Sunday, July 30, 2006


NOAH Budokan 2006-07-18

It's the most solid wrestling product out there right now. It's NOAH. It's tradition with a nice touch of mild innovation.

Here are the results:
1. SUWA beat Mitsuo Momota (7:49) with a lariat.
2. Junji Izumida, Tsuyoshi Kikuchi & Abismo Negro beat Mohammed Yone, El Oriental & Atsushi Aoki (12:56) when Negro used the Martinez Special on Oriental.
3. Tamon Honda, Takuma Sano & Kentaro Shiga beat Akitoshi Saito, Masao Inoue & Kishin Kawabata (15:46) when Sano used a Northern Light Bomb on Kawabata.
4. Akira Taue & Katsuhiko Nakajima beat Yoshinari Ogawa & Ippei Ota (15:20) when Nakajima used a German Suplex hold on Ota.
5. Mushiking Terry Return Match: Mushiking Terry, El Angel & Taiji Ishimori beat Mushiking Joker, Charly Manson & Psicosis (17:21) when Terry used the Mist Crash on Psicosis.
6. Minoru Suzuki beat Go Shiosaki (16:46) with a sleeper hold.
7. Takeshi Rikio & Takeshi Morishima vs. Naomichi Marufuji & KENTA went to a draw (30:00) when the time limit expired.
8. Yoshihiro Takayama Return Match: Jun Akiyama & Mitsuharu Misawa beat Yoshihiro Takayama & Kensuke Sasaki (22:30) when Akiyama used the Wrist-Clutch Exploder on Takayama.
(Credit to Green Destiny for making this list!)

The first match was actually a lot more fun than most people would expect. Here we have this guy, the 57 year old Mitsuo Momota (part-owner of NOAH), who have almost nothing but openers during his entire career. But the fans really love him for trying so hard at his age. Momota is the sun of RIKIDOZAN - the founder of puroresu! And he clearly loves the industry that his father brought to his country. SUWA on the other hand is a great heel at occations. SUWA wore a pink outfit, in order to provoke Momotas cornerman Haruka Eigen (who wore that color until his retirement earlier this year). It's a great way to generate heat over very minor issues. SUWA did, of course, nothing but cheat his way through the match and trying to humiliate Momota as much as possible. The crowd went nuts whenever Momota got the upper hand and could teach SUWA a lesson or two. Momota isn't very agile at this age, but he performed better than he usually does this time. After SUWA finally won, Momota and the referee (!!!) gave him the beating that he deserved. Needless to say, the fans loved it. A great way to warm up the crowd! *3/4

The second match was quite brutal at times. Better than I expected. In particular, I was impressed by Abismo Negro's double-underhook piledriver that almost appeared to KILL El Oriental. I can't say that I've been a big fan of Negro before, but he did very well here. Mohammed Yone also put in some effort here, despite being a bit lower on the card than he deserves. **1/4

The third match was your typical Dark Agent match. Nothing amazing, but a bit better than their usual performances. There were a couple of exciting near falls that made me like the match somehow. Kawabata took some heavy beating that he managed to endure for a while before he finally was pinned Sano. **

Taue and Nakajima put on a good match against Ogawa and Ota. Nakajima did most of the stuff in this match - which probably is a good thing! He's actually a very good wrestler even at this early stage of his career. I mean, for christ sake, he's EIGHTEEN years old! This guy could become one of the best wrestlers in the world one day if he proceeds to learn at this pace. Ota, who debuted in December, has evolved in a good way during the last couple of months. Sure, he didn't do everything "the right way", but he didn't ruin the match either. **1/2

The lucha libre match had a couple of misses, but it was a fast and fun spot-fest. Some of the things they did were very spectacular. I can't say that it was a master piece, but it added balance to the show (well, there should be at least ONE typical junior heavyweight match, right?). Mushiking Terry stood out as the best performer in this match, which is a positive sign, since he is a NOAH trueborn. **3/4

Minoru Suzuki pounded Shiosaki until he was unable to withstand more. As usual, Suzuki was a great - and I mean GREAT - asshole. Is there any guy out there who wrestle as ugly as he does? Sure, his style is a little bit hard at times. It doesn't always click since he primarily was trained in Karl Gotch-style wrestling rather than the typical NOAH flavour. But it worked in this situation. The theme of the match was the "evil shooter" versus the young and cleancut babyface Shiosaki. Suzuki didn't let Shisoaki get much offense, but he did show a lot of will. The audience knew that he didn't have any chance against Suzuki, so they weren't very enthusiastic about the cheering. Still though, this was a good test of him and helped to advance his maturing process. I think that they told us a good story. ***

The BEST match of the night was between KENTA & Marufuji vs. Wild II. They were dubbed "The Four New Kings" by Sportsnavi a couple of days before the show. And they pretty much lived up to that. They went for a 30-minute broadway, which helped to protect both the juniors and the heavyweights. All four were good in this much. Rikio wasn't as good as the other guys, but he stepped up his game to a high level. All of the competitors looked very strong. The heavyweights looked agile, while the juniors looked like they were unaffected by the rules of gravity. The junior heavyweights looked very strong for their size, while the heavyweights looked like they had hercules powers. I mean, the 185 pound KENTA could suplex a guy like the 310 pound Morishima like nothing! Morishima was better than he has ever been - both when it comes to agility and pure aggression'n fire. The excitement at the end of the match was awesome as well. This is my pick as match of the year so far! ****1/4

Takayama's comeback was good. It could have been better, but he did great considering that he hasn't wrestled for 23 months. It felt like a main event worthy of Budokan. He started by almost knocking Misawa out with some furious and viscous-looking kicks. Wow. Kudos to Sasaki for wrestling against some of the stiffest guys around with a broken eye socket. The finish was great: Akiyama catched Takayama in his wrist-clutch exploader after Misawa did his emerald frosion. BAM! ***1/2

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Pro Wrestling NOAH: Best of 2005

A music video featuring some of the best moments of 2005. Batman666 ("WTF?") had it on his blog first, but I HAD to post it on mine as well! Well, you'll see why this is my favourite promotion by far right now. No wonder they're the only ones who can run shows at the Dome nowadays...

Friday, July 21, 2006

Music video: Jun Akiyama v Katsuyori Shibata 2005

A music video featuring one of the best grudge matches of 2005. Can you feel the aggression, the brutality, the emotions? I could - and I loved it!

Saturday, July 01, 2006


Update on NOAH

The Budokan card looks strong so far, despite the horrible news about Kobashi. Here's the current line-up:

1. Mushiking Terry Return Match: Mushiking Terry, El Angel & Taiji Ishimori vs. Mushiking Joker, Psicosis & Charly Manson
2. Takeshi Morishima & Takeshi Rikio vs. Naomichi Marufuji & KENTA
3. Yoshihiro Takayama Return Match: Jun Akiyama & Mitsuharu Misawa vs. Yoshihiro Takayama & Kensuke Sasaki

So, there's a lucha libre style 6-man tag team match in this. Not really my cup of tea, but it should be fun and fast action. The match between Wild II and KENTAfuji could be a great match. Marufuji has been working very well with the heavyweights lately and KENTA is always cool. I can't see the juniors winning though, but it will probably be entertaining. Morishima has been on fire recently. He looks more agile and aggressive than ever!

I received a shipment from this past week. I ordered a really nice looking photo of Race together with 2 NOAH t-shirts. I also finished reading Harley Race's autobiography. It was a short, but very interesting book. He explained the death of the territories in a very good way. What an awesome performer he was...

Friday, June 30, 2006


Kobashi to undergo medical treatment for a tumor

I feel horrible. My favorite wrestler, Kenta Kobashi, was found to have a tumor in his right kidney yesterday. We don't know how dangerous it is at the moment, but I fear for the worst. Of course, Kobashi has been forced to cancel all his matches. He will be replaced by Kensuke Sasaki on 7/16 (which probably is the best possible substitute, but NO wrestler could fill his shoes).

Kobashi means so much to Japanese wrestling. In my own opinion, he participated in the best match of 2003, 2004 AND 2005 (against Misawa, Akiyama and Sasaki respectively). He is the biggest box office draw today - and for a good reason! His ability to create heat and excitement is unparalleled today. I would without doubt name him wrestler of the decade so far. Despite having problems with his worn knees, he still delivered the goods at almost every big match. How could a guy with that body dominate the industry like he has done for the past 3+ years? Because pro-wrestling is not about smooth execution, nor agility, nor technical details. It's about passion, fighting spirit and storytelling! In addition, he doesn't know the word 'quit' and is ready to take enormous amounts of punishment during his big matches. He gave everything to the business. At the age of 39, he still hasn’t even found time to find a wife. His first response to his diagnosis was to inquire how it would affect his wrestling performances. This say a thing or two about his dedication to the profession he loves. He also manages to keep self-confident and goal-directed without becoming arrogant, which is very rare today. There is good reason why he probably is the most respected active in-ring competitor today.

Tragedies have taken so many lives of great performers from us. Tsuruta died because of inferior medical treatment in the Philippines. Others have overcome unimaginable obstacles, like Liger did in 1996 when he overcame his brain tumor in very short time. I hope he recovers as well as anyone ever could.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


Yoshihiro Takayama coming back after nearly 2 years!

Yoshihiro Takayama has been one of my favorite wrestlers for a while now. Despite being somewhat fat and not very skilled technically, he is without doubt one of the most entertaining guys during the past couple of years. There are few wrestlers who can match his uncanny charisma, intensity and fighting spirit. He doesn't need to have perfect ground skills - he makes it up by being a pure badass guy who almost always deliver the goods when he needs to. Just take a look at his GHC Heavyweight Title match against Kobashi in April 2004. There's something magic about his appearence and in-ring presence that the fans can't resist.

After being injured at the 2004 G1 Climax, there was doubt that he would EVER come back to wrestling. Head injuries like that can be extremely dangerous in the long run, so I prey that he's not making a mistake.

His first match will be a huge one... he's main eventing NOAH's Budokan show on 7/16 in a tag match featuring the three most respected wrestlers of that promotion:
Yoshihiro Takayama & Kenta Kobashi vs. Mitsuharu Misawa & Jun Akiyama
Well... could it get any bigger? The biggest icon of the industry today (Kobashi), the best wrestler of the 1990s (Misawa), the reigning GHC Heavyweight Champion (Akiyama) and... TAKAYAMA~!

Their bodies may be broken down after decades of heavy bumping, but that doesn't matter. This is my pick as the biggest proespect for Match of the Year 2006. Their grasp of psychology and 16,000+ fanatic fans will compensate for almost any kind of wear. In addition, the result is hard to predict (at least in my eyes). If Takayama pins Akiyama, it would probably make him the next challenger for the GHC Heavyweight Title... (I'll probably get some wet dreams about that singles match.)

Monday, June 12, 2006


BML 3/22

I just watched the 3/22 show from Big Mouth Loud. Results:

3/22 Tokyo, Korakuen Hall (claimed paid attendance - 1,472)

- Katsuyori Shibata defeated Hidetaka Monma in 12'30 with a back drop.

- Kensuke Sasaki defeated Kazunari Murakami in 3'38 with a lariat, then won again in 34 seconds with a Northern Lights Bomb.

- Minoru Suzuki defeated Yoshiaki Fujiwara in 11'43 with a wakigatame for the submission.

- Yuki Ishikawa & Lingerie Mutoh (working under another ring name) defeated Katsumi Usuda & Manabu Hara in 17'55 when Ishikawa used a Ground Octopus Hold on Hara for the submission.

- Osamu Kidoh defeated Masanobu Kurisu in 9'58 with a crab-hold for the submission.

I noted that during intros and such things, they played several songs by Clawfinger (a Swedish band BTW). Not bad! :)

Kidoh/Murisu had some elements of garbage wrestling in it. *yuk* Such things should not be done in BML in my opion. Fujiwara/MiSuzuki was OK. Some nice mat wrestling between these Gotch students. Sasaki/Murakami wasn't dull, but it was far too short. Shibata/Monma was the best match of the card, around **3/4. The leg holds felt a little bit weird at some occations, but there were also some very good looking submission attempts as well.

Summary: You can afford to miss this show. BML hasn't impressed me much so far, even though i like their style.

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