CANOE Network SLAM!Sports

 
SLAM! Sports SLAM! Wrestling
  January 4, 2001



News & Rumours
Bios
Obits
Canadian Hall of Fame
WrestleMania 30
WrestleMania 30 photos
Video
Movie Database
Minority Mat Report
Columnists
Features
Results Archive
PPV Reviews
SLAM! Wrestling store
On Facebook
On Twitter
Send Feedback




Photo Galleries

SummerSlam


Kevin Steen


Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Legends Fan Fest


Raw in Miami


Tragos/Thesz Hall of Fame inductions


WWE Battleground


ROH in Detroit







SCOREBOARD
PHOTO GALLERY
VIDEO GALLERY
COMMENT




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

New Japan Pro Wrestling's 'Wrestling World 2001'
New Japan Pro Wrestling's
'Wrestling World 2001'

Tokyo Egg Dome, Tokyo Japan
Thursday, January 4, 2001


As part of SLAM! Wrestling's growing commitment to provide in depth coverage of international wrestling, we are pleased to provide a preview of New Japan Pro Wrestling's 'Wrestling World 2001' spectacular at the Tokyo Egg Dome. History will be made as a new I.W.G.P. World Champion will be crowned in a 6-man single elimination tournament. Plus, booker Riki Choshu comes out of retirement to face Shinya Hashimoto and Koji Kanemoto & Minoru Tanaka defend the IWGP Jr. tag titles against Tatsuhito Takaiwa & Shinya Makabe. To read more about the history of New Japan's Tokyo Dome shows, check out our feature article. We're tagging up with the good folks at Live Audio Wrestling, as Jeff Marek & Dan "The Mouth" Lovranski, two noted observers of Japanese wrestling, along with John Molinaro, SLAM's international wrestling expert, offer their full predictions for the show. We'll have a full report on the show tomorrow.


A LOOK AT THE FIELD


Kensuke Sasaki

Best Move: Lariat clothesline, Northern Lights Bomb.
Pro Debut: 02/16/86, vs. Shinji Sasazaki, Tokyo.
Tournament outlook: vs. Satoshi Kojima in the 1st round
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.
Tournament outlook: 1st round bye.
Video Clip: Kawada defeats Mitsuharu Misawa for the Triple Crown (1 MB)

Masa Chono

Best Moves: STF, Yakuza kicks
Pro Debut: 10/05/84 vs. Keiji Mutoh, Saitama.
Tournament outlook: 1st round bye.

Yuji Nagata

Best Moves: Northern Lights Suplex, lethal stiff kicks
Pro Debut: 09/14/92 vs. Hiroyoshi Yamamoto, Matsue.
Tournament outlook: vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan in the 1st round.

Satoshi Kojima

Best Moves: Running lariat, Diamond-cutter
Pro Debut: 07/16/91 vs. Hiroyoshi Yamamoto, Hokkaido.
Tournament outlook: vs. Kensuke Sasaki in the 1st round.

Hiroyoshi Tenzan

Best Moves: Diving head-butt
Pro Debut: 11/06/90 22-man battle royal.
Tournament outlook: vs. Yuji Nagata in the 1st round.


SLAM! Predictions

  • John Molinaro: Kojima vs. Sasaki: Sasaki is booker Riki Choshu's guy so I expect him to go over here. Tenzan vs. Nagata: I see Nagata as the next big star to be elevated out of the mid-card in 2001. I think he'll go over here and be pushed strong in this tournament. Chono vs. Sasaki: Chono's knees are shot. He's still got great heat but I don't see how Choshu can push him far in this tournament. Go with Sasaki. Kawada vs. Nagata: All Japan didn't send Kawada to this tournament to not make it to the finals. He'll go over here, but Nagata will look strong and be elevated somewhat.

  • Jeff Marek: Kojima vs. Sasaki: Although I think the company should start booking Kojima to look stronger I see Sasaki getting the nod here. Booker Riki Choshu has thrown all his support behind Sasaki and they'll probably use this entire tournament to strengthen his spot at the top of the New Japan roster. Tenzan vs. Nagata: Nagata seems to be the next guy that New Japan will elevate to one of the top spots so I see him looking strong here and going over in what could be the match of the entire tournament. Chono vs. Sasaki: While Chono may well be the most over guy here I don't think he'll get past this match with Sasaki who I expect will be in the finals. Count on this bout to have great heat but won't measure up in the ring. Kawada vs. Nagata: Does anyone really expect Kawada to lose here? For the All Japan vs New Japan angle to continue properly Kawada has to be strong in this tournament and will beat Nagata in another amazing bout.

  • Dan "The Mouth" Lovranski: Kojima vs. Sasaki: Since the best thing for the continuation of the All Japan/New Japan feud is for Toshiaki Kawada to win the tournament, Sasaki can put over Kojima. Tenzan vs. Nagata: This is a tough call as either guy would probably work well with Kawada in a semi-final match. Both guys are good workers, but Tenzan has been around longer, so he should get the nod here. Chono vs. Kojima: My semi-final match here would be Chono vs Kojima since it gives another good and dedicated worker like Kojima a rub. But in the end, Chono, who has been one of the major New Japan icons of the last decade, must triumph to take on the All Japan invader. Kawada vs. Tenzan: It's perfect storytelling... Tenzan is a stalwart New Japan worker trying to get higher into the mix, but he's still a little shy of holding off the All Japan threat. Kawada will win. But look at this nice side bonus-both semi-finals help keep the Kojima/Tenzan tag team strong as well.



    Tournament

    Match John Molinaro Jeff Marek Dan "The Mouth" Lovranski
    Finalist #1 Toshiaki Kawada Toshiaki Kawada Toshiaki Kawada
    Finalist #2 Kensuke Sasaki Kensuke Sasaki Masahiro Chono
    Winner Sasaki Sasaki Toshiaki Kawada


    SLAM! Predictions for the Finals

  • John Molinaro: Toshiaki Kawada vs Kensuke Sasaki: A rematch of their classic match at the last Tokyo Dome show in October. I think this should build a great storyline stemming from that first match and surpass it in terms of physical intensity and stiffness. Politically, I don't see how New Japan could put the IWGP World title on Kawada. Not to say he'd make a bad selection, just that I don't think it's feasible considering Kawada works for All Japan and New Japan's new working relationship with Mitsuharu Misawa's NOAH group has made All Japan owner Motoko Baba hot under the collar. Look for Sasaki to go over here in another great match.

  • Jeff Marek: Toshiaki Kawada vs Kensuke Sasaki: A rematch from the classic that the Japanese wrestling media picked as match of the year. This should be an even better match than the first since there is so much at stake. I'm pretty sure that New Japan won't put Kawada over for their strap and will go with one of their guys (which is why Triple Crown champion Tenryu was pulled out of the tournament) so look for Sasaki to go over. Look for Sasaki to win here to put these two at 1 and 1 with the rubber match coming after Kawada grabs the Triple Crown off Tenryu.

  • Dan "The Mouth" Lovranski: The final for IWGP title will be Toshiaki Kawada taking on Masahiro Chono, who is not the best opponent for Kawada in terms of ring ability, but in terms of symbolism and storyline, he's perfect. It's been about half a year since the All Japan/New Japan angle began, so it's much too early to blow off the feud. Chono will put up a valiant fight but Kawada will be triumphant and the angle continues. And waiting in the wings for Kawada-Hashimoto...


    Under card matches

    Match John Molinaro Jeff Marek Dan "The Mouth" Lovranski
    Keiji Muto & Shinjiro Otani vs. Manabu Nakanishi & Jushin Liger Muto & Otani Nakanishi & Liger Nakanishi & Liger
    Choshu vs. Hashimoto Hashimoto Hashimoto Hashimoto
    Koji Kanemoto & Minoru Tanaka vs Tatsuhito Takaiwa & Shinya Makabe Kanemoto and Tanaka Kanemoto and Tanaka Kanemoto and Tanaka
    Takashi Iizuka vs. Kendo Ka Shin Iizuka Ka Shin Ka Shin


    History of the Tokyo Dome
    Last year's show




  • Know someone who might be interested in this page? Just type in their e-mail address to send them the URL.

    Destination email address:


    Your email address: