Well, everyone, this is it, this will be Io Shirai’s final appearance with Stardom before she departs to the WWE.
Io has been with the company in 2011 around when Stardom wasn’t even a year old yet and has been with them ever since. She has won every title Stardom has and also set a bunch of records for the company with lengthy reigns and title defenses. Only accolade that evaded her grasp was the Cinderella Tournament (she really wanted to wear that dress too).
— TDE Wrestling (@totaldivaseps) June 18, 2018
There might be a huge gap open once Io is gone, but the past few months have shown that the company can still shine bright and still have a promising future even without their ace. It’s a stacked show and has a special match for her final day which I’ll get to when the match comes up, and we got Momo defending her belt in the main event. So let us close this chapter together and…dive right in.
Tag Team Match
Kaori Yoneyama & Ruaka vs. Leo Onozaki & Natsuko Tora
Review: It looks like all members of JAN except Kyona are fighting off in a tag team match with one of the champions teaming up with one of the rookies and looks like Natsuko got Leo and Kaori has Ruaka, let’s see who picks it up in this friendly competition. All four of them shook hands and soon as Kaori and Ruaka turned their backs, Natsuko and Leo would attack them from behind and would hold Kaori’s arms so that Ruaka could jump on her own partners back to do the jungle pose, but Natsuko see’s her and pushes her off. The match itself was incredibly sloppy with poor and unbelievable strikes from all of them except for Kaori who was surprisingly the best part out of this whole match. Leo, you used to do like four to five cutters a match and now you’re here doing one or two the minute I made a counter for you, the hell girl? The last part of it was Leo and Ruaka in the ring together to see who can get the win out of these two while Natsuko and Kaori are fighting outside, but Ruaka would win it with a Fisherman Suplex.
Recommended: Not really.
Leo’s Cutter Count: 1 (Gotta up your game)
Hanan vs. Natsu Sumire
Review: Been a while since I saw Sumire in a singles match and makes sense since Nao is still technically not medically cleared, Kagetsu and Hazuki are booked, and Hana is still in Mexico…I hope she’s doing well. So with Oedo Tai all busy, she has to do this match solo against one of the younger talent, Hanan. Sumire pointed out that she’s fighting a middle schooler tonight and she’s not wrong there, but since she’s in charge of the declining birth rate, she must give the kids a bright future.
Hanan would offer her hand for Sumire to shake and once she does, Hanan would kick her in the midsection and would start to get the early advantage with the Dropkick and now Sumire would turn it around to make Hanan lose any momentum she had. The majority of the match is Sumire beating her down, not giving her any chances to have a comeback at all and I like the idea of that since it builds sympathy for the babyface and Sumire is a good heel to do it with. It was only a matter of time when Sumire would pull out the flogger out and start whipping Hanan with it and I have faith in her call since she is the Counselor for the Declining Birth Rate and I trust her judgment. The would still use the flogger for a good couple of minutes until the referee tried to play tug-o-war with Sumire to try and grab it as Hanan used this opportunity to Dropkick the flogger and would start to take Sumire down to finally get her shine in. Hanan started to take her down with an STO and quickly applies the Armbar until Sumire would grab the ropes and hits a few more STO’s for good measure just in case, but Sumire would turn it around on her to attempt a Reverse DDT and gets reversed into a roll up. Hanan had another close call with a roll up and Sumire would barely kick out of it and before she attempts to finish Sumire off, she would reverse it into a Reverse DDT and hold her in that position for a while before actually hitting it but she surprisingly kicks out of it! Sumire looked a bit annoyed and hits a Suplex with a bridge for the win..a bit anti-climatic to a fairly good match.
— We Are Stardom (@we_are_stardom) June 30, 2018
Recommended: Not gonna lie, I was fairly surprised. Give it a watch.
Tag Team Match
AZM & Konami vs. Shiki Shibusawa & Starlight Kid
Review: Next up is a tag match with Queen’s Quest taking on STARS members and since AZM and Konami are the only two active members right now, they’ll be paired up to take in Shiki and Starlight Kid for this bout. AZM and Starlight, of course, start us off and that is fine by me because I will gladly watch these two fight each other any time since they have such great chemistry together and always do something different in their matches whether it’s tag team or singles to make the rivalry much more interesting and I cannot wait for the payoff once it finally happens. Konami, not gonna lie has some pretty deadly kicks and apparently, she made Starlight bleed in the last match they were in together and even hits a Dropkick right on her forehead when AZM had her in a Camel Clutch, that had to hurt. Starlight would hit a Running Crossbody onto AZM and she kicked out of the move by bridging out it only to be Dropkicked by Shiki and Starlight would hit another Dropkick for good measure before hitting a Standing Moonsault for a two count. Shiki and Konami would get in the ring now as Konami would attempt to make Shiki tap with the Fujiwara Armbar and wouldn’t work just yet as Starlight would come in to help Shiki out as Shiki hits Konami with a Bulldog onto the ropes to Starlight can hit a 619 and tops it off with a Slice Bread #2 before throwing her over to Shiki for a Missle Dropkick and it looked like she had it, but AZM breaks up the pin. Konami would get Shiki into the Armbar once again only for Starlight to break it up and AZM pushes her out of the ring before Konami would hit a modified Armbar to make her tap out, giving Queen’s Quest the win.
— We Are Stardom (@we_are_stardom) July 1, 2018
Recommended: Very solid match, worth watching.
Tag Team Match
Deonna Purrazzo & Zoe Lucas vs. Saki Kashima & Tam Nakano
Review: We got another tag match with the remaining members of STARS, Tam Nakano and Saki Kashima taking on Zoe Lucas and Deonna Purrazzo. Saki and Deonna are starting off the match as they both lock up and Saki would be thrown into the ropes and springboards off it for an arm drag and Deonna would do an arm drag in return and both Dropkick their feet before quickly standing up to tag Tam and Zoe into the ring.
The two are known for their kicks and they try to kick each other but either dodge or hit their own legs to deflect the kick and Deonna got tagged back in and hit a Double Flapjack on Tam to knock her down and once picked back up, Tam would have Deonna in a Reverse DDT while Zoe tries to break it up, but Tam would kick her in the midsection and hits the DDT on both of them and once Saki came in, they both would hit the Stunner on both Deonna and Zoe to knock them down. Deonna would hit the Three Amigos for a two count and would try to make her tap with an Armbar and fails to do so and the two would start to kick each other a few times until they both fall down to make the tag to Zoe and Saki. Zoe looked to get the early advantage until Saki would turn it around for a moment and even knocked her down for Tam to do a Senton off the second rope and gets a two count. Deonna would come in to hit a forearm Saki in the chest to daze her enough for Zoe to try and get the win, but Saki would hit the Killswitch to give STARS the win here.
Recommended: Average match, so really up to you if you wanna watch it.
Tag Team Match
Hazuki & Kagetsu vs. Io Shirai & Mayu Iwatani
Review: So Io Shirai’s final match is a tag team match where he partner is Mayu Iwatani and they actually have teamed up before when they were called Thunder Rock in their early Stardom careers before Io formed Queen’s Quest and the two became rivals with some fantastic matches together. Now they will team up one last time as they take on Hazuki and current World of Stardom Champion, Prime Minister Kagetsu. Will Kagetsu be able to pin Io again like she did last time or will Io end her Stardom career on a high note?
— We Are Stardom (@we_are_stardom) June 18, 2018
Oedo Tai didn’t have a pre-match interview it looks like and that made me sad because I wanted to see what our Prime Minister had to say about the match. Mayu talked about saying she thinks they’ll still have that Thunder Rock chemistry after not being partnered for about two years and wants to go do their best together in the match. Io and Hazuki will be the ones that will start us off as they lock up and would have Hazuki by the ropes to tap her chest, shades of Okada since she’s just been toying with her during their time together, not even taking Hazuki seriously before she goes to the corner to tag in Mayu. Kagetsu would get tagged in as well and would start to kick her down and Mayu would jump onto the ropes to roll Kagetsu up and Dropkick her right away and once she ran to the ropes, Sumire would drag her to the outside so that Kagetsu and Hazuki would attack Io to send her outside as well. Sumire would be working on Mayu and having a chair on her throat to choke her out while Hazuki would slam Io by a sign in the crowd to make her get knocked out before Hazuki made her way back to the ring with Mayu back into the ring as well as Oedo Tai would do their pose on Mayu and Kagetsu would spray water on both Mayu and the referee, and I’m sure she had a good reason to spit at the ref since she’s the Prime Minister after all. Hazuki would get tagged back in as she had Mayu on the turnbuckle and would run the ropes until Io grabbed Hazuki to hold her still, which made Kagetsu run in to attack Io and drag her to another turnbuckle so the two would kick their faces to knock them out and Hazuki pins Mayu for a two count and applies the Crossface on Mayu until she grabbed the rope only for Kagetsu to step on her arm. Mayu would hit her Slingblade to give herself time to tag in Io as she would have Hazuki by the turnbuckle and hits her knees onto her chest and as she ran to the opposite turnbuckle, Hazuki would charge at her with an elbow and Kagetsu would come in for both of them to throw her into the ropes as Io would do her cartwheel and backflip before Dropkicking both of them to the outside and before she would attempt a Suicide Dive, Kagetsu would throw their sign at her.
Hazuki would fight Io outside of the ring while Kagetsu would the same with Mayu, but you won’t see what they do since they’re too focused on Io’s end since it’s her last match and all, Hazuki would fight with Io as they go up the stairs into the crowd and it looked like Kagetsu had the same idea since all four of them were in the middle section of the crowd and they would attempt to throw Io and Mayu at each other and they would switch it around so Hazuki and Kagetsu would fight each other and now Io would go to the bleachers as she would hit her Diving Moonsault on the both of them to knock them down as she made her way back to the ring with Mayu dragging Hazuki back in as well. Io doesn’t give Hazuki any time to rest as she would hit a 619 and then a Springboard Dropkick before she attempts to put her away with her Diving Moonsault Press, but Hazuki would push her down and held her up for a Tombstone until Io flipped it around and Hazuki would roll her up for a two count and quickly gives her a Codebreaker to make them both go down. Hazuki would make her way back to her feet to hit her own Springboard Dropkick and tagged Kagetsu in as she kicked Io around and even hits Mayu just in case as Kagetsu now uses her sign to hit both Io and Mayu with it to get that heel heat from the crowd and hits her Michinoku Driver on top of the sign and the referee would refuse to count due to her using a weapon and Kagetsu would push the referee down and use the weapon some more as both Konami and AZM have had enough and started to attack Kagetsu to the turnbuckle before Io would get thrown into Kagetsu just to miss as everyone lines up. Much like the last retirement match we had in March, the roster would line up to hit a move onto Io while she was on the turnbuckle and would mostly take Dropkicks except for Konami who would just hug her tight and then Sumire would take a selfie with Io until it was Mayu’s turn as she hits a Running Dropkick and a Standing Moonsault and tells Kagetsu to pin her so she could break it up as we get back to the match. Kagetsu would attempt a Brainbuster as Io would roll her up only for Kagetsu to pick her back up as she hits the Brainbuster this time for a two count and would pick her up for a Chokeslam, but Io hits a Frankensteiner for a one count and Mayu gets tagged in now as she hits a Super Kick to Kagetsu and then her and Io would hit their Uppercut/Thrust Kick combo before Mayu hits the Dragon Suplex Hold and it looks like she’s got it until Hazuki hits a Senton on top of Mayu to break the count. Kagetsu would have Mayu on the turnbuckle for a Shattered Dreams position and Hazuki would hit a Codebreaker while she was in that position and it looked awesome as Kagetsu would top it off with an Oedo Coaster for Io to break up the pin and Kagetsu would throw Io to the outside but she makes herself do a Suicide Dive to the outside landing on Hazuki and Mayu would attempt a dive of her own but trips by accident as she saves herself by just stomping on her from off the apron, but Thunder Rock would go to the top rope to hit their Double Dropkick for a two count. Hazuki would make her way back to the ring until Io turned her around to hit her Uppercuts and Mayu has her set up for a Tombstone as Io jumped off the top rope looking like their own version of the Metlzer Driver but without the flip and they would do it to Kagetsu before Io would hit her final Diving Moonsault Press and then Mayu hits her Dragon Suplex Hold to get the win.
After the match, Mayu would grab the mic to cut a promo saying teaming up with Io one last time was a lot of fun and turned her attention to Kagetsu saying she pinned her in the match and how the World of Stardom Championship belongs to her and she may not know when she’ll get it back, but it will come back to her. Kagetsu would reply saying that Mayu is worse on the mic as usual and told her that the red belt doesn’t belong to her as she earned this belt and told her that she is the Prime Minister and don’t you forget it. She also told Io what no matter where she goes, she told her not to forget that they fought in this ring and told her to rise to the top while she makes Stardom bigger than how she created it, now she thanks her as they both hug it out. Io would start to thank the fans for making her not feel alone until Mayu would give her a bouquet of flowers and would pull her in for a kiss on the lips to even make her go weak in the knees, but they hug it out laughing after. The President of Stardom would give her a second set of flowers followed by Io’s family as she told the crowd that she wouldn’t cry in this ring, but would fly around the world with everyone’s smiles in her heart as she thanked everyone one last time.
Recommended: Great match, worth a watch.
Wonder Of Stardom Title Match
Momo Watanabe (c) vs. Jungle Kyona
Review: This will be Momo’s first title defense after defeated Io for the title a few weeks ago and was challenged by Jungle Kyona who is a good first test to prove herself since Kyona is a highly underrated worker and can go in a big match when she wants to. Momo is shaping up to be one of Stardom’s futures and has a long mountain to climb and defeated Io was the first step, and now she has to keep proving her worth. The two wouldn’t waste any time as they start charging in at each other with Kyona tackling her down and the two would just have this intensity with Dropkicks, stiff kicks, and shoulder tackles back and forth to each other as you can tell how badly they both want to win this match here since, for Kyona, it’s her first singles main event for a title and wants to win it to be taken seriously as a competitor and for Momo, it’s to prove she’s Stardoms future after defeating Io Shirai for that very same belt and wants to show that she has earned her way to this level. It appears Kyona has found an opening since it looks like Momo has tweaked her knee a little bit as Kyona would use this as her advantage as she begins to do some more damage to her leg if she wanted to go for a submission victory and would even Splash herself on top of her leg for good measure before grabbing it to wrap around her neck to crank her leg more until Momo grabbed the ropes to save herself. Momo would try to get a shine in and would attempt a kick only to have her foot caught in the rope and Kyona kicks her knee out to do more damage and Kyona throws Momo to the turnbuckle only for Momo to find a way to get onto the ropes to hit her with a Dropkick to make Kyona go outside and would go to the ring apron to kick Kyona in the face and goes to do it one more time until Kyona sweeps her leg to make her go down and roll to the outside so she could attempt for Jungle Bomb only for Momo to flip it around to hit her Package Cradle to the outside and hurts her knee in the process.
The referee would begin to count Kyona out due to her being knocked out for so long and once they got to the fifteen mark, Momo would go out the ring since she didn’t wanna win like this and would bring her back inside and do another Cradle until Kyona would flip it around to try and get the pin, but Momo kicks out of it. Momo would eventually get Kyona to the corner as she would hit two Running Dropkicks and Kyona kicked out of it and I’m loving the determination between these two with every sequence they do together in the ring and Jungle would hit Momo with a Powerbomb and instead of going for the pin, she would pick her up to do a Sitout Powerbomb and gets a two count. Kyone would hit a Lariat onto Momo once she was able to sit up and Momo would find a way to roll her around and hits a running Somato for a two count as Momo would get Kyona up to attempt another Somato, but Kyona would catch her before she could land it but it wouldn’t last long as Kyona falls down to take the move and still kicks out of it. Momo would lock in the Crossface Chickenwing to try and make her tap out and once Kyona was on her feet, Momo would attempt to hit the Tequila Sunrise but Kyona would turn it around to try and go for a German and once she saw she wasn’t going to hit it, she would hit a Lariat to get her down and after Momo would attempt a kick, Jungle would get behind her to hit the German Suplex and would hit her with two Lariats with the last one hitting her in the back of her head for a two count. Kyona goes to the top rope and Momo would go up with her to try to hit a Superplex as she fails and falls to the ground and Kyona hits her Jungle Splash and instead of covering her, she goes for a Gutwrench Powerbomb only for Momo to flip her over for a pin and Kyona would flip her over too as Momo would kick out. Momo would hit the Uranagi and would hit a Package Cradle on top of that for a two count, but she picked her up real quick to try and do it again from the second rope as Kyona would attempt a Sunset Flip Powerbomb as Momo would hold onto the ropes and kicks her off so she could hit the Somato off the second rope the another two count. Momo had her in the Chickenwing one more time and she would just keep the submission hold in this time until Kyona would stand up on her own and tries to grab the rope, but Momo kicked her arm and used this opportunity to hit the Tequila Sunrise and retains the championship.
After the match, Momo would grab the mic and say she was successful in her very first title defense with this belt and said she loved how fired up Kyona was during the match, but told her she just wasn’t good enough and the belt is far out of her reach, but tells her to do her best if they were to fight again and the two shook hands before Kyona left the ring. Momo would say she wants to nominate her next challenger who she wants to fight former Queen’s Quest member, Hazuki but before that happens, Deonna Purrazzo came out and said she doesn’t know if this will be her last tour in Japan but wants to end it on a high note and challenge Momo for the championship first before she fights Hazuki, which Momo accepts as Hazuki comes out and tells her that even if Momo somehow loses the belt, she still wants to fight her one on one and slaps her face before leaving. Momo would stop talking as she says this is Io’s moment due to it being her farewell and Io comes out saying it should with Stardom’s past and future in the ring together as the roster would come out to the ring as they say their motto together. “Believe now, shine tomorrow. We are Stardom.” Io would then take the Wonder of Stardom Championship and would wrap it around Momo’s waist to make it the official passing of the torch as Io has chosen her successor once she’s gone.
— We Are Stardom (@we_are_stardom) July 3, 2018
Recommended: Great match, worth watching.
Overall: Aside from the opening contest being a dud, this was a pretty solid show since the rest of the matches were very well executed. While I am sad to see Io Shirai leave Japan, I do wish her nothing but love and support for her next chapter in her wrestling career and I know she’s gonna show the world who Io Shirai is. Thank you for seven amazing years in Stardom and good luck, Io Shirai.
Favorite Match: Thunder Rock vs. Oedo Tai or Momo Watanabe vs. Jungle Kyona
Least Favorite Match: Kaori Yoneyama & Ruaka vs. Leo Onozaki & Natsuko Tora
(NOAH) WEEKLY NEWSLETTER VOL.10 ~16TH NOVEMBER 2018
Another wonderfully in depth recap of this week in Pro Wrestling NOAH. How is the Global League going? Let’s see what else has been going on in NOAH.
CURRENT TOUR RECAP
NOAH were in Hiroshima on the 12th November; Hiroshima is a city of mixed emotion for NOAH, for some it is home, but for the promotion as a whole it has sad associations, as Mitsuharu Misawa died there in 2009.
Hitoshi Kumano, (a local bear), took charge of fundraising for the Heavy Rain Fund (Hiroshima was hit badly earlier in the year by floods, and the mascot got yelled at by Mitsuya Nagai). Nagai was wound up by Naomichi Marufuji as well, who held the ropes open for him, a tactic which served to wind Kenoh up too. It was also the event where Kotaro Suzuki got his win over HAYATA, and sat on the ropes holding the belt up to both Daisuke Harada and HAYATA. Kotaro Suzuki later said that HAYATA bought out his trump card in the previous match (“the Headache”), and so he bought out his too, and that he would be no match for him with his own number of various maneuvers which he would bring out in the title match. They had their final match before the championship match on the 17th in Osaka, and they will both go into the match with one victory each over the other in the build up for the challenge.
Fan support is very much on the side of HAYATA (who is not NOAH born unlike Suzuki who is seen as an outsider, despite being NOAH born) to bring the championship home.
Mitsuya Nagai clashed with Naomichi Marufuji, and was chopped to shreds. Marufuji said he looked like a “boiled octopus” afterwards. Katsuhiko Nakajima would dismiss Nagai as “small fish” on the 14th, but Nagai would break through the dark cloud on the 16th when he ended the winning streak of Kohei Sato.
Despite his fluke win and spazz out victory celebration against Takashi Sugiura, Kaito Kiyomiya suffered two defeats in a row; the first being against Atsushi Kotoge on the 14th and Cody Hall on the 16th. Kotoge, however, has been on a roll and defeated Go Shiozaki on the 16th.
In a rare moment on the 14th, Masa Kitamiya and Kenoh shook hands. Kitamiya said that he did it to acknowledge that he and Kenoh (who lost to him) had practically fought to the death for the win, and that he didn’t trust wrestlers who had no ambition. Speaking of Kenoh, during the huge tag on the 16th November, his victory over
Marufuji seemingly wasn’t enough, and he decided to get his face again.
Marufuji (now with both shoulders needing athletic support) just looked tired and like he’d had enough.
The show on the 16th November was a shift in the league; Kohei Sato, Kazusada Higuchi and Go Shiozaki had their perfect records beaten by Mitsuya Nagai, Mohammed Yone and Atsushi Kotoge, and Nakajima avenged his loss against Quiet Storm in Global League 2017.
As Global League is beginning to heat up, everyone is talking about not letting anymore victories slip through their fingers, but of course, not all matches can go to a draw, and someone has to lose. There can only be two finalists, and ultimately one winner.
Full recap of Global League 2018 so far, can be found here.
Noah will be back on Saturday 17th November at the Edion Arena in Osaka, (gong sounds at 18.30).
THE EVOLUTION OF KENOH
The upcoming “Wrestlers Directory” 2018 (basically a guide to who is who, what, and where in 2018) was previewed and Naomichi Marufuji and Kenoh were profiled with their changing looks over the years.
Kenoh made the following comments about his entry:
- His 2009 picture is ugly
- Like all trainees, he debuted with a shaved head. Says he didn’t used to cut it, and its awkward to look at it, says he didn’t think he had any money to cut it.
- It doesn’t really translate well, but Kenoh says he cut his hair in 2012 because it had been long for long enough. In another rough translation he says that he looks like a child of badboy parents, who has been forced to pose.
- Kenoh said about his expression that it doesn’t change, because in his every day life, he does not laugh a lot.
- In 2015, Kenoh says that “I admired him and went blonde, but I can no longer say I have the aspiration to be like him” (he is talking about Morishima, who very sadly, has let a lot of people down, including Kenoh).
YOSHIKI INAMURA ADDED TO THE NOAH ROSTER PAGE
At the moment there is not too much information on him apart from his birthday (November 18th 1992), his height and weight, blood type and birthplace (Otawara City in Tochigi Prefecture), date of debut and finisher. His finisher isn’t anything special at the moment, and doesn’t have a special name, being listed only as a “tackle”.
He doesn’t have a Twitter account yet.
CHRISTMAS AT MUSCLE GRILL
Naomichi Marufuji’s current restaurant MUSCLE GRILL in Tokyo will be having a Christmas party on the 22nd December. Naomichi Marufuji, Hi69, Tadasuke, Atsushi Kotoge and Junta Miyawaki will be attending, but obviously this depends on whether or not they manage to stay injury free.
Event is now full.
HAJIME OHARA IN CHINA
Hajime Ohara has missed some Noah dates as he is training the Eastern Hero Athletes in Shanghai, and also when they visit the Noah dojo in Saitama. Ohara is known to be a very strict trainer with a lot of emphasis on health and well-being, which goes further than working out as he is a big advocate for healthy eating and avoiding alcohol (although he does seem to have a weakness for cake); he has banned smoking during training sessions, forbidding his students to smoke while on breaks.
NOAH IN 2019
Noah have announced the dates for “Navigation for The Future 2019”. The tour will run from January 6th to Friday, February 1st. They have also announced their (provisional) Korakuen Hall schedule for 2019.
TAKESHI MORISHIMA UPDATE
There has been no real news following Morishima’s arrest earlier in the month, but further sad details have come to light about his behavior prior to the arrest and his living circumstances.
Morishima it seems was (and is) homeless and without any form of income, and was begging for drinks, even using the tactic of asking to drink with the bar staff as it meant he would be given free drinks.
The management company who were sponsoring his return had originally put him up in an apartment, which they paid the rent for. The deal was that Morishima would concentrate on his return, however, Morishima didn’t do this, and preferred alcohol to training. The President of the company, seeing that Morishima wasn’t giving anything in return despite repeated requests for him to change his ways, eventually lost his patience and told Morishima to pack up and leave.
Morishima, seemingly unconcerned about this, told him flippantly that he was drinking in Shinjuku, and if he wanted the keys, he should come and get them.
GHC BELT NEWS
- GHC Heavyweight Champion: Takashi Sugiura
- GHC Junior Champion: Kotaro Suzuki
- GHC Heavyweight Tag Champions: Naomichi Marufuji & Akitoshi Saito
- GHC Junior Tag Champions: Minoru Tanaka & Hi69
The winner of Global League 2018 will earn the right to challenge Takashi Sugiura for the GHC Heavyweight title, if he himself wins, Sugiura says that he will nominate Masato Tanaka as his challenger.
Kotaro Suzuki will defend the GHC Junior Heavyweight title against HAYATA on the 17th November at Edion Arena, Osaka.
The GHC Heavyweight Tag titles have not had a challenger as of yet, and probably won’t until after Global League wraps up. Mitsuya Nagai has hinted that he may challenge, but Saito said that he will not be granted a title shot. Katsuhiko Nakajima was asked if he was going to challenge after the Global League match with Saito, and said cryptically, he was “in the mood for shopping” (i.e., shopping around to see what deal is best).
The GHC Junior Tag Championship will be challenged for by Koji Kanemoto and Hiroshi Yamato on the 25th November at Korakuen Hall. Seiya Morohashi has also challenged for them, his partner at this time is as yet unknown, but it is thought it will either be TAMURA or Kouki Iwasaki.
- Atsushi Kotoge drinks “Revolutionary Coffee”
- Naomichi Marufuji sat on a wet bench wearing thin grey pants…
- There was a cat at the hotel in Ehime, much to YO-HEY’s delight
- Kaito Kiyomiya appears to be being fitted for tailored suits (long gone are the days of the oversize one thank god)
- Daisuke Harada celebrated his 32nd birthday on the 13th November (President Uchida did not even know it was his birthday!), and Yoshiki Inamura will celebrate his 26th birthday on November 18th, Takashi Sugiura bought him an early birthday cake and a small party was held at a restaurant Inamura had been taken out to by his seniors.
- Shu Nishinaga said Ally (the ring announcer) “whined like a child” for udon noodles.
- Naomichi Marufuji says he was disturbed by mosquitoes, in November, which woke him up at 2.30am
- Kenoh apparently went jogging in the Imperial Palace Gardens in Kyoto (a fan who saw him, thought he was a blonde delinquent fleeing the law before it was discovered it was Kenoh)
KING SHAMELESS CORNER
After weeks of silence. Takashi Sugiura is back, posting a picture of Masao Inoue holding an ice cream cone with white foam in it and labeling it “mood” and photographing erotic looking food.
I’ll leave it to your (and his) dirty imagination as to what exactly he meant by oysters being “erotic”…
The final night of Global League, 25th November, will be broadcast at 6pm on Saturday 8th December
The event on the 12th December, will be broadcast on the 15th December
The event on the 16th December, will be broadcast on the 22nd December
This is more than usual, and all seem to be going out on a weekly basis. This makes me wonder if the network are trying something out.
K-FORCE: music inspired by Katsuhiko Nakajima
ARTICLE: “Traces to Nowhere: the tragic story behind the Takeshi Morishima arrest”
News article on Takeshi Morishima’s drunken and chaotic life
Enjoy what I do? Help me do it full time.
IPW are the official vendors of Noah merchandise, please click here for shop
English translation of “Heir to the Ark” (Naomichi Marufuji’s biography) ~ work in progress
Dragon Gate Gate of Destiny Results & Review (11/4/2018)
Welcome back to Dragon Gate! We return to cover one of their biggest shows of the year, Gate of Destiny.
The card contains some big title matches, along with PAC’s first singles match since his return to the company last month. Now the real question is can they deliver?
Well, we’re about to find out as we…dive right in.
Tag Team Match
K-ness & Mondai Ryu vs. Shachihoko BOY & Stalker Ichikawa
Review: We got our opening match with K-ness and Mondai Ryu tagging up for this one to take on Shachihoko BOY and Stalker Ichikawa. Our opening bouts usually there to please the crowd but could they also entertain them while giving us something good? Which of these two will win?
It was a match…it existed. It was about three minutes and it was pretty much Stalker screwing around in the ring with K-ness and Mondai slapped him around and pulled off his ears from his mask, the monsters. Shachihoko really didn’t do much in this match, nor Mondai for that matter since it was only K-ness really that did the majority of the work here for the match. K-ness would Sunset Flip Shachihoko for a two count and would have his legs on his body to roll him around the ring in that same position until he pinned him that way again and gets the three count. I just wasn’t a fan of this match and nothing really happened in it at all, it just happened just for the sake of a match existing.
Rating: Vince Russo and a half
Six Man Tag Team Match
Natural Vibes (Punch Tominaga & YASSHI) & Hyo Watanabe vs. Don Fujii, Gamma & Ryo Saito
Review: Our next match is a six-man tag match with two members of Natural Vibes, Punch Tominaga and Brother YASSHI teaming up with Hyo Watanabe as they take on the team of Don Fujii, Gamma, and Ryo Saito. Good to see Don and Ryo still being a tag team here and they could possibly go for the Triangle Gate Championships again if they want to. Which of these teams will win?
Well, I can at least say that this was a better match than the previous one I saw but at the same time, this one was just average itself. Natural Vibes teaming up with Hyo was a weird combination in itself and it just seemed like they didn’t flow well together whereas Don, Gamma, and Ryo would pair off a bit better than the other team since they have teamed up before and know what they’re doing together. Again, the match was a basic tag match for what you see when a unit teams up with one random person and you get some nice sequences from some of the people in the match like with Gamma and Hyo going back and forth into the match and makes me hope we could get a one on one match with these two since it could be solid if done right. Don would hit Hyo with a Chokeslam to get him down as Gamma goes to the top rope to hit a Corkscrew Moonsault almost missing Hyo and pins him for the victory.
Rating: Tony Schiavone and a half
Eight Man Tag Team Match
Daga & R.E.D. (Eita, KAZMA SAKAMOTO & Yasushi Kanda) vs. Tribe Vanguard (Kagetora, U-T & Yosuke Santa Maria) & Kota Minoura
Review: We now have an eight-man tag match with R.E.D members, Eita, KAZMA SAKAMOTO, and Yasushi Kanda along with non-member, Daga as they take three members of Tribe Vanguard, Kagetora, U-T, and Yosuke Santa Maria along with non-member, Kota Minoura. R.E.D has been establishing dominance with Eita leading the charge and now looks to take out Tribe Vanguard in the process. Can R.E.D keep the momentum going or will Tribe Vanguard take it?
Least we were able to get a solid eight-man tag match in the mix almost at the end of our halfway point. R.E.D does what they do best when they start attacking their opponents before the bell would ring to get the opening advantage in the match to make themselves look strong. Tribe Vanguard worked well together in this match with Kagetora and Yosuke still being probably the more underrated people on the roster while U-T is slowly rising up in the ranks with his ability to show us what he can do. From what I can see with Kota, he’s still a bit green since he’s new but he also does have a ton of potential to do really well for himself. Daga is someone new to me and is actually his first time in Dragon Gate and is a freelancer from Mexico, but he was pretty impressive in his Dragon Gate debut and looked like he fitted in with R.E.D well also. Yusuke, U-T, and Kota would all hit Eita with a Missile Dropkick to get him down until Kanda and KAZMA would stop Kota from trying to pin their leader. Kota would try to do a flash pin to KAZMA for a kick out and KAZMA would hit a Pop-up Powerbomb onto Kota until Tribe Vanguard broke it up and R.E.D throws them all outside. Daga would hit a Gutbuster onto Kota and picks him up for Eita to hit the Superkick onto him and gets the win for R.E.D.
Rating: Eric Bischoff and a quarter
Open The Triangle Gate Title Three Way Elimination Match
Natural Vibes (Genki Horiguchi, Kzy & Susumu Yokosuka) (c) vs. Masaaki Mochizuki, Shun Skywalker & Yuki Yoshioka vs. MaxiMuM (Jason Lee, Kaito Ishida & Naruki Doi)
Review: We have our first title match of the night with Natural Vibes defending their Open the Triangle Gate Championships in a Three-Way Elimination Match as they defend against MaxiMuM members, Jason Lee, Kaito Ishida, and Naruki Doi along with the team of Masaaki Mochizuki, Shun Skywalker, and Yuki Yoshioka. Natural Vibes has a good chance of being eliminated to losing the titles, but they could also have a chance to beat both teams and retain. Will Natural Vibes retain or will one of the two teams take the titles?
So for this elimination match, it looks like once a member loses the match that the whole team would be eliminated instead of just having to beat all three members to eliminate them and that might be better this way honestly, and it appears as though that all three men can be in the match instead of just two people starting and tagging in whoever. These are the types of matches that just make me wanna love Dragon Gate with their nonstop action, entertaining Lucha style mixed in, and just mixing it up with some wrestling to go with it. There was one spot where one person would wrap their legs around his neck for a chokehold and it would keep going until Jason Lee was the last one to make the bridge and Kzy would try to get into the mix until Mochizuki takes him down and it looked like he wanted to do it himself but he goes over to the front end to deliver the longest Boston Crab I’ve seen in quite some time and it wouldn’t last long since Jason Lee was right by the rope and grabs it right away. Yuki would start showing some spark in the match with his back and forth action with Kaito with trying to roll each other up or hit each other and it would come to an end when Kaito hits the Tiger Suplex on Yuki to eliminate Mochizuki Dojo making it now Natural Vibes and MaxiMuM.
Naruki and Kzy start going at it right away and Naruki doesn’t hold up against him as he hits him with a DDT and runs towards Kzy for him to catch him by surprise with the Skayde Schoolboy for the surprise pin and Naruki kicked out of it and hits his Bakatare Sliding Kick to knock Kzy out and Jason Lee quickly picks him up for a German Suplex Hold as Susumu broke the count! Kaito and Kzy are in the ring now and he hits Kzy with the Tiger Suplex and it looks like we have new champions, but Kzy kicked out of it! Kaito got Kzy back up to try and finish him but Kzy would hit him with some elbows before he hits his Running Elbow Smash to get the win and Kaito kicks out as well! Kzy quickly picked him up to hit the Impact and Natural Vibes retains the titles! This is Natural Vibes fifth successful title defense and they said that if they retain it one more time, they’ll hold the record for most title defenses with this belt and their next title match is on November 18th, so let’s see if they can break the record.
Rating: Bruce Prichard and a quarter
Flamita vs. PAC
Review: We now have a special singles match with PAC having his first singles match in Dragon Gate since his return as he takes on Flamita in what people have considered as one of their dream matches for the fans. PAC has been doing well in the tag matches that I’ve seen when he came back but now the real test is to see how he can do by himself now as he takes on this Luchador. Will PAC win his return match or will Flamita derail him?
For something that was titled a dream match, this was very underwhelming. You’re probably asking me how can this be bad since you have PAC and Flamita in the mix? Well, it’s quite simple really that it was just slow and dragged out quite a lot at the beginning of the match. I don’t mind matches going at a slow pace since I enjoy technical wrestling and could watch that anytime, but it was more of PAC just really dragging it out in the match and made nothing about it exciting except just hitting Flamita and maybe have R.E.D attack Flamita once when the referee wasn’t looking. I get PAC is the heel in the match and to get the heat behind him but he just didn’t really do anything at all and some fans will feel blue balled by this match. And before you actually do the whole he’s a heel thing as an excuse, he did a lot more as a heel in WWE than he has in Dragon Gate for his current run right now so I don’t wanna hear that.
Flamita, on the other hand, did try to make the match good as best he could but it, unfortunately, wasn’t enough either to make it exciting and he didn’t get a lot of offense in this match either. He does take the spot of the night though when PAC threw him up in the air for a pop-up and Flamita caught him with a DDT on the way down and PAC sold that beautifully, so I will give him credit for that one at least. The match would try to pick up in the last couple of minutes of it but it’s really hard to get invested into this match fully when nothing has been standing out from the beginning of the match. Flamita would have PAC up for a Musclebuster and he slams him down in a Codebreaker style which looked great and goes to the top rope to hit the Phoenix Splash but PAC rolled out of the way. PAC would quickly go up to the top rope now he hits the Black Arrow (still think it should be called R.E.D Arrow) and gets the win over Flamita. So how did PAC do in his first singles match back? It was honestly disappointing, to say the least, and hope he works on it in the next one he does.
Rating: Tony Schiavone and three quarters
Open The Brave Gate Title Match
Dragon Kid (c) vs. Bandido
Review: It’s time for our second title match with Dragon Kid defending the Open the Brave Gate Championship against someone else that’s not Eita, but instead it’s Bandido. This was one match I really wanted to see in Dragon Gate and now it looks like we can finally have it and for a title no less. Will Dragon Kid retain or will Bandido take it?
So after finally getting our little dream match here, did it live up to the hype? While this one was already better than PAC/Flamita, I thought this match was a slight letdown as well. Not that it was a bad match or anything since it was still solid, but also felt like they could’ve done so much more at the same time and made it a bit underwhelming. The match would start off strong with the lucha style we expected from them, but also felt a little bit slow too and would lose a little momentum when Bandido messed up a Diving Moonsault to the outside and hits one of the ring crew by accident while Kid tried to catch him. After that, they would do some moves here and there to make it stand out but it’s a little too far in between that it felt a bit hard for it to be wowed unless it was near the end. Bandido though did do very well in the match I thought and was always impressive to see and really does fit in well with Dragon Gate if he ever does decide to wrestle there full-time and could potentially be a big star.
There was one move Bandido did that really made him stand out since it’s actually the first time I’ve seen it, but it was Dragon Kid bent over while holding onto the ropes (hot) and Bandido looks to do what appears to be a Forward Flip Springboard Suplex and it looks awesome but Kid still kicked out of it. After that, Bandido would do a Flipping Fallaway Slam off the top rope and Kid kicked out again before Kid would start to get momentum now and hits the Bible for a two count. Kid would now hit a Frankensteiner for another two count and would go to the top rope to hit the Dragonrana and gets the pin to retain the title. Eita would come out after the match and it looks like he wants to have one final match against Dragon Kid for the title. If it’ll give us one final match and let them move on after this, then let them have it.
Rating: Eric Bischoff and a quarter
Open The Twin Gate Title Match
Tribe Vanguard (BxB Hulk & YAMATO) (c) vs. R.E.D. (Big R Shimizu & Takashi Yoshida)
Review: We have our next title match with the Open the Twin Gate Championships being on the line as BxB Hulk, and YAMATO defend the belts against R.E.D members, Big R Shimizu, and Takashi Yoshida. R.E.D were able to beat Tribe Vanguard earlier in the show during the eight-man tag match and with PAC beating Flamita, R.E.D looks to be in pretty good shape to maybe have a clean sweep if they win. Will R.E.D keep at it or will Tribe Vanguard retain?
I’m sure a lot of people know by now that I’m not a big fan of Takashi Yoshida and Big R Shimizu but I will say that they do make a decent heavyweight tag team while it’s no BigBen, it’ll pass at least. They both play to their strengths in the match with their power to try and dominate their opponent and this will move Ben-K to a more solo run, then I’m fine with those two staying as a tag team. YAMATO and Hulk are still quite the team and slowly becoming my favorite set of current champions since CIMA & Dragon Kid, just the chemistry these two share in the ring just make it work out for them and I hope this reign lasts a little bit longer.
I actually really liked this match, I thought it was nicely done with both teams playing to what they know best with Takashi and Big R just overpower their opponents while YAMATO and Hulk just use their wrestling experience to match them. If I did have to take one thing away from the match would be the odd pacing here and there in the match to throw it off a little off, but it’s a minor one and still a really good match to see. Big R and Takashi would just manhandle Hulk with just their power as Big R hits the Splash off the top without doing that stupid timber looking version or it and Takashi hits a Diving Elbow Drop as YAMATO broke the count. Hulk would try to hit the First Flash onto Big R but he caught him in time for the Shot-put Slam and Takashi went for the Cyber Bomb and YAMATO broke the count. YAMATO fights off Takashi and gets him in a Sleeper but Takashi would get to the ropes to break the hold and spits green mist into his eyes as he now picks him up to hit the Fire Thunder Driver as we could have new champions and Hulk now breaks the pin. Takashi would slam YAMATO onto the ropes and as he ran to the other side, YAMATO would catch with a Frankensteiner and gets the surprise victory over R.E.D to retain the titles!
Rating: Eric Bischoff and three quarters
Open The Dream Gate Title Match
Masato Yoshino (c) vs. Ben-K
Review: We have our main event with the Open the Dream Gate Championship on the line now with Masato Yoshino defending the title against Ben-K. The last time Ben-K had a match for the title was around March 4th against Masaaki Mochizuki and he lost, but now he has a second chance to go for the title with his new home in R.E.D. Will Masato be able to retain the title once again or will we have a new champion crowned?
It’s about time that Ben-K goes back to wearing his shogun type gear instead of those generic trunks when he joined R.E.D, he now looks like the Ben-K I know and love, now he just needs to win that belt. I don’t get why we didn’t get these types of title defenses earlier in Masato’s run because this was probably the best defense in his reign next to his previous one against Naruki Doi in September. During the beginning of the match, it looked like Ben would have the opening with how he would be able to throw him around but Masato would use his quickness when he needed to in the match to make Ben hit a Clothesline against the turnbuckle post and give Masato the opening he needed to work on his arm to try and aim for a submission victory like his previous title defenses. I mean it when I say that Ben-K is on another level and I’ve been saying that for months as I think he really could be the ace of that company should they ever decide to actually pull the trigger on that decision because that man can work with a lot of people in different styles while also bringing his A-game during these matches.
I really enjoyed the story of the match with Masato working on Ben’s arm to try for submission victory while Ben would use his strength to try and weaken Masato down for when he needs to hit his power moves near the end to put him away. I also love how fairly even it was between the two while the face and heel getting a respectable amount of shine/heat during the match without affecting the other. I liked the Jumping Slingblade Masato did to Ben while he was on the second rope, it looked unique and did it pretty flawlessly. Masato would attempt to hit the Torbellino and Ben would catch him for the Bubba Bomb and gets a two count. Masato would hit the Torbellino this time around and would quickly turn it into the Sol Naciente to try and make him tap out but Ben would use his power to lift him up and spin him around to slam him into the mat and break the hold. Ben is really selling the arm now and would hit the Spear onto Masato for a two count and he would finally hit the Ben-K Bomb as we could have a new champion, but no as Masato kicked out. The two start to brawl with Masato falling down to the mat, but Masato would get a burst of energy to hit Ben with a Lariat and hits two Torbellino’s in a row before applying the Sol Naciente on him once again. Ben was struggling in the hold this time and tried to fight it off until Masato kicked his leg in to make him collapse as he tapped out to make Masato retain the title!
After the match, it would seem that PAC is the next one to challenge Masato sometime in December. And I have one question for this one, why? I still think Ben-K getting the belt is the better way to go since he’s a great worker and has worked for it and PAC gets one right away just seems off. I had a feeling PAC would get a title match sooner or later like maybe win the King of Gate in 2019, but this feels a bit too early for me and would’ve saved it for a better date. Their booking is weird and I don’t know how this one will go.
Rating: Bruce Prichard and a half
Overall: I thought the show was a little weak with the undercard and the two dream matches being let down, but the tag title matches and the main event were what saved the show to make it slightly passable. We now got Pac and Masato fighting off in his next title defense and it’ll be an interesting month, to say the least.
Favorite Match: Masato Yoshino vs. Ben-K
Least Favorite Match: K-ness & Mondai Ryu vs. Shachihoko BOY & Stalker Ichikawa
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