This will be the biggest wrestling event of the year and the matches should be incredible.
The card is now finally coming together since the last thread we had on it (at the end of April) when only Misawa vs Kawada and Kobashi vs Sasaki were announced.
They are on their way to a legit sell-out (55,000 plus) and the crowd will be salivating for Misawa vs Kawada.
Matches announced to date:
Mitsuharu Misawa vs. Toshiaki Kawada (All Japan) Kawada has been tremendous as of late. His Triple Crown match with Satoshi Kojima on 2/16 (match of the year candidate along with Angle/HBK) proved he is still one of the best workers in the world. I also feel Misawa will be tremendous in this match. He's 42 (as is Kawada), but Misawa has proved recently in his 7/18 Sumo Hall match with Kojima and the 4/25 tag match against KENTA & Marufuji (both among the best five matches of 2004) that he's still capable of generating pure electricity in the ring like no other. Misawa's last ***** singles match was with Kobashi on the 3/1/03 NOAH Budokan show. With the emotion and intensity of facing Kawada coupled with the enormous crowd this could be a classic.
Kenta Kobashi vs. Kensuke Sasaki (New Japan) This will be a stiff, brutally physical war. These two are meeting for the first time. Sasaki won many awards last year in the Japanese press for MVP (with excellent matches carrying New Japan). Kobashi was the near unanimous choice for Wrestler of the Year as he was the GHC Title holder all 2004 and had the two best matches of the year (MOTY winner from the 7/10 Tokyo Dome show vs Jun Akiyama and the 4/25 match vs Yoshihiro Takayama). You'll probably see more chops, lariats, German and Northern Lights suplexes in twenty five minutes than you'll have seen all year.
GHC Heavyweight Title: Takeshi Rikio vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi (New Japan) Rikio has not been over with the fans since his huge win over Kobashi to win the GHC Title on 3/5. His reign has been fairly lackluster in the eyes of the fans, but he's an excellent wrestler with a strong work ethic and a physical style. Following Kobashi is an impossible task for anyone, but it's tougher for Rikio because he's not an established commodity to the fans as compared to previous GHC Title holders (Kobashi, Takayama, Misawa, Akiyama). Tanahashi is one of New Japan's young guns and is one of the modern "Three Musketeers" (the original group being Mutoh, Chono and Hashimoto) and this is truly his biggest match ever. It should prove an interesting match and with Rikio working against a wrestler from New Japan, he should finally have the full support of the fans.
GHC Jr. Heavyweight Title: Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. KENTA KENTA is one of the most exciting, physical wrestlers in working today. He spent the last two years as one-half of the best tag team in the world with Naomichi Marufuji, where they had many MOTY candidates. KENTA is stepping up more toward singles competition and the Heavyweight division as evidenced by his incredible Seven Match Trial Series last year (with **** matches vs Juvi, Ogawa, Akiyama, Misawa, Kobashi, Takayama and Marufuji). Kanemaru is probably the most underrated worker in wrestling today and always has smoking matches. This will be off the charts.
Genichiro Tenryu vs. Yoshinari Ogawa Tenyru is the grumpiest and meanest old bastard on the planet. Ogawa was a young disciple of Tenyru going way back. Tenyru works incredibly stiff and Ogawa will be getting physically devastated beyond description in this one. They should have an ambulance on standby.
GHC Tag Team Title: Minoru Suzuki (Pancrasse) & Naomichi Marufuji vs Jun Akiyama & Takeshi Morishima The rumor is that Too Cold Scorpio & Doug Williams (current GHC Tag Team Title holders) will be dropping the belts to Marufuji & Suzuki on the 6/18 show in England. This sets up a match with Akiyama and Morishima.
Low-Ki, SUWA, Go Shiosaki, Ricky Marvin, Takashi Sugiura & Makoto Hashi in some combination could have an insane six-man tag match.
GHC Hardcore Openweight Title: Mohammed Yone vs. Akira Taue Taue has got to be somewhere and drilling Yone in the face with the big boot should make everybody happy.
**Edit note 6/19: Marufuji & Suzuki won the GHC Tag Titles on 6/18
(edited by NickBockwinkelFan on 19.6.05 1641) "Well, you can't involve friendship with business. It has to be one or the other. It's either business or friendship, or hit the bricks!" --Life Lessons from Bobby the Brain Heenan WCW Uncensored 2000 preview
Generalissimo Takada's Energy Beverage Provides Maximum Nourishment!
Since the usual suspects (Meltzer et al) appear to have let this news pass them by, I thought I'd post it here. It appears that Hell in a Cell drew approximately 210,000 buys and Bragging Rights drew approx. 140,000 buys.