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Why Will Naomichi Marufuji Main Event NOAH The New Year 2024?

6 months ago Photo c/o: Masahiro Kubota, NOAH Great Voyage 2023 in Yokohama, 03.19.2023

Photo c/o: Masahiro Kubota, NOAH Great Voyage 2023 in Yokohama, 03.19.2023

Why Will Naomichi Marufuji Main Event NOAH The New Year 2024?

The recent controversy surrounding the Main Event of NOAH The New Year 2024 between Naomichi Marufuji and Kota Ibushi has reached a boiling point.

By: R. Faliani

After Kota Ibushi challenged Naomichi Marufuji to a singles match at NOAH The New Year 2024, no one expected that match to be the main event of the historic evening in Ariake Arena. The discussion surrounding this topic, now that we’re seeing the GHC Heavyweight Championship being relegated to the Semi-Main Event spot for two consecutive years. In this context of discussion and arguments being thrown back and forth by the Pro Wrestling NOAH enthusiasts around the world, CyberFight Director Narihiro Takeda did a press conference about this topic.

When asked about the reasons behind putting Marufuji vs. Ibushi in the Main Event of Ariake Arena, he answered by stating an unavoidable truth: “This choice was more on Marufuji’s side than it was on Ibushi’s side. We must make the most historic matches happen now that we’re on the road to Marufuji’s retirement.”

One thing many seem to forget is that during the preparations for Marufuji’s 25th Anniversary show, many thought his announcement was going to be his retirement tour, and while many were surprised and relieved to see that was not said announcement, the idea of Marufuji’s last years as an active wrestler has been around since November, based on the report from Tokyo Sports, that cited an interview Marufuji had on a radio station where he talked about this topic in detail.

25 Years of Naomichi Marufuji and the Genius of the Ark

When asked about the importance of this match for Marufuji, Takeda declared: “This will be a turning point in Naomichi Marufuji’s final chapter”. We knew for a fact that Marufuji vs. Will Ospreay was indeed a big match in Marufuji’s career, and despite his great performance, he’s getting closer to 50 years of age, as he now stands in the center of the conversation as a 44-year old living legend. In 2021, Marufuji even got to win the GHC Heavyweight Championship again, so you can say moments like these are a significant part of what’s to come.

It’s interesting to see that, while Ibushi is a wrestling star, now set to be even more global considering his recent affiliation with All Elite Wrestling, the decision to make this match the Main Event is only because of Marufuji’s situation. In no scenario, does the condition of Ibushi play a part in making this match what it is. This is not like last year’s Great Muta vs. Shinsuke Nakamura as Nakamura was a WWE wrestler coming to Japan for one night only, this is a dream match between two of the most exciting pro wrestlers to have come up in the 2000s.

Naomichi Marufuji: Like a Feather

If this is the beginning of the end for Marufuji, we will be seated, hoping to see the best wrestler we know he is. While many fans here in the West have criticized Marufuji for this match being a stone in the way for Kenoh’s GHC Heavyweight Championship run, we should start focusing on his rival, Ibushi, who has not had a good performance this year and is looking to start next year with the right foot. Let’s hope the best comes for both men and let’s await their historic match.

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