1) Taiji Ishimori v. Claudio Castagnoli- 3
2) Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Genba Hirayanagi v. Yoshinari Ogawa & Kento Miyahara- 3
3) Go Shiozaki & Akitoshi Saito v. Akira Taue & Ricky Marvin - 5
4) Takeshi Rikio, Mohammed Yone & Shuhei Taniguchi v. Jun Akiyama, Noamichi Marufuji & Atsushi Aoki - 4
5) Chris Hero v. Takashi Suguira - 6
6) Bison Smith & Keith Walker v. Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma - 3
7) Kensuke Sasaki & Takeshi Morishima v. Yoshihiro Takayama & Takuma Sano- 6
8) Akira Taue v. Jun Akiyama (All Japan, 01/20/1997)- 6
There's def. not enough NOAH on the blog these days and I wanted to remedy that. Talking about the opener, they blew a tilt a whirl hurricanrana right off the bat and never seemed to get back on track. Claudio was throwing Taiji around like he was a circus performer and they were flubbing things left and right. Funny there was one fan (in a Japanese accent of course) calling out the "Riiiicccollllaaaaaa!" every time Claudio tried it.
Tag match pretty much put me to sleep, like Star Trek Deep Space Nine did on school nights. I liked Kento's energy, he was like Mario with the Star power, he was all over the place as if invincible, but sometimes he just didn't know what to do. His opposition gave him as boring a beatdown you could find, but he sold it all admirably. Ogawa was caught staring into the crowd looking wistful several times, perhaps trying to remember if he put Community back on his DVR this season, and when called for it, still threw a nice left hand.
This match was the first to move out of 1st gear. Marvin has always been a guilty pleasure of mine to watch, he botches the same exact spot Taiji did in the opener early on, but keeps things going. Go is having a blast in there, slow clapping like in a John Huges film and generally enjoying competing. Taue looks much fresher than he did in 2009, maybe it was that New Years Eve he spent in a Hyperbolic Chamber he bought in the Neverland Ranch ebay Auction. Go and Marvin pretty much worked the bulk of the match and for the better, I really dug how just simple strikes played such a big factor in the closing moments of this one.
Akiyama is always fun to watch when he's pissed off. Taniguchi seemed to target him throughout the match and they engaged in a brutal forearm exchange that lasted several moments in the match's highlight. Rikio looked ridiculous selling Aoki's stuff, as did Yone, neither man emitting a reaction for anything they sold. Jun followed suit later after each move he took, his first action was to adjust his famous white trunks. Boo. Marufuji looked spry and pulled off some nifty tricks for his little ring time, but overall, especially at the finish, this became a typical NOAH tag where someone's being held down at ringside so they can't break the fin.
This was an interesting match, Hero worked harder than anyone else on the show up to this point, but the crowd could have cared less. You'd get a louder reaction to a backyard show with just the neighborhood kids watching. It was kind of sad, he was hitting all his really nasty KO stuff, the elbows and kicks and give Suguira credit for taking them, but it didn't seem to matter. Hero pulled out a lot of crazy shit, jumping moonsault off the top to the outside using no hands, took a German to the corner, but the flat finish left this marginally recommendable.
I said a while back after watching a Keith Walker match in ROH, I'd like to see more of him. I retract that statement. Without seeming uncreative for lack of a better analogy, he felt like a less talented Bison Smith, who also didn't have his finest day earlier in the match when doing a suicide dive into the ring from the ramp but ended up looking like Superman about to take flight but catching his feet on a windowsill and falling face first. The heel-face dynamic was all off here as the NJ guys were playing heels, really bad ones but wiped the floor with unsympathetic selling NOAH monsters Smith and Walker.
While the main event wasn't the high level puro stuff you may have been accustomed to it did have hard forearms and kicks as well as painful but bowling shoe ugly suplexes by the dozens. 3 of the guys looked weary, beaten and battle tested while Morishima just looked scary and full of sugar and butter. He gave the best, and took the best, eating multiple strikes (incl. the very cool but rare finish) and one of Takayama's unhealthy Everest Germans.Nobody really let it all hang out but guarantee at least one of those guys will be in a Soma Coma after the show with all the potatoes doled out.
The Bonus match wasn't long but it had a great story, Taue was just in murdering mode and wanted Jun dead by way of splattered on concrete. Their brawling was more violent than most major city riots. Both men worked with great speed and accuracy too, and after watching their 2010 output you sort of forget how capable and awesome they both were, crazy surprise finish leads this to being something to check out should you stumble across it online.