Yasukuni Shrine Sumo Field
A second ZERO-1 show dropping in less than a month? This is good news, I am very lucky. Very important show for ZERO-1 as they are setting up little programs for the rest of 2016. You will see Fujita ‘Jr’ Hayato FINALLY making his return to ZERO-1 after nearly a year absence because of an injury. Great Kabuki is in a wacky 6 man tag match that is also Mineo Fujita’s last match in ZERO-1 as a contracted performer. Yuki Ishikawa and Kintaro Kanemaru are on this show for a bit of nostalgia. Yusaku Obata who recently returned to ZERO-1 is going up against the giant Australian James Raideen in a clash of styles battle. This show looks pretty ‘meh’ but then you see the top two matches and you realize ‘Oh this could be an amazing show’. Seriously look at that main event, Hideki Suzuki vs. Kohei Sato for the ZERO-1 title. Can’t wait.
This was not much of a match really, clipped as well. Iwaki is the resident young boy of ZERO-1 and this was his break through match. Not match quailty wise but finish wise because Toshiki Iwaki actually won. He beat the more experienced Yokoyama with a blue thunder bomb. Iwaki was in tears in his backstage interview. Crowd reacted very well to Iwaki.
This was hilarious in the worst ever way. Ishikawa and Ogasawara did some old man grappling which was the best thing that happened in this entire bout. Matrix is good but holy god I don’t think Kanemaru liked him very much. Matrix did a moonsault from the top rope to the outside and Kanemaru didn’t even try to catch him. Ogasawara pinned Matrix with just a really weak kick to the head.
I was not looking forward to this one bit but honestly it was fine. Okamoto is VERY slowly winning me over. He delivers some great looking suplexes and lariats. He and Masakado did some strong style spots. They are both guys I am not sold on but funny enough they work well together. Kenso did lariat Sai to hell numerous times. Okamoto finally finished Masakado with a backdrop suplex and a spinning side slam.
This match was clipped, and cuts to them trading forearms and chops. Obata kept attempting to lock in submissions on the giant Australian, he chose to use a sleeper hold along with a front facelock. Obata uses his knees very well in many variations. Raideen was using a ton of lariats, in the corner, short arm and just the standard lariat. Obata did the RKO, yes the commentators actually called it an RKO. Lance Archer like chokeslam from Raideen for a near fall. Obata had an insane flurry of offence that started with shoot headbutts and ended with a SOMATO. Obata kicked out of another lariat at one but gets put away with a Liger bomb.
THE GREAT FK’N KABUKI TEAMING WITH BUFFA WRESTLING TARU! THIS IS WRESTLING clap clap clap clap clap THIS IS WRESTLING. This was Mineo Fujita’s final match in ZERO-1 as a ZERO-1 contracted performer. I don’t know if he will return anytime soon as a freelancer. Fujita was 100% serious in this match, there were zero penis gimmicks. He was legit so good in this match. He busted out some great kicks and a huge tope con hilo. One of the craziest spots of 2016 occurred in this bout. 44-year-old KAMIKAZE did a moonsault off a 10ft building! That was so great. TARU of all people pinned Mineo with a TERRIBLE fire thunder driver.
Yes! Hayato is finally back in ZERO-1! Very pleased about that and he is teaming with the ace of the juniors in ZERO-1’s Ikuto Hidaka. As you would expect with these four men it was an excellent match. These four guys killed it out there, and what I really liked about this match was that Hidaka was clearly the heel and Otani was clearly the babyface. It’s great when there’s a real face and heel dynamic in Japanese puroresu. Masato Tanaka’s tan is just straight up outrageous, he is the darkest Japanese man I have ever seen. Crowd loves ‘Mr. Wrestling’ Shinjiro Otani, he has the god like status with the ZERO-1 faithful. For those that haven’t seen modern day Shinjiro Otani the man is still oh so nimble and light on his feet, not a lot has changed in 20 years. There was massive heat on Hidaka for avoiding the boots in the corner but later on in the match Otani got them in. The crowd gradually grew to dislike Hidaka more and more as the match went on. Hayato for being out for 8 months still has amazing shoot style kicks and knee strikes. Handspring spinning wheel kick from Hidaka! Awesome sequence, German from Otani superkick on Otani from Hayato and then Tanaka lariats Hidaka and Hayato to hell. Team ZERO-1 legends used an assisted RKO from the top rope which blew my goddamn mind. Hidaka kicked out of the Liger bomb. Hidaka was using everything to put Otani away even a Salida Del Sol but eventually Hidaka pinned Otani with 4 high kicks.
Wow this was very anti-climatic and for me to say that about a ZERO-1 main event is something else! I was so hyped for this match and it told a good story but it wasn’t the normal ZERO-1 crash/bang main event. This was worked in a completely different way than any other ZERO-1 main event and I can respect that, but it wasn’t my kind of match. Especially for these two who I know could kill it for a good 25 minutes. Sato was positioned as the babyface fighting from underneath but he rarely got in any offence and when he would, Suzuki would take control again ASAP. So the story of the match was Suzuki killing Sato’s arm which he done well and stretched the absolute shit out of it. I honestly thought Sato’s shoulder was going to pop out of place. For the first 6 minutes of the match it was complete domination of Sato’s arm. Sato made a short lived comeback but when he attempted a forearm with his injured arm Hideki took advantage and locked in a Fujiwara arm bar. German suplex from Sato but again Hideki took control and locked in an Octopus stretch. Shoot headbutts followed by a piledriver for an ultra close near fall, and seconds after Sato delivers another German suplex hold to win back the ZERO-1 World Heavyweight Championship! YAY. I am so happy for Sato but I just wish it was more of a match, didn’t feel like a big time match at all.
Solid ZERO-1 show I guess. One very excellent match and other good matches, but there was some definite SHIT on this show. That second match was so bad. I am shocked I didn’t give it negative stars. Matrix’s moonsault that didn’t connect gave the match 1 star. I am intrigued to see where ZERO-1 goes from here with Sato as the champ again BUT he is currently out injured with a bad knee so that shakes things up. I am fully expecting an Otani vs. Hidaka singles match in the near future which I will pop huge for. Thank you for reading another Puroresu review. Many more are on their way! Japanese wrestling is dropping shows like I drop burials on Puro in the Rough.