Recap from Lee Goodfellow:
I’ve been saying “I’ll write this match up tomorrow!” to TJ for about two months now. The time has finally come!
Our wonderful HD presentation begins with some clipped entrances, before some posing and rookie YAMATO being too short to lock up with his very european opponent. They do wrestling. Pretty even on the mat. They do the running into each other thing. A hot sequence sees YAMATO dropkicking and knocking down his significantly taller opponent! Some chops annoy Claudio; he expresses his frustration with a vicious european uppercut. Scoop slam, leg drop and a couple of nearfalls for Claudio. More beating up of the rookie and more pinfall attempts follow. YAMATO breaks free and nails a spear! Exploder suplex gets two for the future Dream Gate champion! He gets bicycle kicked shortly after though and then uppercutted again. Claudio gets two. Now they trade forearms/uppercuts. A German suplex gets two for YAMATO! A cool move I didn’t catch the name of gets two for Claudio! Then another one gets three!
Winner: Claudio Castagnoli
Lee’s thoughts: Damn, YAMATO was awesome even as a rookie. You don’t realise quite how much the likes of Chihiro Tominaga are lacking until you go back and watch his early stuff. But I digress. Good match, with a solid rookie vs tall european story going on. If you like these guys, you’ll like this match.
Match rating: ***
Thoughts from TJ Hawke:
I didn’t have high expectations for this match because of the length, but they packed in a fair amount of nifty sequences to make this worth a watch. YAMATO was a rookie at the time, and while his in-ring stuff was pretty sharp, he didn’t do a good job of adding any personality to the proceedings. It’s a shame these two never met again, as I would imagine their matches could be great. It also needs to be mentioned how terrible the video quality is here. ROH’s older matches on Youtube are brutal to watch for that reason.
Match Rating: **3/4