In Pro Wrestling NOAH, since the beginning of 2019, a tag team known as AXIZ thrived. It featured two top stars of the company: Katsuhiko Nakajima and Go Shiozaki. Together, they dominated the NOAH tag scene. Many great tag matches against some of the best teams that NOAH had to offer followed. These matches also included a tag series against Takashi Sugiura and Kazma Sakamoto. They would become two-time GHC Heavyweight Tag Team Champions, in addition to one of the most talked-about tag teams in Japan. This made the events at Kawasaki Go all the more shocking.
However, the second show of 2020 for NOAH, Kawasaki Go, AXIZ lost the GHC Heavyweight Tag Team Championship to Naomichi Marufuji and Masaaki Mochizuki. On the first night, AXIZ member Shiozaki would become the GHC Heavyweight Champion. Meanwhile, Nakajima was on the sidelines for about four months. In June, Nakajima won the GHC National Championship, defeating Sugiura. Nakajima’s reign could easily be defined by one rivalry: KONGOH and it’s high-ranking heavyweight members. Nakajima would defeat Manabu Soya, but the match on the first night of Departure would feature a battle against Kenoh, the leader of KONGOH.
Nakajima would get knocked out cold and lose the GHC National Championship. Kenoh would then go to challenge Shiozaki. This brutal match went a complete 60 minutes. In the opening match, a trend started in NOAH with betrayal. Former RATEL’S member Tadasuke turned and joined KONGOH. Only a few nights later, the biggest instance of betrayal took place. Following the vacating of the GHC Heavyweight Tag Team Championship, a title match would take place on the August 30th show. It would feature AXIZ vs. Sugiura and Kazushi Sakuraba.
"You don't need me, and I don't need you"
Katsuhiko Nakajima breaks AXIZ. Go Shiozaki made the sad comment on his Twitter, "I needed you".
Then Nakajima went off to trouble make in Kongoh. pic.twitter.com/qZozLpAvhv
— Pro-Wrestling Noah Eng (Hisame, 冰雨) (@Hi5ame) September 1, 2020
The result would end up being Sakuraba and Sugiura becoming GHC Heavyweight Tag Champions, causing a major upset by defeating AXIZ. This is Sakuraba’s first-ever championship in wrestling. This also marks Suigura’s 6th reign as GHC Heavyweight Tag Team Champion. The most notable thing on this match was not Masa Kitamiya and Manabu Soya being the new challengers. It was Nakajima ending the partnership of AXIZ by turning on his former friend Shiozaki at Kawasaki Go. Nakajima would then join KONGOH. He is the newest member of the faction, changing the very landscape in NOAH’s heavyweight tag team division this year. Both men are scheduled to face each other in tag matches in the near future, while also being in separate blocks in the N1 Tournament.
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