Pro Wrestling NOAH Destiny (7/18/2005)- Tokyo Japan
TAKASHI SUGIURA, SUWA, & MASAJI AOYAGI vs. TSUYOSHI KIKUCHI, MITSUO MOMOTA, & KATSUHIKO NAKAJIMA- 6.5/10
Very good opener.
GO SHIOZAKI & TAMON HONDA vs. TAKESHI MORISHIMA & MOHAMMED YONE- 5.25/10
Go was so young here that he had no facial hair and hadn’t yet grown his hair out. I think this is also the first I have seen of Morishima before he got fat and grew his hair long. He has renetly droped the weight which is probably good for him in the long run, but I miss big cuddly ass-kicking teddy bear Morishima. Yone hit the best Muscle Buster I have ever seen.
AKIRA TAUE, NAOKI SANO, JUN IZUMIDA, & HARUKA EIGIN vs. AKITOSHI SAITO, SHIRO KOSHINAKA, MASAO INOUE, & KISHIN KAWABATA- 4.5/10
Fine for what it was, which was an old dudes match.
MUSHIKING JOKER (w/his manager) vs. MUSHIKING TERRY (w/his manager)- 6/10
To set this match up, there was a very strange skit which appeared to involve some sort of dark wizard summoning Mushiking Joker to face Mushiking Terry. From what the internet told me, this is based off of some video game, so I assume that Mushiking Joker is supposed to be Mushiking Terry’s personal Black Tiger (he even has the palette-swapped attire). More surprisingly, the internet also told me that the guys under these masks are Ricky Marvin and Kotaro Suzuki! I’m much more excited for this match now.
The match was good, with both guys getting to show off their athleticism. For some reason they made a special effort to focus on the children in the crowd.
GHC JR. HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH: KENTA(c) vs. Yashinobu Kanemaru- 7.5/10
KENTA’s selling of the neck in the beginning was beautiful…but they completely and totally failed to capitalize on it afterwards! It became pretty much a non-factor in the entire second half of the match. I am almost always against no-selling finishers (even the “fighting spirit” delayed selling), but I hated it even more in this match. With all of the damage that KENTA had taken to his neck, that Brainbuster should have been a great false finish, but instead KENTA just got right back up and they never sold the neck again. The match was great, but the psychology of the last half just completely took me out of it.
GHC TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH: Minoru Suzuki & Naomichi Marufuji(c) vs. Jun Akiyama & Makato Hashi- 9/10
AMAZING! Hashi was a great babyface in peril, Akiyama had his usual great babyface fire, and Marufuji and Suzuki were great heels (especially Suzuki). Add in a great story of the heels working over Hashi’s head and neck, and an absolutely unbelievable last five minutes, and you have an absolutely amazing match! The only thing in here I didn’t like was the slap-fight between Akiayama and Suzuki because it went on for way too long, but considering what was to come… well...
GHC HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH: Takeshi Rikio(c) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi- 7.25/10
Rikio worked over Tanahashi’s head and neck. An unintentional part of this was one spot where Tanahashi almost smashed his head on the guardrail while doing a dive. They also did a spot where Rikio gave Tanahashi a High Fly Flow, which looked like it completely SQUASHED him flat.
YOSHINARI OGAWA vs. GENICHIRO TENRYU- 4/10
Ogawa kicks out of a sick-looking Scoop Brainbuster only to be pinned seconds later by a horrendously weak lariat.
KENSUKE SASAKI vs. KENTA KOBASHI- 6/10
Yes. This is the match with the famous chop battle, and it bored the hell out of me. Sitting through ALMOST FOUR AND A HALF MINUTES OF CHOPPING EACH OTHER was not even close to being worth it for the payoff of Kobashi knocking Sasaki down with a chop.
This match was also a lot the stuff I hate about puro. There was random no-selling that didn't make sense (like that superplex). Spots where a guy just takes a move, sells it a lot, then powers up again... only to just get hit with another move and do it all over again. They traded fighting spirit-ing after eating brainbusters (which is a finisher for both guys)... in order to then run into each other and do a double-town off of a double clothesline.
Don't get me wrong: There was some good stuff in here. They told the story of Sasaki working over Kobashi's neck. There were one or two EXTREMELY awesome counters and some great moves, including a Northern Lights Bomb off the apron (although that had some weirdness associated with it, too: Sasaki hit a Northern Lights Bomb from the apron to the floor, and while both guys were recovering, the cameraman managed to find Akira Hokuto watching the match. She was looking concerned, which was strange because her husband was the guy who just hit the big move), but overall, it really wasn't that good, and certainly not as good as some (Dave Meltzer, for example) have lauded it as.
MITSUHARU MISAWA vs. TOSHIAKI KAWADA- 6/10
Kawada started off by working over Misawa's leg with some submission holds, but Misawa didn't even TRY to sell it. Kawada also didn't ever go back to the leg. Misawa gave Kawada a Tigerbomb onto concrete. He never once went to work over Kawada's back after that.
If you cut out everything before the first time they get back in the ring (after the Tiger Bomb onto concrete which was never followed up on). Of course, the rest of the match wasn't great, either. Misawa no-sold a lot (especially suplexes) and they botched an Emerald Flowsion attempt. They also also kicked out at one in what was essentially a meaningless match (main event of the biggest show of the year or not, this was a match with nothing on the line and no build other than the fact that it was their first match in a few years).
There was good stuff in here, too, including a powerbomb on the ramp and a Ganso Bomb, but that match as a whole really wasn't much more than decent.
A decent show from NOAH. Quality-wise everything was good, but the top of the card was not what it needed to be, and considering the legendary names involved, it was very disappointing.