Pro Wrestling NOAH
The Infinity 2021
March 20, 2021
Watch: Wrestle Universe
Hello! The Magic Writing Girl attempts to review NOAH once more. We are in Korakuen Hall which I always find to be a wonderful place for awesome to happen, and we have the main event here of Kenoh defending his title against a man I admittedly am not a fan of in Fujita. All that said their interactions leading up to this match have pretty much ruled and have me hyped in seeing what the main event will offer. More than likely that will end up being hard strikes and hard staring. The staring might be the harder of the two! Throw in a Junior Heavyweight Tag Title Match and this show has the potential to be a lot of fun. Enough with the chit-chat, let get with the graps!
Kongo (Hao, Nio & Tadasuke) def. Atsushi Kotoge, Kai Fujimura & Yasutaka Yano
Let’s not waste time saying this was a very solid opener. Kongo always works well and hard as a unit, and they had the energy and effort needed to open this show solidly. Not that this has to do with anything, but I love their red and gold gear as well. Yano is someone I really enjoy watching. He has both a damn awesome dropkick and a beautiful fisherman suplex. It’s just good to know there ARE wrestlers with the last name Yano I actually enjoy out there. Makes me feel good inside. I thought Fujimura performed solidly as well. Fujimura took good bumps, especially on somebody slams he had to endure. Openers such as this just need to be a good start to the show and this was exactly that. Nothing to go out of your way to see, but solid. ***
Yuya Susumu def. Hajime Ohara
Ohara’s entrance theme just sounds so delightful to me. Have no idea what the lyrics are but for my sake, I’ll imagine they are positively uplifting and make you feel better. If I’m completely wrong DO NOT CORRECT ME. I will be saying this a lot in this review so prepare for this girl to do her best attempt as cosplaying a broken record. This match was solid. Good singles action on the undercard. Neither went into overdrive or extended themselves. What we got was a well-worked ten-minute undercard match where both wrestlers got to showcase a little bit. Nothing exciting and nothing I really want to spot or highlight but in the end they worked hard, worked well, and this match is another Ladie’s three special. ***
Ikuto Hidaka & NOSAWA Rongai def. Seiki Yoshioka & YO-HEY
This was short. Under three minutes, but here’s the deal if you’re only going to go three minutes or less, maximize those minutes as best you can, and they certainly put in that effort. Only three minutes but those minutes weren’t boring, were well used, and while I cannot in good honest put this match anywhere near three stars I appreciate what they went for. I like the occasional flash matches that end quickly. Makes future matches where it appears the match can end sooner than expected more realistic. Gives a sense of these professionals can end things early if they catch a lucky break, hit a brutal move suddenly, etc. You don’t, and shouldn’t do it often, but there’s nothing wrong with putting it out front here and there. They kept it moving, there was a good offense, and then it ended. Star rating is deceiving, I thought this worked well. **1/4
Muhammad Yone & Shuhei Taniguchi def. Akiotshi Saito & Masao Inoue
I’m a simple girl. If That’s the way (I like it) comes on I’m going to start bobbing my head to it. Depending on my mood I may even start dancing and getting my groove on. I do have a groove, I just rarely bust it out. I could never compare to the pure funk of Yone, Taniguchi though. Shuhei Taniguchi always seems to be living his best life when I see him in this gimmick. Yone does to of course but Taniguchi seems to be having a blast. Good for him. Here it comes, the match was solid. You can’t come into this with high expectations, it’s unfair and is setting you to be disappointed right off the back. Treat a match like this as it is, old wrestlers on the undercard doing their best with surprisingly decent stakes (losing team gets absorbed) and doing quite alright. Maybe I’m just a softie, maybe I’m overtaken by the power of funk. I did enjoy the Saito/Yone interactions and Taniguchi is just pure fun. When it’s all said and done you’ll take these three stars and that’s the way you’ll like it. ***
Takashi Sugiura & Kendo Kashin def. Naomichi Marufuji & Yuko Miyamoto
More solid gold. I like Sugiura, Marufuji can be good, Miyamoto impressed me, and Kashin didn’t do anything that made me hate this match. Usually, his existence in a match alone puts it in a star deficit it has to crawl back up from. Thankfully that didn’t happen here. Really enjoyed Miyamoto, thought he performed well in this match. Marufuji and Sugiura interacted well against each other but it was Miyamoto Sugiura interactions that’ll end up sticking with me. Unfortunately for him, it’s Sugiura we’re talking about. He’s old, he’s grumpy, and he will hurt you bad. Miyamoto found out at the end of this match that this last statement about Sugiura is particularly true. There’s no shame in being beaten down by Sugiura though, it happens to everyone eventually. At least Miyamoto got to hit a nice german at one point for a near fall. He also looked fantastic on a moonsault attempt that failed. Not the greatest of participation prizes, but at least he got that. ***
Katsuhiko Nakajima, Masa Kitamiya & Manabu Soya def. Osamu Nishimura, Yoshiki Inamura & Kinya Okada
Look at that, at last, a match that ends up being SLIGHTLY above solid. I said it in my last review, and I’ll say it here as well. Inamura is an impressive slab of beef. I love watching him. He and the rest of his team put out an impressive display in this match. Inamura and Soya had a moment in this match where they kept charging at each other and it fucked. It ruled. Beefy wrestlers charging into each other until one succumbs? HELLS OTO THE YES! Inamura eventually knocks him off his feet and I stood up on mine. Let me be clear, I’m currently all in on Inamura and I hope my allegiance is rewarded in the future. Okada brings the goods as well, I won’t leave him out. Okada is an excellent young talent full of promise and the more I watch NOAH the more I want to watch him continue growing and expanding.
Alas, they are in there with the devil that is Nakajima. They are in there with Soya and Kitamiya and due to all of this victory was never an option. No one bothered to tell the trio though as they try. They focused, they fight, they failed, but god damn was it good stuff. Nakajima kicks always makes me cringe. His attitude that just oozes “I’m one of the best, why am I in here with this punk?” as he just kicks the shit out of Okada is felt through the television. Inamura might be a slab of beef, but Kitamiya is his butcher and spends a portion of time cutting through him before Inamura is able to slam him to get out of the situation. Then there’s the elder Nishimura, older, wiser, still wanting to put up a fight. He takes his lumps as well which is a good indicator to all young wrestlers the lumps taken never ends. He gives out those lumps as well though. Just because you’ll always take some shots, doesn’t mean you won’t get to deliver them in return. In the end I enjoyed this match a lot, and it was nice to have something finally break the three-star barrier that had been gatekeeping this show up until this point. ***1/4
GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship
Yoshinari Ogawa, HAYATA (c) def. Daisuke Harada & Junta Miyawaki
There are notable pluses and minuses to the Ogawa/HAYATA tandem. The pluses are Ogawa, the minuses are HAYATA. Simple. That snark aside, this match was close to great. The best thing on the show up to this point. It went nearly twenty-seven minutes, a few minutes shaved off to tighten things up a bit this would’ve made it to four stars. As it is, it just barely misses it but make no mistake you’ll do yourself a disservice not to watch this tag match. In a way, Miyawaki’s performance is what highlights the match to me the most. Teamed with Harada, and with a title at stake Miyawaki worked his ass off and put in one hell of a performance that stood out in this match, and the show. That’s not to dismiss the work of the others (Yes that includes HAYATA) but I was really impressed by what I saw in Miyawaki and glad that in this semi-main he was able to spotlight himself with a very good showing.
As stated above, twenty-seven minutes. Nothing involving HAYATA ever needs to go close to thirty. Fortunately, he teams with Yoshinari Ogawa who’s still harsh as hell and great to watch. Some people in wrestling when they hit their later years lose their ability, their skills, their capabilities to enhance a match. Ogawa clings to them, and when it’s gone time, he can get moving. HAYATA performed well, I will give him his due. Despite my snark and skepticism, he is capable of good matches if not asked for over-extend himself and he works within his range. He does that well here. Harada is great and while it was Miyawaki that imprinted on me the most, Harada was still excellent in this match. After Miyawaki took one hell of a beating Harada would get the hot tag and would come in with impressive fire. The fighting spirit was strong in him and he took both Ogawa and HAYATA head-on at the same time. It ruled.
Miyawaki at one point takes a marathon of body slams from Ogawa and HAYATA, each one just feeling and looking brutal as Miyawaki screams in pain. This wasn’t about victory, this was showing this punk why we’re champions, and why you’ll never be. One can only take some pain and humiliation for so long before they start landing hits of their own. Each hit and maneuver saying I belong here, I can be champion, you will not have your way with me. I know he won’t win, I know he’ll take the fall. It’s written in the stars, but I was never much for astrology. I root against reality. I root against inevitability. I root against my own instincts of years of watching wrestling. Miyawaki will win this I tell myself. As he makes HAYATA scream in pain with a cross-arm breaker I lean forward telling myself this will be the moment. He and Harada will be worthy champions. It was not meant to be, it was never meant to be. Would’ve been nice. Miyawaki would eventually fall upon the sword, but it wasn’t a fatal blow. He’ll recover, regroup, and soon he’ll have his day. I hope I’m watching when he does. ***3/4
GHC National Championship
Kazuyuki Fujita def. Kenoh (c)
I’ve made my thoughts and opinions clear on Fujita. Fujita is filled with defenders and detractors. I’m a detractor. Well you defenders of Fujitaism, I permit you free reign to perform a victory lap. Enjoy it, savory it, take a second one for good measure. I say this because THIS FUCKING RULED. This match was awesome. I’m not sold or big on Fujita winning and becoming champion, but if that brutally bruising bald bastard had to win this match, at least he won it in one hell of an effort. One hell of a main event worthy of highlight a show in Korakeun. Both wrestlers went into this match having absorbed the three spirits orbs needed to be performing in beast mode. Ignoring my dated video game reference, both wrestlers delivered hard kicks, harsh slaps, and we had ourselves one hell of a battle. This wasn’t a wrestling match, this was a battle. A battle that was stubborn and vicious. Oh, and yes there was staring.
We’ll start with the staring. The fact we’d have a staredown has been hinted at and hyped up. We got it. It did not go anywhere near the lengths of the famous/infamous Go staredown but we got a good seven minutes of it. I got to confess, it was fucking intense. I did not expect to be into it as I was, but with the crowd attempting to clap for the duration I found myself spellbound. Questions abound. Who would flinch? Who would make the first move? Did I really give a Mutoh title defense in 2021 a positive rating? Reasonable things to go through your head during a tense staredown. And it was tense. They hit the freaking hell out of each other. That doesn’t justify what I’m trying to say. I’ll try this: HOLY SHIT CALM MY TITS SOME OF THOSE STRIKES. That’ll suffice. After we got through the staredown portion of the match we got to the “Let us beat the shit out of each other” proceedings.
At one point Kenoh has Fujita in the corner and is just kicking his soul out of his damn body. I’m sure I saw it trying to leave. Fujita though ain’t having that and is all like “get back in my body right the fuck now” and the soul knew better than to not listen to Fujita. Fujita just kept telling Kenoh to bring it and Kenoh brought it and some of its friends along. I was all in on this spot, I absolutely loved it. Grumpy wrestlers beating the shit out of each other. It’s kind of my jam. Fujita made sure to contribute to this sam but slapping the loving sight, hearing, taste, smell out of Kenoh. Over, and over, and over. Kenoh tried to stay up, tried to keep that fighting spirit going, but it lessened, it weakens, and then along with his body it collapsed. Fucking hell I was hooked.
There is a finality to everything. There is a realization in all things when you know it’s done, it is finished. When Kenoh is hit by a brutal powerbomb I knew he was finished. It would just take the killing blow, the blow Fujita would admittedly have to have a redo to achieve, but a killing blow all the same. It was done, it was finished, and the successful title reign of Kenoh was no more. To put an exclamation point on his statement of dominance, Fujita pinned him with a god damn knee. I don’t know how I feel about Fujita being champion. I unfairly want to hate it already, but I won’t. I won’t because he’s earned leeway with me with this match. I’m admittedly now looking forward to his first defense against Sugiura. Not something I would’ve expected going in, but here we are. Best thing on the show, worthy main event, and fuck me, I can still hear the sound of some of those strikes. ****
While I’m willing to call this a good show the truth is the undercard is nothing you need to go out of your way to see. I would suggest watching the final three matches. They range in quality but all have something to offer to be worth your while. Kenoh/Fujita though is the match you’ll definitely want to tune in to. I gave it four, but it’s a very high-end four. Kenoh/Fujita was amazing and a worthy end to Kenoh’s title reign. Kenoh brought the fighting spirit, but the body, the body can only take so much. The era of old bald champions in NOAH expands. Whether or not this ends up being positive, will continue to play out.