY trios match, wasn't bad until the ending. The weakest match would easily be the Saito tag, but it's not so long that you get pissed that it exists. But besides those, you still get FIVE matches that are in the good to great range, which sounds ridiculous for any contemporary NOAH card. Definitely a strong show that's worth checking out and maybe even worth buying from IVP Videos, which is where I get most of my puro DVDs.