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AJPW Champion Carnival A Block Results & Review: Part 5

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Hello and welcome to another chapter in the A Block of our Champion Carnival! We are almost done, with only the 29th show and the final four matches standing between us and the two block winners match on April 30th.

Let’s not waste any time with this as we watch everyone try to get the rest of their matches in before our final day, so let’s….dive right in.

 

4/21/2018

 

Champion Carnival 2018 Block A Match
Ryoji Sai vs. Shingo Takagi

Review: Shingo is back in action as he looks to bounce back with the two back to back losses he received and is now fighting Ryoji, who has won his last two matches and is on a roll after he suffered his first two losses, so let’s see who wins this to get more momentum. The match starts off right with both of these guys going at it and Shingo would find himself an advantage over Ryoji by ducking his to the turnbuckle post which caused him to hurt his leg, but Shingo would capitalize on it by working on his leg throughout the match. Shingo is still one of the highlights of this tournament for me as he’s been having quality matches so far along with Kento Miyahara, I really hope Shingo does stick around and I know I’ve said it before, but the guy is amazing. Ryoji has also done well selling the injury during the match and still gave him a moment to shine in the match as well, he even kicked out of both Last Falconry and Pumping Bomber from Shingo and there was a slight chance he could’ve won, but Shingo would get his third win by making him tap out to the Ura STF.

Recommended: Solid match, worth checking out between two great competitors.

 

Champion Carnival 2018 Block A Match
The Bodyguard vs. Shuji Ishikawa

Review: With Bodyguard finally getting a win under his belt when he defeated Yuji Hino at the previous show and let’s see who else he can knock down with him since while he’s mathematically eliminated, he can still ruin other peoples momentum to make sure they don’t win either. Let’s see if his leg can hold out a little bit longer or if Shuji keeps his promise and keeps winning his matches going forward. The crowd was behind Bodyguard, but you can see his injury taking a toll on him as he has a hard time moving around and I kinda feel bad for the guy, but gotta give him credit for at least wanting to continue the match. The match is not even five minutes as Shuji gets the quick win with the Fire Thunder after Bodyguard kicking out of the first one.

Recommended: Despite Bodyguard being injured, the match wasn’t terrible with what they had to work with and did it’s purpose, but not great either. So up to you if you wanna watch.

 

4/22/2018

 

Champion Carnival 2018 Block A Match
Ryoji Sai vs. Shuji Ishikawa

Review: With both of these guys having matches at the previous show, Shuji would need to win here to possibly secure a spot as one of the finalists and Ryoji would need a win here to stay alive while being tied with Shuji, so we gotta see who needs this win here. The match would start off a little bit slow at first, which is fine since it gave us a nice little build up as the match progresses and picks up as the match keeps going on and it starts to get better. Ryoji has been great during his matches here and is considered underrated performance wise compared to the others in the tournament and Shuji is always great, so them working together is fun. Ryoji would kick out of the Fire Thunder and that leaves Shuji wanted to put him away quick as he goes for a Powerbomb, but Ryoji flips him over and pins him to give himself another win in the match as he has a chance to stay in the race. This technically means that Shuji is mathematically eliminated here since he lost to both Hino and Kento that even if they tied in their match on the final day while Shuji wins his final match, still wouldn’t be enough due to them still being tied and the both of them still having a win over him. Shuji did well and he could still screw with Shingo in their last match if he defeats him to prevent him from winning.

Recommended: Another really solid match here and Ryoji Sai gets the underrated performance from this entire block.

 

Champion Carnival 2018 Block A Match
Joe Doering vs. Kento Miyahara

Review: A month ago, these two would fight for the Triple Crown Championship if you remembered my coverage of that show, the two would deliver a great match and Kento would defeat the Gaijin monster to reclaim his championship once more. Now the two must fight once more and if Kento wins this match, it would pretty much guarantee him a spot in the finals, however if Joe wins this match, then he will be on top of the race next to Kento and Yuji while also getting a future Triple Crown Championship rematch. This is probably Joe’s best match in the Carnival for me as most of his matches here have been a hit or miss, but this one definitely delivered since these two just work together. Kento still showing that he’s the best in All Japan with his performances and being able to work well with just about anybody here in the company since it’s hard to have a bad match with him nowadays. Kento’s Blackout knees are a sight to see as he hits a devastating one to Joe to the outside and we even see Joe getting aggressive to Kento into this match, now I wish we saw more of this side of Joe and he’d be fantastic. Joe would start to pull off some moves like a Piledrive to pick up the win, but Kento kicks out of it and would start to deliver some moves as well like his Blackout and a regular German Suplex, but now Joe kicks out of this one. In about twelve minutes, Joe would hit his variation of the RAINMAKER, then a Diving Body Press before putting him away with the Revolution Bomb after failing his first attempt due to a reversal as Joe is now tied with both Kento and Hino. This also means with Ryoji Sai is also mathematically eliminated from the tournament due to losing to Joe earlier in the tournament and if they somehow tied, Joe would advance since he defeated him. We now get our rematch for the Triple Crown Championship in the future and it should be a good one.

Recommended: Very good match despite their last encounter being the better one of the two and we definitely will see them fight one more time.

 

4/25/2018

 

Champion Carnival 2018 Block A Match
Naoya Nomura vs. Shingo Tagaki

Review: These are the only two that haven’t had their sixth match yet until now and this is their time to fight before the final day happens on the 29th, this match also determines if Shingo will either have a chance to make it or be mathematically eliminated. I said it before and I will say it again, Naoya is gonna have a bright future within the company in about two to three years time and he’s only 24 years old too, so he has plenty of time to learn and grow, even being here with all of these great wrestlers is helping him shape up for the future. The match was solid and Naoya would have a few close calls to get his second victory in the match, but Shingo would secure another win to be one step closer to winning A Block as he wins with the MADE IN JAPAN aka Last Falconry.

Recommended: It was a fun match and Shingo is always a treat to see.

 

Overall: Some of the matches went over well and can tell this was more of a winding down moment before we have our final show on the 29th. If you haven’t seen Andrew’s coverage for B Block, please do so as he’s had quite a stacked few days with B Block coming to an end and ended off with bang.

Favorite Match: Kento Miyahara vs. Joe Doering

Least Favorite Match: Shuji Ishikawa vs. The Bodyguard

Score: 7.5/10

Current Standings:
Kento Miyahara (4-2) (8 Points)
Yuji Hino (4-2) (8 Points)
Joe Doering (4-2) (8 Points)
Shingo Tagaki (4-2) (8 Points)
Ryoji Sai (3-3) (6 Points)
Shuji Isihkawa (3-3) (6 Points)
Naoya Nomura (1-5) (2 Points)
The Bodyguard (1-5) (2 Points)

Now we have one day left for A Block as the last four matches are set to take place to see who will go onto the finals and we only have four people mathematically eliminated here, meaning only one of these four can go on to the finals and here is how each of them could make it.

Kento Miyahara: Defeats Yuji Hino and both Joe Doering and Shingo Tagaki lose/draw their matches
Yuji Hino: Defeats Kento Miyahara
Joe Doering: Defeats Naoya Nomura and Kento defeats Hino
Shingo Tagaki: He defeats Shuji Ishikawa, Joe Doering loses/draws his match, or Kento/Hino ends in a draw or Kento wins.


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NOAH WEEKLY NEWSLETTER VOL.136 ~ 20TH JUNE 2021

Hisame let’s us know who Marufuji’s first challenger is in his 4th GHC Heavyweight reign; and the Great Muta has chosen his first victim!

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Hisame let’s us know who Marufuji’s first challenger is in his 4th GHC Heavyweight reign; and the Great Muta has chosen his first victim!

NEWS

Takashi Sugiura challenges Naomichi Marufuji for the GHC Heavyweight title

Takashi Sugiura won the right to challenge Naomichi Marufuji after making him tap out to the front neck lock at the Mitsuharu Misawa Memorial event at Korakuen Hall on the 13th June. Sugiura challenged by telling Marufuji (who had dragged himself to the corner) that

“For the first time in five years, congratulations on the GHC. But, you understand the circumstances, right? I want to challenge for the GHC belt that Naomichi Marufuji has”

Marufuji has accepted Sugiura’s challenge, and set it for the event in Sendai on the 11th July. It will not be title vs title as Marufuji has no interest in the GHC National for now and wants to concentrate on defending the GHC Heavyweight. Backstage, Sugiura said he didn’t apologize for “ruining Marufuji’s” first match as champion, but the simple fact was that he wanted two belts, and Marufuji had one. He also admitted that neither of them were any younger, and he did not know how much longer they would be able to do it.

As for Marufuji, he confirmed that he was concentrating on the GHC Heavyweight and was not interested in the GHC National, and that the match would not be title for title. Takashi Sugiura was the perfect challenger to make his first defense against. He also admitted that there was no middle ground with Sugiura, he was either with him and when he thought he was on his side, Sugiura would stand in his way. Marufuji also admitted, there was the up and coming new generation of NOAH to consider too.

Great Muta chooses his challenger

We discovered exactly who Great Muta had in mind for his challenger at the Mitsuharu Misawa memorial show. Kenoh (after destroying Masao Inoue in 4 minutes, 53 seconds) got the microphone and looked to start a typically long angry rant. Half way through about growling about it being a year since NOAH started empty arena matches, he stopped as he suddenly got the feeling that something or someone was watching him. Turning around slowly he saw Great Muta had materialized in the ring (and here NOAH worked the empty arena to their advantage by having a camera angle that made it look like he had appeared suddenly), Kenoh jumped and got a face full of green mist. After that Muta decided to spit red mist at the new camera drone, which sank slowly to the floor.

Backstage, Muta said he was going to make Kenoh bleed, while a grumpy looking Kenoh (no change here, except he was covered in green), growled he would take on Muta’s challenge. The match will take place at “MUTA THE WORLD” on the 27th June.

DragonGate’s Eita comes to NOAH

After hinting he had met a “Luchadore”, NOSAWA made good his promise and bought Eita into NOAH. All the cards at the Misawa Memorial show were surprise, so it was the perfect time to do it. Eita (looking a far better fit into what is unofficially known as “The NOSAWA Army” than YO-HEY), had his first clash with STINGER (HAYATA, Seiki Yoshioka and Yuya Susumu), which ended with Eita beating Susumu. Then Eita was welcomed into the NOAH Junior division in traditional manner; a mass brawl. Eita would later confirm that he would be entering the NOAH Junior rumble, and this was nothing to do with his division in DragonGate (R.E.D), where he would remain active and come to NOAH as a freelancer. Where this leaves YO-HEY, will remain to be seen.

NOAH THE HOME

With Coronavirus causing both empty arena and a lack of shows, NOAH have begun to broadcast what is known as “NOAH THE HOME”, which are dojo matches with mainly the younger roster. There is no theme music, lighting etc, only a static cam trained on the ring. You can find these on NOAH’s official YouTube, and they will continue for seven days from Friday the 18th.

At the end of each show, fans are asked to vote for a match MVP, which so far has been won by Yasutaka Yano and Kai Fujimura, with the winners getting small prizes at the end of the series. Fans can contribute money while they watch the live feed, proceeds will go to maintaining the dojo, the dormitories and towards awards for the MVP winners.

“LEGACY”

To celebrate 70 years of Pro Wrestling in Japan, the Japanese Wrestling Hall of Fame (headed by LEONA, Tatsumi Fujinami’s son, and featuring Genichiro Tenryu), a two day super show has been planned for September 14th & 15th at Korakuen Hall. The event will take place to commemorate the anniversary of the “Father of Pro Wrestling”, Rikidozan’s debut. Further details such as card, broadcast have naturally not been announced, but what is known is that the event will feature pretty much every promotion in Japan from what was once known as “The Big Three” of NOAH, New Japan and All Japan to DragonGate, DDT, Big Japan, ZERO1 etc. Indie promotions and even small local groups will be invited to attend.

Naomichi Marufuji commented on behalf of NOAH,

“It has been 70 years since the pro wrestling of the master Rikidozan, the father of Japanese wrestling, took root in Japan. I have only been involved in pro wrestling for a small part of it’s long history, receiving direct guidance from Giant Baba, and for a little while Jumbo Tsuruta and Mitsuharu Misawa, who founded Pro Wrestling NOAH. I would like to pass on what I have inherited from many great seniors to the next generation and further enliven Japanese pro wrestling. That is why both myself and Pro Wrestling NOAH would like to co-operate with the “70th Anniversary of Japanese Pro Wrestling” event. Pro wrestling fans, pro wrestling NOAH fans, please look forward to it.”

NOAH Junior Rumble Participants

Ten NOAH Juniors will take part in the Junior Rumble to confirm the number one contender to Atsushi Kotoge’s GHC Junior Heavyweight title on the 26th June at “CAGE WAR”, they are; Daisuke Harada, Hajime Ohara, Junta Miyawaki, Seiki Yoshioka, Haoh, Nioh, Tadasuke, NOSWA Rongai, Ikuto Hidaka and Eita.

The challenger will meet the champion on the 27th.

EVENT RECAPS & POST MATCH PROMOS

EVENT RECAP: “That day will never be forgotten” ~ Mitsuharu Misawa Memorial (13th June 2021)

POST MATCH PROMOS: “That day will never be forgotten” ~ Mitsuharu Misawa Memorial (13th June 2021)

ELSEWHERE IN NOAH

~ An article in Yahoo Japan revealed that Mitsuharu Misawa was full of plans for his retirement. He was drawing up blueprints for a “NOAH Building”, which would have been multistory, an Izakaya (where he would drink with his old friends and tell of color stories), and even have a gym\bar.

~ Masa Kitamiya has said very little about the upcoming cage with loser loosing hair match, but Katsuhiko Nakajima has been theatrically maudlin about it, saying that he was delighted when Masa Kitamiya made his debut, and how hurt he has been about Kitamiya’s recent behavior.

~ Atsushi Kotoge said that “NOAH at HOME” has been good for the seniors as well as the youngsters, as he can see what bad habits he himself is falling into.

~ Takashi Sugiura is back to posting rude food with sexual connotations (this means he’s had to behave himself at some point)

~ Daisuke Harada omitted any mention of Naomichi Marufuji in the match at the Misawa Memorial, concentrating only on Takashi Sugiura and Atsushi Kotoge. When Marufuji said that Harada had put up such a fight he couldn’t get past him, Harada replied frostily “thank you for your hard work”. Marufuji responded with the expressionless emoji.

~ The new Sugiura Army member will be revealed at Korakuen Hall on the 30th June. NOAH will be returning to an audience then (hopefully).

CURRENT CHAMPIONS

THIS WEEK IN NOAH

Saturday 26th June: “CAGE WAR” (19:00 JST)

Sunday 27th June: “MUTA  the WORLD” (19:00 JST)

*Both events will be broadcast on WrestleUniverse and ABEMA. Subscribers will be able to watch the WrestleUniverse broadcasts, but I am unsure as to whether ABEMA will be broadcasting the events free and worldwide, or due to the use of “Premium” in their names, they will be for subscribers only. If you are outside of Japan I do not recommend that you subscribe to ABEMA due to the difficulties in getting a VPN that works, please subscribe to WrestleUniverse which is a guaranteed VPN free worldwide service.

CAGE WAR

MUTA the WORLD

LINKS

The young ace who supports NOAH wanders off course, deserted by rivals of the same generation, will he escape from the bottom?

Excerpt from “Inheritance of the soul of Misawa-ism”

Lifting the 350kg tire! The challenge of a “strong and big body” ~ Yoshiki Inamura’s strongman training (part 1)

Tires are the origin of German Suplexes without bumps ~ Interview with Yoshiki Inamura (part 2)

For Mitsuharu Misawa, Naomichi Marufuji was “the only attendant who he was never angry with”

“It’s best to take the belt from Naomichi Marufuji, who has returned to be the face of NOAH” ~ Takashi Sugiura’s special battle in Sendai on the 11th July

At the tip of the retirement plan…”Legendary Man” Mitsuharu Misawa’s thirteenth anniversary

Nine promotions including New Japan, All Japan and NOAH will participate in the “Japanese Pro Wrestling 70th Anniversary Event”

Naomichi Marufuji’s comment on “LEGACY”, the 70th anniversary of Japanese Wrestling event.

Katsuhiko Nakajima vs Masa Kitamiya, 26th June Cage Match with loser loses hair underlies a ten year drama

With thanks to: Metal-NOAH

Picture credits: Pro Wrestling NOAH, Kenoh, Katsuhiko Nakajima.


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Andrew’s CyberFight Festival Results & Match Ratings: 6.6.2021

The coverage is a little late since this was a long show to tackle. We get four companies under the CyberFight banner squaring off. Ganbare Pro, NOAH, DDT and Tokyo Joshi Pro.

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The coverage is a little late since this was a long show to tackle. We get four companies under the CyberFight banner squaring off. Ganbare Pro, NOAH, DDT and Tokyo Joshi Pro.

We saw the 3 co-main events in the Top 5 article, but there were still 12 other matches on the card. DDT versus NOAH happened quite a few times, not sure if it’s for supremacy or respect, but since NOAH is closing out the festival; we know which company is higher on the totem pole.

Let’s see how the rest of the matches shook out!

Ratings:

  • Mirai Maiumi, Suzume, Arisu Endo, Haruna Neko & Moka Miyamoto vs Kaya Toribama, Mahiro Kiryu, Nao Kakuta, Raku & Pom Harajuku: Mirai wins via Lariat @12:29 – **
  • Delayed Entrance Battle Royal: Mohammed Yone vs Masao Inoue vs Yoshiaki Yatsu vs Akitoshi Saito vs Shuhei Taniguchi vs Makoto Oishi vs Yuji Hino vs Antonio Honda vs Toru Owashi vs Kazuki Hirata vs Yuna Manase vs Yusuke Okada vs Shu Sakurai vs Yuya Koroku: Antonio Honda wins @22:31 – **
  • Keisuke Ishii, Ken Ohka & Shota vs. Kouki Iwasaki, Shuichiro Katsumura & Yumehito Imanari: Kouki wins via Inverted Brainbuster @8:43 – ***
  • Junta Miyawaki & Kinya Okada vs. Toi Kojima & Yuki Ino: Miyawaki wins via Cross Armbreaker @7:39 – ** ¼
  • Hyper Misao & Shoko Nakajima vs. BAKURETSU Sisters (Nodoka Tenma & Yuki Aino) vs. Hakuchumu (Miu Watanabe & Rika Tatsumi): Shoko wins via Diving Senton @8:04 – **
  • Danshoku Deino & Super Sasadango Machine vs. Sugiura-gun (Kazushi Sakuraba & Takashi Sugiura): Sugiura wins via Olympic Slam @9:25 – *
  • Masa Kitamiya vs. Hideki Okatani: Kitamiya wins via Prison Lock @2:25 – *
  • Maki Ito, Marika Kobashi & Yuki Kamifuku vs. Hikari Noa, Mizuki & Yuki Arai: Maki wins via Liontamer @13:02 – ***
  • Momo No Seishun Tag (Atsushi Kotoge & Daisuke Harada) & Hajime Ohara vs. Stinger (HAYATA, Seiki Yoshioka & Yoshinari Ogawa): Harada wins via Katayama German Suplex @13:33 – *** ¾
  • DAMNATION (Daisuke Sasaki, Soma Takao & Tetsuya Endo) (w/Mad Paulie) vs. The 37KAMIINA (MAO & Shunma Katsumata) & Chris Brookes: Sasaki wins via Grounded Octopus Hold @14:36 – ** ½
  • Kongo (Hao, Katsuhiko Nakajima, Kenou, Manabu Soya, Nio & Tadasuke) vs. Eruption (Kazusada Higuchi & Yukio Sakaguchi), Akito, Naomi Yoshimura, Sanshiro Takagi & Yukio Naya: Takagi wins via Electric Chair Power Bomb @19:59 – ****
  • Kaito Kiyomiya & Yoshiki Inamura vs. The 37KAMIINA (Konosuke Takeshita & Yuki Ueno): Ueno wins via Best Moonsault Ever @17:51 – *** ½
  • Princess of Princess Title: Miyu Yamashita (c) vs Yuka Sakazaki: Yamashita retains via Knee Strike @16:31 – **** ½
  • KO-D Openweight Championship: Jun Akiyama (c) vs HARASHIMA: Akiyama retains via King Crab Lock @18:53 – ****
  • GHC Heavyweight Championship: Keiji Mutoh (c) vs Naomichi Marufuji: Marufuji wins via KO-Zero @23:30 – ****

Results:

Mirai Maiumi, Suzume, Arisu Endo, Haruna Neko & Moka Miyamoto vs Kaya Toribama, Mahiro Kiryu, Nao Kakuta, Raku & Pom Harajuku

This was the usual Japanese set up of a multiman match. You have a few newer wrestlers, some comedy and veterans to tie things up and actually provide real wrestling. Raku and Neko provide some comedy, Raku has a move she calls the Goodnight Express where it’s a bit of rope running and she just sits on the downed opponent to take a nap. Neko, is well…a cat, Neko means cat in Japanese; so she wrestles like a cat. Pom also adds levels of amusement and silliness but at least tries to apply normalish moves while looking silly.

Suzume got to shine a little since she’s a little spark plug, but the real stars were Mirai, Nao and Kiryu. Nao and Mirai got to set a serious tone, so when Nao tags out to Kiryu, Mirai is very much on the back foot. After the teammates come in to clear the opponents, and Kiryu gets spun around by Suzume’s speed, Mirai wipes them out, hits another big Lariat and wins the match!

As opening bell entertainment, this serves well for Japanese fans and fans of these girls. It may not be the Western cup of tea, but comedy or young lion matches usually open shows.

Delayed Entrance Battle Royal: Mohammed Yone vs Masao Inoue vs Yoshiaki Yatsu vs Akitoshi Saito vs Shuhei Taniguchi vs Makoto Oishi vs Yuji Hino vs Antonio Honda vs Toru Owashi vs Kazuki Hirata vs Yuna Manase vs Yusuke Okada vs Shu Sakurai vs Yuya Koroku

It’s hard to really quantify this since they allowed so many personalities in this match. Numerous comedy wrestlers, dancing gimmicks, even people from Ganbare Pro and Yoshiaki Yatsu out of retirement.

Taniguchi and Hino had some nice staredowns and power duels, so we could see something being set for later. Saki lasted a while and looked to be a possible favorite to win since she was just picking her spots very well. Most of the Funky Express stuck around, but also ended up eliminating each other. Yone knocked out Taniguchi while tied up with Hino. Inoue eliminated Saito when they tried to double team Saki. Inoue also helped roll up Yone which allowed him to be in the final two with Honda.

Awkward comedy, Honda calls for a microphone to basically give a concession speech without actually saying he quits, motions to masturbation, and then the two have dueling Nipple Pinch attacks. They turn the nipple pinches onto the referee, then Honda hits Inoue in the yam bag, roll up, and Honda is god.

Keisuke Ishii, Ken Ohka & Shota vs. Kouki Iwasaki, Shuichiro Katsumura & Yumehito Imanari

So all of these guys are apparently from Ganbare Pro Wrestling, and they come off like a more hectic version of Dragon Gate. The action is fast, crazy and entertaining. Multiple quick tandem moves, interesting move variations like a Double Hammerlock Michinoku Driver.

This was a lot of fun, and entertaining even if I wasn’t familiar with the people.

Junta Miyawaki & Kinya Okada vs. Toi Kojima & Yuki Ino

DDT and NOAH throw their younger wrestlers at each other, and this was interesting. Ino is a powerhouse and beat the ever living hell out of everyone, so it wasn’t until Miyawaki and Okada got time with Kojima, that NOAH really started having some comeback potential.

Junta and Kojima ended up in the ring together with some solid simple wrestling, but Junta slaps on a Flying Cross Armbreaker and wins the match for NOAH!

Hyper Misao & Shoko Nakajima vs. BAKURETSU Sisters (Nodoka Tenma & Yuki Aino) vs. Hakuchumu (Miu Watanabe & Rika Tatsumi)

I feel like this needed some context from TJP. Hyper Misao dressing like a Super Hero of Love and Compassion or whatever, but using cold spray to tag in her partner seems like it doesn’t fit. The other had their moments with Miu showing off more power than expected and the Bakuretsu Sisters executing a Steinerizer fairly well.

Since Shoko is the most decorated of all the girls, it made sense for her to finish the match and grab the win, but this was an odd match. Not offensive, just different.

Danshoku Deino & Super Sasadango Machine vs. Sugiura-gun (Kazushi Sakuraba & Takashi Sugiura)

Clash of styles in an understatement. Between Baseball Bat Spins, Playboys, Deino putting on a mask of a woman and trying to seduce and kiss Sakuraba…this was most of the reason why people think DDT is awful.

Sugi and Saku actually brought a level of real wrestling, but this was generally stupid. Even Sugiura apologized for the match afterward. I hated everything about the DDT inclusion in this match.

Masa Kitamiya vs. Hideki Okatani

Okatani is only 20 and tried to cut his teeth against the new look Masa Kitamiya. Betraying Katsuhiko Nakajima and Kongoh a few days earlier, he’s looking to carve his own path. Okatani tries to get in some offense, but Kitamiya is too big and experienced. Saito Suplex into Prison Lock and Okatani submits in mostly a squash match.

Maki Ito, Marika Kobashi & Yuki Kamifuku vs. Hikari Noa, Mizuki & Yuki Arai

Yuki Arai is from idol group SK 48, so it seems like Maki is taking offense to someone else taking her path into wrestling. Marika, Maki and Kamiyu take turns stretching the young idol wrestler which is to make a point. This gets over Yuki’s resilience, the other two tag partners almost help her pull it off but the Ito Respect Army is too strong.

Kobashi’s chops, Kamiyu’s boot strikes and Ito’s headbutts help to keep these girls in the driver’s seat. Maki hits the Flying Big Head and then applies the Liontamer to make the young idol wrestler tap out.

Momo No Seishun Tag (Atsushi Kotoge & Daisuke Harada) & Hajime Ohara vs. Stinger (HAYATA, Seiki Yoshioka & Yoshinari Ogawa)

This was break neck speed and pretty amazing. Everyone got a chance to shine, Yoshioka showed his amazing speed and precision, Kotoge used his size to a degree and managed to fight out of getting teamed up on, Ohara pulled off a few Backbreaker variations and we just saw everyone get their stuff in at great speed.

It’s hard to really work out the move by move since it was just a marvel to watch. The fact that multiple tandem moves and assists just ended up with Harada getting the best of Yoshioka and landing the Katayama German Suplex Hold. This was impressive.

DAMNATION (Daisuke Sasaki, Soma Takao & Tetsuya Endo) (w/Mad Paulie) vs. The 37KAMIINA (MAO & Shunma Katsumata) & Chris Brookes

This was chaotic, and I suppose was supposed to be DDT’s answer after the NOAH 6 man. But where the NOAH Juniors put on a great fast paced showing of skill, this was more in that DDT stereotype that people like or detest. Confetti Poppers, Faction Signs and Plastic Crates were used during the match, in tandem with a lot of Damnation cheating.

Brookes and MAO tried to fight things off for the most part, but the numbers game became too much since Damnation had Mad Paulie on the outside interfering whenever he could. A few sloppy and missed spots didn’t really help this match meet the high bar the NOAH Juniors just set, so this felt like a mess that just lasted too damn long.

Perhaps it was seen more favorably from DDT fans, but for my money, this could’ve been skipped and I wouldn’t have cared.

Kongo (Hao, Katsuhiko Nakajima, Kenou, Manabu Soya, Nio & Tadasuke) vs. Eruption (Kazusada Higuchi & Yukio Sakaguchi), Akito, Naomi Yoshimura, Sanshiro Takagi & Yukio Naya

Kongo embodied the serious evolved King’s Road style of wrestling that NOAH is famous for as Takagi’s team is the essence of DDT. Foam Fists, Hammers, Wings, a bear trap, a bicycle, DDT pulled out many gimmicks, including Yoshihiko the blow up doll! Kenoh hated every second of this usually disposing of the toy after the DDT members failed with it. But he plays along once to ram the bicycle into Takagi before Kongo tries to break the bike.

Hao is in at the end against Takagi. Kenoh makes a save for the smallest member of Kongo, but Sakaguchi grabs Yoshihiko and they restrain Kenoh in a Sleeper Hold. So Kenoh is fingertips away from breaking the pinfall, but Takagi hits the Electric Chair Power Bomb on Hao and DDT wins!

Princess of Princess Title: Miyu Yamashita (c) vs Yuka Sakazaki

Tokyo Joshi Pro’s main event, and this was impressive. Many know Yuka from her brief stint in AEW, and the bubbly Magical Girl is accurate. But whatever the lead in for this was, Yuka does NOT like Miyu. Miyu on the other hand is TJP’s Ace and a damn impressive wrestler in her own right.

While I almost expected some fun from Yuka, there was none to be had. They struck, and kicked and Yuka was looking for blood. The usually smiling Magical Girl didn’t even so much as smirk once. There were apron drop spots, heavy collisions, hell Yuka went for her springboard Stuka Splash, and she crashed into Miyu as soon as Miyu entered the ring, but Yuka wasn’t happy with it, so she gets up, shakes her head and holds up one finger, just to hit a cleaner one.

This was violent, vindictive, and vengeful…I may need to go back and read what the build was. Because Yuka was already good, but angry Yuka may be my new favorite incarnation. Yuka may have lost since Miyu’s strikes just hit home one too many times, but this felt more like a SEAdLINNNG match. I think this is my top rated women’s match of the year so far. Just gorgeous.

KO-D Openweight Championship: Jun Akiyama (c) vs HARASHIMA

DDT’s main event has a beloved protégé of the Pillars as the defending champion and someone who has been on the rise for years. HARASHIMA has been on of DDT’s brighter lights after Tetsuya Endo for good wrestling.

HARASHIMA took a lot of aggression to Akiyama early. Strikes and speed were on the younger man’s side, but Akiyama always managed to find an Exploder to slow the match down and slowly fight he way back into the match. After a great back and forth, Akiyama locks in the King Crab Lock, wrestles HARASHIMA down and the referee has to call for the bell.

GHC Heavyweight Championship: Keiji Mutoh (c) vs Naomichi Marufuji

This was easily Mutoh’s best match as GHC champion and it played on a lot. We saw quickness and familiarity since they’re friends, both seemed to really enjoy just trading shots. Mutoh definitely tried to work the submissions early, even locking in a Scorpion Deathlock (Riki Choshu special) and then he drops the feet to fake the Muta Lock, but he just leans back into more of an awkward Indian Deathlock.

Both men blocked signatures and finishers left and right, then Muta played around in the sequence that beat Shiozaki, just in a different order. Three Shining Wizards, a double clutch Emerald Flowsion, but Marufuji kicked out. Mutoh hits the backbreaker and climbs the ropes. The move he couldn’t pull off at Budokan, HE HITS THE MOONSAULT! I’m nearly positive that’s his first one since the knee surgery.

But Marufuji writhes and Mutoh can’t make the cover as he hurt himself, favoring his surgically repaired knees. Marufuji takes advantage and the kicks fly. Five Hole, Hook Kick, Round Kick, Hook Kick, True Tiger King, but Mutoh kicks out. KO-OH, but Mutoh refuses to go down. So Marufuji pulls out the KO-Zero, and we have a new champion!

The Genius of NOAH is back on top!

 

Overall Score: 9/10

Even though we got a squash match, that makes sense to help show Kitamiya’s growth since his title challenge against Mutoh and his breaking away from Kongo. Plus some of the DDT antics killed the matches for me, but the fact this was a super show where fans off all the companies could enjoy what they came to love from them all, it did well. Just because something isn’t for me, doesn’t mean it’s not working for the target audience.

Aside from a few complaints, TJP also came out looking really good. Their main event was awesome, the match with Ito-Gun put over all the girls they want to get across and even the opener was good for the lower card girls. DDT still shows a lot of their comedic dufus tendencies, but also proved their upper card can hang with the NOAH upper card. NOAH is still the serious big brother and exuded that aura very prominently. Hell, even Ganbare got a little time to shine, which I thought was great since I forgot they were even under the CyberFight umbrella.

This was a great super show, with pivotal matches, important moments and a historic title change. So, it’s really hard to complain. Plus we got Mutoh’s first Moonsault in 3 years.


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