It was a lot of fun!! Thank you very much!!
If Kenoh has The Budokan, then Daisuke Harada has the Edion Osaka Arena 1st stadium.
Latter 2019 and early 2020 seem to be the era of Noah gradually easing back into the stadium era, and while they haven't quite reached The Budokan yet, they took their first step towards it by running the final night of N-1 VICTORY at Edion Osaka Arena 1st Stadium. The mat had a new yellow trim design (I think we are going to see this for big match venues).
The event was not sold out, it was estimated to be two thirds filled, but Noah managed to attract a lot of new fans to the event (which in a nice nod to Noah's past was lit green in the opening). By the end of the evening Noah announced that for the first time in a long time, the Noah GHC hashtag was trending.
Takeshi Rikio (a wrestler from Noah's "Golden Era" who walked out of All Japan with Misawa) made an ultra rare appearance in Noah. Rikio retired in November 2011 due to both neck injuries and liver enzymes (caused by his sumo career) and after working for Noah as the GHC Commissioner (a role he reprised this evening) he left wrestling and ran a Ramen restaurant. During the interval he made his third appearance in Noah (he had been signing autographs, and had appeared earlier to open the show), alongside Kenta Kobashi to announce that both (the 6th and 7th GHC Heavyweight champions) would do special commentary for the second part of the show.
Unusually for Noah, they started the show with a couple of dark matches (in the past these were jokingly called "old man matches" as they used to feature old veterans ((who Marufuji once joked wanted to be home before dark)), and young rookies.
The event will be televised on Monday 23rd September on G+
Match 1 (Dark Match)
The Sugiura Army (KAZMA SAKAMOTO & Kinya Okada) vs Hitoshi Kumano & Junta Miyawaki.
Usual bumbling antics from MASAO WORLD, and Hitoshi Kumano has dyed his hair red.
WINNER: KAZMA SAKAMOTO with the Pop Up Powerbomb on Junta Miyawaki (5 minutes, 30 seconds)
The Return of The Dark Agents (Akitoshi Saito & Masao Inoue), Tadasuke & Sonico vs 50 Funky Powers (Mohammed Yone & Quiet Storm), Hi69 & Minoru Tanaka.
For a reason that no one knows (but I am sure that if you listened closely you could hear RATELS laughing), Tadasuke came out wearing aviator shades....
WINNER: Quiet Storm with the Funky Buster Powerbomb on Sonico (6 minutes, 21 seconds)
At the end of the match 50 Funky Powers pulled their pose, with Minoru Tanaka doing a kind of lopsided windmill, and Hi69 standing with arms spread out to his sides.
Takeshi Rikio came to the ring, and announced that the event would now begin properly. He also bought a glowering Kenoh and Takashi Sugiura to the ring to announce the N-1 VICTORY final match for later. From the way they were standing and glaring at each other with Rikio looming between them, it looked like any moment he was going to scruff them by the back of the t-shirts and separate them.
Masa Kitamiya vs Rhyno
From the moment the bell went they charged at each other, and the building shifted slightly on its foundations.
The building moved even further when Rhyno went for the Gore at the end.
WINNER: Rhyno with Gore (6 minutes, 43 seconds)
Afterwards Rhyno cut a promo basically saying that he wasn't finished with Noah yet - he was going to take down everyone in the locker room.
Yoshiki Inamura vs Kazuyuki Fujita
Fujita set the tone for the match by completely ignoring Inamura's entrance. Inamura put up a good fight, but he could not prevail against "The Beast"
WINNER: Kazuyuki Fujita via referee stop after three punches to the face and the Modified Camel Clutch (3 minutes, 44 seconds)
A lot of fans would like to see Fujita do more in Noah (and for this match to have gone on for longer), as having one match against a guy who is still a rookie, and not coming back makes him look like he is running away.
Katsuhiko Nakajima & El Hijo de Dr Wagner Jnr vs Go Shiozaki & Alex Hammerstone.
AXIZ shook hands before the match and they bumped their tag belts together, but despite these pleasantries they tore into each other when the time came, with Nakajima doing his smug rope lean on Shiozaki, and Shiozaki chopping Nakajima.
WINNER: Go Shiozaki with the Gowan Lariat on El Hijo de Dr Wagner Junior (12 minutes, 24 seconds)
IPW Junior Heavyweight Title
Daisuke Harada (c) vs Atsushi Kotoge
"The Peach Youth showdown"
Atsushi Kotoge dyed his hair pink for the match, and the bruising that Harada inflicted on his neck soon turned a deep red to match it. The former tag team partners reached the point where they hate each other, and it looks like that at one point in the match, Kotoge headbutted Harada (but I don't think he drew blood or it was one of the more harsh ones that required staples).
WINNER: Atsushi Kotoge with the OverkillSwitch (16 minutes, 34 seconds)
Atsushi Kotoge said about Harada that they hated each other, and he didn't regret coming back to the juniors as everything was now working out. The days of their tagging were over.
STINGER (Yoshinari Ogawa, Kotaro Suzuki & Chris Ridgeway) vs The Sugiura Army (Hajime Ohara & NOSAWA Rongai) and Kazushi Sakuraba.
Very technical between Sakuraba and Ogawa and Sakuraba and Ridgeway (Ridgeway says he wants a round two).
Sakuraba refused to wear the dog t-shirt, but he does have one apparently, Takashi Sugira says he gave him one on discount! Someone (and I think it was probably Hajime Ohara) clipped both the "Company Dog" towel and the "Company Dog" cushion to the iron ring poles with the Shiba Inu clips.
WINNER: Kazushi Sakuraba with the Sakuraba Lock on Chris Ridgeway (6 minutes, 57 seconds)
Afterwards NOSAWA got into the ring, and Ogawa started screaming at him about the tag title challenge (it's rare for Ogawa to yell).
GHC Junior Heavyweight Title
HAYATA (c) vs YO-HEY
HAYATA painted half his face a skull like in the Dove Pro days.
A fan commented that because HAYATA doesn't speak much, so what you get in the ring is huge. The key to HAYATA is his facial expressions, and what happened in the ring today was a testament to the strength of the bond between himself and YO-HEY. It was said to have been a very good much, fast, technical but not dominated too much by high flying maneuvers.
YO-HEY has new theme music....
WINNER: HAYATA with the Headache (17 minutes, 25 seconds)
At the end of the match, HAYATA helped YO-HEY out of the ring, and they walked together (HAYATA supporting YO-HEY with an arm around his waist while YO-HEY had an arm around his neck) back up the ramp, HAYATA deposited YO-HEY on the floor before turning back to the crowd and raised the belt.
He also asked for a rematch at Sumo Hall.
HAYATA thought for a moment, and then said "Next....Sumo Hall".
And then walked off.
Keiji Mutoh, Jun Akiyama & Kaito Kiyomiya vs Naomichi Marufuji, Masaaki Mochizuki & Shuhei Taniguchi.
"Akiyama who I have known since I was a trainee. Mutoh I have been watching since I was a fan. Champ Kiyomiya. My heart is dancing, there is no reason for it not to. It was fun. Thank you very much. Well, my target is ... "
Kaito Kiyomiya held the belt up to Naomichi Marufuji, who grinned.
Later in the match Marufuji chopped Keiji Mutoh (please bare in mind that it is "Respect for the Aged Day" in Japan) and...apparently he also blew water at him too.
WINNER: Kaito Kiyomiya with the Tiger Suplex on Shuhei Taniguchi (22 minutes, 25 seconds)
Despite the loss, fans said it was Taniguchi who this match belonged to, especially the intereactions with Jun Akiyama.
Kaito Kiyomiya says he learned a lot today.
N-1 VICTORY FINAL
Takashi Sugiura vs Kenoh
At the start of the match they stood staring at each other and not moving. This is something that Kenoh had learned from Sugiura. If Sugiura stands still before a match just staring, it means he is going to mess you up.
The whole match was brutal (kicks, running knees, unforgiving elbows), but apparently the sweat rose like mist when they went into trading blows in rapid succession.
Kenoh escaped from the dreaded neck lock by kicking Sugiura in the head, he also kicked out of the Olympic Slam. He also managed to reverse the ankle lock by twisting round and kicking Sugiura in the stomach. For everything that Sugiura bought, Kenoh found a way around and out of it.
WINNER: Kenoh with the Rolling Diving Footstamp (28 minutes, 40 seconds)
After Kenoh's win, Kaito Kiyomiya came to the ring.
He told Kenoh that he saw a new scene in Sumo Hall on November 2nd.
Kenoh said, "funny I see it too" and then started yelling at Kiyomiya that he would show him a new scenery at Sumo Hall and shine this ring "like a diamond".
After Kiyomiya had left the ring, Kenoh spoke again on the microphone asking the crowd who they wanted to see at the new renovated Budokan?
They responded "Noah".
Then it was time for him to pose as yellow streamers fell from the roof on to the ring where Kenoh was standing with the winners trophy, he took the smaller one (he gets to keep that one), and on his way back up the ramp, he did his fist pose at the top as sparkling pyro went off.
"I won the N-1. I was finally able to defeat Sugiura, like I have been saying I would.
With this momentum, on November 2nd at Sumo Hall, I will take the belt from Kiyomiya"
NOAH'S NEXT SHOW: Saturday 21st September
WITH THANKS TO: R-岡田, Maiko Shimauma, Lynn, Abeshin, Burning K, Susie Creamcheese, DAI, KO-HEY, Yama,
PICTURE CREDIT: Atsushi Kotoge, PKDX, Noah GHC, Tadasuke, Boku Pro