The final big Chronicle show to celebrate Pro Wrestling NOAH’s 20 Year Anniversary takes place on Sunday the 6th of December. Entitled NOAH THE BEST: FINAL CHRONICLE, we see three huge title matches as the GHC Heavyweight Championship, GHC National Championship and GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Titles are put on the line.
Airing live and for FREE on ABEMA TV the show starts at 3 pm JST. (6 am GMT | 1 am EST | 10 pm PST on Saturday)
If you can’t watch it live it will be up for 7 days afterwards before moving over to Wrestle Universe.
Alternatively, Fite TV is airing the show live with English commentary for $19.99 with unlimited replays. This is the third NOAH show to be aired on Fite TV since the end of October and by all accounts, they learned from their mistakes on the first show and employed commentators who actually know what they are talking about for the second.
Now on to the card!
GHC Heavyweight Title Go Shiozaki (c) vs Takashi Sugiura
The Champion barely survived his last title defence against Katsuhiko Nakajima on November 22nd and now he has to put the belt on the line against the man that is his biggest obstacle. I wrote an article about Shiozaki and Sugiura and their history together with the GHC Heavyweight Championship which you can read HERE:
But the cliff notes are that Shiozaki and Sugiura have faced each other six times for the GHC Heavyweight Championship. Sugiura has won four of those matches to Shiozaki’s two. As happenstance December 6th 2020 marks 11 years to the day from their first Title match. And on December 6th 2009, Sugiura beat Shiozaki to begin his first reign with the belt.
Shiozaki has never walked in and out of a GHC Heavyweight Title match against Sugiura still as Champion. He lost the belt twice to Sugiura, December 2009 and July 2016. He has however ended two of Sugiura’s title reigns in July 2011 and May 2016. But whereas Sugiura successfully defended his belt against Shiozaki in September 2010 and August 2018, Shiozaki is yet to retain his belt against his rival.
To make matters worse, as already stated, he barely walked out of Yokohama Budokan still Champion against Nakajima. You can see the pressure of a lengthy title reign is affecting his body as each match more and more tape covers his arms and shoulders. You can see he is hurting, but the champion is nothing but defiant and resilient.
Takashi Sugiura is the worse opponent you could face when you are already hurting. He has a smash-mouth, hard-hitting style that takes a physical toll on all his opponents. Their previous matches have been nothing but displays of violence as the two beat the crap out of each other with chops, elbows, slaps and kicks. In their early title matches Sugiura was always able to overpower Shiozaki when it came to brute force and I don’t know if Shiozaki will be able to hold his ground as well as he did in 2016 & 2018 in his current state.
They’ve faced off twice in tag matches since the challenge was made. Sugiura won the first match by referee stoppage as he had Shiozaki trapped in a front choke. After the match Sugiura stated that he was disappointed in Shiozaki and the fight that he brought. Well Sugiura may well have kept his mouth closed as he awoke a sleeping giant and Shiozaki won the second by pinning Sugiura directly after a short arm lariat.
If Go manages to retain here, it appears as if he is locked on to hold the belt until the end of the year. He would also take the belt to Korakuen Hall on January 4th and finally celebrate holding the belt for a full year. Something that only Kenta Kobashi, Mitsuharu Misawa, Takashi Sugiura and Kaito Kiyomiya have done previously.
For Sugiura, if he wins the belt then he’ll be the first man to hold the GHC Heavyweight Championship five times and would be a perfect present right before he celebrates the 20th year anniversary of his wrestling debut. He debuted 23rd December 2000 and has a NOAH produced Sugiura Army show on the 29th of December to celebrate that milestone. Walking in as the champion would be an ideal scenario for him.
This will be hard hitting. This will be a fight. And I can’t wait!
M’s Alliance (Naomichi Marufuji, Keiji Mutoh, Masakatsu Funaki & Yuko Miyamoto) vs Kaito Kiyomiya, Shuhei Taniguchi, Daiki Inaba & Yoshiki Inamura
I can’t help but feel we’re going to have the next challenger to the GHC Heavyweight Championship decided in this match. And for me it falls to one of two men – Keiji Mutoh or Kaito Kiyomiya.
Mutoh has made no secret of his desire to become GHC Heavyweight Champion and complete the trifecta of the GHC, IWGP and Triple Crown Titles. Only two men in history have achieved that feat and they are Kensuke Sasaki and Yoshihiro Takayama. He has already beaten Kaito Kiyomiya in August and Shuhei Taniguchi in November so with his current record in NOAH and his legendary background he could easily put forth a challenge to the winner of the main event.
Kaito Kiyomiya did lose to Mutoh in August and while he won his block in the N-1 Victory, he would fall to Nakajima in the finals. But on his road to winning A Block he did beat Go Shiozaki himself on the last day of the blocks. A win to redeem himself for losing the GHC Heavyweight Championship to Shiozaki on January 4th. And if Takashi Sugiura was to become champion, Kaito beat him in December 2018 to start his first title reign and beat him again in a rematch in June. A strong win in this match would help him in his title claim.
A dark horse contender could always be Masakatsu Funaki. He is a former AJPW Triple Crown Champion and ZERO1 World Heavyweight Champion and while he only has a few matches to his name in NOAH, he is yet to be pinned or submitted. NOAH has shown that former MMA stars with World Championship pedigree can receive title shots early based on strong performances. But let’s not lean too heavy into Inokism just yet!
There are some combinations in this match that will be worth watching out for. Kiyomiya and Taniguchi will both want revenge against Mutoh for those singles losses. Inaba, despite being trained and debuting in Mutoh’s Wrestle-1 will have been in the ring with Mutoh in a NOAH ring more than he was in a Wrestle-1 ring after this match!
Inamura will get time spent in the ring against a team of veterans for him to grow and learn from. I want to see how Kiyomiya and Funaki interact after Kiyomiya’s great singles match against Kazushi Sakuraba. Five days after this match Yuko Miyamoto will challenge for the Big Japan Deathmatch Championship in a One Thousand Needles deathmatch so we could see a Big Japan Deathmatch Champion in a NOAH ring due to the M’s Alliance in the near future!
There could be a surprising amount of fireworks in this match!
GHC National Championship – Kenoh (c) vs Kazushi Sakuraba
Kenoh puts his National Championship on the line for the third time after a One Hour Title vs Title draw against Go Shiozaki and a victory over perennial rival Kaito Kiyomiya. Sakuraba is not someone I envisioned challenging for the belt but it is an exciting prospect!
Sakuraba has not challenged for a singles title since his loss to IWGP Intercontinental Champion, Shinsuke Nakamura. Almost 8 years! And he’s had more singles matches in a NOAH ring now over the past year and a half than he had in his four years with New Japan. Of course not all of them were victories but he did beat Inamura, Mochizuki and Kitamiya.
I’m fully expecting a sub-15 minute match. Sakuraba hasn’t wrestled for more than that in over 20 years. But then this match does not need to go long. Kenoh has asked for Sakuraba to be the PRIDE version of himself and for those not familiar with MMA, Sakuraba was a legend in a PRIDE ring winning 9 matches almost in a row (a draw happened earlier in that run) and earning himself the nickname of the Gracie Killer as he beat Royler, Royce, Renzo and Ryan back when the Gracies ruled MMA.
They had a blistering encounter during a Sugiura Army vs Kongoh elimination tag where they were the final two members left for their team. Stylistically they match up together very well with Kenoh having a hard kicking, high impact style against Sakuraba’s grappling and submission style.
On any other night this could be match of the night but I feel that the main event will take that honour.
GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships – STINGER (Yoshinari Ogawa & HAYATA) (c) vs Kotaro Suzuki & Salvaje De Oriente
STINGER immediately put their newly won belts in the line against former ally turned enemy, Kotaro Suzuki, and his masked new friend.
Suzuki and Ogawa go back a long way. Suzuki was closely tied to Misawa and Ogawa by association as part of Ogawa’s long tag team with Misawa, The Untouchables. The trio were often a team taking on BURNING (Kobashi and allies) and Sterness (Akiyama and allies). They have rarely been at odds with each other and even when Suzuki returned back to NOAH from All Japan, Ogawa immediately welcomed him back.
They were GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions together from February 2019 to November 2019. Even when Suzuki beat Ogawa for the GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship in April 2020 they were still allies in STINGER.
So what happened to cause so deep a rift that Suzuki claims he will not just take Ogawa’s belt but his head too? Well the NOAH junior division in 2020 has been chaotic to say the least. Betrayals aplenty. Mass brawling. HAYATA betrayed RATEL’S to join STINGER which I guess endeared him to Ogawa given that they have been inseparable. STINGER had just lost the GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team belts and things were tense in a trios tag match.
HAYATA accidentally super kicked Suzuki which left him prone to a roll up three count from Tadasuke. Suzuki was confrontational and argumentative, getting in HAYATA’s face after the match but when Ogawa tried to play peacemaker and came between them, Suzuki lashed out and hit Ogawa. From there it was a blur as Ogawa raged and attacked Suzuki with HAYATA joining in and ending in a tag team powerbomb. Suzuki was officially kicked out of STINGER.
Since then Suzuki and Ogawa have often come to blows any time they have been near each other. Suzuki recently lost the GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship to Daisuke Harada so will want a belt back around his waist. Ogawa & HAYATA have only just reclaimed those belts after spending over a month without them so will not want to give them up without a fight.
Also NOAH must have a lot of faith in this new masked mystery man, Salvaje De Oriente in order to place him in a high profile title match so soon. Don’t forget that Hajima Ohara began his NOAH career by wrestling under a mask as Maybach SUWA Jnr to establish himself on the roster before unmasking, revealing his true identity and becoming an integral part to the NOAH junior division. So hopefully this is also the case for De Oriente.
Kongoh (Katsuhiko Nakajima, Manabu Soya & Masa Kitamiya) vs FULL THROTTLE (Hajima Ohara, Seiki Yoshioka & YO-HEY)
Let’s be honest here, FULL THROTTLE is clearly outmatched. A trios match against a team with one heavyweight, they might stand a chance against them. Two heavyweights are pushing it. But THREE heavyweights? I don’t fancy there odds there.
Especially when those heavyweights are the Nakajima, Soya & Kitamiya. Nakajima who won the N-1 Victory this year and came so close to becoming GHC Heavyweight Champion. Soya & Kitamiya, two beefy heavyweights who came close to becoming GHC Heavyweight Tag Team Champions in October.
I’d say Ohara as his work cut out for him as the new leader of FULL THROTTLE. He won a three-way elimination match between the trio to establish who was the man in charge of their group. Of course, that did not work out well the last time they did that when Atsushi Kotoge claimed right to call himself the leader of FULL THROTTLE and then saw him something thrown out of the group and replaced by YO-HEY a few months later. I hope history does not repeat itself for Ohara!
Kongoh (Tadasuke, Hao & Nioh) vs Momo No Seishun (Daisuke Harada & Atsushi Kotoge) & Junta Miyawaki
The final preview match before Tadasuke challenges Harada for the GHC Heavyweight Championship on December 19th. Tadasuke directly pinned Harada in their last tag match on December 1st so he will want to continue that momentum forward in this match heading to the title shot itself.
They have clashed the once before over the GHC Junior Heavyweight belt where Harada won to retain his belt in November 2017. And that was when they were both part of RATEL’S along with YO-HEY and HAYATA. I guess that’s why Harada, since Tadasuke turned on him, has constantly referred to Tadasuke as the “fourth” RATEL’S member. Basically the lowest one on their totem pole.
But that if anything fired Tadasuke up as when he pinned Harada he called him “Eighteenth”. And as there are 18 juniors on the NOAH roster, Tadasuke is aiming to take Harada’s belt from him and put him at the absolute bottom of the junior division. This is a very personal rivalry between the two but as ever they have involved their stable mates and friends.
The Kongoh junior team are on a roll after being the first to beat the new FULL THROTTLE as a trio. They are military in precision with their group pose, their group elbows and synchronized dives. They are a complete unit who work in tandem with each other.
Momo No Seishun on other hand have amazing chemistry in the ring which they have developed over the past decade plus from Osaka Pro and NOAH. But outside the ring they admit they don’t spend much time together and have a frosty relationship. However they acknowledge that their chemistry in the ring is still as strong as it once was despite their lack of any friendship outside the ring – Although it must be argued there must still be something between them as Kotoge made the decision to save Harada. The decision that got him kicked out of FULL THROTTLE.
Kinya Okada vs Yasutaka Yano
Their third singles match since Yano’s wrestling debut on October 28th. I’m really pleased to say that Yano is showing potential and great fire so may be one to watch in the junior division over the next few years.
Okada now has two years of experience (or at least will have on December 7th) so it’s high time he stepped away from being the young lion. He’s made his first strides towards that with new ring gear, drawing with generational rival Yoshiki Inamura and now really looking like he belongs in the ring with his seniors.
We all know Okada is winning but after he’s spent so long losing it’s rewarding to see him finally win and there’ll be a bigger reaction when he picks up an unexpected win, hopefully soon in to 2021.
That’s the entire card. I know it’s easy to take for granted being able to live watch shows direct from Japan now, but this time last year NOAH was still not on a streaming service.
Now we get to watch them on Wrestle Universe and only pay £8 a month. Now it seems NOAH are pushing forward with live shows with English commentary at only $19.99 with unlimited replays. And I’ve heard nothing but good things for the duo of Mark Pickering and Stewart Fulton so good work there, guys.
And I know it’s a bit more hard work but you can live stream this show on ABEMA for free. I have the app on my phone so I just need to cast my screen to the TV. It’s a lot easier and cheaper than tape trading I can tell you that!