We’re onto my third NOAH show, and if I’m honest, I still don’t have a clue what’s happening in most of the major storylines. A lot of time is taken up Googling names to figure out who is who. However, rather than watching a bunch more and figuring it out, I’m going to continue to give you my opinion while knowing nothing, because that’s the kind of privilege I can get away with. Let’s dish out some stars.
YO-HEY defeated Junta Miyawaki
Miyawaki gave YO-HEY a couple of scares here. He got a two count off a backslide and a Fisherman Suplex (which was slightly ruined by YO-HEY’s shoulder being off the mat for the pin). Unfortunately, all that progress was halted by a perfect dropkick from YO-HEY followed by a Twist of Fate (I’m sure he has another name for it) for the win.
Standard Young Boy fare that didn’t go long enough to impress. Miyawaki looked okay which is the most important thing.
Verdict: Two Stars
RATEL’S (Daisuke Harada and Tadaske) defeated Hajime Ohara and Masao Inoue
Inoue’s involvement set the tone for this one. The opening few minutes saw Ohara’s crotch being pulled into Inoue’s face while he hung in the tree of woe and we went from there.
There was a burst of decent wrestling when Ohara and Harada were in the ring, but it was very much the exception rather than the rule. This was all about having fun, and it succeeded. While no one is going to call it a classic, it’s hard to moan about it either.
For the second show in a row, Inoue was caught out by one of his own tricks. Tadasuke distracted the ref, hit a low blow and rolled Inoue up for the three.
Verdict: Two And A Half Stars
Go Shiozaki and Atsushi Kotoge defeated Cody Hall and Jay Bradley
A chance for the two big white boys to play enhancement talent.
They actually dominated a lot of the action, working over Go Shiozaki and showing off their power. Kotoge would get the hot tag and use his pace for a bit before getting caught in the same position as Shiozaki. In the end, it would require a combination of the two (a lariat from Go followed by a Killswitch from Kotoge) to get the win.
Another perfectly fine performance. Bradley and Hall tower over both these guys, so the win looks impressive, and Kotoge’s hot tag was the highlight. Again, it’s nothing you’re going to go back to, but it did its job.
Verdict: Two And A Half Stars
Minoru Tanaka, Yoshinara Ogawa and Seiya Morohashi defeated XX (Hi69 and Taiji Ishimori) and LEONA
Unless I missed something, the version of this match that they aired saw neither LEONA or Morohashi tag in. LEONA had a quick run in as the illegal man, while poor Morohashi did practically nothing.
It might have been for the best, though. Because XX had a fun tag with Tanaka and Ogawa. It was worked at pace with both teams getting short bursts of shine. As the NOAH noob, I don’t know if 45-year-old Tanaka still regularly pulls out the Fireball Splash, but you have to appreciate it anyway.
While there wasn’t enough of it to get past decent, Tanaka and Ogawa picking up the win (and having a fiddle with the belts afterwards) suggests we might be seeing it again in the future.
Verdict: Three Stars
Katsuhiko Nakajima and Masa Kitamiya defeated Akitoshi Saito and Takashi Sugiura
A gruelling watch and not in a bad way. It was proper big boy wrestling, packed with meaty strikes and high impact moves.
That was particularly true when the pairing of Kitamiya and Saito were in the ring. Those are two big boys and they were leaning into each other here. By the end of their (and there’s no other word for it) fight, Saito’s chest was lit up, and Kitamiya must have been feeling it too.
When I decided to get into NOAH, I was looking for this kind of action. As mentioned, I’m still not au-fait with storylines and the nuances of the wrestler’s performances. However, when four men are beating the shit out of each other in the ring, I’m kind of happy to forget that. It’s damn entertaining.
Verdict: Three And A Half Stars
HAYATA defeated Hitoshi Kumano in a Number One Contender Match for the GHC Junior Heavyweight Title
This is not what most people will think of when they hear about a number one contender bout for a Junior Title. Probably because Kumano is not the kind of wrestler you associate with Junior wrestling. He’s got the height, but not the build.
And he doesn’t wrestle a classic Junior style either. He’s more of a technical brawler, dragging HAYATA to the outside early on to introduce him to the barricades. That gave him the opening he needed as he went to work on the back, wearing HAYATA down and looking to cause as much damage as possible.
Hayata wasn’t willing to give up, though. When he was in control, he wanted to pick up the pace, which with a damaged back wasn’t easy. However, he battled through the pain to get the win. He took a beating and looked good for fighting back.
Verdict: Three Stars
Naomichi Marifujij defeated Kaito Kiyomiya
Having returned and lost a title and non-title match to Kenou, Kiyomiya drops down the card a bit for a meeting with Marufuji.
Sadly for him, this followed a similar path to those title shots. After Kiyomiya started fast, Marifuji was able to take over and started dishing out a lesson. He threw him into a few barricades, smacked him with a gate and even hit a piledriver on the apron. It looked like it was going to be a short night for the young lad.
If there is one thing we’re learning about Kiyomiya, though, it’s that he doesn’t give up easily. It’s like the more he gets beat up, the more he tries. He came roaring back, bursting with babyface passion as he gave Marifuji all he had. There was more than one moment when he looked like he might get the win.
Except, in a familiar story, he didn’t. Because he’s not ready. He gets close, and he gives these established stars a scare, but sadly he’s not on their level at this point. Someday he might be, it’s just not today.
In the handful of NOAH shows I’ve watched, Kiyomiya has been my favourite thing about them. He’s incredibly likeable and even his refusal to shake Marifuji’s hand after the bell came off more like a display of pride than arrogance. If I were Gedo, I would be taking notes about how to book a certain Mr Kawato when he returns from his excursion.
Verdict: Four Stars
50 Funky Powers (Muhammad Yone and Quiet Storm) defeated Maybach Taniguchi and Mitsuya Nagai to retain the GHC Tag Team Titles
Yone and Quiet Storm just want to have a bit of fun, and Taniguchi and Nagai had to come along and spoil it all.
They went straight to brawling on the outside and it set the theme for what was a shenanigan fuelled outing. Quite frankly, the shenanigans were a bit too much for me. Taniguchi and Nagai’s constant cheating took away from my enjoyment. At one point Nagai quite openly used a chair, and the ref decided not to bother dealing with it.
I did enjoy the story of Yone and Storm fighting through those antics. I like them in general. I want to be friends with them. We could go and have a boogie. I don’t really boogie, but if I were on a night out with them, I definitely would. Also, that Muscle Buster Powerbomb combo is awesome.
Verdict: Three Stars
Kenou defeated Yuko Miyamoto to retain the GHC Heavyweight Title
It’s hard to follow the pre-match videos because of the usual problem of not speaking Japanese. However, I got that these two have history, part of which involves Kenou going through a table. Cagematch shows two previous singles matches, one of which came in last year’s Global League. Miyamoto won before Kenou went on to win the tournament and subsequently the title.
I’m assuming that’s where the table action went down because said table (well, probably not said table, I imagine it was a different table) played a part in this too. After a relatively even opening period where the action swung between both men, the table emerged, and Miyamoto drove Kenou through it with a Samoan Driver. Despite that somewhat emphatic exclamation mark, Kenou made it back to the ring before he could be counted out.
The damage was done though, and it put Kenou in a very different position from his last defence against Kiyomiya. Suddenly, he was playing defence and Miyamoto was racking up two-counts. Kenou was able to fire back with some vicious kicks, but it looked like it was a matter of time until this was over. Especially when Miyamoto hit his third Samoan Driver.
Except, Miyamoto made a mistake. Rather than going for the pin he went and got another table out. He went back to that well one too many times, and he ended up stuck at the bottom of it. Kenou fought out, hit a double stomp through the table and followed up with one in the ring for the three.
A lovely example of fantastic wrestling. It was a different side to Kenou compared to the one I’ve seen before, and I am sold on both of them. It wasn’t a one-man show, however, and both men put everything into this. Watch it.
Verdict: Four And A Half Stars
If you’re only looking for the great stuff, then the main event and Kiyomiya vs Marifuji are both excellent wrestling matches while everything else is merely okay to good. However, that didn’t stop it being an entertaining couple of hours. The editing they do for TV actually benefits the undercard as it zips by. All in all, a decent showing from NOAH.