KENTA vs. Naomichi Marufuji (NOAH 10/29/06)

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SammyJ_D
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KENTA vs. Naomichi Marufuji (NOAH 10/29/06)

Post by SammyJ_D » Mon Sep 21, 2015 6:24 pm

Discuss here

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JML
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KENTA vs. Naomichi Marufuji (NOAH 10/29/06)

Post by JML » Wed Oct 28, 2015 9:04 pm

One of my favorite matches of all time. Flaws be damned. This was the main event of a fairly weak card compared to other NOAH cards at that time and dammit they delivered a match that was much better than the match they had in January of the same year.

Definitely will be on my ballot.
Last edited by JML on Wed Oct 28, 2015 9:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: KENTA vs. Naomichi Marufuji (NOAH 10/29/06)

Post by Joe Lanza » Wed Oct 28, 2015 9:31 pm

All time classic in my eyes, one of the best matches ever. Both guys were probably at their peak here, Maru was for sure (KENTA may have been peaking in 2009 before he blew out the knee that year).

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Re: KENTA vs. Naomichi Marufuji (NOAH 10/29/06)

Post by supersonic » Mon Oct 31, 2016 7:47 pm

Marufuji vs. KENTA – October 29, 2006

A significant improvement over their excellent singles encounter 9 months earlier, and even better than I had remembered.

Marufuji’s early work on KENTA’s left leg wasn’t enough to keep the recently slain ROH juggernaut down, Unlike their prior match and the referenced masterpiece 6 weeks earlier between KENTA and Bryan Danielson, it was minor work thanks to a change in strategy for Marufuji. Instead of continuing the strategy of the left leg to take away KENTA’s most significant offense, which Marufuji saw didn’t work at all at Glory By Honor V Night 2 despite a greater effort from Danielson, he improvised with a slingshot DDT to KENTA on the apron. This not only played into a terrific story throughout the match, but was a way to taking a highlight from the Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit classic from Royal Rumble 2003, that being the apron DDT, and putting their own spin on it.

The slingshot apron DDT caused damage to KENTA’s neck and shoulder, so that’s what Marufuji targeted with various submissions. KENTA would tease some comebacks out of desperation, only for Marufuji to cause KENTA to bend over and be prone to a neck strike to cut him off. After several minutes of this tremendous work, KENTA finally managed to make a successful comeback with desperate kicks, particularly striking Marufuji’s abdomen. This then became KENTA’s strategy to work on Marufuji’s core.

KENTA was tremendous as well with his strategy, delivering many blows to Marufuji’s core and also applying a body scissors submission. When Marufuji would attempt a comeback, KENTA would quickly land a kick to the abs to cut off the reigning GHC Heavyweight Champion. It would take a major error on KENTA’s part for Marufuji to regain the heat.

KENTA would for a move on the apron but ended up eating a short-distance springboard shotgun dropkick from a desperate Marufuji. The champ then ran the ropes for an aerial attack to the outside only for KENTA to evade it. KENTA went for a roundhouse kick only for Maruufji to duck, and the momentum caused KENTA to spill over the ringside barricade when Marufuji capitalized. With KENTA down, Marufuji yanked the barricade closer to the apron and went for a moonsault that bloodied KENTA, but it came with a price as the champ’s face and/or throat struck the top of the barricade. This would lead to a good count out false finish for KENTA.

Marufuji was able to overcome the pain he unintentionally gave himself thanks to KENTA’s dazed status and bloodied face, including hitting an intelligent face smash onto the top of a ring post. Eventually the fight would spill to the outside and they teased a number of moves off the apron ramp, including a Shiranui. Nothing would be hit successfully, as Marufuji landed on his feet when he got suplexed off of it and then surprised KENTA with a superkick. They continued battling outside though, eventually leading to KENTA hitting a Falcon Arrow off the apron onto the floor!

This basically transitioned into a phenomenal closing stretch over the next several minutes with all kinds of bombs being thrown including strikes and suplexes aplenty. I loved that when KENTA hit the Go 2 Sleep, Marufuji intelligently made sure to bounce towards the ropes, showing another thing he learned from Danielson on how to slay KENTA. I also loved that a straightjacket Shiranui was just a near-fall, since it didn’t quite have the dramatic conclusiveness to properly wrap up this timeless masterpiece.

Once Marufuji hit a Flux Capicator and then a Cradle Michinoku Driver, there was no way KENTA would manage to kick out. In a great touch, KENTA even has to have help walking to the backstage area afterwards, truly selling the devastation left by the champion and his former tag partner. It was a devastating finish, a proper end to a brutal match layered with fantastic psychology and the bombs serving as blockbuster special effects to compliment it. Without exaggeration, this match a decade later truly serves as one of the greatest matches in puroresu history, and having seen plenty of both men’s resume (although with a tremendous chunk yet to be seen of course), is my pick as the best match that these two have ever had. The consumers that decided to not buy tickets for this out of a misguided and/or preconditioned prejudice towards cruiserweights in the main event scene only did themselves a disservice. *****

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