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  January 4, 2002



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

Akiyama wins dream match

New Japan Tokyo Dome report

By JOHN F. MOLINARO -- SLAM! Wrestling


New Japan Pro Wrestling ran their annual Tokyo Dome spectacular this afternoon as Pro Wrestling NOAH star and World Champion Jun Akiyama squared off against New Japan's Yuji Nagata in a dream match, main event before 51, 500 fans.

 Broadcast live on network television on TV-Asahi, the show saw Akiyama successfully defend his Global Heavyweight Title against New Japan's Yuji Nagata, scoring the pinfall in 19:58 after executing his signature Exploder. Sasaki

 Nagata was said to have been uncooperative in the match, as he nailed Akiyama with several legit kicks and refused to sell for any of his offence. Nagata, unquestionably New Japan's best worker, is coming of a humiliating loss on New Year's Eve when he lost to Mirko Cro Cop in a mere 21 seconds in the main event of Antonio Inoki's special K1 special show in Saitama that aired live on Japan's TBS network.

 Kensuke Sasaki battled former N.W.A. World Champion Naoya Ogawa to a no-contest in 4:02 after when former I.W.G.P Heavyweight Champion Kazuyuki Fujita and Tadao Yasuda ran in and attacked Sasaki. Screw job endings in Japan are very rare and are frowned upon and as a result the crowd booed this match heavily. Following the match, Sasaki challenged Ogawa to a no-rules match.

 In another dream match, New Japan legend and current All Japan Triple Crown Heavyweight Champion Keiji Muto teamed with Hiroshi Hase to beat Osamu Nishimura and Tatsumi Fujinami in 16:44 when Muto pinned Nishimura after executing his trademark Shining Wizard.

 Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Satoshi Kojima defeated Giant Singh New Japan booker Masa Chono in 10:47 seconds when Tenzan pinned Singh.

 I.W.G.P. Junior Heavyweight Champion pinned Daijiro Matsui in 5:43 with a cradle.

 Manabu Nakanishi (formerly Kurosawa in WCW circa 1995) defeated Giant Silva by countout in 6:49. Antonio Inoki came out after the match and did his traditional 1-2-3-dah! chant to loud cheers.

 In a special junior heavyweight attraction, New Japan legend Jushin "Thunder" Liger teamed with Michinoku Pro-Wrestling's Tiger Mask IV and The Great Sasuke to defeat New Japan Junior Heavyweight Tag Team champions Jado and Gedo and Dick Togo. Liger executed a brainbuster on Gedo to score the pin at 20:12.

 The rest of the card saw Masahito Kakihara and Masayuki Naruse defeat Katsuyori Shibata and Wataru Inoue; Minoru Tanaka and El Samurai defeated Akira Nogami and Koji Kanemoto; Kazunari Murakami and Yuki Ishikawa defeated Hiroshi and Kenzo Suzuki.

 In other news, New Japan officially announced the tournament for the I.W.G.P. Heavyweight Title from February 1 in Sapporo to February 11 in Osaka with the semi-finals and finals to take place on February 16 at Tokyo's Sumo Hall. The title became vacant when former champion Kazuyuki Fujita sustained a serious torn Achilles tendon injury in training that required surgery.

With files from Puroresu Power

History of the Tokyo Dome
2001 Tokyo Dome Report
2000 Tokyo Dome Report




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