Back with the second part of the NOAH double header from 26/27 June, with Great Muta getting dragged out of the mothballs being the selling point for this one. The 26/06/2021 show had a fantastic Cage match Main Event that made the show a thumbs up all by itself, but this show might be a bit more of a difficult sell.
I actually don’t mind Muta matches, but you 100% need a hot crowd in order to make them work and this show will have zero fans because they’ve taped it at the NOAH TV Studio, so there’s no way for Keiji Muto to really hide here and I’m not sure his in-ring in the Muta gimmick by itself will be good enough to make the match work, but I’ll be happy to proven wrong.
The event is emanating from the NOAH TV Studio in Tokyo, Japan on the 27th of June 2021
Calling the action are Stewart Fulton and Mark Pickering
Stewart and Mark run down the card for us as well as recapping what happened on the previous show.
Yoshiki Inamura Vs Kinya Okada
Both of these men have similar levels of experience, but Inamura is considerably bigger and has been getting more of a push recently so you have to think that he would be the favourite here. The work a good back and forth match here, with Okada focusing on strikes and submission attempts whilst Inamura tries to use his power in an effort to brute force his way to victory. They don’t anything especially wild or innovative, but its good solid meat and potatoes wrestling and both guys show of the level of competence you’d expect from younger Japanese wrestlers.
Okada throws his usual snug kicks, and even manages to muscle Inamura up into a gut-wrench suplex at one stage, which gets him a near fall. Inamura fights back with a big back body drop and that sends us into the closing stretch, with Okada actually taking quite a lot of it. There’s a brutal section where Okada just keeps kicking Inamura in the chest and Inamura just won’t go down, letting out guttural yells in the process. Inamura keeps coming and gets a series of body slams for two before getting the old Oklahoma Stampede for three.
WINNER: YOSHIKI INAMURA
Good opener there, with strong work from both men and a nicely executed finishing stretch
Even in an empty building the loser still has to go out of the side door whilst the winner gets to go up the ramp.
Kai Fujimura and Yasutaka Yano Vs Los Perros del Mal de Japon (Ikuto Hidaka and Kotaro Suzuki)
Fujimura and Yano are Young Lions who got beaten up by HAYATA and Ogawa on the previous show, and they’ll probably get beaten here as well against another set of experienced opponents, but they should hopefully get to showcase themselves a little bit prior to that. Hidaka remains one of my favourite guys in the company, with him having almost a mid-90’s Ricky Morton vibe to him these days, in that his best days are clearly behind him but he’s so smart with what he does that he can still go in there and have good matches, especially when in front of a crowd that is into him.
Fujimura and Yano do get hold their own a bit in this one, with Yano even getting to work on the mat with his idol Suzuki at one stage, but the veteran team never really looks in any jeopardy either. The wrestling itself is solid, with the execution being on point and everyone selling and feeding for everything how you would want them to. The Young Lions get a few two counts and don’t look out of place at all, and the veteran team gives them quite a bit actually. The result is never in doubt though and eventually Suzuki pins Yano after a series of shots to the gut.
WINNERS: PERROS DEL MAL
Decent outing there, with Yano in particular giving a good account of himself
Suzuki and Hidaka do the handshake following that after their victory.
Four Way Elimination Match
Mohammed Yone Vs Akitoshi Saito Vs Masao Inoue Vs Shuhei Taniguchi
All of these men are in the same stable and are fighting for the Title of King of Funk here. Inoue is pretty much finished as a wrestler now and can barely move, whilst Saito and Taniguchi have both seen better days. Yone can still go when he wants to, but those days don’t come along as often as they used to. The way they are working this is with two guys going at it in the ring whilst the other two wait on the apron to be tagged in.
Yone not surprisingly works most of this, and he trades strikes with Saito at one stage, which is decent because Saito can still throw some nice kicks and elbows even though he’s decidedly past his best as a wrestler. He gets a beauty of a spinning wheel kick at one stage as well, which Yone actually pops up from before getting knocked down again. They actually make poor Inoue run around at one stage by having him try to take everyone out with shoulder tackles, and it honestly looks like he’s going to keel over at points. Sure, make the broken down guy run a lot, why not have him try and moonsault whilst you’re at it?
I’m actually feeling really bad watching Inoue here; the dude can’t even stand or kick out properly. He was never the greatest in-ring worker even in his prime, but he could work a passable match at least. Now he can barely do anything and watching him struggle through matches like this in an empty building is just miserable. Yone even gives him a Muscle Buster at one stage, which is absolute madness, and thankfully that’s enough for three.
Elimination #1 – Masao Inoue via Mohammed Yone (1) – Pin
Yone is putting in a proper shift here, and he’s drenched in sweat as a result. To be fair to him, he’s the one holding this entire match together right now, so I don’t blame him for being knackered as its one heck of a tall task to keep all of these guys motoring along in anything resembling a good match. Yone and Taniguchi do a reasonable section together and then Saito comes in with an impressive hanging suplex on Yone for two. He held him up for quite a while there, so credit to Yone for a good post and credit to Saito for pulling the move off correctly.
Saito gets a series of Uranage Slams on Yone following that, but Yone keeps kicking out, so Saito goes to THE CLAW instead and turns it into a slam, but that only gets two as well. Fair enough, they got me with that near fall, I thought Yone was cooked. As I type that, Saito catches Yone with an Enziguri and that’s enough for three, basically relieving Yone of his leadership of the group.
Elimination #2 – Mohammed Yone via Akitoshi Saito (1) – Pin
Saito winning and making the group darker and more intense might actually be a fun twist, so I’m hoping he does it now. He actually comes out of the blocks pretty quick with a Piledriver, but Taniguchi survives that and replies with a Lariat. They do a decent enough closing section actually, as Yone being in for so long has meant they haven’t gotten too tired yet and they’re actually able to do a bit with one another. You can tell that Saito starts to struggle after a certain point though as some of his shots have slightly less salt and vinegar on them as the bout wears on.
There’s some decent intensity in the closing stages actually, with both men doing their best to get it over. Taniguchi gets near falls with a Lariat and a Polish Hammer before heading up with a top rope splash, which is finally enough for the win.
Elimination #3 – Akitoshi Saito via Shuhei Taniguchi (1) – Pin
WINNER: SHUHEI TANIGUCHI
They were trying very hard here, but these four guys were always going to have a ceiling and they pretty much hit it here
Everyone makes bice following the bout and Taniguchi grabs the mic saying he wants to be known as “Tani-King” from now on. That’s not the best nickname to be honest; Mark gets an immediately better one just by swapping the two words around to “King-Tani”.
STINGER (Yuya Susumu, Seiki Yoshioka and Yoshinari Ogawa) Vs Los Perros del Mal de Japon (NOSAWA Rongai, YO-HEY and Eita)
These two groups are feuding, so they’re going at it here. Eita really wants some of Ogawa early on and cheap shots him so that he will tag in, leading to them trading punches and eye gouges. Yoshioka and YO-HEY hate one another as well, so they do a bit together and it’s really good. YO-HEY seems to have gotten more serious recently and it’s improved his act in my opinion. It always felt like he was trying a bit too hard to be wacky previously, but now he’s got a better mix of being a bit zany whilst also being a serious credible fighter.
The action is general is good here, with everyone getting a chance to come in and do something, with Ogawa and NOSAWA sticking to veteran cheating tactics whilst the likes of Yoshioka and YO-HEY do some nice quick paced moves. It’s your typical stable feud tag match, as it keeps the rivalry cooking and sets up some singles matches down the line without blowing the issue off. Ogawa actually gets to run wild with stand babyface offence like hip tosses and body slams at one stage, and he’s actually pretty great at it.
The finishing sequence is a lot of fun actually, with the marriages partnering up and Yoshioka in particular looking great with some of his insane speed. That dude moves so fast but it’s always so precise too, he’s so talented. There are some good near falls with some last minute saves and YO-HEY eventually rolls up Yoshioka with some help from Eita with a cheeky super kick.
WINNERS: PERROS DEL MAL
Good match that hit the beats it needed to for the story and had some good wrestling to boot
The factions continue to fight after that so this feud must continue! Eita gets the last word on Ogawa by drenching him with a bottle of water.
Daisuke Harada, Hajime Ohara, Junta Miyawaki, Kaito Kiyomiya and Masa Kitamiya
Kongo (Hao, Katsuhiko Nakajima, Manabu Soya, Nio and Tadasuke)
Nakajima got his head shaved on the previous show, so he’s probably going to be good and angry here, and looking for revenge on Kitamiya as he was the guy who beat him in the match. Those two men actually start the match out, with Nakajima being alarmingly calm in the early exchanges, although he does let out a grin when he finally tags out. Oh yeah, he’s going to kill someone at some stage and it’s going to be utterly glorious.
There’s a lot of good action in this one, with Miyawaki getting worked over for a bit by the Kongo team. He sells that well and continues to look like a really promising talent going forward. I can see him putting some muscle on in his latter career and becoming a genuine Heavyweight contender if that’s what he wants to do. He looks like he could put some muscle on that frame and still retain his agility. He receives the brunt of Nakajima’s rage at one point, which Nakajima enjoying inflicting the pain on him. He may not have hair anymore, but he’s retained his star power.
Kiyomiya eventually gets the hot tag and runs wild, looking like a star as always, as I really think he should be “the guy” in this promotion. Kiyomiya and Soya do a bit together, which means they might be setting something up there, and it’s a good bit of back and forth action. Kitamiya and Nakajima do another exchange and it’s more good action, although Kitamiya does the stupid hard head butt in an effort to draw hardway blood on himself. Seriously guys, Shibata can’t wrestle anymore because of that stuff, it just isn’t worth it.
Things break down following that, with Saito and Nakajima suplexing one another for a double down. They make tags to Ohara and Tadasuke respectively, and they go at it, which leads to Kongo tripling up on Ohara. Things break down again following that, with it all leading to Tadasuke pinning Ohara with a Lariat to potentially set him and one of his Kongo buddies up for a shot at Ohara and Harada’s Junior Heavyweight Tag Belts.
More good stuff there, with Saito and Nakajima’s feud continuing and some potential matches being set up for down the line with the other guys in the match
The fight continues following that, with Nakajima opening up Saito’s cut outside the ring. And indeed, a challenge is laid down for the Junior Tag Titles as well.
GHC Junior Heavyweight Title
Champ: Atsushi Kotoge Vs HAYATA
HAYATA won a battle royal on the previous show to set this up. It’s back and forth in the early going until Kotoge DDT’s HAYATA onto the apron and starts working over his head and neck. HAYATA sells that well and Kotoge does a good job of working the heat, going after the injured body part in methodical style. HAYATA manages to get a Tornado DDT and makes the comeback, heading up with a Quebrada for two.
Kotoge fights back and we head into the finishing stretch, with Kotoge continuing to go after the head and neck area when it comes to him trying to score near falls, as the psychology has been consistent here and both men have been working hard. Kotoge even gets a triangle choke on the ropes at one point, but HAYATA replies with a big dive to the floor when the referee forces Kotoge to break, leading to both men selling outside the ring for the count out tease.
Those don’t really work as well when you don’t have a crowd watching who can freak out at someone potentially not making it in. HAYATA still can’t really get a consistent flurry of offence in though, as Kotoge keeps regaining control whenever HAYATA manages to get himself on top momentarily. They’re telling a good story with Kotoge constantly being in control but HAYATA being gutsy and continuously trying to get a foothold.
HAYATA keeps showing heart by kicking out of Kotoge’s pin attempts, with some of the kick outs being very well timed, and I think a crowd would be into this and getting behind HAYATA to gut it out and win. HAYATA gets a big moonsault off the top at one stage, but Kotoge kicks out and then counters a spiked rana attempt into the Styles Clash for another two. The near fall game is strong here and they’ve built this one well, with the gradual pace at the start picking up as they’ve moved into the closing stretch, with bigger and bigger moves being delivered.
They perhaps go a couple of near falls too many and miss the peak, with it getting a bit silly when Kotoge is kicking out of elevated Implant DDT’s. HAYATA decides to just brute force it though by just doing the move again, and this time it works as HAYATA completes the comeback to pick up the three count.
WINNER AND NEW CHAMPION: HAYATA
They went a bit too near-fall-crazy for me in the closing stages, but the overall story of HAYATA getting worked over for so long but gutting it out to eventually win was a good one and there was a lot of good wrestling in there
Surprisingly no one comes out to challenge HAYATA following that and he just leaves with his new belt to little fanfare.
Sugiura-gun (Takashi Sugiura and Kazushi Sakuraba) Vs M’s Alliance (Masato Tanaka and Naomichi Marufuji)
Maru is the GHC Champ and he’s got a match on the horizon with Sugiura, so this match is designed to heat that issue up. It’s funny because I recently watched some Tanaka/Awesome from 1998 and it’s amazing to me that Tanaka is even able to function, let alone wrestle like this. He must genuinely have Wolverine’s healing factor or something.
The action here is decent, with Sugiura-gun cutting off Maru and working him over, with Maru selling it all well. Sugiura even busts out the old fashioned body scissors at one stage, which is a blast from the past. I think Rhino used to do that actually, I’m not sure if he still does. He certainly has the tree trunk legs for it, as does Sugiura. Eventually it’s hot tag Tanaka, and he looks great running wild on everyone. Seriously, this dude needs to donate his body to science or something, we could probably cure every disease with a mere sample of his blood.
Saku ties Tanaka up in a vicious leg submission hold at one stage though, and Tanaka sells it big before making it to the ropes in a great submission tease. We get the elbow trade between Sugiura and Tanaka, and it’s great as you’d imagine. Maru and Sugiura do a big trade off as well to get people interested in their eventual collision, and that’s done well. There’s zero doubt that they’d have a good match, but it’s always good to remind people. Interestingly they have Maru pin Sugiura with a roll up rather than letting Sugiura pin him. Not sure what that will mean in the eventual Title match.
WINNERS: M’S ALLIANCE
Another gooden in a series of them tonight
Maru and Tanaka celebrate following that whilst Sugiura trudges off to go back to the drawing board.
Kenoh Vs The Great Muta
Muta chose Kenoh for this match and said in the build-up that he wants to make him bleed. Muta does have the awesome evil version of Hold Out as his entrance music at least, so he wins points for that if nothing else. Surprisingly Muta actually does some wrestling to start, which kind of defeats the purpose of booking a Muta match. I’m not watching Muta to see him do arm drags and work holds, I’m watching because I want him to cheat outrageously and viciously torture his opponent whilst the crowd pops for all his trademark spots. Having a Muta match without a crowd is like setting off fireworks during broad daylight, what exactly is the appeal?
Kenoh makes an effort to actually have a decent match here by suplexing Muta and whatnot, but Muta spits the red mist in his face and then takes him outside, where he goes after the rest of Kongo with some green mist this time. This has actually been okay thus far, with Kenoh working very hard and selling excellently, especially when Muta chokes him out with a television cable at one stage. Kenoh makes the comeback back inside and shows some good fire, as this match has been much better than I was expecting it to be.
Kenoh actually sets his leg on fire at one stage and kicks Muta with it, which is a pretty darn inventive spot I must say. He then follows that up with a double stomp to Muta whilst he sells outside of the ring. Kenoh sick’s Kongo on Muta following that, but whilst the ref is breaking that up it allows Muta to throw a fireball in Kenoh’s face. Kenoh manages to survive that, but Muta adds some green mist and then uses a chair for a boost to do a Shining Wizard. Great Muta morphing into Sabu before our eyes is an interesting twist I must say. One more Wizard follows and that’s three.
WINNER: THE GREAT MUTA
Miles better than I thought it would be, as they filled it with smoke and mirrors and it ended up being a good match as a result
Muta stomps off following that whilst Kenoh sells in the ring.
No blow-away classics on this one but a lot of good solid wrestling. I think personally if you had to watch one of the shows then I suggest the 26th June one, because that Cage match was hot sauce and the semi-main battle royal was great as well. This show had a lot of good matches but nothing that I thought was great, so it’s one you can skip unless you’re a big Muta mark who enjoys his shizzle regardless of whether the matches are any good.
Mildly recommended show
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