My views on Pro Wrestling from the East and West

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Spoiling The Illusion: Toukon Edition!

The first big Japense pro-wrestling show of the year was a mixed bag depending on how you look at it. For one thing, it's the first show in a long time that kept the use of outsiders to a minimum, but the card still left much to be desired for.
And then there are the results itself:

Tokyo Dome
46,000 Fans

1. Wataru Inoue & Katsushi Takemura VS Jado & Gedo went to a draw (15:00) when the time limit expired.
2. IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title #1 Contender Match: Jushin Thunder Liger beat Koji Kanemoto (10:30) with a cradle.
3. IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title: Tiger Mask beat Heat (c) (14:17) with a Tiger suplex hold to become the 47th champion.
4. Amaresu Exhibition Match: Yuji Nagata beat Katsuhiko Nagata (5:00) by 15-11.
5. Minoru Suzuki beat Takashi Iizuka (9:45) with a sleeper hold.
6. Satoshi Kojima beat Osamu Nishimura (19:26) with a lariat.
7. Ron Waterman won an 8 Man Ultimate Royal (21:55). Participants: Yuji Nagata, Blue Wolf, Masayuki Naruse, Toru Yano, Manabu Nakanishi, Mitsuya Nagai, Ron Waterman & Dolgorsuren Sumiyabazar
- Round 1: Ron Waterman beat Masayuki Naruse (2:35) by referee stop.
- Round 1: Manabu Nakanishi beat Toru Yano (3:09) with an armlock.
- Round 1: Dolgorsuren Sumiyabazar beat Mitsuya Nagai (5:46) with a shoulder hold.
- Round 1: Yuji Nagata beat Blue Wolf (5:49) with a heel hold.
- Semi Final: Ron Waterman beat Manabu Nakanishi (1:02) with a front neck lock.
- Semi Final: Yuji Nagata beat Dolgorsuren Sumiyabazar (1:53) by referee stop.
- Final: Ron Waterman beat Yuji Nagata (1:41) with a V1 armlock.
8. Dogfight: Masahiro Chono beat Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Riki Choshu (18:07).
- Masahiro Chono beat Riki Choshu (6:34) with a sliding Yakuza kick.
- Masahiro Chono beat Hiroyoshi Tenzan (11:33) with an FTS.
9. IWGP U-30 Openweight Title: Shinsuke Nakamura beat Hiroshi Tanahashi (c) (24:45) with a cross armbreaker to become the 2nd champion.

Inoue & Takemura VS Jado & Gedo in a NONE-TITLE match??? The first, and probably biggest, annual show of NJPW and they make it a NONE TITLE match, only for Inoue & Takemura to appeal for a title match AFTER it goes to a 15-min draw? Didn't they think to appeal for a title match BEFORE the big show? Or did going to a draw boost their confidence somewhat?

Jushin Liger beats Koji Kanemoto in 10 minutes to become No.1 Contender for the IWGP Jr title. You had to have known Tiger Mask was gonna beat HEAT, and he did, when Liger won this because they wouldn't go with the two top heel Jrs on the SAME faction feuding for the title. Unless maybe Liger wanted HEAT to lay down for him ala Hogan/Nash in WCW. It wouldn't be anything short of a miracle if Tiger can get past Liger next, decisively I might add.

Yuji Nagata beat Katsuhiko Nagata in an amaresu exhibition match. Was this a work or a shoot? Maybe the Olympic commitee got the wrong Nagata to represent Japan?

Minoru Suzuki beats Takashi Iizuka. Everyone is groaning about this cause they love Iizuka. Well, the man has been out for a LONG time, so a loss here is no big deal. He can still rebuild himself slowly, and Suzuki needed some kind of credible push going into his GHC title match with Kobashi this weekend after all the jobs he's been doing in NJPW lately.

Satoshi Kojima beats Osamu Nishimura. Said to be one of the best matches of the night. Both men could have been better used on the card, but I'll leave it at that.

Ron "H20" Waterman won the 8-man Ultimate Royal match. This was nothing like what it was described as going to be: an MMA gauntlet. Instead it turned into a mini tournament. And like many other Inoki experiments before this, was said to have bombed according to the live reports. It may have built Waterman up as a monster, but it's how they follow this up that will ultimately determine Waterman's worth to the company (see Josh Barnett).

Chono beats Tenzan and Choshu in straight rounds to win the Dogfight and establish his HHH like dominance over NJPW. They ought to have just let Chono be the man that took the IWGP belt off Sasaki if Tenzan is STILL gonna be his whipping boy. They say it builds for Tenzan's eventual win over Chono, for some reason I DON'T see that happening. Even if Tenzan did get past Chono, then what? EXACTLY. They wouldn't have anything for Tenzan then. Maybe defenses against Waterman or Brock Lesner? Don't think so. I feel Tenzan needed this win, or he shouldn't have been given the belt in the first place. Serves the dumbass right for sticking his nose in other people's business.

Shinsuke Nakamura dethrones Hiroshi Tanahashi for the U-30 title. Is Nakamura gonna seal the title? Cause at his level, only himself, Tanahashi and Shibata are about the ONLY candidates that could win the title.



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