Mike Reviews – Pro-Wrestling NOAH 20th Anniversary Show (22/11/2020)

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Because why not eh?

I was a big NOAH fan in the 00’s and hoovered up any stuff from the company that I could, even going to see the company live on three occasions when they toured over in the UK at different points.

The death of Mitsuharu Misawa and the retirement of Kenta Kobashi played their part in my interest for the product waning and I haven’t watched a NOAH show for a very long time. However, there was a thread up on the Blog noting that this show was going up on FITE with English commentary, so I decided to throw some coins NOAH’s way for old time’s sake seeing as the card looked like it would be fun.

It’s been so long since I watched the product that I’m going into this one totally blind, but Lawrence Talbot has kindly allowed me to post his previews from the live thread on the Blog. Head over and give him a like for putting the work in for us.

If I enjoy this I might even try and stay up to date with the product going forward. Anyway, let’s watch some chuffing wrestling!

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Mike Reviews: Ring of Honour – “Japan’s Finest” – Disc One

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Back with something else in my “to watch” pile, as we take a look at a compilation DVD that ROH put out covering some of the best matches from the company’s history that featured Japanese wrestlers.

Obviously ROH isn’t what it once was, but throughout the years the company has featured some truly excellent wrestling and one of the reasons why was because they were able to bring in wrestlers from major Japanese companies like All Japan, New Japan, NOAH and Dragon Gate to compete on their events.

The main reason I picked this one up is because it features the excellent main event from the first Supercard of Honour Show (An event I did have on DVD but sadly lost during a house move back in the day) as well as some cool sounding matches that I’d never seen before. We’ll just do Disc One today and I’ll try to get to Disc Two when I can (There’s a lot of matches on this here collection)

You actually can still buy this DVD on eBay, but golly gosh is it pricey! Still, if you like the sound of these matches then the option is there (Although it might be better possibly just to cherry pick the individual shows as that will probably set you back less in the long run)

And yes, I spell “Honour” with a “U”. I also drive on the left hand side of the road, drink copious amounts of tea and have terrible teeth. Deal with it!

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Mike Reviews: Kenta Kobashi GHC Heavyweight History Part 2

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Welcome back to the second part of this retrospective where we look back at Kenta Kobashi’s epic reign as the GHC Heavyweight Champion from Pro Wrestling NOAH in the early-mid 00’s.

Last time out we saw Kobashi defeat Mitsuharu Misawa to win the GHC Title in a classic match before defending it in a barn burner against fellow BURNING stablemate Tamon Honda. We closed out last time with Kobash having a decent but not thrilling bout with Masahiro Chono on a New Japan Pro Wrestling event at the Tokyo Dome.

This time we’ll see Kobashi go back to defending the belt against people from his home promotion, but don’t be too surprised if those pesky invaders from New Japan show themselves once again…

Part 1

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Mike Reviews: Kenta Kobashi GHC Heavyweight History – Part One

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I thought I’d try something a bit different and actually cover some classic Pro Wrestling NOAH for a change. In the early to mid-00’s, NOAH was probably the most consistently great wrestling company in the world. It had a great Junior Heavyweight division anchored by the likes of KENTA, Naomichi Marufuji, Ricky Marvin and Yoshinobu Kanemaru, talented youngsters coming through the ranks such as Takeshi Morishima, Takeshi Rkioh, Mohamed Yone and Go Shiozaki, dependable veterans in the mid-card who could be relied upon such as Tamon Honda, Takuma Sano, Daisuke Ikeda and Akitoshi Saito, and most importantly a really good main event scene featuring the likes of Mitsuharu Misawa, Jun Akiyama, Yoshihiro Takayama and Minoru Suzuki.

However, the biggest star of them all was the man who held the GHC (The equivalent to New Japan’s IWGP) Heavyweight Title for two years from 2003 to 2005, having great matches with basically everyone along the way. That man was none other than Kenta Kobashi, the inventor of The Burning Hammer, an all-round elite level worker and a guaranteed first ballot Hall of Famer. Not only was Kobashi superb in the ring, but he was also a hit at the box office and NOAH enjoyed a lot of success during his reign.

The zenith of Kobashi’s reign was likely headlining NOAH’s first ever Tokyo Dome show in 2004, but he also enjoyed a spate of sell outs at Budokan Hall and defended the belt in a number of classic bouts, dragging top level matches out of basically everyone he faced ala Ric Flair during his Title reigns during the 80’s.

Personally I’d say Kenta Kobashi is probably my favourite wrestler of all-time. Whether it was coming up with inventive suplexes, flying through the air with a moonsault or just destroying his opponent with hard knife edge chops, Kobashi could seemingly have an epic and enjoyable match with practically anyone and he almost always elevated the people he wrestled. Losing to Kenta Kobashi in an epic bout would almost always raise the defeated opponents stock, not lower it.

What I like most about Kobashi though is his selling, his facial expressions specifically. Kobashi’s facials are possibly some of the greatest of all-time, as he could convey a mixture of pain, desperation, anger and defiance like almost no one else. It’s one of the reasons why I think Kota Ibushi is so good as well actually, as he can do similar with his own expert facial expressions.

So with intro’s out of the way, I suppose I best explain what this is going to be all about. During the late 00’s G+ in Japan put together a compilation of all of the matches from Kobashi’s GHC Heavyweight Title reign. I eventually picked this up on DVD, but some kind uploaders on YouTube have uploaded the whole thing for public consumption. I won’t post the link here in case I accidentally drop them in hot water, but a quick search should be able to bring it up rather easily.

Obviously the full video is close to 9 hours long, so I won’t be doing it all in one sitting. Basically, whenever I get the time I’ll upload 2 or 3 matches when the opportunity arises. I’m not expecting this to be a particularly regular thing due to all the other commitments I have, but it will be a nice side project that I can bust out now and then when I can.

So, with the longest intro in Blog history completed, why don’t we watch some chuffing wrestling?

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