NOAH Navigation For The Future 20/1/18 Review

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Generic tour poster. Credit: NOAH

To say this felt like a house show is giving it too much credit. It was in front of a handful of people and didn’t really bother with production values. However, wrestling is wrestling, and I’ll watch it all. On top of that, the more NOAH I consume, the more I learn. Let’s dish out some stars.

Go Shiozaki defeated Junta Miyawaki

Miyawaki actually got a fair amount of offence before being forced to submit. The kid is very green and his strikes lack impact. However, he had his debut singles contest in August so let’s not be mean to him. He’s got a long way to go, but learning in the ring is the best way to get there.

Verdict: One And A Half Stars

Cody Hall and LEONA defeated Akitoshi Saito and Seiya Morohashi

Since the last NOAH show I watched, I’ve discovered that LEONA is a bit of a whipping boy. Everyone thinks he is a bit crap.

Yet, I enjoyed him here. The little bit of personality he showed when tagging himself in and dismissing Cody Hall was funny. He spent most of the action being beaten up, but he took that beating damn well.

Hall, on the other hand, is a weird case. You can see the gears whirring as he wanders around the ring. With his size, Cody should be dominant. Instead, he almost looks uncertain.

This was fine, Saito and Morohashi looked alright in defeat. Even so, no-one is going to remember it in a week. In fact, as this show aired more than a week ago I assume they’ve already forgotten it.

Verdict: Two Stars

Maybach Taniguchi and Mitsuya Nagai defeated Andrew Everett and Jay Bradley

I did not expect Jay Bradley to be one of the NOAH wrestlers to impress me when I decided to dive into this company. There’s something wonderfully simple about his power game. He’s big and strong. That’s all he needs.

Unusual developments aside, this was a pretty formulaic outing that saw the Gaijin put over Maybach and Nagai. The Japanese stars were able to dominate the early action and get the win because of their willingness to cheat. Sneaking down every shortcut that presented itself.

Although it was an improvement on what came before, it wasn’t by much. A nicely worked enhancement for Taniguchi and Nagai where Everett and Bradley got a quick chance to shine. It’s nothing more than that.

Verdict: Two And A Half Stars

RATEL’S (Daisuke Harada, HAYATA, Tadasuke and YO-HEY) defeated The Backbreakers (Hajime Ohara and Hitoshi Kumano) and XX (Hi69 and Taiji Ishimori)

It felt like this was sent out there with the instruction to waste time. They spent most of it working at a slow and methodical pace. Never really bothering to click up into a higher gear.

There were occasional glimpses of the talent in the ring. Ishimori, Hi69 and YO-HEY lifted the pace shaking it out of the rut it had slipped into. Towards the end, we also got a lovely sequence out of Harada and Ohara who between the two of them elevated this match more than anyone.

Sadly, none of that was enough to dispel the feeling that no-one was particularly bothered. It wasn’t awful and the final few minutes were fun in a car crash kind of way. However, it was far too long and was weighed down by the fact that everyone involved could do better if they wanted to.

Verdict: Two And A Half Stars

Takashi Sugiura defeated Masao Inoue

I’m gathering from this match that Inoue is a comedic character.

He can’t be too funny because Sugiura seemed determined to remove his head. Annoyingly for him, Inoue’s antics kept preventing him from that goal. Every time it looked like he was going to wrap this up he was thwarted by a rack of the eyes or a bout of silliness.

So, he stole a page from Inoue’s playbook. As Inoue went for a lariat, Sugiura shouted stop, slapped him and rolled him up. It wasn’t fantastic wrestling, but there was a fun story being told, and I couldn’t help enjoying it.

Verdict: Three Stars

Yuko Miyamoto and Minoru Tanaka defeated Atsushi Kotoge and Naomichi Marifuji

Another slow start with this one. There was a lot of stalling and wrestlers were sliding out of the ring to argue with chanting fans.

However, once it got going, it turned into a decent match. There’s not too much to say about it, but it was hard-hitting with everyone working hard. Yuko Miyamoto stood out in particular. At one point he hit a really nice standing moonsault where he landed with his knees on Kotoge’s chest. It’s a small alteration to the move that makes it significantly more brutal.

This doesn’t need much analysis, it was a fun tag. Check it out if you have the time.

Verdict: Three Stars

Katsuhiko Nakajima and Masa Kitamiya defeated Muhammed Yone and Quiet Storm

Another decent tag. I don’t want to sound like I’m repeating myself, but it’s hard to put it any other way.

The highlight of which was Nakajima and Quiet Storm stiffing it out in the middle of the ring. Their chests could have stopped traffic by the time those two were done with each other. It might not have been pretty, but damn did it get the job done.

Both teams looked good here. Nakajima and Kitamiya did have a bit of that single wrestlers pushed into a tag team feel, although it wasn’t strong enough to actually hurt the action. If you’re looking for some wrestling to pass the time, it will do the job.

Verdict: Three Stars

Kenou defeated Kaito Kiyomiya

Our main event is a rematch from the first show of the tour, which I reviewed here. It wasn’t quite as good as that but was still a step-up from most of what we got on this show.

Although, in saying that. If you’ve watched that first fight, you’ll definitely recognise the formula here. That swing between sections where Kenou dominates the action and Kiyomiya hope spots. Kiyomiya is bursting with fire and passion, and he rocks the champion on a couple of occasions. Sadly, when push comes to shove, the fact of the matter is he isn’t good enough. Kenou needs one shot, and when he gets it, he takes it.

Despite the similar layout to the previous showing, this was very good. I said after that first show that these two could feud for years and nothing here changed that opinion. Right up to Kenou tossing Kiyomiya from the ring post-match. This is a combination NOAH can go back to whenever they want to, and that’s a nice thing to have in your pocket.

Verdict: Three And A Half Stars

Overall Show

I opined at the start that this felt like a house show and to be honest, that’s precisely what it turned out to be. Nothing here is must watch, and even if it does get better as it goes along, it never gets great. It’s one for the completionists, everyone else can give it a miss.

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