Masakatsu Funaki captures GHC National Title at NOAH's 'Higher Ground' event

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Kongo has a new member and a new GHC National Champion.

Pro Wrestling NOAH’s Kongo faction has a new member in the form of Masakatsu Funaki. He formally joined the group after defeating Kenoh in the main event of NOAH’s ‘Higher Ground’ show on 1/22. Funaki was a part of the M’s Alliance faction with the likes of Keiji Muto, Masato Tanaka and Naomichi Marufuji.

Kenoh shook hands with Funaki, but current Kongo member and GHC Heavyweight Champion, Katsuhiko Nakajima kept his distance from the group during the in-ring gathering.

Katsuhiko Nakajima does not seem very pleased with it

— Pro-Wrestling Noah Eng (Hisame, 冰雨) (@Hi5ame) January 22, 2022

記念すべき、船木誠勝を入れての初の金剛ポーズ!!!!#wrestleUNIVERSE #noah_ghc

— プロレスリング・ノア |PROWRESTLING NOAH (@noah_ghc) January 22, 2022

New GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions were crowned as well. Seiki Yoshioka & Yuya Susumu became two-time champions by besting Atsushi Kotoge & Hajime Ohara. The titles were vacated after Ogawa tested positive for COVID-19 and was unable to defend the titles alongside HAYATA at today’s event.

Below are the complete results from NOAH ‘Higher Ground’:

  • Hao vs. Nio – Time Limit Draw (20:00)
  • Funky Express (King Tany & Mohammed Yone) def. Kotaro Suzuki & NOSAWA Rongai
  • HAYATA def. YO-HEY
  • Daisuke Harada, Go Shiozaki & Masa Kitamiya def. Kongo (Aleja, Katsuhiko Nakajima & Manabu Soya)
  • Vacant GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships: Stinger (Seiki Yoshioka & Yuya Susumu) def. Atsushi Kotoge & Hajime Ohara
  • M’s Alliance (Masato Tanaka & Naomichi Marufuji) def. Sugiura-gun (Kazushi Sakuraba & Takashi Sugiura)
  • GHC National Championship: Masakatsu Funaki def. Kenoh (c)

This was a real shocker. In theory I like the idea of a flash surprise title change out of nowhere, especially given how the NOAH style includes plenty of KOs and the like, rather than umpteen finishing sequences, but their handling of Kiyomiya has me a bit concerned for Kenoh now, who was golden for the past couple of years. Well, at least Funaki’s work is a hell of a lot better than Mutoh’s.

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