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Mitchell’s WWE Backstage Report! (5/5/20)

Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

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WWE Backstage 2020

Money, money, moooney! MONEY~!

Money in the Bank is just days away! Renee Young and the WWE Backstage crew are ready for Sunday, but who is going in with the best odds?

Renee Young welcomes us Backstage!

She is sure viewers just finished up the Best of WWE marathon but there’s still so much more. The classic Backstage panel of Booker T, Christian and Paige join Renee. Paige wants a nickname like Christian’s #BackstageBuddha. Wait, what’s Booker’s nickname? Six-time world champion. Oh, right. Well they’ll come up with something before the end of the night. But with just five nights left before MITB, everyone’s in go-home mode! In case you missed it, here’s…

Just the Hightlights!

On SmackDown: The New Day LOST to the Forgotten Sons, and now there’s a FATAL 4 WAY set for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships! Will the eighth reign end already? Then Sonya Deville turned up the heat on Mandy Rose, “karma’s a b*tch, b*tch!” But Otis got revenge as he took out the Show-off and is now headed to Titan Towers! And of course, Bray Wyatt wants to get in the mind of Braun Strowman, but it’s not so easy to intimidate a Monster Among Men. They still have one more night this Friday, will the face-to-face be where and when Strowman will #LetHimIn?

On Raw: The Irresistible Force feels the only “skill” she needs is her relentlessness. But Asuka and Shayna Baszler both showed her they can be relentless, with a double BOOT! Then it was a PHENOMENAL Return in the #LastChanceGauntlet! AJ Styles wins his way into the MITB Corporate Ladder match, but will he stand atop the WWE? Charlotte Flair avoided ObLIVion and is rolling into tomorrow night’s NXT. Will the Queen make every woman bow down to her? And in the main event, Drew McIntyre defeated the disciple and thwarted the Monday Night Messiah’s scheme to #BurnItDown! Will destiny be lost in Claymore Country?

The panel discusses the week.

Seth Rollins is all but unstoppable when it comes to MITB, but Drew McIntyre has just been unstoppable. How does everyone few this first feud for the new champion? Christian says just as he said last week, he is loving what both guys are bringing. The confidence of McIntyre and how easy he makes it look, and how he defeated Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania, McIntyre needs another big win. Rollins has the equity as a character and performer that a loss here won’t hurt. If anything, it might help. Rollins could get darker and meaner, and use excuses. “Take it from a guy who knows, it’s not a lie if you believe it.” Paige agrees, and Christian nailed it. She is happy that McIntyre has this spotlight, because it’s fresh and new. Rollins can develop his character even more, even in a loss.

Booker doesn’t feel McIntyre needs to win the match, so long as he doesn’t lose the title. This is a match made in heaven, as both guys can get so much out of each other in the long haul. Booker doesn’t see six months as unreasonable for these two to go back and forth with each other. He always loved leaving the Babyface down in the dirt. There are plenty of moments to get like this, and in the end, the audience wins. Renee asks if this means “we’re just getting started here.” Of course! This is one of those things that at the end of their careers, both Rollins and McIntyre can go, “Do you remember that? We went out there and did it.” Those moments you remember forever. Booker remembers the ones he felt, and that’s this. Christian adds that the interesting thing will be how Murphy plays into it.

Renee moves things to Strowman. The Monster Among Men must go backward to go forward, in that he is confronting his past with Bray Wyatt. Bray wants to rewrite this story like he did with John Cena, but Strowman dared Bray to say all that to his face. Renee says this is great story telling, but asks if it is good enough to be compelling on Sunday? Booker starts with that at the beginning, The Fiend Bray and Strowman, he was thinking to get this one done and out of the way. But now, we’ve seen the human side of Strowman behind the monster. This is a monster that thinks, and that is even more dangerous! But more than anything, Strowman needs his time in the sun. Don’t just lose the moment, both guys can elevate each other, it just depends on how it’s written out.

Renee knows Paige has been a big fan of Bray since the start, but miscommunication makes Christian think it’s his turn. Calm down, Backstage Buddha. But Paige confirms, she loves how there’s the history here. This is a big moment, and uses Booker’s idea for McIntyre and Rollins going for months for this story. Bray can take a loss, and the story can keep going for months and it keeps us intrigued. Now Christian gets his turn, and Christian stands by saying this feels rushed. It could’ve been bigger, like for SummerSlam. Christian doesn’t want to see Bray lose again, because he needs to stay dangerous. This needs the time to build. He did like Bray bringing up “The Black Sheep” and all, because that is what makes Bray different from the others. It just seems that right now, we should wait until SummerSlam to make it even better.

Booker counters by saying there’s no stopping it now. That’s like stopping between Houston and Dallas, where there’s nothing. The train has to keep rolling! One thing they need to agree on is that when there’s a moment to be had, that’s something that you may never get back. Christian does not agree, and says the moment could be and should have been even bigger. The intrigue won’t go away, so this should be an appetizer and then have things go other directions, and we circle back for SummerSlam. Paige, break the tie! Well, sorry, Christian, Paige is with Booker on this. Renee actually does agree with Christian, though. But Booker says this is why he’s a two-time Hall of Famer.

 

Backstage will #FadeToBlack!

The Embodiment of the End is here for the first time on Backstage! He joins Renee and Christian to talk his first-ever MITB, the most unique MITB ever! How excited is he for this opportunity? Aleister says there is excitement, but also caution. It is such a unique MITB during a unique time in our history. Aleister isn’t sure what to expect, other than the ladders at the very end. But there is definitely some mental planning ahead of time. Christian notes the MITB propels many superstars to new heights in the past, and Christian is a big fan of Aleister’s. He wants to give Aleister advice, but this corporate ladder match is too different. Aleister mentioned his mind set, but what would winning mean to him?

Well as Christian said, winning will propel Aleister to the next stage he needs to reach. It gives Aleister the opportunity to broaden the horizon that is Aleister Black. And at the same time, this match’s uniqueness is both an advantage and disadvantage. This being set up this way, no one knows what they’re walking into. They know it is at WWE HQ, that there is a briefcase and there are ladders, but what they don’t know is the building’s conditions. Aleister hasn’t been there personally, but Titan Towers brings many variables. Aleister’s own style is tactical, so maybe he can use that unpredictability to his advantage.

Renee notes that the circumstances being the simultaneous nature of the Men’s and Women’s matches adds a lot of bodies to the situation. What does Aleister think of that variable? Chances are, the unpredictability, elements he can’t control, that’s something you can’t account for. That can be a distraction that could go either way. Aleister will have to adapt to on the fly, though he is confident in his adaptability. Renee asks about Styles threatening to throw someone off the roof. Aleister is not intimidated by that roof. Styles will have to work incredibly hard to even manager that. Why would Styles even give that idea away? It tells Aleister the lengths Styles is willing to go to, but he also showed his hand, so Aleister will be ready.

Christian says there are plenty of mind games. But switching gears, Paul Heyman is a big fan of Aleister’s. How has it been behind the scenes with Heyman since Aleister joined Raw? Aleister had this thought a couple days ago, talking with Heyman. He had a conversation, then an hour later he reflected. People like Heyman, Christian and Edge are now people that Aleister can call and get advice to help him get further in the WWE. Never in a million years did he imagine him, just some kid from Amsterdam, would be in the position to not only have an MITB opportunity, but to be a fan favorite and be informed by icons like Heyman, Christian and Edge. But at the same time, Aleister has accepted that he needs support like that.

Renee brings up the real-life relationship of Aleister and Zelina and their new YouTube channel. Zelina is having a great year in her own right, but what has it been like opposing her and her faction? He is obviously very proud. He knows she is capable of that and more. Zelina is an incredibly talented individual, and has only shown a glimpse of her full potential. In the coming months, we are only going to say an expansion on Zelina’s ability, and her stable, as she guides more stars to the spotlight. Situations like what we’re in give special opportunities to people. Some step up, others don’t, but Zelina has not only stepped up, she’s stepped over and taking her base. Zelina is hitting a home run again and again, and Aleister is motivated to match that. Zelina is such an inspiration, and is doing an incredible job. Also his cat is in the background.

Renee says both Aleister and Zelina are taking the ball and running with it. She thanks Aleister for joining them, and wishes him the best of luck on Sunday. Will Aleister make sure five other men fail to reach the top of Titan Towers and take that MITB briefcase for his own?

 

Backstage shares a tweet from the WWE on Fox account!

“Who are your top 5 WWE superstars of all time. Drop the names below and then tag two friends who should share their top 5!” The NFL’s Robert Griffin III says Shawn Michaels, Goldberg, The Rock, Stone Cold and Rey Mysterio, first to fifth! Dan Soder says Macho Man is first, with Stone Cold, Ric Flair, The Undertaker and The Rock following. Mecole Hardman Jr. has Randy Orton, John Cena, Taker, HBK and Jeff Hardy for his, but what are yours?

 

It’s the first ever Backstage Story Time!

This is of course in relation to the top 5 tweet. NFL quarterback for the Las Vegas Raiders, Derek Carr, went with The Rock, Bret Hart, Stone Cold, Hulk Hogan and Goldberg. But it seems he snubbed a certain someone. Bray Wyatt simply tweeted at Carr with, “Bruh.” Carr defends that he was going to put Husky Harris, but he had stopped watching wrestling by that time. His five were the guys he watched going up, with Sting as his honorable mention. Bray was even more upset! WHO is Husky Harris?! So as payback, Bray Wyatt came up with a top 5 RAIDERS QUARTERBACKS! He had Ken Stabler, Jim Plunkett, Rich Gannon, Marcus Mariota (who only just joined), and Jamarcus Russel. “Doesn’t feel good, does it, Derek?” Broken heart emoji.

Carr says he sees Bray’s point. But Carr will carry on. He apologizes, because he didn’t realize Bray was part of the #RaiderNation. As such, Carr came up with a top five of football fans. Number one is Bray, and then every non-Raider fan is next. YOWIE WOWIE! And now Bray and Carr are pals. The end.

The panel discusses.

Hooray! Turns out you can get along on the internet. But does Booker think Carr should’ve #LetHimIn? Booker doesn’t like happy endings. And Booker isn’t a fan of the Carrs, because David Carr was in Houston and then crapped the bed. OUCH. Well everyone has their football woes. But now, to put our panel on the spot, who are their NUMBER ONE ALL TIME WWE superstars?

Paige goes with Stone Cold, easy! She doesn’t even need to explain it. Bad guy, good guy, it didn’t matter, because Stone Cold was entertaining and thought outside the box. Austin will always be cool! ALWAYS! Booker’s is all the way back in WrestleMania III. Seeing Randy Savage VS Ricky Steamboat was what made Booker want to wrestle. He has to go with the Macho Man, yeah! Savage was a showman, would dive off the top rope ahead of its time, and then have a mat classic!

Christian knows this is subjective, because everyone could say someone different and they wouldn’t be wrong. But saying that, he agrees with Paige that it is Stone Cold. Even before being Stone Cold, Steve Austin could go in the ring. Then becoming Stone Cold helped him take it up a notch and change the industry. He put the WWE on his back and took it to new heights. Hell yeah! But Renee sticks to Canada with Bret Hart. Another great technician and tactician, and a classic. Booker says he and Renee have that connection about technique.

 

Backstage celebrates Cinco de Mayo and lucha libre legacies.

Rey Mysterio is of course the King of Lucha Libre, and knows better than anyone that lucha is part of the culture. He is so proud to represent that day in and day out. He sits with Renee tonight on his Backstage debut as a bonafide Mexican legend and future WWE Hall of Famer. Mysterio rocks the Julio Cesar Chavez tank top to represent for one of the best boxers ever. Renee asks what it was like for Mysterio to be part of a lucha wave in WCW and America in general. It was incredible. They were branching out with this first opportunity to be seen on a global stage. It gave the WWE the incentive to bring in Latin wrestlers. For awhile, it was just a small subdivision, and there were many names from CMLL.

Who were some of Mysterio’s biggest influences when he got started? His biggest was his uncle, the original Rey Mysterio. Mysterio wanted to always be like him and carry that name. But of course, he grew up watching Hijo del Santo, Dr. Wagner, El Solitario and many more. They were lucha legends, that most unfortunately have passed away. The others are retired, but it was just a beautiful era in the early 80’s. Would Mysterio have ever guessed he’d have this level of success? Never. He didn’t think he’d get this far even in Mexico. Mysterio was told he was too small, too skinny, just not big or wide enough. Mysterio was a kid that had a dream and he’s living it. But even then, he didn’t think his career would reach this level.

Renee turns things to the new generation of Latino superstars, such as Angel Garza, Humberto Carrillo and Andrade Almas. What knowledge is he passing along to them now? The one thing that stands out, the most important thing for the WWE, and he’s told the many lucha libre stars that have come through the WWE, is that you need to be able to speak and dominate the mic in both Spanish and English. There is no doubt that if you only speak Spanish, you won’t succeed. Vince McMahon loves his characters to be able to express themselves and get themselves over, and the only way to do that is if you can speak English. Not just for American fans, but now for international fans who are more likely to know English than Spanish. There’s no way to push it aside. That is a priority now. And Mysterio is always open to give them advice and help. That alone is a big thing. Renee thanks Mysterio for his time and wishes him luck. Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

 

Renee Young shares a highlight reel of MITB participant interviews.

Before going to WWE HQ, Baron Corbin, Otis Dozovic and Carmella speak with Renee on their strategies. Corbin being a former Mr. MITB, what new strategy is he going to use in this new type of match? Corbin has never been to Titan Towers before, but he knows there must be a lot of expensive stuff inside. He plans on smashing that stuff over his opponent’s backs. Though, he hopes he won’t have to pay the bill for that. Mella may be a former Ms. MITB, but she has no idea what to expect! She might have some advantage having been to HQ before. Otis isn’t sure of the layout, but his plan is to go from lobby to Mr. McMahon’s office to catering, which will be awesome. Speaking of Mr. McMahon’s office, everyone is curios about the T-Rex skull he has in there. If it has teeth, Corbin wants to use one of the teeth as a weapon! T-Rex tooth to the neck!

Renee brings up the concern of being on the roof of Titan Towers. Otis is stopped in his tracks there. Corbin says it might be windy or rainy. Otis looks concerned. He’ll figure it out. Corbin wants to throw people out windows. Mella wants to hide in a stairwell and sabotage someone going past her. Otis wonders what the ladder’s weight limit will be. Maybe he’ll check some ladders at Home Depot. Corbin wants to have fun, destroy stuff and redeem himself with another round as Mr. MITB. Mella admits to having a fear of heights, so we’ll see how she does on the ladder when it’s on a roof. Otis pumps himself up, he’s not letting fear stop him.

The panel assembles!

And Christian is wearing his Flavor Flav~ over-the-head sunglasses. All the talk of ladder matches got him nostalgic for an earlier time. But let’s talk about the Phenomenal final entry! Styles vows to get the contract and be the most phenomenal Mr. MITB ever. But let’s do some #PayItOff! Who should win this year’s MITB contracts? Booker says the one man who has been champion all over the world, AJ Styles, is winning. Styles came in to the WWE, took the ball, and is still running with it. Styles should be the one to win the contract because he can climb every rung, every step, and use every tool. As for women, the one with most momentum is Shayna Baszler. Booker admits to being a critic of Shayna, but she has shown him she is willing to do whatever it takes to be the best.

Renee still cracks up looking at Christian, but he says that this isn’t a traditional MITB, so that should change up how you predict it. Of the top of his head, he thinks Baron Corbin would win the traditional match. Talk about nuclear heat if Corbin won again as King Corbin! But this match is a fight, and that means Aleister Black wins. Then for the women, the odds on favorites are Nia Jax and Shayna, yet neither of them really needs the contract. Asuka should win, if solely for entertainment of her dancing with the briefcase. Plus, she can still go in the ring, and needs another chance to step up as a champion. Renee quickly asks who is the better dancer: Asuka or Brock and his boombox? The Brock Party is good stuff.

Paige says the winner should be the one who lights up the screen: Otis! He got the girl, he won at Mania, now he wins the briefcase! Like a Disney movie or something. And then for the women, purely for shock factor, Dana Brooke! She’s a workhorse who has been grinding and elevated herself. It’d be a great surprise. Go get it, sister! Renee agrees, Dana needs some love. And it’d really makes things interesting for SmackDown.

But speaking of, Bayley is the longest reigning SmackDown Women’s Champion at 205 days and counting. But Tamina is coming, and that scares Bayley and Banks. They tried to take her out but Lacey Evans had Tamina’s back. Who should win the title on Sunday? Paige immediately answers, “Tamina!” Tamina has been here so long, and she’s never been given a chance like this. She has yet to be champion anywhere, but she’s back and better than ever. Tamina is entertaining, especially on social media. Renee is excited for all of that, but there’s also the mysterious “Messenger” and the warnings being given. The SmackDown hacker claims someone is keeping their friends close, but their enemies closer, and hinted that it is within the tag team division. What does everyone think about The Messenger?

Christian likes it a lot. Thinking back to even before seeing the hacker in the hoodie, there were all these signs, such as a “hacker” of the WWE Twitter. That got some buzz, and now it reaching this point is great because it is different. Hopefully it is someone fresh and new that can use this as a vehicle to something big. Paige is excited, too. We don’t have a crowd, but the WWE keeps stepping up with new things. She wants to know who it is because it could even be someone on Backstage. Renee says CM Punk could be the hacker! Booker says they’re all missing the keywords. “Telling the truth,” that clearly means…

OMG THE HACKER IS TAKING OVER BACKSTAGE! They know your passwords! They know where you are! “Let the games begin.” Booker says this is REAL now! When a person knows everything about you, you gotta think about someone on that level. Well, we’ll see where it goes from here. After all that, Christian guesses it’s Derek Carr.

 

Speaking of CM Punk, he’ll be back next week!

The Voice of the Voiceless will return with next week’s episode, the Backstage after MITB! What will he have to say about the most unique MITB match in history and all its fallout?

 

Carmella is the FABULOUS Master of Imitation!

From The Man to The Queen to The Role Model to The Boss, the Princess of Staten Island crushes her impersonations of fellow WWE superstars. Who on Backstage is the best at copying others? Booker thinks Christian’s pretty good. No, he did his part with the Flavor Flav. Paige isn’t going to embarrass herself. Booker T said Randy Savage was the best, so he’s going to do his best to be the Macho Man. Oooh yeah~, DIG IT! Christian says that was pretty bad, but at least Booker tried. With that, Backstage is a wrap!


My Thoughts:

Another really good, really fun episode for Backstage. I liked having Aleister and Mysterio join the show for their segments. Aleister was partially in character, but I appreciated that he pulled back the curtain to talk him and Zelina and give his wife the praise she deserves. I haven’t watched all their videos on their YouTube channel, but you can tell from even just one that they’re a fun couple and are having fun working together these last couple of weeks. The only thing I don’t agree with Mysterio on is the part about Vince wanting superstars to get themselves over. Vince wants the people he wants to get over, but when fans get behind something else, it annoys him. (Rusev Day, anyone?) But yes, the point about English rings true. As great as it is to hear a superstar speak a language they know (Spanish in the case of a Latino superstar, but Japanese in the case of a Japanese star like Asuka), English is obviously what I’m typing so English is what I know, and it’s good to know what is being at least half the time.

While they went over the issues of Bray VS Braun again this week, I like that there was some real disagreement and debate here. I’m still torn that while we didn’t need this so soon, they’re hitting it out of the park. All the points Bray and Braun are hitting are the right ones, and even if Bray loses as Firefly Fun House Bray, that’s fine. The Fiend will be the real test of this story. I liked the little interview highlights, and I loved that “The Messenger” “hacked” Backstage. I expected more of a reaction, though. They should’ve started freaking out when Renee’s feed changed, but maybe they “weren’t aware” of it. My personal feelings is that it should be Mustafa Ali taking a new approach to his vigilante persona, but maybe Christian has it right in being someone completely new to SmackDown. Though I do wonder where Booker was going with pointing out the keywords. Maybe that hacking was so he wouldn’t spill the beans.


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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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