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AJPW Super Power Series 2018 Results & Review (5/24/2018)

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We are back with some All Japan Pro Wrestling coverage again! Finally, we get the much anticipated rematch with our Champions Carnival winner, Naomichi Marufuji taking on the current Triple Crown Champion, Kento Miyahara. The last time these two fought was at the Carnival final where they both won their respected blocks and Marufuji would come out the winner to get a future title match despite him saying he had no desire to go for the belt at this time.

However, they still gotta follow rules and keep the ball rolling, so here we are now. We got what looks to be a stacked show tonight and even the return of Jake Lee, something to look forward to. So let’s not waste anymore time and just…dive right in.

 

Singles Match
Yohei Nakajima vs. Ishikiri

Review: Before the majority of the show gets covered in tag matches, we get a singles matches to kick the show off between Yohei and Ishikiri. I see Ishikiri wearing the Mortal Kombat logo on the side of his pants there, thumbs up to you. The match started really fast paced and fairly impressive might I add. Both of these men have done well for the opening bout and was mostly impressed with Ishikiri as he stood out for me a little bit more than Yohei, which I’m not saying he’s bad either. Around six minutes, Yohei would hit a spinning back kick which he calls Tobiushiro-Mawashigiri and then get the win in a pretty solid opener.

Recommended: Good match to get the crowd going.

 

Tag Team Match
Jun Akiyama & Osamu Nishimura vs. Takao Omori & Masanobu Fuchi

Review: This tag match is special to them since this is also a tribute match to one of All Japan’s greats, Jumbo Tsuruta who has passed away eighteen years ago this month. So this match between the people that remember this legend is for the respect they had for him and how much he meant to these four men right here.

I think it’s amazing that the crowd reaction whenever Fuchi is in the ring is one of the loudest in the company right now next to guys like Kento, Suwama, Shuji, etc. Whenever Jun would hit Fuchi with an open fist or move out of the way when he goes for a dropkick, the crowd showers Jun in a ton of boo’s an it’s just entertaining and a bit heartwarming to see that they still love Fuchi. The match wasn’t great, but it was exactly how I expected it to go with four vets working together to give people still something entertaining at least and it was all in good fun, so what more could you ask for? Jun would do the Wrist Clutch Small Package Hold on Fuchi to get the win for his team. After the match, all four of them would honor the passing of Jumbo Tsuruta who is considered one of the greatest of all time and just the great in All Japan by many people, his spirit lives on with the company to to help shine All Japan to a brighter future. JUM-BO!

Recommended: Fun match, touching tribute, and a nice call back to the stuff that happened during Jumbo’s era. Worth a watch.

 

Eight Man Tag Team Match
Suwama, Shuji Ishikawa, Atsushi Aoki & Hikaru Sato vs. Zeus, Joe Doering, Atsushi Maruyama & Black Tiger VII

Review: Up next is a eight man tag with both teams consisting of two heavyweights and two junior heavyweights with Violent Giants teaming up with Sato and current Junior Heavyweight Champion, Atsushi Aoki taking on Zues minus Bodyguard who is resting his legs finally, teaming up with Joe Doering, Atsushi Maruyama, and Black Tiger VII. Last time the two Atsushi’s were in the ring, it was for the Junior Heavyweight Championship on the May 12th show where Aoki would retain over Maruyama, but it looks like they could go again if this match goes well.

I just need to get this out of the way, but how is Zeus not won the Triple Crown Championship by now? I mean it because this guy is amazing and has a great fan following, I’m just surprised he hasn’t won their main title just yet, but I hope he does soon because I think he would be a fantastic champion if given the opportunity. Also another thing I want to point out and I feel like that it should be addressed here since it involves the junior division, and all I gotta ask is who is their leader? I ask this because the junior division is severely lacking leadership and while Aoki is probably the better one there so far, there’s still not enough that really stand out fully. When you look at WWE, NJPW, Impact, or Dragon Gate, you can see they have enough people to carry their respective division with a solid roster and giving us quality of matches, while All Japan really doesn’t and as Andrew said when we were special guests on Dave’s podcast called Uncle Jun’s Junction, there’s no spice there and when you had to rely on guys like TAJIRI and Ultimo Dragon to help carry that title and division (no disrespect to both men), then you need to rebuild it and soon.

Anyway, onto the match before I ramble on about their weak division and how Zeus isn’t champion, this is probably my favorite tag match on this show since all eight of these guys showcased their stuff wonderfully here with great action between whoever was fighting who in the ring, even Joe did pretty well for himself there despite my previous complaints while still liking him at the same time. Think my favorite part was the abuse Maruyama took from Suwama when they shared the ring together and Suwama would hit him with a stiff Lariat every time, it just made me chuckle.The Violent Giants picked up the win with their Last Mountain (Double Powerbomb) on Maruyama.

Recommended: Very good tag match, definitely worth viewing.

 

Six Man Tag Team Match
Ryoji Sai, Dylan James & Keiichi Sato vs. TAJIRI, KAI & Kotaro Suzuki

Review: I must’ve read something wrong because I could’ve sworn we were supposed to have a Tag Team Championship match between TAJIRI and KAI taking on Dylan and Ryoji on this show, but I guess I’ve heard wrong or they changed it since we’re getting a six man tag instead while the title match will take place on the June 3rd show. I will admit that the team of TAJIRI and KAI is actually going pretty well as they have a good chemistry between humor and actual tag team wrestling, and it somehow works while on paper you would think it shouldn’t, but for some odd reason it’s working and you can’t explain it. Sato and Suzuki started off the match with some fast paced action and they were very crisp with their time together which made me wanna possibly see them in the junior hunt since these two were awesome.

My one problem with the match was both teams of KAI/TAJIRI and Sai/Dylan were mostly doing their stuff outside of the ring and the fact they were away from each other, the camera had to go back and forth, and while I don’t mind stuff like it, but it did feel like it dragged on a little bit and they even did it for a brief moment a couple of minutes after that while Sato and Suzuki were just staying in their corners while these four kill each other. When everyone is finally back in the ring, TAJIRI would spray his poison mist on Sai to get him out of the ring while Kai took care of Dylan, and Sato picked up the win for his team with the Blue Destiny on Suzuki. TAJIRI and KAI now get more momentum leading in their upcoming title match and we will see if it pays off.

Recommended: Not bad. Enjoy the flow of the show.

 

Tag Team Match
Jake Lee & Koji Iwamoto vs. Naoya Nomura & Yoshitatsu

Review: After being sidelined for ten months, Jake Lee makes his return to the ring as he teams up with Koji to take on his former partner, Naoya and Yoshitatsu, so let’s see if Lee has any ring rust from the time being spent away from the ring. Jake Lee didn’t do too bad for his first time back since there were times he felt like he was a bit out of it, but he did pretty well for the other times and not gonna harp on him since he just got back from injury. I know I said in the Carnival that Naoya could be one of the bright future of the company and I also mean that with Jake Lee since he also has that untapped potential and I saw that when he fought Shuji last year for the Triple Crown Championship. these two can definitely become great in the upcoming years. The match was solid for what it was despite some sloppy moments and a botched Tornado DDT by Yoshi, but also didn’t do bad despite that, and of course Lee won in his return match with hitting a vicious High Angle Backdrop on Nomura. Welcome back, Jake Lee.

Recommended: Decent match, Jake Lee is definitely something special.

 

Triple Crown Title
Kento Miyahara (c) vs. Naomichi Marufuji

Review: Now it is time for the main event as Kento defends his Triple Crown Championship against the winner of this years Champion Carnival, NOAH’s Naomichi Marufuji. I feel like this is more of a continuation of the story between AJPW and NOAH as NOAH is already 2-0 when Marufuji defeated both the president of AJPW, Jun Akiyama and the current champion, Kento Miyahara. The history and story between these two companies is long and historic despite some of the bad blood they had over the years and I’m glad that they’re using this to help rebuild that bridge to have at least some type of closure, and also Marufuji looking to take their championship as an extra added aalt on the wounds he left there and bring it to NOAH before his GHC Heavyweight Championship match on the 29th of this month against Takashi Sugiura. Kento however is looking to avenge not only his loss to Marufuji (Which is a fantastic match and you should definitely check it out), but to avenge his companies honor since he felt like Marufuji disrespected it. So can lightning strike twice or will Kento get his revenge on Marufuji? Let’s not waste any time and see.

I’m gonna get my one complaint out of the way here so it doesn’t take away from the rest of the match and what I’m about to say, and it’s that most of the felt very similar to their previous match and I mostly mean it with the opening sequence since aside from Kento being more aggressive, I felt like I saw it before and around the same time too instead of giving us a little bit something different to make it a completely new match and to me personally it did hurt it a little, but the match is still fantastic despite the one complaint. Kento showed more of his aggressiveness in the match here since he knew he had to win here or else All Japan would look like a joke compared to NOAH and Marufuji, and even Marufuji wasn’t giving him any mercy whatsoever during this match since he felt more aggressive as well and it was a much needed element to the both of them.

Another thing I can say about this match is that it felt bigger and in a way it was since there was a bigger prize involved and the crowd was much more into this one, even gave it a New Japan type atmosphere with how the crowd was reaction to everything they would do and even with just chanting their name, and it was awesome. I felt like they hit the nail with everything they needed to do with progressing the story and adding another chapter with this rivalry, and the final five to ten minutes were tremendous and it was exactly how it should end with high impact and pretty much last resort to try and give it your all to win. Kento would finally hit the Shutdown German Suplex Hold and he avenged his loss while also retaining the title, and defending All Japan’s honor.

After the match, we have a new challenger into the mix and for some reason it’s….Dylan James. Why is it him again? What did he do to earn a title opportunity since his team lost earlier? Why are we awarding Dylan a Triple Crown match after having a weaker performance than Bodyguard in the Carnival? Did they just wanna give Kento an easy defense before the next big show? I got no faith in this match, but Jun apparently does, so we’ll see what happens. Now that Kento and Marufuji have one win against each other, when should they fight again? In the Carnival final, Marufuji did invite Kento to come down to NOAH sometime to perform and his 20th anniversary show is coming up in September, so I think we could have the final match of the trilogy there if they choose to go forward with it. It could even be a champion vs. champion bout if Kento keeps the belt til then and if Marufuji defeats Sugiura on the 29th to take his belt and keep it til then. Either way, I’m excited to see what they do with this next since you can tell it’s not over.

Recommended: I liked their first encounter a little bit better by a hair, but still an amazing match and should be viewed a bunch of times.

 

Overall: I thought the show was very enjoyable as none of the matches were bad at all and basically solid all around with a great main event to close it off. Looking forward to see what new chapters come their way except for Dylan/Kento.

Favorite Match: Kento Miyahara vs. Naomichi Marufuji

Least Favorite Match: Yohei Nakajima vs. Ishikiri (Not a bad match, but if I had to pick one.

Score: 8/10

See you all next time.


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International Coverage

(NOAH) POST MATCH INTERVIEWS – 31ST JULY 2018, YOKOHAMA RADIANT HALL

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MINORU TANAKA & HI69

TANAKA: We are the 34th GHC Junior Tag Champions and that equals the strongest NOAH junior tag team, that said, the league has ended inconclusively. But everyone, the story will end in Korakuen in three days time. We saw it earlier. I don’t know exactly who will be the winner, but we will watch it on the monitor like fans. I am looking forward to it, defending the belt against them.

HI69: I think that is true, I thought that getting the win would be natural, so I am disapointed with the results, but the team who wins the league will aim for the belt, that is true of all of us…we will show the GHC Heavyweight fight to all the NOAH fans.

TANAKA: The story of the worthless champions is over now. It is a story that belongs to the past, and it doesn’t matter. Understand?

THE BACKBREAKERS (HITOSHI KUMANO AND HAJIME OHARA)

Q: You have taken a big step towards the finals?

KUMANO: We have aimed to win since the beginning. Ohara has tried hard in spite of the injury, and today we took it. The final will be taken by The Backbreakers. If anyone can win, it will be us.

OHARA: So far I’ve been disappointed, as I have lost a lot. I will not give up, and will take the big step towards winning the title at Korakuen. Kawasaki! Kawasaki will be the title match! I have big ambitions. This year it will be for the Backbreakers, so Mui Bien today too!

SUPER NEW GENERATION ARMY (KAITO KIYOMIYA, KENOH, MASA KITAMIYA, KATSUHIKO NAKAJIMA)

Q: A victory today, but still nothing to say?

Go Shiozaki silently touches the reporters chest and leaves.

KITAMIYA: Losing the belt does not change what you do. There is always someone in front of you, the belt is a target, people will keep biting at it…putting the belt on does not change.

NAKAJIMA: Although the belt might have been taken over there, we have just started, don’t forget…we are the ones who take the iniative.

KITAMIYA: If you are a champion, then be strong like a champion. Do you think you have unarmed us without the belt? It is not enough.

Q: Kenoh, Kiyomiya, what your thoughts on the generation struggle so far?

KENOH: I think its funny that those old men have three belts. Like Nakajima said, this has only just begun and I will take back the belt and end this generation struggle.

KIYOMIYA basically says that you have nothing to fear when a team rides on momentum.

YO-HEY & HAYATA

YO-HEY: Finally! Finally! We got our ticket to the finals! But! Frankly 10%, 20%….no, I’m glad about 747%. However, YO-HEY will be in tune for the final match at Korakuen Hall. We will knock the Backbreaking people down with twisting bodies. We will raise the atmosphere, and get a ticket for our second consecutive title! We are satisfied with such a team for the final! This team will go into the final and defeat the opponents! HAYATA & YO-HEY will win two consecutive times…our….I want to eat pumpkin.

HAYATA decides he is leaving. YO-HEY won’t let him

YO-HEY: I want to eat pumpkin…one word…bride…I was impressed by the two moonsaults…

HAYATA walking off as YO-HEY clings to him: Same!

YO-HEY: Same!

Link to original article from Noah.co.jp (in Japanese)


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(NOAH) POST MATCH PROMOS – 28TH JULY 2018, KORAKUEN HALL

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“THE HOOLIGANS” (Mitsuya Nagai, KAZMA SAKAMOTO, Maybach Taniguchi & Cody Hall)
Q: What is the origin of the team name?
KAZMA: You know soccer don’t you? Football hooligans fucking rampage. At NOAH we are going to fucking rampage. That’s the meaning.

NAGAI wants to know how long the Chinese athletes think they can continue to fight with them

KAZMA: Even though NOAH and Eastern Heroes have a business alliance, why are we their opponents? I guess its some kind of conspiracy. Oh well, we will teach them the true nature of pro-wrestling. We will go to China next time, and anywhere in China, we will teach you wrestling!

RICKY MARVIN AND EL HIJO DEL PANTERA

Q: Are you excited, you hoped for a third victory?

MARVIN: Yes! From now on it is real! We will show them! I came back from Mexico for this reason!

PANTERA: Thank you! Next it is Hi69 and Minoru Tanaka!

MARVIN: You guys! Do your best!

PANTERA: Team Mexico! Number One!

YO-HEY & HAYATA

YO-HEY: My waist…ah. The wife cut in…but another two seconds and it would be too late, I would have tapped out…after all, it is the best wife. Aside from that, Hajime Ohara did not take the Headache well. I caught that guy and was able to win. ♪ Now we have six points. If I think about it, had we lost today I would have lost my dream of two consecutive victories.

Then YO-HEY noticed HAYATA (who had been completely ignoring him) watching the two new trainees making their announcement for their debut.

YO-HEY: If you are interested in the trainees speech, the wife can have the last word.

HAYATA: Same!

YO-HEY: Winning two consecutive matches, also the same!

MASATO TANAKA, TAKASHI SUGIURA, MOHAMMED YONE & QUIET STORM

SUGIURA: The members of this group have nothing to fear from those young guys.

Q: You had a fierce competition with Shiozaki. Your chest is swollen from the chops?

Sugiura says that he is going to drive the elbow into his face.

Q: Will you exceed the momentum today?

SUGIURA: What do you think?

Q: What is the opinion on Sugiura from the others?

TANAKA: He looks good, especially when watching Shiozaki and Sugiura from the corner, it makes me feel a hot burn. Two matches. So intense.

YONE: The younger team do not have such a reassuring team to assemble. The wall is too high for them. What do you think Quiet Storm?

QUIET STORM: C’mon, C’mon, C’mon. Anytime! Anywhere!

Q: Blind spots?

SUGIURA: No. For Shiozaki and the younger generation, be scared when we are aligned.

IKUTO HIDAKA & TAKUYA SUGAWARA

HIDAKA: Hey champions! Did you see it? This is what we meant, like when Mr. Yoshiaki Fujiwara, came to the dojo and said “no matter who is the champion, even in sumo, even in rock-paper-scissors, you cannot lose to them”. You assholes have no excuse, so just give us the belts.

SUGAWARA: 4 wins, 8 points, we are at the top. I said it earlier by August 5th is not just NOAH’s anniversary, it is Hidaka’s 46th birthday. 46…does he look it? He looks quite good.

HIDAKA: Stop it!

SUGAWARA: Lets hope Team ZERO-1 gets the victory, and we can have Hidaka’s birthday party in the ring at Korakuen.

HIDAKA: How old will NOAH be?

SUGAWARA: 18

HIDAKA: On my 46th birthday

SUGAWARA: This one is going to be beautiful!

HIDAKA: Hey! Stop messing around

SUGAWARA: Anyway, the next is RATELS. ZERO-1 can take the win.

HIDAKA: YO-HEY is a young pupil of my teacher, FUNAKI. I’m sorry, but I will not go easy on him, we have to finish the series.

SUGAWARA: Alright, lets see how tough this can be.

NAOMICHI MARUFUJI AND AKITOSHI SAITO

Q: You have not had a belt for a long time*, what are your thoughts?

SAITO: I haven’t really noticed the difference. My ambition now is also a bit different because I am thinking about Noah. There is something I want to say to the young guys. Today I was caught, even if the genius beside me does not care, and even if I fell and collapsed, I turned that into a tactic to take advantage, because that kind of compassion is there. That’s it, that’s how you raise a promotion I think. If you understand this, I think you will know strength.

Q: Marufuji-san, how do you feel seeing Saito like this?

MARUFUJI: In recent years, Saito has been taking small steps. Now he has shown his real strength, look at what has happened. The customer also knew this, and of course he is a former champion of a different generation. In terms of generation, I am lower than him, but now I am going to fight in the same place like this and with all my strength. I will do my best to support him, and in the 20th anniversary of my debut, thanks to Saito, I was able to win this belt, thank you.

SAITO: No way. I trust you from the bottom of my heart and chosen you for my partner. You and I have a different bond, we have been together since the beginning of NOAH and we know it.

Q: What about future defenses?

MARUFUJI: The young guys…I guess they will challenge. It would be strange if they didn’t. Of course it is inevitable that the same generation may also do the same. Nakajima and Kitamiya, you can do it once again, anyone can. It is our style that we will do it with anyone. Do you understand? Who do you think my partner is, assholes?

SAITO: Saito!

Link to original article from Noah.co.jp (in Japanese)
========================================================================
*2012 when Saito partnered with Go Shiozaki


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Wrestle-1 Tour 2018 Outbreak Part 2 Results & Review (6/22/2018)

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Welcome back to Wrestle-1 and last time we covered them, a lot has happened with CIMA and OWE invading Wrestle-1 to shake the company up, as they will be fighting each other in a series of matches during the show and Manabu would also retain his championship in the process.

Our main event tonight is for the W-1 Tag Team Championships since Jiro and Masato would defeat Ashino at the previous show as they look to have the match tonight. Will W-1 be able to drive OWE away on their first night or will they show that they’re here to stay? Let us…dive right in.

 

Singles Match
Takanori Ito vs. Takumi Baba

Review: We open up the show with a regular exhibition match between Takanori Ito as he takes on Takumi Baba. This one was really nothing to write home about because this was more of an average squash type match with one guy controlling the majority of the match in a short amount of time and eventually Takumi would get some offense in the match for about a brief moment and ended after he would hit a Dropkick off the top rope and Ito would turn it around with a few kicks to the chest and would call for the German Suplex Hold for the win after about five minutes. Ito reminds me a bit of Kevin Owens and I think I said that before since he pretty much has the same attire as him, same body type and is quick, but doesn’t have the full intensity like Kevin does, but he does have potential to be a top guy in W-1.

Recommended: Skippable.

 

Six Man Tag Team Match
Ganseki Tanaka, Koji Doi & Tsugutaka Sato vs. Masayuki Kono, MAZADA & NOSAWA Rongai

Review: Time for a six-man tag match involving someone that is responsible for the invasion of CIMA and OWE, NOSAWA and he got exactly what he wanted so let’s see if he’s right later on tonight, but now he has to focus on his match against Ganseki, Koji, and Tsugutaka. With another old vs new style tag team match, it’s what you expect with Koji getting the early shine in the match and would lose it once Ganseki came in to take in the heat of everything from NOSAWA, MAZADA, and Kono as all three of them would just give him a beating without giving him any chance to tag in anyone else, which is how it should be when it comes to tag team matches. Eventually, Koji would get back in the ring for the hot tag and would clean house with his powerhouse style and would tag in Sato to try and put it away, but NOSAWA would hit a Shining Wizard on Sato, followed by a Lariat from MAZADA and Kono would hit a Chokeslam to try and win it, but Koji would break the pin just in time. NOSAWA and MAZADA would fight the illegal guys on the outside of the ring as Kono would hit a Chokebomb for a two count and then would hit his Running Knee as the young guys would lose once again.

Recommended: It was an average match, so this one is up to you

 

Tag Team Match
Alejandro & El Hijo del Pantera vs. Kenichiro Arai & Yusuke Kodama

Review: On our last show, Kodama would defeat Seiki to become the new Cruiserweight Champion and was then challenged by Pantera to be the next contender for the belt as we have no match date for it just yet, we got a tag match with Pantera partnering up with Alejandro while Kodama would team up with Kenichiro Arai. We get our preview early as Pantera and Kodama would start the match off with Pantera being all quick in the ring and even ran the middle ropes for a bit before the two locked up and Pantera is just too quick for him with his cat-like reflexes, no pun intended. Kodama would throw Pantera to the ropes and he just flips outside on his own as he landed on the entrance ramp before going in to do a Springboard Dropkick to make him go outside of the ring as Kenichiro would run in only to be tripped down as Alejandro would hit him with a Crossbody to make him go outside now and it looks like they’re both about to do a Suicide Dive, but they psyche them out as they are still in the ring taunting them.

Alejandro gets tagged in now and looks to do a Splash to the corner as Kodama would move out of the way and kick Pantera down before going back to the ring to tag in Kenichiro as he now begins to work on Alejandro’s arm and that seems to be the key focus for Kenichiro and Kodama when they kept tagging each other back and forth while still working on his arm to injure it more until Kenichiro came back in the ring to do more damage as Alejandro would hit a Hurricanrana to get him down as he makes the hot tag to Pantera. Pantera would hit the both of them with a Tilt-a-Whirl Backbreaker and would go to the ropes to do a Springboard Frontflip onto Kenichiro and before he could do anything, Kenichiro would tag in Kodoma when he wasn’t looking and hits Pantera with an elbow while Kodoma hits a Diving Crossbody for a two count. The two start punching each other back and forth until Kodoma would rake his eyes and went to throw him into the ropes, Pantera would hit a Springboard Headbutt and top it off with a Dropkick before he made his way to tag in Alejandro who hits a Dropkick off the ropes and Pantera would hit a Drop Toehold to make Kodoma land between the ropes so they would hit a Double 619 and a Double Dropkick as Alejandro goes for the pin, Kenichiro would break the count. Alejandro and Pantera would hit the ropes again but Kenichiro would pull Pantera out of the ring, giving Kodama an opening to attack Alejandro with a Fisherman Buster and then he hits his Mad Splash to get the victory.

Recommended: Solid match, worth watching.

 

Singles Match
CIMA vs. Jun Tonsho

Review: It is now time for Strong Hearts vs. Wrestle-1 to begin as we have our first match with the leader, CIMA to take on Jun Tonsho, who has been pretty impressive during the last couple of times that I’ve seen him wrestle and should be an interesting bout. Soon as CIMA got into the ring, Jun would start to Dropkick him right away and start going after him so CIMA doesn’t get a chance to fight back and it’s a smart move on his part to try and take him down quickly and does with a few more Dropkicks and once he attempted to go for the Dragon Suplex, CIMA would fight it off and hits a Dropkick of his own. CIMA would first hit a Fisherman Buster for a two count and he quickly picks him up for a DDT and then goes to the ropes to hit his Meteora for the quick victory as he defeats Jun in less than two minutes. Strong Hearts has one point on the scoreboard while W-1 has zero.

Recommended: For a match being two minutes, it was pretty entertaining. Worth a viewing I say, especially if you’re interested in this feud.

 

Tag Team Match
Kaz Hayashi & Seiki Yoshioka vs. Dezmond Xavier & Zachary Wentz

Review: After pretty much CIMA getting the quick work done on Jun, our next match is a tag team match as we have Kaz Hayashi leading this one with former Cruiserweight Champion, Seiki Yoshioka as they take on two of Strong Hearts members, Dezmond Xavier and Zachary Wentz and I’m excited for Zachary as he’s been one of the breakout stars for me in 2018 and I can’t wait to see him shine more tonight. Zachary and Seiki start the match off with first some basic chain wrestling as Zach would turn it around into an Armbar to try and make him tap, but Seiki would have his foot on the rope to break the hold. Seiki would start ducking Zach’s strikes and attempts to go for a Baseball Slide as Zach jumped over him and ran to the ropes to do a Springboard Corkscrew to knock the former champion down and once Saiki got back up, Zach would tag in his partner Dezmond. as Seiki backed up to tag in Kaz.

Dezmond would outsmart Kaz with his strikes and jabs whenever Kaz would try to throw or hit him as Dezmond kept on turning it around and threw him into the corner only to be thrown over, which Zach would tag himself in the second Dezmond hits the apron and would kick Kaz in the back of the head and jump over the ropes to kick his chest in and soon as Dezmond rolled off him, Zach would jump over Dezmond to hit the Bronco Buster and impressive teamwork right here. Seiki would attack Zach for a bit and Kaz would Dropkick his leg to knock him down as he now begins to work the leg a bit until he went for a Handspring Enziguri only for Zach to duck and hit the same move but with a Dropkick as he connected and hurts his knee in the process before tagging in Dezmond.

Dezmond would Dropkick Kaz on the back of his head to make him roll out of the ring and went to go for a dive, but gets punched in the face instead as Zach would jump over the ropes to land on top of Kaz. Seiki would try to attack Dezmond and gets thrown to the ropes and he does an Asai Moonsault to the outside only for Dezmond to do a cartwheel into a Moonsault to the outside as well as the place goes crazy. Dezmond get Kaz back in the ring and goes for a 450 Splash to only land on his feet since Kaz moved and would hit Kaz with a jab to the midsection as both him and Zach would hit a combination of strikes where Zach ends it with a Double Stomp while Dezmond goes for the cover and Kaz kicks out. Seiki and Zach get tagged in and Seiki would look like to put it away as he hits the Headscirssor Slam and tops it off with a Roundhouse Kick to go for the cover but Dezmond breaks the count and gets Kaz out of the ring. Seiki went to go for the victory as Zach had him in a short-arm hold as Dezmond hits Seiki would a Superkick and Zach turns him around for a knee strike as Zach went to go for his Standing Moonsault by Seiki’s feet, Dezmond would push him mid-air to make him land on Seiki for the win. Strong Hearts now has the lead 2-0.

Recommended: Great match and I’ll even post the video of the match on here so you can see it for yourselves.

 

Six Man Tag Team Match
Andy Wu, Manabu Soya & Shuji Kondo vs. El Lindaman, Gao Jingjia & T-Hawk

Review: This will be the last match in the Strong Hearts vs W-1 matches for the evening as it is not a six-man tag match with our Wrestle-1 Champion, Manabu Soya leading the team with Andy Wu and Shuji Kondo as they take on T-Hawk who leads the team with El Lindaman and Chinese star, Gao Jinjia. Can Strong Hearts get a clean sweep or will Wrestle-1 finally get a victory here?

This is my first time seeing Gao in action here and I gotta admit that while he’s a little bit green and needs more work, he’s very athletic and can definitely move in the ring here, I hope to see more growth from him in these matches. Lindaman is someone I wasn’t fully sold on in Dragon Gate and I still cannot get into the guy here since he’s just mediocre at best in my opinion. T-Hawk is someone I felt like he wasn’t ready for the big spotlight when he won the King of Gate last year and once he teamed up with Eita, he started to slowly get better in the ring and with his character work, and now seeing him here made me think that it would be a good place to start if he does get involved with major storylines with W-1 depending on how long the feud will go on for, but I do believe that Manabu will eventually fight at least CIMA or T-Hawk for the championship depending on the direction they go with it. The match was solid with mostly Kondo and Wu doing the work in the matches while Strong Hearts relied heavily on the heel tactics and greater numbers against one person. When Manabu was in the ring, he really played his strengths into the match to show that the company was his house and he’s not going to let another promotion come in here and try to take it from him or the others in Wrestle-1. One move I did love was that Gao jumped onto Lindaman’s back and hits a 450 Splash off his back and onto Andy Wu, I don’t think I really see that happening and thought it looked awesome. T-Hawk and Andy are in the ring now and it looked like Wu would get the one win Wrestle-1 needed over Strong Hearts, but Hawk would hit his Black Tiger Bomb and get the three count.

That’s right, Strong Hearts was able to get a clean sweep over Wrestle-1 by winning all three of their matches tonight. The two teams would continue to brawl in the ring after the match while T-Hawk was getting confrontational with Manabu hinting that they would eventually fight each other again soon. W-1 would eventually leave the ring during the brawl and T-Hawk declared that they will all return for the Korakuen Hall show on July 18th. Though he stated that this time around that STRONG HEARTS will announce their matches/teams with W-1 being given the chance to follow.

Recommended: Solid six-man tag match, worth a viewing.

 

WRESTLE-1 Tag Team Title Match
Kumaarashi & Shotaro Ashino (c) vs. Jiro “Ikeman” Kuroshio & Masato Tanaka

Review: At the last show, Jiro would get the surprise victory over Ashino with the Ikeman Flash and Jiro stated that he and Masato would challenge for the belts at the next show with his partner this time since Kuma was busy that night taking on Manabu for the Wrestle-1 Championship and then lost. Both Ashino and Kuma would need to win this match here to redeem their losses or will Jiro pull the upset once again with Masato and have a second belt in his collection since he’s still the Wrestle-1 Result Champion?

Yes, Masato is still rocking Jiro’s jacket and wearing it while he wrestles in this match, I just love how he can be a heel in a few places while being the babyface in other companies like this one. I love whenever Jiro and Ashino work together in the ring since they have such great chemistry together with Ashino’s ability mixed up with Jiro’s charisma gives us unique matches together. I liked how Ashino would tackle Jiro down and would just kip-up right away and do it a couple of times even when Ashino would rake his eyes and throw him down to the ground and Jiro would just find a way to mess with Ashino, it’s the small types of interactions mixed with their chemistry that I just enjoy. Kudos to Kuma for showing off his power and throwing Jiro around like a rag doll and he sold that once he hits the turnbuckle post on the outside, even when Kuma tried to throw him into the ring, Jiro would bounce off the ropes to fall back down to the outside and it made Kuma look great here. Masato getting the hot tag and in the match and starts exploding in the ring and he continues to show that he can still be at the top of his game for a man his age, it must be that ancient Japanese secret that I don’t know about and need to figure out. Ashino would lock the Ankle Lock on Jiro and would make sure he wouldn’t let go of the hold so he could make him tap out this time instead of giving him any type of advantage to escape and pull another upset like he did at the previous show and while Jiro was able to escape, Kuma would be ready to do a Diving Senton onto him off the second rope to add more damage to his body and Masato would hit Ashino  with a Brainbuster off the top rope as Jiro hits his Moonsault Press to go for the win, but Kuma broke the count. Ashino isn’t done yet with Jiro as he worked him more with some stiff European Uppercuts and a T-Bone Suplex to go for a two count and would reapply the Ankle Lock once more to see if he could get him to tap out once more and he still fails to do so, and Masato would catch Ashino off guard with a running knee to the face and Jiro would hit not one, but two Moonsault Presses to double tap him and pins him for the win as we have new Tag Team Champions!

Seeing the title change hands rather quickly did throw me off guard, but at the same time, I think it made sense since Ashino is too good for the tag titles and needs to focus on getting his Wrestle-1 Championship back, maybe Kuma can find a different partner from his faction to go for the belts. But congrats to Jiro for now holding two championships in the promotion and if he can win the Grand Prix, he’ll have a chance to win three belts if he can also defeat Manabu, but again he has to win the Grand Prix first.

Recommended: Very fun match and all four of these men delivered for a great main event. Give it a watch.

 

Overall: I was amazed that Wrestle-1 was able to pull off two great shows back to back and they added new elements to their storylines and rivalries to make me wanna watch more of them frequently if they were able to upload shows in time instead of almost a month in between. Next up is the Wrestle-1 Grand Prix which takes place on the July 1st show and will have the semi-final and finals taking place on July 18th (my birthday), and the winner of that match will fight for the Wrestle-1 Championship on their big show in September 2nd. The entrants to this match are Jiro “Ikemen” Kuroshio, Masayuki Kono, Kaz Hayashi, Shotaro Ashino, Shuji Kondo, Koji Doi, Takanori Ito, and Kumaarashi. I’m gonna go with Jiro making lightning strike twice and win it back to back, but don’t be surprised if Ashino wins the match to set up the rematch between him and Manabu.

Favorite Match: Kaz Hayashi & Seiki Yoshioka vs. Dezmond Xavier & Zachary Wentz

Least Favorite Match: Takanori Ito vs. Takumi Baba

Score: 8/10

See you all next time!


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