A Review by Kevin Wilson
Date: July 18th, 2015
Location: Tokyo Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: 1,805 (Super No Vacancy)
We jump back into NOAH with a big show here. First of all we have the start of the always fun Global Jr. Heavyweight League, with four matches in the tournament. Then we have a ‘special’ singles match between Sugiura and Benjamin before getting to the big main event of Suzuki vs. Takayama for the GHC Heavyweight Championship. Here is the full card:
- Mikey Nicholls, Yoshinari Ogawa, Super Crazy, and Genba Hirayanagi vs. Naomichi Marufuji, Yone, Nakajima, and Captain Noah
- Manabu Nakanishi vs. Quiet Storm
- Lance Archer, Davey Boy Smith Jr., Iizuka, Taichi, and El Desperado vs. Maybach Taniguchi, Saito, Kitamiya, Kenou, and Ohara
- Global Jr. Heavyweight League: Hitoshi Kumano vs. Sho Tanaka
- Global Jr. Heavyweight League: Bengala vs. TAKA Michinoku
- Global Jr. Heavyweight League: Daisuke Harada vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
- Global Jr. Heavyweight League: Atsushi Kotoge vs. Taiji Ishimori
- Shelton Benjamin vs. Takashi Sugiura
- GHC Heavyweight Championship: Minoru Suzuki vs. Yoshihiro Takayama
Long event, let’s hop right to it.
Mikey Nicholls, Ogawa, Super Crazy, and Genba Hirayanagi vs. Naomichi Marufuji, Mohammed Yone, Nakajima, and Captain Noah
I think this is just a random assort of wrestlers that just didn’t have another match on the card. Super Crazy and Yone are the first two in, shoulderblock by Yone and he hits an armdrag. Super Crazy elbows him in return however and they tag Hirayanagi and Captain Noah into the match. Captain Noah slaps Hirayanagi and chops him into the corner, Irish whip by Captain Noah and he hits a lariat. Captain Noah dives off the second turnbuckle but Hirayanagi gets his foot up, causing Captain Noah to flop to the mat. Wristlock by Hirayanagi and he tags in Nicholls, stomp by Nicholls and he tags Ogawa. The not terribly interesting assault continues on Captain Noah until he lariats Nicholls and makes the hottest of tags to Nakajima. Nakajima kicks Nicholls and hits a boot in the corner, he goes up top and he delivers a missile dropkick. Ogawa and Super Crazy run in but Nakajima kicks both of them too, he grabs Nicholls but Nicholls elbows him off. Lariat by Nicholls, Nakajima tags in Marufuji while Hirayanagi is also tagged in. Hirayanagi hits a release German on Marufuji but Marufuji grabs him and applies an abdominal stretch. He lets it go but Hirayanagi ducks his kick combination and hits a backdrop suplex. Hirayanagi’s friends all come in the ring and attack Marufuji in the corner, sliding lariat by Nicholls to Marufuji and Hirayanagi covers him, but the pin attempt is broken up. Hirayanagi goes up top but Nakajima comes in and hits a heel kick. Yone drops Hirayanagi with an assisted Muscle Buster, and Marufuji picks up the three count! This was just a standard short opener. Most of them got a chance to do something but no one got a chance to do anything meaningful. Not offensive but nothing worth watching.
Manabu Nakanishi vs. Quiet Storm
I predict this will be a MAN’S MAN match. Nakanishi pushes Quiet Storm around to kick things off, Quiet Storm gets Nakanishi in the ropes and gives him a hard chop. Irish whip by Nakanishi and they collide with both staying up. They take turns attempting shoulderblocks until Nakanishi finally knocks Quiet Storm over, but Quiet Storm gets up and they trade chops. Quiet Storm is so short that Nakanishi is chopping more in the neck area, which probably helps him win the battle. Even the referee fusses at him for chopping the neck. Scoop slam by Nakanishi, he goes for a suplex but Quiet Storm blocks it and hits a vertical suplex of his own. Quiet Storm chops Nakanishi into the corner, Irish whip by Quiet Storm and he hits a lariat. Another lariat by Quiet Storm and he goes for a Northern Lights Suplex, but Nakanishi blocks it. Nakanishi goes off the ropes but Quiet Storm catches him with a lariat for a two count cover. Quiet Storm goes off the ropes but Nakanishi hits an over-the-shoulder slam, lariat by Nakanishi but the cover gets two. Nakanishi picks up Quiet Storm and goes for the Argentine Backbreaker but Quiet Storm elbows out of it. Both wrestlers lariat each other until Nakanishi hits the Polish Hammer. Argentine Backbreaker by Nakanishi, and Quiet Storm submits! This was too short to be worth skipping, but if they had gone ten minutes I may not have made it. Both are a bit limited and straight-forward, they aren’t bad or anything but there just wasn’t a lot of variety here. For an undercard match, nothing wrong with it, but I can’t really recommend it.
Lance Archer, Davey Boy Smith Jr., Iizuka, Taichi, and El Desperado vs. Maybach Taniguchi, Saito, Kitamiya, Kenou, and Ohara
They have a crazy brawl to start, with the action spilling outside the ring. Kenou is slid in the ring but he fights off Taichi and Desperado. Ohara comes in with Desperado, and Desperado is attacked by everyone against the ropes. It is interesting as really this is like two heel factions so both are going to be cheating. A brawl starts again with all ten wrestlers, Desperado and Ohara get back in the ring with Desperado hitting a vertical suplex. Desperado tags in Archer and Archer slams Ohara to the mat. Smith is tagged in next and he hits a suplex on Ohara, picking up a two count. Archer stomps on Ohara as Ohara is the whipping boy for team Maybach, but after a few minutes he gets away and tags in Maybach, but Iizuka chokes down Maybach in the corner. Maybach returns the favor and he hits a vertical suplex on Iizuka, getting a two count cover. Iizuka chokes Maybach with his wrist tape but Maybach takes it from him and performs a choke of his own. Atomic drop by Iizuka but Maybach hits a powerslam. Iizuka tags in Smith while Saito is also tagged in, and Saito hits a release German Suplex. Archer is tagged in next and he stomps on Saito, Archer charges Saito but Saito moves and hits a vertical suplex. Saito tags in Kitamiya, elbows by Kitamiya to Archer but Archer clubs him to the mat. Big shoulderblock by Kitamiya and he hits a Samoan Drop, his teammates come in the ring and everyone attacks Archer in the corner. Spear by Kitamiya, cover, but Archer kicks out. Smith comes in to help and Archer hits an assisted lariat onto Kitamiya, he picks up Kitamiya and with Smith they deliver the Killer Bomb for the three count! This was too chaotic and random to be memorable but it wasn’t bad. The middle oddly dragged, odd because with ten wrestlers in a twelve minute match there isn’t really a reason it should. I’m really just trying to get through the undercard here, nothing so far is worth your time.
Hitoshi Kumano vs. Sho Tanaka
This match is part of the Global Jr. Heavyweight League. They start with waistlocks and wristlocks, Tanaka works a headlock but Kumano reverses it. Tanaka gets out of it but Kumano shoulderblocks him down, armdrag by Tanaka and he delivers a dropkick. They take it out to the floor with Kumano throwing Tanaka into the railing, he slides Tanaka back in but Tanaka gets the upper hand and dropkicks Kumano in the back. Tanaka snapmares Kumano and applies a reverse chinlock. Camel Clutch by Tanaka but Kumano wiggles to the ropes to get a break. Tanaka picks up Kumano and he hits a scoop slam, cover by Tanaka but it gets two. Back up, Irish whip by Kumano but Tanaka elbows him, modified STO by Kumano and he elbows Tanaka in the corner. Vertical suplex by Kumano and he covers Tanaka for two. Kumano hides behind the referee and dropkicks Tanaka in the knee, picking up a quick two. Kumano goes off the ropes but Tanaka hits a spinebuster for two. Crab hold by Tanaka but Kumano gets a hand on the ropes. Kumano elbows Tanaka into the corner but Tanaka throws him to the mat and applies a single leg crab hold. Kumano almost makes it to the ropes but Tanaka sits down on it and Kumano submits! This was a solid young lion style match, its fun to see young lions from two different promotions face off. The one spot that Kumano used the referee as a shield was random and didn’t really fit in with the rest of the match, but overall it was decent. Not exciting by any stretch but they worked well together to make it fun to watch. Mildly Recommended
Bengala vs. TAKA Michinoku
This match is part of the Global Jr. Heavyweight League. Bengala is just Ricky Marvin under a mask for unknown reasons. Michinoku Irish whips Bengala but Bengala hits a handstand elbow strike. Headscissors by Bengala, Michinoku falls out of the ring and Bengala does a fake dive. Michinoku returns after a bit and they lock knuckles, eye poke by Michinoku and he rakes at Bengala’s mask. Headscissors by Michinoku and he applies a facelock, but Bengala quickly gets to the ropes. Bengala rolls out of the ring but Michinoku goes after him and throws Bengala into the railing. Back in, elbows by Bengala but Michinoku punches him to the mat. Michinoku lariats Bengala in the corner and hits a high knee, Michinoku picks up Bengala but Bengala flips away and rolls Michinoku to the mat. Kick to the head by Bengala, he goes off the ropes but Michinoku kicks him. Bengala flips Michinoku out of the ring and he dives out onto Michinoku with a tope suicida. Bengala slides Michinoku back in, he goes up top and hits a diving crossbody, but Michinoku rolls through it and picks up two. La Magistral by Michinoku, but Bengala kicks out. Leg kick by Michinoku but that gets a two as well. Michinoku applies the Just Facelock but Bengala gets into the ropes. Bengala kicks Michinoku but Michinoku hits a superkick. Bengala hits as superkick of his own, DDT by Bengala and he rolls up Michinoku for the three count! This was pretty slow placed and not very interesting. This is my first time seeing "Bengala" and I am not overly impressed, and Michinoku is nowhere near the level anymore to take over and lead a match without anything special to work with. Flat overall.
Daisuke Harada vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
This match is part of the Global Jr. Heavyweight League. This will have a lot of nifty exchanges that may be hard to express in a play by play, just as a warning. Sabre gets Harada to the mat first and applies a bow and arrow but Harada gets out of it. Sabre apples a headscissors but Harada gets out of it and they return to their feet. Sabre works the arm, Harada reverses it and they trade holds back and forth. Shoulderblock by Harada but Sabre hits an uppercut. Armdrag by Harada as they go tit for tat again, until Sabre kicks Harada in the leg. Sabre kicks Harada from the second turnbuckle, half nelson suplex hold by Sabre and he gets a two count. Irish whip by Sabre but Harada hits an overhead belly to belly suplex. Jumping elbow by Harada in the corner and he hits a second elbow smash for a two count cover. Scoop slam by Harada, he goes up top but Sabre catches Harada’s arm when he tries an elbow drop and applies a cross armbreaker. Harada quickly gets to the ropes, they both return to their feet but Sabre hits a single leg takedown and stomps on Harada’s arm. Harada and Sabre trade elbows again but Harada jumps over the leg sweep and dropkicks Sabre. Harada picks up Sabre and puts him on the top turnbuckle, he joins him and he delivers a superplex. Cover by Harada, but Sabre gets a shoulder up. Waistlock by Harada but Sabre rolls out of it, uppercut by Sabre but Harada hits a jumping kick. Sabre kicks Harada in the arm but Harada drills the Turn Over Knee. Harada goes for a German Suplex but Sabre grabs his arm and applies a Jim Breaks Armbar, forcing Harada to submit! This was… very well worked I guess would be the best way to say it. Very smooth, they worked together well and while it wasn’t always exciting they threw in some bigger spots so it wasn’t just a mat wrestling match. Overall I enjoyed it, for something different on the mid-card I think it worked really well and was fun to watch. Recommended
Atsushi Kotoge vs. Taiji Ishimori
This match is part of the Global Jr. Heavyweight League. Ishimori chops Kotoge hard in the chest to begin the match, Kotoge ends up outside of the ring and Ishimori sails out onto him with a great tope con hilo. Ishimori drives Kotoge into the ring post, he rolls Kotoge back into the ring and covers him for two. Knee drop to the back by Ishimori and he knocks Kotoge into the corner. Ishimori applies a stretch hold and he applies a crucifix hold for a two count. Ishimori applies a Muta Lock before rolling it over for a two count cover. Irish whip by Ishimori but Kotoge avoids him when he charges in. Ishimori throws Kotoge out to the apron, Kotoge rolls himself through the ropes but Ishimori catches him with a dropkick. Chinlock by Ishimori but Kotoge gets out of it and hits a big boot. Kotoge sits on the top turnbuckle and applies a necklock over the top rope, he releases the hold but Ishimori elbows him as he gets on the apron. Kotoge rolls into the ring and hits a cutter, cover by Kotoge but it gets a two count. Ishimori kicks Kotoge when he charges him and hits a jawbreaker, Ishimori hits a running knee in the corner and he covers Kotoge for two. Ishimori goes up top and hits the Meteora, getting another two count. Elbows by Kotoge and he hits a superkick, tombstone into a double knee by Ishimori, but Kotoge kicks out of the cover. Irish whip by Kotoge but Ishimori hits a handspring kick. Side slam by Ishimori, he goes up to the top turnbuckle but Kotoge hits his knees up on the 450 Splash attempt. Running kick by Kotoge, he picks up Ishimori and Kotoge headbutts him. Ishimori goes off the ropes, Ishimori ducks the first leg kick attempt but Kotoge but Kotoge hits a second. Another leg kick by Kotoge, cover, but Ishimori kicks out. Kotoge picks up Ishimori but Ishimori blocks the Killswitch, Kotoge hits a reverse hurricanrana but Ishimori gets a shoulder up. Kotoge picks up Ishimori and nails the Killswitch, and he picks up the three count! This was good but didn’t always flow well. The moves were on point, no doubt about that, but at times they were just taking turns without having great transitions. It felt at times like an exhibition between two really fluid wrestlers but there wasn’t a lot of emotion tied to it. Fine for a casual view but nothing really memorable. Mildly Recommended
Shelton Benjamin vs. Takashi Sugiura
They end up to the mat off the bat but return to their feet after a moment, knees by Benjamin but Sugiura elbows him back and they trade shots. Benjamin throws Sugiura out of the ring and goes out after him, but Sugiura throws Benjamin into the guard rail. Benjamin jumps back over the rail with an elbow strike, Benjamin returns to the ring and Sugiura slowly gets on the apron, Benjamin then slingshots over the top rope and he hits a DDT, sending Sugiura flopping to the floor. Back in the ring, Benjamin stomps on Sugiura and kicks him in the leg. Benjamin puts Sugiura’s leg around the ring post and slams it into the post before dropping Sugiura’s leg into the guard rail. Benjamin returns to the ring with Sugiura rolling in after him, and Benjamin applies a leglock. Sugiura gets to the ropes to force a break but Benjamin goes right back to the leg again but Sugiura punches out of the hold, elbow by Benjamin but Sugiura knees him in the stomach. Big boot by Sugiura in the corner but Benjamin lariats him back. Spear by Sugiura and he hits a Karelin Lift. Benjamin quickly applies an ankle hold but Sugiura reverses it into his own ankle hold. Benjamin kicks out of it and hits a spinning heel kick, Benjamin picks up Sugiura and he hits an Olympic Slam. Cover, but it only gets a two count. Benjamin picks up Sugiura and goes for another one but Sugiura slides away and hits a release German suplex.
Another suplex by Sugiura, he goes up top but Benjamin jumps up with him and throws Sugiura back down to the mat. Both wrestlers are slow to get up, they charge each other and trade lariats with neither going down. Benjamin and Sugiura trade elbows until Benjamin hits a superkick, Benjamin goes for the Paydirt but Sugiura blocks it and hits a backbreaker. Running knee by Sugiura and he hits another one in the corner. Elbows by Sugiura but Benjamin fights back until Sugiura hits a German suplex hold for two. Both wrestlers miss their signature moves, Sugiura grabs Benjamin and he nails the Olympic Slam for the three count! This was just too disjointed for me. They were doing leg work which is swell, some of it was even done in an entertaining fashion, but it literally meant nothing. Sugiura gets his leg slammed into the ring post, ankle holds, etc. but has no issue literally running around the ring moments later. For some reason jr. heavyweights get slammed for this but heavyweights get away with it, but there was just no attempt to make the leg work mean anything at all. Parts were certainly entertaining but there were some mistakes and miscues as well as awkward moments you wouldn't expect from two veterans. Not a good match.
(c) Minoru Suzuki vs. Yoshihiro Takayama
This match is for the GHC Heavyweight Championship. They trade strike attempts to start with neither really connecting, Suzuki gets Takayama into the ropes and he gives a clean break. Suzuki applies a side headlock but Takayama muscles out of it and knocks Suzuki against the ropes. Suzuki applies a cross kneelock but Takayama rolls to the ropes and gets a break. Back up, Irish whip by Takayama but Suzuki applies another kneelock. Takayama gets out of that also and he hits a scoop slam, El Desperado gets on the apron to distract the referee, and Taichi hits Takayama with a chair. Takayama goes after him but Suzuki applies an armbar over the top rope on Takayama. Suzuki pulls Takayama outside the ring and he kicks his arm in the guard rail. Suzuki gets a ring bell and he hits Takayama in the head with it, Suzuki then gets a chair and hits Takayama in the head while it is against the ring post. This naturally busts open Takayama, Suzuki drags Takayama up into the crowd and continues his assault. Suzuki eventually returns to the ring with Takayama following, and Suzuki punches Takayama as he gets on the apron. Suzuki stomps on Takayama’s Misawa armband and he applies a keylock, but Takayama gets to the ropes. Punches by Takayama but Suzuki headbutts him. Dropkick by Suzuki and he rakes at Takayama’s face, with both Taichi and El Desperado’s help. Big boot by Suzuki and he hits a PK. Cover by Suzuki but Takayama gets a shoulder up. Suzuki applies a sleeper but Takayama slowly gets to the ropes to get the break. Knees by Takayama to the stomach and he hits a high knee in the corner followed by the single arm suplex for a two count cover. Back up, belly to belly suplex by Suzuki and he does it again. Takayama applies a sleeper with a bodyscissors but Suzuki gets a foot on the ropes to get the rope break.
Headbutts by Suzuki and he punches Takayama in the head, snapmare by Takayama and he kicks Suzuki in the back. Takayama and Suzuki trade punches, Suzuki strings together a combination and he applies a sleeper hold, Suzuki goes for the Gotch-Style Piledriver but Takayama back bodydrops out of it. Elbows by Takayama, he goes off the ropes and he knees Suzuki in the chest. Taichi gets on the apron but Takayama boots him off. Boot by Takayama to Suzuki, and he covers him for a two count. Leg drop by Takayama and he hits an Everest German Suplex Hold, but the referee is pulled out of the ring while he is making the count. Suzuki-gun invades the ring as Archer and Smith take turns booting Takayama. Some NOAH wrestlers try to help but they are out-numbered, as Iizuka hits Takayama repeatedly with a steel chair. Punches by Suzuki to Takayama as Takayama bleeds even more, sleeper by Suzuki and he nails the Gotch-Style Piledriver. The referee is rolled back into the ring and Suzuki covers Takayama for the three count! Suzuki is still the champion! This was more like a gang war than a wrestling match, but oddly enough the time flew by for two older wrestlers going at it for almost 30 minutes. I am generally not a fan of this level of interference in title matches but it fit the NOAH vs. Suzuki-gun storyline too well, it would have been worse if there was no interference at all. Takayama bled for our amusement and took some brutal shots as well, no one can question his toughness. Just a really hard fought and captivating match, it wasn't pretty but it was definitely entertaining. A quality old-school brawl you don't see very often these days that should be required viewing for all wrestlers on how to do a hateful match. Highly Recommended
This event is really as good as NOAH is going to get. Their undercard is generally trash as they don't have the roster to support an entire card, but this event was really helped by the Jr. Heavyweight League (with matches ranging from average to great), and of course Suzuki/Takayama in a timeless display of brutally that we just don't see that often in wrestling anymore. I'd recommend to just skip past the beginning to get to the good stuff, but there is definitely a lot worth watching here. Worth a pick-up for sure.
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event reviewed on 7/31/15