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News From Cook’s Corner 1.24.22: Gunther Changer Wrestling

A few renames, faces moving to new places and a GCW event in New York! Cook brings the News!

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Hi, hello & welcome to News From Cook’s Corner! I’m Steve Cook, and somehow this Cincinnati Bengals season is still ongoing. You’ll have to bear with me, as I’m not used to needing to care about who wins these football games this late in the season. Makes paying attention to the pro wrestling a little more difficult than usual, know what I mean?

Fortunately, there are a couple of intriguing stories for me to dive into this week. We’re not going to be like certain NFL quarterbacks and completely ignore the business at hand so we can shoot off at the mouth about whatever dumb thought enters our head. Nope, we can multi-task here at the Corner. All the rasslin news you need to read about right now.

A wrestler changes their name in WWE? Stop the presses!

We all knew it was coming eventually. I admit that I’m not as attached to the wrestler previously known as Big Van Walter, then Big Daddy Walter, then WALTER as many of you are. I wasn’t the most regular viewer of wXw or PROGRESS or even NXT UK. Saw the guy here and there, thought he was good. Not surprised WWE signed him up.

Also not surprised that WWE would eventually change his name. Honestly, he was lucky to keep his old indy name as long as he did. I guess as long as WALTER was in the UK, with an occasional appearance stateside, it didn’t particularly matter what his name was. Once he moved over here, things had to change. Nothing personal, it’s just the way WWE operates. They like owning the names of their talent, just makes things more convenient. It also works out fine for wrestlers like WALTER that established something of a name prior to signing.

In and of itself, WALTER undergoing a name change doesn’t mean much to me.

What bugs me about the whole thing? The ham-fisted way WWE went about it. Warning: I’m a longtime wrestling fan that’s been accused of being stuck in the past on certain aspects of the genre. Many of the things that bug me about the way WWE presents things don’t matter to their target audience, or the people online that tell me everything WWE does is awesome because they make tons of money. And maybe they’re right and this won’t matter in the long run.

No, I’m not even talking about the part where they tried to give him the same name as a Nazi U-boat commander. Yes, it’s dumb that they either didn’t use Google or didn’t think that other people would use Google. Yes, there’s a good chance that the wrestler in question came up with the name himself, and he certainly approved it, and we’ll probably see an interview soon where he says that WWE is awesome and he came up with everything himself. Because that’s the way things go there.

The part that bothers me is the sloppiness. The laziness of the process of giving this guy a new name. See, if I was entrusted with re-branding a wrestler, I’d try to do it before debuting them as a regular character on worldwide television. Regardless of how many people are watching NXT 2.0 these days, it’s nice to keep things coherent. They had plenty of time to do this. After WALTER lost the NXT UK Championship to Ilya Dragunov, he was off of television for over four months. It would have made perfect sense for WALTER to eventually come back with a new outlook, a new attitude, even a new name for a new setting. Why not shake things up a little bit?

It would have been fine…except they brought him over for the big New Years’ Evil show and had him work as WALTER. No changes, just the WALTER we’d seen here & there before. Then a promo video, which had some irony to it since it was making fun of sloppy male physiques when that was one of the knocks on WALTER for much of his career. Amazing how the second a former fatty gets fit, they turn their backs on the tribe. Just shameful.

Anywho, the most recent edition of NXT 2.0 built up this main event between WALTER & Roderick Strong. WALTER came down, announced as WALTER, had his match and won. Then, after the match, WALTER decides to take the mike and cut off the ring announcer and tell us that his name was Gunther. Then the rest of Imperium ran down, and then the rest of Diamond Mine ran down, and before we could really think anything about anything the show was over.

I can’t help but think the whole thing could have been more effective if ol’ Gunther made his big re-debut to NXT 2.0 as Gunther in the first place. I suppose that would have involved having somebody decide Gunther needed a name change sometime during the four months he wasn’t on WWE programming, which is apparently too much to ask these days. And hey, maybe if more time had been taken to develop this, they could have found a name not easily associated with Nazis via Google? Just a thought.

See, we can get wrapped up in the optics of Nazi names, or we can just point out how poorly executed the whole thing was. Or we can stick our heads in the sand and praise Vince & Bruce to the high heavens. I’m a pro-choice kind of guy.

WWE Non-Release News

I told you guys there were going to be a lot of WWE releases this year. There’s one thing that slipped my mind at that point in time…there will be people wanting their release that won’t get it. It’s tough to keep track of who wants a job & who doesn’t, so it’s tough to blame WWE for getting confused on these matters.

In fairness, it would be somewhat surprising to some that Mustafa Ali no longer wants a job. It was around this time last year that Ali’s contract was reportedly set to expire according to the rasslin websites. Now that his contract is reportedly good for several more years according to reports coming out these days, I can only assume that he signed something after February 2021.

People have accused me of being skeptical towards WWE, especially when it comes to the likelihood of WWE pushing certain people after a certain period of time. Sometimes they prove me wrong, like when they pushed Jinder Mahal to the WWE Championship years after I dismissed him as just a job guy for them. I gave up on Mustafa Ali having any role of great significance with WWE not long after Ali & the Retribution guys were cast off into obscurity. Ali obviously felt differently, and to WWE’s credit, they do a great job during these contract negotiations of convincing their Superstars that things will be better for them in the future.

Apparently Ali wants out now, largely due to creative differences. We know that Ali has been outspoken about being a positive role model for people like him. This doesn’t rule out the idea of being a heel, just the idea of being the typical terrorist foreigner heel that wrestling likes to have people that look like Ali portray. Ali came up with an idea for himself, with some similarity to the Muhammad Hassan character/storyline from the mid-2000s.

Ali is a well-spoken man, and I have no doubt he would have done well with this character. I also have no doubt that WWE would have bungled the thing the first chance they got. Muhammad Hassan was an interesting, complicated character for a minute, then WWE had him and a bunch of goons act like they were assassinating the Undertaker like one of those videos you’d see from Al Qaeda. UPN rightly said that was over the top and the gimmick was dead. This would have gone the same way. Ali would have been compelling for a few weeks, then WWE would have done something silly and/or controversial and killed the thing off.

What we don’t know here: Did WWE have an idea for Ali afterward? Is Ali wanting a release because of an idea WWE had for him that he didn’t like, or because WWE ghosted him? I’d like to have more information before deciding whether to jump on the #FreeAli bandwagon or not.

AEW Leaving News

Ali might be stuck in WWE, but Lio Rush won’t be stuck in AEW. Rush announced on social media that his AEW contract would expire on February 14 and he’ll become a free agent.

Lio had quite the up & down stint with AEW. He debuted back at the Double or Nothing event, suffered an injury soon afterward and retired from wrestling for a few months. He came back as some crypto money guy, did a storyline with Dante Martin & Team Taz that was an odd piece of business, then got mad on New Year’s Eve when Tony Khan went in on Big Swole’s wrestling ability on Twitter. Shortly afterward Lio posted a statement where he’d talked to Tony & company about it and was looking forward to effecting positive change and then we never saw him again on AEW television.

Regardless of where you came down on that whole situation, you can’t be too surprised that AEW didn’t exactly fall over themselves to keep Lio Rush around afterwards. Even without the drama, there’s way too many other people ahead of Rush on the list of people that can’t get on AEW television regularly and should. They seem to be trying to decide whether they want Jay Lethal or Lee Moriarty in the slot Lio left open in the previously mentioned angle, and either would seem like a good choice. If they were to choose one.

Apparently Lio still has a deal with New Japan and wants to float around different promotions anyway, so he’ll still be plenty busy. In fact, he was on a show this weekend that we’re about to talk about…right now!

The Cook on GCW

I decided to take the plunge this weekend. My bosses at the number website have given me permission to review pretty much anything I want, a privilege which I plan on utilizing when events warrant. This weekend’s GCW event at Hammerstein Ballroom seemed like the perfect time for me to find out what the buzz surrounding that promotion is all about. The card was full of names I recognized, the build seemed interesting, and it was a notable building with a big crowd. A big chance for GCW to step up to the next level and draw in new fans looking for something a little bit different from everything else. GCW has had shows in the past where they did just that. Unfortunately for the larger audience this show got, I can’t say they did.

A lot of people have a lot of negative things to say about GCW. Some call it Garbage Championship Wrestling. It’s the type of fed people equate with outlaw mud shows. They do some stuff that you won’t see anywhere else. On Sunday night, the only thing they did that you won’t see anywhere else was have their wrestlers & announcers use the word “fuck” more than once or twice.

I don’t know if it was something to do with where the show was presented, a nod to being on traditional PPV or a concerted effort on the promotion’s part to present something a little more “normal” than they’re known for. But my main criticism of their event on Sunday night was that it wasn’t enough like the GCW that I’d heard about. For a show that had the opportunity to present something different from the norm, it featured a lot of stuff that wouldn’t have been out of place on your regularly televised wrestling events.

Maybe I’m reading too much into this. Perhaps moving closer to the norm is the way for GCW to get more fans than just their base of fans that love the blood & guts. I just think a fed needs to be unique in order to get attention and stand out from the pack. GCW had a chance to turn things on their head Sunday night in front of a larger audience than usual, and from where I sit, they didn’t get it done.

Not saying it was a terrible show or anything like that. It just wasn’t the show they needed to step up to the next level and really establish themselves as the #3 promotion in the United States. The good news is that there’s still plenty of wrestling fans that GCW hasn’t made a first impression on, and they can easily go back to the drawing board and come up with another mode of attack.

Hey, I’m rooting for them. I root for anybody trying to make a go of it in this crazy business. As I’ve said before, the whole wrestling business is an outlaw mud show. The wider variety of combatants we have in the mud, the blood & the beer, the better. Here’s hoping GCW hits me a little better next time.

Thanks for reading! Join me later in the week when we break down the NFL conference championship games, featuring the CINCINNATI BENGALS and three other teams. Until then, keep your stick on the ice.


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NOAH WEEKLY NEWSLETTER VOL.187 ~ 29TH SEPTEMBER 2022

Keiji Mutoh continues his Retirement tour and bringing out faces from the past! NOAH has a new champion! Interesting inter-promotional battles on the horizon as well!

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Kaito Kiyomiya is the new GHC Heavyweight Champion, nominates Kazuyuki Fujita as challenger

Following provocation by Kenoh not only saying that he was going to be the one to inherit Keiji Mutoh’s Shining Wizard and the memory of Keiji Mutoh himself (and the outright claim that Kiyomiya would simply forget about Mutoh once Mutoh had retired, which Kiyomiya didn’t even bother responding to), Kenoh went one step further at their last pre match on the 19th September by pulling Keiji Mutoh’s pose, kissing his hand, putting it to Kiyomiya’s lips and then exploding it. Kiyomiya erupted in fury at this, it was far more than any verbal provocation of Kenoh’s, which I guess he has learned to ignore over the years. They fought for the GHC Heavyweight in Nagoya on September 25th, with Kiyomiya emerging victorious following a modified Shining Wizard. As Kenoh left it was like a spell was broken. Kenoh went backstage and muttered about Kiyomiya being the company favorite and in his interview the day after winning the title, Kiyomiya said nothing about Keiji Mutoh. Mutoh as we know had been a focus of both Kiyomiya and Kenoh leading up to the title match.

Back in the ring, Kiyomiya called out his next opponent. Kazuyuki Fujita. Fujita came to the ring, carrying a can of beer which he swigged from. Getting in the ring he circled Kiyomiya and took off his t-shirt. Kiyomiya said that he was expecting a fight, but Fujita did something that no other NOAH wrestler had (or perhaps would) do, and that was to throw himself at Kiyomiya and then make nuzzling motions against his head, while he licked the belt. Kiyomiya pushed him off, and Fujita retaliated by pouring beer over his head.

Kiyomiya screaming that he hated beer was met with Fujita toasting him from the ramp and yelling “Kampaiii” (“cheers”) after a fight had broken out, and Kiyomiya threw him from the ring.

 

Backstage, Kiyomiya said his reason for nominating Kazuyuki Fujita as his challenger was that he had never been defeated for the GHC Heavyweight. Fujita had to give up the belt due to Coronavirus. It has been a recurring theme of most of the GHC Heavyweight champions since Go Shiozaki, that Fujita has been the man to beat in order to cement yourself as champion. Kiyomiya was picking up that torch.

As for Fujita, he played it as if he was a Casanova and had been asked out on a date by warning Kiyomiya that when you experience Fujita, you can never go back because you were never going to be the same. He was going to “make it a night to remember”. He sipped his beer, and licked his lips afterwards.

Title match has been set for NOAH’s return to Ariake on the 30th October.

STINGER lose, NOAH Junior Regulars win, enter Tadasuke (with a chair)

Following a period of brutal attacks on Seiki Yoshioka (by the end of the match he could hardly use one side of his body) and a title challenge where Atsushi Kotoge was bloodied up, The NOAH Junior Regulars emerged victorious and bought the tag titles home to their unit. They had very little time to celebrate their win and put ice on their wounds, when Tadasuke burst in and attacked Atsushi Kotoge with a chair while Hi69 beat up on the already incapacitated Seiki Yoshioka. Tadasuke (wild grin on his face) got on the microphone and made a challenge for the tag titles. Then Tadasuke wiped the blood from Kotoge that had got on his hands on his hair, leaving red streaks in the peroxide. Tadasuke was even waving the bloodied seat of the chair, which had detached during the attack, around backstage.

Title match will be on the 30th October when NOAH return to the Ariake complex.

Takashi Sugiura and Satoshi Kojima, NOAH’s most dysfunctional tag team, win the GHC Heavyweight tag titles

It must be said that with the combined efforts of Satoshi Kojima and Hideki Suzuki, we almost have our Sugi back.

At the press conference/title match signing, Sugi and Kojima appeared dressed in suits and wearing dark glasses. They looked something between The Men In Black and “Dangerous Detectives” (as Tokyo Sports called them  which stems from a Japanese TV show). Hideki Suzuki was on form, not only mistranslating Timothy Thatcher and stating at one point that Thatcher said he came to Japan to “beat you up” and being rude to a journalist for being overfamiliar with his “punk mouth”, the highlight of the press conference was his long close up stare at Sugi, who was trying not to laugh.

The dysfunctional team won the titles in Nagoya on the 25th September, and despite their falling out during the match, Sugi actually gave Kojima a proper handshake. Then they went back to squabbling backstage over Kojima talking on the mic when it was Sugi who got the win. No challengers have come forward as of yet.

HAYATA retains the GHC Junior, Ninja Mack makes his long awaited challenge

It had been an emotional match for YO-HEY, and for fans. Cutting out the aerial techniques that had characterized their earlier matches, both he and HAYATA demonstrated how much they had both evolved by concentrating on a more NOAH based ground attack with submissions. YO-HEY might have failed in the challenge, but he had at least gotten one win over HAYATA in the pre-match. He knew the title match would be different and he would need to level up, and afterwards he reflected and said he would start from rock bottom in order to make his next challenge. What fans had noticed that while things had changed between them, some things were the same, such as YO-HEY coloring his hair, his tongue (and even his boxer shorts) purple, which is HAYATA’s color, and HAYATA not speaking as much as he has done in previous title challenges, as he is content to let YO-HEY talk. After the match, Ninja Mack came to challenge. HAYATA accepted by saying, that he was “finally interested in the belt” and acknowledging him as challenger. Title match will of course be on the 30th October. But HAYATA is not immediately going into a fallout match with Ninja Mack at NOAH’s next event on the 30th, but is having a tag match against YO-HEY.

Keiji Mutoh’s Retirement Road

Keiji Mutoh has been very busy.

– 23rd September: Great Muta appears in AEW

The Great Muta made a surprise appearance in AEW to rescue Sting, who had been tied to a chair by Darby Allen. Muta came to the ring, advanced on Sting and then turned and spat green mist into the face of Allen and then reunited with Sting. Keiji Mutoh announced that Sting would attend Muta’s retirement on the 22nd in Yokohama, but has not said in what capacity, although it is assumed that they will tag. Regarding any further appearances in America, Mutoh said he didn’t think it was likely, but did warn that The Great Muta may pop up somewhere as you never knew where he would turn up next.

– 25th September: Keiji Mutoh Retirement Road: Love Forever 2

Keiji Mutoh teamed with his junior Kazuyuki Fujita to take on Mutoh’s classmate, Masakatsu Funaki and Katsuhiko Nakajima, who Mutoh has known since he was a boy, and still calls affectionately “Katsuhiko”. Nakajima said he was going to break up this class reunion, and while Mutoh did get kicked (Nakajima smirked and said it was fun when Mutoh later complained his leg still hurt) but it was Fujita who got the worst of it. During the match, Nakajima pulled out Mutoh’s Space Rolling Elbow. Mutoh was initially not pleased, but then he became very happy to see it and said that he thought that “Katsuhiko” did it because he had some small measure of feeling for him. I think had Nakajima been a more acrobatic wrestler, Mutoh might have handed it to him. Mutoh won the match with The Shining Wizard, pinning Nakajima. This was Mutoh’s farewell to Nagoya, his classmate, his junior and Nakajima.

– 26th September: Hiroshi Tanahashi comes to the press conference and a tag match is announced

Hiroshi Tanahashi presented 38 roses to Mutoh when he came to the press conference. Each rose symbolizes a year of Mutoh’s career. Mutoh joked that he should have laid them at his feet, as had happened in boxing recently. Tanahashi said he wasn’t good at ad-libbing, and then introduced himself as “one of the greatest New Japan talents in the past one hundred years”. During the press conference, a tag match was announced. New Japan’s Hiroshi Tanahashi, Togi Makabe and Honma Tomoaki will team together against the team of Naomichi Marufuji, Keiji Mutoh and Keiji Mutoh. This will take place on the 30th October. Mutoh has not given up hope of appearing one final time in the New Japan ring.

– 16th October: A new match is announced

NOAH announced that due to fan demand, Keiji Mutoh will be appearing in Fukuoka. He will tag with Ninja Mack and Satoshi Kojima against Naomichi Marufuji, HAYATA and Jack Morris. Satoshi Kojima is of course connected to Mutoh through All Japan and New Japan, Naomichi Marufuji has wanted a match against Mutoh (he will be tagging with him as we know on the 30th October) and HAYATA has been a big fan of Mutoh for a while, as he has influenced a lot of his style and persona. HAYATA thinks of himself and The Great Muta as “The Phantom Team”. Muta doesn’t like to speak and HAYATA said, neither does he.

Naomichi Marufuji and Katsuhiko Nakajima head overseas

Naomichi Marufuji and Katsuhiko Nakajima will appear for Evolution Pro Wrestling in New York for their anniversary show on November 12th. Marufuji’s match is yet to be announced, but Nakajima will take on Josh Alexander. Alexander has said he wonders how Nakajima is going to kick after he snaps his ankle. They will also appear at King of Indies in San Francisco on November 19th.

NOSAWA vs Katsuhiko Nakajima (and Kenoh)

After being beaten up by Katsuhiko Nakajima who gave him some pretty stiff soccerball kicks outside the ring at Korakuen Hall recently, (although he would tell you that Nakajima tried to beat him up), NOSAWA Rongai has been on a quest to face Nakajima in a match. Then he threw in Kenoh, so it could be himself and Eita versus Kongoh. Hideki Suzuki told him that he was probably going to die, but NOSAWA has taken no notice and kept on with his demand. His demand has not been met because rather than facing Nakajima and Kenoh, NOAH have booked him against rookies Yasutaka Yano and Kai Fujimura. NOSAWA thinks he is having to go through some kind of trial.

ELSEWHERE IN NOAH

– Hideki Suzuki has hinted that perhaps Takashi Sugiura might like to get back online.

– Yoshiki Inamura and YO-HEY continued their guild, despite the fact that YO-HEY said someone attacked and burned their castle down. A picture was taken of YO-HEY and Inamura playing the game, with YO-HEY seated cross legged on Inamura, who was doing a bridge in the ring. We have seen Inamura used as a weight, but is he now used as furniture?

– NOAH’s Director, Narihiro Takeda, wrote on a NOAH Note that he would like for Darby Allin to come to NOAH one day.

– Tadasuke got a match thrown out by ripping off Alejandro’s mask. Tadasuke did not care, and did not even respond when Alejandro asked if he wanted a mask for himself?

– Daiki Inaba had his long awaited singles match with Katsuhiko Nakajima, but failed to revenge himself for Nakajima’s behavior in W-1. Nakajima even went for the cocky pin by grinning and leaning on Inaba.

– There was usual chaos at the NOAH Junior Space sessions as Daisuke Harada is not there to take control. Atsushi Kotoge seems to be the main culprit, forgetting to invite Seiki Yoshioka in and at one time even failing to press record.

– It’s probably best that Daiki Inaba, who apparently likes to be in the nip backstage, was not present when NOAH was at Differ. It was bad enough that Sugi used to wander around naked…

– Mitsuharu Misawa wrote in a diary entry for 2006 about filming an advert for THE LEAVE, and having to sing first thing in the morning while they were filming. Probably due to the fact that he had a problem with his throat anyway, was a heavy smoker and had taken “so many chops and kicks” to it in his career, he said he sounded very hoarse.

EVENT RECAPS AND POST MATCH PROMOS

SUNNY VOYAGE – September 19th 

Event recap

Post match promos

N-INNOVATION – September 21st 

Event recap

Post match promos

GRAND SHIP 2022 IN NAGOYA/KEIJI MUTOH RETIREMENT ROAD – September 25th

Event recap

Post match promos

CURRENT CHAMPIONS

  • GHC Heavyweight Champion: Kaito Kiyomiya
    Challenger: Kazuyuki Fujita, [Muto Retirement Road] ABEMA presents Ariake Gaisen-THE RETURN-PRO-WRESTLING LOVE FOREVER . 3 ~TRIUMPH~ Sunday 30th October, Ariake Arena, Tokyo
  • GHC Junior Champion: HAYATA
    Challenger: Ninja Mack, [Muto Retirement Road] ABEMA presents Ariake Gaisen-THE RETURN-PRO-WRESTLING LOVE FOREVER . 3 ~TRIUMPH~ Sunday 30th October, Ariake Arena, Tokyo
  • GHC Heavyweight Tag Champions: KojiSugi (Satoshi Kojima & Takashi Sugiura)
    Challengers: TBA
  • GHC Junior Tag Champions: The NOAH Junior Regulars (Atsushi Kotoge & Seiki Yoshioka)
    Challengers: Kongoh Juniors (Tadasuke & Hi69), [Muto Retirement Road] ABEMA presents Ariake Gaisen-THE RETURN-PRO-WRESTLING LOVE FOREVER . 3 ~TRIUMPH~ Sunday 30th October, Ariake Arena, Tokyo
  • GHC National Champion: Masakatsu Funaki
    Challenger: Masa Kitamiya, SUNNY VOYAGE 2022 – Friday September 30th (Bandaijima Multi-Purpose Square Ogama)

(This event will not be broadcast live, but hopefully this match will be shown via Instagram)

THIS WEEK IN NOAH

(October 2022 schedule)

– Friday, October 7th

STAR NAVIGATION 2022 – Korakuen Hall, Tokyo

Time: 18:30 JST

Broadcast: WrestleUniverse/ABEMA (live)

– Saturday, October 8th

STAR NAVIGATION 2022 – 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.

BIRTHDAYS & ANNIVERSARIES

Wednesday, 5th October: Keiji Mutoh debut anniversary (38)

Wednesday, 5th October: Seiki Yoshioka debut anniversary (14)

LINKS

“I want to protect this belt for the rest of my life”, new GHC champion Kiyomiya holds morning press conference to establish a new NOAH landscape

Mutoh’s Retirement Road, tag match against Tanahashi in round three: “I want to grab the secret of secrets”, Tanahashi presents 38 roses

Great Muta teaming up with Sting for last match? “Agent” Mutoh’s opinion 

“I wonder if I can transmit more” YO-HEY aims to revitalize the junior ark with his first championship

AEW Shock! Great Muta appears in America! Rescues Sting and shake of hands

“Follow Me You Bastards” – Kenoh’s Weekly Pro Column

GHC Junior Match Signing: YO-HEY “Last Chance, I don’t think as my ex partner now”, HAYATA “I don’t feel anything”

“Taka & Satoshi” reveal a “dangerous detective” look, mischievous Suzuki is a reckless interpreter, the GHC tag signing ceremony is thrown into chaos by bizarre question and answer between the two teams

 A “Comrade” and an “Older Brother”, Masakatsu Funaki talks about his thoughts on Mutoh’s retirement, “I want to kick him mercilessly”

BOOK CORNER

“Donmai, Donmai” – Mitsuharu Misawa’s diary

With thanks to: Metal NOAH

GIF taken from WrestleUniverse & NOAH Official YouTube

Picture credit: YO-HEY & NOAH.co.jp


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(NOAH) NOAH WEEKLY NEWSLETTER VOL.186 ~ 18TH SEPTEMBER 2022

Hisame sorts through some of the larger points as NOAH slowly comes into the Fall season!

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Kenoh, Kiyomiya & The Shining Wizard

At the time of writing, the two pre matches between Kenoh and Kaito Kiyomiya are even, both has one win over the other. Kiyomiya defeated Kenoh at Korakuen Hall on the 15th using a variation of The Shining Wizard, with Kenoh (who swore he would never lose to that move again), using Keiji Mutoh’s version of The Shining Wizard to defeat Kiyomiya. Prior to doing it, Kenoh had even gone as far to pull Mutoh’s pose and he did it again while leaning over Kiyomiya. Kenoh stated backstage that he didn’t believe that after Mutoh had retired that Kiyomiya would continue using the move, so therefore he, Kenoh, would use it and cherish both the technique and Keiji Mutoh. If you thought Kiyomiya was made mad enough by Kenoh patting him on the head, wait until they clash again at Yokohama Radiant Hall on the 19th.

YO-HEY & HAYATA

In the past you got the impression that HAYATA didn’t really care about his opponents, they were just there to be beaten and for him to move on after beating, this time the feeling is very different. Compared to all of HAYATA’S other title defenses so far, this has been the most personal (anything involving YO-HEY is always more personal than anyone else), the most bitter and the most savage. Whilst HAYATA seems to want to keep YO-HEY in mint condition for the title match, as neither Yoshinari Ogawa, Chris Ridgeway or himself seem to want to concentrate on breaking down his knees or damaging his arm (unlike poor Seiki Yoshioka, who is getting the brunt of all three, Ridgeway even tearing off his bandages and attacking the bone), YO-HEY has taken to attacking HAYATA after matches. Both matches so far have been inconclusive and neither has the win over the other, but at Korakuen on the first night YO-HEY dropkicked HAYATA in the face, at the second he gave him the GAMEN-G. YO-HEY has described this as a “switch being turned on” in him, and says he has a strategy for the title match. HAYATA naturally has said nothing, which is odd considering how vocal he has been in the title challenges before.

Taka & Satoshi

Satoshi Kojima and Takashi Sugiura have made a functional dysfunctional tag team. Their first pre match against Hideki Suzuki and Timothy Thatcher contained a misfire when Sugiura caught Kojima by accident and they had a spat. The second time, Sugiura was made to tap out by Timothy Thatcher in a match that reminded me of the Galleria fight between the T-800 and T-1000 in Terminator 2. Kojima came to the ring, Suzuki got in it and then Kojima took everyone out and closed the show on the microphone. Sugi started complaining that not only had Kojima arrived too late to help, but his theme music had started playing. Kojima said it wasn’t deliberate, Sugi didn’t believe him. The handshake where Kojima offers his palm and Sugi his finger (not the finger) seems to have become their thing, and Kojima will face off against Timothy Thatcher in a singles match on the 19th in Yokohama. Thatcher has sworn revenge for what happened at Korakuen.

NOAH’s New Debut

NOAH’s 16th NOAH Born, Taishi Ozawa, made his debut at Korakuen Hall on the 15th September. Weighing in at 87kg and with a height of 181cm (which is marginally smaller than Yoshiki Inamura and Shuhei Taniguchi at 182cm), he has naturally gone into the heavyweight division. His first match lasted 6 minutes and 31 seconds, and got him praise from the fans and wrestlers alike. After the match, Yoshiki Inamura praised him and said he wants him to grow stronger and make his body bigger. Personally, I can see Ozawa becoming one of NOAH’s ultra-heavyweights, but this may mean he has to give up doing dropkicks, which you don’t see too much of amongst NOAH’s heavyweights. NOAH celebrated this debut by broadcasting messages from support from fans on the screen, the President of The Leave presented him with flowers and special commemorative face masks were given at the door.

NOAH & Dragon Gate Joint Event

NOAH held a press conference on the 9th September to discuss the NOAH and DragonGate joint event which will be held on the 11th November at Korakuen Hall. Sadly Daisuke Harada does not think his neck will be in good enough condition for him to take part, so he has nominated himself as “Event Ambassador”. Cards announced so far are Seiki Yoshioka vs YAMATO (who said that local idiot Kzy agreed to this nonsense, and that if he liked festivals so much he should do a solo strip show, but getting back to Yoshioka, he was going to pay) and Mochizuki Junior, Ryu Fuda & Madoka Kikuta vs Kai Fujimura, Yasutaka Yano & Yoshiki Inamura. This latter match sets two sets of rookies against each other, and NOAH and DragonGate’s resident hosses.

GLOBAL2Days

In addition to the NOAH & DragonGate joint event, the day before NOAH will hold the first day of the two days at Korakuen Hall they have called “GLOBAL2Days”. Night 1 will be a NOAH show only, with all the titles put on the line. No cards yet have been announced for this.

NOSAWA vs Katsuhiko Nakajima?

NOSAWA Rongai declared that he wanted a singles match with “little bitch” Katsuhiko Nakajima, after Nakajima (tongue stuck out at the side of his mouth) gave him a round of soccer ball kicks. Hideki Suzuki said something along the lines of that while he thought NOSAWA was dead following this, NOSAWA probably was going to be dead after this. At the time of writing nothing has been announced yet, and Nakajima said it was “fun”.

Yuya Susumu

Due to cervical neck sprain, Yuya Susumu will miss about four events (which includes the past two Korakuen Hall events and probably the N-Innovation and one more event after that)

ELSEWHERE IN NOAH

– Kenoh apparently has a sense of humor similar to Mitsuharu Misawa’s i.e. blue. His column was once him yelling about his enemies, now he is making innuendos about how anatomy reacts to gravure models.

– Chris Ridgeway says that he has plans to not only get the GHC Junior Heavyweight, he also wants to bring the GHC National to the juniors.

– Katsuhiko Nakajima has likened the Nagoya Keiji Mutoh Retirement Road match as being like a reunion as it involves Mutoh’s classmate Masakatsu Funaki and their junior, Kazuyuki Fujita, and says he is going to destroy that atmosphere. He has also warned Mutoh to be careful in Nagoya, as he may not reach the Tokyo Dome.

– The children at NOAH’s most recent fan event (Tokyo Verdy) were fascinated by Kaito Kiyomiya and Masa Kitamiya’s muscles, despite the fact that they got pulled over by them at the tug of war. They let the children win the first time, but were pretty merciless the next time.

– Hideki Suzuki burst in wielding a pipe chair when Satoshi Kojima and Takashi Sugiura were talking backstage and threatened to throw it at someone. Sugi suggested he throw it at Kojima, Kojima, (had he been a New Yorker), basically said, “Hey, I’m talkin’ here!”

– Junta Miyawaki will challenge Tromba for the ASPW Openweight Championship on Saturday November 5th in Guadalajara.

– Jack Morris interrupted The Shutter Chance…I don’t think anyone in NOAH has ever done that before.

– Yoshiki Inamura’s reaction to Disco was to stand with his arms crossed and glare at Mohammed Yone. Yone did not forget this insult.

– NOAH have taken part in a team gaming event, which sees Kongoh (who sat apart from everyone else) join in. YO-HEY and Yoshiki Inamura seem to have formed a guild. STINGER, naturally, are not taking part.

EVENT RECAPS AND POST MATCH PROMOS

– STAR NAVIGATION 2022 (THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 15TH, KORAKUEN HALL)

Event recap

Post match interviews

– STAR NAVIGATION 2022 (FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 16TH, KORAKUEN HALL)

Event recap

Post match interviews

CURRENT CHAMPIONS

  • GHC Heavyweight Champion: Kenoh
    Challenger: Kaito Kiyomiya, [Muto Retirement Road] GRAND SHIP 2022 in NAGOYA PRO-WRESTLING LOVE FOREVER.2 ~OUT BREAK~ Sunday September 25th, Dolphin Arena (Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium)
  • GHC Junior Champion: HAYATA
    Challenger: YO-HEY, [Muto Retirement Road] GRAND SHIP 2022 in NAGOYA PRO-WRESTLING LOVE FOREVER.2 ~OUT BREAK~ Sunday September 25th, Dolphin Arena (Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium)
  • GHC Heavyweight Tag Champions: The Sugiura Army (Hideki Suzuki & Timothy Thatcher)
    Challengers: KojiSugi (Satoshi Kojima & Takashi Sugiura), [Muto Retirement Road] GRAND SHIP 2022 in NAGOYA PRO-WRESTLING LOVE FOREVER.2 ~OUT BREAK~ Sunday September 25th, Dolphin Arena (Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium)
  • GHC Junior Tag Champions: STINGER (Chris Ridgeway & Yoshinari Ogawa)
    Challengers: The NOAH Junior Regulars (Atsushi Kotoge & Seiki Yoshioka), [Muto Retirement Road] GRAND SHIP 2022 in NAGOYA PRO-WRESTLING LOVE FOREVER.2 ~OUT BREAK~ Sunday September 25th, Dolphin Arena (Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium)
  • GHC National Champion: Masakatsu Funaki
    Challenger: Masa Kitamiya, SUNNY VOYAGE 2022 – Friday September 30th (Bandaijima Multi-Purpose Square Ogama)

*This event will not be broadcast live, but hopefully this match will be shown via Instagram

THIS WEEK IN NOAH

(September 2022 schedule)

  • Monday, September 19th

SUNNY VOYAGE 2022 – Yokohama Radiant Hall, Yokohama

Time: 17:30 JST

Broadcast: WrestleUniverse (Live)

  • Tuesday, September 20th

Title match signing (GHC Heavyweight Tag, GHC Junior Heavyweight)

Live on NOAH’s Official YouTube at 17:00 JST

  • Wednesday, September 21st

N INNOVATION – Shinjuku FACE, Tokyo

Time: 18:30 JST

Broadcast: WrestleUniverse (Live)

  • Sunday, September 25th

GRAND SHIP 2022 in NAGOYA/PRO WRESTLING LOVE FOREVER IN NAGOYA – OUTBREAK (Keiji Mutoh Retirement Road)

Start: 16:00 JST

Broadcast: WrestleUniverse (Live)

LINKS

Keiji Mutoh talks freely, “PPV at Retirement Match”, “Cut Ties” for O-Khan

Long awaited one on one fight with Katsuhiko Nakajima. Will Daiki Inaba’s obsession with Katsuhiko Nakajima be fulfilled?

“I don’t have the sense for a name! (laughs”) The secret story of the birth of the Shining Wizard variation & recruitment of technique name!

“Finish it all at once” GHC Junior Tag Team Champion Chris Ridgeway Interview, complete belt and league domination, ambition of GHC National Challenge

Kaito Kiyomiya receives reinforcement from the kick world, if he fails to take the GHC in the Kenoh match, “I can’t go to the top anymore”

“After the N-1!, the 15th & 16th Korakuen are two consecutive events, the next big match is 25th September Nagoya (Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium). Focusing on developments for the four major GHC fights, a new battle begins

NOAH collaborates with Tokyo Verdy! Naomichi Marufuji, “I want to put up a ring at Ajinomoto Stadium and have a match”

“I’ll let you challenge my GHC Heavyweight” GHC Champion Kenoh nominates himself for Keiji Mutoh’s Retirement Match, Next Year on 21st February At Tokyo Dome

Fan event recap: Tokyo Verdy

Junior Brand Event: YO-HEY and Kotoge introduce the highlights of the 21st September Shinjuku N-Innovation Competition

GHC Heavyweight signing ceremony: Kenoh “A beautiful story, I’m gonna break it down and I’m gonna draw it”, Kiyomiya prepares for “Last Chance”

“I want to become white ash” Keiji Mutoh’s retirement stage will be 21st February at The Tokyo Dome, “Pubic Persuasion” Chono will also go to his retirement match

Funky Kato is dazed about Keiji Mutoh’s retirement, the final opponent is “Not Okada”

“I’m using it, so it’s my technique!” with Mutoh finisher at full power, Kaito Kiyomiya defeats Kenoh towards the culmination of their five year story

Katsuhiko Nakajima and the 25th September Nagoya match with Keiji Mutoh, who will retire at The Dome next year

OLD INTERVIEWS

“Dandyism?”, it’s not like that”

Interesting interview with Mitsuharu Misawa from circa February 2002, in which he discusses Kodo Fuyuki’s retirement, friendship, NOAH, All Japan, his childhood and his juniors.

BOOK CORNER

“Donmai, Donmai” – Mitsuharu Misawa’s diary

GIF taken from WrestleUniverse & NOAH Official YouTube


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