NOAH NOAH'S voyage #156 5/5/08 The First Navigation '05
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