N-1 Victory 2020
October 11, 2020
Osaka Edion Arena #1
FULL THROTTLE (Hajime Ohara, Seiki Yoshioka & YO-HEY) def. Junta Miyawaki, Kinya Okada & Seiya Morohashi
Okada and Junta have shown a lot of potential and are going to make nice additions to the NOAH roster once they start getting their first pushes. FULL THROTTLE get an easy win here to establish their new Kotoge less lineup on a big show. NOAH junior factions are notoriously unstable as seen by the absurd turnover of Ratels membership over the years. Given that FULL THROTTLE, which only just in August appointed Kotoge as their leader, already kicked him out means that this division is far from stabilizing anytime soon.
Kongo (Tadasuke and Nio) def. Masao Inoue & Akitoshi Saito
A very basic match as Inoue and Saito are very limited at this stage of their career. Tadasuke and Nio did well though bumping for the veterans and were rewarded with a win. Not much more to say though since it was a fairly inconsequential match in the grand scheme of things.
Sugiura-gun (Takashi Sugiura, Kendo Kashin, Kazuyuki Fujita & Kazushi Sakuraba) def. Kongo (Kenoh, Manabu Soya, Yoshiki Inamura & Masa Kitamiya)
Big man spots with Inamura and Fujita to start off. I could easily see Inamura turning into a Fujita style worker with some more experience. Kashin is still bad though. Obviously its horrible that WWE fired him despite making an absurd amount of money this year. But an added downside is that we have to watch him wrestle again. Sakuraba on the other hand is excellent now. His exchange with Soya here is better than their match in the N1. He has just decided that he cares about his matches now and isn’t just lazily grappling anymore.
Curious choices of Soya and Fujita as the people in peril for their respective teams. Not necessarily who I would have expected to take the heat. Though calling Fujita as being in peril might go a bit far as he beats the piss out of Inamura and pins him. Soya and Kitamiya challenge for the tag belts afterward. Fun match
GHC Junior Tag Team Championships
Momo No Seishun (Daisuke Harada & Atsushi Kotoge) def. Stinger (HAYATA & Yoshinari Ogawa) (c)
No more vroom vroom for Kotoge’s entrance, which is just a shame and really the biggest injustice of him getting kicked out of FULL THROTTLE. One thing I thought about during this match was NOAH’s need to overhaul their jr division and get rid of dead weight like HAYATA. This is one of NOAH’s biggest shows of the year and you can’t have the likes of HAYATA in a title match as it hurts your perception. Most of the NOAH juniors used to lower indie guys that went to work for the promotion when no one else would so there is certain element of loyalty there. I’m sure they’ll get deemphasized as the promotion grows but right now they are hurting the promotion’s perception. Most of them are also mediocre at best. Ogawa can stay though since he rules. He was easily the best part of the match.
The match is just kind of there. Feels like a series of unconnected spots with no story overall, which tends to be an issue with recent NOAH junior matches. Decent finish but overall meh match. FULL THROTTLE challenge afterward and Harada and Kotoge look miserable for some reason despite having just won the belts.
GHC Jr. Championship
Kotaro Suzuki (c) def. Hao
Hao with a flurry to start before Suzuki takes control and tries to ground his opponent with some grappling. This is a great speed Vs technique matchup as Hao is one of the better high flyers on NOAH’s roster. Some very deep nearfalls for Hao on a variety of cradles. This feels like Hao is just one Kotaro slip up away from victory. A very relentless pace as well as there is very little down time and Hao is constantly going for the win. Suzuki is one of the best at kicking out at the very last microsecond as I bit on a couple of the nearfalls being the finish.
In the end, though Suzuki manages to hit his finisher and escape with his title reign intact. He feels like a vulnerable champion though as this was far from dominant. Kotaro gave Hao a lot here and I wouldn’t mind them having a rematch in the near future. Kotoge and Harada come out and turns out they literally aren’t happy with having the tag belts and the want the singles belt. Very good match and second-best on the show
M’s Alliance (Naomichi Marufuji, Masaaki Mochizuki, Keiji Muto & Masakatsu Funaki) def. Go Shiozaki, Mohamed Yone, Daiki Inaba and Shuhei Taniguchi
Overall this was fun but it went a bit long. Structurwise it was a basic eight-man tag match where everyone got their chance to shine but the main purpose of this was to set up a bunch of feuds for the rest of the year. Looks like we are getting an Inaba Vs Marufuji and a Muto Vs Taniguchi feud. Both got into it with each other a lot during the match and brawled afterward as well. Especially Muto and Taniguchi went at it after they got tangled up in a Figure Four. Still, this match would have been better with a few minutes shaved off.
N-1 Victory 2020 Final
Katsuhiko Nakajima def. Kaito Kiyomiya
This match had a proper big fight feel. These two last faced off in a singles match in July 2019 when Kaito was GHC Heavyweight champion. That match while good was a slight disappointment and one of the weaker defenses of Kaito’s reign. Here these two delivered in full and then some. This match left me wanting more in a good way and this will hopefully be the start of a long-term feud that will culminate with Kaito winning the belt off of Nakajima.
As I have mentioned before Kaito feels like much more of an equal of the NOAH’s top guys now and here he is taking it to Nakajima at the start. But that would not last long as Nakajima would come to dominate this match convincingly. Once he takes control he starts toying with Kaito. Nakajima on offense feels like a predator who is playing around with his prey until its time to strike the killing blow. That was basically the structure of this match as his kicks felt extra stiff in this match. He’s just kicking Kaito full force in the stomach and lays in some disgusting sounding slaps. You can actually see Kaito’s face swelling up from Nakajima’s slaps.
Kaito doesn’t even really get a small comeback as Nakajima just almost knocks him out with a murderous high kick. Then he just hits Kaito with the Diamond Bomb and pins him. Aside from Kaito’s early flurry this was a complete domination by Nakajima. I actually wanted it to go a bit longer which isn’t the worst thing. This match laid the groundwork for Kaito to climb back up and win the N1 next year. Nakajima meanwhile moves on to his long-awaited title match against Go Shiozaki where he will most likely win the title.