KANSAI PRO-WRESTLING FESTIVAL 2015
2015/05/31 (SUN) 16:00│Kobe, Hyogo • Kobe World Memorial Hall│10,000 Spectators (Super No Vacancy Full House)
※The KANFES 2015 crowd got warmed up before the TV/PPV broadcast with a tag-team dark match, between Yutaka Awano & ARMADA's Yukio Kisanuki, and tour debutants Ryo Nozawa & Kappei Nakao. Although Nozawa & Nakao put on a brave attempt, Awano powered through the rookies for several near-falls. Kisanuki meanwhile bent and stretched the greenhorns as best he could. The experience and strength of Awano & Kisanuki won out though, as Awano stretched out Nozawa with a camel clutch for a submission win...
Match #0: 1 Fall, 15-Minute Time Limit
[7 minutes, 57 seconds]
※The live broadcast opened with what has become the customary video signature which opens every KJPW transmission. Showcasing fast paced clips -- largely taken from the 4/17 KING x KING event, the video ends with a hero shot of Kazuma Fujita proudly displaying the Unified Double Titles -- and finally the KJPW emblem. Next we have the official opening video for the event. Set to an ambient shot of night time Hyogo, the text "Since 5/31/2002..." As the superimposed text hangs over the panning shot, audio snippets can be heard. While initially inaudible, it's eventually clear that the audio is commentary from 2001-era Burning Spirit Pro-Wrestling broadcasts, as specific references were made to matches from BSPW's debut series climax on 2001/05/31. Keeping on BSPW, further audio references were made to their 2nd anniversary event on 2003/05/31, which featured the awaited in-ring return of GENJI YAMATO, in addition to a bout still talked about today between Kazuma Fujita and "MAMMOTH" Furiano. Fujita's emotional post-match speech is prominently featured...
With the tempo of the music picking up, the night shot shifts to day: outside of the famous Kazuma Fujita Dojo. Cutting to file footage on 2004/05/31 of the Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium, Pro-Wrestling FURY's DREAM + INFINITE (ed. note: The show has sadly been ravaged by time, and YG's poor archival practices) event, very brief clips of matches featuring Kazuma Fujita, Tetsuhisa NAKAI, Kenji Tanamura, Hiroaki Nakata, Yoshihiro Shimoda, ATSUKA, Kyoto Okazaki, Genji Yamato, Yoshikazu Kanda, and notable legends such as James Goodwin and "The Superstar" Jason Ramsey were shown, primarily focusing on the momentous student-vs-teacher match that saw Tetsuhisa NAKAI topple Kazuma Fujita. The footage then jumped to the following year, which saw Tetsuhisa NAKAI once more attempt to shock the world by beating his elder. However, he bit off too much to chew as he challenged Genji Yamato for the Unified Double Titles. While he would come scarcely close to repeating his performance from the prior year, NAKAI would succumb to Yamato's trademark Diamond Blue knee strike.
The video proceeded to skip the next few years, while throwing in occasional clips featuring wrestlers such as Hayato Saigo, Jet Jaguar, Wataru Yamada, Keisuke Rongai, Ryuugo Nagashima, GALLEON, Riki Ichiro, Norihiro Akashi, Manabe Tsuji, RYUJI, Naoki Fukuda, and Mamoru Sekishima. Cutting back to the night shot of Kansai, the text "In 2015... The Legend..." slowly emerged onto the screen. Suddenly however, the screen cut to black, with a red stamped symbol translating to, "CONTINUES!"
With the music kicking into gear, rapid cuts of various competing wrestlers are shown doing a variety of activities. Panning shots of Kenji Tanamura and his Hybrid Corps ARMADA students hitting heavy bags and grappling are matched with another panning shot of the disciples of Ryo Inoue taking stern instruction. The shots are carefully fashioned -- with ARMADA being displayed in light colors, while T.A.P. were prominently featured in dark colors.
Riki Ichiro is shown simply sprinting down the coastline beaches. His pace appears almost superhuman, with the camera honing in on his expression of intense determination. Striking a stark contrast, shots of Norihiro Akashi playing a game of poker were shown. With smoke filtering through the shot, Akashi was clearly in his element wearing a slanted fedora. Being dealt his hand, Akashi could not resist but to burst out laughing as he noticed a particular card. With the camera fixed on the center of the table, Akashi dramatically slammed the card face up, revealing -- of course, the Joker.
Cutting to quick shots of "Long Beach, U.S.A." clips of the legendary foreigner James Goodwin Sr. diligently watching his two sons -- James Goodwin Jr. and "BIG" Jon Goodwin -- train over two non-descript wrestlers. Focused intently on the still intimidating elder, Goodwin dramatically called for the end with a thumbs down! Cutting to the ring, the Goodwins punish the unfortunate soul tasked with being in the ring with them -- ending with the devastating Goodwin Death Bomb. Contrast to this are clips of Kazuma Fujita and Genji Yamato training together for their match in a scene very reminiscent of 80's sports movies -- complete with Fujita and Yamato dramatically clasping hands as a symbol of their unified front.
Returning to the night shot of Hyogo, the camera slowly panned back, revealing the massively broad shoulders of the 198cm Mamoru Sekishima staring on towards the seemingly infinite cityscape -- symbolizing his limitless ambition. What followed was file footage of Naoki Fukuda, quickly documenting his meteoric rise to the top of Japanese Pro-Wrestling in 2009. Keeping with the theme, shots of Naoki Fukuda walking up red velvet steps are shown, in addition to a throne. Taking his place as the defacto King of KJPW, the camera honed in carefully on Naoki's face, before cutting to footage of Mamoru Sekishima's victory on 4/17, along with much of the lead up to this fated bout.
With the video slowly wrapping up, quick clips of other wrestlers including FIGHTING LOVE!, and most of the Jr. Heavyweight stars. The video ended on a tight shot of Kobe World Memorial Hall. Once again repeating the phrase, "In 2015, the LEGEND CONTINUES!"
※The night's first official match was a meeting between members of Genji Yamato's FIGHTING LOVE! group. "Blood & Thunder" by Mastodon signaled the "Young Noble" Hajime Kon, and his partner for the night, Hawaiian prodigy Maleko Momoa, both of whom got good responses from the crowd. "Stronger" from Kanye West & Daft Punk played next, which brought out the "Prince of FIGHTING LOVE!," Kohei Obata, teaming tonight with FL!'s King of the Super Junior representative, Yusuke Kishimoto.
The match was truly a spectacle to show off what the four had learned, and how they've developed since the re-opening of KJPW. Momoa, in particular, was eager to show off that, perhaps, it should have been HE that was picked to go to KOSJ, taking it to his cohort Kishimoto for most of the match. Obata and Kon were also eager to outdo one another, but while Kon had a power advantage, Obata's quick decision making and adaptability made it difficult for Kon to keep him down. Indeed, Kon's susceptibility to submissions came into play again, when Obata got Kon into Lock Kohei, but Momoa broke that particular hold. Afterwards, Momoa and Kishimoto went at it again, Kishimoto getting the better of Momoa at last with a leaping shoulder block that had Momoa seeing stars. Momoa laid out, Kishimoto ascended the ropes. Kon entered to rescue his partner, but so did Obata! Obata then tried to mimic his sensei with a DIAMOND BLUE... but KON CAUGHT OBATA FOR A THUNDERING POWERBOMB! But it was too late to rescue Momoa, as Kishimoto hit his Splat! 630-degree rotating senton bomb from the top rope for a 3-count!
After the gong rang, there was a bit of tensions between the members, but in the end they all huddled up and waved to the Kobe crowd, who applauded graciously...
Match #1: 1 Fall, 20-Minute Time Limit
~ FIGHTING LOVE! ~ Presents... KANFES 2015 Opening Tag Match
[10 minutes, 18 seconds]
※ The next match began in militaristic... almost cult-like fashion, as the bespoke theme music for Total Attack Puroresu sounded up. To pomp and fanfare, the members of T.A.P. entered the arena, in order of rank - Daichi Kurumada first, followed by Shuji Kido, and finally Takumi Amano. All three men took their place in the ring, as their procession left into the back again, each standing almost as if at attention, waiting for their orders...
The silence was broken by the sounds of "FORCES" by Susumu Hirasawa, and the entrance of a Hybrid Corps ARMADA team, Yusaku Kitajima, Harumi Sakai, and the returning Yuichi Miwa! Miwa's eye still looked as if it bore the injury dealt to him by Shuji Kido at KING X KING on 4/17, but Miwa was ready for a fight. And fight they did, once the opening gong rang!
The match wasn't flashy, but it was hard-hitting. It started with Sakai and Kurumada going at one another, each man hitting with hard strikes to the other. Kurumada attempted to lock in a jujigatame on Sakai, but Sakai quickly reached the ropes, and was having none of it. Sakai tagged in Kitajima, who went to work on the youngest "wolf" in T.A.P.'s pack. Kitajima worked over Kurumada's arm, and looked as if he was near submission, but Kido and Amano barked orders at the youngster, to NOT give up under ANY circumstances. Eventually Kurumada reached the ropes, and quickly tagged in Amano, who got caught in a snap German Suplex by Kitajima for a two-count. Amano caught Kitajima in a rear naked choke, however, and nearly gave in himself! However, he too got a foot on the rope for a mostly clean break, Amano ramming Kitahima's head into the canvas before the referee put a stop to that!
Amano tagged in Kido, and Kido continued the punishment on Kitajima, but Kitajima managed to escape with a quick brainbuster, and tagged in Miwa! Miwa acted every bit of his "Berserker" nickname on Kido! Kido practically DARING Miwa to strike, and he did with blatant closed fist punches to the head! Kido responded in kind with kicks to Miwa's head, near his still-injured eye, before catching Miwa with a Dragon Suplex hold! ONE, TWO, near fall but kick out!! Kido whipped Miwa to the ropes, but Miwa countered! Kido off the ropes ran right into a beautiful dropkick from Miwa!! Kido got up but was staggering! Miwa! BERSERKER KNEEEEEEEEEE.... ONE! TWO! THREEEEEEEE!!!
ARMADA celebrated in the ring, with Miwa declaring that next, "It was Tanamura-senpai's turn to shut Inoue up once and for all!"
Match #2: 1 Fall, 30-Minute Time Limit
Martial Wars PROLOGUE / Yuichi Miwa Return Match ~ Hybrid Corps ARMADA versus Total Attack Pro-Wrestling
[10 minutes, 1 second]
Takumi Amano [T.A.P.]
Shuji Kido [T.A.P.] ●
Daichi Kurumada [T.A.P.]
※The spotlight switched to the colorful and high flying stars of the Jr. Heavyweight division -- first with an exciting 6-man tag match largely focusing on the continuing battles between the Jr. Seikigun and KyouHonGan. Tonight however, both sides were given an International flare by way of EXODUS Pro-Wrestling's developmental promotion -- R(E)VOLUTION Pro as bright and talented youths Caleb Storm and Simon Raines lent their aid to each side. Storm teamed alongside Jr. Heavyweight luminaries ATSUKA and Yoshihiro Shimoda, while Raines found himself teaming with staunch heels Kazuki Sendo and S☆S Star. While the predominant-KHG team received their share of fanfare -- with Sendo and Star entering wearing matching Visual Kei inspired outfits, their reactions paled in comparison to the ovation their opponents received, largely due to the popularity of Osaka-born ATSUKA, who was as animated as ever in rousing the Kansai fans.
Naturally, the juniors pushed a fast pace from the early going, which saw the Seikigun side shine -- largely due to the efforts of Yoshihiro Shimoda. Their opponents however quickly gained control after taking the fight to the outside. S☆S Star earned loud jeers for his actions in particular, which saw him attack ATSUKA with the time keeper's hammer before wrapping a television cord around his neck to constrict oxygen! In the ring however, the two R(E)VO representatives showcased their skills against one another. Showing a deep familiarity with one another, both wrestlers seemed to almost play a chess game they saw many of their signatures countered by the other. Ultimately however, tempers flared causing the two Americans to trade volatile blows. Just as a stalemate seemed apparent, it would be Kazuki Sendo's timely interference which would give the KHG side control.
Switching from rule breaking to smooth team work, Sendo, Star, and Raines made frequent use of tags to keep Storm isolated. Even in his first match, Storm had already developed something of a connection to the crowd -- who rallied behind the young American. Ultimately, Caleb would come back in a huge way -- catching Sendo after a reversal with his backflip uranage called Taken By Storm! This led to the timely tag to Yoshihiro Shimoda, who earned a huge reaction as he single-handedly took all three opponents down with a series of crushing body kicks. Shimoda's strong lead gave the Seikigun side control for the next few minutes -- allowing him and ATSUKA to demonstrate their renowned teamwork. Soon, ATSUKA found himself the legal man working over Star with a variety of lucha-inspired submissions -- including one submission that involved spread-eagling Star for some laughs, and some shrieks... The match seemed to end just as it was getting good, with Simon Raines using his Phuket Running Knee to soundly pin his R(E)VO contemporary!
Match #3: 1 Fall, 30-Minute Time Limit
Starships Take Flight!! ~ Special International 6-Man Tag Match
[9 minutes 32 seconds]
※We then came to the first of four title bouts tonight, as "The Outlaw" Kyoto Okazaki defended his Mexico-won AALL Intercontinental Welterweight Title against the phenomenal Hayato Saigo in a highly anticipated bout between juniors from two distinctive backgrounds... Earning a great ovation from the Kansai crowd, Hayato Saigo entered with a poised look of determination to continue his trailblazing since leaving his home promotion Pro-Wrestling CRIMSON several years ago. Despite being a heel through and through, the champion had his share of fanfare as well from the fans who have been following Okazaki since his modest beginnings in Pro-Wrestling FURY in 2002.
Showing no respect for his own championship, Okazaki attacked Saigo during the title bout proclamations, getting the match off to a fast start. Following the prior match which featured KHG, Okazaki dragged Saigo to the outside and immediately begun using whatever he could get his hands on to hurt the challenger. Despite numerous referee reprimands, Okazaki continued his rule breaking until just pushing the official to his absolute limit. After getting Saigo back in the ring, Okazaki continued to ground him with kicks and stomps. Knowing his opponent well, Okazaki set his sights on Saigo's surgically reconstructed knees before ultimately applying a nasty Figure Four Leg Lock! Not wanting to give Okazaki the satisfaction, Saigo showed incredible guts in fighting through the hold. While sitting up, Saigo defiantly shouted back at the champion to "DO YOU WORST!" This angered Okazaki, who released the hold to inflict further damage... This appeared to be Saigo's plan however, as he made a one-legged counter-attack with scrappy right and left hands. Ultimately, Saigo went for broke -- using his targeted legs to kick Okazaki in the corner. The move would eventually prove to be costly after Okazaki used his shin to block Saigo's kick -- causing bone-on-bone contact!
The pace began to pick up at this point. While Okazaki continued to focus on Saigo's knees, he eventually started to pull out larger moves in an effort to end the persistent challenger's campaign once and for all. This of course allowed Saigo another opportunity to comeback -- namely after countering Okazaki's Running Powerbomb attempt with a Hurricarana over the ropes! With the champion spilling to the outside, Saigo momentarily weighed his options. With the fans wildly cheering, Saigo nodded in understanding, before POUNDING HIS OWN KNEES! Leaping to his feet, Saigo proceeded to come off the ropes with a cartwheel backflip -- before FLYING OVER THE ROPES ONTO OKAZAKI!!! All 10,000 fans ERUPTED in cheers for a move Saigo has not years in years! Still showing no effects, Saigo jumped to his feet before striking a heroics guts pose! After getting the champion back into the ring, Saigo continued with brutal palm strikes and elbows. After thwarting a counter-attack, Saigo would fold Okazaki in half with a beautiful German Suplex hold for a two count!
Saigo would continue to go on a tear -- seemingly coming within inches of grasping the AALL Intercontinental Welterweight belt. However, it would prove to be more difficult that it seemed after Okazaki bided his time long enough to counter Saigo's trademark brainbuster by slipping down his back -- and connecting with his SUPER REDHAWK (Lung Blower) IN ONE MOTION! The shocking move was enough to nearly give the champion a successful defense, as Saigo would kick out at 2.5! The move appeared to have dealt severe damage Saigo had a hard time recovering. However, this appeared to be strategy more than anything as he suddenly popped to life after Okazaki positioned himself for his match-ending Moonsault press. With Okazaki helpless, Saigo JUMPED ONTO THE TOP ROPE before delivering an AVALANCHE-STYLE GERMAN SUPLEX !! The impact sent both men CRASHING to the mat! Momentum sent Okazaki onto his feet -- who walked straight into Saigo's VERTICAL BRAINBUSTER!! Saigo covered the champion as the referee counted, ONE... TWO... THR--2.9!! With the fans solidly behind the challenger, Saigo went for broke after carefully positioning Okazaki in the corner. After climbing to the top rope, Saigo closed his eyes before performing his breathtaking PHOENIX SPLASH -- CRUSHING THE CHAMPION!!! The referee made the diving count, ONE! ...TWO!! ...THREE!!!
Match #4: 1 Fall, 45-Minute Time Limit
AALL Intercontinental Welterweight Title Match
[13 minutes, 39 seconds]
※Kyoto Okazaki fails to defend. Hayato Saigo is the new champion.
Loud chants of "SA-I-GO!" reverberated throughout Kobe World Hall as the new champion was presented his new title belt. Okazaki was quickly carried off by Kazuki Sendo and S☆S, allowing Saigo to celebrate his victory in the ring. Wearing his brand new championship, Saigo once more struck a guts pose in front of camera men as they snapped his photo.
※Would HOT LIMIT share the fate of their KHG contemporary? We were about to find out, as Wataru Yamada and Keisuke Rongai of KHG defended their AALL Tag Team titles against the ever-popular masked hero team of Jet Jaguar and GALLEON -- DREAM HEROES. Speaking of whom, both Jaguar and GALLEON arrived with Big Match entrance gear -- inspired largely by the Metal Hero genre of tokusatsu. In a clear homage to Kamen Rider, Jaguar and GALLEON rode into Kobe World Memorial Hall in matching Rider Machine motorcycles to a gigantic ovation. In stark contrast to the challenger's over-the-top entrance, HOT LIMIT arrived with nothing but a look of disdain for their opponents. Clearly not impressed with Jaguar and GALLEON's entrance, Rongai and Yamada kicked over the two Rider Machines to earn a mixture of boos and slight laughter from the fans...
Unlike the last two matches featuring KHG wrestlers, this match actually got off without a pre-match ambush. Starting the bout off were Keisuke Rongai and GALLEON in a match of Power vs. Finesse. Being one of the men responsible for training both Rongai AND Yamada, GALLEON seemed to have Rongai's number early on in a series of grappling exchanges -- much to the champion's ire. Eventually, Rongai would resort to grabbing a handful of GALLEON's lion-inspired mask to gain the upper hand. After tagging out to the technician of the team -- Wataru Yamada, the two displayed great teamwork and strategy in keeping GALLEON isolated... However before they could do much damage, the crafty GALLEON would find an opening to comeback and tag in Jet Jaguar! Always popular with the children, Jaguar entered the ring to a tremendous ovation as he unleashed a flurry of kicks to both HOT LIMIT members! After sending Rongai to the outside, Jaguar unleashed a series of attacks onto the defenseless Yamada, who soon found himself escaping to the outside... However, retreating would not be an option as Jaguar AND GALLEON dove onto the recovering Rongai and Yamada with STEREO TOPE SUICIDAS!
After getting Yamada back into the ring, Jaguar tried to further end the match after dropping Yamada on his head with a Fisherman's Buster! However, Rongai would be there to prevent Jaguar from capitalizing. With both teams reaching a middle ground in the match, Rongai and Yamada would eventually take back control after Rongai blindly caught Jaguar with an enzuilariat. After being tagged in, Rongai further hurt Jaguar with a Powerslam. After a failed pin attempt, Rongai began stretching Jaguar like a ragdoll -- using a modified Cobra Twist on the canvas. Even while masked, a look of extreme pain could be seen on Jaguar's face. With GALLEON leading the crowd, Jaguar was able to fight his way to a standing position -- before using a hip throw to ultimately escape! This allowed Jaguar to make the tag to an eager GALLEON, who quickly caught Rongai with a volley of attacks culminating with an Abisegiri rolling heel kick to the face! Eventually, GALLEON would even trap Rongai in his match-ending Grand Pressure submission! However, Wataru Yamada would make the timely save -- likely saving their belts in the process.
This interference allowed Yamada to get the tag, as he pulled out bigger moves to punish GALLEON, including a high-impact Backdrop, and a German Suplex. It was at this point that HOT LIMIT turned up the head. GALLEON found himself even more isolated as Yamada was wise to frequently cut Jaguar off before he could even get involved. This proved to be a brilliant strategy for HOT LIMIT, as the two nearly finished GALLEON after a flurry of double team combinations -- including an incredible Powerbomb/Superplex combination which saw Rongai essentially Powerbomb Yamada while he Superplexed GALLEON from the top! Just as it seemed GALLEON was done for, Jaguar would make the last second save, preventing the pinfall!
With Rongai dispatching Jaguar to the outside before following, Wataru Yamada looked to finish his mentor once and for all. However, as he aimed to spike GALLEON with his SS Arrow cross-legged Falcon Arrow, GALLEON suddenly sprung to life -- catching with a Fisherman's Buster of his own! With the Kansai crowd sensing a second title change, GALLEON measured the staggered Yamada up as he got to his feet. Setting the champion up for the Dividing Driver, GALLEON hooked Yamada's arms before lifting him up -- ONLY FOR YAMADA TO KICK HIS LEGS! After landing back on his feet, GALLEON found himself suddenly countered -- with Yamada going behind and grabbing a waistlock. After several back-and-forth counters, Yamada would find the opportunity to craftily hook GALLEON in his trademark Triangle Lancer submission hold! However, with GALLEON positioned precariously, Yamada hooked GALLEON's leg to pin his shoulders to the mat...!!! ONE! ...TWO!! ...THREE!!!
Match #5: 1 Fall, 45-Minute Time Limit
AALL Tag Team Titles Match
[14 minutes, 26 seconds]
※Yamada and Rongai successfully defend their championships.
The fans were seemingly caught off guard by the sudden result -- as was Jaguar! HOT LIMIT were quick to leave ringside -- with their championships in hand. Yamada couldn't help but to have an ear-to-ear grin after pinning his mentor -- clean no less! While looking dejected, GALLEON received a great ovation from the Kansai fans, who encouraged him not to give up. Jaguar too patted GALLEON on the back, before raising his arm before all four sides of the ring...
※Kobe World Memorial Hall suddenly took a shade of PINK in the arena, as the sulky and seductive theme of "Mr. Hard Body" played out. Two scantily clad women lead out both OSAKA WILDSTYLE, the team of Manabe Tsuji & RYUJI, and the women's' "special friend," Shin Dark Triad's "Mr. Hard Body" Tsutomu Nishioka. Tsuji & RYUJI both carried chairs with them, as this is a NO DISQUALIFICATION STREET FIGHT... but only Nishioka and his lady friends made it to the ring! Tsuji & RYUJI lay in wait at the ring entrance! "Machinegun Samurai" kicked in, and the crowd tried to yell and warn... but it was too late and Hiroaki Nakata and Ryuugo Nagashima both got CLOBBERED with the chairs by OSAKA WILDSTYLE!
But OUT CAME TETSUHISA NAKAI, the one who wanted this as a Street Fight! And he had a CHAIN, which he used to WHIP Tsuji and RYUJI, before rushing the ring and BRAWLING with Nishioka! The gong finally rang, without introductions, but there was no need! NAKAI whipped Nishioka to the ropes, and lariat sent the muscleman down! But a recovered RYUJI clobbered NAKAI with a chair! NAKAI was dazed, but grabbed the chair right out of his hands, and sent him crashing down! Nakata hit the ring, with Tsuji in hand, and laid Tsuji out with a DDT right onto a chair! Cover, ONE, TWO, KICKOUT!!
Nakata, a man possessed against the men who betrayed him, locked in a wakigatame on Tsuji to try to get him to submit, but RYUJI was having none of it, and began stomping on the head of Nakata! Nagashima came to Nakata's aid with a rolling elbow on RYUJI sure to have him seeing stars! Meanwhile NAKAI took great pleasure in chopping away at Nishioka, but Nishioka reversed NAKAI into the corner and began chopping away at NAKAI himself! NAGASHIMA! R-BRACER ON NISHIOKA, AS NAKAI HITS A LARIAT!! Cover by NAKAI! ONE! TWO! NO KICKOUT!!
NAKAI and Nagashima both went after OSAKA WILDSTYLE outside the ring while Nishioka clashed with Nakata inside the ring. Tsuji and Nagashima went back and forth against the guardrail, while RYUJI hit the far superior NAKAI with a low blow! But this is NO DQ! RYUJI got NAKAI across the head with NAKAI's own chain, and the big man went down! RYUJI then began CHOKING NAKAI!! Insanity! Tsuji and Nagashima continued their brawling, until Nagashima got the upper hand! Nagashima cleared a ringside table, and lifted Tsuji up! INVERTED NORTHERN LIGHTS BOMB--- DRAGON DRIVER THROUGH THE TABLE!!! NO WAY!!!
Nakata continued to brawl away with Nishioka! DRAGON SUPLEX on Nishioka, followed up by a ZANZAI KICK TO THE HEAD!! ONE! TWO! ANOTHER KICKOUT AND THEN CAME RYUJI WITH A CHAIR! RYUJI HAMMERED AWAY ON NAKATA TO THE POINT OF UNCONSCIOUSNESS! RYUJI and Nishioka lifted up Nakata! They threw Nakata into the corner, but then NISHIOKA! BODY AVALANCE WITH DOUBLE FOREARM ATTACK!! MUSCLE EXPLOSIONNNNNNN!! ONE! TWO! THREEEEEEEE!!!
The gong rang, and Nishioka FLEXED over Nakata triumphantly. As his female companions caressed him suggestively, Nishioka got on the house mic, and declared "Fukuda... Sekishima... it doesn't matter who wins the HEC tonight. BECAUSE I'M GOING TO TAKE IT FROM YOU!!" As the crowd voiced their displeasure, NAKAI stormed back in the ring, rushing at Nishioka, but Nishioka and his ladies managed to escape...
Match #6: 1 Fall, 30-Minute Time Limit
Kansai! Brace for... IMPACT!!
No Disqualification Death Match
[10 minutes, 29 seconds]
Manabe Tsuji [FREE]
※While lacking the "MAIN EVENT" marquee, one of the most anticipated matches of the night took place next as Riki Ichiro defended his WWA National Heavyweight Championship against the enigmatic "Nightmare Child" Norihiro Akashi. Emotions quickly escalated between the two last month after Akashi publicly set his sights on Ichiro's championship -- a championship Ichiro has protected for many years.
Continuing the theme of Big Match entrances, Norihiro Akashi entered wearing an outfit and makeup clearly lifted from The Joker of Batman fame -- to further illustrate Akashi's anarchistic persona. This too was contrasted by the champion's arrival -- none too pleased by Akashi's theatrics.
Before the match, a special guest was introduced before the crowd -- former head of the World Wrestling Alliance, and multiple-time World Heavyweight Champion ERIC DANE appeared to read off the title proclamations. Curiously, Dane signed the document as "President of the World Wrestling Alliance," which is no longer an active entity...
With a look of extreme disdain, Ichiro held nothing back from the moment the gong sounded. While Akashi stepped out with an irritating smile on his feet, Ichiro attempted to wipe it off his face with WILD ELBOWS AND CHOPS! While almost enjoying the pain, Akashi fought back with blows of his own, starting the match off hot! Eventually, Ichiro's emotions would cost him as Akashi caught him with a measured knee to the body, before throwing him to the outside. There, Akashi mocked and belittled Ichiro with petty kicks and slaps as Ichiro laid up against the steel security railing. However, Ichiro soon came back -- whipping Akashi violently into the steel -- before proceeding with a WILD LARIAT to send Akashi tumbling over the steel! Still not in complete control of his temper, Ichiro climbed over and continued attacking Akashi, leading to the two fighting their way towards the backstage entrance! With the referee's 20-count audibly heard, both men continued their savagery until the referee reached 15, at which point Ichiro (who had gotten the better of the exchange) began to drag Akashi back to the ring... However, as the referee reached 18, Akashi suddenly struck -- SHOVING ICHIRO FACE-FIRST INTO THE STEEL RING POST! After quickly rolling into the ring, Akashi sensed an easy victory -- even striking a celebratory pose on his knees... However, Ichiro would BARELY SLIDE IN just before the 20 count! But even more, the post shot lacerated the champion!
With blood slowly drizzling from Ichiro's forehead, Akashi continued to assault him with measured kicks and elbows. Akashi soon hit the champion with a high-impact flapjack after catching Ichiro off the ropes. After landing a diving knee drop from the top rope, Akashi went for the first cover of the match -- only getting ONE from the unyielding champion. Digging deep into his bag of technical holds, Akashi proceeded to stretch Ichiro on the mat. The television camera took great care in showing Ichiro's now crimson-covered face... When it became clear Ichiro was never going to submit to a simple Stretch Plum, Akashi relented -- before following with another cover, once again only getting one. Showing some frustration himself now, Akashi looked to pull out larger moves from his bag of tricks. He would first use a nasty Backdrop to fold Ichiro in half. Not satisfied however, Akashi would soon get the go-behind -- aiming for his trademark German Suplex. However -- with the crowd solidly cheering the bloody champion, Ichiro countered with a go-behind! However, before he could get anything off, Akashi countered with a go-behind of his own, before DUMPING ICHIRO ON HIS HEAD WITH A VIOLENT GERMAN SUPLEX! Momentum sent Ichiro rolling onto his feet! While momentarily staggered, the champion's eyes SUDDENLY WIDENED, BEFORE ICHIRO COUNTERED WITH THE RIKI LARIAT!!!
The desperation attack sent Akashi doing a near 360 -- before landing violently on his head! Unable to make the cover however, Ichiro was forced simply to bide his time and recover. For the next few moments, both men laid motionless while the referee rendered his 10-count... Around the count of 5, both men finally begun stirring. After reaching their feet, the two men met gazes, before charging at one another with powerful elbows! The shots were so volatile that blood was literally FLYING from Ichiro's face -- making for quite the spectacle. The blood loss would began to be a huge problem for the champion, who found himself unable to follow through on his comebacks. At one point, Ichiro had Akashi lined up for another lariat, only to stagger himself after coming off the ropes! At that point, Akashi used a timely DDT to spike Ichiro into the mat.
Seemingly having his way with the champion, Akashi soon trapped Ichiro in his Nightmare Cascade (Lebell Lock) to try and finish the match once and for all... However, the defiant champion refused to submit! Slowly however, Ichiro's spirit begun to fade... After Ichiro seemingly went limp, Akashi released the hold and covered the champion! ONE! ...TWO! ...KICKOUT!! With Ichiro still showing life, Akashi reverted to applying a modified Nightmare Cascade -- in the form of a Crossface hold. With Ichiro showing some new life, the champion managed to reach the bottom rope for the escape!
With the fans solidly behind Ichiro, Akashi channeled his frustration into focus. As Ichiro got to a kneeling position, Akashi struck -- landing his trademark Nightmare Combination: a right-left kesagiri chop, proceeded by a POWERFUL kneeling lariat! Akashi covered once more! ONE! ...TWO! ...KICKOUT!! Not dissuaded, Akashi finally called for the finish! Pulling Ichiro's bloody, near-lifeless body to a standing position, the "Nightmare Child" hooked Ichiro's arm around his body -- the precursor for the Dream Weaver Lariat. Sensing the end, the fans erupted as Akashi pulled the trigger... ONLY FOR ICHIRO TO COUNTER WITH A BRRRRRUTAL HEADBUTT TO THE FACE! With his forehead now stained red with Ichiro's blood, Akashi's body sunk to the ground -- slumped against Ichiro's haggard body. With the crowd coming unglued, Ichiro made the biggest attempt to protect his belt in the match as he lifted Akashi overhead before SPIKING HIM WITH A NORTHERN LIGHT BOMB! Ichiro was fast to make the cover, sensing victory! The referee made the count, ONE! ...TWO! ...KICKOUT!!!
With the 10,000 fans split down the middle for both men, Ichiro rode the adrenaline rush by pulling the now staggered challenger to his feet. With the crowd reaching a fever pitch, Ichiro whipped Akashi off the ropes. After coming off the opposite end, Ichiro struck -- BLASTING AKASHI WITH THE RIKI LARIAT!!! Collapsing onto Akashi's body, Ichiro made the cover! ONE! ...TWO!! ...THR--2.999!!! Fans were seemingly in disbelief at the kick out, as a deafening roar came over Kobe World Memorial Hall. Now showing signs of an adrenaline dump, Ichiro looked somewhat bewildered... However, knowing he had one weapon left in his arsenal; Ichiro slowly pulled Akashi to his feet... After crossing Akashi's arms to shift his spinal alignment off-kilter, Ichiro lifted Akashi overhead once more -- aiming to finish him once and for all with his Aramusha cross-armed Northern Light Bomb... Just before Ichiro could pull the trigger however, AKASHI COUNTERS WITH A KNEE STRIKE TO THE TOP OF THE HEAD! While momentarily staggered, Ichiro suddenly ROARRRRRRS and maintains his balance!! However, ANOTHER knee to the crown suddenly DROPS ICHIRO TO ONE KNEE! Despite an awkward landing, Akashi positioned himself behind Ichiro, before hooking his arm and LANDING THE DREAM WEAVER LARIAT!!! Feeling the victory was assured, Akashi rolled Ichiro onto his back before dropping both knees over his chest for the pin! ONE! ...TWO!! ...THRE--2.999!!!
With the atmosphere equaling the peak earlier in the bout, Akashi's usual aloof nature was suddenly replaced by stark frustration. Albeit brief however, as Akashi pulled Ichiro's lifeless body up slowly... First one on knee, now two legs... Hooking Ichiro, Akashi used what remaining strength he had to lift the champion high vertically... BEFORE SENDING HIM VIOLENTLY CRASHING TO THE MAT WITH A HIGH-VELOCITY URANAGE -- THE NIGHTMARE CRASH!! Taking no chances, Akashi tightly hooked Ichiro's shoulders to the mat via grapevine as the referee counted, ONE! ...TWO!! ...THREE!!!
Match #7: 1 Fall, 45-Minute Time Limit
WWA National Heavyweight Title Match
※Riki Ichiro fails to defend. Norihiro Akashi becomes the 23rd champion.
Despite the split reaction, the crowd roared in appreciation from both men... Eric Dane presented Akashi with the WWA National Heavyweight Title while Ichiro was helped to the back... On the microphone, Akashi praised Ichiro for carrying the weight of this belt for all these years, but said his time has passed. Hinting at things to time, Akashi promised big plans for his newly won championship...
※The crowd buzzed with anticipation for the FIRST of the Triple Main Events tonight, which started off with the lights dimming and going ELECTRIC BLUE as "Climbatize" by the Prodigy was heard. Kobe instantly began their chants of "YA MA TO! YA MA TO!" as Genji Yamato entered the arena, striking his FIGHTING LOVE! pose at the entranceway! Yamato made his way in the ring, once again striking his pose to a massive round of cheering... but then, electric blue gave way to White and Yellow lights... as "NEVER SURRENDER" from Lion came over the PA, prompting "FU JI TA! FU JI TA!" from the crowd, at the entrance of the reigning J1 Rikidozan / Neo Japan Pro Wrestling Unified Heavyweight Champion, KAZUMA FUJITA! Fujita came, wearing his Double Title belts, slapping hands with the Kobe crowd, as he entered the ring, arms raised as if already in victory! Last April, it was unthinkable that Yamato and Fujita would fight one another. Now, something even MORE unthinkable - they are PARTNERED as LOVE + FURY!!
But their opponents are partners... and family. "Star of 666" by Vampires Everywhere started up, as the lights went red... out stepped, in scary monster masks, Double Goodwin - "BIG" Jon Goodwin and James Goodwin, Jr., who have antagonized both veterans since Fujita won the belts from Yamato. The brothers entered the ring, and while removing their masks, James Jr. immediately marched over to Fujita... and SPIT ON THE DOUBLE TITLES THAT FUJITA WAS STILL WEARING! The crowd was shocked and appalled, as was Fujita! Fujita demanded to go first, and Yamato relented, as the bell rang.
Fujita and James Jr. locked eyes, and Fujita went for a tie-up, but James Jr. ducked under it! Fujita turned around and got SLAPPED across the face! James Jr. then dared Fujita to hit him right in the chin, but Fujita SLAPPED THE TASTE OUT OF JAMES' MOUTH! Staggering, James Jr. took a quick Fujita Lariat to the ground, followed by a leg drop! Fujita covered, but only got a two count! Fujita picked James Jr. up, and began to wrench on his arm, trying to get a submission, but James Jr. managed to fight through it, and hit Fujita with an enzuiguri to the back of the head!
James Jr. quickly tried a jujigatame on Fujita, but Yamato quickly came in with the save, bringing out "BIG" Jon as well! While Fujita and James recovered, Jon chopped away at Yamato, before following with a chokeslam that sent the ring shaking! The referee restored order by sending both Yamato and Jon back to their corners, and not before a brutal brainbuster by James on Fujita! Cover! ONE! TWO! KICKOUT BY FUJITA! James picked Fujita up, whipped him to the ropes, but Fujita reversed! Dropkick by the Double Titles champion! Fujita tagged out to Yamato!
Yamato rushed in and threw James Jr. into a corner! Yamato followed with a reverse flip into SPACE ROLLING ELBOW!! James Jr. stumbled out of the corner into a FACE CRUSHER from Yamato! Cover! One! TWO! NO GOOD, KICKOUT BY JAMES JR.! Yamato snapmared James Jr., into a sleeper! But James fought his way up, pushing Yamato to the ropes, and Yamato was met with an elbow to the face! Down went Yamato, and James tagged in "BIG" Jon! Jon picked up Yamato, and attempted another chokeslam, but Yamato fought his way out of it! Yamato dropkick to the knees of "BIG" Jon, but the big man refused to go down easily! Sensing the futility of this, Yamato grabbed Jon and THREW HIM OVER THE ROPES TO THE FLOOR! As Jon staggered to get up, Yamato launched himself off the ring apron with a DIAMOND BLUE TO THE SKULL OF "BIG" JON!! The crowd at the World Memorial Hall went berserk at this! Yamato picked Jon up, and tried to throw him at the guardrail, but Jon reversed! Yamato crashed into the gate, before getting a BIG BOOT TO THE FACE, SENDING YAMATO OVER THE RAIL!!
The referee was halfway through his 20-count at this point. Jon picked Yamato up to throw him back in the ring, but not before throwing Yamato's head against the ring apron! Yamato was rolled in, as Jon LEAPT OVER THE ROPES FOR A LEG DROP! COVER! ONE! TWO! KICKOUT BY YAMATO! By this point the crowd was chanting "YA MA TO" as Fujita encouraged it from the outside! Jon picked up Yamato, readying him for a powerbomb, but Yamato reversed it into a backdrop, sending "BIG" Jon to the mat! Yamato then came off the ropes with a Flash Elbow!! Cover! ONE! TWO! THRE-NO!! KICKOUT BY JON!!
Yamato tagged in Fujita, but the pair first whipped Jon to the ropes for a double elbow strike! Fujita picked Jon up, twisting his right arm, and then unleashing a flurry of Mongolian Chops to the head and shoulders of the "BIG" Man. When that was enough, Fujita took Jon's neck, twisting him around for a neckbreaker! Cover! ONE! TWO! KICKOUT AGAIN! Fujita tried his luck with another cover, but another two-count! Fujita frustrated, picked up Jon and threw him to the ropes! Jon caught himself however, and Fujita rushed at Jon for a lariat, but Jon ducked! He caught Fujita by the throat! CHOKESLAM!! But Jon didn't cover! Instead, he tagged in James Jr., who immediately flipped over the Double Titles Champion into a ZAOS Clutch!! Fujita tried to fight it, but he could not drag himself in any way to the ropes! Yamato ran in to make a save with Diamond Blue, but James DUCKED! But it forced him to release the hold! Yamato helped Fujita to his feet, in order to make a legal tag! Yamato rushed at James, the two tying up, but Yamato won this round with a Fisherman's Buster!! James on the ground, Yamato locked the Goodwin into a figure-four leg lock! James Jr. was in immense pain, but managed to fight his way out of it via the ropes!! But as James got up, he staggered on one knee! Yamato ran at him with DIAMOND BLUE... BUT NO!! JAMES CAUGHT YAMATO!! AND POWERBOMBED THE LEGEND RIGHT INTO A CORNER!! HOLY TOLEDO!!
James tagged in Jon, who both took turns stomping away at Yamato in the corner! Jon set Yamato onto the top turnbuckle! Jon looked to get Yamato with a superplex, but Yamato fought it! The two struggled at the top rope, and Yamato finally won out! Yamato with a shoulder block right into the gut of "BIG" Jon! Yamato stood on the second rope and turned away from Jon... hooked his arms around Jon's neck... Jon began to fight it! And then came James Jr.! But Fujita met James and BLASTED HIM WITH A FUJITA LARIAT!!YAMATO!!! JUMPS FROM THE ROPES, BRINGING JON WITH HIM!! JON'S JAW IMPACTED ON YAMATO'S SHOULDER FROM THE TOP ROPE!! SUSANO'O STUNNERRRRRRRRR!
But it wasn't enough to totally bring Jon down!! Jon staggered to one knee!! Yamato leapt up! He set the exact angle he needed with his hands for a precise DIAMOND BLUEEEEEE!!! JON WENT DOWN! COVER! ONE! TWO! THREEEEEE!!!!
LOVE + FURY were victorious, and as Fujita helped Yamato to his feet, James Jr. dragged his brother out of the ring... but all the while, kept talking back at Yamato, saying he STILL hasn't been able to hit James with Diamond Blue yet!!....
Match #8: 1 Fall, 60-Minute Time Limit
TRIPLE MAIN EVENT I
Super Dream Tag Match
[15 minutes, 46 seconds]
※In the eyes of the Kansai fans, the biggest match was next on the card as a Dream Match never before imagined was finally realized. While this match would be an instant sellout anywhere in the country, the bout held a special place in the hearts and minds of the Kansai people -- from where Kenji Tanamura and Ryo Inoue have long-since made their name as regional icons. Born and raised in Kobe, Kenji Tanamura proudly represented the Kansai nation throughout his campaigns in judo, mixed martial arts, and pro-wrestling. The same, Inoue has remained closely associated with Kyoto and the Steel Wind Dojo. Despite hailing from Nagoya, Inoue has strongly identified himself with the Kansai people. Despite his aggressive demeanor, he is seen as something of a hero to the era of when men were no-nonsense tough guys.
With the crowd buzzing, it would be Ryo Inoue who would enter first to the familiar opening strings of the theme song from Martian Successor Nadesico -- "YOU GET TO BURNING." However, around the :19 mark, the song suddenly shifts to something slightly less familiar -- but familiar nonetheless: The theme of Kamen Rider Hibiki! One by one, the members of Total Attack Pro-Wrestling arrived on the stage in uniformed fashion. Amidst raised flags sporting the T.A.P. and Steel Wind emblems, RYO INOUE emerged from the stage wearing a black hood. Slowly, he made his way to the ring with the fans rabidly shouting his name. As the song reached its drum solo, Inoue dramatically entered the ring to huge reaction!
While Inoue's arrival was somewhat low key, Kenji Tanamura would finally live up to his "Gladiator King" moniker -- entering Kobe World Memorial Hall in Spartan-inspired entrance gear, complete with cracked helm! Entering to his trademark theme "The Final Countdown," Tanamura was swarmed by his KT-Club students -- who dawned similar gladiator gear. As his theme reached its crescendo, Tanamura removed his helm to an enormous ovation from the hometown crowd. Tanamura then began his march to the ring -- locking eyes with Ryo Inoue the entire time. Indeed, as Tanamura climbed into the ring -- It was the Final Countdown!
A tense, "Big Fight" atmosphere filled Kobe World Hall as two seemingly invincible warriors were set to do battle. With the crowd's anticipation reverberating throughout the building, time had stood still in the ring as Tanamura and Inoue stood motionless in their corner -- never taking their eyes off each other. Finally, we would see some movement as Inoue confidently made the first attack -- landing a stinging kick to Tanamura's thigh. Looking to return the favor, Tanamura would score with a leg kick of his own -- along with a taunting slap to raise Inoue's ire! However, Inoue seemed amused more than anything by Tanamura's candor. Dialing back the aggression, Tanamura proceeded to try and wrestle Inoue to the mat. However, Inoue used his masters in Judo to counter, leading to a beautifully slick grappling exchange with Inoue ending up on top. There, Inoue gave Tanamura something of a receipt with some petty slaps... This only proved to motivate Tanamura however, who used his proficient grappling background to SWEEP Inoue onto his back! Now with Tanamura on top, the "Gladiator King" quickly secured an arm before locking in a TIGHT CROSS ARMBREAKER!! However, Inoue's positioning allowed him to easily grab the ropes for the break...
While briefly shaking off the effects of the hold, Inoue was quick to launch a counter-attack with a takedown attempt. While Tanamura momentarily kept his balance, Inoue would take nearly everyone by surprise by pulling out a FLYING HAMMERLOCK -- bringing Tanamura to the mat! A clear throwback to his historic match from the late 90's against Hiroyoshi Tenzaki, Inoue secured the deadly submission -- coming within inches of separating Tanamura's shoulder!! However, Tanamura would kick his way towards the ropes, where he would finally grasp the bottom rope for the escape! After releasing the hold, Inoue stayed on his opponent -- landing a sharp kick to Tanamura's exposed arm, followed by a Hammerlock-Bodyslam. Inoue would once again try to secure an agonizing submission hold. However, Tanamura would scrape and kick to break his way free. After reaching a standing position, Tanamura unleashed a combination of strikes -- two kicks to the leg, a kick to the body, followed by a KNEEL KICK -- KNOCKING INOUE TO THE MAT! As Inoue scrambled into a defensive position in the corner, Tanamura used a surge of adrenaline to catch Inoue with a textbook RUNNING DROPKICK TO THE FACE! As Inoue staggered out, Tanamura hooked him from the waist, before FOLDING HIM IN HALF WITH A BACKDROP! Tanamura covered as the referee made the count! ONE! --KICKOUT! Wasting no time, Tanamura quickly came off the ropes as Inoue sat up -- before BLASTING HIM IN THE CHEST WITH A RUNNING SOCCER KICK! Once more, Tanamura went for the cover! ONE! ...KICK OUT!
Going back to what he knows, Tanamura wasted no time in taking advantage of Inoue's groggy state by applying a TRIANGLE HOLD! With a 60/40 crowd, loud chants of "I-NO-UE!" could be heard amongst the louder "TA-NA-MURA!" chants. With his own T.A.P. wards cheering him on, Inoue briefly played valiant babyface in refusing to submit. He would eventually mount a clever escape, before countering into a modified Achilles hold! Amidst loud "TA-NA-MURA!" chants, the "Gladiator King" was forced to swallow his pride and grab the ropes for the break... However, INOUE PULLED TANAMURA AWAY -- BEFORE APPLYING AN STF!! With the fans rabidly cheering Tanamura on, he would be forced to drag both he AND Inoue to the ropes before finally getting the escape to a huge reaction!
Attacking Tanamura like a predator attacks a wounded animal, Inoue began assaulting Tanamura's arm AND leg with kicks and stomps before locking in a brutal wakigatame -- targeting Tanamura's arm and shoulder! With the crowd reaching a fever pitch however, Tanamura went for broke and rolled forward with a counter -- landing on his feet after pulling his arm out from Inoue's grasp! With Inoue seated precariously, Tanamura BLASTED HIM IN THE FACE WITH CRUSHING KICK! The shot appeared so rough that it seemed to bust Inoue's mouth up! Unfortunately for Tanamura, he could not follow up with the attack due to fatigue, allowing both he and Inoue some time to recover... After doing so, both men met each other standing -- exchanging haggard blows in a sign of wear and tear. However, the strikes seemed only to inject life into both men, as the velocity behind each strike increased with every interchange. Finally, both men begun adjusting themselves defensively -- turning this pro-wrestling match almost into a kickboxing bout!
Landing two kicks, followed by a back-handed slap, Tanamura appeared to slowly be getting the upper hand over Inoue, who was seemingly unable to defend Tanamura's blinding shots. A nasty savate kick to the body sent Inoue scurrying into the corner. However, as Tanamura charged in, Inoue waited -- catching him perfectly with a STRAIGHT RIGHT HAND PUNCH TO THE JAW! Instantly, the shot dropped Tanamura to a knee -- almost too fast for the fans to register what had happened. As Tanamura staggered towards the center of the ring, Inoue raised his clinched right fist into the air in a clear sign for one of his deadliest attacks. Getting something of a running start, Inoue pulled the trigger as Tanamura turned around -- EATING INOUE'S DYNAMITE RIGHT HAND!! Tanamura stood -- almost frozen for a moment, before collapsing in a heap! The fall seemed unlike anything you'd normally see in pro-wrestling, causing fans to erupt with cries of concern!
Quickly, the referee jumped in to check on Tanamura's condition. However, Inoue immediately shoved him to the side before attempting to pull Tanamura up... However, Tanamura's body remained limp... A noticeable argument between the referee and Inoue could be seen as the referee essentially pleaded with Inoue to just pin him. Inoue instead shouted, "COUNT HIM DOWN, REFEREE!!" before walking over to a neutral corner... With a look of extreme distress, the referee reluctantly began to administer a 10-count to the fallen Tanamura. Despite near-unanimous chants of "TA-NA-MURA!", Tanamura would not start to move until EIGHT -- where he suddenly begun scrambling to a standing position! However, something was still not right with Tanamura as he beat the count, prompting the referee to closely examine him. Clearly asking him, "Tanamura-san, can you continue???" the referee seemed less than convinced by Tanamura's answer... However with Tanamura protesting he could continue, the referee allowed the match to continue...
With a glazed look over his eyes, Tanamura valiantly tried to fight back -- with his blows missing by a large margin each time... Finally, after ducking a wide-swing from Tanamura, Inoue struck -- BLASTING TANAMURA WITH A SECOND DYNAMITE RIGHT HAND!! Like a sack of bricks, Tanamura fell FACE FIRST onto the mat in a heap! Showing immediate concern, the referee forced his way between Inoue and the fallen Tanamura. Once more, Inoue forcibly grabbed the referee and demanded a 10-count. This time however -- seeing that Tanamura is clearly in no state to continue, THE REFEREE STOPPED THE MATCH!!
Match #9: 1 Fall, 60-Minute Time Limit
TRIPLE MAIN EVENT II
THE BATTLE FOR LIFE AND DEATH
[14 minutes, 35 seconds]
Ryo Inoue [T.A.P.] ○
The crowd appeared slightly dissatisfied with the finish of the match, but applauded the skills of Ryo Inoue regardless -- no matter how ruthless they might be... Immediately after the gong sounded, representatives from both ARMADA and T.A.P. flooded the ring to tend to their respective masters. Tempers immediately flared between some of the more brash members of each faction -- forcing officials to intervene... The crowd quieted to a hush as Tanamura was stretchered out of the arena, much to Inoue's amusement. Despite the respect the fans had shown him earlier in the match, Inoue elicited a roar of boos after taking the ARMADA flag, tearing it in half and STOMPING on it before raising the T.A.P. flag overhead!
※5/31 has seen its share of epic encounters between the biggest titans in Japanese Pro-Wrestling. Tonight, Naoki Fukuda and Mamoru Sekishima attempted to make a comparable impression in the hearts and minds of Pro-Wrestling fans world-wide as they competed tonight to determine the 6th Honorary Emperor's Crown Heavyweight Champion!
In one of the few uses of licensed songs, Mamoru Sekishima made his arrival before hometown Hyogo to the loud ROARRRRR of Godzilla, proceeded by "Mama Said Knock You Out" by LL Cool J. Slowly, the 198cm "Greco Superman" was elevated onto the stage to a GIGANTIC roar from the Kobe-natives -- many who have followed Mamoru since even before his Pro-Wrestling days! Carrying the poise of a main eventer, Sekishima showed no nerve as he marched to the ring -- matching the intensity of his walk out song. Upon entering the ring, the crowd showered him once more with cheers and affection -- momentarily causing Sekishima to break and show emotion.
Next was the arrival of the man to last hold the HEC Heavyweight Championship. In fact, he would be considered to be the spiritual holder of the title as he was never beaten for it. Entering to his long-time theme, "LAST FIGHT" by DAKK -- "DAUNTLESS" Naoki Fukuda ascended into Kobe World Memorial Hall in a flowing robe sporting red with gold trim. Matching Sekishima's intensity, Fukuda marched to the ring with the purpose of reclaiming his title of not just HEC Heavyweight Champion, but ACE of Kingdom of Japan Pro-Wrestling.
President Shigesato Ishiyama personally read the HEC Heavyweight Title proclamations, before giving his official endorsement as President. Despite a long night of incredible action, the Kansai fans lived up to their reputation as being the greatest fans in Japan by showing no fatigue whatsoever. Deafening chants for both men flooded Kobe World Memorial Hall as the two competitors were properly introduced. Showing no fear towards the other, both men got in each other's faces after their introduction -- garnering a big reaction from the crowd prior to being separated... With everything out of the way, it was time to determine WHO WOULD BECOME ACE OF KJPW!
As the gong sounded, the crowd immediately roared with applause. Slowly, chants of "MA-MO-RU!" bubbled to the surface, prompting Naoki to play to the crowd in an attempt to gain fanfare. Indeed, the long-time Fukuda fans made themselves heard with audible "FU-KU-DA!" chants. With the crowd completely into the atmosphere, both men begun circling the other before finally locking up! Despite his size advantage, Mamoru struggled against the Mastodon strength of Fukuda, who powered Sekishima into the ropes. While the referee forced the break, Fukuda teased a cheap shot -- only to patronize Sekishima with a gently tap on the chest... After circling once more, both competitors locked horns once again. This time, it was Sekishima who would force Fukuda into the ropes. As he went to break however, Mamoru flipped the script -- BLASTING THE FORMER CHAMPION WITH A BLASTERING CHOP ACROSS THE CHEST! The shot earned Mamoru a slight reprimand by the referee, giving Naoki a moment to recover. Returning to the attack, Mamoru was quick to clamp on a side headlock, forcing Fukuda to use his strength to power him into the ropes. With the 198cm, 120kg Sekishima charging at him, Fukuda couldn't stop himself by being knocked to the ground as a result of Mamoru's shoulder block. As Mamoru continued his sprint, Fukuda rolled onto his stomach -- forcing Sekishima to jump over! On the follow through, Naoki displayed amazing agility by narrowly LEAPFROGGING over the 198cm Sekishima. As Sekishima came at Fukuda once more, Naoki struck -- CATCHING SEKISHIMA WITH AN OVERHEAD FRONT SUPLEX (Belly-to-Belly)! The impressive attack prompted Fukuda to go for the first cover of the match -- only for Mamoru to easily kick out before one.
Switching tactics, Naoki proceeded to keep Mamoru grounded with a rear chinlock. Everytime Mamoru would try to fight back, Naoki would knock him down a peg by driving his knee deep between Sekishima's shoulder blades. With the crowd soundly supporting him however, Sekishima managed to get to a standing position, forcing Naoki to try to further ground him with pummeling blows. The shots however only feed Sekishima, who answered with a CLUBBING right hand to the side of Fukuda's face! After a whip into the corner, Mamoru showed his own agility by CRASHING into Fukuda in the corner at a high velocity. As something of a receipt from earlier, Mamoru grabbed Fukuda in a bear hug, and with no help from momentum at all -- HURLED FUKUDA OVERHEAD WITH A FRONT SUPLEX! Returning the favor even more, Sekishima trapped Fukuda in a painful neck vice in an effort to wear down the former champion more. Soon, Mamoru's hold morphed into an excruciatingly painful Cobra Twist! With Naoki's fans beginning to rally, Fukuda valiantly struggled for the ropes -- before finally grasping the top rope with his free hand!
Earning the break, Fukuda escaped to the outside where he took a moment to catch his breath. Not wanting that however, Mamoru followed to the outside, where he immediately met Fukuda with a hard double chop across the chest! Grabbing hold of Fukuda's wrist, Mamoru aimed to send the "Dauntless Mastodon" into the steel security railing... However, Naoki shifted momentum at the perfect time, SENDING MAMORU'S 198cm FRAME CRASHING INTO THE STEEL!! Riding the adrenaline high however, Sekishima defiantly CHARGED BACK AT FUKUDA -- ONLY TO BE CAUGHT WITH ANOTHER FRONT SUPLEX -- THIS TIME LANDING ON THE ARENA FLOOR!! Not wanting to waste the opportunity, Fukuda quickly rolled Mamoru's large body into the rope, before climbing the top rope...! With Mamoru seemingly stunned, Fukuda CALLED FOR THE FINISH just under 10 minutes into the match! Finally leaping from the top, Fukuda went for broke trying to pull off his MASTODON CRASH Frog Splash... However, SEKISHIMA GOT BOTH OF HIS KNEES UP! As Fukuda doubled over, SEKISHIMA CRADLED HIM FOR THE PIN!! ONE! ...TWO!! ..THR-2.5!!!
The fans ROARED with shock and surprise as the match came within a fraction of ending! Both Fukuda and Sekishima themselves expressed great astonishment. Not to lose sight however, Sekishima stayed on the attack as Naoki got to a kneeling position. There, Mamoru BURIED his right knee into Naoki's chest cavity -- instantly knocking Fukuda back to the canvas! However, there was plenty of fight left in the former HEC Heavyweight Champion, as he quickly sat back up -- only to receive another knee for his troubles. After softening him up further with a guillotine drop across the throat, Mamoru displayed his strength and Greco-Roman background by effortlessly grabbing the grounded Fukuda by the waist and suplexing him with ease! After following with another gutwrench suplex, Mamoru thought to try and finish the match as well after grabbing Fukuda by another waistlock... This time however, Mamoru aimed to deal severe damage with his GRECO BOMB High-Lift Gutwrench Powerbomb. However, Naoki quickly dropped to a knee to hamper Sekishima... Even with the added gravity, Sekishima amazed spectators by DEADLIFTING FUKUDA OFF THE GROUND! In mid-lift however, Naoki's kicking and flailing was enough to throw Sekishima off! Now, with his turn to show his power -- Fukuda mustered his energy to THROW SEKISHIMA OVER HIS SHOULDERS to escape!
As he reached a standing position, Mamoru found himself assaulted with Naoki's trademark bullet-like elbows. With every shot, Sekishima sunk further and further into the corner -- ultimately setting him up for a running elbow smash after Naoki got a sprinting start! As Mamoru staggered out of the corner, Naoki seized the momentum by coming off the ropes and BLASTING SEKISHIMA WITH A VIOLENT LARIAT -- KNOCKING HIM OFF HIS FEET! With the crowd going wild, Naoki covered Sekishima for the win! ONE! ...TWO! --KICK OUT! Not deterred whatsoever, Naoki brought Sekishima back to a standing position, before catching him with a right-left combination of elbows to the back of the head! With Sekishima softened up, Naoki displayed further power by GERMAN SUPLEXING SEKISHIMA IN HALF --AND MAINTAINING THE BRIDGE! ONE! ...TWO! ...KICK OUT! Still wasting no time, Naoki would strangely throw Sekishima through the ropes and to the outside... As Sekishima finally pulled himself up using the security railing, Naoki suddenly got everyone's attention by scaling the top turnbuckle! At the precise moment, Naoki dove from the top rope -- onto the floor onto Sekishima, using a CROSS BODY VERSION OF THE MASTODAN CRASH!! The fans ERUPTED in commotion as both men laid motionless -- as if they had been ejected from a car wreck. The referee quickly stopped his count to check on both men, who eventually begun stirring. After the referee picked his count back up, Naoki managed to get Sekishima back into the ring, where he would once again climb the top rope... With Sekishima prone, Naoki jumped once more CONNECTING WITH THE MASTODON CRASH!! Sensing the end, the crowd came alive as Fukuda hooked the leg for the cover! The referee dove to make the count, ONE! ...TWO!! ...TH--KICK OUT!!!
Sitting up in shock, Fukuda for the first time in the bout seemed to be at a momentary loss after dishing out two powerful attacks. However, Fukuda would quickly regain focus -- knowing full well what is on the line. Picking Sekishima up, Naoki hooked his body before connecting with the Mastodon (Olympic) Slam -- dumping Sekishima on his head! Rather than follow through with the cover, Naoki dragged Sekishima back up to set him up for his deadly Mastodon Buster! However, Fukuda immediately struggled given Sekishima's size -- garnering cries of support to break out for BOTH men. Finally coming to, Sekishima begun to resist Fukuda's attempts more and more -- before ultimately escaping with a timely throw! As Fukuda scrambled to recover control, he found himself walking straight into Sekishima's HI-HIGH BOMB high-angle Rydeen Bomb -- signaling a dramatic shift in momentum! Amongst near-unanimous chants of "MA-MO-RU!," Sekishima began kicking and flailing in an effort to jump start his adrenaline. As Naoki slowly got to his feet, Sekishima anxiously waited in the corner for the right moment... After letting out a passionate roar to his hometown fans, Mamoru charged at Naoki before BLASTING HIM IN THE FACE WITH A RUNNING KNEE STRIKE! Mamoru collapsed onto Fukuda, getting the cover! ONE! ...TWO! ...KICK OUT!!
Still showing signs of fight, Fukuda slowly pulled himself to a standing position while Mamoru measured him once more... As Sekishima charged however, Naoki narrowly rolled to the side, where he countered brilliantly with a SKULL-CRACKING ROLLING ELBOW TO THE SIDE OF MAMORU'S HEAD! Looking to capitalize, Naoki threw a kick to the body -- ONLY FOR MAMORU TO CATCH IT! With Naoki momentarily helpless, Sekishima proceeded to throw Naoki's leg downward with such force, that it actually took Naoki off his feet! As Naoki was sent face-first to the mat, Sekishima struck -- BLASTING NAOKI ON THE WAY DOWN WITH AN INTERCEPTING KNEE TO THE JAW!!! The blow sent SHOCKWAVES reverberating throughout Kobe World Memorial Hall! Rather than follow with the cover, Sekishima grabbed hold of Fukuda's waist once again... Showing there is nobody physically stronger in Japanese Pro-Wrestling than Mamoru Sekishima, the "Greco Superman" deadlifted Fukuda high above his head... before FOLDING HIM IN HALF WITH THE GRECO BOMB!!! With Naoki's legs soundly pinned behind his shoulders, the referee made the diving count as the fans counted along! ONE!! ...TWO!!! ...THRE--2.999!!!
With the crowd reaching an absolute fever pitch, Sekishima near victory was within his grasp... Dragging Naoki to his feet, Sekishima gripped his waist -- this time from behind! Hoisting Fukuda into the air once again, Sekishima proceeded to fold him in half with a DANGEROUS BACKDROP SUPLEX!!! After Naoki's neck impacted the mat at a sickening angle, Sekishima wasted no time in covering the former champion! Once more, the referee made the count! ON--KICK OUT!!
With the fans -- AND Mamoru in utter disbelief, Naoki defied the physical limitations of the human body by not just kicking out, but kicking out before one! As Naoki slowly pulled himself up using the ropes, a burning look of determination came across Mamoru's face. Once again grabbing Fukuda from behind, Sekishima delivered a second dangerous Backdrop, THIS TIME BRIDGING THE PIN WITH FUKUDA's BODY FOLDED IN HALF!! ONE!!! ...TWO!!! ...THREE!!!
Match #10: 1 Fall, 60-Minute Time Limit
TRIPLE MAIN EVENT III
6th HEC Heavyweight Champion Decision Match
[21 minutes, 16 seconds]
※Mamoru Sekishima becomes the 6th champion.
Deafening chants of "MA-MO-RU" boomed throughout Kobe World Memorial Hall as Mamoru Sekishima achieved his destiny of reaching the peak of Japanese Pro-Wrestling. His performance, combined with ultimately defeating Naoki Fukuda to become HEC Heavyweight Champion solidified him as the strongest wrestler in not just KJPW, but Japan.
The fanfare for Sekishima continued throughout the post-match ceremonies. Sekishima was brought to tears after being handed the HEC Heavyweight Championship. Not waiting to have it placed around his waist, Sekishima could not help but to triumphantly raise the belt for all of his hometown Kobe fans to see -- garnering another explosive reaction. Surprisingly, Naoki Fukuda would refuse medical treatment after the match... After coming to, Fukuda would be forced to acknowledge Sekishima as his superior -- even going as far as to strap the belt around Sekishima himself as a clear endorsement for the NEW Ace of KJPW.
After Naoki finally left the ring to something of a reaction befitting a legend, Mamoru Sekishima was able to speak before the crowd -- HEC Heavyweight Championship over his shoulder. Speaking from his heart, Sekishima said that he had worked hard for everything he had -- largely not to let down his friends and family living across Kansai. He told a story about when he was little, he decided to always carry the hopes and dreams of those around him -- and show that anything was possible if you worked hard enough and never gave up. He noted that two years ago, he was a lowly tag wrestler trying to find himself. But now he had reached the top of the mountain. He admitted to not knowing where the future will take him, but said he was now putting his hopes and dreams on the shoulders of the HEC Heavyweight Championship, jokingly asking the belt to grant him good favor in the coming months as he embarks on a new journey. He asked the Kansai fans if they wanted to go along with him, to which all 10,000 fans unanimous erupted in cheers.
※A majority of the event's competitors returned to the ring for one final curtain call, including Kazuma Fujita, Genji Yamato, Naoki Fukuda, the other members of FIGHTING LOVE!, most of the juniors and even fringe-roster members such as Norihiro Akashi, Tetsuhisa NAKAI, Hiroaki Nakata, and Ryuugo Nagashima among others. Several wrestlers were given brief opportunities to speak before the crowd, with most being simple thank you's and general well-wishes. Fujita took the opportunity to pander, getting a "KANSAI SAI-KOU!" chant (Kansai is the best!) Yamato pointed out Fujita's cheap tactics, before proceeding to get a "KO-BE SAI-KOU!" chant going for a laugh. The new WWA National Heavyweight Champion, Norihiro Akashi said he honestly wasn't sure why he was in the ring, but also said he supposed he owed some gratitude to the fans. He identified the three single Heavyweight titles in KJPW, coyly asking which meant the most. Admitting that it may be too soon to tell, Akashi told Kazuma Fujita (Unified Double Titles Champion) and Mamoru Sekishima (HEC Heavyweight Champion) to bring their best in their coming title defenses, because he had no intentions of letting anybody else outshine him.
It came down to the new HEC Heavyweight Champion, Mamoru Sekishima to close the show. With Fujita and Yamato to his side, Sekishima said that at long last, Japanese Pro-Wrestling was back! And as always, the great fans of Kansai have spearheaded the movement. With growing relationships with American groups such as EXODUS Pro-Wrestling and DEFIANCE Wrestling, Sekishima said that KJPW would set its sights on achieving the highest level in all categories: from in-ring matches, to production, to any comparable metric. Tonight's event signified not just a pro-wrestling boom, but a KJPW BOOM, and stated that fans WORLD-WIDE would know KJPW by its reputation. Challenging any and all pretenders, Sekishima confidently declared himself as the ACE of Kingdom of Japan Pro-Wrestling to an enormous ovation, and said he would carry the company until his dying breath!