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Mitchell’s WWE Backstage Report! (1/28/20)

Go Backstage in Miami!



WWE Backstage 2020

Awwwww~ MIAMIII~!

Don’t you dare be sour! Renee Young and the gang are on location in Miami! With both Roman Reigns and ya bois, the NEW~ DAY~!


Renee Young runs down the schedule!

WWE Backstage is live from the location of Super Bowl LIV, aka 51, with a jam-packed episode! The Big Dog whooped King Corbin’s ass all over Minute Maid Park and is now in Miami live! Plus, the New Day and a special Fox NFL Sunday friend. Then, a flashback to the original Halftime Heat! That and more, right now!


The Road to WrestleMania comes to Miami!

The in-studio audience could be turned down a bit as Renee gives an introduction, but that just means everyone is excited to be here! Renee welcomes us watching at home and introduces Booker T and Christian. The South Beach Peeps are here! Christian busts out some Will Smith but Renee hopes there’s no copyright strike. But the Royal Rumble Weekend helped kick off this Road to Mania, and Raw had plenty of aftermath to boot.

But first: Just the Highlights!

The Fiend and Daniel Bryan were strapped together and made each other suffer for it. But in the end, the nightmare continues as Bray Wyatt keeps the title. In “every woman for herself,” Otis Dozovic did his best to help his “sweet peach,” Mandy Rose, and Naomi did her best to survive. But in the end The Queen comes out on top! And as such, Becky Lynch managed to finally settle the score with Asuka while Bayley stole one from Lacey Evans, so Charlotte has a big decision on her hands. Then in “every man for himself,” The Beast dominated as Heyman promised, but not forever! Because while things got Rated R with Edge, it was Ricochet’s revenge and Drew McIntyre’s CLAYMORE that conquered the Conqueror.

As for Raw the next night, things went from Rated R to M for Mature as Randy Orton not only swerved Edge but DECIMATED him! Hearts were broken, but is Edge’s legacy shattered? As for the Men’s Rumble Winner, McIntyre had a much easier decision: he wants Brock Lesnar! And Lesnar wants him, too, as he got revenge with an F5!

The panel discusses the wild weekend.

Who would’ve thought Lesnar would lose the Rumble and Drew McIntyre would be gunning for him? Christian and Booker each claim they had that pick but Renee says it was hers all the way. But McIntyre’s journey, from being the Chosen One in his first run, to being fired from the WWE to coming back and is now THE one going after Brock Lesnar, it’s incredible and well-deserved. Booker said he should’ve been King Drew, but Rumble winner is great. Booker thought the Rumble was ending early but McIntyre came out to make history! McIntyre has his moment, and now a Mania main event! Christian says McIntyre is a true pro-wrestler, a student of the game. McIntyre’s journey to this point were investments and building equity. Christian encouraged McIntyre during a preshow to put on the best match they could, and that got everyone’s attention. The difference between that and the main event scene is just doing it every night. No one deserves this more than McIntyre.

Renee notes the switch in mindset. McIntyre would always talk notes about the matches he has, and now he’s in one with Lesnar. Lesnar’s entering at number one got mixed reactions, but he ended up so integral to the match’s story. Lesnar really could’ve run that gauntlet and many felt that would happen. But while people criticize the schedule, Lesnar puts in the work when he’s here. Things no one really notices, even, Lesnar is so good at that, and he made a lot of other guys into stars that night. Booker loved that we got multiple layers to Lesnar in one night, too. There was the mean Lesnar, the fun-loving Lesnar, and just overall it was entertaining. 2019 was a great year for Lesnar even with his part-time schedule, but his 2020 will be just as good. And to address the elephant in the room, Edge will be a topic, but in depth much later! Be patient, please!

But other than Edge, favorite moments of the Rumble: Booker says it was Lesnar going to a new level, and letting McIntyre have that moment off him; Christian agrees, that Claymore that eliminated Lesnar, that boosted McIntyre, but also the callback of Ricochet getting to low blow back as part of it. Renee likes that NXT’s Keith Lee got to have his brief moment with Lesnar, too. Just a reminder that the Limitless One is his own beast. Booker agrees, so many moments you could list, but that’s what WWE fans will remember for years.

Shifting to the Women’s Rumble and how Charlotte Flair is now headed for WrestleMania again, fans like the sound of that. Well, some. There’s dueling chants already. But who does everyone want to see her face? One fan shouts, “The Undertaker!” But Christian says we’ve gotten Charlotte VS Becky plenty, but maybe going against Bad Bayley would be something fresh. Booker seconds that, as Bayley needs her moment for Mania, too. Bayley was red hot fast but then cooled off just as fast. Christian adds that taking something that works and flipping it around with the turn, Bayley’s taking big steps and is champion for a reason. Renee asks about other highlights, and Booker pointed out Shayna Baszler coming in and wrecking. Don’t mess with Baszler, she makes you feel her fights. But Bianca Belair needs a shout-out for starting 2nd and lasting 37 minutes! She makes her own ring gear, by the way! That’s amazing!

Christian likes Bianca’s look, level of talent, and she’s still young. Sometimes you don’t need to win a match, and putting up a performance like that one, Bianca solidified herself as the future of WWE. And of course, Beth Phoenix powering through that bad cut on her head and just everything else. Booker knows she’s the Glamazon, but she’s also a Warrior Princess. Bloody and tired but she made it through. Sometimes a moment like that rattles you, but Christian was proud that she got more fired up. That is what a veteran does. But this is just the tip of the iceberg for Backstage in Miami, so don’t go anywhere!


The Big Dog runs the Yard!

A stellar Falls Count Anywhere match victory in the Astros’ stadium and still an impressive part to play in the Men’s Rumble, Roman Reigns is back in his home state and walks down the tiny football field to join the panel. Renee notes that Roman and Baron Corbin got to have a fun time at the NFL Super Bowl Opening Night event, where Roman and Corbin got to be interviewers rather than interviewees.

Corbin and Roman each start by asking the players that if their entire team roster was in a Royal Rumble of their own, who would win? Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs couldn’t be sure. But his teammate, Tyreek Hill says Patrick Mahomes would play it strategically, sitting back in a corner as everyone else battled it out. Kelce finally has an answer, and says it’d be Chris Jones. Ahkello Witherspoon of the San Francisco 49ers says George Kittle would take their respective Rumble. Other Chiefs, like Eric Fisher, says “Sherm,” Anthony Sherman, would win. Corbin goes to Sherman, and Sherman agrees, he’d win. Ben Niemann disagrees just on account of Sherm’s ego. Back to the 49ers, Marcell Harris feels it would also be “Stone Cold Kit” Kittle, as do Nick Bosa and Jimmy Garoppolo. Kittle agrees, and gets himself a quick selfie.

The question then shifts to: Who is first eliminated? Bosa says Garoppolo, and Bosa would do it himself. Kittle feels he’d go after Garoppolo, too. Ironic, since lineman are supposed to protect quarterbacks. When asking Sherm, Corbin asks who he’s at least targeting first. “Oh I’m getting rid of Pat, no question.” Quarterbacks are easy targets, but Stefen Wisniewski chooses their kickers. Dustin Colquitt is a target because he’s a bit older. When Corbin brings this news to the Chiefs’ Punter, he warns them all: “Beware the left leg.”

Corbin finishes up by telling all the NFL fans in attendance to get refunds on their tickets now, so they can go back home to San Fran or wherever, because the Chiefs are taking this home!

The panel reacts.

Renee teases that Roman might be trying to take her gig. He was just doing his best. And he’s had a lot of fun being here, because the Super Bowl parallels WrestleMania in how it takes over a city and brings so much energy. Renee brings the double duty Roman did. How was that return to the Rumble event given he missed it last year because of leukemia? It was a great story for Roman, and a blessing, to be here, healthy and doing great. You take your eye off the ball, but the little things add up and make the big picture. Being part of that event and that match, even with double duty, and help McIntyre have a moment, there is pride in sharing that night. McIntyre busted his ass, made it back here, and Roman was happy to give back.

Booker brings up what having not just double duty but having two full, 20+ minute performances is like. It is tough, because you get that first match going to loosen you up. But then, in Roman’s case, he waited all night and cooled off, stiffened up a bit, and he’s not getting any younger. It was still a great opportunity and responsibility, and legends like Booker and Christian know that giving back the investment the company’s put in him, that’s what makes it worth it. Christian does give him his credit for that work, because Rumbles last a long time one way or another. As far as Falls Count Anywhere goes, how awesome was it that it was a baseball stadium that they got to do that in? Roman says the environment can change everything, so the space and the atmosphere were different than a basketball or hockey arena. Things were different in a great way. Renee likes the porta-potty spot, especially. Luckily they found a clean one.

Sports entertainment being an escape, we do have to point out the tragic real life news. Kobe Bryant and daughter Gigi, along with half a dozen others, died in a helicopter trash the morning of that Sunday. What was the mood backstage when that news broke? It was heavy, to say the least. The world felt the loss, and Roman himself grew up a Lakers fan and just a Kobe fan. Many in his generation and younger certainly did, so it was just incredibly sad to hear that happened. Everyone took it upon themselves to use that moment to be grateful and appreciative of the lives they have, but then knew to put it aside long enough to do the show that was an escape for everyone else. It was a day full of emotions to be sure, and Roman sends his prayers on behalf of everyone here. Fans applaud that as they agree. Roman will stick around a bit longer as we continue to talk Rumble fallout!


You can’t have a football game without a halftime show!

While Super Bowl 51 will have Shakira and Jennifer Lopez, there was a concept back in 1999 for the WWE (then WWF) to do something special of their own for football’s biggest game of the year. It oddly was an Empty Arena Match for the inaugural Halftime Heat special, The Rock taking on Mick Foley as Mankind. It was Foley’s idea and he talked everyone else into it. With it being empty, that allowed the entire arena to become a safe environment for The Rock and Foley to just go wild! Popcorn, cotton candy and salsa were among the food based weaponry, and then Foley was put in pizza ovens and knocked down steps. But then it was a keg carrying forklift that “crushed” The Rock and allowed Foley to win! Go find that match on the WWE Network to watch it for yourself!

The panel discusses Halftime Heat ’99.

That was a great match and moment, and Christian notes how strange and difficult it is to wrestle in essentially complete silence. The crowd, like the one right here, can pump you up and go extraordinary. Two legends to do that says a lot about how great they are. Foley is unselfish with all the times he’s put his body on the line. Booker says it was historic because many have tried to recreate it in their own way. But shifting gears again…

What’s next for the Women’s Division?

Lacey Evans and Bayley have been going back and forth fiercely while Becky Lynch was finally ready for Asuka! Booker feels for Bayley, that win was the first step to something. Lacey’s bad to the bone for being a lady, but Bayley beating her sets things up for progress. Bayley’s mean streak needs to get meaner, she needs to do something crazy. Christian felt it was more impressive that Sasha Banks wasn’t around and Bayley did this alone. When you feel you can’t do no wrong, sky’s the limit.

And then for Becky, finally getting that win she felt she needed more than anything, is her groove back? Yes it’s “How Becky Got Her Groove Back.” The one obstacle in her career being Asuka, Becky won and wants to main event Mania two years in a row. Booker says Becky needed this more than Asuka, because Kabuki Warriors have plenty in store for themselves. Becky’s back on track for the Road to WrestleMania, but plenty more to speak on that.

Frank Caliendo is coming!

Doing his John Gruden right now but surely he’ll have all of Backstage laughing out loud. “Spider two, wide bananas. I love this stuff.”


Drivers, start your engines with the Celtic Warrior!

That’s because Sheamus gets to be the pace car guest driver for the Daytona 500!


WWE and NFL have a close relationship, and clearly an influence on each other.

Football greats like Lawrence Taylor and Rob Gronkowski made their impacts in pro-wrestling, but many more football players love pro-wrestling. Big Cat, Ernie Ladd’s combined career, The Fridge VS Andre the Giant during WrestleMania II’s battle royal, and once again, LT being in WrestleMania 11’s main event. Gronk got in on WM 33 to tackle Jinder Mahal and help his boy Mojo Rawley, while a select few make the full transition from gridiron to squared circle. Just look at Baron Corbin, Roman Reigns, Brock Lesnar and Goldberg. Spears and pounces, anyone? Plus, you’ll find plenty of times when NFL players shout-out their favorite superstars. “The canvas may be different, but the artistry is the same.”


Frank Caliendo has the audience thunderous!

Again, really hard to hear Renee give the superstar caliber comedian his introduction, but the crowd reaction seems to say it all. Frank reps KC, “Let me tell you something, brother! Ooh yeah~!” He uses the power of the Hulkster and Macho Man to get the fans loud again. Sketch comedians usually look up to Saturday Night Live, but Caliendo was more about Saturday Night Main Event! Vince McMahon not knowing what was in Jake the Snake Roberts’ bag, c’mon. It’s a SNAKE, it’s Jake’s nickname!

Renee of course prepares us for Caliendo’s arsenal of impressions, such as the amazing Morgan Freeman. Caliendo goes into Freeman mode but he’s out of breath. “And that’s when ol’ Frank realized he had nothin’ left.” But to start, Morgan Freeman Caliendo rattles off old school names, like Junkyard Dog, Big John Stud, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Nothing? The fans were more fired up when he was just screaming. Caliendo lists of Big E, Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods. But saying their names summons them to the stage! The New Day is out and flinging flapjacks already! They boo his Morgan Freeman! “Cakes! Cakes!” The New Day loves the energy, but not Caliendo! That’s not at all Morgan Freeman! Woods actually says it is. Try Adam Sandler, though.

“Hey, Big E! Take a look at you! What happened to the rest of the alphabet? I think it’s in your chest!” Great Sandler, but now Kofi wants Caliendo to rip on Woods’ love for the Golden Girls, but as Gruden. “I tell you what, man, thank you for being a friend. Travel ’round the road and back again, your heart is pure, you’re a friend and a confidant.” Rue McClanahan, is that the actress or the character? Woods won’t let him besmirch Sophia, but Caliendo Gruden wouldn’t dare. Big E suggests getting on Kofi being a vegan, as Al Pacino. “Oh…! Yeah, that’s why I wear the green suit, first of all. Because I’m scared of meat. I’m steppin’ on pancakes here, guys.” But that’s what this is all, *clap*, ABOUT right now. But the best thing would be getting on BOOKER T! Where is he?!

Booker returns to the stage but wants them to slow down. They’re having way too much fun, but he wants in on it. Everyone knows Booker is King of Promo School! So hit Booker as Super Mario! “It’sa me, Mario!” No, try Barkley. “Aw thassa knucklehead. What happened with that suit?” There’s a table cloth missing, and it’s on Booker. Try De Niro now. “Ey, ey. I’m not sure if he shoulda said that, but it was funny. Yes it was, huh? Huh?” Booker getting annoyed now. He ain’t playing games, sucka. He is the FIVE-TIME (FIVE-TIME) champion, and the TWO-TIME (TWO-TIME) Hall of Famer! Caliendo hopes the New Day is backing him up right now. Booker headlocks Caliendo and brings him further backstage. Does Promo School have detention? Guess we’ll find out…


Edge’s return broke the internet!

Who expected the Rated R Return at the Royal Rumble? Certainly not anyone watching! Not in Houston, not at home, no one around the world!

It’s time for the Backstage Main Event!

And what else BUT Edge’s return! He proved you can never give up on your dreams. Christian plays it off for a moment, but it was definitely a great night. WWE is about creating moments, and one moment was Edge announcing his retirement in 2011 because of his neck injury. But his return, multiplied by how it was during the Royal Rumble match, it was unheard of! But as Edge said on Raw, those “What If” questions creep in, namely whether or not Edge could still do it, good neck aside. Talking after, Edge told Christian that he was so nervous. To put that in perspective, Christian always needed Edge to calm him down before matches, and Edge had nerves of steel. So that’s how big that night really was for everyone.

Roman himself got to be in the ring with Edge, that was a phenomenal dream moment. The things Edge went through, in and out of the ring, it’s all so inspiring. And just as Roman said about his story, Edge had his own version of that and so Roman was so excited to be blessed to have that moment. Christian adds that talking to him just before the return, Edge was already made up. Edge was excited to be in the ring with the new roster, such as Roman, and Seth Rollins, and AJ Styles, and Aleister Black. These dream match teases were all there, and sky’s the limit now. Renee really loved Edge and Styles staring down, and Booker was excited to call the match. The pandemonium! Time off can be an athlete’s worst enemy, but Edge coming back, leaving the business his way, big props!

Roman speaks to the locker room vibe that night, and it’s like Christian said. They’re all excited to be working together, everyone wanted their part of Edge. It was also just great to see him, and he was in great shape. Orton said it himself, “Damn you look good.” Christian knows Roman is a locker room leader, but Edge being back, what does that mean? “The more the merrier.” Keeping this culture and tradition, seeing a leader and legend like Edge coming in, “you can’t go wrong.” Renee and the fans are all excited, so who knows what’s next for Edge. But Booker has a surprise? Someone’s birthday? The boss’s birthday, but who do we mean? RICK ROSS in the front row! Happy birthday to Rozay!


George Kittle speaks on his love of the WWE and pro-wrestling.

What the 49ers Tight End loves is the personalities and the art of their characters in the spotlight. That translates well to football as the spotlight is on and the players need to be their absolute best no matter what.

Kittle’s favorite match is from the first WrestleMania he got to watch live, start to finish, and that would be WM 31 in Levi Stadium. Rollins cashing in was just a great moment period.

His favorite wrestling catchphrase is “Austin 3:16,” because it’s the best. But just as good was getting tweeted by THE ROCK. He could retire happy with The Rock and Stone Cold both following him! With just a few days left before the Super Bowl, will Kittle and the 49ers stun the Kansas City Chiefs?


Roman and The New Day help wrap up the show.

Kofi and Woods once again man the Big E cannon but The Big Dog pumps up his favorite team, the 49ers! He is congratulating the Chiefs on their great year, but it ends Sunday. The Bay Area’s three phase team has a different culture, this is their game! Offense, defense, special teams, they’ll hit Mahomes in the mouth and make him move around. They have speed on D, it’s going down! #BeLegendary, #QuestFor6, get a ring for the other hand! Kofi is a Patriots fan but Roman makes sure he knows that “America’s original team” is coming for their legacy. And with that, Big E is going deep in the end zone and we prepare for kickoff! Which team do you have for Super Bowl LIV?



My Thoughts:

This was a really fun episode. Obviously WWE being with Fox allows for tie-ins like with traditional sports, but as pointed out, WWE and NFL/football have been pretty intertwined for decades. It was pretty fun seeing those interviews about football Royal Rumbles and what not, and Roman gave a solid promo in favor of the 49ers. Surprised no one repped KC in return but time constraints and such I suppose. I loved the highlight on Halftime Heat ’99, and Caliendo was great as he always is. I suppose they left out talking about Orton brutalizing Edge just to keep the mood light, and also because we all know that wasn’t really how it looked on TV. Gotta preserve some parts of kayfabe, even on a show that pulls back the curtain.

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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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