Road to World Engine: Nippon Crown Tournament {2014}

Road to World Engine: Nippon Crown Tournament {2014}

It’s time for the last of our four special 2014 showcase tournaments. The Nippon Crown tournament was the biggest and most surprising tournament of the lot, as 16 heavyweight stars battled for supremacy with the GFC Nippon Heavyweight Championship on the line!

Reigning champion Kazuki Suzuki was initially against the idea of having to contest his title in a tournament situation, but eventually agreed and vowed to prove his dominance of the division by winning the tournament, which would mean four successful title defenses if he were to be successful.

There were a lot of shocks in this tournament as fan favorites struggled, unknowns excelled and rules were bent to almost breaking point.

Take a look through the preview for round one and, as previously, scroll down for the video of the full tournament.

Shinji Watanabe vs. OMEGA

Watanabe, one half of the tag-team G4, has long harboured dreams of a shot at the GFC Nippon Heavyweight Championship. While that may not sit right with his tag partner, he’s still adamant that his future lay in singles competition. He’s a big and powerful wrestler and is certainly capable of making a go of it on his own.

His first round opponent is OMEGA, the powerhouse of Blood Circle. Kazuki Suzuki has made sure that OMEGA is in this tournament to help protect his title, but the draw hasn’t quite worked out as the had hoped and the two may face each other in the Quarter Finals should both win their opening matches.


Kazuki Suzuki vs. DOKUSEI Honda

Suzuki begins his challenge of defending the title against one of the newest names to FRONTLINE, the giant DOKUSEI Honda. Honda is known as the Toxic Giant and brings power and showmanship to FRONTIER. But is that enough to dethrone the champ?

The Blood General will be in unchartered territory for this match, facing an opponent he’s never faced before and who has the potential to cause him a lot of problems. Even if Honda doesn’t beat Suzuki, he’s sure to weaken him for future rounds.


Jun Ikeda vs. Ryoichi Karasuma

Ikeda is one of the favourites to win this tournament, with many hoping that the legendary leader of Gold House will get one over on his longtime rival. Ikeda may be reaching the end of his career, with his best days behind him, but he’s still one of the best around and a great example of pure determination.

Ryoichi Karasuma is another legend, one of the biggest stars in Tokyo Pure back in his heyday. He’s still refusing to retire, which often leads to him being outfought by the younger generation. But if he sinches in a submission hold he’s as good as anyone.


Kenta Yamashita vs. Ren Itou

These two men were once both members of The Pride. Since those days, where they fought alongside Masa Abe and Naoki Yoshida, their careers have gone in different directions. Yamashita became a star, winning the heavyweight championship before leaving for the UK to improve his global standing. That didn’t work out well and his career floundered, returning to Japan to try and get it back on track.

Itou has been referred to as a journeyman wrestler for most of his career, but as of late he’s begun to improve his standing in the company, and is hoping that this tournament can boost his championship chances even further.


Hiroshi Takahashi vs. Naomichi Kitano

Takahashi is the Golden Boy of Gold House, a hand-picked heir to take over from Ikeda when the time is right. He’s had success as a junior but has progressed to the heavyweight division, so far with little success.

Kitano is another of FRONTLINE’s biggest wrestlers and represents a real test for Takahashi. Kitano is all power but not as feared as he might like. He’s made it his goal to make the fans and the company realise how much of a threat he really is.


“Dynamite” Tim Worthington vs. Tokihiro Yokoyama

Worthington is a legend in the UK and the US, but in Japan he’s only ever been a bit part player, although he did taste championship success in TPW. Recently he’s made the move to Japan permanently and is aiming to become the first gaijin to win FRONTLINE gold.

Yokoyama is another TPW legend, a sensei for some of the younger stars and is widely respected. He’s older and slower than Worthington, but another who can make anyone submit given the chance.


Souhei Umesaka vs. The Great Sato

Umesaka is the forgotten man of FRONTLINE, he’s a big powerful man who is still agile and willing to take flight when necessary. He’s a mysterious person, keeps to himself and has never joined any of FRONTLINE’s groups. He’s also had little championship success, with only a handful of unsuccessful challenges to his name. But there is always the chance that he could surprise everyone.

Sato is another who has shunned groups, but is actively being fought over by both Gold House and Blood Circle. He now wears a mixture of their colours as a way to wind up his suitors, while still refusing their advances. He’s a multiple time champion and most definitely has it in him to go all the way in this tournament.


Tomo Nakamura vs. “The Man” Ed Sharples

Nakamura is looking to step up into the heavyweight division, having had success as a junior and in the Pure Puro divisions. He’s still at the beginning of his heavyweight journey and has little success so far. But he’s hoping for first round success against an unknown opponent and once you get a win under your belt anything is possible!

Sharples is an unknown quantity to FRONTLINE fans, having been drafted in as a guest from our UK sister fed, FRONTIER. “The Man” is a powerful brawler but has a great technical base knowledge that stands him in good stead against any opponent. He’s hoping his unknown status will work to his advantage and as he says, to be the man you have to beat “The Man”.


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