Ranting on NOAH
It's been in the news about NOAH's recent troubles, losing their NTV deal and having to make cutbacks to save on finances. The fact that their star player in Kenta Kobashi is out due to his health problems and Misawa himself not in best of shape, and that both of them aren't getting any younger doesn't bold too well for the future of the green mat.
They seem to be headed in the right direction now with the push of Go Shiozaki on the current tour, already defeating Takuma Sano, Tamon Honda, and former GHC champion Takeshi Rikioh in singles matches. It's pretty much expected Go will be GHC champion one day, and hopefully NOAH will make a big deal of it when it happens. What I would prefer though is that they properly build up Go to take the title. Here's something I haven't seen yet in NOAH or any other promotion: Remember when Misawa first defeated Jumbo Tsuruta?
That match was a true passing of the torch moment. There was no title on the line, but a statement was made when Misawa pinned Jumbo, and the visual of all the young guys hoisting Misawa up on their shoulders as a hero truly helped mark the moment. The same thing happened when Kobashi defeated Taue for his first Triple Crown. The old guard had been defeated by the younger generation and was again hailed as a hero for all to see. This needs to be done with Go when he beats either Misawa or Kobashi. The celebration has to be epic to leave an impression that this is the man that's going to lead NOAH into the future.
Getting someone to the main event is one thing, but keeping him there is another. It's for this reason I really wish NOAH would put more effort into their booking for coming up with actual storylines for their wrestlers. Don't just build up someone on the spot cause he's being given a title shot, and then drop him back to the midcard when he (expectedly) loses. That applies to former champions as well.
Let the wrestlers cut promos with their intentions of chasing the champions for their titles. Heck, the undercard feuds could use them to help spice things up. They need to have factions that stick together. Kotaro Suzuki is now a full fledged heel working with Kanemaru and Genba Hirayanagi. This trio shouldn't be broken up to fill out the numbers in 6-man tags with no purpose.
SUWA and Minoru Suzuki were something that was really different when they were with NOAH. They knew how to get under the skin of their opponents and get the crowd to boo them. NOAH needs to draw that line now and make heels relevant, like they did when the company first started. Akiyama was the first top heel when he turned on Kobashi, and that was followed by the NO FEAR group, which also got heat by Takao Omori turning on Kobashi. It's OK to have someone on the roster that the fans will boo rather than just cheer as it helps add emotion to the match. It's a tried and true formula. Piss off people enough that they'll pay to want to see you get your ass kicked by the babyface.
With all the economic turmoil currently effecting NOAH and the loss of their TV deal not doing them any favours, hopefully NOAH can change things around and keep their product interesting so that attendances don't diminish since they'll need to entice those fans to come to the live shows now since they won't get to watch it on TV anymore.