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Mitchell’s WWE Backstage Report! (4/28/20)

HBK is Backstage!

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WWE Backstage 2020

The Heartbreak Kid goes Backstage!

After FS1 plays his best matches and moments, Shawn Michaels goes Backstage! What will the WWE legend have to say about everything going on?

Renee Young welcomes us Backstage!

She is so very happy that we are tuning in and that she and the panel is able to still do these episodes during these very trying times. Joining her again is Booker T, Christian and Mark Henry! The three Hall of Famers are GOODT as always. But Christian says he needs a haircut before he looks like 2001 Christian. No, bring it back! But with Money in the Bank less than two weeks away, there were many more superstars scrambling for their opportunity. In case you missed it, here’s…

Just the Highlights!

On SmackDown: The Forgotten Sons are ready to strike any team at any time. That’s why they started a brawl with the other tag teams! Bayley and Sasha Banks are not on the same page, again, and that cost The Boss a chance at MITB! Baron Corbin meanwhile punches his ticket, with some help. And the HHH XXV celebration began with more of a roast. Between HBK and Vince McMahon, it was “absolutely rotten!”

On Raw: The Modern Day Maharaja is BACK! Nia Jax left Asuka and Shayna Baszler down and out with help from a ladder, and Apollo Crews looks to be out of MITB! Crews’ knee could not hold up, now he might have missed his one shot at the world title. And speaking of, the world title match is official, and Drew McIntyre gave Buddy Murphy the shot meant for the Monday Night Messiah! Will that happen again at MITB?

The panel discusses.

“Man, we had to bleep that S-Bomb!” But McIntyre’s dream came true at WrestleMania when he slayed the Beast, but now he must face fellow beastslayer in Seth Rollins. How was that closing segment last night? Booker always liked contract signings back in the day. And it was brilliant for McIntyre to point out how it was going to go, because they always end up like that. What Booker likes about McIntyre is that he’s stepping into his own. Even having to go out there without a crowd, McIntyre brings the realism into the arena. McIntyre is almost a throwback to what Booker was seeing when he was coming up: a man in the middle of that squared circle. Renee wants to point out just how far McIntyre threw that table.

Mark Henry says it was great. Rollins is really believing everything he is saying. And of course, McIntyre came exactly how Henry wanted him to, phrasing it as Rollins believing his own BS. Henry definitely popped. Christian liked both sides of it. He liked McIntyre telling Lawler to move aside, and then kept his cool while getting right to business. Then from Rollins, he is playing off some real feelings here. He feels he is a leader, and feels like his performances weren’t getting the reactions. The fans weren’t doing their part, so this is the byproduct of that. Booker adds that Rollins was put in that position and either you deliver or drop the ball. Being the Monday Night Messiah is huge, but Rollins is definitely in that JBL spot, “Wrestling God!” JBL wasn’t even the best pure wrestler, but he was the best performer. Rollins is channeling that and it’s beautiful.

Renee asks Henry what he thinks of Murphy. Well one, he got his face kicked off. And two, he served his purpose of saving Rollins. Rollins is off his meds, and his work rate is something not seen since the Attitude Era, like The Rock, HBK, HHH and Austin. And Booker, too. Booker appreciates that. But back to Rollins’ character, being delusional makes him the kind of guy you want to see in this match.

Renee moves things over to SmackDown. Many new faces have been making splashes, and the already deep tag team division is getting even deeper. To Christian, he likes that the Forgotten Sons have the chips on their shoulders, and he likes what he’s seen so far. He likes the message of serving their country but aren’t appreciated for it. Training differently gives them an edge, and stating their mission of using those talents to serve themselves now is a unique take. And between the three brands, each show feels different, and Christian says the same as he did for Elias: moving over from NXT to SmackDown worked better for him, and now it works better for them. Booker isn’t so sure yet, but this is a sink or swim position. It’s something he does like, because when he was put in that situation, he likes the element of surprise. You gotta hit hard, fast and first, and that’s what he likes. Will they make it on SmackDown? Who knows. He needs to see more before giving a stamp of approval.

Henry spent time with the Forgotten Sons, and he went through the same training they went through in the Funk’n Dojo. After coming out of that, all three are well-seasoned who can do it all in the ring. Henry spent time in North Carolina for that Tribute to the Troops event. These guys are a cohesive unit for sure. Also Henry got to get some Jell-O from the mess hall. There’s always room for Jell-O. But meeting their fellow soldiers, they all said the same thing. These three work together, they’re brothers. Christian points out there’s three of them, like the New Day. We might never know who is competing in any giving match, so there could be layers to this. Renee says the SmackDown Tag Division is looking GOODT.

 

He’s not your boy toy!

But he is one of the best to ever do it! If he’s not on your Mount Rushmore of wrestlers, you’re doing it wrong. Shawn Michaels joins Renee and says all those old pictures in the montage are from a long time ago. He doesn’t look anything like that anymore. But his “quarantine beard” is still very distinguished. SmackDown had him and HHH celebrate the 25 year anniversary. And if you’re not down with that… Social distancing! Vince McMahon joined in on the roast, “Good night, padre.” But what was it like putting that together? Well they’re friends enough that they could do that. It started as a comedy segment, but at the end, it seemed like the only people who knew that were him and HHH. But HBK got that social distancing joke from his daughter. She denied him a hug after he came home from work. Well good for her to get writer’s credit.

Also, it was a hilarious twist for HHH not to be able to do his signature entrance with the water bottle. Well, clearly this is an interesting time in our lives. HBK has learned a lot of new stuff. Just when you think you’ve seen everything, you get shown you haven’t. It’s interesting if nothing else. But how was it to put that segment together to summarize 25 years, and then have Vince add on? Well again, HBK doesn’t want to throw anyone under the bus, but there was a lot more stuff in there that they couldn’t get to. Some things just weren’t going to work, but it was still fun. And more importantly, it’s always fun for HBK and HHH to work together. Believe it or not, there’s always a real-life aspect to their work together. If for no other reason, that was the fun part.

Renee does admit it’s a shame HBK never got his 25th anniversary celebration. What happened that he got robbed of that opportunity? HBK never gets happy birthday tweets or anything like that, but he’s okay with that. He likes being under the radar now. For one, the beard shouldn’t be on camera. Nah, we always want HBK on our screens, and being under the radar isn’t really fitting of truly one of the best. But now that he’s helping the next generation, what’s that like? A blast, really. That’s the reason he wants to be behind the scenes now. As HHH has expressed, it’s even more enjoyable watching the new generation have their moment. It has been so much more fulfilling than HBK thought, and loves every aspect. It’s never tough to go to work like this, and he is absolutely supportive of this new generation.

Then who is he keeping an eye on? That’s an always changing group in NXT. There was McIntyre, Aleister, Ricochet, The Revival and that class. Andrade, Gargano and Ciampa, of course. The list goes on and on. But now, we’ve got Killer Kross, or Karrion now. Dexter Lumis, Tim Thatcher, and many more are going to take NXT to the next level. Renee does bring up one superstar who gives HBK credit for his career. Drew McIntyre spoke to HBK helping him at the Performance Center. HBK was willing to help him, and McIntyre was MORE than willing to be helped. It was like a wrestling PhD with HBK. What a ride to see McIntyre rise to the top. HBK says that kind of moment is why he’s doing this now. McIntyre didn’t have to drive that four hour round trip, but he did, and was always open and willing to learn and improve.

McIntyre has so much natural talent and ability. He had to go to the bottom and work his way back up, but he was so appreciative and respectful. What’s great about McIntyre is he’s already impressive just from standing there. But he didn’t want to be one dimensional. He wanted to have depth and levels, and that is what HBK enjoyed being a part of. Adding that range because the audience is so much more sophisticated, beating people up just isn’t enough anymore. There need to be levels for longevity, and McIntyre was open to that. McIntyre physically didn’t have to be more than an action star, and HBK loves that.

Speaking of longevity, Edge’s return has already shown he hasn’t missed a step. HBK had his own return after a long hiatus, and his second run may have been his best. Has HBK been able to talk with Edge? Yes, and they’ve certainly talked about Edge’s return. HBK wanted to hear Edge’s reasoning and feelings, and it was surprising that it sounded so much like HBK’s. The doctors say you can’t, but then after some time, you understand that pro-wrestling is unlike anything else. It is up to the wrestlers to determine what can’t be done. Especially when there’s still the questions to be answered. That leaves you the window of opportunity. You should still lean on the side of the doctors, but Edge is smart enough to weigh is options. HBK is thrilled Edge can end things on his terms now. It gives everyone hope of comebacks like this.

Renee brings HBK on a trip down memory lane back to exactly 24 years ago. It was 4/28/1996, In Your House 7, when Kevin “Big Diesel” Nash POWERBOMBED HBK through a table!! But in the end, HBK came back to hit Sweet Chin Music and get the win! That was Nash’s last match before going to WCW. The biggest thing HBK remembers the powerbomb more than anything. They hadn’t done it much period at that time, and that is just one part of the craziness in that match. But it was a match that let them go outside the WWE box, and that made the match even better.

Now, Renee heard HBK has spoken to two superstars having the HBK-Nash relationship. Who are they? HBK was just using it as an example. It would be Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez. Obviously there are differences because Dakota and Raquel are ladies, but that’s the parallel they could follow. The brash cocky one and the heater dynamic could work going forward. This is why HBK needs to be in NXT! His wealth of knowledge! Hopefully next time, we talk to HBK live and in studio.

 

Backstage shares a Tweet from Kennesaw State.

They congratulated Bronson Rechsteiner, son of Rick Steiner of the Steiner Brothers, on being drafted to the NFL Baltimore Ravens! The WWE congratulates him as well, and hopefully he’ll be pulling off the same moves that dad Rick and Uncle Scott did back in the day.

 

The panel talks a 2020 WWE Backstage Draft!

Each panelist gets to choose five current WWE superstars to build a company around! We begin with Booker T! Booker already thought about this, so his first is Shayna Baszler! The Queen of Spades will make the Women’s Division as strong and as real as possible! Then second is Rhea Ripley! Charlotte Flair is a diamond, but the Ripper is a diamond in the rough that needs some polish. Then third, Drew McIntyre! Not just because he’s champion, but because he’s a guy that a company needs as a bonafide true heavyweight! Fourth, Roman Reigns! No better leader than the Big Dog for your locker room. He will bring everyone together and bring the noise to the PPV! And lastly, the Phenomenal AJ Styles! And there you have it, the perfect company is built, and you can take it to the bank! Amazing promo work. Has Booker ever done this before?

Christian is glad Booker didn’t draft himself. But his five are: first, Edge! Duh. Just look at his resume. No one has more championships than Edge! He elevates those around him. Then, much like Booker, Christian takes Rhea Ripley. She’s already this good, and she isn’t even in her prime. She has the potential to perhaps be the very best ever. Third is Aleister Black. He has ice in his veins and isn’t intimidated. Fourth is McIntyre, the heir apparent. And he still has another level! McIntyre and Edge could get up to that next level together. Fifth and final, Bray Wyatt. Christian will say it again, he’s a generational superstar. When you need that “trick play,” that something no one expects, put him out there. Great analogy!

And Henry has put some thought into this five. He thinks versatility for his roster. First on that list is Kevin Owens. KO can do it all, from good guy to bad guy to in between. He elevates like Edge does, and everyone comes out better. Then the “unflappable” Randy Orton. Orton is in his prime but still has room to grow. He can lead the roster, also has more championships than anyone else, and there’s the debate between him and Edge. Then just as everyone said, the “Grown ass man,” Drew McIntyre! McIntyre went away as a kid, came back a man, and slayed the Beast! Fourth is the number one female, Charlotte Flair! Woo if you got it. Henry loves her, and she is one everyone can battle just to see who is second. Last but not least, BRRROCK! LESNARRR! The Beast may have lost to McIntyre, but everyone needs that moment where you fall but have to get back up. Lesnar will come back angry, and he might not even come after the title. He is just coming for McIntyre.

Henry had more, but Rollins makes honorable mention, and the rest are all great women. Renee says that salvages the draft. Booker says that’s politicking. Lesnar is too much on the payroll. And Orton’s a loner, not a leader. But all interesting moves. No one went with Seth Rollins or Becky Lynch. While talking about a strong women’s division, they didn’t take the strongest and most popular woman in years. Henry did say his top 10 had women so she’s in there. Sure, sure. But Booker says this all came together like a small promotion down in Houston, TX called Reality of Wrestling. Shameless plug!

 

The Modern Day Maharaja has returned!

Natalya’s tweet in response was pretty simple: JINDER! (clapping emoji). Fans like Ghulam Ali tweeted out Jinder Mahal is Back (flex emoji times two) #DontHinderTheJinder. A former world champion and polarizing force, how does the panel feel? Henry is excited to see Jinder back looking like Adonis! Jinder’s only weakness was his legs, but not now! He got some squats in. Low and slow, baby. Booker says Jinder was one of his guys. He was always close to the Fave Five, but what Booker would’ve liked was a big build up. The King is back, so to speak. But Mahal could’ve been built up bigger for this.

Christian’s feelings are that we got that YouTube promo about Jinder being disrespected, and so that works out. Maybe it was meant to be this surprise. Christian likes Jinder, even as Champlain. He was happy for Jinder. But Jinder needed to find that second gear to stay up there. He is that talented. Just look at McIntyre build himself up. If Jinder can follow that blueprint, there’s no reason to think he can’t get back there. For now, US Championship or even MITB now that Crews is out. Booker agrees, the Maharaja just needs ten weeks of more Tozawa matches. Every week, someone that size needs to be fed to Mahal to build himself up so that fans can feel a certain way. There is no rush right now. Renee feels Mahal definitely will get those opportunities. Speaking of great opportunities…

Apollo went for gold, but busted.

The knee gives out and El Idolo takes advantage. A heartbreaking finish, but what does Booker think about this move? Don’t get emotional. Booker feels bad for this bait and switch on Crews, but when he first saw Crews, he checks off all the boxes. Going out there, jumping all over, it was bound to happen. Not if but when you get hurt. So Crews had a chance to make a huge impact, and going against Andrade, having a chance but missing it, that’s on him. But Crews will surely have another chance.

 

Backstage has Gronk’s Twitter video!

From the official Tampa Bay Buccaneers account, “Mr. 24/7” says that they will need a LOT of security to make sure he doesn’t lose the WWE 24/7 Championship during a game. Every tunnel, every entrance, just everywhere Gronk will go. He has the world coming for him, even his friends. But it is a special honor to be champion during the quarantine, because now no one can touch him. He is going to be champion for a long time, but he’s ready. What’s crazy is that the security people might come for him, so he has to watch out for them, too.

Renee says it isn’t just the WWE superstars who want after that belt. Dennis Rodman would love to be back in the ring. And against Gronk? Why not? He talks crap, but Rodman wants to do this. It isn’t about money, it’s about wrestling. What does the panel think of Gronk VS Rodzilla? Christian puts it this way: It’s like putting Christian in the Super Bowl, or Game 7 of the NBA Championship. Everyone wants to be in the big game, but not everyone deserves to be. Gronk VS Rodman will be a cluster! Neither guy will know what they’re doing. Henry says that Rodman needs to know how to say Gronk’s name. But it would be entertaining because of how it’ll be a giant cluster! That will be more exciting than a mat classic. Booker says they’re thinking too small. If Booker sees Rodman and Gronk, book this in the biggest strip club in the city, with a lot of liquor and partying. That’s the biggest party of the summer!

Rodman earned five different NBA Championships, back-to-back with the Pistons, then three-peat with the Bulls. But Henry has a story of his brush with Bulls greatness. Yes, he went to the hotel to see Charles Barkley and others, and then Michael Jordan walks up. They didn’t recognize each other, it got tense, but both guys apologized. Jordan’s birthday came up, he invited Henry, had a great time, and it wasn’t even a big deal after that. Speaking of apologies, apologies to this picture but what is THIS!? Henry nude with just a big 45 pound weight in the way! That’s called empowering. The true origins of Sexual Chocolate!

 

WWE Backstage flashbacks to the Sports Radio Roast of Booker T!

Three years ago, friends and colleagues of Booker’s playfully poked fun at his legacy. MVP said that Booker is “the five-time, five-time, five-time,” WCW World Champion. An amazing achievement to brag about! Like if MVP went around bragging about being the five-time, five-time, five-time Florida Department of Corrections Inmate of the Month. Booker’s Reality of Wrestling YouTube channel has the rest. But clearly, not everyone was invited to that special moment, but that’s what this show is for! Christian and Henry get to let loose! Henry says that we all should have a mute button for Booker. That way, we can wait until Booker actually has something important to say to hear him, or keep him from interrupting.

Christian won’t sit here and make fun of his friend. They’ve been up and down the road, so Christian won’t do that. He won’t agree with the mute. He doesn’t need to roast Booker, because every time Booker opens his mouth, he roasts himself. Renee’s only issue is that Booker thinks “The Sam,” a crab on a tomato, is a dish. Booker chants, “You Suck!” The Sam is good! But for now, that’s good enough for Backstage this week. Tune in next week after another FS1 marathon of The Best of WWE!


My Thoughts:

A really fun episode, and it was great having so many hall of famers on the episode. HBK being on was a lot of fun, it was great to hear him talk about the new generation and to hear the new generation talk about him. I like his idea that Dakota and Raquel follow a similar pattern to him and Nash. Dakota and Raquel still have a lot of possibilities as a duo, but seeing them split and I would think turn Dakota back to Face would be something great down the line. I honestly felt Team Kick (Dakota and Tegan Nox) was split too soon, not that what we’ve gotten since has been bad. Dakota and Tegan could follow an HHHBK route, where sometimes they’re enemies, sometimes their friends, but overall they’re two forces that help each other improve to iconic levels.

I like the draft picks the panel came up with, and naturally McIntyre was on all their top five because of how great he really is. I wish they’d been able to devote more time to talking about Apollo Crews. Surely they all have theories on what this change to the MITB match means, but I do think there will be something on the go-home Raw that appoints the replacement. That last spot for Raw definitely goes to a Heel now, but probably more one of Zelina Vega’s guys than the returning Mahal. Mahal can take his time, build up to something, and then strike in time for a summer PPV. As I said on Raw, I wouldn’t mind if there was reference to 3MB at some point for Mahal and McIntyre.


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More From Japan

NOAH WEEKLY NEWSLETTER VOL.187 ~ 29TH SEPTEMBER 2022

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!

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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.

ELSEWHERE IN NOAH

– 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.

EVENT RECAPS AND POST MATCH PROMOS

SUNNY VOYAGE – September 19th 

Event recap

Post match promos

N-INNOVATION – September 21st 

Event recap

Post match promos

GRAND SHIP 2022 IN NAGOYA/KEIJI MUTOH RETIREMENT ROAD – September 25th

Event recap

Post match promos

CURRENT CHAMPIONS

  • 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)

THIS WEEK IN NOAH

(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.

BIRTHDAYS & ANNIVERSARIES

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

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

LINKS

“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”

BOOK CORNER

“Donmai, Donmai” – Mitsuharu Misawa’s diary

With thanks to: Metal NOAH

GIF taken from WrestleUniverse & NOAH Official YouTube

Picture credit: YO-HEY & NOAH.co.jp


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(NOAH) NOAH WEEKLY NEWSLETTER VOL.186 ~ 18TH SEPTEMBER 2022

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

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NEWS

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.

YO-HEY & HAYATA

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.

GLOBAL2Days

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)

ELSEWHERE IN NOAH

– 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 RECAPS AND POST MATCH PROMOS

– STAR NAVIGATION 2022 (THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 15TH, KORAKUEN HALL)

Event recap

Post match interviews

– STAR NAVIGATION 2022 (FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 16TH, KORAKUEN HALL)

Event recap

Post match interviews

CURRENT CHAMPIONS

  • 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

THIS WEEK IN NOAH

(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

GRAND SHIP 2022 in NAGOYA/PRO WRESTLING LOVE FOREVER IN NAGOYA – OUTBREAK (Keiji Mutoh Retirement Road)

Start: 16:00 JST

Broadcast: WrestleUniverse (Live)

LINKS

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

OLD INTERVIEWS

“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.

BOOK CORNER

“Donmai, Donmai” – Mitsuharu Misawa’s diary

GIF taken from WrestleUniverse & NOAH Official YouTube


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