WWE’s AJ Styles In NOAH, El Desperado Wins IWGP Junior Title | Weekly Puro Guide


Pro Wrestling NOAH

A couple of days ago, NOAH announced that they & WWE will make a major announcement at the Yokohama BUNTAI show on June 16th. A message from a certain wrestler was also to be released. It turned out to be AJ Styles, who will face Naomichi Marufuji in a special singles match on the July 13th show in Nippon Budokan. AJ will wrestle outside of WWE for the first time since joining the promotion, and his name undoubtedly still has value in Japan due to his great run in New Japan Pro Wrestling, where he was able to win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.

The NOAH Budokan show with AJ Styles wrestling Naomichi Marufuji will be an Abema-exclusive PPV. The show is ONLY (!!) available to buy in the US, Philippines, South Korea & Thailand. It will not be available to buy anywhere else.

In the main event, Kaito Kiyomiya put his GHC Heavyweight Championship on the line against New Japan’s Gabe Kidd. The story between the two started during last year’s G1 Climax as they fought to a double count-out in one of the best matches in the entire tournament. At the All-Together show in Nippon Budokan, Gabe Kidd and the rest of the War Dogs attacked Kaito Kiyomiya at the end of the show, with Kidd holding up the GHC Heavyweight Championship.

The match between the two was great as they beat the hell out of each other in a violent brawl with no remorse. In the build-up matches, Kaito got bloodied by Gabe twice, and here it wasn’t different, only this time Kaito drew blood from Gabe, too. It was a fantastic struggle with a great finishing stretch as both wrestlers really get the little things in the ring. In the end, Kaito retained his championship in one of the best World Title matches of the year.

After the match, an unknown entrance theme hit, and YOICHI, formally known as Yoshiki Inamura, appeared and is back from his excursion. He confronted Kaito Kiyomiya and challenged him to a GHC Heavyweight title match at the Nippon Budokan show on July 13th. It was similar to the angle New Japan did with Yota Tsuji & SANADA, and it also worked great here. YOICHI will have his first shot at the GHC Heavyweight Championship here against Kaito Kiyomiya, who had his first shot at the GHC Heavyweight Title instantly after coming back from an excursion as well. He lost his shot back in 2018 against Kenoh but was able to capture the belt less than a year later, which bodes well for YOICHI’s return.

New Japan Pro Wrestling

Just a week after Dominion, NJPW started their New Japan Soul tour in Sapporo with a show in the Hokkaido Prefectural Sports Center in front of 2,370 fans, which is not a good number for the promotion as they drew over 5,500 fans in February in that venue as part of the New Beginning tour.

In a rematch from Dominion, HENARE defeated Shingo Takagi in a solid match to win the NEVER Openweight Championship. A great moment for HENARE, who’s worked hard over the past few years and improved a lot. He never had it easy, but the past 18 months were the best of his career. After 8 years, he finally won his first championship in New Japan and is walking into the G1 with a lot of momentum.

David Finlay defended his IWGP Global Heavyweight Championship against the returning SANADA. It’s the best straight-up singles match for the Global Title so far. It was another good match between the two as they had a great one in the New Japan Cup last year. SANADA is seemingly Finlay’s best opponent as he brings the best out of the War Dogs leader. It was well wrestled, had good drama, and the crowd was hot for the match. Finlay retained with the Overkill in around 25 minutes and picked up another huge win against a former IWGP World Heavyweight Champion.

El Desperado won the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship back from SHO in a steel cage match. It was a solid match that achieved the goal of putting Desperado back on top of the Junior Heavyweight division as he is now a 4x Champion, but the most important part is Desperado holding the belt to build up the eventual clash against Master Wato, which will hopefully lead to Wato’s crowning moment at Wrestle Kingdom. After the match, El Desperado called out DOUKI, and the two former Suzuki-gun stablemates agreed to an IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship match.

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The annual G1 Climax tournament will occur between July 20, 2024, and August 18, 2024, with the winner getting an IWGP World Heavyweight Championship shot at Wrestle Kingdom next year. The biggest change is that NJPW has decided to go back to the old format as it’s two blocks of 10 wrestlers with every match having a 30-minute time limit. 18 participants were to be announced at the Sapporo show with two participants to be determined by a play-in tournament beginning June 22.

The top three wrestlers in each block will enter a knockout stage, with the second and third-place wrestlers in each block competing to advance to the semi-final, while the winner of the block will receive a bye to the semi-final. The winners of the semi-final matches will wrestle in the G1 Climax Final on August 18.

On the Soul show in Sapporo, New Japan announced the line-up for the G1 Climax and the Play-In. The biggest surprise in the line-up is DDT & AEW’s Konosuke Takeshita, who is part of the B Block of the tournament. A couple of months ago, that was unthinkable, but now he is making his New Japan debut.

The official line-up of the G1 Climax and the Play-In Tournament:


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