Late with this review than intended but it’s time to delve into one WRestle-1’s of the biggest shows of the year as Ashino looks to take back the W-1 belt that Soya took from him earlier in the year. lets go!
Match 1 – Hajime & Ryuhi Honda vs. Masayuki Mitomi & Ryuji Hijikata
Decent opener. This is Honda’s debut so of course he gives it a good go at trying to match-up with his peer but mostly fails and gets beaten around before Hijikata submits him with a facelock despite the efforts of Hajime to keep his team afloat.
Winners: Mitomi/Hijikata (via facelock) **3/4
Match 2 – Kenichiro Arai & Kuma Arashi vs. Ganseki Tanaka & Pegaso Iluminar
Solid match and another debut with Pegaso Iluminar who I’m guessing much like Alejandro is one of their former trainees under a mask and heproves to be pretty impressive including busting out a nice corkscrew tope.
Throughout the match Arai and Arashi keep grasping control but by the end Tanaka and Iluminar are the ones being dominant leading to Iluminar getting the win with a firebird splash, so a good start for him.
Winners: Tanaka/Pegaso (Via firebird splash) ***
Match 3 – Masayuki Kono & Yukio Naya vs. Takanori Ito & Tsugutaka Sato
3rd debut (for W-1 at least) in the row, this time for Yukio Naya son of famous Yokozuna Taiho Koki who from what I can gather has only wrestled a few matches before in RJPW. As you can imagine he is quite a big lad so Ito and Sato have trouble getting him down in the beginning, though they have better attempts later on as well managing to get control of Kono. By the end though it’s the big lads that get the win after Naya hits a running kneelift. Naya didn’t seem too bad pretty, much moves around and wrestle likes Kono just that he’s a little larger, so your opinion on Kono will depend on if you find that good or bad. Decent match overall.
Winners: Kono/Naya (via Kneelift) **3/4
Match 4 – UWA World Trios Match: FUJITA, MAZADA & NOSAWA Rongai (c) vs. Alejandro, Andy Wu & El Hijo del Pantera
Good match. Gurentai appear to have a good start but it’s the quick high flying abilities of their masked opponents that keeps prevailing throughout providing us with some fun action. Of course Gurentai still rely on a couple of dirty tricks and do end up isolating Alejandro towards the end, he doesn’t go down easy though leading to him and MAZADA as the final two and after a solid bit of back and forth and couple of nearfalls MAZADA finally hits the Shoda drop to successfully retain the belts for his team.
Winners: TOKYO GURENTAI (via Shoda Drop) ***1/4
Match 5 – Captain’s Fall elimination match: Big Money Clutch, Big Money Plus, CIMA & Toan? vs. Daiki Inaba, Jiro Kuroshio, Jun Tonsho & Seigo Tachibana
Was originally meant to be Gao Jingja in the match but I guess he was injured and got replaced by Toan?(not 100% on his hame) although for some reason a lot of places still list Gao as being in the match, Toan still provides some cool flippy stuff though. Really solid match overall too, things get a bit chaotic in places with Jiro even hitting a moonsault of a balcony. Strong Hearts also get a bit of control beating down Tachibana but it’s mostly an even match-up that kept a good pace. At the end CIMA is on his own against Tonsho/Jiro he does a pretty nasty looking diving meteora to the back of Tonsho’s head and drags him to the corner so that Jiro can tag in. However Jiro unfortaunetely suffered a legitimate injury and was unable to walk, so I guess they cut things short with Cima locking in a leg vice to make Jiro who was the team captain submit making STRONG HEARTS the winners. Damn shame about the ending but rest of it was good nonetheless Eliminations were as follows:
-Inaba eliminated by scrapbuster
-Toan eliminated by Kimura lock
-Tachibana eliminated by Schwein
-Clutch eliminated by moonsault
-Plus eliminated by casadora
Winners: STRONG HEARTS (via Anklehold) ***1/2
Match 6 – ASUKA vs. Hana Kimura
This was real good. They certainly weren’t afraid to get aggressive throwing out slaps from the outset and exchanging some vicious boots later on, among other things. So what you end up with is a very entertaining back and forth contest with Kimura getting the win hitting an inside leg hook brainbuster. Finish did feel a bit abrupt but it was still a tense and tough 11 minute contest.
Winner: Kimura (via inside leg brainbuster) ***3/4
Match 7 – WRESTLE-1 Cruiserweight Title Match: Yusuke Kodama (c) vs. Seiki Yoshioka
Really good cruiser match. They kept it competitive with no-one really getting any control and things flowing quite smoothly. Yoshioka was busting out some nice kicks as per usual and Kodama continues to really nail some of those Eddie Guerrero mannerisms. At the end after a couple close calls from both guys, the ref gets knocked down and Kodama takes the advantage with a low blow then hits his brutal fisherman DDT for a nearfall before following it up with the Mad splash to successfully retain his belt. Didn’t like it as much their previous encounter but it wasn’t far off.
Winner: Kodama (via mad splash) ***3/4
Match 8 – WRESTLE-1 Tag Title Match: Koji Doi & Shuji Kondo (c) vs. El Lindaman & T-Hawk
This was great. Loved the cockiness of Lindaman in the beginning, being very provocative and pissing off Kondo and Doi, the man is like a bottle of pop ready to burst and he’s so much fun to watch. Both teams get their own bit of control which was all really solid itself, but once it gets more back and forth the excitement keeps building and leads to an excellent finishing stretch with some close nearfalls. There’s a great bit where Doi gets Lindaman locked in the Nankinjogatame and T-Hawk comes in to break up but Doi refuses to loose go and Kondo knocks Hawkdown into the corner and holds him there allowing Doi to keep the submission. Could have totally bought that being the end but Lindaman manages to escape and they do a little more stuff before Doi finally puts Lindaman down with a brainbuster to keep the tag belts. Cracking stuff.
Winners: Doi/Kondo (via brainbuster) ****1/4
Main Event – WRESTLE-1 Title Match: Manabu Soya (c) vs. Shotaro Ashino
Great main event. Like their previous match Ashino once again goes after the right arm. Soya tries to prevent it early on by gaining control and targeting Ashino’s neck, but Ashino comes back and goes right back after the arm which he does a really good job of targeting. However unlike their previous encounter the effect of it isn’t as great with Soya not selling it as much and shrugging off the pain a lot. I guess they didn’t want to match to be too similar to their other one so it’s fair but maybe they shouldn’t have done the arm work and left it after Soya prevented it in the beginning. That’s just a minor grievance though in what was still a very enjoyable match and there was a lot of good back and forth action on the go in the last 10 minutes that ends with a very compelling finish. Ashino gets Soya locked in the anklehold and despite Soya’s best efforts Ashino refuses to let go of it until eventually Soya is stuck in the middle of the ring unable to do anything, but he doesn’t submit, instead he hold his own arm to prevent himself from tapping as does his best to tolerate the pain which leads to the ref stopping the match in fear of Soya getting a serious injury(i guess?) so Ashino regains the belt. Did really love that ending of Soya refusing to lose grip of the title and I’m sure that means we’ll see a third match down the line since Soya never gave up.
All in all it certainly isn’t as good as their previous match but still pretty terrific overall just wish they would have handled a few things differently.
Winner: Ashino (via ref stoppage) ****
Overall I thought this was a really good show with a bunch of interesting debuts and really enjoyable matches. think the tag title match was my favourite but the Ashino/Soya match weren’t too far behind though. Been really liking WRESTLE-1’s 2018.
Thanks for reading.
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