PRO WRESTLING FREEDOMS
THE GEKOKUJO 2022
MARCH 29, 2022
Welcome to the first-ever FREEDOMS review here on Voices Of Wrestling! FREEDOMS isn’t the biggest promotion in Japan and still I was a bit baffled that they were no reviews so far of Takashi Sasaki’s most successful promotion. For people who are unfamiliar with the deathmatch promotion you should read Jonathan Hernandez’ great article about the longest-reigning King Of FREEDOM World Champion Toru Sugiura. Back to the show, we’re at the legendary Korakuen Hall for “The Gekokujo 2022”.
BRAHMAN KEI & BRAHMAN SHU DEF. LEO ISAKA & REKKA (8:10)
We started with a pretty typical FREEDOMS opener when the twisted twins named Brahman Brothers came down to the ring to give us a comedy match with the young Leo Isaka, the only male wrestler at Marvelous Women’s Pro Wrestling, and the young-looking (but not so young) Rekka. If you know the Brahmans, you know the blueprint of this match. It was an okay comedy match with the Brahmans targeting their opponent’s crown jewels most of the time. Isaka and Rekka got confused when one of the brothers threw powder, so Isaka accidentally hits his partner with a baking tray and Rekka got rolled up for the three. **1/4
GENTARO & TATSUHITO TAKAIWA DEF. KENGO & TAKAHIRO KATORI (10:55)
The absolute veteran studs GENTARO and UWA World Junior Heavyweight Champion Tatsuhito Takaiwa teamed up to fight against Kengo and Takahiro Katori in an all-junior affair. It seems like Kengo had his eyes set on Takaiwa’s junior title, which is an old title FREEDOMS took from Tenryu Project in 2016, and the two started the match with some grappling and mat wrestling stuff. You should absolutely check out Takaiwa’s work all over Japan, especially at Ganbare Pro where he’s their current champion. He knows what he’s doing and is still capable of good matches left and right. The first five minutes were a bit sluggish until Kengo came out with some pace to attack the veteran team with a passion, although they failed to make a further impression on the champion. Takaiwa pinned him after an Avalance Death Valley Bomb. Despite the loss, Kengo and Katori will meet in a “UWA Jr. Title Next Challenger Decision Match” soon. **3/4
RINA YAMASHITA DEF. KYU MOGAMI VIA DQ (2:18)
It’s a never-ending story between UNCHAIN, the big face faction of the promotion, and E.R.E., the big heel faction in FREEDOMS. Rina Yamashita of UNCHAIN had to deal with an unknown new member of E.R.E. who was revealed as Kyu Mogami of 2AW. Mogami immediately attacked Yamashita and she even got busted wide open. When Mogami attacked the referee he got disqualified, that’s when the hell broke out… NR
JUNKYARD TORNADO DEATHMATCH
KAMUI & UNCHAIN (KENJI FUKIMOTO, MINORU FUJITA & RINA YAMASHITA) DEF. E.R.E. (KYU MOGAMI, TAKAYUKI UEKI, TOSHIYUKI SAKUDA & VIOLENTO JACK) (11:20)
..and the other members of E.R.E. came to the ring as well as the face team of Kamui and Rina’s UNCHAIN team members. The match was restarted as an eight-man tag team match with Tornado Tag Team rules. If you hear the rules you know what you can expect from a tornado tag deathmatch. All participants had their fights with each other with a pile of weapons to their hands, too. There were a grid, a rocking horse, garden gnomes (which were pretty famous in Germany in the 1990s) and more common weapons like chairs, kenzans or a baking tray.
The best sequences were when Rina Yamashita was involved. The former King Of FREEDOM Tag Team Champion has this amazing fighting spirit babyface charisma which I absolutely love about her, so her fighting former world champ Violento Jack was my favorite stuff here. Pretty surprising was the finish when Kenji Fukimoto and the just mentioned Jack were in the ring and Fukimoto scored the victory when he took Jack’s mask off his face and nailed him down with a Package Piledriver on a can board. Did not expect this outcome, to be honest, Fukimoto wasn’t heavily featured over the last few months though. ***1/4
YUYA SUSUMU SEND-OFF MATCH
TOMOYA HIRATA, TORU SUGIURA & YUYA SUSUMU DEF. DRAGON LIBRE, MAMMOTH SASAKI & TAKASHI SASAKI (21:10)
After ten years of being a roster member of FREEDOMS, Yuya Susumu made his final appearance as a contracted wrestler for them on this show. Susumu started working with Pro Wrestling NOAH last year and won their Junior Tag Team titles twice so far, and thus NOAH will likely be his new destination. My lord, this was loooong! Anyway, with Susumu and Takashi Sasaki starting the match it was a perfect way to begin the send-off of Yuya Susumu in style with the boss even though it didn’t last long. It was a textbook six-man tag match where every combatant came to work, but nothing special happened.
Like I mentioned before it was very long and dragged at some point. It was all about Yuya Susumu obviously who wrestled most of the time while his opponents wrestled like pure dickheads. Susumu succeeded to tag in big boi Tomoya Hirata after getting battered for a while. Thank god it got a bit more exciting from that moment on when Hirata and Sugiura showed some passion, Susumu found his pace and Mammoth Sasaki even hit a chairshot to Yuya Susumu’s face. Thanks to the current tag team champions Susumu was able to get the win in his final FREEDOMS performance with a Front Crush to Dragon Libre. ***
KING OF FREEDOM WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
HELL INSIDE AND OUTSIDE HELL – GLASS BOARD & ALPHA DEATHMATCH
DAISUKE MASAOKA DEF. JUN KASAI © (23:41)
In six attempts Masaoka tried to beat Jun Kasai and he failed all six attempts. How could you possible be confident enough to think that you can beat your biggest nemesis in the seventh attempt? Their last meeting was in November 2021 when they had a real bloodbath and one of the best deathmatches of the year to determine the #1 contender for the King Of FREEDOM World Championship which Kasai ultimately had won in December. Keep in mind Masaoka is 0-6 against the “Crazy Monkey”.
This started with some mat work from both men until Kasai hit a dropkick on Masaoka who landed right into the light tubes with his back, but he got immediately on his feet and did the same to the champion as well. Still Masaoka landed into the tubes for a second time and got hit with a tube on his forehead, too. Jun Kasai lived up to his name when head butting a tube onto his own forehead just to carve the broken tube into Masaoka’s head to make him bleed. It was pretty clear that Kasai was the better man in the opening minutes of the fight, he even got a bit disappointed with the challenger’s performance up until Masaoka hit a dropkick to Kasai, but eventually, the glass board did not break so instead the following spear broke the glass in pieces while Kasai was laying onto it.
The two men tried to kill each other with wrestling moves assisted with light tubes and glass boards. The “Crazy Monkey” showed everything he got in his repertoire but Masaoka fought like a lion against all odds and kicked out multiple times. They did a cool spot on the turnbuckle where Kasai put some skewers into Masaoka’s forehead, while the latter put them into Kasai’s knee just moments later to escape from a move. Minutes later Masaoka couldn’t escape anymore and was put through a glass board from the top rope with a piledriver by Kasai.
The closing stretch was very good when Masaoka kicked out of a piledriver at one and was very lucky when Kasai dropped him badly on the head with a botched move, but immediately went up to the top rope to hit his Pearl Harbor Splash, the show must go on right? Masaoka kicked out, the crowd gasped and the man from Ehime nailed the champion with a double knee strike from the top rope to prepare his moonsault double kneedrop onto Kasai, who was buried by a pile of light tubes. The referee slapped the mat three times and Korakuen erupted. ****
While it was still a great match it lacked some more drama. Their meeting in November was one of the best deathmatches of the last year but I wasn’t that into this match like the last time, unfortunately. Anyway, Masaoka wins the “KFC” title for the second time in his career, afterwards, he called out former champ and current tag champ Toru Sugiura for a title match at the Yokohama Budokan in May. Let’s go!
Daisuke Masaoka with the Moonstomp onto Kasai through lighttubes ! What a spot ! 🔥@eg_daisuke @crazymonkey0909 @PW_FREEDOMS #pw_freedoms pic.twitter.com/hVaMCBv3Dw
— Sami 🇫🇷 (@Sami6928) March 29, 2022
Besides the traditional bad video quality of niconico FREEDOMS was fun as usual. It was not a very good Korakuen Hall show throughout but I enjoyed it nevertheless. While there was only one match that I would recommend, which was obviously the main event, it’s still a decent show.
The road to the biggest show ever in the company’s history on May 3 at the Yokohama Budokan is set with a title match between Daisuke Masaoka and Toru Sugiura. It seems like an odd choice in first place to not have your biggest draw in the main event with Kasai but it’s a fresh matchup and I’m absolutely into it. By the way, hit me up on the bird app if you want to, until next time.
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