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  January 28, 2001



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'Dream Team' comes out on top
By JOHN F. MOLINARO -- SLAM! Wrestling

The 'Dream Team' of I.W.G.P. World champion Kensuke Sasaki and All Japan star Toshiaki Kawada defeated Triple Crown champion Genichiro Tenryu and Hiroshi Hase in the main event of All Japan Pro Wrestling's Giant Baba Memorial Spectacular today at the Tokyo Egg Dome before a disappointing crowd of 30,000 fans.

The finish came after 23:48 when Kawada pinned Hase following a series of high kicks, a lariat from Sasaki and a powerbomb from Kawada. Hase, a semi-retired star who holds a seat in the Japanese Diet (the equivalent of the U.S. Senate), worked the bulk of the match for his side as Tenryu was suffering from a knee injury.

The show also served as an official retirement ceremony for Stan Hansen, a 27-year veteran that carved out his legend for the past two decades in All Japan. Hansen is suffering from lumbago and announced his retirement on November 19, 2000.

Hansen was honoured by several wrestlers as The Destroyer and Mil Mascaras, two stars who wrestled for All Japan in the 70s and early 80s, were on hand for the festivities in a special in-ring ceremony. Hansen was also presented a special gift by Kawada as a special ten-bell salute was held for the retiring legend.

In a special legends match, Terry Funk wrestled his first match in All Japan in several years, teaming with rival Atsushi Onita to defeat Abdullah the Butcher and Giant Kimala in 8:26 when Funk forced Kimala to submit to a spinning toe hold.

New Japan star Keiji Mutoh (AKA The Great Muta) defeated All Japan's Taiyo Kea in a special inter-promotional match. Mutoh secured the win in 18:43, forcing Kea to submit to a figure-four leg lock.

In another inter-promotional match, New Japan's Jushin "Thunder" Liger pinned All Japan's Masa Fuchi in 18:04 with the La Magistral cradle. Steve Williams pinned Mike Barton in 14:47 following a backdrop driver.

In a special Lucha Libre tag team match, Mil Mascaras teamed with El Hijo del Santo to defeat Arkangel de la Muerte and Blue Panther in 13:40 when Mascaras pinned Muerte.

In other results: Johnny Smith, Jim Steele and George Hines defeated Mike Rotunda, Curt Henning and Barry Windham (substituting for his brother Kendall); Masahito Kakihara and Mitsuya Nagai defeated Alexander Otsuka & Mohammed Yone; Kim Duk and Shigeo Okumura defeated Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Nobutaka Araya and Dan Kroffat won a 13-man Battle Royal (done Royal Rumble-style) eliminating Yuto Aijima in 26:14.

The show is scheduled to air in part on February 1st on Nippon TV.

With files from Zach Arnold

Preview of Tokyo Dome show



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