And we continue on with the KENTA & Marufuji tag years here in the second week of the From The Vault series. Three more matches from our heroes as they close out 2003.
KENTA & Marufuji & Kotaro Suzuki vs. Kanemaru & Sugiura & Hashi 10/5/03
Kotaro added to the mix brought something a little extra to the equation. He was still in his young lion days here and thus took quite a beating throughout. Although he gave back plenty in return and was surprisingly the star of the match. Sugiura and Marufuji had some excellent exchanges, expecially down the stretch. Sugiura sure isn’t afraid to throw a man. Overall this was mainly just a build up type match, they didn’t go ALL OUT but it was still damn good. ***3/4
KENTA & Marufuji vs. Juventud & Marvin 11/1/03
HERE WE GO~! Coked up luchadors! Marvin comes out to Rey’s music in a Rey mask and due to the fact that he’s teaming with Juvi and I am a Rey/Juvi team mark, I was pretty excited. The excitement went to the next level upon Juvi’s entrance because he was going CRAZY, jumping around like a madman, shouting his head off, throwing water around, singing along to Crawling by Linkin Park – it was something else.
Heat between the teams pre-bell and they don’t wait around to get straight to business as the luchadors attack and within seconds are hitting dives and springboard rana’s. OH WHAT A SIGHT TO SEE! This was way less back and forth than most puroresu tags as Juvi & Ricky pretty much dominated throughout, showcasing all their offense that was no doubt concocted on a late night Roppongi ecstasy binge. KENTA and Maru take it all like champs, being their for every dive and taking every rana (of which there were ALOT, my God) perfectly.
In the latter stages the champs start to mount some flurrys of their own, and things really kick into high gear down the stretch. The only part of this I didn’t like was Juvi lifting KENTA up when he had him pinned. You NEVER see that in puro and there’s a reason, the air was taken out of the crowd that instant. They regained them of course, and they were mega hot for the finish which was a Shiranui Kai (One man Spanish Fly) by Marufuji. Super ultra mega mass craziness. ****1/2
KENTA & Marufuji vs. El Samurai & Wataru Inoue 1/10/04
Ahhh the New Japan vs. NOAH Juniors feud – how I love thee. This was unfortunately way past the core months of the feud, but it still had the heat and hate that one would come to expect from it. Samurai and Inoue are funny guys, watching them in their home surroundings they are boring as fuck but you stick them in a different atmosphere where they can heel it up a bit and they are money.
With each passing match you can clearly see how much more over the champs are. They were beloved here. The story of this match is Samurai basically putting in the performance of a lifetime (we’ll ignore his 97 TOSJ Final for now) and having the youngsters number every time it counted. He was reversing all their big moves and hitting some big stuff himself, including a SICK double brainbuster with Inoue on KENTA. Another cool double team spot they uncorked was a Irish whip into missile dropkick straight into a German suplex for a big 2.9999999!!!
The New Japan boys bring a bigtime submission game of course so you get alot of teased tapping which is rarely done in NOAH and gets over huge when it is. The finish comes when Samurai keeps narrowly avoiding death with rollup counters but when he tries for one too many KENTA gets the better of him for the first time in the match and finished there and then with the Busaiku Knee Kick. Great match that told a great story. ****1/2
I’ll be back next week with more from your favourite tag team who combined weigh less than Mark Henry’s lunch – KENTA & Marufuji baybeh!