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

New Japan Pro Wrestling's "Wrestling Dontaku in Fukuoa Dome"
New Japan Pro Wrestling's
"Wrestling Dontaku in Fukuoa Dome"

Fukuoa Dome, Fukuoa Japan
Friday, May 5, 2000.


As part of SLAM! Wrestling's continued commitment to provide in-depth coverage of international wrestling, we are pleased to provide a preview of New Japan Pro Wrestling's "Dome Impact" Tokyo Egg Dome Spectacular this Friday. SLAM! Wrestling previewed New Japan's Tokyo Dome Show back in January and the results were so positive that we've decided to do it again. The main event is a grudge match that's been brewing for three years as NWA World Naoya Ogawa takes on arch-rival Shinya Hashimoto. If you want to learn more about past New Japan shows at the Tokyo Dome, be sure to check out our article on the history of the event. And because this is a special event, we've hooked up with our colleagues at Live Audio Wrestling, as Jeff Marek & Dan "The Mouth" Lovranski join SLAM's international wrestling expert John Molinaro with their full predictions for the card. We'll have a full report on the show Friday.


Ultimate Grudge Match


Naoya Ogawa - NWA Champion

Best Move: Stiff kicks, striking fist blows.
Major titles held: NWA Heavyweight
Outlook for rest of 2000: Feud with Hashimoto for the rest of the year. He'll be kept strong leading up to another Dome main event match against Hashimoto towards the end of the year. Hard to handicap his future in New Japan due to his NWA commitments.


VS


Shinya Hashimoto

Best Move: Stiff karate kicks, chicken-wing armlock.
Major titles held: IWGP Heavyweight, IWGP Tag-Team.
Outlook for rest of 2000: Hashimoto has been bogged down by this feud with Ogawa that his push has been diminished greatly. Another run as IWGP champ or a strong showing at August's G1-Climax tournament could put him back on top.


SLAM! Predictions

  • John Molinaro: This feud has been brewing for so long that the heat should blow the roof off of the Tokyo Dome, especially with legends Antonio Inoki and Seiji Sakaguchi at ringside. I really think Hashimoto will score a clean win to blow off the feud.

  • Jeff Marek: It looks like the hottest feud in the wrestling world over the past year and a half will finally have it's blow off. Look for Hashimoto to finally get his win over Ogawa. Ogawa has been having breathing problems lately so this match may not be an epic struggle that goes 40 minutes but you know the heat in the match will be unbelievable.

  • Dan "The Mouth" Lovranski: Hashimoto vs Ogawa is tough because I'm not really sure what would be the best thing to do to continue the story. This coupling has been a hot one and I'm sure that they aren't ready to blow it off yet. So, I'll go with Ogawa so they can continue to build Hashimoto to an eventual win.



    IWGP World Heavyweight Title Match


    Kensuke Sasaki - Champion

    Best Move: Lariat clothesline, Northern Lights Bomb.
    Major titles held: IWGP Heavyweight, IWGP Tag-Team.
    Outlook for 2000: Hard to say. He's clearly not the wrestler New Japan needs to build around, but with everybody else either banged up from injuries or not ready for the push, he may retain his top spot by default.


    VS


    Jushin Liger - Challenger

    Best Move: Liger Bomb, La Majistral.
    Major titles held: IWGP Heavyweight, All Japan Triple Crown.
    Outlook for rest of 2000: Again, hard to say. Liger may remain one of the top junior heavyweights in the world. Or he might choose to leave the junior division and start competing against the heavyweights.


    SLAM! Predictions

  • John Molinaro: I'm not even sure what the point of this match is, unless Liger plans to leave the junior heavyweight division and compete full time with the heavyweights. What a mistake that would be! Even though Sasaki needs to be replaced as IWGP champ, Liger isn't the guy to do it. Pick Sasaki.

  • Jeff Marek: Once again Liger get's his shot at the IWGP heavyweight strap. The last time he was in this position he lost to Shinya Hashimoto and I don't see this time as being any different. Although Liger has been on a wicked winning streak since he was embarrassed in WCW by Russo and crew, I don't expect him to win but he will have a good showing in the match. Go with Sasaki who still doesn't have an obvious successor on the horizon.

  • Dan "The Mouth" Lovranski:I don't see Liger winning his match, especially after they had him lose to Don Frye so easily and quickly in a recent match.


    Return Grudge Match


    The Great Muta

    Best Move: Moonsault, Figure Four Leg Lock.
    Major titles held: IWGP Heavyweight, IWGP Tag-Team, NWA TV
    Outlook for rest of 2000: Muta is banged up, but he's going to be the focal point of an upcoming co-promotional angle with WCW. He'll be pushed huge and there may be another IWGP title run in his future.


    VS


    Masa Chono

    Best Move: Yakuza Kick, STF.
    Major titles held: IWGP Heavyweight, IWGP Tag-Team.
    Outlook for rest of 2000: Chono is hurting and surgery hasn't helped to relieve the pain. Still, he should take time off to recuperate. If he doesn't, expect him to continue to feud with Muta and be involved in the upcoming WCW angle.


    SLAM! Predictions

  • John Molinaro: Muta put Chono over at the last Dome show in January. Now, New Japan is set to run with an WCW invasion angle with Muta at the center of it. Taking that into consideration, Muta should go over here.

  • Jeff Marek: Chono won the last meeting at the Dome Show on Jan 4 and I don't see the same result happening again. In the on-going battle between two guys who's bodies are breaking down I look for Muta to get the nod here.

  • Dan "The Mouth" Lovranski: I'm going to have go with Great Muta winning over Chono because it would help build up the rebel WCW angle that Muta is doing right now.


    Heavyweight vs Junior Heavyweight


    Satoshi Kojima

    Best Move: Lariat clotheslines.
    Major titles held: IWGP Tag-Team.
    Outlook for rest of 2000: Kojima is ready to break out from the mid-card pack. He might be elevated at August's G1-Climax tournament. Expect him to get a major push in the second half of this year and be elevated into one of the top spots.


    VS


    Shinjiro Otani

    Best Move: Springboard Dropkick, Dragon Suplex.
    Major titles held: IWGP Junior Heavyweight, IWGP Jr Heavyweight Tag, J-Crown, WCW Crusierweight, UWA World WelterWeight.
    Outlook for rest of 2000: Pound for pound, Otani is the best wrestler in the world today. Expect him to win the Top of the Super Juniors tournament next month and occupy the top spot in New Japan's junior heavyweight division.


    SLAM! Predictions

  • John Molinaro: Hard to pick as both of them are two of my personal favourites. But I don't see the junior heavyweights going over the heavyweights. Plus, I think they're going to push Kojima huge this summer leading into the annual G-1 Tournament in August. Pick Kojima.

  • Jeff Marek: Both wrestlers are coming off losses from March 19th at Nagoya Prefectural Gym; Kojima to Sasaki and Otani to Liger, so this one should be very interesting. I'll go with Otani who is probably the best overall wrestler in the world right now.

  • Dan "The Mouth" Lovranski: The trend that they started with Liger seems to be continuing with several of the long standing junior heavyweights being elevated into the upper echelon. And since the Japanese still build things up for a much longer period than the Americans, I can't see any of the juniors winning thier matches. Which in the case of Kojima vs Otani is a shame because Otani easily outclasses Kojima (plus he's a personal fave, so I'd love to see him be elevated). Pick Kojima.



    Under card matches

    Match John Molinaro Jeff Marek Dan "The Mouth" Lovranski
    Don Frye vs Koji Kanemoto Frye Frye Frye
    Yutaka Yoshie vs Hiroyoshi Tenzan Tenzan Tenzan Tenzan
    Takeshi Iizuka vs Kazunari Murakami Kazunari Kazunari Iizuka
    Yuji Nagata vs Kendo Ka Shin Nagata Nagata Nagata
    Manabu Nakanishi vs Scott Norton Norton Nakanishi Nakanishi



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