On Sunday, March 10th, Pro Wrestling NOAH presented Great Voyage 2019. This is technically considered NOAH’s newest chapter in the promotion as they are now under new management and did make some changes such as a new logo and getting rid of the green mat for a fresh new look. We got a lot to cover here and let’s see how things go as we take a gander.
My Rating System:
0 Stars: Dave Meltzer
1 Star: Vince Russo
2 Stars: Tony Schiavone
3 Stars: Eric Bischoff
4 Stars: Bruce Prichard
5 Stars: Jim Cornette
Eight Man Tag Team Match
Hi69, Junta Miyawaki, Seiya Morohashi & YO-HEY vs. Hajime Ohara, Hitoshi Kumano, Kenoh & Kinya Okada
Review: Our opening contest is an eight-man tag team match with Hi69. Junta Miyawaki, Seiya Morohashi, and YO-HEY taking on Hajime Ohara, Hitoshi Kumano, Kenoh, and Kinya Okada. Kinya Okada seems to be one of the newer guys in NOAH, so be interesting to see how he will fair here and surprised Kenoh is in the opening contest but I’m sure it’ll lead to something. This is more to get the fans hyped into it so let’s see which team wins here.
The match was rather quicker than I expected it to go but anyway, also wasn’t that much interesting stuff to talk about due to a few of them not getting that much time in the ring. YO-HEY was always a treat to see, even if he wasn’t in the ring long enough for the timeframe they were in. The only interesting thing about this match I could say would be involving Kenoh since he wasn’t in the match until the very end and he does his Diving Foot Stomp onto Junta Miyawaki and soon as he got the pin on him, he just leaves the ring. This isn’t normal for him but I’m curious as to what’s going on in his head, I guess we’ll find out later on in the show. Average match but also nothing too special.
Rating: Tony Schiavone
Maybach Taniguchi vs. Yoshiki Inamura
Review: This one is considered Yoshiki’s final match in his seven series of matches. It looked like he’s done this trial to fight some of NOAH’s top guys to try and prove himself in the ring and in his previous six matches, he lost all of them and now his final match is against Maybach Taniguchi. Even though he lost his previous six, he could have a chance to pull off a surprise victory in his final one. Can he do it or will he lose all seven?
Yoshiki not wasting any time as he just charged right at Maybach with a few shoulder tackles but Maybach wouldn’t budge until he eventually will after taking one more. I gotta say that Yoshiki is looking rather impressive here in this match and you can tell how much he really wanted a win here. Maybach would eventually start to just overpower Yoshiki but Yoshiki would roll him for a cradle as Maybach would kick out of it. Maybach hits a Chokeslam and he goes for the cover but kicked out at two as the fans are cheering for Yoshiki to rally him up. Maybach would quickly hit the Zwei Bomb after a four-minute match to make him lose his seventh match in a row. Another short match but this was a nice one and a great showing by Yoshiki here, can’t wait to see what he does next after fighting seven of NOAH’s top guys.
Review: Tony Schiavone
Six Man Tag Team Match
Akitoshi Saito, Masao Inoue & Shiro Koshinaka vs. Mitsuya Nagai, Mohammed Yone & Quiet Storm
Review: We got a six-man tag team match now with Akitoshi Saito, Masao Inoue, and Shiro Koshinaka taking on Mitsuya Nagai, Mohammed Yone, and Quiet Storm. I’ve always had a soft spot for the 50 Funky Powers, so I don’t complain when I really see them in the ring. It should be another fun tag match but which one of these teams will win?
This match was more fun than it is good since it was just a group of vets fighting each other in the ring for some entertainment. 50 Funky Powers are again still fun with their little tag moves and did their dance after but Mitsuya wasn’t really all about that as he was more focused on winning at this time around. Akitoshi had a nice little encounter with Quiet Storm in the match. Mitsuya held Shiro still for the 50 Funky Powers to hit him but Yone would accidentally hit his own partner, leading the vets to come in and throw them out as they made work on him. Shiro went to the top rope to hit a Diving Hip Attack and he would get the victory. After the match, Mitsuya would throw a little fit when he said his partners weren’t there for him. What a sore loser.
Rating: Tony Schiavone and a quarter.
KAZMA SAKAMOTO vs. Takashi Sugiura
Review: Our first singles match of the evening as we have former GHC Heavyweight Champion, Takashi Sugiura taking on KAZMA SAKAMOTO. On their February 24th show, there was a 10 Man Elimination Match where the losers would have to pretty much disband and Takashi would win the match by eliminating KAZMA last, meaning the Hooligans would be no more. KAZMA didn’t like that as he attacked him after the match and would challenge him to a one on one match for this show, plus he said he wouldn’t come alone. What does KAZMA have up his sleeve and will it be enough or will Takashi beat him again?
So KAZMA brought NOSAWA Rongai with him to this show and he would just sit down in his chair and not get himself involved in this match. Takashi is the only one that can make a U2 theme song work (Yes, I hate U2). This is the first time that I’ve seen KAZMA in a singles match since he’s usually in tag matches whenever I see him wrestle in Dragon Gate, so it’s nice to see for me to give a better assessment at this point. KAZMA wasted no time assaulting Takashi at the beginning of the match as I feel like he was mostly wanting to please NOSAWA and prove how vicious he can be when he threw Takashi into the guardrails before throwing him back in. I have to admit that KAZMA performed really well and held his own ground against the former champ. Takashi has always been great and is why he was my favorite champion of 2018 unlike some people (coughOmegacough) Takashi would get the upper hand on him at this point as he goes for the Ankle Lock to try and tap him out but KAZMA would get to the ropes in time to break the hold. Takashi would go for the Olympic Qualifying Slam as KAZMA jumped out of it and gets him down with a kick to the face. Takashi would then apply the Guillotine Choke onto him and he held onto it tight to show him no mercy as KAZMA fell down to the mat. The referee would check KAZMA to see if he was conscious but was unable to answer the three as the referee calls for the bell to give Takashi the victory and NOSAWA quickly checked up on KAZMA. It looked like KAZMA and Takashi found some respect for each other a Takashi helped him up and even shook his hand.
Rating: Eric Bischoff
GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Title Match
Kotaro Suzuki & Yoshinari Ogawa (c) vs. HAYATA & Tadasuke
Review: We now have our first title match of the night as Kotaro Suzuki and Yoshinari Ogawa are set to defend their GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships against HAYATA and Tadasuke. Usually, HAYATA would team with YO-HEY since they’re former champions but it looks like HAYATA is going with Tadasuke as his partner for this bout. Kotaro and Yoshinari recently won the belts at the February 24th show and they now look to have a first successful title defense here against the RATEL’S. Will we have new champions or do our champions retain?
RATEL’S wasted no time as they came in to attack the reigning champions before the bell could even ring so they could have that possible advantage over them to weaken them early. Things would start going well for them until HAYATA’s foot got attacked in the match and that’s the body part that our champions will be focusing on while also not letting him make the tag to Tadasuke. Ogawa is only 53 years old and he wrestles like he’s about 15 years younger, he can still move around the ring well well and still solid with his in-ring work, also teaming up with Kotaro is a rather impressive team as well. HAYATA is great with his selling in the ring as he makes the fans get behind him and also making it look like it would hurt whenever they try to injure his foot. HAYATA would eventually get the tag in for Tadasuke and would start to clean house for a little bit before he would tag HAYATA back in again. Ogawa would have HAYATA in some type of Leglock to try and get him to tap out as Tadasuke would break the hold and even knee him in the face for good measure. Tadasuke would go to the top rope for a Senton Bomb and HAYATA follows up with a Diving Monnsault and he hurts himself as well after connecting. Kotaro would pick HAYATA up to hit the Gory Bomb special on him to knock him down while Ogawa would rip HAYATA’s shoe off to slap him with it before applying the Figure Four Leglock. Tadasuke would try to break it up but Kotaro would hit him with the Excalibur to knock him out and HAYATA tried so hard but he couldn’t take it anymore as he finally tapped out.
Rating: Eric Bischoff and a half.
GHC Junior Heavyweight Title Match
Daisuke Harada (c) vs. Minoru Tanaka
Review: Our next title match is for the GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship as Daisuke Harada defends the title against Minoru Tanaka. Minoru is here to set a goal as he has one Junior Heavyweight titles in various companies like Zero1, Wrestle-1, All Japan Pro Wrestling, and New Japan Pro Wrestling but now he wants to win the belt he’s never won before and that’s the GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship. If Minoru can somehow win this then he’ll have won the title from all of the big promotions of the respective division. Daisuke isn’t looking to end his new reign so quickly and wants to retain the belt for a second time. Can Minoru make his dream a reality or will Daisuke shatter it?
Look at Minoru there rocking some new gear for this match, looking good there. Both of them started off strong and fairly even with Minoru holding his own against the current champ and would be that way for a little bit until Daisuke would hit a Death Valley Driver onto the ring apron to do some damage to Minoru’s neck and he’s out of it for the short time. Minoru is another one that has been wrestling for 25 years and still showing he can hang with some of the best around, plus it has a neat story in this match with what Minoru wants to do. Daisuke is a very solid wrestler and is considered one of the guys that leads the division in NOAH with his charisma and great ring work. Daisuke had a fair share of control in the match and went to the top rope but Minoru would meet him up there to fight him off as he does a Wrist-Clutch Brainbuster off of the top rope and that looked great.
Daisuke is doing his best to hold onto the title and he went to knee him in the face and does so and covers for a two count. Daisuke would try to do it again but Minoru would catch his knee and rolled him up for a two count but would try to pin him again and not good enough as the match will still continue. Daisuke looked like he was going for the Falcon Arrow but he would land him on his head instead and he pins him for Minoru to still kick out at two. Daisuke would hit a German Suplex Hold on him for a two count and it looks like Minoru is out of it as he tries to fight his way back up with Daisuke toying with him now at this point. Minoru would find the strength to fight back and hits an Enziguri along with a Buzzsaw Kick and he pins him for a two count. Minoru finds the energy to keep going as he puts Daisuke on the top rope and does an Underhook Suplex to get him down but he’s not done as he climbed the ropes to hit the Fireball Splash and he connects for the victory. Minoru has won the GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship, meaning he has won the title in three of the top promotions in Japan, I’m really happy for Minoru in this victory and a great match to top it off.
Rating: Bruce Prichard
GHC Tag Team Title Match
AXIZ (Go Shiozaki & Katsuhiko Nakajima) (c) vs. Eddie Edwards & Masa Kitamiya
Review: Our next match is for the GHC Tag Team Championships as Go Shiozaki and Katsuhiko Nakajima or AXIZ as they take on Masa Kitamiya and the returning Eddie Edwards. It was announced that Eddie Edwards was gonna return to NOAH and partner up with Masa Kitamiya to take on the current champions at the time, 50 Funky Powers. Plans would change though when AXIZ defeated 50 Funky Powers on February 24th to win the GHC Tag Team Championships, meaning that the match would be changed. This was probably the better option as Nakajima fights his other partner while Eddie makes his return against two of NOAH’s best. Will AXIZ retain the belts or will we have new champions?
I’m glad Eddie is just being himself here instead of that edgy teen gimmick like the one he had on Impact. It looks like Nakajima and Masa are starting it off as they would use to be a tag team called Aggression and now, they’re enemies for this match. They would do enough to get the crowd into it but they would tag in their partners to have Eddie and Go fight now. Another thing I like about the match is that they didn’t treat Eddie as this invincible guy making a big return to make it easy for him in the ring as he just acts like he’s a regular wrestler here and it’s nice to see. Majority of the time they spent in the ring together was them pretty much chopping the crap out of each other and you can see the marks on their chests from how hard they were hitting each other as both men wouldn’t let up at all. Nakajima would come into the ring to give Go a hand by dealing a kick to the back of the head and Go takes back control. The hot tag would occur when Eddie hits a Dropkick off the second rope and he tagged in Masa.
Masa would come charging in but AXIZ would kick him in the gut to stop him and Masa would somehow slam the both of them down after he moved out of the way of a spot on the turnbuckle. Masa would then hit a Senton on both of them before he goes back to fighting Go in the match and Go would hit him with a DDT but Masa would get up right away to no sell the move. Go would somehow tag in Katsuhiko and he’s trying to take out his former partner but Masa would take out his leg to get an opening and would go for a submission to hurt the knee as Go breaks the hold. AXIZ would have them both up for a Brainbuster but Eddie and Masa would fight out of it to deliver the Brainbuster to the both of them. Go and Eddie are both fighting outside of the ring and it looked like he was gonna go for the Lariat but Eddie would jump up to hit a Hurricanrana off of the entrance ramp as they crash onto the floor. Masa hits Katsuhiko with a Lariat and turned him inside out and he goes for a Back Suplex as Katsuhiko flipped out of it and attacked his knee. Katsuhiko would deliver a series of kicks and hits the PK for a two count and he would get Masa up to hit the Vertical Spike for the pin as AXIZ retain the titles and will be the champions for the upcoming Global Tag League. Great match, nice to see Eddie back in NOAH.
Rating: Bruce Prichard
GHC Heavyweight Title Match
Kaito Kiyomiya (c) vs. Naomichi Marufuji
Review: It’s now time for our main event as Kaito Kiyomiya defends his GHC Heavyweight Championship against NOAH’s ace, Naomichi Marufuji. I talked about this match a lot and now we’re finally getting to see what will happen here. This match is important as this will determine the future of NOAH and who will lead the charge in their next chapter. It’s NOAH’s Future against NOAH’s Symbol and I can’t wait to see what unfolds here. Who will lead the future of NOAH, Kaito or Marufuji?
Kaito came out with some new gear just for this match along with a brand new robe to look like a young Mitsuharu Misawa. The two began with a lock-up and a couple of chai consequences but the two were evenly matched as the crowd would give them an ovation right after. When they got to the outside, Marufuji would throw Kaito back and forth between the guardrails to work on his taped up arm and would hook it to the edge to kick it for good measure. Marufuji would just work on the arm for a while and gave him a few kicks and chops in the match to weaken his body slowly and Kaito would give him a Bodyslam to get him down. This match feels like it’s another test for Kaito to see how he is in the top spot in the company as he already defeated some of the top guys, defeated Takashi Sugiura to win the title, and now he has to defeat THE top guy in NOAH when it matters in the new chapter on the big stage and if he fails here, then it just proved he’s not ready and he just got lucky this whole time.
Marufuji would start pulling all the punches in his arsenal now as he would first go for his Sliced Bread #2 and he hits it for a two count but he would quickly set him up Cobra Clutch style so he could knee him in the back of the head and that looked like he’s out cold, but Kaito would still kick out at two anyway. Marufuji would now go for the Emerald Flowsion but Kaito jumped out of it and would pick him up for a slam to save himself. The two would fight on the top rope and Kaito would hit a Reverse DDT off the top and covers him for a two count. Both of these men will not quit as they show off their fighting spirit. Kaito goes for the Tiger Suplex but Marufuji would flip out of it and delivered his famous kicks onto him and would get him down for a submission hold as he turned it into the Perfect Key Lock. He would use this move to make him tap out in a tag match they had prior to this and he’s looking to do it again but Kaito would grab the ropes this time to break the hold. Marufuji would hold onto his damaged arm to hit him a couple of times but Kaito would pick him up for a Side Slam and Marufuji kicked out. Kaito would get the upper hand as he hits a Tiger Suplex but fails to keep the bridge as he went for a cover anyway for a two count. Kaito got back up and would flip onto him to kick the back of his head and he would get him up for the Tiger Suplex and it connects along with the bridge as Kaito defeats Marufuji to retain the title!
A new chapter has begun as Kaito has shown that he is indeed ready to lead the promotion back to where it used to be. After the match, he would call out Kenoh and would tell him that NOAH needs him and Kaito would suggest that the two of them should team up for the Global Tag league to lead the future of NOAH together as Kenoh would accept. We would see green ribbons fall from the sky as it says “Mitsuharu Misawa-san, you will forever be in our hearts as we set out on a new voyage”. Great way to close one book and open a brand new one. Fantastic match, beautiful story, perfect ending.
Rating: Bruce Prichard and three quarters.
Overall: The first couple of matches were average, but the last five would start to pick up as each match got better leading to the main event, which is a possible MOTY contender right now. Maybe I’ll cover another NOAH show in the future, but only time will tell. I am excited to see how this adventure will go as they already have big goals for the year in bigger venues.
Favorite Match: Kaito Kiyomiya vs. Naomichi Marufuji
Least Favorite Match: Hi69, Junta Miyawaki, Seiya Morohashi & YO-HEY vs. Hajime Ohara, Hitoshi Kumano, Kenou & Kinya Okada