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    [Final Call] 2006 Strong Style Spirit Awards by Stuart - 28 Dec 2006 - [Comments (0)]
    NOTE: This is a final reminder for the awards. The voting period is almost over, so if you have been holding off, now is basically the time to send them in (1/2/07 being the deadline).

    It's time for the fifth annual Strong Style Spirit site awards! Each year, visitors of the site get to vote on several categories relating to the year's events in New Japan. The 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005 awards all helped determine who was hot and who was not in New Japan in those years among English-speaking fans, and I'm hoping for the same this year. Unlike previous years though, I'm not offering "incentives" for voting this time. I considered this a lot, but whenever I do this, a lot of people seem to send "template" ballots in without any thought, which kind of waters down the awards. By not offering free DVDs or the like, I feel that while the turnout may be much smaller, people who really follow the product will be the ones who vote. Depending on the popularity of the awards without incentives offered, I will consider whether to keep the awards going next year.

    Instead of a "Young Lion Prize" this year, I've decided to instead introduce a "New Wave Award" as there are only a few wrestlers who are truly young lions at the moment. This award covers newcomers, but not strictly young lions. Additionally, I've scrapped the "Foreign MVP" category and will include any relevant foreigners in other awards. Please send at least a top five (in order of preference) for each category, as that makes it easier for me to tally the votes then (I use a points system). If there is any award you don't feel you can compile a top five for, just skip them, as I need five (not four or three) to properly count the votes. All submissions should be sent to me by email, with the deadline being 1/2/07. The results will be announced shortly after. If you still have footage to watch, there is no hurry, just remember the deadline. Unlike recent years, there is a change to the voting calendar. The timeframe for voting this year is December, 2005 to November, 2006. Below are the categories.

    - Heavyweight MVP (the best heavyweight of the year, in terms of talent, success, and contributions to New Japan)
    - Junior Heavyweight MVP (the best junior heavyweight of the year, in terms of talent, success, and contributions to New Japan)
    - Tag Team MVP (the best tag team of the year, in terms of talent, success, and contributions to New Japan)
    - Singles Best Bout (the singles match you enjoyed the most)
    - Tag Team Best Bout (the tag match you enjoyed the most)
    - New Wave Award (the newcomer who made the biggest impression on you)
    - Technique Award (the best technician of the year; consider their mat wrestling and ability to piece a match together)
    - Fighting Spirit Award (the wrestler who showed the most energy and spirit in matches)
    - Image Award (the wrestler with the best character or look)

    You can find a comprehensive list of candidates for each award at the "2006 SSS Awards" page, which you will also be able to find at the top on the left for quick viewing.

    Note: I need them by email. You can post them in comment threads if you want, but I also need them by email, so I can store them all in one folder for tallying.


    Chono comments on 1/4, Tanahashi receives prize and promises more by Stuart - 26 Dec 2006 - [Comments (18)]


    Chono recorded his "ARISTRIST Chono Kingdom New Year's Eve Special" radio show earlier today and received a special phone call from his sworn friend, Keiji Muto. Muto said 2007 was a good year for him and that All Japan had done really well in the year-end award, its Triple Crown Champion (although this time a freelance one) winning the MVP prize for the second year running. Muto said his ego is exploding as a result, and will show his ego on 1/4 at the Tokyo Dome. Once again Muto and Chono said they have no strategy for their match with TenKoji, nor do they need one, such is their confidence that they will win. Chono believes that the 1/4 show will be an important event for both groups, because it marks the beginning of the 35th year for Japan's most longest running Japanese male promotions. Chono wants the "Super Dream Tag Match" to be something special since it has been granted the final spot on the card after the IWGP Heavyweight and Triple Crown matches.


    Tanahashi received his Fighting Spirit Prize from Tokyo Sports yesterday and said that the way things are going, he believes New Japan can monopolize the 2007 awards by winning every trophy. Tanahashi was happy to receive the prize after New Japan won nothing in 2005, but wants more next year. It was also revealed at the event that Iizuka has passed on his role as chairman of the wrestlers to the IWGP Heavyweight Champion after a long run, and that Tanahashi now holds that position.

    CTU fans rejoice! Video Pack Nippon are set to release a new 200 minute DVD called "COMPLETE OF CTU", which covers the entire history of Japan's most popular junior faction, has many special features, and also has plenty of footage from CTU's 7/30 Korakuen show and the recent 12/24 Korakuen show where they were involved in three matches. The DVD goes on sale on 2/18/07 and will cost �7,140 (US$60).

    Makabe & Koshinaka vs. Jado & Gedo and Nakanishi & Yamamoto vs. Yano & Ishii from the 10/19 G1 Tag League show are now available on njpw.tv. The Nagasaki show wasn't taped for any fo the TV shows, so these tag league matches are available for the first time. The complete versions of Nakamura vs. Tanahashi and Wild Child vs. Makabe & Koshinaka from 12/10 Aichi are also now available on there.

    Photo of the Day: Tanahashi attracts members of both sexes.


    [Results] New Japan, 12/24/06, 1/7~1/8 full cards by Stuart - 24 Dec 2006 - [Comments (27)]

    A year of progress and gradual revival for New Japan ended in style with a very entertaining Korakuen Hall show today, that ended with "Shin Nihon! Shin Nihon!" ("New Japan! New Japan!") chants. The show was separated into two parts, with the theatrics coming first and the serious wrestling following. Part one saw CTU in full cosplay, entertaining the fans. CTU KISS made their first appearance, JISS & GESS (accompanied by some KISS girls) beating Wataru & Taguchi by getting a questionable DQ decision (the official result said "chair attack?"). Then came the CTU CATS, THUNDER.TAMA and MIKE.AT, but they were met by the Xmas Tigers, Tiger Mask and a Christmas edition. After a back and forth cat fight (har har), Xmas Tiger pinned MIKE.AT with a moonsault press. Before part two, DRAGON GATE stars, Masaaki Mochizuki and Don Fujii, made their planned invasion and faced off with Jado and Gedo, a double title match (more below) determined for the New Year! Jado & Gedo denounced the two are "dregs from the indies", which led to a touch-and-go environment when the sides signed for the match. Mochi told Jado & Gedo not to remember Mochi as the young Koji Kitao disciple in WAR ten years ago, and to respect what he has become.

    On to the main show and it was one dominated by a main event that by the end had the walls of Korakuen Hall shaking, because the fans were so loud. In another epic struggle, Best of the Super Jr. winner Minoru re-challenged his greatest rival, Koji Kanemoto, for the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title in Koji's V2 defense. Of course, his V1 defense at Sumo Hall in October was against Minoru, Kanemoto narrowly winning that day. Today's match, the last of the year for New Japan, again exceeded the 30 minute mark, and had the "Minoru Special vs. ankle hold" theme that Minoru predicted, and after some great action, Minoru's other prediction came true, as Kanemoto tapped out! Minoru became the 51st generation IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion in the same building where he defeated Tiger Mask to win the BOSJ. Minoru said he would greet All Japan junior ace, Kaz Hayashi, as the champion at the Tokyo Dome, and there were suggestions of a big title match between them soon. Backstage, Minoru said that his rivalry with Kanemoto wouldn't end until one of them wash their hands of the industry. Tiger Mask, Yujiro, and All Japan juniors were all suggested by Minoru as potential challengers for his title in 2007. Kanemoto said the reason he signed his contract in January was because Minoru is in New Japan, and believes the time for Minoru to lead New Japan's junior division may have arrived.

    Triple Crown Champion and 2006 MVP, Minoru Suzuki, attended the show and did commentary during Nagata & Yamamoto vs. Tanahashi & Nakanishi. Said match saw a major upset, with Yamamoto surprisingly not losing, as Nagata pinned his friend Nakanishi after a Shining Wizard, perhaps an ode to Muto after their talk show yesterday. Nagata went over to Suzuki after the match and received a water bottle over his head for his effort. The two exchanged blows, before being separated by attendants. Suzuki said he would literally kill Nagata at the Tokyo Dome on 1/4. Nagata said that he isn't conscious of the title at all, and is only interested right now in hurting Suzuki. However, to prove that his time is returning, having not been allowed to challenge for the IWGP Heavyweight Title once since losing it in 2003, Nagata believes winning the Triple Crown will be necessary to mark a big comeback for him in 2007. The other match of note saw Nakamura meet his senior, Iizuka, and he won a close match with a flying cross armbreaker, the Black Savior not finding it easy to put away the wrestlers' chairman. Speaking of Iizuka, after the show he assembled Sekigun in the ring and thanked fans for creating such a wonderful atmosphere to end the year. Iizuka wants the 1/4 Tokyo Dome show to be made successful now so that New Japan can make another leap forward, and asked for further support next year. As snow poured down from the ceiling, New Japan wrestlers threw autographed tennis balls to fans to end the show and year.

    NJPW "BATTLE XMAS! CATCH THE VICTORY", 12/24/06 (SXW)
    Tokyo Korakuen Hall
    1,566 Fans
    - No Vacancy

    Part 1
    1. CTU KISS-JISS & CTU KISS-GESS beat Wataru Inoue & Ryusuke Taguchi (10:07) when Taguchi was DQ'd.
    2. Tiger Mask & Xmas Tiger beat CTU CATS-THUNDER.TAMA & CTU CATS-MIKE.AT (7:16) when Xmas Tiger used a moonsault press on MIKE.AT.
    Part 2
    3. Mitsuhide Hirasawa beat Tetsuya Naito (7:18) with a crab hold.
    4. Shinsuke Nakamura beat Takashi Iizuka (13:33) with a flying cross armbreaker.
    5. Yuji Nagata & Naofumi Yamamoto beat Hiroshi Tanahashi & Manabu Nakanishi (14:08) when Nagata used a Shining Wizard on Nakanishi.
    6. IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title: Minoru beat Koji Kanemoto (c) (33:51) with the Minoru Special to become the 51st champion.

    -

    New Japan's busy Tokyo schedule continues after the 1/4 Dome show with another Korakuen double header on 1/7 and 1/8 (meaning New Japan will have had six straight shows in the capital after the 1/27 Black Cat memorial). The 1/7 card has several big matches, most notably Mochi & Fujii's challenge for Jado & Gedo's IWGP Jr. Tag Team Title, where the DRAGON GATE team will also risk their IJ (International Junior) Tag Title in a double title clash. After a barren spell of no defenses, the junior tag kings suddenly have plenty of challengers to contend with. Underneath are two big heavyweight tags, a special young generation singles match between Yamamoto and Yano, and the continuation from LOCK UP of GBH vs. Apache, with Makabe & Ishii vs. Kanemura & Kuroda. The 1/8 show will have special fan events, as it is a fan appreciation show, and each match has a unique, fresh theme to it. Liger continues to team with BxB Hulk against Taguchi and young lion Naito. The main event promises to be a good one, with Tanahashi & Wataru facing Nagata & Kanemoto. As you can see, neither BLACK or GBH members will be on this show (unless something is added), but the ever-popular CTU will be there.

    NJPW "CIRCUIT 2007 BATTLE HALL LIVE VOL. 1", 1/7/07 (SXW)
    Tokyo Korakuen Hall


    1. Mitsuhide Hirasawa vs. Tetsuya Naito
    2. El Samurai vs. Yujiro
    3. Koji Kanemoto & Wataru Inoue vs. Minoru & Prince Devitt
    4. Tiger Mask & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Jushin Thunder Liger & Milano Collection AT
    5. Togi Makabe & Tomohiro Ishii vs. Kintaro Kanemura & Tetsuhiro Kuroda
    6. Naofumi Yamamoto vs. Toru Yano
    7. Masahiro Chono & Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Shiro Koshinaka
    8. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Manabu Nakanishi vs. Yuji Nagata & Takashi Iizuka
    9. IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Title & IJ Tag Team Title: Jado & Gedo (c) vs. Masaaki Mochizuki Dragon Gate & Don Fujii Dragon Gate (c)

    NJPW "CIRCUIT 2007 BATTLE HALL LIVE EXTRA ~FAN APPRECIATION DAY~", 1/8/07 (Samurai! TV)
    Tokyo Korakuen Hall


    1. El Samurai & Yujiro vs. Minoru & Masked Italiano
    2. Takashi Iizuka, Takashi Uwano & Naofumi Yamamoto vs. Jado, Gedo & Prince Devitt
    3. Jushin Thunder Liger & BxB Hulk Dragon Gate vs. Ryusuke Taguchi & Tetsuya Naito
    4. Riki Choshu & Tiger Mask vs. Manabu Nakanishi & Milano Collection AT
    5. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Wataru Inoue vs. Yuji Nagata & Koji Kanemoto


    Nagata/Muto, Italy Brothers, and Team NJPW event summaries by Stuart - 23 Dec 2006 - [Comments (5)]
    WRESTLE LAND (which began at 12:30pm) wasn't the only event hosted by New Japan today, as wrestlers were out and about after it, holding events with fans.


    Yuji Nagata and Keiji Muto had their much awaited talk show at the Sports Bar Climax today. Hosted by Katsuhiko "GK" Kanazawa, the event began with Nagata's salute pose, and he said that he had been doing business today, selling 1/4 Tokyo Dome tickets. The three discussed various things, such as the time when Nagata entered All Japan briefly (as himself and Lion Maru) and Muto's jump to All Japan. They also spoke about Nakanishi, Muto hearing for the first time that he has been put in charge of producing WRESTLE LAND for a while. Nagata said Nakanishi is called "God" in WL after Muto suggested he be called the "Emperor" or "Earl" of the brand. Muto revealed that he wants Nagata to win the Triple Crown from Suzuki on 1/4, because he hates Suzuki's mouth and attitude. A birthday cake for Muto, who turned 44 today, was then brought out and Nagata presented him with a bouquet of flowers. As a special surprise, Muto's famous impersonator, Lingerie Muto, appeared to wish his mentor a happy birthday. Muto then left and the event rushed into its second half, a chat between GK and Nagata. Nagata said a natural connection had been formed between he and Muto, their common bond being a hatred of the Triple Crown Champion, Suzuki. Nagata wants to slap Suzuki so hard that he bites his tongue off, which he believes will shut the bad man up for good and may make him cry. Nagata promised to show the potential power of Yuji Nagata, which hasn't been seen since his record-breaking IWGP Heavyweight Title reign, and showed a high level of motivation going into his first challenge for All Japan's greatest prize at the Tokyo Dome.


    Minoru and Milano, who are now being nicknamed the "Italy Brothers", hit the Toukon SHOP Suidobashi store this evening for a very successful event that was attended by about 150 fans. Despite being tired from a tough match with Tanahashi earlier, Milano was friendly to all fans, while Minoru also seemed a little tired after watching his sworn brother, Tanaka, fight in WRESTLE LAND. Milano wants his own "BROTHER", Minoru, to capture the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title from Kanemoto tomorrow and asked the fans who attended today to also show up at Korakuen and support CTU's ace. Both men were impressed by how many fans attended the event, because there was a snowstorm in Tokyo today, and Milano said, "Its my draw power!", which drew a smile from both men. The "Italy Brothers" completed their first event together and promised many more in future.


    A Christmas party was held this evening, featuring wrestlers and members of New Japan's fan club, Team NJPW. Tanahashi, Nagata, Nakanishi (an unscheduled appearance), Iizuka, Yamamoto, Tiger Mask, El Samurai, Wataru Inoue, Taguchi, Yujiro, Hirasawa, and Naito attended on the wrestlers' side, while 100 Team NJPW members also got access to the party, which saw wrestlers eat, drink, and party with fans. Chairman of the wrestlers, Iizuka, opened the event with a speech, then Tanahashi called a toast, from which the party rushed into pleasant talk time. Tanahashi, who was carrying the IWGP Heavyweight Title, was the most popular of the wrestlers today, and looked very happy. He received many hugs from female fans, but then male fans also wanted to hug him for his achievements this year, and were allowed to! After the event ended, wrestlers stood at the door and farewelled the fans one by one, ending another hugely successful event.


    [Results] WRESTLE LAND, 12/23/06 by Stuart - 23 Dec 2006 - [Comments (3)]

    Chapter eight of WRESTLE LAND ended its first half year (+1 month) in existence as part of a New Japan two brand double header at Korakuen Hall. The first match of note saw a repeat from September when BENTEN retired Edo Samurai in a character deprivation match. Unawares (to me at least), today's match between BENTEN and Samurai's "successor", El Purpose, had the same stipulation, whereby El Purpose would have to disappear if he lost. Well, he did lose, and to the same move as Edo Samurai, BENTEN's Yoshiwara Daien Mai. Jinsei Shinzaki and his young disciple, Shinjitsu Nohashi, made their first landing in WRESTLE LAND today, facing Jado & Gedo. A good match ended with the youngster being neutralized by the tag masters and tapping out to the Crossface of JADO. The newcomers shook hands with Jado & Gedo after the match and joined the WL army, looking set to become regulars in the brand. The WL army trio of Nakanishi, Tanaka & Taguchi suffered a surprising loss to TARU, Yano & Makai #6, Yano cradling Taguchi with his Uragasumi for the Makai Club win. Then came the big one, the main event, as Milano Collection AT fulfilled his reason for entering WL, facing the brand's ace, Hiroshi Tanahashi. What was said to be a very good match ended when Tanahashi spiked Milano with a release Dragon suplex, then dropped the High Fly Flow for a sweeping victory. When Tana was celebrating his victory, TARU, Yano, and the Makai Club ran in, again brandishing scissors and intending to cut Tanahashi's hair. However, the WL army ran in, beginning the latest Bonus Track. Nohashi was given a big chance in this, teaming with some of WL's top names against the Makai Club, and after using the Gokuraku Gatame, picked up the big win over Makai #6 with a Nenbutsu powerbomb. The Christmas fun didn't end there though as WL's new site foreman, Nakanishi, unveiled the one and only Nana Natsume (in Xmas costume) to Tanaka! Tanaka, who worships Natsume and watches her DVDs often, was over the moon, and the two raised each others' arms on the balcony to large cheers. Nakanishi finished the show with an "Ichi, ni, san... HOOO!" as Tanaka and Nana waved from the balcony, and WRESTLE LAND's year ended on a high note. WRESTLE LAND looks set to continue and hopefully evolve more in 2007, but no schedule has been announced yet.

    WRESTLE LAND "HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY CHRISTMAS", 12/23/06 (Samurai! TV)
    Tokyo Korakuen Hall
    1,100 Fans


    1. Tsubo Genjin & Gran Naniwa beat Makai Rey Cobra #5 & Asosan (9:04) when Naniwa used a ground Cobra Twist on Cobra.
    2. Makai #12 & Makai #13 beat Michiyoshi Ohara & Taichi Ishikari (7:33) when Makai #13 used a small package hold on Ishikari.
    3. El Purpose Character Deprivation Match (if he loses): BENTEN beat El Purpose (6:26) with the Yoshiwara Daien Mai.
    4. Jado & Gedo beat Jinsei Shinzaki Michinoku Pro & Shinjitsu Nohashi (13:06) when Jado used the Crossface of JADO on Nohashi.
    5. TARU, Toru Yano & Makai #6 beat Manabu Nakanishi, Tanaka & Ryusuke Taguchi (12:16) when Yano used the Uragasumi on Taguchi.
    6. Hiroshi Tanahashi beat Milano Collection AT (17:42) with the High Fly Flow.
    7. Bonus Track: Manabu Nakanishi, Tanaka, Jado, Ryusuke Taguchi & Shinjitsu Nohashi beat TARU, Toru Yano, Makai #6, Makai #12 & Makai #13 (2:42) when Nohashi used a Nenbutsu powerbomb on Makai #6.


    TenKoji's new move, Kanemoto promises greatness, WL eve, more by Stuart - 22 Dec 2006 - [Comments (10)]

    TenKoji held an open training session today at the New Japan dojo and announced that they have mastered a new double team technique called the TenCozy Driver. Quite simply, it is a combination of Tenzan's TTD (Tenzan Tombstone Driver) and Kojima's CCD (Cozy Crush Dynamite), and sees them spike the victim on his head with double force than their individual techniques. Young lion Tetsuya Naito was the experimental subject, but was dropped on a very soft cushioned mat. Tenzan said that whenever TenKoji use this move, the match will end. Since it isn't an overly difficult move to execute, he thinks that opponents of all types will be vulnerable to it. Tenzan said that TenKoji are back, but are now stronger and evolved from the era when they ruled tag wrestling, saying that not only have they created this move and won the Real World Tag League, but that they also have more new moves, such as a lariat/Anaconda slam combination and something called the Anaconda Cutter (left and right respectively in the photo). Kojima said that although he is anxious about the danger involved with the TenCozy Driver, he wants to show this technique on the large stage that is the Tokyo Dome. If possible, he wants TenKoji to hit both Muto and Chono with it successively. Kojima went on, saying this was his first trip to the New Japan dojo in five years, and that he recognized anew that this was his starting point, the place where he went through hell, where everything was painful, but a place without which he would never have gotten to the level he is at today. Both Tenzan and Kojima blasted Muto and Chono for refusing to practice together for the 1/4 match, calling their comments impolite and stupid. Tenzan said that when they defeat Muto and Chono on 1/4, TenKoji will be proven as the strongest tag team in pro wrestling.


    Although its too late to make a play for any awards, Kanemoto is promising that his match with Minoru on 12/24 at Korakuen Hall will be the treasure of his professional wrestling career. The signing ceremony was held for their second IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title match this year, following up on another good installment to their series on the 10/9 Sumo Hall show, which Kanemoto won to the surprise of many. Minoru had won the Best of the Super Jr. tournament in heroic fashion, but Kanemoto picked up serious momentum by reaching the semi finals of the traditionally heavyweight-dominated tournament, the G1 Climax. Minoru said he is very impatient for Christmas Eve this year, and is looking forward to putting a large gold belt in his Christmas stocking. Kanemoto said every match with Minoru is very important for him, and swore to put on a match at Korakuen Hall that will make people talk for a long time. President Simon, who oversaw the ceremony, said he is confident that New Japan's last match on 2006 can be New Japan's greatest match of 2006. Minoru said his plan is to draw Kanemoto into an "arm vs. leg" battle, because he thinks his Minoru Special can draw the tap out before Kanemoto's ankle hold.

    Tanahashi and Milano have their long awaited singles match on tomorrow's WRESTLE LAND show at Korakuen Hall. On the eve of WRESTLE LAND's biggest singles match to date, both men offered comments. Milano said his biggest wish has been granted, because the reason he entered WL was to get a singles match with Tanahashi. Although they have fought in several tags, the singles match is what he's really been after, and he promised to dazzle Tanahashi with "magic" tomorrow. Milano promised to create a Makai Club "happy ending", as all WL shows so far have ended with a happy ending from the WL army, even after the sole loss in a "Bonus Track". Tanahashi said that he has backed down from no challenges, despite a rough two brand schedule, and is looking forward to facing Milano. He admits that Milano is capable of "magic" in the ring, but doesn't believe it will work on him. His biggest wish is to fight Milano on even terms, with no petty tricks.

    Taiyo Kea, Tanahashi's next challenger for the IWGP Heavyweight Title, has also devised a new move that he is positive can win him the belt. It is a modified TKO34th and will target the right shoulder and right knee, which sure enough is where Tanahashi is injured at the moment. The move will apparently start like an Argentine backbreaker and end with the victim being dropped on his right side in some way.

    Kanemoto vs. Minoru may light up Korakuen on Christmas Eve, but there could be more fireworks. Minoru's pal, Masaaki Mochizuki, won DRAGON GATE's King of Gate tournament (their G1/Champion Carnival type tournament) today, and with his WAR International Jr. Heavyweight Tag Title co-holder, Don Fujii, promised to invade New Japan's 12/24 show. Their target? The IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Title, held by Minoru's CTU allies, Jado & Gedo. Jado & Gedo have no defenses lined up, with NOSAWA & MAZADA not being given a shot on 1/4, so the DRAGON GATE team could be set to challenge, possibly in a double title match in February.

    Only two tapings have been announced for the "NEW JAPAN 35TH ANNIVERSARY TOUR ~ CIRCUIT 2007 NEW JAPAN ISM" series, that begins the 2007 touring year. The 2/13 Osaka Central Gymnasium #2 show will be an SXW taping while the 2/18 Sumo Hall show will naturally be a WPW taping. With no Samurai! TV tapings listed yet, more may still be to come, like one for the Black Cat memorial show at Korakuen on 1/27.


    LOCK UP at Korakuen, Nagata's invitation, Chono & Muto confident by Stuart - 18 Dec 2006 - [Comments (4)]
    LOCK UP begins its expansion, much like WRESTLE LAND has, with an advance on Korakuen Hall on 2/4/07. Tickets are pretty cheap (compared to the main brand) and Choshu is hoping to put a card on that justifies the expansion. There has been a rumour in Japan that New Japan will book 25 Korakuen shows in 2007, and considering there are already four (three for the main brand, one for LOCK UP) announced for January to February (and possibly a WL show there yet to come), that might not be far from the truth.

    Nagata has sent an open invitation to Triple Crown Champion and 2006 MVP of the Japanese pro wrestling industry, Minoru Suzuki, to attend New Japan's 12/24 Korakuen Hall show. Nagata wants Suzuki to research him so that he (Nagata) has Suzuki at his best when they battle over All Japan's greatest prize.

    Chono and Muto are saying that they won't even prepare for their match on 1/4 at the Tokyo Dome, such is their confident of beating their disciples, Tenzan and Kojima. They claim to be masters of pro wrestling and believes the thrill of the sport is fighting without rehearsal. Although Chono and Tenzan are on poor terms after splitting earlier this year, Muto and Kojima have been civil for a long time. But things are starting to get nasty between them, and Kojima is laughing at Muto, saying he and Chono will become TenKoji's steps.

    Just a reminder that the site awards are nearing their close date, which is 1/2. I will post one more full reminder on the front page if I remember, but if you haven't sent in your entries yet, now is the time to start thinking about emailing them to me.


    Tanahashi's world strategy, show cancelled, Liger in WMF by Stuart - 17 Dec 2006 - [Comments (23)]
    Supposing he beats Kea on 1/4 at the Tokyo Dome, Tanahashi wants to defend his title overseas. During his contract signing in January, he's going to speak to management about setting up overseas defenses, including one in TNA. Tanahashi said he hasn't forgotten the fans chanting his name in TNA, and wants to return a year later to show them how much his status has improved since then.

    New Japan has had to cancel its 2/17 Furukawa house show for unknown reasons. Apparently, they will try to reschedule it for another date in 2007, but the first tour of 2007 is now a twelve match series.

    Liger's pilgrimage between tours continued today when he acted as Soldier's opponent when Soldier returned to his local Toyohashi. Liger won the match with his brainbuster and added yet another promotion to the long list of ones he has appeared in.

    WMF, 12/17/06
    Toyohashi City Gymnasium #2


    - Jushin Thunder Liger New Japan beat Soldier (13:33) with a brainbuster.


    Liger & Minoru in Bikkuri, New Japan/WWE resurfaces, other notes by Stuart - 14 Dec 2006 - [Comments (25)]

    CTU stars, Liger and Minoru, appeared on the second Bikkuri Pro event tonight at Korakuen Hall as special guests, and both were triumphant. Minoru fended off a spirited challenge from one of the top up-and-commers of the indie scene, Kota Iibushi, submitting him with the Minoru Special. An old grudge returned when DRAGON GATE regular, Magnitude Kishiwada, battled red-and-white Liger. Kishiwada, formerly Osaka Pro's Big Boss MA-G-MA, had a bitter feud with Liger in 2004, which led to him appearing in that year's Best of the Super Jr. tournament, and they had another exciting installment today, Liger winning a close match after three successive brainbusters.

    Bikkuri Pro-Wrestling, 12/14/06
    Tokyo Korakuen Hall


    - Minoru New Japan beat Kota Iibushi Dramatic Dream Team (13:20) with the Minoru Special.
    - Jushin Thunder Liger New Japan beat Magnitude Kishiwada (26:32) with a brainbuster.


    The signing ceremonies for both Tanahashi vs. Kea (IWGP Heavyweight) and Suzuki vs. Nagata (Triple Crown) will be held at All Japan's Korakuen New Year double header, on 1/2 and 1/3 respectively. The Muto, Kea & TAKA vs. Tanahashi, Iizuka & Yujiro trios match on 1/2 is being pushed as the one and only preliminary skirmish for Tanahashi vs. Kea two days later.

    In something of a first for a New Japan executive, vice-president Naoki Sugehayashi has opened a new public blog. It can be found at this link. In his 12/14 entry, Sugehayashi says he was surprised by how good Tanahashi vs. Nakamura was, saying they had exceeded their previous limits, shown their growth, and really impressed the fans with a tense match. He is especially impressed with Tanahashi, who he believes is maturing into his role, and the VP said he saw the future of New Japan in Aichi. He said merchandise and pamphlets also sold really well at the show, and was very happy with a good end to the year, and hopes that the 1/4 Tokyo Dome show can also succeed.

    What is happening between New Japan and WWE? Just when you thought talk of a relationship between the companies had died down, something new pops up at WWE.com. They report the following (and apparently, Antonio Inoki took his son's place as New Japan president... but he actually hasn't, unless they typo'd Simon's name or know something we don't).

    New Japan meets with WWE
    December 14, 2006

    During his visit to the United States, President of New Japan Pro Wrestling Antonio Inoki stopped by WWE World Headquarters in Stamford, Conn. to meet with Executive Vice President of Talent Relations John Laurinaitis.

    During the brief, cordial meeting, both sides discussed possible business ventures in the future between WWE and New Japan Pro Wrestling - the largest wrestling promotion in Japan.

    Check back with WWE.com as more details on New Japan and WWE become available.



    New Japan wrestlers on All Japan shows, new 1/4 poster by Stuart - 13 Dec 2006 - [Comments (13)]
    All Japan begins its 2006 on 1/2 and 1/3 at Korakuen Hall, and New Japan will dispatch a horde of wrestlers as part of the close working agreement that has formed, one that is likely to progress throughout 2007 with many interesting matches. Tanahashi, Iizuka, and young lion Yujiro will appear on the 1/2 show, while New Japan also sends a junior legion comprised of Kanemoto, Liger, Tiger Mask, Minoru, Milano, Wataru, Jado, and Gedo, to appear in the New Year Jr. Battle Royal on 1/3 (the NJ heavyweights could also appear in the New Year Heavyweight Battle Royal on 1/2).

    All Japan, 1/2/07
    Tokyo Korakuen Hall


    - Keiji Muto, Taiyo Kea & TAKA Michinoku Kaientai Dojo vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi New Japan, Takashi Iizuka New Japan & Yujiro New Japan

    All Japan, 1/3/07
    Tokyo Korakuen Hall


    - New Year Jr. Battle Royal featuring Kaz Hayashi, Shuji Kondo, TAKA Michinoku Kaientai Dojo NOSAWA, MAZADA, "brother" YASSHI, Koji Kanemoto New Japan, Jushin Thunder Liger New Japan, Tiger Mask New Japan, Minoru New Japan, Milano Collection AT New Japan, Wataru Inoue New Japan, Jado New Japan & Gedo New Japan


    Here is the new poster for 1/4 after the full card was announced...




    1/4 Tokyo Dome full card! by Stuart - 12 Dec 2006 - [Comments (49)]

    New Japan today announced the full card for its annual "WRESTLING WORLD" show at the Tokyo Dome, which as we all know will have full support from All Japan. The two title matches will be a "double main event", but the dream tag match will finish the show. Due to so many wrestlers being on the card, some big names are in multi-person tags, but the big addition today was a new generation vs. old generation dream match between Shinsuke Nakamura and Toshiaki Kawada! Kawada has always been a very difficult wall to cross for young wrestlers, so this is Nakamura's chance to blow off his loss to Tanahashi (who won Tokyo Sports' Fighting Spirit Award earlier) and begin 2007 on a high note. Nakamura said he used to watch Kawada on TV and was a big fan of his fight style, so is excited about this match. For one day, Kawada plans to represent All Japan, the company he left last year, because it is the company's 35th anniversary year, much like it is New Japan's. New Japan Sekigun members Choshu, Nakanishi, Iizuka & Yamamoto (his new shirts have sold out again) will battle Voodoo Murders+Bernard, a fearsome group comprised of TARU, Bernard, Suwama & RO'Z, this off the heels of VM's recent invasion of the main brand. Meanwhile, GBH's Makabe, Yano & Ishii will face the BLACK+VM gaijin alliance of D-Lo, Buchanan & Tomko. Two of the most prolific heel teams in junior tag wrestling, Jado & Gedo and NOSAWA & MAZADA, battle each other in an undercard attraction, but the IWGP Jr. Tag Team Title won't be on the line. The opening match features many comedic or funky wrestlers in a special opening attraction, with Kikutaro promising to start a show as only he can. A very appealing lineup up and down, the only disappointments maybe being the lack of Kurt Angle, who was so close to working the show, and no Wild Child.

    NJPW "WRESTLE KINGDOM IN TOKYO DOME", 1/4/07 (WPW/PPV)
    Tokyo Dome


    1. WELCOME TO TOKYO DOME! New Year Funny Waltz: Masanobu Fuchi All Japan, El Samurai & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Kikutaro, Nobutaka Araya All Japan & Akira Raijin All Japan
    2. Artistic Tag Team Battle: Jado & Gedo vs. NOSAWA & MAZADA
    3. Rockin' Your Hearts of Fxxxing Outlaws: Togi Makabe, Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii vs. D-Lo Brown All Japan, Buchanan All Japan & Travis Tomko
    4. Dimension Zero: Riki Choshu, Manabu Nakanishi, Takashi Iizuka & Naofumi Yamamoto vs. TARU, Suwama All Japan, RO'Z All Japan & Giant Bernard
    5. Top of the World ~ Arts of War: Koji Kanemoto, Tiger Mask, Kaz Hayashi All Japan, TAKA Michinoku Kaientai Dojo & Wataru Inoue vs. Jushin Thunder Liger, Minoru, Milano Collection AT, Shuji Kondo & "brother" YASSHI
    6. Dangerous Rapture: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Toshiaki Kawada All Japan
    7. Triple Crown: Minoru Suzuki (c) vs. Yuji Nagata
    8. IWGP Heavyweight Title: Hiroshi Tanahashi (c) vs. Taiyo Kea All Japan
    9. Super Dream Tag Match ~ "This is Wrestle Kingdom": Keiji Muto All Japan & Masahiro Chono vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima All Japan


    WL 12/23 & NJ 12/24 full cards! by Stuart - 11 Dec 2006 - [Comments (3)]

    The long awaited Tanahashi vs. Milano singles match will headline WRESTLE LAND's last show of the year on 12/23, the two headlining it in a main event. Underneath it, there are several attractions, including a "good vs. evil" tag match between priests, Jinsei Shinzaki & Shinjitsu Nohashi (Shinzaki's disciple) and Jado & Gedo. The 12/24 New Japan show has three new matches, including Iizuka vs. Nakamura in a match where Shinsuke will look to bounce back from his loss to Tanahashi, and a big Tanahashi & Nakanishi vs. Nagata & Yamamoto tag match.

    WRESTLE LAND "HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY CHRISTMAS", 12/23/06 (Samurai! TV)
    Tokyo Korakuen Hall


    1. Tsubo Genjin & Gran Naniwa vs. Makai Rey Cobra #5 & Asosan
    2. El Purpose vs. BENTEN
    3. Michiyoshi Ohara & Taichi Ishikari vs. Makai #12 & Makai #13
    4. Jado & Gedo vs. Jinsei Shinzaki Michinoku Pro & Shinjitsu Nohashi
    5. Manabu Nakanishi, Tanaka & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. TARU, Toru Yano & Makai #6
    6. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Milano Collection AT

    NJPW "BATTLE XMAS! CATCH THE VICTORY", 12/24/06 (SXW)
    Tokyo Korakuen Hall


    Part 1
    1. CTU KISS-JISS & CTU KISS-GESS vs. Wataru Inoue & Ryusuke Taguchi
    2. CTU CATS-THUNDER.TAMA & CTU CATS-MIKE.AT vs. Tiger Mask & Xmas Tiger
    Part 2
    3. Mitsuhide Hirasawa vs. Tetsuya Naito
    4. Takashi Iizuka vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
    5. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Manabu Nakanishi vs. Yuji Nagata & Naofumi Yamamoto
    6. IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title: Koji Kanemoto (c) vs. Minoru


    [Results] New Japan, 12/10/06 by Stuart - 10 Dec 2006 - [Comments (25)]

    --> "CIRCUIT 2006 FINAL ~NEXT PROGRESS~" <--
    Hiroshi Tanahashi defied the odds, handing the bigger and stronger Shinsuke Nakamura his first major defeat since returning from America. New Japan ran its third and final show of 2006 at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium, the young generation super-fight drawing the company's best crowd at its hotbed for a long time, a more or less full house of 9,500 fans. The match built up gradually and with it the fans got warmer and warmer, until they were very loud by the end. The two put on a great show, making up for their cold match in Sapporo earlier this year, and it was described by one local as the best match they could have at this stage of their careers. Towards the end, the action was really frantic, back and forth, with some great moments. Tanahashi finally won the match, completing a year of immense growth, pinning his rival with a Dragon suplex hold. Tanahashi told the fans after the match that Nakamura is his rival, and its likely that they will continue fighting for over ten years, so they are just beginning their story. He told the fans that their support had helped, and that he loves them all. Backstage, Tanahashi continued to talk about what an important day for him this was, how he feels he has gone up a level now. His next aim is to fend off what should be a very difficult challenge from 2006 Champion Carnival winner and the previous Triple Crown Champion, Taiyo Kea, at the Tokyo Dome on 1/4. Despite having more experience than Tanahashi, Kea is a similar age, so Tanahashi thinks the match will be another important one in bringing forth the young generation's era. After badmouthing him so much, Nakamura said that he now accepts Tanahashi, and he will fight from now on to recapture the title he loves. Nakamura said everything he has done since returning has been lost, and that he will start from "0" again now.

    The extremely popular tag team of Wild Child, Nakanishi & Omori, finally got to defend the belts they were awarded, the IWGP Tag Team Title. They faced the same team they actually beat to become provisional champions in July, GBH's Makabe & Koshinaka, who were able to put up a good challenge, almost capturing the belts on several occasions. But after hitting Koshinaka with their double team technique, the Washington Jouyaku, Nakanishi dropped him with the Hercules Cutter to cement a successful V1 defense. After being completely outwitted and dominated in lead-in matches, Jado & Gedo finally beat CMLL's Negro Casas & El Texano Jr. at their own game, defeating them under Mexican rules. It has been a torrid ride for the famous tandem, but they won in two straight falls today, Jado using his crossface to submit both young Texano and legend Casas. Despite holding on to the main title, Sekigun continued to struggle against BLACK and GBH in multi-person matches. Choshu, Nagata & Uwano were beaten by BLACK's Chono, Bernard & Liger, while Iizuka, Yamamoto & Taguchi fell to GBH's Tenzan, Yano & Ishii. On the junior side underneath, honours were even, but Jr. Sekigun also lost their main match when Kanemoto & Wataru fell to Minoru & Milano. The back and forth between Kanemoto and Minoru, which has been going on all tour now leading into their Christmas Eve title match, continued, Koji tapping out to the Minoru Special. Tiger Mask did manage a win for the home team though, pinning Prince Devitt with his Tiger suplex hold. Excluding the 12/24 show, "CIRCUIT 2006 FINAL ~NEXT PROGRESS~" finished what has been a very progressive year for New Japan, a year that has particularly accelerated since August's G1, and this tour managed some great attendances, averaging almost 3,000 fans per show, despite no major 10,000+ seaters being booked.

    NJPW, 12/10/06 (WPW)
    Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium
    9,500 Fans
    - Super No Vacancy

    1. NEW JAPAN DOJO SPIRIT: Yujiro beat Tetsuya Naito (6:42) with a crab hold.
    2. New Japan vs. CTU Challenge Singles: Tiger Mask beat Prince Devitt (9:27) with a Tiger suplex hold.
    3. New Japan vs. CTU & BROTHER: Minoru & Milano Collection AT beat Koji Kanemoto & Wataru Inoue (13:00) when Minoru used the Minoru Special on Kanemoto.
    4. New Japan vs. GBH FUSION Tag: Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii beat Takashi Iizuka, Naofumi Yamamoto & Ryusuke Taguchi (13:25) when Tenzan used the TTD on Taguchi.
    5. New Japan vs. BLACK FUSION Tag: Masahiro Chono, Giant Bernard & Jushin Thunder Liger beat Riki Choshu, Yuji Nagata & Takashi Uwano (9:49) when Bernard used the Bernard bomb on Uwano.
    6. IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Title - Mexican Rules: Jado & Gedo (c) beat Negro Casas & El Texano Jr. (9:19). Jado used the Crossface of JADO on Texano (6:40). Jado used the Crossface of JADO on Casas (9:19) (1st defense).
    7. IWGP Tag Team Title: Manabu Nakanishi & Takao Omori ZERO1-MAX (c) beat Togi Makabe & Shiro Koshinaka (17:17) when Nakanishi used the Hercules Cutter on Koshinaka (1st defense).
    8. IWGP Heavyweight Title: Hiroshi Tanahashi (c) beat Shinsuke Nakamura (22:44) with a Dragon suplex hold (2nd defense).


    1/4 TV special, Muto/Chono commercial, K. Nagata's 12/31 fight by Stuart - 10 Dec 2006 - [Comments (1)]

    New Japan announced today that in addition to the live PPV for the 1/4 Tokyo Dome show, TV Asahi has given the event a special 70 minute timeslot from 1:10am to 2:20am, just hours after the show ends.

    Legends, Keiji Muto and Masahiro Chono, head up a new commercial for the 1/4 show, which you can see here.


    New Japan's MMA representative, Katsuhiko Nagata, will have another big New Year's Eve fight at K-1's annual "DYNAMITE!!" show, when he battles Shuichiro Katsumura. This will be the one year anniversary since Katsuhiko's MMA debut, when he scored an unlikely win over Remigijus Morkevicius.


    [Results] New Japan, 12/9/06 by Stuart - 09 Dec 2006 - [Comments (0)]
    --> "CIRCUIT 2006 FINAL ~NEXT PROGRESS~" <--
    One day before the big Aichi tour climax, Tanahashi and Nakamura had their last preliminary skirmish and it went the way of the champion. Both young men led their teams in a trios match and supposedly lost their temper with each other more than once. Nagata finished the match, submitting Devitt with his Nagata Lock II, then sticking out his tongue, ala Minoru Suzuki, ahead of their Triple Crown match at the Tokyo Dome. Tanahashi said backstage that a very important day for himself and the fans of New Japan would come tomorrow, and said everything would be made clear. Nakamura was a little disappointed at not taking the fall from Tanahashi, both men having failed to pin or submit the other leading in, but is very confident of a title win tomorrow. Today's main event saw Chono finally gain revenge on Makabe, after Makabe pinned the BLACK leader in two Chono & Nakamura vs. Makabe & Koshinaka tag matches. Despite a spirited fight from the WEW World Champion, the difference in rank between the two was still clear, and Chono pinned Tenzan's second-in-command after a Shining Yakuza kick. Jado & Gedo are getting worried, after they today lost their third lead-in match in a row to Casas & Texano under Mexican rules. The CMLL men have constantly outwitted the junior tag kings under this format, and tomorrow's title match will also be fought under this format. By the way, Milano Collection AT returned from his hiatus today, replacing Masked Italiano of course.

    NJPW, 12/9/06
    Ishikawa Industrial Exhibition Hall #3
    1,200 Fans


    1. NEW JAPAN SPIRIT Challenge Tag: El Samurai & Ryusuke Taguchi beat Mitsuhide Hirasawa & Tetsuya Naito (10:01) when Taguchi used a German suplex hold on Naito.
    2. New Japan vs. GBH: Tomohiro Ishii beat Yujiro (7:01) with a lariat.
    3. Tiger & CMLL Union vs. CTU - Mexican Rules: Tiger Mask, Negro Casas & El Texano Jr. beat Jado, Gedo & Milano Collection AT (10:00) when Casas used a la magistral on Jado.
    4. New Japan vs. CTU: Jushin Thunder Liger & Minoru beat Koji Kanemoto & Wataru Inoue (14:53) when Liger used a small package hold on Inoue.
    5. New Japan vs. GBH: Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Shiro Koshinaka & Toru Yano beat Riki Choshu, Takashi Iizuka & Takashi Uwano (11:40) when Koshinaka used a powerbomb on Uwano.
    6. New Japan vs. BLACK FUSION Tag: Hiroshi Tanahashi, Yuji Nagata & Naofumi Yamamoto beat Shinsuke Nakamura, Giant Bernard & Prince Devitt (16:44) when Nagata used the Nagata Lock II on Devitt.
    7. BLACK vs. GBH Special Singles: Masahiro Chono beat Togi Makabe (10:49) with a Shining Yakuza kick.


    Junior all-star match added to 1/4! by Stuart - 08 Dec 2006 - [Comments (19)]
    Titans of Japanese pro wrestling's junior community will gather at the Tokyo Dome in an all-star ten man tag match announced today, which features wrestlers from four different promotions. Koji Kanemoto leads his team of Tiger Mask, Kaz Hayashi, TAKA & Wataru against the dastardly CTU/Voodoo Murders union of Liger, Minoru, Milano, Kondo & YASSHI. The match will feature the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion (Kanemoto or Minoru), the NWA Jr. Heavyweight Champion (Tiger Mask), the AJPW World Jr. Heavyweight Champion (Kondo), the 2006 Best of the Super Jr. winner (Minoru), and the 2006 All Japan Jr. Heavyweight League winner (Hayashi). Vice-president Sugehayashi believes it is a match that can appeal to all kinds of wrestling fans, particularly New Japan and All Japan followers.

    NJPW "WRESTLE KINGDOM IN TOKYO DOME", 1/4/07 (WPW)
    Tokyo Dome


    1. Koji Kanemoto, Tiger Mask, Kaz Hayashi All Japan, TAKA Michinoku Kaientai Dojo & Wataru Inoue vs. Jushin Thunder Liger, Minoru, Milano Collection AT, Shuji Kondo & "brother" YASSHI
    2. Super Dream Tag Match ~ "This is Wrestle Kingdom": Keiji Muto All Japan & Masahiro Chono vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima All Japan
    3. Triple Crown: Minoru Suzuki (c) vs. Yuji Nagata
    4. IWGP Heavyweight Title: Winner of Tanahashi/Nakamura (c) vs. Taiyo Kea All Japan


    A couple of 2007 schedule updates. The 1/27 Korakuen show, which opens "NEW JAPAN 35TH ANNIVERSARY TOUR ~ CIRCUIT 2007 NEW JAPAN ISM" has been titled "BLACK CAT LA ACTUACION LAMENTANDO" and will commemorate former New Japan wrestler/referee/translator Black Cat a year after his untimely death. Secondly, the March tour will be called "NEW JAPAN 35TH ANNIVERSARY TOUR ~ CIRCUIT 2007 NEW JAPAN EVOLUTION", and a show on 3/3 at Hiratsuka City Gymnasium has already been announced for it.


    [Results] WRESTLE LAND, 12/8/06 by Stuart - 08 Dec 2006 - [Comments (4)]

    ~Professional Wrestling Happy Land~ aka WRESTLE LAND had its seventh installment today in Osaka. Part two of New Japan's double header in Osaka was another success, with WL managing a strong crowd of 1,400 for its first show in the region, the experimental brand continuing to enjoy popularity in its first year. It began with the return of Naniwa vs. Tsubo, the usual comedy antics ending when Naniwa rolled up Genjin for th win. After their falling out, El Purpose and Ishikari then locked horns, Purpose pinning the former All Japan youngster. Daigoro Kashiwa, one third of the original Happy-gun with Yano and Teppei Ishizaka (who is on the shelf right now), returned to WRESTLE LAND after an absence, bringing a mystery partner in an attempt to gain revenge on Yano and his new Makai Happy-gun ally, Makai #21. The fans were treated to a big surprise when local favourite, Osaka Pro's Tigers Mask, made his first landing in WL! Another comical match ended when Yano slammed his former friend Kashiwa into the mat with the Oni Koroshi for the win, Happy-gun repelled by its founder. "God" Manabu Nakanishi continued to enjoy extraordinary popularity when teaming with Taguchi, the two beating Makai Masked Canadian & Makai #14. Nakanishi dropped #14 with the Hercules Cutter, allowing the Funky Weapon to cover for the WL victory. One of the most anticipated matches of the show saw Jado & Gedo face Voodoo Murders' Kondo & YASSHI, who they picked a quarrel with at the last Korakuen show. Despite more entertaining action, leaving the match we still lacked a clean finish, as Jado was DQ'd for hitting the referee in a moment of recklessness, meaning this feud goes on (and who can complain?).

    The Makai Club/VM union also won the main event, in more convincing fashion, when TARU, Milano & Makai #2 beat Tanahashi, Tanaka & Pegasus Kid, Makai #2 lariating Kid for the victory. Pegasus' mask was torn after the match and was stood on his head, absolutely humiliated by the villains. Nakanishi then ran in, beginning the "Bonus Track", which saw the Makai Club/VM union throw FOUR men at him in a Handicap Match. Nakanishi ran through them all (Makai #2, Makai #14, Makai #21 & "brother" YASSHI), missile kicking all of them at once, then pinning them all for the three count x4! Nakanishi, who may be the ace of WL now, again fastened the show with his "1-2-3-HOOOOO!" call, supported by Tanahashi and Tanaka. Backstage, the three commented on the show to reporters, Tanaka saying the Osaka fans were as warm as always, and he enjoyed wrestling in front of them. Tanaka said that so far, an official "Nakanishi Land" show hasn't been approved, but thinks Nakanishi should take charge of the 12/23 WL Christmas show at Korakuen, saying it could be a greater present to fans than even Nana Natsume DVDs. Tanahashi asked aloud where WL would run to from now on, what its targets would be, still thinking it can grow and expand. Nakanishi, who appointed himself site foreman of WL in Hirata's absence today, wants to evolve WL as "Nakanishi Land", and called himself a travelling professional wrestler in search of new things.

    WRESTLE LAND "HAPPY TOWN OSAKA FIRST LANDING", 12/8/06 (Samurai! TV)
    Osaka Central Public Hall
    1,400 Fans
    - No Vacancy

    1. Gran Naniwa beat Tsubo Genjin (3:47) with a schoolboy.
    2. El Purpose beat Taichi Ishikari (7:01) with an inside cradle.
    3. Happy-gun vs. Makai Happy-gun: Toru Yano & Makai #21 beat Daigoro Kashiwa Kaientai Dojo & Tigers Mask Osaka Pro (8:14) when Yano used the Oni Koroshi on Kashiwa.
    4. Manabu Nakanishi & Ryusuke Taguchi beat Makai Masked Canadian & Makai #14 (11:09) when Taguchi pinned Makai #14 after Nakanishi used the Hercules Cutter.
    5. Shuji Kondo & "brother" YASSHI beat Jado & Gedo (11:45) when Jado was DQ'd.
    6. TARU, Milano Collection AT & Makai #2 beat Hiroshi Tanahashi, Tanaka & Pegasus Kid (15:14) when Makai #2 used a lariat on Kid.
    7. Bonus Track ~ Handicap Match: Manabu Nakanishi beat Makai #2, Makai #14, Makai #21 & "brother" YASSHI (1:21) by pinning all four men after using a missile kick.




    [Results] New Japan, 12/7/06 by Stuart - 07 Dec 2006 - [Comments (9)]

    --> "CIRCUIT 2006 FINAL ~NEXT PROGRESS~" <--
    What has been a very successful tour so far for New Japan resumed today with part one of a double header at Osaka Central Public Hall. Today's show was the third sell out in a row, while tomorrow's show sees WRESTLE LAND in the building, and it will be interesting to see whether or not it can come within a few hundred fans of New Japan's number there. The young generation aces, Tanahashi and Nakamura, ahead of their big title match in Aichi, both won difficult singles matches today. Tanahashi defeated big senior Koshinaka, always a tough test for young wrestlers, while Nakamura bested generation rival, Yano, pinning him after hitting the Landslide. They had the signing ceremony for their match before the show, Tanahashi saying Nakamura is the best challenger, but he is the best champion. The junior feuds also advanced, Kanemoto and Minoru continuing to trade falls before their end-of-year IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title match on 12/24 at Korakuen. After hitting Tiger Mask with a hammer, then rolling him up (while pulling tights), Masked Italiano voluntarily unmasked, revealing who else but Milano Collection AT. Milano said to Tiger Mask, "Idiot. I am Milano. Did you think I'd really keep my promise?", then left to loud boos. Voodoo Murders surprisingly intruded after the fifth match, occupying the ring. Suwama, All Japan's young generation ace, made his first appearance with VM in New Japan, meaning the native side of VM was out in full force. YASSHI grabbed the microphone and said All Japan's strongest army was here to greet the fans. TARU repeatedly provoked Choshu, so the Sekigun team that had just lost their match, plus Nakanishi and Yamamoto, started brawling with VM. Bernard, one of the original VM members, and Tomko, then ran in and helped VM! Bernard was revealed to have been a spy of VM in New Japan, revealing that he still has ties to them, and the group left in a taxi. Yamamoto said he can't permit such actions, and told Choshu that he needn't concern himself with them. Yamamoto asked the site foreman to let him lead a charge against Suwama and company, which could roll over to the 1/4 Tokyo Dome show.

    NJPW, 12/7/06 (SXW)
    Osaka Central Public Hall
    1,600 Fans
    - Super No Vacancy

    1. NEW JAPAN DOJO SPIRIT: Tetsuya Naito beat Mitsuhide Hirasawa (7:35) with a flying cross armbreaker.
    2. NEW JAPAN SPIRIT Challenge Singles: El Samurai beat Yujiro (9:24) with a chickenwing armlock.
    3. New Japan vs. CTU: Jushin Thunder Liger, Masked Italiano & Prince Devitt beat Tiger Mask, Wataru Inoue & Ryusuke Taguchi (12:43) when Italiano used a pull-tights schoolboy on Tiger.
    4. ANIKI & CMLL Union vs. CTU - Mexican Rules: Koji Kanemoto, Negro Casas & El Texano Jr. beat Minoru, Jado & Gedo (12:45) when Kanemoto used an ankle hold on Minoru.
    5. New Japan vs. GBH: Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Togi Makabe & Tomohiro Ishii beat Riki Choshu, Takashi Iizuka & Takashi Uwano (11:58) when Makabe used a lariat on Uwano.
    6. BLACK vs. GBH Special Singles: Shinsuke Nakamura beat Toru Yano (9:30) with the Landslide.
    7. New Japan vs. GBH Special Singles: Hiroshi Tanahashi beat Shiro Koshinaka (12:03) with the High Fly Flow.
    8. NEW JAPAN vs. BLACK: Masahiro Chono, Giant Bernard & Travis Tomko beat Yuji Nagata, Manabu Nakanishi & Naofumi Yamamoto (16:16) when Bernard used the Bernard Driver on Yamamoto.


    [Now Open] Strong Style Spirit 2006 Awards by Stuart - 06 Dec 2006 - [Comments (5)]
    SECOND CALL! (I'll post one or two more before the deadline; the turnout so far has been fine, what I expected given the lack of incentives, but I know there may be more to come)

    It's time for the fifth annual Strong Style Spirit site awards! Each year, visitors of the site get to vote on several categories relating to the year's events in New Japan. The 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005 awards all helped determine who was hot and who was not in New Japan in those years among English-speaking fans, and I'm hoping for the same this year. Unlike previous years though, I'm not offering "incentives" for voting this time. I considered this a lot, but whenever I do this, a lot of people seem to send "template" ballots in without any thought, which kind of waters down the awards. By not offering free DVDs or the like, I feel that while the turnout may be much smaller, people who really follow the product will be the ones who vote. Depending on the popularity of the awards without incentives offered, I will consider whether to keep the awards going next year.

    Instead of a "Young Lion Prize" this year, I've decided to instead introduce a "New Wave Award" as there are only a few wrestlers who are truly young lions at the moment. This award covers newcomers, but not strictly young lions. Additionally, I've scrapped the "Foreign MVP" category and will include any relevant foreigners in other awards. Please send at least a top five (in order of preference) for each category, as that makes it easier for me to tally the votes then (I use a points system). If there is any award you don't feel you can compile a top five for, just skip them, as I need five (not four or three) to properly count the votes. All submissions should be sent to me by email, with the deadline being 1/2/07. The results will be announced shortly after. If you still have footage to watch, there is no hurry, just remember the deadline. Unlike recent years, there is a change to the voting calendar. The timeframe for voting this year is December, 2005 to November, 2006. Below are the categories.

    - Heavyweight MVP (the best heavyweight of the year, in terms of talent, success, and contributions to New Japan)
    - Junior Heavyweight MVP (the best junior heavyweight of the year, in terms of talent, success, and contributions to New Japan)
    - Tag Team MVP (the best tag team of the year, in terms of talent, success, and contributions to New Japan)
    - Singles Best Bout (the singles match you enjoyed the most)
    - Tag Team Best Bout (the tag match you enjoyed the most)
    - New Wave Award (the newcomer who made the biggest impression on you)
    - Technique Award (the best technician of the year; consider their mat wrestling and ability to piece a match together)
    - Fighting Spirit Award (the wrestler who showed the most energy and spirit in matches)
    - Image Award (the wrestler with the best character or look)

    You can find a comprehensive list of candidates for each award at the "2006 SSS Awards" page, which you will also be able to find at the top on the left for quick viewing.

    Note: I need them by email. You can post them in comment threads if you want, but I also need them by email, so I can store them all in one folder for tallying.


    [Results] New Japan, 12/5/06 & 12/24 card update by Stuart - 05 Dec 2006 - [Comments (17)]
    --> "CIRCUIT 2006 FINAL ~NEXT PROGRESS~" <--
    Tenzan made his triumphant return to New Japan this evening after conquering All Japan's Real World Tag League with old friend Kojima. However, Tenzan's return wasn't enough for GBH in a big eight man tag main event against BLACK, Chono and Nakamura's crew besting Tenzan's army when Chono rolled up Yano. Tenzan was unphased by the defeat, and said GBH is the future of New Japan and that on 1/4, TenKoji will crush their former teachers, Muto & Chono. GBH was also beaten in the semi when IWGP Heavyweight Champion, Tanahashi, pinned Ishii in a competitive non-title match. Tanahashi has a higher ranked GBH member, Koshinaka, on the next show, in what will be their first singles match since the 2002 G1. Masked Italiano again returned today and had to contend with a furious Tiger Mask, who is really pissed off after risking his mask against Milano's New Japan career, only for Milano to cheaply go back on the stipulation... assuming he is Masked Italiano! CTU won today and apparently Jr. Sekigun is very angry now. CTU are being troubled by the Mexicans though, as the build-up to Jado & Gedo vs. Casas & Texano continues. The string of "Mexican Rules" matches continued, th CMLL combination teaming with El Samurai in victory over Jado, Gedo & Devitt, both Devitt and Gedo being pinned.

    NJPW, 12/5/06
    Tex Port Imabari
    1,450 Fans
    - Super No Vacancy

    1. NEW JAPAN DOJO SPIRIT: Yujiro beat Mitsuhide Hirasawa (7:15) with a crab hold.
    2. MEXICAN SPIRIT vs. CTU Special Tag - Mexican Rules: El Samurai, Negro Casas & El Texano Jr. beat Jado, Gedo & Prince Devitt (11:15). Samurai used the Samurai clutch on Devitt (9:36). Casas used a la magistral on Gedo (11:15).
    3. NEW JAPAN SPIRIT Challenge Singles: Ryusuke Taguchi beat Tetsuya Naito (7:46) with a German suplex.
    4. Super Challenge Singles: Manabu Nakanishi beat Takashi Uwano (8:04) with a one leg hammer.
    5. New Japan vs. CTU: Jushin Thunder Liger, Minoru & Masked Italiano beat Koji Kanemoto, Tiger Mask & Wataru Inoue (13:00) when Minoru used the California Maki on Kanemoto.
    6. NEW JAPAN Spirit Tag: Riki Choshu & Takashi Iizuka beat Yuji Nagata & Naofumi Yamamoto (8:49) when Iizuka used a sleeper hold on Yamamoto.
    7. New Japan vs. GBH Special Singles: Hiroshi Tanahashi beat Tomohiro Ishii (11:06) with a Dragon suplex hold.
    8. BLACK vs. GBH: Masahiro Chono, Shinsuke Nakamura, Giant Bernard & Travis Tomko beat Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Togi Makabe, Shiro Koshinaka & Toru Yano (16:37) when Chono used a horizontal cradle on Yano.

    -


    As the poster taught us before it was officially announced, the 12/24 Korakuen show will have CTU doing some spectacular cosplay. The CTU CATS, who have presumably formed to oppose Tiger Mask, construct, with THUNDER.TAMA & MIKE.AT facing Tiger Mask and a special Christmas version of him. CTU KISS will rock and roll all over Korakuen Hall when JISS & GESS battle Wataru & Taguchi, taking the match total to three so far on what is looking like a show that could match the CTU event in July for entertainment.

    NJPW "BATTLE XMAS! CATCH THE VICTORY", 12/24/06 (SXW)
    Tokyo Korakuen Hall


    1. CTU KISS-JISS & CTU KISS-GESS vs. Wataru Inoue & Ryusuke Taguchi
    2. CTU CATS vs. W.Tiger Mask: CTU CATS-THUNDER.TAMA & CTU CATS-MIKE.AT vs. Tiger Mask & Xmas Tiger
    3. IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title: Koji Kanemoto (c) vs. Minoru

    -

    Minoru's friendship with Mochi will continue in January when Mochi runs his own independent show. The two will team up in the main event to battle ZERO1-MAX junior tag stars, Ikuto Hidaka & Minoru Fujita, a reunion for the former BattlARTS men, Minoru and Hidaka, for the first time since 9/2/02, when New Japan loaned Minoru for a BattlARTS Korakuen show and he defeated Hidaka.

    Masaaki Mochizuki Produce "BUYDEN", 1/25/06
    Tokyo Korakuen Hall


    - Masaaki Mochizuki & Minoru New Japan vs. Ikuto Hidaka ZERO1-MAX & Minoru Fujita ZERO1-MAX


    Muto & Chono vs. TenKoji on 1/4! by Stuart - 04 Dec 2006 - [Comments (19)]

    A dream match will be realized at the Tokyo Dome on 1/4 when the two remaining members of the 3 Musketeers, Muto & Chono, unite to face one of New Japan's all-time greatest teams and 2006 Real World Tag League winners, TenKoji, in a special tag match. Chono said at the interview today that this match may determine whether Tenzan and Kojima can appeal to fans like he and Muto have over the years. He said Muto is still top-notch and that both Tenzan and Kojima are now top class wrestlers. Although this is likely to go up before the "double main event", one could be forgiven for calling this the true main event. New Japan also announced today that the entire 1/4 show will air live on PPV in Japan.

    NJPW "WRESTLE KINGDOM IN TOKYO DOME", 1/4/07 (WPW)
    Tokyo Dome


    1. Super Dream Tag Match ~ "This is Wrestle Kingdom": Keiji Muto All Japan & Masahiro Chono vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima All Japan
    2. Triple Crown: Minoru Suzuki (c) vs. Yuji Nagata
    3. IWGP Heavyweight Title: Winner of Tanahashi/Nakamura (c) vs. Taiyo Kea All Japan


    New Japan also announced some card changes to tomorrow's show in Imabari. Taguchi has voluntarily replaced Tiger Mask in Naito's challenge singles match, because Tiger wants to destroy Masked Italiano, so this gives him the chance. Taguchi is furious at Milano, who he suspects is under the Masked Italiano disguise, because Tiger risked his mask against Milano's New Japan career in that match.

    NJPW, 12/5/06
    Tex Port Imabari


    1. NEW JAPAN DOJO SPIRIT: Yujiro vs. Mitsuhide Hirasawa
    2. Super Challenge Singles: Manabu Nakanishi vs. Takashi Uwano
    3. NEW JAPAN SPIRIT Challenge Singles: Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Tetsuya Naito
    4. MEXICAN SPIRIT vs. CTU Special Tag - Mexican Rules: El Samurai, Negro Casas & El Texano Jr. vs. Jado, Gedo & Prince Devitt
    5. New Japan vs. CTU: Koji Kanemoto, Tiger Mask & Wataru Inoue vs. Jushin Thunder Liger, Minoru & Masked Italiano
    6. NEW JAPAN Spirit Tag: Yuji Nagata & Naofumi Yamamoto vs. Riki Choshu & Takashi Iizuka
    7. New Japan vs. GBH Special Singles: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Tomohiro Ishii
    8. BLACK vs. GBH: Masahiro Chono, Shinsuke Nakamura, Giant Bernard & Travis Tomko vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Togi Makabe, Shiro Koshinaka & Toru Yano


    [Results] New Japan, 12/3/06 by Stuart - 03 Dec 2006 - [Comments (13)]
    --> "CIRCUIT 2006 FINAL ~NEXT PROGRESS~" <--<
    No time for details today, but here is a photo of Masked Italiano, and you can probably figure it out for yourself.

    NJPW, 12/3/06
    Naruto Citizen Hall
    1,350 Fans
    - Super No Vacancy Full House

    1. New Japan vs. CTU: Prince Devitt beat Mitsuhide Hirasawa (7:04) with the Devitt End II.
    2. New Japan vs. CTU: Minoru beat Yujiro (9:24) with a cross armbreaker.
    3. VIVA MEXICO Special Tag: Negro Casas & El Texano Jr. beat El Samurai & Ryusuke Taguchi (12:16) when Texano used the Tornado Texas on Taguchi.
    4. Alexander Otsuka Special Participation: Takashi Iizuka & Alexander Otsuka beat Takashi Uwano & Naofumi Yamamoto (14:33) when Iizuka used a sleeper hold on Uwano.
    5. New Japan vs. CTU & BROTHER: Jushin Thunder Liger, Jado, Gedo & Masked Italiano beat Koji Kanemoto, Tiger Mask, Wataru Inoue & Tetsuya Naito (12:53) when Italiano used the Emporio Armani Shoe on Naito.
    6. New Japan vs. GBH: Togi Makabe & Toru Yano beat Riki Choshu & Manabu Nakanishi (7:59) when Makabe used a lariat on Nakanishi.
    7. BLACK vs. GBH: Masahiro Chono & Giant Bernard beat Shiro Koshinaka & Tomohiro Ishii (11:02) when Chono used a Shining Yakuza kick on Ishii.
    8. New Japan vs. BLACK: Shinsuke Nakamura & Travis Tomko beat Hiroshi Tanahashi & Yuji Nagata (17:52) when Nakamura used the Landslide on Nagata.


    [Results] New Japan, 12/2/06 & TenKoji win RWTL! by Stuart - 02 Dec 2006 - [Comments (22)]
    --> "CIRCUIT 2006 FINAL ~NEXT PROGRESS~" <--
    New Japan returned to hotbed Kyoto City Gymnasium today, with another increased attendance as has been a recent trend, a big crowd of 5,500 turning out to watch this important mid-tour show. The main event saw the biggest lead-in match to Tanahashi vs. Nakamura, the two teaming with Nakanishi and Bernard respectively. The IWGP Heavyweight Champion was pinned decisively, however not by his next challenger, but rather by the always lingering threat that is Giant Bernard. Tiger Mask completely defeated Milano Collection AT to make a successful V5 defense of his NWA Jr. Heavyweight Title, his second win over Milano in a row, but the first decisive outcome of this feud. The two unofficially agreed to bet Tiger's mask against Milano's New Japan career, despite President Simon rejecting this idea. The question now is whether Milano will honor the stipulation or ignore it. GBH had a miserable day without Tenzan, losing tag matches to both BLACK and Sekigun. CTU had similar fortunes, losing to the MEXICAN SPIRIT pseudo-faction in one match and Kanemoto & Wataru in the other. This before their "brother", Milano, lost to Tiger Mask later on the show.

    NJPW, 12/2/06 (Samurai! TV)
    Kyoto City Gymnasium
    5,500 Fans
    - No Vacancy

    1. NEW GENERATION Challenge Match: Takashi Uwano beat Mitsuhide Hirasawa (7:51) with a crab hold.
    2. NEW JAPAN DOJO SPIRIT: Yujiro beat Tetsuya Naito (8:45) with a spear.
    3. New Japan vs. CTU: Koji Kanemoto & Wataru Inoue beat Minoru & Prince Devitt (13:06) when Inoue used the Triangle Lancer on Devitt.
    4. MEXICAN SPIRIT vs. CTU Special Tag ~ Mexican Rules: Negro Casas, El Texano Jr. & Ryusuke Taguchi beat Jushin Thunder Liger, Jado & Gedo (9:37) when Casas used a la magistral on Liger.
    5. New Japan vs. GBH: Yuji Nagata & Naofumi Yamamoto beat Shiro Koshinaka & Tomohiro Ishii (11:54) when Yamamoto used a backdrop suplex on Ishii.
    6. BLACK vs. GBH: Masahiro Chono & Travis Tomko beat Togi Makabe & Toru Yano (10:59) when Tomko used a full nelson buster on Yano.
    7. NWA Jr. Heavyweight Title: Tiger Mask (c) beat Milano Collection AT (19:04) with a Tiger suplex hold (5th defense).
    8. New Japan vs. BLACK: Shinsuke Nakamura & Giant Bernard beat Hiroshi Tanahashi & Manabu Nakanishi (19:17) when Bernard used the Bernard Driver on Tanahashi.

    -

    Tenzan missed today's show in his local Kyoto, but it was worth it. TenKoji are back and can already again lay claim to being the best tag team around! The famous team today won the Real World Tag League in heroic fashion, remniscent of their legendary 2001 G1 Tag League campaign. They first had to win a playoff against the only team to beat them in the group stage, Muto & Kawada. Tenzan directly avenged his loss in the previous match, pinning Muto with the same move he was pinned by on 11/23, the moonsault press! A big win for Tenzan, but TenKoji had the very fresh and very dangerous Voodoo Murders strongest team of Suwama & RO'Z to battle after that. It was a severe battle in which TenKoji had to fight the odds, but they did so, Tenzan dropping a moonsault press on RO'Z and Kojima following up with a lariat. The fans "stood up at once" after the match, cheering their hearts out. A question we could raise now is if Wild Child bypass Makabe & Koshinaka on 12/10, could we possibly see Wild Child vs. TenKoji for the IWGP Tag Team Title on 1/4 at the Tokyo Dome?

    AJPW, 12/2/06
    Hamamatsu City Gymnasium
    3,200 Fans


    - Real World Tag League - Semi Final: Hiroyoshi Tenzan New Japan & Satoshi Kojima beat Keiji Muto & Toshiaki Kawada (23:28) when Tenzan used a moonsault press on Muto.
    - Real World Tag League - Final: Hiroyoshi Tenzan New Japan & Satoshi Kojima beat Suwama & RO'Z (24:21) when Kojima used a lariat on RO'Z.


    Copyright � 2006 Strong Style Spirit