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Rising Sun Soliloquy Newsletter #23 - Wrestleview.com

Rising Sun Soliloquy Newsletter #23

Rising Sun Soliloquy Newsletter #23
May 6, 2009
By: Hunter Golden of WrestleView.com


New Japan Pro Wrestling

Korakuen Double Header Brings Shocking Title Change

In perhaps the biggest upset in some time in New Japan, Manabu Nakanishi defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi to become the 51st IWGP Heavyweight Champion at the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo last night.

Nakanishi has been the epitome of 'underachiever' in his career. His initial signing in the mid 90s created a lot of buzz, as Nakanishi competed in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. He came to the US to compete in WCW under the name of Kurasawa and was managed by Col. Parker. He was perhaps best known for being the man who broke Road Warrior Hawk's arm.

Upon returning to Japan in 1998, Nakanishi received a pretty substantial push, and won the 1999 G1 Climax Tournament. Despite his loss to Keiji Mutoh a few months later at the Tokyo Dome, it was still believed that Nakanishi would be THE guy heading into the next Chapter of New Japan history. For various reasons and thanks largely to the big power shake up in New Japan, it never came to pass. There was some brief talk in 2000/2001 of giving him the ball to run with, but for whatever reason it never panned out. Now at the age of 41, Nakanishi will now have his chance.

Tanahashi's run was beginning to border on super-push, as he defeated Keji Mutoh, Shinsuke Nakamura, Kurt Angle and Hirooki Gotoh all in succession, with Yuji Nagata, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Togi Makabe and Giant Bernard all out there as other prospective challengers in addition to the NOAH invaders, of which they hinted at the possibility of a Tanahashi-Takeshi Morishima title match on Monday night at the first night's show.

This move of course, is a huge change in direction, but was said to have been planned as a big shock as long as two months ago. Feelings about the move however, are pretty divided, with the wrestlers not thinking that while they are very happy that Nakanishi is finally getting his shot, they were skeptical of his ability to be able to carry the ball in any long term sort of situation, given the fact that on the main event scale, he's probably the last run on the ladder. Management thinks they've got a good champion for now, considering they're looking to have some title matches that involve NOAH superstars and that Nakanishi will look more vulnerable to defeat than Tanahashi would.

What happens certainly remains to be seen.

Believe it or not, there WAS a card that preceeded the main event, highlighted by a said to be fun Falls Count Anywhere Match between Wataru Inoue & Tomohiro Ishii and then an IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship match, which saw Tiger mask defeat Black Tiger with a destroyer suplex.

NJPW ?DISSIDENCE?, 5/6/09 (SXW)
Tokyo Korakuen Hall
2,005 Fans?- Super No Vacancy Full House

0. Jushin Thunder Liger, Koji Kanemoto & AKIRA beat Mitsuhide Hirasawa, Kazuchika Okada & Nobuo Yoshihashi?(4:53)?when AKIRA used a Musasabi press on Yoshihashi.
1. Ryusuke Taguchi & Prince Devitt beat Milano Collection AT & Taichi?(11:27)?when Devitt used a brainbuster on Taichi.
2. Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma beat Karl Anderson & Jado?(5:14)?when Makabe used a top rope King Kong kneedrop on Jado.
3. Shinsuke Nakamura, Toru Yano & Giant Bernard beat Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Yuji Nagata & Super Strong Machine?(9:32)?when Nakamura used the Landslide on Tenzan.
4.?IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title: Tiger Mask (c) beat Black Tiger?(10:12)?with a Destroy suplex hold (3rd defense).
5.?Special Singles Match - Rule of Dissidence: Hirooki Goto beat Takao Omori?(11:33)?with a modified armlock.
6.?Falls Count Anywhere Match: Wataru Inoue beat Tomohiro Ishii?(24:31)?with the Oracion Flame.
7.?IWGP Heavyweight Title: Manabu Nakanishi beat Hiroshi Tanahashi (c)?(21:42)?with a German suplex hold to become the 51st champion.

NIGHT ONE~

The first night of the big Korakuen double shot was a total sell out, and there was even standing room admission offered. This show and the whole weekend for that matter, was looking like a total disaster this time last week. Mistico, Mephisto and others were slated to come in to be the central attractions on the show, but due to the Swine Flu break out in Mexico, it squashed any chances of that happening. The company hit the bricks late last Wednesday afternoon and called up their newfound friends at Pro Wrestling NOAH and were able to book a pretty fantastic tag team match up for their main event.

The emphasis was shifted off of the CMLL stars and turned into an extension of the Pro Wrestling NOAH (& DDT) against New Japan. The headlining match featured the New Japan team of IWGP Heavyweight Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi & Koji Kanemoto taking on the tandem of Takeshi Morishima and Indy Star Kota Ibushi in the main event. The match was said to have a very hot crowd, with the ending coming when Morishima beat Kanemoto to the point where he couldn't continue, giving the invaders the win for the night thanks to the official stopping the match. Things didn't get any better for New Japan, as they also dropped their other match against NOAH that night, as Takashi Sugiura teamed with Atsushi Aoki and they were able to defeat Hirooki Gotoh & Kazuchika Okada. Okada apparently stole the show here, with a really strong performance in the match and has been added as Tenzan's partner at last night's NOAH Budokan show.

It appears that New Japan may pull the trigger on a Takeshi Morishima v. Hiroshi Tanahashi match as well as a Goto v. Sugiura match as both teased interactions after the match. The other big news coming out of the show is that Indy star Kota Ibushi may not be an 'indy star' any longer, as he was added to the list of participants for the big annual Best of the Super Juniors tournament. New Japan President Sugabayashi made the announcement after the show and said in a press release today that if Ibushi impresses at the show, they'll likely offer him a full time deal.

NJPW ?DIVERGENCE?, 5/5/09 (Samurai! TV)
Tokyo Korakuen Hall

2,005 Fans?- Super No Vacancy Full House
1. Jado beat Nobuo Yoshihashi?(6:47)?with the Crossface of JADO.
2. Ryusuke Taguchi & Prince Devitt beat Milano Collection AT & Taichi?(11:04)?when Taguchi pinned Milano.
3. Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Jushin Thunder Liger & AKIRA beat Yuji Nagata, Super Strong Machine & Mitsuhide Hirasawa?(10:13)?when Tenzan used the Anaconda Vice on Hirasawa.
4. Manabu Nakanishi, Takao Omori & Tiger Mask beat Giant Bernard, Karl Anderson & Black Tiger(11:15)?when Nakanishi used an Argentine back breaker on Anderson.
5. Shinsuke Nakamura, Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii beat Togi Makabe, Wataru Inoue & Tomoaki Honma(11:29)?when Nakamura used the Landslide on Honma.
6.?Special Tag Match - NJPW vs. NOAH Battle Intentions: Takashi Sugiura??& Atsushi Aoki??beat Hirooki Goto & Kazuchika Okada?(16:20)?when Sugiura used an Olympic slam on Okada.
7.?Special Tag Match - NJPW vs. NOAH & DDT Battle Intentions: Takeshi Morishima??& Kota Ibushi?beat Hiroshi Tanahashi & Koji Kanemoto?(20:25)?by referee stop (Morishima beat Kanemoto).

Tanahashi Fends Off Gotoh to Retain IWGP Heavyweight Championship in Fukuoka

New Japan Pro Wrestling returned to the Fukuoka International Center for the first time since the disastrous May 2006 show that was headlined by the Brock Lesnar v. Giant Bernard match that only drew an advertised 3,000 fans, but was said to be as low as 1,500 paid. Fukuoka hasn't been a strong market for New Japan or Pro Wrestling in general for about 15 years, so there was certainly many questions heading into the show.

With business generally improving over the last two years, the promotion felt it would be a 'smart' risk to run a show in a cold to colder market with a bigger show to see what kind of response they would get. The thinking was that if they could get over in Fukuoka, they could get over anywhere, and it'd give them a borderline harsh taste of reality in terms of how successful they have been at creating some new stars.

It appears, at least for now, that the show can certainly be deemed a success, as the company drew an advertised sell out of 5,500, with around 4,000 paid, which is a dramatic improvement over their last effort in that same city.

For a beginning of the summer show, it had a lot of build behind many of the matches on the card. It was headlined by the Hiroshi Tanahashi-Hirooki Gotoh which was a match up between New Japan's hottest champion in years and the company's fastest rising star. Tanahashi improved his record to 3-0 against Gotoh, who was given a very strong 30 minutes to show his stuff. The biggest surprise of the night was after the match, where Tanahashi announced he would be making his fourth defense of the title later in the week, during the Korakuen double shot, as he'd put the title on the line against Manabu Nakanishi. With the NOAH boys stopping in for a big tag match the night before and then the accompanying title match, it'd be a stretch to see either show not sell out. While Nakanishi doesn't appear to be that big of a threat to take the title, he should put on a fun match and has always been over with fans.

The other big headlining act on the show was the return of the TenKoji team of Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Satoshi Kojima. The duo has a long history together, have headlined the Tokyo Dome against each other, and generally speaking, were in the midst of a strong resurgence late last year. The team reunited in September and won both the G1 Climax Tag Team Tournament and the All Japan Real World Tag League, a feat that had not been accomplished by any other tag team in history. The original plan was for them to face and take the tag belts from the then-champions Toru Yano & Togi Makabe at the Tokyo Dome show in January, but both suffered injuries in relatively quick succession, and the plan was scrapped. This was their big comeback match.

They were paired up against the gaijin team of the Giant Bernard & Karl Anderson with a shot at Team 3D's IWGP Tag Team Championships at the next Sumo Hall show on the line. Anderson and Bernard scored perhaps the biggest upset of the year and won the match, with the result coming as an even bigger shocker, as Anderson scored the pin fall on Tenzan. Anderson has been somewhat of a floozie for Bernard, and only recently has the company put remotely any effort into making him look credible. With pin falls over both Tenzan and Takao Omori in the past month, his momentum certainly makes the team look a lot more dangerous heading into their title shot. It sets up for an interesting gaijin v. gaijin match up against Team 3D.

Yuji Nagata was able to score a measure of revenge, defeating rival Takashi Iizuka in a dog collar match. The match lasted around 10 minutes and was said to be a short but sweet bloodbath, with Nagata finally getting the win over the man that attempted to hang him at the last Sumo Hall show.

Dragon Gate star CIMA made his first appearance in New Japan in nearly nine years, as he teamed up with Jushin ?Thunder? Liger to take on the team of Tiger Mask & Koji Kanemoto in what was said to be a fun match. Liger even whipped out the old CTB finisher to win the match. Also on the card, the team of Shinsuke Nakamura & Toru Yano decisively defeated Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma in the match up of former GBH stable mates. Honma was booked to be the major league weakness here, so it looks like Makabe is going to need some more backup to try and fend off Nakamura and Yano. In other action, Manabu Nakanishi & Takao Omori defeated Riki Chosu & Masahiro Chono in tag team action.

NJPW ?WRESTLING DONTAKU 2009″, 5/3/09 (WPW/PPV)
Fukuoka International Center
5,500 Fans?- Super No Vacancy

Mitsuhide Hirasawa beat Nobuo Yoshihashi?(6:18)?with the Hira Bottom.
2. Milano Collection AT & Taichi beat Ryusuke Taguchi & Prince Devitt?(10:15)?when Milano used the Victoria Milanese on Taguchi.
3. Wataru Inoue, AKIRA & Kazuchika Okada vs. Tomohiro Ishii, Black Tiger & Jado went to a draw(9:39)?when Inoue & Ishii were counted out.
4. Manabu Nakanishi & Takao Omori beat Riki Choshu & Masahiro Chono?(12:07)?when Nakanishi used an Argentine backbreaker on Choshu.
5.?Wrestling Dontaku 2009 Special Tag Match - TENJIN Deadline: Shinsuke Nakamura & Toru Yano beat Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma?(11:32)?when Nakamura used the Landslide on Honma.
6.?Wrestling Dontaku 2009 Special Tag Match - HAKATA Cross Fire: Jushin Thunder Liger & CIMA??beat Tiger Mask & Koji Kanemoto?(13:03)?when Liger used the CTB on Kanemoto.
7.?Justice Revenge in FUKUOKA - Dog Collar Chain Death Match: Yuji Nagata beat Takashi Iizuka(20:07)?by KO.
8.?TenKoji Return - IWGP Tag Team Title #1 Contender Match: Giant Bernard & Karl Anderson beat Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima??(18:44)?when Anderson used the Gun Stun on Tenzan.
9.?IWGP Heavyweight Title: Hiroshi Tanahashi (c) beat Hirooki Goto?(29:39)?with the High Fly Flow (3rd defense).


DRAGON GATE

DEAD OR ALIVE '09 Results!

Dragon Gate held their successful Golden Week show on Tuesday night in Aichi, which was headlined by the strange, but strong drawing Naruki Doi-Akebono match, that saw Doi retain his title. This was a show filled with tons of promotional gimicks, of course the main event being one of them, but the other being Stalker being accompanied to the ring by a Terminator. Yes, you read that right, a terminator. They used that to help co-promote the upcoming Terminator 4 movie coming to theaters soon.

Also on the card, CIMA retained his Open the Brave Gate title by defeating the Dragon kid, while Ryoto Saito & Genki Horiguchi defeated Susumu Yokosuka & Gamma and the team of Kenichiro Arai & Yasushi Kanada in a three way match to win the ?Open the Twin Gate? championships.

5/5/2009 Aichi, Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium~DEAD OR ALIVE 2009
1. Akira Tozawa, Kenshin Chikano, Anthony W. Mori (11:08 German Suplex Hold) RYOMA{L}, Nick Jackson, Matt Jackson
2. 3 Way Match: Syachihoko Machine (5:22 Jacknife Cradle) Jackson Florida{L}; Hollywood Stalker Ichikawa
3. Masaaki Mochizuki{W}, Don Fujii (11:46 Shin Saikyou High Kick) Naoki Tanisaki, Super Shenlong{L}
4. 4 Way Match: KAGETORA vs. Shingo Takagi vs. Masato Yoshino vs. Cyber Kong
-Yoshino (9:42 Lightning Spiral) KAGETORA
-Yoshino (12:45 Speed Star) Kong
-Yoshino (18:47 Sol Naciente Kai) Shingo
5. BxB Hulk (16:44 Head Kicks -> Referee Stop) YAMATO
6. Open the Twin Gate 3 Way Match: Susumu Yokosuka, Gamma vs. Ryo Saito, Genki Horiguchi vs. Kenichiro Arai, Yasushi Kanda
-Susumu (Jumbo no Kachi!gatame) Kanda
-Ryo (20:33 Double Cross) Susumu
*W5 fail in V2, RH become the 7th Champions
7. Open the Brave Gate: CIMA (26:37 Meteora) Dragon Kid
*V1 for CIMA
8. Open the Dream Gate: Naruki Doi (15:24 Five Consecutive Bakatare Sliding Kick) Akebono
*V3 for Doi


All Japan Pro Wrestling

RISE UP TOUR Takes Shape

Today, All Japan Pro Wrestling began releasing some of their upcoming cards for the RISE UP TOUR 2009 which will be kicking off on the 17th of the month at the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo. Masayuki Kono is due back from his big TNA/Canada expedition. All Japan officials said he worked about 50 matches since being over here, with about half of those being live and they're said to be happy with his progress thus far.

Also the Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium blow off to the tour is beginning to take shape. As announced last week, Minoru Suzuki will in fact be challenging Yoshihiro Takayama for the Triple Crown at that show, having won the rights thanks to this year's win at the Champions Carnival. The company also announced on Saturday that the card will feature a World Junior Heavyweight Championship match, as Kaz Hayashi will be defending the title against one half of the Jr. Tag League winners, Toshizo.

AJPW, 5/17/09 (Samurai! TV)
Tokyo Korakuen Hall

1. Masanobu Fuchi vs. Nobutaka Araya
2. Seiya Sanada & Manabu Soya vs. KAI & Hiroshi Yamato
3. Shuji Kondo & Ryota Hama vs. Minoru & Joe Doering
4. Taiyo Kea vs. ZODIAC
5. Osamu Nishimura, Kaz Hayashi & Phil Atlas vs. TARU, Hate & Toshizo
6.?Masayuki Kono All Japan Pro-Wrestling Return: Keiji Muto & Masayuki Kono vs. Satoshi Kojima & Suwama
7. Yoshihiro Takayama & NOSAWA Rongai vs. Minoru Suzuki & MAZADA

AJPW, 5/30/09 (GAORA TV)
Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium

1.?AJPW World Jr. Heavyweight Title: Kaz Hayashi (c) vs. Toshizo
2.?Triple Crown: Yoshihiro Takayama (c) vs. Minoru Suzuki


Pro Wrestling NOAH

Budokan Show Brings Mixed Results

The Global Tag League concluded last night at the Tokyo Nippon Budokan in front of a hugely disapointing crowd of 9,000 fans. Mitsuharu Misawa and young star Go Shiozaki took home top honors in the tournament, defeating Takeshi Morishima & Kensuke Sasaki in the finals. The two week tournament was a moderate success on tour, but can safely be deemed a pretty disappointing considering the poor attendance at the big show on the biggest week on the Japanese wrestling calender.

I other matches on the card, Kenta Kobashi & Akihiko Ito were able to put another notch on the belt for NOAH, as they successfully repelled the New Japan invading team of Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Kazuchika Okada. New Japan didn't walk away empty handed though, as Jushin Liger & Koji Kanemoto defeated Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Genba Hirayanagi.

In perhaps the biggest angle of the week for NOAH, the mysterious masked man who had been attacking KENTA week after week revealed his identity, shocking everyone in the process, as it turned out to be baby face mainstay Ricky Marvin.

NOAH 06/05/09
Tokyo Nippon Budokan
9000 fans

1. Tamon Honda & Atsushi Aoki?d. Makoto Hashi & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi (10:07) when Honda used the Rolling Olympic Hell 0 on Hashi.
2. Takuma Sano & Kotaro Suzuki?d. Keith Walker & Ricky Marvin (12:42) when Sano used the Northern Lights Bomb on Walker.
3. KENTA & Taiji Ishimori?d. Katsuhiko Nakajima & Takashi Okita (6:49) when KENTA used the Go2Sleep on Okita.
4. Jushin Thunder Liger & Koji Kanemoto?d. Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Genba Hirayanagi (15:25) when Kanemoto used an Ankle Hold on Hirayanagi.
5. Kenta Kobashi & Akihiko Ito?d. Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Kazuchika Okada (17:02) when Kobashi used a Lariat on Okada.
6.?Global Tag League:?D-Lo Brown & Buchanan [7]?d. Akira Taue & Masao Inoue [2] (10:56) when Buchanan used an Iron Claw on Inoue.
7.?Global Tag League:?Jun Akiyama & Shuhei Taniguchi [6]?d. Takeshi Rikio & Mohammed Yone [8] (5:00) when Taniguchi used a Horizontal Cradle on Yone.
8.?Global Tag League:?Yoshihiro Takayama & Takashi Sugiura [8]?d. Bison Smith & Akitoshi Saito [8] (18:47) when Sugiura used an Olympic Slam on Saito.
9.?Global Tag League:?Mitsuharu Misawa & Go Shiozaki [9]?d. Kensuke Sasaki & Takeshi Morishima [8] (22:53) when Shiozaki used a Lariat on Morishima.
*Misawa/Shiozaki win the 2009 Global Tag League*

NOAH?03/05/09
Kyoto KBS Hall
1300 fans?(Super No-Vacancy)
?
1. Ricky Marvin?d. Akihiko Ito (9:49) with a Modified Backbreaker.
2. Takuma Sano?d. Masao Inoue (13:18) with a Northern Lights Bomb.
3. Katsuhiko Nakajima?d. Atsushi Aoki (11:10) with a Death Roll.
4. Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Kotaro Suzuki?d. Mitsuo Momota & Taiji Ishimori (11:42) when Kanemaru used a Cradle Cutback on Momota.
5. D-Lo Brown, Buchanan & Keith Walker?d. Kensuke Sasaki, Takeshi Morishima & Kento Miyahara (15:09) when Walker used a Neck Hanging Bomb on Miyahara.
6. Kenta Kobashi, Akira Taue & KENTA?d. Takeshi Rikio, Mohammed Yone & Genba Hirayanagi (21:08) when KENTA used the Go2Sleep on Hirayanagi.
7.?Global Tag League:?Bison Smith & Akitoshi Saito?[8]?d. Jun Akiyama & Shuhei Taniguchi [4] (19:26) when Saito used the Sickle of Death on Taniguchi.
8.?Global Tag League:?Yoshihiro Takayama & Takashi Sugiura [6]?d. Mitsuharu Misawa & Go Shiozaki [7] (21:51) when Sugiura used the Olympic Slam on Shiozaki.

NOAH 02/05/09
Okayama Orange Hall
1400 fans
?
1. Katsuhiko Nakajima?d. Genba Hirayanagi (11:38) with the Death Roll.
2. Akira Taue & Masao Inoue?d. Takuma Sano & Masashi Aoyagi (12:50) when Inoue used a Cradle Cutback on Aoyagi.
3. Yoshinobu Kanamaru & Kotaro Suzuki?d. Ricky Marvin & Akihiko Ito (15:27) when Suzuki used the Blue Destiny on Ito.
4.?Bison Smith, Akitoshi Saito?& Keith Walker?d. Kensuke Sasaki, Takeshi Morishima & Kento Miyahara (17:45) when Walker used the Walker Driver on Miyahara.
5.?Global Tag League:?Jun Akiyama & Shuhei Taniguchi [4]?d. D-Lo Brown & Buchanan [5] (18:24) when Taniguchi used an Armlock on Buchanan.
6.?Global Tag League:?Takeshi Rikio & Mohammed Yone [8]?d. Yoshihiro Takayama & Takashi Sugiura [4] (20:51) when Rikio used the Muso on Sugiura.
7. Mitsuharu Misawa, Go Shiozaki & Atsushi Aoki?d. Kenta Kobashi, KENTA & Taiji Ishimori (25:16) when Shiozaki used the Moonsault Press on Ishimori.


MATCH REVIEWS

Hiroshi Tanahashi v. Hirooki Gotoh, IWGP Heavyweight Championship, New Japan 5/3

To be honest, I'm not quite sure what to make of Gotoh in this match because he does so much good and so much bad all within the 30 minute time span of the match, that you kind of scratch your head. On one hand, his fire is completely awesome and his move selection is pretty good, especially when he tries to pop Tanahashi's mellon down the stretch. On the other hand, his leg selling is absolutely awful. I don't know if this kid doesn't either A.) Get it or B.) Just doesn't care at this point, because in all honesty, this is the third match in a row I've seen his leg get worked over and the third match in a row where he couldn't be bothered to sell it. You just can't be that much of a slouch with basic stuff like that and expect to stay in main event matches. I love Gotoh's fire. I love the character. Heck I like some of what he does in the ring, but he doesn't sell for sh-t.

Tanahashi on the other hand is pretty good here as the dominant champion, not overwhelmingly good, but pretty good. The good thing about this is that there was so much 'oomph' heading into this match story-line wise that you could tell the usually cold Fukuoka crowd was really into this. In terms of the match, its ok. Its not a barn burner, but its ok. Gotoh has some serious issues here and there, but he IS still young. Still though, that stuffs going to have to iron itself out if he expects people to give a crap about him in two years. Again, if you don't care about what's being done to you, why should I? **1/2

Giant Bernard & Karl Anderson v. Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan, New Japan 5/3

This was a lot of fun. A ton of fun actually. Bernard has really reached the point where he's automatic in that you can expect 'good' out of him almost every time he comes through the curtain and he really brings it in multiple ways here, serving as a the a$$ kicking barbarian from America, or playing the moral support for his favorite misfit friend Karl Anderson, who as hapless as he may be, Bernard is trying to will him to a win and a big one.

And thank god for that really. Of all the 'bigger' matches on this card, this was the one I was looking forward to the LEAST and that's not as much a knock on the talent as much as the booking seemed really 'point A to point B' stuff where they'd just plug Tenzan and Kojima back into the already determined tag scheme New Japan had laid out. Instead, they went the story route and booked an upset, and in the process made this a heck of a lot more engaging than it probably had any right to be.

Kojima and Tenzan give everyone their usual token spots and their going nutty while treating Anderson like a bop bag was a lot of fun, but after a while, it was Anderson's toughness in repeatedly kicking out of some of TenKoji's BIG stuff, without him having to milk it.. that made this. Bernard frequently bails his buddy out, but there's some good cliff hanger near falls that Anderson manages to kick out. When he finally does get his chance to take it home he succeeds, and Bernard getting giddy like a school girl is, well, different. Mind you its heels getting 'giddy', but its more the fact that I get to say 'giddy' more than anything else. **3/4

Yuji Nagata v. Takashi Iizuka, Dog Collar Chain Match, New Japan 5/3

Yikes, this blew. Iizuka is wildly bad in this. His punches miss by about six feet, and while I'm not exactly an execution hawk, the punches really, really sucked. He does so much stuff in this with absolutely zero emotion that it just killed it. He tries fleeing one too many times, and setting up the choke spot in the ropes, when he could do it with the f-ing chain that is tied to the other guy's neck is just plain dumb. I feel bad for Nagata, because he's really trying to squeeze everything he can out of the bag of suck that is Iizuka. He kicks a little harder, yanks on the chain a little harder, screams a little louder, but its pretty much all in vain. This was a huge step down from their chain match last month.*1/2

Hunter's Mindless, Ongoing, Who-Cares-what-he-thinks!? Best Puro Matches of 2009

I'm hoping by that at the end of this nonsense, I'll have a nice 10-15 match list for you guys to check out at the end of the year. Heck, maybe even a top 20~. Just so you guys know, I f-ing hate star ratings. I just do. I used to love them, had great affection and maybe even got caught by my wife with them i n the past, but hey, I just don't think ******** is a replacement for actually knowing what you're talking about and wish to communicate. Take them with a grain of salt, but anything that pops up on THIS list, you should probably check out.

1.) Hiroshi Tanahashi v. Shinsuke Nakamura, IWGP Heavyweight Championship, New Japan 2/15 ****
2.)Shinsuke Nakamura & Hirooki Gotoh v. Mitsuharu Misawa & Takeshi Suguira, New Japan 1/4 ***3/4
3.) Takashi Suguira & Go Shiozaki v. Shinsuke Nakamura & Milano Collection A.T., NOAH 3/1 ***1/2
4.) Minoru Suzuki & Taiyo Kea v. SUWAMA & Shuji Kondo, World Tag Team Championship, All Japan 3/15 ***1/4
5.) Hirooki Gotoh v. Giant Bernard, New Japan Cup Semi Fi nals, New Japan 3/22
6.) Takashi Iizuka v. Yuji Nagata, Chain Match, New Japan 4/5 ***
7.) Mammoth Sasaki & Daisuke Sekimoto vs. Shinya Ishikawa & Yoshihito Sasaki, Big Japan ? ***
8.)Hirooki Gotoh & Jushin ?Thunder? Liger v. Yuji Nagata & Tiger Mask, New Japan 1/31***
9.) Alexander Otsuka v. Daisuke Sekimoto, IGF 3/15 ***
10.) Yuji Nagata v. Hirooki Gotoh, New Japan 2/15 ***
11.) Giant Bernard v. Yutaka Yoshie, New Japan Cup Semi Fi nals, New Japan 3/22 ***
12.) Yuji Nagata v. Masato Tanaka, Zero1 World Championship, New Japan, ? ***