Samoa Joe is back working for Pro Wrestling Noah. Photo via upload.wikimedia.org.
Over the weekend, Pro Wrestling NOAH held their biggest show of the year so far at Sumo Hall headlined by Takeshi Morishima successfully retaining the GHC Heavyweight Championship against Go Shiozaki, two wrestlers long time ROH fans will be very familiar with.
Of most interest to North American fans, however, was TNA talent, namely Samoa Joe, Magnus and Christopher Daniels, being used in key matches on the undercard. For several years TNA had been affiliated with New Japan Pro Wrestling, allowing them to use the likes of Kurt Angle, Team 3-D, Jeff Hardy, Rob Van Dam and Beer Money amongst others on their annual January 4th Tokyo Dome extravaganza, the closest equivalent to WrestleMania in the Japanese culture. But that talent trading agreement fizzled out after New Japan's young guns Kazuchika Okada, Tetsuya Naito and Yujiro gained little from their overseas excursions to Orlando. NOAH is desperate for gimmicks to help them draw, so it isn't surprising that they quickly turned to TNA once they were free of ties to New Japan.
In a positive sign that this will be a long term relationship between the two groups, Joe and Magnus defeated Jun Akiyama and Akitoshi Saito to win the GHC Tag Team Championships when Joe pinned Saito with the Muscle Buster. Joe had worked a couple of dates for NOAH in 2007, pinning the legendary Mitsuhara Misawa in a tag team match on October 25th before losing a singles match to him at Budokan Hall two days later. Joe could become their top heavyweight foreign star, a position that has been open ever since Bison Smith died in November last year. Given that Joe and Magnus have broken up as a team on TNA television, it is unlikely that the titles will be acknowledged on Impact on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Daniels wasn't so lucky, he lost to Yoshinobu Kanemura in the GHC Junior Heavyweight title match. Daniels has worked for other Japanese groups in the past as the comedy character Curry Man, which may explain why he wasn't put over as strongly Joe and Magnus were.