Kenta Kobashi and Kensuke Sasaki had what, on paper, was an impossible task to live up to.
The two placed one and two in every Wrestler of the Year balloting last year in Japan. They had never wrestled before. And their first ever match was on 7/18 at the Tokyo Dome, a show that would have to live up to the standard set last year for NOAH's first ever Tokyo Dome event, which Harley Race (as well as many Japanese reporters covering the show and several of the wrestlers on the show) called the greatest show he had ever seen. The match they would be compared with was Kobashi's main event on that show with Jun Akiyama, which Race called the greatest match he had ever seen.
"I hope this continues forever" said the NTV announcer in what may go down as a memorable line in the history of wrestling broadcasting when Kobashi and Sasaki were trading blistering chops for nearly five straight minutes with the crowd at a fever pitch midway through the match. The color commentator, returning to the Tokyo Dome, was Yoshihiro Takayama, who until one year ago, figured to be the third man in the three-way battle for Japan's pro wrestling MVP. Takayama had the best match of his career that didn't involve his face looking like it was on fire and someone put it out with an ax, against one of the two. He had a great match with the other, but unfortunately, it was so brutal that it may have ended his career. But in watching his two rivals go it at, he was in awe at this point, saying with an understated voice,"These two are unbelievable wrestlers."