|I don't know a lot about WOWOW programming but I know what I like|
Korakuen Experiment: Round 6
February 6, 1994 in Tokyo, Japan
Korakuen Hall drawing 1,823
Shigeru Yasuki beat Nobuhiro Tsurumaki (30:00) via decision.
Eric Edlenbos beat Minoru Tanaka (5:39) via submission.
Yoshihisa Yamamoto beat Jerry Flynn (17:25) via submission.
Masayuki Naruse Joe Difera (3:36) via submission.
Nikolai Zouev beat Volk Han (2nd) via points in a "sambo" match.
Mitsuya Nagai beat Mikhail Simov (3rd - 1:32) via submission.
I like the sound of all of that very much, particularly the weird fact of Jerry Flynn in there getting ippon'd in one way or another at the hands of Yoshihisa Yamamoto; I am also intrigued by Volk Han's continued difficulty with Nikolai Zouev. Can anything more be gleaned as we turn our attention toward . . .
WHAT DAVE MELTZER SAID:
February 14, 1994: "2/6 Tokyo Korakuen Hall (RINGS - 1,823): Eric Edeross b Minoru Tanaka, Yoshihisa Yamamoto b Jerry Flynn, Masayoshi Naruse b ?, Nikolai Zouev b Volk Han, Mitsuya Nagai b Shimoff"
Okay that actually had less in it than what we already knew. Anything else, Big Dave?
February 21, 1994: "After Royce Gracie won the Ultimate Fight PPV in the United States, which received strong coverage in both wrestling and combat magazines in Japan, the Gracie's are receiving inquiries from RINGS, Pancrase, Masaaki Satake's karate promotion and New Japan but thus far his asking price is said to be too high for any of the groups to bite."
"RINGS on 3/19 at the Yokohama Arena announced a Bart Vail vs. Dirk Leon-Vrij match, which is hardly a main event capable of drawing in such a big arena. Last month Akira Maeda said that he wanted to wrestle against Nobuhiko Takada, Masakatsu Funaki or Minoru Suzuki. UWFI simply ignored what Maeda said, while Pancrase publicly said that it would never happen. Both Suzuki and Funaki were interviewed in Weekly Pro Wrestling, the magazine that itself is at odds with Maeda for his continually saying he's not a pro wrestler and the magazine criticizing his attitude for saying it, and him responding by denying them access. Both said there weren't willing to meet or talk with Maeda but would work with RINGS if Maeda wasn't a part of the group."
So that's going great! I don't know if Vrij/Vale was ever truly to be the main event on the 3/19 show now before us but please know that it is not, in the end, the main event(o), there is Volk Han, there is Akira Maeda, it'll be okay.
There's more, too, and it is super long, but also, I would argue, super good:
February 28, 1994: "UWFI ran one of the biggest grandstand angles in recent wrestling history at a press conference on 2/15. At the press conference at the Yokohama Grace Hotel, the promotion announced that the winner of its summer 16-man single-elimination tournament to crown the best "real" pro wrestler in the world, which was originally going to be an eight-man tournament, (which begins 4/3 in Osaka at a card that will air 4/16 in the U.S. on PPV, and ends 8/18 in Tokyo) will receive 100,000,000 yen ($964,800 U.S.) and brought in two armed guards with the 100,000,000 yen to show the reporters. At the press conference, the group then issued the grandstand challenges for all world champions from other organizations to enter the tournament and announced specific invitations had been sent to Genichiro Tenryu, Akira Maeda, Mitsuharu Misawa, Shinya Hashimoto and Masakatsu Funaki and made the point that if any of these men could win the tournament they'd get the big prize. UWFI announced that already in the tournament will be Nobuhiko Takada, Kazuo Yamazaki, Super Vader, Gary Albright and Salman Hashimikov. Both Tenryu and Hashimoto later in the week told reporters that they wouldn't be entering the tournament. Tenryu said he couldn't work all the prescribed dates because it conflicts with his own promotion which he's the top star of and his company needs him to both run the shows and to draw. Hashimoto was interviewed at Sumo Hall on 2/17 and was furious at UWFI saying that UWFI knew full well that in order to get him they have to go through the New Japan office since he's under exclusive contract and that UWFI never contacted New Japan to negotiate the deal so they weren't serious about it, and thus making the public statement about inviting him to appear was b.s. Naturally Misawa and All Japan simply ignored the challenge. The others haven't responded although it's virtually a lock that none of them will appear. From the Japanese p.r. standpoint, the names that are the most important are Maeda and Funaki, since Maeda is still the most famous "shooting-style" wrestler in Japan to the general public and Funaki is the No. 1 star from Pancrase, which is the hottest new promotion in the country because of the belief (which is apparently warranted) that it's the only major wrestling promotion in the world with legitimate matches and non-predetermined endings. Maeda's Rings, which has dropped in popularity greatly over the past year due to the rise in interest in both Pancrase and UWFI and Maeda's knee surgery which kept him out most of the year, tried to get back in the hunt at its January card when Maeda challenged Takada, Funaki and Minoru Suzuki. Funaki and Suzuki publicly dissed Maeda by responding they'd be glad to wrestle on Rings shows if Maeda was no longer a part of the group, while Takada and UWFI simply ignored the public challenge until this press conference, which is a response created to put the onus back on Maeda, who obviously won't "accept" the "invitation" despite the "nearly $1 million" on the table to him if he could "win." Maeda will be holding a press conference this week to respond to the challenge and attempt to come up with some sort of a response to take the onus off his back."
Even more on the same:
March 7, 1994: "The UWFI's grandstand offer of nearly $1 million last week to the winner of its upcoming tournament and challenging any champion from other wrestling organizations to enter, specifically mentioning Tenryu, Masakatsu Funaki, Shinya Hashimoto, Mitsuharu Misawa and Akira Maeda, if they could win the 16-man tournament, drew responses and controversy this past week. The only name that ignored the challenge was Misawa and All Japan, which is to be expected. Hashimoto of New Japan, the current IWGP world heavyweight champ, gave a logical yet vehement response after the 2/17 Sumo Hall show saying that UWFI knew he was under contract to New Japan but had made no contact with New Japan to get him to appear before going public with the challenge, basically saying they weren't serious about it. On 2/22, New Japan held a press conference and officially announced Hashimoto would not enter the UWFI's tournament, which begins on 4/3 at Osaka Castle Hall in a card that will air on PPV in the United States on 4/16. President Seiji Sakaguchi stated that New Japan had no business relationship with UWFI thus wouldn't send one of their wrestlers to work on a UWFI show. The next day, Funaki of Pancrase said that he wasn't accepting the invitation to the tournament and left it at that. One day before UWFI's big show at Budokan Hall, it was Akira Maeda and Rings' turn. Maeda actually started this story by issuing the initial grandstand challenge on 1/18 at his Budokan Hall show when Maeda, after winning the Rings Battle Dimension tournament, challenged Funaki, Minoru Suzuki and UWFI world heavyweight champ Nobuhiko Takada to appear on the 3/19 Rings show at Yokohama Arena. UWFI came back with the so-called million dollar challenge, in a sense as their response to embarrass Maeda. Ironic about this is that for years, Maeda and Takada, who trained together as Karl Gotch proteges with New Japan, were as close as brothers before splitting into the second UWF into different companies. Maeda countered being backed into a p.r. corner by making the surprising announcement that not only did he want to appear in the UWFI tournament, but that he wanted to enter nine men from his promotion in the 16-man tournament. He even said that he'd like to book some first round matches and start the tournament on the 3/19 Rings show. In many ways this statement overshadowed the matches UWFI had at Budokan Hall the next night and was the topic of conversation at the show. Despite running a main event of young stars Masahito Kakihara vs. Kiyoshi Tamura on top, the UWFI showed its overall strength at the box office by drawing a sellout 16,000 fans. After Takada's match, where he teamed with Naoki Sano to beat Gary Albright & Dan Severn, Takada grabbed the house mic and tried to confuse the issue saying he didn't want a 9 on 9 promotion vs. promotion situation, he wanted a singles match with Maeda in the tournament, and got a big pop when he said he wanted the match Maeda to be his first round match in the tournament on 4/3. After the card, Yuko Miyato, one of the UWFI wrestlers, who handles a lot of the booking and business for the group, told reporters that UWFI doesn't want to use nine wrestlers from Rings in the tournament but will accept one wrestler, either Maeda or Chris Dolman, into the tournament. If this is an angle, it's a great one, because it doesn't look like it is and it's already garnered tremendous interest and would deliver huge at the box office. Too bad it probably isn't an angle."
March 21, 1994: "While Tonya Harding vs. Manami Toyota may never take place [lol let's all start sentences this way from now on], there are a few "dream matches" in Japan that appear to be inevitable. In what will almost surely be one of the biggest wrestling events of all-time, it has been extensively reported in Japan that Antonio Inoki will face Satoru Sayama (the original Tiger Mask) sometime within the next year at a major stadium show. Inoki vs. Sayama is said to be either the headline match at the 5/1 Fukuoka Dome card, or the January 4, 1995 Tokyo Dome show. Sayama, 36, who said to weigh 245 pounds at 5-6, thus would have to lose close to 50 pounds to even look presentable in the ring which given the amount of time, makes the Tokyo Dome far more likely than Fukuoka Dome for the match. Sayama held a press conference on 3/9 challenging Inoki to a singles match and on 3/11, he made his first public appearance at a pro wrestling show since 1985 going to Korakuen Hall to challenge Masashi Aoyagi during Aoyagi's show. It appears Sayama's first match back will be on Aoyagi's show in October at the Yokohama Arena, and that victory will give him "credibility" coming back after a nine-year layoff to set the stage for a January match with Inoki. As the original Tiger Mask, he was one of the most innovative and popular wrestlers in history during his prime in the early 80s with New Japan Pro Wrestling before quitting in 1983 amidst one of the biggest scandals ever to hit the industry. He announced two weeks back that he would be coming out of retirement for a mixed match against pro wrestler/karate fighter Masashi Aoyagi in October. Rumor has it that Sayama will make a "surprise" appearance at a New Japan show on 3/16 at the Tokyo Gym where Inoki is wrestling to set the stage for the ultimate shoot-work. Back in 1983, Sayama was the leader of wrestlers who successfully caused Inoki to lose is Presidency of New Japan due to them going public that Inoki and his personal business manager and New Japan CEO Hisashi Shinma were using the huge profits the company was making and funnelling it into Inoki's outside losing businesses, particularly an expensive Brazilian cattle farm. Shinma, who many consider the brains behind the early 80s New Japan popularity boom, was forced out of the company in the scandal while Inoki had to relinquish his power as well, although eventually he regained much of it. Shinma and Inoki remained close until this past year when they had a messy split which was a huge headline story this past August. Sayama, who was the secret source for the stories about the coup against Inoki and Shinma, then quit the promotion, fearing reprisals from Inoki's friends, when Inoki wasn't pushed completely out for good in the late summer of 1983. After retirement the first time, Sayama wrote books exposing pro wrestling, but then returned one year later for a one-year run in the original UWF until leaving the business "for good" in September of 1985. Another dream match will take place on 5/5 at Kawasaki Baseball Stadium (where Atsushi Onita and Terry Funk drew 41,000 last year), this one not in the least unexpected with Onita headlining against Genichiro Tenryu in an FMW show in a barbed wire explosive death match. This match was set up on the 3/2 Tokyo Sumo Hall WAR show when Onita & Tarzan Goto beat Tenryu & Ashura Hara when Onita pinned Tenryu with the Thunder fire power bomb. The dream match that might draw the most attention of all in Japan right now--Akira Maeda vs. Nobuhiko Takada, apparently isn't going to take place as on 3/11, UWFI announced in its press conference all five outsiders invited into the 16-man tournament, Mitsuharu Misawa, Genichiro Tenryu, Shinya Hashimoto, Akira Maeda and Masakatsu Funaki had turned down the invitation, even though Maeda publicly had accepted it under certain conditions that UWFI then refused to meet, so Maeda somehow managed to once again emerge without being embarrassed from a potentially embarrassing situation. The funniest thing is that Takada, after beating Vader, has no new superstar opponent in UWFI, and Maeda has no new opponent for RINGS, and a match between the two would sellout the Tokyo Dome, so it is in both promotions' best interest to forget personal problems and do business while the iron is hot."
And finally, from the same Observer:
"The 3/19 Rings show at the 17,000-seat Yokohama Arena is pretty anti-climactic with Maeda vs. Andrei Kopilov as the main event. That same main event drew 14,700 in the same building in August of 1992, but Rings was a lot bigger deal at that time."
THANKS DAVE EVERYBODY IS NOW NO DOUBT SUPER EXCITED FOR:
Rings 1994 in Yokohama
March 19, 1994 in Yokohama, Japan
Yokohama Arena drawing 8,156
We begin with Oleg Naniev, the uncommonly hirsute neon-pink-singleted hero we first met not long ago, against Yoshihisa Yamamoto, hot off his win over Jerry Flyn (again: isn't that weird). Naniev is as serious as his shoulders are frizzy, which is pretty fvkkn; he tosses Yamamoto around skillfully from the outset, and forces the bout's first rope escape with a kata-ashi-hishigi (single-leg-crush). Yamamoto draws even soon thereafter with a rope escape earned off a similar technique and before I can even tell you about that, they are down there working their ashi-gatame (leg-locks generally) again; again, and again. Yamamoto went for a heel hook where the hooked-heel was actually beneath the other leg, which I don't think I have seen before and wouldn't really work? It certainly didn't just now. Please do not let any of this lead you to conclude that juji-gatame is being neglected, because it is not; it is present. Naniev kind of messes up by hoisting Yamamoto up and carrying him around too much before dropping him: the crowd responds less than they would have for, say, the humblest kibisu-gaeshi (ankle-pick), because the humble kibisu-gaeshi is real, and this was fake. I do not mean to suggest that the crowd has been lost utterly or forever because a few gnar palms to the head and a nice kubi-nage (neck throw) later and everybody seems content enough but there are lessons to be learned here all the same about which waza are decorous with the shoot-style ethos and which can only be read as extravagances improper to it. Yamamoto is knocking the hekk out of Naniev as we address this subject together and yes in fact he has won by KO at 8:04, a surprising finish! They show a slow-motion replay that makes it less convincing than it was the first time around but which does suggest that Yamamoto's high kick actually clipped Naniev's ear, which probably hurt a tonne for real.
AAAAAYYYYYY IT'S DIMITRI PETKOV! Welcome back, buddy! I love this guy! You can see much of why immediately:
The rest emerges when all of this heaving bulk is set in motion, as it no doubt will be against Masayuki Naruse (who I like to but for different reasons, none relating to sheer mass). Naruse comes out kicking hard but he is resolutely stalked by Petkov, and will find himself in time, one can only assume, in his belly. Petkov grasps and hurls Naruse a couple of times, and it is really great, but greater still is Petkov's transition into juji-gatame, for he is no mere lumbering beast of girth but a man ennobled by cræft. Naruse is holding his own thus far in ne waza, and even forces a rope escape to a kata-ashi-hishigi straight Achilles hold, and yet one can only assume he will get squished in like another minute. Naruse puts him down with strikes though! And runs across the ring with a jumping kick! (Not a full Ikuhisa Minowa shoot-dropkick but still quite jumping.) But Petkov is unimpressed by these arguments and throws with a huge kubi-nage into kesa-gatame (neck throw into scarf hold) and Naruse seeks the safety of the ropes before that kesa-gatame can proceed more fully into a kesa-gatame-kubi-hishigi (neck dislocation). Yeah this is all Petkov now, just big throws and then laying. Again, though, these big guys need to look out for these lifts where they make a big show about hoisting their pal high and walking around with him: the crowd does not care about that at all, they don't know how much more clearly they can make this point than through their abject indifference. Naruse's neck just got cranked so hard that he tapped while his foot was on the rope so Petkov wouldn't hold it even an instant longer and I totally get it, that looked gross. The tap that truly ends the match comes soon after at 10:53 to what Mikunosuke Kawaishi called osae-hishigi, dislocation in immobilization, in this instance a neck crank from a kind of kata-gatame that recalls no waza more fully than the finish of the Matsumoto roll, which you can see here, and here, and here. I admire Kaori Matsumoto's judo immensely and in the last year began teaching the Matsumoto roll and let met tell you: the people love it.
DAMN IT not only is Herman Renting back but he just beat Todor Todorov with the naked strangle of hadaka-jime in a mere 5:03.
I am back on board at once though because here now is David Khakhaleishvili (perhaps you know him better as დავით ხახალეიშვილი and I would understand that), 1992 Barcelona Olympic Judo Gold Medalist in the +95kg division! See him overwhelm no less a foe than NAOYA OGAWA in the final here (the video is soundless I am sorry)! Revisit the division that day more broadly in this excellent video with Neil Adams' (and someone else's!) commentary! Read about how his coach got the weigh-in venue wrong at the 1996 Atlanta games and he missed it and so couldn't compete in the tournament here! That is the NY Times article but here is what "Bad News" Allen Coage had to say about it all (as part of an article in which he raged against Shinichi Shinohara's controversial loss to David Douillet [who won in 1996 when Khakhaleishvili missed out] at the 2000 Sydney games) : "In 1996, Russian Judo competitor, David Khakhaleichvili was the defending Olympic Heaveyweight Champ and the favorite to win the Gold in Atlanta. He was told by an official that he was to weigh in (why would a heavyweight have to weigh in?) and given an address to go to. It turned out that he was sent to the wrong building, didn't make the weigh in and was refused the chance to compete. He had to sit in the stands and watch - Screwed!" You can (and obviously should) read much more of Bad News Allen at the archived version of his webpage here; his "MY OPINION" archives, the texts upon which we will found our new faith, can be found here).
I am digressing a little maybe but I am sure you understand why! When Khakhaleishvili is introduced, the crowd is like HWAAAIIHHHH and a woman gasps loudly. He is here to make known his judo in the form of a demonstration, and I do not know who his uke is but he gets launched:
|the purest of Georgian ura nage|
Rob Esdonk and Kim Lee Klin are next in a kickboxing match that I am totally sure is real because the much, much bigger Rob Esdonk busts Klin up pretty badly almost immediately and then knocks him out twenty-nine seconds into the second round. Yikes!
Bart Vale has entered the (Yokohama) arena to Snap's "I've Got the Power," which, years later, we can say with certainty has turned out to be no "Rhythm is a Dancer"; Dick Vrij soon follows to the dulcet tones of actually fairly punishing techno (hard 909 kicks [as hard as Vrij's own kicks? if anything harder], not the soft "pooooms" of the 808). Æstheticly, Bart Vale is fully and completely an ad for training gear in the pages of Black Belt magazine and I say this with equal measures praise and condemnation. In the first round the commentator seems to say "hybrid wrestler"; in the second, he does not. In the third, Bart Vale piques my interest with a wrong-side inverted kata-gatame that could never have worked but I kind of loved; Dirk Vrij knocks him out at 1:32 of the third with a kick right to his enormous head. Solid work!
Volk Han vs. Georgi Keandelaki could be pretty weird because Keandelaki is wearing boxing gloves. Okay not that weird actually in that Volk Han took him down and went after his leg seconds in, maybe this will just be normal? And there's his split-leg hold! Maybe he is just going to style all over this fellow with all of his big moves? Right now he is opting for a standing gyaku-ude-garami/reverse-arm-entanglement/double-wrist-lock/Kimura and you know what, someone's arm was sneaking around my waist a little too unsneakily in ne wazai earlier this week and the other instructor by way of coaching said to my partner, "be careful there, he loves ude-garami" and I felt like you know what, yeah, I certainly think about juji-gatame a lot more and scheme on most of my waking hours but really I do try a tonne of ude-garami both as a finishing kansetsu-waza ((関節技, joint-lock techniques) and as a control for pins and sweeps and rolls . . . and he's right, I love it! I don't know that Volk Han loves it, at least not as much as his unsanely wide array of ashi-gatame (leg-holds), but who can truly know another's heart and its tokui-waza (preferred technique). He is allllllll over Keandelaki in round two, including a juji-on-a-guy-with-boxing-gloves (I need to know), and at 1:08 of the third round he finishes with his standing Double-Agony-In-Man mae-hadaka-jime (front choke)/ude-hishigi-te-gatame (arm-crushing-hand-hold) in what was a low-drama but technically satisfying outing from Volk Han.
Bitsadze Tariel is here in his karate gi and so is his foe Vladimir Klementiev! You can tell they are karate gis because the are so thin and crisp as opposed to thick and murderous like the judogi. Stop me if I am repeating myself (I must be) but before my time at my judo club (I have only been there ten years so far but am working on it please believe me) a guy wore his karate gi throughout the class despite that being a terrible idea, and by the end of class both sleeves were ripped off and everybody was calling him Ryu? I'm sorry I have almost certainly told you that before but I really like that story (and wish I could have been a part of that magical night but time is an arrow, man). This is a karate fight alright! There was just an axe-kick! Ah, but it is RINGS fight, also, in that Tariel just finished Klementiev with a gyaku-kata-gatame one could call a north/south arm-triangle were one contemptuous of the Japanese traditions and inclined towards neither taste nor learning.
Our main event sees the always very good Andrei Kopilov against AKIRA MAEDA whose name came up in a recent Wrestling Observer Radio mailbag answer, in that a correspondent asked Dave Meltzer a question about Bam Bam Bigelow (who died penniless yet who asserted until the last that it didn't cost anything to watch the sunset; may peace be upon him) and the pleasingly aimless answer that then came eventually turned to Bigelow's time in Japan, and New Japan's decision to give him a win over Maeda, who uhhhhhhh was not wild about losing to a fat foreigner he would rather kick for real. As Meltzer tells it, Maeda agreed to do the honours (as one says) but was singularly unpleasant throughout. Bam Bam, when he got back from Japan, was talking to Dave about and was like yeah I don't know what was going on but at one point this Maeda guy just totally spat on me in the middle of the match, and then Dave explained about Akira Maeda, and Bam Bam was like oooooooh okay I see, Akira Maeda. Obviously this is the behaviour of a reprehensible asshole, but such is the strange yet undeniable lure of Akira Maeda that when I was listening to this story whilst tidying the basement (the basement that resists all tidying, that will be not be tamed) I didn't think "Maeda, you reprehensible asshole" but instead "lol Maeda you mad cunt" but in the English sense of cunt as term of fond warmth (I am not an objectionable person in any way and always use the word cunt sparingly and always responsibly and never unchivalrously, ask anyone). MA-E-DA MA-E-DA this one should be good, let's see: Kopilov opens the account with a tomoe-nage so clean that the commentator cannot help but call it by that very name and none other and we are at once deep in the world of ashi-garami (leg-entanglement). A crab, a rope-break, and now Maeda with a koshi-waza (hip-technique) into and ude-garami (arm-entanglement) and you can see how badly Maeda wants the transition to juji-gatame here but it is not to be because of Kopilov's cunning. Kopilov likes to (or feels compelled to) grab leg-locks and then stand with them; it is odd but neat. A Maeda knee to his pallorous form puts Kopilov down but he is back up an instant later and insists it was nothing. These two admirable guys from Fire Pro games that I have are so tangled up on the mat right now, you have no idea; although few if any could truly discern which waza were in play during the entirety of this positional mess but it ends in juji-gatame; that much is clear enough (rope break). Maeda puts Kopilov down with strikes again, oddly enough, and then again, and now I think Kopilov is down to his last one oh wait that does not matter as he did not answer the count and Maeda is fired up over his head-kick knockout at 8:51. MA-E-DA MA-E-DA MA-E-DA.
WHAT MORE DID DAVE MELTZER SAY:
March 28, 1994: "Akira Maeda drew a "poor" crowd of 8,156 to the Yokohama Arena on 3/19 as he beat Andrei Kopilov in the main event which shows just how much his drawing power has dropped. Sensing the problem Maeda two days later put together a deal to bring 1992 Olympic gold medalist in judo at 209 pounds, 23-year-old Tabil Haharashivili (not certain of spelling) to be his opponent on the 4/23 card in Hiroshima as a fresh new martial arts superstar."
"3/19 Yokohama Arena (RINGS - 8,156): Prelim results unavailable, Herman Renting b Todor Todorov, Dick Vrij b Bart Vail, Bitarze Tariel b Clemenchov, Volk Han b Georgi Gandelaki, Akira Maeda b Andrei Kopilov"
"Vader [who just got hurt on the same European tour where Mick Folely lost his ear], wrestling as Super Vader, will be working in the first round of a tournament that based on bracketing, he probably would go to the finals in (against possibly Gary Albright or more likely Nobuhiko Takada) if it went as it looks to be scheduled. If Vader misses the first date, it would severely weaken the tournament that already is somewhat anti-climactic because UWFI's grandstand play brought fans' hopes up for seeing "dream matches" with stars of other promotions, Akira Maeda in particular, that aren't going to happen."
and what's more
"As expected, Satoru Sayama entered a New Japan ring for the first time since his first pro wrestling retirement in 1983 on 3/16 at the Tokyo Gymnasium which will lead to a singles match with Antonio Inoki at either the 5/1 Fukuoka Dome show or the January 4, 1995 Tokyo Dome show. Inoki, who made a rare wrestling appearance on the show, which drew 9,200 fans (about 1,400 shy of capacity), introduced Sayama to the crowd which chanted his name and Sayama said he'd like to wrestle Inoki before he retires. The nature of the angle is such that it appears to be Inoki gaining final revenge over the incident from years ago when Sayama quit the business, vowing the never return, but at the age of 37, he's being lured back by a final shot at making a big payoff because when Inoki really retires, the one big money match stemming from a "real" angle will be gone for him. I wonder if when Riki Choshu decides to retire, that Akira Maeda will do the same, although Maeda at least has been making big money all these years while Sayama has simply been a fighting coach at his own gym."
Yeah, his SHOOTO gym!
Okay thank you again for your attention and your time!