Oh emerald green mat, how I’ve missed you.
This was held on July 11, 2004 in the Tokyo Dome with an estimated attendance of over 50,000 and is one of NOAH’s biggest show’s ever. This is also among the most loved shows in the history of the blog. Jessie reviewed this eons ago here (http://neverhandover.blogspot.com/2006/08/noah-departure-ppv-july-102004.html) so I figured that I should take a crack at it now.
1. Mitsuo Momota vs. Haruka Eigen – 3
Simple bout for the two old codgers. Enjoyed the spots where they would get chopped and then spit into the crowd. Crowd enjoyed it too. Eigen breaks out the old giant swing spot. Headbutt sounded like two cantaloupe whacking together in the produce section. Some good nearfalls where present and the finishing pin from Momota was a tad sloppy. These two did their job and can’t fault them there.
2. Tamon Honda, Jun Izumida, & Tsuyohi Kikuchi vs. Masao Inoue, Kishin Kawabata, & Masaji Aoyagi – 4
Really had a problem with this match trying to figure who everyone else besides Honda was. Some really hard kicks by a guy in baggy pants who I believe was Aoyagi. Match was a lot of stiff shots and stiff kicks. Kawabata (or whoever was in tiger stripes) hit a nice leg drop off the top rope. Honda’s contributions were pretty much nil. Not a bad match by any means but me not knowning who was who really got in the way of any enjoyment I could’ve gotten out of it.
3. Michael Modest & Donovan Morgan vs. Kotaro Suzuki & Ricky Marvin – 5
I remember Mike Modest from the fabulous “Beyond the Mat” documentary driving ambulances, sleeping in the APW training gym, and dreaming of going to Japan. Well, he got his wish as here he is on the undercard of this mega-show. He busted out this wild ass move that got a nearfall. His partner, Morgan, delivered one of the sickest DDTs I’ve ever seen. Marvin has a major botch about halfway through but recovered nicely. Double 6-1-9 from Marvin and Suzuki was nice. Modest and Morgan has some good double team power moves. Some legal man issues in the middle of the bout but overall, an enjoyable bout.
4. Richard Slinger & Scorpio vs. Akitoshi Saito & Makoto Hashi – 4
Right within the first few minutes, Saito knocks the shit out of Scorpio with a spinning wheel kick. Not sure where this Slinger guy came from but I really like his selling. Nice little somersault second rope leg drop from the ageless Scorpio. Damn, Saito was beating Scorpio all over the ring like a pack mule. High-low move damn near kills Hashi. Things stayed pretty simple here and they didn’t stray too far from the basic formula.
5. Akira Taue & Naoki Sano vs. Daisuke Ikeda & Mohammed Yone – 4
Sano just beats Yone’s ass to start off with. Yone’s facials on a German suplex were like he had one too many on St. Patty’s Day. Sano sporting a hair-do here that looks like a Brillo pad. Yone was taking his beating from Sano and Taue with a rather blank look on his face. Yone’s muscle buster looked better than Samoa Joe’s current version. Taue brought the stiff, just planting people with chokeslams and unmercifully bashing people’s face in with his giant boot.
6. GHC Jr. Heavyweight Tag Titles: Naomichi Marufuji & KENTA vs. Kendo Ka-Shin & Takashi Sugiura – 7
Sugiura’s suplex off the apron on Marufuji was reallly nuts. Probably a reciept from all that flippy stuff that Marufuji did on offense at the beginning. Ka-Shin and Sugiura were did the old “partners who don’t get along” spot and starting arguing with each other mid-way through. KENTA’s springboard dropkicks were a thing of beauty, soaring through the air like an eagle. Marufuji’s superkicks were right on the button. Ka-Shin hit a pretty sloppy Sliced Bread #2 move. Double submissions from the Ka-Shin/Sugiura combo were very cool, especially the Kurt Angle-esque ankle lock from Sugiura. Bloody hell, the Sliced Bread from Marufuji off of KENTA’s shoulders was awesome! Nearfalls had the giant dome rocking. Match took a while to pick up, but once the final act kicked in, things got really good.
7. GHC Jr. Heavyweight Title: Jushin “Thunder” Liger vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru – 8
Really great nearfalls right at the beginning with Liger hitting a Liger Bomb and Kanemaru countering with a brainbuster. A powerbomb on the floor from Liger after a Koppo kick from nowhere? Fuck yes! These guys didn’t waste much time on anything. Another spine-shattering powerbomb from Liger back in the ring! Jesus, Liger is just beating the shit out of Kanemaru! Kanemaru pays back Liger for those powerbombs by dropkicking him in the knee, powerbombing him off the turnbuckle, and DDTing him so hard he probably woke up thinking he was in Yokohama. The crowd just ate up every nearfall. Kanemaru’s front layout DDT and moonsault from the top rope were things of beauty. Neither guy had a wasted motion and the real only dead spots were where the ref was counting out Kanemaru after the Liger powerbombs. Absolutely fantastic!!
8. IWGP Tag Team Titles: Takeshi Rikioh & Takeshi Morishima vs. Yoshihiro Takayama & Minoru Suzuki – 5
Dug the elbow exchange between Rikioh and Takayama. This had some structure to it early on but just broke down to a giant brawl for a few minutes after Takayama took a double back drop on the floor. Suzuki is such a great cocky prick but his mat work is so great it’s hard not to like him. Morishima was not as pudgy as he has been in recent years but still brought some hard lariats and his trademark back drop to the party. Big German suplex from Takayama ended it. Not a lot of exciting stuff here. I would’ve expected more for being this high up on a Tokyo Dome show.
9. GHC Tag Team Titles: Mitsuharu Misawa & Yoshinari Ogawa vs. Keiji Mutoh & Taiyo Kea – 8
Everyone just completely pissed their pants on the first exchange between Mutoh and Misawa. I even felt the epicness of what was happening just sitting on the couch watching it. Kea’s chops were really hard. Wait, did I just witness Misawa doing a Shining Wizard on Mutoh? Misawa just kills Mutoh (and a cameraman) with a flying forearm to the outside. Right hand just from Misawa just destroys Kea. Never really been a big fan of Ogawa and his offense here didn’t do much to change my opinion. Mutoh’s moonsault is always a wonderful sight to see. Weird spot on double team where it seemed like Ogawa and Misawa got confused by what to do. Emerald Frosion from Misawa finishes off the bout. Really liked the exchanges between Mutoh and Misawa. Kea had some good contributions as well.
10. GHC Heavyweight Title: Kenta Kobashi vs. Jun Akiyama – 10
This is it. The holiest of matches. The one that 50,000+ people in attendance have been waiting for. Kobashi vs. Akiyama. A battle of attrition describes this match perfectly. These two pounded and stretched each other without the other giving an inch. Kobashi’s chops echoed throughout the giant dome like gun shots going off. With every strike exchange that was no-sold, the crowd just grew louder and louder. Kobashi got caught with a knee so hard I thought it knocked him out. Outside the ring, Akiyama laid it in. He DDTed Kobashi on the apron, ran him chest first into the railing, and hung him over the apron and dropped a knee on him from the turnbuckle. YES! It’s the 100-hand chop! I love that move. Kobashi throws in a couple discus chops to the neck for good measure. Oh no, Kobashi’s not going to …. HOLY FUCK HE DID!!!!! A earth-shaking, bone-shatteringvertical suplex from the apron to the floor!!!!! BAH GAWD! BAH GAWD!!!! Both guys are so completely gassed at this point since they’ve beat the ever loving shit out of each other. Half nelson suplex that cracks Akiyama’s neck! They’re back on the apron. This can’t end well for either man. HOLY SHIT!!!!!! Akiyama just threw Kobashi from the second rope to the floor!!!!!!! Is there anything that these two won’t do? Talking about selling would be a completely moot point since it was all out of exhaustion. The nearfalls were epic, and I’m not using that word lightly, as every big move that was executed, from the suplex to the floor by Kobashi to the wrist clutch exploder suplex from Akiyama was kicked out of. Big round of suplexes at toward the end did nothing but to piss the other one off. The usual quiet crowd was just hanging on every moment at the end. When the bell rang at the end, it was Kobashi coming out victorious thanks to the dangerous Burning Hammer move. A match that should be viewed by anyone who calls themselves a fan.