This was the typical opening match in Japan. You have a more experienced wrestler going up a less experienced wrestler who are labelled as young boys. Nothing special at all here, Sugawara worked the leg for the duration of the match and Itakura sold well. Itakura got some offence in here and there but would always get chopped back down. Itakura did hit a spinebuster which was sweet. Sugawara made Itakura submit with a Figure 4 Leg Lock. Smart finish.
This surprised me because I am not familiar with either guy. This was a very technically sound match where the pacing flowed well and the performers involved were as smooth as butter with the execution on the match. Both guys traded holds back and forth and then it was worked like an American style. What I mean by saying that is Yokoyama got the heat on Matrix and Matrix had a few hope spots but was always cut off until he finally made his comeback. Matrix made his comeback which was awesome, he hit a missile dropkick and a tilt the whirl Russian leg sweep. After Matrix made his comeback the match went into the closing stretch where both guys are fighting to win. Yokoyama was the one who was successful in winning on this occasion. He pinned Matrix after hitting the death valley driver.
Very fun 3 way match where everybody worked hard and Sean Guinness made me one of his biggest fans. I haven’t seen much of Guinness but in this match he shined and made everyone take notice of him. Buffa’s entrance is ridiculous in the best way possible, it’s so wacky to see a gimmick like Buffa’s in Japan but it works! He did a great job of getting his character and himself over. The beginning of this match was neat, they done some innovative 3 way spots and did a 3 way headlock. That always pops me because I remember the 1994 match in ECW where Shane Douglas, Sabu and Terry Funk did the headlock spot. This was a hard match to review because it was constant motion and so many moves. Very good though. Literally Guinness is amazing, his timing and positioning in the ring were superb. As a wrestler myself I can pick up all the little things and Mr. Guinness did them all perfectly. He pulled off a great tope con hilo as well. Hidaka pinned Sean with a bridging O’Connor roll. Wish it went a little longer.
This was weird because for most of the match it was very boring, mainly when Okamoto and Masakado were in the ring. Whenever Sai was wrestling it was awesome because Sai is a goddamn great professional wrestler. KAMIKAZE always nails his spots, they don’t call him Mr. Moonsault for no reason. Okamoto is from IGF so it was expected he was going to be protected but he bored me immensely. This match did have some nice near falls and stiff strikes but I wouldn’t recommend you watch this. Okamoto pinned Masakado with a spinning side slam.
This was a very solid main event. They didn’t do nearly as much as they would on a bigger show and held back a lot but it was still a good match. Personally I don’t want to see these guys kill themselves every night, it’s more meaningful when they go balls out on the big shows. Tanaka still did take one bump on his head but Masato Tanaka is the best wrestler on the planet so he can do whatever he wants. Suzuki and Otani grappled to start the bout. Tanaka is killing Raideen with forearms but he can’t take the big fella off his feet. Otani and Raideen put the heat on Tanaka, Mr. Tanaka is bumping like a crazy man. Tanaka tags in Suzuki and he makes a short lived comeback straight out of the 1970s, he even did a monkey flip on Raideen which looked super impressive. Otani did his signature face wash boots in the corner that the crowd is always vocal for. Otani and Tanaka work tremendous together and I can’t wait till I see the Otani & Tanaka vs. Sekimoto & Sato match from the 15th Anniversary show. The last 5 minutes were basically tons of lariats and suplexes until Hideki locked in an Octopus stretch that made Raideen give up.
Not the usual near perfect ZERO-1 show but just about everything was solid. This show was missing a ton of star power. There was no Yankee Two Kenju, Kohei Sato, Ishikawa, Daichi Hashimoto, Strong BJ, Mineo Fujita or Onita on this show. The only thing I would tell you guys to watch is the 3 way match for Sean Guinness putting on one helluva performance and the main event. I will be back in about a week with the ZERO-1 15th Anniversary Show review which looks like a phenomenal show on paper.