The Reality of Wrestling: Misawa/Joe

The Reality of Wrestling: Misawa/Joe
By Phil Clark

Joe in Budokan equals two words: YEAH BABY!

With his win over Naomichi Marufuji this past Saturday, Mitsuharu Misawa heads into NOAH’s October 27 Budokan show with five successful defenses under his belt. This sixth will be the most interesting of his second title reign as he faces Samoa Joe in the show’s main-event. That’s right, Joe is heading to Budokan. During Akiyama’s reign last year, it was rumored that Joe would in fact challenge for the GHC title, but either negotiations fell through or it was just an overblown rumor. This year, it’s for real and it will happen. While this is definitely a treat, the match most (including myself) would rather see Joe be involved in at a Budokan show could very well happen in 2008. I just hope they listen.

Misawa will retain the belt, but Joe/Morishima II should be at Budokan Hall

It’s almost sad to think that Joe has Kurt Angle to thank for this title shot. Why? Well, it’s a cycle that’s played out almost a year since Joe’s first possible GHC title shot made headlines: Angle signs with TNA, TNA gets on T.V. in Japan thanks to Angle, Angle feuds with Joe, Joe gets title shot. Whereas it was just a rumor last year, this year it’s a reality.

However, it’s obvious that Misawa will walk out of Tokyo October 27th as the GHC heavyweight champion; the how is what is puzzling and scaring people. Most dream matches (yes, this can be considered one) are tough to book considering the scale of set match. The fact that this is a title match doesn’t make it much easier. Misawa, a 45 year-old broken down wrestler, getting a clean pin on Joe no matter how stiff the match ends up being likely wouldn’t resonate well here in the states and would probably piss a lot of people off. On the other hand, Joe can’t win the title because NOAH giving the belt to a foreign wrestler who can’t tour is a move straight out of New Japan’s playbook in ’04 and that didn’t work out too good now did it. A third possibility is a draw, but that scares the living hell out of me. This match does have the possibility to be good, maybe great, but a draw in a title match means going the full sixty something Misawa simply can’t do and Joe wouldn’t be able to pull Misawa to a good match if they had to go that long. The best solution in my opinion would be a double DQ or double countout with Joe heeling it up ala No Surrender last month, saving face on both sides. Yes, I’m aware that for the main-event of a Budokan show to have a non-finish like that is straight out of the 1980’s, which is why I’m guessing Joe is going to do the J.O.B.

Another reason Misawa can’t lose on October 27 is that he’ll be in Ring of Honor a week later for a two-night stint ala Kobashi and on the second night he will likely be defending that title. The first night Misawa is teaming with KENTA facing Morishima and Marufuji in a dream tag match main-eventing the show. On a personal note towards that match, I’m surprised NOAH didn’t try to book that match for a Budokan show’s main-event. The April one would’ve been a perfect opportunity and while that would’ve meant no ROH title match, it probably would’ve been a better overall match and a better draw. But I digress. The second night, Misawa will be in action, but nothing has been announced. Considering the best-of-3 series between Danielson and Aries that culminates right before this event, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Aries win the series and face Morishima for the ROH belt—the stipulation of the series—and to get the Misawa/Danielson dream match for the GHC belt.

Despite the possibilities both good and bad attached to this match, Misawa/Joe is still the most intriguing and interesting match in wrestling this year. The possibility of opening a big can of worms is not lost on me for that statement, but it’s simply the truth. Due to the shortsightedness and thirst for ratings, there are no real intriguing matchups in American wrestling with Sting/Angle being the only one I could really think of, but that was already given away on free T.V. so their title match in Atlanta is the rematch and thus out of the category. In The E, they repeat matchups a whole hell of a lot and despite nobody being on a specific brand (minus the upper echelon) for a long time, they still haven’t been able to produce a matchup outside of the Summerslam Orton/Cena match and maybe Cena/Lashley at The Bash that has set the wrestling world on fire. Joe/Angle for all the belts seems to be the only real candidate in Amercian wrestling more due to the stipulation than anything. In Japan, they’ve had better matchups all around this year, but there hasn’t been that match that has pulled the entire wrestling world in and made them watch with full attention. This one might be it, not because it’ll be a classic (it won’t), but because it is something different.

The Reality is this might be the beginning for TNA in Japan. Ring of Honor already made the leap having their first two shows in Japan this past July and with their talent participating in more and more tours for NOAH, they will likely be heading back in 2008. The E is reported to be planning two RAW shows in February to be held at the Ariake Colloseum and Budokan Hall, two shows that will likely produce the small numbers that last October’s two Budokan shows did for The E. However, ROH does have one up on the Big Two in that they can loan their talent out for tours in Japanese promotions, there’s no way The E or TNA would do that. Yes, Kurt has wrestled two matches in Japan this year, but repeat that a couple of times and tell me if it really means anything. The case of Joe going after NOAH’s top title is a sign that maybe TNA will start to think about Japan more; they’ve used talent from Japanese promotions throughout their brief history, it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that they consider Japan a possible market (hell, they’re doing a show in Israel coming up) as the majority of their roster has had experience in Japanese promotions ranging from New Japan to Zero-One MAX. I am anticipating the Misawa/Joe match mainly just to see these two in the ring together; that’s what a dream match is. I’m not as giddy or optimistic about the results, but Joe is that good, and Misawa still could pull something out for a big match if he wants to. This might be one of his final shots to have one last classic. As for that final shot, it will most likely be against Kobashi or Morishima at, where else, Budokan.

PLUGS

Here’s Ditch’s Article on the Misawa/Joe situation.

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