1) Masaji Aoyagi/ Rusher Kimura/ Mitsuo Momota v. Kishin Kawabata/ Tsuyoshi Kikuchi/ Haruka Eigen- 2
Okay here we go into the Raging Ocean; you've heard of assistated living, well Rusher could really use "assissted wrestling." He's usually positioned near or on the ropes before he does anything. Momota and Eigen continue their long running opening match feud by taking it to the rampway....for 2 chops. Aoyagi gets all kicky for his part in this and does score a nice head kick that at this point, if we got the same from Cro Cop, we'd think it was a comeback.
2) Kentaro Shiga/ Yoshinobu Kanemaru v. Donovan Morgan/ Michael Modest- 5
This was pretty good actually. I know 2nd match on a NOAH card is usually still a death spot but the 12 minutes these guys got and the 12 mins. the opener got were vastly different. Japanese team were the heels here, I especially liked Kanemaru using his wrist tape to strangle Morgan like an octopus tentacle. I've always liked Kanemaru actually; real solid in the ring. Shiga is about last on the list of stiff guys, looking more like a GLOW wrestler in that department. Modest was fun, cheesing it up and dropping guys hard on their necks; can't help but think of Beyond the Mat watching this. Morgan was just there, match didn't have a great flow until the last 2 minutes and finished strong.
3) Takuma Sano v. KENTA- 4
KENTA is not wearing a manly beard and yellow/brown trunks here, nor is he the take no gruff fighter he is today; he works as a clean cut babyface junior with heart. Sano seems to have no patience for this type of match as KENTA never gets much going throughout. Sano is rocking an SLC Punk red faux hawk and is just as mean as he is now. A nasty back kick (not even looking where it went) Sano threw late was devastating and would have finished most of the UWFI guys. He runs through a litany of other puro stars finishes to end this lackluster bout.
4) Daisuke Ikeda/ Takashi Suguira v. Makato Hashi/ Akitoshi Saito- 5
This was a strange one, but i kind of dug it overall. Started with a tag partners at war situation with Suguira and Ikeda, which NOAH's done to death. But they dropped it until aftermatch hijinx. Hashi didn't impress, as vanilla as a malt. Saito was first guy on the show who carried himself like a huge star, laying in everything and leaving destruction in his wake. Ikeda actually turned it on late, like Petra Kvitova did at Wimbledon this year. The finish was just nuts as Ikdea did a flipping kick off the top with no regards where he was landing, looked like he was diving into a swimming pool filled with rubber balls.
5) Takeshi Morishima/ Takeshi Rikio v. Richard Slinger/ 2 Cold Scorpio- 4
Short haired Morishima had a lot to be pissed about, first off he looked like a kid who gave himself their first haircut. Big problem here is there was no structure whatsoever to this match. Guys just kind of came and went as they pleased, sure it was stiff, but you could find that anywhere these days. There has to be that element of a story behind it and this was just 4 guys spending 14 minutes hurting each other for no rhyme or reason. Scorpio hit his token number of good spots and Slinger wasn't bad either, kind of reminded me of Johnny Smith, not muscular but not really a chunk, not spectacular but skilled enough for me to remember him.
6) Tamon Honda/ Masao Inoue v. Jun Izumida/ Akira Taue- 4
This was fun for 9 minutes. Inoue has never done a thing for me, find his performances as fun as buying Cold & Sinus medicine when i'm sick. Honda is a guy pimped by DVDVR, Phil Scheinder in particular, for what, i have no clue has he only displayed weak forearms and a few grinning moments of chickenshit heelism. They try to get Taue counted out, and when it backfires, his rampage is a fun piece of business to watch. Izumida looks like a dad who comes to a corporate picnic event and is forced into playing a softball game but hasn't exercised in years. Finish was surprising in a good way.
7) Noamichi Marufuji v. Tatsuhito Takaiwa- 5
Big juniors match here. Started out molten hot, with Takaiwa's 3 powerbomb combo on the ramp. After that he seemed to have wrestler's block, settling in for chinlocks for much of his undynamic offensive portion. Marufuji had the crowd with him, and he still had that sick superkick that loops into your face. Finishing stretch picked up after 10 minutes of kind of nil action.
8) Takao Omori/ Yoshihiro Takayama v. Mitsuharu Misawa/ Yoshinari Ogawa- 5
I was thinking this was going to be epic, and like most things he's in, this was all about Misawa....mostly. Misawa and Takayama's elbow exchange in the beginning was....well, jesus, downright deadly. I don't know Misawa never smashed his elbow in ring. Since when did Omori look like an extra in Hard Boiled? Ogawa had much more mobility at this point and looked less like the worn down Pete Sampras he does now. Misawa took a dramatic beating and made everyone in the crowd wish for him to rise up and kick some ass, which he did in a strange moment. After 10 minutes of beatdown, he just gets up and starts throwing fists with Takayama in a surreal fight, looked like the Leben-Wanderlei brawl. The ending had some fun double team stuff but several times these guys struggled to work cooperatively, like the Republican party usually does.
9) Jun Akiyama v. Vader- 6
I liked this match up, very unique. Akiyama showed he had some good psych by keeping up on Vader's arm for a lot of this, really nasty stuff too, like grinding his knee into Vader's uppper arm. The big man showed he hadn't lost all of his killer instinct yet, with a crazy German that looked like the Incredible Hulk tossing a Buick across a cityscape. Some huge bombs, equivalent to Eduardo Saverin losing his shares in Facebook, metaphorically speaking. Vader getting powerbombed from the top rope? Hell yes, awesome finish too, this was a huge notch in Akiyama's clean white and furry belt.