Imagine not wanting to read a retro ZERO-1 review! This should be a hoot of a time. Thanks to Chinese YouTube for blessing us with this footage.
LOTS OF LOUD PEOPLE
There was just highlights for this and what they showed was awesome. Mineo Fujita wasn’t doing his dick humor gimmick in 2011 so he was just being a fantastic Jr. heavyweight hitting dives and doing springboards. Primo won with the Super Fly Splash.
Another bout where only the closing sequence was shown. BUT WHAT A GODDAMN CLOSING SEQUENCE! Zeus was wearing tights and was not quite as muscular as he is now but still very large. Kakinuma is a dude I am not familiar with but he impressed me in the minute or so I saw of this match. Zeus won with the Jackhammer which is the best finisher ever for Zeus. I wish this entire match made its way online because it looks awesome! Imagine not loving Zeus.
Oh my god. Hayato looks like he is 15 years old. He is currently one of my favorites to watch in Japan, so it’s cool to see him before he became a bigger name. Sawada looks cute in his little judo get-up and is heavily booed. While this lasted it was great, legitimately felt like a shoot. Great to see a face/heel dynamic and the crowd so behind Hayato. Sawada stuck to his judo based offence while Hayato used kicks and knees to cause damage to Sawada. Atsushi Sawada won the match after a low-blow and a judo powerbomb??? I am not sure what it was but it looked cool. Wish this was longer as well.
The preview video before the match just shows Akebono squashing folk which is lovely. This was so great for a match that lasted just over 6 minutes. Akebono has stated that ZERO-1 is his favorite promotion to work for and in fact he is wrestling on the March 6 show coming up soon which will be his first match back from injury. Akebono uses his size just as well as guys like Hama and Big Show. He is also an excellent big man worker. Sato played the ultimate babyface that was getting squashed left and right. Sato would try to kick his way free of Akebono but Akebono would just squash him with elbows or his gut. Sato attempted a German suplex at one point that the crowd lost their mind for, but Akebono squashed him with his ass. The finish was great, Akebono did 6 avalanche style corner splashes but missed a regular splash which allowed Sato to use a ‘La Magistral’ on Akebono! Akebono kicked out but Sato used a KO kick to the head of Akebono and pinned him! Crowd lost their shit.
OK. Just before I get started I am going to have to say that this was the greatest match I have ever seen. I am writing this straight after watching it for the first time and I honestly think it is equal to any Kobashi vs. Misawa ever. This was puro fk’n resu at its absolute best. I have no clue what to write. I am currently shaking at 11 PM after watching this. I was almost asleep at 8:30 PM and now I am more alive than I have ever been in my 16 year career as a person. Masato Tanaka and Daisuke Sekimoto put on two of the best performances I have ever seen in a professional wrestling ring in the world. I love technical wrestling just as much as anyone but a pure technical battle doesn’t get me out of my chair a 11 PM at night screaming ‘HOLY SHIT’ or SEK-I-MOTO or TAN-A-KA. Strong style is what I just witnessed. I am never rendered speechless but I am. When I see a great match I usually write the review in mostly capital letters. This wasn’t a great match by any means. This was a perfect professional wrestling match that made me think Masato Tanaka is possibly one of the best workers of all-time and Daisuke Sekimoto is currently the best wrestler on God’s green earth. This intensity was unbelievable whether it be the chair shots or the chops or the forearms. Everything hurt and everything had a purpose. When someone says Japanese crowds are normally quiet I urge you to give them this match and make them kiss your toes when they finish watching. The crowd was electric throughout the entire 30 minute war. So much fighting spirit was shown by both men. Each used their finishing move at least 4 times. Tanaka has made the elbow as devastating of a move as a tombstone or a Fire Thunder Driver. His finisher is the ‘Sliding D’ which is a running forearm to a seated opponent and NOBODY kicks out of it. Sekimoto kicked out of 4! This match belonged in the main event of the Tokyo Dome. Tanaka thought it was throwback Thursday and he took a powerbomb from the apron through a table on the outside! Each man landed on their head numerous times with backdrop, German, Saito and many other variation suplexes. The amount of lariats were unparalleled and I usually hate when a lariat is used in excess but it only added to the match. The crowd was buying near falls 10 minutes into the match (the match lasted 30 minutes). I should also mention the athleticism of both athletes. Sekimoto dodged a baseball dropkick and hit the most impactful suicide dive I have witnessed. I have calmed down a bit now and I am no longer shaking. The match went to a 30 minute time limit which means Sekimoto advances to the finals of the Fire Festival because he has more points coming into the contest than Tanaka. I am unsure whether or not it is the greatest match I have seen but it is definitely my favorite match ever.
This was a great tag team match and with these four guys involved it would of been hard not to have a great match. There was a very important fifth person in the match and that was the referee. For the first time in forever there was a rudo ref in Japan! The ref did not want Hidaka and Ito to win the match and would go out of his way to not count pinfalls. I really liked that element in this match because you rarely see gimmicks like this in Japan. Everything in moderation they say. The referee would not let Ito apply the legal sleeper hold and would threaten to call the match off if he didn’t let go of the hold. Sugawara was the ultimate heel and Korakuen loved to boo him. Otoko is an Okinawa Pro guy, and wasn’t a heel. He wrestled like a champ and really impressed me during his interactions with Hidaka. With me mentioning the ref gimmick and Sugawara working 100% as a heel you would expect this match to be a slow moving contest right? Wrong. This was a 10 minute sprint. These guys did some moves I have never seen ever! I am fully convinced Hidaka is one of the greatest juniors of all time. His timing is amazing and just like Daisuke Sekimoto he makes everyone who is in the ring with him look a lot better than what they are. The last two minutes were hectic because Hidaka had Otoko pinned but the ref pretended that he was pulled out of the ring and then he shotgun dropkicked Hidaka! Crazy sequence of moves that ended with Ito quickly choking out Sugawara before the ref could call of the match. Ito pinned Sugawara but the rudo ref wouldn’t count the third fall so the babyface ref pushes his hand down and makes him do a 3 count! Hidaka and Ito are the new NWA Intercontinental Lightweight tag champs! Excellent match with a nifty little story. Post-match Otoko said that he doesn’t want to align himself with Sugawara any longer.
BABY DAICHI!!! He was only 19 here! This felt like an AJPW six man tag from Korakuen in the mid 90s. The crowd was electric. The match was as good as the crowd reactions which were amazing. It is exactly what you would expect from these guys. Tons of stiff kicks and amazing shoot style strikes. Daichi was beaten up pretty bad early on as was Nagashima. KAMIKAZE didn’t do much but what he did do was great. Nagashima did a sloppy moonsault so KAMIKAZE did a perfect moonsault on Nagashima! Otani was amazing and he is still amazing. Otani is 44 now and I just recently watched a 6 man tag from January featuring him, and he has not lost a step. This was my kind of match brothers. The crowd was into the match from beginning to end as was I! Real cool finish where Daichi and Nagashima had submissions on KAMIKAZE and Sai whilst Otani pinned Sawa with a spinning Liger Bomb. Amazing stuff.
In 2016 these men are tag partners in ZERO-1 and are the current Intercontinental Tag Champions. This match will decide who wins the 2011 Fire Festival and be crowned the NWA World Premium Champion. This match was incredible. It was basically a shorter version of Sekimoto vs. Tanaka earlier on. These two fellas just beat the absolute ever living dog shit out of one another and neither man would quit. Kohei Sato is a bad man and you do not want to be on the receiving end of his forearms or kicks. He kicked Sekimoto in every spot that you can imagine (minus his dick). Masato Tanaka came to ringside mid match to support Sekimoto who he battled for 30 minutes just an hour beforehand. In the entire night of wrestling Sekimoto probably did 15 German suplexes. He even did the Kota Ibushi German from the apron to the inside which is possibly the coolest move in professional wrestling. If you don’t like pain in wrestling I highly suggest you skip this match because the echos of the strikes these two traded were deafening. Numerous times in this match I thought either man would pick up the victory but they would always dig deep into their fighting spirit and kickout. Kohei Sato at one point used a knee strike that would of killed any normal man. It hit Sekimoto square in his face. Don’t worry guys, Sekimoto is still a very handsome gentleman. The finish was nuts. Sekimoto killed Sato with a lariat and a bridging deadlift German but Sato kicked out of the vicious bridging suplex for a second time! Sekimoto knows that he can’t let this opportunity to win go away so he keeps the waist lock applied and does another bridging German suplex that puts down Sato for the 3 count. Sekimoto is the 2011 Fire Festival Champion! Korakuen showed their respect and chanted for Sekimoto. Sekimoto is a wrestling god.
I think this was the best singular performance by any wrestler on any card ever. Daisuke Sekimoto delivered a ***** and a ****1/4 match on the same goddamn night! This show proved to me that, yes, ZERO-1 is the greatest thing ever and anyone that disagrees is BOOTY. It also proved to me that Daisuke Sekimoto is a Top 10 worker of all time. Yep. I said it. You watch his two matches from this show and tell me any different. I am blown away by everything that took place on this card. It is easily one of my favorite pro wrestling events ever and in my opinion this show had the best upper-portion of a card in wrestling history. LOOK. I know I am probably exaggerating but I am writing this right after watching the show and these are my initial reactions.