Andrew gives his take on the very special All Star event, remembering Giant Baba!
The 20th Anniversary of Giant Baba’s passing and Abdullah the Butcher’s official retirement ceremony are encapsulated in this show.
Some of the match ups are a little random, some people wouldn’t be on a normal wrestling card nowadays, but this is a special event. There are memories and connections in every match and nearly every wrestler involved in this show. No one expects the Pro Bowl or All Star game to be the best game of the year, just good ole fashioned fun.
That’s what this should be. Having fun, match ups we haven’t seen in years or have yet to see, all in memory of a legend.
Let’s see what went on.
- Giant Baba Memorial Battle Royal: Mitsuo Momota wins via Double Legged Cradle – *
- Kazushi Miyamoto, Tomohiko Hashimoto, Daichi Hashimoto & Takuya Nomura vs Tomoaki Honma, Yuji Okabayashi, Naoya Nomura & Ren Narita: Okabayashi wins via Torture Rack – **
- Bunkhouse Deathmatch: Atsushi Onita, Hideki Suzuki, Hideki Hosaka & Kendo Kashin vs The Great Kojika, Shuji Ishikawa, Mitsuya Nagai & Hikaru Sato: Suzuki wins via Double Arm Suplex – ** 1/4
- TAKA Michinoku, Taichi & Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs Yuma Aoyagi, Masanobu Fuchi & Yoshiaki Fujiwara: Taichi wins via Inside Cradle – **
- SANADA & BUSHI vs Jake Lee & Koji Iwamoto vs Shota Umino & Ayato Yoshida: SANADA wins via Moonsault – ***
- Naomichi Marufuji & Jinsei Shinzaki vs Masaaki Mochizuki & Shun Skywalker: Marufuji wins via Perfect Inside Cradle – *** 3/4
- Takao Omori, Jun Akiyama & Taiyo Kea vs Yuji Nagata, Satoshi Kojima & Osamu Nishimura: Akiyama wins via Wristclutch Exploder – ** 1/2
- Kaz Hayashi & NOSAWA Rongai vs Mil Mascaras & Dos Caras: Mascaras wins via Flying Body Press – *
- Kento Miyahara & Daisuke Sekimoto vs Hiroshi Tanahashi & Yoshitatsu: Kento wins via Shutdown German Suplex – **** 1/4
Anotnio Inoki opens the show to a great reaction. He ends with his 1,2,3 catchphrase, and the crowd loves it.
Battle Royals are rarely taken seriously in Japan, and this has numerous veterans and interesting wrestlers. Mighty Inoue is the special guest referee. As expected, this is mostly comedy. Addullah Kobayashi does all the Abdullah the butcher stuff. Stalker Ichikawa gets a special entrance, and eliminates himself when he slips off the top turnbuckle. The finish sees Mitsuo Momota pin Mens Teioh with a Double Legged Cradle. It’s fun since Momota is Rikidozan’s son. Rikidozan being the father of Puroresu and the man who trained both Baba and Inoki. So it’s a feel good moment.
Miyamoto and Honma have history, since they were once a tag in All Japan, called Turmeric Storm. This is the first serious match on the card, and each member played their part well. Narita got beat on for a while since he’s a New Japan Young Lion, Naoya had a small flourish to support him currently being one half of the All Asia Tag Team Champions and Okabayashi was the dominant powerhouse he’s known to be (also helps to lend credence to him being 1 half of the AJPW World Tag Team Champions) . The finish was a little sloppy since Takuya slipped off his shoulders during the Torture Rack attempt, but redoing it allowed for the tap out. Not bad all things considered.
Well now, a Bunkhouse distinction in the match, Onita’s Wild Thing entrance song, and being seconded by Freddie Krueger – is it 1988? I mean, this wasn’t a technical classic, but it was what most expected. A few veterans in a hardcore match that had fun spots. A notable spot was Great Kojika taking an unprotected seat popping Chairshot to the head, followed up by Onita wanting to Piledriver him through a table. Kendo Kashin implores not to do it, since Kojika is an old man, so he goes and grabs Sato to offer him as sacrifice. Sato took all the major bumps in the match. Piledriver on the table, he got hit with a barbed wire baseball bat, put through a barbed wire table on top of chairs, and then ate the Double Arm Suplex finish. He’s gonna need some ice and Advil…damn.
At this point we get Abdullah the Butcher’s retirement ceremony. Dos Caras, Mil Mascaras, Jun Akiyama, Tiger Mask (Satoru Sayama), Dory Funk Jr, Seiji Sakaguchi, Stan Hansen (who remarks “I really want to beat you over the head with this”, referring to the bouquet of flowers) and Keiji Mutoh come out to present Abdullah with flowers and have a few words with their old friend. Mutoh even goes as far as trying to goad him into a fight, with a big smile on his face. There’s even a video from Minoru Suzuki. Abdullah grabs the mic and references that his friend and former manager Billy “Honest John” Robertson passed away. Reminds people to never put their parents in a home, since you’ll get old eventually. Obviously has a deeper meaning to him, but still words that are very true.
As Taichi makes his entrance with Miho, it looks like Kawada is on coverage. So this is interesting given the fact that there are many people who hate Taichi and think he’s an embarrassment to Kawada (being one of his students). So I’m curious how that little moment hit Japanese fans. As for the match, it’s what you’d expect from a heel team against 2 veterans and a younger guy. The veterans got their moves in, the crowd popped. When the heels did stuff to the veterans, they got massive boos. It should be noted that Taichi did pull out very half-assed Kawada kicks on Fuchi, and the camera panned to a less than happy Toshiaki Kawada. After Taichi’s roll-up victory, which was set up by a low blow, he has words with Kawada. Kawada doesn’t emote, doesn’t really respond, and from the angle of the camera doesn’t even seem to make eye contact. So since Kawada has stated he doesn’t see himself ever wrestling again, I’m curious if that’s building to anything.
Okay this match was fun. The Young Lions and Sweeper took out LIJ early and took it to one another. Iwamoto beat on Shota, Yoshida managed to get a few good licks in, but Los Ingobernables were the stars here. BUSHI kept finding ways to goad Jake or Koji into their corner so SANADA could tag in. A lot of fun and quick tag offense, BUSHI mists Koji, SANADA puts Jake in the Paradise Lock and has him stuck in the ring while he finishes off Shota with a Moonsault. Jake seems quite insulted afterwards and has words with SANADA. So maybe if All Japan and New Japan stay on good terms, maybe one of the teams enters the respective Tag League.
Well now we’ve got three legendary names and Shun Skywalker who tends to be Masaaki’s tag partner in many special bouts. But Marufuji is the Ace of NOAH and Jinsei, many may know as Hakushi from WWF, but he’s still going damn strong. This was a fun match, but a crisp, well wrestled kind of fun. Not goofy fun like we’ve had in a few of these matches. Marufuji took most of the bumps in the match, but Jinsei did get in a good bit of offense. His Prayer Rope Walk Chop, Diving Shoulder Tackle and a gorgeous Cartwheel Thrust Kick that makes you forget he’s 52. But yes, with Masaaki and Marufuji’s past, coupled with the finish, cause I haven’t seen Marufuji use the Perfect Inside Cradle in like forever…this was great.
Ahh the 6 man Dads match. Akiyama, Taiyo Kea, Nagata and Kojima can still put on a damn good match, but they’re obviously a bit beyond their primes. It’s nice to see some old rivalries relived that we haven’t seen in years, but this was alright. Nishmura ate the pin as to keep Kojima and Nagata protected a bit, especially with All Japan’s Champion Carnival coming up. We could always see one of the non-AJPW talents from this match, show up in the Carnival.
The semi-final match is this? Dos Caras and Mil Mascaras? Mil is like 76 and Caras is pushing 70…Mil had to be basically carried to the ring. Ugh, okay this is one of those moments when feel good moments go a step too far. I feel bad for Kaz Hayashi. Now I’m not new the Japanese wrestling, so I understand their love and propensity for nostalgia and legends. I’m also aware that he had matches with Baba back in the day, so I get his reason for being there. Semi-main however is what bothers me, but hey, the crowd loved it, Hayashi played up the heel role and I guess that’s a thing. I give it the one star out of respect for the legends, and the fact that it obviously played well for the Sumo Hall crowd.
Kento comes out with the current and original Triple Crown Championship belts. Very nice tribute for Baba’s memorial show. Surprisingly the crowd is a Kento crowd. The Kento chants drown out the Tanahashi chants, so Yoshi and Tana play heel for most of the match. This was exactly what you’d expect from an All Star match. EVEN Yoshitatsu held his own. Sekimoto looked great and hit his I’m Helping Double German Suplex – at least that’s what I call it. When Kento did his against the post spot to Yoshitatsu, the referee saw Tanahashi coming over, called him faster and instructed him to pull Kento’s hair to break up the hold. Slingblades and Blackouts aplenty, this was a fun match and definitely worth being the main event. Kento playfully chided Tanahashi after the match, but the crowd started chanting for Tanahashi to join the Triple Crown Champion, and they both pose while saying a combination of one another’s catch phrases. Very nice moment.
Overall Score: 7.5/10
Johnny Ace, Ricky Steamboat and Ric Flair have nice video messages to close out the show dedicated to Baba, followed by a 10 bell salute. As for the show, it was fun. A great combination of legends with ties to Baba and current talent to deliver good in-ring product. No one expected this to be 5 star matches everywhere, and yes some things about it were very Japanese, so the casual fan may not appreciate some stuff, but there were still some solid matches to search out if the historical aspect doesn’t do it for you.
(NOAH) WEEKLY NEWSLETTER VOL.40 ~ 23RD JUNE 2019
NOAH is in a tiny transition between tournaments this week. Hisame brings us the updates in preparation for the Global Junior Tag League!
NOAH is in a tiny transition between tournaments this week. Hisame brings us the updates in preparation for the Global Junior Tag League!
In between “Global Junior Tag League” ending on the 13th June, and “Global Junior Tag League” starting on the 27th June, NOAH held a small interim tour of only three days. In the past these tours would have names like “Navigation with Spirits”, “Navigation to The Future” (or my personal favorite “Navigation on Stormy Seas”), but sadly LIDET have done away with these, and now all the interim tours are simply “NOAH The Spirit”.
It should be mentioned that all the tours have had excellent attendances with full houses each night, and this has given a tremendous morale boost to NOAH.
Yoshiki Inamura and his “rival” Kinya Okada faced off on the first night in Aizu, with the more experienced Inamura picking up the win. The rest of the tour was Inamura teaming with Kongoh, and Okada having matches with seniors like Daisuke Harada & Masao Inoue.
Junta Miyawaki faced his seniors (and lost to them) starting with Hi69 in Aizu on the 19th, Naomichi Marufuji on the 22nd and Atsushi Kotoge on the 23rd. Kotoge’s unanimated lack of expression and unusual calm demeanor is starting to scare people…
Miyawaki showed his first element of defiance, by refusing to shake hands with Marufuji. It’s rare for Miyawaki to act in this way towards his seniors (I can’t imagine this happening to Misawa had he asked Marufuji for one at that age and at that point in his career, then again 2001 was a very different world).
Hitoshi Kumano had his first singles match ever with Takashi Sugiura on the 22nd June in Nagano, and said that he was so happy about facing his hero, he couldn’t sleep. Nothing was going to mute this excitement, even the fact that he lost to him.
RATELS entered into their usual squabble about Global Junior League (this happens every year, with Tadasuke threatening to poison everyone last year, but this year he yelled out to whoever was listening, that he would win), with Daisuke Harada saying he was going to win in the backstage interview.
Naturally, this did go down well with the others, with Tadasuke walking off over it, and then coming back to point and yell at Harada that it was HIS victory that would happen.
On the 22nd June, YO-HEY lost to Yoshinari Ogawa, and Tadasuke became irate and started yelling. Harada got into the ring to try and calm the situation, but this only made Tadasuke angrier and he left (still shouting), although he later apologized and said he was disappointed.
RATELS seemed to have patched up their differences by the 23rd, but again no one wanted to trust each other, and in their post match interview, when they went to do their handshake they all jumped back into a defensive pose with their fists raised. Even HAYATA (who is in Block B), and was smirking at the others arguing with each other, joined in.
Kaito Kiyomiya, Shuhei Taniguchi (and various other partners) faced Kongoh each night. The record stands with Kiyomiya having two victories over the group in three nights, the third was when Kenoh pinned Hi69 following the foostomp.
On the final night of tour, Kaito Kiyomiya spoke on the microphone, and hinted that he and Taniguchi may team up together to take the tag belts. One of his dreams was to hold both championships.
Kenoh’s tri-weekly column was back to talk about the Misawa Memorial show, his rants against others, his shock at Atsushi Aoki’s death, and KENTA’S return to Japanese wrestling (albeit New Japan), or as he put it “that man has returned”.
Kenoh (who says he respects KENTA, despite his rant) says that he will make NOAH a place that KENTA will want to come home to, as well as making him regret that he ever chose New Japan over “his home”. Naturally, Kenoh wouldn’t be able to keep his ire at Marufuji supporting KENTA out of it, and said that Marufuji’s message of support to him was Marufuji saying “anything to be popular”.
Both Marufuji and KENTA responded to Kenoh in different ways.
In usual talkative style, Marufuji posted a picture of Kenoh’s article with graphics over it, with a message that didn’t really translate too well but basically saying there was nothing wrong with being supportive, and hinting at a secret (and for good measure he called him “Kenoh-kun”, which he knows will wind him up)
KENTA, in usual quiet style, made no comment, and simply posted a picture of the column to his Instagram story.
- GHC Heavyweight Champion: Kaito Kiyomiya
- GHC Junior Champion: Minoru Tanaka
- GHC Heavyweight Tag Champions: The Sugiura Army (Takashi Sugiura and KAZMA SAKAMOTO)
- GHC Junior Tag Champions: Stinger (Kotaro Suzuki & Yoshinari Ogawa)
~ Go Shiozaki got stuck in his jacket
~ YO-HEY wouldn’t let HAYATA leave during the post match interview in Aizu
~ Hitoshi Kumano said he is aiming to have a body that does not lose to the heavyweights, but would cause havoc amongst the juniors
~ Takashi Sugiura photographed Masao Inoue at the urinal (again)
~ Yoshinari Ogawa held a training session for the roster at Takaoka, Toyama before the event started. He taught Kaito Kiyomiya and the new trainee.
~ IPW have mentioned that Daisuke Harada will be defending the IPW Junior Heavyweight title, but have said that NOAH will make the announcement.
~ Naomichi Marufuji’s search for a tag partner continues.
~ In Aizu, AXIS wore t-shirts with “AIZU” on them.
~ Hitoshi Kumano can be considered the unofficial third member of AXIZ.
Riki Choshu’s Power Hall (featuring Go Shiozaki and Yoshiki Inamura) will be broadcast live on the 26th June on Samurai at 6.30pm
The opening night of Global Junior League (Thursday 27th June 2019, Korakuen Hall) broadcast at Friday 5th July on Samurai.
“The long days of summer are just around the corner: the stories behind the famous photograph of June 2000”
Global Junior League: Mini interview with YO-HEY
Global Junior League: Mini interview with Minoru Tanaka
The Mitsuharu Misawa Memorial Ten Year Event, and “The Future of Noah”, presented by 22 year old Kaito Kiyomiya
“It’s been ten years since Mitsuharu Misawa died” ~ Keiji Mutoh’s memories
PICTURE CREDITS: Noah GHC, KENTA, PKDX
GIF CREDIT: Noah GHC
Newsletter by Hisame
Mathew’s Top 10 Joshi Wrestlers (Excluding Stardom)
Did your favorite non-Stardom wrestler make the cut? Check out Mathew’s Top 10 and find out!
Did your favorite non-Stardom wrestler make the cut? Check out Mathew’s Top 10 and find out!
I’ve wanted to do this one for a while and I’m gonna use this time to get to it.
You normally see me cover Stardom along with a few shows in the Joshi scene from time to time, but this countdown list is going to focus on the wrestlers that aren’t apart of the Stardom roster. Let’s be honest, if I did add Stardom on this list then that would be almost half and that’s not fair since there are so many talented Japanese women from various promotions and they deserve recognition.
I’m also going by active members instead of all-time to keep up with the current scene, so let’s get right to it as I talk about my Top 10 Joshi wrestlers.
10. ASUKA (Freelancer)
– No, not that Asuka, this is a different ASUKA. ASUKA was able to make history in the short amount of time she’s been around professional wrestling in her three-year career and it’s still going. Asuka was originally from Pro Wrestling WAVE until the end of 2018. She was the first transgender wrestler to main event their biggest show and also the first transgender wrestler to win their biggest title, the Regina Di WAVE Championship. She’s only twenty-years-old and has so much to offer as she represents her community while having the agility of a young Jushin Liger. I only knew her around 2017 but that was when she was also coming out of her shell in the wrestling world and what a big impact she has left so far. She definitely is someone worth keeping an eye on.
9. Takumi Iroha (Marvelous)
– Twenty-six years old and only six years in the wrestling business, Takumi really is something else. She comes from the Marvelous promotion and is considered their top star in the promotion and for good reasons too since she’s just dynamite. Amazing how she started in Stardom and years later, she would make a better name for herself wrestling in various promotions and winning different titles as well. She recently won SEAdLINNNG’s top title, the Beyond the Sea Championship when she defeated the first champion and owner of the promotion, Nanae Takashi. A very talented woman with some fantastic strikes to top it off as she’s someone you would wanna book for your promotion for a couple of shows.
8. Tsukasa Fujimoto (Ice Ribbon)
– The ace of Ice Ribbon and the only one to hold their top title, the ICExInfinity Championship for a total of six times and has had some incredible reigns as the champion. Thirty-five years old and wrestling for only ten years as she was trained by some of the best people like Nanae Takahashi, Manami Toyota, and Emi Sakura. Hardly sloppy in the ring, can work with most styles, these are great qualities to look for in a wrestler in general and Tsukasa is no exception to that.
7. Hikaru Shida (OZ Academy/AEW)
– While she is now considered AEW, she still left an impact in the Japanese scene and is also considered OZ Academy for the time being, so she counts to being on here. This ten-year veteran made sure the world knew who she was when she just performed globally, not bad from someone who started in Ice Ribbon back in 2008. She won major titles from Ice Ribbon, WAVE, OZ Academy, RCW, and Sendai Girls. She was also the one that got knocked out by Naomichi Marufuji on one of her produced shows in 2017 in under two minutes but she wanted a rematch a year later and while she lost, she took her punishment like a champion and still give the fans a great show on her 10th anniversary. Now that she has joined AEW, the fans overseas are sure to get something special with her around as she could be the top star of that division.
6. Hiroyo Matsumoto (Freelancer)
– Otherwise known as the Lady Destroyer and she might be the best Freelancer in the Joshi scene. She’s wrestled in almost every promotion for Joshi wrestling, became more noticed when she recently joined WWE’s Mae Young Classic in 2018 where she lasted until the second round. Hiroyo is strong, fast, technically sound in the ring, and has had many great matches in all of the promotions she’s worked for and you knew you were going to get your money worth since she was that talented. She may not look like much but believe me when I say that she’s an absolute monster and can just wreck you if she wanted to. Surprised nobody has snatched her up for an exclusive contract because she would be the top star in an instant, but I think she enjoys going to various promotions and performing on a high level that she definitely does make do with what she has, so nothing wrong with that.
5. Miyu Yamashita (Tokyo Joshi Pro-Wrestling)
– The star of TJP and for good reasons. She only has about five years of experience with only a background in karate, but she was able to hold the TOKYO Princess of Princess Championship two times for a grand total of 746 days and during those times that she was a champion, she’s had great title defenses on top of it to make her a worthy champion of that company. She was also the SHINE Champion when she went to a title or title match during WrestleMania weekend. She’s like the Shotaro Ashino of TJP. just great in the ring and while not many follow the promotion, people would mostly keep an eye on her from how talented she is. I really hope she gets future opportunities to fight other people from various promotions soon because she would have a lot of dream matches built up that you’d be crazy not to do any of them. Great talent and somebody please get her some special bookings on the double, she’s worth your time!
4. Chihiro Hashimoto (Sendai Girls)
– Meiko Satomura’s prized pupil in Sendai Girls and that woman is Chihiro Hashimoto. If you look at her at first glance, you would think she would be a powerhouse but she’s also very technical in the ring. Chihiro has been wrestling for three years also and Meiko went full speed for Chihiro to make her the top star of her promotion and even be known as one of the best of the next generation of Joshi wrestlers. A four-time Sendai Girls World Champion with a combination of 777 days and each title defense would always leave you satisfied and wanting more of her at the end of things. With very little years under her belt, there’s plenty of room for her to grow in the upcoming years of her career and she might be another one that’ll be considered an all-time great when she does decide to hang it up. Powerful and wrestling-sound, Chihiro has the tools and can back it up at the same time and she’s just getting started.
3. Sareee (World Woman Pro-Wrestling Diana)
– I’m gonna level with you on this one, I’m fairly new to her despite being in the wrestling business for eight years, meaning she wrestled since she was fifteen-years-old, but I was able to become a fan of her the moment I saw her. She’s currently wrestling for World Woman Pro-Wrestling Diana and was known as an underdog of sorta. For about a year now, she was able to have big moments in her career when she defeated Aja Kong to become the promotion’s World Champion for the second time, defeating Meiko Satomura clean during a Sendai Girls show in an amazing match, and was able to defeat Chihiro in a title for title match to win the Sendai Girls World Championship, making her a double crown champion with two of the biggest belts in the Joshi scene. A lot of the veterans like Meiko and Nanae are high on Sareee and have faith in her being another won to be the future of professional wrestling as a whole. She has a lot more to prove and plenty of time to do it as this is now her time to shine from here on out.
2. Arisa Nakajima (SEAdLINNNG)
– Aside from Nanae Takashi, I believe Arisa Nakajima is one of the best that SEAdLINNNG has to offer. Arisa is both intense and physical in the ring and while not many have seen a lot of her matches, she always left a big impression on people that have watched her matches and gave them something memorable. While most will be known for their stiff kicks in the ring, she’s more known for her elbows and they’re just as deadly as any stiff kick that you see in most matches these days. Made her career in JWP and is now looking to stand out in her new home and hopefully a future Beyond the Sea Champion when the time is right. Killer instinct and a veteran in the business with thirteen years of experience, she’s someone that will amaze you in that ring.
Before I get to my final one, here’s a small list of honorable mentions down below.
– Nanae Takahashi (SEAdLINNNG)
– Emi Sakura (Gatoh Move)
– Mika Iwata (Sendai Girls)
– DASH Chisako (Sendai Girls)
– Aja Kong (OZ Academy)
– Yuka Sakazaki (Tokyo Joshi Pro-Wrestling)
– Riho (Gatoh Move)
– Yuu (Freelancer)
– Mayumi Ozaki (OZ Academy)
– Saori Anou (Actwres girl’Z)
– Miyako Matsumoto (Ice Ribbon)
1. Meiko Satomura (Sendai Girls)
– I think it’s obvious that she would be at the top of the list for everything she has done throughout her career and still performs at such a high level. The creator of Sendai Girls, Meiko Satomura would go down in the history books as one of the greatest females and wrestlers in general of all time with her incredible wrestling ability and her contributions to the business as a whole. She was also the first female to win DDT’s top title, the KO-D Openweight Championship but that reign didn’t last long, unfortunately. She’s held big titles in her own promotion, Stardom, AAAW, and in Fight Club Pro. Meiko has been wrestling for almost twenty-five years and she still wrestles as if she’s half her age while also being lethal at the same time. She made a big impact in Japan, the United States, and just globally as a whole that she’s earned every accomplishment that she has received. My favorite Joshi wrestler and one of my all-time favorites. If you haven’t seen her before, then something is wrong with you.
Thank you all for taking the time out of your day for reading my list. I’m sure there’s quite a few that I’m missing on here but there are just so many talented women in the Japanese wrestling scene that it’s so hard to put them all in as they all deserve praise. If you have time in your day for more, definitely look up all of these women since they’re worth your time.