We are nearing the end of 2020 now as Pro Wrestling NOAH hits Korakuen Hall one more time on Tuesday 1st of December as the last stop before their FINAL CHRONICLE show on Sunday 6th of December. That will be their last major show of the year to celebrate NOAH’s 20th Year Anniversary and Korakuen Hall is the final stop, the final build to that big show.
The show airs live and for FREE on ABEMA TV at 6:30 pm Tokyo time (9:30 am GMT. 4:30 am EST, 1:30 am PST), with the show available on ABEMA for the 7 days following the show before moving to Wrestle Universe.
Wrestle Universe is a paid-for subscription service, similar to New Japan World, but it stores both NOAH & DDT. At under £8 a calendar month it’s worth it!
NOAH THE BEST: FINAL CHRONICLE will see the GHC Heavyweight, National and Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Titles all defended so we have three preview matches taking place at this show.
On to the card!
MAIN EVENT: Go Shiozaki & Shuhei Taniguchi vs Sugiura Army (Takashi Sugiura & Hideki Suzuki)
Go Shiozaki defends his GHC Heavyweight Championship against Takashi Sugiura just five days after this match, so this is their final opportunity to face off before their big title match.
They have a long history against one another, specifically where the GHC Heavyweight Championship is concerned. Shiozaki is in his Fourth reign with that belt but Sugiura is the only other man to achieve that feat and he did it first. Shiozaki was the first of the two to hold the belt but Sugiura was the one to dethrone him.
I’ve written an article about Shiozaki and Sugiura’s battles over the GHC Heavyweight Championship, which drops tomorrow (Nov. 30).
Sunday, December 6th will be their seventh match for the GHC Heavyweight Championship and it takes place 11 years to the day from their first title match. Sugiura has won 4 of their matches, Shiozaki the other two. But the key factor is that Shiozaki has never retained the GHC Heavyweight Championship in a match against Sugiura. It’s interesting to note that Shiozaki and Sugiura are the most common foes for the GHC Heavyweight title; with the two facing each other for the belt a total of 7 times – 3 times more than the next highest (Sugiura vs Katsuhiko Nakajima).
As for their partners, Shiozaki and Taniguchi are former GHC Heavyweight Tag Team Champions together and are both products of the NOAH dojo. Their partnership really began in 2011 with Shiozaki the senior despite only having a year and a half more experience and younger in age. The team came to an end when Taniguchi turned on Shiozaki in their third singles match against each other while still partners and Taniguchi would don a mask and wrestle more aggressively as Maybach Taniguchi.
They would not re-join as partners again until Shiozaki returned to NOAH during the Suzuki-Gun invasion and Taniguchi still as Maybach would be the first NOAH roster member to team with Shiozaki again. They would spend all of 2016 chasing the GHC Heavyweight Tag Team Titles and finally win them in December of that year. Although they lose them on their second defence and then be on opposing sides for the next three years. Their partnership was renewed and strengthened this year after Nakajima broke up AXIZ and joined Kongoh.
Sugiura’s partner, Hideki Suzuki, is a 2 time Big Japan Strong World Heavyweight Champion and has also held the Wrestle-1 Championship and ZERO1 World Heavyweight Championship. A student of Billy Robinson, he specializes in catch wrestling but also has that aura of Japanese Strong Style. He has made semi-frequent appearances in NOAH since May 2019 where he has been a member of Sugiura Army. He took both Shiozaki and Nakajima to half-hour draws in August 2019 and February 2020 respectively, and is also yet to be pinned or submitted in a Pro Wrestling NOAH ring.
He has officially left ZERO1 and said he would spend more time in NOAH, although he has been absent from August until now. Although not booked for the 6th of December show, I am hoping that Suzuki will be used in a big way in NOAH come 2021.
Kaito Kiyomiya, Daiki Inaba & Yoshiki Inamura vs Kongoh (Katsuhiko Nakajima, Manabu Soya & Masa Kitamiya)
Kiyomiya and Nakajima both lost their big matches a week ago. Kiyomiya to Kenoh for the GHC National Championship and Nakajima to Shiozaki for the GHC Heavyweight Championship. Both are looking to rebound from those losses and for Kiyomiya, this is a chance to avenge his loss to Nakajima in last month’s N-1 Victory finals.
Inaba and Soya will have recently clashed in their first singles match on Saturday 28th November. Despite spending over six years together in Wrestle-1 where they teamed together and faced each other in tag matches, they had never had a singles match against each other until they both joined the NOAH roster earlier this year after the closure of Wrestle-1. Both are former two time Wrestle-1 Champions so regardless to the victor, the loser will want retribution.
Yoshiki Inamura was a member of Kongoh from the very formation of the stable up until a few weeks ago. He left feeling that his career wasn’t going to progress any further while a member of Kongoh so he had to leave to challenge himself. Of course, joining up with Kenoh’s rival Kiyomiya may not have been a decision that Kenoh enjoyed. But Kitamiya, after a tag match against Inamura, gave the youngster his blessing and told him not to give up.
Kitamiya was once in Inamura’s position. He began his career as part of Kensuke Office/Diamond Ring and didn’t join NOAH full time until September 2013. He rarely teamed with his Diamond Ring companions and instead forged his own path. He must see a lot of himself in Inamura, especially as he had a hand in training him, as they are both natural heavyweights who had quick ascensions up the ranks.
STINGER (Yoshinari Ogawa, HAYATA) & Kinya Okada vs Naomichi Marufuji, Kotaro Suzuki & Salvaje De Oriente
There were two curveballs that no one were expecting at NOAH’s big show last week. The first that Kotaro Suzuki’s mystery partner was not a returning name but a brand new addition to the Pro Wrestling NOAH roster is Salvaje de Oriente. If that name doesn’t ring any bells it’s because it’s a new gimmick entirely. And the man behind the mask is rumoured to be Yuya Susumu of FREEDOMS, a wrestler who debuted in 2003 and appeared in NOAH the once before in 2018.
The second shock of the night occured when STINGER took the GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team belts back from Momo No Seishun. Many were expecting, myself included, Harada and Kotoge to have a longer reign with the belts that they had only just won. However STINGER love to play spoiler and the violatile year in the NOAH juniors continues.
Suzuki and de Oriente were also victorious earlier in the night so with STINGER barely having being handed their newly won belts, they were the first to hit the ring and issue a challenge which will take place on December 6th. Of course Suzuki and Ogawa came to blows as soon as the challenge was made so this will be their last chance to get their hands on each other before the title match itself.
The inclusion of Okada and Marufuji is unique. They’ve barely had any interactions since Okada debuted in December 2018 and the last time they were in the ring was as partners back in July. Okada has potential to step up and be a heavyweight and future main eventer in NOAH. Marufuji has held all four of the junior and heavyweight singles and tag belts. While he hasn’t held a singles title in close to five years, he remains a consistent threat to any title scene. So Okada wrestling Marufuji is a big opportunity for him.
Kongoh (Kenoh & Nioh) vs Sugiura Army (Kazushi Sakuraba & NOSAWA Rongai)
Kenoh will defend his GHC National Championship against Sakuraba on December 6th. The champion was the one to issue the challenge to Sakuraba after both he and Sugiura hit the ring at the end of Shiozaki vs Nakajima and Kenoh was already in the ring helping tend to Nakajima. Kenoh, in typical foul mouthed fashion took exception to Sugiura Army coming out and as only one could be challenged he singled out Sakuraba.
This will be Sakuraba’s first shot at a singles title since he challenged Shinsuke Nakamura for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship at Wrestle Kingdom 7, January 2013. So almost 8 years! He only had six singles matches in his 4 years with New Japan and this is already his seventh with NOAH since he joined in September last year.
Stylistically they will match up similar to that Nakamura match with a bit of Sakuraba’s match against Masaaki Mochizuki thrown in. They had eight minutes alone in the ring against each other at the end of a 12 Man Elimination Match between Kongoh and Sugiura Army where they were the final two survivors on each team. Kenoh on that night beat Sakuraba for Kongoh to be victorious.
Momo No Seishun (Daisuke Harada & Atsushi Kotoge) vs Kongoh (Tadasuke & Hao)
The former GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions have no down time as they are already placed into a match to build the GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship between champion Harada and challenger Tadasuke. Unlike the other title matches this won’t be happening on December 6th but instead December 19th (which will air live on Wrestle Universe).
Harada and Tadasuke have history dating back to Osaka Pro. They debuted a year apart, Harada in 2006 and Tadasuke in 2007 so Tadasuke spent his formative years losing to Harada. In fact out of 23 singles matches between the two (20 in Osaka Pro the other 3 in NOAH) Harada has won 20 of them.
But Tadasuke has really stepped up his game since turning his back on Harada and joining Kongoh. He beat YO-HEY and only lost to Harada via DQ. He is more focused and dangerous than ever and has both Hao and Nioh in his corner to turn the odds in his favour.
Kotoge and Hao are no slouches in the ring either. Kotoge has held the GHC Junior Heavyweight and Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Titles, both at the same time on one occasion. Hao, while yet to taste gold in NOAH is a well accomplished wrestler and a very fluid and fast moving junior heavyweight wrestler.
Muhammad Yone vs Yuko Miyamoto
A heavyweight clash and rematch from their 15 minute draw on the 30th of August. Two very different backgrounds here as Yone was brought up in BattleArts, debuting in 1995 whereas Miyamoto debuted in 2003 and is more well known for his time in Big Japan.
Yone joined the NOAH roster back at the end of 2001 and is a former 5 time GHC Heavyweight Tag Team Champion. Miyamoto is still a freelancer, only appearing on NOAH shows as a member of M’s Alliance. He did take part in the 2017 Global League before that however and beat Kenoh which resulted in a failed GHC Heavyweight Championship match against Kenoh the next year.
With them going to a draw last time, if another 15 minute time limit gets announced I could see a second draw. While neither are likely to make the main event scene again individually, they are still solid hands in the ring who are not yet ready to step aside.
FULL THROTTLE (Hajima Ohara, Seiki Yoshioka & YO-HEY) vs Junta Miyawaki, Kai Fujimura & Yasutaka Yano
The trio of the new FULL THROTTLE is still yet to be beaten in six-man tags since YO-HEY replaced Kotoge. But old issues have raised their head as with three strong individuals in the group, there is bound to be the question of which one of the three is in charge. Which one is the leader of FULL THROTTLE.
That question did not go well for Atsushi Kotoge as when he won a three way against his partners to be declared the leader, his time in FULL THROTTLE would come to an end soon after. So with how violatile and unpredictable the NOAH juniors have been this year, there may not be an end to all the shake up’s that have happened this year!
Kai Fujimura will have made his NOAH debut on Saturday the 28th of November on their New Hope show. Debuting in July last year as part of Wrestle-1 he bounced around a few smaller Japanese promotions and it looks likely that he may make Pro Wrestling NOAH his new home.
Speaking of fresh blood, Yano only debuted on October 28th this year. The fifteenth graduate of the Pro Wrestling NOAH dojo, he was the first to graduate in just under two years. Junta himself debuted in 2017 so this a young, hungry team wanting to make a name for themselves and establish themselves on the NOAH roster.
And there’s the full card. Seven matches, three of which have huge implications before their respective title matches to take place on Sunday the 6th of December.
As already noted this show will air live and for free on ABEMA TV. And if you can’t watch it live it will remain on ABEMA TV for 7 days afterwards before moving over to Wrestle Universe.
I have a feeling the main event alone will be well worth watching!