The N-1 Victory is considered the top singles tournament for Pro Wrestling NOAH. The winner of the tournament will face off against the GHC Heavyweight Champion in the next big event. It would seem September is the month of tournaments for promotions all over the world. The N-1 Victory will run for 7 events, featuring great tournament action. Welcome to the preview for both blocks.
9月18日(金)ノア『N-1 VICTORY 2020～NOAH NUMBER ONE PRO-WRESTLING LEAGUE～』名古屋大会、18：30～完全LIVE配信‼
潮崎豪 vs 征矢学 ほか
— WRESTLE UNIVERSE (@W_UNIVERSE2020) September 16, 2020
N-1 Victory Block A
Kazushi Sakuraba has been wrestling consistently with Pro Wrestling NOAH since late 2019 as part of the Sugiura-Gun faction. As of late, Sakuraba hasn’t been part of the N-1 Victory or even the former Global League. This is Sakuraba’s first N-1 Victory and he will enter as one half of the GHC Tag Team Champions. In terms of matches that matter for him, Sakuraba vs. Go Shiozaki is big because he may very well pin a world champion. Sakuraba vs Masaaki Mochizuki also has potential to be interesting in terms of technical wrestling.
Masa Kitamiya has been a mainstay for NOAH’s heavyweight division since 2017. Since then, he’s been in multiple tag titles matches, including the one to come. In singles tournaments, though, Kitamiya has yet to shine. Due to this, he joined the faction KONGOH when it first debuted as one of three hosses of the group. Kitamiya’s most interesting match, however, will not be against Go Shiozaki. Instead, it will be against his partner, Manabu Soya. It should be a brutal war between them. Furthermore, Kitamaya doesn’t disappoint in his matches. Winning, however, isn’t a strong suit for the man who goes for broke.
Manabu Soya was a mainstay of the former Wrestle-1. When the promotion went out of business, he joined Pro Wrestling NOAH under the brand new KONGOH faction. Since his debut, he has been part of the National Title scene and even in the upcoming GHC Tag Title match. This is Soya’s first N-1 Victory as well, with many believing he might be the true dark horse of the tournament. With interesting matches, Soya vs. Kitamiya is major. On the opening night, Soya will face off against the current GHC Heavyweight Champion. While many don’t see Soya winning the tournament, he’s one of the favorites.
In the middle of 2019, with the partnership between Pro Wrestling NOAH & Dragon Gate, DG mainstay Maasaki Mochizuki joined NOAH while working with Naomichi Marufuji. In NOAH, they held tag titles together. Alongside Sakuraba, Mochizuki could be the underdog in the N-1 Victory. In terms of matches, Mochizuki vs. Go Shiozaki could be a spectacular showcase of kicks & chops. The same could be said with his upcoming bout against Kaito Kiyomiya. While many don’t expect Mochizuki to win the tournament, most people will watch his matches and expect the best. Even if he doesn’t win, he can further Dragon Gate’s influence with NOAH in the N-1 Victory.
Kaito Kiyomiya (2018 N-1 Victory Winner)
The last two wrestlers of A Block are the two main favorites for the tournament. Kaito Kiyomiya was the 2018 N-1 Victory winner. After defeating Kenoh to become GHC Champion, Kiyomiya would become one of the promotion’s most popular stars. He would hold the championship for over 400 days before losing it to Go Shiozaki. One of the biggest matches of this tournament is the Shiozaki vs Kiyomiya rematch from January 4th of this year. This could be one of the major deciding factors in the N-1 Victory.
While Kiyomiya dominated many people in his reign, his upcoming match with Manabu Soya could be interesting, as they’ve haven’t wrestled before. Kiyomiya hasn’t been having the best luck as of recently. He has been on a losing losing streak in title matches and even random singles matches. However, this tournament seems like an area for his redemption, where he may finally become GHC Heavyweight Champion for the second time.
Becoming GHC Heavyweight Champion this year was a defining moment in Go Shiozaki’s career. After over four years of not holding the title, Shiozaki has taken his place on the throne as the true Prince of Pro Wrestling NOAH. He defeated Kaito Kiyomiya, Akitoshi Saito, Naomichi Marufuji & Kenoh in a time limit draw. That said, Shiozaki is going into this tournament distracted. Recently, his former friend, Katsuhiko Nakajima, betrayed him to join KONGOH. Shiozaki feels anger & resentment towards the faction, which will make every match against KONGOH even more important.
Behind Kiyomiya, Shiozaki stands tall as the favorite to win A Block. Furthermore, Shiozaki may look for revenge against Nakajima in the finals. With a common theme of champions losing within tournaments to create new contenders, every match is major for Shiozaki. His bout against Kiyomiya is the biggest of this tournament’s block. If he wins this tournament, Shiozaki can exact revenge on his former friend. If there’s one thing known for this tournament, it’s that either Kiyomiya or Shiozaki will be A Block’s favorites. Meanwhile, B Block has four major favorites.
🏆N-1 VICTORY 2020配信予定
— WRESTLE UNIVERSE (@W_UNIVERSE2020) September 14, 2020
N-1 Victory B Block
Yoshiki Inamura is still considered by many as one of newer wrestlers that NOAH has. He is still going through a somewhat of a proving phase. Once he joined KONGOH, Inamura started to have many singles matches in the pandemic side of NOAH. Inamura could be a pinfall feeder of this tournament, especially with four of the top talents of this block being higher-ups. The one match that might be Inamura’s only win could be against Shuhei Taniguchi. While he doesn’t have that much potential to win this tournament, he’ll try to make KONGOH proud, even if he will face the leader of the faction & teammate Nakajima in the N-1 Victory.
For many years in Pro Wrestling NOAH, Shuhei Taniguchi was better known as Maybach Taniguchi. In the middle of 2019, he broke off with a group and became a midcarder, where he’s been ever since. He wrestled bouts with Kazuyuki Fujita and Manabu Soya, but was always in the background of the bigger talent that NOAH has to offer. This doesn’t mean Taniguchi won’t impress if the time comes. He is a great talent and can face off against the best that NOAH has to offer. His biggest bouts will be against the other four men in this tournament. All four are favorites to possibly win this tournament, but a bout against Sugiura could be really fun to watch. They may even yield major victories for him. It’s unknown how he’ll do this tournament, but this might be the shining beacon for him to succeed.
Naomichi Marufuji (2015 N-1 Victory Winner)
Naomichi Marufuji has been with NOAH for over two decades, which is incredible. The more time that passes by, though, the insanity of his hair and role within the company continues to change. Marufuji and tournaments have a very mixed relationship. Before the N-1 Victory was established, he won the precursor known as Global League in 2015. Winning that tournament, Marufuji would go on to become GHC Heavyweight Championship for the third time. While the reign didn’t last long, he is proof that winning this tournament could elevate a career to superstardom.
Keep in mind that Marufuji is late into his career. While he lost to Go Shiozaki, Marufuji seems even more determined to become GHC Heavyweight Champion. His biggest bouts will be against the two top members of KONGOH, most notably Katsuhiko Nakajima on the night before the finals. Marufuji seems to be a heavy favorite to win this tournament. The question remains, will the bad luck of Marufuji continue or will he wake up and realize he needs to become the best again?
Takashi Sugiura (2014 N-1 Victory Winner)
Takashi Sugiura is one of the most interesting stories of the mid-2010s of NOAH. After his fourth GHC Championship reign that would define his career in 2018, Suigura continued to be involved in the main event scene for NOAH as one of the true veterans of the promotion. At almost 50 years old, Suigura has been slowly trying to gain more momentum. This was evident when he won the GHC National Championship in November. His reign lasted over 7 months, but he continued to fight, especially in the tag team scene. Recently, he won the GHC Tag Championship with Kazushi Sakuraba.
Though largely a tag team wrestler now, Sugiura has been focused on becoming GHC Heavyweight Champion one more time. In terms of his biggest bouts, Marufuji might be a bloodbath for Sugiura’s chest. Additionally, his bout against Nakajima, a rematch of when Sugiura lost his belt, could be one of the defining matches of the tournament. Even a match against Kenoh could be very interesting. Suigura might even have some of the best matches of the tournament. He is definitely a favorite for this tournament and is one of those opponents who hasn’t faced Shiozaki for the world title for an extended period.
Kenoh (2017 N-1 Victory Winner)
Kenoh is the leader of KONGOH and the current GHC National Champion. After defeating Katsuhiko Nakajima to become champion, he would battle the world champion for a double title match; this would end in a time limit draw. Since then, Kenoh has been focusing on new members. Kenoh is one of the main favorites alongside Nakajima to win the N-1 Victory. Kenoh’s biggest matches of this tournament are against Nakajima and possibly Naomichi Marufuji. His matches will be loud & brutal. Will he go on to win the tournament and prove the domination of KONGOH? Will he newest member be the one to bring the trophy to the faction?
In 2019, Katsuhiko Nakajima formed a team with the current world champion Go Shiozaki. The tag team known as AXIZ became the top tandem of NOAH. After defeating Takashi Suguira for the GHC National Championship, he lost it to Kenoh. A month later, Nakajima would turn on his best friend and join KONGOH. It seems that Nakajima is one of the major favorites of the tournament, especially with Shiozaki’s possible revenge on his mind. Nakajima is determined to become champion again for the first time since 2016. His biggest match of the tournament will be against the leader of KONGOH, Kenoh. Other matches to note are Takashi Sugiura & Naomichi Marufuji. With this brand new attitude, will Nakajima win the tournament and defeat his former friend? All will be known in the N-1 Victory.
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