For many people who came to Korakuen Hall today, this will be the last time they see the green mat at Korakuen until the Misawa memorial in June. It was a poignant moment, as Noah is changing. Speaking of Misawa, Kenta Kobashi was at the show, but in an informal way, because he wasn't doing commentary. He was seen watching from the balcony (which was reminiscent of how Misawa used to watch SEM). I think Kobashi too wanted to say goodbye to the green ring.
There was said to be a good atmosphere today, and in an unusual move, Noah handed out blue glowsticks for the 50 Funky Powers entry.
Kaito Kiyomiya was on autograph duty (presumably battling through the pain of his left arm being attacked)
The event was pretty much go right from the beginning.
Kenoh, YO-HEY, HAYATA & Seiya Morohashi vs Hi69, Tadasuke, Kouki Iwasaki and Junta Miyawaki.
Kenoh started growling about being in the opening match on Twitter and concluded by saying that he didn't care, he would go on as he always had.
Tadasuke said this is a chance to get revenge against "the traitors".
HAYATA and Tadasuke started off, with fans noticing that Junta Miyawaki was said to be looking bigger.
Kenoh and Iwasaki got in the ring, stared each other down, and then started trading kicks
YO-HEY with a beautiful dropkick, and while the hall behind Miyawaki for his first win, he was the one who got pinned. Speaking of Miyawaki, he seems to be developing a signature move, which I think is some kind of submission.
After the match, Tadasuke was seen to be speaking with YO-HEY, and then lingering outside of the ring.
This was going to be significant later...
WINNER: YO-HEY with the Face G on Junta Miyawaki (9 minutes and 53 seconds)
GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag championship
Yoshinari Ogawa & Kotaro Suzuki vs the Backbreakers (Hajime Ohara & Hitoshi Kumano)
The Backbreakers attacked immediately without waiting for the bell, which is unusual for Hajime Ohara (although Kumano bought his plastic rice paddle to the ring, he didn't use it as a weapon).
It is rare to have a title match as the second match on a card.
HAYATA & YO-HEY were seconding, but there was no one for The Backbreakers, and despite theor row yesterday (which was probably done to play mind games knowing the pair of them), Suzuki and Ogawa worked well together, and the match was said to be Kumano's breakout.
Kumano and Suzuki had a "lariat slugfest" (credit Abeshin)
After the match Tadasuke came out to the ring, then Daisuke Harada came out. Fans thought they were probably going to challenge the new champions, but HAYATA turned and attacked YO-HEY and then Ogawa.
RATELS had gotten back together (naturally minus YO-HEY).
Tadasuke hugged HAYATA, and Harada then announced that he and HAYATA would be challenging the new champions for the tag titles. HAYATA, when asked what he thought, said "Same".
Match will most likely take place in Yokohama on March 10th.
WINNER: Kotaro Suzuki with the Tiger Driver on Hitoshi Kumano (14 minutes and 46 seconds)
Masa Kitamiya vs Eddie Edwards
"Eddie is on Noah's mat again"
Korakuen Hall were cheering for Edwards and he had the green and white streamers. He was also presented with a bouquet of flowers.
Very intense match (Edwards throwing chops at Kitamiya), and said to be very traditional Noah in style (Edwards is Noah born, Kitamiya is not) (credit, Metal Noah).
There was a shake of hands at the end
A fan later commented;
"Eddie Edwards with Mitsuharu Misawa
Masa Kitamiya with Masa Saito
Each has roots
It was a great match"
WINNER: Eddie Edwards with the Boston Knee Party (8 minutes and 13 seconds)
Elimination match with stipulation: if The Hooligans win then Sugiura enters their unit as their slave, if they lose, they disband.
Takashi Sugiura, Masao Inoue, Akitoshi Saito, Yoshiki Inamura & Kinya Okada vs The Hooligans (Mitsuya Nagai, Yuji Hino. Maybach Taniguchi, KAZMA SAKAMOTO & Cody Hall)
The Hooligans attacked the rookies during the usual brawl before the match
The order of elimination went like this:
~ Kinya Okada eliminated by Maybach Taniguchi (Lariat)
~ Yuji Hino and Akitoshi Saito eliminated (Saito was holding Hino on the apron and Inamura eliminated them both)
~ Yoshiki Inamura eliminated by going over the ropes
~ Masao Inoue eliminated Cody Hall (Korakuen started chanting for Inoue)
~ Yoshiki Inamura eliminated Mitsuya Nagai via a Buzz kick over the ropes
~ Yoshiki Inamura eliminated
~ KAZMA SAKAMOTO eliminated Masao Inoue (pin via Trace Kick)
~ Takashi Sugiura eliminated Maybach Taniguchi with the Frankensteiner
~ Takashi Sugiura defeated KAZMA SAKAMOTO via The Olympic Slam
Hooligans then had to disband, and stood around in some disbelief.
Sugiura got on the mic after the match and told them he was glad he did not have to become their slave, it was now time for them to leave.
So, while Sugi leaned on the turnbuckles (looking like a mafia don with his mouthguard out like a cigar, which incidentally, Chris Ridgeway also does), KAZMA asked him for a singles match, which Sugiura granted. There is no stipulation to this one though.
Match has been set for 10th March in Yokohama.
WINNER: Takashi Sugiura via the Olympic Slam on KAZMA SAKAMOTO (23 minutes and 52 seconds)
Kaito Kiyomiya & Daisuke Harada vs Naomichi Marufuji & Minoru Tanaka
Crowd exhausted after the last match, so they started off quiet, which is surprising for any Marufuji\Kiyomiya\Harada\Tanaka match.
While Harada and Tanaka had a vicious fight in the ring, Marufuji just stood on the apron, staring past them at Kiyomiya.
Kiyomiya must have shuddered at what that meant.
Kenoh would never have been so polite.
When Kiyomiya and Marufuji did meet, Marufuji used a rare move for him (Chicken Wing) on Kiyomiya, Kiyomiya later reversed it and used his Chicken Wing Facelock on Marufuji.
I think Marufuji has developed again into using submission moves as well as trace kicks, chops etc - he will still bring out the occasional moonsault though, but this is a new era for him.
After the match, Marufuji went to shake hands with Tanaka, but Tanaka refused and left the ring over protest in Marufuji not giving him the main event in Yokohama.Normally, the champion would decide this, and not the challenger, but the champion is 22 years old, too polite and too shy. Kenoh's reply probably would have been four letters.
Marufuji was at his sadistic best, at the end of the match he bent down to hold the icepack on Kiyomiya's arm, which he had attacked consistently during the match. His smile was not evil like Nakajima's, but more cold and chilling.
WINNER: Naomichi Marufuji with the Modified Arm Lock (some fans put it down as a "key lock") 19 minutes and 52 seconds.
GHC Heavyweight Tag Championship
50 Funky Powers (Mohammed Yone & Quiet Storm) vs Katsuhiko Nakajima & Go Shiozaki
"Chopped by Shiozaki, pummeled by Nakajima's kicks. To say the least, its hell"
Blue glowsticks lit up Korakuen as "Boogie Wonderland" played and the champions made their way to the ring, with Yone wearing a bandanna.
A lot of paper tape ("a mountain") was thrown.
Yone decided to pull the "Disco Fever" pose at Nakajima, and Nakajima laughed at it.
Evidently he does not understand the significance of disco.
In what was a very stiff match from all four competitors, Nakajima vs Storm had a chop\kick battle, one kick in particular from Nakajima, seemed to take a lot of Storm. Nakajima also kicked Yone in the head too.
Nakajima had the evil grin on his face as he pinned Storm. He looked even more like the Cheshire Cat from "Alice in Wonderland" than usual.
Winner: Katsuhiko Nakajima with the Vertical Spike on Quiet Storm (19 minutes and 52 seconds)
After the match, Eddie Edwards and Masa Kitamiya came to the ring to challenge for the GHC Heavyweight Tag Titles. Edwards greeting the crowd and saying he had returned home to do this.
Nakajima warned them ominously, "Never take your eyes off us"
Picture credit: Noah GHC
With thanks to: Fujiwara Armbar, Noah GHC, Masked do Bamu, Pinkie Pie, Abeshin, Maybach Metapoko, Metal Noah, Shishi Kazu, Mitako Marahuji, Maki, I was born, Karin, Shu (Shota Kurihara), Fuji Error, Hamahamarin, Shinya, Horiuchi cheering Noah, Ninomy