NOAH "The First Navigation" on 1/12/15
A Casual Review by Kevin Wilson

Date: January 12th, 2015 
Location: Yokohama Radiant Hall in Yokohama, Japan 
Announced Attendance:  340 (Super No Vacancy)

I didn't even know that this event was taped, yet here I am, watching a full version of it. This is NOAH's second event of the year, so the first since the angle with Suzuki-gun at the last event. Because of that, there is a fair amount of interaction with New Japan on this card as Suzuki-gun will be participating on the tour to establish themselves as forces to be reckoned with. No title matches on this event as it is a bit of a house show, but hopefully the wrestlers still bring it. Here is the full card:

- El Desperado vs. Hitoshi Kumano
- Genba Hirayanagi vs. Kenou vs. Yoshinari Ogawa
- Hajime Ohara vs. Quiet Storm
- Katsuhiko Nakajima vs. Zack Sabre Jr. 
- Takashi Sugiura, Akitoshi Saito and Daisuke Harada vs. Takeshi Morishima, Maybach Taniguchi, and Mitsuhiro Kitamiya
- Lance Archer, Davey Boy Smith Jr., and Takashi Iizuka vs. Shane Haste, Mikey Nicholls, and Jonah Rock
- Minoru Suzuki, Shelton Benjamin, TAKA Michinoku, and Taichi vs. Naomichi Marufuji, Mohammed Yone, Atsushi Kotoge, and Taiji Ishimori 

Not a very long event, so let's get right to it.

El Desperado vs. Hitoshi Kumano
It was nice of them to find someone that Desperado could actually beat. Elbows by Kumano but Desperado hits a spear. They spill outside the ring and Desperado throws Kumano into a row of chairs. Back in the ring, kick to the ribs by Desperado but Kumano hits a jumping elbow. Dropkick by Kumano and he hits a scoop slam. Kumano goes up top and hits a missile dropkick, getting a two count cover. I like Kumano, he shows a lot of spunk. Desperado rakes Kumano in the eyes and hits a spinebuster. Crab hold by Desperado but Kumano refuses to lose to the rookie move and gets to the ropes. Quick pin attempts by Kumano but he gets two counts. Desperado grabs him and nails the Guitarra de Angel, and he picks up the three count. A good opener, Kumano is coming along and I am one of the eight people in the world that likes El Desperado. Not very long or intricate, but a solid way to begin the show. Score: 5.5

Genba Hirayanagi vs. Kenou vs. Yoshinari Ogawa
Ogawa and Hirayanagi get into it to start the match, but Kenou runs over and kicks Hirayanagi out of the ring. Enzigieri by Ogawa to Kenou and they trade pin attempts. Kick to the chest by Kenou, Hirayanagi overs him but Ogawa breaks it up. They go outside and Kenou throws Hirayanagi into the ring post. Kicks to the back by Kenou to Hirayanagi but Hirayanagi kicks him to the mat and goes up top but Ogawa shakes the ropes. Ogawa throws Kenou into the ring post and and pulls Hirayanagi off the top turnbuckle. Ogawa drop toeholds Kenou into Hirayanagi and Kenou throws Ogawa out of the ring. Hirayanagi hits a vertical suplex on Kenou and he knocks Ogawa back to the floor. Hirayanagi goes up top and hits a missile dropkick on Kenou. Kenou kicks Hirayanagi back and hits a double knee in the corner followed by a dropkick for a two count. Ankle hold by Kenou and Hirayanagi immediately submits. What an odd little match, I assume there was a storyline reason that Hirayanagi submitted so quickly since Ogawa was on the apron. Up to that odd ending it was too short to be good but too short to be offensive. Score: 3.5

Hajime Ohara vs. Quiet Storm
Quiet Storm pushes Ohara into the ropes but he gives a clean break. Shoulderblock by Quiet Storm and he lariats Ohara out of the ring. Ohara returns after a moment and Quiet Storm chops him to the mat. They trade elbows and Ohara rakes his eyes. Ohara twists Quiet Storm in the ropes and he hits a dropkick. Snapmare by Ohara and he applies an arm submission hold to Quiet Storm. Ohara kicks Quiet Storm's arm in the corner but Quiet Storm hits a back bodydrop. Powerslam by Quiet Storm and he lariats Ohara in the corner. Northern Lights Suplex by Quiet Storm but it gets a two count. Flapjack by Quiet Storm but Ohara rakes his eyes and dropkicks Quiet Storm into the corner. Double underhook facebuster by Ohara but it gets a two count. Backstabber by Ohara and he applies Muy Bien but Quiet Storm is too close to the ropes. Hard elbow by Quiet Storm and he hits a Fisherman Buster. Low blow by Ohara, the referee sees it and calls for the bell. Lame ending, what is this, late 90s WCW? At least get DQed on something awesome, not a silly low blow. It wasn't a good match up to that point anyway. Score: 2.0

Katsuhiko Nakajima vs. Zack Sabre Jr. 
Nakajima and Sabre jockey around to start and roll around on the mat. Sabre kicks at Nakajima and they trade strikes. Sabre picks up Nakajima but Nakajima hits a dragon screw leg whip. Big boot by Nakajima, he goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits a missile dropkick. Nakajima and Sabre trade kicks to the chest, Sabre goes up top and hits a knee onto Nakajima's arm. Sabre kicks Nakajima's arm and slams him before applying a cross armbreaker, but Nakajima quickly gets a foot on the ropes. Nakajima puts Sabre on the top turnbuckle and kicks him in the head. Nakajima joins him and hits a superplex, he goes for a backdrop suplex but Sabre blocks it. Nakajima drop toeholds Sabre in to the turnbuckles and hits a backdrop suplex for a two count. Half nelson suplex by Sabre and he hits a PK for two. Brainbuster by Nakajima and he hits his own PK. Sabre goes for a cross armbreaker but Nakajima cuts it back and covers him for a three count. This was solid from start to finish, I actually liked the ending as it fit in with the rest of the match. This was back and forth, a very even match with both doing a good job of mixing up the action between submission holds, strikes, and suplexes. This won't blow you away, but it was just good wrasslin'. Score: 7.5

Takashi Sugiura, Akitoshi Saito and Daisuke Harada vs. Takeshi Morishima, Maybach Taniguchi, and Mitsuhiro Kitamiya
Morishima and company attack their opponents right off the bat, Kitamiya attacks Sugiura into the corner but Sugiura elbows him back. Kitamiya shoulderblocks Sugiura down and he tags in Morishima. Saito is tagged in as well, and Saito hits a lariat. Another lariat by Saito but Morishima shoulderblocks him down. Taniguchi is tagged in and he lariats Saito. Another lariat and he goes for a chokeslam, but Saito blocks it. Powerslam by Taniguchi but Saito hits a back bodydrop. Knee by Saito and he tags in Harada. Elbow by Harada in the corner and he hits a hurricanrana. Enzigieri by Harada and he hits a fireman's carry slam for a two. Elbows by Harada but Taniguchi hits a spinebuster and tags in Kitamiya. Belly to belly suplex by Harada and he tags in Sugiura. Big boot by Sugiura in the corner but Kitamiya pushes him back. Shoulderblock by Taniguchi, but Kitamiya hits a vertical suplex. Everyone attacks Sugiura in the corner, slam by Kitamiya but the pin attempt is broken up. Elbows by Sugiura but Kitamiya hits a spear. German suplex by Kitamiya, he picks up Sugiura, but Saito runs in and lariats Kitamiya. Boot by Sugiura but Kitamiya catches Sugiura's knee and they trade elbows. Slaps by Kitamiya but Sugiura knees him. Sugiura picks up Kitamiya, he hits the Olympic Slam and gets the three count. I loved how feisty Kitamiya was. Yes he got pinned but he went toe to toe and occasionally got over on Sugiura, Sugiura is always willing to give younger guys their spotlight. Besides that there wasn't much to the match, but I did enjoy that aspect of it. Score: 6.0

Lance Archer, Davey Boy Smith Jr., and Takashi Iizuka vs. Shane Haste, Mikey Nicholls, and Jonah Rock
They brawl to start the match, with Archer and Smith taking control in the ring. Haste and Nicholls regain the advantage and double team Archer. Archer is picked up but Nicholls is pulled out of the ring and Archer hits Haste with a full nelson bomb for two. Archer hits a lariat on Haste and tags in Smith. Smith kicks Haste in the chest and he hits a backdrop suplex. Smith knees Haste in the stomach and he tags in Iizuka. Iizuka naturally slaps on a nerve hold to slow the match down to a crawl and chokes Haste in the corner. Eye rake by Iizuka and Haste is choked in the corner. Smith is tagged in and Haste is double teamed. Smith picks up Haste and kicks Haste in the chest. Vertical suplex by Smith but Haste avoids the knee and hits an uppercut. Haste tags in Nicholls and Nicholls lariats Smith in the corner. Elbows by Nicholls and Smith hits a big boot. Backdrop suplex by Nicholls and he hits a sliding lariat for two. Belly to belly suplex by Smith and he tags in Archer. Rock is tagged in too and Rock hits a second turnbuckle shoulderblock. Kicks by Rock and he hits a body avalanche. Nicholls and Haste come in to help, Rock hits a body press but it gets a two count. Rock picks up Archer, elbows by Rock but Archer gets away as Smith runs in the ring, and they hit the Killer Bomb for a three count. Wow that was a sudden ending, I don't think Rock had gotten hurt one bit when he suddenly gets hit with a finisher and defeated. Rock isn't built up as superman or anything but he isn't a jobber, someone held up their pen a little too early. The action was good up to that point but it made the match feel flat and rushed. Score: 4.5

Minoru Suzuki, Shelton Benjamin, TAKA Michinoku, and Taichi vs. Naomichi Marufuji, Yone, Atsushi Kotoge, and Taiji Ishimori 
Suzuki and Marufuji start off the match. They begin pretty basic, trading holds, then they tag in Benjamin and Yone. Benjamin and Yone trade elbows and Yone hits a lariat. Irish whip by Yone but Benjamin applies an ankle hold. Benjamin tags in Michinoku but Yone hits a scoop slam before tagging in Ishimori. Ishimori drops Michinoku onto his knees, then Kotoge hits a swandive body press. Kotoge clubs at Michinoku and a brawl finally breaks out as the action spills outside the ring. Since we only have one camera we can't really see what is going on, but Suzuki-gun seems to have gotten the upper hand. Michinoku and Kotoge return to the ring and they trade elbows. Michinoku tags in Taichi and Taichi hits down Kotoge in the corner. A brawl kicks off again, as Kotoge is stomped by everyone. Taichi and Michinoku attack Kotoge in the corner, and Taichi hits Kotoge low. Kotoge ducks a kick and punches Taichi, but Taichi hits a superkick and tags in Benjamin. Benjamin picks up Kotoge and hits a double underhook toss. Headbutt by Kotoge but Benjamin hits a swinging kick.

Benjamin tags in Suzuki and he toyingly kicks Kotoge in the head. Enzigieri by Kotoge but Suzuki stops him from making the tag. Jumping kick by Kotoge and he makes the hot tag to Marufuji. Marufuji hits a jumping elbow in the corner on Suzuki and he hits a superkick. Lariat by Marufuji to Suzuki, snapmare, and Marufuji stomps down on Suzuki's head. Thrust kick by Marufuji and it gets a two count. Suzuki punches Marufuji in the stomach but Suzuki hits a big boot followed by a PK. Marufuji and Suzuki trade chops but Marufuji hits a back bodydrop. Thrust kick by Marufuji and he kicks Suzuki to the mat. Marufuji tags in Ishimori and Ishimori hits a jumping double knee. Handspring kick by Ishimori as Marufuji also comes in the ring, and everyone attacks Suzuki in the corner. Running kick by Ishimori to Suzuki, Marufuji picks up Suzuki and Suzuki eats a triple superkick followed by an Ishimori swanton bomb. Suzuki attacks Marufuji and Ishimori and he slaps the sleeper on Ishimori. Suzuki spins him around and hits a delayed Gotch-style piledriver, picking up the three count victory. This one had plenty of time but like the last match it ended suddenly, Ishimori only had a couple moves done on him the entire match before he bit it. The post match was fun and it was good for the start of the tour for Suzuki-gun to assert their dominance, I just think the ending was too quick for a match that got plenty of time. Score: 6.0

Final Thoughts:

Suzuki-gun 'invading' NOAH has injected some life into the promotion. Not that the promotion was dead but fresh matchups is always a good thing. Not every match was perfect but at least it felt different and sometimes that is enough. Sabre/Nakajima was a really fun midcard match, and there were some other solid matches as well. For storyline purposes not a bad show, they are setting the stage of things to come.

Grade: C-
review completed on 2/6/15