The Pro-Wres Digest for August 6th – 12th
Yoshihiro Takayama has been hospitalised with a cervical spinal injury since May 4th and this week we finally got an update on his status. Shukan Bunshun magazine reported that Takayama was paralysed from the neck down and signs of recovery were not visible at all. As we covered at the time, Takayama was injured while working for DDT on May 4th and the injury occurred when he went for a Sunset Flip on Yasu Urano. The move went awry, with Takayama landing on his head and the match was stopped immediately, however he managed to walk to the back with some assistance then was placed in an ambulance which transported him to a hospital in Osaka. DDT President Sanshiro Takagi said at the time that Takayama was conscious the whole time and even apologised to him while being loaded into the ambulance. Tokyo Sports reported at the time that Takayama had been diagnosed with degenerative cervical spondylosis, which no doubt was a result of the punishment taken over decades of pro-wrestling and MMA, but the severity of the injury was kept quiet until this week. Shukan Bunshun also reported that Takayama underwent emergency surgery when he arrived at the Osaka hospital and noted that he was still unable to eat, or even digest, food. There are also plans to move him to a Tokyo hospital, however his condition is not yet stable enough to make the journey. Kazushi Sakuraba and Sanshiro Takagi will help produce some special charity events in the near future to assist with the cost of Takayama’s medical bills. Obviously we wish Takayama all the best and hope he makes a full recovery.
We’ve not had an update on Katsuyori Shibata for well over a month since the last time he updated his Real Talk Blog on June 21st when he talked about undergoing electro-therapy and noted that he gets desperate when he thinks about his condition. Shibata also stated in his previous blog entry that even before the subdural haematoma injury he suffered on April 9th of this year he had been seeing double for most of his career and underwent three separate eye surgeries over the years. On August 2nd, Shibata posted an update which revealed he had been out of the hospital for two months and that his doctor was surprised at the rate of his recovery due to the electro-therapy treatment. As he mentioned in an earlier blog, Shibata said that the therapy is state of the art and there is no precedent to go off. He thanked everyone who sent him information about his subdural haematoma and vowed to keep fighting.
WWE announced on 10/8 that for the first time the Network will be available in mainland China as of August 18th, just in time for SummerSlam. They will be partnering with Chinese sports media streaming service PPTV and splitting the revenue generated from the monthly 30 yuan ($4.50) subscriptions. They are also offering a yearly subscription at 198 yuan ($29.70). Chief Revenue and Marketing Officer Michelle Wilson said with the launch, “WWE Network is now available in every market, reaching more than 180 countries around the world[.]” Customers will need to download the PPTV App to watch Network content via smart TVs, mobile devices and tablets. The Network will also be accessible through the Chinese language WWE website and PPTV site also. As is usually the case with announcements like this, Wall Street got overly excited and the WWE stock rose to $21.42 at the close of business on 10/8, compared to $20.84 the previous day.
New Japan’s G1 Climax comes to a close this weekend and by the time you’re reading this the final match will be set for 13/8 at Sumo Hall. We’ll provide coverage of the finals next week, so in keeping with our run of providing ratings for the best matches here is what you might want to check out from Day 14 through Day 16:
Okada vs. Suzuki – **** ¾ (8/8, Night Sixteen)
Tanahashi vs. Ishii – **** ½ (6/8, Night Fifteen)
Okada vs. EVIL – **** ¼ (5/8, Night Fourteen)
Omega vs. Juice – *** ¾ (5/8, Night Fourteen)
Elgin vs. EVIL – *** ¾ (8/8, Night Sixteen)
Omega vs. SANADA – *** ¾ (8/8, Night Sixteen)
Kojima vs. SANADA – *** ½ (5/8, Night Fourteen)
Suzuki vs. Elgin – *** ½ (5/8, Night Fourteen)
ZSJ vs. Nagata – *** ½ (6/8, Night Fifteen)
Ibushi vs. YOSHI-HASHI – *** ½ (6/8, Night Fifteen)
Naito vs. Makabe – *** ½ (6/8, Night Fifteen)
After three weeks of inactivity, during which the IGF announced they were shutting down the NEW promotion, Kazunari Murakami reappeared at the IGF office in Tokyo on 3/8 – the very same building this wacky angle began in when he first illegally occupied the Inoki office on May 15th – but this time the IGF suits were one step ahead of the “Heisei Terrorist.” Not only had the Murakami Kai “proliferation notice” been removed from the door and the office rearranged to its original layout, the IGF pencil-pushers had taken the drastic measure of changing the locks on Murakami, who was also forcibly removed from the premises. Murakami had strangely remained quiet after NEW was “frozen” on 26/7, which seemed strange given that his goal from the beginning appeared to be a hostile takeover of the promotion. The IGF are due to make a statement regarding their future plans on 20/8 and given the Murakami angle appears to be still alive and well one would assume he will be involved in some capacity going forward.
Atsushi Onita’s retirement tour rolls through the Zero-1 promotion this weekend, as he will main event three straight shows with his trademark Electric Current Blast matches. 11/8 in Ibaraki saw Onita & Danshaku Hitachigyu beat TARU & Hartley Jackson in 16:59 after Onita nailed Jackson with the Electric Current Blast Bat. As a side note, Manami Toyota also worked the 11/8 show and defeated Mochi Miyagi with the Japanese Ocean Queen Bee Bomb in 14:20. By the time you’re reading this, the 12/8 show in Aichi will have already taken place and the main event of that show is another Electric Current Blast Bat Death Match, with Onita & Shinjiro Otani vs. TARU & Hartley Jackson. 13/8 in Hyogo has the most interesting main event of them all, as Onita is booked to face Chigusa Nagayo in a No Rope Barbed-Wire Electric Current Blast Death Match. Whether the match actually takes place as a singles remains to be seen, but they could very well turn it into a multi-person affair just like what happened during Onita’s barnstorming trip to CZW. More on that below.
When CZW announced back at WrestleMania weekend that Atsushi Onita would be facing Matt Tremont in a “Once in a Lifetime” Electric Current Blast singles match, nobody questioned whether the match would actually take place or not. By the time the match rolled around on 5/8, rumours were already flying around on Twitter that Onita was up to his old tricks and had held DJ Hyde and CZW up for more money. People were talking about the match being changed to a Six-Man tag, or the match not even taking place at all. Worst of all was talk of CZW being well aware that Onita did not want to work a singles match and he had made that very clear to DJ Hyde at least a month before the show, however the match was still advertised as a singles between Onita & Tremont. What actually occurred on 5/8 in Voorhees, NJ, was Onita & Tremont headed to the ring to start their singles match and after five minutes it turned into a Six-Man with Tremont, Rickey Shane Page & Danny Havoc facing Onita, Hideki Hosaka & Rajin Yaguchi. The match continued for another five minutes or-so and the finish saw Yaguchi pin Havoc on a barbed wire board after a shot with an electrified bat. After the match, Onita cut a promo where he called CZW’s explosion match “cheap” and challenged Tremont to come to Japan for a real one. As you would imagine, many people who attended the show and those who bought the live iPPV on the Highspots Network felt ripped off and accused CZW of false advertising.
Ireland’s OTT had a two big shows last weekend, with the 5/8 show at the Dublin National Stadium drawing 1,950 fans for their WrestleRama:Dublin card. Main event had Mark Haskins over Ryan Smile & Marty Scurll to capture the OTT No Limits Championship. Semi-main saw Session Moth Martina down Katey Harvey to become the new OTT Women’s Champion. Third from the top was British Strong Style (Pete Dunne, Tent Seven & Tyler Bate) over Jeff Cobb & War Machine. Also on the show, Joey Ryan & Angel Cruz beat B-Cool & Candice LeRae. Mick Foley did a run-in and ended up using the Mr Socko Claw on Ryan’s penis. Foley ended up taking a bump for Ryan’s Penis-Plex, which no doubt sent Jim Cornette into another meltdown. B-Cool & LeRae even pulled out tennis rackets with Corny’s face on them and attacked Ryan with them. The next night on 6/8 they drew a sell-out of 550 fans at Mandela Hall in Belfast, Northern Ireland for WrestleRama:Belfast. Main event saw Belfast Strong Style/Kings of the North (Bonesaw, Damien Corvyn & Dunkan Disorderly) over British Strong Style in a match that saw Mick Foley make the three count after the original referee got bumped. Also on the show was Jeff Cobb over Ricochet in what was reportedly an excellent match.
FloSlam have another EVOLVE double-shot this weekend. EVOLVE 90 is on 11/8 from the MCW Arena in Joppa, MD. Here’s the card:
EVOLVE 90 – August 11th, MCW Arena, Joppa, MD:
(*) Jason Kincaid vs. Austin Theory.
(*) Chris Dickenson & Jaka vs. ACH & Ethan Page.
(*) Keith Lee vs. Timothy Thatcher.
(*) EVOLVE Tag Team Titles: Anthony Henry & James Drake (C) vs. ???
(*) Non-Title: Matt Riddle (WWN Champion) vs. Lio Rush.
(*) PROGRESS Atlas Championship: WALTER (C) vs. Fred Yehi.
EVOLVE 91 is on 12/8 from Corona in Queens, NY. Announced matches are as follows:
EVOLVE 91 – August 12th, Elmcor Youth & Adult Activities Centre, Corona, Queens, NY:
(*) ACH vs. Ethan Page.
(*) Darby Allin vs. Timoth Thatcher.
(*) Mark Haskins vs. Autin Theory.
(*) Chris Dickenon & Jaka vs. South Pacific Power Trip.
(*) WWN Championship: Matt Riddle (C) vs. Leith Lee vs. WALTER vs. Tracy Williams.
Rev Pro’s biggest show of the summer is next week on 17/8 at York Hall in East London and I will be there live. Here’s the line up:
Revolution Pro Wrestling “Summer Sizzler 2017” – August 17th, York Hall, Bethnal Green, London:
(*) Bully Ray vs. Sha Samuels.
(*) Jay White vs. Travis Banks.
(*) Dalton Castle vs. Zack Gibson.
(*) Martin Stone vs. Sami Callihan.
(*) Ryan Smile & Shane Strickland vs. The Briscoes.
(*) Undisputed British Cruiserweight Championship: Josh Bodom (C) vs. Jushin “Thunder” Liger.
(*) Undisputed British Heavyweight Championship: Zack Sabre Jr. (C) vs. Chris Brookes.
(*) Marty Scurll vs. Rey Mysterio Jr.
The next night on 18/8 sees the start of the ROH War of the Worlds UK tour, in conjunction with Rev Pro, New Japan & CMLL. ROH are running three shows in the UK – 18/8 in London, 19/8 in Liverpool & 20/8 in Edinburgh – I will also be at the London show, so let’s have a look at that card:
ROH “War of the Worlds UK” – August 18th, York Hall, Bethnal Green, London:
(*) Mark Briscoe vs. Ryan Smile.
(*) Jay Briscoe vs. Kenny King.
(*) The Addiction (Daniels & Kazarian) vs. Ultimo Guerrero & Rey Bucanero.
(*) Bully Ray vs. Jay Lethal vs. Silas Young vs. Sha Samuels.
(*) ROH World Six Man Championship: Dalton Castle & The Boys (C) vs. Mistico, Delirious & Jushin “Thunder” Liger.
(*) ROH World TV Championship: KUSHIDA (C) vs. Titan.
(*) Los Ingobernables de Japan (Tetsuya Naito, Hiromu Takahashi, EVIL, BUSHI & SANADA) vs. Bullet Club (Cody, The Young Bucks, Marty Scurll & Adam Page).
The 19/8 show at the Liverpool Olympia – the same building ROH ran for their first UK show ever in 2006 – will be an iPPV, so we’d better have a look at that card too.
ROH “War of the Worlds UK” – August 19th, Liverpool Olympia, Liverpool:
(*) Kenny King vs. Adam Page.
(*) Jay Lethal vs. Josh Bodom.
(*) Ultimo Guerrero & Rey Bucanero vs. Mistico & Titan.
(*) Bully Ray & The Briscoes vs. Tetsuya Naito, EVIL, BUSHI.
(*) ROH World TV Championship: KUSHIDA () vs. Hiromu Takahashi vs. Marty Scurll vs. Dalton Castle.
(*) ROH World Tag Team Championship: The Young Bucks (C) vs. The Addiction (Daniels & Kazarian).
(*) ROH World Championship: Cody (C) vs. SANADA.
PROGRESS are running shows on the east coast of the US this weekend. They are in New York on 12/8 and on 13/8 the UK group will partner with Beyond Wrestling for a double shot in Somerville, MA. We had the card for the New York show in last week’s Digest.
So it turns out the whole situation with Johnny Mundo/Taya/Vampiro could in fact be a work and, according to the Cubsfan, it may have been a storyline since day one. Cubs pointed out that a backstage segment with Mundo & Vampiro, which aired this week on AAA TV, appeared to have been filmed at the same time as two skits that featured Johnny Mundo trying to call Kevin Kross, who blew off the calls to set up a split in storyline. The Mundo/Kross stuff aired on July 22nd and AAA’s first taping after that date was July 27th in Aguascalientes, so it would have been impossible for the Mundo/Vampiro stuff to have been filmed on that date. The last time Mundo was in Mexico before July 27th was June 30th for a show in Puebla, which is the date Cubs believes the Mundo/Vampiro segment was taped. If he is correct, Cubs will have exposed the story of Mundo going to Mexico for a photo shoot and AAA telling him to leave Taya’s Reina de Reina title for further pictures as false. AAA didn’t announce they had stripped Taya of the Reina de Reina’s belt until July 1st, which means that Mundo actually taped the segment with Vampiro the day before his fiancé was supposedly stripped of the title without their knowledge. Cubsfan theorised that Taya may have been scheduled to drop the title on June 19th in Nuevo Lardeo to set up Sexy Starr coming back and winning the belt, but due to a car accident on June 12th Taya was unable to make the show and AAA came up with this storyline instead. If Taya is added to the Sexy Starr vs. Lady Shani match at TripleMania on 26/8, as has been hinted by the company, then it is safe to assume this whole deal has been a work from the very beginning. Why AAA would want to run an angle that made them and Vampiro look like clueless dunderheads is another question entirely.
RAW on 7/8 did 3,235,000, up slightly from last week’s 3,156,000. 8pm did 3,263,000, 9pm did 3,314,000 & 10pm did 3,144,000.
SmackDown on 8/8 did 2,584,000, up infinitesimally from last week’s 2,569,000.
Lucha Underground on 9/8 did 103,000 for the first run and 56,000 for the 9pm replay for a total of 159,000, down slightly from last weeks 162,000 (104,000 & 58,000).
Impact on 10/8 did 277,000 viewers, up insignificantly from last week’s 276,000.
Thanks for reading everybody! There won’t be a Digest next week, but perhaps we’ll have a live report from the Rev Pro & ROH shows.