PRO WRESTLING NOAH
JULY 16, 2022
Watch: Wrestle Universe
KONGO (SHUJI KONDO, TADASUKE, HAJIME OHARA & HI69) DEF. DAISUKE HARADA, ATSUSHI KOTOGE, YO-HEY & XTREME TIGER (11:17)
YO-HEY has a new hairstyle, and it’s uh, interesting. This was another great Kongo Jr. multi-man tag. The highlight here was the stuff between Harada and Kondo. Those two had a great finishing sequence with some big near falls. Kondo eventually got the advantage and pinned Harada after the King Kong Lariat. I hope this is leading to a singles match between the two because it should be tremendous. Anyway I hope that is happening because it would be weird to have Harada do the job here otherwise. ***½
RENE DUPREE, HIJO DE DR. WAGNER JR., SIMON GOTCH, STALLION ROGERS & ANTHONY GREENE DEF. KAZUSHI SAKURABA, MASAAKI MOCHIZUKI, SHUHEI TANIGUCHI, DAIKI INABA & KINYA OKADA (13:29)
This match was a collection of different styles. You had grappling and high flying. The sequences between Gotch and Sakuraba were a highlight. You can tell that Gotch really enjoys working with Sakuraba and their chemistry has really improved since their first singles match. Rogers was just doing mostly indie stuff and I wasn’t too impressed. Greene on the other hand looks like he can fit nicely into NOAH with a few more reps which was something I was not expecting. I think he deserves to come back once his current tour is over. Greene pinned Okada with the Walkin’ Talkin’ and Flying which tells you where Okada is still slotted. ***¼
PERROS DEL MAL DE JAPON (EITA & KOTARO SUZUKI) DEF. STINGER (YOSHINARI OGAWA & YUYA SUSUMU) (5:38)
In a lot of ways this was more of an angle than a match. Susumu got busted open. Then Perros took the turnbuckle pads off in the corner and threw Ogawa into it a couple of times. Eita then applied the Numero Uno to Ogawa and he tapped out.
After the match, Eita refused to let go of the Numero Uno for a while. Eita then grabbed Ogawa’s GHC Jr. Tag title belt and pointed at it and then left with it. So look for Eita and Suzuki vs. Ogawa and Chris Ridgeway to happen once Ridgeway can get back to Japan. This was fine as an angle I suppose. **½
NINJA MACK DEF. DANTE LEON (14:24)
I’ve never seen Leon before and I’ve heard people praise him, but also dismiss the guy as nothing more than a spot machine. My verdict is while Leon can do some spectacular stuff, he’s not so great in between the high flying moves. I don’t think there’s any value in bringing him back honestly.
This of course had some wild spots. Jushin Thunder Liger was on commentary and the camera cut to him several times and he seemed to be loving this.
But when they weren’t doing the big spots, this was disjointed. And there was a lot of struggling between the two just trying to climb the turnbuckle. After finally getting Mack to stop trying to pull him off the top, Leon got some knees to the back from Mack on a Swanton Bomb. This allowed Mack to then hit a 630 Senton to get the win. If they had cut a couple minutes off of this, I probably would have enjoyed this more as they really didn’t do much in the first five minutes. **¾
TEAM ECW (ROB VAN DAM & MASATO TANAKA) DEF. PERROS DEL MAL DE JAPON (NOSAWA RONGAI & SUPER CRAZY) (10:46)
They got right down to business. Tanaka did a splash off the top rope to NOSAWA on a table on the outside. Super Crazy Powerbombed Tanaka through a table in the corner. And NOSAWA hit Tanaka with a guitar to the head that wasn’t gimmicked like Jeff Jarrett’s guitars are. There were a lot of unprotected shots to the head in this one that got uncomfortable to watch after a while.
RVD looked a lot like he did at CyberFight Festival. He moves a little slower but is still able to hit all of his classic moves and they don’t look sloppy.
NOSAWA took out Tanaka with a chair but RVD got in there, hit the Van Daminator then pinned NOSAWA after a Five Star Frog Splash. Congratulations to NOSAWA for getting to live out his fantasies.
This was dumb fun. ***¼
GO SHIOZAKI, TAKASHI SUGIURA & KAZUYUKI FUJITA DEF. KONGO (MASAKATSU FUNAKI, KATSUHIKO NAKAJIMA & MANABU SOYA) (12:59)
This was another match with a mix of styles. Funaki and Sugiura did some nice grappling. Nakajima and Shiozaki provided hard hitting action with lots of kicks and chops. Fujita finally got tagged in and went hard on Soya. Soya got a little hope including hitting a Death Valley Driver on Fujita. Ultimately Fujita, looking like a beast, hit several Lariats and a release German Suplex and then pinned Soya with a Powerbomb. Good stuff. ***½
PRO-WRESTLING LOVE FOREVER.1 ~THE FINAL COUNTDOWN~:
KAITO KIYOMIYA DEF. KEIJI MUTO (26:28)
This was an incredible singular performance by Kiyomiya and perhaps an all-time carry job. There is no doubt he is one of the best wrestlers in the world right now. Muto to his credit looked a little better here than he has in many of his matches over the past two years, but he was clearly gassed in the last third of this.
Kiyomiya worked over the arm and then went after the legs. Muto of course hit lots of Dragon Screws.
Kiyomiya kicked out after three Shining Wizards. He then hit several low angle dropkicks, emulating Muto, and applied the Figure Four. He broke the hold, hit a Dragon Screw then went right back to the Figure Four and Muto submitted.
You can quibble with the storyline that Kiyomiya had to become Muto to beat him and you can say this result was too little too late. And while I think that may be the case, we won’t really know the permanent damage to Kiyomiya until he wins the GHC Heavyweight Title again. But on this night, Kiyomiya was the best in the world. ****
GHC TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP DECISION MATCH
HIDEKI SUZUKI & TIMOTHY THATCHER DEF. MASA KITAMIYA & YOSHIKI INAMURA (20:38)
First of all I should start off with a LOL to the whole Michael Elgin situation. This was inevitable.
This was so great. An excellent match of technique vs. power. Kitamiya got busted open which added to the atmosphere of the match.
Inamura and Kitamiya threw around their opponents but Suzuki and Thatcher managed to always turn the tide using their skill.
The last few minutes of this between Inamura and Suzuki really put this over the top. Suzuki was grinding down Inamura with holds, but Inamura used his strength to power out of them. Inamura finally regained momentum, and went for the Muso, but Suzuki countered, used a flurry of elbows to the neck and locked on a Choke Sleeper and got the referee stoppage.
This wasn’t my top tag team match of the year, but it was definitely up there, especially among the Japanese candidates.
If I had to make a critique of this, it would be that I guess I’m not too thrilled that once again Inamura was the fall guy. ****¼
GHC JR. HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
HAYATA © DEF. SEIKI YOSHIOKA (20:45)
This was another 20 minute HAYATA match. It started off well enough with Yoshioka in control. But it certainly slowed down a lot when HAYATA took over and went after Yoshioka’s leg. This did pick up later when Yoshioka got back in control. He really deserves credit for his work in this.
HAYATA kicked out of the Crash Driver and moments later he came back and hit the Headache to get the pinfall. This was one of HAYATA’s better title matches but that was thanks to Yoshioka.
This was HAYATA’s V3 defense. After the match Shuji Kondo came out to challenge him for the title. I hope Kondo squashes this geek. ***¼
GHC HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
KENOH DEF. SATOSHI KOJIMA © (28:17)
This delivered. Kenoh was great here, you knew he wanted to cause Kojima a lot of pain with everything he did.
Kojima was great here too. Jun Akiyama and Yuji Nagata are really showing their age these days, but Kojima, despite suffering a major knee injury just a few years ago, has lost far fewer steps. He had no problem hanging with Kenoh here and took a beating. But ever the chivalrous fighter, he rolled Kenoh back into the ring at one point when it looked like the challenger might lose via count out.
Kojima survived a lot and at points I thought he may end up winning this, but he missed a Lariat that allowed Kenoh to hit a high kick to the head then a PFS for a 2.9 count. Kenoh then went back to the top rope and hit a great looking Moonsault Double Knee attack to get the three count and the GHC Heavyweight Championship for the second time.
This was a satisfying conclusion to the whole Kenoh vs. Kojima storyline. It was very much about Kenoh defending NOAH’s honor. After the match he got on the mic and said that NOAH wasn’t a place for New Japan retirees to get easy matches.
If NOAH is finally over giving the title to all these old guys, a lengthy Kenoh reign right now could be something that could go a long way to getting the company back on track. ****
This show had some very good wrestling, but a good amount of stuff on the undercard didn’t feel like it was very important.
This show drew 3215, only 34 more fans than the January Budokan show which management thought was a disappointment and led to such things as Kazuyuki Fujita getting the GHC Heavyweight Title.
Kenoh has become a beloved wrestler and by all accounts one the best on the mic in the company. He’s got the talent to turn things around as long as management doesn’t panic again. That remains to be seen. But things certainly feel better in NOAH than they did a couple months ago.