The show today is what the title says a "Showdown" between Kongoh and their hated enemies, The Sugiura Army. The singles matches on the card all were between the two, and the event culminated in a big six man elimination match. This match was due to take place in Yokohama before the Coronavirus shut everything down, and it was apparently dreamed up by The Sugiura Army during a drinking session, with Hideki Suzuki commenting something which can be best described as, "I was drunk, it seemed like a good idea at the time."
Nio vs Hajime Ohara
This was a rare singles match (Nio is primarily a tag wrestler), in which Hajime Ohara was taken by surprise initially as Nio seemed to be more technical than he realized. The match was a mix of styles, with Nio looking focused and somewhat as if he was imitating Kenoh at points. However, Hajime Ohara was not going to be pinned by the Stuka Splash, and Nio was the cause of the first loss of the evening when he tapped out to the Mui Bien.
WINNER: Hajime Ohara with the Mui Bien (14 minutes, 39 seconds)
Seiki Yoshioka vs Hao
Seiki Yoshioka (who I swear has red eyes), started straight away with kicks. Both can fly, and both did aerial maneuvers in the early part of the match, but soon found that the stairs were too close to the apron, which ended with Yoshioka catching the back of his head.
Fast paced high flying match, with Yoshioka using his height advantage and Hao once again relying on speed and not size. Despite the kicks he took from Yoshioka (who proved he is a good addition to The Sugiura Army), Hao proved the phrase that "It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog", although ironically Kongoh do not like to be called "Dogs". Hao refused to give up, and won the first match of the night for his team.
WINNER: Hao with sneak roll up (12 minutes, 9 seconds)
Kazushi Sakuraba vs Yoshiki Inamura
Unusual clash of styles as Sakuraba is MMA, and Yoshiki Inamura (who has shaved his eyebrows again) is Sumo, and so the first lock up was interesting as a result.
Sakuraba kept Inamura grounded with mat wrestling and kicks, mat wrestling is not something Inamura is used to, and while Sakuraba worked on his knees, Inamura used his brute strength to try and get out of it, but the veteran knew how to turn the screws. Although Inamura found that if he couldn't use experience, then he could use strength, it was very spider and fly as Inamura found that as soon as he wriggled out of one web, he was in another.
WINNER: Kazushi Sakuraba with the Delahiva foot lock (8 minutes, 12 seconds)
NOSAWA Rongai vs Kenoh
NOSAWA thought that it might be a good idea to wind Kenoh up, and Kenoh ultimately made him regret it, especially when he got kicked. Kenoh was determined not to lose to the Sugiura Army, no matter his opponent, even going so far as to kick out of NOSAWA'S "Shining Wizard". There was a part in the match when NOSAWA managed to crotch Kenoh on the top turnbuckle, lets just say that Kenoh was visibly suffering the rest of the match.
NOSAWA, as ever, was up to his old tricks as they both stood glaring at each other, motioning for Kenoh to get back in the ring after a kick. Then NOSAWA immediately left the ring. Kenoh naturally started swearing, back in the ring NOSAWA got a kicking and the leg lock, but managed to get to the ropes. Even the referee was drawn into the action, and NOSAWA used it to try to for the sneak pin. The match ended with a massive PFS from Kenoh, which almost split NOSAWA in two.
WINNER: Kenoh with the PFS (11 minutes, 26 seconds)
Rene Dupree vs Masa Kitamiya
With tag partner El Hijo De Dr Wagner Jnr now left Japan, Dupree came out without the GHC Heavyweight Tag belt. Matched with Kitamiya, he was evenly matched with power, if not size.
Despite the Coronavirus shutting down shows, Masa Kitamiya has suddenly come into his own, and emerged as a credible singles competitor, where before he was known as more a tag wrestler, its like his latent power has suddenly been unleashed.
The match started with an echoing chop war, then it went outside the ring with Dupree's knee ending up wrapped around the metal barrier. Inside the ring, Kitamita wore Dupree down with kicks, locks and a massive spear that almost broke Dupree in two, but Dupree did manage to give Kitamiya a nosebleed.
The remainder of the match was very Showa era wrestling (and Masa Kitamiya is said to be a very Showa era wrestler), with once the Prison Lock was set in he wore Dupree down with punches and chops, and he came very close to getting the pinfall submission a few times when Dupree flagged, and the referee counted.
Each time Dupree dragged himself to the ropes, he got out only to get back in, Dupree resorted to eye rakes and punches, but Kitamiya would not let go, and Dupree would not give up. There was one memorable time when he got to the ropes, because he fought back against Kitamiya and staggered to his feet, he went to slam Kitamiya but his legs failed and Kitamiya got the instant advantage back. Noah are a promotion who put a big emphasis on what they call "Passivity" (but we would liken this to selling a move), and so this would have earned Dupree major points with Misawa, and if this were All Japan, Baba as all Noah wrestling flows from his style.
The match went to a time limit draw.
WINNER: Neither, time limit draw after 20 minutes
Takashi Sugiura vs Manabu Soya
Takashi Sugiura came out to the match, not in full protective wear as he has been using to train, but with his Iodine patch and the GHC National belt, which he stuck in Soya's face.
The two were well matched in size, but it was Soya who got the knock down first. Sugiura made Soya stagger when they both bounced off the ropes and slammed into each other, but Soya no-sold Sugiura's elbows, although he did end up bleeding from the mouth.
Usual heavyweight hoss fight - kicks, elbows, knees, big boots, screaming, Soya using neckbreakers and Sugiura picking up Soya for an avalanche top rope slam.
WINNER: Takashi Sugiura with the Olympic Qualifying Slam (16 minutes, 4 seconds)
After a short interval of adverts and commentator chat, which gave Sugiura and Soya time to get ready for the next match, it was on to the six man elimination match. Sugiura, who told the reporters to back off a little as they were standing too close to him, gave a short interview after the match in which he praised Soya's strength.
Kongoh vs The Sugiura Army
Kongoh came to the ring and did their usual pose (not the look at the ceiling one though), followed by The Sugiura Army. The Sugiura Army didn't get in the ring straight away, they stopped and had a kind of discussion on the ramp.
Once in the ring, NOSAWA started baiting Kenoh, with Dupree smiling like he wanted to say "major comeback". Sugiura, however, held up his iodine patch to Kongoh and asked where theirs were, why weren't they wearing masks?
Notes from the match
Manabu no sold NOSAWA, NOSAWA had to eyerakes. Manabu almost took his head off with a clothesline, and then took out Ohara and Yoshioka the same way causing Takashi Sugiura to come to the rescue of his juniors.
Sakuraba went to bounce over the top rope, but was prevented by his team (led by NOSAWA), he said he forgot the rules.
Hao was easy prey for Ohara, Dupree had a sadistic smile when tagged in against him.
Kenoh took out most of The Sugiura Army at one point.
Sugiura and Kitamiya bounced off the ropes and slammed into each other in an attempt to knock each other down (they did this in two separate parts), neither could knock the other down. Kitamiya got the upper hand and spread his arms out as if to say "Come on!" Sugiura resorted to elbows, knocked Kitamiya down, but Kitamiya got up and knocked him down.
Yoshioka was easily thrown around the ring by Masa Kitamiya and Yoshiki Inamura.
Sakuraba targeted Nio's bad knees
1. Yoshiki Inamura eliminated Seiki Yoshioka via Splash mountain (19 minutes, 21 seconds)
2. Hajime Ohara eliminated Yoshiki Inamura with the Mui Bien submission (20 minutes, 33 seconds)
3. Soya Manabu with the Ballistic on Hajime Ohara (24 minutes, 33 seconds)
4. Kazushi Sakuraba with a foot lock on Nio (31 minutes, 40 seconds)
5. Kenoh eliminated Takashi Sugiura via top rope (33 minutes, 58 seconds)
6. Renee Dupree eliminated Masa Kitamiya via top rope (34 minutes, 5 seconds)
7. Hao sneak pinned NOSAWA Rongai (36 minutes, 1 seconds)
8. Rene Dupree pinned Hao with a Gotch Style Piledriver (36 minutes, 25 seconds)
9. Rene Dupree eliminated Manabu Soya via top rope and outside interference from NOSAWA Rongai and Hajime Ohara (38 minutes, 38 seconds)
10. Kenoh eliminated Rene Dupree via top rope (38 minutes, 44 seconds)
WINNER: Kenoh by reversing the Sakuraba's triangular choke (46 minutes, 43 seconds)
The Sugiura Army slunk off after the match, Takashi Sugiura not impressed, as Kenoh turned to the camera and spoke. Kenoh said that Noah would not stop, they would show wrestling live in this way for now. Noah was live, Noah was still alive, so please watch.
Apt words for Noah, a company that have faced adversity many many times in the course of twenty years.
Picture credit: Noah GHC, PKDX
With thanks to: Abeshin, Metal Noah