“Someone has to do it, why not you?” -Magnum CK
I’m sure you’re asking why someone is going out of their way to review no crowd wrestling from the HEAT-UP dojo. That quote is why. I’m watching all these anyway, so why not me? So, I’m bringing to Voices of Wrestling content that was missing, though I’m not sure was needed. I’ll be reviewing the week that was for perhaps the wrestling company with the most dope logo ever: Pro Wrestling HEAT-UP.
For those of you not watching HEAT-UP have been running crowd-free shows from their dojo since COVID shut things down in Japan. These shows for the most part have all been themed. Last month TAMURA’s idea was to run a Dragonball theme throughout the month, even releasing some limited edition merchandise to go along with it.
This month HEAT-UP has gone with a Street Fighter II motif, calling the events HEAT-UP Fighter II. The creative forces in this company will never cease to amaze me.
These shows kick off with TAMURA in cosplay and a guest answering questions from the YouTube live chat. I don’t speak Japanese, so these segments do nothing for me. Maybe the desire to know what TAMURA said to Daisuke Kanehria that was so damn funny will one day drive me to learn Japanese, but for now, I just skip them.
TAMURA & Tetsuya Izuchi def. Shunsuke Sayama & KAMIKAZE
Each team has someone whose name is all stylized capital letters, and I think that’s just neat. More people who seem like they’re always shouting their name in wrestling, please. Tetsuya Iizuchi is the HEAT-UP dojo’s new star. He debuted for HEAT-UP in 2017 and went to the finals of the 2019 Burning King tournament. After that tournament, the company got behind Izuchi in a big way, but unfortunately, COVID happened quickly after this. So, a lot of Izuchi’s push towards the top has been in front of no crowds. This hasn’t made his matches any less exciting though. Izuchi is a bright spot on these youtube streams. Anytime you see him on the thumbnail you’re going to get something good.
Sayama is representing TTT, and has been in HEAT-UP off and on since last fall’s Burning King tournament. KAMIKAZE is rocking some pretty sweet pink and white pleather pants like a Jersey All Pro midcarder in 2003. You love to see it. Dude has the posture of an Algebra teacher.
A lot of mat work from Izuchi and Sayama early on in a feeling out process that ends with some kicks and a takedown by Izuchi. TAMURA tags in and you can tell he had a hand in training Izuchi. Their mat work is very similar, but Izuchi’s lacks the fluidity that TAMURA’s has. TAMURA out wrestles Sayama early on leading to KAMIKAZE tagging himself in. Strangely the olds work most of the start of this match. It’s mostly TAMURA working over KAMIKAZE’s leg. Lots of stomps and a long figure four spot. KAMIKAZE makes a comeback, and makes a hot tag to Sayama. Sayama shows a lot of fire cleaning house. You have to think dude will play well in front of a crowd. Izuchi gets tagged and does a hot tag of his own where you can really see dude’s speed. Unfortunately for him his hot tag coincided with KAMIKAZE accidentally knocking the curtain down behind him, and watching the dojo workers try to fix it is pretty distracting. The two beat the piss out of each other with forearms in a pretty fun spot, and take each other out. The match slows back down when KAMIKAZE tags himself back in, so that sucks. Dude just keeps locking everyone in abdominal stretches. It’s… it’s not great, okay? I’m trying to be nice here. KAMIKAZE picks up the win for his team by locking both TAMURA and Izuchi in an abdominal stretch and rolling them both up for a 3 count. KAMIKAZE, a forty-nine-year-old man, just beat the star you’re building and the HEAT-UP Universal Champion SIMULTANEOUSLY.
Fun little match that was genuinely good at points. Things quickly went downhill anytime KAMIKAZE was in the ring. I would love to see this match again with Sayama having literally any other tag team partner. The finish would have been a fun spot if it didn’t’ come after about seven other abdominal stretches. Izuchi and Sayama looked good, though. So, that’s a positive.
Kenichiro Arai def. Daisuke Kanehria
Kanehira is that dude. Former HEAT-UP Universal champion, and carries himself like a star. Dude shows probably the most personality out of anyone on the HEAT-UP roster. I admittedly don’t know much about Arai, but I do know that Joe and Rich laugh literally every time they read his name in a Bouncing Around Japan segment.
Arai and Kanehira start things out slow with an extended wristlock spot by Kanehira on Arai. It looks like Arai is lazy about his selling until you realize he’s only selling when Kanehira applies pressure. Pretty smart stuff. I think I dig this guy. He goes for a “why-I-oughta” fist shake and punch, then immediately bails when Kanehira twists the wrist. A small bit of comedy in a pretty technical match.
This match is a lot of mat work, with Kanehira proving at every turn that he is the better technician. Arai will turn things around in his favor for a bit, but Kanehira slips out of every hold leaving Arai frustrated. The finish comes with Arai going for a piledriver, but Kanehira reverses it into a backdrop… but Arai reverses it into a pin… but Kanehira kicks out… but Arai reverses that back into a pretty stiff looking piledriver for the win.
A fun little match that picked up near the end with Arai getting the win over the HEAT-UP regular. Unlike the last match, though, this is building towards something. Arai is a member of a group called Smoky Criminals and they’ll be facing the HEAT-UP team of Kanehira, Izuka, TAMURA, and Hiroshi Watanabe in a 4 vs 4 tag at the upcoming 12/7 show. A good build on the “go-home” show for HEAT-UP’s next upcoming event.