NOAH Majestic Report: New GHC Heavyweight Champion crowned

Photo Courtesy: Pro Wrestling NOAH

NOAH Majestic Report: New GHC Heavyweight Champion crowned

By: Mark Buckeldee

Welcome to this POST Wrestling report for Pro Wrestling NOAH’s Majestic 2022. This was NOAH’s second show at Ryogoku Kokugikan in two days. That first show was a Jr heavyweight-only event that drew 1,585 fans. This show, which also included the NOAH heavyweights, drew 2,077 fans. NOAH’s last Nippon Budokan show drew 3,181 fans.

This event is available on Wrestle Universe with English Commentary, provided by Stewart Fulton and Mark Pickering.

  1. Slex & Kai Fujimura vs Alejandro & Yasutaka Yano – A decent, basic tag built around showcasing Slex
  2.  King Tani, Mohammed Yone & Akitoshi Saito vs Manabu Soya, Tadasuke & Hajime Ohara – An okay tag match
  3.  NOSAWA Rongai, Eita, Texano Jr., Kotaro Suzuki & Super Crazy vs HAYATA,
  4. Yoshinari Ogawa, Chris Ridgeway, Seiki Yoshioka & Yuya Susumu – A couple of decent spots but otherwise more of an angle than a match
  5. Kazushi Sakuraba & Kendo Kashin vs Masaaki Mochizuki & Don Fujii – An okay comedy match with some fun ideas and the usual Kashin tropes
  6. Masato Tanaka & Daiki Inaba vs Rene Dupree & El Hijo de Dr. Wagner Jr. – A good, compact tag match with good chemistry from the westerners
  7. Masa Kitamiya vs Michael Elgin – A solid, but slightly clunky power battle that went a couple of minutes too long
  8. GHC National Title: Masakatsu Funaki (c) vs Simon Gotch – A very good, short match that centred around grappling and submissions – RECOMMENDED
  9. Daisuke Harada, Atsushi Kotoge, YO-HEY & Junta Miyawaki vs Dragon Bane, Alpha Wolf, Extreme Tiger & Ninja Mack – A good introduction to the new additions to the Jr division, with Ninja Mack making the biggest impression
  10. Naomichi Marufuji & X vs Yoshiki Inamura & Kinya Okada – Some very good, passionate showings from Inamura and Okada in a good, solid tag match – RECOMMENDED
  11. GHC Tag Team Title: Takashi Sugiura & Hideki Suzuki (c) vs Kenoh & Katsuhiko Nakajima – A good, sometimes vicious match with a very dull start
  12. GHC Heavyweight Title, Decision Match: Go Shiozaki vs Kaito Kiyomiya – A great clash of never say die spirit in a battle of powerful veteran vs fiery youngster and a reminder of why a lot of people are high on Kiyomiya – RECOMMENDED

Slex & Kai Fujimura vs Alejandro & Yasutaka Yano

Slex is a veteran of the Australian wrestling scene, who teamed with Roderick Strong in NOAH’s Jr Heavyweight league back in 2013. He dominated Alejandro, using power moves and a lot of posing. Alejandro made the hot tag to Yano, who looked strong against Slex until he got caught with the Slexecution spinning Enziguri. Yano kicked out of a springboard Enziguri and a Falcon Arrow before tapping out to Slex’s Cobra Clutch submission, the Close the Business.

Slex submitted Yasutaka Yano via Close the Business (10:22)  

This was a decent little tag match. It was simple but well put together. Slex added something with his confident mannerisms and crispness while the younger wrestlers looked good as well. A good choice of opener. 

King Tani, Mohammed Yone & Akitoshi Saito vs Manabu Soya, Tadasuke & Hajime Ohara

Both teams showed off their trademark poses, with Funky express dominating Ohara. The highlight of that was Saito’s stalling suplex as shown from a bird’s eye view. Soya evened things up for the Kongo team. Tadasuke and Ohara wiped out Funky Express with dives before Soya pinned Yone with a Wild Bomber.

Manabu Soya pinned Mohammed Yone via Wild Bomber (12:55)  

An okay tag match designed to get everyone on the card. There was nothing bad per se, but neither of these teams are going to do anything memorable in the second match of a show. 

NOSAWA Rongai, Eita, Texano Jr., Kotaro Suzuki & Super Crazy vs HAYATA, Yoshinari Ogawa, Chris Ridgeway, Seiki Yoshioka & Yuya Susumu

This match pitted Los Perros del Mal de Japon against Stinger and immediately turned into a brawl outside the ring. The highlights included a good exchange between Ridgeway and Suzuki and Texano Jr looking strong before Eita kicked Hayata in the groin in front of the referee for a DQ. It then broke down into a chaotic brawl, with both Perros and Stinger using Texano Jr’s bull rope.

Hayata beat Eita via DQ (9:28)

This was pretty disappointing. There were some decent moments, with Ridgeway and Texano Jr looking good, but this went too long before breaking down into a DQ. Considering the finish, the pace should have been faster and the DQ could have happened 5 minutes earlier. More of an angle than a match. 

Kazushi Sakuraba & Kendo Kashin vs Masaaki Mochizuki & Don Fujii

Every competitor in this match was over 50 years old. This was Fujii’s NOAH debut. Both Sakuraba and Kashin wore identical ring gear and masks. Fujii dragged Sakuraba into the box seats as they brawled around the outside. Sakuraba and Kashin were unmasked after they attempted twin magic. Fujii and Mochizuki used their power, but Kashin and Sakuraba took their opponents back to the boxed seats. Somehow Kashin and Mochizuki returned to the ring before a double count-out. A double team Lariat from Fujii and Mochizuki backfired, and Kashin rolled Mochizuki up for the win.

Kendo Kashin pinned Masaaki Mochizuki via roll-up (6:47)

This was a 2022 Kendo Kashin, so it was full of goofiness and brawling around the venue. An okay comedy match with some fun humor with the identical ring gear. Don Fujii was a good fit, but it felt a little disjointed and underwhelming at times.

Masato Tanaka & Daiki Inaba vs Rene Dupree & El Hijo de Dr. Wagner Jr.

El Hijo de Dr. Wagner Jr and Rene Dupree were the GHC Tag team Champions in 2020, dropping the titles due to the pandemic. Dupree and Wagner Jr isolated Inaba, who showed fire but was frequently cut off with double teams. Inaba tagged in Tanaka after an STO. Dupree and Tanaka traded Lariats before Inaba, and Wagner Jr tagged in. Inaba used tenacity and speed to fight off both opponents, but Dr. Wagner Jr regained control and pinned Inaba after a Wagner Drive and a lovely Moonsault.

El Hijo del Dr. Wagner Jr pinned Daiki Inaba via Moonsault (10:51)

A good, solid undercard tag match. I was surprised by Dupree and Dr. Wagner Jr, who showed great tag acumen and were a very solid team. It would have been nice to have seen more from Tanaka, but the story was about the westerners re-establishing themselves as a team and Inaba had a good showing.

Masa Kitamiya vs Michael Elgin

Michael Elgin has only wrestled three times for NOAH. His NOAH debut was a match for the then-vacant GHC National title. Neither man backed down, but Elgin showed his power with a military press on Kitamiya. Elgin used a belly-to-belly suplex, a tope suicida, and a Northern Lights suplex. Kitamiya fired up but Elgin no-sold a piledriver, so Kitamiya changed strategies and applied the Prison lock. Elgin fought back with kicks but got caught with a Samoan Drop. They traded German suplexes, with Elgin getting a nearfall after a clunky Chaos theory. Kitamiya kicked out of two Lariats and absorbed a buckle bomb, fighting back with a spear. A Saito suplex from Kitamiya earned him a nearfall but Elgin dodged a top rope senton. Elgin hit a backdrop suplex on the apron and a top rope splash for a nearfall before putting Kitamiya away with the Elgin Bomb.

Michael Elgin pinned Masa Kitamiya via Elgin Bomb (12:33)

This was a solid match with some good power moves but there were signs of miscommunication and some odd choices, like using the apron spot which felt like an afterthought that got added so that Elgin could tick a box. Kitamiya was his usual charismatic, solid self but this match showed that Elgin had some ring rust.

GHC National Title: Masakatsu Funaki (c) vs Simon Gotch

Simon Gotch was a surprising choice for this tour, having never wrestled for NOAH before. Almost immediately Gotch used a Prison lock only for Funaki to easily escape the hold. Funaki fought from his back and showed his grappling acumen, constantly having an answer for anything that Gotch tried. Gotch gained control of Funaki’s arm after some misdirection, forcing Funaki to use a rope break. Funaki’s expertise meant that Gotch had to use unorthodox tactics like cartwheels to try and find an advantage. The match then switched into striking, with Funaki using kicks to set up the Hybrid Buster. Gotch kicked out, only for Funaki to lock in a sleeper hold by Funaki and choke out Gotch for the win.

Masakatsu Funaki submitted Simon Gotch via Sleeper hold (9:47)

This was a change of pace from everything else on the show. Gotch worked very well with Funaki’s strengths, and this was a great grappling focussed match. Funaki is in his element in these matches and Gotch held his own. The grappling never felt dull to me, although people’s mileage varies with this style. Another great Funaki National title match that added some nice variety to the card.

Daisuke Harada, Atsushi Kotoge, YO-HEY & Junta Miyawaki vs Dragon Bane, Alpha Wolf, Extreme Tiger & Ninja Mack 

Some of the early highlights included Ninja Mack showing off his agility and Dragon Bane hitting a Moonsault off of Alpha Wolf’s shoulders. Harada came in and hit all four opponents with belly-to-belly suplexes. Ninja Mack caught Harada off guard until Harada got his knees up to block a springboard 450 splash. YO-HEY hit an elevated top rope splash for a near fall before it came down to Miyawaki and Dragon Bane. Extreme Tiger and Alpha Wolf hit big dives and Ninja Mack hit a Sasuke Special that wowed the crowd before Dragon Bane pinned Miyawaki with the Bane Twister (spinning Electric Chair driver).

Dragon Bane pinned Junta Miyawaki via Bane Twister (16:33)

This was a fun, action-packed tag match. At times things were a bit clunky, especially in the finishing stretch with Dragon Bane and Miyawaki, but this was enjoyable and energetic. The biggest impression was made by Ninja Mack, whose flashy high flying created a lot of loud audible gasps from the crowd. The NOAH Jr’s did a good job of keeping the match on track and while this will not stand out at the end of the year this was a worthy addition to the card.

Naomichi Marufuji & X vs Yoshiki Inamura & Kinya Okada

Okada was replacing Kaito Kiyomiya, who removed himself from this match to challenge for the GHC Heavyweight title in the main event. X turned out to be New Japan’s, Satoshi Kojima. The ring announcer specifically referred to him as a New Japan wrestler. Inamura and Kojima showed off their power to start while Okada attacked Kojima with a variety of kicks. Okada showed great fire as he fought toe to toe with Marufuji, winning a strike exchange. The veterans isolated Okada until the youngster hit a dropkick and tagged in Inamura, who threw Marufuji around the ring. Inamura hit a big spinning scoop slam to huge approval from the crowd. Marufuji used his intelligence to take out Inamura and tag in Kojima, who used the machine gun chops.

Okada tagged in and brought it to Kojima with kicks, only to be caught with the Machine gun chops and the bakayaro elbow drop. Kojima hit Koji cutters on Kojima and Inamura, but Okada avoided a Lariat and hit a bridging suplex for a nearfall. Okada then ran into a huge Lariat that won Kojima the match.

Satoshi Kojima pinned Kinya Okada via Lariat (15:01)

This was a good tag team match, with both Okada and Inamura showing a lot of fire. Okada looked very good, showing a lot of fighting spirit, and the crowd was hot whenever Inamura got to show off his power. So, of course, the veterans won. I get the booking politics, and the result made sense considering what would happen later on, but Inamura has only won about 22% of his matches this year and he really deserves more time and more wins as he is one of NOAH’s best new prospects. Okada also showed that he deserved more opportunities.

GHC Tag Team Title: Takashi Sugiura & Hideki Suzuki (c) vs Kenoh & Katsuhiko Nakajima

During a very cagey start, Nakajima and Kenoh worked to keep the match on their own terms. The early goings were dull until Nakajima started dominating Suzuki with kicks. Suzuki fought back with a backbreaker and Sugiura attacked Nakajima with gusto. Kenoh got a two-count on Sugiura with a top rope knee drop but Sugiura countered a Penalty kick into an ankle hold. Both wrestlers traded ankle holds before the match broke down as all four wrestlers got involved.

Sugiura and Kenoh traded kicks until Sugiura locked in a front neck lock, which forced Kenoh to reach the ropes. Sugiura earned a nearfall with an Olympic slam, but Kenoh fought back with a flurry of slaps and a Dragon Suplex. Nakajima and Suzuki tagged in, trading strikes and suplexes. Suzuki hit another backbreaker and the champions bullied Nakajima with forearms. Kenoh made the save and the challengers hammered Suzuki and Sugiura with stiff kicks. Suzuki escaped Nakajima’s Vertical Spike, hitting a release German suplex. Nakajima punted Suzuki in the head but Sugiura made the save. Nakajima hit the Vertical Spike only for Suzuki to kick out. Suzuki then used a modified Tombstone Piledriver, a Dragon Suplex, and the Double Arm Suplex to defeat Katsuhiko Nakajima.

After the match, Rene Dupree and El Hijo del Dr. Wagner Jr challenged for the tag team titles, asking for a chance at the titles that they had to vacate due to the pandemic.

Hideki Suzuki pinned Katsuhiko Nakajima via Double Arm Suplex (23:36)

The opening 5-10 minutes really dull, especially when Suzuki grappled with Nakajima. When the match got going there was good action and energy but the match as a whole felt like it was too long and lacked energy and hatred at times. A good match but honestly, I found this a little disappointing.

GHC Heavyweight Title, Decision Match: Go Shiozaki vs Kaito Kiyomiya

Kazuyuki Fujita was scheduled to defend the GHC Heavyweight Title against Shiozaki, but he contracted COVID. As such, he was stripped of the title and Kaito Kiyomiya challenged Shiozaki to a match for the vacant title.

Kiyomiya used his speed to gain an early advantage before applying a headlock to control Shiozaki. He refused to release the headlock even when Shiozaki dragged them both out of the ring. They returned to the ring with the headlock still applied and Kiyomiya only released the hold because they were in the ropes.

Shiozaki celebrated his freedom by Lariating Kiyomiya off the apron and throwing him into the guardrails. Shiozaki kept control by using his chops, keeping the match at a pace that suited him, and applying a variety of submissions to wear down his opponent. Kiyomiya showed great fire as he refused to stay down no matter how many chops Shiozaki threw at him.

Kiyomiya countered a vertical suplex to start his comeback, using his energy, fire, and athleticism to keep Shiozaki off balance. This included a flip dive over the top rope. Shiozaki fought back with more ridiculously loud chops and a stalling Fisherman’s Buster. Kiyomiya replied with European uppercuts and a pinpoint dropkick. Shiozaki repeatedly chopped Kiyomiya, sending him through the ropes and onto the apron.

Shiozaki went for a suplex on the apron, but Kiyomiya escaped and hit a reverse DDT off the apron and onto the floor. Kiyomiya bundled a limp Shiozaki back into the ring and hit a German Suplex for a nearfall. Shiozaki repeatedly blocked a Tiger Suplex, so Kiyomiya locked in Cattle Mutilation instead, forcing Shiozaki to get his foot on the ropes. A desperate Kiyomiya went for a top rope reverse DDT. Somehow Shiozaki reversed it into a stalling second rope Go Flasher. Shiozaki hit the Gowan Lariat and the Go Flasher only for Kiyomiya to kick out.

Both wrestlers traded strikes, but Shiozaki still had the clear advantage until Kiyomiya hit a pair of Jumping knees for a nearfall. That was followed by a top rope Jumping knee for another nearfall and Kiyomiya finally hit the Tiger Suplex, only for Shiozaki to kick out. Kiyomiya kept spamming the jumping knees until he ran into a Lariat. Kiyomiya no-sold that and slugged it out with Shiozaki. Shiozaki unleashed Vader hammers and Misawa’s forearm combination before nailing Kiyomiya with a Lariat for a massive nearfall. Another Gowan Lariat was enough for Shiozaki to defeat Kiyomiya and win the GHC Heavyweight Championship for the fifth time.

After the match, Shiozaki declared “I am NOAH” and was challenged to a title match by Satoshi Kojima.

Go Shiozaki pinned Kaito Kiyomiya via Lariat (30:02)

This was excellent. Kaito Kiyomiya had a torrid 2021 thanks to repeatedly losing to Keiji Mutoh but he has made a few changes. He feels less like a young ace and more like a passionate but talented youngster. This match was a splendid example of that. He showed a tonne of fire and passion, feeling like he needed to prove his worth against Shiozaki, but also felt confident and assured. Kiyomiya’s athleticism stood out but so did his tenacity. A personal highlight for me was how he sold the final pinfall, trying to get his arm up but not having enough strength. Shiozaki was on good form, playing the powerful veteran who had to reach deep into his playbook in order to defeat the fired-up youngster. The finishing stretch was great, and I loved how Kiyomiya lost because he over-relied on the jumping knees.  

This was a great, well-structured match. While it could have had a few minutes cut out, the opening sequence was quite clever and the transitions to things like the brawl on the outside and the apron spot were great. Kiyomiya gave another example of why people are so high on him, and Shiozaki knew how to give Kiyomiya shine without looking weak.

Show Summary

This was a good show. Some matches were a little too long or just designed to get people on the card, but that sums up most big Japanese wrestling shows. Most of the Western wrestlers did well in their spots and mid-card matches like the Dupree/Dr. Wagner Jr tag and Funaki vs Gotch exceeded my expectations. There was a lot of variety on display and some very good matches. If you like grappling, then you would really enjoy Funaki vs Gotch.

There are certain booking decisions that will be criticized, and many of them for valid reasons. Wrestlers like Yoshiki Inamura and Kinya Okada deserve more opportunities. I get that CyberAgent is focused on short-term growth and getting a return on their investment, but the history of NOAH has been a lack of patience when it comes to pushing new stars and falling back on established names to boost attendances in the short term.

Ultimately, the focus of this show was going to be the main event. Kiyomiya put on a fantastic performance, and this was a great match. While many of NOAH’s more popular main events felt like battles of attrition, this felt like it was won by Shiozaki’s intelligence and lost by Kiyomiya’s naivety. The main event is well worth watching and an example of the kind of great wrestling that NOAH can do. I hope that Kiyomiya gets a chance to hold the title in the next year, because he is ready for it.

About Mark Buckeldee 61 Articles
Hailing from Oxfordshire in the UK, Mark Buckeldee writes show reports for POST Wrestling.