To quote Eric Bischoff “I’m Back! And Better Than Ever!” My hiatus from the wonderful world of wrestling reviewing is due to a relocation and all the wonderful things that come with it, such as lack of internet and cable, and my bank account being in limbo. But the move is (almost) complete and my life is (almost) back in order. But enough about me, onto the Pro Wrestling, which is a NOAH commercial tape, with clipping left and right.

Shinjiro Ohtani . . . graces Green Ring with his presence.

Vader . . . treats the GHC Champion like he owns him - and also wins the tag titles by the way.

Tatsuhito Takaiwa . . . outdoes Kanemaru in the overkill department and wins the GHC Jr. Title as a bonus.

What’s a NOAH commercial tape without clipping galore? In this case it’s the first round of the tournament to decide the first GHC Tag Team Champions. There are some scattered clips and even still photos of the first round. The only really notable one is Michael Modest and Donovan Morgan beating Rikio and Morishima, which looks odd enough in 2001, let alone nearly six years later.


Aside from the novelty of Ohtani in NOAH, and the relative freshness that he provides with his antics in the match, there isn’t really much to see here. When Ohtani jumps Misawa before the bell and Omori holds off Ogawa, Omori looks more fired up than he has just about any other time I’ve seen him. But after the action settles down into a regular tag match, it’s the same old Omori. Misawa and Ogawa are their usual selves here, although Ogawa somewhat tones down his heeling for Ohtani. Misawa never has a problem letting Omori or Ohtani tee off on him, but Misawa starts taking back control whenever it suits him.

Ohtani’s antics aren’t anything new to anyone who’s seen him more than a handful of times, but seeing them in a NOAH ring gives the match a fresh feeling. When Ohtani jumps Misawa before the bell and starts to face wash him, the whole crowd erupts with a big “Ohtani” chant. It’s odd to see Misawa firing off elbows, and Ohtani just randomly popping up after one, but he sells the second one like absolute death. Omori spends more time in the match than Ohtani which gives the match several lulls in the action. But Ohtani does make his portions count. His reaction to barely kicking out of the Tiger driver was priceless, and the spot where he leveled Misawa with the springboard dropkick was the best moment of the match. It’s too bad that Ohtani had to do the job to the Emerald Frozian, but it makes sense when you consider that Omori and Takayama were the full time tag team, and would be tag champions before the end of the year.

And the clipping continues, including *both* of the semifinal matches. Thankfully, the world is spared the pain of seeing Scorpio/Vader vs. Honda/Inoue in full.

VADER/SCORPIO vs. JUN AKIYAMA/AKITOSHI SAITO (Finals of GHC Tag Team Title Tournament)

There have been a scant few times when the GHC Tag Titles have been booked to mean anything, and it’s hugely foreshadowed by this match. This goes less than twelve minutes and there’s nothing in the way of any meaningful story, all it accomplishes is setting up a Vader/Akiyama GHC Heavyweight Title match, and the fact that the gaijin became the first champions, or the fact that the titles were even established is little more than a footnote. The match itself isn’t even anything special, there’s a nice atomic drop/powerbomb combo by STERNNESS in the opening moments, but other than that, and Akiyama actually getting Vader up in an Exploder, the work is rather dull and plodding. It’s mostly just punch-kick stuff, Scorpio only takes to the air a couple of times. There’s nothing wrong with putting Vader over Akiyama, Lord knows that Jun needed a credible challenger, but they could have at least tried to make it mean something more. There isn’t anything that happens to put Saito out of commission rendering Akiyama on his own. Scorpio prevents Saito from making the save with the ever deadly springboard lariat. Vader kicks out of the Exploder and just starts to unload on Jun with Vader Hammers, and starts running through his big moves like the Vader Bomb, German suplex, powerbomb, and finishes him off with a big chokeslam. Of course by the time Vader got his title shot (12/9 - less than two months after this) the titles had already changed hands twice, but that’s NOAH for you.


Watching Takaiwa maul his opponents is usually a fun experience, but the last half of this is beyond overkill. The first half isn’t much to write home about either, they basically just mess around and kill time with chinlocks and the camel clutch. Takaiwa’s lariat in the opening moments was nice, and the bit with Kanemaru using the tape on his wrist to choke Takaiwa, and Takaiwa turning the tables on him was nice too. Beyond that there isn’t much to see. I suppose it’s better than having them try to tell a story and then totally forgoing it in favor of the bombs.

Both of them are known for throwing out big moves without any real thought to building the match or keeping the move credibility intact, so it’s no surprise the match goes that route, but it’s still a shame that the match turned out that way, and it didn’t have to. There are times when a signature move or tactic will be attempted and dodged, but instead of using it to do something meaningful, it’s just a wasted spot. For instance, Takaiwa sidesteps Kanemaru’s low kick, and drops him with a lariat. Takaiwa attempts to follow up with his powerbomb/DVB combo. Kanemaru escapes the DVB and plants Takaiwa with a DVB of his own, and then drops to the mat to sell the two powerbombs he took. Takaiwa isn’t any better, taking the first of Kanemaru’s locomotion brainbusters and then countering the second with his Takaiwa driver. And since neither Takaiwa nor Kanemaru have very deep move sets, there’s plenty of repetition with a couple of ‘upgrades’ so speak such as Takaiwa’s DVB on the floor and the Takaiwa driver off the second rope that gets the win. It’s telling enough that this was probably the best match of Kanemaru’s first reign as champion, but if nothing else, we can take solace in knowing that this match was the reason that we got to see Takaiwa vs. Kikuchi and Takaiwa vs. Marufuji.

And the commercial release officially ends with two more clipped up matches. Firstly, a trios match featuring NO(htani) Fear taking on STERNNESS, which looked pretty good, with Ohtani and later Omori laying a huge beating on the GHC Champion, before cutting to the end with Kanemaru pinning Asako, and Ohtani walking off. It’s followed by Ohtani/Ikeda vs. Omori/Asako, which also featured a huge beating being dished out, this time by Ikeda and Ohtani on Asako, before Ohtani finished him off with the Cobra Clutch.

Conclusion: The only value this tape has is purely historical, the first tag champions are crowned, and Kanemaru's reign comes to an end. But, sans Ohtani, there's nothing especially worth watching.