A retirement party was held in Kensuke Sasaki honor in Tokyo, Japan today as a final send-off to celebrate his 28 years in as a professional wrestler.
Roughly 400 people came out for the occasion including many other wrestlers, most notably with Antonio Inoki (left picture) and Kenta Kobashi (right picture). Two people who were very influential to him throughout his career, as well as close friends.
A 10 count gong was conducted to officially signal the end of his career. Sasaki was in tears as he finally closed this chapter of his life.
Sasaki made a joke during the party that he still trains and eats like he was still competing, but he knew the time was right for him to make the decision to officially retire.
Sasaki’s last match was against his protege Katsuhiko Nakajima on February 11th of this year.
[NOAH News] A press conference was held to officially welcome Mitsuhiro Kitamiya as the latest member of Pro Wrestling NOAH.
The former DIAMOND RING/Kensuke Office Rookie formally announced that he would be heading to the promotion in early March with a final match in DIAMOND RING against Katsuhiko Nakajima.
The President, Akira Taue, and Vice-President, Naomichi Marufuji, were on hand to be apart of Kitamiya’s next big step in his career. Marufuji stated that he has very high expectations for Kitamiya and hopes that he will do his best going forward.
Kitamiya thanked Taue and Marufuji for being present and said he is looking forward to his future in Pro Wrestling Noah. Kitamiya mentioned that he will continue to utilize what he learned from Kensuke Sasaki and continue to work as hard as possible in this new venture. He then thanked the fans for their continued support.
During the press conference Kitamiya was asked if he would be aiming for the heavyweight division? Kitamiya replied that he is not 100kg yet, but that he does indeed aim to be a heavyweight one day and will work in increase his body size.
Mitsuhiro Kitamiya (北宮光洋) 172cm tall and weighs in at 95kg. Born October 27, 1988 and hails from Toyama Prefecture, Tonami City, Japan. He debuted on September 25, 2011 against Satoshi Kajiwara at the Toyama Techno Hall. Currently his signature moves are a Spear and Dropkick.
[DIAMOND RING/Kensuke Office News] A press conference was held today to announce the future of the promotion following Kensuke Sasaki’s retirement.
To get straight to the point, following the upcoming show on March 9, DR will going under a hiatus for the time being.
It was then announced Mitsuhiro Kitamiya will be officially transferred to Pro Wrestling Noah as of April 1.
Satoshi Kajiwara officially became a freelance wrestler as of the February 11th show, as he maintains a high profile job outside of pro-wrestling.
Katsuhiko Nakajima then announced that he will remain solely under the DIAMOND RING banner. He stated that he will make it his goal to protect the banner of the promotion and aims to see DR continue once more in the future. (Maybe pointing to if, and when, Sasaki’s eldest son debuts in the next couple years.)
Akira Hokuto, Sasaki’s wife and DR’s representative, announced that Katsuhiko Nakajima will be taking on Kitamiya in a special singles match on the 3/9 Kensuke Office Dojo show.
Kitamiya stated that he will be aiming to use all his strength and heart against Nakajima to honor this big change that is coming.
Only fitting for Sasaki’s first protoge to take on his last under the current DR banner. Kensuke Office got its start in February of 2007 and DR has been running since February of 2012. It’s an end of an era for now, but with DR not “closing” this leaves the potential for a new beginning in the future. - CP/BushidoRX
DIAMOND RING, 3/9/2014 [Sun] @ Kensuke Office Dojo in Saitama
(1) Jonah Rock & Xtra Large vs. & Namazu Man & CHANGO [Free] (2) MasatoShibata [U-FILE CAMP] vs. Yutaka Yoshie [Free] (3) Special Single Match: Katsuhiko Nakajima vs. Mitsuhiro Kitamiya
Sasaki made an unclear statement towards his retirement as he said that he now had no regrets in his career, and then walked out of the arena. Many people did not know what to think if Sasaki had just announced his retirement, or not.
But today in Tokyo, Sasaki officially announced that he is now retired following his match against Nakajima. There will be no retirement match going in the future as there is no other achievement and no regrets. He stated that he is fully satisfied with his last match against Nakajima.
Sasaki stated that he has been plagued with injuries over the last couple of years. The last major being a herniated cervical disc that put him out of action for most of 2012. He said that he is still suffering from the effects of this injury and for his future with his sons he cannot go through anything more severe.
Sasaki’s wife Akira Hokuto stood by his side for the announcement and showed her appreciation for the big decision that he had to make. He stated that he now wants to live his life to his heart’s content, and even mentioned that he wants to try snowboarding.
DIAMOND RING [Kensuke Sasaki vs Katsuhiko Nakajima] results for February 11, 2014
DIAMOND RING, 2/11/2014 [Tue] 12:00 @ Korakuen Hall in Tokyo 2,100 Spectators (sold-out/overcrowded)
~ Nakajima came out at the start of the show to thank everyone for coming out and to help him celebrate his 10th anniversary. Nakajima stated that he expects a rough match against his “father” and he wanted to be sure he could greet the fans properly. He closed it by asking everyone to please enjoy the event today.
(1) Namazu Man, CHANGO [Free] & “Hollywood” Stalker Ichikawa vs. Kikutaro [Akiba], NOSAWA Rongai [Tokyo Gurentai] & Antonio Honda [Free] ◆Winner: Namazu (9:54) via counter pinfall following a Crossbody from Kikutaro.
(2) Joshi Special Tag Match: Yumiko Hotta [Diana] & Yoshiko [Stardom] vs. Natsuki☆Taiyo [Stardom] & Sareee [Diana] ◆Winner: Hotta (9:57) with the Pyramid Driver on Sareee.
(3) Kento Miyahra [AJPW] vs. Go Shiozaki [AJPW] ◆Winner: Shiozaki (10:50) following the Go Flasher. ~ Respect was shown between the All Japan Xceed teammates. The two both move on to compete again in All Japan later today. ~ Miyahara stated that it is his goal to claim the World Tag belts with Shiozaki as his partner.
(3) Mitsuhiro Kitamiya & Hitoshi Kumano [NOAH] vs. Daichi Hashimoto [ZERO1] & Tank Nagai [K-DOJO] ◆Winner: Daichi (13:23) following a Shining Wizard to Kumano.
(5) Satoshi Kajiwara & Fujita “Jr” Hayato [Michinoku] vs. Naomichi Marufuji & Taiji Ishimori [both NOAH] ◆Winner: Marufuji (18:20) following the Tiger Flowsion on Kajiwara. ~ It seems there might be something more heading out of this match between Ishimori and Hayato… I guess only time will tell if a single match comes into play between the two. ~ Marufuji went to shake Hayato’s hand, but Hayato kicked it away.
(6) Main Event: Kensuke Sasaki vs. Katsuhiko Nakajima ◆Winner: Nakajima (20+) with a German Suplex Hold. ~ Nakajima finally claimed a victory over his teacher. The torch has been passed from teacher to student, or this case “father to son”, Nakajima claims the biggest win over his career on his 10th year milestone. ~ Nakajima thanked Sasaki for the match afterwords. Sasaki replied that Nakajima has certainly become a strong wrestler, and that even though he lost it feels right to have lost. ~ The 47 year old Sasaki, who is celebrating his 28th year as a pro wrestler, said that he has no regrets.
It really just felt like Sasaki expressed that he will be retiring from active competition!? The details are scarce at this time as Sasaki just kind of announced this abrubtly and then walked out of the arena. Was this his final match? Or will be plan on holding a final show sometime in the near future. I’ll be sure to keep you guys updated to what happens. - BushidoRX
Notes: 5 / 2 months ago
[Match of the Day] Kensuke Sasaki vs. Katsuhiko Nakajima "Take The Dream vol. 1", 2/11/2007 @ Differ Arike in Tokyo.
With their upcoming singles match tomorrow, I felt that it is only fitting to share this match today. The “father and son” will once again face off in singles action, but this time in honor of Nakajima’s 10th anniversary as a professional wrestler.
This match listed today would mark the very first time that Sasaki and Nakajima would ever face off against one another in a singles match. Nakajima was barely 3 years into his professional career at this point in time and had been labeled as a potential future star of the sport. Nakajima would prove to hold himself better than expected against his teacher, and it now comes around full circle for their meeting yet again this year.
Nakajima stated that he is finally looking to overcome the wall that has been in front of him and to take the ultimate next step in his career. That it is also an honor that Sasaki has accepted this upcoming match for his 10th anniversary, as there is no other person that he could face at this time. Than the man that he has seen as a his father figure for the entirety of his career.
[DIAMOND RING News] DR has announced the full card for their upcoming Korakuen Hall show on February 11.
Following the previously announced main event between Kensuke Sasaki and Katsuhiko Nakajima, DR has announced 5 other matches to fill out the annual Korakuen Hall show on 2/11. Among the announcements is what should be a sold semi-final match as Satoshi Kajiwara teams with Michinoku Pro Wrestling’s Fujita “Jr” Hayato to take on the Pro Wrestling NOAH team of Naomichi Marufuji & Taiji Ishimori. All 4 men are skilled junior heavyweights in their own right and this should be a fast paced and technical match from the early looks of things.
Kento Miyahara, though now freelance from DR, will also be undergoing a special singles challenge match of his own, but at this time no challenger has been named.
The two rookies from DR & NOAH will be teaming together to take on the current “super” rookies from both Pro Wrestling ZERO1 & KAIENTA DOJO.
Below is the announced card in full.
DIAMOND RING, 2/11/2014 [Tue] 12:00 @ Korakuen Hall in Tokyo
(1) Namazu Man, CHANGO [Free] & “Hollywood” Stalker Ichikawa vs. Kikutaro [Akiba], NOSAWA Rongai [Tokyo Gurentai] & Antonio Honda [Free] (2) Mitsuhiro Kitamiya & Hitoshi Kumano [NOAH] vs. Daichi Hashimoto [ZERO1] & Tank Nagai [K-DOJO] (3) Joshi Special Tag Match: Yumiko Hotta [Diana] & X vs. Natsuki☆Taiyo [Stardom] & Sareee [Diana] (4) Kento Miyahra [Free] vs. (X = to be announced) (5) Satoshi Kajiwara & Fujita “Jr” Hayato [Michinoku] vs. Naomichi Marufuji & Taiji Ishimori [both NOAH] (6) Main Event: Kensuke Sasaki vs. Katsuhiko Nakajima
(1) Namazu Man & CHANGO [Free] vs. Antonio Honda [DDT] & Daisuke Sasaki [DDT] ◆Winner: Honda (9:29) following a Diving Fist Drop on Namazu.
(2) Mitsuhiro Kitamiya vs. Hitoshi Kumano [NOAH] ◆Winner: Kitamiya (9:15) with a Boston Crab.
(3) 6 Man Tag Match: Kensuke Sasaki, Kento Miyahara [Free] & Masato Inaba [U-FILE CAMP] vs. Katsuhiko Nakajima, Satoshi Kajiwara & Yutaka Yoshie [Free] ◆Winner: Nakajima (18:26) following a Vertical Fall style Brainbsuter on Masato Shibata. ~ Nakajima thanked the fans for coming out and also seems more than ready for his single match showdown with his sensei on February 11. http://keepingthespiritalive.tumblr.com/tagged/diamond-ring
DIAMOND RING, 2/11/2014 [Tue] 12:00 @ Korakuen Hall in Tokyo
(-) Main Event: Kensuke Sasaki vs. Katsuhiko Nakajima
Notes: 3 / 4 months ago
[DIAMOND RING News] It has been made official that Katsuhiko Nakajima  will face his mentor Kensuke Sasaki  in a singles match on DIAMOND RING’s anniversary show on February 11, 2014 at the Korakuen Hall.
Nakajima asked for this match to happen back on DR’s show on August 31, and in a little less than 3 months it has been made official.
2014 will be a milestone year for Nakajima as it marks his official 10th year as a professional wrestler, and Kensuke wants to see for himself just how strong and how far Nakajima has come along over the years.
Nakajima stated that he is finally looking to overcome the wall in front of himself and that it is a huge honor that Sasaki has accepted this match for this 10th anniversary. There is no other person that Nakajima says that he could really face than the man that he has seen as a his father figure for his whole career.
DIAMOND RING, 2/11/2014 [Tue] @ Korakuen Hall in Tokyo
(-) Main Event: Kensuke Sasaki vs. Katsuhiko Nakajima
(1) Namazu Man & CHANGO [Free] vs. “VOODOO MURDERS” “brother” YASSHI & Kengo ◆Winner: YASSHI (14:52) following a Diving Headbutt on Namazu.
(2) 6 Man Tag Match: Satoshi Kajiwara, Mitsuhiro Kitamiya & Ryuji Hijikata [Free] vs. Super Crazy, Pesadilla & Hitoshi Kumano [NOAH] ◆Winner: Kitamiya (17:36) with an Manjigatame (Octopus Hold) on Kumano.
(3) SpecialTag Match: Katsuhiko Nakajima & Atsushi Kotoge [NOAH] vs. Yutaka Yoshie [Free] & Masato Shibata [U-FILE CAMP] ◆Winner: Nakajima (18:54) following a Vertical Fall style Brainbuster on Shibata.
Notes: 2 / 5 months ago
[VooDoo Murders News] It was announced today that Kento Miyahara has officially “graduated” from the VooDoo Murders group. Miyahara joined the “heel” group unexpectedly in February of this year during a DIAMOND RING show and has sense been appeared in other promotions like Tenryu Project under the group.
On September 9 of this year, it was announced that Miyahara would be resigning as an active student of Kensuke Sasaki’s and from the DIAMOND RING/Kensuke Office promotion. Miyahara announced that he would become a freelance wrestler so that he could pursue his own path, namely competing in All Japan Pro-Wrestling. (Where he is expected to join full-time with the coming of the new year.)
Miyahara stated that he “is grateful for his time in the group” and that “the blood of VM will continue flowing through me”, in the future.
It is a complete and respectful parting of ways for Miyahara as he continues on his own path in the future, and it seems the doors are open for anything to happen in the future.
DIAMOND RING, 11/10/2013 [Sun] 18:00 @ Iwaki City Taira Gymnasium in Fukushima 672 Spectators
(1) Namazu Man & CHANGO [Free] vs. Masao Inoue [Free] & NOSAWA Rongai [Tokyo Gurentai] ◆Winner: Inoue (11:18) with a Crossbody Counter Pin on Namazu.
(2) Satoshi Kajiwara vs. Kengo [VOODOO MURDERS] ◆Winner: Kajiwara (11:25) with a Sunset Flip.
(3) Joshi Special Tag Match: Yumiko Hotta [Diana] & Mima Shimoda [CMLL] vs. Tomoko Watanabe [Free] & Sareee [Diana] ◆Winner: Hotta (14:52) following the Pyramid Driver on Sareee.
(4) Mitsuhiro Kitamiya vs. Tatsuhito Takaiwa [Free] ◆Winner: Takaiwa (14:09) following a Lariat.
(5) Main Event 6 Man Tag Match: Kensuke Sasaki, Katsuhiko Nakajima & Yutaka Yoshie [Free] vs. “VOODOO MURDERS” Kento Miyahara, TARU & “brother” YASSHI ◆Winner: Sasaki (19:46) following the Northern Light Bomb on YASSHI.
~ The next DR show will be on November 24 at the Kensuke Office Dojo.
(1) Namazu Man, CHANGO [Free] & NOSAWA Rongai [Tokyo Gurentai] vs. “VOODOO MURDERS” TARU, “brother” YASSHI & Kengo ◆Winner: TARU (15:52) with the From Hell on Namazu.
(2) DIAMOND RING vs NOAH: Satoshi Kajiwara & Mitsuhiro Kitamiya vs. Daisuke Harada & Hitoshi Kumano ◆Winner: Harada (18:27) following a Diving Elbow Drop on Kitamiya.
(3) Main Event Special Tag Match: Katsuhiko Nakajima & Masato Shibata [U-FILECAMP] vs. Yoshihiro Takayama [Takayama Hall] & Tatsuhito Takaiwa [Free] ◆Winner: Nakajima (-) following the Verterical Drop style Brainbuster on Takaiwa.
~ Full card for their next show was announced.
DIAMOND RING, 11/10/2013 [Sun] 18:00 @ Iwaki City Taira Gymnasium in Fukushima
(1) Namazu Man & CHANGO [Free] vs. Masao Inoue [Free] & NOSAWA Rongai [Tokyo Gurentai] (2) Satoshi Kajiwara vs. Kengo [VOODOO MURDERS] (3) Joshi Special Tag Match: YumikoHotta[Diana] & MimaShimoda [CMLL] vs. TomokoWatanabe[Free] & Sareee [Diana] (4) Mitsuhiro Kitamiya vs. Tatsuhito Takaiwa [Free] (5) Main Event 6 Man Tag Match: Kensuke Sasaki, Katsuhiko Nakajima & Yutaka Yoshie [Free] vs. “VOODOO MURDERS” Kento Miyahara, TARU & “brother” YASSHI
Notes: 3 / 6 months ago
Upcoming Event Updates : ZERO1 (10/13) and DIAMOND RING (10/20)
It’s kind of relaxed on much major news, but there are a couple event cards announced for shows later on this month….
ZERO1 officially announced that James Raideen will be defending the World Heavyweight belt against Yusaku Obata on October 13th. These two have faced off mutliple times in the past and even for the NWA UN Heavyweight belt which Raideen beat Obata to gain. Yusaku Obata has proven himself to be a solid in ring competitor in ZERO1, since joining the promotion last year, but he gives up a lot of size and power to the reigning champion.
Also announced for the show is Daichi Hashimoto making his return to active competition after suffering multiple arm fractures that have kept more or less sidelined for pretty much the last 10 months. Daichi is apparently cleared this time around to make a proper return and he will be taking on DIAMOND RING’s Katsuhiko Nakajima first thing. These two have met in two tag team matches last year, once in ZERO1 and then in NOAH’s Tag League, and a lot of heat was definitely shown between the two. Daichi aims to prove himself as a heavy striker, much like his father, and facing someone like Nakajima will definitely prove if he can even hang with one of the heaviest kickers in the business today.
Then the ZERO1 vs WNC battle will continue as Yoshikazu Yokoyama will be looking for revenge against Koji Doi. Doi picked up the win over Yokoyama on the last Shinkiba show on the 28th and Yokoyama seems to be unable to believe that he lost to anyone from WNC. Yokoyama stated that he will be claim the victory for ZERO1 at the Korakuen Hall.
Pro Wrestling ZERO1, 10/13/2013 [Sun] 12:00 @ Korakuen Hall in Tokyo
() ZERO1 vs WNC Tag Match: Daemon Ueda & Yoshikazu Yokoyama vs. Koji Doi & Jiro Kuroshio () Single Match: Takuya Sugawara vs. Jason Lee [Hong Kong] () Daichi Hashimoto’s Return Match: Daichi Hashimoto vs. Katsuhiko Nakajima [DIAMOND RING]
() World Heavyweight Championship Match: [15th Champion] James Raideen vs. [Challener] Yusaku Obata ~ 2nd title defense.
~ 2-3 more matches are to be announced. —————————————————————————
Then DR announced a pretty huge main event for their next show on October 20th as Katsuhiko Nakajima will be teaming with U-FILE CAMP’s Masato Shibata to take on Yoshihiro Takayama and Tatsuhito Takaiwa. Nakajima and Takayama are far from strangers against one another and this could bode to being a solid match-up of power and strikes.
[NOAH News] Pro Wrestling NOAH announced two title matches for their upcoming “GREAT VOYAGE 2013 in YOKOHAMA Vol.2” coming on October 5th.
Following his 7th successful title defense over Mikey Nicholls, KENTA is continuing to move forward as NOAH’s leading star and now will find himself up against DIAMOND RING’s Katsuhiko Nakajima. KENTA and Nakajima have had a pretty rivaled filled past over the years with both known for their brutal kicks and all around heavy style as juniors in Japan. Some of their best matches against one another came from their back and forth matches in 2009 back for the GHC Jr. Heavyweight belt and it is now the tables will be flipped as KENTA is the reigning GHC Heavyweight Champion as Nakajima aims to breakthrough himself as a “pure” Heavyweight class wrestler. Side note, if KENTA manages to get through Nakajima that will make him the record setter for the most defenses in the shortest amount of time within a year. KENTA has been champion since 1/27 of this year.
Also announced is New Japan Veteran Junior’s Liger & Tiger defending the GHC Jr. Tag belts against, the current reigning GHC Jr. Champion, Taiji Ishimori and Atsushi Kotoge. Ishimori & Kotoge have proven themselves as a solid jr. team in the past and Ishimori, who carries the GHC jr. singles belt, is looking to bring the belt back to NOAH where it belongs.
Below is the updated event card for 10.5.
Pro Wrestling NOAH “GREAT VOYAGE 2013 in YOKOHAMA vol. 2”, 10/5/2013 [Sun] 18:00 @ Yokohama Cultural Gymnasium