Rising Sun Soliloquy Newsletter #20
April 15, 2009
By: Hunter Golden of WrestleView.com


Dragon Gate Opens Office in United States, Ends Relationship with Ring of Honor

The Dragon Gate promotion has decided to officially bring its product to the United States as it announced today that it will be opening an office in the United States which will be headed up by former Ring of Honor booker Gabe Sapolsky.

From the details we were provided, it seems to be a very similar structure to how Ring of Honor was promoted in its early days. The company is theoretically working on using a roster of 8-10 Dragon Gate wrestlers and will work three or four markets on a consistent basis and essentially, business will primarily be driven by DVD sales. Additionally, they are looking for average attendances of around 400-600 a show.

The office itself will be run by Satoshi Oji, who lives in Houston. Oji served as the translator for Dragon Gate stars and will be named the President of the organization. Toru Kito has been named the office’s chief financial office (CFO).

Right now, the working plan is for the first show to take place in Philadelphia, PA at the Alhambra arena on July 25th of this year. Dragon Kid, Cima, Masato Yoshino and Naruki Doi have already been slated to compete on the show. The second date will be held on Labor Day weekend in Chicago, IL. Its thought that thanks largely to its exposure through Ring of Honor, that the company will have the kind of exposure it needs to succeed in the US. It should be noted that many of Ring of Honor’s best selling DVD’s featured Dragon Gate wrestlers.

The news comes as quite a surprise, as it comes on the heels of a recent falling out between the promotion and Ring of Honor this past week. As reported here at Wrestleview.com, Dragon Gate Star CIMA posted a message on his Myspace page this past Wednesday that sparked an over-the Internet war of the words between the two promotions:

?I have been receiving inquiries like ‘Why aren’t Dragon Gate wrestlers on the ROH Wrestlemania weekend shows? Or, ?What is the relationship between Dragon Gate and ROH?? Well, I can’t tell you in detail because our lawyer is working on this case in the States, but what I can tell you is Dragon Gate no longer has any relationship with ROH. One of the reasons is because we haven’t gotten payment from the past ROH show held in Japan in September 2008. Some of the ROH wrestlers’ airfare and their guarantees were supposed to be shared between the two companies, but the promise had never been kept. I recently hear from some of my dear friends not being paid by ROH as well. Any business is based on a trust, and we no longer wish to do any business with ROH again.

?Dragon Gate wrestlers, however, love all ROH wrestlers as well as its fans. So we are very sad that this situation is happening. Please keep in mind that we are still planning to do our shows in the States, and we have a very good relationship with PWG in Los Angeles.

?Even though Dragon Gate hasn?t announced the above statement to the media, I can?t ignore my American fans. I just wanted to let you know what is going on. I will try to keep you updated with any future plan. Please support Dragon Gate wrestling, and come cheer us when we wrestle in the States.?

Ring of Honor was quick to respond to the situation,
?Cima from the Dragon Gate promotion in Japan has made claims that Ring of Honor owes Dragon Gate money from our Sept. 2008 show, stating, `Some of the ROH wrestlers? airfare and their guarantees were supposed to be shared between the two companies, but the promise had never been kept.? This statement is false. All Ring of Honor talent was paid in full for these events along with their airfare. Cima and the Dragon Gate promotion are very well aware of what agreements they did not live up to in regards to the ROH/Dragon Gate show and why we choose to no longer do business with them.?

In the past seven months, the relationship between Ring of Honor and its Japanese partners has continued to deteriorate. Ring of Honor ran a show on September 13th at the Differ Ariake in Tokyo, which was a controversial decision, if for nothing more than the sheer cost of doing business in a market almost completely unfamiliar with their product. Additionally, many on the inside questioned whether or not the Japanese promotions would really be willing to do the leg work to help promote the shows.
The shows themselves ended up being an unmitigated disaster, both financially and as details of this story have surfaced, from a reputation standpoint as well. The September 13th show in Tokyo drew 1,000 fans with Pro Wrestling NOAH doing all the local promotion. What ended up happening was that many within the NOAH organization disagreed about having to work with Dragon Gate in terms of co-promoting the show. It wasn’t ACTUALLY stated that way, but the insinuation within ROH was that NOAH was saying Dragon Gate wasn’t pulling their weight in promoting the show, as usually Dragon Gate shows draw far better in Tokyo.

What came about as a result of all this, was a big financial disagreement between the three promotions and even resulted in Cary Silken and Dragon Gate specifically butting heads. Silken and then-booker Gabe Sapolsky also had it out backstage and that was considered to be the first real step towards Silken asking Sapolsky to leave. So it appears that the Differ Ariake show started a lot of issues within ROH and resulted in an end to the Dragon Gate partnership and the end of Gabe Sapolsky as ROH booker, and of course by the natural current of events, Sapolsky eventually becoming the new Dragon Gate booker. One would also have to think relations with NOAH were slightly strained as well.


Minoru Suzuki wins 2009 Champions Carnival

Minoru Suzuki defeated the upstart Kaz Hayashi in the finals of the 2009 Champions Carnival this past Sunday at the JCB Hall in Tokyo. The Champions Carnival is the oldest annual wrestling tournament in the world, with its roots going as far back as the old ?World League? that was formed by Rikidozan in the old JWA in 1959.

Suzuki barely made it to the final day of the tournament, sneaking in the back door with a second place finish in Block B. The win set him up for a match up with three-time Carnival champion and block A winner Keiji Mutoh in the semi finals. Suzuki defeated Mutoh after blocking a Shining Wizard and hit a gotch-style pile driver to score the win.

His opponent in the finals was Kaz Hayashi, who was more or less ‘the’ story of the tournament to that point. Hayashi qualified for the Semi Finals out of Block-A, and finished ahead of Triple Crown Champion Yoshihiro Takayama and even upsetting Mutoh, giving him his only loss of the first round. In the semi-finals, Hayashi shocked former partner Satoshi Kojima, who had won the hugely difficult Block B scoring the win with an inside cradle.

The wild show was Saturday in Yokkaichi, as heading into the final day of the first round, there were numerous possibilities for wrestlers to reach the next phase. Taiyo Kea could have clinched a semi final spot with one win, but was unable to score that in in the final two days of the tournament. Suzuki managed to defeat and eliminate last year’s winner, Suwama, from the tournament to moved into a tie for second place in his group, while Satoshi Kojima insured that both would move into the final day, defeating and eliminating Ryota Hama. Osamu Nishimura, who many considered a strong dark horse candidate this year, had failed to live up to expectations, but did make a splash, defeating Triple Crown Champion Takayama, thus eliminating him from the competition when even a draw would have seen him through to the final day. The loss meant that Keiji Mutoh would clinch a spot in the semi finals, as he held the tie breaker over Tak, defeating him on the first day of the tournament. Mutoh however, pinned Joe Doering in his final match which won the group for him.

AJPW, 4/12/09 (GAORA TV)
Tokyo JCB Hall
3,200 Fans – Super No Vacancy

1. Hate beat Nobutaka Araya (4:18) with a fire extinguisher attack.

2. TARU & Toshizo beat KAI & Hiroshi Yamato (13:36) by disqualification when Yamato pulled off Toshizo’s mask.

3. Champion Carnival – Semi Final: Kaz Hayashi beat Satoshi Kojima (16:30) with a backslide.

4. Champion Carnival – Semi Final: Minoru Suzuki beat Keiji Muto (13:15) with the Gotch-style pile driver

5. Minoru, ZODIAC & Joe Doering beat Shuji Kondo, Seiya Sanada & Ryota Hama (15:21) when ZODIAC used a diving lariat on Hama.

6. Taiyo Kea, Minoru Suzuki & NOSAWA Rongai beat Osamu Nishimura, Suwama & Manabu Soya (15:34) when Takayama used the Everest German on Soya.

7. Champion Carnival – Final: Minoru Suzuki beat Kaz Hayashi (23:25) with the Gotch-style pile driver (Minoru Suzuki wins the 2009 Champion Carnival).

1. Keiji Muto 4-1-0, 8 Points
2. Kaz Hayashi 3-1-1, 7 Points
3. Yoshihiro Takayama 3-2-0, 6 Points
4. Osamu Nishimura 2-2-1, 5 Points
5. Joe Doering 2-3-0, 4 Points
6. Seiya Sanada 0-5-0, 0 Points

1. Satoshi Kojima 4-1-0, 8 Points
2. Minoru Suzuki 3-2-0, 6 Points
3. Suwama 2-2-1, 5 Points
– Taiyo Kea 2-2-1, 5 Points
5. Ryota Hama 2-3-0, 4 Points
6. ZODIAC 1-5-0, 2 Points

2009 ?Growing Up? Series Announced, Junior Tag League Match Ups Announced!

The full cards have been released for the ?Growing Up Series? for the remainder of April. The last show of the tournament has an awesome six man tag match lined up, as GURENTAI team Taiyo Kea, Minoru Suzuki & Yoshihiro Takyama will face The All Japan team of Keiji Muto, Satoshi Kojima & Suwama. Also, a brand new gaijin will be joining up with the tournament, as Canadian Brad Martin will bet his first crack at Japanese competition. Martin trained under Scott D’Amore at the BCW wrestling school.

AJPW, 4/17/09
Ishinomaki City Gymnasium

1. El Samurai vs. Brad Martin
2. Masanobu Fuchi & Osamu Nishimura vs. TARU & Hate
3. Suwama & Nobutaka Araya vs. Taiyo Kea & Minoru Suzuki
4. Ryota Hama vs. Yoshihiro Takayama
5. Keiji Muto, Seiya Sanada & Manabu Soya vs. Satoshi Kojima, KAI & Hiroshi Yamato
6.?Junior Heavyweight Tag League: Minoru & Toshizo vs. Petey Williams & Phil Atlas
7.?Junior Heavyweight Tag League: Kaz Hayashi & Shuji Kondo vs. NOSAWA Rongai & MAZADA

AJPW, 4/18/09
Kitakami Waga Multipurpose Exhibition Hall

1. Nobutaka Araya vs. Minoru
2. Ryota Hama vs. TARU
3. Satoshi Kojima & KAI vs. Hate & Toshizo
4. Suwama & Manabu Soya vs. Yoshihiro Takayama & NOSAWA Rongai
5. Keiji Muto, Osamu Nishimura & Seiya Sanada vs. Taiyo Kea, Minoru Suzuki & MAZADA
6.?Junior Heavyweight Tag League: Kaz Hayashi & Shuji Kondo vs. Masanobu Fuchi & El Samurai

AJPW, 4/19/09
Fujioka Citizen Hall

1. Kaz Hayashi vs. Brad Martin
2. Masanobu Fuchi & Ryota Hama vs. TARU & Hate
3. Seiya Sanada vs. Minoru Suzuki
4. Satoshi Kojima & Nobutaka Araya vs. Taiyo Kea & Yoshihiro Takayama
5. Keiji Muto, Osamu Nishimura & El Samurai vs. Suwama, Shuji Kondo & Manabu Soya
6.?Junior Heavyweight Tag League: NOSAWA Rongai & MAZADA vs. Petey Williams & Phil Atlas
7.?Junior Heavyweight Tag League: KAI & Hiroshi Yamato vs. Minoru & Toshizo

AJPW, 4/22/09
Shima Ago Arena

1. KAI vs. Brad Martin
2. Nobutaka Araya vs. Ryota Hama
3. Osamu Nishimura & Shuji Kondo vs. TARU & Toshizo
4. Satoshi Kojima & Hiroshi Yamato vs. Minoru & Hate
5. Suwama & Manabu Soya vs. Minoru Suzuki & MAZADA
6. Keiji Muto, Kaz Hayashi & Seiya Sanada vs. Taiyo Kea, Yoshihiro Takayama & NOSAWA Rongai
7.?Junior Heavyweight Tag League: Masanobu Fuchi & El Samurai vs. Petey Williams & Phil Atlas

AJPW, 4/24/09
Takamatsu City Gymnasium

1. Brad Martin vs. Toshizo
2. Ryota Hama vs. Taiyo Kea
3. Osamu Nishimura & Nobutaka Araya vs. Yoshihiro Takayama & NOSAWA Rongai
4. Satoshi Kojima & Manabu Soya vs. Minoru Suzuki & MAZADA
5. Keiji Muto, Suwama & Seiya Sanada vs. TARU, Minoru & Hate
6?Junior Heavyweight Tag League: KAI & Hiroshi Yamato vs. Masanobu Fuchi & El Samurai
7.?Junior Heavyweight Tag League: Kaz Hayashi & Shuji Kondo vs. Petey Williams & Phil Atlas

AJPW, 4/25/09
Fukuyama Big Rose

1. Ryota Hama vs. Brad Martin
2. Petey Williams & Phil Atlas vs. TARU & Hate
3. Nobutaka Araya vs. Minoru Suzuki
4. Suwama & Seiya Sanada vs. Taiyo Kea & Yoshihiro Takayama
5. Keiji Muto, Kaz Hayashi & Shuji Kondo vs. Satoshi Kojima, Osamu Nishimura & Manabu Soya
6.?Junior Heavyweight Tag League: Masanobu Fuchi & El Samurai vs. Minoru & Toshizo
7.?Junior Heavyweight Tag League: KAI & Hiroshi Yamato vs. NOSAWA Rongai & MAZADA

AJPW, 4/26/09
Okayama Orange Hall

1. Masanobu Fuchi, El Samurai & Nobutaka Araya vs. Petey Williams, Phil Atlas & Brad Martin
2. Manabu Soya vs. Minoru Suzuki
3. Satoshi Kojima vs. Seiya Sanada
4. Suwama & Ryota Hama vs. Taiyo Kea & Yoshihiro Takayama
5. Keiji Muto & Osamu Nishimura vs. TARU & Hate
6.?Junior Heavyweight Tag League: NOSAWA Rongai & MAZADA vs. Minoru & Toshizo
7.?Junior Heavyweight Tag League: Kaz Hayashi & Shuji Kondo vs. KAI & Hiroshi Yamato

AJPW, 4/29/09 (Samurai! TV)
Tokyo Korakuen Hall

1. Seiya Sanada vs. Brad Martin
2. Nobutaka Araya & Manabu Soya vs. TARU & Hate
3. Osamu Nishimura vs. Ryota Hama
4. All Japan vs. GURENTAI Top Tag Confrontation: Keiji Muto, Satoshi Kojima & Suwama vs. Taiyo Kea, Minoru Suzuki & Yoshihiro Takayama
5.?Junior Heavyweight Tag League: KAI & Hiroshi Yamato vs. Petey Williams & Phil Atlas
6.?Junior Heavyweight Tag League: Masanobu Fuchi & El Samurai vs. NOSAWA Rongai & MAZADA
7.?Junior Heavyweight Tag League: Kaz Hayashi & Shuji Kondo vs. Petey Williams & Phil Atlas
8.?Junior Heavyweight Tag League – Final:

Pro Wrestling NOAH

Update on Naomichi Marufuji

Marufuji had surgery on Thursday to repair the torn ACL he suffered last month. The diagnosis was made earlier last week and doctors said that it he’ll likely miss at least the rest of the year.

Global Tag League Begins

The Global Tag League started up on Saturday evening at the Korakuen Hall. The opening night was an eventful one, with the team of Mitsuharu Misawa and #1 Contender Go Shiozaki defeating GHC Champion Jun Akiyama & Shuhei Taniguchi. The favorites heading in is the team of Kensuke Sasaki & Takeshi Morishima and they showed why, taking care of Akira Taue & Masao Inoue in 12 minutes. The GHC Tag Team Champions were upset in the first match of the night, being defeated by the gaijin pairing of Bull Buchanan & D-Lo Brown.

Day 3 was held in Niigata with Takeshi Rikioh & Mohommed Yone handing Taue & Inoue their second loss of the tournament. Yoshihiro Takayama has paired with Takashi Sugiura and they won their first match of the tournament, knocking off Akiyama & Taniguchi.

?Global Tag League??
Niigata City Gymnasium
1600 fans?

1. Taiji Ishimori & Ricky Marvin?d. Katsuhiko Nakajima & Takashi Okita (10:42) when Marvin used an Inside Cradle on Okita.
2. Takuma Sano, Atsushi Aoki & Akihiko Ito?d. Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Kotaro Suzuki & Genba Hirayanagi (16:17) when Sano used a Northern Lights Bomb on Hirayanagi.
3.?Bison?Smith & Akitoshi Saito?d. Kentaro Shiga & Kishin Kawabata (9:54) when Saito used the Sickle of Death on Kawabata.
4. D-Lo Brown, Buchanan & Keith Walker?d. Mitsuharu Misawa, Go Shiozaki & Tamon Honda (15:37) when Buchanan used an Iron Bomb on Honda.
5.?Global Tag League:?Takeshi Rikio & Mohammed Yone [2]?d. Akira Taue & Masao Inoue [0] (14:20) when Yone used the Muscle Buster on Inoue.
6.?Global Tag League:?Yoshihiro Takayama & Takashi Sugiura [2]?d. Jun Akiyama & Shuhei Taniguchi [0] (16:12) when Sugiura used the Olympic Slam on Taniguchi.
7. Kensuke Sasaki, Takeshi Morishima & Kento Miyahara?d. Kenta Kobashi, KENTA & Ippei Ota (24:45) when Morishima used a Backdrop on Ota.

NOAH 11/04/09
?Global Tag League?
Tokyo Korakuen Hall
1800 fans

1. Atsushi Aoki & Akihiko Ito?d. Katsuhiko Nakajima & Kento Miyahara (6:23)?when Aoki used the Assault Point on Miyahara.
2. KENTA & Taiji Ishimori?d. Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Genba Hirayanagi (8:26) when Hirayanagi was disqualified.
3. Takeshi Rikio, Mohammed Yone & Kotaro Suzuki?d. Takuma Sano, Kentaro Shiga & Ippei Ota (9:44) when Yone used a Diving Guillotine Drop on Ota.
4. Kenta Kobashi, Takashi Sugiura & Tamon Honda?d. Keith Walker, Makoto Hashi & Ricky Marvin (19:55) when Honda used the Dead End on Walker.
5.?Global Tag League:?D-Lo Brown & Buchanan [2] d. Bison Smith & Akitoshi Saito?(19:28) when Brown used a Lo-Down on Saito.
6.?Global Tag League:?Kensuke Sasaki & Takeshi Morishima [2]?d. Akira Taue & Masao Inoue [0] (13:35) when Sasaki used a Northern Lights Bomb on Inoue.
7.?Global Tag League:?Mitsuharu Misawa & Go Shiozaki [2]?d. Jun Akiyama & Shuhei Taniguchi [0] (24:23) when Shiozaki used a Modified Go Flasher on Taniguchi.

Professor Misawa

Mitsuharu Misawa, NOAH President and Japanese wrestling legend, will now have another title to add to the pile. Just call him ‘professor’. While this was announced here on Wrestleview a couple of months ago, its now ‘official’. Misawa will be teaching a class of 200 students in his ‘Sports Culture’ class at Teikyo Heisei college in Tokyo.


NOAH Invades!

The next New Japan v. NOAH match will be taking place on May 5th at the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, as Takashi Sugiura & Atsushi Aoki are pairing up to take on the team of Hirooki Goto & Kazuchika Okada.

Upcoming Tour, Misc. New Japan Notes

The upcoming tour seems to be tying up many of the loose ends from the beginning of this year while transitioning to the next phase so to speak. Central to the tour of course, will be the build up to the Hiroshi Tanahashi-Hirooki Gotoh IWGP Title match which will take place in Fukuoka on May 3rd. The match has featured quite a significant degree of build without really having to do anything between the two specifically. Tanahashi has been on a tear and seems to have been firmly cemented as the new face of the New Japan wrestling company. He defeated his mentor and the previous generation’s top star Keiji Mutoh convincingly at the Tokyo Dome, before decisively defeating Shinsuke Nakamura at the Sumo Hall in February and steam rolling Kurt Angle at last week’s ?Resolution ’09? show in Tokyo. Gotoh has also been molten hot, having shocked everyone in winning the G1 Climax Tour last year. He also won the New Japan Cup last month, earning himself the title shot, and in the process defeating RISE leader Shinsuke Nakamura, Yuji Nagata and gaijin ace Giant Bernard.

Speaking of Nakamura, he’s been the center piece of one of the more interesting, yet shrouded angles in recent months. For years, Nakamura was more or less only second to Hiroshi Tanahashi in terms of talent and star power. He certainly blossomed more quickly than Tanahashi did, and thus was put into a strong position in the pecking order of the company relatively quickly. Nakamura was always saddled with the ‘straight laced, serious competetor’ gimmick, always being focused on winning, and being the best wrestler possible. He formed his own group named RISE, an took folks like Hirooki Gotoh under his wing. Nakamura was on a major roll in early 2008, having defeated Tanahashi at the Tokyo Dome and unifying the IWGP title with the third IWGP belt, which was the belt Brock Lesnar bolted with at the end of 2005 by defeating Kurt Angle last February.

Then everything started to come unglued. Nakamura was defeated by the much older Keiji Mutoh and lost his title. The dissapointment would continue, with Nakamura turning in a lackluster G1 performance. Nakamura did manage to earn a rematch with Mutoh, but was unsuccessful yet again. Despite a strong Tokyo Dome win with partner Hirooki Gotoh, Nakamrua was unsuccessful in his third straight IWGP title match, being defeated by Tanahashi. To make matters even worse, Nakamura was defeated by his #2 Goto in March’s New Japan Cup.

That set up for a return match from a pretty violent encounter with GBH heel faction leader Togi Makabe at the Sumo Hall.

Makabe forcibly overthrew Hiroyoshi Tenzan in 2007 to take the reigns of leadership in the GBH faction, a large group of heels and social misfits within New Japan. The position has been a huge boost to Makabe, who at one point was the guy who seemingly had the tools, but was the definition of unrealized potential. Around 2007, everything kind of came together for him with the dawning of his heel act. Toru Yano became his defacto #2 within that faction. Together, they dominated the tag team ranks, winning the IWGP tag team belts and both winning the G1 Climax tag league and then the following year coming in second place. Makabe, despite losing two shots at the IWGP title (to Yuji Nagata in 2007 and Keiji Mutoh in 2008), managed to make it to the finals of the G1 Climax last August before falling to Gotoh.

The two seemed to be headed on divergent paths and it all set up for the big match at the Sumo Hall. Yano came down to apparently help Makabe, but instead turned on him and took him out with a chair shot. Nakamua hit the landslide and won the match and walked off with Yano. Since the angle occurred, New Japan has been very coy about the direction they’re heading with the angle.

It APPEARS that Nakamura is going to be taking Makabe’s spot in GBH and using Yano to help put him in position to do so. The coming cards have Nakamura teaming with other GBH members. The kicker is though, is that Yano and Nakamura have been some what ‘face-ish’ in their promos, so its making the whole thing ambiguous. Makabe has yet to peak his head up since the big angle. Nakamura and Yano want Makabe gone from wrestling entirely, and have put out an open advertisement to enlist other wrestlers from other faciton members in their cause, but have NOT mentioned a single thing about either RISE or GBH.

The only man in GBH that Nakamura is NOT slated to team with, is Takashi Iizuka, who is slated to have a chain match re-match with Yuji Nagata at the show in Fukuoka. Their match at the Resolution ’09 show was pretty good, so it appears that New Japan will look to keep the ball moving in this regard.

Fukuoka International Center
1.?Wrestling Dontaku 2009 Special Tag Match: Tiger Mask & Koji Kanemoto vs. Jushin Thunder Liger & CIMA?
2.?TenKoji Return – IWGP Tag Team Title #1 Contender Match: Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima?vs. Giant Bernard & Karl Anderson
3.?Justice Revenge in FUKUOKA – Chain Death Match: Yuji Nagata vs. Takashi Iizuka
4.?IWGP Heavyweight Title: Hiroshi Tanahashi (c) vs. Hirooki Goto

NJPW ?DIVERGENCE?, 5/5/09 (Samurai! TV)
Tokyo Korakuen Hall
1.?Special Tag Match – NJPW vs. NOAH Battle Intentions: Hirooki Goto & Kazuchika Okada vs. Takashi Sugiura??& Atsushi Aoki?
2.?Special 6 Man Tag Match – Mistico 3rd Impact!!!: Hiroshi Tanahashi, Tiger Mask & Mistico vs. Giant Bernard, Black Tiger & Misterioso Jr.

Tokyo Korakuen Hall
1.?Falls Count Anywhere Match: Wataru Inoue vs. Tomohiro Ishii
2.?Special Tag Match – Mistico 3rd Impact!!!: Hiroshi Tanahashi & Mistico vs. Hirooki Goto & Misterioso Jr.

NJPW, 4/18/09
Kuwana City Gymnasium
1. Tomoaki Honma vs. Toru Yano
2. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Nobuo Yoshihashi vs. Hirooki Goto & Kazuchika Okada
3. Riki Choshu, Manabu Nakanishi, Takao Omori & Super Strong Machine vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, Giant Bernard, Karl Anderson & Jado

NJPW, 4/19/09
Iwade Municipal Townsman Gymnasium
1. Tomoaki Honma vs. Giant Bernard
2. Yuji Nagata & Mitsuhide Hirasawa vs. Shinsuke Nakamura & Takashi Iizuka
3. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Ryusuke Taguchi & Prince Devitt vs. Hirooki Goto, Jushin Thunder Liger & AKIRA

NJPW, 4/21/09 (SXW)
Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium #2
1. Tomoaki Honma vs. Tomohiro Ishii
2. Manabu Nakanishi & Takao Omori vs. Giant Bernard & Karl Anderson
3. Riki Choshu, Yuji Nagata & Wataru Inoue vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, Toru Yano & Takashi Iizuka
4. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Hirooki Goto & Milano Collection AT

NJPW, 4/22/09 (SXW)
Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium #2
1. Tomoaki Honma vs. Karl Anderson
2. Riki Choshu, Yuji Nagata & Mitsuhide Hirasawa vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, Toru Yano & Takashi Iizuka
3. Tiger Mask vs. Black Tiger
4. Manabu Nakanishi vs. Hirooki Goto
5. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Takao Omori

NJPW, 4/23/09
Zentsuji Citizen Gymnasium
1. Tomoaki Honma vs. Black Tiger
2. Riki Choshu, Yuji Nagata, Wataru Inoue & Mitsuhide Hirasawa vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, Toru Yano, Takashi Iizuka & Tomohiro Ishii
3. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Prince Devitt vs. Hirooki Goto & AKIRA

NJPW, 4/24/09
Shunan Sports Center
1.?Jushin Thunder Liger 20th Anniversary Special Tag Match: Tiger Mask & Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Black Tiger & Jado
2. Yuji Nagata, Manabu Nakanishi, Takao Omori & Wataru Inoue vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, Toru Yano, Takashi Iizuka & Tomohiro Ishii
3. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Riki Choshu vs. Hirooki Goto & AKIRA
NJPW, 4/26/09
Oita Daihatsu Arena
1. Tomoaki Honma vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
2. Yuji Nagata & Kazuchika Okada vs. Toru Yano & Takashi Iizuka
3. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Hirooki Goto & AKIRA

NJPW, 4/27/09
Nagasaki Prefectural Gymnasium
1. Tomoaki Honma vs. Jado
2. Manabu Nakanishi, Takao Omori & Tiger Mask vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, Toru Yano & Black Tiger
3. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Hirooki Goto & Jushin Thunder Liger

NJPW, 4/29/09
Hiroshima Trade Center West Pavillion
1. Tomoaki Honma vs. Toru Yano
2. Yuji Nagata, Wataru Inoue & AKIRA vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, Takashi Iizuka & Tomohiro Ishii
3. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Prince Devitt vs. Hirooki Goto & Jushin Thunder Liger

NJPW, 4/30/09
Oita Event Hall
1. Tomoaki Honma vs. Giant Bernard
2. Yuji Nagata, Manabu Nakanishi, Takao Omori & Koji Kanemoto vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, Toru Yano, Takashi Iizuka & Jado
3. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Prince Devitt vs. Hirooki Goto & Milano Collection AT

NJPW, 5/1/09
Kagoshima Citizen Gymnasium
1. Tomoaki Honma vs. Tomohiro Ishii
2. Masahiro Chono, Yuji Nagata & Super Strong Machine vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, Toru Yano & Takashi Iizuka
3. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Koji Kanemoto vs. Hirooki Goto & Jushin Thunder Liger


Michinoku Pro

Michinoku Pro will be holding a 20th Anniversary show for the Great Sasuke on June 19th that will be held at the Korakuen Hall.

Big Japan

CHIKARA will be sending talent to work a Big Japan mini-tour from the 9th of June through to the 14th. Fire Ant, Solider Ant, Crossbones, Chuck Taylor, Ultramanits Black, Shane Matthews and Jagged are scheduled to be making appearances.


This week we’ll take a look at the Champions Carnival matches on the opening night of the tournament. Over the course of the next couple of weeks, I’ll compile the rest of the tournament for a big ole review!

Taiyo Kea v. Minoru Suzuki, All Japan 5/4

To be perfectly honest, I was kinda disappointed in this. These guys work a simple and effective enough story, but there’s just points where these guys get incredibly lazy about really basic selling stuff that leaves me more frustrated than anything else.

Essentially, Kea wants to slug it out with strikes, Suzuki wants to keep it on the mat to snap bones and stretch muscles. And they do a good enough job here, especially with Suzuki showing his frustration after a few strike exchanges with his fellow tag champion. Kea is completely and totally outclassed on the mat and at several points, Suzuki’s got lots fun ways to kind of trick him into doing dumb stuff.

The problem here has nothing to do with the storyline crux and just flatly everything to do with execution. I’ll concede I’m not a fan of the head dumpy, pop uppy style, and for a ton of reasons. I just don’t think its a good idea to blow through what’s supposedly ‘important’ offense in one’s offense, or more precisely, no selling other people’s stuff. Wrestling and drama is built on that suspension of disbelief. Sure, we know its fake, but please don’t go too far out of your way to remind us. Same applies to television shows. If the move isn’t important, and you treat it as such, why should I, myself, think its important? This match goes a step further with that though, as this is essentially these guys are PARTNERS. Don’t no sell your partners’ stuff for crying out loud. It hurts you AND him.

There’s other issues, too, like Kea using the arm he just got stretched and will continue to get stretched to hit lariats, punches, TKO’s, etc. Lame. Strike no selling in the corner is cute, but doesn’t feel like it fits anywhere at all. Not what I had hoped for. *3/4

Keiji Mutoh v. Yoshihiro Takayama, All Japan 5/4

I just can’t get into Muta matches much these days. Sure, the keep doing what you can do until it doesn’t work anymore is all fine in my book, but it just bores me. The guy can barely walk, he does about four things without showing much fire, which is what I loved about the guy in the past. So long as there seemed like some real emotion there, I’d dig it, but there doesn’t seem to be. Mutoh strikes me as a dude whose wrestling because he has to, not because he wants to.

This is perfectly ok if you’re into what Mutoh does these days. He keeps attacking Takayama’s legs, which makes perfect sense as you always want to take the bigger guy’s base away. Takayama’s selling is unspectacular and his offense here even less so, especially hitting running knees after all that leg work, but yeah, nothing great. There are totally worse ways to kill 15 minutes, but don’t expect anything new or interesting from Mutoh here. **

Satoshi Kojima v. SUWAMA, All Japan 5/4

This was a really fun match even though it’d be a stretch to say it was ‘good’. Certainly entertaining though, as the top young star in the company face probably the most established (outside of Mutoh of course). They really wanted to make Suwama look strong here in a losing effort, and his offense looks ok for the most part. What isn’t worked ‘smart’ is at least worked ‘fun’. To be a main event guy you don’t have to be a convincing actor but you do have to be at least fun, and he’s fun. He goes into the crowd, introduces Kojima to a section sign in the bleachers, and along the way, finds time to talk to the one lady who didn’t clear out, whose there talking to him and sipping a cup of coffee (no literally).

They don’t hold back too much, and just go hard at each other with the big stuff and sure, that keeps it fun, but it never really settles into any kind of cohesive story. There’s some no selling dopey ness at the end, but its nothing overly offensive. Being the first main event on a week long tournament, I think the thing you want to go with is ‘fun’, and they certainly accomplished that. **1/2

Hunter’s Mi ndless, Ongoi ng, Who-Cares-what-he-thi nks!? Best Puro Matches of 2009

I’m hopi ng 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-i ng hate star rati ngs. 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 thi nk ******** is a replacement for actually knowi ng what you’re talki ng about and wish to communicate. Take them with a grai n of salt, but anythi ng that pops up on THIS list, you should probably check out.

1.) Hiroshi Tanahashi v. Shi nsuke Nakamura, IWGP Heavyweight Championship, New Japan 2/15 ****
2.)Shi nsuke Nakamura & Hirooki Gotoh v. Mitsuharu Misawa & Takeshi Suguira, New Japan 1/4 ***3/4
3.) Takashi Suguira & Go Shiozaki v. Shi nsuke Nakamura & Milano Collection A.T., NOAH 3/1 ***1/2
4.) Mi noru 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, Chai n Match, New Japan 4/5 ***1/4
7.) Mammoth Sasaki & Daisuke Sekimoto vs. Shi nya Ishikawa & Yoshihito Sasaki, Big Japan ? ***
8.)Hirooki Gotoh & Jushi n ?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, ? ***