"Crying from start to finish
It was really good to go today."
The 13th June has come around again, and this year it is the ten year anniversary of the death of Noah's founder, Mitsuharu Misawa. As they had done in Tokyo, Noah erected a flower altar for him, and fans bought offerings such as green and white flowers, cans of his favorite drinks (especially Sapporo beer and his favorite grapefruit sour and Green Tea High), plus packets of his favorite cigarettes (Parliament). His robe was also on display, and as ever, his spirit was watching over Noah, and his portrait was erected over the wrestlers entryway looking down on the ring, staring back at us from a vanished era in Noah.
Noah's choice of venue today was not entirely caused by wanting to bring the show to a big city other than Tokyo, but out of a sense of following the footsteps of the past, as The Osaka Edion 2nd Arena was the last place that Misawa wrestled at on 11th June 2009, two days before the accident in Hiroshima.
The atmosphere was said to be feverish, and the attendance reached standing room only with some fans unable to even return to their seats.
"I already knew the impact Misawa-san had on everyone’s life, especially within NOAH but being there firsthand today showed to me how much he means & how he motivates everyone’s so heavily to this day.
As Ogawa-san said, "Don’t forget the wrestler known as Misawa."
The memorial today in Osaka differed from the one in Tokyo.
As per tradition, the lights dimmed, the bell sounded, and the ring announcer called "GHC Heavyweight Champion, Mitsuharu Misawa!", and the paper tape (which had Misawa's name on it) was thrown by fans into the empty green ring as "Spartan X" played (some fans were in tears as they chanted "MISAWA! MISAWA! MISAWA!" at the intro). The slight change today was that the roster came out, which they hadn't done in Tokyo, and stood protectively around it, as the green and white paper tape whizzed over them. Ironically, the old Noah, the "Golden Era" Noah (Takashi Sugiura) stood next to the new Noah, "The Turbulant Era" Noah (Kaito Kiyomiya).
Afterwards, Aerosmith's "Dream" played as the seconds removed the streamers from the ring, and the roster went to the back. Out of all the thirty or so guys around the ring, only ten people remain in Noah who knew Misawa.
Yoshiki Inamura vs Kinya Okada
Inamura warned him previously in true Kongoh style, that he may be a local boy and have the power of the fans on his side, but he should not expect to win...and he (Inamura) would never lose to him.
There was the usual chop battle between them, with Inamura (the more experienced) doing the vet thing of no selling.
The match left fans wanting more.
WINNER: Yoshiki Inamura with the Boston Crab (6 minutes, 44 seconds)
In the post match interview, Inamura admitted that he had felt the power of the newly returned Okada.
50 Funky Powers (Mohammed Yone & Quiet Storm) vs The Return of The Dark Agents (Akitoshi Saito & Masao Inoue)
Fifty Funky Powers came out to a streamer of neon colored (neon blue and psychedelic purple) streamers.
WINNER: Mohammed Yone with the lariat on Akitoshi Saito (8 minutes, 21 seconds)
It was thought that Akitoshi Saito was overtired and overemotional, especially at the end of the match when he seemingly lost the tremendous nerve he has displayed for the past ten years, especially on this day, and broke down hysterically as he faced Misawa's portrait and bowed. Masao Inoue was very tender with him, as was Referee Shu Nishinaga.
Fans have asked that now he simply rest.
Minoru Tanaka, Hi69 & The Sugiura Army (NOSAWA Rongai & Hajime Ohara) vs Hitoshi Kumano, Chris Ridgeway, Junta Miyawaki and Seiya Morohashi.
Junta Miyawaki (who will be 22nd on the 14th June) almost got his third win, and this time again over Hi69.
The match may have been short, but it was said to be impressive.
WINNER: Hi69 with the Stuka Splash on Junta Miyawaki (7 minutes, 52 seconds)
In their post match interview, Chris Ridgeway thanked Hitoshi Kumano for teaming with him and for what he had learned from him, and proposed a singles match between them.
NOSAWA, however, complained about the referee for some reason.
Kaito Kiyomiya & RATELS (Daisuke Harada & Tadasuke) vs Kongoh (Kenoh, Masa Kitamiya & Atsushi Kotoge).
Naturally, Kenoh and Kaito Kiyomiya made a beeline for each other. Kiyomiya going up to Kenoh, and holding the belt up, there was also something defiant in the way he threw off his ring coat when finished. Kenoh is the only person who Kiyomiya dares to be (mildly) rude to.
There was a kick war between Ridgeway and Kenoh.
WINNER: Kenoh with the diving footstamp on Tadasuke (15 minutes, 28 seconds)
Afterwards, Kenoh got on the microphone and started shrieking at Kaito Kiyomiya and asking him if he had reached his limit, he also told the audience ("assholes of Osaka") that if they didn't know what "Kongoh" meant, they should go home and look it up.
There was no challenge for the GHC Heavyweight title.
GLOBAL TAG LEAGUE 2019 FINALS
Stinger (Yoshinari Ogawa & Kotaro Suzuki) vs HAYATA & YO-HEY
Fierce match by all accounts which, considering what was at stake, kept the audience on the edge of their seats. If the crowd where whipped up and emotional before, it was the finisher who drove them into a frenzy.
WINNER: Kotaro Suzuki with the Tiger Driver 91 on YO-HEY (24 minutes, 16 seconds)
In their victory promo, Stinger announced they had a new member, and revealed it to be Chris Ridgeway. Needless to say that fans were both excited and stunned. This is a tremendous opportunity for Ridgeway to learn from two veterans of Noah, especially Yoshinari Ogawa.
Naomichi Marufuji vs Shuhei Taniguchi
In tribute to Atsushi Aoki (whom he had trained and graduated with), Shuhei Taniguchi used the Assault Point, he also wore wristbands of green (Misawa) and blue (Aoki).
WINNER: Shuhei Taniguchi with the Modified Camel Clutch (17 minutes, 52 seconds)
Marufuji tapping out is rare, not even master of nasty submission moves, Yoshinari Ogawa could get him to tap out, but Taniguchi did. Taniguchi in the after match interview said that today he had been fighting for both Misawa and Aoki. Marufuji lamented that he had lost twice in a row, and said Taniguchi was strong.
GHC HEAVYWEIGHT TAG CHAMPIONSHIP
AXIZ (Katsuhiko Nakajima & Go Shiozaki) vs The Sugiura Army (Takashi Sugiura & KAZMA SAKAMOTO)
This was said to be an insanely tough match, and at one point it went into the crowd with Nakajima and SAKAMOTO fighting, and Nakajima throwing him into some chairs. Inside the ring, Sugiura was later caught in Shiozaki and Nakajima's kick chop.
WINNER: Takashi Sugiura with the front neck lock on Katsuhiko Nakajima (TKO in 28 minutes)
Sugiura spoke on the microphone and said he would always fight for Noah.
Afterwards gold and silver streamers came down from the ceiling with personal messages from the Noah roster on them.
In the backstage interviews, Nakajima said that he wanted a rematch, which Takashi Sugiura granted.
ATTENDANCE: 885 (Overcrowded)
WITH THANKS TO: Nanarin, Real N Green, Noah GHC, Sarico-chan, U-SHI, Tommy, Kobayashi, Omiso, T. Ogawa,
PICTURE CREDIT: Noah GHC, PKDK, Tadasuke