Hisame recaps a storied Junior rivalry that helped kick of the NOAH New Year! As well as a pre-match with Mutoh and an original member returning for at least one match in NOAH!
HAOH & NIOH CHALLENGE STINGER FOR THE GHC JUNIOR HEAVYWEIGHT TAG BELTS
HAYATA and Susumu took on the Kongoh Juniors, Haoh and Nioh, on January 4th at NOAH’s first show of 2021. The typically fast paced junior match ended with Nioh getting the pin on HAYATA by using HAYATA’S own momentum against him. After that, in true STINGER like fashion, Nioh made the title challenge by yelling loudly. Because Yoshinari Ogawa was not in the match and Susumu not the champion, it fell to an unwilling HAYATA to accept the challenge, which he did (after Susumu had kind of blocked his way to prevent him from leaving), by saying “Next…100 wrestlers” and then walking off quickly. The title match has been set for the 16th January 2021 at Yokohama Radiant Halls.
The only pre-match between the two teams, took place on the 10th January 2021. Yoshinari Ogawa (the champion who doesn’t like being challenged), threw his belt down when he got in the ring in front of Haoh and Nioh as if he wanted to say, “The only way you will ever get these belts, is if I give them to you”. Worse was to come than an Ogawa temper tantrum however, when the match ended again with Nioh getting the win over HAYATA.
KAZUNARI MURAKAMI CHALLENGES KENOH FOR THE GHC NATIONAL TITLE
Despite being introduced with the potential for a feud with Katsuhiko Nakajima and\or Masa Kitamiya, it was with Kenoh that the true sparks flew with for Kazunari Murakami. After a vicious strike war, which ended with Kenoh eliminating him at The Sugiura Army produce, Murakami choked out Kenoh at NOAH’s New Year show on the 4th January. Backstage he saw that both Takashi Sugiura and Kazushi Sakuraba (who along with the referee had tried to pry him off of Kenoh) both were holding a championship, and after hearing that Kenoh was a champion who he had just choked out, Murakami decided to challenge. Kenoh said he had no choice but to accept (he claimed he was unconscious when the challenge was made), and the match has been set for 23rd January with a pre-match on the 16th.
NOSAWA’S “PART TIME GUY” UNMASKED
Thanks to Yoshinari Ogawa ripping off the mask as HAYATA and Susumu held his arms on the 4th January at Korakuen Hall, NOSAWA Rongai’s silent, masked and heavily concealed, “Part Time Guy” companion, turned out to be Ikuto Hidaka.
Hidaka has lots of links to NOAH, both personal and professional (i.e. he’s an old friend of Hajime Ohara, and like Mohammed Yone is a former BattlArts guy), has appeared in NOAH sporadically since 2003, even once winning the GHC Junior Heavyweight tag titles in 2006 at the Nippon Budokan when he teamed with Minoru Fujita, when they defeated the then junior heavyweight Takashi Sugiura and the long departed from NOAH, Yoshinobu Kanemaru. His relationship with NOSAWA Rongai he has known (ironically) from DDT in 1998, but mainly in ZERO-1. Hidaka teamed properly with NOSAWA and Kotaro Suzuki (who he knew better in ZERO-1 than in NOAH), and has declared that he will “make war on the NOAH Juniors”.
MASATO TANAKA JOINS THE M’S ALLIANCE
Masato Tanaka was revealed to be the new member of the M’S Alliance on the 4th January, much to Takashi Sugiura’s chagrin. When Sugi asked Tanaka why he joined them and not with his old Bullet-Yankee’s tag partner, Tanaka said that Naomichi Marufuji asked him first. He had been waiting for Sugiura to call him, but he never did. Like everyone else, Naomichi Marufuji said that he wants to see them fight.
“I WILL WAIT FOR YOU IN ANY RING”, JUN AKIYAMA IS COMING TO THE BUDOKAN
When they met in a tag match before Jun Akiyama left NOAH in 2012, Akiyama promised Naomichi Marufuji that no matter what the future held, one day he would meet him again for a tag match, and until that time he promised Marufuji that “I will wait for you in any ring”.
Naomichi Marufuji made a request to Jun Akiyama on the 4th January to team with him on the 12th February. They had fought at Champions Carnival 2018 (when the long bitterness between NOAH and All Japan was finally laid to rest), and Jun Akiyama had later appeared at Naomichi Marufuji’s 20th anniversary, “Flight”, with their last match being in 2019 in a six man tag, when Akiyama’s team defeated Marufuji’s. As Marufuji pointed out, they had fought, but they hadn’t tagged. Akiyama’s initial response was to joke that he wasn’t going to do it unless the opponent was Masao Inoue, but he did eventually give his consent that he would appear, and the match was announced on the 10th to be Jun Akiyama & Naomichi Marufuji vs Kaito Kiyomiya and Yoshiki Inamura, in what NOAH have called a “Generations Match”.
DAISUKE HARADA RETAINS AGAINST HAJIME OHARA, CHALLENGED BY SEIKI YOSHIOKA
After an amazing match on the 10th January in which he defended the GHC Junior Heavyweight against Hajime Ohara, (who Harada called “my rival” but paid tribute to by saying that Ohara was the opponent in the NOAH Juniors, who out of everyone “drains your strength”), Harada was challenged by Seiki Yoshioka who was inspired by what he saw. The match has been set for the Nippon Budokan.
Yoshioka has challenged Harada for a title before (GHC Junior Tag) and he has challenged for the GHC Junior Heavyweight before (Kotaro Suzuki), and this will be their first singles match ever. Harada and Ohara doesn’t need too much of a build up, fans know what they are going to get and as NOAH save it for special occasions, it is highly anticipated. Yoshioka vs Harada will be a new thing for both of them, and for the fans.
“I EXPECTED MORE”, GO SHIOZAKI DEFEATS KEIJI MUTOH IN THE FIRST PRE-MATCH
Go Shiozaki defeated Keiji Mutoh in a mystery card\pre-match on the 4th January at Korakuen Hall, by using (much to Mutoh’s shock), his own move against him, The Moonsault. Shiozaki commented that he expected more of Mutoh, but to be honest I think that Mutoh being a wily veteran is playing the old man card here as which started with his leaning on the shoulder of Referee Shu Nishinaga to get into the ring. I get the impression that with that, and how Mutoh was acting during the match, the pretense that he is just an old man is to lure Go Shiozaki in to a sense of false security and confidence. During the match, Mutoh differed from Shiozaki’s other title challengers in that he wasn’t interested in attacking his arms, he went for his legs (he also did the same to Kaito Kiyomiya), but it’s not Kiyomiya who he is challenging, and after the win, Shiozaki said somewhat sternly on Twitter that, “I expected more”.
No further details have been announced as of yet, but FULL THROTTLE will be holding their very first produce at Yokohama Radiant Halls on March 6th.
EVENT RECAPS & POST MATCH PROMOS
ELSEWHERE IN NOAH
~ Daiki Inaba made the mistake of accepting a handshake from Tadasuke. Why do people trust him?
~ The Harada brothers were arguing again. Older brother, Akio, asked for an Osaka NOAH poster to be told by Harada that they weren’t out yet, and maybe he should stick a picture of himself as a kid up? Harada posted one, and his older brother retaliated by posting one of Harada.
~ Both Naomichi Marufuji and Takashi Sugiura were hoping for a singles match with Masao Inoue at NOAH’s mystery card on the 4th January. It turned out to be Kazuyuki Fujita, who destroyed Inoue in 6 seconds.
~ NOSAWA Rongai refused to high-five Kotaro Suzuki, as he said he didn’t and doesn’t trust him.
~ The majority of people answered with a definite “No” when asked if they were going to Takashi Sugiura’s PPV after show party.
~ Kenoh was strangely unsympathetic when Naomichi Marufuji complained to him about Manabu Soya after bouncing off him during a match.
~ In typical fashion, Hajime Ohara said that he was sad that he had lost the pre-match, but was happy that young Kai Fujimura had worked hard during the match. This was a direct contrast to Daisuke Harada, who only talked about himself.
~ FULL THROTTLE appeared on part 1 of “Pro Wrestling Susume” on Samurai TV. We discovered that YO-HEY is good at things that involve anything whirling and high colored (Hajime Ohara isn’t) and that Seiki Yoshioka can beat Ohara at shuttlecock, and Ohara us good at things blindfolded.
- GHC Heavyweight Champion: Go Shiozaki
Challenger: Keiji Mutoh (12th February 2021, Nippon Budokan)
- GHC Junior Champion: Daisuke Harada
Challenger: Seiki Yoshioka (12th February 2021, Nippon Budokan)
- GHC Heavyweight Tag Champions: The Sugiura Army (Takashi Sugiura and Kazushi Sakuraba)
- GHC Junior Tag Champions: STINGER (Yoshinari Ogawa & HAYATA)
Challengers: The Kongoh Juniors (Haoh & Nioh) (16th January 2021, Yokohama Radiant Halls)
- GHC National Champion: Kenoh
Challenger: Kazunari Murakami (23rd January, Osaka Edion Arena 2nd Stadium)
THIS WEEK IN NOAH
Wednesday 3rd January: Tadasuke (35)
Wednesday 3rd January: Part 2 of FULL THROTTLE on Susume (Samurai TV)
Saturday 16th January: NOAH “Higher Ground 2021” (17:30 JST)
“Higher Ground 2021” on the 16th January, will be broadcast on WRESTLEUNIVERSE on January 19th at 17:30 JST. You must be a subscriber to view this.
Picture credit: m_shsankus & Noah GHC
GIFS taken from WRESTLEUNIVERSE & ABEMA
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