(05/17) KENTA & Naomichi Marafuji vs. Takashi Sugiura & Katsuhiko Nakajima

Korakuen Hall (Tokyo, Japan)

An era in Pro Wrestling NOAH comes to an end as KENTA wrestles his final match for the promotion where he made his name.

For his swan song, KENTA teamed up once again with longtime partner and rival Naomichi Marafuji. They were opposed by Takashi Sugiura – another NOAH lifer – and Katsuhiko Nakajima. Nakajima – the protégé of Kensuke Sasaki – is now a fulltime NOAH roster member and is no doubt being looked at as someone who can step to fill some of the void left by KENTA. This was your classic retirement/leaving match mix with a combination of the past, present, and future all involved.

KENTA’s signature blend of stiff strikes, quickness, and big moves are all on display in his final NOAH appearance.

In the latter stages of the match, KENTA and Sugiura just wallop each other with open hand slaps for a couple of minutes. The strikes, as expected with these two, all landed solidly and with a lot of impact In a sense, the strike exchange seemed at home in this match. KENTA is on his way out and Sugiura is looking to step up when he is gone – going all out and ignoring the obvious pain of the blows feels more natural under those circumstances than under others. At the same time, these two were beating the heck out of each other and if wrestlers are going to do that, I am not sure why they wouldn’t signal to the audience that the blows hurt by selling them a bit more. No matter the context, these exchanges always seem misguided to me.

All-in-all, it was the sort of all-out, hard hitting affair you would expect from these four on KENTA’s final night. The crowd at Korakuen reacted to KENTA before, during, and after the match but not in any truly unforgettable way. It was obvious the match was an emotional one for the fans, for KENTA, and for Marafuji even if it didn’t come across on video as anything really out of the ordinary.

KENTA picked up the win by doing a Go 2 Sleep on his exposed knee. He goes out a winner in his last match on a green mat. As far as swan songs go, KENTA’s in NOAH was neither good nor bad but likely a bit unmemorable. It will be interesting to see when we get our next KENTA match. It seems likely that he will be on NXT by the end of the calendar year but given how stuffed the WWE talent roster is at the moment, it would not be altogether shocking if this is the last KENTA match to make the air in 2014.

Japan Tag | Common | Farewell Match/Historical Importance

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