MATCH : KENTA v Naomichi Marufuji

PROMOTION : NOAH

EVENT : Autumn Navigation 2006 - Day 15

VENUE : Budokan Hall, Japan

DATE : 29th October 2006

CHAMPIONSHIP: GHC Heavyweight Title

Background : When KENTA first began his career at Pro Wrestling NOAH he teamed with a young Naomichi Marufuji and they quickly became the first ever GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions after winning a tournament. Their reign would last for almost two years and would be hailed as one of the best reigns in Japenese tag team wrestling history. After losing the straps both men would go on search for singles glory and it wouldn't be long before Marufuji would receive it when he defeated Jun Akiyama for the GHC Heavyweight Title. In doing so he became the first wrestler to win all five GHC Titles in NOAH. The hard working and popular KENTA would be Marufuji's first defence of the title and, although both men were good friends and respected one another, they were also determined to put on a great show.

MATCH REVIEW : This match is absolutely brilliant! Both these men can be very proud of their efforts in a very good 5 star showing. KENTA was trained and mentored by Japanese wrestling legend, Kenta Kobashi, whilst Marufuji was the young protege of the best Japanese Wrestling Champion of all time, Mitsuharu Misawa. This shows exactly what young wrestlers can learn from being trained and mentored by huge stars and this match would be one that Misawa and Kobashi would be proud of in their prime. Pro Wrestling NOAH was a relatively new organisation and matches like this one would only serve to build and grow the name and stature of the federation. Marufuji would go on to lose the GHC Heavyweight Title only a few months later to his idol and trainer, Misawa. This has to be one of my favourite matches in the last ten years and I feel it certainly helped to rejuvenate the Japanese Wrestling Industry.