Brock Lesnar became the fourth American in New Japan Pro Wrestling’s history to win the IWGP Championship, defeating Masahiro Chono and Kazuyuki Fujita in the main event of one of the most unsuccessful Tokyo Dome wrestling events in the history of the building.
Lesnar becomes the promotion’s fifth foreign champion Saturday, courtesy Strong Style Spirit
Lesnar, who quit WWE suddenly in 2004, has been involved in a two-way lawsuit with WWE and had also negotiated tensely with them for his return. WWE heavily hyped preliminary discussions between the two, publishing photos and stories about it on their website, but nothing came of it. Lesnar also negotiated with New Japan, a company in dangerous financial and creative straits, and in a move that WWE claimed violated his severance agreement with them, he appeared–advertised–on a show of theirs earlier this year from ringside.
This move, announced last month, was seen as a huge surprise to many. Details have not been yet confirmed, but his announced and advertised appearance in this match is said to be a blatant violation of a legal contract he made with WWE upon leaving that barred him from various roles in professional wrestling and outside through 2010. Final word on the lawsuit is as yet unavailable.
Lesnar gave both Chono and Fujita his finishing move from WWE, the F-5, although it was called “the verdict” in a direct reference to the ongoing battle with WWE.
New Japan Professional Wrestling, the oldest still-existing national wrestling promotion in Japan, has been facing its own problems as of late. Their champion, Fujita, has primarily been a mixed-martial-arts star, a decision some have said is emblematic of the company’s inability to create successful stars. And despite the addition of free agent star Toshiaki Kawada and the ultimate win of Chono in this summer’s G-1 Climax tournament, the tournament failed to draw on the road. Meanwhile, the company’s Tokyo Dome shows, usually the crowning moment of the company’s schedule have resulted in repeatedly dismal, often the result of lack of foreplanning. The former president, Masakazu Kusama resigned earlier this year and was replaced by Antonio Inoki’s son Simon Kelly Inoki.
Meanwhile, the company made a hasty decision to reinstall Riki Choshu, who now promotes his own independent organization, as the company’s booker. Several wrestlers in the company rebelled, according to reports from the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Which wrestlers, and the status of the move, aren’t known currently