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Farewell, Hideo Itami; Welcome Back, KENTA

With his WWE release granted, is the champ coming back to NOAH?

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If it relates to the puroresu scene, rest assured Mathew has something to say. Let’s see where the news about KENTA has taken his thoughts.

I’m sure people have heard the news today, former WWE Superstar, Hideo Itami has been granted his release from the WWE. On Tuesday night, he would wrestle his last WWE match against Akira Tozawa and 205 Live, which he lost and was attacked by Ariya Daivari on the way out to give him a send-off.

For those that didn’t know about Hideo Itami prior to his WWE debut, he was formally known as KENTA and was known as one of the biggest stars in NOAH (No, not NJPW!) as well as one of the best international wrestlers in the world. In 2014, he would sign a contract with the WWE and KENTA would be now known as Hideo Itami which meant “Hero of Pain” and he would make a big splash in NXT until he got injured in 2015. Hideo was originally scheduled to come back in 4-5 months with the surgery but things would get complicated during the recovery process and it put him off the shelf longer until August of 2016. When he made his return to the promotion, it looked like he was going to go back where he started until he would get injured in December of 2016 when he was on the receiving end of a botch Powerslam, leaving him on the shelf for another five months. He came back in 2017 for a short run in NXT for a little bit where he lost his big matches and would eventually go to 205 Live to compete in the Cruiserweight division and that is where he would stay for the remainder for his career until now.

So what went wrong?

A lot of people had high hopes for KENTA when he made his debut to WWE as he showed a lot of promise, but unfortunately, it was the fact that he had those two big injuries that would derail his push or any momentum he had going into the company. I know people would like to blame the company for every little thing they do but this was just one of those things that sadly happened and didn’t want to see KENTA as a liability for if he were to get injured when he had big plans set up like last time.

People got pushed when they came back from injury, so why couldn’t he?

Well, it’s because most of the people that did were big names that a lot of people remembered and KENTA would barely scratch the surface before he got injured and while he was gone for half of his time in WWE, they already had numerous people signed who were making an impact in NXT while KENTA was in the background. Another person they blame is Riddick Moss since he was responsible for giving Hideo his second injury or the final nail in his momentum coffin. While they can blame the company for letting an inexperienced guy work with a vet like KENTA, however, some veterans do pair off with new people to help them get more experience in the ring and it was just an unfortunate accident and nothing more. It was just a combination of harsh injuries and bad timing that ruined his chances of getting more success than what he would’ve gotten if he came in healthy. If he didn’t get injured, he would’ve had a much more different path with a few titles under his belt and maybe a better chance to show off his skills, but the fans moved on with more names such as Bobby Roode, Drew McIntyre, Aleister Black, Johnny Gargano, Tommaso Ciampa, etc. So I guess you could say that him being released from his contract is probably for the best since it was too little too late to recover and best to cut your losses now before digging a deeper hole. I wish KENTA nothing but the best for his future.

Was his run a complete waste?

I’m actually gonna have to go with no since, despite the injuries killing all of his buzz, he still had some memorable matches with quite a few people and did try to pick himself back up when he went to 205 Live and had some solid matches there. He also played a big part with having more big names sign over to the WWE as he helped break down that border for people to make that transition as some have made it in the WWE while some didn’t make it, much like most companies. He did take part in Wrestlemania despite it being in the Battle Royal, he still was apart of the card and performed in a big crowd. Despite getting the short end of the stick, he helped open the door for others to make that chance and that’s something we can’t take away.

Where will KENTA go?

That’s the big question people are wondering as he does have 90 days until he can compete anywhere right now and where would he end up as he does have quite a few possibilities. One of the obvious choices would be to make his return to NOAH since that was where he made his mark in the wrestling world and I’m sure they would love to have him back, especially since the promotion is currently under new management since Masayuki Uchida is stepping down at the end of the month. Plus, KENTA could use a reboot there with some new competition to help put NOAH back on the map, plus he versus Kaito Kiyomiya sounds like an amazing match to me.

Another possible thing he could do is go to All Japan Pro Wrestling where he actually made his official debut in 2000, so he could so there for a change of scenery and could have amazing matches there with Kento, Zeus, Suwama, Doering, Shuji. KENTA would be a big name the company would need to help out with ticket sales and again, a new fresh chapter of his career. And of course, people want to see him make his official debut with New Japan Pro Wrestling but my main concern with that is that NJPW is too stacked right now that I’m not sure if he’d get lost in the shuffle or just be apart of their junior division. There is a plus with him joining NJPW though due to the partnership with ROH as I’m sure most fans would love to see him have a few matches there as he did before. One thing I don’t see him doing at this point is going to AEW or Impact since I’m sure he’s more homesick than anything and would wanna go back home to Japan, which I don’t blame him for at all. Another option could be that he would wanna be a Freelancer and just wrestle for a bunch of promotions around the world that could build up some exciting dream matches in the end, but the most important thing for him right now is to take these 90 days to be healthy and focus on getting ready for his much-anticipated return.

However you feel about how his WWE run came down, it was nice to see him try and take a chance to do something new even if it didn’t work out fully in his favor and fans will now see him do more with his career before he eventually hangs it up. I wish KENTA nothing but the best in his future endeavors and thank you for what you did for WWE.

Farewell, Hideo Itami and welcome back, KENTA.


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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Andrew’s G1 Climax 29 Ratings & Analysis: Night 4 B Block

Second night for the B Block! Jay White and Tetsuya Naito need to get on the scoreboard. Did it happen?

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Second night for the B Block! Jay White and Tetsuya Naito need to get on the scoreboard. Did it happen?

Sapporo is a fun city for the main event, with a lot of general history.

Will Ospreay having a neck injury means he’s not working the undercard tonight.

Those are probably the two points that matter the most. So I guess let’s get to the show!

Ratings:

  • Jyushin Thunder Liger & Kota Ibushi vs Yota Tsuji & Shota Umino: Ibushi wins via Half Boston Crab @8:20 – **
  • Toa Henare, Ren Narita & Tomoaki Honma vs EVIL, BUSHI & SANADA: BUSHI wins via MX @7:20 – ** 1/2
  • Minoru Suzuki, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Zack Sabre Jr & Lance Archer vs KENTA, Clark Connors, Karl Fredricks & Hiroshi Tanahashi: Kanemaru wins via Deep Impact @11:30 – ***
  • Chase Owens & Bad Luck Fale vs Kazuchika Okada & YOSHI-HASHI: Okada wins via Rainmaker @8:45 – ** 1/4
  • Block B: Shingo Takagi vs Toru Yano: Shingo wins via Pumping Bomber @6:15 – ** 3/4
  • Block B: Juice Robinson vs Hirooki Goto: Juice wins via Pulp Friction @12:20 – *** 1/2
  • Block B: Jon Moxley vs Jeff Cobb: Moxley wins via Draping Deathrider @8:55 – *** 1/4
  • Block B: Tomohiro Ishii vs Jay White: Ishii wins via Vertical Drop Brainbuster @19:15 – **** 1/2
  • Block B: Taichi vs Tetsuya Naito: Taichi wins via Last Ride @21:00 – *** 3/4

 

Analysis:

Liger and Ibushi take on Young Lions because Will Ospreay is nursing an injury. So this was unexpected, but who’s gonna argue with some Liger? Bare bones basic Young Lion match, but Liger and Ibushi kept the interest high.

EVIL and SANADA are facing one another on Thursday, but they were on the same team tonight. Part of this story was BUSHI remaining to look strong since the end of the BOSJ, while EVIL and SANADA had the tension building up. Instead of the LIJ fist bump after the win, EVIL tries to cheap shot SANADA, SANADA counters and then they have a stand off.

This Suzuki-Gun match was beautiful. It was just a gang fight, with each member of Suzuki-Gun taking someone off and Lance Archer even joined commentary at some point. House show quality match was a good way to describe this, but it was still fun and got across the point for future matches and just great character work.

It might be a little mean to say, but YOSHI-HASHI is in this match, so who cares? Chase Owens does prove why he’s the glue that holds Bullet Club together. He’s a great tag team player and this year he’s looked a lot better than he has in the past. So we’ve got an alright match, Okada wasn’t gonna eat a pin, but I guess they wanted to protect YOSHI a little, so Chase ate the Rainmaker.

Shingo proved he watched the Naito match by trying to get Yano to take off his shirt. Anyone who saw Shingo in Dragon Gate knows he’s got some comedy chops being a former…wait…the current, Open the Owarai Gate champion (Owarai means comedy). Shirt, wrist tape and turnbuckle shenanigans ensue, but the right person won. Shingo gets on the board and doesn’t suffer the shame of getting bamboozled.

This tends to be an issue with Goto and Juice a lot of the time. By this, I mean boredom. Goto and Juice have bumped heads a few times and they both try very hard, but they aren’t exciting together. Juice being a quirky but not overly animated just means you get a snarky line and one move that may be entertaining (usually Left Hand of God) and then the action stalls. So both did good work, it was a tough match, but it wasn’t really anything crazy. Solid enough match though.

Moxley focused on Cobb’s left shoulder, so the story was to take out Cobb’s power and try to figure out how to end the match. We saw another solid match, and Moxley gets across more of his character. He does borderline heel tactics and then apologizes to the referee. So this brawling, unstable babyface is an old school gimmick in Japan, but not often seen in New Japan. It’s nice to watch, and Moxley taking advantage of Cobb’s positioning to hit the Draping Dirty Deathriding Paradigm DDT.

Jay White starts off against two of the heavier hitters from Chaos, his former stable. After taking Goto lightly, Ishii comes into this match after a big win over Jeff Cobb. White came into the match less relaxed, but still playing up his smarmy character. Ishii laid into Jay the whole match, where Jay tried to outsmart the Stone Pitbull, but Jay isn’t as clever as he thinks he is. A great match with well placed false finishes and a lot of tension. Fantastic back and forth, plus Ishii picking up the win is something special.

There were so many story threads going on here. Sapporo is the place of their Intercontinental Championship match earlier in the year where Taichi had Takashi Iizuka interfere. Iizuka left the Iron Fingers for Taichi, but he hasn’t used them in the 6 months he’s had them. This was a great struggle of wrestlers who were once rivals, but Naito has since eclipsed Taichi. Hell, Taichi even hit a Ganso Bomb, shades of his mentor Toshiaki Kawada. References, call backs and a solid match from a story telling perspective.  Work rate might not have been fantastic, but that’s the beauty of professional wrestling being more than the moves in the ring. Plus part of the fun of Taichi matches is watch Miho Abe react, since she’s such a lovely devoted valet.

Overall Score: 6.75/10

A lot of this show was driven by the stories and the historical threads between participants, opposed to the in-ring action. I appreciate the mixture of angles that New Japan shows attack with. Many newer fans just know NJPW for great hard hitting work rate, but the beauty of puroresu in general is how deep the stories go.

Sometimes the wrestlers reference things from their mentors/trainers, sometimes it’s just a story line from the isolationist politics that each puro company has dabbled with or sometimes it goes all the way back to when someone was a Young Boy in a dojo. The layers are there for those who wish to know, so part of the fun in nights like this, are what personally floats your boat.

The show was the weakest so far, but there were plenty of satisfying moments outside of ring work.

B Block Standings:

  • Tomohiro Ishii – 2-0 (4 Points)
  • Jon Moxley – 2-0 (4 Points)
  • Juice Robinson – 2-0 (4 Points)
  • Toru Yano – 1-1 (2 Points)
  • Hirooki Goto – 1-1 (2 Points)
  • Shingo Takagi – 1-1 (2 Points)
  • Taichi – 1-1 (2 Points)
  • Jay White – 0-2 (0 Points)
  • Jeff Cobb – 0-2 (0 Points)
  • Tetsuya Naito – 0-2 (0 Points)


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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(NOAH) WEEKLY NEWSLETTER VOL.43 ~ 14TH JULY 2019

Global Junior Tag League has started! Hisame let’s us know what’s going on in Pro Wrestling NOAH!

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Global Junior Tag League has started! Hisame let’s us know what’s going on in Pro Wrestling NOAH!

CURRENT TOUR RECAP
After a long break in which it was thought that due to the silence coming from the roster, they had all gone on a short summer break, NOAH returned on the 12th July to hold a show in Tokorozawa.

In Global Junior Tag League, YO-HEY defeated Junta Miyawaki (although he did praise him afterwards in a rambling promo), and Chris Ridgeway defeated fellow STINGER, Kotaro Suzuki by making him tap.

Minoru Tanaka vs Daisuke Harada for Global Junior League, was the main event of the evening, and what a match it was. They pulled everything out of every drawer they had, Tanaka worked on Harada’s knee, while Harada worked on the neck. The match went to a thirty minute draw, and both spoke afterwards about it. Minoru Tanaka says that he won today, and he will win the league. He also mentioned that he wants to see more junior matches main event shows.

Daisuke Harada said that he would not let “that stranger” win, and he would challenge for the belt again, whether the fans liked it or not.

Takashi Sugiura and Hajime Ohara took on Masao Inoue and Kinya Okada, and there was the usual amusing Inoue\Sugiura interplay. Earlier in the evening, joining in with Marufuji not remembering Kenoh’s name, and vice versa, Takashi Sugiura joined in, but changed it so that he couldn’t remember Masao Inoue’s name. Inoue is a sufferer of gout, and naturally Sugiura targeted his foot by keeping him in the ankle lock after Kinya Okada had tapped, and then when his arms were lifted in victory, he continued stamping on Inoue’s foot.

Speaking of Marufuji and Kenoh, Kenoh (when the team of Marufuji, Yoshinari Ogawa, Hiroshi Yamato and Keisuke Ishii took on Kongoh), timed it just right when Marufuji bounced into the ring, landed and turned so that he was there waiting for him, and they both got in each others face. Inamura was chopped to ribbons.

As Go Shiozaki was still absent (he will return to the ring on the 15th), Katsuhiko Nakajima came to the ring carrying both of the tag belts. As he said at the match signing which took place on the 13th June, he was preparing more for the GHC Heavyweight than the singles, and so he started the match off against Kaito Kiyomiya. However, it wasn’t Nakajima who took the win, but Kaito Kiyomiya with the Tiger Suplex on Hi69.

EVENT RECAPS

Tokorozawa City Gymnasium, Sub Arena (12th July 2019)
Post match promos – 12th July 2019

Current Global Junior League Scores (as of July 14th 2019)

BLOCK A

Minoru Tanaka 5
Daisuke Harada 3
Yoshinari Ogawa 2
Tadasuke 2
YO-HEY 2
Junta Miyawaki 0

BLOCK B

HAYATA 4
Chris Ridgeway 4
Hajime Ohara 2
Hitoshi Kumano 2
Kotaro Suzuki 0
Hi69 0

NEWS

“THE COMPANY DOG”

In keeping in the theme of using pets on merchandise (a silhouette of one of Hitoshi Kumano’s little French Bulldog appeared on the back of one of his t-shirts, and Akitoshi Saito had a cat t-shirt) continued when NOAH put the head of Takashi Sugiura’s beloved Shiba Inu on a t-shirt, complete with dog tags which read “company dog”. Naturally, this was a shot at Kongoh (in specific Kenoh, as he is the only one who speaks), who are currently feuding with The Sugiura Army, and the use of the phrase “Company dog” (i.e. someone who does his masters bidding unquestionably, comes goes, fetches, wags tail etc).

The t-shirt will be released on the 15th July at Korakuen Hall, with mail order to follow (a white version is also available).

NAOMICHI MARUFUJI’S COMIC STRIP
Naomichi Marufuji has started illustrating a comic for “Weekly Pro”. The comic is a condensed version of his autobiography, “Heir To The Ark”, and starts off with his childhood growing up in Saitama with three older brothers, and wrestling with them which inspired his love of the sport. The comic starts off with two of his brothers arguing about who they are going to be, then they tell little Marufuji that they feel sorry for him, as being the youngest and the smallest, he is going to get it from them (which he did in reality), and Marufuji fighting back by saying that Tiger Mask (Mitsuharu Misawa) is strong.

You can find an ongoing translation on my blog.

TAKAYAMANIA

The main event for TAKAYAMANIA EMPIRE 2 will be Hideki Suzuki and Minoru Suzuki vs Naomichi Marufuji and Masato Tanaka. Event will be held on Monday, August 26 2019 at Korakuen Hall.

Broadcast most likely will be through ABEMA (a Japanese PPV subscription channel, only available to those in Japan).

CURRENT CHAMPIONS

TOUR TIDBITS
~ HAYATA’S garden has produced Daikon. YO-HEY celebrated by putting it in his mouth.
~ NOAH held a joint fan birthday party for Kaito Kiyomiya and Junta Miyawaki. Miyawaki turned 22 in June, with Kiyomiya turning 23 this month.
~ Naomichi Marufuji says he has a new gown for Korakuen Hall on the 15th June
~ YO-HEY made a summer vacation to see his family in rural Yabu. One of his young nieces asked him if he was married to HAYATA.

BROADCASTS
NOAH’s big Kawasaki Kultz event (and the GHC Heavyweight title, plus the final night of Global Junior League 2019) will air on the 2nd August on G+ at 12.30am JST

NOAH will be broadcast live on Sunday 4th August at 11.30am JST on G+

GIF OF THE WEEK

LINKS
GHC Heavyweight tag & single championship signing

Picture credit: Noah GHC, PKDK, YO-HEY
GIF credit: Noah GHC


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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