Section 1- Results
New Japan: Minoru Tanaka won the Super Juniors tournament, beating Wataru Inoue in the semis and Tiger Mask in the finals. Tanaka started with two losses but then won out. Also on Sunday’s show was Tanahashi beating Bernard in a singles match.
Section 2- News
All Japan: The company announced what seems to be a major alliance with Sanrio, the company behind Hello Kitty. It’s hard to sift through the jargon that they used to describe the relationship, but the first straightforward aspect seems to be Sanrio giving much-needed cash to All Japan, such as helping with the cost of the 8/27 Hase retirement show at Sumo Hall. This could be the best thing to happen to All Japan (at least on paper) since they stole Mutoh and Kojima; Sanrio has deep pockets and it doesn’t sound like a superficial deal at all.
New Japan: Rumor has it that WWE has tendered an offer for Nakamura, but I just can’t see it happening. Ex-WWE Tyson Tomko is being brought in next tour. The tag titles have been semi-vacated, and a tournament will take place on 7/2 to determine new champs. However, if Chono gets back by 9/18 then he and Tenzan would have a chance to remain champs by beating the, um, sort-of champs. Yeah. Teams are Nagata/Yamamoto, Bernard/Tomko, Yano/Ishii and Koshinaka/Makabe. Lastly, Fujinami has fully left New Japan, and I’ll cover that in detail below.
NOAH: A tie-up with BIG MOUTH seems to be happening despite the, um, confusing actions taken by BML in the past. We could see Shibata on the occasional NOAH show again at any rate. A follow-up from last week: the Psicosis touring with them isn’t the original.
PRIDE/HUSTLE: The ante has been upped for HUSTLE, with the in-ring return of Takada (under a gimmick) as a supernaturally powerful heel. With HG under pressure to leave and a cloud of scandal hanging over DSE’s head, the long-awaited Takada vs Ogawa feud might just be the only way to keep HUSTLE in the pink. Whether this was planned in advance or was a way to disctract from the scandal is unclear; there was a tease done before Takada’s return but the tease came after Fuji TV’s cancellation.
Section 3- Muga
Former New Japan announcer Hidekazu Tanaka, along with Nishimura, Yoshie, Hiro Saito and Takemura will be part of a new Muga promotion debuting on 8/2 in Korakuen. Unlike the failed Kings Road promotion and BML they plan on touring, starting in September. Fujinami hasn’t officially signed on but the timing of the announcements is way too close together not to mean something. That the promotion plans on touring means that Fujinami will make use of his connections, though according to Zach Arnold, Nishimura has some ties of his own that they can use. This promotion could fall on its face, or it could very well be on par with Zero-One. One thing for certain, this doesn’t help New Japan one iota. A further splintering of their fan base and a tougher time doing business on tours is the last thing they need.
Section 4- A medical lesson about Takayama’s stroke
Death Valley Driver poster Sprewell Rimz sent me an encouraging note about Takayama’s stroke. He had a more minor ‘ischemic’ stroke, as opposed to the ‘hemmoragic’ stroke that ended Bret Hart’s career. After two years of recovery Takayama should be healed and good to go. Let’s hope that’s the case.
Section 5- Shill of the Week
Jeff Jarrett burned down Ken Anderson’s house and held his parents hostage, or at least that’s what I gather from the raw hate Ken demonstrates in the column. Oh TNA, you’ll never learn will you?