Pro Wrestling NOAH’s last event of October is this Wednesday, the 28th, where it will be streamed live on Wrestle Universe.
It features both tag team titles on the line and a match involving the first NOAH dojo graduate in 2 years.
Wrestle Universe, for those unaware, is a subscription service that comes to around £8 per month. Not only do you get access to recent NOAH (pretty much 2020 onwards) but there’s also a good amount of the back catalogue of DDT along with all of their latest shows.
You get your first month free so truthfully you will be better signing up on the 1st of November and getting all of November free as the month is a calendar month, not a month from when you sign up, unfortunately.
But on to the show!
Yasutaka Yano vs Kinya Okada
NOAH’s latest debutant takes on the last NOAH dojo graduate before him. It’s always exciting to me to see a new wrestler in the first match because they have the potential for their career to go anywhere. Yes, this will be them in their most basic form but several years down the line we might see shades of Yano that he becomes in the future.
Yano is the 15th graduate of the NOAH dojo in the past 20 years. The NOAH dojo was notoriously strict with usually only one person graduating out of an entire class such as Kotaro Suzuki and Go Shiozaki.
I have no idea if the dojo is as tough as it once was or if there just wasn’t as big an interest in NOAH as your NJPW, AJPW, DDT, Dragon Gate, etc as they have churned out trainees on the regular.
But now we have Yano. He’s already stated it was the juniors of NOAH that made him want to be a wrestler and that he wants to do what heavyweights can’t. So I would say that plants him firmly as becoming a junior heavyweight.
Kinya Okada debuted in December 2018, only a few months after Yoshiki Inamura. But Inamura was a natural heavyweight and advanced far quicker than Okada. Okada is yet to record a single victory in singles competition, often losing to Inamura despite their similar experience levels.
He has spent a lot of time with the junior heavyweights in recent months but just looking at him, there is the potential and growth for him to move up to the heavyweights. Okada has just added a little flair to his ring gear, no longer being the plain black tights young lion he once was and took Inamura to a 15-minute draw in their match a few days ago.
This will realistically be the turning point in Okada’s career as you expect him to beat the rookie and he could finally move up. But for Yano, this is the very beginning of his career. The NOAH dojo has produced some great talents so I hope his career can mirror them instead of those less fortunate.
Naomichi Marufuji & Hajima Ohara vs Muhammed Yone & Junta Miyawaki
In the grand scheme of things, this match doesn’t mean much. But then Marufuji and Yone had a recent encounter in a six-man tag match to celebrate Yone’s 25th anniversary as a wrestler.
Ohara and Miyawaki are slightly more heated. Miyawaki returned from a half year injury and aligned with the reformed Momo No Seishun. Kotoge & Harada reunited and then FULL THROTTLE kicked Kotoge out. Ohara is an original of FULL THROTTLE.
Miyawaki has yet to get a victory since returning so the story of this match could be whether he’s able to do so now, especially with Momo No Seishun defending the GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team titles against the FULL THROTTLE team of YO-HEY & Seiki Yoshioka in the semi-main event.
STINGER (Kotaro Suzuki, Yoshinari Ogawa & HAYATA) vs Kongoh (Hao, Nio & Tadasuke):
Suzuki successfully defended his GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship against Hao on October 11th. Ogawa & HAYATA on the other hand lost their GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team belts to Momo No Seishun on that very same show. And Nio & Tadasuke, two juniors, were able to beat two heavyweights that night (although one was Masao Inoue so…).
STINGER as a whole need to bounce back. The junior division as a whole is getting competitive with them, Kongoh, Sugiura Army & Momo No Seishun all fighting for position. They are the longest reigning stable in this fight so they need to assert their dominance.
The Kongoh juniors are just as competitive as their heavyweight stablemates. But whereas Kenoh is the current GHC National Champion, Nakajima was the N-1 Victory 2020 winner and next challenger for the GHC Heavyweight Title, and Soya & Kitamiya are challenging for the GHC Heavyweight Tag Team Titles in the main event, their juniors have not had the same success. So they too need this win.
Go Shiozaki, Kaito Kiyomiya & Shuhei Taniguchi vs Kongoh (Kenoh, Katsuhiko Nakajima & Yoshiki Inamura)
All roads now lead to November 22nd when the N-1 Victory 2020 winner, Nakajima challenges the GHC Heavyweight Champion, Go Shiozaki (check out the piece on their history HERE)
But there’s more to this match than just Shiozaki & Nakajima. Kenoh is the current GHC National Champion but has yet to have a challenger set for his next defense. Kenoh and Kiyomiya have a love/hate relationship. In that Kenoh loves to hate him.
They were rivals. Then partners. Now rivals again. Before Kiyomiya went on his foreign excursion in 2017, Kenoh was his last opponent. When Kiyomiya returned in early 2018, Kenoh now GHC Heavyweight Champion, was his first opponent with the gold on the line. They tried to be friends but that was all erased when Kenoh formed Kongoh.
Taniguchi and Inamura were both in B Block during the N-1. Neither had a good time in that block. Inamura lost every single match, but then it was his first time in a tournament like this. Taniguchi fared slightly better with only two wins and three losses.
However Taniguchi has a high profile singles match against Keiji Mutoh on November 22nd. Taniguchi needs to erase his poor performance in the N-1 but Inamura will want to show that he is better than his results in the N-1 and can show that by taking on all three of his opponents.
Momo No Seishun (Daisuke Harada & Atsushi Kotoge) (C) vs FULL THROTTLE (YO-HEY & Seiki Yoshioka)
The new Champions have to put their belts on the line against former friends and partners. Harada & YO-HEY were a part of RATEL’s from the very beginning back in 2017. Kotoge & Yoshioka, along with Ohara, are the original members of FULL THROTTLE.
On the 23rd of September, just after Harada, YO-HEY & Okada had just beaten STINGER, YO-HEY surprised Harada with a super kick. This set off a chain reaction as all of the juniors in NOAH would come out to brawl. Kotoge saved Harada from further attacks but that did not sit well Yoshioka & Ohara who attacked Kotoge, kicking him out of FULL THROTTLE and welcoming YO-HEY as his replacement.
Momo No Seishun are now in their fourth reign as GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions. Their history goes all the way back to 2007, very early into both their careers back in Osaka Pro. So to say they are a well-oiled machine as a tag team is an understatement.
For YO-HEY & Yoshioka on the other hand, this is the very first time they will have teamed as a tag team. The new version of FULL THROTTLE have been successful so far, winning all their six man tag team matches. Before September they had only ever spent time in the ring on opposing sides. So Momo No Seishun’s experience far outweighs their own.
Individually they have had success however. YO-HEY has held those tag belts twice before with HAYATA. Yoshioka is a three time and final Wrestle-1 Cruiserweight Champion, moving over to NOAH when Wrestle-1 folded.
So perhaps this first time pairing could upset the new champions. Momo No Seishun have reason enough to hate both and that hatred may be enough to blind them and for FULL THROTTLE to take advantage.
GHC Heavyweight Tag Team Championship
Sugiura Army (Takashi Sugiura & Kazushi Sakuraba) (C) vs Kongoh (Manabu Soya & Masa Kitamiya)
Also making their first defense are Sugiura & Sakuraba. They won the then vacant belts by beating AXIZ with Sakuraba making the GHC Heavyweight Champion, Shiozaki, submit.
Lost in the confusion of Nakajima attacking Shiozaki, disbanding AXIZ and joining Kongoh was that Soya & Kitamiya stepped up as challengers. Of course the N-1 Victory took place immediately after so they’ve had to wait two months for their title shot.
The challengers had never teamed together as just a tag team until the 24th of this month. They have teamed as part of a unit in Kongoh. And they have faced each other twice since Soya joined NOAH this year with Soya winning both matches.
So they haven’t got the experience as a team. But they both have experience as tag team champions. Soya is a former AJPW All Asia, AJPW World Tag Team & Wrestle-1 Tag Team Champion. Kitamiya is a three time former GHC Heavyweight Tag Team Champion. The two together really remind me of Soya’s former tag team with Takao Omori, Get Wild.
The champions only teamed the once as a tag team before they won the belts. Takashi Sugiura has won every title NOAH has to offer. Sakuraba debuted before everyone else on this entire show but this title is the very first belt he has ever held. Shocking but true with most of his success being in MMA.
I fully expect a hoss fight between Sugiura and both Kongoh matches and then Sakuraba having to use his grappling and submission experience to keep them down. Which is exactly what he did in his singles matches against them both, submitting Kitamiya in 2 and a half minutes but Soya, when trapped in an armbar, was able to use his weight and roll Sakuraba up for a pinfall in just under 6 minutes.
I would expect that this match will be longer than both singles combined! Hopefully that is.
As mentioned, the show airs live this Wednesday morning (28th October) at 09:30 AM UK time. You can subscribe to Wrestle Universe and watch the show here:
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