Sunday, September 25, 2011

You Had Me At Goodbye #2: NOAH 1/23/11

Pro-Wrestling NOAH - "THE FIRST NAVIGATION 2011"
Jan., 23, 2011
Acros Fukuoka
740 Fans - No Vacancy

1) Genba Hirayanagi v. Kentaro Shiga - J: 2 B: 1

J: I told Brian in a phone conversation the work here deserves a 2 or less, just shoddy execution, Shiga with some of not only the weakest strikes but most protected bumps since Lex Luger but with the strange countout storyline, I’d bump it to a 3. But I can’t do that. Genba, taken by the spirits of the great cheap victory, was bound and determined through any means to get this guy counted out and got some comeuppance but when he puts Shiga in a closet, only for it to take him at least 30 seconds to come out and reappear, even the stringest of my letting reality go for a few moments was tested beyond belief.

Brian: This was so outlandish and unaware I wasn't sure if I was watching The Black Marble or professional wrestling. Not even Gene Siskel's "Chicago Mix" of caramel and cheese corn (from the small local shop downtown not the theater crap) could have made watching this any easier or less insulting. Genba did an STO that looked like a boy trying to dunk his kid brother in a backyard pool. Shiga looked about as athletic as a New Jersey tollbooth worker.

2) Masao Inoue & Ricky Marvin v. Mohammed Yone & Yoshinobu Kanemaru - J: 3 B: 3

J: My boy Marvin is on speed in this one, despite his tubby physique and he and Kanemaru provide some genuinely fun moments. Inoue is a blight on this company and physical activity yet still remains to compete. He bumps like a redwood being chopped down, slow and thudding, but is as believable as the tree screaming “Aw shit, that really hurt!” I think even Yone is slowing down, doesn’t seem to have much fire in this at all and is sadly wearing some Tommy Dreamer pants that no self respecting man should be caught dead in.

Brian: This wasn't bad for undercard filler, not a lot of meat, but not dismal. There were a couple of fun moments, namely when Yone got in and challenged Marvin to a battle of leg kicks, Yone also had some of the best facial acting bits, per usual, as while I concur with Jessie that he's lost a step I think he's still useful and has personality whereas somebody like Inoue is as rancid as spoiled milk.

3) Yoshihiro Takayama & Takuma Sano v. KENTA & Taiji Ishimori - J: 6 B: 5

J: Looks like the continuation of the singles from the first show of the year. The partners are good additions too, as Ishimori can’t bring the pain like KENTA but he and Sano are working smooth together like a Wendy’s Berry Fruit Shake. The vets lay in some nasty kicks at several diff. intervals and I’m glad the most physical pain I was in was my wrists from pulling weeds all weekend out of my driveway. You get the sense with Sano and Takayama being such ogre-like beings, they don’t feel pain but it’s certainly fun to watch them writhe. Did some false finish stuff near the end but obviously wasn’t their goal to use as a catch all for entertaining us because the finish was believable enough.

Brian: I couldn't see a case for this being recommendable as there just wasn't enough substance or intrigue there. I'm even uncertain on my "5". Sano and Takayama are an established team and the ending seemed like a foregone conclusion (though I did like Sano pulling out the Northern Lights Bomb out of nowhere). KENTA didn't seem to make much of an impact although gladly walloped his eyesore opponents whenever he got the chance.

4) Takashi Suguira v. Atsushi Aoki - J: 3 B: 5

J: One thing that really took my enjoyment out of this was the consistent arm work by Aoki, while I thought good, not for a second did I believe he was going to get the tap. Guys spent a lot of time on the ground working too for really not much payoff. As the overall package, I still don’t see it in Suguira; I don’t think any other World champion could pass themselves off as midcard like he does here and no one bat an eyelash. I do like how he curves his Angle slam unlike Kurt to make it even more hurty though.

B: On average I've been two points higher on Suguira matches than Jessie. I liked this. It felt like a self-contained story wherein the tag match it followed was all brainless physicality and no direction. I can see the complaint Sugiura may be a bit milquetoast as a champion but think generally he structures his matches well, makes opponents look tougher (see the Bison match from YHMAG #1), and his trademark moves are over. I liked the psychology of Aoki targeting the arm, trying to dismantle some of Takashi's offensive weapons like the lariat and in effort of weakening his potential grip on the ankle lock.

5) Jun Akiyama, Noamichi Marufuji & Shuhei Taniguchi v. Kensuke Sasaki, Katsuhiko Nakajima & Kento Miyahara - J: 5 B: 4

J: A “5” could even be generous on some people’s scales. You have the Kensuke Office contingent against the NOAH boys in this huge match. Akiyama starts out and his chest goes lava rock red again early on, liked Kensuke going through the whole team in chopping matches. Miyahara ends up taking a beating similar to Ree Dolly in Winter’s Bone. There ain’t no crackhead uncle to save him here though; a good chunk of time is dedicated to tapping him out with the senior pain maestro leading the charge. They went into the stands, for some Kodak moments but ultimately nothing substantial. Akiyama ends up getting his ass stretched for a good time too, but unlike in the first match where he did the job (which is classic NOAH booking of big face coming back will always do the job to a stronger title challenger) here it would have felt as plastic as Lady Gaga’s lyrics. Japanese wrestling is known for stiff strikes and painful submissions and while this had it’s share, it also had some really weak stuff as well. Marufuji looked game but didn’t get a lot of screen time. In the end, this match just wore me out; the normal trope of holding guys outside the ring to score pinfalls went on for a good bit to my dismay.

Brian: Akiyama's forehead looks like a geological anomaly. Sasaki precipitately swipes at his opponents like his mother just deleted his save game. Miyahara is the resident naïf. I finally get Shuhei's role: he's the jock! From the Adidas track shoes to spots that demonstrate his athletic prowess (i.e. running up a flight of stairs three consecutive times, each to just deliver a basic forearm shot). It all adds up. Kento goes down faster than Adam did as a contributor to this project. This would have been more compelling if they ever actually allowed the Kensuke Office team to get wins.

6) Takeshi Morishima & Yutaka Yoshie v. Akitoshi Saito & Yuto Aijima - J: 3 B: 3

Jess: There was a lot of weight being thrown around in here, not sure who Ajima was but he reminded me of a long last Shane twin, you know the guys who ran through Pro Wrestling Riot like bulldozers through a bank of redwood trees. Morishima seemed to have such momentum from the 1st show of the year but that stalled like your ex's '93 Sunfire. There was a few rough bumps and Yoshie's finish is being legitimized in a strange piece of booking for 2011 but not recommended.

Brian: I wasn't too familiar with Ajima either but he was made to look like a total bitch here. He gots his ass kicked throughout and only got in maybe 1-2 offensive moves. His selling sensibilities were more reminiscent of American style but noticed he'd picked up some bad habits like the infamous Jarrett kick-out where you just reach your hand up toward the ceiling instead of actually lifting your shoulder off the mat. Only time there were any sparks was when Saito was in which wasn't enough. The real reason I scored this low was a very disappointing Yoshi performance. He seemed completely uninterested and lackadaisical not lending any credibility to the other guys' stuff when he'd get hit and not even putting any thing behind his own offense. I thought he just looked bored out there.

7) Go Shiozaki, Yoshinari Ogawa & Kotaro Suzuki v. Bison Smith, Eddie Edwards & Bobby Fish - J: 5 B: 5

J: Gave this a five due to the off the wall finish to this one, so far noticed NOAH's booking is all over the page. Suzuki took a beating for most of the bout which really brought me back to some authentic 80's tag stuff, only thing is Fish continues to be as exciting as my latest bill in the mail. Smith still having flashbacks of fighting for his life at the last show and brings the hurt here. Some points it feels they're just working in a vaccuum besides themselves, but a good old fashioned apron bump never hurts, even if it had less impact than any in company history.

Brian: I'm going to give this a "5", too; although think I liked it a little more than less than jovial Jessie. The finish was pretty cool, after getting brained on the apron, Suzuki gets rolled back inside only to have Edwards practice his football punting by kicking Kotaro in the head a few times. Can't believe you didn't mention that post-match stuff, though! Edwards and co. drag out the stiffest table ever but don't open the legs just leave it lying on the the mat then Eddie powerbombs Suzuki on what assuredly had to be the hardest surface this side of a N'Délé hostel. Back to the match, though, mostly Kotaro working face in peril, thought the foreign squad all looked sound. If you'd have told be five years ago the dreadlocks sporting Edwards that was perpetually on the undercard was going to be in the main event of a NOAH show in 2011 I would have said, well firstly, "Who the hell are you and why are you talking to me?" and then secondly, "I guess that's cool."

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