The Week in Japanese Wrestling (2/3/2023 — 8/3/2024):

New Japan Pro Wrestling:

The New Japan Cup is officially underway and we are two days in. Yoshi-Hashi defeated KENTA and will now face SANADA in round two. Toru Yano defeated Yujiro Takahashi in less than 2 minutes while AEW’s Jack Perry upset Shota Umino, aligning himself with House of Torture to steal a victory from the young favourite. Perry and Yano will now face in round two. On night 2, Chase Owens defeated Tomohiro Ishii and will now face Hirooki Goto, while David Finlay and Tanga Loa will now face each other in the second round, defeating TJP and Great O’Khan respectively. (Speaking personally for once, this tournament is off to a rancid start.) IWGP World Heavyweight Champion, Tetsuya Naito, also defeated Jr Heavyweight Champion, SHO, in a non-title bout. While not necessarily NJPW news, former multi-time IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada recently made his shock debut for AEW, signing an exclusive contract with the company.

Pro Wrestling NOAH:

Pro Wrestling NOAH, with the support of Progress, has announced they’ll be making a UK tour for the 6th, 7th and 8th of September in London, Manchester and Edinburgh respectively. It’s been a long time since the company visited the UK, so this should be fun. The newly implemented Victory Challenge Tag League has also been underway and early in things are still rather tight. Takashi Sugiura & Ulka Sasaki, REAL, Go Shiozaki & Atsushi Kotoge and Los Golpeadores all sit at 4 points; Manabu Soya & Shuji Kondo and Ryohei Oiwa & Kaito Kiyomiya sit at 3; and Masa Kitamiya & Daiki Inaba as well as Kenoh & Yu Owada trail at 1 point each. There’s still a lot of time for the tournament to turn around though. Finally, Daga made a successful defence of his Jr Heavyweight Championship against GLG’s Tadasuke.

Dragon Gate Pro Wrestling:

Champion Gate in Osaka saw one title change hands. While Hyo and Luis Mante were both successful in their Brave and Dream Gate title defences respectively, D’courage were not so fortunate, dropping the Open the Triangle Gate titles back to Z-Brats in the semi-main event. The Rey De Parejas tournament has also just begun with YAMATO & Susumu Mochizuki, Naruki Doi & Dragon Kid and Natural Vibes all leading on 2 points, but we are only one event in. The tournament is likely to change very quickly.

Pro Wrestling Zero1:

Zero1’s 23rd Anniversary show ended not how people expected. The highly anticipated match between Tenkaichi Junior Tournament winner, Ryo Hoshino and NJPW’s Hiromu Takahashi ended unexpectedly fast after Hoshino attempted a dive to the outside but injured his knee badly on the landing. His second threw in the towel and the match was called less than three minutes in. Hiromu has promised to return to Zero1 and is awaiting Hoshino’s recover, but this was very disappointing for both the fans and the wrestlers. Thankfully, the evening ended with a bang as Seiki Yoshioka upset Takumi Baba to become new Zero1 World and International Junior Heavyweight Champion.


Recently at a Dotonbori Pro Wrestling show, Mari Manji ended Momoka Hanazono’s record setting 483 day reign as WDW Women’s Champion. With the support of P.P.P, Chanyota produced her first ever independent show, “Love and Muscle”, teaming with ZONES to face Nanae Takahashi and Ryo Mizunami in the main event. Finally, wrestling legend and Joshi superstar, Bull Nakano, has been announced as an entrant into the WWE Hall of Fame. The accolade is small in the face of all her achievements, but we celebrate her regardless.

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