NOAH "Northern Navigation 2015"
A Review by Kevin Wilson

Date: July 1st, 2015
Location: Tokyo Korakuen Hall
Announced Attendance:  1,180

And we are back with NOAH. Not a whole lot has changed since the last time that we watched the promotion, as Suzuki-gun is still terrorizing the NOAH wrestlers. This is a special event in that regard, as it has a five match series featuring Suzuki-gun vs. NOAH wrestlers (Takayama is on the NOAH side since he has been a part of the promotion as a Freelancer for so long). No title matches but lots of singles matches which is what I prefer, even though I am not overly excited about the main event. Here is the full card:

- Kenou, Hajime Ohara, and Mitsuhiro Kitamiya vs. Taiji Ishimori, Captain Noah, and Hitoshi Kumano
- Mikey Nicholls, Quiet Storm, and Masao Inoue vs. Mohammed Yone, Katsuhiko Nakajima, and Akitoshi Saito
- Atsushi Kotoge vs. Daisuke Harada
- Suzuki-gun vs. NOAH 5 Singles Matches #1: El Desperado vs. Takashi Sugiura
- Suzuki-gun vs. NOAH 5 Singles Matches #2: Naomichi Marufuji vs. Taichi
- Suzuki-gun vs. NOAH 5 Singles Matches #3: Maybach Taniguchi vs. Takashi Iizuka
- Suzuki-gun vs. NOAH 5 Singles Matches #4: TAKA Michinoku vs. Yoshihiro Takayama
- Suzuki-gun vs. NOAH 5 Singles Matches #5: Minoru Suzuki vs. Yoshinari Ogawa

I see some potential here. Not much, but some.

Kenou, Hajime Ohara, and Mitsuhiro Kitamiya vs. Taiji Ishimori, Captain Noah, and Hitoshi Kumano
Ohara and Ishimori start things off, shoulderblock by Ishimori and he hits a tilt-a-whirl armdrag. Hurricanrana by Ishimori and he dropkicks Ohara out of the ring. We clip ahead to Ishimori and Kenou in the ring, and Ishimori catches Kenou with a handspring cutter. Ishimori tags in Captain Noah and Captain Noah elbows everyone until Ohara catches him from behind. Double Irish whip to Captain Noah but Captain Noah knocks back both Kenou and Ohara. Kenou rakes Captain Noah in the eyes but he throws Kenou into Ohara and applies the Crossface of CAPTAIN NOAH. Kenou inches to the ropes to force a break, Captain Noah drags Kenou over the second rope and hits a DDT for a two count. Captain Noah waits for Kenou to get up but Kenou avoids the kick and hits a footstomp onto Captain Noah's back. Kenou tags in Kitamiya while Kumano is also tagged in, and the young wrestlers trade elbows. Dropkick to the knee by Kumano and he applies an inside cradle for two. A schoolboy gets the same results as does the European Clutch, Ishimori and Captain Noah come in to help and everyone attacks Kitamiya in the corner. Reverse STO by Kumano, but Kitamiya kicks out at two. Kumano picks up Kitamiya but Kitamiya blocks the fisherman suplex and shoves Kumano into the referee. Kenou comes in with the kendo stick and tries to hit Kumano, but Captain Noah comes in and takes the kendo stick. Kenou avoids Captain Noah and they run outside of the ring, Kumano goes for another fisherman suplex on Kitamiya but Kitamiya blocks it and hits a Samoan Drop. Kitamiya waits for Kumano to get up and hits the spear, cover by Kitamiya and he gets the three count. I actually like a fair number of these wrestlers, I think that NOAH has a good group of young wrestlers if they built them correctly and actually let them move up the card at some point. This was a bit clipped and a bit short so not recommendable on its own, but still a solid way to start off the show.

Mikey Nicholls, Quiet Storm, and Masao Inoue vs. Mohammed Yone, Katsuhiko Nakajima, and Akitoshi Saito
Nakajima and Inoue start the match but they don't do a whole lot until Nakajima boots Inoue hard in the face. Irish whip by Nakajima and he makes Inoue run the ropes until Inoue gets tired and he collapses to the mat. Nakajima tags in Saito but Inoue drops him with a diving shoulderblock and tags in Nicholls. Nicholls lariats Saito in the corner, he goes off the ropes and he hits another one. Sliding lariat by Nicholls and he covers Saito for two. Nicholls elbows Saito and he hits a side slam, giving him time to tag in Nakajima. Nakajima throws Nicholls into the corner and hits a boot, Storm and Inoue come in the ring but Nakajima slides away from them and kicks both. Nicholls goes off the ropes but Nakajima kicks him in the chest. Nakajima goes up top and he hits a missile dropkick on Nicholls for a two count. Spinebuster by Nicholls and he makes the tag to Storm. Storm lariats Nakajima in the corner and hits him with another one, he goes off the ropes but Nakajima catches him with a boot. Storm and Nakajima trade strikes, thrust kick by Nakajima but Storm hits a lariat. Inoue and Yone are tagged in but Yone kicks him and hits a shoulderblock. Nicholls and Storm come back in and attack Yone in the corner, lariat by Inoue but Yone kicks out of the cover. Inoue picks up Yone but Nakajima and Saito come in the ring and kick Inoue. Chokeslam by Saito and he is kicked by Nakajima and Yone. Cover, but the pin is broken up. Yone goes off the ropes but Inoue sneaks in a schoolboy for two. Lariat by Yone, he puts Inoue on the top turnbuckle and he nails the Muscle Buster for the three count! I am not sure there was any way this was going to be a good match but at least I can say it wasn't actively bad. They got their spots in and ended it before the match got drawn out. But still easily skippable.

Atsushi Kotoge vs. Daisuke Harada
Harada attacks Kotoge from behind to start the match, getting a quick German Suplex. Kotoge rolls out of the ring and takes a few moments to re-group but he does roll back in where he is promptly covered for a two count. Harada suplexes Kotoge, he goes for a belly to belly but Kotoge blocks it and headbutts him. Kotoge goes off the ropes but Harada hits an overhead belly to belly suplex for a two count. Chinlock by Harada and he applies a modified Dragon Sleeper but Kotoge gets a foot on the ropes. Kotoge goes out to the apron, he slides back in the ring but Harada catches him with a backdrop suplex. Hard elbow by Harada, he picks up Kotoge and he hits a scoop slam, Harada goes up top but Kotoge recovers and smacks him. Kotoge goes up with Harada and he delivers a Frankensteiner, running kick by Kotoge and both wrestlers are slow to get up. Kotoge gets on the second turnbuckle and applies a hanging necklock over the top rope. Kotoge gets on the apron before rolling into the ring and hitting a cutter. Kotoge picks up Harada and punches him and they trade shots until Kotoge delivers the superkick. Kotoge goes up top and he hits the diving body press, cover by Kotoge but it gets two. Kotoge picks up Harada and goes for the Killswitch, but Harada reverses it with a cradle. Harada hits a vertical suplex onto his knee, jumping elbow by Harada in the corner and he puts Kotoge on the top turnbuckle. Harada joins him and hits a superplex, he picks up Kotoge but Kotoge grabs the ropes to block the suplex. Harada hits a jumping elbow to the back of Kotoge's head but Kotoge knees him in the face. Snap German by Harada and he delivers the Henkei Knee Upper. Hard elbow by Harada, he picks up Kotoge but Kotoge rolls him up for a two count. Headbutt by Kotoge and he plants Harada with the Killswitch. Cover, but Harada barely gets a shoulder up. Kotoge picks up Harada and this time he hits a modified full rotation Killswitch, and this time he gets the three count! I enjoyed this but I enjoy both of these wrestlers so that isn't a shock. The selling was good here almost to a fault, the match had a bit of a slower pace because they were selling so much the damage from the moves. It taking two Killswitches to be pinned made Harada look strong in defeat, and overall I thought this was a really solid match. Worth a watch. Recommended

El Desperado vs. Takashi Sugiura
This match is part of the Suzuki-gun vs. NOAH Match Series. This feels like a mismatch. Sugiura pushes Desperado into the ropes to start and nicely gives a clean break. Desperado pushes Sugiura into the corner but he also gives a clean break, so they are even. Desperado twists Sugiura's arm around the second rope and pulls it on, but Sugiura shoulderblocks him to the mat. Desperado avoids Sugiura's charge which sends Sugiura out of the ring, Desperado then goes for a tope con hilo but he overshoots Sugiura and lands into the crowd instead. Luckily no one was hurt so we continue on as Desperado throws Sugiura into the guardrail and then into the ring post. They finally return to the ring and Desperado applies a stretch hold, elbow by Desperado and he covers Sugiura for two. Desperado and Sugiura trade elbows, kick to the gut by Desperado but Sugiura hits a spear. Big boot by Sugiura in the corner and he hits a running knee, but Desperado sneaks in a schoolboy for two. Another quick pin attempt by Desperado doesn't work, elbows by Sugiura but Desperado kicks him low. La Magistral by Desperado, but Sugiura kicks out. Desperado gets Sugiura on his shoulders and hits a Guitarra de Angel, cover, but it gets a two count. Desperado goes up top but Sugiura gets his knees up on the body press attempt. Spear by Sugiura and he bounces Desperado stomach-first off the top rope. Knee to the stomach by Sugiura, he picks up Desperado and he drops him with an Olympic Slam, picking up the three count! This match was more crazy than I was expecting, between Desperado trying to kill the fans and Sugiura having no regard for Desperado's health. It still wasn't great, as it was clear who was winning and the middle dragged a bit, but still a good match. Mildly Recommended

Naomichi Marufuji vs. Taichi
This match is part of the Suzuki-gun vs. NOAH Match Series. Taichi hides in the crowd as Marufuji comes down to the ring to get behind him, and he whacks Marufuji with a chair. Taichi hits Marufuji with his belt next before choking him with the chair some while the referee tries unsuccessfully to stop him. Taichi finally slides Marufuji into the ring as the match officially starts, Marufuji recovers and chops Taichi but Taichi rakes his eyes. They end up back outside the ring with Taichi throwing Marufuji into the rail and punching him in the face. Back in again Taichi puts Marufuji in the corner and he rakes his eyes, lariat by Taichi and he hits another one, but Marufuji blocks the third and kicks Taichi in the side of the head. Lariat by Marufuji, he picks up Taichi and chops him hard in the chest. More chops by Marufuji, he goes off the ropes and hits a running footstomp to Taichi's head. Superkick by Marufuji but the cover gets two. Taichi avoids Marufuji in the corner and hits a jumping kick followed by a kick to the side of the head, he waits for Marufuji to get up but Marufuji blocks the superkick. Taichi elbows Marufuji off and avoids his strikes, superkick by Taichi and he plants Marufuji with a sit-down powerbomb for a two count. Taichi picks up Marufuji but Marufuji kicks him twice and hits a strike combination. Cover by Marufuji but it gets a two count. Marufuji picks up Taichi and he goes for the Shiranui, he hits it but the referee gets knocked out in the process. Taichi rolls out of the ring but Marufuji goes out after him and slides him back in, Marufuji picks up Taichi and Taichi tries to kick him low, but Marufuji blocks it. Superkick by Marufuji but Taichi blocks the Koo and hits Marufuji low. Gedo Clutch by Taichi, but Marufuji barely kicks out in time. Marufuji and Taichi trade strikes, superkick by Marufuji and he drills Taichi with the Koo for the three count! This was an odd little match. I liked some parts of it, such as Taichi's sneak attack and his cheating felt genuine throughout the match. But they were doing other things that I didn't love, like how fast Marufuji recovered from the initial chair beating and them still doing strike exchanges 95% of the way through the match. However it had more good than bad and it was better than most Taichi matches. Mildly Recommended

Maybach Taniguchi vs. Takashi Iizuka
This match is part of the Suzuki-gun vs. NOAH Match Series. Taniguchi goes after Iizuka as he makes his way to the ring and they battle in the stands to start. They battle around the crowd for quite awhile with Iizuka generally getting the better of it, but Taniguchi regains the advantage before they finally get into the ring. Taniguchi lariats Iizuka in the corner but Iizuka chokes him while the referee makes somewhat of an attempt to get him to stop. Iizuka goes off the ropes but Taniguchi hits a powerslam before applying a choke of his own. Iizuka gets some rope and chokes Taniguchi with it, but Taniguchi takes it from him and returns the favor. Taniguchi charges Iizuka but Iizuka back bodydrops him over the top rope down to the floor. Iizuka goes out after him but Taniguchi throws Iizuka into the railing, Taniguchi charges Iizuka but Iizuka moves out of the way. They both hit each other with chairs at the same time, and both are laid out on the floor. They both roll back in but Taniguchi slides out to get his trident while Iizuka gets his Iron Fist. Taniguchi hits Iizuka first and then hits a lariat in the corner, vertical suplex by Taniguchi and he hits a chokeslam. Taniguchi goes up top and goes for the Maybach Press, but Iizuka rolls out of the way. Iizuka gets the trident and hits Taniguchi with it, he then gets his Iron Fist and he shoves the referee when he tries to stop him. The referee has had enough being ignored and he calls for the bell, even as Iizuka hits Taniguchi with it anyway. Taniguchi wins the match by DQ! I see what they were going for here, two wrestlers that cheat in similar ways trying to out-cheat each other, but it still didn't work too well. The outside brawling was just more of the same and they literally copied each other's moves too often which made it cross over into comedy a bit. They kept it short and interesting, which is a plus, but still not a good match.

TAKA Michinoku vs. Yoshihiro Takayama
This match is part of the Suzuki-gun vs. NOAH Match Series. Takayama teases Michinoku with a knuckle lock attempt to start but Michinoku kicks him in the leg. Takayama clubs on Michinoku's back but Takayama delivers a jumping kick. Superkick by Michinoku and he pokes Takayama in the eyes. He goes off the ropes but Takayama hits a hard knee to the chest and he nails the Everest German Suplex for a three count! This is what it should have been, Michinoku shouldn't be hanging with Takayama and since Takayama has a title match coming up there is no reason not to keep him strong. Obviously too short to get excited about but it was logical anyway.

Minoru Suzuki vs. Yoshinari Ogawa
This match is part of the Suzuki-gun vs. NOAH Match Series. They begin the match with some arm work, Ogawa gets the better of it at first but Suzuki applies a hanging armbar over the top rope. Suzuki takes Ogawa outside the ring and he throws Ogawa into the guard rail. Suzuki twists Ogawa's arm in the railing, and he kicks Ogawa low. Ogawa does it back to him but Suzuki gets Ogawa back into the ring and applies a short armbar. Seated armbar by Suzuki and then a cross armbreaker, but Ogawa gets a foot on the ropes. Suzuki slaps at Ogawa while Ogawa tries to fight back, Ogawa snaps off a DDT and he covers Suzuki for two. Big boot by Suzuki in the corner, snapmare, and he hits the PK. Cover by Suzuki but Ogawa gets a shoulder up. Suzuki goes for a cross armbreaker but Ogawa slides out of it, Suzuki applies the sleeper but Ogawa flips out of that as well. Suzuki goes for the Gotch-Style Piledriver but Ogawa reverses it and covers Suzuki for two. Sleeper by Suzuki but Ogawa lands on top of Suzuki for a cover, forcing Suzuki to break the hold. Backdrop suplex by Ogawa but Suzuki applies a sleeper hold. Ogawa gets to the ropes but Suzuki delivers a dropkick and applies a front headlock. Suzuki spins Ogawa around and drops him with the Gotch-Style Piledriver, and he picks up the three count! This wasn't good and not a main-event worthy match. Ogawa doesn't bring a lot to the table, it was cute the way he was sliding out of Suzuki's moves but he was never a threat at all so it just delayed the inevitable. I like Suzuki quite a bit but this just wasn't a great showcase for him.

After the match, Takayama comes down but Suzuki beats him bloody. Fun way to end the show.

Final Thoughts:

This was an interesting event. None of the series matches were unwatchable, but most of them were such mismatches that the end result was never in doubt, which takes away some of the fun. The main event wasn't very good unfortunately, although the post-match stuff did help the show end on a high note. Not a bad show to just watch casually as the shorter matches meant they generally kept the action at a decent pace, but nothing here will blow anyone away. NOAH fans will enjoy it but otherwise it doesn't really need to be sought out.

Grade: C-

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event reviewed on 7/11/15