We continue our Io Shirai Farewell Tour as she has two shows left to do before she departs to the WWE and this will be where she does her traditional Gauntlet Match which we’ll get to later on in the review.
Last show, we had an unexpected result with Kagetsu defeating Toni Storm for the World of Stardom Championship and I am thrilled for her winning it since she definitely earned it, just the unexpected match-up without any build is what threw me off and hey, it worked. We’re close to having a brand new chapter in Stardom and all we need to close it up for good is for Io to have her final match and she’ll make the most of her last days.
So let us…dive right in.
Three Way Match
Hanan vs. Kaori Yoneyama vs. Zoe Lucas
Review: Our opening bout is a three-way dance between Hanan, Kaori, and Zoe and it’s good to see Hanan still working again and hopefully we get some good results here. The three would lock hands as Kaori and Zoe would both have Hanan’s arms and hit her back before throwing her to the ropes and it looked like Hanan was going for a Dropkick and missed it which gives Kaori a chance to pin Hanan but she kicks out and now Hanan sweeps Zoe down to go for a pin and kicks out, but now Zoe tries the same thing with Kaori and she kicks out as all three stood up in a stalemate. Hanan would suggest a truce with Kaori as they attacked Zoe and as Hanan threw Kaori into Zoe, she would roll her up for a two count and now offer to team up with Zoe as they now attack Kaori and they both went for a kick as they accidentally hit each other and Zoe had Hanan in for a German and Kaori jumps behind Zoe as well to have their arms in a submission until she broke it up. Zoe would hit a Running Crossbody on Hanan and Kaori would break the pin with the Senton and would try to hit another one on both of them, but they rolled out of the way and Hanan would do a variation of a Suplex for Zoe to break it up and Hanan hits Zoe with an STO and picked her up to try and put her away, but Zoe broke out of it and kicked Kaori out before hitting Hanan with a Backdrop and quickly picked her up to hit her Split Leg Drop and looks a lit nicer this time as she gets the win.
Recommended: It was a short match, but not the worst nor great either. So, up to you.
Tag Team Match
Deonna Purrazzo & Toni Storm vs. Saki Kashima & Shiki Shibusawa
Review: This is Toni’s first match since losing the championship as she partners up with Deonna Purrazzo to take on STARS members, Saki Kashima and Shiki Shibusawa.
Appears as if Shiki and Toni are gonna open this one off as Shiki attempts to do a test of strength with Toni, but it doesn’t work with Shiki using both her hands to try one of Toni’s and just doesn’t budge as she starts to overpower Shiki and step on her hands. Toni and Deonna would just tag each other back and forth to pretty much work on Shiki to make sure they can try and take her out without even giving her a chance to tag in Saki. Toni looked like she was gonna go for a Powerbomb and Saki runs in to hit her with a Sunset Flip to have her let go of Shiki while she Dropkicks Toni once Saki moved out of the way after doing the flip. The match was decent and was most impressed with Saki and Deonna in this bout, especially when they were in the ring together where Saki reversed her German Suplex into a Bulldog and then went to do an Underhook Suplex, she had a good flow with it. Deonna and Toni were a decent team while Saki and Shiki were okay at least and Saki does a lot better with Mayu as a partner since they could do more together. Shiki would take the loss from Toni Storm once she hits the Strong Zero Piledriver.
— We Are Stardom (@we_are_stardom) June 25, 2018
Recommended: It was a decent match, up to you if you wanna give it a watch.
Six Man Tag Team Match
Jungle Kyona, Leo Onozaki & Natsuko Tora vs. Mayu Iwatani, Starlight Kid & Tam Nakano
Review: Up next, we have JAN taking on STARS with Leo being on their team instead of Kaori due to wrestling earlier as they take on Mayu, Starlight, and Tam, so least they both have one member from the future division on their team.
— TDE Wrestling (@totaldivaseps) June 29, 2018
This is the first time both teams are fighting each other with Mayu involved ever since JAN decided to form their own group due to Mayu not picking them in the draft, so they wanna make sure that they beat STARS here to prove they can be taken seriously…sorta. Kyona and Mayu started the match with Kyona going for a handshake and then kicks Mayu to beat her down, but Mayu turned it around and hits a sloppy arm drag and then Kyona swept her up off her feet to pin her as Mayu kicks out and they both stand up. Starlight and Leo get tagged in now and in the pre-match interview, Leo said she learned a new technique she wanted to use in the match and I hope it’s a Double Cutter, but the two would chain wrestle with Starlight getting the upper hand as she tagged in Tam who hits her handstand and lands her knees on Leo and rather poorly might I add. STARS worked on Leo until she made the tag to Kyona and knocks Starlight down until Starlight would hit her Bow and Arrow submission before tagging in Mayu as the two go at it again. Mayu went to go for a German Suplex but Natsuko would attack Mayu and the two would double-team her until Mayu flipped it around to throw the two of them into the ropes with Tam catching them both for a Stunner to make their throats hit the ropes with Mayu and Starlight hitting a Standing Moonsault right after that. Kyona was going for a Powerbomb and Mayu reverses it into a Frankensteiner for a two count and hits a Thrust Kick to daze Kyona to attempt her Dragon Suplex, but Kyona breaks free from it to hit a German Suplex, making Mayu land on her head on that one, ouch. Kyona would tag Natsuko in and tried to get the momentum, but Mayu would roll her up for a two count and hit her with a Roundhouse Kick and tagged in Tam due to her neck being in pain. Natsuko would hit Tam and attempted to go for a Spear, but Tam kicks her head to knock her down before she could connect. Everyone starts going into the ring now and ended with Kyona hitting a Double Clothesline onto Tam and Mayu as she turned around for her and Natsuko to hit Tam, but they hit each other by accident as Starlight Dropkicks Kyona out the ring and Mayu runs after Natsuko to only be Speared this time. You know, I’m surprised Leo hasn’t hit a single Cutter in this ma…nevermind! After a valiant effort by Leo, Tam would hit her Spinning Kick on her to win the match for STARS.
Recommended: Couple of sloppy spots, but it was still solid for what it was. Worth one view.
Leo’s Cutter Count: 1
Six Man Tag Team Match
Hazuki, Kagetsu & Natsu Sumire vs. AZM, Konami & Momo Watanabe
Review: Our first show with Kagetsu as the World of Stardom Champion and since Hana is gone until September, looks like Hazuki is gonna replace her for the six-man tag bouts as they fight Queen’s Quest in our pre-main lead by Wonder of Stardom Champion, Momo Watanabe. Can Kagetsu gain more momentum going forward as the new champion or will Momo derail her and prove she’s the future? Looks like Oedo Tai extended their dance a little bit and I already love it, probably did it for Kagetsu’s title victory the day before.
Soon as Queen’s Quest got into the ring, Oedo Tai would attack them right away with four of them fighting around the outside while Sumire would kick around AZM after bringing her back into the ring until Konami would grab Sumire’s leg to stop her and all three members of Queen’s Quest would hit their Triple Dropkick for a two count. Momo would get tagged in to do some work on Sumire before tagging AZM back in as she kicked her from the turnbuckle and it looked like AZM was attempting another Dropkick to the corner, but she stops herself to slap Sumire in the face. They would punch each other back and forth and Sumire would yell out “you little brat” while AZM yells out back at her “you old bitch” in which Sumire replies “it feels good to be in my mid-twenties” while slapping AZM, but AZM ended by saying Sumire had a grandma face…damn girl.
Konami gets tagged in now and kicks Sumire in the back and before she could kick her face in, she saw Hazuki sliding the flogger in for Sumire to grab and Konami picks it up before she could and whips Sumire in the face before throwing it away, but Sumire would attack Konami once she threw it away and would roll her up for a two count and quickly tagged in Kagetsu. Kagetsu and Hazuki would kick Konami down and do a Running Senton on top of her before Kagetsu would pick Konami up as the two start kicking each other back and forth for a while and it looked like Kagetsu had it, but Konami would kick her chest once she ran the ropes and hits a PK for a two count, but Konami didn’t stop as she ran towards her but gets caught in a Samoan Drop and the two are down until they crawled to their corners as Hazuki and Momo are tagged in now. The two start going at it with Momo hitting a Dropkick to Hazuki on the corner to her first and then Hazuki would do it back in return and hit a Half Nelson Slam and a Running Senton, but now Momo would start to get some punches in until they went back and forth again till Momo caught her for a Crossface Chicken Wing. Momo attempted to turn the hold into a Tequila Sunrise and Hazuki fights it off with a Codebreaker and Momo kicks her head in to make them go down. I smell money for this feud, a former Queen’s Quest member taking on the new current leader and feels like it could be a jealousy issue here and if done right, can have an amazing delivery.
AZM gets tagged in now, but Oedo Tai would gang up on her into the corner while they all hit their moves on her and Sumire throws her into Hazuki to hit a Double Axe Handle for a two count. Hazuki had AZM in a Full Nelson and both Kagetsu and Sumire attempted to go for a kick but they accidentally hit Hazuki instead, giving Momo and Konami time to get them out of the ring and they kicked Hazuki down before AZM would hit a Lionsault for a two count. AZM went running to the top rope and AKgetsu sprays water into her eyes before Konami kicked her down and Hazuki would deliver some stiff kicks to both Momo and AZM for a two count, but she went to pick her up quick and AZM caught her with a Small Package for a two count as well. Hazuki had enough playing around as she hits a Michinoku Driver and goes to the second rope for the Atomic Bombs Away as she wins the match for Oedo Tai.
After the match, Kagetsu cuts a promo saying Queen’s Quest is basically useless without Io Shirai and she talked about how she defeated Toni Storm the night before as she will now be known as Prime Minister Kagetsu, and I for one welcome our new Prime Minister. Kagetsu has also appointed roles for both Sumire and Hazuki as Sumire will now be in charge of declining birthrate and Hazuki will be Chief Cabinet Secretary and awards them both title opportunities with Sumire saying she’s going for the Goddesses of Stardom Championships and will increase birthrate, now Hazuki wants to fight Momo for the Wonder of Stardom Championship. Mayu and Saki came out and said they’ll defend their belts against Sumire and Hazuki at the next show, but Kagetsu pointed out that Mayu already has a match with Io Shirai as her partner meaning we have a Thunder Rock reunion!
— We Are Stardom (@we_are_stardom) June 27, 2018
Recommended: Very solid match, worth watching for sure.
Io Shirai Gauntlet Match
Io Shirai vs. AZM, Deonna Purrazzo, Hanan, Hazuki, Jungle Kyona, Kagetsu, Kaori Yoneyama, Konami, Leo Onozaki, Mayu Iwatani, Momo Watanabe, Natsuko Tora, Natsu Sumire, Saki Kashima, Shiki Shibusawa, Starlight Kid, Takumi Iroha, Tam Nakano, Toni Storm & Zoe Lucas
Review: Well, this is Io Shirai’s second to last match with Stardom before she’s gone from the company and in the traditional matter, she is set to fight the roster in a Gauntlet Match. Rules are the same as the last one with Io fighting one person at a time with a one-minute time limit and once the time runs out, the next person comes in right away and it keeps on going until the last one is in the match. Even if Io wins or loses in one of the matches, it keeps going until all of them participated. I’m gonna do it a bit different this time and write it down as a list with who came up, who won, and if it was good or not and will write something if anything big happens in that minute. So let’s see how many Io can defeat or if anyone can even defeat her in this gauntlet match.
Entry 1: Leo Onozaki. Leo didn’t do any cutters in the match, so I’m disappointed with that and Io makes quick work of her by making her tap out to the Cloverleaf.
Entry 2: Hanan. Hanan had a better effort into beating down Io, but she would hit her Underhook Facebuster for a second win.
Entry 3: Zoe Lucas. Zoe would propose to Io with pocky and she refuses to take it and throws it out of the ring and now Zoe is made, she misses a Split Leg Drop and Io wrenches her leg till the draw happened.
Entry 4: Deonna Purrazzo. Deonna would mostly out maneuver Io and had her in the Fujiwara Armbar for the duration of the time to make it a draw due to not making Io tap out.
Entry 5: Shiki Shibusawa. Io would hit a 619 and a Dropkick off the top rope before applying a Boston Crab for a draw.
Entry 6: Starlight Kid. Starlight actually came close to winning when she hits her Tornado DDT, Moonsault Press, and a Code Red before Io kicked out for a draw.
Entry 7: Natsuko Tora. Io didn’t waste any time smacking her around soon as Tora got in. Tora hits a Spear and Io kicks out as we have another draw.
Entry 8. Jungle Kyona. Mostly testing their strength and Jungle had her in the Cesaro Swing til time ran out and kept going for a few extra seconds till she lets go
Entry 9: Kaori Yoneyama. Kaori asks Io to Moonsault her one last time and lays down for her, but would push her off once she got to the top and hits a Moonsault of her own, but misses and gets caught in a Cloverleaf til time ran out.
Entry 10. Tam Nakano. Tam pretty much kicking the living shit out of her even when Io to hit with everything she’s got til a draw.
Entry 11. Saki Kashima. Saki would get emotional and hug her till she tricked her into an Uppercut and even kissed Io a few times to try and hold her off for a Killswitch, but didn’t work as we get a draw.
Entry 12: Konami. She would hug Io to pin her down for a pin and mostly does strikes and has her in a submission until time ran out.
Entry 13. AZM. Had Io in the Black Widow for most of it and went back and forth until AZM caught her in a submission soon as time ran out.
Entry 14. Natsu Sumire. Sumire would bat Io with her photo book and would show it to the referee as they looked at the pictures. Sumire would mock Io by attempting her Moonsault but stood on the top rope till time ran out.
Entry 15. Hazuki. Would hit a Springboard Dropkick before the bell rings, they Crossface each other back and forth, and Hazuki hits her Atomic Bombs Away as the bell rang.
Entry 16. Takumi Iroha. Well, this is a very pleasant surprise and they hold each other’s hand so they could forearm each other back and forth until they both delivered stiff kicks to their heads and as Takumi went for the pin, the bell rang.
Entry 17. Toni Storm. Toni attempted the Strong Zero early on and backfired as Io attempted to beat her down, but gets knocked out. Toni would headbutt her till the bell rang and hits a Strong Zero before taking off.
Entry 18. Kagetsu. Kagetsu hits Io with the belt and would attempt a Chokeslam but Io reversed it into a Frankensteiner for a two count. Kagetsu would hit the Oedo Coaster to finally get a pinfall over Io, go Prime Minister!
Entry 19. Mayu Iwatani. Two went back and forth and played paper, rock, scissor as they slapped each other. Gonna miss these two fighting each other and wish they had one more match. Mayu hits a Standing Moonsault as the bell rang.
Entry 20. Momo Watanabe. Momo would attempt her Cradle but Io reversed it into her Underhook Facebuster as the time ran out, but Momo would allow her to hit her Diving Moonsault Press one last time as she does so and even lets Io pin her despite the time running out. (2-1-17)
This whole gauntlet was a lot of fun with a nice surprise from Takumi, everyone gave it their all and was an emotion fun ride. After the match, Io would cut a promo saying that she has one final match left before she leaves and would say to her that pro wrestling is life. Io said that even with her gone, Stardom will still shine and create a brighter future as she saw that today when she fought everyone. Everyone would come into the ring as she leads them to say their phrase which is ‘Believe now, shine tomorrow, we are Stardom”. They pose in the ring as everyone group hugs her.
— We Are Stardom (@we_are_stardom) June 28, 2018
Recommended: Great gauntlet match and an emotional one as we have one more show to go.
Leo’s Cutter Count: 0 (What sorcery is this!?)
Overall: The show was a solid one for what it was and we had a very nice gauntlet match. It’s now dawning on me that we may never see Io Shirai in Stardom again and it’ll be hard to see, but they’ll still shine brightly with or without her and they proved that tonight.
Favorite Match: Io Shirai vs. Stardom
Least Favorite Match: Hanan vs. Kaori Yoneyama vs. Zoe Lucas
(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
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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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