NOAH: The First Navigation 2015

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Pro Wrestling NOAH: The First Navigation 2015
February 4, 2015
Tokyo, Japan
Korakuen Hall

The current NOAH champs are as follows:
GHC Heavyweight Champion: Naomichi Marufuji (7/5/2014)
GHC Tag Team Champions: Mikey Nicholls & Shane Haste (1/10/2015)
GHC Jr. Heavyweight Champion: Atsushi Kotoge (12/6/2014)
GHC Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champions: Hajime Ohara & Kenou (10/12/2014)

I don’t know who the hosts are. Does it really matter? I speak English. The building is about 60-70% full with everybody spread out in the stadium seats.

  • Maybach Taniguchi vs. Jonah Rock vs. Quiet Storm

Quiet Storm sure has bulked up since those early days of ROH, which is the last time I’ve seen him. Jonah Rock comes out to Johnny Cash with half of his hair shaved. Taniguchi looks like some sort of taller version of Delirious with a crescent-shaped triton and stabs them both in the belly to start. Quiet Storm rolls out to allow Taniguchi to beat up Jonah Rock into the crowd without any trouble. Just as I say that, Quiet Storm runs them both over with clotheslines and takes Taniguchi back to the ring to beat the 20-count. Jonah helps Taniguchi double suplex Quiet Storm. He heats up with an avalanche and a running boot on Taniguchi for two. Taniguchi can’t chokeslam Jonah Rock and gets an elbow smash from Quiet Storm. Jonah charges Storm and falls out to the floor. That leaves Storm to drill Taniguchi with a Fisherman’s Buster for two. While Storm is busy dumping out Jonah again, Taniguchi grabs his triton. Storm sees it coming, but the ref getting the triton out of the ring allows a shot to the balls by Taniguchi. QUIET STORM GOT EDDIE GUERRERO’D. Kind of. CHOKESLAM to Storm gets 1-2-NO! However, the MAYBACH PRESS (superfly splash) earns him the pinfall. (4:58) Jonah Rock looked pretty decent from what we got to see. Quiet Storm is still ehh. Since I’ve normally just watched the top puroresu guys, Maybach seems almost below average to me. *½

  • BRAVE (Atsushi Kotoge, Muhammed Yone, Katsuhiko Nakajima & Taiji Ishimori) vs. Choukibou-gun (Takeshi Morishima, Mitsuhiro Kitamiya, Hajime Ohara & Kenou)

Morishima and his goons BUM RUSH THE SHOW to start as they all spill out to the floor. In the ring though, Ohara acts as fodder for Ishimori to flip around and do a fake dive on him. Back in, Kotoge gets a tag and flies over Kenou to dropkick Kitamiya and Ohara to the floor. More rope running as Kotoge levels Kenou with the AJ Styles dropkick. Kitamiya trips up Kotoge on the wrong side of town where Choukibou-gun tie Kotoge up in the ropes and pose for pictures – like a bunch of DICKS. Hilarious. Tag to Morishima, he slams and splashes Kotoge for two. Some nasty buttalanches to the face ruin Kotoge’s day. Kotoge ducks away from a lariat and nails Morishima with an enziguri so he can make a tag to the biggest guy in BRAVE: Muhammed Yone. Where did his afro go? Anyways, he puts Morishima down with a lariat and fights off a double-team from the junior tag champs with a double lariat. Kitamiya proves to be no match for Yone either. Morishima reverses a suplex though so that Kitamiya can come in and do work. Tons of elbow shots, but Yone catches him with a shoulderblock and tags out to Nakajima. He’s looking too much like Paul London in WWE right now. He trades elbows with Kitamiya and loses when Kitamiya rakes the eyes. However, Nakajima fights off a double-team once Kenou comes in the ring. He kicks the CRAP out of both Kitamiya and Kenou. Missile dropkick to Kitamiya gets two. In comes Kenou again for a kick to the chest contest. He wins the battle, but with a Pele Kick to the back of the head. They tag out to Ohara and Ishimori. Handspring enziguri kick to Ohara sets up a series of running knees in the corner. As the other three from BRAVE clean house, they can now all superkick Ohara in the head from different sides. All the same, Ohara avoids a 450 splash from Ishimori and gives him a spinning backbreaker on the shoulders. Now Kenou and Ohara are brutalizing Ishimori in the corner. They then whip him into Kitamiya for a powerslam so that Morishima can splash the poor guy. Ohara applies a Tequila Sunrise, but Kotoge saves the day. Tag to Morishima, he levels Ishimori with a suplex, a NASTY running lariat, and then the BACKDROP DRIVER to get the win. (12:29) Pretty fun tag match, but didn’t take too many chances and really go the distance to be much more. **½

  • Akitoshi Saito vs. Takashi Iizuka

It seems Iizuka is a bit of a wild man. Almost like George the Animal Steele for the modern age biting and acting unlike primitive man. Lots of choking too. Saito eventually has enough and tries to break the arm that was choking him. Iizuka tries to block a back suplex by choking Saito with wrist tape – and it works. Iizuka pulls out some foreign object (which looks like a piece of the Nickelodeon GUTS trophy) molded to fit his hand and jabs Saito for the DQ. (10:05) This felt so unlike NOAH to me, but I haven’t watched since Misawa’s death, so evidently things have changed somewhat here. ½*

  • No Mercy (Takashi Sugiura & Daisuke Harada) vs. Shelton X Benjamin & El Desperado

El Desperado looks like Super Dragon, but he’s carrying with him a guitar. Must like PWG and the Eagles. Sugiura can’t quite get the OLYMPIC SLAM on Shelton to start. In comes Harada and Desperado. Together, Benjamin and Desperado OWN poor Harada – just generally abusing him on their side of the ring. Shelton looks awesome with a press into a powerslam – Goldberg style. This is of course all building to a showdown between Sugiura and Benjamin. Eventually, Harada headscissors away from a butterfly powerbomb from Benjamin and makes the hot tag to Sugiura! He boots and knees Benjamin down in the corner. Benjamin catches Sugiura for an ANKLELOCK, but he makes the ropes. Elbows are exchanged, but Benjamin gets the German Suplex for two. Sugiura returns the favor, but charges into a superkick. Tag to Desperado, he hits a Frog Splash for two. Harada comes in and helps Sugiura out with a hiptoss into a kick to the face. Running knee from Sugiura gets two. Shelton looks to powerbomb the little nuisance Harada, but Sugiura knocks them both over the top rope to help out a little bit there. OLYMPIC SLAM to Desperado gets the three-count. (11:12) Afterwards, Sugiura and Benjamin stare each other down, but Sugiura tosses Shelton out to the floor. Another fun albeit average tag match. I would assume Shelton is a great heel if I watched more of his Japan stuff. **½

  • Yoshinari Ogawa vs. TAKA Michinoku

TAKA has Mary Jensen hair in this one. Hard to believe Ogawa is still around. Tentative start as Ogawa works the arm a bit. They work in a little comedy as TAKA gets fired up and only lightly kicks the knee. At another point, he wants to poke Ogawa in the eyes and then gets poked in the eyes himself. Enziguri and DDT on TAKA gets two. When TAKA starts gaining an advantage, Ogawa gets a few flash pins on TAKA. VINTAGE OGAWA! During one of TAKA’s tie up holds on the mat, he blocks a pin attempt from Ogawa and keeps the legs hooked for the three-count. (7:15) Crowd is STUNNED. Afterwards, Michinoku shakes Ogawa’s hand and bows before him only to then superkick him in the face. Dick move, bro. **

  • Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Taichi

Winner gets a GHC Jr. Heavyweight title shot against Kotoge. I’ve heard good things about this Zack Sabre character. The only guys left in this promotion that really interest me is Sabre and Marufuji. TAKA is back out to mock Zack Sabre a bit. Loads of SHAMEFUL stalling to start from Taichi. Sabre finally has enough and boots Taichi off the apron to give him a diving European uppercut on the floor. Back inside, Taichi again bails and makes Sabre give chase. Taichi finds a chair and jabs Sabre and hits him across the back. He then takes a timekeeper’s mallet and digs into Sabre’s forehead. Just general ringside violence. Back in the ring, Taichi stomps on his face, but Sabre quickly fires back with a European uppercut and hyperextends the elbow with a kick. Next, Sabre ties up Taichi in an Indian Deathlock and bends the arm like Bryan Danielson used to do. He then flips Taichi over with the Deathlock still applied and hooks on a Kimura Lock. Very nice. Taichi grabs the ref to prevent a Half Nelson suplex. Sabre nearly takes them both over. He lets go and comes off the ropes, but puts on the brakes when Taichi swings the ref in front of him. Taichi sneaks in a superkick and then rips off his stripper pants. You mean you can wear stripper clothes when you’re not stripping? Nevertheless, Sabre catches him off guard with a Half Nelson Suplex for 1-2-NO! Running soccer kick connects! Sabre folds him up for a two-count. TAKA pulled out the ref and attacks Sabre. He wipes out TAKA with a dropkick. Northern lights suplex leads to a CROSS ARMBREAKER. Awesome. Taichi is tapping, but there’s no ref. When the ref is back in the ring, Taichi blocks a kick and kicks Sabre in the balls. While he’s doubled over, Taichi cradles up Sabre (and even pulls the tights) for the cheap win. (9:41) Taichi and TAKA celebrate. He even lifts the hand of the ref LOL. Afterwards, they try and do a number on Sabre using Taichi’s microphone stand, but Atsushi Kotoge saves the day. Besides a title match, I’m betting a tag team match is in their future. ***

  • Naomichi Marufuji, Mikey Nicholls & Shane Haste vs. Minoru Suzuki, Lance Archer & Davey Boy Smith Jr.

It’s GHC champs against Minoru Suzuki and the current NWA world tag team champs, which is pretty cool. Loads of tension in this one. Archer and Nicholls play around with a shoulderblock battle to start. They switch out and Haste flips in and out of wristlocks from Davey Boy. The GHC tag champs deliver a standing moonsault and a fist drop STEREO-style to Davey Boy as well. Tag to Marufuji, and he wants Suzuki. They chop the crap out of each other for a while. When it looks like Marufuji has won the battle, Suzuki catches Marufuji napping with a cross armbreaker on the ropes. Now they all go out to the floor for ringside brawling. Back to the ring, Haste tries to stomp Suzuki off a cross armbreaker only to get caught in a heel hook at the same time! CRAZINESS! Tag to Davey Boy, he gives Marufuji a one-armed hourglass suplex for two. Legdrop and side slam combo by KES gets two as well. Of course, Archer covers the GHC champ with just one hand. Archer backdrops Marufuji into the heavens, but then misses a corner charge. He still manages to stop the tag though and hits a Full Nelson Slam for two. We get a few more minutes of MARUFUJI IN PERIL before he makes the tag to Haste. He’s all about European uppercuts on the NWA tag champs. Archer runs him down though with a shoulderblock, but then Haste flips out of a back suplex and hot tags Nicholls. Mikey fights for a suplex and sliding clotheslines Archer. Double-team from KES fails, but then they start throwing bombs on each other until everyone is down. Suzuki and Marufuji get tags. More chops are exchanged. Marufuji catches Suzuki charging him in the corner and clotheslines him down. After a double stomp to the head and a shot at the seated superkick, Suzuki ducks the kick and ANKLELOCKS Marufuji. After Marufuji grabs the ropes, Suzuki breaks the hold and puts his hands on the ref, who stands up to Suzuki. They do some stuff with the Marufuji Clothesline spot which leads to Suzuki applying the SLEEPERHOLD. He backs into his corner and tags in KES though. There’s a serious of running boots in the corner followed by a powerslam by Davey Boy for two. Hart Attack gets two as well. Nicholls and Haste help prevent Marufuji from the KES finisher. While they spill out to the floor with Suzuki and Archer, Marufuji makes a last ditch effort to come back on Davey Boy and surprise him with an inside cradle for the win. (19:26) Another match on the card where you feel like they could have done much more and they didn’t for whatever reason. It almost feels like New Japan is Monday Nitro, NOAH is Thunder, and I don’t know what is happening with All-Japan right now. ***¼

Final Thoughts: I can’t say I was disappointed too much because I wasn’t sure what to expect, so I had very little expectations. I knew everyone but New Japan was on the decline, but didn’t realize it was this bad. Perhaps I’m thinking this show holds more weight than it really does. Maybe this is similar to what a Clash show would have been during the Nitro era and there’s better shows to come. Suzuki and Marufuji would be nice to see. Killer Elite Squad looks too big to be messing with Nicholls and Haste though. All in all, what I took away from this is I would like to see some more Zack Sabre at some point. Thumbs only slightly in the middle for the First Navigation 2015 from Pro Wrestling NOAH. You were a very cool promotion – once upon a time.

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Posted on February 7, 2015, in NOAH and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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