CyberFight Festival 2022 – Kojima vs. Shiozaki, Nakajima vs. Sakazaki

CyberFight Festival 2022 – Kojima vs. Shiozaki, Nakajima vs. Sakazaki

By: Karen Peterson

If you missed yesterday’s installment of Dream Slam Weekly, you can still check out all the fun interviews I did prior to CyberFight Festival! You can check out interviews with Yuna Manase, Maki Itoh, Yuka Sakazaki, and more!

Naomichi Marufuji Announces Post-CFF Surgery Plan “I can still walk, so maybe I’ll go check out the CFF Events area…” Marufuji was originally scheduled to compete in the DDT/NOAH 6-Man tag but was replaced by Katsuhiko Nakajima early last week. Marufuji was also scheduled to participate in the June 13th, Memory of Mitsuharu Misawa Talk Show, but confirmed that his surgery would be on the same date, apologizing for his absence from the event. No additional details were provided. 

GanPro’’s YuuRi Replaces Raku in Kick-Off Match – With less than three days left before CFFes2022, Raku would be pulled from the TJPW 10-Woman Tag, with the reasoning being “poor physical condition.” This could be a wide variety of things, so kindly do not speculate or ask for additional details. YuuRi from GanPro was substituted into the match to replace her. YuuRi could possibly have a match against Unagi Sayaka at Stardom’s New Blood 3 in July, after Unagi appeared at a GanPro show to stir up a little controversy against her former mentor, Yuna Manase.

KICK-OFF SHOW – I had to go back and watch the kick-off show matches after getting some sleep because the WU advert had a 2PM JT (1AM ET) official start time, but it was unclear if that included the three opening tag matches. While the midnight (ET) start time was publicized via @NOAHGlobal, I would have liked the demarcation included on the Wrestle Universe show page, so I could plan my evening accordingly, and not miss out on the beginning of the show. 

English Commentary was led by Stewart Fulton, Sebastian Cescon, and English-language voice actress Christelle Ciari. 

Spoiler-Free Synopsis (KO: Kick-Off Show Matches)

  • KO DDT Tag Team Match: Sometimes a dance battle just happens… in the middle of a match. 
  • KO TJPW 10-Woman Tag Team Match: Light, chaotic fun, and a great way to get everyone else onto the card.
  • KO DDT vs Ganbare☆Pro-Wrestling: A battle for company pride and supremacy stemming from a long-time rivalry. 
  • NOAH/DDT Tag Match: Surprised at the outcome TBH
  • TJPW 6-Woman Tag Match: A melee of some of the hottest talents and rising stars in TJPW
  • DDT 8-Person Tag Match: While some people may enjoy it, this match was not my cuppa tea and that is okay.
  • Princess of Princess Number 1 Contender Qualifier: A fun four-way match to decides who co-headlines Summer Sun Princess 
  • NOAH 10-Man Tag Match: Sugiura-gun & Foreign Friends have a tango.
  • DDT 8-Person Tag Match: Everything great about DDT tied up with a neat little bow.
  • NOAH 6-Man Tag Match: Get those “You still got it chants” ready.
  • NOAH/DDT Match: This match is unexpectedly short due to a referee stoppage.
  • NOAH/DDT Hard Core/No DQ Match: The entrances alone are worth the cost of admission.
  • Princess of Princess Championship: The Magical Girl vs. The Big Kaiju (Monster)
  • GHC Heavyweight Championship: An exceptional love letter to the lariat.

KO DDT Tag Team Match: Muscle Sakai & Yukio Naya defeated Kazuki Hirata & Soma Takao (9:43)

If you like spontaneous dance-offs in your fun, comedy matches, you won’t be disappointed. This opened the show.

KO TJPW 10-Woman Tag Team Match: Arisu Endo, Kaya Toribami, Mahiro Kiryu, Moka Miyamoto & Nao Kakuta defeated Neko Haruna, Hyper Misao, Pom Harajuku, Yuki Aino & YuuRI (9:10)

This match showcases the colorful characters you can meet in the world of Tokyo Joshi Pro (and GanPro with YuuRi). Many of the character archetypes and costume designs have more of a fantasy world meets pro-wrestling, but the wrestling is still on par with what is putting TJPW on the map with a lot of international fans. This match has a little more of a lighthearted, comedic approach, but there is more than enough strong-style to go around. While the costumes tend to be more whimsical and the characters more cutesy, it doesn’t mean they’re just clowning around.  Like most 10-person tags, things get a little hectic midway through, but Kiryu pins Pom. 

KO DDT vs Ganbare☆Pro-Wrestling: Eruption (Hideki Okatani, Saki Akai & Yukio Sakaguchi) defeated Ken Ohka, Mizuki Watase & Yuna Manase (10:20)

I really enjoyed this match. While we demarcate matches like this as an intergender or mixed tag match in western countries, I genuinely prefer how they simply use the term “person,” meaning everyone is on equal footing and it feels like there weren’t any negative connotations associated with this format. It felt very as a matter of fact and normal, removing gender from the match title. All the participants in the match are just… wrestlers, and I like that a whole bunch.

I’ve heard great things about Okatani, and I’ve seen some of what Akai and Manase could do, but that was where my experience with those in the match ended. I simply watched and soaked this match in. What I love about Saki is that she separates the persona she uses in Tokyo Joshi Pro as Saki-sama, the leader of Neo Bishiki-gun, a faction that feels like a loli goth shojo (girls’) anime come to life, and her as a pure wrestler as Saki Akai. The same goes for Yukio Sakaguchi, who I learned of via his TJPW counterpart as Saki-sama’s deranged doctor associate, Yukio San Laurent. Even within the same Wrestle Universe, I love that wrestlers have separate personas for each company they work in.

It goes without saying that the team from GanPro are the underdogs in this match, fighting their hardest to prove to everyone they deserve a spot in the ring just like everyone else on the card. A large melee ensues with everyone attacking everyone else. GP fight exceptionally hard and does their best, but in the end, Sakaguchi submits Watase with a nasty sleeper hold.

Watase Asks for a rematch, dramatically cutting his hair, in resolve. Manase & Ohka pull him away from the ring. Watase later appears at the finale of the show, having shaved all his hair off.

NOAH vs DDT Competitive Match (1/20): Kinya Okada & Kai Fujimura (NOAH) defeated Toi Kojima & Yuya Koroku (DDT) (11:45)

Young and hungry best sums up this match-up. This is a very clean, cut & dry wrestling match between the two teams. The futures of both companies are very bright with these young men in their ranks.  

I genuinely thought this match would go to a time-limit draw. Kinya Okada is going to be a star, and not just because he reminds of me Kaito Kiyomiya.

Sidebar: While the corner turnbuckle camera is great for posing and the occasional attack in the corner, the bouncing of it any time someone bangs into the turnbuckle is nauseating. It also provides some rather… awkward camera angles. 

TJPW 6-Woman TagMatch (1/20): Miyu Yamashita & Maki Itoh & Julia Nagano defeated Hikari Noa & Suzume & Yuki Arai (SKE48) (10:54)

Fresh off their jaunt to the US, Yamashita and Itoh team up once again to wind the crowd up for CyberFight Fest. Teaming with Julia Nagano, who had yet to score a win since her debut earlier this year at Grand Princess ‘22, they squared off with Hikari Noa, Suzume, and Yuki Arai. Arai previously challenged Itoh for the International Princess Championship but came up empty-handed at Grand Princess ‘22. 

Miyu Yamashita closes the book on Suzume with a terrifying beautiful kick, that transitioned into a pinning combination. Juria Nagano gets her first professional wrestling win as a result of tagging with Itoh/Yamashita. This makes me wonder if Nagano might be poised to start a rivalry against SKE48’s Yuki Arai, as two entertainers turned wrestlers.  Suzume already has plans to tag with Gatoh Move’s Mei Suruga at Summer Sun Princess against a pair of unknown opponents, so I wonder if a Princess Tag Title Challenge could be on the horizon for them!

At some point, Miyu Yamashita is going to cash in her victory over Maki Itoh at Roseland 3, in Portland, Oregon from the end of May. Could she eventually add the International Princess to her long list of accolades?

Also, Hey, Nivea, could I also receive TEN YEARS worth of free skin care products?! I mean money is great, but looking refreshed and hydrated also helps, too!!

DDT 8-Person Tag Match (1/30): Pheromones (Yuki “Sexy” Iino, Danshoku “Dandy” Dieno, Yumehito “Fantastic” Imanari, and Akito) defeated Sanshiro Takagi, Kendo Kashin, Shinya Aoki, and Yumiko Hotta (13:21)

The comedy in this match is a little too raunchy for me and wasn’t something I watched closely. I know that many people enjoy this aspect of DDT, but for me, it’s the main reason I’ve stayed away from the promotion. If you are watching this show with children, I would recommend skipping this match, as it gets rather uncomfortable. Thirteen minutes was a little too much for me. While I do enjoy comedy wrestling, Sanshiro Takagi versus Hyper Misao at GRAND PRINCESS ‘22 is more my speed.

Princess of Princess Number 1 Contender Qualifier (1/30): Rika Tatsumi defeated Mizuki, Yuki Kamifuku, and Miu Watanabe (9:37)

This was a short, but bittersweet 4-way match as when it came to the finish of the match, pitting the 2022 Futari no Princess Max Heart Tag Winners against one another, really hurt my heart a bit. Miu’s strength, especially with that double big swing was a lot to process this morning!

Personally, I feel like going with the only person who is a previous Princess of Princess Champion in Tatsumi was an overly cautious choice. Mizuki is currently half of the Princess Tag Champions (with Yuka Sakazaki) and KamiYu is a former International Princess Champion. The one who could have benefitted the most from the championship opportunity was Miu Watanabe, and I was a bit gutted that she lost in her home prefecture of Saitama to her own tag team partner in Tatsumi. 

Watanabe & Tatsumi did win the Futari no Princess Max Heart earlier this year, which lead to them challenging Magical Sugar Rabbits (Sakazaki/Mizuki) for the tag titles, so I do hope this means that Watanabe could possibly be one of the wrestlers poised to have an outstanding Princess Cup Tournament later in the summer.

Tatsumi will challenge for the Princess of Princess Championship at the Tokyo Joshi Pro-Wrestling Ota Ward Gymnasium on July 9.

NOAH 10-Man Tag Match (1/30): Timothy Thatcher, Simon Gotch, Rene Dupree, Hijo de Doctor Wagner Jr., and Elgin defeated Takashi Sugiura, Kazuyuki Fujita, Masa Kitamiya, Daiki Inaba, and Shuhei Taniguchi (14:01)

I really love seeing Thatcher and Gotch tearing it up in NOAH. Give me more of them clashing with Sugiura, Kitamiya, Inaba and Taniguchi. I’m still new to Dupree and Hijo de Doctor Wagner, Jr., but I am enjoying what they are doing in NOAH as well. They’ve been part of the big return of foreign wrestlers into NOAH push as well, and I am glad to see them succeed. 

As someone who started watching Shuhei Taniguchi in NOAH during his King Tany phase, it was refreshing to see him choosing to start back at zero in the black trunks. I also like the grit and power that Kitamiya and Inaba bring, although they were on the losing side today. I’m still waiting for Sugiura to get his smile back. Can someone send KENTA over to visit NOAH before the G1. I need some shenanigans to raise his spirits.

“I believe our match at CyberFight Festival is the best way to truly experience what DDT has to offer. We will showcase the wide range of wrestling in DDT. It will be bright, fun, fierce, and hard-hitting, too!” 

Naomi Yoshimura (from pre-CFFes Interview on DDT 8-Person Tag Match)

As our match is solely DDT wrestlers, we can truly highlight the very best of DDT and prove who is the cream of the crop in our company. I can guarantee you’re going to want to keep your eyes on everyone in this match because everyone wants to win.” 

Yuki Ueno (from the same interview above)

DDT 8-Person Tag Match (1/30): DISASTER BOX (HARASHIMA/Naomi Yoshimura) & Calamari Drunken Kings (Chris Brookes/Masahiro Takanashi) defeated The 37KAMIINA  (Yuki Ueno, Shunma Katsumata & MAO) & ASUKA (14:29)

Sometimes all it takes is one match to completely shift my mindset on a promotion. I’ve been a fan of Chris Brookes and ASUKA for some time, and I’ve really enjoyed what they’ve brought to the Japanese wrestling scene in recent years. However, I’ve also been very hesitant to commit to watching their shows with any sort of frequency (to the great chagrin of all my friends who swear by DDT). With fellow 37KAMIINA member (and former KOD Openweight Champion), Konosuke Takeshita catching fire on AEW and the US independent circuit at the moment, my curiosity was genuinely piqued when this match was announced. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this match. This is the sort of wrestling from DDT that is way more in my comfort zone and wheelhouse. There was the perfect storm of technique, speed, high flying, and yes– even comedy. While there is the occasional expletive exchange, it wasn’t much different from what I tend to see in wrestling matches from other companies. I think this is why a cross-branded show like this is so crucial because it doesn’t only afford the opportunities for the promotions to put their best foot forward, but also provide an opportunity to hook and reel in new fans. 

I would say this is where I apologize to DDT for being late to the party as I sprint after the bandwagon, but I think I needed the right invitation to ball as it were. The match showcased everyone, including Mr. DDT himself, with HARASHIMA securing the win for his time. Better late to the party than ever, right?

NOAH 6-Man Tag Match (1/45): Rob Van Dam & Yoshinari Ogawa & HAYATA defeated Kaito Kiyomiya & Daisuke Harada & YO-HEY (12:03)

I am trying to figure out if I am behind on NOAH or if the big match gear Fashion Runway started with this match. Between HAYATA, YO-HEY, and Daisuki Harada stepping up their costuming game, I am wondering if Kaito Kiyomiya dropped those top-tier tailor details because nearly everyone looked absolutely on point. Honestly, Harada looks like he could replace the vacancy left by Momo Watanabe in Queen’s Quest.   

Also, I am convinced that RVD is either aging in reverse or he’s become a Twilight vampire because he looked to be in great condition. While some of his signature moves were a little slower than I remember, they still connected and looked crisp. I’m not going to begrudge him for schooling Kiyomiya all over the arena, but that monkey flip sent the Supernova sky high! I also hate draping railing spots, but again, I don’t think Kiyomiya would have agreed if he weren’t comfortable or wanted to live his childhood dreams. 

This would be the *insert ‘You’ve Still Got’ and ‘You never lost it’ chants here* portion of the card because RVD is 52 years old and moves like guys half his age. I think he’ll be a nice part-time addition to NOAH. RVD wins by pinning Harada.

Update: Rob Van Dam Announces Return to NOAH in July

There was a dance troupe performance by the CyberJapan Dancers, who had a choreographed routine to a mashup of wrestling entrance themes. This gave me more of an MMA/Boxing or racing sports feeling with the team of sexy dancers, but they would be only a prelude to the over-the-top entrances and dance routines accompanying the upper card. Though when they got to Marufuji’s Theme, I got optimistic that he might pop out for a wave to the crowd. 

NOAH/DDT Match (1/45): Katsuhiko Nakajima & Atsushi Kotoge & Yoshiki Inamura defeated Tetsuya Endo & Jun Akiyama & Kazusada Higuchi (6:20) via Referee Stoppage 

The build-up for this match was intense. With the last-minute substitution of KONGO’s Katsuhiko Nakajima for Naomichi Marufuji, and the motivational slap that nearly sent Kotoge’s soul into another plan of existence, expectations were undeniably high for this battle between NOAH & DDT. The warring factions, big battle entrances were intense with NOAH having taiko drummers and feudal Japan-style flag bearers while DDT has a western-style drill team!

While Akiyama, Kotoge, Higuchi, and Inamura all tag in and out of the ring after short engagements, the central focus of the match quickly becomes that between Nakajima and Endo. Nakajima gets a couple of kicks in because Endo backs him into the ropes, where he takes several strikes, testing the limit of the rope break rule. They trade kicks and Endo gets some more offense in before Nakajima clips Endo across the face with a slap that knocked him down to the mat. Endo’s head bounces off the mat, and as Nakajima goes for a characteristically cocky cover, by placing his toes on Endo’s chest, Akiyama stalks up to him in the ring. 

However, this match would quickly be cut short as while Akiyama has Nakajima distracted, the referee stops the match, calling for the bell. Backing Nakajima toward the ropes, the camera stays close to their exchange, while staff tended to Endo out of shot. With the recent injury of Shinjiro Otani, I can’t help but feel the additional pressure added to the stress of this match, especially for Nakajima. His usual sly arrogance evaporated quickly, and he looked like he was simply trying to maintain his composure for the sake of everyone involved.

Thankfully, Endo came to and walked to the back with an escort, while the NOAH team had their hands raised, but everyone looked like they just wanted to get to the back as quickly as possible. Accidents happen, and while this was a rather unfortunate one, it was one that I hope fans and wrestlers don’t blame or judge Nakajima too harshly for. His expression as he left the ring reminded me of Sugiura’s after the Ohtani accident, pure devastation. 

Update: Tetsuya Endo Suffers Concussion

NOAH/DDT Hard Core/No DQ Match (No Time Limit): KENOH (NOAH) defeated Daisuke Sasaki (DDT) via (21:28)

As I said in the spoiler-free synopsis, the entrances were worth the price of admission alone. Sasaki rolled in with all of DAMNATION, a graveyard/funeral procession-themed entrance, a danced dressed as KENOH to strop over, dancing zombies and carrying a cross with KENOH’s name on it. KENOH rocked out with a live performance of his entrance song (“Shitsuren (Heartbreak) Mosh” by Garlic Boys… and an army of RBG LED robot dancers! …MY STARS his new costume… my heart wasn’t ready for it! With two giant red lion heads for lapels and blown-back, Super Seiyan-Tier Hair, KENOH must have unlocked a new hero upgrade when Sasaki tased him with the cattle prod. Truly the top look of the night (yes, yes he even outclassed Go Shiozaki’s princely upgrade). From head to toe, this

Sasaki started with the shenanigans early, putting a makeshift Gundam pilot helmet on KENOH. His hair didn’t fall at all, so I need to know what hairspray of deal with the Devil KENOH made. KENOH would launch Yoshihiko (the infamous blowup doll wrestler) clear over the timekeeper’s table and to at least the third row. Chairs and those blasted office tables (this one even came with a previous indentation of someone’s head on it), and a lovely DIY coffin filled with hundreds of thumbtacks. Aside from a bloody lip from KENOHand Sasaki’s back looking like an elementary school hallway bulletin board, there was very minimal color in this match. 

I want every single promotion in Japan to take note of the use of those flimsy ladders in this match. The moment one showed up in this match, my PTSD from Tanahashi/KENTA from Wrestle Kingdom 16 came back with a vengeance. The ladder went up and a second from the ringside dove in and stabilized the base. The visual be damned– this is what needed to be done. Later, nearly ALL of KONGO would pile in the corner to secure the ladder in place for KENOH’s massive Professional Foot Stomp from the top of the ladder, sending Sasaki to the depths. I hope everyone takes notes for future matches, also consider slightly shorter ladders when applicable.  

I would love to give my personal regards to Masakatsu Funaki for taking up the mantle of the member of KONGO to ride into the match melee on a bicycle. Even though he ended up running over Manabu Soya with it, that image certainly was not on my CyberFight Festival 2022 Bingo Card. The eruption between DAMNATION and KONGO was perfectly timed and didn’t overstay it’s welcome either. It was just enough chaos for this match. 

Update: Keiji Muto Announces Retirement in Spring 2023. Prior to the last two matches, Muto addressed the Wrestle Universe. He walked down to the ring with a smile and a spring in his step, he kept his remarks brief: “I’ll retire in the spring of 2023. I’ll have five remaining matches.” 

“What is interesting about my match with Shoko Nakajima is that she went from being my tag partner to becoming my eternal rival. We know each other so well, so we have the chance to showcase our speed, technique, and defense… and have a blast the entire time! I’m also looking forward to the TJPW Women’s Four-Way Battle because it’s a high-profile match that will determine the next [Princess of Princess Challenger at Summer Sun Princess on July 9th.]”

– Yuka Sakazaki (from pre-CFFes Interview)

Princess of Princess Championship: Shoko Nakajima © defeated Yuka Sakazaki (14:57)

I simply cannot get enough of Shoko Nakajima and Yuka Sakazaki. The only issue I have is with their entrances.  is that they dangerously toe the line between cultural appreciation and appropriation, especially with Nakajima’s sexy dancers (and I am not talking about the T-Rexes). I did like Shoko having the Goldberg-esque, champion’s entrance with a girl gang (minus their costumes). 

As Sakazaki mentioned in her interview, she and Nakajima truly put everything they’ve experienced together since their careers started in TJPW into this match. Much like Sakazaki’s challenge against Yamashita at last year’s CFF, they are two of the top in TJPW and it shows. Neither one holds back against the other, and they fight all over the inside and outside of the ring, providing a clear case for why they’ve been making waves across the Pacific with their drop-ins at AEW. 

After a match packed with tope suicidas, 619s, all sorts of submissions and brainbusters, and seemingly an answer for every single question, Shoko finally puts Yuka away with a diving senton into a pin. As I’ve mentioned in the match of the week recommendations over the last two weeks, I’m glad they’ve been bringing eyes to TJPW, and I hope they keep gaining momentum. With the victory, this becomes the 10th champion’s third successful defense. Nakajima’s fourth defense will be against Rika Tatsumi at Summer Sun Princess (details below). 

Next Up for TJPW: Summer Sun Princess (July 9th; Ota Ward Gymnasium) #tjpwSSP22

  • Tag Match: Suzume/Mei Sugura (Gatoh Move) vs. TBA
  • International Princess Championship: Maki Itoh © vs. TBA International Guest Wrestler
  • Princess of Princess Championship: Shoko Nakajima © vs. Rika Tatsumi
  • Announced Talent: Hikaru Shida, Riho, Aja Kong, Yuki Arai (SKE48), Juria Nagano
  • Other matches To Be Announced soon…

“I am honored to participate in this year’s CyberFight Festival as GHC heavyweight champion and honored to be in the main event as champion. I feel great, and I feel responsible at the same time. I am absolutely the 38th GHC heavyweight champion, and I believe this is a great opportunity for me to show that “I AM NOAH” to the world.” – Go Shiozaki (pre-CFF Interview)

GHC Heavyweight Championship (1/60): Satoshi Kojima defeated Go Shiozaki © (21:11)

The lead-up to this match was one of the friendlier and cordial ones I can really think of among any promotion. Both Kojima and Shiozaki were determined to put on a match that would resonate with the fans, but also honor the legacy of the GHC Championship. The comments at the press conferences were full of determination, resolution, and hope. In promotion of the main event, they did several PR videos including a lariat vs. lariat training diary, Kojima walking his two longhair chihuahuas, Shiozaki admitting he has a cat allergy, but enjoying time at a cat cafe, and a best of three karaoke challenge where Kojima shut down Shiozaki three times! This genuinely might have one of the more wholesome stand-offs for a top title that I’ve ever watched. 

Their matches also had dancing routines, which like the several matches beforehand, really made it feel like a WrestleMania or Wrestle Kingdom, but they were just long enough that they didn’t overstay their welcomes either. Kojima entered first to the show’s main event. However, this didn’t feel much different from his opening 6-man tag at NJPW x NOAH at Yokohama Arena back in January, where he opened the main card with Tenzan and Nagata against The Funky Express. It always feels that regardless of where Kojima is on a match card, he treats every match with the same respect and intensity. 

Then Mister I AM NOAH, The Emerald Prince himself, Go Shiozaki strolled in… with a lush train that would make June brides around the world turn equally green in envy complete with TWO escorts to help arrange it, and seamlessly detach it before he entered the ring. Move over Cinderella because THIS is how one should arrive at the gala! While I have been a huge fan of his cape flourish, he upgraded with lots of gold braiding, silver accents, and lace?! 

The moments prior to the start of the match, they were both focused, but the air didn’t have any tension in it. The match itself was hard-hitting, chops galore, and both Shiozaki and Kojima emptying out their entire arsenals in order to get the upper hand in the match. The match felt consistently balanced with neither competitor looking the least bit weak during it. With the entire match lasting just over twenty minutes, there was no wasted time or movement. Everything was intentional with an exceptionally high level of mutual respect and sportsmanship. 

As a fan of both Shiozaki and Kojima, I found myself being equally invested in each of them as champion. I would have been happy if Shiozaki retained, but I was also happy that Kojima won. As someone who started regularly Japanese wrestling in the summer of 2017, I’ve never seen Kojima hold a championship. I’ve seen Shiozaki’s multiple GHC Championship runs as well as his GHC Tag run with Katsuhiko Nakajimas AXIZ. Although Shiozaki just reclaimed the GHC Championship after returning from his injury, his loss to Kojima after such a good, sportsman match, doesn’t make him look weak at all. Conversely, I think he understood the assignment as it where with helping cement Kojima in the history of Japanese wrestling with helping him close the loop on the Grand Slam. 

This was Shiozaki’s first defense as the 38th Champion (out of his five reigns). He’s never lost the GHC Championship on a first defense prior to tonight. However, this particular reign started after he and Kiyomiya fought for the vacated title by Fujita. In this instance, given what it meant historically for the company and Kojima, Shiozaki doesn’t look the least bit weak, especially after the barnburner of a match they had. 

Update: Satoshi Kojima Defeats Go Shiozaki, Becomes Grand Slam Champion

Upcoming Shows/Tournaments

  • DDT: King of DDT Tournament (6/16-7/2) – 3 dates
  • NOAH: N1 INNOVATION (6/23) – NOAH Juniors Showcase
  • TJPW: Summer Sun Princess (7/9) – S. Nakajima © vs. R. Tatsumi
  • Ganbare Pro: Wrestle Sekigahara (7/11) – Manase v. Unagi (Stardom)
  • TJPW: Tokyo Princess Cup Tournament (7/15-8/13) – 7 dates
  • NOAH: Destination 2022 (7/16) – Nippon Budokan; Kojima © v. KENOH
  • NOAH: N-1 VICTORY 2022 Tournament (8/11-9/3) – 9 dates
  • DDT: Wrestle Peter Pan (8/20)

Keep an eye out for my Summer Sun Princess coverage on July 9th!

About Karen Peterson 103 Articles
Occasionally drops by wrestling podcasts, but remains rather elusive. Joined the Japanese wrestling fan scene in summer 2017, and continues to work on bridging the language gap between fans. Outside of wrestling, she’s a dog mom, perpetual Japanese learner, and when conditions permit, world traveler. Never skips dessert.