NOAH Navigation Of Dash 16/2/18 Review

I can’t find pictures related to this card so have NOAH’s very green logo instead. Credit: NOAH

When NOAH goes low-budget, they go very low-budget. I don’t necessarily blame them, there were around 250 people in the crowd at this show and they can’t be expected to add all the bells and whistles. However, it can make it harder to watch as the production values really suck. Despite that, it was an interesting card with a handful of singles matches, so here we go. Let’s dish out some stars.

Hajime Ohara defeated Seiya Morohashi

A pretty uneventful opener. It was laid out to make Ohara looked strong, although Morohashi had a few moments too. There is not much to say about it beyond that. Despite going around eight-minutes, absolutely none of it has stuck in my mind.

Verdict: One And A Half Stars

RATEL’S (Tadasuke and YO-HEY) defeated Mohammed Yone and Masao Inoue

It should be a shock to no one to discover that this was an antic fuelled match. One dedicated to generating laughs rather than stars. If you enjoy that style of wrestling it should be a pleasant diversion, otherwise, give it a miss.

One point of interest is that this is another example of Inoue losing to one of his own tricks. After attempting multiple low blows, Tadasuke caught him with one before locking him in a small package. I don’t know if that recurring theme is going anywhere or not, but it could do.

Verdict: Two Stars

Cody Hall and Jay Bradley defeated Hitoshi Kumano and Masa Kitamiya

Cody Hall is not a very good wrestler. He’s still young, so he might get better and competing in a promotion like NOAH is a great way to learn. However, every time he lumbers into the ring I want to groan.

There was a lot of lumbering here. Hall and Bradley’s heat section threatened to put everyone to sleep. They’re big lads and look impressive, but they’re not an exciting tag team. I’d much rather see Bradley do his own thing.

Sadly, a showcase victory for the team suggests we aren’t going to get that. While Kumano and Kitamiya did their best to pick up the action, it wasn’t enough. This was a bit of a bore.

Verdict: Two Stars

Yoshinari Ogawa defeated Hi69

A strange match. I kept waiting for Hi69 to get his big comeback and come flying out of the blocks. Yet, it never really happened. He had moments and a few quick hope spots, but none of them went particularly far.

Instead, Ogawa essentially took him to school. Grounding him and proceeding to destroy that arm. Any of those moments where it looked like he might comeback were cut off as Rat Boy (which is my new favourite nickname by the way) proceeded to wrench on Hi69’s poor arm.

I think this one comes down to taste. I enjoy limb work and more ground-based wrestling, so I didn’t hate it. However, over ten minutes of that without much in the way of variation will presumably cause some to drift off.

After the match, Ogawa made it clear that he wanted one of those Junior Tag Titles before continuing the attack. This was domination.

Verdict: Three And A Half Stars

Minoru Tanaka defeated Taiji Ishimori

The other half of the Junior Tag champions against the man who has been teaming with Ogawa recently. It’s a simple story they’re telling.

And the tag-team champs are not having a fun day. Tanaka continued his pal’s mission by going straight after Ishimori’s arm. He wasn’t quite as comprehensive in his victory as Ogawa was, but he still did more than enough damage.

I called this simple storytelling. However, that doesn’t equate to it being bad. These matches are improved when they are paired together. The two challengers went out with the aim of causing the champions damage and succeeded. It set up a future title shot nicely and was the first good thing on this card.

Afterwards, Hi69 and Ogawa both made their way to the ring. Tanaka and Ogawa then went to town on XX, continuing to target those arms.

Verdict: Three And A Half Stars

Go Shiozaki and Kaito Kiyomiya defeated Maybach Taniguchi and Mitsuya Nagai

It says a lot about me as a person that my favourite part of the match was Go Shiozaki slapping Nagai on his bald head to break up a pin. It tickled me more than I should admit.

That fun aside, this was a straight-forward tag. Taniguchi and Nagai started off with all their usual shenanigans. Dragging Shiozaki to the outside and engaging in the kind of villainy that puts you to sleep. Once we got past that, though, things improved.

Go was beaten down for a bit before we got a fiery Kiyomiya hot tag. It didn’t last long, but the feeling that the kid is special only grows every time I see him. Everything would break down from there, with people sliding in and out of the ring at every chance before Go Shiozaki caught Nagai with a big lariat for a win.

This was entirely acceptable tag team wrestling. While nothing about it was particularly amazing, it passed the time nicely.

Verdict: Three Stars

HAYATA defeated Daisuke Harada, Katsuhiko Nakajima and Quiet Storm

They started the match by disappearing into the crowd for a brawl. That stuff annoys me usually, and on shows that have been filmed with one camera, it is a pain in the fucking arse. The view is shit and you can’t tell whats going on.

When they got back to the ring, they fell into a two-out two-in formula. Although, to be honest, I was kind of okay with that. Because the pairings in the ring tended to be delivering decent action. Nakajima was having particular fun kicking people in the chest.

In the end, Hayata caught Harada in a crucifix pin and made it very clear that he wanted a shot at the GHC Junior Title. Like most of this show, there wasn’t anything spectacular about this. However, there was enough to keep you interested and it didn’t suck.

Verdict: Three Stars

Atsushi Kotoge and Naomichi Marufuji defeated Kenou and Takashi Sugiura

Kenou got that title right up in Marafuji’s face during the intros.

That wasn’t their only interaction either. It was made very clear that there is no love between the current and the former champion as they went out there and stiffed the crap out of each other. The chop/kick battle that they engaged in towards the end of this was pretty damn brutal and a total joy to watch.

In fact, this was full of moments like that as Suguira and Kotoge didn’t exactly go easy on each other either. After a show where it often felt like people were working at half effort, these guys came out with the intention to raise the bar.

It was a bit of a shame then that the finish came out of nowhere as like a lot of matches on this card it ended with a flash pin. Kotoge managed to get Suguira all tangled up and snuck out with the win. Putting to an end a decent if slightly short encounter.

Verdict: Three And A Half Stars

Post-match, Kenou wasn’t impressed with his partner. Suddenly, we have a match!

Kenou and Takashi Sugiura fought to a double KO

Short and sweet but damn did they use that time to throw some strikes. It wasn’t so much a wrestling match as two tired men trying to knock each other out. Which they both succeeded at. Sugiura was driving his elbow into Kenou’s face time after time and in a desperation move, Kenou fought back with a perfect kick just before he hit the ground. Both men were knocked out and this was a stalemate.

There’s nothing to rate here, although I did enjoy it a lot. The sudden nature of it plus the brutality of the encounter itself was something different and it’s a nice set-up for a future fight between these two. Even after less than five minutes of action, I’m well up for it.

Verdict: NA

Overall Show

Not a great show if we’re honest. There were a lot of alright matches with nothing getting a chance to shine. I liked the build-up for the Tag Titles and enjoyed the main event but that was kind of it. Everything else is watchable enough and yet entirely skippable.

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