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Mitchell’s WWE Backstage Report! (12/24/19)

Backstage on Christmas Eve!



WWE Backstage coverage

Celebrate the holidays with Renee Young and friends!

It’s Backstage Before Christmas, and all through the show, it’s the Year End Awards, HO HO HO! What will be honored as WWE’s best in 2019?


Renee Young runs down the schedule!

Special guests abound, such as Maria Menounos, as Backstage talks the best of 2019! Director, actor and WWE super fan Paul Walter Hauser is about to learn some things in Promo School! And we look back on some of the best WWE Christmas moments of all time! Santa Claus is even here live, “Can you dig that, sucka?!”


The panel assembles!

Paige is home for the holidays, but Peeps rejoice as Christian and Ember Moon are here! And without wasting much time, Booker T has Maria Menounos! Maria is a super fan and had a big win at WrestleMania 28, and she’s so excited to be back.

One of the biggest things to happen this year was, of course, SmackDown moving back to Fridays, but on Fox! It was truly the beginning of a new era in the WWE, and that Friday debut was huge for all of the WWE. But first…

Just the Highlights!

Ronda Rousey also joined the WWE, and had a truly epic rivalry with both The Man and The Queen! Their brawl backstage with police cars and subsequent WrestleMania main event will go down in history. Speaking of WrestleMania, Kofi Kingston had his crowning achievement when he finally became WWE World Heavyweight Champion! Brock Lesnar and Bayley both became Money in the Bank winners to cash in and take the titles, Sasha Banks returned blue and badder than ever, Braun Strowman and Tyson Fury felt the fury, Kurt Angle retired at WrestleMania, and perhaps biggest of all… “I’m in remission, y’all.” Roman Reigns defeated leukemia and was back!

The WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships came into reality, being first won by Sasha Banks and Bayley at Elimination Chamber, then taken from them by the IIconics at WrestleMania! Nikki Cross and Alexa Bliss would get them next, and now Asuka and Kairi Sane hold them as very dominant Kabuki Warriors. More history was made in the Women’s Division as Lacey Evans and Natalya broke down barriers by being Saudi Arabia’s first-ever women’s match! Lesnar brutalized Mysterio and his son, Kevin Owens crushed Shane McMahon while Becky SLAPPED Stephanie, Lana left Rusev for Bobby Lashley, Bayley went bad, and for a time, the NEW Daniel Bryan held a new take on the world title.

Bayley got the title back, Ricochet had the US Championship, the Good Brothers are the Best Tag Team in the World but The Viking Raiders rule over Raw’s Tag Team Division, and NXT truly took over! The 24/7 Championship has quite literally been non-stop, all over the world, in places and scenarios you would never have pictured. Seth Rollins beat The Beast twice, but could only survive so long against The Fiend! YOWIE WOWIE!

The panel discusses 2019.

What stands out to them the most from this past year? Ember says it would be two things: for herself, being able to hit an Eclipse stunner off a ladder after begging for that chance; and overall, Becky Lynch jumping into the Women’s Royal Rumble to such incredible ovation. That was when it all clicked for The Man. Renee even notes that Nia Jax entering the Men’s Rumble was incredible. Christian says his two would be one, Roman Reigns overcoming leukemia, “that’s some real-life stuff,” and then Survivor Series and NXT coming out on top. NXT made their presence known to everyone, and proved there is no more “calling up.”

The first round of awards begin now!

First up, Moment of the Year! Your nominees are:

  • Becky 2 Belts, the Women’s Triple Threat #WinnerTakesAll Mania main event!
  • KofiMania, Kofi’s own huge title win at WrestleMania 35!
  • Women making history at Crown Jewel in Saudi Arabia!
  • Braun Strowman tackling Bobby Lashley THROUGH the LED wall!

And the winner is… KofiMania! Kofi holds his Backstage Year End Award Trophy, which is a golden statuette of Cleatus, and says he is so glad the fans demanded this movement. As superstars, they all want to put on a match that the fans will never forget. KofiMania was unforgettable beyond a shadow of a doubt. Kofi thanks his family for their support, and says it isn’t possible without his wife being a super mom in handling the kids while he’s away. He concludes by thanking everyone for this honor, the inaugural Backstage Moment of the Year!

Greatly deserved to say the least, because everyone welcomed and celebrated the entire build. Christian says what made KofiMania so special was that it was organic. It wasn’t force fed or even planned. Christian has always been a supporter of letting fans determine what happens, and that is what this was. Kofi delivered, he earned it, and it was great to see this happen for a guy who worked so hard and is legitimately a great person. Ember says, having seen it all live, it was just amazing to be part of. It was a sign that things are changing in the WWE for the better. Ember is also so happy for Kofi. They throw it to Booker, and he says he saw a lot of his own journey in Kofi’s. Back in the day, Booker and Triple H, it was so close to being that threshold. Kofi actually broke the barrier down, and even Booker teared up.

Maria says it was a lot like #GiveDivasAChance because the people were in support of it. KofiMania worked because Kofi is humble, hardworking and kind. He does the most appearances with charities on a weekly basis, so this couldn’t have happened to a better guy. Booker gives big ups to Kofi! But there is still a lot left, so make sure you’ve got your cookies and milk as these awards slide down the chimney and under the trees.


The WWE Women’s Tag Division celebrates a one year anniversary!

It was exactly a year ago that Raw helped bring the Women’s Tag Titles to life, and we’ve already had stand-out memories. Plus, TLC 2019 had these titles main event, marking the end of the decade as well. Therefore, this award is for the Women’s Tag Team of the Year! The nominees are obviously:

  • The IIconics!
  • Sasha Banks & Bayley, formerly the Boss ‘n’ Hug Connection!
  • Bliss-Cross, Alexa & Nikki!
  • The Kabuki Warriors, Asuka & Kairi!

The winners are… The Kabuki Warriors! After all, they are the current champions and they beat Becky and Charlotte in a TLC Match to retain! Asuka and Kairi hold up their Cleatuses and say “KANPAI!” (Cheers in Japanese) Asuka and Kairi talk in Japanese that of course they’re the winners of this category! Will they continue to be the best and most dominant women’s tag team in the WWE in the New Year?

Ember knows some Japanese, but still has no clue what a lot of that ways. Something about “senpai,” but it was obvious Asuka and Kairi were happy to have won these awards. The Kabuki Warriors have been dominant since Hell in a Cell in October. Ember feels this tag title reign has only elevated Asuka and Kairi. Both are former NXT Women’s Champions, Asuka has had the SmackDown Women’s Championship, but she and Kairi are on the same page almost every single moment. Christian agrees, the undefeated streak Asuka had was amazing. She lost to Charlotte, got a little lost in the shuffle, but Kairi came in and they were the perfect combination. Paige does deserve some credit, too.

Booker and Maria cue up the next category, the Men’s Tag Team of the Year!

The nominees are:

  • The Revival, Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder!
  • The New Day, Kofi Kingston, Big E and Xavier Woods!
  • The Viking Raiders, Erik & Ivar!
  • The OC’s Good Brothers, Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows!

The winners are… The NEW~ DAY~! Seven-time tag team champions, and while Xavier is out with that Achilles injury, Kofi is back to accept their Cleatuses with Big E. Is it edible? Technically everything is if you’re brave enough. Probably shouldn’t eat these, though. The New Day is so thankful for this award, and “hard work does pay off, BABYY~!” Big E keeps trying to take a bite out Cleatus is too hard.

Maria loved the Ladder Match between the New Day’s Kofi and Big E with The Revival, but does their 7th reign have legs to carry it through 2020? Booker says this all started with a rough idea that started to go south, so the trio regrouped and figured out the right way to do this, the way they wanted to do this, and here we are with seven reigns in all. This makes the New Day the greatest tag team in history!

A quick announcement!

For New Year’s Eve, Backstage looks back on the TOP FIVE MATCHES of 2019! Will one of your favorites make the list?


Who is the 2019 Breakthrough Superstar(s) of 2019?

The WWE roster is as deep as it’s ever been, thanks to all the new talent NXT grabbed up! That is what makes this award the toughest one to pick! But Backstage has narrowed it down, and here are the nominees.

  • The One and Only, Ricochet!
  • The Street Profits, Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford!
  • The Viking Raiders, Erik & Ivar!
  • The wild child, Nikki Cross!

And the winner is… Or rather, the winners are, The Street Profits! Dawkins and Ford have their Cleatuses, and shout outs to Book! Not to mention Mr. Philip Brooks from Chicago. But thank you for this honor and this acknowledgement. They promise there is more to come! WWE Backstage is one of their favorite shows, and they know it’s just begun, just like their WWE careers. Backstage and the Profits #WantTheSmoke!

Christian sees Ford pulling off the turtle neck and blazer combo to perfection and takes notes. Tip the red Solo cups to the Profits. What will 2020 hold? Christian is a little disappointed he didn’t get a shout out, but he does love that E&C inspired the Profits. The Profits are so entertaining in their presentation and promo skills, but much like the New Day, it’s about reminding everyone that they can go in the ring. The Profits need more matches in 2020! They can be tag champs real quick. Ember agrees, the former NXT Tag Team Champions need to do even more in the ring. The fans are already with them, so the Profits need to prove why that is. Ember saw the growth of the Profits from Full Sail to Raw, they’re a great combination, and that is why they’re the Breakthrough Superstars. Plus, Solo cup endorsement maybe?


Maria Menounos sits down with Paul Walter Hauser!

The man who plays titular character Richard Jewell in the Clint Eastwood docu-drama is here with his very own WWE United States Championship belt moments away from going to Promo School. Maria congratulates him on the movie, and both have been so giddy being top fans. PWH plays a very serious roll in the Richard Jewell story, but is usually known for improv and comedy. Promo School should be easy enough, then. What is his best WWE superstar impersonation? PWH feels nervous saying he’s good at Paul Bearer, but maybe that’s just his physique. “Oh~ Kane~! The Undertaker~!” Spot on! But his favorite is Vince McMahon in Beyond the Mat, “He’s gonna puke! He’s gonna puke!” Love it!

Maria asks what hooked him on the WWE. It was WWE and WCW when he was a kid. It opened up this world of possibilities. Being an actor is hard, but pro-wrestling helps you dream big. He wasn’t just entertained, there was an emotional component to it. Did he ever want to be a wrestler? Of course! He still secretly dreams he could get in shape like Chris Pratt and have his Mania moment. But he’s having a Backstage Moment so that’s pretty great. We’ll put PWH to the test, and Booker is there already. No Harlem Hangover please.


Backstage relives Maria’s Dusty Rhodes impression.

“You don’t know what hard times are, daddy! Hard times are when the textile workers around the country are outta work. They got 4 to 5 kids, they can’t pay their wages, can’t buy their food. Hard times are when the auto workers are outta work, and they tell ’em, ‘Go home.’ Hard times are when a man has worked a job for 30 years, 30 years, and they give him a watch, kick him in the butt and say, ‘Hey, a computer took your place, daddy.’ That’s hard times. That’s hard times.” The panel loves it! The best promo ever and done in such a great way. Maria says she was asked to do the Hall of Fame event that year and was watching old videos on YouTube. She was asked if she could recreate that, and she gave it a go. Dusty himself asked her about her Dusty, and he was flattered. Maria passed the test, but does Paul Walter Hauser?!

Time to go to Promo School!

He even superkicks onto the stage! But as usual, the panel will grade him from A to F. Christian knows PWH helped them write on the Edge & Christian Show, so his advice is to just be himself. Nothing is worse than when someone doesn’t believe what they say. Ember’s advice is not to hold back. Give us fire and energy! PWH promises to Heel turn. Maria has energy of her own as she wants PWH to go hard. But here comes his opponent, BOOKER T! Sing along with the song! PWH quickly compliments Booker on having one of the greatest entrances of all time, but realizes he should do that. “This is not Ring of Honor.”

Booker gives advice: look the man in his eyes. PWH steps up to throw shade, and some bars! “You’re not a jobber, but you’re dumb as one, cumbersome. Letting the faucet run. Your mouth is running, you’re not Titan Jack Tunney. I know you think it’s funny that you think you’re currency, but you’re not money. I thank you for the gate, but you’re not Rock and you’re not Austin. You’re not even Big Boss Man, you’re like Pete Moss, man. Egotistic, nepotistic, drafted from Shane, man, you’re lame, man. You best find a foreign object, distract the ref, no regrets, I hope gorilla’s got on their com-techs. Hold up, hold up. I do hope they’ve got on their com-techs, because they gotta listen to this, bro.

“You are a superstar, Book. You’ve moved beyond the factions. But it’s kinda hard to move beyond Total Not-stop Action. This is just distractin’, here’s the plain dealings: spare no expense, recompense enough feelings. I came here to grill you like Foreman, unload on you like you’re a long shore man. Wave good-bye to chaff while I’m laughing with the wheat on the floor, man. Let’s just stay in the present, though it’s tough to leave the past behind. Hulk Hogan, we’re coming for you- Nevermind.”

WOO! The grades are coming in, and Renee is giving a C, because it’s like Cena! Well Cena’s pretty good so… But yes, PWH was excellent. All those great jabs. PWH hopes he didn’t go too hard, but Booker says that was great. Christian gives PWH an elaborate A-. He did great! Disagree with Renee, so what if it was Cena style? This was like a slam poetry session. PWH did great to build up and cut down Booker and that zinger. “What’s not to like?” Ember says B+. It was a lot of great references that even fans will get. The only thing is, slow it down, it is so good but it needs to soak in. Maria loved that PWH was himself, so she gives him an A! Can you did that, sucka?! But speaking of, Booker’s turn!

Booker admits he didn’t know PWH by much, so he googled real quick. All his work is great, he has stroke, so Booker asked what Christian knows. Well PWH was on the Show that Reeked of Awesomeness, but he sucked so he got fired. And so Booker asked Renee what she knows. Richard Jewell movie, PWH is great, is perfect, because he’s never seen a burger he didn’t wanna blow up. But what did Maria know? She gets to sit with him, so what did she think? “It looked like the last time he saw a gym up close and personal, he was going about 55 miles per hour.” If PWH wants to step Backstage, Booker has something for him. The movie is Richard Jewell, playing right now. PWH better get paid, because that’s the only way he gets laid. And he’s out! PWH realizes now that while WWE TV is PG, Backstage is its own thing.

Booker tells everyone that wants to step to Promo School, that’s the Shucky Ducky Quack Quack for ya! “You just got roasted!” But in seriousness, go see Richard Jewell, and Booker really is one of the greatest.


Wrestling with Your Feelings, with Rachel Bonnetta.

Before going bad to the bone, the still Huggable Bayley visited Fox’s “psychiatrist” to work out some things. Bayley was told no more hugging in Rachel’s office.

To get to the point, why does Bayley want to hug everyone? Because she likes to. Does that make sense? Not really. No one enjoys hugging that much. And Rachel flips it around, that this is all an act. What is she writing? Nothing. But she is writing. No she’s not. But let’s try some Rorschach image response. First one: Butterfly. Second one: happy clowns. No, this is usually the most disturbing one. But just look at it, it’s like he’s in this stance. If she’s preparing for a hug, Rachel is not having it. Sit, Bayley. Okay. Well let’s call this a wrap. Rap? “Yo, my name is Bayley! Is your name Haley? No, it’s not! Yo, dat’s hot!” Okay, your turn, Rachel. No. This is it. Session over. Oh c’mon. Rachel never wants to see Bayley again. Aww…. Oops, Bayley “slipped” and she snatches the stuffed animal! Bye! No, that’s for Alexa!


Who is the Female Superstar of 2019?

With the Women’s Division really heating up, a lot of big names hit this category! The nominees are:

  • The Man, Becky Lynch!
  • The Queen, Charlotte Flair!
  • The once Huggable, now bad to the bone Bayley!
  • Rowdy Ronda Rousey!

And the winner is… Well duh, BECKY! The Man has a Cleatus and thanks the fans and Backstage, and mostly herself, for making herself “the best gaddamn superstar in the whole WWE.” Maybe even the whole world. Not just female superstar, but THE superstar! Nice little trophy of a muscular man for THE Man.

Becky probably had the best year possible, but Ember hesitates to say if it can continue into 2020. Only because she has an unpopular opinion. Becky has been on top from SummerSlam 2018 to Mania to beyond, but if she runs out of good opponents, she will get stale. Ember doesn’t want that to happen given all the hard work Becky put in, so it’s more about building up everyone else around her. Christian says Becky can keep going because she’s that talented. When you gain that level of confidence, you can’t go wrong. Becky is fearless and had great interviews, and she puts Asuka over as the best right now. That was a good way to keep it fresh, so here we go for another great story.


And finally, Male Superstar of the Year!

Maria and Booker take care of this one. Again, so many names to choose from, but the field was narrowed down, and the nominees are:

  • The Fiend, Bray Wyatt!
  • The Architect, Seth Rollins!
  • The Beast, Brock Lesnar!
  • KofiMania, Kofi Kingston!

And the winner of this final award is… BRAY WYATT! The WWE Universal Champion says that on behalf of The Fiend and his puppets… Oh wait, BRAY won this? Really? He’s so emotional! Well he wants to thank God, his family, Huskis, Abby, Mercy and all his Fireflies! The best moment of his life! “They love me! They really love me!”

Whether Firefly Fun House or freaky Fiend, Bray Wyatt really has outdone himself this year with character work. Booker has compared him to Mick Foley and all those personas. They just transform. Booker knew from day one that Bray was a different kind of character. It wasn’t what he brought to the ring but what he brought to the table. He’s on the level of the Undertaker already in terms of longevity and being able to be around for years to come. Maria also agrees on the Foley nod, that is a great parallel. Congratulations to all the winners tonight, and Booker is looking forward to the Fox Near Year’s Eve celebration with both Maria and Steve Harvey.


Backstage looks at Holiday Hijinks!

Trees, presents, jingle bells and more! Here comes Santa himself! No milk and cookies, but Santa’s happy to be here. He found time in his busy Christmas Eve schedule to stop by, and has a sack of goodies. They’ve all been good this year, right? Maybe not Captain Charisma. But here’s a gift for Ember! A friend says she could use this: Keys to Acting by William Shatner! Christian does have something after all. For all his struggles with a turtle neck, let’s go in the other direction: a V Neck! Not ironed? No time. Santa has something for Renee, getting that money! Golden wallet! And last but not least, Booker T. He sells that beard gloss, so here’s something that works. Santa’s brand of beard oil! Smells good. So with that, a Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!



My Thoughts:

A real fun episode here, and those year end awards went to the right people from my estimation. Kofi Kingston really did have the best moment, and of course the New Day was the best tag team of this year, because of the great combination Kofi, Big E and Xavier Woods still make even after already being at it for a few years. Street Profits had a great breakthrough year, namely through NXT, and their popularity carried over perfectly. But as the panel said, we need more matches from them! As entertaining as they can be backstage and on the mic, where are their in-ring opportunities? Hopefully 2020 changes that, especially on the Road to WrestleMania.

There were really only the four Women’s Tag Champions so obviously they were the four nominees, and it made a lot of sense to say the best is Asuka and Kairi. Whether used properly or not, Asuka was also consistently great, and then you add Kairi on and they’re an excellent team. Becky was the number one woman in WWE and perhaps number one overall, and Bray has been the biggest hit he’s ever been after the Firefly Fun House and Fiend made their respective debuts. Ember is right in that the problem becomes, who is left to face? Without Becky going back to NXT, there isn’t much on Raw or SmackDown. Asuka being her next opponent works well for many reasons, but there needs to be something more after as we head for Mania 36.

Having Maria on as a Fox network connection was fine, she’s very good and very professional. Her recreation of Dusty’s biggest promo was also really good. PWH does great in Promo School, I would’ve given him an A like Christian and Maria just on creativity, but I do see what Ember means about taking the time to let the things sink in so nothing gets lost. And Santa doing gag gifts was good. If only it was glasses Santa from Raw to give WWE 24/7 Championship connections.

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More From Japan


After a rare live stop in the UK for HAYATA (which Hisame was present for), she informs us of all the NOAH happenings leading towards the N-1 Victory!





HAYATA defends the GHC Junior against Shuji Kondo in Japan and Chris Ridgeway in England

In a brutal match which combined speed vs strength, and technical ability vs psychological warfare, HAYATA succeeded in defending the title against Shuji Kondo in the main event of DEPARTURE 2022 on the 5th August. It was by no means an easy fight, Kondo possessed the size and the strength that HAYATA did not, and so HAYATA had to find a way round him, which he did by too capitalizing on the element of surprise, which was the strategy that Shuji Kondo was also aiming for. In the end, he won by The Headache after 19 minutes and 3 seconds. Backstage, HAYATA said that since he was fighting Chris Ridgeway on the 7th July, why not make it a title match?

The second GHC Junior title match (and HAYATA’S 5th defense) took place at The Portland Centre in Nottingham only about (and maybe not even) forty-eight hours after defending against Kondo. WrestleCarnival (the promotion hosting the title match), followed NOAH’s traditions by playing the theme music for the title and showing the gallery of champions. For the newer fans, each belt, even the newer GHC National, have their own title music. Ridgeway vs HAYATA was STINGER vs STINGER with the atmosphere of the venue changing radically to a NOAH show. The match was a vicious technical fight, with very much Yoshinari Ogawa psychology (not just submissions, but amazing reversals i.e. Ridgeway catching HAYATA mid flight and turning the move into an ankle lock), which was very much Match Of The Year quality. HAYATA succeeded in defending the title with The Headache. Afterwards, they shook hands.

You will be able to view the match on WrestleUniverse in due course.

Yoshiki Inamura Fire Festival

Yoshiki Inamura’s summer peaked when finishing the highest in his block, he went on to the Fire Festival 2022 finals against Daisuke Sekimoto. Sekimoto has been both a tag partner and a rival of Inamura, and so this was Inamura’s chance to both show him how much he has grown and also overcome a senior. Sadly, Inamura was not successful in his attempt.

The GHC Junior Tag Championship: A tale of a stolen belt, duct tape and a sneak win

While HAYATA was defending his belt against Shuji Kondo and then heading off to face Chris Ridgeway, Yoshinari Ogawa had his own championship problems, as Eita is still parading around with the GHC Junior Tag belt. Eita is even going to far as to proclaim himself as the GHC Junior Tag Champion, have official pictures taken with the belt, and say all his singles matches in DragonGate were championship matches. No wonder at DEPARTURE 2022, Yoshinari Ogawa came out looking grim and holding a chair which he swung at Perros Del Mal De Japon. Kotaro Suzuki, who was at ringside seconding, was taped to the corner post by Yuya Susumu and Kai Fujimura, as Ogawa chased Eita around over the belt.

Kotaro was later freed from his duct tape prison, and used as a missile by NOSAWA Rongai, as he still had his arms taped down. The match was “won” by young Kai Fujimura, who Ogawa threw over NOSAWA, after he dodged thanks to Eita showboating with the belt, and who had hit NOSAWA in the face. Ogawa once again was not successful in getting his tag belt back, as after a tug-of-war over it, Eita ran off.

N-1 Victory 2022 change: Timothy Thatcher out, Kinya Okada in

Due to Visa issues, Timothy Thatcher was announced by Naomichi Marufuji, to have pulled out of the N-1 VICTORY 2022. Marufuji admitted that there were seniors to take his place, himself included if he so wished (he didn’t because of just coming back from a knee operation), but he wanted to see NOAH’s younger generation take that slot, and therefore a match was arranged between Kinya Okada and Yoshiki Inamura at DEPARTURE on Friday 5th August. If anyone was going to have that slot, Kinya Okada vowed it would be him. He and Yoshiki Inamura were the same age and contemporaries, both from the same class and the same generation of NOAH, but whereas Inamura seemed to have all the advantages – Fire Festival, title matches, and even main evening, Okada (whose career had suffered from a couple of early injuries), was in the opening match and losing constantly. This was his chance to catch up and fought like never before, and overcame his friend/rival. Kinya Okada will therefore enter this years N-1 VICTORY 2022 in Timothy Thatcher’s place (B Block). His first match will be on August 11th against Masakatsu Funaki.

Hiroshi Hase to take part in Mutoh’s retirement road?

As Governor of Ishikawa Prefecture, Hiroshi Hase usually makes an appearance when NOAH are in town. Normally his participation involves opening the show, presenting a gift to the winner of the main event (etc), but on the 31st July he not only chopped Kendo Kashin, and chugged beer with Kazuyuki Fujita, and made Keiji Mutoh a tourism ambassador for the region (Naomichi Marufuji fulfils the same role for Saitama), he also said he would like to take part in Keiji Mutoh’s retirement road, although at first he didn’t think he would be able to as he didn’t think the people of the prefecture would approve. Hase, who has been retired since 2018, admitted he needed to get back in the ring and do some training. NOAH have announced nothing as of yet.

Kenoh names his new move, “Enrin”

Kenoh has named his double knee attack moonsault, “Enrin”, which basically means flaming circle. He says that flames are a good look for him. The name was chosen following a public poll on Kenoh’s twitter

Kenoh WBC?

Following an appearance by El Hijo Del Santo in NOAH and Kenoh as usual squaring up to him, (plus a very funny shoving spot behind Tadasuke as he talked to the camera), it appeared that El Hijo Del Santo issued a challenge to Kenoh, over his belt. Kenoh said that had never heard any belt by that name, except in boxing, but would be happy to take him on, anytime and anywhere.

Naomichi Marufuji returns, dates in America

Naomichi Marufuji made his return to NOAH at DEPARTURE 2022, teaming with Go Shiozaki and Takashi Sugiura against Daiki Inaba, Masato Tanaka and Satoshi Kojima. The match (despite it’s N-1 fight between Sugiura, Shiozaki, Tanaka and Kojima), was won by Go Shiozaki. On the 28th August, he will go to New York to face Eddie Kingston at House of Glory Wrestling. There will also be a further date in America in November for  King of The Indies 2022.

Tadasuke injured

Tadasuke has been injured with nasal bone fractures, and will therefore miss (probably) the next three NOAH shows, which includes Osaka and Hiroshima, places very special to him.

“Camel Kobayashi”

KENTA revealed in his autobiography, “Footsteps”, that his ring name was very almost “Camel Kobayashi”. This was because he was teased by his seniors as they thought he looked like a camel, and it was Naomichi Marufuji, who suggested the name! KENTA says that it was because of this nickname that Satoru Asako defeated him with the Camel Clutch, although this was not a move he usually did.


– Mohammed Yone described Funky Express as “this little old man army”. Saito told him that most definitely did not describe him. They might be aging. He wasn’t.

– Eita apparently said he was the “GHC Junior” champion by mistake once

– Shuhei Taniguchi actually trusted a Kendo Kashin handshake. Think about that for a moment.

– Naomichi Marufuji said that after drinking with Mitsuharu Misawa, they were both so drunk they each paid the taxi driver, so he got two fares. Takashi Sugiura said that Kinya Okada and Daisuke Harada, both have a tendency to wander off when drunk.

– When Kenoh was looking for a name for his moonsault, Naomichi Marufuji suggested “New double knee attack moonsault”. Kenoh didn’t even bother to respond.

– When Kaito Kiyomiya was teaming with El Hijo Del Santo and Ultimo Dragon, he and Alejandro did a double over the top rope somersault. This is not a usual Kiyomiya move, and he said he was inspired by his seniors.

– A TikTok account craze has swept NOAH. Pretty much everyone except STINGER and Kongoh it appears have created an account.

– Tadasuke’s camera corner was interrupted by a scuffle in the background between Kenoh, Kaito Kiyomiya, El Hijo Del Santo, Ultimo Dragon and Alejandro.

– Kaito Kiyomiya has a new feature on his YouTube channel, “Kiyo’s Kitchen” (I get the impression that “Kiyo” is his nickname within NOAH).


  • Midsummer Clash 2022 (Ishikawa Industrial Exhibition Hall No.3, Sunday July 31st)

Event recap

Post match interviews

  • Sunny Voyage 2022 (Act City Hamamatsu, Saturday July 30th)

Event recap

Post match interviews

  • DEPARTURE 2002 (Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Friday 5th August)

Event recap

Post match interviews




(August 2022 schedule)

NOAH will hold the press conference for the N-1 VICTORY 2022 at 4pm JST on Wednesday 10th August. This will be live and free to view as it will be streamed on YouTube.

  • N-1 VICTORY 2022

Thursday, August 11th

Start time: 16:00 JST

Venue: Yokohama Budokan

Broadcast: ABEMA (Live)WrestleUniverse (Live, English commentary)

Saturday, August 13th

Start time: 17:30 JST

Venue: EDION Arena Osaka 2nd Stadium

Broadcast: WrestleUniverse (Live)

Notes about broadcasts

– WrestleUniverse will have English commentary for all nights.

Unless you are living in Japan or have a VPN you know is compatible with ABEMA, please do not subscribe to the service. For fans living outside of Japan, a subscription to WrestleUniverse would be better as they show more NOAH shows than ABEMA, and usually the events get uploaded very quickly. ABEMA broadcasts are only in Japanese, you can only watch them live, and this is the only NOAH they show. They do not broadcast old shows as these belong to Samurai TV.


Saturday, August 13th: HAYATA – PROGRESS Wrestling (Sheffield)

Sunday, August 14th: HAYATA – PROGRESS Wrestling (Newcastle)

I am informed that PROGRESS have their own streaming service, but I am unsure as to whether the matches will be put on WrestleUniverse.


Wednesday, August 10th: Yasutaka Yano (22)

Friday, August 12th: Junta Miyawaki debut anniversary (5)


“Take it from me in the truest sense of the word”, Mutoh teaches Kiyomiya “The Mutoh Finishing Method” directly

Will Naomichi Marufuji never go bankrupt? When I asked the wrestlers about NOAH and the legendary heavy drinkers, there was surprising episodes….

Naomichi Marufuji, “I want to stand again as one of NOAH’s pillars” – press conference on the eve of his return for the first tine in two months

GHC Junior match signing ceremony: “I will create NOAH Junior’s brand”, Kondo declares comeback for the first time in none and a half years, HAYATA brands him as a “guy from the past”

Interview with El Hijo Del Santo towards NOAH War, Ultimo says about Kenoh, “I won’t let him lay a finger”


Takashi Sugiura

Jack Morris

Masato Tanaka

Hideki Suzuki

Anthony Greene

Masa Kitamiya

Masaaki Mochizuki

Kazuyuki Fujita

Satoshi Kojima


“Donmai, Donmai” – Mitsuharu Misawa’s diary

Akira Taue complains of someone snoring, he thinks it was probably Yoshinari Ogawa, but Mitsuharu Misawa admits it may also have been him.

PICTURE CREDITS: House of Glory (Naomichi Marufuji & Eddie Kingston), myself (HAYATA)

GIF taken from WrestleUniverse

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More From Japan


With only a few weeks before the N-1 Victory tournament kicks off, NOAH is setting the stage and the Juniors are forever causing trouble!





Seiki Yoshioka joins the NOAH Junior Regulars

Following a singles match with Daisuke Harada at “STAR NAVIGATION 2022” (July 21st, Korakuen Hall), Seiki Yoshioka took Harada up on his offer to join the NOAH Junior Regulars. Yoshioka explained his decision as he had tried to get the GHC Junior Heavyweight belt by himself and had failed, so now he was going to try getting it working in tandem with people he had never teamed with before.

When it came to meet his new teammates, not everyone was initially happy with Daisuke Harada’s decision. Alejandro had no issue with it, Atsushi Kotoge put the past behind them and shook hands, but YO-HEY was a little more cautious, and naturally the same went for Seiki Yoshioka.

To set the scene for newer fans, Yoshioka and YO-HEY were in a unit called FULL THROTTLE together, which fell apart when Yoshioka kicked YO-HEY in the head and turned on the unit saying that expressions such as “Perron” (YO-HEY) and “Mui Bien” (Hajime Ohara) weren’t going to get him to the top of the NOAH Juniors and after kicking Hajime Ohara down, he joined with his old friends in STINGER. Since then, he and YO-HEY have been enemies. YO-HEY later said that Harada had made a decision, and basically he would abide by it and see how it went. The ice was broken a little at the NOAH Junior Twitter Space, and again the next day at their second one (NOAH seemed intent on replaying the first interview), but being in the ring and tagging together is the real show your true intentions as far as the NOAH Juniors go, and this is precisely what is going to happen on the 29th July when YO-HEY, Seiki Yoshioka and Daisuke Harada team together against STINGER. Yuya Susumu is not impressed by Yoshioka’s decision, asking if this is the path he chose on leaving them?

STINGER vs Perros Del Mal; A Tale of Two Tag Belts

Since Eita stole Yoshinari Ogawa’s tag belt, Ogawa has been on a long and fruitless quest to get it back. He almost succeeded at Korakuen Hall on the 22nd July, when he snatched the belt and went backstage during the match (leading to an unintentional but typical slightly funny moment of Yuya Susumu having to be the responsible one and sort things out), but PERROS chased him and grabbed the belt back. In the ring, Yoshinari Ogawa was taped to the ropes and forced to watch young Kai Fujimura forced to submit. HAYATA saved Ogawa from being beaten down by running into the ring and making PERROS scatter. Backstage, another fight broke out when Ogawa threw a plastic water bottle at PERROS and attempted to get the belt back. Eita declared it was his, and ran off with NOSAWA, as he clutched the belt to him. In fury, Ogawa threw a steel barrier. Fortunately, the other tag belt is safely in Chris Ridgeway’s possession. Eita warned him not to come back too quickly, he’s having too much fun beating up Ogawa.

“Not Misawa or Mutoh”

Kaito Kiyomiya says that despite the “Three Sacred Treasures” (as the Japanese sports press have named Keiji Mutoh’s gifts of The Shining Wizard. The Figure Four and The Dragon Screw), Kiyomiya at the moment has no intention of using them. He is grateful to Mutoh, but during the N-1 he wants to win as himself and find a move that is uniquely his. Kiyomiya believes that this final task from Keiji Mutoh, is Mutoh’s final gift to him.

Shuji Kondo’s mind games

Shuji Kondo declared that he would defeat HAYATA by using mind games. However, after their last pre match at Korakuen Hall on the 22nd July where Kondo had basically side stepped HAYATA, no sold him and then was not where HAYATA had anticipated he would be, HAYATA played his own mind games by offering Kondo a handshake and then attacking him, dodging Kondo he slid out of the ring and growled on the mic, “To be continued, August 8th, Korakuen Hall”.

N-1 VICTORY battlelines drawn up

The heavyweights are gearing up for the N-1 VICTORY, which means they go slightly wild like their junior counterparts.

Katsuhiko Nakajima says this will be his summer, and has already sparked with Kaito Kiyomiya, defeating him and throwing him from the ring at the last Korakuen.

Kenoh says he is aiming for Kazuyuki Fujita to avenge his GHC National loss, and of course to rid NOAH of what he terms “the old men”. Kenoh has also renamed the N-1, the K-1 as he believes it will come down to Masakatsu Funaki (GHC National Champion), Katsuhiko Nakajima (the winner of the league the past two years) and himself (the GHC Heavyweight Champion). Kenoh says he will win.

Go Shiozaki is aiming for Satoshi Kojima

Satoshi Kojima is looking to create his own record and be the first person to win a Grand Slam in league matches in New Japan, NOAH and All Japan.


Perros Del Mal De Japon retained the titles against HIGH END on July 21st, and have been challenged by M3K. This match will take place in Dragon Gate. However, NOSAWA Rongai has challenged YAMATO to a singles match which will take place in NOAH.


– Mohammed Yone said in a recent interview that before matches, he pumps up his ‘fro by about 10cm

– Pec flexing seems to have become a competition in NOAH as Satoshi Kojima does it with Kenoh and Katsuhiko Nakajima doing it in matches, and Kaito Kiyomiya demonstrating it to the crowd at one of the recent fan events.

– Katsuhiko Nakajima was asked if he where to have a girlfriend among the NOAH roster, who would it be? He said it would be himself.

– NOAH will go back to selling full seating for venues in September

– Fans are wondering when HAYATA is going to start talking like Kenoh!

– NOSAWA asked Masaaki Mochizuki (52), who was dressed in the baggy pants, t-shirts, shades and varsity jackets and floppy blonde hair reminiscent of 90s college boys, if he was a little old to be dressing that way? He added that Ryoto (Mochizuki’s son) didn’t really want to be dressing that way either.

– KENTA wrote in his biography a funny/embarrassing incident that took place in Hakodate when he and Kenta Kobashi were eating with some locals. Kobashi asked KENTA who was his favorite in a local band called “Judy and Mary”, did he like “Judy” or did he like “Mary”. While the locals suppressed their giggles as the band is a four piece and not a duo like Kobashi thought, KENTA (who himself was turning red at Kobashi trying to be hip) saved him further embarrassment and said “Judy”. It is probably better that Kobashi did not ask Jun Akiyama…

Another KENTA story was when he was injured during training for his debut due to an elbow to face by Makoto Hashi. Concerned, Mitsuharu Misawa came over and tilted KENTA’S head up to look. KENTA said he forgot the pain in his nose, as he was more worried about Misawa kissing him.


  • STAR NAVIGATION 2022 (Thursday July 21st, Korakuen Hall)

Event recap

Post match interviews

  • STAR NAVIGATION 2022 (Friday July 22nd, Korakuen Hall)

Event recap

Post match interviews



(August 2022 schedule)


Saturday, July 30th

Venue: Act City Hamamatsu, Shizuoka

Start: 18:00 JST

Broadcast: WrestleUniverse (broadcast on Tuesday 2nd August from 18:00 JST)


Sunday, July 31st

Venue: Ishikawa Industrial Exhibition Hall No. 3, Ishikawa

Start: 16:00

Broadcast: WrestleUniverse (broadcast on Wednesday 3rd August from 18:00 JST)

  • DEPARTURE 2022

Friday, August 5th

Start time: 18:30 JST

Venue: Korakuen Hall

Broadcast: WrestleUniverse (Live)

DEPARTURE celebrates NOAH’s birthday, which means that this year, NOAH will turn twenty two. Each year NOAH reaches this point is a miracle given the turbulent history of the promotion. Mitsuharu Misawa gave NOAH’s first ever show this name as a way of sticking up two fingers to All Japan as he had walked out with three of The Four Pillars, half of the roster, and most of their young talent, referees, office staff and eventually NOAH would even take All Japan’s TV spot.


A man named Kaito Kiyomiya

“Why did you start using “Kinniku Buster” in Pro Wrestling?” Mohammed Yone, “I wanted a special move to say “This is who I am”

Satoshi Kojima swears an early comeback for the N-1, will he exceed Mutoh in The Grand Slam & Three Promotions League Championship? 

Kenoh plans a N-1 Veteran “Spring Clean”, the number one target is Kazuyuki Fujita, the symbol of the old men

Neither Misawa or a copy of Mutoh! Kaito Kiyomiya talks about his N-1 Resolution

Fan Meeting 2022 – Saturday 23rd July

Fan Meeting 2022 – Sunday 24th July

Kaito Kiyomiya, who has inherited Keiji Mutoh’s special moves, will display a “New Kiyomiya at N-1”

From Cirque Du Soleil..the hidden “Real Face” of super unique wrestler Ninja Mack


El Hijo Del Dr Wagner Junior

Masakatsu Funaki


“DONMAI, DONMAI” – Mitsuharu Misawa’s diary

27th January 2006 added

With thanks to: Metal NOAH

GIF taken from WrestleUniverse

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