ZERO1 "HAPPY NEW YEAR" 2014
A Review by Kevin Wilson

Date: January 1st, 2014
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: Unknown

I literally have not watched ZERO1 in several years, so this should be interesting. I see Otani still rules the roost.... I don't know a good number of these wrestlers so hopefully this will be a good first impression. Here is the full card:

- Daichi Hashimoto vs. Kohei Sato
- Gokiburi Mask vs. Jason Lee
- "brother" YASSHI and Ken Tsuyoshi  vs. Yoshikazu Yokoyama and Tank Nagai
- Ryouji Sai and Ikuto Hidaka vs. Toru Owashi and Takuya Sugawara
- Akebono and Yuji Okabayashi vs. Maybach Beta and Tama Williams
- International Jr. Heavyweight Championship and NWA World Jr. Heavyweight Championship:  HUB vs. Mineo Fujita
- ZERO1 World Heavyweight Championship:  James Raideen vs. Demon Ueda
- NWA Intercontinental Tag Team Championship:  Masato Tanaka and Yusaku Obata vs. Shinjiro Otani and KAMIKAZE

Let's get straight to the matches.

Daichi Hashimoto vs. Kohei Sato
They circle each other to start, tie-up, Sato gets Hashimoto into the ropes and he gives a clean break.  Tie-up, he gets Hashimoto into the ropes again and this time rubs him on the head before backing off.  Elbow by Hashimoto but Sato elbows him back.  More elbows by Hashimoto as they trade shots, but Sato hits a hard knee to the mid-section.  Hashimoto gets back up and hits a series of elbows but Sato slaps him in the face.  Hard kick to the back by Sato, Hashimoto gets back up and kicks Sato in the legs but Sato kicks Hashimoto hard in the leg and he goes down to the mat again.  Elbows by Hashimoto and he headbutts Sato, but a headbutt by Sato sends Hashimoto to the mat.  Sato’s head is bleeding from one of the headbutts as they trade elbows, knee by Sato and he hits a scoop slam.  Cover, but it gets a two count.  Hard kick to the face by Sato and falls to the mat.  Snapmare by Sato but Hashimoto avoids his kick attempt, he gets back up but an elbow strike sends him back down.  Stomps by Sato as he waits for Hashimoto to get up and he kicks Hashimoto in the chest as he does.  Hashimoto returns to his feet, elbows by Hashimoto and he kicks Sato in the chest, but Sato absorbs the blows and elbows Hashimoto in the face again.  Sato goes off the ropes but Hashimoto catches him with a dropkick.  Sato still doesn’t go down, Hashimoto hits an enzigieri and Sato stumbles into the corner.  Kicks to the chest by Hashimoto, he gets a running start and hits a jumping knee.  Hashimoto goes for a suplex, Sato tries to elbow him off but Hashimoto hits the backdrop suplex anyway.  Cover, but it gets a two count.  DDT by Hashimoto, cover, but it gets a two count as well.  Hashimoto waits for Sato to get up and connects with a kick combination, he goes for a suplex but Sato blocks it and hits the Falcon Arrow.  Hard kick to the back of the head by Sato, cover, but it gets a two count.  Sato picks up Hashimoto  and drops him with a piledriver, he then grabs Hashimoto by the waist and hits a German suplex hold for the three count!  Your winner:  Kohei Sato

Match Thoughts:  Not really sure why Hashimoto is still being treated like a rookie, but I haven’t seen any ZERO1 in years so maybe there is a reason.  Anyway, a pretty straightforward match but Sato was definitely set up to look like he could beat Hashimoto whenever he wanted.  He messed around with him at the beginning, but as soon as Hashimoto got some real moves in, he went straight to the finish and ended things quickly.  Hashimoto has been around for years so I am surprised he is still doing the same type of match he had against Mutoh and Chono right after he debuted, but he is still really young.  I wish Sato hadn’t won so quickly or that Hashimoto had come across as having a legitimate chance to win the match, but it was a pretty decent young wrestler vs. veteran match.  Score:  6.0

Gokiburi Mask vs. Jason Lee
Joined In Progress.  Lee punches Gokiburi Mask in the stomach but it has no effect and Gokiburi Mask clubs Lee in the back.  Body press by Gokiburi Mask, cover, but it gets a two count.  Gokiburi Mask picks up Lee and throws him into the corner before delivering a chop.  Another chop by Gokiburi Mask, Lee tries to fight back with elbows and he gets Gokiburi Mask to the mat.  Lee tries to take off Gokiburi Mask’s mask, but Gokiburi Mask hits him low.  Gokiburi Mask picks up Lee and throws him into the corner again, Irish whip, and he hits a splash in the corner.  Gokiburi Mask picks up Lee and goes for a backdrop suplex, but Lee blocks it and knees him in the face.  Irish whip by Lee, reversed, kick by Lee and he hits a face crusher.  Lee charges Gokiburi Mask in the corner and hits a punch combination, but Gokiburi Mask shrugs it off.  Irish whip by Lee, reversed, kick by Lee and he knocks down Gokiburi Mask with a dropkick.  Lee goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits a jumping kick, cover, but it gets a two count.  Waistlock by Lee, reversed by Gokiburi Mask but Lee hits an enzigieri.  Waistlock again by Lee but Gokiburi Mask kicks him low.  Backbreaker by Gokiburi Mask, cover, but Lee kicks out.  Gokiburi Mask charges Lee but Lee hits a thrust kick, Lee goes off the ropes but Gokiburi Mask knees him in the stomach.  Gokiburi Mask goes up to the top turnbuckle but Lee rolls out of the way of the splash.  La Magistral by Lee and he picks up the three count!  Your winner:  Jason Lee

Match Thoughts:  No idea who these guys are, not overly concerned.  The beginning was clipped but it was probably just more of the same.  Gokiburi Mask’s “big man” offense was not very convincing and even Lee seemed surprised how quickly he went down to one of the elbow strikes.  It wasn’t offensive, it just wasn’t really entertaining either.  Score:  3.5

"brother" YASSHI and Ken Tsuyoshi vs. Yoshikazu Yokoyama and Tank Nagai
Joined in Progress with Yokoyama and Nagai hitting a double shoulderblock onto Tsuyoshi.  We clip ahead to Yokoyama dropping elbows onto Tsuyoshi, cover, but it gets a two count.  Tsuyoshi rolls out of the ring, Yokoyama goes out after him but TARU is out there and he hits Yokoyama repeatedly with a pipe.  We get another clip, as Tsuyoshi and YASSHI are in the ring with Yokoyama.  Double Irish whip to Yokoyama, and both wrestlers hit running strikes in the corner.  Backdrop suplex to Yokoyama, cover but Tsuyoshi but it gets a two count.  Tsuyoshi goes for a double stomp off the top turnbuckle, but Yokoyama rolls out of the way and Yokoyama hits a spear.  Yokoyama picks up Tsuyoshi, slaps by Yokoyama and he goes off the ropes, but he is tripped from the floor.  TARU gets up on the apron but Yokoyama knocks Tsuyoshi into him.  Another clip as Nagai hits a scoop slam onto Tsuyoshi and Yokoyama comes off the top turnbuckle with an elbow drop.  Yokoyama picks up Tsuyoshi and hits a Death Valley Bomb, cover, and he picks up the three count.  Your winners: Yoshikazu Yokoyama and Tank Nagai

Match Thoughts:  Really just clip highlights so it’s impossible to really review the match.  Hadn’t seen TARU in a long time, I didn’t even know he was still around so there is that anyway.  But not enough shown to get a good feel of it.  Score:  N/A

Ryouji Sai and Ikuto Hidaka vs. Toru Owashi and Takuya Sugawara
Hidaka and Owashi start things off.  Side headlock by Hidaka, Owashi Irish whips out of it and the two collide.  Hidaka goes off the ropes, another collision with no result.  Owashi this time goes off the ropes after he and Hidaka talk about it for a bit, and Hidaka kicks Owashi in the chest, sending the big man to the mat.  We get a clip as now Hidaka is elbowing Sugawara, Irish whip by Hidaka but Sugawara slams on the breaks and grabs the ropes.  Kicks by Hidaka, Irish whip, reversed, and Sugawara knocks Hidaka out of the ring.  Hidaka quickly gets back in but Sugawara hits an enzigieri and tags in Owashi.  Owashi knocks Sai off the apron then goes after Hidaka, chopping him against the ropes.  Scoop slam by Owashi and he stands on Hidaka while being supported by the ropes.  Owashi picks up Hidaka, Hidaka clubs at Owashi and goes off the ropes, Owashi goes for a chokeslam but Hidaka reverses it into a hurricanrana and tags in Sai.  Running kick by Sai, he waits for Owashi to get up and kicks him repeatedly in the chest.  Owashi fights back and throws Sai into the corner, Irish whip, but Sai moves when Owashi charges in. 

Waistlock by Sai and he hits a vertical suplex.  Cover, but it gets a two count.  We get a clip again as now Hidaka and Sugawara are in the ring, Hidaka goes off the ropes, Sugawara grabs him as Owashi comes in but Owashi accidentally chops Sugawara.  Hidaka then hits a DDT on Sugawara while also kicking Owashi at the same time, then drops Sugawara with a reverse DDT.  Cover, but it gets a two count.  Irish whip by Hidaka from the corner, reversed, and Owashi runs in to hit a lariat.  Double Irish whip to Hidaka and both men connect with kicks.  Chokeslam/cutter combination, cover by Sugawara but Sai breaks it up.  Owashi throws Sai out of the ring while Sugawara picks up Hidaka, he goes off the ropes and they trade missed strikes.  Sai has recovered and runs in the ring to hit a jumping knee to Sugawara, then Hidaka dropkicks Owashi out of the ring.  High kick by Hidaka to Sugawara, cover, but it gets a two count.  Hidaka grabs Sugawara and plants him with the Iwami Ginzan, cover, and he picks up the three count.  Your winners:  Ryouji Sai and Ikuto Hidaka

Match Thoughts:  Since a little over half of it was shown I will go ahead and rate it even though it was really clipped up.  First of all, Hidaka is looking old.  Which he is, but it makes me feel old because I remember back when he wasn’t…. old.  He looked good though here, not backing down to Owashi and getting the pin with a nifty move I hadn’t seen before.  How are wrestlers still doing moves I haven’t seen, I’ve been watching wrestling for 25 years.  Sai did really nothing in the parts that made TV which is odd, I guess Hidaka was more the focus here.  But the action was fine, what they showed us anyway, looks like it had potential to be a really solid match but it’s just impossible to get into the flow when half the match is missing.  Score:  5.5

Akebono and Yuji Okabayashi vs. Maybach Beta and Tama Williams
More new wrestlers for Kevin!  Exciting.  Williams and Akebono start things off.  Tie-up, Akebono pushes Williams into the ropes but he gives a mostly clean break.  Tie-up again, side headlock by Williams, Akebono Irish whips out of it and the two collide.  Williams goes off the ropes and again they run into each other.  Williams goes off a third time, still Williams can’t knock down Akebono.  A fourth time and Akebono hits a hard shoulderblock followed by an elbow drop.  Akebono picks up Williams and tags in Okabayashi.  Okabayashi clubs Williams in the back, Irish whip by Williams and Okabayashi can’t knock down Williams, Williams goes off the ropes and they collide again, they take turns going back and forth off the ropes until Williams finally is able to shoulderblock Okabayashi to the mat.  Williams picks up Okabayashi and tags in Maybach.  Scoop slam by Maybach to Okabayashi and he hits an elbow drop, cover, but it gets a two count.  Maybach picks up Okabayashi and tags in Williams back in, snapmare by Williams and he applies the Tonga Neck Grip.  Club to the face by Williams and he goes for a slam, but Okabayashi blocks it.  Scoop slam by Okabayashi and he tags in Akebono.  Akebono picks up Williams and throws him to the ground so he can stand on his back.  Williams fights back with clubs to the chest but Akebono punches him in the face.  Irish whip by Akebono from the corner and he hits a running splash.  Elbow drop by Akebono, cover, but it gets a two count.  Akebono picks up Williams and tags in Okabayashi.  Chops by Okabayashi in the corner and he hits a scoop slam.  Okabayashi applies a crab hold but Williams gets a hand on the bottom rope to force a break.  Okabayashi picks up Williams but Williams pushes him off and hits a chop.  Knee by Okabayashi and he tags in Akebono. 

Akebono gives Williams an Irish whip and he delivers a lariat.  Cover by Akebono, but it only gets two.  Akebono picks up Williams, Williams chops Akebono but Akebono chops him back.  Akebono pushes Williams into the corner and smothers him before tagging in Okabayashi.  Clubs to the back by Okabayashi and he chops Williams in the chest.  Williams returns fire, Okabayashi goes off the ropes but Williams catches him with a double chop and makes the tag to Maybach.  Maybach picks up Okabayashi and the two trade strikes, Irish whip by Okabayashi but Maybach hits an overhead belly to belly suplex.  Jumping splash by Maybach in the corner and he hits the side Russian leg sweep followed by a leg drop.  Cover, but it gets a two count.  Maybach picks up Okabayashi but Okabayashi gets out of his grasp and they trade blows again.  Okabayashi goes off the ropes but Maybach kicks him in the stomach and elbows him back.  Okabayashi gets the better of it and tags in Akebono, Irish whip by Akebono to the corner and he hits a running splash on Maybach followed by an elbow drop.  Cover, but Maybach gets a shoulder up.  Irish whip again by Akebono but this time Maybach moves out of the way.  Williams comes in the ring, and both wrestlers hit a lariat onto Akebono.  They then go off the opposite ropes and hit lariats again, and finally Maybach knocks down Akebono with another lariat.  Cover, but it gets a two count.  Maybach and Williams go for a double suplex onto Akebono, but Okabayashi runs in the ring and hits a German suplex onto Maybach.  Okabayashi then hits a lariat onto Williams, and then Akebono grabs Maybach and throws into the corner.  Maybach is thrown in the same corner, splash by Akebono and Okabayashi hits a powerslam onto Maybach.  Elbow drop by Akebono, cover, but it gets a two count.  Akebono gets up and hits not one, not two, but three Big Yokozuna Presses.  Cover, and Akebono picks up the easy pinfall.  Your winners:  Akebono and Yuji Okabayashi

Match Thoughts:  Nothing bad but pretty miss-able action.  I don’t know what Maybach did to make Akebono want to splash him three times, did he make a joke about his wife or something?  As we see happen sometimes, Williams isn’t really big enough to do the “big man” gimmick, as he was smaller than both his opponents.  So it just looks a little funny. Nothing memorable about the match other than Akebono squashing people, I still find it odd that he wrestles on a small Indy’s mid-card.  Score:  4.5

(c) HUB vs. Mineo Fujita
This match is for the International Jr. Heavyweight Championship and NWA World Jr. Heavyweight Championship.   They circle each other to start, waistlock by Fujita, reversed by HUB, but Fujita reverses it back.  HUB rolls out of it and goes off the ropes, they go back and forth with neither getting an advantage, ending with HUB missing a Shining Wizard.  Tie-up, side headlock by Fujita, HUB Irish whips out of it and they collide with neither man going down.  HUB goes to go off the ropes but Fujita grabs him by the chair.  Chop by HUB, Fujita falls out of the ring and HUB sails out onto him with a tope suicida.  Back in the ring, Irish whip by HUB but Fujita ducks the lariat and hits a spinning headscissors.  Dropkick by Fujita, HUB falls out of the ring and Fujita hits a tope con giro down onto him.  Fujita picks up HUB and slides him back into the ring, Fujita goes for a swan dive move but HUB moves and drop toeholds him into the second rope.  HUB goes for a kick but Fujita moves and HUB gets crotched on the second rope.  Fujita goes out to the apron and hits a slingshot double stomp.  Cover by Fujita but HUB kicks out at two.  Fujita picks up HUB, they trade waistlocks but HUB hits a superkick followed by a knee to the back of the head.  DDT by HUB, cover, but it gets a two count.  HUB picks up Fujita and throws him into the corner, Irish whip by HUB, reversed, but HUB kicks Fujita when he charges in and hits a Tornado Reverse DDT.  HUB waits for Fujita to get to one knee and hits the Shining Wizard, cover, but it gets a two count.  HUB goes up to the top turnbuckle but Fujita rolls out to the apron and kicks HUB.  Fujita then goes up top as well and hits a Frankensteiner down to the mat. 

Fujita goes off the ropes and dropkicks HUB in the back, cover, but it gets a two count.  Fujita picks up HUB but HUB rolls through it and ducks  a kick.  HUB goes for a Shining Wizard, Fujita ducks it, but HUB steps back and hits the move from behind.  HUB goes off the ropes but Fujita catches him with a hurricanrana followed by a lariat.  Both wrestlers are slow to get up, Fujita picks up HUB and does a crucifix pin but it gets a two count.  Fujita keeps attempting to roll-up HUB but HUB continues to kick out. Fujita goes off the ropes and hits the Ranhei, cover, but HUB gets a shoulder up.  Fujita grabs HUB, HUB goes for a kick, Fujita pushes his leg off but in the process the referee gets kicked by accident.  HUB goes off the ropes and Fujita catapults off the referee’s back to hit a dropkick.  Fujita sets up HUB in the corner and dropkicks him in the groin.  Cover by Fujita but it gets a two count.  Fujita goes up to the top turnbuckle but HUB rolls out of the way of the Swanton Bomb.  Fujita is still up first, he picks up HUB and sits him onto the top turnbuckle before joining him, but HUB blocks the superplex attempt.  They jockey for position up top but HUB slides through his legs.  HUB then goes back up top and hits a Pedigree from the top turnbuckle to the mat.  HUB goes off the ropes and levels Fujita with a lariat, cover, but Fujita kicks out.  HUB goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits the Moudoku Habu Kuubaku, cover, but again it gets a two count.  HUB picks up Fujita and delivers the Viper Strike, cover, and he picks up the three count!  Your winner and still champion:  HUB

Match Thoughts:  I am glad I looked it up – HUB is formally Goa/Super Dolphin/Zero and I always enjoyed his work back when he was in Osaka Pro.  No idea he was in ZERO1 now which shows how out of touch I have been with the Puroresu.  I enjoyed this match, it didn’t blow my mind or anything but it was solid Jr. Heavyweight action from start to finish.  There were a few brief periods that seemed like a spot took longer to set up than it should have, but HUB is such a smooth wrestler that nothing ever seemed out of place.  I wish HUB would have made it to one of the bigger leagues as he is just a solid wrestler, but at his age I doubt it will happen at this point.  They didn’t get a lot of time and it was very slightly clipped, but definitely the best match on the show so far.  Score:  7.5

(c) James Raideen vs. Demon Ueda
This match is for the ZERO1 World Heavyweight Championship.  Ueda takes down Raideen as the match begins and hits mounted punches, but Raideen pushes him off and bails out of the ring.  Ueda goes out after him, club by Ueda and he gets an axe, but Raideen punches him before he can use it.  Chop by Raideen and he hits Ueda in the back of the head.  Another chop by Raideen and he goes to throw Ueda into some chairs but Ueda reverses it.  Ueda stomps Raideen and hits him in the chest with a chair.  He then goes back and grabs his axe, but the referee stops him from using it and takes it away from him.  Punch by Ueda and he throws Raideen into the ring post.  Ueda slides Raideen into the ring, he goes in after him and stomps him in the head.  Snapmare by Ueda and he applies a neck crank.  Stomp to the back by Ueda, he picks up Raideen and chops him in the chest.  Another chop by Ueda, Irish whip to the corner but Raideen kicks him when Ueda charges in and elbows Ueda in the face.  Raideen picks up Ueda and hits a scoop slam.  Stomp by Raideen, he picks up Ueda and chops him in the chest.  Ueda chops him back and the two trade chops, which  Raideen gets the better of.  Cover by Raideen but it gets a two count.  Ueda slowly returns to his feet and hits a few chops but Raideen knees him in the midsection.  Raideen picks up Ueda but Ueda slides down his back, Ueda goes for a backdrop suplex but Raideen elbows out of it.  Raideen goes for a lariat but Ueda ducks it and hits a dropkick.  Irish whip by Ueda to the corner and he hits a splash, he goes for a second one but Raideen gets his boot up. 

Raideen goes off the ropes but Ueda ducks the lariat attempt and hits a jumping shoulderblock.  Ueda picks up Raideen and hits a vertical suplex, cover, but it barely gets a two count.  Ueda picks up Raideen and goes for a backdrop suplex, but Raideen blocks it.  Lariat to the bad of the head by Ueda, he goes off the ropes but Raideen catches him with a big boot.  Scoop slam by Raideen and he hits an elbow drop, cover, but it only gets two.  Raideen picks up Ueda and plants him with a side slam, cover, but Ueda gets a shoulder up.  Raideen picks up Ueda and goes for a powerbomb but Ueda backdrops out of it.  Scoop slam by Ueda, he goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits a diving headbutt.  Ueda grabs Raideen and finally hits the backdrop suplex, cover, but it only gets two.  Ueda goes off the ropes and hits a lariat, but Raideen does go down.  A second lariat doesn’t do the trick either but the third finally sends Raideen to the mat.  Cover, but Raideen kicks out.  Ueda picks up Raideen, he goes off the ropes but Raideen hits him with a lariat.  Raideen is up first, he grabs Ueda, Irish whip to the corner and he hits a lariat.  Raideen runs in and hits a second lariat, cover, but it gets a two count.  Raideen picks up Ueda and hits an powerslam, cover, but again Ueda kicks out.  Raideen waits for Ueda to get up and nails a chokeslam.  Cover, but Ueda still has the power to kick out of it.  Raideen has had enough, he drags Ueda to his feet and goes for the powerbomb, but is distracted by a wrestler at ringside.  Raideen goes over to talk to him, allowing Ueda time to recover.  Ueda tries to spit mist into Raideen’s face but Raideen ducks and his friend on the apron gets hit instead.  Raideen goes off the ropes and hits a lariat, cover, but it gets a two count.  Raideen picks up Ueda, plants him with a powerbomb, and this time picks up the three count.  Your winner and still champion:  James Raideen

Match Thoughts:  James Raideen is a young really big (muscle-big, not fat-big) wrestler from New Zealand, and Demon Ueda used to go by Shito Ueda.  First I gotta say, it always annoys me when a power wrestler wins a strike battle, and when his little opponent gets up he immediately wants another strike battle.  Smaller wrestlers need to stick to their strengths, and Ueda’s chops clearly had no impact on Raideen whatsoever.  Anyway the brawling outside the ring and the ending stretch worked really well, but some of the middle kinda dragged.  They in a lot of instances just repeated the same series, without any real focus or flow to what they were doing.  Ueda got in some good offense and at times he seemed at the cusp of winning, but Raideen just towered over him and was a more convincing character with his power moves.  It was not a bad match as they were really trying and Raideen stuck to what he knew, but it was at times repetitive and was plodding in parts.  Score:  5.0

Masato Tanaka and Yusaku Obata vs. Shinjiro Otani and KAMIKAZE
This match is for the vacant NWA Intercontinental Tag Team Championship.  Tanaka and Kamikaze start things off.  They circle each other, wristlock by Kamikaze, reversed by Tanaka, they trade holds on the mat but neither can get the advantage.  Tanaka gets a takedown and applies a submission hold to Kamikaze’s knee but Kamikaze gets out of it.  Side headlock by Tanaka, Kamikaze returns to his feet while still in the hold but Tanaka takes him back down.  Headscissors by Kamikaze, but Tanaka quickly gets out of it.  Tanaka tags in Obata, Kamikaze and Obata tie-up, Kamikaze pushes Obata into the corner and slaps him in the face before backing off.  Obata slaps him back and they trade blows, elbows by Obata but Kamikaze kicks him in the stomach.  Knee by Kamikaze and he tags in Otani.  Otani and Kamikaze both choke Obata in the corner, hiptoss by Otani and he hits a scoop slam.  Cover, but it gets a two.  Otani throws Obata into the corner and chops him in the chest.  Otani comes out of the corner and returns with chops, headbutt by Otani but Obata headbutts him back.  Obata stands on Otani in the corner, he picks him back up, snapmare, and Obata kicks Otani in the back.  Cover, but it gets a two count.  Otani gets Obata’s leg and tags in Kamikaze, and they both pull on Obata’s legs.  Kamikaze picks up Obata and slaps him, and they trade chops to the chest.  Dropkick by Obata and he tags in Tanaka.  Tanaka chops Kamikaze in the corner but Kamikaze pushes him off and they trade slaps.  Elbow by Tanaka but Kamikaze pushes him back and they trade blows again, which Tanaka gets the better of.  Tanaka picks up Kamikaze and kicks him in the chest.  Another kick to the chest by Tanaka and he stomps on Kamikaze.  Tanaka picks up Kamikaze and throws him into Obata’s boot before knocking Otani off the apron.  Tanaka tags in Obata, then Tanaka throws Kamikaze out of the ring.  Obata attacks Kamikaze on the outside and throws him down into the crowd. 

Tanaka gets a table from under the ring and sets it up at ringside, and Obata puts Kamikaze on the table.  Tanaka goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits a splash on Kamikaze, crashing them both through the table.  Otani comes out to help but Tanaka hits him with a steel chair.  Obata picks up Kamikaze and slides him back into the ring, Obata drags Kamikaze towards the corner and Tanaka hits his leg repeatedly while it is against the ring post.  Obata drags Kamikaze back towards the middle of the ring and kicks him in the back, Kamikaze returns to his feet and fires back with chops, but Kamikaze goes back to the mat holding his leg.  Obata drags Kamikaze by his bad leg and tags in Tanaka.  Tanaka and Obata ram Kamikaze’s legs into the mat, then Tanaka drops knees repeatedly into Kamikaze’s leg.  Figure four by Tanaka but Kamikaze slowly inches to the ropes and finally forces the break.  Tanaka tags in Obata, Obata grabs Kamikaze and gives him a few kicks as Kamikaze slowly gets back to his feet.  Kamikaze fires back with an elbow and the two trade blows, until Obata kicks Kamikaze hard in the leg which sends Kamikaze to the mat.  Obata throws Kamikaze into the corner and hits a series of chops, Irish whip, but Kamikaze moves when Obata charges in and hits a backdrop suplex.  This gives Kamikaze time to tag in Otani, Otani knocks Tanaka off the apron and then throws Obata into the corner.  Facewash by Otani, Obata gets out of the corner and charges Otani but Otani kicks him back into the corner.  Otani goes off the ropes again but this time he is caught by a Obata dropkick.  DDT by Obata onto Otani, cover, but it gets a two count.  Obata tags in Tanaka, and Tanaka hits a lariat in one corner and then one in the other corner. Kamikaze comes in the ring and punches Tanaka to the mat, double Irish whip to Tanaka but Tanaka fights them off and hits a lariat on each of them.  Tanaka picks up Otani but Otani hits an elbow and they trade elbow strikes.  Tanaka eventually gets the better of it but Otani quickly gets back up, Tanaka goes off the ropes but Otani catches him with a boot.  Tanaka is back up and they trade elbows again, Otani ducks the Tanaka Roaring Elbow and hits a German suplex followed by a lariat.  Otani tags in Kamikaze, Kamikaze grabs Tanaka and applies a waistlock, reversed, and Kamikaze hits an overhead kick. 

Another kick to the head by Kamikaze, he picks up Tanaka and hits a vertical suplex.  Cover, but it gets a two count.  Kamikaze goes off the ropes but Tanaka catches him with a DDT.  Tanaka tags in Obata, Obata picks up Kamikaze and throws him into the corner.  Irish whip by Obata, reversed, boot by Obata and he hits a diving doublestomp to Kamikaze’s back.  Obata waits for Kamikaze to get up and hits a double jumping knee in the corner followed by a running dropkick.  Obata knocks Otani off the apron, Tanaka comes in the ring and they both hit strikes onto Kamikaze.  Obata goes up top and hits a missile dropkick, then Tanaka goes to the top turnbuckle and hits a diving body press.  Obata goes off the ropes and hits a PK, cover, but Otani breaks it up.  Tanaka throws Otani out of the ring, Tanaka goes for the Sliding D but Kamikaze ducks.  Spin kick by Kamikaze to Tanaka, then Otani hits a missile dropkick onto Obata.  Thrust kick by Kamikaze to Obata, cover, but it gets a two count.  Kamikaze picks up Obata and hits a vertical-drop brainbuster, cover, but Tanaka breaks it up.  Kamikaze picks up Obata and hit a sit-down powerbomb, cover, but Obata barely gets a shoulder up.  Again Kamikaze picks up Obata, scoop slam in front of the corner, he goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits the moonsault.  Cover, but it only gets a two count.  Kamikaze positions Obata in front of the corner and goes up top again, Tanaka distracts Kamikaze for a moment, and when Kamikaze does go for the second moonsault Obata gets his knees up. Tanaka then runs in the ring and quickly hits the Sliding D onto Kamikaze.  Obata picks up Kamikaze and drops him with the Fisherman Brainbuster, he then picks him up and hits a second one.  Cover by Obata, but Kamikaze gets a shoulder up.  Obata goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits a missile dropkick to Kamikaze’s back.  Obata picks up Kamikaze but Kamikaze quickly applies a backslide and he picks up the three count!  Your winners and new champions:  Shinjiro Otani and Kamikaze

Match Thoughts:  A mixed bag for me.  Thank God for Obata so they had a young dude who could do a bulk of the fast paced work so the match wasn’t overly plodding.  I really think the wrong team won here, I haven’t watched Z1 in many years but it looks like nothing has changed.  How does two 40+ year old vets of Z1 having the tag belts help anything?  Their level of “draw” doesn’t matter if they have the belts or not, but putting over a younger (in Obata’s case) and fresher tag team would make sense.  As for the match, some things I liked and some I didn’t.  I thought the leg work on Kamikaze was good, and the ending (even though I hated who won) made sense as the old veteran had nothing left in his tank but still could be wily.  The offense was generally varied and it always felt like a toss-up on who was going to win.  I didn’t like the table spot meaning nothing, as a minute later Kamikaze was right back to trading strikes.  And sooo many strike exchanges back and forth in this match, I am tired of it and so is the crowd who didn’t really react to it at all.  So like I said a mixed bag, but at least it got what felt like the right amount of time and was shown in full, so there’s a plus.  Just wish the end result was different.  Score:  5.5

Final Thoughts:

Best Match: HUB vs. Mineo Fujita.  Really the only match on the card I think went beyond “solid”.  It wasn’t perfect by any means but it had some quality Jr. Heavyweight action.  Pretty entertaining from bell to bell.

MVP:   Yusaku Obata. I know that he was pinned but he owned that match.  Kamikaze and Otani aren’t exactly spry these days, and are seasoned veterans of ZERO1, but that didn’t stop Obata from flying around and getting more than his fair share of offense on both of them.  In fact it took Kamikaze being sneaky to beat him, as Obata was generally controlling the match.  A good showing by the young wrestler, hopefully he keeps getting chances to show his talent in ZERO1.

Overall:   I pretty ‘meh’ card from top to bottom.  Only one match I felt was below average, which is good, but only one match that was better than solid, which is bad.  Also the main event just left an icky taste in my mouth, I don’t understand at this stage why Otani needs a belt around his waist unless it is to help bring up a younger wrestler, which Kamikaze is not.  Nothing about this card made me think “I can’t wait to watch more ZERO1!” which is what promotions should be going for, to hook you in.  Unless you are a fan of clipped matches, old stars not letting go, and excessive strike exchanges, you can probably avoid this one.

Grade: D

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review completed on 1/18/14