Sunday, 22 January 2012

Cubed Circle Newsletter Issue #15: Bull Nakano Retirement Show Review, UFC 141: A Lesson Learned, Chris Jericho Part II and more!

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The Cubed Circle Newsletter

This week we have a pretty varied issue, from UFC and how it relates to professional wrestling to the Bull Nakano retirement show. This week’s issue also covers some thoughts on the Royal Rumble and who I think is most likely to win, some great pictures from the Bull Nakano retirement ceremony and more! As always feel free to send in any thoughts you had on the topics covered in this week’s newsletter, either in the comment section below or on Facebook or Twitter, you can find more contact information at the end of the newsletter.

UFC 141: A Lesson Learned

It’s been said a million times in this newsletter, this newsletter does not feature MMA coverage, but we keep coming back to it. Why do you think that is? The reason is simple MMA and professional wrestling are two sides of the same coin and if you don’t see this you are in denial.

No other show in the past couple of years proved this more than UFC 141: Aldo vs. Mendez, from the strength of the crowd, to the finishes and even the bad refereeing decisions, most of the things that made the show great were from the Big Book of Wrestling Tactics, whether it was intentional or not.  

When MMA was still in it’s infancy it learned from the promotional tactics used in professional wrestling, this was a major contributing factor to it’s success. Even promotions like PRIDE, who were formed for pro wrestlers like Sakuraba. All of them learned to build fights from professional wrestling, to the to the babyface heel dynamic that has been used countless times, to promos. These tactics will work in MMA and professional wrestling, because of the fact that they play off of intrinsic elements of human nature. Elements so built into the nature of humans and combat sports (scripted or non-scripted) that they can happen spontaneously like we saw at UFC 141.

Some of the events at UFC 141 didn’t even seem to be spontaneous, like in the Anthony Johnson vs. Vitor Belfort match, when the fight went to the ground or they were in the clinch the referee stood the fighters up. Which could have been because they were in Brazil and they boo when they go to the ground, or because they wanted Belfort to go over in Brazil. I would say it was the former, but even that proves something and that is the fact that the UFC is not a 100% sport.

Regardless the moments that were created at UFC 141 like the amazing knockouts and Aldo’s celebration, will be shown on countless highlight reels and TV promos and that is something that the WWE or any other wrestling promotion for that matter don’t have going for them at the moment. Sure the WWE will probably have some incredible footage to place in video packages, promos etc. after the Cena vs. Rock match and probably from the WrestleMania 29 mainevent too, but then what happens after that? 

Whether anyone would like to admit it or not, now is the time for wrestling to learn back what MMA learned from it and I don’t mean give everyone an MMA gimmick like some promotions are doing. I mean the simple dynamics that should be used in wrestling make wins and losses matter, have the championship be the most important thing in the promotion and book matches for a specific area just like the UFC did here. After all wrestling and MMA are cut from the same cloth, some of the major things that work for one will undoubtedly work for the other, that’s just the way it works.

Bull Nakano Produce Empress Retirement Show Thoughts

1. Aja Kong vs. Ayako Hamada

This was an enjoyable opener, with Hamada going over Kong in front of an older audience which was good to see, even though Kong really isn’t in the same position that she was in when these fans were following Joshi. There were some fun spots in the match, including a moonsault to the floor and a big powerbomb on Kong from Hamada. Hamada won the match with the Fisherman driver in 15:14.

2. Tag Team Match
AKINO & Maki Narumiya vs. Kayoko Haruyama & Ryo Mizunami

This match showed AKINO and Narumiya having trouble as a team and attempting to overcome it, but they could not. I thought that the ending spot was good, with AKINO missing the super kick and hitting it on Narumiya, setting up the finish. The match ended in 14:46 with Mizunami pinning Narumiya with a top rope leg drop.

4. 10 Man Tag Team Match
Dump Matsumoto, Kyoko Inoue, Leon , Sawako Shimono & Tsukushi vs. Cherry , Jaguar Yokota, Manami Toyota, Natsuki Taiyo & Tomoka Nakagawa

Everyone on Toyota’s team took a headshot with the metal bin from Dump Matsumoto. They brawled at ringside and the entire thing broke down, Matsumoto and Inoue were terrible, botching move after move and they could not take bumps very well. Luckily Toyota along with the other good workers saved the match from being horrid. Matsumoto’s team won the match in 16:15, when Kyoko Inoue hit a big powerbomb on
Cherry. They continued to brawl after the match, the brawling wasn’t really note worthy and didn’t really add anything to the match that I could see.
** ¼

5. Singles Match
Kagetsu vs. Kana

This was a really fun shoot style match, both of the women in the match exchanged armbars, various submissions and takedowns. They went back and forth up until the point where Kana locked in the dragon sleeper on the ground for the win in 11:23. Overall a very fun shoot match, that I would recommend just to see the shoot style pulled off so well.
*** ½

6. Six Man Tag Team Match
Emi Sakura, Meiko Satomura & Nanae Takahashi vs. Ayumi Kurihara, Tsukasa Fujimoto & Yoshiko
Definitely the best tag match on the show, it had a lot of unique spots like a double step up drop kick to the top rope and a double code breaker. Fujimoto hit some really stiff kicks, both teams shook hands at the end of the match after Sakura hit the Firebird Splash on Fujimoto for the win in 21:41.
*** ¼

7. Singles Match
Hikaru Shida vs. Yuzuki Aikawa

This match had shoot elements, but it definitely leaned towards the strong style side, rather than shoot. These two women were the only wrestlers on the show that had their entrances air and they really came across great and just with the entrances alone they got over the champion vs. champion aspect. The match was by far the best match on the show, with Aikawa hitting a big axe kick on Shida for the win in 15:11. Shida gave an emotional speech after the match.
*** ¾

The first Bull Nakano retrospective was shown, it featured the start of her career and early feuds.

The first match reenactment took place, it was a reenactment of Bull Nakano & Dump Matsumoto vs. Lioness Asuka & Chigusa Nagoya. It wasn’t the real Asuka and Nagoya, but just some random wrestlers wearing ridiculous masks. Nakano put on weight just for this appearance. The beginning of the match was reenacted, but they soon cut to clips of the actual match. They cut off at the dual submission spot and came back to the arena were Nakano got the win. These reenactments were good on the show, but I couldn’t help thinking that it was just a blatant disregard for kayfabe.
Bull Nakano Standing in the middle of the ring during the ten bell salute

Part two of the retrospective was shown featuring the next rendition of Nakano and the build to the chain match with Shinobu Kandori. Kandori made her entrance, she still looks completely in shape, then out came Nakano after Kandori was chained, the cosmetic work for the retirement ceremony was phenomenal. As Kandori was getting chocked with the chain in the arena by Nakano, they cut to the real footage once more. They cut back to the arena as Nakano and Kandori began to brawl into the crowd and the crowd actually got really into it. They cut back to the actual footage for the finish. They were then unchained and shook hands.

Part three of the retrospective was shown showing the build to the famous steel cage match with Aja Kong and one of the most memorable moments in Joshi history. Aja Kong made her entrance and so did Nakano. There was a segment of the cage that was set up in the corner, they then cut to the footage once again. When they cut back to the arena were Kong was choking Nakano, they used the same weapons they used in the match and then cut back to the real footage once again for the more intensive spots and the set up for the leg drop. When they cut back to the arena Nakano was on the top of the cage praying ,they obviously cut to archive footage for the leg drop, but it was still pulled off amazingly well. Phenomenal work.

They showed the fourth and final retrospective focusing on the rest of her career and her retirement match against Kong. They came back to were she handed the belt over to Kong and Kong grabbed the mic and reenacted what I can only assume was the same promo, which I thought was a bit odd.

Nakano was then standing in the ring as we had a ten bell salute for her old life and her new life was brought in, in the form of her real wedding ceremony.

Overall Show Thoughts

Wrestling wise this wasn’t the best show in the world, there was some really good stuff on the show like the Hikaru Shida vs. Yuzuki Aikawa match, which I would recommend, but there was nothing world beating. However the Nakano retirement ceremony really was one of the best retirement ceremonies I have ever seen, possibly better than Ric Flair’s on Raw. The production was incredible, the reenactments were amazing and the way that everything just fell together was great.

Apparently Nakano is thinking about a backstage or PR role which could really help revive Joshi and is a massive positive. I would suggest that anyone who hasn’t seen the show already check it out, even if you just catch the Nakano retirement.

The Chris Jericho Angle Part II

I thought that the Jericho angle was pulled off really well this week, having him walk out on his partners further cemented his selfishness, without turning him into a full blown heel in the eyes of the casual fans just yet.

I think it will be very interesting to see where they go from here and where the inevitable conclusion on the angle lies. One think that I am sure of is that with Jericho behind the wheel of this angle, I think we are in for an interesting ride

The Royal Rumble 2012 Thoughts

Men most likely to win the rumble in order:

1. Randy Orton
2. Chris Jericho
3. Dolf Ziggler
4. Mystery Man

I think that this year’s Rumble is important, not because of the stage that it is on, but because the Rumble is at risk of losing it’s importance. Since the 2007 Rumble where Undertaker won and went on to win the World Heavyweight Championship from Batista at WrestleMania 27, the Royal Rumble winner has not been victorious at WrestleMania. And besides the winner of last year’s Royal Rumble, Alberto Del Rio, they have all been mainevent stars who didn’t really need the Rumble win anyway.

I think that Orton is the most likely candidate to win the Royal Rumble this year, it is in his hometown of St. Louis and they seem to be keeping him off of TV to build to his entrance in the Royal Rumble. I don’t think that Orton winning the Rumble is necessarily the best move, but if Bryan still is the World Heavyweight Champion by the time Mania comes around, they should have one hell of a match.

I think that Chris Jericho also stands a good chance of winning, many people have thought of possible scenarios where Jericho takes a very long time to complete his entrance and then by the time he get’s to the ring it will have emptied substantially. I think that since Jericho is still a returning face that has been off of TV for a couple of years, I think that it could work.

Even though Ziggler is in the championship match on the PPV, it seems that they went out of their way to point out that anyone former champions and challengers from the PPV can enter the Rumble. Since he is already in the title picture as of right now, I think that it would be a good move to have him be seen in the title picture with this match, lose the match and then go on to mainevent Mania. Of course Ziggler is the heel and this is more of a face angle, but I think that they could make it work pretty easily.

A mystery man is a possibility and some inside sources have said that there is a possibility of someone that isn’t a part of the roster as of now winning the Rumble. I don’t know if it would be the best idea in the world, given that you already have the return of the Rock and Jericho, but I see them possibly going that way.  

Next Week’s Issue

Next week we will be covering the go home show for the Royal Rumble, the TNA Genesis Buyrate, all the news from the week, and more. For more information on next week’s issue and the Cubed Circle Wrestling Newsletter head over to 

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