Jun Akiyama/Vader vs Kenta Kobashi/Akira Taue 1/13/01
Akiyama is still trying to assert that he is the top guy of NOAH, not Misawa or Kobashi. Kobashi thinks Akiyama can fuck off. Taue is Taue. And Vader is still riding the wave of his career saving last stand that started in the last days of AJPW before NOAH formed, which included murdering both Kobashi and Akiyama. Should be fun. Lots of chops and elbows from Kenta and Jun in the opening minutes. Jun wisely targets Kobashi's chopping arm. Kobashi takes zero shit from his opponents. Even at the same time. He also changes his back hand chops to back hand fists to Vader. Fuck that little stage, but lol at Jun just bouncing off of it from a chokeslam. I don't know when Kobashi's career path became "I'm going to break your neck and chop the shit out of you", but I approve of the change. Wisely, Taue and Kenta keep Jun in the ring for as long as possible. Last thing you want is letting Vader gain momentum and splatter you. Vader finally gets in and he and Kobashi just start smashing each other. Vader, bleeding from his ear from chops, is trying to choke Kobashi out on the floor in the crowd. I love Taue's weird ass/weak ass strikes rocking Vader as if Stan Hansen was blasting away. Kobashi got enough rest to come back into the match ready to fuck everyone's world up. Vader/Jun have some really good combos. You basically have to kill Kobashi to pin him, and it takes a chokeslam, powerbomb, Vader Bomb, and Vadersault in succession to put him down. And Vader landed head/shoulder first on Kobashi's head.
Jun Akiyama vs Takeshi Morishima 5/25/01
Morishima reveals a bald head. He's also comparatively svelte compared to just a couple of years later. Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if Jun weighs about the same as him in this match. Morishima starts out chopping the shit out of Jun, who seems kind of impressed, but mostly annoyed at the gumption of the youngster. Jun ties him up on the mat. Jun being the gumpy vet is very enjoyable. Just straight up stretching Morishima. Some nasty, nasty shit he's doing on the mat. You kind of get the idea that Jun is toying with Morishima, and he pays for it when Morishima does a Boss Man Slam on the floor and breaks the guard rails with Jun's ribs, which were already taped coming into the match. Most of Morishima's big offense comes outside of the ring, including an Amaze Impact off the apron. Jun wins with a guillotine. Post match saw Jun and Takeshi Rikio slap the shit out of each other.
Yoshihiro Takayama vs Takeshi Rikio NWF Championship 4/13/03
Big, beefy dudes hucking bombs and hate. That's all I really want out of wrestling. And that's what I get. I don't know what else I can say about it. These two husky dudes are beating the shit out of each other, grabbing quick rest holds, then continuing to beat the shit out of each other. Lmao, Takayama, near the end of the match, starts trying to win with roll ups and cradles OUTTA NOWHERE. That would have been great. A stiff HOSS battle ending in a quick roll up. Takayama wins with a ridiculously stiff strike combo and German suplex. Title retained. Probably went about 5 minutes too long, as Rikio was pretty much dead for the last 5-7 minutes even with the rest spots. Still, burly dudes smashing each other for about 20 minutes.
Kenta Kobashi vs Yuji Nagata GHC Heavyweight Championship 9/12/03
Yuji's seconds are a weird group: Yano, Tanahashi, and Taguchi. I'm expecting a lot of chops and suplexes. Yuji shows immediate disrespect by slapping Kenta. Kenta just nods, knowing that he's going to murder Yuji at some point in the match. Then he absorbs a kick and chops the shit out of Yuji in the corner. This shit is HEATED from the start. Man, Kobashi is definitely underrated as far as being a fucking hulk of a dude. His upper body is so thick. Which makes Yuji attempting tests of strength with him a very weird choice. It's minutes in and Yuji's entire chest is already bright red. Can you believe there are bumps on the ramp in this? In NOAH? In 2003? In a Kobashi match? Poor Yuji is getting worn the fuck out with these chops. Yuji tries to kick the shit out of the chopping arm, but it really doesn't stop Kenta for long. He just fights through the pain. The way Kobashi takes head drops is fucking insane. Most dudes roll through. He just lands right on top of his head every time. Yuji's kicks are his main offense, and he lays into them just as much as Kobashi lays his chops in. Kobashi wins after a murderous brainbuster and lariat. Title retained.
Mitsuharu Misawa vs KENTA 8/28/04
Kobashi's trainee is about to get WRECKED. No doubt that Misawa is going to beat the shit out of him, but I'm pretty sure KENTA is going to give it back, just like he did with Kobashi, Tenryu, and Takayama. That cocky little fuck starts the match by throwing elbows. Misawa shows him how it is done. As this point, Misawa has been a cunty vet for years. KENTA is such a cocky young upstart. On paper, this sounds like it should be great. You also have to take into consideration that KENTA is still firmly a junior. Misawa hasn't been a junior for close to 20 years now. Also of note is Misawa is pretty much the king of "hit me as hard as you can", and KENTA hits really fucking hard. KENTA changes to kicks and those work a lot better for him than the elbows. LOL at KENTA doing Misawa's nose taunt. What a little prick. He's going to pay. And he does almost immediately. I fucking love grumpy vets against cocky juniors/upstarts. That's probably the one thing American pro wrestling lacks the most as compared to puro. LOL at Misawa having NONE of the Kawada kicks. This is great. Love this shit. Just like the KENTA/Kobashi matches. Where obviously the heavyweight giant star for a decade or more is going to win, but the story is how much KENTA can compete and how hard they'll hit each other. Misawa kicks out of the Go 2 Sleep, but just barely. Announcers were surprised. KENTA hits the Emerald Flowsion! What a fucking prick! STOP THROWING ELBOWS AT MISAWA. Misawa wins with the Emerald Flowsion. Definitely watch this match.
Kenta Kobashi vs Go Shiozaki 1/23/05
Considering the shit KETNA got for being Kobashi's protege, I expect Go to get the absolute shit beaten out of him. This is the 7th and final match in his trial series, which also saw him face Misawa, Taue, Ogawa, Akiyama, Saito, and Rick Steiner. He lost to all of them. Go tries to be aggressive in the opening moments. I doesn't work out for him. Go can work a side headlock as much as he wants. That isn't going to save him chops. Puro is so different from US wrestling, because this type of match literally does't even exist in America. Can you even imagine being Kobashi's protege? The shit you would have to go through to be taken seriously. LOL at Kobashi chopping away a dropkick. That's about the most puro shit I've ever seen. Puro is weird. In puro, it is totally acceptable to no sell 90% of the offense of a hot, rising star as long as you are an established dude and let him hit you really hard later. Misawa is watching in the dark, from behind a curtain, like a perv. These chops are brutal. And they come from every direction. Sitting on the mat? Chopped. Standing up? Chopped. In the corner? Chopped. Doing a dropkick? Chopped. Go gets a flurry of offense, including a suicide dive and missile dropkick. After eating more chops, he follows with rolling German suplexes and Kobashi's own rolling cradle. Then he tries the half nelson suplex. Lol. Then a completely ineffective lariat. To Kobashi. Who immediately tries to chop Go's head clean off. Kobashi wins with a half nelson suplex and Burning Lariat. Poor Go.
Briscoe Brothers vs Naomichi Marufuji/Kota Ibushi 7/1/07
Expecting a lot of spotty bullshit. Ibushi is stuck as FIP for much of the match, as the Briscoes keep chipping away at Marufuji on the apron. Marufuji gets the tag and does weird shit like a tossing butterfly suplex into a cross arm breaker. Mark Briscoe is annoying as fuck. Get your redneck karate shit outta here. I don't know why I picked this match. I don't like the Briscoes, and I don't like overly spotty stuff. Poor decision making on my part. Marufuji pinned Jay with what I think was supposed to be a tiger suplex, but ended up as some weird roll up.
KENTA/Takashi Sugiura vs Naomichi Marufuji/Shinsuke Nakamura 8/24/13
To my knowledge, this is the only match with KENTA and Nakamura. By 2013, KENTA had jumped to heavyweight and was the reigning GHC Heavyweight Champion. Nakamura was the IWGP IC Champion, and he had formed a pairing with Marufuji. NakaFuji has dope, probably Kinnikuman inspired gear. KENTA and Marufuji have always fought to be the top guy in NOAH. KENTA of course trained by Kobashi, while Marufuji was trained by Misawa. They've always had a competitive rivalry, even when partners. Fittingly, they start the match and immediately start running around each other. KENTA and Nakamura square off. KENTA is not amused with Nak's...eccentricities. Sugiura had the quickest journey to cunty vet I've ever seen in puro. Like...a year in, he was already just a grumpy old man. And by now, he's actually old enough to be a grumpy old cunt, so you can imagine how much of a dick he is. There's a lot of focus on Marufuji's mid section. The Sug/Nak interactions are a lot more heated than KENTA/Nak, but the story of this match is fucking up Marufuji and pissing of Nakamura. It seems to be working, but KENTA also gets pissed pretty easily. Once Nak and KENTA really start going at it, they beat the shit out of each other. Christ. Match kind of fell apart in the finishing stretch, which was all about Marufuji doing his shitty superkicks and random twirls. Sug pinned him with a spinebuster/spear/roll up thing. Crazy to think the KENTA/Nakamura singles match that seemingly would have come from this might eventually happen under the WWE banner.
Some pretty dope stuff here. Both KENTA matches, the Kobashi/Go match, and the Kobashi/Taue vs Vader/Akiyama match are definite need to watch matches. Yuji/Kobashi was good, Rikio/Takayama went long but was a HOSS battle, and Jun literally out there stretching Morishima was fun. The junior tag match can get fucked.