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TRS: Puro Predictions for 2008



13 January 2008

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So the holiday season is pretty much over… all those people who had two weeks or so off over the Christmas and New Year (unlike me… I only get the bank holidays – FEEL my pain!) are winding down and trying to remember what its like to have a normal sleep cycle ahead of going back to College/Work/School… but those Uni people amongst us still have time to burn… Damn Them!

Not one for resolutions me… I mean I have tried to quit smoking a couple of times and even the government narrowing down the places to smoke hasn’t helped and plus… how do you know what you can achieve when you have a sea of uncertainty in front of you… a sea that stretches for 12 months?

So no instead I like to guess and predict… like which of my neighbours will move out, who will get fired from work, which football team will get relegated along with Derby and also what might just happen in the next 12 months over in Japan…

So here goes…

Prediction 1 – There will be a match to unify the IWGP World and IWGP ‘3rd Generation’ titles

Angle wants this to happen should he have disposed of Nagata at the Dome… Tanahashi also stated that he wants to bring the gold back ‘in line’ with his title and Nagata has promised to claim the 3rd Generation title and then return back to the peak of ‘all’ New Japan…

Plus this is a possible Sumo Hall or Dome headliner in the making and it would be a huge rub for Tana if he where to face Angle and take back the gold that was ‘stolen’ by an outsider and then returned from a respected Olympic Gold Medal winner and multi time world champion. In Japan where credibility and realism is king they view Kurt Angle as a modern wrestling god, he’s never even been booked to look close to losing on Japanese soil aside from his match against Lesnar and even then he kicked out of a Verdict which no other wrestler has done on Japanese soil.

This has to happen and I believe it will as the IGF, TNA and NJPW all seem to have an agreement in place. My pick on the participants… Tanahashi v Angle although NJPW could throw me a booking surprise… they usually do.

Prediction 2 – Morishima will finally defeat Misawa and become the top dog in NOAH

In March Misawa will once more defend his GHC World title… not against Kobashi as many thought it would be but against the next bright heavyweight hope for the company, a man most RoH fans will know very well…. Takeshi Morishima.

Now looking back in history Mori has been pushed and then stalled, pushed and then stalled… but now his run as RoH champion is over it means he can pretty much give more time to NOAH. Also his time on US shows and having exposure on a wider scale will benefit him and NOAH greatly and he has a blinding rivalry with KENTA to provide a good first defence whilst a more long term challenger is prepared whilst KENTA continues his push up to the ‘true’ rank of a heavyweight wrestler.

Also the match is taking place in March, most likely at the Budokan show which has seen in March the following two matches…

* GHC Heavyweight Title (3/1/03 @ Tokyo Nippon Budokan) Kenta Kobashi beat Mitsuharu Misawa (Champion) in 33:28 with the Burning Hammer.

* GHC Heavyweight Title (3/5/05 @ Tokyo Nippon Budokan) Takeshi Rikio beat Kenta Kobashi (Champion) in 27:11 with the Muso.

Also March is statistically, after September, the month where the most GHC title changes have occurred so that two details is in Mori’s favour along with the obvious fact that most champions do not leave the March Budokan event as a champion (only Kobashi and Akiyama have done so) and also on both of the matches show above the champion fell to someone who they had previously never lost to in a one on one title match…. which is also true of Misawa and Morishima.

The fact is they want Mori to be the ace, his size and style lends to him being a good top liner and his youth (for a headliner) is also a good thing in a promotion where the main headliners are all in their very late 30’s at the very least (bar Marufuji who is 29) and it really is now or never due to his protracted advancement… leave it any longer then this year and they could well have blown it with Mori and that is a bad thing… a very bad thing.

Prediction 3 – NOAH will send an all star team after the GHC Jr. Tag Titles

SpeedMuscle of Dragon Gate have them… they also have the Open the Twin Gate and International Junior Heavyweight Tag Championship. Doi and Yoshino are also both former Brave Gate champions in DG (with Yoshino being the current champion and two time champion) as well as Doi being a UWA Six Person Tag, RoH World Tag and Triangle Gate champion and Yoshino being a former UWA and Triangle Champ as well as the NWA Welterweight champion in the past as well. That’s what you call an impressive resume and the two have been part of a team together for many, many years to boot.

From a kayfabe point of view there are few teams that can touch them at the moment what with MaruKENTA long gone, Shigura splitting from Kanemaru and moving up the Heavyweight ranks and also the pair having defeated Suzuki and Marvin to get the GHC titles in the first place. It’s fair to say then that regular teams are thin on the ground in the NOAH Junior division at the moment and looking at the history of the titles and the fact that Hidaka and Fujita and the Briscoe’s have held it makes it seem even more likely that it will take a BIG TIME pairing to prise the gold away from the DG combo who don’t even face NOAH challengers in their next defence.

Who will the team be? My guess is Suzuki and Kanemaru putting aside their differences for the ‘good’ of the company or maybe Ishimori and KENTA who did after all win the NTV Cup as a team although winning the GHC Junior Belts could be seen as a step back for Kobayashi after his recent run as a member of the Heavyweight ranks.

Needless to say those titles will be back in the NOAH fold by the end of the Summer at the latest… after all HidaFuji only held them for two defences back in 2006 and the Briscoe’s lost them at the end of the very tour they won them on.

Prediction Four – By the end of the year Suwama will be the native ace of All Japan

Kohei Suwama – a man who had a great amateur career and was hired for big money straight off the bat by AJPW before he was sent to the Olympics by Japan. Huge frame, loves suplexes and was pushed strongly as a powerhouse after his debut.

Sound familiar?

Seen as being the next Jumbo Tsuruta due to his burly style and use of the Backdrop Driver early on he went heel and became part of the much hated Voodoo Murder stable that feuded and eliminated the RO&D stable from All Japan to become the number one faction. However his role as the power house of the group has since become lessened by the joining of a newly heel Kojima to the Voodoo ranks which given the fact that Koji is a former IWGP and Triple Crown champion (amongst other notable achievements) that is understandable.

Because of this AJPW have turned him back towards the face route as he was betrayed by the VM gang after Suwama, Koji and TARU lost to Sasaki, Muto and Joe Doering on the latest AJPW show. After this match Suwama was offered handshake of reconciliation from Muto and he took it… perhaps hinting that at last after two years or so he is ready to return to the regular army.

This leads to several possible big revenge matches either with Muto or Doering as a tag team going after Kojima and TARU’s Double Crown Tag Gold or in singles action against ‘brother’ YASSHI, Kondo, TARU, RO’z and Kojima. Such a run combined with wins would elevate him both as a fan favourite and also in status within the company, something he needs after being bogged down in feuds with Gaijian faces Zac Gowen (he of one legged WWE fame) and the aforementioned Doering.

Done correctly then he will be in a great place to challenge the Triple Crown champion Kensuke Sasaki on a level footing and hopefully defeat him. All Japan has not had a ‘home-grown’ and All Japan trained Triple Crown champion since Kea’s reign ended abruptly at the hands of Minoru Suzuki in September 2006 after just one successful defence and it needs to move away from former NJPW icons (Kojima, Sasaki, Muto) and freelancers (Minoru Suzuki) to more younger talent. Suwama is just the candidate they needed and have and Muto I feel will make the right decision and go with him as ‘Regular Army Ace’ if not the Triple Crown champion by the end of 2008.

Also look out for…

* Makabe and Yano gaining an IWGP Tag Title reign in NJPW…
* Kanemoto and Inoue feuding over the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight title later in the year after Wataru has taken on Milano, Minoru and Liger first…
* Kobashi having a GHC Tag Title shot in the Summer in view to a GHC Title shot later in the year OR 2009…
* Nakamura v Makabe to be the G1 Climax final barring a Tenzan resurgence when he comes back from injury…
* Sasaki v Muto over the Triple Crown…
* Suwama to do well in the All Japan Champions Carnival – only to be sneaked out in the end at finishing the post by Kojima…
* Minoru & Milano taking the IWGP Jr Tag Title from TAKA and Togo IF Kanemoto and Inoue fail to do so…
* Low Ki/Senshi to re-appear on more NJPW Cards after his release from TNA and his reputation on the Japanese Scene was enhanced further by his win at the Sumo Hall in the NJPW v TNA Junior tag match…
* Danielson to return to NOAH and face off against KENTA and Morishima once more…
* Kojima and TARU dropping the All Japan Tag Titles to a combo from the following three, Doering/Muto/Suwama…
* Misawa returning to the tag team ranks once he drops the GHC World Title…
* One of the following teams to finally defeat SpeedMuscle for the Twin Gate titles in Dragon Gate – CIMA & Fuji, Susumu & CIMA, Shingo Takagi & BxB Hulk or GAMMA & Kanda IF Muscle Outlaw’z split…
* Cyber Kong, Ryo Saito, BxB Hulk and Doi to all challenge CIMA for the Dream Gate….
* Kota Ibushi to begin to appear regularly on NOAH cards…
* Kota Ibushi to get a GHC Jr. Heavyweight Title shot…
* Kota Ibushi to lose GHC Jr. Heavyweight Title shot…
* Makabe to oust Tenzan from GHB and send the former leader of the faction face once more…
* Marufuji to kill another finisher by over use…
* HUSTLE to continue to make NO sense at all…
* Zero-One MAX to bounce back and Tanaka to enjoy a long reign with the new Zero-One World Title…
* Omori to get to the Z-1 Fire Festival final…
* The TNA and NJPW agreement to end badly due to a booking dispute…
* Liger wrestling at nine million little Indy shows once more…
* Liger putting over the IWGP Jr. Champion….
* Liger kicking ass in every match he wrestles in…
* Japanese wrestling once more dominating the PWO match and Wrestler of the year awards…
* Power Slam to have the most US exposed NOAH wrestler in the top three of their PS 50 along with three other NJPW wrestlers in the Top 10…
* Me getting 50% of these incorrect due to fickle booking…

Well that’s me done… hope you had a great Christmas and New Year and that this one treats you even better then the last...

Unil next time Puroheads!

Robert Heard



.

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