Go Shiozaki vs. Keiji Mutoh (NOAH Destination 2021: Back to Budokan 2/12/21)

Match Reviews

Featured image by @NAPP0Nx_x_x

In the closing moments of this match, one of the English commentators proudly declares “GO SHIOZAKI IS NOAH” as Go Shiozaki crashes and burns on a moonsault attempt. Regardless of anything else, that will love on in my memory for years to come. The best metaphors are often the accidental ones.

In a lot of ways, I wish this match was worse. It fluctuates between dreadfully boring like Mutoh sitting in a headlock or spending five minutes in a Figure Four Lock and deeply funny like Mutoh actually teasing that he might take a bump off the ramp to the apron. This isn’t really horrid so much as just awkward. Mutoh’s old, we know this, and he’s bulky enough that a lot of his movements feel weighted down.

Go does his best, as he always does. Taped together like a broken action figure, selling his ass off for the old man, he sure does try. It’s a heart of stone that can’t empathize with this man.

The finish is amazing for all the wrong reasons. After Go survives an Emerald Flowsion and multiple Shining Wizards, it’s a stilted huricanrana where Mutoh spikes himself on his head before rolling into the pin that gets the victory. Mutoh doesn’t even have the decency to hook the legs into a deep cradle. He just lounges on Go’s chest like the deadweight he is.

Go’s furious indignation after the match might be one of the best things I’ve seen in wrestling all year. Your anger is deserved, Go. Rest well, king.

A bad match, more for its spiritual failings than anything actually going on in the ring.

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