Naomichi Marufuji and Go Shiozaki were on autograph duty.
Kinya Okada vs Nioh
Nioh came out in an unsmiling manner that befitted Kongoh, and did a rare solo pose, which was just him raising his head (you can read about the symbology of Kongoh here).
It was an opener like the old days of Noah between a veteran and a rookie. The match worked well as while they aren't level in terms of experience, Kinya Okada was able to get in a good offense against Nioh as they are roughly the same size and weight. Throughout the match Okada worked on Nioh's arm, and wouldn't let up. The veteran struck back and after a few close calls, decided enough was enough and locked in a nasty submission
WINNER: Nioh with the Camel Clutch (11 minutes, 6 seconds)
Naomichi Marufuji vs Yoshiki Inamura
Naomichi Marufuji had said on Twitter yesterday that he wouldn't be letting down his guard against Yoshiki Inamura and he wasn't going to give him an inch either. Marufuji was right to be precautious, as while he has the experience that Inamura does not, Inamura has the size and the strength that Marufuji doesn't, true he's a heavyweight but he's not one of the larger ones, and Inamura managed to knock him down flat to the mat on several occasions.
Marufuji worked out that to take Inamura down, he needed to work on his hands. Inamura's main attacks centre on lifting (Oklahoma Slam which almost got him the win today) and the Splash Mountain, so Marufuji invented a nasty move whereby he stood on Inamura's hand, crushing it while he kicked his chest. However, despite these attacks on his hands, Inamura's power could not be kept down, and he still slammed Marufuji like he weighed nothing. He also screamed at his kicks, and refused to take them.
Inamura has also learned how to play dead, as Marufuji seemingly knocked him out with a knee at one point. Slumped in the corner and motionless, the referee was checking on him until Marufuji shoved him out of the way (the referees on the whole had a very rough evening), hauled Inamura to his feet and went for the Shiranui. Inamura however, had been luring him in...but sadly, despite the very close pins and the ring psychology, it was Marufuji picking up the points.
WINNER: Naomichi Marufuji with the True Tiger King (12 minutes, 23 seconds)
Go Shiozaki, Kaito Kiyomiya, Daisuke Harada & YO-HEY vs Kongoh (Kenoh, Katsuhiko Nakajima, Haoh and Tadasuke)
Rockstar Tadasuke led Kongoh out, but only he, Kenoh and Haoh posed in the ring, Katsuhiko Nakajima sat on the turnbuckle looking sinister. This was a chaotic match with melee fights breaking out
You could tell how humid the venue was getting by that point as Daisuke Harada was wiping his head as he started off against Tadasuke. A few seconds later, Haoh decided to storm the ring, and this was even before they had locked up. Tadasuke paid for it as YO-HEY helped Harada pay him back in kind. YO-HEY has speed and incredible natural agility, but he does not have the strength that Tadasuke and Harada do.
Shiozaki has been described as "more docile than Kenoh or Nakajima" by Takashi Sugiura, which he didn't take well to. But it must be said that while this is true to a point, he does have a long fuse, and when he gets wound up too much he goes go mad, the start of this was giving Nakajima a rare headbutt when he was on the turnbuckle, and then dropkicking him off of it.
Another person who gets wound up slowly, is Kaito Kiyomiya, who Kenoh (who looked slightly bruised from Friday's match with Nakajima), kept provoking to storm into the ring and then throwing him out each time he did, and then walking off nonchalantly (Kenoh probably never forgave being drop kicked out of the ring earlier in the match).
WINNER: Go Shiozaki with the Gowan Lariat on Katsuhiko Nakajima (20 minutes, 19 seconds)
Shiozaki lost his temper, and with a wild look in his eyes, he screamed on the microphone to the motionless spreadeagled Nakajima, that if he thought the league was so crap, he would be the one to make it interesting. Kenoh said that they would finish what they didn't in Yokohama in the N-1. Kiyomiya then chimed in and said that he would break through his block to the finals, his enemies were not the only ones to be standing before him, and to Kenoh he told to make sure he was in the finals.
Masa Kitamiya vs Manabu Soya
A block A Kongoh HOSS FIGHT.
Fast paced match between two big heavyweights, who both threw each other around like they weighed nothing. Punch war, top rope slam, Kitamiya catching Soya in a headlock as he charged towards him, headbutts, backdrops, elbows, it was all there, and then Manabu Soya went for his nasty submission and Masa Kitamiya did something he rarely does, and tapped.
WINNER: Manabu Soya with the neck lock (12 minutes, 56 seconds)
Manabu Soya, usually so staid, celebrated in an enthusiastic way.
Masaaki Mochizuki vs Kazushi Sakuraba
Karate met MMA today, and while this is a non Noah match (i.e. both are freelancers appearing in Noah), it went over well with the crowd although the match was short. It was a harsh match of kicks and holds, which ended with a miscalculation by Masaaki Mochizuki, which cost him the win.
WINNER: Kazushi Sakuraba with 39 Locks (8 minutes, 28 seconds)
After the match Mochizuki offered a bow and a handshake to Sakuraba, and they both bowed to each other on their knees.
Takashi Sugiura vs Shuhei Taniguchi
Takashi Sugiura came out with his weary face on (the one he usually uses when dealing with upstarts on the roster who are younger), and Shuhei Taniguchi came out looking like Shuhei Taniguchi. Which is to say expressionless. Taniguchi gets teased a lot by the roster (mainly Sugiura, Marufuji and at times Shiozaki), for being so unanimated, and in order to prove that he wasn't Taniguchi once created a drinking club which met after practice to unwind, talk, drink, and tell jokes etc.
Sugiura had said on Friday at the beginning of the league that as it was Taniguchi, he could safely stay in 3rd gear, there was no reason to accelerate to the top one. He was mistaken in this as during this hoss fight, Taniguchi erupted as they both tried to wear each other down, even at one point brushing the ref away.
WINNER: Takashi Sugiura with the Frankensteiner (21 minutes, 57 seconds)
Shuhei Taniguchi was furious with the win (Sugiura pulls using the Frankensteiner out of nowhere, and it works) and shoved the ref around, but no it was a three, and rearranging his features, he stalked off angrily. Takashi Sugiura recovered from the headbutt that he had been given earlier, ("Goddamn"), and thanked everyone for coming, acknowledging how difficult it must have been for people in masks in the hothouse atmosphere of the venue. Sugi reiterated that he didn't want to lose out to any other groups who were holding their own leagues at the same time, and for people to watch to the end.
With thanks to: Abeshin, Naoki_Slam
Noah's next show: Tuesday September 22nd, Korakuen Hall
Picture Credit: Noah GHC