Reported by Hunter Golden of
On Wednesday, December 31, 2008 at 5:53 PM EST

Rising Sun Soliloquy #6
December 31, 2008
By: Hunter Golden of

New Japan

It was a quiet end of last week for New Japan before it gears up to push its big WRESTLEKINGDOM II show this Sunday.

Masahiro Chono, always in promotional mode, held a “Premium” show on Boxing Day (for all you Canadians and Limeys out there) that only managed to draw 700 fans. Chono teamed up with old teammate Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Hiro Saito of the Dradition group to defeat the team of Masato Tanaka, Gedo & Jado. Gedo & Jado have been calling themselves the “Complete Players” of late, which as I'm sure you can assume, is a spoof on the Lance Storm/Justin Credible “Impact Players” from the old ECW.

Tokyo Dome
Mitsuhide Hirasawa, Kazuchika Okada & Nobuo Yoshihashi vs. Milano Collection AT, Minoru & Taichi Ishikari
1. Wrestle Kingdom Grand Opening VIENTO DORADO: Mistico, Ryusuke Taguchi & Prince Devitt vs. Averno, Jado & Gedo
2. Jushin Thunder Liger 20th Anniversary Match: Jushin Thunder Liger & Takuma Sano vs. Wataru Inoue & Koji Kanemoto
3. IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Title ~Tread on!!~: Yujiro & Tetsuya Naito (c) vs. Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin
4. IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title ~Ballistic interception~: Low Ki (c) vs. Tiger Mask
5. Fighting Holdings Competition: Riki Choshu, Masahiro Chono, Kurt Angle & Kevin Nash vs. Giant Bernard, Takashi Iizuka, Tomohiro Ishii & Karl Anderson
6. World Heavyweight Title ~Crusade for Justice~: Yuji Nagata (c) vs. Masato Tanaka
7. New Japan vs. NOAH Battle Tendencies ~the invasion~: Manabu Nakanishi vs. Jun Akiyama
8. IWGP Tag Team Title - 3WAY Hardcore Match ~Three correct answers~: Togi Makabe & Toru Yano (c) vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima vs. “Team 3D” Brother Ray & Brother Devon
9. New Japan vs. NOAH Battle Tendencies ~the encounter~: Shinsuke Nakamura & Hirooki Goto vs. Mitsuharu Misawa & Takashi Sugiura
10. IWGP Heavyweight Title: Keiji Muto (c) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi

Pro Wrestling NOAH

Marufuji wins Rikidozan Trophy

Naomichi Marufuji was awarded the Rikidozan Trophy, which is NOAH’s fan club voting for Most Valuable Wrestler. This is the second time Marufuji has won the award, as he also won the award in 2006 following his reign as GHC Heavyweight Champion.

Shiozaki Back From US, Tries Out with WWE

Go Shiozaki's back and wrestled on the two pre-Christmas shows on the 23rd and 24th. He recently dropped the FIP title last week and is expected to be back full time. The WWE apparently offered him a three year contract, but he turned it down. Shiozaki got a lot more praise apparently than Takeshi Morishima, who also tried out with the 'E earlier this year. They seemed to like his overall make up far more.

Kobashi Training Again

Kenta Kobashi was at the 12/24 show and said he has started training for his return, but didn’t give a date.

”The Tournament” Results

The two night Christmas Tournament with every wrestler on the roster was held on the 23rd and 24th. The matches were one fall, with ten minute time limits. If there was a time limit draw, five fans from the audience would then be chosen from the audience to pick the winner. While it seems very strong on paper, it produced mixed results. Misawa was eliminated in the first round by Takuma Sano by of all things, a decision. Certainly a small, small sign that fans might not be overly thrilled about Misawa in the ring a ton.

The Quarter Finals, Semi-Finals and Final were held on Christmas eve. Sano seemed to be the big Cinderella story of the tournament, defeating Takeshi Rikio in the quarter finals before finally falling in the Semi-Finals to Masao Inoue. Inoue moved on to an all Dark Agents final with Akitoshi Saito. Saito easily defeated his #2 via a 5-0 decision to win the tournament. Also a battle royal was held on the same evening with Ippei Ota as the surprise winner.


The first big show of the year took place this week as the TV Tokyo taping of HUSTLEMANIA 2008 at the Tokyo Ariake Coliseum. With the amount of publicity the show received, it did surprisingly poorly, barely drawing 5,000 fans. The show centered around Yasuha, quite the celebrity singer in Japan. Not only did Yasuha's popularity help the card, but also the media frenzy around her very high profile divorce from rakuga singer Koasa Shunputei. Of course the media was present in full force, there to witness her pinning Anjo Shirakein. Anjo as many MMA super-buffs may know, is Yoji Anjo, who spent many a year getting beat up in the old Gracie dodjo. He once fought Tank Abbott ina UFC match even. To add to the circus, there were rumors of Satoshi Ishii arriving at the show, who was fresh off a trip to Las Vegas, where he just got through with negotiations with UFC. For some of the most off the wall and, dare I say, so-preposterous-its-cool booking, they can't seem to draw.


The DDT promotion, which is Sanshiro Takagi’s group, has announced it would run a show at Sumo Hall in Tokyo on 8/23.

Indy Wrestler Dies During Training, Recieves Much Attention

The recent death of Daisuke Yuri, a Japanese independent wrestler who passed away on the 24th of October after taking a really bad bump in practice has created quite the media stir in Japan. Yuri had been wrestling since April and had been training with a group that was so small that apparently no one bothered to find out or publish the name of it. Yuri was taking the bump in “Doomsday Device”, made famous by the Road Warriors. There are two ways to take the move, either by laying out flat or flipping all the way through. In an eirie repeat of Mark Canterbury, Yuri didn't take the flat back bump or flip through and ended up coming straight down on his head and broke his neck in three places. He died a few days later. Police have declared the incident an accidental homicide.

Random Match Review Madness

KENTA v. Bryan Danielson, GHC Jr Hvt Championship, NOAH, 10/13

I always enjoy these two in the ring, but this one is maybe my favorite of the ones I've seen (I regret I haven't seen their second ROH bout) thus far. I prefer a lot of their work together in Japan, largely because the hi jinx is really toned down A LOT and it just makes for way better stuff all around. Danielson is absolutely, bar-none, the best thing going outside of WWE on this side of the pond at least. The guy just totally gets it and this is just one of those matches where you really see a lot of the stuff that's sort of glossed over or lost in the shuffle in his matches over here in the States. He knows when to pick the crowd up and you really get a good look at him and how he's able to shift gears so well. Whenever KENTA's stuff might seem like its getting to be a bit much or starting to lag, Bang, Dragon interjects himself and picks up the pace, works with the crowd, or pulls some sort of insane crap out of his heiney.

I HATE the overdone finisher and elongated cattle mutilation spots in ROH and here, its done the way it should be. KENTA looks tough, but not too tough. KENTA too, btw, brings it plenty on his own as well. The strikes are good as always, but for the most part, he's able to keep his stuff pretty tight and does a great job on the sell.

With that being said there are a FEW things in here, like KENTA pin-balling around the ring after selling a knee like a nut four seconds earlier, but all in all, you can get past it and it really doesn't drag anything down for me at all. All in all, this is like a lot of their matches, but slimmed down to something that really works. Crowd sucks for this, but its a fantastic match. One of my favorite juniors matches of the year by far.

Hayato Jr. Fujita v. Yoshitune, Michonoku Pro, 12/12

Yoshitune is one of those guys whose got a lot of pretty crazy spots, but isn't a guy i've ever seen whose really capable of having a decent singles match. This was awesome though. Fujita likes to lay in the stiff stuff and looks like a guy best fit in Battle Arts. I haven't seen a whole heck of a lot of him, but he was pretty great here, especially on the sell. The match is real straight forward stuff with Yoshitune trying to figure out how to blow Fujit's abdomen to pieces while Fujita sticks to what brought him and brings the kick-y and strike-y heat in a variety of ways. Yoshitune is his usual nutty self, spilling off a balcony, hitting some neat-o looking double stomps, etc. We got the typical big juniors finish that's sort of typical of puro juniors, but totally without the kick out spots that make you scoff, but with plenty of awesome variations of Yoshitune's rope runs. Another one of those 'out of the blue' matches this year, which, the more I think about it, is really what we should just call 2008 matches in general. But still, THIS is the Michonoku Pro I remember.

Masato Tanaka & Ikuto Hidaka vs. Koji Kanemoto & Ryusuke Taguchi, ZERO1, 3/2/08

One of the better chapters in the Z1/NJPW feud, this was a very intense match-up where everyone played their roles extraordinarily well. I enjoyed the work from Hidaka and Taguchi, who did a class-A job of selling their submission spots like death and looked convincing in teasing possible 'game over' spots in the match. Kanemoto and Tanaka are pretty great in general at bringing hate, and they're awesome here. We only have one Sliding D and the Dodon is used well here too. But the hate and emotion is certainly here and a the hot crowd makes this a solid tag and maybe one of the most overlooked matches this year.