Since last March, Pro Wrestling NOAH has taken a new direction, the promotion has entered a “new era”. In only two months or so, the landscape has only kept evolving and over time, some alliances were made and others were broken. One of the alliances which has been formed is none other than Sugiura-Gun, or the Sugiura army.
First things first, let’s bring a bit of context and chronology. From September of last year to last February, the Hooligans stable was active in NOAH, wrecking some havoc. That stable was formed of Mitsuya Nagai, Maybach Taniguchi, Yuji Hino, KAZMA Sakamoto and Cody Hall. The group disbanded on February 24th after a five on five tag match against a team led by Takashi Sugiura (which also featured Akitoshi Saito, Masao Inoue, Kinya Okada and Yoshiki Inamura), where part of the stipulation was that if Sugiura’s team won, the Hooligans would disband. The other part being that if the Hooligans won, Sugiura would have to join them.
Ultimately, that did not happen, and while most of the Hooligans went on to do their own thing, Sakamoto issued a challenged to Sugiura, and the two men faced off at Great Voyage in Yokohama, last March. Once again, it was Sugiura who picked up the win, but this is actually where everything between them would take a new direction, instead of ending. From the moment Sugiura helped Sakamoto get back to his feet in Yokohama, even following him and NOSAWA Rongai (who was ringside during the match, seconding Sakamoto) to the back, a partnership was formed, leading to the birth of Sugiura-Gun with these three men involved.
Since Yokohama, the major event taking place has been none other than the Global Tag League, where the team of Sugiura and Sakamoto entered. The duo showed how strong they actually are by reaching 10 points, putting them only behind the GHC Heavyweight Tag Team champions, AXIZ, who they will meet on May 4th in the finals of the tournament. However, Global Tag League has not only witnessed the power of Sugiura-Gun, but also its growth. On April 17th, it was Big Japan Pro Wrestling’s Hideki Suzuki (Who had not shown up in NOAH for over a year) who returned alongside NOSAWA Rongai. The “job hunting” Suzuki aligned himself with Sugiura-Gun, and him and NOSAWA will face Naomichi Marufuji and Junta Miyawaki on May 4th. Lastly, the latest event concerning the formation of Sugiura-Gun comes from the latest show to date, which occured on May 2nd. Sugiura had a singles match with Jr Heavyweight and former member of the Backbreakers Hajime Ohara. After Sugiura defeated Ohara, the latter asked to join Sugiura’s group, with Sugiura letting him join his army.
Now that we went through the chronology, let’s look at what’s to come for this newly formed group. As said previously, the Global Tag League finals are coming up very soon, and the Sugiura Army will be heavily featured in that event, as Sugiura and Sakamoto will look to win the tournament over Nakajima & Shiozaki, and Hideki Suzuki will likely try to make an impact on his return match. Not only that, but Sugiura himself, after his team’s win over KAIOH (Kaito Kiyomiya & Kenoh) in the tournament, said he would still be aiming for the championship he lost to Kaito in the first place. As for Suzuki, his goals aren’t quite clear yet as we only saw him in NOAH once so far, but facing Marufuji in a tag match might as well lead to something bigger, like a singles match between the two men in the future. Also, the possibility of seeing Hideki Suzuki compete in the N-1 Victory tournament (Global League’s new name) later this year only adds to the hype Suzuki brought with him when he returned. Let’s also add that the latest member Hajime Ohara will face his former Backbreakers partner Hitoshi Kumano on May 4th, in the opening match, after Ohara ended their partnership only a few days ago.
Before putting an end to this article, let’s ask ourselves one last question. Is Sugiura-Gun the strongest alliance in NOAH currently ?
After all, no other group currently features more people and possibly more talent, and in a time period where frictions have been happening between teams and factions in NOAH, Sugiura’s army has only kept growing bigger and stronger, and this specific timing makes them the biggest threat to anyone else in the promotion, as confidence and momentum are on the side of the gang led by the Killing Machine.