1. Kenta Kobashi vs. Jun Akiyama (12/23/00) – 7
2. Kenta Kobashi & Mitsuharu Misawa vs. Jun Akiyama & Yuji Nagata (2/17/02) – 6
3. Kenta Kobashi & Kotaro Suzuki vs. Masao Inoue & Yoshinobu Kanemaru (7/5/02) – 5
4. Kenta Kobashi & Kentaro Shiga vs. Jun Akiyama & Yoshinobu Kanemaru (10/17/02) – 5
5. Kenta Kobashi vs. Mitsuharu Misawa (3/1/03) – 9
Opening up the final disc is the first of many high profile battles between Kobashi and Akiyama. This match was nowhere near the level that their widely heralded 2004 match was, but it’s still a stong contest nonetheless. The action spilled to the outside early where Akiyama nailed a hard running lariat on the ramp. Moments later, he teased a t-bone suplex off of the ramp. Kobashi stood his ground and battled back until Akiyama regained control by injuring and controlling the right arm of Kobashi, thus negating the deadly chops. Kobashi’s arm was worn down to the point that he would hurt it if he executed only a single chop. On Kobashi’s end, he did bust out a sickening suplex on the ramp and finally polished off Akiyama with the upside-down Death Valley Driver (a.k.a. Burning Hammer). The match was slow in parts and Kobashi’s selling of the arm was absolutely awesome … just a mere forshadowing of their sick 2004 match that was the first match in the annals of Never Hand Over that scored a “10”.
The first of three tag matches on this disc was a fun match. It’s nice to see some post-WCW Yuji Nagata. Misawa and Nagata start us off. After a few minutes, Akiyama is tagged in and the crowd buzzes with anticipation to see Kobashi and Akiyama lock it up. The exchanges between the two powerhouses were definitely the highlights of the match for me. Kobashi was in serious trouble after Nagata was tagged in and gained control for his team. Nagata’s kicks were on the money and their primary target was Kobashi’s thigh muscle. There was a nice part where Kobashi would chop Nagata and then would get countered with a kick to the head. Misawa’s forearm smashes to the face were deadly as well. Misawa flew to the outside in a spot I wasn’t expecting him to do. The finish saw Akiyama get the fall on Kobashi after two Exploder suplexes.
Where to begin with the third match. Kobashi chopping the shit out of Inoue numerous times were the strong points of the bout. Inoue, if you’ve never seen him, is a pudgy little fuck that seems to be able to take grand amounts of punshiment. Suzuki I can’t say I’ve seen much of but what I did see wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. Inoue’s team dominated much of the middle of the match. Inoue had some serious torque on his Boston crab and then Kanemaru and Suzuki brawled briefly in the crowd while Inoue paced casually in the ring. Once Kobashi got the tag, you could see in his eyes that he was pissed. The match ended with Kanemaru pinning Suzuki following a brainbuster. Personally, I didn’t really see anything too awesome about it. There wasn’t really much to the fourth bout either. Kobashi and Akiyama start it out but most of the match was run by Shiga and Kanemaru. There was a brawl up the aisle early on and Akiyama eats rampway courtesy of Shiga. One thing I found bad about that was that when Akiyama was coming back to the ring, he was just strolling up there as if nothing had happened and wasn’t selling his head until he got on the apron. There was more crowd brawling by Akiyama and Shiga towards the end this time with Akiyama getting the upper hand. Kobashi debuted some type of new finisher and got the pin on Kanemaru to end a pretty bland match.
Finally, closing out the disc and the set, is one of the most highly touted matches in recent history from Japan. Misawa works over the right arm early utilizing a top wristlock among other things to control Kobashi. Kobashi fights back in a show of sheer will and determination. Kobashi’s chops were stiff as ever and Misawa’s forearms were the same. Misawa split his chin open early after Kobashi ducked out of a lariat from the apron and Misawa ate railing. Afterwards, Kobashi showed no mercy and issued a vicious half-nelson suplex to Misawa on the floor. Later on, there was a pretty sick vertical suplex on to the ramp and then perhaps the spot of the match … Misawa gives Kobashi a bone-rattling, earth-shaking tiger suplex from the ramp to the floor! Both men laid there for a minute or so in agony and barely beat the 20-count to get back in. Finally, after both timeless ring warriors are soaked with perspiration and laden with exhaustion, Kobashi executes the Burning Hammer to win the coveted GHC title in a truly epic encounter. Overall, this set has been a pleasure to watch and is one that definitely belongs on the shelf of any puro fan.