Merry Christmas, and may your life in wrestling in 1999 be a joyful one!
Thank you very much for reading my columns every week. I'll move to my new apartment near Nippon Budokan on 12/26; as you know, tapes and magazines drive me crazy!
Masanori, Sabu, and Mibu
Paul E. Dangerously and ECW (Extreme Championship Wrestling) sent eight wrestlers and managers to the FMW show from 12/11 to 12/13.
Sabu, Bill Alfonso and Rob Van Dam prepare for action
Shane Douglas, Tommy Dreamer, Buh Buh Ray Dudley, D-Von Dudley, Bill Alfonso (a.k.a. Fonzie), and Francine arrived in Ikebukuro (one of the three biggest subcenters in the metropolis of Tokyo) by the FMW's motor coach "World Team" at 8:00 p.m. on 12/10/98. It took about an hour to travel from Narita Airport to Tokyo. Paul E. Dangerously was too busy to come to Japan at this time.
Sabu arrived in Osaka from Detroit on 12/8 and beat Hido at Osaka Prefectural Sports Center in Takaishi, Osaka on 12/9. He left Osaka at 8:00 am and went to meet the ECW crew at Narita Airport in the evening. They, except for Francine and Super Leather (Mike Kirchner), walked to Ikebukuro Station for 10 minutes, and went on the Yamanote Line (electric train) to Meguro Station, then took cabs to Ribera Steak House. They ate one pound steaks.
Stick a fork in him, he's done--The Sheik attacks Masanori
On Atsushi Onita's "USO" show at Korakuen Hall at 7:00 p.m., they had The Sheik's retirement ceremony. The Sheik, brandishing a sword, came into the hall and threw FIRE two times. Sheik was escorted by Sabu, with a chair. They walked around the ring and ran after fans. Sheik was screaming, "maki-m maki-m, Allah!" Then, magazines and newspapers presented memorial gifts to Sheik, who kept threatening them with his sword. Onita presented Sheik with a special championship belt, and they hugged each other. They did a 10-count gong, and Sheik and Sabu ran after the fans again and went back to the dressing room. The Sheik will be always The Sheik, and he'll never be forgotten.
(Mr. Mark Ferrante has a great site, "Professional Wrestling's Most Notorious Madman! THE SHEIK." Please take a look at http://www.primenet.com/~ferante/ .)
Rob Van Dam arrived in Tokyo in the same evening.
Before the 6:30 p.m. show at Korakuen Hall, Sabu and his wife "Mibu" had their Japanese-style wedding ceremony at Asakusa Shrine in Tokyo at 12:00 p.m. on 12/12 (Sabu's birthday). They had already had their wedding ceremony in Michigan on 6/22/97, but now they had a ceremony and a party for her family, relatives, and friends in Japan. Sabu wore "montsuki & hakama" (traditional ceremonial Japanese-style dress for men), and Mibu wore "hanayome-ishou" (traditional Japanese bridal costume). The Sheik and his wife, Mrs. Joyce, attended the ceremony. It was a very impressive ceremony. Some news site reported "Sabu and his wife Mibu had their Japanese wedding in Japan on 12/14." Actually, they did on 12/12.
Sabu & Mibu cut the cake (with an awfully big knife...or sword!)
Then, Rob Van Dam and Fonzie enjoyed sightseeing and shopping in the world famous arcade of Asakusa and then took a cab to Korakuen Hall. The show drew an announced crowd of 2,150.
Rob Van Dam is in the market for a kimono
[Tag team match]
Sabu & Rob Van Dam beat Hayabusa & Tommy Dreamer when Rob pinned Tommy with his 5-Star Frog Splash (time of the match 17:27).
[ECW World Heavyweight Title match]
Shane Douglas beat Gedo (12:25).
[Tag team match]
Buh Buh Ray & D-Von Dudley beat Tetsuhiro Kuroda & Gosaku when D-Von beat Gosaku (14:45).
After the show, they enjoyed Korean barbecue in Ikebukuro. Tommy Dreamer researched how much Japanese wrestling stores charge for ECW T-shirts, and he found the shirts priced at 3,000 yen each--a very reasonable price for Japanese fans.
RVD, Sabu and Fonzie
Sabu and Fonzie left the hotel at 9:30am to go to Korakuen Hall. The show would be held at 12:00 p.m. They drew an announced crowd of 2,150.
On the ECW TV show, Fonzie made a challenge to the Dudley Boyz. Fonzie stated that if his team of Sabu & Rob couldn't defeat the Dudleys for the ECW World Tag Team Titles in Japan, he would split the team up.
[ECW World Tag Team Title match]
Sabu & Rob Van Dam beat Buh Buh Ray & D-Von Dudley (16:59; Sabu beat Buh Buh). After Buh Buh Ray attacked Sabu with a piece of broken table, Rob hit a Van Daminator on him and both men pinned Buh Buh for the three count.
[ECW World Heavyweight Title match]
Shane Douglas (w/Francine) beat Tommy Dreamer (12:08).
After the show, about 200 fans waited for the wrestlers in front of three elevators at the first floor (Korakuen Hall is on the fifth floor of the building). The group of fans grew larger and larger because there would be "K-1" at the Tokyo Dome at 5:00 p.m. and "LLPW" at Korakuen Hall at 6:30 p.m. I was impressed that the ECW wrestlers took pictures and signed autographs for everybody. It is actually an ideal that a big wrestling fan will become a professional wrestler--they love wrestling and can understand fans' minds.
Sabu and Mibu went straight to the party place in Hitotsubashi (about five minutes by cab from Korakuen Hall). Rob Van Dam and Fonzie came by the wrestling store near Korakuen Hall. Sabu and Mibu had their wedding party from 5:00 p.m. on. They brought four championship belts (ECW World Tag Team Titles, ECW TV Title, and The Sheik's belt). They had a very warm-hearted party with her family, relatives, and friends. Rob Van Dam had the microphone, saying, "Kanpai!!!" ("Bottoms up!!!") to toast for Sabu and Mibu's happiness. The Sheik and Mrs. Joyce, ECW (Rob, Fonzie, Shane, Tommy, Buh Buh, D-Von, and Francine), and FMW (Masato Tanaka, Hayabusa, Mr. Gannosuke, Yukihiro Kanemura, Koji Nakagawa, and Kaori Nakayama) celebrated their happy wedding. Nakayama hankered to wrestle in ECW. After the party, the ECW crew enjoyed the final night at the Hard Rock Cafe in Roppongi, Tokyo. We had a Chinese supper with Mibu in Ikebukuro.
The gang's all here, surrounding the Master: (top, l-r) Tommy Dreamer, Rob Van Dam, Bill Alfonso, Buh Buh Ray Dudley, Shane Douglas, and D-Von Dudley; (seated) The Sheik, and Francine
Except for Sabu, who would leave Japan on 12/16, the ECW crew left Ikebukuro by FMW's motor coach at 8:00 am for Narita Airport. They would have Thursday - Saturday shows of ECW.
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