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Tsuyoshi Kohsaka will make his in-ring debut this Sunday at HEAT OF BATTLE, in what will be the first UWF Rules tag match in U-COSMOS. Kohsaka made it clear from the start his cross-hairs are on Kazushi Sakuraba, and he'll at least get the chance to lock up with him as Sakubara teams with Yoshihisa Yamamoto against Kohsaka and Mikhail Illoukhine. Tully Blanchard will be representing both TK and Illoukhine. Per the rules of the match, tag partners are not able to enter the ring unless legally tagged in - any infraction will result in a yellow card, and a second will result in a red card (DQ). Otherwise, the standard UWF rule set remains the same. 

U-COSMOS “HEAT OF BATTLE”, 8/30/00
Tokyo Nippon Budokan

1. UWF Rules: Masakatsu Funaki vs. Kazunari Murakami
2. UWF Rules: Brock Lesnar (w/ Tully Blanchard) vs. Kiyoshi Tamura
3. Tatsumi Fujinami  vs. Yoshiaki Fujiwara
4. UWF Rules: Kazushi Sakuraba & Yoshihisa Yamamoto vs. Tsuyoshi Kohsaka & Mikhail Illoukhine (w/ Tully Blanchard)
5. Toshiaki Kawada vs. Shinya Hashimoto
6.  UWF Rules: Ken Shamrock vs. Minoru Suzuki

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Yoshihiro Takayama | Views from the Hawke's Nest | Page 2

The Golden Cups (Yoshihiro Takayama, Hiromitsu Kanehara and Kenichi Yamamoto) will be making their official in-ring debut this Sunday in a six-man tag match against the team of Yuji Nagata, Kazuo Yamazaki and Katsuyori Shibata. While no other matches are being announced at this time, other names expected to be in competition include Jun Akiyama, Kensuke Sasaki, and Hiroshi Hase. 

U-COSMOS “HEAT OF BATTLE”, 8/30/00
Tokyo Nippon Budokan

1. UWF Rules: Masakatsu Funaki vs. Kazunari Murakami
2. Yoshihiro Takayama, Hiromitsu Kanehara & Kenichi Yamamoto vs. Yuji Nagata, Kazuo Yamazaki & Katsuyori Shibata
3. UWF Rules: Brock Lesnar (w/ Tully Blanchard) vs. Kiyoshi Tamura
4. Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Yoshiaki Fujiwara
5. UWF Rules: Kazushi Sakuraba & Yoshihisa Yamamoto vs. Tsuyoshi Kohsaka & Mikhail Illoukine (w/ Tully Blanchard)
6. Toshiaki Kawada vs. Shinya Hashimoto
7. UWF Rules: Ken Shamrock vs. Minoru Suzuki
 

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A young Minoru Suzuki : SquaredCircle

U-COSMOS first major show of the year, HEAT OF BATTLE, brought approximately 13,600 fans into Budokan. The show opened with the parade of competitors, as well as a joint speech by Nobuhiko Takada and Akira Maeda, namely thanking the fans for their support, but also confirming that the tournament for the U-COSMOS Crown would officially kick off next month. In order to allow for the most competition, the tournament will feature 32 entry slots and a list of participants is expected to be released in the coming days. 

The show opened in bloody, chaotic fashion as Masakatsu Funaki and Kazunari Murakami battled it out under UWF Rules. Murakami was hesitant to lock up with the veteran, Funaki, pacing around the ring, sneering at Funaki, sidestepping low kick attempts. Eventually, he caught Funaki with an unexpected spinning backhand and immediately tried to cinch in a rear naked choke on the mat. Funaki was able to counter out of it and the match transitioned into a much more strike-heavy affair. At one point, Murakami caught Funaki in the brow with an elbow strike that cut him open and earned Murakami a yellow card. But that only further pissed off Funaki, who blasted Murakami with high kicks to the head. Murakami was able to recover but became more desperate and when cornered, he lunged at Funaki with a closed fist, connecting and downing him momentarily. This led to Murakami front mounting him and just pummeling him with closed fists, referee Kyohei Wada not only throwing out the red card but also throwing himself onto Murakami as the bell rang. Murakami left with Funaki’s blood on his face, leering at the carnage left in the ring.

The Golden Cups made their official in-ring debut in a six-man tag match against the team of Yuji Nagata, Kazuo Yamazaki and Katsuyori Shibata. All three members of Golden Cups had opportunities to showcase their talent, with leader Yoshihiro Takayama ragdolling Shibata with suplexes, Hiromitsu Kanehara going toe-to-toe with Yamazaki with stiff kicks, and Kenichi Yamamoto taking it to the mat with Nagata. Solid action that ended with Takayama pinning Shibata with a high-angle German suplex hold. 

In a much faster paced match, Minoru Tanaka and Naoki Sano took on Shinjiro Ohtani and Koji Kanemoto. Plenty of hard-hitting strikes mixed with a few big dives and suplex throws. Sano and Ohtani had some memorable exchanges, and at one point, Ohtani and Kanemoto hit double face washes on Tanaka. The fans seemed to rally behind Ohtani in particular but Minoru wasn’t a fan of the reaction, and began mouthing off to the crowd. The finishing stretch between he and Kanemoto was super heated, with the two just pelting each other with kicks until Tanaka stunned him with the solebutt and capitalized with the Minoru Special for the win. Backstage, the two were greeted by Jun Akiyama, who seemed impressed with their victory. 

This, of course, led to his tag match with Tamon Honda against Hiroshi Hase and Masanobu Fuchi. This was a much more calculating affair, with Akiyama and Honda trying to isolate Fuchi, turning him into the face in peril as the fans chanted for Hase. While Akiyama maintained his more aggressive demeanor, Honda also showed a more ruthless side to himself and was especially nasty on the mat, keeping holds locked in even after rope breaks. While Hase finally got the big tag and managed a couple of signature spots, including a few ura-nages and a Giant Swing on Honda, the damage had already been done and Akiyama was able to submit Fuchi with the front necklock. 

An overly confident Brock Lesnar, led to the ring by Tully Blanchard, carried that attitude into his match against the cooler, calmer Kiyoshi Tamura. While Tamura was the quicker of the two, able to evade Lesnar’s grappling and cut at the legs with snappy low kicks, Lesnar’s speed was very impressive for his size. The kicks seemed to frustrate him as he wasn’t able to get in close enough for a suplex, which seemed to be his strategy. When Lesnar was finally able to take Tamura down with the fireman’s carry, he tried to use his size to keep Tamura pinned down. But Tamura was slippery and Lesnar couldn’t quite take advantage of the situation. He finally hit a big overhead suplex and rushed in with a knee strike that kept Tamura down for eight. But when he tried for his German suplex, Tamura was able to land on his feet. He reacted with a high kick to the back of Lesnar’s head and a second to the side of it, causing the beast to fall. He then rolled through with a double wristlock but before he could fully cinch it in, Blanchard threw in the towel for his client. Backstage, Lesnar was fuming and Blanchard explained that the referee should’ve been harder on Tamura for using “illegal strikes”. Lesnar said this wasn’t over and stormed off. 

Kensuke Office (Kensuke Sasaki, Alexander Otsuka and Takehiro Murahama) took on Suzuki-gun (Kazuyuki Fujita, Daisuke Ikeda and Kendo Kashin) in six-man tag team action. The emphasis of the match was placed on Sasaki and Fujita’s interaction, as the two bulls went at it right from the start. Otsuka and Ikeda had some pretty stiff exchanges, and Murahama got some shine in against the pesky Kashin, taking him out at ringside with a beautiful somersault plancha. Murahama, however, was the underdog of the match and an easy target for Suzuki-gun, as they tried to keep him from his corner. But once Otsuka got the tag, he went suplex crazy in the ring, which ultimately set up the finish for Sasaki, turning Kashin inside out with the lariat for the win. 

In an old-school, mat-heavy contest, Tatsumi Fujinami, accompanied by Osamu Nishimura, wrestled Yoshiaki Fujiwara, accompanied by Yuki Ishikawa. Fujiwara utilized his catch-as-catch-can approach while Fujinami leaned heavily into MUGA style. The fans seemed to really appreciate the level of detail that went into the match, where not a single strike was thrown (well, minus Fujiwara teasing a headbutt) and the reversals came out of nowhere. Fujiwara tried numerous times to lock in his Fujiwara armbar and likewise, Fujinami kept after the dragon sleeper. In a neat moment, Fujinami had Fujiwara in a full nelson, attempting perhaps a dragon suplex but Fujiwara was able to counter out, rolling Fujinami into his signature leg-trap armbar. But when he tried to transition into the wakigatame, Fujinami caught him in the grounded dragon sleeper and submitted him. The two kneeled and bowed after the match, showing mutual respect as the crowd applauded. 

In the first UWF Rules tag match, Tsuyoshi Kohsaka made his debut alongside Mikhail Illoukhine against Kazushi Sakuraba and Yoshihisa Yamamoto. The fans were eager to see Sakuraba and TK mix it up but the interactions were kept to a minimum as TK mostly was able to showcase his skills against Yamamoto. And likewise, Sakuraba shined against Illoukhine. But those brief interactions between TK and Sakuraba were full of action, both standing and on the mat. At one point, Sakuraba had TK in a triangle choke but TK was able to turn that into a jujigatame, forcing Sakuraba to use a rope break. TK picked up the win for his team when he submitted Yamamoto with his patented TK Scissors. Afterwards, TK challenged Sakuraba to a match. Sakuraba nodded in approval as Blanchard applauded his clients ringside.

In the semi-main, Toshiaki Kawada and Shinya Hashimoto put on an absolute slugfest, with Kawada’s world-class selling really building to his eventual comeback and victory over Hashimoto. But it took him plenty of time to get there, as he fought through DDTs and roundhouse kicks and even countered Hashimoto’s brainbuster with one of his own. Kawada caught him with an elbow in the corner, which busted Hashimoto’s nose, and kept on attacking the nose, using those swift little punt kicks to further aggravate Hashimoto. Hashimoto kicked out of a gamengiri and a folding powerbomb, escaped the Stretch Plum but in the end, he couldn’t survive a brutal backdrop driver. Kawada addressed the fans after the match, announcing that he would be entering the tournament for the U-COSMOS Crown. 

As expected, Ken Shamrock and Minoru Suzuki tore each other apart in the main event, with none of Suzuki-gun present during the match. Shamrock was the dominant striker in the match, with Suzuki mostly playing defense early on, trying to avoid the swipes in order to get a single leg takedown and force a submission on the mat. But Shamrock wouldn’t let up, backing Suzuki into corners and even forcing him to use rope breaks in order to get the restart. On the mat, Shamrock kept after the leg, using kneebars, leglocks, and trying to secure the ankle hold long enough to tap Suzuki. But Suzuki was wily, kept slipping through Shamrock’s fingers, going after the arm and also various chokeholds. Suzuki popped Shamrock hard with a palm strike, and when it staggered him, Suzuki unleashed his biggest barrage of the match, knocking Shamrock down for a seven count after a high knee. But Shamrock came back hard at Suzuki, and nearly had him beat after a high kick to the head. But when he tried to finish him on the ground, Suzuki snuck in with the rear naked choke, cinched it in. Shamrock refused to tap but succumbed to the hold, passing out in defeat. After the match, Suzuki-gun came down to the ring to celebrate, as Suzuki declared himself the baddest man in U-COSMOS and the only one worthy of holding the U-COSMOS Crown. 

 

U-COSMOS “HEAT OF BATTLE”, 8/30/00
Tokyo Nippon Budokan
13,600 Fans

1. UWF Rules: Masakatsu Funaki beat Kazunari Murakami (8:26) by disqualification.
2. Yoshihiro Takayama, Hiromitsu Kanehara & Kenichi Yamamoto beat Yuji Nagata, Kazuo Yamazaki & Katsuyori Shibata (10:45) when Takayama used a high-angle German suplex hold on Shibata.
3. Minoru Tanaka & Naoki Sano beat Shinjiro Ohtani & Koji Kanemoto (9:10) when Tanaka used the Minoru Special on Kanemoto.
4. Jun Akiyama & Tamon Honda beat Hiroshi Hase & Masanobu Fuchi (11:08) when Akiyama used a front necklock on Fuchi.
5. UWF Rules: Kiyoshi Tamura beat Brock Lesnar (w/ Tully Blanchard) (13:34) when Blanchard threw in the towel.
6. Kensuke Sasaki, Alexander Otsuka & Takehiro Murahama beat Kazuyuki Fujita, Daisuke Ikeda & Kendo Kashin (12:57) when Sasaki used the lariat on Kashin.
7. Tatsumi Fujinami (w/ Osamu Nishimura) beat Yoshiaki Fujiwara (w/ Yuki Ishikawa) (14:26) with the grounded dragon sleeper.
8. UWF Rules: Tsuyoshi Kohsaka & Mikhail Illoukhine beat Kazushi Sakuraba & Yoshihisa Yamamoto (15:01) when Kohsaka used the TK Scissors on Yamamoto.
9. Toshiaki Kawada beat Shinya Hashimoto (21:43) with the backdrop driver.
10. UWF Rules: Minoru Suzuki beat Ken Shamrock (18:47) with the rear naked choke.
 

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Wow. Certainly didn't expect Tully to throw the towel for Brock here. I know he's still young but Brock cannot be pleased with that outcome!

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Damn, I have to say that first match got things off to quite a hectic start!  What intensity and what an ending to get the fans hyped up for the rest.  Great choice to open this card up.

Wow, I didn't see Lesnar going down that way, either, but he is a young gun and might have been in a little over his head, or maybe Tully has a plan.  Or maybe there is more going on here.  This will be fun to keep track of.

They don't always come out on the winning end, but I still really like the Suzuki-gun faction.  I feel like they are the type of group you can build and work with and don't need the win every time to stay legit.

Fujinami/Fujiwara sounds like a really fun match to watch, my style.  I love that there were no strikes and it was pure grappling from two masters of the art.

Loved the main event.  I am glad you are the one that got Ken Shamrock as you can utilize his skillset to the fullest without the limitations put on by the American style of wrestling.  Both guys came away strong in this one, but Suzuki looks pretty badass right now.

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Nobuhiko Takada vs. Mark Coleman, Pride 5 | MMA Bout | Tapology

The tournament to determine the inaugural holder of the U-COSMOS Crown will commence this Saturday, 9/5, at Korakuen Hall. Akira Maeda and Nobuhiko Takada held a press conference from the downtown Tokyo office to discuss the tournament in depth. The tournament will take place over the next two months, with the finals set to conclude at the end of October. This will also mark the promotion's first tour outside of Tokyo as U-COSMOS will travel to Osaka and Kobe. The rules of the tournament are simple - 32-man single elimination with the first round being split evenly between standard pro-wrestling and UWF Rules. During the subsequent rounds, the rule set will be chosen at random, to ensure neither competitor has an advantage going into the match. Once a winner has been crowned, all future challenges for the crown will be fought under a rule set chosen by the top contender. The month of September will see all first round matches taking place, and while a list of competitors wasn't revealed, the first night's match-ups were confirmed, including a huge match to kick things off as Tsuyoshi Kohsaka will get his wish in facing Kazushi Sakuraba under UWF Rules.

U-COSMOS “U-COSMOS Crown Tournament Night 1”, 9/5/00
Tokyo Korakuen Hall

U-COSMOS Crown Tournament - Round 1: Brock Lesnar (w/ Tully Blanchard) vs. Takehiro Murahama (w/ Kensuke Sasaki)
U-COSMOS Crown Tournament - Round 1 - UWF Rules: Alexander Otsuka vs. Masayuki Naruse 
U-COSMOS Crown Tournament - Round 1: Jun Akiyama vs. Osamu Nishimura
U-COSMOS Crown Tournament - Round 1 - UWF Rules: Tsuyoshi Kohsaka (w/ Tully Blanchard) vs. Kazushi Sakuraba

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Lot of happenings here in Tokyo. I am interested to see how the UWF rules matches are adapted by the others. I like Sakuraba's chances here.  He is someone I have some knowledge of but I won't be surprised if Brock makes a run although his last showing wasn't great. I'd be interested to see what brock would do if someone did throw int he towel for him... perhaps he shows he doesn't need that and can continue...

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I love love love Lesnar’s story so far. The arrogance of him thinking he could just walk through someone like Tamura is the perfect first loss, and that is a huge money rivalry. I really want him vs. Han too, that could be special.

These shows are always loaded beyond belief, and I’m always excited for the next update.

 

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I love the idea for the longform tournament.  It gives you such a chance to build up each contender, that by the time we get a few rounds in, the drama and tension should be through the roof!

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Thanks for the feedback! The idea behind the longer tournament was to give the majority of the roster a shot at the title. Especially with the UWF Rules format, anything can happen in the match. And yeah, the story between Lesnar/Tamura is far from over...in my mind, this is the 2000's version of Vader/Takada.

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Pride Grand Prix 2000 Opening Igor Vovchanchyn vs Alexander Otsuka opening  - YouTube

The first night of the U-COSMOS Crown Tournament opened with an exciting six-man tag match with the team of Shinjiro Ohtani, Koji Kanemoto and Naohiro Hoshikawa defeating Minoru Tanaka, Naoki Sano and Tamon Honda following a Spiral Bomb from Ohtani on Sano. Ohtani looked impressive, getting in a lot of offense and coming away with some big momentum, as he revealed backstage that he’s scheduled for a first round match in the tournament. 

Although Brock Lesnar was handed his first loss by Kiyoshi Tamura, he didn’t let that discourage him as he made rather short work of Takehiro Murahama in the first round of the U-COSMOS Crown Tournament. Murahama, who was seconded by Sasaki, managed to stagger Lesnar with a few big kicks but perhaps bit off more than he could chew. When he tried to hook Lesnar’s arms for a tiger suplex, Lesnar powered out, turned Murahama inside out with a lariat, smirking at Kensuke ringside, before planting Murahama with the fold-up powerbomb for the pinfall. As Sasaki entered the ring to check on Murahama, Lesnar got into his face in a threatening manner, mouthing off about being the strongest in the promotion. Tully intervened before things got out of hand, and told Lesnar to relax.

In a UWF Rules tag match, Kiyoshi Tamura and Yoshihisa Yamamoto defeated Golden Cups’ Hiromitsu Kanehara and Kenichi Yamamoto when Tamura used the double wristlock on Kanehara. No nonsense shoot-style action, with Tamura and K. Yamamoto producing some very cool moments on the mat while Kanehara and Y. Yamamoto brought the intensity to their striking – Yamamoto with his open hands and Kanehara with his kicks. Backstage, Takayama revealed that both he and Yamamoto were entered into the tournament. 

In another UWF Rules match-up, this time as part of the tournament, Alexander Otsuka looked very impressive in his victory over Masayuki Naruse, deadlifting him off the mat with a dragon suplex for the KO. Prior to that, Naruse mostly kept his distance from Otsuka with strikes, at one point, knocking Otsuka down with a spinning backhand and trying to finish him off with a choke. Otsuka, however, combined his raw strength and speed to not only avoid Naruse’s submission attempts but also ragdolled him with a few suplex throws to set up the finish. 

Jun Akiyama wrestled Osamu Nishimura’s more mat-based style in another first round match-up. He used several amateur takedowns to try and grab hold of a front necklock but Nishimura was able to showcase a number of European counters to put Akiyama on the ropes. Fujinami, who seconded Nishimura, applauded Osamu’s efforts but in the end, Akiyama caught him with an Exploder out of nowhere and quickly secured the front necklock on the ground for the tap out. 

Minoru Suzuki and Kazuyuki Fujita teamed up against Yuji Nagata and Kazuo Yamazaki in a very hard-hitting tag match. Nagata and Suzuki especially went at it, laying into each other with hard slaps and elbows. Yamazaki fired off his big kicks and at one point, took the bigger Fujita down with a German suplex transitioned into an armbar. Of course, the other members of Suzuki-gun were at ringside and did what they could to ensure their leader got the win, isolating Nagata on the outside while Yamazaki was left prone to the Gotch-style piledriver back in the ring. 

The main event proved to be yet another shoot-style “dream match” as Kazushi Sakuraba and Tsuyoshi Kohsaka fought under UWF Rules for the very first time. Kohsaka overwhelmed Sakuraba at the outset with mid kicks and open hands, trying to wear him down for a submission on the ground. But with each attempt, Sakuraba was able to slickly escape the hold or reverse with a hold of his own. TK caught Sakuraba with a nasty kick to the side of the head that nearly had Sakuraba down for the count but he was able to make it back to his feet. In the move of the match, Sakuraba was able to block the TK Scissors attempt from the front mount and rolled through with the kneebar, forcing TK to submit in the center of the ring. 


U-COSMOS “U-COSMOS Crown Tournament Night 1”, 9/5/00
Tokyo Korakuen Hall
2,500 Fans
– Super No Vacancy Full House

1. Shinjiro Ohtani, Koji Kanemoto & Naohiro Hoshikawa beat Minoru Tanaka, Naoki Sano & Tamon Honda (9:12) when Ohtani used the Spiral Bomb on Sano.
2. U-COSMOS Crown Tournament - Round 1: Brock Lesnar (w/ Tully Blanchard) beat Takehiro Murahama (w/ Kensuke Sasaki) (9:49) with a folding powerbomb.
3. UWF Rules: Kiyoshi Tamura & Yoshihisa Yamamoto beat Hiromitsu Kanehara & Kenichi Yamamoto (w/ Yoshihiro Takayama) (7:56) when Tamura used the double wristlock on Kanehara.
4. U-COSMOS Crown Tournament - Round 1 - UWF Rules: Alexander Otsuka beat Masayuki Naruse (8:44) by KO (dragon suplex).
5. U-COSMOS Crown Tournament - Round 1: Jun Akiyama beat Osamu Nishimura (w/ Tatsumi Fujinami) (12:10) with a front necklock.
6. Minoru Suzuki & Kazuyuki Fujita beat Yuji Nagata & Kazuo Yamazaki (12:34) when Suzuki used the Gotch-style piledriver on Yamazaki.
7. U-COSMOS Crown Tournament - Round 1 - UWF Rules: Kazushi Sakuraba beat Tsuyoshi Kohsaka (w/ Tully Blanchard) (16:21) with a kneebar.
 

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And the long road to the U-Cosmos Crown is off and running!  Good show, your matches always have drama and almost always have some ambiguity as to who is going to win. 

Let's hope Tully has it in him to keep Lesnar's temper under control.  I wonder if a seed is being planted here.

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File:Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium.JPG - Wikimedia Commons

The remaining first round matches for the U-COSMOS Crown Tournament have been announced, with shows taking place in Osaka and Kobe. Second round match-ups will kick-off in October, with the finals to take place on Sunday, October 25th at Tokyo Nippon Budokan. Thus far, Jun Akiyama, Kazushi Sakuraba, Alexander Otsuka and Brock Lesnar have advanced to the second round. 

U-COSMOS “U-COSMOS Crown Tournament Night 2”, 9/12/00
Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium

U-COSMOS Crown Tournament - Round 1: Yoshihiro Takayama vs. Tamon Honda
U-COSMOS Crown Tournament - Round 1 - UWF Rules: Kiyoshi Tamura vs. Kenichi Yamamoto
U-COSMOS Crown Tournament - Round 1: Kensuke Sasaki vs. Shinjiro Ohtani
U-COSMOS Crown Tournament - Round 1 - UWF Rules: Kazuyuki Fujita vs. Yuji Nagata

U-COSMOS “U-COSMOS Crown Tournament Night 3”, 9/19/00
Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium

U-COSMOS Crown Tournament - Round 1 - UWF Rules: Volk Han vs. Carl Malenko
U-COSMOS Crown Tournament - Round 1: Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Yuki Ishikawa
U-COSMOS Crown Tournament - Round 1 - UWF Rules: Ken Shamrock vs. Mikhail Illoukhine 
U-COSMOS Crown Tournament - Round 1: Toshiaki Kawada vs. Yoshiaki Fujiwara

U-COSMOS “U-COSMOS Crown Tournament Night 4”, 9/26/00
Kobe World Hall

U-COSMOS Crown Tournament - Round 1 - UWF Rules: Daisuke Ikeda vs. Masakatsu Funaki
U-COSMOS Crown Tournament - Round 1: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Kazunari Murakami
U-COSMOS Crown Tournament - Round 1 - UWF Rules: Minoru Suzuki vs. Yoshihisa Yamamoto
U-COSMOS Crown Tournament - Round 1: Hiroshi Hase vs. Kazuo Yamazaki

 

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Flashback Friday: Hiroyoshi Tenzan versus Yuji Nagata, IWGP Heavyweight  Championship Tournament Quarterfinal, 1/4/01 | King of Sports

U-COSMOS made their Osaka debut in front of roughly 7,000 fans with the second night of the U-COSMOS Crown Tournament. The show opened with a first round match-up between Yoshihiro Takayama and Tamon Honda. While Takayama was the more physically imposing of the two, Honda schooled him on the mat when it came to takedowns and holds. The bigger Takayama was more vicious with the knees and open hands, trying to stagger Honda for a suplex throw, which he did a number of times. Honda was able to hit a German suplex off the ropes but it wasn’t enough to keep Takayama down and in the end, Takayama scooped him up with an impressive high-angle German suplex hold for the three count.

Suzuki-gun’s Minoru Suzuki, Kazunari Murakami and Kendo Kashin went up against Shinya Hashimoto, Naohiro Hoshikawa and Koji Kanemoto in hard-hitting six-man tag team action. Lots of brutal shots throughout, with Hashimoto and Suzuki getting some of the biggest reactions during their exchanges. But Murakami was especially nasty versus Hashimoto, continuing to attack him after Hashimoto had made a tag out and stood on the apron. Hashimoto eventually cleaned house and laid out Kashin with a big roundhouse kick for the pinfall. Backstage, Hashimoto and his team wished Shinjiro Ohtani luck in his tournament match against Kensuke Sasaki later in the night. 

Under UWF Rules, KiyoshI Tamura submitted Kenichi Yamamoto with a double wristlock in a rather competitive first round match. While Tamura was clearly the more skilled in terms of both his matwork and striking ability, Yamamoto was a constant thorn in his side, thwarting some of his submission attempts and trying at various points in the match to hang onto deep chokes. He landed a big running knee in the corner that kept Tamura down for an eight count but that was about as close as Yamamoto got before Tamura snagged the double wristlock to advance. 

In another mat-heavy affair, YoshiakI Fujiwara and Yuki Ishikawa emerged victorious in a tag match against Toshiaki Kawada and Masanobu Fuchi. Kawada didn’t get much time in the ring, as Fujiwara and Ishikawa spent the better half of it stretching Fuchi on the ground. But when Kawada was in there, he wasn’t playing Fujiwara-gumi’s games, and laid into both opponents with stiff kicks. They saved much in the way of Fujiwara/Kawada exchanges for their upcoming tournament match but in the end, Fujiwara tapped Fuchi with his patented armbar. 

Shinjiro Ohtani gave a hell of a fight to Kensuke Sasaki in their tournament match-up but in the end, Sasaki came away with the win after turning Ohtani inside out with his lariat. But Ohtani got in plenty of offense against Sasaki, including released dragon and German suplexes and a beautiful springboard DDT for a nearfall. He even got in his signature face washes before Sasaki went all boss mode on him with clobbering forearms, slams and suplexes, putting the final nail in the coffin with the lariat. Sasaki looked very strong in his win, and cut a promo after the match, thanking the Osaka fans for their support of the promotion and asking for their continued support as he moves onto the second round.

Ken Shamrock and Carl Malenko teamed for a UWF Rules tag match against Tsuyoshi Kohsaka and Mikhail Illoukhine, who were accompanied to the ring by Tully Blanchard. It was obvious TK was taking out his frustration of having been eliminated in the first round out on Malenko, as he kept him from making the tag to Shamrock. TK and Illoukhine kept making quick tags in and out as a way to conserve their energy, while making sure Malenko stayed down after big throws or hard strikes. When Shamrock was able to finally get in there, it was too little, too late, as the damage had been done and TK was able to quickly submit Malenko with the TK Scissors. Shamrock seemed pissed at Malenko for his performance. Backstage, Shamrock didn’t give the press anything but Blanchard sure was happy and was confident Illoukhine would beat Shamrock in the tournament. 

Plenty of blood was shed in the main event as Yuji Nagata and Kazuyuki Fujita battled it out under UWF Rules. This was a strike-centric match, with Fujita trying to sneak in illegal shots when he could, cutting Nagata open with a elbow to the eyebrow as Suzuki distracted the referee. Suzuki argued that Nagata was using illegal holds but referee Wada wasn’t having it and finally ejected Suzuki from ringside. Nagata returned the favor to Fujita, busting his nose with a big kick and shoot backdrop suplexing him onto his head. The fans were very vocal for Nagata and cheered him on as he fought for the armbar throughout the match, finally snapping it off with Fujita in the center of the ring. Fujita had no choice but to tap out. Kazuo Yamazaki celebrated with Nagata in the ring to close the show. 

 

U-COSMOS “U-COSMOS Crown Tournament Night 2”, 9/12/00
Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium
7,000 Fans
– No Vacancy

1. U-COSMOS Crown Tournament - Round 1: Yoshihiro Takayama (w/ Hiromitsu Kanehara) beat Tamon Honda (7:44) with a high-angle German suplex hold. 
2. Shinya Hashimoto, Koji Kanemoto & Naohiro Hoshikawa beat Minoru Suzuki, Kazunari Murakami & Kendo Kashin (9:48) when Hashimoto used a roundhouse kick on Kashin. 
3. U-COSMOS Crown Tournament - Round 1 - UWF Rules: Kiyoshi Tamura beat Kenichi Yamamoto (w/ Yoshihiro Takayama and Hiromitsu Kanehara) (8:23) with the double wristlock.
4. Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Yuki Ishikawa beat Toshiaki Kawada & Masanobu Fuchi (10:50) when Fujiwara used the Fujiwara armbar on Fuchi. 
5. U-COSMOS Crown Tournament - Round 1: Kensuke Sasaki beat Shinjiro Ohtani (14:24) with the lariat.
6. UWF Rules: Tsuyoshi Kohsaka & Mikhail Illoukhine (w/ Tully Blanchard) beat Ken Shamrock & Carl Malenko (12:59) when Kohsaka used the TK Scissors on Malenko. 
7. U-COSMOS Crown Tournament - Round 1 - UWF Rules: Yuji Nagata (w/ Kazuo Yamazaki) beat Kazuyuki Fujita (w/ Minoru Suzuki) (16:43) with jujigatame. 
 

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We all have our own different styles of shows and presentation, and I have to say U-Cosmos is the most purely wrestling driven promotion we have.  There is a very no-nonsense approach to your shows, and you continue to develop your characters primarily through their in-ring behaviors.  That is not neccessarily an easy thing to do.  Kudos.

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Takashi Sugiura

Tully Blanchard has acquired a new asset in his business venture, now being dubbed Blanchard International. The 30-year old amateur wrestling standout, Takashi Sugiura, is the latest name to join the ranks and according to Blanchard himself, Sugiura will be making his in-ring debut this Saturday in a tag team match with Brock Lesnar. Blanchard spoke very highly of Sugiura, stating that he's a natural when it comes to adapting to the pro-wrestling style. Sugiura spent some time in the All Japan Dojo prior to AJPW's closure but has since been working with Lesnar, Tsuyoshi Kohsaka and Mikhail Illoukhine to further refine his in-ring skills. When asked about Lesnar's recent loss to Kiyoshi Tamura, and why Blanchard threw the towel, Blanchard only responded that he was looking after the best interests of his client and declined to elaborate further. 

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U-COSMOS returned for a second night in Osaka to continue the U-COSMOS Crown Tournament, opening with a very competitive match between the veteran, Volk Han, and the younger Carl Malenko. Malenko once again showed a lot of heart and fire against Han, countering a lot of Han’s submission attempts with unique holds of his own and trying to capitalize on Han’s weaker striking by barraging him with open palm strikes and kicks. He caught him with a nasty solebutt to the midsection, which led to Malenko dropping him with a hanging guillotine but Han was able to escape. The finish saw Han using a beautiful flying leg scissors takedown into a calf crusher for the submission. Han and Malenko shook hands after the match.

In six-man tag action, Suzuki-gun’s Kazuyuki Fujita, Kazunari Murakami and Daisuke Ikeda were victorious over Yoshihisa Yamamoto, Mitsuya Nagai and Masahito Kakihara when Fujita blasted Nagai with a punt kick to the head. Plenty of hard-hitting action between all six men, with Fujita especially using a more brutal style, as if taking out his frustrations from having lost the first round of the tournament. At one point, he caught Kakihara midair and splatted him on the canvas with a powerbomb. Suzuki, who was at ringside for the match, seemed pleased with the outcome.

Under UWF Rules, Masakatsu Funaki and Katsumi Usuda teamed up against Kazuo Yamazaki and Katsuyori Shibata. Shibata, still learning the ways of the UWF style, was more or less the whipping boy of this match, with Funaki getting plenty of time to shine against the rookie Shibata. Usuda was pretty fierce in this as well, coming hard at Yamazaki in particular with his kicks. Yamazaki, of course, is no stranger to hard kicks and fired back some of his own just as hard. In the end, Funaki trapped Shibata in the triangle choke and forced the submission.

In what many considered the match of the night, Tatsumi Fujinami and Yuki Ishikawa put on an absolute clinic in mat-based wrestling. Numerous times throughout the match, Ishikawa put the elder Fujinami on the rocks, mainly in his striking, which he utilized only in moments of desperation, including a big closed hand punch that earned him a yellow card warning. On the ground, the playing field was relatively even but Fujinami gained control late in the match, trying to get ahold of the dragon sleeper. Ishikawa managed to keep slipping through Fujinami’s fingers until Fujinami grabbed the full nelson hold and turned it into a dragon suplex hold for the three count.

Tully Blanchard’s latest acquisition, rookie Takashi Sugiura, made his in-ring debut in a tag match with a partner, Brock Lesnar, against Kensuke Office’s Kensuke Sasaki and Alexander Otsuka. Sugiura tapped into a lot of his amateur background, which led to some great exchanges between him and Otsuka. Tons of suplex throws and takedowns from all four men, and of course, the crowd buzzed loudly whenever Lesnar and Sasaki squared off, which was few and far between as Sugiura spent the majority of the time in the ring. Sugiura ended up taking the fall for his team after a big lariat. Once again, Lesnar squared up to Sasaki after the match but both Otsuka and Blanchard intervened before things could break loose.

Blanchard was back out with his client, Mikhail Illoukhine, for a UWF Rules tournament match against Ken Shamrock. Shamrock dominated the majority of the match, with Illoukhine mainly playing defense against the more aggressive Shamrock. Illoukhine took some pretty brutal shots from Shamrock but when he was able to get a takedown, he was able to take Shamrock to the ropes a few times with various holds. Shamrock won the match with a heel hook and after the match, Shamrock cut a promo for the Osaka fans, thanking them for their support but also self-promoting himself and promising to take the entire tournament.

A really classic feeling main event saw Toshiaki Kawada and Yoshiaki Fujiwara in a bit of a styles clash, with the wily Fujiwara trying to duck most of Kawada’s strikes and bombs, while tripping him up for a quick submission on the mat. Of course, he managed some big body shots on Kawada and a headbutt out of the corner. In a funny moment, Kawada went for his repeated front kicks to Fujiwara’s head and Fujiwara completely no sold them before taking Kawada down with the Fujiwara armbar. He couldn’t quite keep in cinched in, though, as Kawada was able to escape. After a gamengiri stunned Fujiwara, Kawada locked in the Stretch Plum in the center of the ring and Fujiwara had no choice but to give up the ghost. The two embraced after the match much to the delight of the Osaka fans.

U-COSMOS “U-COSMOS Crown Tournament Night 3”, 9/19/00
Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium
7,000 Fans
– No Vacancy

1. U-COSMOS Crown Tournament - Round 1 – UWF Rules: Volk Han beat Carl Malenko (9:36) with a calf crusher.
2. Kazuyuki Fujita, Kazunari Murakami & Daisuke Ikeda beat Yoshihisa Yamamoto, Mitsuya Nagai & Masahito Kakihara (10:44) when Fujita used a punt kick to Nagai.
3. UWF Rules: Masakatsu Funaki & Katsumi Usuda beat Kazuo Yamazaki & Katsuyori Shibata (8:50) when Funaki used a triangle choke on Shibata.
4. U-COSMOS Crown Tournament - Round 1: Tatsumi Fujinami beat Yuki Ishikawa (16:02) with a dragon suplex hold.
5. Kensuke Sasaki & Alexander Otsuka beat Brock Lesnar & Takashi Sugiura (w/ Tully Blanchard) (11:38) when Sasaki used a lariat on Sugiura.
6. U-COSMOS Crown Tournament - Round 1 - UWF Rules: Ken Shamrock beat Mikhail Illoukhine (w/ Tully Blanchard) (12:59) with a heel hook.
7. U-COSMOS Crown Tournament - Round 1: Toshiaki Kawada beat Yoshiaki Fujiwara (14:23) with the Stretch Plum.

 

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Another great show full of tremendous wrestling action.  I think matches 4 and 5 were the two I would be all over.

I am still learning some of the guys on your roster but some of the names are now sticking out and becoming more familiar as I read your shows.  I like Ken Shamrock's confidence that he is going to run the tournament, but some of these guys seem stiff as hell and might have other thoughts.  Should be interesting to see who emerges.

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posting this early as I'll be out all weekend...

Shinya Hashimoto - Alchetron, The Free Social Encyclopedia

The Kobe debut for U-COSMOS brought the end of the first round of tournament matches. Roughly 6,200 fans packed Kobe World Hall for a night of action, as the show opened with a fast-paced tag match featuring Minoru Tanaka and Tamon Honda on the losing end against Shinjiro Ohtani and Naohiro Hoshikawa. The chemistry between Tanaka and Ohtani really carried the match, while Honda brought his awkward amateur prowess and Hoshikawa the stiff strikes. At one point, Tanaka tried to roll Ohtani up using the tights but referee Wada caught him and issued a yellow card. This led to Ohtani ultimately scoring the pinfall with a brutal Spiral Bomb on Honda.

Under UWF Rules, Masakatsu Funaki and Daisuke Ikeda put on quite the slugfest, with Ikeda just swinging for the fences against Funaki, keeping him against the ropes. Clearly trying to score a win by KO, Funaki had to rely on his ground technique to take out Ikeda. They had a heated kick exchange before Ikeda dropped Funaki with a nasty open hand slap to the face. He tried to follow up with a punt kick but Funaki caught the leg and turned it into a kneebar for the submission. 

Golden Cups’ Yoshihiro Takayama and Hiromitsu Kanehara were victorious in tag match with Kensuke Office’s Kensuke Sasaki and Takehiro Murahama when Takayama used a big German suplex hold on Murahama. The focus of the match was mostly between Kanehara and Murahama, as they tried to one up each other in a bid to honor their respective unit leaders. While Kanehara has years of experience over Murahama, Murahama fought with a lot of heart and managed some big nearfalls, including a German suplex hold of his own. The interactions between Sasaki and Takayama were brief but intense.

Shinya Hashimoto and Kazunari Murakami turned into a bit of a bloodbath when Murakami was cut open after a kick from Hashimoto, but that only fueled his intensity as he wouldn’t let up on Hashimoto. Tons of stiff body shots and knee strikes, and thanks to a distraction from Kendo Kashin, a closed fist punch that rocked Hashimoto. When he wasn’t throwing strikes, Murakami was trying to choke Hashimoto out. But the Kobe fans were very vocal for Hashimoto, and despite the odds , he came back strong for the victory, dropping Murakami with the brainbuster for the three count. 

Jun Akiyama tagged with Masayuki Naruse, whom he referred to as “nemu-sōna asashin”, which translates to “sleepy assassin”, against Tatsumi Fujinami and Osamu Nishimura. Lots of solid matwork in this, with Naruse especially working hard to impress. Fujiami and Akiyama had some great exchanges, with the elder statesman showing up Akiyama on the mat in several instances. This didn’t sit well with Akiyama, who became much more aggressive with the knees and Exploder suplexes. In the end, however, Fujinami was able to sneak in and snag Naruse with the Dragon Sleeper for the submission . Backstage, Akiyama seemed to hint at the formation of a new unit, and seemingly offered Naruse a spot as a “sponsored fighter”, saying he hopes his defeat will only motivate him to be fiercer. 

The leader of Suzuki-gun, Minoru Suzuki, defeated Yoshihisa Yamamoto under UWF Rules to advance to the second round of the tournament. Yamamoto had a lot of encouragement from the Kobe crowd going into this match, and he didn’t make Suzuki’s victory easy by any means. Tons of open hands exchanged and some great grappling, with Yamamoto taking Suzuki to the ropes more than once. In fact, Suzuki was nearly forced to tap out to an armbar when he couldn’t reach the ropes for a break. Suzuki finally snuck in with a rear naked choke, dragging Yamamoto to the canvas and forcing him to submit.  Interestingly enough, Suzuki was not accompanied by any Suzuki-gun members and backstage, said that he didn’t want his army to influence the outcome. 

The main event was a real treat for the fans, as both Hiroshi Hase and Kazuo Yamazaki gave heartfelt performances in the ring, with the victor not obvious until the final minute of the match when Hase was able to deliver the Northern Lights suplex hold for three. The match was pure sportsmanship, and relatively even throughout, with Yamazaki having the advantage with striking and Hase having more of a takedown>submission approach. Eventually, Hase began throwing bombs and Yamazaki had to respond in kind, nearly scoring a win after he transitioned into an armbar off a German suplex hold. In the end, Hase won the match but treated Yamazaki with respect he earned afterwards. Hase thanked the fans to end the show, and asked for their support in the second round.

U-COSMOS “U-COSMOS Crown Tournament Night 4”, 9/26/00
Kobe World Hall
6,200 Fans
– No Vacancy

1. Shinjiro Ohtani & Naohiro Hoshikawa beat Minoru Tanaka & Tamon Honda (7:56) when Ohtani used the Spiral Bomb on Honda.
2. U-COSMOS Crown Tournament - Round 1 - UWF Rules: Masakatsu Funaki beat Daisuke Ikeda (w/ Kazuyuki Fujita) (9:42) with a kneebar.
3. Yoshihiro Takayama & Hiromitsu Kanehara beat Kensuke Sasaki & Takehiro Murahama (8:14) when Takayama used a high-angle German suplex hold on Murahama.
4. U-COSMOS Crown Tournament - Round 1: Shinya Hashimoto beat Kazunari Murakami (w/ Kendo Kashin) (12:30) with a vertical-drop brainbuster.
5. Tatsumi Fujinami & Osamu Nishimura beat Jun Akiyama & Masayuki Naruse (10:33) when Fujinami used the Dragon Sleeper on Naruse.
6. U-COSMOS Crown Tournament - Round 1 - UWF Rules: Minoru Suzuki beat Yoshihisa Yamamoto (14:18) with a rear naked choke. 
7. U-COSMOS Crown Tournament - Round 1: Hiroshi Hase beat Kazuo Yamazaki (17:46) with the Northern Lights suplex hold.
 

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