Wrestle-1 Outbreak review (6.22.18)

Wrestle-1 Outbreak review (6.22.18)

Wrestle-1 Outbreak


June 22 2018


We’re in Tokyo, Japan at Shin-Kiba 1st Ring.


It would be fair to say I’ve not been following Wrestle-1 closely for quite some time. The only stuff I’ve seen of theirs since 2016 has been Shotaro Ashino title defences. I’m surprised to learn he actually dropped the strap to Manabu Soya some three months ago. Make no mistake about it, Ashino is Wrestle-1’s big star name. He came out of their dojo and quickly surpassed everyone else. So why have I been lured back to Wrestle-1? OWE. Oriental Wrestling Entertainment, CIMA’s Chinese project. They’re guesting on this show. I’m actually excited.


I’m sure the question will be; why don’t you just watch Dragon Gate? Well, since Dragon Gate went behind a pay window I’ve not had a chance. Besides their shows are so long and so frequent I find it impossible to stay on top of the promotion.


Takanori Ito vs. Takumi Baba

Ito is a badass. He used to do karate before wrestling and he’s worked a couple of years. Takumi is pretty small by comparison. I think it’s Ito’s Kevin Owens look that makes him so much larger. Although I find it very hard to support anyone who wrestles in a t-shirt. I’m sad this aired on niconico as they don’t clip anything. This match is way too long for the quality in it. It’s six minutes long but feels like an eternity when it could be clipped to half that and be fine. The match is over for me when Baba attempts a neckbreaker. It’s criminal. Ito wins with a German suplex and we can all now move on with our lives.

Final Rating: *


Koji Doi, Ganseki Tanaka & Tsugutaka Sato vs. Masayuki Kono, MAZADA & NOSAWA Rongai

This serves as a reminder as to why I lost interest in Wrestle-1 in the first place. Koji Doi is looking a little different. I had him picked out as a big prospect but he’s rather slipped into Ashino’s shadow. His team are somewhat lacking in personality. Across the ring there’s an abundance of personality but nothing in the way of in-ring to get excited about. You can’t really blame the likes of Sato, who’s been wrestling for a year. It’s the veteran team who treat this like a house show undercard match, which is basically what it is. A clipped version of this would have been super too. If the opener dragged it’s got nothing on this, which rumbles on to 12 minutes. Mostly tiresome heat. At least Big Koji goes on a shoulderblock/scoop slam rampage when it’s over. NOSAWA’s Muta-esque pisstake Shining Wizard has me in bits. I’ll give him credit for that. Constantly stopping in mid-attempt to sell his knee. Kono batters Sato with a big knee for the win. This got ok toward the end but needed to be clipped.

Final Rating: **1/4


So this show was going ok up to this point when my speakers decided to stop working. No problem, I bought some other speakers a while ago because of intermittent audio issues. Plug those bad boys in. NOTHING. Troubleshoot for an hour. NOTHING. Plug the old speakers back in and they work fine. Fucking Windows 10, man. So if I’m slightly agitated for the rest of this show…there’s a reason.


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

From what I remember about Wrestle-1 El Hijo del Pantera is pretty good. He’s wrestling in his t-shirt.


Alejandro I’ve never seen before but apparently he’s from Puerto Rico. Arai is perhaps the worst product of the Dragon Gate/Toryumon dojo in the history of it. This seems set as a showcase for the luchadores to hit flashy spots as Arai is familiar with flashy spots based on his Dragon Gate run. Kodama is one of those solid ‘slow the pace down’ wrestlers that keeps the match balanced. His style is not unlike Eddie Guerrero. I like him. If Arai didn’t stink and Pantera wrestled with his shirt off like a man the match could even reach ‘good’ territory. Pantera is a little slow compared to a few years ago. He looks like he’s gained a bit of timber around the midsection. Alejandro is a typical luchadore, which is to say he’s great fun and pretty fast. Kodama kills him at the finish with a fisherman DDT (!) and the frog splash. It was all so pretty I’ve GIFFED it.

Final Rating: ***1/4


Well that cheered me up! I was expecting nothing from that match and Kodama rocked. Alejandro looked good too.


Jun Tonsho vs. CIMA

Tonsho is 19 years old. He started young and is a Wrestle-1 hopeful. CIMA is actually making his W1 debut here, after years and years of working almost exclusively in Dragon Gate. I often wondered how the DG boys would fare working elsewhere now I can see it. Tonsho knows it’ll be a challenge and jumps CIMA as he enters the ring. Implant DDT puts CIMA back in charge though and Meteora finishes.

Final Rating: Squash!


Kaz Hayashi & Seiki Yoshioka vs. Dezmond Xavier & Zachary Wentz

Yoshioka was one of the younger W1 guys that I thought was going to be really good. I must admit I’ve not seen enough to decide whether he has gotten there or not. Scarlet & Graves are part of CIMA’s Strong Hearts Wrestle-1 stable, basically comprising of former Dragon Gate talent. This is the first match on this show that feels important. It would be fair to say old man Kaz isn’t quite on the same speed level as everyone else. But then he is 45 years old. He used to be in WCW! Considering his age he probably should have amended his style somewhat and his attempts to keep up are humorous at times. They all do flips and Xavier doing the Sasuke Special gets the commentator to legitimately say “holy shit”. When Kaz isn’t in there the action is breakneck. The push SSP finishes and sadly they don’t do it to hard cam so it doesn’t look all that impressive. Great performance from Scarlet & Graves. I didn’t like them the first few times I saw them but they’ve got their teaming down now and they’re great.


Final Rating: ***3/4


Shuji Kondo, Manabu Soya & Andy Wu vs. T-Hawk, El Lindaman & Gao Jingjia

After Andy Wu is done fucking with his Jedi shit we can get on with it. The T-Hawk team are representing Strong Hearts. Gao is the only Chinese member, coming from the whole OWE adventure. T-Hawk’s discovery that there are big lads in Wrestle-1 he can have proper fights with is tremendous stuff. His brawl with Soya is amazing. Gao is interesting to watch because he’s clearly inexperienced at this level but is totally fearless and throws in crazy flips like he’s eating a piece of toast. It’s so mundane and spectacular. All at once.


Then Kondo comes in and he wants T-Hawk too. Only El Lindaman is legal so he completely ignores him. This gets Lindaman wound up and he’s all “ignore me? You fuck, I’ll kill you”. Lindaman goes from slighted to pissed off in a microsecond and it’s fucking beautiful. I full on love this match. They go back to T-Hawk vs. Soya and T-Hawk chops Soya like he owes him money. All this craziness even gets mild mannered Andy Wu wound up to the point where he’s trying to remove Lindaman’s arm. Gao must be wondering what he’s gotten himself into! T-Hawk is incredible here. He’s gone from looking disinterested with the concept of wrestling to being pissed off at everyone. Like he’s gone from being content to be YOSHI-HASHI to wanting to be Minoru Suzuki overnight. He wants to fight everyone. He doesn’t give a fuck. It’s great! Then Lindaman gets pissed off with Wu for going after his arm and fucks his shit up. I am 100% all in on this OWE vs. Wrestle-1 storyline. Soya looks like he’s morphing into Manabu Nakanishi here. I’m personally glad he switched his look. He appears more energised and driven. I also realise why they switched the title because Soya will go to war with Strong Hearts. Ashino wasn’t that kind of champion.

^This produces another audible “shit” from commentary. They’re all murdering each other in front of 350 people here!

T-Hawk finishes Wu with the chokebomb. Wu actually kicked out but it was after the three count. This match was nuts. What a way to introduce Strong Hearts to the world. Stunning performance from all concerned. Super intense, super skilful. I loved the violence and attitude from T-Hawk and El Lindaman and the sheer flippity relaxed nature of Gao to contrast that. Wonderful match. Low end MOTYC. I want to see this feud continue and based on the ruck that follows the match it’s happening. Lads, Wrestle-1 is relevant!


Final Rating: ****1/2


Wrestle-1 Tag Team Championship

Shotaro Ashino & Kuma Arashi (c) vs. Masato Tanaka & Jiro Kuroshio

Arashi is the former Kumagoro. Ashino may have been Wrestle-1 biggest in-ring star creation for workrate but the biggest star in terms of fan response is Kuroshio. The dude is super over and now has a tag team with Masato Tanaka where they both wear jackets and dance and take ages to get in the ring.


I’m pleased for Tanaka finding a gimmick where he can coast by on personality and doesn’t have to kill himself every single match. Kuroshio and Ashino both have an incredible presence but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out which one I prefer. The dandy who’s mediocre in the ring or the utter fucking badass who death stares you? This is the beauty of pro wrestling though. They get to meet toe to toe.


The atmosphere is completely different here. It’s a lot lighter and Tanaka wrestles in his blazer to take the piss. Even when the champs are bullying Ikemen with control periods it’s not intense at all and the last match was so good it’s hard to follow. I find myself disinterested, largely because of extended periods of heat. Also because Ikemen. When Ashino is trying to break his ankle it’s fine but take off the blazer in a title match at least? Ikemen makes a hash of the moonsault, which is the finish but he has the common courtesy to do it again but I resent him doing all this a) on a bad ankle and b) without taking his fucking coat off. And they jobbed Ashino! To Ikemen! At least have Tanaka get the pin. Anyway, this was not an important show in the big scheme of things and these belts change all the time. Plus the show will be remembered for the OWE stuff I’m sure.


Final Rating: ***1/4



Obviously the OWE stuff really stood out here. It’s ‘can’t miss’ pro wrestling. CIMA has performed a minor miracle and I can’t wait to see what happens next. In T-Hawk he has a guy that’s super motivated to prove a point and kick everybody’s ass, all over the world. I’m so fired up by it all. The rest of the show was solid, which is all you need with such a big angle and a big match taking up the headlines.


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