There’s a ECW connection to this show, but I’m not really sure what it is other than having some ex-ECW guys (Tanaka, Corino & Anderson) on the show, and the matches all had a kind of theme to them. Even the intro begins with ECW Unforgettable, but that’s about it as far as the ECW connection is concerned.The Youngest-1: Osamu Namiguchi VS Lil' Nate
The rookie match, which I usually hate and would fast forward past them, but UPW’s Lil’ Nate kept things interesting here with his bizarre and comedic style. Everything about him is fun to watch, from his Katamari Damacy like intro theme, to his fun little offensive moves like the Three Stooges nose pull! He even managed to get the crowd to chant “Afro” for him since he said “Afro” every chance he got throughout the match! Namiguchi on the other hand sucked all the life out of the match when he was in control as like most Japanese young lions, he stuck with the basic boring offence of mat holds. Nate seriously made this match and I would seriously like to see more of this kid in Japan, as he would be a fine addition to the Jr. division of any promotion in Japan.Match Rating: *1/2Wrestling VS Pro Wrestling: Kevin Steen VS Takashi Sasaki
AWA’s Kevin Steen REALLY impressed me here! He looks like a big man compared to Sasaki, but he moves really well and has a great offensive move set, including one of the BEST gaijin moonsaults I’ve ever seen! It was almost Kobashi like! Add to that, the always cool package-piledriver! Like Lil’ Nate, I’m really interested to see more of Steen in Japan. Of course his opponent Takashi Sasaki was no slouch either. A veteran of the Japanese indy circuit, having worked DDT, MPro and K-Dojo as well as ZERO-1. He had a great showing here as well as he held his ground well against the big gaijin. The match was a little short, but based on the crowd reaction, they loved it as much as I did.Match Rating: **1/2Mixed Tag Match: Leonardo Spanky & Saki Maemura VS Steve Corino & Amazing Kong
I had a bit of difficulty getting into this match, cause on one hand Steve Corino is trying to be comical, then all of a sudden his an evil heel. This was the kind of crap that made me hate him in his one NOAH appearance. It worked better for Spanky to go from comical to serious though. Even Amazing Kong did some comedy, which is an interesting change of character as she showed some personality, especially at the end of the match where she got down and danced in the ring with Corino and Spanky! Maemura was the smallest person in the match, but she still got some good offense in, including a sweet German suplex on Kong who was twice her size! An OK match overall.Match Rating: *1/2ZERO-1 VS ROH – Hardest of J: Tatsuhito Takaiwa VS Ricky Reyes
Ricky Reyes is one half of the Havana Pitbulls with Rocky Romero in ROH. Unfortunately the match itself left something to be desired for as they did a lot of mat work. Not really a good representation of the junior heavyweight style, as most fans are probably more used to the high flyers and speedy guys than the more heavyweight style of Takaiwa and Reyes’ technical style. Best spot of the match was probably when Reyes had Takaiwa in a triangle-lock on the top rope, and Takaiwa powerbombed him off the top rope, but Reyes held on to the submission hold! Other than that, not really much to shout home about.Match Rating: *1/2Wrestling of East: Ikuto Hidaka & Minoru Fujita VS CW Anderson & Jay Lethal
Now this match was all kinds of fun, and you could easily see how Fujita & Hidaka work well as a team and are probably the best Jr. tandem in Japan next to NOAH’s KENTA & Marufuji! The duo showed some great tandem offense as well as some great individual offense. I really can’t understand why NJPW would let a talent like Minoru Fujita go after watching this. He showed a lot here compared to the usually boring NJPW Jr. division.
Ring of Honor’s Jay Lethal also showed some fighting spirit here as he worked well with Fujita & Hidaka. He pulled off a really impressive release Dragon-suplex! Hidaka even deserves credit for taking the move with a bad taped up neck! And even CW Anderson managed to keep up with the Jr. heavyweights in the match, and his delayed superplex is always impressive to view as well. Best match of the night up to this point.Match Rating: ***1/2Japanese E-Style: Shinjiro Ohtani & Kohei Sato VS Takao Omori & Ryoji Sai
This was about as good as the previous tag match, only it was all action and minus the psychology as they took it to each other from the opening bell. Reigning AWA champion Omori had a target on his head from Ohtani, who targeted his Axe Bomber arm. But that didn’t stop Omori from delivering a very dangerous looking Axe Guillotine Driver! Sato & Sai also targeted each other as Sai looked to surpass his significant other, as they traded a lot of strikes and Sai stomped relentless on Sato like a mad man (Or one Kazunari Murakami) at one point. They kept a good pace throughout this one and made for a really good heavyweight tag match.Match Rating: ***World Wrestling @ E – TLC Contest: Masato Tanaka & Alex Shelley VS Dick Togo & Sonjay Dutt
This was a TLC match, but there was no prize to claim at the top of the ladder. The match instead ends on pinfall or submission like a regular match. As you would expect, there were a lot of big moves in this match and some were even rather dangerous. There was a fun moment in the match when Tanaka hit a diving body press off the ladder putting Togo through a table, and this garnered an “ECW” chant from the audience! Some of the fans in the crowd even had ECW shirts on! Togo was busted open pretty badly in this one, but it got rather annoying the way he would wrap his head in a towel to stop the bleeding. Everytime the towel came off due to either offense or defense, he would take his time to wrap it back up again.
Dutt seems to have a really big following in Japan as there were “Dutt” chants every now and then from the audience. Pity he really didn’t do anything of note in this match other than a few big dives and acrobatics. The same could also be said for Alex Shelley, whom the Japanese audience didn’t seem to warm up through out the match despite adapting well to the hardcore nature of the match. He had some good exchanges with Dutt though, like driving Dutt through two chairs with a modified suplex, and Dutt gave him a neckbreaker on two chairs!
Of course like I mentioned earlier there were some killer bumps taken in this match, like superplexing Dutt through a table, and Dick Togo catching Tanaka off the top of the ladder with a 3D through a table! If you’ve ever seen Japanese tables, you’ll know what I mean when I say they break more than your fall in these kinds of matches! There was even a weird spot where a ladder sitting in the corner seemed to come to life and as if on queue, fell on Dutt perfectly after Shelley took him down! A very good hardcore match overall, and the Korakuen Hall crowd loved it.Match Rating: ***1/2
Post match, this was where Tanaka made the big announcement that he would be working WWE’s ECW One Night Stand PPV, and if you’ve seen it, you already know he and Mike Awesome had the match of the night on that PPV, much like this TLC match was the highlight of this show.Overall:
This was definitely an interesting PPV worth checking out for the clash of styles between the Americans and the Japanese workers. A lot of great action in this show from the start and I recommend checking out this show.
Labels: Zero-1 MAX