The Reality of Wrestling: Roundtable September

With September comes the passage of summer into fall, the temperatures back down to something more liveable, and all the familiar signs of this passage (color of leaves, clothing, football season, etc.). This month also serves as something pivotal in that same passage of the seasons for wrestling promotions across the globe. With the summer momentum now a thing of the past, it’s all about pressing on to the end of the year, or toward your next major card. For some promotions that means trying out new people at the top of the card, for others it needs to be that, and in one noteworthy instance it may mean one wrestler is looking for a promotion that will employ him.

M.C.: Mike Campbell
P.C.: Me

1.With Tanahashi/Nakamura scheduled for September 19, what will New Japan main-event their early October Sumo Hall show with?

M.C.: The only option I’m thinking of, pending an interpromotional showdown with NOAH or All Japan, is G-1 runner up Tetsuya Naito challenging for the title. He gave Nakamura all he could handle in the finals, and upset the current champion to make it to the finals of the G-1. His recent success tells me that he’s finally going to get one over on his former partner on the 19th, so vanquishing the ghost of his past will be the perfect lead-in the challenging for the crown jewel.

P.C.: Since I envisioned Tanahshi/Naito coming out of the G-1 as the main-event for the Sumo Hall show, I really have no reason to backtrack now. New Japan has done Tanahashi/Nakamura and can come back to it whenever they want, but why not test the water and see what kind of effect a fresh face in the main-event has on the gate at Sumo Hall? The match is compelling because Naito has the win from the final day of the G-1 and the two also have a very well-received match from back in December to set the scene. Something inter-promotional with NOAH would be cool, and, for example, Sugiura could resume the role he had when the whole New Japan/NOAH thing started a few years ago: the outsider coming in to cause a stir. He did it two years ago, he could do it again now that he’s in a position (i.e. not the champ) where jobbing wouldn’t be an issue. I would love to see that kind of thing happen and think it’s in the best interest of both promotions if it does happen, but it’s not going to happen at the top of the card for this show.

2. What are your thoughts on the Bound for Glory series that will culminate at this Sunday’s No Surrender pay-per-view?

M.C.: Like everything else that TNA and Russo do, it’s too complicated when it doesn’t need to be. A single block of 12 wrestlers with various points scored or lost by winning or losing via various means. I know Vinny Ru likes to think he’s writing entertainment and not wrestling, but one only has to look at how the G1, Champions Carnival, or even the ROH Field of Honor was run to see how to do it right. The final four being Ray, Storm, Roode, and Gunner is a step in the right direction. All four in a main event for the strap would be fresh, but how likely is it to really matter at the end of the day? Based on past experience, not very.

P.C.: I have no problem with the destination (winner gets title shot at Bound for Glory), it’s the journey (the tournament itself) that I have issues with. I agree with Mike’s sentiment concerning the G-1, but this tournament could’ve been done better and it may be more of an example of TNA having the right idea with the wrong execution—a common problem for them. What this tournament sorely needed was a sense of focus. The point system was fine, but tag matches counting, house show results counting (and only showing the ends of the matches), and the tournament being as long as it was all gave the impression that this tournament served two purposes: to create a fresh world title challenger for the promotion’s biggest card of the year, and to give the writing team some assistance by filling air time that otherwise wouldn’t have been.

3. What (if any) match should be made out of the Hogan/Flair/Sting triangle in TNA?

M.C.: None of the above. It’s the year 2011, any sort of match featuring Hogan, Sting, and Flair would have been long past any sort of usefullness in 2001 for the love of god. I don’t watch TNA, nor do I follow it especially closely, but I can’t imagine that anyone is especially anxious to see any combo of these three get in the ring.

P.C.: It looks like it’s going to be Sting/Flair and I’m going to venture a guess that it will go on last at Bound for Glory. Yeah, the title match with the tournament winner will get billed as the main-event, but looking at TNA’s history, this will get the history treatment. Nostalgia tends to be something that TNA values and relies on when they don’t know what to do with what they have. This is an example of that as this match doesn’t have any real meaning anymore. My real hope is that when it happens they keep it quick or load it up with interference—yeah, I might gripe about it, but when it is a necessary masking agent, I don’t mind it’s use. My hope is that it goes on in the middle where it will still generate the same kind of emotion it would if it went on last and it won’t steal the thunder of something that may need to go on further up the card, like the world title match stemming from the BFG series.

4. With those who witnessed, but didn’t stop the TARU/Hirai incident all reinstated, is Kono still the guy All Japan is looking to give their next major singles push to?

M.C.: For all intents and purposes, he should be. All Japan has made Suwama into their #1 guy. But that only means so much without having a #2 guy. I’m sure Kev or Ditch can back me up on this. How well did Misawa do when he first got the nod in ’92? Not very well until Baba put Kawada into the spot as his main rival. There is no reason why Kono can’t be the Kawada to Suwama’s Misawa.

P.C.: They really don’t have a choice. Senada is still too green to the upper card to be put in that position and his tag partner, Manabu Soya, is even less prepared. All Japan has already tried Kenso and Ryota Hama to poor results in the ring or at the gate, and Kono’s time in MMA (mixed results) still makes him the most legit and appealing candidate to get that kind of push.

5. Is Luis Ignascio Urive Alvirde (Mistico/Sin Cara) heading back to CMLL?

M.C.: I would imagine so, only because I don’t know where else he can go. He really wouldn’t fit in with AAA, although he’d probably be a nice surprise as a member of the Perros Del Mal group. He’s probably too expensive for smaller feds like IWRG in Mexico. He would probably be able to help pop a nice gate for Sumo Hall or the January Dome show for New Japan, but not as a regular roster member. So the only real option is CMLL, provided they’d want him back.

P.C.: I have to agree with Mike. Once they turn over your gimmick to a developmental talent, I can’t think of a better death knell for someone in wrestling. All this really means for Alvirde is that he blew the biggest opportunity of his career. And at least he has a place to come home to as I believe CMLL will welcome him back. Being in and out of The E in such a short time won’t do wonders for his reputation, but he should still have enough of a following in Mexico that a return could benefit the not only him, but the promotion. Not to mention that a Mistico return could create some fresh matches for major CMLL shows down the line since there are some new faces in their main-event talent pool as well as the possibilities that go along with the promotion’s work relationship with New Japan.

SEVEN MATCHES UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN

NWA Vs. AWA Title: Ric Flair (NWA) Vs. Rick Martel (AWA), AJPW, 10/21/1985
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Since this is a unification match, and is the main-event of an All Japan show, and it’s the 80’s should tell you what the finish will be. However, this is two great gaijin wrestlers, in their prime, in the main-event of a Japanese promotion’s anniversary show, so you’ve got to at least be curious.

Tatsumi Fujinami Vs. Hulk Hogan, NJPW, 6/2/1985

One of Hogan’s last Japan booking when his push to the moon in The E had begun, hence how short it is. Considering the drastic style clash and the potential dilemma with Hogan being Vince’s champ & Fujinami getting a major singles push of his own in New Japan that might have been the best strategy.

The Great Muta Vs. Sting, NJPW, 11/22/1992

These two always seemed to have a nice chemistry (minus the 2000 feud involving Vampiro) and this is before the Muta alter ego became more spectacle and not as good in the ring. This, however, is one of the good examples.

U-30 Title: Hiroshi Tanahashi (c.) Vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, NJPW, 1/4/2005

The Tokyo Dome main-event the year they didn’t know what to put as the main-event. That being said, the two greet the spotlight rather nicely and seem to foreshadow their future dominance of the promotion. And remember, this isn’t one of their IWGP title matches.

TNA Title: Jeff Hardy (c.) Vs. Tetsuya Naito, NJPW, 1/4/2011

From this year’s Tokyo Dome show. To date it is Naito’s only major singles championship match, though that may change soon. Anyway the match isn’t awful, but is quicker than you might think, but given that this is Jeff Hardy 2011, maybe not.

Hiroshi Tanahashi, Mistico, & Prince Devitt Vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, Averno, & Tetsuya Naito, NJPW, 1/22/2011

Another match from the Fantasticamania shows in January. This one features the time-honored tag formula pairing feuds together, as that is what we get with Tanahashi/Nakamura and Mistico/Averno. Devitt had a career year in the ring in 2010 and Naito has been to CMLL more than once so he fits.

Ric Flair & Rick Martel Vs. Jumbo Tsuruta & Genichiro Tenryu, AJPW, 10/22/1984-85
Part 2

This is an International dream tag to say the least. Flair & Martel are NWA and AWA champs at the time and Tenryu & Tsuruta is one of the best teams on the planet. Whenever the match is it comes the day after an anniversary show, and if it’s ’85 you should’ve already connected the dots to a match I listed earlier.

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