NOAH di colosseo 2/13/03 G+ COLOSSEO JUNIOR CUP
1st Differ Cup Sodatsu Junior Tag Tournament 1st Round:
Tetsuhiro Kuroda & Chocoball Mukai vs. MIKAMI & KUDO 2:50 of 18:11. A big demotions for FMW’s former heavyweight champion Kuroda to be in another promotions junior division, but Kodo Fuyuki condemned FMW to having zero credibility in NOAH when he signed them up to come in and challenge for the lowly and meaningless Asia Tag Titles. I wouldn’t bet on 18 minutes of Chocoball, but what aired was a decent combination of flying and garbage. MIKAMI is a Hardy wannabe, utilizing a ladder for his swanton bomb finisher, but while also not being well rounded, he’s actually a tremendous athlete with excellent body control who performs his moves accurately and in impressive fashion. Today’s highlight was a crazy swandive body attack over the guard rail, landing on the first row chairs.
Tatsuhito Takaiwa & Yoshihito Sasaki vs. Masao Orihara & Ikuto Hidaka 4:25 of 16:31. The FEC team of Orihara & Hidaka were pushing the favorites, with the fans reacting big time to their near falls. Hidaka worked his ass off as usual, executing with his superb combination of speed and precision. He’s really spiked the complexity of his spots, adding more and more midair and grasp position changes. Takaiwa was an excellent opponent for him because he’s such a good base for flying moves. Hidaka & Takaiwa would go back and forth with Hidaka being the aerial aggressor, but Takaiwa sometimes crushing him with a powerful counter. Even though Sasaki, who was undoubtedly miles out of his depth, was basically cut out from what aired, I’d bet they really dropped the ball in not showing this whole match as Hidaka vs. Takaiwa appeared to be at least as good as anything NOAH’s junior division produced all year. Seemed to be an excellent match.
KENTA & Kotaro Suzuki vs. The Great Takeru & Kappa Kozo 8:52 of 20:44. Looked like a good match, but was hardly in the class with the previous Hidaka match. Takeru & Kozo work for a nothing league (IWA Japan), but made a solid showing, appearing to be energetic performers. Their highlight was Takeru holding Suzuki horizontal and Kozo slingshotting himself over the top with a leg drop. KENTA was good with both opponents, while Suzuki was hidden by the editing. Looked like a good match.
Ultimo Dragon & Yossino vs. Gran Naniwa & Jun Kasai 7:04 of 15:44. The worst match by far with Kasai & Naniwa, true to form, being the least motivated team by a wide margin. Dragon was worlds above the others, but he was basically on his own. Average at best.
1st Differ Cup Sodatsu Junior Tag Tournament Semifinals:
Tatsuhito Takaiwa & Yoshihito Sasaki vs. MIKAMI & KUDO 13:32 of 15:21. The DDT team really should have been Takaiwa & Sasaki’s first round opponents. G+ gave the semifinal a lot of air time it really didn’t seem to deserve. Not that it was bad as a whole, but Sasaki & KUDO are two of the worst workers in the tournament and the crowd was dead for the mediocrity they delivered. The highlight, in a way, was Takaiwa trying to powerbomb MIKAMI off the ladder, but MIKAMI turning it into a Frankensteiner for a hot near fall. The problem is this spot took forever to set up. **3/4
Ultimo Dragon & Yossino vs. KENTA & Kotaro Suzuki 11:42. They postponed the anticipated Dragon vs. KENTA meeting to build anticipation, with the legend and new sensation delivering when they finally took their turn. Upstarts Yossino & Suzuki are just outclassed at this point, but they did their best. Suzuki was featured since he was jobbing, looking as good as ever since Dragon, who is still really quick and explosive, was carrying him. The Dragon vs. Suzuki pairing was far superior to KENTA vs. Yosshino, as they had good timing together. Kind of short, but they got about as much mileage as one could hope. ***
1st Differ Cup Sodatsu Junior Tag Tournament 3rd Place Match: KENTA & Kotaro Suzuki vs. MIKAMI & KUDO 24:50. The pleasant surprise of the tournament was the exceptional quality of what I figured would be a routine good junior tag. Actually, it was more similar to a heavyweight match with a slower pace and an impressive level of stiffness. I may have spoken too soon about KUDO, as the DDT team seemed to save it for this match. KUDO particularly shined in this setting since he could trade kicks with KENTA. MIKAMI tried to forward roll over a kick, but got blasted when he didn’t clear KENTA’s leg. They shifted to high gear for the final quarter, with the fans really getting into the numerous credible near finishes. MIKAMI’s big ladder spot of the match was getting suplexed off by KENTA. ***3/4
1st Differ Cup Sodatsu Junior Tag Tournament Final: Ultimo Dragon & Yossino vs. Tatsuhito Takaiwa & Yoshihito Sasaki 20:27. Dramatic well worked match with effective counters and near counters. The goal of the match was to make you almost believe Dragon & Yossino couldn’t win because Takaiwa & Sasaki were such tough rat bastards. It was pretty clear the way it was worked that Toryumon would score the “upset” win. However, as Dragon over Sasaki was actually the expected result from the outset, the backbone of the match was simply passing off the illusion that the ZERO-ONE team was too tough for Toryumon. Takaiwa really got his dickish attitude going here. Dragon might be the idol of many a junior, but Takaiwa & Sasaki weren’t giving him much respect, generally putting the boots to him. That’s more than Yossino got, as they just laughed him off and slapped him around. Takaiwa carried the match in his deliberate power and attitude style, with Dragon & Yossino using athletic counters to get their oft sparse offense in. The fans were excited when Yossino got hope spots, usually a counter into a near fall. Dragon finally made the hot tag and started taking it to Sasaki, only to have Takaiwa jump right in and lay him out with his Death Valley bomb. Takaiwa was clearly the star, but given who else was involved we needed a little more from Dragon to elevate it to an excellent match. A flash pin would actually have worked better here since the Toryumon team had been punted all match, particularly if Yossino scored bit but that’s asking too much given all the leagues involved, so they settled on Ultimo over Sasaki with the Dragon sleeper. ***3/4