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]
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！
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.
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.
NJPW “NEW JAPAN SOUL 2011 ~ PPV”, 7/18/2011 [Mon] 15:00 (PPV/Asahi) @ Makomanai Ice Arena in Hokkaido
NEW JAPAN ALIVE Video Preview
Tanahashi and MVP Promo and Training Session
(1) Strongman, Tomoaki Honma, Killer Rabbit & Killer Rabbit vs. Masato Tanaka [ZERO1], Yujiro Takahashi, Jado & Gedo
(2) Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Hector Garza [CMLL]
~ Liger is no stranger to Garza and this should make for a solid encounter. Liger even though is getting up there in age is still fighting his best, but Garza is also a veteran of the ring and is not going to lay down without at least putting up a solid fight.
(3) Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Wataru Inoue & King Fale vs. Shiunsuke Nakamura, Takashi Iizuka & Tomohiro Ishii
(4) Yuji Nagata vs. Hideo Saito
~ Hideo Saito [Mitsuhide Hirasawa] who returned on the 6/18 and attacked his old teacher and leader Yuji Nagata. After spending quite some time in Puerto Rico, Hirasawa accomplished a few things and even made a new name for himself as Hideo Saito which he is now going to be called in NJPW. Saito has gained some bulk as well as a new darker persona, in which fits him right because he is now a part of the CHAOS faction. Saito no longer wants to be seen as the young kid in Blue Justice, but a new and stronger threat to anyone he faces.
(5) Togi Makabe & Tiger Mask IV vs. TAKA Michinoku [K-DOJO] & Taichi
~ Makabe is no stranger to TAKA and Taichi as he had to deal with them all the time when they were teaming with Satoshi Kojima. Now that they have split from Kojima and Makabe has since made a union with Kojima this match is aiming to be a bit of revenge for Makabe. Tiger Mask as well will be looking for some revenge because as of late he has found himself on the wrong end of the new “Suzuki Army” is capable of doing when they are all together.
(6) NJPW vs. DDT: Prince Devitt, Ryusuke Taguchi & KUSHIDA vs. Kota Ibushi, Kenny Omega & Daisuke Sasaki
~ Six of the men who competed in the Best of the Super Juniors in late May/June will be facing off in what I have been calling a NJPW vs. DDT match. With 3 strong contenders from NJPW facing off against 3 strong contenders from DDT this is sure to be an excellent match-up. Ibushi is the current reigning IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion and with that you know any of the guys from NJPW will be looking to get the victory to line themselves up with a chance to face Ibushi for that very belt to bring it back home. This match though on the other side could be the match that could open the door for more DDT involvement if they can pick up the victory against their NJPW opponents.
(7) Special Singles Match: Hirooki Goto vs. “The Machine Gun” Karl Anderson
~ Anderson pulled the big win over Goto earlier this month during his tag title defense against Goto and Tanahashi. This match is aimed to be a bit of a redemption for Goto, but Anderson has been on a roll as of late and this could be anyone’s match at this point. Will Goto be able to overcome his slump as of late or will Anderson one again pull the trigger and solidify himself as a top rate talent in NJPW?
(8) IWGP Intercontinental Championship Match: [Champion] MVP vs. Toru Yano ~ Second Title Defense
~ For the last 3 months it has been these two men against one another every month. Even though MVP has come out the victor in the last two matches, Yano has remained as the thorn in his side. Even forcing MVP to cut his hair after Yano decided to take some of it as a trophy. This coming match will be the final time for Yano to face MVP for the Intercontinental Championship as MVP has stated that “just like baseball, it is 3 strikes and you are out”. This will be sitting in the back of Yano’s mind at the event and could we see a new champion crowned or will the former WWE Superstar continue on his path of making his name known in Japan?
(9) Special Singles Match: Satoshi Kojima vs. Minoru Suzuki [Pancrase MISSION]
~ Satoshi Kojima will get Minoru Suzuki one on one. These two are far from stranger to one another, but following the weekend Suzuki is already way more than a step higher that Kojima and is carrying a lot of momentum in “his” army, something that Kojima did not due when he was building it up. This is sure to become one of the new main feuds for NJPW that could carry into the G1 Climax, so it will be interest to see if Kojima can level the playing field some or if Suzuki once again gets a victory over Kojima.
(10) IWGP Heavyweight Championship Match: [Champion] Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Giant Bernard ~ Sixth Title Defense.
~ Giant Bernard has already made statement after statement in regards to the fact that he can beat Tanahashi. In the past Tanahashi has been able to beat the bigger stronger gaikokujin in Bernard, but this time around Bernard is now a double tag team champion (with Karl Anderson) and is looked at as one of the all around solid USA wrestlers in Japan right now. Earlier this month, Tanahashi teamed with Hirooki Goto to face Bernard and Anderson for the IWGP Tag Team Titles, but they were unsuccessful in defeating the more experienced team. This match coming up in less than a day is expected to be a solid encounter with Bernard looking to become a Triple Crown champion and, “The Ace” of NJPW, Tanahashi looking to extend and solidify his current reign.
Tanahashi vs. Bernard 7/17/2006
Tanahashi vs. Bernard from 8/15/2008
NJPW “NEW JAPAN BRAVE 2011”, 4/19/2011 (Tues) @ Tokyo Korakuen Hall
() Special Single Match: Togi Makabe vs. Satoshi Kojima
~ These two’s feud is far from over and at yesterdays show the two where forced to be separated. Coming up on 4/19 this match is aiming to make one or the other come out the better man, but knowing how these two it is only going to be another phase of the war.
() Special Tag Match: Hiroshi Tanahashi & Yuji Nagata vs. Shinsuke Nakamura & Masato Tanaka
~ Still IWGP Heavy Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi will be competing with Nagata as the two face off against their respected opponents at the 5/3 show. Nakamura laid out the challenge to Tanahashi yesterday and Tanahashi accepted with hesitation. These two have a pretty historic past and have proven that they are on the same level. On the other hand Tanaka called out Nagata yesterday as well and pretty much demanded a rematch to happen. Tanaka and Nagata last faced off on 3/19 of the NJC in which well Nagata ended up winning. Tanaka feels that Nagata didn’t accomplish anything with the win and that he could beat Nagata. Tanaka last beat Nagata on the ZERO1 3/6 show.
() IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team #1 Contender’s Match: Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Wataru Inoue vs. “NO LIMIT” Yujiro Takahashi & Tetsuya Naito
~ Takahashi has had one thing on his mind as of late and that is the IWGP Tag Belts. Takahashi holds pinfall victories over Anderson and believes those belts are already NO LIMITS property. First though they have a road block with Tenzan and Inoue, sort of an odd pairing, but with Nagata doing his own thing this would have to do for now. Will NO LIMIT be one step closer to reclaiming gold or will they be cut short by their more knowledgeable opponents.
NJPW “Wrestling Dontaku 2011”, 5/3/2011 (Tues) @ Fukuoka
() IWGP Heavyweight Championship Match: [Champion] Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Shinsuke Nakaura
() IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Match: [Champions] Giant Bernard & Karl Anderson vs. “Winners of 4/19”
() IWGP Junior Tag Team Championship Match: [Champions] “Winner of 4/17 K-DOJO Show” vs. Davey Richards & Rocky Romero
[Apollo 55 vs. Akira Shiori & Makoto Oishi]
() CMLL World Middleweight Championship Match: [Champion] Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Mascara Dorada
() Special Single Match: Yuji Nagata vs. Masato Tanaka
NJPW Attack on the East Coast News: The first round of the IWGP Intercontinental Championship Tournament has been announced and there will also be a JAPW Light Heavyweight match as well.
NJPW INVASION TOUR-ATTACK ON EAST COAST, 5/13/2011 (Fri) @ New Jersey
() First Round Match: MVP vs. Kazuchika Okada
() First Round Match: Dan Maff vs. Toru Yano
() First Round Match: Tama Tonga vs. Tetsuya Naito
() First Round Match: Hideo Saito [Hirasawa] vs. Yujiro Takahashi
() Jushin Thunder Liger & Tiger Mask vs. Low Ki & Homicide
NJPW INVASION TOUR-ATTACK ON EAST COAST, 5/14/2011 (Sat) @ New York
() IWGP Junior Heavyweight Match: [Champion] Prince Devitt vs. Low Ki
() Semi Final Match: Winner of MVP/Okada vs. Winner of Tonga/Naito
() Semi Final Match: Winner of Maff/Yano vs. Winner of Saito/Takahashi
NJPW INVASION TOUR-ATTACK ON EAST COAST, 5/15/2011 (Sun) @ Philly
() Rhino vs. Togi Makabe
() Finals of the Intercontinental Tournament:
() JAPW Light Heavyweight Championship Match: [Champion] Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Kenny Omega
The Champion Carnival started today in Japan with some big names in the tournament this year it is pretty much up in the air to who will take the tournament.
All Japan, 4/9/2011 (Sat)
Tokyo Korakuen Hall
(1) Champion Carnival – Block B: Joe Doering vs. Jun Akiyama NOAH
(2) Champion Carnival – Block B: KENSO vs. Seiya Sanada
(3) Champion Carnival – Block B: Taiyo Kea vs. Minoru Suzuki
(4) Champion Carnival – Block A: Ryota Hama vs. KONO
(5) Champion Carnival – Block A: Masakatsu Funaki vs. Takao Omori
(6) Champion Carnival – Block A: Suwama vs. Yuji Nagata New Japan
All Japan, 4/10/2011 (Sun)
Tokyo Korakuen Hall
(1) Champion Carnival – Block B: Joe Doering vs. Minoru Suzuki
(2) Champion Carnival – Block B: Seiya Sanada vs. Jun Akiyama NOAH
(3) Champion Carnival – Block B: Taiyo Kea vs. KENSO
(4) Champion Carnival – Block A: KONO vs. Takao Omori
(5) Champion Carnival – Block A: Masakatsu Funaki vs. Yuji Nagata New Japan
(6) Champion Carnival – Block A: Suwama vs. Ryota Hama
All Japan, 4/12/2011 (Tue)
Tokyo Korakuen Hall
(1) Champion Carnival – Block B: Minoru Suzuki vs. Jun Akiyama NOAH
(2) Champion Carnival – Block B: KENSO vs. Joe Doering
(3) Champion Carnival – Block B: Taiyo Kea vs. Seiya Sanada
(4) Champion Carnival – Block A: Ryota Hama vs. Yuji Nagata New Japan
(5) Champion Carnival – Block A: Masakatsu Funaki vs. KONO
(6) Champion Carnival – Block A: Suwama vs. Takao Omori
All Japan, 4/13/2011 (Wed)
Tokyo Korakuen Hall
(1) Champion Carnival – Block B: Seiya Sanada vs. Minoru Suzuki
(2) Champion Carnival – Block B: KENSO vs. Jun Akiyama NOAH
(3) Champion Carnival – Block B: Taiyo Kea vs. Joe Doering
(4) Champion Carnival – Block A: Takao Omori vs. Yuji Nagata New Japan
(5) Champion Carnival – Block A: Masakatsu Funaki vs. Ryota Hama
(6) Champion Carnival – Block A: Suwama vs. KONO
(7) Champion Carnival – Final:
The Junior Tag League 2011 was announced with the following teams announced to participate.
~ Kaz Hayashi & KAI
~ Super Crazy & BUSHI [2010 Winners]
~ Shuji Kondo & Hiroshi Yamato
~ MAZADA & Super Hate
~ Minoru & Kohji Kanemoto
The tournament will be held from 4/17 to the Final on 4/30. As usual the standard PWF rules will be used with each team facing each other with the 2 highest point teams facing off on 4/30.
Minoru being the Junior Heavyweight champion has already declared that Kanemoto and himself “Junior Stars” will walk out as the winners.
Global Tag League 2011 April 16th to April 29th, 2011! ~ Teams Announced:
Yoshihiro Takayama & Takuma Sano (GHC Tag Champions)
Kensuke Sasaki & Kento Miyahara
Bison Smith & Masao Inoue
Go Shiozaki & Shuhei Taniguchi
Takeshi Morishima & Yutaka Yoshie
Jun Akiyama & Akitoshi Saito
Takashi Sugiura & Mohammed Yone
Chris Hero & Claudio Castagnoli
It was officially announced that SMASH will be crowning 2 champions here soon. During the opening video Tommy Dreamer appeared and said that he has a gift for the promotion and that is the SMASH Champion and SMASH Diva Champion belts.
SMASH announced that TAJIRI will be facing Hajime Ohara one on one at SMASH.16. Ohara picked up the pinfall over KUSHIDA on SMASH.15 and now aims to become the top talent in the promotion, and to really do that one has not to look much further than getting a victory over TAJIRI. Ohara also has made it clear that he aims to become the SMASH Champion as well.
Speaking of belts, Michael Kovac on SMASH.15 pretty much demanded that TAJIRI give him the belt. With Kovac pretty much trying to hunt down the belts at all costs, TAJIRI and Sakai came up with the idea that if he wants to “hold” it that bad he will have to earn it. So the concept of the match at SMASH.17 will be a ladder match where the winner must grab a set of keys hanging above the ring that unlock the safe where the belts are held. To make things more interesting the match will also be an intergender tag match as well. Also TAJIRI announced that even though Kovac may get the belt, if he wins, there will be a playoff tournament announced for a later date.
SMASH.16 in Osaka, 4/30/2011
() Serena Deeb, Shuri & Makoto vs. Kana, Mio Shirai & Io Shirai
() Ultimo Dragon vs. Jessica Love [FCF]
() Starbuck vs. Leatherface
() TAJIRI vs. Hajime Ohara
[Also announced to participate: Zeus & The Bodyguard from Osaka Pro]
SMASH Live in Nagoya, 5/1/2011
() Akira vs. Leatherface
() Shuri vs. Serena Deeb
() TAJIRI & Ultimo Dragon vs. Starbuck & Hajime Ohara
SMASH.17 in Tokyo, 5/3/2011
() Shuri & Hikaru Shida vs. Mio Shirai & Io Shirai
() Shinya Ishikawa [BJW] vs. Starbuck
() Kana vs. Serena Deeb
() Main Event: 3WAY Ladder & Dash to Belt Match: TAJIRI & Makoto vs. Hajime Ohara & Jessica Love vs. Micheal Kovac & Lin “Bitch” Bairon
ZERO1 News: Ryouji Sai will be defending the ZERO1 Heavyweight Championship against Kohei Sato on April 16!
Sato holds a victory over Sai a little over a week before Sai beat Daisuke Sekimoto for the championship. Sai knows that he lost the match, but he aims to prove that he is the current champion for a reason.
ZERO1, 4/16/2011 (Sat) 18:00 @ Sapporo Teisen Hall in Hokkaido
(1) Yoshikazu Yokoyama vs. Masaki Ikeda [Hokuto Pro]
(2) Will Gibson vs. Shota Takanishi
(3) Shiro Koshinaka & Sito Ueda vs. KAMIKAZE & Munenori Sawa
(4) NWA International Jr Tag Team Title Match: [Champions] Takuya Sugawara & Kaijin Habu Otoku vs. Ikuto Hikada & Menso~re Oyaji [Okinawa]
(5) Destruction Prince vs. Dangan: Shinjiro Otani & Masato Tanaka vs. Daichi Hashimoto & Kenta Kakinuma
(6) World Heavyweight Championship Match: [Champion] Ryouji Sai vs. Kohei Sato
LEGEND News: Sayama has finally announced that he has accepted the challenge set forth by Kuniaki Kobayashi for the LEGEND show on May 7th.
LEGEND THE PRO WRESTLING, 5/7/2011 (Sat) 16:00 @ Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium
(6) Rematch Main Event: Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Riki Choshu
(5) The First Tiger Mask vs. Kuniaki Kobayashi
(4) Takao Omori & Tomohiro Ishii vs. Tomoaki Honma & Daisuke Sekimoto
(3) Junji Izumida, Tsuyoshi Kikuchi & Makoto Hashi vs. Black Tiger, Super Tiger & Tiger Shark
(2) Hiro Saito, Mituya Nagai & Bear Fukuda vs. Alexander Otsuka, Hayata Mashita & Akifumi Saito
(1) AKIRA & Robsandorj Nyamjyab vs. El Samurai & Nobuyuki Kurashima
Masahiro Chono is coming to Osaka Pro Wrestling! Chono will be taking part in the Kuuga Produce show coming up on April 17th. Kuuga aka The Asian Cooger will be celebrating his 15th year as a pro wrestler and will be a part of a huge match with Chono and “The First Tiger Mask” Satoru Sayama who also will be compteting in the match.
Osaka Pro Wrestling “Kuuga’s 15th Year Anniversary Debut Celebration Show”, 4/17/2011 (Sun) @ Kibi Gymnasium in Wakayama
(1) The Great Takeru vs. Masamune
(2) Kuishinbo Kamen & Kanjyuro Matsuyama & Takoyakida vs. Miracleman, Ebessan & Kyusei Ninja Ranmaru
(3) Zeus & The Bodyguard vs. Magnitude Kishiwada & Hideyoshi
(4) 6 Man Tag Match: Masahiro Chono, Kuuga & Orochi vs. The First Tiger Mask, Billyken Kid & Tsubasa
IGF “GENOME15” Update: Tatsumi Fujinami will go to battle with Big Van Vader! IGF released an update for their upcoming show later this month and it is already building up to be something big with only 2 matches announced so far.
IGF “Genome 15”, 4/28/2011 (Thur) @ Tokyo Dome City Hall (JCB Hall in Tokyo)
() Fujinami 40th Anniversary Special Match ~ DRAGON vs BIGBANG: Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Big Van Vader
() Earthquake Disaster Recovery Special Match ~ Mask of Super Stars: The Great Sasuke & Masked Genome Jr vs. The First Tiger Mask & Ultimo Dragon
I started working on the Puroresu Spirit Youtube page this week. I have some new things I am working and starting first is the pro wrestler preview series. These are not a “best of”, but more of a showcase of the wrestler and what they do as a pro wrestler. Trying to get in their mannerisms and at least a few of their normal signature moves in a video.
Tetsuya Naito is one of the biggest up and comers in NJPW right now. Naito is very skilled and technical talent, basing a lot of what he does in the ring to that of Keiji Mutoh. Naito has spent most of his career teaming with his partner Yujiro Takahashi and they have both found success in the union. Winning both the IWGP Junior and IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Belts in the last few years.
Since making the jump to a Heavyweight, Naito has come out to be a fan favorite though not always playing by the rules the fans still want to live him. Naito saw his singles career start in the right direction in 2010 and if that is any indication to his talent then we may be calling him IWGP Heavyweight Champion here within the next couple years.
KAI: HOT & COLD
KAI, real name Atsushi Sakai, had dreamed of becoming a professional wrestler after seeing a live show of NJPW in the Tokyo Dome when he was a freshman in High School. Following his graduation he pursued going into the New Japan dojo, but due to the height regulations at the time he was not accepted into the Dojo. On an interesting note KAI would have been training with Shinsuke Nakamura and Hirooki Goto during that time.
KAI put his aspirations on hold for a few years, but in 2006 his name was given to Keiji Mutoh thanks to Animal Hamaguchi. Mutoh liked the potential of the young man and has since had KAI under him as his own personal student.
In 2007, KAI would debut in Mexico for the IWRG, along side close friend Hiroshi Yamato. He would spend close to a year in Mexico and in early 2008 he would make his debut in All Japan.
On an interesting note KAI participated in his first singles match in April of 2008 against T28, this is very unheard of for a talent to go a year without a singles match, but he even manged to pick up the win as well.
KAI has spent the last few years as an up and comer in the Junior division and aims to one day prove that he is a strong contender in Japan.
Be sure to hit me up on twitter with any questions regarding pro wrestling or if even you just want to talk wrestling. Also being connected with me on twitter means you also get all the latest news and happenings regularly and normally first since it updates their ASAP.
This week in NJ News:
We have a brand new New Japan Cup 2011 Champion and his name is Yuji Nagata. With this win Nagata also gets the title shot against Hiroshi Tanahashi on April 3rd and that should be something to look out for when it gets released.
NJPW “NEW DIMENSION ~Pray, Hope, Power~”, 4/3/2011 (Sun) 18:30 @ Tokyo Korakuen Hall
(1) Kyosuke Mikami & Hiromu Takahashi vs. Killer Rabbit & Killer Rabbit
(2) Jushin Thunder Liger, Tiger Mask IV & Tomoaki Honma vs. Toru Yano, Takashi Iizuka & Tomohiro Ishii
(3) Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Wataru Inoue & King Fale vs. Masato Tanaka, Yujiro Takaha…shi & Tetsuya Naito
(4) CMLL World Welterweight Championship Match: [Champion] Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Madoka
(5) Manabu Nakanishi, Kota Ibushi & Kenny Omega vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, Jado & Gedo
(6) Togi Makabe & KUSHIDA vs. Satoshi Kojima & TAKA Michinoku
(7) IWGP Heavyweight Title Match: [Champion] Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. [New Japan Cup 2011 Winner] Yuji Nagata
~ Tanahashi’s 2nd Defense.
NJPW announced the dates for this years Best of the Super Junior XVIII tournament. This year the BOSJ Tournament will run from May 26 to June 10.
5/26 @ Korakuen Hall in Tokyo
5/29 @ Korakuen Hall in Tokyo
6/2 @ Toyohashi City Sports Center 2nd Stadium in Aichi
6/4 @ KBS Hall in Kyoto
6/5 @ Akashi Municipal Center in Hyogo
6/7 @ Differ Ariake in Tokyo
6/8 @ Differ Ariake in Tokyo
6/10 Finals @ Korakuen Hall in Tokyo
No talent has been announced as of yet other than the 2 possibilities that can come from the NEVER shows coming up next month on 4/7 & 4/8. I can suspect though that after that show the names should start seeing names coming in if not all at once.
Speaking of the NEVER show coming up here is what is going down with that in the next couple weeks.
“NEVER.6 ~ ROAD TO THE SUPER Jr. 2DAYS TOURNAMENT ~”
New Japan is giving 16 wrestlers the chance to make it into the “BEST OF THE SUPER Jr.XVIII ~ Bring it on!” here in the next few months. This 2 Day tournament is split into 2 blocks with the winners of each block moving on to be able to compete in the BOSJ tournament.
The players announced are as follow:
Kyosuke Mikami [NJPW]
Hiromu Takahashi [NJPW]
Satoshi Ishii [DDT]
Yoshikazu Hirata [DDT]
Ken Ohka [UNION]
Shinichiro Tominaga [UNION]
Kaji Tomato [K-DOJO]
Ryuichi Sekine [K-DOJO]
Marines Mask [K-DOJO]
Kazuhiro Tamura [STYLE-E]
Tsuyoshi Kikuchi [free]
Osamu Namiguchi [free]
Daisuke Sasaki [free]
NEVER．6 ~ROAD TO THE SUPER Jr. 2DAYS TOURNAMENT~, 4/7/2011 (Thur) 19:00
Shin-Kiba 1st RING in Tokyo
(1) ROAD TO THE SUPER Jr. 2DAYS TOURNAMENT B ~ First Round: Hiromu Takahashi vs. Keisuke Ishii
(2) ROAD TO THE SUPER Jr. 2DAYS TOURNAMENT A ~ First Round: Kyosuke Mikami vs. Ryuichi Sekine
(3) ROAD TO THE SUPER Jr. 2DAYS TOURNAMENT A ~ First Round: Kazuhiro Tamura vs. Marines Mask II
(4) ROAD TO THE SUPER Jr. 2DAYS TOURNAMENT B ~ First Round: Shinobu vs. Kaji Tomato
(5) ROAD TO THE SUPER Jr. 2DAYS TOURNAMENT B ~ First Round: Madoka vs. Kazuki Hirata
(6) ROAD TO THE SUPER Jr. 2DAYS TOURNAMENT A ~ First Round: Daisuke Sasaki vs. Shinichiro Tominaga
(7) ROAD TO THE SUPER Jr. 2DAYS TOURNAMENT A ~ First Round: Tsuyoshi Kikuchi vs. Ken Ohka
(8) ROAD TO THE SUPER Jr. 2DAYS TOURNAMENT B ~ First Round: Taichi vs. Osamu Namiguchi
NEVER．6 ~ROAD TO THE SUPER Jr. 2DAYS TOURNAMENT~, 4/8/2011 (Fri) 19:00
Shin-Kiba 1st RING
() ROAD TO THE SUPER Jr. 2DAYS TOURNAMENT B ~ Semi-Final:
() ROAD TO THE SUPER Jr. 2DAYS TOURNAMENT B ~ Semi-Final:
() ROAD TO THE SUPER Jr. 2DAYS TOURNAMENT A ~ Semi-Final:
() ROAD TO THE SUPER Jr. 2DAYS TOURNAMENT A ~ Semi-Final:
() ROAD TO THE SUPER Jr. 2DAYS TOURNAMENT B ~ Final:
() ROAD TO THE SUPER Jr. 2DAYS TOURNAMENT A ~ Final:
Following Sugiura’s 10th defense against WLW Heavy Champion Trevor Murdock at the show on 3/21. Sugiura made a call out to Minoru Suzuki as the person he would like to face next. Well today NOAH announced a card change for their upcoming show on 3/27. There is now a 6 Man Tag announced with the team Sugiura, Morishima & Yoshie taking on the “GHC Tag Team Champions” Takayama & Sano, and their announced partner Minoru Suzuki.
This pretty much guarantee’s that Sugiura vs. Suzuki will happen, so keep an eye out here on when they will officially meet one on one.
Pro Wrestling NOAH “Navig. in March”, 3/27/2011 (Sun) 15:00
Differ Ariake in Tokyo
(1) Akira Taue vs. Takashi Okita
(2) Masao Inoue & Ricky Marvin vs. Taiji Ishimori & Kentaro Shiga
(3) Katsuhiko Nakajima & Kento Miyahara vs. Bobby Fish & Shane Haste
(4) Kotaro Suzuki & Yoshinari Ogawa vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Genba Hirayanagi
(5) Jun Akiyama & Akitoshi Saito vs. Trevor Murdock & Brian Breaker
(6) Mohammed Yone vs. KENTA
(7) Noamichi Marufuji & Atsushi Aoki vs. Go Shiozaki & Shuhei Taniguchi
(8) Takashi Sugiura, Takeshi Morishima & Yutaka Yoshie vs. Yoshihiro Takayama, Takuma Sano & Minoru Suzuki
Following the big event on the all the champions retained other than the All Asia Tag Team champions as BJW’s Daisuke Sekimoto and Yuji Okabayashi got the victory.
The Champion Carnival 2011 is coming up around the corner and All Japan has released the info on all the talent that will be involved this year. The Champion Carnival will run from April 9th to the 13th. This year there will be 12 wrestlers competing in the dual block system. For the first time in 11 years, Jun Akiyama is making his return to the Champion Carnival. Also New Japan’s Yuji Nagata will be in the tournament for the very first time this year.
GAORA SPECIAL 2011 Champion Carnival
Suwama (2008 Winner)
Taiyo Kea (2006 Winner)
Minoru Suzuki (2009-2010 Winner)
The full card for ZERO1’s upcoming show on 3/27 has been released.
Hiromitsu Kanehara will be celebrating his 20th year of his debut as a pro wrestler though he is better known as an MMA fighter. He will be a part of the show in an ZERO1 vs. UWFi match.
Of course the big news is Vader and his son Jesse White coming into Japan and competing in both All Japan and ZERO1 this month. Their match is ZERO1 though is aiming to be something to not miss as they take on Otani & Daichi Hashimoto. Otani has sort of picked up the flag as the “father” figure for Daichi and this match is poised to be real generations match-up. With both established wrestlers being so involved with the training of their young proteges this match will aim to see who is the next to carry the flag.
ZERO1 “7th Dedication of Pro Wrestling ~ Yasukuni Shrine Festival of Strength”, 3/27/2011 (Sun) 13:00
Yasukuni Shrine Sumo Field in Tokyo
(1) Noble Dreams, Warriors of Hope ~ Bikuma Debut Match: Bikuma, Buffa & Yoshikazu Yokoyama vs. Shota Takanishi, Rikiya Fudo & Naoshi Sano
~ BIG MARCH’s mascot, new partner with 01.
(2) Tag Match “Z vs. U”: KAMIKAZE & Shito Ueda vs. Hiromitsu Kanehara & Daijiro Matsui
(3) Kakinuma 7 Match Series ~ 2nd Round: Kenta Kakinuma vs. Will Gibson
(4) Mixed Tag Match: Shinsuke Jet Wakataka & Io Shirai vs. Nick Primo & Aja Kong
(5) NWA International Lightweight Tag Team Title Match: [Champions] Takuya Sugawara & Kaijin Habu Otoko vs. Ikuto Hidaka & Munenori Sawa
~ Referee: Mr. SUWA
(6) Special Tag Match: Shinjiro Otani & Daichi Hashimoto vs. Big Van Vader & Jesse White
(7) Special Tag Match: Masato Tanaka & Daisuke Sekimoto vs. Ryouji Sai & Kohei Sato
Dragon has announced the new date(s) following the postponing of the “COMPILATION GATE 2011” on 3/20 at the Ryougoku Kokugikan. The originally scheduled show has been split into 2 shows to happen on 4/12 & 4/14.
Dragon Gate “Champion Gate”, 4/12/2011 (Tues)
(1) CIMA, Dragon Kid & Ricochet vs…. Masato Yoshino, BxB Hulk & PAC
(2) Kotoka & Super Shenlong vs. KAGETORA & Fujita “Jr” Hayato
(3) Naruki Doi vs. Susumu Yokosuka
(4) Taku Iwasa’s Return Match: Taku Iwasa & Cyber Kong vs. Don Fujii & Super Shisa
(5) Special Tag Match: Gamma & Yasushi Kanda vs. Masaaki Mochizuki & Shinjiro Otani
(6) Open the Twin Gate Match: [Champions] Ryo Saito & Genki Horiguchi vs. [Challengers] YAMATO & Shingo Takagi
Dragon Gate “Champion Gate” 4/14/2011 (Thur)
Korakuen Hall in Tokyo
() Gamma & Naruki Doi vs. Shingo Takagi & Cyber Kong
() YAMATO vs. Yasushi Kanda
() Open the Triangle Gate Match ~ Traingle Gate Contra Dissolution: [Champions] CIMA, Ricochet & Dragon Kid vs. [Challengers] BxB Hulk, Susumu Yokosuka & PAC
() Open the Dream Gate Match: [Champion] Masato Yoshino vs. [Challenger] Masaaki Mochizuki
It has been announced that SMASH.15 has been rescheduled to happen on 3/31. The event will be happening at the Korakuen Hall as well, which has been deemed suitable for use once again.
Masakazu Sakai made the announcement that “We are SMASH, we are a wrestling promotion, and we aim to continue doing so and bringing encouragement through wrestling.”
It was announced that Dreamer will not be able to make it for this rescheduled event but he said he will be back sooner than later.
Also this event will be KUSHIDA’s las event under the SMASH brand before he officially joins NJPW in April.
SMASH.15 3/31/2011 (Thu) 18:30 @ Korakuen Hall
(1) World Tryout: AKIRA vs. John Carter
(2) Ice Ribbon Special Match: Tsukushi, Hikari Minami & Riho vs. Sakura Emi, Makoto & Mochi Miyagi
(3) Yuji Kito & Yusuke Kodama vs. Ultimo Dragon & TAKA Michinoku
(4) Takao Omori vs. Sir Robin
(5) Yoshiaki Yago vs. Starbuck
(6) FUNAKI vs. Kana
(7) Hardcore Match: Sabu, Shuri & TAJIRI vs. Michael Kovac, Lin “Bitch” Byron & Gabriel Antonic
(8) Main Event: KUSHIDA vs. Hajime Ohara
Been a somewhat busy week on my end, but I thank you all for checking out the site and I hope this has somehow kept you in the loop with what is going on in Japan.
I want to see to all of you if you have not already to send anything you can to the Red Cross to Japan at this time.
Japan will be rebuilding for a while because of the devastation caused by the quake and anything will help.
Be sure to hit me up on twitter with any questions regarding pro wrestling or if even you just want to talk wrestling. Also being connected with me on twitter means you also get all the latest news and happenings regularly and normally first since it updates their ASAP.
This Week in Japanese Pro Wrestling V.4
Alright let me just jump into what is all going on right now.
With all that is happening in Japan at this time, with the earthquake and tsunami that caused major damage in Northeast part of Japan the effects of which shoot all the way down to Tokyo. Add the threat of the Nuclear Plant in the Fukushima area and it is just a a very bad situation right now. Nonetheless a lot of wrestling companies are aiming to keep doing what they aim to do and that is to keep the fans entertained and try to in turn do what they can for those who affected at this time.
To name a few promotions that have decided to postpone or cancel shows. SMASH has postponed their SMASH.15 (3/18) show and Dragon Gate has done the same for their big “COMPILATION GATE 2011” on 3/20.
The big 3, NJPW, All Japan & NOAH will be holding their big shows as scheduled this weekend and I will cover them respectively.
Big Japan, DDT, KAIENTAI DOJO & FREEDOMS have come together and will be working to make sure provision of supplies get to those who are affected at this time. They also mention Michinoku Pro & Sendai Girls which was affected as well. This is a joint effort by all the organizations to make sure people can stay warm and keep healthy at this time.
I am n=only going to be posting the upcoming cards for the shows that I know are happening this weekend and on Monday from the big 3. With shows seemingly being postponed like the DG show I mentioned above I am just got to touch on the bigger shows since that is what is the only things worth mentioning for the most part.
All Japan has called off their shows up to their big show on 3/21 which though will continue as scheduled with a good portion of the proceeds going to the Red Cross to help those in need.
All Japan has been building up to this upcoming show for the last month and even in this crazy time they are continuing to move forward. I’ll have the card posted below for the show on Monday and then any notes and pictures below it.
All Japan Pro Wrestling presents “Pro Wrestling Love in Ryogoku Vol. 11”, 3/21/2011 (Mon) 16:00
Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo
(card order subject to change)
(1) Masanobu Fuchi & Kazushi Miyamoto vs. Zodiac & Yasufumi Nakanoue
(2) Kaz Hayashi & KAI vs. Hiroshi Yamato & BUSHI
(3) Special 6 Man Tag: Big Van Vader, Jesse White & Ryota Hama vs. TARU, Rene Dupree & MAZADA
~ Vader is indeed coming to Japan and will be looking to bring a potentially interest match with his son coming along, Jesse White and someone who idolizes Vader in Ryota Hama. TARU is looking to make a statement with Vader by saying he did not need him in the first place in the Voodoo Murders. Definitely should be interesting and I would mark to see a double body splash from Hama and Vader.
(4) All Asia Tag Team Championship Match: [Champions] Seiya Sanada & Manabu Soya vs. Daisuke Sekimoto & Yuji Okabayashi [BJW] ~ 3rd Defense.
~ Both teams have met a couple times this month in non-title matches and have led to 30 minute, time limit draws. Being a title match this will be a 60 minute match that should be another great showcase for these guys. Both teams in my mind could walk out the champions, each have their strengths and ability to work together as a cohesive unit and that will make for a strong match.
(5) Special Match: Keiji Mutoh vs. Daichi Hashimoto [ZERO1]
~ Daichi is coming off an big debut earlier this month and is being thrown into the fray pretty quickly with some of the biggest names in the business. First a match with Chono for his debut and now against Mutoh for his second in ring performance. Mutoh is aiming to see the fight in Daichi first hand and wants to witness if Daichi is indeed the rightful heir to the throne created by his father Shinya Hashimoto.
(6) Special Tag Match: Masakatsu Funaki & Minoru Suzuki vs. Yuji Nagata & Jushin Thunder Liger [NJPW]
~ Funaki & Minoru originally got their starts in New Japan Pro Wrestling and both have history with their opponents. Of course Suzuki and Nagata have a rivaled past that saw the two square off at the last Wrestle Kingdom show. Funaki and Liger on the other hand go back to an almost mentor friendship. Funaki owes Liger for much in his early career, most notable his kicking and palm strikes that Liger is known for these days. So all these guys know each other very well and should provide another interesting match up in my opinion.
(7) World Junior Heavyweight Championship Match: [Champion] Minoru vs. Shuji Kondo ~ 1st Defense.
~ Minoru was the man to finally chop down the lengthy reign of Kaz Hayashi’s and is looking to cement his name as a strong champion by taking out arguably the strongest wrestlers in Japan right now. Kondo may not be the tallest wrestler in the ring, but his pure strength makes him a hard man to control in the ring. This isn’t Minoru’s first walk around the park and I can expect him to target Konodo’s arms fairly early on in the match and aim for his Minoru Special (Cross Armbreaker) for the finish.
(8) World Tag Team Championship Match: [Champions] KONO & Joe Doering vs. Taiyo Kea & Takao Omori ~ 1st Defense.
~ Taiyo Kea pretty much feels like he never lost the Tag Belts to KONO and Doering in early February and has sought out a new partner to try and get the belts back. Omori appeared to Kea and well as you can see the rest is in the books. KONO and Doering even though being the younger team also have the Voodoo Murders right behind them at any given moment. Though who knows as Kea is always a TKO away from winning and Omori can come out of nowhere with the Axe Bomber.
(9) Triple Crown Championship Match: [Champion] Suwama vs. KENSO ~ 3rd Defense.
~ KENSO has been rising up the ranks in All Japan since he appeared last year and even though having a falling out with the Voodoo Murders it has not stopped his rise one bit, if anything it boosted it. KENSO has a fan following, but Suwama does as well and is looking to maintain his position in the company as the man to beat.
I would say just on how this card stacks up that it will be the event of the weekend easily. Even with the New Japan raping up the cup I got to say that this event has a bit more to it in terms of things I am really wanting to see.
New Japan has posted a nice digest of the New Japan Cup First Round matches and I definitely recommend watching this to see what is going down right now.
As you can see there was a couple surprise winners as well as what looked to have been some very solid matches between Makabe/Kojima and Naito/Tanaka. They definitely looked to have been the better matches so far, but with the Quarter-Finals, Semi-Finals and then the final match to claim the victor of the whole thing I expect to seem some good stuff.
In the wake of Hirooki Goto not making it out of the first round of the New Japan Cup, though winning the last 2 previous years, he has announced that on 3/23 he will be making another excursion to Mexico to compete in CMLL. It has also been noted that there is no word on his return date as well, but I could suspect before the G1 in August.
To keep some thoughts alive, Goto has mentioned that he aims to win the IWGP Heavy belt by the next Wrestle Kingdom, so with the excursion he could possibly return with some new fire and get the job done.
NJPW “NEW JAPAN CUP 2011”, 3/19/2011 (Sat) 18:00
Aichi Prefecture Gymnasium
(1) Tiger Mask IV & Hiromu Takahashi vs. Tama Tonga & King Fale
(2) Wataru Inoue, Jushin Thunder Liger & Kohji Kanemoto vs. Takashi Iizuka, Jado & Gedo
(3) Giant Bernard, “The Machine Gun” Karl Anderson & Tomoaki Honma vs. Yujiro Takahashi, Tetsuya Naito & Tomohiro Ishii
(4) NJC Round 2: Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Toru Yano
(5) NJC Round 2: Manabu Nakanishi vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
(6) IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship Match: [Champion] Prince Devitt vs. KUSHIDA
~ KUSHIDA is looking to kick off his signing with NJPW in the right start by becoming the IWGP Jr Champion, but that is not an easy feat with Devitt showcasing that he is a strong champion. Though some may not remember but KUSHIDA has a pinfall over Devitt at the Best of the Super Juniors tournament that was held in May/June of last year. So KUSHIDA is coming in with the upset victory and with the notion that he knows how to beat Devitt. Devitt will be aiming to rectify that loss, but with an apparent Shoulder injury and the stress of also defending the tag titles the next day against TAKA & Taichi will it prove to be too much for him?
(7) Hiroshi Tanahashi, Hirooki Goto & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Satoshi Kojima, TAKA Michinoku [K-DOJO] & Taichi
(8) NJC Round 2: Togi Makabe vs. MVP
(9) NJC Round 2: Yuji Nagata vs. Masato Tanaka [ZERO1]
NJPW “NEW JAPAN CUP 2011 FINALS”, 3/20/2011 (Sun) 16:00
Amagasaki Memorial Park Gymnasium in Hyogo
The full card for this show on Sunday has not been released, because things will be shifted according to who wins and loses at the show on Saturday.
() NJC Semi-Final Match
() NJC Semi-Final Match
() IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship Match: [Champions] Prince Devitt & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. TAKA Michinoku [K-DOJO] & Taichi
~ TAKA believes whole heartily that he knows how to beat Devitt in every way possible, even though not getting the job done in his singles match against Devitt last month he says he felt out Devitt and it will not happen again. TAKA is so sure he even asked the President of NJPW Sugibayashi if a defense for the tag belts could happen at TAKA’s own promotions KAIENTAI DOJO in April. Is TAKA thinking too far ahead for his own good or does he know what he is talking about and Taichi and himself will be walking out the victors over Apollo 55?
() NJC Final Match
NOAH “NAVIGATION IN MARCH 2011″, 3/19/2011 (Sat) 15:00
Okayama Exhibition Center Orange Hall
() Takeshi Morishima & Yutaka Yoshie vs. Akira Taue & Akitoshi Saito
() Yoshinobu Kanemaru & KENTA vs. Bobby Fish & Mikey Nicholls
() Naomichi Marufuji & Atsushi Aoki vs. Ricky Marvin & Shane Haste
() Go Shiozaki, Shuhei Taniguchi & Kotaro Suzuki vs. Kensuke Sasaki, Katsuhiko Nakajima & Kento Miyahara
() Jun Akiyama & Yoshinari Ogawa vs. Trevor Murdock & Brian Breaker
() Takashi Sugiura, Mohammed Yone & Masao Inoue vs. Yoshihiro Takayama, Takuma Sano & Masashi Aoyagi
NOAH “NAVIGATION IN MARCH 2011″, 3/21/2011 (Mon) 15:00
Fukuoka Convention Center
(1) Masao Inoue vs. Shane Haste
(2) Takuma Sano & Akitoshi Saito vs. Kento Miyahara & Brian Breaker [WLW]
(3) Atsushi Aoki vs. Bobby Fish
(4) Yoshinari Ogawa & Ricky Marvin vs. KENTA & Genba Hirayanagi
(5) Go Shiozaki & Shuhei Taniguchi vs. Yutaka Yoshie & Yuto Aijima.
(6) Mohammed Yone vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru
(7) Jun Akiyama & Naomichi Marufuji vs. Kensuke Sasaki [KO] & Katsuhiko Nakajima [KO]
(8) GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship Match: [Champion] Kotaro Suzuki vs. Taiji Ishimori
(9) Singles Match: Takeshi Morishima vs. Yoshihiro Takayama
(10) GHC Heavyweight Championship Match: [Champion] Takashi Sugiura vs. Trevor Murdock [WLW]
~ This is probably not the best card, like some were hoping, but NOAH obviously has things planned out in their own way. Many thought that Sugiura would be going up against Kensuke Sasaki at this show, but NOAH has been looking to rebuild their relationships with outside promotions so none better than their main World League Wrestling out of the states.
~ The only main news that I can really touch on at this time is that KENTA, Yoshinobu Kanemaru and Genba Hirayanagi’s new team is now known as NO MERCY. Mohammed Yone is still looking to somehow gain some footing and has recently put his hand out namely towards Go Shiozaki, but that is going to be a hard choice for Shiozaki considering all the crap he put up with DISOBEY.
Also the rumors are flying around that KENTA is looking towards wanting Yoshihiro Takayama in NO MERCY. That would make the stable definitely bigger, but I hope to see more news coming following the show this weekend.
K-DOJO will be having 2 shows this weekend with both being billed as shows to benefit those affected by the Earthquake.
KAIENTAI DOJO “CLUB-K 3000”, 3/19/2011 (Sat) 18:30
(1) HIROKI & Ryuichi Sekine vs. Randy Takuya & Makoto Oishi
(2) Saburo Inamatsu, JOE & Yuu Yamagata vs. Daigoro Kashiwa, Kaji Tomato & Bambi
(3) Akira Shiori, Hiro Tonai & Yuki Sato vs. Quiet Storm, Owen Pheonix & Venom Ali
(4) UWA Middleweight Championship Match: [Champion] Yasu Urano vs. Marines Mask
(5) Yuji Hino & Taishi Takizawa vs. Kengo Mashimo & KAZMA
There card on Sunday was originally to be held last weekend, but due to the quake and Tsunami’s it was postponed. Also TAKA Michinoku was also scheduled to compete on this show against HIROKI, but due to NJPW also holding a show he has stepped off the card and HIROKI will now be facing Yuki Sato.
KAIENTAI DOJO “CLUB-K SUPER it’s gonna be…”, 3/20/2011 (Sun) 14:00
(1) YOSHIYA & Lightning Bousou Boy Raito vs. Randy Takuya & Yuu Yamagata
(2) Akira Shiori, Hiro Tonai & Makoto Oishi vs. Kazuhiro Tamura, Masashi Takeda & Kotaro Nasu [STYLE-E]
(3) Daigoro Kashiwa, Kaji Tomato & Marines Mask vs. Quiet Storm, Owen Pheonix & Venom Ali
(4) KAZMA vs. Taishi Takizawa
(5) HIROKI vs. Yuki Sato
(6) International Ribbon Tag Team Championship Match: [Champions] Hikaru Shida & Tsukasa Fujimoto vs. Makoto & Bambi
(7) WEW Hardcore Tag Team Championship Match: [Champions] Yuji Hino & Saburo Inamatsu vs. Kengo Mashimo & Ryuichi Sekine
Site updates: The calender on the right side of the page is broken. I had an issue with the code and tried to fix it, but in turn now nothing I put it in shows up. In the option of not losing everything I have put in it before hand, I am working on it and hope to be able to make it work right here soon.
In light of everything that is going on I plan to hopefully finish up the New Japan Pro Wrestling page and get the profiles finished at least. Also I need to get the results from this year all in the right spot, but that will come once the wrestler pages are finished.
As usual I do accept feedback and questions through my new formspring account http://www.formspring.me/PuroresuSpirit . Anything pro wrestling related from WWE, NJPW, All Japan, NOAH and whatever else, since I watch about everything nothing shouldn’t be to hard for me to answer.
Be sure to follow the Puroresu Spirit Facebook Page for all the latest updates and more, as well as following me on twitter for some interesting comments on all wrestling in general.
Thanks for following the website and at this time I ask for all of you to give some thoughts to those in Japan at this time that need to know you care about them and hope they make it through this and only get stronger.
This Week in Japanese Pro Wrestling V.3
I am going to be starting a new blog type setup here on Puroresu Spirit and PWP to talk about all the latest happenings in Japan. Namely on the bigger promotions but also what I personally find interesting in the world of Japanese Pro Wrestling. As most know I enjoy NJPW, AJPW, NOAH, ZERO1, K-Dojo and Michinoku Pro the most out of Japan, but I am still open to the rest of the promotions. Except maybe Dragon Gate, I do not have a real reason why I do not follow them like most of the others, but I just have not in the last few years. I watch their bigger shows throughout the year, but other than that it is just ends up the last on my watch list. Who knows that may change tomorrow for all we know, especially since Mochizuki and Shingo are in the title picture right now.
Anyways getting that off of my mind for most of you, let’s go through what is all happening early on this week in March. I am mainly only going to dedicate the updates every week based on the weekend/Monday shows since they normally are the “build up to” shows for promotions. As in normally they have a few weekly shows that lay the foundation for the bigger shows. WWE normally does the same thing with house shows and on their weekly programing, but in Japan only the bigger shows make it on tv at all.
We have 4 shows that are definitely on my watch list so let’s go through them one by one.
(Or if you want to skip to a certain promotion, just hit the jump buttons below)
1. NJPW 2. AJPW 3. NOAH 4. ZERO1
New Japan Pro Wrestling will be kicking off the New Japan Cup on Sunday (3/6), and is definitely aiming to be anyone’s tournament. So many wrestlers who have history are facing off in the first round of the tournament and this alone is going to be switching things up. So let’s run down the cards for this upcoming tour as I will also hit on the talent involved with the Cup. Sort of my rundown’s, that got me started with the site to begin with.
NJPW “Anniversary ~ NEW JAPAN CUP 2011”, 3/6/2011 (Sun)
Tokyo Korakuen Hall
~ Special Opening NJPW Greatest Wrestlers Ceremony
(1) Jushin Thunder Liger, Tomoaki Honma & Tama Tonga vs. Wataru Inoue, Koji Kanemoto & King Fale
(2) Giant Bernard, Tiger Mask & KUSHIDA vs. Jado, Gedo & Tomohiro Ishii
(3) Prince Devitt & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. TAKA Michinoku & Taichi
(4) New Japan Cup – Round 1: Manabu Nakanishi vs. Yujiro Takahashi
Nakanishi vs. Takahashi is a match pitching the premise of a student vs. teacher match-up. Both men have that amateur background and are both very strong technical athletes. Takahashi is looking to get himself known as a singles competitor like his fellow NO LIMIT compatriot Tetsuya Naito, but Nakanishi is not a push over in any means. Nakanishi is a huge fan favorite and will break Takahashi down in every way possible. So this match is going to come down to the fight that Takahashi has and is able to use against Nakanishi. With these two being almost the same strength and technique wise it is going to come down to who actually wants it more or also a play of youth or experience?
(5) New Japan Cup – Round 1: Karl Anderson vs. MVP
Anderson is coming in as 1/2 of the IWGP Tag Team Champions and has been building himself as one of the tougher Gaikujin’s in NJPW. MVP on the other hand is coming in following his successful debut on 2/20 and is aiming to get to the top in Japan. No better place to due that than NJPW. Anderson is looking to get away from being the one who falls at the tournament’s and will be looking to keep his fellow Gaikujin from overshadowing what he has been aiming to build for years now. Will Anderson finally begin his ascension as a singles competitor or will the man called MVP become the next “MVP” in NJPW?
(6) New Japan Cup – Round 1: Hirooki Goto vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Goto and Nakamura is one of those picture perfect matches. Both have faced off numerous times and both are considered to be about on the same level as Goto is known as the tournament champion and Nakamura is the same when it comes to belts. Though Goto has yet to get the IWGP Heavyweight Championship around his waist he has made a vow that he will become champion within a year following his recent marriage. Nakamura as usual only has his mind on becoming the next champion so both men have the same agenda when it comes to winning the Cup. Goto though is coming in the favorite as he is has won the last two Cups while Nakamura has never made it past the Quartfinals, I believe, in all the Cups he has participated in. Will Nakamura break this trend or will Goto get a chance to win the Cup for an unprecedented 3 times in a row?
(7) Special Six Man Tag Match: Hiroshi Tanahashi, Yuji Nagata & Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Toru Yano, Tetsuya Naito & Takashi Iizuka
(8) New Japan Cup – Round 1: Togi Makabe vs. Satoshi Kojima
Makabe and Kojima have been down each others throats since the time of last years G1 Climax and especially after Kojima beat him for the belt. Makabe thought he was on a role with finally getting the title around his waist and he becoming the top man in the promotion. Then to have someone just come back into NJPW after leaving to go to another promotion and become the top guy just didn’t sit right with Makabe. Makabe felt he needed to show that it is his time in NJPW and not Kojima’s, though in the end this as been a hard spot for Makabe as Kojima had picked up the win again at the 1/30 show. So now Makabe is at a hard spot as he is 2-0 against Kojima and they will face again in the first round of the cup. Will Kojima make it 3-0 or will Makabe finally be able to gain some ground against him?
NJPW “NEW JAPAN CUP 2011”, 3/7/2011 (Mon)
Ota City Nitta Bunka Center Airys Hall
() Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Wataru Inoue vs. Jado & Gedo
() Togi Makabe, Tomoaki Honma, Prince Devitt & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Satoshi Kojima, MVP, TAKA Michinoku & Taichi
() Hiroshi Tanahashi, Manabu Nakanishi & Hirooki Goto vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, Toru Yano & Takashi Iizuka
NJPW “NEW JAPAN CUP 2011”, 3/12/2011 (Sat)
Wing Hat Kasukabe
() Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Manabu Nakanishi & Wataru Inoue vs. Yujiro Takahashi, Tetsuya Naito & Tomohiro Ishii
() Togi Makabe, Tomoaki Honma & Prince Devitt vs. Satoshi Kojima, MVP & Taichi
() Hiroshi Tanahashi, Hirooki Goto & Tama Tonga vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, Toru Yano & Takashi Iizuka
NJPW “NEW JAPAN CUP 2011”, 3/13/2011 (Sun)
Act City Hamamatsu
() Special Tag Match: Hiroshi Tanahashi & Hirooki Goto vs. Shinsuke Nakamura & Yujiro Takahashi
() New Japan Cup ~ Round 1: Wataru Inoue vs. Toru Yano
Inoue has only ever managed to make it in the quarterfinals of the Cup in the past, but since then he has went to become a Heavyweight tag team Champion with Nagata. Will that translate in him having more ground going into this tournament? Yano almost came close in the 2008 Cup but was not able to get the job done against Bernard in the Semi’s. Yano has always been one step back but this year has been giving Yano some decisive wins and he is looking to get that big win to put him up on the ladder as well. This match is a make or break for these two and could easily place the loser with not much to do for a while.
() New Japan Cup ~ Round 1: Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Takashi Iizuka
Just when you think these two’s feud is over, New Japan books them against one another yet again. Tenzan got a decisive win over Iizuka at Wrestle Kingdom V and it looked as if Tenzan would finally have some peace. Tenzan has been aiming to get back to the top, but has had this roadblock of Iizuka hovering behind him for years now. Can Tenzan finally rank himself up the New Japan ladder or will Iizuka continue to be that thorn in Tenzan’s side?
() New Japan Cup ~ Round 1: Tetsuya Naito vs. Masato Tanaka
Naito has been building as a future ace of NJPW. Tons of fanfare, charisma, as well as showing a great ability in the ring. Naito broke out last year following an upset win over Tanahashi in the G1 and has been on a role since getting matches against a lot of New Japan’s singles talent. Naito recently had a solid match with Naito at the 2/20 show, but even though losing proved more an more that he is just one step from becoming a great superstar. Tanaka almost needs no introduction one of the most physical in Japan and will all around make his opponents suffer with elbows and the sort before pulling the trigger and hitting them with his Sliding D. Tanaka and Goto had a good series of matches last year and even made it to the semi-finals of last years New Japan Cup before losing to Goto. Will this match be the big win that Naito needs or will Tanaka end up with the win and head to the next round?
() New Japan Cup ~ Round 1: Yuji Nagata vs. Giant Bernard
These two are definitely no strangers and you would be hard pressed to forget these two’s match in 2006 which saw Bernard pick up the New Japan Cup win by beating Yuji Nagata. Nagata though the next year (2007) would beat Bernard in the semi-finals and ended up winning the tournament himself. So these two definitely are no strangers and have of recent also been battling back and forth for the IWGP Tag Team Titles. Bernard is going in as the other half of the IWGP Tag Champions as well as possibly being the GHC Heavyweight Champion considering he has a match in NOAH against Takashi Sugiura on 3/5. Nagata is coming off a big win over Minoru Suzuki at Wrestle Kingdom V and also has a big match against Masato Tanaka at ZERO1’s show on 3/6. These two men, Bernard and Nagata, are getting the main event spot of the day for a reason and should be nothing more than hard hitting and impactful.
NJPW “NEW JAPAN CUP 2011”, 3/14/2011 (Mon)
Tsubame Citizen Gymnasium
() Hirooki Goto, Tama Tonga & King Fale vs. Toru Yano, Takashi Iizuka & Tomohiro Ishii
() Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Yuji Nagata & Wataru Inoue vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, Yujiro Takahashi & Tetsuya Naito
(0 Hiroshi Tanahashi, Togi Makabe, Prince Devitt & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Satoshi Kojima, MVP, TAKA Michinoku & Taichi
NJPW “NEW JAPAN CUP 2011”, 3/16/2011 (Wed)
Mito Citizen Gymnasium
() Hirooki Goto, Giant Bernard & Karl Anderson vs. Toru Yano, Takashi Iizuka & Tomohiro Ishii
() Togi Makabe, Tomoaki Honma, Prince Devitt & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Satoshi Kojima, MVP, TAKA Michinoku & Taichi
() Hiroshi Tanahashi, Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Wataru Inoue vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, Yujiro Takahashi & Tetsuya Naito
NJPW “NEW JAPAN CUP 2011”, 3/17/2011 (Thurs)
Kumagaya Citizen Gymnasium
() Hirooki Goto, Giant Bernard & Karl Anderson vs. Yujiro Takahashi, Tetsuya Naito & Tomohiro Ishii
() Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Yuji Nagata & Wataru Inoue vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, Toru Yano & Takashi Iizuka
() Hiroshi Tanahashi, Togi Makabe, Prince Devitt & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Satoshi Kojima, MVP, TAKA Michinoku & Taichi
NJPW “NEW JAPAN CUP 2011”, 3/19/2011 (Sat)
Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium
() IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship Match: [Champion] Prince Devitt vs. KUSHIDA
() New Japan Cup ~ Round 2: Tenzan/Iizuka vs. Inoue/Yano
() New Japan Cup ~ Round 2: Nagata/Bernard vs. Naito/Tanaka
() New Japan Cup ~ Round 2: Goto/Nakamura vs. Nakanishi/Takahashi
() New Japan Cup ~ Round 2: Makabe/Kojima vs. Anderson/MVP
NJPW “NEW JAPAN CUP 2011”, 3/20/2011 (Sun)
Amagasaki Memorial Park Gymnasium
() New Japan Cup ~ Semi Final: Tenzan/Iizuka/Inoue/Yano vs. Nagata/Bernard/Naito/Tanaka
() New Japan Cup ~ Semi Final: Makabe/Kojima/Anderson/MVP vs. Goto/Nakamura/Nakanishi/Takahashi
() New Japan Cup – Final:
I am not going to go much into detail with the upcoming cards as I have already written up somethings for them a while back, but I will post the updated tour cards below as well as some notes into a few of the matches.
All Japan Pro Wrestling “HOLD OUT TOUR 2011″, 3/6/2011 (Sun) 12:00
Korakuen Hall in Tokyo
(1) Masanobu Fuchi & Kazushi Miyamoto vs. Hiroshi Yamato & BUSHI
(2) Seiya Sanada & Manabu Soya vs. Josh Spears & Jake O’Reilly
(3) Minoru Suzuki vs. KAI
(4) Keiji Mutoh, Masakatsu Funaki & AKIRA vs. TARU, Rene Dupree & MAZADA
(5) Taiyo Kea & Takao Omori vs. KONO & Joe Doering [World Tag Team Champions]
~ non-title match, TARU will be the special referee.
This non-title tag team match is going to have an interesting premise with TARU has been announced as the special guest referee. Will he play fairly or will he just aid his Voodoo Murders to get the victory?
Taiyo Kea said “that I know they are plotting something dirty, but I do not care.” Kea’s ambition to regain the tag team belts is not going to let TARU get away with too much as the official referee. Even Omori stated that if TARU crosses the line the next thing he will see is the mat following an Axe Bomber.
This match means a lot for Kea and he wants his tag belts back, but KONO & Doering “won” the belts for a reason and are not a second rate team so even with TARU in their inevitable corner.
(6) Suwama & Ryota Hama vs. KENSO & Zodiac
(7) Team 246 vs. “Junior Stars”: Kaz Hayashi & Shuji Kondo vs. Minoru & Koji Kanemoto
Kanemoto will be stepping in the ring for what is being touted as a one time thing, but if they are successful I would not put it past that we will not see the last of Kanemoto in All Japan. Hayashi & Kondo have sort of put their past behind them following their series of matches to see who will face Minoru next and had this match placed upon them. Both teams have worked together and against one know their partners very well as opponents, so this should be a good match.
If anything I actually have said that I would not mind seeing Minoru and Kanemoto facing off against one another if it actually came down to that. Who knows, but I see it being plausible at least.
AJPW “Hold Out Tour 2011”, 3/8/2011 (Tues) 18:30
Choshi City Gymnasium
() Shawn Spears vs. Jake O’Reilly
() Ryota Hama vs. KAI
() Manabu Soya & Hiroshi Yamato vs. Minoru Suzuki & Takumi Soya
() Shuji Kondo & BUSHI vs. Minoru & MAZADA
() Seiya Sanada & Yasufumi Nakanoue vs. Daisuke Sekimoto Big Japan & Yuji Okabayashi Big Japan
() Masakatsu Funaki, Taiyo Kea & Takao Omori vs. TARU, KONO & Joe Doering
() Suwama & Kaz Hayashi vs. KENSO & Zodiac
AJPW “Hold Out Tour 2011”, 3/9/2011 (Wed) 18:30
Chiba Togane Arena
() Seiya Sanada vs. Jake O’Reilly
() Ryota Hama & Shawn Spears vs. KAI & Hiroshi Yamato
() Masakatsu Funaki vs. Takumi Soya
() Kaz Hayashi & BUSHI vs. Minoru & MAZADA
() Manabu Soya & Yasufumi Nakanoue vs. Daisuke Sekimoto Big Japan & Yuji Okabayashi Big Japan
() Minoru Suzuki, Taiyo Kea & Takao Omori vs. TARU, KONO & Joe Doering
() Suwama & Shuji Kondo vs. KENSO & Zodiac
AJPW “Hold Out Tour 2011”, 3/11/2011 (Fri) 18:30
Ishinomaki City Gymnasium in Miyagi
(1) WAVE Promotional Match: Yumi Okha vs. Haruhi Moeka
(2) Seiya Sanada vs. Takumi Soya
(3) Manabu Soya vs. Yasufumi Nakanoue
(4) Ryota Hama & BUSHI vs. Tsuyoshi Kikuchi & Hiroshi Yamato
(5) KAI vs. Jake O’Reilly
(6) Masakatsu Funaki & Minoru Suzuki vs. KONO & MAZADA
(7) Taiyo Kea & Takao Omori vs. KENSO & Zodiac
(8) Suwama, Kaz Hayashi & Shuji Kondo vs. TARU & Joe Doering & Minoru
AJPW “Hold Out Tour 2011”, 3/12/2011 (Sat) 18:00
Hirosaki Kasai Phys. Ed. Center in Aomori
() Ryota Hama & Jake O’Reilly vs. Hiroshi Yamato vs. Shawn Spears
() Zodiac vs. Takumi Sano
() KENSO & Yasufumi Nakanoue
() BUSHI vs. Minoru
() Masakatsu Funaki, Minoru Suzuki, Taiyo Kea & Takao Omori vs. TARU, KONO, Joe Doering & MAZADA
() Suwama, Kaz Hayashi & Shuji Kondo vs. Seiya Sanada, Manabu Soya & KAI
AJPW “Hold Out Tour 2011”, 3/13/2011 (Sun) 17:30
Aomori Industrial Hall
() Kaz Hayashi vs. Takumi Soya
() Manabu Soya & Yasufumi Nakanoue vs. Shawn Spears & Jake O’Reilly
() Shuji Kondo & BUSHI vs. Minoru & MAZADA
() Minoru Suzuki & Hiroshi Yamato vs. Seiya Sanada & KAI
() Masakatsu Funaki, Taiyo Kea & Takao Omori vs. TARU, KONO & Joe Doering
() Suwama & Ryota Hama vs. KENSO & Zodiac
AJPW “Hold Out Tour 2011”, 3/15/2011 (Tues) 18:30
Mutsu City Stadium in Aomori
() Yasufumi Nakanoue & Shawn Spears vs. Takumi Soya & Jake O’Reilly
() Takao Omori & Manabu Soya vs. Ryota Hama & BUSHI
() Kaz Hayashi & Shuji Kondo vs. Minoru & MAZADA
() Masakatsu Funaki vs. Hiroshi Yamato
() Taiyo Kea & Minoru Suzuki vs. KENSO & Zodiac
() Suwama, Seiya Sanada & KAI vs. TARU, KONO & Joe Doering
AJPW “Hold Out Tour 2011”, 3/17/2011 (Thurs) 18:30
Kesennuma City Gymnasium in Miyagi
() Yasufumi Nakanoue & Shawn Spears vs. KONO & Minoru
() Kaz Hayashi & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi vs. KAI & Hiroshi Yamato
() Minoru Suzuki vs. Takumi soya
() Seiya Sanada & Manabu Soya vs. Ryota Hama & BUSHI
() Masakatsu Funaki, Taiyo Kea & Takao Omori vs. TARU, Joe Doering & MAZADA
() Suwama & Shuji Kondo vs. KENSO & Zodiac
AJPW “Hold Out Tour 2011”, 3/19/2011 (Sat) 18:00
Akita Selion Plaza Hall in Akita
() Yasufumi Nakanoue vs. Shawn Spears
() Seiya Sanada & Manabu Soya vs. Takumi Soya & Jake O’Reilly
() Kaz Hayashi & Hiroshi Yamato vs. Ryota Hama & BUSHI
() Taiyo Kea & Shuji Kondo vs. KONO & Minoru
() Minoru Suzuki & Takao Omori vs. Joe Doering & MAZADA
() Suwama & KAI vs. KENSO & Zodiac
AJPW “Hold Out Tour 2011”, 3/20/11 (Sun) 13:30
Furusato Village Dome Theatre in Akita (Yokote City)
() Yasufumi Nakanoue vs. Jake O’Reilly
() Ryota Hama & BUSHI vs. Takumi Soya & Shawn Spears
() Seiya Sanada & Manabu Soya vs. Minoru & MAZADA
() Minoru Suzuki & Shuji Kondo vs. Minoru & MAZADA
() Masakatsu Funaki, Taiyo Kea & Takao Omori vs. TARU, KONO & Joe Doering
() Suwama & Kaz Hayashi vs. KENSO & Zodiac
AJPW “2011 Pro Wrestling LOVE in Ryougoku”, 3/21/2011 (Mon) 16:00
Ryougoku Kokugikan in Tokyo
() Special Tag Match: Masakatsu Funaki & Minoru Suzuki vs. Yuji Nagata & Jushin Thunder Liger
() All Asia Tag Team Championship Match: [Champions] Seiya Sanada & Manabu Soya vs. Daisuke Sekimoto & Yuji Okabayashi
() World Junior Heavyweight Championship Match: [Champion] Minoru vs. Shuji Kondo ~ Minoru’s 1st Defense.
() Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship Match: [Champion] Suwama vs. KENSO ~ Suwama’s 3rd Defense.
“Voodoo Murders Be prepared on 3/21 at the Tokyo Ryogoku!
What time is it?
It’s time…It’s Time….It’s VADER TIME!”
These words came from All Japan that Vader had sent to their offices. They quickly posted it on the site and TARU was left with something to act upon.
TARU, soon after hearing these word from Vader, held a meeting last week to announce that he indeed has in turn should be the one who has words for him for not going through with the union that TARU wished to have had formed. TARU Said he has been angered for 2 years now and it is now the time that he rectifies the situation. TARU has called Vader to indeed come to the 3/21 Tokyo Ryogoku show. TARU also mentioned Vader’s son Jesse White and that if he wants to come, bring him as well.
Could Vader (and his son) definitely be showing up to confront TARU and the Voodoo Murders, or will it be the other way around of VDM intercepting Vader?
Pro Wrestling NOAH “GREAT VOYAGE 2011 in Tokyo”, 3/5/2011 (Sat) 17:00
Ariake Colosseum in Tokyo
(1) Takeshi Morishima vs. Makoto Hashi
(2) Akitoshi Saito & Masao Inoue vs. Taiji Ishimori & Kentaro Shiga
(3) DISOBEY vs. Kensuke Office: Mohammed Yone, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, KENTA & Genba Hirayanagi vs. Kensuke Sasaki, Takashi Okita, Kento Miyahara & Jun Nishikawa
(4) Jun Akiyama vs. Yutaka Yoshie
Akiyama has already stated that he is aiming to give it another go at the GHC Heavyweight belt, but first he as to get through someone who had a descent year in 2010. Though coming up short, Yoshie has fought harder than he has in years. One of my favorite matches last year was Yoshie vs. Sasaki and I am expecting to see something almost similar between these two. I mean does Akiyama have the strength anymore to give the big Yoshie an exploder? I want to see it though. Yoshie is always a threat though because of his size. He can easily overpower his opponents and before you know it he is sitting on top of you. Akiyama has to be aware of this and could be his reality if he can’t outsmart the big man. But look who I am talking to it’s Akiyama, just piss him off and he will go ballistic without a second thought.
(5) GHC Junior Tag Team Championship Match: [Champions] Naomichi Marufuji & Atsushi Aoki vs. Yoshinari Ogawa & Ricky Marvin ~ Marufuji/Aoki’s 2nd Defense.
Marufuji has taken the helm at helping push Aoki up the ladder and both are making themselves into a strong cohesive unit. Marufuji is no stranger to gold and knows the limits that one most go to remain champion. This is Aoki’s first title in Japan and has been aiming for this title reign for a long time. Aoki has grown into a strong wrestler and he will need that Ogawa being very crafty in the ring and Marvin being more physical and intense than his has been in years. I expect a descent showing in this match and I can probably guarantee it should play out well.
(6) GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship Match: [Champion] Kotaro Suzuki vs. Katsuhiko Nakajima ~ Suzuki’s 3rd Defense.
Suzuki is in his first ever reign as the GHC Jr Champion and is looking to remain that for quite sometime, though things looked close in his match against Eddie Edwards and he just recently defeated Genba Hirayanagi. Suzuki has in-cooperated more things in his repertoire to be more in remembrance to his late idol and mentor Mitsuharu Misawa. So Suzuki wants to show his fight in the ring as a show how far he has come as a true wrestler. Nakajima though is still looked at as one of the strongest up and comers in the business in a long time. Nakajima is still called Supernova by a lot of people and he is shown how well he can hang with those his own size and even to those who are bigger like Takayama. Nakajima is as stiff as they come and is going to bring the fight to Suzuki.
(7) GHC Heavyweight Tag Team Championship Match: Yoshihiro Takayama & Takuma Sano vs. Go Shiozaki & Shuhei Taniguchi ~ Taka/Sano’s 3rd Defense
Shiozaki and Taniguchi are aiming to become the next champions but a big hurdle sits in front of them as the current champions have the experience on their side. Shiozaki is aiming to get the GHCE Tag Belt around his waist, something that has eluded him for quite sometime now, and Taniguchi is looking to take his career forward with winning a championship. It is looking to me that we could be seeing some new champions crowned following the event, but at this point who knows what will happen. Shiozaki is going into the match with a broken finger, but Taniguchi has been just one step from becoming a big player in Japan. Definitely this is going to be a much needed win for him.
(8) GHC Heavyweight Championship Match: [Champion] Takashi Sugiura vs. Giant Bernard ~ Sugiura’s 9th Defense.
Sugiura has been the fighting champion for NOAH for over a year now and has made the call out that he wants the biggest and the baddest that he can possibly face. He has beat a lot of the big names in Japan and has now set his eyes on, the New Japan IWGP Tag Team Champion, Giant Bernard who is going to be the biggest he has faced yet. Sugiura is looking to prove that he is one of the strongest in Japan and he is definitely doing that in my eyes. If he can get passed Bernard there has already been talk that another Gaikujin, Trevor Mudock who is the current WLW Heavyweight Champion would not mind taking a crack and facing off against Sugiura.
Saving to be what I believe to be the best card of the weekend, is ZERO1’s 10th Anniversary Show that is coming up on the 6th.
ZERO1 “BIG MARCH Presents PRO-WRESTLING 2011 in Ryogoku Kokugikan ~ 10TH ANNIVERSARY SHOW”, 3/6/2011 (Sun) 15:00
Tokyo Ryougoku Kokugikan
~ card and order subject to change.
(1) 10 Man Tag Match: Fujita “Jr” Hayato, Shota Takanishi, Kenta Kakinuma, Diamond Konley & Nick Primo vs. Shiro Koshinaka, Sito Ueda, Yoshikazu Yokoyama, Zuffa & Buffa
A mix of a lot of the up and comers and established from Japan and from all around the world. Every man in the ring has a style of their own and will be aiming to showcase what they can offer in hopes of next year being placed higher up the ranks with the best of them. The inclusion of Koshinaka in this match is cool in my opinion because it is putting a bit more pressure on the other team to try and outclass him, that is if they can. Should be a great opening contest.
(2) NWA World Jr. Heavyweight Title Match: [Champion] Craig Classic vs. Munenori Sawa
Craig Classic is coming in with the news that ZERO1 and the NWA are working together again. Craig has been a fighting champion as long as he has held on to the belt and Sawa is definitely going to have a good match coming his way. Sawa is one of a kind in my book, knows how to wrestle multiple styles, as well as can fancy wearing a bra in some matches as Lingerie Mutoh, a play off one of his favorite wrestler Keiji Mutoh. No matter what Sawa does he is still a great talent in the ring and will bring it to the current champion.
“Munenori Sawa is a great wrestler from BattlArts, and an easy contender for my NWA World Jr. Title. I am looking forward to the challenge, and we will see who the best Junior Heavyweight at the end of the night.” – Craig Classic
(3) NWA International Lightweight Tag Team Title Match: [Champions] Takuya Sugawara & Kaijin Habu Otoko vs. Minoru Fujita & Mineo Fujita ~ SUWA special referee.
Yes you read that correctly SUWA has indeed returned in the ring and as a referee, something he seemed to despise while as a wrestler, but whatever works for him. It’s is also weird to see him coming in and sort of being a non-heel ref. He spent his career being one of the best heels there ever was in the 00’s and it’ll be interesting if he remains that character. Sugawara has already been playing off of SUWA by utilizing the John Woo as well as the FFF, Sugawara is either playing some strong mind games or he has an ace up his sleeve. The Fujita’s who are cousin’s in real life are looking to get the gold and no one knows Sugawara better that Minoru Fujita. Both were champions together as well as friends, that seemingly changed and they have been feuding since. I expect a descent enough match from these 4 men and personally SUWA still has me interested in seeing what he may do?
(4) “Destruction Prince” Daichi Hashimoto Debut Match: Daichi Hashimoto vs. Masahiro Chono
Definitely the match that has a lot of hype coming into the event. The debut of the son of the late great and founder of ZERO1 Shinya Hashimoto. Daichi’s training has been documented, well somewhat, online since he has been in training to be a pro wrestler. Daichi though is getting a big introduction to the sport by being put up against his fathers friend and long time rival in the ring Masahiro Chono.
Daichi in my eyes does have a lot of weight to carry, but also he is someone that pro wrestling needs in Japan. The last decade was sort of an odd time in wrestling, with seeing a big decrease in the general carrying for it. The Japanese culture as a whole has sort of stop watching and getting into combat related sports. I fully believe that this next generation with start to see some live coming back to the sport, if not we could start seeing a lot of things happening that we wish would not happen. Daichi though I believe we be a major part of this generation and I know a few people would love to see Daichi carry his fathers image as well as bring some emotion back to the sport. I mean I can tell you right now the moment that Daichi throws a leg trip or a Brainbuster, I’ll probably mark out.
(5) NWA International Junior Heavyweight Match: [Champion] Ikuto Hidaka vs. Takafumi Ito
Hidaka made the call out to face Ito following his win in the Junior Heavyweight tournament late last year. Hidaka wanted to face someone who would tak him to the brink of fighting for his belt as well as someone who would test him with his MMA abilities. Both men are skilled in being able to knock one someone out as well as making someone tap quickly. This match should be a great skill based match, as well as a match that tests abilities of both men. It will be interesting to see how well Ito transitions into pro wrestling or if he will strictly rely on grappling and blows. There is nothing wrong with that style and I expect more of the feel of the old UWF days with this match.
(6) NWA International Tag Team Match: [Champions] Kohei Sato & KAMIKAZE vs. Atsushi Sawada & X (to be announced soon)
Sawada has definitely been getting under the skin on Sato and has his eyes set on getting the belts. Though the under-lying factor is that Sawada has not named his partner. I believe he is not going to announce it till the day of the show and to be honest I am thinking that it could be his mentor Naoya Ogawa. Considering Ogawa has held this belt in the past and has history with ZERO1, I mean who else could it be?
Alright just go in a way of showing what I originally thought and what has actually happened. This news was released last night in Japan.
Atsushi Sawada has finally announced who his partner is and I never even thought of this man as a choice, but all I gotta to say is I never thought this card would get any better than it already was to begin with. I mean his name crossed my mind and someone who should be at the show, but even when he mentioned he was flying out I took nothing from it since it was a few days back. This is good news though, at least it turned out be someone who has tremendous history with the promotion.
~ NWA International Tag Team Match: [Champions] Kohei Sato & KAMIKAZE vs. Atsushi Sawada & Steve Corino
(7) ZERO1 World Heavyweight Championship Match: [Champion] Daisuke Sekimoto vs. Ryouji Sai
Sai has held the Heavyweight belt in the past, but Sekimoto is known as one of the toughest and strongest in Japan today, as well as the world. Sekimoto is a powerhouse and is even not afraid to be in a deathmatch as well, though today he tends to sway from those matches. This match already has some controversy going into it as Kohei Sato just recently pinned Sai clean last week. I mean this does not look good for someone who has a title match, but it was still said to have been a good match. If anything this is going to give Sai a chance to fight harder against Sekimoto, but whoever wins the title can expect to see Sato coming for them next.
(8) Masato Tanaka vs. Yuji Nagata
Two heavy hitters and two who have some of the strongest fighting spirits in Japan, neither will tap too easily and neither will take a fall without being taken to the brink of exhaustion. I am expecting what I said in the last sentence and it is making for this event to be one of the best of the event.
(9) Shinjiro Otani vs. Yoshihiro Takayama
“Mr. Pro Wrestling” Otani is looking to take on the biggest and the baddest in Japan for this event to show of the fighting spirit to the fullest. Takayama is known for being a straight up brute in the ring, he is known for his devastating knees and strength. He may not be the best looking guy in Japan, but that is him showing his battle scares for his love for being a fighter. This match will be a fight and I expect this match to show why ZERO1 was formed and why it still stands today.
This is a solid card and looking to be a great event all in all. ZERO1 has been doing very well in my opinion this year and I am hoping that this event does very well for them. I have always enjoyed ZERO1 since their inception, and being a big fan of Shinya of course I would like the promotion. Even following his death the promotion sort of went a bit down, but there was something there. Even know there are a lot of up and coming talent in the promotion from Sai, Sato, Kakinuma, Takanishi & Ueda there is a bright future. Not too many promotions in Japan have a solid new generation like this in the promotion. Even New Japan only has a few young guys coming in at a time. So if anything I recommend people to actually go and pick up a couple ZERO1 shows from IVPvideos.com. Look for talent that you may recognize or just take a shot at some of the resent stuff. If you can get the New Year show from 1/1/2011 I would recommend that one.
I have been promoting this show since the first match was announced as best as I could. Now it is coming down to less than a few days and the show has been getting bigger and better and is already turning out to be the “do not miss” show of the year.
I will be back next week with the results of what happened this weekend and what that means going forward. Each one of these events will be shaping what will be happening this month and next and hopefully you can start getting into Japanese Pro Wrestling as much as I do.
So in the meantime, please follow the Puroresu Spirit Facebook page for all the latest news and happenings. I tend to post early in the morning and at night as I try to work on the Japanese schedule and getting all the news out ASAP. So please check the page daily for all the latest news.
Also my twitter @PuroresuSpirit is there as well and acts as a quicker way to get all the latest happenings as well as some random comments from myself on all thins pro wrestling related.