In June 2008 top Japanese wrestling promotion Pro Wrestling NOAH, in association with Mark Sloan’s A-Merchandise, came to British shores for the first time in their history, bringing along such stars as the late, great Mitsuharu Misawa, Kenta Kobashi and Naomichi Marufuji. Along with home-grown talent such as Doug Williams, Nigel McGuinness and Martin Stone, they packed the Coventry Skydome for European Navigation 2008, released a few months later on DVD.
It’s a tremendous wrestling show, a perfect example of why NOAH is the top promotion in Japan at the moment. You know exactly what you’re getting with the excellent opener with British star Joel Redman and Atsushi Aoki.
The majority of the matches are tag-team bouts, with the standouts seeing Williams and McGuinness against Kotaro Suzuki and Takeshi Suguira, and the excellent GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag-Team Championship defence of KENTA and Taiji Ishimori against Bryan Danielson and Eddie Edwards. Danielson does an excellent job of turning heel just seconds after entering the ring.
The main event, with Misawa and Marufuji against Kobashi and Go Shiozaki is really the icing on the cake. There’s just something special seeing old rivals Misawa and Kobashi going at it.
I really can’t speak too highly of this. You really start to believe you’re watching a show in Tokyo, forgetting that this actually took place in the slightly less glamorous surroundings of Coventry. If you haven’t seen any NOAH shows before, then what better place to start.
Rating: 5 stars