Intai Kogyo 6/8 Tokyo Differ Ariake 658
2001 1/8 Nagoya Aichi-ken Taiikukan 4,800
Manabu Yamada, 31,
had his retirement exhibition match, going 3:00 with Sanae Kikuta. Initially,
Yamada was one of the best fighters in Pancrase, largely because he
was established in Shooto before joining the promotion for the 5/31/94
show, whereas the other natives were guys that had been doing works
or were rookies. He could strike well enough that he was fine in standup
unless he was in with Bas Rutten, but submissions were what won him
virtually every match, particularly the heel hold (while it was still
legal). He was undersized (theoretically 5'8", 187), but isn't
everyone in Pancrase? Yamada's best year was 1994 when he went 7-2,
including wins over Frank Shamrock & Minoru Suzuki to reach the
finals of the KING OF PANCRASE Title Tournament where he lost a 30:00
decision to Ken Shamrock. Unfortunately, this did not propell him to
greater success, as he was basically a .500 fighter in 1995 & 1996
and never recieved a title shot. He did defeat Masakatsu Funaki on 4/8/95,
and it was not a fluke because he was the better fighter on that night.
He also came back and defeated Jason Delucia to keep his ranking on
5/13/95 after being upset by Delucia on 3/10/95. He had his arm operated
on after his 10/8/96 loss to Bas Rutten, and did not return until 9/14/98.
He was no longer any good when he returned, but they kept him in preliminary
matches so he didn't take too much of a beating and often was able to
win via decision. He pretty much fought a full schedule in 1999, but
his only match since was a 10:00 decision loss to Yuki Kondo on 1/23/00.
Apparently he's a good cook because even when he was out of action he'd
usually be shown preparing a meal for the other guys.
5/20: Korakuen Replaced?
A puroresu only building in the Koto ward of Ariake called DIFFER Ariake is set to open on 7/1. The building was already there, just not used for wrestling. They spent 700,000,000-en remodelling it. Shows from there should look good because it has a 9 x 15 meter television screen, runway, color lights, and a directional smoke machine. The owners hope it can surpass Korakuen Hall as wrestlings sacred building. Also, the third floor will have press conferences and exercises that are open to the public, so the promotions can do their angles there before or after shows. They are catering to fans who drive to the shows by offering free parking in their 1,000 car lot. All Japan will open their '00 Summer Action Series there on 7/1, and may not use Korakuen Hall anymore despite selling the building out 2-3 times on each tour for several years. The buildings second show will be All Japan Women on 7/2.
Some more notes on the Rikidozan Memorial Show. Jones was 7'2" former WCW wrestlers Ron Reis dressed up in the full bodysuit that Vader wore when he first started wrestling in New Japan. Jones didn't get over because he is still ungodly awful. Furthermore, Hashimoto is the worst guy to use weak blows and brawling against because of his shooter image. Hashimoto didn't come out initially, but finally came out looking like he'd sustained a huge beating. The thing with the Kazunari Murakami angle is that nobody saw it since it was done before the show with no one around and there was no announcement made during the show that Hashimoto had been attacked, so everyone was like WTF? when Hashimoto came out acting half dead. Hashimoto was destroyed by Jones, but Jones wasn't able to look credible, so people were laughing at what was supposed to be their toughman Hashimoto getting overwhelmed by a new monster like Inoki was by the real Vader on 12/27/87. I guess it once again shows that what sounds good on paper isn't always good in actuality.
3/11: Hashimoto Puts His Career On The Line
3/11 Kanagawa Yokohama
Antonio Inoki returned
to the ring for an exhibition match, losing to 17-year-old Hideaki Takizawa
in 3:57 following an elbow drop. Yoshiaki Fujiwara was the ref, and
he was helping Takizawa out. I'm not sure if this was why Inoki punched
Fujiwara or if he accidentally hit Fujiwara and that caused Fujiwara
to help out the opposition. Anyway, Fujiwara he held Inoki so Takizawa
could rip his shirt off. He also gave Inoki a fast count, so Inoki's
loss was tainted. Takizawa's key offense was five alley kicks in a row.
The female fans were supposed to be really excited that the idol won.
Inoki said there would be a return match. If it's supposed to be an
exhibition so Inoki doesn't have to become another Mr. Liar, why should
there be a rematch? In Inoki's defense, they didn't announce this match
until Takizawa, who was there to sing (he's one of those singers that
all the teenage girls like and all the guys hate), asked for it during
the opening ceremony, so this was hardly a cheap stunt to sell more
tickets (although the rematch probably will be).
Yoji Anjo defeated
Tarzan Goto by disqualification in 13:37 when Goto tried to use the
chain on Anjo. Anjo hasn't been fighting since the Maeda incident, and
faces a 200,000 yen fine if Maeda wins the case. I guess they didn't
want to make him look like any more of a bad guy. When I saw DQ I expected
it to be Anjo trying to be an even bigger heel, but I guess we are supposed
to feel sorry for the cheap shot artist.
3/8: Big Van To Team With Tenryu, To Bad It's Not Vader
If you thought Kazuyuki Fujita was a weak partner for Genichiru Tenryu, it gets a lot worse. Inoki couldn't get any major players, so he's putting the Vader wannabe from his U.F.O. promotion Big Van Jones with Tenryu against Naoya Ogawa & Shinya Hashimoto.
The latest on Genichiru Tenryu's partner for the main event is that it'll probably be Kazuyuki Fujita. Even though Nobuhiko Takada's drawing power continues to free fall, Fujita is still a far cry from Takada at this point. The thing is by the time they get around to announcing him, practically the only thing he might effect is the walk up sales.
The latest angle
to set up the Rikidozan show is that Shinya Hashimoto "agreed"
to tag with Naoya Ogawa for the main event of the Rikidozan Memorial.
Hashimoto & Ogawa shook hands at Narita airport a little before
Antonio Inoki was going to leave for the US, and all was well for a
few seconds. Takashi Iizuka & Kazunari Murakami, their respective
partners in the 1/4/00 Tokyo Dome tag match, soon found out that Hashimoto
had agreed to tag with Ogawa and weren't the least bit pleased. There
was a scuffle and Ogawa "couldn't contain" his anger, so he
wound up punting Hashimoto in the chest.
With the exclusion
of the dream main event, which hasn't been announced because Shinya
Hashimoto "refuses" to team with Naoya Ogawa and Nobuhiko
Takada hasn't agreed to participate, the lineup for the 2nd Rikidozan
Memorial on 3/11 at Kanagawa Yokohama Arena was announced. The matches
are as follows:
A main event tag match between Naoya Ogawa's team and Genichiru Tenryu's is now definite for the 3/11 Rikidozan Memorial. Since Kazunari Murakami has no name value or drawing power, he's not going to be teaming with Ogawa. The proposal right now is for a dream tag match where Ogawa would team with arch enemy Shinya Hashimoto for the first time against Tenryu & Nobuhiko Takada. It's safe to say that this has way more drawing power than Ogawa & Murakami vs. Manabu Nakanishi & Yuji Nagata. It should also be a much better match. One would think such a pairing would set up Ogawa against Takada, assuming Takada's options are now limited enough that he'll agree to put Ogawa over.
Naoya Ogawa & Kazunari Murakami's shot at the IWGP tag titles on the Rikidozan show might be falling through or at least held off because they are doing an angle to set those two up for a match against Genichiru Tenryu and a partner of his choice.
The second memorial show to honor the father of puroresu, Rikidozan, will be held on 3/11 at Kanagawa Yokohama Arena. Kotetsu Yamamoto will be the matchmaker. They are trying to get 18 promotions to participate in the 10 match show. So far NJ, FMW, UFO, Battlarts, Takada Dojo, PWFG, Michinoku, Toryumon, Seikendo, Samurai Puroresu, BJ, Pancrase, AJW, JWP, LLPW have agreed, so there will be at least 15 promotions plus freelancers Genichiru Tenryu, Tarzan Goto, and Yoji Anjo. The first Rikidozan Memorial was on 6/30/96 at the same arena, and was not particularly good because there were too many garbage wrestlers involved on a show where garbage wrestling basically wasn't allowed.
12/15: Muto Captures Top 2 Puroresu Awards
Nendo Puroresu Taisho
Puroresu Awards For The Year Of 1999
The annual Puroresu
awards were announced today. These awards are very political in nature.
For instance, an All Japan wrestler couldn't win MVP this year because
their MVP would be Vader and a gaijin can't win this award. Thus, these
awards should not be taken seriously as far as them making accurate
selections goes because they really don't try to or at best they try
to pick the right person within the restrictions they place on themselves.
They pretty much just spread the awards around between the big names
of the various promotions. However, with so many promotions drawing
poorly and no one in FMW winning anything, it seems like it's basically
down to New Japan & All Japan this year.
All inquiries and orders should be e-mailed to M.L.Liger@juno.com.