Zero1 Happy New Year
January 1 2019
Happy New Year! I wish this aired live so my new year’s day morning had been the joyousness of Zero1.
Tomoya Hirata vs. Shoki Kitamura
Hirata is making his Zero1 debut. He’s a regular for FREEDOMS. Kitamura is a Zero1 original (sort of). He started out in Wrestle-1 but they didn’t want him so he’s fallen into a smaller promotion. Hirata, given his experience edge, is the more convincing of the two and some of his power stuff makes me think he’ll fit in nicely here. Shoki gets bossed for most of the match but pulls an upset out of his ass with a submission out of nowhere. This was solid. More of Hirata please!
Final Rating: **3/4
Super Tiger, Tatsuhito Takaiwa & Yuko Miyamoto vs. Hiroshi Yamato, Towa Iwasaki & Yuta Suzuki
I’m sad this is in clipped form because Yamato looks all fired up and surly old prick Takaiwa is a prime opponent for him. Super Tiger looks less enthused. He just wants to get his shit in, that Tiger Mask kick, and go home. He looks tired. Heavy night ringing in the new year? Iwasaki is about a year in. Yuta Suzuki, I’ve never seen before. Between them they form a black trunks brigade of enthusiasm. Something that makes Super Tiger even more tired to the point where he stops coming into the ring! He does that kick again but doesn’t even leave his feet. Miyamoto shows up for the conclusion and scores the moonsault victory. This was pretty decent but honestly, if Super Tiger gave any less of a shit he wouldn’t have turned up.
Final Rating: **1/2
Kubota Brothers vs. Shogun Okamoto & Yoshikazu Yokoyama
Yokoyama has turned evil (Voodoo Murders) and therefore isn’t a loveable Elvis Presley type Teddy Boy anymore. Okamoto is dressed like an evil sumo wrestler. The gimmick changes makes him seem a little more complete as a wrestler but Yokoyama still sucks. A fresh coat of paint on a building riddled with rust and mould won’t do shit. The building is still falling down, it’s just shinier. The Kubota boys have spent most of their career as low level indie journeymen. This is arguably their biggest break but they’re into their 40s so it’s a bit late.
I remember Shogun Okamoto having this reputation for being dull.
Not anymore! Like, holy shit dude. That's not so much Torpedo Moscow but Torpedo FUCK YOUR FAAAACE pic.twitter.com/81wAyzznOU
— Arn (@ArnoldFurious) January 11, 2019
Not for Shogun. He’s mid 30s and just starting to get really good. He had me convinced with this move that he’d flat out murdered one of the Kubota boys. In reality there’s minimal content but it looks amazing. Not something you can screw the timing up on! They do some more cool stuff and then Yokoyama is going over and his finish is a mediocre Savage Elbow. Urgh, way to harsh my buzz dudes.
Final Rating: **1/2
Shinjiro Otani vs. Yuji Hino
Otani is looking reasonably confident in his sparkly red jacket.
But Yuji Hino has nine swear words on his t-shirt so he’s definitely winning.
Hino is beautifully disrespectful of Otani’s capabilities. He plants his feet and dares the living legend to knock him over. Hino doesn’t do those deafening loud chops but they sure turn Otani’s chest beet red anyway. Hino is in a bit of a dickhead mood and does the boot scrapes in mocking fashion. Adding insult to injury. Hino’s general cockiness is a major highlight but a pissed off Otani coming back at him and scraping them boots? Wonderful.
Hino huffs and puffs in between each one, slighted by the arrival of a big size nine in his mush.
Basically Shinjiro Otani is the fucking best pic.twitter.com/dxZmZBDoSk
— Arn (@ArnoldFurious) January 12, 2019
This spot had me popping huge. What an amazing idea and how perfectly was it executed? Otani’s fiery comeback isn’t limited to limb work and he spends every bit of it beating the fucking shit out of Hino and making him pay for that earlier mockery. Hino’s response is to just batter Otani with big shots until he stops moving. FUCKING BOMB! Finishes for Hino. This was absolutely fantastic. A 12 minute war between a surly old prick who hates you and Hino, who’s mad at the world. I wish all wrestling made me feel this great.
Final Rating: ****
NWA International Lightweight Tag Team Championship
Ikuto Hidaka & Fuminori Abe (c) vs. SUGI & Hagane Shinnou
Shinnou aka Madoka has been around forever but still looks fresh faced. It’s something they put in the water at Kaientai Dojo clearly. I love SUGI. He’s my favourite wrestler that doesn’t wrestle anywhere major. I also love Abe because he’s so tenacious and scrappy. I thought he was good first time I saw him, rookie year, and he’s just gets better and better. I keep thinking Hidaka is over the hill but he continually surprises.
For me this is Abe killing it in another arena. Every time I see him he’s so fluid and technically strong. He’s my kind of wrestler and he’s not yet developed that inevitable secondary talent that everyone in wrestling seems to have. When he really finds his personality he’ll be amazing. His mat work here is breathtaking. Moving from one hold to another effortlessly and then biting his opponent on a rope break and having to be forcefully removed by the ref!
Looks like he found that secondary talent; cannibalism! Hidaka blows me away here. From selling a particularly strong tag to sneaking around ring posts to hitting brutal dragon screws off the ropes he’s on form baby! Rolling back the years, yet again. Hidaka pins SUGI with the Ocean Cyclone and the champs retain in a banging match. It wasn’t quite as good as the one beforehand but close. Abe was amazing. He’s rapidly becoming ones of my favourites.
Final Rating: ***3/4
NWA Intercontinental Tag Team Championship
Chris Vice & TARU (c) vs. Masato Tanaka & Takuya Sugawara
Awww, the Voodoo Murders…this show was doing so well. At least Tanaka is out here doing stupid things in the name of Zero1. The trouble with someone like TARU is a carry job is out of the question so they go for plunder and such and try to add colour.
TARU bleeds a gusher and apparently that wasn’t enough because Sugawara taps a fucking artery and there’s blood everywhere. It’s disgusting.
The lack of DQ’s should play into TARU’s favour but Tanaka flat out kicks him in the nuts and then Sugawara does. Unfortunately this also leads to the Voodoo Murders piling into the ring and fuck this shit. Sugawara manages a superhero run of survival that slightly recovers matters. With iron bars and cocaine everywhere Sugawara still keeps coming back. Eventually it’s old man TARU who stays down for the three and Sugawara wins the belts on his own, bleeding a fountain and surviving everything. Good lad!
Final Rating: ***1/4
Zero1 World Heavyweight Championship
Daisuke Sekimoto (c) vs. Kohei Sato
Last year Zero1 had a defining start to 2018; their home grown superstar Yusuke Obata finally won the Zero1 title and started his dominance of the main event scene. Then he got injured and the company lost focus. They went back to Masato Tanaka to salvage the situation and then plumped on Big Japan’s Sekimoto to take them forward.
These are two big burly characters and I do love a big boys scrap.
This is predictably stiff with both lads delivering big strikes. Sato’s kicks are so brutal because he’s got so much size to lay them in. Being 6’ 4” seems to add so much to a kick with those long legs. It makes them look that much more devastating. The one thing that bothers me with Sato is his shoot headbutts. They’re fucking horrifying. You can hear the dull thud of skull on skull and it makes me very uncomfortable. Everything else is brutally draining but in a less violent way. It’s all forearms and big clunking lariats. If you like that large men colliding style, you’ll dig this. Sekimoto ends up taking it with a big German suplex at a shade under twenty minutes and I could have gone for more of this! After the dust settles Yuji Hino shows up to challenge Sekimoto! Zero1 is the beefiest promotion! All beef! All the time!
Final Rating: ****
I love Zero1. Hardly any of it makes tape but anytime it does I’m there. You won’t be disappointed with this either. The Sekimoto/Sato match is a great finish and the two matches that lead into it are both wonderful. Otani’s travelling circus needs to get more exposure as nobody seems to know about it but they’re doing great things there…with very few people watching.