* In the days following the historic KANSAI PRO-WRESTLING FESTIVAL on May 31st, news has slowly begun to trickle out through various sources over the last 24 hours. During a scheduled press conference held this morning, Kingdom of Japan Pro-Wrestling finally touched on a number of reports, along with revealing news of their own.
The top story many in Japan are talking about was the announcement from EXODUS Pro-Wrestling that their prestigious HONOR CUP invitational tournament would feature FOUR representatives from the Major League of Japanese Pro-Wrestling -- Kingdom of Japan Pro-Wrestling.
The first participant confirmed for the tournament was KJPW trueborn SHINJI UCHIKAWA. Since mid-2013, Shinji has been competing for EXODUS Pro-Wrestling after spending time in their developmental promotion known as (r)EVOLUTION Wrestling. In his time there, he has already captured gold after winning the Pacific Coast Championship, and looks to further line his resume with the prominent tournament crown. While Shinji ultimately plans to return to Japan, he is technically representing EXODUS in the tournament -- after signing a full-time contract with the promotion during KJPW's period of inactivity last year. However, he remains a spiritual representative nonetheless.
The next participant announced was somebody very familiar with Shinji -- "Mr. HARD BODY" TSUTOMU NISHIOKA. Debuting alongside Shinji in 2013, Nishioka has gone his own path with Shinji discovering himself in America. Embracing his outside interests, Nishioka developed the "Mr. Hard Body" character based on his love of body building and nutrition. Since "re-debuting," Nishioka has already caused waves after aligning himself with TWO less-than-reputable tag teams -- Double Goodwin and OSAKA WILD STYLE, almost always guaranteeing somebody is there to watch his back. The rumor however is that Nishioka plans to leave his bodyguards in Japan... Well, aside from one man...
This takes us to participant #3 -- JAMES GOODWIN Jr. of DOUBLE GOODWIN. Indeed, one of Nishioka's hired muscle will make the overseas trip with him. However, one would think Goodwin may be more focused with the tournament as a participant rather than securing Nishioka's success. This may be one of many storylines to play out over the event scheduled for June 22nd in Las Vegas.
Finally announced as participating in the tournament was indeed a surprise to many, as the Living Legend GENJI YAMATO will enter the tournament! Representing both KJPW and ~FIGHTING LOVE!~, Yamato will take on possibly his biggest endeavor since his comeback to active competition. Accompanying him will be his young ward Kohei Obata, who will likely compete on the 6/22 event in a non-tournament match.
Earlier this morning, the tournament brackets were officially released -- revealing the first round match-ups.
Interestingly enough, the first round will pit Shinji Uchikawa against "Mr. Hard Body" Tsutomu Nishioka in a rematch of their 4/17 bout. Since failing to lift the Pacific Coast Title from Shinji, Nishioka has gained major momentum since aligning himself with Double Goodwin and OSAKA WILD STYLE -- including a pinfall victory over Hiroaki Nakata. Upon learning the pairings, "Mr. Hard Body" stated the match up was "fate," along with further comments relating to Shinji's girlfriend.
The tournament -- which allows for men AND women to compete against one another. As a result, James Goodwin Jr.'s first round opponent will be a woman by the name of Sally Talford -- most notable for being a former EXODUS Tag Team Champion.
Finally, Genji Yamato will face one of EXODUS's top stars, Aries Reed in his first round match-up. The match has extra significance as Aries Reed meets Yamato again in July (more on that below.)
What this means for the upcoming KING OF THE SUPER Jr. series is these five men will be missing respective dates. Yamato, Obata, and Nishioka will embark for the United States following the 6/19 Korakuen Hall event. James Goodwin Jr. will remain to work the 6/20 and 6/21 tour dates in Saitama and Aichi before leaving for Las Vegas. Following the first round of the EXODUS Wrestling HONOR CUP on 6/22, Yamato, Obata, and Nishioka will remain until 7/03 where they will return to Japan in time for the KING OF THE SUPER Jr. Finals on 7/05. James Goodwin Jr. on the other hand will return promptly following the EXODUS event on 6/22, and will finish the rest of the KING OF THE SUPER Jr. series on 6/24 in Osaka.
* In addition, more news involving KJPW and EXODUS Wrestling was announced as the company -- along with KJPW Deputy Director Go Taniguchi announced the card for the sequel to its successful joint collaborative event from 2013 -- EXODUS KINGDOM.2.
Eight bouts were announced in all, with the top of the card featuring the participations of Genji Yamato and KAZUMA FUJITA! While their partner has yet to be named, they will face arguably the three most hated men in EXODUS -- Aries Reed, GRENDEL, and Japanese-born SHOZO. Together, the trio form the stable known simply as REVOLUTION. Other matches include a Champion vs. Champion match of sorts as WWA National Heavyweight Champion Norihiro Akashi meets the [R]EVOLUTION Champion Carey Caldwell. While neither titles are scheduled to be on the line, which could easily change between now and then. In addition, Tetsuhisa NAKAI and Hiroaki Nakata will pair up to face current EXODUS World Champion Chris Strike and former KJPW star, the "Big Boss" CHIKAO KESSIN! The match came as something of a request by Nakata himself, who has issues with The Big Boss stemming from 4/17.
In something of a surprise, the HEC Women's Championship returns to prominence as Fiona Rourke -- now Fiona Collins defends the championship she won in early 2014 in a return bout against Miyabi Fujita. While no longer contracted to KJPW, she will attempt to return to the championship back to Japan.
The full card can be seen below. Further developments are expected over the coming weeks on EXODUS TV.
KJPW/EXODUS Pro-Wrestling DREAM COLLABORATION,
EXODUS KINGDOM.2 ~ WEST COAST ATTACK
July 13, 2015
San Diego, CA - RIMAC Arena (5,000)
1. Caleb Storm [REVO], ATSUKA [KJPW] & Yoshihiro Shimoda [KJPW] vs. Simon Raines [REVO], Kyoto Okazaki [KJPW] & Kazuki Sendo [KJPW]
2. [R]EVOLUTION VERSUS KJPW: Daniel Lanning vs. Kohei Obata
3. [R]EVOLUTION VERSUS KJPW: Anderson Cobalt [REVO] vs. Jet Jaguar [KJPW]
4. EXODUS VERSUS KJPW: Christian Kane [EXODUS] vs. “Mr. Hard Body” Tsutomu Nishioka [KJPW]
5. HEC Women’s Title: Fiona Collins [EXODUS] vs. Miyabi Fujita [FREE]
6. EXODUS VERSUS KJPW: Chris Strike [EXODUS] & “THE BIG BOSS” Chikao Kessin vs. Hiroaki Nakata [KJPW] & Tetsuhisa NAKAI [KJPW]
7. EXODUS VERSUS KJPW: "Nightmare Child" Norihiro Akashi [KJPW] vs. Carey Caldwell [REVO]
8. Kazuma Fujita [KJPW], Genji Yamato [KJPW] & X vs. Aries Reed [EXODUS], GRENDEL [EXODUS] & SHOZO [EXODUS]