A Casual Review by Kevin Wilson

Date: January 10th, 2015 
Location:  Tokyo Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance:  1,750 (Super No Vacancy)

It is NOAH time! I am trying to tackle as many different promotions to start the year as I can, just to make sure I am keeping everyone happy. Because keeping you visitors happy is all that matters to me. This was NOAH's first event of the year and its a big one. The top two Championships are on the line, and Kojima from New Japan invades to try to take the GHC Heavyweight Championship. He isn't the only wrestler that ends up invading, but I don't want to spoil it, just keep on reading. Here is the full card for the event:

- Hitoshi Kumano vs. Yoshinari Ogawa
- Jonah Rock vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
- Daisuke Sekimoto and Yuji Okabayashi vs. Mohammed Yone and Taiji Ishimori
- Maybach Taniguchi, Kenou, and Hajime Ohara vs. Yoshihiro Takayama, Akitoshi Saito, and Genba Hirayanagi
- Daisuke Harada and Quiet Storm vs. Katsuhiko Nakajima and Atsushi Kotoge 
- Mitsuhiro Kitamiya vs. Takeshi Morishima
- GHC Tag Team Championship: Takashi Sugiura and Masato Tanaka vs. Shane Haste and Mikey Nicholls
- GHC Heavyweight Championship: Naomichi Marufuji vs. Satoshi Kojima

Kojima in NOAH should be fun, let’s see how it goes.

Hitoshi Kumano vs. Yoshinari Ogawa
Kumano immediately dropkicks Ogawa, kick by Kumano and he hits another dropkick.  Leg submission by Kumano but Ogawa easily gets to the ropes.  Kumano goes back to the leg but Ogawa avoids the missile dropkick.  Backslide by Kumano but Ogawa snaps off a DDT.  Backdrop suplex by Ogawa but Kumano kicks out.  Ogawa hits another one after some shoulder work and he gets the three count, Ogawa wins the match.  Short, obviously, but at least Kumano got some offense in before Ogawa coasted to the win.  Score:  4.0

Jonah Rock vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
They trade wristlocks and do intro limb work, finally something happens when Sabre goes for a weird awkward roll-up and Rock sits on him.  This isn’t going well.  Slam by Rock and he gets a two.  Uppercuts by Sabre but Rock hits a back suplex slam for a two count.  Body block by Rock but again he gets a two.  Vertical suplex by Rock and it gets a two.  Sabre flips around and rolls up Rock for a two count.  Sabre clamps on Rock’s arm but Rock knocks him off and punches him in the face.  Swinging reverse STO by Rock and he gets the three count.  This was pretty rough, they just didn’t click at all.  Rock didn’t seem to know what weird stuff Sabre was about to do and it looked awkward several times.  Not very good.  Score:  3.0

Daisuke Sekimoto and Yuji Okabayashi vs. Mohammed Yone and Taiji Ishimori
Okabayashi and Ishimori start the match off and in not too long Okabayashi is throwing Ishimori like a sack of flour around the ring.  Okabayashi tags in Sekimoto, who applies a reverse chinlock.  Ishimori gets away and tags in Yone, and Yone trades chops with Sekimoto.  Standing dropkick by Sekimoto and he tags in Okabayashi.  Okabayashi and Yone and they run into each other until Yone hits a big boot.  Okabayashi springs right back up and they trade chops, boot by Yone but Okabayashi hits a powerslam.  Okabayashi tags in Sekimoto and Sekimoto hits a lariat.  Yone hits one back and they trade lariats.  Yone gets the better of the exchange but both wrestlers are woozy as Yone tags in Ishimori.  Double knee by Ishimori in the corner and he hits a second one.  Sekimoto catches Ishimori and puts him in a modified Argentine Backbreaker, but it gets broken up.  Okabayashi and Sekimoto both hit lariats on Ishimori and they hit a double backdrop suplex for a two.  Scorpion Deathlock by Sekimoto but Yone breaks it up.  Double shoulderblock by Yone, Ishimori goes off the ropes and hits a handspring kick to Sekimoto.  Yone and Ishimori both kick Sekimoto, cover by Ishimori but Okabayashi breaks it up.  Ishimori goes up top but Sekimoto avoids the 450 Splash.  Okabayashi runs in and lariats Ishimori, scoop slam by Okabayashi and Sekimoto hits a diving body press.  Yone breaks up the pin, backslide by Ishimori but it gets a two. Sekimoto catches Ishimori and hits a vertical suplex.  Lariat by Sekimoto, he picks up Ishimori and hits a German suplex hold for win.  I love Sekimoto and Okabayashi, two big hosses just clubbing people.  Ishimori was fun flipping around and Yone wasn’t in enough to drag the match down.  Solid.  Score:  6.0

Maybach Taniguchi, Kenou, and Ohara vs. Yoshihiro Takayama, Saito, and Hirayanagi
They brawl to start off, with Hirayanagi being isolated in the ring.  Taniguchi slams Hirayanagi and tags in Ohara.  Hirayanagi is choked by Taniguchi’s stick and Ohara twists Hirayanagi in the ropes so Taniguchi can choke him again.  Kenou is tagged in and he hits Hirayanagi low.  Hirayanagi is pulled out of the ring and is attacked with Taniguchi’s stick again.  Taniguchi is tagged in and he hits a lariat but Hirayanagi hits Taniguchi low and tags in Takayama.  Takayama lariats everyone and hits a double underhook suplex on Taniguchi.  Belly to belly suplex by Takayama but Taniguchi returns the favor.  Lariat by Taniguchi, and both wrestlers tag out as Saito and Kenou come in.  Lariat by Saito and he hits a vertical suplex.  Lariat by Saito and he hits the Death Punish, but Kenou bails out of the ring.  He gets back in and dropkicks Saito before tagging in Ohara.  Ohara and Kenou double team Saito, or they try to, but Saito beats them both down and tags in Hirayanagi.  Hirayanagi lariats Ohara and rakes his eyes but Ohara throws him at the referee.  This leads to chaos, Takayama and Kenou come in with weapons, hitting Hirayanagi with them.  Takayama and Saito come in to calm things down, Hirayanagi grabs Ohara low and Takayama runs in to knee him.  Shoryu Genba by Hirayanagi and he gets the three count, Takayama and company are your winners.  Surprised to see the bad guys go down, especially with Hirayanagi more than happy to be pinned.  Not a bad match but pretty by the numbers.  Score:  5.5

Daisuke Harada and Quiet Storm vs. Katsuhiko Nakajima and Atsushi Kotoge
Storm and Nakajima begin the match.  They trade holds back and forth, as I still sit here surprised that Nakajima has gotten bigger.  Even has some love handles.  Not that I am criticizing, he has just always been a little guy.  He gets the better of Storm and tags in Kotoge.  Storm and Kotoge trade shots and Storm tags in Harada.  They trade holds but neither gets the better of it.  Harada gets Kotoge to the mat and he tags in Storm.  Storm and Nakajima trade elbows, we are halfway through the match and haven’t accomplished much.  Storm shoulderblocks Nakajima and lariats him in the corner.  Nakajima kicks Storm in the chest, then Kotoge runs in and hits a face crusher.  Nakajima hits a missile dropkick but Storm hits a reverse STO.  Storm tags in Harada and Harada elbows Nakajima before hitting a vertical suplex.  Storm comes in the ring but Nakajima kicks down both of them and tags in Kotoge.  Harada drops Kotoge on the ropes but Kotoge drop toeholds him into the ropes and kicks him out of the ring.  Superkick by Kotoge on the floor, he gets on the apron as Harada and rolls in the ring but Harada hits a backdrop suplex.  Storm comes in and Kotoge hits attacked by both.  Knee to the face by Harada but Nakajima breaks it up.  Harada and Kotoge trade elbows, kick by Nakajima and Kotoge hits a leg kick on Harada for two.  Headbutt by Kotoge but Harada sneaks in an inside cradle for the win!  Shockingly sudden ending there, these guys have such neat moves.  But at least it kept the ‘anything can happen at any time’ vibe going.  The action was pretty good up to that point, but nothing special.  Score:  6.0

Mitsuhiro Kitamiya vs. Takeshi Morishima
Kitamiya elbows Morishima right off and hits a dropkick before knocking over Morishima with a jumping elbow.  Hip attack by Morishima and he hits three running butt smashes in the corner.  Spear by Kitamiya and he applies an Octopus Hold followed by a German suplex.  Dropkick by Kitamiya but Morishima levels him with a lariat.  Lariat by Morishima and he hits another one, Morishima boots  Kitamiya to the mat and he hits a backdrop suplex for a three count.  Morishima beats poor little Kitamiya.  Kitamiya wasn’t going to win this of course but he showed some fight which was more of the point.  It got its point across but still not really entertaining.  Score:  5.0

c) Takashi Sugiura and Masato Tanaka vs. Shane Haste and Mikey Nicholls
This match is for the GHC Tag Team Championship.  Sugiura and Haste start off, Haste dropkicks Sugiura in the head as Nicholls runs into the ring to help.  Double team Haste and Nicholls but Sugiura drops Haste on the top rope and knocks him out of the ring.  Tanaka stomps on Haste as he is slid back into the ring, and Sugiura beats Haste inside the ring.  Sugiura tags in Tanaka, and Tanaka applies a reverse chinlock to Haste.  Tanaka and Haste trade chops and Tanaka applies a stretch hold.  Sugiura is tagged in and drops him into the ropes.  They trade strikes and Haste floors Sugiura with a dropkick, allowing him to tag in Nicholls.  Nicholls lariats both of them and hits two lariats on Sugiura for two.  Spear by Sugiura and he tags in Tanaka.  DDT by Tanaka and he hits a lariat followed by a second one.  Tornado DDT by Tanaka but it gets two.  Spinebuster by Nicholls and he tags Haste, running uppercuts by Haste, he goes outside with Tanaka and powerbombs him onto the apron.  Sitout powerbomb by Haste, but Sugiura breaks up the pin.  Vertical suplex into a sitout slam but Tanaka springs up and hits the Sliding D.  Tanaka tags Sugiura while Nicholls is tagged in, and Sugiura hits a knee.  They trade strikes, slam by Sugiura and he goes up top but in the meantime Tanaka misses a body press.  Haste puts Tanaka on the same turnbuckle that Sugiura is on and climbs up, Nicholls then holds Haste so Haste can hit a superplex on both of them.  This hurts everyone of course.  Nicholls tries to feed Sugiura to Haste but Sugiura gets out of it and hits a suplex onto Nicholls.  Sugiura and Tanaka hit double sliding attacks on Nicholls, diving body press by Tanaka and Sugiura follows with a diving headbutt for two.  Sugiura and Tanaka elbow Nicholls, cover but Haste breaks it up.  Tanaka punishes him with a brainbuster, running knee by Sugiura to Nicholls but it gets two.  Dragon suplex hold by Sugiura but that also gets two.  Tanaka goes for the Sliding D but Nicholls ducks, Sugiura and Nicholls trade elbows and then slaps.  Pair of death valley bombs by Nicholls, but it gets a two count.  Haste comes in and they hit a lariat/trip combination.  Nicholls slams Tanaka, assisted DDT to Sugiura but he kicks out.  Tanaka is back so Haste drops him with a fireman’s carry into a chokeslam.  Thunder Valley by Nicholls and Haste, and Nicholls gets the three count.  New Champions! Really enjoyed this one, a lot of fun start to finish. A bit of the middle lagged but it picked up by the end stretch. Worth a watch. Score: 7.0

(c) Naomichi Marufuji vs. Satoshi Kojima
This match is for the GHC Heavyweight Championship.  They trade holds to open things up, then trade strikes until Kojima hits a shoulderblock.  They take turns missing moves to show how well they know each other (this is their fourth career singles match against each other), then they trade chops. Marufuji snaps Kojima's neck over the top rope and throws him in the guardrail. Back in the ring Marufuji chops Kojima into the corner before elbowing him in the back of the head. Dropkick by Marufuji and he applies a chinlock. Marufuji gets on the apron but Kojima lariats his legs out from under him. Side Russian leg sweep by Kojima and he hits a neckbreaker. Chops by Kojima in the corner, Irish whip, and goes up top but Marufuji joins him. Kojima elbows him off but Marufuji kicks him in the head. Kick to the side of the head by Marufuji and he hits a lariat. Jumping elbow by Marufuji in the corner and he stomps on Kojima's head. Marufuji jumps over Kojima, Kojima ducks the lariat and hits a DDT followed by a roaring elbow. Kojima and Marufuji trade elbows, and Marufuji applies a shoulder trap necklock. Shiranui attempt by Marufuji, Kojima blocks it and hits a Koji Cutter. Kojima goes up top and finally hits the elbow drop he wanted to hit earlier (Kojima never forgets) and he gets a two count cover. Shiranui attempt again by Marufuji but Kojima sits him on the top rope. Marufuji turns around and they trade elbows, but Kojima lariats Marufuji off the top down to the floor after he bounces off the apron. Kojima slides Marufuji back in and hits a brainbuster, cover, but it gets a two count. Marufuji ducks a lariat and hits a knee before nailing the Shiranui. Jumping knee by Marufuji but Kojima lariats him in the back of the head. They trade strikes but Marufuji knees Kojima in the face. Another knee followed by a superkick, cover, but it gets two. Fisherman Emerald Frosion by Marufuji, and he gets the three count! Your winner and still champion is Marufuji! The best thing about this match was the crowd, they were extremely pro-Marufuji and anti-Kojima. Some of the bumps here were great but I was expecting honestly more of an ending stretch. There weren't really any realistic nearfalls on Kojima before Marufuji hit another new move (Marufuji makes up moves on a weekly) for the win. But still, really solid action throughout, just was missing the ending to put it over the top. Score: 7.5

Post Match: Suzuki-gun comes down and kicks ass! Awesome! This gonna be good.

Final Thoughts:

Overall this was pretty enjoyable. The last two matches were really solid and delivered, and nothing on here was really offensive aside from the awkward Rock/Sabre match. The mid-card and opening matches were just kinda there and are skippable, which isn't unusual for NOAH, but at least the matches that were supposed to make the card watchable did not disappoint. The last hour of the event, including the Suzuki-gun Invasion, is worth seeing if nothing else.

Grade: C+

review completed on 1/20/15