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From The Vault – 1

So I watch ALOT of wrestling every week, and in addition to all the current stuff I also go back and watch alot of things that maybe I missed out on when they happened or maybe something I just wanted to rewatch. I figured a nice regular piece I could do would be a From The Vault style column, just reviewing some of the things I saw during the week. The other guys have pretty much all the bases covered on the current stuff so I thought instead of providing a second Raw review or something like that, I’d go this route. Most everything I will talk about is easily accessible so feel free to contact me if you want to check out what I’m writing about.

We start this week with KENTA & Marufuji – the tag years. This will be a multi-part edition of From The Vault.

I’ve been meaning for a long while to rewatch all the KENTA & Marufuji stuff from when they were a regular team. This was some of the first puro I ever saw and while it blew me away, I don’t think I would have appreciated it then like I would now. So with a dearth of new puro in the last week or so, I said now is the time to check all this out again.

I’m three matches in and WOW is all I can say.

1. KENTA & Marufuji vs. Sugiura & Kanemaru – 6/6/03

This was a preview of the upcoming Jr. Tag division. It’s total heel vs. babyface stuff. Sug and Kanemaru totally bully around the good guys, just acting like total dicks. KENTA is all fiery in response but he’s outsized by Sugiura expecially. Marufuji, really struck me, by how much smaller he was. I knew he was smaller back in 03/04 but I just hadn’t seen a match from then in so long that it really was amazing. Anyway, loads of heat throughout, and then they start kicking it up a gear or six for the finish. Loads of awesome nearfalls, with KENTA being particularly hard to put away. Eventually Kanemaru manages to hit him with enough big stuff to get the win. This was the first match of it’s kind in NOAH (or anywhere, it could be argued) and the crowd totally took to it, which had to be a major question going in. Great stuff. ****1/4

2. KENTA & Marufuji vs. Liger & Murahama – 7/16/03

Title Tournament Finals.

I LOVE MURAHAMA. One of the most underrated guys ever. It’s hard to find alot of his stuff but amongst what’s out there, there’s several classics, and this is one. This is all about Liger vs. Marufuji and KENTA vs. Murahama and it worked to perfection. You go from two guys putting on a wrestling clinic to two guys doing K1 Max calibre kickboxing. There’s a sequence where after being beat down for a while, the NOAH guys regain control with two insane dives one after the other. The crowd, which I should mention was VAST, lost their collective minds at that point. Liger goes Shotei crazy for a while, mainly on KENTA, and that builds to a spot where KENTA can take no more and SHOTEI’S THE SHIT OUT OF LIGER!! Big stuff down the stretch (of course) and it all ends with Maru busting out a beautiful shooting star on Liger for the big win. Star making performance here. ****1/2 (and I could easily go higher).

3. KENTA & Marufuji vs. Hashi & Kanemaru – 9/12/03

First defense of the titles. This was my favourite match so far. You had everything the first two matches had (the heat, the hate, the crazy finishing stretch) only it was hotter, more hate-filled and crazier. Also you had the unique story and emotion that Hashi brings to every match he’s in. The finish was basically his death at the hands of KENTA, because somewhere towards the end KENTA realised that murder was the only way he was getting Hashi to stay the f*** down. Kanemaru was on a bigtime mission here too, kicking some major ass (I hope he gets sent a tape of this to remind him what he can do before his big matches this month). One of the best tags I’ve ever seen. ****3/4 (and if you wanna throw the big 5 at it, it’d be hard to argue).

– JUVI JUICE and Ricky Marvin get their coked out heads into the mix and I cannot wait.
– Old man Misawa decides these youngsters need to be taught a lesson.

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