"There'll be parties for hosting
Marshmallows for toasting
And caroling out in the snow
There'll be scary ghost stories...."
Welcome to Noah's annual last event of the year "NOAHFul GIFT", where scary ghost stories will abound and haunt your nightmares to the end of time and beyond the grave, by the sheer terror of what you are about to discover.
"NOAHFul Gift" (formerly "NOAHFul Gift in Differ") is Noah's end of year show, it stopped for a few years during the dark era, partly because Noah no longer had Differ to host it in, and partly because morale was so low among the wrestlers, the fans and the staff following the disaster of the New Japan alliance and Suzuki-Gun invasion, plus there was no money and in 2017, the company almost went bankrupt.
Last year, Noah held their first one in a while, with only the Flea Market, a few pre-matches (including a RATELS four way) and the traditional costumed Battle Royale, and the flea market where the Noah wrestlers personally sold their old ring-wear and clothing. There were a few extras this year as well as the market and the costumed Battle Royale, Noah held a fan lottery to determine the singles, three way and six man tag, plus instant photo ops with Naomichi Marufuji (who naturally didn't participate due to injury) and HAYATA (who wore his cats-eye contact lenses).
Noah's set dressing consisted of a raised entryway on a platform, with a small Christmas tree on one side, and a small pyro on the other. The ring posts were also decorated with a bell decoration.
President Uchida was on hand for the event, and wore a Santa hat before it began, and then put on reindeer antlers. Masao Inoue, YO-HEY and Akitoshi Saito did the comedy video this year, it was a parody of an advert which involved YO-HEY breaking Inoue's glasses by crushing them underfoot and accidentally sitting on them. Akitoshi Saito fortunately kept his clothes on.
The referee (as well as some fans) also dressed up, and wore a Santa hat with a full face mask.
RAN sang "Over The Rainbow" for the halftime show.
A fan bought an item of Katsuhiko Nakajima's, a tank top, from the flea market, and said it smelt slightly of sweat...
There may also be a chance of today's show being recorded as a man with a tripod camera was seen, either way, we should get some clips on Battlemen and (hopefully) YouTube.
The four matches drawn by random lottery were:
1. Yoshiki Inamura vs Hi69
2. Kaito Kiyomiya vs Kinya Okada vs Kenoh
3. Tadasuke, Atsushi Kotoge & Go Shiozaki vs Junta Miyawaki, YO-HEY & Katsuhiko Nakajima
Hi69 won with the Trance Rave after 7 minutes and 33 seconds
Kaito Kiyomiya, Kenoh and Kinya Okada put on a great match.
Okada, although he was a rookie facing two GHC Heavyweight Champions, he managed to hold his own, and was voted by fans to be the MVP of the event.
At the start of the match the referee had to separate Kenoh and Kiyomiya, as Kiyomiya was holding up the belt, and Kenoh started shrieking. Kiyomiya (and it has taken him a year) has started to develop something of an attitude, as not only did he slam the microphone into Kenoh's chest (which surprised Kenoh as Kiyomiya doesn't usually stand up for himself in that way), he also betrayed Okada when the two of them ganged up against Kenoh, and he got booed when he attacked him. This was also a fortuitous pre-match as it turned out (although as it seemed so lucky, I do wonder whether Noah rigged this match to happen).
After the match, Kenoh said that Noah was foolish to put the title on a young boy with only three years experience, and he would remedy that in January 2019.
Kaito Kiyomiya won with the Boston Crab on Kinya Okada after 13 minutes and 27 seconds
In the six man tag, despite Tadasuke and YO-HEY being on opposing sides, the focus was on Atsushi Kotoge and handler, Go Shiozaki.
Kotoge handed Shiozaki his cape.
Shiozaki looked at it, thought about it, threw it aside.
Later, the cape granted magical powers (and why does this sound like I am writing a story for fanfic) as Go Shiozaki could not chop his opponent, until Kotoge handed him....the black vinyl cape.
Go Shiozaki put it on, and his powers were restored, and he could chop Nakajima.
Kotoge was thrilled out of what is left of his mind, even more so when Shiozaki started doing the revolutionary fist pump.
Katsuhiko Nakajima and YO-HEY sat in the front row of the crowd and cheered on Junta Miyawaki.
Tadasuke won with the lariat on Junta Miyawaki (12 minutes and 32 seconds)
After the match, a delighted Kotoge asked if Shiozaki was going to wear the cape from now on.
Shiozaki looked like you do when your grandmother asks why you aren't wearing that Christmas jumper she made you.
Each match had an atmosphere of the next generation of Noah in them and included hardly any vets in it (except maybe perhaps Hi69, who has been wrestling for 18 years).
After the interval there was the hysterically funny costumed Battle Royale, and even the ring announcer, Ally, dressed up to read the rules of the competition (he came as Koshi Inaba of BZ), and it wasn't a bad likeness.
Santa Kitamiya: Masa Kitamita
Reindeer 1: Junta Miyawaki
Reindeer 2: Hitoshi Kumano
Serval (Kemono Friends): Kinya Okada
Keechi Ando from Baki The Grappler: Yoshiki Inamura
Urashima Tarō: Lin Dong-Xuan
Bambi-No: YO-HEY (character from a cooking manga)
Bambi-No Storm: Quiet Storm
Hi69 = Panda
Cody Hall = Jesus Christ
Sasumata: Maybach Taniguchi
Maou: Masao Inoue (a demon King from manga)
Pe Yoneyama: Mohammed Yone (parody of Japanese entertainer, Pe Hayashi)
Kotoge Mercury: Atsushi Kotoge (Freddie Mercury)
Revolutionary Cloak Hero: Akitoshi Saito
Gorilla: Takashi Sugiura
Kiki: Hajime Ohara
Heat: Minoru Tanaka
ZOZOTOWN Harada: Daisuke Harada (given Harada's penchant for dressing as people, I think this was a gentle dig at President Uchida, ZOZOTOWN are a clothing outlet)
No Face: Tadasuke
HAYATA: HAYATA (fans said it was Darth Maul)
Menso-re Oyaji: Kenoh
Kimono woman\songstress: Kaito Kiyomiya
Tuxedo Man: Yoshinari Ogawa
Eiga Dorobo\Dog: Go Shiozaki (2018 was the Year of The Dog)
Samurai: Katsuhiko Nakajima
I think Go Shiozaki's character (the same as last year, except he replaced the dogs mask for a camera lens after Katsuhiko Nakajima hunted him and took the head) is a kind of nod to the problems that Noah (and other promotions) have had about people coming to the venue and filming the event on their phone. Pictures are fine, but filming is not. If you are planning to go to a Noah show, (or any other puro event for that matter), please do not do it.
Speaking of costumes, Hi69 put more effort into his this year and evidently didn't leave it until the last moment to go out and buy it (i.e. no face paint and tights). HAYATA and Hajime Ohara came as the same as last year, and Ogawa wore a tuxedo again (although it was different from last year, and he still managed to look like Liberace).
Junta Miyawaki and Hitoshi Kumano made the cutest reindeer ever.
Kenoh looked like he was really having fun, and was probably smiling away under that mask and doing things that Kenoh wouldn't normally do. He chose this character due to the associations with his beloved summer retreat of Okinawa, and the fact that he drinks Orion beer, (which is Kenoh's favorite), and is brewed on the island.
Katsuhiko Nakajima found that for all the functionality of a Samurai robe, he couldn't actually kick someone, but he and the songstress shared a dance, someone commented that it looked like something out of an Edo drama (if so the director cast a 5'11 woman to dance with a 5'9 man).
Mohammed Yone took pictures of everything, including the flattened Maybach Taniguchi outside the ring.
For the full Freddie Mercury affect, Atsushi Kotoge glued black hair to his chest.
Masa Kitamiya Santa started fighting with one of his reindeer (Miyawaki) and then he managed to subdue them both, and so they bowed down either side of him.
The Gorilla (who bought a bunch of banana's with him to the ring) and the Panda got it on, to be broken up by Freddie Mercury.
Yes. I just wrote that sentence.
Kotoge also teased The Gorilla with the bananas.
Yoshinari "Liberace" Ogawa came to the ring and President Daisuke Uchida met him, kicked at him through the ropes, and Ogawa pulled a macho pose, and walked off
Although due to injury he couldn't compete (and given half the chance he stubbornly would have done), Naomichi Marufuji was sitting at ringside, and watching the chaos, he later posed for the commemorative picture. YO-HEY did not join in with the picture.
The event was won by Freddie Kotoge, who received a voucher for a hotel & spa.
After the event, Go Shiozaki (in his role as chairman of the Noah wrestlers association) thanked everyone for coming today, and thanked them for helping to raise the roof so to speak. Next year the wrestlers and the staff, will continue to devote themselves to Pro Wrestling Noah.
Noah will hold their next event on January 6th 2019 at Korakuen Hall
WITH THANKS TO: Metal Noah, Abeshin, Hamarin, Shu, Hae, Naomi, Pinkie Pie, Dai, Shishido
PICTURE CREDIT: Noah GHC, PXDX, Boku Pro