My goodness gracious there is a first for everything in this world, for example: I got Tinder the other week and that was a first, I started a new podcast which is a first and now I am reviewing my first ever Dradition event. This show is special and that’s because Jun Akiyama and Tatsumi Fujinami have never had contact before in a wrestling ring and this is the first time they will wrestle one another. It is a tag match and one is 62 and one is 46 but still it’s awesome and I love it. LEONA the son of Fujinami is going up against one of the best in the world Seiya Sanada which is going to be very interesting. Some of my favorite independent workers are on this show so yeah it should be a blast and I hope you enjoy reading.
Going into this I had no clue who either of these man were or where they came from but they put on a solid shoot style opening match. Sanshu wore kick pads and used a lot of kicks some looked good and some missed by a country mile. Kurashima was wearing the usual ‘I grapple’ attire, black trunks and no knee pads. Lots of grappling back and forth and trading submissions. I was in such a good mood I actually enjoyed the grappling. Old mate Sanshu would just randomly start shoot punching his opponent which was hilarious. Kurashima actually won with what he calls ‘the Kurashima drop’ which is a flying neckbreaker like Giant Baba used to use.
HEAT-UP offer match happening in Korakuen Hall?? HELL YES! These HEAT-UP boys absolutely killed it out there and I am sure they are going to get more bookings with Dradition going forward. This was an awesome sub 10 minute match with lots of drama and big moves, the crowd was really getting into the match towards the back end. There was no outside interference or gimmicks, it was just two guys having a back and forth battle to win. If you have read any of my HEAT-UP reviews you will know that I think Tamura is one of the best in the world but CHANGO in this match was so amazing, everything from his timing and positioning to his offence was great. He got some really close near falls with some neat pins numerous times throughout the contest. They had a lovely little opening sequence that Tamura got the better of but CHANGO baited him into going to the outside and CHANGO beat Tamura up in a half filled Korakuen Hall. CHANGO controlled the momentum for a tad with moves like a snap senton which is so awesome I am going to start using it in my matches and call it ‘The CHANGO squash’. Tamura fired back with all his big time moves like the missile dropkick and the Whisper in the Wind that Jeff Hardy uses. As I said the last few minutes were so much fun, the drama peaked like it is supposed to at the end of the match. Tamura hit a jumping high kick then locked in a Minoru special to win the match.
This was actually good and better than average. Easily the best LEONA match I have seen. Seiya Sanada just oozes charisma so I guess that carried over to LEONA who is a fine technician but has zero personality or charisma. The grappling was very solid and the crowd showed respect to both men. Sanada sold his butt off for LEONA even if it was just for a short period of time. Big pop whenever LEONA would hit a suplex on Sanada. It is terrible to say but LEONA has the worst dragon screw legs whips in pro wrestling. It’s terrible to say such because his dad at age 62 can still do amazing dragon screws. Sanada didn’t bust out a ton of crazy offence like he has been doing in BJW but he done some cute things like his springboard missile dropkick. LEONA kicked out of a tiger suplex but Sanada applied a dragon sleeper which made LEONA tap out. The ref had to be at least 80 years old. He was so slow with the pin falls. LEONA was bearable.
This is very interesting because 3 of the 4 wrestlers in this match are in the upcoming Champions Carnival in AJPW (Nagai isn’t in it). Work was solid early on. All guys grappled around and traded strikes. Sekimoto had a single leg crab on Tiger and Nagai breaks that up with a kick to the chest. Kengo and Daisuke work over Tiger’s legs with submissions and moves that target the legs but Tiger makes the tag after a spinning wheel kick. Daisuke ran wild with lariats in the corner on Nagai. Sekimoto and Nagai just had a singles match in RJPW and I need to see that ASAP because they worked great with one another. The goddamn chop and kick exchanges were brutal. Big time superplex on Sekimoto. Mashimo locks in a fantastic looking arm bar like Becky Lynch’s but Tiger breaks that up with a kick. Michinoku driver, Penalty Kick combo from Tiger and Nagai. Sekimoto murders Nagai with a lariatoooo. Mashimo finishes off Nagai with a killer brain buster.
Oh boy; the shoots will be real in this match. Funaki is in his pink attire. The grappling was in full effect. Funaki laid on his back in the Gracie position as if he was fighting MMA. Funaki is smiling whilst he’s grappling, it’s the best. Kunoh is one strong dude! he dead lifted Funaki from a triangle choke position and laid him out on the top rope. Lots of mat work and little to no strikes at all. Awesome strikes and knees from Funaki. At the 8 minute mark the match REALLY started picking up, the grappling was very quick and very smooth. Great spot where Kunoh would catch the kicks that Funaki would throw but Funaki would slap him anyway and after the kicks didn’t work he used a Jushin Liger rolling Kappu kick to knock down Kunoh. Out of nowhere Funaki pinned Kunoh with a Penalty Kick. If you love the grapplefuck then you will love this.
My god the first ever meeting between Akiyama and Fujinami in a pro wrestling match! This is lit as they say. They start out the match with one another and show respect with both men using clean breaks. Fujinami took a flat back bump off a shoulder tackle but bounced right back up and almost hit a dragon screw but Akiyama avoided. Hiro Saito uses a jaw breaker and a DDT on the young boy of All Japan Aoyagi. What the fuck!! Aoyagi and Akiyama spiked piledrove 54-year-old Hiro Saito on the floor! 2016!!! WHAT THE HELL. Akiyama gives Saito a few knees and then piledrives him once again! Fujinami tagged in and hit one dragon screw but right away he was caught with two knee strikes from Jun. Aoyagi runs wild with a missile dropkick and a top rope crossbody on Fujinami. The Dragon is taking some bumps here! I love it, he is one of the only older wrestlers that will take bumps that look good. Aoyagi was caught with a dragon screw as was Akiyama and then Saito gave a senton to both men. The Dragon made Aoyagi tap out to the dragon sleeper. Awesome once in a lifetime match. It’s so special and so nostalgic. ***1/4
Wow, this was a super fun show. Nothing terrible at all. It’s a shame it didn’t draw more fans because Akiyama vs. Fujinami even in a tag setting seems like a big time match to me at least. Coming out of this show they announced an even more wild match at the next Dradition event on 5/15. Tatsumi Fujinami, LEONA & The Great Kabuki will face Jun Akiyama, Yuma Aoyagi & Masanobu Fuichi. Yes folks it’s 2016. I fully expect Jun to beat the absolute tar out of LEONA because he just disposed of him like rubbish at the end of this show I just reviewed. Should be a hoot just like this show was. One really awesome match with neat little matches top to bottom. I don’t regret watching or reviewing at all.