After January’s D-RIZE show and February’s All Japan AJ PHOENIX show, it’s time to rotate back to D-RIZE for their March installment. This card has tons of potential, but it’s up to the matchups whether or not it will deliver. We even have one non-rookie, young lion, or featured competitors on typical shows bout where Atsushi Aoki & Hikaru Sato will face Masashi Takeda & Takayuki Ueki. Naoya Nomura looks like top BJW World Strong Heavyweight Champion Yuji Okabayashi, and in the main event, we see a star-studded tag where Daisuke Sekimoto & Kohei Sato face Jake Lee & Yoshihisa Uto. Without further ado, let’s get into the show.
A well-done opener. At first, Kikuta was in control with my favorite wrestling hold, the cravat, and knee’d the hell out of Daichi, but Daichi full and well knew that this was his time to shine. Although Kikuta would still come back from time to time, the match was all Daichi’s, as brutal kicks to the back were traded, brutal kicks, in general, were thrown by Hashimoto; and the end of the match came in no time for poor Kikuta. He still managed to kick out of a Falcon Arrow as well as a Penalty Kick, but a drawn out single leg crab where Kikuta couldn’t escape drew the end of the match as he had to give up. At time stiff and brutal with some desperation, a very solid opener. Long live Hashimoto strong style~!
Sakuda has a top 5 theme in Japan. I need to track it down. GREAT work from the two. This was all about the big vs. small dynamic, as Aoyagi is lanky and Sakuda is chubbier and smaller. There was tons of intensity and athleticism put on display here, as Aoyagi includes crossbody’s as main aspects of his offense. Sakuda is one of my favorite smaller guys in the world right now. Sakuda gave a flying elbow to Sakuda’s back and always had him in a crab, but Sakuda never gave up, at one point even taking three attempts to grab the ropes, yet he still did it. Bodyslams on Sakuda sent the mat into devastation from the impact. Aoyagi hit his top rope crossbody but Sakuda powered out and also countered the Fisherman’s Buster twice! He gave all his momentum to a roll-up slam for a win. Great work for such a small period of time. Aoyagi either needs to put on some more weight (coming from a very skinny guy) or work a little differently.
Absolutely tremendous tag from all four of these men! GO Asakawa was the star of the match, the Kaientai Dojo prospect in bright yellow tights pulled out all his stops here and bumped around, and popped back up looking like a million bucks in the process. The sheer quality of tag team work over in this match was enough for it to be ***1/2. We had insane, murderous headlocks from Kamitani, which are the best holds in the world. The outstretched legs of Yoshida slammed into the throat of GO. However, GO plays a wonderous underdog, JUDO THROWING Kamitani instead of being lariated. Yoshida is a very well rounded worker who meshed with Maruyama a bunch of times in the match. Yoshida ended up taking out Maruyama with a side effect, which led us to the final moments of the match. GO tried his hardest against current BJW Tag Champion Kamitani, but he just wasn’t powerful enough. He got clocked multiple times and even though he kicked out after a shoulder tackle and brainbuster, he was placed in a sleeper stretch and thrown to the ground; pinned for the 1-2-3. Excellent tag team wrestling. I highly suggest you all scope this out.
One of the featured competitors of AJ PHOENIX and D-RIZE gets a singles match vs. the World Strong Heavyweight Champion! Another great match that picked right up when I thought it was going to be lax and just OK. The entire match saw Nomura able to duck Okabayashi ending the match to pop back up with powerful moves, even picking up Okabayashi multiple times. Little things like Okabayashi’s ‘best selling in the world’ helped put Nomura over, and props to Nomura for being so precise with his movements. He’d put on a headlock whilst in a torture rack which flowed into the next move instead of doing the generic hold-breaker chain. The back and forth headlocks and work over built to a fantastic finishing stretch that put this match on a great map. Nomura rolled-up Okabayashi multiple times and ducked the lariat, turning the momentum into a Nomura Spear. A missile dropkick was kicked out of, and Okabayashi slapped the taste out of Nomura’s mouth on the top rope. Okabayashi hit his superplex but that still wasn’t enough. Nomura fired back, but was a bit too ahead of himself, being caught in a suplex position yet flipping out; only to be lariated for a kick out; as the Golum Splash finally sealed the deal. Yep, now you know what I mean. OK build to a fantastic finishing sequence, as Okabayashi continues to cement his elite working status and Nomura continues good outings. He’s not the easiest worker to rout for, though. The crowd got behind him a little bit which was nice.
What a goofy combination. Evolution members Aoki and Sato took on MMA shooter/death matcher Masashi Takeda and the funniest man in wrestling Takayuki Ueki. This match as a whole was a bizarre experience, but one that was interesting enough to at least keep me into it most of the time. There was a whole lot of rolling around and submissions, as Hikaru Sato was put over huge in many ways. Masashi Takeda spent way less time in the match than expected, as Takayuki Ueki provided no comedy whatsoever, and focused on serious wrestling which once again, was a bizarre experience; but he’s a good worker comedy or not. The amount of headbutts used in the match was a bit scary, especially with how banged up Ueki already is, but that’s his persona. Sato kept kicking out of every pin pressed upon him by Ueki and countered Ueki’s spear with a guillotine whilst Aoki slapped an arm bar on Takeda. That turned the tide and the rest of the match went to Evolution because of Sato being put over. Sato still kicked out of Kokeshi’s, and after taking a head-on headbutt, he evaded a Top Rope Salute headbutt from Ueki and put him in an arm bar. Aoki held Takeda back as Ueki was forced to submit. Good enough but never anything you should watch, unless if you’re curious as to how Sato is being built up and Ueki actually wrestling. The short Aoki and Takeda exchanges were enjoyable.
I always keep it, as Dustin likes to say, really real. This wasn’t even match of the night which could come as a surprise to some folks. I just prefer the other dynamics and how the other two higher rated matches came together. This felt quite lax at times, although it still told good physical stories. And considering it’s very close rating, it’s not like it was a DUD. Solid work from everyone involved for a decent main event. It seemed like there was always work over on someone, mostly Uto, being chopped to hell and thrown around for a lot of the match. Either Jake Lee would come in for the save, or Kohei Sato would destroy Uto when he had Sekimoto in an intriguing position. A Falcon Arrow and Sekimoto Splash was hit on Uto but Jake Lee saved the match just in time. Uto fought out of a crab which is a universal spot for these types of shows as seen many times in this review. Sekimoto screamed “FUCK YOU” as he tried to lariat Uto but was rolled-up. A kickout of that, and a lariat, yet Uto still kicked out! A huge brainbuster put Uto away for the Sekimoto and Sato win.
D-RIZE’s second ever show was a breeze to watch, with hardly anything under *** and all fairly short matches. If you’re so short on time that you can’t even watch a show that has about an hour and a bit of wrestling on it, just watch the GO Asakawa tag which was the match of the night, and the Nomura vs. Okabayashi singles match. I look forward to the future of these shows and the next featured card which will be AJ PHOENIX in April. Until next time.