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News From Cook’s Corner 8.23.21: Happy Returns

Big shows, big returns, big fun for wrestling! Cook’s News Corner covers all of the fun!

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Hi, hello & welcome to News From Cook’s Corner! The last couple of days have been all about the returns. Folks that wrestling fans have been waiting to see for a long time returned to their profession on Friday & Saturday night. As you’d expect, the results varied. Today, we break them down.

We’ll take a look at the TakeOver results with some thoughts on them. I only saw the last two SummerSlam matches, and after hearing the results don’t have much motivation to check out the rest of the card. I mean, Edge coming out to Gangrel’s music with the ring of fire but no Gangrel? Pretty weak, in my opinion. You gotta bring the fanged guy back if you’re going to take his gimmick. Last I heard he was based in Vegas, so I don’t know what happened there. Vampires gotta be immune to Covid, right?

Lord, I apologize for that joke. I also apologize for using a Larry the Cable Guy line. Guessing that act hasn’t aged well. Let’s talk about these wrestling returns, shall we?

Return of the Punker

I don’t think that CM Punk fans can ask for more than what they got Friday night. They got exactly what everybody hoped for. An extended entrance with Punk soaking in the adulation of a rabid United Center audience. A promo covering where Punk had been and where he’s going next. Some, but not too much, and plenty to follow. A challenge to Darby Allin, who looked pretty cool up there in the rafters with Sting. Some ice cream bars for the fans in attendance.

One of my criticisms of AEW is they often try to do too much in too little time. We saw that at the end of the first Rampage show with Jamie Hayter joining Britt Baker in a heel beatdown in a location it wouldn’t have gotten heat unless they set the American flag on fire or something. That wasn’t the case on Friday night. They didn’t have Punk run down at the end of the show to attack Allin while he was celebrating with his buddies. We will hear from Punk again on Wednesday. For now, that’s all we need.

The response was pretty much everything AEW could have hoped for. Positive fan reaction, sports media coverage, Google news searches making people looking for WWE see CM Punk & AEW instead of SummerSlam. They hit a home run on Friday night. Now they have to follow up.

Punk, for his part, looks motivated. He talked to the media about wanting to follow in the footsteps of guys like Terry Funk, Harley Race & Tracy Smothers that taught him the way. He’s willing to teach anybody willing to listen. AEW has a lot of kids working their YouTube shows, and a lot of kids on their TV shows too. Hopefully they’re willing to listen.

So you knew something big would happen on SummerSlam. Even before Friday night happened, people in WWE saw it coming. They knew they were going to need something to change the subject from CM Punk & AEW. They had two tricks up their sleeve, and used them both on Saturday night.

Becky Lynch’s return from maternity leave was something people were excited about. We knew it was coming, we just didn’t know when. SummerSlam seemed like a good time for it. Biggest live audience of the year, biggest event of the summer, sounds like a good time for the Man to come back around. Sure enough, that’s what happened.

The one downside?

It came at the expense of any credibility Bianca Belair had built up over the past several months. Becky beat her in under 30 seconds to win the SmackDown Women’s Championship, which in itself isn’t a surprise because SD is where Becky’s husband works, and is also the show that matters these days.

I can already hear the explanations. It was a SummerSlam Moment! Wins & losses don’t matter! They’re building Bianca like they built Daniel Bryan! Let it play out & see where it goes! Yeah, well try telling that to Kofi Kingston fans. He got squashed back down the card by a real star in eight seconds and hasn’t been the same since. I’d like to think things will be different for Bianca, but has WWE given people reason to think it won’t be? Maybe if she gets a good acting role, or does something to distinguish herself outside the company.

As for why Sasha missed the show, all I’ve read from the various Internet soothsayers is that she wasn’t cleared to compete, and WWE knew she wouldn’t be able to at least a week before the show. A shame because she was to be involved in one of the most anticipated parts of the SummerSlam event, but something that couldn’t be helped. PWInsider reports that the match wasn’t an indication of Belair being taken down a notch, it was just “how WWE opted to react”. OK.

Nothing wrong with Becky (assuming she isn’t the writer), and her addition to SD is a good thing overall given the depth of their women’s division. Well, the depth of the women’s division that makes TV anyway. Remember when Toni Storm was coming in? What happened there? PWInsider reports that the plan is to turn Becky heel and have her go against Bianca…to which I say, good luck with that one. Nothing like having your new top heel squash your top face clean to start a feud…but it makes sense when you remember that WWE loves pushing people like they’re Barry Horowitz.

The difference between our two returns thus far? Punk’s return didn’t squash anybody that people care about yet. And if he does beat Darby Allin at All Out, it’ll take over thirty seconds. Hopefully. If it doesn’t, we’ll talk!

Then we had Brock Lesnar’s return. He came down after the main event to establish himself as Roman Reigns’ next challenger, almost certainly for the next Sweet Saudi Blood Money event. Which apparently that’s a thing again since the pandemic is over. Pretty cool, no issue with that except, well…

That hair. Yowie wowie, as the kids say.

Listen, I won’t lie to you and say I’ve had much use for Brock Lesnar since his match with Daniel Bryan. I do respect the hold he has over Vince McMahon, and the ability he has to make Vince give him millions of dollars for very limited work. That’s the American Dream right there. So whenever Brock comes back, I will applaud his business savvy.

Oh, and after SummerSlam went off the air, Brock beat up John Cena to pop the crowd. Cena has commented on how the company needs to build younger stars, and the fact he & others keep coming back to pop the business isn’t a great long-term statement for the company. So it’s nice that Cena did his part to help the next generation of WWE talent here. That young kid Brock needs the rub.

Not really related to the whole “returns” topic, but how long do you think Roman Reigns spends rehearsing his monologues during matches? More or less time than is spent planning out the matches? Its an interesting question.

NXT Changes Update

Nick Khan did an interview with Ariel Helwani where he confirmed a lot of what people were saying the new direction of NXT was going to be. There will be a whole new look & feel, with different logos & color schemes & things of that nature. We also know that new wrestlers are being brought in. WWE signed over a dozen people after their try outs in Las Vegas last week. They’re looking for wrestlers they can mold into their system, and wrestlers that can be top stars for their brands.

As I said before, not all of this is bad. The idea of looking places other than the indy wrestling circuit for WWE Superstars is a good one. And let’s be honest: there are now plenty of viable options for your favorite independent wrestler. It’s not WWE or Bust anymore, if you aren’t what Vince McMahon wants in a wrestler, you can still make some good money.

The main downside of all this is simple, and it makes one wonder about NXT’s future as a two hour program on the USA Network. The TV show won’t be as good. TakeOver won’t be what it used to be. If what Nick Khan & people that aren’t Triple H or the Internet want NXT to be comes to pass, there will be a steep downgrade in the in-ring product. As it is, NXT isn’t drawing in most of Raw & SmackDown’s audience. What happens if the more dedicated fans tune the show out?

I will say it was at least nice to see & hear Nick Khan. It’s good to know what these people look & sound like. That way maybe we can figure out what appeal they have with Vince that he keeps them around. (Still don’t know what it is with Kevin Dunn, though.)

Dave Meltzer updated us on why NXT is holding tapings this week. They’re upgrading the Performance Center, likely involving all those logo & production changes. So we’ll be getting live NXT episodes again in about a month or so, though as I said last week, I’m not sure it matters that much. In fact, if you’re going to have greener wrestlers on the show, you might want to tape the thing. Unless you want to give me material for the Botched! column, which I would appreciate.

NXT TakeOver Thoughts

I had been waiting for NXT TakeOver odds to come out to do a Gambling Picks column on it. Looked like an interesting card, and I figured with NXT’s final show before the event being on Tuesday, the odds might have been released earlier than they ended up being. By the time they finally dropped, I had moved on to a project for an upcoming 411 column, I was also super busy at work & the show didn’t feel worth carving out time to write about.

Not an original take since I saw it all over Twitter, but it’s like writing about WCW in early 2001. Some good stuff going on, but zero reason to get invested. Times are changing, and shows like the one put on Sunday night are going to be a thing of the past pretty soon. Not entirely, as it’s not like WWE is going to release every single person on the card. At least, I don’t think they will.

They’re still putting on TakeOver cards, and for some reason this one was on a Sunday night. Probably because they wanted me to write about it in this column, right? OK, probably not. Let’s break it down anyway.

Cameron Grimes beat LA Knight to win the Million Dollar Championship: So where does this championship rate on the NXT totem pole? Below the North American Championship? Above? It got a defense on TakeOver, the NA title didn’t. Right now the NA title feud involves people feuding over teeth like they’re Danhausen or something. It’s kinda weird. Here, we have a perfectly logical feud with people serving as butlers. Though if Grimes had lost here, I bet Ted DiBiase would have hired Virgil to help him out with Knight’s chores.

Raquel Gonzalez defeated Dakota Kai to retain the NXT Women’s Championship: This wasn’t bad, but the highlight for me was Kay Lee Ray appearing afterward. Haven’t seen much of her work, but the lady looks like she has potential. Gonzalez does as well, but this whole feud seemed rushed to me. Probably because they had to call people up to the main roster and do nothing with them.

Ilja Dragunov beat WALTER for the NXT United Kingdom Championship: I see everybody online hailing this as the match of the year and one of the best in WWE history. Maybe it’s just me being weird, but my main takeaway from this had nothing to do with match ratings or where it rates alongside other matches this year.

It’s a work, guys! Y’all don’t need to kill each other, even if the Internet will give you a ton of stars for it. The men brought a ton of effort, no doubt, but I can pretty much guarantee you it solidified WWE upper management’s opinions towards NXT & its future. They don’t want that kind of stuff on Raw or SmackDown.

Kyle O’Reilly defeated Adam Cole: The match wasn’t bad, the response suffered from following the previous match and the finish felt a bit flat. What we’ve been told is that this will be Cole’s final NXT match. Now, whether that means he’s going to the main roster or elsewhere…we don’t know yet. Stay tuned.

Samoa Joe won the NXT Championship from Karrion Kross: Some good news for those worried about NXT’s future, as at least Joe will be there working with all this new talent. It’s not like all of your favorite wrestlers will go away. Some will, but they’ll need people that can put on competent wrestling matches with people Vince actually sees something in. At one point that was Karrion Kross, we’ll see if Kross becomes that again now that he’s got that NXT title off of him. It won’t go down as one of your classic TakeOver main events, but it did what it needed to do.

So there’s your last TakeOver of the Super Indy Era. Good times, bad times, you know we had our share. Fun show, but tough to kinda shake the feeling that a goodbye gives you. That’s why I don’t say goodbye.

Hope you’ve enjoyed reading this column half as much as I enjoyed writing it, and at least a quarter as much as you’ve enjoyed the recent returns. Until next time, keep your stick on the ice.


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NOAH WEEKLY NEWSLETTER VOL.181 ~ 29TH JULY 2022

With only a few weeks before the N-1 Victory tournament kicks off, NOAH is setting the stage and the Juniors are forever causing trouble!

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Seiki Yoshioka joins the NOAH Junior Regulars

Following a singles match with Daisuke Harada at “STAR NAVIGATION 2022” (July 21st, Korakuen Hall), Seiki Yoshioka took Harada up on his offer to join the NOAH Junior Regulars. Yoshioka explained his decision as he had tried to get the GHC Junior Heavyweight belt by himself and had failed, so now he was going to try getting it working in tandem with people he had never teamed with before.

When it came to meet his new teammates, not everyone was initially happy with Daisuke Harada’s decision. Alejandro had no issue with it, Atsushi Kotoge put the past behind them and shook hands, but YO-HEY was a little more cautious, and naturally the same went for Seiki Yoshioka.

To set the scene for newer fans, Yoshioka and YO-HEY were in a unit called FULL THROTTLE together, which fell apart when Yoshioka kicked YO-HEY in the head and turned on the unit saying that expressions such as “Perron” (YO-HEY) and “Mui Bien” (Hajime Ohara) weren’t going to get him to the top of the NOAH Juniors and after kicking Hajime Ohara down, he joined with his old friends in STINGER. Since then, he and YO-HEY have been enemies. YO-HEY later said that Harada had made a decision, and basically he would abide by it and see how it went. The ice was broken a little at the NOAH Junior Twitter Space, and again the next day at their second one (NOAH seemed intent on replaying the first interview), but being in the ring and tagging together is the real show your true intentions as far as the NOAH Juniors go, and this is precisely what is going to happen on the 29th July when YO-HEY, Seiki Yoshioka and Daisuke Harada team together against STINGER. Yuya Susumu is not impressed by Yoshioka’s decision, asking if this is the path he chose on leaving them?

STINGER vs Perros Del Mal; A Tale of Two Tag Belts

Since Eita stole Yoshinari Ogawa’s tag belt, Ogawa has been on a long and fruitless quest to get it back. He almost succeeded at Korakuen Hall on the 22nd July, when he snatched the belt and went backstage during the match (leading to an unintentional but typical slightly funny moment of Yuya Susumu having to be the responsible one and sort things out), but PERROS chased him and grabbed the belt back. In the ring, Yoshinari Ogawa was taped to the ropes and forced to watch young Kai Fujimura forced to submit. HAYATA saved Ogawa from being beaten down by running into the ring and making PERROS scatter. Backstage, another fight broke out when Ogawa threw a plastic water bottle at PERROS and attempted to get the belt back. Eita declared it was his, and ran off with NOSAWA, as he clutched the belt to him. In fury, Ogawa threw a steel barrier. Fortunately, the other tag belt is safely in Chris Ridgeway’s possession. Eita warned him not to come back too quickly, he’s having too much fun beating up Ogawa.

“Not Misawa or Mutoh”

Kaito Kiyomiya says that despite the “Three Sacred Treasures” (as the Japanese sports press have named Keiji Mutoh’s gifts of The Shining Wizard. The Figure Four and The Dragon Screw), Kiyomiya at the moment has no intention of using them. He is grateful to Mutoh, but during the N-1 he wants to win as himself and find a move that is uniquely his. Kiyomiya believes that this final task from Keiji Mutoh, is Mutoh’s final gift to him.

Shuji Kondo’s mind games

Shuji Kondo declared that he would defeat HAYATA by using mind games. However, after their last pre match at Korakuen Hall on the 22nd July where Kondo had basically side stepped HAYATA, no sold him and then was not where HAYATA had anticipated he would be, HAYATA played his own mind games by offering Kondo a handshake and then attacking him, dodging Kondo he slid out of the ring and growled on the mic, “To be continued, August 8th, Korakuen Hall”.

N-1 VICTORY battlelines drawn up

The heavyweights are gearing up for the N-1 VICTORY, which means they go slightly wild like their junior counterparts.

Katsuhiko Nakajima says this will be his summer, and has already sparked with Kaito Kiyomiya, defeating him and throwing him from the ring at the last Korakuen.

Kenoh says he is aiming for Kazuyuki Fujita to avenge his GHC National loss, and of course to rid NOAH of what he terms “the old men”. Kenoh has also renamed the N-1, the K-1 as he believes it will come down to Masakatsu Funaki (GHC National Champion), Katsuhiko Nakajima (the winner of the league the past two years) and himself (the GHC Heavyweight Champion). Kenoh says he will win.

Go Shiozaki is aiming for Satoshi Kojima

Satoshi Kojima is looking to create his own record and be the first person to win a Grand Slam in league matches in New Japan, NOAH and All Japan.

OPEN THE TRIANGLEGATE Update

Perros Del Mal De Japon retained the titles against HIGH END on July 21st, and have been challenged by M3K. This match will take place in Dragon Gate. However, NOSAWA Rongai has challenged YAMATO to a singles match which will take place in NOAH.

ELSEWHERE IN NOAH

– Mohammed Yone said in a recent interview that before matches, he pumps up his ‘fro by about 10cm

– Pec flexing seems to have become a competition in NOAH as Satoshi Kojima does it with Kenoh and Katsuhiko Nakajima doing it in matches, and Kaito Kiyomiya demonstrating it to the crowd at one of the recent fan events.

– Katsuhiko Nakajima was asked if he where to have a girlfriend among the NOAH roster, who would it be? He said it would be himself.

– NOAH will go back to selling full seating for venues in September

– Fans are wondering when HAYATA is going to start talking like Kenoh!

– NOSAWA asked Masaaki Mochizuki (52), who was dressed in the baggy pants, t-shirts, shades and varsity jackets and floppy blonde hair reminiscent of 90s college boys, if he was a little old to be dressing that way? He added that Ryoto (Mochizuki’s son) didn’t really want to be dressing that way either.

– KENTA wrote in his biography a funny/embarrassing incident that took place in Hakodate when he and Kenta Kobashi were eating with some locals. Kobashi asked KENTA who was his favorite in a local band called “Judy and Mary”, did he like “Judy” or did he like “Mary”. While the locals suppressed their giggles as the band is a four piece and not a duo like Kobashi thought, KENTA (who himself was turning red at Kobashi trying to be hip) saved him further embarrassment and said “Judy”. It is probably better that Kobashi did not ask Jun Akiyama…

Another KENTA story was when he was injured during training for his debut due to an elbow to face by Makoto Hashi. Concerned, Mitsuharu Misawa came over and tilted KENTA’S head up to look. KENTA said he forgot the pain in his nose, as he was more worried about Misawa kissing him.

EVENT RECAPS AND POST MATCH INTERVIEWS

  • STAR NAVIGATION 2022 (Thursday July 21st, Korakuen Hall)

Event recap

Post match interviews

  • STAR NAVIGATION 2022 (Friday July 22nd, Korakuen Hall)

Event recap

Post match interviews

CURRENT CHAMPIONS

THIS WEEK IN NOAH

(August 2022 schedule)

  • SUNNY VOYAGE 2022

Saturday, July 30th

Venue: Act City Hamamatsu, Shizuoka

Start: 18:00 JST

Broadcast: WrestleUniverse (broadcast on Tuesday 2nd August from 18:00 JST)

  • MIDSUMMER CLASH 2022

Sunday, July 31st

Venue: Ishikawa Industrial Exhibition Hall No. 3, Ishikawa

Start: 16:00

Broadcast: WrestleUniverse (broadcast on Wednesday 3rd August from 18:00 JST)

  • DEPARTURE 2022

Friday, August 5th

Start time: 18:30 JST

Venue: Korakuen Hall

Broadcast: WrestleUniverse (Live)

DEPARTURE celebrates NOAH’s birthday, which means that this year, NOAH will turn twenty two. Each year NOAH reaches this point is a miracle given the turbulent history of the promotion. Mitsuharu Misawa gave NOAH’s first ever show this name as a way of sticking up two fingers to All Japan as he had walked out with three of The Four Pillars, half of the roster, and most of their young talent, referees, office staff and eventually NOAH would even take All Japan’s TV spot.

LINKS

A man named Kaito Kiyomiya

“Why did you start using “Kinniku Buster” in Pro Wrestling?” Mohammed Yone, “I wanted a special move to say “This is who I am”

Satoshi Kojima swears an early comeback for the N-1, will he exceed Mutoh in The Grand Slam & Three Promotions League Championship? 

Kenoh plans a N-1 Veteran “Spring Clean”, the number one target is Kazuyuki Fujita, the symbol of the old men

Neither Misawa or a copy of Mutoh! Kaito Kiyomiya talks about his N-1 Resolution

Fan Meeting 2022 – Saturday 23rd July

Fan Meeting 2022 – Sunday 24th July

Kaito Kiyomiya, who has inherited Keiji Mutoh’s special moves, will display a “New Kiyomiya at N-1”

From Cirque Du Soleil..the hidden “Real Face” of super unique wrestler Ninja Mack

AKITOSHI SAITO’S N-1 EVALUATION

El Hijo Del Dr Wagner Junior

Masakatsu Funaki

BOOK CORNER

“DONMAI, DONMAI” – Mitsuharu Misawa’s diary

27th January 2006 added

With thanks to: Metal NOAH

GIF taken from WrestleUniverse


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NOAH WEEKLY NEWSLETTER VOL.180~ 19TH JULY 2022

NOAH had a busy week-ish! News champions! Vacated belts! Gifts being passed along. It’s a fresh voyage for NOAH!

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Kenoh becomes the 40th GHC Heavyweight Champion, second reign to usher in a NOAH for the younger wrestlers. 

Following a feud which involved arguments over squats, Lion push ups, push ups and then Kenoh doing karaoke (which he said he wouldn’t when Kojima mentioned it), Kenoh won the GHC Heavyweight Championship in 28 minutes and 17 seconds following the Moonsault Double Knee Attack. Kojima took so many PFS during the match, that the next day when taking a bath he wondered if he had broken ribs.

Kenoh’s first title reign was about taking NOAH back to The Budokan, his second title reign is about changing the dynamics in NOAH. Kenoh had stated throughout the build to the title match that he was going to create a new NOAH, and one where reliance was not put on the veterans, but rather the young people in NOAH (even Kaito Kiyomiya) who would finally get their say.

HAYATA defends, dangerous new challenger emerges

Despite matches ending in a kick to the head by Seiki Yoshioka (even in matches that Yoshioka wasn’t in), HAYATA defended the GHC Junior Heavyweight. Yoshioka had said an interview that he would end the match by “Critical Strike”, but ironically it was HAYATA who ended the match that way with The Headache. No reconciliation with STINGER in sight, Yoshioka slunk off backstage, vowing to get stronger and climb up again. HAYATA’S next challenger came to the ring when HAYATA was still lying on the mat.

It was Shuji Kondo, who fans said was HAYATA’S “most dangerous challenger so far”. Kondo is far more heavily built than any of HAYATA’S other challengers, and stronger too. They are not total strangers, having met before at Naomichi Marufuji’s “Flight”. Kondo did not mince his words, asking HAYATA if he knew the significance of his coming to stand in the ring, but then again, HAYATA didn’t speak, did he? He reminded HAYATA of the fact that he was once a GHC Junior Heavyweight Champion (September 2012) and he wanted that belt back.

HAYATA snatched the mic from Kondo and swore he would defeat him and raise the value of the belt. Backstage, Kondo said he was surprised that HAYATA could and did speak, while HAYATA (not looking into the camera but from side to side) said that he was happy that others had come from other promotions for the belt, but it would be himself who would defend and raise the value. Title match has been set for 5th August at Korakuen Hall.

GHC Heavyweight Tag Titles vacated and won by The Sugiura Army’s Hideki Suzuki and “eccentric partner” Timothy Thatcher

Due to what NOAH called “various circumstances” surrounding Michael Elgin, NOAH announced that the GHC Heavyweight Tag Titles would be vacated, and Yoshiki Inamura would join Masa Kitamiya to fight for them. THE TOUGH were back together, but it was to be an unhappy reunion as Yoshiki Inamura was choked out by Hideki Suzuki leading to a match stop and the titles going to The Sugiura Army. Masa Kitamiya was furious and left screaming in rage, backstage he walked off angrily telling Inamura to “Get the hell out of my way!”. They will be teaming together again (albeit with the presence of Shuhei Taniguchi) on the 22nd July. It’s going to be interesting to see how it goes.

In the winners interview afterwards, Hideki Suzuki said he was not looking to the future, he was looking like he had always done, at the present. But regarding the future, the GHC Heavyweight and the GHC National beckoned.

STINGER & PERROS, Eita tells Chris Ridgeway to stay away for longer

Perros Del Mal De Japon got their revenge on Yoshinari Ogawa, for Ogawa abusing the “gift” that NOSAWA Rongai had tried to barter the GHC Junior Heavyweight tags in Shizuoka with, and throwing the white powder in the bag in Kotaro’s face. STINGER (and Kaito Kiyomiya) teamed up to beat on Kotaro, with Ogawa throwing so much powder that Kotaro was caked in it and looked like an elderly Geisha. Perros Del Mal De Japon got their revenge at The Nippon Budokan by keeping Yuya Susumu out of the ring, and torturing Yoshinari Ogawa. Backstage, Eita told Chris Ridgeway (whose surname he claimed not to remember until Kotaro reminded him) to stay in England for a while and not to rush back. It gave them more time to beat up Ogawa. Nothing has been announced regarding Ridgeway’s return as of yet.

“Three Treasures” from Keiji Mutoh

After weeks of preparation (which included reading every book he could, playing computer games with Keiji Mutoh in them, and practicing his moves) Kaito Kiyomiya faced Keiji Mutoh at The Nippon Budokan on the 16th July. This was to be their final singles match, and Kiyomiya knew this was his last chance. Mutoh had said he didn’t want Kiyomiya to put the old man out of his misery, but neither did he want him to be haunted by his ghost, and during the match both gave it their all, Mutoh even pulling out a clunky top rope Hurracanrunna. Kiyomiya worked throughout the match on Mutoh’s knees, and eventually did the unthinkable, he scored his one and only win by submission.

Backstage, Mutoh reflected that since Kiyomiya had defeated him, he was going to give him three gifts (ABEMA called these the “Three Treasures”) which were The Shining Wizard, The Dragon Screw and the The Figure Four. He wanted Kiyomiya to inherit them and take them forward and make them his own. Kiyomiya said that he had learned a lot from Mutoh, far more than he realized, and was seen after The Budokan was over practicing the moves that were now his for the N-1 VICTORY.

Masashi Aoyagi passes away

Masashi Aoyagi, who had been a big part of NOAH for the first fifteen years, passed away in early July. NOAH were affected by the loss, with Kotaro Suzuki and Akitoshi Saito remembering him in particular. Kotaro remembered him as a kind man when he was a trainee, who always had a smile, while Akitoshi Saito, who was Aoyagi’s student, remembered him as a strict but fair teacher. NOAH held the traditional ten bell salute on July 10th in Fujisan Messe, and Akitoshi Saito wore Aoyagi’s obi belt to the ring.

N-1 Victory 2022 announcement

The following were announced for the N-1 VICTORY 2022

A BLOCK

  • Kenoh
  • Kazuyuki Fujita
  • Go Shiozaki
  • Masato Tanaka
  • Masaaki Mochizuki
  • Hideki Suzuki
  • El Hijo Del Dr Wagner Jnr
  • Anthony Greene

 

B BLOCK

  • Masakatsu Funaki
  • Kaito Kiyomiya
  • Katsuhiko Nakajima
  • Takashi Sugiura
  • Masa Kitamiya
  • Satoshi Kojima
  • Timothy Thatcher
  • Jack Morris

Kenoh as the reigning champion will be taking part this year. It has not been common in past years for champions to take part, as neither Kaito Kiyomiya or Naomichi Marufuji did. Kenoh says his biggest rival is Kazuyuki Fujita, who he has never forgiven for taking the GHC National from him.

Jack Morris, a Scottish wrestler, who competes for ICW, will be making his NOAH and N-1 VICTORY 2022 debut.

Yoshiki Inamura’s Fire Festival 2022

Yoshiki Inamura has made up for last years disappointment caused by a leg injury by blazing his way through the Fire Festival. He drew with Masato Tanaka and defeating Hide Kubota, Takafumi and Nagao Sasaki, which puts him at the top of the block. Now only Fuminori Abe remains on Wednesday 27th July. One fan said that Inamura was emotional at the NOAH fans calling his name.

ECW Reunion, NOSAWA wants Sabu

NOAH at the Nippon Budokan was an unlikely place for Masato Tanaka, Rob Van Dam and Super Crazy to reunite in a hardcore match, but that is exactly what happened. NOSAWA Rongai was part of the match, although he was the only one who had never been in ECW (although he probably would have liked to have been). The match, which was as RVD had commented structured like ECW wrestlers knew how, was won by RVD on NOSAWA. After the match NOSAWA (who had come to the ring clutching a Sabu autographed chair) planned to bring in Sabu for another ECW reunion hardcore match. RVD warned him to be careful what he wished for.

YouTube Wars

Kaito Kiyomiya announced on the 18th July, that he was starting his own YouTube channel. He acknowledged that he was not as skilled talker as Kenoh was, but he was planning to do things that he could do with his body. Kenoh naturally started grumbling that Kiyomiya was only starting a YouTube channel as Kiyomiya was jealous of his, (but could he sing what he did on karaoke?), while Naomichi Marufuji wondered if he should start his own. Even Katsuhiko Nakajima got in on the trend by saying that YouTube certainly was popular among NOAH wrestlers.

Naomichi Marufuji’s return

Naomichi Marufuji will return to NOAH on the 5th August, which is NOAH’s birthday. He will return at “Departure 2022” and team with Go Shiozaki and Takashi Sugiura against Satoshi Kojima, Masato Tanaka and Daiki Inaba.

ELSEWHERE IN NOAH

– Haoh still has not made an appearance. I am wondering if he will come back on the technicality that Tadasuke expelled Haoh, he is Yuki Sato.

– Daisuke Harada used sign language to talk to a child with hearing impairment at the NOAH autograph session by signing “Thank you” to them.

– In typical Sugiura Army chaos, they came out and stood in the wrong corner when seconding Hideki Suzuki, which meant they were supporting THE TOUGH. Hideki Suzuki asked them if they were enemies now.

– Naomichi Marufuji was offered a pen where if you tip it, the clothes on the woman fade away. He decided he did not need it.

– Tadasuke debuted a new costume at The Nippon Budokan, revealing his long pants could be torn off like stripper pants. It’s apt he did it when he was in the ring with YO-HEY, which is probably his revenge for having to sit and wait for The GinGin Boys to finish their entry.

– New Japan’s Kazuchika Okada used Mitsuharu Misawa’s Emerald Flowsion against Jeff Cobb in their G1 match.

– Chris Ridgeway and HAYATA will have a singles match at WrestleCarnival in Nottingham, United Kingdom, on August 7th. Chris Ridgeway is the current Pure Champion, and Yoshinari Ogawa has always wanted a title match with Chris in the UK. HAYATA will later face Dean Allmark when he appears later in the week for PROGRESS wrestling in the north of England.

– Dante Leon made his NOAH debut at the NOAH Budokan. An exciting wrestler who combines both mat and aerial wrestling, fans cannot wait to see him against the NOAH Juniors.

– Kaito Kiyomiya came to the press conference dressed so formally to announce his YouTube channel, that fans thought that he was going to announce his marriage.

EVENT RECAPS AND POST MATCH INTERVIEWS

SUNNY VOYAGE 2022

YAMAGATA BIG WING, YAMAGATA – SUNDAY, JULY 3RD

Event recap 

Post match interviews

FUJISAN MESSE, SHIZUOKA – SUNDAY, JULY 10TH

Event recap

Post match interviews

ABEMA PRESENTS DESTIONATION 2022 – NIPPON BUDOKAN, TOKYO

Event recap

Post match interviews

CURRENT CHAMPIONS

THIS WEEK IN NOAH

(July 2022 schedule)

STAR NAVIGATION 2022

  • Thursday, July 21st

Venue: Korakuen Hall, Tokyo

Time: 18:30 JST

Broadcast: ABEMA

– The event will be put on WrestleUniverse after it finishes.

  • Friday, July 22nd

Venue: 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.

OTHER EVENTS

  • July 9th: Road to Nippon Budokan special autograph session
  • July 23rd & July 24th: Fan Meeting 2022 
  • Sunday, July 24th: Hajime Ohara (38)
  • Sunday, July 24th: Go Shiozaki debut anniversary (18)

LINKS

“One And The Same” Kaito Kiyomiya releases a devilish flash elbow to defeat Mutoh

Professional wrestler Kaito Kiyomiya talks about his thoughts on the battle with Keiji Mutoh, who will retire next spring

Fan Event Recap: Road to Nippon Budokan special autograph session

Yoshiki Inamura’s Injury Story (Part 1) 

Yoshiki Inamura’s Injury Story (Part 2)

“The future cannot really been seen, unless we create a new shine by ourselves”. Kojima, the impact of “Waiting”, the past…interview with Kenoh ahead of The Nippon Budokan

“NOAH’s Great Talent” Yoshiki Inamura to shoot to the top by taking the title at the ZERO-1 Fire Festival

GHC Junior Challenge – Interview with Seiki Yoshioka, keyword is “Critical Strike”, the ultimate finish for The Budokan semi

Reasons for Kaito Kiyomiya’s “Perfect Imitation” facing Keiji Mutoh on Retirement Road

Budokan GHC Junior Championship Match signing: Yoshioka openly announces KO, HAYATA “Can See How To Win”

NOAH’s Budokan GHC Pre Match Press Conference: Kenoh’s “Green Tie” declaration of recapture of treasure, “NOAH Now Is Me”, Kojima’s rivalry with the G1 opening round

The sudden change to the tag champion decisive match, Suzuki burns “Only the results matter”, explosive stand off with THE TOUGH

Ninja Mack, who has come to Japan for the first time in two months, is looking to challenge for a title. Press conference with Dante Leon for the first time

RVD “Show True Hardcore Fight”, Tanaka “Budokan like ECW Arena”, magnificent former ECW duo meet

“Toward a NOAH for young wrestlers to speak” Kenoh declares his statement of belief, N-1 VICTORY and Fujita humiliation

Kiyomiya announces opening of a YouTube channel, the press conference itself becomes a “Hidden Camera”

 

BOOK CORNER/OLD ARTICLE TRANSLATIONS

Donmai-Donmai (Mitsuharu Misawa’s diary)

 

GIF taken from WrestleUniverse, NOAH Official YouTube & Pro Wrestling NOAH Official Twitter


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