Noah kicked off their first event in 2019 in style, there was a long line at the ticket office today, which stretched right down to the first floor (contrary to popular belief, Korakuen Hall is not on the ground floor, its actually on the second), and fans were hoping for a sold out crowd.
Those entering the hall were greeted by Noah's bright new green mat, The Leave adverts playing, and for those who were lucky enough to get there early, a RATELS rubber band (these were all gone in a few minutes)
As per tradition on the first day of tour, the roster came out to the ring and lined up. Go Shiozaki (the president of the Noah Wrestlers Association) did the New Year greeting, and Atsushi Kotoge wore his cape (the one with the high collar which makes him look like Dracula). Go Shiozaki's speech was short and to the point, he said this year, he wanted to work hard at his role as the Chairperson of the Noah wrestlers association and surpass last year.
Kinya Okada vs Masa Kitamiya
Kinya Okada was a little more respectful today (no smirking or sarcasm, probably because he didn't have anyone to deflect Kitamiya from him, and he's probably more afraid of him that he was Kaito Kiyomiya).
The match got off to a tone which would set the evening, as Noah gave it their all in every single match, with Okada hammering on Kitamiya (he also threw in some dropkicks too). There was tremendous size difference between the two, although Okada and Inamura are considered to be tanks, but in the end both size and strength won out when Kitamiya hit Okada with a massive spear, and winded him.
WINNER: Masa Kitamiya with the Spear (2 minutes, 42 seconds)
Yoshiki Inamura vs Takashi Sugiura.
Yoshiki Inamura came running to the ring (he'd be better off running from it), and when Takashi Sugiura arrived to what is still the scariest music in all of Pro Wrestling, there was a shake of hands between them.
The match itself was one of the many highlights of the night, and Inamura put up an awesome fight, and kicked out of almost everything, even once managing to knock his hero down. Crowd was on fire for this although it was very much like a sparring match in the dojo, but that didn't stop it being stiff as hell.
In the end, Sugiura went for the infamous choke, and Inamura fought back by lifting him, it was to no avail.
WINNER: Takashi Sugiura via Front Neck Lock (6 minutes, 20 seconds)
Hi69 & Minoru Tanaka vs Atsushi Kotoge & Masao Inoue
"Fun match with lots of laughter"
Atsushi Kotoge raced out into the crowd, (I swear he going to fall off the balcony over the stairs one day), in the ring there was a friendly handshake between the four, that was until Kotoge and Inoue (who actually worked well together) decided to attack.
There was serious cloak abuse during this fast paced match, Kotoge kept it on for longer than usual, but when he took it off, Minoru Tanaka got hold of it and wore it on his head, Kotoge wasn't too impressed when Tanaka sarcastically did the "Revolutionary Fist", the cloak's evening was about to get worse...
Kotoge, who was bouncing around, accidentally hit Inoue when the opponent dodged out of the way, and after he was knocked down himself, Hi69 (who appears to have a new haircut), put the cape on and did the Revolutionary Cloak Splash. He then kind of got stuck in it when he attempted to take it off.
What is left of Kotoge's mind was thrilled when Tanaka put the cape on properly when his arms were raised for the win, and he thought they were going to join him.
They threw him out of the ring, and Minoru Tanaka applied the cape to Hi69's ass...
WINNER: Hi69 with the Revolutionary Cloak Splash on Masao Inoue (9 minutes and 19 seconds)
The Backbreakers (Hajime Ohara & Hitoshi Kumano) vs Junta Miyawaki & Seiya Morohashi
Junta Miyawaki ran to the ring, and just like the seniors before him, Seiya Morohashi followed more sedately. HI69 and Tanaka hung around to second them.
Miyawaki has blossomed, and was able to match Ohara to some degree, and there was veryfluid action between them (Ohara has taught him well). Many near falls, Miyawaki refusing to submit, but he fell to the champions, then Morohashi and Kumano got into it after the match and a fight broke out.
After the match, Ohara got on the microphone and made two announcements, the first was that he was very impressed by Miywaki's growth, but he wouldn't be giving him a title match just yet, and the second was that Noah will return to Kultz Kawasaki on the 27th July.
On his way out, Hajime Ohara put his towel around the neck of a small child.
Winner: Hitoshi Kumano with the Bear Bottom on Junta Miyawaki (12 minutes and 31 seconds)
Akitoshi Saito & 50 Funky Powers (Mohammed Yone & Quiet Storm) vs The Hooligans (Mitsuya Nagai, KAZMA SAKAMOTO and Mitsuya Nagai).
Typical Hooligans brawl outside the ring, and KAZMA smacked Quiet Storm with a water bottle, it went everywhere, and crowd hid. The usual Hooligan chaos, weapons, cheating, interference, and the ref got shoved down which caused them to be disqualified. Then Nagai wrapped his chain round his fist and went to hit Yone, when he did the same to Quiet Storm, he dodged and Nagai smacked KAZMA instead.
WINNER: 50 Funky Powers via disqualification (5 minutes, 3 seconds)
Afterwards a smiling Naomichi Marufuji got into the ring, and Korakuen went into a frenzy as he announced
"Just one more month, and I will return at Korakuen Hall on the 1st February. The younger generation have the belt, and as you can see, he has risen to the top, but that is not enough I guess. On the 1st of February, everybody, I am waiting for you"
Then in between doing commentary for the second half of the event, he apparently polished his ring boots so they looked silver. Marufuji looked a lot happier, and a lot healthier without his habitual look of exhaustion that he wore for so much of 2018.
RATELS (Daisuke Harada, Tadasuke & HAYATA) vs YO-HEY, Yoshinari Ogawa & Kotaro Suzuki
It is a sad looking YO-HEY making his entry without HAYATA, but Harada wasn't concerned about such things as he got into the ring, raised his fist in a hail of streamers, calmly walked over to YO-HEY and kicked him, then all three of RATELS surrounded him and then beat him down. HAYATA a little reluctantly at first.
YO-HEY later got his demonic grin back, however, and he appears to have learned a new move (probably from Ogawa), which is a choke hold that he applied to Harada (who appears to have really bulked up over the New Year).
There was no hesitation, however, when it came to YO-HEY vs HAYATA (and HAYATA flew high today) in the fast paced action of the match, and there was a very funny moment when Harada got into the ring and the three opponents scattered.
YO-HEY is great a heel, and his connection with Harada, sets off just how ruthless Harada can be when someone (anyone) crosses him.
With Tadasuke and HAYATA knocked out of the ring, it came down to Harada vs YO-HEY, Ogawa and Suzuki, and although he fought bravely, they ganged up on him, and he was overwhelmed with YO-HEY getting the win.
Afterwards, HAYATA (who at one point in the match had been knocked off the apron by Harada), came to check on Harada, and Ogawa seemingly had brief words with him. HAYATA stopped and looked thoughtful...
There was nostalgia as the dynamic between Suzuki and Ogawa was like that of Ogawa and Misawa once upon a time, and many fans commented on this.
WINNER: YO-HEY with the Super Face G (16 minutes, 27 seconds)
Yuji Hino & Maybach Taniguchi vs Katsuhiko Nakajima & Go Shiozaki (GHC Heavyweight Tag Match)
Katsuhiko Nakajima came out in his sinister wolf clothing, and Maybach Taniguchi came out carrying his Sasumata (I thought for a moment he was wearing his costume).
While this match may have had its moments, such as Shiozaki chopping the hell out of Taniguchi, and the incredible interaction between Nakajima and Hino having a chop kick war (Hino pretended to be bored and yawned when Nakajima's kicks had no effect on him, and a slow sarcastic smile spread over Nakajima's face when Hino chopped him), the antics of The Hooligans got tiresome, and very Suzuki-Gun like and the match had a feeling of start\stop\start\stop as they kept up their antics, even beating up Atsushi Kotoge who was at ringside seconding Shiozaki and Nakajima (minus any capes).
The match picked up pace towards the end when Go Shiozaki was picked up by Yuji Hino, who threw him over his shoulder like Shiozaki weighed nothing. Referee Nishinaga was pulled out of the ring, and while he remonstrated with KAZMA, Cody Hall got in the ring and interfered, and held Shiozaki as Nagai went to clothesline him, Shiozaki however, ducked. Nakajima got back in, and managed to save the day somewhat, but Hino also got back in and dealt with him, as did Taniguchi using his Sasumata on Shiozaki.
WINNER: Maybach Taniguchi with the ZWEI Bomb on Go Shiozaki (19 minutes)
Afterwards 50 Funky Powers came to challenge for the GHC Heavyweight Tag Titles, Quiet Storm vowed that they would destroy The Hooligans.
Kaito Kiyomiya vs Kenoh (GHC Heavyweight Championship) MATCH OF THE YEAR
Kenoh made his entry with slicked back hair, and a scowl on his face, which didn't let up (and darkened when at one point he spied his nemesis, Naomichi Marufuji at ringside, who he briefly turned ti glare at).
Kaito Kiyomiya entered with the Kobashi entry, which means he kind of pauses and looks around as he can't believe that people are cheering for him. He was swamped with Misawa like green and white streamers.
There was the usual square up at start, and Kiyomiya with a typically polite rope break.
Then the match turned up the heat, and it was absolutely amazing. Kenoh was right in saying, "neither of us are the people we were last year", and Kiyomiya fought back to defend the titles with tooth and claw, and as soon as they wore them down, neither of them giving up to the other an inch, they wore the bone down to dust. Fast ring action inside the ring, fast ring action outside the ring (at one point Kiyomiya did a dive over the barrier). The crowd, on the edge of their seat at all the near falls, screaming for either Kiyomiya or Kenoh as they both tried to outwrestle each other, Kiyomiya dodging Kenoh's kicks, a stiff as hell punch\kick battle, and Kiyomiya played dead at one point to counter Kenoh's double footstomp.
It was an insanely incredible match which had elements of the war between Mitsuharu Misawa and Toshiaki Kawada in All Japan, and Naomichi Marufuji and KENTA in Noah (I wonder if he was reminded of it), and they fought until neither could stand.
Welcome to the future of Noah.
WINNER: Kaito Kiyomiya with the Tiger Suplex (25 minutes and six seconds)
After Kiyomiya had made his speech about being the new face of Noah, he was then challenged by Atsushi Kotoge (fortunately in new cape) and Masa Kitamiya.
Kotoge talked about starting a revolution together, and Kitamiya said "the GHC cannot be taken by a comical wrestler", and both of them left waiting for a reply.
It is up to Kiyomiya to now make a decision as to what he wants to do.
Naomichi Marufuji, despite announcing his return and sitting at ringside, did not challenge, he will do later on down the line when Kiyomiya has made a few more defenses, and they can build the feud
ATTENDANCE: 1,577 attendance (super crowded)
With thanks to: Metal Noah, Gong Ex, Pinkie Pie, Fujiwara Armbar, Maybachmetapoko, Musui, Abeshin, Shishido, Mikako Maruhuji, Shinya, Blue Godzilla, Nacky
Picture credit: Noah GHC, PDXD