Puro Report (2/12/2023 — 8/12/2023)

Written by Eli Conroy-de Voss.

Christmas draws closer and professional wrestling is delivering the gifts. There have been five tournament conclusions, three title changes, many big match announcements and a heartfelt goodbye. December continues to keep things exciting.

New Japan Pro Wrestling:
As the World Tag League goes on, a strange development has occurred in House of Torture. After joining the faction only a few days ago, AEW’s Bishop Kaun and Toa Liona have since been removed from the group after turning on their new stablemates when placed in a match against them. Despite this, HOT still ended the tournament with a new member after Ren Narita turned on his tag team partner, Shota Umino, to join the club. As for the actual tournament, as of writing, the finals have just been announced. Both TMDK and the Bullet Club War Dogs have been eliminated in the semifinals, with the final match boiling down to a champion vs champion battle. It’s the NJPW Strong Tag Team Champions, Hikuleo and El Phantasmo, against the reigning IWGP World Tag Team Champions, Bishamon. If Goto and Yoshi-Hashi win, this will be their third straight tournament victory and their first while champions. The finals are set to take place on the 10th… So let me know how that goes.

Pro Wrestling NOAH:
NOAH started the week white hot with an appearance from current AEW star and former NJPW wrestler, Kota Ibushi, as he came to the ring to challenge Naomichi Marufuji for a match at NOAH’s New Year show on January 2nd. That same show also saw an appearance from Tatsumi Fujinami, who successfully teamed with Manabu Soya to overcome the joined forces of Kenoh and Jinsei Shinzaki. It is also worth noting that before this match, Kenoh got a tip off that Fujinami enjoys drinking Coca-Cola before each of his matches. So he bought every single can in the building out of spite. Our Champion, everyone.

All Japan Pro Wrestling:
On December 31, Shotaro Ashino will make his long awaited return to the ring, teaming with T-Hawk to take on Seigo Tachibana and Kuroshio Tokyo Japan. Ashino won All Japan’s Champion Carnival back in July of this year, but immediately had to forfeit his title opportunity after sustaining an injury during the match. Hopefully we’ll see him get his Triple Crown title match in the near future. Speaking of the Triple Crown, Katsuhiko Nakajima and Hokuto Omori are officially your 2023 Real World Tag League winners, defeating Kento Miyahara and Yuma Aoyagi in the finals. While they may have lost the tournament, Kento Miyahara is still looking towards the Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship, with his rematch against Nakajima being set for the 31st. All Japan’s Representative Director and President, Takanori Fukuda, has also announced that the winner of that match will face a “special assassin” of his choosing. No confirmation on who that is just yet. Finally, the Junior Battle of Glory tournament has also drawn to a close, with Dan Tamura emerging victorious after defeating Naruki Doi in the finals to secure the trophy. It’s been a very busy week for All Japan.

Dragon Gate Pro Wrestling:
After calling out NOAH’s Kaito Kiyomiya, the Open the Twin Gate Champions, Yuki Yoshioka and Dragon Dia, were surprisingly confronted by Alejandro instead, making his return to the promotion to challenge for the belts. The titles will now be on the line at THE FINAL GATE 2023 when Yoshioka and Dia defend against Alejandro and Kiyomiya. In other news, Dragon Gate has a new Open the Brave Gate Champion. After turning on his former stable, Z-Brats, a couple of weeks ago, H.Y.O has now beaten old tag partner ISHIN to win the belt.

KO-D Tag Team Champions, Soma Takao and Shota, announced after their successful defence against Toru Sugiura and Akito that they’d be defending the belts back in Ganbare Pro Wrestling on the 27th. Their opponents will seemingly be the team of Keisuke Ishii and Shigehiro Irie. As of December 8, the D-Oh Grand Prix standings are as follows: Yuki Ueno barely holds the top spot of A Block with a score of 3 points, while Yukio Naya has dominated the B Block with 3 wins and a total of 6 points. Due to sustaining 3 losses, Kazuki Hirata has now lost his shot at winning the block. Sad news for the Extreme Champion.

Big Japan Pro Wrestling:
The team of Crazy Lovers, Takumi Tsukamoto and Masashi Takeda, have won BJW’s Soushi-Sousatsu Deathmatch Tag Team Tournament, defeating Daiju Wakamatsu and Yuki Ishikawa in the finals. They will now face Astronauts for the BJW Tag Team Championships at BJW 2023 Final Show on the 30th.

Pro Wrestling Freedoms:
As well as winning BJW’s Tag Tournament, Masashi Takeda has also secured a shot against Toru Sugiura for the King of FREEDOM World Championship. He defeated Toshiyuki Sakuda for the number one contender’s spot on the recent Road to Bloody X’mas show. That match will happen on Christmas Day.

Across the pond in Miami Florida, Commander (Arisa) Nakajima has defeated Ichigo (Unagi) Sayaka to secure Sukeban’s new top Championship at the fledgling promotion’s second ever event.

World Wonder Ring Stardom:
Back in Japan, Stardom’s Nagoya Big Winter 2023 proved proved to be quite the event. Not only did we see Mei Seira and Giulia defend the High-Speed and NJPW Strong Women’s Championships respectively, but we also saw Utami Hayashishita and Saya Kamitani become new Goddess of Stardom Champions after defeating Maika and Megan Bayne for the vacant belts. In the main event, Suzu Suzuki defeated Hazuki and will now officially face Maika for the vacant World of Stardom Championship on the 29th. A day later, Syuri would announce a new member for her God’s Eye stable, that being the foreign wrestler, Scandinavian Hurricane.

Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling:
And finally, Yuka Sakazaki’s final match with Tokyo Joshi Pro has come. She won a triple threat against Shoko Nakajima and Miyu Yamashita before drawing in a short, impromptu match with tag partner Mizuki to act as her final goodbye to the company. She will be moving to America in the near future and will hopefully find just as much success as she did in her home promotion. Wishing her all the best and ever grateful for the time she spent in TJPW.

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