6/29 Update: U-STYLE results; Updates on K-1, Toryumon, WJ; NOAH tour opens Brandon on 6/29/2003

Osaka, Umeda Stella Hall
Announced Drawing 1,082 (sell-out)

1. Ryu Echigo defeated Naoki Kimura in 9:44 with a cross armbar.

2. Katsuhisa Fujii defeated Tomihiko Yoshida in 2:53 by KO.

3. Manabu Hara defeated Kazuki Okubo in 11:57 with a flying cross armbar.

4. Dokonjonosuke Mishima defeated Kyosuke Sasaki in 12:52 with an ankle hold.
-Match photo 1, Match photo 2, Match photo 3, Match photo 4

5. Wataru Sakata defeated Hiroyuki Ito in 10:23 with a half Boston crab.
-Match photo 1, Match photo 2, Match photo 3, Match photo 4

6. Kiyoshi Tamura defeated Takaku Fuke in 3:08 by TKO on lost points (5-0).
-Match photo 1, Match photo 2, Match photo 3, Match photo 4
-Tamura said after the show that young fighters like Hiroyuki Ito and Katsuhisa Fujii don't have the "pride of professionals." When someone asked him if he would be in the PRIDE GP, someone in the room asked that there only be questions regarding the U-STYLE show.

*K-1 announced 13,600 in Saitama Super Arena, which depending on how it was setup, would be about half full.

*Toryumon announced 7,500 in Kobe World Hall, which is pretty close to its capacity. After Magnum TOKYO won the UDG Title, he said he respects CIMA and that he is proud of him. For some reason, he put out a challenge to Genichiro Tenryu for a UDG Title match on 7/13 in Hakata Star Lane in Fukuoka. Also, a correction on the match time. The Magnum-CIMA match went 27:25, not 24:25 as were in the live results (they've been corrected now).

*WJ announced 6,200 in attendance for their show on 6/29 in Sapporo, Hokkaido Sports Center, which is short of a sell-out. After the show, Riki Choshu said Atsushi Onita was banned from the promotion.

*NOAH sold out Korakuen Hall on 6/29 for the opening of their "Accomplish Our 3rd Navigation" tour. In the interpromotional semi-main event, Jushin Thunder Liger, Ricky Marvin and Takehiro Murahama beat Naomichi Marufuji, Kotaro Suzuki and KENTA in 16:31 when Murahama pinned Suzuki after a brainbuster.

In the main event, Tsuyoshi Kikuchi, Tamon Honda and Kenta Kobashi defeated Akira Taue, Daisuke Ikeda and Kishin Kawabata in 24:43 when Honda submitted Kawabata with a reverse shoulder hold.

The show aired live on the G+ satellite network.

*Momoe Nakanishi formally announced she is leaving Zenjo to a crowd of 1,760 in Korakuen Hall. She said she would be a freelancer after the 7/6, but that she would continue to wrestle for Zenjo (considering it exists). She will team with Nanae Takahashi going against Kayo Noumi and Ayako Hamada on 7/6 in Kawasaki City Gym. Also on that show, Kumiko Maekawa and Tomoko Watanabe defend the WWWA World Tag Team Title against a team that has still yet to be decided and Michiko Omukai faces Amazing Kong. After Nakanishi went to a 30:00 draw with Maekawa in the semi-main event, they shook hands. Kayo Noumi announced after the show that she would wrestling on GAEA's "Brat Pack" show on 7/5.

*Shinjiro Otani said after ZERO-ONE's show in Shimonoseki that he should be the one to takes Shinya Hashimoto's place instead of Naoya Ogawa.

Live results: Toryumon in Kobe World Hall results; K-1 in Saitama Super Arena Brandon on 6/29/2003

Saitama Super Arena
Airing Live on NTV

1. Manabu Ito drew HIROSHI at the end of 3R by decision (30-30, 30-30, 30-29)

2. K-1 Japan GP Qualifying: Tatsufumi Tomihara defeated Masahide Aoyagi by unanimous decision after the overtime round (10-9, 10-9, 10-9).
-They drew 29-29, 29-29, 30-28 after the first three rounds.
-Tomihara advances to the K-1 Japan Grand Prix on 9/21 in the Yokohama Arena.

3. K-1 Japan GP Qualifying: Nobu Hayashi defeated Toru Oishi in 1:38 of 1R by KO with a right straight.
-Hayashi advances to the K-1 Japan Grand Prix on 9/21 in the Yokohama Arena.

4. K-1 Japan GP Qualifying: Horikei defeated Kazuhiro Nakamura in 1:58 of 2R by KO with a left high kick.
-Horikei advances to the K-1 Japan Grand Prix on 9/21 in the Yokohama Arena.

5. K-1 Japan GP Qualifying: Hiromi Amada defeated TSUYOSHI at the end of 3R by decision (29-29, 29-28, 29-28).
-Amada advances to the K-1 Japan Grand Prix on 9/21 in the Yokohama Arena.

-All the fighters in the Japan vs. Beast series came out, with Bob Sapp as the "chief" of the Beast Army and Sadaharu Kakuda as "chief" of the Japan Army.

6. Superfight: Hiroki Kurosawa drew Ivan Salaverry at the end of 3R by decision (29-29, 30-30, 29-29).

7. Japan vs. Beast Series: Musashi defeated Montanya Silva in 2R by disqualification when Silva attacked Musashi on the ground.
-Match photo 1, Match photo 2
-Japan leads 1-0.
-Silva took Musashi down and started punching him from the mount position. Following the referee signaling for the bell, both corners ran in to get Silva to stop. Musashi was apparently KO'ed in this.
-Silva apologized to Musashi, the Japanese fans and the K-1 staff. He said he wants to comeback again and show better sportsmanship next time.

8. Japan vs. Beast Series: Shingo Koyasu defeated Azem Makstuaj at the end of 3R by unanimous decision (28-29, 28-29, 28-29).
-Japan leads 2-0.

9. Japan vs. Beast Series: Eric "Butterbean" Esch defeated Yusuke Fujimoto in 1:02 of 1R by KO with a left hook.
Match photo 1
-Japan leads 2-1.

10. Japan vs. Beast Series: TOA defeated Manabu Nakanishi in 1:38 of 1R by KO with a right hook.
-Match photo 1, Match photo 2
-Japan clinches the series 3-1.
-Nakanishi was knocked down the first time with a left hook, but got back up at seven. After Nakanishi got up, TOA came right in again and dropped him with a right hook to win.
-After the match, Makai Club President Kantaro Hoshino and Katsuyoshi Shibata ran in and challenged TOA. A pull-apart brawl ensued.
-Bob Sapp said he would be interested in fighting TOA on 9/21 at the K-1 Japan GP show.
-Nakanishi did not give post-fight comments.

11. Japan vs. Beast Series: Peter Aerts defeated Tsuyoshi Nakasako in 1:42 of 2R by KO with a right high kick.
-Japan wins the series 3-2.

Kobe World Hall
Airing Live on SkyPerfecTV PPV

1. Pescatore Yagi, Brother YASSINI, Milano Collection AT defeated TARU, Don Fujii, SUWA in 14:17 when Milano submitted Fujii with the AT Lock.

2. Takamichi Iwasa, Anthony W. Mori defeated Second Doi, Raimu Mishima in 12:04 when Mori submitted Mishima with the Escargot.

3. Three-Way: Toru Owashi, JUN and Condotti Shuji drew in 11:25 after all three were counted out.

4. The Great Sasuke defeated Stalker Ichikawa in 5:09 after Ichikawa failed on a Sasuke Special.
-Sasuke was Ichikawa's mystery opponent.

5. NWA Welterweight Title: YOSSINO defeated K-ness in 14:44 with a new version of the Sol Naciente.
-YOSSINO retains.
-K-ness put the belt around YOSSINO's waist after the match.

6. UWA Six-Man Tag Team Title: Kennichiro Arai, Dragon Kid, Masaaki Mochizuki defeated Ryo Saito, Genki Horiguchi, Susumu Yokosuka in 21:20 when Arai pinned Horiguchi with the Hanshin Tiger Suplex.
-Kid, Mochizuki and Arai become new champions.

7. Ultimo Dragon Gym Title: Magnum TOKYO defeated CIMA in 27:25 with the AV Star Press.
-Magnum TOKYO becomes the second UDG champion.
-Mangum scores his first win over CIMA since they debuted against each other six years ago.

Sapporo Hokkaido Sports Center

1. Takashi Uwano defeated Masamitsu Kochi in 13:00.

2. Dick Togo, Yoji Anjo defeated Tomohiro Ishii, Koichiro Kimura in 10:19 when Anjo pinned Ishii.

3. IPW Hardcore Tag Team Title: Todd Shane, Mike Shane defeated Hawk, Animal in 11:35 when Todd pinned Animal.
-Todd and Mike Shane become new champions.

4. Kenzo Suzuki defeated Hiroshi Hase in 12:38 by pinfall.

5. Vader and Dan Bobish went to a no contest after 12:45.

6. Kensuke Sasaki defeated Takao Omori in 22:32 by pinfall.

7. Exploding Barbed Wire Deathmatch: Atsushi Onita, Genichiro Tenryu defeated Shiro Koshinaka, Riki Choshu in 7:50 when Tenryu pinned Koshinaka.

*At Korakuen Hall on 6/29, in one of Momoe Nakanishi's final matches as a wrestler for Zenjo, she had a 30-minute draw with Kumiko Maekawa in the semi-main event of the show.

6/28 Update: K-1 vs. New Japan coming up, Momoe's statement, Akiyama on radio show Brandon on 6/28/2003
The next three consecutive Sundays in Japan (6/29, 7/6 and 7/13) all currently have, count 'em, 17 shows booked each day. I'll be up to do live results at least for tonight, since there are four big shows happening with K-1, Toryumon, WJ and U-STYLE. In Korakuen Hall, Zenjo runs in the afternoon, which will feature Momoe Nakanishi addressing the crowd. That show will probably sell-out. In the evening at Korakuen, NOAH goes back on tour with their "Accomplish Our 3rd Navigation" series. Other promotions running shows are Big Japan, Osaka Pro, K-DOJO, JWP, GAEA, JD Star, AtoZ, small-time MMA group GCM, NEO and yes, even Nightmare. I'll do detailed reports for the K-1 and Toryumon shows and possibly the NOAH show. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like SportsNavi or Nikkan Sports is planning on doing live reports from the U-STYLE or WJ shows so I'll have results on those shows after they're over. WJ starts at 2:00PM Japan time (1:00AM EDT, 10:00PM PDT, 5:00AM GMT). Then live reports start at 4:00PM Japan time (3:00AM EDT, 12:00AM PDT, 7:00AM GMT). U-STYLE and K-1 start an hour later and the NOAH show starts an hour and a half after that.

*The pre-fight press conference was held for K-1's 6/29 show in Saitama Super Arena. Head of K-1 Sadaharu Tanigawa talked about how some New Japan wrestlers also want to fight in K-1, mentioning Shinsuke Nakamura, Katsuyori Shibata, Enson Inoue, Kazunari Murakami and Tadao Yasuda. He suggested that K-1 Japan's 9/21 Yokohama Arena show and New Japan's 10/13 Tokyo Dome show might hold K-1 vs. New Japan matches. Chono responded to this later in the day, saying he wants a K-1 fighter to do a pro wrestling match in New Japan in exchange for Nakanishi fighting tonight. He suggested himself tagging with a K-1 fighter like Musashi or Tsuyoshi Nakasako to challenge for the IWGP Tag Team Title.

*Manabu Nakanishi said his chances of beating TOA are 100% and said he would win in the name of pro wrestling. Bob Sapp encouraged Nakanishi and said he wants to fight the winner of the match.

*Momoe Nakanishi released a written statement to the media explaining why she has decided to leave Zenjo. I'm not smart enough to translate all of it, so here are some quotes. "I have thought about leaving since last year... I don't know who to trust, so it was very hard to have matches while being unhappy with the company... After the match on July 6, I want think about what I'll do for a week, but I will not stop wrestling. I have never thought about stopping... I will greet the fans regarding my leaving on the 29th in Korakuen Hall. I don't know which ring I will be in after this... Of course, this is not a bitter separation and I will wrestle for Zenjo again."

*Jun Akiyama was on a radio show where he talked about the G1 Climax. He said he looks forward to beating Hiroyoshi Tenzan, who is in his block. He said that New Japan is divided between pro wrestling and combat sports (kakutogi/MMA/kickboxing). He said when he was happy when heard the G1 Climax Final on 8/17 would be aired live on TV at 3:30PM because "I'm a man who's at his best when people are watching."

*Kensuke Sasaki said on a talk show that he wants his match with Takao Omori to be the main event above the Onita/Tenryu vs. Choshu/Koshinaka exploding barbed wire deathmatch.

*This is old news, but All Japan's 7/19 Budokan Hall show will be airing live on SkyPerfecTV pay-per-view.

[Zenjo] Follow up on Nakanishi Brandon on 6/27/2003

Daily Sports is now reporting that Momoe Nakanishi will have her final match for Zenjo on 7/6 in Kawasaki. She will take some time off from wrestling to rest her neck, which is giving her chronic pain, then return and wrestle as a freelancer for both AtoZ and GAEA. Nakanishi said, "We've talked and I let them know my feelings. I care about the fans, so I want to return to the ring as soon as possible."

The article also says that Kaoru Ito also wants to leave, but is still talking to the promotion about it.

6/27 Update: Zenjo on the way down, Chono's last shot at IWGP Title, ZERO-ONE "STORM" opens Brandon on 6/27/2003

*While none of the major Japanese sports outlets are reporting it yet, there are strong rumors that Momoe Nakanishi and Kaoru Ito have left or will leave Zenjo. Ultimately, this will likely spell the end for Japan's oldest active promotion.

*The signing ceremony for the Masahiro Chono vs. Yoshihiro Takayama IWGP Heavyweight Title match set for 7/21 in Sapporo Hokkaido Green Dome was held in the New Japan offices. At age 39, Chono, who has only held the IWGP Heavyweight Title once in his career (when he won it in 1998, then had to vacate the title due to injury) said that this match will be his final match as challenger for the title. It's still not clear how many shows Chono will be wrestling on with his bad knee and bad shoulder, but he's officially off the 7/4 Korakuen Hall opener.

*ZERO-ONE drew an announced 1,800 sell-out to the Tokyo Korakuen Hall for their tour-opening show on 6/26. Naoya Ogawa, who will now be on all shows on the tour since Shinya Hashimoto is out, made his entrance wearing Hashimoto's trademark headband.

On the show, Steve Corino and CW Anderson defeated Tetsuhiro Kuroda and Kintaro Kanemura to successfully defend the NWA Intercontinental Tag Team Title after 15:57 when Corino pinned Kuroda. Anderson and Corino now go on to defend the title against Kohei Sato and Hirotaka Yokoi on 7/6 in the Sumo Hall.

Alexander Otsuka ran in again after Shinjiro Otani's match and challenged him. When Otani ignored him, Otsuka got a fire extinguiser and sprayed him to loud boos from the crowd.

In the main event, Kazuhiko Ogasawara, Yoshiaki Fujiwara and Naoya Ogawa beat Michael Shane, Matt Ghaffari and Tom Howard in 10:02 after Ogawa pinned Shane after the STO.

At this point, Hashimoto and Ogawa vs. Muto and Kawada is still officially on the card for 7/6.

*Today's Bob Sapp media appearances included promoting "NFL TOKYO 2003" which will be an NFL preseason game held in the Tokyo Dome on 8/3, which is being promoted around him as a former pro football player. He also was with Montanya Silva, the giant who will fight Musashi at K-1's 6/29 show, where Sapp swore Silva would win.

6/26 Update: Wataru Inoue returns; Shareholders' meeting; Asuka over Kandori Brandon on 6/26/2003

*New Japan announced the complete card for their 7/21 show in Sapporo, Hokkaido Green Dome, which will air on PPV:

1. Koji Kanemoto vs. Minoru Suzuki
2. Yutaka Yoshie vs. Shinya Makabe
3. Osamu Nishimura vs. Mike Barton
4. Winner of Kakihara-Tiger Mask vs. Wataru Inoue
5. Loser Captain Goes in Dog House Elimination Match: Michiyoshi Ohara (c), Tatsutoshi Goto, Hiro Saito, Takashi Iizuka vs. Tadao Yasuda (c), Ryushi Yanagisawa, Makai #1, Makai #5
6. Heat vs. Jushin Thunder Liger
7. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Kazunari Murakami
8. U-30 Title: Katsuyori Shibata vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi
9. Different Style Fight: Scott Norton vs. Josh Barnett
10. Enson Inoue vs. Yuji Nagata
11. IWGP Heavyweight Title: Masahiro Chono vs. Yoshihiro Takayama

Hiroshi Tanahashi, Yuji Nagata and a returning Wataru Inoue were there at the New Japan offices where the card was announced. Inoue, now with a lot more hair, will have his first match back since suffering an eye injury in late 2002. He'll face the winner of the Tiger Mask vs. Masahito Kakihara IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title match on 7/6. The Makai Club will face the Crazy Dogs in an elimination match, with the leader of the team that loses (either Ohara or Yasuda) being thrown in Ohara's dog house. Nakamura faces Murakami in a rematch from their 2/16 Sumo Hall match where Murakami won. Scott Norton and Josh Barnett fight in a worked shoot in a match billed to determine New Japan's top foreigner. And the biggest new match on the card, Enson Inoue vs. Yuji Nagata is official.

*At New Japan's regulary shareholders meeting, it was decided that there would be changes in office positions. Seiji Sakaguchi, who serves as chairman (which involves presenting the IWGP titles before title matches) and CEO will step down as chairman to serve only as CEO. It was also decided that the nine director positions would be cut down to three. The three directors now are Tatsumi Fujinami (who is also president), Tatsuo Kawamura and the new to the position, Haruki Kitazawa from Asahi National Broadcasting, Inc.

The company also established five "coporate officer" positions, who all have specific jobs. The five are Masahiro Chono (booker and transportation), Tatsumi Fujinami (in charge of sales and promotions), Fumihiko Uei (public relations), Simon Inoki (overseas), Hideaki Yamanaka (business). Doesn't sound like much was changed there o

*Lioness Asuka defeated Shinobu Kandori before an announced 3,558 fans in Tokyo Yoyog National Gym on 6/26. Asuka got the pin on Kandori after 18:26 with the LSD1.

*ZERO-ONE's foreign talent for their upcoming tou =r landed in Japan on 6/26. Ghaffari said he would win the NWA Super Heavyweight Title and he and his "brother" would win the OH Tag Festival.

*Kendo Kashin will be wrestling in Michinoku Pro's "Mask W League" which starts on 7/20. There are plans for ten wrestlers to be in the round robin tournament, with the winner challenging Dick Togo for the Northeast Junior Heavyweight Title on 8/26 in Sapporo. Interestingly, the wrestler that finishes in last place will have to remove his mask.

*The Iwate Prefecture Assembly voted in favor to allow Great Sasuke to wear his mask during meetings.

6/25 Update: Seven of eight in GP announced; ARSION finished... sort of; Shibata in G1; Chono may still miss shows Brandon on 6/25/2003

*PRIDE held a press conference where seven of the eight participants in the PRIDE Middleweight Grand Prix were announced. They are: Hidehiko Yoshida, Ricardo Arona, Alistair Overeem, Vanderlei Silva, Kazushi Sakuraba, Quinton Jackson and UFC's Chuck Liddell. The final place in the tournament is said to be between Kiyoshi Tamura, Sanae Kikuta and a representitive of the Gracie family.

Sakuraba joked, saying he would do his best not to get injured and said he would like to fight Yoshida in the final. Silva said he wants to win the tournament to prove he is champion. Liddell talked about proving UFC is the best and having wanted to fight Silva for a long time. Arona said he feels the fighter is is best prepared will win. UFC president Dana White was there. Quinton Jackson said to White that he likes UFC, but thinks PRIDE is number-one. He said he wants to fight Sakuraba again since Sakuraba defeated him at PRIDE 15. Dana White said, "PRIDE has declared war on UFC." Yoshida was the only one not in attendance for the press conference, so a cardboard cutout of him was used for photos.

No matches for the GP were announced. The four winners on 8/10 in Saitama will advance to the 11/9 show in the Tokyo Dome for the semi-finals and finals of the tournament. DSE President Nobuyuki Sakakibara talked about UFC and PRIDE having a possible double title match. Sakakibara said again that they plan on doing three or four heavyweight matches with Emelianenko Fedor, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Mirko CroCop likely to be fighting.

*ARSION's 6/25 show in Chiba was actually run under the banner of Yumiko Hotta's AtoZ promotion. Thus, ARSION has been officially absorbed as AtoZ. All future shows ARSION booked will be AtoZ shows as well as the former ARSION roster is now a part of AtoZ.

*It was announced that Katsuyori Shibata will be in the G1 Climax, apparently taking the "Inoki reccomended" position that was pending. The G1 Climax starts on 8/10 in Kobe World Hall. Speaking of Kobe World Hall, Toryumon's anniversary show on 6/29 there will sell-out if it hasn't already.

*Masahiro Chono returned to Japan after visiting Antonio Inoki in Santa Monica, CA where they decided Chono will probably participate in the September "Jungle Fight" show in Brazil in some way. It's very possible that Chono will not be able to wrestle when New Japan's "Summer Fight Series" tour opens on 7/4 in Korakuen Hall due to the poor condition of his left knee which he injured in April. However, he said that he would wrestle Yoshihiro Takayama on 7/21 in Sapporo in their IWGP Heavyweight Title match.

*Antonio Inoki said he would like to run a "Jungle Fight" show in Las Vegas following his upcoming show in Brazil in September.

*Atsushi Onita was going an angle, saying Riki Choshu should retire. He said he wants Katsuji Nagashima to be the special referee for his exploding barbed wire deathmatch with Shiro Koshinaka against Choshu and Genichiro Tenryu on 6/29 in Hokkaido Sports Center.

[Content] This Week in Pro Wrestling Brandon on 6/24/2003
This Week in Pro Wrestling:
-Tamon Honda vs. Kenta Kobashi (4/13/03)
-Itsuki Yamazaki vs. Bull Nakano (2/25/85)
-Zenjo in Tokyo Nippon Budokan Hall (8/22/85)
-Jun Akiyama vs. Yuji Nagata on 7/16 in Osaka
-Empire State Wrestling, "Unsanctioned" (6/21/03)
-Ric Flair vs. Triple H (5/19/03)
-UFC 43: "Meltdown" (6/6/03)
-Puroresu History - Ad Santel: Judo World Champion
-Theme Song Review IX: "Real Thing Shakes"

6/24 Update: Shimoda to retire, Hashimoto reveals broken knee, Sapp coming to a theatre near you Brandon on 6/24/2003

*Yumiko Hotta has new promotion, which appears to be working in some kind of conjuction with ARSION called "Major Girl's Fighting AtoZ." It's possible that ARSION may be phased out and absorbed by AtoZ. However, Mima Shimoda announced on 6/24 that she would be retiring from pro wrestling on 9/13 at AtoZ's show in Tokyo Ariake Colesium. Shimoda, who debuted in August 1987, will remain in the wrestling business and said she wants to train new wrestlers. No opponent has been announced for her retirement match. Both Shimoda and Mariko Yoshida have "director" titles in the front office of the AtoZ promotion while Hotta is president. Also at the press conference, AKINO challenge Hotta to a match on 7/25 at the first AtoZ show in Kawasaki City Gym.

*On a variety show on TV Tokyo (which is now also periodically broadcasting ZERO-ONE specials), Naoya Ogawa and Shinya Hashimoto appeared as they have before. Hashimoto revealed that he has a broken knee along with a tear of the ACL. Needless to say, his participation in his big matches coming up on 7/6, 7/19 and the OH Gun Tag League are looking very doubtful. Ogawa said he would look for a substitute partner.

*Bob Sapp is apparently negotiating to be in a movie where he could be co-starring with Jackie Chan, Ben Affleck and Jon Travolta. Or at least that's what the Japanese media is reporting.

6/23 Update: TOUKON details, ZERO-ONE*USA to return, All Asia Tag Title, Tenryu in WEW Brandon on 6/23/2003

*According to those who were there live, the attendance for the "TOUKON" show in Inoki Dojo on 6/21 was not the 300 that they posted on the NJPW.com site, but instead 107. Much of the crowd was made up of Japanese and Japanese-Americans. Japanese media members of course were there. There were about 30 empty seats in the gym. Many of the official match times announced (see yesterday's update) appear to be made up or vastly incorrect. Puma (who is Pinoy Boy) vs. Bobby (who is Bobby Quance) were said to have had a ***1/2 match, which was the best of the show. That match was said to have gone about 16 to 18 minutes instead of the 11:05 that New Japan reported. Techno music played throughout the show. All matches were worked as expected.  Antonio Inoki himself, who was in town, was no where to be found.

*ZERO-ONE announced they will hold another "ZERO-ONE*USA" show on 8/10 in Nagoya's Aichi Gym. Shinya Hashimoto is expected to wrestle as either Shogon or Hashif Khan and Keiji Muto as Great Muta and Satoshi Kojima as Great Koji will also likely be on that show.

*Shigeo Okumura said that he wants to win the All Asia Tag Team Title, saying he wanted to have the title at his self-promoted show on 7/17 in Yokosuka. It was announced that new champions will begin to be decided (it's not clear if there's going to be a tournament or one match) at All Japan's tour-opening show on 7/6 in Korakuen Hall. Kohei Sato, Hirotaka Yokoi and former All Japan wrestler Hideki Hosaka of ZERO-ONE have also said they want the belts.

*Kazushi Sakuraba is in Osaka doing some kind of "special" training in preparing for the PRIDE Middleweight Grand Prix on 8/10.

*As speculated, it was announced that Genichiro Tenryu will wrestle on the 7/7 Korakuen Hall show for WEW. He will tag with Kintaro Kanemura and Masao Orihara to face TAKA Michinoku, Mr. Gannosuke and Mammoth Sasaki.

Vote on Sasuke's mask, "TOUKON" results, Shimoda wins QOA Title Brandon on 6/22/2003

*The Iwate Prefecture Assembly will vote on 6/25 on a bill which if passed, will ban assemblymen from wearing masks. Obviously, this is directed at Great Sasuke as many are opposed to him wearing his mask at meetings. If the bill is passed it'll be interesting to see if Sasuke attends meetings unmasked or if he'll resign.

*The Inoki Dojo "TOUKON" show in their gym in Santa Monica, CA drew 300 fans.

1. Shane Eitner defeated Ice Man in 5:40 with a triangle choke.
2. Puma defeated Bobby in 11:05 with a side body press.
3. Rocky Romero defeated Shannon Rich in 10:02 by double countout.
4. Justin McCully defeated Toru Yano in 4:08 with the firefly armbar.
5. Jimmy Ambriz defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi in 6:31 with a grounded shoulder headlock.

*Keiji Muto was on a talk show where he said that his match with Toshiaki Kawada on 7/13, which will decide who faces Shinya Hashimoto for the Triple Crown on 7/19, Muto said that match will just be a warm-up excercise for the title match on 7/19.

*Former Zenjo wrestlers, Yumiko Hotta and Mika Nishio wrestled for the first time since leaving in May. The Hotta Army won both of their matches on the ARSION show in Korakuen Hall before 1,650 fans. Hotta and Nishio beat AKINO and Ai Fujita in 16:52 when Hotta pinned Fujita with the Pyramid Driver. And in the main event, Mima Shimoda won the Queen of ARSION Title from Mariko Yoshida in 18:50 with a backslide.

Kojima loses MLW Title, Enson wants match with Nagata, Inoki Dojo show notes, Takemura with hair Brandon on 6/21/2003
Expect a long overdue TWIP on Sunday or Monday. It'll include review of Kobashi vs. Honda, another live indy show, other reviews, thoughts on Akiyama vs. Nagata, All Japan vs. ZERO-ONE feud, Kakihara winning the BOSJ, Yoshida in the Grand Prix and maybe a short historical piece.

*Satoshi Kojima lost the MLW Heavyweight Title to Mike Awesome last night in Ft. Lauderdale, FL to Mike Awesome. Immediately after the match, Steve Corino came out and challenged Awesome. Awesome and Corino had a match and Corino won the title.

*Tomoaki Honma and Kazushi Miyamoto said they want to win the recently vacated All Asia Tag Team Title.

*Makai Club President Kantaro Hoshino said the Makai Club will hold their one-year anniversary party on 8/8 in Yokohama (they debuted in an angle on 8/8/02 where two masked men beat up Masahiro Chono when he was scheduled to face Tadao Yasuda in the last day of the G1, but Yasuda had to fight Kazuyuki Fujita in the UFO Tokyo Dome disaster). Hoshino said starting with the next tour beginning on 7/4, the Makai Club will win the IWGP Tag Team Title and both the NWF and IWGP Heavyweight Titles. He said Takayama would be "executed."

*Michiyoshi Ohara said that in the next tour, the Crazy Dogs will "erase" the Makai Club. Enson Inoue told the media that he's leaving the Makai Club to Ohara now, because he wants a match with Yuji Nagata. Enson also predicted that Manabu Nakanishi would beat TOA on 6/29 in two rounds.

*Hiroshi Tanahashi, who's in California for his match with Jimmy Ambriz in the Inoki Dojo tonight, said he wants to win the G1 Climax and become the youngest ever to win the tournament. Josh Barnett will be there for the show. It's not entirely clear whether this will be a pro wrestling show or if the matches will be shoots. Toru Yano is also in a match against Justin McCully. I would assume these matches will be works, but we should have a better idea after the show.

*If you haven't seen Katsushi Takemura lately, check out that hair. He's in Santa Monica, CA for the Inoki Dojo show, too. He was supposed to have a match against Rocky Romero, but Romero's injured. Takemura has been on a long excursion in Mexico.

*There's talk that the mysterious SHOGUN (one of Hashimoto's alteregos from the ZERO-ONE*USA shows) might take Shinya Hashimoto's place since he's injured.

*Hashimoto underwent an MRI on 6/20. The results are not known yet.

G1 Climax blocks, Kawada vs. Muto on 7/13, All Asia Tag Title vacated Brandon on 6/20/2003

*New Japan announced both partial cards for their "SUMMER STRUGGLE" and the blocks for this year's G1 Climax.

Foreign talent brought in for the tour that runs from 7/4 to 7/24 includes Mike Barton, The Swifter, Curry Man. Josh Barnett will be on cards from 7/15 to the end of the tour and Scott Norton will start on 7/18.

The "G1 Special Tag" matches, featuring wrestlers from Block A vs. wrestlers from Block B in tag matches will be used again this year.

This will be the first tour for The Swifter, real name Devito Swift from Stampede Wrestling. He follows Stampede Kid (TJ Wilson) as the second wrestler to tour with New Japan from Stampede Wrestling recently.

Major shows on the tour. The New Japan website is not currently listing any of the shows as "Weekly Pro Wrestling" tapings (although 7/21 will be on PPV). I would expect at least some of these to be taped for television:

Tokyo Korakuen Hall
Airing on ESPN SXW
1. Naofumi Yamamoto vs. Masahiro Chono
2. Toru Yano, Takashi Iizuka vs. Ryusuke Taguchi, Masayuki Naruse
3. Jado vs. Gedo
4. Jushin Thunder Liger, Koji Kanemoto, Curry Man vs. Tiger Mask, Masahiro Kakihara, The Swifter
5. Shinya Makabe, Minoru Fujita vs. Two Makai wrestlers to be announced
6. Yuji Nagata, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Osamu Nishimura vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Yutaka Yoshie
7. Yoshihiro Takayama vs. Makai #1, Makai #2, Makai #4, Makai #5

Kanagawa Odawara Arena
Airing on ESPN SXW
1. Takashi Iizuka, Yuji Nagata vs. Shinya Makabe, Yoshihiro Takayama

Gifu Industry Hall
1. Shinya Makabe, Yoshihiro Takayama vs. Makai #1, Tadao Yasuda
2. Shinsuke Nakamura, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Yutaka Yoshie, Yuji Nagata vs. Makai #4, Makai #5, Ryushi Yanagisawa, Kazunari Murakami
3. IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title: Masahito Kakihara vs. Tiger Mask

Osaka Shichyoo Gymnasium (Sub Arena)
1. Shinsuke Nakamura, Yoshihiro Takayama vs. Kazunari Murakami, Tadao Yasuda
2. Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Yuji Nagata vs. Shinay Makabe, Mike Barton
3. IWGP Tag Team Title: Yutaka Yoshie, Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Makai #4, Makai #5

Sapporo Teisen Hall
1. Koji Kanemoto, Josh Barnett vs. Masayuki Naruse, Masahito Kakihara
2. Teisen Hall Heavyweight Elimination Match: Hiroshi Tanahashi, Yutaka Yoshie, Yuji Nagata, Masahiro Chono vs. Shinya Makabe, Mike Barton, Scott Norton, Yoshihiro Takayama

Sapporo Teisen Hall
1. Josh Barnett, Masahiro Chono vs. Shinya Makabe, Mike Barton
2. Teisen Hall Junior Elimination Match: Minoru Fujita, El Samurai, Koji Kanemoto, Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Ryusuke Taguchi, Masayuki Naruse, Masahito Kakihara, Tiger Mask

1. Heat vs. Jushin Thunder Liger
2. Koji Kanemoto vs. Minoru Suzuki
3. IWGP Heavyweight Title: Masahiro Chono vs. Yoshihiro Takayama

*The block for the 2003 G1 Climax are:

Block A
Masahiro Chono
Hiroyoshi Tenzan
Osamu Nishimura
Hiroshi Tanahashi
Ken Shamrock
Jun Akiyama

Block B
Yuji Nagata
Yoshihiro Takayama
Yutaka Yoshie
Shinsuke Nakamura
Tadao Yasuda
Unannounced Inoki reccomended wrestler

As always, participants will wrestle against everyone in their block. The top two wrestlers from each block will advance to the semi-finals. First place in Block A will face second place in Block B; first place in Block B will face second place in Block A. Of course the winners advance to the final to crown the G1 Climax tournament champion.

Shinsuke Nakamura was in the New Japan offices where the blocks were announced to the media. Nakamura posed with with foot on the poster because he's not pictured in it. He talked about wanting to win the G1 Climax still less than one year after his debut.

Also at that interview, Shinya Makabe was there. He complained that he was not included in any matches when the cards for the upcoming NOAH tour were announced. Makabe, who wants to challenge Kenta Kobashi and Tamon Honda for the GHC Tag Team Title with Yoshihiro Takayama demanded something be done about it.

*Both in LA, Antonio Inoki "poured" his fighting spirit into Manabu Nakanishi. Basically, they met and Antonio Inoki gave him a lot of encouragement going into his 6/29 K-1 fight against TOA.

*All Japan announced that Toshiaki Kawada and Keiji Muto will have a singles match on 7/13 in Osaka Furitsu (Prefectural) Gym to decide who will challenge Shinya Hashimoto for the Triple Crown on 7/19 in the Budokan. Kawada was interviewed, where he said he feels he's the only one who is truly representing All Japan. He also admitted that his knee is still not 100%.

It was also announced that the All Asia Tag Team Title, previously held by Arashi and Nobutaka Araya have been vacated due to Arashi winning the Unified World Tag Team Title with Keiji Muto. Masanobu Fuchi said that new champions will be crown in the upcoming tour. I imagine there will just be one match as opposed to a tournament.

Takayama's 7/4 card, Toryumon in Korakuen, Musashi's new opponent Brandon on 6/19/2003

*Yoshihiro Takayama is "booking" New Japan's tour-opening Korakuen Hall show on 7/4. The lineup was announced today. Should be an interesting show:

1. Naofumi Yamamoto vs. Masahiro Chono
2. Toru Yano, Takashi Iizuka vs. Ryusuke Taguchi, Masayuki Naruse
3. Jado vs. Gedo
4. Jushin Thunder Liger, Koji Kanemoto, Curry Man vs. Tiger Mask, Masahiro Kakihara, The Swifter
5. Shinya Makabe, Minoru Fujita vs. Two Makai wrestlers to be announced
6. Yuji Nagata, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Osamu Nishimura vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Yutaka Yoshie
7. Yoshihiro Takayama vs. Makai #1, Makai #2, Makai #4, Makai #5

*Masahiro Chono has gone to Hawaii for a preliminary visit before New Japan wrestlers including himself, Tiger Mask, Jushin Thunder Liger and Yuji Nagata go there for the opening of the HCW promotion on 7/26.

*Keiji Muto was on a radio show today doing an angle, saying he wouldn't show up if Shinya Hashimoto wasn't wrestling on 7/6 in the Sumo Hall.

*Satoshi Kojima defends the MLW Heavyweight Title against Mike Awesome tomorrow night in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

*Toryumon held their Korakuen Hall show on 6/19, building up to their anniversary show on 6/29 in Kobe World Hall. They sold-out, claiming a 2,350 fans, which is more than the Korakuen Hall is known to hold, but with Toryumon as hot as it is, it's possible.

In the semi-main event, CIMA and Don Fujii drew Genki Horiguchi and Magnum TOKYO after 13:56 when CIMA and Magnum scored pins simultaneously. Magnum pinned Fujii with the Egoist while CIMA pinned Horiguchi with the Schwein. CIMA and Magnum meet for the UDG Title in the main event of the anniversary show.

In the main event, Condotti Shuji won the British Commonwealth Junior Heavyweight Title from SUWA in a three-way over SUWA and Masaaki Mochizuki. Shuji beat SUWA after 17:13 with the Gorilla Clutch.

*Ultimo Dragon should make his WWE debut in Madison Square Garden for Smackdown taping on 6/24 and airing on 6/26.

*Kazuhiro Nakamura of Yoshida Dojo announced he would be entering the K-1 Japan Grand Prix (not to be confused with the World Grand Prix). Nakamura is known for his judo much more than for striking, so chances probably aren't good for him.

*Since Stefan Leko had to pull out due to injury, Musashi's new opponent on 6/29 for the Japan vs. Beast series is Montanya Silva from Brazil. He's being billed at 225cm (7'4"), the tallest fighter ever to compete in K-1.

Akiyama vs. Nagata II, PRIDE press conference Brandon on 6/18/2003

*In what could be a tremendous match in Osaka Furitsu (Prefectural) Gym, arguably the most heated venue for wrestling in Japan, Yuji Nagata will face Jun Akiyama in a singles match for the second time on 7/16. Akiyama said he regards this match with Nagata as a number-one contenders match for a title bout with Kenta Kobashi. He also said that if he beats Nagata he should be worthy of a match for the IWGP Heavyweight Title.

They first met in a GHC Heavyweight Title match on 1/4/02 in the main event of New Japan's Tokyo Dome show, where Nagata was defeated.

To take an educated guess, the likely reason this match is made is to balance things out, with the winner of the 7/16 match (I'd go with Nagata, setting up Kobashi vs. Nagata for the belt) then losing in a third match in the G1 Climax.

*Hidehiko Yoshida will be in the PRIDE Middleweight Grand Prix as reported below.  They announced it at a press conference and there were a lot of questions about to possibility of a Yoshida vs. Sakuraba match, since that'd be a big Japanese dream match.  Yoshida said he would have to lose about seven or eight kilos (about 15 to 18lbs) to make weight, but said he used to have to cut 10 to 12kg for judo, so it shouldn't be a problem.  Takada said there's a good chance that CroCop vs. Fedor would happen on the 8/10 show.

Sakakibara was interviewed after the press conference.  He said they plan on holding three heavyweight fights on the 8/10 aside from the GP (which I think would be a total of seven fights).  He said he's come to an agreement with Dana White and UFC will send a fighter to represent them.  When asked, he said it was DSE that came to Yoshida with the offer for him to go into the GP.

Names that were thrown around for GP participants that aren't already in were Yuki Kondo, Sanae Kikuta, Kiyoshi Tamura, Ricardo Arona, Ryan Gracie and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira.

*Leaving for the US, Hiroshi Tanahashi built up his IWGP Tag Team Title match with Yutaka Yoshie against Makai #4 and #5 which will happen on 7/9 in Osaka. He said he wants to get the match over with and beat them quickly.

*Sorry for the delay. The results are in the BOSJ 2003 pool. The winner is Till K. with 21 points, beating everyone else out by five points. His entry actually correctly predicted the Kakihara vs. Kanemoto final. To see the winning ballot, . Here are the top ten scores:

Top Ten Scores
1. Till K. - 21
2. SuperSkunk - 16
3. felix - 15
- Scout - 15
5. Brian G. - 14
- SuperSkunk16 - 14
- LdBeaumont - 14
- ekolder - 14

[PRIDE] Hidehiko Yoshida in GP Brandon on 6/18/2003

Hidehiko Yoshida, Nobuhiko Takada and Nobuyuki Sakakibara held a press conference where it was announced that Yoshida would be in the PRIDE Middleweight Grand Prix on 8/10 in Saitama Super Arena.

In a post-press conference interview, Sakakibara said he spoke with UFC President Dana White. He said they agreed that the UFC would send a fighter to represent their organization in the Grand Prix.

OH Tag Festival, "Fujinami World," Kobashi vs. Nagata? Brandon on 6/17/2003

*With Shinya Hashimoto in a wheelchair, Hashimoto and Naoya Ogawa announced the participants for the "OH Tag Festival" with starts on 7/11. The ten teams are: Naoya Ogawa & Shinya Hashimoto, Shinjiro Otani & Masato Tanaka, Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Yuki Ishikawa, Kohei Sato & Katsuhisa Fujii, Matt Ghaffari & Shivu Ghaffari, The Predator & Kevin Randleman (Real King Kong), Dos Caras Jr. & Lizmark Jr., Tom Howard & George K (US-French Special Forces), Jason The Legend & Jason The Dynamite and Steve Corino & Mr. X. The ten teams will be split up into two blocks of five teams. Hashimoto said he would wrestle in all of his matches in the tag tournament.

*Tadao Yasuda ripped on Yoshihiro Takayama, saying Takayama should defend both the IWGP and the NWF Heavyweight Titles against Masahiro Chono on 7/21 in Sapporo. He also said he and the Makai Club would eventually take Takayama's belts from him. Yasuda and Takayama will probably end up having a match for the NWF Title.

Tatsumi Fujinami told the media that he's planning on promoting his own occasional wrestling shows starting in September with the promotion being called "Fujinami World." The idea sounds something like the MUGA shows, where there's more old-style wrestling. Fujinami, who hasn't wrestled since his match with Osamu Nishimura on 1/4 in the Tokyo Dome, says he's still working on losing weight to get down to 100kg so he can be a junior heavyweight again.

*Yuji Nagata will wrestle on NOAH shows again in July. No official dates or matches have been announced. There's a very good possibility that this will lead to Nagata challenging Kenta Kobashi for the GHC Heavyweight Title down the line.

Nagata also promised he would get revenge on Katsuyori Shibata after losing by countout to him on 6/13 in the Budokan. He said he would unmask him as Makai #4 to show everyone that he really it really is Shibata under the mask.

*After Kazuhiro Hamanaka said he would like to have a match with Manabu Nakanishi, New Japan's PR Director Fumihiko Uei said that he could not comment on the matter, since a formal offer has not been made.

Major matches for next New Japan tour, Hashimoto update, Hamanaka vs. Nakanishi?, Kashin in WJ Brandon on 6/16/2003

*On 7/6 in Gifu Industrial Hall: Masahito Kakihara vs. Tiger Mask for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title.
On 7/9 in Osaka Central Gym: Yutaka Yoshie and Hiroshi Tanahashi defend the IWGP Tag Team Title against Makai #4 and Makai #5.
On 7/21 for the biggest show of the tour in Hokkaido Tsukisamu Green Dome: Masahiro Chono vs. Yoshihiro Takayama for the IWGP Heavyweight Title, Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Heat and Koji Kanemoto vs. Minoru Suzuki.

*Shinya Hashimoto was at the farewell service for Shinjiro Otani's mother Keiko, who passed away recently. Hashimoto said he was in a lot of pain, but promised he would wrestle on 7/6 in the Sumo Hall.

*Kazuhiro Hamanaka, who defeated Nino Schembri on 6/8 at PRIDE 26 said that he would like to have a fight with Manabu Nakanishi.

*Kendo Kashin will be wrestling on WJ's 7/5 show in Aomori Budokan Hall. He will be in the main event, tagging with Riki Choshu against Tomohiro Ishii and Shiro Koshinaka.

*WWE announced they will be doing a show in Yokohama Arena on 7/17.

Hashimoto injured, Takayama tears up poster Brandon on 6/15/2003

*Shinya Hashimoto suffered a knee injury at ZERO-ONE's special "Fantastic Fukushima" show on 6/14 as Hashimoto was tagging with Yoshiaki Fujiwara and Jun Kasai to beat Kohei Sato, Ikuto Hidaka and Hirotaka Yokoi. It's not expected that there is a tear, however, there haven't been reports from a doctor yet. Hashimoto was said to be at his home in Tokyo resting on 6/15. He's currently planning on wrestling through the injury on ZERO-ONE's next tour, "01 STORM," which starts on 6/27 in Korakuen Hall.

Also, on ZERO-ONE's last show before the 7/6 Sumo Hall show, on 7/4 in Niigata Gym, Keiji Muto, Arashi and Nobutaka Araya will be wrestling. They will be in the main event in a six-man tag going against Hashimoto, Kohei Sato and Hirotaka Yokoi. Also on that show, Steve Corino will defend his ZERO-ONE US Heavyweight Title against The Predator. Taichi Ishikari, from All Japan will also wrestle Shinsuke Z Yamagaza on the 6/27 Korakuen opener.

Foreign talent booked on the next tour include regulars Steve Corino, The Predator, CW Anderson, King Adamo, Tom Howard, Matt Ghaffari, and also King Adaba, Michael Shane (who has a singles match with Shinjiro Otani on 7/3 in Fukui Gym) and Paul London. Naoya Ogawa wrestles on 6/29 in Shimonoseki, 6/30 in Sasebo and 7/4 in Niigata and of course on 7/6 in the Tokyo Sumo Hall.

*Yoshihiro Takayama did an angle on 6/15. After seeing the poster for the opening G1 Climax show in Kobe on 8/10, noticing that his face wasn't on it, he tore the poster up. Takayama said he wants to be treated like a champion. Public Relations Director Fumihiko Uei publicly apologized and said there would be a new poster with Takayama on it. Saying New Japan isn't treated him right, Takayama was talking about not showing up for the G1 Climax, but you can be pretty sure that's just talk.

OH Gun vs. MK Gun, post-match events of Hashimoto-Kojima, WJ tour opens, GAEA in Korakuen Brandon on 6/14/2003

*ZERO-ONE announced five matches for their 7/6 Tokyo Sumo Hall show. The main event of the show will be the "MK Gun" team of Keiji Muto and Toshiaki Kawada vs. "OH Gun" Naoya Ogawa and Shinya Hashimoto. The match will be Kawada's first in ZERO-ONE and his first match outside of All Japan since New Japan's Tokyo Dome show on 1/4/01.

Kojima will be facing Takaiwa in what could be a very good match and the first NWA Super Heavyweight Champion will also be crowned.

The NWA Intercontinental Tag Team Title will be defended by whoever wins the match on 6/27 in Korakuen Hall between champions Steve Corino & CW Anderson and Tetsuhiro Kuroda and Kintaro Kanemura. The winners of that match will face Kohei Sato and Hirotaka Yokoi on 7/6.

The card is planned to have eight or nine matches total.

1. King Adamo vs. Kazuhiko Ogasawara
2. NWA Intercontinental Tag Team Title: Kohei Sato, Hirotaka Yokoi vs. Winners of Corino/Anderson-Kanemura/Kuroda on 6/27
3. NWA Super Heavyweight Title / Four-Way Battle Royal: Matt Ghaffari vs. The Predator vs. Arashi vs. King Dabada
4. Tatsuhito Takaiwa vs. Satoshi Kojima
5. Keiji Muto, Toshiaki Kawada vs. Shinya Hashimoto, Naoya Ogawa

*WJ failed to sell-out the Tokyo Differ Ariake on 6/14, drawing an announced 1,120 fans in a building that holds 1,800 for the opening show of their "PROLOUGE" tour. Genichiro Tenryu was scheduled to be on the show, broke his nose in his match with Masayuki Kono on 6/13 in Nagoya in his last match for All Japan. Kono himself took his place in Tenryu's scheduled tag match with Yoji Anjo losing to Koichi Kimura and Kenzo Suzuki when Suzuki pinned Kono.

The semi-main event saw Takao Omori beat Vader by disqualification after 6:06 when Vader attacked the referee. The big story comes out of the main event, where Kensuke Sasaki and Big Vito beat Riki Choshu and Shiro Koshinaka after 11:20 when Sasaki pinned Koshinaka after a lariat, buidling towards the Sasaki-Choshu tournament match on 7/20.

Vader talked to the media earlier in the day to answer questions about his match with Don Frye on 7/20. Vader said he's practicing punching and armbarring techniques. He said he has a lot of respect for Frye and that he will have to be in his best condition to win.

*GAEA drew 1,900 fans for their Tokyo Korakuen Hall show on 6/14. The show featured a series of the three matches between the older wrestlers formerly from Zenjo and GAEA's younger generation. The "Former Zen" army swept, winning all three matches. Devil Masami defeated Carlos Amano in 11:03, Lioness Asuka defeated Chikayo Nagashima in 14:59 after the LSD and Aja Kong defeated Meiko Satomura in 12:55 after backfist.

After Satomura lost in the main event, she declared that Chigusa Nagayo is also their enemies also. Nagoya, Dynamite Kansai and Toshiyo Yamada joined the Zenjo-ism group. Nagayo told Satomura if she wanted it that way fine, but to be prepared.

*Manabu Nakanishi, who goes back to the LA Dojo on 6/15, said that he hasn't planned on anything that will happen after his 6/29 K-1 fight against TOA. So he's unsure whether or not he'll be in the G1 Climax, which begins on 8/10.

*After Shinya Hashimoto beat Satoshi Kojima yesterday to retain the Triple Crown in Nagoya, Hashimoto took the microphone and asked who his next challenger from All Japan would be, "All Japan, who's next? Come out!" Toshiaki Kawada and Keiji Muto then both came to the ring. Muto said, "Champion, your next title match will be against me!" Hashimoto then asked Kawada if Muto would be the next challenger. Kawada wouldn't respond.

To end the show, Hashimoto praised Kojima, but then had words about his next opponent, "Kojima, you were strong. You fought and fought and pierced through my flesh and bones... Gochisou-san [Mr. Entertainment (Muto)], next time, whether it's Kawada or Muto -- it will not matter. Whoever this company finally decides on, I will kick their ass. I will be ready and I will win."

*WEW will hold a "special show" on 7/7 in Korakuen Hall since they're trying to continue with the promotion after Hiromichi Fuyuki's passing. Kintaro Kanemura and Mr. Gannosuke will be on the show and they say they're talking to Genichiro Tenryu. The promotion as the Korakuen Hall booked up through December with shows happening on 7/7, 8/25, 9/22 and 12/5.

[Michinoku Pro] Sasuke resigns as president; Shinzaki to take over Brandon on 6/14/2003

At a press conference on 6/14, it was announced that Great Sasuke has stepped down as president of the promotion he founded ten years ago, Michinoku Pro. Sasuke said he has resigned so he can concentrate on his duties as an assemblyman in Iwate prefecture.

Taking over as president of the promotion with be long-time wrestler for the promotion, Jinsei Shinzaki. Now the new president of Michinoku Pro, Shinzaki said, "I want to do things that do not just involve pro wrestling, but the entire society while keeping our connection with the people of the [northeastern] area."

[Content] Tales From the Eastside Brandon on 6/13/2003
Tales From the Eastside:
This seemed pretty average when I watched it live, but looking back it wasn't a bad hour of TV at all. The Sal Rinauro stuff, as usual, was hilariously great, and Kool/J & Cutting Edge/Lost Boys/Future Shock were fine for TV matches. Can't forget the Boogalou Crew angle, bringing back one of the more popular tag teams in Wildside history to improve what was looking like a pretty dreary angle.

[New Japan] 6/13 Budokan results Brandon on 6/13/2003

Tokyo Nippon Budokan Hall
Announced Drawing 8,500

-Before the show, Hisashi Shinma announced that he would also be involved in the "Jungle Fight" show in Brazil. He announced the show would take place on 9/14 and that Inoki's younger brother (who lives in Brazil) would also help in promoting. Shinma said that the show will be broadcast on satellite TV in Brazil.

1. Masahito Kakihara, Ryusuke Taguchi, Stampede Kid, AKIRA defeated Gedo, Minoru Fujita, Jado, El Samurai in 12:29 when Kakihara pinned Gedo with the Kaki Cutter.
-Kakihara later said that he wants to have pro wrestling matches with Kiyoshi Tamura and Kazushi Sakuraba.

2. Jushin Thunder Liger, Koji Kanemoto defeated Jushin Thunder Ebeiger (Ebessan), Takashi Sugiura in 11:15 when Liger pinned Ebeiger after a brainbuster.
Match Photo 1
-Ebessan came out dressed as Liger; Sugiura was dressed as Ebessan.

3. Scott Norton defeated Blue Wolf in 3:45 after a powerbomb.

4. Minoru Suzuki defeated Masayuki Naruse in 6:58 with a sleeperhold.
Match Photo 1, Match Photo 2, Match Photo 3
-Naruse did a stretcher job.
-After the match, Kanemoto and Suzuki had an in-ring confronation.
-In the back, Kantaro Hoshino handed Naruse a Makai Club mask. Naruse took it and walked away from reporters.

5. Enson Inoue defeated Tadao Yasuda in 1:44 with a guillotine choke.
Match Photo 1

6. Katsuyori Shibata defeated Yuji Nagata in 7:41 by countout.
Match Photo 1

7. Manabu Nakanishi defeated Mitsuya Nagai in 1:51 with a cross armbar.
Match Photo 1

8. IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title: Tiger Mask defeated Takehiro Murahama in 15:37 with a tiger suplex hold.
Match Photo 1, Match Photo 2
-Tiger Mask's first defense.

9. IWGP Tag Team Title: Yutaka Yoshie, Hiroshi Tanahashi defeated Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Masahiro Chono in 26:08 when Yoshie pinned Tenzan with a diving bodypress.
Match Photo 1, Match Photo 2, Match Photo 3
-Yoshie and Tanahashi become new champions.

10. NWF Heavyweight Title: Yoshihiro Takayama defeated Shinsuke Nakamura in 11:49 with a German suplex hold.
Match Photo 1, Match Photo 2, Match Photo 3, Match Photo 4, Match Photo 5
-Takayama's fourth defense.
-Tadao Yasuda and Hoshino ran-in after the match and attacked Takayama, challenging him. But Shinya Makabe, Scott Norton, Perry Saturn, Rick Steiner and Dan Devine got in the ring to make the save. Takayama yelled "No Fear!" with everyone and they posed together.

[All Japan] 6/13 Nagoya results Brandon on 6/13/2003

Nagoya Aichi Gymnasium
Announced Drawing 6,800

1. Masanobu Fuchi defeated Taichi Ishikari in 8:22 with a keylock.

2. Ryuji Hijikata, Gran Hamada defeated Kazushi Miyamoto, Spriggin in 10:15 when Hijikata pinned Spriggin with a fisherman buster.

3. Genichiro Tenryu defeated Masayuki Kono in 7:35 with a brainbuster.

4. Kendo Kashin, Giant Kimala defeated Nobukazu Hirai, Tomohiko Hashimoto in 10:22 when Kimala pinned Hashimoto with a bodypress.

5. The Gladiator, Gigantes, Jimmy Yang defeated Keiji Muto, Arashi, Tomoaki Honma in 16:32 when Gladiator pinned Honma after a choke slam.

6. Nobutaka Araya, Shigeo Okumura, Toshiaki Kawada defeated Shinjiro Otani, Masato Tanaka, Hideki Hosaka in 17:24 when Kawada pinned Hosaka with a powerbomb.

7. Triple Crown: Shinya Hashimoto defeated Satoshi Kojima in 21:54 with a brainbuster DDT.
-Hashimoto's second defense.

Frye vs. Vader, Murakami injured, Kojima naps, Tanahashi vs. Ambriz Brandon on 6/12/2003

*It was announced that Don Frye will face Vader on 7/20 at WJ's Sumo Hall show, which also includes their one-night eight-man tournament. This will be Frye's first pro wrestling match since the WJ debut show on 3/1. The gimmick is that both Frye (in UFC and PRIDE) and Vader (in UWFi) will know mixed martial arts. It's being billed as a special match to determine WJ's top foreign wrestler.

*Hiroshi Tanahashi held a press conference in the New Japan offices to say that he would be leaving to go to the LA Dojo on 6/18. Tanahashi will be wrestling on the Inoki Dojo show entitled "TOUKON" being held in Santa Monica on 6/21. His opponent will be Jimmy Ambriz, who lost to Josh Barnett in a vale tudo match on 5/2 in the Tokyo Dome. Tanahashi said at the press conference that he wants to "follow Inoki." But before he leaves, Tanahashi may get the biggest win of his career in 6/13 in the Budokan where he could pin Masahiro Chono to win the IWGP Tag Team Title for himself and Yutaka Yoshie.

*Kazunari Murakami injured his elbow in his 6/10 match with Enson Inoue in Osaka. He's out of his 6/13 match with Manabu Nakanishi and Mitsuya Nagai will take his place. The injury isn't very serious, as Murakami is expected to be able to wrestle again in three weeks.

*Minoru Suzuki (who faces Masayuki Naruse on 6/13 in the Budokan) told the media that he wants to win Yoshihiro Takayama's NWF Heavyweight Title. He also said he wants to be in the G1 Climax. There is currently one spot open for the G1, which is supposedly to be decided by Antonio Inoki. And very soon, there may be another spot open when they realize Ken Shamrock has a torn ACL.

*The day before his title match against Takayama for the NWF Heavyweight Title, Shinsuke Nakamura was very confident, saying he wants to finish off Takayama early in the match.

*Manabu Nakanishi will return to the LA Dojo, leaving Japan on 6/15 to continue to train for his 6/29 K-1 fight with TOA. He will comeback to Japan on 6/24.

There is 3 crown game the next day and Kojima is the nap of a margin.
*Building up to his title match against Shinya Hashimoto on 6/13, Satoshi Kojima did an angle, taking a nap in a park, saying he was resting up for the match.

*Hashimoto said that after he beats Kojima, he would be prefer to face Toshiaki Kawada rather than Keiji Muto on 7/19 in the Budokan.

*Kenta Kobashi said he would be open to the idea of Shinya Makabe coming to NOAH to team with Yoshihiro Takayama to face him and Tamon Honda for the GHC Tag Team Title.

*WWE is opening a shop in Odaiba, Tokyo on 6/14.

Kakihara wins BOSJ, "Jungle Fight", All Japan 6/13 card, Hara to serve jail time Brandon on 6/11/2003

*New Japan drew an announced 4,500 in Kyoto City Gymnasium (which holds about 6,000) for their show on 6/11 with the Best of the Super Junior semi-finals and final. In the semi-finals, Masahito Kakihara beat AKIRA in 8:28 with a necklock, then Koji Kanemoto beat Takashi Sugiura in 12:48 with an ankle hold. And in the final Kakihara won in a big surprise, beating Kanemoto in 15:33 with the Kaki Cutter. Kakihara said after the match he wants to challenge Tiger Mask for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title. The show will end up airing on ESPN SXW.

*Antonio Inoki is talking about promoting a mixed martial arts show in September in Brazil. The tentative name for the show is "Jungle Fight." Inoki suggested that the Nogueira brothers could fight on the show.

Hashimoto which visits a chop to Kojima (left)
*Building towards the Triple Crown match between Satoshi Kojima and Shinya Hashimoto in Nagoya on Friday night, Hashimoto wrestled on All Japan's 6/11 show in Nagano Matsumoto Sogo Gymnasium. With fellow ZERO-ONE wrestlers Hirotaka Yokoi and Kohei Sato, they beat Kojima, Nobutaka Araya and Shigeo Okumura in 21:24 when Hashimoto pinned Okumura. However, earlier in the match, Kojima hit Hashimoto with the lariat outside the ring, leaving Hashimoto on the floor for several minutes. In the semi-main event of the show, Toshiaki Kawada beat Arashi.

*All Japan's Arashi is official in the "Over 300" tournament to crown the first ever NWA Super Heavyweight Champion on 7/6 at ZERO-ONE's Sumo Hall show.

*All Japan has announced the full card for their tour-ending show on 6/13 in Nagoya Aichi Gym. The biggest new match announced is Kawada, Okumura and Araya going against Hosaka, Tanaka and Otani. I'm pretty sure this will be the first time Kawada and Otani have ever been in the ring together:
1. Taichi Ishikari vs. Masanobu Fuchi
2. Ryuji Hijikata, Gran Hamada vs. Kazushi Miyamoto, Spriggan
3. Masayuki Kono vs. Genichiro Tenryu
4. Giant Kimala, Kendo Kashin vs. Nobukazu Hirai, Tomohiko Hashimoto
5. Arashi, Tomoaki Honma, Keiji Muto vs. The Gladiator, Gigantes, Jimmy Yang
6. Nobutaka Araya, Shigeo Okumura, Toshiaki Kawada vs. Hideki Hosaka, Masato Tanaka, Shinjiro Otani
7. Triple Crown: Satoshi Kojima vs. Shinya Hashimoto

*Hitomi Hara, the former Samurai TV employee who stabbed Hiroshi Tanahashi twice in the back with a kitchen knife on 11/28/02 was given a three-year jail sentence for attempted murder. Tanahashi actually commented on the matter saying that he hopes her friends and family give the support she needs.

*After the show on Kyoto, Masahiro Chono suggested Yoshihiro Takayama's next defense of the IWGP Heavyweight Title would be on 7/21 in Hokkaido Tsukisamu Green Dome, which is a show that's supposed to be on PPV. There's a good chance Takayama's challenger for that show could be Chono, especially considering that would be a place for Takayama to get the job back from the G1 Climax final last year.

[New Japan] 6/10 Osaka Furitsu Gym results Brandon on 6/10/2003

Osaka Furitsu (Prefectural) Gymnasium
Announced Drawing 6,200 (sell-out)

1. Ebessan, Masayuki Naruse, Masahito Kakihara, AKIRA defeated El Samurai, Minoru Fujita, Jado, Gedo in 11:14 when Ebessan pinned El Samurai after a jumping Ebezard.

2. Takashi Iizuka, Tatsutoshi Goto, Hiro Saito defeated Dan Devine, Perry Saturn, Shinya Makabe in 8:54 when Iizuka submitted Devine with a sleeperhold.

3. Takashi Sugiura, Stampede Kid defeated Ryusuke Taguchi, Tiger Mask in 8:43 when Sugiura pinned Taguchi after the Olympic slam.

4. Osamu Nishimura defeated Tadao Yasuda in 4:12 with a ground abdominal stretch.

5. Enson Inoue defeated Kazunari Murakami in 3:06 by referee stop with a front sleeper.

6. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Yutaka Yoshie defeated Rick Steiner, Scott Norton in 14:35 when Tanahashi pinned Steiner with a front cradle.

7. Shinsuke Nakamura, Yuji Nagata defeated Blue Wolf, Manabu Nakanishi in 12:37 when Nakamura beat Wolf by referee stop with a front necklock.

-The participants for the 2003 G1 Climax were announced: Shinsuke Nakamura, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Yutaka Yoshie, Osamu Nishimura, Tadao Yasuda, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Yuji Nagata, Yoshihiro Takayama, Masahiro Chono, Jun Akiyama, and Ken Shamrock and a mystery X participant will represent Inoki Dojo. I know Shamrock was originally planned to be in the G1, but I don't know how that's going to go on since he tore his ACL in training for his UFC 43 fight. Blocks should be announced later.

8. IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Title: Jushin Thunder Liger, Koji Kanemoto defeated Kotaro Suzuki, Naomichi Marufuji in 20:06 when Kanemoto submitted Suzuki with an ankle hold.
-Liger and Kanemoto's third defense.

9. IWGP Heavyweight Title: Yoshihiro Takayama defeated Hiroyoshi Tenzan in 20:00 with a German suplex hold.
-Takayama's first defense.

Fedor vs. CroCop coming up?, Nakanishi back in Japan Brandon on 6/8/2003

*DSE President Nobuyuki Sakakibara addressed the media after the PRIDE 26 show was over. He said he wants to have Emelianenko Fedor vs. Mirko CroCop at the 8/10 Grand Prix show. He said he would talk to Fedor and CroCop about making the match.

*Manabu Nakanishi came back to Japan on 6/8 after training in the LA Dojo where he had been training in stand-up with Josh Barnett. He'll face the very mysterious TOA on 6/29 at K-1's 6/29 show.

[PRIDE] PRIDE 26 "REBORN" / "Bad to the Bone" results Brandon on 6/8/2003

Yokohama Arena
Announced Drawing 17,187 (sell-out)

1. Kazuhiro Hamanaka (89kg /196lbs) defeated Nino "Elvis" Schembri (86kg / 190lbs) in 5:00 of 3R by unanimous decision (3-0).
Match Photo 1, Schembri post-fight
-Hamanaka came out wearing a Sakuraba mask.
-1R: Schembri goes down and into the butt scoot. Hamanaka gets on top of him in Schembri's closed guard. Schembri attempts an uma plata. Schembri almost gets it, but Hamanaka escapes and gets back to his feet. Schembri gets a jumping guard, pulling Hamanaka down, putting himself on his back. Schembri continues to look for a submission. The referee stands them up. Schembri lands a knee to the head that draws blood from the nose. Schembri pulls guard again. Hamanaka pulls out of another uma plata, resulting in both going to their feet. They exchange some small strikes. Schembri gets Hamanaka up against the ropes to land some punches, before taking it to the ground into Schembri's closed guard. Schembri goes for the uma plata again, but Hamanaka quickly gets out and to his feet. Schembri tries to pull guard, but Hamanaka throws him down. Schembri tries to pull guard again and does. Schembri goes for a chickenwing, but Hamanaka gets out, but not before Schembri lands some good punches. Schembri is in butt scoot and they're stood up. Both are bleeding from the nose. Not much happens standing before the round ends.
-2R: Schembri gets Hamanaka down again by pulling guard. Hamanaka lands some punches to Schembri's face. Hamanaka continues to pull up and drop punches from Schembri's guard. Schembri is bleeding quite a bit. The rounds ends.
-3R: Hamanaka lands some good shots to the face in stand-up. Schembri gets guard again with Hamanaka pounding Schembri. The referee gave Hamanaka a yellow card, possibly for inactivity, but he looked pretty active. Hamanaka continues to land punches to both the head and body. Schembri is bleeding badly now from the nose. Hamanaka stands up and waits for Schembri to get up. Hamanaka lands a good series of punches before the fight ends and will go to a decision.
-Hamanaka wins the fight by unanimous decision.

2. Daiju Takase (84kg / 185lbs) defeated Anderson Silva (85kg / 187lbs) in 8:33 of 1R by submission (triangle choke).
Match Photo 1
-Takase came out in an unusual robe.
-1R: Takase shoots, but Silva stops him. After two attempts, Takase gets the takedown and is in Silva's half guard. Silva gets guard, using the triangle guard. Takase hits a Mongolian chop. They exchange some punches from the guard. Takase has a problem with glove that the referee has to fix for him. Takase passes guard into half guard. Silva gets a crucifix in the half guard, but lets it go. Takase goes for a kimura, gets out of half guard and gets it in tight. He turns it into a reverse armbar, but Silva escapes. Takase has side mount. He almost gets a reverse triangle. The fight is paused again for Takase's glove. Takase lands a few punches. Takase tries for a neck crank, Silva prevents it. Takase applies a triangle choke. Silva taps out. A huge upset.
-They shake hands after the fight. Takase said, "It took me a very long time to get here," and thanked everyone for their support. Takase stumbled over his words at one point and his corner, including Hidehiko Yoshida laughed at him.

3. Alistair Overeem (94kg / 207lbs) defeated Mike Bencic (102kg / 225lbs) in 3:44 of 1R by submission (strikes/injury).
Match Photo 1
-Bencic comes out in a Batman mask and cape. CroCop, who is fighting tonight, is in Bencic's corner.
-Overeem comes out in an orange ski mask.
-1R: Overeem gets Bencic down in the corner. Bencic gets guard. Bencic goes for a triangle, but Overeem evades it and gets half guard, but Bencic gets full guard again. Overeem throws some punches to the head, while Bencic ties to defend. Overeem gets side mount position. They return to their feet. In a weird moment, Overeem lands a left, hits a jumping knee and takes him down. There was a weird moment where the fight seemed to have been paused, but wasn't as Bencic appeared to be in great pain. Becic taps out due to an apparent injury. Possibly to the ribs.

4. Quinton "Rampage" Jackson defeated Mikhail Illoukhine in 6:26 of 1R by submission (knee to the body).
Match Photo 1
-Jackson came out, howling as usual and shaking hands with the fans.
-Jackson gave the referee a yellow card, playing up on his unhappiness about being given a yellow card in his fight with Randleman at last PRIDE.
-1R: Jackson tries to slam Illoukhine, but Illoukhine twists out of it. Illoukhine gets a guillotine, going for a guard, loses the guillotine and gets guard. Illoukhine goes for a kimura, but Jackson gets his leg in to block it. Jackson can't do much but punch with his other hand while Illoukhine tries to crank it. Illoukhine almost got it out from his knee, but Jackson pulls it back in. Jackson rolls out for an amazing escape, nails Illoukhine with a knee and right and almost knocks Illoukhine out of the ring. More strikes from Jackson. Down into Illoukhine's guard. Jackson gets up, wanting Illoukhine standing. Illoukhine gets a hold of a leg and they go down into Illoukhine's guard. Illoukhine goes for a kimura and a triangle, but loses both, letting Jackson get side mount. Jackson goes for big knees, but they don't land fully. Jackson hits one big knee to the body. Illoukhine taps out.
-Jackson wants the microphone, but no one will give it him.

-Nobuhiko Takada gave a speech, saying PRIDE would live forever, playing up on the "REBORN" subtitle being used in Japan. Vanderlei Silva is in the ring and this quickly turned into something that looked a lot like the opening of WWF Raw in 1999. Takada asks Vanderlei if he'll fight in the Grand Prix. Silva says he will. Takada says, "You are real man." Quinton Jackson gets up on the apron. Takada says Jackson can fight in the GP and fight Silva if he wants. Jackson agrees. Takada says to Jackson, "You're a man, too." Renzo Gracie then gets the microphone and asks, "How can we have a Grand Prix without a Gracie?" Takada asks Renzo if he wants to be in the GP. Renzo says the Gracies will send someone to be the GP. Takada says the Gracies are real men. Then Takada said that there was one person everyone was forgetting: Sakuraba. Sakuraba then came out with his mask on. He apologizes for losing his recent fights and says he'll fight in the GP. Takada asks him if his health is okay. Sakuraba says it is. Takada says that Sakuraba is a real man also and that the Grand Prix will happen on 8/10.

5. Mark Coleman defeated Don Frye in 5:00 of 3R by decision (3-0).
-Frank Shamrock is in Frye's corner.
Match Photo 1
-They have a big staredown.
-1R: Coleman hits a left and shoots, but Frye spralls. Frye with two knees to Coleman's body with a very tight guillotine. It looks like it could end the fight, but Frye lets go. Frye gets another guillotine, but lets go again. They go into an over-under clinch. Strikes to the body are exchanged. Coleman looks tired. Frye pushes Coleman into the corner. The referee breaks them up. Coleman with a left to the head. He gets a double-leg takedown into Frye's guard. Some good shots to Frye's body. Coleman continues, landing shots to both the head and body. The referee moves them away from the ropes. Coleman gets side mount, almost mount. They get into a weird tangled position before getting into Frye' guard again. More small strikes to the body and face by Coleman for the rest of an unexciting round won by Coleman.
-2R: Coleman shoots and gets himself in Frye's guillotine again. Coleman takes a single-leg and gets in side mount. Coleman hits a knee to the head and one to the body. Coleman gets a north-south position. The referee brings them back to the center of the ring. Coleman goes back to side mount. Frye covers Coleman's nose and mouth with his hand. Coleman gets north-south again and lands a series of light knees. More knees, not very hard, but they're hurting Frye. The round ends. Frye took a good beating, taking about 20 knees, but gets up without a problem. Frye will probably have to finish the fight in he third round to win.
-3R: Coleman goes for the takedown, but Frye gets the guillotine again, but they go down into Frye's guard. Coleman gets mount. Coleman lands some punches, nothing huge yet, but enough to cut Frye. Coleman puts his weight on Frye's face, doing a neck crank, but it doesn't appear to be effective. Left and rights by Coleman. Frye rolls and almost gives him his back. More punches by Coleman. The bell rings and will go to a decision. The fight was dominated by Coleman. It wasn't very exciting and both look very tired.
-The judges give the fight to Coleman by unanimous decision.
-Frye may have a rib injury, as he's holding his abdomin.
-Coleman got the microphone and said, "I'm sorry this wasn't one of my more exciting fights. But it's been a long time. I've had a lot of injuries. I told you I'd come back. I'm halfway back... I promose to become the dominate fight I once was... Don Frye is a true champion. He's one tough man and I'm very happy to get the win." Frye turned around and acknowldeged him. "I gonna work hard and I'm gonna get that f***ing belt back! I know it's gonna take a lot of work, but I promise I'm gonna do it!"

6. Mirko "CroCop" Filipovic (104kg / 229lbs) defeated Heath Herring (108kg / 238lbs) in 3:17 of 1R by TKO (middle kick / punches).
Match Photo 1
-Herring gets a big pop coming out. Herring and his cornermen have to push their way through the crowd like in old All Japan main events.
-1R: Herring comes after him with punches. CroCop throws him down twice, leaving Herring to get up both times. CroCop goes for a high kick, but it's block. Herring goes for high kick, also blocked. They go down. CroCop lands some knees from the north-south position. Herring escapes and gets to his feet. Herring goes for a double-leg takedown, but isn't successful. Big middle kick by CroCop as Herring goes for a low kick. Herring goes down. CroCop gets on him with about 10 unanswered punches. The referee stops the fight.
-CroCop remains undefeated in mixed martial arts competition.
-CroCop said on the microphone that he his big dream is to become the champion in both PRIDE and K-1.

-Antonio Inoki made his entrance. The crowd mobs him. Security really has to shove the crowd out of the way. "Genki desu ka!? Fujita, get out here!" Fujita then made his entrance.

7. Emelianenko Fedor (107kg / 236lbs) defeated Kazuyuki Fujita (116kg / 266lbs) in 4:17 of 1R by submission (rear naked choke).
Match Photo 1, Match Photo 2, Match Photo 3
-Kendo Kashin is in Fujita's corner.
-1R: One-two combination by Fedor. Fujita punches back. Fedor goes for the takedown, but can't get it and they separate. They touch gloves. Big right by Fedor and pushes him down. Kick to Fujita's head. Fujita goes for a single-leg. Fedor stands back. Big left by Fujita and they're back on their feet. Those two exchanges happened very fast. Big right by Fujita, stunning Fedor. They tie up. He puts Fedor on the ground. Fedor gets guard. Fedor is cut over the left eye from that right punch. They return to their feet. Fujita goes for the takedown, but doesn't get it. Right by Fedor. Left by Fedor. Fedor gets Fujita's back. Rear naked choke applied by Fedor. Fujita taps out. Very exciting fight.
-This is the first time that Kazuyuki Fujita has ever been submitted or knocked out in MMA.
-Inoki got the microphone again and did one of his usual clever speeches. He says, "Wearing a suit will not produce dreams," probably referring to the Japanese economy and businessmen. "I'm going after mixed martial arts dreams. Fighters produce dreams." Then he said, "Today is the beginning of the new PRIDE. I would like to start this new PRIDE with courage." And everyone did "ichi, ni, san, da!"
-The show ends around 9:45pm Japan time, so the PPV ran about three hours, 45 minutes, which I think is shorter than the usual. I think I remember some of those shows like the Dynamite! stadium show went something like five hours.

[New Japan] BOSJ regular tournament finishes; Sugiura vs. Kanemoto, Kakihara vs. AKIRA on 6/11 Brandon on 6/8/2003

New Japan finished up the regular tournament matches of the Best of the Super Junior tournament on 6/8 in Tottori, drawing 3,100 fans.

In Block B, Koji Kanemoto beat Masayuki Naruse in 10:56 with an ankle hold. Then in the other Block B match, Masahito Kakihara defeated Tiger Mask in 10:31, pinning him with the Kaki Cutter. So now, Kanemoto and Kakihara will advance to the semi-finals. Kanemoto wins the block, with Kakihara taking second place.

In the Block A match, AKIRA beat Jushin Thunder Liger in 16:04 with the Masasabi press. AKIRA finishes with 10 points and wins Block A; Takashi Sugiura ends up in second place.

So on 6/11 in Kyoto, it will be Koji Kanemoto (#1 in Block B) vs. Takashi Sugiura (#2 in Block A) and Masahito Kakihara (#2 in Block B) vs. AKIRA (#1 in Block A). The winners of those two matches meet at the end of the night in the final.

Final standings:

Block A
1. AKIRA - 10pts*
2. Takashi Sugiura - 8pts*
3. Jushin Thunder Liger - 8pts
4. Minoru Fujita - 8pts
5. Ebessan - 4pts
6. Gedo - 4pts
7. Ryusuke Taguchi - 0pts

Block B
1. Koji Kanemoto - 8pts*
2. Masahito Kakihara - 8pts*
3. Tiger Mask - 8pts
4. Masayuki Naruse - 6pts
5. Stampede Kid - 4pts
6. El Samurai - 4pts
7. Jado - 4pts

[All Japan] 6/8 Yokohama results Brandon on 6/8/2003

Yokohama Bunka Gymnasium
Announced Drawing 4,500

1. Tomoaki Honma defeated Masayuki Kono in 8:01 with a Boston crab.

2. Gran Hamada defeated Spriggan in 6:23 with the Hama Cutter.

3. Genichiro Tenryu defeated Taichi Ishikari in 4:33 after a lariat.
-Atsushi Onita was there with Tenryu.

4. Shigeo Okumura, Ryuji Hijikata defeated Kazushi Miyamoto, Tomohiko Hashimoto in 8:22 when Okumura pinned Hashimoto after a brainbuster.

5. World Tag Team Title Tournament - First Round: Keiji Muto, Arashi defeated The Gladiator, Gigantes in 20:17 when Muto pinned Gladiator after a frankensteiner.

6. World Tag Team Title Tournament - First Round: Satoshi Kojima, Jimmy Yang defeated Masanobu Fuchi, Toshiaki Kawada in 21:45 when Yang pinned Fuchi with an inside cradle.

7. Giant Kimala, Kendo Kashi defeated Nobutaka Araya, Nobukazu Hirai in 12:23 when Kashin pinned Hirai after Kimala hit a body press.

8. World Tag Team Title Tournament - Finals: Arashi, Keiji Muto defeated Jimmy Yang, Satoshi Kojima in 24:49 when Arashi pinned Yang with a frog splash.
-Muto and Arashi become the 48th World Tag Team Champions.
-Muto said that since he beat Kawada by TKO (towel was thrown in) in Sendai, he should be the one that faces the winner of the Kojima-Hashimoto match, which will happen on 6/13.

PRIDE to establish "lightweight" division; New Japan wrestlers to fight in Pancrase Brandon on 6/7/2003

*DSE President Nobuyuki Sakakibara has said that PRIDE plans to start a lightweight division in October. Presumably, the lightweight division would be the equivilant to UFC's middleweight division (170 to 184.9 pounds, though their actual numbers may be different). PRIDE's show in October will be in the Tokyo Dome and will feature the finals of the Middleweight GP and will not apparently feature the crowning of the first PRIDE Lightweight Champion.

*At the rules meeting on 6/6, referee and rules director Yuji Shimada announced that fighters would now be allowed to put tape on their fists in PRIDE.

*As always, you can follow the PRIDE show late tonight/early tomorrow here with live detailed round-by-round results. The show starts at 5:00AM (US East Coast), 4:00AM (US Central), 2:00AM (US West Coast) and 10:00AM (GMT).

*Pancrase announced that their 10th anniversary show on 8/31 in Nippon Budokan would include fights involving New Japan wrestlers. Shinsuke Nakamura, Manabu Nakanishi and Blue Wolf are expected to fight on the show in shoot fights. This is part of a talent exchange, as Pancrase fighters will then go on and do vale tudo fights at New Japan's 10/13 Tokyo Dome show, which will be called "ULTIMATE CRUSH 2."

*Yuji Nagata said that since Jun Akiyama wants to be in the G1 Climax, he wants to have a "test" match with Akiyama, after which, he would determine whether or not Akiyama should be in the G1. Nagata also said he wants to wrestle match for NOAH in their next tour, which opens on 6/29. Nagata also commented on Manabu Nakanishi, saying that he approved of Nakanishi fighting on the 6/29 K-1 show because Nakanishi is trying to prove that pro wrestling is the best.

[New Japan] BOSJ update and scenarios going into 6/8 Brandon on 6/7/2003

Drawing 1,600 in Fukui, Obama, New Japan had their second to last day of regular tournament matches in the Best of the Super Junior X.

Gedo beat Ryusuke Taguchi in 8:39 with a necklock, leaving Taguchi to end the tournament winless in Block A.

In Block B, Masahito Kakihara defeated Jado in 6:56 with the Kaki Cutter, leaving himself still elgible to advance with a neccesary win over Tiger Mask on 6/8.

And in the other Block B match, Stampede Kid finished with two wins, beating El Samurai in 9:41 with a front rolling cradle.

Block A
1. Jushin Thunder Liger - 8pts
1. AKIRA - 8pts
3. Takashi Sugiura - 8pts
4. Minoru Fujita - 8pts
5. Ebessan - 4pts
5. Gedo - 4pts
7. Ryusuke Taguchi - 0pts

Block B
1. Tiger Mask - 8pts
2. Masayuki Naruse - 6pts
2. Koji Kanemoto - 6pts
2. Masahito Kakihara - 6pts
5. Jado - 4pts
5. El Samurai - 4pts
5. Stampede Kid - 4pts

So now, tomorrow, on 6/8 in Tottori, there will be AKIRA vs. Liger to decide Block A and Tiger Mask vs. Kakihara and Naruse vs. Kanemoto to decide Block B. No one has a spot clinched in Block B.

If Kanemoto wins and Kakihara wins, Tiger Mask is out, with Kanemoto and Kakihara tied with him in points and both holding wins over him. Kanemoto would take first place in that scenario because he has the win over Kakihara.

If Kanemoto wins and Tiger Mask wins, Kanemoto and Tiger Mask with advance, with Tiger Mask taking first place because he'll have 10 points.

If Naruse wins and Kakihara wins, Kakihara advances and so does Tiger Mask, since Tiger Mask and Naruse would finished tied with Tiger Mask having the head-to-head win. Kakihara would have first place.

If Naruse wins and Tiger Mask wins, then Tiger Mask and Naruse advance. Tiger Mask would take first because he would then have 10 points to Naruse's 8 points. This scenario is the only way Naruse advances.

And in Block A, in the AKIRA-Liger match, the winner is out and the loser is in. Sugiura and Fujita also hang in the balance with the match. They both have 8 points, so the winner will have 10, giving them the lead in the block. If AKIRA wins, Sugiura will advance, taking second place because he holds wins over both Liger and Fujita. If Liger wins, everything ends up in a three-way tie for second. AKIRA, Sugiura and Fujita would all finish with 8 points, but AKIRA has the win over Sugiura, Fujita has the win over AKIRA and Sugiura has the win over Fujita. So I wouldn't look for Liger to win, just to avoid the complexity, unless they rule that Sugiura would have the advantage because he was the only one that beat Liger.

[NOAH] Photos from Budokan and other notes Brandon on 6/6/2003

Pro Wrestling NOAH claimed a sell-out 16,000 fans in Tokyo Nippon Budokan Hall. It seemed unlikely that NOAH would sell-out the show, considering the weak advance ticket sales. Usually when they do sell-out, they announce at least 16,300 (the official capacity for the venue, before you start messing with elaborate sets is 16,483, although you can probably exceed that with standing room, as NOAH did on 3/1). I would suspect the actual number was at least a little under 16,000 with a decent amount of papering. But I can only speculate.

All pictures are taken from SportsNavi.

Tamon Honda & Kenta Kobashi vs. Akitoshi Saito & Jun Akiyama

Yuji Nagata vs. Akira Taue

[NOAH] 6/6 Nippon Budokan results Brandon on 6/6/2003

Tokyo Nippon Budokan Hall
Announced Drawing (should be up later)

1. Makoto Hashi defeated Kotaro Suzuki in 10:12 with the Gory Thunder.
-Hashi and Suzuki, who will become a tag team in the GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Title tournament, shook hands after the match.

2. Takeshi Rikio, Mitsuo Momota, Tsuyoshi Kikuchi, Masashi Aoyagi defeated Masao Inoue, Jun Izumida, Hakura Eigen, Kishin Kawabata in 12:31 when Rikio pinned Kawabata after a lariat.

3. Takashi Sugiura, Yoshinobu Kanemaru defeated Naomichi Marufuji, KENTA in 15:36 when Kanemaru pinned with a brainbuster.

-It was announced the eight teams that will compete in the tournament to become the first GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions are: Michael Modest & Donovan Morgan, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Takashi Sugiura, Naomichi Marufuji & KENTA, Makoto Hashi & Kotaro Suzuki, Tsuyoshi Kikuchi & Mitsuo Momota, Superstar Steve & Ricky Marvin, Tatsuhito Takaiwa & Yoshito Sasaki and Jushin Thunder Liger & Takehiro Murahama.

4. Yoshihiro Takayama defeated Takeshi Morishima in 5:12 with a triangle hold.

5. Yoshinari Ogawa defeated Daisuke Ikeda in 7:54 with a small package.

6. Mitsuharu Misawa defeated Takuma Sano in 15:21 with the Emerald Frosion.

7. Yuji Nagata defeated Akira Taue in 15:53 with the Nagata Lock III.
-Nagata used a top-rope Exploder, enzuigiri and backdrop hold before the finish.
-There was hinting after Nagata beat Taue that Nagata may soon challenge Kobashi for the GHC Heavyweight Title.

8. GHC Tag Team Title: Tamon Honda, Kenta Kobashi defeated Jun Akiyama, Akitoshi Saito in 26:54 when Honda pinned Akiyama after the Spinning Hell Olympic Special.
-Honda and Kobashi become sixth GHC Tag Team Champions.
-After the match, Akiyama handed Honda his belt.

Five big shows coming up Brandon on 6/4/2003

NOAH runs their sixth show in Tokyo Nippon Budokan Hall on 6/6. It will probably turn out to be their first Budokan show in the promotion's history not to sell-out. With only a tag title main event of Kenta Kobashi and Tamon Honda against champions Akitoshi Saito and Jun Akiyama and a Nagata vs. Taue match, along with average ticket prices of 7667 yen/$64 none of the sections in the arena are even close to selling out.

Details about the PRIDE 26 show in Yokohama Arena are conflicting. However, it's widely believed the show will sell-out. As always, PRIDE tickets are never cheap. Not counting the $800 VIP seats, the average ticket is around $140. As with all PRIDE shows, you can follow PRIDE 26 here with live round-by-round coverage.

New Japan returns to arguably the best building for wrestling in Japan on 6/10, Osaka Prefectural Gym with Hiroyoshi Tenzan challenging Yoshihiro Takayama for the IWGP Heavyweight Title. With an average ticket price of 6667 yen ($55) and the show is about less than half sold-out in advance at this point.

Their Budokan show three days later on 6/13, advances are about the same for with an average ticket price of 5400 yen/$45. The main event will be Yoshihiro Takayama vs. Shinsuke Nakamura for the NWF Heavyweight Title.

Advances are at about half way for All Japan's 6/13 show in Nagoya Aichi Gym also. Ticket prices to see Satoshi Kojima challenge for the Triple Crown for the second time in his career, going up against Shinya Hashimoto, are an average of 6400 yen or $53.

[Content] Scout Report Brandon on 6/3/2003
Scout Report:
The new Toyota, finally in the grumpy old wench role (in her early 30s! that's awesome!), comes into GAEA and goes right after the champ. Toyota hasn't lost much since her prime nary a decade ago, in fact she's a little less all-over-the-place and is better at having a match than hitting a bazillion screaming dropkicks (not that that was ever bad haha). Nagashima is easily a top five women's wrestler and probably for pure work a top fiver in the world, she's just great and you know she'll sell an ass-kicking in a major way here.

[Content] Tales From the Eastside Brandon on 6/3/2003
Tales From the Eastside:
A little background is in order: In 2000, when IWA-MS was trying to vary its style up a bit with more wrestling in between all the hardcore, they decided to start a "Sweet Science" tournament as kind of an alternative to their yearly King of the Deathmatches tournament. Chris Hero won that tournament, beating Harry Palmer in the finals; ; I haven't seen that show so I can't comment on it. The 2001 Sweet Science 16 was an excellent show, hurt by the crappy deathmatches and too much Nova but the good was really good. Ace Steel took home that year's trophy, beating the Innovator of All Things in the Finals. The name change for this show is to honor Ted Petty (aka Rocco Rock), the good half of Public Enemy who died earlier in the year...


One of the true legends and greatest heels of all-time, "Classy" Freddie Blassie passed away on the night of 6/2 after being hospitalized for heart and kidney problems. He was 85.

In the US, Blassie was one of the biggest names of his era. His career in California is highlighted by his classic feud with John Tolos, which drew record crowds. In Japan, along with Dick "The Destroyer" Beyer and Lou Thesz, he's among the three biggest foreign names of Rikidozan's JWA era.

When he arrived in Japan for the first time, he shocked people by sharpening his teeth with a file in front of media and fans, earning his nickname, "The Vampire." With television still new in Japan, in his matches, he would bite his opponents, leaving some elderly viewers so surprised, they suffered heart attacks. His bloody matches with Rikidozan, where they battled over the WWA World Heavyweight Title in 1962 remain some of the most famous matches in Japanese pro wrestling history.

[K-1] He's back in Japan Brandon on 6/2/2003

Bob Sapp returned to Japan for the first time since 4/11, following his loss to Mirko CroCop on 3/30 where his orbital bone was broken.

A press conference was held, where he showed off a lot the new products he's in endorsing. He took his eye patch off to show the media, saying he's feeling better and wants to fight again soon. He also did a demonstration, where he put on gloves and practiced punches with a training partner.

There's a big K-1 show in Saitama Super Arena again on 6/29, which is being called "BEAST II," which he'll probably be in attendance for, but I'd imagine that'd be too for him to comeback yet. After that, there's 8/15 in Las Vegas and 9/21 in Yokohama Arena before the Opening Round Grand Prix in October in Osaka Dome and the Finals show in Tokyo Dome in December.

[Osaka Pro] Murahama and Liger defend in Korakuen Hall Brandon on 6/2/2003

Osaka Pro ran their second ever show in Korakuen Hall on 6/2 (the first being last year in November, featuring Murahama vs. Liger). And for the second time, they sold-out the building.

In the main event, Osaka Pro Tag Team Champions Takehiro Murahama and Jushin Thunder Liger beat Tsubasa and Billy Ken Kid in 17:38 when Murahama pinned Kid after a brainbuster.

After the match, Murahama took the microphone and promised to beat Tiger Mask on 6/13 at New Japan's Budokan show and win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title, so he could take it to Osaka Pro and defend it against Liger. Murahama joked in the back that the team he's afraid is Liger's team with Koji Kanemoto.

[New Japan] Day 2 in Mie Brandon on 6/2/2003

New Japan drew 1,500 in Mie Ago Arena on 6/2. The promotion has still yet to sell-out a show on this tour other than the usually hot Korakuen Hall (however WJ still managed to draw a poor number there a couple weeks ago).

In Block B, El Samurai beat Jado in 12:26 with a chickenwing armhook, creating a four-way tie for second place between himself, Jado, Koji Kanemoto and Masayuki Naruse.

The only two wrestler under that in Block B, Masahito Kakihara got his first win of the tournament by beating Stampede Kid in 7:06 with the Kaki Cutter.

In the Block A match, AKIRA beat Gedo with an STF in 11:49.

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

At this point, Taguchi is mathematically eliminated, as he probably was a while ago. He only has one match left and that's against Gedo, where he'll probably end up going winless. Fujita is undefeated at the moment and has Sugiura, Liger and Gedo to face. I'd look for him to lose at least two of the three. Sugiura should be one of the ones that beats Fujita on 6/4, which will finish up his tournament matches, leaving him with 8 points. That would leave AKIRA (considering he beats Ebessan, which he will on 6/6) and Liger to battle it out for the final spot on the last day before the semis on 6/8, where as if AKIRA won, he would be take first place (because he beat Sugiura) and if Liger won he would take second (because he lost to Sugiura).

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

Tiger Mask should end up on top of the block, only have to face Kakihara and Jado, one of which he'll probably lose to only because it's usually a rule that no one gets out of a Japanese round robin tournament undefeated. The #2 spot could come down to Kanemoto and Naruse, since they have the last Block B match on 6/8.

Super Junior matches on 6/4 in Wakayama, Iwade:
Block A: Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Ebessan
Block A: Takashi Sugiura vs. Minoru Fujita
Block B: El Samurai vs. Masahito Kakihara

[Content] This Week in Pro Wrestling Brandon on 6/1/2003
This Week in Pro Wrestling:
-PRIDE 26 - "Bad to the Bone" Preview
-IWGP Heavyweight Title: Manabu Nakanishi vs. Yuji Nagata (3/9/03)
-El Numero Uno Final: Genki Horiguchi vs. CIMA (4/22/03)
-NWA World Heavyweight Title: Giant Baba vs. Jack Brisco (12/2/74)
-Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Greg Gagne (4/19/84)
-Terry Gordy & Steve Williams vs. The Eliminators (Summer 1996)
-Thunder Sugiyama vs. George Steele (4/73)
-Curt Hennig vs. Ric Flair (9/97)
-Theme Review VIII: "AO Corner"
It's amazing to go back only two years ago and try to imagine Manabu Nakanishi would have a match like this. I think people forget just how far he's come... For anyone who's still wondering why Yuji Nagata gets called one of the best wrestlers in the world, this a great example. For sixty minutes, it was the performance of his life.

[Zenjo] Maekawa and Watanabe win WWWA World Tag Title Brandon on 6/1/2003

As expected, in Hokkaido, Sapporo Teisen Hall, Kumiko Maekawa and Tomoko Watanabe defeated Nanae Takahashi and Etsuko Mita, two falls to one to become new WWWA World Tag Team Champions. Maekawa got the final fall on Takahashi. It's expected Nanae Takahashi will leave the promotion at the end of the current tour.

That being at their afternoon show in the building, Amazing Kong posted on the Crazy Max Forum that Dump Matsumoto knocked out Kayo Noumi's front teeth at the evening show. Dump tagged with ZAP T to beat Noumi and Nanae Takahashi in 8:41 when ZAP T pinned Noumi.

[NOAH] Nagata and Sano win; Burning wins 2/3 falls Brandon on 6/1/2003

Yuji Nagata had his last match for NOAH before his singles match with Akira Taue on 6/6. He and Takuma Sano beat Taue and Takashi Sugiura in 16:45 when Sano beat Sugiura with a Northern Lights bomb.

In the main event, NOAH held a 2/3 falls match between the STERNESS and Burning stables. KENTA, Tsuyoshi Kikuchi, Tamon Honda and Kenta Kobashi beat Makoto Hashi, Yoshinobu Kanemaru and Jun Akiyama in 39:02. Akiyama took the first fall with an Exploder on Kikuchi. Kobashi took the second fall with a lariat on Hashi. And going into the tag title match, Honda took the third and deciding fall from Saito with the rolling Olympic Hell IV.

The show was taped for NTV and G+, so should be available in its entirety.

[New Japan] BOSJ in Mie Brandon on 6/1/2003

New Japan drew 3,000 in Mie Yokkaichi Gymnasium for another non-sell out.

In Block A, Jushin Thunder Liger beat Ryusuke Taguchi in 6:53 with the brainbuster.

In Block B of the Super Junior tournament, Tiger Mask beat Masayuki Naruse in 10:05 with a flying rolling cradle. With that win, Tiger Mask puts himself alone in first place in Block B.

In the second Block B match, Koji Kanemoto beat Masahito Kakihara in 11:07 with an ankle hold, keeping Kakihara winless in the tournament.

In the main event of the show, Makai #4, Makai #5 and Tadao Yasuda beat Takashi Iizuka, Osamu Nishimura and Hiroyoshi Tenzan in 10:49. On the day Yuji Nagata wrestled for NOAH, Makai #4 got the win by submitted Iizuka with the Nagata Lock III.

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

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

Tomorrow's tournament matches in Mie Ago Arena:
Block A: AKIRA vs. Gedo
Block B: El Samurai vs. Jado
Block B: Stampede Kid vs. Tiger Mask