ZERO1 Presents Kohei Sato 15th Anniversary
Watch: The RealHero Archive
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo – Japan
Sean Guinness def. Chris Orndorff**1/2
This is super interesting and weird, but that’s what you come to expect with ZERO1 sometimes. This is Orndorff’s first ever match. He’s an 18-year-old from Belarus and somehow is debuting for ZERO1?! I have no clue anymore. But, you know what, he wasn’t that bad at all. Besides the usual nervousness and awkwardness that comes with debuting as a wrestler he was solid. He ran the ropes a little funky but as time goes on he will improve. Putting him in the ring with an experienced English speaking guy was the best bet and allowed them to put on a good match. Nothing insane except at one point Chris went Strong BJ mode and used a shoot dead lift suplex. The crowd was very receptive and respectful to both fellas. Sean is a total class act and made Chris look super good. In the end Guinness made Chris submit to a brutal sleeper.
Takuya Sugawara, Ikuto Hidaka & Kotaro Suzuki def. Isami Kodaka, Takumi Tsukamoto & Ryota Nakatsu***1/4
Team BASARA vs. Team ZERO1 juniors! This was very good, a solid mix of comedic wrestling and great nonstop Jr. heavyweight action. Isami was wearing a Goku costume again and was adorable. All of team Z-1 pulled on Isami’s tail and assaulted it. Hidaka seemed like he wanted to really beat the shit out of Isami. Nakatsu looked super impressive here as always with his kicks. Kotaro got a nice hot tag and cleaned house, Kodaka had great moments in this match with all of his opponents. Isami is incredibly underrated as a six man tag worker. Isami used his diving double knee drop then Ryota hit a PK on Sugawara. The finish was awesome as Nakatsu kicked out of a brainbuster from Sugawara, but then was killed with a lariat which got the win for Team ZERO1.
Hideki Suzuki def. Yusaku Obata***3/4
My gosh I feel like I say this with every Hideki Suzuki match ever–but this was a shoot. A legit shoot. Hideki Suzuki just may be the most special man in wrestling today. He’s an attraction. You know when you go to see him you are in for a fight. Few guys in the world could have a good match with absolutely anyone and Hideki is one of those men. That’s not to take away from Obata because if you know me you know I love Yusaku Obata. He is one of the most underrated talents in the world and one of the biggest hidden treasures Japan has to offer. This match started hot with Obata jumping Hideki and not allowing him to enter HIS ring. One of the best spots all year was Hideki getting kicked then no selling then getting up to shake Obata’s hand as if he was saying: “you have earned my respect, now let’s go to war”. Hideki’s elbows were unreal, some of the best in wrestling. He also used an awesome exploder. Obata fired back with a corner dropkick and a diving double knee drop. Missile dropkick and many knee strikes from Obata. Hideki used a shoot belly to belly suplex off the top rope then put Obata away with a double arm suplex in just under 15 minutes. You need to see this!
Akebono & Shogun Okamoto def. James Raideen & Yuji Okabayashi***1/4
Wow. Okay. When I saw Yuji was back in ZERO1 I was pumped, then I saw the match he was in and I was still pumped. But definitely not as much as I was originally. You know what though? This was a really damn good match and everyone worked super hard. Especially Shogun and Raideen. I’m sick and tired of people saying James Raideen sucks. Maybe he did a few years ago, but in 2016 Raideen has been superb. He plays his role of the monster gajin so well and looks like an Adonis. Shogun and James have been feuding for a little while now and on paper it may not sounds like the best pairing but these lads have some real good chemistry. At the start of the year I disliked Okamoto a lot, but he’s turned the corner for me. I really enjoy his stuff. This match was full of shoulder blocks and chops. Raideen has some of the best chops as does Mr. Yuji. Bono made a hot tag which is literally just a splash and an elbow drop. Akebono took a double suplex from his opponents! Raideen did a brutal lariat which made me jump out of my seat. Okamoto also has one of the best back drop drivers in wrestling and used two of them on James to defeat him. SMOP wins!
Masato Tanaka & Kintaro Kanemaru def. Shinjiro Otani & Tatsuhito Takaiwa***1/4
This was not a good match when Kanemaru was in, but when he wasn’t, it was a very good match. I respect the hell out of Kanemaru for putting his body through hell for 20+ years, but right now he is on his retirement tour and is not moving well. You know it’s bad when a Japanese audience laughs at his wrestling. He tried to grapple and throw strikes with Otani but couldn’t hold a candle to Otani who tried to be respectful but got fed up and unloaded a giant elbow on the former FMW star. Tanaka and Takaiwa grapple and throw strikes until Takaiwa floors Tanaka with a lariat. Kanemaru did a splash off the top rope to the outside threw a table which was great. He then got an ECW chant going. Otani used his boots in the corner plus two great dropkicks. Diving elbow from Takaiwa. Kanemaru kicked out of two death valley drivers then got a clutch pin on Takaiwa out of nowhere for the win.
Kohei Sato Debut 15th Anniversary Match: Kohei Sato vs. Daisuke Sekimoto***3/4
Really great match here that was worked very differently than what you would imagine. First of all, an absolute legend sang Kohei Sato a song before coming out and it had Korakuen singing and dancing along it was great. Kohei and Sekimoto for that matter came out to monstrous reactions from the ZEEO1 faithful. This match wasn’t worked like how they work in BJW. This was a throwback match. Both these guys started around the same time and trained together in the ZERO1 dojo earlier in their careers. These guys have been wrestling one another for 15 years and are very close pals so they wrestled a match that worked 15 years ago and that could work today. They didn’t drop each other on their heads or go balls to the wall but they had the perfect match for the situation. They are celebrating Kohei’s 15th year in wrestling with one of his oldest brothers in the business. I loved this so much and if you understand why they worked the match the way they did; you will enjoy it a lot more. They started the bout off very slow, feeling each other out to the crowds applause. They trade respective chops and elbows then Sekimoto takes control for a while until Sato fires back with big kicks and a falcon arrow. HE DID THE DEAL! Sekimoto used a super impressive dead lift suplex. Sato used some shoot headbutts followed by a PK. HE HIT THE BEST PILEDRIVER I’VE EVER SEEN ON DADDY BIG JAPAN! German suplex hold for a near fall then Sekimoto hit one of his own, but Sato kicked out! LOVED THIS FINISH! Sekimoto made Sato tap to a Boston Crab, the ultimate young boy finish. The first move you learn as a Japanese pro wrestler. Loved all of this.
KOHEI SATO 15TH ANNIVERSARY
Very Good - 7.5/10
This was such a fun show, also serving as an absolute banger of a Korakuen Hall show. ZERO1 have had some hits and misses at Korkauen this year, but this was a huge hit. I skipped two matches that looked terrible and that's probably for the best. You need to watch Hideki and Obata's shoot and also the main event. Both will be on my recommended matches of November. Thank you for reading.