POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE: Nakamura vs. Muta reaction, First Raw of 2023

Photo Courtesy: Pro Wrestling NOAH

POST IT NOTES

**POST Wrestling’s BEST and WORST of 2022 Show is now available with the panel of John Pollock, Wai Ting, Braden Herrington & Davie Portman making their selections in the following categories:

BEST WRESTLER (Female)
BEST TAG TEAM
BEST WRESTLER (Male)
BEST FEUD
WORST FEUD
BEST NON-WRESTLING MEDIA
MOST IMPROVED
BIGGEST SETBACK
BEST ON THE MIC
WORST ON THE MIC
BEST CHARACTER
WORST CHARACTER
BEST WEEKLY TV SHOW
BEST PPV
WORST PPV
BEST PROMOTION
WORST PROMOTION
MATCH OF THE YEAR
WORST MATCH OF THE YEAR
BIGGEST STORY OF THE YEAR

The show features many in-depth chats about the biggest stories of the year, the good & the bad from the past year, and a reflection on your choices from last year’s show. Plus, we play “Likely or Unlikely” for the upcoming year and look at the predictions we made for 2022.

**Rewind-A-Raw is live tonight at 11 p.m. ET with a live stream on the POST YouTube channel. Wai Ting and I will discuss the first WWE show of the year, NOAH’s card from Nippon Budokan with Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Great Muta, the Bellator x RIZIN event from Saitama Super Arena, and a preview of Wrestle Kingdom 17. Tune in tonight and leave your feedback in the POST Wrestling Forum.

**Karen Peterson has reviews of STARDOM’s Dream Queendom II event and NOAH: The New Year. Karen also has her Year in Review edition of Dream Slam Weekly.

**The schedule this week includes a Wrestle Kingdom 17 POST Show on the POST Wrestling Café, which we will record immediately after the Tokyo Dome show early Wednesday morning. We’ll be back Wednesday night for Rewind-A-Dynamite following the show from Seattle, and Thursday afternoon will be a free show with WH Park & I reviewing the New Year Dash event at Ota Ward Gymnasium. On Friday, Rewind-A-SmackDown will start at Midnight ET due to Battle of the Belts.

POST SCHEDULE

Tonight: Rewind-A-Raw with John Pollock & Wai Ting (11 p.m. ET)
Tuesday: upNXT with Davie Portman & Braden Herrington
Wednesday: Wrestle Kingdom 17 POST Show (Patreon)
Wednesday: Rewind-A-Dynamite
Thursday: New Year Dash POST Show with John Pollock & WH Park
Friday: Rewind-A-SmackDown – Midnight ET (Patreon)
Sunday: Wrestlenomics Radio

WRESTLING NEWS

**WWE kicks off its year with Raw taking place from the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee with Bianca Belair defending the Raw Women’s Championship against Alexa Bliss and Austin Theory defending the U.S. Championship against Seth Rollins. There are nearly 8,200 tickets out for tonight’s show, per WrestleTix, so it’s a strong start to the year and coming off one of its biggest weeks of the year with the holiday week house shows.

**It’s the final Monday Night Football game of the season with the Buffalo Bills taking on the Cincinnati Bengals tonight against Raw. Next Monday is the College Football National Championship game between Georgia and TCU, so Raw will have no football competition beginning on 1/16.

**New Japan will hold a Wrestle Kingdom 17 press conference late tonight at 1 a.m. ET on New Japan World.

**Thursday’s episode of IMPACT Wrestling averaged 89,000 viewers and 0.01 in the 18-49 demographic, ranking #136 among cable originals that night. It was a “Best of” edition along with the year-end awards being handed out. (Showbuzz Daily)

**Pro Wrestling NOAH drew a great crowd on Sunday for its return to Nippon Budokan and with 9,500 being reported as the attendance. Shinsuke Nakamura defeated The Great Muta in the main event (going on last rather than the GHC heavyweight title match) after sucking the mist out of Muta and winning with the Kinshasa. It was noted how Will Ospreay did the same finish with BUSHI in 2019. While the match was simple, it felt electric and Nakamura was a superstar in this setting from a phenomenal entrance and being treated like a legend himself. Nakamura’s entrance featured Lee England Jr. playing the violin and was every bit as memorable as some of his past appearances with Nakamura. After the match, Nakamura called Muta his idol and the two departed the arena with their arms around each other. There was an ugly part of the post-match where Muta appeared backstage in front of the reporters and used homophobic language to describe Nakamura and the finish where he sucked the mist from his mouth. NOAH included the comments on its social platforms and there is no way that should have happened, but they did remove it. When I first heard the comments, I thought there would be a major backlash and while it was criticized online, it was far less than you would imagine given the words he chose to use. Keiji Muto returns in a six-man tag at Wrestle Kingdom 17 with Hiroshi Tanahashi & Shota Umino against Tetsuya Naito, SANADA & BUSHI followed by NOAH’s card at Yokohama Arena on 1/22 where he teams with Sting & Darby Allin, and his retirement match on 2/21 at the Tokyo Dome.

**Kaito Kiyomiya retained the GHC heavyweight title against Kenou in an outstanding match on the NOAH show, which went on second-to-last. While there will be some that argue about the match order, Nakamura vs. Muta was the main event and the reason for the larger audience, and didn’t have an issue with the order. This match was terrific with Kiyomiya winning with the Shining Wizard that he adopted after beating Muto last year. In other news, Jake Lee arrived after leaving All Japan and has aligned with Jack Morris with Lee set to wrestle on 1/8 against Yoshiki Inamura at Korakuen Hall. Hiroshi Hase appeared as the mystery partner teaming with Kazuyuki Fujita, NOSAWA Rongai & Kendo Kashin to defeat Masakatsu Funaki, Manabu Soya, Katsuhiko Nakajima & Hajime Ohara. At 61 years old, Hase looked outstanding and was one of the standouts on the show given his age and abilities along with the reception he received as a surprise that more than lived up to the hype. I also want to note that 25-year-old Junta Miyawaki is going to be something special. He just returned from Mexico and challenged AMAKUSA for the Jr. Heavyweight Championship with the champion retaining. Miyawaki has all the tools, a great look, and youth on his side and would be on my shortlist of young talents in NOAH to keep an eye on with the potential for a big year after returning.

**All Japan Pro Wrestling is strapping a rocket behind Takuya Nomura in advance of his Triple Crown challenge tonight at Korakuen Hall. After winning the World’s Strongest Tag Determination League last month, Nomura & Miyahara won the tag titles on today’s show from Suwama & KONO. In the very next match, Nomura came back to win the annual battle royal to kick off the year and sets up his title match against Miyahara on Tuesday (streaming tonight at 9:30 p.m. ET in North America). The 29-year-old Nomura wrestled three times that day as he also did the Big Japan show at Korakuen Hall later in the day where he teamed with Fuminori Abe & Daisuke Sekimoto and beat Daimonji So, Hiroyuki Suzuki & Takuho Kato.

Below is the full card streaming at 9:30 p.m. ET tonight:
*Triple Crown: Kento Miyahara (champion) vs. Takuya Nomura
*All Asia Tag Team Championship: Takao Omori & Masao Inoue (champions) vs. NOSAWA Rongai & Kendo Kashin
*Shuji Ishikawa & Yuma Aoyagi vs. Minoru Suzuki & X
*Atsuki Aoyagi, Hokuto Omori & Rising HAYATO vs. Dan Tamura, Ryo Inoue & Hikaru Sato
*Naoya Nomura vs. Ryuki Honda
*Yoshitatsu, Yuji Nagata & Yuma Anzai vs. Suwama, Jun Saito & Rei Saito
*Black Menso-re & Mitsuya Nagai vs. Yusuke Kodama & Masao Hanabata

Miyahara vs. Nomura is the big match on tonight’s card, which streams on the AJPW.tv service and will be their third singles match. Miyahara is 2-0 with previous wins on August 31, 2016, and April 13, 2022.  

**Colby Corino announced on Tuesday that he is officially a free agent after wrestling for the NWA since 2019. In November, Corino lost to Davey Richards at the Hard Times 3 event in a match for the MLW Openweight title and the next day lost to Kerry Morton in an NWA Jr. Heavyweight title match for NWA USA. Corino last wrestled on 12/18 in an I Quit Match against Matt Tremont in New Jersey.

**STARDOM begins its Triangle Derby tournament on Tuesday with a card at Yokohama Budokan and will be available on Stardom World. The following Triangle Derby matches are set to take place:
*Giulia, Mai Sakurai & Thekla vs. Ram Kaichow, Maya Yukihi & Maika Ozaki
*Utami Hayashishita, Saya Kamitani & AZM vs. Syuri, MIRAI & Ami Sohrei
*Tam Nakano, SAKI & Natsupoi vs. Maika, Himeka & Lady C
*Nanae Takahashi, Yuu & Yuna Mizumori vs. Hazuki, Koguma & Saya Iida
*Mayu Iwatanil, Hanan & Momo Kohgo vs. Natsuko Tora, Momo Watanabe & Saki Kashima
*Starlight Kid, Ruaka & Haruka Umesaki vs. Suzu Suzuki, Risa Sera & Karumi Hiragi
*Mina Shirakawa, Xia Brookside & Mariah May vs. Waka Tsukiyama, Rina Amikura & Yuko Sakurai
*Non-Tournament: Rina vs. Hina vs. Miyu Amasaki

**STARDOM World has added the Dream Queendom II event from 12/29, which is a highly recommend show, especially for the main event between Syuri and Giulia, which was one of the best of 2022.

**Mike Pappas, who died on Saturday at the age of 81 had two matches at Madison Square Garden, according to records. He made his debut at The Garden on June 21, 1971, teaming with Akim Manuka and losing to Al Costello & Don Kent on a show headlined by Pedro Morales against Crazy Luke Graham for the WWWF title that drew 17,000 fans. Pappas’ second and last match at the venue was Nov. 12, 1972, where he lost to Dick Slater underneath Pedro Morales vs. Larry Hennig in front of 16,148. (Wrestling in the Garden by Scott Teal & J. Michael Kenyon)

**The lineup for NXT on Tuesday night on the USA Network will feature the following for their first live show in three weeks:
*Extreme Resolution Match: Isla Dawn vs. Alba Fyre
*Apollo Crews vs. Carmelo Hayes
*Axiom vs. Trick Williams
*Hank Walker vs. Charlie Dempsey

**Keenan Cahill, who became known for lip-syncing to popular songs on YouTube, died several days at the age of 27. Cahill was diagnosed with Maroteaux-Lamy syndrome when he was one and had just had open heart surgery in December. In 2011, he performed The Miz’s theme song with the wrestler and generated 2.8 million views on Cahill’s channel.

MMA NEWS

**Bellator and RIZIN held their New Year’s Eve card at the Saitama Super Arena with the main card featuring five inter-promotional fights including two fights involving the promotion’s champions. While it was promotion versus promotion, this was a RIZIN card with its rule set and they ran the show. We have not heard what the attendance figure was, but Saitama Super Arena can be configured based on the size and on the broadcast, they shot it well for the fans that were in attendance. The opening of the main card included the traditional roll call of fighters while playing the PRIDE theme and was nostalgic and very cool to watch. You could see for many of the American fighters, this was a dream come true with Juan Archuleta and A.J. McKee stating as much after their wins and watching the famous New Year’s Eve cards that PRIDE produced on Fuji TV in the glory period. Bellator won all five main card fights with each one going the distance, but the fights were fairly entertaining, especially McKee’s fight with Roberto de Souza where McKee adapted very well to the RIZIN rules that allowed soccer kicks and kicks to a downed opponent. These rules will likely never be adopted in the U.S. and you can make a strong argument against soccer kicks but there is an audience for them like blood usage in pro wrestling. Below are the results:
*A.J. McKee def. Roberto de Souza by unanimous decision – McKee looked tremendous by taking a lot of risks and adapting well to the different rule sets. McKee won all three rounds and stood out the most among the Bellator fighters.
*Patricio “Pitbull” Freire def. Kleber Koike Erbst by unanimous decision – Koike made it competitive at points with his stand-up but Pitbull was never in danger and did enough to win the rounds. Koike has an entertaining striking game but fought a superior fighter.
*Kyoji Horiguchi def. Hiromasa Ougikubo by unanimous decision – they had previously fought in 2013 and 2018 with Horiguchi using his wrestling and overall stronger game to win for the third time
*Juan Archuleta def. Soo Chul Kim by split decision – Kim threatened with several chokes and calf kicks and won a round on the judges’ cards but Archuleta did well striking early and once he was getting hit, moved to his wrestling.
*Gadzki Rabadanov def. Koji Takeda by unanimous decision – Rabadonov nearly ended this fight in the first round by dropping Takeda and initiating ground-and-pound but Takeda survived the round. Takeda was refreshed in the second round and Rabadanov was tired, so you could have it one round each going to the third. The final round was close but Rabadanov did enough to secure the fight.

**The card ended with Nobuhiko Takada in the ring with Bellator and RIZIN officials and led the crowd in an “Ichi, Ni, San, Da” chant in honor of the late Antonio Inoki. I would imagine this is how Wrestle Kingdom will end on Wednesday given the show is being done in Inoki’s honor and seems like the storybook ending to the event with Kazuchika Okada leading the chant.

**UFC-ranked lightweight Damir Ismagulov (24-2) surprised a lot of people on Sunday by announcing his retirement from the sport. In the translation of his Instagram post, the fighter cited “health problems” leading to the end of his sports career.

Unfortunately, due to circumstances and health problems, I am forced to end my sports career. Thanks to all those who were with me regardless of the outcome in the battles, who were sincerely sick and worried. It was an interesting journey, a moment to remember. Gave everyone a hug

MMA Fighting noted that it contacted the management team for Ismagulov, who were not made aware ahead of time and were trying to confirm with their fighter if the news was true. The 31-year-old made his pro debut in 2014 and joined M-1 Challenge and won their lightweight title before signing with the UFC in 2018. In the UFC, Ismagulov has gone 5-1 and is coming off a decision loss to Arman Tsarukyan last month, which was his first loss in seven years. He is currently ranked #12 in the UFC’s lightweight rankings.

ON THIS DATE

Andre the Giant attacks Hulk Hogan on Saturday Night’s Main Event, which aired on this date in 1988 and was taped on month prior. The NBC special included a rematch from WrestleMania 2 where Hogan defeated King Kong Bundy:

Chris Jericho returns to WWE Raw on its first episode of 2012:

*****
POST’s Best & Worst of 2022
John Pollock & Wai Ting are joined by Poisonrana’s Braden Herrington & Davie Portman to discuss the many pro wrestling highlights and lowlights of the past year in our Best & Worst of 2022 Show.
*****
Year-End Wrestlenomics
Brandon Thurston, Jesse Collings, and Chris Gullo discuss the year of 2022 with a deep analysis of annual trends in TV ratings, quarter-hours, attendance, match ratings, event ratings, and more.
*****
REWIND-A-SMACKDOWN

John Pollock & Wai Ting discuss the passing of Don West, Braden & Davie chat WWE show in Toronto, and Karen Peterson covers Stardom.
*****
POST Wrestling’s 5-Year Anniversary Show
Join John Pollock, Wai Ting, Braden Herrington, Davie Portman and members of the international POST Wrestling family for our live 5-Year Anniversary Show from QXT’s Night Club in Newark, NJ.
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POST PURORESU
It’s the last episode of POST Puroresu for 2022! Joining WH Park to review the year in Japan is the creative force behind Dream Slam Weekly, Karen Peterson.
*****
THE POST WRESTLING CHRISTMAS SHOW 2022
Many surprise guests stop by the POST Office to chat with John Pollock and Wai Ting for the annual POST Wrestling Christmas Show! Plus, the POST Christmas Jingle Contest!
*****

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About John Pollock 5646 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.