7/16 PRO WRESTLING NOAH DESTINATION REPORT: Kenoh vs. Kojima World Championship match, more

BY MARCUS ARIAS, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR

Full results of Pro Wrestling Noah Destination
PHOTO CREDIT: NOAH

SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

PRO WRESTLING NOAH DESTINATION 2022
JULY 16, 2022
TAPED IN TOKYO, JAPAN
AIRED ON WRESTLE UNIVERSE
REPORT BY MARCUS ARIAS, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR

Commentators: Stewart Fulton and Mike Schraudner

(1) Shuji Kondo, Tadasuke, Hajime Ohara & Hi69 vs. Daisuke Harada, Atsushi Kotoge, YO-HEY & Xtreme Tiger

Hi69 and Daisuke Harada started things off. As soon as the bell rang, Harada made a beeline for Shuji Kondo, sending Kondo to the floor. Shuji immediately called for the tag and entered the match. Kondo sent Harada to the mat with a big shoulder tackle. Harada answered right back with an overhead belly-to-belly suplex. Kondo rolled out to the floor to catch his breath and Hajime Ohara tagged himself in after Kondo’s return. Harada tagged in Xtreme Tiger. Xtreme Tiger hit a very impressive head-scissors takeover, sending Ohara to the floor. Tiger faked a dive and called out Tadasuke. Tiger got the crowd to start chanting for YO-HEY and made the tag. Tadasuke used this strength advantage to his advantage, knocking YO-HEY to the mat with a running elbow. Tadasuke sent YO-HEY into the corner and rushed in but YO-HEY leaped over him, catching Tadasuke with a leg lariat.

Both teams entered the ring and an eight-man brawl broke out. The NOAH Jr. Army stood tall, throwing the Kongo team to the outside, taking them all out with diving crossbodies. Atsushi Kotoge came in and double-teamed Tadasuke with YO-HEY. Tadasuke caught YO-HEY with a drop toe hold, draping YO-HEY on the second rope, allowing Ohara to come in with a cheap shot. The other members of Kongo stormed the ring and beat down YO-HEY with a four-on-one advantage. Harada and Xtreme Tiger tried to make the save but the numbers were too great. Hi69 tagged in and continued the attack on YO-HEY, getting a two count after a spine buster and lionsault. YO-HEY fought off a suplex and hit a picture-perfect dropkick on Hi69. Kotoge tagged in and hit Hi69 with several running clotheslines. The Kongo team rushed in but Atsushi fought them all off. Kotoge got a two count after a top rope hurricanrana. Hi69 answered back with a Michinoku driver and tagged in Tadasuke. Kotoge tried to roll up Tadasuke for a pin. Tadasuke kicked out but ate a running knee from Kotoge. Kotoge tagged in Xtreme Tiger, who spiked Tadasuke with a tornado DDT. Tadasuke faked out Tiger, catching him with a DDT of his own. Both men made it to their corners and tagged Harada and Kondo, respectively.

Harada and Kondo exchanged some stiff shots until Harada caught Shuji with a northern lights suplex, getting a near fall. Harada tried for another pin after a victory roll. Daisuke tried again with a high-angle German suplex but the Kongo crew broke up the pin. The Jr. Army evened the odds and Harada planted Kondo with a body slam, getting a two count after a flying elbow drop. Kondo hit a lariat out of nowhere, turning Harada inside out, and got the win.

WINNERS: Shuji Kondo, Tadasuke, Hajime Ohara & Hi69 in 11:15

(Analysis: This was a fun opener that showcased how deep the NOAH junior division is and how it’s embraced so many different styles. Kondo has established himself as a player in the division and his brewing rivalry with Harada could be very good.)

(2) RENE DUPREE, HIJO DE DR. WAGNER JR., SIMON GOTCH, STALLION ROGERS & ANTHONY GREENE vs. KAZUSHI SAKURABA, MASAAKI MOCHIZUKI, SHUHEI TANIGUCHI, DAIKI INABA & KINYA OKADA

Simon Gotch and Kazushi Sakuraba began the match. Both men worked a great ground game until Gotch forced a rope break. Gotch tried for a cross-arm breaker but Sakuraba rotated into a kneebar until Gotch made it to the ropes again. Kazushi tagged in Daiki Inaba as Gotch made the tag to Stallion Rogers.

Rogers and Inaba traded arm bars and arm drags until the pace picked up when Inaba went for a sunset flip. Rogers rolled through and hit Daiki with a dropkick, getting a two-count. Rogers tagged in Hijo de Dr. Wagner Jr and Inaba tagged Shuhei Taniguchi. The two big men exchanged blows until Taniguchi finally brought down Wagner with a double ax handle. The former King Tani made the tag to Masaaki Mochizuki. Kinya Okada briefly got involved to help Mochizuki with the double team. Masaaki officially tagged in Okada. Wagner easily overpowered Okada with a backbreaker and leg drop. Wagner tagged in his old partner, Rene Dupree.

The former GHC heavyweight tag champs caught Okada with some double-team offense. Dupree trapped Okada in the corner and unloaded with a flurry of punches. Dupree got a two-count after an elbow drop before tagging in Anthony Greene. Greene caught Okada with a dropkick to the back of the head, getting another near fall for his team. Greene tagged in Stallion Rogers who kept okada isolated, hitting a corner dropkick. Rogers made the quick tag to Simon Gotch. Gotch rocked Okada with a stiff forearm, causing Kinya to roll to the ring apron. Gotch quickly caught up to Okada though and landed a vicious apron senton. Gotch followed up with an elbow drop to the floor. Simon rolled Okada back into the ring, getting a near fall. Gotch made the tag back to Dupree

Dupree went right back to the strikes. Okada fired up and tried to mount some offense but was denied by Dupree. Okada did manage to connect with a dropkick, sending Rene to the opposite corner. Okada finally reached his team’s corner and tagged into Taniguchi. Shuhei did the “house of fire” spot, taking out most of the foreign team. Wagner was the exception though and he quickly entered the ring to assist his partner. This didn’t last long though as Taniguchi took out Dupree and Wagner with some suplexes. Stallion Rogers and Anthony Greene made their presence known but Taniguchi dispatched them and tagged in Inaba. Inaba came in with rapid-fire running forearms until Wagner ran in to make the save. Wagner and Dupree hit a double-team maneuver, getting a two count as Mochizuki broke up the count.

Dupree tagged in Gotch as Inaba brought back Sakuraba. Kazushi went straight for the rear naked choke but Gotch rolled through the hold and connected with an enziguiri. Sakuraba hooked Gotch with a kneebar. Wagner made the save and all ten men started to brawl. Tags were made to Okada and Greene respectively. Okada and Greene traded kicks until Mochizuki took a cheap shot on Greene. After some tandem offense, Okada got a two-count with a gutwrench powerbomb. The benches cleared again and amongst the chaos, Greene landed a spinning crossbody for the win.

WINNERS: RENE DUPREE, HIJO DE DR. WAGNER JR., SIMON GOTCH, STALLION ROGERS & ANTHONY GREENE in 13:30

(Analysis: I wasn’t surprised that the foreign team won but I was surprised that Anthony Greene was the one that got the pin. The standouts here were Gotch and Sakuraba. I know they’ve had a singles match recently but I want more. I never thought I’d say that about Simon Gotch.)

(3) Yoshinari Ogawa & Yuya Susumu vs. Eita & Kotarou Suzuki

Yuya and Kotarou started the match. Suzuki went straight to Ogawa and nailed him with a forearm. Susumu and Suzuki traded shots as Eita stomped away on Ogawa on the outside. Back in the ring, Susume sent Suzuki into the corner, and once again, Kotarou took another cheap shot on Ogawa. Ogawa jumped into the ring to get some payback but was cut off by Eita. As Eita and Ogawa brawled again on the floor, Suzuki and Susumu laid into each other. At this point, Yuya was nursing a deep cut above his eye. Suzuki smartly began to work the cut. Susumu tried to mount a comeback but was caught by a tilt-a-whirl back breaker. Yuya did manage to land a codebreaker and made the tag to Ogawa.

Ogawa took out Eita, causing him to crash near the commentary area. Suzuki tried for a second rope flying forearm but was hit by a low blow from Ogawa. Eita distracted Ogawa from the floor long enough for Suzuki to go for a low blow of his own and tag in Eita. Suzuki began to remove the turnbuckle pads as Eita went back to the stomps. The Perros del Mal team sent Ogawa into the exposed turnbuckle and caught him with a Gory-bomb/superkick combo, getting a near fall as Susumu made the last-minute save. Suzuki sent Yuya into the exposed steel as well. Eita locked Ogawa in the Numero Uno, as the ref called to stop the match. Eita refused to break the hold as the bell rang and rang. Eita grabbed Ogawa’s Jr. tag championship and held it high.

Winners: Eita & Kotarou Suzuki in 5:35

(Analysis: There wasn’t a whole lot for this one. Susumu was a good stand-in for Chris Ridgeway but once Chris can get back to NOAH, the eventual rematch should be…OK, I guess. I can go either way with PDM hijinks.)

(4) Ninja Mack vs. Dante Leon

Things started relatively slow for these two as they locked up and exchanged holds. Mack and Leon went to the mat and traded pinning combinations until Mack switched to a submission-based attack. Ninja Mack began to target Dante’s arm and got a two count after moving into a la magistral cradle. Mack shot Dante into the ropes. Leon rebounded and connected with a thrust kick. Leon took to the air for the first time in the match, catching Mack with the Divine Cutter, Mack rolled out to the floor and was met with a suicide dive from Dante. Ninja Mack tried to send Leon back into the ring but Dante jumped onto the ring apron. Dante missed a PK kick but did hit with a rolling elbow.

Dante put Mack back into the ring and took a minute to gloat. This gave Mack enough time to hit Dante with a dropkick, sending Leon back to the floor. Mack connected with the apron PK but missed with a flying chop. Ninja Mack got the crowd behind him and blasted Leon with a flying uppercut. Mack positioned Leon back into the ring and tried for a second rope phoenix splash but Dante got his knees up. Leon connected with a big kick in the corner and landed a spiral tap, getting a two-count. Leon tried to send Mack into the corner but the ninja countered with a top rope kick to Dante’s head. Leon went to the floor but Ninja Mack hit his triple-backflip Ninja Special on the outside.

Back in the ring, Mack tried for a pin but barely got a two count. Mack rushed into the corner but Leon got his arm up, sending Mack to the floor. Mack landed on his feet though and surprised Leon with a sunset flip. Both men went back to strikes until they went down with a double clothesline. Mack and Leon both rose to their feet at the same time and were ready with a kick. Leon caught Mack in the corner and they traded blows on the top turnbuckle until Leon hit a springboard Spanish Fly, getting a near fall. Mack got a near fall of his own after a thrust kick/Robinson special combo. Dante hit a flying knee and connected with a Shooting Star Cutter, getting a 2.99 count. A frustrated Leon started to hit Mack with some forearms and tried to set up for another aerial attack but Mack clung to Dante’s leg. Dante managed to shake off Ninja Mack and go for a Swanton but Mack got his knees up. Mack hit the 630 phoenix splash, getting the win.

WINNER: Ninja Mack in 14:22

(Analysis: This one made great use of the NOAH/GCW relationship. The NOAH office seems to be fully behind Ninja Mack and considering his history with Dante Leon, expected a good match between them. I will say that things fell apart for a second when they decided to try a more mat-based style. These two are great high-flyers and while I give them credit for trying something different, maybe this was a time to stick to specialties.)

(5) Hardcore Tag Team Match-Rob Van Dam & Masato Tanaka vs. NOSAWA Rongai & Super Crazy

Van Dam and Super Crazy started the match. Super Crazy called for a test of strength but hit RVD with a dropkick when Rob hesitated. Super Crazy sent Van Dam into the rope and readied for a back body drop. RVD floated over and caught Super Crazy with a leg roll-up. Tags were made to Tanaka and NOSAWA. Tanaka unloaded with some forearms before grabbing a chair, wanting to make use of the “hardcore” stipulation. Takana broke the chair over Rongai’s head. Tanaka found another chair and placed it in the center of the ring. Masato went for a lariat but NOSAWA hit Tanaka with a drop toe hold onto the chair. Rongai connected with a dropkick, sending the chair into Tanaka’s face. NOSAWA sent Tanaka into the barricade and looked for more plunder, this time, grabbing a table. Masato fought Rongai off and whipped him into the ring post and threw a chair at Rongai’s head. On the other side of the ring, RVD and Super Crazy brawled as well. Tanaka positioned NOSAWA onto the table and climbed to the top, hitting a splash. RVD slammed Rongai on the barricade and connected with his trademark spinning leg drop.

Back in the ring, Tanaka threw a table into Super Crazy. Masato set up the table in the corner and tried to send Super Crazy into it. Super Crazy counted with a powerbomb through the table. Super Crazy began to hit himself with the table remnants and clocked Tanaka with a nearby keyboard, getting a two count. NOSAWA got back into the ring with even more weapons, blasting Tanaka with a legit guitar shot, getting a near fall. Rongai readied a kendo stick shot but Masato blocked it and hit Rongai with a white-Russian-leg sweep. Tanaka made a cover and Super Crazy tried to use another kendo stick to break the count. Tanaka rolled out of the way, causing Super Crazy to hit Rongai instead. Crazy apologized and the Perros del Mal team unleashed some stiff kendo shots on Masato. Tanaka fought off the double team attempt, which allowed RVD to get involved, hitting the rolling thunder on Super Crazy. RVD slammed NOSAWA down with a body slam and hit the split-legged moonsault. Super Crazy broke the count by hitting RVD with a trash can. Crazy hit Tanaka with the trash can and connected with the moonsault. Super Crazy made a cover but it was broken by an RVD dropkick. Super Crazy and RVD began to fight on the outside again.

In the ring, NOSAWA and Tanaka exchanged dueling chair shots until Tanaka broke his chair over NOSAWA’s head. Tanaka busted another chair as Rongai screamed for more. Rongai took another chair shot and finally fell. NOSAWA hit Tanaka with a low blow. RVD was ready with a Van Daminator and landed the 5 Star Frog Splash for the win.

WINNERS: Rob Van Dam & Masato Tanaka in 10:45

After the match, all four men celebrated in the ring.

(Analysis: This match was heavy on the ECW nostalgia and was pretty much nothing but shenanigans and weapons. This is completely OK. I think everyone knew what they were getting here and it delivered what was advertised. Rob Van Dam fits well in NOAH and I wonder when he’ll pop up next.)

(6) Go Shiozaki, Takashi Sugiura & Kazuyuki Fujita vs. Masakatsu Funaki, Katsuhiko Nakajima & Manabu Soya

Funaki and Sugiura started the match. Funaki went for the striking game early as Sugiura tried to keep things on the mat. Both men tried to gain an advantage but were deadlocked. Funaki tagged in Soya as Sugiura brought in Shiozaki. After another stalemate, Soya wrestled Go to the mat with a test of strength. Shiozaki got a brief reprieve with a back body drop but Manabu was ready with a shoulder tackle. Go rolled to the floor. As Go got back in, Soya was ready with some kicks and made the tag to Nakajima. Nakajima sent Go into the corner. Shiozaki counted but Nakajima was ready with a boot. Shiozaki started up with the machine gun chops in the corner. Nakajima pushed Go away and they began to exchange their trademark blows. Nakajima hit a thrust kick but Go hit a clothesline, getting a two count as Kongo broke up the count. Nakajima spiked Go with a brainbuster.

Tags were made as Sugiura and Funaki went back at it. Funaki missed a kick and Sugiura took him down with a double leg. Sugiura sent Funaki into the corner and charged in with a running boot to Masakatsu’s face. Funaki forced Sugiura down and went for the cross-arm breaker. Sugiura stacked up Funaki for a near fall, forcing Funaki to break the hold. Funaki went right to the rear naked choke but Sugiura brought Funaki down with a back suplex. Sugiura made the tag into Kazuyuki Fujita.

Fujita and Funaki traded bombs until Fujita connected with a stiff forearm. Funaki hooked Fujita with a roll-up, getting a two-count. Fujita blocked a kick from Funaki but Funaki was ready with a knee. Funaki made the tag to Soya. Manabu rocked Fujita with a series of corner lariats. Soya dropped Fujita with a vertical suplex. Kongo rushed into the ring and took out their opponents, allowing the red crew to triple team Fujita. Soya hit a Death Valley Driver on Fujita, getting a two count after Sugiura made the save. Fujita caught Soya with a big powerbomb, getting the three count.

WINNERS: Go Shiozaki, Takashi Sugiura, & Kazuyuki Fujita in 13:00

(Analysis: This was a fun styles clash and if you’re an MMA fan, there was a lot of history here. To me, the story here was Fujita and Soya. These two behemoths beat the heck out of each other and I wouldn’t mind a match between them soon.)

(7) The Final Countdown-Keiji Muto vs. Kaito Kiyomiya

Muto tried to work over Kaito’s leg early on and tried to overpower Kiyomiya into a crossface. Kaito outwrestled Keiji as Muto tried for an arm drag. Muto took Kiyomiya back to the mat with a side headlock takeover. Keiji kept the pressure on but Kaito broke free and sent Muto down with a dropkick. Kiyomiya followed up with Muto’s flash-elbow, getting a one count. Kiyomiya blocked a dragon-screw attempt and began to put stress on Muto’s arm. Kiyomiya prevented another dragon screw and continued to work the arm. Muto connected with a low-angle dropkick to Kiyomiya’s leg and tried for a third dragon screw. Again, this was blocked. Kaito locked in a cattle mutilation. Muto started to fade but was able to escape the hold.

Muto tried to get Kaito up with a back body drop but Kiyomiya telegraphed it and planted Muto with a DDT. Keiji missed on a dragon screw again, allowing Kiyomiya to go for an armbar. Muto switched over to the kneebar, cranking the hold. Kaito made it to the ropes but Muto refused to break the hold until the ref almost counted to five. Muto finally hit the dragon screw, keeping the pressure on Kiyomiya’s knee. Muto locked in the figure-four dead center of the ring. Kaito rolled over and reached the ropes. Muto broke the hold and went for another leg screw but Kaito countered with an enzuigiri with his good leg. Kaito took the fight to Muto until his leg buckled. Kiyomiya managed to hit a flying forearm and missile dropkick for a near fall but seemed to damage the leg more.

Kiyomiya got another near fall with a bridging German-suplex. Muto sent Kaito onto the ramp. After a few forearm shivers, Kaito reentered the ring by hitting Muto with a diving chop-block to Keiji’s knee. Kaito put Muto into the figure-four. The hold was locked in for some time before Muto was able to reach the ropes. Kaito dropped Muto with a Tiger-suplex, getting a near fall. Kiyomiya went for a top rope flying knee but Muto sidestepped and shot the Supernova into the corner. Muto got Kaito onto the top turnbuckle and managed to connect with a hurricanrana, getting a very close near fall.

Muto caught Kiyomiya’s flying knee attack and transitioned to a dragon screw. Keiji hit Kiyomiya with the Shining Wizard. Muto hit another Shining Wizard, this time hitting Kaito from behind. Kaito kicked out at the very last second after a third Shining Wizard. Muto went for a fourth one but Kaito blocked it and began to kick away at Muto’s leg. Kiyomiya connected with a missile dropkick on Muto’s leg and hit a Shining Wizard of his own, getting a near fall. Kaito went right into the figure-four. Kiyomiya broke the hold and hit another dragon screw before locking in the figure-four again. Muto tapped!

WINNER: Kaito Kiyomiya 26:00

(Analysis: Well, the first leg of Muto’s retirement tour is in the books. This felt like a passing of the torch as Kaito not only got a win back but he did so in a decisive manner. Kaito having to win by using Muto’s moves may seem like an easy way out but it works.)

(8) GHC Tag Team Championship-Masa Kitamiya & Yoshiki Inamura vs. Hideki Suzuki & Timothy Thatcher

Inamura and Suzuki started things off and it was technique versus power. Inamura muscled Suzuki into the ropes. Hideki hooked on a cravat. Inamura tried to slam Hideki down but Suzuki maintained the hold. Inamura overpowered Suzuki, tossing him across the ring. Thatcher asked for a tag and was followed by Kitamiya. Masa tried to muscle Thatcher up but Timothy blocked the attempt and picked the ankle. Thatcher transitioned into a bow and arrow. Masa broke the hold and took Thatcher down with a flying shoulder tackle. Inamura tagged in and traded blows with Timothy. Thatcher got hold of Inamura’s leg and dragged him into his corner, tagging in Suzuki.

Hideki went back to working over Inamura’s leg before making a quick tag back to Thatcher. Inamura easily dropped Thatcher with a powerslam, getting a two count. Thatcher blocked a clothesline with a headbutt and tossed Inamura around with a belly-to-belly suplex. Timothy went for the Fujiwara armbar but Inamura blocked it long enough for Kitamiya to make the save. Hideki sent Masa into the guardrail and began to double team Inamura with Thatcher. Thatcher went for a butterfly suplex but Inamura was too strong. Timothy moved into the Fujiwara armbar. Once again, Masa made the save. Inamura was able to make the tag after a shoulder tackle.

Kitamiya went for a Saito suplex after another flying should tackle but Thatcher countered with a European uppercut. Masa got a two-count after a piledriver and running lariat. Kitamiya went for submission of his own, wrenching Thatcher’s leg with the prison lock. Suzuki broke the hold but was thrown to the outside by Inamura. Masa went for the Saito again but Thatcher countered into a rear naked choke. Thatcher tagged Suzuki who hit Masa with an exploder-suplex. Masa followed up with a spear and tagged in his partner. Inamura went into a “fighting spirit” spot until he was able to catch Suzuki with an overhead suplex. Masa and Inamura double-teamed Suzuki. Inamura went to the top and hit Suzuki with a flying shoulder tackle, getting a near fall. Yoshiki rushed into Suzuki but Hideki was ready with a forearm. Hideki locked in the octopus hold but Inamura overpowered Suzuki. Hideki did manage a near fall after a dragon suplex. Suzuki countered a powerslam attempt with a series of elbows, followed by a rear naked choke. Inamura was unable to answer the referee’s count and the match was ended.

WINNERS: Timothy Thatcher and Hideki Suzuki in 20:30

(Analysis: When Timothy Thatcher was released from WWE, I did not see NOAH as a destination for him. Boy, I’m glad to be wrong. He thrives in this environment and Hideki Suzuki is the perfect partner for him. I know that Inamura was a replacement for Michael Elgin but I have to say that I like the pairing of Inamura and Kitamiya a lot more.)

(9) GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship-HAYATA vs. Seiki Yoshioka

This started at a break-neck pace as both men tried for an early knockout blow. Seiki slowed things down with an armbar but HAYATA sent Yoshioka into the ropes. Seiki rebounded right into an inverted atomic drop from HAYATA. HAYATA connected with a single leg dropkick to the side of Seiki’s head. HAYATA began to target Yoshioka’s arm. Seiki went to the ropes again and connected with his own single-leg dropkick, after gaining an insane amount of momentum. Yoshioka cornered HATAYA and unloaded on the champ with stiff kicks to the midsection. Seiki got a two-count after a running scissor kick.

Yoshioka kept the pressure up until HATAYA landed with a dropkick, allowing HATAYA to switch targets, now focused on Yoshioka’s leg. HAYATA sent Yoshioka into the barricade and wrapped Seiki’s leg around the steel. As the ref told HAYATA to get back to the ring, HAYATA kicked the barricade into his opponent’s leg. HAYATA rolled Seiki back into the ring and continued to attack Yoshioka’s leg. HAYATA hit a running dropkick to the back of Seiki’s knee after another inverted atomic drop. Seiki fought HAYATA off in the corner but the champ wrapped Yoshioka’s leg around the second rope and laid in with some kicks. HAYATA landed a second rope dropkick to the bad leg of Yoshioka and locked in a single-leg Boston crab until Seiki made it to the ropes.

HAYATA landed some elbows on the leg but Yoshioka hit HAYATA with a single-leg codebreaker. HAYATA charged into Yoshioka with a baseball slide dropkick but Seiki jumped out of the way. The challenger connected with a second rope moonsault to the floor. Yoshioka might have misjudged the distance though as his shins landed square on the barricade. The ref started the count until Seiki was able to get HAYATA back in the ring. Seiki got a two count after a tiger driver. Yoshioka got another near fall after a buzzsaw kick to HAYATA’s head. HAYATA answered back with a handspring elbow. Seiki rolled to the floor but was met by a dive from HAYATA. HAYATA planted Seiki with a body slam but missed on a moonsault attempt.

Both men traded kicks. HAYATA went for the handspring elbow but was caught with a knee from Seiki. Yoshioka draped HAYATA across the second rope and landed a running legdrop, getting a two count. HAYATA blocked a kick to the head but was unable to avoid the follow-up. Seiki tried to get HAYATA up for a powerbomb but the champ turned it into a modified leg-breaker moving into a kneebar. Seiki clawed his way to the ropes. HAYATA kicked out of the Crash Driver and connected the Headache. HAYATA retained.

WINNER: HAYATA in 20:45

After the match, Shuji Kondo came out and challenged HAYATA. HAYATA accepted the match.

(Analysis: I can’t tell if this match was great because HAYATA has improved or because Yoshioka is just that good. I’m going to hope that it’s a bit of both. Since leaving Stinger, Yoshioka has stepped up his game and I’d love a rematch in the future. Until then, I’ll glady take a HAYATA/Kondo match)

(10) GHC Heavyweight Championship- Satoshi Kojima vs. Kenoh

After an intense staredown, Kenoh and Kojima tried to get an early advantage. Kenoh went for Kojima’s arm as Satoshi attacked the leg. Kojima locked in the cravat until Kenoh drove the champ into the corner. Kojima let loose with a big chop that sent Kenoh reeling but the challenger came back with a kick. Kojima knocked Kenoh down with a shoulder tackle and played to the crowd. Kenoh was ready with a kick that sent Kojima to the outside. Kenoh feigned a dive and mocked Kojima whilst hitting the Kongo pose.

Kojima was mad and kicked away at Kenoh, eventually tossing him to the floor and landing an uncharacteristic diving crossbody. Satoshi whipped Kenoh into the guardrail as hard as he could several times. Kojima set Kenoh back in the ring and they were both ready to unleash some heavy strikes. Kojima went for cover after a stomp on the back of Kenoh’s head, getting a two count. Kenoh bounced right up and unloaded on Kojima with some knee strikes until Kojima knocked Kenoh down with a big forearm.

Kenoh finally got Kojima off of his feet with his trademark kicks. Kenoh began to kick the back of Kojima. The champ asked for more. Kenoh made a cover after another kick, barely getting a two-count. Kenoh got another near fall after a second rope Meteora. The challenger hooked in a body scissors but Kojima reached the ropes. Kenoh toyed with Kojima, asking if this was the best NJPW had to offer. Kojima answered back with a running forearm, sending Kenoh into the corner. Satoshi emptied the clip of his machine gun chops. Kenoh yelled “That didn’t hurt.” and hit Kojima with a running boot. Kenoh started in with some machine gun kicks in the corner. Kojima reloaded the chops and hit a flying forearm.

Satoshi climbed to the top and landed a flying elbow drop, getting a near fall. Kojima spiked Kenoh with a DDT and positioned Kenoh on the ring apron. Kojima hit Kenoh with a DDT on the apron but Kenoh came right back up and drove Kojima down with a DDT on the floor. Kenoh got Kojima back into the ring and got a near fall after a running knee. Kenoh put Kojima in an ankle lock but the champ was able to reach the ropes. Kenoh and Kojima traded blows again. Kenoh caught Kojima with a Pele kick but Kojima followed up with a forearm.

Kenoh positioned himself on the second rope but Kojima cut him off and knocked him aside with a lariat. Kenoh crumbled to the floor. With both men down, the ref started the count. Kojima rose and pleaded with the ref to stop as he tossed Kenoh back into the ring. Satoshi hit the Koji Cutter. Kojima tried to get Kenoh up for a suplex but Kenoh countered into a choke. Satoshi made it to the ropes but Kenoh did not want to break the hold. Kenoh hit two PK kicks but Kojima was able to grab on to Kenoh’s leg, blocking the third. In an homage to his long-time tag partner, Kojima went in for some Mongolian chops. Satoshi hit a super Koji Cutter, getting a very close near fall. Kenoh went back to the rear naked choke. Kenoh broke the hold and decided to try for the PFS stomp. Kenoh was right on target and went for a second one. Kojima rolled away and nailed Kenoh with the lariat. Kojima muscled Kenoh up for a brainbuster, getting a near fall. Kojima called for the lariat again. This time, Kenoh ducked the strike and caught Kojima with a kick to the head. Kenoh hit the PFS again as Kojima barely kicked out. A frustrated Kenoh went back to the top rope and hit a moonsault-double knee, getting the three count.

WINNER Kenoh in 28:15

After the match, Kenoh grabbed a mic and said that Pro Wrestling NOAH was not a place for NJPW wrestlers to come in and find some easy matches. He said that learned a lot from Kojima but he enjoyed beating Kojima a little bit more. He closed by saying that he will improve NOAH and take it to the future.

(Analysis: I loved so much about this match. This was hard-hitting and both men looked like they had something to prove. I did not have Kenoh winning in my picks but this was a great surprise. Kenoh is a wonderful break from the last few champions and hopefully, this does bring a more future-focused Pro Wrestling NOAH.)


CATCH-UP: 7/14 MLW KINGS OF COLOSSEUM REPORT: Hammerstone vs. Holliday for the world title, more

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