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WON Preview (January 7, 2019): History of the Tokyo Dome

*ONLINE ONLY January 7, 2019 Observer Newsletter special: History of the Tokyo Dome HARDCOPY NOT AVAILABLE*

*Please note that this issue is for online subscriptions only. Hardcopies will not be available for mail order purchase.

When the Tokyo Dome opened on March 17, 1988, the idea of pro wrestling there wasn’t even an idea. The Dome was built to be the new modern home of two baseball teams, the Yomiuri Giants of the Central League, the team of Shigeo Nagashima and Sadaharu Oh years earlier, the unofficial national team that had all its games on NTV, and sold out every game. The Dome held 48,316 fans for baseball, but for years, every single Giants game announced the attendance as 56,000...

JANUARY 4, 1992: The biggest card of the past week was the Saturday afternoon second WCW/New Japan show at the Tokyo Egg Dome. The combined show, which will air as an edited pay-per-view in mid-March in the United States, was said to be nowhere near the level of the initial combined show last March. The show drew a turnaway crowd of 50,000 fans...

JANUARY 4, 1993: The annual New Japan Tokyo Egg Dome show has, which had its fifth version on Monday, 1/4, has in that time turned into from a prestige factor, right behind Wrestlemania as the biggest card of the year in the world. This year's show did nothing to hurt that reputation as the seventh largest recorded crowd to ever witness pro wrestling–53,500--sold the building out one week in advance to see a show that received raves from everyone I spoke with about it...

JANUARY 4, 1994: The sixth annual New Japan spectacular at the Tokyo Dome on 1/4, billed as "Battlefield '94," hardly qualified under the word spectacular. What was easily the weakest line-up for a New Japan Dome show ever resulted in a marathon lackluster show, which began at 3 p.m. and ended at 9 p.m. Most of the talk both before after the show centered around the Antonio Inoki vs. Genichiro Tenryu match, which matched up two of the veteran all-time legends in Japan for the first time... 

JANUARY 4, 1995: Lots of news coming out of the Tokyo Dome show. Most reports indicated overall the five-and-a-half hour show was average to a little better than average. The general consensus was that the Steiners vs. Hiroshi Hase & Keiji Muto match was in the ***3/4 to ****1/2 range. That match at the Shinya Hashimoto vs. Kensuke Sasaki title match (***1/4 to ****1/4) the picks as the best match. The Sabu & Masa Chono vs. Tatsumi Fujinami & Junji Hirata match was pretty well ***1/2 across-the-board...

JANUARY 4, 1996: Keiji Muto and Nobuhiko Takada officially went into the record books this week as the biggest drawing feud in pro wrestling history after drawing their second consecutive sellout to the Tokyo Dome. Takada captured the IWGP heavyweight championship with a cross armbreaker (UFC armbar) in 17:51 in the rematch of the 10/9 match which drew the largest live gate in wrestling history.

JANUARY 4, 1998: The final matches of the career of Riki Choshu and the retirement announcement by Antonio Inoki drew a sellout 55,000 fans for New Japan's traditional 1/4 show at the Tokyo Dome...

JANUARY 4, 2017: Kenny Omega and Kazuchika Okada may have put on the greatest match in pro wrestling history in the main event of Wrestle Kingdom 11 on 1/4 at the Tokyo Dome. The 46:45 classic, coming at the end of a show that lasted five hours and 40 minutes, set New Japan’s all-time record for live foreign streaming viewers, peaking at about 7:30 a.m. Eastern time...

JANUARY 4, 2018: Wrestle Kingdom 12, headlined by Kazuchika Okada’s retaining the IWGP title over Tetsuya Naito and Kenny Omega beating Chris Jericho in a U.S. title match was the biggest non-WWE pro wrestling event on a worldwide basis since the collapse of WCW...


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