NOAH Navigation for the Future
January 6 2019
We’re in Tokyo, Japan at Korakuen Hall.
Masa Kitamiya vs. Kinya Okada
Okada is from the latest crop of NOAH trainees to graduate to the ring. Kitamiya barely gives him the time of day, hitting moves until he stops kicking out and then casually walking to the back. Kitamiya is not paid by the minute!
Final Rating: SQUASH!
Takashi Sugiura vs. Yoshiki Inamura
Inamura is a Super Heavyweight HOSS in the making. He looks like he grew up on a farm doing manual labour since he was four years old.
LOOK AT THIS FUCKIN HOSS DOING HOSS THINGS! pic.twitter.com/nflFprfDo2
— Arn (@ArnoldFurious) January 6, 2019
LOOK AT HIM! If he just flattened Sugiura with a bunch of shoulderblocks and pinned him I would fucking buy it. In fact, I’m so into this that the finish isn’t Sugiura hitting a move and pinning Inamura. He outwrestles the rookie on the mat and chokes him out. In my head cannon he’s done that because he cannot beat Inamura any other way and Inamura is coming to squash everyone on this roster over the next three years. I am here for it!
Final Rating: ***
Atsushi Kotoge & Masao Inoue vs. Minoru Tanaka & Hi69
Kotoge is very much leaning on his character right now, which is a cape wearing weirdo who does a lot of comedy. Quite frankly it’ll prolong his career as he spent a good chunk of it doing shoot headbutts and killing himself. The match has two very distinct periods; Tanaka vs. Kotoge, which is good. And Hi69 vs. Inoue, which isn’t. Inoue does all this ‘blown up’ offence that’s a work to cover for his shoot badness. Hi69 wears a cape and splashes Inoue for the win. Well, that was certainly a match.
Final Rating: **
Back Breakers (Hajime Ohara & Hitoshi Kumano) vs. Seiya Morohashi & Junta Miyawaki
Back Breakers is a tag team that feels as if it stifles Ohara rather than enhances Kumano. As for the other team; Miyawaki is a big prospect. Not scary good like Inamura but clearly gifted. He’s very basic but everything he does makes sense and I buy into what he’s doing. Like when he’s crawling to the corner here, I feel like he’s trying to make a tag and not just going through the motions of that. He does it the same when he doesn’t get the hot tag as to when he does. It might seem easy but it’s not. People mentality behave differently when they know the situation is different. He’s so naturally good. Everything he does reminds me of how hard it was for Kumano to get to the same level. It took him twice as long. Hell, Miyawaki is probably past him already. The audible disappointment when Kumano pins him causes me to chuckle. They know who the real deal is.
Final Rating: **3/4
Snapped a shot of my guy Ohara post match. He is muy bien.
Hooligans (Cody Hall, KAZMA SAKAMOTO & Mitsuya Nagai) vs. 50 Funky Powers & Akitoshi Saito
Love NOAH. Hate Hooligans. They feel like the group NOAH have dumped all their shit wrestlers into. Specifically…everyone in this match. It’s my hope that in a year Inamura is squashing Cody Hall in two minutes flat. Put him in his fucking place. I don’t know what the hell Cody thinks he’s doing in this match but it’s a complete mess. The only good thing about this is 50 Funky Powers bossing it and getting the win in like five minutes when the shit team gets disqualified.
Final Rating: ¼*
Kotaro Suzuki, YO-HEY & Yoshinari Ogawa vs. RATEL’s (Daisuke Harada, HAYATA & Tadasuke)
I’m quite busy in December so I missed the show where that shitbag YO-HEY turned on his RATEL’s brothers and joined with Team Arsehole over here. I like that Tadasuke sems the most offended by YO-HEY’s betrayal. Increasingly Tadasuke is one of the more interesting characters in NOAH because he wears his heart on his sleeve and is a believable underdog, while still being a good wrestler. His match with Kotaro was a big eye opener for me. RATEL’s as a unit didn’t really click with me so them breaking up doesn’t have the necessary emotional clout to sell matches on me. Harada being all fucking chill about the situation doesn’t help. As leader of a unit I guess he feels the need to remain calm but if I’m in the same situation I’d be mad as hell. For starters it sells the angle. YO-HEY, for his part in this, is an absolute prick. Murdering Harada by smacking him in the face whenever he can and finishing with Meteora and again smashing Harada’s face in. That pretty much sets up Harada vs. YO-HEY for the junior strap.
Final Rating: ***1/4
GHC Tag Team Championship
Maybach Taniguchi & Yuji Hino (c) vs. Go Shiozaki & Katsuhiko Nakajima
Hooligans are so bad and yet they have Yuji Hino. How can this be? If there was no bullshit, no outside interference this match could be genuinely great. The talent in it is stacked. Taniguchi is easily the worst wrestler but on his day he can hang with anyone. The biggest concern is an artistic one. Nakajima is the biggest dickhead in this but he’s on the side of the angels because of this bizarre urge to make Hooligans the big bads in NOAH. They were onto something with Nakajima and they throw that away for what exactly? A re-hash of a bad stable. At least Go Shiozaki is out here marking up chests in the good name of Strong Style. But even he’s got to take shitty clotheslines off Cody Hall on the floor. Fuck this stable.
But then these two gentlemen trading on the chops is quite a beautiful thing. Why can’t we just focus on that? When the match is just NOAH stiff strikes it’s really quite beautiful.
— Arn (@ArnoldFurious) January 6, 2019
Yes! Plug this into my veins! Give me Nakajima vs. Hino with everyone banned from ringside. Ban the fans too. Ban the ref. Just let them beat each other up. Every time this match gets a little momentum the ugly Hooligans bullshit rears its ugly head and I fucking hate it. It’s such a pity because when the match is good it’s really good but it’s in bits and pieces and the bullshit is never far away.
Just fuck off lads. It’s like Taniguchi has returned to when he was completely useless as a wrestler. A time I hoped had passed. Hooligans retain. This can fuck right off.
Final Rating: DUD
GHC Heavyweight Championship
Kaito Kiyomiya (c) vs. Kenoh
I still can’t believe Kiyomiya, who looks like a child still, is walking around as the saviour of NOAH!
Back at the start of 2018 Kiyomiya took his first title shot at then champion Kenoh and came up short. That was exactly one year ago. They had a rematch bang in the middle of the year for the #1 contendership and Kenoh won again. Now Kenoh is coming for the title he couldn’t win back from Sugiura and figures he can beat Kiyomiya. And he did, twice. But this isn’t that Kiyomiya. There’s something that happens to the confidence of certain wrestlers when you bet on them and put them in that big spot. Kiyomiya has looked good for years but here it’s like he’s inhabited by the spirit of a wrestling god. His overall technique has an extra layer of gloss.
If you think Big Kaz Okada's dive over the rail is a bit on the safe side boy do I have an Ace for you! pic.twitter.com/UOOEYNSucl
— Arn (@ArnoldFurious) January 6, 2019
Plus he’s turned into a complete lunatic, which is nice. Kenoh is far more precise. His general approach to wrestling is to kick his opponent. Then kick the some more. Then double stomp them and more kicks.
He’s super aggressive and the feeling I get from him is that he’s a legit badass. Which is the vibe he has to give off because he’s quite small. So this match isn’t just about legitimising Kiyomiya as champion, it’s also another chance to cement Kenoh as a top guy. Despite him having had a run with the big belt he didn’t do that well with it. To have him as a credible top end guy now is a bonus.
You can tell this is a big time NOAH title match because they do an apron spot and it’s Kenoh hitting a dragon suplex, which looks like death. That’s a definite trademark of a big time NOAH match. If it was really big time it would have been off the apron to the floor followed by a tournament to crown a new champion because they’d both be dead.
I have a few issues with this. Mainly that I was told it was amazing beforehand and it isn’t. It’s a very good match and certainly a cut above what I normally would expect from either guy but I won’t be looking back on it come end of the year. There were moments where it really came to life but overall I’ll look at it as a good start to Kiyomiya’s title run rather than anything above that. Still it’s a very strong outing and Kiyomiya looks better than ever. He’s holding up under the pressure.
Final Rating: ****1/4
The future is certainly bright for NOAH. They have a very strong youth movement headed up by Kiyomiya but also featuring some incredible future stars like Inamura. The concern is the booking and them doing a re-tread of the awful Cho Kibou-gun storyline with Taniguchi dragged back into the crap with the awful Hooligans faction. Quite what the hell NOAH think they’re doing is anyone’s guess. I just hate this kind of faction and could do without it in NOAH where they’ve been showing so much improvement of late. Main is well worth seeing but make sure you watch that Sugiura vs. Inamura match.