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Re: Official Puro Match/DVD Discussion Thread (NO SPOILERS)

Best of Japan in 2001

THE LIST~!

1. Genichiro Tenryu & Masa Fuchi v Toshiaki Kawada & Nobutaka Araya (30/06/2001 AJPW)
2. Mitsuharu Misawa & Yuji Nagata Vs Shinya Hashimoto & Jun Akiyama (02/03/2001 Zero-1)
3. Aja Kong Vs Meiko Satomura (12/01/2001 GAEA)
4. Toshiaki Kawada Vs Satoshi Kojima (06/06/2001 NJPW)
5. Keiji Mutoh Vs Yuji Nagata (12/08/2001 NJPW)
6. Keiji Muto Vs Toshiaki Kawada (14/04/2001 AJPW)
7. Mitsuharu Misawa Vs Jun Akiyama (27/07/2001 NOAH)
8. Genichiro Tenryu Vs Keiji Mutoh (08/06/2001 AJPW)
9. Shinya Hashimoto & Alexander Otsuka Vs Mitsuharu Misawa & Yoshinari Ogawa (13/01/2001 NOAH)
10. Mitsuharu Misawa Vs Jun Akiyama (11/04/2001 NOAH)
11. Mitsuharu Misawa Vs Yoshihiro Takayama (15/04/2001 NOAH)
12. BATT Vs Jun Akiyama & Yuji Nagata (08/10/2001 NJPW)
13. Kanemoto & Minoru Tanaka vs Dr. Wagner Jr & Silver King (03/02/2001 NJPW)
14. Minoru Tanaka Vs Takehiro Murahama (20/04/2001 NJPW)
15. Kensuke Sasaki Vs Toshiaki Kawada (04/01/2001 NJPW)
16. Akira Hokuto Vs Meiko Satomura (29/04/2001 GAEA)
17. Crazy MAX Vs M2K Vs Seikigun (14/08/2001 Toryumon)
18. Tiger Mask & Alexander Otsuka vs. Carl Malenko & Ikuto Hidaka (13/02/2001 BattleARTS)
19. Hiroyoshi Tenzan Vs Toshiaki Kawada (04/01/2001 NJPW)
20. Tatsuhito Takaiwa vs Naomichi Marufuji (09/12/2001 NOAH)
21. Shinjiro Otani vs Daisuke Sekimoto (02/12/2001 BJW)
22. Minoru Tanaka Vs AKIRA (28/05/2001 NJPW)
23. Van Vader & Jun Akiyama Vs Kenta Kobashi & Akira Taue (13/01/2001 NOAH)
24. Mitsuharu Misawa Vs Akira Taue (18/05/2001 NOAH)
25. Daisuke Ikeda Vs Tamon Honda (01/09/2001 NOAH)
26. Jado & Gedo Vs The Great Sasuke & Tiger Mask 4 (19/08/2001 Michinoku Pro)
27. The Great Sasuke, Gran Hamada & Dick Togo Vs Pentagón, Sasuke the Great & Gran Apache (10/03/2001 Michinoku Pro)
28. Masato Tanaka & Gedo Vs Ishikawa & Yone (02/06/2001 BattleARTS)
29. Alexander Otsuka vs. Takashi Sugiura (18/04/2001 Zero-1)
30. TenKoji Vs Mike Barton & Jim Steele (11/12/2001 NJPW)
31. Kaoru Ito, Tomoko Watanabe, Momoe Nakanishi & Nanae Takahashi Vs Manami Toyota, Mima Shimoda, Etsuko Mita & Kumiko Maekawa (28/02/2001 AJW)



2001 was most certainly a weaker year than 2000 and its hot streak. Interestingly, exactly half of every match rated 3.5 star and above comprises of both 2001 and 2000 yet the bulk of the reason against this particular year settles toward the upper echelons. While 2001 enjoyed a plethora of good and really good matches nothing truly broke beyond that level and a definite ceiling emerged in terms of match quality. The best match of 2001 (the Araya tag) only placed seventh on the combined listing and the year, as a whole, only enjoyed one third of the top 20 spots. That's not to devalue the year, however, as the matches that scored well, scored well in spades as four of the six 4.25 star matches were from this year bracket.


It must be said that these do not reflect the year as a whole and I'm rather basing the awards upon the material presented. It's a flawed system, but it's sadly the only system.

Best Wrestler: Toshiaki Kawada
This was a hard choice to make. A lot of wrestlers put their name in the hat this year and no one truly stood out above everyone else. Misawa was really good and makes up half of the top ten matches (playing good reason why they're up there, too) but I think was hampered by the ordinary showing in his match against Taue. Akiyama and Mutoh both enjoyed the loins of a successful year. However, as great as their matches placed, they weren't, overwhelmingly, the best wrestlers in those matches. Nagata was the reason why Nagata/Mutoh stayed on course for the first portion while Akiyama (as nifty as he was) was lumped with both Hashimoto and Misawa. That left the easy-way-out choice - Kawada. While he wasn't the reason why the best match placed at #1, his performance was indicative of why he gets the rub; he performed and met every expectation he was supposed to. That match called for him to play a specific role and he did so, while his lower outings were the result not of performance but time-constraint. Kawada was also a large player in Mutoh/Kawada being fantastic. While being the lesser force in his match against Kojima, he still wrestled at the top of his game and it's not much of a slight that would knock him off the running.

Best Performance: Nobutaka Araya
If I was sane I'd have chosen someone else. Most probably Kojima and his exceptional outing against Kawada in which he shone, like gold, brighter than the veteran. But screw being boring and objective. Araya's work was phenomenal in every sphere. He made me believe in his role and he made me actually care for his plight. He both entertained me and moved me. He made me wish for him to exact revenge against the bullies that had beaten him down. He made me forget that this is a worked sport and suckered me in with his beautiful facials. For those fifteen minutes, Araya embodied everything I adore in professional wrestling, and you know what? That's all that matters to me.

THE WRITE-UPS~!

Spoiler for text:

Spoiler for January-February:

Hiroyoshi Tenzan Vs Toshiaki Kawada (04/01/2001 NJPW)
★★★ 1/2
Well, Tenzan was certainly motivated to win this tournament. From the get-go he was on Kawada, and trying to hit hard in ensuring a quick and decisive win against the AJPW vet. I don’t think he’s that good but there’s no denying his attempts here as a vicious bastard. Though, admittedly, that’s not too hard when the moves are legitimately physical. Tenzan opening himself up with a head-butt was nasty. Kawada had some moments of goodness here, too, but the tourney would ensure these matches are rather short than given the opportunity to progress into something exceptional.


Kensuke Sasaki Vs Toshiaki Kawada (04/01/2001 NJPW)
★★★ 3/4
Much like the previous match, time constraints and exhaustion would prevent a lengthy encounter between these two great men. That’s absolutely fine, though, as a hate-fuelled sprint between Sasaki and Kawada is just about as fun as you’ll get in wrestling. As violence-oriented as Tenzan was, Sasaki went to school even further upon Kawada and bloodied up his nose. Tight, fast and hard-hitting is everything you’ll need to get you through the day. Great stuff!


Shinya Hashimoto & Alexander Otsuka Vs Mitsuharu Misawa & Yoshinari Ogawa (13/01/2001 NOAH)
★★★★
When I first saw this heading I was hoping to witness more Ogawa/Hashi hatred, but it turned out to be a different Ogawa. No matter, Hash hates the living shit out of Misawa and that produces this match’s focal point. The beginning is rather good, with nice exchanges, but it all picks up as soon as Hashimoto steps in and runs rampant upon Ogawa all the while taunting Misawa, who lies anxious on the apron. My favourite moment in the set, so far, has to be Hash taunting Misawa only to have Ogawa take a cheap shot on the heavier vet. Hash’s look of disgust that such untalented hands touched him was a look of sheer brilliance and, so too, was the derailing slap that he levelled onto Ogawa’s face.


Van Vader & Jun Akiyama Vs Kenta Kobashi & Akira Taue (13/01/2001 NOAH)
★★★ 1/2
I’m pretty sure that Akiyama is thanking his lucky stars due to Kobashi having to leave to receive knee surgery. It’d seem that each time the two meet, Kobashi finds new ways to attempt to break his neck with suplexes or dead-drops. I suppose sensing his hiatus may be a long one, Kenta gives all that he can as his last hoorah while Akiyama continues to be a presence I so dearly love. Despite Vader’s flaws at this point in his career, Akiyama works as a good base in keeping things on track and not too hampered by his botches. Still, once Vader tags in this really detracts from the great start it received despite his great bullying and no-fucks-given tactics. The awkwardly botched Vadersault did allow for a (probably unplanned and unprotected) headbutt that does nothing but fit with Vader’s stiff work, though.


Kanemoto & Minoru Tanaka vs Dr. Wagner Jr & Silver King (03/02/2001 NJPW)
★★★ 3/4
I like Cain, and I love Wagner so this was a nice treat to witness them at work a decade earlier. The combination, thus, was the luchadores giving the Japanese juniours a hell of a ride in this championship match. Nothing breakout but a good body with a great end makes this a definite knock on the door come the top 100.


Tiger Mask & Alexander Otsuka vs. Carl Malenko & Ikuto Hidaka (13/02/2001 BattleARTS)
★★★ 1/2
Extended feeling-out section, good matwork followed by some nifty legwork, a PILEDRIVER AND FLURRY~! all culminating in more legwork. Yep,this is Bat-Bat!


Kaoru Ito, Tomoko Watanabe, Momoe Nakanishi & Nanae Takahashi Vs Manami Toyota, Mima Shimoda, Etsuko Mita & Kumiko Maekawa (28/02/2001 AJW)
★ 3/4
What an absolute mess. If one enjoys mindless chaos, illogical discontinuity and healthy portions of no-selling to juxtapose the control segments then this is right up your alley. This is two for two in terms of multi-tag womens matches not delivering anything but duds and I’m starting to wonder how either made it onto the set. Surely they cannot be placements for the sake of diversity (there has to be better women’s matches) nor could they be that highly touted. I, evidently, must be missing the memo, if they are, as these cannot hold a candle to their male counterparts. Terrible as fuck kicks, too.


Spoiler for March-April:

Mitsuharu Misawa & Yuji Nagata Vs Shinya Hashimoto & Jun Akiyama (02/03/2001 Zero-1)
★★★★ 1/4
This would be the second and last pairing between Hash and Misawa and, boy, am I relieved that we got some good wrestlers to fill in the roles of seconds. Credit where it’s due for Otsuka and Ogawa’s performances in the last match, but I cannot think of much that’s greater than Misawa, the world-beater, with Jun against Hashi. Nagata was a good start, and held his own against the NOAH boys, too. What a hell of a debut show main-event for Zero-1 with heat oozing out of every corner.


The Great Sasuke, Gran Hamada & Dick Togo Vs Pentagón, Sasuke the Great & Gran Apache (10/03/Michinoku Pro)
★★★ 1/4
Sasuke The Great? Lol. Anyway, there’s some great talent in this match and it’s depressing I couldn’t really get into it. Kinda plods along with some nice violence but doesn’t go too much farther than that.


Mitsuharu Misawa Vs Jun Akiyama (11/04/2001 NOAH)
★★★★
As a first encounter between these two in NOAH, under tournament constrictions no less, it came off perfect. Of course it wouldn’t be afforded as much time as an epic between the two would need, but that would not dismay either man from giving their all or breaking the speed of sound in approaching this match. Misawa’s all about breaking Akiyama’s neck, here, and its continual destruction was almost sadistic to witness. The crowd HATED the original count-out ending, but boy did they pop once the match was restarted. So did I, admittedly. Though who wouldn’t when seeing both men frantically pacing likes bats out of hell head-on into each at the sound of the bell?


Keiji Muto Vs Toshiaki Kawada (14/04/2001 AJPW)
★★★★
SHINING WIZARD~! While Ditch regards this as Muto’s breakout match for his new persona, I cannot help but think that Kawada is mostly responsible for that. Everything Muto brought to the table, Kawada did or made better. This was, quite frankly, a hell of a performance by Kawada (more so than his usual going) that enjoyed the fruits of such wondrous selling. As much as I liked Misawa’s work on Akiyama’s neck in the match a few days prior, Kawada’s was better. Muto’s almost lucky that Kawada never decapitated him with his moves. Good on the toothless bastard for cockily taking a bicycle kick from a running start on the apron, too. He simply owns shit and his work here is reason enough why.


Mitsuharu Misawa Vs Yoshihiro Takayama (15/04/2001 NOAH)
★★★★
I’ll be damned if the first half didn’t feel like a slow and heavy outing. I don’t mind the need for establishing a foundation but this sorely lacked an entertainment aspect to that creation. Still, once it picked up it really showcased the outstanding work of Misawa and the fighting style of Takayama. Coming in to this, Takayama was largely unbeaten and that dynamic really offered the match its dues. Misawa does a great job coming from the bottom and Takayama’s legitimacy only helps drive that home further. Boy, is Misawa’s selling top-notch, too. Not that Takayama’s a slouch, either, though, as he’s taken a couple punches before so he knows how to make ‘em look believable. For my money, though, it’s more the Misawa show than anything else, and him rattling off his desperation elbow strikes and discus shots made for a great visual. The intermittent german suplex from Takayama (that’s helped him put away so many adversaries) was neat, as well; especially considering the desperate nature of it meant he couldn’t lock in the pin to full effect. I don’t think this is going to be at the top of this year’s best of list, but it’s still a worthy enough match, regardless.


Alexander Otsuka vs. Takashi Sugiura (18/04/2001 Zero-1)
★★★ 1/4
Sugiura was pretty good for such a newcomer, here, and most certainly looked like a brute coming out of it. Those headbutts were violent and blood-inducing while his running tackles are pretty good. Deadlift throws are a favourite of mine, and a young Takashi applying them to Otsuka is a treat to see. This wasn’t without fault, however, as it did need more fleshing out to work. I can understand why they needed to have Sug redo his takedown (to transition into the headlock and the final submission) but it felt disjointed from the rest of the application. I suppose it could be put down to his amateur experience level yet the showing he put on before that wasn’t as badly amateur as what would come next. Good first half, and a poor second stop this from going much further but it’s still a mighty fine showing for both.


Minoru Tanaka Vs Takehiro Murahama (20/04/2001 NJPW)
★★★ 3/4
Ditch’s link is missing the opening minute but not much is lost outside of a lock-up and opening work. Tanaka really excels in this environ where quick matwork and flurried offence is key. Murahama is no slouch, either, and they both sew together a beautiful junior-level tapestry that is filled with relentless attitude.


Akira Hokuto Vs Meiko Satomura (29/04/2001 GAEA)
★★★ 1/2
Conventions be damned. The continual focus of the left limb during submissions may be a stock standard entity within the sport but, when a situation arises in which the other limb needs working, work it! This was whole heaps of fun and certainly felt like a main event war for GAEA’s 6th Anniversary. It’s just too bad it was let down by some rather silly mistakes. While the leg was seemingly ready for a work-over, especially considering the highlighting that it got upon each strike, it made little sense to lock on an armbar upon the left arm; most especially if it’s the right arm that the SLAPS OF DAMAGE~! is originating from. I have no doubt that this could have been infinitely better if the submissions had logical placing and the selling had been slightly better. What this had going for it was immense, it’s just such a shame it had to be let down so much by these drawbacks.


Spoiler for May-August:

Mitsuharu Misawa Vs Akira Taue (18/05/2001 NOAH)
★★★ 1/4
Eh, for the first title match in NOAH’s history, this certainly felt rather underwhelming. That’s not to say either man did not produce something good, as the match really is fine, but it’s truly not something exemplary nor something anything better than good. Perhaps my expectations are too high for this particular encounter, but I do feel underwhelmed by the material presented.


Minoru Tanaka Vs AKIRA (28/05/2001 NJPW)
★★★ 1/2
Oh, come on! Yet another Akira/Tanaka match that’s joined in progress?! Sigh. At least it was only the first minute and the match, personally, isn’t as good as what they put on in the previous year. I enjoy legwork as much as the next, but this seemed to lack a certain zest that accompanied other matches of a similar nature. It almost felt preoccupied with the matwork that it neglected the excitement that both can put on. Of course both are a good pairing, and can work a hold, but I hoped for a little more within those holds. A good exhibition, regardless.


Masato Tanaka & Gedo Vs Ishikawa & Yone (02/06/2001 BattleARTS)
★★★ 1/4
The heels were doing great until Gedo decided to interject his goofball personality into the mix and lose the control-segment for their team. Of course it’s all down to Tanaka to salvage things and keep the hopes alive. Double of course in Gedo ensuring he takes the pinfall victory. I love Gedo and his antics. Wrestling’s own Lenny Kravitz was here, in full force, and added a bunch of cool points to the match’s score. That does little to the actual rating from a critical standpoint, though, as this was pretty meh especially in consideration of other Bat-Bat matches we’ve been witness to.


Toshiaki Kawada Vs Satoshi Kojima (06/06/2001 NJPW)
★★★★ 1/4
I can see some saying this is too high, but I loved this. Even as a dismisser of Kojima I really, really loved it and couldn’t fault Kojima, personally, on anything. It really says a lot about a particular wrestler stepping up to the plate when they’re shining brighter than Kawada. The frenetic start, with Kojima throwing his body at Kawada was intelligently done, considering he needed not only the opening to direct the rest of the match but also to stay away from matching Kawada in a game he’s better in. Kojima is no slouch, though, and can hang with Kawada when it comes to smash mouth offence. If its two bulls in a china shop you’re after then this is right up your alley. Just don’t forget to stay for Kojima decimating Kawada’s lariat arm with his own.


Genichiro Tenryu Vs Keiji Mutoh (08/06/2001 AJPW)
★★★★
Mutoh works a good game when he’s motivated, and you can bet that he’s motivated here. While I do think some of the work ran its course a bit too long, the focus on Tenryu’s knee was on point and aided by Tenryu’s great facials. For a good bulk Mutoh had Tenryu down with the work against his left leg, only to find himself the victim of a similar onslaught. As thoroughly carried out as it was, though, I’d have hoped for it to have been remembered in the final section and not glossed over as merely an addition to the general fatigue. Perhaps its overly critical but the legwork doesn’t amount to much if Mutoh is throwing out a good few shining wizards on the tail end in his attempt to win. Regardless, it’s a monumental fight between two older guys that’s holding its own against the best of the year.


Genichiro Tenryu & Masa Fuchi v Toshiaki Kawada & Nobutaka Araya (30/06/2001 AJPW)
★★★★ 1/2
Fuck Drake, Araya started at the bottom. If there’s one parallel to life that this match has, it’s that Araya is that kid in school who, finally sick of being bullied, tries to stand up for himself in a rather ineffectual way. It’s fitting, too, that Kawada plays bigger brother and lashes out, only when need be, without taking the moment away from Araya. Tenryu, thus, is the asshole at the centre of the bullying and cracks Araya with a vicious blow that opens up his eye in nasty fashion only to work as a phenomenal ground for Araya to work off of and solidify himself as an exceptional character in this narrative of awesome. Fuchi is pretty much a geriatric at this point, and you can see in how Kawada barely even lands his strikes upon the old man, but he works in his secondary role to Tenryu as best he can and that’s all that this match requires of him. Everything hanged, almost solely, on both Tenryu and Araya’s performances. As great, too, as Tenryu’s facials are, Araya blasts this out the park with his shrivelled face that looks like a bad mix of pain, anger and a man trying to fight back his tears. Absolutely beautiful.


Mitsuharu Misawa Vs Jun Akiyama (27/07/2001 NOAH)
★★★★
Better than their previous match from this year. It was great to see how this built on their previous two encounters in that they would set up identical spots onto to either not pull the trigger or manipulate the end result as to show the knowledge each had learnt over the other. Much like the April match this goes pretty frantic in the opening half before taking a more relaxed approach. Well, if you can call bomb-dropping relaxed. The match’s culmination in each man trying to top the other was the best thing they could have done, quite frankly, and it enriched their match so much. I realise Misawa is extremely stoic in his demeanour but I’d honestly have wished for the nearfall following the Tiger Driver off the top rope to be milked a little better. Still, the manner in which they handled the change of momentum at this point was brilliant and the complete comeback by Akiyama felt completely natural.


Keiji Mutoh Vs Yuji Nagata (12/08/2001 NJPW)
★★★★ 1/4
You don’t really get much more exampilic of a match of two halves than this. While the first portion felt like mindless (albeit smooth) matwork placed for its beauty, the second was jaw-droppingly stunning. I actively enjoy lucha matwork and its intricate holds, yet in an environ where a wrestler isn’t hidden behind a mask I expect them to make use of their face to sell their plight. For every detraction of lucha being too easy, this was even more so. Dull. That is until they break and retry their submissions. Nagata goes into a completely different universe when he applies his lock, and expresses himself beautifully which gets the crowd to completely buy into Mutoh’s fight against submitting. The section isn’t without its faults, as Mutoh does cartwheels and lariats with his supposedly injured arm, but, outside of those moments, the Mutoh we get is the Mutoh that his fans speaks so fondly of.Honestly, if one had cut the match at that breaking point I could see this being a whole lot higher than it is currently; even with the sort of shoddy finish.


Crazy MAX Vs M2K Vs Seikigun (14/08/2001 Toryumon)
★★★ 1/2
Spottier than a teenager’s face, but a face that is still a younger Leo DiCaprio or Brad Pitt. Crazy spot-running and frantic action keep this as a superbly fun match to go out of your way to see, even if it won’t hold that high come the end of project list.


Jado & Gedo Vs The Great Sasuke & Tiger Mask 4 (19/08/2001 Michinoku Pro)
★★★ 1/4
I didn’t get too much into this. Jado & Gedo are an entertaining couple and the wrestling presented isn’t bad. Hell, it’s kind of chaotic in places, but it just didn’t captivate my attention to the full degree. The semi-botched ending is also a bit of a downer, too.


Spoiler for September-December:

Daisuke Ikeda Vs Tamon Honda (01/09/2001 NOAH)
★★★ 1/4
I’m slightly perplexed how this got some great reviews, considering it had a lot going against it. Honda really is a good matworker but once it left that environ he was nothing more than a detractor. His elbows are absolutely weak and his comeback transitions were so false. I’m actually surprised Ikeda stalled for as long as he did on the turnbuckle waiting for Honda to make the running counter. That turnbuckle powerbomb into triangle choke was so Kyle O’Reilly so if this gets a pass so should he. Or does wrestling not work that way? Ikeda was pretty great here, though, and what he brought was good. The end submission (despite the potential botch[?]) was pretty nifty, though, but that’s something Honda does do right.


BATT Vs Jun Akiyama & Yuji Nagata (08/10/2001 NJPW)
★★★★
NOAH sees your Kawada and raises you an Akiyama. Hase brings a nice giant swing that acts as a metaphor for the whirlwind that this match becomes. Everybody brings their a-game!


Shinjiro Otani vs Daisuke Sekimoto (02/12/2001 BJW)
★★★ 1/2
Wow, Seki looks like a complete jobber; basically a bland as fuck semi-heavyweight with generic music that plays as he’s running to the ring. An interesting juxtaposition to Ohtani’s SPANGLY JACKET~!, bodyguard army and samurai sword that he uses to threaten murder upon the referee. Rookie Daisuke goes for a collar-and-elbow tie-up to start and gets met with a dropkick to his fucking face. I just have to assume that Otani is jealous of Sekimoto’s prominent facial features that don’t lie flat like his own. Daisuke’s pretty useless at selling emotion, I have to admit, and his cries during the boston leg might seem realistic yet his facial expression make it come across rather like a well-trained partner faking their orgasm to make you feel better about yourself. He took the finishing stretch like someone being dipped into acid, though.


Tatsuhito Takaiwa vs Naomichi Marufuji (09/12/2001 NOAH)
★★★ 1/2
So, yeah, Takaiwa pretty much takes the green Marufuji all the way to a good match by doing what this match needed in putting Marufuji over. Takaiwa working the younger talent over for the majority of the match allowed for Marufuji to make his comebacks few and far between but just to the right degree that they looked both believable and good. It’s no doubt that Marufuji could have sold a lot better than he did (the final moments scream out toward this) but the match was so predominantly controlled by Takaiwa that the shit almost didn’t matter. What did matter was rallying the crowd behind Marufuji enough to make his his first Jr title win truly memorable and I think Takaiwa’s work-over of both the left leg and neck did exactly that.


TenKoji Vs Mike Barton & Jim Steele (11/12/2001 NJPW)
★★ 1/2
This is basically Pro Wrestling 101 on how to make your strikes look unbelievable. Nothing becomes truly offensive but it doesn’t present itself as anything but meddling. If I have to witness another weak headbutt from Tenzan I’ll cry.


Aja Kong Vs Meiko Satomura (12/12/2001 GAEA)
★★★★ 1/4
This was a culmination of a long, hard road for Satomura in accomplishing her dreams. Kong had been a relentless monster on the Joshi scene and had always been her better in singles competition. This match, though, would see Satomura finally win the war against the violent, gorilla-like champion; and what a war it was. Neither woman held back in their assault and traded technical mastery for debaucherous violence in ensuring the possibility of their respective victory. For Kong, nothing pleasured her sadistic side more than aiming to break Satomura’s beautiful face and neck with wild piledrivers and haphazardly throwing guard rails at her head. While there was some method to her violence, Satomura had her beat in the intellectual game. Her counters were good, and her moves all on point and without filler. Hell, the countered spinning backfist was sweet. Now this is joshi that I love; and something I wish I could have seen more of instead of the other turds as the list goes from the worst match of the year to one of the best.




The Combined List So Far~!
Spoiler for list of 2000 and 2001:

★★★★★
★★★★ 3/4
1. Jun Akiyama Vs Mitsuharu Misawa (27/02/2000 AJPW)

★★★★ 1/2
2. Toshiaki Kawada Vs Gen'ichiro Tenryu (28/10/2000 AJPW)
3. Toshiaki Kawada Vs Kensuke Sasaki (09/10/2000 NJPW)
4. Masa Fuchi & Toshiaki Kawada Vs Yuji Nagata & Takashi Iizuka (14/12/2000 NJPW)
5. Jun Akiyama Vs Kenta Kobashi (23/12/2000 NOAH)
6. Yoshihiro Takayama Vs Kenta Kobashi (26/05/2000 AJPW)
7. Genichiro Tenryu & Masa Fuchi v Toshiaki Kawada & Nobutaka Araya (30/06/2001 AJPW)

★★★★ 1/4
8. Mitsuharu Misawa & Yuji Nagata Vs Shinya Hashimoto & Jun Akiyama (02/03/2001 Zero-1)
9. Aja Kong Vs Meiko Satomura (12/12/2001 GAEA)
10. Toshiaki Kawada Vs Satoshi Kojima (06/06/2001 NJPW)
11. Keiji Mutoh Vs Yuji Nagata (12/08/2001 NJPW)
12. Jushin Liger, Minoru Tanaka & Shinya Makabe Vs Super Delfin, Takahiro Murahama & Tsubasa (14/12/2000 NJPW)
13. Takao Ōmori Vs Kenta Kobashi (15/04/2000 AJPW)

★★★★
14. Jun Akiyama Vs Kenta Kobashi (06/08/2000 NOAH)
15. Keiji Muto Vs Toshiaki Kawada (14/04/2001 AJPW
16. Mitsuharu Misawa Vs Jun Akiyama (27/07/2001 NOAH)
17. Naoki Sano vs. Minoru Tanaka (30/01/2000 BattleARTS)
18. Mitsuharu Misawa Vs Toshiaki Kawada (31/03/2000 AJPW)
19. Genichiro Tenryu Vs Keiji Mutoh (08/06/2001 AJPW)
20. Shinya Hashimoto & Alexander Otsuka Vs Mitsuharu Misawa & Yoshinari Ogawa (13/01/2001 NOAH)
21. Mitsuharu Misawa Vs Jun Akiyama (11/04/2001 NOAH)
22. Mitsuharu Misawa Vs Yoshihiro Takayama (15/04/2001 NOAH)
23. BATT Vs Jun Akiyama & Yuji Nagata (08/10/2001 NJPW)

★★★ 3/4
24. SUWA Vs Dragon Kid (24/08/2000 Toryumon)
25. Minoru Tanaka Vs AKIRA (10/12/2000 NJPW)
26. Kanemoto & Minoru Tanaka vs Dr. Wagner Jr & Silver King (03/02/2001 NJPW)
27. Minoru Tanaka Vs Takehiro Murahama (20/04/2001 NJPW)
28. Shinya Hashimoto & Takashi Iizuka Vs Naoya Ogawa & Kazunari Murakami (04/01/2000 NJPW)
29. Aja Kong Vs KAORU (13/02/2000 GAEA)
30. Kensuke Sasaki Vs Toshiaki Kawada (04/01/2001 NJPW)
31. Kazunari Murakami vs Yuki Ishikawa (26/11/2000 BattlARTS)
32. Yoshie Koji Kanemoto & Minoru Tanaka Vs Jushin Liger& Shinya Makabe (12/09/2000 NJPW)
33. Minoru Tanaka & Koji Kanemoto Vs Shinjiro Ohtani & Tatsuhito Takaiwa (25/06/2000 NJPW)
34. Kenta Kobashi & Jun Akiyama Vs Mitsuharu Misawa & Akira Taue (05/08/2000 NOAH)

★★★ 1/2
35. Stan Hansen & Maunakea Mossman Vs Toshiaki Kawada & Gen'ichiro Tenryu (23/07/2000 AJPW)
36. Akira Hokuto Vs Meiko Satomura (29/04/2001 GAEA)
37. Crazy MAX Vs M2K Vs Seikigun (14/08/2001 Toryumon)
38. Tiger Mask & Alexander Otsuka vs. Carl Malenko & Ikuto Hidaka (13/02/2001 BattleARTS)
39. Jun Akiyama, Yoshihiro Takayama & Kentaro Shiga Vs Kenta Kobashi, Takeshi Rikio & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi (25/09/2000 NOAH)
40. Hiroyoshi Tenzan Vs Toshiaki Kawada (04/01/2001 NJPW)
41. Tatsuhito Takaiwa vs Naomichi Marufuji (09/12/2001 NOAH)
42. Genichiro Tenryu vs Kensuke Sasaki (04/01/2000 NJPW)
43. Shinjiro Otani vs Daisuke Sekimoto (02/12/2001 BJW)
44. Minoru Tanaka Vs AKIRA (28/05/2001 NJPW)
45. Kenta Kobashi Vs Toshiaki Kawada (12/01/2000 AJPW)
46. Van Vader & Jun Akiyama Vs Kenta Kobashi & Akira Taue (13/01/2001 NOAH)

★★★ 1/4
47. Mitsuharu Misawa Vs Akira Taue (18/05/2001 NOAH)
48. Daisuke Ikeda Vs Tamon Honda (01/09/2001 NOAH)
49. Jado & Gedo Vs The Great Sasuke & Tiger Mask 4 (19/08/2001 Michinoku Pro)
50. The Great Sasuke, Gran Hamada & Dick Togo Vs Pentagón, Sasuke the Great & Gran Apache (10/03/2001 Michinoku Pro)
51. Masato Tanaka & Gedo Vs Ishikawa & Yone (02/06/2001 BattleARTS)
52. Alexander Otsuka vs. Takashi Sugiura (18/04/2001 Zero-1)
53. Masahiro Chono Vs Masanobu Fuchi (02/09/2000 AJPW)
54. Vader Vs Toshiaki Kawada (17/02/2000 AJPW)
55. Kenta Kobashi Vs Vader (27/02/2000 AJPW)
56. Mitsuharu Misawa Vs Kenta Kobashi (11/04/2000 AJPW)

★★★

★★ 3/4
57. Aja Kong Vs Meiko Satomura (16/05/2000 GAEA)
58. Koji Kanemoto Vs AKIRA (20/02/2000 NJPW)

★★ 1/2
59. TenKoji Vs Mike Barton & Jim Steele (11/12/2001 NJPW)
60. Ryuji Yamakawa vs. Kintaro Kanemura (22/02/2000 BJPW)

★★ 1/4
61. Ryuji Yamakawa vs. Tomoaki Honma (02/01/2000 BJW)

★★
62. Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Satoshi Kojima Vs Takashi Iizuka and Yuji Nagata (22/11/2000 NJPW)

★ 1/2
63. Kaoru Ito & Momoe Nakanishi & Nanae Takahashi Vs Etsuko Mita & Mima Shimoda & Kumiko Maekawa (23/11/2000 AJW)
64. Kaoru Ito, Tomoko Watanabe, Momoe Nakanishi & Nanae Takahashi Vs Manami Toyota, Mima Shimoda, Etsuko Mita & Kumiko Maekawa (28/02/2001 AJW)


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