A Review by Kevin Wilson
Date: May 5th, 2015
Location: Tokyo Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: 1,500 (Super No Vacancy Full House)
This is the event we have all been waiting for, as Great Muta and Great Kabuki team up once again! There are other things on this event of interest too, including the semifinals and finals of the Cruiserweight Championship Tournament, as well as Suzuki defending the WRESTLE-1 Championship against Ryota Hama. Here is the full card:
- Murase, Kuma Goro, and Ashino vs. Rionne Fujiwara, Punisher Big Brute, and Jay Freddie
- WRESTLE-1 Cruiserweight Championship Tournament Semifinal: El Hijo del Pantera vs. Minoru Tanaka
- WRESTLE-1 Cruiserweight Championship Tournament Semifinal: Hiroshi Yamato vs. Kaz Hayashi
- Masayuki Kono, KAZMA SAKAMOTO, and Koji Doi vs. Shuji Kondo, Andy Wu, and Seiki Yoshioka
- Manabu Soya and AKIRA vs. Masakatsu Funaki and Jiro Kuroshio vs. NOSAWA Rongai and MAZADA
- Great Muta, Great Kabuki, and TAJIRI vs. KAI, Yasufumi Nakanoue, and Yusuke Kodama
- WRESTLE-1 Cruiserweight Championship Tournament Final: Kaz Hayashi vs. Minoru Tanaka
- WRESTLE-1 Championship: Hideki Suzuki vs. Ryota Hama
Let’s get it started!
Murase, Kuma Goro, and Ashino vs. Rionne Fujiwara, Punisher Big Brute, and Jay Freddie
We join in this one progress with Brute hitting a tombstone on Goro. Cover, but it is broken up. Brute clubs on Goro and shoulderblocks him into the corner. Clubbing blows by Brute and he throws Goro to the mat. Goro tries to fight back but Brute knocks him to the mat. Elbow drop by Brute and he tags in Fujiwara. Kicks by Fujiwara but Goro gets away and tags in Murase. Murase cleans house and he slams Fujiwara to the mat. Irish whip by Murase to the corner, reversed, Murase goes to the apron and he hits a swandive missile dropkick. Enzigieri by Freddie and he hits a lariat, Freddie is tagged in but he gets promptly suplexed. Goro hits a senton on Freddie, cover, but it gets two. Freddie makes the tag to Brute and Brute boots Goro. Chokeslam by Brute, cover, but it is broken up. Brute calls for the lariat, nails it, and he gets the three count. I don’t know who Brute is, I will have to look into it. A clipped match designed basically to show off Brute, which it accomplished, but still only four minutes of action.
El Hijo del Pantera vs. Minoru Tanaka
This match is in the Semifinal of the WRESTLE-1 Cruiserweight Championship Tournament. Pantera knocks Tanaka out of the ring to start, he goes off the ropes and promptly hits a tope suicida. Tanaka is beat down at ringside by DESPERADO and thrown into the ring post. Back in the ring Pantera starts working over Tanaka’s neck, he picks up Tanaka and but Tanaka pushes him off. Stomp by Pantera and he throws Tanaka into the corner. Pantera picks up Tanaka and elbows him in the back, Tanaka goes for a dropkick but Pantera avoids it. Tanaka manages to connect the next time, he throws Pantera into the corner and Tanaka hits a missile dropkick off the second turnbuckle for a two count. Kicks by Tanaka, he goes off the ropes but Tanaka is pulled out of the ring. DESPERADO attacks Tanaka again before rolling him back in, snapmare by Pantera and he dropkicks Tanaka in the back of the head. Cover, but Tanaka kicks out. Pantera picks up Tanaka and puts him in the tree of woe before hitting a sliding dropkick. Pantera picks up Tanaka and dropkicks him again, Pantera drops Tanaka onto his knee and he covers Tanaka for a close two count. Punches by Pantera but Tanaka hits a high kick, Tanaka quickly applies the grounded cobra twist and he gets the three count! This wasn’t very good since it was disjointed and Tanaka got the win after doing very little. I guess Tanaka had to save his energy for the final, but definitely a skippable match.
Hiroshi Yamato vs. Kaz Hayashi
This match is in the Semifinal of the WRESTLE-1 Cruiserweight Championship Tournament. Wristlock by Yamato but Hayashi reverses it, armdrag by Hayashi but Yamato returns the favor. Dropkick by Yamato but Hayashi flips him out of the ring. Hayashi gets a running start but Yamato slides back into the ring and hits a headscissors. Tope Suicida by Yamato but Hayashi elbows him back before hitting a scoop slam on the floor. Hayashi returns to the ring with Yamato following and Hayashi throws Yamato back out of the ring. Hayashi goes off the ropes and he sails out of the ring with a tope con hilo. Hayashi rolls Yamato back in the ring, elbow by Hayashi and he snaps Yamato’s neck on the top rope. Hayashi goes up top but Yamato quickly joins him and hits a spider belly to belly suplex. Jumping back splash by Yamato, he puts Hayashi on the top turnbuckle but Hayashi jumps off. Hayashi puts Yamato in the tree of woe and he delivers a dropkick. Hayashi puts Yamato on the top turnbuckle and he hits an avalanche Final Cut. Cover, but it gets a two count. Hayashi kicks Yamato but Yamato kicks him back, Hayashi goes for a handspring elbow but Yamato catches him and applies an ankle hold.
Hayashi eventually makes it to the ropes, Yamato puts Hayashi on the top turnbuckle and punches him in the stomach. German suplex by Yamato, he picks up Hayashi and he hits a second one for a two count. Yamato picks up Hayashi but Hayashi gets away, Irish whip by Hayashi and he hits a handspring kick. Hayashi picks up Yamato and he hits a Final Cut, cover, but it gets a two count. Hayashi picks up Yamato but Yamato wiggles away, Hayashi kicks Yamato and hits a series of elbows, another Final Cut by Hayashi but Yamato barely kicks out. Inverted Final Cut by Hayashi, but that also gets two. Hayashi grabs Yamato up and he nails the Power Plant, picking up the three count! This match was really good and caught me off guard. Yamato has been doing nothing so far in WRESTLE-1 but he looked great here. Everything was hit smoothly and Hayashi going all out to win just showed how important the title is. Don’t sleep on this one just because it is on a WRESTLE-1 undercard, really entertaining match. Recommended
Masayuki Kono, KAZMA SAKAMOTO, and Koji Doi vs. Shuji Kondo, Andy Wu, and Seiki Yoshioka
Joined a bit in progress with SAKAMOTO attacking Yoshioka in the corner, he tags in Kono and Kono hits a scoop slam. DESPERADO stomps on Yoshioka before Doi is tagged in, and Doi chokes Yoshioka against the second rope. Doi jumps down on Yoshioka’s back, cocky cover but it gets two. Doi tags in SAKAMOTO but Yoshioka avoids SAKAMOTO’s charge, SAKAMOTO cuts him off before he can tag out but Yoshioka hits a jumping kick. Yoshioka finally tags in Kondo, Wu comes in too to help clear the ring as Kondo elbows SAKAMOTO into the corner. Irish whip by Kondo and he lariats SAKAMOTO. Bulldog/lariat combination by Kondo and he spears SAKAMOTO for a two count. Kono comes in as does Yoshioka, enzigieri by Yoshioka to Kono and he kicks off of Doi to hit a tornado DDT. Wu dives out of the ring into Doi as Kondo is left alone with SAKAMOTO, Kondo goes off the ropes as they trade strike attempts, but SAKAMOTO kicks Kondo low. The referee sees it though and he calls for the bell, as DESPERADO is DQed. Post match the beatdown continued, the winners from the opening match came down to the ring but Brute chokeslammed his teammates and joined DESPERADO. Guess I will be seeing more of Brute. This was just for storyline purposes as a low blow DQ is pretty lame even by DQ standards. I haven’t seen enough of Brute to form an opinion but he is different than everyone else in the group so there is potential there. Not much of a match though.
Manabu Soya and AKIRA vs. Masakatsu Funaki and Jiro Kuroshio vs. NOSAWA Rongai and MAZADA
Three men are legal at a time which means this match will probably not be good. Rongai, Soya and Funaki start off the match and Funaki kicks both of them, as well as AKIRA too just for extra measure. Funaki tags in Kuroshio, Kuroshio dances around but he gets attacked by everyone for his trouble. Funaki tries to help but he also gets stomped out, Rongai and MAZADA offer Soya and AKIRA a handshake but they rake their opponents in the eyes. Rongai and MAZADA get their opponents into the corners and throw Soya and AKIRA into each other. Irish whip by Rongai and MAZADA hits a leg drop. Cover, but it gets a two count. Soya lariats both Rongai and MAZADA, he goes off the ropes but Kuroshio catches him with a missile dropkick. Cover, but AKIRA breaks it up. AKIRA hits a German suplex on Kuroshio followed by another one (loose tag rules here), but Kuroshio hits a dropkick. Funaki comes in and kicks AKIRA, senton by Funaki and Kuroshio hits a quebrada for a two count when MAZADA grabs the referee from the floor. Rongai and MAZADA get in the ring with Kuroshio, double Irish whip to Kuroshio and Kuroshio is dropped with a double flapjack. Shining Wizard by Rongai, cover, but Funaki breaks it up. Funaki stays in and kicks both MAZADA and Rongai, snapmare by Funaki and he hits a PK to MAZADA. Hybrid Blaster by Funaki, cover, but Soya and AKIRA break it up.
Funaki kicks both AKIRA and Soya, AKIRA rolls Funaki to the mat and he applies a modified STF. Kuroshio flips in the ring and breaks it up, he picks up AKIRA and they trade elbows. Irish whip by Kuroshio but AKIRA hits a lariat. Soya comes in, he picks up Kuroshio and he holds him so that AKIRA can hit a diving kneedrop. AKIRA and Soya take turns hitting Funaki, lariat by Soya and a cover, but Kuroshio breaks it up. Superkick by Kuroshio to Soya, he goes off the ropes but Soya catches him with a death valley bomb for a two count. Soya picks up Rongai and he hits one on him as well, Soya slams Kuroshio in front of the corner and AKIRA goes for the body press, but Rongai moves and quickly rolls up AKIRA with a High Speed La Magistral for the three count! This was better than I was expecting but still not a great match. They kept the pace up which they had to do to make this watchable, and completely ignored the tag rules which was probably for the best. Everyone got at least a little bit of a chance to shine and there was nothing really wrong with it except for an utter lack of structure or method to the madness. Not bad though for a midcard match.
Great Muta, Great Kabuki, and TAJIRI vs. KAI, Yasufumi Nakanoue, and Yusuke Kodama
Muta and KAI start things off. Muta gets KAI to the mat and goes for his leg but KAI gets out of it. Muta rolls out of the ring to ponder life but returns after a moment and he tags in TAJIRI. Kodama is also tagged in, tie-up, and Kodama applies a wristlock. Hammerlock by TAJIRI but Kodama snapmares out of it. Dropkick by Kodama and he tags in KAI. Double Irish whip to TAJIRI and he is hit with a double shoulderblock. Elbow drop by KAI, cover, but it gets a two count. KAI applies a chinlock to TAJIRI and boots him into the corner. He tags in Nakanoue and Nakanoue hits a scoop slam. Cover, but it gets two. Side Russian leg sweep by Nakanoue to TAJIRI but pushes him back and tags in Kabuki. Kabuki punches Nakanoue in the corner and he applies a side headlock on the mat. Kabuki tags in Muta and Muta hits the Flashing Elbow. Muta throws Nakanoue out of the ring, he gets a chair and he hits Nakanoue with it. Muta slides Nakanoue back into the ring, and Muta hits a dragon screw leg whip. Leg lock by Muta and he tags in TAJIRI. TAJIRI kicks Nakanoue in the back, cover, but it gets two. TAJIRI elbows Nakanoue in the back of the head and delivers a high kick. Muta is tagged in but Nakanoue hits a jumping lariat. He makes the hot tag to KAI and KAI dropkicks Muta. Another dropkick and he hits a big boot in the corner. Vertical suplex by KAI, cover, but it gets two. Irish whip by KAI but Muta rolls away and dropkicks KAI.
Muta tags in TAJIRI and TAJIRI hits a handspring elbow strike. TAJIRI goes for the Buzzsaw Kick by KAI ducks it and tags in Kodama. Kodama elbows TAJIRI in the corner and he hits a jumping elbow. Irish whip by TAJIRI, kick by Kodama but TAJIRI hits a high kick and tags in Kabuki. Punches by Kabuki but Kodama kicks him in the head. KAI and Nakanoue run in the ring and Kabuki is triple teamed in the corner. Snapmare by Kodama, cover, but Kabuki kicks out. Kabuki punches all three and hits a thrust kick to Kodama. KAI and Nakanoue go off the ropes but TAJIRI and Muta spray them with mist. Kodama dropkicks Muta, he snapmares Kabuki and goes to the top turnbuckle. He dives off, but Kabuki, TAJIRI and Muta all spray him with mist on the way down. Kick by TAJIRI, Muta hits a Shining Wizard and Kabuki finishes Kodama with a hard punch to the jaw, picking up the three count! Really they should have just made this a five minute match and gotten to the point. The last few minutes were legitimately fun, course I love Muta and Kabuki so my bias is no secret. The rest of the match wasn’t bad it was just kinda lumbering along because you knew how it was going to end. I personally enjoyed it because I love well done nostalgic acts, but certainly not for everyone. Mildly Recommended
Kaz Hayashi vs. Minoru Tanaka
This match is the WRESTLE-1 Cruiserweight Championship Tournament Final. They tie-up to start and trade wristlocks, headlock by Hayashi and he hits a shoulderblock. They trade strike attempts and Hayashi plants Tanaka with a DDT. Elbows by Hayashi and he avoids Tanaka’s dropkick attempt. Irish whip by Hayashi and he kicks Tanaka in the corner, he then skins the cat but Tanaka dropkicks him out of the ring. Tanaka goes out to the apron, he goes up top and he hits a moonsault down to the floor. Back in the ring, Tanaka kicks Hayashi in the leg but Hayashi hits a reverse STO into the turnbuckles. Hayashi puts Tanaka on the top turnbuckle and joins him, but Tanaka pushes him off. Hayashi re-joins him and they trade elbows, Hayashi slides out to the apron and he hits a springboard Frankensteiner before kicking Tanaka in the head. Hayashi picks up Tanaka and puts him up top, he joins him and delivers the avalanche Final Cut. Cover, but it gets two. Hayashi picks up Tanaka and goes for another one but Tanaka ducks it, Tanaka charges Hayashi but Hayashi hits a tombstone piledriver. Final Cut by Hayashi, cover, but Tanaka kicks out. Hayashi picks up Tanaka but Tanaka slips away and rolls up Hayashi for two. Tanaka grabs Hayashi and he hits a three-quarter nelson suplex. Cover, but Hayashi kicks out. Back up, Irish whip by Tanaka but Hayashi hits a handspring kick.
Hayashi suplexes Tanaka and he covers him for a two count. Hayashi grabs Tanaka and he drops him with the Vertebreaker, but Tanaka breaks out of the cover. Back up they trade elbows but Tanaka hits a high kick followed by the HEAT Clutch for a two count. Hayashi catches his next kick attempt and rolls up Tanaka for two, Tanaka goes off the ropes and he hits a dropkick. Jumping kick by Tanaka, cover, but it gets a two count. Tanaka puts Hayashi on the top turnbuckle and he throws him with an avalanche single arm suplex for a two count. Tanaka goes up top and he hits a diving footstomp, but Hayashi again kicks out for the cover. Tanaka gets Hayashi around the neck and drops him with the Tornado Kaki Cutter, and he gets the three count! Tanaka is your first WRESTLE-1 Cruiserweight Champion! I am so pissed at this. These two do the best ‘epic’ Jr. Heavyweight matches, Juniors don’t really do this style anymore and I love it. So what did they do? They clipped out ten minutes of the 23 minute match. This could have been easily the match of the card but I can’t say it was because I missed so much. I loved what I saw, the big moves, the passion, the pace, everything. But how much can I recommend half of a match? Obviously it hurt the pacing but the entire ending looked unclipped, we probably just lost the middle of the match. I am still going to say to check out it, just remember that we are missing the full package. Mildly Recommended
(c) Hideki Suzuki vs. Ryota Hama
This match is for the WRESTLE-1 Championship. Hama shoulderblocks Suzuki as soon as the match starts and he stands on him near the ropes. This is angry Hama, not goofy Hama, for what it matters. Suzuki rolls out of the ring but Hama follows him out and they trade shots. Hama elbows Suzuki off his feet and he slides him back into the ring. Body slam by Hama and he squishes Suzuki for a two count. Elbow drop by Hama and he covers Suzuki for a two count. Irish whip by Hama but Suzuki delivers a dropkick. Mounted elbows by Suzuki and he goes for a cross armbreaker but Hama blocks it. Back up Suzuki hits a neckbreaker and he covers Hama for a two count. Suzuki goes for a double arm suplex but Hama blocks it, elbows by Suzuki but Hama hits a crossbody for a two count. Irish whip by Hama and he hits a body avalanche in the corner. Running butt smash by Hama and he hits a DDT. Back up they trade elbows, and Hama hits a release German suplex. Running body press by Hama, but Suzuki gets a shoulder up. Back up, lariat by Hama and he climbs up to the second turnbuckle, nailing the reverse splash. Cover but again Suzuki gets a shoulder up. Hama goes for a suplex but Suzuki applies a sleeper hold, but Hama gets out of it by dropping backwards. Back up, punches by Hama but Suzuki hits an elbow and an enzigieri. Suzuki gets the sleeper re-applied, and he gets Hama to the mat. Hama appears to go out, Suzuki covers him but Hama barely kicks out. Suzuki sits up Hama, he rocks him with a hard elbow and this time he gets the three count pinfall! Suzuki is still your champion! Ok so this was better than it had any right to be. My main complaint is that Hama dominated the match. Suzuki had been built up as this badass while Hama has been a comedy wrestler. I guess they are showing Hama can ‘switch it on’ when needed but it still felt weird that he controlled the bulk of the match before going down to a sleeper and an elbow. But it was oddly enjoyable, I think more people are going to like this match then I was ever expecting. It won’t win any awards or anything but they took ‘wrestling within their limitations’ to a new level. Extremely watchable. Mildly Recommended
The only disappointing thing about this event was how clipped the Cruiserweight Championship match was. Everything else met or exceeded expectations. It is unusual outside of New Japan for me to recommend four matches and there was a pretty good variety here as you had nostalgia, Jr. Heavyweights, faction warfare, and a heavyweight sprint (of sorts) all on the same card. If the event as a whole didn’t have clipped matches (especially the Tanaka/Hayashi match) I would give it a pretty high recommendation but even as it is, don’t sleep on this event just because it is WRESTLE-1, it’s a really solid show from top to bottom.
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event reviewed on 5/19/15