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 411mania » Music » Album Reviews

International News Report #44 (Vader Injured, Kobashi Returns & More)
Posted by Evan Zivin on 12.19.2001

I iz back again with 411's International News Report #44. Give credit for the news below to myself and more so to Zach Arnold of www.PuroresuPower.com. Zach's site covers tons of up to date Puroresu news and several links to promotions in Japan.

www.WrestlinGods.com for all your wrestling video needs. From Japan to the U.S. and everywhere in between dating as far back as 1920, we've got it all.

Quick note. I hate to rant but I made this 20 tape trade deal for a bunch of old territory stuff and at the last minute the dude decides he doesn;t wanna trade anymore. Hey bro, thanks for wastin' my time sitting here trying topick out what all I wanted. Sorry had to get that off my chest.

Feel free to contact me at WBCCole@aol.com with any International news you'd like to report.

And now for the news...

At New Japan's 12/18 press conference just held this afternoon, New Japan President Tatsumi Fujinami announced that Yuji Nagata would face Jun Akiyama in a singles match at the 1/4/2002 Tokyo Dome show.

Fujinami did not elaborate as to whether it would be an IWGP Title match or a IWGP tournament match.

New Japan President Tatsumi Fujinami along with Sony Communication directors held a press conference today in Japan (along with Tenzan & Kojima) to announce a new broadband-technology project in the works called "New Japan channel - NJTV." This project is being created in hopes that if this technology works, it will boost the potential value of the company's first IPO in 2002. The broadband channel would feature "personal talk shows" with different wrestlers and would also telecast events that air on SkyPerfecTV & TV-Asahi for a fee (such as $8.)

** Personal opinion -- with Japan trying to convert its entire country into a broadband internet country due to its size, the expansion of broadband technology in Japan (especially for entertainment companies) is clearly the way to go and this is a smart business move based on the logistics. Broadband technology will not work in America like it will work in Japan due to the large size of America and the costs involved, plus there is not Government support in America for a large national broadband technology expansion (so it is privatized more or less).

Antonio Inoki announced the full line-up for his 12/31 Saitama, Chiinama Super Arena show (27,000-seats). The line-up:

1. Jerome Le Banner vs. X
2. Mike Bernardo vs. X
3. Tokimitsu Ishizawa vs. Shingo Koyasu
4. Tadao Yasuda vs. Rene Roza
5. Gary "Big Daddy" Goodridge vs. Ray Sefo
6. Don Frye vs. Cyril Abidi
7. Nobuhiko Takada vs. Sam Greco (guess that WCW training will come in handy)
8. Yuji Nagata vs. Mirko Filipovic

Here are the latest stats regarding Antonio Inoki's 12/31 Saitama ticket sales from Ticketmaster-J. All the 100,000 yen ($900 VIP post-party) seats are sold out (meaning the businessmen got them) and all the Stand-A 7,000-yen cheap-seat bleacher seats are sold out. However, the 35,000-yen front-row, 25,000-yen floor, 15,000-yen back floor, and Stand S 10,000-yen bleacher seats have not sold one bit. In other words, without a card there are no fans. And it's going to take a hell of a lot of work to sell these tickets. Conceivably, this building could be a half-full building for a show that will air on TBS (Tokyo Broadcasting System) from 9 PM to 11:24 PM on 12/31 (the night of the show).

Antonio Inoki is trying to book Naoya Ogawa vs. Jerome Le Banner for his 12/31 Saitama, Chiinama Super Arena show.

NOAH is running an angle where Jun Akiyama is refusing to fight against Yuji Nagata. Another trademark Misawa "boycott" angle that will mean nothing in the end. According to the angle, Fujinami announced Akiyama vs. Nagata at 2:20 PM. At 3:30 PM at the Differ Ariake NOAH office in Tokyo, Akiyama refused the match. At 4:15 PM, Akiyama refused to fight Nagata for a second time. At 5:50 PM, Akiyama negated his participation in New Japan's IWGP Title tournament on 1/4 at the Tokyo Dome. New Japan then tried to announce that Akiyama would work for the promotion in mid-February at Ryogoku Kokugikan (Sumo Hall) in Tokyo. New Japan management is trying to make Akiyama vs. Nagata into a GHC Title match at the 1/4/2002 Tokyo Dome show.

After meeting with fans who recognized both he and Naohiro Hoshikawa in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, Shin'ya Hashimoto declared that he was a well-known wrestling star in America throughout the Internet. Hashimoto claimed that his business partner's e-mail accounts were flooded with requests to book him for big matches. Hashimoto also claimed that NWA Pittsburgh boss (and NWA President) Jim Miller was going to make the Shinjiro Ohtani/Masato Tanaka vs. Tom Howard/Samoa Joe match at ZERO-ONE's 1/6 Korakuen Hall show in Tokyo an NWA World Tag Titles match.

Dos Caras Jr. cancelled his participation for the DEEP 2001 show at Differ Ariake in Tokyo on 12/23 due to a shoulder injury. Instead, El Canek will take Jr.'s place against Osamu Tachihikari. This is supposed to be a shoot event.

New Japan Pro Wrestling announced the official line-up for their 1/4/2002 Tokyo Dome show. Here is the official line-up, both numerical and with all the stipulations:

1. Wataru Inoue & Katsuyori Shibata vs. Masahito Kakihara & Masayuki Naruse

2. Minoru Tanaka & El Samurai vs. Koji Kanemoto & Akira Nogami

3. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Kenzo Suzuki vs. Kazunari Murakami & Yuki Ishikawa

4. Tiger Mask IV, The Great Sasuke, & Jushin Liger vs. Dick Togo, Jadoh, & Gedoh

5. Manabu Nakanishi vs. Giant Silva

6. IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title Match: Kendo Ka Shin vs. Daijiro Matsui

7. Hiroshi Hase & Keiji Mutoh vs. Tatsumi Fujinami & Osamu Nishimura

8. Kensuke Sasaki vs. Naoya Ogawa

9. Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima vs. Masa Chono & Giant Singh

10. Yuji Nagata vs. Jun Akiyama (non-title)


Ticket sales for New Japan's 1/4/2002 Tokyo Dome show are luke-warm and all sections will have tickets available the day of the show (so anyone walking up can get any seat they want). The Arena-A 30,000-yen front row and 15,000-yen Arena B floor seats are selling at a 50%-rate but the Stand A 10,000-yen & Stand B 5,000-yen tickets are not selling one bit.

Several print newspapers, including today's edition of Tokyo Sports and Nikkan Sports (online edition) are reporting that Vader will cancel his match for UPW today (12/19) in Santa Ana, CA. at the Galaxy Theatre. The print reports claim that Vader will be having surgery on his foot in Denver, Colorado and that he will be out for two months.

However, UPW has not made any official announcements about cancellations whatsoever. Both the Japanese printed & online reports are inaccurate, however, as to what kind of surgery Vader will be having and what his prognosis will be. We reported on the site last week that Vader will be undergoing his 27th career knee operation and that he would try to postpone the knee surgery until after Kobashi's comeback. However, surgery became more important at the beginning of the week due to soreness and pain. When the operation happens, it will be a knee operation and not a foot operation.

Because UPW has not announced that Vader's booking was cancelled, we do not know if the Vader vs. Samoa Joe match will happen tonight in Los Angeles or not. Vader was having knee problems and before the rumored cancellation had thought about having the surgery after the UPW match. That statement was both printed in Japan by reporters and was also mentioned to several people in the business.

UPW (Ultimate Pro Wrestling) out of Los Angeles, CA. confirmed early this morning that Vader has indeed cancelled his appearance scheduled for tonight (12/19) in Santa Ana, CA. at the Galaxy Theatre against Samoa Joe (Ayako Hamada's boyfriend). The promotion stated that Vader will make up the date by showing up at the promotion's 2/21 show at Galaxy Theatre in Santa Ana, CA. That will be only four days after NOAH's big 2/17 Budokan show in Tokyo. UPW confirms that Vader is having knee surgery in Denver, Colorado. This will be his 27th career knee surgery.

In exchange for both Vader & Brian Christopher not being able to work UPW's 12/19 show in Santa Ana, CA. the promotion is offering three choices to their customers:

1. Ticket refunds
2. Bring the unused ticket to their 2/21 show at the Galaxy Theatre
3. Attend the show on Wednesday and receive a copy of "Fresh Blood!"

While Vader has cancelled his appearance, Excellence Incorporated (Donovan Morgan & Michael Modest) and ZERO-ONE (Hashimoto & Hoshikawa) will appear as scheduled at the show.


We haven't been able to find the full listing of the Athena 2001 (Women's wrestling) awards, but we do know that two awards were presented at AJW's 12/16 Kawasaki City Gym show. The "Best Bout" of the year went to Kumiko Maekawa vs. Momoe Nakanishi, which was a 60-minute draw on 10/24/01 at Ota Ward Gym in Tokyo. The MVP award was given to Momoe Nakanishi.


More feedback regarding Misawa/Mutoh "dream match" and Kobashi's return from reader Matt White (whiteaggie@yahoo.com):

I agree with your opinion regarding Misawa/Mutoh because who wants to see two greats, past their prime, finally go at it? Well I'm sure a number of people would but they would be sorely disappointed because they expectations would be a little too high considering the baggage these guys carry with them. To parallel this I would like to go back to WCW's Halloween Havoc '98. In its triple main event of Goldberg/DDP, Hogan/Warrior and Sting/Hart with the latter two being big dissappointments. They were subject to two main problems ages of the wrestlers and politics. The same thing that this match would be subject to. To start with Hogan/Warrior, everyone was itching to see a rematch of these two since Wrestlemania 6 but eight years later it just wasn't the same because the two seemed like dinosaurs in the ring. I remember watching Wrestlemania 6 when I was a kid these two giants meeting for the first time and though I was disappointed by the outcome (I was a huge Hogan mark), it left an impression on me for years to come. There was magic. However, when they met up again 8 years later the magic was gone. The two were far from their physical prime and Hogan really just used the match as a way to right a wrong that was committed 8 years earlier. There was nothing epic about it at all. And the politics entered by Warrior not doing a clean job and resorting to Horace Hogan doing a run-in to screw the match. What a waste. Then there was Sting/Hart. This guys could still put on a good match in 1998 but they were past their respective primes. Back in 1994 it would have a been cool to see these two lock up but this was 1998 and things were different. Since Bret was screwed at Survivor Series he seemed to be like a lost lamb in the wrestling world, he had lost his spark. The same went for Sting who was lost in the wrestling shuffle with the Hogan/Bischoff reign. Of course politics entered again because Bret was playing heel and he wouldn't job to Sting and of course Sting would not allow a clean pin from a heel Bret Hart. So we get a match that should have been the main event but instead was third tier, ending with Bret Hart bludgeoning Sting with a baseball bat. It would have been better not ever seeing that type of match but to just keep it in our
collective imaginations where Buzzcut/blue face paint Sting would take
on the FACE/excellence of execution Bret Hart. This is what Mutoh/Misawa reminds of. It would be better if the match stayed in the
imagination rather than be fleshed out in disappointment.

With Kobashi returning? I don't know. The guy seems to be a wreck and
falling apart. I haven't seen any of his stuff before he was injured, so he might have an Austin-like return and have some great matches left
in him but if its true what they're saying about the crap that Noah is
putting out I wouldn't keep my fingers crossed. It's comparable to the rumors circulating that Hogan might come back for one last run. That would be exciting but it should be really short-lived for it to have any meaning, but I don't think that's what Kobashi is going for.


Sheldon Goldberg's New England Championship Wrestling promotion is running a charity benefit show this Friday (12/21) in Somerville, MA. (Boston area) for WBCN's "Fund for the Families," which helps out families that need funding after the September 11th terrorist attack in New York. Show information:

Budweiser & WBCN present
New England Championship Wrestling
Friday night, December 21 at 7:30 PM
Good Time Emporium, 30 Assembly Sq. Drive, Somerville, MA
(617) 628-5559

Main Event - NECW Heavyweight Title Match
Maverick Wild (Champion) vs. "Brutal" Bob Evans

The Egomaniacs (Johnny Idol and Mike Steele) vs. The All Knighters
(Robin Knightwing and Joey Knight)

Mercedes Martinez vs. Trinity H. Campbell (managers barred from

Tarzan Taylor & TBA vs. The Springates (Zaquary Springate III and his
brother, Kid Trance Springate

Special AWF Challenge Match: "Jaguar" Vijay Singh vs. "Sparkling" James Champagne.

Young Lions" 8 man tag team match held under elimination rules
"Turbo" Tim Fury, Debonair Cruz, "Rapid Fire" Brian Jury and "Sudden
Impact" Dylan Kage vs. "Heartthrob" Kurt Adonis, Aaron Morrison, "The Alpha Male" Justin Powers and a mystery partner.

Chris Harvard of WWF/MTV's Tough Enough will be making an appearance

From Pittsburgh's ECWA, a special three way dance: Michael Peterson vs. Matt Vandal vs. former ECW star, Chris Hamrick.

Tickets for NECW UNWRAPPED are $15, Kids Under 12 and Students with an
ID can purchase tickets for $8 at the door.

That's all the news for today be back soon with another issue. This is Brian Cole saying I'll say you.

The 411
Final Score:  0.0   [ Torture ]  legend


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