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NOAH Nippon Budokan SP GREAT VOYAGE '05 1/8/05 Tokyo
-3hr 55min. Q=Perfect

Haruka Eigen vs. Mitsuo Momota 7:48

Akitoshi Saito & Masao Inoue & Takashi Sugiura vs. Jun Izumida & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi & Kishin Kawabata 14:51

Yoshinari Ogawa & SUWA & Ricky Marvin vs. Mohammed Yone & KENTA & Kotaro Suzuki 6:59

Akira Taue & Takuma Sano vs. Tamon Honda & Go Shiozaki 13:10

Takeshi Morishima Return Match: Takeshi Morishima & Naomichi Marufuji vs. Jun Akiyama & Makoto Hashi 12:18

GHC Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. Tatsuhito Takaiwa 18:21

Mitsuharu Misawa & Takeshi Rikio vs. Genichiro Tenryu & Shiro Koshinaka 15:53

GHC Heavyweight Title Match: Kenta Kobashi vs. Minoru Suzuki 25:22. One of the most interesting matches of Kobashi's record title reign, and probably the least Kobashi-esque. Suzuki is one of the smartest wrestlers around, and he did a great job of carrying Kobashi to a really effective match. Despite his realistic style and generally limited move set, he's actually one of the most effective wrestlers at doing long matches because he knows how to work the offense into the match, set the moves up and make them meaningful. Kobashi doesn't know much about shoot style or even technical wrestling, but Suzuki proved to be an excellent opponent for him because he's a master of stationary wrestling. That wouldn't be good for the Kobashi of 10 years ago, but it's perfect for crippled Kobashi, as despite the stylistic differences, Suzuki actually took Kobashi out of his element a lot less than a Misawa or a Marufuji would. They started out with Suzuki trying to avoid Kobashi's chops, but of course that was pretty futile and Kobashi got some huge ones in. What this did though was lead into the body of the match where Suzuki caught a chop while he was sitting on the top rope and turned it into an armbar to the outside, which he didn't want to release, and managed to get away with long enough to injure Kobashi's right arm. Suzuki worked the arm for the majority of the match, using his kicks and submissions. Finally, Kobashi countered Suzuki's armbreakers with a sleeper that set up Kobashi suplexing Suzuki on his head. The great sleeper spot though was Suzuki getting a choke sleeper on the ramp, but Kobashi, doing the only thing he could to escape, crawling off the ramp so the impact of them crashing to the floor would break it. Kobashi finally took over with a left arm lariat then two right arm lariats. He started suplexing Suzuki on his head, with Minoru acting less and less conscious with each lariat and suplex he took, but Kobashi refusing to go for the 3 count or allow the ref to give Suzuki a 10 count, just dragging Suzuki's carcass up repeatedly until he was content to beat him with his lariat. The match was quite a departure from the usual Kobashi match. It's always good when his opponent is doing most of the thinking, but for once his opponent was also doing most of the work, and that actually was not a bad thing at all. This wasn't the most exciting, dramatic, or certainly over the top match of Kobashi's reign, but it's a great example of how a Kobashi that's pretty much only going to stand around and chop, lariat, and suplex can still have one of the better matches of the year. ***3/4

NOAH NOAH’S voyage #154 4/21/08 GREAT VOYAGE ’05 taped 1/8/05 Tokyo Nippon Budokan
& NOAH NOAH’S voyage #155 4/28/08 The First Navigation ’05 taped 1/23/05 Hyogo Kobe World Kinen Hall
-1hr 40min. Q=TV Master

NOAH's voyage #154

Yoshinari Ogawa & SUWA & Ricky Marvin vs. Mohammad Yone & KENTA & Kotaro Suzuki 6:59. Hot action and a lot better overall effort than I expected. Quick tags kept the pace high and double and triple teams added a few ripples. Marvin & SUWA make a nice combo because since SUWA is as solid as they come in the junior division and Marvin is so spectacular. Marvin’s best stuff came against Suzuki, who gave a nice athletic performance, starting with their excellent athletic opening. Good action, but really too short to amount to anything. **3/4

Akitoshi Saito & Masao Inoue & Takashi Sugiura vs. Jun Izumida & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi & Kishin Kawabata 6:24 of 14:51. NJPW style six man hoping to mask the lack of skill and athleticism with stiffness and quick tags combined with an American style dissention angle. Izumida & Kikuchi both wanted the hot tag, so they came in and double teamed Saito then exchanged elbows with each other. The jealousy snowballed with the egotistical teammates actually making saves for the opposition because they wanted to be the one to score the pinfall. Eventually Kikuchi refused to accept Izumida’s tag. This made for an okay distraction, but there was no meat to the match. Sugiura was the only wrestler in the match, with Inoue chipping in a few quality minutes. *1/2

Mitsuharu Misawa & Takeshi Rikio vs. Genichiro Tenryu & Shiro Koshinaka 15:51. Tenryu’s NOAH debut didn’t look that great on paper, but one should never underestimate what Tenryu & Misawa can bring when they have big show impetus. Steeped with intensity, the smart, rough, and effective match got off on the right foot with a long heated Tenryu vs. Misawa sequence where they just blasted away with chops and elbows. Misawa tried an early tope on Koshinaka, but Tenryu jumped him with a suplex on the floor before he could get up. The story subtly shifted from the exciting Misawa vs. Tenryu meeting to Rikio proving he belonged with the veterans. Even at his peak, Rikio will never approach what these old men can still do, but they were nonetheless successful in promoting him. Rikio will never be known for his skill, but Tenryu is one of the masters of the over the generation match, and much of that is built around a disdain for the opponent who doesn’t belong. In this sort of attitude match where showing the elder statesman no respect would get serious mileage, Rikio was at his most effective. Tenryu & Rikio had a big strike exchange that Tenryu was finally winning, so Rikio just bulled him over. Tenryu isn’t the codger you want to mess with though, as he’s made a career of putting much better up and comers such as Shinya Hashimoto & Satoshi Kojima, Tiger Mask Misawa for that matter, in their place. Koshinaka was the change of pace in this match, utilizing his speed while the others relied upon big time stiffness and impact, but while Koshinaka is thought of as a guy with light offense, he’s always at his nastiest when Tenryu is around. They busted Rikio’s forehead open, and were trying to break his nose, which recalls their treatment of Kojima in a better brutal match in NJPW on 4/14/98. Once Rikio had been injured, everything from Tenryu’s reverse diving elbow to Koshinaka’s hip attack was directed at the wound. Koshinaka even kicked Rikio in the nose to break up a cover. While the match started extremely impressively, they had a hard time sustaining the high quality. Not only can nothing with Rikio can match the excellent quality of Misawa & Tenryu going at it full bore, but they also lacked a third act. There was a lot of back and forth rather than Rikio simply being trapped in the ring, but the match was essentially Rikio getting beat up to set up his triumphant pin over Koshinaka with his musou, which followed Misawa’s lethal emerald flowsion so Shiro could save face. ***3/4

GHC Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. Tatsuhito Takaiwa 15:57 of 18:21. Exciting but clumsily worked headdropfest devoid of everything but killer moves. The setup and transitions were a bit awkward; they didn’t so much incorporate the moves as simply decide what position Takaiwa wanted to drop Kanemaru on his head from next then begin climbing or jumping off the ropes. Takaiwa’s power moves were wildly impressive, but he killed the moves rather than his opponent. They opened hot with Takaiwa no selling Kanemaru’s dropkick and bowling him over, leading right into his signature turning powerslam and powerbomb. However, Kanemaru countered the Death Valley bomb and did his own hot near fall before they began the mat segment. Once they got off the canvas, Kanemaru would set Takaiwa up for his big spots by trying flying moves, allowing Takaiwa to catch him in the air and plant him. Takaiwa powerbombed Kanemaru into the turnbuckle then pulled out both his top rope Michinoku driver II and Death Valley bomb, but even his big follow up lariat wasn’t enough to get the job done and he eventually succumbed to a mere superplex. ***1/4

NOAH's voyage #155

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. ***

NOAH Kobe World Kinen Hall SP The First Navigation '05 1/23/05 Hyogo
-3hr 45min. Q=Perfect

GHC Hardcore Openweight Title: Naomichi Marufuji vs. Haruka Eigen 7:40

Richard Slinger & SUWA & Ricky Marvin vs. Makoto Hashi & Kotaro Suzuki & Mitsuo Momota 15:18

Akitoshi Saito vs. Kishin Kawabata 11:53

Akira Taue & Masao Inoue & Shiro Koshinaka vs. Tamon Honda & KENTA & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi 15:07

Takeshi Rikio & Takeshi Morishima & Mohammed Yone vs. Rick Steiner & Michael Modest & Donovan Morgan 10:13

Go Shiozaki Single Match Trial 7th: Kenta Kobashi vs. Go Shiozaki 13:59

Minoru Suzuki & Takuma Sano & Takashi Sugiura vs. Jun Akiyama & Jun Izumida & Yoshinobu Kanemaru 14:40

GHC Tag Team Title: Scorpio & Doug Williams vs. Mitsuharu Misawa & Yoshinari Ogawa 29:32

NOAH NOAH’s voyage #156 5/5/08 The First Navigation ’05 taped 1/23/05 Hyogo Kobe World Kinen Hall
& NOAH NOAH’s voyage #157 5/12/08 Navigation for Evolution ’05 taped 3/5/05 Tokyo Nippon Budokan
-1hr 40min. Q=TV Master

NOAH's voyage #156

GHC Hardcore Openweight Title Match: Naomichi Marufuji vs. Haruka Eigen 7:40. A fun novelty match with the grizzled veteran getting a chance to possess gold for the first time in 25 years and hold a singles title for the first time in his 39 year career. Marufuji gave his 59-year-old opponent a break, reducing the time limit from 15 minutes to 10 to make it easier for the ancient clown to steal the belt by going the distance. Although they considerably overachieved, Eigen’s age was obviously the real problem here. Haruka gave his all, but there’s only so much he can do. It wasn’t easy for Marfuji to work with someone so incapable of bumping, but he nonetheless succeeded. Eigen sometimes looked bad when he was on offense, but outside of a negative impact strike exchange, while Marufuji was only able to tease a lot of his favorite moves, all the ones he did attempt looked about as impressive as ever. Eigen did an early elbow smash off the apron, which lent credibility to their several subsequent teases of apron moves such as Marufuji’s shiranui and sunset flip powerbomb. Eigen didn’t completely forget his comedy background, but unlike most of the other leagues hardcore titles, one of the reasons the match was worth something is they actually respected the title. **

Akitoshi Saito vs. Kishin Kawabata 3:02 of 11:53. They ran through their top moves in an effort to make it as non-soporific as possible. Saito didn’t go for the pin after his first sickle of death, though I’m not sure if that was to treat us to another or because Kawabata is too tough to fall to a single enzuigiri.

Takeshi Rikio & Takeshi Morishima & Mohammed Yone vs. Rick Steiner & Michael Modest & Donovan Morgan 6:25 of 10:13. Your basic brief, underdeveloped match. They traded moves back and forth, except for Rick Steiner who sold as much as Scott is known too. Rikio appeared to have surprisingly little involvement given he was getting the next GHC Heavyweight Title shot on 3/5/05, but he did get the rub scoring the pinfall on Morgan.

GHC Tag Title Match: Mitsuharu Misawa & Yoshinari Ogawa vs. Scorpio & Doug Williams 28:58 of 29:32. Though they obviously incorporated some modern highspots, this was as close to an excellent 1980’s style tag match as I’ve seen in quite a while. Williams is one of the new generation of British wrestlers who are reviving the technical British style of the 1970’s and ’80’s. Though Scorpio & Misawa dueled flying moves, delivering a few highlights such as the momentum of Misawa’s diving body attack off the apron propelling both over the guard rail, the first 15 minutes was largely an armwork clinic. When Ogawa ran the ropes, Scorpio tripped him up from the outside and repeatedly bashing his elbow while Williams distracted the ref. Williams followed with every sort of armbar and hammerlock variation to debilitate the arm. Scorpio & Williams, who clearly outwrestled the natives, put on quite a show. This wasn’t one of Scorpio’s particularly spectacular matches, but the action was consistently really good. My only issue is Scorpio kept doing this ridiculous spasming after taking Misawa’s spinning back elbow that unintentionally made it appear as if he was having a seizure. Ogawa really carried the match for his side, even if it was mostly getting beat on due to the heels cornering the face and isolating a body part storyline. It would have been an excellent match with a legitimate Misawa effort, but while Misawa showed some good offense, he took very little, presumably because that helps preserve his aging body. His one big bump was getting taken out with a double chokeslam through a table, which set Scorpio & Williams up to throw their best offense at Ogawa until Scorpio pinned him with his 450 splash to become the 9th GHC Tag Champions. ***3/4

NOAH's voyage #157

Scorpio & Doug Williams vs. Akitoshi Saito & Masao Inoue 17:03 of 17:20. The Dark Agents presented Scorpio & Williams with funeral tablets before the match, which didn’t please the tag champs once the ref informed them of their meaning. Unfortunately, this was about Saito & Inoue’s only contribution to the match. To his credit, Inoue was more than a willing seller, but if one wrestler is going to deliver all the offense for the team, it would help if they actually had some semblance of a moveset. Scorpio was able to make an early Saito kicking sequence entertaining by bobbing, weaving, and breakdancing his way out of trouble, but generally Scorpio & Williams getting the vast majority of the offense is what kept the match entertaining. They utilized a peculiar neck attack on Inoue, isolating him and working him over with various chokes as well as Scorpio’s array of somersault leg drops. In a sense, the match was better than expected due to the interesting team dominating, but on the other hand it was too one-sided to have any real drama. **1/2

GHC Heavyweight Title Match: Kenta Kobashi vs. Takeshi Rikio 26:26 of 27:11. A huge step up from their 3/6/04 match due to Rikio being more comfortable and confident. With another year under his belt, and an increased push that included being the only one to pin the champion in the final of the 2 Day Tag Tournament on 11/28/04, Rikio was able to emphatically take it to Kobashi. Even the opening segment was far more heated and intense than any portion of last year’s title bout. A not so overmatched Rikio was able to follow through on a back injury Kobashi sustained from a powerbomb on the ramp, which was much more suited to an offense built around the lame muso, rather than once again having to kill the gimps knees to have a prayer. Rikio tried several subsequent powerbombs, but Kobashi always saved his back by coming up with an answer. Rikio’s increased credibility allowed Kobashi to treat him as more or less an equal, and thus put his all into the match. Since Kobashi was jobbing, he was on offense a lot more, pulling out the superplex, DDT on the ramp, pescado, shouldblock off the apron, burning sword from the turnbuckle, and moonsault. It wasn’t a wild spotfest by any means, all the big moves were well spaced out, adequately sold, and seemed necessary due to Rikio refusing to give up or back down. Rikio’s offense is very far from big match level, he seems to not even be able to concoct more dangerous variations of his usual slop, but this time he executed everything well, getting his girth behind everything. They left the back story for a long time because Rikio couldn’t get any offense in, but went back to it when Kobashi’s half nelson suplex on the ramp failed and Rikio came back with a suplex of his own then finally got the powerbomb in. Overall, the back aspect was far more effective in shaping Rikio’s offense than in making the audience believe Rikio was breaking Kobashi down, but there was enough big match aura and atmosphere that the match itself was getting over well simply by progressing in a natural, unforced manner. Rikio’s muso is an extremely weak finisher for this level, not even approaching the impact of the old spinebuster or sidewalk slam, but it was arguably half credible as tonight’s finisher if only because a person can only be dropped on their back so many times. It’s disappointing to see Kobashi finally lose the title because he easily provides the best opportunity for a top flight match of anyone in the title picture, and that much more so given Rikio provides about the worst opportunity for top flight matches, but I guess we must take solace in the fact that Kobashi found one more memorable performance in his broken body on the way out. ****

NOAH Korakuen Hall SP Navigation for Evolution '05 2/20/05 Tokyo
-3 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

Mitsuo Momota vs. Kishin Kawabata

Tamon Honda & KENTA vs. Masao Inoue & Makoto Hashi

Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Takashi Sugiura vs. SUWA & Ricky Marvin

Mitsuharu Misawa & Yoshinari Ogawa & Kotaro Suzuki vs. Akira Taue & Takuma Sano & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi

Jun Akiyama & Jun Izumida vs. Akitoshi Saito & Shiro Koshinaka

Scorpio & Doug Williams & Ace Steel vs. Bison Smith & The Gladiator & Low Ki

Kenta Kobashi & Mohammed Yone & Go Shiozaki vs. Takeshi Rikio & Morishima Takeshi & Naomichi Marufuji

NOAH Nippon Budokan SP Navigate for Evolution '05 Final 3/5/05 Tokyo
-3hr 55min. Q=Perfect

Takuma Sano & Jun Izumida & Makoto Hashi vs. Tamon Honda & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi & Kishin Kawabata 15:08

Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Takashi Sugiura & SUWA vs. KENTA & Ricky Marvin & Low Ki 17:43

Bison Smith & The Gladiator & Ace Steel vs. Akira Taue & Yoshinari Ogawa & Go Shiozaki 15:35

Scorpio & Doug Williams vs. Akitoshi Saito & Masao Inoue 17:20

GHC Hardcore Openweight Title: Mohammed Yone vs. Naomichi Marufuji 12:36

Shinjiro Otani & Tatsuhito Takaiwa vs. Mitsuharu Misawa & Kotaro Suzuki 18:02

Genichiro Tenryu & Minoru Suzuki vs. Jun Akiyama & Takeshi Morishima 14:30

GHC Heavyweight Title: Kenta Kobashi vs. Takeshi Rikio 27:11

NOAH NOAH’s voyage #158 5/26/08 Navigation for Evolution ’05 taped 3/5/05 Tokyo Nippon Budokan
& NOAH NOAH’s voyage #160 6/9/08 Encountering Navigation ’05 taped 4/17/05 Hakata Starlanes
-1hr 40min. Q=TV Master

NOAH's voyage #158

GHC Hardcore Openweight Title Match: Naomichi Marufuji vs. Mohammed Yone 12:36. A promising start with Marufuji taking Yone’s left knee apart quickly yielded to the typical underdeveloped undercard match. Once Yone made his comeback by propelling a leaping Marufuji into the ring post, there wasn’t time to expand the match, so they simply forgot about the knee injury and did highspots until the finish. Aside from some grazing kicks by both men, the action was good, but Yone added very little and the whole thing felt insubstantial. **3/4

Mitsuharu Misawa & Kotaro Suzuki vs. Shinjiro Otani & Tatsuhito Takaiwa 18:02. Extremely fast-paced all action match. It was theoretically a heavy and a junior vs. a heavy and a junior, but obviously the heavyweights were former juniors, and today they wrestled as if they’d never graduated from the division. Everyone was impressive, but for me Suzuki was the star with his speed, athleticism, and body control. He was not only the sparkplug but also the perfect compliment to his opposition, either taking the big bump to make them look better or coming up with the impressive and explosive athletic counter. His highlights included turning two of Takaiwa’s nadare shiki moves, the powerbomb and the splash mountain, into Frankensteiners off the top rope. Generally though, he seemed to be moving at least twice as fast as anyone else in the match, which was quite impressive given the other three were all motivated. Outside of a gamesmanship segment between Misawa & Otani after Otani & Suzuki did a hot junior opening highlighted by Suzuki’s corkscrew pescado, the match was essentially fireworks. The body consisted of Otani & Takaiwa taunting Misawa in between punking his overmatched youthful partner. The match really took off at 10 when Misawa made the hot tag, never slowing down and simply getting better and better. The fans were going nuts believing Suzuki would defeat Takaiwa with his blue destiny, but of course Suzuki wound up doing the job. ****

Jun Akiyama & Takeshi Morishima vs. Genichiro Tenryu & Minoru Suzuki 14:30. I assumed the first meeting between Akiyama and Tenryu would produce a quality match, especially given the high quality of Tenryu’s not too dissimilar tag in the same spot (semifinal) on the previous Budokan show. Morishima came out dressed similar to Tenryu’s most famous rival Jumbo Tsuruta, and raised his fist in the air after the backdrop, while Akiyama did the same Jumbo homage after his jumping knee. A measure of antics can help a match, but they just did a lazy American match where they used them to distract from the fact they were actually doing very little. NOAH is in trouble if Akiyama vs. Tenryu isn’t enough to excite the fans, but apparently they believed they needed Akira Hokuto & Shinobu Kandori to spice things up. Since Hokuto & Kandori were there, the wrestlers fought on the outside interminably to set up Hokuto preventing Akiyama from piledriving Tenryu, which of course brought Kandori over. The women were banished, but to make sure nobody paid attention to the finish where Tenryu polished off Morishima, they returned to separate Akiyama & Suzuki, who fought on the floor throughout the finishing sequence. *

NOAH's voyage #160

Michael Modest & Donovan Morgan vs. Yoshinari Ogawa & Richard Slinger 6:57 of 12:00. Standard NOAH tag formula with one unit, Team Kaos, isolating the weaker member in their corner and taking him apart for the bulk of the body. Slinger actually made a few comebacks, but was cut off pre-tag. The match picked up with Ogawa’s hot tag, which of course led to Slinger coming right back in to take the rest of Kaos’ offense. Good moves, but no drama as it was essentially a squash. **1/4

Mitsuharu Misawa & Mohammed Yone vs. Kenta Kobashi & Go Shiozaki 11:41 of 20:43. Good action with Shiozaki busting it, and Kobashi & Yone lending enough support to make the match. Shiozaki is fiery and energetic, but doesn’t have enough offense for the veterans to sell for him consistently. The match was mostly Shiozaki vs. Yone, but rather than allow his partner to get constantly brutalized, Kobashi would soften the opposition up during brief stretches and then hand the weakened opponent over to Shiozaki. Unlike Kobashi, Misawa failed to make his presence felt. He was in lazy mode, and wouldn’t even come in to make saves for Yone. He eventually relented when it appeared Shiozaki had Yone pinned in a moonsault, but today he was the one who was carried to a good match. ***

Captain's Fall Elimination Match: KENTA (c) & Naomichi Marufuji & Kotaro Suzuki & Ricky Marvin vs. Takashi Sugiura (c) & Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Makoto Hashi & SUWA 28:48 of 46:06. It’s hard not to get excited when you hear the likes of KENTA, Marufuji, Suzuki, & Marvin are involved in a 45+ minute elimination match. The problem is they were all on the same team, going against the no offense juniors who were led by easily the worst wrestler in the match, Sugiura. The first half of the match was damn good with Marvin & Suzuki flying all over the place with SUWA and to a lesser extent Kanemaru around to make their offense look even better. The problem is these were the first four eliminations, which left a real gap in the offense given Sugiura’s move set is about as exciting as Manabu Nakanishi’s. I don’t mind Sugiura & Hashi’s lack of offense so much as their inability to make up for it by other means the way SUWA can. KENTA & Marufuji, who were more or less saved for the second half, should have been more than enough to maintain the excellent quality displayed in the nonstop first half, but they just didn’t get enough help. In the end, Marvin & SUWA made strong showings, Suzuki & Marufuji were at least good, Kanemaru wasn’t around long enough to make much of an impression, KENTA was fine but failed to reach his normal high level, and Sugiura and to a lesser extent Hashi kept it from being the match it could have been. ***1/4

NOAH di colosseo #156 taped 4/2/05 & 4/3/05
-2hr. Q=Perfect

4/2/05 Tokyo Differ Ariake

Mitsuharu Misawa & Kenta Kobashi & Jun Akiyama vs. Naomichi Marufuji & KENTA & Makoto Hashi

Mascara Contra Cabellera: Tiger Emperor vs. Ricky Marvin

4/3/05 Tokyo Korakuen Hall

Mitsuharu Misawa & Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Takashi Sugiura vs. Kenta Kobashi & KENTA & Ricky Marvin

Jun Akiyama vs. Makoto Hashi

NOAH Korakuen Hall SP Encountering Navigation '05 4/3/05 Tokyo
-3 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

Takuma Sano vs. Tsuyoshi Kikuchi

Tamon Honda & Jun Izumida vs. Shiro Koshinaka & Kishin Kawabata

Scorpio vs. Go Shiozaki

Yoshinari Ogawa & Richard Slinger & Kotaro Suzuki vs. Rick Steiner & Michael Modest & Donovan Morgan

Jun Akiyama vs. Makoto Hashi

Mitsuharu Misawa & Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Takashi Sugiura vs. Kenta Kobashi & KENTA & Ricky Marvin

Akira Taue & SUWA vs. Minoru Suzuki & Naomichi Marufuji

Takeshi Rikio & Takeshi Morishima & Mohammed Yone vs. Akitoshi Saito & Masao Inoue & Bison Smith

NOAH Hakata Starlanes SP Encountering Navigation '05 4/17/05 Fukuoka
-3hr 25min. Q=Perfect

Jun Izumida vs. Kishin Kawabata 9:51

Tamon Honda & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi vs. Scorpio & Rick Steiner 13:07

Yoshinari Ogawa & Richard Slinger vs. Michael Modest & Donovan Morgan 12:00

Mitsuharu Misawa & Mohammed Yone vs. Kenta Kobashi & Go Shiozaki 20:43

Takeshi Rikio & Jun Akiyama & Bison Smith vs. Akira Taue & Takuma Sano & Masashi Aoyagi 15:34

Akitoshi Saito & Masao Inoue vs. Genichiro Tenryu & Takeshi Morishima 13:58

Captain's Fall Elimination Match: Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Takashi Sugiura (c) & Makoto Hashi & SUWA vs. Naomichi Marufuji & KENTA (c) & Kotaro Suzuki & Ricky Marvin 46:06

NOAH di colosseo #159 taped 4/17/05 & 4/20/05
-2hr. Q=Perfect

4/17/05 Hakata Starlanes

Takeshi Rikio & Jun Akiyama & Bison Smith vs. Akira Taue & Takuma Sano & Masashi Aoyagi

Yoshinari Ogawa & Richard Slinger vs. Michael Modest & Donovan Morgan

Akitoshi Saito & Masao Inoue vs. Genichiro Tenryu & Takeshi Morishima

4/20/05 Osaka

Hardcore Openweight Title - Chain Deathmatch: Mohammed Yone vs. Takeshi Morishima

Akira Taue & KENTA vs. Genichiro Tenryu& Makoto Hashi

NOAH Nippon Budokan SP Encountering Navigation '05 4/24/05 Tokyo
-3hr 55min. Q=Perfect

Jun Izumida & Makoto Hashi vs. Masao Inoue & Kishin Kawabata 14:18

Tamon Honda & Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Takashi Sugiura vs. Bison Smith & Rick Steiner & Ricky Marvin 16:09

Scorpio & Michael Modest & Donovan Morgan vs. Yoshinari Ogawa & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi & Richard Slinger 19:16

Akira Taue & Takuma Sano vs. Mohammed Yone & Takeshi Morishima 10:58

KENTA vs. SUWA 6:23

Minoru Suzuki & Naomichi Marufuji vs. Mitsuharu Misawa & Kotaro Suzuki 20:00

Jun Akiyama & Genichiro Tenryu vs. Kenta Kobashi & Go Shiozaki 17:30

GHC Heavyweight Title: Takeshi Rikio vs. Akitoshi Saito 25:06

NOAH Differ Cup Jr. Tag Tournament II Day 1 5/7/05 Tokyo Differ Ariake
-2hr 15min. Q=Near Perfect

Differ Cup - Quarterfinal: Super Shiisa & Tiger Emperor vs. Katsuhiko Nakajima & Takehiro Murahama

Differ Cup - Quarterfinal: TAKA Michinoku & PSYCHO vs. Ikuto Hidaka & Minoru Fujita

Differ Cup - Quarterfinal: KENTA & Naomichi Marufuji vs. Kota Ibushi & KUDO

Differ Cup - Quarterfinal: Kaz Hayashi & Leonardo Spanky vs. Takashi Sasaki & GENTARO

Sonjay Dutt vs. Ebetaro

Differ Cup - Semifinal: Ikuto Hidaka & Minoru Fujita vs. Tiger Emperor & Super Shiisa

Differ Cup - Semifinal: Kaz Hayashi & Leonardo Spanky vs. KENTA & Naomichi Marufuji

NOAH Differ Cup Jr. Tag Tournament II Day 2 5/8/05 Tokyo Differ Ariake
-2hr 40min. Q=Near Perfect

Katsuhiko Nakajima vs. Osamu Namiguchi

Mixed Gender Match: Stalker Ichikawa vs. Amazing Kong

Mixed Gender Match: Amazing Kong vs. Stalker Ichikawa & D.J. Nira

KUDO & Takehiro Murahama vs. Hi69 & Kota Ibushi

Takaiwa Tatsuhito & Tomohiro Ishii & Yoshihito Sasaki vs. TAKA Michinoku & PSYCHO & Sonjay Dutt

Differ Cup 3rd Place Match: Kaz Hayashi & Leonardo Spanky vs. Tiger Emperor & Super Shiisa

Differ Cup Final: KENTA & Naomichi Marufuji vs. Ikuto Hidaka & Minoru Fujita

NOAH NOAH’s voyage #162 6/23/08 Encountering Navigation ’05 taped 4/24/05 Tokyo Nippon Budokan
& NOAH NOAH’s voyage #168 8/4/08 Summer Navigation ’05 taped 7/2/05 Tokyo Differ Ariake
-1hr 40min. Q=TV Master

NOAH's voyage #162

Kenta Kobashi & Go Shiozaki vs. Jun Akiyama & Genichiro Tenryu 17:30. A great example of how to make something out of nothing. Everyone knew Shiozaki was going to get his ass kicked and do the job, but the hatred, desire, effort, and intensity elevated the match well about the level of what they were doing, making the audience feel as if they were seeing something truly special. The brutal stiffness certainly contributed mightily to the illusion, but it was more that they were giving their best to prove a point to the opposition. The match was about Tenryu vs. Kobashi with Tenryu giving the finest tag performance he’s capable of. He established his disdain for Kobashi from the first moment, fueling the fire even when Akiyama & Shiozaki were going at it by walking around the ring and whipping a water bottle into Kobashi. Kobashi actually chopped Tenryu’s chest bloody early on, but Tenryu found a better revenge than simple turnabout. Kobashi is the mentor and father figure of his young new partner Shiozaki, so it hurt him more to see Shiozaki pummeled than to get beat up himself. Knowing this, Tenryu would throw his hardest possible chop, lariat, etc. then pause to taunt Kobashi with a stare. Nothing makes Tenryu happier than laying in to some young punk, so he was feeling his oats today. Kobashi was excellent when he was in, but in the end his main role was encouraging Shiozaki to answer the call for the next beat down. ****

GHC Heavyweight Title Match: Takeshi Rikio vs. Akitoshi Saito 25:06. Saito was about the worst possible choice for Rikio’s first title defense. The hardcores were generally against Rikio to begin with, ready to pounce when he proved as shoddy a replacement for their idol Kobashi as they knew he’d be. What Rikio needed, beyond a miracle, was a solid veteran who could carry him, for instance Yoshinari Ogawa or Takuma Sano, who shouldn't be in the title picture to begin with, but as things are, they were more overdue for another shot than Saito (granted Sano’s a tough go if the first defense is at Budokan, but Ogawa is also a good story since Rikio’s first GHC shot was a loss to Ogawa, although it was a terrible match). Saito was essentially only selected because he’s someone Rikio could beat, but he’s generally as weak a worker as Rikio is (more ability still despite being on the downside, but far less effort). Both gave their best effort to step it up, but it was a difficult task given neither do much particularly interesting or well. Rikio doing a shoulderblock off the apron might be a big deal by his standards, but it’s hardly going to excite fans used to watching Naomichi Marufuji & Ricky Marvin fly all over the building. Saito actually managed to find something of a move set, and given he’s a martial artist, the injured arm storyline wasn’t as much a reach for him as for your typical body builder. Rikio stopping Saito’s suplex on the apron led to the big softening up spot, Saito DDTing him on the apron, though Rikio took such a pitiful bump his head barely grazed. In any case, this weakened him enough that Saito could begin taking apart the arm, which made for a fairly good body. The storyline almost protected Rikio, as he did such a good job of showing he had to use his off (left) arm or was hampered on the rare occasion he used his right that you almost forgot his offense is almost that bad when he’s healthy! Still, it was one of the poorest executed GHC Heavyweight title matches, with Rikio even managing to only graze Saito with a footstomp off the 2nd. The big spot of the match was Saito’s death cloak off the ramp, which he used to regain the advantage. Rikio managed to come up with something of a muso off the middle rope, but it looked pretty lame because it started as a back suplex and he simply turned 180 degrees on the way down for the switch. They didn’t put the move over at all, just using it as a routine near fall. I give them a passing grade due to there being enough effort and length to make it worthwhile, but neither are remotely championship material. In the end, despite the occasional embarrassment, this was actually amazingly good given the low level of talent involved. **3/4

#168

KENTA & Kotato Suzuki vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Takashi Sugiura 15:46. KENTA seemed pissed about losing the GHC Junior Tag Titles to Kanemaru & Suzuki on 6/5/05, coming out with all guns blazing. He was in a class of his own in this match that helped build anticipation for his 7/18/05 GHC Junior Title Challenge against Kanemaru, as he not only displayed major intensity, but also wrestled close to full force. To me, Suzuki can be more exciting than KENTA as he’s better at using his athleticism to evade and counter moves, but while he understands how to take advantage of being a fantastic athlete, he’s not yet experienced enough to get beyond doing the same few impressive sequences every match. Suzuki had good chemistry with Sugiura, including a nice armdrag counter for the Olympic slam before Sugiura caught him with it. ***1/4

Scorpio & Rick Steiner & Low Ki vs. Akitoshi Saito & Masao Inoue & Mitsuo Momota 9:11 of 15:53. You have to wonder what the matchmaker was thinking when he put together this mixed bag. Inoue might not be that great, but to a certain extent he’s capable of working with everyone because he’s one of the most unselfish wrestlers in the sport. His segments showcased Scorpio’s offense at the proper temperature, but beyond Inoue I’ve yet to figure out who was theoretically supposed to work well with one another. Everyone kept moving, but they didn’t have great chemistry. Low Ki was about half the size of the others, but managed to get as much offense in as anyone without putting anyone else over. Thus, by default, the natives were stuck doing most of the selling. Momota can’t really bump at his age, so Ki was reduced to utilizing the deadly snapmare! Ki & Saito actually managed to work well together even though neither were willing to sell, as Ki brought so much athleticism to the usual kick sequences they were able to work a few nifty evasions. Steiner did absolutely nothing, and even though he tried, Momota kills a match quicker than anyone in NOAH other than Eigen. There was some impressive action, mainly from Scorpio & Ki, but also some utter crap. **

Jun Akiyama & Makoto Hashi & SUWA vs. Minoru Suzuki & Naomichi Marufuji & Ricky Marvin 18:52 of 19:07. They kept a lightning pace with Marufuji looking great and getting the others to step it up to keep up with him. With his shaved head, Hashi looks like he should be playing a Buddhist monk in a Shaw Brothers flick. He gave one of his high end performances though, doing a better job of hanging with the other juniors than in the captain’s fall match on 4/17/05. Hashi was fighting extra hard because he was looking to earn a spot as Akiyama’s partner against Minoru Suzuki & Naomichi Marufuji on the 7/18/05 Tokyo Dome show. As usual, Marvin did an excellent job showing off some incredible moves, but the match was the best when SUWA was in because he takes far better than any of NOAH’s juniors. The big dropoff was when Suzuki came in, as his act is basically grimacing while applying a leverage hold. Akiyama was in lazy mode, staying on the apron the whole match. In his defense, part of the story was that he wanted a worthy partner, so he was willing to sacrifice this match to make sure he could secure the gold at the Tokyo Dome. At one point, it appeared Akiyama was going to break down and help Hashi out, but he instead began slapping him around to fire him up and instill the fighting spirit. ***1/2

NOAH di colosseo 6/6/05 Navigation with Breeze ’05 taped 5/13/05 Tokyo Korakuen Hall
-2hr. Q=TV Master

Haruka Eigen vs. Mitsuo Momota 5:54. Comical only in it’s badness, they essentially just exchanged slaps and headbutts. Eigen appeared to kick out of Momota’s schoolboy, but mercifully close also counts in geezerresu. -**

Tsuyoshi Kikuchi vs. Makota Hashi 20:00. You know your juniors aren’t that impressive when the reason twenty minutes is too long for them is they simply don’t possess the offense to fill the time. They essentially stood toe to toe the entire fight, delivering 20 minutes of striking with Hashi shifting to headbutts for his “big” offense. Hashi was able to increase his stiffness to the point the offense was credible enough to distract from the fact they were essentially killing time. If they brought any diversity or even picked it up for the lack of finish it might have been a good match, but as it stands it was rather tedious. **

Shiro Koshinaka & Masao Inoue vs. Jun Izumida & Yoshinobu Kanemaru 11:47. Kanemaru did a nice job as the junior amidst the heavyweights, but didn’t get a great deal of help. Koshinaka was adequate, but didn’t have his usual energy and the other two were pretty worthless. *1/2

SUWA & Low Ki & Abismo Negro vs. KENTA & Kotaro Suzuki & Oriental 19:10. Very standard fair that was better on paper than in actuality due to a lack of chemistry and SUWA being the only one who approached his capability. SUWA is unquestionably the best in the match at receiving, but the bout was still limited by him being the only one on his side who was willing to sell anything. Ki & Suzuki did have a brief but impressive back and forth sequence. Oriental was the weakest link, his work lacking the fluidity and cleanness of the others. When SUWA had his hand raised celebrating his FFF victory over Oriental, KENTA jumped him from behind. Kanemaru & Hashi then jumped in since they wanted a piece of KENTA & Suzuki. **1/2

Mitsuharu Misawa & Yoshinari Ogawa & Richard Slinger vs. Jun Akiyama & Michael Modest & Donovan Morgan 9:05. Frentic and intense action. A brief match, but more importantly they made the most of it by wrestling in overdrive. Misawa was into it to a shocking extent, and on top of his game. Akiyama did one nice segment with Misawa, but Misawa & Morgan were certainly the main contributors with the others mainly putting them over. ***

Takeshi Rikio & Bison Smith vs. Mohammed Yone & Takeshi Morishima 12:20. Bruising battle. Morishima & Rikio went at it hard enough to make up for the fact they aren’t capable of much beyond clubbing, including Morishima sustaining a bloody nose. Yone mixed things up with some more athletic offense, but most of his best moments came early. Bison came on late, showing better offense than the Takeshis (which doesn’t exactly take much), but not nearly their desire and willpower to mix it up. Simplistic, but certainly more entertaining than expected. They obviously needed to develop the match better, but despite the lazy structuring they very crudely managed to bring out everyone’s strengths. **3/4

NOAH NOAH di colosseo 6/13/05 Navigation with Breeze '05 taped 5/13/05 & 5/17/05
-2hr. Q=TV Master

5/13/05 Tokyo Korakuen Hall

Minoru Suzuki & Naomichi Marufuji vs. Akitoshi Saito & Takashi Sugiura

Kenta Kobashi & Tamon Honda & Go Shiozaki vs. Akira Taue & Takuma Sano & Kishin Kawabata

5/17/05 Niigata Shi Taiikukan

Kenta Kobashi & Tamon Honda vs. Minoru Suzuki & Naomichi Marufuji

GHC Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. Kotaro Suzuki

NOAH NOAH di colosseo 6/21/05 Navigation with Breeze '05 taped 5/17 & 6/4
-2hr. Q=TV Master

5/17/05 Niigata Shi Taiikukan

Takeshi Rikio & Mohammad Yone & KENTA vs. Jun Akiyama & Genichiro Tenryu & Go Shiozaki 23:25

Haruka Eigen & Michael Modest vs. Kishin Kawabata & Mitsuo Momota 12:06

Akira Taue & Takuma Sano & Makoto Hashi vs. Akitoshi Saito & Masao Inoue & Takashi Sugiura 18:40

Mitsuharu Misawa & Yoshinari Ogawa vs. Bison Smith & Donovan Morgan 9:57

6/4/05 Sapporo Media Park Spica

Takashi Sugiura & SUWA vs. KENTA & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi 11:56

Minoru Suzuki & Naomichi Marufuji vs. Yoshinari Ogawa & Richard Slinger 18:25

Mitsuharu Misawa & Kenta Kobashi & Akira Taue vs. Jun Akiyama & Genichiro Tenryu & Takeshi Morishima 16:34

NOAH Niigata Shi Taiikukan SP Navigation with Breeze '05 5/17/05
-3hr 25min. Q=Perfect

Haruka Eigen & Michael Modest vs. Kishin Kawabata & Mitsuo Momota 12:06

SUWA & Low Ki vs. Abismo Negro & El Oriental 13:01

Akira Taue & Takuma Sano & Makoto Hashi vs. Akitoshi Saito & Masao Inoue & Takashi Sugiura 18:40

Takeshi Morishima & Jun Izumida vs. Tsuyoshi Kikuchi & Richard Slinger 13:53

Mitsuharu Misawa & Yoshinari Ogawa vs. Bison Smith & Donovan Morgan 9:57

Minoru Suzuki & Naomichi Marufuji vs. Kenta Kobashi & Tamon Honda 18:58

GHC Junior Heavyweight Title: Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. Kotaro Suzuki 24:16

Takeshi Rikio & Mohammed Yone & KENTA vs. Jun Akiyama & Genichiro Tenryu & Go Shiozaki 23:25

NOAH Sapporo Media Park Spica SP Navigation with Breeze '05 6/5/05
-3hr 25min. Q=Perfect. 2 DVDs

SUWA & Abismo Negro & El Oriental vs. Makoto Hashi & Kotaro Suzuki & Mitsuo Momota 16:49

Michael Modest & Donovan Morgan vs. Masashi Aoyagi & Low Ki 12:05

Jun Akiyama & Takeshi Morishima vs. Tamon Honda & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi 14:06

Mitsuharu Misawa & Akira Taue & Jun Izumida vs. Akitoshi Saito & Masao Inoue & Bison Smith 17:13

Takeshi Rikio & Mohammed Yone vs. Kenta Kobashi & Go Shiozaki 16:38

Minoru Suzuki vs. Takuma Sano 14:01

Yoshinari Ogawa & Richard Slinger vs. Genichiro Tenryu & Kishin Kawabata 12:20

GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Title Match: KENTA & Naomichi Marufuji vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Takashi Sugiura 34:51

NOAH NOAH di colosseo 6/21/05 Navigation with Breeze '05 taped 6/5 Sapporo Media Park Spica
-2hr. Q=TV Master

Yoshinari Ogawa & Richard Slinger vs. Genichiro Tenryu & Kishin Kawabata 12:20

SUWA & Abismo Negro & Oriental vs. Makoto Hashi & Kotaro Suzuki & Mitsuo Momota 16:49

Michael Modest & Donovan Morgan vs. Masashi Aoyagi & Low Ki 12:05

GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Title Match: Naomichi Marufuji & KENTA vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Takashi Sugiura 34:51

NOAH di colosseo 7/4/05 Navigation with Breeze ’05
taped 6/5/05 Hokkaido Sapporo Media Park Spica & ~Come together~ taped 6/10/05 Tokyo Korakuen Hall
-2hr. Q=TV Master

6/5/05

Takuma Sano vs. Minoru Suzuki 14:01. I feel like I took a time machine back to 1992. They returned to their UWF offshoot roots, actually utilizing a much neglected side of their background to deliver a fine technical bout rather than simply doing the same old NOAH style incessantly. In the process, they delivered one of the most focused and well told story matches of the NOAH year. Sano was typically overmatched, but overcame that by being his old rudo self. Suzuki withstood Sano’s cross armbar long enough to make the ropes, but Sano refused to break until the last possible second, disabling Suzuki. Suzuki did a superb job of putting the injury over consistently for the duration of the match. He acted as if he had a broken arm, holding the bent appendage at his stomach unless he was using it to do a move. Sano went right after the arm with a kick, prompting Suzuki to escape to the floor for the first of his lengthy sells. After withstanding several more well targeted kicks, Suzuki finally broke up a slap exchange by sneaking behind Sano and applying his sleeper, but Sano just wrenched the broken wing at the wrist. Suzuki tried a one-arm piledriver later, but wasn’t able to pull it off, leading to more of Sano’s arm work. The one problem with the match is they had no idea how to end it since Sano can’t simply get the logical big win. They knew Suzuki had to win quickly, but there’s not many submissions you can do with one arm, so they just allowed Suzuki to use the arm for 30 seconds as he transitioned between submissions until he found something Sano would tap to. ***1/2

Kenta Kobashi & Go Shiozaki vs. Takeshi Rikio & Mohammed Yone 16:38. One reason Kobashi has good matches on the small shows is he shames the others into trying. Outside of Misawa, no one in NOAH can feel comfortable sleepwalking when the kneeless wonder is working hard to put on a good show. They kept it simple, but did a nice job of making the match seem meaningful, instilling a sense of desperation and urgency. Yone gave the type of performance I’ve been looking for, facilitating good wrestling so to speak by working lengthy segments with both opponents (keeping Rikio on the apron). Shiozaki did a few more flying moves than usual, even if they were of the basic 1980’s variety. The fans were really into seeing him try to pin Yone, especially after Yone nearly had him beat. Of course, the opposite occurred. ***

6/10/05

6 Man Royal Rumble Battle Royal 17:10. The only good wrestling came from the final pairing with the rest being goofy fun, at best. Still, despite the match consisting of largely uneventful undercarders, it was worlds better than the old star filled AJPW battle royals. There were a few annoying aspects, such as there was no legitimate attempt to eliminate anyone before all six members were in the match, and they would essentially stop wrestling every time a new entrant made his way to the ring. Still, they managed to be marginally entertaining, and overall it wasn’t too bad, if only for the novelty. Kishin Kawabata & Mohammed Yone started, with Masao Inoue siding with Kawabata to double team Yone. The next fighters, Tamon Honda & Takuma Sano both sided with Yone. When Takeshi Morishima joined Yone’s team as well, Inoue basically said “screw you Kawabata, I’m going to the other side”. Kawabata managed to survive the segment anyway as Inoue allowed Honda to be the last member in the 4 way appendage submission so he could pounce on Inoue, with the others leaving Kawabata's arm and ankles to pile on. Now that they were no longer picking on Kawabata, he actually lasted to the end. His final segment with Morishima was surprisingly good, with Kishin nearly scoring the upset then putting up a valiant effort after he missed his diving senton before succumbing to Morishima’s backdrop. *1/2

Hair Match: Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Takashi Sugiura & SUWA & Makoto Hashi vs. Naomichi Marufuji & KENTA & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi & Kotaro Suzuki 21:35 of 30:10. Though Ricky Marvin’s offense was certainly missed, the talent was still there to have a memorable hair match. Unfortunately, during the first half it barely resembled a NOAH junior match. There was some good stuff such as KENTA & Hashi laying into each other with slaps, but they killed a lot of time, including a surprising amount of brawling on the outside. The best guys – Marufuji, SUWA, & KENTA – were virtually invisible outside of quadruple teams and fighting around the arena, only wrestling the briefest segments. This meant full helpings of Kikuchi, Hashi, & Sugiura. Sugiura became disgusted with Hashi when everyone else came in and gave a prone Suzuki a running kick while Sugiura had him in the camel clutch, but Hashi instead delivered a Mongolian chop, which forced Sugiura to release the hold. The action grew increasingly desperate in the second half, with Suzuki doing a good job of working in and around his usual spots before Kanemaru pinned him. Everyone volunteered to get their hair cut, but Kikuchi got the honor after a game of rock-paper-scissors. **1/2

Jun Izumida Proposal To Mima Shimoda Match: Takeshi Rikio & Jun Izumida vs. Jun Akiyama & Go Shiozaki 15:36. Mima Shimoda sat in the front row, in one of her legendary pink chairs of course, for this match where loser Izumida got to propose to her if he managed to win. Izumida was incredibly jealous of the other wrestlers interactions with her. Shimoda may not have been too keen on him, but she did her best to support him, clapping and yelling “Gambate!” Rikio was efficient when he was in but barely wrestled, as Izumida might not be as successful, but if he was going to lose his chance with Shimoda, he at least wanted to be the one to do it. Luckily for him, Akiyama seems to barely wrestle in any tag outside of the big shows, though he was active and aggressive when he was in and generally gave a good brief showing. In any case, this was largely a singles match between Izumida and young Shiozaki. Izumida stinks, but the others did enough that the match was passable. Shimoda was very excited when Izumida pinned Go with his meteorite. Izumida didn’t bother with a ring, getting a couple of flowers to offer along with his proposal, which Shimoda appeared to accept. Then Izumida tried to seal it with a kiss only to be slapped, blasted with a chair, and scolded. **

NOAH Korakuen Hall SP ~come together~ 6/10/05 Tokyo
-3 1/2hr. Q=Perfect. 2 DVDs

Royal Rumble with Takeshi Morishima, Tamon Honda & Takuma Sano, Masao Inoue, Mohammed Yone, & Kishin Kawabata 17:10

Jun Izumida Proposal To Mima Shimoda Match: Takeshi Rikio & Jun Izumida vs. Jun Akiyama & Go Shiozaki 15:36

Captain's Fall Hair Match: Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Takashi Sugiura & SUWA & Makoto Hashi vs. Naomichi Marufuji & KENTA & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi & Kotaro Suzuki 30:10

NOAH NOAH Differ Ariake SP Summer Navigation ’05 7/3/05 taped 7/2/05 Tokyo Differ Ariake
-2hr 40min. Q=TV Master. 2 DVDs

Haruka Eigen vs. Kishin Kawabata 6:03. Eigen did his “classic” AJPW style comedy match, regularly unleashing his feared projectile espectorations. Kawabata didn’t know what to do since he doesn’t possess any comedy spots, and Eigen probably can’t take the majority of his miniscule move set. Kawabata thus settled on winning with a deadly small package. -*

Scorpio & Rick Steiner & Low Ki vs. Akitoshi Saito & Masao Inoue & Mitsuo Momota 15:51. You have to wonder what the matchmaker was thinking when he put together this mixed bag. Inoue might not be that great, but to a certain extent he’s capable of working with everyone because he’s one of the most unselfish wrestlers in the sport. His segments showcased Scorpio’s offense at the proper temperature, but beyond Inoue I’ve yet to figure out who was theoretically supposed to work well with one another. Everyone kept moving, but they didn’t have great chemistry. Low Ki was about half the size of the others, but managed to get as much offense in as anyone without putting anyone else over. Thus, by default, the natives were stuck doing most of the selling. Momota can’t really bump at his age, so Ki was reduced to utilizing the deadly snapmare! Ki & Saito actually managed to work well together even though neither were willing to sell, as Ki brought so much athleticism to the usual kick sequences they were able to work a few nifty evasions. Steiner did absolutely nothing, and even though he tried, Momota kills a match quicker than anyone in NOAH other than Eigen. There was some impressive action, mainly from Scorpio & Ki, but also some utter crap. **

KENTA & Kotato Suzuki vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Takashi Sugiura 15:46. KENTA seemed pissed about losing the GHC Junior Tag Titles to Kanemaru & Suzuki on 6/5/05, coming out with all guns blazing. He was in a class of his own in this match that helped build anticipation for his 7/18/05 GHC Junior Title Challenge against Kanemaru, as he not only displayed major intensity, but also wrestled close to full force. To me, Suzuki can be more exciting than KENTA as he’s better at using his athleticism to evade and counter moves, but while he understands how to take advantage of being a fantastic athlete, he’s not yet experienced enough to get beyond doing the same few impressive sequences every match. Suzuki had good chemistry with Sugiura, including a nice armdrag counter for the Olympic slam before Sugiura caught him with it. ***1/4

Takeshio Rikio & Mohammed Yone & Takeshi Morishima vs. Mitsuharu Misawa & Yoshinari Ogawa & Richard Slinger 13:44. Underachieving match. It was paced more similar to the 12 minute action match, but while the pace wasn’t bad, no one brought their good offense. I thought the match had 5 minutes left, where they’d start using their regular quality moves, but instead it unceremoniously ended. Even though Misawa used his most pedestrian moves, his offense was on another level entirely do to the preciseness of his execution. Ogawa can run around, but even his quick opening sequences with Yone are limited by the fact he thinks what amounts to a closed fist slap is viable offense. Once these two were done, everyone else quickly settled into uninspired timewasting. Yone did his best to pick up the pace whenever he was in, but his stretches are generally brief. Slinger did his best to pound Morishima, only to incite his ire. *3/4

Kenta Kobashi & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi vs. Tamon Honda & Go Shiozaki 21:55. Match was good when Kobashi & Shiozaki were in, with neither showing any love or mercy for the other despite their partnership. Shiozaki did his best to incite his mentor, running to the corner and elbowing him every time he did a move that would keep Kikuchi down long enough. Kobashi eventually came in, but Shiozaki hid behind the rules, forcing the ref to escort Kobashi right out. Kenta soon got his revenge, chopping Go over the guard rail. Kobashi vs. Honda was fine, essentially a battle of chops vs. elbows, with a few suplexes thrown in. Kikuchi was at his most annoying today, even channeling Rusher Kimura. He did about 50 consecutive falling headbutts to Shiozaki’s arm. He actually wanted to stop because, like the audience, he could take no more, but Kobashi kept propelling him down, sore noggin or not. After Kobashi’s half-nelson suplex to Honda, Kikuchi started up again, though thankfully Honda avoided a diving headbutt or Kikuchi might still be at it! **3/4

Jun Akiyama & Makoto Hashi & SUWA vs. Minoru Suzuki & Naomichi Marufuji & Ricky Marvin 19:07. They kept a lightning pace with Marufuji looking great and getting the others to step it up to keep up with him. With his shaved head, Hashi looks like he should be playing a Buddhist monk in a Shaw Brothers flick. He gave one of his high end performances though, doing a better job of hanging with the other juniors than in the captain’s fall match on 4/17/05. Hashi was fighting extra hard because he was looking to earn a spot as Akiyama’s partner against Minoru Suzuki & Naomichi Marufuji on the 7/18/05 Tokyo Dome show. As usual, Marvin did an excellent job showing off some incredible moves, but the match was the best when SUWA was in because he takes far better than any of NOAH’s juniors. The big dropoff was when Suzuki came in, as his act is basically grimacing while applying a leverage hold. Akiyama was in lazy mode, staying on the apron the whole match. In his defense, part of the story was that he wanted a worthy partner, so he was willing to sacrifice this match to make sure he could secure the gold at the Tokyo Dome. At one point, it appeared Akiyama was going to break down and help Hashi out, but he instead began slapping him around to fire him up and instill the fighting spirit. ***1/2

NOAH 5th Anniversary DESTINY 2005 7/18/05 Tokyo Dome
-5hr. Q=Perfect

Takashi Sugiura & SUWA & Masashi Aoyagi vs. Tsuyoshi Kikuchi & Mitsuo Momota & Katsuhiko Nakajima 9:32. Nakajima singlehandedly made the match passable with an energetic performance displaying impressive athleticism and marked by sharp kicks and elbows. At just 17, he’s already easily in the better half of the wrestlers on the card. SUWA did his usual great job of making the opposition look better than they are, wrestling the matches best segments with Nakajima & Kikuchi. They stepped up the pace and lengthened the finishing segment while condensing the body, producing a pretty good junior match with these three, but a much different, and certainly lesser match with Momota & Aoyagi. Momota wrestled seriously, but even his best effort could only produce a half passable minute with Sugiura, who responded to the huge crowd by wrestling with far more confidence than usual. **1/4

Mohammed Yone & Takeshi Morishima vs. Tamon Honda & Go Shiozaki 8:26. Shiozaki is another 2nd year wrestler who stepped up in a big way, though at 23 he’s a much older new face than Nakajima. Shiozaki has been a notable performer this year in large part because he always shows up to wrestler, but today he was the standout despite the veterans actually putting forth their best efforts. Thankfully, the match was pretty much Shiozaki vs. Yone with Honda & Morishima chipping in their best moves. That made for an enjoyable sprint, though it was too short to amount to anything. Still, with Yone once again showing a willingness to help the match by working longer and Shiozaki showing improved offense, it was easy enough to look favorably on the time filler. **1/4

Akitoshi Saito & Shiro Koshinaka & Masao Inoue & Kishin Kawabata vs. Akira Taue & Takuma Sano & Jun Izumida & Haruka Eigen 11:56. The remaining undercarders collected their Dome paychecks. The pace was too slow, the effort too underwhelming, and no one did anything worthwhile. This was just plain sorry. Beyond it being an uninspired house show match, they didn’t even do the basics of the oversized tag such as utilizing quick tags to keep the match moving briskly and showcase the better maneuvers. When they finally tried some of the novel concept - double teaming - toward the end, it just became chaos. *

Mushiking Terry Debut Match: Mushiking Terry (Kotaro Suzuki) vs. Black Mask (Ricky Marvin) 7:59. Tiger Emperor was simply Suzuki under a hood. I liked the gimmick better as it wasn’t more of the usual insidious advertising, but it was pointless since Suzuki did the same exact spots and sequences. Today Suzuki & Marvin were unrecognizable, stepping up and doing the match you hoped for with several different spectacular moves. It was incredibly short, but fast-paced and exciting state of the art junior action. The level of difficulty was a lot higher than Suzuki’s typical match, so the few minor imperfections within the generally really well worked match were excusable. Marvin was no mere foil, he did an excellent job of making the match, and had one of the spots of the night with the nadare shiki neckbreaker. ***1/2

GHC Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. KENTA 20:31. The Dome has traditionally been a dreadful building for junior heavyweight matches, as about the only thing that plays well there is big names the marks are very familiar with, and the small guys tend to be younger, and regardless always come on relatively early. Not that there haven’t been excellent light heavyweight matches with great efforts, but rather the exemplary quality of the work is overshadowed by the fact it’s so quite you can hear the baby crying in the 20th row. Even though both men delivered their crowning in ring accomplishment, the true achievement of Kanemaru vs. KENTA was that they broke through the junior barrier, finding a way to connect with the audience that resulted in relatively sustained heat for the final quarter of the bout. There are two injury storylines that are very important to this match, Kanemaru hurting his elbow early when KENTA avoided a reverse diving body attack and KENTA injuring his neck on two massive deep impact DDT’s - one with Kanemaru jumping forward off the middle rope to counter a superplex then a second leaping off the ring apron to thwart KENTA’s attempt to recover from the first on the floor. However, it’s important to point out the goal of these themes is not to be the match, but rather to provide a framework to shape the body around. KENTA’s arm attack served the purpose of carrying them through the early portion, giving a focus to his already impressive kicking arsenal, while Kanemaru injuring KENTA’s neck bridged the gap from the regular good moves to the great ones. This was never a match built around strict focus, they always remembered who they are, but they also crafted who they are into the health of the opponent, and I believe that’s what the crowd really connected to. Kanemaru has had some junior title matches that felt completely irrelevant. His 1/8/05 defense against Tatsuhito Takaiwa was every bit as spectacular as this match, but it provided nothing beyond the awe factor. What made this a great match is you never felt as though they were simply showing off. I won’t say everything had a purpose, but rather they had a healthy mix of signature spots that are impressive and damaging and those that were specifically targeted, combining the two were applicable. More importantly, they did an excellent job of setting the highspots up through positioning, pacing the match more moderately by spacing the major spots out so it didn’t feel like trigger happy jack masturbating with his machine gun, and putting the moves over so we didn’t believe they were superhuman. On the contrary, they actually made the audience believe they were weakened and vulnerable to the point the match would end at 15:00 with their exchange of finishers, even though it was actually just the start of the finishing segment. This final segment could have related to what came before it better, but as a whole the match was well thought out and structured with some creativity and very little fat, which elevated it above the stiff, intense, extremely well worked counter laden big match we expected. Certainly one of the top junior matches All Japan or NOAH has produced. ****1/2

GHC Tag Title Match: Minoru Suzuki & Naomichi Marufuji vs. Jun Akiyama & Makoto Hashi 24:55. I’m far from the world’s biggest Hashi fan, but he wrestled his heart out, giving a good enough performance that Marufuji was able to carry him to something very good. Marufuji has been better, but he did a great job considering he was essentially doing a singles match with Hashi despite it purportedly being a tag. Akiyama is such a waste of talent. He’s not that old and not that injured, but even on the biggest show of the year he wasn’t willing to do more than come in for a few signature spots and tag out before he had sell, well, anything. Hashi’s head was all bandaged up for headbutting the opposition silly in recent encounters, and it wasn’t going to get any better with him starting out thinking he’s Dynamite Kid with a diving headbutt to the floor. He almost avoided Marufuji’s concussive sunset flip powerbomb to the floor, but Suzuki did the sort of sinister and sadistic thing he does well, attacking Hashi’s hands until he was forced to let go of the top rope. Suzuki took Akiyama out with a DDT on the ramp, allowing Akiyama to take one of his long breaks while the opposition ganged up on his overworked opponent. Unfortunately, Suzuki had to wrestle during this portion, and while he’s one of the better workers in shoot style, in a pro-wrestling context his anemic slap, leverage hold, and submission offense seems a good two decades out of date. Hashi’s head was busted open during Rip Van Akiyama’s nap, and he eventually succumbed to Marufuji’s avalanche style shiranui even though Akiyama had become “involved” by then. ***1/4

GHC Heavyweight Title Match: Takeshi Rikio vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi 17:11. The youth movement was in full swing with this historic title match between the top champions of the two most successful puroresu promotions. That mere fact made it match of the century material, or rather, a meeting between the GHC & IWGP Heavyweight Champions should bring in and down the house at the Tokyo Dome. However, neither of these “young studs” were looking like championship material, and the fact they put them on fourth from the top, even before Tenryu predictably squashed Ogawa in 10 minutes shows the real standing of these posers. Tanahashi had shown some things in his home promotion, and would go on to become a top wrestler later on, but was not wrestling with confidence today, seeming overwhelmed by the occasion. Rikio at least has some belief and the demeanor of a champion. He may not be good, but no one has told him that, or at least he’s refused to believe them, and that actually works in his favor because he believes he’s going to deliver a really good match. Tanahashi, on the other hand, is the sort of preening pansy who has to spread his arms after every supposedly impressive move, which is to say anything that any generic ’80’s pretty boy “high flyer” could have done. He got less than zero reaction to this posturing, so he wounds up coming across like some stumblebum who just couldn't seem to maintain his balance! The match was pretty good for a while, if it was 5 minutes shorter it would have been a nice second match at an Okinawa house show, but it seemed to get worse then simply end. It wasn’t a DUD by any means, but considering what this sort of match is supposed to be it was a colossal failure. Certainly the lack of familiarity didn’t help, as neither are a particularly easy assignment. The match may have been good on paper, but in actuality it was mechanical and unconvincing. The collective groan when Tanahashi blew a small package pretty well sums the match up. **

Genichiro Tenryu vs. Yoshinari Ogawa 10:27. Ogawa was a minor member of Tenryu’s army before Tenryu abandoned him to join SWS. Ogawa has grown up, or at least old, since then, and his goal was to finally get revenge by sending the senior star into retirement. He tried picking on Tenryu’s knee, but was quickly overwhelmed. It’s lame enough this went on after the two paper champions, but at least they could have figured some way to make Ogawa appear to have a snowballs chance in hell. How did booking this match accomplish anything, and what made it Dome feature worthy? Despite Ogawa not even being close enough to Tenryu’s level to give him a few good rallies, it was enjoyable due to Tenryu dishing out one wicked potato shot after another. Tenryu has finally gotten better at carrying a match if only because he relies on stiffness and simplicity, but in a way the bout was good in spite of itself. Still, one has to wonder why they couldn’t give Taue this match, as it would have been much more intriguing and competitive, and obviously Taue had nothing to do on the show, and did nothing. **3/4

Kenta Kobashi vs. Kensuke Sasaki 23:38. If your conception of pro wrestling ignores selling than this was undoubtedly one for the ages. It’s the ultimate macho brutality or bullshit depending upon your perspective, a real my schwartz is bigger than yours post potato shot popupfest, that is if they bothered to go down in the first place. The story of the match is they essentially both consider themselves the toughest guy in the world, so they are going to withstand every possible form of brutality the other can throw at them with defiance and without flinching, or especially yielding. It was how to kill each other without doing a deathmatch. They didn’t want to win so much as to prove their superiority. They expected, no demanded, the other match them, with Sasaki rooting against his own potential ring out victory, waving Kobashi on when Kenta nearly couldn’t beat the 20 count after Kensuke Northern Lights bombed him on the floor. The structuring was interesting because most of the variety came early due to the match being built around an endless 4+ minute chop exchange. Sasaki really stepped his offense up to make up for Kobashi’s ever tightening moveset. He had some moments of clumsiness, for instance two of his best moves - the Frankensteiner off the top and the plancha - took forever to set up because Sasaki couldn’t get his balance on the ropes. The heart of the match was the aforementioned chop showdown. Even more than the record amount of welting and broken blood vessels, even beyond the constant thuds, I think the most impressive thing to me is this exchange was so intense the sweat was still flying off each of their chests right to the very end. The match was so easily understandable, and the sort of career shortening performance you don’t give often because if nothing else it simply leaves you too sore, that crowd went totally gaga over it. It’s the most memorable match on the show, I mean, no amount of skill can really overshadow two guys pulverizing each other with tree chopping force, but I’d only rate it the third best on the show because it was the sort of two steps forward, one step back match where what they did to make it great also had some reverse effects. Still, if it’s not the best singles match of Sasaki’s career, it’s at least very very close. ****1/4

Mitsuharu Misawa vs. Toshiaki Kawada 27:04. The 21st confrontation in the legendary Misawa vs. Kawada series didn’t produce a lot of new wrinkles, but for a couple guys old enough to have their share, they did themselves proud, delivering far more than mere nostalgia. It was more towards Kawada’s match than most of their recent encounters have been, vintage All Japan working the holds and putting them over big with the occasional small touches such as Kawada surviving a choke but then collapsing when Misawa tried to whip him into the corner. While Misawa vs. Kawada may have lacked the raw in your face excitement of the Kobashi vs. Sasaki match, it was exquisite in its patience and diversity. What made it thrilling is they telegraphed very little. For the most part they also exchanged strikes, but these exchanges organically set up virtually every major move they used. For instance, a chop vs. elbow battle on the apron suddenly left Kawada prone to a Tigerdriver off the apron, though this wound up being one of the many teases. The success of the match didn’t lie in what they ultimately succeeded in or failed to execute because they allowed you to live in what they hoped to do. The rush came from the surprise of the opportunity for the familiar big move opening up, which is not to say they didn’t deliver a powerbomb on the ramp, emerald flowsion, and ganso bomb, but that even when they did so, it was in such a manner that seemed designed to remind their peers there’s more to wrestling than merely exhausting your arsenal. The one truly disappointing aspect of Kawada vs. Misawa was the heat. I think the fans just had nothing left after Kobashi vs. Sasaki, so it took quite a while for them to begin viewing the match passionately. Ironically, some no selling got the fans into it, but Misawa popping up from two released German suplexes was meaningful because they’d sold just about everything that came before it. Kawada’s big chance came when he subsequently slipped out of Misawa’s intended German suplex reply and leveled him with an enzuigiri. Misawa was able to weather the storm, setting up Kawada no selling an elbow by kicking out at 1. This led directly to the finish, as Misawa essentially threw nothing but elbows for the rest of the match, finally knocking Kawada out with a running elbow. Having been apart for 5 years since the tragic All Japan split, there wasn’t nearly as much to play on as there normally is. The match wasn’t as deep or even as well executed as many of their previous encounters, with Kawada throwing some of his strikes without conviction as if he were concerned with not hurting Misawa, which seemed particularly lame coming after Kobashi & Sasaki left nothing to the imagination. The rather retarded excuse for another Misawa vs. Kawada was that even though Kawada has always been the superior wrestler and Misawa & Kawada have been peers since 1992, they had a senpai-kohai relationship since Misawa was a year ahead of Kawada, the leader of their team, and has owned him in singles. Kawada not only doing yet another job, but actually having to get on the mic and essentially admit Misawa was his master left something of a bad taste in my mouth, though the quality always supercedes the outcome. In any case, though not in the better half of their bouts, it was what a big show main event should be in more or less every regard, and a particularly fine example of making the moves meaningful rather than simply rolling out move after move. It was, as always, about as good a justification for viewing pro-wrestling as I can think of. ****1/4

NOAH Korakuen Hall SP Shiny Navigation '05 8/19/05 Tokyo
-3hr 25min. Q=Perfect

Mohammed Yone vs. B.J. Whitmer

Yoshinari Ogawa & Richard Slinger & Low Ki & Mushiking Terry vs. Akitoshi Saito & Takashi Sugiura & Kishin Kawabata & Mushiking Joker (Ricky Marvin)

Jun Izumida & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi vs. Scorpio & Bison Smith

Takeshi Morishima vs. SUWA

Mitsuharu Misawa & Go Shiozaki vs. Akira Taue & Takuma Sano

Takeshi Rikio vs. Masao Inoue

Minoru Suzuki & Naomichi Marufuji vs. Tamon Honda & KENTA

Kenta Kobashi & Makoto Hashi vs. Jun Akiyama & Yoshinobu Kanemaru

NOAH Suruga Kenko Land SP Shiny Navigation '05 8/26/05
-3hr 55min. Q=Perfect

Tsuyoshi Kikuchi & Kishin Kawabata vs. Mitsuo Momota & Haruka Eigen

Mohammed Yone & Go Shiozaki vs. Scorpio & B.J. Whitmer

Yoshinari Ogawa & Makoto Hashi vs. Akira Taue & Takuma Sano

Jun Izumida & Yoshinobu Kanemaru & SUWA vs. Bison Smith & Richard Slinger & Low Ki

Naomichi Marufuji & Masao Inoue vs. Akitoshi Saito & Takashi Sugiura

Takeshi Rikio & Mushiking Joker vs. Mitsuharu Misawa & Mushiking Terry

Kenta Kobashi & Tamon Honda & KENTA vs. Jun Akiyama & Genichiro Tenryu & Takeshi Morishima

NOAH Aichi-ken Taiikukan SP Shiny Navigation '05 Final Battle 9/11/05
-3 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

Mitsuo Momota & Eddie Edwards vs. Kishin Kawabata & Masashi Aoyagi

Tamon Honda & Jun Izumida & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi vs. Richard Slinger & Ricky Marvin & Low Ki

Takeshi Morishima vs. Mushiking Terry

Kenta Kobashi & KENTA vs. Masao Inoue & SUWA

Jun Akiyama & Akira Taue & Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. Scorpio & Bison Smith & B.J. Whitmer

Takeshi Rikio & Go Shiozaki vs. Mitsuharu Misawa & Yoshinari Ogawa

GHC Hardcore Openweight Title Match: Mohammed Yone vs. Makoto Hashi

GHC Tag Title Match: Minoru Suzuki & Naomichi Marufuji vs. Akitoshi Saito & Takashi Sugiura

NOAH Nippon Budokan SP 2nd GREAT VOYAGE '05 9/18/05
-3hr 55min. Q=Perfect

Kentaro Shiga Return Match: Tamon Honda vs. Kentaro Shiga

Jun Izumida & Haruka Eigen vs. Kishin Kawabata & Mitsuo Momota

Masao Inoue & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi & Mushiking Joker vs. Scorpio & Eddy Edwards & Mushiking Terry

Yoshinari Ogawa & Makoto Hashi & Go Shiozaki vs. Akitoshi Saito & Shiro Koshinaka & Takashi Sugiura

Takeshi Morishima vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru

Mohammed Yone vs. Minoru Suzuki

GHC Junior Heavyweight Title Match: KENTA vs. SUWA

Kenta Kobashi & Akira Taue vs. Jun Akiyama & Genichiro Tenryu

GHC Heavweight Title Match: Takeshi Rikio vs. Mitsuharu Misawa

NOAH Korakuen SP Autumn Navigation '05 Opening 10/8/05
-4hr. Q=Perfect

Tamon Honda & Masao Inoue & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi vs. Daisuke Ikeda & Jun Izumida & Kishin Kawabata

Yoshinobu Kanemaru & SUWA vs. Michael Modest & Donovan Morgan

Doug Williams vs. Kentaro Shiga

Akitoshi Saito & Shiro Koshinaka & Takashi Sugiura vs. Mitsuharu Misawa & Yoshinari Ogawa & Ricky Marvin

Mohammed Yone & Takeshi Morishima vs. Naomichi Marufuji & Kotaro Suzuki

Jun Akiyama & Scorpio vs. Kenta Kobashi & Go Shiozaki

Genichiro Tenryu vs. KENTA

Akira Taue & Takuma Sano vs. Takeshi Rikio & Makoto Hashi

NOAH Tokushima Municipal Taiikukan SP Autumn Navigation '05 10/22/05
-4hr. Q=Perfect

10/15/05 Tokyo Differ Ariake: Jun Akiyama & Genichiro Tenryu vs. Mitsuharu Misawa & Yoshinari Ogawa

Haruka Eigen vs. Mitsuo Momota

Akitoshi Saito & Masao Inoue & Kishin Kawabata vs. Tamon Honda & Jun Izumida & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi

Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Takashi Sugiura vs. Kentaro Shiga & KENTA

Doug Williams & Michael Modest & Donovan Morgan vs. Mitsuharu Misawa & Yoshinari Ogawa & Ricky Marvin

Naomichi Marufuji vs. Takeshi Morishima

Jun Akiyama & SUWA vs. Kenta Kobashi & Makoto Hashi

GHC Hardcore Openweight Title Match: Scorpio vs. Mohammed Yone

Akira Taue & Takuma Sano vs. Takeshi Rikio & Go Shiozaki

Kenta Kobashi vs. Samoa Joe clips

NOAH Osaka Furitsu Taiikukaikan SP Autumn Navigation '05 Final 10/28/05
-4hr. Q=Perfect

Masao Inoue & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi & Mitsuo Momota vs. Jun Izumida & Kishin Kawabata & Haruka Eigen 8:10

Kentaro Shiga vs. Ricky Marvin 10:07

Tamon Honda vs. SUWA 5:53

Scorpio & Doug Williams & Michael Modest & Donovan Morgan vs. Yoshinari Ogawa & Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Go Shiozaki & Masashi Aoyagi 8:04

Takuma Sano vs. Takashi Sugiura 14:49

Akira Taue vs. Makoto Hashi 10:05

GHC Junior Heavyweight Title Match: KENTA vs. Mushiking Terry 27:25

GHC Tag Title Match: Mohammed Yone & Takeshi Morishima vs. Minoru Suzuki & Naomichi Marufuji 30:02. Overlong, undermotivated slow building match that had some story, but that actually didn't help the match. Suzuki tried to avoid wrestling Morishima, which would have been okay if that didn't mostly take Morishima out of the match. Yone should have been a good opponent for Suzuki given his Battlarts background, but Yone doesn't take that well, either. I'm not sure what the bigger disappointment was, that Marufuji took most of his moves out of his offense to do a style more similar to Suzuki's or that Suzuki didn't put much effort into setting anything up, and just kept doing pedestrian stuff that wasn't really going anywhere. The basic structure of Morishima staring down Suzuki while beating on Marufuji then Suzuki finally coming in against Yone and trapping him in the ring for the majority of the match through double teaming is good, it's just that the match wasn't really inspired and they didn't really do anything beyond this most basic structuring to give it any life. Morishima would try to make saves, but would almost always be greeted by Marufuji protecting Suzuki. The match was kind of dull for quite a while, but picked up in the 2nd half when Yone stopped Marufuji's swandive move with his rolling thunder and made the hot tag. This led to Suzuki finally wrestling Morishima, but not until Marufuji got him down. Marufuji was good, but not near his usual level. Morishima was spotted well, but he wasn't super impressive, more like above average. Suzuki is normally adequate except for these really long matches, but this was pretty uninspired, and Yone was just sort of there as usual, his fro standing out more than anything he did in the ring. **1/2

Kenta Kobashi & Jun Akiyama & Genichiro Tenryu vs. Takeshi Rikio & Mitsuharu Misawa & Akitoshi Saito 24:40

NOAH Nippon Budokan SP 3rd GREAT VOYAGE '05 11/5/05
-3 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

Tamon Honda & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi & Ricky Marvin vs. Jun Izumida & Kishin Kawabata & SUWA

Yoshinari Ogawa & Kentaro Shiga & Makoto Hashi vs. Akitoshi Saito & Masao Inoue & Takashi Sugiura

Takuma Sano vs. Mushiking Terry

Jun Akiyama & Shiro Koshinaka vs. Minoru Suzuki & Naomichi Marufuji

GHC Hardcore Openweight Title Match: Scorpio vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru

Kenta Kobashi & Go Shiozaki vs. Kensuke Sasaki & Katsuhiko Nakajima

Mitsuharu Misawa vs. Genichiro Tenryu

GHC Tag Team Title: Mohammed Yone & Takeshi Morishima vs. KENTA & Katsuyori Shibata

GHC Heavweight Title Match: Takeshi Rikio vs. Akira Taue

NOAH Korakuen SP Winter Navigation '05 Opening 11/18/05
-3 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

Mitsuo Momota vs. Tsutomu Hirayanagi

Takuma Sano & Tamon Honda & Junji Izumida vs. Akitoshi Saito & Masao Inoue & Kishin Kawabata

Yoshinobu Kanemaru & SUWA vs. KENTA & Tsuyoshi Kikuchii

Mitsuharu Misawa & Yoshinari Ogawa vs. Doug Williams & Ricky Marvin

Takeshi Morishima & Takeshi Rikio & Naomichi Marufuji vs. Scorpio & Kotaro Suzuki & Go Shiozaki

Kenta Kobashi & Kentaro Shiga vs. Jun Akiyama & Shiro Koshinaka

Akira Taue & Takashi Sugiura vs. Bison Smith & Low Ki

NOAH Sapporo Media Park Spica SP Winter Navigation '05 11/27/05
-3hr 25min. Q=Perfect

Tsuyoshi Kikuchi & Mitsuo Momota vs. Tamon Honda & Haruka Eigen

Takuma Sano & Junji Izumida vs. Daisuke Ikeda & Masashi Aoyagi

Doug Williams & Nigel McGuinness vs. Yoshinari Ogawa & Kentaro Shiga

Scorpio & Bison Smith & Low Ki vs. Akitoshi Saito & Masao Inoue & Kishin Kawabata

Takeshi Morishima & Takeshi Rikio & Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. Minoru Suzuki & SUWA & Mushiking Joker

Genichiro Tenryu vs. Go Shiozaki

Jun Akiyama vs. Takashi Sugiura

Akira Taue & Mitsuharu Misawa & Kenta Kobashi vs. KENTA & Naomichi Marufuji & Mushiking Terry

NOAH Yokohama Bunka Taiikukan SP Winter Navigation '05 Final 12/4/05
-3hr 45min. Q=Perfect

Tamon Honda & Tsutomu Hirayanagi vs. Kentaro Shiga & Mitsuo Momota

Takeshi Rikio & Kishin Kawabata vs. Doug Williams & Nigel McGuinness

Yoshinari Ogawa & Takuma Sano & SUWA vs. Scorpio & Bison Smith & Low Ki

Minoru Suzuki & Naomichi Marufuji vs. Akitoshi Saito & Masao Inoue

Kenta Kobashi & Junji Izumida vs. Genichiro Tenryu & Shiro Koshinaka

Mitsuharu Misawa & Go Shiozaki vs. KENTA & Katsuyori Shibata

Kensuke Sasaki & Katsuhiko Nakajima vs. Jun Akiyama & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi

GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Title Match: Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Takashi Sugiura vs. Kotaro Suzuki & Ricky Marvin

GHC Heavweight Title Match: Akira Taue vs. Takeshi Morishima 22:19. A very simple match where one guy gave and the other guy received, predominantly Taue using all his offense on an opponent who offered very little resistance. Both looked good on offense, but made little effort to counter and weren't able to make their opponent look better. Taue started really strong, controlling Morishima on the inside, hitting the big moves on the outside, and bloodying Morishima's nose. More than 15 minutes had passed before Morishima had his first genuine offensive run, which I felt was a crucial fault of the match. Taue had just taken the title from Morishima's partner Takeshi Rikio on 11/5/05, and this was Morishima's first shot at the GHC Heavyweight Title, so you'd expect him to come out with a lot more fire, and get something done early. Instead, he was never truly in the match. Taue was able to take over again too quickly, and hit a big nodowa off the apron to put Morishima in serious trouble. In the end, it was pretty much Taue by numbers with Taue doing a nice job of making himself look good, and Morishima really just being along for the ride, which is about the opposite of what the match needed to accomplish. ***

NOAH Differ Ariake SP NOAHful Gift in Differ '05 12/24/05
-3hr. Q=Perfect. 2 DVDs

Akihiko Ito Debut Match: Takeshi Rikio & Mushiking Terry vs. Go Shiozaki & Akihiko Ito

Akitoshi Saito dances

Akitoshi Saito & Tamon Honda & Masao Inoue vs. Takashi Sugiura & Junji Izumida & Mitsuo Momota

Atsushi Aoki & Yoshinori Ota Debut Match: Akira Taue & Mitsuharu Misawa vs. Atsushi Aoki & Yoshinori Ota

Shuhei Taniguchi Debut Match: KENTA & Takeshi Morishima & Shuhei Taniguchi & Yoshinari Ogawa vs. Takuma Sano & Hasumakoto (SUWA) & Kentaro Shiga & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi

Kenta Kobashi & Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. Haruka Eigen & Tsutomu Hirayanagi

White Santa (Jun Akiyama) & Scorpio & Naomichi Marufuji vs. Kishin Kawabata & Mohmamed Yone & Ricky Marvin

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