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NOAH – The Return – Pro Wrestling Love Forever. 3 ~Triumph~ Review

2 years ago

NOAH – The Return – Pro Wrestling Love Forever. 3 ~Triumph~ Review

By: Syn Fritz

The Ark has drifted back to Tokyo and as docked at Ariake Arena, and is the first wrestling show to be hosted at the venue. This is truly a special occasion as NOAH’s home base was once the now defunct Differ Ariake venue from 2000 to 2016, so this was essentially a homecoming for the company and its roster, and what a night it was as the crowd was finally allowed to cheer since January 4th, 2020. 10 match on the card, all titles on the line and we got to see 3 of NJPW’s veterans come in and say thank you to Keiji Mutoh in 6 Man Tag Team action.

Lets take a look at the Pro Wrestling NOAH – The Return – Pro Wrestling Love Forever. 3 ~Triumph~

But before we can even do that, Go Shiozaki takes the stage to welcome everyone to the show and lead them into a “I Am NOAH, We Are NOAH” chant. Still no word on his return, but according to the shirt he was wearing, his come back is coming soon.

Shuhei Taniguchi, Alejandro & Extreme Tiger vs Manabu Soya, Shuji Kondo & Hajime Ohara

Kicking off the show is 6 man tag team action. Both teams are the exact opposites, 2 Jr. heavyweights and a heavy weight on NOAH’s side while on KONGO’s its 2 heavyweights and a single jr. heavyweight. KONGO is looking to always make a statement and Soya is looking to do that as he faces Taniguchi. Its a stalemate most of their encounter until Soya is able to get a hip toss onto Tani. Both men make tags to their partners, bringing in Extreme Tiger and Hajime Ohara. The match’s pacing picks up here as these Jr. Heavyweights trade reversals until Tiger sends  Ohara to the outside with a tilt -a-while head scissors, followed up by a fakeout. Tags are made to Alejandro and Kondo once Ohara is back in the ring.

From this point forward, things start picking up more, and eventually leads to the match breaking down twice, first in favor of Tani, Tiger and Alejandro, then a few minutes later again for Soya, Kondo and Ohara. Once things get back to normal its Alejandro with Kondo in the ring, but even with his speed and skill, Alejandro isn’t able to survive a King Kong Lariat from Shuji Kongo.

WINNERS: Manabu Soya, Shuji Kondo & Hajime Ohara 


Daiki Inaba & YO-HEY vs Jack Morris & Dante Leon

Jack Morris and Dante Leon to my knowledge have never teamed up for a 2 on 2 tag match, so seeing how they worked together here is something. Both teams were pretty much even throughout the contest but  near the 10 minute mark into the match, Dante is able to outsmart YO-HEY, countering his twist of fate and deliver an imploding cutter off the 2nd turnbuckle, following it up with a spinal tap from the top turnbuckle for the 3 count. Hopefully we will see Dante and YO-HEY team up at some point as they were even throughout the match and at some points even mirroring each other.

WINNER: Jack Morris & Dante Leon



Yoshinari Ogawa, Chris Ridgeway & Yasutaka Yano vs NOSAWA Rongai, Eita & Super Crazy

This match got ugly real quick, as hell hath no fury like Ogawa scorn.

Ogawa is out for blood here after his last encounter with Eita who thought it would be a good idea to kick the veteran below the belt back on October 16th, but he learns a valuable lesson here tonight. As soon as the bell rings everyone is brawling on the outside of the ring. Yano is dragged back into the ring by Super Crazy, leaving NOSAWA and Ridgeway in their respective corners. Eita though is dragged up to the ramp by Ogawa and just gets pummeled by him for the next 3 to 5 minutes of the match until he is able to fend off Ogawa to make a running save to NOSAWA , who is trapped in Ridgeway’s Anklelock. Eita is able to make a tag and keep things in the favor of Los Perros, but Ogawa is able to make a tag and go right after Eita again.

At this point NOSAWA makes the save and brings in a trash can to use on Ogawa as Eita is holding him, as the referee is distracted. Ogawa moves out of the way just in time, as the can hits Eita in the head. Eita rolls to the floor but Ogawa stays on him, grabbing the trash can’s lid, and repeatedly hits Eita in the head with it, busting him open. Once back in the ring Eita is tortured by Ogawa, Ridgeway and Yano with submission holds. Not being able to tag, NOSAWA grabs the trash can and swings it at Ridgeway who has Eita in a sleeper hold, but the referee see him, costing Los Perros Del Mal De Japon the match via disqualification.

WINNER: Yoshinari Ogawa, Chris Ridgeway & Yasutaka Yano


Hideki Suzuki & Hijo del Dr. Wagner Jr. vs Masato Tanaka & Masa Kitamiya

Not much to really say here, the match between Suzuki and Hijo del Dr Wagner Jr. and their opponents, Masato Tanaka was even at the start out once Hijo del Dr. Wagner Jr. started to get going, the momentum swung his way and would just not swing back. Kitamiya tried to fight back and did so valiantly, but it just wasn’t his or Tanaka’s night. A short and sweet 8 minute match.

WINNER:  Hideki Suzuki & Hijo del Dr. Wagner Jr.


After the match, NOAH announces that the Great Muta will be in action on the January 1st Nippon Budokan show. In a surprising twist, it is announced that WWE’s own Shinsuke Nakamura would be the one facing Muta in singles competition that day.

Atsushi Kotoge & Seiki Yoshioka vs Tadasuke & Hi69
GHC Jr. Heavyweight Championships

Kongo’s Hi69 kicks things off against Yoshioka here and it seems right from the start that Kongo is looking to take out Yoshioka’s bad knee. Once Hi69 saw the opening he went right for it. From knee breakers to being slammed on the guard rail, Tadasuke and hi69 wouldn’t let up the assault. Once he was able to tag in Kotoge though, he wouldn’t be in long as both members of Kongo would wear him down fast just to make him tag Yoshioka back in.

11 minutes into the match, and Kotoge gets the tag back in to try to get the momentum back in his teams favor, it all seems for not, but a chance to counter Hi69’s diving plash is all it took to set him up for the tag team finish, a massive kick from Yoshioka and a spinning air raid crash from Kotoge, retaining the GCH Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Championships in their first title defense.


WINNER: Kotoge & Seiki Yoshioka

Post match, Shuji Kondo and Hajime Ohara make their intentions known as they challenge Kotoge and Yoshioka for their championships by beating the champions down. Tadasuke joins in on the beating of Kotoge as Yoshioka is thrown to the floor, but a masked wrestler makes the save.  Taking the mask off, it is revealed to be the returning HAOH, now called Amakusa, and his target, is Tadasuke.

HAYATA (c) vs Ninja Mack
GHC Jr. Heavyweight Championship

People were waiting for this one. The GHC Jr. Heavyweight Champion, HAYATA, is looking to defend and retain against NOAH’s hottest gaijin, Ninja Mack. The crowd is behind Ninja Mack in this one. From the start things are even, but once Ninja Mack gets HAYATA to the floor and went for his Ninja Special, HAYATA was able to counter it with a kick and send Ninja Mack into the barricade, gaining control of the match. It doesn’t last long as Ninja Mack is able to counter and follow it up with a Spanish Fly from the 2nd turnbuckle for a 2 count.

HAYATA starts to come back with a few strikes, and a moonsault for a 2 count. Both men battle back and fourth until Ninja Mack is able to send HAYATA to the apron with a few knee strikes, and follows it up with a sunset flip bomb to the floor. Sadly, the match had to be stopped, as HAYATA was unable to continue the match as he injured his elbow coming off the apron. Ninja Mack probably didn’t wanna win this way at all, but he is your new GHC Jr. Heavyweight Champion.

WINNER: Ninja Mack

Post match backstage, Dante Leon confronted Ninja Mack and challenged him for the championship.

Masakatsu Funaki (c) vs Kazushi Sakurada
GHC National Championship
GHC Martial Arts Rules

As it says above, the National Championship is being contested under Martial Arts Rules here, meaning you can only win by Submission, KO or TKO and astonishingly this was over faster then you’d think it would be. Strike and submissions are all on display from these men as the both are looking to show the men backstage why they are regarded as two of the all time best in MMA and Pro Wrestling.

The match doesn’t even go 5 minutes and after a few exchanges in strikes and holds, Sakuraba passes out to a guillotine choke, making Masakatsu Funaki’s title defense a successful one at 3 minutes and 20 seconds.

WINNER: Masakatsu Funaki

Post match backstage, Hijo del Dr. Wagner Jr. challenges Funaki for the GHC National Championship.

Takashi Sugiura & Satoshi Kojima (c) vs Kenoh & Katsuhiko Nakajima
GHC Tag Team Championships

Sugiura and Kojima are looking to successfully defend their tag team gold against two of the best strikers in all of NOAH, Kenoh and Nakajima. Nakajima and Sugiura start things out and its a stale mate, a tag to Kojima and Kenoh but it ends up in a stale mate as well, for a minute. Kojima is able to get Kenoh into the corner to deliver his machine gun chops, Kenoh comes back though with his repeated kicks in the corner, to the jeers of the crowd. To the floor they go as Kojima gets picked apart by Kenoh. Once back in the ring, Nakajima makes the tag, as Kenoh and Nakajima pick apart Kojima.

A few minutes later, followed by a hot tag, Sugiura is the legal man again and starts his attack on Nakajima, showing him why he is called the Killing Machine. A stalling superplex swing the momentum back to the center, and both teams are doing everything to stay alive in this match. 15 minutes into the match, miscommunication occurs as Kojima gets nailed by a kick from Sugiura as he was unable to hold Nakajima still for it. Momentum swings only slightly towards Kongo, but swings back to Kojima and Sugiura a few moments later. A Olympic slam and Western Lariat later, and Sugiura and Kojima retain their tag team gold.

WINNER: Takashi Sugiura & Satoshi Kojima

Post match, Funky Express challenges Sugiura and Kojima for the GHC Tag Team Championships.

Keiji Muto, Naomichi Marufuji & Yoshiki Inamura vs Hiroshi Tanahashi, Togi Makabe & Tomohiro Honma

We’re at stop number 3 for Keiji Mutoh on his retirement tour and it feels special. Seeing Tanahashi, Makabe and Honma come over from NJPW to celebrate Mutoh’s career in this 6 man tag is a sight to see. Tanahashi kick things off for his team as does Mutoh for his. Both men know each other well as Mutoh took Tanahashi under his wing back in 1999 even going so far to perform dragon screw leg whips on each other at the beginning of the match. The crowd is eating up everything all 6 men are doing. Kokeshi headbutts, knife edge chops, shining wizards and more. Mutoh was thinking of pulling out the moonsault on Tanahashi too, but Makabe gave him something to think about by throwing his chain at the living legend.

This was another beautiful showing as everyone was there to celebrate Mutoh’s career and they gave it their all. Inamura though may have gotten under Makabe’s skin a little though as he wants a match with him now.

WINNER: Naomichi Marufuji, Yoshiki Inamura & Keji Mutoh


Kaito Kiyomiya (c) vs Kazuyuki Fujita
GHC Heavyweight Championship

This main even was something special, from the opening bell Fujita doesn’t let up against the young champion. From forearms shot to the neck, to lariats, and figure fours, Fujita just takes everything Kiyomiya can offer and more, making him work for every inch of the fight. Kiyomiya though is willing to give everything he can in this match and more, even if it means taking a nasty beast bomb and kicks to the head from the former champion. All match though Fujita is picking apart the champion. Working the leg (even with the steel ring post), the mid section, even his head.

Kaito gets his shot in here and there, from getting his own forearms shots in, missile dropkicks. But whenever he starts to get an upper hand, Fujita shuts him down wit ha shot to the mid section, followed up by a kick to the head. Fujita, living up to being called a beast, playing with his food.

For 15 minutes, Fujita tortures Kiyomiya, sending him a direct message that he can the match whenever he wants to. Fujita goes for another kick, but Kaito is able to counter it with the dragon screw leg whip. But its not enough to keep ‘The Beast’ down. Kaito gets another chance to to some damage and Fujita is sent  to the floor from a jumping knee. The champion climbs the turnbuckles and hits a flipping senton onto Fujita, down to the floor. Back into the ring though and it goes back to stalemate as they exchange blows again.

8 minutes pass after they get back into the ring, Kiyomiya continues the fight, but gets clobbered with a lariat, a beast bomb and a kick to the head. Fujita has had enough, dropping his shoulder straps, and sets the champion up for another beast bomb, but he fights out of it. Fujita open palm strikes Kiyomiya a few times before getting ready to end him with another lariat, but Kiyomiya strikes with a Frankenstiener for the 3 count to retain the championship.

WINNER: Kaito Kiyomiya

Post match, Timothy Thatcher walks out and challenged Kiyomiya for the championship at the November 10th show, and the champion accepts.

Overall this was a fun show from start to finish, and hearing the crowd actually react to everything that was going in the ring felt so good. The main event most likely had everyone worried that Fujita would walk out GHC Heavyweight Champion as he never properly got to defend the belt, due to contracting covd-19 earlier this year, but seeing Kaito retain here today, sends a strong message to everyone that he is here to stay for quite some time. If you haven’t check out the show yet, do yourself a favor and check it out now.