The G1 continues their yearly tradition of one of the biggest pro-wrestling tournaments in the world. This year features 20 wrestlers, 15 wrestlers from Japan and 5 hailing from the USA to Tonga, all vying for the chance to solidify themselves as the top wrestler after a grueling drive to claim the top position of their respected block.
Below you will see a look back from the major events that happened in the year of 2014 in the land of the rising sun.
Keep in mind that I have not covered everything that has been posted throughout this year, but at the top of every month I have linked back to the archive for all the posts I that I have made for that specific time of this year. As well as links to the specific stories can be found right after the dates listed, if covered on the blogs. So be sure to double check there if you see an event or news that catches your attention. Thanks for supporting PS this year, and as every years comes I hope to continue growing in my knowledge and in turn providing you will all with the latest news and info in regards to Japanese Pro-Wrestling. Thanks for the support and let’s see what 2015 has to offer.
P.S. If you found this post informative, please help out Keep The Spirit Alive by supporting through donations. This is a project of love, but as I am getting into my 30’s it is becoming harder and harder to dedicate as much free time as I would like. I do not plan on stopping anytime soon, as time is permitted, but any support would be much appreciated. Thanks for following the website, page, and tumblr blog. [Charles/BushidoRX]
THE 2012 PURORESU SPIRIT AWARDS
Below I have brought together a few that accepted my invitation to be a part of the 2012 awards to help me determine who or what was the best of the year.
Below you will see the choices we put together for matches of the year, wrestler of the year, and so on.
The order that you will see things is out master list of matches and other information that I have put together to help speed along our decisions. I have decided to keep the match list with the links to the matches for all of you to quickly and easily check out a match that you may have missed from this last year.
Vote for who you believe was Japan’s Most Valuable Pro Wrestler of 2012!
Who do you believe is the top Pro Wrestler to compete in Japan in 2012? Open to public voting.
Japan’s Top Tag Team of 2012 Master List
◆ “GET WILD” Takao Omori & Manabu Soya [AJP]
◆ “Junior Stars” Koji Kanemoto & Minoru Tanaka [AJP]
◆ “SMOP” Akebono & Ryota Hama [AJP]
◆ “LAST REVOLUTION” Suwama & Joe Doering [AJP]
◆ “STERNNESS” Jun Akiyama & Akitoshi Saito [NOAH]
◆ “S.A.T.” Kotaro Suzuki & Atsushi Aoki [NOAH]
◆ “Los Mexitosos” Super Crazy & Ricky Marvin [NOAH]
◆ “SWORD & GUNS” Hirooki Goto & “The Machine Gun” Karl Anderson [NJPW]
◆ “TenKoji” Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima [NJPW]
◆ K.E.S. Lance Archer & Davey Boy Smith Jr. [NJPW]
◆ “FOREVER HOOLIGANS” Rocky Romero & Alex Koslov [NJPW]
◆ “TIME SPLITTERS” KUSHIDA & Alex Shelley [NJPW]
◆ “Strong Big Japan” Daisuke Sekimoto & Yuji Okabayashi [BJW]
◆ Shu & Kei Brahman [Free]
◆ Tatsumi Fujinami & MIKAMI [DDT]
Matches of the Year, Master List
◆ [AJP] Suwama vs. Daisuke Sekimoto, January 2nd at Korakuen.
◆ [AJP] Jun Akiyama vs. Takao Omori, Triple Crown, February 3rd at Korakuen.
◆ [AJP] Daisuke Sekimoto & Yuji Okabayashi vs. Suwama & Takumi Soya, Asia Tag, March 20th at Ryogoku.
◆ [AJP] Suwama vs Taiyo Kea, Champion Carnival, May 7th
◆ [AJP] Jun Akiyama vs. Taiyo Kea, Triple Crown, July 1st
◆ [NOAH] Jun Akiyama & Akitoshi Saito vs. Keiji Mutoh & Go Shiozaki, GHC Tag, March 18th in Yokohama.
◆ [NOAH] Kotaro Suzuki & Atsushi Aoki vs. Super Crazy & Ricky Marvin, July 22nd at Ryogoku.
◆ [NOAH] Takeshi Morishima vs Go Shiozaki, from July 22nd
◆ [NOAH] Takashi Sugiura vs. KENTA, November 23rd
◆ [NOAH] Takeshi Morishima vs. Satoshi Kojima, December 9th
◆ [NJPW] Volador Jr. Vs La Sombra, January 22nd
◆ [NJPW] Kazuchika Okada vs. Tetsuya Naito, IWGP Heavy, March 4
◆ [NJPW] Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kazuchika Okada, IWGP Heavy, June 16 in Osaka.
◆ [NJPW] Kazuchika Okada vs. Karl Anderson, October 8th at Ryogoku.
◆ [ZERO1] Kensuke Sasaki& Katsuhiko Nakajima vs. Shinjiro Otani & Daichi Hashimoto, March 2nd
◆ [ZERO1] Kohei Sato & Daichi Hashimoto vs. Daisuke Sekimoto & Kazuki Hashimoto, April 24th
◆ [ZERO1] Masato Tanaka vs. Go Shiozaki, August 5th
◆ [ZERO1] Ikuto Hidaka vs. Jonathan Gresham, September 17th
◆ [ZERO1] Daisuke Sekimoto vs. Daichi Hashimoto, November 6th
◆ [Dragon Gate] PAC vs CIMA, March 4th
◆ [Dragon Gate] Akira Tozawa & BxB Hulk vs. Jimmy’z (Susumu & Kagetor), March 4th
◆ [Dragon Gate] Masaaki Mochizuki & Don Fujii vs Shingo Takagi & YAMATO, September 23rd
◆ [Dragon Gate] CIMA vs Masato Yoshino Gate of Destiny, October 21st
◆ [Dragon Gate] Jimmy’z vs Team Veteran Army Returns, November 8th
◆ [BJW] Abdullah Kobayashi vs Masashi Takeda, Deathmatch Heavy, February 26th
◆ [BJW] Yoshihito Sasaki vs Sami Callihan, March 26th
◆ [BJW] Daisuke Sekimoto vs Yoshihito Sasaki, March 26th
◆ [BJW] Daisuke Sekimoto & Yuji Okabayashi vs. Shu & Kei Brahman, May 5th
◆ [BJW] Yoshihito Sasaki vs Yuji Okabayashi, Strong Heavy, June 21st
◆ [K-DOJO] Yuji Hino & Saburo Inematsu vs. Daisuke Sekimoto & Yuji Okabayashi, February 26th
◆ [K-DOJO] Kengo Mashimo vs. TAKA Michinoku, April 8th
◆ [K-DOJO] Daisuke Sekimoto vs. Yuji Hino, July 8th
◆ [K-DOJO] Daisuke Sekimoto vs. Yuji Hino, November 13th
◆ [Michinoku] Kenou vs Fujita “Jr” Hayato, June 3rd at Korakuen.
◆ [Michinoku] Fujita “Jr” Hayato vs The Great Sasuke, November 10th
◆ [Michinoku] Fujita “Jr” Hayato vs. Katsuhiko Nakajima, December 13th
◆ [DDT] Kota Ibushi & Kenny Omega vs. Danshoku Dino & YOSHIHIKO from July 22nd
◆ [DDT] Kota Ibushi vs. Kenny Omega, KO-D Openweight, August 18th at Budokan.
◆ [DDT] Kota Ibushi vs. El Generico, October 21st
◆ [DIAMOND RING] Jun Akiyama & Kenta Kobashi vs Kensuke Sasaki & Mitsuhiro Kitamiya, February 11th
◆ [DIAMOND RING] Katsuhiko Nakajima vs. Shingo Takagi, February 11th
◆ [DIAMOND RING] Katsuhiko Nakajima vs. Masato Tanaka, Setember 30th
Promotion of the year
– open to all
Rookie/newcomer breakout of the year
Hiromu Takahashi [NJPW]
Takaaki Watanabe [NJPW]
Daichi Hashimoto [ZERO1]
Konnuske Takeshita [DDT]
Yasufumi Nakanoueno [AJP]
Mitsuhiro Kitamiya [DIAMOND RING]
Wrestlers of the year
(1) Kazuchika Okada
(2) Hiroshi Tanahashi
(3) Jun Akiyama
(4) Yoshihito Sasaki
(5) Kengo Mashimo
Matches of the year
(1) [NJPW] Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kazuchika Okada, IWGP Heavy, June 16
(2) [AJP] Jun Akiyama vs. Takao Omori, Triple Crown, February 3rd at Korakuen.
(3) [DDT] Kota Ibushi vs. Kenny Omega, KO-D Openweight, August 18th
(4) [K-DOJO] Daisuke Sekimoto vs. Yuji Hino, December 13th
(5) [Michinoku] Fujita “Jr” Hayato vs. The Great Sasuke, November 10th
Rookie/newcomer breakout of the year
(1) Daichi Hashimoto [ZERO1]
(2) Hiromu Takahashi [NJPW]
(3) Yasufumi Nakanoueno [AJP]
Most Underrated Wrestlers of 2012
(no specific order, really)
(1) Daisuke Sekimoto – Of course, he has been champion in All Japan and K-DOJO this year, but outside of that he was never really given a crowning moment that I believe he needed. All Japan kicked off the year by having Suwama vs. Daisuke Sekimoto one on one, and that really seemed to be an idea that All Japan might try and push him as a singles guy. Though not much came after his loss, and he once again lost to Suwama in the Champion Carnival in May. 2 loses against Suwama seemed to stick with him the rest of the year in the promotion. Outside of that he was Asia Tag Champion with Yuji Okabayashi, he would win both the KO-D Openweight & KO-D Tag in DDT, and even the CHAMPION OF STRONGEST-K in KAIENTAI DOJO. He had some high moments in the year, but compared to the mainstream he may have been overlooked. Here’s to hoping that he gets more opportunities to shine in the new year.
(2) Hirooki Goto – Yes, he was IWGP IC Champion and yes he did win the New Japan Cup for the 3rd time this year, but until he is given the opportunity to hold the IWGP Heavy belt… I am going to feel he is being underused in some capacity. Goto has always shown a great work ethic in his matches and has been one of the guys I have always gravitated to when it comes to his in ring style. He can utilize both a ground style and a physical power style when he needs to do so in a match. For whatever reason he has never pulled as the one to carry the IWGP Heavy belt as the leader of the promotion.
(3) Yuji Hino – KAIENTAI DOJO’s current top power wrestler and the current CHAMPION OF STRONGEST-K and former DDT KO-D Openweight Champion. Hino has worked his way up in Japan this year, and it seems that 2012 was only the start for the 27 year old.
Who I Want to see Pushed in 2013
Katsuhiko Nakajima – The once called supernova of Japanese wrestling, the super rookie, and Kensuke Sasaki’s top protege. Nakajima came into pro wrestling with a lot riding behind him with both Choshu and Sasaki fully supporting him. Nakajima has gone on to hold numerous belts, primarily in the junior division in the 9 years of his career, it’ll be 10 years in September of 2013. The 24 year old has done a lot early on in his career, but the main feeling I have is that he has sort of hit a wall since joining NOAH. He has done everything he quite possibly can as a junior in the promotion and a turn to heavyweight class has been sort of expected in the last while now. Nakajima stands 175cm and is currently near a 100kg (billed) weight. He has show that he can stand up to just about anyone, much like his main teacher Sasaki who was never known as the tallest heavyweight but someone who took everything thrown at him and fought back with an almost unmatched power and aggression. Here’s hoping that things change for him in the upcoming year as he really doesn’t have much left to prove in the Junior Heavyweight class.
Wrestlers of the year
1. Kazuchika Okada
2. Hiroshi Tanahashi
3. Jun Akiyama
4. Kota Ibushi
5. Takeshi Morishima
Tag Teams of the Year
1. GET WILD
2. Kotaro / Aoki
3. Akiyama / Saito
5. Strong BJ
1. [NJPW] Okada Tana II June 16
2. [NOAH] Sterness vs Shiozaki Mutoh March 18th
3. [ZERO1] Tanaka vs Shiozaki FF Final
4. [NOAH] Kotaro Aoki vs Marvin Crazy July 22nd
5. [NJPW] Okada vs Naito March 4
Promotions of the year
Rookie/newcomer breakout of the year
1. Daichi Hashimoto
2. Hiromu Takahashi
3. Yasufumi Nakanoueno
Most Underrated Wrestlers of 2012
1. Hirooki Goto
2. Seiya Sanada
3. Daisuke Sekimoto
4. Go Shiozaki
5. Ryusuke Taguchi
Underrated Matches of the Year
1. Kota Ibushi vs Yuji Hino KO-D Openweight Title 24.06
2. ANMU (Kotaro Suzuki & Atsushi Aoki) vs BRAVE (Naomichi Marufuji & Taiji Ishimori) GHC Tag Team Jr. Heavyweight Titles 13.06
3. Masato Tanaka vs Daisuke Sekimoto (Fire Festival) 05.08
4. Katsuhiko Nakajima vs Masato Tanaka 30.09
5. Yuji Hino vs Masa Takanashi 03.05
Wrestlers of the Year
(1) Kazuchika Okada
(2) Hiroshi Tanahashi
(3) Masakatsu Funaki
(4) Kota Ibushi
(5) Jun Akiyama
Tag Teams of the Year
GET WILD Takao Omori
“TenKoji” Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima [NJPW]
“TIME SPLITTERS” KUSHIDA & Alex Shelley [NJPW]
Matches of the year
(1) [NJPW] Kazuchika Okada vs Karl “Machine Gun” Anderson, G1 Climax Final
(2) [NJPW] Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kazuchika Okada, IWGP Heavy, June 16
(3) [DDT] Kota Ibushi vs. Kenny Omega, KO-D Openweight, August 18th
Promotions of the year
Rookie/newcomer breakout of the year
(1) Daichi Hashimoto [ZERO1]
(2) Hiromu Takahashi [NJPW]
(3) Konnuske Takeshita [DDT]
Most Underrated Wrestlers of 2012
(1) Hirooki Goto – As all of us already know, Goto was one of the top guys between 2008-2009. He has won everything that he possibly can, except one thing, the IWGP heavy title. And that’s the only thing that really holds him back right now. 2012 was a so-so year for Goto. He won IC champ and the New Japan Cup (for the 3rd time!) but once again fail to capture the IWGP Heavy title. He then pretty much staid in the upper-midcard with feuds throughout the rest of year. He found success in Tag Division with Karl Anderson, bu his road to IWGP heavy champ seems so far away from him now…
(2) Go Shiozaki – He’s the guy who was once called “the ace” of NOAH. He had an awesome feud with top NJPW guys like Tanahashi and Nakamura in 2010 (and he even won some of them). He has the looks, size, skill, and youth. But something going wrong with him this year. Since he lost GHC heavy to Morishima at the beginning of the year. His ace status is gone. He become a member in S.A.T. stable which didn’t help him much. He wrestled to a draw in his match against Tomoaki Honma in Fire Festival (I don’t say Honma is bad wrestler. But you know…) and he lost a lot in this years Global League. I even come up with theory that the reason why Shiozaki decide to leave NOAH because of bad booking he got throughout this year.
(3) Daisuke Sekimoto – He won everything this year. He lose everything this year. He’s one of those guys that’s so good and you wanna see him being use more in Major Promotion.
Underrated Matches of the Year
◆ [AJP] Suwama vs Takao Omori, Champion Carnival, April 21st – Omori had a great year with epic match with Akiyama and Get Wild. But everyone seems to forget (or at least didn’t mention it much) with the main event match in the first night of Champion Carnival that he have to take on another top heavy of AJP, Suwama. It’s become pure power match with both of them exchange lots of big moves. It was cool to see Suwama counter Axe Guillotine Driver with Last Ride. And Suwama tried everything to avoid Axe Bomber then Omori is able to counter Last Ride into Axe Guillotine and Suwama sell like a champ. He sell it like “I know what’s gonna happen to me next. I need to avoid it but I can’t!!!” then AXE BOMBAAAA and end of the story.
Wrestlers of the year
1. Kazuchika Okada
2. Hiroshi Tanahashi
4. Takeshi Morishima
5. Jun Akiyama
Tag Teams of the Year
1. GET WILD
2. The Jimmy’z (Kagetora & Susumu)
3. Killer Elite Squad
4. Forever Hooligans
5. Strong BJ
Matches of the year
1. Kazuchika Okada vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi II
2. Tetsuya Naito vs. Kazuchika Okada I
3. Yoshihito Sasaki vs. Callihan
4. Hirooki Goto vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi
5. Sekimoto vs. Yoshihito Sasaki
Promotions of the year
2. DRAGON GATE
Rookie/newcomer breakout of the year
1. Daichi Hashimoto [ZERO1]
2. Eita Kobayashi [DG]
3. Mitsuhiro Kitamiya [DIAMOND RING]
Most Underrated Wrestlers of 2012
Underrated Matches of the Year
[K-DOJO] Daisuke Sekimoto vs. Yuji Hino, July 8th & November 13th
[NJPW] Hirooki Goto vs. Tomohiro Ishii, IC Championship, May 20th
1. Hiroshi Tanahashi
2. Kazuchika Okada
3. Jun Akiyama
4. Kota Ibushi
5. Takeshi Morishima
1. Strong BJ vs. Soya & Suwama
2. Tanahashi vs. Okada II
3. Ibushi vs. Omega
1. Strong BJ
1. Yujiro Takahashi
2. Masayuki Kono
3. Seiya Sanada
1. Daichi Hashimoto
2. Hiromu Takahashi
3. Yasufumi Nakanoueno
1. Volador Jr. vs. La Sombra
2. Yoshihito Sasaki vs. Sami Callihan
3. Katsuhiko Nakajima vs. Masato Tanaka
The all around winners of 2012 will then be as follows.
THE WRESTLER OF THE YEAR goes to…
TAG TEAM OF THE YEAR
“GET WILD” Takao Omori & Manabu Soya
MATCH OF THE YEAR
◆ [NJPW] Kazuchika Okada vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi, IWGP Heavy, June 16 in Osaka.
2012 in New Japan saw the rise of the “Rainmaker” Kazuchika Okada, as well as the beginning of a new age with Bushiroad and Takaaki Kidani acquiring the rights to the promotion.
New Japan has since taken a drive to become the promotion that they once were back in the first 30 years of their life. A new drive has been shown to publicize the promotion in any way possible, from billboards, social media, and even taking to providing their PPV’s to the world through internet PPV. 2012 proved to be a huge year for the promotion with 2013 aiming to capitalize even further with what has been setup this previous year.
In just a few shorts days of me writing this, New Japan will be kicking off the new year with their biggest show of the year with their 7th installment of WRESTLE KINGDOM in the Tokyo Dome. NJPW always tries to make these shows as memorable as possible and this year is showing to be no exception. Almost all the IWGP belts will be on the line at the show with numerous talents not only from Japan but all over the world coming together to compete on the show.
Also keep in mind that this will be the very first ever WRESTLE KINGDOM show to be offered on iPPV @ http://www.ustream.tv/channel/njpw1972 for $35.
So join me as I take a look at all the matches heading into the show…
NJPW Presents WRESTLE KINGDOM 7 ～EVOLUTION～ in Tokyo Dome, 1/4/2013 [Fri] 17:00 @ Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan
(0-1) Wataru Inoue, Captain New Japan & Tama Tonga vs. Jado, YOSHI-HASHI & Tomohiro Ishii
(0-2) Jushin Thunder Liger, Tiger Mask IV & Hiromu Takahashi vs. Ryusuke Taguchi, KUSHIDA> & BUSHI
New Japan will kick off the Tokyo Dome with 2 pre-matches before the show begins. With a mix of both seasoned and young talents these matches are aiming to be the warm-ups to get the fans ready for the big show as well as showcasing talent that hopefully aim to be showcased on the main card one day.
(1) Special 8 Man Tag Match: Manabu Nakanishi, MVP, Strongman & Akebono vs. Toru Yano, Takashi Iizuka, Yujiro Takahashi & Bob Sapp
Nakanishi and Yano are the two holding the grudge against one another heading into this show. Nakanishi has found himself on the wrong end of CHAOS since his return in October. Yano along with Iizuka have painted the target on Nakanishi’s neck and they seemed ready to put him back on the shelf. Nakanishi wouldn’t remain alone though as Strongman would return to help out his tag partner and friend, along with MVP and Shelton Benjamin looking to help out as well. A 6 Man tag was originally scheduled for the show, but Yano had another trick up his sleeve with the announcement of a mystery partner to join along side himself and CHAOS. On December 20th, Yano would make the unnamed partner known to be a former IWGP Heavyweight Champion in Bob Sapp. Yano is pretty certain that the big muscle man would be a they key for his team to overcome the power of both Strongman & Nakanishi.
This though left it open for Nakanishi to bring in someone to be his second which came with Akebono making his appearance on the December 23rd show to come to the aid of Nakanishi who was on the wrong end of yet another Yano & Iizuka onslaught.
Manabu Nakanishi and Bob Sapp are far from strangers with their first meeting being on October 14, 2002 at the Tokyo Dome. The match would end in a count out. The same can be said for Akebono & Sapp, as Sapp KO’d the former Yokozuna at the K-1 PREMIUM 2003 Dynamite!! on December 31, 2003.
With Nakanishi finally looking to get revenge and Yano looking to take Nakanishi out from pro wrestling this match could be an explosive beginning for the show.
Bushido’s Prediction: Nakanishi with an Argentine Backbreaker on Yano. This match really could in with all hell breaking loss or Nakanishi finally getting his much needed revenge and win over CHAOS.
(2) NEVER Openweight Championship Match: [1st Champion] Masato Tanaka vs. [Challenger] Shelton Benjamin
~ 1st Defense.
Masato Tanaka is looking to showcase his newly one belt at the WK show against Shelton Benjamin who is highly praised for both his strength as well as his agility in the ring. Benjamin is a three time intercontinental champion in the WWE, and has shown that he could be a major threat in New Japan if he was ever given the opportunity.
Tanaka is never one to back-down from a challenge against a stronger opponent and is ready to bring the fight. These two are no strangers with one another with both previously meeting at last years WRESTLE KINGDOM show in Tag Match form as well again in the WORLD TAG LEAGUE in November. Both contest have left the the two with a 1-1 tie with the finishing exchanges taking place between Yujiro & MVP. NJPW is calling this match a must see for the fans and promises that this match will be good.
So with that said will this come down to the Sliding D or the Pay Dirt?
Bushido’s Prediction: Tanaka following the Sliding D. With talk that Benjamin is heading back to the WWE it sort of makes this match lose some hype, but I am still hoping for an entertaining match regardless.
(3) IWGP Tag Championship Match: [61st Champions] “Killer Elite Squad” Lance Archer & Davey Boy Smith, Jr. vs. [Challengers] “Sword & Guns” Hirooki Goto & “The Machine Gun” Karl Anderson
~ 2nd Defense.
The two top teams in NJPW will face off for the Tag Belts in what is sure to be hard hitting contest. Killer Elite Squad have already fallen to the challenger team in the finals of the WORLD TAG LEAGUE on December 2nd, and have the most to love in the rematch with the IWGP Tag belts now on the line.
Goto and Anderson are said to have nothing but confidence heading into the match, but the strength of Archer & Davey Boy Jr. could prove to be the determining factor if they are able to learn from their last match. The team who will walk out the champions on 1.4 will be the team who can work together the most. Goto & Anderson could claim another upset pin, but K.E.S. has proved themselves against the veteran team of “TenKoji” Tenzan & Kojima on two separate occasions now.
Will the Killer Bomb lead to continued success for the Killer Elite Squad or will the Shouten Kai or Gun Stun being in their future?
Bushido’s Prediction: K.E.S. following the Killer Bomb. I don’t want to say much on what I have been thinking, but for some reason it has crossed my mind that “what if” Goto turns on Anderson after the match? Just something to think about I guess.
(4) Special Singles Match: Yuji Nagata vs. Minoru Suzuki
The sworn enemies will find themselves yet again facing off in the Tokyo Dome. It is almost not a WRESTLE KINGDOM show without these two meeting in some form on the show. The two are currently 1-1 with the Dome meetings with this one either being the cap to their grudge by fully settling the record, or it could end up being the beginning of a whole new fight.
Yuji Nagata and Minoru Suzuki will rekindle their previous feuds as they will meet once again one on one in what is sure to be a heated struggle.
Bushido’s Prediction: Suzuki following the Gotch Style Piledriver. Maybe even a Taichi interference thrown in as well.
(5) IWGP Jr. Heavy Championship Triple Threat Match: [66th Champion] Prince Devitt vs. [Challenger] Low Ki vs. [Challenger] Kota Ibushi
~ 1st Defense.
The IWGP Jr. Heavy belt will be defended in a triple threat match between three present and former champions. All three of these men have tried to lay claim to the best junior wrestler in Japan today, if not the world, and come January 4 we may know who is really the best. All 3 have held the IWGP Jr. belt in 2012, but on 1.4 it will be time to crown a definitive Junior champion in NJPW.
Bushido’s Prediction: Devitt to retain. The belt has changed hands one too many times in the last 6 months, as much as Devitt sort of doesn’t need another reign I think it will stay with him for now.
(6) Special Tag Match: Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima vs. Keiji Mutoh & Shinjiro Otani
In what was originally scheduled to be the debut of, the late son of Shinya Hashimoto, Daichi Hashimoto has turned into a match with less meaning now that the young talent is out with an injury. Much hype has been riding behind this match for over the last 6 months with many people eagerly wondering how Daichi would perform in the Dome.
Daichi though said that he would still compete at the Dome with the cast on, but it was recommended that he step back at this time. Daichi said that he will indeed make his debut in NJPW soon and he hopes to be stronger than ever when he does.
In the wake of this news it was announced that Shinjiro Otani will be taking Daichi’s place in the match. With this change of the match, this will see Otani working along side Mutoh in the NJPW ring for the first time in over 10 years. This match could be seen more as a bit more nostalgic now with 4 wrestlers who competed in New Japan in the past. Tenzan, Kojima and Otani have all 3 just recently celebrated their 20+ years as pro wrestlers, so a meeting between all the men could be a much welcomed reunion more than anything.
Bushido’s Prediction: Up in the air at this time.
(7) Special Singles Match: Togi Makabe vs. Katsuyori Shibata
A singles bout that has been months in the making. Shibata has aimed to reclaim himself a solid position in NJPW since his shocking return along with Sakuraba in August. Togi Makabe and Katsutori Shibata have a lot heat between themselves heading into the WK7 match. This will be a pure grudge match with Makabe finally looking to end this latest run of the former New Japan Young Lion. With that aside there is a lot of speculation that Shibata is aiming to go against Hiroshi Tanahashi and the IWGP Heavy belt, that is if he can defeat the Unchained Gorilla.
This match will surely come down to either King Kong Knee of the PK, and it should be nothing more than brawl from start to finish.
Bushido’s Prediction: Shibata following the PK. Potentially leading Shibata to claim himself the next contender for the IWGP Heavy belt?
(8) IWGP Intercontinental Championship Match: [4th Champion] Shinsuke Nakamura vs. [Challenger] Kazushi Sakuraba
~ 4th Defense.
Shinsuke Nakamura has been on a mission to make the IWGP Intercontinental, aka IC belt, mean something in New Japan Pro Wrestling. Nakamura would take the belt from Hirooki Goto on July 22, 2012 and would then overhaul the belt with a white leather strap. Nakamura’s goal was to make the belt mean something and be the #2 belt under the Heavyweight belt. He would start of his reign by being the first person to defend the belt outside of NJPW in the SWF (Sacramento Wrestling Federation) against Oliver John in August. With a successful defense Nakamura was poised to make his claim a reality. He would go on to defend the belt 2 more times throughout the rest of the year against Karl Anderson and a rematch against the former champion in Hirooki Goto.
The new year is set to bring a whole new challenge to the champion in one of the biggest names to ever come from Japanese MMA in Kazushi Sakuraba. Sakuraba has made a name for himself for having tremendous grappling and striking skills in the past and is aiming to move on from MMA and back into the pro wrestling ring. Sakuraba is no stranger to pro wrestling as he was a part of the UWFi vs. NJPW storyline in the mid-1990’s.
The Chairman of NJPW, Takaaki Kidani has announced that he will be in full support of Kazushi Sakuraba heading into the show. Kidani has stated that he is a big fan of what Inoki built from the 70’s all the way throughout the 90’s, which pretty much makes one assume that he is looking to bring the real meaning of Strong Style back to the promotion. As I previously made meentio of, Sakuraba was a part of the UWFi invasion in which himself and Shibata returning could be seen as a return of that scenario.
This match could be a true return to form for Nakamura who used to rely on a more grappling and submission background in his matches. He will definitely need to look to his past as this will surely turn into a shoot match if Sakuraba will have anything to say about, just from judging from his recent matches. Sakuraba has been aiming to go for the takedowns quick and pick a part the opponent. Granted this was with himself and Shibata in the ring with an almost pack of dogs mentality against those across the ring. This will mark his first singles match since returning and it could not be any bigger than with a title match against one of the best in New Japan today.
Who will walk out the victor will be completely up in the air.
Bushido’s Prediction: Nakamura to retain. but like I mentioned it is sort of a toss up. Would this match end so quickly with a loss to Sakuraba, I cannot really call that, but we will see how the match plays out.
(9) Main Event ~ IWGP Heavyweight Championship Match: [58th Champion] Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kazuchika Okada
~ 6th Defense.
A match that is almost a year in the making. Kazuchika Okada pulled off one of the biggest upsets in recent history. If not just in NJPW, but in all of pro wrestling as a whole. Who would have thought that a young kid who was abroad from Japan for 2 years in TNA Wrestling, let alone being relatively unused during that time, would come in and defeat the “ace” of NJPW? I know a lot of people would have bet against Okada to get the win, especially after a lackluster appearance at last year’s (2011) WRESTLE KINGDOM event. Of course there was much history between Tanahashi and Okada in years prior to Okada’s lengthy time away with their last meeting in January of 2010 (http://youtu.be/pGRd0rtQQdk). Tanahashi looked poised to move on with record setting 11 Defense reign and make it number 12, but on February 12, 2012 the biggest ripple in NJPW occurred as Okada hit Tanahashi with his now patented Rainmaker finisher and caused a significant shift in power that would continue to be seen the rest of the year.
Okada would go on to successfully defend the IWGP Heavyweight belt not once but twice, against Naito and Hirooki Goto respectively, before losing the belt back to Tanahashi in June. Okada’s reign might have come off a little bit as a fluke win to some, much like Nakamura winning the belt back in 2003 out of nowhere, but the doubts where quickly silenced as Okada would go on to win the G1 CLIMAX tournament in August. Okada would announce that he would not claim his IWGP title match so quickly and would like for it to take place at the biggest show NJPW has to offer at WRESTLE KINGDOM. Okada’s intentions were to prove that his performance at last years WK event was nothing and that he is ready to show what he is capable of when given another chance. In the wake of his announcement, Okada was forced to defend his right to challenge at the dome against other worthy competitors from the same men whom he beat when he was IWGP Champion. He proved that those wins were not flukes at the time and has positioned himself as the potential new ace of New Japan Pro Wrestling. Tanahashi has had the honor of calling himself the ace for the last 6+ years, and the early thought is if he loses again to Okada it will mark his time to pass on that title as well to Okada.
This match could easily have more on the line that just the IWGP itself, and if their match in June of 2012 proved anything, we might very well be looking at the match of the year right from the start.
Bushido’s Prediction: Tanahashi over Okada. I know what you are saying already, why should Tanahashi win. Well for one I kind of feel it might be too soon for Okada to win the belt. Maybe it is just how things have worked in the past or something. But I kind of feel that Shibata will win over Makabe and go on to challege the winner and I am not sure how that would work with Okada as champion.
Remember this will be the first ever WRESTLE KINGDOM show to be offered on iPPV @ http://www.ustream.tv/channel/njpw1972 for $35.
For those of you in the USA the times will be 3am Eastern, 2am Central, and Midnight on the West Coast.
I know that might be a big chunk of change, but the event is scheduled to run for at least 4 hours, if not longer. There will be 9+ matches that will surely have something for every kind of pro wrestling fan.
[KING OF PRO-WRESTLING Event Preview] New Japan will be holding a huge show this coming Monday (10/8) at the Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan (also known as the Ryougoku Sumo Hall). The event will see every IWGP Championship defended, known as the IWGP5 when all the belts will be defended, on a show.
This event will also mark another achievement as it will be the first ever event offered worldwide “LIVE”.
Yes, you heard that right, New Japan will be offering this event live on USTREAM for a mere $25.
All you have to do is visit the link below, then sign in with a trusted account and then on the bottom of the video there will be a “buy a ticket”. Click the ticket and it will take you to a secure payment info page, and you will be given a ticket to view the event when it is live on October 8.
Keep in mind the event will be on 17:00 (5pm) Japan time, so that will be 3am CST here in the USA, adjust accordingly to wherever you live. The event “should be” offered on replay soon after the event finishes.
Below is both the card for the event as well as my own personal preview for the show.
NJPW “40ｔｈ anniversary KING OF PRO-WRESTLING”, 10/8/2012 [Mon] 17:00 @ Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo
(1) Nakanishi’s Return Match: Manabu Nakanishi, Yuji Nagata & Strongman vs. Toru Yano, Takashi Iizuka & Tomohiro Ishii
~ Manabu Nakanishi makes his in ring return after being sidelined after suffering a cervical spinal injury in June of 2011. Nakanishi has been undergoing rehabilitation and strength training to prepare for his return. He was originally not scheduled to return for another month, but due to daily training and successful rehab he was cleared by the doctors sooner. Nakanishi aims to make it back up the ranks to once again compete for the IWGP Heavyweight belt.
(2) IWGP Junior Heavy Tag Championship Match: [33rd Champions] “FOREVER HOOLIGANS” Rocky Romero & Alex Koslov vs. [Challengers] “TIME SPLITTERS” KUSHIDA & Alex Shelley
~ 2nd Defense.
~ KUSHIDA & Alex Shelley don’t seem like an odd pairing at first glance, but in the recent months they have shown themselves to be a strong team, maybe not so much like MCMG, but their styles blend together well. It has brought them to a title match against Romero & Koslov who aim to remain the IWGP jr. tag champions as Romero says “FOREVAAA”. Both teams will be coming into the event looking strong and this should definitely be a highly energetic fast paced match to pick up the pace for the rest of the show.
(3) IWGP Junior Heavy Championship Match: [64th Champion] Kota Ibushi vs. [Challenger] Low Ki
~ 3rd Defense.
~ Will Low Ki be successful as he aims to reclaim the belt that he lost to Ibushi back on July 29th, or will Ibushi be able to brush aside he recent loss of the DDT KO-D belt and prove that he is still one of the best around? This match will sure to be both physical and hard hitting with both men surely bringing out everything and anything to make sure they will leave as champion.
(4) IWGP Tag Championship Match: [60th Champions] Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima vs. [Challengers] Lance Archer & Davey Boy Smith, Jr.
~ first defense.
~ The two former WWE Superstars in Lance Archer (Vance Archer) and Davey Boy Smith, Jr (Harry Smith) have come together to form a strong tag team within the Suzuki-gun faction. With already multiple upsets over the reigning champions, and night after night of standing tall above them with the belts in their hands, TenKoji will have a big battle on their hands to remain as the champions. TenKoji are no strangers to having a huge challenge in front of them and they will surely fight to the bitter end regardless of the outcome.
(5) Tetsuya Naito vs. Yujiro Takahashi
~ Yujiro has been on quite a win streak since his recent return from CMLL a few months ago with a big win coming in the form of a pinfall victory over IWGP Heavyweight Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi. Yujiro showed signs that he wants a shot at the belt, but at that time the pecking order had already been set with Tanahashi looking to reclaim his G1 loses over Marufuji and now Suzuki for this show. Yujiro attacked Tetsuya Naito, mainly Naito’s injured right knee, after their scheduled tag match on 9/23and subsequently set up this upcoming match on 10/8. Naito will surely have revenge on his mind, but Yujiro has his eyes set on the IWGP Heavy belt. This match could very well lead to the next contender depending on who wins or loses.
(6) Togi Makabe & Wataru Inoue vs. Kazushi Sakuraba & Katsuyori Shibata
~ After the utter killing of Hiromu Takahashi in the New Japan ring by Shibata & Sakura on 9/23, Makabe & Inoue are hoping that their strength together can bring the fight that the invading team wants. Sakuraba and Shibata aim to show more or less that they are the best in Japan. They will be going into this match with nothing but confidence on their side. Makabe and Inoue on the other hand will have the tough task of stopping the invading team dead in their tracks. Makabe is known as the toughest brawlers in New Japan today, so if they aim to bring the fight Makabe is ready for it.
It is under speculation that the “former” New Japan Young Lion, Shibata could have his eyes set on turning to a singles competitor sooner than later with Goto, Nakamura, and even Tanahashi being among the list of names for Shibata to compete against. Could we see the start of this before the show is done?
(7) Tokyo Dome IWGP Right to Challenge Match: [Defending Right] Kazuchika Okada vs. [Challenger] “The Machine Gun” Karl Anderson
~ Following this years G1 CLIMAX which saw Kazuchika Okada defeat Karl Anderson in the finals of the tournament, Anderson has had nothing on his mind but getting an inevitable rematch sooner than later. Now though, with Kazuchika Okada pushing for his G1 win to turn into a Tokyo Dome IWGP Heavy title match contract, it has made the upcoming rematch for Anderson to mean so much more. If Anderson is able to defeat Okada he will then earn Okada’s contract to compete at next years Wrestle Kingdom in the main event for the IWGP Heavy belt. Of course, that still leaves less than 3 months away for the big show and even more attention to that very contract. Will Okada prove that his G1 win was not a fluke and keep his WK Contract? We will see this Monday.
(8) IWGP Intercontinental Championship Match: [4th Champion] Shinsuke Nakamura vs. [Challenger] Hirooki Goto
~ 2nd Defense.
~ Hirooki Goto has his eyes set on reclaiming the IWGP Intercontinental belt from Shinsuke Nakamura after pinning Okada at the 9/23 show. Instead of going right after Okada or even Tanahashi for that matter, Goto immediately pointed to Nakamura and demanded a rematch for the IC belt which he lost to Nakamura on July 22nd of this year. Nakamura and Goto have a pretty strong rivaled past with both men showing at anytime that they can beat each other. This time with the belt on the line it should make this match mean even more. Nakamura holds a win over Goto from the title match in July and Goto got his win back during the G1 CLIMAX in August. It is time for these two to settle the score with the more worthy competitor walking out of the night with the belt around their waist.
(9) IWGP Heavyweight Championship Match: [58th Champion] Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. [Challenger] Minoru Suzuki
~ 4th Defense.
~ This will be a double rematch for both men. Tanahashi  holds a victory over Suzuki from this years Wrestle Kingdom show, and Suzuki  holds a pinfall victory over Tanahashi from this years G1 CLIMAX. Tanahashi reclaimed his loss against Naomichi Marufuji on 9/23, and is looking to do the same against Suzuki.
During the press event for their upcoming match Suzuki stated that he aims to defeat Tanahashi and create a new future with the belt. With there only being a few months left before the big Wrestle Kingdom show there will be a lot of attention put forth to this match as the winner could very well be the one headlining the big show. Will Tanahashi remain as the symbol of New Japan Pro Wrestling, or will Suzuki prove that he is still has many tricks left in his arsenal?
Jonathan Gresham may not be the most widely known name in pro wrestling, but he is definitely one that should be
one to keep an eye out for in the future. Gresham has competed all over the world from Japan, Hong Kong, Chikara (as Hieracon), CZW, Booker T’s PWA in Texas, Fight Club: PRO in the UK, as well as numerous other promotions.
Gresham, who is 24 years old, recently reached an all time career achievement as he won ZERO1’s Tenakichi Junior Tournament. Not only making him the second youngest wrestler to win the tournament (first being Yoshihito Sasaki at 23), but the first non-Japanese native to do so. Gresham has been noted by quite a few people to be a very sound wrestler who can work the mat when he needs and take the soar through the air at any given opportunity.
I hope with this interview that fans all around the world can gain a bit more knowledge of this talented wrestler and hopefully leads you to follow and support him in his journey.
(1) Where and when did you get your start in pro wrestling?
I started training in Atlanta Ga around the age of 16. I started at a school called WWA4 in Atlanta Ga.
(2) Who did you look up to as in ring idols? Favorite guys to see in the ring?
Before I really got into wrestling, Bam Bam Bigelow is who got me hooked onto the sport. At that age I just tuned in to watch him to be honest. After, I started to watch a bit more, and started to look up to guys like Dean Malenko, Sean Waltman and Rey Mysterio.
(3) Do you have any favorite moments competing around the world? What would be the ideal match for someone to watch to see what you are all about in the ring?
Ah, yes, I have a few. Most won’t make it to the internet or DVD I don’t think, so viewing it might not be possible. But This year alone I have a few favorites. I was able to compete against “Mr. Smooth” Johnny Kidd in Swindon UK. This is one of my favorite matches because It was something I never thought would happen. Its a match I would of course wanted to have, but the possibility of it actually being booked never really hit me as reality. A last second tag match I was apart of for SWE UK which saw myself tag with a MK Mckinnan VS the Leaders, Marty Scurll and Zack Sabre Jr. Is a match I think many would enjoy, while also introducing you to Mckinnan, a need to know UK talent.
(4) I read that your first match was against WWE’s Heath Slater? As well as you used to compete for Booker T promotion in Texas? Do you have a dream of one day reaching the big stage of the WWE?
Yes, my first ever match was against Heath Slater. It took place in a small town in west Georgia. I started with Booker T’s PWA promotion in 2008, I spent a good bit of time working with him and the promotion. WWE, to be honest. After getting into the business I decided I wanted to wrestle in Japan for a career. But, if the opportunity presents it’s self to work with WWE I’m sure I’d do it.
(5) How did you get connected with Ikuto Hidaka and ZERO1?
It was just one of those things that happen after time I guess. Their is no cool or funny story to go along with how I connected with Zero 1, I wish it was. But I have always showed interest in wrestling in Japan, so I am guessing my long time interest helped me make that connection.
(6) Winning the ZERO1 Tenkaichi tournament is a pretty big achievement, let alone being the first foreign talent to win the tournament. What are your thoughts with participating in the tournament and what plans do you have with ZERO1 moving forward?
Taking a spot in this years Tenkaichi meant a lot to me. I have watched this tournament unfold many times in the past thanks to online media sites. It was a dream come true for me. Competing in Japan was/is my goal. To win such a prestigious tournament is still mind blowing for me. To get the opportunity wrestle against the likes of Tatsuhito Takaiwa and Ikuto Hidaka was such an honor and I learned a lot from these bouts. My future plans moving forward with Zero 1 is to cement my spot in history. Winning the Zero 1 Jr Heavyweight championship is a goal now. And continuing to represent Zero 1 as a fighting athlete all around Japan.
(6) One of the major ordeal’s heading out of the Tenkaichi tournament is that you did not make a wish right then and there with the “dragon” present. Is it just a matter of reaching your true goal of competing in Japan that you did not ask?
Yes, when looking at Japan from the outside, one of the things I wanted to do is fight Ikuto Hidaka. Now that, that has come to pass along with winning the Tenkaichi, I was overwhelmed. I still stand by my choice to not make a wish. Because at that time that is the way I truly felt. But looking forward I have expressed my interest in one day competing along side Hidaka and challenging for the Jr tag championships.
(7) Then something to add on about your future in ZERO1, Takuya Sugawara is the reigning champion at this time, and after winning the tournament you have surely earned yourself an upcoming title shot. Can you give us any idea when the title match may be coming and your thoughts if you were to face Sugawara?
Sugawara I believe, despite some of his actions is a great champion. I respect what he has done. And I know fighting Sugawara would be a tough match and with the added pressure of the Jr Championship being on the line, this could possibly be the hardest match of my career. But I look forward to challenging for Zero 1’s Jr Heavyweight championship in the future, adding my name to the list of past champions would be a honor, adding my name to that list would be a goal accomplished!
(8) I also remember reading that another one of your dreams was to compete in New Japan’s Best of the Super Jr.’s tournament? The BOSJ tends to be a big breakout for all the talent involved, but do you have any opponents in mind if you were given the opportunity? Maybe from NJPW like Liger, Devitt and or Taguchi, or any wrestlers for that matter?
Speaking of Jr’s from New Japan. All the named above would be tremendous to test my skills against. And to learn from as well, I would not mind facing the likes of KUSHIDA, Tiger Mask and or Koji Kanemoto. All I think would be good matches and the fans of Japan would see how much fight I have. And how far I have come as a fighting Athlete.
(9) What’s the best way for people to keep up with what your doing in your travels all over the world?
I try my best to keep up a Blog as I travel. You can find it at http://Greshamwrestling.dinstudio.com/. This is probably the best way, as I don’t think to tweet or facebook when something happens.
I want to think Gresham for taking time out of his schedule to being apart of this interview for Puroresu Spirit, and I want to wish him all the best while competing in Japan and all over the world. がんばって！
Tomorrow starts the two day Champions Gate Double Header in Osaka. All three of the major titles in DG will be defended over the two days with the Triangle Gate being defended on the first night. Here is just a little preview of some of the major matches and storylines going into the weekend.
2) Akira Tozawa Vs Chihiro Tominaga
This will be the biggest match for “super rookie” Chihiro Tominaga, who has been getting A LOT of fan support and buzz since his debut late last year. Tozawa of course is now the lead heel of the newly named faction “Mad Blankey” and will obviously squash Tominaga here. The real question is whether anything else comes out of this match…
3) CIMA, Dragon Kid Vs PAC, Rich Swann
This of course is the warmup match before the big Dream Gate match between champ CIMA and challenger PAC. Im going on a limb (not really) to say that the finish will probably be PAC over Dragon Kid…
4) Jimmi Susumu, Jimmi KAGETORA Vs BxB Hulk, Cyber Kong
This is the precursor to another Name match in the ever growing feud between the “Jimmis” and Blood Warriors now Mad Blankey. I’ll write a little more of my thoughts on the actual name match for tomorrow’s preview but I think what happens in this match will greatly affect the outcome of tomorrow’s match.
5) Open the Brave Gate Championship Match: Ricochet © Vs Naruki Doi
This will be Ricochet’s second defense and it’s a doozy. On the opposite side of the ring from him is the original Brave Gate Champion as well as one of two men to really establish the Brave Gate title in DG (the other would arguably be Masato Yoshino). Doi last held the Brave Gate title briefly in 2009 when he defeated CIMA in a title vs title match, but it was his first reign as champ way back in 2005 that not only established the Brave Gate title but also established Doi as an up and coming star for DG. Obviously Doi really doesn’t need the Brave Gate title, though he hasn’t really been anywhere near the “main event” status since his run as Dream Gate champ back in 2008 either. Yet I don’t think winning the Brave Gate will help Doi as much as it will increase the rising star that is Ricochet. Also with Ricochet vanquishing former three time Brave Gate champion Masato Yoshino in his first defense, Ricochet is looking to have a pretty strong run as Brave Gate champion.
6) Open the Triangle Gate Decision Match: Masaaki Mochizuki, Don Fujii, Gamma Vs Ryo Saito, Genki Horiguchi, Yasushi Kanda
This match was made after Naoki Tanizaki had to vacate the Triangle Gate title for his team due to injuries. This will be an interesting match as both teams are not super familiar with every member in their team. Gamma has had a long running feud with Mochizuki but just recently both had agreed to work with each other due to the overwhelming force of Mad Blankey and the disbanding of Junction Three. Kanda was recently kicked out of Mad Blankey (Blood Warriors) but saved by Maraha Issapa. The Jimmis hinted that Kanda is not a man to be trusted (which his track record kinda supports that) BUT they also may have said that out of spite due to Maraha Issappa turning down their offer to join forces. We shall see what goes down, if maybe Kanda or even Gamma (he has a habit too) are really just secret agents of Mad Blankey in a scheme to get the Triangle Gates back on Akira Tozawa’s side.
Considering I have a fondness for Lucha and last year’s Fantastica Mania was very enjoyable, I thought it would be nice to give some knoweldge for the Lucha Libre newbies of who exactly are those colorful masked men that are wrestling with our favorite NJPW stars! Enjoy!
Misterioso Jr started out as Super Spider before changing his name to Misterioso Jr and working with his uncle Misterioso in CMLL in 2003. In 2005 he made it to the finals of the Gran Alternativa (a tournament where rookies will team up with Veterans) with Dr Wagner Jr losing to Atlantis and La Mascara. In 2005 Misterioso turned heel and joined Los Perros del Mar (Dogs of War) with El Terrible, El Texano Jr and Perro Aguayo Jr. In 2006 he won the Gran Alternativa with Perro Aguayo Jr by defeating Ultimo Guerrero and Nitro in the finals. In 2008 Misterioso Jr won his first title by defeating El Gallo for the Occidente Light Heavyweight title. In 2009 he joined the group Poder Mexica only to lose in the finals to claim the vacant Mexican National Trios title to Mascara Dorada, Stuka Jr and Metro in Janurary 2010. He gains super kudos points from me becuase he is the current Pro Wrestling Revolution tag champ with Strong Man!!! Misterioso Jr is undefeated in six Lucha de Apuesta matches (Mask vs Mask/Hair) most recently taking the hair of Piloto Suicida in Jan 2009.
Rush only started wrestling in 2008, and debuted in CMLL in 2009. Summer of 2010 he feuded with Loco Max and won his hair in his first Lucha de Apuesta match. That Nov Rush won the CMLL Bodybuilding contest to earn the nickname Mr CMLL. IN Jan 2011 Rush won the Mexican National Trios championship w/ Angel de Oro and Diamante by defeating Delta, Metro and Stuka Jr. He also won the CMLL World Light Heavyweight title from Ephesto in Feb 2011. With that added momentum Rush would challenge for the CMLL World HW title held by Ultimo Guerrero but would lose in June 2011. Rush would begin feuding with Yoshihashi (who was on his learning excursion) which ended in a Lucha de Apuesta match which Rush won taking Yoshihashi’s hair. In Sept 2011 Rush would lose the Trios title to Los Invasores (Olimpico, Psicosis II and Volador Jr). In Dec Rush would form La Tercia Sesacion with Maximo and Marco Corleone (Mark JIndrak). On New years day 2012 he would start off the New Year on a bad foot losing to El Terrible in a match for the vacant CMLL World HW title. Though not really known for their heavyweights, CMLL prides itself with Rush who is looking to be a future superstar for them. He is currently being lined up opposite of Hirooki Goto, especially on day 2 when they will have a singles match with each other. Definitly shows that CMLL has high hopes for Rush.
Mascara Dorado (Golden Mask) was actually patterned after Mascarita Dorada who is a mini (and appearing in PWG at Wrestlereunion), when its usually the other way around with the mini forming after the larger wrestler is established. Mascra Dorado’s first big career move was winning the Torneo Nacional de Pareja (National Amazing Pairs tourney) two years in a row with Atlantis. Most Japanese fans will remember Mascara Dorado for his feud with Taguchi over the CMLL WW title which he would lose to Taguchi at last year’s Fantasticamania. He most recently lost the CMLL World Trios ttile with Generacion Dorada members (La Sombra and La Mascara).
On day 2 of the weekend event, Mascara Dorada will be defending his NWA WW title against Kushida, in what should be a great showcase for young Kushida.
Atlantis is a former face now turned heel (but still very popular with the fans) when he formed Los Guerreros de la Atlantida with Ultimo Guerrero, Rey Bucanero and Dragon Rojo Jr. He would win the Torneo Nacional de Pareja toruny with Mascara Dorado, as well as he would win the Forjando un Idolo tourney with Delta, Guerrero Maya Jr. In August 2011 he left Los Guerreros de la Atlantida defeating Ultimo Guerrero in a big rivalry match. Atlantis then formed the stable Los Reyes de la Atlantida with Delta and Guerero Maya Jr winning the Mexican Naiotnal Trios titles.
Diamante is a rookie but supposedly has wrestled in the 90s…
Mephisto debuted (after previously wrestling as Astro Rey Jr and Kahoz Jr) in 2001 to join the Los Infernales with Satanico and Averno and feuded with splinter group Ultimo Gerrero, Rey Bucanero and Tarzan Boy (Los Guerreros del Infierno). This intense feud ended in a tag team steel cage match in 2002 with Satanico winning the rights to the name. In June 2002 Mephisto won the Mexican National Trios titles with Averno and Satanico and feuded with La Familia de Tuijuana (Nicho el Millonario, Halloween and Damien 666) resulting in them losing the Trios titles to La Familia. End of 2003, Averno and Mephisto decided to leave Satanico. On Feb 2004, Mephisto def Satanico to win the CMLL WW title and then w/ Averno won the CMLL tag matches in 2005 from Atlantis and Blue Panther. This teaming of Averno and Mephisto would became one of the best tag teams in Mexico. Their tag title defenses would be legendary including a famous match at the end of 2005 against El Hijo del Santo and Negro Casas. In April 2006 the two would lose the titles to Mistico and Negro Casas ending a year long reign. Mephisto himself would lose the WW title to Mistico after three year reign. A little bit later a thrid member would join the group in Ephesto. Most Japanese fans will remember Mephisto’s journey to Mistico in 2009 for the WW title but he would lose. Later in May 2009 he defeated La Sombra to win the NWA WW title. After almost a two year reign he would lose the title back to La Sombra on March 2011. On July 2011 he would win the CMLL Trios titles from Mascara Dorada, La Mascara and La Sombra (La Geracion Dorada) along with Averno and Ephesto.
La Sombra would debut in wrestling in 2004 but would join CMLL in 2007. Even though there were prior men wrestling as La Sombra in CMLL, there is no relationship between the charcters and in fact La Sombra’s real dad wrestles as the wrestler Brillante and his mask is similar to his father. Got his first push when he teamed up with Mistico in the Torneo Gran Alternativa tournament which they won after defeating Ultimo Guerrero and Euforia. La Sombra would soon after win his first title along with El Sagrado and Volador Jr in the form of the Mexican National Trios titles. In Novemebver 2007, La Sombra won his first single title by defeating Hajime Ohara for the NWA WW title, making him the youngestr holder of the belt at just 18! On January 2009, La Sombra became a triple title holder teaming up with Volador Jr to win the CMLL World tag titles from the very popular team of Averno and Mephisto. The team of La Sombra and Volador Jr would win the CMLL Tag Team of the year award in 2009. In 2010 (after losing most of his titles) La Sombra would team up with Mascara Dorada and La Mascara to form the super popular group (La Generacion Dorada) and they would defeat Okumra, Tanahashi and Taichi for the CMLL World Trios titles. After his team with Volador Jr lost the CMLL tag titles to Los Invasores (Mr Aguila and Hector Garza), Volador Jr turned on his friend and even went so far as to tear his mask off. A few weeks later La Sombra lost to Jushin Liger in the finals of the 2010 Universal Champsionship tournament (a tournament where every participant held at least one title in CMLL). The feud between La Sombra, Liger and Volador Jr resulted in those three and 11 other men to take part in a 14 man steel cage Lucha de Apuesta (mask vs mask Match) at CMLL’s 77th Anniversary show. The match came down to La Sombra and Olimpico as the final two men in the cage. La Sombra was able to pin Olimpico to save his mask and force Olimpico to unmask. On March 13, 2011, La Sombra won the NWA World Historic WW title from Mephisto, which he currently holds now. Mephisto would get some revenge on La Sombra by winning the World Trios titles from La Genercion Dorada alongside his Los Hijos del Averno teammates (Averno and Ephesto). In September of that year La Sombra once again made it to the finals of the 2011 Universal Championship tournament but this time he was able to win it by pinning Averno. Two days later he would successfully defend his World Historic WW title against Volador Jr in a match of the year candidate. We may see a early Match of the Year canidate on Day 2 when La Sombra will be putting up the World Historic WW title once again against Volador Jr.
Volador Jr debuted in Mexico in 1999 and made his CMLL debut in 2001 as the son of Volador (who now wrestles as Super Parka). In 2004 Volador Jr started teaming up with the debuting Mistico and Misterioso Jr to forma very popular trios. Yet it was the 2007 teaming with El Sagrado and La Sombra that earned him some gold with the Mexican Trios Titles. After making several apperances in TNA (including some tag team action with Tanahashi) Volador Jr would return to CMLL full time in 2009 to win the CMLL tag team titles with La Sombra, forming a team that would earn CMLL Tag Team of the year awards in 2009, Volador Jr himself would earn Most Popular wrestler of that same year. In January 2010, Volador teamed up with El Terrible in the Torneo Nacional de Pareja Increibles tournament where a face is teamed up with a heel. During the second round, Volador would face his old friend Mistico who was teaming with his mortal enemy Averno. During the match Mistico would start to show some violent heel tendencies resulting in him lowblowing Volador Jr to win the match. The two would meet a month later with Mistico going full heel, even as far as removing Volador’s mask during the match. Volador was able to win the match by using Mistico’s own finisher against him. This feud boiled to a close in one more match when Volador Jr would beat Mistico in 2 falls to 1 to claim the Mexican National Light Heavyweight title. A few months later Mistico decided to return to being a face..but then Volador Jr decided to go heel, teaming with Mistico’s nemesis Averno. Volador Jr would then go on to betray his long time tag partner La Sombra as well as almost cripple La Mascara during the 2010 Universal Championship tournament. After winning the Copa Bicentenario tournament by beating Mistico in the finals, Volador Jr would lose the Mexican National Light HW title to the man he almost crippled, La Mascara. In July 2011, Volador Jr would take over the Los Invasorres stable, after they ousted their leader Hector Garza for turning tecnico. After unsucesfully challenging former tag partner La Sombra for the NWA WW title, Volador Jr lead Olimpico and Psicosis II to the Mexican National champisonhip be defeating Angel de Oro, Diamante and Rush. La Sombra ended the year by winning the 2011 Leyenda de Plata (a tournament that honors the legendary El Santos) tournament by beating Liger in the finals.
NJPW PRESENTS “CMLL FANTASTICA MANIA 2012“, 1/21/2012 [Sat] 18:30 @ Korakuen Hall in Tokyo
(1) Danshoku Dino & Maximo vs. TAKA Michinoku & Taichi
(2) Tama Tonga & King Fale vs. YOSHI-HASHI & OKUMURA
(3) Prince Devitt, Ryusuke Taguchi & Tiger Mask IV vs. Jado, Gedo & Misterioso, Jr.
(4) Hirooki Goto & KUSHIDA vs. Rush & Mascara Dorada
(5) Tetsuya Naito, Jushin Thunder Liger & Diamante vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, Yujiro Takahashi & Mephisto
(6) Hiroshi Tanahashi & La Sombra vs. “Rainmaker” Kazuchika Okada & Volador, Jr.
NJPW PRESENTS “CMLL FANTASTICA MANIA 2012“, 1/22/2012 [Sun] 12:00 @Korakuen Hall in Tokyo
(1) Prince Devitt, Ryusuke Taguchi, Tiger Mask IV & Tama Tonga vs. YOSHI-HASHI, Jado, Gedo & OKUMURA
(2) Jushin Thunder Liger & Maximo vs. Misterioso, Jr. & Taichi
(3) CMLL World Welterweight Championship Match: [Champion] Mascara Dorado vs. [Challenger] KUSHIDA
(4) Hirooki Goto vs. Rush
(5) Hiroshi Tanahashi, Tetsuya Naito & Diamante vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, “Rainmaker” Kazuchika Okada & Mephisto
(6) CMLL Certified NWA World Welterweight Championship Match: [Champion] La Sombra vs. [Challenger] Volador, Jr.
Best Heavyweight Wrestler of 2011
Love him or hate him my personal #1 is Hiroshi Tanahashi. I know everyone dislikes Tanahashi well guess what if he had to have any year as his own this was it. His longest IWGP Heavyweight reign which he held for the whole year following WRESTLE KINGDOM V, and taking on challengers after challengers. Tanahashi even solidified his name one of the top defenders of the IWGP belt next to Yuji Nagata & Shinya Hashimoto. In terms of holding a belt and solidly competing month after month it has to go to Tanahashi.
#2 will be going to the All Japan Ace Suwama. Suwama had a solid run as the Triple Crown Champion for most of the year and managed to prove match after match that he is top talent in All Japan. Suwama had two very solid standout matches in 2011 against both Yuji Nagata & Jun Akiyama. Though he ended up losing to Akiyama, Suwama still looked solid in the encounter. Even after losing the belt he has actually managed to have stepped up even more. 2012 could be in the makings to be another strong year for Suwama.
My official #3 Heavyweight would then be Takashi Sugiura. Sugiura like Tanahashi in a way, had a solid run as GHC Heavyweight Champion coming out of 2010 and into 2011. Sugiura was a fighting champion for NOAH and no one can take that away from him.
Honorable Mentions: Jun Akiyama, Seiya Sanada & Yuji Nagata
Best Junior Heavyweight of 2011
#1 KENTA – 2011 definitely had to be the breakout year for him. KENTA jumped from the GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Champion with Yoshinobu Kanemaru, and 2011 saw the formation of NO MERCY [NMC] in which KENTA led. NMC was leading a revolution in a way, to change the ideology of NOAH. To bring a new wave for the promotion. One of the big waves saw KENTA becoming the #1 contender for the GHC Heavyweight Championship. Then who could forget him making it all the way to the Finals in the Global League tournament, KENTA definitely proved that even though he is a Junior that he could hang with the bigger dogs.
#2 is Muneori Sawa, you know he should be my #1, but KENTA just did too much in the year. But 2011 could be called the year for Sawa as well. Not only was 2011 the final year for Sawa as a pro wrestler, but he went on a storm wrestling all around the world and had fun doing it. Sawa is a one of a kind wrestler in which he can wrestle both with the comedy side and then turn it around and legit shoot on his opponents. It is sad to see Sawa go, but he went out on a bang.
#3 – Dick Togo. It was sort of hard to pick who my #3 would be, but Togo just like Sawa retired from competition in Japan in 2011 and had some fantastic matches in the year. Wrestling his former friends and talent from all around the world.
Honorable Mentions: Prince Devitt, Kota Ibushi & Masaaki Mochizuki
Best Rookie of 2011
Undoubtedly is Daichi Hashimoto. Not may young talents have come into the business and have not only gotten as much press as this young man, but has gotten so many high profile matches in under a year (or even 5 years into their careers).
#2 Takumi Soya – Takumi, who is the younger brother to Manabu Soya, came into All Japan with a head of steam. Showing a lot of potential and even a few moves that young rookies never get to show off. If you have not seen Takumi wrestle yet, I definitely recommend that you put him on your watch list in 2012. Takumi is actually taller and bigger than his brother (though not billed that way) and if 2011 was any indication of what Takumi brings to the ring, 2012 should be exciting.
Best Tag Team of 2011
This is honestly the hardest category for me to pick from, I am honestly split between two teams as my #1 choice, but after thinking it through with the matches I enjoyed most this year I have to give the nod to Team Dai Nippon (Team BJW) as the #1 team of 2012. Daisuke Sekimoto & Yuji Okabayashi the very powerful teacher and student combo have really shed their names away from BJW in 2011, by jumping head first into All Japan Pro-Wrestling and really making names for themselves. Many thought they would never see Sekimoto get the recognition he deserved in one of the bigger promotions, but after this year he has solidified his name for sure.
This would then make “Bad Intentions” my #2.
#3 – “es” Seiya Sanada & Manabu Soya
Best Singles Match of 2011
#1 – Triple Crown Championship Match: Suwama vs. Jun Akiyama [Oct. 23rd/AJP]
~ A great match with a lot of history riding behind it. Akiyama had always looked to be in line to win the Triple Crown Championship a little over 10 years ago, but due to the All Japan/NOAH split Akiyama would never get to hold the belt. Take us almost 12 years later and Akiyama appears in All Japan, and the buzz began to swirl with Akiyama aiming for the title that had eluded him for years. The big issue though stood with the reigning champion Suwama who is the definitive ace of the promotion and a very strong competitor. Suwama already took out one of the strongest outsiders in Yuji Nagata months earlier and that showed how hard Suwama would fight to keep the belt in All Japan.
There was a lot of emotion going into this match and during. For someone like me who has been a big fan of Akiyama since he was in All Japan this was something that was long overdue.
#2 – IWGP Heavyweight Championship Match: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Tetsuya Naito [Oct. 10th/NJPW]
~ Tanahashi the current ace of New Japan and Naito who is looked at as the next generation ace for promotion. Both guys share a similar background in their idols being Keiji Mutoh and both share almost the same styles if you take Tanahashi back a few years into his career. Both have/are high flyers, can lock submissions out of nowhere, and can back it up with ring awareness. This match came down to experience vs. hunger for more. Tanahashi looking to remain with his status in the promotion and Naito looking to take the big leap forward as the go to guy in NJPW. In the end, the match was very solid and Naito even had the best of the current champion on more than one occasion. Definitely one to see from the year and definitely not an end to their feud which could possibly see a rematch in 2012.
#3 – GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship Match: Kotaro Suzuki vs. Katsuhiko Nakajima [March 5th/NOAH]
~ A great match between two solid Junior Heavyweights. Nakajima is definitely known as someone who can bring his all to a match and Suzuki backed it up with everything he had. This match had plenty of spots and big bumps. In the end there would be a decisive winner and us the fans where in for a treat.
Best Tag Match of 2011
#1 All Asia Tag Team Championship Match: “es” Seiya Sanada & Manabu Soya vs. “Team BJW” Daisuke Sekimoto & Yuji Okabayashi [March 21st/AJP] – The moment I saw this match I knew it was going to be one of the most solid contenders for Match of the Year and it has still stood up to me watching again here recently. Great back and forth action and it was all around a fun match, then you add the fact that they had this match on multiple times this year. All very solid, but their first title match stands out to me as the one you have to see.
#2 Keiji Mutoh & Kenta Kobashi vs. Takashi Iizuka & Toru Yano [ALL TOGETHER/August 27th] – The dueling moonsaults enough said right there. It may not have been the best all around match of the year, but with the crowd in love with the team of Mutoh & Kobashi it made this match stand out a lot more.
#3 Daisuke Sekimoto & Yuji Okabayashi vs. Suwama & Takumi Soya BJW/December 18th] – It is sort of crazy to think that I could put a rookie in one of my matches of the year, but you know what Takumi is on a whole other level compared to alot of people. He does more moves than any normal rookie and still has a long way to go in terms of reaching his height. Sekimoto & Okabayashi have yet to do any wrong in my mind, both great talents and some of the best workers in the business today then you have Suwama who is the ace of All Japan. I recommend this match a lot.
Best Event of 2011
#1 ALL TOGETHER [8/27] – The 3 biggest promotions in Japan coming together for a charity show for the major Northeastern Earthquake that occurred in March. Lots of dream matches and wrestlers came together for the big show and it was so successful that a second is planned to happen in late February 2012.
#2 AJP Pro Wrestling Love in Ryogoku vol. 13 [11/23] – Suwama vs. Akiyama, es vs. BJW, good show all around.
Top Promotion of 2011
#1: All Japan Pro-Wresling – AJP
#2: Big Japan Pro-Wrestling – BJW
#3: New Japan Pro Wrestling – NJPW
New Japan Pro Wrestling’s biggest event of the year is right around the corner and with 11 solid matches announced for the show, this has the makings to already being the event of the year. So join me as I (Charles Schaeffer) run down what is going to be happening for the big show and what things are looking like heading into each and every match.
NJPW 40th anniversary Tour. “WRESTLE KINGDOM VI in Tokyo Dome”, 1/4/2012 [Wed] 17:00 @ Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan
(1) IWGP Jr. Tag Team Championship Match: [Champions] “NRC” Davey Richards & Rocky Romero vs. [Challengers] “Apollo 55” Prince Devitt & Ryusuke Taguchi
~ 2nd Defense.
These are definitely four men who are no strangers to one another. Competing in back in forth matches in singles and tag matches all year long. The NO REMORSE CORPS are coming into the match as the champions after originally beating Apollo 55 back on October 10th of 2011. Richards & Romero have said that they plan of being the champions for a long time, but they New Japan originals aim to bring the belts back to NJPW. There is really not much that I can say about this match that has not already been seen before.
Richards will bring the intensity like he always does, Romero will be his certain craftiness while “the current IWGP Jr. Champion” Prince Devitt and Ryusuke Taguchi will be trying to work as cohesively as possible to get the job done.
Will NRC remain champions or will Apollo 55 add yet another title victory to their names?
(2) AERIAL KINGDOM featuring CMLL SUPER ESTRELLAS: Jushin Thunder Liger, Tiger Mask IV, Mascara Dorada & KUSHIDA vs. Atlantis, Valiente, TAKA Michinoku & Taichi
Continuing on with the CMLL and NJPW working agreement this match is looking to bring together the top Junior Heavyweights of New Japan together with some of the top talent from CMLL in Mexico.
One person in particular in KUSHIDA has gotten a bit of press for this match as it has been a dream of his to finally compete in the Tokyo Dome. KUSHIDA was signed into NJPW from SMASH due to talent and abilities and being in the ring with so many big level names should definitely give him a chance to stand out.
This match will be pitting some of the more iconic masked me in the sport today with some of the up and comers looking to take the leap forward. From the face team of Liger, Tiger Mask, Dorada & KUSHIDA looking to catch the people’s attention to the heel team of Atlantis, Valiente, TAKA & Taichi, this should be an exciting match with many high flying and big spots to crowd appealing multi-man maneuvers.
(3) NEW JAPAN RESPIRATION: Kazuchika Okada vs. YOSHI-HASHI (Nobuo Yoshihashi)
~ Okada & Yoshihashi Return to NJPW in what is sure to be a big moment for both competitors.
Kazuchika Okada, as most of you may know, spent the last two years competing in the USA namely in the Florida area with TNA wrestling. Well sadly he did not get much time wrestling on TNA tv and he was left training and working with the smaller promotions in the FL area. Okada was seen as a top prospect for New Japan and was to spend the time away to develop himself into a proper Heavyweight talent.
Nobuo Yoshihashi, now YOSHI-HASHI, has spent the last year and a half down in Mexico competing in CMLL. Okada has gained in size and is looking to lay his claim as a Heavyweight in NJPW. While in CMLL he spent the time as a “Rudo” (heel) in the promotion and seems poised to be a heel when he returns. It seems HASHI felt he was abandoned in a way in Mexico and is looking to take what he learned in CMLL and make it mean something in NJPW.
Both guys are looking to come back into NJPW strong and to take their careers to the next level with a championship around their waist. A win at WK VI for either of the two will push them further up to the inevitable championship ladder. It is also very fitting that this is the 40th Anniversary for NJPW as every decade new faces are seen and the new talent begin to leave their mark in the promotion.
Which of these former Young Lions have taken the step to being a new generation star?
(4) BLUE JUSTICE NEVER DIE: “BLUE JUSTICE” Yuji Nagata & Wataru Inoue vs. “STACK OF ARMS” Masakatsu Funaki [AJP] & Masayuki Kono [AJP]
The title would make you think that this match is tailored for BLUE JUSTICE, but there is a lot of more history heading into this match than just Nagata’s group. Masakatsu Funaki a renown Mixed Martial Artist in Japan, and originally got his start over 25 years ago in the New Japan Dojo, under Kotetsu Yamamoto. He would only stay around for a few years before he ventured off into the MMA field and he found his way, but in a way this match at the Dome is a homecoming for him as he has not competed for the promotion since he left. Funaki is also highly regarded as a teacher, where in which Kono comes in. Masayuki Kono is not coming into this match as odd as you may think. For one he is currently under the tutelage of Funaki, second is that he used to be a part of New Japan’s MMA Division years ago, and last to note is that this year he faced off against Yuji Nagata in All Japan’s Champion Carnival back in April. Though it was a losing effort, one has to be thinking that Kono maybe looking to get claim a win back. Yuji Nagata of course started out as one of the top wrestlers in 2011 as he went on to win the New Japan Cup as well as All Japan’s Champion Carnival. Nagata is actually one of the teachers who helped originally train Inoue, so in a way you can call this a teacher and student vs. teacher and student tag match.
This match should be a mix between technique and strikes. Funaki is a man of many holds and has a deadly high kick, Kono has both strength and submission skills, Inoue can come out of nowhere with the Spear of Justice, and Nagata has both submission and many technical based moves at his disposal. This should be a hard one to call a victor, but it should be interesting to see who comes out on top.
(5) TOKYO MONSTER WAR: MVP & Shelton Benjamin vs. Masato Tanaka & Yujiro Takahashi
MVP and Tanaka have been at odd for the later half of the year, and Yujiro has not been too far behind to take advantage of MVP’s misfortune and take in a few shots of his own. To put in a way, it has been MVP by himself against the onslaught of the Impact Players. Well come WK VI, MVP is looking to change things around as he is bringing in a close friend and an ally he can trust in former WWE star/current ROH star Shelton Benjamin. This will be the first time that Benjamin will compete in Japan, but with his skills and talents he should fit right in.
MVP is going in with finally exacting some revenge over his opponents, and even setting up another match against Tanaka for the IWGP Intercontinental Belt.
Will MVP & Benjamin “The World Class Players” prove to be a decisive & solid team or will “The Complete Players” maintain the momentum & control that they have had over MVP going into the show?
(6) IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship Match: [Champions] “Bad Intentions” Giant Bernard & Karl Anderson vs. [Challengers] “TenKoji” Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima
~ 11th Title Defense.
Bad Intentions are currently one of the strongest if not strongest tag teams in Japan today. They are the current holders of the IWGP & GHC Heavy tag team belts and have proven themselves to be almost unmatched in 2011. They may have though met their match with the reunion of one of the most popular teams in NJPW history with TenKoji. Tenzan & Kojima have recently settled their differences and have set themselves up against the current champions. They two teams have been back in forth in single scheduled matches since the announcement of the match and have proven to be close to evenly matched going into the big show.
Will the current champions continue on with their dominance or will the experienced team prove to be the stronger?
(7) NJPW vs NOAH BATTLE CONCENTRATION I: Hirooki Goto vs. Takashi Sugiura
It is sort of becoming a tradition between Goto and Sugiura to face off at the Tokyo Dome as of the last several years, but this time could be an all around different match. These two last faced off one on one at WRESTLE KINGDOM VI in 2010 where Sugiura successfully defended his GHC Championship against Goto. There is no belt on the line at this show the field is strictly level between the two. Goto is looking to put himself back into title contention so a win at WK VI could ultimately do that for him. Sugiura on the other hand with a win could, in turn, set himself up as a possibly challenger for the IWGP. This should be a strong match between from the two and could set the pace with the NJPW vs. NOAH war.
(8) FIGHTING WITHOUT HONOR OR HUMANITY: Togi Makabe vs. Yoshihiro Takayama
~ Makabe and Takayama have a lot of history between them. Both are considered tough men and being physical in their matches, and they even teamed together back in early and mid-2003 in both NJPW and NOAH. So it makes this all the more so emotional for Makabe as he thought Takayama was still his friend until the turn at “DESTRUCTION ’11” this past October. Makabe and Takayama have went back and forth in tag matches since this moment, but coming up on 1/4 they will finally meet one on one in the ring. Just like the title of the match says, this will surely be a battle without any boundaries. Makabe is looking to exact some revenge, while Takayama is looking to continue the push for Minoru Suzuki’s takeover of NJPW. When all is said and done who will be the one to stand as the victor?
(9) NJPW vs NOAH BATTLE CONCENTRATION II: Shinsuke Nakamura & Toru Yano vs. Go Shiozaki & Naomichi Marufuji
~ The CHAOS Top Team of Shinsuke Nakamura and Toru Yano will be defending the NJPW ring as they take on the outsider NOAH team of “the current GHC Heavyweight Champion” Go Shiozaki and “the wrestling prodigy” Naomichi Marufuji. Nakamura has a lot of history with Shiozaki and a lot of people have been wanting to see Nakamura across from Marufuji in the ring together for the longest now. Yano should not be looked out of place in this match though as he has proven himself to be in the same place as the top wrestlers in Japan. He can pull out the wins out of nowhere and he can indeed do just that. There will be 4 technically gifted wrestlers in this match and it should make for a strong mashing of skills. The NJPW vs. NOAH battles seem to be continuing on into 2012 and with two major matches to kick off the new year between the two promotions it should be great to see what happens.
(10) GENIUS FACES GENIUS: Tetsuya Naito vs. Keiji Mutoh [AJP]
Keiji Mutoh is probably one of the more iconic names still competing in Japan today. He is definitely known to most American fans as The Great Muta, but in Japan he spent more time as himself and has been an innovator of in ring wrestling and adapting to many styles. Which is were he gained the moniker of “The Wrestling GENIUS”. Tetsuya Naito on the other hand is just now gaining recognition in Japan as a singles competitor after spending many years as a tag team with Yujiro Takahashi. Naito’s idol in the ring is Mutoh himself and every match that Naito competes you can see more and traits of Mutoh coming through. Through the mixing of submissions, high flying, and appeal you could almost say that Naito is like a rejuvenated version of Mutoh himself. This definitely will the biggest match for, the 29 year old, Naito to date and even in big match for Mutoh himself who just recently turned 49 years old.
The past vs. the future, youth vs. experience, and in their own right GENIUS vs. GENIUS. No matter who comes out the victor it will be a turning point for Naito. A strong showing against one of the greats can go a long way to show how far Naito has come along as a future champion, and Mutoh winning will prove to be a strong factor in the legend fighting against age. Almost 20 years separates the two, but will it come down to youth or experience as the proving factor of the match?
(11) IWGP Heavyweight Championship Match: [Champion] Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. [Challenger] Minoru Suzuki (Pancrase MISSION)
~ 11th Title Defense.
Hiroshi Tanahashi is looking to continue on with his strongest and even record setting IWGP Championship reign into the new year, but in his way is Minoru Suzuki who is looking to make 2012 the year of his faction Suzukigun (the Suzuki Army). 2012 may be the 40th Anniversary for NJPW, but Suzuki has recently stated that will be nothing compared to when his group control the promotion. So this has shifted the flow of the match with Tanahashi going in as the face and Suzuki going in as the outsider heel. A title win for Suzuki would be a full loop around as many may not know that Suzuki got his start back in the mid/late 80’s in the NJPW Dojo. Suzuki though went on to work more with shooting fighting and MMA work, but in the last 10 years or so has found himself back in the pro wrestling side of things.
The last time these two were in the ring against each other, Tanahashi was left carried out on a stretcher following an onslaught at the show on Dec. 24th. So with all the things going into the match, you also have to keep in mind that Tanahashi will be looking to exact some revenge.
A record setting title defense is in store for Tanahashi if he wins, and a change in power is want Suzuki is looking to gain. Will the High Fly Superstar and Ace of NJPW retain or will the Crazy Shootfighter prove to be too much?
New Japan is going to be laying it all on the table for this show, and with only a few things I would change I can still say it is going to all be interesting to see what goes down.
Each match will shape the year to come, and no matter what us the fans should have plenty to talk about coming in and heading out of the show.
Well, I am new to this page, so allow me to introduce myself before I go any further. My name is Ryan Hodge aka Shogun. I have been watching professional wrestling for over 20 years, and I have been following Puroresu on a regular basis since 1999.
Well, now that I have gotten that out of the way, I can continue forward with this. Now, what I have to say in this message may offend some fans but I just want them to see things from my point of view, regardless of whether they like it or not. It seems to me that there is a bit of a cult following surrounding a certain New Japan wrestler.
That wrestler is Shinsuke Nakamura. Nakamura created a bit of a stir when he became the youngest IWGP Heavyweight Champion in history when he defeated Hiroyoshi Tenzan for the title on December 9, 2003. With that victory, Nakamura had become the de-facto face of New Japan. Breaking down walls by being the rookie upstart that pulled off the impossible. He would go on to unify the NWF and IWGP heavyweight championships by defeating Yoshihiro Takayama less than a month later on January 4, 2004.
For the next 4 years, Nakamura would continue to excite puro audiences with his intense matches. However, after 2008 it seemed that Nakamura had lost that spark. Plagued by serious injuries, Nakamura slowed down a little after that. It was then that he started to look and act different from he had before. Gone was the intensity and focused stare, replaced instead with a look of disinterest and boredom. Instead of wrestling tights, Nakamura began wearing an interesting and questionable pair of West Village inspired leather stripper pants. He also began to focus his matches around repetitive knee strikes instead of the power moves and submission holds that made him a powerhouse. Sad but true.
Now despite all of this, Nakamura has gained a pretty big following on Puroresu Spirit, so much so that he won the inaugural King of Spirit tournament this year. He is also in the running for Best Heavyweight in the 2011 Year end awards. Now I mentioned all of this to talk about another wrestler. Someone that is despised as much as Nakamura is loved on Puroresu Spirit. Of course, I am talking about Hiroshi Tanahashi, who in some ways is the anti-Nakamura, in both his wrestling style and demeanor.
Whilst Nakamura comes to the ring with the aforementioned near comatose look on his face, Tanahashi comes out playing air guitar and slapping hands with the audience. While Nakamura has a Mad Max inspired mohawk, Tanahashi has a regal, highlighted mullet that would make any visual kei star jealous. Nakamura is brooding while Tanahashi is exciting. Unfortunately, it is these things that make Tanahashi an easy target; in fact some fans say that Tanahashi follows a pattern and is repetitive in the ring, to the point where he is referred to as “Yawnahashi”, or the Japanese John Cena, which in my opinion, isn’t fair to Tanahashi because let’s face it, he could wrestle circles around Cena, but to call Tanahashi out for being repetitive all the while ignoring the fact that Nakamura can be just as repetitive if not more so, is kind of ludicrous. This hatred stems from the fact that Tanahashi has been a multiple time IWGP Heavyweight Champion. He is currently in his fifth reign with the title. He has also tied Yuji Nagata for the most title defenses with ten consecutive successful defenses.
Despite this incredible title reign and obvious trust from New Japan management, he still gets pushed aside by the fans in favor of Nakamura, whose only major accomplishment this year was winning the G-1 Climax Tournament. After which he unsuccessfully challenged Tanahashi for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
This is what I want the fans of Nakamura to do; I would like for them to explain to me why they love Nakamura so much, and what makes him so much better than Tanahashi. I welcome any and all comments, positive and negative. ~Shogun
This year marks the 2nd Annual Puroresu Spirit Awards and hopefully a end of the year tradition for the years to come.
Below you will see the categories listed and choices following said categories.
Voting will be conducted via the facebook page, twitter or via email. As all you have to do is pick 1 choice from each category and send me a message or leave a comment on the facebook page for your choices, simple enough?
Have fun with the voting and the winners will be announced with the turn of the new year!
Best Heavyweight Wrestler of 2011
・Hiroshi Tanahashi [NJPW] Current IWGP Heavyweight Champion
・Shinsuke Nakamura [NJPW] Winner of the G1 Climax
・Tetsuya Naito [NJPW] Runner-up in the G1 Climax
・Satoshi Kojima [NJPW] former IWGP Heavyweight Champion
・Yuji Nagata [NJPW] New Japan Cup & Champion Carnival 2011
・Go Shiozaki [NOAH] GHC Heavyweight Champion
・Jun Akiyama [NOAH] Current Triple Crown Heavyweight Champion
・Suwama [AJP] Triple Crown Heavyweight Champion
・Seiya Sanada [AJP] Runner-up in the Champion Carnival
・Kengo Mashimo [K-DOJO] CHAMPION OF STRONGEST-K
・Shuji Ishikawa [UNION] KO-D Champion
・Daisuke Sekimoto [BJW]
・Minoru Suzuki [FREE]
Best Junior Heavyweight of 2011
・Prince Devitt [NJPW] Current IWGP Jr. Champion
・Ryusuke Taguchi [NJPW]
・KAI [AJP] Former World Junior Heavyweight Champion
・Shuji Kondo [AJP]
・Minoru Tanaka [AJP] Former World Junior Heavyweight Champion
・Atsushi Aoki [NOAH] Current GHC Jr. Tag Team Champion
・Kotaro Suzuki [NOAH] Current GHC Jr. Tag Team Champion/Former GHC Jr. Champion
・Katsushiko Nakajima [K-Office] Current GHC Jr. Heavy Champion
・KUDO [DDT] Current KO-D Champion
・Kota Ibushi [DDT] Former IWGP Jr. Heavy Champion/BOSJ ”11 Winner
・Kenny Omega [DDT] Current World Jr. Heavy Champion/Current AJP World Jr. Champion
・Masaaki Mochizuki [DG]
・Muneori Sawa [BattlARTS]
・Fujita “Jr” Hayato [MICHINOKU]
・Ikuto Hidaka [ZERO1] Former Z1 Jr. Champion/Current Jr. Tag Champion
Best Rookie of 2011
・Daichi Hashimoto [ZERO1]
・Takumi Soya [AJP]
・Hiromu Takahashi [NJPW]
・Shinichi Suzukawa [IGF]
・Hiroshi Fukuda [UNION]
Best Tag Team of 2011
・”Bad Intentions” Giant Bernard & Karl Anderson [NJPW] Current IWGP & GHC Tag Champions
・”es” Seiya Sanada & Manabu Soya [AJP] Former All Asia Tag Champions
・”Team Dai Nihon” Daisuke Sekimoto & Yuji Okabayashi [BJW] Current All Asia Tag Champions
・Minoru Suzuki & Lance Archer [NJPW] G1 Tag League Winners
・”STERNNESS” Jun Akiyama & Akitoshi Saito [NOAH] Global Tag League Winners
・”Apollo55″ Prince Devitt & Ryusuke Taguchi
・ “NRC” Davey Richards & Rocky Romero
Best Singles Match of 2011
・[ZERO1] Daisuke Sekimoto vs. Ikuto Hidaka [January 1st]
・[AJP] Kaz Hayashi vs. Minoru Tanaka [January 2nd]
・[NOAH] Kotaro Suzuki vs. Katsuhiko Nakajima [March 5th]
・[NJPW] Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Hirooki Goto [June 18th]
・[AJP] Suwama vs. Yuji Nagata [June 19th]
・[DG] Masaaki Mochizuki vs. BxB Hulk [July 17th]
・[DDT] Shuji Ishikawa vs. KUDO [July 24th]
・[NOAH] Go Shiozaki vs. Jun Akiyama [August 6th]
・[NJPW] Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Tetsuya Naito [October 10th]
・[AJP] Suwama vs. Jun Akiyama [October 23rd]
Best Tag Match of 2011
・Kota Ibushi & Kenny Omega vs. Prince Devitt & Ryusuke Taguchi [NJPW/Janurary 23rd]
・Seiya Sanada & Manabu Soya vs. Daisuke Sekimoto & Yuji Okabayashi [AJP/March 6th]
・Giant Bernard & Karl Anderson vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Hirooki Goto [NJPW/July 3rd]
・Kotaro Suzuki & Atushi Aoki vs. KENTA & Yoshinobu Kanemaru [NOAH/August 24th]
・Keiji Mutoh & Kenta Kobashi vs. Takashi Iizuka & Toru Yano [ALL TOGETHER/August 27th]
・Go Shiozaki, Takashi Sugiura & Shuhei Taniguchi vs. Yoshihiro Takayama, KENTA & Yoshinobu Kanemaru [NOAH/September 11th]
Best Event of 2011
・NJPW “WRESTLE KINGDOM V” [January 4th]
・NJPW “DESTRUCTION ’11” [October 10th]
・NOAH “GREAT VOYAGE 2011 in Tokyo vol.3″ [July 10th]
・AJP “2011 Pro Wrestling LOVE in Ryogoku Vol. 12” [June 18th]
・AJP “2011 Pro Wrestling LOVE in Ryogoku Vol. 13” [Oct. 23rd]
・ALL TOGETHER [August 27th]
・ZERO1 “10TH ANNIVERSARY ~ PRO-WRESTLING” [March 6th]
・DDT “Ryogoku Peter Pan 2011” [July 24th]
・DRAGON GATE “Wrestling Festival 2011” [July 17th]
・BattlARTS “Final Show” [Nov. 5th]
Top Promotion of 2011
The big event tomorrow (11/27) will be headlined by a double main event in which Jun Akiyama will be defending the All Japan Triple Crown Championship, for his first defense, against Taiyo Kea and Go Shiozaki will be defending the GHC Heavyweight Championship against KENTA.
Go Shiozaki is looking to prove himself as one of the top wrestlers in NOAH today, but KENTA just so happens to be have a mission of changing the foundation of NOAH. Outside of Marufuji and Ogawa, there has been no Juniors to hold the most prestigious belt in NOAH the GHC Heavyweight Championship. KENTA wants to go as one of the best in NOAH, but only those who have held that belt have been fully recognized as the top in the promotion. KENTA has held both of the belts in the Junior division and is now has his eyes set on the top prize. After a strong showing in the Global League this month KENTA has definitely earned his place as he has backed up his lack of size in skill, but will the reigning champion Shiozaki prove to be the better in terms of size and skill? This match is sure to keep all of us talking after it is all said and done. If KENTA can pull off the upset and become champion this will be the significant power for KENTA to start the said change.
Jun Akiyama has finally won the Triple Crown Championship and will have his first defense against Taiyo Kea. These two recently faced off one on one in the All Japan’s Champion Carnival Tournament back on April 8th, 2011 in which the match ended in a time limit draw. Kea is looking to bring the back home to All Japan as right now the promotion remains without a champion under their banner. Kea says he will bring his 100% and he hopes for Akiyama to bring his 100% best as well.
There will also be a determining match for the GHC Junior Heavyweight belt as Ricky Marvin relinquished the belt until he could face off against the former champion Katsuhiko Nakajima, who was forced to drop the belt due to illness. Nakajima is finally back in the ring after spending most of October recovering and these two are set to determine who is the rightful champion. Nakajima is known for intensity in his matches and it should be interesting to see what Marvin can bring to the table in terms of turning the match to his favor.
The event will also see the in ring return of Naomichi Marufuji who has been out of the ring 7 months due to injury. His return will not come easy though as he is set to face off against the former GHC Heavyweight Champion Takashi Sugiura. Marufuji is known for being able to adapt to any opponent, but that doesn’t leave Sugiura too far back as he has proven himself as one of the best that NOAH has to offer. These two have had solid matches back when they were Juniors and it should be interesting to see how things will indeed stack up when they square off in the ring tomorrow.
The undercard is also looking interesting as well with most notably being Kenta Kobashi and Kensuke Sasaki teaming together to take on Takuma Sano and up and coming Shuhei Taniguchi.
NOAH “GREAT VOYAGE in Tokyo vol.4”, 11/27/2011 [Sun] 15:00 @ Ariake Colosseum
(1) Masao Inoue & Kento Miyahara [K-Office] vs. Mikey Nicholls & Shane Haste
(2) Takeshi Morishima & Yutaka Yoshie vs. Akitoshi Saito & Mohammed Yone
(3) Kenta Kobashi & Kensuke Sasaki [K-Office] vs. Takuma Sano & Shuhei Taniguchi
(4) ANMU vs. NO MERCY: Kotaro Suzuki, Atsushi Aoki & Taiji Ishimori vs. Yoshihiro Takayama [Takayama Hall], Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Genba Hirayanagi
(5) Marufuji’s Return Special Single Match: Takashi Sugiura vs. Naomichi Marufuji
~ Marufuji has been out of the ring from 4/16/2011.
(6) GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship Decision Match: Ricky Marvin vs. Katsuhiko Nakajima [Kensuke Office]
~ Winner becomes the 23rd Champion.
(7) Triple Crown Championship Match: [Champion] Jun Akiyama vs. [Challenger] Taiyo Kea [AJP]
~ Akiyama’s 1st Defense.
(8) GHC Heavyweight Championship Match: [Champion] Go Shiozaki vs. [Challenger] KENTA
~ Shiozaki’s 3rd Defense.
Ring of Honor House Show
November 6, 2011 – 4:00pm @ The Gateway Center in Collinsville, Illinois
The show opened with The Embassy coming out and RD Evans talking on the stick, and sort of scoffed that Delirious could not compete against Ciampa due to conflicting interests. As Delirious is the head booker for the promotions. So it sort of sucks that a hometown talent cannot compete, but we indeed get a few surprises later on.
In the wake of Delirious not being able to compete, his top student Andy Ridge will be competing in his place.
(1) Tommaso Ciampa w/ The Embassy vs. Andy “Right Leg” Ridge
The match starts off heavily in the favor of Ciampa easily showing his skill and power over the young up and comer. Ciampa with some solid running knees a bit into the match was really noteworthy. Ridge got knocked out of the ring, but this is where it got better for Ridge as he was able to gain some ground after putting Ciampa in to the guard rail. Things didn’t stay in the full control over Ridge as Ciampa gained control again and put on the hurt.
Ridge gets an oppening and trying to deliver a Springboard Ace Crusher, but Ciampa with a great counter that laid Ridge out flat. The Embassy try to get involved, but Delirious out of nowhere appears and chases Nana around the ring. I big game of cat and mouse ensues as Delirious chases Nana and the rest of The Embassy are trying to catch Delirious. Back in the ring Ridge gets another shot to land the Springboard Ace Crusher and lands is solid to Ciampa.
Only a 2 count though. Ridge is not able to get any more offense in after the pin attempt and Ciampa ultimately delivers a very solid Project Ciampa II aka a Powerbomb to Double Knee Backbreaker.
(2) Special Challenge Match: TJ Perkins vs. Jay Briscoe
TJP is looking to make a name for himself since being signed to ROH and nothing says that better than taking on one of the tops in the company today. This match had a lot of back and forth action with TJP easily holding his own and seemingly looking like he could have won on a few spots, but it was all said and done after Jay delivered the Jay Driller that put TJP down for the count.
(3) The Bravado Brothers vs. Steve Corino & Jimmy Jacobs
Jimmy Jacobs came into the match still sporting a knee brace on his left knee, and it definitely seemed to hold him back for a few spots. The Bravado’s definitely sort of seem to be the joke team in the promotion now, not saying they are a bad team, but they carry the banner of not being that serious. I could sort of say in a way like the All Night Express a few years back, now look they are headlining show. So maybe one day the Bravado’s can earn the same.
The match had a couple funny and memorable spots. One with Jacobs over selling a sleeper attempt from Lance that say Jacobs hitting his back within a few mere seconds of the moving being applied. Of course this was all a bait and it almost cost them the match. Then we got Corino with the old Abdominal Stretch to thumb in the butt trick that what used in tandem with Jacobs to the other Bravado Bros. It was a fun match all in all, Corino and Jacobs having a following a get the crowds attention no matter what. The match would end following the Eternal Dream (Sliding Lariat) from Corino.
Probably the biggest disappointment was that Kevin Steen did not make an appearance. You would think after what happened for the tv tapings the tv tapings the night prior that he could make an appearance.
(4) Michael Elgin w/ Truth Martini vs. Grizzly Redwood
Elgin from the moment I first saw him reminds a bit like Taz from ECW. He may be a bit short, but is built like an ox. Just a burly dude even though not carrying the highest stature. It was pretty much thought of from the start that this match would be nothing more than a squash match with Redwood being chopped down before he even gets anything going.
This indeed was not the case as Redwood actually put up a fight against the stronger man. Grizzly would use his speed and determination as a factor. A bad spot at the end of the match, but Elgin picks up the win with a Modified High Angle Boston Crab.
(5) World Tag Team Title Match: Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team (Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas) defend vs. Future Shock (Adam Cole & Kyle O’Reilly)
Shelton was sporting some bandages around his waist (possibly an injury from the tv tapings) and it did appear to be keeping him down maybe a bit more than planned. Either he did a good job of selling or he had an straight up injured rib(s).
Shelton was definitely being target because of his injured ribs early on and Cole & O’Reilly came off looking like a very solid team in the place. Granted they are still a young team but they held their own against the tag team champions.
Haas ended up doing a lot more work in the match, but he kept the pace going. Benjamin worked throw the injury as well as he could and had a couple cool spots to show from it. Future shock definitely are showing that they are growing as a pro wrestlers and gave the champs a run for their money. A few hot tags for Future Shock as well as a lot technical work as well. Definitely a solid match from start to the finish.
The ending had a bad spot, sort of becoming a theme, but Haas with the Haas of pain (on O’Relly) for the victory.
All in all this was a descent match until the off ending. After the match Haas had good words to say for Future Shock. That they are the future as well as in line for a tag team title run sooner than later.
(6) Mia Yim vs. MsChif
This match was the sort of last minute addition to the card, but it saw Yim making her in ring debut fir ROH with a very touch challenge of facing the St. Louis grown MsChif.
I don’t normally get into these things, but honestly I don’t know if I am the only one who notices it, but Yim needs to make her kicks more solid. She seems to be all for the kicks, but there is a serious lack of pop or thud from the moves. I know you are not supposed to drill the opponent straight on, but there are tricks to make these moves more believable. Hopefully she picks up on this sooner than later. MsChif of course looked as strong as she always does, she took all that Yim had to offer and then pretty much taking Yim through the ringer. In the end MsChif picked up the win following the Desecrator.
(7) Proving Ground Match: Jay Lethal vs. Mark Briscoe
Lots of back and forth action, both men looked solid and the match seemed to have been able to go either way. Both guys landed solid moves in the match from Lethal with the Lethal Injection and Mark with the T-Bone Suplex.
Lethal though would pick up the win following the Lethal Combination and then following that up with the Diving Elbow Drop.
(8) El Generico vs. “The Prodigy” Mike Bennett w/ “Brutal” Bob Evans
How this match is Semi-Main Event level is beyond me. Generico I could say yes that he deserved the spot, but I have not really seen too much from Bennett. Generico is super over with the crowd and always get a resounding “Ole!” every time he lands a solid maneuver on his opponents. Bennett definitely carries some negative charisma with him in the match and seems to be feed off it. The big smile and just a seemingly cocky attitude.
Within no time of the match Bob tries to run the interference, and Bennett slips into the offensive territory. Generico though eventually gets the shot and gets Bennett outside of the ring and delivers the Tope Con Hilo. The crowd goes wild for Generico. Eventually back in the ring Bennett tries to take charge, but Generico lands a big Blue Thunder Driver. Only a 2 count. Bennett gets back to his feet and the action goes back and forth until Bennett lands a Spinebuster on Generico. Both men get back to their feet and Generico soon tries for a Brainbuster, the attempt is not a success, and both go back and forth. Eventually Bennett gets caught in the corner and he is soon met with a big Running Boot. He hooks Bennett’s head and delivers a Brainbuster. Only a count, and Bob tries to interfere in the match yet again. Bennett sees the opening and tries to go for a move of his own. Generico is prepared though and hooks and drops Bennett on his head with another Brainbuster for the win.
Following the match Bennett and Bob continue assaulting Generico in the ring. Bennett with a Side slam for the exclamation point to Generico.
It was a descent match, maybe not in the position it was placed (But what do I know). The whole event has been good so far, so just too much to decide what goes where.
(9) The American Wolves (ROH World Champion Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards) vs. The All Night Express (Kenny King & Rhett Titus)
Main event time and we will see the return of the American Wolves as they take on one of ROH’s top tag teams today with ANX. This has to be one of the top contenders as match of the night. Lots of great team work and presence. It is cool to see how far ANX has come up in the last few years, as originally being seen as the joke team, now they have honed their skills into a perfect duo. ANX I would say definitely came off as the stronger team in the night. The Wolves may have a strong history, but not being partners for such a long time definitely has should there is some rust between the both of them. Though in the end their was lots of great spots and both teams worked the match well.
The match ended for defeat for Eddie Edwards following a Pump Frog Splash from Rhett and King with a Shooting Star Press. Definitely awesome to see King throw something new in the mix and they are definitely solidifying themselves as a team to beat in ROH.
Following the match, Richards congratulated ANX on the win and said that they have solidified themselves as a team to face in ROH. After a win like this you have to think that they will be lined up for a title oppurtunity against WGTT sooner than later.
NJPW “DESTRUCTION ’11″, 10/10/2011 (Mon) 17:00 @ Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo [PPV/TV]
(1) Schwartz & Weiss [BUSHIROAD], Tiger Mask IV, KUSHIDA & Killer Rabbit vs. Takashi Iizuka, Jado, Gedo, Tomohiro Ishii & Hideo Saito
(2) Tomoaki Honma vs. Yujiro Takahashi
~ On 9/19, Yujiro could not manage to defeat his old tag team partner Tetsuya Naito in a singles match. Now Naito is in the title scene and Yujiro is back down at the bottom. Though it is not that bad as Yujiro is facing off against Naito’s tag team partner in the G1 TAG LEAGUE Tomoaki Honma. This could be the time for Yujiro to get some momentum in his favor and carry it into the G1 TAG, or will Honma being able to use his experience to pick up the win?
(3) Wataru Inoue vs. Lance Archer
~ Inoue has had a tough road since jumping to Heavyweight, granted he has won the tag belts on a few separate occasions, but he has yet to stake claim as a true top contender. He couldn’t get the job done against Suzuki at the show on 9/19, but now he gets yet another challenge as he faces the biggest member of “Suzuki’s Army” in Lance Archer. Archer has proved himself to be a strong challenger in NJPW from a descent showing in his first ever G1 CLIMAX performance and his size alone is going to keep giving him second looks. Inoue though is looking to regain some footing in his path to being called a key player. This match will also seem to be a lead in to the G1 TAG LEAGUE that starts on 10/22 as both have proven to be more solid in the tag scene and could give one the higher edge to do more.
(4) Hirooki Goto & Tama Tonga vs. Shinsuke Nakamura & Ultimo Guerrero [CMLL]
~ Goto and Nakamura are far from strangers in the ring and with the mix of the ever growing Tama Tonga and the former CMLL Heavyweight Champion, Ultimo Guerrero. Nakamura has just come off winning the G1 CLIMAX, but did not find himself as lucky in regards to the IWGP Heavy belt on 9/19. This will be a coming back point for Nakamura, unless that is to say that Goto picks up the victory for the night. Goto is still vying for his spot up the rankings and he could indeed put his name back in the listings with a win. That is not to leave out Ultimo though as he could finally throw his power around in NJPW and rank himself up as well.
(5) IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Championship Match: [Champions] Prince Devitt & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Rocky Romero & Davey Richards
~ Eighth Title Defense
Apollo 55 may be the reigning champions, but they are going to have the toughest challenge to date as Richards and Romero are not going to be pushovers in the slightest. Both Devitt and Taguchi know first hand that Richards and Romero can get the job done with solid team work and their intensity. Richards has laid claim to making a name for himself in Japan and has been right on the verge of getting an IWGP belt around his waist. Romero on the other hand has held IWGP gold in the past as Black Tiger IV and has usually fared well in NJPW.
Outside of the Tag Belts, Devitt is currently the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion, and Davey Richards of course is the reigning ROH Champion coming into the event. Both are no strangers of having to step up to their fullest when they need to do just that. This match is going to be hard to call, but Richards and Romero picked up their last solid win over Taguchi and Devitt at the 9/19 event. So if that is any indication what can happen, we may have new champs walking up the ramp when it is all said and done.
(6) Kojima’s Return Match: Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Satoshi Kojima
Satoshi Kojima is coming back from an eye injury that he suffered by the hands of Hiroyoshi Tenzan back on the Final day of the G1 Climax on 8/14. Kojima appeared at the 9/19 “G1 CLIMAX SPECIAL 2011” PPV and has announced that is officially a member of NJPW once again. Both of these two have been the best of friends and bitter enemies throughout their career. Regarded as one of the most popular tag teams as “TenKoji” they were thought of as a perfect duo. They both know each other in and out and this could be an explosive match to say the least.
A few have been hoping for a real TenKoji reunion since Kojima’s latest run in NJPW. Could this still be a possibility down the road? Or will there be too much bad blood for these two to make a real amends?
(7) Yuji Nagata vs. Toru Yano
Nagata has found himself as the next victim for “Barber” Yano, or how he calls himself as of late with his fascination with taking his opponents hair. Yano tried to strike at Nagata at the 9/19 show after Nagata got done facing Hideo Saito. Yano attacked Nagata and had him setup for the strike at his hair with his scissors, but young lion Hiromu Takahashi made the save and put himself over Nagata. It seemed to be all for nothing as Hiromu found his hair butchered instead. These two faced off in a tag bout on 10/3 that saw Yano picking up the win over Nagata.
Yano’s stock in NJPW has been rising in the last year and it is just a matter of time before he eventually gets his shot in the main event scene. Can Nagata show that he is still one of the best in NJPW or will the young and hungry drive of Yano prove to be the ultimate factor in this match?
(8) IWGP Intercontinental Championship Match: [Champion] MVP vs. Masato Tanaka [ZERO1]
Third Title Defense
Tanaka has made MVP his target as of late and this could be the hardest challenge that MVP has had to face since coming to Japan. Tanaka has gotten the last laugh in the last several months, but at the 9/19 show MVP finally gained some momentum in his favor.
Tanaka is known as a hard hitter and a one of the toughest wrestlers around, but MVP is carrying his ever adapting style and the belt into the match. This will be proving time for MVP and his claim to the Intercontinental Championship and a victory will definitely solidify his position in Japan.
(9) Special Single Match: Togi Makabe vs. Minoru Suzuki
“The Unchained” Gorilla Togi Makabe and “The Psychopathic & Unorthodox” Minoru Suzuki, A feud that has been building since Suzuki made an appearance in NJPW early this Summer. Suzuki has been under the skin of Makabe as well as Satoshi Kojima the most since his appearance and does seem to have the early advantage going into the event. This match will be as hard hitting and impactful as you can get and you can expect going in that both men will be aiming to leave the other laying unconscious on the mat. Also could the winner of this match will be the next in line to face off against the current IWGP Heavyweight Champion at the 11/12 Event “Power Struggle”? Early appearances seem to be pointing that these two are the next possible in line.
(10) IWGP Heavyweight Championship Match: [Champion] Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Tetsuya Naito
~ Eighth Defense.
“The High Fly Star” vs. “The New Generation Genius” is what this match is coming down to at this time. The established ace of the promotion Hiroshi Tanahashi verses the new generation ace Tetsuya Naito. Both can be noted to being very similar in the sense that they both hold similarities to one Keiji Mutoh. As Hiroshi Tanahashi was once called “Baby Mutoh” even more so in a way can Naito be called “The New Baby Mutoh”. Naito holds a lot of skill in being a high flyer, but as of late has adapted many powerful and technical based moves into his normal repertoire. Naito has a strong showing in the G1 CLIMAX and it has gotten him where he is today, so it will be interesting to see if he can prove himself as ace material. A win over Tanahashi is not an easy feat though as Tana has been successfully defending the IWGP belt against all the big names in the promotion. No one has yet to find a way to defeat the champion, as he is sitting at 7 successful defenses at this time, but Naito has a lot to prove and the most to gain. This match is looking to come down to the High Fly Flow or the Stardust Press as the finishing factor. So with that said this match is sure to be one to not miss.