Time for some W-1 with the first Wrestle-1 title match of the year as Shotaro Ashino takes on Manabu Soya in the main event. Also the event features Muto’s final ever Moonsault (as Muto as least), so lets see how it all went.
Match 1 – Masayuki Mitomi vs. Seigo Tachibana
Nice simple opener to warm things up, only goes for about 3 minutes with them doing a basic bit of mat wrestling before Tachibana starts targeting Mitomi’s arm and quickly makes him submit with a cross-armbreaker.
Winner: Tachibana (via Cross Armbreaker) **1/2
Match 2 – Kenshin Chikano & Tsugutaka Sato vs. Drunk Andy & Yusuke Kodama
This match is clipped and delivers a fine bit of action but nothing standout. Kodama and Andy get the victory.
Winners: Andy/Kodama (via Mad Splash) NR
Match 3 – Daiki Inaba, Jiro Kuroshio & Seiki Yoshioka vs. Kaz Hayashi, Ryuji Hijikata & Shuji Kondo
This match is also clipped a little but is definitely a fun watch with some solid cruiser action that flowed well and a nice little finishing stretch with things getting frantic and Kondo winning for his team after reversing Inaba’s Octopus Stretch into a Kido Clutch.
Winner: Kondo/Hayashi/Hijikata (via Kido Clutch) NR
Match 4 – Hana Kimura & Saori Anou vs. Natsumi Maki & Sho Sekiguchi
Last of the undercard with some Josh action. Half the match is cut out but what they show was solid with the action being kept constant at quite a quick pace. Kimura’s team end up getting the win.
Winners: Kimura (via Missile Dropkick) NR
Match 5 – UWA World Trios Title Match: Koji Doi, Kumagoro & Takanori Ito (c) vs. FUJITA, MAZADA & NOSAWA Rongai
Really solid match up, had a good wad of action to enjoy. Doio and Kumagoro still rule and Ito works really well with them. they have of course have the size and strength advantage, so NOSAWA’s team utilise their cunning and quickness, which helps them get a portion of control as well as get the win with FUJITA catching Ito with a victory roll-up to win the belts. Really enjoyed this.
Winners: NOSAWA/FUJITA/MAZADA (via roll-up) ***1/2
Match 6 – WRESTLE-1 Cruiser Fes 2018 Final match: Alejandro vs. Andy Wu
This was very good, they kept a frequent pace and had a couple nice sequences that really showcased their athleticism. It’s my first time seeing Alejandro but he certainly impressed and matched up really well with Wu. He even ends up getting the win which I’m sure is a surprise since he seems to be a relatively unknown wrestler who only came into the promotion at the start of the year, so I guess he’ll be sticking around some more which is cool. So yeah this was certainly a fun 10 minute Cruiser match.
Winner: Alejandro (via Tilt-a-whirl DDT) ***1/2
Match 7 – Keiji Muto, Kazushi Miyamoto, Ryota Hama & SUSHI vs. Hiroshi Yamato, KAI, Masayuki Kono & Yasufumi Nakanoue
So this match was touted as Muto’s final moonsault since he had to go have knee replacement surgery, kinda crazy that he was still hitting them all this time seeing has his knees have been bad for years. Anyway the match itself is very good with everyone playing a solid role in the match leading to a fair amount of enjoyable action. Mutoh actually does two moonsaults in the match, the first one he misses because Kono moves out the way much to the displeasure of the crowd and the second one he hits to get the win. There’s a great bit at the end after he misses the first one where KAI and Kono try diving attacks on him but SUSHI and Miyamoto lay atop of Muto to sacrifice themselves and take the hits, which was very lovely of them. Good stuff all around, goodbye Muto’s knees you’ve served him well.
Winners: Muto’s team (via Moonsault) ***3/4
Main Event – WRESTLE-1 Title Match: Shotaro Ashino vs. Manabu Soya
Ashino’s dominant reign finally comes to an end as Soya who has now shaved all his hair off and dropped the wild Persona wins the belt in a tremendous match-up. This didn’t air live, but I actually didn’t know Soya won the belt so what a lovely surprise it was. Throughout the match Ashino focuses on Soya’s arm giving him a portion of control and he does a great job of dissecting with Soya selling it really well and relying on his power gain to stay in the match. There’s a bit I love where Soya is trying to hit chops on Ashino but just can’t get enough strength behind them, so he ends up just doing a straight up headbutt. The match escalates and builds really nice and drama in the finish stretch was fantastic, there were a few times that I thought Soya was gonna submit but he just refuses quit and fights through the pain, hitting a devastating lariat to finally get the win. it takes a while for the crowd to really warm up but they were definitely going ham by the end of it. This is definitely one of my favourite matches I’ve seen so far this year, some really well executed storytelling as Soya overcomes and finally dethrones Ashino. Well done to him.
Winner: Soya (via Lariat) ****1/2
This was a very enjoyable show overall with nearly every match delivering something entertaining. the Main event is highly recommended and the muto tag match is certainly worth checking out too. Though all in all this is a pretty easy two hour show to sit through if you’ve got the time. Very good showing for Wrestle-1.
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