[K-1] Mirko breaks Sapp's orbital bone in two places Brandon on 3/31/2003

After being rushed straight to the hospital after his 3/30 loss to Mirko CroCop, it was determined that Bob Sapp suffered a broken orbital bone in two places.

The good news is though, the fractures are in the wall of the eye socket, rather then in the sole of the eye socket. Kazushi Sakuraba suffered a fracture to the sole of his eye socket in his 8/28/02 "Dynamite!" fight against CroCop -- an injury that kept him out a very long time.

The injury is similar to the one Kenta Kobashi sustained in his 3/1 match against Mitsuharu Misawa, but with two breaks, it is not expected that Sapp will make as a quick a recovery. Which means anyone hope of Sapp being booked for New Japan's 5/2 Tokyo Dome show is lost.

[PRIDE] Mirko: Next, I want to fight Fedor Brandon on 3/31/2003

Mirko CroCop, very happy the day after his win over Bob Sapp, said he next wants to fight in PRIDE against Heavyweight Champion Emelianenko Fedor. He said he wants to win both the K-1 Grand Prix and the PRIDE Heavyweight Title this year.

CroCop also mentioned that he'd like to fight Ernesto Hoost, who he has lost to three times, and said he would like to have PRIDE fights with Sapp, Hidehiko Yoshida and a another match with Vanderlei Silva.

[WJ] Tag Title? Brandon on 3/31/2003

Although Riki Choshu has said WJ will not have its own singles title, it appears the promotion may be making their own singles and tag titles. Choshu on 3/31 told the press that he wants to start a tag team with Genichiro Tenryu and establish a tag team title in the promotion.

Director Katsuji Nagashima told the press that WJ has plans to crown tag champions in September. Teams planned to be involved in some kind of tournament are Kensuke Sasaki and Dan Bobish, Takao Omori and Kenzo Suzuki, and Riki Choshu and Genichiro Tenryu.

News from March 21 through March 31 is lost due to problems with reVamp (board service provider).

 [WJ] Onita cancels appearance
Brandon on 3/20/2003 @ 16:53 

After Genichiro Tenryu canceled the rest of his appearances on the WJ tour on 3/18 and Riki Choshu canceled on 3/19, now Atsushi Onita has canceled on 3/20.

So the 3/20 show in Chiba had neither Tenryu, Choshu or Onita on the card.

Onita, being a member of Japan's diet had other engagements due to the war taking place in Iraq.

However, Onita promised that he would appearance in a special gimmick for WJ's shows on 4/19 in Tokyo Korakuen Hall and the 4/29 show in Tottori.

 [New Japan] Chono challenges Kobashi
Brandon on 3/20/2003 @ 16:49 

After New Japan's 3/20 show in Kumagaya Citizen Gym, Masahiro Chono challenged Kenta Kobashi. He said he would like to have a match with GHC Heavyweight Champion Kobashi at New Japan's "ULTIMATE CRUSH" Tokyo Dome show on 5/2. He said that since he had a dream match with Mitsuharu Misawa last year on 5/2 in the Dome, he wants to have another dream match with a NOAH wrestler.

 [WEW] Hashimoto visits Fuyuki`s home
Brandon on 3/20/2003 @ 16:29 

Shinya Hashimoto visited Hiromichi Fuyuki's family at Fuyuki's home on 3/20, include Fuyuki's wife, Kaoru. Kintaro Kanemura was also there.

Hashimoto told the media that he would keep his promise and wrestle on the 5/5 show in Kawasaki for WEW.

Hashimoto said that he, Mitsuharu Misawa and Genichiro Tenryu visited Fuyuki the night before he died.

Obviously, the WEW 5/5 show in the parking lot that is now Kawasaki Stadium will go on as scheduled. The show will be promoted by Takeshi Ito, who Fuyuki had intrusted the promotion to. Several NOAH wrestlers are expected to wrestle on the show because of Misawa's relationship with Fuyuki.

It also announced to the public that Fuyuki's funeral will take place on 3/22.

Brandon on 3/19/2003 @ 15:29 

Promoter and wrestler of 23 years, Hiromichi Fuyuki passed away in a Yokohama hospital at 6:50PM Japan time on 3/19. Fuyuki had been battling cancer which he had made public last year. He had been in the hospital since 2/28. He was 42 years old.

Only nine days earlier, Fuyuki left the hospital for the day to appear in the Tokyo Korakuen Hall to setup a match with Shinya Hashimoto which was to take place on 5/5 in Kawasaki as Fuyuki's last match.

After announcing his illness, Fuyuki had originally retired on 4/14/02 with Mitusharu Misawa's Pro Wrestling NOAH in Differ Ariake. However, Fuyuki later made his return to pro wrestling as the promoter of his new promotion World Entertainment Wrestling last May.

Born on May 11, 1960 in Yokohama, Fuyuki began his career in 1979. He joined All Japan in 1981, forming a tag team with Toshiaki kawada called Footloose. He left All Japan with Genichiro Tenryu left in 1990, eventually becoming a part of Tenryu's WAR promotion when it was started in 1992. In 1997, Fuyuki joined FMW. As a wrestler, Fuyuki took a commissioner role, as well as served as booker until the promotion closed in March 2002.

 [WJ] Choshu cancels appearance on
Brandon on 3/19/2003 @ 15:23 

WJ announced on that Riki Choshu would not be wrestling on the 3/20 show in Nagareyama. Choshu is reported to be dealing with several injuries, including a cracked jaw. This follows the announcement yesterday that Genichiro Tenryu would be off the rest of the tour.

In an update on Tenryu, he will undergo an MRI on 3/22.

 [New Japan] Yasuda vs. Nagata official
Brandon on 3/19/2003 @ 15:20 

New Japan Pro Wrestling formally announced that Yuji Nagata's tenth challenger for the IWGP Heavyweight Title will be Tadao Yasuda. As expected, the match will take place on 4/23 in Hiroshima Sun Plaza.

 [K-1] Hoost to fight Jefferson Silva
Brandon on 3/19/2003 @ 15:19 

K-1 officially announced that Ernesto Hoost's previously undetermined opponent for the 3/30 Saitama Super Arena would be Brazilian fighter Jefferson Silva.

 [Tapes] New Releases; Kobashi vs. Misawa
Brandon on 3/18/2003 @ 21:05 
Nine new tapes are now available in the section. As always, all tapes are $10 with no extra shipping charges to the US or Canada. Included is the entire 1/4/03 Tokyo Dome show on one tape for $10, New Japan's 2/2/03 show with Yuji Nagata vs. Osamu Nishimura, NOAH's Budokan show from 1/10 with Chono/Misawa vs. Kobashi/Taue, the second ZERO-ONE USA show, the WRESTLE-1 Tokyo Dome show, All Japan's latest PPV and the very fun U-STYLE PPV.

And of course, the much talked about NOAH 3/1/03 Budokan show is available, which includes Kenta Kobashi vs. Mitsuharu Misawa for the GHC Heavyweight Title. Having seen it, it's definitely a must-see match that everyone will remember for a long time.

New Japan BS-Asahi "WRESTLING WORLD" 1/4/03 (Barnett vs. Nagata)
New Japan BS-Asahi 2/2/03 (Nishimura vs. Nagata)
New Japan BS-Asahi 2/11/03 (Nakamura/Nagata vs. Chono/Tenzan)
NOAH Di Colosseo Special on G+SN 1/10/03 (Kobashi/Taue vs. Chono/Misawa)
NOAH Di Colosseo Special on G+SN 3/1/03 (Kobashi vs. Misawa)
ZERO-ONE USA on Samurai TV 1/6/03 (Corino vs. Tanaka)
All Japan PPV 2/23/03 (Hashimoto vs. Muta)
U-STYLE PPV 2/15/03 (Sakata vs. Tamura)
WRESTLE-1 PPV 1/19/03 (Hoost vs. Sapp)

 [WJ] Tenryu injured; series with Choshu canceled
Brandon on 3/18/2003 @ 18:30 

Genichiro Tenryu (53) suffered a head injury in his 3/16 match against Riki Choshu. As a result, his future appearances with WJ have been canceled, which means consequentially, his six-match series with Choshu is over. This caused Choshu to end up wrestling a six-man tag deathmatch on 3/18 in Ota Citizen Gym.

Tenryu went to the doctor on the morning of 3/18 and was told by his doctor not to wrestle later that day in Ota Citizen Gymnasium, where he was scheduled to wrestle his fourth match against Choshu.

There is speculation that Tenryu suffered a concussion after one of Choshu's Riki Lariats in their first match on 3/1 in Yokohama Arena, which is where the injury likely began and/or took place.

Tenryu may end up being out of wrestling for somewhat long period of time, as when he will be able to return isn't known right now. There are even some suggesting Tenryu could be out long-term.

Choshu said it was not a mistake to have chosen Tenryu has his opponent in the series and hopes to finish the series with Tenryu eventually.

Before the show on 3/18, Director Katsuji Nagashima came in the ring and formally apologized to the fans for Tenryu's absence.

Since he could not wrestle Tenryu, Choshu was put into the no-rope barbed wire board deathmatch. He teamed with Yoshiaki Yatsu and Shiro Koshinaka defeating Atsushi Onita, Ichiro Yaguchi and Ricky Fuji in 12:50 after Yatsu submitted Yaguchi with the prison head hold.

After defeating Nobutaka Araya in 10:43 in the semi-main event after an axe bomber, Omori did an angle, suggesting that it was his axe bomber that injured Tenryu. He said he was upset that now with Tenryu out, he won't be able to have a singles match with him.

Without Choshu vs. Tenryu, the show in Ota Citizen Gym (drawing 2,540) was instead main evented by Kenzo Suzuki and Kensuke Sasaki defeating the Road Warriors in 11:20 after Sasaki pinned Hawk after the Northen Lights bomb.

 [New Japan] Yasuda likely to challenge Nagata
Brandon on 3/18/2003 @ 18:12 

New Japan is building up an IWGP Heavyweight Title match between champion Yuji Nagata and Tadao Yasuda. Likely to happen on 4/23 in Hiroshima Sun Plaza, it will be Nagata's record-breaking tenth title defense.

Nagata originally won the title from Yasuda on 4/5 in Tokyo Budokan Hall (not Tokyo Nippon Budokan Hall).

 [PRIDE] Chute Boxe declares PRIDE Title monopoly
Brandon on 3/17/2003 @ 14:25 

After the pull-apart between Vanderlei Silva and Quinton Jackson at PRIDE 25, Silva said on 3/17 that he would knockout Jackson when they fight for the PRIDE Middleweight Title and prove that Chute Boxe is the number-one muay thai gym in the world.

Leader and head trainer of Chute Boxe, Rodrigo Rudimar then said that Chute Boxe would also take the PRIDE Heavyweight Title before the end of the year. He said that Chute Boxe has about 30 fighters were are ready to enter PRIDE. Rudimar said Assuerio Silva (who fought and won at both PRIDE 15 and 16) and Murilo "Ninja" Rua's brother, Mauricio "Shogun" Rua will enter the heavyweight division for Chute Boxe and are capable of defeating new PRIDE Heavyweight Champion Emelianenko Fedor. He criticised Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira for allowing Fedor to dictate the pace of the fight and that Chute Boxe fighters would not allow that to happen.

 [NOAH] 3/16 Differ Ariake results
Brandon on 3/16/2003 @ 20:23 

Tokyo Differ Ariake
Announced Drawing 1,800 (sell-out)

Before the show began, GHC Heavyweight Champion Kenta Kobashi greeted the crowd, coming out to new theme music. He once again said he would return to the ring on 3/21, for the opening of the next tour. He also suggested that there be some kind of match between Akitoshi Saito, Scorpio and Tamon Honda to determine his first challenger for the GHC Heavyweight Title. Kobashi said that Saito is his first priority, Scorpio second and Honda third.

1. Mitsuo Momota defeated Haruka Eigen in 8:18 with a front cradle.

2. Masao Inoue defeated Tsuyoshi Kikuchi in 12:39 with an Argentine backbreaker.

3. Tamon Honda defeated Takuma Sano in 11:44 with a back shoulder hold.

4. Yoshinari Ogawa, Mitsuharu Misawa defeated Kishin Kawabata, Akira Taue in 14:36 when Misawa pinned Kawabata after a running elbow.

5. Daisuke Ikeda, Takeshi Rikio, Takashi Morishima defeated Jun Izumida, Akitoshi Saito, Jun Akiyama in 14:28 when Rikio pinned Izumida after a short lariat.

6. 2/3 Falls Match: Takashi Sugiura, Makoto Hashi, Yoshinobu Kanemaru defeated Kotaro Suzuki, KENTA, Naomichi Marufuji two falls to one (no match times were available).
-Sugiura pinned Suzuki after an Olympic slam for the first fall.
-Marufuji pinned Sugiura with a rolling cradle for the second fall.
-Hashi pinned KENTA after the Gory Thunder for the final fall.

 [PRIDE] PRIDE 25 notes
Brandon on 3/16/2003 @ 20:05 

The attendance number PRIDE is giving for their PRIDE 25 show from the Yokohama Arena is 19,247, which would be a sell-out.

Dream Stage Managing Director Nobuyuki Sakakibara said after the show, regarding the future of PRIDE and Dream Stage Entertainment, "I want to put together with a new system by the end of this month," hinting the rumored, that Dream Stage Entertainment would be closing down and PRIDE will be continuing on, "PRIDE will not be lost by any means."

After being knocked out by Antonio "Nino" Schembri, Kazushi Sakuraba admitted his defeat and said he wanted to go back and train to get back in condition to fight again. Nobuhiko Takada however, suggested that Schembri's win was lucky.

No major injuries have been reported at this point.

 [PRIDE] PRIDE 25 results
Brandon on 3/16/2003 @ 02:56 

Yokohama Arena

The show opened with a video piece with images of "THE END OF PRIDE?" then, "PRIDE NEVER DIE!" with clips of fighters talking about former President Naoto Morishita.

1. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira defeated Kazuhiro Nakamura in 3:30 in 2R by submission (armbar).
-Nakamura entered wearing the gi, however he removed it before the fight began.
-1R: Nakamura picks up Nogueira and throws him down. Nogueira lays on his back while Nakamura stands. Nakamura jumps on him into his guard. Nogueira went for an uma plata, but it was unsuccessful, allowing Nakamura to escape. Nakamura goes back into Nogueira's guard. Nakamura tripods. Nogueira conties to go for a triangle, but isn't successful. Nakamura gets out of the guard and stands up, while Nogueira lays on his back. The referee makes Nogueira stand. Nogueira lands some solid punches while Nakamura attempts a takedown. They go down with Nakamura on his back in Nakamura's half guard. Nogueira lands shots to the body. Nakamura escapes and gets to his feet, with Nogueira in the butt scoot again. Nakamura jumps on Nogueira again and go into Nogueira's guard. Nakamura lands a series of punches to the face. Nogueira attempts an uma plata and loses it, allowing Nakamura to stand. Nakamura goes for a bicycle kick and goes to the ground with him. Nogueira continues to attempt the triangle. While Nakamura lands small strikes, Nogueira attempts to sweep with an armbar, but Nakamura defends. Nakamura gets to his feet again. The referee makes Nogueira stand. The round ends.
-2R: Nakamura attempts a takedown, but Nogueira sprawls and gets him down but is unable to get him all the way down. The referee makes Nogueira stand. They go back down again, in Nakamura's guard. Nogueira lands a series of shots to the face and body. Nakamura rolls, trying to escape and gives Nogueira his back. Nogueira applies an armbar. Nakamura taps out.
-After the fight, UFC Middleweight Champion Murilo Bustamante spoke Japanese, announcing his participation in PRIDE, reading from a paper, "I am Murilo Bustamante, the leader of Brazilian Top Team. I am honored to be here. My dream is to become PRIDE Middleweight Champion. I will fight anybody. Please give me your support. Thank you very much."

2. Akira Shoji defeated Alex Steibling at the end of 3R by split decision (2-1).
-After training with AMC Pankration, Matt Hume is Shoji's corner, as well as Hiroyuki Abe. Shoji also appears to have lost weight since the last time he fought.
-1R: They test each other out, kickboxing, neither getting the advantage. Shoji gets him down in Steibling's guard. Shoji gets half guard. He passes into side mount. Steibling keeps his left knee high to prevent Shoji from getting mount. Shoji lands small strikes. He attempts a full mount, but ends up back in Steibling's guard. Shoji gets north-pole position, goes for knees, Steibling blocks and gets Shoji in his half guard. Steibling gets full guard. The exchange punches on the ground. Shoji passes and gets in side mount. He lands a few solid punches and goes for an armbar, but can't get it, allow Steibling to get up. They clinch in the corner until the round ends.
-2R: They start the round kickboxing again. Shoji lands a four-punch combination, sending Steibling to the mat. Shoji continues to land a series of serious punches. In side mount, he continues punching, then throwing knees. Steibling gets him back in guard. More punches are landed. Steibling rolls it and gets guard. Steibling lands punches. Shoji gives him his back. Steibling has back mount. He goes for a rear naked choke. Shoji keeps his chin down. One minute left in the round. Steibling releases the hold. Shoji goes on his side before giving Steibling his back again. Steibling lands hammer punches to the head. Steibling comes very close to getting the referee stoppage before the round ends.
-3R: Steibling does some mostly unanswered kickboxing. Steibling lands several straights and jabs, as Shoji, very tired, doesn't do much. The round ends and will go to a decision.
-The judges rule a split decision, controversially awarding the fight to Akira Shoji.
-After the fight, Shoji took the microphone, crying, said, "My PRIDE will live forever!"
-In the back, Steibling said Shoji was tough and that he wouldn't complain about the decision.

3. Alexander Otsuka defeated Kenichi Yamamoto at the end of 3R by unanimous decision (3-0).
-Yamamoto refused to shake hands with Otsuka before the fight.
-1R: Otsuka clinches Yamamoto against the ropes, trying to take him down. Otsuka slams Yamamoto down. Otsuka stands up and jumps on Yamamoto, into his guard. Otsuka goes for a can opener while Yamamoto pushes on Otsuka's face. The fight is mostly unexciting right now. Yamamoto gets on the top and into Otsuka's half guard. Yamamoto goes for a kneebar, which is unsuccesful, resulting in Otsuka getting in Yamamoto's half guard. Otsuka picks Yamamoto up and slams him down on his head like a piledriver. They spend a couple minutes in Yamamoto's guard, where Otsuka lands small strikes and tries to slam Yamamoto from there, but it never works. The round ends. A mostly uneventful round other than the slam by Otsuka.
-2R: Again, they start the round by going into the ropes then down to the ground in Yamamoto's guard. Otsuka gets into half guard, then side mount. Some punches are landed and he lands a big knee. The fight goes standing and it appears Yamamoto's arm is somehow cut while Otsuka bleeds from the nose. Otsuka takes Yamamoto down into Yamamoto's half guard. They exchange body shots. The round ends.
-3R: Otsuka shoots and takes him down. Yamamoto rolls and gets full mount on Otsuka. Otsuka saves and gets half guard. Yamamoto is very tired, not able to do much. Yamamoto is given a yellow card for stalling. The fighters stand because of the yellow card. Yamamoto goes for a dropkick, but of course, it doesn't work. They go to the ground again and the round ends. The crowd boos the unexciting fight. I would expect this to be clipped, if not removed from the US version of the pay-per-view.
-The judges give Alexander Otsuka the unanimous decision.
-Otsuka and Yamamoto shook hands after the fight.

4. Anderson Silva defeated Carlos Newton in 6:26 in 1R by TKO (flying knee).
-Silva weighs in at 84kg; Newton at 87kg. Anderson gives the big staredown.
-1R: Newton acheives the takedown after some jabs. Small strikes by both fighters. Netwon passes into side mount. He lands a big knee in north-south position. Newton takes full mount, Silva tries to resist, but Newton gets it. Newton lands some punches. Silva spins out and they go into Silva's guard. Silva's legs are so long that he's able to do a triangle on Newton's torso for guard. After a period of inactivity, the referee gives a yellow card to Silva for stalling and stands the fighters. Silva hits a big flying knee as Newton goes for the double-leg. Newton goes down. Silva follows with punches. The referee stops the fight.
-Anderson screamed wildly and did his Michael Jackson dance in the ring after winning.

5. Dan Henderson defeated Shungo Oyama in 3:27 in 1R by TKO (punches).
-Matt Linland and Randy Couture are among Henderson's corner as part of Team Quest.
-1R: Henderson goes in with a combination and knocks Oyama down, but Oyama gets back up to take more punches. They continue in a stand-up exchange until Oyama does for a hip throw, but Henderson gets back up from him it and takes Oyama down himself, getting side mount. Oyama spins out and gets to his feet to return to stand-up. Henderson takes Oyama down to side mount and rains punches. After about nine straight punches, the referee stops the fight.

-Bob Sapp entered wearing an Inoki mask. Sapp got in the ring and did the whole Inoki routine. The lights went out. Antonio Inoki, who is in Parao, appeared on the screen. He said, "PRIDE's starting off fresh again. I'm hoping today's event will be successful." Kazuyuki Fujita then appeared on the screen with Inoki. Fujita said, "I will challenge anybody anywhere, anytime." Sapp in the ring, then jokingly said, "Fujita, come on!" Fujita said, "See you at PRIDE 26." Sapp then did the Inoki, "Ich! Ni! San! Daa!!"

6. Antonio "Nino" Schembri defeated Kazushi Sakuraba in 6:07 in 1R by TKO (knees).
-1R: Sakuraba goes for a high kick, but Schembri blocks it. They exchange knee, kick and punch attempts before going to the ground. Schembri has a red mark on his leg from a low kick. Schembri tries to pull guard while Sakuraba stands. Schembri is bleeding heavily from the nose. He's sent to be checked by the doctor. The fight continues. Sakuraba dominates Schembri standing. The crowd cheers for his every strike. Big left by Sakuraba, he follows with combinations, but Schembri gets out. Sakuraba hits the Mongolian chop. They tie up. Sakuraba pushes him into the corner. Schembri comes up with a knee. A series of big knees by Schembri. He follows with punches. The referee stops the fight. Sakuraba has been defeated in a huge upset.

7. Quinton "Rampage" Jackson defeated Kevin Randleman in 7:00 in 1R by TKO (punches).
-, , , , ,
-The winner of this fight earns a match with Vanderlei Silva for the PRIDE Middleweight Title.
-Both Jackson and Randleman come in weighing 93kg (205lbs).
-1R: They go into a clinch in the over-under. All small striking with Jackson going for his muay thai knees to the body. The referee calls for the fighters to return to the middle of the right. The same thing only happens as they go into the corner with Jackson going for knees again. The referee breaks them up again. The same thing happens the third time. The referee breaks them up and this time gives a yellow card to both fighters. Jackson hits Randleman with a combination. Randleman goes down. Jackson lands knees. He takes full mount and lands punches. The referee stops the fight. Jackson earns a match with Vanderlei Silva.
-After the fight, Jackson took the microphone. Vanderlei Silva gets in the ring after the fight. Jackson and Silva stare at each other from across the ring. Silva pushes Jackson. Jackson drops the microphone. The ring floods. Jackson and Silva are just barely separated by about 20 people. Silva takes the microphone. He said, in Portugese, "Come on. Let's go. Right now." I'm not sure if Jackson understood what he said, but he tried to get back in the ring, but of course, he didn't get back in and left.

8. PRIDE Heavyeight Title: Emelianenko Fedor defeated Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at the end of 3R by unanimous decision (3-0).
-, ,
-The Russian and Brazilian national anthems were played before the fight.
-Nobuhiko Takada did the sanctioning and certificate-reading for the PRIDE Heavyweight Title match.
-1R: Nogeuira goes in for a double-leg takedown and gets it, but Fedor rolls out and sits back up. Fedor throws a big right, which Nogueira avoids, but almost falls out of the ring in doing so. Fedor gets Nogueira on the ground with this. Nogueira tries to get Fedor in guard. Nogueira holds on to Fedor's right hand so he can't punch and applies guard. Fedor pulls up, so Nogueira throws a bicycle kick. Fedor comes down with some big punches. Fedor continues to try to do this, but Nogueira defends it. Nogueira goes for a triangle, but he doesn't make it. Nogueira goes for a chickenwing, but couldn't get that either. Fedor needed his glove adjusted. Nogueira goes for an uma plata also could get that on. Nogueira goes for the chickenwing again. Fedor avoids in and comes in with some hard punches. Nogueira continues to go for the chickenwing. Nogueira is bleeding slightly from the cheek. Nogueira goes for the triangle as Fedor comes up, but Fedor pulls out of it. Fedor pops up again and pounds him in the face, landing about six punches. Fedor continues to land flurry after flurry of punches. Nogueira makes a brief attempt at the triangle. Nogueira appears to becoming tired with one minute to go. Nogueira sweeps. He gets into half guard on Fedor. Nogueira with some small punches. Fedor counters with his own sweep and pounds Nogueira in the face. A round largely dominated by Fedor ends.
-2R: Nogueira shoots with a double-leg but can't do it yet. Fedor tries to knee him. Nogueira drops back, putting the fight in Nogueira's guard once again. More of the same thing with Fedor pulling up and dropping punches on Nogueira, though not quite to the same extent yet. Nogueira goes for a triangle, then an armbar, but misses both. Fedor lands a hard right on Nogueira's jaw. Fedor continues his method of pulling up and dropping down with punches. Nogueira sweeps and is about to get in Fedor's guard as the round ends.
-3R: Fedor comes in with a big left, but misses and Nogueira pulls him down to the ground in his guard. Nogueira goes for an armbar then an uma plata, almost gets it, but Fedor gets out. Nogueira tries to sweep, but Fedor gets away from it, still able to drop down on Nogueira with his punches. Nogueira holds on to Fedor's wrists to defend punches, but Fedor pulls out at will to try to punch him, but is not able to throw them as quickly as before. Fedor almost makes side mount, but seems to prefer being in Nogueira's guard. Nogueira goes for another chickenwing, but it still doesn't work. Noguiera tries for another armbar or triangle, but nothing works. The round ends. Bloodied, Nogueira slaps the mat and buries his head, knowing he has been defeated.
-The judges award the match to Fedor by unanimous decision. Emelianenko Fedor is the new PRIDE Heavyweight Champion.
-After the fight, Fedor took the microphone and thanked everyone and said it was an honor to fight Nogueira.
-All the fighters (except for Vanderlei Silva, since Jackson was there) entered the ring and shook Fedor's hand, including Bob Sapp. Sapp said, "I look forward to challenging you for the belt in the future." Fedor joked, "I'm looking forward to fighting you, but I'd have to gain about 70 kilograms before that."
-Sakuraba addressed the crowd, saying, "I did lose the fight, but PRIDE will go on. I will support PRIDE in the future."

 [PRIDE] Sapp challenges winner of Nogueira-Fedor
Brandon on 3/16/2003 @ 02:54 

Emelianenko Fedor and Bob Sapp happened to meet on 3/15. Sapp said that he wanted to fight the next PRIDE Heavyweight Champion after Fedor fights champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira on 3/16 at RPIDE 25.

However, if Nogueira retains and PRIDE does have interest in giving Sapp a title match, Nogueira has previously turned down an offer to have a rematch with Sapp after their 8/28 fight.

 [WJ] 3/16 Korakuen Hall results
Brandon on 3/15/2003 @ 14:18 

Tokyo Korakuen Hall
Announced Drawing 1,850

1. Nobutaka Araya defeated Takashi Uwano in 9:47 with a Boston crab.

2. Tomohiro Ishii defeated Yoji Anjo in 8:08 with a German suplex hold.

3. Yoshiaki Yatsu, Masahiko Kochi defeated Kazushi Miyamoto, Kazushi Miyamoto in 9:21 when Yatsu submitted Honma with the prison head hold.

4. Todd Shane, Mike Shane defeated Animal, Hawk in 9:04 when Todd pinned Hawk after a choke slam.

5. Kenzo Suzuki defeated Steve Madison in 11:49 with a hagakure.

6. Kensuke Sasaki defeated Big Vito in 6:36 after a Northern Lights bomb.

7. Takao Omori defeated Shiro Koshinaka in 13:29 with the Axe Guillotine Driver.
-, , ,

8. Six Match Series: Genichiro Tenryu defeated Riki Choshu in 11:27 with the 53 years old.
-, , , , , ,
-Tenryu ties the series 1-1.
-After the match, Takao Omori ran in and "declared war" on Tenryu. Tenryu responded to Omori's challenge by throwing a bottle of water at him.

 [Michinoku Pro] Great Sasuke to run for office
Brandon on 3/14/2003 @ 21:29 

Great Sasuke announced on 3/14 that he would be running for office to become a member of Iwate Prefecture assembly in the Morioka-shi, where he is from. That area, in the northeast, is also where Sasuke bases his Michonoku (meaning northeast) Pro promotion.

Sasuke said he will hold a press conference soon to announce further details.

If Sasuke were to win, he would join Antonio Inoki, Hiroshi Hase and Atsushi Onita as wrestlers in Japan who have also turned into politicians.

 [New Japan] Bas on 5/2 Dome show
Brandon on 3/14/2003 @ 21:22 

It was announced on 3/14 that Bas Rutten would participate in New Japan's 5/2 "ULTIMATE CRUSH" Tokyo Dome show. It's likely that he will be fighting in one of the "vale tudo" matches.

Rutten wrestled several times for New Japan in 2002, including matches against Manabu Nakanishi, Masayuki Naruse, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Yuji Nagata, Osamu Nishimura and Koji Kanemoto.

 [Jd`] Dump Matsumoto returns after more than four years
Brandon on 3/14/2003 @ 21:18 

After retiring 15 years ago in Zenjo, Dump Matsumoto, at age 42, made a bizarre return to pro wrestling on 3/14. This was the first time she has been involved in pro wrestling is over four years.

At Jd's show in Kitazawa Town Hall, Dump announced that she and the Atrocious Club had kidnapped employee Kanako Nagatomo (who occasionally doubles as a wrestler). She made the challenge for there to be an eight-man tag match between her Atrocious Club and the Jd' stable K-HERO with apparently the stipluation being if her team lost, they would get the kidnapped Nagatomo back.

She was also asked if she would wrestle at Zenjo's 35th anniversary show on 5/11 in Yokohama Arena. She said if she was offered, she would think about it.

 [PRIDE] Rules meeting held
Brandon on 3/14/2003 @ 21:06 

On 3/14, PRIDE held their rules meeting for their PRIDE 25 show in a Tokyo hotel. After the meeting, many of the Japanese fighters spoke to the media, including Kazushi Sakuraba.

Sakuraba said he has been studying Antonio "Nino" Schembri's fight from PRIDE 14 and his fight from "THE BEST 2." He was jokingly asked if he would make his entrance as a member of the Makai Club. Sakuraba laughed and said, "Makai? I don't think so." He said that he has had to be careful training due to the condition of his knee and could only start sparring a month ago.

Kazuhiro Nakamura, who will fight Antonio Rogerio Nogueira is unsure whether or not he'll wear the judogi in his fight. He said he will probably make his entrance with the gi on, but may or may not take it off before the fight. He also said that while training with Hidehiko Yoshida and learning many things, he has learned a hold call the "Kazuhi Lock" which he plans to use in the fight.

Shungo Oyama, who faces Dan Henderson at PRIDE 25 has been training with Tsuyoshi Kosaka, who will serve as one of his seconds in the fight. He said he has recovered fully from the arm injury suffered from the armbar from Ryan Gracie at PRIDE 22.

Kenichi Yamamoto has been sick leading up to his fight with Alexander Otsuka and was wearing a mask because of that during the rules meeting. He said his temperature is 38 degrees celsius (about 100 degrees), but he is still confident he will win.

Also, a note on ticket sales. The Yokohama Arena is very close, if not completely sold out for the show on 3/16.

--You will be able to follow PRIDE 25 here live with detailed round by round coverage starting late Saturday/early Sunday at 3:00AM Eastern.

 [Content] MMA Previews
Brandon on 3/14/2003 @ 15:40 
MMA Previews:
Scout: This main event should deliver the goods. Nogueira has submissions. Fedor has wrestling. Nogueira has boxing skill. Fedor has punching power. I think standing this would be a great fight, but you hafta go with skill over power 9 times outta 10.
Brandon: While Fedor's sambo and ground and pound has conquered even Heath Herring, I think Nogueira is just too good on the ground now to be beaten. Since Nogueira entered PRIDE no one except for Herring, playing an escape artist has made it through all three rounds with him. And I don't think Fedor will be as lucky.

--PRIDE 25 will be covered on Ichiban Puroresu with live round by round coverage.

 [K-1] Sapp calls Nogueira
Brandon on 3/14/2003 @ 02:55 

While promoting "T9" cell phones, Bob Sapp joked that he was calling PRIDE Heavyweight Champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira on the phone to ask for a rematch. Sapp said he would be watching PRIDE 25 on 3/16 (whether or not he means live in Yokohama, I don't know).

After training muay thai and having rumored to be training with Bas Rutten leading up to his 3/30 K-1 fight with Mirko CroCop, Sapp says he is training to defend against CroCop's kicks.

 [PRIDE] Nogueira-Fedor contract signing
Brandon on 3/14/2003 @ 02:45 

The contract signing for the PRIDE Heavyweight Title match between champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and challenger Emelianenko Fedor was held on 3/13. Nobuhiko Takada served as a director for the ceremony. In the press conference Takada said, "Nogueira vs. Fedor will open the door to the future of PRIDE," and continued building up the fight, saying the match pitted the world's two greatest fighters against each other.

Nogueira predicted he would win the fight with a cross armbar. Fedor said he is happy to be fighting the best fighter in the world. He said he's not sure if he will win, but said he is confident.

 [Content] Whole Alfin` Review
Brandon on 3/12/2003 @ 21:16 
Whole Alfin' Review:
Wrestling is theatre, yet it is theatre played out in a ring, rather than a stage. Its characters and story are portrayed not through speech, but through actions.

 [New Japan] Nagata to make tenth defense on 4/23
Brandon on 3/12/2003 @ 20:09 

It was announced on 3/12 that IWGP Heavyweight Champion Yuji Nagata will make his record-breaking tenth defense on 4/23 in the Hiroshima Sun Plaza.

A challenger has not been decided yet.

Nagata said that he met with Masahiro Chono and they talked about possible challengers. Nagata said he didn't want to defend the title against Tadao Yasuda because he has his own conflicts with Kantaro Hoshino right now.

On 3/11, Manabu Nakanishi had petitioned for a rematch against Nagata, but said he wanted the match on 5/2 in the Tokyo Dome.

Another title match against Chono or a match against Hiroyoshi Tenzan (the only major wrestler in the promotion who Nagata has not defended against, but who may be held off on since he may be the one who beats Nagata) are also possibilities.

 [PRIDE] Nino, Chute Boxe arrive in Japan
Brandon on 3/12/2003 @ 20:03 

Anotnio "Nino" Schembri arrived in Japan on 3/12. While Schembri sat on the couch in the airport, he showed the media how he could stretch his leg behind his head. He also hinted that he that he would make an entrance similar to Elvis Presley. Schembri maintained that he would defeated Kazushi Sakuraba in their PRIDE 25 fight on 3/16 in the Yokohama Arena. He talked about submitting him and using an uma plata on Sakuraba.

Vanderlei Silva and Anderson Silva of Chute Boxe also arrived in Japan on 3/12. Anderson will be fighting Carlos Newton at PRIDE 25, while Vanderlei will be fighting the winner of the Kevin Randleman vs. Quinton Jackson fight in a PRIDE Middleweight Title match at a later date. Vanderlei will be Anderson's corner in his fight as he recovers from surgery on his ACL last December.

Vanderlei said that he thinks Randleman will beat Jackson and that a fight between himself and Randleman would be a good match. He said that the match against the number-one contender would probably happen in August, when he's able to make his return. But as Vanderlei always maintains, he does not decide who he fights, he just goes to the ring. When asked who he thinks will win between Sakuraba and Schembri, he chose Sakuraba.

Anderson said that after fighting Newton at PRIDE 25, he wants to fight in K-1 in the 85kg and under Grand Prix tournament on 4/12.

 [All Japan] "Arashi Drop"
Brandon on 3/12/2003 @ 19:44 

Masanobu Fuchi and Arashi held an open training session at the All Japan dojo on 3/12 where Fuchi showed Arashi different holds, including a face and shoulder hold. Arashi also showed the press his new move that he's tentatively calling the Arashi Drop. He plans to use all these moves on Triple Crown Champion Shinya Hashimoto when he challenges him for the title on 4/12 in the Nippon Budokan.

 [Content] Ichiban Puroresu Review
Brandon on 3/12/2003 @ 17:15 
Ichiban Puroresu Review:
-U-STYLE Debut PPV (2/15/03)
-Murakami vs. Nagata (12/10/02)
-Nishimura vs. Nagata (2/2/03)
-AJ Styles vs. Low Ki (1/5/03)
-Sudo vs. Masato (3/1/03)
-Benoit vs. Regal (5/25/00)
-"UWFI Theme"
-Revenge: Toshiaki Kawada vs. Mitsuharu Misawa
Kawada only successfully defended the title once, in a match where he battled Kenta Kobashi to a classic 60-minute draw on 1/19/95. In the now four Triple Crown reigns Kawada has had, that has been his only successful defense: a draw. But his first reign would come to an end on 3/4/95 when Kawada lost the Triple Crown to Stan Hansen. Hansen was unquestionably a legend, but by 1995, he was past his prime. He served as a transitional champion, as he went on to lose the title to Mitsuharu Misawa on 5/26/95 in Sapporo, just two weeks before the ultimate showdown between All Japan's two top tag teams took place.

 [All Japan] Junior Champion Carnival
Brandon on 3/12/2003 @ 06:23 

As rumored, All Japan will be running a "Junior Champion Carnival" after their regular Champion Carnival ends. The junior tournament will run from 3/28 in Sapporo (the show where the semi-finals and finals of the regular Carnival will take place) to 4/10 in Hiroshima. The winner will earn a title match for the PWF World Junior Heavyweight Title against Kendo Kashin two days later on 4/12 in the Nippon Budokan.

Currently, Kaz Hayashi, Gran Hamada, Gran Naniwa, Ryuji Hijikata, Jimmy Yang and six other undetermined wrestlers are expected to participate.

 [PRIDE] Nogueira brothers arrive
Brandon on 3/12/2003 @ 06:20 

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and the Brazilian Top Team arrived in Narita Airport on 3/10, as they will fight at PRIDE 25 on 3/16 in Yokohama.

Rodrigo, who will defend his PRIDE Heavyweight Title for the first time against Emelianenko Fedor, said that he would be interested in fighting Japan's two top fighters, Hidehiko Yoshida and Kazushi Sakuraba.

As you can imagine, the Japanese press became very excited about Nogueira mentioning Sakuraba. Nogueira said that he would want to fight Sakuraba because Sakuraba is so good technically as a fighter.

 [WEW] Fuyuki vs. Hashimoto
Brandon on 3/12/2003 @ 06:15 

Shinya Hashimoto appeared at WEW's 3/11 show in Tokyo Korakuen Hall to accept Kodo Fuyuki's challenge for a barbed wire deathmatch on 5/5 in Kawasaki.

Fuyuki is still very sick and was only out of the hospital for the that day, where he returned to the hospital soon after.

Fuyuki appeared after the second match and said, "Even if I die, WEW will live on forever." Then Hashimoto appeared with a bouqet of flowers to present to Fuyuki.

 [New Japan] Makai Club fires Hoshino
Brandon on 3/12/2003 @ 06:09 

Tadao Yasuda pulled a "coup d'etat" on President Kantaro Hoshino, firing him as the leader of the Makai Club after being choked out and sent to the hospital by Enson Inoue on 3/9 in Nagoya.

Hoshino said he can understand why Yasuda has done this, but said he would get revenge immediately.

Also, after New Japan's show on 3/11 in Hiroshima, Yasuda said that he wanted to be Yuji Nagata's next challenger for the IWGP Heavyweight Title.

 [New Japan] NWF and IWGP unification match?
Brandon on 3/11/2003 @ 06:19 

Masahiro Chono announced on 3/10 that both IWGP Heavyweight Champion Yuji Nagata and NWF Heavyweight Champion Yoshihiro Takayama would be defending their titles at the 5/2 Tokyo Dome show. Chono suggested that since they will both be defending, that they could have a title unification match against each other. This is of course assuming that both have their titles by 5/2.

Also regard Nagata and the IWGP Heavyweight Title, Nagata responded to Chono's proposed candidates (Chono, Tenzan, Yasuda, Nakanishi), saying he still wants to make his record-breaking tenth the defense against the man whose record he will break, Shinya Hashimoto.

 [WJ] Deal with TBS
Brandon on 3/11/2003 @ 06:16 

Riki Choshu's World Japan has announced that they have signed a TV deal with Tokyo Broadcast System to have a weekly one-hour TV show. The show will be aired every Thursday at midnight. The first show will be aired next thursday.

WJ joins New Japan and NOAH as promotions with weekly national television programs.

Brandon on 3/11/2003 @ 06:13 

It was announced on 3/10 that WEW has obtained a monthly television deal on ESPN SXW, the channel that also does minor shows for New Japan. Up until now, WEW had only been aired on Samurai TV.

 [GAEA] Hotta intrudes in Korakuen
Brandon on 3/9/2003 @ 20:26 

Long-time Zenjo wrestler Yumiko Hotta unexpectedly appeared at the end of GAEA's 3/9 show in Tokyo Korakuen Hall. Hotta, who wrestled earlier in the day at Zenjo's dojo said that she has quit Zenjo and has become a freelancer. Hotta then challenged Aja Kong to a match, as she has before. GAEA President Kimura then said that he would consider having Hotta wrestle on GAEA's eighth anniversary show on 4/6 in Yokohama.

 [ZERO-ONE] Otani and Tanaka return PWF Tag Title; Hashimoto talks about Kawada
Brandon on 3/9/2003 @ 19:55 

Masato Tanaka and Shinjiro Otani defeated King Adamo and Tom Howard in 16:06 when Tanaka pinned Adamo in Sapporo Teisen Hall on 3/9 to successfully defend their PWF Tag Team Title for the second time. However, after the match, Otani and Tanaka announced that they were vacating the title. Otani said that he and Tanaka want to go after the NWA Intercontinental Tag Team Title, which is held by Howard and Matt Ghaffari.

Otani also said that when he and Tanaka fight Satoshi Kojima and Hideki Hosaka on 3/27 in Korakuen Hall, they might add a third member to their Running Fire/Emblem team.

Also coming out of the show, Triple Crown Champion Shinya Hashimoto said that he would wipe out All Japan by defeating Toshiaki Kawada.

 [New Japan] Notes from Nagoya
Brandon on 3/9/2003 @ 19:47 

After IWGP Heavyweight Champion Yuji Nagata and Manabu Nakanishi battled to a 60-minute draw on 3/9, Masahiro Chono said that he would consider having Nagata's tenth defense at the end of this tour. He said the main candidates for a title match with Nagata on 3/23 in Amagasaki would include former champion Tadao Yasuda, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, or even a rematch with Nakanishi.

After the brawl that ended the Makai Club vs. Crazy Dogs eight-man tag match, Makai Club President Kantaro Hoshino was taken to the hospital after being choked out by Enson Inoue. Doctors reccommended that Hoshino take two weeks to rest. It's possible that Hoshino may not appear on New Japan shows for the remainder of the tour.

 [New Japan] 3/9 Nagoya Rainbow Hall results
Brandon on 3/9/2003 @ 08:48 

Nagoya Rainbow Hall
Announced Drawing 10,500 (sell-out)

-Before the show, the signing ceremony for the NWF Heavyweight Title match between Scott Norton and champion Yoshihiro Takayama was held for the match that will take place on 3/23. After signing, they exchanged punches.

1. Jado, Gedo, Minoru Fujita defeated Stamede Kid, American Dragon, Masahito Kakihara in 9:32 when Jado submitted Stampede Kid with the Crossface of Jado.

2. Kimura Retirement Countdown: Osamu Nishimura, El Samurai defeated Toru Yano, Kengo Kimura in 10:02 when Nishimura submitted Yano with the cobra twist.

3. G2 U-30 Climax - Block B: Makai #4 [2] defeated Blue Wolf [2] in 6:47 with a chicken wing.

4. Scott Norton, Dan Devine defeated Yutaka Yoshie, Hiroshi Tanahashi in 11:17 when Norton pinned Yoshie after a powerbomb.

5. Three Match Series - Match 1: Takashi Iizuka drew Makai #5 in 0:54 by double countout.
-The match was immediately restarted.

5.5. Makai #5 defeated Takashi Iizuka in 0:26 by TKO with a high kick.
-Makai #5 takes the lead in the series 1-0.

6. Michiyoshi Ohara, Tatsutoshi Goto, Hiro Saito, Ensen Inoue and Makai #1, Ryushi Yanagisawa, Kazunari Murakami, Tadao Yasuda went to a no contest after 5:17.
-A huge brawl broke out in the middle of the match.

7. IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Title: Koji Kanemoto, Jushin Thunder Liger defeated Heat, AKIRA in 18:06 when Kanemoto pinned Heat with a flying reverse back cradle.
-Kanemoto and Liger's first successful defense of the title.

8. IWGP Tag Team Title: Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Masahiro Chono defeated Shinya Makabe, Yoshihiro Takayama in 17:29 when Chono pinned Makabe after a tackle.
-Tenzan and Chono's sixth successful defense of the title.
-Makabe bled again on the same wound he bled from against Chono and Tenzan on 3/7.
-This was said to have been a heated match.

9. IWGP Heavyweight Title: Manabu Nakanishi drew Yuji Nagata in 60:00 when time-limit expired.
-Nagata's record-tying ninth successful defense of the title.
-This is the third one-hour draw for New Japan within the last year.
-Neither went for the finish until after the 40-minute mark.
-Said to be a good match that represented the New Japan style well.

 [ZERO-ONE] Hashimoto declares 10-defense reign
Brandon on 3/9/2003 @ 08:34 

Triple Crown Champion Shinya Hashimoto said on 3/8 that since it looks like Yuji Nagata will tie his IWGP Heavyweight Title defense record of nine defenses on 3/9 that he wants to defend the Triple Crown successfully ten times.

 [NOAH] GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Title
Brandon on 3/7/2003 @ 21:45 

NOAH President Mitsuharu Misawa (40) announced on 3/7 that Pro Wrestling NOAH would soon be introducing a GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Title. Misawa hinted that the first champions would be crowned at NOAH's next show in the Nippon Budokan.

It was also announced that on 3/16 in Differ Ariake, there will be a 2/3 falls six-man tag match of Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Makoto Hashi and Takashi Sugiura vs. Naomichi Marufuji, KENTA and Kotaro Suzuki.

 [New Japan] Notes from Niigata Gym
Brandon on 3/7/2003 @ 19:17 

New Japan did their first TV taping for their "World Pro Wrestling" show that airs on TV-Asahi and BS-Asahi on 3/7 in Niigata Gymnasium.

The show was used largely to build up to their 3/9 show in Nagoya Rainbow Hall, which features Koji Kanemoto vs. AKIRA for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title, Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Masahiro Chono vs. Shinya Makabe and Yoshihiro Takayama for the IWGP Tag Team Title, and Yuji Nagata vs. Manabu Nakanishi for the IWGP Heavyweight Title.

After Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Masahiro Chono defeated Shinya Makabe and Scott Norton in 11:01 when Tenzan pinned Makabe after the TTD in a match where Makabe bled heavily, Chono said he wanted a shot at the NWF Heavyweight Title. Chono said he wants to face Scott Norton (who is scheduled to face Yoshihiro Takayama for the NWF Heavyweight Title on 3/23 in Amagasaki) in a match to determine who will face Takayama on 3/23.

In the main event Manabu Nakanishi and Hiroshi Tanahashi defeated Blue Wolf and Yuji Nagata in 16:56 when Nakanishi pinned Blue Wolf with a German suplex hold. When Nagata and Nakanishi have their title match on 3/9, if Nagata wins, he will tie Shinya Hashimoto's record for most defenses of the IWGP Heavyweight Title in a single reign at nine.

 [New Japan] Michiko Omukai manager of T2000?
Brandon on 3/7/2003 @ 18:47 

Michiko Omukai, who left ARSION last month, told the press on 3/7 that she wants to be the manager for Masahiro Chono's T2000.

She said she met T2000 and Chono at the 6/7/02 Budokan show when there was a special ARSION match.

Omukai said it would only take Chono's agreement and she would be their manager at once, where Omukai said she wants to "show everyone joshi puroresu."

 [NOAH] Honda vs. Kobashi on 4/13
Brandon on 3/7/2003 @ 18:19 

It was announced by NOAH President Mitsuharu Misawa on 3/7 that Tamon Honda would be Kenta Kobashi's first challenger for the GHC Heavyweight Title. The match will take place on 4/13 in Ariake Colosseum along with Takeshi Rikio challenging Yoshihiro Takayama for the NWF Heavyweight Title.

It was also officially announced that Kobashi would not be appearing on the 3/16 "NAVIGATE" show in Differ Ariake, but he will be participating in the next tour which begins on 3/21 in Korakuen Hall. This is of course due to a fractured orbital bone suffered in his title match with Misawa on 3/1.

 [New Japan] Hyper Battle Series opens
Brandon on 3/7/2003 @ 18:06 

Tokyo Korakuen Hall
Announced drawing 1,603 (sell-out)

1. Ryusuke Taguchi defeated Naofumi Yamamoto in 6:15 after a dropkick.

2. Makai #1, Makai #4 defeated El Samurai, Toru Yano in 7:35 when Makai #1 submitted El Samurai with the Makai Windmill hold.

3. Minoru Fujita, Jushin Thunder Liger, Koji Kanemoto defeated Stampede Kid, American Dragon, Tiger Mask in 14:10 when Fujita pinned Stampede Kid after the Fujita Driver.

4. Makai #5 defeated Masahito Kakihara in 7:55 with the Makai sleeper.

5. Heat, AKIRA defeated Jado, Gedo in 16:59 when Heat pinned Gedo after a clutch fisherman buster.

6. G2 U-30 Climax - Block B: Shinya Makabe [2] defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi [0] in 10:56 after a fisherman buster.

7. Yoshihiro Takayama defeated Makai #2 in 3:09 with a German suplex hold.

8. Kazunari Murakami, Ryushi Yanagisawa, Tadao Yasuda defeated Michiyoshi Ohara, Tatsutoshi Goto, Hiro Saito in 0:37 by DQ after the referee was attacked.

9. Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Masahiro Chono defeated Dan Devine, Scott Norton in 11:33 when Tenzan pinned Devine after the Tenzan Tombstone Driver.

10. Yuji Nagata, Blue Wolf, Takashi Iizuka defeated Osamu Nishimura, Yutaka Yoshie, Manabu Nakanishi in 16:50 when Nagata submitted Nishimura with the Nagata Lock II.

 [Site] Lack of updates
Brandon on 3/7/2003 @ 17:53 
Sorry for the lack of news updates over the last two days. I've been sick.

 [New Japan] Nagata threatens to not wrestle on 5/2
Brandon on 3/5/2003 @ 03:45 

A correction from earlier, at a New Japan meeting open to the media, Yuji Nagata did an angle, where he said he may not wrestle on New Japan's 5/2 Tokyo Dome show.

Nagata criticized New Japan for putting Yoshihiro Takayama's NWF Heavyweight Title above his IWGP Heavyweight Title. Takayama defended his title against Ryushi Yanagisawa in the main event of the tour-ending show on 2/16 at the previous tour and will defend his title in the main event of the tour-ending show again on the coming Hyper Battle Series tour. Nagata also defended his title on the previous Fighting Spirit Series tour and will defend his title on the Hyper Battle Series tour (on 3/9 in Nagoya against Manabu Nakanishi), but he is upset with the NWF Title being placed in a higher position than his and New Japan's title.

Nagata said that he wants his title to stand alone, and would make defend his title for the record-breaking tenth time in April if he has to.

 [WJ Pro] Bobish vs. Sapp on 6/29?
Brandon on 3/4/2003 @ 17:47 

WJ Pro Managment Director Katsuji Nagashima said on 3/4 that he wants Bob Sapp to wrestle for WJ on 6/29 in Sapporo. Nagashima said his opponent would be Dan Bobish, who teamed with Don Frye against Kensuke Sasaki and Hiroshi Hase at WJ's debut show on 3/1.

Bobish will also tour with WJ in their tour planned for April.

In another WJ note, ticket sales are going well for their five-show tour that follows their debut show, which begins on 3/15. Their 3/15 Korakuen Hall show is very close to being sold out. Sales for their 3/16 Miyagi show are going well, their 3/18 show in Ota is the only show not selling extremely well, whlie their 3/19 show in Soka and their 3/20 show in Nagareyama are both close to selling out.

On that tour, after their deathmatch which ended in a disqualification, Shiro Koshinaka will face Atsushi Onita in a series of barbed wire exploding deathmatch in tags. Koshinaka said in the press on 3/4 that he would "erase" Onita in these matches.

 [NOAH] Kobashi plans to defend against Saito, Predator then Akiyama
Brandon on 3/4/2003 @ 17:13 

New GHC Heavyweight Champion Kenta Kobashi was interviewed outside Ariake Colosseum on 3/4. He said he plans to defend his title against Akitoshi Saito there on 4/13. After that, he said he wants to the defend the title against ZERO-ONE's Predator. And if he succeeds against those two (which you can be sure he will), he then wants to have a title match with Jun Akiyama.

You can bet that the Akiyama vs. Kobashi match, whenever it happens, will be in the Nippon Budokan. The two have had two singles match since the birth of Pro Wrestling NOAH. One on NOAH's second show on 8/6/00in Tokyo Differ Ariake, where Akiyama defeated Kobashi with his front facelock, and a rematch later in the year on 12/23/00, where Kobashi won in a tremendous 35-minute match after the Burning Hammer.

 [All Japan] Champion Carnival format announced
Brandon on 3/4/2003 @ 16:26 

All Japan Pro Wrestling announced their format for this year's Champion Carnival on 3/4.

The tour, which begins on 3/22 in Tokyo Korakuen Hall, will feature the Carnival as a 10-man single-elimination tournament. Two participants (Keiji Muto and Satoshi Kojima) will receive byes to the quarter-finals. The participants include: Keiji Muto, Satoshi Kojima, Big John Tenta, The Gladiator, Arashi, Nobutaka Araya, Johnny Smith, George Hines, Yoji Anjo and Gigantes.

On 3/22 in the Korakuen Hall, there will be two first round matches: Big John Tenta vs. The Gladiator (winner facing Muto) and Gigantes vs. Yoji Anjo (winner facing Kojima).

The 3/23 show, also in Korakuen Hall, will complete the first round with matches of George Hines vs. Johnny Smith and Nobutaka Araya vs. Arashi. This is where it gets kinda of confusing. The winners of these two matches will go straight to the semi-finals, to face each other on 3/28.

On 3/25 in Iwate Prefectural Gym will have to the two quarter final matches. Keiji Muto will face the winner of the Tenta/Gladiator match while Satoshi Kojima will face the winner of Anjo/Gigantes.

The Hokkaido Synthesis Gymnasitics Center show on 3/28 will feature both the semi-finals and finals. One semi-final will be the winner of the Arashi/Araya match vs. the winner of the Smith/Hines match; the other will be the winners of the two matches that took place on 3/25. Then the winners of those to matches meet on the same show at the end of night to determine the winner of the Champion Carnival.

About the tour itself, the only other gaijin wrestling on the tour who is not in the Carnival is Jimmy Yang. And despite just finishing his tour with WJ by the time the tour starts and not participanting in the Carnival, Genichiro Tenryu will be on all shows with the execption of the 3/23 show. Yoji Anjo is only scheduled to be on the 3/22 and 3/28 shows, which almost guarantees he's losing in the first round to Gigantes.

Following this, Arashi did press, saying he would win the Champion Carnival, then go on to defeat Shinya Hashimoto for the Triple Crown when they meet on 4/12 in Budokan Hall.

 [All Japan] Kojima & Muto vs. Fuchi & Kawada announced
Brandon on 3/4/2003 @ 16:03 

In the All Japan office in Tokyo on 3/4, it was announced that Toshiaki Kawada would make his return on 4/12 in the Tokyo Nippon Budokan Hall as Masanobu Fuchi's partner against Satoshi Kojima and Keiji Muto.

The match will pit the only two native Japanese wrestlers to stay with All Japan when the promotion split in 2000, against the two wrestlers who left New Japan to join All Japan at the beginning of 2002.

Kawada also said that when he returns, his goal will be to regain the Triple Crown.

When the match happens on 4/12, it will be Kawada's first match in 383 days. Kawada originally torn his ACL on 3/26/02 in a Champion Carnival match against Steve Williams. He has required surgery, including having a screw put in his knee this past January.

 [NOAH] Kobashi won`t need surgery
Brandon on 3/3/2003 @ 16:20 

NOAH officially reported Kenta Kobashi's fractured orbital bone, suffered in his GHC Heavyweight Title win over Mitsuharu Misawa on 3/1.

It was announced that Kobashi would not require surgery. He will rest and attempt to allow the injury to heal naturally.

It's expected that Kobashi will miss NOAH's "NAVIGATION" show on 3/16, but he will be scheduled to appear for NOAH's tour-opener on 3/21 in Korakuen Hall.

 [All Japan] Muto formally introduces
Brandon on 3/3/2003 @ 16:13 

Although it's existed since Muto became president of All Japan at the beginning of October 2002, Keiji Muto formally introduced his own personal office. The office has offically been named "Leg Lock."

As of now, the "Leg Lock" office will be producing merchandise and will be behind Satoshi Kojima's "National Zepp Tour" this spring.

 [K-1] 3/1 K-1 MAX rating
Brandon on 3/3/2003 @ 15:45 

K-1's broadcast of their K-1 MAX show on TBS (Tokyo Broadcast System), airing from 7:00PM to 9:00PM on 3/1 did an overall rating of 15.6.

The rating peaked at 8:49PM at 22.2 for the announcement of the decision of the Masato vs. Kozo Takeda final. The second highest point was a 20.7 at 8:42PM in the middle of the Masato/Takada fight.

 [NOAH] Kobashi out for three to four weeks
Brandon on 3/2/2003 @ 15:08 

After the 3/1 Budokan show, Kenta Kobashi was taken to the hospital for an eye injury. He was diagnosed with a right orbital bone fracture and was reccomended to take a three to four week rest. Kobashi said he hopes to return in time for the beginning of NOAH's next tour, which begins on 3/21 in Tokyo Korakuen Hall.

It's unlikely that Kobashi will appear on NOAH's special "NAVIGATION" show on 3/16 in Differ Ariake.

In his defeat, Mitsuharu Misawa also needed medical attention after the match on 3/1. He required six stitches to sew up his badly cut lip.

 [ZERO-ONE] 3/2 Ryogoku Kokugikan results
Alf on 3/2/2003 @ 12:05 

Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan
Announced drawing 10,500 (sell-out)

1. Kuroge Wagyuta defeated Fugofugo Yumeji in 5:51 with a lariat.
-Dark match

2. Ikuto Hidaka defeated Pentagon in 7:51 with the Shawn Capture.

3. Don Arakawa, Jun Kasai defeated Fuyuki Takahashi, Shinsuke Z Yamagasa in 10:44 when Kasai pinned Yamagasa with a high kick.

4. Vansack Acid, Tatsuhito Takaiwa defeated Paul London, Low Ki in 15:22 when Takaiwa pinned London with a Death Valley Bomb.

5. Kendo Kashin, Kaz Hayashi, Ryuji Hijikata defeated Naohiro Hoshikawa, Kazuhiko Ogasawara, Yoshihito Sasaki in 15:46 when Kashin used a cross armbar on Sasaki.

6. Tengu Kaiser defeated Akio Kobayashi in 4:45 with a Tengu Tornado.
-Akio Kobayashi replaced Ryouji Sai after Sai canceled his further appearances do to health problems.

7. Kohei Sato, Masato Tanaka defeated Daisuke Ikeda, Takashi Sugiura in 13:06 when Tanaka pinned Sugiura after a rolling elbow.

8. Matt Ghaffari, Steve Corino, King Adamo defeated Yoshiaki Fujiwara, Wataru Sakata, Katsuhisa Fujii in 11:20 when Ghaffari pinned Sakata with a Ghaffari press.

9. Yoshihiro Takayama, Hirotaka Yokoi beat Predator, Jimmy Snuka Jr. in 13:59 when Takayama pinned Snuka with a German Suplex Hold.

10. Naoya Ogawa defeated Tom Howard in 12:26 when the towel was thrown after a series of STOs.

11. Shinya Hashimoto, Shinjiro Otani defeated Keiji Mutoh, Arashi in 23:00 when Hashimoto used a triangle choke hold on Arashi.
-Immediately after the match, Otani attacked his partner, Hashimoto. Satoshi Kojima ran in the ring and a big brawl took place. After it was broken up, The Predator and Matt Ghaffari came to the ring. They began fighting with Yoshihiro Takayama. Takayama exchanged blows with Hashimoto and Ogawa before it was all over.

 [K-1] Murahama wins quarter-final; loses semi-final
Brandon on 3/1/2003 @ 14:37 

At K-1's tournament on 3/1 in Tokyo Ariake Colesseum to determine the Japanese fighter who will compete in the middleweight K-1 WORLD MAX Grand Prix, Takehiro Murahama was able to make it to the semi-finals.

Murahama defeated his quarter-final opponent, Hiroyuki Abe at 2:48 in the second round when he knocked out Abe with a left knee.

Murahama went on to fight Masato in the semi-finals, where he went the distance with Masato. Masato won the fight by unanimous decision though, with scorecards of 29-30, 29-30, 29-30. Masato went on to win the tournament, defeating Kozo Takeda in the final round.

After the fight, Murahama said his goal now is to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title.

 [NOAH] 3/1 Tokyo Nippon Budokan results
Brandon on 3/1/2003 @ 03:51 

Tokyo Nippon Budokan Hall
Announced drawing 16,700 (sold-out in advance)

1. Mitsuo Momota, Rusher Kimura defeated Haruka Eigen, Kishin Kawabata in 8:47 when Momota pinned Kawabata with a backslide.

2. Donovan Morgan, Michael Modest, Akira Taue defeated Kotaro Suzuki, Tsuyoshi Kikuchi, Takuma Sano in 15:46 when Modest pinned Suzuki after the Reality Check.

3. Naomichi Marufuji, KENTA defeated Makoto Hashi, Yoshinobu Kanemaru in 16:35 when Marufuji pinned Hashi after a top-rope backdrop.
-Said to be a very good match.
-Marufuji hit the Shiranhui leading to the finish.

4. Daisuke Ikeda, Takeshi Morishima, Takeshi Rikio defeated Bison Smith, Superstar Steve, IZU in 12:39 when Ikeda pinned Steve after a short-range dai-chan bomber.
-Reunited, Rikio and Morishima came to the ring wearing Wild II t-shirts.

5. Scorpio defeated Yoshinari Ogawa in 6:20 with the 450 splash.

6. Yoshihiro Takayama defeated Masao Inoue in 7:02 with a German suplex hold.
-Before finishing Inoue with the German suplex, Takayama turned to Takeshi Rikio, who was at the commentators' booth and told him to get a good look.
-After the match, Takayama took the microphone and told Rikio that he would have to train hard before fighting him. Takayama will defend the NWF Heavyweight Title against Rikio on 4/13 in Ariake Colesseum.

7. Akitoshi Saito, Jun Akiyama defeated Takashi Sugiura, Tamon Honda in 7:31 by referee stop when Akiyama used a Boston crab on Honda.
-On the night Takao Omori wrestles for WJ, Akiyama used an axe bomber in the match.
-Saito challenged the winner of the next match, saying that the GHC Champion is the symbol of NOAH, but that he would crush either man and become a tag and singles champion.

8. GHC Heavyweight Title: Kenta Kobashi defeated Mitsuharu Misawa in 33:28 after the Burning Hammer.
-Kobashi becomes the sixth GHC Heavyweight Champion.
-Like all Misawa vs. Kobashi matches, it included many nearfalls and highspots. Kobashi used a half-nelson suplex on Misawa outside the ring, then later inside the ring. Misawa used the Emerald Frosion, only for Kobashi to kick out. After failing to pin Misawa after a sleeper suplex, brainbuster and lariat, Kobashi defeated Misawa for the first time ever in a non-tournament singles match with the Burning Hammer. This is only the fourth time Kobashi has used the Burning Hammer.
-In the ring, Kobashi said, "This was a hard match today. Thank you for coming to the NOAH show. Everyone from the seats on the floor to all the way in the back, I truly thank you."
-, ZERO-ONE gaijins The Preadator, CW Anderson and Steve Corino appeared and shoke hands with Kobashi. The made an agreement to the possibility of ZERO-ONE wrestlers challenging Kobashi for the title.

 [WJ Pro] 3/1 Yokohama Arena results
Brandon on 3/1/2003 @ 03:51 

Yokohama Arena
Announced drawing 13,200

1. Tomohiro Ishii defeated Takashi Uwano in 12:37 by referee stoppage after mounted punches.

2. Tomoaki Honma defeated Masahiko Kochi in 9:12 with a Boston crab.
-Honma (an All Japan wrestler) said after the match that WJ was the best organization.

3. Yoshiaki Yatsu defeated Yoji Anjo in 12:47 with a prison hold (submission).
-, Yatsu said that at the next show, he wants to show everyone how his fighting has evolved.

-Fourteen year old Katsuhiko Nakajima demonstrated karate, first with gloves, then without gloves. He sparred and used many kicks. he said, "I want become the strongest fighter," and "I want to take advantage of this opportunity."

4. IPW Hardcore Tag Team Title: The Road Warriors defeated Todd Shane, Mike Shane in 11:04 when Animal pinned Mike with the Double Impact.
-The Road Warriors became new champions.
-After the match, the Road Warriors, Masa Saito (holding a picture) and Tiger Hattori stood in the ring while the bell was rung for a ten-count tribute to Curt Hennig who died on 2/10.
-In the back, called the Road Warriors old and said they would make them retire. , Animal said, "WJ -- number one company!" While Hawk said, "Kensuke, Hase, Choshu, Tenryu, anybody." The two teams will face each other in a non-title match on 3/16 in Korakuen Hall, then a title match on 3/17 in Miyagi.

5. No-Rope Barbed Wire Explosion Deathmatch: Shiro Koshinaka defeated Atsushi Onita in 8:05 by disqualification.
-, , , , , ,
-The disqualificaiotn was due to Onita spitting mist and then fire at Koshinaka and the referee took a bump.
-The fans booed when the match was ended. Onita asked for the match to be restarted, but the referee wouldn't, so he threw him into the exploding barbed wire.
-After the match, while challenging Riki Choshu to a rematch from their deatmatch from 7/30/00, Onita slapped the interviewer around.

6. Takao Omori defeated Kenzo Suzuki in 12:53 after an axe bomber.
-Omori made his entrance with new music, while Suzuki entered using Choshu's "Power Hall" theme.
-Omori said after the match that he next wants to have a match with either Kensuke Sasaki or Riki Choshu. When asked what he was thinking about NOAH's Budokan show happening at the same time, he said it didn't really matter to him and that he wasn't really thinking about it either.

7. Kensuke Sasaki, Hiroshi Hase defeated Dan Bobish, Don Frye in 12:53 when Sasaki pinned Bobish after a Northern Lights bomb.
-After the match, Atsushi Onita came to the ring. Hase took the microphone and said, "Hey, Onita! In the diet and in pro wrestling, you're only half as good," beginning a feud between the two diet members.
-Kensuke later took the microphone and said, "Thank you all for coming on this rainy day. From here, WJ will fight step by step."
-In the back, Hase and Kensuke told reporters that Bobish was just as good as Vader or Scott Norton.

8. Riki Choshu defeated Genichiro Tenryu in 7:53 after the Riki Lariat.
-, , ,
-Choshu takes the lead in the six-match series by 1-0.
-After the match, Choshu said he was happy to be able to wrestle for the first time in almost a year. He said he wouldn't give an excuses for anything and leave it up to the fans to judge the show now.