Big Japan 2018; This Week in Puro

Added by Luke Hickey

For this weeks edition, I’m going to look at what has been happening in Big Japan this year. Big Japan was founded in 1995 during the deathmatch boom by two AJPW alumni Shinya Kojika and Kengo Nagasaki. Nagasaki would leave in 1999 while Kojika remains to this day with the company as President, Eiji Tosaka becoming the owner in 2011. While most famous for it’s deathmatch style through the years, it has had a Junior title and a non deathmatch heavyweight title. The initial Heavyweight Championship lasted until 2004, while the World Junior Heavyweight Championship lasted until 2002.

As of 2018, the active singles titles defended in Big Japan are the BJW Death Match Heavyweight Championship, the BJW Strong World Heavyweight Championship and the BJW Junior Heavyweight Championship. Tag titles are also defended with the BJW Tag Team Championship and Yokohama Shopping Street 6 Man Tag Team Championships. Big Japan also holds two annual tournaments, the Ikkitousen which alternates between Death BJ and Strong BJ and Saikyou Tag League which has a Strong Block and Death Block simultaneously.

Daichi Hashimoto started the year as BJW Strong World Heavyweight Champion as he defeated Hideki Suzuki for the title at Decembers, Death Vegas show. At BJW New Year in Korakuen on the 2nd of January, he would successfully defend against Ryuichi Kawakami. His next title defence took place at the Korakuen again on the 27th of February in another successful defence, this time against Yasufumi Nakanoue. This years Ikkitousen was for the Strong BJ to compete in, it started in March and finished in April but Daichi Hashimoto made it to the final against the man he beat for the title at Death Vegas, Hideki Suzuki. On the 2nd day of a double header in Sapporo, Daichi Hashimoto and Hideki Suzuki fought for the Ikkitousen & BJW Strong World Championship, Suzuki would come out on top and become a 2 time BJW Strong World Heavyweight Champion in the process. Suzuki would go on to successfully defend against Daisuke Sekimoto, which ended in a time limit draw, Takuya Nomura, who had 24 is turning heads, Yoshihisa Uto and Hideyoshi Kamitani.

Masashi Takeda, since winning the BJW Death Match Heavyweight Championship last August at Death Mania 5 against Masaya Takahashi, has held the title since, 393 days and counting. He has successfully defended the title 8 times with 5 of those defences coming in this calendar year. He started the year by successfully defending against his Crazy Lover’s tag partner, Takumi Tsukamoto in a Five Nails Board, Light Tubes & Cage Death. His next defence came against  Ryuichi Sekine in a Light Tubes and Lemon Hell match in March in Hiroshima. At Endless Survivor, he successfully defended against Abdullah Kobayashi in May, defeating one of few deathmatch legends he has defeated this year, the other being Kasai in FREEDOMS and he faces Ito today. His next defence was the critically acclaimed match against Isami Kodaka at the Korakuen Hall in June, which saw a crowd of 1,690 pack in to see it. He would then go on to Nagoya at Death Mania and beat Yuko Miyamoto.

Shinobu won a tournament last year to win the BJW Junior Heavyweight Championship, defeating Kazuki Hashimoto to become the inaugural champion, which lasted for 391 days. He would have 7 successfully defences but only 2 would happen in this calendar year. The first defence against Kazuki Hashimoto on the 25th of January and the 2nd coming against Fuminori Abe, which was in February. Despite having multiple matches in Big Japan he had not defended his championship until Kazuki Hashimoto won a tournament to find the next contender in July. Hashimoto would get his third go at the title on Day 1 of 2 of the opening round of Saikyou Tag League in the Korakuen in August, he would come out victorious against Shinobu. Kazuki Hashimoto as of writing has yet to defend his title.

Abdullah Kobayashi & Ryuji Ito started the year as BJW Tag Team Champions, they had 3 successful title defences but all 3 were in 2017. On the 25th of January they would go up against the BJW Death Match Champion, Masashi Takeda and his Crazy Lover’s partner, Takumi Tsukamoto in a Light Tubes & Five Nail Board Death, the Crazy Lovers would be victorious. Unfortunately, the Crazy Lovers would only have one successful title defence against Jaki Numazawa and Kenji Fukimoto on Day 1 of Ikkitousen Strong Climb at Shinkiba in an Excusable Homicide Four Corners Of Pain Death. They would lose the titles to Yankee Two Kenju, Isami Kodaka & Yuko Miyamoto, who would become 3 time champions as a result. Yankee Two Kenju have had 3 successful defences, the first against Ryuichi Sekine & Ryuji Ito at Endless Survivor. The 2nd defence was against an incarnation of the 3rd Generation Chimidoro Brothers, Masaya Takahashi & Takayuki Ueki in an Iron Cage, Light Tubes & Concrete Block match. At Osaka Surprise 38 in July, they would defeat the Crazy Lovers in an Barbed Wire, Ladders & Chairs Death match.

Big Japan have had a good year, despite the poor direction of the Junior’s title and the 6 man titles which is much like the NEVER in NJPW, if they keep producing talent like Takuya Nomura, they will have talent to build around. Unfortunately, their turnaround on BJW Core is quite poor but the big shows are usually worth the wait. They ain’t perfect, but who is? I guess right now with Masashi Takeda as the face of the Death BJ, they are pretty close.

This Week in Puro;

~ Shingo Takagi has announced that he’ll be becoming a freelancer in the next few weeks. He has stated he won’t be joining the Shanghai project.

~ Noah have announced the Global League will happen between October and November, but as of yet no participants have been announced. Katsuhiko Nakajima is the next challenger for Takashi Sugiura’s GHC Heavyweight Championship. Global Junior League is currently underway.

~ Kenny Omega successfully defended the IWGP Heavyweight Championship against Tomohiro Ishii.

~ Jun Kasai will be teaming with Jaki Numazawa at Big Japan’s Sumo Hall show in November.

Luke Hickey