Further excitement in the crowd was caused by the fact that Noah have a new trainee, who appeared at Numazu, and has made his first appearance at Korakuen. Taller than the other boy, it is thought that he will probably be a heavyweight. The two boys were joined at ringside by the injured Junta Miyawaki, and Seiya Morohashi.
Hideki Suzuki and Kazuyuki Fujita were seen practising in the ring beforehand, Dr Marufuji Jnr announced that he had lost his luggage and had to get someone to bring it to Korakuen, and AXIZ (in their tracksuits) signed autographs.
KENOH VS CHIKARA
Chikara entered the ring first. He kind of reminded me of Kiyomiya in early 2018, when he really didn't know what to do when he got in the ring, as he looked like he wasn't sure what to do before his opponent arrived, and was perpetually in nervous motion.
Then again, he was about to get his ass kicked, who could blame him? When Kenoh got in the ring, he gave him a withering look (he also looked somewhat embarrassed after what Sugiura had led him to believe, and that he had naive enough to believe him).
The bell rang and Kenoh wasted no time in attacking, and when Chikara did attack, Kenoh no sold him. However, it wasn't all bad news for Chikhara, as he managed to knock Kenoh down at one point, but this only made Kenoh (even) angrier, and he managed to get some shots in during the course of the match.
Chikara had been inspired by Kenta Kobashi vs Kensuke Sasaki in the infamous match with the chop record, and had mentioned he would chop Kenoh in an interview, in a "match with many chops", and so he did, although Kenoh looked like it was more of an irritating rainfall than it was a legitimate attack.
Soon after that, Kenoh decided enough was enough.
WINNER: Kenoh with the diving footstamp (6 minutes, 24 seconds)
Kenoh's unflattering assessment on Chikara was that he was worse than a trainee.
Chikara however is not to be put off, and says that he will come to Noah again.
THE SUGIURA ARMY (KAZMA SAKAMOTO & KINYA OKADA) vs THE TOUGH (MASA KITAMIYA & YOSHIKI INAMURA)
This was another match that Takashi Sugiura had arranged at the Kongoh produce in order to embarrass Kongoh, although his main target was Kenoh, and THE TOUGH had a somewhat more experienced opponent in KAZMA SAKAMOTO (if not Kinya Okada).
Okada came rushing to the ring, and immediately Inamura was there to meet him. Okada also shoved him back. The two started the match with Okada giving Inamura the elbow when on the ropes. Inamura responded by grabbing him by the throat, and later yelling "asshole" at him when he had his head in a grip.
WINNER: Masa Kitamiya with the side suplex on Kinya Okada (8 minutes, 19 seconds)
Kitamiya threw Okada out of the ring after the match, and he and Inamura left soon after having their arms raised.
Okada has vowed that he will get his first win in the New Year.
KAITO KIYOMIYA & SHUHEI TANIGUCHI vs AXIZ (GO SHIOZAKI & KAITO KIYOMIYA)
Shiozaki stood and stared at Kiyomiya as he made his entry. He didn't move. When the veterans do this, its a bad sign as its kind of like the Puro equivalent to the "stiff handshake". It means the same thing, you are going to get hurt.
Kiyomiya and Shiozaki started the match off, Shiozaki once again just standing and staring for a few seconds. Shiozaki wouldn't release his hold on Kiyomiya when on the ropes, and when he did, Kiyomiya made the mistake of chopping him. Shiozaki just brushed it off. This was not going to be the last time he no sold Kiyomiya.
When Nakajima and Taniguchi did face off as the two legal men, Nakajima displayed some very clever wrestling, Taniguchi became a monster, and the crowd worked up into a frenzy. Their role in this match was really to keep each other away from the ring, and let Shiozaki and Kiyomiya fight.
Kiyomiya went for the stretch plum face lock, and Taniguchi ran in to keep Nakajima out of the ring (later they got into a short but intense fight, which the audience loved).
I was concerned for Shiozaki after this as he was favoring his shoulder, as we know his arms are bad anyway and he has had shoulder problems this year, but he seems to be okay, especially since he chopped Kiyomiya with a sound like a cannon firing that the crowd screamed loudly. You could hear Kiyomiya audibly breathing in heavily to catch his breath. Shiozaki also took his head off a couple of times with lariats.
WINNER: Go Shiozaki with the Shiozaki Lariat on Kaito Kiyomiya (23 minutes, 23 seconds)
RATELS SURVIVOR ELIMINATION MATCH
HAYATA vs YO-HEY vs TADASUKE vs DAISUKE HARADA
The traditional RATELS New Year squabble took place.
Tadasuke entered first, all kinds of crazy in his leather jacket and shades.
Then YO-HEY, the second crazy person in RATELS\NOAH entered. He has ditched the peppermint, and gone for bright yellow.
Daisuke Harada appeared third.
HAYATA, as the GHC Junior champion (and therefore the face of the juniors) came out last. HAYATA being HAYATA was hiding under his hood and facemask.
Tadasuke offered his hand. No one took it. So he flicked sweat at everyone. Then he decided to bide his time on the outside, leaving the other three to fight, but oddly enough, no one would go near his corner so he had to get back in, and then he immediately crossed to the other corner. RATELS, knowing how crafty Tadasuke can be, avoided him again. The referee put a stop to it (while YO-HEY was waving his arms around), to tell him to get back in.
As ever, RATELS paired off in their usual way, YO-HEY & HAYATA vs Tadasuke & Harada. That soon fell apart when YO-HEY screwed HAYATA over, and let him be attacked by all three of them, yelling "IDIOT"!
HAYATA'S teammate problems weren't over, as Harada decided to imitate him (complete with very rare moonsault), but then found himself pinned and thus was the first person to be eliminated. YO-HEY couldn't quite believe it.
Harada lurked outside the ring, leaving HAYATA to deal with the two crazy people in it (Tadasuke was out of control again), and didn't take kindly to either YO-HEY or HAYATA getting in his way. Tadasuke pointed at YO-HEY with a loud "YOU!" when he tried.
HAYATA got in his way. Tadasuke did the same. HAYATA took no notice. Tadasuke complained to YO-HEY about his wife. YO-HEY said it wouldn't work on HAYATA, but after some comedy, YO-HEY and "Wife" managed to set Tadasuke up for a pin. Tadasuke went mad, and HAYATA laughed and pointed at him.
This left the always awesome combination of YO-HEY vs HAYATA in the ring together, with HAYATA, the person who had been imitated by Harada and menaced by Tadasuke, getting the win on YO-HEY by YO-HEY'S own move.
YO-HEY threw a tantrum and sulked.
WINNER: HAYATA with the YO-ROLL on YO-HEY (12 minutes, 41 seconds)
After the match, RATELS (who act like four boys in the playground), all made up.
They will be friends until Global Junior League starts, but at least this years squabble was not as bad as last years...even if YO-HEY, Tadasuke and Harada did all walk off together leaving HAYATA alone in the ring.
Backstage, HAYATA (naturally) made no comment, and just walked off smiling, having beaten his friends up.
HAJIME OHARA 15TH ANNIVERSARY DEBUT MATCH
HAJIME OHARA, ULTIMO DRAGON & SHIRO KOSHINAKA vs TOKYO GURENTAI (NOSAWA RONGAI, MAZADA & FUJITA)
This is Ultimo Dragon's first appearance in Noah.
Hajime Ohara appeared with flowers from the back, and a lady appeared to give him a gift, as Takashi Sugiura joined them for a commemorative photo.
After these niceties were over, "Tokyo Gurentai" (literally "Tokyo Thugs") appeared. This is the unit of NOSAWA, MAZADA & FUJITA, and they (all dressed in NOSAWA'S dog t-shirts) immediately set about beating up on their opponents. However, hooligans don't work together very well, and a lot of shoving and yelling went on between them, with NOSAWA and MAZADA fighting in the ring, before making up. On reflection, they are kind of like a more violent version of RATELS (without the computer games), and they got lots of boos for triple teaming Hajime Ohara when stamping on him, and NOSAWA even got a "Ohara" chant going. The crowd didn't need NOSAWA to start one, as Ohara did a rare leap from the top rope onto them later in the match.
WINNER: Ultimo Dragon with the La Mistral on NOSAWA Rongai (10 minutes, 50 seconds)
After the match, Hajime Ohara made a speech on the microphone, and outlined his plans for 2020. He said he hopes to graduate from High School (he is an adult student, who I believe is studying physiotherapy), and challenge for the GHC Junior.
DR MARUFUJI JNR vs EL HIJO DE DOCTOR WAGNER JNR
Naomichi Marufuji finally got his chance to wear a mask, but El Hijo de Dr Wagner Jnr was determined to unmask him.
The fight went into the crowd, with El Hijo de Dr Wagner Jnr stealing an old ladies bag to hit Dr Marufuji Jnr with (it's probably best that these are not the days of Mitsuya Nagai), and I later saw another woman when the fight approached her, take her bag far away.
The crowd booed as back in the ring, El Hijo de Dr Wagner Jnr unmasked, Dr Marufuji Jnr, revealing it to be Marufuji...who evidently was not at the New Years party like he claimed he would be. Yes folks. It was all a ruse. On an interesting note, the mask that he wore (he had two made), are custom made, and there are only two in the world. Amongst other things he collects, masks are one of them, particularly Tiger Mask masks. Marufuji got his own back on his opponent, and tried to unmask him, to the boos of the crowd.
Short comedy match, and not too strenuous for Marufuji (who cheated to win), who seems to have taken it onboard that after 2018, he needed to rest in 2019, in order to get ready for a busy 2020.
WINNER: Dr Marufuji Jnr via feet on rope cheat (8 minutes, 42 seconds)
Then came the main event....and oh boy, Korakuen was going to get to hysteria levels it had never been before.
BATTLE OF THE TOUGH GUYS, THE SUGIURA ARMY VS THE SUGIURA ARMY
TAKASHI SUGIURA & KAZUYASHI SAKURABA vs KAZUSHI FUJITA & HIDEKI SUZUKI
The main event started as normal. Takashi Sugiura came out last, and he and Sakuraba posed for pictures. Fujita was still refusing to wear a "Company Dog" t-shirt (Tokyo Sports will have a field day with this).
The match was started by Sakuraba and Suzuki locking up. If you love a mixture of both judo, MMA and catch wrestling, then this is a match up I would highly recommend you watch this match. Sakuraba then tagged in Sugiura, (he said he needed to catch his breath), and Sugiura stood and stared at Fujita (the man, if Tokyo Sports are to believed, he wasted petrol money on when he could have been at home happily acting like a Bond villain, swishing wine in a glass while wearing a bathrobe and spinning a globe. Don't ask). They had a hoss fight, two large guys just slamming into each other as they bounced off the ropes trying to knock each other down (Fujita won after a punch to Sugiura).
After the ropes, they moved on to stiff elbows and punches, with a slap by Fujita bringing Sugiura crashing to the mat. At one point, Fujita even went for the cocky pin.
Then when Sugiura had Fujita in a choke, and Sakuraba Suzuki in a submission, the crowd started screaming loudly, as Kongoh decided to storm the ring after 19 minutes and 51 seconds, bringing the match to a halt as Masa Kitamiya (to a wall of boos) knocked Sugiura down with the GHC National, and busted him open (later, Kitamiya would bite the wound, smearing blood around his mouth, chin and down his chest). The others in Kongoh got in, the bell rang, and a mass brawl broke out as the other members of The Sugiura Army came in.
The ring being invaded, especially in a main event, at a produce show, is highly highly rare, and in the process, Kongoh established themselves as heels. Nio even spat red mist at Sakuraba.
THE SUGIURA ARMY (TAKASHI SUGIURA, KAZUYASHI FUJIYA & HIDEKI SUZUKI) vs KONGOH (KENOH, MASA KITAMIYA & YOSHIKI INAMURA)
Referee Nishinaga was left hopelessly looking on, as the fights went to all four corners, Kitamiya choking Sugiura with his t-shirt, Fujita fighting Inamura on the stairs, and Kenoh and Hideki Suzuki by the stairwell.
NOSAWA it should be noted, was very helpful at this point, he materialised, shouted and pointed at Kitamiya and then the ring. Kitamiya just yelled back at him.
Needless to say, the chants for Sugiura were overwhelming (but I still heard some chants for Kenoh in the crowd).
Kongoh's main target was of course, Sugiura. Kenoh wanted revenge for his humiliation earlier in the evening, Kitamiya of course is challenging for the title, Inamura it is a little less personal, but Sugiura is\was his hero, so overcoming him is a big deal.
Hideki Suzuki and Kenoh faced off, with Suzuki trying to pull Kenoh into Catch Wrestling, and Kenoh retaliating in anger with Nippon Kempo (probably one of the few times we see Kenoh do this in a Noah ring).
WINNER: Takashi Sugiura with the Olympic Slam on Yoshiki Inamura (16 minutes, 9 seconds)
Kongoh slunk off to lick their wounds (Kenoh started shrieking about Kongoh in 2020 backstage), as The Sugiura Army gathered together for the commemorative photo. Takashi Sugiura spoke on the microphone as everyone filed in, except for young Kinya Okada, who is not allowed to be an official member just yet.
There was a touching moment after the first picture, when they realised that someone was missing, Sugiura looked outside of the ring and to the chants of the fans, motioned for Okada to come into the ring. He was sat down (he later lay, got up, and then was repositioned by Hideki Suzuki), with everyone for the picture. He was also wearing a white "Company Dog" t-shirt, which was a new design that had been released that day.
And with this show, Noah's 2019 is now done.
Look forward to an explosive 2020, if this event is any indication to the coming war between Kongoh and The Sugiura Army.
WITH THANKS TO: Abeshin, Metal Noah
GIF & PICTURE CREDIT: NOAH GHC
NOAH'S NEXT SHOW: 4th January 2020, Korakuen Hall.
Link to show from the official Noah YouTube can be found here.
Please note that Noah are sporadic in keeping some shows up, for example, the RATELS produce was taken down quickly, but at the time of writing the Kongoh event still remains, so I cannot say for how long the Sugiura Army Produce will remain on the site, and so the link may be dead when you click on it.