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  1. The Canadian Blondes (Flash Savage & Ozzie Goldstein) vs. Young & Wasted (Bret Kyle & Taylor Norton) Fearless Blue vs. Keith Vegas Gareth Wayne & Henry Bennett vs. Hammer Hadley & James Diaz Conner Threepwood vs. Ray Snow
  2. ■ SGM OWNER ANNOUNCES DEPARTURE OF TOP GAIJIN | MARKETABLE TALENTS SPARK FIERCE BIDDING Super Grand Melee owner Motoichi Arakida, in a press conference in Sendai, announced the impending separation of Burt Hudson and Bam Bam Bundy after three years of collaboration. Both men have caught the eye of US market leaders, who have recently engaged in a bidding war for the talents behind the scenes. It is now confirmed that Bundy will join the Supreme Wrestling Federation, while Hudson is drawn to Total Championship Wrestling. Both men are graduates of the TITAN Factory and were brokered to SGM for the company launch by Dread. They recently formed the focal point of the gaijin group Kurofune and achieved numerous accolades. Due to their moderate behavior and excellent work in the ring, they temporarily enjoyed similar popularity ratings with the Japanese audience as native wrestlers. Arakida thanked both and wished them well on their future endeavors. ■ LEGENDARY KOSHIRO INO'S REMARKABLE RECOVERY | FROM CAREER-ENDING INJURY TO PUBLIC REAPPEARANCE Over a year ago, the legendary Koshiro Ino (renowned for his stints at Burning Hammer Of The Wrestling Gods and Total Championship Wrestling, esteemed as one of the greatest Japanese heavyweights of all time) suffered a horrific injury at BHOTWG's INFERNO OF PURITY, after Tadakuni Toshusai awkwardly dropped him on his neck with a Brainbuster. It quickly became apparent that "The Cobra" would never be able to step into the ring again. At times, it wasn't even clear if he would ever regain feeling from the neck down. After a veritable odyssey of rehabilitation measures, Ino was discharged from the hospital two months ago. At a press conference by Super Grand Melee, he appeared in public for the first time since then. Ino is now able to move around with a wheelchair. The feeling in his arms and upper body has largely returned. Brief periods of standing on both legs with the help of crutches are also possible for him. Ino looked very slim by his standards but appeared recovered and content. Motoichi Arakida announced that he would be available to SGM part-time as an agent and consultant. A role as a commentator is also conceivable. The entire company is pleased to welcome a legend like Ino and to benefit from his extensive experience and broad knowledge. In turn, Ino was humble, thanking for the opportunity to work behind the scenes at SGM and to be able to work again in the industry he loves above all else. ■ BATTLE SAKATA ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT PLANS | VETERAN WRESTLER BIDS FAREWELL TO THE RING Furthermore, there was an announcement from Battle Sakata. The 46-year-old veteran revealed that he plans to retire from active competition. After almost 30 years in the ring and many hardcore battles, his body simply cannot keep up as he would like. He had extensive discussions with Motoichi Arakida, who tried to dissuade him from retirement, but it is time for him to draw a line and leave the field to the younger generation. This also means that Hiroshi Morisue will have to cope without him for the first time in his career. The location and time of the retirement match are not yet determined, but Sakata estimated a period of about three months. Rumor has it that after retiring, he plans to open a ramen shop in Sendai, very close to the SGM headquarters.
  3. SGM POWER RUSH SERIES March - April 2023 | Highlights shown on Shogun TV as 'SGM BIG Fight!' Super Grand Melee kicked off the new year with two sensational events. Firstly, Haranobu Kobayashi made a triumphant return from his injury hiatus, capturing the Strongest Heavyweight Title for the third time. Secondly, young excursion returnee Shuga Amano pulled off an incredible feat by defeating the legendary Hiroaki Nakasawa in a shocking match, sending ripples across the wrestling world. The success of Amano did not escape Kobayashi and his Destiny Masters. Early into the POWER RUSH SERIES, the champion hinted that Amano could potentially fit the mold of a Destiny Master. However, to ascertain this, a Trial Series was proposed, with Kobayashi officially inviting the young upstart. It marked the first time that arguably the most formidable group in SGM offered a spot to a former Young Lion. To Kobayashi's dismay, Amano wasted no time, merely two days after winning a Six Man Tag Team Match via pinfall, to decline the offer publicly in the ring, proposing a counteroffer instead. He challenged Kobayashi for his belt at POWERVISION! Kobayashi had to digest such audacity before finally accepting during a press conference, with the sole aim of teaching Amano some respect. Throughout the tour, there were repeated Multiman Matches pitting the Destiny Masters against Amano and his peers, with the latter suffering several bitter defeats, casting doubts on Amano's chances for the big event match. With their victory over Ox Mastadon and Animal Harker at MACHO KINGDOM, it appeared that Burt Hudson and Bam Bam Bundy had restored order within the Kurofune faction. The four men met in the ring at the first tour event, where Mastadon and Harker conceded, declaring Hudson as the clear leader once again. Yet, Hudson was not satisfied. He demanded retribution against Mastadon, whom he identified as the instigator. Harker and Bundy were tasked with disposing of him, which they did without hesitation. Mastadon endured a beating in the ring and received a recommendation from the "Doctor Of Pain" to steer clear of Japan in the future. As the tour progressed, BISON Yano and BRUTE Kikuchi earned a shot at the Strongest Tag Team Titles, shifting Hudson and Bundy's attention towards them. On Day #3 of the POWER RUSH SERIES, there was a special comeback – Kuniyoshi Kawamura fulfilled his promise and stepped into the ring for the first time in nearly a year following a serious neck injury. Alongside his STRONGARMS comrades, they suffered a defeat against a selection of the OCEANERS, culminating in Kyuichi Matsumoto executing a Brainbuster on Kawamura, making him land squarely on his neck for the finish, followed by a pinfall victory. SGM POWERVISION 2023 Iwate, Japan - 09.04.2023 Attendance: 1.000, shown on Shogun TV Show Rating: [73] Fuyuhiko Wakabayashi, Kyuichi Matsumoto, Eikichi Itou & Isoruko Arakaki defeated Kimitada Yanagita, Koichi Kajiwara, Toyotomi Hirota & Kamatari Kamohara (13m06s) with the Exploder from Wakabayashi to Hirota [59] ★★★ Hiroshi Morisue, Battle Sakata, Akira Arato & Ryobe Uno defeated Kuniyoshi Kawamura, Kimi Kawano, Oda Yakuta & MUSCLE Serizawa (15m19s) with the Lariat from Uno to Kawamura [57] ★★¾ Sozen Ishinomori defeated Big Boss Urayama (13m32s) with the Lariat [54] ★★¾ Ox Mastadon & Animal Harker defeated Hiroaki Nakasawa & Kensuke Nakasawa (16m38s) with the Ten Ton Splash from Mastadon to K. Nakasawa [57] ★★¾ SGM Strongest Tag Team Championship: BISON Yano & BRUTE Kikuchi defeated Burt Hudson & Bam Bam Bundy © (18m27s) with the Yano Express from Yano to Bundy [79] ★★★★ - TITLE CHANGE! - Avalanche Takano defeated Shozo Furuta (20m35s) with the Mountain Takano [68] ★★★½ SGM Strongest Heavyweight Championship: Haranobu Kobayashi © defeated Shuga Amano (24m28s) with the Northern Lights Bomb [74] ★★★¾ - 1ST DEFENSE - Such an incident has never occurred before in Super Grand Melee - during their entrance to the Strongest Tag Team Championship Match, Burt Hudson and Bam Bam Bundy were ambushed by Ox Mastadon, Animal Harker and a bearded, musclebound man identified by the commentators as Bear Bekowski! Weakened by the unexpected beatdown, Hudson and Bundy lost their titles. In a post-match interview, Mastadon announced his intention to take over Kurofune and issued an ultimatum to Hudson and Bundy. They had until the start of the REAL MUSCLE SERIES in May to leave the company - otherwise, they could expect no mercy. In the final promo of the evening, Haranobu Kobayashi mocked his young opponent for his hastiness and declared that he had permanently squandered his opportunity to become a member of the Destiny Masters. He asserted that nothing would ever come of him in this company.
  4. Nice renders, love the whole look of the diary! Is Jack Pryde inspired by MJF? Or is it just me seeing that scarf and associating right way. Either way, he's a character I could see gain traction in the company quickly as a heel. I was surprised to see James Diaz so clean-cut and not as some sort of monster heel. I am already a huge fan of how you present Dreadnought and Sinner with their manager and I'll be keen to see their interaction with Diaz, given that they are all sons of hosses.
  5. SGM MUSCLE DESTINY SERIES January - February 2023 | Highlights shown on Shogun TV as 'SGM BIG Fight!' In January, at the outset of the tour, Haranobu Kobayashi marked his highly anticipated comeback in the ring following an ankle injury. Celebrating his 10-year anniversary as a pro wrestler, Kobayashi teamed up with the Destiny Masters against the OCEANERS, led by the reigning Strongest Heavyweight Champion Fuyuhiko Wakabayashi. While Wakabayashi emerged victorious, the match served as more of a warm-up for Kobayashi, setting the stage for their upcoming showdown at MACHO KINGDOM for the title. Throughout the MUSCLE DESTINY SERIES, these two factions clashed repeatedly, with Kobayashi showing gradual improvement with each event. The other members of both groups agreed to a Six Man Tag Team Match at the big event to determine the current leading faction. Elsewhere, significant developments unfolded surrounding Big Bruiser Findlay, the super gaijin of Black Canvas Grappling. At DREAMSTAGE III, Findlay dethroned Burt Hudson after his over 1-year reign as IPWA International Heavyweight Champion. This victory stirred unrest within the gaijin group Kurofune, particularly Ox Mastadon and Animal Harker, who voiced their discontent and plotted rebellion. During one of the tour shows featuring Findlay, they conspicuously sided with him. In a post-match interview, Harker even suggested that Findlay should take over leadership of Kurofune, a proposition Findlay declined due to his commitments at BCG. Consequently, Hudson attempted to ease tensions and asked the insurgents how he could realign them. They demanded a shot at the Strongest Tag Team Titles held by Hudson and Bam Bam Bundy - if Hudson won, they would accept him as leader again, otherwise, he would be ousted and Mastadon would assume leadership. Hudson accepted the terms. Additionally, Findlay found himself in a title match as well, having drawn with Yasuhiko Taira at the World's Strongest Singles Grand Prix, necessitating him to defend his title against Taira at the big event. Two young upcomers made waves at Super Grand Melee. Following his impressive performance at the WSSGP, Ryobe Uno challenged Avalanche Takano to a singles match at MACHO KINGDOM. Takano, nicknamed "Mr. December" by Naizen Uboshita due to his triple finals appearance and subsequent losses in the tournament, accepted the challenge, viewing it as an opportunity to regain momentum. Meanwhile, 25-years old excursion returnee Shuga Amano also issued a challenge to Hiroaki Nakasawa after unexpectedly pinning him in a Six Man Tag Team Match. Amano, standing out as the strongest performer under 30 since his return, caused a stir with several unlikely victories. Amidst these events, it's worth noting Koichi Kajiwara's anniversary as a professional wrestler. With 30 years in the ring, the veteran celebrated his milestone match with members of the STRONGARMS and friends. Guest Ryu Kajahara provided commentary for the occasion. In fitting tribute, Kajiwara sported a thick, white beard following the winter break, showcasing his extensive experience, which drew comparisons to Santa Clause from Kajahara. SGM MACHO KINGDOM 2023 Iwate, Japan - 19.02.2023 Attendance: 1.000, shown on Shogun TV Show Rating: [75] Oda Yakuta, MUSCLE Serizawa & Big Boss Urayama defeated Kimitada Yanagita, Akira Arato & Ritsu Ibata (13m44s) with the Choke Bomb from Urayama to Ibata [53] ★★¾ Hiroshi Morisue, Battle Sakata, Shigemori Koruba & Kensuke Nakasawa defeated Koichi Kajiwara, Kimi Kawano, Toyotomi Hirota & Kamatari Kamohara (15m17s) with the Running Powerslam from Morisue to Kajiwara [45] ★★¼ Avalanche Takano defeated Ryobe Uno (14m07s) with the German Suplex [68] ★★★½ IPWA International Heavyweight Championship: Big Bruiser Findlay © defeated Yasuhiko Taira (13m46s) with the Lariat [67] ★★★¼ - 1ST DEFENSE - SGM Strongest Tag Team Championship: Burt Hudson & Bam Bam Bundy © defeated Ox Mastadon & Animal Harker (18m29s) with the Oklahoma Stampede from Hudson to Mastadon [72] ★★★½ - 2ND DEFENSE - Shuga Amano defeated Hiroaki Nakasawa (21m57s) with the Dangerous Brainbuster [59] ★★★ BRUTE Kikuchi, BISON Yano & Shozo Furuta defeated Kyuichi Matsumoto, Eikichi Itou & Isoruko Arakaki (27m49s) with the Kikuchi Crush from Kikuchi to Arakaki [72] ★★★½ SGM Strongest Heavyweight Championship: Haranobu Kobayashi defeated Fuyuhiko Wakabayashi © (33m12s) with the Kobayashi Plunge [76] ★★★¾ - TITLE CHANGE! - The audience was visibly shocked when 25-years old Shuga Amano achieved an upset win over legend Hiroaki Nakasawa. The final promo of the night was cut by Haranobu Kobayashi, who celebrated his Strongest Heavyweight Title win and thanked the audience for their support. He finished with the hope, that his third reign as the company's champion would not be interrupted by injury again and that he would like to make the Destiny Masters the strongest group of Super Grand Melee once more.
  6. ■ SUPER GRAND MELEE THRIVES | GROWTH AMIDST ECONOMIC RECESSION Despite Japan's economic recession, which has crippled the entire country, Super Grand Melee saw healthy growth in its third year and even managed to turn a slight profit. Owner Motoichi Arakida addressed the press at the company's headquarters in Sendai, presenting some figures. He particularly emphasized the inspiring success of DREAMSTAGE III, which set new standards for the league both qualitatively and financially. According to Arakida, interest in the touring shows is also on the rise, alongside well-attended big events. The KINNIKU CLIMB SERIES and the REAL MUSCLE SERIES, where the two SGM tournaments take place, saw high demand last year. Consequently, SGM is expected to use a larger venue for the first time this year. Arakida left open the possibility of future tours throughout Japan, stating that it had not been viable thus far. ■ PERSONNEL MOVEMENTS | NEW FACES IN FRONT OF AND BEHIND THE SCENES The personnel carousel at SGM has spun once again, but this time behind closed doors. Sadakuno Nishimuraya has joined the company as a consultant and backstage agent. Nishimuraya, a veteran heavyweight wrestler known for his "Iron Claw" finisher, brings years of experience to the table. Moving forward, alongside Nishimuraya, Big Bruiser Findlay will also be part-time with the company, as he is currently holding the IPWA International Heavyweight Title. Expect to see him primarily at SGM's big events due to commitments with Black Canvas Grappling. However, some involvement in non-title matches on normal touring shows is anticipated as well. ■ YOUNG LIONS RETURN | URAYAMA, IBATA AND AMANO BACK FROM US In January, SGM welcomed back three former Young Lions from their excursions to the United States. Big Boss Urayama spent a year at Titan Pro Wrestling, while Ritsu Ibata and Shuga Amano return from Mid Atlantic Wrestling. All three men faced the press, but were rather brief and humble. They all appeared greatly matured and according to Motoichi Arakida, their performance on the next tour is eagerly anticipated. Meanwhile, the company wishes Taiji Chajima (Mid Atlantic Wrestling), Shogo Awatari and Kawanari Enomoto (both from Titan Pro Wrestling) the best on their excursions. Like their predecessors, the three men will spend a year abroad to work on themselves and mature. ■ BHOTWG SUPER ROOKIE PRESENTED AS NEW YOUNG LION | KENSUKE NAKASAWA JOINS HIS FATHER AT SGM SGM has once again welcomed a new Young Lion into their roster. This time, the spotlight shines on a particularly special rookie, Kensuke Nakasawa. Hailing from Matsuyama, Shikoku, Nakasawa stands tall at 6'2 and weighs 242 lbs. As the name suggests, he is the son of legendary Hiroaki Nakasawa, who is currently active for the company. Nakasawa's upbringing was deeply rooted in athleticism, excelling in baseball, swimming and freestyle wrestling during his high school years. Guided by the experienced hands of BHOTWG's highly prestigious Hinote Dojo, he mastered the art of classic heavyweight wrestling within the same halls where Master Kitozon once imparted his teachings. In the ring, Nakasawa demonstrates a calculated precision, often overwhelming his opponents with a relentless assault that culminates in his devastating finishing move, the Burning Strike. KENSUKE NAKASAWA 20 years old | 187 cm, 111 kg | Matsuyama, Shikoku
  7. 2022 END OF THE YEAR AWARDS THE JAPANESE WRESTLING YEAR IN REVIEW MOST VALUABLE PLAYER EMERALD ANGEL Burning Hammer Of The Wrestling Gods The race for this year's MVP couldn't have been tighter. At times, the discussions in our editorial rooms were so passionate and heated that for the first time in Pro Wrestling BUNKAI!'s history, we even considered the possibility of having joint winners for the award. However, in the end, one of the contenders emerged victorious: Emerald Angel! What tipped the scales in his favor were not only numerous classic matches in junior wrestling (which he shared with his rival Sensational Dragon) but ultimately his championship reigns. In July 2022, the masked wrestler not only won the Best Of The Super Juniors for the second time in a row but also finally and for the first time crowned himself as the Junior Heavyweight Champion of BHOTWG the following month. Throughout, he carried the entire company as its flagship and showed no signs of fatigue at any point, which makes him our MVP of 2022. BEST FOREIGN WRESTLER MATTHEW KEITH Burning Hammer Of The Wrestling Gods Once again, no surprises compared to last year - the award for the best foreigner goes to Matthew Keith yet again! He successfully defended the Burning World Championship he won in June of last year in an incredible reign filled with top matches until December 2022, before his reign came to an end against 41-year-old Kinnojo Horri in a dramatic showdown, marking Horri's sixth reign. Keith held the heavyweight title of the company for a total of 546 days, during which he produced classics against Tatsuya Toshitara, Heihachiro Sakai, Ieyoshi Shimakage and Munemitsu Senmatsu. His matches against Toshitara and Horri, incorporating many elements of junior wrestling and a high pacing, have already been particularly celebrated in our magazine and are considered groundbreaking for modern heavyweight wrestling from our perspective. BEST TAG TEAM CHOJIRO KITOAJI & BUSSHO MAKIGUCHI Burning Hammer Of The Wrestling Gods It was THE shocking news of the previous year - in October 2021, Chojiro Kitoaji announced, after a minor injury, that he would take a longer break from pro wrestling and thus leave Pride Glory Honor Wrestling after 14 years. The company, already plagued by injury concerns and an aging roster, lost one of its most popular stars. What apparently no one in their management could anticipate was that Kitoaji would unexpectedly show up at the competitor and Japanese market leader Burning Hammer Of The Wrestling Gods seven months later. To make the crisis perfect, Bussho Makiguchi followed just one month later, meaning PGHW lost arguably their best and most decorated tag team of the present to the competition. The exact cause of these events was kept silent by all parties. However, rumors suggest that Kitoaji and Makiguchi were dissatisfied with not having a title run as tag team champions for three years and also not being able to assume what they believed was their rightful role in either the Elite Tag Team Series or the singles division. The big report on their move is summarized in today's issue on pages 43 and 44 by our editor Junnosuke. Both men made a huge impact at BHOTWG! In June, they defeated Atsumori Takemura and Ryushi Sato in what we consider the best tag team match of the year at Inferno Of Purity and relieved them of the BHOTWG World Tag Team Titles. Equally noteworthy is their high-profile match against Munemitsu Senmatsu and Ieyoshi Shimakage, currently making waves at BHOTWG under the name The Exploders. BEST COMPANY BURNING HAMMER OF THE WRESTLING GODS Even Japan's economic recession couldn't change the fact that BHOTWG remained the Japanese market leader in 2022. Despite a faltering GDP, Japanese people continue to eagerly purchase tickets to the company's events, consistently filling arenas with tens of thousands of seats. Consequently, it was another record-breaking year economically, as CEO Tetsuzan Kaneko demonstrated during the presentation of the annual report. These successes are not coincidental - a smart roster policy, forward-thinking management, marketing through Aichi and Emperor Choice, as well as an outstanding in-ring product, all form the understandable basis for this achievement. BEST MATCH SENSATIONAL DRAGON VS EMERALD ANGEL BHOTWG Burning Path VII, January 2022 The best match of the year 2022 ironically took place in January. At Burning Path VII, the defeat of Emerald Angel against the until then seemingly invincible Sensational Dragon marked the next phase of the feud between the two super juniors. For the last time there, Dragon managed to fend off his nemesis in a dramatic battle, retaining the BHOTWG Junior Heavyweight Title. The in-ring narrative of an Angel tirelessly pursuing his dream and thus becoming increasingly dangerous to Dragon, was masterfully executed. Dragon's victory was so incredibly close and almost accidental that every viewer had to realize afterwards - now Angel has him! Next time, he would beat him. And that's exactly what happened. BEST SHOW BHOTWG QUEST OF HEART September 2022 This award also goes to BHOTWG for 2022 (and it's about time for the other Japanese companies to step up - we're talking about you, PGHW and BCG!). In the over 50-year history of Pro Wrestling BUNKAI!, there have only been two events that could boast two matches with the very rarely awarded 5-star rating. Quest Of Heart officially joined this elite group, as we extensively reported in September. Not only was Matthew Keith's fight with Kinnojo Horri for the Burning World Championship sensational, but also Emerald Angel's defense of the Junior Heavyweight Title against the MYSTIC Dragon. In the mid-card of the show, KitoGuchi emerged victorious in the rematch of the Tag Team Match Of The Year against Takemura and Sato. A truly outstanding card - it doesn't get any better than this! BEST ROOKIE MASATOCHI KAMIMURA Pride Glory Honor Wrestling The odds continue to be high that PGHW owns the future. This year saw Masatochi Kamimura from their in-house talent pool have his breakout year, which also marked his final year as a Young Lion. The man who has been compared to Yoshimi Mushashibo and Masaru Ugaki even during his time in the dojo delivered numerous technical delights and was our favorite wrestler on the lower card in 2022. His passionate performances in Six Man Tag Team Matches alongside Ugaki were particularly impressive, showcasing Kamimura's strong drive to rise up. We're eagerly anticipating his Ten Match Trial Series announced for Spring 2023. BEST FEMALE WRESTLER SHIORI JIPPENSHA 5 Star Supreme Wrestling There's no way around her in 2022 either - for the fourth time in a row, Shiori Jippensha crowns herself as the MVP of the women's division. Her seemingly eternal reign as the 5SSW World Champion came to an end in February after an action-packed duel with Gemmei Oonishi. However, the "Excellence Of Execution" didn't lose much of her brilliance. Jippensha remained a constant presence in the main event picture of 5 Star Supreme Wrestling, delivering not only in singles matches against Megumi Nakajima, Romi Yamato, HEART Saitoh, and MAYA but also shining as the holder of the Triangle Titles in Three Way Dances. BEST TECHNIQUE MABUCHI FURUSAWA Burning Hammer Of The Wrestling Gods Since Mabuchi Furusawa left Black Canvas Grappling and ventured into deeper waters, it has unfortunately been noted that there are bigger fish than him. Too often, the highly talented son of Hanshiro Furusawa appeared somewhat outdated and lost in his new home. However, this should not overshadow the fact that in BHOTWG's mid card, he was able to consistently bring out the best from limited opponents with his outstanding technical abilities. Especially in matches with former BCG colleagues who have also made the leap, he seems to feel comfortable and can truly shine. Noteworthy, for example, are his series against Tanyu Toshusai and Noritoshi Miura. Whether Furusawa, at 36 years old, will play a bigger role again remains difficult for us to assess, but technically, this year, he has surpassed even Masaru Ugaki. MOST POPULAR WRESTLER EMERALD ANGEL Burning Hammer Of The Wrestling Gods Once again, there's no way around him - the Emerald Angel is Japan's most popular pro wrestler! His merchandise consistently tops the charts, and his personal blog had 2.1 million followers by the end of the year.
  8. Jay Silver vs. Jack Pryde Keith Vegas vs. Gareth Wayne James Diaz vs. Barry Kingman Original Sinner & Dreadnought vs. The Crazy Horses (Ace Youngblood & Wild Red Stallion) Ricky Turner & Rayne Man vs. The Fighting Irish (Crockett Tubbs & Conner Threepwood)
  9. SGM KINNIKU CLIMB SERIES November - December 2022 | Highlights shown on Shogun TV as 'SGM BIG Fight!' For the third time in the history of Super Grand Melee, the company transitions to the Kinniku Climb, pitting 20 heavyweights against each other in two blocks until only one remains at DREAMSTAGE III on the night of December 31, 2022 into January 1, 2023 - the Strongest! So far, the most important SGM event of the year has always left a significant mark. This year's tournament is even more star-studded, than in previous years. Let's take a look at Block A, where all the singles champions of the league are represented, including Strongest Heavyweight Champion Fuyuhiko Wakabayashi, Japanese National Champion Sozen Ishinomori and IPWA International Heavyweight Champion Burt Hudson. As expected, the three men engaged in a neck-and-neck race for the top two spots. Wakabayashi, who presented himself in absolutely stunning form, managed a perfect clean sheet and thus secured clear group victory with 18 points. While he had Ishinomori surprisingly well under control in their encounter, it was a much closer match against Hudson. Even his partner and OCEANERS comrade Kyuichi Matsumoto gave the champion trouble and brought him to the brink of a draw before the saving Exploder came through in the 28th minute. Apart from that, Wakabayashi delivered a commanding performance worthy of a champion. When it came to the second place, it seemed at one point that Ishinomori could pull ahead of Hudson. On Day #3, the latter had an exhausting fight with Matsumoto, which he managed to win with an Oklahoma Stampede. Then, his match against BISON Yano on Day #5 only ended in a draw. However, the "Doctor Of Pain" regained his momentum thereafter, securing victory after victory - the same applied to Ishinomori. It wasn't until Day #17 of the tour, the final match day in Block A, that the two clashed directly and determined the second semifinalist. After 24 minutes, it seemed like the Japanese wrestler was on top after a devastating Golden Bomb Drop - however, Hudson kicked out of the cover at the last moment and regained his composure. Shortly after, he managed to keep Ishinomori down on the mat after three brutal Backdrops. There were also strong performances from BISON Yano of the Destiny Masters and Kyuichi Matsumoto of the OCEANERS group. Yano finished with 12 points, Matsumoto with 10. Appropriately, their duel ended in a well-deserved draw as it went the distance. Shozo Furuta put up a commendable performance as well, securing 9 points in the end, albeit ending up behind the other two, placing him in the middle of the pack overall. The weakest performance in Block A came from Akira Arato, who participated in the tournament for the first time. The 27-year-old only managed to secure only 1 point via draw after his match against Eikichi Itou ended in count-out. In Block B, things heated up even more. It remained tight until the final days of the tournament, with seven wrestlers having a shot at making it to the semifinals. Let's first take a look at the man who ultimately emerged as the top contender in Block B - Avalanche Takano. Takano positioned himself early with important victories over Hiroaki Nakasawa, Yasuhiko Taira and several other opponents. He struggled against Bam Bam Bundy but managed to secure a victory just before reaching the time limit. Three days later, the first shock came when Big Bruiser Findlay surprisingly defeated Takano in just 19 minutes with an Atomic Spinebuster. A few days later, Takano had to settle for a draw against BRUTE Kikuchi, who once again had a strong tournament and rightfully held the title of dark horse. It wasn't until the final phase of the tournament that Takano found his rhythm again with a hard-fought win over newcomer Ryobe Uno, followed by a tough victory over guest star Toshiharu Hyobanshi, securing the group win with a total of 15 points. As for the second-place contender, the bookmakers' odds kept changing until the end. At one point, everyone favored BRUTE Kikuchi, as he impressively defeated Findlay early on in a short, intense match. However, the Destiny Masters' beast ran out of steam towards the end of the group stage, suffering two crushing defeats, first against Hyobanshi and then against Taira. An early loss to Hiroaki Nakasawa also blocked his path to the semifinals. Taira, Hyobanshi and Nakasawa meanwhile also had their share of slip-ups, sometimes defeating each other. The decision of who would advance alongside Takano ultimately depended on who performed the most dominantly in the direct matches of the leading group. And that was none other than Black Canvas Grappling's super gaijin Big Bruiser Findlay! Although the legendary super heavyweight from Georgia lost to Kikuchi, he defeated Takano, Nakasawa and Hyobanshi. Draws against Taira and Bam Bam Bundy, which resulted in countouts after intense brawls, slightly tarnished his overall result but didn't prevent his semifinal qualification. On the contrary, it raised the question of how much more the wild Findlay could have achieved had he focused more on winning in those matches. The weakest performance in Block A came from Ox Mastadon, who reacted angrily, to say the least, going on a rampage backstage when he realized that an interviewer had asked in a post-match interview whether he was past his prime. He left the tournament with only one point. Debutant Ryobe Uno delivered surprisingly good performances and ended with 3 points. Nakasawa specifically praised his toughness and fighting spirit, as Uno managed to wrestle a draw from him due to the time limit. The legend even pondered the idea of taking Uno under his wing. The semifinals were thus set: Fuyuhiko Wakabayashi, the winner of Block A, would face Big Bruiser Findlay, the second-placed wrestler in Block B and vice versa Avalanche Takano would face Burt Hudson. This marked the first time that two gaijin made it to the semifinals of the World's Strongest Singles Grand Prix. It's fair to say that both matches had the level of a final. On day #19 of the KINNIKU CLIMB SERIES, Strongest Heavyweight Champion Wakabayashi spectacularly emerged as the first finalist, after holding Findlay down for the count of three on the mat following a 27-minute bout and a Japanese Ocean Cyclone Suplex, which was preceded by several Exploders. The match was absolutely even, brutal and full of dramatic highlights, with Findlay looking very strong. The second semifinal lasted a proud 38 minutes and will go down as a classic in the history of Super Grand Melee - Avalanche Takano prevailed against the IPWA International Heavyweight Champion. This marks his third consecutive entry into the WSSGP final, making him a presence in all tournament finals so far. DREAMSTAGE wouldn't be the biggest SGM show of the year if it focused on just one match. In a press conference before the event, Motoichi Arakida announced two more interesting matches. Firstly, there would be a rematch between Sozen Ishinomori and BISON Yano, whose encounter previously ended narrowly in favor of Ishinomori. This time, the Japanese National Title of the colossus would be on the line. Furthermore, the SGM owner arranged what he considered an absolute dream match between two of the best foreign wrestlers in the country - Burt Hudson would defend his IPWA International Heavyweight Title against Big Bruiser Findlay. The two were in different blocks during the tournament, so Arakida couldn't hide his excitement to witness this showdown for the first time. SGM DREAMSTAGE III Ōsaki, Japan - 31.12.2022 Attendance: 1.636, shown on Shogun TV Show Rating: [79] Taiji Chajima, Shogo Awatari & Kawanari Enomoto defeated Toyotomi Hirota, Kamatari Kamohara & Shigemori Koruba (8m55s) with the Lariat from Enomoto to Koruba [41] ★★ Hiroaki Nakasawa, Yasuhiko Taira, Oda Yakuta & MUSCLE Serizawa defeated Hiroshi Morisue, Battle Sakata, Koichi Kajiwara & Kimi Kawano (18m09s) with the H-Bomb from Nakasawa to Kajiwara [57] ★★¾ SGM Japanese National Championship: Sozen Ishinomori © defeated BISON Yano (22m25s) with the Golden Bomb Drop [66] ★★★¼ - 1ST DEFENSE - BRUTE Kikuchi & Shozo Furuta defeated Ryobe Uno & Akira Arato (14m36s) with the Kikuchi Crush from Kikuchi to Arato [63] ★★★¼ Kyuichi Matsumoto, Eikichi Itou & Isoruko Arakaki defeated Bam Bam Bundy, Ox Mastadon & Animal Harker (24m23s) with the Lariat from Arakaki to Mastadon [70] ★★★½ IPWA International Heavyweight Championship: Big Bruiser Findlay defeated Burt Hudson © (27m56s) with the Atomic Spinebuster [78] ★★★★ - TITLE CHANGE! - SGM Strongest Singles Grand Prix III & SGM Strongest Heavyweight Championship: Fuyuhiko Wakabayashi © defeated Avalanche Takano (33m32s) with the Japanese Ocean Cyclone Suplex [81] ★★★★ Following the main event, as usual, the winner's ceremony followed, presided over by Motoichi Arakida and Eisuke Yoshinobu. The two brought the tournament trophy, flower bouquets and an intricately decorated katana to the ring and presented them to this year's tournament winner, Fuyuhiko Wakabayashi. He also received back the Strongest Heavyweight Title, which he had entrusted to the SGM officials before the tournament. Wakabayashi expressed extreme happiness that after three years in Japan, he had achieved the greatest possible success. He thanked his fans and all those who supported classical heavyweight wrestling. However, he admitted he still couldn't conscientiously wear this belt until he had faced off against Haranobu Kobayashi. Therefore, he issued a challenge to him, concluding with an invitation to compete at MACHO KINGDOM in February to see who the REAL Strongest Heavyweight Champion was.
  10. I don't know much about the CV US scene, so the only names I recognize are those of Diaz and Kingman, but the whole old school setup and rulework of the company is appealing. Very fitting logo for the company! I think I haven't read any diary from you that wasn't located in Japan yet, so I'll be curious to see where you're going with this.
  11. True that, haha. I kinda wanted to give him some time to see if his stats develop well and let him gain some popularity before giving him some significant wins and putting the belt on him. Making him the champion at this point also wasn't planned yet, but Kobayashi's injury forced me to adapt.
  12. WORLD'S STRONGEST SINGLES GRAND PRIX 2022 - PREDICTION CONTEST Tournament Winners: Runners-up: Most Points (Group Stage): Will any tag team end up with zero points? (Bonus point: If so, who?): Biggest Surprise: Biggest Upset:
  13. WORLD'S STRONGEST SINGLES GRAND PRIX 2022 FIELD OF PARTICIPANTS The World's Strongest Singles Grand Prix, now in its third iteration, marks the most important tournament of the year for Super Grand Melee. The participant lineup was unveiled in advance during a press conference in Sendai by Motoichi Arakida and Eisuke Yoshinobu. As usual, the roster included the who's who of the company. The roster has grown to a size where not every participant makes it into the tournament; instead, selections are made based on performance beforehand. Furthermore, interest from outside to participate in the tournament is increasing, particularly appealing to SGM's cooperative partners. Looking solely at the current titleholders of the league, Block A appears significantly stronger at first glance compared to Block B this year. Featuring reigning Strongest Heavyweight Champion Fuyuhiko Wakabayashi, Japanese National Champion Sozen Ishinomori and IPWA International Heavyweight and Strongest Tag Team Champion Burt Hudson, Block A will witness the elite of SGM competing for the two semifinal spots. The block is rounded out by names like Kyuichi Matsumoto, BISON Yano and Shozo Furuta, all of whom are expected to provide tough competition. On the other side, Block B showcases former Strongest Heavyweight Champions Hiroaki Nakasawa and Avalanche Takano. Takano has been in both previous tournament finals and is considered by many bookmakers as a secret favourite this year as well. However, they will face competition from the dark horse candidate BRUTE Kikuchi, brutish Yasuhiko Taira, aspiring Bam Bam Bundy and talented Ryobe Uno, who is participating in the tournament for the first time. Additionally, Block B will feature both of this year's tournament guest stars. Firstly, there's Black Canvas Grappling's super gaijin, Big Bruiser Findlay! Secondly, there's the former GCG World Heavyweight Champion and current BHOTWG star Toshiharu Hyobanshi, who is renowned as one of the finest heavyweights of his era and who Arakida had many warm and respectful words for. Both men are loaned due to the partnerships SGM has established with their respective companies. To conclude the press conference, the current Strongest Heavyweight Champion Fuyuhiko Wakabayashi announced that he would put his belt on the line during the tournament. Thus, the tournament winner will simultaneously become the champion. He made this decision because he did not consider the circumstances of his title win to be dignified. Through this gesture, he aims to either prove, that he is the true champion, or fail in the attempt. The winner of the previous tournament Haranobu Kobayashi will be missing out due to an ankle injury. He is expected to return in January. The Strongest Singles Grand Prix operates as a round-robin tournament, featuring two blocks, each consisting of ten randomly assigned wrestlers. Block matches adhere to a strict 30-minute time limit, with victories earning 2 points, draws 1 point, and losses resulting in 0 points. Semi-final matchups pit the winner of Block A against the runner-up of Block B, and vice versa. The tournament culminates in the Grand Final, where the ultimate victors not only claim the tournament crown but also earn a coveted shot at the Strongest Heavyweight Championship. __________________________________________________ BLOCK A __________________________________________________ BLOCK B
  14. SGM BRUTE STRENGTH SERIES September - October 2022 | Highlights shown on Shogun TV as 'SGM BIG Fight!' Harunobu Kobayashi's year began on a high note with his victory in the World's Strongest Singles Grand Prix on New Year's night 2021, defeating his former ally Avalanche Takano, whom he had expelled from his faction. Two months later, he furthered his success by claiming Takano's Strongest Heavyweight Title. Subsequently, Kobayashi's performance in tag team matches during the June tournament was less stellar. For nearly a year, he remained undefeated in singles competition though. Unfortunately, Kobayashi's excellent year came to an abrupt halt during the BRUTE STRENGTH SERIES, where his faction, Destiny Masters, increasingly clashed with the OCEANERS. In a direct confrontation with Eikichi Itou, Kobayashi landed awkwardly during a dive from the ring apron to the outside area, resulting in the match being stopped and the champion being escorted out of the arena by ring crew members. A medical examination later revealed a broken right ankle. In a hastily called press conference, Motoichi Arakida announced that Kobayashi's expected recovery time would be three months. However, doctors could not provide a definitive timeline for his return to the ring. Unable to defend the Strongest Heavyweight Title as scheduled, Kobayashi reluctantly relinquished the title, which would be contested anew at STRONGHOLD. Moreover, it is highly likely that he will have to forgo participation in this year's World's Strongest Singles Grand Prix as well. Kobayashi expressed deep remorse during the press conference and apologized to the audience for the interruption of the match due to his injury. He pledged to come back stronger once he could return to active competition. Thus, it was necessary to determine two challengers for the match for the Strongest Heavyweight Title. Normally, Super Grand Melee largely avoids singles matches during tours. These were supposed to be something special within the year-end tournament. However, under these unexpected circumstances, several singles matches were held during the tour, from which two men stood out. Firstly, Hiroaki Nakasawa, who despite advancing physical decline, still scratches at the top and secondly, Fuyuhiko Wakabayashi, who presented himself in outstanding condition as of late after gaining weight. The two men last met in December in Block B of the WSSGP, where Wakabayashi emerged victorious after a tough fight. It is Wakabayashi's first chance at the league's most important belt, whereas Nakasawa has already managed to win it once. Elsewhere, two more OCEANERS managed to qualify for a title match, namely Eikichi Itou and Isoruko Arakaki. The two massive heavyweights are now considered one of the most seasoned tag teams within the company. When it comes to gold and trophies, however, they have had no luck so far That could change soon, as during the tour they clashed with Kurofune more than once, primarily in multiman matches, where Arakaki eventually managed to pin Bam Bam Bundy after a football tackle for the count of three. Itou and Arakaki subsequently challenged Bullet Train to a match at STRONGHOLD for the Strongest Tag Team Titles. Sozen Ishinomori also instantly positioned himself for a title shot, after making a spectacular return to Super Grand Melee after two years of absence. In his very first Six Man Tag Team Match, he instantly secured a pinfall against BRUTE Kikuchi. Prior to his departure to rival promotion Pride Glory Honor Wrestling, the bald-headed big man was considered sluggish and not particularly consistent in the ring. However, he now presents himself with a renewed fervor, even refining his technical abilities, adding to his charisma an impressive presence in the ring. Throughout the tour, the two men encountered each other multiple times. Yet, neither could pin the other or force a submission, leaving the question of how their singles match will unfold wide open. SGM STRONGHOLD 2022 Iwate, Japan - 16.10.2022 Attendance: 1.000, shown on Shogun TV Show Rating: [70] Hiroshi Morisue, Battle Sakata & Koichi Kajiwara defeated Shigemori Koruba, Toyotomi Hirota & Kamatari Kamohara (9m30s) with the Forearm Strike from Kajiwara to Kamohara [34] ★¾ Avalanche Takano, Yasuhiko Taira, Oda Yakuta & MUSCLE Serizawa defeated BISON Yano, Shozo Furuta, Shogo Awatari & Kawanari Enomoto (13m47s) with the Yak Bomb from Yakuta to Enomoto [61] ★★★ Akira Arato & Ryobe Uno defeated Ox Mastadon & Animal Harker (17m11s) with the German Suplex from Uno to Harker [51] ★★½ Kyuichi Matsumoto defeated Kimi Kawano (19m11s) with the Power Bomb [63] ★★★¼ SGM Japanese National Championship: Sozen Ishinomori defeated BRUTE Kikuchi © (18m14s) with the Golden Bomb Drop [59] ★★★ - TITLE CHANGE! - SGM Strongest Tag Team Championship: Burt Hudson & Bam Bam Bundy © defeated Eikichi Itou & Isoruko Arakaki (21m08s) with the Moonsault from Bundy to Arakaki [73] ★★★¾ - 1ST DEFENSE - SGM Strongest Heavyweight Championship (Vacant): Fuyuhiko Wakabayashi defeated Hiroaki Nakasawa (27m38s) with the Japanese Ocean Cyclone Suplex [72] ★★★½ - TITLE CHANGE! - Sozen Ishinomori unveiled a remarkably brutal Power Bomb during his Japanese National Championship Match, dropping his opponent abruptly onto his neck. In a post-match interview, he referred to this maneuver as the Golden Bomb Drop. He stated that he had conceived the idea during his time in Golden Canvas Grappling. However, he mentioned that only now has he matured enough to execute the move according to his vision. After his victory in the Main Event and the consequent first-time acquisition of the Strongest Heavyweight Title, something seemed to be visibly gnawing at Fuyuhiko Wakabayashi. He didn't appear at all like someone who might have just reached the pinnacle of his career, but rather contemplative. In a closing promo of the show, he thanked the audience and all those who had cheered for him. He also mentioned, that he had massive respect for Hiroaki Nakasawa and was happy to have had the chance, to fight him again. Yet he also implied, that winning the title in this manner wouldn't feel honorable. He closed with the hope for Haranobu Kobayashi's swift return, as he wishes to put the belt on the line against him and earn the title.
  15. ■ HUDSON TRIUMPHS IN TEXAS | MIXED REACTION OVER CONTROVERSY STIRRED BY "DOCTOR OF PAIN" On the previous Friday, immediately following Super Grand Melee's July and August tour, Burt Hudson traveled to Texas to defend his IPWA International Heavyweight Title at Titan Pro Wrestling's major event, MAYHEM. In a brawl-heavy match lasting 22 minutes, Hudson emerged victorious against the highly talented 22-year-old Rex "Big Bubba" Barnett. Both companies have agreed to regularly hold cross-country title defenses under the umbrella of the International Pro Wrestling Alliance, making the titleholder a classic wandering champion. However, Hudson's reception in Texas was mixed after he attacked his opponent and then mocked TPW's roster and audience during the weekly show, WRESTLING AT THE ARMOURY, leading up to the title match. ■ MEMORIAL SHOW FOR YOSHINAKA TOSHUSAI | KYOTO ARENA TO HOST EVENT ON SEPTEMBER 07 In July, the wrestling world mourned the unexpected passing of Yoshinaka Toshusai, one of the country's most successful heavyweight wrestlers. During day #7 of SGM's LIMIT BREAK SERIES, the event was briefly interrupted to deliver the sad news to the attending audience and to hold a spontaneous ten-bell salute. An official Memorial Show for Toshusai is now scheduled, with wrestlers from various promotions paying their respects to the late legend. The event, organized by Burning Hammer Of The Wrestling Gods, will take place on September 7, 2022, at the historic Kyoto Arena in Toshusai's chosen hometown of Kyoto. ■ YOSHIZAWA AND MIURA LEAVE SGM | DEPARTURE OF BELOVED TAG TEAM LEAVES SGM WITH POTENTIAL VACANCIES During a press conference in Sendai, SGM owner Motoichi Arakida announced that Inejiro Yoshizawa and Noritoshi Miura will be leaving the company with immediate effect. The reason behind their departure is quite pleasing for them - they will be joining the roster of BHOTWG and showcasing their skills as a tag team there. Arakida expressed great regret over the departure of the two men, who will also be leaving behind Black Canvas Grappling in the process. Arakida stated that the transfer will not affect the friendly relationship between SGM and BHOTWG, as, according to him, an agreement had been reached behind the scenes, benefiting both sides. He did not disclose further details to the gathered press representatives. Yoshizawa and Miura were highly popular among SGM's audience, with their martial face paint and spiked shoulder armor. They made history by simultaneously holding and defending the BCG World Tag Team Titles and SGM Strongest Tag Team Titles. They recently reached the finals of the World's Strongest Doubles Grand Prix, where they were defeated by Burt Hudson and Bam Bam Bundy, subsequently losing their belts to them as well. Arakida stated that a replacement is not ruled out, but currently not specifically planned. ■ ISHINOMORI RETURNS | COLOSSUS REJOINS AFTER SURPRISE DEPARTURE FROM PGHW After precisely two years, Pride Glory Honor Wrestling has unexpectedly parted ways with Sozen Ishinomori. Motoichi Arakida announced in a press release Ishinomori's return to SGM. The charismatic colossus, originally trained in the Golden Dojo, joined SGM in January 2020, only to depart from the company after just seven months. At PGHW, he achieved victory in the Elite Tag Team Series tournament alongside Seiji Jimbo. During a two-month injury hiatus, he also served as a color commentator for the league, significantly boosting his popularity in Japan during that time. Arakida referred to the 32-year-old as a significant acquisition for SGM, expressing hope that Ishinomori would make the company his permanent home this time.
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