Himatsuri! Fire Festival '08 Schedule Announced!
May 23rd, 2008
As Summer approaches, so do does the annual ZERO1 round-robin tournament - the FIRE FESTIVAL! Taking place at the end of July since the begining of ZERO-ONE, this year it will run from a Sunday July 27th opening at Tokyo's Korakuen Hall and conclude the following Sunday, August 3rd, at the same venue.
Fighters participating in the tournament have yet to be announced. The schedule and venue location is as follows:
ZERO1 Fire Festival '08
"Heat-1 GP Himatsuri '08 ~Yuu'ou-Maishin~"
Day 1 - July 27, Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan - Opening
Day 2 - July 29, Fukui City Gym, Fukui, Japan
Day 3 - July 30, ZEPP Nagoya, Nagoya, Japan
Day 4 - July 31, Osaka Prefectural Gym #2, Osaka, Japan
Day 5 - August 2, Three Front Park, Gifu, Japan
Day 6 - August 3, Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan - Finals
Previous winners of the Fire Festival tournament were: Shinjiro Otani (2001, 2002 & 2005), Satoshi Kojima (2003), Kohei Sato (2004) and Masato Tanaka (2006 & 2007).
Glass Rain Hell Iron Ball Death Match Video!
May 20th, 2008
Many fans traveled to Katsura Studio yesterday in Koshigaya, Saitama, Japan to witness the final death match of "Mr. Danger" Mitsuhiro Matsunaga. It was his new invention the "Glass Rain Hell Iron Ball" deathmatch, a match deemed so dangerous that the company's ring doctor issued a warning on the matter.
As if the environment wasn't already dangerous, Matsunaga made sure to bring a plethora of extra weapons, including a board of tatami needles and sharp pieces of metal concealed in his ankle holder. As Otani quickly took control of the match, it was one of these object that helped turned the tide as after hitting his trademark facewash Matsunaga stabbed him right in the leg!
Matsunaga also tried to seize the car that was going to be used to smash the glass on the side panel, but the Ring Staff driver resisted, causing "Mr. Danger" to attack him! He then grabbed a sledge hammer and smashed the panes himself, sending the glass flying at Otani. As Otani lay bleeding, Matsunaga placed the tatami needle board in the middle of the ring and poured a giant bag of salt all over it!! He then climbed a ladder and placed a bundle of burning rags on the top glass panel adding an extra level of danger to the falling debris at time ticked down!
Many Matsunaga fans had come to watch the legendary death match wrestler and legitimate crazy man's final deathmatch. So as the time ticked down to the falling of the iron ball to cause the "Glass Rain" it was Otani who once again regained control, hitting several high angle suplexes dazing Matsunaga before delivering a dropkick which impaled him on the Tatami board that was directly under the top pane of glass!
Otani then appeared to try to save Matsunaga by dragging him off the tatami board, but he was firmly stuck on the tatami board! And as the announcer counted the final seconds, Otani decided to help the referee who had been attacked earlier by dragging him to the corner and covering him with his own body. Just then the Iron Ball dropped, shattering the glass and sending it raining down on Matsunaga. The flaming rag just missed his head by inches as it too fell to the mat! Following the match, Matsunaga just left the cage but first handed his famous "Mr. Danger" wristbands to BJW Gaijin death match wrestler Mad Man Pondo on his way out. Otani had some emotional words as to what he had just participated in.
A video compilation of the match and Otani's post-match comments can be seen below:
EMBLEM Confronts Nagata and Nakanishi on 5/29!
May 19th, 2008
In the May 29th Korakuen Hall show, the main event will see ZERO1's Team EMBLEM of Shinjiro Otani and Masato Tanaka face off against New Japan's Yuji Nagata and Manabu Nakanishi. Both teams have held their respective company's top tag titles, with EMBLEM holding the NWA Intercontinental Tag Team titles twice, and Nagata and Nakanishi holding the IWGP Tag Titles once together.
Team EMBLEM has sworn that they will not lose when they're sent to battle against a NJPW team as they will be representing ZERO1. This will be the second time EMBLEM has banded together in 2008, the last time was on April 19th where they represented SWORD ARMY in a match versus AXE ARMY's Takao Omori and Tengu Kaiser. Also at stake is of course the continuing battle versus New Japan in which Nakanishi and Nagata have both taken a major role. Their last major battle occurred earlier this month when ZERO1 wrestlers Tanaka, Ryoji Sai and Ikuto Hidaka travelled to New Japan's "AGGRESSIVE" show on 5/2 in Korakuen for a 6-man tag team match. There they took on a returning Yuji Nagata, Manabu Nakanishi and Koji Kanemoto and lost when Nakanishi pinned Sai with his Hercules Cutter.
Previously to that, back on April 13th at New Japan Pro Wrestling's "Circuit 2008 NEW JAPAN BRAVE" following his defeat of Koji Kanemoto in a singles match on that show, Masato Tanaka decided to provoke Nagata. Nagata has been out of pro wrestling for a few months recovering from a health-related absence. He had only just announced his return to the ring. Also of note is Tanaka's singles victory over Nakanishi at ZERO1's pay-per-view at Tokyo's JCB Hall "Miracle Rocket - 2nd Impact -"
Also continuing the ZERO1 vs. NJPW war on 5/29 will be ZERO1 young fighter Osamu Namiguchi and Shito Ueda against the "NO LIMIT" team of Yujiro and Tetsuya Naito who have been thorns-in-the-side as well of late. Yujiro has been especially irreverant towards ZERO1 in the matches he's faced them in. Osamu Namigiuchi had words for Yujiro going into this match, saying he has a foolish mouth and regardless of his strength Nami will use his speed to shut it. Ueda added that as the feud has progressed between the two companies it's been Naito he's wanted to face the most and now he has his chance.
Previously announced for this show is the "Junior Special Tag Match" of Ikuto Hidaka and BattlArts' Munenori Sawa versus DRAGON GATE's Masaaki Mochizuki and New Japan's Minoru.
|Glass Rain Hell Iron Ball Deathmatch
|O Shinjiro Otani||vs.||Mitsuhiro Matsunaga X|
|(8:23 → pinfall)|
|SWORD ARMY VS. AXE ARMY|
|O Ryoji Sai
Minoru Fujita X
|(10:23 → Sidmouth)|
|SWORD ARMY Captain Challenge Match|
|O Masato Tanaka||vs.||Shota Takanishi X|
|(10:23 → Sliding D)|
|AXE ARMY Captain Challenge Match|
|O Takao Omori||vs.||Osamu Namiguchi X|
|(11:24 → Axe Bomber)|
|"Those Whose Blood Flows of BATO"|
|O Ikuto Hidaka
|vs.||Yuta Yoshikawa X
|(12:54 → High Kick)|
|O Hikaru||vs.||Saki Maemura X|
|(11:45 → Lioness Asuka's Tower Hacker)|
|O KAMIKAZE||vs.||Shito Ueda X|
|(9:53 → Crab Hold)|
Shota Takanishi To Retire! "Unshakeable - Final" His Last Show!
May 15th, 2008
Twenty-one year old ZERO1 wrestler, Shota Takanishi, has announced his pending retirement from Professional Wrestling. His final match will take place on May 29th at the "Unshakeable - Final" show in Tokyo's Korakuen Hall versus ZERO1's Minoru Fujita.
Shota Takanishi began his career in April 2005 when he joined All Japan Pro Wrestling. As of January 2006 he became a member of the then new KINGS ROAD promotion, participating in all their shows. With the collapse of KINGS ROAD in July of that very same year, the fledgling pro wrestler made the jump to Pro Wrestling ZERO1-MAX where he has remained until now.
ZERO1 President Shinjiro Otani was with Shota as he made the announcement to the media. Otani said he had first heard Shota mention it about 1 week ago, though he apparently had been mulling it over since the beginning of 2008. Otani told those assembled he believes Shota is not taking a step backwards by leaving professional wrestling but is taking a step forward to challenge the world.
Shota gave some brief comments on his decision:
Matsunaga Declares An End! Koshigaya Death Match To Be His Final!
May 14th, 2008
"Mr. Danger" Mitsuhiro Matsunaga, who will battle Shinjiro Otani in a GLASS RAIN HELL IRON BALL DEATH MATCH on 5/17 in Koshigaya, did an interview with the media today where he claimed this match will be his final death match.
Matsunaga began his pro wrestling career in Frontier Martial Arts Wrestling (FMW) back in 1989, gaining the nickname "Mr. Danger" when he dove from the Korakuen Hall balcony onto an opponent below. Now almost 20 years later, Matsunaga has decided that May 17, at Katsura Studio in Saitama, Japan will be his final death match.
Since first appearing in ZERO1 back in 2005 when he was defeated and banished by Yoshihito Sasaki during the epic "STOP THE MATSUNAGA" story line, Matsunaga has returned to haunt ZERO1 every year since then. In 2006 it was to team with Kazunari Murakami only to betray him and then finally meet him face-to-face in a deathmatch which Otani refereed. Then in 2007 he returned to secretly enter ZERO1 so he could attack Otani, now it looks like not only will this be the culmination of "Mr. Danger" versus ZERO1 but the culmination of his death match career. During the interview he made the following comments:
Matsunaga added that he will also being a tatami needle board for the match, as he wants this to be a "compilation" of his deathmatch ideas. He's also bringing along a document for Otani that is signed with his bloody handprint. Matsunaga was also asked what he thought of the GLASS RAIN HELL IRON BALL DEATH MATCH demonstration he performed the other day and responded that he knows he will be injured as it's a "predictable occurrence" in death matches. But he doesn't even care or take that into consideration.
The Ring Doctor Comments on the Glass Rain Hell Iron Ball Deathmatch on 5/17!
May 12th, 2008
A standard presence in professional wrestling is the Ring Doctor, a medical professional on site during events in case of an emergency. Going into this dangerous death match, ZERO1 sent their Ring Doctor the video demonstration seen below. After viewing the video, the Doctor called an urgent press conference to discuss what he witnessed.
The Doctor explained that due to safety reasons, the chairs will be removed for this match so the spectators will have to stand which will allow them to increase their distance from the ring. He added that on the day they gave the demonstration the distance glass that flew outside the ring surprised not only ZERO1 officials but also the Ring Staff officials who provided the special ring for the event. Not only will the wrestlers in the ring be in very serious danger, so to will the spectators, the press, and all staff around the ring.
The Doctor added that he's cleared his schedule on May 17th to be positive he is present during the match. He added that he wants to be there to make sure that somebody will be able to contact the area medical facilities directly in the case of an emergency.
Fearful Destructive Explosion! Glass Rain Demonstration!
May 10th, 2008
Otani, after weeks of harassment and pressure to do so, decided to finally allow his upcoming scheduled match with Matsunaga to be a death match. "Mr. Danger" was quick to describe his new inventive match design: The Glass Rain Hell Iron Ball Death Match - The ring is surrounded by a steel cage except for one side which has a class pane installed. A specially equipped vehicle is set to back into the pane of glass causing it to explode inward. A glass pane is also set on top of the cage and at a specific time an iron ball is used to shatter the glass causing it to "rain" down on the wrestlers.
Matsunaga invited Otani to come witness a demonstration of this new fearful concept at the Katsura studio in Koshigaya where the match will take place. While one side of the cage remained open, Matsunaga displayed how the Iron Ball and Glass Rain concept will work from the pane installed in the open ceiling. Matsunaga wore a baseball helmet and goggles and stood within the ring as the iron ball dropped through the specially installed glass pane sending glass flying around the ring with a terrific explosion of sound! Matsunaga's own leg was bloodied from the aftereffects of dangerous shards. Otani stood outside the cage, sometimes holding an umbrella, viewed the demonstration and was asked for a comment:
The plans are for the Right Side pane to be exploded inwards at the 5-minute mark, then the Iron Ball will drop 3-minutes following at the 8-minute mark.
BattlArts Soul Explosion! Hidaka & Sawa Interviewed! Yuki Ishikawa in SWORD ARMY!
May 9th, 2008
Ikuto Hidaka and BattlArts' Munenori Sawa will face current International Jr. Heavyweight champion, DRAGON GATE's Masaaki Mochizuki and New Japan's Minoru on May 29 in Tokyo's Korakuen Hall. Hidaka traveled to Koshigaya, Japan where the BattlArts' Gym is located to meet with Sawa for the interview. It's also the location of Katsura Studio where Hidaka and Sawa will also team to face BattlArts wrestlers Yuta Yoshikawa and Keita Yano in a match titled "Those Whose Blood Flows of BATO" on May 17 for ZERO1.
Back on April 1th at the Masaaki Mochizuki self-produced "Heroic Episode 4," Mochizuki defended his Jr. Title versus Sawa where he defeated him with a Saikyo Kick. Following the match, Hidaka appeared dressed in a business suit and challenged Mochizuki to a title re-match. Mochizuki informed Hidaka that he had defeated him three times so he wouldn't be granting his request. He did say he would challenge Hidaka to a tag match again on the May 29, ZERO1 Korakuen Hall show. Following this confrontation, Hidaka told the media that he wants to once again team with Munenori Sawa as he did at the Yasukuni Shrine that last time he faced Mochizuki in March. When Mochizuki heard this teaming might be what he's facing he replied that he thinks this should be a BattlArts confrontation and chose New Japan's former BattlArts wrestler Minoru as his partner.
When Hidaka arrived today he was handed a new statement by Mochizuki:
Sawa, a current roster member of BattlArts, then presented to Hidaka an old BattlArts' company program that contained old photos of Hidaka, Mochizuki and Minoru. At first Hidaka had to laugh at his old program photo, and then he began to reflect a little on the past saying that when he was Sawa's age he was also a top young fighter and during that time Mochizuki and Minoru were right there with him. "Are you becoming somewhat concerned about wrestling them again?" Sawa questioned, seeing his reaction. Hidaka's demeanor quickly shifted as he turned and slapped Sawa in anger sending the old BattlArts' program flying!!
Sawa responded that he is very excited as this is the first time he has faced Minoru. "To battle with my seniors from BattlArts, to be victorious will be like a dream!" Sawa then mentioned that Tatsuhito Takaiwa had to cancel his upcoming appearances due to injury and that he needs a suitable replacement for the SWORD ARMY matches he was booked in, as Sawa was Takaiwa's scheduled partner.
He said he knows Hidaka can't substitute since he has a singles match versus Taguchi that day. He then invited Hidaka and the reporters down the street about 30 seconds to the BattlArts Gym, where waiting for them was young Ms. Oikawa who recently debuted and a wrestler wearing a BattlArts founder Yuki Ishikawa mask!
Sawa then asked Hidaka if he thought Ishikawa would be a good substitute for Takaiwa as a SWORD ARMY draftee. Hidaka took out his mobile phone and called SWORD ARMY Captain Masato Tanaka to ask him his thoughts. Tanaka immediately consented to allowing Ishikawa's participation.
So BattlArts founder and legend Yuki Ishikawa will take Takaiwa's place on tomorrow in Osaka and also on 5/17 here in Koshigaya where he will team with Ryoji Sai versus AXE ARMY's Kohei Sato and Minoru Fujita. Finally Hidaka, Ms. Oikawa, Sawa and the unidentified wrestler wearing the Yuki Ishikawa mask then gave a final BattlArts' cheer!
EMBLEM vs. Nagata & Nakanishi on May 29th!
May 8th, 2008
The card for the final show of "Unshakeable" at Korakuen Hall on 5/29 has been updated. The ZERO1 vs. New Japan Pro Wrestling confrontation continues as the recently returned Yuji Nagata will team with Manabu Nakanishi versus Team EMBLEM - Masato Tanaka and Shinjiro Otani. Both teams will carry the stamp of their promotion on their backs as they crash.
Back on April 13th at New Japan Pro Wrestling's "Circuit 2008 NEW JAPAN BRAVE" following his defeat of Koji Kanemoto, Masato Tanaka decided to provoke New Japan's Yuji Nagata. Nagata has been out of pro wrestling for a few months recovering from a health-related absence. He had only just announced his return to the ring, and now Tanaka was calling him out! There was some battling between ZERO1 and New Japan in the ring until finally Nagata entered and accepted Tanaka's challenge! When the two finally met on May 5th at New Japan's "AGGRESSIVE" show in Korakuen Hall it was in a 6-man tag of Yuji Nagata, Manabu Nakanishi and Koji Kanemoto versus Masato Tanaka ZERO1-MAX, Ryoji Sai ZERO1-MAX and Ikuto Hidaka. The New Japan team came out victorious in that match when Nakanishi pinned Ryuoji with the Hercules Cutter.
Also announced was a ZERO1 vs. New Japan Pro Wrestling tag match of ZERO1 Junior Osamu Namiguchi and young Shito Ueda versus Yujiro and Tetsuya Naito. Previously announced for this show is the "Junior Special Tag Match" of Ikuto Hidaka and BattlArts' Munenori Sawa versus DRAGON GATE's Masaaki Mochizuki and New Japan's Minoru.
Injury Default - Takaiwa!
May 8th, 2008
SWORD ARMY member Tatsuhito Takaiwa sustained a head injury at the May 6th ZERO1 Sendai show of the current "Unshakeable" tour. Due to it being a head injury, to play it safe, Takaiwa's cancelled his upcoming scheduled appearances for May 10th in Osaka and May 17th in Koshigaya.
Since Takaiwa's participation is important to the scheduled AXE ARMY vs. SWORD ARMY confrontations, a suitable replacement will be chosen.
Death Match in Koshigaya Decided! Otani Relents! Matsunaga Schemes!
May 6th, 2008
After being attacked during his entrance and defeated by Mitsuhiro Matsunaga and Tatsutoshi Goto in a blood bath on 4/15, ZERO1 President Shinjiro Otani agreed to once again face "Mr. Danger" Matsunaga in Koshigaya on May 17. Otani agreed to a no time-limit match, but swore it would be a true wrestling match and not a deathmatch.
That's when the harassment began. Mysterious packages began to show up at the FOS Offices in Tokyo from Matsunaga. First it was the innocuous cactus...then a more direct board with nails. Otani received these missives yet still demanded that his match versus Matsunaga would not be a deathmatch. Matsunaga only replied, "I will absolutely bring an end to Otani, and it will be via a deathmatch..."
Finally, Otani received a package containing a pile of glass with a Shinjiro Otani action figure embedded within. Today, Otani came to once more speak to the media about how he refused to do a deathmatch, suddenly Matsunaga pulled up in his truck honking his horn and blasting QUEEN'S "Flash" on his stereo! Otani lunged at him but "Mr. Danger" stabbed him in the stomach with an umbrella! Matsunaga then went to his truck and pulled from the back seat and bloodied and beaten ZERO1 young boy Yuzuru Saito. Unable to take this harassment from one of the most nefarious deathmath wrestlers in history any longer, Otani became furious and agreed to fight him in a deathmatch!
Matsunaga was quick to respond with his proposal seen here below:
Titled the GLASS RAIN HELL IRON BALL DEATH MATCH, it works like this:
- The ring is surrounded by a steel cage except for one side which has a class pane installed.
- A specially equipped vehicle is set to back into the pane of glass causing it to explode inward.
- A glass pane is also set at the top of the cage, a iron ball is used to shatter the glass there.
This will cause a "rain of glass" to fall within the ring. Matsunaga claims this is the first time in history this type of deathmatch has been done. As ZERO1 President Otani had predicted, Matsunaga will display the most "fearful" aspect of professional wrestling.
A video of Matsunaga's attack and Otani's reaction can be seen below (in Japanese)
Mashimo Wins Vacant UN Heavyweight Title!
May 5th, 2008
ZERO1 wrestler Ryoji Sai faced K-DOJO's Kengo Mashimo today in Chiba, Japan at the K-DOJO/Kengo Mashimo Produced "GWSP6 show for the vacant NWA UN Heavyweight title. Former champion Yoshihito Sasaki had to return the title belt due to a recently suffered injury.
It was Ryouji who originally brought Mashimo to ZERO1 at the beginning of this year when he was set against Yoshihito Sasaki in a match where they could choose their own tag team partners. Yoshihito had just had a fiery exchange with Mashimo at the K-DOJO "CLUB-K SUPER kick" on January 6th in Korakuen Hall, and so Ryouji felt that it would be a good pick. Yoshihito challenged Mashimo to his UN Heavyweight title, but before it could occur he lost the title to Hawaii Championship Wrestling's Sandy Beach.
Determined to make good on his promise, instead Mashimo and K-DOJO's Madoka challenged for Yoshihito's BJW Tag Team titles held by him and Daisuke Sekimoto and won. Soon Yoshihito regained the NWA UN Heavyweight title, and Mashimo still wanted his shot at the singles title. Sadly Yoshihito was injured as stated and the title was vacated. Instead Ryoji Sai stepped up to the plate and travelled to K-DOJO's Blue Field in an attempt to win the UN title once again. The match went over 26 minutes before Mashimo defeated Ryouji with a vertical drop brainbuster to become the 10th champion.
K-DOJO/Kengo Mashimo Produce
|NWA United National Heavyweight Title
|X Ryoji Sai||vs||© Kengo Mashimo (K-DOJO) O|
|(26:08 → Vertical Drop Brainbuster)|
New UN Heavyweight Champion Decision Match in K-DOJO! Ryouji vs. Mashimo!
May 2nd, 2008
Ryoji Sai and K-DOJO's Kengo Mashimo just had a fierce battle in Korakuen Hall on April 29th at the final of the "Ichii Senshin" tour. Now another match has been determined for Sunday, May 4 at the Chiba Blue Field for K-DOJO. As reported here back on April 25th Yoshihito Sasaki had to vacate the NWA UN Heavyweight title due to a lingering injury to his waist.
It has been determined that Ryouji and Mashimo will now battle in the K-DOJO's Blue Field to establish the new NWA UN Heavyweight champion.