1 Takashi Suguira/ SUWA/ Masaji Aoyagi v. Tsuyoshi Kikuchi/ Mitsuo Momota/ Katushiko Nakajima-4
Our opening match for this massive show, coming from Tokyo Dome, was a six man with a few young bloods and a few oldies put in for our enjoyment. No one really pulled out their top shelf stuff probably because the young guys don’t have top shelf stuff yet and the old guys can’t even reach it anymore. But, all six men gave a decent effort.
2 Tamon Honda/ Go Shiozaki v. Mohammed Yone/ Takeshi Morishima-4
Yone, as you might say, is your Japanese Carlito, with his trademark afro. He was the veteran in this match, but didn’t indicate it to anyone. Another decent match featuring slow tagging, and good strikes.
3 Akira Taue/ Naoki Sano/ Jun Izumida/ Haruka Eigen v. Akithoshi Saito/ Shiro Koshinaka/ Masao Inoue/ Kishin Kawabata- 3
The slowest, and most non action match of the night. It featured a ton of vets but the only one truly exhibiting any effort was Taue, who hit a cool chokeslam or two. This match never really picked up, possibly due to the amount of people involved.
4 Mushiking Terry v. Mushiking Joker- 4
These guys looked like two Power Rangers wrestling, but they actually had some pretty good moves. This was a match for the kids, but they didn’t totally dumb it down; they pulled out some decent action.
5 Yoshinobu Kanemaru v. KENTA- 7
KENTA is going to be a huge star in NOAH one day, and this match is a good example why. Kanemaru is also a very talented guy, who doesn’t look like a “model” wrestler, but he has some great moves, and high flying skills. They worked a brilliant match that had an amazing pace. The guys in NOAH are taking junior wrestling where it needs to go; working a heavyweight, hard hitting style. That way, they translate into the singles heavyweight division when the time for them to move up comes about. I like the junior style here more than in X-Division. Because honestly, Petey Williams is never going to be competing with the heavys of TNA. But, look at Marufuji; he just won their World Title.
6 Minoru Suzuki/ Naomichi Marufuji v. Jun Akiyama/ Makoto Hashi- 7
Suzuki is a nut; he looks like a nut, and he headbutts like one. It was magic when Marufuji and Akiyama got in the ring, and still hot and stiff when anyone else was in. The match was great, but it went on too long. Everyone got sloppy and a little lost near the end, but Marufuji pulled it back in for the finish.
7 Takeshi Rikioh v. Hiroshi Tanahashi- 5
We have the NOAH champion and the New Japan champion going one on one, and it was decent. Rikioh was a large man with limited mobility and limited selling ability. I’m not sure why he even won the title. Tanahashi is a young man, a very skilled wrestler who will be very good in a few years. He still has a green stain on him though, and working with someone who looks like a midcarder, it really came out in the wash. Tanahashi overshot two crazy suicide dives in the most entertaining spots of the night.
8 Yoshinari Ogawa v. Genichiro Tenryu- 5
Tenryu is getting so old, his cheeks had bunched up into his nose. But, he was still fairly active. Ogawa is such a scrawny guy to be in Japan main events. He has been carried by Misawa for years, and as a heel, he looked like a punk rocker from the UK in the 70’s. Their match didn’t really get off the ground, and ended in a very undramatic way.
9 Kensuke Sasaki v. Kenta Kobashi- 9
These two men trade chops for six minutes! That says it all. Their chests were purple and bruised and it was such fun to watch. This was the best match I’ve seen of Sasaki and Kobashi is possibly the greatest wrestler alive. They dropped each other on their head plenty of times and pulled off some great moves. Sasaki really impressed me; he has stepped up his game in the recent years and is helping to carry some of the load that the Japanese wrestling industry is feeling, and so is NOAH. This match bordered on the 10 range, which my only one has been a Kobashi match, but there were more emotional factors built into that match, giving it that little extra special feeling. This one was a pure match, and had every thing you could ever want built into one single match.
10 Mitsuharu Misawa v. Toshiaki Kawada- 8
One of the most classic feuds to have ever taken place in wrestling. Misawa is your classic, tough guy, strong and silent hero type and Kawada was always the brash young upstart who was supremely talented, but now, he is playing the wily veteran who knows all the tricks of the trade. But, he still cannot beat his old rival. These guys at their age, after all the years of punishment, were throwing elbows and kicks like someone was mugging their wives. They hit all of their signature spots and relished in it. The crowd was in the palm of their hands even before they came down to the ring. They weren’t as fast as they used to be, but they still had the guts and will to put on a classic encounter and most likely their final singles match. It was an honor to see it.