Alexander Otsuka VS Tetsuhiro Kuroda- Fire Festival tournament match
- I was really surprised how well Otsuka was working as a wrestler here, unlike many shoot fighters who stick to the shoot style when they try to wrestle professionally. Kuroda was on form here as well, reminding me of the days when he was the top rising youngster from his FMW days. Kuroda worked Otsuka’s knee throughout the match, but Otsuka managed some good offense, including an almost Dead End like hanging German suplex, but couldn’t hold the pin due to his bad knee. Kuroda nailed a killer Lariat before locking on a figure four for the some what upset win.
Match Rating: **1/2
Kintaro Kanemura VS Yoshiaki Fujiwara - Fire Festival tournament match
- Give Fujiwara a lot of credit for working against Kanemura and taking his classic garbage spots like getting splashed through a table! Kanemura also hit a record number of low blows right in front of the referee without fear of getting disqualified! Very sports entertainment like finish when the referee got bumped and Fujiwara locked on his armbar so no one saw Kanemura tap! Kanemura then scored the win on the veteran with a rollup.
Match Rating: **1/2
Masato Tanaka, Hideki Hosaka & Kuroge Wagyuta VS Tengu Kaiser, Wataru Sakata & Yoshihito Sasaki
- You could tell Tanaka was pissed that he couldn’t make the Fire Festival finals as he stiffed the hell out of his younger opposition team. Hosaka has completely changed his image from his FMW days and really looks solid now. Tengu Kaiser looks like a bad Hayabusa copy, but works well at least. Sasaki actually hit his reverse death valley driver on big Hosaka at one point. Near the end, the veteran team hit a cool triple team diving move on Sasaki, ending with Tanaka hitting the superfly splash, but Sasaki kicked out! Tanaka then almost rips his head off with a monster lariat, but Sasaki kicks out again! Sasaki signals for the roaring elbow, but Sasaki ducks it and tries to German suplex Tanaka, and finally hits with the help of a high kick from Sakata! Tanaka finally scores the roaring elbow and hits a brainbuster for the win. This match really put Sasaki over big time as the crowd was SO into him!
Match Rating: ***1/2
Satoshi Kojima VS Kohei Sato - Fire Festival tournament match
- Kojima was in full heel mode here! All he had to do was LOOK at the crowd and they would boo him! Kojima even made young Sato look like a million bucks selling his strikes and submissions well. Sato even countered Kojima’s dreaded Lariat into a triangle arm bar at one point! Sato also did the hanging German that Otsuka used earlier for a near fall as well as hitting a series of urinages. Kojima showed his superiority in the end, almost taking young Sato’s head off with a vicious Lariat!
Match Rating: ***
Hirotaka Yokoi VS Shinjiro Ohtani - Fire Festival tournament match
- This was also surprisingly good! Yokoi is another shoot fighter turned wrestler, but sticks to his shooter roots. But Ohtani made him look like a million bucks selling his hard strikes and submissions! Wait a minute, didn’t I already say that about Kojima/Sato? Yokoi even caught Ohtani out of a Yakuza kick into a Capture Buster at one point. Ohtani being no slouch himself, wins a hard fought battle with a single leg crab submission.
Match Rating: **1/2
Tatsuhito Takaiwa, Naohiro Hoshikawa, Ikuto Hidaka & Jun Kasai VS C.W. Anderson, Josh Daniels, C.M. Punk & Vansack Acid
- This was a seriously FUN match to watch! The first few minutes was standard mat work but then, TONS of spots from all eight men, and even some fun comedy bits! There was the standard multi-man aerial assault as well as the always cool multi-finisher spot near the end. I was really impressed by Josh Daniels and Vansack Acid. At one point, Acid hit a move I can only describe as a shinning headstomp! You gotta see this to believe it! I’m not gonna give any more away, but this match is a MUST WATCH!!!
Match Rating: ***3/4
FIRE FESTIVAL FINALS
Satoshi Kojima VS Shinjiro Otani
This was an AWESOME match! Even better than their previous singles bout from the 2002 Truth Creation pay per view! They went at it straight from the opening bell and beat the daylights out of each other to the point of physical exhaustion! Both men unloaded the full extent of their arsenals. Ohtani even borrowed Tanaka’s Diamond Dust and followed it with his trademark Spiral Bomb but still couldn’t put Kojima away! Kojima hits his Lariat but Ohtani pops up and lands his Dragon Suplex for another near fall. End comes with both exhausted gladiators picking themselves up in opposite corners, eye each other, then CHARGE at each other! But Kojima DECAPITATES Ohtani with the padless lariat to win the Fire Festival!!!
Match Rating: ****
This was an AWESOME show from start to finish, with no Hashimoto or Ogawa anywhere in sight to drag things down. Ohtani was the booker for this year’s Fire Festival and boy he did he do a great job! Why Hashimoto doesn’t take the much needed time off to heal his battered body and let Ohtani run things, I’ll never know. But this is a totally watchable show!
Labels: Zero-1 MAX