Big Japan 5/17/22
Tokyo Korakuen Hall
Yuko Miyamoto & Ryuji Ito & Isami Kodaka vs. Yuki Ishikawa & Akira Hyodo & Michio Kageyama *Fluorescent Light Tubes Death Match*
Yuji Okabayashi & Daisuke Sekimoto & Yasufumi Nakanoue vs. Takuya Nomura & Fuminori Abe & Kosuke Sato
Abdullah Kobayashi & Jaki Numazawa vs. Kankuro Hoshino & Daiju Wakamatsu *Barbed wire Board Death Match*
Daichi Hashimoto & Hideyoshi Kamitani vs. Satsuki Nagao & Kazumasa Yoshida
Tatsuhiko Yoshino & Kota Sekifuda vs. Kaji Tomato & Chicharito Shoki
Ryota Hama & Shigehiro Irie & Kazumi Kikuta vs. Takumi Tsukamoto & Masaya Takahashi & Kazuki Hashimoto
Tokyo Korakuen Hall
Daisuke Masaoka vs. Toshiyuki
Sakuda *King of Freedom World Championship Death Match*
Jun Kasai & Takashi Sasaki vs. Violento Jack & Brown Rat Fukki *Death Match*
Toru Sugiura vs. Kyu Mogami *Death Match*
Kengo vs. Van Vert Jack *UWA Jr. Heavyweight Title Match*
Jumbo Tsuruta Memorial Show 5/31/22
Tokyo Korakuen Hall
Atsushi Onita & Great Kojika & Raijin Yaguchi & Yuko Miyamoto & Isami Kodaka vs. Hikaru Sato & Mitsuya Nagai & Yoshitatsu & Akira Raijn & Mystery Partner *Street Fight Tornado Hardcore Match*
Tatsumi Fujinami & Yoshiaki Yatsu & Kim Duk vs. Shiro Koshinaka & Masa Fuchi & Masao Inoue *Kim Duk Retirement Match*
Tokyo Shin-Kiba 1st Ring
Yokohama Radiant Hall
Tokyo Shin-Kiba 1st Ring
Sendai Miyagi PIT
Jun Kasai Productions 7/10/22
Tokyo Korakuen Hall
Jun Kasai Productions 7/21/22
Tokyo Shin-Kiba 1st Ring
Shizuoka Twin Messe
Tokyo Shin-Kiba 1st Ring
Tokyo Shin-Kiba 1st Ring
Jun Kasai Productions 8/29/22
Tokyo Korakuen Hall
Tokyo Shin-Kiba 1st Ring
Tokyo Korakuen Hall
Tokyo Shin-Kiba 1st Ring
Tokyo Korakuen Hall
Tokyo Shin-Kiba 1st Ring
Yokohama Radiant Hall
Jun Kasai Productions 12/25/22
Tokyo Korakuen Hall
I have gathered all the results of shows from Big Japan/ZERO1/666 shows in 2022 as well as matches from FREEDOMS/former FMW wrestlers working on shows and will continue to update it for the rest of the year. It can be found at http://fmwwrestling.us/MiscResults22.html (Last updated: 5/14)
FMW-E would run their first show of the year on April 24, 2022 at
the Fukuoka Yanagawa Civic Gym with an announced crowd of 725 fans. The show was a bought
show which I am guessing by the same sponsor that sponsors FTO if not by FTO
wrestler Skull Reaper A-ji wanting to be an explosion match with Onita himself.
The main event would be Atsushi Onita, Ricky Fuji, and FTO's Skull Reaper A-ji
defeating Shadow WX as Mr. Pogo, Onryo, and Umanosuke Ueda II in a Exploding
Barbed wire Baseball Bat, Exploding Barbed wire Landmines outside the ring, and
Exploding Rocket curiously not called the Jado Rocket despite it being the exact
same type of rocket used as the Jado Rocket. The rocket would be the first big
explosion as it would be set off from the second level into the turnbuckle where
most of the wrestlers would happen to be with the explosion being so powerful it
would knock all of them down. Umanosuke Ueda would then end up knocking Onita
and Pogo outside the ring into the exploding landmines outside the ring. Onita
would then get back in the ring and piledrive Onryo through an exploding table
which Onryo going through the table back in July had felt like the table
explosion had killed him due to how powerful it was as Onita would go over and
pin Onryo at 12 minutes, 58 seconds for the FMW-E win.
Other matches on the show would see Maku Donaruto defeat Naoshi Sano and Miss Mongol at 8 minutes, 56 seconds when Donaruto would pin Sano with a Camel Clutch in a Three Way Match. Kyoya Okazaki would defeat Meijiro Kid at 8 minutes, 17 seconds with a Fisherman Suplex. Umanosuke Ueda II would be asked to do double duty due to a no sshow and would defeat Hiro Takita at 10 minutes, 41 seconds with a clothesline. The opening match would see Monster Leather defeat The Shooter at 3 minutes, 12 seconds with a Sledgehammer.
There is still no FMW-E show announced for the future, and I am going to assume if there is still no show booked by the end of May, that the promotion is actually finished with the owner not willing to lose anymore money on even one more show, and is only willing to sell shows like this one to someone so that they can team up with Onita in an explosion match.
Atsushi Onita's fourth trip in less than five years took place
the last week of March 2022. Onita appeared for the Battleground Championship
Wrestling promotion on March 26, 2022 at the original ECW Arena now called 2300
Arena against Bully Ray. Onita a couple of weeks before the match announced that
it would actually be The Great Nita that would face off against Bully Ray in the
match which was The Great Nita's first appearance since January 2020.
Nita would start off the match by spitting red mist in Bully Ray's face right away. They would go to the outside and Nita would end up taking a chair and smash it over Bully's head before Nita would spit red mist in Bully's face again. Nita would then take a guitar, but Bully would grab it from him and smash it over Nita's head. Bully would then take a barbed wire bat and use it on Nita before Nita would just take the bat from Bully and use it to cut him open. Nita would then try to do the Terry Funk ladder over his head spot, but Nita would do it very slowly. Nita would spit red mist in Bully's for the third time and deliver a DDT on the ladder. Bully would get up and deliver a thrust kick when Chainsaw Tony would hit the ring to help Nita out. This would bring The Sandman out with his Singapore Cain and hit Nita and Tony with it. The lights would then go out and come back on with Sabu in the ring as he would attack Nita followed by Bully Ray spitting red mist in Nita's face and then Bully would powerbomb Nita through a barbed wire table and pick up the win at 13 minutes, 38 seconds. This was only Onita's second singles lost since his most recent come back in 2018 as his only other one was to Kuro-chan on December 23, 2020 for DDT. Somewhere in all this Onita would end up suffering a busted eye and would have to go the rest of the week with a black eye that was a struggle for him to keep open. Click here to watch The Great Nita vs. Bully Ray 3/26/22
Onita would then fly to Dallas for WrestleCon and work the Mark Hitchcock Memorial Super Show on March 31, 2022 at the Dallas Fairmont Hotel. The match was announced as a Team Onita vs. Team PCO 5 vs. 5 match. It would turn out to be Atsushi Onita, Ricky Morton, Robert Gibson, Juice Robinson, and Colt Cabana taking on PCO, nZo, Jimmy Wang Yang, Dirty Dango, and Barry Horowitz. Onita would face off against PCO and spit red mist in his face and take him to the outside and deliver a DDT before throwing PCO into the guardrail and then get in the ring and hit another DDT before tagging out. Onita would come back in the ring and face off against PCO with PCO tagging in Dirty Dango who would throw the chair at Onita who wouldn't catch it and it would get awkward before Onita would just slowly kick the chair in Dango's face followed by spitting red mist in his face and then Onita would hit the Stunner on Dango to get the win at 12 minutes, 19 seconds in something I don't think Onita and Dango will remember that interaction very fondly with one another. Onita would then randomly spit red mist in Jimmy Wang Yang's face before throwing him out of the ring. This was also the first time that Atsushi Onita and Ricky Morton would be in the same match since they faced off in a tag match in Memphis in September 1981 that lead to the second Tupelo Concession Stand Brawl. Click here to watch Team Onita vs. Team PCO 3/31/22
Atsushi Onita would then participate in WrestleCon and meet with the fans. Onita would get pictures with Jushin Thunder Liger as the two had very little interaction with one another through out their long careers. Onita would then see Ted Dibiase with Onita saying he had his first television match in 1981 in Amarillo, Texas with Dibiase. Onita would also get to see Damian 666 as the last time the two met they had discussions of Onita doing an explosion match in Mexico that never ended up panning out.
Atsushi Onita did make mention that he did not get to meet up with Terry Funk while he was in Dallas like he had hoped he would due to time. I don't think he was aware that Dallas and Amarillo is nearly a 6 hour drive from one another. Onita stated he did talk to Terry though and that Terry told him everything was fine with him mentally as Onita had been criticized for talking about wanting to team up with Terry while in Texas months ago and several people wrote to Onita stating he was in the beginning stages of dementia. Terry did Onita though that while he was mentally okay, he was still dealing with physical pain of such a long career and being 77 years old. Onita stated that if Terry is feeling better he wants to fly him to Japan next year for show on May 5, 2023 the 30 year anniversary of their Kawasaki Stadium Exploding Ring match. Just for the record Onita stated he wanted a match with Mr. Pogo on May 5, 2016 Kawasaki Stadium, he wanted to have a Hayabusa Memorial show on May 5, 2017 at Kawasaki Stadium, and just a couple of months ago he talked about doing a May 5, 2022 Kawasaki Stadium with FMW-E.
Onita's next set of matches will take place on April 30th and May 1st for the returning Fire Pro. Onita will team up with former New Japan wrestler Osamu Nishimura who will be participating in his first death matches as on the first show they will team up along with HASEGAWA to take on Shadow WX as Mr. Pogo, PSYCHO, and ALL Might Inoue in a Exploding Barbed wire Baseball Bat and Exploding Table Death Match. The next day it will be Onita and Nishimura teaming up with Takashi Okada against Pogo, Takumi Tsukamoto, and Devil Magician in a Exploding Barbed wire Baseball Bat, Exploding Table, and Exploding Chairs Death Match.
The main event would be Jun Kasai defending his King of Freedom World Championship in a Glass Board Death Match against Daisuke Masaoka. Kasai and Masaoka have had a long past with Kasai getting the better end of him every time. Their rivalry started on November 23, 2015 when Kasai defeated Masaoka with Kasai having Masaoka shave his head due to the loss. This would setup a great match on May 2, 2016 at Korakuen Hall with Kasai successfully defending his King of Freedom World Championship against Masaoka. Their next match would take place on September 17, 2018 at Korakuen Hall with Jun Kasai defeating Masaoka who had become the top heel in the promotion through out the last couple of months. Kasai would defeat Masaoka once again on December 6, 2018 in a second match on the card Hardcore Match at Shin-Kiba to setup Kasai in the main event for Korakuen Hall in the month. That loss was probably the most damaging to Masaoka as he did not seem like he was at Kasai's level and then he ended up suffering a kneecap injury a month that would have Masaoka out of action for over a year. Kasai would go five for five against Masaoka on November 17, 2021 at Korakuen Hall with Kasai once again earning himself a shot for the title at the Korakuen Hall Christmas Death Match show.
Kasai would start off with the early advantage by piledriving Masaoka off a stack of chairs against the turnbuckle through the first glass board. Kasai would then for the finish by trying a Stimulation Driver onto a stack of light tubes, but Masaoka would counter by headbutting Kasai and taking those light tubes and headbutting them breaking them into Kasai's head. Masaoka would then climb up to the top and deliver a Rokkura Kai Kneedrop wit Kasai kicking out. Masaoka would then lay light tubes over Kasai's body and hit him with a Moonsault Double Kneedrop and get the pinfall which would shock the crowd as they would out a loud pop despite the COVID rules of no making noises with your mouth as Masaoka would defeat Kasai at 23 minutes, 41 seconds to become the new King of Freedom World Champion and his second reign as champion. Toru Sugiura would come to the ring and challenge Masaoka for a title match in the main event for the May 3rd Yokohama Budokan show. This will be Sugiura's first shot at trying to win back the title since losing it to Violento Jack back on July 5, 2021 ending his record 21 month run.
The semi-main event would be Yuya Susumu's FREEDOMS Farewell match as he would team up with Toru Sugiura and Tomoya Hirata as they would take on Takashi Sasaki, Mammoth Sasaki, and Dragon Libre. Mammoth would end up putting a chair over Susumu's head and deliver him a Mammoth Home Run as his going away present followed by Takashi delivering a superkick and Dragon Libre hitting a Running DDT on him. Susumu would come back though and deliver a kick to Libre's head before finishing him off at 21 minutes, 10 seconds with the Front Crash to get his final win in FREEDOMS. Takashi Sasaki would present Susumu with a boquet of flowers and hug his friend as he goes off to NOAH full time.
ERE's newest member would be revealed as 2AW's Kyu Mogami as he would be the mystery opponent for Rina Yamashita with Mogami busting Yamashita up and then attack the referee for Yamashita to get the win at 2 minutes, 18 seconds via DQ with Mogami going back to attacking Yamashita. The rest of ERE would come out until Unchain would also hit the ring with the scheduled six man tag being turned into a eight person tag with Kenji Fukimoto, Minoru Fujita, Kamui, and Rina Yamashita taking on Violento Jack, Toshiyuki Sakuda, Takayuki Ueki, and Kyu Mogami in a Junkyard Tornado Death Match. Jack would try for the Amatalan on Fukimoto on a board of broken cans but Fukimoto would end up swiping Jack's mask off and then hit him with the Package Piledriver on the broken can board to get the win at 11 minutes, 20 seconds over Jack.
Tatsuhito Takaiwa and GENTARO would team up to take on Kengo and Takahiro Katori with Takaiwa getting the win at 10 minutes, 55 seconds after hitting a Death Valley Bomb off the turnbuckle on Kengo to pick up the win. Takaiwa afterwards would issue a challenge for Kengo and Takahiro Katori with the winner of their match on April 21st challenging Takaiwa for his UWA Jr. Heavyweight Title on May 3rd at the Yokohama Budokan. The opening match would have Brahman Shu and Brahman Kei defeat Leo Isaka and Rekka with Shu picking up the win at 8 minutes, 10 seconds after rolling Rekka up with the Nobody's Perfect. Click here for highlights of the FREEDOMS 3/29/22 Korakuen Hall show
FREEDOMS would hold their VERSUS 2022 show with 2AW at the Chiba
2AW Square on April 3, 2022 drawing an announced crowd of 71 fans for the show.T
he main event would see Toru Sugiura and Tomoya Hirata defend their King of
Freedom Tag Team Titles against 2AW's Kengo Mashimo and Tatsuya Hanami in a
Hardcore Match. A ladder would be used as a weapon through out with Hanami
climbing to the top of it, but Hirata would end up throwing a chair at it and
climbing it up as well and suplex him off the ladder before Hirata would pin
Hanami at 25 minutes, 27 seconds with a German Suplex to defend the tag titles
for the third time. The semi-main event would be the newest ERE member in Kyu
Mogami going up against Daisuke Masaoka with Mogami jumping Masaokat the
entrance way with a chair before the start of the match. Mogami would then
lowblow Masaoka without the referee seeing so Masaoka would take a chair and
smash it over Mogami's head for the referee to end the match at 9 minutes, 30
seconds and reward the win to Mogami via DQ.
Unchain's Jun Kasai, Kenji Fukimoto, and Kamui would defeat 2AW's Ayato Yoshida, Takuma Joshiba, and Naka Shuma with Kasai getting the pinfall over Shuma at 12 minutes, 34 seconds with a Pearl Harbor Splash. 2AW's Taishi Takizawa, Daiju Wakamatsu, and Chicharito Shoki would get the win over Takashi Sasaki, Mammoth Sasaki, and Dragon Libre with Wakamatsu picking up the pin at 12 minutes, 38 seconds over Dragon Libre with a Dragon Suplex. Violento Jack would put away Kaji Tomato at 9 minutes, 57 seconds with the Amatalan. The opening match would see 2AW's Kunio Toshima and Takuro Niki defeat GENTARO and Takahiro Katori after Toshima would pick up the win at 12 minutes, 34 seconds after making GENTARO tap out to a Reverse STF. Click here to watch highlights of the FREEDOMS 4/3/22 show
FREEDOMS would then return to Shin-Kiba 1st Ring on April 21, 2022 and announce a crowd of 163 fans for the show. The main event would see Toru Sugiura and Tomoya Hirata defend their King of Freedom Tag Team Titles against Daisuke Masaoka and Kamui in a Fluorescent Light Tubes Death Match with Sugiura putting Kamui away at 19 minutes, 32 seconds with a Soul Driver to successfully defend the titles for the fourth time. Sugiura and Masaoka afterwards would get on the mic and fist pump one another knowing that they were going to go all out on one another for their May 3rd match.
The semi-main event would be Jun Kasai, Takashi Sasaki, Kenji Fukimoto, and Rina Yamashita taking on ERE's Violento Jack, Toshiyuki Sakuda, Takayuki Ueki, and Kyu Mogami in a Weapons Death Match which would see Sakuda pick up the pinfall over Kasai at 13 minutes, 41 seconds after holding a Safety Pin Board against his back and delivering a Swanton Bomb to pick up the win over Kasai to setup their singles match on May 3rd.
Kengo would defeat Takahiro Katori at 12 minutes, 59 seconds after hitting him with a Frog Splash with Kengo becoming the number one contender to challenge for Tatsuhito Takaiwa's UWA Jr. Heavyweight Title which would see Takaiwa come out and pose with Kengo in the ring. Tatsuhito Takaiwa would defeat Dragon Libre at 10 minutes, 17 seconds after finishing him with a Death Valley Bomb. The opening match would see Mammoth Sasaki and GENTARO defeating Leo Isaka and Rekka at 10 minutes, 13 seconds with Mammoth putting Rekka away with the 29 Years Old. Mammoth would get on the mic afterwards and challenge Masato Tanaka to either a singles or tag match for the May 3rd at the Yokohama Budokan. Click here for highlights of the FREEDOMS 4/21/22 show
FREEDOMS announced the full lineup for their May 3, 2022 biggest show in the company history at the Yokohama Budokan. The main event will be Daisuke Masaoka defending his King of Freedom World Championship against Toru Sugiura in a No Canvas Chimera Boards Death Match. This is the first No Canvas match for FREEDOMS in over three years. The semi-main event will be Jun Kasai once again facing off against Toshiyuki Sakuda in a Beauty Murder Safety Pin Board Death Match which the result of this will be interesting as Kasai has defeated Sakuda every single time they have faced off, but Kasai having just lost in March then to Sakuda in the tag match in April would make it seem like he would not be losing again so soon. Tomoya Hirata will go up against All Japan's Shuji Ishikawa.
Violento Jack will take on Kenji Fukimoto in a Mask vs. Makeup Barbed wire Board Gadget Board Death Match. Fukimoto beat Jack in August 2018 resulting in Jack from being unable to use the Package Piledriver as a move as Fukimoto now looks to take away his mask as well. The Masato Tanaka vs. Mammoth Sasaki match will be a tag match with Tanaka teaming up with GENTARO to take on Mammoth and Kamui. I think this will probably lead to Tanaka vs. Mammoth in a singles match for the upcoming May 27th Korakuen Hall show. Takashi Sasaki and Rina Yamashita will go up against ERE's Takayuki Ueki and Kyu Mogami in a Junkyard Tornado Death Match. Tatsuhito Takaiwa will defend his UWA Jr. Heavyweight Title Match against Kengo following Kengo's win on the April 21st show. The opening match will be the FREEDOMS young boy team of Dragon Libre, Takahiro Katori, Leo Isaka, and Rekka going up against the outside team of Van Vert Negro, Van Vert Jack, Yousei Estrella, and Seiki. Just a note I will be out of town with work the week of this show, so I will not be able to post the results of it until a couple days later on the weekend.
Obviously the original plan of Jun Kasai vs. Masashi Takeda main eventing the show was changed with Takeda's recent absence and instead they decided to with pretty much the only top main event match of Masaoka vs. Sugiura that has not happened in FREEDOMS yet. Takeda recently while celebrating his daughters second birthday stated that he will return to doing death matches again. This does at least keep the possibility of doing Kasai vs. Takeda at next years Yokohama Budokan show as I would imagine they are going to continue to run in this bigger building at least once a year going forward.
The A-Team would run back to back shows on March 27, 2022 at the Tokyo Kitasenju White Studio with both of them announcing a crowd of 50 fans. The first show would see MIKAMI and Tatsuhito Takaiwa team up in the main event to defeat HASEGAWA and Jin when MIKAMI would pin Jin at 13 minutes, 49 seconds with the 450 Splash. The semi-main event would see Tomohiko Hashimoto and TORU defeat Kuma Arashi and Hashinosuke when TORU would pin Hashinosuke at 16 minutes, 39 seconds with a Brainbuster. Daisaku Shimoda, Masahiro Sase, Shota Nakagawa, and Kosaku Tonozaki would end up going to a 30 minute time limit draw with Raiden, Takumi Sakurai, Joji Otani, and Bryan Ishizaka. Magic Killer # 1 would defeat Kenya Madea at 8 minutes, 47 seconds with a Shining Wizard. The opening match would see Iori Sugawara defeat Raito Shimizu at 7 minutes, 59 seconds with the Crescent Tail.
The second show would have the main event of Raiden and Takumi Sakurai winning the WEW Tag Team Titles from Tomohiko Hashimoto and Daisaku Shimoda when Sakurai would get the win at 16 minutes, 7 seconds with a Moonsault to get the pinfall over Shimoda. The semi-main event of HASEGAWA defending the WEW Jr. Title against MIKAMI would go to a No Contest at 18 minutes, 44 seconds with Masahiro Sase, Jin, and Magic Killer # 1 would all hit the ring and attack both to get the match thrown out with HASEGAWA defending his title for the third time. Kuma Arahsi would defeat Kosaku Tonozaki at 12 minutes, 6 seconds with a Diving Senton for the win. Masahiro Sase and Iori Sugawara would defeat Magic Killer # 1 and Jin when Sase would pick up the win at 13 minutes, 5 seconds over Jin with a Diving Body Press. The opening match would have TORU and Shota Nakagawa defeat Joji Otani and Bryan Ishizaka when Nakagawa would pin Ishizaka at 8 minutes, 39 seconds with a Swanton Bomb.
The A-Team would then hold their 5th Anniversary show at the Tokyo Kitasenju White Studio for their final show in the building as they would announce a crowd of 50 fans. The main event would see MIKAMI finally defeat HASEGAWA at 20 minutes, 43 seconds with the 450 Splash to win the WEW Jr. Heavyweight Tite. Super Tiger would defend his WEW Heavyweight Title by defeating Kosaku Tonosaki at 10 minutes, 58 seconds with the Shiden. Raiden and Takumi Sakurai would defeat Gamelas and Takeshi Irei when Sakurai would hit a Moonsault on Gamelas at 17 minutes, 37 seconds for their first title defense. Tatsuhito Takaiwa and Bryan Ishizaka would defeat Tomohiko Hashimoto and Kota Nagashima at 12 minutes, 42 seconds in Nagashima's debut match as Ishizaka would pin him with his Paydirt finisher. Masahiro Sase, Magic Killer # 1, and Jin would defeat Daisaku Shimoda, Iori Sugawara, and Raito Shimizu at 14 minutes, 12 seconds when Sase would pin Shimizau with a Diving Body Press. The opening match would see Joji Otani and Hashinosuke defeat Rion Mizuki and Kenya Maeda at 9 minutes, 44 seconds when Otani would pin Maeda with the Sliding D. The next scheduled A-Team show is for July 31, 2022 at the Shin-Kiba 1st Ring.
Kintaro Kanemura met up with Satoshi Kojima following the ZERO1 Ryogoku Sumo Hall show on April 10, 2022 for the first time in 15 years when Kojima worked an Apache Army show on February 2, 2007 at Korakuen Hall. Kanemura stated he felt that there was a time that Kojima was the best professional wrestler in Japan and he did not look down on indie wrestling like others (he didn't name names but Kojima's long time partner Hiroyoshi Tenzan would be one of those people). Kanemura stated that he had one single match after FMW closed (it was for the Rainbow Promotions on January 25, 2003) and that he hated New Japan so much during this time (Kojima was an All Japan wrestler at the time, but had a long history of being a New Japan wrestler) that he wanted to take out Kojima resulting in Kojima bleeding heavily during the match, but of course Kanemura would not be allowed to win a match against a major promotion wrestler like Kojima.
Kanemura stated he also met up with Yuji Nagata and Tiger Mask IV at the show as well. Kanemura mentioned a story about how he was touring with Michinoku Pro (this would have been in August 2002) and took Tiger Mask IV's mask and put it on while on bus while they were in the parking lot leaving a show and Kanemura with the mask on stuck his head out the window began insulting the fans near the bus as if it was he was Tiger Mask insulting them. Tiger Mask IV had Kanemura meet Yuji Nagata for the first time at the show. Kanemura stated he always thought Nagata making his eyes go all white was stupid but he respected Nagata for shoot fighting Fedor Emelianenko and Mirko Cro Cop with very little time to train. Kanemura finished by stating to support Kojima who is one of the good guys in the business.
This month marks the 60th Anniversary of Korakuen Hall being
opened. Even though people that aren't the biggest Japanese wrestling fans make
jokes about the Tokyo Dome it is Korakuen Hall that is the most famous wrestling
building in Japan and to me the best wrestling venue as well. I wanted go over
the history of the building that has meant so much to so many promotions as well
as the significance it had with FMW.
On April 16, 1962, the "Korakuen Bowling Hall" was completed on the west side of Korakuen Stadium (the big baseball stadium that was built before the Tokyo Dome). The building started off with a bowling alley, coffee shop, a steam bathroom, restaurant, billiards salon, and a movie theater. A couple of years later there would be a renovation and a pro-boxing arena was made for the 5th and 6th floors as it was renamed "Korakuen Gym" but eventually another "Korakuen Gym" would be built just for boxing, so to avoid the confusion the building was renamed "Korakuen Hall" in 1967.
Korakuen Hall was only known for its boxing gym because pro-wrestling was not held in it originally. That's because Japan Pro-Wrestling Rikidozan had gotten his own complex built called "Riki Sports Palace" in July 1961, which could fit 3,000 people for a pro-wrestling event as well as had its own sauna and bowling alley as well. Rikidozan would be killed though in December 1963 and a debt would continue to build for the Riki Enterprise resulting in the company having to sell the building to help with the debt they were in.
Japan Pro-Wrestling with the help of television company NTV would run the first pro-wrestling show at Korakuen Gym on November 25, 1966 with the main event of Giant Baba vs. Luis Hernandez. NTV which still this today has such a strangle hold on everything having to do with Tokyo Dome City (where Tokyo Dome/Korakuen Hall are located) prevented rival IWE and later New Japan Pro-Wrestling from being able to run Korakuen Hall until Japan Pro-Wrestling closed down in 1972. Even then All Japan which was created from the ashes of Japan Pro-Wrestling got first dibs with Korakuen Hall running their first show there on November 6, 1972. Eventually Korakuen would let All Japan Women's begin running there in May 1973 and then finally New Japan would be allowed to run there on July 6, 1973 as well. The next decade it would become the main building for all professional wrestling promotions.
Every promotion would use Korakuen Hall as a regular home and
that would include the newly created FMW promotion which would run there for
their second show ever on October 10, 1989 with Atsushi Onita defeating Masashi
Aoyagi to conclude their wrestler vs. karate fight that had began back on July
2, 1989 at Korakuen Hall.
Onita would come back to Korakuen Hall for the very next show on December 10, 1989 to hold the very first barbed wire death match in Japan at the building with Onita's arm getting cut open deep to get over the dangerousness of the barbed wire to help get people talking about FMW.
FMW would continue to use Korakuen Hall usually around once a month, but it wouldn't be until Onita retired in May 1995 that Korakuen Hall became incredibly important to FMW. Korakuen Hall fans are known for being more of the hardcore smarter fans in Japan. Shows away from Tokyo usually only succeeded based on having a big time star like Antonio Inoki or Giant Baba on the card or Atsushi Onita who wasn't at those two level but had developed some what of a mainstream name but also brought the barbed wire death matches with him for the FMW shows under him to do well.
Hayabusa was practically a no name at that point and he wanted to change the direction from death matches to having good straight matches again as that was the style he liked and how he felt he would do best with. This change resulted in death at the box office for the house shows outside of Tokyo the first two weeks for this New FMW promotion. It was so bad that it didn't seem like FMW would survive a couple more months with how no one outside of Tokyo cared about FMW without Onita.
It wasn't until this New FMW promotion ran their first Korakuen Hall show on May 28, 1995 that ended up being a sell out to see Hayabusa in person and what he could do in the ring which included debuting the Phoenix Splash that the fear of having to close down almost immediately went away.
FMW under Hayabusa got better at drawing house show crowds outside of Tokyo, but they did that great. The New FMW for years would use their financially successful Korakuen Hall shows to make up for the debt that was collected while touring outside of Korakuen Hall.
Then in late 2000 going into their last full year in 2001 the promotion was dealt the blow with Hayabusa out of action due to injury which made the house shows go back to absolute financial disasters every night and FMW being desperate for money they would begin to run at Korakuen Hall twice a month every month. Hoping that the building that had always helped them get out of debt, would work its magic like it always had during their most desperate time.
The problem though would be that FMW was so cold without Hayabusa and now running it twice a month would make it where Korakuen Hall for the first time ever would begin to not make them money in return to help them as they continued to collect massive debt from touring.
Hayabusa would come back and the shows at Korakuen Hall would begin to do better, but then Hayabusa would end up suffering his career ending injury on October 22, 2001 at Korakuen Hall just five months into his return. The hardcore Korakuen Hall fans would still continue to attend and support FMW including their final two Korakuen Hall shows in 2002 doing really well as the building was nearly full for both of them. The house shows went back to bleeding money though horribly after Hayabusa's injury and all the millions of dollars they had lost while Hayabusa was out for the first half of 2001 still was hanging over them until time ran out on FMW was forced to officially shut down on February 15, 2002 with Korakuen Hall being the home of the final show for the promotion.
Korakuen Hall has become a very friendly place for independent promotions these days like it was for FMW back in the 90s. Promotions like Big Japan, ZERO1, and FREEDOMS use it as their main source of income with Big Japan running house shows that barely draw anything outside of Tokyo while ZERO1 and FREEDOMS tend to stay away from running outside of Tokyo too much knowing the debt that can be collected running too many house shows.
Korakuen Hall after all these years is a safe haven for so many promotions as legitimizes you by being able to run there, it gets you the media attention that only a huge arena show will get you more of, and it will bring you a hardcore passionate fan base of people keeping up with your product that will help with the atmosphere of the shows as well as help the matches themselves. It will also be the easiest way to be able to make good money back and help make up any debt collected by running outside of Tokyo. It is why after 60 years that Korakuen Hall still remains the most important wrestling building for Japanese wrestling with no end in sight of that ever changing.
I wanted to make a note that I have started a new series that you can check out in the multimedia section of the site. I have named it FMW Stories. I knew when I finished with the History of FMW that I wanted to do more special episode called Untold Stories going over a bunch of the stuff I have learned over the last couple of years. I struggled getting started knowing it would be a really difficult episode to put together with how long it might end up being. So I decided to just break them up by episodes and create a new show.
The shows while still very time consuming especially with how much research I do before starting on the episode, but they are nowhere near the month long project that the later History of FMW episodes became for me with how much editing I had to do. My big worry going into these episodes is going to be having enough new content to get to around 20 minutes per episode as I have some ideas for topics, but they might not get made just because I might not have enough info to make an episode based off it, but we will see how things work out. The first two episodes are about The Creation of FMW and Tarzan Goto and I think both do a great job of providing a lot of new content that isn't known by many people.
Atsushi Onita's Shoot Interview was released by RF Video earlier this month after a several month delay. This interview was originally conducted on October 29, 2021 at Rob Feinstein's house while Onita was in the Northeast region of the United States for his explosion match with Matt Tremont. Onita had his wife there that spoke really good English to help translate anything that he did not understand. Onita struggled to be able to understand most of the questions in English without translation help from his wife, but was able to answer most of the questions in English. Like most wrestlers it seems like his long term memory was better than his short term, but also it seems his spin on things have become the truth to him for a lot things whether it was really the case or not.
They started by talking about how Onita started his career and
how he called All Japan 10 times before the office told him he can try out at
the old Sumo Arena in Tokyo.
Jumbo Tsuruta was the one that trained him in the All Japan Dojo where he
learned amateur wrestling and had to do 2,000 squats. His first expedition after
leaving All Japan was to go to Germany, France, England before going to Santa
Domingo in the Dominican Republic
Onita complained about the Dominic Republic promoter was not good as he was not getting paid that much despite the promotion drawing a lot. Onita said he wanted more money and as a result many of the wrestlers attacked Onita in the dressing room. The story that Terry Funk says was that Onita was told he was going to job to the booker two times in a row in a two out of three falls match so Onita stiffed him during the match which lead Onita getting beaten down in the dressing room.
Onita then called Terry Funk in Texas about the Dominican Republic promoter
being shit and then Onita went to Amarillo which is also what Funk says
happened. Onita talked about Masa Fuchi and how they shared an apartment and
traveled together across Texas and Tennessee and how Fuchi would wake him up at
5:00 am and how Onita hated that about Fuchi.
Onita was asked about his position on the card as he would state because of him being only 6 feet tall and 210 pounds compared to Jumbo Tsuruta and Stan Hansen who were big so the Jr. Heavyweight division gave him a chance to stand out.
Onita told a story about how he was in the foreigner dressing room as a young boy in All Japan and saw Mil Mascaras mask and put it on because he was such a big fan, but then later he heard Mascaras talking bad about Onita in Spanish and even though Onita couldn't understand him he knew he was talking bad about him and does not like Mascaras to this day as a result.
Onita would be asked about the Tupelo Concession Stand Brawl match in Memphis which Onita would confuse for a hair vs. hair match with Onita not feeling like it was fair he would get paid the same for the match as Fuchi when Fuchi had short hair and Onita had long hair. It would get brought back up with Onita remembering it because it was brought up, but it does not seem like it was something he had thought about for a long time but did add that Memphis was something he took a lot from later on.
Onita's memories of Florida was that the money was not good because business was down when Giant Baba came in to the territory and wanted him to go back to being his assistant like they were in Japan with Onita not wanting to although I couldn't understand the rest of his statement about it.
Onita's initial memories of Chavo Guerrero, Sr. was that he had died because he drank too much. Onita then talked about Chavo hitting him with the trophy causing Onita to bleed which Onita stated that was something that lead to FMW.
Onita was then ask about his time in Mexico which would mostly be about Onita not liking the peso and regretting agreeing to be paid in that because of how much it would change to where sometimes he was only making 2 bucks a match.
Onita brought up about being the top Jr. Heavyweight in All Japan but that lead to the comparison with New Japan's top Jr. Heavyweight Tiger Mask who was considered a hero by so many people while Onita was just Onita to most.
When asked about his knee injury that ended his All Japan career he just simply said it was "bye bye Onita" and then talked about the different jobs he got. He didn't talk about it here, but in his book he talks about how embarrassed he was to be doing regular everyday jobs like construction work and just hoping no one would recognize who he was.
Onita then talked about the Masashi Aoyagi feud which was based off Aoyagi running a karate dojo and them having a booked match with Onita attacking Aoyagi with a chair and leaving him bloody which resulted in a big brawl in the ring. This got a big reaction from the crowd and Onita knew this would be good business.
Onita then said Aoyagi would come to his new company FMW. Onita was asked about
what lead from going to street fights to barbed wire but the barbed wire
actually came first. Onita stated the promotion started as a wrestler vs.
martial arts theme, but he needed a change and he changed it to a death matches
promotion which was a success.
Onita would tell the story how Giant Baba called the FMW office twice but that one of the FMW employees (I believe it was Shoichi Arai) did not believe it was actually Giant Baba calling and hung up on him. Giant Baba then called Onita personally and told Onita about being hung up on with Onita having to apologize. Onita would be asked if New Japan and All Japan ever worked with FMW with Onita stating never which is true about Onita's time as owner, but All Japan and FMW worked together with Onita brokering the deal to get Hayabusa to work All Japan while Kenta Kobashi worked the Kawasaki Stadium show in 97)
The New Japan name though led to Onita talk about how he did not like New Japan and that his heart was All Japan as he was Giant Baba's boy. Onita then brought up UWF and how he went to a show to challenge UWF back in 1989 but Onita didn't have a ticket for the show, so they did not let him which made him very angry. Onita's goal after that was that his company FMW would beat UWF.
Onita when asked about Dick Murdoch would say he liked him, but he was stupid but he was a genius professional wrestling although crazy. Onita also said he thought FMW needed to be different than New Japan and UWF and that's when he thought about doing the explosion matches.
He was then asked about the Invader stabbing incident with Onita in Puerto Rico with Onita just stating that the Japanese fans did not want Jose Gonzales which that thought was based off the negative backlash Onita received by the fans and media for doing the angle in the first place.
Onita was then asked about Mike Awesome and stated he started off stiff with his chair shots to Sambo Asako, but as he kept coming back to Japan and he got a lot better and he became a good worker. I am sure Onita does know it, but the way he worded his answer made it sound like he thought Mike was still alive.
When he asked about "Wild Thing" Onita stated he used the theme song because of the movie Major League as he felt in the movie the Indians were bad, but the dream was for them to become good, which they did and that's how he felt when he started FMW. Onita afterwards then asked why did Jon Moxley steal his theme song.
Onita when asked about appearing for ECW back in 1998 he said he didn't know why
he only worked the one show and then brought up his meeting with Vince McMahon
at Titan Towers. Onita says Vince told him he wanted to a death match but Onita
told him he did not want to which Onita was really there with Victor Quinones to
finalize who FMW was going to pay WWF to bring in for their Kawasaki Stadium
show in September 1997 which ended up being Vader and Ken Shamrock. Onita in the
past had said he had asked Vince about doing an explosion match in America with
Vince saying "sure, sure" but then there was no follow-up after that as it was
never going to happen especially with Onita.
Onita did state Vince McMahon was very smart as he includes every style into his promotion. He was asked about bringing in Terry Funk for the Exploding Ring in 1993 with Onita saying there was no issue booking Terry because he was his brother although there was conflict afterwards as Terry was suppose to get booked regularly in FMW for ending his ties with All Japan to work the show and was suppose to beat Onita in a rematch with Terry only being booked on one more tour after that and the singles match never taking place. Onita would say he didn't have the rematch because the promotion needed. He is essentially saying they didn't just do rematches after Onita had gotten the win which was the formula for the booking at the time especially with Onita getting the loss in the last match. Onita didn't beat Tiger Jeet Singh and then have a rematch for him to lose to Tiger after their Stadium match in 1992 for example. I don't even know if Terry cared about the rematch not happening more than him just expecting to get booked more by Onita for doing the job to him.
When asked about doing so many explosion matches, he said he is always scared going into one of them which I have heard him say before due to the possibility of something going wrong like in 2013 when a fireball came out of the explosion and burnt Onita's arm up. Onita also said he got the idea of having a women's roster in a men's promotion based off seeing it in the United States.
He was asked how he held up while wrestling so much, Onita brought up almost
dying twice with the barbed wire getting stuck in his throat and there was a 70%
chance he was going to die when he got Sespis for diving into the Osaka
Dotonbori River in December 1992. Onita would then randomly say one year he had
217 matches which is a specific number, but really the most for a one year span
FMW ran was 160 shows from FMW May 5, 1994 to his retirement show on May 5, 1995 (and
that time frame is favoring his point number wise). He then brought up being on
top and having such a
busy schedule, he also would go on television talk shows because nobody knew Onita
mainstream wise, so him appearing on television allowed people to know who he
was, which did help him become a bigger star than he would have been just
through wrestling which lead to him only having three days off one year.
Onita says the Great Nita was him saying fuck off to the Great Muta but when asked if he liked doing the gimmick he began to talk about the Great Nita being a different person.
Onita was then asked about Hayabusa being the right opponent for his retirement match and I believe he misunderstood the question as he talked about how the New FMW under Arai found Toshiba EMI as a sponsor to help pay for them without Onita and Onita agreed to leave and go to New Japan. Onita is confusing retiring in 1995 and FMW finding Toshiba EMI to help distribute their videos and FMW asking Onita to leave in 1998 with him going to New Japan. Onita then began talking about how he was not in FMW for four years before it closed down, but he is blamed for FMW closing down and Arai dying by people. I won't go into full detail about this, and it is true that FMW closing down in 2002 with Arai and Hayabusa's eventual deaths should not be blamed on Onita, but Onita is blamed for stopping the momentum that FMW had going in 1996 after building itself back up without him. FMW eventually decided to go in a different direction without Onita which is ultimately what ended the promotion but Onita should not be blamed for that.
Onita when asked about Masato Tanaka stated he was good, but made sure to take a jab at ZERO1 saying it was a bad company as Onita has issues with the company now as there was a falling out with them right before his 2017 retirement and now the person funding the company had a bad business experience back in the 90s in FMW with Onita so it doesn't look like it's going to improve anytime soon.
He was asked if he wanted to take back the company when he returned or if he let
Arai have it which wasn't going to happen seeing that Arai bought the company
from Onita and Onita didn't want to return full time. Onita stated that only
Tokyo fans liked Hayabusa and that Arai asked Onita to come back because the
company was not doing well which is not how Arai paints the picture at all about
Onita returning in his book, nor is it something I have heard or believe. Onita
pointed out that FMW struggled to draw outside of Tokyo on house shows without
Onita which is true, but it doesn't make sense as the first six months into his
return it was mostly Onita working the big shows anyway as he only worked two
house shows as a face ten months into his return until he turned heel in ZEN. Also, if Onita's drawing ability during this time frame was so
much more than what he was getting paid for it, I don't think Arai would have
ever asked Onita to leave FMW no matter how frustrated all the other wrestlers
were with Onita at the time.
Onita then stated the comment he made on Darkside of the Ring about how he wanted to be a heel and not babyface which again is another exact opposite of what is in Arai's book and why I would side with Arai's story on that is that Onita actually was a heel for 3 months in 1997 with ZEN before going back to babyface which if Onita wanted so badly to be heel he wouldn't have turned back so fast, which Arai's book states that Onita hated being a heel in FMW and was fighting it the whole time before they switched ZEN face.
Then the Darkside of the Ring about Shoichi Arai's daughter Rika about blaming Onita for Arai's death was brought up. Onita talks about how he does not want to say anything about Arai or Hayabusa who were negative about him because they are dead as it is a very bad look in Japanese culture to talk bad about the dead. Onita then mentioned that Arai's ex-wife who is Rika's mom contacted Onita's mom and apologized to her saying Rika was just a little girl when all this happened and she didn't know anything as Arai's ex-wife years ago had Onita's mom help pay for some the debt that she was dealt with by Arai and the loan sharks.
I do want to make mention that when I asked Rika to be apart of the show, she stated she did not want her mom to know she was doing it, and asked if it would air in Japan which it did not. Of course these days anything can be easily found online although last I talked to her Rika herself had not seen the show. They are right that Rika is just going off the book Arai wrote when she blames Onita and she doesn't have any extra inside knowledge although she has told me that her grandfather ended up paying the rest of the debt after a couple of years of still owing the loan sharks, although I am sure Onita's mom did help her out the best she could when asked.
Onita then accused of Arai of just making things up to help sell the book because he was in such debt, which there is truth that Arai did make up stuff in the book but from everything I have been able to tell that most of the Onita stuff related to his dislike for Onita personally at the end was true and I can honestly see Onita either not thinking that's how it went down or simply just not remembering it correctly after so many years. It doesn't make sense that Shoichi Arai would hate Onita, never want him back in FMW, write a book and be very negative about him when Onita is the one that got him into the wrestling business if Onita was as innocent as he portrays himself here.
Onita was asked about XPW and Sabu and he barely remembered but stated there was
money issues. He just said about Kodo Fuyuki when asked that he was not too bad.
When asked about Victor Quinones he made a gesture with his hand to his mouth
which I am guessing meaning he was saying Quinones was gay without saying it,
but didn't really have much to say.
Talking about New Japan he wanted to bring his style which New Japan originally said they did not want. Onita then stated New Japan use to be able to draw fifty to sixty thousand people for dome shows and now can only draw twenty thousand. Onita said he liked being hated by New Japan because he is All Japan and FMW heart and New Japan can fuck off.
He mentioned that Hayabusa maybe got a big head when he got pushed to the top by Arai in FMW but he doesn't know because he didn't want to talk to him, and Hayabusa didn't want to talk to him. He mentioned Hideki Takahashi started Super Battle FMW and he wanted to interact with Hayabusa together for the promotion but then the story kind of trailed off, but I am guessing he was implying that Hayabusa did not want to interact with Onita in public for the promotion.
Onita talked about his politics career was because he always wants to do something different. He was asked about the scandal that ended his politic career which he said that his term his expired and that was it.
His memories of the Terry Funk tag match for All Japan at the Tokyo Dome was that it was a so-so match. He said he thought both New Japan and All Japan are not that good because they keep doing the same matches and people are looking for different matches.
He was asked about fighting Matt Tremont in CZW and he was very tired because he had spent so much time before the show signing things. Talking about the Jon Moxley vs. Kenny Omega match he was asked for him to go to Florida to attend but he didn't want to go. Onita said he has never seen Moxley, but he feels he has the same heart as him.
When asked about starting up FMW-E he stated he was doing explosion matches already (DDT's Blasting Koshien) and that he wanted to appeal to the young generation and show that the explosion match was his idea and exciting. Onita asked about if there was any former FMW wrestlers that would come in for FMW-E and he stated that Damian would be one if he comes to Japan.
Onita would then finished the interview by mentioning that he is always looking for change like how he did from FMW to New Japan and you always need change because you are broken if you can't think of anything new.
Overall it was an Onita being Onita. You take what you can get with him. There is going to be the truth, there is going to be straight out lies (he even said he has never lied before in the interview), there's going to be things that are not correct, but that's how he honestly thinks that's how it went down, and then there's things where his memory is just not too good and he mixes things up or just straight out doesn't remember. It was entertaining though, but at this point, there is no point in Onita doing anything besides what he did here, which is portray himself as the total babyface when it comes to everything, and anyone that didn't like him for any of his actions back in the day were simply just jealous of him.
Atsushi Onita has announced his upcoming bookings from March to
May. The first will be attending the Icons of Wrestling Convention Fan Fest on
March 26th at the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia and then later that night wrestling
in the main event as The Great Nita against Bubba Ray Dudley. This is
technically Great Nita's first time appearing in America although he did the
Great Muta ripoff gimmick for the first time back in February 1990 for the ICW
promotion in Boston, Massachusetts against Tony Atlas while still being called
Atsushi Onita in the match. Onita has also been stating he will be returning to
the ECW Arena for the first time since 1998 as I think he has already forgotten
his 2018 appearance at the building teaming up with Matt Tremont. Onita will
then travel to Dallas and appear at WrestleCon from March 31st to April 2nd
although Onita has not specifically promoted anything he is doing in Dallas. He
had also mentioned flying to Los Angeles after Dallas previously, but he has not
mentioned doing anything publicly while there if he is still going to be there
The first FMW-E show of the year will then take place on April 24th at the Fukuoka Yanagawa Civic Gym with Shadow WX, Onryo, Ricky Fuji, Miss Mongol, and a Leatherface gimmick participating on the show. The big show on May 5th not having been announced yet pretty much means there is zero chance of it happening at this point, and if anything it seems like FMW-E as a promotion might be done as there is nothing booked for May as of right now and the only reason this show is happening is because a sponsor bought it, which is similar to how Super Battle FMW ran shows into May 2018 despite being actually finished in December 2017. There is a chance the promotion re-starts up in the summer, but they are going to need to do something to change things up to bring back the fans, as they had already lost a good chunk of their small loyal fan base from July to December because of it being the same show every time. Onita has also been promoting him being a masked wrestler on the undercard of this FMW-E show.
Onita's old Fire Pro promotion (well a sponsor who pays Onita to say it's his promotion) which hasn't ran a show since September 13, 2020 will run two shows on April 30th at the Shimane Kunibiki Messe and then May 1st at the Hiroshima Industrial Hall with both shows having exploding bat matches in the main event. Onita will then work the May 28th DDT show in Fukuoka and then May 31st he will participate for the Jumbo Tsuruta 23rd Memorial show at Korakuen Hall.
Yuya Susumu and Takashi Sasaki held a press conference in Tokyo on March 18, 2022 to announce Susumu's departure from the company on March 31, 2022 once his FREEDOMS contract expires. They did not say where Susumu would be going, but it's not hard to figure out with him working a lot with NOAH over the past year that the promotion that also signed Hi69 and Yuki Sato would also sign him up to a contract as well. Susumu who started his career off in 2004 as SUSUMU worked freelance for the first half of his career mostly for shows in Hiroshima.
His first set of matches with FREEDOMS were for two shows on November 12, 2011 and November 13, 2011. He then began working FREEDOMS regularly starting in February 2012 before signing the contract in May 2013 as he and Toru Sugiura were the first two people to sign with the promotion that were not there from the first day of the promotion. The real turning point of him becoming an official member of the promotion was on October 30, 2013 when in a 4 Way Match along with Jun Kasai, Masashi Takeda, and Toru Sugiura he ended up taking the fall in the match to Kasai and Kasai convincing him he needed to shave his head which he did.
Susumu was pushed decently in a upper midcard type role including winning the King of Freedom Tag Team Titles with Buffalo on March 23, 2015. His one and only challenge for the King of Freedom World Championship took place on July 26, 2015 at the Shinjuku FACE where he lost to Masashi Takeda. After that match, he was pushed down to the undercard with no real direction.
FREEDOMS during that time pretty much became a full time main event death promotion which Susumu stayed a traditional wrestler during his entire time with the promotion which meant he was never going to be pushed as someone that could even contend for the title and mostly stuck in the undercard meaningless tag matches as a result. He started getting booked by NOAH on November 22, 2020 and about a year with Susumu not having really any direction and working semi-regularly for a much bigger promotion, it was only a matter of time I thought when Susumu would leave. Susumu does become the first person to go to a different promotion that was contracted with FREEDOMS. Hi69 although having a full time role with the promotion was never a contracted FREEDOMS wrestler when he decided to sign with NOAH and The Winger still has not wrestled one match since vanishing from FREEDOMS and letting his contract expire in the first part of 2017.
Takashi Sasaki said in a statement that he met Susumu in Dove Pro right before the start of FREEDOMS, and he agreed to join the promotion after deciding to move to Tokyo in May 2013. Sasaki said he progressed more than anyone else in the promotion in regards to "professional wrestling" and that Susumu's department is not a negative, as he wants him to aim to for the top in the professional wrestling world although this does leave a hole to fill in the Jr. Heavyweight division and that he hopes someone else will be able to step up and fill the role left by Yuya Susumu.
FREEDOMS returned to the Yokohama Radiant Hall on February 26, 2022 drawing an announced 115 fans for the show. The main event would be Jun Kasai taking on Minoru Fujita in a match that was supposed to happen earlier in the month with Kasai having to miss due to COVID. Legos would be dropped in the ring early on before referee would take a bump and be knocked out and Rina Yamashita would come in and take his shirt off and put it over her and become the referee for the rest of the match before Kasai would put Fujita away at 18 minutes, 57 seconds with a Cross Arm Stimulation for the win. Violento Jack, Toshiyuki Sakuda, and Takayuki Ueki would defeat Takashi Sasaki, Brahman Shu, and Brahman when Jak would finish off Kei at 11 minutes, 44 seconds with the Violent Breaker. Toru Sugiura and Tomoya Hirata would defeat Mammoth Sasaki and Takahiro Katori when Hirata would pin Katori at 13 minutes, 37 seconds with a German Suplex. GENTARO, Kenji Fukimoto, and Rina Yamashita would defeat Daisuke Masaoka, Kamui, and Rekka when Fukimoto would pin Rekka at 6 minutes, 5 seconds with a Package Piledriver. The opening match would see Tatsuhito Takaiwa and Kengo defeat Yuya Susumu and Dragon Libre when Kengo pinning Libre at 10 minutes, 28 seconds with a Vertical Brainbuster for the win. Click here for highlights of the FREEDOMS 2/26/22 show.
FREEDOMS would then their monthly Shin-Kiba show on March 10, 2022 announcing a crowd of 156 fans with the main event of Toru Sugiura and Tomoya Hirata defending their King of Freedom Tag Team Titles against Minoru Fujita and Rina Yamashita in a Fluorescent Light Tubes Death Match. Fujita would climb up to the top with a light tube, but Hirata would come up and headbutt Fujita and then smash the stack of light tubes over Fujita's head followed by Sugiura hitting Fujita with a Spanish Fly and then hit a running elbow breaking the stack light tubes over Fujita and get the pin over him at 20 minutes, 38 seconds to successfully defend the King of Freedom Tag Team Titles for the second time.
The semi-main event would be a Razor Cross Board and Saw Ladder Death Match with Jun Kasai, Daisuke Masaoka, and Kenji Fukimoto defeating Violento Jack, Toshiyuki Sakuda, and Takayuki Ueki when Masaoka would use Kasai's own Cross Arm Stimulation on Ueki to get the win at 16 minutes, 1 seconds right in front of Kasai. Kasai would counter that by attacking Masaoka and hitting him with the Cross Arm Stimulation before walking away. Mammoth Sasaki would defeat Orca Uto in a Hardcore Match at 9 minutes, 14 seconds after finishing him off with a chair shot. Tatsuhito Takaiwa, GENTARO, and Kamui would defeat Yuya Susumu, Kengo, and Leo Isaka when Takaiwa would put away Kengo at 11 minutes, 50 seconds with a Death Valley Bomb. The opening match would be Takahiro Katori, Rekka, and Dragon Libre defeating Takashi Sasaki, Brahman Shu, and Brahman Kei at 7 minutes, 32 seconds with Katori pinning Kei after a Super Kick.
FREEDOMS announced the lineup of their upcoming Korakuen Hall show. This show will not air on Samurai TV even though obviously Kasai vs. Masaoka is going to be a bigger drawing main event than last months Masaoka vs. Ueki which did air on Samurai. Jun Kasai and Daisuke Masaoka will fight for the King of Freedom World Championship in a Glass Board Death as Kasai looks to once again defeat Masaoka who has never beaten Kasai in a singles match. They will setup the main event of the Yokohama Budokan following the show. If there is still any chance of Kasai vs. Takeda taking place on May 3rd then it will know after this match. Takashi Sasaki, Mammoth Sasaki, and Dragon Libre will take on Toru Sugiura, Tomoya Hirata, and Yuya Susumu in what will be Susumu's last match in FREEDOMS. Minoru Fujita, Kenji Fukimoto, and Kamui will take on Violento Jack, Toshiyuki Sakuda, and Takayuki Ueki in a Junkyard Tornado Death Match. Rina Yamashita is scheduled to take on a ERE Mystery Opponent which is suppose to be the newest member of the group. Online speculation is that Takumi Tsukamoto is the favorite. Tatsuhito Takaiwa and GENTARO will take on Kengo and Takahiro Katori. The opening match will be Leo Isaka and Rekka taking on Brahman Shu and Brahman Kei. Click here for highlights of the FREEDOMS 3/10/22 show.
FREEDOMS would then return to the Osaka Active Square Daito where they would announce a crowd of 266 fans. The main event would be a Fluorescent Light Tubes Weapons Death Match with Daisuke Masaoka, Toru Sugiura, and Tomoya Hirata defeating Jun Kasai, Takashi Sasaki, and Rina Yamashita when Masaoka would get the pin over Yamashita at 19 minutes, 18 seconds once again using Kasai's Cross Arm Stimulation to pickup the pinfall. The semi-main event would be Toshiyuki Sakuda defeating Kamui at 19 minutes, 9 seconds in a Double Glass Board Death Match after Sakuda would pick up the win with a Swanton Bomb while holding a light tube for the pinfall. Violento Jack and Takayuki Ueki would defeat Minoru Fujita and Takahiro Katori when Ueki would pin Katori at 14 minutes, 57 seconds with a Death Valley Bomb. Orca Uto and Gunso would defeat Mammoth Sasaki and Dyna Mido when Uto would pick up the win over Mido at 8 minutes, 1 second with a Reverse Tiger Driver. Yuya Susumu and Dragon Libre would get the win over Masamune and Mataro Aoki when Susumu would make Aoki tap out at 12 minutes, 23 seconds with a Crossface. The opening match would have GENTARO, Brahman Shu, and Brahman Kei defeat Kenji Fukimoto, Shoichi Uchida, and Idea when GENTARO would pick up the win at 6 minutes, 58 seconds with a Backdrop to get the pinfall over Idea.
I recently added to my results section of the other promotions by adding the Nightmare promotion and all the follow up promotions following it. Last year I completed Atsushi Onita's promoted shows, Tarzan Goto's Goto-Ippa, and Mr. Pogo's WWS. Nightmare was a promotion that started in 2002 following Wrestle Yume Factory which went from 1995 to 2001 before closing due to financial issues. Even though I was closely following WMF at the time, I was unaware of how connected they were through out the history of one another as well as how prominent Tarzan Goto was in the early days of the promotion, that's how under the radar the promotion was to me at least
Shinigami who had worked for Wrestle Yume Factory started up this promotion with it going into 2005 before it also came upon financial issues and having to stop running shows. Towards the end of the promotion a sponsor called "The Count" as he would go by on the shows would have a masked heel group called "Garoga" come out and attack the Nightmare guys. The final original run Nightmare promotion would see the Garoga unit win a match and Nightmare knowing they could no financially keep going would let The Count take over and start up a new promotion called Garoga with all the wrestlers now fighting for the heel group's promotion. Garoga would go from the end of 2005 until the end of 2006 when they would rebrand as "Garoga Knights" and run through out 2007 before closing down for good. Masayoshi Motegi who had also wrestled for Wrestle Yume Factory and Nightmare and was the top babyface in the promotion would then start up his own promotion called Joshu in 2009, but this promotion was sporadic and would end up barely running many shows. Nightmare would then come back at the end of 2010 but they would only run four more total shows until closing down for good in 2011. Some reunion shows took place in 2015 and Yuga would promote some of her Batos Cafe shows to be Nightmare themed reunion shows up until 2016 but that would seem to close the book on this very unique independent promotion. You can check the results page at http://fmwwrestling.us/Nightmare.html
Last month marked the 15th Anniversary of The Gladiator Mike Awesome's passing. Earlier this month marked 6 years since Hayabusa's sudden passing. I wanted to go through and translate this interview the two did back in February 2003 for Weekly Pro Magazine. It is not too long, but it is very heart warming as it is the first time the two had met in three years and the first time they had met since Hayabusa's injury. You can check it out at http://fmwwrestling.us/HayabusaAwesome.html
Atsushi Onita returned to the ring for the first
time for the year on February 6, 2022 for his own promoted event at the Tokyo Kitasenju
White Studio, where they would announce a crowd of 50 fans for the show. This was
the first match back as well for Onita since having hip surgery on January 5th.
Onita was told by the doctor after the surgery to be careful about making sure the wound from the surgery was not open while in the match. Onita competed in the main event along side Raijin Yaguchi and Ricky Fuji against the A-Team of Tomohiko Hashimoto, HASEGAWA, and Takumi Sakurai in a Scramble Bunkhouse Death Match.
Weapons such as a a ladder, barbed wire board, table, a barbed wire bat, a guitar, and a bamboo sword were all placed as weapons in the ring to be used in and out of the ring for this match. Onita stated he didn't feel any pain in his lower back even though he delivered a piledriver through a table and delivered a Thunder Fire Powerbomb to Sakurai although the finish would be Yaguchi getting the pin over Sakurai at 12 minutes, 6 seconds with the Thunder Struck.
Onita admitted that by the end of December last year that he had been dealing with severe pain for a long time. At the recommendation of a doctor, he underwent a removal operation in his hip with the incision being nearly 8 inches. The doctor told Onita that he could not compete for one month and that it would take two months for a full recovery. Almost exactly one month to the day of the surgery Onita was back working two matches, although he is not booked to work again until a DDT show on March 5th in Fukuoka.
The FMW-E promotion which was suppose to hibernate until returning for a house show on February 27th in Fukuoka and then return back to the Yokohama Fruit and Vegetables Market for March when it would be warmer outside announced that they will not be running another show until April 27th when they will actually run that house show in Fukuoka with the February show being cancelled with COVID being cited as the reason.
Such a long pause pretty much kills any little momentum the promotion had. This is similar to Super Battle FMW in 2016, although they actually did have momentum on their side before they decided to take three months off and when they came back the promotion was never able to gain anywhere close to the popularity it had before the break. FMW-E already was losing momentum with no attendance being announced for November and December and them deciding to not release the footage of those shows despite saying they wanted to have a way for fans outside of Japan to be able to see the shows which the big gimmick for this promotion was to air their shows for fans outside of Japan to watch, but the truth is after the first show in July, that idea was a money loser and that is why they first raised the price tag and then just stopped airing them.
The return on April 27th in Fukuoka also greatly hurts the idea of an actual big show on May 5th which Atsushi Onita had stated he wanted to do with the obvious tease that the show would take place at Kawasaki Stadium. The fact they would announce a small show in Fukuoka, but not yet announce a big show just eight days later makes me think that idea has already been dropped. I could see the return at the Fruit and Vegetables Market for May 5th and them returning to once a month there after that, but anything bigger and I would be pleasantly surprised at this point.
The FMW-E promotion at this point, much like Super Battle FMW before it, just seems like it has hit a wall where you have a certain amount of fans that are willing to pay to come to your shows, but you're not gaining any new fans because it's all based off nostalgia, and as a result because there are no new fans coming in, you only have your hardcore set number of fans to base your promotion off of, and when almost every show is the same as the previous months other than in FMW-E's case a different type of explosion being used, it's going to get old fast, and your fan base isn't going to see a need to come and pay to see the same show in the same location every month.
The semi-main event on the show would be Shadow WX as Mr. Pogo and the return of the Monster Leather gimmick from the beginning of Super Battle FMW in 2015 which was Tomohiko Hashimoto back then defeating Daisaku Shimoda and Grand Masaru in a Street Fight when Pogo would pin Masaru at 11 minutes, 12 seconds with a Brainbuster on a chair. An A-Team provided match as Raiden and Joji Otani defeated Bryan Ishizaka and Kosaku Tonozaki when Raiden pinned Ishizaka at 11 minutes, 16 seconds with a Tiger Driver. There was some negative comments about Onita booking Joji Otani after the Rob Feinstein connection back in October, but based on Onita's past he barely knows anything about the wrestlers on the undercard he's on despite his name being the title of the promotion and it's usually through the actual sponsors of the show that are booking the cheap undercard wrestlers. Onita didn't even know Nanjyo Hayato worked his FMW from 1993 to 1995 because he was always in the undercard never faced him and was wearing a mask the whole time that's how little he cares about undercard wrestlers of the shows he is on.
Onita also wrestled on the undercard but decided to live out a fantasy of his and put on the Mil Mascaras mask on and wrestle as Mil Mas Atsushi and team up with Mask Donaruto as they would lose to the team of Ricky Fuji and Miss Mongol when Ricky would pin Donaruto at 11 minutes, 45 seconds with the Kamikaze as Onita would state afterwards that he has always wanted to be Mil Mascaras for the last 40 years and got his chance on this show. The opening match would be The Yo-Chan and Kizarasu Kid going to a No Contest at 9 minutes, 28 seconds after both would end up attacking the referee. Click here to watch clips of Atsushi Onita/Rajin Yaguchi/Ricky Fuji vs. Tomohiko Hashimoto/HASEGAWA/Takumi Sakurai from 2/6/22.
Masashi Takeda on January 30, 2022 announced on
Twitter about the sudden passing of his wife Yuka Takeda on January 7,
2022 at the age of 33, with the family having a private ceremony on January 14,
2022 for her.
Takeda was suppose to participate for the FREEDOMS January 20th event at Shin-Kiba which was going to be his 15th Anniversary show. It was announced on January 13, 2022 that Takeda would not be able to participate on the show due to a family circumstance and the his anniversary event will still happen some time later this year.
Yuka Omori was born on July 20, 1988 and at the age of 24 would be the first one recruited by Atsushi Tamura to be apart of his new J-Pop idol group called 'Through Skills' and would be the leader of the group with her nickname being the "Okayama Diva". The group would debut on January 19, 2013 with their major CD being released on April 1, 2015.
Through Omori's interest in wrestling, the group would end becoming ambassadors for All Japan Pro-Wrestling with them getting booked to perform during intermission of Korakuen Hall shows in 2016. They would end up performing on May 25, 2016 at the All Japan Korakuen Hall show with Takeda meeting Omori backstage and a relationship would end up forming between the two after they would stay in touch with one another.
Through Lines would announce on May 3, 2017 that they would be disbanding on
June 30, 2017 with Omori being one of the few to be apart of the group through
out the entire four year run. Takeda and Omori would end up registering to get
married in the Spring 2018, although it would be kept private until June 19,
2019 when they would celebrate one year of marriage by holding a wedding
ceremony with the likes of Jun Kasai, Kenji Fukimoto, and Minoru Fujita
attending to celebrate the happy couple.
Takeda would then end up announcing the birth of his daughter on April 13, 2020 right at the start of the pandemic. This is the only child that has ever been mentioned by Takeda including a picture taken by Takeda of her in her stroller as they shopped together on January 5, 2022. During Takeda's message about the passing of his wife, he would write about having small children, although I do believe that might be a translation error, unless they had simply decided to keep complete privacy of a second infant child that would have been just born very recently.
Takeda when writing about the sudden passing of his wife stated he could not accept that she had passed away. There has been no reason given of her sudden passing. The only thing that has came out that she passed away at their home. There has been speculation by some on the internet, but most likely an official reason will never be made public.
Takeda has stated he does not know when he will return to the ring as he will not return until he gets everything sorted out, and he can get his heart back into it, which currently it is not.
The situation of being a single dad of at the very least a near two year old now becomes an issue that he was not exactly expecting to deal with. Jun Kasai in his documentary movie even speculated after Takeda ended up suffering his second recent injury that would keep him out of action for several months from glass cutting open his body deep on July 28, 2020, that he might just quit after all he has dealt with injury wise with and he could start over in his life with his wife and a child although obviously that was not apart of Takeda's plan when Kasai said that since he kept going for another year and a half since that quote.
Takeda had already pretty much stopped touring with Big Japan and only worked one show outside of Tokyo/Yokohama for them in 2021 which was their big show of the year in Sapporo. Although technically a freelancer, Takeda had pretty much made FREEDOMS his home promotion due to his loyalty to Kasai and them making him the top heel of the promotion as the leader of ERE. When or if he does decide to return, I could see it just being for Tokyo/Yokohama shows only so that he could be home that night without having to pay high prices to take a bullet train.
FREEDOMS has also tried to help out financially as they put pictures of Takeda for sale at their Korakuen Hall show as well as had their video company quickly made a Masashi Takeda compilation DVD of his best matches in FREEDOMS through out his entire time in the promotion which ended up selling out at Korakuen Hall as they would announce they would printing more out for the upcoming shows this month.
One of the best nights I ever had in Japan was hanging out with Masashi Takeda in 2012, when there happened to be a woman there that could translate for the both of us to interact without translation issues, and we really connected that night so much so that Takeda ended up writing in his blog about hanging out with me which was one of the coolest things for me as a fan. Even though I have met him a bunch since that night and the last time in 2018, I don't think he even remembered me anymore, that night was special for me as I got to see a side of him, what his friends get to see away from the camera, and I can tell he was a really good person, and I can not even imagine the amount of hurt he is going through right now after being dealt with this horrific tragedy in his life. I will continue to pray for him during these rough times.
FREEDOMS ran their first show of the year on January 3, 2022 at the Shin-Kiba 1st Ring announcing a sell out of 175 fans for the show. This show did not end up airing on NicoNico like the typical FREEDOMS Shin-Kiba show these days, but the main event was uploaded to YouTube. The main event was Jun Kasai defending the King of Freedom World Championship against Rina Yamashita in a Fluorescent Light Tubes Glass Board Death Match. Yamashita would have the early advantage by throwing Kasai into the light tubes and then picking him up on her shoulders and ramming Kasai into the first glass board in the corner. Yamashita would try to suplex Kasai on a stack of lights, but he would reverse it and suplex Yamashita on them instead. Kasai would then place a light tube over Yamashita and hit a Pearl Harbor Splash on her with her kicking out, but Kasai would finish Yamashita with a Cross Arm Stimulation and get the pinfall at 16 minutes, 29 seconds to defend the title for the first time with both of them chugging beers together to end the show.
The semi-main event would be Takashi Sasaki, Mammoth Sasaki, Tatsuhito Takaiwa, and Kenji Fukimoto taking on ERE's Violento Jack, Masashi Takeda, Toshiyuki Sakuda, and Takayuki Ueki in a Hardcore Match. Sakuda and Ueki would both begin hitting Takaiwa in the back with chairs, before he would get up and clothesline them both followed by an attempt at a lariat, but Sakuda would jump on him followed by Ueki headbutting a chair into Takaiwa's head allowing Sakuda to hit the Sakauchi to get the pin at 14 minutes, 49 seconds for the ERE win.
Toru Sugiura and Tomoya Hirata would team together in a non-title match against Yuya Susumu and Kengo with Susumu making Hirata tap out at 12 minutes, 20 seconds with a Cross Facelock to earn themselves as the number one contenders for the tag titles. Daisuke Masaoka and Kamui would defeat Takahiro Katori and Leo Isaka with Kamui pinning Katori at 9 minutes, 56 seconds with an Iomante. The opening match would see Brahman Shu and Brahman Kei defeat GENTARO and Dragon Libre at 8 minutes, 20 seconds when Kei would roll up Libre with Nobody's Perfect for the win. Click here to watch highlights of the FREEDOMS 1/3/22 show.
FREEDOMS would then return to the Shin-Kiba 1st Ring on January 20, 2022 where they would announce a crowd of 172 fans for the show. The main event would an ERE Fluorescent Light Tubes Weapons Death Match with Orca Uto replacing Masashi Takeda and teaming up with Takayuki Ueki to take on Violento Jack and Toshiyuki Sakuda. Sakuda would use Jack's back to jump and deliver an Air Sabu to Ueki in the corner breaking a light tube. Uto would then grab his giant fan made of light tubes and smash them over Jack's head followed by Ueki spearing Jack while he was holding light tubes although Jack would get up right away and deliver a clothesline to Ueki. Jack would then look for the Amatalan but Ueki would get away and headbutt Jack followed by nailing him with a Death Valley Bomb to get the upset win at 16 minutes, 44 seconds for Ueki would get on the mic and challenge for Kasai's King of Freedom World Title at Korakuen Hall when Daisuke Masaoka would hit the ring and request that Ueki beat him and the winner would get a shot at Kasai's title in March.
The semi-main event would be a Razor Cross Board Death Match with Jun Kasai and Rina Yamashita taking on Takashi Sasaki and Daisuke Masaoka which would have Sasaki placing miniature castles on a stack of chairs and then suplex Kasai off the turnbuckle onto them. Masaoka would then go up to the top and toss a chair to Kasai and deliver a flying dropkick to him. Masaoka would then pick up Kasai and drop him on the razor cross board causing a huge cut on Kasai's back. Kasai would manage to throw Masaoka in the corner where Yamashita would be waiting to shove skewers in Masaoka's head followed by a double suplex off the turnbuckle on Masaoka. Yamashita would then hit a splash on Masaoka followed by a Pearl Harbor Splash from Kasai with Sasaki making the save. Kasai would then try for the Reverse Tiger Driver but Masaoka would manage to turn that into a hurricanrana and get the pin at 16 minutes, 44 seconds over Kasai.
Toru Sugiura, Tomoya Hirata, and Leo Isaka would end up defeating Yuya Susumu, Kengo, and Dragon Libre when Isaka would end up rolling Libre up at 12 minutes, 31 seconds with an inside cradle. Tatsuhito Takaiwa, GENTARO, and Rekka would defeat Kamui, Kenji Fukimoto, and the returning SUSHI at 13 minutes, 5 seconds as Takaiwa would end up nailing SUSHI with a Death Valley Bomb for the pin. Minoru Fujita would make his come back to FREEDOMS since being hospitalized with COVID back in September and now wearing a "NOW STILL LIVING" t-shirt to replace his divorced shirt as he would team up with Mammoth Sasaki to defeat Brahman Shu and Brahman Kei at 9 minutes, 28 seconds after Mammoth would choke slam Kei and place Fujita over his body to get the win. Click here for the highlights of the FREEDOMS 1/20/22 show.
FREEDOMS would then run their first Korakuen Hall show on February 3, 2022 drawing an announced crowd of 416 fans which I would say was a good number for them considering the fact that on January 29th it would be announced that Jun Kasai had tested positive for COVID and would not be able to be on the show.
The main event would be Daisuke Masaoka taking on Takayuki Ueki in a Fluorescent Light Tubes Concrete Block Death Match with the winner getting a shot at Kasai's title on the March 29th Korakuen Hall show.
Ueki would end up handing Masaoka some skewers during the match and the two would end up doing a famous spot that Kasai and Masaoka did in May 2016 where they both shoved skewers in their heads at the same time. Masaoka would then headbutt Ueki who would come back with a torpedo headbutt with the skewers still stuck in his head followed by a Death Valley Bomb on the concrete block with the brick failing to break and Masaoka managing to kick out. Ueki would then go up to the top with a concrete block but Masaoka would come over with a concrete block himself and hit Ueki in the stomach with it and then smash Ueki's concrete block with his concrete block over Ueki's head. Masaoka would then hit Ueki with a Reverse Tiger Driver with Ueki kicking out, but then Masaoka would hit Ueki with a Rokkura Kai Knee Drop and get the win at 17 minutes, 56 seconds to become the number one contender for Kasai's King of Freedom World Championship.
Rina Yamashita would be the replacement for Jun Kasai as she would take on Minoru Fujita in a Glass Board Death Match in what was suppose to be a non title match and Fujita's return to death matches. Fujita would end up putting Tabasco sauce on one of the glass boards setup on a stack of chairs and suplex Yamashita off the turnbuckle with him overshooting it and Fujita would end up going through the glass board instead with Yamashita missing it mostly. Yamashita would charge at Fujita in the tunrbuckle but he would grab her and hit her with his Sayanora Tombstone Piledriver for a two count. Yamashita would manage to roll up Fujita with his Samson Clutch but Fujita would kick out of it and charge at her and be picked up and hit with a Reverse Thunder Fire which Fujita would no sell and roll her up for a two count. Fujita would then pick Yamashita up who would escape and hit Fujita with a lariat, but out of nowhere he would roll up Yamashita with the Samson Clutch at 17 minutes, 22 seconds to get the win over Yamashita. Yamashita afterwards would end up presenting Fujita with a flower for his return.
Toru Sugiura and Tomoya Hirata would defend their King of Freedom Tag Team Titles against Yuya Susumu and Kengo who had defeated the champions in a non-title match back on January 3rd. Sugiura and Hirata would both end up doing topes hitting Susumu and Kengo on the outside. They would get back in the ring with Sugiura and Hirata striking Susumu with elbows and then both trying rolling elbows with Susumu moving out of the way. That would allow for both Susumu and Kengo would deliver a double kick to Hirata's head followed by Susumu delivering several kicks to Hirata's face, but he would try for one too many kicks as Hirata would block it and pick up Susumu and deliver a powerslam to him followed by hitting Kengo with a German Suplex. Hirata would then go up to the top and hit a Moonsault on Susumu to get the win over him at 17 minutes, 41 seconds to successfully defend the titles for the first time.
Takashi Sasaki, Mammoth Sasaki, and Tatsuhito Takaiwa would defeat ERE's Violento Jack, Toshiyuki Sakuda, and Orca Uto when Mammoth would pick up the win at 17 minutes, 42 seconds with the 29 Years Old on Uto for the pinfall in a Hardcore Match. Takahiro Katori and Leo Isaka would defeat Brahman Shu and Brahman Kei at 9 minutes, 6 seconds when Katori would pin Kei with the Child Lock. The opening match would see Guruken Mask being booked because of Jun Kasai being out as he would team up with Kamui and Kenji Fukimoto to defeat GENTARO, Dragon Libre, and Rekka when Guruken would pick up the win at 8 minutes, 33 seconds with the Guruken Leg Roll Clutch over Libre. Click here for the highlights of the FREEDOMS 2/3/22 Korakuen Hall show.
FREEDOMS would return to the Shin-Kiba 1st Ring on February 10, 2022 drawing an announced crowd of 125 fans for the show which falls short of any type of near sell out even under the restrictions of only allowing around 175 people in the building.
The main event would be Jun Kasai making his return back from having COVID as he would team up with Unchain members Minoru Fujita and Rina Yamashita to take on Daisuke Masaoka, Toru Sugiura, and Tomoya Hirata in a Fluorescent Light Tubes Death Match.
\Sugiura and Yamashita would face off with Yamashita throwing Sugiura head first into some light tubes set up in the corner followed by a German Suplex. Kasai and Fujita would then throw Sugiura into the corner, but he would come back with a flying body press on both of them. Sugiura and Hirata would then begin laying Kasai out with punches followed by a double rolling elbow and then Masaoka would pick Kasai up and nail him with a Fire Thunder. Masaoka would then dive off the top but Kasai would move out of the way and smash a light tube over Masaoka's head followed by a Reverse Tiger Driver and then a Pearl Harbor Splash but Masaoka would kick out, but then Kasai would nail him with the Cross Arm Stimulation and Kasai would pick up the win at 18 minutes, 57 seconds over Masaoka.
Fujita and Yamashita afterwards would challenge Sugiura and Hirata for the King of Freedom Tag Team Titles for the March 10th show at Shin-Kiba with Sugiura and Hirata accepting.
Tatsuhito Takaiwa would defend the UWA Jr.
Heavyweight Title in the semi-main event of the show against Toshiyuki Sakuda.
There would be a ref bomb early as Sakuda would end up bringing chairs in the
ring and deliver a hurricanrana off the top with Takaiwa landing on the chairs.
Sakuda would then nail his Sakauchi and cover but Takaiwa would kick out. Sakuda
would then go up to the top but be met by Takaiwa would suplex off the
turnbuckle and then finish Sakuda off with a Death Valley Bomb to get the win at
14 minutes, 38 seconds to defend his UWA Jr. Heavyweight Title for the fourth
Mammoth Sasaki would team up with Kamui and Kenji Fukimoto against Violento Jack, Takayuki Ueki, and Orca Uto in a Hardcore Match. Mammoth would end up throwing a ladder at the ERE team with Kamui coming off and delivering a flying dropkick. Mammoth would then choke slam Jack as Kamui would hit a Swanton Bomb on him and cover but the other ERE members would make the save. Fukimoto would then for a Package Piledriver, but Jack would manage to reverse it and turn it into a Mexican Stretch with Fukimoto tapping out at 11 minutes, 32 seconds for the ERE win. Jack would get on the mic afterwards and tell Fukimoto he needed to retire.
Takashi Sasaki and GENTARO would reunite as a team as they would defeat Yuya Susumu and Dragon Libre when Sasaki would finish Libre at 10 minutes, 45 seconds with a D-Geist. The opening match would see Brahman Shu, Brahman Kei, and Kengo defeat Takahiro Katori, Leo Isaka, and Rekka when Shu would pin Katori at 9 minutes, 33 seconds with the Nobody's Perfect. Click here to watch highlights of the FREEDOMS 2/10/22 show.
FREEDOMS will return to the Yokohama Radiant Hall for their next show on February 26, 2022. The main event will be the match that was suppose to happen at Korakuen Hall between Jun Kasai and Minoru Fujita although this will be a Hardcore Match instead of a Glass Board Death Match. Takashi Sasaki will team up with his old rivals Brahman Shu and Brahman Kei as they take on the ERE team of Violento Jack, Toshiyuki Sakuda, and Takayuki Ueki. Toru Sugiura and Tomoya Hirata will have another non-title match this time against Mammoth Sasaki and Takahiro Katori. GENTARO, Kenji Fukimoto, and Rina Yamashita will form a team to take on Daisuke Masaoka, Kamui, and Rekka. The opening match will be Tatsuhito Takaiwa and Kengo against Yuya Susumu and Dragon Libre as it looks like the Susumu and Kengo team have broken up after failing to win the tag titles at the Korakuen Hall show.
As mentioned earlier, the main event of the FREEDOMS Korakuen Hall for March 29, 2022 will be Jun Kasai defending his King of FREEDOM World Championship against Daisuke Masaoka. A month ago I would have said there was no way that Masaoka was going to win. The plan was for Jun Kasai vs. Masashi Takeda for the title on May 3, 2022 at the Yokohama Budokan as FREEDOMS was going to do their biggest drawing match for their biggest show of the year. Now with things uncertain for Takeda, there is the possibility that they decide to go in a different direction. If there is no Takeda match for the title, there really isn't that many more contenders Kasai has within the promotion after just having a long run with the title in 2019. Masaoka who had a long run with the title in 2017 since losing the title has managed to become the guy you beat right before you challenge for the title and Masaoka which is what happened in November 2021 when Kasai defeated Masaoka on November 17, 2021 at Korakuen Hall to earn himself a shot at the title. It seems a little much for Masaoka to lose to Kasai again in a Korakuen Hall main event just four months later.
I do think if Takeda is going to come back any time in the first half of 2022, it will be for the Yokohama Budokan, but I think the odds of the Kasai vs. Takeda match happening for the title at least are not good as Takeda would be expected to be back in prime ring shape to main event the biggest show which would be a hard ask for him, and that's even if he finds the passion again to get back in the ring in just four months after the tragedy that he has gone through. Of course, the issue with Masaoka holding the title would mean that he would be expected to main event and help draw the biggest show of the year in his first title defense which would be a hard ask for him as well since he has not been properly built up like he had been in 2017 and the fans still did not take to him as champion back then.
The A-Team would run their first show of the year on January 16, 2022 at the Tokyo Kitasenju White Studio where they would announce a crowd of 100 fans which is double than what they typically announced every show last year. The main event would have HASEGAWA defending the WEW Jr. Heavyweight Title against Bryan Ishizaka with HASEGAWA putting away Ishizaka at 18 minutes, 18 seconds with a Diving Foot Stomp to successfully defend the title for the first time.
The semi-main event would be an A-Team vs. ZERO1 Battle with Tomohiko Hashimoto, Raiden, and Takumi Sakurai getting the win over the ZERO1 team of Takafumi, Junya Matsunaga, and Genta Hiriki with Hashimoto getting the win at 16 minutes, 34 seconds with the XCT on Hiriki. Masashiro Sase, Magic Killer # 1, and Jin would team up to take on the team of Toru Sugiura, Tomoya Hirata, and Kenya Maeda in a Table Crash Match with Magic Killer # 1 picking up the win at 17 minutes, 25 seconds with a Diving Body Press sending Maeda through the table for the win. Masamune, Shota Nakagawa, Kosaku Tonozaki would defeat the team of Super Tiger, MIKAMI, and Raito Shimizu when Tonozaki would get the pin over Shimizu at 14 minutes, 39 seconds with his Eject finisher. Rion Mizuki would defeat Joji Otani at 11 minutes, 11 seconds with a roll up to earn himself a shot at the WEW Jr. Heavyweight Title at the next show. The opening match would see Tatsuhito Takaiwa defeat Daisaku Shimoda at 9 minutes, 42 seconds with a Death Valley Bomb in the first match for the promotion in 2022.
The A-Team returned to the Tokyo Kitasenju White Studio on February 6, 2022 announcing a crowd of 100 fans which seems to be the number they are going to go with this year. The main event saw HASEGAWA successfully defend the WEW Jr. Heavyweight Title by defeating Rion Mizuki at 16 minutes, 28 seconds with a Diving Footstomp to defend the title for the second. After the match, MIKAMI came out to the ring and challenged HASEGAWA for a title shot for March 27th. The semi-main event would be an A-Team vs. ZERO1 match with Takafumi, Shoki Kitamura and Junya Matsunaga defeated Tomohiko Hashimoto, Raiden, and Grand Masaru when Kitamura would pin Raiden at 13 minutes, 8 seconds with a German Suplex. Takumi Sakurai, Iori Sugawara, and Kosaku Tonozaki would defeat Super Tiger, Tatsuhito Takaiwa, and Raito Shimizu when Tonozaki would pick up the win at 17 minutes with a lariat over Shimizu. The regular death match by sponsor Masahiro Sase would end up being a Street Fight Barbed wire Baseball Bat Death Match but Sase would not be on the show as scheduled and instead it would be Jin and Kenya Maeda defeating Magic Killer # 1 and Sase's replacement Kento DiCaprio with Jin pinning DiCaprio at 12 minutes, 55 seconds with a STO on the barbed wire bat and a stack of chairs. The opening match would be MIKAMI and Daisaku Shimoda defeating Joji Otani and Bryan Ishizaka when MIKAMI would pin Ishizaka at 11 minutes, 13 seconds with a School Boy.
Megumi Kudo was on Bull Nakano's YouTube show that was released today where Kudo went over how she has been dealing with the passing of her husband Hido since October. Kudo went over that writing the report on social media about his passing being incredibly difficult and overwhelming as so many people began to reach out to her afterwards. She talked about going back into her house and with no children feeling like she could not stay living in it anymore, so she decided to move back in with her parents. She does want to move and buy a new house soon, but it would be in a different ward (district) so that she can have a fresh new start.
She began to get emotional and cry talking about how so many people have contacted her and been really kind to her throughout the whole situation, but it's difficult for her cause many times she just wants to be alone, but at the times she doesn't want to be alone anymore, she doesn't want to be selfish and try to include herself in a social group of friends when she has denied being around them so much with wanting to be alone so often. Kudo talked about how she has really focused on her love of professional wrestling and her job with ZERO1 to keep her mind off things and she is in a better place right now than she was in October following his passing, and she was able to laugh and smile with Nakano towards the end of the interview segment.
Last week marked 20 years since FMW's final show on February 4, 2002 at Korakuen Hall. Next week marks 20 years since the official closing of FMW after it was forced to go into bankruptcy on February 15, 2002 ending the 12 year run of the promotion. I remember back on January 6, 2002, as it had been over two months since Hayabusa's career ending injury and that day Mr. Gannosuke had broken his leg. I had been laying in bed in a negative state of mind just thinking about how I knew FMW was not going to make it that much longer.
It turns out FMW owner Shoichi Arai and many of the FMW wrestlers did not even think this was the case, as Shoichi Arai continued to push through in hopes of selling FMW to keep it alive. Although he would not be able to find a buyer by the time of February 14, 2002, when it would come out that Arai had been borrowing from multiple different loan sharks which when they would find this out together would result in them all trying to deposit their checks all at once after Arai had asked them not to cash them knowing there was barely anything in the account and the account wouldn't be able to support all the checks cashed, so when the account couldn't support all the checks deposited account, it would result in FMW being forced into bankruptcy and an immediate closure the following day.
After going through Shoichi Arai's book where he breaks down the financial situations, it is very clear that FMW should have actually closed down after their big November 12, 2000 show in Yokohama Bunka Gym show where Hayabusa would wrestle one last match before needing double reconstructive elbow surgery and being out for 6 months. Being able to look back now, FMW might have closed down, but Hayabusa and Shoichi Arai most likely would still be alive to this day, and a new promotion would have been able to be formed with Hayabusa as the star of it, of course hindsight is always 20/20 and Arai did not want the FMW name to die after kicking Onita out of FMW in 1998 resulting in a fight over ownership of the FMW name between the two with Arai refusing to give it to Onita.
FMW had already been dealt with declining attendance numbers the last couple of years and then when DirecTV shut down in June 2000, which then made FMW take a much worse deal with SkyPerfecTV, that would result in them not being able to afford to go through anymore down periods when the promotion had been very up and down over the last couple of years with a better financial backing. They were put in a situation where profits needed to go up, and that's when attendance absolutely collapsed without Hayabusa. They began bleeding money after every show, even their Korakuen Hall events which traditionally had been their big monthly revenue source through out the Hayabusa era now turned into two shows a month that were barely making any money for the company, if they were making anything at all because of how much decline they had without Hayabusa on top.
Due to the decline they realized in February 2001, that they were going to have to either drop Masato Tanaka or Kintaro Kanemura due to their bigger contracts with Fuyuki deciding to drop Tanaka due to his friendship with Kanemura and feeling like it was more important to keep him than Tanaka who at that point had been passed over for Tetsuhiro Kuroda as Kuroda at that point had a better character than Tanaka and was another Fuyuki guy. Jado, Gedo, Hideki Hosaka, and Kaori Nakayama also ended up leaving with Tanaka on their own which FMW was okay with as it would be less contracts that they would need to make good on. Hayabusa was able to come back on May 5, 2001 and although the Korakuen Hall shows picked back up financially and there were some house shows that did well, there were still shows that did poorly as they never were able to fully recover from Hayabusa's original absence despite Hayabusa's return.
Hayabusa would end up suffering his career ending injury on October 22, 2001 and house shows attendance would just die once and for all. Knowing the roster in its current state without Hayabusa was not going to be a draw of any sorts, they would decide to begin to pay to bring in foreign wrestlers like Sabu, The Sandman, Balls Mahoney, and Vic Grimes which would actually result in the final two Korakuen Halls shows doing decently attendance wise from previous shows. It was way too little too late though, as Arai owed too much to too many people and was millions of dollars in debt.
FMW's name has been able to live on these last twenty years though. I remember after FMW's closure wondering how I was going to be able to keep the site going with the name being FMW World and there being no FMW. Its been 20 years though, and there is still enough content to keep this website going after all this time.
Twenty years ago I closed on the update of FMW declaring bankruptcy with the following statement: FMW was a great promotion, even in its last days, they still had good shows, and great wrestlers that loved the promotion. There will always be an FMW spirit because of the wrestlers and because of the fans. After all this time, I can still say this is true, as the FMW spirit is still alive, and I know personally I have done everything I can these last 20 years to make sure it continues to.
I have been collecting FMW merchandise for over 20 plus years at this point. The two biggest buys I have made are the white Hayabusa jacket in 2016 and the brown Hayabusa jacket in 2020. The brown jacket is the jacket that Hayabusa wore to the ring for his biggest matches of his career including his first two Kawasaki Stadium matches on May 5th in 1995 against Atsushi Onita and 1996 against Terry Funk and Mr. Pogo.
Some other notable matches he wore the brown jacket was for his June 27, 1995 match against Hisakatsu Oya for the vacant Brass Knuckles Title and his April 30, 1998 match against Mr. Gannosuke for the FMW Double Titles. Both those matches he ended up wearing his brown outfit to the ring and ended up walking away with the FMW Brass Knuckles Title. Hayabusa actually never defended the title for either of those two reigns, but on August 25, 1999 in what was suppose to be his last match as Hayabusa and was his second to last time wearing the brown jacket. He brought the FMW Brass Knuckles Heavyweight Title to the ring with his brown jacket and successfully defended the title against Mr. Gannosuke in the main event. The FMW Brass Knuckles Title would never be seen on FMW video again after that match.
I have searched through out the years for the original FMW Brass Knuckles Title on the internet, but I have not seen or heard of the whereabouts of either the FMW Brass Knuckles Heavyweight Title or the FMW Independent Heavyweight Title over the last 22 years. I was told back in 1999 that they were auctioned off shortly after the August 25, 1999 show. I never saw anything posted on a website back then and several FMW wrestlers did not know/remember this auction happening, but it was not commonly known that the FMW Brass Knuckles and Independent Heavyweight Titles would never be seen again following the August 25, 1999 show and just weeks later after I was told about the auction there was Kodo Fuyuki coming to the ring with the newly created original WEW Heavyweight Title. Which ironically enough, I was able to randomly come across that ugly title back in 2010 while in Tokyo.
Last year I decided that I probably will never find the original FMW Brass Knuckles Heavyweight Title, but there are so many great title belt makers and was able to get in touch with one that custom made the title belt and tried to make it as close to the original as possible so that I can place it over Hayabusa's brown jacket which to me is where the FMW Brass Knuckles Heavyweight Title belongs.
FREEDOMS/A-Team/FMW-E/Production Shows News 2021 (January - December 2021)
FREEDOMS/A-Team/FMW Misc./Production Shows News 2020 (January - December 2020)
FREEDOMS/A-Team/FMW Misc./Production Shows News 2019 (January - December 2019)
FREEDOMS/A-Team/FMW Misc./Production Shows News 2018 (January - December 2018)
FREEDOMS/Super Battle FMW/Onita & Production Shows News 2017 (January - December 2017)
Apache Army/FREEDOMS/Super Battle FMW & Production Shows News 2016 (January - December 2016)
Apache Army/FREEDOMS/Super Battle FMW & Production Shows News 2015 (January - December 2015)
Apache Army/FREEDOMS/Onita & Production Shows News 2014 (January - December 2014)
Apache Army/FREEDOMS & Production Shows News 2013 (January - December 2013)
Apache Army/FREEDOMS & Production Shows News 2012 (January - December 2012)
Apache Army/FREEDOMS & Production Shows News 2011 (January - December 2011)
FREEDOMS& Production Shows News 2010 (January - December 2010)
Apache Army/FREEDOMS & Production Show News 2009 (January - December 2009)
WMF& Apache Army News 2008 (January - December 2008)
WMF& Apache Army News 2007 (January - December 2007)
WMF& Apache Army News 2006 (January - December 2006)
WMF& Apache Army News 2005 (January - December 2005)
WMF& Fuyuki/Apache Army News 2004 (January - December 2004)
WMF& Fuyuki Army News 2003 (July 2003 - December 2003)
Kodo Fuyuki's Ceremonial Wake & Funeral Pictures (3/22/03 - 3/23/03)
WMF& WEW News 2003 (January 2003 - July 2003)
Post FMW News (February 2002 - December 2002)
Last months of FMW News (May 2001 - February 2002)
FMW News (August 1999 - May 2001)