Kenta Kobashi v Akitoshi Saito (NOAH, 10/24/04)
Maybe it was the fairly low expectations (long-ish match when I wasn't really in the mood for it + a match that I've never really heard talked up despite happening during a title run that's constantly talked up) I had going in, but man, I thought this was REALLY fucking good. The strike exchanges at the start are good and Kobashi goes out of his way to make it look like Saito can absolutely hang in that department. They do a headbutt exchange that ends with Kobashi crumpled in the corner, and then Saito ploughs into him with a running knee to the head. First big transition comes when Kobashi takes it to the floor, hitting a plancha and two DDTs on the ramp. He works on top for the next five or so minutes, but the match hits another gear once Saito takes over with an apron brainbuster. Youtube that shit or something. Seriously, Kobashi takes maybe the most ridiculous bump in wrestling history and I have no idea how he's still walking after it. How did that not cripple him? I don't know how much of it was selling and how much of it was down to him being legit fucked up (suspect it's way more of the latter), but he never looks quite right for the remainder of the match after it -- his movement always seems laboured. On top of that he takes a few more crazy bumps, including a backdrop right on the top his head like a total fucking psycho. Still, my favourite part of this might be the punches. Saito throws a bunch of them throughout the match, and a few times they stop Kobashi's momentum dead in its tracks. Kobashi finally manages to mount his big run of offence after weathering the storm, and he clearly has Saito on the ropes. Saito throws a big right square to the jaw, and that's about all Kobashi can take of that shit, hauling off and punching him twice dead in the face. His look of sheer contempt after it was fucking amazing, then he caps it off with a nasty brainbuster. Hell of a fucking finish. The armwork in the middle probably brings this down a bit since it doesn't really go anywhere (although it's decent enough filler), but the last ten minutes are really great, and Kobashi was pretty awesome in this as a whole.
Jun Akiyama v Katsuyori Shibata (Wrestle-One, 8/4/05)
This was a blast. Shibata charges Akiyama at the bell, then he punts him in the head and fucking BLASTS him in the face with a kick while Akiyama is sitting upright. God that was insane. Jun had his hand over his nose when Shibata threw it, but it didn't stop it from opening him up. I'm not sure Akiyama was expecting it either, because he goes total fucking caveman on Shibata after it, smashing him with chairs and kneeing him clean in the face. Really, this is all about the hatred. They HATE each other. I wish Shibata stuck around in pro-wrestling, because he's such a violent motherfucker and everything he's in is super heated. Plus he kicks like he's trying to burst every vital organ in your body. There's one kick to Akiyama's chest that looked sternum-shattering. Akiyama's kneelift while Shibata is draped over the ropes must've hurt like a total bastard as well. The sound of THAT shit. They sort of quieten it down at a few points when they work submissions and the heat peters off slightly (although it gets molten again real quick when they come back up and start teeing off on each other), and there's a suplex no-sell sequence that sucked a dick, but for the most part this was an uncooperative potato-fest. An awesome uncooperative potato-fest.