MATCH : Naomichi Marafuji v Tatsuhito Takaiwa

PROMOTION : NOAH

EVENT : Navigation In Raging Ocean Day 14

VENUE : Tokyo Ariake Colisseum, Tokyo

DATE : 9th December 2001

CHAMPIONSHIP : GHC Junior Heavyweight Title

BACKGROUND : Tatsuhito Takaiwa went into this match as the current GHC Junior Heavyweight champion and the wrestler with the most experience having been around in Japanese wrestling for a decade or so. Naomichi Marufuji on the other hand was still learning his trade in the business so this match was going to be down to the Ring Veteran v Popular Rookie. Although he was young and green in the ring though, Marufuji was a much deserved contender for the Junior Title as he had been displaying some great matches since his arrival a year or so ago.

MATCH REVIEW : This was a straight up excellent match with Takaiwa guiding Marufuji to his first memorable match of his career. The talents that both of these men possess really shine through during this match and you can clearly see how bright Marufuji's future is by how he acquits himself in the ring. This match had almost everything you could want with Marufuji busting out some high spots like the Van Terminator and Takaiwa bringing the ring psychology by physically dissecting Marufuji's leg. The match also brought a great ending with lots of near-falls which kept everyone on the edge of their seat. A great match that was a sort of blossoming of a future NOAH World Champ in Naomichi Marufuji!!