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News From Cook’s Corner 6.7.21: I Need A Scorecard!

Firings, Hirings and shows shadowed in obscurity! Cook brings a smattering of news from all around the wrestling world!

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Hi, hello & welcome to News From Cook’s Corner! My name is Steve Cook, and I’d like to be honest with you people for just a minute. As much news as has been going on in the wrestling industry lately, I’ve been hard pressed to get interested in covering it. I don’t have a good explanation for it. I should probably speak to a therapist, but that’s expensive. So I spend a paragraph rambling about my mental issues before talking about some wrestling news. Probably not the most healthy thing for me mentally, but it makes feel like I’m doing something.

Who Did WWE Can This Week?

It’s becoming somewhat of a weekly thing here for WWE to release people and for us to break down the who & why. The who this time around: Braun Strowman, Aleister Black, Murphy, Lana, Ruby Riott & Santana Garrett.

To be honest, most of the recent releases haven’t come as big surprises to me, as they’ve largely been people WWE wasn’t really using anyway. Garrett’s fallen into that category since her arrival. She never did much on NXT television, got called up to the main roster earlier this year and made one appearance in the Royal Rumble match before disappearing for good. Somebody thought she was worth signing, and later somebody thought she was worth moving up, but nothing ever happened. Weird stuff.

Riott at least got her own squad for a while, but had only been on television twice since WrestleMania. Murphy hadn’t competed since the Andre the Giant Battle Royal on the SmackDown before WrestleMania, and in the previous months had largely disappeared after a big storyline with Seth Rollins & the Mysterio Family. Black had gone away for awhile after his wife was released, but had been brought back recently and started a feud with Big E. It feels especially random since we just heard a couple of weeks ago that his wife, the former Zelina Vega, was in talks to return to WWE.

It’s tough to keep track of all these hirings & firings in various relationships. Lana has joined her husband Miro on the list of talent released by WWE over the past year. Now the speculation turns towards whether they’ll be reunited in AEW or not. That would be the happiest situation for them, but it remains to be seen now many of these people AEW will want to bring onto their already bloated roster.

The biggest surprise, at least to me, was Strowman. We’re talking about a guy that was Universal Champion for the first few months of the Pandemic Era and who wrestled Shane McMahon at this year’s WrestleMania. He certainly seemed like the type of wrestler WWE loves to push, and would keep around for a long time. Braun also reportedly got a big contract extension last year, which ironically enough likely made him more expendable when the people making these decisions were looking for people to release. Injury isses were also a concern.

Still, Strowman had a certain aura about him a few years ago that had a lot of us thinking he would be a top WWE star for years to come. He still found some success, but the early mishandling of his push and his random face/heel turns ultimately made him a tougher sell as a top guy than he should have been. Braun never quite lived up to that potential, and it’s tough to see him doing it somewhere else because the wrestling business outside of WWE doesn’t seem to have much of his interest. He’s probably a little too big in size for AEW, as they mostly hire overly large wrestlers to serve as announcers.

Will we be talking about more released wrestlers next week? Maybe! Here’s the thing: WWE does have a ridiculously large roster. We talked about this before when they were signing every wrestler in captivity to keep them away from AEW. At some point, somebody was going to realize that the company had entirely too many wrestlers for what they were doing. Or, somebody was going to realize that they were never going to use some of these wrestlers, and it would serve them well to switch people out for somebody they might end up using.

And, let’s be honest: it isn’t entirely a bad thing to have an AEW or Impact or ROH or whoever around to keep some of these wrestlers busy. WWE doesn’t & shouldn’t feel threatened by these groups, even if AEW’s done well ratings-wise and with PPV buys. WWE has been making the shift to being more of a media company than a wrestling company as far back as I care to remember, and even if other groups have wrestling shows on par or better than what WWE trots out there, they’ve still got a long way to go to match what WWE has to offer as a company. These boys know how to make money, you gotta give them that.

None of this talk necessarily means that Vince McMahon is getting ready to sell the company…though it is really fun to speculate about.

Whose AEW Contract Expired This Week?

We know that AEW has shown more of a reticence to fire people than WWE. Firing people when you’re already making record profits is great for shareholders that care about money, but a bad look to fans that actually care about these wrestlers. AEW is trying to be the company that cares, so instead of firing people, they’ll let contracts expire. With all of this new talent on the market, & with AEW heading back out on the road, we’ll probably see more contracts expiring over the coming months.

Awesome Kong & Shanna’s contracts expired, so they were let go. Kong’s AEW experience was limited to a short stint as part of the ill-fated Nightmare Collective faction in late 2019 & early 2020. She went on hiatus in February 2020 to film GLOW, which ended up not happening anyway. The pandemic caused production to be shut down & Netflix wound up cancelling the show, much to the dismay of folks like me that considered GLOW the best wrestling show on television. Kong never returned to AEW television in any event. Her performances on GLOW were well-received, so there is some potential for a future in acting. ROH or Impact could also use her name value for their women’s divisions, so I doubt we’ve seen the last of Kong on television in one form or another.

Shanna’s AEW stint was also derailed by the pandemic, as she was stuck in Europe for several months. Prior to that, her main contribution was a feud with Nyla Rose, helping further establish Rose as a Native Beast. Fightful Select reported that there had been some issues between Shanna and some other wrestlers, in particular the extras that weren’t under contract. Probably not a good idea to crap on the extras if you’re pretty extra yourself.

SummerSlam Date & Venue Set

WWE’s second biggest event of the calendar year has been set for August 21 at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. Two different things about this: It’s a Saturday night, and it’s a night where Vegas will also be hosting a Manny Pacquiao fight. SummerSlam will be starting at 5 PM Pacific and should be done before Pacquiao hits the ring, so maybe it won’t be an issue.

The big question is how many people they’ll stick inside that football stadium. Dave Meltzer reports that ticket sales are going well for the dates they’ve released so far, so hopefully people are ready for some ‘rasslin. AEW has previously found success with their Double or Nothing weekends in Las Vegas, it’s a market that people like traveling to, so WWE should get a big crowd.

Especially if they can get John Cena to work Roman Reigns at the show like some are speculating.

Andrade is All Elite!

Andrade El Idolo made his big AEW debut this past Friday night. Some expected this to happen sooner, as there was this big deal made online about how Andrade didn’t have a 90-day non-compete clause to deal with, and as WrestlingInc’s Raj Giri reports, talks between Andrade & Tony Khan started the week after the release. The process took some time, as apparently Andrade wanted creative control & veto power on losing. That honestly wouldn’t surprise me, as most of the famous luchadores we know of are known for being very, very reticent to lose matches. Heck, LA Park lost a match on MLW a few weeks back, and it was notable because it was the first time he’d cleanly lost a match in the U.S. in ages.

They still take wins & losses seriously south of the border. Especially older legends that are looking to keep their name value as high as possible. Andrade learned from them.

For Tony Khan & AEW’s sake, hopefully this story is largely BS, as the last thing they need is everybody WWE is releasing to insist on creative control and veto power over losing in their contracts. Or their current wrestlers having similar demands when their contracts come up. I know Andrade is a very talented wrestler, but if he’s getting the WCW Hall & Nash deal, everybody else is going to want it too.

The NWA Had A PPV!

To be honest, I haven’t seen a lot of the NWA since they went behind the FITE paywall. Hope it works out for them, but since I’m not getting paid to cover the Powerrr shows I’m not watching them. Just being honest…we’re doing what we’re paid for here at the Corner these days. Like anybody else you’d find on a street corner, if you know what I’m saying.

There were three things I noticed from this particular show, so let’s talk about them.

1. Kylie Rae is back!

We’ve seen Kylie’s ups & downs over the past few years. She was going to be the focal point of AEW’s women’s division, she tapped out. She was going to be the focal point of Impact Wrestling’s women’s division, she tapped out. Now, Kylie Rae is part of the NWA’s women’s division. I’m rooting for it to work out. But, man, if I was a wrestling promoter, I wouldn’t bet on it unless I planned on running shows in one city that nobody ever noticed. Which would be a bad way to run business as a wrestling promoter.

2. Tyrus beats a champion!

I try to avoid political opinion in this column as much as possible. But when your company decides to push a Fox News pundit that’s been accused of sexual harassment, I have to comment on it. So yeah, this sort of thing is why I don’t feel bad about not paying money to watch an NWA show.

See, this is the kind of thing that keeps me from ever having sources anywhere in the business.

3. Nick Aldis will be champion forever…should we care?

The main event of this show saw Nick Aldis hit a referee with a chair to get a blatant disqualification against Trevor Murdoch. Nick Aldis’s current title reign is at 959 days, and if Cody hadn’t got a 50 day title reign after All In, Aldis would already be over 1,000 days.

And who said overly long title reigns were a thing of the past? I remember back in the day people were trying to sell me on Aldis as NWA Champion, and he has some good qualities. He can wear suits and cosplay Ric Flair pretty well. Is he taking the NWA where the company wants to be? I dunno, maybe I’m just an old man remembering the days of actual NWA Champions and confused by it all.

I mean, would Trevor Murdoch be a better champion? Dick Murdoch probably would be, but he’s been dead over 25 years. Tough to say.

Thanks for reading! Until next time, keep your stick on the ice.


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More From Japan

(NOAH) NOAH NEWSLETTER VOL.200 ~ 7TH MAY 2023

New alliances, MMA challengers and the return of a beloved tag team!

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NEWS

AXIZ reunite

Go Shiozaki lost in his return match at MAJESTIC (4th May at Ryogoku Kokugikan) to Katsuhiko Nakajima’s Vertical Spike. While he was lying on the mat, with a worried Kaito Kiyomiya and Yoshiki Inamura looking on, Katsuhiko Nakajima got on the mic and said, “What is this, Go Shiozaki? This awkward state? Is this “I AM NOAH?” Where did that strong Go Shiozaki go? Shall we do it again? Stand up!”, Everyone, including Shiozaki, thought that Nakajima wanted to fight him again and so Shiozaki used Nakajima to pull himself up. Nakajima had his usual devilish smile on, and grabbed Shiozaki by the hair as if he was going to strike him.

What he actually did was offer him his hand, which Shiozaki took, and to the wild screaming of the crowd, AXIZ reformed and the two would not let go of each other.

Kenoh was outraged and demanded to know what was going on. Manabu Soya later left the ring shaking his head. Backstage, Nakajima confirmed that yes, AXIZ were back and the reason why he had left was because (and this sounds familiar) Kenoh didn’t need him, Kongoh didn’t need him, and he didn’t need them. Kenoh growled that he would destroy anyone who got in his way and that included All Japan, All Japan’s Suwama, Dragon Gate (probably the whole roster) and Katsuhiko Nakajima. Kenoh remarked that usually Kongoh didn’t punish people who left (he probably doesn’t mean the chaotic juniors), but it seems that he himself will have another singles match with Nakajima on the 31st May at Shinjuku FACE. Kenoh has also branded AXIZ as a “thief and traitor duo” and has warned elderly AXIZ fans not to make any bank transfers. He has also claimed that while he was injured, Go Shiozaki is a “salary thief” for doing nothing for NOAH during that time, and not even updating his Twitter.

Related articles

Kongoh’s leader, Kenoh, denounces Go Shiozaki and Katsuhiko Nakajima’s AXIZ reunion as a “thief and traitor duo”

NOAH promise more women’s matches

Following the four woman tag at MAJESTIC, Ryo Mizunami hinted afterwards that NOAH will be holding more and she (and others) want to be a part of this. Nothing more has been said about the possibility of a women’s GHC Championship though.

N-1 VICTORY 2023 Announced

NOAH have announced that the N-1 VICTORY 2023 will make a return in August 2023, and as is tradition, will have the final night held in Osaka in early September. No names have been announced as of yet, but the league will head up for a couple of dates in Sapporo, Hokkaido (NOAH have not been to Hokkaido since before the pandemic when they would traditionally share a ring with Big Japan and then get drunk together over a lost weekend). No names have been announced as of yet.

Masakatsu Funaki challenges Josh Barnett 

Following his victory over Shinya Aoki at MAJESTIC, Masakatsu Funaki challenged Josh Barnett, who was sitting at ringside to a match. Barnett accepted, but NOAH are yet to state the date when the match will take place. Funaki also seems to be hinting that his career is now winding down, and he wants to tie up any loose ends; such as the Aoki match and the challenge to Barnett, who he has never faced before, but seems to have always wanted to. Mutoh told Funaki to keep going until he is sixty, but Funaki, who makes no pretense about the fact that he is approaching his mid fifties, seems to think that this is unlikely.

Eita alone, Daga joins “the new STINGER”. HAYATA not welcome either. 

During the STINGER vs I guess the last of Perros Del Mal De Japon, Eita and Daga, Eita caught Daga with the Imperial Uno, which meant that Yoshinari Ogawa could capitalize, and he went to pin Eita. However, Ogawa broke the pin and got to his feet slowly, dragging Eita up by his hair. He looked across the ring to Daga, and Daga turned on Eita. Eita, now utterly alone, was beaten up after the match, and no one at all came out to help him as there is now no one left. Backstage, Eita on all fours, said that from now on he would be trusting no one and didn’t believe in friends (NOSAWA posted “…..” to this) and demanded a singles match with both Ogawa and Daga. As for STINGER, Chris Ridgeway said that from now on he, Daga and Ogawa were the new STINGER. Daga gave no reason for his turning on his old friend, STINGER rarely give reasons anyway, and Ogawa said that HAYATA and Eita were no longer considered “friends”. Eita will get his singles matches on the 14th May at Korakuen Hall, and with Daga on the 21st in Kobe. Fans are wondering if Eita and HAYATA will team up, but HAYATA seems to be more preoccupied with the GHC Junior at the moment.

Ring intruder at Korakuen Hall

At NOAH’s Korakuen Hall event on the 29th April, a young woman intruded into the ring at the start of Kaito Kiyomiya, Sean Legacy & AMAKUSA vs Kongoh, and started imploring Kiyomiya to “show us a stronger NOAH” because he was “the savior of NOAH”. She was gently expelled from the ring by Referee Nishinaga, Kiyomiya and the young rookie, Taishi Ozawa. No further information has come from NOAH or any news outlets as to who this young woman was or what the consequence of her intrusion was, and it is rare in Japanese wrestling that a fan should intrude into the ring, but NOAH took the precaution to check bags at their fan event and MAJESTIC, and extra wrestlers were seen at ringside, which fans said felt like security. The very real threat was that she could have had a knife. New Japan’s Toru Yano has also spoken out about fan behavior. He didn’t mention fan invasion specifically, but more wrestlers being harassed by fans when at baggage claim at airports, at convenience stores etc. Kenoh kind of saved the situation by telling Kiyomiya that if he was stronger, then strange people wouldn’t do things like this!

Shinjiro Otani

At an event held on the 6th May to help with his hospital bills, Shinjiro Otani made an appearance. Takashi Sugiura bought him some flowers and Otani thanked him for not giving up wrestling due to the injury that Otani sustained during the title match. He also warned Sugiura, that he would see him in the ring again. Sugiura said he was waiting for that day.

Voodoo Murders vs Kongoh

SUWAMA broke into NOAH’s event at Korakuen Hall on the 29th April and gave Kenoh, a massive Last Ride powerbomb. Shrieking that he was going to take the All Japan World Heavyweight Tag back to where it belonged, i.e. All Japan, he was prepared to come and have a match in NOAH (with Kono his partner) to retrieve them. There then followed a comical scene involving the infamous lifts, where a quaking old man appeared and was told by Suwama to hold the doors. The match has been set for NOAH’s Kobe event on the 21st May. The event will not be broadcast live, but I would imagine this match will be through NOAH’s official Instagram. Suwama got further revenge on Kenoh at All Japan’s show on the 7th when Kongoh and Voodoo Murders had a pre match. Kenoh was given another powerbomb, shoved into a body bag and Voodoo Murders posed with their boots on him, before carrying him backstage on their shoulders. Half in and half out of the bag and dumped on the floor, Suwama told him that now he was in hell, those titles were theirs.

TITLE NEWS

GHC Heavyweight

In a match that saw Naomichi Marufuji pull out old moves (Shiranui and Shiranui Pole Shift, plus a rope bounce that he hasn’t used for a while) and moves that he has worked on, Jake Lee retained the GHC Heavyweight at MAJESTIC. However, no challenger came forward, and fans were expecting to see Go Shiozaki come out. Jake thanked Marufuji and ran down what he had felt in his past title defenses; Kiyomiya was the future, Nakajima the strength and Marufuji the history. Jake wondered what was next and predicted that on the 14th May at Korakuen Hall, things would start to happen. Jake’s match then is himself teaming with Good Looking Guys (including YO-HEY and Tadasuke) against two NOAH Juniors (Seiki Yoshioka and Atsushi Kotoge) against Kaito Kiyomiya and Takashi Sugiura. Fans think that it will be Sugiura who challenges.

Related articles

“Half the guys don’t think about it”, the real intention of outside invader Jake Lee’s cut down of the Ark warriors

“I can’t win in a direct match anymore”…Naomichi Marufuji aims to surpass his teacher, Mitsuharu Misawa, in recapturing the GHC

“It’s like a dream” – Jake, “Full speed for the first time in a while”, Marufuji

“Naomichi Marufuji must do his best here and now”, Mutoh speaks! 4th May Ryogoku Kokugikan, the direction of Jake vs Marufuji

GHC Junior Heavyweight

HAYATA was forced into doing some light comedy, when at the title match signing/press conference, Ninja Mack told him that he didn’t want him to be injured in their title match, and handed him a gift of bandages and athletic tape. HAYATA tried to keep a straight face. However, Ninja Mack found nothing to laugh about when HAYATA beat him and went to hand him his presents back. Apparently, HAYATA kept the bandages, as he only tried to give back the athletic tape. Ninja Mack knocked them to the floor and walked off. The GHC Junior Heavyweight is the only one with a challenger out of all the championships at the time of writing, as HAYATA has nominated Dante Leon as opponent. Dante Leon took the belt from Ninja Mack, but HAYATA feels he has to defeat everyone who held it while he was injured. Dante says he is coming back to take his belt back. Pre matches will take place, with the title match on the 17th June in Nagoya.

Related articles

GHC Junior signing ceremony: Ninja provokes the champion with first aid supplies, HAYATA “excellent”

GHC National

El Hijo Del Dr Wagner Jnr continues to cement himself as one of the greatest GHC National Champions, by defeating Hideki Suzuki at MAJESTIC to retain in an epic match. Suzuki was even booed as he knocked Wagner Jnr down with a punch early on after Wagner Jnr had yelled “Arriba Mexico!”. Suzuki didn’t look as if he was too bothered, and fought most of the match with a cool hard expression. El Hijo Del Dr Wagner Jnr isn’t on any cards for the rest of May 2023, so it looks as if the title will probably be challenged for some time in June.

Related articles

“Real” Suzuki emphasizes “Real Deal” to take over the GHC National, match signing ceremony

GHC Heavyweight Tag

Monster Taniguchi, which his seniors try so hard to awaken, sat dormant at the match signing as Saxon Huxley overturned the table, (which Takashi Sugiura, no stranger to trashing tables during press conferences, helped put back), but then turned his own over with a roar and made off with the tag belts. Sugi very politely helped the staff put the tables back. The team of Sugiura and Taniguchi gave very close to retaining, but they lost the belts when Saxon Huxley pinned Taniguchi with the Hanging Neck Bombs. The new champions celebrated by yelling loudly into the camera, and Huxley repeatedly head-butting his belt. Two new tags arose that night at MAJESTIC; AXIZ, and a new team of Masato Tanaka and Kazuyuki Fujita.

Related articles

Huxley and Taniguchi go berserk overturning tables, Sugiura apologizes

GHC Junior Tag

YO-HEY and Tadasuke (Good Looking Guys Unit) defended the GHC Junior Tag against Alpha Wolf and DragonBane at Korakuen Hall on the 29th April. The lucha brothers came very close to taking the titles, but YO-HEY saved the team by pinning DragonBane. No challengers have come forward, but it does seem likely that they will be challenged by the people that YO-HEY dumped to join GLG; Atsushi Kotoge and Seiki Yoshioka at Korakuen Hall on the 14th May, which is NOAH’s next event. However, Kotoge and Yoshioka may not be the most stable team, as Yoshioka did catch him with a kick accidentally.

EVENT RECAPS & POST MATCH PROMOS

  • STAR NAVIGATION 2023 

(Saturday April 29th, Korakuen Hall, Tokyo) 

Event recap

Post match interviews

  • ABEMA PRESENTS MAJESTIC 2023

(Thursday 4th May, Ryogoku Kokugikan)

Event recap

Post match interviews

NOAH Fan Event Recap

ELSEWHERE IN NOAH

– Atsushi Kotoge posted a picture of himself when he came to NOAH eleven years ago. He says he is “slightly embarrassed” about seeing himself back then.

– Mohammed Yone and Super Crazy almost left via the wrong gate at MAJESTIC. The trainee standing there tried to tell them, but they seemed insistent, eventually he had to almost stand in their way before they realized.

– Xtreme Tiger returned to the NOAH ring following his concussion

– Most people down the old man VIPER tonic, Masato Tanaka opened it, poured it down his throat and chugged it.

– Keiji Mutoh told Kazushi Sakuraba that he should fight a bear on PPV. Sakuraba said no, he would be killed, and suggested that Mutoh do it. Mutoh said he was an old man who was enjoying retirement by sitting at home and watching historical dramas on NHK.

– Ray Escorpion made his NOAH debut, which involved heel tactics and stalking Dralistico.

– Jake Lee regretted his choice of costume, i.e. his gloves and cape, at the NOAH Fan Event. He said he felt like he needed an icepack under his armpits.

– Eita hid under the ring to jump Yoshinari Ogawa at Korakuen Hall on April 29th. When he crawled out he stretched and yawned, meaning that he fell asleep under there!

– Alejandro was sitting at the commentary table when it got trashed by the Luchadores at MAJESTIC.

CURRENT CHAMPIONS

  • GHC Heavyweight Champion: Jake Lee
    Challenger: TBA
  • GHC Junior Champion: HAYATA
    Challenger: Dante Leon, GREEN JOURNEY 2023 in NAGOYA (Nagoya International Conference Center Event Hall – Saturday, June 17th)
  • GHC Heavyweight Tag Champions: REAL (Saxon Huxley & Timothy Thatcher)
    Challengers: TBA
  • GHC Junior Tag Champions: Good Looking Guys (YO-HEY & Tadasuke)
    Challengers: TBA
  • GHC National Champion: El Hijo Del Dr Wagner Jnr
    Challenger: TBA

THIS WEEK IN NOAH

(May 2023 schedule)

– STAR NAVIGATION 2023

Date: Sunday May 14th

Venue: Korakuen Hall, Tokyo

Start times: Doors 17:30 JST, Bell 18:30 JST

Broadcast: ABEMA

Birthdays & anniversaries

May 8th 1961: Akira Taue birthday (62)

May 13th 2000: Jumbo Tsuruta memorial (23)

*NOTE ABOUT ABEMA BROADCASTS

For the overseas fan a subscription to WrestleUniverse is recommended instead of a subscription to ABEMA. You can only watch ABEMA shows live (you cannot watch replays should you miss the show), but these always get uploaded to WrestleUniverse a few minutes after the broadcast finishes. I do not recommend that overseas fans subscribe to ABEMA due to the time consuming and expensive issues around finding a VPN that is compatible with their firewall, and ABEMA do not broadcast any other NOAH shows aside from the live broadcasts, they do not show much exclusive content and they do not show vintage or older events.

LINKS

“No matter how many times you fall down, you get back up, that’s pro wrestling” – Kaito Kiyomiya vs Reiwa’s “Pu-Girl”

“I want to fight” Aoki’s first NOAH participation, Funaki “challenge”. Press conference for the first showdown in six years

“Isn’t that a stupid question?” Shiozaki, returning for the first time in eight months, emphasizes “perfection” like AMAKUSA

26 year old wrestler Kaito Kiyomiya talks about the importance of the dojo and generational view

NOAH FROM THE VAULT

Donmai, Donmai” – Mitsuharu Misawa’s diary….he’s being obscene!

With thanks to: Metal NOAH

Picture credits: NOAH.co.jp


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More From Japan

(NOAH) NOAH NEWSLETTER VOL.199 ~ 25TH APRIL 2023

Lots of Championship news! Does Jake Lee have what it takes to captain the ark?

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NEWS

“I made you all wait”, Go Shiozaki announces his return

Go Shiozaki made a surprise appearance at NOAH’s Sendai event on the 16th April, and announced that he would return to the ring at “MAJESTIC” at Ryogoku Kokugikan on Thursday May 4th. In an interview done soon afterwards, Shiozaki said that of course his goal was to “get my belt back as soon as possible” and naturally, his target is the current champion, Jake Lee. He is very excited about NOAH now with the influx of foreign wrestlers, and of course, Jake Lee whom he knew from being in All Japan. Shiozaki’s return match will be against Kongoh’s Kenoh, Katsuhiko Nakajima and Manabu Soya. Shiozaki says he will not only be fighting against his opponents, but also the younger generation of NOAH, who he says are “a threat”. NOAH’s generational wheel continues turning.

Related articles

The theme of return is “New Go Shiozaki”, “Fight with five people”, thrilled by the new NOAH scenery

“I have to get my belt back”, Go Shiozaki vows to return early to the title front

Junta Miyawaki returns from Mexico

Junta Miyawaki announced (bilingually as he also announced this in Mexican), that he would be returning from Ultimo Dragon’s training camp, and would make his first match back at Korakuen Hall at STAR NAVIGATION on the 29th April. His opponent will be HI69, who has been on a roll recently. Before he left, Junta Miyawaki said that he would “sip muddy water”, (which basically means to hit rock bottom and crawl you way back up), before he returned to NOAH. HI69 was unimpressed with this statement, saying that Junta had no idea what he was talking about, but he would soon make him realize it.

Women’s matches

NOAH continue to book women’s matches on their bigger shows. Sendai saw Maya Yukihi and Sumire Natsu fight in a singles match, and afterwards mention was made (even fleetingly) of a woman’s GHC championship. The next women’s match will be a four way at “MAJESTIC” on the 4th May between

Maya Yukihisa & SAKI vs Sumire Natsu & Ryo Mizunami.

Xtreme Tiger concussed & Luchadore’s trash the commentary table

Very sadly Xtreme Tiger sustained (probably) a concussion during the match in Sendai and was stretchered from the ring. Fortunately, he could still move as he was seen to be sitting up and sliding himself on to the stretcher. The remaining Luchadores (Doralistico, Dragon Bane, Alpha Wolf, Alejandro & Lanzelot) decided to continue the match, and as they are NOAH Juniors, didn’t bother to tell the ref. They just carried on and during this, Dragon Bane trashed the commentary table by moonsaulting through it. Then everyone else joined in, fighting in the wreckage. Akitoshi Saito (who had been sitting at the table) was seen looking on blankly. Later he made the comment that the table was not made of a material that was meant to be broken.

Yasutaka Yano and Kinya Okada taken off the Sendai card at the last moment

Yasutaka Yano and Kinya Okada were announced to have been taken off the Sendai card at the last moment, meaning that Anthony Green and Akitoshi Saito (who wrestled by taking his shirt off and in his normal clothes) had to fill in for them. NOAH have not announced the issue (illness, injury, etc) but fans think that they may have gone to Mexico for training, albeit why this should be so sudden is a mystery.

Title news 

GHC Heavyweight

Jake Lee retains, Naomichi Marufuji challenges

Jake Lee retained the GHC Heavyweight against Katsuhiko Nakajima, and was challenged that same night by Naomichi Marufuji. The nautical references continued, as Marufuji said that Jake’s steering was making him “seasick” and used a term that he says he came up with before he made his challenge, by saying that “Even if it is rotten, it is Marufuji” (the full saying is “Even if it is rotten, it is still a sea bream”, which basically is like saying “white cat, black cat, as long as it catches mice, then it is a good cat” i.e. quality is quality). Title match has been made for “MAJESTIC” on the 4th May.

The two pre matches have taken place at shows not broadcasted live, Hamamatsu (which was put on WrestleUniverse on the 25th April) and Kyoto KBS Hall (which will be streamed on WrestleUniverse on the 26th April from 18:00 JST). Neither the champion or the challenger scored the direct win over the other, but Jake was seen to hold the belt over Naomichi Marufuji as he, Jake, stood on the turnbuckle and held it even higher.

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The new champion gives NOAH a warning! Is it okay to stay as NOAH = Marufuji?

“After all, I’m the man who’s been with NOAH for a long time” – Naomichi Marufuji, on the 25th anniversary of his debut who named himself as the one to overthrow Jake, talks about his thoughts!

GHC Heavyweight Tag

Masa Kitamiya and Daiki Inaba lost the GHC Heavyweight Tag Championship to Takashi Sugiura and Shuhei Taniguchi in Sendai. Shuhei Taniguchi, much to his seniors delight, got the win but there was no chance to celebrate for very long as a new fearsome tag team, who were part of a new unit (and therefore a new power in the heavyweights) appeared on the scene to challenge. Hideki Suzuki announced that himself, Timothy Thatcher and Saxon Huxley, were breaking away from The Sugiura Army, which he said was “over” (fans have long felt that the unit simply fizzled out) and the three of them were breaking away on their own.

Suzuki challenged for the GHC Heavyweight Tag belts on behalf of his partners, whom both came across as having chemistry akin to an old school American tag team (Saxon I know is from England, but you know the vibe I am talking about). Backstage, Hideki Suzuki said their new unit was called “Real”. In their first pre match in Hamamatsu, Suzuki refused to shake hands with Takashi Sugiura and Sugiura was defeated by Saxon Huxley. The next night in Kyoto, Sugiura defeated Huxley, which was Huxley’s first NOAH loss, with the Olympic Slam and labelled himself as “Beastmaster”. There was also some slight friction appearing between Takashi Sugiura and Shuhei Taniguchi, as Taniguchi did the same “I heard you lost today?” kind of comment back to Sugiura, and once again refused to shake hands with him when Sugiura offered and just walked off when Sugi asked, “Did you win?”.

GHC National

In an epic match, El Hijo Del Dr Wagner Jnr defended the GHC National against Jack Morris, and the two of them shook hands afterwards and patched up their friendship. Backstage, Hideki Suzuki appeared in the comments booth when Wagner Jnr was in it, clapping sarcastically and saying that he was coming for his belt. Suzuki also made a very poetic comment about the challenge.

“Because Wagner Jnr is the sun of Mexico, I will take him deep into the ocean. We will sink together, and only I will rise”

Their two pre matches so far have been inconclusive as they head towards the title match at “MAJESTIC” on the 4th May at Ryogoku Kokugikan.

GHC Junior

AMAKUSA did not do well in the pre matches against HAYATA, and HAYATA ran him into the ground in the title match in Sendai, winning in thirteen minutes and four seconds. In order to forestall anyone who thought they were going to challenge, he was picking up where he left off, and his next challenger would be Ninja Mack. Ninja Mack had challenged HAYATA in late 2022 for the belt, but he had won it when HAYATA was injured, and the belt was awarded to him. To HAYATA, he needed to defeat Ninja Mack first before dealing with anyone else. The two pre matches have not gone well for HAYATA, although Ninja Mack hasn’t got the win over him directly, he has still gotten the win for his team at one point, even if one of the matches was won by someone else, which for him counts as a victory over HAYATA.

GHC Junior Tag

Fans knew that Yoshinari Ogawa and Eita were going to fall apart. YO-HEY knew this too, but knew enough about his opponents, to be wary. In the end, a misfire by Eita, who caught Ogawa in the face with a kick, letting Tadasuke get the win, made the team implode. Ogawa might have come to the ring ignoring Eita’s very existence, but by the end of the match the two were brawling and the fight went backstage. After kicking Ogawa in the crotch, Eita announced that the only person he trusted was Daga. Daga will return to NOAH at “MAJESTIC”, with the one person who hasn’t turned on Ogawa (although he was wary of his aligning with Eita), Chris Ridgeway, who is returning to NOAH at Korakuen Hall on Saturday 29th April.

The new GHC Junior Champions, Good Looking Guy’s YO-HEY and Tadasuke, were challenged backstage by Dragon Bane and Alpha Wolf, who told them they were going to be taking the belts back to Mexico. The brothers have run riot on the junior tag champions, defeating them in the pre matches, Alpha Wolf in a singles against Tadasuke. Title match will take place this Saturday at Korakuen Hall.

EVENT RECAPS & POST MATCH PROMOS

  • ABEMA presents GREEN JOURNEY 2023 in Sendai (Sunday April 16th)

Event recap

Post match interviews

  • Act City Hamamatsu (Saturday, April 22nd)

Event recap

Post match interviews

  • Kyoto KBS Hall (Sunday, April 23rd)

Event recap

Post match interviews

ELSEWHERE IN NOAH

– Because they were both champions facing their challengers, YO-HEY offered HAYATA a handshake in Kyoto. HAYATA reacted in usual fashion (he refused) but the two were seen to work together…

– Kongoh appeared in a short Kenoh Channel video, where each of them ate one of Shuji Kondo’s financiers and talked about the merch table. Katsuhiko Nakajima very neatly put back a packet of Naomichi Marufuji’s curry, which Kenoh had thrown.

– Although he is no longer appearing in the ring, NOSAWA Rongai was seen watching at the Hamamatsu show. He’s not a member of the audience however, as he seems to be travelling with them – Kenoh said that he was glad Go Shiozaki had returned as he could not “wait to beat the shit” out of him.

– Atsushi Kotoge has revealed his beloved Shiba is called “Chikuwa”. When he left for NOAH’s weekend shows, he told him he was leaving him as watchdog to guard the family.

– Mercedes Monet said she wanted a match with “Marufugi”. “Marufugi” said he wanted one with her too.

– YO-HEY and Yoshiki Inamura will appear on “All-Star Chorus Battle” on May 14th for Fuji TV. The premise of the show is that they will team with five other people, sing the hit songs of the Reiwa era and compete as a chorus for a championship.

– A picture taken by NOAH’s official photographer in Kyoto was captured at precisely the moment that Seiki Yoshioka was diving off the top turnbuckle. The angle of his body made him look as if he was leaping out of the stained glass behind him. Ironically, he seemed to be leaping from the roof of the Ark. Also photographed against The Ark was Yoshiki Inamura, who put a Dove above his head.

CURRENT CHAMPIONS

  • GHC Heavyweight Champion: Jake Lee
    Challenger: Naomichi Marufuji, ABEMA presents MAJESTIC 2023, Ryogoku Kokugikan, Thursday May 4th
  • GHC Junior Champion: HAYATA
    Challenger: Ninja Mack, ABEMA presents MAJESTIC 2023, Ryogoku Kokugikan, Thursday May 4th
  • GHC Heavyweight Tag Champions: Takashi Sugiura & Shuhei Taniguchi
    Challengers: REAL (Saxon Huxley & Timothy Thatcher), ABEMA presents MAJESTIC 2023, Ryogoku Kokugikan, Thursday May 4th
  • GHC Junior Tag Champions: Good Looking Guys (YO-HEY & Tadasuke)
    Challengers: Dragon Bane & Alpha Wolf, STAR NAVIGATION 2023, Korakuen Hall, Saturday April 29th
  • GHC National Champion: El Hijo Del Dr Wagner Jnr
    Challenger: Hideki Suzuki, ABEMA presents MAJESTIC 2023, Ryogoku Kokugikan, Thursday May 4th

THIS WEEK IN NOAH

  • STAR NAVIGATION 2023

Date: Saturday April 29th

Venue: Korakuen Hall

Start time: 18:30 JST (doors open 17:30)

Broadcast: ABEMA (Live)

BIRTHDAYS & ANNIVERSARIES 

29th April: Atsushi Kotoge debut anniversary (2005)

29th April: Tadasuke debut anniversary (2007)

*NOTE ABOUT ABEMA BROADCASTS

For the overseas fan a subscription to WrestleUniverse is recommended instead of a subscription to ABEMA. You can only watch ABEMA shows live (you cannot watch replays should you miss the show), but these always get uploaded to WrestleUniverse a few minutes after the broadcast finishes. I do not recommend that overseas fans subscribe to ABEMA due to the time consuming and expensive issues around finding a VPN that is compatible with their firewall, and ABEMA do not broadcast any other NOAH shows aside from the live broadcasts, they do not show much exclusive content and they do not show vintage or older events.

NOAH FROM THE VAULT

“Donmai, Donmai” – Mitsuharu Misawa’s diary

With thanks to: Metal-NOAH

Picture credits: NOAH.co.jpPro Wrestling DX


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