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(NOAH) WEEKLY NEWSLETTER VOL.21 ~ 3RD FEBRUARY 2019

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With Navigation for Future winding down and Marufuji returning from injury, Hisame brings us a stacked NOAH Newsletter this week!

CURRENT TOUR RECAP

During the first match of the final night of “Navigation for Future 2019”, Masao Inoue appeared at ringside in plain clothes, and immediately was attack by The Hooligans. Inoue later said his reason for being there was to stop them doing their usual tricks, but something more would come of this later in the evening.

The match itself saw Kenoh team with two bright green rookies, Yoshiki Inamura and Kinya Okada, and of course only went about six minutes.

YO-HEY & HAYATA reunited in the second match. I think that HAYATA went to leave, but YO-HEY stopped him and held out his hand, which HAYATA looked at and then took, they embraced, and then HAYATA shook hands with both Yoshinari Ogawa and Kotaro Suzuki before leaving with them.

YO-HEY posted later on Twitter, “Welcome home wife”.

Daisuke Harada has made no comment about RATELS now being over, but Tadasuke has said he was shocked by it, and from now on, he will be thinking of himself.

The Backbreakers defended the GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag titles against Kouki Iwasaki and Keisuke Ishii. They were challenged backstage by Kotaro Suzuki and Yoshinari Ogawa (Suzuki and Kumano got into a fight after Kumano basically told them to “beat it”, which was broken up by their tag team partners).

Title match has been set for the 24th February at Korakuen Hall.

Naomichi Marufuji returned from injury looking happier and healthier (not the perpetually exhausted ghost he had become in 2018) to a curtain of red and orange streamers. He said was fine after the match with no problems from his arm or his leg.

Atsushi Kotoge appeared to have done away with the pink (he later told fans he loved pink and would not be abandoning it all together) for a golden chrome colored ring attire, and fans called him “The Golden Revolutionary Hero”. Naturally he was manic, and Go Shiozaki had his patient face on. Kotoge had told fans via Twitter that he had a surprise that night, but the nutcases’s new clothes, were not the only surprise he had in store.

So, while Marufuji celebrated his return, Nakajima did too – by smirking and kicking him.

Mohammed Yone had promised he would bring muscle to the ring to prevent The Hooligans from interfering in the GHC Heavyweight Tag Title match, and he bought out Takashi Sugiura, Naomichi Marufuji, Masao Inoue and Akitoshi Saito. Each time The Hooligans tried to interfere, they were fought off outside the ring by what would become known as “The Sugiura Army”.

Fifty Funky Powers were victorious, and Quiet Storm took the title win from Maybach Taniguchi.

Takashi Sugiura got in the ring and challenged The Hooligans to a match. He said that if they lost, they disbanded. KAZMA SAKAMOTO told him they accepted his terms, but he in return must accept his; if they win, he becomes their lackey and he has to wash their clothes, their backs, lick KAZMA’S shoes, and I’m not even going to mention just what Hino said about Sugiura could do for Cody Hall.

Sugiura agreed to their request and chose the team of Masao Inoue, Akitoshi Saito, Yoshiki Inamura and Kinya Okada to face The Hooligans.

Match has been set for the 24th February at Korakuen Hall.

Then Atsushi Kotoge appeared back in the ring, and challenged 50 Funky Powers for the title belts.

While Kotoge might be one gunman short of a posse, even he realized he needed a partner, and after a rambling promo about how he had asked people (including the veterans who he somehow thought were his friends, although he had been in a team that had been fighting against them to overthrow them), he announced he had “found a revolution member from the outside”.

Eddie Edwards appeared on the screen, he said he would “Revolution” with Kotoge for the GHC Heavyweight Tag Titles. Fans are calling their team “The Die Hard Revolution”.

The title match has been set for the 24th February at Korakuen Hall. Eddie Edwards does not seem to be appearing on any of the earlier dates in the tour (which starts on the 11th February), but there is always a possibility that he may stay on for the final two dates of the 2nd and 3rd March (the cards at the time of writing have not been announced). I would imagine that Edwards not appearing in the early part of the tour is due to his IMPACT schedule. It will be interesting to see if “The Die Hard Revolution” reunite for Global Tag League which starts in April. 

Kaito Kiyomiya successfully defended the GHC Heavyweight title against Masa Kitamiya in a grueling hard hitting match which took almost half an hour, in which both of them pulled everything out of every box that they had. Afterwards, like fans knew that he would, Naomichi Marufuji challenged for the GHC Heavyweight title, telling Kiyomiya that “You won the global league that I was supposed to win, and you won the belt that I was supposed to capture.” 

The title match has been set for the 10th March in Yokohama (where Daisuke Harada will also defend the GHC Junior against Minoru Tanaka)

FULL RECAP 
POST MATCH PROMOS 

NEWS

NOAH’S NEW OWNERSHIP
On the 29th January, NOAH announced the promotion now had a new parent company (this will be the fourth NOAH have had).

Estbee IT Ltd have sold the company to LIDET Entertainment and as a result, President Masayuki Uchida (along with three other members of staff) have had to resign. Uchida, however, will join LIDET as a special adviser.

LIDET are a company that as well as advertising food and drink, also promote and produce shows (such as Riki Choshu’s “Power Hall” among others, they were also behind the ill fated “GENESIS” which was to be the Takeshi Morishima return show).

President Uchida said, “After Marufuji’s 20th anniversary box office finished, I had progressed to a good point. The younger wrestlers had risen up, and there were good signs seen. Noah decided it was going to the next stage, and I thought it would best to leave it to LIDET, who have ideas that I do not.”

Yosuke Fuwa will replace Uchida as president, and producer Akihiro Takeda (who was once a New Japan executive and contributed greatly to the regeneration of the company a few years ago) has also joined the team.

Their aims are to bring money back to the promotion, increase and promote the big matches and to have it break away from, but not forget its roots, and start again.

Distressingly the iconic green mat will not be used anymore (aside from the Misawa memorial shows in June) after the 10th March show in Yokohama, and the logo will be redone. The owners explain that this is not intended to be disrespectful to Misawa, but the promotion must now come out from under his shadow. Misawa will never be forgotten, and his memory will always be cherished, but NOAH must now “voyage” without him. The term “Giving Up Misawa” has been coined.

They want to make NOAH the number two promotion in Japan within three years. 

“Giving up Misawa, “The Last Voyage” is determined 

“KENTA COME HOME”


KENTA at the NOAH dojo in September 2018 when he came back for “Flight”

Following his match at Royal Rumble 2019, KENTA changed his user name from his WWE persona and back to his real name saying simply, “THANK YOU”. This naturally caused a flurry of excitement on social media, with some people speculating that he had left the company, and others saying that he had simply changed his name back (some wrestlers do use their real names).

It was later said, (although not officially announced), that he had asked for his release from the company. Details are at this point sketchy with some outlets reporting that he was only given his release if he promised to return to Japan and not wrestle for any of the WWEs competitors in America. As of yet it is unknown whether he will return to Japan (and NOAH as is hoped) or stay and freelance in America with IMPACT and\or Ring of Honor, IMPACT of course being affiliated with NOAH, and KENTA having ties to Ring of Honor in his NOAH days. 

Although both KENTA and NOAH have been silent on the subject, KENTA’S 90 day clause runs out just before NOAH start Global Tag League 2019.

No matter what he chooses to do in the future, I would be very surprised if KENTA didn’t make at least one appearance in NOAH now he is once again, free.

COME AT ME YOU BASTARDS (KENOH’S FEBRUARY COLUMN)
Kenoh manages to keep in his hatred about Kaito Kiyomiya on the front cover of “Weekly Pro” to himself (although he was photographed looking at it and looking disgusted), and instead takes a tone about him which is akin to a concerned older brother, his hatred of Marufuji continues, and he has a grudging respect for Sugiura.

He also compares the heavyweights to each item of ingredients in a stew: himself and Sugiura are the oysters, the flavorless cabbage with bulk and not much else are Shiozaki and Nakajima, Kotoge is pepper, Kitamiya, Garlic, and Kiyomiya a photographic fresh chicken breast.

Marufuji does not make Kenoh’s list of ingredients.

STREAMER BAN
NOAH have announced for “environmental reasons” they will be introducing a streamer ban in the future. Streamers may be allowed still at Korakuen Hall, but in some venues, they will not be allowed at all.

Recycling in Japan is done at individual expense, and not by a neighborhood committee or automatically by the city council. While individuals are expected to recycle (and you can find the relevant bins for paper, plastics, tin, which the municipality will empty), businesses have to pay for their own to be taken away and disposed of. While for many businesses in Japan this may be a collection of soda cans drunk by employees, paper and styrofoam, and other normal recyclable waste; NOAH (and other promotions) are faced with how to dispose of a mountain of paper streamers, of which there are enough to coat an entire wrestling ring. You can imagine the pile after an event like Korakuen or Yokohama.

The streamers cannot simply be bundled up and taken to a nearby paper bank and stuffed through the hole, neither can they be put into a recycling bag and left on the curb for the garbage-men. NOAH (and other promotions) have to pay for their disposal. The venue do not clear up either after the shows, this is done by the seconds. Naturally the venue will have its own cleaning staff, who will go in afterwards, but it is up to the promotion to “leave it as they found it” so to speak. You can imagine the cost and the inconvenience of getting the streamers taken away, and sympathize with NOAH as to why they are banning it (for now at least). 

I would imagine an exception will be made for the Misawa memorial shows, and other big events.

NOAH THE THEME MUSIC
NOAH have announced that in April 2019 they will be releasing an album containing wrestler theme music. NOAH have not released an album like this since about 2009. There is no track listing as of yet.

FAN MEETING 2019 IN SHINKIBA
NOAH have announced their annual “Fan Meeting” event which takes place in the spring (February 17th this year); while in 2018 this was pretty much the kids get in the ring and play with the wrestlers, or an exercise class is held for children, Noah have made somewhat of a return to “The Golden Era” (minus the Chanko being served) this year.

All of the roster will take part, except for Go Shiozaki and Naomichi Marufuji, who will be competing in DDT.

There will be a meet and greet with the wrestlers, one of whom will hold a kind of talk show and Q&A.

Professor Nagahama (a trainer exclusive to NOAH who does sports massage) will give the fans a sports massage for 500 yen per time. Fans also can experience being a ring announcer for the day.

Miyaki Wakiko (NOAH’s official photographer, and author of “PHOTOGRAPH THE LIVE”) will give a lecture on the basics of photography, and fans can experience this when NOAH put on two secret matches when they photograph from the apron.

Fan club members will get in free, and have their own photography session with one of the roster (just who gets to do this will be drawn by a lottery, and will only be open to fifty people).

IPW
IPW have announced that they will be broadcast in Fightnet UK every Friday at 9pm starting Friday 8th February. As you know, NOAH have parented with them, and Daisuke Harada is their current Junior Heavyweight champion.

Robyn Goding’s beautiful pictures of YO-HEY, HAYATA, Daisuke Harada and Tadasuke from their participation in IPW can be found here.

CURRENT CHAMPIONS

TOUR TIDBITS
~ Naomichi Marufuji will team with Jinsei Shinzaki (ironically, Kenoh’s trainer) against Masaaki Mochizuki & Shun Skywalker at Giant Baba’s 20 year Memorial.
~ Takashi Sugiura counted the days he had been away from his little dog when he got home from tour, and Tadasuke immediately started playing “Kingdom Hearts”.
~ Naomichi Marufuji took part in the annual Setsubun celebrations.
~ Atsushi Kotoge wandered across the ring with a rolled up bit of streamer on his head. In a fatherly manner, Go Shiozaki removed it and then rearranged Kotoge’s hair.
~ A slight sound error occurred at Korakuen Hall when “Boogie Wonderland” started playing just before the pinfall was counted three.

KING SHAMELESS CORNER
Takashi Sugiura this week took a picture of his dog crapping on puppy training pads and posted it to social media, although he had taken care to cover up what was coming out of the dog with an emoticon…I think you can guess which one.

BROADCASTS
The last night of “Navigation for The Future 2019” will be broadcast on 9th February at 10pm (JST) on Samurai TV
“Great Voyage in Yokohama” on the 10th March will be broadcast by G+ plus on the 16th March on G+ at 8.30pm (JST)

BOOK CORNER
English translation of “Heir to The Ark” (Naomichi Marufuji’s biography) is ongoing.

LINKS
New structure statement, new owner is the LIDET Company, “I want to increase the big match”.
Noah GHC Champion Kaito Kiyomiya, former dorm manager Masa Kitamiya and the V2 match
Noah’s new structure, “We want to create a new face”
President Uchida resigns, and Noah shifts to a new regime, the skill and reputation of the new owner “LIDET” 
Kaito Kiyomiya vs Masa Kitamiya – transcript of the GHC Heavyweight title match signing
Report on Pro-Wrestling Noah’s new system 
GHC Champion Kiyomiya has a fierce fight for more than 29 minutes in his second defense, next challenger is Marufuji!
Kiyomiya’s second defense! Marufuji returns with the challenge, “that is the belt that I was supposed to win”.
Youngest GHC Champion Kaito Kiyomiya’s second defense, “Noah’s face is now me”… Marufuji makes challenge on return.
“Era”, Marufuji’s declaration to recover the belt
Yoshiki Inamura and Kinya Okada interview about their match against The Hooligans 

NOAH FROM THE VAULT
Looking back on Kenoh’s reformation of the ark (translation of article by @purodino)
Kenoh makes some eerily similar remarks about NOAH in March 2018, that the new owners in 2019 will echo.


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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Mathew’s AJPW Champion Carnival B Block Results & Review: Part 4

Time for another part of the Champion Carnival B Block with Mathew!

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Time for another part of the Champion Carnival B Block with Mathew!

Last time we were here, we had the majority of the block tied up except for Naoya Nomura still in first place while Joe Doering is officially dead last.

We’ll now talk about the next three shows with five matches in this one instead of six, meaning I’ll be having more matches to cover in the next part.

Who will be advancing in our next series of matches? Let’s find out as we…dive right in.

Rating System:

  • 0 Stars: Dave Meltzer
  • 1 Star: Vince Russo
  • 2 Stars: Tony Schiavone
  • 3 Stars: Eric Bischoff
  • 4 Stars: Bruce Prichard
  • 5 Stars: Jim Cornette

 

4/15/2019
Champion Carnival B Block Match
Sam Adonis vs. Takashi Yoshida

Review: Our first match for this show and article is Sam Adonis taking on Takashi Yoshida. Both men are not in a so great position, so neither one of them can fully afford a loss as of right now. If one of them does win though, they’ll be in a position that they really can’t lose their last set of matches going forward. Which one of these two will have that honor.

That moment when Takashi was the better one of a singles match…what is life anymore? Anyway, it’s not a typo when I write this since he did perform a lot better than Sam did in this match and I wasn’t expecting anything spectacular either but was enough for how they work. The first half of the much was rather slow as it was more taunting and trying to overpower the other but it just wasn’t exciting or anything to keep people interested. Later on, they would be fighting outside of the ring when Sam failed to hit Yoshida with a chair and brought Sam back in the ring for Yoshida to hit an elbow drop for a two count. Sam would eventually put Yoshida in a Cattle Mutilation for a Yoshida to have his foot on the rope. Sam would go for the chair again as the referee would grab it as the two would tug until the referee let’s go, having the chair hit Sam when he pulled back as it leads to Yoshida hitting the Kong Lariat to get the victory.

Rating: Tony Schiavone and a half

 

Champion Carnival B Block Match
Naoya Nomura vs. Yoshitatsu

Review: Our next match is Naoya Nomura taking on Yoshitatsu. Nomura is currently tied with Takashi Yoshida when it comes to the both of them having six points but Nomura is still in a great position that if he can win his next two matches, he’ll be able to knock down most of his competition and still be in first place. Yoshi would need to beat him right here for the other competitors to have a better chance of winning. Will Nomura stay in first place or does Yoshitatsu ruin it?

I’m living in a world where Yoshitatsu has had the best matches on my block, first with Suwama and now against Naoya Nomura. I don’t know what’s going on here or who slipped what into my drink but I need to see this part of Yoshitatsu more often. Nomura did just as well in the match too as the both of them would deliver a great match in the ring with Nomura still shining a lot in these past couples of months, but Yoshitatsu doing as well here is a big surprise for me. Nice technical wrestling, random bursts of energy when they would go at it, and just a nice story for that little cherry on top.

After Yoshi delivered a DDT to Nomura onto the ring apron, they would slowly get back into the ring and it looked like Yoshi had him right where he wanted him as he would attempt to go for the Koji Clutch, but Nomura would hold his ground and hits him with a Spear and rolled him up for a two count. Nomura would attempt to go for another Spear as Yoshi would knee him in the face and the both of them would be down as the crowd cheered for them. When they would get up, they would hit each other with a series of German Suplexes until Nomura would be the one to hit the final German Suplex as the two were down again. Nomura made it to the top rope to attempt the Splash but Yoshi puts his knees up before he could land and not applies the Koji Clutch this time around. Nomura was unable to tap as Yoshi pinned him for a two count. Yoshi was able to get up and attempts to hit the Codebreaker of Jericho as Nomura caught him to push him off as he hits a forearm and then a Brainbuster. Nomura would get to the top rope once again as he hits the Splash for a two count and would pick him up for the Death Valley Driver to secure the pinfall victory and his position on top. Great match and a great showing by both of these men.

Rating: Bruce Prichard

 

4/16/2019
Champion Carnival B Block Match
Joe Doering vs. Takashi Yoshida

Review: Our first match on this show is Joe Doering taking on Takashi Yoshida. Joe is currently in last place with one win and three losses, so he really needs to start winning from now on or he’ll be eliminated after this one. Takashi only has a couple more opponents left, so he’s in a not so hot zone either and would need to win his last three or his chances will be slim to none. Will Joe get a chance to bounce back or will Takashi get him eliminated?

Takashi would attempt a test of strength on Joe and it seems like a bad idea because Joe is bigger than him and I was proven right when Joe just not only won the test of strength but was unable to be knocked down when Takashi tried to shoulder tackle him. A bit surprising to see Joe pretty much throw Takashi around like a rag doll for about more than half of the match and then again, Joe needs to be more aggressive here if he wants to even stay in the race. Takashi would finally get some offense in after distracting Joe when he begged him to stop, gave him a couple of throat thrusts, even lifted him up for a Brainbuster, and ended it with an Elbow Drop off the top rope for a two count. Takashi would start to knock him down with a couple of Lariats until the giant fell onto his knees and he would go for the Cyber Bomb but Joe flipped him over and hits a Lariat for a two count. Joe went for another one as Takashi ducked and Joe would hit him with a Diving Body Press and would get the pinfall victory to stay in the game a little bit longer!

Rating: Tony Schiavone and three quarters

 

Champion Carnival B Block Match
Daichi Hashimoto vs. Suwama

Review: Our main event for this show is Suwama taking on Daichi Hashimoto. It’s been a few days since we’ve seen Daichi in any Carnival matches, so it’s good to see him getting another match right here. Both of these men could use a win but Suwama needs it a little bit more since he has three more matches after this one while Daichi has four more. Will Suwama jump to second place or will that belong to Daichi?

Man, Daichi sure is a screamer, huh? He just screams a lot in this match and I hate to see how he is in the bedroom. Joking aside, while the wrestling aspect of the match was solid, the story of the match was told much better here at the end of things as Suwama was able to send Daichi to his limit in this match. Suwama would pretty much control a big majority of the match here while Daichi would try as hard as he can to fight back, but Suwama doesn’t give him a fighting chance to do so here. Daichi does have a lot to prove due to being the son of Shinya Hashimoto, who was the longest reigning IWGP Heavyweight Champion until Kazuchika Okada broke that record, but still left a big legacy behind and Daichi wants to do his father proud.

There were a couple of times where you would see a spark of hope in Daichi’s eyes while he took the Lariats, Belly-to-Belly Suplexes, chops, German Suplexes, Daichi would just keep finding a way to still fight whenever he could. Daichi was able to stop Suwama for a short period once he would catch him for a Falcon Arrow as it gives him time to recuperate. Daichi would hit a Shining Wizard into the corner and be able to land a couple of kicks in but Suwama would just meet him with a Lariat to knock him done once again. Suwama would hit the Backdrop and Daichi would kick out of it and while he went for a second one, Daichi would shift himself to land a Crossbody to get him down again. Daichi would hit Suwama in the back of the head with a Shining Wizard and it looks like he’s going to win as he charges in to hit another one, but Suwama hits another Lariat to ruin his momentum once again. Suwama throws him around with a couple of German Suplexes and another Lariat or two, even a Dropkick for good measure before Suwama hits the Backdrop Driver with a bridge as Suwama puts Daichi away. A valiant effort by Daichi here and great underdog type performance to get him over even in defeat.

Rating: Bruce Prichard

 

4/17/2018
Champion Carnival B Block Match
Jake Lee vs. Takashi Yoshida

Review: Our first and final match for this set of matches is Jake Lee taking on Takashi Yoshida. Takashi has one more match after this one as he only has three wins and three losses, so he would need to win this match right here or he will be mathematically eliminated from the tournament. Jake still has a chance to rack up some points but he would need to win here so he could take out someone and ruin his chances from winning. Will Jake win and eliminate Takashi or does Takashi take it?

There’s the Yoshida we all remember showing his shades of R.E.D here with the heel tactics in this match since he’s gonna want to pull off all the stops he can get if he wants to win here since he cannot afford another loss at all. Takashi would give him a few throat thrusts and rip up some of his wrist tape to choke Jake a little bit here. Jake was able to give Yoshida one of his better matches here compared to the last two he had which were rather lackluster. Both were able to match each other with Jake getting someone bigger to work with.

Yoshida would try to go after his legs for a little bit to hopefully try and get him to tap out later on and Yoshida would mostly just cut him down with his throat thrusts, which he does quite well and then again, he should since he does them more than Kenny Omega does V-Triggers. Takashi would apply the Figure Four on him now as he would try to make him tap out but he would get to the ropes before he could tap. Yoshida would attempt the Cyber Bomb as Jake would flip him over to save himself some time. Yoshida would go for the Kong Lariat as Jake would knee him in the chest and rolls him down to hit the PK as Yoshida kicked out at two. Jake goes for the Backdrop as Takashi fights out of it and gets him off to attempt another Lariat as Jake knees him in the chest twice to knock him down for a two count. Jake would apply the Boston Crab as Takashi would go for the ropes until Jake dragged him in the middle, turning it into a Single Leg Crab as he used his free arm to grab Yoshida’s arm to wrench it back into a weird Bow and Arrow type submission it looks like, I could be wrong as Yoshida would give up to give Jake the victory while Yoshida is eliminated.

Rating: Eric Bischoff and a half

 

Overall: I was able to get two four-star matches in this one, so I’m happy with that happening. Solid nights for this set as we already have one elimination while the rest are up in the air as of right now until the next series of matches. Looking forward to what happens next.

Favorite Match: Naoya Nomura vs. Yoshitatsu

Least Favorite Match: Sam Adonis vs. Takashi Yoshida

Score: 7.5/10

Current Standings:
Naoya Nomura: (4-2) (8 Points)
Suwama: (3-2) (6 Points)
Jake Lee: (3-2) (6 Points)
Takashi Yoshida: (3-4) (6 Points) (Eliminated)
Yoshitatsu: (2-2) (4 Points)
Daichi Hashimoto: (2-2) (4 Points)
Joel Redman: (2-3) (4 Points)
Sam Adonis: (2-3) (4 Points)
Joe Doering: (2-3) (4 Points)


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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Andrew’s AJPW Champion Carnival 2019 A Block Ratings & Analysis: Part 4

A Block and Andrew bring out Part 4! Top 3 competitors are only separated by 2 points. How does the Champion Carnival start to take shape?

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A Block and Andrew bring out Part 4! Top 3 competitors are only separated by 2 points. How does the Champion Carnival start to take shape?

Welcome to Part 4 of the Champion Carnival A Block! Shuji, Zeus and Ryoji are currently in the drivers seat, but with Okabayashi with only 2 matches completed…he could be a big spoiler.

This will cover matches on 4/15 – 4/16 – 4/17.

 

Ratings:

  • Dylan James vs Yuma Aoyagi: Dylan wins via Chokeslam @5:00 – **
  • Zeus vs Atsushi Aoki: Zeus wins via Jackhammer @10:45 – *** 1/4
  • Yuji Okabayashi vs Gianni Valletta: Valletta wins via Chainwrapped Double Axehandle @9:05 – ***
  • Yuma Aoyagi vs Atsushi Aoki:Aoki wins via Rolling Cradle @10:00 – *** 1/2
  • Atsushi Aoki vs Ryoji Sai: Aoki wins via Rolling Cradle @8:35 – *** 1/4
  • Shuji Ishikawa vs Gianni Valletta: Valletta wins via Chainwrapped Double Axehandle @5:05 – *1/2
  • Kento Miyahara vs Yuma Aoyagi: Miyahara wins via Shutdown Suplex Hold @17:55 – ****

 

Analysis:

So…yeah…I got nothing. Yuma and Dylan was fine, but even with Yuma trying to get a jump at the bell, this was never overly competitive. Yuma got one shot with a Japanese Leg Clutch pin attempt, but it was never really close. So nothing bad, just nothing much.

Aoki is once again outmatched in size. Not so much height this time, but Zeus is a former bodybuilder and Aoki is a Junior Heavyweight, so the math isn’t hard here. Zeus easily overpowers Aoki for most of the match until Aoki gets annoyed. Three or four of Aoki’s chops get returned by one of Zeus’ and Aoki drops. So he fires up, stomps on Zeus’ foot and DDTs him. Aoki has decent flurries of offense, usually branching off of stepping on Zeus’ foot. Only messy moment was a Crucifix Pin attempt that Aoki looked like he double clutched on so that made it odd, but it wasn’t totally messed up. Solid match and Zeus had to pull out the Jackhammer, which he seemed like he was avoiding all match until he started getting annoyed with Aoki’s resiliency. We end 4/15 with a big WASSHOI!

So the 4/16 matches of A Block start with the living crap basket himself, Gianni Valletta. Now I give him some points, the crowd started chanting for Okabayashi so he went to the outside and whipped his chain against the guardrail as a scare tactic. As for the match it was a brawl. Some time outside went back and forth, but the turning point was when the referee tried to stop Valletta from biting Okabayashi in the corner, and Okabayashi kicked him away, bumping the referee. So a low blow, followed the the chain that we should all know Valletta carries, and that equals the first win for that moron. It’s a good upset, done in a way that keeps Okabayashi looking strong. But any points for Valletta will leave a bad taste in my mouth.

Finally, Aoki gets someone that’s closer to his size and style.Yuma got a few wins so far, but Aoki finally has a believable match up. This doesn’t disappoint. More Junior Heavyweight style, but Aoki kept focusing on Yuma’s arm since he has a multitude of Arm submissions in his arsenal. Yuma nearly pulls off End Game, but Aoki gets to the rope. After some back and forth, Yuma has Aoki reeling, goes to meet him in the corner, and Aoki does that Forward Roll Cradle for a surprise pinfall. Not a surprise that Aoki finally won, surprise since Yuma had most of the momentum at that point.

The first of 3 matches for 4/17, sees Aoki with another winnable match up. Sai has a height advantage, but is not a particularly impressive physique, so the pace is actually fairly quick. Lots back and forth moments, even though Aoki was mostly fighting from beneath. The crowd always gets behind Aoki, so it’s great to hear them pop hard for him. In a very similar way to his first victory, as soon as the match looks to be in Sai’s favor, Aoki manages a rolling cradle for a surprise victory.

Well I think we’re noticing a theme with Valletta’s matches. They are usually started before the bell, involve outside shenanigans, and sloppy wrestling. Since he won this one, it followed suit with the Okabayashi match, with ref bump, low blow, chain. However, the general wrestling was just significantly worse. Shuji being a top contender for the Block, this really hurts. Could come back to bite him since Valletta would’ve been one of those matches you check off as a win ahead of time.

Aoyagi is the last remaining member of Nextream, but Miyahara being the champion…everyone’s going to want to step it up. Aoyagi took his sweet time stepping it up though. Kento manhandled him and Yuma looked outclassed for a while. Yuma caught Miyahara in End Game, and that was the closest he was to really winning the match. Yuma managed to pull off his triple German Suplexes, but nothing really looked to point in Yuma’s favor. He showed some fighting spirit, but Kento just outclassed him. Good match, but only one real hold your breath moment to suspend disbelief.

 

Overall Score: 7/10

Good couple of days! Honestly the only reason these upsets don’t rank higher is because they seem like hollow upsets. By that I mean Valletta getting a few wins is just a tool to keep the standing closer, but he’s got no chance in hell at winning this block.

As for A Block in general, we didn’t really get a monumental shift. Zeus moved into first, Shuji is 1 point behind, Dylan James and Kento are 2 points behind. At this point, Aoyagi is eliminated because he only has 1 match left and Valletta is eliminated because Zeus beat Valletta, so even if Valletta were to win out…Zeus holds a tie breaker.

Everyone else is technically still alive, but Aoki is most likely dead in the water. Anyway! The next part should start making the finish a little clearer as we slowly get through the tournament.

Current Standings:
Zeus (4-2) – 8 Points
Shuji Ishikawa (3-2-1) – 7 Points
Dylan James (3-2) – 6 Points
Kento Miyahara (3-2) – 6 Points
Ryoji Sai (2-2-1) – 5 Point
Yuji Okabayashi (2-1) – 4 Points
Yuma Aoyagi (2-5) – 4 Points
Gianni Valletta (2-4) – 4 Points
Atsushi Aoki (2-3) – 4 Points

 


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