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The Navigation Log 8.26.07: Tournament Update

August 26, 2007 | Posted by Matt Short

I’ve been rewatching some matches lately that I was only half paying attention to the first time around. Namely they’re from the 7/15 Budokan show. And I’ve got to say, the KENTA & Taiji Ishimori vs. Marufuji & Ibushi match was a true spectacle. All the praise that the match has gotten is very deserving. What helped it out the most was that the crowd was into it from the moment the match started thanks to KENTA and Marufuji starting out against each other. Ishimori, who I had never really cared much for, and Ibushi both held up their ends of the match extremely well. The whole thing just clicked and NOAH has got another potential Match of the Year. Not to be ignored though is the rematch of The Briscoes vs. Suzuki & Marvin. The match was not as good as their first encounter, but it was still a strong match. What hurt it a bit I think was that the crowd was exhausted from the previous tag match and were still looking forward to Misawa vs. Taue later on. And speaking of Misawa vs. Taue, I’d have to say that it probably was Misawa’s best title defense since winning the belt again. It was short, but it came off well thanks I think mostly to Taue, though Misawa held up his end well too. And the brainbuster-style Emerald Flowsion was awesome and a huge improvement over the modefied what-ever-the-hell Misawa did in the Takuma Sano defense.

I’ve got to give major kudos to the Jr. Heavyweight Tag Division in NOAH. They’ve turned out some strong MOTYC in 2007 and it has really become the highlight of NOAH these days.

Determination League Update

The tournament to crown a new Number 1 Contender plows on, but there has been a major shake-up in the proceedings.

Rikio Out
Due to his injury it was decided that Takeshi Rikio would have to miss Shiny Navigation. He has forfeited all of his remaining matches and thus an automatic 2 points have been awarded to Marufjui, Akitoshi Saito, and Masao Inoue. I wonder how much this hurts their final plan for the tournament especially since Rikio was a favorite going in and was already looking strong in his matches. Many were suggesting that he’d recieve a title shot soon anyway, but even that could be in jeopardy. There’s no word on how long he’s going to be out, but hopefully he’ll be back soon.

Match Results
The tournament really kicked into high gear this week as the B Block got started. Here’s the results:

8/19

Block A: Naomichi Marufuji beat Muhammad Yone: Not much of a surprise here. Marufuji is still my pick to win Block A as things stand. Especially now that Rikio is gone. His major contender will be Saito, which I think could end up being a great match when it happens.

Block B: Takeshi Morishima beat Go Shiozaki: NOAH kind of took the drama out of Shiozaki’s chances by booking him in the special attraction tag team match at the Budokan. They’re not going to have him wrestle twice in the same night. But he needs to get some wins so he in the tournament so he won’t look like a complete jobber going into it. Then again, I don’t think there was much chance of him beating Morishima to begin with.

8/22

Block A: Akitoshi Saito beat Masao Inoue: No surprises here. I thought this one could go to a draw, but that was hoping for too much. Saito’s going to have a strong run in this tournament.

8/23

Block B: Tamon Honda beat Go Shiozaki: Oh for fuck’s sake. Alright, Honda might be one of NOAH’s old guard but they really could have put Shiozaki over him. You know, let him win a couple points before the big match?

8/25

Block A: Mohammad Yone beat Akitoshi Saito: FUCK. YES. Yone is back in this thing and a win over Saito is saying something. The afro is where the power lies!

Block B: Tamon Honda beat Takashi Sugiura: I’m less bothered by this win than I am with Honda beating Shiozaki. I like Sugiura too, but he’s better off in tag matches right now. I’d like to see him win the GHC Heavyweight tag belts before he got a title shot.

Block B: Jun Akiyama beat Go Shiozaki: I’m high on Shiozaki right now, but I approve of this win. Akiyama is one of NOAH’s go to guys and there really was no way he was going to lose here. This match went 23 minutes out of 30 which makes me believe that it was a really competative bout. I’m going to have to find a copy.

After the last week, the points fall like this:

Block A
Naomichi Marufuji: 4
Mohammad Yone: 4
Akitoshi Saito: 4
Masao Inoue: 2
Takeshi Rikio: OUT

Block B
Tamon Honda: 4
Takeshi Morishima: 2
Jun Akiyama: 2
Takashi Sugiura: 0
Go Shiozaki: 0

Block A is going to be the most interesting to watch I think since the field has narrowed. Plus you just had Yone get a clean win over Saito, which I think some might consider an upset. Marufuji is still going to be the guy to beat since he has yet to lose a match in the tournament. Everyone gaining two points due to Rikio having to drop will probably make the final point tally really close.

As much as I hate to say it, from the looks of things they’re going to try to make Honda into a big threat here. He got the pin fall over Shiozaki and in the match against Sugiura won by ref stoppage after 7 minutes. Morishima is still a threat and of course there is Akiyama waiting in the wings. Shiozaki needs to win his next match to avoid being shut out and a win would be important for him going into the NOAH vs. MUGA Budokan match.

The upcoming matches that I’ll cover next week are the following:

8/26
Block B: Takashi Sugiura vs. Go Shiozaki

8/28
Block A: Naomichi Marufuji vs. Masao Inoue

8/29
Block B: Jun Akiyama vs. Tamon Honda

8/31
Block B: Takeshi Morishima vs. Takashi Sugiura

They’re heading into the home stretch of the tournament. The winners from Block A and Block B will face off against each other at the 9/9 Budokan show. I’m still predicting Marufuji vs. Akiyama in a rematch from their Heavyweight title bout last year. Though it would seem that NOAH wants us to pay attention to Honda.

Almost There…
I mentioned a couple weeks ago about possible rumors that Mitsuhara Misawa could come to ROH. Well the rumors seem to be true as it is expected that they will announce it at the ROH show in New York on Saturday. I’m aware that this column comes out after the event will have happened, but I don’t have confirmation yet. If this happens it will be at ROH’s Glory By Honor weekend.

Rest assured folks, this would be huge for ROH to get this booking. I’m often very critical of the way Misawa has performed during his current title reign, but the man is a legend. He still stands as one of the most popular stars in Japan and for him to come to the US for a match is a damn big deal. I’d even be so bold as to say Msawa’s coming here is bigger than when Kenta Kobashi came to face Samoa Joe. If Misawa comes to an ROH ring, no matter what the price I’ll be trying to get in. I kind of feel Misawa owes me a good match since the times that I have seen him he really acted like he didn’t care. But hey, if he can come here and give us a good match I’ll forgive him.

Some last quick items before moving on:

-8/31 is the Jr. Heavyweight Tag Title match between KENTA & Taiji Ishimore vs. Ricky Marvin & Kotaro Suzuki. There’s high expectations for this one and I’m looking at the champs retaining.
-NOAH young lion Akihito Ito won his first pin fall win on 8/22. It’s a big deal because it’s not every day they give you your first win in NOAH. He had a good match at ROH in Japan so I hope the kid has a bright future. And incidentily, he lost the next night.

At Home
First, let’s bring up Matt Sydal. Sydal has been given a WWE contract and we’re apparently just waiting for him to sign it at this point. I was actually rather surprised to hear that Sydal might be going to the WWE. Especially for awhile it seemed like he would be better suited for TNA. I even remember Ian Rotten imploring TNA to give Sydal a contract after he won the TPI in 2005. In fact TNA was pretty much THE place to see great indy guys make it to TV and get national exposure. You had Joe, Daniels, Styles as well as guys like Petey Williams, Kazarian, Chris Sabin, and Alex Shelley. The general feeling that you got from it was that in TNA these guys could get their time on TV and be part of an up and coming promotion without having to obey all the rules that get handed down in the WWE. They wouldn’t have to change their style basically. It also favored the fast-paced indy guys since TNA was pushing the X Division so strongly that these smaller guys with the insane spots were perfect for it.

Sydal might be going into the WWE because it’s his dream, but it’s probably the smart thing for him to do. Sure he’d get to keep doing his flippty-dos and the like in TNA, but it wouldn’t really get him anywhere in the long run. TNA has not been good with giving some of these guys personalities. They throw gimmicks at them until something sticks and by then a wrestler can have so little fan support who would really care? Then there’s the issue of TNA not really pushing anyone who hasn’t been in the WWE very strongly. I wonder then if the winds are shifting a bit. When more indy guys want to move up to TV (and trust me, most of them do) will they take the WWE with it’s sometime limiting style of wrestling over small-time, less evil looking TNA? The money they can be offered is an obvious plus, but the WWE is pretty much the company for becoming a star. We can say all we want about the glass ceiling the company has. It’s there and more often than not a guy like Sydal will never get to be at the level of someone like Triple H or John Cena. But The E does a hell of a job building new guys when they get on TV when they want them pushed. Look at Lashley. I can’t stand the guy’s promos and and he’s not some ring general, but he’s still got the fan support. He’s a star. Kennedy is another example or hell, they managed to get the Umaga gimmick over which, as awesome as it is, didn’t look like it could last as long as it has. You need proof that the WWE is better at pushing the top indy guys? CM Punk is in the main event feud on ECW and is essentially the face of the brand. When they talk about the three brands and cycle through the top stars, who do they use? Punk. Who cares if he can’t do the Pepsi Plunge any more? He still has good matches and is insanely over.

No denying that WWE has dropped the ball more times than it has accomplished anything. There’s been plenty of failures like the epic crash of Eugene, Heidenreich, and Matt Morgan’s stuttering gimmick. The thing about TNA is they’re don’t seem to try much. A guy from the WWE will come in under some form of his old gimmick. Indy guys or others don’t get anything at all. And from the sounds of things the guys who get onto TV don’t get much time to show off. I know I’m pretty much picking on TNA like everyone else is, but this is something they’re going to need to fix. They have to find a way to build up these guys effectively. They’ve hired some of the top talent from the independent scene but can’t think of anything to do with them. Matt Sydal might not be a perfect fit in the WWE, but I think he’ll be better off in the long run. With luck, TNA will be able to get a second hour of TV and use their time better.

Enough of that though. In case you didn’t know, SummerSlam is tonight. Just figured there would be some people visiting this website who’d be interested.

The card is a huge improvement over last year’s. At least on paper. The biggest thing I’ve noticed is that they’re making room for mid carders on the card. Kane vs. Finlay isn’t necessary really, but it’s getting a couple guys who have a decent little feud going onto a PPV. The IC title on the line is giving a shot to Umaga, Kennedy, and Carlito to go out there and show what they can do. Especially Carlito, who could use a shot in the arm as far as motivation goes. And with the main title matches, well there’s some actual drama this time around. All three of them could go either way, which is great considering that for months it’s been damn easy to predict who’d walk out with the belt.

Plus, the returns of Rey Mysterio and Triple H. Say what you want about the guys, but they’re huge stars and will do a lot to helping the rosters which have been plagued by injuries.

Short Takes
-I’m absolutely amazed at how far The Boogeyman has come in the ring. I’m not going to start saying he’s become perfect in there, but he’s at least able to do more than a 5 minute squash. He’s really looked good the past few weeks and I hope he keeps it up.

-I’d say the same for The Miz, except he bugs me so much. I know he’s supposed to, but damn.

-Despite TNA’s many problems, I’m glad that they’re keep Kazarian on TV for now. I’m looking forward to a match between him and Roode. Here’s hoping they don’t give them too many gimmicks.

-I’ve got to get up to date on my Dragon Gate stuff. I feel like I’m missing so much. There’s probably been three or four guys changing stables since July.

-Why is it that when foreigners go to Dragon Gate they only join up with the few top stables? How come no one wants to join Tozawa-juku? I would.

-Judge Dredd would be a really kick ass movie if Rob Schenider wasn’t in it.

I’m moving back to school this week and that means I’m back on my old computer network. Downloads, movies, porn, the works. And classes too I guess. I’ll be counting down the days until CHIKARA comes back for one of their free shows to our school, which are always fun. Have a good week folks, I’m out.

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