Hi, hello & welcome to News From Cook’s Corner! I’m Steve Cook, and I can’t believe we’re approaching the end of 2021. It just seems like yesterday we were talking about how 2020 was the worst year ever and were excited to see it coming to an end. I haven’t seen that sentiment as much about 2021, but I think that’s because time moves so quickly that we don’t have the opportunity to take these things into account.
Has 2021 been good or bad? I have no idea! It’s been a year, as far as I can tell.
As for this past week in the world of wrestling…it was a week! Just glancing over the week’s news gives me the feeling that nothing happens when people aren’t getting released. Uncle Dave spent most of his time talking about who should make his hall of fame. Heck, the main thing to rock Wrestling Twitter last week was a casting decision for the NXT WarGames pre-show panel. I had no idea people still watched those things, especially on an NFL Sunday where there were a number of exciting finishes. I did catch the last bit of it though, and from what I saw I don’t think we have to worry about the future of wrestling journalism being corrupted.
I’m trying to work up some kind of take on the whole thing, because I know people love it when I go off on other Internet wrestling journalists/personalities for perceived grievances or for being hypocritical sycophants. Unfortunately, I don’t really know any of these people, and as far as I know they haven’t said any shit about me or my friends. So I’ve got nothing, other than my opinion that Denise Salcedo is more visually appealing than David Bixenspan. I know! It’s a hot take, but I went there!
Let’s look at what happened at NXT WarGames, a show I was interested in more than Broncos vs. Chiefs. Looks like I was right on that one.
Raquel Gonzalez, Io Shirai, Cora Jade & Kay Lee Ray beat Toxic Attraction & Dakota Kai in the Women’s War Games Match
First of all, credit to all the women involved, because they put it all out there and did the best they could. The only issue was a little bit of booking getting in the way. There’s a reason why War Games is almost always worked with the heels having the advantage. Unless Toxic Attraction & Dakota Kai aren’t heels, which I thought they were, but the match layout had the effect of having them get sympathy for most of it. Also some awkward moments where the heels got the advantage even whilst outnumbered. However, there was more than enough to make up for the weird psychology. Lots of weapons, Cora Jade losing her mind and doing a swanton off the top of a cage through a table, good times.
And I’ll probably get some crap for it, but I still don’t like the whole “pinfalls in WarGames” thing. I know it’s been a thing here in NXT, but give me “Submit or Surrender” any day of the week. In any event, it was nice to see the young girls do a good job here and shove it in the face of those that didn’t think they could pull off a WarGames match. Give the kids a chance, I say.
Imperium defended the NXT Tag Team Championship against Kyle O’Reilly & Von Wagner
Fabian Aichner likes to jump around, doesn’t he? I thought this was a pretty solid match, which did one thing much better than most of the NXT Tag Team Championship matches I’ve seen over the years. Imperium eventually hit their finisher after everybody did a bunch of stuff. One finisher ended it. Didn’t need to do five Imperial Bombs to get it done on one of these shows. I can dig that.
Then in a shocking surprise, KOR actually got the better of Von in the attempted post-match beatdown. We expected Wagner to drum the poor boy out, but that’ll have to wait for another day. O’Reilly also threw up some Undisputed Era sign language, just the thing to get people talking.
Cameron Grimes beat Duke Hudson in a hair vs. hair match
NXT’s crowds certainly have their rough moments, but I do appreciate their knowledge of mid-90s WWF Superstars leading to a “Duke the Dumpster” chant. The more I noticed the tell-tale signs of male pattern baldness on Hudson, I had a feeling where this was going. He got the ol’ weedwhacker haircut too, which is much worse than the clean shave. Match was ok, just killing time until the haircut.
Roderick Strong retained the Cruiserweight Championship against Joe Gacy
Roderick did the best he could with this one. Frankly, I would have been ok with Gacy becoming an All Inclusive champion, but that would have been a division-killing move more than anything else. 205 Live does seem to still be a thing for some reason, so that doesn’t seem imminent. I’m sure Gacy will find something to do, as we liberal scum always have some hopeless cause to fight for.
Kyle challenged Von to a cage match on Tuesday, because cage matches are the thing in WWE these days. Big E vs. Kevin Owens on Monday, this on Tuesday, all kinds of house show ones apparently. Not sure what the deal is there.
Team 2.0 defeated Team Black & Gold in the Men’s War Games Match
The young boys pretty much had to win this one in order to be taken seriously, and that’s exactly what they did. Proper WarGames psychology with the heels continually getting the advantage. You got Gargano & Ciampa doing their old tag team spots one last time. LA Knight showed more fire than usual. The youngsters were fine, but Bron Breakker easily stood out amongst the pack. We thought that Bron might get the win over Gargano, but Bron getting the win over Ciampa was the smarter move, to further set up the eventual title change. Lots of crazy spots, weapons randomly brought into the ring. I’d say it stood up well against previous iterations of the WarGames match.
I know that my general opinions on NXT fly in the face of most folks’ on the Internet. They’re upset that the super indy is no more. At some point, however, one must move on. Or at least try to give the new thing a chance. I will say that the wrestlers on this particular show put on a good effort, and I was especially impressed with the folks that people told me weren’t ready for a WarGames match.
The one downside of NXT 2.0 that I can’t deny? You’ll get some dumb shit like this:
— X (@KnowTheX) December 6, 2021
Fortunately I was in the bathroom when this happened live. So my best advice to you would be to drink a lot of water so you’ll be in the restroom during commercials.
Who Was Where?
With all these companies releasing people lately, it’s only natural to expect names to show up different places than you might expect. When possible, I’ll try to update you on these matters so you know who to expect in what places.
AEW: Matt Taven & Jonathan Gresham were backstage at the AEW tapings in Duluth, GA this week. Both men are under ROH contract until the end of the year and currently have other things going on, but it wouldn’t be shocking if Tony Khan was interested in bringing either in based off of their working ability. Gresham is from the Atlanta area, while Taven was in town for the NWA’s Hard Times 2 event, which featured some other interesting names in a different place than usual.
NWA: The aforementioned Hard Times 2 saw a couple of interesting debuts for the company. Dirty Dango, formerly known as Fandango, appeared after the tag team championship match, forming a team with none other than JTG. Seems like an awfully random teaming, but I’m sure they worked together at some point during their tenure with WWE. It seemed like they were both there forever.
Matt Cardona also made his debut with the company, he’ll be targeting the NWA World Championship. I said the other night that Impact Wrestling should put their title on Cardona to try & make themselves more relevant, and the same definitely holds true for the NWA. Cardona easily has more buzz than anybody else working NWA shows right now. Heck, his positive buzz might cancel out some of the negative buzz surrounding other people on that roster.
AAA: A couple of familiar names returned to AAA at their TripleMania Regia event, neither coming as much of a surprise. Taya Valkyrie sent in a video declaring her intention to challenge Deonna Purrazzo, current holder of the Reina de Reinas Championship. Makes sense, as Deonna was the last woman to wrestle Taya before her ill-fated stint with WWE NXT. Taya has spent most of her career working for AAA and didn’t leave on bad terms, so her return was always just a matter of time.
A name less familiar to most of you but one I remember from back in the day also returned, as Cibernetico made his first appearance with AAA since 2015. He was one of the company’s top stars during the 1990s & 2000s, and has had several stints with the company. He usually seems to leave due to some sort of an issue with Konnan, and has returned to re-establish his issue with Konnan. Lots of people have issues with Konnan, what can I say? If you’re old like me, you might remember Cibernetico’s brief stint with the WWF as part of an AAA invasion deal that helped fill out the card for the 1997 Royal Rumble in San Antonio.
Jeff Hardy Sent Home
PWInsider reported that Jeff Hardy was sent home by WWE after Saturday’s live event in Edinburg, TX. He was working a six-man tag team match with Drew McIntyre & Xavier Woods against The Bloodline. Apparently Hardy spent most of the match selling in a more sluggish way than usual, and after tagging out he went into the crowd, not returning for the post-match celebration.
Naturally, given Jeff’s history people are going to be alarmed whenever reports like this come out. Hopefully things will end up all right.
AEW Had A Release
I almost forgot, we had another AEW release made public this week. Big Swole’s contract expired at the end of November, and she asked not to renew it. Swole hadn’t wrestled for AEW since a Dark taping on September 11, and hadn’t been on TNT since October 14, 2020. Her highest-profile feud was with Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D, and Swole even defeated Dr. Baker in the infamous Tooth & Nail match.
Swole is married to Cedric Alexander, who’s still under WWE contract. That used to be a pretty good way to get hired over there, but not so much these days.
Welp, that’s all we have time for this week! Thanks for reading, and until next time, keep your stick on the ice.
News From Cook’s Corner 1.17.22: Gory Self-Mutilation
AEW tried to catch lightning in a bottle for the second time. Did it work? What other news struck last week?
Hi, hello & welcome to News From Cook’s Corner! We’ve got a short column for you this week, which most of you were probably expecting when the Cincinnati Bengals actually on a playoff game. Nah, I didn’t party too much, just had an allergic reaction with my eye again. We’ve done this before. This time I’m pretty sure it had something to do with cleaning my bookshelf and rearranging my books. Hadn’t done that in awhile, so there was a ton of duct. Sitting down and looking at a computer screen sucks, so we have to limit it as much as possible.
There’s still a couple things that warrant discussion though, so let’s get to it.
WWE On The Offensive
Looks like this week’s top stories are about WWE trying to do things to undermine wrestling promotions. We start with Major League Wrestling, who has filed a federal anti-trust lawsuit against WWE claiming that WWE has interfered with their ability to make various media rights deals.
Some of the highlights:
-Former WWE executive Susan Levison allegedly warned an executive from VICE that Vince McMahon was “pissed” they were airing MLW programming. MLW claims that WWE had leverage over VICE due to the Dark Side of the Ring series often being focused on WWE subject matter.
-MLW alleges that when WWE found out about their agreement with Tubi, WWE threatened to stop doing business with Fox. The fallout from the Tubi agreement falling through led to a drop in ticket sales & event cancellations & delays.
-As an example of WWE’s anticompetitive behavior, MLW cited AEW being held out of two arenas in the Cincinnati market due to pressure from WWE. Jon Moxley wrote in his book that the Heritage Bank Center on Cincy’s riverfront refused to book AEW due to WWE influence. I don’t know the other, could be the BB&T Arena across the river on the campus of Northern Kentucky University where WWE has held house shows. AEW wound up running the Fifth Third Arena on the campus of the University of Cincinnati, and outdrew the Raw taping held at the HBC just prior.
-Apparently starting in early 2020, WWE started trying to poach MLW wrestlers that were under contract, and aired footage of an MLW wrestler without MLW’s consent. (Somebody would have to fill me in on this one, I haven’t the slightest idea who this would be.) MLW also claims that WWE sought to prevent wrestlers from working with MLW by refusing to hire wrestlers that had worked there, and that one MLW wrestler demanded to be released early from his contract so he could join WWE.
Do I think that at least some of these allegations are true? Having followed pro wrestling for over thirty years and having read up on the history of WWE…you betcha!
I don’t think there’s a question that WWE has resorted to any means necessary to drive potential competitors out of their market. They’ve been doing this since taking most of the territories’ top stars back in the mid-1980s. It’s been a monopoly for nearly two decades for a reason. The main question I have: Will a judge actually care, or will they throw it out of court because it’s silly pro wrestling?
How do you think WWE slips under the radar on things that other media companies & sports leagues actually have to deal with? People have been trained to not take WWE seriously. As much as people like us obsess over the rasslin’ business, people that don’t “get it” are happy to ignore it. Vince McMahon can do any darn thing he wants, and the reaction from folks outside the wrestling bubble will be non-existent. It’s wrestling! To outsiders, the whole damn thing is an outlaw mudshow.
AEW = Gory Self-Mutilation
The Toronto Sun did an article on All Elite Wrestling over the weekend, talking about their status as a competitor to WWE. They asked WWE for comment & got one:
“If you look at the gory self-mutilation that bloodied several women in the December 31 event on TNT, it quickly becomes clear that these are very different businesses. We had an edgier product in the `Attitude’ era and in a 2022 world, we don’t believe that type of dangerous and brutal display is appealing to network partners, sponsors, venues, children, or the general public as a whole.”
A few notes here:
1. I’ve been doing this stuff longer than I care to admit, and I never thought of asking WWE for comment on something. Should I start asking people for comments on topics I’m writing about? I doubt I’d get any answers, but it might be worth a shot.
2. This has been WWE’s strategy when asked about AEW for some time now. We remember Vince McMahon using the phrase “Blood & Guts” to describe the promotion on a conference call. They know that people get squeamish about blood, especially when it comes to blood coming from women. The Fabulous Moolah never busted anybody open on television, and she trained most of the women for years. People aren’t used to seeing it, and they often get uncomfortable with things they aren’t used to seeing.
3. Most people find other people bleeding pretty gross. There’s a reason why deathmatch wrestling is a niche produxct. People that love it really, really love it, but it’s a very small percentage of the marketplace.
4. WWE’s belief is that advertisers & media companies aren’t big on blood, so they make sure to mention AEW’s apparent lust for the red stuff whenever the subject comes up. Their hope is that advertisers will shy away from advertising with AEW, and media companies won’t give AEW big money when their current deal with WarnerMedia is up.
5. Thus far, whenever Tony Khan is criticized on something, he doubles down on it. So there’s a pretty good chance that we’re going to see even more matches with female bleeding. AEW’s female workers seem happy to do it.
— The Bunny 🐇 (@AllieWrestling) January 15, 2022
6. WWE could be called out as being hypocritical on this front, but there aren’t many people that will hold them accountable.
It’ll be interesting to see how this goes. All I know for sure is that the smack talk between these two promotions and their fans is just beginning. Think it’s tocic now? Wait a couple of years.
Welp, that’s all for this week. Thanks for reading! Join me later in the week for some Divisional Round picks. Until then, keep your stick on the ice.
In Memoriam: Pete was a longtime reader from back in the day. From my dealings with him he was a kind person that knew how to use his head. When you’ve written things on the Internet as long as I have, you learn that’s a rare thing. From what I’ve read from people that knew him in real life, he was the same way off the computer. Sadly he passed away from cancer on Friday night. Pete was always about serving others, as he was a U.S. Air Force veteran & a regular blood donor. He will be missed.
NOAH WEEKLY NEWSLETTER VOL.156 ~ 12TH JANUARY 2022
Following the big clash with New Japan, NOAH had some shakes ups in their Junior Division! Hisame fills in all that blanks for anyone not caught up yet!
Masa Kitamiya vs Katsuhiko Nakajima
After a tag match on the 4th January, Masa Kitamiya challenged Katsuhiko Nakajima for the GHC Heavyweight. Kitamiya won the right to challenge after defeating Nakajima. He didn’t just defeat him, he destroyed him with the Saito Suplex. As Nakajima lay on the canvas semiconscious, Kitamiya loomed over him and spoke on the mic to challenge him for the belt. Title match has been set for Sunday the 16th at “BUMPER CROP 2022” in Sendai.
Neither Masa Kitamiya or Katsuhiko Nakajima have had much to say about the challenge. Nakajima has said more than Kitamiya however, calling this (sarcastic or not) a “nightmare” posting the picture of him laying on the mat and intimating later that he hadn’t forgotten having his hair shaved off by Kitamiya, and hinting at other times that this match bought up various emotions. Naomichi Marufuji has summed this up as being a match containing elements that only Nakajima and Kitamiya know about and can understand, which will make it more exciting for the rest of us.
Kongoh vs The M’s alliance
Kenoh might not have left The Budokan as double champion, but an alternative offered itself. In NOAH belts are usually challenged for if you beat the champion, there is a loophole if you are on the winning team…or else make your challenge statement first before anyone else gets there. Manabu Soya went for the third option after Katsuhiko Nakajima had been defeated by Masa Kitamiya. During the match Soya had been wound up by Naomichi Marufuji, and spying those belts, he took the chance to bring them to Kongoh by taking them from Marufuji and Mutoh. Mutoh who had once called him a “big useless tree”. Soya challenged for the belts on behalf of himself and Kenoh. Title match will take place on the 16th January in Sendai.
Masakatsu Funaki challenges Kenoh
On the 5th January, NOAH held one of their mystery cards and a traditional sudden title match in which Daisuke Harada, the second NOAH Junior to challenge for the belt, challenged Kenoh for the GHC National. Harada was unsuccessful, although he came very close, and Kenoh defeated him to retain after 10 minutes and 56 seconds. Harada would soon get his belt, and Kenoh would soon get a new challenger.
Funaki made his way silently to the ring and pointed to the belt. He didn’t speak on the mic. He didn’t need to. He simply motioned his intention, and then returned to the back. Title match will take place on the 22nd January in Funaki’s hometown of Osaka at the Edion 2nd Arena.
NOAH vs New Japan
The first shots in the rivalry were fired when after the show at Korakuen Hall on the 5th January, the entire NOAH roster walked the short distance from Korakuen to the Tokyo Dome to invade New Japan. Treating the ring as if they were tourists (Keiji Mutoh was more interested in his camera and took selfies, as did Naomichi Marufuji, The NOAH Junior Regulars and Perros Del Mal), or else with open disdain, such as Kenoh who claimed that NOAH was there to help New Japan and was soon confronted by Takagi Shingo with Hiromu Takahashi and BUSHI. At the end of the exchange and without any violence as Shingo wouldn’t get into the ring although Kenoh baited him, he and Kiyomiya shook hands. Kiyomiya later said that he had no idea that Kenoh was going to do this. They shook hands for solidarity in the fight against New Japan.
In the opening match Yasutaka Yano came to a draw with old friend and fellow Ehime boy, Kosei Fujita. Funky Express (without Masao Inoue) were defeated by The Third Generation, who Mohammed Yone had complained hadn’t been exactly complimentary about them. The dark matches over, Yoshiki Inamura and Tomohiro Ishii got into a massive brawl, and probably managed to knock out the ABEMA feed. Fans wanted to see more of this, and Ishii hinted that it wasn’t over between them. Daisuke Harada square up to Master Wato.
So far NOAH had not done well against New Japan. Atsushi Kotoge was pinned by SHO who hit him with a spanner, and it took HAYATA to score the first blow against the colossus by pinning Taiji Ishimori in a tag match. The focus was on HAYATA and Ishimori as it was Ishimori who had ended HAYATA’S first GHC Junior Heavyweight title reign and it was Ishimori’s reign that HAYATA wanted to overcome, but the focus ended on the spark flying interaction between Ishimori and Seiki Yoshioka. NOAH’s luck took another dip when NOSAWA and YO-HEY took on NOSAWA’S old friends, El Desperado and Douki. NOSAWA’S heart was not torn enough to throw El Desperado’s tag belt outside the ring, but again, it was not this rivalry that became the focus. The first time in the ring together, it was YO-HEY and El Desperado who found an interesting competitor in each other. YO-HEY also found something else interesting about El Desperado, but I’ll let you Google “GinGin Boys” for that.
KENTA sadly did not appear in the event as he had become injured the day before in a ladder match against Hiroshi Tanahashi. His usual cheeky humor surfaced when he sent Tanahashi a picture of a little ladder and said that next time they should use that, and saying that the one good thing about being injured was that he didn’t have to wear “that dumb t-shirt”. That would be The Sugiura Army t-shirt with himself forcibly put on it. The replacement was Toru Yano, the bugbear of the opposing team, who were led by Minoru Suzuki. Yano said that Sakuraba had put a blindfold on him and deposited him at the entrance to the arena. It sounded like a kidnapping. After tearing into Suzuki, Sugiura pinned TAKA Michioku with the Olympic Slam. Backstage Toru Yano was excited about “next time”, to be told by Takashi Sugiura that there would be no “next time”.
Go Shiozaki kept up the NOAH winning streak with a victory over EVIL in a tag match. Fans would like to see Shiozaki challenge for the NEVER Openweight Championship.
In a very poignant match, Yoshinari Ogawa and Naomichi Marufuji took on Yoshinobu Kanemaru and Zack Sabre Junior. For Ogawa, everyone in the match has been a pupil at one time or another, and Zack was his tag partner while in NOAH and they even held the GHC Junior Tag together. For Marufuji, it was nostalgic as Kanemaru was his senior and had walked out of All Japan with Mitsuharu Misawa alongside Marufuji all those years ago. Marufuji was targeted more in this match than Ogawa was (respect still remains for their teacher, who could probably have reversed their moves and done something even worse), but it was NOAH who picked up the win. Nothing more came of this match, Ogawa went back to feuding with Perros Del Mal, the NOAH Juniors or whoever else crosses his path, and Marufuji was more interested in drinking with Kanemaru than fighting him.
In the double main event, Kongoh took on Los Ingobernables de Japón. Kenoh, naturally was not impressed by their entrance. Katsuhiko Nakajima had said before the match that he wasn’t interested in Shingo. Shingo was old news, he had fought him and beaten him. His interest was in the person he had never beaten. Tetsuya Naito.
Naito and Nakajima had their interactions, but what fans took away from the match was a new feud, Kenoh vs Naito. Tadasuke was also given his time to shine, when he fought the heavyweights on their own level and Shingo in particular was taken aback by his heavyweight strength. But despite this, it was Tadasuke who took the fall. After the match Nakajima smirked at Shingo and held up his championship belt, the GHC Heavyweight. Shingo, who had lost his to Kazuchika Okada the night before, applauded him sarcastically and then waved him away.
In the main event Keiji Mutoh and Kaito Kiyomiya teamed together to take on Kazuchika Okada and Hiroshi Tanahashi. Kiyomiya had stated over a year ago that he “wanted to experience The Rainmaker” and he did. Much to his extreme disappointment, and even with the new techniques that he bought out, he could not overcome the seniors. The Rainmaker experience bought him to tears when Okada pinned him using his namesake move. Mutoh gently took Kiyomiya from the ring and gave him some sage advice backstage as Kiyomiya curled up on the floor into a bow in shame. He had lost for NOAH. Mutoh reminded him that Kiyomiya’s fight had just started. There would be more and it wasn’t over yet. He also gave him some advice that Antonio Inoki had given him. The phrase doesn’t translate well, but it basically means that sometimes to get something done, you have to go off the rails. Another person who proved helpful to Kiyomiya was Okada, who offered Kiyomiya to come and train in the New Japan dojo and when he felt ready he could go back to NOAH.
On the whole it hadn’t been an overly successful evening for NOAH in terms of results in the ring, but the results outside of it where. Now that New Japan and NOAH have a better working relationship, they can both look to a future that involves each other in a positive way. Feuds were born at the event, even for Yasutaka Yano, a rookie. Kiyomiya said he wasn’t going to be going to New Japan’s dojo, but Mutoh’s advice seemed to have invigorated him and the experience of fighting elsewhere had proved to him that the world he wanted to cherish was the one he was in, NOAH. El Desperado should probably have the last words as he stated in an interview with East Sports that he didn’t think that a long feud that went on week after week would not be interesting, but, a fight with NOAH once every six months or even once a year would be.
You can order the event through ABEMA until the 21st January, after this time it will be placed on WrestleUniverse and New Japan World. If you are having troubles viewing it, please set your computer to Japan Standard Time.
N-Innovation & U-CUP
After the excitement of New Japan vs NOAH, the NOAH Juniors returned to their eternal fighting when the first N-Innovation tournament took place over three days at Yokohama Radiant Hall. The event was designed for the four NOAH Junior units (Kongoh Juniors, STINGER, Perros Del Mal De Japon and The NOAH Junior Regulars) to fight against each other in different forms of matches, including a rumble which was won by Daisuke Harada. STINGER initially took the lead, but were caught up to and overtaken by the NOAH Junior Regulars. The team who inaugurated the event ended up being awarded with the U-CUP.
Night 3 was however the most explosive. The junior rumble had a stipulation that the first four from each unit eliminated would team together. Unfortunately for Yoshinari Ogawa this meant teaming with Eita, not that he cared it was against Tadasuke and Junta Miyawaki, it was his partner he had the issue with. That and Kotaro being the dogsbody that Ogawa had called him, by winding him up and holding open the ropes. Naturally Ogawa objected to tagging with Eita, but he did co-operate with him for a few seconds until Tadasuke caused them to fall out, and Ogawa ended up with water dumped all over him again.
Seiki Yoshioka and Yuya Susumu came to the rescue, and backstage the audience were treated to the sounds of the juniors fighting, which echoed in the hall as STINGER stormed Perros’ interview.
Daisuke Harada defeats “Absolute Champion” HAYATA for the GHC Junior Title
After a reign of 198 days and 8 defenses, HAYATA dropped the championship to Daisuke Harada on the final night of the N-Innovation at Yokohama Radiant Hall. Harada had won the junior rumble and with it the right to challenge the champion. Their one and only pre match had been nothing to write home about, the match standing on its own. Harada defeated HAYATA after 27 minutes and 2 seconds with his new move, “The Dokaaan”, which took HAYATA by surprise. After the match Harada paid tribute to HAYATA’S success by acknowledging the belt now came with more weight than ever before (i.e. he has a lot to live up to and surpass), and telling HAYATA that one day they would do this again. For Harada, it is also a case of now having a weapon with which to overturn the dominant heavyweights and put the juniors in the lead.
NOAH Junior Regular Army tag title challenge, but STINGER set a condition
Atsushi Kotoge set a precedent after winning the N-Innovation U-CUP (Unit Cup), by challenging HAYATA and Yoshinari Ogawa for the GHC Junior Heavyweight tag titles. Ogawa and HAYATA accepted the challenge (yes they are still teaming together and Ogawa admitted he he was disappointed to lose and had acted badly), and it is set for 22nd January in Osaka. However, after going to time out draw with STINGERS Yuya Susumu and Seiki Yoshioka on the third night of the N-Innovation, Susumu threw a spanner in the works and told STINGER that they were introducing a stipulation. If The NOAH Junior Regulars lost in the tag match on the 16th in Sendai, then they forfeited their title challenge to Susumu and Yoshioka. Backstage when STINGER were confronted by this, Susumu pointed out to Kotoge that he had no right to challenge as he (or they) hadn’t even beaten the champions, so they had every right to make this stipulation. Kotoge said he did, as he won the N-Innovation, it was his right. Susumu said that if he really wanted to make things exciting, then he would take on their challenge. Kotoge had no choice but to accept, although he said they were cheating. NOSAWA Rongai then got word of what had happened and said that if STINGER were making that stipulation and The NOAH Junior Regulars were challenging, then Perros would also challenge. Susumu said that a “STINGER showdown” as he termed it, would be interesting.
CyberFight Festival 2022 will return at the Saitama Super Arena on the 12th June 2022. Nothing has been decided yet in terms of cards, but the heads of each promotions seem to be hinting at a possible mixed tag or interleague matches. Naomichi Marufuji joked that it would be Sanshiro Takagi vs Kenoh or Sanshiro Takagi vs Kongoh. So far Kenoh has made no comment, not like last time when he simply said “….”.
EVENT RECAPS AND POST MATCH INTERVIEWS
New Japan vs NOAH, January 8th, Yokohama Arena: Event recap
ELSEWHERE IN NOAH
– Quiet shy HAYATA was left to close out the show on the 4th January. He simply said “Happy New Year”. Yoshinari Ogawa found it very funny.
– Yasutaka Yano got his first singles win, albeit over fellow rookie Kai Fujimura
– Eita said he doesn’t know and still doesn’t know which one is Haoh and which one is Nioh. NOSAWA said he thought they were both Kenoh. Takashi Sugiura helped out by saying that “Nioh was Hi69”.
– Go Shiozaki was not happy with Kaito Kiyomiya winning the match in NOAH on the 5th January, and then saying basically “NOAH is me”. Like any good NOAH Born, he has sulked. Even worse was Kiyomiya’s prominence at New Japan later that evening when he and Kenoh appeared to lead the promotion.
– Although they acknowledge the difficulties of teaming up together, Mohammed Yone and Masaaki Mochizuki (and yes, Ikuto Hidaka’s name was included, even if he didn’t say he would take part), have vowed that should the time come when they are free from their units for any reason, they would team together. The BattleArts boys would be back.
– Dragon Kid returned to NOAH as a surprise entrance on the mystery card show. He had last been in NOAH in 2007. He teamed with his teacher Ultimo Dragon. Ultimo was not very complimentary towards him. After the match Dragon Kid was told that Hajime Ohara was his student when in NOAH and that mask and name he was using, it was on loan and that loan had expired in 2021 and he didn’t even like teaming with him.
– Super Crazy returned to NOAH as a surprise entrant in the mystery card and a member of Perros De Mal Del Japon. Super Crazy is an original member of the Mexican Group, Perros Del Mal. NOSAWA said that Super Crazy would be a member with an exclusive year long contract.
– Takashi Sugiura has taken to trolling Eita. Eita just ignored him. Tadasuke sadly could not do the same when Eita stood in front of him as he did his pose.
- GHC Heavyweight Champion: Katsuhiko Nakajima
Challenger: Masa Kitamiya, “BUMPER CROP 2022”, Sendai Sunplaza Hall, Sunday 16th January
- GHC Junior Champion: Daisuke Harada
Challenger: No challenger as of yet
- GHC Heavyweight Tag Champions: The M’s alliance (Naomichi Marufuji and Keiji Mutoh)
Challengers: Kongoh (Manabu Soya & Kenoh), “BUMPER CROP 2022”, Sendai Sunplaza Hall, Sunday 16th January
- GHC Junior Tag Champions: STINGER (HAYATA and Yoshinari Ogawa)
Challengers: Either The NOAH Junior Regular Army (Atsushi Kotoge & Hajime Ohara) or STINGER (Seiki Yoshioka and Yuya Susumu), this will be decided at “BUMPER CROP 2022”, Sendai Sunplaza Hall, Sunday 16th January with the title match on Saturday January 22nd at the EDION Arena 2nd Stadium in Osaka.
- GHC National Champion: Kenoh
Challenger: Masakatsu Funaki, “HIGHER GROUND 2022”, EDION Arena Osaka 2nd Stadium, Saturday 22nd January
THIS WEEK IN NOAH
Thursday, January 13th: Tadasuke (36)
Sunday, January 16th: BUMPER CROP 2022 in SENDAI
Start time: 15:00 JST
GIF taken from WrestleUniverse
With thanks to Metal-NOAH & Flame286
Picture credit: Weekly Pro (many thanks to JenJ for sending me them)
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