My views on Pro Wrestling from the East and West

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

DSE/Zero-One HUSTLE-4 Results

I know I'm a bit late reporting this show since it happened two days ago, but I thought better late then never.

1. Leonardo Spanky & Kaz Hayashi beat Sonjay Dutt & Josh "The Elvis" Daniels in 10:59 when Spanky used the King of The World on Daniels.

2. Masato Tanaka won a Hardcore Battle Royal in 15:13 beating Steve Corino last with a guitar shot. Order of elimination was Flying Vampire #16 by Tanaka, Tomohiro Ishii eliminated by Kintaro Kanemura, Kanemura eliminated by Steve Corino, Tomoaki Honma eliminated by Corino and Tanaka eliminated Corino.

3. Hustle Kamen beat Super Crazy in 12:29 with a hurricanrana pin

4. Monsieur De Barbarosa & Mark Coleman beat Ryouji Sai & Katsuhisa Fujii in 10:18, Coleman used a modified Northern Lights Bomb for the win.

5. Psycho The Death & Giant Silva beat Toshiaki Kawada & Hirotaka Yokoi in 12:41 when Psycho pinned Yokoi with a small package. Kawada totally shocked everyone here as all the sudden he showed some personality! He even claimed he's willing to change his name to HUSTLE-K when competing in HUSTLE events!

6. Shinya "Hustle King" Hashimoto beat Daio Gama with a triangle choke in 10:24.

7. Wataru Sakata beat Kevin Randleman in 8:27 with a double foot stomp.

8. Naoya Ogawa & Riki Choshu beat Ann Joe (Yoji Anjoh) & Dan "The Buffalo" Bobish in 11:23 when Choshu used a Riki Lariat on Ann Joe.

Just looking at the results tell me this wasn't such a good show compared the HUSTLE-3. Even Takayama who was hyped to be in a match didn't appear. I can commend them on the weirdness of their gimmicks though. Wonder what they'll think up for Choshu? HUSTLE-5 will be held on 9/20 at the Yokohama Arena again.

Credit: Puroresu Power for the results

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Who will beat Kobashi? Pt.2

In part one I took a quick look at the nine men Kobashi successfully defended the GHC Heavyweight title against. Now is my look at who I think stands the best chance of beating the Iron Man who he hasn’t defended against. Bear in mind I also take into account the reported current status of Kobashi’s health, which is said to not be too good.

Takashi Sugiura
- It’s pretty obvious I’m a HUGE Sugiura fan. Being a fan boy aside, Sugiura does indeed have the size to move up into the heavyweight division, unlike other big junior names in the division like Kanemaru and Marufuji. Sugiura also has the talent and power to take on the bigger guys. He’s been compared to Kurt Angle in the past, but that claim is seriously justified! Having him beat Kobashi in his current condition would be very believable, and make any future rematch very interesting. Sugiura can then get over some of NOAH’s undercard (Sano, Honda etc.) to build him up before defending against the big names like Akiyama or Misawa where they could push him as a legitimate main eventer if they give him a win against one of the two. Sugiura is definitely the right man to give a Nakamura like push to.

Mitsuharu Misawa
- Sadly, Misawa is the ONLY logical pick left from the NOAH roster that could beat Kobashi, whether he’s at 100% or not. But having Misawa as a transitional champion before dropping it to someone else really doesn’t sound like a good idea, even though it’s Misawa we’re talking about putting a young guy over. To my knowledge, Misawa hasn’t even been pinned SINCE losing the GHC title to Kobashi over a year ago. Even the aces in NJPW get pinned more than that.

Akira Taue
- I’m playing the sympathy card with Taue. He may indeed be past his prime, but has consistently shown in the past that he can up his game when required. And it wouldn’t be so much of a fluke to have him go over Kobashi for the title, much like the big upset Triple Crown title win over Misawa years ago in All Japan. Rewarding an old veteran like Taue with a big title win while he’s still able would be a nice touch even though just as a transitional stage.

Kensuke Sasaki
- Perhaps the biggest free agent on the market since Takayama, Sasaki has the credentials to be the man that dethrones Kobashi in his current state. It’s also a heck of a dream match and having the excuse that Kobashi was too beat up to take this match would make a future rematch, where both are in top shape, a really strong draw. But so far, there’s no news about Sasaki entering NOAH despite all the indy shows he’s working.

Minoru Suzuki
- There IS talk of Suzuki returning to NOAH, either with Takayama as a tag team, or in a singles run like Nagata had in September last year. And with Kobashi as beat up as he is now (supposedly with internal injuries), it would be a golden opportunity for a submission guy like Suzuki to beat him. It would also be believable (though not an outstanding contest) and Kobashi would have a good excuse for the loss. However, I only see Suzuki as a transitional champion (Like Nagata & Tanahashi as GHC tag champions). Losing the belt to Akiyama or Misawa either on his first defense, or after a V1 over someone like Rikioh, Honda or even fellow ex-shooter Takuma Sano. The downside might be that everyone would look at Suzuki as probably the worst champion since Yoshinari Ogawa!

Toshiaki Kawada
- There has been big talk of a champion vs. champion match, and these two have a heck of a history from their All Japan days, including TWO 60-minute draws in Triple Crown title matches. It’s really doubtful they could go an entertaining 60-minutes in this stage of their careers, but the possibility is there. As well as the chance of Kawada winning the belt off Kobashi. But the possibility of either man winning the top title of the others promotion would ultimately come down to who has the bigger budget to pay of the losing side. Also not a good idea for what I can see.

So there you have it, a few people that stand a good chance of beating Kobashi. There are many other names you could throw into the hat (Tenzan, Mutoh, etc), but while those others would indeed make for some big dream matches, the reality is that they don’t really stand much of a chance as Kobashi has just been TOO dominant. At this rate, ANYONE that beats Kobashi for the GHC heavyweight title would be a surprise. The only other possible scenario to get the belt off Kobashi would be for him to forfeit due to injuries, which would not be good as it does nothing for anybody other than have the title up for grabs.

Kobashi’s goal has been to break Yuji Nagata’s V10 defense record. He’s one defense away from tying the record and two defenses from breaking it. Is Kobashi gonna break the record? Or will someone upset him before then? Only time will tell.


Saturday, July 24, 2004

Zero-One 2004 Fire Festival participants

Zero-One's annual tournament is just around the corner and here are the participants for this year's league:

Block A:
- Satoshi Kojima (2003 Winner)
- Takao Omori
- Hirotaka Yokoi
- Tetsuhiro Kuroda
- Wataru Sakata

Block B:
- Masato Tanaka
- Shinjiro Ohtani
- Shiro Koshinaka
- Kintaro Kanemura
- Kohei Sato

Tour Lineups and Schedule:
7/27 – Iwaki City Gym
1. Fire Festival – Block A: Takao Omori vs. Hirotaka Yokoi
2. Fire Festival – Block B: Kintaro Kanemura vs. Masato Tanaka
3. Fire Festival – Block B: Shiro Koshinaka vs. Kohei Sato
4. Fire Festival – Block A: Satoshi Kojima vs. Tetsuhiro Kuroda

7/29 – Korakuen Hall 1. Fire Festival – Block A: Tetsuhiro Kuroda vs. Hirotaka Yokoi
2. Fire Festival – Block B: Kintaro Kanemura vs. Kohei Sato
3. Fire Festival – Block A: Satoshi Kojima vs. Wataru Sakata
4. Fire Festival – Block B: Shiro Koshinaka vs. Shinjiro Otani

7/30 – Osaka Prefectural Gym #2
1. Fire Festival – Block A: Wataru Sakata vs. Hirotaka Yokoi
2. Fire Festival – Block B: Kintaro Kanemura vs. Shiro Koshinaka
3. Fire Festival – Block A: Tetsuhiro Kuroda vs. Takao Omori
4. Fire Festival – Block B: Shinjiro Otani vs. Masato Tanaka

7/31 – Differ Ariake
1. Fire Festival – Block A: Tetsuhiro Kuroda vs. Wataru Sakata
2. Fire Festival – Block B: Shiro Koshinaka vs. Masato Tanaka
3. Fire Festival – Block A: Satoshi Kojima vs. Takao Omori
4. Fire Festival – Block B: Shinjiro Otani vs. Kohei Sato

8/1 – Korakuen Hall
1. Fire Festival – Block A: Takao Omori vs. Wataru Sakata
2. Fire Festival – Block B: Kohei Sato vs. Masato Tanaka
3. Fire Festival – Block B: Kintaro Kanemura vs. Shinjiro Otani
4. Fire Festival – Block A: Satoshi Kojima vs. Hirotaka Yokoi
5. Fire Festival – Finals: Block A Winner vs. Block B Winner

Looks to be another killer tour with the possible pairings in each block (Ohtani VS Tanaka comes to mind). Will Kojima tie Ohtani with back to back tournament wins? Will Tanaka finally win one? Or will another outsider take take the tourney this year (Omori)? We'll find out in two weeks!

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Sugiura topples the Giant!

Pro Wrestling NOAH's Takashi Sugiura won his PRIDE Bushido 4 fight against Giant Silva by referee stop on Sunday, as he managed to ground the Giant and lay into him with heavy shots until the referee stop the match in the middle of the first round. Suguira tried to cut a promo after the fight, and Silva tried to attack him! Silva was held back by his cornerman as Sugiura shouted "I'm a pro-wrestler too!" Could this lead to a possible pro-wrestling confrontation between the two?


Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Who will beat Kobashi? Part 1

Of all the pro-wrestling world champions in the world today, none have been more dominant than Pro-Wrestling NOAH’s GHC Heavyweight Champion, Kenta Kobashi. WWE can brag about Randy Orton’s 7 month reign as Intercontinental champion, but it just pales in comparison to the current 16 month reign and 9 DECISIVE championship defenses of Kobashi.
Compared with other major Puroresu feds at the moment, New Japan seem to be having trouble just keeping a stable champion without being plagued by injuries or going MIA. Zero-One doesn’t even have a world singles champion, and only All Japan’s Toshiaki Kawada can match Kobashi’s reign with 5 successive title defenses in the past 8 months of his title run, though the caliber of his challengers compared to Kobashi’s could be debated.
Ever since NOAH’s big DEPARTURE Tokyo Dome show where Kobashi defeated Akiyama, everyone’s been scratching their head wondering who will be the person that gets the golden push of beating the tetsujin (iron man) of NOAH? I’d thought I’d toss my two cents in with who I think could get the job done and why. However, I’ll be dividing up this article into two parts: First, I take a look at the nine men Kobashi has already defeated, and in part 2, I make my predictions of who could dethrone the Grand Sword.

One thing Kobashi and NJPW ace Yuji Nagata’s long title reigns have in common is that they never defended their world championships against the same guy twice. I thought I would first take a look at Kobashi’s first nine challengers and see who would be worthy of a rematch with the best chance of winning the title of Kobashi.

V1 – Tamon Honda
- The whole point of this match was to build up Honda and bring him into the main event picture. And Honda earned it big time in this match! It led to Honda getting a good semi-main event push and a GHC tag title run with Kobashi as his partner. Honda has since seen his push dwindle, and at his age it probably wouldn’t do much good if he did win the title.

V2 – Masahiro Chono
- The first big challenger to Kobashi’s title, many have debated how different this match could have been if not for Chono’s leg injury. I myself would love to see a rematch with Chono now at 100%, and with his new evil attitude, a really intense battle could ensue! Chono would still not beat Kobashi, but the rematch would definitely be good and catch the interest of many.

V3 – Bison Smith
- The only other gaijin to ever challenge for the GHC Heavyweight Championship other than Vader. However, Bison’s monster foreigner push has hit a dead end as he isn’t even being used in NOAH anymore. A sad shame really.

V4 – Yuji Nagata
- I’ll admit I was a bit disappointed in Nagata’s performance here, but they still pulled off a good match. The chances of seeing Nagata in NOAH again are really slim as by his own admittance he’s concentrating more on his home turf of NJPW. I’d welcome a rematch, as long as Nagata steps up his game from their previous encounter.

V5 – Yoshinari Ogawa
- The smallest guy to challenge Kobashi, and the guy it took the champion the LONGEST to beat! It was a failed experiment when Ogawa won the title off Akiyama the first time and it would be another really bad idea if Ogawa were to be the man that took the belt off Kobashi.

V6 – Takuma Sano
- Like Bison, Sano was a true darkhorse going into this match and I still have a strong interest to watch it along with the Bison defense. Sano is one of those guys I truly believe can be pushed to be the next ace. He has a good look and can work a good match. But now might still not be the time for him to rise to the top.

V7 – Takeshi Rikioh
- With his partner Morishima on the sidelines with a leg injury, Misawa is pushing Rikioh into more singles matches, which will be good in building up Rikioh. He supposedly had a excellent showing against Kobashi, and will most probably one day be the flag bearer in NOAH and feuding with his WILD II mate, Morishima.

V8 – Yoshihiro Takayama
- Probably the best of Kobashi’s defenses I’ve seen for myself. Takayama is already a certified main eventer and a big name draw. He really came close on 4/25 to beating Kobashi, and should he get a rematch and defeat the iron man, I really wouldn’t have a problem with it.

V9 – Jun Akiyama
- This real brain-bender of 7/10 was Kobashi retaining the title over who EVERYONE and their grandma thought would dethrone him. The question now is how credible would Akiyama’s win be now if he beat Kobashi for the title? A rematch fresh off the Dome would be too soon, and then there’s the matter of Kobashi’s health. Unfortunately, now is not the time for Akiyama to be champion as his momentum has ran straight into a brick wall.

Coming Soon: Part 2 – My picks for who could get the job done.


Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Takashi Sugiura = Giant Killer?

It's been announced that NOAH's Takashi Sugiura will take on Giant Silva at PRIDE's Bushido 4 show. For those who are wondering, Sugiura is no stranger to MMA fights and holds a Draw decision over Daniel Gracie, who incidentally defeated NJPW Supernova Shinsuke Nakamura several months later!
All I can say is that I hope Sugiura wins his fight against the big man and is then considered in title contention to challenge Kenta Kobashi for the GHC Title. Heck, I'd even pull for him to be the man that beats Kobashi for the title ala Shinsuke Nakamura over Hiroyoshi Tenzan! Sugiura definately has all the tools and almost the size to make the transition to the heavyweight division. It would also be a step in the right direction to finally push a new ace in NOAH after the seemingly failed Tamon Honda push.


Monday, July 12, 2004

WWE Vengeance PPV Results

The opening built up the main event better than they actually did on RAW all month!

Garrison Cade & Jonathan Coachman VS Tajiri & Rhyno
Last minute match made on Heat where Coach & Tajiri got to choose their own partners. Pretty much predictable Rhyno would be Tajiri’s partner. This was shockingly GOOD!!! I hate to say it, but if Coach worked on his ring skills a bit, he could really be a contender. Great ending sequence of the match saw Coach duck Tajiri’s mist, but Cade took all of it right in the face! Even his hair turned green like the Hurricane! Coach then dodges the Gore, but Cade again took the direct hit from Rhyno (the whole arena shouted GORE!!!). Coach checks on Cade and turns around to finally take Tajiri’s wicked head kick finisher to give Tajiri the win, and end Coach’s PPV undefeated streak. This was a really fun opener that got the fans riled up for the night.
Match Rating: ***

Backstage, Evolution question Triple H’s decisions about keeping Eugene around. HHH notices Eugene is missing and goes looking for him and finds him talking with Chris Benoit, who warns Eugene to be careful about HHH & Evolution.

Chris Jericho VS Batista
Suprisingly good back and forth match. Batista attacked Jericho’s back throughout the match. Crowd was actually into Batista. Finish saw Batista hit his sit out powerbomb finisher and gets the win, but the referee didn’t see Jericho’s leg on the rope.
Match Rating: ***

The brainwashing of Eugene continues as HHH tells Eugene everything Benoit says were all lies. He then bribes ‘Gene with a ‘gift’, as Flair reluctantly presents him with one of his signature robes.

La Resistance VS Ric Flair & Eugene – World Tag Team Titles
Eugene starts off the match stealing all of Flair’s mannerisms, even down to how he collapses which didn’t sit well with Flair. Flair tags in and goes to school on La Resistance till the tag champs get the advantage back on Flair. Flair rallies back and tries for a tag, but Conway attacks Eugene on the outside, which causes him to snap and attack the tag champs, hitting a Stunner, a Rock Bottom and a People’s Elbow before getting disqualified for hitting the referee. This was a good match too and Flair didn’t look as vulnerable as he did in the past.
Match Rating: ***

Quote of the night from King as he says, making reference to Matt Hardy, that a lot of people in WWE have been making a lot of bad decisions lately. How true…

Kane VS Matt Hardy – No Disqualification, No Count Out Match
Kane overpowers Hardy early on. Hardy gets the advantage as Kane gets knocked off the apron and his leg gets caught between the ropes. Kane powers back, but Hardy counters the Tombstone into a Twist of Fate! Kane comes back and hits the chokeslam on Hardy. Kane grabs the ring steps, but Lita runs in and begs off Kane. Kane gets her out of the ring and picks up the steps again, but gets the steps whacked into his face by Matt with a steel chair! Matt covers and gets the win!
Match Rating: **

Lita tries to talk to Matt backstage, but Matt tells her to stay away from the ring since she’s pregnant.

Edge VS Randy Orton – Intercontinental Title
Fans actually chant for Orton and boo Edge during the match. Great back and forth match again. Edge hits the Edge-Cution, which he hasn’t used in a long while, and Orton kicks out. Orton removes the corner pad, but pays for it as he gets whipped into it himself and Edge hits the spear to win the title and finally dethrone the long reigning champion. Crowd cheers the win, but starts booing again and sing the goodbye song to Orton, who looks like he’s about to cry. Match of the night so far.
Match Rating: ***1/2

Molly Holly VS Victoria – Women’s Title No.1 Contenders Match
Molly focused her attack on Victoria’s left shoulder. Victoria rallies back and tries for the Widow’s Peak, but can’t hold Molly due to the bad arm. Victoria picks up the win with a sick superkick out of nowhere, knocking out Molly to become no.1 contender.
Match Rating: **

Triple H VS Chris Benoit – World Heavyweight Title
It’s only 10:08 as Benoit steps into the ring, so I’m guessing we’re in for another LOOONNGG main event. Some mat work to start off before HHH takes control. HHH attacks Benoit’s sternum, relentlessly ramming him chest first into the corner several times, as well as using gordbuster suplexes. Benoit counters a Pedigree into a sharpshooter, then hits the triple German. HHH rolls out of the ring and Benoit follows through with a suicide dive ala Mitsuharu Misawa! Back in the ring, HHH takes out the ref and calls out Eugene! Benoit locks on the Crossface as Eugene comes out. Benoit screams at Eugene to get the referee, but Eugene gets on the apron instead forcing Benoit to knock him off the apron, not taking any chances. HHH takes advantage and hits a low blow followed by the Pedigree. The referee revives and only counts two as Benoit kicks out. HHH screams at Eugene to get a chair and he does, but refuses to give it to HHH, causing HHH to knock him off the apron to get the chair. Benoit rallies back and hits HHH with the chair, as well as Flair and Batista who try to help HHH. Benoit hesitates as Eugene gets in the ring. HHH takes down Benoit and as both men are down, Eugene picks up the chair and can’t decide whether to hit Benoit or HHH, Benoit gets up and struggles with Eugene to get the chair. As HHH gets up, Benoit releases his grip and Eugene’s momentum causes him to hit HHH with the chair! Benoit rolls up HHH and the referee counts three for Benoit to retain the title!
Show ends with HHH looking really pissed at Eugene for costing him the title as his master plan backfired. Eugene looks scared and concerened.
Match Rating: ****

Overall: Another RAW PPV with poor buildup, but the match quality more than made up for it. Lots of great ring work throughout and the live crowd was into every match. Great show!

Sunday, July 11, 2004

WWE Vengeance PPV Predictions

WWE pulled a Great American Bash by only having 5 matches announced a week before the PPV, most were made that last week too and one announced just yesterday! Most probably a match or two will be thrown in at the PPV tomorrow, or we’re in for a LONG night of bad promos and segments.

Chris Benoit VS Triple H – World Heavyweight Championship
- I hate to say it, but with Eddie Guerrero losing the WWE Title to John Bradshaw Leyfield, the chances of HHH winning the title here are VERY high, especially when you bring in the Eugene factor. Add to the fact that they haven’t done ANYTHING with Benoit to get him over in the past few weeks. HHH was all over the place, and the only time we’ve seen Benoit was when he had to come out and wrestle. Heck, they had Edge come out to confront HHH on RAW instead of Benoit. The flipside would be Eugene accidentally costing HHH the title, but Benoit has no one left to feud with at the moment. Therefore, as much as I hate to call it, HHH wins the title for the umpteenth time with help from Eugene.

Randy Orton VS Edge – Intercontinental Championship
- Orton is the longest running IC champ in a while, and Edge is on a hot streak. Edge has pledged to take out Evolution one by one starting with Orton. Will he get the job done? I hate to say it, but NO. With HHH destined to win back the World Title, Evolution will once again dominate RAW (and it’s air time), and Edge together with Jericho and Benoit will be the trio chasing after them. Orton will win after interference like always.

La Resistance VS Ric Flair & Eugene – World Tag Team Championship
- I’ll admit this is gonna be a bit tough to call, as having Eugene and Flair hold the tag titles would keep Eugene in Evolution longer, hence HHH gets more heat off him. On the other hand, it would also kill all the momentum Rhyno had as he’s been chasing La Resistance for the past two weeks with different partners, and having him beat them after they lose the straps brings down the value of the win. Therefore, I’ll go against my better judgment (something WWE does often) and pick the tag champs to retain.

Batista VS Chris Jericho
- Jericho wins. What would the point be of him NOT winning?

Matt Hardy VS Kane – No Disqualification Match
- Doesn’t this sound familiar? Kane goes on a unstoppable rampage, but gets stopped by the little guy in a No DQ match, Last Man Standing match, etc. So I guess Matt is gonna win here. I also expect Lita to take some kind of bump that will cause her to miscarriage the hellspa…er, baby, OR after Matt wins the uphill battle, Lita comes out and says Kane is the father of their troubles.

Molly Holly VS Victoria
- Nidia beat both these gals on RAW for a number one contendership, yet these two are the ones on PPV? Could be worse I guess. Victoria wins since there’s no logic in having Molly win to face a heel Trish Stratus. Then again, WWE doesn’t believe in logic…

NOAH DEPARTURE Tokyo Dome Results

NOAH claimed an attendance of 58,000. Interesting since ticket sales for the show 3 days ago was only up to 20,000….

1. Mitsuo Momota defeated Haruka Eigen in 8:03 with a reverse cradle. Ok, So this one went a little longer than expected.

2. Tamon Honda, Jun Izumida, & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi defeated Masao Inoue, Kishin Kawabata, & Masaji Aoyagi in 10:58 when Izumida pinned Kawabata after the Mukado Domu.

3. Michael Modest & Donovan Morgan defeated Kotaro Suzuki & Ricky Marvin in 11:55 when Morgan used his "Day After Tomorrow" finisher on Marvin for the win. After the match, Modest & Morgan challenged whoever won the GHC Jr. Tag Titles later on in the show.

4. Scorpio & Richard Slinger defeated Akitoshi Saito & Makoto Hashi in 16:44 when Slinger used his "Chattanooga Choo-Choo" on Hashi for the win.

5. Akira Taue & Naoki Sano defeated Daisuke Ikeda & Mohammed Yone in 10:49 when Sano used an avalanche-style (off the ropes) Northern Lights Suplex hold on Yone for the win.

6. GHC Jr. Tag Titles Match: Naomichi Marufuji & KENTA defeated Kendo Ka Shin & Takashi Sugiura in 22:26 when Marufuji used a top-rope shiranui on Sugiura for the win. As expected, KaShin was his old useless self and even heeled his own partner, Sugiura.

7. GHC Jr. Title match: Yoshinobu Kanemaru defeated Jushin Liger in 17:36 two brainbusters.

8. IWGP Tag Titles Match: Yoshihiro Takayama & Minoru Suzuki defeated Takeshi Rikio & Takeshi Morishima in 12:55 when Takayama used his Everest German Suplex Hold on Morishima for the win. This was said to be a very one-sided match in favor of the champions.

9. GHC Tag Titles Match: Mitsuharu Misawa & Yoshinari Ogawa defeated Keiji Mutoh & Taiyo Kea in 21:46 when Misawa used two Emerald Frosions on Kea for the win.

10. GHC Title Match: Kenta Kobashi defeated Jun Akiyama in 35:34 with the Burning Hammer.

So the question on everybody’s mind now is who the heck is gonna beat Kobashi for the GHC Title??? This was NOT the way NOAH should have ended their first Dome show. Misawa put over Kawada in their first and only Dome meeting in ’98 after years of Kawada chasing that big singles victory. I don’t see the point of having Kobashi retain the title here. Unless Misawa is looking to win back the title then drop it to Akiyama, which is no where near what everyone wanted to see here TONIGHT. It wouldn’t be much of a big deal if this was the Budokan, but this was the TOKYO DOME! I guess this kinda serves Akiyama right too for totally looking past Kobashi and targeting to also win the Triple Crown from Kawada in October. It’ll be interesting to see where the title picture goes from here, and it’s almost a sure bet NOAH won’t be running the Dome again anytime soon.
Hopefully the tape of the show will be out soon so I can get a first hand look of the whole show.

Credit: Strong Style Spirit and Puroresu Power


Thursday, July 08, 2004

NOAH DEPARTURE Tokyo Dome Predictions

Two days away from the biggest show of Pro Wrestling NOAH's short four year history. I thought I'd give my predictions and thoughts for the card.

Mitsuo Momota VS Haruka Eigen
- This is the only singles match on the card that doesn't involve a championship. I would preferably have put these two in a tag match or not on at all, since singles matches between these two rarely even go 10 minutes, or even 5 for that matter. I say Momota wins at 6 min with a running backslide.

Tamon Honda, Jun Izumuda & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi VS Masao Inoue, Kishin Kawabata & Masaji Aoyagi
- This is definately not gonna be pretty. If there were 2 guys that didn't need to be on the show, it would probably be Kawabata and Aoyagi. Honda and Kikuchi have had high profile matches in the past, but both have seen that push dwindle. I definately would have booked Honda higher up on the card. Honda, Izu & Kikuchi win this one.

Kotaro Suzuki & Ricky Marvin VS Michael Modest & Donovan Morgan
- This should be interesting. Young rookie team of Suzuki & Marvin take on the veteran Pro Wrestling Iron team of Modest & Morgan. Like the previous three matches, this would have been no big loss to leave out of the show. The PWI team will get the win, Modest with the Reality Check on Marvin.

Akitoshi Saito & Makoto Hashi VS Scorpio & Richard Slinger
- Another match with nothing going for it. I don’t know if Hashi is still trying to prove his worth as a Sterness member. I would have preferred if Misawa brought back Vader to team with Scorpio for this one. Saito pins Slinger to give the Sterness team the win.

Akira Taue & Takuma Sano VS Daisuke Ikeda & Mohammed Yone
- This one should at least be interesting to watch. Ikeda is the only champion not defending his title. Taue may be aging, but can still step up when required, though I still expect Sano to work most of the match. I expect this to be the one match that has break out potential. Yone has improved a lot and this could be his night to shine. I predict Ikeda & Yone to win this, Yone pinning Sano.

Naomichi Marufuji & KENTA VS Kendo KaShin & Takashi Sugiura – GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Titles
- I have high expectations for this match. Three of the best junior heavyweights in Japan are in this match, and KaShin ISN’T one of them. I expect to see KaShin hanging back and letting Sugiura do all the work. It remains to be seen if KaShin’s cheap tactics would be the downfall of the unstoppable champion team. But I’ll still go with the champions to retain cause I don’t even want to fanthom KaShin holding a GHC title of any kind!

Jushin Thunder Liger VS Yoshinobu Kanemaru – GHC Junior Heavyweight Title
- Is NOAH’s junior ace, Kanemaru, the man to beat Liger and bring home the gold? Many say yes, but the few that don’t bring up the valid point of having Marufuji do it on a main event scale. But since Liger recently aligned himself with the rudo team of Jado, Gedo & Takemura, you can probably expect a lot of cheating if they accompany Liger on 7/10. I seriously hope they don’t turn this into a New Japan match with all the outside interference. And I still go with Kanemaru bringing home the gold.

Yoshihiro Takayama & Minoru Suzuki VS Takeshi Morishima & Takeshi Rikioh – IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Titles
- New Japan are running a big show on 7/18, with the winners of this match scheduled to defend the IWGP tag titles against Kensuke Sasaki & Jushin Liger. Therefore, the chance of WILD II actually winning the titles and losing them a week later is a possibility to be considered. Takayama holds single victories over both Takeshis, and Suzuki would probably be weak link since he’s the smallest man in the match. I do think WILD II can win this and become the shocker of the night, but reality probably sees the champs retaining, which is what I’m going with.

Mitsuharu Misawa & Yoshinari Ogawa VS Keiji Mutoh & Taiyo Kea – GHC Tag Team Titles
- The main selling point of this match will definitely be the first ever in ring meeting of Misawa & Mutoh. Misawa has already squared off with the other two of NJPW’s Musketeers, and Kea is no stranger to Misawa & Ogawa. I don’t expect this to be fast paced, and I also expect this to go a while, probably as long as the main event. But my hopes for this one aren’t very high. The tag champs retain when Misawa Tiger Driver 91s Kea, but expect Kea to hit him with it first!

Kenta Kobashi VS Jun Akiyama – GHC Heavyweight Championship
- It’s pretty obvious Akiyama is gonna win this one, cause if he doesn’t, then there’s NO ONE left to stop Kobashi, save maybe Misawa, but I don’t see that happening. These two are one-and-one for singles matches in NOAH, and Akiyama never beat Kobashi in All Japan. The story of this match will definitely be how Akiyama beats Kobashi. And expect this match to go at least 25 minutes.

Final Thoughts: At the moment, NOAH’s first Dome show is not drawing the attention it should be. Why? Look at the undercard and it shouldn’t be too hard to tell. If you know NOAH’s history, this could be written off as just another Budokan event. Much like All Japan’s first Dome show in ’98 that was headlined by Misawa VS Kawada, only the main events are catching press. Everything else is forgettable. But I’m still looking forward to this, and hope it’s successful enough to warrant a 2nd Dome show in the future.


Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Random Puroresu News

G1 CLIMAX 2004 Participants Announced
16 names have been announced for this year's G1 as well as the block arrangements. Noticibly both blocks have a ton of big name talent involved. It will be really interesting to see how it plays out this year. Will Tenzan win two straight years in a row? Will Supernova Nakamura once again prove he 'for real' and not a fluke? Will an outsider win the G1? Will someone take out Yasuda and put Yoshie in before the tour kicks off? All questions will be answered when the G1 tour commences on 8/7/04!

Block A
1. Yuji Nagata (6th participation, 2001 winner)
2. Shinsuke Nakamura (2nd participation)
3. Tadao Yasuda (8th participation)
4. Blue Wolf (1st participation)
5. Masahiro Chono (14th participation, 1991, 1992, 1994 & 2002 winner)
6. Katsuyori Shibata (2nd participation)
7. Genichiro Tenryu (2nd participation)
8. Minoru Suzuki (1st participation)

Block B
1. Hiroyoshi Tenzan (10th participation, 2003 winner)
2. Osamu Nishimura (6th participation)
3. Hiroshi Tanahashi (3rd participation)
4. Koji Kanemoto (1st participation)
5. Manabu Nakanishi (8th participation, 1999 winner)
6. Kazunari Murakami (2nd participation)
7. Kensuke Sasaki (10th participation, 1997 & 2000 winner)
8. Yoshihiro Takayama (3rd participation)

Liger out-rudos the Kishiwada Gurentai
Jushin Thunder Liger shocked many on 7/3 when at the Delfin Arena when he brought out Gedo, Jado & Katsushi Takemura to battle Osaka Pro's ruling rudo team of Big Boss MA-G-MA, Daio QUALLT, Goa and Black Buffalo. Gedo scored the pin on Goa with the Superfly splash at 10:20. MA-G-MA was majorly pissed at the loss as he was expecting Liger to recruit his good friends El Samurai, Koji Kanemoto and Wataru Inoue. Is the feud over? I hope not!
Full results of the show:
1. Gamma beat Perro (7:34) with the Flashback.
2. Tsubasa & Billy Ken Kid beat Miracle Man & Masato Matoba (9:46) when Kid used a Koumori Tsuri otoshi on Matoba.
3. YUTAKA beat Tigers Mask (14:20) with a jumping high kick.
4. Three Way Match: Ebessan beat Super Delfin & Kuishinbo Kamen (11:38) with a single-leg crab hold on Kamen.
5. Jushin Thunder Liger , Jado , Gedo & Katsushi Takemura beat Big Boss MA-G-MA, Daio QUALLT, Goa & Black Buffalo (10:20) when Gedo used a Superfly splash on Goa.

Credit: Strong Style Spirit

WWE RAW in Winnipeg

Bischoff is on vacation this week and left Eugene in charge! Show starts with Tajiri, Coach, Tyson Tomko, Stacy Kiebler, Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler, Ric Flair and Chris Jericho in the ring with a bunch of chairs setup. Interim GM Eugene comes out and announces the winner of a round of musical chairs will get a title match tonight!
Tajiri was first eliminated, but sprayed Coach with a mouthful of green mist, causing Coach to lose the next round. Lawler was next up and tried to cop a feel of Stacy before leaving. Stacy was next out as Flair shoved her out of the way after styling and profiling. Flair styled too much and was next out. Jericho won the game as he yanked the chair out from Tomko before he could sit down and smacked him with the chair to out him from the ring. Eugene announced Y2 J as the winner and said he will get a Intercontinental Title match tonight!

La Resistance beat Rhyno & Val Venis with the Aur Revoir on Venis. Looks like Rhyno is gonna keep switching partners before he finally wins the big one with the right partner.

Randy Orton, Batista & Ric Flair on their way to Eugene’s ‘office’. It turns out to be a play pen! Eugene tells them that Batista will face Kane tonight and at Vengeance La Resistance will defend the tag titles against the team of Ric Flair and EUGENE!!! Flair flips out and has to be held back by Batista & Orton!

HHH comes out and start rambling about how he’s gonna dethrone Benoit at Vengeance. Edge interrupts and says he’s gonna be the man to stand up to Evolution and take them out one by one starting with Orton at Vengeance. The two start going at it and Edge has the advantage, but runs off as Evolution rush the ring. Edge gets a shot in on Orton before leaving through the audience.

Batista beat Kane by DQ. It’s announced Kane faces Matt Hardy at Vengeance in a No Disqualification Match. This match was getting good as the two big men went at it till Matt Hardy came out and beat on Kane, ramming his head repeatedly into the steel steps.

Highlights of the LA leg of the RAW Divas Search. Wouldn’t they be better off spending their $250,000 on getting an actual wrestler?

Randy Orton retains the IC Title against Y2J in a very good, long match. Finish sees Y2J lock on the Walls of Jericho, but gets distracted by Batista, giving Orton a chance to steal the win rolling up Jericho with his feet on the ropes.

HHH jumping around with Eugene in his ‘office’, stating a deal has been made. HHH rolls out and is dizzy from all the jumping as Flair comes into the picture. HHH says they’ve made a handicap main event for tonight, HHH, Flair & Eugene VS Edge & Benoit.

Nidia beat Molly Holly and Victoria in a 3-way pole match. Trish Stratus was on guest commentary, doing a very poor job. Trish has a big cast on her hand. This match was carried by Molly & Victoria, but Nidia stole it in the end.
Trish makes her way to the ring and tells Nidia she gets a title shot at Trish’s title when Trish feels she’s ready. Trish then knocks out Nidia with her cast, then claiming she’s ready, asking the referee to start the match! Trish gets an easy pin to ‘retain’ the title.
Backstage, Trish brags with Tomko about her win, then runs into Lita. She’s tells Lita it’s ironic the fans call her (Trish) a slut after what Lita’s been doing recently.

HHH fires up Eugene backstage for their match, spreading the propaganda of how Edge is also after him since he’s a member of Evolution.

Main event sees HHH, Flair & Eugene beat Benoit & Edge when HHH pinned Benoit with the Pedigree after Eugene reluctantly hit Benoit with a steel chair. Another good, lengthy tag match. Telling the story of how Benoit & Edge refused to attack Eugene, and Evolution taking advantage of it.

Current matches for Vengeance:
Triple H VS Chris Benoit – World Heavyweight Title
Edge VS Randy Orton – Intercontinental Title
Ric Flair & Eugene VS La Resistance – World Tag Team Titles
Kane VS Matt Hardy – No Disqualification
Batista VS Chris Jericho

Saturday, July 03, 2004

Gone, but he still holds the gold!

One half of the All Japan tag team champions, Kendo KaShin, has been fired from All Japan. However, he's STILL one half of the tag champions, his partner being New Japan ace Yuji Nagata. At this point KaShin is not scheduled to compete in All Japan's July tour, but if he does it's as a freelancer. Personally, I think if they were gonna fire him, they should also have stripped him of the tag belts like they did the Jr title when he walked out on the company a few months back.
Seriously, I HATE KaShin. There, I said it. Why? I have yet to see him have an entertaining match, and His attitude (gimmick or not) SUCKS! The guy always thinks he's such a big shot cause he won a few MMA matches. And remember when he walked out on AJPW cause he complained about Mutoh's booking decisions? He sure came back in a hurry to protest getting stripped of the AJPW Jr Title, which he had a strangle hold on for almost TWO YEARS! How Nagata can stand being around him is beyond me. KaShin has been known to abuse his tag partners who he considers are lower down the food chain from him, but the guy is smart enough not to piss off Nagata, instead influencing him to do his dirty work (his quest to unify the IWGP & AJPW Tag Titles). I'm really interested to see how he functions with Ebessan when they tagged together on the last tour.
Right now I'm hoping KENTA uses KaShin's head as a kicking post when they clash at the NOAH Tokyo Dome show for the GHC Jr Tag Titles. And I hope to NEVER see KaShin soil a NOAH ring with his presence ever again after that. Unless it's for Kobashi to drive through the mat with a Burning Hammer or Diamondhead.