SHUHEI TANIGUCHI VS SEIKI YOSHIOKA
Initially, Shuhei Taniguchi was not phased by Seiki Yoshioka at all, he didn't respond to the kicks to his chest, and then easily broke his grip during the first lock up. Yoshioka therefore took out his knees to take him down. Despite the massive size difference, Yoshioka was not at a complete disadvantage, using swift tactics (and his size) he managed to do a reversal and go back to working Taniguchi's knee over once when Taniguchi got the other hand, but he managed to get to the ropes and break the hold.
Despite Taniguchi throwing Yoshioka across the ring, and then felling him with massive clothesline, Yoshioka kicked out of the following slam (which shook the canvas), so Taniguchi finished things with a diving body press
WINNER: Shuhei Taniguchi with diving body press (11 minutes, 26 seconds)
MASA KITAMIYA vs ATSUSHI KOTOGE
The match was on the moment the bell rang as Atsushi Kotoge attacked immediately. There was no lock up here, the match went straight into chop war and punches. Kotoge going for the early and easy win with kicks on the top turnbuckle. Kenta Kobashi would have said about it, "It never ends that way."
Although he has now left the heavyweight division, Kotoge can still fight as a heavyweight, and his style kind of falls in between both divisions. Kitamiya, however, is a heavyweight and Kotoge found his knees were lariated when standing on the apron. Kotoge's headbutt to the back of the head did little but make Kitamiya mad, especially when he landed on his feet after a Kotoge suplex.
WINNER: Masa Kitamiya with the Saito Suplex (14 minutes)
MANABU SOYA vs MOHAMMED YONE
Mohammed Yone came out to the ring in flashing glasses which alternated between both lenses, and like most people in Noah, Manabu Soya did not appreciate "Disco Fever", although this probably has little to do with Yone yelling "Stupid bastard!" at one point in the match.
Typical heavyweight fight, lariats, punches, kicks and slams, with both being similar sizes. Yone with his annoyed face on as they traded chops at times no selling Soya. However, it was to be Soya who emerged the victor as Yone's afro head flew off following a massive lariat.
WINNER: Manabu Soya with the Ballistic (12 minutes, 45 seconds)
SHUHEI TANIGUCHI vs MASA KITAMIYA
Hoss fight with the trademark loud roaring (heavyweights roar, juniors scream), which got going even before the sound of the bell had faded from the air as they both laid into each other, so much so when the fight went outside the ring it almost became a count out, a result neither of them wanted.
A bitter fight with frustrations mounting as the match progressed, Masa Kitamiya playing dead to lure Taniguchi in, and Taniguchi using his Wyvern Catch (not something we have seen recently), to which Kitamiya managed to counter, even a massive spear from Kitamiya was not enough to finish this, it took a huge Saito Suplex.
WINNER: Masa Kitamiya with the Saito Suplex (11 minutes, 12 seconds)
MANABU SOYA vs RENE DUPREE
Rene Dupree (who came out with the belt the right way round today), while still part of the tournament and not working for or with Katsuhiko Nakajima or AXIZ, gave the impression that he was kind of like the sub boss to be defeated today if you wanted to get the key and go through to the final battle.
There wasn't much of a size difference, and the match was part technical and part brawl, with the seemingly indestructible and undefeatable Dupree being fresh this evening, which Soya of course, is not.
WINNER: Manabu Soya with the Ballistic (14 minutes, 37 seconds)
NUMBER ONE CONTENDERS MATCH
MASA KITAMIYA vs MANABU SOYA
Exhausted and fighting on, with both breathing heavily, making snorting sounds and staring at each other from across the ring after the first initial fight, this went to a test of strength lock up with each trying to push each other into the corners, Manabu Soya and Masa Kitamiya drew what reserves of energy they could to fight in the final.
Very much a Hoss fight, nothing really technical here very much the usual kicks, slams, punches, chops, with a fight on the turnbuckle, with sweat raining down from the punches into the camera lens making it look as if the venue had a leak in the ceiling somewhere. They fought to the point where neither of them could seemingly take anymore, Soya using a headbutt, Kitamiya with lariat, staggering and physically spent, neither would stay down, but either way it was going to be a Kongoh victory.
Ironically, both of them have their reasons for hating Nakajima - Masa Kitamiya because of the tag team they used to be in "THE AGGRESSION" and Nakajima ditching him for Go Shiozaki to form AXIZ (not to mention Nakajima's constant sarcasm to him and the fact he is his older brother), and Manabu Soya because of Nakajima's conduct and contempt for both the promotion, its championship belt and wrestlers when he was the promotions champion. Whatever their reasons, a fight for themselves, a fight for Kongoh, maybe even both, there could only be one winner.
WINNER: Manabu Soya with the Ballistic (14 minutes, 27 seconds)
Kongoh shook hands afterwards, although Kitamiya was too exhausted to stand. As Kitamiya was being rolled out of the ring, Soya pointed to Nakajima, who with a wide Cheshire Cat grin, came and stood on the apron. Taking the microphone, Soya told him that he had gone through four matches to reach the champion, and he was the perfect challenger. Nakajima said he admired his grit for getting through what he called a "harsh tournament", and to challenge for the belt was a match with him.
Then he asked the "Homies" what they thought.
The title match will be broadcast on the 21st June at 19:00 JST on ABEMA. The event will be free to view and worldwide, and you will be able to watch it for seven days afterwards.
Today's event was broadcast on WRESTLE UNIVERSE. You can view both days for a long time and as often as you want, but you must be a subscriber (900 yen per month at the time of writing, with the first month free).
GIF CREDIT: WRESTLE UNIVERSE
With thanks to: Metal Noah, Abeshin