Pro Wrestling NOAH
Global League 2015
October 17, 2015
Tokyo Differ Ariake
Tokyo, Japan

It has been awhile since we visited Pro Wrestling NOAH, but not a lot has changed. Suzuki-gun still has the promotion in a death choke, controlling most of the belts and generally causing mayhem from the top of the card to the bottom. This is the second day of the Global League, a singles round robin tournament that has become a new tradition for NOAH.

We are operating from one camera which as you know I hate, but what you can you do. I still expect good things from this show, especially the main event.

Daisuke Harada, Atsushi Kotoge, Yoshinari Ogawa, Taiji Ishimori, and Hitoshi Kumano vs. Kenou, Hajime Ohara, Genba Hirayanagi, Captain Noah, and Shiro Tomoyose

We kick off the show was the classic “everyone that doesn’t have a match is thrown together” tag match, a staple of wrestling since the beginning of time. This match I am assuming will be dull and uneventful for the most part so I will give it the attention it deserves. Which isn’t much.

Ishimori squares off first with young Tomoyose and quickly gets him on the mat, Ishimori tags in Kumano but Tomoyose tags in Hirayanagi. Hirayanagi is wearing a Captain Noah mask for whatever that matters, but that has not made him more interesting to watch. Kumano does his best Ricky Morton as he is attacked by everyone, until he finally knocks down Kenou and tags in Harada. Harada throws both Kumano and Ohara in the tree of woe (in the same corner), Hirayanagi runs into help but Harada puts him in the tree of woe too. Dropkick by Harada but Kenou rakes his eyes, Ishimori runs in and kicks him however and Kenou is double teamed. Kenou bails out of the ring in exciting fashion, allowing Ohara to rake him in the eyes and hit a dropkick. Kotoge is tagged in and he boots Ohara in the head before applying the hanging necklock, rolling cutter by Kotoge and he covers Ohara for two. Kotoge goes for the Killswitch but Ohara blocks it and throws him into the referee. Kenou comes in with a kendo stick and hits everyone, Captain Noah comes in and tries to take it from him which gives Kotoge’s teammates time to recover. Kotoge goes off the ropes but Ohara hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, and he makes the big tag to Tomoyose. Tomoyose dropkicks Kotoge, body press by Tomoyose and he gets a two count. Tomoyose goes up top and he delivers a diving crossbody, he goes for a suplex but Kotoge lands on his feet.  Tomoyose is attacked by everyone on Kotoge’s team, double Irish whip to Tomoyose and Harada knees Tomoyose in the head. Killswitch by Kotoge, and he picks up the three count! Team Atsushi Kotoge wins the match!

The only real upside to this is that the action stayed moving so it was never boring. The main downside is with so many wrestlers, no one really got a chance to shine and it is the type of match you’ll forget almost before the bell rings. I’ve seen far worse ways to open shows but still lacking anything resembling importance.

Akitoshi Saito vs. Colt Cabana vs. Quiet Storm

I am not really sure why this match exists. Why is there a triple threat comedy match on a NOAH card, and what is Saito doing here? Cabana is in the Global League this year which is why he is in the promotion at all, if that helps. I’m not really sure what else to say about this match except that is my personal nightmare.

They stare at each other to start, Cabana tries to shoulderblock both of them but it doesn’t work. He is knocked out of the ring so the men can face off, he runs back in but eats another double shoulderblock. Cabana throws Storm into Saito, Storm goes off the ropes but Cabana hits a hip attack. Storm and Cabana trade chops, Cabana goes up top and hits a double jump body press for a two count. Cabana goes for a suplex but Saito returns, Saito gets Cabana up in a suplex but Storm kicks him. Storm throws Saito out of the ring and hits a DDT on Cabana for a two count. Storm lariats Cabana in the corner but Saito drops Storm with a side slam. Lariat by Saito to Cabana and he hits a vertical suplex. Another lariat by Saito and he covers Cabana for two. Cabana fights back with punches, Storm suplexes Cabana but Saito comes over and he trades chops with Storm. Saito charges Cabana in the corner but Cabana moves, hip attack by Cabana to Storm and he runs into the corner. Cabana kicks Storm back away from the corner and he applies the Cabana Hold for the three count!  Colt Cabana wins the match.

While it was slightly amusing watching Saito play along with Cabana, I am not a huge fan of Cabana’s brand of comedy, I find it more goofy than humorous. Sometimes it fits but not really here, and the fact the match was only five minutes shows that I am probably not the only one that feels that way. A step down from the last match as at least that was mindless fun, this was just skippable filler. Although my eyes didn’t start bleeding so in a way I consider that a success.

Cobana being goofy

Naomichi Marufuji, Zack Sabre Jr., and Super Crazy vs. Shelton Benjamin, Taichi, and TAKA Michinoku

This match does have some meaning, even if the ‘good guy’ team is a bit random. Benjamin and company represent Suzuki-gun, the faction that has been dominating NOAH since the beginning of the year. Really they are New Japan wrestlers (or New Japan affiliated freelancers) but they have been lent to NOAH to mix things up a bit for all parties involved. Here we get Marfuji as the team leader with his lower ranked helpers in Sabre and Super Crazy to take on the invading wrestlers in thrilling tag team action.

The action almost immediately ends up on the floor, with Suzuki-gun beating the fan favorites around the ring. Michinoku and Super Crazy remain inside as Michinoku chokes Super Crazy, but Super Crazy makes a comeback and elbows Michinoku against the ropes. Super Crazy goes to charge Michinoku but Taichi pulls the ropes down and Super Crazy tumbles out of the ring. Michinoku tags in Benjamin as Super Crazy is slid back in, and Benjamin slams Super Crazy a few times to the mat. Benjamin puts Super Crazy in a leg lock and tags in Michinoku, Michinoku pokes Super Crazy in the eyes and tags in Taichi. This goes on for a bit until Super Crazy hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker on Taichi and Michinoku, giving him time to tag in Sabre. Sabre twists Taichi’s arm but Taichi kicks him in the leg. Both wrestlers tag out as Benjamin and Marufuji come in, they go back and forth until Benjamin hits a big back bodydrop. After they trade kicks, Benjamin knocks Marufuji to the mat with a superkick and tags in Michinoku.  Taichi comes in too and Marufuji is double teamed in the corner. Marufuji manages to hit a big knee on Michinoku, Shiranui by Marufuji to Michinoku and he gets the three count! Team NOAH wins the match.

You know you’re a jobber when you lose clean to a Shiranui. That hasn’t worked in a decade against real opponents. Besides that, this was the best match of the night (which isn’t saying much), it just felt incomplete. Marufuji was barely in the match at all, and when you take out the fluff that all matches start with it just was not a long enough match for six wrestlers on their level. Nothing here was bad, even if it was a bit silly at times, but I wanted to see more Sabre and Marufuji so I came away disappointed.

NOAH Global League – Katsuhiko Nakajima vs. Mitsuhiro Kitamiya

Nakajima I assume most are familiar with, after starting hot in his career the last few years he has just kinda been middling in NOAH doing nothing of note. Now that he is officially a freelancer (for whatever that is worth) maybe he can do something with his career as he is still only 27. Kitamiya is 26 and debuted in 2011, he has yet to win any titles as NOAH moves up their young wrestlers extremely slow. Maybe this tournament will be his chance to break through, only time will tell.

Kitamiya gets the early advantage with a hard shoulderblock, he gets on the second turnbuckle but Nakajima hits a jumping heel kick, sending Kitamiya crashing to the floor. Nakajima gets on the apron and kicks Kitamiya in the chest before returning to the ring. Kitamiya slowly returns as well, he tries to fight back with elbows but Nakajima gives him a hard kick. More kicks by Nakajima but Kitamiya catches one, Kitamiya goes off the ropes but Nakajima knees him in the chest. More kicks by Nakajima and he covers Kitamiya for two. Chinlock by Nakajima, Kitamiya gets out of it and he hits a Samoan Drop. Both wrestlers get up, running elbow by Kitamiya and he deliver a bulldog. Senton by Kitamiya, but Nakajima kicks out. Deadlift German attempt by Kitamiya but Nakajima gets out of it and kicks Kitamiya in the head. Big boot by Nakajima in the corner, he goes up top and he hits the missile dropkick.  Dragon screw by Nakajima and he applies a STF but Kitamiya gets into the ropes. Irish whip by Nakajima, but Kitamiya fires back with a lariat. Deadlift vertical suplex by Kitamiya, but it only gets a two count. Kitamiya goes off the ropes but Nakajima boots him, Kitamiya goes for lariats but Nakajima kicks him in the arm. Kitamiya hits a big lariat anyway, cover by Kitamiya but Nakajima gets a shoulder up. Kitamiya charges Nakajima but Nakajima drop toeholds him into the turnbuckles and hits a backdrop suplex. PK by Nakajima, but Kitamiya kicks out of the pin. Brainbuster by Nakajima, and he gets the three count! Nakajima wins the match and gets two points in the Global League tournament.

I… liked this match, the issue is that it was all over the place. Nakajima has been in the business for over a decade and really should be better at laying out a match at this point. He went from strikes, to random leg work/STF, to then power moves to win the match with really no transitions along the way. The STF was completely unnecessary as it did not relate to anything else in the match. Kitamiya wasn’t in Nakajima’s league here skill-wise but I do think he has a nice lariat and he isn’t a bad wrestler. The end stretch was well done and the match was never dull, it just wasn’t as cohesive as you’d expect a ten minute match to be. Mildly Recommended

Nakajima is turned inside out

NOAH Global League – Maybach Taniguchi vs. Takashi Iizuka

In case you have been living under a rock, Taniguchi and Iizuka actively dislike each other. I mean they have reached that “I will bleed in your eye” level of hate that you just can’t come back from. Iizuka of course represents Suzuki-gun but most of his angst lately has been targeted at Taniguchi. Taniguchi still wears the mask even though he was unmasked at some point, not that it was ever a secret who he was anyway. I am not sure if on the mid-card they can do a bloody brawl which is the only thing they are good at, so I go into the match apprehensively.

Taniguchi attacks Iizuka before the match starts, sending him crashing back out of the ring. Taniguchi goes out after him and they trade shots on the floor before finally returning to the ring again. Iizuka attacks Taniguchi in the corner but Taniguchi hits a shoulderblock, they trade choke attempts, Irish whip by Iizuka but Taniguchi reverses it and hits a lariat. They end up back on the floor again with Iizuka tossing Taniguchi into the chairs at ringside. Iizuka brings Taniguchi into the ring and rips at his mask, he chokes Taniguchi with some tape and covers him, but the referee won’t count it. Iizuka leaves the ring and grabs the camera cord, choking Taniguchi with it and hanging him over the ropes. Stomps by Iizuka, he goes for a suplex but Taniguchi blocks it and hits a powerslam. Lariat by Taniguchi in the corner and he hits a second one, he goes off the ropes and hits a final lariat but Iizuka gets a shoulder up on the cover. Taniguchi goes off the ropes but Iizuka throws him into the referee. Iizuka gets his Iron Finger but Taniguchi gets his trident and hits Iizuka in the stomach with it. Iizuka rolls out of the ring but Taniguchi goes after him and throws him into the guardrail. Taniguchi grabs Iizuka and he chokeslams him through a table that is set up at ringside. Taniguchi rolls Iizuka back in the ring and he plants him with another chokeslam.  Taniguchi goes up top but Iizuka grabs Taniguchi’s trident and uses it to throw Taniguchi off the top turnbuckle. Taniguchi picks up his trident but the referee grabs it, Iizuka gets the Iron Finger and hits Taniguchi with the Iron Finger From Hell. The referee sees it however and he calls for the DQ! Taniguchi wins the match and gets two points.

This was a decent brawl with a poor ending.  I prefer not to have every match on a card be an outside the ring carnage match but it works as a special attraction, and it’s literally the only type of match I want to see these two in so I am ok with it. I didn’t like the ending though, this is a tournament and if you put your name in the hat in theory you want to win the tournament. So intentionally getting DQed just doesn’t make any sense, win the match first and then do whatever you want, but intentional DQs in general don’t work in tournaments in my humble opinion. But still an above average brawl, about all you can ask for.

Taniguchi chokeslams Iizuka through a table

NOAH Global League – Davey Boy Smith Jr. vs. Lance Archer

Smith and Archer are tag team partners, but in a tournament all friendships are pushed to the side to get those two points. At the time of the match they are actually the GHC Tag Team Championships, so they are not only a tag but a rather successful one.  This is their first singles match against each other since they faced off in the 2013 G1 Climax, with Archer coming out the victor.

They start out nicely with lock-ups and submissions, they then try to knock each other over but neither has success. Smith hits a big boot and they trade armdrags until both big men return to their feet again. Smith finally hits the first big move as he lariats Archer over the top rope and onto the apron, he tries to suplex him back into the ring but Archer snaps his neck onto the top rope. Archer then gets a running start on the ramp and jumps back into the ring with a jumping shoulderblock. Another shoulderblock by Archer and he cranks on a headlock, but Smith elbows out of it. Big elbow by Archer and he covers Smith for two. Archer stretches Smith but Smith reverses it, they trade suplex attempts and Smith wins the battle as he hits a delayed vertical suplex. Back up they trade elbows, Smith knocks Archer to the mat and he hits a leg drop for a one count. Smith goes to the headlock, he goes off the ropes but Archer catches him with the full nelson slam for a two count cover.

Archer goes for a reverse DDT but Smith reverses it with a capture suplex. Scorpion Deathlock by Smith but Archer gets a hand on the ropes. Smith gets distracted, giving Archer time to throw him into the ropes, he goes for the chokeslam but Smith elbows out of it. Knees by Smith and he goes for a powerbomb, but Archer gets out of it as well and hits a Black Hole Slam. Archer goes up top but Smith recovers and joins him, Archer elbows Smith back down and turns around but Smith joins him again. Archer headbutts Smith off and finally hits a diving lariat, Archer puts Smith on the top turnbuckle but Smith wiggles away and hits a backdrop suplex. Archer gets on the second turnbuckle and grabs Smith’s arm, he walks the ropes but Smith punches him and hits the running powerslam for the three count! Smith is your winner and gets two points in the tournament.

For two wrestlers that are really familiar with each other, this was a bit clunky. You would have thought it was two monster gaijins that were just putting on a random midcard match, not two wrestlers that have been a tag team for years. That isn’t to say it was bad, but it was loosely structured and had some overly contrived spots. The action was solid, it just felt more like a throwaway singles match than a tournament match between two tag team partners.

Diving shoulderblock by Archer!

Minoru Suzuki vs. Mohammed Yone

This match is part of the NOAH Global League.  Minoru Suzuki is of course the leader of Suzuki-gun and the GHC Heavyweight Champion. Yone is a glorified jobber from the shoot-style days that hasn’t held a title since 2010. But he is also defending NOAH’s honor, so it should be a feisty contest.

Yone attacks Suzuki before the match starts and throws him out of the ring where they trade elbows. Yone kicks Suzuki against the railing before they return to the ring, scoop slam by Yone and he hits a leg drop for a two count. Suzuki starts absorbing Yone’s elbows but Yone knocks him into the corner and chokes Suzuki with his boot. A running kick by Yone sends Suzuki back out of the ring again, he tries to throw Suzuki into the railing but Suzuki reverses it and boots Yone into the crowd. Suzuki then beats Yone with a chair and throws him into a table before they return to the ring. Suzuki kicks and elbows Yone, sleeper by Suzuki and he covers Yone for a two count. Vertical suplex by Yone and he kicks Suzuki into the corner before hitting a lariat. Another lariat by Yone and he shoulderblocks Suzuki to the mat.

Yone goes up to the second turnbuckle and hits a diving leg drop, picking up another two count. Suzuki regains the advantage with a boot and follows it with a PK, kicks to the chest by Suzuki and he applies the sleeper again. Yone drives him into the corner to get him off, he puts Suzuki on the top turnbuckle and joins him, they trade elbows while up top and Suzuki sends Yone back to the mat. Suzuki goes for a Piledriver but Yone back bodydrops out of it, he goes off the ropes but Suzuki does too and re-applies the sleeper. He spins around Yone but Yone hits a big kick followed by a backdrop suplex. Running lariat by Yone, but Suzuki kicks out of the cover. Sleeper by Yone and he gets Suzuki to the mat, but Suzuki eventually gets a foot on the ropes to break the hold. Elbows by Yone, he puts Suzuki on the top turnbuckle and gets him up for the Muscle Buster, but Suzuki reverses it into a Trunk-Bundle Front Neck Lock. Yone struggles for a bit but he can’t make it to the ropes and has to submit! Suzuki wins the match and gets two points in the tournament.

This was solid, nothing that will blow you away but a well put together match by two veterans. It was submission based as you’d expect but with an occasional big strike or suplex so that it never really slowed down. The ending sequence was quality, I had not seen the Muscle Buster reversed quite like that before. Wouldn’t have minded it being pro-shot so the outside the ring action could be seen better and the strikes would have more impact, but still fun to watch. Mildly Recommended

Backdrop Suplex by Yone

NOAH Global League – Masato Tanaka vs. Takashi Sugiura

Like with Archer and Smith, they are also tag team partners forced to face off for the tournament. Not that they probably care. Tanaka and Sugiura won the Global Tag League earlier this year and also held the NWA Intercontinental Tag Team Championship as well, so they have had a good year together.  These two both hit hard, so it will be a slobberknocker for sure.

They kick things off with submissions and mat work, feeling each other out before really getting into it. They go off the ropes and take turns trying to knock each other over, a battle that Sugiura wins as Tanaka goes crashing to the mat. Chinlock by Sugiura and he elbows Tanaka into the corner, but Tanaka switches positions with him and elbows Sugiura down in the corner. Sugiura retorts with a hard elbow, and both wrestlers are down on the mat. Back up they trade elbows, Tanaka gets the better of it and he applies a chinlock on the mat. They go back to trading elbows until Tanaka drops Sugiura with a stiff superkick. Tanaka picks up Sugiura but Sugiura levels him with a spear and they are both down again. Sugiura boots Tanaka into the corner and goes for a suplex, but Tanaka elbows out of it. Lariat by Tanaka and again both wrestlers are on the mat. I definitely get the feeling they are stretching the match out by both lying on the mat for an extended period of time. Lariat by Tanaka in the corner and he snaps off a DDT, scoop slam by Tanaka and he goes for a diving body press, but Sugiura gets his knees up.

Running knee to the stomach by Sugiura, he goes for another one but Tanaka catches his leg. Elbows by Tanaka but Sugiura boots him, Tanaka grabs Sugiura and plants him with a Brainbuster for a two count. Tanaka goes up top and delivers the diving body press, but Sugiura barely gets a shoulder up. Tanaka goes for the Sliding D but Sugiura ducks and hits release German suplex, Tanaka springs to his feet but Sugiura knees him as he slides in for a takedown. Running knee by Sugiura, cover, but it only gets two.  Sugiura grabs Tanaka around the waist and hits a German suplex hold, but that also gets a two count. Sugiura goes for the Olympic Slam but Tanaka gets out of it and quickly hits a Sliding D. Both wrestlers trade elbows on their knees, they keep doing so as they get on their feet, they then start trading slaps and headbutts also until both wrestlers crumble to the mat.  Sugiura is up first, he picks up Tanaka and he nails the Olympic Slam for the three count cover! Sugiura wins the match and gets two points in the tournament.

Another good match and the best match on the card, but at times I think they were trying to do too much. It was almost as if they were trying to make it epic, instead of the match just being epic on its own merits. Lots of both lying on the mat selling moves, it started early and never stopped, but since the crowd was dead (or just small) and the camera was far away it was hard to really feel the energy that I am sure they were expending. Lots of hard strikes as you would assume and when they were trading shots it was good, it just didn’t need to be quite so long for what they were going for. Still a quality match though and worth a watch, just don’t go in with super high expectations.  Recommended

Tanaka with a slick Sliding D

Final Thoughts: I am not completely sure why of all NOAH events I chose to do a glorified house show. The attendance was awful so there wasn’t a lot of energy, and I will never be a fan of just having one camera for anything that is going to make television as this show obviously did. It wasn’t a bad event though, as all of the tournament matches were watchable and a few were quite entertaining. The undercard was entirely skippable so no need to watch them, but for NOAH fans I think the rest is worth at least a casual view.

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