W-1 WRESTLE-1 Tour 2019 W-Impact – Night 2
February 13, 2019
Korakuen Hall
Tokyo, Japan

Ryuki Honda and Takumi Baba and Ryuji Hijikata def. Ganseki Tanaka and Shunsuke Sayama and Masayuki Mitomi

There isn’t a whole lot to write about this one. Tanaka is coming off injury and illness and had a good showing. Mitomi is promoting the Kabukichou Wrestling show next month but wasn’t much of a factor in this match. Sayama is just a fill-in guy really due to Hajime being injured currently, and he too wasn’t involved in the match that much. Hijikata has been aggressive about getting the young wrestlers to improve and this time he has set his eyes on Tanaka. The highlight of the match really was when those two were in the ring together, especially the ending sequence. After the match, Tanaka and Hijikata confronted each other over Tanaka’s drive to improve. So that looks to be a storyline they are going to push for a while. **

Pegaso Illuminar and Mazada def. Tsugutaka Sato and Eli Hijo Del Pantera

This match is meant to hype the next round of the Cruiser Fes as Pantera and Mazada face each other in the first round at the 2/16 show. Whenever Pantera wrestle for W-1 you’re gonna have a pretty fun match, and he was a highlight of this show too. Sato is young but I think he has big things ahead for him, he looked really good here trying to be a foil to Pegaso in this match. Pegaso is supposed to be the rising star of this match, and he looked good here as well but I came out of the match thinking about how good Pantera and Sato were. The finish of the match was well executed though with Pegaso hitting his Firebird Splash finisher. Sato ate the pin which makes sense since he’s the lowest on the totem pole in this match and it cast doubt on the Pantera/Mazada singles match. But Pantera did win that match and will be facing El Lindaman in the second round of the Cruiser Fes at the 2/27 show in Shinkiba. **¾

Hana Kimura and Asuka def. Kaori Yoneyama and Miyuki Takase

Flourish looked great in this match, specifically Asuka. The kicks she hit on Takase were just brutal. At the time she was still the DDT Ironman Heavymetalweight champ so you know she wasn’t gonna lose. But Hana made up for it with some near falls and taking a beating from the other team. I’ve always been a fan of Hana but she’s a had a new fire since returning from Mexico in September. Her missile dropkick to finish the match was a thing of beauty.

Flourish have beaten Takase but not Yoneyama. They were 0-2 against her going into this match, they picked up the win but failed to pin Yoneyama. They ended 2018 on a losing streak but have started off 2019 strong with two wins. They’ll probably face Yoneyama again in the future to try and finally get a pinfall on her. ***

Enfants Terribles (Shotaro Ashino and Yusuke Kodama and Kuma Arashi and Kenichiro Arai) def. Masayuki Kono and Manabu Soya and Daiki Inaba and Alejandro

There’s a lot of moving parts in this match. It has the former most dominant faction and the former W-1 champ on one side in Enfants Terribles and on the other side you have two teams who could very likely be in contention for the vacant tag titles at the big Ota Ward show. This was also the first time all the members of Enfants have teamed together in a while since Arai doesn’t wrestle all the time for W-1.

Alejandro and Ashino were a weird pairing to start the matchup. A lot of the match was just Enfants terrorizing Alejandro which was a drag. Soya and Inaba have been struggling as a team recently so we got those spots in the match with their dysfunction. Ashino did a move from the top rope which is definitely something you don’t see every day. Alejandro finally got the upper hand on Arai so we could get Soya and Inaba in. Arai played dead to get a roll up on Inaba. It went into a big sequence of both teams just hitting moves on each other. When it got to just Ashino and Inaba in the ring together it was really great, with Inaba getting some near falls on the former champ but Ashino was able to get the win after Soya failed to make the save for his teammate. I would rate this higher if the beat down portion with Alejandro hadn’t been such a drag.

After Enfants won the match, Ashino took the mic to announce his opponent at Wrestle Wars, Wrestle-1’s big show in Ota-Ward next month, would be Big Japan’s Daisuke Sekimoto. If that’s not big enough news, Ashino has been saying backstage this is only the beginning. That he wants to go out and face new opponents in other promotions. He wants to prove Enfants is the best unit in W-1 and in wrestling. So we’re likely to see him branch out for new matchups in 2019. Unfortunately, we won’t see him in All Japan’s Champion Carnival this year as I had hoped, but I think we’ll see him working outside of W-1 more this year. ***

Another big announcement after this match was the signing of TJPW’s Reika Saiki. She was trained in the W-1 Dojo but signed to TJPW after leaving. Now with her signing W-1 has two women signed to the roster with Hana Kimura being the first. Hopefully we can see some more women signed if they want to get an actual women’s division running, but for now, it’s just nice to see a women’s match on the card on bigger shows. Reika isn’t done with TJPW though, she’ll continue to work there in addition to W-1 just as Hana does with Stardom.

Cruiser Fes Round 1
Seiki Yoshioka def. Andy Wu

These two are longtime rivals and you could tell from the ferocity Yoshioka showed in the match. He’s been especially viscous since joining StrongHearts and has only lost one singles match in W-1 since joining the faction in November. In their most recent outing Yoshioka beat Andy and this was no different.

Andy went for a bunch of near falls early. He tried to do some high flying but Yoshioka just threw a chair at him mid-dive. Andy’s offense can be flashy and complicated at times and Yoshioka would use it to his advantage when he could throughout the match and countered a lot of Andy’s offense. Most of the match was Andy being dominated by Yoshioka. At one point Andy had Yoshioka tied up on the mat and just started rolling him around the ring trying to get him dizzy to try and get a pin. Andy got some offense in after that but Yoshioka countered and finished off Andy with a move I can only describe as a Styles Clash tombstone called the Crash Driver. Decent match and a good way to kick off the Cruiser Fes this year. ***½

Cruiser Fes Round 1
El Lindaman def. Kaz Hayashi

This match was just amazing and will probably be the highlight of the entire Cruiser Fes depending on how the rest of the tournament shakes out.

Kaz had said in the press conference prior to the match that if Lindaman were to lose he’d make him lick his boots which would play a role in the match and the post-match. Fast-paced from the start, Lindaman avoided one dive from Kaz but acts cocky and gets hit with another dive. After that, there was a slingshot from Kaz on Lindaman into the apron. At one point Kaz held his boot up to Linda’s face to remind him of the stakes but Lindaman just spat at him. Kaz threw Lindaman into the ropes and then did a lionsault on him while he hung on the bottom rope. He then tried to do a drive-by while Lindaman while he still hung on the rope but no one was home. They did some brawling outside the ring for a bit. Linda started working Kaz’s arm and playing to the crowd. He had control for a while but Kaz finally got back on offense and threw Lindaman face first into the turnbuckle. There was a great exploder suplex from Lindaman into the corner. Lindaman tried to reverse a handspring into a suplex but Kaz was able to land on his feet. The finish of the match came after Lindaman distracted the ref with the turnbuckle removed. Kaz knocked out the ref by accident. Lindaman hit Kaz three times in the nuts and won via schoolboy. It was the best match of the show so far by a long shot. Linda tries to get Kaz to lick his boots after the match but Jun Tondokoro makes a run in to save Kaz from the embarrassment. ****¼

W-1 versus StrongHearts
8 Man Elimination Tag Match
Shuji Kondo, Jiro “Ikemen” Kuroshio, Jun Tondokoro, Seigo Tachibana def. CIMA, T-Hawk, Takehiro Yamamura, Xiaoshi (Scorpion Double X)

Elimination order: Xiaoshi, Tachibana, Kondo, Yamamura, Tondokoro, CIMA, T-Hawk

Stronghearts have been terrorizing the Wrestle-1 for months and this was really the last chance to try and stop them from completely overtaking the company. Ikemen was doing his best to be the guy to defend W-1 but got injured in his last time facing Stronghearts in September at Pro-Wrestling Love in Yokohama. This is also Tachibana’s return match because he too got injured in that match. Tondokoro has had issues with the group after being betrayed by CIMA in November. Stronghearts come into this match fresh off T-Hawk stealing away the title from W-1’s ace in January and hoped to finish off the remnants of those trying to defend the company from their takeover.

The match started off with Tondokoro and Yamamura, after Tondokoro broke up a showdown between Yamamura and Kondo. He got booed for it which was going to be the theme of the match for poor Tondokoro. Xiaoshi has an interesting offense to start. He was crouched on the mat trying to look like a scorpion with his leg up in the air to be the tail, I guess I see now why he calls himself Scorpion Double X. Ikemen even tried to imitate it. Different people cycled in an out. Until it was CIMA and Tondokoro and Tondokoro got booed again. Strong Hearts isolated Tondokoro and beat him down for a while. But then both teams started to brawl outside the ring. A highlight of the match was all of the Stronghearts double team moves, especially the ones involving T-Hawk and CIMA. Early on Yamamura and T-Hawk teaming against Tondokoro was great, at one point Yamamura bounced off the middle rope and T-Hawk threw him at Tondokoro. Kondo was determined to brutalize Yamamura before the match so whenever they were in the ring together it was some good stuff. The crowd booing got so bad for Tondokoro that he spit into the crowd. Tondokoro climbed on top of Kondo’s shoulders and did a dive from up top. Tondokoro, Ikemen, and Kondo started using Tachibana as a weapon on Yamamura. Tachibana was looking wrecked after that.

Finally, we get our first elimination in the match with Tachibana eliminated Xiaoshi, with an assist from Tondokoro. Once he cut out the scorpion stuff, Xiaoshi really started to look good but it was short lived. Not long after the first elimination, Yamamura hit a beautiful Stardust Press to eliminate Tachibana. Then we got another face-off between Kondo and Yamamura. They go over the top rope and fight on the apron, Yamamura eliminates Kondo with some stiff kicks but Kondo throws Tachibana’s kendo stick at Yamamura to assist Tondokoro in knocking out Yamamura. Tondokoro fails yet again to defeat the man he is so desperate to defeat when CIMA pins him for elimination. This left Ikemen alone to try and defeat both CIMA and T-Hawk on his own. T-Hawk and CIMA attack Ikemen with a flurry of tag team maneuvers. CIMA and Ikemen go over the top rope and they try to work together to knock out Ikemen. But instead, Ikemen knocks out CIMA with an Ikemen Slash. With just T-Hawk and Ikemen left, T-Hawk hits some crazy bombs but Ikemen reverses the Cerberus to get a pin on T-Hawk to win the match.

Ikemen was able to beat the odds and eliminate both CIMA and T-Hawk. After the match, he laid down the claim to T-Hawk and will be facing him in the main event of Wrestle Wars next month. Also after the match, Ashino came out and challenged Ikemen and StrongHearts to a three-way tag match at the Korakuen before Wrestle Wars. ****½

Final Thoughts

Overall a really solid show. The undercard is pretty skippable if all you’re looking for are good matches, but nothing on the undercard was that bad and they are all pretty short. If you want to skip to the meaty parts of the show skip to the last three matches. Andy/Yoshioka was a solid junior heavyweight match. Kaz/Lindaman was great, Lindaman is quickly becoming a must watch guy whenever he’s in singles matches. The main event was important from a storyline perspective but also just an amazing match. It was fast-paced throughout and you never got bored. It had so many great moments I was glued to the screen watching. This show began to lay out the groundwork for their big show in March and with matches like Ikemen/T-Hawk and Ashino/Sekimoto you aren’t going to want to miss Wrestle Wars.