The show started with Takuma Sano's "farewell ceremony". Sano is probably not too familiar with the majority of Noah fans these days, so I will take a few moments just to tell you about him. Takuma Sano was not part of the Noah walk out (he's a New Japan Young Lion), and came to Noah in 2001. Sano stayed until 2012 when his contract expired. During that time he held the GHC Heavyweight Tag titles with Yoshihiro Takayama in 2010. He left Noah to become a freelancer two years later, and thereafter mainly worked in the MMA sphere. The lobby of the arena was filled today with flowers for him, Jushin Thunder Lyger (who had been Sano's rival), had sent a bouquet.
Sano's generation do not like the word "Retire", and so his ceremony today was more of a transition of saying "Farewell" to wrestling but not actually closing the door on it, and Sano will now concentrate on his restaurant in Kyoto.
FULL THROTTLE (Hajime Ohara, Seiki Yoshioka & YO-HEY) vs Junta Miyawaki, Kinya Okada & Seiya Morohashi
YO-HEY declared he was "Osaka peron after a long time" (don't worry, that word does not translate well) and so to prove it, stuck his purple tongue out for the ref to check.
He didn't want to surprisingly.
YO-HEY loved the whole match (although it was noted that he was complaining a little about not being tagged in), and although he does thrive on audience cheers and laughter, their clapping is always enough for him. YO-HEY does not always need the cheers, he just needs the crowd.
Junta Miyawaki also displayed his growth by both outthinking and outwrestling YO-HEY at one point, although this was not to last, and Ohara twisted him like a Pretzel.
Elsewhere in the match, Seiya Morohashi and Seiki Yoshioka worked well together (and yes, as per standard, Yoshioka flew over the barrier). FULL THROTTLE have also a tandem move, which is similar to the RATELS tandem kick, but this is a dropkick. Afterwards, Ohara briefly sat down in his school style (knees drawn up to chin with arms over his legs), which we haven't seen him do for a while.
WINNER: YO-HEY with the Super Face G on Junta Miyawaki (11 minutes, 33 seconds)
The Anti Wrestlers Alliance (Akitoshi Saito & Masao Inoue) vs The Kongoh Juniors (Tadasuke & Nioh)
"I'm Back OSAKA"
If there was a star of this match, then it was Tadasuke, who was on top form tonight.
Rockstar Tadasuke came strolling out, who then became "Crazy Tadasuke" and made Jurina giggle wildly as with a big grin he started headbanging on the ropes and trying to gouge Masao Inoue's eyes. Akitoshi Saito, however, found nothing funny in Tadasuke's manic behaviour, and went so far to warn Nioh that he had better watch it. Saito would probably have been better off taking his own advice as Tadasuke outfoxed him by pretending to throw a punch, which made Saito duck and as this was what Tadasuke wanted, he then went for a DDT. Saito could not remain immune to the wild energy that Tadasuke brought to the ring, as he bizarrely got the ref in some kind of hold, and told off, he slid to the outside. It reminded me of when in New Japan his pants ripped, and he had to hide under the apron.
It wasn't all in the favor of Kongoh (Tadasuke) though, Saito and Inoue were giving running elbows to Nioh in the corner, Nioh put the boot up at Inoue, Inoue was told (barked at) to do it again by Saito, Haoh went for the boot, Inoue caught it and yelled "Fool! I'm not falling for that again"
WINNER: Nioh with the Stuka Splash on Masao Inoue (9 minutes, 1 second)
THE SUGIURA ARMY (Takashi Sugiura, Kazushi Sakuraba, Kazuyuki Fujita and Kendo Kashin) vs Kongoh (Kenoh, Masa Kitamiya, Manabu Soya and Yoshiki Inamura)
Kenoh came out looking half sulky and half thoughtful.
Kendo Kashin (who had "GLEAT" spray painted on him), came out and stole a chair on the way to the ring, which made NOSAWA Rongai (who was seconding The Sugiura Army), look as if he wanted to say "Someone stop him!". Kashin threw the chair in the ring at Kongoh. Kashin is always on a quest to try and impress Takashi Sugiura (I kind of feel that if they all lived at the dojo, Kashin would probably tidy his room and leave flowers for him), and so held the ropes open for the champions. Sakuraba had no issue with it, but Takashi Sugiura was not impressed by Kashin's efforts to suck up to him, he only got in the ring when Sakuraba joined in on the ropes.
The match was mainly a heavyweight beast fight with the smaller lighter heavyweights relying more on kicks and mat wrestling i.e. Kenoh kicked Sakuraba around, and Sakuraba taking Manabu Soya (not a "smaller lighter heavyweight" by the way) down to the mat. Even here Kashin could not stay out the way, and he emptied a bottle of water over him.
The match finished with Fujita botching a powerbomb on Yoshiki Inamura in which he slammed him on his neck, after a volley of slaps and some vicious kicks.
WINNER: Kazuyuki Fujita with a powerbomb on Yoshiki Inamura (14 minutes, 14 seconds)
Fujita then left without the others as outside the ring Jurina Matsui teased Takashi Sugiura and Kazushi Sakuraba with the "M'S Alliance pose" (they want her to join The Sugiura Army), and everyone left without Kashin.
GHC JUNIOR HEAVYWEIGHT TAG TITLE MATCH
STINGER (Yoshinari Ogawa vs HAYATA) vs Momo no Seishun (Daisuke Harada vs Atsushi Kotoge)
This was a very stiff junior title defence. Yoshinari Ogawa started as he meant to go on, by not giving Daisuke Harada the satisfaction of starting against him, Harada paid him back in kind, and so HAYATA and Kotoge started, but it couldn't be denied that Harada wanted Ogawa, even throwing HAYATA aside to get him. His temper flaring, Harada managed to keep it under control saying earlier in an interview that he wouldn't let his emotions get the better of him. HAYATA, while not on the Ogawa level of hair pulling and leg grabbing, nevertheless took great pleasure in looking at Harada while pinning Kotoge
It came down to HAYATA vs Harada with Kotoge disposing of Ogawa outside the ring with a knee from the turnbuckle, which left them alone. Harada and HAYATA know each other very well after long years of tagging together in RATELS, but Harada did say that this was a new HAYATA, and that worked to his advantage.
WINNER: Daisuke Harada with the Katayama German Suplex Hold on HAYATA (24 minutes, 32 seconds)
GHC Junior Heavyweight title match
Kotaro Suzuki vs Haoh
Haoh was seconded by Nioh and Tadasuke, but Kotaro (for whom the title match did not go the way Ogawa expected) was on his own. Haoh immediately went on the attack and for the early pin, which is always a mistake against Kotaro. Haoh had frenetic momentum, and even once used the Misawa rope dive and in the shades of old Noah, even used an apron hurracanrunna, but Kotaro remained controlled.
Despite his earlier dismissal of Haoh as "The Weakest Challenger" and the dismal assessment of his abilities, as the match wore on and Haoh managed to reverse the Tiger Driver, Kotaro started looking scared and taking him a little more seriously. It then reached the point when Kotaro decided enough was quite enough.
WINNER: Kotaro Suzuki with the Big Ben Edge (15 minutes, 47 seconds)
Daisuke Harada was not through with STINGER. Not content with taking the GHC Junior Heavyweight tag belts from Yoshinari Ogawa and HAYATA, he wanted the GHC Junior as held by Kotaro Suzuki. Kotaro accepted the challenge, and told Harada to chose his favorite place and then left the ring. Harada caused slight laughter by telling him to head on home by the Hanshin train. The title challenge has been set for November 8th at Korakuen Hall.
It should be noted that Momo No Seishun were holding both the GHC Junior Tag and the GHC Junior Championship when Atsushi Kotoge broke the team and vacated the belts by announcing that he was going to the heavyweight division in 2016...
Go Shiozaki, Shuhei Taniguchi, Mohammed Yone & Daiki Inaba vs The M'S Alliance (Naomichi Marufuji, Keiji Mutoh, Masakatsu Funaki & Masaaki Mochizuki)
The big story of this match was the rivalry that has sprung up between Shuhei Taniguchi and Keiji Mutoh, which blew up when Taniguchi started throwing Mutoh around outside the ring and erupted from there. The subplot was between Naomichi Marufuji and Mohammed Yone, ahead of their match at Mohammed Yone's "Disco Ball" on the 18th October, in which Marufuji made it very clear that he wanted Yone to fight. A disgruntled Yone pumped up his Disco Ball shape cut 'fro after their lock up.
Daiki Inaba also came in for Marufuji's interest in anything new, and in true Marufuji style when faced with a junior wrestler, he tweaked his nose while choking him with his foot in the corner. They also finished the match by having a punch war outside.
Go Shiozaki is looking a lot more healthy than he did during the N-1, although he is still taped. You could hear the proud tone in Kenta Kobashi's voice when talking about his pupil. The GHC Heavyweight Champion is always a target, and so Shiozaki was kicked by Masakatsu Funaki, and a chop war with Marufuji. Marufuji grinned and took Shiozaki's hand and they did the chain chop war (basically, they grip each other while chopping in order to see who falls first, but of course they can't fall).
WINNER: Masakatsu Funaki with Hybrid Buster on Mohammed Yone (22 minutes, 24 seconds)
N-1 VICTORY 2020 FINALS
Kaito Kiyomiya vs Katsuhiko Nakajima
During Katsuhiko Nakajima's entry the camera fell over, I thought Nakajima had somehow sneak attacked him, but he was sitting on the turnbuckle looking sinister. Kenoh joined Nakajima for the match, but not to second him, rather than to sit with commentary and watch.
Despite the big grin when he removed his mask, Nakajima behaved himself and was all business (despite there being no Shutter Chance, he still could not resist the cameras, staring straight into the lens after kicking Kiyomiya around and pinning him with one of his erotic pins). No funny business, no messing around and by doing this he worked Kiyomiya into a state of frustration, while he himself remained calm and calculated by doing things like throwing Kiyomiya outside the ring, attacking him when he lost his temper and flew back in it, and then throwing him out again. However, when things tend to go well, Nakajima gets cocky and this led to Kiyomiya getting the upper hand.
Young Kiyomiya, despite the repeated kicks to the face and big red scrape on his cheek because of them, showed his fighting spirit and repeatedly stood or kicked out, no matter what was thrown at him (which was usually Nakajima's kicks). A high kick almost almost took Kiyomiya's head off which made the commentators scream, even the Toshiaki Kawada\KENTA veteran, Kenta Kobashi.
WINNER: Katsuhiko Nakajima with the Diamond Bomb (25 minutes and 24 seconds)
Nakajima spoke in the microphone
"It is a shame, Kaito Kiyomiya, but after all you are playing a hero, huh? And I'm the one standing in this ring right now. I'm at the top of the harsh N1, I'm the strongest man right now. What are you going to do from here?"
After Nakajima had made this short speech about winning, which probably wouldn't have looked out of place in Faust in terms of delivery as he made a snarling noise during it, as is traditional after leagues, the reigning champion gets in the ring. There was this old AXIZ intensity between them, this same darkly erotic heat, as Nakajima spoke tauntingly very close to Shiozaki, twisting his body round to look at him.
Shiozaki made no comment, but silently raised the belt (he also did it very sadly as Nakajima's greatest weapon is not his feet, but his words. Nakajima knows that Shiozaki is still emotionally vulnerable to him, and Shiozaki knows it too), and then left.
Nakajima called after him;
"Instead of saying I am Noah, isn't there one answer in Osaka?"
Shiozaki didn't look back, and Nakajima left the ring soon afterwards, staring menacingly at Kenta Kobashi on the way out. Kobashi not scared by the boy he has known since he was a child, glared back unamused.
Title challenge has been set for the 22nd November at the Yokohama Budokan.
Noah's next show: Mohammed Yone's 25th Anniversary "Disco Ball" on Sunday October 18th at Korakuen Hall.
With thanks to: Metal Noah, ABESHIN
GIF'S taken from ABEMA
Picture credit: PKDX