NOAH Global League Night 1
Watch: The RealHero Archive (when it drops)
Korakuen Hall – Tokyo, Japan
As I sit here ready to watch the beginning of NOAH’s 2016 Global League tournament I must admit that I’m currently feeling a strange mixture of optimism and apprehension, as everyone in the puro community knows by now, Pro-Wrestling NOAH was bought by an I.T. company called Estee Co., Lst. With this news comes a lot of questions regarding the future of NOAH and some of their key talent, mainly the former vice-president Naomichi Marufuji, Go Shiozaki who was brought in by Bushiroad and the other NJPW talent currently in NOAH (Suzuki-gun and Toru Yano). The Global League has the potential to kick-start a new era for NOAH; either that or we will continue to get a bunch of Suzuki-gun run ins and small uninterested crowds… but here’s hoping for some change!
The show starts with the whole roster in the ring. Things were said presumably about the sale but as I do not speak Japanese I cannot confirm this now. As a sign of unity, the roster all put their hands in middle like some sort of junior sports team.
Global League B Block: Muhammad Yone def. Kaito Kiyomiya
I missed the match due to stream related issues, I can only assume it was a five-star classic considering Muhammad Yone was involved. All I know was that Yone won. (Editor’s note: what a first match review on WWW. Stuff of legends.)
Global League A Block: Akitoshi Saito def. Takashi Iizuka1/4*
My god what a bad match. I put the blame completely on Iizuka — everything he did from his outside brawling to his blatant cheating was boring and got no reaction from the crowd. The only redeeming factor of this match was Saito’s great Lariats that looked and sounded awesome. Iizuka gets himself DQ’d in about five minutes, which begs the question why are you even in this tournament if you’re just going to get yourself DQ’d? DO NOT WATCH THIS.
Global League A Block: Lance Archer def. Maybach Taniguchi*1/2
On paper this looked like a match that I should’ve liked, two big guys that I’m generally a fan of going in and beating each other up, what I got a was a slow boring version of the match that I wanted. Taniguchi showed a lot of fire early on and the crowd seemed into him, so of course he took the fall. Archer was also doing his best Bruiser Brody impression during this match but instead of generating fear in the audience it instead incited laughter. Archer reversed a weird top rope suplex to the outside tease and hit his Blackout finish for the three.
Global League B Block: Alejandro Saez def. Davey Boy Smith Jr.**3/4
I expected this match to be at the very least pretty good and it lived up to those expectations, DBS Jr. has incorporating more MMA strikes and holds into his matches recently and it’s been working well. DBS Jr. dominated Saez for much of the match with Saez getting some brief bits of offence in, mainly a shooting star off the apron that crowd loved, the crowd started to show some emotion in this match and got behind Saez. DBS Jr. hit an array of power moves but let him up from the two count both times, his cockiness would be his undoing in the end as Saez managed to reverse a powerbomb into a roll up for the three. Fun match, I look forward to seeing more of Saez throughout the league.
Global League A Block: Toru Yano def. Minoru Suzuki*1/4
This match was everything that would expect it to be, Taichi interference, outside brawling and cheating. The only positive was that I got to see Yano get the piss beaten out of him by Suzuki for the entire match, if I recall correctly Yano did not hit a single wrestling maneuver besides the finishing roll up. Suzuki tied Yano’s shirt around his hands which Yano would eventually use to low blow and tie Suzuki up for the three with. Nothing match, don’t bother watching.
Global League B Block: Masa Kitamiya def. Takashi Sugiura***3/4
This was the type of match that I love, lots of forearms, lariats and suplex’s. I haven’t seen a lot of Kitamiya to be honest but he impressed me in this outing. Crowd was into this match; it seems like if NOAH focused on giving us more “strong style” wrestling like this and less joke-y wrestling like the previous match they’d be in a better position. Kitamiya picked up the win after a spear and a beautiful Saito suplex. This was a match that I would recommend if you like a hard-hitting wrestling style.
Global League A Block: Katsuhiko Nakajima def. Quiet Storm**3/4
My god Quiet Storm is in the semi-main event of Korakuen Hall against the GHC Heavyweight Champion and one of my personal favorites Katsuhiko Nakajima. I did not know what to expect from this match, one thing I know I didn’t expect was for QUIET STORM TO GET IN ROUGHLY 75% OF THE OFFENSE IN THIS MATCH! Why? Why have your brand new GHC Heavyweight Champion look like such a chump next to Quiet Storm? The match was fun but it was worked so weirdly, after getting beat up and exchanging even strikes with QUIET STORM Nakajima manages to pick up the victory with a brain buster.
Global League B Block: Naomichi Marufuji def, Go Shiozaki***1/2
Both Marufuji and Shiozaki are hit and miss with a lot of Puro fans, I like both guys a lot so I had expectations for this match which led me to being slightly disappointed by the final product. There were a lot of good moments built into this slow-paced match, Marufuji’s strike combinations were on point throughout the entire match. Being a NOAH main event it obviously had to go 25 minutes plus and have both men kick out of everything, Shiozaki in particular was responsible for this, kicking out of the Shiranui and two consecutive Ko-oh’s only to be finished off with the Pole Shift in the end. I could see other people liking this match a lot, but for me it never quite clicked.
STANDINGS VIA NOAH:
NOAH GLOBAL LEAGUE 2016 NIGHT 1
Average - 5/10
My goodness was this show weird. There were a few good matches and a lot of really bad matches. Not the best start to the “new era” of NOAH. The highlight of the night for me was Masa Kitamiya breaking out in my mind, I’ll be interested in watching him throughout the rest of the Global League along with fellow break-out star Alejandro Saez. Now the positives are out of the way its time for the negatives, there was a lot of bad matches on this show as Iizuka stands out as a man who shouldn’t even be in this company. Does he ruin everything he touches? Yes. He needs to go! NOAH needed a strong start to this Global League and I’d argue as a whole they didn’t reach it.