Jake Lee entered NOAH on 1st January 2023 an outsider, entering in the same costume and to the same entrance theme he used just weeks before in AJPW. Those elements haven’t changed but Jake’s hands (or at least his gloves) are now, quite literally, dyed the same green as the company whose highest belt he now holds.
By R. Faliani aka Gyro There’s few wrestlers in DDT that are as creative as Shunma Katsumata. To be honest, I don’t think I can count three as innovative as Shunma, not because they’re not good, but because they have a more “safe” approach of wrestling. The first time I saw Shunma wrestling I knew …
AMAKUSA is a genius. In a matter of months he has overcome being cast as NOAH’s perennial loser, won (and lost) the GHC Junior Heavyweight championship and managed to turn denial of his past identities into a t-shirt slogan. Just in case you’re at all uncertain of my position I’ll say it again – AMAKUSA is a genius.
The coin drops, much to everyone’s surprise and delight, including Kenny who is shocked at hearing the theme of his greatest rival. The same man he had those historic, boundary pushing matches against, every single one of which was incredibly taxing and probably took years off of both their careers. The matches most people laud as the greatest rivalry in modern pro wrestling and one of the greatest of all times. The series that pushed the boundaries of what pro wrestling could be and forced it to evolve.
In perhaps no other storytelling medium is legacy as important as it is in wrestling. There are no different installments or clear breaks in continuity. The beginning and end of a character’s journey are marked by the abilities and limitations of a real person’s body as they grow, age and get injured. Having someone new carry the mantle forward is a very natural point to arrive at. Fans can indulge their nostalgia, wrestlers can honor those who inspired them and stories that ended too early can find some continuation. There are many ways to achieve these goals. Gear references are a popular one, as is signature move inheritance, but perhaps the most intense form of tribute is the legacy gimmick – the direct continuation of an old character in some way.
After reaching a level of prominence deeming him undeniable in NOAH, the winds of change would take Kenoh beyond the ark itself. Through opposing bigger names and brands, while continuing on “internal” growth through more familiar opposition, Kenoh would go on a path to become the protagonist of pro wrestling, getting his promotion, his unit onto the biggest stage.
EGEND’s next challengers approached, but it wasn’t your usual suspects. A young wrestler struggling to breakout on his own, and his junior that had made waves in the previous Best of The Super Juniors were here to call their shot. YUJIRO and Tetsuya Naito made their first ever challenge for the IWGP Jr tag straps, and YUJIRO’s first title challenge since the dissolution of Samurai Gym. Gutsy move as they were not just stepping to junior legends, but one of the men they were challenging was the symbol of junior excellence. How would they handle the challenge?