The last show before NOAH’s N-1 Victory 2021 begins on Sunday the 12th of September takes place this coming Monday the 6th.
It’s only a four match card, so nothing too exciting truthfully. However, the main event is an eight man tag team elimination match with odd partners. Kongo and NOAH’s new Super Generation Army partners alike are split up to introduce some pairings we might never see again.
The rest of the card contains two singles matches and a youngster tag team match.
Starting at 6:30pm in Japan, that’s 10:30am England, 5:30am East Coast USA and 2:30am West Coast USA. And it will air live on Wrestle Universe.
Is this show worth staying up late for if you live in America? Is it worth paying for Wrestle Universe just for this one show? Honestly, no. But is it a nice little bonus if you are already a subscriber. And for what you get through Wrestle Universe, it is well worth getting it.
It’s a small card so should be a small preview so let’s get into it!
MAIN EVENT – Elimination Match – Takashi Sugiura, Kenoh, Masa Kitamiya & Kotaro Suzuki vs Kaito Kiyomiya, Katsuhiko Nakajima, Daiki Inaba & Akitoshi Saito
The NOAH “youngsters” taking part in the N-1 Victory are all involved in this match. Well, with the exception of Manabu Soya. And that 51 year old Sugiura and 56 year old Saito are involved.
The most interesting part of this match is how randomly the teams have been selected. Kongo members Kenoh and Nakajima are on opposite sides. GHC Heavyweight Tag Team Champions Kiyomiya and Kitamiya have been split.
The Sugiura Army and Kongo leaders are teaming with each other for the first time in years. Inaba is having to team with the man who forcibly took the Wrestle-1 Championship from him and he is still yet to get his retribution.
And for extra drama, it’s an elimination match. Would Kenoh save someone like Kitamiya, even after he left Kongo? Would Inaba relish watching Nakajima be eliminated?
In regards to blocks, Sugiura and Kiyomiya will collide in A Block, Kenoh and Inaba in B, Suzuki and Nakajima in C, and Kitamiya and Saito in D.
There are former team mates now having to work together. Kitamiya only recently left Kongo after being a founding member and was GHC Heavyweight Tag Team Champion with him four years ago. Sugiura and Kenoh became the new GHC Heavyweight Tag Team Champions when Kitamiya had to vacate due to injury.
And it’s the last match, the very last match before all eight of them are going to have three singles matches each spread over five shows. This is the last opportunity for the last man (or even men) standing to assert their dominance heading into the N-1.
For me, I think you have all four block winners in this match. Or, at least, that’s my hope. And more than seeing the future opponents and team mates against each other you get pairings like Sugiura against Nakajima who are known for their brutality against each other. Kenoh and Kiyomiya are forever at each other’s throats and you know it will continue here.
Will this be a MOTYC? No. But it’ll be hard hitting with a lot of bodies trying to stand out and impress before the N-1 begins.
Muhammad Yone vs Ikuto Hidaka
I have never once sat down with the intention of fantasy booking the NOAH roster (and sadly I have had thought about it many, many times) and ever thought to put Yone against Hidaka.
Yone is a heavyweight and Hidaka a junior so one clearly has a bigger advantage over the other. But both were heavily involved in BattleArts before they moved on to other promotions.
In fact this is not their first match against each other. It will actually be their fourth but the first one to be televised. Their matches were spread across three different promotions too.
Yone beat Hidaka in BattleArts in 1997. Yone won again in Michinoku Pro in 1998. And, with the biggest gap between matches, Yone again won in ZERO1 in 2017.
There is a caveat to that last match. It was a show produced to celebrate Hidaka’s 20th year anniversary of his wrestling debut so he wrestled 21 wrestlers in 1 minute matches gauntlet style. Yone was his 10th 1 minute match that night (after Hidaka had already wrestled a 20 minute tag team match before the gauntlet began!) so Yone was in 46 seconds.
You can’t really call it a match then. But, like when Yone’s match against Mochizuki was announced…. Yeah, I can really see it working.
If you can’t imagine Hidaka working against a heavyweight, watch his match against Chris Hero from the second ever EVOLVE show in 2010. Hidaka gives up height, weight and strength to his opponent but he uses his speed, agility and technical expertise in order to keep Hero grounded and ultimately win the match.
It’s a great example of a competitive David vs Goliath match that has largely been forgotten about and quite underrated even if it did happen in front of a small, subdued New Jersey crowd.
Hidaka is every bit as good as he was 10 years ago. Yone may have slowed down a fair bit over the past 5 years but he can still be called upon to have a good to great singles match every now and then. Hopefully these two old vets go deep to entertain the crowd on this reduced show.
Manabu Soya vs King Tany
I’ll go on record by saying that I loved their first singles match on the Kongo produced Diamond 2 show in July. These two just battered the heck out of each other for just over 25 minutes and it was absolutely fantastic.
They have surprisingly good chemistry together. Both are big hosses capable of throwing bombs and hitting hard. Suffice to say their interactions against each other have been very stiff.
They’ve faced each other sparingly since that match but I have been long looking forward to this rematch. And it’s come at a really interesting time. Soya makes his second N-1 Victory appearance in a row since he joined the NOAH roster in April 2020.
But Taniguchi, who had been in every Global League and N-1 Victory, except the first in 2010, who had an unbroken run from 2011 to 2020… Was not selected. He’s the leader of Funky Express. Yeah he finished second to last in his Block last year but he beat Nakajima, the guy who went on to win the whole thing.
When Kazunari Murakami was announced to be withdrawing on account of a sciatic nerve condition, both Taniguchi and Kendo Kashin expressed a desire to replace him. So on August 15th the two had a singles match to determine who enters this year’s N-1 Victory.
Taniguchi had the size advantage. The weight advantage, the power advantage, the tournament advantage. Taniguchi… Lost.
King Tany has become a bit of a poisoned chalice for him. He joined with Yone to form Funky Express but it didn’t result in tag title victory or any moderate success. He beat all his team mates to become the leader of Funky Express, King Tany… But he was passed over for the N-1 and then lost a qualification match to Kashin.
I hope this is a heavyweight bomb fest like July 2020. And this time it has the correct result of Soya winning. Yeah he’s most likely going to lose every match in his Block so give him a little moral victory before that happens.
Kinya Okada & Junta Miyawaki vs Yasutaka Yano & Kai Fujimura
NOAH young boys (and Fujimura) teeing off on each other. If you haven’t already noticed, NOAH have been airing matches with no audience from the NOAH dojo featuring the four in a variety of singles and tag matches against more experienced veterans on the NOAH roster.
NOAH The Home as it’s called has had three “seasons” so far. They air 3/4 matches a day for a week on YouTube and call it a season. It’s just for all four to get more in ring experience and showcase them to a wider experience.
I was really disappointed to not see Okada entered into the N-1 Victory this year. With how well he’s performed this year, he is long overdue for a breakout performance. And it really feels like any momentum he is building is being erased by being stuck in the lowercard and losing every single match to his seniors.
But anyway in matches like this he really gets chance to shine when against the youngsters of the roster. And speaking of shining Miyawaki has had a great 2021 in his own right. In March he challenged for his first ever title, the GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Title’s, but he and Harada came up short against Ogawa & HAYATA.
It’s just a matter of time before Miyawaki moves up. Same with Okada. And would you believe that Yano is still less than a year into his career? The youngster debuted October 28th 2020 but each match he looks better than he has before. Fujimura has a year on him but they come across as equal in experience.
Getting to watch young lions in their rookie years is always a rewarding experience to know that, a few years down the line, they will be in much higher positions and you got to watch them in their early days.
And that’s the card. Short and sweet as it’s only four matches so I can’t imagine it running long. The main event, as an elimination match, most likely will be lengthy. They want to give their paying fans their money’s worth.