NOAH "NEW YEAR NAVIGATION" 2014
A Review by Kevin Wilson
Date: January 5th, 2014
Another promotion has had an event released from 2014, as NOAH finally makes its appearance. Here we a GHC Heavyweight Championship match with the champion KENTA against the challenger Morishima. Here is the full card:
- Hitoshi Kumano vs. Kenou
Some new names on here for me, let's see how this works out.
Hitoshi Kumano vs. Kenou
Vertical suplex by Kumano, cover, but it gets a two count. Kumano picks up Kenou and goes for a second one but Kenou blocks it. Punches to the stomach by Kenou and he delivers a back kick. Kenou goes for a lariat but Kumano reverses it into a STO. Fisherman suplex hold by Kumano, but it only gets a two count. He goes for a second one, but Kenou reverses it into a vertical suplex. Back up, slaps by Kenou and Kumano is sent into the corner, Irish whip, and Kenou hits a jumping double knee followed by a dropkick for a two count. Ankle lock by Kenou but Kumano rolls out of it. Kick to the chest by Kenou, cover, but Kumano kicks out. He goes for another kick but Kumano ducks it and rolls him up for a two count. Backslide by Kumano but that also gets a two count. Back up, Kumano rolls up Kenou but still isn’t able to get the pinfall. Kumano goes for a suplex but Kenou blocks it, slap by Kenou and he hits a Michinoku Driver. Kenou waits for Kumano to sit up and kicks him in the side of the head. Kenou applies a cross-legged facelock and Kumano has no choice but to submit. Your winner: Kenou
Match Thoughts: Kumano debuted in NOAH in early 2013, and Kenou was one of Michinoku Pro’s top wrestlers before joining NOAH in December of 2013. One thing I liked about this match is that even though Kenou wasn’t really knocked down by Kumano’s elbows, he still showed pain on his face. So it read like “this hurts, but I am not going down because he is a rookie” rather than “this rookie is so weak he can’t even hurt me.” Which is better, I think. And Kumano did get in plenty of offense so it was definitely not a squash. Kenou is really good, and it will be interesting to see what he does in NOAH. A solid opener and a good veteran/rookie match. Score: 6.0
Mohammed Yone vs. Yoshinari Ogawa
Ogawa applies a Fujiwara Armbar but Yone gets a foot on the bottom rope. Ogawa picks up Yone and goes for the backdrop suplex, Yone gets out of it, jawbreaker by Ogawa and he goes off the ropes but Yone catches him with a dropkick. Ogawa falls out of the ring as Yone goes out after him, and Yone Irish whips Ogawa into the railing. Yone then takes Ogawa up into the crowd and clubs him in the back. Yone then runs all the way down the aisle, runs back and hits a lariat onto Ogawa. Yone picks up Ogawa and drags him back to ringside before throwing him back into the ring. Yone returns to the ring as well, he charges Ogawa but Ogawa get a boot up. Yone hits him anyway and then hits a lariat in the other corner. Leg drop by Yone off the second turnbuckle, cover, but it gets a two count. Yone goes for a kick, Ogawa catches it but Yone knocks him back. Yone charges Ogawa but Ogawa moves and Yone goes shoulder-first into the ring post. Backdrop suplex by Ogawa, cover, but it gets a two count. Fujiwara Armbar by Ogawa but Yone gets a foot on the bottom rope. Ogawa yanks on Yone’s arm and applies an arm wringer, but Yone connects with a high kick followed by a lariat. Yone goes off the ropes twice, elbow by Ogawa but Yone strikes with a lariat. Another lariat by Yone, cover, but it gets a two count. Yone puts Ogawa up on the top turnbuckle, grabs him, and nails the Muscle Buster. Cover, and he picks up the three count. Your winner: Mohammed Yone
Match Thoughts: This match existing is proof that there is no God. Two of my least favorite wrestlers in a singles match. Really though it wasn’t terrible, it was just boring as hell and the arm work was just kinda meaningless. Yone wasn’t going to tap to an arm submission, and Ogawa doesn’t really have any finishing moves that focus on the arm. So it came across as them just fishing to tell a story, but not really a logical one as the hurt arm did not really hamper Yone in any way. He wins with kicks, lariats (with the other arm), and the Muscle Buster. Now if he was hurting the right arm and Yone couldn’t hit his lariats, then that would make sense. But that’s not what they did. Also even though Ogawa controlled the match in a not incredibly interesting fashion, it didn’t take a lot for Yone to pick up the win at the end which really just emphasized how little damage Ogawa was doing even though he had the upper hand for the bulk of the match. You’d think two vets could put together a more… cohesive match than this. Score: 4.0
Atsushi Kotoge vs. Daisuke Harada
Kotoge waits for Harada to get up, but Harada catches the kick. Harada goes for a German suplex but Kotoge lands on his feet, Harada charges Kotoge in the corner but Kotoge kicks him back and hits a double stomp to his back off the second turnbuckle. Running elbow by Kotoge and he hits a face crusher. Cover but Kotoge, but Harada kicks out. Kotoge goes out to the apron and goes for a swandive body press, but Harada gets his knees up. Running elbow smash by Harada in the corner, scoop slam, Harada goes up to the second turnbuckle and hits a diving doublestomp. Running dropkick to a seated Kotoge by Harada which sends Kotoge out of the ring, then Harada sails out onto him with a pescado. Harada picks up Kotoge and slides him back into the ring, he goes up to the top turnbuckle and connects with a diving elbow smash. Cover, but it gets a two count. Harada picks up Kotoge and goes for a Northern Lights Suplex, but Kotoge punches out of it. Kotoge goes off the ropes but Harada ducks the lariat and hits the Northern Lights Suplex for a two count. Front facelock with a grapevine by Kotoge but Harada gets a foot on the ropes. Kotoge goes out to the apron and hits a swandive body press, cover, but it gets a two count. Kotoge waits for Harada to get up and goes for a Killswitch, but Harada gets out of it, Kotoge goes off the ropes and he catches Harada with a knee. Onsoku Leg Shot by Kotoge, cover, but Harada kicks out at two. Kotoge grabs Harada as he gets up and goes for the Killswitch but Harada elbows out of it and knees Kotoge in the face. Roll-up attempt by Kotoge but Harada gets out of it and hits a brainbuster onto his knee. Cover by Harada but Kotoge gets a shoulder up. Harada picks up Kotoge, but Kotoge fights back and they trade elbows, headbutts by Kotoge and he goes off the ropes but Harada catches him with a snap German suplex. Henkei Knee Upper by Harada and he delivers the Katayama German Suplex Hold for the three count! Your winner: Daisuke Harada
Match Thoughts: This was fun, just seeing two young wrestlers go all out in the mid-card is a hell of a lot better than watching old veterans plod through a match on the mid-card. There were a lot of hard hits here and I really think Harada was knocked a bit loopy doing his own move at the end as he didn’t release the hold for about five seconds after the bell rang and then kinda just laid there. The brainbuster on the knee was brutal, I just wish these guys would sell moves like that a little longer as ten seconds after being hit with it, Kotoge was back up exchanging elbows. Everything here worked though, even if at times some of the moves were a bit over-contrived (we did learn though that Kotoge can get from the apron to inside the ring incredibly quickly). A really good match though, I think they both show a lot of potential and should be some level of champions in NOAH this year as they need a little more excitement. These two and Kenou show me that maybe there are some young stars in NOAH worth watching. Score: 7.0
Naomichi Marufuji, Nakajima, and Ishimori vs. Takayama, Hajime Ohara, and Hirayanagi
As they jockey for position they land in the ropes, and Takayama pushes Nakajima off of him. Back up, waistlock by Nakajima, Takayama gets out of it and tosses Nakajima to the mat before stomping him in the back. Takayama lets Nakajima up and they trade leg kicks, elbows by Nakajima and a kick to the chest sends Takayama to the mat. Nakajima throws Takayama into his corner and tags in Ishimori, stomps by Ishimori and he stands on Takayama in the corner. Ishimori picks up Takayama and punches him against the ropes, he goes off the ropes but Takayama catches him with a bit boot. Ishimori rolls out of the ring, where Hirayanagi throws him into the railing. Takayama comes outside as well and hits a big boot onto Ishimori. Takayama and Ishimori get back in the ring, one foot cover by Takayama but it gets a one count. Takayama tags in Ohara, and Ohara twists Ishimori up in the ropes. Ohara then gets a running start and dropkicks Ishimori in the back. Ohara picks up Ishimori, hits a scoop slam and tags in Hirayanagi. Hirayanagi stomps Ishimori in the chest but Ishimori fires back and they trade elbows. Hirayanagi goes off the ropes but Ishimori catches him with a dropkick and tags in Nakajima. Kick to the back by Nakajima to Hirayanagi, he picks him up but Hirayanagi hits a snapmare. Back up they trade elbows, kick by Nakajima and an Irish whip, big boot by Nakajima and he hits a suplex. Nakajima goes up to the top turnbuckle but Hirayanagi charges him and pushes Nakajima off. Hirayanagi then grabs Nakajima and throws him off the top turnbuckle to the mat. Hirayanagi goes out to the apron and then up to the top turnbuckle, jumping off with a knee to Nakajima’s face. Irish whip by Hirayanagi to the corner and he elbows Nakajima in the head. Hirayanagi goes for a suplex but Nakajima blocks it, eye rake by Hirayanagi and he goes off the ropes but Nakajima catches him with a knee and hits a running kick. Nakajima goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits a missile dropkick, cover, but it only gets two.
Nakajima goes for a backdrop suplex, Hirayanagi elbows out of it and goes off the ropes, but Nakajima kicks him in the face. He goes for two more kicks but Hirayanagi ducks out of the way, he also avoids the running kick in the corner. Backdrop suplex by Hirayanagi and he tags in Takayama. Takayama picks up Nakajima and hits a butterfly suplex, he applies a cross armbreaker but Ishimori breaks it up. Takayama picks up Nakajima and hits a delayed backdrop suplex, cover, but it only gets a two count. Takayama throws Nakajima to the corner but Nakajima kicks him when he charges in and hits an STO into the second turnbuckle. Nakajima tags in Marufuji, and Marufuji hits a jumping elbow in the corner. Takayama gives Marufuji a snapmare and goes off the ropes, but Marufuji hits a drop toehold followed by a dropkick. Superkick by Marufuji, cover, but it gets a one count. Marufuji goes for a dropkick but Takayama blocks it, Irish whip by Takayama and he hits a back bodydrop. While their teammates brawl at ringside, Takayama picks up Marufuji but Marufuji hits a superkick. Shiranui by Marufuji, cover, but Takayama gets a shoulder up. Marufuji picks up Takayama but Takayama elbows him and they trade blows. High knee by Marufuji, cover, but it gets a two count. Another knee by Marufuji and he pushes Takayama to the mat before applying an arm trap submission, but Hirayanagi breaks it up. Marufuji picks up Takayama and goes for the Pole Shift but Takayama pushes him off. Two superkicks by Marufuji but Takayama knees him hard in the chest and both men go down. Marufuji tags in Ishimori while Takayama tags in Ohara, elbow by Ohara to Ishimori, Irish whip to the corner but Ishimori flips himself out to the apron. Ishimori goes for a crossbody but Ohara catches him and hits a spinning side slam onto his knee. Ohara grabs Ishimori, Ishimori tries to push him off but Ohara hits an elbow. After another failed attempt Ohara finally hits the cross-legged shoulder breaker, Ohara picks up Ishimori and goes for a powerbomb but Ishimori slides down his back. Irish whip by Ohara but Ishimori hits the handstand rebound strike off the ropes. Marufuji and Nakajima come in the ring, they hit superkicks on Ohara and Ishimori comes off the top turnbuckle with a Swanton Bomb. Cover, but Hirayanagi breaks it up. Ishimori picks up Ohara and puts him in front of the corner, he goes up to the top turnbuckle but Ohara rolls out of the way of the 450 Splash. Schwein by Ohara, cover, but it gets a two count. Ohara picks up Ishimori and flings him to the mat, Takayama gets back up and hits a snap Tiger Suplex Hold for a two count. Superkick by Ishimori, he picks up Ohara but Ohara applies the Muy Bien and he picks up the three count! Your winners: Takayama, Hajime Ohara, and Hirayanagi
Match Thoughts: I am generally not a big fan of six man tag matches, but I have to admit that this one was pretty damn entertaining. I like that younger wrestlers now are modifying so many moves, it can’t be good for their health but seeing moves like brainbusters to their knee, swinging side slams into backbreakers, etc. at least keeps things fresh. Since most of these guys are smaller it was very fast paced, and even when Takayama was in the ring he played his part very well (big dude that hits hard) but didn’t stay in the ring long enough to slow the match down. Ohara and Ishimori had a really good stretch run and had multiple convincing reversals and near-falls. Ohara really came out of the match looking like a star which I am guessing was the point, but no one looked bad here. Much better than I was expecting when I saw the line-up, you can’t get a lot of serious ‘psychology’ in a match like this but it was good mindless fun. Score: 7.5
Shane Haste and Mikey Nicholls vs. Shinya Ishikawa and Yuji Okabayashi
Ishikawa picks up Haste, snapmare, and Ishikawa applies a headscissors. Ishikawa tags Okabayashi back in, and Okabayashi clubs Haste in the back. Okabayashi puts Haste over the second rope and chokes him with his leg, Haste hits an elbow but Okabayashi chops Haste against the ropes. Snapmare by Okabayashi and he applies a reverse chinlock, but Nicholls comes in and breaks it up. Okabayashi tags in Ishikawa, Ishikawa comes in the ring and stomps Haste in the back. Elbows by Ishikawa and he hits a scoop slam. Ishikawa tags Okabayashi in, Okabayashi picks up Haste and hits a scoop slam of his own. Ishikawa is tagged back in and he hits another scoop slam. As you probably guessed, Okabayashi is tagged in and another scoop slam follows. In comes Ishikawa back in the match and he hits a scoop slam, cover, but it gets a two count. Stomp by Ishikawa and he tags in Okabayashi. Haste tries to fight back with weak chops then uppercuts, but Okabayashi hits a chop and Haste falls back to the mat. Okabayashi puts Haste in the Argentine Backbreaker but Haste slides out of it and connects with a jumping kick. This gives Haste time to tag in Nicholls, Nicholls charges Okabayashi but Okabayashi kicks him back. Lariats by Nicholls in the corner and he hits a powerslam, cover, but it gets a two count. Nicholls goes off the ropes but Okabayashi catches him with a lariat and he tags in Ishikawa. Irish whip by Ishikawa and he hits a back elbow. Cover, but it gets a two count. Ishikawa picks up Nicholls and punches him into the corner, Irish whip, and he hits a running elbow strike.
Another running elbow by Ishikawa, cover, but again it gets two. Ishikawa picks up Nicholls and hits the Northern Lights Suplex, cover, but it gets a two count. Side headlock by Ishikawa and he applies an abdominal stretch. Nicholls gets to the ropes to force a break, elbow by Ishikawa and he goes off the ropes, but Nicholls catches him with a spinebuster. Nicholls tags in Haste, and Haste delivers a dropkick to Ishikawa. Splash by Haste in the corner and he follows with an inverted powerslam. Haste goes off the ropes and hits a jumping kick to the face, cover, but it gets a two count. Falcon Arrow by Haste, cover, but it gets another two count. Haste goes off the ropes but Ishikawa ducks the lariat and hits a jumping kick. Uppercut by Haste but Ishikawa hits a dropkick and both men are down. Haste tags in Nicholls as Ishikawa tags in Okabayashi, and the big men trade lariat attempts. A lariat by Okabayashi sends Nicholls to the mat, cover, but it gets a two count. Okabayashi picks up Nicholls and delivers a vertical suplex, cover, but it gets two as well. Okabayashi picks up Nicholls and puts him in the Argentine Backbreaker while Ishikawa has Haste in a Cobra Twist, but Okabayashi drops Nicholls after a moment. Ishikawa stays in the ring, Okabayashi goes off the ropes and they hit a lariat/jumping kick combination followed by a double back bodydrop to Nicholls. Cover by Okabayashi but it gets a two count. Okabayashi revs up, he goes off the ropes but Nicholls catches him with a knee. Nicholls goes off the ropes but Okabayashi levels him with a lariat, Okabayashi picks up Nicholls but Haste runs in the ring and hits a jumping knee to Okabayashi. Both men hit running strikes on Okabayashi in the corner followed by an assisted cannonball. Ishikawa runs in the ring but he gets a double lariat. Okabayashi fights back but Nicholls pushes him off. Nicholls and Haste hit a high/low lariat onto Okabayashi, cover, but it gets a two count. Nicholls and Haste pick up Okabayashi and drop him with the Thunder Valley, cover, and Nicholls picks up the three count. Your winners: Shane Haste and Mikey Nicholls
Match Thoughts: Certainly nothing wrong with this match either, even though some of the moves looked soft. A fair number of the kicks and knees you could tell didn’t land, I am probably just spoiled by wrestlers like Takayama and Nakajima in the previous match that don’t mind hitting people, but the Australians seemed a little more tentative than their Japanese counterparts. Haste took a good beating though and even though Okabayashi is hard to pin he took a lot of damage in the last minute so it didn’t seem like a cheap or unearned victory. Pretty solid match. Score: 6.0
Maybach Taniguchi vs. Yuji Nagata
Nagata goes back to the mask then stomps Taniguchi in the back. Kicks to the best by Nagata, he goes off the ropes but Taniguchi catches him with a powerslam. Running lariat by Taniguchi in the corner, Irish whip, and he hits a second one. Cover by Taniguchi but it gets a two count. Taniguchi picks up Nagata and goes for a chokeslam, but Nagata blocks it. Nagata goes off the ropes but Taniguchi hits a spinebuster for a two count. Taniguchi picks up Nagata and goes for the powerbomb, but Nagata reverses it with a back bodydrop. Taniguchi charges Nagata but Nagata hits an exploder. Nagata goes for a suplex but Taniguchi reverses it into a vertical suplex. Lariat by Taniguchi, he picks up Nagata and hits a chokeslam. Cover, but Nagata gets a shoulder up. Stomp by Taniguchi, he goes up to the top turnbuckle but Nagata is up and joins him on the top turnbuckle. Taniguchi headbutts Nagata, but Nagata recovers and hits an avalanche exploder. Cover, but Taniguchi kicks out at two. Jumping kick by Nagata and he goes for the backdrop driver, Taniguchi blocks it but Nagata applies the seated armbar. Taniguchi gets a foot on the ropes to force the break, and Nagata goes back to trying to get the mask off. The referee gets him off, and Taniguchi hits Nagata low. Taniguchi goes out of the ring to get his metal rod, and he hits the referee with it when the referee tries to stop him. He then hits Nagata with it before tying him up and choking Nagata with the rod. The referee recovers and calls for the bell. Your winner by DQ: Yuji Nagata
Match Thoughts: More of a storyline-driven match as Taniguchi turns the ‘evil’ up a few notches. I don’t like the “take the mask off” offense of the faces, especially in this case where Taniguchi wrestled in the same promotion without a mask for years. It is not like he is going to uncover anything we didn’t know, he still uses the same name, he isn’t trying to fool anyone. There were also a few miscommunications as the pair didn’t seem to always be on the same page. Not a ‘bad’ brawl and the ending made sense for what they were going for, it just lagged in parts. Score: 5.0
(c) KENTA vs. Takeshi Morishima
Morishima applies a stretch hold to KENTA and hits a jumping body press, cover, but it gets a two count. Back to the stretch hold by Morishima and he clubs KENTA in the back, uppercut by KENTA and he goes off the ropes, but Morishima catches him and applies a modified abdominal stretch. Morishima throws KENTA to the mat, cover, but KENTA kicks out at two. Morishima picks up KENTA, elbows by KENTA but Morishima slaps him back into the corner. More slaps by Morishima, he drags KENTA to the middle of the ring but KENTA blocks the suplex attempt. Vertical suplex by KENTA, both wrestlers slowly get up, KENTA charges Morishima but Morishima kicks him back. Morishima goes off the ropes but KENTA catches him with a jumping kick. KENTA goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits a diving lariat, cover, but it gets a two count. KENTA applies a crossface but Morishima inches to the ropes and makes it to force the break. KENTA picks up Morishima and goes for a suplex, Morishima gets out of it and goes off the ropes, KENTA goes for a powerslam but he can’t get Morishima over. KENTA goes off the ropes but Morishima flattens him with a hip attack. Morishima goes up to the top turnbuckle and delivers the missile dropkick. KENTA lands in the corner, and Morishima hits a running butt smash. Morishima picks up KENTA and goes for the backdrop suplex, but KENTA elbows out of it. Kicks by KENTA, he goes off the ropes but Morishima catches him with a dropkick and KENTA falls out of the ring. Morishima goes off the ropes but KENTA jumps up to the apron and hits a swandive dropkick. Jumping knee by KENTA in the corner and he follows that with a running dropkick. KENTA goes up to the top turnbuckle and nails the diving doublestomp, cover, but it picks up a two count.
KENTA picks up Morishima, he tries to put Morishima on his shoulders but Morishima elbows him off. Morishima charges KENTA but KENTA kicks him and does a swinging DDT with KENTA landing on the apron. KENTA comes in with a swandive attack but Morishima catches him and hits a side slam. Morishima goes off the ropes and hits KENTA with a lariat, cover, but it only gets a two count. Morishima picks up KENTA and goes for the backdrop suplex, but KENTA grabs the ropes. Morishima pulls him away but KENTA hits a side headlock takedown for a two point cover. Big blow by Morishima and he goes off the ropes, but KENTA gets Morishima on his shoulders and hits a modified Go 2 Sleep (hitting Morishima in the arm). Cover, but it only gets a two count. KENTA picks up Morishima but Morishima clubs him in the face, Morishima goes off the ropes but KENTA catches him with a powerslam. Three kicks to the head by KENTA, cover, but Morishima gets a shoulder up. KENTA picks up Morishima and gets him on his shoulders again, and this time hits the Go 2 Sleep to Morishima’s chest. Cover, but again Morishima kicks out. KENTA picks up Morishima again but Morishima grabs him and drops him with a backdrop suplex. Slow cover by Morishima but it gets a two count. Morishima drags KENTA to his feet and goes for a second one but KENTA trips him and allies the Game Over. Morishima inches to the ropes and is able to reach the bottom rope to force a break. KENTA picks up Morishima and kicks him in the chest, he goes off the ropes and hits a knee to the back of Morishima’s head. He goes off the ropes again but Morishima catches him with a lariat. KENTA slowly gets up but Morishima goes off the ropes and hits another lariat, cover, but KENTA gets a shoulder up. Morishima goes for a kick but KENTA blocks it and connects with a series of slaps. Morishima comes back with a hammer blow however and nails the brainbuster, cover, but KENTA kicks out. Morishima goes off the ropes and just levels KENTA with a lariat, cover, but again it only gets a two count. Morishima drags KENTA up to his feet, delivers the backdrop suplex and picks up the three count! Your winner and new champion: Takeshi Morishima
Match Thoughts: Both these wrestlers can certainly take some damage, even though they did steer away from the big “dangerous” spot that GHC Title matches used to be known for. I am going to hope/assume the two Go 2 Sleeps were supposed to miss the head since neither of them got the pinfall, as you can imagine Morishima isn’t the easiest guy to hit that move on. Aside from one or two mishaps these two were on the same page throughout, which is a good ratio for a match that was over twenty minutes. But the strikes/moves looked snug and they avoided doing ‘limb work’ so there was nothing to blow off later. Very little downtime as they just stayed on each other for most of the match. The only thing really lacking was that moment that pushed it over the top in terms of being a “must see” match, and I think it looks silly when big clubbin’ Morishima does moves like the missile dropkick. I don’t know if the right man won for NOAH overall but for the night it felt right as Morishima dominated the match and KENTA was never able to smoothly hit his biggest move which was his downfall. Definitely worth a watch, a great way to end the show. Score: 8.0
Best Match: KENTA vs. Takeshi Morishima. It wasn’t perfect but it had good strike exchanges, Morishima being his clubbin’ self, and drama as up to the end it still felt like anyone’s game. Most complaints are minor, it was a quality championship match.
MVP: Takeshi Morishima. I didn’t include it in my review, but at the end of the event Morishima turned heel. So not only did he win the promotion’s biggest championship in a good match, but he also had a character change as well. Not a bad night for the big man.
Overall: I have to admit, this event surprised me. In the past I always dreaded reviewing NOAH events as they were always very top heavy. Usually they had two must see great matches to end the event, but the under card and mid-card were terrible multi-man matches with veterans that were just going through the motions. This event wasn’t like that at all as the young stars were really given a chance to shine and in the only big multi-man match the wrestlers were really trying and all filled their roles well. Then you have a great main event to cap it off. If this is NOAH’s current direction I am pleasantly surprised and now I am actually looking forward to reviewing more of their events to see if this is the new norm or just an anomaly. But definitely worth the watch.