The Week in Japanese Wrestling (6/4/2024 — 12/4/2024):

New Japan Pro Wrestling:

Sakura Genesis has come and gone, and in the wake we have three new champions. Bishamon ended KENTA and Chase Owens’ reign as IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions, beginning their fourth reign with the titles in just over two years. Shingo Takagi also reclaimed the NEVER Openweight Championship from EVIL. Immediately afterwards he was attacked by Gabe Kidd, who demanded a match for the belt and verbally derided both the company and its management. Finally, we have a lineup for this year’s Best of the Super Juniors tournament, consisting largely of familiar faces. We have sixteen return entrants, all of whom are regular faces in the division, but we also have four people making their debuts. TMDK’s Kosei Fujita will be participating in his first tournament after he and DOUKI both challenged Sho for his Junior Heavyweight Championship, and he’ll be joined by GCW World Champion Blake Christian and HAYATA and Ninja Mack of NOAH. It is also worth noting that the planned match for Sakura Genesis between Sho and Yoh was called to an abrupt stop when Yoh suffered a shoulder injury. It is unknown how severe this is or whether he’ll be able to make the tournament at all. In the meantime, we wish him a speedy recovery.

Pro Wrestling NOAH:

NOAH’s also had a rather eventful week. On this week’s Monday Magic, Yuko Miyamoto and Isami Kodaka were unsuccessful in their attempt at GLG’s Jr Tag titles after the challenge was laid out last week. Takumi Iroha made a surprise appearance, saving Miyuki Takase after she was attacked post-match by the Great Sakuya, beating up Nagisa Nozaki on the way. We also have a match for the GHC Hardcore title next week when Ninja Mack defends against Alpha Wolf. Speaking of titles, shockingly we have a new National Champion. After a successful reign as double champion alongside his Heavyweight Tag belt, Jack Morris has dropped the belt to former Junior Champ, HAYATA. This was a massive upset and it will be interesting to see where it goes from here.

Dragon Gate Pro Wrestling:

The Rey De Parejas tournament has finally concluded and we have our winners. In the finals, Dragon Kid and Naruki Doi defeated Susumu Mochizuki and Yamato after two excellent tournament runs. In the aftermath, Yamato and Mochizuki offered to form a new stable with their opponents, but no answer was given. The Champs instead directed their emotion towards the Champions, Ryohei Oiwa and Kaito Kiyomiya of NOAH, who Doi described as the worst champions in the belts’ history. That match is set for Dead or Alive this year. That show will also feature a Mascara Contra Caballera cage match with Jacky “Funky” Kamei, Shun Skywalker, HYO, KZY and Jason Lee all putting either their hair or mask on the line. This came about after Jason betrayed Kamei to join Z-Brats.


DDT April Fools 2024 was not an overly important event, but it was a very enjoyable one. Both Burning and Shunma Katsumata made successful defences of their KO-D Tag and DDT Extreme titles respectively, while the main event saw the crazy pairing of MAO and Yuki Ueno against Chris Brooke and NJPW’s Zack Sabre Jr, who thanked Chris in the aftermath and said he’d like to return again.


In tragic news, it was announced that Akebono, the former sumo wrestler known most famously for his work in All Japan, has sadly passed away. He was 54 years old. In his time, Akebono worked every major Japanese promotion, from New Japan, to Dragon Gate, to Hustle, becoming a two time Triple Crown Champion in AJPW. We wish his family all the best in this trying time.


There’s a lot of Joshi topics to discuss this week. Last year, Ice Ribbon’s top champion, Ibuki Hoshi, announced she would have to leave for a while and will be vacating the belt. In her final appearance earlier this week, she announced the reason was that she was having a baby. Best of luck to her on her new adventure. Hoping all the best. The now vacant IceXInfinity Championship will have its new holder determined via a ten person, two block tournament beginning on April 28 and ending June 23. The former company ace, Tsukasa Fujimoto, will also be making her long awaited return after also leaving to become a mother. She has some other commitments which won’t allow her to stay for long, but her first match will be a six-woman bout for SEAdLINNNG, featuring her, Arisa Nakajima and Sareee against Hiroyo Matsumoto, Hanako Nakamori and Miyuki Takase. After a one day tournament, Momo Tani became Pure-J’s inaugural Kansai Survival Revolution Champion, last defeating Super W to win the belt. In a bitter sweet turn of events, former Stardom wrestler, Jungle Kyona, has seemingly left wrestling behind as she begins a new career as a part of the Japanese fire brigade. Best of luck moving forwards. And finally, we now have the full lineup for this year’s Hana Kimura memorial show: Terima Kasih. There are a few matches to note on here such as the hardcore intergender tag match, the traditional 30 person battle royal or the mysterious match up between Veny and an unknown opponent, but the main event is where most attention lies. Syuri, Konami and Saori Anou vs Chihiro Hashimoto, Mika Iwatani and Miyuki Takase vs Mio Momono, Sareee and Kaori Yoneyama. It’s a star studded lineup. These events are always a beautiful thing for a good cause, and I highly recommend supporting this one as well.

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