Section 1- Results
Dragon Gate: Fujji got past Kevin Steen to earn a title shot. Austin Aries pinned Ryo Saito in a singles match, which could signal a title shot for him down the line.
NOAH: Shiga defended the hardcore/openweight title against Kawabata. It went 28 minutes. Be afraid.
Section 2- News
Dragon Gate: A big card has been unveiled for their big 11/23 show at Osaka Prefectural Gym. Yokosuka vs Fujii is on top, followed by CIMA vs Gamma in a hair vs hair match, the last of Tenryu’s ten singles matches (this one vs Kanda), and Mochizuki vs Pentagon for the WAR IJ title. The trios belts held by Do Fixer will be defended on 11/19 against Yokosuka, K-Ness and rookie Onodera. It appears that Stalker Ichikawa will be retiring at a special show on 11/12; he faces Tozawa in a career vs career match and Tozawa isn’t about to quit wrestling. Finally, Horoguchi and Yoshino are scheduled to appear on the first Wrestling Society X (MTV promotion) show. I want my H-A-G-E?
Hustle: HG has announced that he’ll be retiring at the 11/23 Hustlemania show, where he faces Takada (as ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“Esperanza’) in a singles match. This is a serious blow for the promotion, which relies on HG for casual wrestling fans to make up for the hardcore fans it doesn’t attract. HG has been under pressure from his talent agency to leave in the wake of the PRIDE yakuza scandal.
New Japan: Akebono will return next week, and they rescheduled his tag league matches accordingly. The stable war will dominate Sunday’s show in Kobe, as the New Japan, GBH (Tenzan’s clan) and Chono/Nakamura groups will clash in captain’s fall bouts. New Japan vs GBH will be first, and the winner takes on Chono’s stable in the main event.
Section 3- You know the drill
Section 4- Nothing but love & talks of capping
When I started my third media site, I’d been downloading puro for five solid years. I’d amassed gigs upon gigs spread across burned CDs and several hard drives. As of two months ago I had 35 matches on hand to cover the period from 1963 through mid-1996; now I have 80. It more than doubled in two months, and that doesn’t cover several dozen matches I’m not hosting because someone else is. What happened to spark this? I can’t offer a ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“why’, but I can say that I’m thrilled. That’s because with each passing week it’s easier for someone on the ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“net to discover puro and get his (or her, in theory) hands on a full spectrum of great Japanese wrestling. Plus much of the material is new to me, and much of it is from DVD sources instead of third-hand VHS.
The sheer volume of high-end puro for anyone to watch is astronomical. That’s why no matter what happens in the future as far as quality and business, there’s always plenty of reason to get into the Japanese scene. You can get tape after tape for years, even if you only like a handful of promotions, and still have new things to discover and love. Here are some matches that aren’t on my media pages, some that could very well be new to you even if you’ve been following the scene for as long as I have.
Masakatsu Funaki vs Tatsuo Nakano, UWFi 7/24/89. This came up as a result of a Best of the ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“80s project over at the DVDVR board. Funaki was just inducted into the Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame, and as you can see here he had a good look, great hair and plenty of talent. Nakano? Eh. Doughy, not much to look at, not exactly Rey Mysterio in the athletic department. Going in there was no real reason for this to be a stand-out match. By the time it finished? Oh yeah. It’s shoot-style but with none of the drawbacks often associated with the style (ie. plodding matwork). They go at it hot and heavy from the start, there’s hardway blood, slick grappling, brutal slams and plenty of heat. Nakano refuses to say die.
The next two matches come via. Chris Coey, whose love/hate relationship with myself does not diminish our mutual affection for the pro-wres.
Jushin Thunder Liger vs El Samurai, Top of the Super Junior ’92 final, 4/30/92. Samurai had returned from Mexico recently and took the tournament by storm. Liger is at a point in his career when he was one of the best fliers in the world on top of everything else. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“Everything else’ is just what’s on display here, as it works in all the aerial beauty of juniors wrestling with tons of hatred. Maybe Liger’s best match, certainly Samurai’s.
Aja Kong vs Yumiko Hotta, All Japan Women 1/24/94. This is for AJW’s top title. This is a match that makes just about every men’s match ever look like a sissy-fight. What they do to start is blast each other directly in the face (and elsewhere) with slaps, punches, elbows and kicks. There’s one kick in particular that Kong does that is so nasty, I’d rather take a thousand Kobashi chops. Hotta hits so hard that her own hand gets busted open, and Kong proceeds to work that over. Working over a hand isn’t done very often, and maybe that’s why it looks so painful, but I’m inclined to go with my gut and say that it WAS painful, but Hotta is woman enough to take it. The finishing stretch revolves around whether Hotta can manage her cross-arm Pyramid Bomb on the bulk of Aja Kong. If she can, there’s about a 99% chance it does the trick. If she can’t, it won’t be long before Kong puts it away.
There you go. Three great matches, none of which is hard to ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“get’, all of which should be enjoyable for any fan of pro wrestling. Enjoy and spread the word!