Champions Retain Titles! Furinkazan 2010 Takes Shape!
November 18th, 2010
At ZERO1's "MUST" show yesterday in Korakuen Hall two title belts were up for challenges: the World Heavyweight title held by Daisuke Sekimoto and the International Jr. Heavyweight title held by Ikuto Hidaka. There were also several revelations regarding the upcoming tag teams for the 2nd Annual Furinkazan Tag Team Tournament.
The main event saw Big Japan's Sekimoto attempt his 2nd defense of the World Heavyweight title since winning it back in September. Across the ring from him stood his challenger in the form of Fire Festival '10 champion, pro wrestling veteran ZERO1 President Shinjiro Otani. Otani last held the World Heavyweight title in early 2009 when he defeated Yuji Nagata.
Sekimoto and Otani's history stretches back to the founding of ZERO-ONE back in 2001 when the two faced off in the inaugural Fire Festival '01. Back in those days Sekimoto was easily defeated and Otani continued on to win the tournament. This year in the Fire Festival '10 at the opening show on 7/24 in Korakuen Hall the two wrestlers fought to a 30 minute time limit draw in Block A.
At the start of the match both men tried to overpower each other, with Daisuke working the side headlock and Otani with a single leg crab. The two then battled back and forth with a test of strength which saw Otani come out on top! Sekimoto fought back with a lariat but Otani blocked and worked on the Champion's right arm.
As 5 minutes passed Sekimoto began to lay in brutal chops across Otani's chest. Otani countered with a niru kick and hit the facewash in the corner as the crowd cheered him on. Sekimoto goes to the outside and Otani surprised everybody with a sudden running somersault senton off the ring apron!
Back in the ring, Sekimoto fought back with a body slam and a flying body press. At one point catching Otani out of a missile dropkick and delivering a hard German suplex! Otani then counter attacked with a power bomb and his own German suplex as the crowd got behind him with an "Otani! Otani!" call! Otani responded with a flurry of offense beginning with the Hashimoto "Kesagiri Chop" and then 2 rapid fire full-nelson suplexes! He then locked in the ground body sleeper yet Sekimoto was able to make it to the ropes to cause a break.
As 15 minutes passed, the champion kicked into overdrive, using his unnatural power and attacking with a German suplex and a hard lariat but again only for a 2 count! Continuing his unrelenting assault, Sekimoto hit yet another lariat flooring Otani for the 3 count!
Following the match the champion addressed the crowd:
"The World title is a single belt, and it's right here. I've heard next for ZERO1 is a tag team tournament. I've also heard the tag team titles are up for grabs. Next I want to aim for the tag team titles. For my partner, I'd like to chose Tanaka-san. Let's team-up and take the tag titles in the tournament."
Masato Tanaka, who had been watching the match from near the stage, came out to the ring and shook Sekimoto's had in agreement to team with him for the Furinkazan 2010.
The Semi-main event of the show was the ZERO1 International Jr. Heavyweight title match between Champion Ikuto Hidaka and challenger Hayato "Jr" Fujita from Michinoku Pro. This was the re-match from the Tenka-Ichi Jr. Tournament 2010 when Hidaka was victorious over the young Michinoku Pro ace. Hayato had said in the past that one of his career goals is to defeat senpai Hidaka in a singles match. PANCRASE fighter Takafumi Ito was present ringside to watch the match. Ito is the MMA fighter that Hidaka announced as his opponent during Tenka-Ichi Tournament wish.
The match began with both Jr. class fighters exchanging elbows. The two then exchanged kicks, with Hayato thinking he kicked Hidaka to the outside only to be met with the "I'll Be Back" spinning heel kick. Again they exchange elbow with Hayato aiming to attack Hidaka's left arm. He continued with kicks and a soccer kick, however the champion shot back with a Dragon Screw leg whip and his patented "Shuriken" back-handspring spinning heel kick in the corner.
Hayato rallied with a back suplex, a savate kick and 3 rapid fire high kicks, however Hidaka countered his K.I.D. guillotine choke and soon had the younger fighter in a figure-four leg lock! Hayato escaped to the ropes as Hidaka continued attacking his leg.
Hidaka leveled Hayato with the Iguchi bomb, then hit the low altitude dropkick and aimed for the "Shawn Capture" hold but Hayato saw it coming and hit another savate kick. Taking advantage of the stunned Hidaka he caught the KID choke, but the champion reached the ropes.
As 15 minutes came and went the two wrestlers went back to an explosion of strikes and kicks. Hidaka came out on top as he finally hit the Wild Dog High Kick for the win and the successful title defense.
Following the main event, directly after Sekimoto appealed to Tanaka as his Furinkazan 2010 tag partner and others announced their partners, Hidaka called to Sawa to enter the tournament as their "Aibou" tag team.
Sawa shocked Hidaka when he apologized to his longtime fellow NWA International Lightweight Tag Team championship partners with the following response:
"I'm sorry. Though every one assumed the 'Aibou' tag would appear, since losing our Tenka-Ichi Jr. tournament match I've decided I want to strike out on my own. I want to find a new partner for the Furinkazan, and then after I want to again challenge you for the International Jr. title."
With that Sawa announced the end to 'Aibou' to the surprise and speechless Hidaka. Suddenly Hayato "Jr" appeared before Hidaka:
"Hidaka-san, I want to have more matches here in ZERO1. Team with me for the tournament and we'll rage our way to victory!"
Hidaka accepted and the two wrestlers shook hands.
The 4th match of the show was the third in a series of single matches between former ZERO1 World Heavyweight champions Masato Tanaka and Kohei Sato. When they faced each other in the Fire Festival '10 this Summer in Osaka, Japan, they went to a 30 minutes time limit draw. Then at the recent "Drunkard Night" at Shin-Kiba 1st Ring they went to a 20 minute draw, with an additional 5 minutes that also ended in a time limit draw.
At the beginning of this bout Tanaka went right for a quick lariat and got an early 2 count! He continued to stomp on Kohei, who tried to fight back by attacking Tanaka's right arm. Tanaka then aimed for the taller fighter's left knee, trying to chop him down to size. Both men then exchanged chops and elbows, with Kohei throwing in some middle kicks. He followed that up with a body slam, a flying mare and then a soccer ball kick.
Tanaka fired back with the Dangan Elbow, sending Kohei to the outside where Tanaka quickly put him through a table despite resistance from his opponent. Tanaka returned to the ring, with Kohei only managing to get back at the 19 count of the referee! Tanaka kept up the attack by using the ring post on Kohei's knee and then locking in the Figure-4 Leg lock. Kohei was able to survive and fight to the ropes to cause a break.
Tanaka kept up the attack on the left knee, until Kohei rallied enough to get Tanaka's back and hit a German suplex to turn the tide. Kohei delivered more kicks and then it was his time to take Tanaka to the outside, where he piled up the chairs of Korakuen Hall and dropped Tanaka with a pile driver!
Back in the ring Kohei kept up the attack with elbows, and then hit a uranage for a 2 count. Tanaka was able to escape from a German Suplex attempt and fight back with a lariat and a running elbow smash for his own 2 count! He then drove Kohei down with a vertical brainbuster and took to the top rope for the "Super Fly" frogsplash. Kohei blocked it however by getting his knees up, hitting more middle kicks and then a "Falcon Arrow" for a 2 count!
As 20 minutes in the match came and went, Tanaka kept Kohei from delivering the Coup de Grace by launching another rally of offense. He again put Kohei down this time with a Death Valley Driver, this time scoring the frog splash. He went for the Sliding-D but Kohei defending with a knee strike! Tanaka then scored a Sliding-D to the back of his opponents head sending both men down to the mat.
Regaining their feet, both men exchanged elbows strikes. Tanaka went from another running elbow but Kohei was able to hit a spinebuster and then a piledriver but only for a 2 count! Kohei then hit another "Falcon Arrow" this time off the top rope! Tanaka survived and aimed again for the Sliding-D but Kohei reversed it and hit the German suplex hold for a very close 2.9 count!
With 5 minutes remaining Tanaka reached down into his unlimited energy supply and launched into 1-2 elbows and another "Sliding-D" for a 2 count! Three minutes remaining, Kohei hit a brainbuster for his own 2 count! With the final minute of the match, Tanaka poured it on with an elbow strike, a lariat, a brainbuster and a close range Sliding-D but again only a 2! Kohei then hit a Dragon Suplex Hold in retaliation just as the bell rang, sending these two once more to a time-limit draw!
The 3rd match of the show was the International Jr. Heavyweight Title Next Challenger 4-Way Decision Match. Originally conceived as a 3-way between Minoru Fujita, Mineo Fujita and Takuya Sugawara, BattlArts wrestler Munenori Sawa inserted himself into the match by invading the press conference.
As has been recently seen in ZERO1, the former Gikyoudai tag team of Fujita and Sugawara is now more, with Sugawara teaming with Okinawa Pro Wrestling's Kaijin Habu Otoko to win the NWA International Lightweight Tag Team titles. Now Sugawara wasted no time, attacking Fujita outside the ring at the start of the match.
The match became a scramble as through much of it all 4 fighters were involved. As 10 minutes passed each man started reaching into the others arsenal in an attempt to add insult to injury in defeat. Fujita hit the Shiisanputa on Sugawara, Sawa hit the "Sayonara" tombstone piledriver on Fujita and Mineo Fujita hit Sawa with some Sawa-style kicks. Mineo went up for a Swanton Bomb on Sawa as Sugawara went to attack Fujita with his black box. The momentum of Mineo's attack sent both he and Sawa into the Black Box as well, and while both were downed Sugawara finished off Minoru Fujita with the Shiisanputa for the victory.
Also on the card was a 6-man tag match between KAMIKAZE, Yuzuru Saito & Rikiya Fudo vs. Ryoji Sai, Yusaku Obata and Shinsuke "Jeto" Wakataka that was won in under 10 minutes when Jeto pinned Fudo with a small package roll-up.
The opening bout was a tag match between two ZERO1 young wrestlers and 2 visiting gaijin wrestlers. For ZERO1 was Shito Ueda and Yoshikazu Yokoyama versus Dan Gorham from the USA and Braithe Priest from Australia. The ZERO1 wrestlers came out on top when Ueda submitted Gorham in 10:18 via a crab hold. Also in the match Braithe Priest sustained a pretty serious injury to his leg and had to return to Australia.
MUST Press Conference! 3-Way Jr. Title Contenders Match Becomes a 4-Way!
November 9th, 2010
Back in early October, and on the heels of a successful title defense, ZERO1 International Jr. Heavyweight champion Ikuto Hidaka laid down a new challenge. He announced that he wanted to again confront Michinoku Pro's Hayato "Jr." Fujita in his next title defense.
The two faced off a year ago in the semi-finals of the Tenka-Ichi Jr. Tournament 2009. Hayato has been out of action with an injury and only recently returned. Previously Hayato Jr. had said one of his current goals in pro wrestling is to defeat Hidaka in a singles match.
Hayato has since returned from injury and immediately accepted the challenge. Today in the ZERO1 dojo in Tokyo, Japan, the two fighters attended the official ZERO1 International Jr. Heavyweight title signing ceremony.
Challenger Hayato "Jr" Fujita comments:
"As I said before my injury, I want to defeat Hidaka and take his title belt. Entering ZERO1 as a real player in their Jr. ranks will only happen if I can beat Hidaka. I don't care how a I beat him, with a pin or a submission...I only want the victory."
The champion Ikuto Hidaka also had only brief words for the media:
"I have nothing to say, really. I'm the champion after all. I just want to have a match where we will put our fighting spirit into it. Maybe it will be a entertaining match or maybe neither of us will be standing at the end. Anyway, I hope many fans come to Korakuen Hall to see it."
The two competitors then both signed the match contract and posed for photos. The interview for the next International Jr. Heavyweight title challenger did not go as smooth. The participants of the 3-Way match, Minoru Fujita, Mineo Fujita and Takuya Sugawara.
The three wrestlers sat at the table and were asked their thoughts:
Minoru Fujita: "I'm disappointed in this poor group of opponents. I'll win."
Mineo Fujita: "Because I wasn't able to participate in the Tenka-Ichi Jr. tournament by my own error, I want to win this match and challenge whoever holds the Jr. title on 11/17."
Takuya Sugawara: "I will win this match. Hidaka will win his match on 11/17, and all I'm interested in is facing him. That's it."
Minoru Fujita: "I recall you being defeated in the opening round of the Tenka-Ichi. You didn't even make it to the final 4!"
(Minoru Fujita defeated Sugawara in the early rounds of the Tenka Ichi Jr Tournament 2010 and continued to the semi-finals where he was eliminated by Kaijin Habu Otoko.)
Takuya Sugawara: "Final 4? You got there and were eliminated without a single victory! That's great! So you say..."
Munenori Sawa: "Did somebody say Top 4? Isn't it Fujita + Fujita vs. Sugawara? Doesn't that equal 1 Fujita vs. Sugawara? I want to enter the match to make it an official 3-way fight!!"
Minoru Fujita: "If it equaled 4 people would you accept a 4-way match?"
Munenori Sawa: "I don't worry about the details. Anyway, I'm in this match so let's make it an official 3-way match."
Mineo Fujita: "If you lost a 4-way match would you accept that you were defeated?"
Minoru Fujita finally lost his patience with what was going on and attacked Sugawara across the table, causing a massive brawl around the ZERO1 dojo. As soon as things were settled it was decided to change the ZERO1 International Jr. Heavyweight Title Challenger 3-Way match to a 4-way an include Sawa.
YaYa Returns With 2 New Gaijin CAMPERS for MUST on 11/17!
November 7th, 2010
ZERO1 announced the arrival and match inclusion of three new foreign CAMPERS. The three wrestlers will stay and train at the ZERO1 dorm & dojo, then they will take part in the 11/17 MUST show in Tokyo's famous Korakuen Hall.
One of those will be the returning YaYa Brazil, a wrestler from Brazil who last appeared in ZERO1 back in 2008 as an employer of the invading WPF.
This will be YaYa's 2nd appearance in Japan, while it will be the first Japan appearance for the other two wrestlers: Braithe Priest (Australia) and Dan Gorham (USA). FIRST ON STAGE Director Yoshiyuki Nakamura posted photos on his Facebook page that Priest and Gorham have both arrived and begun their training. You can see his photos here.
3-Way Decision Match for Next ZERO1 Jr. Heavyweight Title Challenger!
November 5th, 2010
Freelance wrestler Mineo Fujita was originally scheduled to take part in the Tenka-Ichi Jr. Tournament 2010 but had to cancel due to injury. He returned recently to the ZERO1 ring on 10/21 for the Shota Takanishi produced show in Shin-Kiba 1st ring, losing to Masato Tanaka in a singles match.
No he's sent a message to the ZERO1 offices with a challenge:
"Today I'm writing to comment on the ZERO1 Jr. Heavyweights. It was a huge regret this Summer to be absent for the Tenka-Ichi Jr. Tournament. However I've decided to forget my regret and aim for the ZERO1 Jr. title!
"I have heard that the title match between Hidaka and Hayato "Jr" has already been scheduled for November 17th. I want to challenge the winner.
"I fought Tanaka the other day, and I was able to watch Hidaka's match against Madoka and I understand that the ZERO1 Jr. division is filled with high level talent. I hope to hear and answer to my challenge soon."
Longtime ZERO1 Jr. Heavyweight wrestler Minoru Fujita learned of Mineo Fujita's challenge to the ZERO1 Juniors and champion Hidaka. Minoru Fujita responded with some words of anger towards the outsider:
"What a bunch of bullshit. Mineo Fujita knocks himself out of the Tenka-Ichi and now wants to challenge for the International Jr. Heavyweight title? How about he wins a few matches and then throws his name out there?
"I would rather challenge outsiders than anybody else. What qualification does he have? Hey I'll face the Jr. champion too whether it be Hidaka Jr. or Hayato Jr. I await my opportunity to be the next challenger for the ZERO1 International Jr. Heavyweight title. Mineo Fujita...baka!"
After hearing both Minoru Fujita and Mineo Fujita put themselves forth as the next challenger against the winner of the 11/17 Jr. title match, former champion Takuya Sugawara has also chimed in.
Sugawara gave his interview from inside a local pachinko parlor, and poked fun at the "Fujita Army" represented in this challenge, saying he doesn't want to be involved and want to challenge Hidaka directly if he retains his title on 11/17:
"Hey Fujita! You think you're important! Your challenge for the title belt leaves out somebody important - me! For the most part I'm completely confused by all these Fujitas: Is it 'Minoru Fujita,' 'Fujita Jr.' or 'Fujita Minepyon?'
"What's with all the 'Fujitas' in ZERO1? I want to skip all these Fujitas and I challenge Hidaka directly. If Hidaka loses on the 17th, I'll withdraw my challenge and I'll let these Fujitas all kill each other. I'm really only interested in fighting Hidaka...for now.
The ZERO1 office responded to Sugawara that he will have to battle against the other challengers if he wants his shot at the ZERO1 International Jr. title. They have thus scheduled the three fighters: Minoru Fujita, Takuya Sugawara and Mineo Fujita in a 3-Way match.