NOAH NOAH'S voyage #155 4/28/08 The First Navigation '05
Jun Akiyama & Jun Izumida & Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. Minoru Suzuki & Takuma Sano & Takashi Sugiura 14:40. I was annoyed by this match because they devoted most of the little effort they put out into spastic movements and frentic shaking, trying to trick the audience into believing they were seeing something good. The real purpose of the match was to heat up the Akiyama vs. Suzuki rivalry, but even if their antics were effective, it’s hard to get too excited when no one is working at anywhere near full speed. They built anticipation with Suzuki giving Akiyama the big pre-match staredown to get Kanemaru to tag him in before the first lockup, only to have Suzuki tag right out. Akiyama kicked at Suzuki after an elbow smash to his partner near the opposing corner, taunting Minoru into tagging only to return the favor of tagging right out. When they finally wrestled each other, Akiyama gave Suzuki three straight exploders, but Suzuki still kicked out at 2 and came right back with a sleeper. Akiyama pushed Suzuki after the match to initiate a pull apart. *1/4
Richard Slinger & SUWA & Ricky Marvin vs. Makoto Hashi & Kotaro Suzuki & Mitsuo Momota 7:53 of 15:18. A bit sloppy, but some spectacular lightning paced lucha action. Marvin put his nimbleness on display, swinging through and bouncing off the ropes. His sequences with Suzuki practically seemed to be in fast forward, though his real time work with Hashi was actually better due to Hashi being a far solider base to take the glorious offense. Good match.
Akira Taue & Masao Inoue & Shiro Koshinaka vs. Tamon Honda & KENTA & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi 11:05. I don’t mind the dissention angle when done in moderation, but every other match is a bit much. This slow motion match featured Taue mocking Koshinaka by doing the clumsiest imitations of his arsenal of hip moves this side of Suckura Hirota. You could see that Koshinaka was thinking, “If you are going to do my moves, at least do them properly!” Unfortunately, even when Taue was doing his own offense, it was often sloppy and mistimed, though Honda was at least partly to blame. One aspect that made this six man a little more tolerable than the Akiyama vs. Suzuki one earlier in the show is Koshinaka is one of the few guys in NOAH that truly understands how to properly translate his expenditure of energy into something beneficial for the fiery 6 man sprint. While most of the others seem to exaggerate excess movement as if hoping to deceive the audience, actually just looking like posers flapping their little froggy arms, Koshinaka bursts directly at his opponent or into the maneuver, with the extra momentum making the actual wrestling hold look better. *1/2
Go Shiozaki Single Match Trial 7 (7 of 7): Go Shiozaki vs. Kenta Kobashi 13:58. Shiozaki was down to his final match in the series, still winless and now facing the GHC Heavyweight Champion. Shiozaki isn’t experienced enough to give Kobashi any sort of challenge, but he certainly gave the match a go, and Kenta actually put some thought into the structuring, keeping it solid and interesting. The end result was more toward the high quality struggles for control we saw when Jumbo was in this position rather than the by the numbers up and comer shows their offense until I feel like taking them out with two moves sort of laziness we see from Misawa. Shiozaki, who has only been wrestling for 6 months, fought his heart out to gain an advantage, any sort of advantage. Of course, Kobashi soon began to take him apart with his brutal chops. Before long, the entire upper quadrant of poor Go’s chest was welted to a pulp, and Kobashi also injured Go’s shin countering his dropkick by chopping him out of midair. Shiozaki kicked out of the Burning sword, but his best offense just aggravated Kobashi, who in turn fired back with even more brutal chops. The match was essentially a lengthy squash, but it was pretty much as good as it could have been given the combatants were a rookie and a half-crippled legend. ***