Navigation for the Future comes from Korakuen Hall! Does NOAH get off to a good start for the New Year?
Now now, Hisame is still the expert historian of all of our Emerald Dreams, but I figured I’d try my hand at reviewing NOAH.
As we know from Hisame’s Newsletters, the big main event is Kaito Kiyomiya vs Kenoh for the GHC Heavyweight Championship. Can the young champion retain against his brash rival?
Let’s find out:
- Kinya Okada vs Masa Kitamiya – Kitamiya wins via Spear @2:40 – *
- Yoshiki Inamura vs Takashi Sugiura – Sugiura wins Front Neck Lock referee stoppage @6:20 –**
- Hi69 & Minoru Tanaka vs Atsushi Kotoge & Masao Inoue – Hi69 wins via Stuka Splash @9:20 – ** 1/4
- Hitoshi Kumano & Hajime Ohara vs Junta Miyawaki & Seiya Morohashi – Kumano wins via Blue Thunder Bomb variation @12:10 – ***
- Kazma Sakamoto, Cody Hall & Mitsuya Nagai vs Akitoshi Saito, Mohammed Yone & Quiet Storm – Yone, Storm & Saito win via DQ @5:05 – *
- HAYATA, Tadasuke & Daisuke Harada vs Kotaro Suzuki, YO-HEY & Yoshinari Ogawa – YO-HEY wins via Ganmen G on Harada @16:25 – *** 1/2
- GHC Heavyweight Tag Team Titles: Yuji Hino & Maybach Taniguchi (c) vs Go Shiozaki & Katsuhiko Nakajima – Maybach retains via Maybach Bomb Zwei @19:00 – *** 3/4
- GHC Heavyweight Championship: Kenoh vs Kaito Kiyomiya (c) – Kiyomiya retains via Tiger Suplex Hold @25:05 – **** 1/2
- Okada is a rookie with a lot of personality, but much like New Japan Young Lion matches…the rookie didn’t stand a chance. Kitamiya looked none to pleased and cut the young wrestler in half with back to back Spears.
- It’s a little weird to see Sugiura in the second opening match against a rookie, but it worked. Inamura already seems to have the fans support since they chanted for him multiple times, and he showed a lot of heart. He held his own against Sugiura for a while, even knocked him down after multiple shoulder tackles. Good showing for a rookie.
- This match was dysfunctional but amusing. Kotoge started off the match, Tanaka took his cape and when he finally tagged in Inoue, Inoue only tried for a cheap cover, when it failed he tagged back in an exhausted looking Kotoge. They had words and then Kotoge got beat up a little more. When Inoue finally feels like doing stuff, there’s an amusing moment where Hi69 keeps kicking each away from charging the corner. Then Kotoge accidentally Super Kicks Inoue who was holding Hi69. More stealing of the cape prior to finishing the match with the Stuka Splash. I can’t tell if Tanaka and Hi69 want to be a part of the Revolution, or really like mocking it. But the match was entertaining even though it was awkward at many moments.
Hi69 vs The Revolutionary Cape pic.twitter.com/03sGVJTZ2A
— Pro-Wrestling Noah Eng (Hisame, 冰雨) (@Hi5ame) January 6, 2019
- Miyawaki and Ohara start off with an impressive amateur chain wrestling spot that goes on for at least a solid minute. Ohara eventually gets the better of the exchange, but it was cool to see as a nice change of pace compared to the first 3 matches. Either way, this was a very good match. Some nice move transitions, lots of backbreakers, but Kumano and Ohara are known as The Backbreakers, so that’s a given. Definitely the early highlight of the show.
- Yes, Cody Hall, Scott Hall’s son, former member of the Bullet Club, continuing the heel traditions. Well okay yeah, Hooligans are heels, we get it. Early brawl on the outside, barely beat the 20 count, they gang up on the faces, then once the faces get some momentum Kazma comes in with the Hooligans Flag and they get DQ’d. Aside from there not being a ton of wrestling, lots of the spots were just sloppy aside from being hectic because of manner of the match. I think Quiet Storm challenged them or something after the tussle, but yeah…this was a good time for a bathroom break.
- Do I hear Hysteric? I do! MARUFUJI’S MUSIC HITS! He announces he’ll be back from his injury in February! He looks much healthier than during Global League but, even favoring the right arm in the promo makes me a little curious about how healed he really is. Then that leads to a nice official intermission if you didn’t get the five minute head start with the Hooligans match.
- YO-HEY recently turned on RATEL’S and now is the first time they really get a chance to repay his treachery. That’s also exactly what happens. Ogawa and Suzuki allow RATEL’S to gang up on YO-HEY, punctuating the mini-catharsis with a Triple Sliding Dropkick while YO-HEY is in the tree of woe. All six of these men are fairly familiar with one another and it showed. A lot of anticipating and countering moves. Very good match, solid work and Suzuki, Ogawa and YO-HEY all having to hit a finisher style move on Harada to put him away protects the champion nicely.
- All things considered this wasn’t bad. Taniguchi and Hino are part of Hooligans, and as you may have figured they are a Suzuki-Gun style Heel stable. So a lot of interference, but it all played into the story well. Shiozaki and Nakajima are top talents, but the numbers were too much for them. Many nice spots, a lot of hard hitting back and forth and Yuji Hino is a treasure. His nonchalant sarcastic attitude was a highlight during his stint in All Japan last year and it continues here in NOAH. As much as interference gets old, as long as Yuji is around I won’t complain much.
— Pro-Wrestling Noah Eng (Hisame, 冰雨) (@Hi5ame) January 6, 2019
- Kenoh and Kiyomiya have had an interesting rivalry. It definitely comes off as brotherly where there’s elements of jealousy and Kenoh thinking he has Kiyomiya’s best interest in mind by taking the title off of him. This match definitely had the personal undercurrent where both men were trying to prove a point to one another. Kiyomiya pulled out a few more stops than usual and Kenoh seemed to be taken by surprise on multiple occasions. Some could compare this to the old AJPW feud between Toshiaki Kawada and Mitsuharu Misawa. Which is fitting since Kenoh likes to kick and Kiyomiya is a walking homage to Misawa. The crowd was a little split at times, but no one sounded upset about Kaito’s victory. Kotoge and Kitamiya coming out to challenge at the end is interesting, but given Kaito’s age either of them could be an intriguing match.
Overall Score: 7.5/10
Though only the main event put up more than 4 snowflakes, all of the matches built towards something. Rookies cutting their teeth against former champions, Hooligans cementing themselves as the top Heel stable and Kaito proving he was worthy of Misawa’s championship all made for a compelling show.
NOAH starts off the year with a strong show, a promise of Maurufji’s return and a bright future with Kiyomiya. Can’t really find anything to complain about.