PRO WRESTLING NOAH
APRIL 30, 2022
Watch: Wrestle Universe
SLEX & KAI FUJIMURA DEF. ALEJANDRO & YASUTAKA YANO (10:22)
Before the match started, Slex put sunglasses on Fujimura. Slex also wrestled in sunglasses for a bit when he first got tagged in. Slex looked good here, much like he did on the show the night before. He’s established between this match and last night that he’s got good chemistry with Yano. Yano escaped from a Business Bomb and kicked out of a Falcon Arrow, but then Slex got the submission with a Cobra Clutch he calls Close of Business. A good little opener that was another showcase for Slex. Given the smaller size of many of NOAH’s heavyweights, I think they should move Slex up to that division soon. ***
KONGO (MANABU SOYA, TADASUKE & HAJIME OHARA) DEF. FUNKY EXPRESS (KING TANY, MOHAMMED YONE & AKITOSHI SAITO) (12:55)
This was your standard Funky Express match. You know all the spots, and it was perfectly passable. The last couple of minutes had some chaotic action. Ohara and Tadasuke dived to the outside to take out the other Funky Express members and Soya pinned Yone after a Lariat. **¾
STINGER (HAYATA, YOSHINARI OGAWA, CHRIS RIDGEWAY, SEIKI YOSHIOKA & YUYA SUSUMU) DEF. LOS PERROS DEL MAL DE JAPON (NOSAWA RONGAI, EITA, TEXANO JR., KOTARO SUZUKI & SUPER CRAZY) VIA DQ (9:28)
Los Perros attacked before the bell. The action was fine for a while but then out of nowhere, Eita kicked HAYATA in the groin and got disqualified. Los Perros then went to beat up Stinger after the match, but Stinger managed to fight back. The usual NOAH Jr. shenanigans. I’m growing a little tired of it given how dominant Stinger was on the N-Innovation show, it felt like that feud was over. **¾
SUGIURA-GUN (KAZUSHI SAKURABA & KENDO KASHIN) DEF. ZETSURINS (MASAAKI MOCHIZUKI & DON FUJII) (6:47)
This was Fujii’s first ever match in NOAH. Kashin came out dressed up exactly like Sakuraba and both of them were wearing the Super Strong Machine inspired orange masks that Sakuraba uses. They ended up fighting in the masks as the Dragongate team attacked before the bell. Kashin soon lost the Sakuraba mask revealing his usual mask so we didn’t end up getting any Masked Confusion in this. This was very much just a brawl, with lots of it happening at ringside and even the stands. Fujii accidentally hit a Lariat on his partner and Kashin rolled up Mochizuki for the win and even held the rope to help him but the referee didn’t see it.
This wasn’t good. Kashin hugged Fujii after the match for some reason. **
SUGIURA-GUN (RENE DUPREE & HIJO DE DR. WAGNER JR.) DEF. MASATO TANAKA & DAIKI INABA (10:51)
Wagner Jr. is the size of a junior but is pushed as a heavyweight, which makes Slex’s junior position all the more baffling. Inaba is basically a junior too. This was pretty much non-stop action. Wagner Jr. looked good and Dupree was passable which is the best you can hope for. Wagner Jr. hit a Doctor Driver and then a Moonsault to pin Inaba. Perfectly fine tag team wrestling.
I’d assume since they are former GHC Tag Team Champions but had to vacate the titles because of the pandemic, Dupree and Wagner Jr. will be challenging for them soon. ***¼
MICHAEL ELGIN DEF. MASA KITAMIYA (12:33)
Well Elgin managed to make it to this match without getting canned for his tweets. They did the kind of spots between two power guys you’d think they would to start. Elgin suplexed and lifted Kitamiya with ease. Elgin no-sold a Piledriver and he looked ridiculous doing it by adjusting his neck. Kitamiya no sold a few things too like a Buckle Bomb. Elgin got the win with the Elgin Bomb.
I’m someone who can separate the art from the artist, but I get it if others can’t. I thought this was a good hoss match. In a backstage interview after the match, Elgin announced he was going to form a tag team with Kitamiya, so there are long term plans for him. ***½
GHC NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
MASAKATSU FUNAKI © DEF. SIMON GOTCH (9:47)
Gotch is now sporting a devilock these days. I’m surprised he doesn’t use a theme from The Misfits. Gotch is a good wrestler, but I’ve never thought he was as great in the technical and shoot style as he markets himself as being. Not surprisingly, they started this with grappling on the ground. I have to say, his look aside, I thought Gotch did well for himself here and Funaki put in effort as well. Funaki hit a Tombstone Piledriver for a two count and then locked Gotch in a Rear Naked Choke to get the referee stoppage. I thought this was fun, and I have to say Gotch impressed me given some of the stuff of his I saw on the U.S. indies. This was Funaki’s V3 defense of the title. ***½
At this point, a video played where it was Rob Van Dam announcing he was returning to Japan for the CyberFight Festival on June 12 at Saitama Super Arena. I laughed when I saw that. RVD did not look that good when he was last in Impact in 2020, so who knows what he’s like now. NOSAWA is such a mark.
— Pro Wrestling NOAH (@noahglobal) April 30, 2022
DRAGON BANE, ALPHA WOLF, EXTREME TIGER & NINJA MACK DEF. DAISUKE HARADA, ATSUSHI KOTOGE, YO-HEY & JUNTA MIYAWAKI (16:33)
They did not go right into the highspots and actually did a little bit of feeling out to start until Mack got in there. Things got even more wild when Harada first got in there. This built up pretty well and was not the balls out match from the get go that I expected. Harada works very well with the foreigners. Ninja Mack did his backflips across the ring into a Moonsault to the outside spot that got an audible pop from the crowd. Dragon Bane pinned Miyawaki with the Bane Twister.
This was a good match to further familiarize the fans with the foreigners, though the NOAH junior home army keeps losing to outsiders. As he was leaving the ring, Mack was yelling that he’s going for the GHC Junior Heavyweight Title. ***¾
NAOMICHI MARUFUJI & SATOSHI KOJIMA DEF. YOSHIKI INAMURA & KINYA OKADA (15:01)
I LOVE Kojima but that was a bit underwhelming for him to be X. He wore a NOAH shirt to the ring. Maybe he’s jumped or is being lent out by New Japan?
Inamura has new gear that looks good. Hopefully it’s a sign of big things for him soon, but I’ll believe it when I see it.
Anyway this was pretty good. Everyone worked hard, and I thought Okada really looked like he had something to prove. Kojima gave him a lot in the closing stretch, which is a sign of a generous veteran, but ultimately Kojima landed a Cozy Lariat on Okada for the victory. This was fun, but I really want to know the real story here. In a backstage interview after the match, Kojima sounded like he would be in NOAH some more so there is something going on here, whatever it is. ***½
GHC TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
SUGIURA-GUN (TAKASHI SUGIURA & HIDEKI SUZUKI) © DEF. KONGO (KENOH & KATSUHIKO NAKAJIMA) (23:36)
I was expecting some mat work or grappling to start, but they just started laying into each other early on. Nakajima and Suzuki did eventually get around to doing some. I don’t mind this in a singles match, but there comes a point in a tag team match where it goes on for too long, and I thought it did here. I will say that Kongo were really laying into Suzuki here. They probably legitimately hate his guts these days given his reported backstage politicking. Things picked up when Sugiura got back in there. There came a point late in the match where Kongo were just dominating but Suzuki managed to kick out of Nakajima’s Vertical Spike Brainbuster. Suzuki then managed to go on the offensive again and pinned Nakajima after a Double Underhook Suplex. He basically hulked up! No wonder Kongo were stiffing him in this match. Suzuki also lay on top of Nakajima so long after the bell it looked like he got a ten count on him. This was Sugiura-gun’s V1 defense of the titles.
Match was great thanks to the brutality. Bad booking decision, in my opinion. I can’t believe I’m being so critical of a match that was this good, but that’s NOAH these days for you. Kongo was once the coolest and most badass faction in wrestling. Now they’re being geekified. After the match Rene Dupree and El Hijo de Dr. Wagner Jr. came out to challenge for the tag titles and the champions accepted. ****
GHC HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP DECISION MATCH
GO SHIOZAKI DEF. KAITO KIYOMIYA (30:02)
Kiyomiya is so damn good, one of the best in the world these days. Even the stuff in the beginning of the match drew me in. While Shiozaki went hard especially with the chops, Kiyomiya never felt like he was some helpless young wrestler absorbing all this punishment before he could make his heroic comeback. What Kiyomiya is now able to do to fill in his matches is excellent. The crowd also really got into Kiyomiya’s comebacks, which is something that management should take note of (but I wouldn’t hold my breath they do anything). Kiyomiya got some near falls of his own and kicked out of one Gowan Lariat before being pinned by Shiozaki after another.
Shiozaki is now a five-time GHC Heavyweight Champion, which is a new record. Previously, he was tied with Sugiura with four. And Kiyomiya is ready to be champion again, but that seems like something that is far off and I am concerned he could be too much of a geek for losing big matches by the time he wins it again. After the match, Satoshi Kojima came out to challenge Shiozaki. While it is yet another 50 year old in the main event, this is something that I want to see. ****¼
The show drew 2077 which was up from the 1585 for the previous night’s junior show. I would say that has to be a bit of a disappointment. DDT drew 2516 for Judgement back in March. The main event changing just a couple days before certainly didn’t help. Given how spooked CyberFight was at the January Nippon Budokan attendance, I wonder if they panic again and do something stupid.
This was a good show. The addition of foreigners helped make some things feel fresh. But once X turned out to be Satoshi Kojima, there was a vibe shift. Bad luck and the bad booking of NOAH seemed to permeate through everything. But given the booking plans for Kazuyuki Fujita that you can read about on The Flagship Patreon, NOAH may have lucked out that the title had to come off of him, even if it was through vacating it. There needs to be some big changes in this company soon.