Korauken Hall (Tokyo, Japan)
GHC Heavyweight Championship
When writing about Morishima’s fun title defense versus Shane Haste, I noted that Morishima as a super heel champion with a stable constantly interfering on his behalf seemed to be working. As noted then, I didn’t think it had a long shelf life, but figured it could get NOAH well into April before they came up with something else. It turns out the run was cutoff way before reaching the springtime. Perhaps it was KENTA’s decision to stay with the promotion that changed plans, but the entire sequence of events to switch the title Nagata – this match included – felt rushed and unsatisfying.
The idea behind Morishima and company running rampant should have led to either KENTA – as the ace of the promotion – ending the madness eventually or a new face stepping up to put an end to it after at least a couple months of Morishima running roughshod over the entire promotion. An outsider like Nagata putting an end to the reign just a month into it didn’t feel right.
The match itself was also completely unremarkable. The first ten minutes were bland and it doesn’t pick up until the interference kicked in. Morishima and his stable mates were getting the constant-interference thing down to the point where I could envision a big time reaction when someone finally stopped them months down the line. When TMDK came out here to do that – which allowed Nagata to gain the victory – it felt like it was too early in the title run for it to have any real meaning or impact.
Nagata’s reign might be over before it begins as he defends against KENTA in a couple of days. I get the reason for getting the title back on their most marketable and popular wrestler, but it feels like it would have meant more for KENTA to put a stop to Morishima’s reign of terror in a month or two rather than using Nagata as a transitional champion at this stage.
Japan Heavyweight | Pass | Title Match
Korakuen Hall (Tokyo, Japan)
Oeda Elimination Match
You ever get a ways into a match, realize it sucks, but also realize that you have gone too far to turn back now? That’s what happened to me with Dragon Gate’s Oeda Elimination match from their 2/6 Korakuen card.
The rules of the match are the two teams lineup in the stands and every two minutes a new member of each team enters. Once all eight wrestlers are in the match, it essentially becomes an eight man tag elimination match.
It might have been harsh to write that the match “sucked” in the lead but it is not very good. It is however, very long at just under 40 minutes. Before all eight guys are in, the match mostly consists of uninspired brawling around the arena. It settles down when all eight guys are in the ring to something more closely resembling an eight-man tag. This is the best part if the match as the heels works over Mr. Quu Quu for an extended heat segment. It was so long and Quu Quu took such a beating that I was surprised he survived it and tagged out without being eliminated. Cyber Kong worked a lot of this segment for his side. I like him as a fat masked heel. I watched some prime M-Pro thus weekend and while he is certainly no Dick Togo or even Super Boy, he does have that same nice fat heel flyer thing going on.
Kong eliminates Saito not long after Quu Quu makes the [lukewarm] tag at the 20 minute mark. While the extended best segment was the best part of the match, 20 minutes is far too long before an elimination. Kanda gets Kong and Saito leading to a section of the match where BxB Hulk works most of the time for his team. BxB Hulk has to be on the short list of worst veteran wrestlers in major or mid-major promotions. His strikes are overly intricate and look like they couldn’t break an egg. His eyeshadow-wearing gimmick confuses and frightens me. His non-striking offense is just as poor as his striking. His constant presence in the second half if the match drags it down a level.
Hulk eliminates a pair of Jimmyz before Susumu sends him packing after ten almost nonstop minutes of BxB Hulk in-ring work. The match has okay heat down the stretch and they use some interference from the Mad Blankley side to draw near falls but neither the heat or the the near falls are anything special. The match clocked in around 36 minutes and probably would have been better off if they got out 1/3 of that time. There was some okay work in there but went too long and had way too much Hulk.
Elimination Tag | Pass