Ricky Marvin was so frustrating in this match. He's absurdly athletic and does some amazing looking stuff in this match, but it's all put together without much logic. Drove me nuts. And I hate it when he hit this amazing double knee drop and then gets up and just tells Shuji to get up so he can super kick him. Marufuji, sort of did something similar, but you never see him tell the other guy to get up, you just see him waiting. It felt more natural. But Marvin, he's gotta stop everything and remind me that this is cooperative, and that his opponent needs to hurry up and get up so he can do the next spot. Annoying.
Marufuji was really good in this and the All-Japan guys were great. Loved the interactions between the three of them. If someone like Aoki was in the Ricky Marvin spot this would have been gangbusters.
GENBA HIRAYANAGI vs. TAIJI ISHIMORI
Quick and breezy match, that didn't overstay it's welcome. Genba didn't do much once it got rolling but hang with Taiji while he jumped around. Nothing mind blowing, but it was very simple and well execute with Ishimori doing some of his trademark offense.
YOSHINOBU KANEMARU vs. LANCELOT BRAVADO
Another quick match, but this didn't flow as well as the last one. The middle section just got really muddled with Kanemaru being a little all over the place. Bravado moved pretty well and did some neat stuff. He's kind of goofy but entertaining, by being competitive and not relying on schtick.
KATSUHIKO NAKAJIMA & SATOSHI KAJIWARA & vs. ATSUSHI AOKI & KOTARO SUZUKI
Atsushi Aoki is the manliest junior in the world, I think. His stuff with Nakajima was really awesome, with him targeting the knee as much as he could. This is one of those matches where you felt like Aoki and Suzuki had a much better strategy going in. Aoki works the knee and then tags in the faster Suzuki to further wear out Nakajima. The finish worked just really well, as they isolated the weak link, Kajiwara knowing that Nak would have a hard time saving him. Nicely laid out match with some really good exchanges from everyone. Solid match, worth checking out.
AKITOSHI SAITO & JUN AKIYAMA vs. KENSUKE SASAKI & NAOKI SANO
A little ho-hum. If you like Akiyama and Sasaki knocking eachother around, you get a little bit of that, but nothing as heated as past encounters. Sano and Saito worked well together early on, but the finish, which featured them, wasn't really that engaging and ended rather flatly. I really like the team of Akiyama/Saito, but this was match was a little "through the motions" for everyone. Oh well.
MUHAMMED YONE vs. TAKASHI SUGIURA
Pretty listless in the beginning which is pretty much my standard description of anything Yone has been involved in for years and years. It started to get cooking in the last five minutes, when Yone started to get a little cocky, but too little too late, I say. Some good stuff here and there, but not worth checking out unless you're a huge fan of either guy.
GO SHIOZAKI & SHUHEI TANIGUCHI vs. TAKESHI MORISHIMA & KENTA KOBASHI
Kobashi is still a bundle of fun. His personality is so bright and shiny. It's still kind of sad to see him take bumps or run. He actually bumps around a lot in this, and while they aren't nasty or anything, you can feel it. Same with the running. He gets whipped to the corner near the end, and every step felt painful.
Go Shiozaki is a mixed bag with me. Sometimes he looks awesome and sometimes he looks...I don't know... perplexed? Like he's unsure of what he's doing? I can't explain it. And he'll go back and forth within a match. One minute he'll look like a hot young ace chop battling with THE MASTER, and the next minute he'll spin around and look confused as to which hand he should use. Weird. And for a match that's supposed to build to the upcoming title match, Morishima looked like the only one between the two with some real fire.
Nothing special. Lots of mixed bag matches and guys kind of sleepwalking through their stuff. Nearly everything felt predictable, down to who was going to get pinned in the tag matches. They've got much better stuff out there, so don't worry about this one.