Absent from all of this was Yoshinari Ogawa, who seems to suffer from illness during the spring (he's had step throat, Tonsillitis, and flu at various times), and has come down with a fever. Fortunately it is not Coronavirus as a test came back negative. Noah have not given a timescale for his return, so hopefully he should be back at Korakuen Hall for the title match on the 21st. With Ogawa absent, HAYATA had to pull double duty, replacing him in the singles match against Junta Miyawaki and wrestling his own scheduled tag match.
The fans in Fukuoka had originally gone to the old Hakata Starlane arena, but that has now been pulled down, so they came to the green lit Fukuoka International instead. The Mayor of Fukuoka also came, and took his place at ringside at the timekeepers table.
With the popularity of Naomichi Marufuji's drawing of the Noah roster, Noah released a range of themed products (including t-shirts for children). The merchandise proved so popular that the queue stretched down to the second floor.
The event was broadcast today on FITETV ($19.99, English commentary, not available in Japan), or on ABEMA (free and worldwide, Japanese commentary). If you missed the show, you can watch it for seven days from today, before the ABEMA version gets put on WrestleUniverse.
Shuhei Taniguchi & FULL THROTTLE (Hajime Ohara and YO-HEY) vs Yoshiki Inamura, Kinya Okada & Yasutaka Yano
Yasutaka Yano was not the only one to enter the ring in high spirits, as Shuhei Taniguchi (and YO-HEY) came out dancing, which Hajime Ohara later joined in with, he was the one who had to take control as the other two were excitable, and it cannot be denied, both YO-HEY and Taniguchi had great interactions. Kinya Okada, rarely reaches such excitable levels, and so his answer to YO-HEY'S classic lock up, was to slam him. If there was one thing that YO-HEY did not want, it was to be in the ring with Yoshiki Inamura when Okada tagged out. So he tagged in Taniguchi, and then ran out of the ring.
WINNER: YO-HEY with the FaceG on Yasutaka Yano (11 minutes, 42 seconds)
HAYATA vs Junta Miyawaki
HAYATA walked to the ring with his hood up and looking at the floor, and because this is a Noah Junior match, Junta Miyawaki attacked straight away. At ringside, Kuniko Yamada was firmly on Miyawaki's side clapping him whenever ever she could.
This was a very different mach than it would have been with Yoshinari Ogawa, but I think that Ogawa would have found a lot to enjoy in it; HAYATA'S merciless sadistic streak that has come out since tagging with him, which has made even his former RATELS friends say that he's changed, the smile when beating up on Miyawaki, and something that perhaps has been overlooked, which this match served to highlight, just how good HAYATA is at doing reversals.
Miyawaki fought back with everything that he had, and not giving up on that arm of HAYATA'S, even once reversing a move into an armbar submission, but it was going to be HAYATA in the end who came away with the win. His new move seems to be a form of his Headache finisher which is turned into a brainbuster, so basically the opponent is dropped on high on their head.
WINNER: HAYATA with the 403 Impact (9 minutes, 56 seconds)
Akitoshi Saito vs Mohammed Yone
Mohammed Yone came out dancing and waving a Noah light around. Akitoshi Saito, looked grim and eyed Yone wearily. Nothing really much happened of note during this match, except that Yone stole the win which proved to Saito that he is not to be underestimated.
WINNER: Mohammed Yone with the lariat (8 minutes, 58 seconds)
As Yone left triumphant with Shuhei Taniguchi, who had come to second him (and was told to get off the apron by the ref and accused of being obstructive by Saito who kicked the ropes angrily), Saito watched silently with a thoughtful look on his face. Something more than meets the eye is going on here, and I don't mean Saito (or Inoue) having to dress as disco dancers should they lose the match to Funky Express on the 21st March.
STINGER (HAYATA & Yuya Susumu) vs Daisuke Harada & Kai Fujimura
HAYATA came out looking tired, carrying the tag belts to symbolize himself and the absent Yoshinari Ogawa. No hood or mask this time, but he had kept his contact lenses in.
HAYATA started off against Daisuke Harada, and in true STINGER style, tagged Susumu in almost straight away and then because this is a Noah Junior match, Kai Fujimura was knocked off the apron and a meelee fight broke out between the others. Poor Fujimura did not really figure much, as the attention was focused around HAYATA and Daisuke Harada, and then the heavily suggested singles match of Daisuke Harada and Yuya Susumu. Ogawa, who is probably watching at home, would have been proud to see Susumu's submission on Fujimura, but less enamored of Daisuke Harada continuing what Junta Miyawaki had started, and working on HAYATA'S wrist.
WINNER: Yuya Susumu with the Cross Facelock on Kai Fujimura (13 minutes, 6 seconds)
After the match Harada and HAYATA faced off. I think HAYATA was too tired to fight, and in any case, wouldn't let the ref even raise his arm due to the attack that Miyawaki and Harada had carried out on it. There was a short verbal exchange with Harada, and then everybody left the ring.
KONGOH (Kenoh, Haoh & Nioh) vs The Sugiura Army (Kazuyuki Fujita, Kendo Kashin & NOSAWA Rongai)
They might not have trod on Kendo Kashin today, but Kenoh and Kazuyuki Fujita, two people not associated with comedy or laughter of any kind, nevertheless proved once again that even the most unlikely people can bring an element of humor into their wrestling, and they did that today by parodying the infamous Go Shiozaki vs Kazuyuki Fujita stare down from the 29th March, which lasted half an hour. This one did not even last half of that long, and it was Kenoh who broke it though by moving first, and Fujita dived at him into a lock up.
Fujita may have been the strongest challenger that Kenoh was craving for, but overall it looked like he was wrestling a bear.
Kendo Kashin cannot stay out of trouble, and when Fujita tagged him in, Kenoh (who is sick of the sight and the subject of him), tagged in Nioh. Kashin grabbed a chair during one of the many melee fights that broke out, and then Kashin being Kashin, fought Nioh oh the ramp, vanished backstage and came back with a folding chair to choke him with, wrapping one part around his neck and twisting his leg into the back of it. A triple submission went on at the entry way, and the match ended in a draw because Kashin got everyone counted out.
WINNER: Draw (8 minutes, 16 seconds)
Kenoh was furious and had a screaming tantrum on the microphone. For a few moments I seriously thought that Kashin was going to be kicked out of The Sugiura Army as NOSAWA was yelling at him, and it took Fujita to be the levelheaded one and calm them both down. However, Kenoh's tantrum did the trick, and the referee thought it was best to restart the match, even then Kashin couldn't resist getting involved with Kenoh vs Fujita, and the ref had to prevent him. This would not be the end of Kashin causing trouble, he repeated the perspex glass spot with Kenoh, and NOSAWA even stole a video camera and filmed it.
Kenoh has done his homework against Fujita, being agile enough to get out of the Fujita Bomb, but the choke turned him purple, and he had a very hard time getting to the ropes. In a three man tag he is lucky, someone is around to break the hold, in a singles match it is going to be very different.
WINNER: Kazuyuki Fujita with a power-bomb on Haoh (5 minutes, 45 seconds)
Like he did once with the GHC Heavyweight Tag Belts, Kazuyuki Fujita after the match stole the GHC National, and rather than make off with it backstage, he put it over his shoulder. Kenoh got in the ring and snatched it back angrily, a verbal exchange happening between the two.
GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship Match
Seiki Yoshioka vs Atsushi Kotoge
Even if two Noah Juniors hate each other (a common occurrence in a division where everyone is at war and no one truly trusts anyone), in a title match they are united by one common goal, which is almost an unbreakable one; they are not going to be outdone by the heavyweights, especially if they are having a title match that evening. Another rule that unites this chaotic division, is the fact that no self respecting Noah Junior would ever wait for the bell to signify a match has begun, and so as soon as they could they started fighting, Kotoge going for the headbutt early but Yoshioka stopping him. Throughout the match Yoshioka would repeatedly block Kotoge from doing this. Kotoge decided that if he couldn't do that, then he could work on Yoshioka's head and neck, which in the long run took a lot out of Yoshioka. Kotoge had once warned him that he was jumping too far ahead too soon after winning the title at The Nippon Budokan from Daisuke Harada, and tonight he worked hard to prove that he was right.
WINNER: Atsushi Kotoge with The Killswitch (20 minutes, 2 seconds)
Special Eight Person Tag Match - Kongoh vs Noahism
Kongoh (Katsuhiko Nakajima, Masa Kitamiya, Manabu Soya & Tadasuke) vs Go Shiozaki, Naomichi Marufuji, Takashi Sugiura & Kotaro Suzuki
Despite the fact that he and Masa Kitamiya are the GHC Heavyweight Tag champions, Katsuhiko Nakajima refused to pose with Kongoh, and sat on the turnbuckles looking as if he was watching tag partner, Masa Kitamiya.
To explain for those who aren't sure of what "Noah-ism" means, basically it is a team, made up of the two Noah veterans who have been with Noah for the past twenty-one years (Naomichi Marufuji and Takashi Sugiura), who were part of the All Japan walk out in 2000, Noah's first Noah born, Kotaro Suzuki, and the other Noah born, the former GHC Heavyweight Champion and the man said to embody Noah, Go Shiozaki. Kotaro made sure to have a flash of green on the back of his new GUNDAM WING like ring jacket, Takashi Sugiura is still wearing his custom "SUGI" tag belt, which looks a little lonely without either the tag belt or Kazushi Sakuraba, and Go Shiozaki came to the ring looking like he was trying not to giggle.
Katsuhiko Nakajima wasted no time at all in grinning at Go Shiozaki, and rubbing it in that he had a belt, and Shiozaki didn't. Then because he is irritating and enjoys annoying people, he did the flash tag to Masa Kitamiya. Nakajima wasn't going to remain smiling for long though, Shiozaki would later cause his demonic smile to snap off like a light. Shiozaki would also win their kick\chop war, much to Nakajima's anger, and the machine gun chops didn't help. If anything, a lot of what happened in this match was orientated around Shiozaki and Nakajima.
Speaking of people getting chopped, it was Tadasuke who was the one who was foolish enough to challenge Shiozaki to it, and got felled in one blow. Then he found he was to be the canvas for the eternal "Chop Battle" between Marufuji and Shiozaki, he was screaming for them not to use him, and no one took any notice, Marufuji at one point pulling Tadasuke to his feet by his hair. Baba would have seriously disapproved of this. Masa Kitamiya was not going to be taking any chops, and stood like a post when it was his turn.
Takashi Sugiura, who had been defeated by Masa Kitamiya for the title was determined not to lose to him today, but things have moved on now and his focus was more against Manabu Soya (although Marufuji's interactions with him were more), and the test of strength was like watching two bears fighting.
WINNER: Naomichi Marufuji with the Shin Tora on Manabu Soya (29 minutes and 42 seconds)
GHC HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH
Keiji Mutoh vs Kaito Kiyomiya
Keiji Mutoh is a sly veteran, and Kaito Kiyomiya had no idea just what he was getting into, and while he knew he had to be calculating, he was playing into Mutoh's hands the whole time. Mutoh made a point of coming into the match demonstrating how energetic he was and how good his agility was, for Kiyomiya this was a sign that he should wear the old man down in a match full of submission holds like you would have seen in Showa era wrestling. Mutoh praised Kiyomiya for this, and Noah fans attribute this to Yoshinari Ogawa's teaching. So while Kiyomiya was seemingly wearing Mutoh down, he didn't realize that he was actually being goaded into wearing himself out, and because Mutoh was conserving energy and wouldn't stay down, he fell into the trap of growing frustrated, especially after the run up top rope dive at Mutoh didn't work, and then subsequent attempts to knock him down where difficult. All of this combined was a match wrestled at Mutoh's pace, and he wound up with far more energy than Kiyomiya, and ended up dazing him with Two Shining Wizard's, a dropkick from the second rope, and then a third Shining Wizard just for good measure. Exhausted and played like a puppet, there was nothing that the exhausted Kiyomiya could do other than tap when Mutoh got the win via the Reverse Cross Elbow Lock.
WINNER: Keiji Mutoh with the Reverse Cross Elbow Lock (32 minutes, 7 seconds)
WITH THANKS TO: CocoroHarada, Metal-Noah
PICTURE CREDIT: Pro Wrestling Noah
GIFs taken from ABEMA
Noah's next show: "NOAH THE INFINITY 2021", March 21st (Korakuen Hall)