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  January 28, 2001



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READER ALERT: For all the latest wrestling happenings, check out our News & Rumours section.

All Japan Pro Wrestling's
Giant Baba Memorial Spectacular

All Japan Pro Wrestling's
Giant Baba Memorial Spectacular

Tokyo Egg Dome, Tokyo Japan
Sunday, January 28, 2001.


SLAM! Wrestling is pleased to provide a preview of All Japan Pro Wrestling's Giant Baba Memorial Spectacular at the Tokyo Egg Dome. Sunday's show is not only a memorial for former owner Giant Baba who died in 1999, but it also serves as the official retirement celebration for one of All Japan's top stars: Stan Hansen. History will be made in the main event as the 'dream team' of IWGP World champion Kensuke Sasaki and All Japan star Toshiaki Kawada take on Triple Crown Champion Genichiro Tenryu and Hiroshi Hase, a former New Japan star who currently holds a seat in the Japanese senate. In a special legends match, Terry Funk teams with rival Atsushi Onita to take on Abdullah the Butcher and Giant Kimala. And in a special inter-promotional match, New Japan's Jushin "Thunder" Liger will face All Japan's Masa Fuchi. We're tagging up with the good folks at Live Audio Wrestling, as Dan "The Mouth" Lovranski, a noted observer of Japanese wrestling, along with John Molinaro, SLAM's resident international wrestling junkie, offer their full predictions for the show. We'll have a full report on the show on Sunday.


The Main Event


Kensuke Sasaki

Best Move: Lariat clothesline, Northern Lights Bomb.
Pro Debut: 02/16/86, vs. Shinji Sasazaki, Tokyo.
Video Clip: Sasaki defeats Jushin "Thunder" Liger (1.2 MB)



&


Toshiaki Kawada

Best Move: Jumping High Kick, Stretch Plum.
Pro Debut: 82/10/04 vs. Hiromichi Fuyuki, Chiba.
Video Clip: Kawada defeats Mitsuharu Misawa for the Triple Crown (1 MB)

VS.


Genichiro Tenryu

Best Move: Power Bomb, Northern Lights Bomb
Pro Debut: 76/11/13 vs. Ted DiBiase, Heleford, Texas
Video Clip: Tenryu wins the IWGP World title from Keiji Mutoh. (805 K)

&


Hiroshi Hase

Best Move: Giant Leg Swing.
Pro Debut: 86/02/28 vs. Miguelito Perez, Puerto Rico
Major Titles Held:: IWGP Jr. Heavyweight (2), IWGP World Tag (4)


SLAM! Predictions

  • John Molinaro: A very interesting match with the IWGP Champ and All Japan's top star teamed together against Triple Crown Champion Genichiro Tenryu and Hiroshi Hase. Hase's inclusion in the match is a bit of a mystery, considering he only wrestles a few times a year due to his job in Japanese politics. Too bad this match didn't taking place six years ago when Hase was pound-for-pound the best worker in the world. Seeing how Sasaki just beat Kawada three weeks ago in the Dome, look for Tenryu to score the pin on Sasaki. This will help to further the All Japan vs. New Japan feud and set up Sasaki's opponent for New Japan's next Tokyo Dome show.

  • Dan "The Mouth" Lovranski: I may not know how they would book this in Japan, but I know what would happen in North America. Kawada would turn on Sasaki after being beaten by him in their last meeting and then Motoko Baba would come out and try to screw everyone and ask her dead husband for a divorce. Actually, this could be a good match if Kawada is allowed to direct traffic in the ring. Hase and Kawada had a great match against each other in '99,Tenryu and Kawada battled over the Triple Crown last year and the only really bad worker in the match is Sasaki, and he can be carried as Kawada has done twice already. There is real potential for a good contest here. Since Tenryu is the Triple Crown champion, I would expect him and Hase getting the win with Tenryu pinning Sasaki. Perhaps Kawada will even side with New Japan in the feud after this.


    Legends Match


    Terry Funk

    Best Move: Spinning Toe-hold. Moonsault.
    Major Titles Held: NWA World, ECW World, N.W.A. International Tag (3)
    Video Clip: Funk and Mick Foley in Japan (717K)



    &


    Atsushi Onita

    Best Move: Throwing his opponent into the exploding barb-wire.
    Best Moment: Defeating Terry Funk in an exploding ring barbed wire land mine match, May 5, 1993 in Kawasaki, Japan.
    Last High-Profile Match:: Losing to Riki Choshu at New Japan's 1st PPV last year.

    VS.


    Abdullah the Butcher

    Best move(s): Carving opponent's head open with an ice-pick.
    Pro Debut in Japan: August, 1970.
    Most Famous for: Eating raw chickens during interviews

    &


    Giant Kimala

    Best Move: Belly splash.
    Pro Debut: 10/05/86 vs. Keith Steinberg in Americus, Georgia.
    Famous for: Being mistaken for Kamala


    SLAM! Predictions

  • John Molinaro: Wow! Terry Funk returns to All Japan for the first time in years. How fitting that it's for a show bidding adieu to Stan Hansen. Both of them carved out their reputations in All Japan for so many years. And teaming with Onita, especially after all those exploding-ring death matches they had against each other in the early 90s makes this a historical match-up. Just don't expect anything great, especially with Abdullah and Kimala in there. Funk and Onita should go over.

  • Dan "The Mouth" Lovranski: Terry Funk & Atsushi Onita vs. Abdullah the Butcher & Giant Kimala. Wow, talk about your All Japan flashback to the late 70s and early 80s. This was the type of match that the promotion was built on, which is kind of funny, considering that All Japan turned into one of the only promotions that became known for always having clean finishes in their matches. It sure won't be much of a match unless the competitors really get motivated because of the nature of the event (a tribute to Baba). I would pick Funk and Onita to win just because Funk is so readily identified with All Japan and Onita was one of Baba's most famous proteges. Plus, Abdullah still works for lots of indy promotions in Japan, so they won't want him on the winning team.


    All Japan vs. New Japan


    Jushin Liger

    Best Move: Palm blow, running Lyger Bomb.
    Pro Debut: 03/03/84, vs. Shunji Kosugi.
    Video Clip: Liger beats Ultimo Dragon in Tokyo for the J-Crown title. (1 MB)


    VS


    Masa Fuchi

    Best Moves: Chops
    Pro Debut: 74/04/22 vs. Atsushi Onita, Tokushima
    What was 2000 like?: Best year he's had in a while. Went from lower-card comedy worker to main eventer and getting a bug push thanks to Misawa and company leaving.


    SLAM! Predictions

  • John Molinaro: I don't see Liger putting Fuchi over. It just isn't believable. Liger may have lost a step or two the past few years but he's still in an entirely different league than the aging Fuchi. I expect Liger to go over, thus splitting the inter-promotional matches on this card down the middle.

  • Dan "The Mouth" Lovranski: This has got to be the strangest booking I've ever seen. This is like taking Chris Benoit and putting him in a match with Road Warrior Animal, even though Fuchi might be not quite as bad as Animal. I would expect Jushin Liger to go over in this one to keep the All Japan/New Japan feud going, and, honestly, who is going to buy a guy past the end of his career taking out one of the greatest junior heavyweights of all time?



    Under card matches

    Match John Molinaro Dan "The Mouth" Lovranski
    Nobutaka Araya & Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs. Kim Duk & Shigeo Okumura Araya and Fujiwara Araya and Fujiwara
    Masahito Kakihara & Mitsuya Nagai vs. Alexander Otsuka & Mohammed Yone Kakihara and Nagai Kakihara and Nagai
    Johnny Smith, Jim Steele, & George Hines vs. Mike Rotunda, Curt Hennig, & Kendall Windham Rotunda, Hennig and Windham Smith, Steele and Hines
    Mil Mascaras & El Hijo Del Santo vs. Arkangel de la Muerte & Blue Panther Mascaras and Santo Mascaras and Santo
    Steve Williams vs. Mike Barton Steve Williams Steve Williams
    Taiyo Kea (Maunakea Mossman) vs. Keiji Mutoh Mutoh Taiyo Kea


    RELATED LINKS
  • Stan Hansen story archive


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