Just two days after Wrestle Kingdom 16 Night 3: NJPW vs NOAH and only three days after they ran four shows on back to back nights (January 4th to 7th), Pro Wrestling NOAH put on their sixth show of the month – the seventh if you include the NJPW vs NOAH show. Monday, January 10th sees the third and final N Innovation U-Cup show. Shows one and two saw a point-based tournament between the four junior heavyweight stables in NOAH; Kongo, STINGER, Los Perros del Mal de Japon and Momo No Seishun and friends. Momo No Seishun and friends – Daisuke Harada, Atsushi Kotoge, Hajima Ohara & Junta Miyawaki – won.
Harada won a rumble in the main event on January 6th in order to have a GHC Heavyweight Championship match against HAYATA at this show in the main event.
Starting at 17:30pm in Japan, that’s 08:30am in England, 03:30am East Coast USA and 12:30am West Coast USA.
The show will be airing live on Wrestle Universe from Yokohama Radiant Hall. It’s worth noting that previous shows here have usually been single camera with no commentary, Japanese or English. Maybe we’ll get more than one camera here, but most likely no commentary.
Let’s get right into it!
MAIN EVENT – GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship – HAYATA (c) vs Daisuke Harada
This is the second GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship match between these two in under three months. HAYATA made his fourth defense of his belt against Daisuke Harada on October 10th. Now, three months after to the day, he challenges again. But it’s not like the challenge is unwarranted, as he won a fifteen man rumble in order to get his rematch. The last time these two wrestled, it took HAYATA just over nineteen minutes in order to put Harada away. HAYATA submitted Harada after a hammerlock variation, almost like a cattle mutilation-esque move.
They definitely have history against each other. This will be their sixteenth singles match against each other. Harada has won twelve. Yes, that’s right, twelve of them. They went to the one double countout. One thirty minute draw. And HAYATA has won two. Both debuted in 2006 and just one week apart but for completely different promotions. Harada in Osaka Pro Wrestling and HAYATA in Wrestle Gate. HAYATA would eventually join Osaka Pro in April 2010 and these two would have their first match in May.
Between May 2010 and April 2013, they had nine singles matches in Osaka Pro. Harada won eight and they went to a double countout in the ninth. Harada would join NOAH full-time in May 2013. HAYATA would stay away for a little while, not joining NOAH until late 2016.
Harada, HAYATA, Tadasuke & YO-HEY all formed the RATEL’S together. But while they were RATEL’S members together, they still faced each other. Harada won their first NOAH match and in March 2018, Harada beat HAYATA once again, this time with the GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship on the line.
It took until 2020, when HAYATA betrayed RATEL’S to join STINGER and their fourteenth match against each other that HAYATA was finally able to beat Harada in August.
That was their last match together until September 15th, 2021 where, in a pre match before their October 10 GHC Junior Heavyweight Title match, the two wrestled to a thirty minute draw. And then in their last meeting, HAYATA beat Harada for only the second time in his career.
Since that match, HAYATA has gone onto make a further four more title defences – he currently sits at eight. Taiji Ishimori (who HAYATA faced in a tag team match on Saturday’s NJPW vs NOAH show) currently holds the record for most defences in a single reign, with ten. So HAYATA needs two more to equal and three more to surpass.
HAYATA made his last title defence over his tag team partner Yoshinari Ogawa at the Nippon Budokan on January 1st. So he’s making his next defense just nine days later. He and Ogawa made their first defense of their GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Titles on January 4th showing that there is no strife between them….. Maybe.
This is not HAYATA’s last defence in January either. On January 22nd, HAYATA & Ogawa will defend the belts again against Harada’s partners, Atsushi Kotoge & Hajima Ohara. Momo No Seishun and friends won big on January 6th and 7th. Harada won the rumble and the stable won the tournament to determine the best junior heavyweight group in NOAH (for now). Emboldened by the win, Kotoge & Ohara made a title challenge of their own.
Harada is riding a wave of momentum coming into this match. It took something new for HAYATA to beat him just three months ago so Harada must have surely researched and prepared for the move if it happens again. He must still have a psychological edge over HAYATA with him having won twelve of their sixteen matches and being ahead of him for so many years. But HAYATA isn’t the same person he was back in 2010. Or even five years ago in late 2016, when he first joined NOAH. This is his third reign with the GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship and it’s his longest to date. He stands second in regards to most defences in a single reign and could end up beating Ishimori’s record.
These two definitely should know each other inside out by now. And while they weren’t close friends or tag partners like Harada/Kotoge or HAYATA/YO-HEY, they spent three years in the same stable in NOAH alone.
HAYATA picked up a win for NOAH on the NJPW vs NOAH show, while Harada’s team lost. So HAYATA has that momentum on his side too.
Eita & Yoshinari Ogawa vs Tadasuke & Junta Miyawaki
Now this is interesting, as the junior heavyweight units were shuffled to make this tag match. Tadasuke & Junta Miyawaki may have a slight indifference to each other, but Eita & Yoshinari Ogawa absolutely hate each other.
Eita made his NOAH debut in June as a part of Los Perros Del Mal de Japon and immediately entered into a feud with STINGER. On June 27th, after Eita, YO-HEY & NOSAWA Rongai had beaten the STINGER team of Ogawa, Seiki Yoshioka & HAYATA, Los Perros del Mal de Japon continued the attack on STINGER, specifically Ogawa. After beating him down, Eita caused further humiliation by pouring a bottle of water on Ogawa’s head.
Eita & NOSAWA would win the GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Titles on October 10th from Atsushi Kotoge & Hajima Ohara in just over four minutes. Eita and Ogawa picked up where they left off at the end of that month. And then Ogawa & HAYATA would challenge them for the belts on November 28th.
I don’t think I’d ever seen something like it before – especially not in NOAH – but Ogawa & HAYATA would win the belts via countout. So it seems like the issue between Eita and Ogawa is far from resolved.
Miyawaki’s team of Momo No Seishun and friends won the N Innovation U-Cup on January, beating Kongo in the finals. Tadasuke may still be upset about that and take it out on his partner. Or, he may see the advantage to having the current GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champion in a weakened position due to teaming with someone he surely can’t coexist with.
Kaito Kiyomiya vs Super Crazy
Super Crazy made a surprise return to NOAH on January 5th. And he did so as the newest member of Los Perros Del Mal de Japon. This was just two days after he lost the All Japan World Junior Heavyweight Championship, so his status for AJPW is unknown. But it seems like he’s re-joined NOAH full time.
He made his original NOAH debut on February 25th, 2012. He and Ricky Marvin, Los Mexitosos, even held the GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Titles from July 22nd, 2012 to March 10th, 2013 – a rather lengthy reign. His last appearance as a full-time NOAH roster member was on December 4th, 2015.
Kaito Kiyomiya debuted on December 9th 2015. So he was a young boy doing ring duties right up to Super Crazy’s last match. I love coincidences like this. Crazy will always remember Kiyomiya as a skinny, shaved head, bushy eyebrowed ring boy because he didn’t debut until the show after Crazy had left.
Now, Crazy did return to NOAH for the one match on November 2nd 2019. In that time, Kiyomiya had debuted, gone on international excursion, and then had the biggest 2018 possible. He won the Global Tag League, GHC Heavyweight Tag Team Title’s, Global League and GHC Heavyweight Championship.
On that show Crazy was in the fourth match, teaming with Masaaki Mochizuki & Minoru Tanaka in a loss to Eddie Edwards, Atsushi Kotoge & Chris Ridgeway. The show was main evented by Kiyomiya making a successful GHC Heavyweight Title defence over Kenoh. As fate would have it, that was his last successful defence.
So these two have never wrestled each other. And I know this is incredibly random but Kiyomiya has only ever wrestled one Mexican wrestler in a singles match and that was El Hijo del Dr Wagner Jr on January 5th 2020, the day after he had lost the GHC Heavyweight Title to Go Shiozaki. Most Japanese wrestlers go on international excursion to Mexico, England or America. Kiyomiya went to Canada. So despite wrestling El Mano del Diablo, the guy was Canadian.
Lucha Libre is a very popular style of wrestling in Japan. The blending of Lucha Libre and Puroresu is known as Lucharesu in some circles. So Kiyomiya has faced wrestlers with that blended style. But this will only be his second singles match against a Luchadore.
For Super Crazy, this is his first singles match in a NOAH ring since November 30th 2015 where he beat Shiro Tomoyose. Tomoyose was a NOAH dojo graduate before Kiyomiya who, unfortunately like a good amount of NOAH dojo graduates, retired within two years of debuting. But he’s faced former GHC Heavyweight Champions before. He’s lost to Takeshi Morishima, Takashi Sugiura and Yoshinari Ogawa. But he also beat Ogawa. The key difference between Ogawa and the other two is that they were heavyweights. And, despite being on the large side of a junior heavyweight (sorry!), Kiyomiya is still a heavyweight so has the advantage.
Super Crazy’s brief run in AJPW saw him capture the World Junior Heavyweight Championship from Izanagi on December 16th but he lost the belt to SUGI on January 3rd. So he shows that even at 48 years old, he can still go when he needs to.
He was originally an opponent of Los Perros Del Mal as soon as he got released in late 2008. So when he joined them in October 2010, it was a shocker as he’d spent almost two years against them. Super Crazy even lost his hair in a steel cage match between Los Perros del Mal and Los Psycho Circus in May 2011.
When he joined the NOAH roster in 2012 he moved into a loose alliance with Los Perros del Mal instead of being an active member. So to see him join Los Perros del Mal de Japon and rejoin NOAH in 2022 was a surprise to say the least.
In Crazy’s third match back in the company, he and Ikuto Hidaka lost to Kiyomiya & Daiki Inaba. But it was Kiyomiya who pinned Hidaka. So neither has got a direct victory over the other yet. It’s an interesting clash of styles and something we’re not likely to see again. I never had a Kiyomiya vs Super Crazy singles match on my things to expect in 2022 list.
With Kiyomiya suffering that crushing defeat being pinned by Kazuchika Okada in the main event of the NJPW vs NOAH show, his confidence may have been hit enough for Super Crazy to take advantage.
Kongo (Haoh, Nioh & Aleja) vs Los Perros del Mal de Japon (Kotaro Suzuki, YO-HEY & NOSAWA Rongai)
Kongo came second in the N Innovation U-Cup. while Los Perros del Mal de Japon performed more poorly and came last. Haoh did grab a surprising victory over Seiki Yoshioka, Eita and Hajima Ohara in a four way; wins for Haoh being a lot rarer than he would like.
A variation of this six man tag happened on January 7th, where Nioh, Aleja & Tadasuke wrestled to a double countout against the same Los Perros del Mal de Japon team.
Kongo may have lost the junior heavyweight bruiser of Tadasuke but gain the lightning quick speed of Haoh who is coming off that big victory already mentioned.
This will be fast when Haoh, Nioh, Aleja, Suzuki and YO-HEY are in the ring. And I guess NOSAWA will have to try and slow things down in order to stay in this match.
STINGER (Seiki Yoshioka & Yuya Susumu) vs Atsushi Kotoge & Hajima Ohara
A rematch of a GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Title match from September 12th last year, where Atsushi Kotoge & Hajima Ohara surprisingly dethroned Seiki Yoshioka & Yuya Susumu. The STINGER team had only won the belts on August 1st, and had only made one successful defense before they lost them. I myself expected Yoshioka & Susumu to hold them a lot longer than they did.
But NOAH’s junior division has been on fire since the Covid-19 pandemic. Not necessarily on fire in regards to match quality. But on fire in that everything suddenly bursts into flames and they have to use water buckets against a forest fire.
They had a great match in September but I can’t imagine this getting anywhere near as long a time together as the second match on the card at Yokohama Radiant Hall.
You have four great wrestlers in this match but Kotoge & Ohara have a GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Title shot just twelve days after this match. And Yoshioka & Susumu lost their next three tag matches together after that match and only recently got a win over Kotaro Suzuki & YO-HEY on January 6th.
It’s very likely that Kotoge & Ohara have this one in the bag. But I can’t imagine Yoshioka & Susumu will go down without a fight.
Ikuto Hidaka & Kai Fujimura vs Daiki Inaba & Yasutaka Yano
Ikuto Hidaka is far and away the most senior wrestler in this match. He debuted in January 1997, which makes this year his 25th in wrestling.
Daiki Inaba debuted in May 2013, while Kai Fujimura made his debut in July 2019, while Yasutaka Yano made his in October 2020. So his partner and both of his opponents combined haven’t been wrestling as long as he has.
I’ve also realised that we have two former ECW wrestlers in Los Perros Del Mal de Japon now, with Hidaka and Super Crazy. Adding Masato Tanaka in M’s Alliance makes it three former ECW wrestlers active in NOAH.
Hidaka & Fujimura have the experience advantage, but Inaba as a heavyweight means that he and Yano have a fighting chance. That and Yano getting a win over Fujimura recently and taking Kosei Fujita to a ten minute draw in the opening (pre show) match on the NJPW vs NOAH show, so you’ll have the fire of the young rookies in Fujimura and Yano.
Hidaka and Inaba do have a connection as Hidaka beat Inaba back when he was a young rookie in January 2015 in a ZERO1 ring.
And that’s your lot.
It’s a short preview because it’s not the biggest show, but it does deserve some attention for the GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship match. This is a “House Show” so to speak in that, outside of the title match, it won’t affect any Korakuen Hall or big shows.
NOAH’s next big show is Sunday, January 16th, with GHC Heavyweight Championship and GHC Heavyweight Tag Team Championship matches. So treat this show as the junior heavyweights getting some shine.
Thank you so much for reading this. I do genuinely appreciate it.
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