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  January 4, 2001



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Sasaki on top at Tokyo Dome
By JOHN F. MOLINARO -- SLAM! Wrestling

Sasaki Kensuke Sasaki came out on top at New Japan Pro Wrestling's 'Wrestling World 2001' spectacular at the Tokyo Egg Dome today.

Competing in a six-man single-elimination tournament to crown a new I.W.G.P. World Heavyweight champion, Sasaki, a former two-time champion, defeated All Japan Pro Wrestling star Toshiaki Kawada in the finals, pinning him in 10:30 following his trademark Northern Lights Bomb.

The title became vacant following a non-title match that Sasaki lost to Kawada at 'Do Judge!!', New Japan's last Tokyo Dome show on October 9th. Sasaki vacated the title, even though the title was not on the line, because, as the storyline presented it, he had disgraced his company and was no longer fit to wear its world title.

Sasaki defeated Satoshi Kojima in 16:33 in a first round match before defeating archrival Masahiro Chono in the semi-finals to advance to the tournament championship.

Kawada had a first round bye and only had to defeat New Japan's Hiroyoshi Tenzan to advance to the finals. In something of a surprise, Tenzan defeated Yuji Nagata in the opening round to advance to the semi-final match with Kawada. Many pundits expected a Kawada-Nagata semi-final due to their spectacular showing against one another last month in the main event of New Japan's '2nd Judgement' pay-per-view event from Osaka.

New Japan booker Riki Choshu came out of retirement and battled Shinya Hashimoto to a no-contest in 15:20 when New Japan President Tatsumi Fujinami told the referee to stop the match.

Shinjiro Ohtani and Keiji Mutoh returned to the rings of New Japan for the first time in months, defeating Manabu Nakanishi and Jushin "Thunder" Liger in 5:44. Ohtani had been away wrestling in England and training in Calgary, while Mutoh had been wrestling in WCW under his Great Muta gimmick.

Koji Kanemoto and Minoru Tanaka retained their I.W.G.P. Jr. Tag titles against Tatsuhito Takaiwa and Shinya Makabe in 18:02 when Kanemoto forced Makabe to submit to an ankle submission hold.

In other matches, Takashi Iizuka defeated Kendo Ka Shin in 6:12 with a choke sleeper.

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History of the Tokyo Dome




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