ZERO1 on Samurai TV!
Date: January 23rd, 2009
*Shito Ueda & Yuzuru Saito vs. Mineo Fujita & Yusuke Obata*
Ueda and Saito both where the generic black trunks and black boots look. I guess they're rookies. Fujita has wrestled in WMF, DRADITION, and 666. Obata was a K-Dojo boy but went to Apache Pro and was/is linked to Kintaro Kanemura's XWF. I would have stuck with K-Dojo.
The bulk of the match is Fujita and Obata working over Saito's back. It's nice to see a tag team taking turns to work over the same body part. Saito was starting to win me over with his selling until they started with the single leg crabs. Saito kept doing that push-up spot to power out. I like the spot and Saito looked like a beast doing it, but he did it more than once and for me that's a one time deal. You're back is hurt, you should only have one of those in you. Ueda eventually gets the hot tag, to little heat. It kills me that it's so hard to get a hot tag going in Japan. Ueda brought some fire with the Jim Neidhart/Davey Boy Smith kind of offense. He's not nearly in the same league as those two, but it was fun watching him try to fill that role of for his team. I can say he had a good sense of rhythm and kept the pace at a good level for the faster Fujita and Obata so they all looked good. Eventually he tags Saito back in and gets drop kicked out of the ring leaving his buddy all alone. Saito attempts to lift Fujita for something but fails on account of his back being messed up from all the damage. Good continuity. Fujita locks on a full crab and Saito does the push up spot again to get to the ropes. It's like he just learned it and decided to do it repeatedly for this match. After the escape Fujita decided he had enough of Saito's shenanigans and locked on a nice move that looked like a camel clutch but he griped the guys head like a sleeper. Man, he really pulled it back too and Saito has no choice but to tap out. Neat move. Okay match, that at eleven minutes, doesn't overstay its welcome. Hopefully things get better.
*KAMIKAZE vs. Kohei Sato*
Half way through the match, and I was totally bored. Korakuen was even dead for this. Sato worked the leg a lot and they did that kind of "I'm going to hit you, but then I'm going to walk around for a minute to fill time" stuff. At one point KAMIKAZE rolled out and I thought he was a giant. Apparently it was because the ring was sitting lower than I'm used to, but I couldn't tell it in the last match because the whole arena is so dark. KAMIKAZE's comeback was so boring and uninspired, and no one really cared. When he went up top Sato caught up with him and dropped him with a top rope FALCON ARROW?! Sadly a top-rope falcon arrow has the same effect as headlock or a slap to the face, as KAMIKAZE went back on offense afterwards with a brain buster and a Moonsault. I mean it wasn't even “fighting spirit cool”, he just got up. They traded off some roll ups for some close near falls and Sato came up with a big knee and then a nice looking German Suplex for another near fall. Sato followed it all up with the Pole Star to finally finish it off.
It's like they woke up in the last three minutes to hit some big moves on each other. It felt forced and made the boring eight minutes prior stand out even more.
*Hikaru & Mio Shirai vs. Saki Maemura & Io Shirai*
These ladies wrestle for SUN, which I don't keep up with.
Man there is some fun stuff in this. Hikaru and Mio Shirai were awesome heels, tossing the other girls around by their hair and mocking the ref as he made a five count when they're doing something illegal. The match was basically a whole lot of cool moves at a very quick pace, which I was glad for. The crowd was pretty in to it, and even though it's a little more flash than substance, it was a welcome wake up call from the last match. There's a few nifty moments like Io Shirai breaking through a double clothesline by vaulting off her hands. Saki Maemura had some cool offense that included what looks like a shining hurricanrana but the wrestler taking it doesn't flip over they just end up slamming their head in the ground, which is awesome and more folks should probably ape that. In the final minute or so Hikaru nearly decapitated Io Shirai with a top rope drop kick - one of the nastiest I've ever seen. It's pretty much over from there, as moments later Hikaru nailed a fisherman driver for the win. The girls hugged it out after the match, and they may have sold me on watching some SUN shows. It's not a great match as it felt more like a showcase of all the stuff these four women can do in the ring. Still, it was pretty fun.
*Takuya Sugawara vs. Minoru Fujita*
Fujita blindsided Sugawara at the opening but it didn't lead to much more than a few overturned chairs in the dark arena. When they get the action into the ring they traded some forearms until Sugawara just decided to do a big Implant DDT and wander around like he was worn out. Only four minutes in, and I already knew I was not going to like it. After the DDT, Sugawara took control with some kicks and a chin lock. Fujita came back and started hitting some knees on the back of Sugawara's head which leads to a Tombstone Piledriver for a two count. Neither guy looked like they hit the gym, they were sporting the indy pants and a t-shirt with the sleeves cut off, and they wrestle like they're in the middle of an epic, complete with slow motion movement. Eventually they trade off some roll-ups that Fujita comes out on top of for the three. It's only 9 minutes, and they act like they've been through a war. Fujita offered his hand and Sugawara slapped him. Fujita slapped him back and they embraced. UGH. No good.
*Ikuto Hidaka & Munenori Sawa vs. Daisuke Sekimoto & Osamu Namiguchi*
All four guys played really well together and they had a pretty solid concept of a match. Namiguchi and Sawa had some exceptional chemistry, as they tried to one up each other. That left Ikuto Hidaka to play speed over power with Daisuke. More often than not it didn't work for him, but that doesn't mean we don't get to see him break some nice kicks out on the hoss, who is more than able to take it. Sawa is a funny cat and has a tendency to swing for the fences even when he's out of his league. Like trying to German Suplex Sekimoto for example. Sawa got him up and Sekimoto had a look of utter shock, but what's even more shocking is when Sawa collapses under the pressure and gets squashed by the big man. It's a fine line of cutesy comedy and competition that Sawa generally walks pretty well, and this match is just another example of that.
They kept the pace fast with a few broken submissions and pinfall attempts. Near the closing moments Namiguchi freaks out and spring boards into the crowd where Ikuto Hidaka is. It's so dark it looks like the guy just got swallowed into the darkness. I thought it would have taken both players out but Namiguchi got back in the ring pretty quickly to work in a German Suplex chain with Daisuke. Daisuke of course tossed them both and followed it with an extra nasty looking German on Sawa for the pin. A fun match with four pretty good personalities. Everyone came out of it looking pretty good even the losers. Just really nice chemistry. I'd like to see a rematch, which means they did something very right.
*Shinjiro Otani & Masato Tanaka vs. Yuji Nagata & Wataru Inoue*
The story here is Yuji Nagata is the ZERO1 champion, but he's an evil outsider from New Japan. Masato Tanaka just attempted to bring the title home on New Japan's Tokyo Dome show a few weeks prior to this night. He failed. Otani wants a shot now, so this is part of the build for their eventual encounter.
The match got a little muddy in the middle, but for the most part it was pretty fun. Nagata wasn't in it much which left us with a lot of Inoue, which depending on your tastes is good or bad. I'm not a big fan. Masato Tanaka sure knew how to get a crowd into it, though. The guy just brings the heat and intensity about half way through, and you realize why he's the guy the company was built around. He lets Inoue look pretty descent against him as they traded elbows often, with Inoue not looking like a punk at all, which surprised me. Even with Tanaka being a heat bomb, Otani was the star in this match. He gets to face wash Yuji which gets a great reaction and works with Inoue very well. I'm amazed it just how fast Otani can throw a German Suplex and still make it look good - it's like a whip. His Dragon Suplex was solid and brutal. Just a real clean wrestler who looks good at anything he does. Inoue busted out the Triangle Lancer move of his and I still fail to see how it's a legitimate submission. In the finishing stretch, Tanaka kept Nagata away long enough for Otani to drop Inoue with the Spiral Power Bomb. Otani looked really great the whole match, and makes for a good contender for Nagata. There wasn't really any hot nearfalls or near-subs, just pretty straight forward action which I was fine with when the guys in the ring are good at their craft.
Overall the show was hit or miss. It's pretty good for a TV program showcasing the talent. I certainly want to watch more from the company. Obviously not everyone was my cup of tea, but the ones I liked did very well. The SUN Joshi match stole the show for sure, with the final two tag matches making this a pretty good card.
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