Pro Wrestling NOAH brings us the Finals of their round robin tournament, along with two other story driven title fights! GHC Junior Tag is almost a “Daisuke Harada, this is your life” with different elements of his past creating the present match up and a future undecided. The GHC Junior Heavyweight title match is one of determination. Kotaro Suzuki kept dismissing Hao and telling him he wasn’t worthy, but Hao’s persistence earned him the shot.
Hell, even the N-1 Victory Finals is a rematch from 2018 and has a bunch of story elements to pull from depending on how in depth you go with things. Also, this will be free on Abema.tv for the next 6 days!
There’s so many threads to pull at, this has potential to be a very fun show! Now check out what happened so Kenoh doesn’t yell at you.
— Pro-Wrestling Noah Eng (Hisame, 冰雨) (@Hi5ame) October 11, 2020
- Junta Miyawaki, Seiya Morohashi &Kinya Okada vs FULL THROTTLE (YO-HEY, Hajime Ohara & Seiki Yoshioka): YO-HEY wins via Super Ganmen G @11:33 – ***
- Dark Agents (Masao Inoue & Akitoshi Saito) vs KONGO ( Tadasuke & Nioh): Nioh wins via Stuka Splash @9:01 – ** ½
- KONGO (Kenoh, Manabu Soya, Masa Kitamiya & Yoshiki Inamura) vs Sugiura-Gun (Takashi Sugiura, Kazuyuki Fujita, Kendo Kashin & Kazushi Sakuraba): Fujita wins via Gonso Bomb @14:14 – *** ¼
- GHC Junior Tag Championship: Momo no Seishun Tag (Daisuke Harada & Atsuhi Kotoge) vs Stinger (HAYATA & Yoshinari Ogawa) (c): Harada wins via Katayama German Suplex Hold @24:32 – *** ¾ – TITLE CHANGE!!
- GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship: Kotaro Suzuki (c) vs Hao: Suzuki retains via Big Ben Edge @15:47 – **** ¼
- M’s Allaince (Naomichi Marufuji, Masaaki Mochizuki, Masakatsu Funaki & Keiji Muto) vs Go Shiozaki, Shuhei Taniguchi, Mohammed Yone & Daiki Inaba: Funaki wins via Hybrid Buster @22:24 – ***
- N-1 Victory Finals: Kaito Kiyomiya vs Katsuhiko Nakajima: Nakajima wins via Diamond Bomb @25:24 – **** ¼
Junta Miyawaki, Seiya Morohashi &Kinya Okada vs FULL Throttle (YO-HEY, Hajime Ohara & Seiki Yoshioka)
Kinya Okada starts off with Hajime Ohara and it’s the usual concept of a veteran wrestler toying with the younger one, until the younger one surprises them. That story continued for a bit until Seiya Morohashi started to swing the momentum, and then as soon as he brought in Junta…well the throttle went the other way. FULL THROTTLE definitely feels like the cool Junior group, like RATEL’s used to. A few tandem moves and all three members messing with Junta works nicely.
Ohara looks for a Tilt-a-Whirl Backbreaker, but the battered Junta slips and ruins the move. Ohara tells the ref to check him, and then decides to make the next few moves sink in a little better. Wrsitclutch Backbreaker, Leglace Russian Leg Sweep, and just numerous deliberately snapping attacks; gotta teach the young wrestler a lesson.
Junta does fight back for the tag, and Kinya comes in getting some solid offense in on Ohara, before he explodes for a few moves, punctuated by a DDT to tag in Seiki. Seiki then has most of the control until Kinya finds the space to get Junta back in. Thankfully for Junta, Seiki tagged out to YO-HEY and Junta gets in some good work against YO-HEY. YO-HEY tends to take lesser opponents softly, and he does have a tendency to get caught on occasion. Thankfully for YO-HEY the rest of FULL THROTTLE want to win, and make a perfect save. Some great tandem offense from FULL THROTTLE, Seiya and Kinya fight back, but FULL THROTTLE dumps them with a Double Dropkick.
Seiki has a big grin on his face while Ohara goes out first, and Seiki hits his Asai Moonsault called the Kuniko Special. He clears the barricade but catches the two opponents with basically a double lariat as he lands perfectly on his feet. I’m curious if that’s just gonna be his new thing is to clear barricades because of the Kuniko Yamada moment. Back in the ring, YO-HEY sets up Junta, Super Ganmen G, and FULL THROTTLE wins.
Dark Agents (Masao Inoue & Akitoshi Saito) vs KONGO ( Tadasuke & Nioh)
The interesting dynamic here is that the KONGO duo is comprised of Junior Heavyweights, but Dark Agents are both in their 50s. Both did have decent profile championship matches earlier this year, but Inoue is known more for his dawdling comedy than being any kind of shooter lately.
As for the match, it follows that logic of the components early on. Tadasuke runs circles around Inoue, so much so that Saito comes into the ring to yell at Inoue and not to break a pin or anything. But once Saito comes in, we return to more of a balance. Saito keeps Tadasuke in a Brainbuster for about a minute before the drop, then when Nioh gets his shot at Saito, Saito eats a Lionsault but fights back to his feet and lays out Nioh with an Uranage.
Inoue manages to get some offense in, Saito comes in for a corner train attack and a tandem Powerbomb, but the youth proved to be the edge. Saito tried to neutralize Tadasuke, but he ducked a Lariat and hit a Diving European Uppercut. This gave Kongo the chance to do their own train move, keep Saito on the outside and go Swanton Bomb followed by Stuka Splash for the victory!
KONGO (Kenoh, Manabu Soya, Masa Kitamiya & Yoshiki Inamura) vs Sugiura-Gun (Takashi Sugiura, Kazuyuki Fujita, Kendo Kashin & Kazushi Sakuraba)
There’s something to be said with the entrances in this match. KONGO comes out, all together under Kenoh’s music and does their Ginyu Force pose. Suigura-Gun however, comes out individually to their own music. The first 8 minutes of the VOD is just entrances and 6:30 of it is Sugiura-Gun taking their sweet time. Yes, they’re all established names with equal reverence to some fans, but the image of 4 individuals versus a unified group is intriguing.
Fujita and Inamura start, and much like their match from earlier this year, it’s a torrent of Shoulder Tackles. The beauty in this is Inamura’s resiliency and Fujita getting more frustrated that Kongo’s tiny tank is sturdier than before. So after…I don’t know…a dozen or so shoulder tackles, Fujita gets annoyed and just Lariats the younger wrestler. He then falls back into his corner wide eyed and exhausted, putting over Inamura really well in about a minute of work.
Inamura tags in Kitamiya, Kashin tags in, and Kashin tries to challenge Kitamiya to the shoulder tackles…but Kitamiya doesn’t care and just drops him. Kashin also has a huge GLEAT temporary tattoo on his left peck, he’s done this a lot since returning to NOAH with Lidet, CyberAgent…it’s dorky. Who tells him it’s a good idea to be a dweeb with a company emblazoned on his chest? Is it the same person who told Cody Rhodes the neck tattoo looked cool? Shoot that person.
The first real implication of team versus individuals happens quickly. Kongo rushes inside, and the Suigura-Gun team mostly drops off the apron. Kongo then does locomotion Elbow drops, a group pose, group stomp a mud hole in Kashin and just beat him down with teamwork; all while Suigura-Gun stand on the outside and watch. Kenoh lights up Kashin, but then falls for the oldest trick in the book. Kashin points to the KONGO corner, the ref and Kenoh look, kick to the ding ding, and then Kashin begs for a tag, to which Sakuraba obliges.
Sakuraba takes a few stabs at Soya before they decide to take a few shortcuts. Sakuraba’s 200IQ manages to wrestle down the bigger man, takes advantage of the 5 count in the ropes while he pushes on the shoulder, then all of the old dogs start stepping and stomping on Soya in the ropes. Fujita comes back in and wrestles down Soya and keeps the pressure up, then when Soya gets trapped in the Suigura corner, there’s a little bit of bullying/hazing. Kashin dumps water on him, and it’s a bunch of slaps and back elbows and trying to humiliate Soya. Again, cementing the image of them not really being a team mentality, more just a group of assholes messing with someone.
Soya eventually gets a desperation Lariat to tag out, Kitamiya evens the playing field a little before Kazuyuki Fujita comes back in. The match ends the same way it starts with Fujita and Inamura facing off. Inamura has Fujita reeling, Kongo hit a nice tandem combination, but it’s only good for two. As Inamura tries to go for a big power move, Fujita blocks, knocks down Inamura, Soccer Ball kicks to the skull and a Gonso Bomb grab the win for Fujita. The bomb did look rough, so assuming Inamura isn’t injured; he did look very good against someone the caliber of Fujita.
GHC Junior Tag Championship: Momo no Seishun Tag (Daisuke Harada & Atsuhi Kotoge) vs Stinger (HAYATA & Yoshinari Ogawa) (c)
This goes the way one would expect with a grudge match vibe. HAYATA and Harada hate each other, and that is more obvious from their early interactions. Ogawa and Kotoge are interesting bookmarks in the careers of their partners. Harada and Kotoge had their issues, before coming back together because of similar enemies. Ogawa on the other hand has helped to break apart RATEL’s and turn HAYATA into this newer more malicious version.
Harada and Kotoge have a few flashes of tandem moves to prove they still have some chemistry, but HAYATA and Ogawa isolate Kotoge and start working over his left arm. Harada gets the hot tag after Kotoge manages to break up a tandem attempt, which works well to give Harada a measure of revenge against both HAYATA and Ogawa. Harada loses control but brings Kotoge back in, and Kotoge goes nuts for a while.
HAYATA manages to put the brakes on Kotoge and get across a lot glances at Harada. Most notably when HAYATA hits Kotoge with the Knee Upper, while staring down Harada before the near fall. The tug of war was done very well in this match, and it mostly hinged on Harada, which perfectly tells his story. All of these men are together because of him one way or the other, so this is his story to tell. As the final flourish happens, there are tons of tandem moves, Kotoge takes out Ogawa with a Missile Dropkick and Harada focuses his vengeance on HAYATA, Knee Upper and the Katayama German Suplex!
YO-HEY and Seiki Yoshikoka come out to challenge the new champions. This Daisuke Harada lead story continues!
GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship: Kotaro Suzuki (c) vs Hao
After being brushed off and disrespected by Suzuki as not a real challenge, Hao finally earned his shot, and takes it to the champ immediately. Blisteringly quick attacks, Satellite Head Scissors, Knee Strikes, quick takedowns, Suzuki was obviously not expecting that level of speed. Suzuki regains his bearings and can start breathing after countering a Whip and then dropping Hao on the barricade.
Suzuki starts dictating the pace of the match and Hao has problems keeping up. Eventually Hao grabs a desperate Cradle attempt, but this leads to Suzuki being about a half step behind. Suzuki charges, Hao moves and manages to string some stuff together. The unlikely challenge is actually getting opportune moments against the decorated Red Comet.
We see an adjustment in body language, when Hao charges the corner and Suzuki counters with a shot to the ribs. He starts dumping him off and dismissing him like trash. The elitism of Suzuki bites him in the ass when Hao goes for a Satellite DDT, a counter to a backhand spring into a Backslide. Suzuki powders to the outside, gets a small advantage, tries an Apron Piledriver but Hao counters that into a Headscissors sending Suzuki flying.
Hao did his homework and had a counter for nearly everything, Requiem, Tiger Driver, Endless Waltz…Hao came prepared. He even made a statement by hitting Zero System on Suzuki. There was one scary point when Suzuki slipped on the ropes, with Hao in Brainbuster position, but he lands on his feet and delivers the move safely. This was just great to see every move in Suzuki’s arsenal countered. So he went to the well, and pulled out a Blue Thunder Driver, Big Ben Edge, to retain his title.
Much better than expected, even with the slip. Daisuke Harada comes out to challenge Suzuki.
M’s Allaince (Naomichi Marufuji, Masaaki Mochizuki, Masakatsu Funaki & Keiji Muto) vs Go Shiozaki, Shuhei Taniguchi, Mohammed Yone & Daiki Inaba
This is mostly a big veteran pile of people, featuring the current GHC champion. Taniguchi and Muto have been building a little tension, Marufuji has two angles where he seems to have fun messing with Juniors and he’s facing Yone for Yone’s anniversary match. So not a lot of tangible stuff beyond Muto and Taniguchi will probably happen soon, but when you have the Champion and living legends, they get at least semi-main billing.
Match was fun, but nothing really more than the pieces that made it up. It should be noted that Shiozaki did look to recover a little from the N-1, so whomever wins the right to challenge, will have a reinvigorated Shiozaki to deal with.
N-1 Victory Finals: Kaito Kiyomiya vs Katsuhiko Nakajima
The pacing in this match is definitely of one that will go long. An interesting nugget about this matchup is that this is a rematch of the 2018 Finals (then called the Global League), which funnily enough was the springboard to Kaito’s long first title reign and help to legitimize him. So this is poetic that in a year where Kaito is having issues building a rhythm, he has a chance to repeat history and overcome Nakajima to springboard him to bigger things.
Kaito goes on the offensive early, even keeping up the strikes on the outside, but Nakajima manages to stymie that offense and get some of his own going. There’s a good 10 minutes of trading and not really being able to see which way this match will break. Once Kaito hits his Diving Corkscrew Forearm, it looks like Kaito might finally break the back and forth. A Reverse DDT and very deliberate knee to face of Nakajima is showing that Kaito is definitely serious about winning this tournament.
After rocking Waruhiko a bit, Kaito gets a little overzealous and Nakajima catches him and starts his own path of destruction. Thrust Kicks, Round Kicks to the chest, that genius Turnbuckle Pad Kick (not sure why but the simplicity of that move pops me every time), and Kaito is reeling until he lands a strike of his own to have them both drop and breathe for a second.
Big German Suplex Hold from Kaito gives him some fire, he runs to the ropes once Nakajima kicks out, but a high speed Water Wheel Kick nearly takes Kaito off the top rope. Nakajima hits an Enzuigiri, goes up for possibly an Avalanche Diamond Bomb, but Kaito counters into his Avalanche Reverse DDT for 2.
Tiger Suplex Hold, but Nakajima kicks out. So much like their first finals meeting, Kaito goes for a second Tiger Suplex Hold, Nakajima breaks out, hits a High Kick that knocks Kaito back to the TRL days of MTV and then Nakajima finishes the match with the Diamond Bomb. It should be noted that Kaito has a huge bruise on his right cheek, so one of those kicks was a little stiff.
Kenta Kobashi is not amused by Katsuhiko Nakajima pic.twitter.com/wxXqBduDJO
— Pro-Wrestling Noah Eng (Hisame, 冰雨) (@Hi5ame) October 11, 2020
Overall Score: 7.75/10
Well now, this successfully washed the awful taste of G1 Climax 30 Day 14 out of my mouth, though I did find myself annoyed at some things just because of the disappointment from that show. BUT THIS IS NOAH!
Nakajima calling out Shiozaki after the win and just verbally eviscerating the champ was a little hard to watch. AXIZ was such a great team, they seemed like the perfect duo, and Nakajima reveals in rubbing in his betrayal. It’s a great storyline, because even I find myself annoyed at his arrogance and I’d love to see Shiozaki take his damn head off with a Gowan Lariat. So I call that effective storytelling, haha!.
Aside from the finals, the Harada Saga of 2020 is keeping the Junior Division interesting; but let’s not bury the lead. Hao busted his ass in that match, that was some of the most beautiful counter wrestling I’ve ever seen. It’s a match style that doesn’t come up often, but made complete sense with how dismissive Suzuki was toward him.
We also do have some stuff for Muto and Taniguchi, the Junior Tags had a challenge and the 8 man did keep the GHC Heavyweight Tag Team title hunt fresh since Soya and Kitamiya are supposed to challenge for those. Now let’s all be happy that Nakajima won, so we can all get the otp breakup fight that we’ve been waiting for. It doesn’t matter if you love Shiozaki or Nakajima, we all wanted this pairing to happen for the title.