When it comes to title matches for Pro Wrestling NOAH’s upcoming show Grand Square 2021 in OSAKA, the GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship is a match with the most history between the competitors. In this Match Point, we will cover one of the most important GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship match between defending Champion HAYATA and Daisuke Harada.
In The Beginning…
Daisuke Harada is the top star of NOAH’s junior division. He held the GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship multiple times, while also being relevant in the GHC Jr Tag Championship scene. But a person trying taking his place as of recently would have to be HAYATA. HAYATA, YO-HEY, Tadasuke and Daisuke Harada used to be part of a faction known as RATEL’S. This group dominated the NOAH junior scene in the late 2010s. With YO-HEY and HAYATA being former GHC Jr Tag Team Champions, and Daisuke Harada often holding the GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship during his time with the faction.
In 2019, HAYATA started to break out of the junior tag scene, where he won the GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship in 2019 and would hold the belt until the beginning of 2020. This reign would be ended by Yoshinari Ogawa, while HAYATA would pursue the GHC Jr Tag Titles once more and win it. But in May of 2020, HAYATA would turn on his family. Switching allegiances with Yoshinari Ogawa and joining the STINGER faction.
HAYATA’S TIME IN STINGER
By May of 2020, HAYATA had betrayed his group and become one of the major focuses on STINGER. Hayata and Ogawa would have a stranglehold on the GHC Jr Tag Title scene. STINGER was part of every single junior tag title match in 2020 and half of 20221, with many variations of teams for the faction. HAYATA however could be described as part of a bigger plan for the faction. After dominating the tag scene for almost a year and half, HAYATA would gain the attention of the NOAH junior scene as it was starting to explode.
STINGER is a faction-based around abandoning and betraying its weaker links. What happens when one former member becomes a champion? You get a sneak in oppurunity in a battle royal. This would happen at Cage War 2021, and HAYATA would go in unannounced, with HAYATA winning the battle royal. The next night on MUTA the WORLD, HAYATA would defeat Atsushi Kotoge to become the new GHC Junior Heavyweight Champion.
When HAYATA became champion, HAYATA started to take out the backage that he had in his past. Starting with YO-HEY and eventually Kotaro Suzuki. After defeating Kotaro Suzuki, Daisuke Harada would gain the attention of the defending champion.
The Rise of Daisuke Harada.
Once the faction RATELS had disbanded. Daisuke Harada could be described as in a rut until getting back his GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship in November of 2020. In this same time, he would revive his partnership with Atsushi Kotoge and reform Momo No Seishun Tag once more. This tag team would even have a short reign as GHC Junior Tag Champion, but would lose it to the new STINGER duo of HAYATA and Ogawa.
However, Harada would start making more friends with Hajime Ohara. Hajime Ohara and Atsushi Kotoge would become friends due to the FULL THROTTLE faction. This tag-team would start lead to duo becoming tag champions. With the junior tag team championships on lockdown, Daisuke Harada would have the oppurtunity to go back for his GHC Junior Heavyweight Champion. Harada would challenge HAYATA at Grand Square 2021 in OSAKA.
In the build-up to this feud, Harada faced off against HAYATA in singles competition. Both men would go into a 30-minute draw on the September 15th show and face off once more on the N-1 finals show. Where the match both of them were involved in would end by a draw. It later turned into a singles match, with Harada pinning HAYATA in under a minute.
The meaning of this match for both Harada and HAYATA
HAYATA has become one of the top members of the STINGER faction, defeating two members of his past already with Kotaro and YO-HEY. But Daisuke Harada represents the biggest part of his past. With him being one of the biggest obstacles in HAYATA’s run as GHC Junior Heavyweight Champion. Especially with Harada having a brand new focus in him to bring the GHC Jr Heavyweight Championship into friendly arms. For Harada and his other two friends, it’s about ending the stranglehold of STINGER in Pro Wrestling NOAH.
If Harada does win the championship? He will have held the GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship the most times in the modern era of NOAH. It’s been since the days of Yoshinobu Kanemaru that someone has held the title that many times. With this match being the potential start of his 5th reign as champion.
If HAYATA does retain the championship? He will no longer be plagued by his past and finally prove to STINGER that he is their top guy. The junior scene of Pro Wrestling NOAH has a chaotic history. But everything will eventually be settled at Grand Square 2021 in OSAKA.
(cover image courtesy of: puroresu.fandom.com)
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