Pro Wrestling NOAH HOT TAKE
FITE continues to transverse the world to present the best professional wrestling action across the globe. In keeping with that mission statement, FITE is proud to announce the addition of Pro Wrestling NOAH to its rank of top flight combat sports promotions bringing the best in-ring action straight to your devices live from Japan.
Pro Wrestling NOAH was founded in 2000 by the late, great Mitsuharu Misawa, leading an exodus of the most legendary talents and bringing them to the promised land known as NOAH. 21 years later, the promotion has hosted the likes of Kenta Kobashi, Jun Akiyama, Keiji Mutoh, Eddie Edwards, Kensuke Sasaki, Takeshi Morishima, Yuji Nagata and scores of other talents who have helped to forge the identity of professional wrestling in Japan and beyond.
On Tuesday September 22nd, NOAH will debut on FITE live from Tokyo, Japan at the legendary, intimate Korakuen Hall, kicking off the 2020 N-1 Victory Tournament. This round-robin event is broken down into two blocks, A and B with the winners of each Block facing off in a tournament final. Created by the legendary Akira Taue, the tournament (formerly known as The Global League) has been presented by NOAH since 2010 and was last won by Kenoh, who defeated Takashi Sugiura in a 29 minute classic. As is the norm, the victor of the 2020 N-1 Victory Tournament will earn a shot at NOAH's top championship, the Global Honored Crown, currently held by four-time GHC Champion Go Shiozaki.
Scheduled for N-1 Victory Tournament on Tuesday September 22nd live on FITE with both English and Japanese commentary:
BLOCK A MATCHES
Kaito Kiyomiya vs Manabu Soya - Kaito Kiyomiya has made history before, becoming the youngest ever competitor to capture the Global Honored Crown at the age of 24. By entering the N-1, he seeks to return to the highest plateau within Pro Wrestling NOAH. To do so, he will battle Manabu Soya, a star trained by literal Japanese royalty in Seiji Sagauchi and Tatsumi Fujinami. Soya is a hardened journeyman who has competed all over the world, wiping out opponents with his Perfect Death Valley Bomb while reigning as the Big Japan Wrestling Strong Champion. While Soya's Championship resume is mostly built around Tag Team titles in All Japan, he shouldn't be overlooked as he is a truly physical specimen who beats down his opposition. This battle will be a true head-on collision of different styles with Kiyomiya bringing a bit of a faster, high impact style against Soya's bruising beatdowns. Having lost the Global Honored Crown in January, the N-1 is a major step towards redemption for Kiyomia, while Soya is looking to shock the world by scoring a major first N-1 victory. The first man to make a mistake may indeed be the one looking at the lights.
Masa Kitamiya vs Kazushi Sakuraba - The legendary Sakuraba continues to blaze his own trail by entering the N-1 bringing all his PRIDE MMA and professional wrestling experience with him, but can even the man who defeated the once-unstoppable Royce Gracie make it through the N-1 unscathed? Sakuraba will step into battle inside Korakuen Hall against Masa Kitamiya, who pays tribute to the name and spirit of the late Masa Saito with his in-ring exploits. Like his spiritual predessors, Kitamiya utilizes an arsenal of suplex variations inside the squared circle, including the Saito Suplex. HIs submission game is also on point, utilizing a version of the Sharpshooter known as Sasorigatame as well as The Prison Lock, a version of the figure four leglock. However, if Kitamiya intends to utilize a submission game against Sakuraba, who has garnered a galaxy's worth of Mixed Martial Arts experience. His cross armbreaker and variation of the Kimura keep opponents up at night. This bout looks to be a war of attrition with no true way to predict the victory. In fact, perhaps the only prediction is to channel Mr. T as Clubber Lang in Rocky III - and predict pain.
BLOCK B MATCHES
Kenoh vs Yoshiki Inamura - A former GHC Heavyweight and Junior Heavyweight Champion Kenoh will begin attempting to undertake the never before accomplished journey of winning the N-1 Victory two years in a row, looking to add that unique feat to his resume. To accomplish that arduous task, he will have to overcome Yoshiki Inamura. Inamura, a two-year veteran, uses his power and strength to attempt to destroy his foes, having perfected Splash Mountain and an Oklahoma Stampede that would make the late "Dr. Death" Steve Williams jealous. Kenoh, trained by former WWF star Hakushi, has made it his public mission to rise NOAH back to its greatest heights. To do so, he'll need to rise to the top of the N-1. The hardest destination to reach begins with that first step. For Kenoh, that first step takes place live on FITE.
Katsuhiko Nakajima vs Shuhei Taniguchi - Nakajima, a 21-year veteran has held the most important championships in NOAH and beyond, having been broken into professional wrestling by Kensuke Sasaki. A master striker, Nakajima is known for quick assaults utilizing kicks, strikes and thrusts to daze opponents before wiping them out with his vertical spike delayed brainbuster variation. While Nakajima has fought in the trenches for every Japanese wrestling promotion imaginable over the course of his career, his first opponent in the N-1, Shuhei Taniguchi, is as much as NOAH loyalist as can be, having spent his entire career competing for the promotion. While Taniguchi has held Tag Team gold, the 43-year old star is seeing his window of opportunity as a singles champion begin to close, so the N-1 is his greatest opportunity to achieve singles glory. He hopes his Camel Clutch variation, the Wyvern Clutch and his bridging German suplex may be the keys to his victory. In this battle of veterans, only one star can emerge victorious.
Of course, there will be non-tournament bouts yet to be announced as well. Stay tuned!
NOAH and FITE collide live on September 22nd - the first of many Pro Wrestling NOAH events to come in the days ahead!
Mike Johnson is the lead reporter for PWInsider.com and has been writing about professional wrestling since 1996. He can be found on Twitter @MikePWInsider and MikeJohnsonWrites.com.