Puroresu Pulse, issue 76

Section 1- Results

All Japan: Taiyo Kea downed Satoshi Kojima to become the new Triple Crown champion. Congrats to the Hawaiian Smasher.

Dragon Gate: Their big annual Kobe World Hall show was a success, with them claiming the highest attendance to date for the promotion. Yokosuka retained the title over Dragon Kid. CIMA won a no-ropes match with Magnitude. Tenryu & Tokyo beat Minoru Suzuki & Mochizuki.

New Japan: The very unlikely duo of Koshinaka & Makabe became ‘provisional’ tag champs, winning the one-night tournament on Sunday. Ass power reigns!

Section 2- News

Kobashi vs Cancer: Kobashi is scheduled to undergo surgery this week to remove the kidney tumor, which apparently is in fact malignant. Let’s hope for the best.

All Japan: Kea nominated Kawada to be his opponent on the 8/27 Sumo Hall show. Fuchi said that All Japan and Kawada are near an agreement to make this happen.

Dragon Gate: Ryo Saito vs Doi on the 29th will determine Yokosuka’s next challenger.

MUGA: Fujinami announced his participation in the promotion to the shock of nobody.

NJ/Antonio Inoki: Plans for the 9/1 Budokan show continue apace. Despite Yukes’ resistance, New Japan is backing it. Inoki is hyping the show in his usual fashion, throwing out names and matchups willy-nilly before serious negotiations even have a chance to begin. This could be the biggest trainwreck since the last time Inoki was given free reign over a show.

New Japan: Junior title matches for the tour have been hastily arranged. On Saturday, Samurai & Taguchi will once again put the junior tag titles up against Gedo & Jado. On the 17th, Tiger Mask defends his NWA junior title against Wataru Inoue, while Kanemoto vs Minoru Tanaka seems probable but isn’t signed yet. Final four in the G-1 Climax are Makabe, Yamamoto, Kanemoto, and… Satoshi Kojima.

NOAH: Kensuke Sasaki will replace Kobashi as Takayama’s partner in the 7/16 dream tag. Misawa revealed that preliminary plans were to have Kobashi challenge Akiyama at the next Budokan, but now that seems to be falling to… Marufuji (according to Akiyama). Added to 7/16 is Rikio & Morishima vs Marufuji & KENTA. Sugiura will defend the junior title in Germany’s WXW promotion on 7/23.

Section 3- New Japan & Inoki & Kojima & Kawada & Takada & DSE & G-1 & …

Item: Kojima debuts in HUSTLE
Item: Kawada hinted at for Kea’s first challenger
Item: Takada makes his return to wrestling
Item: G-1 Climax reduced to 10 people
Item: Kojima works the G-1 Climax

HUSTLE-AID was a convergence of odd circumstances, and the effects of the show are still unfolding. It began when HUSTLE went to New Japan seeking the use of Antonio Inoki and Tanahashi at the big Saitama Super Arena event. Their reasoning: New Japan got to use Kawada and Naoya Ogawa at various points in the past. New Japan informed them that there would be no freebies since such a quid-pro-quo was not actually in place, so HUSTLE scrambled. They replaced Inoki with a comedy impersonator and Takada’s return, and Tanahashi with Kojima. In Tanahashi’s case it goes back to his ties with HG, and both sides there spoke about the link, indicating that there was at one point a good chance Tanahashi would work the show, but things fell through in the end. DSE/PRIDE/HUSTLE is now clearly rewarding All Japan by granting them access to Kawada, even if for one night only.

HUSTLE announced a Takada & Kawada vs Ogawa & Tajiri match for their show this Sunday in Yokohama. Perhaps they’ve managed to turn a negative (no Inoki) into a positive, unless Takada demanded a lot of money to return and he finally got it when DSE was placed in a bind. Ah, politics.

New Japan slimmed the G-1 to 10 names, none of which are high-price. The talent roster should stand at half or less (or even much less) when compared to past years like 2004. Several possibilities were eliminated, no doubt forcing New Japan’s hand a bit: Chono, Akebono, Lesnar, Nakamura. Another name I think is worth throwing out there is Kawada. Whether that was in the works or not, Kojima was the level best they could do to fill one out of what once was six open slots with at least one big name outsider.

Now wrap your brain around this one: DSE —> HUSTLE —> Zero-One. New Japan is supposedly on the outs with DSE, yet they bring in Kojima (who was used to spite New Japan), continue their interpromotional work with Zero-One and even give Koshinaka one-half of the quasi tag titles. So maybe most of what I wrote above is hogwash. Or maybe Zero-One isn’t as connected to DSE as we’re led to believe. Or maybe the potshots and paybacks and handshakes have gotten so convoluted that nobody knows who’s their friend and who’s their enemy. I know I’m lost.

Section 4- Shill of the Week

Scott Keith taps out to the crappiness of the new ECW. I’ve taken to calling it Raw 2 because that’s how Vince views it anyway.

Next Week: G-1 Preview