So I finally have a laptop up and running so I can get back to doing reviews, so what better way to jump back into things than with NOAH’s final big show of the featuring every title on the line with Global League Winner Kaito Kiyomiya challenging Sugiura for the GHC belt in the main event!
Match 1 – Kinya Okada & Yoshiki Inamura vs. Lin Dong Xuan & Mizuki Watase
Pretty basic match-up which is to be expected when you have rookies involved, so it’s a bt plain but still executed fine. I’ve already noted seeing quite a bit of promise in Inamura but this is my first time seeing Okada who seems pretty ok himself. In typical rookie fashion though he taps out to a boston crab from Lin.
Winner: Xuan/Watase (via boston crab) **1/4
Match 2 – 50 Funky Powers (Mohammed Yone & Quiet Storm), Akitoshi Saito & Shiro Koshinaka vs. Hooligans (Cody Hall, KAZMA SAKAMOTO & Mitsuya Nagai) & Masao Inoue
Not whole lot going on here. They start out brawling a bit on the outside and then in the ring Saito and Cody Hall have a little interaction. Inoue comes in does a couple of his usual things then everyone starts brawling on the outside again leaving Koshinaka and Inoue in the ring where Koshinaka hits an old lad diving hip attack followed by a powerbomb to get the victory. Everyone then continues to fight still way after the bell. Seemed like a bit of a waste with Funky Powers just being involved on the fighting on the outside which I didn’t care much for.
Winners: Funky Powers/Koshinaka (Via powerbomb) **
Match 3 – Junta Miyawaki, Koji Kanemoto & Seiya Morohashi vs. RATEL’S (HAYATA, Tadasuke & YO-HEY)
This was decent. It’s good see Junta’s upped his game a little since I last watched him and busting out some new offense, though he still gets controlled by RATEL’s for a good portion and ends up taking the loss after getting taken out by a lariat from Tadasuke. Still a good continual progression from him though. It’s also nice seeing Kanemoto make an appearance, really don’t seem him around enough, the guy can still go but he keeps his schedule very light these days so fair to him.
Winners: RATEL’s (via lariat) **3/4
Match 4 – Atsushi Kotoge, Kenou & Masa Kitamiya vs. Kazusada Higuchi, Kota Umeda & Nobuhiro Shimatani
Pretty solid little inter-promotional match. DDT crew do get a tid bit of control but it’s mostly some decent back and forth action that includes a nice lil kicking contest between Kenou and Uemada. Match ends with Kenou giving Shimatani a diving foot stomp to get the victory.
Winners: Kotoge/Kenou/Kitamiya (via Diving foot stomp) ***
Match 5 – Yoshinari Ogawa vs. Doug Williams
Real solid match between these two vets. Got some real lovely grappling on the go which breaks down once Ogawa tries going for Doug’s leg. But Doug retaliates going after Ogawa’s arm that gives him a bit of control before they start going for the pinfalls that quickly ends with Doug hitting the Chaos Theory to win. Nothing epic or fancy, just some straight up good wrestling to give Doug Williams one final outing in NOAH.
Winner: Doug Williams (via Chaos theory) ***1/4
Match 6 – GHC Jr. Tag Title Match: Hi69 & Minoru Tanaka (c) vs. Back Breakers (Hajime Ohara & Hitoshi Kumano)
This was good. Tanaka/Hi69 take control right off the bat when Tanaka blindsides Kumano with a kick to the head. They hold it for a long while too which involves quite a few boot scrapes to Kumano’s face. Ohara is eventually in the hot seat though trying to bust out them backbreakers so the match gets more even as it progresses to the end which includes few nice nearfalls and Tanaka busting a lovely a moonsault plancha from the second turnbuckle. The actual finish doesn’t gocompletely to plan though as Ohara has Tanaka locked in his submission and Kumano goes for what seems like a modefied argentine backbreaker but he struggles to hold up Hi69 for it and ends up dropping him, so he instead opts for a normal Argentine backbreaker which makes Hi69 submit, so the Backbreakers become the new Jr. Tag champs. Little slow going early on but it picks up very nicely in those final minutes.
Winners: Back Breakers (via Argentine backbreaker) ***1/2
Match 7 – GHC Jr. Title Match: Kotaro Suzuki (c) vs. Daisuke Harada
Another terrific match between these two, that was on par with their previous encounter. Kotaro once again adopts the strategy of targeting Harada’s neck but only gets a bit of control early on, as Harada’s not here to take Kotaro’s shit this time around making the match much more back and forth throughout with a lot of very good action on the go and some lovely nearfalls including Harada this time managing to escape Suzuki’s rolling La Magistral cradles. It’s clear that Harada has learned well from their previous matches and utilised that along with his determination to overcome the Jr. Veteran, hitting a second Katayama german suplex hold to win back his Jr Belt. These guys really do have great chemistry together providing two of the most exciting Jr. title matches of the year.
Winner: Harada (via Katayama German suplex hold) ****1/4
-After the match RATEL’s come out to celebrate but YO-HEY ends up turning on them all and joining forces with Kotaro and Yoshinari Ogawa.
Match 8 – GHC Tag Title Match: Go Shiozaki & Katsuhiko Nakajima vs. Hooligans (Maybach Taniguchi/ Yuji Hino)
This was very solid. The champs start off real well but then Maybach low blows them both and Go gets clocked in the head with one of the belts which turns him into a bloody mess. This gives the hooligans full advantage as they continue to beat on Go and make it a real struggle for him. He eventually makes the tag and thing slowly begin to even up but just as it looks like Go’s gonna get the win after hitting a Lariat, Sakamoto on the outside stops the ref from making the 3 count and all the Holligans start a beat down on the champs. Kotoge tries to come down to help out but ends up getting taken out himself. Hino then hits the Fucking Bomb on Shiozaki to get the 3 count and win the belts.
This did a very good job of making the Hooligans look dominant, quite a few people probably won’t be fans of their heel tactics but they make it work and come across as a real scummy faction. Also nice to see Yuji Hino mixing it up with the NOAH lads, he’s definitely a big needed benefit to the Hooligans. Good stuff.
Winners: Hooligans (via Fucking Bomb) ***1/2
Main Event – GHC Heavyweight Title Match: Takashi Sugiura (c) vs. Kaito Kiyomiya
Great main event and what way to end the year for Kiyomiya managing to dethrone Sugiura tpbecome the GHC champ for the first time.
Throughout the match Kiyomiya was doing his best to match-up to Sugiura, and whilst he wasn’t doing so well in the strike department and Sugiura was taking control couple of times, even trying to make Kaito submit with a boston crab like a rookie at one point, Kiyomiya’s youth and determination was helping him through the struggles, busting out whatever offense he had to try to put Sugiura down. He even tries the pinning clutch that he beat Sugiura with in the Global league but no success this time around.
Towards the end however it looked as though Sugiura was gonna remain on top with a battered Kiyomiyalooking like he was done for. But the young lad still had fight in him and after a big sequence offense that included a modified emerald flowsion, Kiyomiya hit one final Tiger suplex with a bridging hold to win the title.
Feel like they could have cut a bit of time and made the match flow better but it was still very enjoyable especially seeing Kiyomiya do his best to overcome the fierce Sugiura.
Thus ends in my opinion the best heavweight title run of 2018, I’ll admit was skeptical when Sugiura took the belt of Kenoh earlier in the year, but man did Sugiura certainly prove that he deserved it with a terrific run of matches.
What a journey for Kaito too since getting his first challenge for the GHC title at the beginning of the year against Kaito I took a strong liking to the guy and while I understood the problems people had about him, he had a certain aura that I connected with. It’s been a bit of a rocky road but the man has managed to break a bunch of records along the way being the youngest wrestler to win the Global League, Global Tag League, GHC tag titles and now the GHC heavyweight championship, all in the same year. I’m very happy for him and I’m sure there’s still much more to come from him as he heads into 2019 at the top of the mountain.
Winner: Kiyomiya (via Tiger Suplex hold) ****
-After the match Kenou comes out to challenge Kiyomiya much like how Kiyomiya did the same time last year when Kenou had the belt and I’m certainly looking forward to seeing them face off again.
A good final show for NOAH to end 2018 with new champions being crowned across the board and some interesting decisions being made as they head into the new year. You could easily skip the undercard but I think the all the title matches are worth checking out and at the end of day this was very important show for NOAH and I’m excited to see how their progress continues in 2019.
Thanks for reading and merry Christmas!
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