Zero1 Happy New Year review (1.1.18)

Zero1 Happy New Year review (1.1.18)

Zero1 Happy New Year

 

January 1 2018

 

We’re in Tokyo, Japan at Korakuen Hall. This is the first Zero1 show I’ve seen in quite some time because they weren’t making tape for whatever reason. Their business is suffering and although this is a big special event the crowd is under 1000. That’s with a bunch of gaijin in town for Wrestle Kingdom too.

 

Ganseki Tanaka & Tsugutaka Sato vs. Shoji Fukushima & Towa Iwasaki

These are Zero1’s babies (Tanaka & Sato) and they’re working against two babies from Wrestle-1. They’re all green and young and I don’t know who’s who. The lad with red tights has a really nice dropkick and everyone is barely ready to work in front of a crowd but they have spunk. The lad with red tights gets mangled in a Boston crab and Sato, I think, gets the submission. He’s got a great angry face. Look at him roar!

HNYopener

Final Rating: **

 

Shinjiro Otani & Yuko Miyamoto vs. Yuji Hino & TARU

It’s been ages since I got to see Hino because I don’t watch Wrestle-1. He is one of my favourite wrestlers. He’s so burly. His chop duel with Otani in this is fucking incredible. I don’t know what’s up with his belly button here but it’s disgusting. It looks like a big wad of scar tissue sticking out of his gut. It’s very distracting. Also Voodoo Murders are still a thing and there’s a guy in a mask who continually interferes. You have Yuji Hino. You don’t need some flippy prick in a mask. It’s like having a tank and using a stick to attack someone instead. TARU and his stupid cocaine spot miscue.

HNYOtani

TARU gets boot scraped into oblivion and Otani picks up the win. There was too much nonsense here. I want this match again but with anyone but TARU as the tag partner. The masked second is revealed as Asuka (not that one).

Final Rating: **1/4

 

Zero1 United National Heavyweight Championship

Super Tiger (c) vs. Hartley Jackson vs. KAMIKAZE vs. Yoshikazu Yokoyama

If New Japan can book four-way matches than so can Zero1, apparently. Yokoyama has a goofy Elvis gimmick so he’s over. No one else is and the standard of wrestling is pretty low. My lack of sleep starts to play up and I basically zone out. I couldn’t tell you what happened here but Super Tiger retains. The best part of this was Super Tiger having Yokoyama beaten in a matter of seconds with a high kick before the other two saved him.

Final Rating: **

 

Zero1 International Lightweight Champion

Sean Guinness (c) vs. Tatsuhito Takaiwa

Finally, something I can get into. Takaiwa going after Guinness and teaching him the meaning of strong style. Takaiwa is a three-time former champion but hasn’t held the belt in a decade. Takaiwa is definitely slower than he was but everything he does has a purpose. He wears Guinness down and keeps clubbing away.

The grinding approach leaves Guinness battered and beaten and I like that Takaiwa has an extended period of dominance. Guinness confuses the old fella with some new age offence. Takaiwa trying to figure out how to sell a Codebreaker is good TV. I’m shocked Takaiwa doesn’t win, seeing as he outright murders Guinness, dropping him on his head multiple times and nearly taking his head off with a lariat. There is a mass of offence with Guinness barely getting his shoulder up. Guinness survives for long enough to sneak in a couple of spots and just about retains. This was a massacre. I was kinda hoping Takaiwa would win, to give Guinness a struggle to overcome him in a rematch. Backstage Takaiwa wants a rematch and Guinness is all “yeah, baby, please break my neck again”. Or words to that effect.

HNYGuinness

Final Rating: ***1/2

 

NWA International Lightweight Tag Team Championship

Ikuto Hidaka & Takuya Sugawara (c) vs. Masamune & SUGI

HNYSugi

Masamune is from Dotonbori Pro. I’ve never seen one of their shows. I don’t think many of them make tape. It’s a decent little tag match, even if the structure is loose. They don’t tell a story, it’s just a bunch of stuff. Despite this SUGI looks really good, popping off flippity spots and looking crisp as fuck in the process. He’s easily the star of the match, by some distance. His springboard Firebird Splash is glorious and it’s not an exceptional moment in the match. He’s doing that shit all the time. Everything is so crisp and so perfectly executed.

SUGI takes it with a Dragonrana and my word, was this ever the SUGI Show. He was magnificent.

Final Rating: ***1/2

 

NWA Intercontinental Tag Team Championship

Hideki Suzuki & Kohei Sato (c) vs. Masayuki Okamoto & Yutaka Yoshie

Okamoto has lost his “Shogun”. The theme of the match is Big Lads vs. Fat Lads. It looks like the champions will reign supreme as Suzuki gives pudgy Okamoto a sound beating and it’s not like Kohei is going to go easier on him. It’s Yoshie who turns the tide by throwing his considerable weight around. The Flying Pink Tank is not the kind of guy who’ll set the world on fire but he is good at what he does. Which is be adorable and pink and fat. The fat boys double team their way to glorious victory and the prestigious NWA Intercontinental Tag belts. Okamoto actually pinning Sato in the process, bless his little cotton socks. Sato had to take a head drop at the finish to make the switch believable. Happy Yoshie is one of the best things in wrestling. He’s so wholesome!

HNYYoshie

HNYYoshie2

Final Rating: ***

 

Zero1 World Heavyweight Championship

Masato Tanaka (c) vs. Yusaku Obata

Obata has had four previous title shots, three of them against Sato who he just cannot beat. He’s the nearly man of Zero1 and has been for years. He just can’t win the big one. Tanaka unseated Sato, so at least he doesn’t have to face the guy he can’t beat but it’s still a big step for him. Can he finally win the big one? (I have to note he’s not *that* big of a choke artist, like Hirooki Goto, but he did feel like he was groomed for the big win and it hasn’t happened). Tanaka is a maniac here, intent on beating the fuck out of Obata, shoving fans out of the way and sending the poor lamb crashing into rows of chairs.

Obata gets into the hardcore elements though and busts out a table, which is not what Tanaka would have been expecting.

That table spot is nuts and they get up from there to do a brainbuster on the stage. It’s clear they want to have a barnburner and shake shit up a bit. Obata must feel he needs to do crazy shit to cement his spot on top of Zero1. It’s as if he felt he wasn’t doing enough and that his previous title shots had come up short because he wasn’t pushing himself to do more. He definitely does a lot more here to make it a memorable match. Tanaka has been sneaky good at ‘wars’ for years and years. He was great in the late 90s and he’s never taken time off. He doesn’t seem to age either. Timeless Masato puts Obata through the ringer, beating on him with strike and move after strike and move. Obata has to combat this with defensive strikes or he’ll be overwhelmed. Obata doesn’t hold anything back either, throwing headbutts and not giving a fuck about his own wellbeing in order to take that all-important strap that’s eluded him for so long. Tanaka absolutely batters him with Sliding D after Sliding D, looking to elbow the challenger back into the midcard. Obata’s insistence at throwing headbutts is unsettling but at the same time it shows his desperation to win the big one. The clunk of skull on skull is upsetting at the best of times but after Shibata’s injury last year you’d think people would stop. Anyway, after trying to give himself brain damage Obata hits his double knees off the top for the win and the title he so desperately coveted for so many years. He made it, but at what cost?

Final Rating: ****1/2

HNYObata

 

Summary:

The main event on this show is sensational and a near perfect way to ring in a new era with a new champion. A dawn of fresh hope for Zero1. It helps that the undercard is very solid, barring TARU ruining my Yuji Hino experience. Guinness-Takaiwa and the tag title match that followed it were both aces.

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