NOAH wraps up their Global Junior League 2020 with both the semifinals and final match of the tournament from Korakuen Hall. Daisuke Harada takes on Hajime Ohara in the first match followed by Dick Togo versus GHC Junior Heavyweight Champion, Yoshinari Ogawa. The winners will meet in the main event to determine this year’s tournament winner. Let’s get started!
El Hijo del Dr. Wagner Jr. def. Kinya Okada @ 5:59 via Wagner Driver – **1/4
The standard young boy beatdown. After shouldering Wagner to the floor, Okada had his gums pulled apart until he began to bleed. Wagner’s chops caused Okada to make visceral noises each time which I found very amusing. Okada hit a multitude of dropkicks but they weren’t enough to stop Wagner from finishing him with the piledriver.
RATEL’S (HAYATA, Tadasuke & YO-HEY) def. Stinger (Atsushi Kotoge, Chris Ridgeway & Kotaro Suzuki) @ 10:26 via YO-HEY Code Red on Kotoge – ***
This serves as a junior showcase for the final day of the tournament featuring a bevvy of members who didn’t win their block. The two teams were split up into their respective RATEL’S and Stinger factions. The RATEL’S group provide an unorthodox approach to their offensive that makes them extremely unpredictable while Stringer pride themselves on technique.
The clash was both evident and had a good flow. How the match finished provides a great example of their philosophies. Kotoge had YO-HEY positioned in the Styles Clash when out of nowhere, HAYATA comes in and lands a thrust kick to Kotoge which sends him crashing down into a Code Red pinning combination from YO-HEY. After the match, RATEL’S signal they’ll be coming after the GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships, currently held by Kotoge & Suzuki.
50 Funky Powers (Mohammed Yone & Quiet Storm) def. Akitoshi Saito & Masao Inoue @ 11:32 via 50 Funky Bomb on Inoue – **1/4
Quiet Storm’s final match as a NOAH regular since making his debut for the company in 2014. He was able to team with his longtime teammate Mohammed Yone and leave with one final win in the process. It’s rare in wrestling that someone leaves without putting someone over but Inoue isn’t here to collect wins. A sweet moment to put a bow on Storm’s run with NOAH and yesterday it was announced he’s already found a spot in BJW’s upcoming Strong Climb tournament.
Global Junior League 2020 Semifinal
Daisuke Harada def. Hajime Ohara @ 15:42 via Katayama German Suplex Hold – ****
One of the most engaging matches so far this year. You have Ohara who focuses on the back with a variety of wacky backbreaker combinations up against arguably one of the most well-rounded wrestlers in the world today. These two are no strangers to one another, they’ve traded wins in several junior heavyweight tournaments and junior title matches throughout the last five years. This match featured Ohara relentlessly attacking the back, sold beautifully by Harada that it never loses crowd engagement.
Ohara’s downfall come out of his pure frustration because every time he hit the ropes to try for a finishing blow, Harada would level him with a desperation strike that would turn the tides of the match. This happened on three separate occasions all due to Harada being able to growl his way through the pain of Ohara’s attack. Extremely well executed match that thrived in its confidence of knowing exactly how to tell the story.
Global Junior League 2020 Semifinal
Dick Togo def. Yoshinari Ogawa @ 8:34 via Crossface – ***
Two masters of technique who, aside from a tag match nearly a decade ago, have never met inside the ring. GHC Junior Heavyweight Champion, Ogawa, starts the match trying to suffocate Togo with his technique. He dominates early on before he starts dishing out a serving of suplexes. Togo brings the match back to the mat with a series of pinning combinations that Ogawa kick out of but eventually led to a crossface from Togo that seals him the win. Since Togo has beat the champion, they were likely saving themselves for the rematch. This was perfectly good but didn’t reach the barnburner levels of the previous semifinal match.
Kongoh (Hao, Kenoh, Masa Kitamiya, Nio & Yoshiki Inamura) def. Hitoshi Kumano, Junta Miyawaki, Kaito Kiyomiya, Minoru Tanaka & Naomichi Marufuji @ 19:14 via Kenoh Diving Double Foot Stomp on Miyawaki – ***1/4
So many fun little interactions throughout this match. My favorite was Marufuji landing a boot to Kitamiya’s face only for Kitamiya to stonewall it with a look of disgust. The deciding factor of the match came down to Kongoh’s cohesion as a unit. This was the first match to leave the ring which is so refreshing for these eyes. Kiyomiya and Kenoh continued to show their bad blood which was featured most prominently in the match. Afterwards, Kenoh thanks NOAH’s former owners and shows disgust with the new owners. Nothing’s ever good enough for the guy.
Sugiura-Gun (Hideki Suzuki, Kazuyuki Fujita & Takashi Sugiura) def. AXIZ (Go Shiozaki & Katsuhiko Nakajima) & Shuhei Taniguchi @ 18:53 via Fujita Referee Stoppage on Taniguchi – ***1/2
Matches like this are why my interest level in NOAH is so high right now. You have arguably six of the meanest mean in all of wrestling featured in one match. Only a team like Sugiura, Fujita and Suzuki can make a team of Shiozaki, Nakajima and Taniguchi look comparatively weak. These are six real men who only have one gear. You have Fujita and Taniguchi calling back to their Sumo Hall match by trading punts to the head, Fujita leaving welts on Shiozaki’s neck from slaps and strikes so hard that the crowd winces in pain.
These guys are so cruel to each other that it’s such a spectacle to watch the abuse. After the match, Fujita demands a shot at Shiozaki’s GHC Heavyweight Championship and Suzuki wants Nakajima in a special singles and before Sugiura can make it to the back, Kaito Kiyomiya comes out to issue the challenge for his GHC National Championship. So much good stuff is happening in NOAH right now.
Global Junior League 2020 Final
Daisuke Harada def. Dick Togo @ 19:43 via Katayama German Suplex Hold – ****
I said in the first Harada match that he may be the most well-rounded wrestler in the world. Well if that’s true then Dick Togo is in a close second place. Like the last Harada match, this was perfectly executed. They started with Harada getting the jump on Togo, hitting the German early, connecting with the first dive to the outside of the night (so refreshing how controlled the entire show has been) but soon after gets hip tossed to the floor and Togo takes over.
From there Togo is relentless on the knees but Harada smartly gives him the knee so when Togo goes for an elbow drop, Harada pulls his leg back and is able to fend off Togo’s attack for a brief moment. Harada has another moment of brilliance when he postpones Togo’s top rope senton by grabbing his leg which gave Harada enough time to counter the eventual attack by getting his knees up. The moment that put the match over the top was when Harada finally lands a second German suplex.
Rather than hold the pained leg up, it collapses and he’s forced to turn to his hip and loses the pin. He later on does the one leg bridge and that too fails to get the three. Togo catches him in a crossface which we saw quickly defeat Ogawa earlier in the show. When Togo goes to roll from the ropes, Harada slides his head out from the hold and soon after puts him down with a German, gutting through and pain and keeping both feet on the mat. Very strong match between two incredibly smart wrestlers who understand how to make the small moments matter. Harada wins the 2020 Global Junior League and celebrates his win after the match to close the show.
Masterclass day for Daisuke Harada. He took the bull by the horns and delivered two great singles matches on his way to cementing himself as this year’s winner of the Global Junior League. There is never any doubting the guy but it’s great to see him receive opportunities like this where he can prove on a big stage that he’s one of the best in the world.
The next Korakuen Hall show is shaping up nicely to become one of the most must-see shows of the year. NOAH are doing great things right now and it’s time more people begin to take notice.
Daisuke Harada vs Hajime Ohara
Daisuke Harada vs Dick Togo
Sugiura-Gun vs AXIZ & Taniguchi