Puroresu Love: Great Voyage 2012 in Osaka
Posted by Mike Campbell on 03.17.2013
The Morishima era begins!
GREAT VOYAGE 2012 IN OSAKA
January 22, 2012
Ryuji Hijikata . . . needs to take the Bravado Brothers aside for an hour to show them how a good strike is supposed to look.
Yutaka Yoshie . . . finds a way to not make me despite his existence, even if itís all too brief.
Atsushi Aoki . . . still possesses some of the best armbars this side of UWFI, but they donít do him a whole lot of good.
YOSHINOBU KANEMARU vs. HARLEM BRAVADO
How bad does one have to be to make Kanemaru look good? Thereís not a single redeeming quality to take away from Harlemís performance. The strikes look horrible, especially the elbows in the corner, and he tosses out all kinds of spots for no other reason than to show that he can do them. Kanemaru looks pretty good in comparison, although it probably helps that this too short for him to really get crazy. The only big spot of his is the jumping DDT, which really isnít that high on his list, and when that doesnít work Kanemaru decides to outwrestle Harlem and eventually beats him with a simple cradle. Iíd have rather seen SUWA spend the three minutes beating the piss out of Harlem, but I can do with a reigned in Kanemaru.
TAIJI ISHIMORI/RICKY MARVIN vs. RYUJI HIJIKATA/LANCE BRAVADO
Lance doesnít look as bad as Harlem, but thatís only because he doesnít get the chance to toss a bunch of random spots out. The strikes look just as bad, even after Marvin lays into him in the corner, and itís obvious that heís really just following Marvin and Ishimoriís lead on pretty much every sequence. Hijikata still has the most wicked looking shots this side of Tajiri, so maybe he can show the Bravado boys how itís done. The match itself isnít all that deep, the NOAH guys abuse Lance, Hijikata takes care of himself, and more abuse for Lance ends the match.
MOHAMMED YONE vs. YUTAKA YOSHIE
First Kanemaru, and now Yoshie finds ways to not make me hate him. Yone has a protective mask on and Yoshie is a total dick about taking shots at it, and heís awesome for it! Yoshieís half crab while stepping on Yoneís face ruled six ways from Sunday. If only Yoshie had done a coconut crusher, this would be the best Yoshie match ever. Besides that, thereís nothing much to see here. We have our first stupid strike exchange of the night, Yoshieís back fist shots and Yoneís head kicks, that neither feel like selling. Yoshie throws his weight around as usual, and Yone realizes that heís not going to be able to do much to Yoshie, so he sticks with head kicks and eventually Yoshie stays down. There wasnít anything really offensive, other than the strike exchange sequence, but this wasnít anything special after Yoshie finished sharking on Yoneís injury.
TAKASHI SUGIURA/NAOMICHI MARUFUJI vs. YOSHIHIRO TAKAYAMA/GENBA HIRAYANAGI
This is pretty nice as a showcase for Genba, but thereís not much to it besides that. Takayama and Sugiura boot each other in the face and throw each other around, and while itís nice that Takayama can get up for Sugiuraís suplexes, it raises the same question as when Brodie Lee does it. He can do it, but should he do it? Sure, Takayamaís best days are behind him, but heís got a long way to go before reaching becoming the next Rusher Kimura. Marufuji isnít bad, but aside from his counter to Takayamaís knee strike and the Cobra twist into Shiranui that he uses to finish off Genba, thereís nothing that hasnít been seen a hundred times. I donít know if itís because he tries so much harder, or because heís just fresher to watch, but Genba is easily the standout here. His heel touches are a blast to watch, and are the very thing he needs to hold his own against the two men that have held every one of the GHC Titles, and heís pretty good when heís on the receiving end of the punishment. Iíd like to see him in a different role than the obvious low man on the totem pole just to see what else he might have to offer.
KENSUKE SASAKI/KATSUHIKO NAKAJIMA vs. KENTA KOBASHI/SHUHEI TANIGUCHI
Kobashi vs. Sasaki, while letting their younger partners have the spotlight, was a fresh idea in 2005, now itís beyond old. If nothing else, the mandatory chop exchange between Kobashi and Sasaki, that goes on for far too long, is out of the way early so that the young guys can work, but even that winds up disappointing. Nakajima leans toward stiffness and no-selling, showing just how much Sasaki is rubbing off on him. Itís unreasonable to expect Kobashi to really offer too much, with how broken down and injured he is. All he has to offer are the chops, lariat, and a couple of suplexes. That leaves Taniguchi to do the heavy lifting, and, like the November tag match, he canít pull it off. He takes the beating just fine and sells rather well before Kensuke finishes him with the NLB, but he doesnít have, or isnít able to show, the offense to make this work. The fact that the best crowd reaction he ges is from surviving Sasakiís lariat is telling enough.
Virtually all the good action is in the last ten minutes, starting with Kotogeís failed Killswitch and continuing on to the finish, but even thatís mostly typical juniors work, lots of spots and very little selling. The only time it seems like the titles are in danger of going to the Osaka Pro team is the springboard double impact on Aoki. The near falls from the second try at the Killswitch and the Gannosuke clutch donít seem to get the crowd reaction youíd expect from finishers, especially considering that this is in Osaka, which should be Kotoge and Haradaís backyard. While it probably gives some rub to Aoki to pick up the win, almost single handedly, by killing Kotoge with backdrops and the finishing him off with the Assault Point, it doesnít seem plausible that Suzuki wouldnít do more to help them win than just keep Harada occupied. But, then again, Aoki survives both of Kotogeís finishers without any save from Suzuki, so maybe the NOAH team just didnít think the Osaka team should be considered genuine threats for the titles, but thatís all the more reason to try to create doubt as to the outcome.
But, like all good things, the smart work must come to an end, and this turns into virtually every other NOAH main event. Extended strike exchanges that accomplish nothing. Morishima getting up for the piledriver wasnít a big deal, but thereís no way that Go should be getting him up for the Go Flasher without using the ropes or turnbuckle for some kind of assist, and itís even worse because the Flasher was just a throwaway near fall. And, itís not NOAH without the suplex pop up sequence. A German suplex isnít worthy of any real sell job, but a simple lariat is? Granted, itís a Morishima lariat, but still. Finally, Morishima decides that enough is enough, and after a few wild swings he smears Shiozaki with a lariat, follows up with sweet grounded lariat, and then hits the backdrop to take the title. Thereís enough good work here to keep this from being worthless, but this falls far below the expected standard for a major title match.
The 411: Thereís some good stuff to be found underneath, but the major matches all fail to deliver in one sense or another. This is probably worthy of a youtube search or a download, but nothing that anyone will feel the need to watch more than once.