Section 1- Results
Dragon Gate: Another year, another solid show at Kobe World Hall on a Sunday. Blood Generation (CIMA/Fujii/Doi) won the trios titles, while Mochizuki downed ‘junior triple crown’ champ Taka. Mochizuki then challenged Taka for a shot at Taka’s titles.
Section 2- News
All Japan: Two important matches are signed for 7/26 in Yoyogi National Gym #2. Kojima’s triple crown defense will be against Mutoh. A big tag match between the main stables, RO&D and Voodoo Murders, will include a third Japanese stable. Taka is bringing in Masahiro Chono and possibly others from Chono’s New Japan stable to counter the ever-growing dominance of the VMs.
New Japan: Tenzan’s title defense on 7/18 will be against Kaz Fujita, who has been given Inoki’s blessing (meaning he has a real chance to win). The 7/18 junior title matches have also been decided; Tiger Mask will defend against Dick Togo, while Minoru Tanaka & Hirooki Goto defend against Kanemoto & El Samurai. Newly promoted New Japan president Simon Inoki announced a plan to reveal less in the way of cards for their shows (I assume house shows) so that fans wouldn’t know what to expect.
NOAH: Rikio is out for the next few shows with a throat inflammation, and could potentially miss the Tokyo Dome show. I anticipate zero ticket refund demands should he bow out of the title match. Liger has challenged the winner of the Kanemaru/KENTA junior title match. Both of the NOAH wrestlers accepted. KENTA vs Liger would be hot, yessir.
WWE: They ran the Saitama Super Arena twice over the weekend and had a rather poor showing, especially considering the presence of Akebono. Attendance was well below what they managed earlier in the year and below what PRIDE recently drew in the same building. I’d imagine that this will dash any potential WWE in Tokyo Dome plans, because only a major PPV would draw decently there. Japanese promotions are no doubt breathing a sigh of relief, because WWE will likely focus more on Europe for overseas touring from now on.
Section 3- WWE Releases Watch
Just for kicks I’ll keep this going for a few issues. Every year WWE release-ees wind up in All Japan due to a connection between All Japan and WWE talent head Johnny Ace. I’ll update the status of those who land in Zen Nihon Prowres, and add any additional releases as it goes along. The 7/26 show would be a prime target, but who knows considering no-compete clauses.
Cruiserweights with necessary talent: Kidman, Shannon Moore, Jimmy Yang/Akio (who has been in All Japan before).
Cruiserweights with no apparent use to All Japan: Spike Dudley.
Heavyweights with necessary talent: None that I can see.
Heavyweights with no apparent use to All Japan: Mark Jindrak, Gangrel, Mordecai, Maven.
Heavyweights still likely to get signed by All Japan because Keiji Mutoh is a goofy bastard: Gangrel, Maven.
Heavyweights that we should pray never wind up being used by All Japan no matter how much industrial glue Mutoh may or may not be huffing: Mordecai.
WWE releases who have showed up in All Japan: None.