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April 9, 2011 / arnfurious

Minoru Suzuki vs. Taiyo Kea from AJPW 2011

Recap from Arnold Furious:

This is from the 2011 Champion Carnival. It was on a packed Korakuen Hall card from 9th April 2011. The show was headlined by Yuji Nagata vs. Suwama but this went on second last after Jun Akiyama vs. Joe Doering. This was one of Minoru Suzuki’s last tours with All Japan before jumping back to New Japan. He’d been over in AJPW since 2006. Taiyo Kea is a one company man, by comparison. He debuted in AJPW back in 1994 and was one of very few wrestlers to stay when Mitsuhara Misawa left to create NOAH in 2000. Maybe Misawa just didn’t want him. Having sat through many, many Taiyo Kea matches if there’s one word I’d use to describe him it’s “mediocre”. It was with great dread that I’d approach Maunakea Mossman matches and his elevated position in the All Japan post-Misawa was generally because there was no one else for that spot. That’s no longer true come 2011 but he’s being repaid for his loyalty. One area where he is passable is on the mat and that’s where Suzuki is strongest also so they wisely start there. Suzuki won the previous two Champion Carnivals so from a fans perspective he’s favourite here but with his imminent departure to NJPW a big win is not happening. He does come across as the superior technician and generally controls the flow of the match and works heel in that respect. His dissection of Kea’s right leg is delicious. Suzuki ties Kea in knots and it becomes increasingly apparent that he can’t wrestle his way out. If Suzuki doesn’t let him out of the holds, he’s toast.

Suzuki’s downfall is that he’s a complete dick about it all. He just stands there, letting Kea hit him, knowing he’s impervious to Kea’s assaults. His arrogance is his undoing. Kea’s best offence are his chops and also, his forgetfulness. If he didn’t completely forget about his knee injury seconds after he’s escaped a kneebar he’d be in trouble! Kea’s problem is that he can’t get from A to B logically. He just thinks ‘I need to kick this guy’ and then he does. Not ‘I need to kick this guy but my leg hurts so I can’t’. It’s a widespread issue in Japanese, and worldwide, wrestling in modern times. Inconsistencies in the selling. Kea is not totally without merit and traps Suzuki in a Cobra Clutch. Minoru fakes being unconscious to escape and hooks dumbass Kea in an anklelock. I’m not sure why the ref didn’t just stop the match with one guy unconscious but All Japan is a pretty manly promotion. Kea gets caught in so many leglocks that it begins to defy reason that Suzuki doesn’t win with a submission. There’s a fine line between Fighting Spirit and stupid booking. Kea needs to resort to desperation holds like the Surfing Suplex. It’s then that Suzuki switches gears and catches him in the sleeper but Kea kicks out of the Gotch Piledriver. That sort of makes sense as Suzuki had spent the entire match working the leg, not the head and neck. What doesn’t make sense is Kea popping back up again afterwards and hitting the Hawaiian Smasher for the win. If this match finished with Suzuki forcing Kea to tap out to a leglock of some kind it’d make perfect sense and I’d like it a lot more. As it stands it has the building blocks of a decent match intertwined with the standard back and forth smashmouth Japanese Strongstyle match. The two do not go together very well and it doesn’t make sense.

Final Rating: ***

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