A few weeks ago I had the chance to review the DVD release of Pro Wrestling NOAH’s British debut, European Navigation, which was held at the Coventry Skydome in June 2008. It was a cracking show, one of the best wrestling DVDs I’ve seen this year.
But the NOAH crew didn’t just stop over for one show. The following day, European Navigation Night Two was held at a somewhat smaller venue in Faringdon, Oxfordshire. The show had a very much different theme, “NOAH versus The World”, pitting NOAH’s top stars against their British counterparts.
For the most part, it’s a very good show, opening with a tag team encounter pitting the BritRage team of Mark Sloan and Wade Fitzgerald against Taiji Ishimori and Atsushi Aoki. From there the action continues with both singles and tag team encounters. They’re good, except for the match pitting GHC Heavyweight Champion Takeshi Morishima against British star Dave Moralez. Considering Morishima’s pedigree, it’s a very disappointing outing. Thankfully the show is capped off with a good match pitting the late, great Mitsuharu Misawa and Kotaro Suzuki against American star Bison Smith and hometown hero Mark Haskins.
But while this is a good show, it’s somewhat disappointing at the same time. Night One really felt like a NOAH show. Night Two, with it’s sports hall surroundings and glut of British stars feels more like a British wrestling show. Commentator Dean Ayass really hit the nail on the head when he said that while Night One was watched by hardcore NOAH fans, Night Two was played out in front of a family audience who didn’t necessarily know who the visiting Japanese stars were.
So while this show is enjoyable, dedicated followers of Japanese wrestling may ultimately feel a little let down by this show. It says NOAH on the tin, but it’s not really NOAH inside.
Rating: 3 stars.