Happy new year, and welcome to another episode of Laying Down Leather! It has returned, and my goal is to maintain it on the site for this whole year. I hope everyone has a good 2020, as I plan to have a good one as well.

Just like every year this time around, a few big events happened, and they were all in Japan. Let’s talk about them, shall we?

MMA

As many of you might know, RIZIN 20 took place on New Year’s Eve. I have a LOT of notes on the event. If you want to skip past it, click here.

Overall, RIZIN 20 was an amazing event. Personally, I’d say it was the best MMA event I watched in 2019. Of course nobody likes the intermissions, but they weren’t super bad. If the intermission issue never goes away, oh well.

The event saw the stock of Tofiq Musayev rise exponentially, defeaing Patricky Pitbull. He’s been fun to watch for the past year, and it’s nice that he’s getting the recognition.

While Miyuu Yamamoto’s performance over AMP The Rocket was good, please stop giving Rocket all of these close matchups. She’s a clear prospect but taking lots of losses early in her career.

Source say Johnny Case has went to PFL, but if he didn’t, I’d love to see him back. Maybe he can pull a Satoshi Ishii and do both in one year. Not that Ishii’s 4-3 2019 run was good, though.

Whether you’re a fan or not of Tenshin Nasukawa after the tabloids had their fun with him this winter, you have to admit that he is an absolute beast. I did not expect him to crush Rui Ebata in such a damaging fashion.

I don’t have a ton more to say about the show, but if you could only watch some fights, I’d recommend:

  • Jake Heun vs. Satoshi Ishii
  • Hiromasa Ogikubo vs. Shintaro Ishiwatari
  • RENA vs. Lindsey VanZandt
  • Tofiq Musayev vs. Patricky Pitbull
  • Seo Hee Ham vs. Ayaka Hamasaki

I didn’t catch the PFL finale, but I saw the results…

Nice to see Ray Cooper III win the grand finals after her came up short last year.

I’m interested to see Ali Isaev as he continues to be undefeated. Same with Kayla Harrison.

Wrestling

I watched the two nights of Wrestle Kingdom at the Tokyo Dome this week as well. Both shows had some amazing wrestling on it. It was not the best Wrestle Kingdom I’ve seen, but it sure did not disappoint.

NJPW has done only one-night of Wrestle Kingdom in the past, changing that this year to two nights. Quite honestly, I’d prefer if they went back to the two-night format. While the first night had some great matches, the bottom half of the card felt lame. Not so much the case with the second night.

Uhh, spoilers:

Kenta spoiling the part that Tetsuya Naito almost finally got was amazing. Just further shows how NJPW is great at their long-term booking.

Obviously, very saw to see Jushin Thunder Liger retire. But, the brightside of it was it was on his terms, and not decided by fate. I was lucky to witness him live a couple of times.

TJPW’s 1/4 show was a fun viewing. If you enjoy comedy wrestling, you’ll absolutely love Shoko Nakajima versus Hyper Misao. The post-match promo between Maki Itoh and Thunder Rosa was also funny.

Just an update about content on the site, while I’ll do these weekly little “blog”-ish posts, I’ll try to also get more professionally shaped columns out too. Stay tuned!

Upcoming work:

On lwos.life, I’ll be doing my annual K-pop awards hopefully later this week. I really enjoy writing it, and hopefully you’ll enjoy reading it (if you’re interested of course).

The hope is to cover the ONE Championship event on this site on Friday. I’ll likely do it live, but hey, no promises.

Take care, and see you around!