Pro Wrestling NOAH
Cross Over 2021 in Hiroshima
August 1, 2021
Hiroshima Sun Plaza
Hiroshima, Japan

Watch: Abema , FITEWrestle Universe

Three titles are on the line tonight in Hiroshima. I know I usually have a paragraph or two intros for you all to take in before we get to the show, but the truth is I don’t really have much to say going in. We got three title matches, a Great Muta appearance, and hopefully a good show. Let us just get right to it tonight and hopefully there is fun to be had!

Muhammad Yone & Akitoshi Saito def. King Tani & Kinya Okada

Okada kicked hard, and everyone else did what they usually did in this opener. Okada in his time in the ring looked particularly good as he always does. Tani also seemed to be having fun which is nice I suppose. All and all though there’s not much to say about this opener. It existed, and it happened. It wasn’t offensively bad or anything, just not memorable or filled with anything I can point to and say go take a look at this unless you’re someone who wants to watch every Okada match in his development. Skippable otherwise, and honestly even if you are a completionist for Okada, still pretty damn skippable. *3/4

Kenoh, Tadasuke & Aleja def. Masa Kitamiya, Daiki Inaba, Junta Miyawaki

Hopefully, this would have more meat on the bone to talk about. Well, there were some scraps of meat to nibble on at least. Slightly better than the previous match, but still not much to talk about, and it’s still not worth going out of your way to see. There was a bit more energy and action going on which I appreciated. No one looked out of place or terrible, and the work was decent, just not interesting or exciting. I don’t mean to be dismissive of these earlier matches, just they are so far not doing it for me. This at least makes slightly above the two-star mark though, so at least we have to to be happy for. **1/4

Kotaro Suzuki,  Hidaka Ikuto defeated Yoshinari Ogaga, Yasutaka Yano

Ogawa! HELL YEAH! If anything can jump-start my interest it’s Ogawa on the card! Yano and Ikuto go to work in the opening sequences and it brings me some life as I review this. I really like Yano, and I’ll never stop praising him or hyping him up as he continues to develop. In fact, this match is leaps better than the filler we have gotten by the time Suzuki and Ogawa have finished their sequence together. It’s just so entertaining and they are smooth and move well together. What I’m saying is, this match was needed after the first two filled with nothingness. In fact, this is keeping me quite entertained. I rather like it. Is it possible I’m over-rating after the previous two matches? Maybe, but I was quite entertained by the work of all four individuals. The action was consistent, movement constant, and in the end, I was satisfied with the efforts of all four performers. Not high-end or anything, but solid, crisp performances that made for a good match that makes it above the three-star mark. Well done. ***1/4

Takashi Sugiura, Kazuyuki Fujita & Kendo Kashin def. Katsuhiko Nakajima, Haoh & Nioh

Kendo Kashin is in this match, which means fair or unfair this match is already starting in a hole with me. My cat attempting to wrestle my legs during this match is more entertaining than anything Kendo Kashin can do. My cat is a superior worker, although her selling is lacking. The match is a pretty solid three-star affair, and I mean that respectfully. This is not a match I give three in generosity, it’s a match that works for that three and maintains it. It May sound damning with faint praise, but I’m fine with it. It’s a six-man undercard match, it can afford to get away with being a strong three. Even Kashin isn’t that awful, which in itself is a miracle and enough for me to reward some positivity. Everyone well well and hard and in the end, I found this fun. Still skippable, but not regrettable if you watch it. ***

GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships
Seiki Yoshioka & Yuya Susumu def. Daisuke Harada & Hajime Ohara (c)

At last, we remove ourselves from the potatoes of the show, and make our way the meat! The champions work over Yoshioka to start the match and they do quite a good job of it. Harada and Ohara click as champions and are pretty entertaining even doing the most basic of stuff. There’s a confidence there, they know they’re the champions, and they know until otherwise proven they are the best in the division. Despite giving up control briefly the champions pretty much control the first portion of the match, getting chances to work over both men for periods of time. At one point Susumu tries to struggle out of a death valley driver and fails in an entertaining spot. Yoshioka and Harada have some fun exchanges with each other that end in a Yoshioka submission attempt. I could watch them go for extended sequences quite a few times actually. Their interactions might just be my favorite thing in this match

That’s not to say Ohara and Susumu’s interactions are anything to sneeze at. They click well as well and bring the energy. The challengers are able to mount and put together worthwhile and believable comebacks and control periods. Building into a match where either team can believable win. This is entertaining stuff. Match builds until both go all out for victory. Ohara and Yoshioka have a good striking exchange closing stretch before Yoshioka puts him down for good for the pin and we have new champions. Very good match. Slightly below four stars. It didn’t reach the levels of great for me personally, but through hard work, nice match building, and good one versus one sequence between the competitor combinations, this match succeeded how it needed. A good way for the champions to end their reign, and I’m quite satisfied with it. ***3/4

Kaito Kiyomiya & Atsushi Kotoge def. Great Muta & NOSAWA Rongai

Great Muta time! Okay, that’s probably not a good thing, I promised myself that if we get a double mist spot in this match I would reward this match a half stare more than it deserves. This match needed to start quickly to assure I had a chance of being interest, and they made sure to do exactly that. I personally feel once he lost the title Muto/Muta needed to come to an end, but I don’t make the decisions. If I did Kenoh would’ve beaten him with his fire leg. This is a Muta match, which is, not good. Even in his prime Muta style matches got to a point where it was 50/50. NOSAWA carries the brunt of the work for his team, which is probably for the better. He works hard and is into making this match good. Kiyoimiya/Kotoge is a good team and works well. Muta brings out weapons and abuses Kiyomiya with them, causing him to bleed rather disgustingly. Kiyomiya is covered in fucking blood. Portions of his hair start to turn red. Poor guy even gets missed in the face as an insult to the injury.

I can not understate how freaking bloody he is. He gets worked over well by Muta and NOSAWA. NOSAWA and Muta bite and tear at his bloodied head. Even the referee has Kiyomiya’s blood on him, fuck. When Kotoge gets tagged in I feel a wave of relief wash over me. When Kiyomiya comes back in a ball of fire, I’m rooting like hell for him to overcome. At this moment I don’t know how I’ll rate, but I’m also hooked in to see if Kiyomiya gets that win. Weapons get brought in, and Muta takes a chair to the head breaking it. The match ends in D.Q After Muta red mists the referee giving Kotoge and Kiyomiya the win. Kiyomiya sure as hell doesn’t look like a winner though. Muta and NOSAWA get an unofficial three count after the bell as an insult to injury. I wouldn’t call this match great, but due to bloody as hell Kiyomiya, I couldn’t look away. It definitely enhanced the match. Ogawa comes in to try to calm things down and gets mist in the eyes for his troubles. Ah hell, it makes it over three. ***1/4

GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship
HAYATA (c) def. YO-HEY

I’m not the biggest HAYATA fangirl by a long stretch, BUT I got a feeling they are going to try hard with this match. YO-HEY seems fired up and motivated before the match even kicks off. HAYATA, in his hometown, seems nothing but determination in physical form. They know what each other is about, and they go to work immediately. These are two men determined to put on a great match. While good they would fall short. YO-HEY works his butt off, but HAYATA  keeps up well. It’s very back and forth and both men get sequences and control in to make you unable to favor one winning over the other. The match builds, takes its time but doesn’t waste it either. Everything seems to be with a purpose. They keeps things moving forward so as not to risk losing your attention at any point. Nearfalls from both men that I buy into throughout the match, and to their credit I’m enjoying their efforts

YO-HEY’s moonsault dropkick is pretty wonderful. The crowd claps along as the match progresses. Both men do a good job of keeping things going and building things more and more. Then it’s over I feel the match ends too suddenly. Just as things were really getting into the great department they go to a finish. But at the same time that does put over HAYATA’S Finish. He hits it you are down and out, no matter how in control you are. One mistake, one sudden misjudgment costs YO-HEY everything. This match was very good, both men are gamed and put on an entertaining affair, in the end, though it did not come close to being great. They both worked hard, and had one of the better matches on the show though, which is not something I always say about HAYATA. I would say it reached up as best it could and grazed the bar, but didn’t clear it completely. Still, this was a solid semi-main event and STINGER owns all the Junior Gold. ***1/2

GHC Heavyweight Championship
Naomichi Marufuji (c) def. Kazushi Sakuraba

I didn’t know what to expect or think going into this. Sakuraba is definitely not winning is the only thought I really had. Part of the path to success for this match was convincing me I’m wrong, trigger that 0.01 percent of doubt. I also thought going in to keep this match short and compact will make all the difference in the world. Sakuraba dominates the hell out of Marufuji for a while, grinding him down with technical and submission wrestling. It’s, well done but really hard to get into or find interesting. It’s one of those moments when you respect how well the wrestler is doing it, but also acknowledge it’s not doing it for you. Marufuji would attempt or get small moments of control only for Sakuraba to take it right back. I don’t know how I feel about the setup of this match, but if the goal is to convince me Sakuraba can win this, I don’t blame them for trying with this format.

That doesn’t mean it works. Very rarely do I feel a sense of Marufji is in danger of losing. There’s a lack of urgency/energy in this match it desperately needs. It’s a chore, and I hate doing chores. At one point Sakuraba takes off his shirt and dares Marufji to hit his best shot. There is a definite bit of red on Sakurab’s chest, and at last, this strike exchange brings in some life that needed to be injected. I would even confess I enjoyed this sequence very much. When Sakuraba ups the ante and turns his back to be chopped there instead, it kind of rules. I get into it… then somewhat laugh when Marufuji says “screw this” and ends it with a kick to the face. That was good stuff. It doesn’t last and I’m back to my interest fading soon after. Marufuji starts to ramp up the heat and offense and it does help the match, but I don’t think it’s enough. A vicious knee strike to the face ends it all. I guess ultimately my review is summed up as they didn’t do anything wrong, it just wasn’t for me. The lack of being able to legit see Sakuraba winning at any point definitely hurt. In a lot of ways, and I risk coming off insulting here, this felt like a filler defense, and your main event should never feel like filler. **

Final Thoughts

There’s… stuff to enjoy on this show…. and dear lord Kiyomiya bleeding like all hell, but in the end, I can’t recommend this show. I just can’t. Nothing to go out of your way to see, except maybe Kiyomiya getting busted open, but you can find that through a variety of means no doubt. Just avoid this show, NOAH will have better ones.