[Content] Tales From the Eastside Brandon on 5/31/2003
Tales from the Eastside #24:
Okay, here's the deal: I've had an eventful day that ended with me having to do far too much writing for my real job (I'm a paralegal's assistant- so basically, I'm a lackey to a lackey to a lawyer), but I'm on such a kick from finishing my stuff for that ahead of time that I'm gonna just go and do the Wildside TV report right now! That's right, a Wildside TV report written within an hour of the show airing, what has this world come to?

[New Japan] BOSJ continues in Hyogo Brandon on 5/31/2003

On their first of what will be a streak of eight house shows (until 6/10), New Japan announced drawing 1,000 fans in Hyogo Furitsu Awaji Labor Center. The tournament matches were spread out for this show instead of being held consecutively like they were on previous shows.

In the second match of the show, Jado beat Masayuki Naruse in 7:38 with the Crossface of Jado. With that win, Jado puts himself tied with Naruse for second place in Block A (with Tiger Mask in first).

In the fifth match in Block A, Minoru Fujita improved his undefeated record to 3-0, beating AKIRA in 12:34 with the Fujita Driver.

In Block B, Jushin Thunder Liger beat Gedo in 14:09 in the semi-main event, winning with a brainbuster.

Block A
1. Minoru Fujita - 6pts
2. Takashi Sugiura - 6pts
3. AKIRA - 4pts
3. Jushin Thunder Liger - 4pts
5. Gedo - 2pts
6. Ebessan - 2pts
7. Ryusuke Taguchi - 0pts

Block B
1. Tiger Mask - 4pts
2. Masayuki Naruse - 4pts
2. Jado - 4pts
4. Stampede Kid - 2pts
5. El Samurai - 2pts
5. Koji Kanemoto - 2pts
7. Masahito Kakihara - 0pts

BOSJ matches for tomorrow's show in Mie Yokkaichi Gym:
Block A: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Ryusuke Taguchi
Block B: Koji Kanemoto vs. Masahito Kakihara
Block B: Tiger Mask vs. Masayuki Naruse


Satoru Sayama to return as "The Mask of Tiger" Brandon on 5/31/2003

The original Tiger Mask, Satoru Sayama held a press conference on 5/31 to announce he would be returning to pro wrestling full time. He did not make it apparent if he would be wrestling for one specific promotion or (more likely) he would be wrestling as a freelancer. He promised to wrestle regularly for the next two years. At age 45, he plans to have his return match sometime in September. He said he would announce his wrestling schedule at a later date.

Sayama's new ring name will be "The Mask of Tiger," which is a take off of "The Mask of Zorro." This will be the sixth "Tiger" ring name Sayama has had (others being Tiger Mask, The Tiger, Super Tiger and Tiger King, among others).


[NOAH] Nagata's series with NOAH resumes Brandon on 5/31/2003

Before a sell-out 2,400 fans in Hokkaido Media Park Supika, Yuji Nagata returned to Pro Wrestling NOAH, building up to his match with Akira Taue for 6/6 in the Budokan.

Nagata tagged with Takuma Sano to beat Mitsuharu Misawa and Tsuyoshi Kikuchi with Nagata getting the submission on Kikuchi after 17:05 with the Nagata Lock III.

The show will be aired on Samurai TV.

Nagata wrestles again with NOAH tomorrow in the same building for a taping for NTV and G+. He will again team with Sano, facing Taue and Takashi Sugiura in the last show before the Budokan show.


[New Japan] Super Junior TV taping Brandon on 5/30/2003

As the usually slow month of May nears its end, the Best of the Super Junior tournament picked back up on 5/30 in Kagawa Takamatsu Sogo Gym with a "World Pro Wrestling" TV taping. This show became the fifth of the six shows on the tour so far that haven't sold out (the one that did was in Korakuen Hall), drawing an announced 2,000.

In Block A of the tournament, Ebessan upset Gedo, pinning him in 9:09 with his own Gedo clutch move. Ebessan scoring his first win the tournament. Continuing in Block A, Takashi Sugiura of NOAH beat Jushin Thunder Liger, pinning him in 12:06 with the Olympic slam, giving Liger his first loss.

Then in Block B, in a rematch from their title switch on 4/23, Koji Kanemoto got his win back, beating Tiger Mask in 10:45 with a backslide.

Elsewhere on the card, Osamu Nishimura and Dan Devine went to a 20-minute draw. The match was restarted, with Nishimura getting the with on an abdominal stretch cradle in 1:33.


[New Japan] Super Junior update Brandon on 5/27/2003

New Japan drew 1,500 fans for a non-sell out in Tochigi on 5/27. This show was not televised.

In Block B, Stampede Kid beat Jado in 5:13 with a spinning rear cradle.

In Block A, Minoru Fujita beat Ebessan in 8:24 with the Fujita driver. Also, AKIRA beat Ryusuke Taguchi in 8:34 with the STF.

New standings are:

Block A
1. AKIRA - 4pts
1. Minoru Fujita - 4pts
3. Takashi Sugiura - 4pts
4. Gedo - 2pts
4. Jushin Thunder Liger - 2pts
6. Ebessan - 0pts
6. Ryusuke Taguchi - 0pts

Block B
1. Tiger Mask - 4pts
1. Masayuki Naruse - 4pts
3. Jado - 2pts
3. Stampede Kid - 2pts
5. El Samurai - 2pts
5. Masahito Kakihara - 0pts
7. Koji Kanemoto - 0pts

The next show on 5/30 in Takamatsu will be taped for TV-Asahi and BS-Asahi:
1. Ryusuke Taguchi, Naofumi Yamamoto vs. Hiro Saito, Tatsutoshi Goto
2. Minoru Fujita, Jado, El Samurai vs. Stempede Kid, Masayuki Naruse, Masahito Kakihara
3. Dan Devine vs. Osamu Nishimura
4. Block A: Jado vs. Ebessan
5. Block A: Takashi Sugiura vs. Jushin Thunder Liger
6. Block B: Tiger Mask vs. Koji Kanemoto
7. AKIRA, Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Yutaka Yoshie
8. Shinsuke Nakamura, Takashi Iizuka, Yuji Nagata vs. Perry Saturn, Shinya Makabe, Yoshihiro Takayama


[All Japan] Hashimoto likely to wrestle on 6/11; Mrs. Baba admits to handing over stock to Muto Brandon on 5/27/2003


Satoshi Kojima, Toshiaki Kawada and Masanobu Fuchi made a public appearance at a pachinko exhibition on 5/27 where Kojima said he wants Shinya Hashimoto to wrestle at All Japan's show on 6/11 in Nagano. He wants this as setup to challenging Hashimoto for the Triple Crown on 6/13 in Nagoya.


Motoko. Baba was also at the exhibition. There she admitted that Keiji Muto now owns stock she previously held, as was rumored. This now gives Muto at least 80% ownership (NTV may still own up to 15%) of All Japan Pro Wrestling. Somewhat suprisingly, she said, "Mine and Baba-san's All Japan ended with the 30th anniversary," explaining that she gave her stock to Muto because that's what needs to be done to bring in a new All Japan.

With Mrs. Baba now having no more ownership in All Japan, a website has been opened devoted to Giant Baba: http://www.GIANT-BABA.com/


[Tapes] Best of Puroresu 2002 Brandon on 5/26/2003
The comp is finally done. Volume 13, 14, 15 and 16 or now available. Individual volumes are $10 on an SP or two volumes on an LP also for $10.

You can also now buy all 16 volumes (goes about 32 hours) for $70.

Or there's the "Best of Puroresu 2002 Lite" 8-hour comp, which is a condensed version with 14 of the very best matches from Japan in 2002.

I know it's May and I will be working on a 2003 comp. It will be done differently than 2001 and 2002 or even 2000. I'll probably be doing 2003 in fewer, but much longer tapes (6 or 8-hour tapes, probably).


[New Japan] Fukushima BOSJ results Brandon on 5/26/2003

New Japan drew a non-sell out 1,400 (a little over half full) in Fukushima Gym on 5/26. This was the first "house show" of the tour, this begining an untelevised event. Strangely, before the show started, there was an earthquake. The wrestlers ran out of the locker room. No one was hurt.

In Block B of the tournament, Jado had his first match, defeating Koji Kanemoto in 5:23 with the Crossface of Jado. Jado appeared to injured his calf in the match, which may have been why it only went 5:23. He's not expected to miss any time over it. (Photo 1, Photo 2)

In Block A, Takashi Sugiura took the lead for the time being, beating Ebessan in 11:52 with an Olympic slam. (Photo 1)

In Block B, Masayuki Naruse beat El Samurai in 9:07 with his new Naruse Lock submission. That leaves Naruse tied for first place in Block B with Tiger Mask. (Photo 1, Photo 2)

BOSJ standings:
Block A
1. Takashi Sugiura - 4pts
2. Gedo - 2pts
2. AKIRA - 2pts
2. Minoru Fujita - 2pts
2. Jushin Thunder Liger - 2pts
6. Ebessan - 0pts
6. Ryusuke Taguchi - 0pts

Block B
1. Tiger Mask - 4pts
1. Masayuki Naruse - 4pts
3. Jado - 2pts
4. El Samurai - 2pts
5. Stampede Kid - 0pts
5. Masahito Kakihara - 0pts
7. Koji Kanemoto - 0pts

Tomorrow's BOSJ matches in Tochigi:
Block A: AKIRA vs. Ryusuke Taguchi
Block A: Minoru Fujita vs. Ebessan
Block B: Jado vs. Stampede Kid


[Site] News Archive Brandon on 5/26/2003
If you scroll down to the bottom of the newsboard, you can find news archives, finally organized into their own individual months. There are two gaps (in for 10 days in March and about 20 days between January to December) due to problems with the old provider, reVamp.

[Content] Tales from the Eastside Brandon on 5/25/2003
Tales from the Eastside #23:
The first three-quarters of this show were pretty drab, with an average-at-best opener (but Nigel did look real good) and the disappointing Tag titles match, not to mention the depressing sight of the Dobbins Brothers being on my TV yet again. The last quarter, however, was really good stuff, with that excellent juniors match and a shockingly effective main event.

[All Japan] Kawada & Fuchi go 30-minutes against Kashin and Kojima Brandon on 5/25/2003


Admist political turmoil, All Japan opened their Super Power Series 2003 tour in the afternoon on 5/25 (where New Japan ran their show later that evening). In the semi-main event, Toshiaki Kawada and Masanobu Fuchi went to a 30-minute draw against Kendo Kashin and Satoshi Kojima.

After the match, Kojima took the micorphone and told Kawada and Fuchi and everyone in All Japan should come together now in effort to bring the Triple Crown back to All Japan. Kawada took the microphone and encouraged Kojima to win the Triple Crown back from Hashimoto.


[New Japan] BOSJ in Korakuen Hall Brandon on 5/25/2003

The Best of the Super Junior tour continued on the third of the five consecutive shows that open the series, drawing a sell-out 1,931 fans in Tokyo Korakuen Hall. This show will be airing on TV-Asahi and BS-Asahi.

The first to Super Junior matches were from Block A. Minoru Fujita, in his first match of the tournament, beat Ryusuke Taguchi in 10:29 with the Fujita Driver. In his regular report on the New Japan website, ring announcer Hidekazu Tanaka said this was the best match of the night. (Photo 1, Photo 2)

In the next Block A match, AKIRA, also in his first tournament match, beat Takashi Sugiura in 12:10 with an STF. (Photo 1, Photo 2)

And in Block B, El Samurai defeated Koji Kanemoto in 8:29 by countering the ankle hold with a cradle. Hidekazu Tanaka said this was a disappointing match. (Photo 1, Photo 2)

In the semi-main event, instead of Makai #4, Katsuyori Shibata wrestled as himself, tagging with Kazunari Murakami to go to a no contest against Yuji Nagata and Shinsuke Nakamura. Somehow, though, there was still someone there in the Makai #4 mask. Tadao Yasuda and Kantaro Hoshino interfered in the match, causing things to get out of hand. (Photo 1, Photo 2)

And in the main event, further building to the IWGP Heavyweight Title match on 6/10, Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Osamu Nishimura beat Shinya Makabe and Yoshihiro Takayama in 15:07 when Tenzan pinned Makabe with the TTD.

BOSJ standings:

Block A
1. Jushin Thunder Liger - 2pts
1. Gedo - 2pts
1. AKIRA - 2pts
1. Minoru Fujita - 2pts
5. Takashi Sugiura - 2pts
6. Ebessan - 0pts
7. Ryusuke Taguchi - 0pts

Block B
1. Tiger Mask - 4pts
2. Masayuki Naruse - 2pts
3. El Samurai - 2pts
4. Stampede Kid - 0pts
4. Masahito Kakihara - 0pts
4. Koji Kanemoto - 0pts
7. Jado - N/A

Tomorrow's BOSJ matches in Fukushima Gymnasium (untelevised):
Block B: Koji Kanemoto vs. Jado
Block A: Ebessan vs. Takashi Sugiura
Block B: El Samurai vs. Masayuki Naruse


[ARSION] Hotta shows up in Differ Ariake Brandon on 5/24/2003

Yumiko Hotta, who left Zenjo after the 5/11 35th Anniversary show, accompanied by Mika Nishio (who also recently left Zenjo) and Mima Shimoda came unnannounced to ARSION's show on 5/24 in Differ Ariake. ARSION president Hiroshi Ogawa came out and they setup for ARSION's show on 6/22 in Korakuen Hall, which will feature a match or series of matches with a "Hotta Army vs. ARSION" gimmick.

[New Japan] Day two of Best of the Super Junior Brandon on 5/24/2003


New Japan's second show of their Best of the Super Junior tour (a tour being run without Masahiro Chono or Manabu Nakanishi), drew another non-sell out crowd on 5/24. This time, 2,000 fans showed up in Saitama Soka Sports Commemoration Gymnasium another show airing on ESPN SXW.

In Block B, Tiger Mask got his second win, beating Stampede Kid in 7:38 with the old Sayama rounding bodypress.

In another Block B match, the returning Masayuki Naruse beat Masahito Kakihara in 9:15 using his new move called the Naruse Lock (combination armlock and sleeper).

And in Block A, Gedo beat Takashi Sugiura in 12:16 with a necklock.

The main event was a four-on-three handicap match. Makai #1, Makai #4, Makai #5 and Ryushi Yanagisawa beat the handicapped Minoru Fujita, Shinya Makabe and Yoshihiro Takayama in 9:43 when Makai #5 submitted Fujita with a Makai sleeper. Takayama was "knocked out" in the match.

In other news, it appears the 6/11 show in Kyoto, which features the semi-finals and final matches of the Super Junior tournament, will not be aired on television. However, New Japan has regularly released commercial tapes of the untelevised matches from the tournament. It's also probable that at least clips will be shown on New Japan's weekly national "World Pro Wrestling" show on TV-Asahi.

Standings for the tournament so far:
Block A
1. Jushin Thunder Liger - 2pts
1. Gedo - 2pts
3. Takashi Sugiura - 2pts
4. Ebessan - 0pts
4. Ryusuke Taguchi - 0pts
6. AKIRA - N/A
6. Minoru Fujita - N/A

Block B
1. Tiger Mask - 4pts
2. Masayuki Naruse - 2pts
3. El Samurai - 0pts
3. Masahito Kakihara - 0pts
3. Stampede Kid - 0pts
6. Koji Kanemoto - N/A
6. Jado - N/A

Tomorrow's lineup, being taped for BS- and TV-Asahi:
1. Naofumi Yamamoto vs. Toru Yano
2. Jado, Gedo vs. Masayuki Naruse, Tiger Mask
3. Tatsutoshi Goto, Hiro Saito, Takashi Iizuka vs. Stampede Kid, Dan Devine, Perry Saturn
4. Block A: Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Minoru Fujita
5. Block A: AKIRA vs. Takashi Sugiura
6. Block B: El Samurai vs. Koji Kanemoto
7. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Yutaka Yoshie vs. Ryushi Yanagisawa, Tadao Yasuda
8. Shinsuke Nakamura, Yuji Nagata vs. Makai #4, Makai #5
9. Osamu Nishimura, Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Shinya Makabe, Yoshihiro Takayama


[WJ] Choshu & Koshinaka vs. Onita & Tenryu deathmatch Brandon on 5/23/2003


On 5/23, WJ announced matches for their show in Sapporo, Hokkaido which will happen on 6/29. In the main event, Riki Choshu will tag with Shiro Koshinaka against Genichiro Tenryu and Atsushi Onita in an exploding barbed wire deathmatch. It will be Choshu's second deathmatch, with his first being in July 2000 in a singles victory of Onita for a New Japan show in Yokohama Arena.

Also on the show, Kensuke Sasaki will face Takao Omori in a singles match. WJ's top two foreigners, Big Vader (as he's being billed) will face Dan Bobish. And yes, again, Todd and Mike Shane will face the Road Warriors for the IPW Hardcore Tag Team Title.


[New Japan] Best of the Super Junior tour opens; New Japan wrestlers going to Hawaii Brandon on 5/23/2003


New Japan opened their tenth Best of the Super Junior tournament on 5/23 in Yamato Sports Center. The first show of the tour, which will be aired on ESPN SXW, did not sell-out, drawing 2,600.

In the first match of the Super Junior tournament, in Block A, Takashi Sugiura beat Ryusuke Taguchi in Sugiura's first match in New Japan. He won by referee stoppage with an armlock after 9:13.

In Block B, Tiger Mask beat El Samurai in 12:09 with a tiger suplex hold.

In Block A, Jushin Thunder Liger beat Osaka Pro's Ebessan in 10:56 after a brainbuster.


In the main event, building towards the IWGP Heavyweight Title match on 6/10 in Osaka, Yoshihiro Takayama, Minoru Fujita and Shinya Makabe beat AKIRA, Osamu Nishimura and Hiroyoshi Tenzan in 17:30 when Takayama pinned AKIRA after a knee lift. After the match, Tenzan talked about how important his match with Takayama is on 6/10. He compared the match to putting his life on the line.

Standings for the tournament so far:
Block A
1. Jushin Thunder Liger - 2pts
1. Takashi Sugiura - 2pts
3. Ebessan - 0pts
3. Ryusuke Taguchi - 0pts
5. AKIRA - N/A
5. Gedo - N/A
5. Minoru Fujita - N/A

Block B
1. Tiger Mask - 2pts
2. El Samurai - 0pts
3. Koji Kanemoto - N/A
3. Masahito Kakihara - N/A
3. Masayuki Naruse - N/A
3. Jado - N/A
3. Stampede Kid - N/A

Tomorrow's matches in Saitama, also airing on ESPN SXW, Gedo vs. Takashi Sugiura (Block A), Masahito Kakihara vs. Masayuki Naruse (Block B), Stampede Kid vs. Tiger Mask (Block B).

In other New Japan news, Masahiro Chono, Yuji Nagata, Jushin Thunder Liger and Tiger Mask will go to Hawaii for Hawaii Championship Wrestling, wrestling on 7/24, 7/25, 7/26, 7/27 and 7/28. The first Hawaiian Championship Wrestling champion will be crown on the tour, in which New Japan fans are invited come along on the trip to see all the shows.


[ZERO-ONE] Otani invites Kojima to be in Fire Festival Brandon on 5/23/2003

Shinjiro Otani told the press on 5/23 that he has invited Satoshi Kojima to be in ZERO-ONE's Fire Festival tournament. The two-year-old tournament, which Otani has won both times, is held between the end of the July and the beginning of August, would probably not interfere with All Japan's schedule. All Japan has not announced dates for their regular Summer Action Series II tour, however, there is one stand-alone show planned for 7/27 in Ishikawa.

[Content] Tales From the Eastside Brandon on 5/23/2003
Tales from the Eastside #21:
Don't get me wrong, the main event was a good match- Young set the pace and carried things well, and despite being sloppy in spots (like his selling of the knee) Hernandez had some impressive power offense and a good presence. But that ending...blech. It was SO Nitro-like, with the nonfinish and the nonsensical, unexplained shock heel turn.

Tales from the Eastside #22:
Kind of a 'blah' show, but that main event redeems it and makes it work. The semi-main was also good for what it was, and you also got a Sal Rinauro segment so you got no right to complain about this week's TV. I'm really impressed with how Wildside continues to put together hot, exciting main events even with the only 'name' talent they have being Iceberg (and maybe Rainman).


[New Japan] Chono only to wrestle on 6/13 Brandon on 5/22/2003

After another examination on 5/22, it was revealed that Masahiro Chono's ACL injury is bad enough that he will miss all but the final show on the upcoming tour. Chono will only wrestle on the 6/13 show in Nippon Budokan, where he will defend the IWGP Tag Team Title with Hiroyoshi Tenzan against Yutaka Yoshie and Hiroshi Tanahashi, where, if all booking logic prevails, Tanahashi will pin Chono.

Chono said he's not missing the title match on 6/13 because he doesn't want to have to vacate the title. About his knee, he said he's not considering have surgery right now, because he wants to avoid being out for a long time. If there is a tear to the ACL that would normally require surgery, Chono may be electing not to have it now because he knows how important he is to New Japan's drawing power and how badly his long-term absence might hurt.


[K-1] Ishii released on bail Brandon on 5/22/2003


Former superintendent of K-1, Kazuyoshi Ishii was released on bail for 40-million yen (about $340,000) on 5/22 after spending 108 days in jail since 2/3. His trial, where he is convicted on evading more than 177-million yen in taxes on K-1 sponsor Kei Wan and claiming loss on a forged contract with Mike Tyson will resume on 6/18.

[Site] Today the last day for BOSJ entries Brandon on 5/22/2003
Today is the last day to get your entries in for the Best of the Super Junior pool. The tour starts early tomorrow/late tonight.

Email your entries to bosjpool@hotmail.com. Read the rules and details about the tournament by clicking or on the link above.


[PRIDE] Full PRIDE 26 card announced; CroCop vs. Herring Brandon on 5/21/2003


Before the press on 5/21, Nobuhiko Takada announced the full PRIDE 26 card for 6/8 in Yokohama Arena. The card will have seven matches in total, with three new fights announced:

1. Daiju Takase vs. Unannounced foreign fighter
2. Alistair Overeem vs. Ricardo Arona
3. Mikhail Illoukhine vs. Quinton Jackson
4. Antonio "Nino" Schembri vs. Kazuhiro Hamanaka
5. Heath Herring vs. Mirko "CroCop" Filipovic
6. Mark Coleman vs. Don Frye
7. Emelianenko Fedor vs. Kazuyuki Fujita

Matches added are Takase (who lost to Emmanuel Yarborough at PRIDE 3) vs. Unnamed foreigner, Russian Top Team member Illoukhine vs. Quinton Jackson, and the biggest, Mirko CroCop vs. Heath Herring. That match will be Herring's first back since his loss to Fedor at PRIDE 23 and will be CroCop's first PRIDE fight since his win over Kazushi Sakuraba at the Dynamite! show.

More on Illoukhine, who will be making his PRIDE debut. His last fight was a win over ZERO-ONE and U-STYLE participant, Katsuhisa Fujii by submission at Premium Challenge. Fighting a large bulk of his fights in RINGS, he lost to Tsuyoshi Kosaka in RINGS in December 2000, but holds wins over Katsuhisa Fujii (U-STYLE and ZERO-ONE), Justin McCully, a submission win over Randy Couture in 1999, and even a win over Igor Vovchanchyn way back in 1995.


[All Japan] Kojima has not left All Japan... not yet, at least Brandon on 5/20/2003


There was a report earlier today coming from Tokyo Sports saying that Satoshi Kojima had left All Japan. This does not appear to be true, as Masanobu Fuchi spoke to the press in the All Japan office where he denied Kojima's depature. Fuchi said that All Japan has not collapse and "Kojima loves All Japan very much."

[WJ] Choshu proposes tag team with Tenryu Brandon on 5/20/2003


While WJ will hold a singles tournament on 7/20 in Tokyo Sumo Hall, in which they will probably crown their first singles champion, a Riki Choshu said in his offices today that when WJ holds their one-night tag tournament to crown their first tag team champions, he would like to tag with Genichiro Tenryu.

It's also likely that Choshu will face Kensuke Sasaki in a "teacher vs. student" match as part of the one-night singles tournament on 7/20.


[ZERO-ONE] Low Ki injured Brandon on 5/20/2003

ZERO-ONE's International Junior Heavyweight Champion Low Ki was injured on the co-promoted FWA and Ring of Honor show in the UK over the weekend. He suffered a separated shoulder and will at least miss ZERO-ONE's tour-opening show in Korakuen Hall on 5/29.

[Content] Credenza Brandon on 5/19/2003
Credenza:
Chris Benoit has been a top ten worker for more than a decade, a longer peak period than most great workers enjoy in today's era. He has long been one of the best wrestlers when it comes to having great matches in a variety of styles and settings. While many of his best matches have come against some of the best puroresu juniors, this article takes a look at some of his work against American talent, both in Japan and in the United States. This article takes a look at five matches, two from the U.S. and three from Japan, during the years Chris Benoit was known in Japan as "Wild Pegasus".

[PRIDE] Sakuraba to return at Grand Prix on 8/10 Brandon on 5/19/2003


Kazushi Sakuraba had an open training session at Takada Dojo on 5/19 where he said he would be fighting in the Middleweight Grand Prix tournament on 8/10. It will be his first fight(s) back since his loss to Nino Schembri on 3/16 at PRIDE 25.

Sakuraba mentioned that Manabu Nakanishi is welcome to come train at Takada Dojo.

Maybe feeling that his time as a top fighter is almost over, Sakuraba said that he hopes that a new young star is able to become successful in PRIDE.


[New Japan] Chono welcomes Akiyama; Naruse wants to be Suzuki's opponent Brandon on 5/19/2003


Masahiro Chono told the media that he would be open to Jun Akiyama being in this year's G1 Climax. He also hinted that Yoshihiro Takayama would be in the tournament again this year, which is very likely. He pointed out that Akiyama, Takayama and Nagata are the three most up and coming stars in pro wrestling in Japan.


Masayuki Naruse, AKIRA and Masahito Kakihara were part of a press conference on 5/19 to more or less build up the Best of the Super Junior tournament, which starts on 5/23. Naruse said that he wants to be Minoru Suzuki's opponent on 6/13 in Nippon Budokan. However, it appeared Heat may have been injured in his match in the Tokyo Dome on 5/2, they said that he won't be in the Super Junior tournament this year because he's training overseas.


[All Japan] Message board on All Japan website Brandon on 5/19/2003

Following Masanobu Fuchi and Toshiaki Kawada coming out and criticizing the way Keiji Muto and Satoshi Kojima are treating and running All Japan, there has been a lot of activity on the message board on All Japan's official site. Obviously, much of it is discussion about what Kawada and Fuchi said and opinions on Muto, his movie, his WRESTLE-1 vision, as well as talk about Genichiro Tenryu's departure from the promotion. Some of the feeling from fans is that the fans are being somewhat vicitimized by these disagreements between the two sides. The board can be located here:
http://www.oudou.co.jp/cgi-bin/board/c-board.cgi.

[Content] This Week in Pro Wrestling Brandon on 5/18/2003
This Week in Pro Wrestling:
-AKIRA vs. Koji Kanemoto (3/23/03)
-Jun Akiyama/Akitoshi Saito vs. Shinjiro Otani/Masato Tanaka (1/10/03)
-Tadao Yasuda vs. Yuji Nagata (4/23/03)
-New Japan "ULTIMATE CRUSH" Tokyo Dome 5/2/03
-Alex Wright vs. Koji Kanemoto (Starrcade '95)
-Kurasawa vs. Hawk (Halloween Havoc '95)
-Mishima do Donjonosuke vs. Kyoshi Tamura (4/6/03)
-American Dragon vs. Doug Williams (11/16/02)
-Toru Owashi vs. Masaaki Mochizuki (12/25/02)
-CIMA vs. Milano Collection AT (12/26/02)
-Theme Song Revew VII - "Tell Me Why"
When Yuji Nagata carried Tadao Yasuda to a good match on 2/16/02, it was an achievement. When their rematch on 4/5/02 was even better, lightning struck twice. So then what happened on 4/23 in Hiroshima must be considered a miracle.

[Tapes] New Releases Brandon on 5/18/2003
The have finally been updated.

-New Japan Tokyo Dome "ULTIMATE CRUSH" PPV 5/2/03 - $12 (with Heat/Tiger Mask vs. Kanemoto/Liger, Chono vs. Kobashi and Takayama vs. Nagata)
All Japan on GAORA 3/22, 3/28/03 - $10 (with the Champion Carnival semi-finals and final)
-NOAH Di Colosseo Special on G+SN 4/12/03 - $10 (with Takayama vs. Rikio and Honda vs. Kobashi)
-Toryumon PPV 4/22/03 - $10 (with the CIMA vs. Horiguchi El Numero Uno final)
-Osaka Pro on Samurai TV 2/1/03 - $10 (with Murahama/Liger vs. Buffalo/Tsubasa and Delfin vs. MA-G-MA)
-U-STYLE on Samurai TV 4/6/03 - $10 (with a really good Tamura vs. Mishima match)
-GAEA G-PANIC 4/6/03 - $10 (with Sakura/Chigusa vs. Ozaki/Kaoru and Satomura vs. Toyota)


[NOAH] Akiyama may do matches in New Japan; Kotaro Suzuki injured Brandon on 5/17/2003


Jun Akiyama will likely be in New Japan's G1 Climax tournament this August, probably in exchange for the current series of matches Yuji Nagata is doing in NOAH. After the NOAH show in Kesennuma on 5/17, Mitsuharu Misawa told the media that he would allow Akiyama to do matches outside of NOAH.

Kotaro Suzuki was not on the show on 5/17 due to torn cartilage in his back which was suffered on 5/16. Suzuki is expected to be back in the ring in time for his New Japan match on 6/10 in Osaka Prefectural Gym with Naomichi Marufuji against Koji Kanemoto and Jushin Thunder Liger for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Title.


[All Japan] Fuchi wants Muto removed as president Brandon on 5/17/2003

Following his and Toshiaki Kawada's comments the day before, Masanobu Fuchi told the press on 5/17 that at the next All Japan board meeting, he's going to try to get Keiji Muto removed as president and Satoshi Kojima removed as director.

It could be for real, but this at least sounds more like an angle, so I doubt either will be removed from their office, although it might be for the better of the promotion.


[NOAH] Nagata's second day in NOAH Brandon on 5/16/2003


Yuji Nagata had his second match in his series of matches in NOAH on 5/16 before 3000 fans in Miyagi Sports Center. Jun Izumida, Akitoshi Saito and Jun Akiyama defeated Masashi Aoyagi, Takuma Sano and Nagata in 18:45 when Izumida pinned Aoyagi.

After losing in a match where Akiyama also used the Nagata Lock II on him, Nagata said he was disappointed with the match.

Nagata's next match in NOAH will be on 5/31 in Sapporo, with the New Japan Best of the Super Junior tour started on 5/23.


[ZERO-ONE] Alexander Otsuka to return to pro wrestling Brandon on 5/16/2003


Alexander Otsuka showed up at the ZERO-ONE dojo on 5/16 and asked to be allowed to comeback. Shinjiro Otani was there and said he didn't want him back in ZERO-ONE, saying he couldn't be trusted. So look for them to build towards a match between Otani and Otsuka.

Otsuka will be in attendance for the 5/29 Korakuen Hall show.

Otsuka originally retired from pro wrestling in mid-2001 to concentrate fully on mixed martial arts.

In other ZERO-ONE news, Tatsuhito Takaiwa said that he wants himself and Yoshito Sasaki to be in NOAH's tournament to crown the first GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions. Takaiwa said he wants to see Jushin Thunder Liger and Koji Kanemoto to also enter the tournament so he and Sasaki can have a match with them.


[All Japan] Fuchi and Kawada criticize Muto Brandon on 5/16/2003

The only two native wrestlers to stay with All Japan Pro Wrestling after the exodus of Mitsuharu Misawa in June 2000, Toshiaki Kawada and Masanobu Fuchi criticized Keiji Muto's neglect of All Japan in exchange for Muto's participation and promotion of his upcoming movie.

Among their criticisms is Muto doing work for his movie up to the day before the opening of All Japan's "Super Power Series" tour. They also said Muto is neglecting the Unified World Tag Team Title and the Triple Crown. Fuchi complained that Muto is not using the titles properly to make things more interesting.

And more as an angle, they're upset with Muto and Satoshi Kojima losing to Naoya Ogawa and Shinya Hashimoto on 5/2 in Korakuen Hall, saying they humiliated All Japan by losing.

Fuchi also commented on Kojima, saying, "Kojima is not the next star. It will be [Nobutaka] Araya and [Kazushi] Miyamoto."

Kawada also said he wants to win the World Tag Team Title, which he and Fuchi will have the chance to win on 6/8 in Yokohama Bunka Gym as they are part of a four man tournament to decide the new champions after Kojima and Taiyo Kea were forced to vacate the title after Kea was injured last December. Kawada and Fuchi will face Kojima and Jimmy Yang, while Muto and Arashi will face The Gladiator and Gigantes with the winners of those two matches meeting for the title later in the night.


[PRIDE] Nogueira likely to be back on 8/10 Brandon on 5/16/2003

In a telephone call from Brazil, Anotino Rodrigo Nogueira said that he plans on making his return after losing the PRIDE Heavyweight Title on 8/10 in Saitama Super Arena. He wants either Mirko CroCop or Hidehiko Yoshida to be his opponent. He said that he hopes after a win over Yoshida or CroCop, he would be given a rematch for the heavyweight title against Emelianenko Fedor.

Nogueira will go to Holland for three weeks in June to train with K-1 kickboxer Peter Aerts.


[Zenjo] Takahashi to wrestle on upcoming Zenjo tour Brandon on 5/16/2003

It was announced that Nanae Takahashi, who expressed she would leave Zenjo (and probably pro wrestling altogether) at the 5/11 anniversary show in Yokohama, will wrestle on the next Zenjo tour, which begins on 5/21. On 6/1 in Sapporo, she is scheduled to defend the WWWA World Tag Team Title with Etsuko Mita against Tomoko Watanabe and Kumiko Maekawa where Takahashi and Mita will presumably lose the titles before Takahashi leaves for good.

[New Japan] Chono only to miss half of BOSJ tour Brandon on 5/15/2003

Masahiro Chono saw the doctor on 5/14 about his injured left knee. He appears to have injured his ACL, but not badly enough that will be out for a very extended period of time. New Japan's ring announcer Hidekazu Tanaka told the media that he will need to two months to recover, and Chono feels he will be able to wrestle through it. He will likely miss only half of the upcoming Best of the Super Junior tour. Chono is currently scheduled to wrestle on 6/13 in Nippon Budokan Hall in defending the IWGP Tag Team Title with Hiroyoshi Tenzan against Yutaka Yoshie and Hiroshi Tanahashi as well as he is scheduled to wrestle on the 6/10 show in Osaka Prefectural Gym. His first match back is planned for 5/30, which is a TV taping.

Chono originally injured his knee on 4/26 in a match with Shinya Makabe. He was hurt throwing one of his Yakuza kicks, similar to the way Toshiaki Kawada tore his ACL in March 2002. However, Chono was not injured as badly as Kawada and apparently will not require surgery as originally fear.


[NOAH] Nagata beats Inoue; Captain's Fall Elimination Part II Brandon on 5/14/2003


Yuji Nagata won his first in his series of matches on NOAH's current "NAVIGATION WITH BREEZE '03" tour. He defeated Masao Inoue in 13:46 with a backdrop hold in the third match from the top in front of 2600 fans in Toyama Industrial Exhibition Techno Hall.

Also on the card, the match of Mitsuharu Misawa and Yoshinari Ogawa vs. Jun Izumida and Daisuke Ikeda was stopped at a no contest after Scorpio ran in to interfere.

In the main event, NOAH held their second Captain's Fall Elimination Match (the first being on 9/5/02). The team of Akitoshi Saito, Jun Akiyama, Yoshinobu Kanemaru and Makoto Hashi beat KENTA, Tsuyoshi Kikuchi, Kenta Kobashi and Tamon Honda after 35:56. Instead of Kobashi and Akiyama being captains again, Saito and Honda were captains of their respective teams. After Kikuchi was eliminated by Hashi and Hashi was then eliminated by KENTA, Saito got the pin of Honda to win the match.

The show will air on G+, so it will presumably be available in its entirety.


[New Japan] Nakanishi continues training Brandon on 5/14/2003


Manabu Nakanishi has resumed MMA training even after his fight with Kazuyuki Fujita on 5/2. He is training with Enson Inoue in what is said to be preparing him for New Japan's next tour, which begins on 5/23. Nakanishi said that he is thinking about starting his own gym entitled "Nakanishi Dojo."

[All Japan] Muto to take time off? Brandon on 5/13/2003

While at a press conference for the movie he plays a role in, entitled "Hittoman Hokkai Tora Bokyo" (Hitman The Northern Sea's Homesick Tiger), Keiji Muto made an interesting comment. He said if Satoshi Kojima defeats Shinya Hashimoto to win the Triple Crown on 6/13, Muto, feeling closure if Kojima got the Triple Crown back, he would take an extented leave of absence from All Japan in order to prepare for the third WRESTLE-1 show, which has no official date yet.

However, it doesn't appear to be in the plans for Kojima to beat Hashimoto on 6/13. It's likely that Hashimoto will retain to go on to defend and lose the title against Toshiaki Kawada on 7/19 in Nippon Budokan.


[Content] Tales from the Eastside Brandon on 5/13/2003
Tales from the Eastside #20:
The concept for this show is this: M-Dogg 20, not wanting to be seen as a fluke champion, offered to defend his newly won IWA Mid South World Heavyweight title in a gauntlet match. So to sort out the participants, the opening five matches would be qualifiers for the gauntlet, and the next five matches would all be title matches as MD20 attempted to run the gauntlet.

[All Japan] Hosaka goes to ZERO-ONE Brandon on 5/12/2003


Whether or not it's part of an angle, after the tour-ending BAPE STA!! show in Tokyo, Hideki Hosaka announced that he is leaving All Japan Pro Wrestling for ZERO-ONE. There had been stories before about ZERO-ONE staff trying to "steal" talent from All Japan, so it looks like they followed through on it.

[New Japan] Takada comments on vale tudo; Sugiura trains in Takada Dojo Brandon on 5/12/2003


Nobuhiko Takada talked about New Japan's vale tudo matches with the media on 5/12. Naturally, Takada agreed and said having the matches on New Japan shows were a good idea. It appears there's a good chance that Takada Dojo fighters will fight on New Japan's next show with shoot match (presumably the October Tokyo Dome show). It was even hinted that Kazushi Sakuraba might fight on a New Japan show.


Also at the dojo, NOAH's Takashi Sugiura was training. Here, he's pictured sparring with Daijiro Matsui. Sugiura, who lost to Daniel Gracie in a match that was cut from the US/Canada version of the PRIDE 21 broadcast. He said he would like very much to have another mixed martial arts match in the future. And I guess with Sugiura being a part of New Japan's Best of the Super Junior tournament which starts on 5/23, the relationship is already there for him to fight in New Japan vale tudo matches.


[Content] Credenza Brandon on 5/12/2003
Credenza:
Come on, did you really think I was going to do a tribute to the Road Warriors in commemoration of their upcoming tryouts with the WWE? Nope, this article focuses on a bunch of puroresu death matches in a similar vain as my first "Snack on Danger, Dine on Death" installment. In this article I'll take a look at seven matches from FMW, IWA and Big Japan from the mid-90s garbage wrestling peak era. Unlike the last article, this one is a more accurate representation of the death match genre in that the quality of the matches ran the gamut from absolute sucktitude to near-classic, and the matches in this article vary significantly in their quality as well.

[NOAH] Nagata booked for six NOAH shows Brandon on 5/11/2003

Pro Wrestling NOAH announced that New Japan's Yuji Nagata would be wrestling on six shows on their current tour, ending with a singles match against Akira Taue on 6/6 in Nippon Budokan.

On 5/14 in Toyama (NTV taping), Nagata will face Masao Inoue. On 5/16 in Miyagi, he will tag with Takuma Sano and Masaji Aoyagi to face Jun Akiyama, Akitoshi Saito and Jun Izumida. On 5/31 in in Hokkaido Media Park Supika (Samurai TV taping), he will team with Sano against Mitsuharu Misawa and Tsuyoshi Kikuchi. On 6/1 in the same building (NTV taping) he will team with Sano again to face Akira Taue and Takashi Sugiura. Then in the final show of the tour in the Nippon Budokan, he will face Akira Taue in a singles match.


In other NOAH news, they announced they would determine the first GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions in an eight to ten-man tournament beginning on 7/6 with their "Accomplish Our 3rd Navigation" tour. The finals of the tournament will end on 7/16 in Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium. Obviously, NOAH doesn't have eight to ten junior tag teams, so it's expected many of the teams will be from other promotions.


[BAPE STA!!] Kojima and THE APEMAN win tag tournament Brandon on 5/11/2003


Satoshi Kojima and THE APEMAN defeated Arashi and Kendo Kashin on 5/11 in Zepp Tokyo in the finals of BAPE STA!!'s tag team tournament. Yang pinned Kashin with the Yang Time. THE APEMAN ripped off his mask in the middle of the match to reveal that he was again this year, Jimmy Yang.

[Zenjo] 5/11 Yokohama Arena, 35th Anniversary show results; Hotta leaves, Takahashi may follow Brandon on 5/11/2003

5/11/03
Yokohama Arena

Before the show, it was reported that Mika Nishio has left Zenjo. After her match, Yumiko Hotta has also quit the company, while Nanae Takahashi may be next.

Also before the show, Ayako Hamada said that if she won the WWWA World Singles Title from Momoe Nakanishi, she would defend the title outside Zenjo as well as overseas. With that looking like it will happen, this leaves Zenjo's future, for a company rumored to be greatly in debt, unclear. However this definitely wasn't their last show, since they still have many shows booked up through June.

1. Saki Maemura, Kana Ozeki defeated Sakura Emi, Rena Takase in 11:00 when Maemura pinned Sakura with a modified rolling cradle.
-
Match photo 1

2. MMA fight: Erica Montoya defaeted Miyuki Fujii at 1:36 in 1R by submission (triangle choke).
-
Match photo 1

3. Tomoko Watanabe, Kumiko Maekawa defeated Etsuko Mita, Azumi Hinata in 15:50 when Maekawa pinned Hinata.
-
Match photo 1

4. Kyoko Inoue, Takako Inoue, Mariko Yoshida defeated Nanae Takahashi, Tsubasa Kuragaki, Fang Suzuki in 14:31 when Kyoko pinned Takahashi after a lariat.
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Match photo 1
-Takahashi said that she feels there is a gap between herself and Zenjo and that she is considering leaving the promotion.

5. Crane Yu, Dump Matsumoto defeated Niryo Tateno, Yumi Ogura in 12:26 when Matsumoto pinned Ogura with a body press.
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Match photo 1
-Referee Shiro Abe counted fast for the finish.

6. OG Battle Royal: ZAP-T defeated Jumbo Hori, Yukari Omori, Kazue Nagahori, Yumi Ogura, Niryo Tateno, Crane Yu, Dump Matsumoto, Condor Saito, Takako Inoue, Kumiko Maekawa in 12:31.
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Match photo 1
-Takako Inoue was last to be eliminated.

-Intermission
-There was a musical performance, including playing many of the old songs associated with Zenjo for the last 35 years.

7. Mixed Tag: Koji Kanemoto, Michiko Omukai defated Amazing Kong, Makai #X in 12:31 when Kanemoto beat Kong by referee stoppage with an ankle lock.
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Match photo 1
-The match was refereed by New Japan ring announcer Hidekazu Tanaka.

8. Makai Majyo #1, Makai Majyo #2 defeated Shinobu Kandori, Yumiko Hotta in 5:15 when #1 pinned Hotta after a diving foot stomp.
-
Match photo 1
-After the match, Hotta announced she is leaving Zenjo.

9. All Pacific Title: Kayo Noumi defeated Mima Shimoda in 25:18 after two fisherman busters.
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Match photo 1
-Noumi retains.

10. WWWA World Singles Title: Ayako Hamada defeated Momoe Nakanishi in 21:44 after the AP cross.
-
Match photo 1, Match photo 2
-Hamada becomes the 55th WWWA World Singles Champion.
-After Hamada won, her father, Gran Hamada came in the ring and they hugged.
-Hamada said after that she wants to defend the belt overseas. She said Nakanishi or anyone could come with her.
-Nakanishi was very disappointed and said she would like another match.


[Zenjo] Final notes before 5/11 Anniversary show; Nishio quits Brandon on 5/10/2003


Advance ticket sales for Zenjo's 35th anniversary show on 5/11 in Yokohama Arena have gone suprisingly well. They probably won't sell-out, but they'll have a much bigger crowd than I thought they were going to have.

Also going into the show, Mika Nishio has quit the promotion. It appears that she's quit wrestling altogether as Ayako Sato did when she left the promotion a few months ago. Now I think the only two trainees they still have who has debuted since 1999 is Saki Maemura and Hikaru (who previously quit, but has since returned).

In the press conference for the show, Ayako Hamada, who challenges WWWA World Singles Champion Momoe Nakanishi, said she wants to win the title and go on to defend it in the rival GAEA promotion.

With the show being on Mother's Day, Nakanishi said her mother will be in attendance and her Mother's Day present to her would be her victory.


[NOAH] Nagata and Misawa to tag? Brandon on 5/10/2003

After Yuji Nagata came to NOAH's Korakuen Hall show on 5/9, Misawa commented further on the possibility of Nagata wrestling in NOAH on 5/10 in Niigata. He said he's interested in tagging with Nagata, saying Nagata is a "first-class wrestler."

[Content] Tales from the Eastside Brandon on 5/10/2003
Tales from the Eastside #19:
Still, there's no debating that more often than not they have the best indy shows on the East (I'm not gonna say in the country as I'm a total IWA-MS fanboy and I believe their best shows top ROH's best shows, plus they run weekly meaning they have a higher quantity of good shows), simply because their talent pool is so deep. This, right here, is in my opinion the best ROH show ever...so let's get to it...

Tales from the Eastside #18:
Solid show this week, nothing to complain about and an excellent TV match (Rave/Rainman) that, while not as good as the AMAZING four-way double elimination match from last week, was still really good. The main event had its upsides too, as they kept it fast and did some cool stuff, plus it marks the end of one of my least favorite teams in Project MayHam (with the more talented member- Tank- hopefully moving on into a successful heel role). Add in the usual Sal Rinauro goodness and you have a show that's well worth your time...


[Site] BOSJ Pool open for entries Brandon on 5/9/2003

You can start sending in your entries for New Japan's Best of the Super Junior Pool at anytime.
for all the details and all the stuff you'll need to know.

And two free tapes are at stake.

There is a special email address setup for the pool this year, which is bosjpool@hotmail.com. So all entries need to be sent there, not to my email address or anywhere else.


[NOAH] Nagata shows up in Korakuen Hall Brandon on 5/9/2003


Yuji Nagata made an appearance at NOAH's tour-opening show in Tokyo Korakuen Hall. He came to the ring after Mitsuharu Misawa's six-man tag match. He said he would like to have matches with NOAH wrestlers, saying there are many good wrestlers in NOAH that he hasn't wrestled yet. Misawa and Nagata shook hands.

[Content] This Week in Pro Wrestling Brandon on 5/8/2003
This Week in Pro Wrestling:
-Quarterly Business Statistics
-Yuji Nagata's Drawing Power as IWGP Heavyweight Champion
-American Dragon vs. Paul London (12/7/02)
-Steve Corino & Low Ki vs. Shinjiro Otani & Masato Tanaka (11/9/02)
-Empire State Wrestling, "May-hem" (5/3/03)
-Shinjiro Otani & Masato Tanaka vs. Steve Corino & CW Anderson (11/10/02)
-Midnight Express vs. Southern Boys (WCW GAB 1990)
-Sting vs. Cactus Jack (Beach Blast 1992)
-Theme Song Review VI - "Believe S Road"
Aside from ZERO-ONE and WJ (which are the two newest of the way too many major promotions) New Japan has the least combined drawing power. They have Nagata, who I'm afraid the fans don't really believe in, Takayama, who despite being 2002's non-gaijin MVP still is a draw, but not a tremendous one by himself and they have Chono, who is still one of the biggest and most popular names, but no one really believes in as a threat anymore. Hiroyoshi Tenzan may be their last hope of the current generation of wrestlers.

[WJ] Singles tournament to be held on 7/20 in Sumo Hall Brandon on 5/8/2003

WJ announced that they will hold a one-night elimination tournament on 7/20 in the Tokyo Sumo Hall. It will be an eight-man tournament with Riki Choshu, Kensuke Sasaki, Kenzo Suzuki, Shiro Koshinaka, Genichiro Tenryu and Takao Omori expected to be in the tournament. Vader and/or Dan Bobish are also expected to be in the tournament.

It's also possible that this tournament could determine a champion for a singles title for WJ, although Riki Choshu has talked about not wanting to have a singles title, feeling that there are too many of them and none of them mean anything.

Also with this announcement, Katsuji Nagashima talked about there being rumors that Choshu is planning on retiring soon (wait, didn't he already retire once before?). Nagashima said those rumors are not true.


[PRIDE] Coleman vs. Frye at PRIDE 26 Brandon on 5/8/2003

PRIDE officially announced that Mark Coleman will be fighting Don Frye on 6/8 in Yokohama Arena for PRIDE 26.

This match was originally scheduled to happed at PRIDE 21 last June, but the match was changed in what was indirectly the greatest moment of Yoshihiro Takayama's career, when Coleman suffered a major neck injury and Takayama took his place.

Coleman vs. Frye will be a rematch of their UFC 10 fight, where Coleman beat the undefeated Frye in 1996, which would be Frye's only MMA loss until he was defeated by Hidehiko Yoshida last November.


[All Japan] Kojima and Kea officially vacate World Tag Team Title Brandon on 5/8/2003

Five months after winning the vacant title, Satoshi Kojima and Taiyo Kea finally vacated All Japan's World Tag Team Title on 5/8. It was apparent that the title would have be vacated as Kea tore ligaments in his knee in the Tag League final where they originally won the title.

Also, Dave Meltzer has reported that Ultimo Dragon will not be making his WWE debut at the Judgment Day PPV as Dragon said in his press conference on 5/7, but he will be at the show for a meeting.


[All Japan] Kojima vs. Hashimoto for Triple Crown on 6/13 Brandon on 5/8/2003


It was officially announced on 5/8 that Shinya Hashimoto will make his second defense of the Triple Crown on 6/13 against Satoshi Kojima in Nagoya's Aichi Gymnasium.

Kojima drew a picture of Hashimoto crying (above) and posed as if he was giving him a lariat.

Hashimoto will likely beat Kojima on 6/13, going on to a match on 7/19 in the Nippon Budokan against Toshiaki Kawada for the title change.


[New Japan] BOSJ details; Suzuki/Marufuji vs. Liger/Kanemoto; Tenzan vs. Takayama; Nakamura vs. Takayama; Murahama vs. Tiger Mask; Suzuki to return Brandon on 5/8/2003

The blocks for the Best of the Super Junior tournament are as follows:

Block A: Jushin Thunder Liger, AKIRA, Gedo, Ryusuke Taguchi, Takashi Sugiura, Minoru Fujita, Ebessan

Block B: Koji Kanemoto, Tiger Mask, El Samurai, Masahito Kakihara, Masayuki Naruse, Jado, Stampede Kid

For some reason, Heat is not included as he was originally expected to be and Ryusuke Taguchi appears to have taken his spot. If he's been injured, it would have had to happen on the 5/2 Dome show. He's also not scheduled for any other matches listed by New Japan at the moment.

Outside wrestlers on the tour are Yoshihiro Takayama (5/23-5/30), Enson Inoue (6/10 and 6/13), Kotaro Suzuki (6/10), Naomichi Marufuji (6/10), Takehiro Murahama (6/13) and Minoru Suzuki (6/13).

Foreign wrestlers on the 16-show (17 included the stand-alone Budokan show) tour included Perry Saturn, Dan Devine and Stampede Kid. Scott Norton and Rick Steiner are both booked for 6/7 through 6/13.

The 6/11 (Kyoto Gym) and 6/13 (Nippon Budokan) shows aren't currently listed as TV tapings, but I would expect them to be listed eventually, since the 6/11 show features the semi-finals and final of the Super Junior and the 6/13 is a Budokan show.

Major matches happening on the tour include another NOAH vs. New Japan junior match, which Koji Kanemoto and Jushin Thunder Liger defending the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Title against Kotaro Suzuki and Naomichi Marufuji. This takes place in the always heated Osaka Prefectural Gym, so it could be a really great match. Also on the show is Hiroyoshi Tenzan challenging Yoshihiro Takayama for the IWGP Heavyweight Title in a match that could be a title switch. The NWF and IWGP Titles are being defended separately, so I guess they're not a real unified crown and they'll be split up soon enough (if not with this match). This Tenzan vs. Takayama match was originally expected to be at the Budokan, but they've decided to go with Takayama against the young Shinsuke Nakamura for the NWF Heavyweight Title on that show.

The Best of the Super Junior Tournament will have a semi-final this year as opposed to last year where the two top winners in each block faced each other in the final. On 6/11, the first place winners from each block will face the second place winner from the other block. The winners of those two matches will meet in the same night for the final of the tournament. I usually don't like that kind of format where you have to have two guys wrestle twice in one night as part of a tournament because the final usually ends up being a shorter watered down match.

Then the stand-alone show on 6/13 in the Budokan will have Shinsuke Nakamura at age 23, getting a shot at the NWF Heavyweight Title against Takayama. Tenzan and Chono also make their second straight defense against Yutaka Yoshie and Hiroshi Tanahashi in an IWGP Tag Team Title match, something very unusual for Japan, which would lead you to believe Yoshie and Tanahashi will win the title. Then in the second IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title match of his career, Takehiro Murahama will challenge champion Tiger Mask in his first defense. Minoru Suzuki also makes his in-ring return on the show against a mystery opponent.

Here are the lineups for shows airing on television:

5/23/03
Yamato Sports Center
Airing on ESPN SXW
1. BOSJ - Block A: Ebessan vs. Jushin Thunder Liger
2. BOSJ - Block A: Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Takashi Sugiura
3. BOSJ - Block B: El Samurai vs. Tiger Mask

5/24/03
Saitama Soka Sports Commemoration Gymnasium
Airing on ESPN SXW
1. BOSJ - Block A: Gedo vs. Takashi Sugiura
2. BOSJ - Block B: Masahito Kakihara vs. Masayuki Naruse
3. BOSJ - Block B: Stampede Kid vs. Tiger Mask

5/25/03
Tokyo Korakuen Hall
Airing on TV-Asahi and BS-Asahi
1. Shinsuke Nakamura, Yuji Nagata vs. Makai #4, Makai #5
2. Shinya Makabe, Yoshihiro Takayama vs. Osamu Nishimura, Hiroyoshi Tenzan
3. BOSJ - Block A: AKIRA vs. Takashi Sugiura
3. BOSJ - Block A: Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Minoru Fujita
4. BOSJ - Block B: El Samurai vs. Koji Kanemoto

5/31/03
Hyogo Prefectural Awaji Labor Center
Airing on TV-Asahi and BS-Asahi
1. BOSJ - Block A: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Gedo
2. BOSJ - Block A: AKIRA vs. Minoru Fujita
3. BOSJ - Block B: Jado vs. Masayuki Naruse

6/10/03
Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium
Airing on TV-Asahi and BS-Asahi
1. Enson Inoue vs. Kazunari Murakami
2. Yuji Nagata, Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Blue Wolf, Manabu Nakanishi
3. Tadao Yasuda vs. Osamu Nishimura
4. Masahiro Chono, Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Rick Steiner, Scott Norton
5. IWGP Junior Heavywight Tag Team Title: Kotaro Suzuki, Naomichi Marufuji vs. Koji Kanemoto, Jushin Thunder Liger
6. IWGP Heavyweight Title: Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Yoshihiro Takayama

Again, these two shows aren't scheduled for TV, but I doubt they would be left off.

6/11/03
Kyoto Gymnasium
1. Shinsuke Nakamura, Takashi Iizuka, Yuji nagata vs. Blue Wolf, Enson Inoue, Manabu Nakanishi
2. Osamu Nishimura, Masahiro Chono vs. Scott Norton, Yoshihiro Takayama
3. BOSJ Semi-Final: First Place in Block A vs. Second Place in Block B
4. BOSJ Semi-Final: Second Place in Block A vs. First Place in Block B
5. BOSJ Final: Semi-Final Winner vs. Semi-Final Winner

6/13/03
Tokyo Nippon Budokan
1. Blue Wolf vs. Scott Norton
2. Enson Inoue vs. Tadao Yasuda
3. Manabu Nakanishi vs. Kazunari Murakami
4. Minoru Suzuki vs. X
5. IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title: Takehiro Murahama vs. Tiger Mask
6. IWGP Tag Team Title: Masahiro Chono, Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Yutaka Yoshie, Hiroshi Tanahashi
7. NWF Heavyweight Title: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Yoshihiro Takayama


[Toryumon] Ultimo Dragon formally announces signing with WWE; unveals new mask Brandon on 5/7/2003


Ultimo Dragon formally announced that he has joined the WWE on at press conference on 5/7. He also revealed the new mask that he plans on wearing when he wrestles there (pictured above).

He has signed a three-year contract. The contract he signed is not entirely exclusive, since it will allow him to at least wrestle in Toryumon, as he plans to return to wrestle in Japan occasionally. He said he would still be using the Ultimo Dragon ring name and that his debut would be at the Judgment Day PPV on 5/18 in Charlotte, North Carolina. He said he does not know if he'll be on Raw or Smackdown yet. He also said he expects to be part of the WWE's two shows in Japan on 7/18 and 7/19.


[New Japan] Chono looks for New Japan to regain IWGP Title; Nagata wants match with Shamrock; New Japan vs. Gracies? Brandon on 5/7/2003


Masahiro Chono said that New Japan needs to regain the IWGP Heavyweight Title from Yoshihiro Takayama after he won it on 5/2 in the Tokyo Dome. He said he would challenge for it, but due to the condition of his knee, he said he wouldn't be able to have a title match, so he looks forward to Hiroyoshi Tenzan's match against Takayama, which is expected to happen on 6/13 in the Nippon Budokan.


Yuji Nagata said he is impressed by Ken Shamrock's guts and his popularizing the ankle lock. He said he would like to have a match with him.

Antonio Inoki said that he wants New Japan's October Tokyo Dome show to feature a series of vale tudo matches featuring fighters representing New Japan against Gracies. Don't look for that to happen.


[Toryumon] Ultimo Dragon loses to CIMA, announces he's going to WWE Brandon on 5/6/2003


CIMA defeated Ultimo Dragon on 5/6 in Korakuen Hall, defending his new UDG Title. After losing in 20:04 after a Mad Splash, Dragon finally announced that would be leaving Toryumon to go to the WWE. The match was put over as a passing of the torch to CIMA, who was one of Dragon's first students.

[WEW] 5/5 Kawasaki Stadium results Brandon on 5/5/2003

5/5/03
Kawasaki Stadium
Announced Drawing 18,500

1. Steve Corino defeated Shinjuku Same in 7:27 with a Northern Lights suplex.
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Match photo 1

2. Jun Kasai, Mitsuhiro Matsunaga defeated Badboy Hido, Gosaku Goshogawara in 10:19 when Matsunaga pinned Goshogawara.
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Match photo 1

3. Shinsuke Z Yamagasa, Yoshito Sasaki, Naohiro Hoshikawa defeated UZ, Macho Pump, Masao Orihara in 11:48 when Hoshikawa submitted UZ with a Boston crab.
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Match photo 1

4. Mima Shimoda, Lioness Asuka defeated Kyoko Inoue, Yuki Miyazaki in 13:49 when Asuka pinned Miyazaki
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Match photo 1

5. Tatsuhito Takaiwa defeated Chocoball Mukai in 6:37 with a death valley driver.
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Match photo 1

6. Shinjiro Otani defeated TAKA Michinoku in 11:19 with a spiral bomb.
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Match photo 1, Match photo 2, Match photo 3, Match photo 4

7. Jado, Gedo defeated Ikuto Hidaka, Dick Togo in 11:35 when Gedo pinned Hidaka.
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Match photo 1, Match photo 2

8. Akira Taue, Daisuke Ikeda, Naomichi Marufuji defeated Kotaro Suzuki, Yoshinari Ogawa, Mitsuharu Misawa in 21:37 when Marufuji pinned Suzuki after the Shiranuhi.
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Match photo 1, Match photo 2, Match photo 3, Match photo 4

9. Masato Tanaka defeated Tetsuhiro Kuroda 14:09 after the dangan elbow.
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Match photo 1, Match photo 2, Match photo 3, Match photo 4
-The match was refereed by All Japan's Kyohei Wada. This would make it first show both Wada and NOAH wrestlers including Misawa have appeared on since July 2000.

10. Barbed Wire Explosion Match: Shinya Hashimoto defeated Kintaro Kanemura in 8:41 after a brainbuster DDT.
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Match photo 1, Match photo 2, Match photo 3, Match photo 4


[Site] BOSJ Pool 2003 Brandon on 5/3/2003

The site will be holding a pool for the Best of the Super Junior tournament again this year. The winner will again win two free tapes of their choice.

Since I was slow tabulating the results for the BOSJ pool and the G1 Climax pool last year, and since there will probably be a few more entrants this time, I'm going to change the rules. Instead of going through and picking every winner (you can still do that if you want, but you won't have to send it in), I'm just going to have everyone send in what they think the final points will be for each wrestler, who the finalists will be and who will win the final. If it's like last year, wrestlers will get one point for a win and zero points for anything else. So with seven wrestlers in two blocks, that would total at 49 points in each block, so as long as the points for each of your blocks totals at 49, the standings you predict would be possible if you don't feel like going through each match.

I'm not sure how scoring for the pool will go yet (getting what right will be worth what), but all the details about everything will be up after New Japan puts up the lineups and announces the blocks for the tournament after Golden Week.


[All Japan] Tenryu quits All Japan Brandon on 5/3/2003


Genichiro Tenryu handed in his resignation to All Japan Pro Wrestling on 4/25. Tenryu had originally signed the promotion on July 3, 2000 after All Japan lost 24 native wrestlers when Mitsuharu Misawa formed NOAH.

Tenryu had become more and more distant from All Japan ever since Keiji Muto took over as president (a job Tenryu wanted). Tenryu will continue to tour with WJ as a freelancer.


[Content] Whole Alfin' Review Brandon on 5/2/2003
Whole Alfin' Review:
In the four months since I originally wrote this article, times have changed. Nagata has had win upon win upon win, defending New Japan from its deadly outside invaders. He's defeated Nishimura, he's defeated Yasuda and he gave his heart and soul for 60 minutes against Nakanishi. He has become a true company champion, yet at the same time, Takayama has taken the NWF title, and he has defeated Norton and Rikio and Yanagisawa, each in brutal battles...

[New Japan] Live 5/2 "ULTIMATE CRUSH" Tokyo Dome show results Brandon on 5/2/2003


5/2/03
Tokyo Dome
Announced drawing 55,000


Leading up to the show, Yuji Nagata said that if he wins the title unification match, he wants to take the two belts and defend them overseas. This is something Nagata has been talking about for a long time. He talked about going to NWA-TNA to defend the unified title. He also talked about defending the title against Dolgorsuren Sumiyabazar in Mongolia and Enson Inoue in Hawaii.

Fighters in the vale tudo matches weighed in and had a physical before the show. Nakanishi has weighed in at 265 pounds. He'll have thirteen pounds on Fujita in their fight.

1. IWGP Heavyweight Title #1 Contender: Hiroyoshi Tenzan defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi in 10:24 after a TTD.
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Match photo 1, Match photo 2
-Tenzan is the number-one contender for the IWGP Heavyweight Title.
-In the post-match interview, Tenzan seemed certain Nagata would win tonight and that he would be facing him.

2. Ken Shamrock defeated Takashi Iizuka in 11:44 with an ankle hold.
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Match photo 1, Match photo 2

3. IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Title: Jushin Thunder Liger, Koji Kanemoto defeated Tiger Mask, Heat in 19:50 when Kanemoto pinned Heat with a tiger suplex hold.
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Match photo 1, Match photo 2, Match photo 3
-Liger and Kanemoto's second defense.
-After Liger and Kanemoto were presented the belts, Liger took the microphone and yelled at NOAH's Naomichi Marufuji and Kotaro Suzuki, who were at ringside. He yelled, "Let's find out who's the strongest!" A pull-apart brawl followed.
-After the brawl was broken up, Liger challenged Minoru Suzuki, who is doing color commentary for the broadcast. Suzuki stood up at the broadcast table, but didn't approach the ring or say anything.
-Looks like a Marufuji and Suzuki vs. Liger and Kanemoto match will happen. Marufuji talked about wanting to prove the GHC Titles are better than the IWGP Titles.
-Heat was upset that New Japan is using vale tudo matches and Kenta Kobashi for this show.

-Antonio Inoki came to address the crowd. Instead of dressing as a hermit like he did yesterday, he wears a suit and tie. He does the "ichi, ni, san, da!" and takes a seat at ringside to watch LYOTO vs. KENGO.

4. Vale Tudo: LYOTO (Machida) (95.2kg / 210lbs.) defeated KENGO (100.45kg / 221lbs.) at the end of 3R by unanimous decision (3-0).
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Match photo 1
-1R: Mostly ground fighting after LYOTO gets the take down. LYOTO acheived the mount position at one point. KENGO eventually swept out and escaped, with the round ending as they clinched in the corner.
-2R: LYOTO hits KENGO with a knee to the groin. He's given a yellow card. The fight goes to the ground with KENGO on top. LYOTO tried for an armbar from the bottom. LYOTO took mount again and punished KENGO with punches. The round ends, probably saving KENGO from being knocked out.
-3R: LYOTO got the takedown early. LYOTO controlled the fight on the ground, going in and out of mount a few times.
-Judges awared the fight to LYOTO by unanimous decision.
-LYOTO apologized for not being able to knockout his opponent. He thanked his trainers, including Wallid Ismail and his family.

5. Vale Tudo: Tsuyoshi Kosaka (108.1kg / 238lbs.) defeated Dolgorsuren Sumiyabazar (120.04kg / 265lbs.) at 2:58 in 1R by TKO (doctor stoppage).
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Match photo 1, Match photo 2
-1R: After testing each other out in stand-up, Sumiyabazar got the takedown on Kosaka. He couldn't do much in Kosaka's guard. They were stood back up. Sumiyabazar gets the takedown, but hurts his arm and is checked by the doctor. The doctor stops the fight.
-Sumiyabazar may have dislocated his left elbow.
-Kosaka said there was a lot of pressure, but he trained hard. He said he'd like to fight Takayama, since he lost to him on 1/4 in the Tokyo Dome.
-Sumiyabazar couldn't give comment because he had to go the hospital. His brother, Blue Wolf went with him.

6. Vale Tudo: Shinsuke Nakamura (103.5kg / 228lbs.) defeated Jan Nortje (145.9kg / 322lbs.) at 3:12 in 2R by submission (guillotine choke).
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Match photo 1
-Nortje entered with a New Japan towel on his head.
-One of Nakamura's second is Brian Johnston.
-1R: Nortje went after him with knees and landed at least one until Nakamura got him down. Nortje took half guard. Nakamura attacks with punches and knees as the fans yell "oi!" after him he throws a strike. Nakamura went for an armbar, but lost it, allowing Nortje to get back up. Nakamura got him back down and almost had him in an armbar when the bell rang.
-2R: Nakamura put him on the ground right out of the bell with a tackle. Nakamura got north-south position and went for knees. Nakamura got him in a guillotine choke. Nortje taps out.
-Nakamura said he was satisfied to carry out the responsibility of a pro wrestler by winning this fight.
-Nortje said Nakamura was better than he expected. He thanked Inoki for giving him this chance.

7. Vale Tudo: Josh Barnett (100.45kg / 221lbs.) defeated Jimmy Ambriz (134.05kg / 296lbs.) at 3:05 in 1R by TKO (punches).
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Match photo 1, Match photo 2
-Barnett comes out waving a New Japan flag. Matt Hume is one of his seconds.
-1R: Ambriz took down Barnett. Barnett took guard and defended against punches. They were broken up and stood back up. Barnett landed a big left and took him down to drop more punches before the referee stopped the fight.
-Barnett shook hands with Inoki after the match.
-Barnett said he wanted to use a German suplex in the match to represent pro wrestling. He welcomed Minoru Suzuki to New Japan and said he would like to team with him and teach him about New Japan.
-Ambriz said he wants to fight Barnett again. He said he could beat him next time. But neither of those things will or would happen.

8. Vale Tudo: Kazuyuki Fujita (114.5kg / 252lbs.) defeated Manabu Nakanishi (120.06kg / 265lbs.) at 1:09 in 3R by TKO (punches).
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Match photo 1, Match photo 2, Match photo 3, Match photo 4
-Enson Inoue is one of Nakanishi's seconds.
-Emelianenko Fedor takes a seat at ringside before the fight starts.
-1R: They exchange jabs, resulting in Nakanishi's nose bleeding. He's checked by the doctor and the fight goes on. Fujita closes in on Nakanishi little by little and gets the takedown. Nakanishi quickly escapes from the ground. Fujita attacks him in the corner with punches. Nakanishi's nose is bleeding badly. Nakanishi is able to defend himself. He tries to take Fujita down, but can't.
-2R: They exchange punches again to open the round. Fujita again gets the better of him. Nakanishi is backed into the corner again. Nakanishi fights back with his own punches. The round ends as they fight in the corner.
-3R: Fujita gets to attacking Nakanishi on the ground with knees and punhces. Nakanishi rolls, giving up his back. Fujita rains punches. The referee stops the fight.
-After the fight, Inoki brought Fedor in the ring. Fujita pointed at him, telling him he was next.
-In the interview room, Inoki said Nakanishi should go back and train and try again. About LYOTO, he said he's unsure whether he wants LYOTO to enter New Japan's series (go on tour with them).
-In the post-match interview, Fujita said, "[Nakanishi] was a man." He also posed for pictures with Brian Johnston.

9. Enson Inoue defeated Kazunari Murakami in 6:33 by referee stoppage after punches.
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Match photo 1
-After the match, Murakami complained about the referee stoppage. He said the way he fights, he fights "to the extreme" and doesn't need a referee.

-New Japan says the crowd is a sell-out of 55,000 fans. You can be pretty sure they didn't draw that many, but it appears they did better than expected. Tt the 1/4 show, they claimed 50,000, calling it "no-vacancy," which is their language for close to a sell-out. It was far from that, though. They've called this one "super no-vacancy," which is their words for an actual sell-out. They also claimed 50,000 for the 10/14/02 show as "no-vacancy," which would lead you to believe this show may have actually drawn well. The advance wasn't very good, which means they would have needed a pretty big walk-up.

10. GHC Heavyweight Title: Kenta Kobashi defeated Masahiro Chono in 28:27 after a lariat.
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Match photo 1
-Kobashi's second defense.
-Kobashi was not treated as a heel as most outside wrestlers are treated in big interpromotional matches. The fans cheered and chanted for him.
-Ring Announcer Hidekazu Tanaka said this was a great match considering Chono's condition. The match was said to be heated, with many nearfalls and highspots, including six half-nelson suplexes in succession by Kobashi. I don't know how Chono's neck could have handled that.
-Chono and Kobashi shook hands and hugged after the match.
-Kobashi, who Chono calls "Mr. Pro Wrestling," said that Chono was Mr. Pro Wrestling tonight. He said he was a great wrestler and would wrestle in New Japan again if there's a chance. About Chono's leg injury, Kobashi said he did worry about it much. He said he fought him the same way he would have if he wasn't injured and that he thought Chono didn't change the way he wrestled either.

11. IWGP and NWF Heavyweight Title: Yoshihiro Takayama defeated Yuji Nagata in 18:17 after the Everest German suplex.
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Match photo 1, Match photo 2, Match photo 3, Match photo 4
-Takayama becomes the 32nd IWGP Heavyweight Champion.
-Takayama's third defense of the NWF Heavyweight Title.
-Nagata's record-setting 10-defense title reign comes to an end.
-Takayama enters first. When Nagata gets in the ring, they have a big staredown and don't take their eyes off each other until the bell rings.
-After the match, Hisashi Shinma came in the ring. He said to Takayama, "Seal IWGP." I'm not sure what he meant by that. He may have meant to "seal" the title, as in not defend it or retire it, which would make some sense after what Shinma said on 1/4 in the Dome. I'll try to have an update on that later.
-Then Tenzan showed up. He said to Shinma, "Those who talk and don't know history need to shutup!" Takayama later said to Tenzan, "Tenzan. Why are you watching me here? You need go back to the dojo and start training." Tenzan then said, "I am that belt. I will bring it back to New Japan." After Tenzan said that, the New Japan crowd starting chanting for Takayama.
-In post-match interviews, Takayama said Nagata was a good champion. When asked if he would try to defend the title as many times as Nagata, Takayama said he would not adhere to a number. He said he would like to defend the title outside of New Japan if New Japan allows him to.
-Nagata said he accepts full responsibility for the losing the title and allowing it to be held by someone outside of New Japan. He said he would continue on and keep doing his best. He said, "If I said I wasn't hurt by the match today, it would be a lie."


[ZERO-ONE] 5/2 Korakuen Hall results Brandon on 5/2/2003

5/2/03
Tokyo Korakuen Hall
Announced drawing 2,300 (sell-out)

ZERO-ONE announced 2,300 for their Korakuen Hall show, running opposite New Japan's Tokyo Dome show nextstore. An attendance of 2,300 sounds a little high for Korakuen Hall, but either way, it was sold-out days in advance.

0. Jun Kasai, Don Arakawa defeated Vansack Acid, Fugofugo Yumeji in 10:11 when Kasai pinned Yumeji with a rolling cradle.

1. Tengu Kaiser defeated Shinsuke Z Yamagasa in 6:57 after the Tengu Tornado.

2. Wataru Sakata, MIKAMI defeated Naohiro Hoshikawa, Yoshito Sasaki in 14:59 when Sakata submitted Sasaki with a Boston crab.

3. Katsumi Usuda, Kazuhiko Ogasawara, Yoshiaki Fujiwara defeated Masato Tanaka, Kuroge Wagyuta, Hideki Hosaka in 12:31 when Ogasawara beat Wagyuta by referee stoppage after punches.

4. CW Anderson, Steve Corino defeated Kohei Sato, Hirotaka Yokoi in 9:43 when Corino pinned Yokoi with a small package.

5. NWA International Junior Heavyweight Title: Low Ki defeated Tatsuhito Takaiwa in 24:59 after the Ki Krusher.
-Low Ki's fifth defense.

6. Shinjiro Otani defeated Tom Howard in 13:57 with a school boy.

7. The Predator, John Heindreich defeated Matt Ghaffari, King Adamo in 11:36 when Predator pinned Adamo after the King Kong kneedrop.

8. NWA Intercontinental Tag Team Title: Shinya Hashimoto, Naoya Ogawa defeated Satoshi Kojima, Keiji Muto in 18:43 when Ogawa beat Kojima by referee stoppage after kicks.
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Match photo 1, Kawada kicks Ogawa, Kawada hits Hashimoto
-Surprisingly, after the match Toshiaki Kawada intruded. Kawada had said a couple weeks ago that he would not be in attendance. Kawada ran in and kicked Ogawa in the head. Kawada took the microphone and said to OH Gun, in reference to Muto and Kojima losing, "You won, but I am not defeated. And until I am crushed, All Japan will not collapse." Ogawa took the microphone and said, "Who are you? Who is he? I would kill this idiot!"


[New Japan] 5/1 ULTIMATE FESTIVAL results Brandon on 5/1/2003

5/1/03
Tokyo Dome
Announced drawing 11,000


(Yes, that's Inoki)

Before the show started, brother of Yuji Nagata and 1996 Olympic silver medalist Katsuhiko Nagata helped hand out the commerative coins.
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Photo

Inoki's brother Pablo, appeared to congradulate Inoki for his sixieth birthday. He presented him with flowers. An old Brazilian song from the time they immigrated to Brazil was played.
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Photo

In the slot machine contest, Seiji Sakaguchi, Yutaka Yoshie, Osamu Nishimura, El Samurai, Toru Yano, Jado, Gedo, Josh Barnett, Tatsumi Fujinami, Hiro Saito, Tatsutoshi Goto as well as many fans participated.
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Photo 1, Photo 2, Photo 3

Among the events taking place at the show, there was leg wrestling. This included both Toru Yano and Justin McCully challenging Inoki and of course losing.
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Photo 1, Photo 2

Hoshino's female version of the Makai Club (Amazing Kong and the Makai Witches) also had a confrontation in the hallway with Michiko Omukai, leading up to the matches that will take place on Zenjo's 5/11 Yokohama Arena show.
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Photo 1, Photo 2

Antonio Inoki addressed the crowd. He slapped 60 people with fighting spirit for his 60th birthday (which was actually in February). Then for whatever reason, he was vacuum sealed in a bag... seriously (see Photo 2). He then encouraged everyone to look forward to the big show tomorrow.
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Photo 1, Photo 2

1. Ryusuke Taguchi defeated Pinoy Boy in 5:23 after a dropkick.
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Match photo

2. Masahito Kakihara, AKIRA defeated Rocky Romero, American Dragon in 10:13 when Kakihara submitted Dragon.
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Match photo

3. Alumnus Battle Royal: Kotetsu Yamamoto defeated (from last eliminated to first) Kantaro Hoshino, Kuniaki Kobayashi, Hakura Eigen, Osamu Kido, Kengo Kimura, Great Kabuki, Masashi Aoyagi and George Takano in 11:53.
-Katsuhisa Shibata and Kotetsu Yamamoto were referees. Yamamoto suddenly started wrestling in the match after Eigen provoked him and won.
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Match photo 1, Match photo 2, Match photo 3


[Content] 5/2 Tokyo Dome Preview Brandon on 5/1/2003

This is the one that there's going to be all kinds of suspense for, waiting at 8:00AM for the result of this one. The key to figuring out who's going to win this match may be figuring out what they're doing with Hiroyoshi Tenzan. But first, you have consider that Nagata beat Takayama on the same day in the same building last year. So booking logic says Takayama wins this year. But wait, this is a promotion owned by Antonio Inoki.

[New Japan] Fujita ignores Nakanishi; Marufuji and Suzuki to be in attendance Brandon on 5/1/2003


In interviews leading up to their match on 5/2 in the Tokyo Dome, Kauzyuki Fujita acted like his match with Manabu Nakanishi wasn't a big deal. He said that his vale tudo match with Nakanishi was "just another match."

Naomichi Marufuji and Kotaro Suzuki will be in attendance at the show to accept a challenge to NOAH wrestlers made by Koji Kanemoto. So look for an angle to happen there after the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Title match.

If you want to follow the show live here, there will be live updates with results, notes and pictures as the show happens. It will start Friday at 5:00PM in Japan, 4:00AM on the US East Cost, 1:00AM on the US West Coast or 9:00AM GMT.


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