On Sunday, December 6, Fite TV is airing NOAH THE BEST – The Final Chronicle, and to preview the event, its English-language commentator Mark Pickering (who first wrote for SlamWrestling in 2005), has provided 10 pretty good reasons to order the pay-per-view (which airs tonight, 1 a.m. ET).
1. Go Shiozaki is the best current world champion in wrestling
Pro Wrestling NOAH’s GHC Heavyweight champion Go Shiozaki is widely regarded as being the leading world champion in the sport.
Shiozaki, who captured the prestigious title in January, has made five successful defences and every bout has been the stuff of legend.
The four-time GHC Heavyweight champion has carried the company this year with his titanic title reign during the COVID 19 pandemic and has done so with class, character, emotion and unrivalled tenacity. Shiozaki carries himself like a champion, he appreciates the weight of the GHC title and the expectancy that comes with it.
After a lung-busting and emotionally charged yet ultimately successful title defence against former tag team partner Katsuhiko Nakajima just a fortnight ago, Shiozaki is already set for his next defence.
His work load is unmatched and his commitment to being champion and to NOAH is beyond question.
Can Shiozaki summon the energy and fire to see off his most difficult defence to date against Sugiura? Or can NOAH legend Sugiura take advantage of the champion’s level of fatigue and demanding schedule and become a five-time GHC Heavyweight champion?
[SlamWrestling interviewed him during his tour of the United States in 2008: The Americanization of Go Shiozaki]
2. Kazushi Sakuraba aims to win his first singles title
Mixed martial arts legend Kazushi Sakuraba is one-half of the GHC Tag Team Champions with Takashi Sugiura which is the first time he’s worn gold in wrestling having started out in in UWFi in 1993.
The Sugiura gun member famously declared that “Pro wrestling is strong” after he won the UFC Ultimate Japan tournament in 1997 and today he is a UFC Hall of Famer and Japanese hero who is enjoying a wrestling renaissance in the squared circle following his shocking arrival in NOAH in 2019.
The IQ Wrestler is now set to challenge Kongo leader Kenoh for his GHC National Championship in Yoyogi.
Will we see Sakuraba capture his first singles title in professional wrestling and in doing so become a double champion in NOAH? Or will Kenoh get his wish and send Sakuraba back to ‘the time of PRIDE’ as he has promised?
3. Newly-crowned junior aces Stinger put their titles on the line against former comrade Suzuki and his mysterious partner Salvaje de Oriente
Yoshinari Ogawa & HAYATA, better known as Stinger, dethroned Momo No Seishun Tag, Daisuke Harada & Atsushi Kotoge, in Yokohama and now have to put their freshly-minted titles on the line for the first time against former Stinger member Kotaro Suzuki and his little-known partner Salvaje de Oriente.
Ogawa and HAYATA kicked Suzuki out of his own group despite him even holding the GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship and he’s been gunning for revenge ever since. All junior titles have changed hands since then and Suzuki, who rejected the offer of NOSAWA Rongai to team with him in Yokohama, unveiled his surprise partner to be the debuting Salvaje de Oriente.
Oriente made a successful start to his NOAH career by pinning Haoh with the Oriente Crush and now the team have title aspirations.
Will Stinger fall at the first hurdle? Or do they have a game plan to beat Suzuki and his new masked partner?
4. Full strength M’s Alliance face the quartet of Kiyomiya, Taniguchi, Inaba and Inamura
Marufuji, Muto, Funaki and Miyamoto is a quartet that only 2020 could produce. The M’s Alliance, led by Marufuji, were unsuccessful in their GHC Tag Team Championship title tilt in Yokohama as Sugiura gun prevailed over challengers Marufuji and Funaki.
They have regrouped and are ready to encounter a talented set of opponents led by the youngest GHC Heavyweight champion in history Kaito Kiyomiya.
Kiyomiya is backed up by Taniguchi, Inaba and Inamura to take on the all stars of the M’s Alliance who have imposed themselves almost at will in NOAH this year.
Kaito’s team will be bidding to secure a scalp by taking down a legend on their opposing team while the M’s Alliance will be out to cause havoc and record a win on the big stage in Yoyogi.
5. How will Nakajima respond to his loss to Shiozaki?
Katsuhiko Nakajima poured his heart into soul into his title challenge against Go Shiozaki. He’s an out of this world talent but there can only be one GHC Heavyweight champion and that man right now is Go Shiozaki.
Nakajima will link up with his Kongo colleagues in Yoyogi in the form of regular tag team Masa Kitamiya and Manabu Soya to take on the Full Throttle trio of Hajime Ohara, YO-HEY & Seiki Yoshioka.
What will be the mindset of Nakajima? He waged war on Shiozaki for over 40 minutes and left on his own two feet afterwards. What type of performance can he produce this time around in six-man action with the support of the men in red?
6. Supernova Kaito Kiyomiya – what’s next for the future of NOAH?
Kiyomiya went toe-to-toe with Kenoh at NOAH the Chronicle Vol. 7 in Yokohama. Kenoh eventually had the beating of the The Emerald New Star via a sleeper.
Kiyomiya has dusted himself down and will not be hiding. The media-friendly starlet continues to expand his ever-growing fanbase through his gutsy showings in the ring and his affable and charming demeanour on television and with the media.
The man dubbed the future ace, who is a product of the NOAH dojo having graduated in 2015, started the year as the GHC Heavyweight champion before succumbing to Shiozaki on 4 January to end a 384-day title reign.
Kiyomiya increases in stature with every outing and he’ll be looking to put on a show at the Final Chronicle as he bids to end his year on a high before setting his sights on a career-making 2021.
7. Soon-to-be GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship opponents Harada and Tadasuke will collide in 6-man action
Daisuke Harada and Tadasuke will come to blows in singles action for the GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship currently held by Harada on 19 December in Nagoya.
This will serve as a prelude to that eagerly-awaited match-up with Harada having Atsushi Kotoge and Junta Miyawaki as reinforcements while Tadasuke is backed up by Haoh and Nioh in this intriguing six-man tag match.
Tadasuke has shown that he has little respect for Harada, attacking the champion post-match in the backstage area in Yokohama, and he’ll be looking to soften up the title holder ready to claim a gift on his own in Nagoya.
Momo No Seishun Tag will also be smarting from losing their GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships and the highly-regarded youngster Junta Miyawaki offers energy and enthusiasm in abundance. Haoh and Nioh are a cunning duo with a dazzling skillset but sometimes resort to villainous ways inherited from their leader Kenoh.
A win here will give Harada or Tadasuke a psychological advantage heading in to Nagoya.
8. Watch NOAH’s next generation grow as recent debutant Yano battles fellow young gun Okada
Exciting rookie Yasutaka Yano is the first homegrown talent to debut in NOAH since Kinya Okada in 2018. Yano lost out in his debut against Okada in October but was applauded for his poise and crisp offence. Everything he did he did with intent and he quickly won over the Korakuen Hall crowd.
Okada, who has gained vital experience in over 100 matches since his December 2018 debut, has showed no end of promise and he’s unsurprisingly had the measure of the younger Kano in their singles meetings to date.
Both men look to have very prosperous years ahead of them and it’s a treat for NOAH fans to watch these young talents develop before their eyes.
9. NOAH has had a year of resurgence in 2020 and it will continue in Yoyogi
2020 has been an arduous year for every industry and people all over the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the situation and the difficult conditions, NOAH has gone from strength to strength this year with highly-engaging rivalries, compelling matches, increased domestic and international coverage and new talent being blooded along with the company visiting new venues as they gear up for the day when fans are allowed to fill venues to capacity once again.
10. Witness the latest chapter unfold live in NOAH’s 20th Anniversary year
Pro Wrestling NOAH is one of the world’s youngest mainstream wrestling organizations but also one of the most successful. Founded in 2000 by the late, great Mitsuharu Misawa, the company has, at times, packed out super stadiums like the Tokyo Dome, been recognized as the number one promotion in the world, toured Europe and America years ahead of their contemporaries, secured major TV deals both domestically and internationally, and most vividly survived the loss of its founder Misawa in 2009 and the 2013 retirement of his arch-rival and fellow legend Kenta Kobashi.
A new era has dawned in Pro Wrestling NOAH, overseen by parent company CyberFight, the wrestling arm of digital advertising company CyberAgent, with a new-look and feel and with that has come a new impetus and a new dynamic that has seen the company lauded for its first-class shows in 2020.
For all the rich history of NOAH and it’s years of outstanding success, the company has turned another corner in 2020 with a core of world-class wrestlers who embody both the surviving spirit of the old NOAH and the enterprise to drive the company forward to new heights, with new stars on the rise and a new level of exposure to domestic and international markets through Abema and FITE TV along with Wrestle Universe online platform.
Now you can see the latest chapter unfold live in NOAH’s 20th Anniversary year on FITE TV and hop on board the ark as the company is braced to put on its latest extravaganza in Yoyogi ahead of a colossal 2021.
NOAH THE BEST – The Final Chronicle
Yoyogi National Gymnasium No. 2 Gymnasium
Sunday 6 December
Start 15:00 JST = 1 am ET
- Kinya Okada vs. Yasutaka Yano
- Daisuke Harada, Atsushi Kotoge & Junta Miyawaki vs. Tadasuke, Haoh & Nioh
- Hajime Ohara, YO-HEY & Seiki Yoshioka vs. Katsuhiko Nakajima, Masa Kitamiya & Manabu Soya
- GHC Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Title: Yoshinari Ogawa & HAYATA (c) vs. Kotaro Suzuki & Salvaje de Oriente
- GHC National Title: Kenoh (c) vs. Kazushi Sakuraba
- Naomichi Marufuji, Keiji Muto, Masakatsu Funaki & Yuko Miyamoto vs. Kaito Kiyomiya, Shuhei Taniguchi, Daiki Inaba & Yoshiki Inamura
- GHC Heavyweight Title: Go Shiozaki (c) vs. Takashi Sugiura
Card subject to change.
Order NOAH The Best – Final Chronicle with English commentary on FITE TV at https://www.fite.tv/watch/noah-the-best-final-chroncile-2020/2p8ho/