NOAH have two big shows coming up at Korakuen Hall. Departure day 1 will be headlined by a title match. Katsuhiko Nakajima defends his GHC National Championship against Kenoh in what should one of the best matches of the year. There are some other good matches on the card so let’s take a look at them.
Departure day 1 will air live on G+. Bell time is 18:30 JST (2:30 PDT, 5:30 EDT, 10:30 BST).
This will be their 5th time facing each other. The record currently stands at 2 wins apiece.
Opening the show will be this singles match between two people at different stages of their career.
Masa Kitamiya is in the prime of his career. At 31 years of age, he has been part of the upper card in NOAH for the past couple of years. He regularly is near the top of the card and has had a couple of matches for NOAH’s single belts. Although he is mostly known for his tag team skills. He is a 3x GHC Tag Team Champion. With the dates for the N1 Victory being announced he will be looking to gain momentum as he will surely be in the tournament. His singles record in NOAH this year is 4 wins, 1 draw, 2 losses.
Akitoshi Saito is one of the veteran wrestlers on the NOAH roster. At 54 years of age, he is usually part of the lower card. He did challenge for the GHC Heavyweight Championship this year putting in performance better than most people thought he could do at his age. Like Kitamiya he is known for his tag team skills. He is a 5x GHC Tag Team Champion. He is the one-half of the longest-reigning tag teams in the title’s history and also holds the record for days held with 1091 days over his 5 reigns. His singles record in NOAH this year is 1 win, 1 draw, 1 loss.
This should be a hard-hitting opener. In the end, I think it will be Kitamiya standing tall as the winner. Building some momentum heading into the N1. Taking his singles match winning streak to 2.
HAYATA & Kinya Okada
Kongoh (Nioh & Haoh)
With the other two members of Stinger in a match later on, HAYATA will team with Kinya Okada to take on Kongoh. HAYATA and Okada have teamed together in a trio and Okada has filled in as a 4th man for Stinger in the past. For HAYATA, this match will be to help build momentum for his IPW Junior Heavyweight title match against Daisuke Harada on the 10th of August. For Okada, this match will help him grow and improve. He has been putting in some eye-catching performances recently in NOAH so he will want to continue to impress.
For Nioh and Haoh this really could be a golden opportunity for them to jump to the head of the GHC Junior Heavyweight tag team title line. With HAYATA one-half of said champions, a win over him could put them at the front. They came short against AXIZ in their last tag team match. They put up a good showing but it wasn’t enough. Their tag-team record this year is 5 wins, 1 draw, 7 losses.
With 3 speeder wrestlers in the juniors and an older school style wrestler in Okada, this could be a fun little match.
A win for Nioh and Haoh will surely put them up at the top of the list for the GHC Junior Heavyweight tag team titles. I do think they will be the ones to pick up the win here but it might not be over HAYATA.
Shuhei Taniguchi & Mohammed Yone
Kongoh (Yoshiki Inamura & Manabu Soya)
This will be the first time that Inamura and Soya have teamed together as tag partners. Arguably two of the strongest men on the NOAH roster, they should be a formidable team for anyone standing across from them. For Soya, this match will give a chance to get some revenge on Taniguchi who beat him on the Kongoh produce show in singles action. For Inamura, a chance for him to continue his development and show his power in the ring.
Taniguchi and Yone have teamed together in the past couple of months. These two haven’t done too much this year in terms of title matches as they haven’t challenged for any. Taniguchi picked up a high profile win against Soya at the Kongoh produce show. Their record in NOAH in 2020 is 4 wins, 0 losses.
This should be a hard-hitting match with all 4 men being powerhouses. Yone will use his kicks, Taniguchi will use his forearms and punt kicks. While Soya will use his forearms and power as will Inamura.
As for who wins it is a coin toss. I would lean towards Taniguchi and Yone just because they have the experience advantage on their side.
FULL THROTTLE (Atsushi Kotoge, Seiki Yoshioka, Hajime Ohara)
Daisuke Harada. Tadasuke, YO-HEY
This match could be pivotal in the direction of the junior division heads IMO.
The former Ratels challenged Stinger for all the junior belts recently only to lose and surely fall to the back of the line. Harada defends the only junior title that isn’t in Stinger’s hands (IPW Junior Heavyweight championship) against HAYATA on the August 10th show. They will be looking to bounce back from those defeats and stop themselves from going into a slump. Their record as a trio this year is 5 wins, 2 losses.
FULL THROTTLE, on the other hand, is on the up. After fixing their leader issue at who is the leader (Kotoge became the leader). The only way is up for them. With 3 of the premier juniors in the stable, it is only a matter of time before the challenge for and win one of the junior belts. They will be looking to ride that wave of momentum and jump to the front of the line for the junior titles. Their record as a trio is 1 win, 3 losses.
This should be a good trios match. You have 6 good wrestlers in there. You have the craziness of Kotoge and Tadasuke. The speed of Yoshioka and YO-HEY. The technical ability of Harada and Ohara. All that should make for a good match. We should get some great interactions in this match, especially between Harada and Ohara.
As for the winner of this match. I would lean more towards FULL THROTTLE as they are on the up and they would add a freshness to the junior title scene in NOAH. As right now it has gone a little stale with the Stinger and Ratels feud taking up most of the title matches. the feud dragging on a little too long for me.
Pro Wrestling NOAH 20th Anniversary Match
Naomichi Marufuji, Takashi Sugiura, Yoshinari Ogawa
Go Shiozaki, Kaito Kiyomiya, Kotaro Suzuki
A match that is being dubbed the Pro Wrestling NOAH 20th Anniversary Match by NOAH.
On one side you have 3 men who have been in NOAH since its first year. 3 men who really are the embodiment of NOAH. They have been there for the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. Ogawa has been a staple of the Junior division for years. A technical wizard a lot of the wrestlers come to him for advice even the senior ones.
Marufuji is one of the first names to come up when people think of NOAH. The ace for the longest time. An innovator and in the conversation for one of the greatest of all time. Then there is Sugiura. The man has been so consistent for NOAH. His performances never dropped if anything they got better with age. You could make a case for him being the GOAT in NOAH.
On the other team, you have 3 NOAH born. All 3 men came up through the NOAH Dojo. You have Shiozaki. The current Ace and GHC Heavyweight champion. Protégée of legend Kenta Kobashi. Suzuki who became a great junior for NOAH. He has won both junior titles multiple times. Both he and Suzuki left NOAH to join All Japan in 2013. Kiyomiya is the future of NOAH. The youngest GHC Heavyweight champion in history and the 4th longest reigning in the championship’s history.
It also acts as a preview match to the Shiozaki vs Marufuji title match the next day.
There should be some really good interactions in this match. This match has the past, present and future of NOAH. It is a really good way to showcase the 20 years that NOAH has existed.
GHC National Championship Match
Main Event time and it’s a big one. Katsuhiko Nakajima defends his GHC National Championship against Kenoh. This will be their 6th meeting. Nakajima has won 3, Kenoh has won 2. Kenoh has beat Nakajima the last two times they have faced. This will be the first title match between them.
Nakajima has had one of the best years out of any wrestler. He has captured championships in two different promotions. Nakajima captured the WRESTLE1 Championship from Daiki Inaba in January. He held that just over a month before losing. He captured the GHC National Championship in May beating Takashi Sugiura. Nakajima has made 2 defences of the title so far. Those defences have come against Masao Inoue and Manabu Soya respectively. Nakajima’s singles record this year in NOAH is 4 wins, 1 draw, 1 loss. He is unbeaten in 5 singles matches.
Kenoh on the other hand so far hasn’t done too much in 2020. He invaded DDT and demanded a match against Sanshiro Takagi. Instead, he got a 6-man tag team match. Kongoh did win that match. Kenoh has had 2 singles matches this year. one against NOSAWA Rongai and one against Haoh. He won both those matches so he is unbeaten in 2 matches. This will be his first heavyweight singles match in 2020.
This match should be great. The two premier kickers in NOAH going one on one. Both men’s kicks can sound like gunshots that’s how hard they kick. It’s crazy to think these two haven’t squared off in a title match before this. That should raise the stakes even higher. In all of their matches so far none of them has gone over 20 minutes. I am looking forward to this match I wouldn’t be surprised if this one of the best matches of 2020.
With a great looking main event and a solid undercard, this could be a great show. It’s an event that I have been looking forward to since it was announced. Probably the most excited since NOAH’s first show of the year. Honestly, I wouldn’t miss this show. It could be a great starting point for newer fans as that main event can really be the hook into NOAH.
NOAH Departure day 1 airs live on G+ on the 4th of August