Naturally with the Coronavirus, Noah were taking no chances. All roster on the card had been tested, as had the the ring crew, the commentators and the ABEMA staff. Prior to the match the trainees washed down the ring, the mats outside, and even the iron barriers with disinfectant spray. After matches everything was scrubbed again by them, with the referee wiping down the ropes and spraying the ring. The fans themselves were checked as they came in with a facial temperature app being used, wearing face masks, and having to fill in information regarding their address and their mode of transport to get here. The commentators too were subject to social distancing, each sitting behind plastic screens.
The event was broadcast live on ABEMA. You can view the event for a week for free, after which it will be put on WRESTLEUNIVERSE.
Kinya Okada vs Yoshiki Inamura
The bell rang and it was on, no messing around, no tentative lock up, no trying to work each other out, just straight to fighting.
Kinya Okada went to initially work on Yoshiki Inamura's arm, but that didn't work as Inamura countered him, so Okada went to work on Inamura's legs. He also used some inventive submissions. Yoshinari Ogawa has taught him well.
There was only so much that Inamura was going to take, especially after Okada tried to lift him into a slam (Inamura seems to have expanded again, so it didn't work), and so deciding that he had had enough of being kicked, and after Okada kicked out of the Oklahoma Stampede, Inamura turned to something that he knew that Okada doesn't have a high tolerance for, a submission move.
WINNER: Yoshiki Inamura with The Boston Crab (10 minutes, 18 seconds)
Katsuhiko Nakajima, Shuhei Taniguchi & Mohammed Yone vs FULL THROTTLE (Atsushi Kotoge, Hajime Ohara & Seiki Yoshioka)
Atsushi Kotoge came bouncing to the ring in typical crazy person fashion, and Hajime Ohara found himself once again sorting out a squabble between Seiki Yoshioka and Kotoge over who was the leader. It wasn't going to be the last time this happened, as they got into another squabble backstage. None of this was going to dampen Kotoge's overly high spirits, as he decided that he was going to make the FULL THROTTLE motion to his opponents. They followed standard protocol when dealing with Kotoge being hyper. Ignore him.
One person who was going to take his time was Katsuhiko Nakajima, who came sauntering out in his Edo like faux wolfskin robe, with a big grin on his face, and the red belt over his shoulder. Nakajima loves posing for the crowd, and so much so there was a special extended edition of "Shutter Chance" on Seiki Yoshioka.
This was a rare match up as you don't often see this kind of match made. Hajime Ohara vs Shuhei Taniguchi in particular is really rare, but despite the size and and power difference, Ohara did well to subdue him.
The match belonged to Atsushi Kotoge and Katsuhiko Nakajima; both of whom were on form. Nakajima kicked Kotoge around, the usual creepy smile on his face, and no selling him. At one point after the punch battle, Kotoge even blew on his fist! Nakajima then knocked him down and went for the cocky pin.
Seiki Yoshioka moved as fast as Kotoge, but in a less manic way. His moment of event infamy came when he went to a do a moonsault from the top rope to the outside of the ring, and sailed over the barriers and crashed into the commentary tables. Kuniko Yamada who was on commentary, told him to go away! Aside from this, fans got their wish (as did Nakajima who had spoken about Yoshioka who has a background in Tae-Kwon-Do) to see Nakajima and Yoshioka face off, and they had their obligatory kick battle. Someone else who showed he could kick was Hajime Ohara. Ohara has a background in MMA, but kicks aren't something that he uses, but no matter, Nakajima who decided the fun was over, soon sorted him out with a well timed kick to the turnbuckle and the dreaded soccer ball kicks.
WINNER: Katsuhiko Nakajima with the Vertical Spike on Hajime Ohara (15 minutes, 25 seconds)
STINGER (Kotaro Suzuki, Yoshinari Ogawa & HAYATA) vs Daisuke Harada, Tadasuke & YO-HEY
The former RATELS came out to the ring first; Tadasuke still looking crazy, YO-HEY subdued and Daisuke Harada looking focused. Yoshinari Ogawa led STINGER out. His shoulder was taped, and he looked to be in a little pain, which probably explains why his elimination happened so suddenly when he was eliminated by Tadasuke in only 2 minutes and 41 seconds.
Ogawa was furious and complained that the pin was only two. The referee said no. It was three, and to leave the ring. Naturally Tadasuke had a huge manic grin on. About five minutes later, YO-HEY eliminated Kotaro Suzuki with the FACIAL G.
HAYATA was left facing his three angry former friends, but Ogawa was not going to take being eliminated so lightly, and Ogawa came back out to lurk at (and cause trouble) at ringside. Last thing he wanted is HAYATA being left alone with what was RATELS, especially YO-HEY.
While Ogawa hovered outside the ring, Harada had his shark smells blood face on as the former RATELS working on punishing HAYATA rather than eliminating him. They should not have underestimated HAYATA however, as he has a tendency to do well in Battle Royales against the others, and he eliminated YO-HEY by throwing him over the top rope (12 minutes, 51 seconds) and then Tadasuke (14 minutes, 26 seconds with the Cross Fix). It was now Harada vs HAYATA, something Harada has wanted since HAYATA betrayed him a few months ago. His shark-smells-blood face on, Harada even went so far as to stare into the camera when he went for a pin.
WINNER: Daisuke Harada with the Katayama German Suplex (16 minutes, 6 seconds)
Eventually, they had to let HAYATA leave (who was being held down in a foot choke) and Harada spoke on the microphone to the retreating STINGER to say that tomorrow they would take all the belts.
The Sugiura Army (Takashi Sugiura, Kazushi Sakuraba, Kendo Kashin, Kaz Hayashi & NOSAWA Rongai) vs Kongoh (Kenoh, Masa Kitamiya, Manabu Soya, Haoh and Nioh)
As expected, Kendo Kashin immediately started causing trouble almost from the moment he had walked out of the curtain, by speeding to the ring clutching a chair which he threw into the ring at Kongoh. He then went back for another one, but had to be restrained by NOSAWA NOSAWA and Kaz Hayashi (NOSAWA even shut the gate to stop him!). This was going to be recurring theme in the match, Kashin was also stopped later from grabbing another chair, at which point Takashi Sugiura told NOSAWA to watch him (despite the fact that NOSAWA is and was not above cheating, such as when he kicked Haoh as he bounced off the ropes). Kashin for his part tried to get Sugiura to trust him, he was a bit crawly in doing it by holding the ropes open for him, Sugiura remained unconvinced.
This was a chaotic match, not least because these two teams hate each other, but because of the discord that Kashin kept causing in The Sugiura Army
The Sugiura Army juniors entered separately from the two heavyweights, with Kazuyashi Sakuraba and Takashi Sugiura making their own separate entrances. Sugiura had put one skeleton kneepadded leg in the ring practically when Kongoh attacked, and a fight broke out. Kenoh attacking not Sugiura, Kashin or NOSAWA, but Sakuraba (who has probably now found a way on to his enemies list). There was an unintentionally funny moment during this, when Yoshiki Inamura (who had come out to second Kongoh), was seen wandering through the melee.
It didn't matter that fans had been asked not to cheer, Korakuen Hall was on fire to see the extended edition of Masa Kitamiya and Takashi Sugiura scream and slam into each other during a knock down rope bounce. Sugiura rolled outside the ring, only to be rolled back in (much to his surprise) by NOSAWA and Kashin, who told him not to take a rest but to fight on. After a few more rounds with Kitamiya, Sugi tagged in Sakuraba, who tagged in Manabu Soya. I think from Sakuraba's reaction he probably wanted Kenoh. He would get him later in the match when Kenoh hit the ring and knocked down everyone in The Sugiura Army, leaving only himself and Sakuraba. Kashin, who had staggered up on to the apron was not going to tag in. They had a kick war, with Sakuraba's MMA vs Kenoh's Nippon Kempo.
WINNER: Takashi Sugiura with the Olympic Slam on Nio (16 minutes, 56 seconds)
Go Shiozaki & Kaito Kiyomiya vs The M Alliance (Naomichi Marufuji & Keiji Mutoh)
Naomichi Marufuji came to the ring first, and made one of the commentators, Jurina Matsui, a member of the M Alliance by giving her a t-shirt. Kuniko Yamada complained, which is kind of ironic as she had a Go Shiozaki sign, and neither of her names begin with an "M".
Kaito Kiyomiya came out looking a little more more subdued than usual and looking thoughtful, and stood and watched Keiji Mutoh as he made his entry. Go Shiozaki, as GHC Heavyweight champion, came out last.
Kaito Kiyomiya had said in an interview that in this match he was not interested in Marufuji or Shiozaki, if anything he wasn't even going to notice them, and knowing Kiyomiya as he does (i.e. he's a Noah born which means that he has a tremendous stubborn steak), Shiozaki gave his young tag partner his own way ad let him start off against Mutoh. Kiyomiya may not have had the ten second win he hoped for, and Mutoh remained mainly dominant, but it seemed that rather than rush into things, Kiyomiya had gone back to the drawing board and managed to get the upper hand, he had to fight like someone possessed to do it, but he did it, and Mutoh after asking for a time out, tagged in Marufuji and Kiyomiya tagged in Shiozaki, which was really the theme of this match, Shiozaki spending little time in the ring with Mutoh as he knew that Kiyomiya wanted him. When Kiyomiya was in the ring with Marufuji, it usually involved Kiyomiya knocking him off the apron, when in the ring, it became more and more of a frenzied attack as time ticked on. Mutoh fought as a veteran of thirty-six years against a young man of twenty-four years old.
Go Shiozaki vs Naomichi Marufuji, whether it be a tag or a singles, has always been significant in Noah. Both come from the "Golden Era" of Noah, both knew Mitsuharu Misawa, and both are the heirs of Noah. Shiozaki is junior to Marufuji, and he has spent much of his career trying to surpass him. Shiozaki has only ever beaten Marufuji once in a singles match, and this was after almost fourteen years of trying, each match between them is always a case of Shiozaki trying to surpass Marufuji, and Marufuji being the wall he can never quite get around.
Today was no different when a chop war broke out which Shiozaki no sold, Marufuji dog earing Shiozaki to the corner to chop him, Shiozaki didn't no sell this one, and Marufuji found himself getting the machine gun chops, and a massive lariat by Shiozaki on Marufuji.
Mutoh tightened the screws on Kiyomiya in figure four, using the rope for leverage (it didn't matter, neither were legally in the ring, so a submission would make no difference) while Marufuji battered Shiozaki with knees, using a new technique which aims for the temple he has called "True Tiger King". Marufuji said that most people aim for the knees, so he decided to change it a little. It did the trick.
WINNER: Naomichi Marufuji with True Tiger King on Go Shiozaki (20 minutes, 48 seconds)
"Hey! Shiozaki! I just want to say one thing; You're a strong and reliable champion, and you've regained the trust you once lost. BUT, you got caught! You say "I AM NOAH?", well listen carefully, "I AM REALLY NOAH!"
How about this? The next challenger is me!"
Kiyomiya then popped up and started shrieking at Mutoh, and challenged him to a singles match at the Yokohama Bunka Gym on the 10th August 2020. Mutoh said he would do it, providing neither of them tested positive for Coronavirus.
With the GHC Heavyweight title match being set for "NOAH DEPARTURE DAY 2" at Korakuen Hall on the 5th August 2020, backstage Marufuji said, "I have been working hard for Noah for the last 20 years. It is only me."
Noah will return to Korakuen Hall on the 19th July, the event being broadcast live on G+ at 11.30am JST.
WITH THANKS TO: Metal Noah, Abeshin
GIF'S TAKEN FROM ABEMA
PICTURE CREDIT: Tadasuke