PRO WRESTLING NOAH/DRAGONGATE
NOVEMBER 11, 2022
Watch: Wrestle Universe
YOSHIKI INAMURA, YASUTAKA YANO & KAI FUJIMURA DEF. MOCHIZUKI JR., MADOKA KIKUTA & RYU FUDA (11:55)
Inamura and Kikuta were made to be rivals. Their interactions were definitely the highlight of the match. Though I also enjoyed Mochizuki Jr. roughing up the NOAH young boys.
This was a fast-paced Jr. six-man with a monster like Inamura thrown in. It was a nice mix of styles to kick off the show. Inamura pinned Fuda with the Oklahoma Stampede. ***1/2
TAG TEAM FIVE WAY ELIMINATION MATCH
MANABU SOYA & ISHIN DEF. MOHAMMED YONE & BIGBOSS SHIMIZU, SUSUMU MOCHIZUKI & YASUSHI KANDA, EITA & SUPER CRAZY, BEN-K & MINORITA (9:44)
This was a delayed entry match with 90 second intervals that was basically a tag team Rumble as there were over the top eliminations. Also, it was basically an excuse to get more guys on the card.
Despite some of the talent involved, this was basically a standard Japanese battle Royal, which is to say it wasn’t very exciting. I did get a couple of chuckles out of Minorita managing to avoid elimination a couple of times, including being caught by Ben-K on the outside.
ISHIN and Soya seem like such a random team to have win this given you had some established teams here. **1/2
KZY, JACKY “FUNKY” KAMEI & YO-HEY DEF. RYO SAITO, GENKI HORIGUCHI & NOSAWA RONGAI (10:20)
We got the full Natural Vibes entrance, and it included YO-HEY who didn’t look out of place at all, which isn’t that surprising given his pedigree.
There was a lot of comedy as you’d expect. Though instead of Horiguchi doing his exercise band spot, it was NOSAWA that tried to do it to KAMEI and it backfired with NOSAWA getting hit in the face with it because Saito bungled things.
Tensions between NOSAWA and Saito continued to boil, and Saito punched NOSAWA and that allowed Kzy to get the win with a roll up.
Very generous of Dragongate’s two bookers (JUST KIDDING) have their team lose here.
This was fine for what it was even if it’s not my cup of tea. **¾
SATOSHI KOJIMA DEF. KONOMAMA ICHIKAWA (4:22)
Once again, X was Kojima. He’s the greatest X of all time, you know.
I mean it’s Ichikawa vs. Kojima. If you’re familiar with both men, then you can probably imagine a lot of the spots they did here in your head.
Great closing sequence when Ichikawa pulled out an elbow pad, put it on and did the Stan Hansen bullhorn gesture and screamed YOUTH! Ichikawa of course missed his Lariat before immediately being level by a Kojima Lariat to end the match.
Now that was comedy. ***
ATSUSHI KOTOGE, DANTE LEON & PUNCH TOMINAGA DEF. U-T, JASON LEE & STRONG MACHINE J (8:30)
If you guessed we’d get Jason Lee facing off with Dante Leon in 2022, you should buy some lottery tickets.
They got right down to business here. It was fast-paced action with a smart structure. Tominaga basically did nothing here, they only had Leon do high spots and J just did power moves. Kotoge, U-T and Lee held everything else together.
I guess it was a somewhat surprising finish to have Leon pin Lee, but Leon is (for some reason that I cannot comprehend) the GHC Jr. Heavyweight Champion. ***¼
YAMATO DEF. SEIKI YOSHIOKA (13:14)
I am no Dragongate expert, but YAMATO has always been hit or miss for me. Sometimes I think he’s incredible, other times, underwhelming.
This sort of leaned towards the latter for me, which was a shame because I think Yoshioka is one of the best Jrs. in NOAH and I thought this would be good. This just lacked any intensity and the decision to base the match around YAMATO working the leg didn’t help the energy of this as Yoshioka sold like his mobility was limited. The last couple of minutes were pretty anticlimactic which didn’t help. **¾
AMAKUSA & TAKUMA FUJIWARA DEF. SHUN SKYWALKER & TADASUKE (10:44)
Once again, we got a “can they co-exist?” storyline on this show with Skywalker and Tadasuke.
This featured some wild dives and good action. The Skywalker and Tadasuke stuff began to overwhelm the match towards the end. They just started hitting each other and that allowed Amakusa to roll up Tadasuke for the win. This could have been so much more.
Like I said, I’m no Dragongate expert, but this was the first time I saw the much hyped Fujiwara. And I have to say, he’s the real deal. ***
DRAGON KID, ALEJANDRO, DRAGON DIA, NINJA MACK & EXTREME TIGER DEF. BXB HULK, H.Y.O, DIAMANTE, HAJIME OHARA & HI69 (17:14)
This was the first match on the show that really felt like this was something you would only get thanks to having Dragongate on this show.
Things went how you’d expect. The heels well, heeled it up early on and then everyone just went balls out with the flying and dives. Now they didn’t reinvent the wheel here or reach some sublime level of wrestling, but this was the kind of stuff I wanted from this show.
Ninja Mack pinned H.Y.O with the Ninja Bomb. Mack is incredibly over right now, which makes the decision to take the GHC Jr. Title off of him so quickly is all the more baffling. ***¾
KENOH & KOTA MINOURA DEF. KAITO KIYOMIYA & YUKI YOSHIOKA (21:53)
Kiyomiya and Minoura had some great chemistry when they faced off. Kenoh and Minoura worked over Kiyomiya’s taped up left arm, which had been through hell the day before in the GHC Title match against Timothy Thatcher.
One could gripe with the overarching story of this match. Kenoh was out for Kiyomiya’s blood and as a result, the Dragongate stars felt like they were playing second fiddle here. That being said, I still loved this. Crisp high-end work with some great near falls. Kiyomiya kicked out of Kenoh’s PFS at 2.99, then Kenoh followed that up with the Enrin – a double knee moonsault.
After the match, Kenoh put Minoura over and said if Minoura ever needed help, he’d come to Dragongate.
For my money, Kenoh vs. Kiyomiya is the greatest feud in wrestling of the last couple of years. Their last match back in September where Kiyomiya won the GHC Title was technically a good match, but still below what they’ve been capable of. I will say this match certainly made their feud seem hot again. ****
This show drew 1209 fans which technically makes it NOAH’s best number in Korakuen Hall in quite some time. But this was in part due to stealing Dragongate valor. Don’t get me wrong, on the whole I enjoyed the show, though only the opener and the last two matches are worth checking out. While fine, a lot of stuff on the show didn’t have that special interpromotional feel. That is what is needed to make a show like this really stand out.
With the first show of All Japan’s Real World Tag League actually drawing a few more fans than the show NOAH just did at Korakuen Hall that was all title matches, that should be a red flag. I’ve not been as harsh on NOAH Korakuen Hall numbers because they were not putting big matches on there. But seeing what they did when they went all out is concerning. What this company is going to do once Keiji Muto retires, I simply do not know. I would say stay the course with Kiyomiya but they’ve been prone to doing stupid things if they feel business isn’t picking up fast enough.
Also, i would have given this show a higher mark if KAI was on it. KAI rules.
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