March 6th 2004

Jun Izumida . . . thinks he’s a referee (although he’d probably make a better ref, than wrestler).

Makoto Hashi . . . thinks he’s going to take the belt off Lyger (it must be nice to have a dream).

Takeshi Rikio . . . thinks he’s going to take the GHC from Kobashi (try again in a year).


Considering that most of the NOAH six man filler matches run far too long, this seems much too short clocking in at about eight minutes. It’s a good thing though, because there isn’t enough time for useless filler. So its all go-go-go. All six manage to bring something to the table though, and this is really very enjoyable. The only weak worker in here is Izumida and he compensates for that by bringing the comedy. Izumida counts to three when Takayama has a pin, and they think they’ve won until they see who made the count, and Takayama boots him in the ass. Izumida can’t even hit his dropping headbutt with out Takayama giving him a boost. The star of the match is Sano though. He brings a little of everything and just has Taue and Morishima around for making saves if the need arises. Sano’s rolling kick is treated like a death blow. He manages to hit all three of his opponents with it, and they all go down. Even Takayama can’t take the shot. Sano also manages to help Izumida in the comedy department with his front figure four. Sano locks the hold on, and Akiyama tries to save his partner by knocking Sano backwards. All that accomplished was Sano being able to apply more pressure to the knee of Izumida. Taue and Morishima both bring in the stiff shots and power moves to help bail Sano out if he gets in trouble.

With Rikio going for the GHC Title in the main event, it seems strange to have Morishima do the job. Even more strange to do the job to Izumida. With Morishima’s partner having a shot at the GHC title in the main event, it seems like WILD II should be made to look as threatening as possible. If Morishima could win a match with two former GHC Champions on the opposing side, what does that have to say about his partner? Especially since Rikio earned his title shot by beating Taue. If Akiyama or Takayama went over Morishima then it’s a different story. Giving the impression that WILD II can’t hang with the elite group of GHC holders. Morishima may be the WLW champion, but its simply a second rate indy title. No matter how much Harley Race says otherwise. The leg crab finish isn’t even teased at all. Morishima only made a few guest appearances in the match. The only real work done to his knee to possibly set up a half crab, is Izumida’s diving headbutt to the leg. Which he only did about ten seconds before he put the hold on. ***.


Lyger at his best, could take a warm body and carry it to a great match. Unfortunately Lyger is pretty far removed from his best. Hashi, even more than Momota or Suzuki (Lyger’s 1st and 3rd defenses against NOAH juniors) fits the role of the sloppy wrestler that Lyger could have once taken to greatness. The big reason is that Suzuki and Hashi aren’t really looked at as members of the NOAH junior division. Suzuki is more looked at as the rookie who’s still looking for a winning formula. Momota is the aging veteran who’s regulated to the opening match. Hashi is stuck with having his name recorded as a former GHC Jr. Champion. He certainly didn’t earn the title, and he vacated it almost immediately. Even more so because he won it from Marufuji, who has been pushed as being the NOAH equivalent to Lyger. Hashi has always been looked at as the loser of the junior division. Aside from his title win, which was only due to an injury, he’s never even given the slightest glimpse that he could be a top tier member of the NOAH juniors. So its ideal to put him in there with Lyger, and have him look like a million bucks.

The first half this is pretty boring, but its because Lyger is trying to wear down Hashi and give him openings, only Hashi isn’t taking them. He’s far more concerned with hitting his flurry of headbutts to go on offense. Hashi is also trying to make himself look like the poor victim getting mauled. Instead of looking like the potential threat to the GHC Jr. Title. Once Hashi figures out what his role should be, is when the match picks up. He’s not supposed to lay there like the victim. That worked well for Kikuchi in the NJ vs NOAH tag matches because he was playing the same role he did as a youngster only now he was doing it for Lyger, rather than Fuchi. Lyger isn’t playing the grumpy longtime veteran this time around. He’s the dominating champion, who’s holding the title to show that nobody in the NOAH junior division is worthy. Hashi starts breaking out the counters and the reversals to Lyger’s moves. When he blocks Lyger’s shotei and turns it into the DDT on the apron, it gives the biggest impression that Hashi can pull of the upset. Lyger tried his simple but always effective finisher too early and was underestimating Hashi. Hashi even one ups Lyger but pulling off one of Lyger’s favorite strategies. If the move doesn’t work regularly then try it off the top rope.

Hashi makes a stupid error by trying the Gory Thunder, after the top rope version doesn’t work. If the most dangerous version of the move doesn’t get the win. Why should a normal version be expected to work? Lyger blows his Lygerbomb and pretty much screams that Hashi can’t be pinned by not even holding a pin, he just sits there and take a breath. Hashi pulls off one last upset tease when he turns the brainbuster into a small package. The mentality of NOAH is to use the most hard hitting, high impact stuff possible to win. Lyger isn’t NOAH, and he doesn’t have green running through his veins. The brainbuster doesn’t work and he’s not about to play top this. So he uses the simple but effective in the shotei to keep the title. If Hashi had figured out what he’s supposed to be doing before the match was half over, it’d have turned out so much better.


This is one of the worst GHC Tag Title match I’ve seen in ages. These two teams usually work pretty well together, but nothing they did really clicked. It was 9/10 filler, and it was some pretty boring filler at that. There was nothing in the way of direction, even though there were a few options starting them straight in the face. Ikeda and Yone are both BattlArts workers with the stiff strikes and submissions, so why not play off that and have the challengers look like legit threats. Instead we get a bunch of bad filler, with Misawa taking most of the match off. Misawa does a few bumps on the ramp to pop the crowd, but instead of having the challengers take advantage of catching Misawa off guard and making a simple back body drop that much harder, they go into the ring and Misawa goes on offense.

One thing that is quite welcome here is Misawa turning into Jumbo. He levels Yone with three of the hardest and loudest elbows I’ve ever seen him do. Yone is damn near dead, and Misawa just has that nasty sneer on his face. One thing about Misawa, is that no matter who he’s wrestling, he’s always willing to take a pounding. Misawa lets Ikeda and Yone do a pretty respectable job of beating him to a pulp too. The problem is that Misawa never really works *with* them, rather he just takes the lumps and then its time to pack it in, or in this case tag to Ogawa so they can finish it. Ogawa tries to stooge a lot and its also welcome at points because it gets over the fact that he’s nothing without Misawa. Not only in the story but in reality as well. Even in the ending, you knew that Ogawa couldn’t do it on his own. Misawa damn near handed it to him with that Emerald Frozian, and when Ogawa finally got the pinfall, it was a simple roll up. Forget that these guys are the GHC Tag Team Champions, they don’t look like the best tag team in NOAH, they look lucky. Of course the wonderful thing about statistics is that all that ever gets recorded is the date, the result, the time, and the finish. So as far as anyone else knows. Ogawa pinned Yone with a small package in twenty nine minutes.


This certainly isn’t the worst of Kobashi’s title defenses. This match has a nicely noticeable lack of Kobashi working the top this head drop style of match he’s so in love with. They spend the bulk of the match trading off chops and slaps. That’s not really a bad way to go, and it beats some of the other bright ideas that have been used in Kobashi’s matches, but its not really interesting. Who really thinks that a metric ton of slaps from Rikio or chops from Kobashi, can be expected to wear down almost any pro wrestler, let alone a veteran who’s deemed worthy of challenging for the top prize in the promotion. Towards the end Rikio tries to work the Kobashi style, with a few near falls off a power bomb and backdrop, but Kobashi’s only singles loss since NOAH was formed was due to the match being mostly on the ground. So after over three years, and no losses, why would anyone think that they could beat Kobashi at Kobashi’s preferred style of match? Out of five title defenses so far, there has only been one wrestler who has gotten any sort of rub. Tamon Honda. He didn’t get it by working Kobashi’s match. He did it by actually outworking Kobashi.

Rikio tearing apart Kobashi’s knee is to be expected, but Kobashi doesn’t go all the way in selling. Kobashi has the mind set that if everyone knows he’s got bad knees then he shouldn’t put any effort into selling them when they’re getting worked over. Kobashi has been the man in the promotion for a year now, so he’s got a better idea of his role. He knows he’s the champion, so he’s got to make the challenger look like he might pull it off. Like Misawa though, he doesn’t seem to know the best way to do it. He just lets Rikio win a few slap fests, has Rikio work his knees over, gives him a few near falls, and then takes it home. He can’t be bothered to try to actually work with him, like Hansen did in 1994 and Misawa did in 1997. One bit that does work somewhat well for a change is Kobashi using the Burning Lariat to put Rikio away. Rikio worked over his knees instead of the arm. Rikio also decided that the best way to attack Kobashi would be to go full tilt with the slaps, to show his toughness. Being both the champion and the man, Kobashi knows that he has to be ready to contend with anyone, no matter how they wrestle. So if Rikio wanted to play tough guy hard hitter, then Kobashi shows Rikio exactly how hard he can hit. Its just one more title defense from Kobashi. No more rub or elevation was given to Rikio than was given to Ogawa, Bison Smith, or Takuma Sano.

Conclusion: This was pretty disappointing for a NOAH commercial release. Our of four matches, three of them, all the big title matches, failed to deliver. Recommendation to avoid Navigate For Evolution 2004.