My views on Pro Wrestling from the East and West

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

New IWGP Champion!

Hiroshi Tanahashi finally rose to the top of New Japan Pro Wrestling yesterday winning a 1 night 6-man tournament to become the 45th IWGP heavyweight champion! Tanahashi was originally scheduled to face champion Brock Lesner for the title, but due to "visa problems", Brock was unable to make it and was stripped of the title leading to the last minute card change and the tournament.

Tsukisamu Green Dome
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1. Takashi Uwano, Taichi Ishikari & Mitsuhide Hirasawa beat Takashi Iizuka, Yujiro & Tetsuya Naito (11:37) when Hirasawa used a chickenwing armlock on Naito.
2. IWGP Heavyweight Title Tournament - Round 1: Akebono beat Hiroyoshi Tenzan (6:55) with a running body press.
3. IWGP Heavyweight Title Tournament - Round 1: Yuji Nagata beat Travis Tomko (7:48) with a backdrop hold.
4. Koji Kanemoto, Negro Casas, Ryusuke Taguchi & Prince Devitt beat Minoru, Jushin Thunder Liger, Jado & Gedo (10:35) when Kanemoto used a Tiger suplex hold on Minoru.
5. Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii beat Riki Choshu & Naofumi Yamamoto (10:38) when Yano used the Oni Koroshi on Yamamoto.
6. IWGP Heavyweight Title Tournament - Semi Final: Giant Bernard beat Akebono (4:45) with a horizontal cradle.
7. IWGP Heavyweight Title Tournament - Semi Final: Hiroshi Tanahashi beat Yuji Nagata (13:46) with a ground Cobra Twist.
8. NWA Jr. Heavyweight Title: Tiger Mask © beat Wataru Inoue (12:13) with a Tiger suplex hold (2nd defense).
9. IWGP Provisional Tag Team Title: Manabu Nakanishi & Takao Omori beat Shiro Koshinaka & Togi Makabe © (15:17) when Nakanishi used the Hercules Cutter on Makabe to become the new champions.
10. IWGP Heavyweight Title: Hiroshi Tanahashi beat Giant Bernard (17:44) with the Sling Blade to become the 45th champion.

Hopefully the lesson NJPW learns from this is to FINALLY put their own talent ahead of outsiders and quit with the "We must have the strongest champion" mentality. And if they are serious about Tanahashi being champion, they better start lining up quality opponents for him to defend against to bring back credibility to the title. And as for Tanahashi, lets hope he can carry the mantle of being champion both in and out of the ring and be a believable champion, not one that scrapes by on flash-pinfalls and such like he's known for. Drop the friggin' Sling Blade and find yourself a FINISHER already.



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