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Andrew’s G1 Climax 28 A Block Ratings & Review: Day 1

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So, much like you may have noticed, Mathew Sarpraicone and I like to split up tournaments so it’s not such an arduous undertaking. So for B Block days, make sure to keep an eye out for his articles.

Now, as with all tournaments, part of the fun is picking winners. Right? So if all of my fantasy booking works out, the Finals will be Hiroshi Tanahashi from A Block and Kota Ibushi from B Block. Now, yes I’m aware of the fact that the winner usually comes from the block opposite of the current IWGP Champion, but that trend has to break at some point.  So I’m picking Kota Ibushi to win the whole thing, so we can have the Golden Lover showdown at Wrestle Kingdom.

So with the pick out of the way, let’s get to today’s matches.

 

Togi Makabe vs Yoshi-Hashi

Yoshi has been mostly unimpressive and even disappointing the last few years. Managing only 2 wins last year, another bad run could mean he gets removed from next year’s tournament. As for Makabe, most people think he’s hitting that “old veteran” wall, and last year saw him struggle early before rattling off 3 wins in a row, ending with a respectable 4 wins. So with Makabe not having many G1s left because of age, and Yoshi looking at the chopping block because of failure…this match means quite a bit to both competitors.

The match starts off with both men just throwing forearm shots, as Makabe ducks a lariat and drives Yoshi to the ground with a Shoulder Tackle. From there we see a lot of back and forth from both men. Makabe with some big strikes and Yoshi-Hashi continuing to try and find his spot. Makabe goes to the top turnbuckle for his Spider German Suplex, but Yoshi-Hashi counters it and hits a running Sitout Powerbomb to turn the tide.

From there we see a few attempts at the Butterfly Lock and even a top rope Blockbuster from Yoshi-Hashi, still can’t put away Makabe. After popping up right after a German Suplex, Yoshi charges at Makabe only to get lariated into next week. Makabe then places him on the top rope again, hits the Spider German Suplex, into the King Kong Knee Drop, for the 1-2-3.

So another loss for Yoshi-Hashi, but he did show a few glimpses of resilience, so there might be hope for him yet.

Winner: Makabe via King Kong Knee Drop

Rating: ** 3/4

 

Bad Luck Fale vs Hangman Page

So this has weight thanks to the Tongans attacking the rest of the Bullet Club members and continuing the Civil War. Hangman is in his first G1, so there’s no past history to work off of and Fale has had 10 or more point the last 4 tournaments. So Fale usually having good luck in tournaments, coupled with the on going Bullet Club drama…makes you wonder how this one will play out.

Fale with an early cheap shot before Hangman gets in the ring, sends him careening into the barricade. After that we see a good bit of time outside, with Fale tossing Page into the barricade and multiple rows of seats. Eventually they get back into the ring, where Page shows some life.

What starts off as Fale dominating, gets turned around into a lot of impressive moments from Hangman. Tonga Loa comes out to distract, but Hangman fights him off and even lands his beautiful Moonsault onto both Fale and Loa. Following that up with his Buckshot Lariat, things begin looking like Page is on his way to a victory. But before he can really attempt the Rite of Passage, Tama Tanga hits the ring, throws the ref and all 3 beat down Hangman.

This causes the referee to have to DQ Fale, and give Page his first G1 victory…coupled with an ass kicking.

Winner: Hangman via DQ

Rating: ** 1/4

 

EVIL vs Michael Elgin

EVIL coming off the year that elevated his status thanks to his win over Okada last year. Elgin is an odd case where he puts up respectable numbers in his previous three G1s, but after having the shortest NEVER Openweight Title Reign this year and all his other personal drama, it’s really not easy to pinpoint his role in this years tournament. Both tend to do fairly well in the G1, the are 1-1 against each other, so the early momentum would be useful, and  a tie breaker.

This was a heavy striking affair. Elgin took an early advantage until he missed a lariat outside, which saw his lariat the ring post. After that, EVIL wrapped a chair around his arm and drove that into the post. Later in the match we see EVIL continue to work on the arm by driving the Elgin’s arm from the apron, across the barricade.

Elgin fought from underneath with the one arm for the better portion of the match, but that didn’t hurt any kind of suspense. He’d use the injured arm, regardless of pain, and they would trade lariats and power moves for a while.

As we got to the end, EVIL kept trying to go for Everything is Evil, but Mike counters repeatedly, even attempting his own finishers like the Burning Hammer, we see Elgin hit a big Gutwrench Splash Mountain into Elgin Bomb for the victory.

Winner: Elgin via Elgin Bomb

Rating: ****

 

Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Minoru Suzuki

Neither of these men need an introduction honestly. Be it referencing their 2012 Match of the Year at King of Pro Wrestling, or even Suzuki torturing the Intercontinental Title off of Tanahashi earlier this year at New Beginning at Sapporo. We know what these two are about, and are always possible winners of any tournament they’re in. Should be fun to see who gets the early 2 points.

Well now, umm, this was a Suzuki clinic. Suzuki dominates this match with tons of strikes, Knee Bars, Achilles Lock, Heel Hooks, Figure Four Leg Locks, but Tanahashi lands an Inverted Dragonscrew Leg Whip, and that changes everything. Suzuki screams like his knee got dislocated or something, so a Sling Blade and two High Fly Flows give Tanahashi a win, when he spent most of the match screaming on his back.

Suzuki’s strategy made sense, and is exactly his type of thing. Torture before a quick victory. But I can’t help but feel it ended too abruptly and it was just odd to watch Tanahashi win out of nowhere.

Winner: Tanahashi via High Fly Flow

Rating: *** 1/4

 

Jay White vs Kazuchika Okada

So Jay White gets his first shot at Okada since returning from excursion and joining Chaos. Jay did say he wanted more inner stable matches, but given that neither have titles currently, this is just awkward. Okada sporting red hair and new awful music, and Jay White asking people where his belt is…I don’t even know what to think here. One will bounce back after big losses, but neither seems to be mentally complete at the moment.

Okada comes out with his balloons and looking relaxed to the point of goofiness, but does manage to take an early advantage. After some time on the outside, Jay White turns it around and starts banging Okada’s back off the barricade and apron. Plenty of entertaining spots in this match. Jay rips off the banner from the apron and tries to asphyxiate Okada, wait til 4, and then reattaches it as the crowd applauds that. Jay beats down Okada on the outside, Red Shoes starts counting, but Jay goes out there and throws Okada in the ring as the crowd applauds that also. So even though he’s doing obviously heelish things, they’re applauding when he does nice stuff as a show of respect, even if Jay is being disingenuous.

Even though this shell of Okada isn’t the same man that defended the IWGP title for 720, he gets a small fire under him when Jay starts toying with him. The Okada Dropkick, Macho Man Style Elbow Drop, Scooby Dooby Doo Crossbody and even a Rainmaker pose, but Jay manages to counter the Rainmaker the first few times.

We see Jay going to any lengths necessary to try and win the match, while verbally harassing Okada and messing with the crowd. Speaking of the crowd, they were oddly quiet through a lot of it. I’m not sure if they’re still trying to figure out new Okada or if they’re just not ready to openly support him after a year of cheering ever challenger he faced. Either way, the tense atmosphere, coupled with Jay’s insistence upon cheating to make it “his Chaos”, gave the match an odd feel.

Towards the end, Jay brings in a chair, pushes down Red Shoes and goes to hit Okada, but the Rainmaker Dropkicks the chair into Jay’s face and looks to be on track to winning the match. Red Shoes gets up, Okada winds up Jay for the Rainmaker, but Jay backfists Red Shoes before eating the Rainmaker. So even though the ref could’ve counted to 12, White’s tactics paid off. Kazuchika goes to pick him for another move, Jay hits a low blow, followed by throwing the chair into Okada’s face and finally, Blade Runner ends the match as the referee comes to.

So it told a good story of Okada still not being himself, and Jay White finding a character that will go to any lengths to win all while claiming everything is his.

Winner: Jay White via Blade Runner

Rating: **** 1/2

 

A Block Standings:

Togi Makabe: 1-0 (2 Points)

Jay White: 1-0 (2 Points)

Hangman Page: 1-0 (2 Points)

Hiroshi Tanahashi: 1-0 (2 Points)

Michael Elgin: 1-0 (2 Points)

Kazuchika Okada: 0-1 ( 0 Points)

EVIL: 0-1 (0 Points)

Yoshi-Hashi: 0-1 (0 Points)

Minoru Suzuki: 0-1 (0 Points)

Bad Luck Fale: 0-1 (0 Points)

 

Thoughts:

Good first night, solid matches, a lot of storyline movement and even the big upset from Jay White. What’s going to become of Chaos after this tournament? Is Broken Okada gonna snap out of it? Do the Tongans care about winning, or just beating the hell out of the rest of the Bullet Club?

Only one way to find out. Story seems to be driving this G1 besides the prospect of high quality matches, and I’m not mad at all.


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Stardom Grand Champion Carnival 2018 Night Show Results & Review (9/30/2018)

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And we’re back as we continue the Stardom Grand Champion Carnival with the night show now.

The afternoon show was pretty successful with a great main event and a title change with the Artist of Stardom Championship. We got another stacked card once again to end the day and let’s see if they can go home strong.

Let’s find out and…dive right in.

 

Tag Team Match
Hanan & Starlight Kid vs. Kaori Yoneyama & Leo Onozaki

Review: The majority of the show is tag matches and it looks like it has to do with getting their next tournament hyped up and I’ll get to it at the end of the coverage. Our opening bout is Starlight Kid and Hanan teaming up this time instead of fighting each other as they take on Kaori Yoneyama and Leo Onozaki. Which one of these teams will come out on top?

I really don’t know what happened at the beginning of the match and I’m actually afraid to ask myself, but what was up with Starlight’s selling once the bell rang? Like she got hit once and just sold a different part of her body and even had her own arm wrapped around the rope by herself like someone did it that wasn’t Kaori. Is John Cena secretly in Stardom as the invisible wrestler all along!? Luckily after that little episode, Starlight would wrestle normally like that little thing hasn’t happened which is a good thing since you wanna keep the match rolling. The match was short and very basic with the four of them doing stuff to showcase their stuff in, but nothing memorable at all except for maybe Leo and Kaori doing a Double Cutter (I’m onto you, Leo!) Starlight and Hanan would get Kaori out of the ring as Starlight hits the Fisherman Buster on Leo and would do a Moonsault off the second rope as she gets the victory.

Rating: Tony Schiavone

Leo’s Cutter Counter: 1 (You’re making me look bad now.)

 

Tag Team Match
Kelly Klein & Rachael Ellering vs. Shiki Shibusawa & Tam Nakano

Review: First we had Kelly and Rachel fighting each other on opposite teams and now they’re teaming up together this time and their opponents are STARS members, Shiki Shibusawa and one-third of the Artist of Stardom Champions, Tam Nakano. Will Kelly and Rachel get a victory or will STARS win?

I still don’t know how to feel about Rachael Ellering just yet since you’ll see her in different promotions where she’ll be good and over here, you see her doing the exact opposite of that and don’t like these mind games to decide how I feel about her. Kelly though did do pretty well in the team as she kept on showing how talented she is in the ring and how she works well with women of any size. As for the team of Tam and Shiki, I’m not sure if I can say it’s a great team but they’ll be teaming up for the Stardom tag tournament coming up and we might be able to see some progress with them as a tag team, hoping it goes well. The match though felt pretty underwhelming since it looks sloppy at some spots or just slow to make people lose interest in the match, which is a shame since most of them in the match are talented but it happens sadly. Shiki would hit Kelly with a Missile Dropkick from the top rope and then Tam kicks her in the gut for Shiki to roll her up and a two count. Rachael would get Tam out of the ring so it would be Kelly and Shiki alone as Kelly gives Shiki an Attitude Adjustment and pins her for the victory.

Rating: Tony Schiavone and a half

 

Queen’s Quest Flag & Mask Tag Team Match
Hazuki & Natsu Sumire vs. AZM & Konami

Review: Natsu Sumire has been quite an annoyance to AZM and Queen’s Quest lately ever since they had that match in September where they fought each other and Sumire won. Once she won, she would steal the Queen Quest Flag and she would later on also steal their mask. Now, AZM and Konami have a chance to get the mask and flag back from Oedo Tai as they take on Hazuki and Natsu Sumire. Will Queen’s Quest get their stuff back or will Oedo Tai win?

Queen’s Quest wasted no time attacking Oedo Tai as Hazuki is thrown to the outside as AZM and Konami beat down Sumire to while she was holding onto the flag to make Queen’s Quest not steal it back from her as AZM slaps her in the face to make her go down. This has low-key been a guilty pleasure for me when it comes to rivalries of this year between AZM and Natsu Sumire since these two together has just been entertaining for the most part with them being childish to one another with the name calling and stealing stuff. While AZM and Sumire do the entertaining aspect of the match, Konami and Hazuki would deliver the wrestling part of the match to give us a good balance.

Hazuki would hit a Codebreaker to Konami while landing on AZM for a Senton at the same time and she would lay them on top of each other to apply the Crossface to the both of them and that looks awesome to see, love Hazuki. We still have a solid match with a mix of wrestling, entertainment, and storytelling which all four of these women delivered their part to give us something fun. AZM looked like she was about to get the win with the European Clutch but Hazuki would break it up just in time before the referee called for a three-count. AZM went to the top rope, but Sumire would grab the Queen’s Quest flag and wrapped it around AZM to make her unable to see or move as she picked her up to hit the DDT and pins her for the victory, meaning Oedo Tai keeps the flag and mask.

Rating: Eric Bischoff and a quarter

 

Tag Team Match
Jamie Hayter & Kimber Lee vs. Momo Watanabe & Utami Hayashishita

Review: We got another tag match with Jamie Hayter given another chance to get revenge against Utami Hayashishita as she partners up with Kimber Lee to take on Utami and current Wonder of Stardom Champion, Momo Watanabe. As of right now, Utami still doesn’t have a faction to align herself with but maybe she could join Queen’s Quest if things go well here. Can Utami and Momo work well or will they fall short?

This match was another showcase for the Super Rookie since we all know what Momo Watanabe can do, we know about Kimber Lee, and Jamie Hayter does stuff, so this match was a good way for us to see more of Utami who will keep on progressing into the roster. Momo and Utami would do rather okay as a tag team here since it was mostly them doing stuff by themselves rather than working together in the match and that’s kinda what Kimber and Jamie do as well since it didn’t really feel like a tag team match, but it was still solid enough to get over. Utami had Kimber up for the Torture Rack and slams her down as Momo would quickly hit the Somato to get her down for a two count. Momo would hit another Somato and pick her up for the Package Driver and she would hit it and pin Kimber Lee for the victory.

After the match, Momo would grab the microphone and she would tell Utami that they worked well together and was wondering if she would like to team up with her for the Goddesses of Stardom Tag League which is coming up at their next show. Utami would accept her offer, but she lets her know that it doesn’t mean she’s apart of Queen’ Quest and just wants to win with her. If it goes well and they do win the whole thing, then there’s a good chance we might have Queen’s Quest as her first home.

Rating: Eric Bischoff and a half

 

World Of Stardom Title Match
Kagetsu (c) vs. Nicole Savoy

Review: Our first title match of the night as Kagetsu defends her title against SHIMMER Champion, Nicole Savoy. Both of them have defended their titles at the afternoon show as Nicole retained against Konami and Kagetsu had a No Contest against Momo Watanabe. Nicole would challenge Kagetsu after her title match and Kagetsu wanted to give the people what they want and defend her title twice in one day. Is Kagetsu able to retain her title or will Nicole take advantage of the beating she took earlier?

Much like Nicole’s last match that happened earlier on in the day, this one was just more technically sound and it worked to her favor since she would have the majority of the control in the match, despite Kagetsu getting some offense but not as technically superior to Nicole. I liked her match with Momo earlier on in the day better but this was still a very fun title defense and a great match for the style they did with this one to get people seemed interested in it. Kagetsu would make her little comeback in the match and hits a Suicide Dive to the outside. Kagetsu would get her back into the ring to hit a Springboard Dropkick and would start to work on her arms for a submission, but Nicole would turn it back around to out-wrestle her and even hits an Exploding Suplex. Nicole would apply the Rings of Saturn to try and make her tap but Kagetsu would fight out of it and Sunset Flips over her for a two count and Nicole would roll her back up as Kagetsu spits blue mist into her eyes to break the count. Kagetsu would slam her down and hits the Oedo Coaster to pin her down and retain the championship!

After the match, Kagetsu would grab the microphone to talk about Nicole and the match they just had had and soon as they were about to shake hands, Kagetsu would attack her and tell Nicole to get out of her ring. Now that she got that out of the way, she talked about her next prey and her next title defense due to Mayu Iwatani being busy with Momo Watanabe, meaning she’ll be defending her title against former Oedo Tai member, Hana Kimura. October 23rd is gonna be an amazing show.

Rating: Bruce Prichard

 

Goddesses Of Stardom Title Match
Mayu Iwatani & Saki Kashima (c) vs. Jungle Kyona & Natsuko Tora

Review: During the afternoon show, Mayu, Saki, and Tam would defeat Kyona, Natsuko, and Kaori for the Artists of Stardom Championships. For the night show, Kyona and Natsuko have a chance to get revenge as they take on Mayu and Saki for the Goddesses of Stardom Championship. Mayu right now has two belts with two more title matches coming soon, so she could be planning to go for any belt she can to be a multi-crown champion. Can Mayu pull that off with her and Saki or will JAN get revenge?

If we wanna go by out these units did as a whole during the year so far, I would actually have to put JAN up there for being pretty successful and I’m saying this because this team is normally seen as the butt of the group of units and not meant to be taken seriously over the years or even an official stable, but they really did turn themselves around after parting away from STARS during the draft. Kyona and Natsuko are the bread and butter of the group and took the negative into a positive with themselves and Kaori to recruit some of the newer wrestlers and they even won the Artists of Stardom titles together before losing it at the afternoon show and it’s still progressed to show they could keep getting better if they stick to what it is they’re doing.

I thought the match was very well done with both of these teams playing their strengths and acting like an actual tag team in these matches to show why they’re that good as partners. Natsuko is someone who really stepped up her game in this match and while still not great, she can show some potential to have better matches like these and right now has to keep working with that. Mayu and Saki also showed why they were the Goddesses of Stardom Champions for as long as they were with them playing with each other’s chemistry to make themselves show better as individuals and as a team. Jungle and Natsuko would go to the top rope to both hit a Splash onto their opponents as Saki kicked out of it while Natsuko would have Mayu outside of the ring, leaving Kyona and Saki in the ring so they could finish off this match. Kyona picked Saki up to go for the Jungle Bomb but Saki would reverse it into a Crucifix to get the pinfall on her but kicked out as well. Kyona would then grab Saki from behind to spin her around before dropping her and she falls on her for a Splash for the cover, and JAN wins the titles!

You can just see the tears and emotions from both Kyona and Natsuko when they hugged each other after winning the match. After the match, Kyona talked about how they lost the Artist titles earlier in the day and were able to win the Goddesses tonight as she thanked the fans for their support. Natsuko would talk about how the 5 Star Grand Prix was over and it was now time for the Goddesses of Stardom Tag Team League next as the winner will get a title shot against our new champions. Congrats to the both of you, hope you both have a good reign. It was time for Mayu to drop the belts anyway since she needs to get back into singles gold and I have no doubt Saki will have a new partner.

Rating: Bruce Prichard

 

 

 

Overall: I thought the afternoon show was slightly better, but this one was still solid enough to get by with our last two matches being the better part of the show. As you’re aware, Stardom is doing their Goddesses of Stardom Tag Team league coming up now actually and I decided that I will not be taking part of that one and give Stardom a little break except for the big titles matches like the October 23rd show and focus on AJPW for a little bit along with different shows until the tournament is over.

Favorite Match: Mayu Iwatani & Saki Kashima vs. Jungle Kyona & Natsuko Tora

Least Favorite Match: Hanan & Starlight Kid vs. Kaori Yoneyama & Leo Onozaki

Score: 7/10


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Stardom Grand Champion Carnival 2018 Afternoon Show Results & Review (9/30/2018)

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Now that the Five Star Grand Prix is over, it’s time to go back to covering the full shows once again.

I wanna thank Andrew for helping me out with the tournament since he’s always a pleasure to work it, wouldn’t turn down to help him in a heartbeat. Also, congrats to Mayu for winning the tournament and I’m looking forward to the future title match. Our next show is the Grand Champion Carnival and they had both an afternoon and night show and will be covering both of them separately. We have a big show for the afternoon with most of them being titles matches and I can’t wait to get to it.

So let’s not waste any time and…dive right in.

 

Three Way Match
AZM vs. Shiki Shibusawa vs. Leo Onozaki

Review: Our opening match is a three-way battle between our future of Stardom division wrestlers with AZM taking on Shiki Shibusawa and Leo Onozaki. I missed doing the Leo Cutter Counter and I can’t wait to bring it back for this one and let’s see if she does more than two for this one. Which of these three ladies will win the match?

Saki Kashima wasn’t the only that changed her attire recently as Shiki Shibusawa also appears to have a makeover with her attire and I gotta say that it looks much better than her previous outfit, good for her. Not gonna lie, for a three-way match that was less than five minutes, this was probably one of the better ones compared to the few we had this year since most of it was very smooth with the exception of whenever Leo did stuff which wasn’t a lot since it was mostly AZM and Shiki doing the work in the match. Shiki keeps on improving for me and is slowly winning me over with her ability while AZM is still proving she’s one of the best on the roster for someone her age. Shiki would go to pin Leo and AZM hits a Double Stomp once Shiki moved out of the way so she would land on Leo. Shiki would have AZM out of the ring to have Leo all to herself as she hits two Bulldogs and a Missle Dropkick for the win. Could she be a possible contender for the Future of Stardom Championship?

Rating: Tony Schiavone and three quarters

Leo’s Cutter Counter: 1 (I bring you back and this is how you repay me!?)

 

Tag Team Match
Hazuki & Kelly Klein vs. Kimber Lee & Rachel Ellering

Review: Our next match is a tag match with Hazuki teaming up with Kelly Klein and I’m guessing Natsu Sumire isn’t at the show and since Kagetsu is in the main event, she’s the only active Oedo Tai member that doesn’t have a match, so they gave her Kelly since they may as well use her to finish this tour. Their opponents for the show are Kimber Lee and Rachel Ellering, who was probably the worst one out of the whole Grand Prix due to having poor lackluster matches while she did better at the MYC, funny how that works. Which of these teams will win?

Not sure what exactly to say about this match since it pretty much feels like a showcase Hazuki match than a tag match and that’s what they would pretty much do. Not that I mind since more of Hazuki is good enough for me, but not really a lot of tag teaming going on in the match or we really don’t get to see much of Kelly Klein in the match except for a minute and when she breaks up the pin near the end. Rachel wasn’t in the match much either and when she was, she did pretty average in my opinion while Kimber was in the match mostly with Hazuki who didn’t do too bad either, but the match was all about Hazuki.

Hazuki keeps on showing her consistency in the ring and is still in my top 5 for Stardom, I really hope she gets a big payoff coming soon since she definitely has earned something ever since she made her change going with Oedo Tai. Kimber would have Hazuki in a Sidewalk position while Rachel takes her down with a Neckbreaker as Kelly breaks the count. Kimber Lee would go for the Swanton Bomb, but Hazuki moves out of the way and does the Hazukistral for the win.

Rating: Tony Schiavone and a half

 

Future of Stardom Title Match
Starlight Kid (c) vs. Hanan

Review: Our first title match of the day as Starlight Kid is set to defend her Future of Stardom Championship and it’s been a while since she last defended the title, so it’s nice to see it getting some time. We find out that the opponent chosen for her in this match is Hanan, who defeated Natsu Sumire in one of the recent shows and I guess that’s what made her have this title match today. Can Starlight have another successful defense under her belt or will we crown a new champion?

So how did Hanan do in her first title match? Right now, it looks like she’s not ready to be in that type of position as of right now, but I think she’ll do just fine if she keeps at it since she really isn’t bad at all and has improved other the past few months. I really do like how Hanan uses her judo mixed in with her wrestling to give her a bit of something unique to her ability and does them very well too. The first half started off rather slow and sloppy, but they did pick up once both of these women got into the groove better in the match. Hanan would keep doing her STO’s on Starlight and would attempt to pin her multiple times only for Starlight to barely kick out and even did a Northern Lights Suplex with a very beautiful bridge to top it off. Starlight would make a comeback with a Diving Body Press and a Fisherman Suplex for a two count. Starlight would go to the second rope and would do a Moonsault onto Hanan to get the victory and a fourth successful title defense.

So who will be Starlights next challenger? Shiki? AZM again due to their last match being a draw? Or will we have a new competitor? Only time will tell with what they give us next. Good job, Hanan and I’m sure you’ll get another opportunity soon.

Rating: Eric Bischoff

 

SHIMMER Title Match:
Nicole Savoy (c) vs. Konami

Review: It looks like Nicole Savoy is going to defend her SHIMMER Championship during this tour, which I’m okay with since they sometimes defend their titles in other companies and gives it more exposure. Nicole did really well in the tournament and made me wanna follow her a bit more from how impressive she was. She’s now set to defend her title against Konami who has been on a roll lately with her deadly strikes and submissions that could come into play here. Will Nicole retain or will Konami take the title away from her?

This match is very ground based with the both of them being submission specialists and that was exactly how it needed to be with two of these women trying to outmaneuver the other one to see who can make who tap out first, so it requires skill and timing to get the victory in the match. It looked like Konami was able to get the first lead in the match and would start to deliver those kicks that can send even the toughest to their knees. Konami is another one that keeps on progressing this year and putting on great matches with her best still being against Kagetsu during the Grand Prix. Nicole has made me a fan during the whole tour and now I wanna follow her career to see how she does outside of Stardom since she actually is really well diverse for what she does with her technical ability.

Both of them would keep trying to get a submission hold locked in to try and make the other tap or Konami just using her kicks while Nicole would just try to catch her off guard. Konami went for the Black Widow but Nicole would move Konami into position to hit the Fallaway Slam and we get a kick out. Konami would try to go for her Triangle Lancer which Nicole rolled her up for the pin but gets reversed by Konami into another pin, but Nicole would kick out and apply the Rings of Saturn as she makes Konami tap-out and Nicole retains!

Rating: Eric Bischoff and a half

 

Singles Match
Jamie Hayter vs. Utami Hayashishita

Review: After losing at the finals of the tournament, Utami Hayashishita has made a name for herself with all of the people she fought in the tournament and has impressed a lot of views while still having a long way to go to prove she can be the future of the company. The Super Rookie is set to take on Jamie Hayter, who had a…average performance under my block and hoping we can see some improvement since it’s not a tournament match. Will the Super Rookie pick up another win or will Jamie pull off an upset?

I really couldn’t tell Jamie’s role as to whether she was a face, heel, or just being there when she came to the Grand Prix tour last month and in this match, we get to see where she lies and that’s a heel. Jamie would attempt a handshake with Utami and once she got it, she would kick her in the midsection and the crowd would boo Jamie heavily and we hardly get to see a crowd boo that loudly when it comes to stuff like that since Sumire would usually get cheered when she does it, but when it happened to Utami, you knew they cared and Jamie fed off of that.

The match was pretty much basic but it worked with who was involved in the match since Jamie normally is around that range while Utami is still working her way in to earn her stripes despite the great progress she has been making during this time. Utami would try to get Jamie up for the Torture Rack but Jamie knows better as she would fight her off so she wouldn’t be able to lock it in. Utami would have Jamie in the Sleeper Hold to hold Jamie still long enough to pick her up for the Torture Rack and makes Jamie tap out to get another victory under her belt.

Rating: Eric Bischoff

 

Artist of Stardom Title Match
J.A.N (Jungle Kyona, Natsuko Tora, & Kaori Yoneyama) (c) vs. STARS (Mayu Iwatani, Tam Nakano, & Saki Kashima)

Review: Our next title match is Jungle Assault Nation defending their Artist of Stardom Championships against some members of STARS such as Tam Nakano, Saki Kashima, and Mayu Iwatani. We found out that later on that night, Mayu and Saki are set to defend their Goddesses of Stardom Championships against Jungle and Natsuko, so seeing how the outcome of this match plays out could affect what happens at the night show. Which one these teams will win?

The match started off a little bit clunky with the couple slip-ups and slow moments in the match to not give it that great of a start, but the match would start to get better as it slowly progresses going forward. We really didn’t get to see Saki or Kaori do a lot in the match since it mostly focused on the other four in the bout, which is weird because you would wanna focus on all of your members in the match to give it that six-man tag feel instead of just a regular two on two bout. The better moments of the match were when Mayu and Kyona shared the ring together since they’re the top females in the roster and I have a feeling that if Mayu does indeed in the title from Kagetsu, don’t be surprised to see Kyona being one of or her first challenger.

The interactions between Tam and Natsuko was also very interesting to see since they did fight each other in the Grand Prix and just how these two go at each other makes it all the more exciting and while I don’t know the exact reason they’re like this to each other, but it’s still nice to see that and I hope we get another singles match between them soon. JAN would do their Triple Splash onto Tam with all three members jumping one at a time off of the ropes from bottom to upper with Natsuko delivering the one off the top but Mayu would break the hold right before the three count. Saki and Mayu would get Kyona and Kaori outside of the ring with Mayu jumping off the top ropes and landing on them to leave them outside while Tam and Natsuko are in the ring alone.

Tam would hit Natsuko with the German Suplex and would kick out of it. Mayu and Saki would get back in the ring to help her out as they threw Mayu into Natsuko for her to hit the Dropkick into the corner and almost missing from how far they threw her. Tam would quickly get over to Natsuko so she could hit the Tiger Suplex and STARS would get the win as we have new Artists of Starom Champions! This is Tam’s first title in Stardom and she shares that moment with both Mayu and Saki. Since the belt is three different colors, Mayu would of course get the light blue one, Saki gets the orange one, and Tam would get the pink one. Tam would go over to Natsuko to taunt her to let her know that she defeated her again. Please let them fight again. Congrats STARS on winning the titles and will JAN suffer the same fate against Mayu and Saki during the evening show and walk out empty-handed?

Rating: Eric Bischoff and three quarters

 

 

Double Title Match
Kagetsu (c) vs. Momo Watanabe (c)

Review: Our main event for this show is a title for title match with the World of Stardom Champion, Kagetsu defending her title against the Wonder of Stardom Champion, Momo Watanabe who is also defending her title in the match. It’s a tough call since both of them can’t afford to lose their title to one another right now but can also lead to different possible scenarios if one of them did win at the same time. This was one of the matches I was looking forward to when it got announced and it’s time to see how Momo would do in the top spot. Which champion will come home with two titles?

I saw this match as another test for Momo to get her ready for the future and to see how she would do in the main event spot. I know she did main event shows before, but I mean for the World of Stardom Championship since this is her first time fighting for the title I believe and how did she do? Momo passed the test for sure and delivered us a great match against Kagetsu and this was hinted at since April when she won the Cinderella Tournament, and I’m glad she was able to have this match with both of them being champion. Momo still has more room to grow as a competitor but it really does show she indeed has a bright future in the company.

On Twitter, Stardom claimed this to be the match of the year for the company and is the match great? One of the better matches of the year for sure, but is it MOTY worthy? I will say it’s in my Top 10 for Stardom this year but not their best match, you should still look it up since it’s still a great bout. These women had the drive in this match when they kept going back and forth during the majority of the match whether it was mat grappling or just playing by their own arsenal and doing everything they can to get the others title. Kagetsu would even use the blue mist on Momo to get her down to hit the Oedo Coaster, but Momo would barely kick out of it to keep the match alive! The strikes these two in the match were incredibly stiff and you felt everything done to them from how hard they were hitting each other, even kicked each other in the head at the same time and both got up quickly before getting counted out. Momo also hits her Tequila Sunrise on Kagetsu and it looks like we have a new champion, but she also kicks out! Once Kagetsu kicked out of the movie, both of them were both out for the count and after twenty-two minutes of them fighting each other, the referee called for a Double Count-out and nobody loses their title.

What a way to end it and this was the right call for right now since both of these women didn’t need to lose their title or win the other one and they handled it better than another time limit outcome, couldn’t have asked for a better ending. After the match, Nicole Savoy would come out and challenge Kagetsu for the World of Stardom Championship later on at the night show which Kagetsu accepts since she wants to give the people what they want. Kagetsu would tell Momo that they have unfinished business and she says they’ll both keep defending their titles and they will do this again. Speaking of unfinished business, Momo would call out Mayu Iwatani and challenge her to a match and would even put her Wonder of Stardom Championship on the line. Mayu said she already has a World of Stardom Championship match with Kagetsu soon, but doesn’t mind fight her first and they’ll do it on October 23rd.

Rating: Bruce Prichard and a quarter

 

Overall: I thought this was a really solid show with only one bad match in here while the rest was enjoyable. We also had a great main event to close off the show and enough hype to get the fans ready for their night show on the same day, which is something you don’t wanna miss. Fun show, worth watching.

Favorite Match: Kagetsu vs. Momo Watanabe

Least Favorite Match: Hazuki & Kelly Klein vs. Kimber Lee & Rachel Ellering

Score: 8/10


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Coverage

(NOAH) WEEKLY NEWSLETTER VOL.5 ~ 12TH OCTOBER 2018

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CURRENT TOUR RECAP
As Noah head towards the end of the year, Autumn Navigation began on October 7th in Gunma. I am afraid I don’t have too much information about the first two shows.

Naomichi Marufuji’s feud (not so much Akitoshi Saito’s) with Mitsuya Nagai and “The Hooligans” began in earnest. Marufuji came out with a weary expression like he had to deal with something that was tiresome (and to him it is, as he says that The Hooligans are not worthy of the title shot, although he’s had to begrudgingly give them one), and this match was to prove just to be that as Nagai came out to “second”.

“Second” in this case being another word for “interfere”, which he did by pulling the referee out of the ring when Marufuji went for the pin on Taniguchi. While the ref and Nagai argued, Cody Hall used the distraction to creep into the ring and ambush Marufuji with “The Hooligan” bomb, meaning that Taniguchi got the win when the ref got back in the ring.

Afterwards The Hooligans stood over Marufuji, Cody Hall & Taniguchi holding the heavyweight tag belts, and Taniguchi with his foot on him.

Marufuji said afterwards that he was irritated before, but he’s angry now, and he’s had enough. This wasn’t enough, however, to stop The Hooligans from running over them again on the 11th October.

Noah have started the pre-matches for Global League; on the 11th October, Masa Kitamiya and Katsuhiko Nakajima faced off against each other after a long while. Nakajima, as ever, smirking when kicking someone, this time his tag partner.

NEWS

NOAH MERCHANDISE AVAILABLE IN EUROPE & USA
IPW have announced that they have become the official merchandise vendor for Noah for Europe, and I understand they also deliver to the USA. I am afraid for any other country, you would need to check directly with them. Shop can be accessed via the link above.

“COME AT ME YOU BASTARDS”
Kenoh’s column this week is thought to be generally not too interesting (aside from maybe the end about appearing in a quiz show), but he does give some interesting insights into life in Noah and how wrestlers branching out into other programs beyond wrestling, can help a product.

Speaking of Kenoh, I read a very sweet story in an interview earlier this week.

When Kenoh was a tiny infant (about two or three), he used to stand at the window of the Nippon Kempo watching them practice until his mother removed him. Even when it snowed, he would stand at the window.

His mother later asked if he could see inside, and then enrolled him in the school.

NAOMICHI MARUFUJI VS HIKARU SHIDA
For her tenth anniversary in wrestling, Hikaru Shida challenged Naomichi Marufuji to a rematch. They had last clashed on April 17th, and she had been knocked out within a few minutes (108 seconds to be precise). This time she managed to last eighteen minutes with him. He took knee attacks, and she took chops.

Marufuji won with the high knee, and said afterwards that “the match was fun, and with so much potential, I want you to be the top girl”.”.

WINTER NAVIGATION 2018 & EARLY DATES FOR JANUARY 2019
Noah have announced the dates for “Winter Navigation 2018”, plus “Great Voyage in Yokohama Vol.2” and “NOAHFul Gift in Differ”.

They have also announced dates for January 2019.

Last year NOAHFUL Gift was held in ShinKiba, this year it will be being held at Korakuen Hall. Although Noah have announced no plans for the format as of yet, it will most likely feature the flea market in which Noah sell their old ring wear to fans (in the old days they would also serve Dojo chanko) and the usual battle royal and comedy matches.

Genba Hirayanagi threatened to appear last year in some gnarly old pants when he heard there was a flea-market. Sugiura said no one would want them, and Marufuji told him that it was “called obstruction of business”.

Thankfully Genba’s questionable taste in clothes is not a recurring feature, but Akitoshi Saito in cosplay is. In past years we have seen a lounge singer (complete with frilled cuffs, cummerbund and a velvet suit), and a pigtailed joshi. 2017 saw him in a video which was played in installments throughout the evening flanked by Moose in a Burger King hat, Eddie Edwards in a Santa hat (both were trying not to laugh), and Saito in various stages of undress whilst wearing a wig and make-up.

During the Battle Royale last year, everyone dressed up; well, almost everyone, as Kenoh appeared in an old karate outfit, and HAYATA came as himself in DOVE Pro. Other highlights included Takashi Sugiura being labelled a “vulgar and tasteless Santa” by Tokyo Sports, Hi69 was a “Panda” (his costume was purple tights and Panda face-paint, and according to Hajime Ohara he had gone out and bought his costume the night before, leading Sugi to point, laugh and say “that’s not a Panda, that’s a monster), Hajime Ohara as Kiki from “Kiki’s Delivery Service” complete with satchel full of bakery goods, a Jiji on his shoulder, black wig with a bow and a broom, Hitoshi Kumano as a bear, Daisuke Harada as HAYATA (which HAYATA did not appreciate and glared at him afterwards) and of course the inevitable Mr. Koto (Atsushi Kotoge).

Needless to say its a fun show, and if you are going to be in Tokyo over Christmas\New Year, I not only envy you, I also highly recommend you go and see it. All grudges, rivalries and title matches are put aside, and the roster relax and have fun.

OUTSIDE PARTICIPATION
Naomichi Marufuji and Hi69 will miss Noah’s event on the 18th November as they will be participating in Ryuku Dragon Pro in Okinawa

Kenoh will be appearing for KAIENTAI DOJO on Sunday October 28th, he will team with Tank Nagai against Yuri Asakawa & Kengo Mashimo.

Junta Miyawaki will make his second appearance for YOUNGDOMS (FREEDOMS sub brand) on the 5th November, he will team with Shunsuke Sayama vs Toru Sugiura and SUSUMU

GHC BELT NEWS

Current champions

  • GHC Heavyweight Champion: Takashi Sugiura
  • GHC Junior Champion: Daisuke Harada
  • GHC Heavyweight Tag Champions: Naomichi Marufuji & Akitoshi Saito
  • GHC Junior Tag Champions: Minoru Tanaka & Hi69

The GHC Heavyweight Championship currently has no challenger as Global League will begin in late October to determine the number one contender.

Daisuke Harada and Atsushi Kotoge will clash over the GHC Junior Championship on October 30th at Korakuen Hall (match signing to be held the same day)

Naomichi Marufuji & Akitoshi Saito will defend the GHC Heavyweight Tag Championship against “The Hooligans” (Maybach Taniguchi and Cody Hall) on Sunday October 14th in Kobe.

The GHC Junior Tag Championship has not been challenged for yet.

TOUR TIDBITS

  • Naomichi Marufuji was involved in a minor car accident this week when someone reversed into him, he is fine fortunately.
  • Noah released Halloween Revolutionary cloaks for kids which were sold on the 11th October, with the Revolutionary Hero on hand to sign them. Atsushi Kotoge has said that the manufacturing cost is too high to make them for adults.
  • Takashi Sugiura gave a defense match interview, in it he said he wants to be the first reigning champion in history to win Global League, and if that happens he will nominate his own opponent, which will be Masato Tanaka. They have fought against each other in the past, but they have never had a title match over a single belt.
  • Mitsuya Nagai called a lady in the crowd “you old bag” because she was mouthing off to him.
  • Mohammed Yone’s disco ball for his entry has become a thing
  • People would like to see Atsushi Kotoge and Kaito Kiyomiya tag together and challenge for the belts
  • HAYATA has a new online diary, “HAYATAbot”, I am afraid that to access it requires a paid subscription
  • Kenoh will finally get his wish for a singles match with Naomichi Marufuji on the 8th November at Korakuen Hall for Global League 2018.
  • Like Hi69 does, Atsushi Kotoge did a short question time with fans on Twitter, highlights included; Kotoge saying he doesn’t drink at home, and Go Shiozaki asking what the capes were made of to which, Kotoge said playfully, “asshole, I’ll go and look”. He never actually answered Shiozaki’s question.
  • Kenoh’s friend, Masahiro-san (whom Kenoh has blocked, and who Masahiro-san calls “that asshole who blocked me”), posted a few candid pictures of when he stayed at Kenoh’s home for the night on Twitter. Masahiro-san usually deletes them a few minutes after posting, but they were there long enough to ascertain Kenoh bought tourist fodder Union Jack boxer shorts when he visited London for Frontline Pro Wrestling.
  • Hajime Ohara is holding exercise classes in Kawasaki which are open to adults of every age and sex. The classes will be simple exercises in how to build, tone and maintain muscles and how to exercises with a water bottle.

KING SHAMLESS’S CORNER
None this week, he’s managed to behave himself.

EVENT RECAPS
7TH OCTOBER 2018, NEW SUNPIA TAKASAKI, GUNMA
11TH OCTOBER 2018, OYAMA CITY CULTURAL CENTER SMALL HALL, OYAMA, TOCHIGI

LINKS
English language translation of Naomichi Marufuji’s biography, “Heir to The Ark”
Takashi Sugiura’s sixth defense interview
Akira Taue loved the “Talk Battle” with Toshiaki Kawada
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