A little out in the left field Japanese promotion coverage! Pro Wrestling Zero1 and their first show of the new year!
Okay, so I like to venture about the lesser known promotions when I have time, and it just so happened I was aware of the main event being pretty good…so I figured I’d give the whole show a shot.
Yuji Hino is the Zero1 Heavyweight champion and he’s had a few stops in NOAH and All Japan the last few years. The big man with the Fire Festival sword and the Fucking Bomb!
As far as Zero1 goes, I know it’s owned by Shinjiro Otani and there’s quality matches with mostly the bigger freelance names. Aside from that, this will be fun for both you and I…hopefully.
- Kohei Sato vs Towa Iwasaki: Sato wins via Piledriver @11:40 – ** 1/4
- Hide & Yasu Kabuto vs TARU & Chris Vice: Kabuto Brothers win via DQ @10:00 – *
- Toshihito Takaiwa vs Yoshikazu Yokoyama: Takaiwa wins via Death Valley Driver @7:00 – * 1/2
- StrongHearts (T-Hawk, El Lindaman & Shigehiro Irie) vs Masato Tanaka, Ikuto Hidaka & Takuya Suguwara: T-Hawk wins via Night Rider @12:05 – *** 1/2
- Zero1 World & International Junior Heavyweight Championship: HUB vs SUGI (c): HUB wins via Avalanche Armageddon @14:40 – *** 1/4 – TITLE CHANGE!!
- NWA International Tag Team Championship: Shinjiro Otani & Shoki Kitamura vs Masashi Takeda & Yuko Miyamoto (c): Takeda retains via Reverse U-Crush @16:20 – ***
- Zero1 Heavyweight Championship: Yuji Hino (c) vs Yuji Okabayashi: Hino retains via Fucking Bomb @24:45 – **** 1/4
Kohei Sato vs Towa Iwasaki – This had all the trimmings of a young boy versus veteran match which is a little odd since Iwasaki is the United National Heavyweight champion. Iwasaki didn’t get a ton of effective offense in, but showed a lot of heart and tried very hard. Sato rocked him with a big headbutt and forearm combination, but Iwasaki kicked out. Sato had to use the Piledriver to finish off the younger opponent. There seems to be a level of respect between the two afterwards.
Hide & Yasu Kabuto vs TARU & Chris Vice – Funnily enough…if TARU wasn’t in this match, it would’ve been okay. Chris Vice is chiseled and looks like a beat, TARU looks super old. Kabuto brothers are undersized, but put together a decent bit of offense. Highlight spot was when one of the brothers breaks the chair over Vice’s head, and he no sells, flexes and proceeds to choke the kid out with the seat. The referee fights to break up the choke, Vice pushes him a few times, kicks him, and that’s when the referee has had enough, so he calls for the bell while TARU is hitting things with a pipe like a meandering crazy old man.
Toshihito Takaiwa vs Yoshikazu Yokoyama – What we get with this match, is two older guys just throwing big moves at one another. Death Valley Drivers from both, Driver variations and just generally big spots. Match was too short to be offensive, but it definitely wasn’t anything to care about.
Stronghearts (T-Hawk, El Lindaman & Shigehiro Irie) vs Masato Tanaka, Ikuto Hidaka & Takuya Suguwara – Now most of us know a decent portion of these guys since Stronghearts have been in AEW and MLW, and Masato Tanaka is known from his ECW time. Tanaka is still a tough old bastard too. This match was great, it mixed fast paced energy, with stiff strikes, strong style and occasional comedy. Lindaman’s size plays into matches a lot, so there’s a nice exchange where he tries to knock down Tanaka and he just stands there like “was that a breeze? Try again…”
Fun tandem moves from the Stronghearts as well, I especially enjoyed the Head Kick/Piledriver onto an already prone opponent. Irie looked great, T-Hawk looked like a million bucks and this was just really great to watch. Fun stuff, with an entertaining promo afterwards.
Zero1 World & International Junior Heavyweight Championship: HUB vs SUGI (c) – Interesting match, the Zero1 Junior style isn’t quite as fast as New Japan, and reminds me more of Dragon Gate/lucha style where there’s a lot of satellite reversals, Quesadora rolls and high impact drivers. There were a few missteps, but a generally solid match. Also HUB’s Armageddon finish was great. He got on the top rope, started with a Canadian Backbreaker and flipped SUGI forwards into an Avalanche Sitout Powerbomb of sorts. Just very cool and impactful for a match that wasn’t a lot of razzle dazzle.
NWA International Tag Team Championship: Shinjiro Otani & Shoki Kitamura vs Masashi Takeda & Yuko Miyamoto (c) – This was a decent match. Otani played the with the Facewashes, and given his age, did very well. Kitamura showed a lot of fire, but also a lot of brash youthful stupidity. This was really a story of the veteran and younger partner, just getting outclassed by a real tag team who works well together. This is punctuated from Kitamura basically calling Otani grandpa because he wants to be tagged in, and also “accidentally” hitting Otani with a Spear when he was on a roll. Takede and Miyamoto hit a few combination spots, like a Brainbuster into a cover, then as soon as Kitamura kicks out and sits up, he eats a Somato/Meteora. Otani is held back as Takeda hits the Reverse U-Crash for the win.
Zero1 Heavyweight Championship: Yuji Hino (c) vs Yuji Okabayashi – This was a damn good Hoss battle. Both men hit like trucks and are built like tanks. Okabayashi pulled out a lot of his signature offense early, like the Argentine Backbreaker and the Golem Splash, but the interesting thing with the Splash, is Okabayashi just couldn’t make a cover attempt, so there’s no knowing if that would’ve ended the match about 10 minutes earlier.
Hino does his cocky hands behind his back, chop me as hard as you can, spot…but it backfires a little. As they were both firing up afterwards to the point of exchanging lariats, it looked like Okabayashi’s fist caught Hino’s face, and we get a good shot at the mouse growing over his left eye and the blood dripping out around his eye.
inject this straight into my veins!!! pic.twitter.com/4LC41q6Yk2
— Robert (@b3rt4) January 9, 2020
Overall Score: 7/10
Given the fact we all went in a little blind, I was happy with the show that resulted. Aside from TARU still being up to his Voodoo Murderers crap and well, just the first 3 matches felt a little weird. I don’t necessarily hold it against this show as much as I would say…a promotion I normally follow. Plus, it’s also nice to see how many fairly decently known names there were on this card. So it wasn’t a case of “how much does that guy weigh”.
The matches that were intended to pay off, definitely did. Stronghearts were over very well with the crowd, and it seemed like Lindaman was talking about CIMA joining them in Zero1 for a future event, which got a nice pop. HUB and SUGI seemed to have the crowd buzzing a bit and of course the main event was a hoss battle, and if you like hoss battles, this is the Coke for you. Hino is great, and seems to be content in the smaller promotions with occasional freelance work.
So yeah, maybe 2020 will be a year I follow Zero1 a little closer, maybe not, maybe I’ll slip on some ice and enter the magical puro coma land. Only time will tell.
Til then, ALWAY USE YOUR HEAD! – I guess slipping and a coma comment, mixed with head…perhaps not the best imagery…hmm-
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