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New Japan Pro Wrestling

Tenille Dashwood, Rey Mysterio Make Waves in ROH, NJPW

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WWE alumni Tenille Dashwood – formerly known as Emma – and Rey Mysterio made headlines last night when they appeared at seperate major wrestling events.

Dashwood made her Ring of Honor debut at Honor Reigns Supreme and was announced she would be participating in the promotion’s Women of Honor tournament. The 16-womn tournament will serve as a mechanism to crown its first Women of Honor Champion.

Across the Pacific Ocean, Mysterio appeared at the New Beginning in Osaka event, via video screen, to challenge Jushin Thunder Liger to a match at Strong Style Evolved in March.

ROH announced they were going to pull the trigger on crowning a women’s champion this year. In addition to Dashwood, the other 15 participants in the tournament are Brandi Rhodes, Jessie Brooks, Karen Q, Kelly Klein, Madison Rayne, Mandy Leon, Deonna Purrazzo, Holidead, Sumie Sakai, Jenny Rose, Stacy Shadows, HZK, Hana Kimura, Kagetsu, and Mayu Iwatani.

Dashwood’s first foray on a Ring of Honor broadcast wasn’t limited to just her announcement. Bully Ray forced Dashwood to team with Mandy Leon and the duo went on to defeat Stacy Shadows and Kelly Klein.

With Dashwood no longer under the WWE banner, she has the opportunity to make a name for herself on her own merits in the professional wrestling world. Competing – possibly winning – the Women of Honor title is the first step to really raising her stock.

Ring of Honor has slowly been growing their women’s division and having a championship is the last step in solidifying their division. Having Dashwood win the title may bring it some legitimacy in the eyes of casual fans, but the fact that she’s appearing in Ring of Honor and chasing the championship shows how appealing it is to women wrestlers outside of ROH.

Meanwhile NJPW fans are chomping at the bit to see Mysterio and Liger get in the ring. This won’t be the first time these two legends have squared off – Liger defeated Mysterio at Starrcade 1996.

In their first match, Mysterio was younger and had far less experience. Since that time, the King of Mystery has evolved as a performer and built up a fantastic career that includes a successful run in WWE.

Although it’s been over 20 years since Liger and Mysterio first faced off in the ring and while they’ve crossed paths in different promotions over the years, New Japan will make it a big fight feel. Is this match on the level of Kenny Omega vs. Chris Jericho in terms of hype? Probably not, but wrestling fans who have followed the careers of both competitors will be excited for this contest nontheless. 

Mysterio has been active in 2018, including an appearance in this year’s Royal Rumble. Fans were hoping his participation in the match would lead to him returning full time to the company, especially since negotiations between him and Impact Wrestling ended. He’s said before that he doesn’t want to work a full-time WWE schedule, which means part-time appearances from Mysterio on WWE programming is probably what fans will get for the next year.

Wrestling in New Japan won’t hurt Mysterio’s relationship with WWE despite the perceived rivalry between the two companies.

WWE seems fine with their legends appearing in other promotions for part-time gigs – after all, wrestlers need to make money. If anything, this match could lead to Liger possibly to WWE at some point in the future.

IWGP

Tetsuya Naito Posts Video Aimed at Chris Jericho

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With Chris Jericho set to defend his IWGP Intercontinental Championship against Tetsuya Naito at Wrestle Kingdom 13, the trash talk has started.

Naito posted the following video, via New Japan Pro Wrestling’s official YouTube channel, where he mocks the future WWE Hall of Famer.

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New Japan Pro Wrestling

WWE Reportedly Interested In KUSHIDA

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IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion KUSHIDA is reportedly drawing interest from WWE, according to a report from the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.

KUSHIDA, 35, has been the cornerstone of New Japan Pro Wrestling’s light heavyweight division and one of their most recognized stars, globally.

The report indicates that NXT is the destination if WWE were to lure KUSHIDA from New Japan.

With NXT globalizing, an NXT Japan seems like a natural progression for the brand and KUSHIDA could be in those potential plans moving forward.

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New Japan Pro Wrestling

Kenny Omega Talks How Wrestling AJ Styles Made Him Continue Wrestling

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The Elite’s Kenny Omega, who is set to become one of the hottest free agents in professional wrestling over the next few months, recently appeared on Chris Jericho’s ‘Talk is Jericho’ podcast and talked about how he almost quit wrestling.

Then, Omega stepped into the ring with A.J. Styles.

“I found that my in-ring performance was suffering because you know there’s an aesthetic look you have to maintain in professional wrestling” Omega stated when describing his mindset back in 2006. “If I’m cutting 20 pounds for a tournament or a fight and then I have to go to the ring I’m going to look like I came out of a dryer and it just didn’t jive. So if I was going to concentrate on one, the other was going to suffer.”

Omega then described how he approached an upcoming match with Styles, the current WWE World Heavyweight Champion.

“[It was] after that AJ match when I thought, ‘Oh my goodness there’s this guy who’s so much better than me but we have this chemistry together.’ It kind of showed me my true potential and maybe something that I could grasp and something I could achieve that I hadn’t seen yet.”

“It really made me look in the mirror and say to myself: ‘Jeez, even when I do these all-time jiu-jitsu tournaments I’m always going for a finish, I’m always trying to have that exciting match when really you should just be concentrating on getting that gold medal or whatever. So I found that I was actually and entertainer, I was a performer. So I was going to give this wrestling thing one more shot.”

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