Pro Wrestling NOAH the Best! There last really big endeavor before they try to run events against Wrestle Kingdom! Does Kenoh take the title from the young champion?
So if you follow Hisame’s newsletters, you know that even though it happened on November 2nd, it wasn’t shown on TV until today.
A rematch for the GHC Junior title, a slugfest with two killers to crown the first ever National Champion and of course, the GHC Heavyweight Championship match. The first winner of the N-1 Victory (yes I know it’s just renamed Global League) Kenoh facing someone he sees as a younger brother.
Does the young emerald champion retain?
Let’s find out!
- 50 Funky Powers & Hitoshi Kumano vs El Hijo de Dr Wagner Jr, KAZMA SAKAMOTO & Kinya Okada: Hijo Wagner wins via Moonsault @6:10 – **
- Mitsuo Momota & Tamon Honda vs Akitoshi Saito & Masao Inoue: Momota wins via Victory Roll @10:10 – *
- Hajime Ohara, NOSAWA Rongai & Kazushi Sakuraba vs Osamu Nishimura, Hi69 & Junta Miyawaki: Sakuraba wins via Figure Four Leglock @8:20 – ***
- Chris Ridgeway, Atsushi Kotoge & Eddie Edwards vs Masaaki Mochizuki, Minoru Tanaka & Super Crazy: Edwards wins via Boston Knee Party @11:30 – ***
- Shuhei Taniguchi vs Kazuyuki Fujita: Fujita wins via Sleeper Hold @8:00 – *** 1/4
- GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship: Kotaro Suzuki & Yoshinari Ogawa (c) vs Tadasuke & Daisuke Harada: Tadasuke wins via OutKast @11:00 – *** 3/4 – TITLE CHANGE!!!
- GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship: YO-HEY vs HAYATA (c): HAYATA retains via Headache @14:10 – *** 1/2
- GHC Heavyweight Tag Team Championship: AXIZ (Go Shiozaki & Katsuhiko Nakajima) (c) vs The Tough (Masa Kitamiya & Yoshiki Inamura): Nakajima retains via Vertical Spike @17:00 – *** 1/2
- The Great Muta vs Naomichi Marufuji: Muta wins via Shining Wizard @12:05 – ***
- Inaugural GHC National Championship: Michael Elgin vs Takashi Sugiura: Sugiura wins via Olympic Slam @21:35 – **** 1/4 – TITLE CHANGE!!!
- GHC Heavyweight Championship: Kaito Kiyomiya (c) vs Kenoh: Kiyomiya retains via Tiger Suplex @31:10 – **** 1/2
-The show kicks off with Grand Sword playing (Kobashi’s theme song), and Kenta Kobashi coming to the ring to address the crowd. It seems to be thanking the fans for sticking by NOAH over the years and just one of those nice starts to ease fans into the show.
50 Funky Powers & Hitoshi Kumano vs El Hijo de Dr Wagner Jr, KAZMA SAKAMOTO & Kinya Okada – Nothing to be too upset about here. A few veterans and younger wrestlers that have shared allegiances in the past few months, open the show. Wagner Jr still doesn’t work perfectly with the Japanese style, but it’s not awful, the crowd seems to appreciate him enough, and it’s nice seeing NOAH continuing relationships with other companies. So nothing of real merit, but an alright match.
Mitsuo Momota & Tamon Honda vs Akitoshi Saito & Masao Inoue – Mighty Inoue is the special referee in the Classics match. So let’s address some of the history, Masao Inoue and Honda were All Asia Tag champs in All Japan in the 90s, Momota is the son of Rikidozan, as well as Honda spending about a decade in NOAH, so he’s got history with Saito as well…most likely. This is a Classics match, which is really just nostalgia and old veterans…because of respect, I suppose. The match is hard to watch, slow motion at times, comedy at times, but the crowd seems to enjoy it for what it was.
Hajime Ohara, NOSAWA Rongai & Kazushi Sakuraba vs Osamu Nishimura, Hi69 & Junta Miyawaki – So we get the first match with wrestlers we’ve been driven to care about recently. Junta is an up and coming rookie that shows great heart and will be something special in a few years. Sakuraba, Rongai and Ohara are all members of Sugiura-Gun, which really is mostly a collection of veterans with technical and legit backgrounds, that skew a little heel at times. However, this match had nice energy, good moments from everyone, but did a great job at showcasing that Sakuraba hasn’t really lost a step. Great striking and his inventive ability to slap on submission rivals that of Minoru Suzuki. The first actually fun match of the night.
Chris Ridgeway, Atsushi Kotoge & Eddie Edwards vs Masaaki Mochizuki, Minoru Tanaka & Super Crazy – Now we’re getting to the real portion of the card. All six of these men are towards the top of their respective division, and guests like Super Crazy and Eddie Edwards help the show feel like a big deal. Kotoge got worked over a little bit, but since he’s IPW Junior Heavyweight champion, you’d expect everyone to try and get one over on him. Pretty good work, fun spots, and even though Super Crazy slipped on the way up for his Moonsault, he missed it anyway, so that doesn’t hurt things too much. Fun match and Eddie picking up the win over Super Crazy is a good time for the fans (since Eddie is a NOAH dojo original, so fans see him as a native NOAH wrestler even though he’s on loan from Impact currently).
Shuhei Taniguchi vs Kazuyuki Fujita – After a little bit of posturing, they begin going at it like two bulls in a ring. Shuhei has something he’s trying to prove against the accomplished veteran, and Fujita’s reputation precedes him, so he can’t back down. Shuhei has control for a good portion of this match, running Fujita into the ring posts and keeping him on the back foot during strike exchanges. Two big Monster Splashes, back and forth headbutts actually bust Shuhei open, and the flurry towards the end was intense. Not a long match, not a technical marvel, but two strikers in more of a Strong Style match, was quite entertaining.
GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship: Kotaro Suzuki & Yoshinari Ogawa (c) vs Tadasuke & Daisuke Harada – This was a damn good match. All four men have a lot of history, and this lived up to it all. The veteran team employed a lot of quick tags to keep Harada and Tadasuke off balance early on. Tadasuke and Harada went for a Hart Attack, but that didn’t work out too well, so Suzuki and Ogawa took immediate advantage. But almost as if the perfect flip of the page, a Tandem Tiger Driver gets broken up by Harada and gives the RATEL’S duo the momentum again. Suzuki gets a close call after he performs Endless Waltz, but the younger wrestlers prove a little too much, and Tadasuke wins via Spin Out Torture Rack Bomb…but he calls it OutKast. Great match.
GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship: YO-HEY vs HAYATA (c) – These two are the rest of the RATEL’S stable. Both men are fan favorites, often tag partners and YO-HEY affectionately calls HAYATA “wife” in interviews.Strikes were quick and deadly, with YO-HEY never really having that trademark grin leave his face. YO-HEY strung together quite a bit of offense, and HAYATA seemed to have issues getting his footing in the match. Especially when HAYATA missed a top rope Enzuigiri, giving YO-HEY the opening for Super Ganmen G, but HAYATA kicked out. Two Headaches later, HAYATA retains his title. The final Headache was a little lame looking though, since it’s a Spike Frankensteiner onto a kneeling opponent. But still a damn good match.
GHC Heavyweight Tag Team Championship: AXIZ (Go Shiozaki & Katsuhiko Nakajima) (c) vs The Tough (Masa Kitamiya & Yoshiki Inamura) – So The Tough, really lived up to their team name. Nakajima and Shiozaki took turns lighting up Super Rookie Inamura for about half of the match. Shiozaki’s chops and Nakajima’s kicks landed flush, and the rookie thick boy was getting a lesson. Kitamiya eventually got the hot tag and did good one trying to bring some validity back to their challenge. Granted, Kitamiya slipping off the top rope during an attempt at the Doomsday Device, is just a microcasm for every time he gets some momentum. The local crowd seemed to enjoy it, but Kitamiya falling short didn’t surprise me. Hopefully next year can validate him as more than just a upper mid card role player.
The Great Muta vs Naomichi Marufuji – So Marufuji is still looking for his purpose in the new NOAH. He came out with flame body paint and a fire extinguisher, and had a slightly different attitude. Early on there were a few awkward situations with the chair not cooperating, items taking too long to find, but once the match got going it was fine. It was very much a heel Muta match where the mist played a big part in getting him out of bad situations, and thankfully he knows how to use flash paper better than Hulk Hogan. So it was cool for what it was and nice to watch if you’re a fan of either of the performers.
Inaugural GHC National Championship: Michael Elgin vs Takashi Sugiura – So there was no tournament for this new belt, but it’s hard to argue with the matchup. Elgin has a lot of respect in Japan from his time in New Japan, and Sugiura is one of the most respected NOAH old guard from the Misawa days. You know to expect a hard hitting, but well told story with these two. Perfect for a new belt.
This was a great back and forth with Elgin picking and choosing his moments to play up heel tendencies. He teased a Tiger Suplex, but Sugiura blocked it. He looked right at Kenta Kobashi and attempted a Burning Hammer, but thankfully Sugiura countered into his Front Neck Lock. It also was impossible to miss that Kobashi gave Elgin the look of “You son of a…” when he went for the Burning Hammer. This was just a fantastic match, where both men were equal in power and determination. Both men pulled off most of their signature moves, but Sugiura just happened to hit the Olympic Slam at the right time.
GHC Heavyweight Championship: Kaito Kiyomiya (c) vs Kenoh – This is a rivalry that won’t end any time soon and is great for the young champion. Kenoh acts like a grumpy big brother who cares at times and is beyond jealous at other points. Whereas, Kaito is blazing a trail and doing his best to make the new NOAH his company.
Kenoh’s aggression was on a different level in this match. He must’ve watched a lot of Avengers, because all he did was go for the head. Three or four Diving Foot Stomps on the back of Kaito’s head, numerous High Round Kicks, even a Pendulum Submission where he rammed Kaito’s head into the gate on the barricade. Kenoh was hunting for the knockout, and Kaito just showed a lot of heart. He has the heart of a champion, and it was evident in his ability to absorb the punishment and deal just enough to catch his breath and look for the next opening. Kaito attempted his Chicken Wing Facelock submission on a few occasions, but the old faithful, Misawa’s move that he is allowed to use, the Tiger Suplex Hold, keeps the belt around his waist once again. Great match that adds to his growing legacy.
-Afterwards Kaito is presented with the newly redesigned GHC Heavyweight Championship. Retiring the old Misawa style belt for this newer style.
Overall Score: 7.5/10
The only real negatives are the things not really geared towards the Western audience. A simple opener and the Classics match weren’t supposed to be workrate classics, they were aimed at certain fans who enjoy seeing wrestlers from their childhood still active.
A newly created and hopefully more successful mid card title had a great debut. So let’s hope the National Championship sticks around longer than the Hardcore Championship. Tadasuke being responsible for the win is nice since I feel like he gets overlooked in RATEL’S.
Also the main event was a really great match. Their story was palpable and the action kept the crowd alive. Overall it was a fun show. Hell, even the Muta/Marufuji match was fun, even if it was lacking as an actual match. Good stuff NOAH. I look forward to Hisame’s thoughts, since she was there Live.