It’s been almost exactly a year since Minoru Suzuki and his army invaded NOAH and captured every belt of the promotion. After a war that was set to conclude in December, things just got even crazier! Naomichi Marufuji had won the belt back from Suzuki, but then he was turned on by his longtime friend Takashi Sugiura, who aligned himself with Suzuki! That brings us to the new year. It’s January and the first big event for Pro Wrestling NOAH is about to happen tonight. GREAT VOYAGE 2016 IN YOKOHAMA is set to be the ending to a storied rivalry that we haven’t seen in wrestling, much less Puroresu in a long time. Will Marufuji retain his belt and drive Suzuki-gun out of NOAH? What is the bomb that Minoru has set, that he says is still ticking? All these questions shall be answered tonight! This is a preview and predictions for all 9 matches for tonight’s blockbuster event.
THIS IS IT
NOAH x SUZUKI-GUN
(1) GREAT VOYAGE 2016 in YOKOHAMA Opening 8 Man Tag Match: Yoshihiro Takayama, Quiet Storm, Hajime Ohara & Genba Hirayanagi vs. Yoshinari Ogawa, Akitoshi Saito, Hitoshi Kumano & Kaito Kiyomiya
The opening match of the night is an 8-man tag that should give people some decent entertainment before the real show starts. Nothing against these guys, but other than Quiet Storm I could care less.
Prediction: Takayama, Quiet Storm, Ohara & Hirayanagi should get the win here.
(2) Special Single Match: El Desperado [SUZUKI-GUN] vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru [NOAH]
Okay now we’re getting into the meat of the event, the NOAH x Suzuki-gun storytelling as El Desperado takes on Yoshinobu Kanehara. Desperado has done very well since returning from CMLL and improved quite a bit; always seems like when guys come back from CMLL they’re much improved, case in point Kamaitachi…Anyway, it’s Suzuki-gun vs a man who has the record for most NOAH Jr Heavyweight titles. Kanemaru may have been with AJPW for 2 years after leaving NOAH, but with the way Suzuki-gun has a stranglehold on the company, I think Kanemaru is a greatly needed veteran who Marufuji can certainly use at this point.
Prediction: This match will give a slight nudge to the main event’s outcome in my opinion. Every match on this card can go either way and that unpredictability is something Jado should teach Gedo. Let’s just go with El Desperado, he has a few wins during this tour, so maybe they’re pushing him. If Suzuki-gun leaves, I see him staying with another gimmick.
(3) Special Single Match: Shelton X Benjamin [SUZUKI-GUN] vs. Mitsuhiro Kitamiya [NOAH]
Match three continues the theme of Suzuki-gun x NOAH as the former gold standard, Shelton X Benjamin takes on the ever-improving young talent of Mitsuhiro Kitamiya. This should be a well worked, fast paced match. Let’s see if Kitamiya can keep up with the super-athletic Benjamin.
Prediction: I could see them giving this to Kitamiya, but the way they have treated Shelton in NOAH has me believing he’ll win this one; he’s the resident monster of the promotion in my opinion.
(4) Special Single Match: Maybach Taniguchi [NOAH] vs. Takashi Iizuka [SUZUKI-GUN]
I don’t even know what to say about this match…Both gimmicks are strange, but it should be entertaining none the less. It’s the man named after a sports car who looks like the gatekeeper to hell vs a crazy-man who is lead around on a leash…Oh Puroresu…this is why I love you.
Prediction: Maybach will use his…trident…thing…to reign Iizuka in and finish him with probably a Maybach Splash or bomb.
(5) GHC Junior Tag Championship Match: [25th Champions] Daisuke Harada & Atsushi Kotoge [NOAH] vs. [Challengers] TAKA Michinoku & Taichi [SUZUKI-GUN]
I am very excited for match 5 because on paper it looks like it’ll be amazing. Harada and Kotoge are a great tag team and work very well together and the same can be said for TAKA and Taichi. TAKA is one of the hardest workers in NOAH and I just love Taichi’s J-Rocker gimmick, including the Moi dix Mois theme song he comes out singing to.
Prediction: As much as I love TaiMichi (Give it time it’ll catch on!) I know like everyone else that Harada and Kotoge will rightfully so leave with the belts. Harada and Kotoge are the future of the division and if NJPW ever absorbs NOAH could be great in the Jr division.
(6) GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship Match: [30th Champion] Taiji Ishimori vs. [Challenger] Kenoh
I love this match, I’ve paid close attention to every match these two have been in during this tour and I just love the chemistry between the two. Ishimori is arguably the best Junior that NOAH has ever had; his record for longest title reign is a testament to that. Kenoh cut his teeth under the tutelage of the great TAKA and it shows in his in-ring performance. I’ll be happy either way, but I feel Ishimori would benefit greatly from the chase.
Prediction: Ishimori will retain his belt after a great 4-star match. I expect Kenoh to win the belt within the next 4 months though.
(7) GHC Tag Championship Match: [33rd Champions] Lance Archer & Davey Boy Smith Jr. [SUZUKI-GUN] vs. [Challengers] Muhammad Yone & Katushiko Nakajima [NOAH]
Match 7, wow it’s match 7 and we still have two more! What a stacked card…Anyway, we have Killer Elite Squad trying to defend their GHC tag titles for the 6th time, however if Yone and Nakajima have anything to say about it, it will be the beginning of the fall of Suzuki-gun in NOAH.
Prediction: This one is damn-near unpredictable. I have no idea, but I have to think they’ll lose the belts, six title defenses is just crazy, plus if it is in fact time for Suzuki-gun to leave then they must drop the belts. I’m going to say K.E.S. lose the belts. I could actually see them dropping them regardless, because they’re a dominant force even without them.
(8) Special Single Match: Go Shiozaki [NOAH] vs. Minoru Suzuki [SUZUKI-GUN]
This match will steal the show. Shiozaki is arguably the best talent in Japan who isn’t signed to NJPW and the hottest free-agent in years. Look for Go and Minoru to put on a very exciting, violent MMA-style fight. Can Shiozaki defeat Suzuki and declare himself the next challenger to the title? We will see…
Prediction: Go has to win. Go absolutely has to win this and he will, decisively and impressively. Minoru will put on a great program with Shiozaki and help propel him to the top of NOAH and with a win over the leader of the most hated faction in the history of Japanese wrestling, NOAH and Marufuji will finally welcome Shiozaki into the fold. I expect a brutal, violent, show-stealing match between these two.
(9) GHC Heavyweight Championship Match: [24th Champion] Naomichi Marufuji [NOAH] vs. [Challenger] Takashi Sugiura [SUZUKI-GUN]
This is it…the main event…the colmination of a months worth of build. Sugiura has stabbed Marufuji in the back and is determined to cement himself as the new leader of NOAH; even though that means NOAH will be no more. The story behind this match and the build to it will make it the most intriguing match of the night and should put a nice little bow on the Suzuki-gun invasion. Or will it?…That bomb Minoru set is still ticking.
Prediction: I have no idea…If Marufuji wins then Suzuki-gun in theory have to leave NOAH…but if Sugiura wins then NOAH will “die”. I could see a scenario where Marufuji retains, but the bomb Minoru planted was someone in the business room, akin to a storyline you’d see in WWE…god I hope not…So either Suzuki’s bomb is a person or a situation or something…but what if that bomb blows up in his face? The finale of this epic story is bound to go out with a bang; no pun intended.
Sasha Banks versus Charlotte confirmed to take place inside Hell in a Cell
The first ever women’s Hell in a Cell match has been confirmed for the WWE Network special of the same name.
Women’s Champion Sasha Banks challenged Charlotte to a rematch inside of the structure to kick off tonight’s episode of RAW. Charlotte would accept after being so rudely interrupted by Rusev and Lana as you can see in the video below.
It was also announced by general manager Mick Foley tonight that Kevin Owens will defend his Universal Championship against Seth Rollins inside of Hell in a Cell making this year’s event the first one to feature three matches inside of the dreaded cell.
Here’s your updated card for WWE Hell in a Cell 2016 as it stands tonight:
WWE RAW Women’s Championship (Hell in a Cell Match)
Sasha Banks (c) vs. Charlotte
WWE Universal Championship (Hell in a Cell Match)
Kevin Owens (c) vs. Seth Rollins
WWE United States Championship (Hell in a Cell Match)
Roman Reigns (c) vs. Rusev w/ Lana
WWE RAW Tag Team Championship Match
The New Day (c) vs. Cesaro and Sheamus
Facelock Feministas Episode 34: Gimmicked
The Lady J talks herself into some of the gimmicks of Season 3 while also discussing drug use, Taya being industrious, where is Ivelisse and more from Episode 3, Season 3 of Lucha Underground!
Bellator and The Bad Guy – Endless opportunities
While most of America watched the New York Jets and the Buffalo Bills play football, a story began to grow on twitter. Soon it was confirmed, Chael P. Sonnen, The West Linn Gangster had signed a multi-fight deal with Bellator. Imagine the possibilities. Seriously, right now…with me.
It’s nice to see Chael Sonnen out of USADA jail and free to do his thing again. Whether you love him, or simply love to hate him, it’s impossible to ignore what he brings to the table. He’s a breath of maybe not so fresh air, but needed air all the same. Here’s a quick look at the match-ups we could be treated to, and yes, I’m a bit giddy.
Chael Sonnen vs. Tito Ortiz
This is the one I want to see. These guys can both sell fights, and Bellator would benefit from pairing these two up and watching the ratings pour in. The match-up itself, lends itself to two quality wrestlers on the mat, and it is a compelling fight for both parties. I’m all in on this one.
Chael Sonnen vs. Stephan Bonnar
Hey let’s be honest, both of these guys have been flagged for prior steroid offenses, and that alone would make the trash talk entertaining. Bonnar signed with Bellator and has basically collecting dust since his fight with Ortiz. This could be a solid farewell fight for Bonnar, and the fans would certainly take interest and both guys can talk and sell a fight.
Chael Sonnen vs. Wanderlei Silva
C’mon if you don’t want to see these two go at it, maybe MMA isn’t your thing. The two have feuded, had an epic scuffle while coaching TUF and genuinely dislike each other. Fans would love this fight, and to be honest, it would be near the top of my guilty pleasure lists. Make it happen Coker…make the dreams come true.
Chael Sonnen vs. Fedor
Fedor doesn’t need a last name, he’s like Madonna, or Cher or….Pink, only he’s a man who doesn’t sing. Ok, this one, I’m not so interested in. After watching Fedor battle with Fabio Maldonado, I’m ok not seeing the Russian compete again. He’s a legend, the goat, and this fight simply doesn’t need to happen. That being said, it could be a big money fight in Japan and why not line the Bad Guys’ pockets right?
Chael Sonnen vs. Rampage Jackson
The press for this fight would be amazing. These two can work a crowd like few others, and the buildup would be that of legend. Imagine if Anderson Silva had been able to match Sonnen’s ire and lip in their feud, it would have been amazing. Rampage can, and Rampage will. Book it Coker! Please!
Chael Sonnen vs. Bobby Lashley
I don’t know, I just think this would be fun. Wrestling 101 and Sonnen would either expose what Lashley is lacking, or….would help build a star. I want to see it. I’d tune in.
What we don’t want/or need to see.
I don’t want to see Chael in there with King Mo, Phil Davis or Liam McGeary. King Mo and Chael would have a solid war of words, but I don’t think the fight makes much sense for Sonnen, and for King Mo, I think he has World Title aspirations at this point.
Phil Davis beating Chael at this point, doesn’t do much for his career. He’d be an obvious favorite of Sonnen, and really, I don’t want to see Sonnen go up the ladder, I want him to be in entertaining fights, so we can skip this one.
Liam McGeary chokes out Sonnen with relative ease. Who needs that? Not me! Not on my watch, move it along McGeary!
Ultimate Guilty Pleasure Fight – Chael Sonnen vs. Royce Gracie
Hey, calm down, Royce is still on the active Bellator roster. It’s not me who won’t let him retire, it’s him who wants to stick around. Who better to send Royce off into the sunset than the Bad Guy. It makes perfect heel sense….the hated Sonnen ends the career of the MMA legend and pioneer Royce Gracie. Not saying Chael needs to murder him, but it would be something I’d watch…and probably not admit to. You want to get over as a bad guy, beat up Royce. Worked for Matt Hughes, although now that I think about it, people have always hated Hughes.
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