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Antonio Inoki as the front man for K-1’s 2010 Dynamite event; TBS time frame set

By Zach Arnold | December 13, 2010

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Today, we were supposed to get a 10-match card announced. Instead, we know six of the fights:

The big development, if you want to call it that, today was the announcement of Antonio Inoki as “executive producer” of this year’s Dynamite event at Saitama Super Arena. If you believe that Inoki would book the kind of fights listed up above, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell you. Any how, Inoki will play the Hulk Hogan role of being the face for the event and promising some ‘big surprises’ for the show.

The news of K-1 & Kazuyoshi Ishii calling upon Antonio Inoki to participate is interesting on a lot of political levels, but fights move the needle for fans rather than politics. Politically-speaking, the move to bring Inoki on board is a tacit acknowledgment by K-1 that they needed more star power than they could produce with the fights on their card. Inoki is a far bigger star than anyone on the fight card. Here’s the problem — he can’t fight. Sure, he may do a goofy wrestling exhibition match, but you’ve seen that before. You’ve also seen Inoki-produced events before (see: 8/8/03 at the Tokyo Dome for UFO when he booked Matt Ghaffari vs. Naoya Ogawa and Sanae Kikuta was stretchered out after a beating by Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, plus the infamous 12/31/03 Kobe Wing Stadium show that later on would be a key moment in the implosion of PRIDE.)

The bigger political game here for K-1 is Satoshi Ishii. Inoki and his power base (Tatsuo Kawamura) have the juice and hold the cards. I would fully expect to see some of the IGF wrestlers, like a Josh Barnett or Wakakirin the ex-Sumo fighter, get booked. That could also mean a Mark Coleman sighting as well. Intriguingly, a match between Alistair Overeem and Josh Barnett would suddenly turn a (largely) meaningless Dynamite event into a show where Strikeforce would see two major matches taking place between Barnett/Overeem and Thomson/Kawajiri. It would be funny to see those fights happening in Japan as opposed to the States. Michael Schiavello, the HDNet voice for K-1, says that Alistair Overeem “would sodomize Barnett.” If they can’t book Barnett, the other name being mentioned is Andrei Arlovski.

For reference, Tatsuo Kawamura is a long-time power broker in the entertainment scene in Japan. He went to school with the late Hiromichi Momose. Momose was the founder of PRIDE (the former yakuza boss who wore a ball cap and sat at ringside for all the major PRIDE events.) It’s funny to see the whole New Year’s Eve concept come full circle on the 10th anniversary event.

A source with knowledge of the major television happenings in Japan indicated to me today that Tokyo Broadcasting System will discuss NYE plans for programming by this Friday. (More below.) The same source also noted, when watching the K-1 World GP event from over the weekend in Tokyo at Ariake Colosseum, that the promotion had a lot of little sponsors supporting the show but no big heavyweight companies showing up. Of note was a ring sponsorship by Fashion TV.

Mr. Schiavello, right after the World GP event was over, claimed that he was told that K-1 found some new financial backing and would be able to run shows in 2011. The sad thing is that, at this point, it’s largely irrelevant because no matter how much cash you have, you either have the ability to make new Japanese stars or don’t. As I noted here over the weekend, Kazuyoshi Ishii’s biggest strength is also his biggest weakness. He knows how to build up foreigners and make them into stars in Japan but has a much shakier track record when it comes to Japanese native aces.

Whatever opinions you have about the fights on this upcoming Dynamite card, the truth is that for star power it really doesn’t hold a candle to the recent World GP event. As for how the Fuji TV event did ratings-wise, I would say the verdict is: OK, not great, but steady. I think it probably helps give the promotion a stay of execution by the channel. Here’s the report claiming that this year’s show overall drew a 13.0% rating. The other networks (N-TV, TBS, TV-Asahi) ran non-sports programming. Asahi drew huge numbers for figure skating (22.9%) and for a taxi driver show (15.8%). The K-1 show did beat the average of both N-TV and TBS programming. In other words, a solid second place standing for Saturday night. For reference, last year’s World GP event drew a 15.3% rating.

As for Mr. Inoki, he appeared today at the press conference for Dynamite and said that he wanted the event to regain it’s fighting spirit and pummel Kohaku (Red & White Music Festival on NHK). Given that Mr. Inoki sold New Japan to Yukes and arranged to have his appearances and licensing matters go through them, I wonder if they gave the OK for being this event’s front man or if he did it on his own accord…

TBS’s kakutougi division has set up its own Twitter account. You can follow them and Dan Herbertson and Tony Loiseleur and have a good time doing it. On Twitter, TBS noted Inoki as the executive producer for the Dynamite show. I would take this as a sign that the Dynamite show will air on the network for NYE. What the specifics are for a time frame are currently unknown. The promoter side, not the TV side, announced that the show will air on all TBS affiliates on NYE from 9 PM to 11:39 PM JST. TBS now confirms the news on their Twitter account.

As for Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto, Mr. Tanigawa today stated to the media that he talked to Kid’s manager. K-1 says that Kid’s manager told them that he got an offer from the UFC but has not signed a contract yet. Tanigawa believes Yamamoto would be well-served to continue fighting in Japan.

Topics: Japan, K-1, Media, MMA, Zach Arnold | 7 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

7 Responses to “Antonio Inoki as the front man for K-1’s 2010 Dynamite event; TBS time frame set”

  1. Hikaru says:

    The details of the broadcast are known. From 21:00 to 23:39.

    Ed. — Thank you.

  2. 45 Huddle says:

    That card does not look good for NYE.

  3. The Gaijin says:

    I could hardly see Overeem accepting an mma rules match with someone like Arlovski or Barnett on 20 days notice and after completing the K-1 GP tourney.

    Even if a fight with AA would basically mean he’d be fighting 99% stand-up anyways, there’s just no way I see it happening. He’ll probably fight Mark Coleman or Mountain Silva or someone goofy like that – the Dream HW title is vacant so it’s not like they can’t just serve up the belt on a platter for him.

    I’d prefer he takes the time off to get rested and return to mma, but he’ll probably get a good payday out of it now that he’s got the K-1 GP champ cache.

  4. liger05 says:

    when all this K-1 stuff came out on here I said to my brother is this now the time for the return of Mr Inoki? lo and behold he worms himself back into the limelight. His NYE record sux and after him and his son did there best to run New Japan Pro-wrestling into the ground and drive them out of business no sane person should go near Antonio Inoki. However like him or not his a ‘star’ and and that start status does carry some clout. The card isnt great and maybe Inoki can get himself over with the big entrance and then get a bunch of dudes into the ring and give them a slap.

  5. […] in the past, was announced today as the “executive producer” for Dynamite!! 2010. Here’s Fight Opinion’s Zach Arnold on this development. The big development, if you want to call it that, today was the announcement of Antonio Inoki as […]

  6. Code says:

    Dynamite is going to be pretty bad compared to last years show regardless of who produces it. Who would have thought a year ago that SRC would be putting on a must see NYE show (Admittedly based on the back of Sandro/Hioki, but one potentially amazing fight and a solid undercard is better than 12 pointless fights.) while Dynamite would be so disappointing. Kawajiri/Josh Thompson aside is their really a must see fight on this card in any fashion?

    It says something about how good Tanigawa is at his job that he doesn’t even know that one of his biggest stars is gone yet. I really can’t see the UFC confirming an opponent and date for a fight before having KID under wraps.

    • Steve4192 says:

      “I really can’t see the UFC confirming an opponent and date for a fight before having KID under wraps.”

      Have you not been following the Big Country or Jon Brookins sagas?


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