Itâ€™s taken longer than I thought but I got back to watching some KENTA & Marufuji stuff. On the docket today we have their final four big matches as a regular team – all three of their matches from the 2005 Differ Cup and the big June 2005 title change against Sugiura & Kanemaru.
Differ Cup 2005 1st Round: KENTA & Marufuji vs. Ibushi & Kudo
This was before Ibushi and Kudo had everyone’s attention and going into the match they were merely two young DDT (small indy group) guys who were gonna get their butts handed to them. What actually happened was they stepped right up to the plate and put on what was at that time a career performance for them. K&M sold their asses off throughout the match, eating all of Kudo’s kicks full on and taking Ibushi’s flying perfectly. The went about 15 minutes and it was a damn fine 15 minutes. KENTA & Marufuji of course progressed to the semi finals, with the end coming from a brutal Busaiku Knee Kick on Ibushi. ****
Differ Cup 2005 Semi Final: KENTA & Marufuji vs. Kaz Hayashi & Leonardo Spanky
The semi finals provided a mouth watering matchup with K&M going against the Hustle pairing of Kaz Hayashi & Leonardo Spanky, who may be more familiar to some of you as future WWE PPV main eventer THE Brian Kendrick. One thing that’s really great about Spanky’s work in Japan is that the guy has a legit anger problem so when he’s getting the tar beaten out of him like he was here he’s prone to just getting this wild look on his face and start going nuts at everyone and stiffing everyone in sight. It’s quite awesome. Kaz brought way more intensity than he usually would as well. Loads of cool sequences in this with my personal fave being Marufuji hitting a big Tiger Driver on Kaz, who rolled out of it right into a Shining Wizard for a double down. A major dynamic in this match was that both teams utilise the Powerbomb/Sliced Bread (Shiranui) combo as a finisher and they were both constantly trying to hit each other with it. The finish was one of the sweetest rollup you’re gonna see and I’m not gonna even attempt to describe it. ****1/4
Differ Cup 2005 Final: KENTA & Marufuji vs. Hidaka & Fujita
This was the match everyone wanted to see going into this tourney. The top two seeds battling in the final. Hidaka & Fujita were basically Zero 1 Max’s mirror image KENTA & Marufuji and were pretty damn great in their own right. The crowd was mainly a mix of NOAH and Z1 fans but as this went on the whole crowd seemed to be backing Hidaka & Fujita. KENTA & Marufuji, as we have seen in prior matches I reviewed, are more than happy to be cocky dicks when the situation calls for such. So when the crowd starting backing their opponents they went into full on prick mode. The match was pretty long, going over thirty, but it never got boring and the nearfalls down the stretch were hot as hell. It ended the way the first round did, with a huge Busaiku Knee Kick on Fujita. Awesome, must see match. ****1/2
KENTA & Marufuji vs. Sugiura & Kanemaru
And so two years since the birth of the NOAH junior tag division, we come full circle. The two teams who met in the preview match for the division meet again. This time for the titles. Suguira and Kanemaru won the original match, but they never ended up getting a shot at K&M once they became champions. They had chances teaming with other partners, but never got one with each other. THIS was their big chance.
Sugiura was absolutely BEASTIN’ in this one, throwing bombs all over the place, really getting over the fact that this was a huge match for him. A good portion of this match was straight out of Memphis or Mid-South, with KENTA just getting his ass handed to him by the heels. The teased tag spots they came up with were beautiful and you were absolutely dying to see Morton, oops I mean KENTA, make the tag. When he did, Marufuji came in like a MANSION on fire. He nailed the sweetest Orihara moonsault I’ve seen in a looooong time and was having his way with the challengers until Kanemaru cut him off with a DDT in which Maru took the greatest RVD spike bump in history.
The finish was sooooooooo awesome. It came down to KENTA and Sugiura, who’ve had an individual hatred for years, and they just went all Necro Butcher and punched each other in the face over and over, until finally Sugiura got the better of things and managed to get the title changing pin with a top rope Olympic Slam. It took until the last match but we finally found one as good as that Hashi match from earlier. ****3/4