In what has come as an interesting move, Hiroshi Tanahashi has been granted a rematch against IWGP Heavyweight Champion Manabu Nakanishi at the June 20th ?Domination? show in Osaka. Nakanishi defeated Tanahashi for the title on May 6 at the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo.
What’s most interesting about this story is that ex-champions getting rematches is not very common in Japanese booking. So rare in fact, that Tanahashi is the first man in IWGP Heavyweight Championship history to receive a return title match immediately after losing it. While plans are certainly subject to change, the title change looks to be more or less something done to spike interest quickly, as there were no real long term plans on the books for Nakanishi, especially given the fact that the title change was decided on the night of the show.
In other ?Dominion? show-related news, the IWGP Tag Team Championships will also be defended on the show, as Team 3D of Bubba Ray & D’Von Dudley, will defend their belts against Giant Bernard & Karl Anderson in an all-gaijins title match. The Anderson & Bernard team have established a great deal of momentum in the past few months, defeating both the Wild Child and TenKoji teams to earn the shot. Team 3D has also been strong, having recently added the TNA World Tag Team Championships to their already large trophy case, defeating Beer Money, Inc. (Robert Roode & James Storm) at the TNA ?Lockdown? Pay Per View in April.
The New Japan v. Pro Wrestling NOAH feud looks to continue, with two big matches announced. Kazuchika Okada, who performed so well in the main event of the Korakuen Double Shot show, will get a chance to prove himself as he will take on NOAH top ace candidate Go Shiozaki. The other match will feature Hirooki Goto taking on NOAH rising star Takashi Sugiura, whose had quite the break out year, himself.
NJPW ?DOMINION 6/20/09
Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium
1.?Special Singles Match – NJPW vs. NOAH Battle Diffusions I: Kazuchika Okada vs. Go Shiozaki?
2.?Special Singles Match – NJPW vs. NOAH Battle Diffusions II: Hirooki Goto vs. Takashi Sugiura
3.?IWGP Tag Team Title: ?Team 3D? Brother Ray??& Brother Devon??(c) vs. Giant Bernard & Karl Anderson
4.?IWGP Heavyweight Title: Manabu Nakanishi (c) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi
Super Juniors Line Up Announced!
The line-up for the annual ?Best of the Super Juniors? tournament have been announced and many outsiders are scheduled to appear, including Pro Wrestling NOAH State Atsushi Aoki, DDT’s Kota Ibushi, and Dragon Gate star YAMATO. They will be joined by New Japan regulars Milano Collection AT, Koji Kanemoto, Ryusuke Taguchi, Black Tiger, Prince Devitt, Jado, Taichi, Jushin ?Thunder? Liger, Tsuyoshi Kikuchi and IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Tiger Mask.
The ?Super Juniors? tournament debuted in 1988, and is held to determine the top Junior Heavyweight wrestler every year. The winner, if he does not already hold it, receives a shot at the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship. The tournament is held much like many of the mainstream heavyweight tournaments in the company, with wrestlers competing in two blocks with a round robin format. 2 points are awarded for a win, 1 point for a draw and 0 points for a loss. Every match until the knock out phase has a 30 minute time limit. The top two scorers in each block advance to the semi final phase where single elimination rules take effect. The winners of the respective semi-finals then wrestle for the tournament championship later that night.
The tournament grew in popularity through much of the 90s, largely due to the faster paced action and colorful characters. Many very influential American wrestlers would make major breakthroughs competing in the tournament, such as Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho, Owen Hart, (David) Finlay, Brian Pillman and Dean Malenko.
NJPW, 5/30/09 (Samurai! TV)
Tokyo Korakuen Hall
1.?Best of the Super Jr. – Block A: Ryusuke Taguchi vs. YAMATO?
2.?Best of the Super Jr. – Block B: Tiger Mask vs. Atsushi Aoki?
3.?Best of the Super Jr. – Block B: Milano Collection AT vs. Prince Devitt
4.?Best of the Super Jr. – Block A: Koji Kanemoto vs. Kota Ibushi?
Mito Citizen Gymnasium
1.?Best of the Super Jr. – Block A: Black Tiger vs. Jado
2.?Best of the Super Jr. – Block B: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Taichi
3.?Best of the Super Jr. – Block B: Koji Kanemoto vs. Tsuyoshi Kikuchi?
NJPW, 6/3/09 (SXW)
Tokorozawa Citizen Gymnasium #2
1.?Best of the Super Jr. – Block B: Taichi vs. Kota Ibushi?
2.?Best of the Super Jr. – Block A: Prince Devitt vs. Jado
3.?Best of the Super Jr. – Block A: AKIRA vs. Black Tiger
Yonago Industrial Gymnasium
1.?Best of the Super Jr. – Block A: AKIRA vs. Jado
2.?Best of the Super Jr. – Block B: Taichi vs. Tsuyoshi Kikuchi?
3.?Best of the Super Jr. – Block B: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Ryusuke Taguchi
Shinji Lake Park
1.?Best of the Super Jr. – Block A: AKIRA vs. Atsushi Aoki?
2.?Best of the Super Jr. – Block B: Tsuyoshi Kikuchi??vs. YAMATO?
3.?Best of the Super Jr. – Block A: Milano Collection AT vs. Black Tiger
Akashi Municipal Industrial Exchange Center
1.?Best of the Super Jr. – Block B: Taichi vs. YAMATO?
2.?Best of the Super Jr. – Block A: Black Tiger vs. Atsushi Aoki?
3.?Best of the Super Jr. – Block A: Tiger Mask vs. Prince Devitt
4.?Best of the Super Jr. – Block B: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Koji Kanemoto
Fukui City Gymnasium
1.?Best of the Super Jr. – Block B: Koji Kanemoto vs. Taichi
2.?Best of the Super Jr. – Block B: Tsuyoshi Kikuchi??vs. Kota Ibushi?
3.?Best of the Super Jr. – Block A: Tiger Mask vs. AKIRA
Gifu Mount Ace
1.?Best of the Super Jr. – Block A: Milano Collection AT vs. Jado
2.?Best of the Super Jr. – Block A: Prince Devitt vs. Black Tiger
3.?Best of the Super Jr. – Block B: Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Tsuyoshi Kikuchi?
Mie Yume Dome Ueno #2
1.?Best of the Super Jr. – Block B: Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Taichi
2.?Best of the Super Jr. – Block B: Koji Kanemoto vs. YAMATO?
3.?Best of the Super Jr. – Block A: Tiger Mask vs. Jado
4.?Best of the Super Jr. – Block A: AKIRA vs. Milano Collection AT
Toyohashi City Gymnasium #2
1.?Best of the Super Jr. – Block A: Jado vs. Atsushi Aoki?
2.?Best of the Super Jr. – Block B: Kota Ibushi??vs. YAMATO?
3.?Best of the Super Jr. – Block A: AKIRA vs. Prince Devitt
4.?Best of the Super Jr. – Block B: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Tsuyoshi Kikuchi?
Kyoto KBS Hall
1.?Best of the Super Jr. – Block A: Milano Collection AT vs. Atsushi Aoki?
2.?Best of the Super Jr. – Block B: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Kota Ibushi?
3.?Best of the Super Jr. – Block B: Koji Kanemoto vs. Ryusuke Taguchi
4.?Best of the Super Jr. – Block A: Tiger Mask vs. Black Tiger
NJPW, 6/14/09 (SXW)
Tokyo Korakuen Hall
1.?Best of the Super Jr. – Semi Final: Block A 1st Place vs. Block B 2nd Place
2.?Best of the Super Jr. – Semi Final: Block B 1st Place vs. Block A 2nd Place
3.?Best of the Super Jr. – Final:
New Japan July Tour Dates Announced
July looks to be an exceptionally busy month in the New Japan schedule, with the first tour largely based around the Hokkaido market, which has been their traditional summer tour stop, followed by the two day mini-tour after that. The big show of the month is slated for July 20th and will be held at the Tsukisamu Alpha Court Dome (The Old Green Dome) where the last IWGP Heavyweight Championship match before the G1 Climax tour will take place.
CIRCUIT 2009 NEW JAPAN SOUL
– 7/5 @ Tokyo Korakuen Hall
– 7/10 @ Chiba Port Arena Sub Arena
– 7/12 @ Green Dome Maebashi Sub Arena
– 7/14 @ Fukushima City Gymnasium
– 7/15 @ Miyako City Gymnasium Sea Arena
– 7/16 @ TONYAMACHI Big Sight
– 7/18 @ Muroran City Gymnasium
– 7/20 @ Tsukisamu Alpha Court Dome
NEW JAPAN LIVE 2DAYS ~2NIGHT?S THE NIGHT~
– 7/22 @ Asahikawa Local Industry Promotion Center
– 7/23 @ Hakodate Citizen Gymnasium
RISE UP Tour 2009 Cards Released
The Rise Up tour will kick off this Sunday with a show at the Korakuen Hall that will be headlined by the return of Masayuki Kono. He will be teaming with Keiji Mutoh to take on the team of Suwama & Satoshi Kojima. The Suwama/Kojima tandem should be interesting, as both men lead rival factions, Team Destruction and F4 respectively. The two met at the Champions Carnival last month with Kojima winning. The tension boiled over to the April 29th show, where the two were paired on the The AJPW team as the All Japan faction took on the GURENTAI faction in a tag team match, as the two shoved each other as they fought over who would get to take out Triple Crown Champion Yoshihiro Takayama.
The tour will conclude with a blow off show at the Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium on May 30th, a show that will be headlined by the big Takayama v. Minoru Suzuki Triple Crown title match.
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
Kumamoto Hungnam Hall
1. Seiya Sanada vs. Brad Martin
2. Masayuki Kono vs. Manabu Soya
3. Kaz Hayashi, Shuji Kondo & Nobutaka Araya vs. Minoru, Hate & Toshizo
4. Suwama & Hiroshi Yamato vs. Yoshihiro Takayama & MAZADA
5. Satoshi Kojima & KAI vs. Taiyo Kea & Minoru Suzuki
6. Keiji Muto, Osamu Nishimura & Ryota Hama vs. TARU, ZODIAC & Joe Doering
Miyazaki MRT Diamond Hall
1. Phil Atlas vs. Brad Martin
2. Kaz Hayashi vs. Nobutaka Araya
3. Suwama & Shuji Kondo vs. Minoru Suzuki & MAZADA
4. Satoshi Kojima, KAI & Hiroshi Yamato vs. Minoru, ZODIAC & Toshizo
5. Osamu Nishimura & Seiya Sanada vs. Taiyo Kea & Yoshihiro Takayama
6. Keiji Muto, Masayuki Kono & Ryota Hama vs. TARU, Joe Doering & Hate
Kagoshima Citizen Gymnasium
1. Nobutaka Araya, Ryota Hama & Yasuhiro Yamagami vs. Osamu Nishimura, Phil Atlas & Brad Martin
2. Masayuki Kono vs. Seiya Sanada
3. Kaz Hayashi & Manabu Soya vs. Minoru & Joe Doering
4. Yoshihiro Takayama vs. ZODIAC
5. Satoshi Kojima, KAI & Hiroshi Yamato vs. TARU, Hate & Toshizo
6. Keiji Muto, Suwama & Shuji Kondo vs. Taiyo Kea, Minoru Suzuki & MAZADA
1. Osamu Nishimura vs. Seiya Sanada
2. Phil Atlas vs. Joe Doering
3. Kaz Hayashi & Ryota Hama vs. ZODIAC & Toshizo
4. Satoshi Kojima, KAI & Hiroshi Yamato vs. TARU, Minoru & Hate
5. Taiyo Kea & Minoru Suzuki vs. Yoshihiro Takayama & MAZADA
6. Keiji Muto, Masayuki Kono & Seiya Sanada vs. Suwama, Shuji Kondo & Manabu Soya
Oita Event Hall
1. Nobutaka Araya & Ryota Hama vs. Seiya Sanada & Manabu Soya
2. Osamu Nishimura, Shuji Kondo & Brad Martin vs. TARU, Minoru & Toshizo
3. Masayuki Kono vs. ZODIAC
4. Minoru Suzuki vs. Hiroshi Yamato
5. Satoshi Kojima & KAI vs. Joe Doering & Hate
6. Keiji Muto, Suwama & Kaz Hayashi vs. Taiyo Kea, Yoshihiro Takayama & MAZADA
Yanai City Gymnasium
1. Manabu Soya vs. Phil Atlas
2. Ryota Hama vs. Brad Martin
3. Suwama & Shuji Kondo vs. Yoshihiro Takayama & MAZADA
4. Osamu Nishimura & Nobutaka Araya vs. Taiyo Kea & Minoru Suzuki
5. Satoshi Kojima, KAI & Hiroshi Yamato vs. Minoru, ZODIAC & Joe Doering
6. Keiji Muto, Kaz Hayashi & Masayuki Kono vs. TARU, Hate & Toshizo
Tottori Industrial Gymnasium Small Gymnasium
1. Seiya Sanada vs. Phil Atlas
2. Nobutaka Araya & Ryota Hama vs. ZODIAC & Joe Doering
3. Brad Martin vs. Minoru
4. Satoshi Kojima, Kaz Hayashi & KAI vs. TARU, Hate & Toshizo
5. Taiyo Kea & Yoshihiro Takayama vs. Minoru Suzuki & MAZADA
6. Keiji Muto, Osamu Nishimura & Masayuki Kono vs. Suwama, Shuji Kondo & Manabu Soya
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
Wakayama Prefectural Hashimoto Gymnasium
1.?Japan Pro-Wrestling 2000 Offer
2. Osamu Nishimura & Phil Atlas vs. Nobutaka Araya & Ryota Hama
3. Brad Martin vs. Hate
4. Masayuki Kono & Seiya Sanada vs. ZODIAC & Joe Doering
5. Suwama & Manabu Soya vs. Taiyo Kea & Yoshihiro Takayama
6. Satoshi Kojima, KAI & Hiroshi Yamato vs. TARU, Minoru & Toshizo
7. Keiji Muto, Kaz Hayashi & Shuji Kondo vs. Minoru Suzuki, NOSAWA Rongai & MAZADA
Big Names for Philadelphia Show on July 25th Announced
Dragon Gate USA announced the talent for the 7/25 show in Philadelphia. Among the Dragon Gate talent scheduled to appear will be YAMATO, Susumu Yokosuka, and BxB Hulk. CHIKARA’S Fire Ant is also expected to be on the show.
Also, the promotion announced that it has reached a recording deal with the ?Ferret Music? label.
5/9/2009 Dragon Gate Arena~NEX Sanctuary.47
1. Kenshin Chikano def. Kotoka Shiiba via crab hold at 5:00
2. Syachihoko Machine def. Jackson Florida via Syachihoko Clutch 2009
3. Super Shenlong 50 Match Series #12: Super Shenlong vs Akira Tozawa ended in a 15 minute time limit draw
4. Super Shisa, Shisa BOY def. KAGETORA, RYOMA via Face the Mountain at 12:25
5/10/2009 Dragon Gate in Tokyo City Keirin
1. YAMATO, Kenichiro Arai def. Anthony W. Mori, Naoki Tanisaki via Jackknife Cradle at 9:49
2. Masaaki Mochizuki (6:07 Pin fall after Stumbling) Hollywood Stalker Ichikawa
3. Naruki Doi, Masato Yoshino def. Susumu Yokosuka, K-ness via Cradle Cutback Exchange at 8:28
5/10/2009 Dragon Gate Special Match in Ichinomiya Keirin
1. Ryo Saito, Cyber Kong def. BxB Hulk, Keirin Man with the power bomb at 10:03
2. Syachihoko Machine def. Jackson Florida with the Syachichoko clutch at 11:13
3. Akira Tozawa, Dragon Kid def. CIMA, KAGETORA with the ultra hurricanranna
5/23/2009 Hokkaido, Sapporo Teisen Hall
1. Akira Tozawa, Shingo Takagi, Dragon Kid vs. Ryo Saito, Yasushi Kanda, Genki Horiguchi
2. Anthony W. Mori vs. Jackson Florida
3. Super Shisa vs. m.c.KZ
4. Masaaki Mochizuki, Don Fujii vs. Kenichiro Arai, Cyber Kong
5. YAMATO vs. PAC
6. CIMA, KAGETORA, Susumu Yokosuka, Gamma vs. Naruki Doi, Masato Yoshino, BxB Hulk, Naoki Tanisaki
5/24/2009 Hokkaido, Sapporo Teisen Hall
1. Ryo Saito, Genki Horiguchi vs. Susumu Yokosuka, Super Shisa
2. Cyber Kong vs. m.c.KZ
3. Masaaki Mochizuki, Don Fujii vs. Naruki Doi, Naoki Tanisaki
4. Akira Tozawa, Dragon Kid vs. Kenichiro Arai, Yasushi Kanda
5. Special Match: Shingo Takagi vs. YAMATO
6. Open the Triangle Gate: CIMA, KAGETORA, Gamma vs. Masato Yoshino, BxB Hulk, PAC
Our only real independent news of the week comes from Shoot promotion ?Queen Bee?, who let us know the results of their latest show.
Queen Bee 6/05/09
Itabashi Green Hall
1. Kyoko Kimura (9:06 Sleeper Hold) Hanako Kobayashi
2. Megumi Yabushita (12:06 Shodai YABU) Mika
3. AKINO (10:21 Hishijujigatame) ESUI
4. Ayako Sato & Chihiro Oikawa (30:00 Time Limit Draw) Kana & Natsuki Taioh
Hirooki Goto & Kazuchika Okada vs. Takashi Sugiura & Atsushi Aoki, New Japan 5/5
Ah, now this I can get into! This is another strong addition to the already strong NOAH v. New Japan feud. The match itself is at the Korakuen Hall, and well, that always helps things. They’re hot as can be here for everything from the opening Sugiura-Goto exchanges to the finishing run. Both Okada and Aoki are pretty great here, too, and the ‘experienced heavyweight’ teaming with the ‘up &coming junior’ formula proves to be one of the most effective structural tools in all of Japanese wrestling.
What makes this match though, is that both sides bring a great deal of fire. Suguira hits one extra Chono-kick on Goto because he can, not because he has to; or Goto running through a big boot in the corner in order to hit his lariat. Okada’s full of spunk here and their framing of him as a cocky almost capable foil to Sugiura in the beginning makes his baby face in peril segment all the easier to get behind. His fired up comeback towards the end of the match is even better as his facial expressions are pretty fantastic as they range from pain-stricken to exhaustion, to fired up.
All in all though, this does a great deal for everyone involved, and they do it by just applying a lot of fire and strong execution to a simple formula. Whaddaya know? Simplicity ruling the day. ***1/4
Hiroshi Tanahashi & Koji Kanemoto v. Takeshi Morishima & Kota Ibushi, New Japan 5/5
This was clearly not as good as the first match, but it was still a lot of fun and a heck of a way for New Japan to kick off their Korakuen double shot. One of the things that’s instantly noticeable about this is how much interaction there is between Tanahshi and Morishima, who are two guys you’d FIGURE they’d mostly keep apart. Instead, these two are clubbing the crap out of each other, hitting a lot of their signature spots and for all intents and purposes, had their own singles match in the middle of a tag match. New Japan must have felt REALLY guilty over the CMLL guys checking out due to swine flu.
The action though is really up and down for me. There are sections of this match that I really enjoy and there are others that I couldn’t be bothered with. Ibushi is just a guy that is all flash, very, very little substance and every time I see him I try almost too hard to look for a reason to think otherwise, but am thwarted every time. Here again, he doesn’t bring much fire, just does a lot of stuff, and more or less calls it a night. Koji Kanemoto consistently brings the attitude, but he seems like he’s lolly-gagging here as well. This is fun in a lot of respects, but more or less not totally worth going out of your way to see unless you’re looking to see Morishima-Tanahashi for the first time. **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 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.) Minoru Suzuki & Taiyo Kea v. SUWAMA & Shuji Kondo, World Tag Team Championship, All Japan 3/15 ***1/2
4.) Takashi Suguira & Go Shiozaki v. Shinsuke Nakamura & Milano Collection A.T., NOAH 3/1 ***1/2
5.) Hirooki Gotoh v. Giant Bernard, New Japan Cup Semi Finals, New Japan 3/22
6.)Hirooki Goto & Kazuchika Okada vs. Takashi Sugiura & Atsushi Aoki, New Japan 5/5
7.) Takashi Iizuka v. Yuji Nagata, Chain Match, New Japan 4/5 ***
8.) Mammoth Sasaki & Daisuke Sekimoto vs. Shinya Ishikawa & Yoshihito Sasaki, Big Japan ? ***
9.)Hirooki Gotoh & Jushin ?Thunder? Liger v. Yuji Nagata & Tiger Mask, New Japan 1/31***
10.) Alexander Otsuka v. Daisuke Sekimoto, IGF 3/15 ***
11.) Yuji Nagata v. Hirooki Gotoh, New Japan 2/15 ***
12.) Giant Bernard v. Yutaka Yoshie, New Japan Cup Semi Finals, New Japan 3/22 ***
13.) Yuji Nagata v. Masato Tanaka, Zero1 World Championship, New Japan, ? ***