"The main event of "Great Voyage" was literally awesome. Also the show exceeded my expectations and I had a good time."
It was a cold winters day of rain and wind in the port city of Yokohama on this December day, but nothing going on outside could compare with what was going to happen this evening. The attendance might have suffered because of the weather (it was great, but just not sold out), but no one in the arena had any doubts at all about what they had paid to see.
Naomichi Marufuji (although not competing) was at the venue today to sign autographs, because he's been told he can't drink or have late nights due to rehabilitation, he's actually been forced into getting some rest, and he looked a lot brighter today, not as exhausted as he has habitually been over the last year.
Kenoh was also on autograph duty (twenty minutes earlier though before his obsessional arch nemesis who he rants is holding him down) came out and took over.
After the show, the Noah wrestlers handed out confectionery.
Go Shiozaki has had a very tiring week what with Noah and DDT, plus an afternoon DDT event today, but today was going to get much much worse for him...
Yoshiki Inamura & Kinya Okada vs Mizuki Watase & Lin Dong-Xuan
These two rookies have had a baptism of fire, teaming together at a big event without a Noah senior in the ring. Inamura seemed a little more confident than Okada, who seemed a little hesitant, and in true rookie style both came running to the ring (they will grow out of this)
WINNER: Lin Dong-Xuan with the Boston Crab on Kinya Okada (8 minutes and 38 seconds)
Akitoshi Saito, Shiro Koshinaka, Mohammed Yone & Quiet Storm vs Mitsuya Nagai, KAZMA SAKAMOTO, Cody Hall & Masao Inoue
Usual antics from "The Hooligans" attacking with chains (Nagai on Yone, and then back to stealing things from the crowd to choke him with), chairs etc outside the ring.
It was basically a "Golden Era" booking old man match which combined the old vets with the younger guys.
Not considered to be a particularly interesting match other than the fight outside the ring
After the match, The Hooligans and the Vets got rough with each other.
WINNER: Shiro Koshinaka with the powerbomb on Masao Inoue (5 minutes and 22 seconds)
HAYATA, YO-HEY & Tadasuke vs Koji Kanemoto, Seiya Morohashi & Junta Miyawaki
Koji Kanemoto came out to his old music which was nostalgic for many people, and Junta Miyawaki came running to the ring.
RATELS put on a show of unity, which would prove to be anything but as later events would show, and Kanemoto fit in very well with HAYATA & YO-HEY in terms of move set and style.
Junta Miyawaki was said to be evolving, and debuted a new move (although I am not sure of what exactly it is). Sadly, he did not get his first win today.
WINNER: Tadasuke with the lariat on Junta Miyawaki (10 minutes and 11 seconds)
Kenoh, Masa Kitamiya & Atsushi Kotoge vs Kazusada Higuchi, Kota Umeda & Nobuhiro Shimatani
This was called an unofficial Noah vs DDT match.
There was one very touching moment when the "Revolutionary Hero" ran through the crowd, and
a little child in a cloak gave him a gift (I don't think he was told off for his time keeping today, being the most senior wrestler in the match).
Back in the ring it was all business with Kotoge doing the sumo thing with Higuchi and then when Kitamiya (similar shape if not size) getting in with him, they crashed into each other.
The audience wanted to see more of Kenoh and Umeda going to head to head and kicking each other
WINNER: Kenoh with the diving footstamp on Nobuhiro Shimitani (11 minutes and 6 seconds)
Yoshinari Ogawa vs Doug Williams
Doug Williams announced his retirement in October 2018, and has spent the rest of the year wrapping up loose ends and visiting old promotions. He was part of Noah's "Golden Era" and wrestled his last match for the promotion in March 2009 (three months before the terrible tragedy in Hiroshima).
The atmosphere it generated, between Williams and Ogawa, two products of that hazy green summertime when Noah was young, was like being back at The Budokan. The crowd were very excited and emotional as a result.
The match begans with a handshake, then its down to business.
Even after nine years away from Noah, Doug Williams still remembers the old ways. This match was straight from their era, a vanished time now in Noah.
It was called the highlight of the first half, and the match the crowd enjoyed the most so far as it had the most meaning.
The match itself took a toll on Ogawa (he is in his fifties now) and although he has announced no plans to retire, it must be remembered that he mainly works tag matches now and usually with rookies or people like Masao Inoue.
WINNER: Doug Williams with the Rolling German Suplex Hold (11 minutes and 58 seconds)
Hi69 & Minoru Tanaka (c) vs Hajime Ohara & Hitoshi Kumano (GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Titles)
Hi69 was given flowers for his birthday.
Earlier in the week, Hitoshi Kumano had been given a hideous black eye by one of his opponents (storyline had it that it was either Minoru Tanaka or Hi69), and it was targeted today by his opponents. Kumano graduated from cub to bear by ferociously fighting back and picking up the win (there were many calls from the crowd for Ohara too), but Kumano impressed many today.
After the match, Seiya Morohashi came to the ring and made his challenge.
He had found a tag partner.
Young rookie still without his first win, Junta Miyawaki.
Kumano: Finally we have a belt and a team that has challenged, but we are only looking at the top!
Ohara: Hmm. It is not good that people who have never won should challenge. I would like to do an evaluation match.
Miyawaki: I will do whatever it is, whether it is an evaluation match or not!
WINNER: Hitoshi Kumano with the Argentine Backbreaker on Hi69 (17 minutes and 41 seconds)
Kotaro Suzuki (c) vs Daisuke Harada (GHC Junior Heavyweight Title)
There was a stipulation to this match, that If Harada loses,then RATELS have to split.
Kotaro Suzuki came out seconded by Ogawa, and Harada accompanied by the rest of RATELS.
Daisuke Harada fought like a demon and he and Suzuki tore into each other, he reversed the "Endless Waltz", kicked out of and reversed pretty much everything else. Harada doesn't have bad matches, and in this one he was off the charts as he revealed there was no depths as to what he was capable of doing. Many have said this is Match Of The Year worthy.
"The Yokohama Incident"
After the match and as RATELS gathered round to celebrate the win and the fact they all got to stay together. YO-HEY grabbed a chair, and hit Harada, and told him that he was going to challenge him for the GHC Junior Heavyweight.
He then walked off with Kotaro Suzuki and Yoshinari Ogawa, leaving everbody stunned.
So stunned that no one really noticed that the next match had begun.
YO-HEY, the most loyal member of RATELS, the only one who had never challenged Daisuke Harada for the title, had turned heel.
RATELS fans can only hope that this is part of some scheme by Harada.
WINNER: Daisuke Harada with the Katayama German Suplex (16 minutes and 41 seconds)
Katsuhiko Nakajima & Go Shiozaki (c) vs Maybach Taniguchi & Yuji Hino
(GHC Heavyweight Tag Titles)
The Hooligans started off by attacking Go Shiozaki with the belt and making him bleed.
He bled everywhere. It was all down his face and his chest, his face was crimson with blood and he looked like he had been in a deathmatch. Because the blood had gotten into his mouth, he spat it in a mist when chopped. Afterwards he was helped out with Referee Hakuda holding a cloth to his head. During the match he fell outside the ring and made a little girl nearby cry.
Nagai naturally stood outside the ring yelling commands, and all hell broke loose. The Hooligans hit their opponents with anything they could get their hands on, Cody Hall grabbing electronic equipment from President Uchida and passing it to his comrades. Nagai of course pulled the ref out when it looked like either Nakajima or Shiozaki would get the pin.
Taniguchi bought the Sasumata out when the referee was down.
Cody Hall got into the ring.
Then it was either Noah's resident self proclaimed "Revolutionary Hero" (or else a random lunatic), who came running down the ramp putting his cape on as he charged towards the ring.
Yes, Kotoge came to help....except he looked a little less like Superman, and more like Poochy from The Simpsons when he came to rescue Bart and Lisa during a Christmas Special, and like Poochie protecting them from Itchy and Scratchy, it was to no avail (and Kotoge probably made the same noise Poochie did when he was hit by the patrol car when The Hooligans dealt with him).
Then in the chaos and wreckage of Yokohama, Hino picked up a 6ft 243 pound man....and slammed him like he weighed nothing.
Afterwards, 50 Funky Powers came to the ring.
Hino turned to Quiet Storm and said, "Ah, Quiet Storm, my old friend...are you hungry?"
Then a war of words broke out between the two (Yone had his "I can't believe people would be so mean" face on).
WINNER: Yuji Hino with The Fucking Bomb on Go Shiozaki (18 minutes and 18 seconds)
Takashi Sugiura (c) vs Kaito Kiyomiya (GHC Heavyweight title)
There was a blizzard of streamers for both of them, and as soon as the bell rang, Yokohama broke the dial and just went off the charts.
There was concern over Sugiura's neck and shoulder as he seemed to have damaged it at some point in the match, but he seemed okay later on, especially in the slap war that he didn't take too well too.
This was beyond just a "very good match", 22 year old inexperienced Kaito Kiyomiya refusing to give up, and they both bought everything out, the Chicken Wing Facelock, Sugi with the Avalanche Olympic Slam (which had felled Kenoh), but Kiyomiya made history and became the youngest GHC Heavyweight Champion in Noah history. A record which is unlikely to be broken.
Then history reversed and repeated itself.
Just as Kaito Kiyomiya had done in December 2017 to challenge the champion for the title, Kenoh did the same in 2018, and challenged him for the belt.
Kenoh told him basically that nothing in that match had impacted him in any way, and he wanted that belt. Kiyomiya told him (in his usual polite fashion, which really is something he needs to stop doing all the time), that he wasn't the same person that Kenoh had faced in January 2018, this time, it was going to be very different.
Title match has been arranged for the 6th January at Korakuen Hall (event will be broadcast live)
All aboard The Ark for 2019!
WINNER: Kaito Kiyomiya with the Tiger Suplex (33 minutes)
WITH THANKS TO: Metal Noah, Abeshin, Shinya, Fujiwara Armbar, Earth, Pinkie Pie, Fuji, T.Ogawa, Hamahamarin, Hae, Ojiitahara, Kei, Even if I remove the mask, nothing has changed, President George W Bushi
Picture credit: Noah GHC, PXDX