They don’t want none! Nope, they don’t want none!
WWE Backstage gets Phenomenal as AJ Styles joins the panel! What will he have to say about his increasingly intense feud with The Undertaker?
Renee Young arrives to Fox Studios.
But she parks in a no parking zone and almost runs over a stage hand! Wait, she can, because she is running late after her flight got cancelled and the drive was 16 hours. Please park that for her, though. And then she enters through the “PLEASE KEEP DOOR SHUT” door for loading and unloading only. Hopefully no big wigs see this…
Renee makes her own entrance onto WWE Backstage!
Just in time! Booker helps Renee in as she explains why she was running late. She hugs Booker and welcomes back Ember Moon and Xavier Woods to the show! Ember’s rocking a sunset gradient for her hair and Woods has a very golden jacket. But with not even a month left until WrestleMania, Backstage gives us…
Just the Highlights!
For Elimination Chamber: Obviously the Chamber matches themselves are highlight reels! The Golden Lynx learned how to fly (or at least fall with style) while Otis crashes through a pod and OUT of the Chamber! But in the end, STILL SmackDown Tag Team Champions: The Miz & John Morrison! AJ Styles was shocked to see Undertaker show up again, and after a Choke Slam and a Black Mass, the Phenomenal One would Fade to Black. Kevin Owens showed up more as a fan than a competitor, and Seth Rollins’ rage kept him and Murphy from winning. STILL your Raw Tag Team Champions: The Street Profits!
And last but certainly not least, the Queen of Spades tore through everyone in the Women’s Chamber match. Natalya, Sarah Logan, Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan and even Asuka would pass out, leaving Shayna Baszler standing tall towards WrestleMania!
For Raw: The Phenomenal One was furious! And he called out Taker in the biggest way possible: using his shoot name, “Mark Calaway!” Styles wants to make the “broken down old man” rest in peace! And the Rated R Superstar returned again! MVP talked too much trash and got a SPEAR for it! The Viper tried to strike but Edge would steal the RKO! And then give MVP not one but two Conchairtos! Is Edge saving the third chair shot for Orton?
The panel discusses the WWE’s past few days.
First and foremost, the dominant performance by Shayna Baszler in the Elimination Chamber and how she is now poised to take on The Man. Booker knows Shayna is highly touted from NXT, but there’s still quite a gap between being big in Full Sail and shining in the spotlight. Shayna ran the gauntlet and took the spotlight. Booker has been in such positions, and he is giving Shayna a benefit of the doubt. There is a lot left unknown, but after we get Becky VS Baszler 1v1, it will be the people that determine what works.
Renee feels this isn’t a question of Shayna’s star power, it’s just the timing. To be catapulted to the spot, how does this affect Shayna? Woods says that Shayna was so dominant for the first time in that Chamber, and hasn’t been part of Raw for very long, that she better be ready to be thrust into this position. Ember knows Shayna from NXT, and there is something different in Shayna compared to everyone else. Shayna is trying to take that dominant position and leave no doubts. Shayna dominating the Chamber wasn’t that different from how she dominated NXT. It’s not asking if Shayna is ready but if Becky is ready. Shayna’s already very accomplished, especially in MMA and catch wrestling, and people might be underestimating her.
Renee then poses it like this: Shayna is not a kid, not a rookie, not a stranger to this position. If she wasn’t as exposed to things as she is, maybe that changes things. Ember agrees, and Booker says it’s even more than that. Booker says the WWE is looking for a female star to strap a rocket to. Shayna deserves this shot. It will be hard to hold onto the spotlight, so there’s still that question mark. Renee adds that Shayna may not have Ronda Rousey star power, but just looking at her, is her legitimacy just a layer of “coolness” added on?
Ember notes that people forget that Shayna was wrestling on the indies before WWE and NXT. That experience is a very important detail. Shayna has had to figure out how to make it in wrestling, she has those tools now, and she knows what she wants. Becky is in serious trouble because of how unique Shayna is with her catch wrestling style. But Shayna isn’t even trying to be more than what she is, and that is “an extreme badass.” Booker still wants to know if that translates to “behinds in seats.” Ember feels it will. Fantasy booking right now, Ember predicts Shayna winning and putting Raw on notice! Ember may have lost her mind but it’s the truth! Will this Prophecy of Flame pan out?
Shifting gears, Renee brings up Styles tearing into Taker with his promo! No more “mythical monster,” just a “broken down old man.” Style was shooting hard on Taker and real-life wife Michelle McCool! Styles vows to run Taker into the ground! What does everyone think about those harsh words?
Ember says Styles can do no wrong. Woods is hurting because Styles is attacking the nostalgia! Those words cut deep into Woods’ soul! Taker is “the last one we have left!” The last sacred thing in wrestling! Ember says we need new sacred things, and that starts with Styles. Ember is a huge fan of both men, and this is a money-making dream match! It doesn’t matter what is said, Ember wants to be front row to shout at them both, “Hit him!”
Renee asks if “humanizing the Undertaker” might be a step too far. Booker says that Styles taking his moment is what this business is about. Styles took a long time to get to the WWE, and then he dominated! Now, to step to the Undertaker is a stamp on Styles’ legacy. To go and mock Taker was something you’re supposed to do! But we still have three weeks until Mania! Woods says there is going to be three more weeks of this, and Styles surely understands Taker isn’t around much. Everyone in the locker room wants this moment, and Styles found his way to get Taker to come to him. Booker says that’s because Styles is talented. Booker even feels Styles is the most talented guy in the WWE today! And he’s not just saying that because Styles is Backstage.
Renee agrees that everyone wants after Taker, but everyone also wants after Styles. This is a dream match, for sure. Ember speaks to idolizing Styles and you can see it in her moveset. Thanks, AJ! What about Booker? Oh yeah, she uses his moves, too, but makes them better. OH~! But at the same time, Styles has been around a long time. If you don’t think he has something up his sleeve for Taker, especially with the attacks Taker’s been doing, think again. Styles will join Backstage later on, what will he say about all this talk?
But now, to the even more intense story on Raw: Edge and Orton! The Rated R Superstar’s newest return was thirsty for revenge! Poor MVP. MVP just wants to get his money, get a stable together, but he did mess up talking bad about Beth Phoenix. You can’t put stank on words like “wife” and get away with it. Renee is also very curious about the MVP faction. Ember thinks it was a ploy to get back that inflatable entrance tunnel. We all know MVP had to give that up because of bankruptcy. Booker says that MVP was the perfect person for the job. But MVP does have a lot of knowledge, and what he did in that segment might be small, but it works so well in the big picture. The locker room needs to understand that.
Renee moves to specifically Edge and Orton. Did this get everyone even more pumped for the inevitable Mania match? Ember says yes. She wishes this segment opened Raw, because Ember was waiting to see what Edge was going to do. She also wishes they didn’t just give away his return. Yes, ratings, but MVP starting off with his open call, and then Edge just shows up, gets out, calls out Orton, and we get the same things as we did last night. Ember loves the angle and they can do no wrong, but still. Booker adds that Edge is like John Wayne. Hopefully you younger folk know who he means. Of course Woods and Ember know about John Wayne! Booker is old, but they’re not that young.
But Booker’s point is that Edge should be limping into Mania, like it’s the 13th hour. Everyone wonders if Edge can even show up, and he does and performs. Edge is a high commodity, he has star power, he needs no build up. The music alone makes you go nuts. If Mania had it where no one knew if he’d show, and then he does, “Oh mah GAWD.” Imagine the roar! Road Warriors ’86 levels!
AJ Styles speaks.
“You mother lovers are in for a treat!” Because when WWE Backstage returns, he’s going to make it Phenomenal! He’s more than ready to talk about his Road to Mania, and a showdown with Taker. So stay tuned. Especially you, Michelle McCool.
WWE Backstage returns with AJ Styles!
He joins Renee and Woods in the ring, and even does some quick sparring with Renee. Surprisingly, Styles and Woods don’t have something like that despite knowing each other longer. Renee says her New Year’s Resolution was getting Styles on the show. Woods’ is to not fall asleep on the toilet. Too much mobile gaming in the bathroom.
But Renee brings up that fired up promo from Raw. So many people are talking about it. Styles feels he didn’t say anything the fans wouldn’t have said. But that’s the shock factor of it! The “retirement” after losing to Roman, and then he came back? Styles does have respect for Taker and what he has done for the industry, so hopefully this match happens. Woods says the biggest thing was that no one has talked like this to Taker ever. What was the impetus behind that? It was Styles just wondering, who is he talking to? The Undertaker or Mark Calaway? The American Badass and Limp Bizkit? Or the Dead Man? Styles is going after every single one of them! He’s after the guy who thinks he can choke slam Styles in his ring! Taker’s gonna pay the price! Styles is on a roll, now he’s going to rock!
Renee likes the fire Styles is showing right here. But the match with Taker, Styles has already done just about everything else there is to do in the industry. Was Taker on his bucket list? Of course! It has to be on everyone’s bucket list, really. It’s the Undertaker! This is huge! Styles wants to learn from this man. Styles studied Taker, watched all the matches, and wants to get in the ring with him.
Renee says it is interesting to hear that. Everyone else says Styles is perhaps the best person to lace up a pair of boots, so what is it that Styles feels he can still learn from Taker? Styles knows the old saying, that once you stop learning, it’s time to hang it up. Styles isn’t done learning. He wants to learn as much as he can. The older you get, you can’t do the same things you used to, but you do learn how and when to do what has the most impact. He can’t wait to sit down and figure it out with Taker.
Woods notes Styles made his WWE debut at the Royal Rumble in the Royal Rumble match. The object of that match is to be the last one in the ring. What was that like for Styles? Even after traveling the world outside of the WWE, it still terrified him. He met Road Dogg and these other guys, he was star struck. Styles felt like a guest in the WWE, but he was so excited. Woods jokes that he was mad Styles didn’t warn him. Styles didn’t know, either, until days before! But it was a huge moment, it was pretty intimidating. Styles was 38 back then, joining the WWE for the first time, it was intimidating.
Renee asks why that was the right time to joint he WWE. Styles says it was because they offered him the deal. Very true. But also, he was ready to “come home.” It couldn’t have happened in a more perfect way. Styles hoped to talk with Triple H first, didn’t happen. Styles talked with Terry Taylor, then HHH, and they had a great 30 minute conversation. He comes home without actually going home, because he flew to get his medical done, and boom, two weeks later was the Royal Rumble. It happened so quick.
Renee notes Styles has already done so much in the WWE, but one thing she sees a lot is talking to the younger, newer talent. What advice does he pass along? And who does he see as being the next big star? Styles doesn’t think he talks to “green” wrestlers, because they’ve already earned their way into the WWE. But this is a roller coaster. The ups, the downs, the internet saying whatever, but most of that talk isn’t true. Styles talks to those people who need to be reassured. Just keep doing what you’re doing, keep learning and improving, and you’ll get where you need to be. Other than that, he asks how things are personally, at home, and helps the others see the positives in their lives. As much as we love this business, it’s still just a job.
As to the other question, Styles sees the future being Ricochet, who is unbelievable. Cedric Alexander and Shayna Baszler, too. The opportunities are coming. Ricochet and Alexander are still amazing talents, as Styles knows from his quick rivalries with them. They’ll get there one day. They’re on the down swing now (as Alexander VS Tozawa on WWE Main Event) plays, but things will turn around. Even Styles had that, where it was someone else’s turn. Just wait, do your best, and be ready.
Woods says that he wants to move on from wrestling to talk video games! Renee knew it would come to this, and Styles is very excited! This is why Woods is here. UpUpDownDown plug. Woods has seen Styles’ gaming collection, and Styles has a still in box Mike Tyson’s Punch Out! Is that his most prized gaming possession? YES. It is in a box, in a box, in another box, wrapped in a bag. No one touches this thing. Footage shows he even has a GOLD CARTRIDGE Punch Out! Woods asks if the kids ever try to get in there. No, because they no better. Dad will give them the angry face and finger point! Renee wants to see Dad Mode Styles. #DadGrab!
This all sounds like an incident has happened before. Oh yes, it did. Styles’ original Game Boy with a huge magnifying glass for the screen, and his third son was messing with it. Styles had a mini panic attack because the set-up needed to be set up just right. Styles will stick around for much more, and Booker and Ember serves up the in-depth Elimination Chamber analysis!
WWE Backstage flashbacks to a historic main event!
Raw, 12/6/2004! Trish Stratus with a face guard took on Lita in Raw’s first main event of solely women wrestlers! The grudge was intense, the match was incredible, and Lita survived scorpion-ing herself on a suicide dive! In the end, the extreme Lita won and was WWE Women’s Champion!
The panel gets a Hot Tag!
Remember: 30 seconds to talk the topic! Ember starts and talks the A+ performance from Daniel Bryan VS Drew Gulak! She of course wants more of this because it was pure wrestling. One of the best matches for Gulak and Bryan in the WWE. She loves it, wants more, and is excited for Gulak who is well deserving because of everything! The character work, the PowerPoint presentations, how he is a former NXT Cruiserweight Champion, Gulak is finally making moves in the right direction! And with time to spare! Booker did his best to keep track of it on his own watch.
The SmackDown Tag Team Championship Chamber match of course goes to Woods as a 7-time champion with ya bois, the New Day. Miz & Morrison retain, but was this the absolute BEST Chamber match ever? Woods says second best, because the one he was involved in was great. But this was definitely an incredible match. It was great for Woods to watch his best friends, but much love to all the teams in that match. SmackDown’s Tag Team Division is still on fire, and Lince’s ceiling shooting star was INSANE. He stays locked in! Most incredible spot, for sure. Heavy Machinery, Otis going through the pod, and time. Oh well.
Lastly, Booker is being timed by Ember now as he discusses the WWE Intercontinental Championship. Sami Zayn has been a great manager to Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura, so it was a big surprise for Sami to get the title. Is this Sami’s time to get that push? Booker loves what Sami is doing on SmackDown! He’s champion now, and he will be bragging forever how he beat Braun Strowman! It doesn’t matter if it was 3v1, Sami gets the credit. Sami is a role player. You give him the ball, he’ll score. Booker thought Shinsuke was going to get the title back, Public Enemy, Flavor Flav~! But Sami will- TIME! What happened to that internal clock? But there’s still plenty of time left in the show, such as a look back at “The End of an Era.”
WWE Backstage returns with a Triple H highlight reel!
The Game has always wanted to put on amazing entrances, and he has some favorites. Him smashing the glass with a sledge, him rising from the stage with Motorhead, and his throne for WrestleMania 30 was wild because little did anyone know, that was Sasha Banks, Charlotte Flair and Alexa Bliss as the Valkyries. WrestleMania 31 was great, too, with HHH as a terminator. Arnold Schwarzenegger doing the voice over alone made it awesome.
But speaking of HHH and Mania, it seems that the Road is without The Game. This will be the first time in 13 years! And while he’s had many amazing moments, as we just saw, there is one that stands chief among them: The End of an Era, WrestleMania 28!
It was April 1, 2012. HHH VS Taker, Hell in a Cell with HBK as special guest ref. “When they started putting the End of an Era tag on it, we took that very seriously.” It wasn’t about retirement, but (at the time) it was the last moment these three icons were going to be in the ring together. The gong hits, the lights go out, the energy goes through the roof and you can’t help but get goosebumps. HHH had faced everyone from his generation and the ones before him, but there’s nothing like standing toe to toe with Taker. They both felt that match was clicking. It was so physical in the Cell, ultra aggressive and real. HBK couldn’t help but be in the moment, and even told HHH at one point, “Jeez, you guys are killing each other!”
There were many moments that they knew even before that fans would go nuts over. Tombstone, Sweet Chin Music, Pedigree, “capturing those moments and knowing that they’re coming, it’s just hard to describe. It’s why we all do this.” HHH doesn’t care what you do, that feeling is the juice of this business. Everything they’d all gone through, starting in the 90’s and then reaching that moment 20 years later, “there’s nobody in the business that I respect more than those two.” Those were the realest moments HHH has ever had or will have.
WWE Backstage has the Satin Sheet!
Ryan and his sexy music are back with some big news! To make up not having anything for the show these last few weeks, Ryan returns with HUGE news! Multiple sources say the three-time Super Bowl winner and current Fox Sports analyst, ROB GRONKOWSKI is “deep in talks” with the WWE and close to finalizing a deal! The details of that deal are still top secret, but Gronk could show up as early as 3/20/20, aka Friday Night SmackDown in New Orleans! This won’t be the first time, because WrestleMania 33 saw Gronk help Mojo Rawley win the Andre the Giant Battle Royal. Gronk has talked about doing more since then, and he was most recently hanging out with Mojo, HHH and Stephanie McMahon for Super Bowl Weekend. “Let the speculation begin.”
The panel discusses the big news.
Styles wants to talk about that pic. Mojo was hyped but Gronk seemed kinda nervous. But Gronk in the WWE, what does everyone want to see out of him? We fantasy booking? Woods wants Gronk to team with the Kabuki Warriors to be their heater and body guard. He can understand Japanese but he can’t speak it. Then he runs and gets them coffee. Renee likes that. He can be Kairi’s umbrella boy. Styles says if Gronk messes up the coffee, like no sugar, they slap it out of his hand and it goes into his face.
Booker says that Gronk is a marquee name. He needs to come in, turn on Mojo, and become a big name. Sorry, Mojo. Well it IS fantasy booking. Ember says that what we need to see at some point is the return of Jinder Mahal for Mania revenge. But first, someone who was there from the very beginning: Lisa the security guard! Lisa totally did not realize it was a work and shoot tried to put him back in his seat. A Mania moment indeed! Booker likes that idea, too. Ember learned from the best.
WWE Backstage looks back to Christian talking about Stone Cold.
“Steve hasn’t been in the ring for awhile, y’know? You know he’s got that mean streak, that’s never going away, but I’d love to see him in the ring, what? I said I’d love to see him in the ring with a guy like AJ Styles.” Everyone loves that dream match! Styles has never had a bad match so why not?
Renee of course asks Styles about this in the present. With one legend in the Undertaker more than likely for Mania, when and where would Styles want to take on Stone Cold? Styles perfected the Austin impersonation, but he’d love to show him that in person. Stone Cold gave Styles a Stunner last year when it was Styles VS Rollins for the Universal Championship, so that’s a bit of motivation, too. Booker got a Stunner, too! Booker says he took the best one.
WWE Backstage talks theme songs!
Iconic ones are easy to recognized. Hulk Hogan’s Real American. The Macho Man’s Pomp and Circumstance. The Hitman’s Hart Attack. HBK’s Sexy Boy. John Cena’s The Time is Now. But who in the WWE today has the best theme song and entrance?
Mustafa Ali, Drew McIntyre and many more are very conflicted on who and what to say. Ali goes with the Usos current one, Done With That, aka Down Since Day One. Elias says Baron Corbin’s current, I Bring the Darkness, is fantastic. Braun Strowman agrees, because for being paired with such a jerk, that song rocks. The IIconics like Randy Orton’s Voices. Ember has to go with Shinsuke Nakamura’s, both forms of Shadows of a Setting Sun. Finn Balor’s Catch Your Breath, especially the Demon mixes, are Samoa Joe’s choice. Rey Mysterio also likes that, especially the fans getting into it. But Fire & Desire feel it is still The Undertaker’s Rest in Peace. The gong alone. Carmella agrees, it is gloomy and dark.
McIntyre finally makes a decision, and it is Stone Cold Steve Austin’s I Don’t Do What You Tell Me, aka Glass Shatters. The glass makes everyone get up.
The panel discusses the same subject.
Renee can’t possibly choose! Booker goes with Stone Cold, too. The glass, Stone Cold comes out, it makes Booker want to be just like him. Styles goes with Samoa Joe’s. The bass and how mean Joe looks. Ember admits she also likes Styles’ theme. “The anteater” is an inside joke they’ll explain later. We think we all know Woods’ favorite, but there is footage of him jamming out to I Walk Alone, Dave Batista’s theme! Saliva is just an awesome band. But Woods surprises us that his all-time favorite is Reverend D-Von’s. Booker’s got great music, sure, but c’mon. “Please call mah name!”
Styles wants to bring out the elephant in the room: Run DMC’s take on the Degeneration X theme, The Kings. Renee says she’s also seen Woods jam out Trish Stratus’ theme. That will be for another episode.
Next week, the Nightmare comes to WWE Backstage!
NXT Women’s Champion, Rhea Ripley, joins the show as the special guest, and CM Punk is back again! What will they both have to say about Rhea’s coming title defense against Charlotte Flair and the rise of NXT as WWE’s third brand?
The WWE Universe comes to the rescue!
Mick Foley needed some help getting their car to a gas station, and it was some very excited fans that helped push the Foley Mobile the rest of the way! Tommy Palica has video of his friends taking selfie video with Foley.
Booker teases Foley for running out of gas in the first place. But does he have any odd or appreciated fan moments? Being on the road, one time he got pulled over, and the officer realized who Booker was and totally let him go. Styles remembers that moment, because he was behind Booker and also got pulled over. Officer didn’t let Styles go! Well Styles was still working on becoming a Hall of Fame WWE champion. Woods can’t remember one so he lets Ember go next. Hers is from PAX when fans made her a Dungeons & Dragons character, as Ember Moon. She plays D&D with that character all the time, she loves it. Woods had the same thing, sorta.
Curtis Axel tweets the show!
In reference to how Styles and Renee greeted each other tonight: “Wow! I have the same handshake with my boys at home!” Thumbs up and surprised face emoji. Is he teasing them? They do it again to show how good they are at it. Renee actually left a mark. She apologizes while also saying bye on behalf of the panel.
Another really fun episode of Backstage! Styles is such a great guy in real-life, and him showing some of his real personality was great. It’s obviously becoming more well-known knowledge that Styles is as much of a gamer as he is an athlete, and seeing glimpses of his collection was incredible. Gold cartridge Punch Out!! It also means a lot for Styles to say that, despite what we’re seeing and thinking and talking about in regards to Cedric Alexander and Ricochet, he has confidence those guys and others are going to be back on top as WWE moves forward. Because honestly, they should.
In a roundabout way, Ember’s line about making new sacred things puts a great headline on the argument many have had about WWE making new stars. That way, the WWE can still be around for us to have the same nostalgia we have for Taker, but for people like Styles, Alexander, Ricochet, etc. At the same time, we fans need to slow down and realize that a few weeks or even a few months of “Oh no! Vince isn’t pushing them! They’re buried!!” won’t even be remembered once they and superstars in similar positions (and there’s a lot of them) have had their moments. One day, we’ll look back on Ricochet, Shayna, and who knows who else like we do HHH, HBK and Taker in that End of an Era match. Just hopefully without the baggage of them coming back again and somewhat tarnishing their legacies.
(NOAH) NOAH WEEKLY NEWSLETTER VOL.182 ~ 8TH AUGUST 2022
After a rare live stop in the UK for HAYATA (which Hisame was present for), she informs us of all the NOAH happenings leading towards the N-1 Victory!
HAYATA defends the GHC Junior against Shuji Kondo in Japan and Chris Ridgeway in England
In a brutal match which combined speed vs strength, and technical ability vs psychological warfare, HAYATA succeeded in defending the title against Shuji Kondo in the main event of DEPARTURE 2022 on the 5th August. It was by no means an easy fight, Kondo possessed the size and the strength that HAYATA did not, and so HAYATA had to find a way round him, which he did by too capitalizing on the element of surprise, which was the strategy that Shuji Kondo was also aiming for. In the end, he won by The Headache after 19 minutes and 3 seconds. Backstage, HAYATA said that since he was fighting Chris Ridgeway on the 7th July, why not make it a title match?
The second GHC Junior title match (and HAYATA’S 5th defense) took place at The Portland Centre in Nottingham only about (and maybe not even) forty-eight hours after defending against Kondo. WrestleCarnival (the promotion hosting the title match), followed NOAH’s traditions by playing the theme music for the title and showing the gallery of champions. For the newer fans, each belt, even the newer GHC National, have their own title music. Ridgeway vs HAYATA was STINGER vs STINGER with the atmosphere of the venue changing radically to a NOAH show. The match was a vicious technical fight, with very much Yoshinari Ogawa psychology (not just submissions, but amazing reversals i.e. Ridgeway catching HAYATA mid flight and turning the move into an ankle lock), which was very much Match Of The Year quality. HAYATA succeeded in defending the title with The Headache. Afterwards, they shook hands.
You will be able to view the match on WrestleUniverse in due course.
Yoshiki Inamura Fire Festival
Yoshiki Inamura’s summer peaked when finishing the highest in his block, he went on to the Fire Festival 2022 finals against Daisuke Sekimoto. Sekimoto has been both a tag partner and a rival of Inamura, and so this was Inamura’s chance to both show him how much he has grown and also overcome a senior. Sadly, Inamura was not successful in his attempt.
The GHC Junior Tag Championship: A tale of a stolen belt, duct tape and a sneak win
While HAYATA was defending his belt against Shuji Kondo and then heading off to face Chris Ridgeway, Yoshinari Ogawa had his own championship problems, as Eita is still parading around with the GHC Junior Tag belt. Eita is even going to far as to proclaim himself as the GHC Junior Tag Champion, have official pictures taken with the belt, and say all his singles matches in DragonGate were championship matches. No wonder at DEPARTURE 2022, Yoshinari Ogawa came out looking grim and holding a chair which he swung at Perros Del Mal De Japon. Kotaro Suzuki, who was at ringside seconding, was taped to the corner post by Yuya Susumu and Kai Fujimura, as Ogawa chased Eita around over the belt.
Kotaro was later freed from his duct tape prison, and used as a missile by NOSAWA Rongai, as he still had his arms taped down. The match was “won” by young Kai Fujimura, who Ogawa threw over NOSAWA, after he dodged thanks to Eita showboating with the belt, and who had hit NOSAWA in the face. Ogawa once again was not successful in getting his tag belt back, as after a tug-of-war over it, Eita ran off.
Due to Visa issues, Timothy Thatcher was announced by Naomichi Marufuji, to have pulled out of the N-1 VICTORY 2022. Marufuji admitted that there were seniors to take his place, himself included if he so wished (he didn’t because of just coming back from a knee operation), but he wanted to see NOAH’s younger generation take that slot, and therefore a match was arranged between Kinya Okada and Yoshiki Inamura at DEPARTURE on Friday 5th August. If anyone was going to have that slot, Kinya Okada vowed it would be him. He and Yoshiki Inamura were the same age and contemporaries, both from the same class and the same generation of NOAH, but whereas Inamura seemed to have all the advantages – Fire Festival, title matches, and even main evening, Okada (whose career had suffered from a couple of early injuries), was in the opening match and losing constantly. This was his chance to catch up and fought like never before, and overcame his friend/rival. Kinya Okada will therefore enter this years N-1 VICTORY 2022 in Timothy Thatcher’s place (B Block). His first match will be on August 11th against Masakatsu Funaki.
As Governor of Ishikawa Prefecture, Hiroshi Hase usually makes an appearance when NOAH are in town. Normally his participation involves opening the show, presenting a gift to the winner of the main event (etc), but on the 31st July he not only chopped Kendo Kashin, and chugged beer with Kazuyuki Fujita, and made Keiji Mutoh a tourism ambassador for the region (Naomichi Marufuji fulfils the same role for Saitama), he also said he would like to take part in Keiji Mutoh’s retirement road, although at first he didn’t think he would be able to as he didn’t think the people of the prefecture would approve. Hase, who has been retired since 2018, admitted he needed to get back in the ring and do some training. NOAH have announced nothing as of yet.
Kenoh has named his double knee attack moonsault, “Enrin”, which basically means flaming circle. He says that flames are a good look for him. The name was chosen following a public poll on Kenoh’s twitter
Following an appearance by El Hijo Del Santo in NOAH and Kenoh as usual squaring up to him, (plus a very funny shoving spot behind Tadasuke as he talked to the camera), it appeared that El Hijo Del Santo issued a challenge to Kenoh, over his belt. Kenoh said that had never heard any belt by that name, except in boxing, but would be happy to take him on, anytime and anywhere.
Naomichi Marufuji returns, dates in America
Naomichi Marufuji made his return to NOAH at DEPARTURE 2022, teaming with Go Shiozaki and Takashi Sugiura against Daiki Inaba, Masato Tanaka and Satoshi Kojima. The match (despite it’s N-1 fight between Sugiura, Shiozaki, Tanaka and Kojima), was won by Go Shiozaki. On the 28th August, he will go to New York to face Eddie Kingston at House of Glory Wrestling. There will also be a further date in America in November for King of The Indies 2022.
Tadasuke has been injured with nasal bone fractures, and will therefore miss (probably) the next three NOAH shows, which includes Osaka and Hiroshima, places very special to him.
KENTA revealed in his autobiography, “Footsteps”, that his ring name was very almost “Camel Kobayashi”. This was because he was teased by his seniors as they thought he looked like a camel, and it was Naomichi Marufuji, who suggested the name! KENTA says that it was because of this nickname that Satoru Asako defeated him with the Camel Clutch, although this was not a move he usually did.
ELSEWHERE IN NOAH
– Mohammed Yone described Funky Express as “this little old man army”. Saito told him that most definitely did not describe him. They might be aging. He wasn’t.
– Eita apparently said he was the “GHC Junior” champion by mistake once
– Shuhei Taniguchi actually trusted a Kendo Kashin handshake. Think about that for a moment.
– Naomichi Marufuji said that after drinking with Mitsuharu Misawa, they were both so drunk they each paid the taxi driver, so he got two fares. Takashi Sugiura said that Kinya Okada and Daisuke Harada, both have a tendency to wander off when drunk.
– When Kenoh was looking for a name for his moonsault, Naomichi Marufuji suggested “New double knee attack moonsault”. Kenoh didn’t even bother to respond.
– When Kaito Kiyomiya was teaming with El Hijo Del Santo and Ultimo Dragon, he and Alejandro did a double over the top rope somersault. This is not a usual Kiyomiya move, and he said he was inspired by his seniors.
– A TikTok account craze has swept NOAH. Pretty much everyone except STINGER and Kongoh it appears have created an account.
– Tadasuke’s camera corner was interrupted by a scuffle in the background between Kenoh, Kaito Kiyomiya, El Hijo Del Santo, Ultimo Dragon and Alejandro.
– Kaito Kiyomiya has a new feature on his YouTube channel, “Kiyo’s Kitchen” (I get the impression that “Kiyo” is his nickname within NOAH).
EVENT RECAPS AND POST MATCH INTERVIEWS
- Midsummer Clash 2022 (Ishikawa Industrial Exhibition Hall No.3, Sunday July 31st)
- Sunny Voyage 2022 (Act City Hamamatsu, Saturday July 30th)
- DEPARTURE 2002 (Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Friday 5th August)
- GHC Heavyweight Champion: Kenoh
Challenger: Winner of the N-1 VICTORY 2022
- GHC Junior Champion: HAYATA
- GHC Heavyweight Tag Champions: The Sugiura Army (Hideki Suzuki & Timothy Thatcher)
- GHC Junior Tag Champions: STINGER (Chris Ridgeway & Yoshinari Ogawa)
Challengers: Perros Del Mal De Japon (Eita & Kotaro Suzuki), Postponed, replacement date to be advised. Chris Ridgeway says he will be back in Japan soon.
- GHC National Champion: Masakatsu Funaki
THIS WEEK IN NOAH
NOAH will hold the press conference for the N-1 VICTORY 2022 at 4pm JST on Wednesday 10th August. This will be live and free to view as it will be streamed on YouTube.
- N-1 VICTORY 2022
Thursday, August 11th
Start time: 16:00 JST
Venue: Yokohama Budokan
Saturday, August 13th
Start time: 17:30 JST
Venue: EDION Arena Osaka 2nd Stadium
Broadcast: WrestleUniverse (Live)
Notes about broadcasts
– WrestleUniverse will have English commentary for all nights.
Unless you are living in Japan or have a VPN you know is compatible with ABEMA, please do not subscribe to the service. For fans living outside of Japan, a subscription to WrestleUniverse would be better as they show more NOAH shows than ABEMA, and usually the events get uploaded very quickly. ABEMA broadcasts are only in Japanese, you can only watch them live, and this is the only NOAH they show. They do not broadcast old shows as these belong to Samurai TV.
HAYATA UK APPEARANCES
Saturday, August 13th: HAYATA – PROGRESS Wrestling (Sheffield)
Sunday, August 14th: HAYATA – PROGRESS Wrestling (Newcastle)
I am informed that PROGRESS have their own streaming service, but I am unsure as to whether the matches will be put on WrestleUniverse.
BIRTHDAYS AND ANNIVERSARIES
Wednesday, August 10th: Yasutaka Yano (22)
Friday, August 12th: Junta Miyawaki debut anniversary (5)
AKITOSHI SAITO’S N-1 EVALUATION
Akira Taue complains of someone snoring, he thinks it was probably Yoshinari Ogawa, but Mitsuharu Misawa admits it may also have been him.
PICTURE CREDITS: House of Glory (Naomichi Marufuji & Eddie Kingston), myself (HAYATA)
GIF taken from WrestleUniverse
NOAH WEEKLY NEWSLETTER VOL.181 ~ 29TH JULY 2022
With only a few weeks before the N-1 Victory tournament kicks off, NOAH is setting the stage and the Juniors are forever causing trouble!
Seiki Yoshioka joins the NOAH Junior Regulars
Following a singles match with Daisuke Harada at “STAR NAVIGATION 2022” (July 21st, Korakuen Hall), Seiki Yoshioka took Harada up on his offer to join the NOAH Junior Regulars. Yoshioka explained his decision as he had tried to get the GHC Junior Heavyweight belt by himself and had failed, so now he was going to try getting it working in tandem with people he had never teamed with before.
When it came to meet his new teammates, not everyone was initially happy with Daisuke Harada’s decision. Alejandro had no issue with it, Atsushi Kotoge put the past behind them and shook hands, but YO-HEY was a little more cautious, and naturally the same went for Seiki Yoshioka.
To set the scene for newer fans, Yoshioka and YO-HEY were in a unit called FULL THROTTLE together, which fell apart when Yoshioka kicked YO-HEY in the head and turned on the unit saying that expressions such as “Perron” (YO-HEY) and “Mui Bien” (Hajime Ohara) weren’t going to get him to the top of the NOAH Juniors and after kicking Hajime Ohara down, he joined with his old friends in STINGER. Since then, he and YO-HEY have been enemies. YO-HEY later said that Harada had made a decision, and basically he would abide by it and see how it went. The ice was broken a little at the NOAH Junior Twitter Space, and again the next day at their second one (NOAH seemed intent on replaying the first interview), but being in the ring and tagging together is the real show your true intentions as far as the NOAH Juniors go, and this is precisely what is going to happen on the 29th July when YO-HEY, Seiki Yoshioka and Daisuke Harada team together against STINGER. Yuya Susumu is not impressed by Yoshioka’s decision, asking if this is the path he chose on leaving them?
STINGER vs Perros Del Mal; A Tale of Two Tag Belts
Since Eita stole Yoshinari Ogawa’s tag belt, Ogawa has been on a long and fruitless quest to get it back. He almost succeeded at Korakuen Hall on the 22nd July, when he snatched the belt and went backstage during the match (leading to an unintentional but typical slightly funny moment of Yuya Susumu having to be the responsible one and sort things out), but PERROS chased him and grabbed the belt back. In the ring, Yoshinari Ogawa was taped to the ropes and forced to watch young Kai Fujimura forced to submit. HAYATA saved Ogawa from being beaten down by running into the ring and making PERROS scatter. Backstage, another fight broke out when Ogawa threw a plastic water bottle at PERROS and attempted to get the belt back. Eita declared it was his, and ran off with NOSAWA, as he clutched the belt to him. In fury, Ogawa threw a steel barrier. Fortunately, the other tag belt is safely in Chris Ridgeway’s possession. Eita warned him not to come back too quickly, he’s having too much fun beating up Ogawa.
“Not Misawa or Mutoh”
Kaito Kiyomiya says that despite the “Three Sacred Treasures” (as the Japanese sports press have named Keiji Mutoh’s gifts of The Shining Wizard. The Figure Four and The Dragon Screw), Kiyomiya at the moment has no intention of using them. He is grateful to Mutoh, but during the N-1 he wants to win as himself and find a move that is uniquely his. Kiyomiya believes that this final task from Keiji Mutoh, is Mutoh’s final gift to him.
Shuji Kondo’s mind games
Shuji Kondo declared that he would defeat HAYATA by using mind games. However, after their last pre match at Korakuen Hall on the 22nd July where Kondo had basically side stepped HAYATA, no sold him and then was not where HAYATA had anticipated he would be, HAYATA played his own mind games by offering Kondo a handshake and then attacking him, dodging Kondo he slid out of the ring and growled on the mic, “To be continued, August 8th, Korakuen Hall”.
N-1 VICTORY battlelines drawn up
The heavyweights are gearing up for the N-1 VICTORY, which means they go slightly wild like their junior counterparts.
Katsuhiko Nakajima says this will be his summer, and has already sparked with Kaito Kiyomiya, defeating him and throwing him from the ring at the last Korakuen.
Kenoh says he is aiming for Kazuyuki Fujita to avenge his GHC National loss, and of course to rid NOAH of what he terms “the old men”. Kenoh has also renamed the N-1, the K-1 as he believes it will come down to Masakatsu Funaki (GHC National Champion), Katsuhiko Nakajima (the winner of the league the past two years) and himself (the GHC Heavyweight Champion). Kenoh says he will win.
Go Shiozaki is aiming for Satoshi Kojima
Satoshi Kojima is looking to create his own record and be the first person to win a Grand Slam in league matches in New Japan, NOAH and All Japan.
OPEN THE TRIANGLEGATE Update
Perros Del Mal De Japon retained the titles against HIGH END on July 21st, and have been challenged by M3K. This match will take place in Dragon Gate. However, NOSAWA Rongai has challenged YAMATO to a singles match which will take place in NOAH.
ELSEWHERE IN NOAH
– Mohammed Yone said in a recent interview that before matches, he pumps up his ‘fro by about 10cm
– Pec flexing seems to have become a competition in NOAH as Satoshi Kojima does it with Kenoh and Katsuhiko Nakajima doing it in matches, and Kaito Kiyomiya demonstrating it to the crowd at one of the recent fan events.
– Katsuhiko Nakajima was asked if he where to have a girlfriend among the NOAH roster, who would it be? He said it would be himself.
– NOAH will go back to selling full seating for venues in September
– Fans are wondering when HAYATA is going to start talking like Kenoh!
– NOSAWA asked Masaaki Mochizuki (52), who was dressed in the baggy pants, t-shirts, shades and varsity jackets and floppy blonde hair reminiscent of 90s college boys, if he was a little old to be dressing that way? He added that Ryoto (Mochizuki’s son) didn’t really want to be dressing that way either.
– KENTA wrote in his biography a funny/embarrassing incident that took place in Hakodate when he and Kenta Kobashi were eating with some locals. Kobashi asked KENTA who was his favorite in a local band called “Judy and Mary”, did he like “Judy” or did he like “Mary”. While the locals suppressed their giggles as the band is a four piece and not a duo like Kobashi thought, KENTA (who himself was turning red at Kobashi trying to be hip) saved him further embarrassment and said “Judy”. It is probably better that Kobashi did not ask Jun Akiyama…
Another KENTA story was when he was injured during training for his debut due to an elbow to face by Makoto Hashi. Concerned, Mitsuharu Misawa came over and tilted KENTA’S head up to look. KENTA said he forgot the pain in his nose, as he was more worried about Misawa kissing him.
EVENT RECAPS AND POST MATCH INTERVIEWS
- STAR NAVIGATION 2022 (Thursday July 21st, Korakuen Hall)
- STAR NAVIGATION 2022 (Friday July 22nd, Korakuen Hall)
- GHC Heavyweight Champion: Kenoh
- GHC Junior Champion: HAYATA
Challenger: Shuji Kondo, “DEPARTURE 2022”, 5th August, Korakuen Hall
- GHC Heavyweight Tag Champions: The Sugiura Army (Hideki Suzuki & Timothy Thatcher)
- GHC Junior Tag Champions: STINGER (Chris Ridgeway & Yoshinari Ogawa)
Challengers: Perros Del Mal De Japon (Eita & Kotaro Suzuki), Postponed, replacement date to be advised
- GHC National Champion: Masakatsu Funaki
THIS WEEK IN NOAH
- SUNNY VOYAGE 2022
Saturday, July 30th
Venue: Act City Hamamatsu, Shizuoka
Start: 18:00 JST
Broadcast: WrestleUniverse (broadcast on Tuesday 2nd August from 18:00 JST)
- MIDSUMMER CLASH 2022
Sunday, July 31st
Venue: Ishikawa Industrial Exhibition Hall No. 3, Ishikawa
Broadcast: WrestleUniverse (broadcast on Wednesday 3rd August from 18:00 JST)
- DEPARTURE 2022
Friday, August 5th
Start time: 18:30 JST
Venue: Korakuen Hall
Broadcast: WrestleUniverse (Live)
DEPARTURE celebrates NOAH’s birthday, which means that this year, NOAH will turn twenty two. Each year NOAH reaches this point is a miracle given the turbulent history of the promotion. Mitsuharu Misawa gave NOAH’s first ever show this name as a way of sticking up two fingers to All Japan as he had walked out with three of The Four Pillars, half of the roster, and most of their young talent, referees, office staff and eventually NOAH would even take All Japan’s TV spot.
AKITOSHI SAITO’S N-1 EVALUATION
“DONMAI, DONMAI” – Mitsuharu Misawa’s diary
With thanks to: Metal NOAH
GIF taken from WrestleUniverse
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