Mutoh 25th Anniversary Show a Success
The Keiji Mutoh 25th Anniversary show held on June 10th drew a highly successful crowd of 2,100 fans, good enough for a sell out. Mutoh started his career in 1984 and essentially used each character he had used since then on the card. He worked as Kokushi Muso, doing a similar Shaolin Monk/Tattoo gimmick that Jinsei Shinzaki (Hakushi, also his partner, had worked in the 1990s. The two were able to defeat the Voodoo Murderers team of Taru & Toshizo in the opening match of the card. Muto came back as himself later in the show, working a comedy match with a wrestler names Kannazuki, whose known for working impersonations of other stars. They won the Fake-One Tag Team titles, defeating Osamu Nishimura & the Grappler Takashi when Kannazuki pinned Takashi. The Great Muta would make an appearance later in the night, defeating Hate.
The biggest news was that they announced the next major show for the company, which will happen on August 30th at the Sumo Hall in Tokyo with one of the feature bouts featuring the team of Keiji Muto and the returning Masakatsu Funaki taking on the tandem of Minoru Suzuki & Masahiro Chono. The match will be Funaki’s first match in a professional wrestling match in nearly 20 years. He started off in New Japan at the ripe age of 15 years old with both Muto and Chono, but moved along to the UWF during the late 80s New Japan split. He would move on to participate in UWFi as well as PWFG, both shoot-style promotions. Later on in the early 90s, he’d become one of the founding figures of Pancrase, along with Ken Shamrock & Minoru Suzuki.
AJPW “MUTO FESTIVAL”, 10.06.2009?
Tokyo Korakuen Hall?
2,100 Fans?- Super No Vacancy Full House?
1. Kokushi Muso & Hakushi? def. TARU & Toshizo?(8:58)? when Mutoh used the Shining Wizard on Toshizo.?
2.?Baka Kyoudai…Final Singles Match: Nobutaka Araya def. Kikutaro?(7:30)?with the moonsault press
3.?Royal Road Pro-Wrestling Education Match: Masanobu Fuchi def Brad Martin?(7:46)? With the Body Slam
4.?F-1 Tag Team Title, Handicap Match: Keiji Muto & Kannazaki (c) def. Osamu Nishimura, Yurioka Cho Tokkyo Q & Grappler Takashi?(18:47)When Kannazaki used the Riki Lariat to pin Takashi
5.?NEXT All Japan Heavyweight Match: Masayuki Kono & Ryota Hama def. Seiya Sanada & Manabu Soya?(10:37)?when Kono used a cross arm breaker on Sanada.
6. Great Muta def Hate?(8:35)? with the shining wizard
7.?Azabu Muto: Satoshi Kojima, KAI & Hiroshi Yamato def. Suwama, Kaz Hayashi & Shuji Kondo?(11:37)?nWhen Kojima used the lariat on Kondo
Kobashi wins First Singles Title in Four Years As Southern Navigation Tour Gets Under Way
Kenta Kobashi won the GHC Hardcore Championship on Sunday, defeating Makoto Hashi with the burning lariat to win his first major singles title in four years in Hachioje. The Hardcore title has usually been a belt for the under card wrestlers in NOAH, and this marks the first time the title has been on a main event caliber wrestler since Jun Akiyama introduced the title back in 2004. This is the latest piece of what seems to be a steadily unfolding story that seems to be leading to a Jun Akiyama v. Kenta Kobashi unification match somewhere down the line.
A month ago, Kobashi ran down the aisle to save Akiyama from a beat down at the hands of the DISOBEY faction. After the match at a press conference, Akiyama, the GHC Heavyweight Champion, suggested that it’d be nice to see Kobashi win the Hardcore title and then challenge him for his belt down the line. Kobashi was scheduled for this match a few weeks ago, and Akiyama was assigned to be the special guest referee.
The Hardcore title is much like a television title in that its 1.) usually held by a mid carder and 2.) has a special set of rules that go along with it. At base, there are 15 minute time limits on all Hardcore matches and then a second stipulation added at the champions’ choosing. Some have had no punching and one guy even made it into a tag team championship for a little while. In this match, the then-Champion Makoto Hashi, a long time protege of Akiyama’s, made the call that Kobashi wouldn’t be allowed to chop for the first 10 minutes of the match. They did a great job building to the inevitable chop-fest, with Kobashi becoming increasingly, and somewhat humorously, frustrated. Akiyama even brought soccer cards to the ring and issued a yellow card to the challenger. Of course, Kobashi eventually was free to chop and chop he did. Kobashi would connect with 83 chops in the last two minutes and score a huge burning lariat to win the match and the title.
The other big news from the card would feature a teased match between Triple Crown Champion Yoshihiro Takayama and GHC Heavyweight Champion Jun Akiyama. Of course many know the long history between All Japan and Pro Wrestling NOAH. This was the first time the Triple Crown belts made an appearance in the company since Misawa and company split from the company in 2000. This marked the first time that the Triple Crown Champion had ever faced the GHC Champion in a match. Takayama teamed with Takashi Sugiura to defeat Kaiyama and his partner Shuhei Taniguchi.
The other major match thus far on the tournament took place in on the June 4th show at the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo as GHC Junior Heavyweight Champion KENTA successfully defended his title against challenger Ricky Marvin. The show itself drew a disappointing 1,500 fans on a show that also included Kenta Kobashi & Jun Akiyama teaming up for the first time in a very, very long time. Alongside Shuhei Taniguchi, they defeated the DISOBEY team of Takeshi Rikio, Mohammed Yone & Kotaro Suzuki when Akiyama pinned Suzuki with the exploder.
The June 22nd show is getting a huge push right now, especially the main event. It will feature the team of KENTA & Go Shiozaki taking on Kensuke Sasaki & Katsuhiko Nakajima. The other big match on the card will feature Taniguchi taking on Mitsuharu Misawa, in a match in Taniguchi’s ‘test’ match. Thanks to the cross-promotional fun with New Japan of late, Atsushi Aoki will be facing Jushin Liger on the card as well.
Ishimori Crossing Into Bodybuilding
Taiji Ishimori is currently getting ready to compete in the Central Japan bodybuilding championships that are scheduled to take place on July 26th in Yokota. Ishimori has always had a fantastic body and is apparently quite the health nut. He’ll still be wrestling full time on top of training and as of press time, is still scheduled for the house show a day before the competition itself. Iishimori says though it will make things difficult for him, he still intends on working while training.
Best of the Super Juniors Gets Set to Conclude this Week
The best of the Super Juniors Tournament keeps on plugging along. There are only two days left of first round competition, with the semi finals and finals to take place this coming Sunday. Here are your updated standings as of today:
1. Tiger Mask, 6 Points
– Milano Collection AT, 6 Points
– Prince Devitt, 6 Points
4. AKIRA, 4 Points
– Jado, 4 Points
– Atsushi Aoki, 4 Points
7. Black Tiger, 0 Points
1. Koji Kanemoto, 6 Points
– Ryusuke Taguchi, 6 Points
– Tsuyoshi Kikuchi, 6 Points
4. Jushin Thunder Liger, 4 Points
– Kota Ibushi, 4 Points
6. Taichi, 2 Points
– YAMATO, 2 Points
NJPW “CIRCUIT 2009 BEST OF THE SUPER JR. XVI”, 05.06.2009?
Yonago Industrial Gymnasium?
1. Atsushi Aoki??def Nobuo Yoshihashi?(8:49)?with the Northern Lights Suplex Hold
2. Black Tiger & YAMATO??def Tiger Mask & Mitsuhide Hirasawa?(10:24)?When Black Tiger used the Tiger bomb on Hirasawa
3.?Best of the Super Jr. – Block A: Jado  def AKIRA ?(14:58) with the crossface of JADO?
4. Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Togi Makabe, Wataru Inoue, Prince Devitt & Tomoaki Honma def Shinsuke Nakamura, Toru Yano, Takashi Iizuka, Tomohiro Ishii & Karl Anderson?(13:01)?when Iizuka got disqualified
5.?Best of the Super Jr. – Block B: Tsuyoshi Kikuchi?? def Taichi ?(9:24)?via pin fall?
6.?Best of the Super Jr. – Block B: Jushin Thunder Liger  def Ryusuke Taguchi ?(10:08)? with a European roll up
7. Manabu Nakanishi, Yuji Nagata & Koji Kanemoto def. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Hirooki Goto & Kazuchika Okada?(9:54)?When Nakanishi used the German Suplex hold on Okada
NJPW “CIRCUIT 2009 BEST OF THE SUPER JR. XVI”, 06.06.2009?
Shinji Lake Park “Koyukan”?
1. Tiger Mask & Jushin Thunder Liger def Kazuchika Okada & Nobuo Yoshihashi?(10:13)? When Tiger Mask used the tombstone on Yoshihashi
2. Tomohiro Ishii & Karl Anderson def Super Strong Machine & Mitsuhide Hirasawa?(10:59)? When Anderson used the Gun stun on Hirasawa?
3.?Best of the Super Jr. – Block A: Milano Collection A.T.  def Black Tiger ?(10:29)?by DQ
4. Shinsuke Nakamura, Toru Yano, Takashi Iizuka & Jado def Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Togi Makabe, Wataru Inoue & Tomoaki Honma(14:19)? when Nakamura used the Landslide on Honma
5.?Best of the Super Jr. – Block B: Tsuyoshi Kikuchi?? def YAMATO???(10:54) with a roll up?
6.?Best of the Super Jr. – Block A: Atsushi Aoki?? def AKIRA ?(15:00)?with the Cross Arm Breaker
7. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Hirooki Goto, Ryusuke Taguchi & Prince Devitt def Manabu Nakanishi, Yuji Nagata, Koji Kanemoto & Taichi(21:37)?When Tanahashi hit the high fly flow on Taichi
NJPW “CIRCUIT 2009 BEST OF THE SUPER JR. XVI”, 07.06.2009?
Akashi Municipal Industrial Exchange Center?
1,560 Fans?- Super No Vacancy Full House?
1. Karl Anderson def Kazuchika Okada?(7:40) with the gun stun?
2.?Best of the Super Jr. – Block B: Taichi  def YAMATO???(9:31)?with the Black Mephisto.?
3.?Best of the Super Jr. – Block A: Atsushi Aoki?? def Black Tiger ?(9:36) by roll up?
4. Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Togi Makabe, Wataru Inoue & Tomoaki Honma def Shinsuke Nakamura, Toru Yano, Takashi Iizuka & Tomohiro Ishii?(15:15)?when Iizuka got disqualified?
5. Manabu Nakanishi, Yuji Nagata & Milano Collection A.T. def Hiroshi Tanahashi, Hirooki Goto & Ryusuke Taguchi?(16:30)? When Nakanishi pinned Taguchi with a German Suplex Hold
6.?Best of the Super Jr. – Block A: Tiger Mask  def Prince Devitt ?(11:19)? with the Destroy Suplex Hold?
7.?Best of the Super Jr. – Block B: Koji Kanemoto  def Jushin Thunder Liger ?(17:27)? with the modified ankle lock
NJPW “CIRCUIT 2009 BEST OF THE SUPER JR. XVI”, 08.06.2009?
Fukui City Gymnasium?
1. Atsushi Aoki??def Nobuo Yoshihashi?(10:31)?with the cross armbreaker
2. Karl Anderson, Jado & YAMATO??def Ryusuke Taguchi, Mitsuhide Hirasawa & Kazuchika Okada?(9:48)?When Anderson hit the gun stun on Hirasawa
3.?Best of the Super Jr. – Block B: Koji Kanemoto  def Taichi ?(12:05)?with the modified Angle Lock
4. Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Togi Makabe, Wataru Inoue, Jushin Thunder Liger & Tomoaki Honma vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, Toru Yano, Takashi Iizuka, Tomohiro Ishii & Black Tiger -When to a no contest
5.?Best of the Super Jr. – Block B: Kota Ibushi?? def Tsuyoshi Kikuchi???(9:56)?with the half nelson hold
6.?Best of the Super Jr. – Block A: AKIRA  def Tiger Mask ?(10:05)? with the Growing Up?
7. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Hirooki Goto & Prince Devitt def Manabu Nakanishi, Yuji Nagata & Milano Collection A.T.?(19:20)When Tanahashi beat Milano Collection AT with a high fly flow
NJPW “CIRCUIT 2009 BEST OF THE SUPER JR. XVI”, 09.06.2009?
Gifu Mount Ace?
750 Fans?- No Vacancy?
1. Tomohiro Ishii & YAMATO?def. AKIRA & Mitsuhide Hirasawa?(9:41)?when Iishi used the vertical drop back driver on Hirasawa.
2. Kota Ibushi??& Atsushi Aoki??besiegen Koji Kanemoto & Nobuo Yoshihashi?(8:58)?when Ibushi used the Half Nelson Suplex on Yoshihashi
3.?Best of the Super Jr. – Block A: Prince Devitt  def Black Tiger ?(7:20)?via Ref stoppage
4. Shinsuke Nakamura, Toru Yano, Takashi Iizuka & Karl Anderson def Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Togi Makabe, Wataru Inoue & Tomoaki Honma?(12:43)?when Nakamura used the Landslide on Honma?
5.?Best of the Super Jr. – Block A: Milano Collection A.T.  def Jado ?(16:22) with the Gedo Clutch
6.?Best of the Super Jr. – Block B: Ryusuke Taguchi  def Tsuyoshi Kikuchi???(11:31)?with the Tiger Suplex Hold
7. Manabu Nakanishi, Yuji Nagata, Jushin Thunder Liger & Taichi def Hiroshi Tanahashi, Hirooki Goto, Tiger Mask & Kazuchika Okada?(18:58)?When Nakanishi pinned Okada with the Nai Nakanishi German Suplex
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 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.) Alexander Otsuka vs. Yujiro Yamamoto, BattlARTS 2/15 ***3/4
4.) Minoru Suzuki & Taiyo Kea v. SUWAMA & Shuji Kondo, World Tag Team Championship, All Japan 3/15 ***1/2
5.) Takashi Suguira & Go Shiozaki v. Shinsuke Nakamura & Milano Collection A.T., NOAH 3/1 ***1/2
6.) Jun Akiyama v. KENTA, NOAH 5/17 ***1/2
7.) Katsumi Usuda vs. Yuta Yoshikawa ? BattlARTS 2/15 ***1/2
8.)Hirooki Goto & Kazuchika Okada vs. Takashi Sugiura & Atsushi Aoki, New Japan 5/5 ***1/4
9.) Hirooki Gotoh v. Giant Bernard, New Japan Cup Semi Finals, New Japan 3/22 ***1/4
10.) KENTA v. Ricky Marvin, NOAH 6/5 ***1/4
11.) Mammoth Sasaki & Daisuke Sekimoto vs. Shinya Ishikawa & Yoshihito Sasaki, Big Japan ? ***
12.) Ricky Marvin v. Taiji Ishimori, SEM 5/18 ***
13.) Alexander Otsuka v. Daisuke Sekimoto, IGF 3/15 ***
14.) Giant Bernard v. Yutaka Yoshie, New Japan Cup Semi Finals, New Japan 3/22 ***
15.) Takashi Iizuka v. Yuji Nagata, Chain Match, New Japan 4/5 ***
Ricky Marvin v. Taiji Ishimori, SEM 5/18
Ricky Marvin, for my money, is the best Junior Heavyweight on the planet. He’s an interesting package as he comes with all the fun, flashy stuff you get from the modern juniors, but he also brings with him something the majority of those guys lack, which is the selling and emotion. In a world chalked full of generic Juniors, Marvin is one of the select few stand-out guys. Conversely, Ishimori is a guy I’ve never been into and at one point, avoided almost everything he did. Total archetype for the all flash/no substance kind of kid you see coming out in droves in the US Indy scene and the Japanese Juniors scene… That being said, the last few times I’ve watched him he looks like he’s improving, albeit slowly. He’s bringing some real fire to his matches and while he can’t pace anything worth a sh!t yet, he’s a much more willing ‘along for the ride’ kind of guy.
This is pretty good stuff here for the most part, although its mostly the Ricky Marvin show. The early mat work is pretty fun and well worked. While it probably goes five minutes too long (again, this whole long juniors match thing pops up), most of the stuff is good, and Ishimori isn’t flying through stuff. Marvin is the guy to watch here though, as he plays a really fantastic low-key rudo douche-bag between drinking water he stole from a fan, jaw jacking, grabbing the official. He’s certainly the heel here, but he’s not like Kotaro Suzuki was in his match with KENTA earlier in the year, where he’s beating you over the head with it… There are some just completely nutty spots here, including Marvin’s new power bomb into a lung blower deal which just looks all sorts of junior-wild.?
Sure, some issues here… the stretch run is a little over-complicated and doesn’t need to be. They have a few sections where they DO get no-selly. But for the most part, everything is OK here. Not my strongest nomination of the year, but still something from Japan worth checking out. I’ve got a FEELING Marvin may beat Kenta here, so its at least a preview of things to come. Marvin’s a seriously, seriously talented dude ***
Go Shiozaki v. Chris Hero, NOAH 6/5
The only thing I really pulled from this is that Hero was a million times better than Go. His spots are fun, the crowd’s super into him and his antics, and they’re consistently popping for his kick outs and offense. Go, not so much. Outside of a few cool wobbly sells on some big Hero strikes, Go pretty much brings absolutely nothing of note to this. The overly-stiff offense almost just seems out of place to me. Like nothing Hero really did to Go required THAT level of ‘I’m going to murder you, your family and exterminate your gene pool’ chops from Shiozaki. I’m with others on this, as I think Go’s sort of caught in that weird, gawky stage of development, where you’ve just gotta take the good with the bad, but there wasn’t much to get excited about here. It was REALLY the Chris Hero show. **1/2
KENTA v. Ricky Marvin, NOAH 6/5
This match is the Ricky Marvin show, almost bell to bell. In fact he’s so much better than KENTA here, its almost scary to think that this guy isn’t someone whose used 1.) More regularly in NOAH and 2.) and towards the top of the card. Really fun, classic Japan juniors style match with a TON of back and forth. KENTA can’t really string a single thing together, as Marvin has awesome ways to thwart KENTA’s kicky-onslaught. Marvin is in full blown rudo here, posing, smirking, and really just irritating the holy hell out of KENTA throughout. KENTA goes for a running boot, Marvin hits a hurricanranna. KENTA goes to suplex him into the ring, Marvin hits a hurricanranna. KENTA counters a Marvin kick, goes for a lariat that Marvin seamlessly ducks under. They just stuff a lot in here, and while the KENTA/Akiyama match proves my point that junior matches get milked too much, this is proof of why 20-25 minutes is plenty-o-time, as this never really drags, and they do a lot of fun segments. They do a nice ?Marvin frustrates KENTA, KENTA strikes back? to open things up. They brawl through the crowd to pick up the intensity. KENTA works an OK peril to Marvin’s awesome mat work. The KENTA comeback ain’t too hot (the only part of the match for me that really is lacking), but the stretch run is really awesome. Again, fast paced, fun classic-style juniors match. ***