NOAH Destiny 2015 (12/23/2015)- Tokyo, Japan
YOSHINARI OGAWA & HITOSHI KUMANO vs. YOSHIHIRO TAKAYAMA & KAITO KITAYIMA- 3/10
CAPTAIN NOAH, GENBA HIRAYANAGI, & QUIET STORM vs. AKIOSHI SAITO, MOHAMMED YONE, & MITSUHIRO KIYOMIYA- 4/10
Apparently grabbing the other guy by the nuts is not a NQ.
HAJIME OHARA vs. KENOH- 7.25/10
One or two of the spots were a bit too fighting spirit-y for my tastes, but the fast pace of this match was a much-welcome change from the previous matches. The match itself also came across like two hungry young lions trying to show everyone that they are ready to move up the card (yes, I realize they are both over 30, but the feeling was there).
GO SHIOZAKI vs. MAYBACH TANIGUCHI- 7.75/10
Taniguchi had this giant weapon that attacked Shiozaki with. There was no DQ for this, or for shoving a referee who tried to stop him from using this weapon. Aside from that one bit at the beginning, this was pretty freakin’ great. I can see some people calling it finisher kick-out overkill, but I never got that feeling at all while watching the match.
TAKASHI SUGIURA vs. TAKASHI IIZUKA- 1/10
It’s an Iizuka match, which means it’s boring and relies on garbage for any sort of heat, but he does it right in front of the ref and there is no DQ. In this match, he used a foreign object to choke a man who was in the ropes. I guess in NOAH’s official rulebook, two negatives make a positive. Also not a DQ: attacking the referee.
KATSUHIKO NAKAJIMA vs. SHELTON BENJAMIN- 7/10
Shelton works over Nakajima’s back, but Nakajima makes his comeback and lots of kicking each other happens, as you would expect with these two. A great match, but I was hoping for a lot more.
GHC JR. HEAVYWEIGHT TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH: Daisuke Harada & Atsushi Kotoge(c) vs. Suzuki-Gun (TAKA Michinoku & El Desperado)- 8/10
An awesome back and forth match with some great battles- and “battles” is the perfect word for them.
TITLE VS. HAIR MATCH: Taichi(GHC Jr. Heavyweight Title) (w/a chick) vs. Taiji Ishimori(hair)- 8/10
Since I have seen him last, Taichi appears to have gone the Yujiro Takahashi route and gotten himself a chick. In doing so, he has one-upped Yujiro in two ways. First, his chick is much hotter than Mao-Chan. Second, whereas Yujiro just sits in the corner and lets his girlfriend strut her stuff for everyone, Taichi and his lady-friend have gone through the effort of developing an extremely elaborate entrance. As near as I can tell, he is a cross between the Phantom of the Opera and a rock star, and she is his protégé/backup singer/dancer. They even went as far as to steal the Christopher Daniels/Allison Danger blowjob spot (side note: one of the funniest moments in ROH history was Matt Sydal sticking his face in front of the camera while this was happening and going “oohh! Sexy!”)
They also did a good job of incorporating her into the match, with Taichi annoying everyone by going over to hug her instead of starting to wrestle the match, which set up Ishimori’s frustration in the beginning, and also using her as a distraction for Taichi’s cheating. I don’t often talk about the camerawork unless it’s really bad, but here they got a PERFECT shot of this girl distracting the ref in the foreground while we could clearly see Taichi beating the sh*t out of Ishimori with a chair in the background.
From there they proceeded to have an awesome babyface vs. heel match with some nail-biting nearfalls. I’d love to see Taichi return to New Japan in later 2016 to be the top heel Jr. Heavyweight. (Also, I did some research and it seems likely that Taichi’s lady-friend is his wife, Ofune, a Japanese singer and former wrestler).
GHC TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH: Killer Elite Squad(c) (w/Suzuki-Gun) vs. Big in USA (Chris Hero & Colt Cabana)- 7.25/10
Every time I see Hero’s jiggly belly I can’t believe how much he has let himself go since being released by WWE… and every single time he reminds me that I shouldn’t give a damn because it hasn’t effected his ring-work at all. This time, despite looking like a Chris Hero who has been traveling around the multiverse eating all of the other Chris Heroes, he did a flip that would make even skinny, super-athletic 2007 Chris Hero jealous. Speaking of physical changes, since I have seen them last, Davey Boy Smith Jr. has dyed his hair blond while Lance Archer has dyed part of his goatee red. It’s weird.
Apparently Archer shoving the ref across the ring so hard he took a ref bump did not warrant a disqualification. Other than that, this was a great match, with some good twists towards the end.
GHC HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH: Minoru Suzuki(c) vs. Naomichi Marufuji- 9/10
Kenta Kobashi was the official belt-holder during this match, and during the intros, he gave Marufuji a little gesture as if to say “it’s up to you, pal.” And indeed it was up to Marufuji; not just to defend NOAH’s honor from these invaders and, as the official t-shirt for this show (which some of the NOAH wrestlers were wearing) said “bring back the GHC belt,” but also protect the legend Kobashi from Suzuki, who had vowed to assault Kobashi if Marufuji lost this match.
As you would expect with such high stakes and a match that NOAH has been building to the entire year, the atmosphere was electric. Marufuji worked the head while Suzuki worked both the arm and the neck. Marufuji finally prevailed in the end with a vertical suplex transitioned in an Emerald Flowsion, the finisher of NOAH founder and puro legend Mitsuharu Misawa- who died in a NOAH ring in 2009, and whose memory Suzuki had disrespected back in June. This is what a match that you’ve spent an entire year building to should be.
The only thing I didn’t like in this match was that Suzuki was allowed to get away with way too much cheating and bullying the referee.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- the war will continue!
As Marufuji is celebrating, Takashi Sugiura came up behind him, gave him an Olympic Yosen Slam, then kicked over the trophy that comes with the belt, and tore off his NOAH shirt. He then walked up the ramp to where Suzuki was recovering and offered him a handshake, which Suzuki gave him, along with a Suzuki-Gun t-shirt!
A freakin’ awesome show from NOAH! This is what your big show of the year should be. Your WrestleMania- or perhaps more appropriately for the time of the year, your Final Battle. This whole year has been building up to this show, and this show paid off fantastically!