Atsushi Kotoge was on autograph duty, especially as Noah have started selling child size "Revolutionary Capes". Twenty were sold as pre-orders, and within a matter of hours, all twenty had been sold (one adult, who will remain nameless, but I know who she is, did come to the arena in a pink cape. No. It wasn't me).
The moment you stepped foot in Sumo Hall, the atmosphere was said to be amazing.
The hallway was thronged with people, the merchandise table had a long queue, and as well as Noah various sponsors had set up their displays (such as "Sammy" the Pachinko Company whose logo appeared in the middle of the ring, and President Kitai from the K.O. Gym).
Bouquets of flowers for Naomichi Marufuji were on display, having been sent by well wishers such as ASUKA (with a prominent WWE on it just in case you forgot who she was and where she was from), Koki Kitahara, Satoru Sayama (the original Tiger Mask), Tatsumi Fujinami, Kenta Kobashi, Jun Akiyama, Yoshihiro Takayama and Yuma Aoyagi (amongst others).
This would have been a very proud day for Mitsuharu Misawa, and his flowers would no doubt have been prominent among them. Misawa is looking down and smiling from heaven, as it is believed that he had a hand in arranging today, especially the miracles of KENTA and the venue itself.
Inside the venue, fans had hung a banner which defiantly read "KENTA" in his old colors of brown and yellow.
RAN (wearing red) sang the opening ceremony. She said later on TWITTER that there was not enough space for her to address what she felt.
Two of the "Four Pillars of Heaven" (the other two being Mitsuharu Misawa and Akira Taue), Kenta Kobashi and Toshiaki Kawada where on commentary as the special guests. Kenta Kobashi looking very happy, and Toshiaki Kawada maintaining his usual reserve.
Naomichi Marufuji was about to demonstrate that he remembered the old ways he was bought up with by his seniors, as the card structure very much resembled the "Golden Era". The old vets (i.e. the Misawa generation vets) took the opening matches (aka the "Old Man Matches"), with the card then switching to the mid to upper card wrestlers (both junior and heavyweight), with the veteran heavyweights in the main event.
"It's like watching Noah in the old days"
Mohammed Yone & Junta Miyawaki vs Mitsuo Momota & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi
Mitsuo Momota came out to his old Rocky theme as he had done during Noah's "Golden Era". Marufuji joked in an interview he had put the old man (he will be seventy in September) on at the beginning so it wouldn't be too late for him.
It was a "Old Man" Golden Era stadium opener, but it was a fun one with the two old men (Kikuchi is fifty-three) said to be "energetic", although naturally Momota took no bumps.
Young Junta Miyawaki (old enough at twenty-one to be their grandson or even great-grandson in the case of Momota), held his own against the two old vets, with Kikuchi taking Yone's Kin Meat Buster (lets face it, Momota was not going to take it). Even though the boy did not get his first win today, he at least had a victory in front of a stadium crowd.
WINNER: Mohammed Yone with the Kin Meat Buster on Tsuyoshi Kikuchi (4 mins, 45 seconds)
Akitoshi Saito, Masao Inoue & Hikaru Kawabata vs Takuma Sano, Tamon Honda & Shiro Koshinaka
A somewhat nostalgic match with the presence of Takuma Sano, Hikaru Kawabata and Tamon Honda in the match, since none of them have been in Noah for a very long time, and having been part of the mass exodus from All Japan, were part of the "Golden Era".
To make this really nostalgic, Akitoshi Saito should have come to the ring with his sickle, and Masao Inoue in his Oni mask (however they didn't I don't think). Tamon Honda used his old famous move "The Rolling Olympic Hell".
WINNER: Shiro Koshinaka with the hip attack on Masao Inoue (5 mins, 34 seconds)
Quiet Storm & Tadasuke vs Takao Omori & Cody Hall
"How did these four get together? What a card!!"
Tadasuke had been talking about a special plan for dodging Omori's Axe Lariat.
Looks like it went well.
After the match, Omori was seen shaking hands with old friend, Kenta Kobashi.
Fans wanted to see more of Quiet Storm vs Takao Omori ("the 50cm arm vs The Axe Bomber"
WINNER: Takao Omori with the Axe Bomber Lariat on Tadasuke (5 mins, 55 seconds)
YO-HEY & HAYATA vs Jiro Ikemen & Shuji Kondo
"HAYATA and Twink, the war of the handsome"
Just like in the old days, this was the point when the younger mid to upper card wrestlers and the more important vets came out, and the card started to shift slightly.
Jiro Ikemen replaced the injured Kaz Hayashi, and the crowd went wild for him. YO-HEY & HAYATA came out to HAYATA'S theme music "Painkiller" by Judas Priest, which was played at full blast.
Although the match started off with Jiro Ikemen vs YO-HEY, when HAYATA was tagged in, he offered HAYATA his jacket.
HAYATA just stared.
WINNER: Shuji Kondo with the King Kong lariat on YO-HEY (9 mins and 50 seconds)
Hi69, Minoru Tanaka & Kotaro Suzuki vs Hajime Ohara, Hitoshi Kumano & Seiya Morohashi
"I will leave with the victory. Noah's junior league is the weakest"
(Kotaro Suzuki about entering Global Junior League)
Yoshinari Ogawa came out to second his teammates in SPECIAL4 (he is suffering a concussion, and as a precaution was pulled from today's show, but it seems that his concussion is not so bad that he can't be around flashing lights), he and Kotaro Suzuki stared each other down for a few moments, and then shook hands, and hugged. Kotaro Suzuki of course as a Noah graduate, passed through Ogawa's hands at some point like all the dojo graduates do.
Hi69 has finally let go of the last lingering threads of Taiji Ishimori (who he was VERY dependent on), and has got round to finally getting new ring wear. The camouflage has gone to be replaced by similar style white trunks, and a Noah t-shirt. I think the mask may also have been done away with too.
Hitoshi Kumano nominated Kotaro Suzuki to start the match with. As expected with such masters as Hajime Ohara, Hitoshi Kumano and Seiya Morohashi, you had an obligatory triple submission move at one point, but it was Kotaro Suzuki who ultimately got the pin.
After the match, Hajime Ohara got on the microphone, and urged Kotaro Suzuki to compete in Noah's Junior Global League (he later confirmed he would be competing). While Daisuke Harada may be the junior league champion, it is Hajime Ohara who is its leader.
Hitoshi Kumano was not too pleased with his words, and vowed revenge.
During the match Kotaro Suzuki stole an umbrella from an audience member to use as a weapon, Minoru Tanaka got hold of it and opened it.
WINNER: Kotaro Suzuki with the Blue Destiny on Hitoshi Kumano (8 mins, 59 seconds)
Katsuhiko Nakajima, Masa Kitamiya & Taiyo Kea vs Go Shiozaki, Kaito Kiyomiya & KAZMA SAKAMOTO
Yoshinari Ogawa was due to compete in this match, but he sustained a concussion during "Summer Navigation 2018", so he was pulled from it and replaced by KAZMA SAKAMOTO.
Katsuhiko Nakajima wore the evil smirk on his way to the ring (everyone commented on his "scary smile")
Masa Kitamiya has dyed his hair blonde and cut it into a Mohawk (I personally preferred his wild man of the hills look).
Go Shiozaki with the machine gun chops in front of Kenta Kobashi (Kobashi normally has a big proud grin when Shiozaki does this, but tonight I think he was especially happy as he had both KENTA and Go Shiozaki with him.)
However, the match didn't get too good reviews, said to be the weakest on the card, people wanted to see more of Shiozaki vs Nakajima, and the overall opinion was that it was said to be pretty pointless.
WINNER: Masa Kitamiya with the Saito Suplex on KAZMA SAKAMOTO (11 minutes, 33 seconds)
Kenoh, Maybach Taniguchi & Atsushi Kotoge vs Sanshiro Takagi, HARASHIMA & Deino
Deino was announced in the usual way Deino is announced (uhh, basically says he is a homosexual wrester, who likes butts) he was on top form this evening. He went to kiss Kenta Kobashi, and got chopped for his troubles. He was also determined to kiss Kenoh.
Naturally, this wasn't taken very well.
Deino did get his wish to kiss a Noah wrestler, Atsushi Kotoge got not only a big kiss, and also a look at Deino's ass from a couple of angles, and Maybach Taniguchi also got one, and Deino got a lariat for his efforts.
Revolutionary fervour seems to have spread to DDT, with DDT's president, Sanshiro Takagi, doing the "Revolutionary Pose".
Takeshi Morishima appeared to do special commentary. Unlike his well turned out companions of Kenta Kobashi and Toshiaki Kawada, he was wearing beige jeans and a "GENESIS" T-shirt (not the band, the name of his produce in August).
Kenoh and HARASHIMA, naturally had a kick war.
After the match, Kenoh came to the commentary table and embraced Takeshi Morishima.
I don't think Kenoh has embraced many people in his career, but Morishima has been a mentor and a good, close and generous friend to him. Morishima took off his t-shirt, handed it to Kenoh, and said to him to give it to Takashi Sugiura, therefore hinting that he wanted to face Sugiura at "GENESIS" in October.
WINNER: HARASHIMA with the Sōba sword on Atsushi Kotoge (15 minutes and 31 seconds)
Takashi Sugiura & Daisuke Harada vs Jun Akiyama & Atsushi Aoki
There was an air of awkwardness for this match, as Takashi Sugiura had let it be known, he wasn't looking forward to this and was still very angry with Jun Akiyama for walking out of Noah. So, putting on his "Killing Face", and after holding up the GHC Heavyweight belt to his face, he and Akiyama faced off. (FYI, when he puts on his "killing face", you want to run.)
The match, (which had been commented to feel like a title match), went into the crowd. It was never resolved between all four teams, with Daisuke Harada squaring up to Jun Akiyama (the size difference was remarkable), and Takashi Sugiura saying that thirty minutes was not long enough to resolve anything.
Fans praised Daisuke Harada, and said they want to see this again.
WINNER: Match went to a time limit draw (30 mins)
Naomichi Marufuji vs KENTA
The crowd did not cheer for KENTA, a huge roar arose from 6,285 people when he came out to the ring, especially since he was wearing his old costume.
Naomichi Marufuji came out next (he has a new ring jacket which is the usual red, has long arms and for a moment I thought he had a backpack on his back, and is covered in sponsorship logos), and he and KENTA squared up. Five years has not cured them of the urge to kill each other, and the ref had to separate them before they were announced (KENTA by his WWE name), and a blizzard of streamers enveloped them.
The match was not the same as it was when they were both young and in their mid to late twenties and early thirties, but it was the best that could be done with them as they are now. KENTA has been worn down with injuries,and Marufuji's arm and shoulder is not in a good way (he has numbness in it). Despite all this, Sumo Hall was on fire, the match went outside at one point and the usual moves came out, KENTA'S Busaiku Knee, Go To Sleep (yeah, this is KENTA'S move, okay), and the Shiranui.
Naomichi Marufuji got the victory with the Pole Shift Type Emerald Flowsion after 34 minutes and 12 seconds. Afterwards they embraced.
Their history spans fifteen years, it started in KENTA'S All Japan tryout, and probably ended here tonight at Sumo Hall. Marufuji has been talking of retiring next year (he will be 39 this November), and it is unlikely that WWE will allow any further "special circumstances" to allow KENTA to come back to Noah again.
Marufuji then made a speech:
"I made my debut at age of 18, there has been good things and bad things, but I am in this ring!
Hide ... ... KENTA Thank you!
Akiyama, free talent, all the wrestlers, thank you for fighting with full strength"
After the speech the Noah roster (led by Go Shiozaki) came to the ring. As Chairman of the Noah Wrestlers Association, Go Shiozaki presented Naomichi Marufuji with a bouquet of flowers on behalf of the roster, the company, the stakeholders, the staff etc, and everyone posed for a picture.
When the roster had left, golden paper reigned down on Marufuji in the ring.
ATTENDANCE: 6,285 (SUPER NO VACANCY)
Noah held an aftershow party for the wrestlers, associates, staff members, stakeholders, company bigwigs, friends, fellow athletes etc. I don't think this was a fan event as I haven't heard of any competition whereby a limited number would be invited.
Hi69 said he got washed, dressed and then fell asleep before it.
Kenoh appeared suited and scowling.
Will Ospreay posted on Twitter his congratulations to Marufuji, and that there should be "no more drinking" (which probably means Marufuji was drunk texting him)/
Takashi Sugiura had a picture taken with KENTA (he called him by his WWE name).
Back in June, Sugi had joked that he didn't know who Hideo Itami was, and laughed when he was told it was KENTA saying about "Flight", "Oh, he's coming? Is that what he's calling himself now?"
KENTA saw the picture and tweet and said that he thought he didn't know who "Hideo Itami" was.
Sugi said he still didn't.
Fans hope that both Kotaro Suzuki and KENTA can return to Noah someday.
With thanks to: Metal Noah, Abeshin, Fujiwara Armbar, FujiError, Shishido