Section 1- Results
All Japan: Akebono & Hama, and Kondo, won respective contendership matches. Suwama beat Kono at a rather small show, which seems odd because thatâ€™s supposed to be an important long-term rivalry.
Dragon Gate: Lots of turns and such. BB Hulk and Tozawa both joined Blood Warriors. Mochizukiâ€™s stable will be called Junction 3, because itâ€™s the union of Kamizake, World-1, and Mochizukiâ€™s veteran stable. Gamma was turned on by BW and is now in JIII. (They arenâ€™t J3 because of a trademark issue).
New Japan: Ibushi beat Davey Richards, and Taguchi beat Devitt, in the semi-finals. Ibushi beat Taguchi in the finals. Normally Iâ€™d do a â€˜big round-robin resultsâ€™ run down but thereâ€™s TOO MANY. No Limit broke up.
NOAH: Shiozaki beat Morishima to earn a title shot. Yone seems to have won his feud with KENTA, beating him with a muscle buster through a table at ringside. That seemsâ€¦ implausible, but weâ€™ll see.
Section 2- News
All Japan: K-1â€™s Kyotaro debuts on the 19th against Masa Funaki. The big news will be dealt with below.
Dragon Gate: The trios title match tomorrow will be CIMA, Doi & Hulk vs Yoshino, Yamato & Gamma. Shingo vs Hulk and Yamato vs Tozawa are set for the 8th. The first Kobe World Hall match is Shingo vs Tozawa. Mochizuki vs Hulk seems almost certain as the main event there.
IGF: Inoki will be doing a big show at Sumo Hall on August 27th, the same day as the big charity event.
New Japan: Nakanishi was injured after landing wrong from a German suplex by Wataru Inoue. No word yet on just how bad it is, but he isnâ€™t paralyzed. Their show tomorrow at Osaka is super-stacked, with the addition of Naito vs Takahashi, and Devitt defending against Ibushi.
NOAH: Kotaro Suzuki defends against Roderick Strong on the 26th. Kobashi returns on July 23rd at Osaka Prefectural Gym.
Section 2a- Meltzer notes
All Japan: The Champions Carnival drew around 500-700 a night for most of the tournament. However they did sell out the final show. Nishimura was elected to the Tokyo city legislature, so he wonâ€™t be back soon. In a related note, Kengo Kimura was also elected.
NOAH: They only drew about 1000 at the home base of Differ Ariake for Shiozaki vs Morishima.
Section 3- BATTLE OF DOUBLE SHILLER
On the somewhat related topic of my less-regular columns, right now Iâ€™m dealing with by far the biggest shift in my life since I started writing for Inside Pulse. Also, some of my creative energies are devoted to Fighting Spirit Magazine, since that actually pays. My thanks to all of you for never once bugging me about when the next PuroPulse was coming.
Section 4- Media Corner
Itâ€™s been too long since the last surprisingly good â€˜Strong BJâ€™ match. Korakuen Hall is every bit as hot as Hama is fat, and lemme tell you that is saying plenty. If youâ€™ve never seen Hama before, get ready to experience the rotundity of a lifetime. Hama is despised by the Big Japan crowd and revels in it. Okabayashi gets to look really good as he takes it to last yearâ€™s unlikely Triple Crown champion. Lots of beef and action and did I mention BEEF.
Section 5- Nobukazu Hirai & All Japan
Information taken from Zach Arnold, Dave Meltzer, and Cageside Seatsâ€™ Keith Harris.
On May 29th, Nobukazu Hirai (who wrestles as Super Hate) had a match with Kenzo Suzuki. Afterwards he vomited backstage and collapsed. After being taken to the hospital it was determined that heâ€™d had a stroke. Hirai is stable but remains in rough shape; as of a few days ago he was still unconscious. The true cause of the stroke was revealed to be from a pre-show backstage attack by TARU. Theyâ€™re part of the Voodoo Murders stable, and TARU was supposedly upset because he felt that Hirai was lazy in multi-man tags, or a money issue (or both). Referee Kyohei Wada stopped the assault. No word yet on possible criminal charges. Assuming that Hiraiâ€™s career is over his family will need to be compensated substantially, either by agreement or through a lawsuit. Neither All Japan nor TARU have deep pockets.
TARU, Kono, Minoru Tanaka and Mazada were all suspended, the latter three because they were in the room and didnâ€™t stop the attack. Joe Doering and Rene Dupree, the other members of the stable, was told to leave the room before the attack. The tag team titles were stripped from Doering and Kono, and the junior heavyweight title was stripped from Tanaka. New champions will be decided on Sunday. Also, the promotion had to add a show-ending battle royal to the entire June tour because they didnâ€™t have enough matches and wrestlers after the suspensions. Tanaka, Mazada and Kono will bounce back, if not with All Japan then elsewhere. Unless TARU goes to jail I expect him to be back as well, but absolutely not with All Japan.
Keiji Mutoh, All Japanâ€™s long-time president, resigned his position. However he will remain with the company. Mutoh is apparently very upset with Tokyo Sports for its coverage of the story, which could impact the paperâ€™s upcoming multi-promotion supershow, though at this point it looks like All Japan will stick with it.
Itâ€™s difficult to comment on this situation. TARU was clearly in the wrong, and should have been stopped. This isnâ€™t any sort of common occurrence, and we donâ€™t know the exact motivation for the assault. If it was a money issue, well, All Japan undercard workers are not paid especially well. Rumor has it that a lot of the compensation is in tickets to shows that they in turn have to sell on their own. If it was about Hirai dogging it, that wouldnâ€™t be a shock either.
Hirai started out as a trainee of Tenryu, and followed Tenryu from SWS to WAR to All Japan. Hirai doesnâ€™t have a good look or a lot of talent, but for the most part he was passable. After Tenryu left, Hirai became an afterthought. He wasnâ€™t pushed and he didnâ€™t have standout performances. But because the tradition in Japan is for employees to become â€˜lifersâ€™ after a few years, he was kept on. He was repackaged as â€˜Hateâ€™, then lost a career match, only to return shortly thereafter as â€˜Super Hateâ€™. Heâ€™s one of dozens of wrestlers in Japan who only has a job because of loyalty; the exception to the seniority rule was when NOAH released several veterans out of financial desperation. And even there the NOAH office still seems to be trying to help them.
To me, someone like Hirai needs to be fired. But a beating is absolutely uncalled for, whether he owed someone money or whether he wasnâ€™t holding up his end of things as a wrestler. Letâ€™s hope he makes a full recovery.
Next Time: If all goes according to plan, Iâ€™ll be interviewing a drug dispenser you donâ€™t wanna mess with.