Pro Wrestling NOAH Great Voyage 2014 In Yokohama
October 12, 2014

Pro Wrestling NOAH is an interesting company. Founded by Mitsuharu Misawa, one of the greatest stars of Puroresu it struggles with making new stars. KENTA has left the company for greener pastures. Marufuji is a reliable worker if a bit unproven in putting butts in seats. However, NOAH is great with using gaijin, other promotions talent and some younger talent to even the odds in its favor. This is actually one of NOAH’s better shows on paper. It happens to be before one of NOAH’s better offerings in their Global League. You have plenty of New Japan talent, Big Japan talent and Zack Sabre Jr. That’s all I really need. I’m not picky. Let’s get onto it and see if this show delivers or just makes me incredibly angry. Either way we will enjoy my ramblings, right? RIGHT!?!?

Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Hitoshi Kumano vs. Mitsuhiro Kitamiya: Zack Sabre Jr. is one of the greatest wrestlers on the planet currently not signed to New Japan or an American indie. Watch his excerpts from BOLA and EVOLVE this year and you will see why he really is a British master. Never heard of Kumano or Kitamiya until now, this should be a learning experience. 3-way matches are a tricky thing, you either have one guy on the floor the whole time while the other two go at it or you have nonstop action between the three. All three of them exchange pin falls until Sabre Jr. gets the advantage but Kitamiya and Kumano keep teaming up on him. Kitamiya has some nice power moves while Sabre Jr. unleashes his trademark European uppercuts. It comes down to Sabre Jr. and Kumano and Sabre Jr. uses his elite submission skills to tap Kumano and Kitamiya shows up a second too late to break up the submission. Nice, short and decent enough opener that was primarily a showcase for Sabre Jr. which I was perfectly fine with. ** 

Pesadilla & Quiet Storm vs. Akitoshi Saito & Genba Hirayanagi: A Quiet Storm sighting in 2014? Now I feel the need to go listen to some 1970’s slow jams highlighted by Smokey Robinson’s “A Quiet Storm”. The last time I saw Quiet Storm, he was much smaller and in Ring of Honor but he was still in a tag team. Saito made his return to NOAH a few months ago, Genba is solid and I have never seen Pesadilla so we have another learning experience. Pesadilla and Genba start it off but they eventually reach a stalemate but Pesadilla manages some fast paced offense. Pesadilla is totally an El Samurai rip off but he just has more mass than Samurai ever had. Storm and Saito trade bombs for a bit but both are down after a Saito enziguri and Storm lariat. Storm either hit the gym like a madman or he is taking an ungodly amount of steroids and I tend to believe it is the latter. Pesadilla continues with the only move he seems to know, dropkicks while Saito is not putting up with any of this crap. In the end it comes down to Storm and Genba and Genba gets nailed with a lariat that turns Genba inside out and Storm picks up the win for his team. This was another of NOAH’s great random matches that doesn’t progress anyone in my opinion and are meaningless at the end of the day. At least Genba brought the comedy, Saito was a solid veteran, all Pesadilla knows is dropkicks and Storm’s lariat was impressive. Even I think I’m being generous with my rating. **

Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima vs. Takeshi Morishima & Maybach Taniguchi: Hey TenCozy invades NOAH against two of my least favorite wrestlers in all of Pro Wrestling NOAH and possibly the world. So there goes all expectations of an average match, but would the sheer willpower of Kojima and Tenzan carry this match to some kind of tolerability?! Yuji Nagata has had a great run in NOAH so why not give TenCozy the benefit of the doubt. Morishima and Maybach jump TenCozy right as the bell rings and I’m already not looking forward to sitting through this. The heels continue to beat down TenCozy and TenCozy gets their comebacks and hope spots. To say I was bored to tears while Maybach and Morishima worked over Kojima would be an understatement. You get the usual TenCozy fare, Tenzan’s headbutts, Kojima’s rapid fire chops, elbow drops and lariats. Of course we get a ref bump and a terrible DQ finish to end the match, all of this was executed so poorly (Possibly even worse than WWE execution plans). TenCozy were true professionals here and really tried to make the match salvageable, pity that they couldn’t. If I never have to see a Chokibogun match again I would be eternally grateful. *1/2 

Muhammed Yone & Katsuhiko Nakajima vs. Yuji Nagata & Manabu Nakanishi:Another NJPW vs. NOAH match, this time highlighted by Nakajima going up against Nagata and the 1stappearance of Nakanishi in NOAH (I could be wrong about that however so don’t quote me). Aogi-Gun jumps BRAVE to start but Yone is a little too slick for these shenanigans. Nakajima slaps Nagata across the face and the cranky veteran grants Nakajima’s wish for Last Rites (The Last Rites for Nagata that is). Some good back and forth between the teams until Aogi-Gun isolates Yone in their corner. Nagata and Nakajima have a decent exchange that culminates in an Exploder from Nagata. There are some great strikes from all 4 men, even Nakanishi does a fairly above average job. Near falls down the stretch which are all fun and then Nakanishi stops me from seeing a Yone Muscle Buster, how dare you Manabu! Nagata gets Yone alone and hits his Backdrop into a pin for the finish and Aogi-Gun wins this one for NJPW and Blue Justice. This was solid but never got going into that next gear, it had some fun moments and good work from both teams and sometimes that is all I ask for. One last thing, this crowd is definitely a NOAH crowd as they were all booing the outsiders from their beloved promotion. The Nagata and Nakanishi dance afterwards gives this an extra star based on principle alone as it was hilarious. **3/4

GHC Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Championship: Kenou & Hajime Ohara vs. Atsushi Kotoge & Tajii Ishimori: The smaller members of both BRAVE and Chokibogun go to battle over the GHC Jr. Heavyweight Titles. Kenou and Ohara won the Jr. Tag League a few months back so they have momentum and Ishimori is coming into this with a banged up knee. It’s these types of scoops that I have that keep you guys coming back time after time, or it’s pity and for that I thank you. Chokibogun tries to jump BRAVE at the start but we get double dropkicks and double Tope Con Hilos from both Kotoge and Ishimori. We get an extended beat down on Ishimori as Chokibogun targets his bad knee. Ishimori gets the hot tag to Kotoge and Kotoge handles both members of Chokibogun single handedly. There seems to be no heat from this crowd, they are incredibly dead and it’s sad for the wrestler’s and the promotion. Some good back and forth between Kotoge and Kenou until Kotoge rattles Kenou’s brain with a nasty headbutt. BRAVE isolates Ohara for a while as he eats knees, kicks and a 450 splash but still kicks out. Some more near falls down the end as Ohara hits an Emerald Flowsion but then we get another ref bump, why Lord why? Ishimori nails a lariat but Ohara traps Ishimori in a variation on an ankle lock and Ishimori taps and we now have New Jr. Heavyweight Tag Champs. Y’know what they tried to do was commendable and I can’t fault them on that, oh who am I kidding yes I can. Targeting the weaker team mate on BRAVE’s side, near falls and some fun back and forth but this never got going to another gear as well. Still solid and the best match on the show up to this point. **3/4

GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship: Daisuke Harada vs. Super Crazy: Who doesn’t remember Super Crazy? He has been in pretty much any promotion known to man. ECW, AAA, New Japan, CMLL IWRG, ROH, TNA, Zero-1, NOAH and anywhere in between. Harada is another great talent in NOAH and has done great in his role where he is at now. Hopefully this is above average and the last two matches are solid, then it will feel like my efforts did not go to waste. Starts with mat work but the pace picks up quick as Harada actually lands on his feet from a Super Crazy monkey flip but Crazy nails Harada with a top rope dropkick that puts down Harada. They take it to the outside and Crazy gets a moonsault from the stage onto Harada which popped some fans, good for Crazy man. Every time that Harada manages some offense Crazy shuts it down but Harada gets a great release belly to belly followed up by some forearms and a superplex that puts Harada back in the match. Crazy with some fun near falls that build drama and Harada is there every step of the way. Crazy doing moonsaults like his hero Kenta Kobashi but he misses the last one and Harada gets an elbow drop from the top rope but Crazy gets the near fall. Crazy gets a powerbomb, moonsault from the top and a brainbuster but Harada is still fighting. Some fantastic strikes from Harada at the end culminating in an inverted Go To Sleep followed by a German suplex to put down Crazy. Crazy is 40 years old and put on match of the night with a determined Harada. Great strikes, Crazy bumping well, sweet near falls and Harada showing that fire that makes the fans love him. Afterwards Zack Sabre Jr. challenges Harada to a title match and Harada agrees, I am certainly looking forward to that. ***1/4

Masato Tanaka & Takashi Sugiura vs. Shane Haste & Mikey Nicholls: This is something I am unjustifiably excited about (I can’t hide it and I don’t care who knows). The Dangan Yankees are two bulls who just wreck everything and everyone in their path. TMDK are a super talented tag team that has gotten over stupendously well for gaijins. You know what to expect from both teams, big bombs, power moves and stiffness and that’s how they start with Sugiura and Nicholls trading forearms and it gets more intense as the match goes on. Haste gets the better of an exchange with Tanaka and Nicholls hits a suicide dive on both Dangan Yankees. Haste lays in some European uppercuts until Sugiura returns the physicality with a headbutt that puts Haste in a heap. Tanaka and Sugiura just obliterate Haste with forearms until Haste makes haste and gets a tag to Nicholls (That was an awful pun, it won’t happen again). We get some great stuff with a Tanaka tornado DDT, a tree of woe and corner cannonball combo from Haste and a Falcon Arrow but that only gets 2. The Tank Buster attempt is foiled and we get a Sugiura hurricanrana followed by a Tanaka frog splash but that only gets 2 and then we start trading lariats. Tanaka with a brainbuster but Haste avoids the Sliding D and gets an inverted suplex and a lariat. The last few minutes are pure physicality as both teams unleash the heavy artillery and you get huge lariats, forearms and the Dangan Yankees just trying to survive. Nicholls fights the good fight but Tanaka connects with the Sliding D and Sugiura gets the Olympic Slam and that gives Dangan Yankees the victory. Hard hitting, physical, great bumps and some fighting spirit sprinkled in make this an easy watch. If there were no Young Bucks or Millennials then I would easily recommend both TMDK and the Dangan Yankees. **** 

GHC Heavyweight Championship: Daisuke Sekimoto vs. Naomichi Marufuji: The story coming into this is that Sekimoto is ready for Marufuji at every turn as well as aiming to take the title off Marufuji and that Marufuji cannot deal with the sheer force and power of Sekimoto. They exchange chops for a while and Sekimoto’s facials are great here selling anger and pain. Marufuji picks up the pace but the strength of Sekimoto makes Marufuji slow things down and change his game plan on the floor. The side headlock from Marufuji works for some time but Sekimoto’s strength wins out and Sekimoto actually gets a nasty back body drop from the apron to the floor on Marufuji. The whole match is strength vs. speed as every time Marufuji thinks he has the advantage, Sekimoto slams him back to earth. Marufuji gets back into the match and signals for the Shiranui but Sekimoto counters and hits a backdrop. Sekimoto’s running corner lariats obliterate Marufuji and Sekimoto follows up with a brainbuster and Torture Rack. Marufuji with dropkicks and a Tope Con Hilo put Marufuji in control and they tease a countout on Sekimoto. A fun strike exchange between the two that Marufuji ultimately wins out and then Marufuji hits a superkick and Shiranui but Sekimoto kicks out. The chops between the two are ridiculous and they lead to a Sekimoto lariat and brainbuster for a near fall. 2 lariats and an Everest German suplex still don’t put down Marufuji. 2 jumping knees just anger Sekimoto and he goes for a lariat but Marufuji ducks and hits another jumping knee that leads to a near fall on Sekimoto. Marufuji knows he has a weakened and vulnerable Sekimoto at this point and nails him with another jumping knee to get the win. That was strange, that finish totally came out of nowhere but it made sense in the strength vs. speed story. The chops were brutal, Sekimoto’s facials and power moves are still some of the best in wrestling and this was the best Marufuji performance I’ve watched in a minute.  ***3/4

Final Thoughts:

This was really a two card show with TMDK vs. Dangan Yankees and Sekimoto vs. Marufuji. While neither main event was MOTYC level, they worked hard and were above average in the current NOAH climate. You can skip the whole undercard and be grateful that you did, I know I should have but hindsight is 20/20 right? The Twitter handle: @RobsBrutalWorld