Zero1 18th Anniversary show (3.3.19) review

Zero1 18th Anniversary show (3.3.19) review

Zero1 18th Anniversary Show

 

March 3 2019

 

Zero1 is 18. This does not make me feel old in the slightest. Ahem. Anyway, Zero1 has been one of my favourite promotions for years to the point where I’m not sure I can even explain why. Otani? Probably. SUGI? Yeah. Shrine Show? Now we’re talking. This is a weird card because there are no major matches on it. No titles being defended, which is so Zero1 to have a big anniversary show with nothing of importance on it. I’m shocked it even made tape but here we are!

 

It’s a little sad that they have Korakuen Hall for this show and draw 758 for it. I mean, for a similar sized UK promotion those are good numbers but I can see empty chairs and it makes me sad.

Zero12Revengers

(L-R: Kubota Bros, Masato Tanaka, Yuji Hino, Takuya Sugawara, Ikuto Hidaka)

We kick the show off with the reveal of Zero1’s new stable the “Revengers”. Oh, Marvel is going to sue. They took the logo and everything.

 

Yuko Miyamoto, Super Tiger & Shoki Kitamura vs. Kubota Brothers & Shingo Suzuki

Shingo Suzuki sounds like a name a computer simmed. Here we are in EWR twenty years deep and all the rookies are Shingo Suzuki. This match is 11 minutes but it’s heavily clipped. Luckily the John Woo dropkick remains intact and is called so on comms. Apart from that and Miyamoto fucking around with some renegade spin kicks there’s not much to see. Kitamura gets me fire dup with a series of cheeky roll ups but he gets Kubota’d and the Swanton finishes.

Final Rating: **1/4

 

Shogun Okamoto & Yoshikazu Yokoyama vs. Towa Iwasaki & Yuta Suzuki

Iwasaki is Zero1’s homegrown next top guy. After losing Obata to serious injury there’s been a home grown void and Iwasaki is who they’ve picked to fill it. He’s a fairly nondescript boy; black trunks, black hair, quite muscular. Shogun Okamoto decides to teach him the business and quite brutally thumps the pluck clean out of him. Okamoto’s offence could be summed up in two words: clubbing blows. Iwasaki gets the occasional break when working Yokoyama, who is the drizzling shits. Yuta Suzuki gets very limited ring time, because he’s a rookie and Iwasaki wants to win. He takes the big brother approach to this contest.

Lariat and backdrop hold finish and the comparison with Jumbo Tsuruta feels appropriate. He has that body shape and style. He’s still young but already has a lot of meat on that frame. Having him dismantle useless undercard guys here is ideal. He’s 20 years old but has huge potential.

Final Rating: **3/4

 

Ikuto Hidaka & Fuminori Abe vs. Tatsuhito Takaiwa & SUGI

I love everyone in this match, to varying degrees.

Zero12Sugi

There are two types of people; 1. You’re a fan of SUGI. 2. You’ve not seen SUGI wrestle. He’s here doing all crazy flips and lucha spots around two opponents who are solidly in the mat technician camp. Abe and SUGI decide to take it in turns to punch each other in the head and then Abe does a flying headbutt to the waist area with accompanying thigh slap. What the fuck is happening? It’s like watching two of my favourite guys forget how to wrestle in front of my very eyes. In a perverse twist of fate it’s Takaiwa and Hidaka who have the best sequences in the match. Even with Hidaka’s telegraphing and delayed strikes. In all fairness SUGI and Abe have better sequences down the stretch but their earlier ones are so horrible it’s hard to forget. The match has a weird switch where a mirror SUGI turns up and SUGI gets distracted so Abe rolls him up for the pin. What a load of bollocks this was. Shocking.

Final Rating: *

 

Promo Time: Yusuke Obata

He comes out here to talk about his injury, which happened in June 2018 when he was on top of Zero1 as their ace. He tells us he’s still injured and as a result will be leaving Zero1 contractually. Oh. Shit. That’s not good. Normally if someone comes out to cut a promo in the ring it means good news guys. He takes a round of applause and we’re done. Fuck. Ok.

Zero12Obata

 

Takuya Sugawara vs. Chris Vice

Zero12Vice

Vice is in Voodoo Murders. Sugawara is one of my least favourite Zero1 guys. All of this adds up to me feeling a bit down on this show. I mean, it’s been a total bummer already so hey, why not carry on. Vice is my favourite of these two because he hits hard and doesn’t give a fuck. Unfortunately there are Voodoo Murders at ringside so we get bad interference spots. I hear comms referring to Vice’s WWE style. The style of the match is very much garbage and although I don’t blame either wrestler for that they don’t exactly help matters. Sugawara insisting on running the ropes where he knows he’ll get tripped is infuriating. The saving grace is Vice chopping Sugawara to bits but even that feels a bit stilted. At its worst the match is abysmal with the Voodoo Murders literally getting in the ring and hitting spots. That would be a disqualification referee. I don’t want this horseshit in my favourite promotion! Sugawara finishes with a “Stardust Press” and calling it that is generous. “Diving body attack” would probably be more accurate. There was definitely no press involved. Anyway; this entire match sucked.

Final Rating: *

 

Shinjiro Otani vs. Kohei Sato

Otani needs to save his own show at this point.

Zero12Kohei

Luckily he has a willing dance partner in Big Kohei Sato. Otani brings the kind of aggression and style that many of his younger charges should consider. He genuinely looks like he wants to shoot tap out Sato inside a minute. Sato is very underrated on the mat so that ends in stalemate and then they just kick the shit out of each other. I am here for it! Otani sitting back down, despite being clearly hurt, and asking for more spinal taps from Sato is fucking great stuff.

This is the last one and his back is red raw from taking those kicks. I love the dynamic of Kohei beating up an old man but the old man refusing to stay down and getting all fired up.

Sure, this match is rough around the edges and stuff like Otani’s spin kick are nowhere near good but fuck it. I just love the attitude and the sheer determination from Otani.

Zero12Otani

He does the boot scrapes here and it’s all laces. Those fucking laces taking skin off Sato’s face while he looks thoroughly miserable. Then it’s Sato’s turn to man up and he sits in the opposite corner to volunteer for more boot scrapes. Thank you sir, MAY I HAVE ANOTHER! My favourite Otani match is him beating the absolute shit out of a bigger, stronger opponent knowing full well he needs to unleash hell or he’ll get beaten. That’s this match. Sato can overpower him at the drop of a hat but Otani won’t let him.

The shoot headbutts in this are scary as fuck. I am horrified by at least one of them and it’s not even the one in the GIF. The dull *thunk* noise is genuinely horrifying. Otani’s response to being clocked shoot style in the brain is “fuck you, you’ll have to kill me” so Sato ends up beating him with the Tiger Suplex where he can hold Otani’s shoulders down before the psychotic old bastard comes back at roundhouses him in the face again. I loved this. I am a massive Shinjiro Otani fan so I may be biased but this is in contention for MOTY for me. I can totally see it making my top 10 for Voices of Wrestling.

Final Rating: ****1/2

 

Zero12Sato

Don’t fuck with Kohei Sato. Look at this man’s head!

 

Masato Tanaka vs. Yuji Hino

Oh shit, that wasn’t even the main event! I was ready to start summarising the show and talking about how a bad undercard means nothing when your main event is absolutely killer and there’s another match!

Zero12Hino

It’s tough to follow Otani when he’s in the kind of mood he was in that last match so they go full tilt boogie in this one. Lots of hard chops and it’s a manly, manly contest. Hino looks really pleased with this development and broadly grins at Tanaka before hammering him with an even harder chop. While they certainly leather each other in this it doesn’t have the same emotional core as the previous match. It’s mostly based around Hino’s enjoyment of being hit hard and hitting people hard. Tanaka plays into that, for the most part, but he’s also prepared to out think Hino and switch it up. That said he still has his best success with strikes. The rolling elbow is on point here, crumpling Hino after landing beautifully. They absolutely beat the shit out of each other. Those elbows seem to land on the jaw with such fierce precision I’m continually expecting Hino to get shoot knocked out. But that’s the beauty of Tanaka. He’s so accurate.

Hino deciding to not defend himself against elbow strikes is quite the tactic. He does a good job of selling them, instead of his usual approach to no selling chops. Fuckin Bomb finishes and I had a great time with this. Two guys beating the hell out of each other.

Final Rating: ****1/4

 

Summary:

This show was heading into the realms of outright awful until Sato and Otani hit the ring but the last two matches are as good a one-two main event punch as I’ve seen all year. It’s easy to completely forget all the shite that lead into those two matches and I find myself walking away again from a Zero1 show wondering why they’re not more highly regarded as their top end stuff is pushing New Japan quality.

 

 

 

Leave a reply