Kobashi, KENTA Highlights of Korakuen Hall Show
NOAH top star Kenta Kobashi showed up at the January 25th show at the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo. He basically gave a speech saying that he would be back in the ring at the March 1st Budokan Hall show.
The show was absolutely a success for NOAH, blowing off their first big tour of the year. They sold out the Korakuen, which isn’t saying a whole lot, but any semi-positive news for NOAH is good news at this point, as the company’s taken quite the beating of late. The main event featured GHC Jr. Heavyweight Champion defeating challenger Kotaro Suzuki to retain his title. After the match, KENTA announced that he would be facing Kensuke Office up and comer Katsuhiko Nakajima for the belt at next month’s Korakuen show on February 11th. With Kobashi on the shelf and many of NOAH’s top stars beginning to show serious signs of age, KENTA has been looked to to carry the lion’s share of the actual wrestling parts of the show. This was yet another 30+ Minute match.
Also on the show, GHC Heavyweight Champion Kensuke Sasaki & Nakajima defeated #1 Contender Jun Akiyama & Shuhei Taniguchi, and Takeshi Morishima & Mohommed Yone defeated the gaijin team of Chris Hero & Claudio Castagnoli. The big news came after the Morishima/Yone tag, as Morishima’s former partner Takeshi Rikio came out and ran down his former Wild II partner. Yone jumped Morishima from behind and the two cut a promo after the match, declaring ‘war’ on Morishima. Yone and Morishima have been a tag team for the last four years, and have won the GHC Tag Team titles twice.
Here’s the full results of the card. I’ll have a review posted of the big stuff next week!
NOAH 25/01/09 (NTV/G+)
Tokyo Korakuen Hall
2100 fans (Super No-Vacancy)
0. Kentaro Shiga & Kishin Kawabata vs. Tamon Honda & Mitsuo Momota (10:00) went to a Time Limit Draw.
0. Junji Izumida & Makoto Hashi vs. Takuma Sano & Masao Inoue (10:00) went to a Time Limit Draw.
1. Taiji Ishimori & Ippei Ota d. Ricky Marvin & Kento Miyahara (10:15) when Ishimori used a 450 Splash on Miyahara.
2. Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Genba Hirayanagi d. Naomichi Marufuji & Akihiko Ito (14:08) when Kanemaru used the Touch Out on Ito.
3. Akira Taue, Takeshi Rikio & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi d. Akitoshi Saito, Takashi Sugiura, Atsushi Aoki (12:00) when Kikuchi used a Jujigatame Cutback Cradle on Aoki.
4. Mitsuharu Misawa, Yoshinari Ogawa & Go Shiozaki d. Buchanan, Keith Walker & Bobby Fish (18:00) when Shiozaki used the Go Flasher on Fish.
5. Takeshi Morishima & Mohammed Yone d. Chris Hero & Claudio Castagnoli (11:29) when Morishima used a Backdrop on Castagnoli.
6. Kensuke Sasaki & Katsuhiko Nakajima d. Jun Akiyama & Shuhei Taniguchi (18:31) when Sasaki used an Exploder on Taniguchi.
7. GHC Jr. Heavyweight Title: KENTA d. Kotaro Suzuki (32:05) with the Go 2 Sleep (3rd defence)
Misc. NOAH Odds N Ends
Go Shiozaki seems to be on the cusp of getting a pretty decent-sized push in NOAH. Shiozaki was billed as a protege to top star Kenta Kobashi before NOAH shipped him over seas last year to touch up his skills. The same move worked quite well for Takeshi Morishima, and the company hopes that the US stint will pay dividens now that Shiozaki is home. While here in the US, Shiozaki was featured prominently on many Ring of Honor cards in addition to winning the FIP (Full Impact Pro) World Championship.
Shiozaki scored the biggest victory of his career on the 21st in Yokahama, pinning former GHC Heavyweight Champion Takeshi Rikio. The win is certainly a sign that NOAH is eager to invest in its future. Thus far, Shiozaki has been on a tear since returning from Japan, defeating Takuma Sano, Tamon Honda and Rikio all in a row. Rumors have been floating that the company may attempt to put him in position to be the first opponent for the winner of the Kensuke Sasaki-Jun Akiyama Title match.
Rick Steamboat Jr. will be made his debut on the 23rd in Toyohashi, falling to Makoto Hashi.
New Japan to take second shot at big venue
New Japan Pro Wrestling, fresh off its very successful Tokyo Dome show, plan on taking aim at working another large venue later this year. In hopes of reviving the ‘Golden Week’ tradition of big wrestling shows, New Japan officials have announced that on May 3rd, they play on running the 10,000 seat Fukuoka International Center. Fukuoka hasn’t been a hot spot for wrestling in recent years and hasn’t hosted a major New Japan even in quite some time. Fukuoka was of course, the place where Keiji Mutoh won his first IWGP Heavyweight Championship all the way back in 1992.
New Japan says they intend to make it a ?Sumo Hall? level event, and production values will be increased for the show. The last time New Japan was in Fukuoka, they headlined the show with Brock Lesnar defending the title against the Giant Bernard, and the show didn’t do well. New Japan now however, is in a far better place than it was then, so this seems like a reasonable risk to take, one that can give them a good idea of exactly where they are.
Contract Negotiations, Naked Women and Hiroshi Tanahashi
New Japan has been in the process of renewing several of it’s wrestler’s contracts in the past few weeks. Things have been going smoothly with those who haven’t renewed basically initiating secondary talks on their own. The only big loss to date has been junior star Minoru, but everything else seems to be going far smoother than it has in the past few years, which again, is a very good sign for New Japan.
In perhaps the funniest move of the whole negotiation process, IWGP Heavyweight Champion jokingly said he broke talks temporarily due to his ‘complex’ demands of exclusive nude photos of women as part of his deal. In a moment of off the cuff comedy rarely seen by corporate executives at press events, the spokesman for Yuke’s and New Japan said he was ‘utterly perplexed’ by Tanahashi and shook his head for a fun moment of awkward comedy.
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship Belt Gets a Face Lift
The IWGP Heavyweight Championship of course got a big upgrade last year, so this year, it was finally time to overhaul Tiger Mask’s Junior hvt. Title belt. Get a look of the champ with his new belt by clicking the link below!
Sumo Hall Fun
Here’s the February 15th Sumo Hall show as of today:
Sumo Hall Card
NJPW, 2/15/09 (WPW)
Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan
1. Special Singles Match: Mistico vs. Mephisto
2. Special Tag Match – NJPW vs. TNA Augmented Reality: Masahiro Chono & AKIRA vs. James Storm & Robert Roode
3. IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title: Tiger Mask (c) vs. Jushin Thunder Liger
4. Special Singles Match: Giant Bernard vs. Kurt Angle
5. IWGP Tag Team Title – Hardcore Rules: ?Team 3D? Brother Ray & Brother Devon (c) vs. Togi Makabe & Toru Yano
6. IWGP Heavyweight Title: Hiroshi Tanahashi (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
The ‘Deep’ promotion apparently will be adding some shoot-style matches to is show on February 10th at the Korakuen Hall. Minowaman is going to be facing All Japan Star Minoru Suzuki. The storyline is kind of complex, but basically is Minowaman claiming he’s now a real pro wrestling and Minoru is a fake pro wrestler. Suzuki says he’s a ‘real’ heavyweight as he outweighs Minowaman by nearly 35 pounds and that he’s too small to be taken seriously. The two have sort of switched roles and have never faced each other. Minowaman started his career as a pro wrestler before getting into shoots, while Minoru Suzuki was a pretty popular shoot fighter before getting into pro wrestling. Should be an interesting match.
Kenny Omega became the first foreign wrestler ever to win a championship in the DDT promotion when on 1/24, Omega & Kota Ibushi won the DDT tag team titles from Nosawa & Takashi Sasaki.
Yuji Nagata will defend ZERO1’s World Heavyweight Title against Shinjiro Otani after the company president pinned Wataru Inoue in a tag match earlier this week. They teased the match at the New Japan Tokyo Dome show earlier this month. In the storyline, Ohtani is being billed as Zero 1’s last hope to take the title from Nagata. Ohtani was defeated by Nagata back in September, shortly before Nagata defeated Masato Tanaka to become champion.
ZERO1 ?ZERO1 WRESTLER?S BELIEF ?09″, 2/27/09
Tokyo Korakuen Hall
– World Heavyweight Title: Yuji Nagata (c) vs. Shinjiro Otani