WRESTLE-1 "New Year Love" on 1/11/15
A Review by Kevin Wilson

Date: January 11th, 2015
Location: Tokyo Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: 1,150

WRESTLE-1 has returned for another year, now with two new shiny titles to go along with it. This event had a WRESTLE-1 vs. DESPERADO for the first half of the card, and almost just as important this event didn't have any silly comedy matches. The main event sees the WRESTLE-1 Tag Team Championship being defended. Here is the full card:

- Hiroki Murase vs. Masayuki Kono
- NOSAWA Rongai and MAZADA vs. Ryota Hama and Rionne Fujiwara
- Andy Wu and El Hijo del Pantera vs. TAJIRI and KAZMA SAKAMOTO
- Jiro Kuroshio vs. Koji Doi
- Hiroshi Yamato and Daiki Inaba vs. Minoru Tanaka and Seiki Yoshioka
- Keiji Mutoh and Hiro Saito vs. Manabu Soya and AKIRA
- KAI vs. Masakatsu Funaki
- WRESTLE-1 Tag Team Championship: Kaz Hayashi and Shuji Kondo vs. Yasufumi Nakanoue and Yusuke Kodama 

Onto the matches.

Hiroki Murase vs. Masayuki Kono
Murase chops Kono to start off the match but Kono knees him in the face. Chokeslam by Kono and he hits a running knee for the three count cover. So now we have established that Kono is better than Murase, but didn't we already know that? So not sure what the point was. Made Kono look strong anyway. Score: 3.0

NOSAWA Rongai and MAZADA vs. Ryota Hama and Rionne Fujiwara
NOSAWA and MAZADA attack their opponents before the match starts, they isolate Fujiwara and hit a series of double team moves. NOSAWA stomps on Fujiwara and kicks him in the back. NOSAWA stomps on him some more and tags in MAZADA. Fujiwara snaps off a lariat and he tags in Hama. Hama tosses around NOSAWA and MAZADA, and Hama squashes MAZADA in the corner. Hama hits a running butt smash on MAZADA, then Hama knocks down both NOSAWA and Fujiwara. Hama hits a Ookido Press on MAZADA and he picks up the three count. In theory this could have been good if it was longer and Hama wasn't in it, but as it was.... not much to it. Score: 3.5

Andy Wu and El Hijo del Pantera vs. TAJIRI and KAZMA SAKAMOTO
Wu and SAKAMOTO start off the match, with SAKAMOTO quickly getting the advantage. He tags in TAJIRI and he twists on Wu's leg. TAJIRI kicks Wu in the back, cover, and he gets a two. TAJIRI tags in SAKAMOTO who elbows Wu in the corner. Wu elbows TAJIRI back but TAJIRI hits a back kick for another two. Wu hits a tornado DDT and he tags in Pantera. Dropkick by Pantera in the corner and he hits a sliding kick to TAJIRI. Handspring back elbow by TAJIRI and he tags in SAKAMOTO. Chops by SAKAMOTO, SAKAMOTO tumbles to the apron and to the floor, then Pantera sails out onto him with a tope con hilo. Wu then hits a springboard plancha down onto both of them, Pantera goes up to the top and hits another somersault plancha to the floor. Pantera and SAKAMOTO get back in the ring, Wu goes for a missile dropkick but he accidentally kicks Pantera. Michinoku Driver by SAKAMOTO and he gets a three count. Odd to see TAJIJI in such a nothing match, I guess his stock has fallen in his new promotion. But a fun little match with people flying around and too short to really be offensive. Score: 5.0

Jiro Kuroshio vs. Koji Doi
Doi attacks Kuroshio before the match starts and throws him around outside the ring. He eventually throws him back in and applies submission holds before stomping him in the back. Irish whip by Doi but Kuroshio hits an enzigieri followed by a missile dropkick. Thrust kick by Kuroshio and he hits a sitout slam for a two count. Kuroshio then hits two PKs followed by a quebrada but it gets two again. Kuroshio goes up top but Doi gets his knees up on the dive. They trade strikes and Doi kicks Kuroshio low. Sit down powerbomb by Doi and he then hits a lariat for a two count. Doi hits the Motherfucker and he picks up the three count. After the match Kuroshio took some really unnecessary unprotected chairshots to the head. They really tried to put over Doi as a badass, which made the distraction spot/low blow seem out of place since he didn't need that to beat Kuroshio. Solid in getting him over but Doi is no Hino. Score: 5.0

Hiroshi Yamato and Daiki Inaba vs. Minoru Tanaka and Seiki Yoshioka
Inaba and Yoshioka start off and they trade elbows until Yoshioka delivers a running kick. Inaba comes back with an elbow and they go back and forth until Inaba hits a vertical suplex. Yoshioka kicks Inaba into the corner but Inaba hits a spear. Combination by Yoshioka and he tags in Tanaka. Tanaka throws Inaba out of the ring and then dropkicks Yamato off the apron. Yoshioka kicks Inaba on the floor, Inaba is thrown back in the ring but he hits a jumping shoulderblock and tags in Yamato. Yamato spears Tanaka in the corner and hits a suplex. Yamato jumps back on Tanaka, kick to the chest by Tanaka but Yamato hits a spear followed by a Northern Lights Suplex for a two count. Yamato goes off the ropes but Tanaka hits a dropkick and tags in Yoshioka. Running kick by Yoshioka and Yamato tags in Inaba. Enzigieri by Yoshioka and he hits a running knee followed by a kick in the corner. Elbows by Inaba and he hits a lariat followed by a spin out sitdown slam for a two count. Yoshioka avoids the diving headbutt and kicks Inaba in the head. Yoshioka tags in Tanaka, jumping kick by Tanaka and Yoshioka hits a missile dropkick. Brainbuster by Tanaka to Inaba but Inaba barely gets a shoulder up. Yamato is double teamed, knocked out of the ring, and then Yoshioka hits an Asai Moonsault on him. Inaba sneaks in an inside cradle on Tanaka but Tanaka hits a release German suplex followed by a release Dragon suplex. Tornado Kaki Cutter by Tanaka and he gets the three count. Not sure I've seen him use that move before but I missed a lot of W-1 last year. This was a fun mid-card tag team match, nothing mind blowing but Inaba is really coming along nicely and Yoshioka looked good in his return. Score: 6.0

Keiji Mutoh and Hiro Saito vs. Manabu Soya and AKIRA
Happy to see Mutoh, not so happy to see Saito. Indifferent about seeing AKIRA. Saito and AKIRA start off and they do some old man jockeying on the mat. They eventually stop and both wrestlers tag out, Mutoh gets Soya to the mat but Soya applies a front necklock. Mutoh gets out of it and applies a kneelock, but Soya gets to the ropes. Irish whip by Mutoh but Soya hits a shoulderblock. AKIRA comes in and with Soya they chop Mutoh. Watching Mutoh makes me sad, with his knees he shouldn't be in there. He is just making them worse, he should be on the Chono circuit. I mean I love the guy, that is well documented, but he in no condition to be having wrestling matches, his knees are worse than Foley's. Both wrestlers end up tagging out and AKIRA knocks Saito to the ground. Spinebuster by Saito and he hits a senton. Saito tags in Mutoh and Mutoh hits a dragon screw leg whip on AKIRA. AKIRA tags in Soya, chops by Soya and he hits a vertical suplex. Hiptoss by Mutoh and he hits a knee in the corner followed by a dragon screw. Soya blocks the Shining Wizard but Mutoh dropkicks him in the knee and hits it anyway. Soya fires back with a lariat, Saito hits a senton on Soya while AKIRA hits a diving body press on Mutoh. Jawbreaker by Saito and he hits a senton on AKIRA. Mutoh dropkicks Soya on the knee and hits the lariat. Another lariat by Soya and he hits a death valley bomb for a two count. AKIRA goes up and hits a diving body press on Mutoh's leg. Soya goes off the ropes and hits a lariat, he puts Mutoh in the Scorpion Deathlock, Saito tries to break it up but Soya ignores him and Mutoh taps out. Soya and AKIRA win the match. This wasn't a bad match and really set up well that Soya can beat Mutoh. I mean Mutoh doesn't lose by submission very often and its fitting right after I note his legs being shot that Soya wins with a leg submission hold, that should be what every wrestler does. You don't have to wear down Mutoh's legs, they already are worn down. The match accomplished what it set out to do, no complaints aside from the sometimes slow back and forth. Score: 5.5

KAI vs. Masakatsu Funaki
They quickly go to the mat, KAI gets Funaki's knee but they both get back up. Soon they are back on the mat again, Funaki gets KAI around the neck but KAI gets to the ropes. Funaki kicks KAI into the corner and hits a PK. KAI ducks a Funaki kick and dumps him out to the apron before dropkicking him to the floor and hitting a tope suicida. Back in the ring, sleeper by Funaki but KAI kicks him back. Lariat by KAI and he hits the LAT for a two. KAI goes up top but Funaki rolls out of the way and kicks KAI in the chest. More kicks by Funaki and he applies a sleeper with a bodyscissors. KAI gets a foot on the ropes and hits a jumping kick followed by a lariat. KAI goes for a powerbomb but Funaki punches out of it and applies a triangle choke. KAI rolls into the ropes to get another break, backdrop suplex by Funaki and he goes for the Hybrid Blaster, but KAI gets away. Thrust kick by KAI and he hits a release German suplex followed by a kick to the face for two. KAI drags up Funaki, Funaki goes for KAI's arm but KAI blocks it and hits a powerbomb for the three count. Ignore the results, that was not a Thunder Fire Powerbomb. I didn't really like this, Funaki was just going for random submissions without setting up anything and the match was just too slow for a nine minute match. They have different styles and they really didn't try to mesh them very well. Glad KAI got the win but it didn't really put him over like it should have. Score: 4.5

(c) Kaz Hayashi and Shuji Kondo vs. Yasufumi Nakanoue and Yusuke Kodama 
This match is for the WRESTLE-1 Tag Team Championship. Kodama dropkicks Hayashi to start the match, sends him out of the ring and sails out onto him with a tope con hilo. Kondo comes over to help as Kodama gets back in the ring with Hayashi. Hayashi tags in Nakanoue, Nakanoue goes off the ropes but Kondo knees him from the apron. Quebrada by Hayashi and he applies a crab hold, but Kodama breaks it up. Kondo throws Nakanoue out to the ramp and hits a vertical suplex. Hayashi elbows Kodama in the ring while Nakanoue slams Kondo on the ramp. Nakanoue gets in the ring and he kicks Hayashi in the back. Scoop slam by Kodama and he hits a slingshot senton. Jumping kick by Kodama to Hayashi, cover and he gets a two count. Nakanoue is tagged in and he hits a double underhook suplex. Nakanoue goes up top and hits a diving elbow drop and he gets a two count. Nakanoue and Hayashi trade elbows and Hayashi hits a backdrop suplex. Hayashi tags in Kondo, Irish whip and Kondo hits an atomic drop on Nakanoue followed by a DDT. Lanzarse by Kondo and he gets a two count. Lariat by Kondo and he hits a Samoan Drop/neckbreaker combination with Hayashi for a two count. Lariat/thrust kick to Nakanoue but the pin is broken up. Kondo puts Nakanoue on the top turnbuckle and Kondo hits a superplex. Kodama runs into to help his partner, hitting a DDT, but Hayashi hits an inverted Final Cut.

Nakanoue runs in and uppercuts Hayashi. Nakanoue then goes up top and sails out of the ring with a plancha suicida on everyone. Nakanoue slides Kondo back in the ring and hits an elbow, then with Kodama they both strike Kondo. Kodama goes up top and hits a missile dropkick on Kondo, then Nakanoue hits a lariat for a two. Hayashi kicks Kodama, but Nakanoue hits a German suplex hold on Kondo for a two count. Kodama kicks Kondo in the back of the head and hits a pescado onto Hayashi, while Nakanoue hits a diving elbow drop on Kondo for two. Dragon suplex hold by Nakanoue on Kondo, Kodama kicks Kondo then Nakanoue hits a dragon suplex hold for a two count. Nakanoue goes off the ropes, Kondo levels Kodama with a lariat but it gets two count. Our tag rules are pretty loose, but I'm not complaining. WA4 by Hayashi to Kodama, Kondo goes off the ropes but Nakanoue snaps off a backslide for two. Hayashi runs in and hits a handspring kick to the head, then Kondo levels Nakanoue with a lariat. Kondo goes off the ropes again and levels him with a final King Kong Lariat, and he picks up the three count! Hayashi and Kondo are still your champions. This was a really fun match, it was literally nonstop and the reversals/double teams were done to perfection. I love tag teams that actually act like teams and this match had that in spades. Kodama looked great, he is really coming along, and everyone here delivered. Wish it was a little longer for a main event/title match but overall one of the more fun matches so far this year. Score: 8.0

Final Thoughts:

So this event wasn't very good. There were a few things I liked - Mutoh tapping to set up his title match against Soya later this month, and the main event. Everything else was skippable, some of it was 'solid' but with so many puroresu events being available no one goes out of their way for just a solid match. So for storyline purposes the event was fine, but as far as actual in-ring action goes just watch the tag team title match and move on to something else.

Grade: D+ 

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review completed on 1/25/15