Everything seemed bright and new; the blue skies, the new Noah buses parked outside (gleaming white and with no decal yet), the smell of the venue. Merchandise flew off the tables, there was a collection box for Yoshihiro Takayama and both Kotaro Suzuki and Keiji Mutoh had wares to sell. Inside the hall, ABEMA bought out their best production values with lighting, the ring which combined green, black, yellow and red, and the big four sided monitor above the ring which flashed images.
Noah gave this new venue a baptism of the purest fire, and an earthquake happened during the main event.
Event was streamed free and worldwide live on ABEMA. You can view this free for seven days after the event, after that it will be placed on WrestleUniverse. The event was also streamed through FITE.TV, who offered English commentary.
Mohammed Yone & FULL THROTTLE (Hajime Ohara, YO-HEY & Seiki Yoshioka) vs Yoshiki Inamura, Junta Miyawaki, Kinya Okada & Yasutaka Yano
If the team of the Noah born came running to the ring, then the team of Mohammed Yone came dancing to it as everyone, except Seiki Yoshioka, struck a disco pose on the way, although he did later join in with it in the ring and naturally YO-HEY held it for the longest.
As he is young and excited, Yasutaka Yano told his seniors that he would be the one to start and respectfully managed to shove them all (even Yoshiki Inamura) into the corner. Rather than throw Mohammed Yone, the only heavyweight on their team, at him the opposition were quite thoughtful and gave him Seiki Yoshioka, who he did quite well against to a thunder of applause.
YO-HEY wanted Junta Miyawaki, and then went to do one of his crazy lock ups. However, Junta wasn't putting up with it. Few people do.
Team Noah were on fire; Yoshiki Inamura hit the ring, and like a torpedo knocked down Mohammed Yone and FULL THROTTLE from the ring apron, and threw down Yoshioka who had been attempting to kick him but to no effect. Kinya Okada was very technical and methodological, and appears to have added truss kicks to his repertoire. But despite the efforts of Team Noah, their inexperience was to be their downfall.
WINNER: Hajime Ohara with the Tres Fleur submission on Yasutaka Yano (10 minutes, 36 seconds)
Kotaro Suzuki & X vs Kongoh (Haoh & Tadasuke)
There had been a lot of speculation surrounding Kotaro Suzuki's mystery partner; fans predicted it would be Chris Ridgeway, Minoru Tanaka or even Ricky Marvin or Yoshinobu Kanemaru.
In the event of things it turned out to be neither; Kotaro came out to the match followed by a slightly nervous looking guy who no one had ever seen, and no one recognised. It turned out his name was "Sarubahe de Oriente" (a "Sarubahe" is a lucha mask made up of red and green). The crowd were stunned by this and somewhat disappointed, but hoped that things would be made clear in the middle of the match. It wasn't.
As far as Sarubahe de Oriente goes, sadly he was not terribly good. Whoever it is under the mask appeared a little nervous and botched a few spots. He was painfully inexperienced compared to both his partner and his opponents. However, he did win the match, but I don;t think anyone was really interested as no one knew who this person was or why he was here or even what grudge he had with STINGER. Kotaro left with no explanation.
WINNER: Sarubahe de Oriente with the Oriente Crash on Tadasuke (5 minutes, 59 seconds)
The Sugiura Army (Kazuyuki Fujita, Kendo Kashin & NOSAWA Rongai) vs Kongoh (Masa Kitamiya, Manabu Soya & NIOH)
NOSAWA Rongai made the mistake of getting to the ring before his partners, and so it fell to Kazuyuki Fujita to sort Kendo Kashin out when he started causing trouble en route. A quick tap on the shoulder and an overbearing presence was enough. Trouble, however, was waiting for them in the ring as on entry Masa Kitamiya threw a towel at them and Kongoh attacked before the bell went, scattering the Sugiura Army to all four sides of the ring. It was Kashin who would get the worst of Kongoh.
There was a total roaring hoss fight between Manabu Soya and Kazuyuki Fujita, endless shoulder tackles which echoed around the area, which got the crowd really into the match. Hoping for Masa Kitamiya to get into the ring, and to fight Fujita, kept everyone on the edge of their seats both at the venue and at home.
Sadly that didn't happen. This match was only a preview.
WINNER: Kendo Kashin with the KV Knee Lock on Nioh (6 minutes, 45 seconds)
Keiji Mutoh vs Shuhei Taniguchi
Shuhei Taniguchi called this match his "phantom single match", seeing Keiji Mutoh as kind of a ghostly replacement for Mitsuharu Misawa, who Taniguchi was due to have a match with after the Global Tag League in 2009 finished. Sadly, this never happened.
Keiji Mutoh wasn't quite as enamoured of this match or any spiritual reasons behind it, and even Naomichi Marufuji had told him that it wasn't worth his while, saying that he was an old man (he doesn't seem to know exactly how old), and he wanted to finish it quickly as he didn't want to get injured.
Whatever the reasons, the fans were firmly behind Taniguchi, and like the "Taue Volcano" (a name given to Akira Taue when like Shuhei Taniguchi, he suddenly erupted), "Monster Taniguchi" emerged later in the match with a soccer kick to Mutoh's head and two top rope splashes.
The match was slow but emotional, and gave a sense of Taniguchi's desperation to actually turn a corner in Noah and get out of the ditch he sees himself in. I think because of Taniguchi's age, experience and slower more methodical fighting style, this worked better than Kiyomiya vs Mutoh. The match started with mat wrestling, and then progressed to Mutoh's artificial knees being worked on. Mutoh later repaid Taniguchi in kind, and had the fans clapping wildly for Taniguchi to get to the ropes. There were move reversals too; Mutoh went for the Figure Four, Taniguchi the Wyvern and even the Shining Wizard was countered once, but only once.
WINNER: Keiji Mutoh with The Shining Wizard (13 minutes, 51 seconds)
GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Championship
Momo No Seishun (Daisuke Harada & Atsushi Kotoge) vs STINGER (Yoshinari Ogawa & HAYATA)
You would have thought that Momo No Seishun had called Yoshinari Ogawa's bluff and told him to "Do your worst", because he did. HAYATA (who came out hiding under his mask, wearing contact lenses and was seen to pull his hood down the moment he walked out of the curtains), was just as bad. STINGER went on the attack as soon as Momo No Seishun entered the ring, with Ogawa once he was on the outside up to his usual tricks, such as foot pulling from the apron, managing to trip Daisuke Harada up and inside the ring grabbing the ref, eye gouging and low blows. HAYATA wasn't as underhand, but his style has really changed since tagging with Ogawa, with his sadistic smile seen.
STINGER saved their sadism for the bright pink haired Atsushi Kotoge's arm which they tortured mercilessly; Ogawa wrapping it around the ringpost at one point. They made sure to keep Kotoge isolated from Harada, and as a result there was a crisis moment when Kotoge was being tortured by Ogawa, and HAYATA was keeping Harada away, but despite what they put him through, Kotoge refused to give up. Kotoge might not have been able to use his arm, but he could certainly use his legs and after a prolonged period of torture, the fresher Harada was tagged in following a kick. Harada was enraged, Ogawa had taken pretty much everything from him, and now tonight Ogawa was going to take one thing more.
WINNER: Yoshinari Ogawa pinned Atsushi Kotoge (23 minutes, 29 seconds)
Kotaro Suzuki might not have made himself a nuisance during the title match (not really Noah style, although I wouldn't have put it past him to appear at ringside), but STINGER hadn't really had a chance to enjoy their victory, as Kotaro Suzuki and Sarubahe de Oriente came to the ring.
Ogawa couldn't quite believe what he was seeing.
Ogawa, who has probably never been so wound up by anyone or anything before, slapped Kotaro (who later complained that it hurt) and a brawl broke out that was broken up by HAYATA and Sarubahe. HAYATA then spoke on the microphone using his standard phrase, "Next...you".
Title match will take place on the 6th December at "NOAH the BEST, THE FINAL CHRONICLE 2020" at the Yoyogi National Gymnasium (No. 2 Gymnasium).
Momo No Seishun weren't having a good time either, as while Ogawa and Kotaro, two former friends, were fighting in the ring, Tadasuke decided to jump Harada backstage in the interview area, yelling that this "immovable person in fourth place" was going to take the belt away from him, so "don't deny my challenge".
GHC National Championship
Kenoh vs Kaito Kiyomiya
(Made my Match of The Year 2020 list)
Whatever Kenoh and Kaito Kiyomiya do together, whether they fight (usual) or whether they tag (has happened), it is always emotional. Kenoh's fight is full of anger towards what he sees as Kiyomiya's blindness and naivete, but his is more a fight against the powers that he perceives to be using him, Kiyomiya's fight is to prove to Kenoh that this is not the case.
The match started slow, but sooned gained momentum, both of them pulling out either new moves or demonstrating some very clever and very inventive wrestling as they know each other so well. Kiyomiya pulled new moves such as using an over the turnbuckle somersault to the outside of the ring, with Kenoh countering a dropkick and turning it into a footstomp.
As the match wore on, both entered that desperation period where they kicked out of each others moves. With the crowd clapping furiously (I could hear some squeals), and Kongoh pounding on the apron and yelling, Kenoh used something that he had done earlier in the match, but now he capitalized on it, and again, this is new for him. Using the fact that Kiyomiya is taller than he is to his advantage, Kenoh bought him down with a chokehold by clinging on to Kiyomiya's back and wearing him down to the mat.
WINNER: Kenoh with the rear naked choke sleeper hold (19 minutes, 30 seconds)
Kiyomiya remained in his back staring at the ceiling before Inamura rolled him out of the ring.
GHC Heavyweight Tag Championship Match
The Sugiura Army (Takashi Sugiura & Kazushi Sakuraba) vs The M's Alliance (Naomichi Marufuji & Masakatsu Funaki)
Jurina Matsui sauntered to the ring leading her men, while Yuko Miyamoto joined the M'S alliance to pose in the ring (although he is not on the card), and Keiji Mutoh was also with them. Masahiro Chono led the Sugiura Army to the ring, with Takashi Sugiura and Kazushi Sakuraba wearing Chono type shades. Jurina then went back to commentary, Keiji Mutoh joined her, and Masahiro Chono took a seat at ringside.
The match started with the two MMA rivals taking each other to the mat, but Takashi Sugiura had a different approach and struck a massive slap on Masakatsu Funaki for choking him out in the pre-match, and then locked in his own.
Twenty years of fighting together and against each other has not changed the intensity of Naomichi Marufuji vs Takashi Sugiura, and they tore into each other, with Marufuji using an apron brainbuster on Sugiura. You couldn't hear the crowd screaming, but it's somehow there in memory. Later they had an exchange, which ended with Marufuji hitting the mat.
Kazushi Sakuraba doesn't like being chopped (no one does, Go Shiozaki said a chopping contest sounded like a nightmare to him), but from being in Noah he has gradually gotten more and more used to it. Marufuji told him that he wanted to chop him bare chested, and so far that hasn't happened, until today in the middle of their chop war, Marufuji pulled Sakuraba's top off. Then they had a kick war.
Marufuji was confident that The M's Alliance would be the winners today, even at one point counting a pin followed by a knee on Sakuraba, on his fingers, but overconfidence often comes with a price.
WINNER: Kazushi Sakuraba with a Modified Achilles tendon on Naomichi Marufuji (21 minutes, 25 seconds)
Masahiro Chono raised the winners arms and then asked for the microphone. He asked Mutoh and Jurina to come to the ring, and then tried to browbeat them into joining The Sugiura Army. Mutoh and Jurina looked as if they were considering it, and Mutoh even went as far as to whisper in Jurina's ear. They then shook hands with Chono, and let them raise their arms.
It was all a ruse, as Jurina slapped him and they left the ring with Chono growling at them that they would be sorry. After a lengthy speech it was time to congratulate the champions (Sugi's attention seemed to wander), and they did the pose together.
GHC Heavyweight Championship Match
Go Shiozaki vs Katsuhiko Nakajima
(Made my Match of The Year 2020 list)
Katsuhiko Nakajima sat like an ominous bird of prey sitting on the ringpost just waiting for Go Shiozaki with his hood up, his mask on and face hidden. The effect was eerie.
Kenoh, (while the rest of Kongoh came out to second Nakajima), was on commentary, talking in hushed tones. This was not his tone by the end of the match though.
The match had a slow build, as its early stages consisted of Nakajima refusing to lock up and kicking Shiozaki. Then he started being irritating, refusing to get in the ring and wandering around the outside. Both inside and outside the ring, Nakajima enjoyed finding ways to torture Shiozaki's arms, even bending them over the steel barriers much to Kenoh's enjoyment, and making Jurina scream when he kicked the barrier. It was the ref who had to throw Shiozaki back in the ring as the count got to 19 (I don't think Shiozaki realised and was probably meant to get in before then). Nakajima had inflicted so much damage on Shiozaki's arms that it was difficult for him to do the Machine Gun Chops at first, but he is Kenta Kobashi's pupil, and nothing was going to stop him. Shiozaki's arms did let him down again during the match when he had to delay a pin after a moonsault because of them.
Nakajima dominated a lot of the match, catching Shiozaki in midair with a kick after bouncing him off the ropes, and even with his big grin told Shiozaki to "hit me" and then no sold him. But as ever, Nakajima gets cocky and his opponents start fighting back, and that is when the smile snaps off, he seems to grow fangs and his eyes take on a white angry flame like glow. No matter what he did, Shiozaki would not go down and stay down; kick vs chop war, Nakajima countering Shiozaki's lariats with kicks to the arm, using submissions like stretching his arms out, and then putting his knees up as Shiozaki went for the moonsault a second time. Nakajima's evil smile came back then when he rolled over to look, and the match seemed won a few moments later when Nakajima hit a massive knock out kick to Shiozaki. Shiozaki dropped to the mat and didn't move, despite the referee bending over him, but as ever in this match, no matter what Nakajima threw at him, he struggled to his feet.
WINNER: Go Shiozaki with a short range Gowan lariat (42 minutes, 35 seconds)
Kenoh had left the commentary booth by now, and came stamping to the ring. His mood was made worse when he saw Takashi Sugiura and Kazushi Sakuraba come to the ring. Kenoh (after he and Sugi had yelled at each other, with Kenoh basically asking "What the fuck do you want?"), came stamping over and Sakuraba stood between them. Kenoh immediately took this as a sign that Sakuraba was going to challenge him for the National Title, and therefore made it a fact...doing it in a way by using language that Sakuraba wouldn't. Then he stormed off, and as the ring emptied, Sugiura addressed Shiozaki, congratulating him on his defense, and challenging him for the title. Shiozaki told him that he had been waiting for Sugiura to challenge him for a long time.
When Sugiura had gone, Shiozaki made a short speech to the crowd; he thanked everyone for coming to the event today, and saying that he would always stand in the centre of the ring to detonate Noah. He finished with "I am Noah! WE are Noah!"
Both titles will take place on the 6th December at "NOAH the BEST, THE FINAL CHRONICLE 2020" at the Yoyogi National Gymnasium (No. 2 Gymnasium).
With thanks to: Voyage, Abeshin, Metal-Noah
Noah's next event: Friday, November 27th 2020: Tsukuba Capio, Tsukuba, Ibaraki
GIFS taken from ABEMA
PICTURE credit: PKDX