Puro Report (9/12/2023 — 15/12/2023)

Written By: Eli Conroy-de Voss

With most of the last big tournaments out of the way, this week has been a lot quieter in the land of the rising sun. A few small announcements and some unfortunate news have occupied most of the week as we gradually make our way to the last shows of the year.

New Japan Pro Wrestling: World Tag League is finally over and the results are confronting. The IWGP Tag Team Champions, Bishamon, have won the tournament for the third year in a row by defeating El Phantasmo and Hikuleo in the finals. They then immediately decided that at Wrestle Kingdom they would like a rematch, putting their own belts on the line for ELP and Hikuleo’s NJPW Strong Tag Team titles. It will be a fight for all the gold at the biggest show of the year. Also, after a solid run in the tournament alongside Yota Tsuji, Zandokan Jr has officially allied himself with Los Ingobernables de Japon. LIJ’s leader, Tetsuya Naito, was declared the Tokyo Sports 2023 Pro-Wrestling Grand Prix MVP as well. In a bit of a sad twist for fans of the promotion, former multi-time IWGP Jr Heavyweight Champion, KUSHIDA, has left New Japan to sign with TNA after working there off and on over the past few years. Hopefully he finds newfound success back in America. A new title has been announced for the triple threat at Wrestle Kingdom. After David Finlay destroyed both versions of the IWGP United States Championship and inserted himself into the match with Jon Moxley and Will Ospreay, NJPW’s Chairman Naoki Sugabayashi announced that a new title will be on the line for that match: the IWGP Global Heavyweight Championship.

And finally, tragically, on the 11th of September 2023, NJPW alumni and former IWGP Tag Team Champion, Osamu Kido, passed away due to complications with cancer at the age of 73. Kido was a workhorse and committed member of the New Japan roster from the company’s inception into the 2000s, helping to train some of the company’s most iconic faces like Hirooki Goto and Shinsuke Nakamura. Best wishes and condolences to his family and loved ones.

Pro Wrestling NOAH: Speaking of New Japan, NOAH have announced a few more matches for their New Year event with a number of outside talent involved. Kaito Kiyomiya and Ryohei Oiwa will take on the team of EVIL and Yujiro Takahashi, Masa Kitamiya will face Tomohiro Ishii and Go Shiozaki will face Satoshi Kojima. The card is shaping up very strongly.

GLEAT: After winning a four man tournament to crown the next challenger, Minoru Tanaka has become the number one contender for Fujita “Jr” Hayato’s LIDET UWF Championship.

Pro Wrestling FREEDOMS: The team of Minoru Fujita and Takahiro Katori are set to challenge for the King of FREEDOM World Tag Team Championships. This will be Kyu Mogami and Toshiyuki Sakuda’s first defence of the belts and it will take place at Bloody X’Mas on Christmas Day.

World Wonder Ring STARDOM: Turning to Joshi now, after two unsuccessful title challenges, Megan Bayne has turned her attention to the NJPW Strong Women’s Championship. She will now face Giulia for the belt at Dream Queendom 2023 on the 29th.

Joshi: This has been a busy week for joshi wrestling. First of all, Ice Ribbon has gone through a bit of rebranding after the company was brought under new management. The promotion, now owned by Rebellions, Co., Ltd. will seemingly be known as Ice Ribbon, Inc. Interesting to see what this means for the future of the company. In a turn from Marvelous, Maria and Riko Kawahata have upset Takumi Iroha and Chikayo Nagashima to become new AAAW Tag Team Champions. Japanese-Swedish personality, LiLiCo has announced she will be returning to wrestling, now that the injury which forced her to retire has healed enough. Tragically, one half of the SEAdLINNNG Beyond the Sea Tag Team Champions, Riko Kaiju has announced her retirement from the sport. She and Ayame Sasamura have elected to vacate their belts as her final match is being decided. Wishing her the best in all her future endeavours.

All Of Japan: And finally, on the 15th of December 2023, it was announced that a new industry group will be formed amongst the biggest promotions in Japan. This group will be known as United Japan Pro-Wrestling and will exist to better protect and support all parties under its umbrella from events like the COVID-19 pandemic and give a greater voice for the industry as a whole. UJPW may also hold special events in the future as well, which is incredibly exciting when you consider that there are currently nine promotions involved in this project. Those promotions are New Japan Pro Wrestling, All Japan Pro Wrestling, Pro Wrestling NOAH, DDT, Ganbare Pro Wrestling, Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling, World Wonder Ring Stardom, Big Japan Pro Wrestling and Dragon Gate Pro Wrestling with more to be considered potentially in the future. What this group proposes is a net benefit for the wrestling business as a whole and a greater era of community and partnership for the Japanese wrestling scene. It will be very exciting to see how this develops from this point on.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *