Preview: NOAH – DESTINATION 2021 BACK TO BUDOKAN! (2/12/21)

Destination 2021 Back To Budokan

For the first time since the retirement of Kenta Kobashi in 2013. The talent of Pro Wrestling NOAH returns to NOAH’s home, the historic Nippon Budokan. This isn’t the end goal for NOAH, but a starting point. After their troubling times in the past especially the dark days of the Suzuki Gun period. This is in some ways a shining light at the end of a dark tunnel. As they know they can make a proper comeback as they aim to be at the top of puroresu once again. In this article, we will look at most of the card highlighting the important matches and ones to watch out for to get you up to speed ahead of DESTINATION 2021 BACK TO BUDOKAN!

Note: This preview was co-written by Xavier Williams & Michael Hymantor


Akitoshi Saito vs Kinya Okada

Daiki Inaba, Yasutaka Yano & Atsushi Kotoge vs Hajime Ohara, YO-HEY & Kawei Fuimura

Muhammed Yone & Shuhei Taniguchi vs Masaaki Moshizuki & Masato Tanaka

Takashi Sugiura, Kazushi Sakuraba, Kazuyuki Fujita, Kazunari Murakami, Kendo Kashin & NOSAWA Rongai vs Katsuhiko Nakajima, Masa Kitamiya, Manabu Soya, Hao, Nioh & Tadasuke

GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship: Yoshinari Ogawa & HAYATA (c) vs Kotaro Suzuki & Ikuto Hidaka

GHC Jr. Heavyweight Championship: Daisuke Harada (c) vs Seiki Yoshioka

Naomichi Marufuji & Jun Akiyama vs Kaito Kiyomiya & Yoshiki Inamura

GHC National Championship: Kenoh (c) vs Masakatsu Funaki

GHC Heavyweight Championship: Go Shiozaki (c) vs Keiji Mutoh

Naomichi Marufuji & Jun Akiyama vs Kaito Kiyomiya & Yoshiki Inamura

In 2020, DDT would form a partnership with Pro Wrestling NOAH with NOAH now being owned by CyberAgent. Through this partnership, multiple stars would make appearances for the separate companies, this tag match represents that partnership between DDT and NOAH with Jun Akiyama teaming with Naomichi Marufuji. This tag team was formed out of a pact that these two had, with the history of these two going back decades, and even recently, in the 2018 Champion Carnival. Marufuji said the next time he wants Akiyama, that he wants it to be a tag team match. This dream team goes against Yoshiki Inamura and Kaito Kiyoyiya.

Kaito Kiyomiya and Yoshiki Inamura were recent challengers for the GHC Heavyweight Tag Championships, now they face another major challenge in Akiyama and Marufuji. Something to note here is that this is Akiyama’s first appearance for the company since 2019. Inamura could make a name for himself in this match against the two company legends and Kiyomiya will be looking to prove himself once again against the very best.

GHC National Championship: Kenoh (c) vs Masakatsu Funaki

Kenoh’s reign as GHC National Champion has been filled with ups and downs, Kenoh started the reign by defeating Katsuhiko Nakajima, after his draw against Go Shiozaki, Kenoh would go into multiple different feuds in NOAH. But recently has started to get involved in feuds with former MMA fighters such as Kazushi Sakuraba and Kazunari Murakami. Kenoh’s next challenger will be against a veteran of the business known as Masakatsu Funaki. Funaki, like previous challengers, has tons of MMA experience, going back into the 1990s and Pancrase.

Funaki has been with Pro Wrestling NOAH since the end of 2020, making his return in a 4 vs 4 match with Naomichi Marufuji, Keiji Mutoh, and Masaaki Mochizuki as part of M’s Alliance. At the beginning of 2021, Funaki would challenge Kenoh to a title match after his bout with Murakami, and at the last show did have a submission victory against Kenoh. Will the veteran Funaki be the one to finally end the reign of the dominance of Kenoh or will Kenoh continue to hold the GHC National Championship?

GHC Heavyweight Championship: Go Shiozaki (c) vs Keiji Mutoh

In the main event of the evening, we have a match a year in the making. At the end of 2019, Keiji Mutoh would make his first appearance for the company since 2017. The first feud he would go into would be against Naomichi Marufuji and very slowly in 2020 has been rising through NOAH by defeating people like Kenoh and Shuhei Taniguchi, while also being very successful within the tag and trios matches, Mutoh challenged Go Shiozaki. Someone who considers himself to be the personification of what NOAH is.

Go Shiozaki has faced veterans, he has faced brawlers, he has faced technical workers and throughout the entire reign has gone extremely long in his matches against every challenger that he has had in this reign as GHC Heavyweight Champion. He defeated a prince, now Go Shiozaki must defeat a true legend of the wrestling business in a match that is of equal importance. For Mutoh, it’s a dream to hold the trinity of the most important belts within Puroresu. Mutoh has held the IWGP Heavyweight Championship (NJPW) and Triple Crown Championship (AJPW) and wants to hold the one belt that eluded his career by being the third person to earn that major accomplishment.

For Go Shiozaki, Go Shiozaki must prove that he’s the personification of NOAH, by defeating a legend who wants one last hurrah within the wrestling business and wants to make a history of his own.  This is the match that could define the reign of Go Shiozaki. Will the long reign of Go Shiozaki come to an end or will Go Shiozaki further his legacy by defeating Keiji Mutoh? We will all find out at DESTINATION 2021: BACK TO BUDOKAN!

Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world. You can watch Pro Wrestling NOAH as well as DDT, TJPW, and more on Wrestle Universe.