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Mitchell’s WWE Backstage Report! (1/21/20)

The Man comes around!



WWE Backstage 2020

Backstage is Straight Fire!

With the Royal Rumble just days away, Raw Women’s Champion, Becky Lynch, is here to talk her coming rematch with Asuka! Plus, CM Punk returns!


Renee Young and Christian welcome us to the show!

They’re ready for the Royal Rumble and how the Road to WrestleMania begins. Speaking of the Rumble, countdown and “BZZT!” Paige is here! She can’t do her side gallop in heels, but she makes it to the ring to join the panel again. There are rumors that she’s in the Rumble to take on Lesnar, but no. And then, CM PUNK returns! “Should I do it, Renee?” “Do it, you coward!” It’s CLOBBERING TIME!! College basketball ran long but Punk just used that time to get ready. Speaking of, Booker T tweets out that he’s still in the gym. Is Booker going to be #RumbleReady in time? Christian says Booker’s guns are from carrying his own luggage.

But speaking of a countdown, many superstars put in one last push for why they should be the favored men and women at the Royal Rumble this Sunday.

Just the Highlights!

For SmackDown: John Morrison went retro with that parkour flip onto Kofi Kingston! Then Starship Pain on Big E! Team Hell No reunited to get one over on The Fiend! A Woman’s Right took down the champion, and the Bloodline took down the King’s Court!

On Raw, Lesnar wasn’t scared of Ricochet as he kicked him in the balls. The Kabuki Warriors proved Becky is still not ready for Asuka! El Idolo wasn’t ready for the return of Ultimo Ninja! And destiny is coming true as we have NEW Raw Tag Team Champions!

The panel reacts.

New tag team champions were not expecting, CM Punk says these titles end up props. A certain someone doesn’t like tag teams, because it’s usually a big name bringing along another guy in these situations. But CM Punk does see the value in having the tag titles be put in the main angle, so this direction is intriguing. So far, thumbs up. For Buddy Murphy specifically, his losing streak to Aleister Black to becoming one half of the champs, Christian branches off CM Punk’s thought. Why wasn’t AOP the chosen team? But for Murphy’s sake, he is getting to rebound alongside the self-anointed Messiah. And as the self-anointed leader of Backstage, Captain Charisma becomes Backstage Buddha.

Paige’s reaction is that tag teams should hold the tag titles. But that’s just her. Punk is just happy it isn’t the cliched dysfunctional tag team of two guys who don’t get along. Like Team Hell No? But Murphy is getting to this new level, and doing that should bring a gear change. Christian loves the flash, but sometimes a kick to the ribs with some grit adds so much more. Can’t just look mean, you gotta be mean. Punk agrees, the flashy moves weren’t enough, so Murphy needs to get dirty. Thumbs to the eye, perhaps.

Renee moves things to the huge ladder match, the first one on Raw TV in about 13 years. Almas VS Mysterio did great in kicking off the show, and Christian knows a thing or two about ladders. Almas has taken leaps and bounds, and he has nailed every challenge. This was one of those, and it’s good to not over-saturate with ladders. You need to give meaning to the spectacle that is a ladder match, especially with the punishment your body goes through. Almas is just getting bigger each week. And then Zelina Vega moves up in the spotlight, and Paige thinks she’s wonderful! That combo is great, especially since they both enjoy being in this spot. Punk feels like he had a ladder match less than 13 years ago. Not to make this about him or anything. But Zelina is great, too, mostly because she’s AJ Lee in the Paige movie! Managers are fantastic, but Punk doesn’t want to talk Sami Zayn, he wants to talk Zelina. Pent house first, out house later. But there is a lack of managers, and in such a sparse field, Zelina brings a great flavor.

To Becky’s build, her win over Kairi turned right into a beating from Asuka. The rematch is coming, does it have that gravitas? Paige loves this whole thing. Becky’s been the face, and she hasn’t had that struggle. Asuka is that obstacle she has to overcome, and Asuka looks like the one to win. Punk says this is Becky’s most important match. Batman has Joker, Becky has Asuka. Asuka is great, Punk is a big fan, so if she’s the thorn in Becky’s side that has her number, that’s fantastic. You see the different elements in Becky when facing Asuka. The feud should continue. WrestleMania is still a long way away, so it’s fun to keep this going. Christian says Asuka’s confidence is what is helping, plus Becky’s vulnerability. Such a great year for Becky yet there’s still this doubt, that’s adding layers to this. Asuka got pushed to the side, so there’s that aspect, too. More on this and all of the Rumble build as we continue!


The Man, Becky Lynch, joins the panel!

A tie, shirt and the title. There’s a quick argument about holding ropes and what it’d mean, but Becky is fine with getting through ropes on her own. But to get it from the source, did Becky feel when “The Man” clicked? It was a gradual thing for her. It was the culmination of years of frustration and neglect, and SummerSlam is when it went off. It was a “Heel turn,” but it was also saying, “Enough is enough.” She gained and lost momentum so many times, she freed herself with that slap! Plus, that reaction from the fans was so great. Punk is getting deja vu. Thinking of iconic moments, Hogan shaking hands with Savage, Austin with the blood in the Sharpshooter, and yes, to say it, #PipeBomb! Then, Becky and her own bloody face. That was another moment that changed the business forever.

Punk wants to know if she’d change anything about that. No, that was just part of the ever ongoing process. Becky does wonder when all that oversight piles on, the part of you that gets angry, and how it still happens, “Do I want that?” And she does. That chip on her shoulder, that competitive anger, it becomes motivation. You can sulk or you can use it, and so she chose to use it to take the fans on a journey. Booker has spoken to going 100% and Becky agrees. The nuances of character and story, people might be sick of her, but Paige having known Becky for a long, long time, she’s seen Becky’s progression. All these different forms, Becky’s “The Man” has worked because it was the most true to her. It was everything she felt for so long and now she can just do it! No one was sure how to react to it, but she wasn’t being monitored or contained, and then social media got it to the people.

Speaking of that history, Becky and Paige, there was a moment when Becky had quit, after facing Paige’s mom. Becky remembers that hiatus, and the night it all went down. She was injured the night before that, and Paige’s mom helped her a lot. Becky did come out to be the manager for Paige and her mom in Shimmer. Then Becky and Punk met because of Shimmer, if only because Punk was in the crowd watching Becky cut a promo. “It worked out.” And to the present, Becky VS Asuka for some of WWE’s most engaging TV these days, Becky knows Asuka is phenomenal. Her character work is especially amazing. That undefeated run in NXT but things got pulled out from under her, Becky’s felt that. Becky wants to help make Asuka the monster she is, because Becky hasn’t gotten a win on Asuka yet. It’s a great story, dominance and doubt, things coming full circle for Becky. Is she going to win or lose, stay or go?

Before going to break, time to ask a question of Becky and Paige. Who wore the green mist better? The fans are split 50-50! Paige feels that’s a bad thing. Punk says they’re both so naturally pale that the green went with them so naturally. Hey, Becky’s getting tanner. But where will the fans land at the end of the night?


Backstage looks back to Royal Rumble 2000’s hardcore grudge match!

“Thumbtacks, barbed wire, tables, chairs, even the ring bell.” Triple H and Cactus Jack Mick Foley pulled out all the stops in their Street Fight. 20 years later, Mick and Hunter recall that extreme WWE Championship match.

HHH says he was so geared up, Madison Square Garden being sold out, not much better than that. It was a proving point for HHH, but just as much for Mick with his career winding down. They both were on the same page in wanting to make something that would last forever. Mick loved going hardcore, because it’d take a toll physically and emotionally. HHH felt the chemistry between them, and knew it’d be magical. The suplex onto a wooden palate, the jagged piece that got his calf… HHH remembers feeling the hit, but not the stabbing. His adrenaline, he just took the piece out and kept going. There was just so much blood, that alone deserves a lot of credit. “Those types of matches” was Mick’s thing, done them for years, so it was a lot for HHH to step up to that level. They were both very proud of that match, and Mick being proud was enough for HHH to be proud. And truly, it has stood the test of time.

Renee and Christian react to the match.

Renee still gets goosebumps over that feud. Christian was there to see it in person. The boys in the back seeing Cactus Jack again, “The Innovator of Hardcore,” it was special even for them to watch it. Kudos to HHH for stepping up and beyond that level. You wanna go out with a “bang bang,” and you want your last match to be memorable. Mick and HHH put the match before themselves for the sake of entertaining.

Shifting to Punk, Becky and Paige, what is the match Punk is most proud of in his career? Well he’s had a great career both in WWE and out of it, but for having the nickname “Best in the World,” he isn’t usually one to talk about himself. He will say that his match with John Cena in Houston in 2013, that thrown-together match to face The Rock at Mania. Becky talking about chips on shoulders, being hot and cold, Punk equates this to Michael Jordan’s “flu game” because he had the flu for this match. He just remembers being on the floor feeling exhausted and handing a baton to someone else. They ran out of moves and Cena whispered, “What do you want to do?” “I want to give you a piledriver, John.” And so he did. They put it all out there, and the crowd that night helped. Punk was so out of it, physically and emotionally, but the fans made him care. Cena is one of the best opponents to have, that was basically Punk’s Mania. They didn’t even suggest Undertaker yet, so Punk just put it all out there for that one.

Paige’s special moment would be with AJ Lee. It was her birthday at SummerSlam, and she was told AJ would take some time off. They got through the match without AJ taking one bump on her back. 15 minutes of just protection, and it worked out really well. Becky says the WWE can be like a live cooking show, with the ingredients all there, “you’ve got there minutes to make a meal that people are going to be talking about for weeks.” You may not have time to build a story, but the things happening between the ropes, that is the story, too. Becky’s two would be Last Woman Standing with Charlotte, Evolution 2018, and then Hell in a Cell with Sasha Banks just back in October of 2019. A brutal one to be sure. Does Renee have a favorite? She doesn’t, though she did get to give Maryse a great slap. Happy birthday, Maryse!


Royal Rumble returns are always awesome!

Booker T in 2011, Trish Stratus in 2018, The Undertaker in 2017, and John Cena in 2008! Actually, Rumble debuts aren’t just awesome, they’re PHENOMENAL, such as when AJ Styles finally came to the WWE in 2016! Will we get returns or debuts that shock us all this Sunday?


Time to Pay It Off!

The Royal Rumble being of the Big 4, it is one of the biggest nights in the entire WWE year! Who does Punk think should win the Men’s Royal Rumble? Punk’s favorite segment right here, because he gets to audition to companies to get paid to book things. But he wants to be clear, who he thinks should and who he thinks will are two very different things. But to fantasy book, KEITH LEE should come in to win. And the reason why is that he’s had a tremendous showing so far, but he’s a big fish in a little pond right now. They need to strike when the iron is hot. Lee’s moment in Survivor Series feels forever ago, so Lee needs to knock Lesnar out of the ring and win it all.

Paige’s choice is OTIS! Dozer is so entertaining, he should have all the screen time. Plus his story with Mandy Rose is great. BLELELELELE! Punk doesn’t trust Otis after he stole Peewee’s bike. Christian’s choice may be unpopular, but it should be Lesnar. Win as #1 and the champion to back up his/Heyman’s words. Then we see what happens with Mania, going after the Universal Champion maybe. But where is the Drew McIntyre love?! Punk can’t wait to see the comments when Lesnar does win.

And of course, the Women’s Rumble returns, so who does everyone pick? Paige goes with Kairi Sane to double down on Kabuki Warriors. That or Piper the Viper Niven. Check her out on NXT UK. Punk asks if Renee or Paige are in it. We’ll see~! Punk is going to go with Sasha Banks to get things going with her and Bayley for the title again. Would it be friendly competition or another backstabber? Christian would’ve gone with Renee if she’s a surprise entrance, but he thinks Shayna Baszler. Much like Lesnar, when Baszler shows up, things get tense. Shayna can bring that to the Rumble after having been champion for so long in her own right. This would be a big move for her, for sure. The Road to WrestleMania begins Sunday, who takes pole position?


WWE Backstage pays tribute to Rocky Johnson.

One half of the first African-American tag team champions, “The Soul Man” and father of Dwayne Johnson passed away recently. The Rock himself has an Instagram video to say thank you to everyone outpouring their love and condolences to the family. Rocky would say “I taught you everything you know, but I didn’t teach you everything I know.” That’s why Rocky will always be the best. Rock again thanks us all for the love and support. We’ll never forget you, Rocky.


It’s the Backstage Main Event!

Renee sits with Becky and Punk to discuss something. Punk is on record that the Women’s Division is the best thing WWE has right now. What does Becky think of the current state of WWE Women’s Wrestling? Becky agrees that the best thing right now is that it isn’t even about being women or men. There’s still talk of, “Oh, this is the women’s segment. This is the women’s thing.” Why does that label have to be there? This is about people, characters, skills! It isn’t about the top women’s spot, but THE top spot! The main event spot! What is everyone doing to be worthy of the main event, the video game cover, the cereal boxes, etc. Gender shouldn’t be the issue. Be past making history, because they’ve made so much history already. Yes, there are going to be other forms of history being made, but gender is not the equation. Let’s get going!

Punk says the standout stuff is the representation. There’s surely a little girl in Ireland watching wrestling on TV or YouTube and sees Becky. This could change that girl’s life. Punk sees things in a new perspective. He was a straightedge kid that didn’t do drugs but got into wrestling. He sees things on Twitter or when he’s at autograph signings where kids, or those who were kids when watching Punk, are telling him that they were straightedge because of Punk. “That’s powerful.” So all these different women, such as the Four Horsewomen and Asuka, and thinks of all the groundswell of representation. Pro-wrestling has been male dominated for a long time, having women be as important as they are opens doors to a whole new demographic. It’s exciting to see women who aren’t just used as “pieces of ass,” they have character and depth. That is the most exciting thing.

It isn’t that there are no more awesome guys, it just feels like we’ve seen it all before. So women stepping up and being presented in a similar light is exciting. Renee remembers how Survivor Series felt, because that 15-Woman match was so great and then the Women’s Champions all main-evented. How did it feel for Becky and the others in that match? The pool has gotten shallow on Raw and SmackDown, and the depth needs to be highlighted. But adding NXT’s big names, and everyone was fighting, that got the excitement we needed from all the new match-ups! There isn’t always the luxury of freshness, so that’s what made Survivor Series season so exciting. Fans want this, and Becky is having such an important story with Asuka in more ways than one.

If you love this, you have to obsess. And you have to go, “How can I make this different?” There is SO MUCH wrestling content on TV around the world, so how does someone stand out in it all? The groundwork is being paved for another generation of women, it’s time to kick some lass!


Someone Photoshops Christian INTO Backstage Buddha.

Christian jokes that’s just his #DadBod when his shirt is off.


Backstage goes to Miami!

Renee and the crew join The Rock’s family in time for a Super Bowl countdown! Hopefully The Rock himself shows up, though.


The polls close! Who wore it better?

52% to 48% in favor of BECKY! Paige is surprised it stayed that close. To be fair, Becky got water poured on her pretty quick so it wasn’t as bad. Punk says Charlotte was best of all, though. Team PCB feud aside, that’s all for Backstage! See you in Miami!



My Thoughts:

A pretty good episode right here. With the NCAA hoops going long, it was pretty good to switch things up from a schedule run down to entrances for the returning panelists. Those highlight reels are getting more and more retro apparently. I wonder if they’d make one seem like a 1950’s sitcom, like Leave It to Beaver or something. Obviously a lot of opinions were similar to us fans, such as why it wasn’t AOP over Murphy and Rollins, but it is a pretty good point that Murphy is getting to rebound in a great way holding a tag title. Talking memorable matches and moments was great, I like the choices for the Rumble winners, especially Renee wanting McIntyre like I do. Kairi wasn’t one I had thought of, but that’d be pretty great if Becky retains or even if Asuka wins. Same goes for Sasha winning. That forcing her and Bayley to face off makes for a good story, and it could lead to Sasha getting that Grand Slam.

I really love the stuff they were talking about in the “main event.” Women’s Wrestling being women’s wrestling and not Divas is obviously great, but I also like the notion that it isn’t something that puts a cap on the Women’s Division. History has been made, now it’s time for equal treatment. Fans who act like the women main-eventing TLC at the end of 2019 is what was wrong are not fans but idiots. A concussion in a match that was handled a bit roughly could easily happen to a men’s tag title situation, but you wouldn’t hear fans acting like it went wrong because they’re men. Granted, it is up to those booking shows to make the women’s stories and matches just as good, if not better, than men’s stories and matches. But in the case where that happens, like Becky VS Asuka being really, really good, why not give them the bigger spotlight? And in whatever form that means. Later in the card on a PPV, more time to breathe on TV, whichever. When stuff like that happens, then the Women’s (R)Evolution is complete.

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More From Japan


Keiji Mutoh continues his Retirement tour and bringing out faces from the past! NOAH has a new champion! Interesting inter-promotional battles on the horizon as well!





Kaito Kiyomiya is the new GHC Heavyweight Champion, nominates Kazuyuki Fujita as challenger

Following provocation by Kenoh not only saying that he was going to be the one to inherit Keiji Mutoh’s Shining Wizard and the memory of Keiji Mutoh himself (and the outright claim that Kiyomiya would simply forget about Mutoh once Mutoh had retired, which Kiyomiya didn’t even bother responding to), Kenoh went one step further at their last pre match on the 19th September by pulling Keiji Mutoh’s pose, kissing his hand, putting it to Kiyomiya’s lips and then exploding it. Kiyomiya erupted in fury at this, it was far more than any verbal provocation of Kenoh’s, which I guess he has learned to ignore over the years. They fought for the GHC Heavyweight in Nagoya on September 25th, with Kiyomiya emerging victorious following a modified Shining Wizard. As Kenoh left it was like a spell was broken. Kenoh went backstage and muttered about Kiyomiya being the company favorite and in his interview the day after winning the title, Kiyomiya said nothing about Keiji Mutoh. Mutoh as we know had been a focus of both Kiyomiya and Kenoh leading up to the title match.

Back in the ring, Kiyomiya called out his next opponent. Kazuyuki Fujita. Fujita came to the ring, carrying a can of beer which he swigged from. Getting in the ring he circled Kiyomiya and took off his t-shirt. Kiyomiya said that he was expecting a fight, but Fujita did something that no other NOAH wrestler had (or perhaps would) do, and that was to throw himself at Kiyomiya and then make nuzzling motions against his head, while he licked the belt. Kiyomiya pushed him off, and Fujita retaliated by pouring beer over his head.

Kiyomiya screaming that he hated beer was met with Fujita toasting him from the ramp and yelling “Kampaiii” (“cheers”) after a fight had broken out, and Kiyomiya threw him from the ring.


Backstage, Kiyomiya said his reason for nominating Kazuyuki Fujita as his challenger was that he had never been defeated for the GHC Heavyweight. Fujita had to give up the belt due to Coronavirus. It has been a recurring theme of most of the GHC Heavyweight champions since Go Shiozaki, that Fujita has been the man to beat in order to cement yourself as champion. Kiyomiya was picking up that torch.

As for Fujita, he played it as if he was a Casanova and had been asked out on a date by warning Kiyomiya that when you experience Fujita, you can never go back because you were never going to be the same. He was going to “make it a night to remember”. He sipped his beer, and licked his lips afterwards.

Title match has been set for NOAH’s return to Ariake on the 30th October.

STINGER lose, NOAH Junior Regulars win, enter Tadasuke (with a chair)

Following a period of brutal attacks on Seiki Yoshioka (by the end of the match he could hardly use one side of his body) and a title challenge where Atsushi Kotoge was bloodied up, The NOAH Junior Regulars emerged victorious and bought the tag titles home to their unit. They had very little time to celebrate their win and put ice on their wounds, when Tadasuke burst in and attacked Atsushi Kotoge with a chair while Hi69 beat up on the already incapacitated Seiki Yoshioka. Tadasuke (wild grin on his face) got on the microphone and made a challenge for the tag titles. Then Tadasuke wiped the blood from Kotoge that had got on his hands on his hair, leaving red streaks in the peroxide. Tadasuke was even waving the bloodied seat of the chair, which had detached during the attack, around backstage.

Title match will be on the 30th October when NOAH return to the Ariake complex.

Takashi Sugiura and Satoshi Kojima, NOAH’s most dysfunctional tag team, win the GHC Heavyweight tag titles

It must be said that with the combined efforts of Satoshi Kojima and Hideki Suzuki, we almost have our Sugi back.

At the press conference/title match signing, Sugi and Kojima appeared dressed in suits and wearing dark glasses. They looked something between The Men In Black and “Dangerous Detectives” (as Tokyo Sports called them  which stems from a Japanese TV show). Hideki Suzuki was on form, not only mistranslating Timothy Thatcher and stating at one point that Thatcher said he came to Japan to “beat you up” and being rude to a journalist for being overfamiliar with his “punk mouth”, the highlight of the press conference was his long close up stare at Sugi, who was trying not to laugh.

The dysfunctional team won the titles in Nagoya on the 25th September, and despite their falling out during the match, Sugi actually gave Kojima a proper handshake. Then they went back to squabbling backstage over Kojima talking on the mic when it was Sugi who got the win. No challengers have come forward as of yet.

HAYATA retains the GHC Junior, Ninja Mack makes his long awaited challenge

It had been an emotional match for YO-HEY, and for fans. Cutting out the aerial techniques that had characterized their earlier matches, both he and HAYATA demonstrated how much they had both evolved by concentrating on a more NOAH based ground attack with submissions. YO-HEY might have failed in the challenge, but he had at least gotten one win over HAYATA in the pre-match. He knew the title match would be different and he would need to level up, and afterwards he reflected and said he would start from rock bottom in order to make his next challenge. What fans had noticed that while things had changed between them, some things were the same, such as YO-HEY coloring his hair, his tongue (and even his boxer shorts) purple, which is HAYATA’s color, and HAYATA not speaking as much as he has done in previous title challenges, as he is content to let YO-HEY talk. After the match, Ninja Mack came to challenge. HAYATA accepted by saying, that he was “finally interested in the belt” and acknowledging him as challenger. Title match will of course be on the 30th October. But HAYATA is not immediately going into a fallout match with Ninja Mack at NOAH’s next event on the 30th, but is having a tag match against YO-HEY.

Keiji Mutoh’s Retirement Road

Keiji Mutoh has been very busy.

– 23rd September: Great Muta appears in AEW

The Great Muta made a surprise appearance in AEW to rescue Sting, who had been tied to a chair by Darby Allen. Muta came to the ring, advanced on Sting and then turned and spat green mist into the face of Allen and then reunited with Sting. Keiji Mutoh announced that Sting would attend Muta’s retirement on the 22nd in Yokohama, but has not said in what capacity, although it is assumed that they will tag. Regarding any further appearances in America, Mutoh said he didn’t think it was likely, but did warn that The Great Muta may pop up somewhere as you never knew where he would turn up next.

– 25th September: Keiji Mutoh Retirement Road: Love Forever 2

Keiji Mutoh teamed with his junior Kazuyuki Fujita to take on Mutoh’s classmate, Masakatsu Funaki and Katsuhiko Nakajima, who Mutoh has known since he was a boy, and still calls affectionately “Katsuhiko”. Nakajima said he was going to break up this class reunion, and while Mutoh did get kicked (Nakajima smirked and said it was fun when Mutoh later complained his leg still hurt) but it was Fujita who got the worst of it. During the match, Nakajima pulled out Mutoh’s Space Rolling Elbow. Mutoh was initially not pleased, but then he became very happy to see it and said that he thought that “Katsuhiko” did it because he had some small measure of feeling for him. I think had Nakajima been a more acrobatic wrestler, Mutoh might have handed it to him. Mutoh won the match with The Shining Wizard, pinning Nakajima. This was Mutoh’s farewell to Nagoya, his classmate, his junior and Nakajima.

– 26th September: Hiroshi Tanahashi comes to the press conference and a tag match is announced

Hiroshi Tanahashi presented 38 roses to Mutoh when he came to the press conference. Each rose symbolizes a year of Mutoh’s career. Mutoh joked that he should have laid them at his feet, as had happened in boxing recently. Tanahashi said he wasn’t good at ad-libbing, and then introduced himself as “one of the greatest New Japan talents in the past one hundred years”. During the press conference, a tag match was announced. New Japan’s Hiroshi Tanahashi, Togi Makabe and Honma Tomoaki will team together against the team of Naomichi Marufuji, Keiji Mutoh and Keiji Mutoh. This will take place on the 30th October. Mutoh has not given up hope of appearing one final time in the New Japan ring.

– 16th October: A new match is announced

NOAH announced that due to fan demand, Keiji Mutoh will be appearing in Fukuoka. He will tag with Ninja Mack and Satoshi Kojima against Naomichi Marufuji, HAYATA and Jack Morris. Satoshi Kojima is of course connected to Mutoh through All Japan and New Japan, Naomichi Marufuji has wanted a match against Mutoh (he will be tagging with him as we know on the 30th October) and HAYATA has been a big fan of Mutoh for a while, as he has influenced a lot of his style and persona. HAYATA thinks of himself and The Great Muta as “The Phantom Team”. Muta doesn’t like to speak and HAYATA said, neither does he.

Naomichi Marufuji and Katsuhiko Nakajima head overseas

Naomichi Marufuji and Katsuhiko Nakajima will appear for Evolution Pro Wrestling in New York for their anniversary show on November 12th. Marufuji’s match is yet to be announced, but Nakajima will take on Josh Alexander. Alexander has said he wonders how Nakajima is going to kick after he snaps his ankle. They will also appear at King of Indies in San Francisco on November 19th.

NOSAWA vs Katsuhiko Nakajima (and Kenoh)

After being beaten up by Katsuhiko Nakajima who gave him some pretty stiff soccerball kicks outside the ring at Korakuen Hall recently, (although he would tell you that Nakajima tried to beat him up), NOSAWA Rongai has been on a quest to face Nakajima in a match. Then he threw in Kenoh, so it could be himself and Eita versus Kongoh. Hideki Suzuki told him that he was probably going to die, but NOSAWA has taken no notice and kept on with his demand. His demand has not been met because rather than facing Nakajima and Kenoh, NOAH have booked him against rookies Yasutaka Yano and Kai Fujimura. NOSAWA thinks he is having to go through some kind of trial.


– Hideki Suzuki has hinted that perhaps Takashi Sugiura might like to get back online.

– Yoshiki Inamura and YO-HEY continued their guild, despite the fact that YO-HEY said someone attacked and burned their castle down. A picture was taken of YO-HEY and Inamura playing the game, with YO-HEY seated cross legged on Inamura, who was doing a bridge in the ring. We have seen Inamura used as a weight, but is he now used as furniture?

– NOAH’s Director, Narihiro Takeda, wrote on a NOAH Note that he would like for Darby Allin to come to NOAH one day.

– Tadasuke got a match thrown out by ripping off Alejandro’s mask. Tadasuke did not care, and did not even respond when Alejandro asked if he wanted a mask for himself?

– Daiki Inaba had his long awaited singles match with Katsuhiko Nakajima, but failed to revenge himself for Nakajima’s behavior in W-1. Nakajima even went for the cocky pin by grinning and leaning on Inaba.

– There was usual chaos at the NOAH Junior Space sessions as Daisuke Harada is not there to take control. Atsushi Kotoge seems to be the main culprit, forgetting to invite Seiki Yoshioka in and at one time even failing to press record.

– It’s probably best that Daiki Inaba, who apparently likes to be in the nip backstage, was not present when NOAH was at Differ. It was bad enough that Sugi used to wander around naked…

– Mitsuharu Misawa wrote in a diary entry for 2006 about filming an advert for THE LEAVE, and having to sing first thing in the morning while they were filming. Probably due to the fact that he had a problem with his throat anyway, was a heavy smoker and had taken “so many chops and kicks” to it in his career, he said he sounded very hoarse.


SUNNY VOYAGE – September 19th 

Event recap

Post match promos

N-INNOVATION – September 21st 

Event recap

Post match promos


Event recap

Post match promos


  • GHC Heavyweight Champion: Kaito Kiyomiya
    Challenger: Kazuyuki Fujita, [Muto Retirement Road] ABEMA presents Ariake Gaisen-THE RETURN-PRO-WRESTLING LOVE FOREVER . 3 ~TRIUMPH~ Sunday 30th October, Ariake Arena, Tokyo
  • GHC Junior Champion: HAYATA
    Challenger: Ninja Mack, [Muto Retirement Road] ABEMA presents Ariake Gaisen-THE RETURN-PRO-WRESTLING LOVE FOREVER . 3 ~TRIUMPH~ Sunday 30th October, Ariake Arena, Tokyo
  • GHC Heavyweight Tag Champions: KojiSugi (Satoshi Kojima & Takashi Sugiura)
    Challengers: TBA
  • GHC Junior Tag Champions: The NOAH Junior Regulars (Atsushi Kotoge & Seiki Yoshioka)
    Challengers: Kongoh Juniors (Tadasuke & Hi69), [Muto Retirement Road] ABEMA presents Ariake Gaisen-THE RETURN-PRO-WRESTLING LOVE FOREVER . 3 ~TRIUMPH~ Sunday 30th October, Ariake Arena, Tokyo
  • GHC National Champion: Masakatsu Funaki
    Challenger: Masa Kitamiya, SUNNY VOYAGE 2022 – Friday September 30th (Bandaijima Multi-Purpose Square Ogama)

(This event will not be broadcast live, but hopefully this match will be shown via Instagram)


(October 2022 schedule)

– Friday, October 7th

STAR NAVIGATION 2022 – Korakuen Hall, Tokyo

Time: 18:30 JST

Broadcast: WrestleUniverse/ABEMA (live)

– Saturday, October 8th

STAR NAVIGATION 2022 – Korakuen Hall, Tokyo

Time: 18:30 JST

Broadcast: WrestleUniverse (live)

Note about broadcasts

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.


Wednesday, 5th October: Keiji Mutoh debut anniversary (38)

Wednesday, 5th October: Seiki Yoshioka debut anniversary (14)


“I want to protect this belt for the rest of my life”, new GHC champion Kiyomiya holds morning press conference to establish a new NOAH landscape

Mutoh’s Retirement Road, tag match against Tanahashi in round three: “I want to grab the secret of secrets”, Tanahashi presents 38 roses

Great Muta teaming up with Sting for last match? “Agent” Mutoh’s opinion 

“I wonder if I can transmit more” YO-HEY aims to revitalize the junior ark with his first championship

AEW Shock! Great Muta appears in America! Rescues Sting and shake of hands

“Follow Me You Bastards” – Kenoh’s Weekly Pro Column

GHC Junior Match Signing: YO-HEY “Last Chance, I don’t think as my ex partner now”, HAYATA “I don’t feel anything”

“Taka & Satoshi” reveal a “dangerous detective” look, mischievous Suzuki is a reckless interpreter, the GHC tag signing ceremony is thrown into chaos by bizarre question and answer between the two teams

 A “Comrade” and an “Older Brother”, Masakatsu Funaki talks about his thoughts on Mutoh’s retirement, “I want to kick him mercilessly”


“Donmai, Donmai” – Mitsuharu Misawa’s diary

With thanks to: Metal NOAH

GIF taken from WrestleUniverse & NOAH Official YouTube

Picture credit: YO-HEY &

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Hisame sorts through some of the larger points as NOAH slowly comes into the Fall season!





Kenoh, Kiyomiya & The Shining Wizard

At the time of writing, the two pre matches between Kenoh and Kaito Kiyomiya are even, both has one win over the other. Kiyomiya defeated Kenoh at Korakuen Hall on the 15th using a variation of The Shining Wizard, with Kenoh (who swore he would never lose to that move again), using Keiji Mutoh’s version of The Shining Wizard to defeat Kiyomiya. Prior to doing it, Kenoh had even gone as far to pull Mutoh’s pose and he did it again while leaning over Kiyomiya. Kenoh stated backstage that he didn’t believe that after Mutoh had retired that Kiyomiya would continue using the move, so therefore he, Kenoh, would use it and cherish both the technique and Keiji Mutoh. If you thought Kiyomiya was made mad enough by Kenoh patting him on the head, wait until they clash again at Yokohama Radiant Hall on the 19th.


In the past you got the impression that HAYATA didn’t really care about his opponents, they were just there to be beaten and for him to move on after beating, this time the feeling is very different. Compared to all of HAYATA’S other title defenses so far, this has been the most personal (anything involving YO-HEY is always more personal than anyone else), the most bitter and the most savage. Whilst HAYATA seems to want to keep YO-HEY in mint condition for the title match, as neither Yoshinari Ogawa, Chris Ridgeway or himself seem to want to concentrate on breaking down his knees or damaging his arm (unlike poor Seiki Yoshioka, who is getting the brunt of all three, Ridgeway even tearing off his bandages and attacking the bone), YO-HEY has taken to attacking HAYATA after matches. Both matches so far have been inconclusive and neither has the win over the other, but at Korakuen on the first night YO-HEY dropkicked HAYATA in the face, at the second he gave him the GAMEN-G. YO-HEY has described this as a “switch being turned on” in him, and says he has a strategy for the title match. HAYATA naturally has said nothing, which is odd considering how vocal he has been in the title challenges before.

Taka & Satoshi

Satoshi Kojima and Takashi Sugiura have made a functional dysfunctional tag team. Their first pre match against Hideki Suzuki and Timothy Thatcher contained a misfire when Sugiura caught Kojima by accident and they had a spat. The second time, Sugiura was made to tap out by Timothy Thatcher in a match that reminded me of the Galleria fight between the T-800 and T-1000 in Terminator 2. Kojima came to the ring, Suzuki got in it and then Kojima took everyone out and closed the show on the microphone. Sugi started complaining that not only had Kojima arrived too late to help, but his theme music had started playing. Kojima said it wasn’t deliberate, Sugi didn’t believe him. The handshake where Kojima offers his palm and Sugi his finger (not the finger) seems to have become their thing, and Kojima will face off against Timothy Thatcher in a singles match on the 19th in Yokohama. Thatcher has sworn revenge for what happened at Korakuen.

NOAH’s New Debut

NOAH’s 16th NOAH Born, Taishi Ozawa, made his debut at Korakuen Hall on the 15th September. Weighing in at 87kg and with a height of 181cm (which is marginally smaller than Yoshiki Inamura and Shuhei Taniguchi at 182cm), he has naturally gone into the heavyweight division. His first match lasted 6 minutes and 31 seconds, and got him praise from the fans and wrestlers alike. After the match, Yoshiki Inamura praised him and said he wants him to grow stronger and make his body bigger. Personally, I can see Ozawa becoming one of NOAH’s ultra-heavyweights, but this may mean he has to give up doing dropkicks, which you don’t see too much of amongst NOAH’s heavyweights. NOAH celebrated this debut by broadcasting messages from support from fans on the screen, the President of The Leave presented him with flowers and special commemorative face masks were given at the door.

NOAH & Dragon Gate Joint Event

NOAH held a press conference on the 9th September to discuss the NOAH and DragonGate joint event which will be held on the 11th November at Korakuen Hall. Sadly Daisuke Harada does not think his neck will be in good enough condition for him to take part, so he has nominated himself as “Event Ambassador”. Cards announced so far are Seiki Yoshioka vs YAMATO (who said that local idiot Kzy agreed to this nonsense, and that if he liked festivals so much he should do a solo strip show, but getting back to Yoshioka, he was going to pay) and Mochizuki Junior, Ryu Fuda & Madoka Kikuta vs Kai Fujimura, Yasutaka Yano & Yoshiki Inamura. This latter match sets two sets of rookies against each other, and NOAH and DragonGate’s resident hosses.


In addition to the NOAH & DragonGate joint event, the day before NOAH will hold the first day of the two days at Korakuen Hall they have called “GLOBAL2Days”. Night 1 will be a NOAH show only, with all the titles put on the line. No cards yet have been announced for this.

NOSAWA vs Katsuhiko Nakajima?

NOSAWA Rongai declared that he wanted a singles match with “little bitch” Katsuhiko Nakajima, after Nakajima (tongue stuck out at the side of his mouth) gave him a round of soccer ball kicks. Hideki Suzuki said something along the lines of that while he thought NOSAWA was dead following this, NOSAWA probably was going to be dead after this. At the time of writing nothing has been announced yet, and Nakajima said it was “fun”.

Yuya Susumu

Due to cervical neck sprain, Yuya Susumu will miss about four events (which includes the past two Korakuen Hall events and probably the N-Innovation and one more event after that)


– Kenoh apparently has a sense of humor similar to Mitsuharu Misawa’s i.e. blue. His column was once him yelling about his enemies, now he is making innuendos about how anatomy reacts to gravure models.

– Chris Ridgeway says that he has plans to not only get the GHC Junior Heavyweight, he also wants to bring the GHC National to the juniors.

– Katsuhiko Nakajima has likened the Nagoya Keiji Mutoh Retirement Road match as being like a reunion as it involves Mutoh’s classmate Masakatsu Funaki and their junior, Kazuyuki Fujita, and says he is going to destroy that atmosphere. He has also warned Mutoh to be careful in Nagoya, as he may not reach the Tokyo Dome.

– The children at NOAH’s most recent fan event (Tokyo Verdy) were fascinated by Kaito Kiyomiya and Masa Kitamiya’s muscles, despite the fact that they got pulled over by them at the tug of war. They let the children win the first time, but were pretty merciless the next time.

– Hideki Suzuki burst in wielding a pipe chair when Satoshi Kojima and Takashi Sugiura were talking backstage and threatened to throw it at someone. Sugi suggested he throw it at Kojima, Kojima, (had he been a New Yorker), basically said, “Hey, I’m talkin’ here!”

– Junta Miyawaki will challenge Tromba for the ASPW Openweight Championship on Saturday November 5th in Guadalajara.

– Jack Morris interrupted The Shutter Chance…I don’t think anyone in NOAH has ever done that before.

– Yoshiki Inamura’s reaction to Disco was to stand with his arms crossed and glare at Mohammed Yone. Yone did not forget this insult.

– NOAH have taken part in a team gaming event, which sees Kongoh (who sat apart from everyone else) join in. YO-HEY and Yoshiki Inamura seem to have formed a guild. STINGER, naturally, are not taking part.



Event recap

Post match interviews


Event recap

Post match interviews


  • GHC Heavyweight Champion: Kenoh
    Challenger: Kaito Kiyomiya, [Muto Retirement Road] GRAND SHIP 2022 in NAGOYA PRO-WRESTLING LOVE FOREVER.2 ~OUT BREAK~ Sunday September 25th, Dolphin Arena (Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium)
  • GHC Junior Champion: HAYATA
    Challenger: YO-HEY, [Muto Retirement Road] GRAND SHIP 2022 in NAGOYA PRO-WRESTLING LOVE FOREVER.2 ~OUT BREAK~ Sunday September 25th, Dolphin Arena (Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium)
  • GHC Heavyweight Tag Champions: The Sugiura Army (Hideki Suzuki & Timothy Thatcher)
    Challengers: KojiSugi (Satoshi Kojima & Takashi Sugiura), [Muto Retirement Road] GRAND SHIP 2022 in NAGOYA PRO-WRESTLING LOVE FOREVER.2 ~OUT BREAK~ Sunday September 25th, Dolphin Arena (Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium)
  • GHC Junior Tag Champions: STINGER (Chris Ridgeway & Yoshinari Ogawa)
    Challengers: The NOAH Junior Regulars (Atsushi Kotoge & Seiki Yoshioka), [Muto Retirement Road] GRAND SHIP 2022 in NAGOYA PRO-WRESTLING LOVE FOREVER.2 ~OUT BREAK~ Sunday September 25th, Dolphin Arena (Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium)
  • GHC National Champion: Masakatsu Funaki
    Challenger: Masa Kitamiya, SUNNY VOYAGE 2022 – Friday September 30th (Bandaijima Multi-Purpose Square Ogama)

*This event will not be broadcast live, but hopefully this match will be shown via Instagram


(September 2022 schedule)

  • Monday, September 19th

SUNNY VOYAGE 2022 – Yokohama Radiant Hall, Yokohama

Time: 17:30 JST

Broadcast: WrestleUniverse (Live)

  • Tuesday, September 20th

Title match signing (GHC Heavyweight Tag, GHC Junior Heavyweight)

Live on NOAH’s Official YouTube at 17:00 JST

  • Wednesday, September 21st

N INNOVATION – Shinjuku FACE, Tokyo

Time: 18:30 JST

Broadcast: WrestleUniverse (Live)

  • Sunday, September 25th


Start: 16:00 JST

Broadcast: WrestleUniverse (Live)


Keiji Mutoh talks freely, “PPV at Retirement Match”, “Cut Ties” for O-Khan

Long awaited one on one fight with Katsuhiko Nakajima. Will Daiki Inaba’s obsession with Katsuhiko Nakajima be fulfilled?

“I don’t have the sense for a name! (laughs”) The secret story of the birth of the Shining Wizard variation & recruitment of technique name!

“Finish it all at once” GHC Junior Tag Team Champion Chris Ridgeway Interview, complete belt and league domination, ambition of GHC National Challenge

Kaito Kiyomiya receives reinforcement from the kick world, if he fails to take the GHC in the Kenoh match, “I can’t go to the top anymore”

“After the N-1!, the 15th & 16th Korakuen are two consecutive events, the next big match is 25th September Nagoya (Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium). Focusing on developments for the four major GHC fights, a new battle begins

NOAH collaborates with Tokyo Verdy! Naomichi Marufuji, “I want to put up a ring at Ajinomoto Stadium and have a match”

“I’ll let you challenge my GHC Heavyweight” GHC Champion Kenoh nominates himself for Keiji Mutoh’s Retirement Match, Next Year on 21st February At Tokyo Dome

Fan event recap: Tokyo Verdy

Junior Brand Event: YO-HEY and Kotoge introduce the highlights of the 21st September Shinjuku N-Innovation Competition

GHC Heavyweight signing ceremony: Kenoh “A beautiful story, I’m gonna break it down and I’m gonna draw it”, Kiyomiya prepares for “Last Chance”

“I want to become white ash” Keiji Mutoh’s retirement stage will be 21st February at The Tokyo Dome, “Pubic Persuasion” Chono will also go to his retirement match

Funky Kato is dazed about Keiji Mutoh’s retirement, the final opponent is “Not Okada”

“I’m using it, so it’s my technique!” with Mutoh finisher at full power, Kaito Kiyomiya defeats Kenoh towards the culmination of their five year story

Katsuhiko Nakajima and the 25th September Nagoya match with Keiji Mutoh, who will retire at The Dome next year


“Dandyism?”, it’s not like that”

Interesting interview with Mitsuharu Misawa from circa February 2002, in which he discusses Kodo Fuyuki’s retirement, friendship, NOAH, All Japan, his childhood and his juniors.


“Donmai, Donmai” – Mitsuharu Misawa’s diary

GIF taken from WrestleUniverse & NOAH Official YouTube

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