Chiba 2AW Square
Toru Sugiura & Mammoth Sasaki & GENTARO vs. Ayato Yoshida & Taishi Takizawa & Daiju Wakamatsu
Jun Kasai & Dragon Libre vs. Kengo Mashimo & Shuma Naka
Ayumu Honda & Shiori Asahi vs. Violento Jack & Kyu Mogami
Kotaro Yoshino vs. Brown Rat Fukki
Takashi Sasaki & Daisuke Masaoka vs. Tatsuya Hanami & Latrell Upton
Yokohama Tsurumi Fruit and Vegetables Market
Atsushi Onita & Raijin Yaguchi vs. Jun Saito & Rei Saito
*Exploding Landmine Exploding Baseball Bat Exploding Rocket Death Match*
Mammoth Sasaki & Koji Nakagawa vs. Monster Leather & Chainsaw Tony
Takumi Sakurai vs. HASEGAWA
Onryo & Great Giant Beast Gyoron vs. Nene ∞ D.a.i & Guts Alien
Ricky Fuji & Miss Mongol vs. Maku Donaruto & Little Cat Mask
Kel Shocker & FMWE Shocker vs. Pandita & Short Pandita
Jun Kasai Productions 12/25/23
Tokyo Korakuen Hall
Toru Sugiura vs. Masashi Takeda *King of Freedom World
Championship Death Match*
Jun Kasai vs. Jun Masaoka *Hardcore Match*
Toshiyuki Sakuda & Kyu Mogami vs. Minoru Fujita & Takahiro Katori *King of Freedom Tag Team Championship Match*
Atlantic City New Jersey Showboat Hotel
Jun Kasai vs. Nick Gage *Death Match*
Tokyo Shin-Kiba 1st Ring
Osaka Hirano Civic Hall
Tokyo Shin-Kiba 1st Ring
Tokyo Korakuen Hall
I have gathered all the results of shows from Big Japan/ZERO1/666 shows in 2023 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/MiscResults23.html (Last updated: 12/9)
I was hoping to do an update this week to cover over the last month and also get to celebrate this month being the 25th anniversary of the site. Unfortunately, due to some personal issues going on with me right now, I have been dealing with a severe bout of depression for about a week or so. Eating and sleeping have been a struggle, so anything wrestling has been almost impossible. I did the FREEDOMS house show in the result section, but looking at all the shows that would go in the Misc. Results section that I am behind on just got me overwhelmed. Hopefully, I will be okay to do a news update at the end of the year, it might be a big one. Thank you to all that have been coming here for any of the 25 years, I appreciate it, and I hopefully I will be back to normal soon with the motivation.
Atsushi Onita would appear for two FMW-E shows on a tour in Hokkaido on August 26, 2023 and August 27, 2023. The first show on August 26th would take place at the Ishikari City Hall Square with the main event of Atsushi Onita, Raijin Yaguchi, and Noriyuki Yoshida defeating Mr. Pogo, Onryo, and Takumi Sakurai in a Bunkhouse Tornado Barbed wire Barricade Exploding Mine Exploding Barbed wire Baseball Bat Death Match. Onita and Yaguchi would both end up hitting Sakurai with exploding barbed wire bats at the same time as Onita would pin Sakurai at 15 minutes, 25 seconds for the win. Before the show, all the wrestlers would gather in the ring with Onita holding a picture of Terry Funk to give Funk a 10 bell memorial salute.
The second show would take place on August 27th at the Asahikawa Western Powers Parking Lot with Atsushi Onita teaming up with Raijin Yaguchi and Ricky Fuji as they would defeat Mr. Pogo, Yuko Miyamoto, and Monster Leather when Onita would pin Leather at 12 minutes, 52 seconds in a Exploding Barbed wire Barricade Exploding Barbed wire Baseball Bats Death Match as once again Onita and Yaguchi would use the exploding bats together, this time sandwiching Leather at 12 minutes, 52 seconds for the Onita team win. The match was originally suppose to be a Jado Rocket, but because it had rained prior to the show, they ended up canceling the Jado Rocket, although the rain would create a pretty rainbow outside that Onita would end up taking a picture with.
The next FMW-E show will be the final show of the year on December 17, 2023 as they return to the Yokohama Tsurumi Fruit and Vegetables Market. The 2023 schedule pretty much looks to be almost the exact same as what 2022 was. It will be interesting to see come May 5, 2024 if Atsushi Onita's 50th Anniversary show actually does take place at Kawasaki Stadium if FMW-E would be willing to put on the event, or if Onita will need to find his own sponsors himself to make the show happen.
Atsushi Onita would team up with long time All Japan rivals Suwama and Shuji Ishikawa in All Japan on September 3, 2023 at the Niigata Aore Nagaoka as they would take on Black Tiger, Jun Saito, and Rei Saito in a Exploding Barbed wire Baseball Bat and Exploding Barbed wire Board Death Match. Ishikawa would turn on the exploding bat but when he would swing he would accidentally end up hitting Suwama with it followed by the Saito Brothers sitting Onita down in a chair and Black Tiger hitting him with the exploding barbed wire bat, followed by the Saito Brothers chokeslamming Onita through the exploding barbed wire board. Onita would manage to still spit green mist in one of the Saito Brothers face as Suwama would give a suplex to the other followed by Onita and Ishikawa activating the exploding bats and Onita and Suwama would deliver a double exploding bat shot to Black Tiger as Suwama would make the cover and get the pinfall at 9 minutes, 32 seconds as Onita would raise the arms of his former rivals in victory. This would be the final match for Onita in All Japan for the time being as he is still is not booked for any show in the future as of now. Click here to watch the finish of Onita/Suwama/Shuji Ishikawa vs. Black Tiger/Saito Brothers 9/3/23 - GAORA doesn't let Samurai TV show their finishes when airing highlights anymore, so I just added the ending of the match from GAORA.
Fire Pro-Wrestling would return on September 17, 2023 at the
Hiroshima Mizuno Futsal Plaza. The main event would be Atsushi Onita, Raijin
Yaguchi, and Tsuyoshi Okada taking on Mr. Pogo, Yuko Miyamoto, and the Devil
Magician in a Meteor Rocket, Meteor Rocket, Exploding Coffin, and Exploding
Barbed wire Baseball Bats Death Match. Magician after throwing a fireball to
Yaguchi would end up hitting Onita with the exploding barbed wire bat at Onita
and turn on the Exploding Meteor which would launch at the turnbuckle which
would be extremely loud as all the wrestlers would sell the level of how big the
explosion was. Onita would come by spitting mist in Pogo's face and eventually
Onita would manage to get Devil Magician into the exploding coffin and hit the
coffin with the exploding baseball bat causing the coffin to explode for the
Onita team victory.
Devil Magician would get on the mic and state that he would prepare for next years show and that he wanted to do an explosion match for the last time hinting that he would be retiring soon next year as Devil Magician ended up suffering a heart attack a couple of years ago with Onita having the fans cheer for Devil Magician.
This Fire Pro-Wrestling while technically the same as the Fire Blast Wrestling promotion that ran multiple high level Onita explosion matches last years are run by different sponsors. Fire Pro-Wrestling which was started back in 2016 has pretty much become a promotion ran by Devil Magician and a sponsor where they will run one show a year in September. Fire Blast Wrestling was sponsored by movie director BILLY who put a lot of money into those high level explosion matches and seems to have walked away from it after not being able recover the needed funds to make up for the money that he was spending.
Atsushi Onita would return to DDT on September 9, 2023 at the
Tokyo Ota City General Gym for their "BIG BANG" show which would have the first
Onita vs. Akiyama tag match in a Exploding Barbed wire Baseball Bat Exploding
Barbed wire Death Match. The stipulation going in would be if Akiyama's team
would win, he and a partner would get a shot at Onita and Yoshitatsu's All Asian
Tag Team Titles. Onita would team up with Yoshitatsu and Toy Kojima against Jun
Akiyama, Sanshiro Takagi, and Yusuke Okada.
Onita would start the match by spitting green mist in Akiyama's face and covering him with Akiyama barely managing to kick out. Onita and Akiyama would brawl on the outside with Onita charging at him, but Akiyama would move out of the way with Onita running into the turnbuckle. Akiyama would take over the offense in the ring and try to get Onita to submit to a Neck Lock before covering him with Toy Kojima pulling the referee out of the ring before he could make the three count. Takagi would then place Onita on a chair and hit Onita with the exploding bat. Kojima would then setup the exploding bat on a barbed wire board and go up to the top with Okada managing to throw Kojima off the turnbuckle into the exploding bat and barbed wire board. Yoshitatsu would then grab a hold of Akiyama as Onita would hit Akiyama with the exploding bat and cover him, but Takagi would make the save. Onita would then spit green mist in Takagi's face and both Onita and Yoshitatsu would hit Takagi with both exploding bats with Yoshitatsu covering Takagi for the win at 9 minutes, 12 seconds for the Onita team.. Onita would get on the mic and despite the stipulation that Akiyama's team had to win the match to earn a shot at the All Asian Tag Team Titles, because both Onita and Akiyama have All Japan in their blood, he would give Akiyama a shot at the All Asian Tag Team Titles on September 18th. Click here to watch Atsushi Onita/Yoshitatsu/Toy Kojima vs. Jun Akiyama/Sanshiro Takai/Yusuke Okada from 9/9/23.
Atsushi Onita and Yoshitatsu would then defend their All Asian Tag Team Titles at DDT on September 18, 2023 at the Nagoya International Conference Hall against Jun Akiyama and Kotaro Suzuki in a Exploding Barbed wire Baseball Exploding Barbed wire Board Death Match.
Onita and Yoshitatsu would go on the offensive right away before the bell by by throwing their jackets to get the early advantage. Onita would take Akiyama to the outside and throw him in the crowd where they would brawl before Onita would again charge at the turnbuckle with Akiyama moving out of the way as Onita would run into the turnbuckle. Akiyama would again put Onita in a Front Neck Lock to try for the submission with Yoshitatsu making the save this time. Onita and Suzuki would make their way in the ring with Onita spitting green mist in Suzuki's face. Onita would hit Suzuki with a double arm suplex before placing him in an Octopus Hold as Yoshitatsu would turn on the exploding bat and try and get Onita to move out of the way, but he would be unable to while the move was put in place so Yoshitatsu would hit Suzuki with the bat knocking down both Onita and Suzuki. Yoshitatsu would then setup the barbed wire board on a stack of chairs.
Onita and Yoshitatsu would look to suplex Akiyama on the barbed wire board, but Suzuki would come over and make the save and Akiyama and Suzuki would suplex Onita into the barbed wire board which you could tell would create disappointment with the fans that it didn't explode, although it had the wires for it, it was never actually activated by anyone. Yoshitatsu would then grab Akiyama as Onita would go to spit green mist, but Akiyama would get away from Yoshitatsu and Onita would end up accidentally spitting green mist in Yoshitatsu's face as Suzuki would throw Onita into the barbed wire board. Akiyama and Suzuki would then turn on the exploding bats as both would hit Yoshitatsu with one at the same time as Akiyama would cover him for the win at 8 minutes, 17 seconds to win the All Asian Tag Team Titles from the Onita team. Onita would shake Akiyama's hand afterwards and say that the belts are no longer about explosions, so it's time that they be defended in non-death matches.
Atsushi Onita announced following the September 18, 2023 show the reason he had not taken any upcoming bookings was to allow his body to heal for over a month. Most notably his abdominal aortic aneurysm that he had surgery on back in May. The only thing Onita has booked himself for in October is a talk event about Terry Funk at Toudoukan on October 22nd. His next scheduled death match will be on November 12th for Niigata Pro as he will take on Great Kojika in a 6 man exploding bat match followed by the next week working for both A-Team and DDT on the same day. Onita stated he needed the rest as he had been in the hospital for about a month for everything from neck pains to internal organ tests to an artificial joint in his knee. Onita did laugh saying he wanted to get back in the ring as soon as possible. Click here to watch Atsushi Onita/Yoshitatsu vs. Jun Akiyama/Kotaro Suzuki 9/18/23
Jun Kasai promoted his final Tokyo Death Carnival 2023 which would also be his 25th Anniversary show on August 28, 2023 at Korakuen Hall where the announced crowd would be 982 fans. Like I mentioned last update five years to the day earlier Kasai vs. Takeda at Korakuen Hall, they were able to draw the biggest FREEDOMS number in the promotions history at 1,654 although there was more momentum for Kasai's 20th anniversary at that time as well as Takeda was probably the hottest in his career putting on great matches and both the King of Freedom World Champion and Big Japan Death Match Champion at that point. Even four months later for the Christmas Death Match show at Korakuen they ran the match again and the number went down at 1,376 fans. This would be the first time since that Christmas Death Match show that they would have a singles match at Korakuen Hall in a Fluorescent Light Tubes Glass Board Death Match.
Kasai would charge at Takeda early on, but Takeda would end
sending him flying into the glass board in the corner. Takeda would then try for
a Reverse U Crash on a board with knives set up on a stack of chairs, but Kasai
would manage to escape and punch Takeda right in the face, and then deliver a
Reverse Tiger Destroyer on the boards off the turnbuckle on the knives board,
followed by his Stimulation Piledriver to get the win at 24 minutes, 38 seconds
Kasai would get on the mic and thanked Takeda once again for coming back to the ring last year. Takeda would respond that Kasai was the one that gave him hope and a purpose of living. Kasai would then state that this was his 25th anniversary, but he wants to continue to do this another 30, 40, 50 years. He would state his ideal way of dying would be having a ridiculous death match then go home and have a drink, take a bath, and get into bed and be dead the next morning.
Kasai would then call FREEDOMS trainee Hiromu Nakamura into the ring and asked him if he was ready to fight for FREEDOMS with Nakamura stating he was. Kasai would then ask him if he could have a match like he just had and Nakamura would respond he could. Kasai would then state that he expects to still be wrestling on the day of Nakamura's retirement ceremony whenever that would be. Kasai would then go up to Takeda and act like they were going to shake hands, with both of them giving each other the middle fingers to smiles to end the show. Kasai backstage would mention that he had received a congratulatory message from Zandig the other day that made him happy to still hear from him, as Kasai mentioned that when he was 27 years old that he spent a lot of time in CZW in 2001 and it was a great time in his career and also where he ended up meeting and becoming friends with Minoru Fujita.
The semi-main event would be between FREEDOMS and ERE as Toru Sugiura, Daisuke Masaoka, and Takashi Sasaki taking on Violento Jack, Toshiyuki Sakuda, and Kyu Mogami in a TLC Death Match. Masaoka would deliver a Fire Thunder off the turnbuckle onto Sakuda through a table, followed by Masaoka hitting an Asai Moonsault onto most of the people in the match on the outside. This would Sugiura and Sakuda alone in the ring as Sakuda would deliver a jumping Canadian Destroyer on Sugiura and then attempt for the Sakauchi on a set of gnomes, but Sugiura would over power him and press slam Sakuda into the knomes instead. Sugiura would then pick up Sakuda and nail him the Swift Driver to get the win at 13 minutes, 58 seconds as Masaoka would challenge Sugiura afterwards to a title match at the next Korakuen Hall show in October with Sugiura accepting.
Takayuki Ueki who had created his own handmade title and would call it the Barefoot Championship would defend that title against Yusaku Ito in a Barefoot Hentai Cat Match. Ito would bring his blowup doll "Jennifer" to the ring while Ueki would bring a barbed wire dildo with spikes connected to a power drill as he would use the spikes to cut Ito open before using it on Ito's foot. Ueki would then try to power Ito on the spikes, but Ito would manage to drop Ueki on them instead. Ito would then place a cat repellent sheet over Ueki, but then Ito would sacrifice his blowup doll Jennifer by placing it over the sheet on Ueki's body, so that he could deliver a Diving Barefoot Stomp on Ueki without touching the cat repellent sheet as he would win pin Ueki 10 minutes, 16 seconds to win the Barefoot Championship. Ito would be heartbroken over Jennifer being destroyed by his diving foot stomp, but then celebrate winning Ueki's cardboard title although he would end up just tearing it in half and throwing it at Ueki which I believe would signify the end of Ueki's home made title.
Minoru Fujita and Kengo would end up defeating Mammoth Sasaki and Dragon Libre with Kengo pinning Libre at 9 minutes, 28 seconds with a Backdrop Suplex. Jun Masaoka and Yuya Susumu would get the win over Tatsuhito Takaiwa and Rekka when Masaoka would pin Rekka at 9 minutes, 2 seconds with the Insomnia. The opening match would see Brahman Shu, Brown Rat Fukki, and Kuishinbo Kamen defeat GENTARO, Takahiro Katori, and Kikutaro who would come out to Terry Funk's Japanese theme song with GENTARO wearing a hat and doing Funk mannerisms on his way to the ring before Fukki would end up pinning GENTARO at 5 minutes, 54 seconds with an Inside Cradle. Click here to watch highlights of the FREEDOMS 8/28/23 show.
The main event would have the DEP team of Toru Sugiura, Daisuke Masaoka, and Yusaku Ito taking on the returning for one night Unchain group of Jun Kasai, Masashi Takeda, and Minoru Fujita in a Fluorescent Light Tubes Death Match. Fujita and Ito would be squaring off in the ring when Masaoka would end up hitting an Asai Moonsault on everyone else in the ring leaving it to be Ito and Fujita. Fujita would go for a clothesline, but Ito would duck and spit octopus ink in Fujita's face and nail him with the Tako Wana to get the win over Fujita at 18 minutes, 33 seconds as Sugiura would go over to congratulate Ito on the win, he would get the octopus ink spit in his face as well followed by Masaoka. Ito would get on the mic and state he could not be their slave forever and that he was leaving the DEP group to form a tag team with Takeda with them challenging Sugiura and Masaoka for the King of Freedom Tag Team Titles for the October 1st show.
The semi-main event would have Takashi Sasaki take on Kyu Mogami in a Barbed wire Board Weapons Death Match. Sasaki would end up throwing Mogami into the barbed wire board in the corner before suplexing him off the turnbuckle into the barbed wire board. Sasaki would then deliver a Michinoku Driver onto a chair and cover but Mogami would kick out, but then Mogami would come back and deliver a Diamond Cutter to Sasaki and then put Sasaki away at 11 minutes, 53 seconds with the EX Wolf Wrath in the unexpected finish as Mogami would get the win.
The ERE team of Violento Jack, Toshiyuki Sakuda, and Takayuki Ueki would defeat Mammoth Sasaki, Tatsuhito Takaiwa, and GENTARO when Sakuda would pick up the win at 13 minutes, 9 seconds after Ueki would come charging with a diving missile headbutt at GENTARO followed by Sakuda hitting GENTARO with the Sakauchi for the win.
Takahiro Katori and Rekka would defeat Kengo and Dragon Libre when Katori would pin Libre at 9 minutes, 18 seconds with the Luna Cult. The opening match would see Brown Rat Fukki and Brahman Shu defeat Jun Masaoka and Yuya Susumu when Shu would pin Masaoka at 5 minutes, 52 seconds with a Backslide. Masaoka who was embarrassed by losing to Shu would get on the mic and state he would make up for this loss 100 times. Before the show would start, Tomoya Hirata would enter the ring with crutches and a cast on his leg and announce from the crowd that he had been discharged from the hospital. Click here to watch highlights of the FREEDOMS 9/7/23 show.
FREEDOMS would then run at the Shizuoka Shimizu Marine Building on October 1, 2023 where they would announce 143 fans for the show. The main event would see Toru Sugiura and Daisuke Masaoka defending their King of Freedom Tag Team Titles against Masashi Takeda and Yusaku Ito in a Fluorescent Light Tubes Death Match. Takeda would take his tag partner Ito and drop him onto Sugiura who had light tubes across his body causing Ito to smash into those light tubes. Ito would then take a light tube and go up to the top, but Masaoka would come over and grab a hold of Ito allowing Sugiura to smash a light tube over his head. Masaoka and Takeda would then begin exchanging strikes, but as Takeda would charge at Masaoka, he would get picked up and dropped to the mat with a Fire Thunder. Masaoka would then deliver an Asai Moonsault to Takeda on the outside leaving it to be Sugiura and Ito in the ring. Sugiura would place a stack of light tubes across Ito's body, but as he would go to charge at him, Ito would get up and rush into Sugiura with the light tubes. Ito would then charge at Sugiura, but get picked up and hit with a Swift Driver followed by Sugiura hitting Ito with a running elbow breaking the light tubes across Ito's body to get the win at 18 minutes, 24 seconds to successfully defend the King of Freedom Tag Team Titles for the second time.
The semi-main event would see Jun Kasai, Takashi Sasaki, and Mammoth Sasaki defeat Violento Jack, Toshiyuki Sakuda, and Kyu Mogami in a Scramble Bunkhouse death Match with Mammoth hitting Sakuda with a 29 Years old at 15 minutes, 24 seconds to get the win. Hideki "Shrek" Sekine and Takayuki Ueki would defeat Tatsuhito Takaiwa and GENTARO after Ueki would get the win at 13 minutes, 22 seconds after hitting a Diving Headbutt into the Vital Parts of GENTARO. Jun Masaoka and Yuya Susumu would go to a 15 minute time limit draw with Kengo and Takahiro Katori. Onryo would get a call from Takashi Sasaki for the first time in a long about appearing for FREEDOMS as he would be in the opening match with Brown Rat Fukki as they would defeat Dragon Libre and Rekka with Onryo getting the win at 10 minutes, 29 seconds after pinning Rekka with the Onryo Clutch. Click here to watch highlights of the FREEDOMS 10/1/23 show.
Toru Sugiura, Jun Kasai, Takashi Sasaki, Masashi Takeda, and
Violento Jack would all travel to Atlantic City, New Jersey for two shows for
GCW on October 7, 2023 and October 8, 2023 at the Showboat Hotel.
The first show on October 7, 2023 would be a Team FREEDOMS vs. Team GCW Fluorescent Light Tubes Glass Board Scaffold War Games Match between Sugiura, Kasai, Sasaki, Takeda, and Jack against Nick Gage, Rina Yamashita, Miedo Extremo, Ciclope, and John Wayne Murdoch. The rules would be a Single Elimination after all 10 people had entered the cage with eliminations taking place place via pinfall, submission, and be thrown out of the cage.
The match would start with Masashi Takeda and Rina Yamashita with Takeda throwing Yamashita a bundle of light tubes in Yamashita's face before the start of the match. Takeda then stabbing Yamashita with his scissors causing her to bleed, although she would manage to get a hold of the scissors and stab Takeda as well. Yamashita would celebrate by smashing a light tube over her own head, but Takeda would get up and smash a chair over Yamashita when Sugiura would come to the ring.
Sugiura and Takeda would take turns breaking light tubes over Yamashita before Takeda would lay a chair over her head and smash that chair with another one before John Wayne Murdoch would hit the ring and smash a light tube over Sugiura. Sugiura and Murdoch would exchange light tubes shots to one another before Violento Jack would enter the ring and break a stab of light tubes across Murdoch's back before Miedo Extremo would enter by diving off the cage onto everyone. Extremo would then take a barbed wire bat and begin cutting Jack's forehead with it, but Jack would come back by placing a chair over Extremo's head and would deliver a Mammoth Home Run to Extremo.
Takashi Sasaki would then be next to enter the cage and pose to the crowd, but he would turn around to Extremo and Yamashita right behind him although he would end up delivering kicks to them and then deliver a running clothesline to Yamashita, but would then be met by light tube shots over the head by Murdoch. Ciclope would then be next who would grab a stack of light tubes and toss them at Takeda as Extremo would lift Sugiura up and Ciclope would deliver a Doomsday Device sending Sugiura through a stack of light tubes.
Jun Kasai would then be the final FREEDOMS member to enter the cage who would be met by Extremo and Ciclope with Kasai delivering a double clothesline to both of them as he would pull out skewers and stick them in Extremo and Ciclope's head followed by a Double DDT.
Nick Gage would be the final member of Team GCW to enter the cage as the match would officially begin with everyone going at it and fighting each other. Gage would charge at Sugiura who would back drop Gage through a glass door in the corner. Murdoch would then end up hitting Takeda with the Deep South Destroyer on a stack of light tubes with Jack making the save with Murdoch then sending Jack head first into a glass board. Jack would come back with a running clothesline to Murdoch followed by a Package Piledriver to get the pin at 24 minutes, 12 seconds to eliminate Murdoch.
Sasaki would then setup light tubes against Ciclope's head and look to deliver a Right Leg Kick, but he would take too long as Extremo would take the light tubes and smash them over Sasaki's head followed by Ciclope delivering a Moonsault while holding light tubes to eliminate Sasaki at 27 minutes, 58 seconds to even the match at 4 vs. 4. Jack and Ciclope would then climb up the cage to the scaffold with Jack delivering a Backbreaker off the scaffold through a glass board and set of doors and chairs to the floor for the double elimination at 29 minutes, 29 seconds to make the match 3 vs. 3.
Extremo would then powerbomb Takeda through a door in the corner
with Takeda getting up right away and delivering a Reverse U Crash on a glass
board with Extremo kicking out, but Takeda would then deliver a U Crash Kai on a
stack of light tubes for the Extremo elimination at 31 minutes, 8 seconds to
give FREEDOMS the advantage again.
Yamashita and Sugiura would face off with Yamashita sending Sugiura through a door as Yamashita would climb up the scaffold with Sugiura getting up and going up as well with Yamashita grabbing Sugiura by the crotch and hitting Sugiura over the head with a light tube sending him through a stack of doors to the floor for the elimination at 35 minutes, 2 seconds to even things up again at 2 vs. 2.
Kasai would then tease delivering a Reverse Tiger Driver off the scaffold, but instead he would toss her off the scaffold into the ring followed by a Pearl Harbor Splash off the scaffold on Yamashita to get the pin at 36 minutes, 15 seconds for the elimination. This would leave Kasai and Takeda against Gage although Kasai would let Takeda on Gage by himself for the time being.
Gage would pull out a pizza cutter and begin slicing Takeda's forehead, but Takeda would grab the pizza cutter from Gage and slice his own forehead with it, and as Gage would pick up a stack of light tubes, he would be met with a flying drop kick by Takeda breaking the light tubes over Gage. Takeda would then try and pick up Gage for a powerbomb, but Gage would lift Takeda up for a Falcon Arrow and then deliver a running kick breaking a stack of light tubes across Takeda's head and then deliver a flying twisting elbow breaking another stack of light tubes over Takeda to eliminate him at 38 minutes, 49 seconds to setup Kasai vs. Gage.
Kasai and Gage would begin exchange strikes before exchanging repeated light tube shots over their heads before Kasai would knock Gage down and would deliver the Pearl Harbor Splash with Gage kicking out at a one count. Kasai would then try for a Reverse Tiger Driver, but Gage would deliver a choke breaker and then a piledriver with Kasai kicking out at one. Kasai would then setup a glass board and go to the top but Gage would manage to smash a light tube over Kasai's head and deliver a Piledriver off the turnbuckle through a glass board to eliminate Kasai at 43 minutes, 12 seconds for the Team GCW win.
The second night on October 8, 2023 would have a main event of Jun Kasai against Matt Tremont in their first match against one another since June 14, 2014 in CZW. This would be a Fluorescent Light Tubes Barbed wire Ladder Death Match. Tremont would look to send Kasai into a the light tubes in the ropes, but Kasai would reverse it and send Tremont through the light tubes to outside the ring through a door with light tubes on it. Tremont would come back and deliver a Death Valley Driver off the apron through another stack of doors with light tubes on them. They would get back in the ring and Tremont would charge at Kasai with him moving out of the way as Tremont would rush right into a ladder with light tubes attached to it. Kasai would then place a stack of light tubes and deliver a Pearl Harbor Splash off the ladder with Tremont kicking out at one. Kasai would then begin just tossing light tubes at Tremont's head and climb the ladder again, although Tremont would get up and climb the ladder and be met with skewers to his head as Kasai would toss Tremont off the ladder and deliver another Pearl Harbor Splash to get the win at 16 minutes, 27 seconds with Kasai and Tremont hugging before bowing down to one another.
GCW would then return to Japan on October 10, 2023 as they would run at the Shin-Kiba 1st Ring. After typically drawing in the 300 range for the building, they would not an announce an attendance for this show. The main event would be Violento Jack taking on John Wayne Murdoch in a Fluorescent Light Tubes Death Match. Jack would send Murdoch out of the ring, and look to deliver a tope, but Murdoch would grab a light tube and smash it over Jack's head before he could fly out of the ring, but it wouldn't stop Jack as when Murdoch wasn't looking, he would hit deliver a somersault tope to the outside on Murdoch. Jack would then bring out the tequila glass bottles and smash one over Murdoch's head. They would fight on the turnbuckle with Murdoch delivering a Canadian Destroyer off the turnbuckle deliver a diving double knee to Jack in the corner where barbed wire had been place with barbed wire getting stuck in Jack's head. Murdoch would then hit a piledriver with barbed wire on a fluorescent light tube to get win at 12 minutes, 8 seconds over Jack.
The semi-main event would be Rina Yamashita defending her GCW Ultraviolent Title against Takayuki Ueki in a Barbed wire Board Death Match. Ueki would try to slam Yamashita into the barbed wire board, but Yamashita would manage to escape and ram Ueki's head into the barbed wire board instead. Ueki would then take off his boots, but eventually would end up landing feet first into the barbed wire board. Yamashita would then take her boots as well and while barefoot would hit Ueki with a Splash Mountain on the barbed wire board while bare foot to get the win at 18 minutes, 22 seconds to successfully defend her title for the 15th time.
Other matches on the show would see Miedo Extremo and Ciclope defeat Effie and Allie Katch with Extremo pinning Effie at 10 minutes, 27 seconds with the Double Impact. Joey Janela and Gringo Loco would defeat Blake Christian and Jordan Oliver when Janela would pin Oliver at 13 minutes, 16 seconds with a Death Valley Bomb. Maki Itoh would defeat Jimmy Lloyd at 9 minutes, 38 seconds with the ISD. The opening match would see Masha Slamovich defeat Unagi Sayaka at 8 minutes, 38 seconds with the White Night Driver. Click here to watch highlights of the GCW 10/10/23 show.
FREEDOMS would return to Korakuen Hall for their 14th Anniversary show on October 11, 2023 where they would announce a crowd of 472 fans which is considerably down from the 820 they drew for last years show as although GCW was not in the main event of this years like last year, it does seem the GCW is not drawing what it did last year. Toru Sugiura vs. Daisuke Masaoka would also shoulder some of the blame of the low number though as well as the actual main event, as although the two are very good workers, they also drew a disappointing number for the Yokohama Budokan last year for their main event match.
The main event of Toru Sugiura vs. Daisuke Masaoka would be for the King of Freedom World Championship in a Fluorescent Light Tubes Glass Board Death Match. Masaoka would go up to the top and toss a bundle of light tubes with Sugiura catching them and Masaoka delivering a flying drop kick breaking them across Sugiura. They would begin exchanging strikes with Sugiura going for a rolling elbow, but being with a kick from Masaoka who would then charge at Sugiura who would pick him up and deliver a German Suplex. Sugiura would then place a stack of light tubes on Masaoka and go for a running elbow, but Masaoka would get up and throw the light tubes at Sugiura and punch them himself breaking the light tubes across Sugiura and follow that up by hitting a Fire Thunder.
Masaoka would then go up to the top for a moonsault with Sugiura moving out of the way and breaking a stack of light tubes with a right elbow across Masaoka. Sugiura would then pick Masaoka up and deliver a Tornado Bomb on a stack of light tubes with Masaoka kicking out. Sugiura would then setup another stack of light tubes and deliver a running elbow breaking them and covering Masaoka for the win at 23 minutes, 33 seconds to successfully defend the King of Freedom World Championship for the second time as the two friends would bow to one another in respect.
The semi-main event would be Jun Kasai, Masashi Takeda, and Yusaku Ito taking on Rina Yamashita, Miedo Extremo, and Jimmy Lloyd filling in for Ciclope after not needing to be in a physical demanding death match after the backbreaker off the scaffold spot he did at the GCW show three days earlier. This would be a Scramble Bunkhouse Barbed wire Board Death Match. Yamashita and Extremo instead would team up to deliver the Doomsday Device on Ito as Kasai and Takeda would make the save. Lloyd would then come in the ring and grab both their crotches followed by Extremo hitting a Fire Thunder on a barbed wire board on Ito to get the win at 19 minutes, 24 seconds for the GCW win.
The GCW team of Joey Janela, Gringo Loco, Blake Christian, and Masha Slamovich would defeat the ERE tean of Violento Jack, Toshiyuki Sakuda, Brown Rat Fukki, and Kyu Mogami with Christian pinning Fukki at 6 minutes, 43 seconds with a 450 Splash. Takashi Sasaki and Mammoth Sasaki would defeat John Wayne Murdoch and Takayuki Ueki at 9 minutes, 6 seconds in a Weapons Death Match with Mammoth hitting Ueki with the 29 Years Old on a chair for the win.
Jun Masaoka, Yuya Susumu, Effy, and Allie Katch would defeat Tatsuhito Takaiwa, GENTARO, Minoru Fujita, and Takahiro Katori when Effy would pin Fujita with a Double Impact Raiden Drop. The opening match would see the young team of Jordan Oliver defeat Kengo and Dragon Libre at 9 minutes, 31 seconds when Oliver would pin Libre with a Liger Bomb. Click here to watch highlights of the FREEDOMS 10/11/23 Korakuen Hall show.
GCW would then hold its first Korakuen Hall show on October 12, 2023. No attendance would be announced for this show although there were notable empty seats as it looked like the number would be in the 400s. The main event would see Rina Yamashita defend her GCW Ultraviolent Title against Masha Slamovich in a Fluorescent Light Tubes Death Match. Slamovich would take a light tube and break it with a kick against Yamashita's head before then dropping Yamashita back first on a light tube. Yamashita would fight back and deliver a brainbuster before smashing a stack of light tubes over Slamovich's head and then hitting a Splash Mountain on a stack of light tubes for the win at 19 minutes, 39 seconds to successfully defend the title for the 16th time.
Jun Kasai would face off against Joey Janela in the semi-main event in a Fluorescent Light Tubes, Razor Cross Board, Knives Board, and Fork Board Death Match. Kasai would try to send Janela into the Razor Cross Board, but Janela would move out of the way as Kasai would end up charging into the razor cross board. Janela would then take a broken light tube and begin cutting open Kasai with it. Janela would then try to rush at Kasai while holding a stack of light tubes with Kasai moving out of the way and headbutting the light tubes breaking them over Janela.
Kasai would then try to deliver a Reverse Tiger Driver on the razor cross board with Janela managing to flip Kasai over onto it. Janela would then climb up to the top, but Kasai would get up and smash a light tube over Janela's head before placing the skewers in Janela's head before tossing him onto the apron where light tubes had been placed. Kasai would go for a clothesline, but Janela would deliver a superkick and a package piledriver with Kasai kicking out. Janela would pick up Kasai and deliver a Death Valey Bomb on the knives board before setting up the fork board and going up to the top with Kasai gaining the advantage and delivering a piledriver off the turnbuckle through the fork board before getting the win with the Cross Arm Stimulation at 12 minutes, 2 seconds for the Kasai victory as the two would shake hands afterwards.
Blake Christian would defend the GCW World Title against Jordan Oliver at 18 minutes, 42 seconds with a Step Up Curb Stomp to Defend the Title for the 19th time. El Hijo del Vikingo would defeat Gringo Loco as Vikingo would deliver a 450 off the top rope to the outside hurricanrana, followed by a hurricanrana off the stage, and would get the win at 15 minutes, 30 seconds with a 630 Senton. John Wayne Murdoch would won a 4 Way Weapons Death Match against Violento Jack, Masashi Takeda, and Toshiyuki Sakuda after pinning Sakuda at 7 minutes, 17 seconds with a Piledriver. Toru Sugiura and Takashi Sasaki would defend the GCW Tag Team Titles against Miedo Extremo and Ciclope in a Barbed wire Board Death Match with Extremo getting the pin over Sasaki at 8 minutes, 44 seconds with a German Suplex to win the GCW Tag Team Titles once again. The opening match would see Effy, Allie Katch, and Maki Itoh defeat three Kikutaros with the two other Kikutaros being unmasked as Abdullah Kobayashi and Jimmy Lloyd before the original Kikutaro would get hit with a Three People Hip Attack by his opponents and Itoh would get credited for the pinfall at 8 minutes, 20 seconds for the win. Click here to watch highlights of the GCW 10/12/23 Korakuen Hall show.
The annual Jun Kasai Bloody Halloween Death Match show would
return after a one year absence on October 15, 2023 at the Osaka Active Square
Daito announcing a crowd of 328 fans. The main event would have Jun Kasai taking
on Toshiyuki Sakuda in a Fluorescent Light Tubes Death Match. Sakuda would end
up sticking a needle through the side of Kasai's mouth and then hit a 619 on him
kicking his mouth where the needle had been put through. Sakuda would then
deliver a Canadian Destroyer off the turnbuckle on a stack of light tubes and
then try for a Swanton Bomb with a stack of light tubes to his had back but
Kasai would move out of the way. Kasai would then Sakuda with a Reverse Tiger
Driver and then a Pearl Harbor Splash on a stack of light tubes, before
finishing Sakuda with a Cross Arm Stimulation on a box of light tubes at 18
minutes, 43 seconds for the win.
The semi-main event would see Rina Yamashita taking on her former tag team partner Minoru Fujita in a Barbed wire Boards Death Match with Fujita setting up both barbed wire boards on a stack of chairs and going up to the top but Yamashita would manage suplex him off the turnbuckle onto the barbed wire boards. Fujita would manage to kick Yamashita low and look to try for a Samson Clutch, but Yamashita would kick Fujita low instead and then roll him up for the Samson Clutch for the pin at 17 minutes, 23 seconds for the Yamashita win.
Toru Sugiura and Daisuke Masaoka would team up in a non title match with Sugiura dressing up as Masaoka as they would defeat Takayuki Ueki and Kyu Mogami when Masaoka would get the pinfall over Ueki at 16 minutes, 5 seconds with Tornado Clutch. Takashi Sasaki and Masashi Takeda would defeat Violento Jack and Brown Rat Fukki when Sasaki would pin Fukki at 12 minutes, 6 seconds with a La Magistral. Gunso and Yusaku Ito would defeat Mammoth Sasaki and Dragon Libre after Ito would get the pinfall over Libre at 7 minutes, 50 seconds with a Michinoku Driver II. The opening match would see GENTARO, Takahiro Katori, and Kohei Kinoshita defeat Jun Masaoka, Yuya Susumu, and Dyna Mido when Katori would get the win at 10 minutes, 21 seconds after pinning Mido with the Luna Cult. Click here to watch highlights of the FREEDOMS 10/15/23 show.
The A-Team returned after a several month absence to the Oji Basement Monstar on October 15, 2023 as they would announce their standard 150 fans for the show. The main event would see the WEW Tag Team Champions Tomohiko Hashimoto and Super Tiger defend their titles for the 5th time after they would go to a Double KO with the Land End's team of Dylan James and Ryoji Sai at 13 minutes, 11 seconds after Tiger and James would end KO'ing each other. Joji Otani would win the WEW Jr. Heavyweight Championship against Rion Mizuki at 11 minutes 41 seconds with a Frog Splash. HASEGAWA would become the first WEW Japan Champion after defeating Jin at 15 minutes, 42 seconds in a Barbed wire Board Death Match. The WEW Japan title will only be for people that have been wrestling for under 10 years with HASEGAWA's 10th Anniversary show taking place next month. Raiden defeated Takumi Sakurai at 8 minutes, 22 seconds with a cradle for the win. Daisaku Shimoda and Kosaku Tonozaki defeated Kota Nagashima and Kaz Shibano when Tonosaki would pin Nagashima at 14 minutes, 48 seconds with the Shikon Majutsu. The opening match would see Iori Sugawara and Bryan Ishizaka defeat Bambi and Hashinosuke when Ishizaka would get the pin at 11 minutes, 54 seconds with a Horizontal Cradle over Hashinosuke.
Kintaro Kanemura was arrested on October 14, 2023 in Inage-ku,
Chiba City on the violation of a hit-and-run. The incident occurred on October
13, 2023 at 2:50 p.m. when Kanemura was driving a mini car and ended up hitting
a 64 year old woman on her bicycle knocking her off the bike and causing minor
injuries to her. Kanemura ended up fleeing the scene and in the process would
end up rear ending another car which was stopped due to traffic a quarter of a
mile away. That car accident caused minor injuries to the two women in the car.
The two women in the car would end up calling the police who arrived with Kanemura admitting to the charges saying he left the scene after the bicycle accident thinking it was nothing serious and that he was in a daze and did not notice the car in front of him until it was too late. The car that Kanemura was driving was Yuji Hino's who wrote that he was currently in Kumamoto and asked "Kanemura what were you doing?" after the police called him due to the car being registered under his name, and that he would have a stern talking to Kanemura when he got back to Chiba.
Kanemura had written on Facebook two weeks earlier thanking Yuji
Hino for everything he had done for him. Kanemura stated just a few days after
his retirement on December 27, 2016 he started to feel horrible pain in his knee
and was unable to walk. He ended up going to the hospital that day where they
told him he was going to need surgery on his knee due to all the stress he had
put on it over the years during his wrestling career.
Kanemura decided against the surgery at the time and continued to live life with a walking cane, but his health made it difficult to find a new job to make a living. His first job was as a bouncer at a night club, but that job only lasted a couple of months. He then ended up getting a job at a pachinko parlor that he had for a couple of years, but eventually the pain in his knee became too much and he ended up quitting that job and decided to get the knee surgery in 2022.
Kanemura got the successful knee surgery, but without a job was not going to be able to afford to live at his home anymore. That was when he got a call from an unknown number that turned out to be pro-wrestler Yuji Hino. Hino told Kanemura to come stay with him and his wife and kids at their house. Kanemura was hesitant not wanting to be a burden on them, because Hino also had a baby as well, but Hino mentioned to him it was okay. Kanemura says he has moved out of Hino's house in Chiba a couple of months ago after nearly a year there, although obviously this incident shows he most likely is still living close by the Hino family and needing assistance from them.
Masato Tanaka and Megumi Kudo made comments about the incident, with them both pretty much saying that accidents like that are unavoidable, but you have to stop afterwards. Mitsuhiro Matsunaga made the strongest comment though stating he was having to look after Kanemura in the 1990's and now here we are over 20 years later and Yuji Hino is doing what he had to do, because Kanemura still is in need of having to have someone look after him. Mr. Gannosuke mentioned that a co-worker of his came up to him at work and asked if he knew the pro-wrestler that was arrested for a hit and run recently, and Gannosuke responded to him "Yeah, he was my tag partner."
One of the more interesting things that few people really know about is Hayabusa coming to America to meet with The Great Muta and then attempt to work a match for WCW in September 2000 although that would not end up happening. I know I had been confused myself over the years on the exact details. I went back and looked at the news archive on this page and on September 2, 2000 I wrote that Kodo Fuyuki had stated Hayabusa would only get a shot at the WEW Title for their September 21, 2000 match in Sapporo was if Hayabusa were to challenge The Great Muta to a match in America. I don't have anything else in regards Hayabusa and Muta, although that was at a time where I had limited space that too much text even would be an issue and I had to regularly delete stories I had written from going over the capacity. I had no memory of the Fuyuki telling Hayabusa he needed to challenge Muta though. I do specifically remember the plan being that Hayabusa and Great Muta were going to team up at the January 4, 2001 at the Tokyo Dome.
I went through and translated the Weekly Gong issue covering the story and although it explained everything in detail of the Hayabusa/Muta meeting, it still left many questions. Jimmy Suzuki who was there for the entire trip in America wrote the article stating that Hayabusa had requested the match with Muta, but Muto had told him he had to meet him in person before that could happen, which Hayabusa would leave mid tour and fly to America which seemed incredibly pointless in hindsight, but it's what Muto wanted. They would meet and Muto instead of the idea of having a match would tell Hayabusa about his plan of wanting to start up of a group of wrestlers that crossed borders as it would include wrestlers from other promotions which obviously would become Muto's BATT group that he started up. There is no mention of the possibility of Muta/Hayabusa teaming up at the Tokyo Dome on January 4, 2001, but it does seem like Hayabusa was a prime target to be a member of the group before it got started.
Hayabusa would never end up becoming a member of the group and the idea of them wrestling or teaming would never end up happening. Hayabusa would end up needing double elbow surgery in November 2000 forcing him to be out of action for 6 months. He would not be able to wrestle on the Tokyo Dome show and the idea of him ever working for New Japan would never be brought up again. BATT ironically would end up including Hayabusa's best friend and long time tag team partner Jinsei Shinzaki though which I have to think would have been Hayabusa's spot or at least he was picked based on Hayabusa's influence. Hayabusa would also plan on working for All Japan in October 2001 which by that point Muto was working there almost full time and two months later would end up officially joining it, but Hayabusa's career would end just six days before his return to All Japan, so it's up in the air if Hayabusa and Muta would have ever worked together in All Japan eventually. The article also covers his entire time in WCW and all the last minute issues that came up that prevented Hayabusa from being able to work WCW World Wide while on his trip. You can read the translated article at http://fmwwrestling.us/HayabusaMuta2000.html
I was lucky enough to be able to make a purchase for Hayabusa worn mask this past month at a very reasonable price. Usually Hayabusa masks that he has worn are extremely rare and expensive if they ever become available these days. Hayabusa mentioned most of his masks he wore went missing after he came back from the hospital in 2002 to his home. I asked him if he thought his wife sold them while he was gone, and he stated no he did not believe she did. Toudoukan ended up getting a purple mask that Hayabusa wore in a match most notably for the March 14, 1997 Sapporo Nakajima Sports Center show and the price for it was in the $4,000 dollar range. This mask while not a mask I believe he ever wrestled in, was probably one of the more notable masks before he became the well known FMW ace Hayabusa in Japan. The mask I was able to purchase was his first private mask that he would wear around town while covering his face for pictures while in Mexico and Japan from 1994 to 1995 until he ended up coming back full time to Japan to be the top wrestler in FMW.
Hayabusa wore this mask while taking pictures with Jushin Thunder Liger, Ultimo Dragon, and Tiger Mask III in Mexico in April 1994. He would eventually decide that it would be easier to breathe if he just tore off part of the mask covering his mouth since he was just using to cover his face anyway and wasn't going to wrestle in it. He ended up wearing the mask after his match with Sabu on August 28, 1994 where he was in the ring at the end of the show and Atsushi Onita following his match would end up spitting water at Hayabusa. He would then wear the mask while training in Florida with Mike Awesome and Horace Boulder. Obviously, I have some more special Hayabusa items in two of his ring jackets, but this is the first worn Hayabusa mask I was able to collect, so I am glad to give a home to something even with 30 years of wear and tear to it, I see as something very special and will have a spot for it.
I also wanted to draw some attention that I have started doing an FMW Match of the Day on the History of FMW Facebook group over the last month. I have been going through my magazine collection and translating the article written about a FMW match and posting it on there. It is usually random on match I pick as most of the time it's just whatever magazine I choose from that has the most notable match that I want to read and write about the details. Sometimes I specifically look for the match or show because it's the anniversary of it. I started off doing it without thinking I was going to do it every day, so I did miss a day early on, and I am sure there will come a time where I won't be able to do it everyday anymore. I don't know when I will stop doing it, but I have been enjoying it so far. I have collected all them I have done so far and created a page on here as a way to archive them all. You can find the page at at http://fmwwrestling.us/FMWMatchofDay.html
Atsushi Onita has gotten wish and will be facing off against Jun
Akiyama in a tag team explosion match on September 9, 2023 at the Tokyo Ota Ward
Gym for the biggest indoor explosion match since Super Fireworks ran the
building on May 24, 2015. Onita and Takagi had announced the September 9th show
on June 26, 2023 with the idea being that Onita vs. Akiyama would face each
other in a tag team explosion match. Akiyama upon finding this out declined the
match though on July 1, 2023 which was also the same day that Onita ended up
fracturing his arm in a match.
Onita who had worked for All Japan in 2016 and 2017 but was not allowed to have explosion matches while Akiyama was President of All Japan mentioned that he hated him as all the other wrestlers from Yoshihiro Takayama, Akebono, Masahiro Chono, Great Muta, and even Riki Choshu ended up agreeing to an explosion match with Onita. Onita frustrated over Akiyama's response entered the DDT Dojo on July 29, 2023 while Akiyama was working out with Takagi there as Onita's DDT partner Toy Kojima had stooged off when Akiyama and Takagi train at the DDT Dojo to Onita.
Onita entered the Dojo and asked why Akiyama was refusing to do an explosion match with Akiyama telling Onita he just didn't want to do it. Onita would then look at Takagi and asked him if he was going to keep his promise that he made to Onita about getting Akiyama to be in the match. Akiyama then stated that if President Takagi tells him to do it, then he will do it. Onita would then tell Akiyama to find a partner for the match. Akiyama would announce that Yusuke Okada would be his partner for the match, but then Takagi upset at Onita just barging in to the DDT Dojo and making demands would announce that he was including himself in the match along with Akiyama and Okada against Onita, Yoshitatsu, and Toi Kojima in what will be Akiyama's first explosion match.
Atsushi Onita would then return to DDT on August 20, 2023 at the Osaka Prefectural Gym # 2 as he would team up with Yoshitatsu and Toi Kojima in a match against Yukio Sakaguchi who broke Onita's wrist last month, Hideki Okatani, and Soma Takao in a Exploding Barbed wire Boards and Exploding Barbed wire Baseball Bats Death Match. If the Sakaguchi team would win then he and Okatani would get a shot at Onita and Yoshitatsu's All Asian Tag Team Titles as Sakaguchi was looking to win the title this his father Seiji Sakaguchi had won in 1971 in JWA.
Onita would spit green mist in Sakaguchi's face early on and grab a hold of him as Yoshitatsu would try to hit him with the exploding barbed wire bat, but Sakaguchi would move out of the way and Yoshitatsu would end up hitting Onita instead. Yoshitatsu would then turn on the bat again and try and hit Okatani with it, but Sakaguchi would come over and block Okatani with his back as Yoshitatsu would end up hitting Sakaguchi in the bat with the exploding barbed wire bat instead. Toi Kojima would try to suplex Okatani into the exploding barbed wire board, but Okatani would reverse it and suplex Kojima into it instead. Onita would then spit green mist in Takao's face as he and Yoshitatsu would activate both exploding bats and hit Soma with them at the same time with Yoshitatsu covering Soma for the win at 7 minutes, 43 seconds ending the Onita/Sakaguchi feud for the All Asian Tag Team Titles.
Jun Akiyama and Kotaro Suzuki would come to the ring with Akiyama stating he wants a shot at the All Asian Tag Team Titles with Suzuki as Onita would state that if the Akiyama team wins on September 9th then on September 18th at the Nagoya International Conference Hall with Onita and Yoshitatsu defending the All Asian Tag Team Titles against Jun Akiyama and Kotaro Suzuki in an Explosion Death Match with Akiyama accepting. Click here to watch highlights of Onita/Yoshitatsu/Kojima vs. Sakaguchi/Okatani/Takao from 8/20/23.
Atsushi Onita would return to All Japan on July 23, 2023 as he and Yoshitatsu would continue to defend their All Asian Tag Team Titles at the Osaka Prefectural Gym # 2 against Hikaru Sato and Dan Tamura in a Exploding Barbed wire Baseball Bats Exploding Barbed wire Board Death Match.
Sato and Tamura would focus on Onita's cast by hitting it with the exploding barbed wire bat followed by picking Onita up and and suplexing him onto the exploding barbed wire board. Onita would retaliate by spitting green mist in Tamura's face as and both he and Yoshitatsu would activate the two exploding barbed wire baseball bats and hit Tamura with them at the same time as that would knock him out and Yoshitatsu would end up pinning Tamura at 11 minutes, 17 seconds to defend the All Asian Tag Team Titles for the fifth time.
Sayaka Unagi would come to the ring and challenge Onita to an explosion match for Onita's next All Japan show on August 6, 2023 with Onita accepting as the two would shake hands. Click here to watch highlights of Onita/Yoshitatsu vs. Hikaru Sato/Dan Tamura 7/23/23.
Atsushi Onita's next All Japan match would take place on August
6, 2023 at the Chiba Makuhari Messe International Exhibition Hall with Onita
teaming up with Hikaru Sato and Miss Mongol against Unagi Sayaka Yoshitatsu,
and SAKI in a Tornado Bunkhouse Exploding Barbed wire Board Exploding Barbed
wire Baseball Bat Death Match. Yoshitatsu would end up slamming Onita into the
exploding barbed wire board followed holding him down on a chair as Sayaka would
turn on the exploding bat and hit Onita with it. Onita would eventually manage
to spit green mist in Sayaka's face and then him and Sato would activate the
exploding barbed wire bats and look to both hit her them at the same time, but
Yoshitatsu would rush in the ring and grab a hold of Sayaka and take a brunt of
the double bat explosion instead as Sato would end up covering Yoshitatsu for
the 12 minutes, 30 second victory. Onita and Sayaka would end up shaking hands
out of respect afterwards.
Click here to watch Onita/Sato/Mongol vs. Unagi/Yoshitatsu/SAKI from 8/6/23.
The next two FMW-E shows will be like last year where sponsors in Hokkaido will be promoting the shows as Onita went to visit the sponsors of both shows in Hokkaido as the first show will be on August 26, 2023 at the Ishikari City Hall with the main event of Atsushi Onita, Raijin Yaguchi, and Koji Yoshida taking on Mr. Pogo, Onryo, and Takumi Sakurai in a Bunkhouse Tornado Exploding Barbed wire Barricade Exploding Barbed wire Baseball Bat Death Match. The semi-main event will see Yuko Miyamoto face off against Monster Leather and Miss Mongol will take on Little Cat Mask. Ricky Fuji and Pandita will team up to take on Naoshi Sano and Gabai Ji-chan. HASEGAWA will go up against Big Japan's Yuichi Taniguchi and the opening match will see Atsushi Onita take on the costumed Salmon Fighter Ruibe against Naoshi Sano as Dark Ranger and Wild Bear.
The following show will take place on August 27, 2023 at the Asahikawa Western Powers Parking Lot with a main event of Atsushi Onita, Raijin Yaguchi, and Ricky Fuji taking on Mr. Pogo, Yuko Miyamoto, and Monster Leather which I think is going to Tomohiko Hashimoto in a Exploding Jado Rocket Exploding Barbed wire Barricade Exploding Barbed wire Baseball Bat Death Match. The semi-main event will be Onryo and Yuichi Taniguchi teaming up against Naoshi Sano and Koji Yoshida. HASEGAWA will take on Takumi Sakurai in an A-Team match. Miss Mongol and Pandita will take on Gabai Ji-chan. The opening match will be a local match as KIYO and Momonee take on Ishoroku and Hoo Kisaragi.
GCW would return to Japan on July 18, 2023 at the Shin-Kiba 1st
Ring announcing a crowd of 292 fans for the show. The main event would be
Masashi Takeda taking on Joey Janela in a Fluorescent Light Tubes Death Match.
Takeda and Janela would exchange light tubes shots to one another with one of the light tubes cutting Janela's arm deep although he would continue the match with Takeda breaking a light tube across Janela's match. Takeda would then climb a ladder and deliver a Swanton Bomb before finishing Janela off at 17 minutes, 40 seconds with a Reverse U Creash Kai on a fluorescent light tube for the win. After the match, Janela would be showing respect when Masha Slamovich would hit the ring and deliver a German Suplex to Takeda from behind. Sasaki would hit the ring and hit the D-Geist on her as both sides would hit the ring for a huge brawl between the two promotions to end the show.
Blake Christian would defend his GCW Heavyweight Championship in the semi-main event against Shigehiro Irie after defeating him at 9 minutes, 12 seconds with a Curb Stomp for Christian's 7th title defense.
Rina Yamashita would team up with Masha Slamovich as they would defeat Sawyer Wreck and Charlie Evans in a women's match with the bloody Yamashita being the central part of the match before she would pin Evans at 12 minutes, 58 seconds with a Splash Mountain on a stack of chairs in a Barbed wire Board Death Match.
Tomoya Hirata, Toru Sugiura, and Mammoth Sasaki would team up against John Wayne Murdoch, Miedo Extremo, and Ciclope in a Fluorescent Light Tubes Weapons Death Match with Extremo pinning Sugiura with a Gajo Driver (Fire Thunder) at 8 minutes, 58 seconds for the win. Afterwards, Violento Jack would come to the ring and join Extremo and Ciclope for the first time since 2019 in what would look like a Los Nomadas reunion before Jack would turn on Ciclope and clothesline him and then attack Ciclope to show his loyalty to ERE.
Daisuke Masaoka would defeat Shane Mercer at 9 minutes, 23 seconds in a Barbed wire Board Death Match and the opening match would see Gringo Loco defeat Minoru Fujita, Jimmy Lloyd, Terry Yaki, Kikutaro, and Dragon Libre when Loco would pin Libre at 7 minutes, 10 seconds with a powerbomb off the top turnbuckle in a Six Way Match. Click here to watch the highlights of the GCW 7/18/23 show.
GCW's second show would take place on July 19, 2023 at the Shin-Kiba 1st Ring and announce a crowd of 305 fans for the show. The main event would be Jun Kasai taking on John Wayne Murdoch in a Fluorescent Light Tubes Knives Board and Fork Board Death Match. Kasai and Murdoch would be up on the turnbuckle when Jack would come in and get his revenge by attacking Murdoch and deliver a powerbomb to him, followed by Kasai hitting a Pearl Harbor Splash on a light tube followed by a Cross Arm Stimulation on a light tube to get the win at 12 minutes, 12 seconds as one again the FREEDOMS and GCW sides would begin fighting as the FREEDOMS and ERE side would shake hands in alliance against the GCW side.
The semi-main event would be Jimmy Lloyd, Miedo Extremo, and Ciclope taking on Violento Jack, Toshiyuki Sakuda, and Takayuki Ueki in a Concrete Block Weapons Door Death Match. Ueki would take Lloyd and ram his head into one of the doors up against the ropes before Jack would go up against Extremo and Ciclope who would lift Jack up for a 3D. Sakuda would then charge at Extremo, but would get picked up and just tossed out of the ring through a table on the outside. Jack would then take Ciclope up to the top when John Wayne Murdoch would come over and smash a light tube over Jack with Ciclope hitting a Frog Splash as Jack for the pin at 12 minutes, 52 seconds as the GCW guys would begin stomping Jack with Jun Kasai's music playing and Kasai coming out for his match against Murdoch.
Masashi Takeda would take on Masha Slamovich in a Fluorescent Light Tubes Death Match. Slamovich would smash multiple light tubes over Takeda's head and even manage to get Takeda in a Cross Arm Breaker, but Takeda would manage to reverse it and eventually get the win at 10 minutes, 59 seconds with a Reverse U Crash on the light tube for the win. Slamovich would go to shake Takeda's hand, but he would give his signature middle finger instead to her before leaving.
The GCW women's team of Rina Yamashita, Sawyer Wreck, and Charli Evans would defeat Daisuke Masaoka, Yuko Miyamoto, and Isami Kodaka in a Barbed wire Board Death Match when Yamashita would get the win over Masaoka at 13 minutes, 23 seconds with a Splash Mountain on a chair and a barbed wire board for the win.
Blake Christian, Joey Janela, and Gringo Loco would defeat Tomoya Hirata, Toru Sugiura, and Takashi Sasaki when Christian would pick up the win at 11 minutes, 34 seconds over Sasaki with a Swan Dive 450 Splash. The opening match would see Shane Mercer defeat Shigehiro Irie at 9 minutes, 11 seconds with a Moonsault Blockbuster for the win. Click here to watch highlights of the GCW 7/19/23 show.
Jun Kasai would promote his Shin-Kiba Death Match Carnival at the Shin-Kiba 1st Ring on July 20, 2023 and announce a crowd a crowd of 266 fans for the show. The main event would be Tomoya Hirata, Toru Sugiura, and Daisuke Masaoka against the GCW team of Rina Yamashita, Miedo Extremo, and Ciclope in a Fluorescent Light Tubes Death Match with Sugiura delivering a Right Elbow breaking a light tube to get the pin over Extremo at 14 minutes, 45 seconds to get the win as Sugiura would go face to face with his bloody partner Hirata with Sugiura challenging Hirata for the Yokohama Budokan show for the King of Freedom World Championship in the main event with Hirata accepting.
The GCW team of Joey Janela, Jimmy Lloyd, and Shane Mercer would defeat Jun Kasai, Masashi Takeda, and Yusaku Ito in a Barbed wire Board Death Match when Janela would deliver a Diving Double Footstomp on the barbed wire board to get the win at 10 minutes, 59 seconds to get the win over Ito.
John Wayne Murdoch, Blake Christian, and Gringo Loco would defeat
Takashi Sasaki, Mammoth Sasaki, and Takahiro Katori when Christian getting the
pin at 13 minutes, 45 seconds with a Swan Dive 450 Splash over Katori for the
win. Daiju Wakamatsu would come to the ring afterwards and challenge Takashi
Sasaki to a tag match for the Yokohama Budokan show with Sasaki accepting.
Violento Jack, Toshiyuki Sakuda, and Takayuki Ueki would defeat Masha Slamovich, Sawyer Wreck, and Charli Evans in a Hardcore Match with Sakuda getting the pin over Evans at 9 minutes, 52 seconds with the Sakauchi for the ERE win. Kengo and Minoru Fujita would defeat Jun Masaoka and Yuya Susumu when Kengo would pin Masaoka at 9 minutes, 43 seconds to setup for the Yokohama Budokan King of Freedom Jr. Heavyweight Title Match.
GENTARO and Dragon Libre would defeat Brown Rat Fukki and Kyu Mogami when Libre would pin Mogami at 9 minutes, 32 seconds with his Koshin Yoshitonic. Libre would make a challenge to IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion Hiromu Takahashi with Takahashi coming to the ring and accepting the challenge for the Yokohama Budokan show. Originally the match would be set as a singles match, but as a way to get more wrestlers on the show, it would be turned into a tag match with Sasaki citing that Takahiro Katori also wanted to face Takahashi so the match would be made with Takahashi and Tatsuhito Takaiwa against Libre and Katori. Takahashi had stated that the reason that he was willing to work for FREEDOMS was because as a teenager he use to love the Big Japan era around 2006-2008 which both Takashi Sasaki and Jun Kasai were two of the top wrestlers in that era, so Takahashi would agree to work the show because of them, not because of Libre's challenge to him.
Tatsuhito Takaiwa would win the opening match in a 3 Way against Kikutaro and Rekka when he would get the win over both Kikutaro and Rekka at 9 minutes, 4 seconds with a Death Valley Bomb. Click here to watch the highlights of the FREEDOMS 7/20/23 show.
Kamui would then promote the Jun Kasai Osaka Death Match Carnival on July 23, 2023 at the Osaka Active Square Daito where they would announce a crowd of 332 fans for the show. The main event would be Jun Kasai vs. Daisuke Masaoka in a Fluorescent Light Tubes Scaffold Death Match which was originally supposed to take place on April 30, 2023 before Masaoka fell ill right before the show and couldn't compete. Kasai and Masaoka would begin battling up on the scaffold and Masaoka bringing Kasai with him down off the scaffold into the ring. Masaoka would then deliver a headbutt and a Fire Thunder on Kasai and cover him, but Kasai would get up right away and hit a Reverse Tiger Driver. Kasai would then climb the scaffold with Masaoka going up as well, but being met with skewers stuck in his head before he would fall down back into the ring. Kasai would then deliver a Pearl Harbor Splash off the scaffold and cover but Masaoka would kick out. Kasai would try for the Crossed Arm Stimulation, but would be met with a headbutt by Masaoka. Masaoka would try to take advantage and swing at Kasai, but he would miss and instead be met with a punch and then a Reverse Tiger Driver followed by a Crossed Armed Stimulation on a stack of light tubes at 19 minutes, 19 seconds to get win the over Masaoka.
Miedo Extremo and Ciclope would be the only GCW wrestlers to continue on for this show as they would team up with Rina Yamashita to defeat ERE's Violento Jack, Toshiyuki Sakuda, and Brown Rat Fukki in a Weapons Death Match with Extremo getting the pin over Fukki at 14 minute, 57 seconds with a German Suplex. Tomoya Hirata, Mammoth Sasaki, and Takahiro Katori would defeat Toru Sugiura, Gunso, and Yusaku Ito in a Street Fight at 11 minutes, 16 seconds when Hirata would pin Ito with a German Suplex. Takayuki Ueki would defeat Takashi Sasaki at 10 minutes, 18 seconds in a Barbed wire Board Death Match after he would hit Sasaki with a Death Valley Bomb on the barbed wire board. GENTRO and Ultimate Spider Jr. would defeat Kikutaro and Dyna Mido when GENTARO would pin Mido at 14 minutes, 16 seconds with a Brainbuster. The opening match would see Jun Masaoka and Yuya Susumu defeat Kengo and Dragon Libre when Masaoka would get the win at 10 minutes, 56 seconds with a Thrust Kick over Kengo for the win. Click here to watch highlights of the FREEDOMS 7/23/23 show.
FREEDOMS would run their Jun Kasai Kariya Death Match Carnival show on August 6, 2023 at the Aiachi Kariya City Industrial Promotion Center Aioi Hall where they would announce a crowd of 444 fans for the show. Much like how Kamui would actually be the promoter for the Osaka show, Toru Sugiura would actually be the promoter for this event. The main event would be Toru Sugiura and Daisuke Masaoka defending their King of Freedom Tag Team Titles against Violento Jack and Takayuki Ueki in a Fluorescent Light Tubes Death Match. Ueki would climb to the top, but Sugiura would smash a light tube over his head and then with Masaoka hitting an Asai Moonsault on Jack to the outside, Sugiura would break a light tube with a right elbow and pin Ueki at 18 minutes, 41 seconds to successfully defend the tag team titles for the first time. Sugiura afterwards would get on the mic and challenge Jun Kasai for November 5th at the Nagoya International Conference Hall show with Kasai coming out and accepting.
Jun Kasai would take on Yusaku Ito in the semi-main event in a Barbed wire Board Death Match. Kasai would pull out the skewers and try and shove them in Ito's head, but Ito would grab them from him and shove them in his own head instead and deliver a diving headbutt to Kasai with them in his head and cover him, but Kasai would kick out. Ito would end up spitting Indian ink in Kasai's face, but Kasai would come back with a Reverse Tiger Driver and then the Crossed Arm Stimulation to get the pin at 15 minutes, 51 seconds over Ito.
Tomoya Hirata, Masashi Takeda, and Rina Yamashita would end up defeating Toshiyuki Sakuda, Brown Rat Fukki, and Kyu Mogami when Hiarata would pin Fukki at 14 minutes, 14 seconds in a Hardcore Match. Jun Masaoka, Yuya Susumu, and Shinya Ishida would defeat Tatsuhito Takaiwa, Kengo, and Takahiro Katori when Masaoka would pin Kengo at 10 minutes, 33 seconds after delivering Ambitions to him. Minoru Fujita and Konaka Pale One would take on Brahman Shu and Brahman Kei in a match that would originally go to a double count at 3 minutes, 8 seconds then after getting restarted would go to a double pinfall at 4 minutes, 43 seconds, before getting started again and Konaka getting the pin over Shu at 5 minutes, 18 seconds with a Schoolboy. The opening match would see Takashi Sasaki, Mammoth Sasaki, GENTARO, and Dragon Libre defeat the Aichi talent of Kengo Takai, Michio Kageyama, Takaya Shibayama, and Joji Otani when Libre would get the win at 9 minutes, 46 seconds over Otani with the Yoshitonic. Click here to watch highlights of the FREEDOMS 8/6/23 show.
FREEDOMS would return to the Yokohama Budokan on August 11, 2023 with the show airing live on New Japan Live due to having both El Desperado and Hiromu Takahashi on it. The show will also air on Samurai TV on September 2, 2023. FREEDOMS tried much harder this go around promoting the event as a big deal, and would end up drawing a bigger crowd and announce a crowd of 1,286 fans for the show which was a much better number than the 762 fans they did for the May 3, 2022 show which was their first time running the building.
The main event would Tomoya Hirata defending his King of Freedom World Championship against Toru Sugiura. Hirata would charge at Sugiura at the apron, but would be met with a flying dropkick which Hirata would roll out of the ring. Sugiura would then jump off the top turnbuckle to the outside on Hirata, and while getting great height, would end up not getting the exact distance he would needed and would come down on Hirata's leg. The impact would break Hirata's leg and the closest thing you can compare the visual to is Sid Vicious' broken leg injury that he suffered at the WCW Sin PPV on January 14, 2001.
Referee Keigo Yoshino seeing the injury would call for the bell
and end the match immediately as Sugiura would get the win via Referee Stoppage
at 7 minutes, 49 seconds to once again become the King of Freedom World
Champion. Sugiura would be upset not wanting to win the belt that way, but after
Hirata would begin screaming in pain and needed to be stretcher out to the
hospital, Sugiura would declare that he would hold on to the King of Freedom
World Championship for when Hirata comes back. Kamui stated this was a big time
disappointment to Sugiura as the two had been practicing the match for awhile
and had felt they had came up with a great match to make up for the fact that
this was the first time in years that FREEDOMS would not be holding a death
match for a big show main event.
Hirata also ended up suffering a knee injury at the previous Yokohama Budokan show against Shuji Ishikawa last year, as Hirata was in incredible pain for most of the match after landing wrong on a dive. Hirata would manage to finish the match, but would actually need to miss the next show a week later as a result. This injury also comes at a horrible time for him as he had been building up momentum through out the last couple of months as champion, and with the extent of how serious the injury was, it would look like he would be out for at least a year, although Hirata has stated he does not know how long he will be out, he knows he will be back. Hirata is currently still staying at the hospital following the surgery on his broken leg, but all the FREEDOMS wrestlers have come to regularly visit him to help keep his spirits up as he begins the long road of recovery.
It also puts FREEDOMS in an interesting spot with a champion that they did not plan to have. The booking was heading towards Hirata vs. Kasai at Christmas, but now with Sugiura as champion again, they have a champion that has already faced pretty much everyone in a top match after Sugiura had a near two year run as champion. They already have Sugiura vs. Kasai booked for November 5th in Nagoya, which I would imagine the plan was for Kasai to beat Sugiura heading towards Christmas, but now with Sugiura as champion, everything long term planning wise probably has gone out the window.
The semi-main event of the show would be Jun Kasai and El Desperado teaming up to take on Masashi Takeda and Rina Yamashita in a Razor Cross Board and Thumbtacks Board Death Match. Yamashita and Takeda would both drop Desperado on the thumbtack board while Takeda would then use his shears to cut Desperado's arm followed by Takeda stabbing Desperado with the shears as Yamashita would stick skewers in Kasai's head. Takeda would then place a fork board in the corner over Desperado and go to knee it, but Desperado would flip the board over with Takeda's knee going into it, followed by Desperado spearing Takeda. Kasai would then take the opportunity and hit a Pearl Harbor Splash and then both Kasai and Desperado would do duel Reverse Tiger Drivers before Kasai would hit Takeda with a Crossed Arm Stimulation to get the win at 18 minutes, 40 seconds with Kasai challenging Takeda to a singles match for the August 28th Korakuen Hall show with Takeda accepting.
Jun Masaoka would defend the King of Freedom Jr. Heavyweight Championship against Kengo and like all the tag matches prior it would once again see Masaoka defeat Kengo at 16 minutes, 50 seconds with his Ambitions finisher to successfully defend the title for the second time. This did a good at continuing to build Masaoka as the best heel in the promotion, the junior division itself just needs to improve in general before anyone is really going to take notice.
Hiromu Takahashi would make his FREEDOMS debut teaming up with Tatsuhito Takaiwa against Dragon Libre and Takahiro Katori. The finishing sequence would see Libre try and superkick Takahashi, but would miss and get a superkick from Takahashi instead. Takahashi would then clothesline Libre and throw him over to Takaiwa who would deliver a Death Valley Bomb followed by Takahashi hitting the Dynamite Plunger to get the win at 16 minutes over Libre. Takahashi would be critical of the FREEDOMS Jr. Heavyweights backstage. but would state that if Dragon Libre wins the King of Freedom Jr. Heavyweight title he would return to FREEDOMS to face him. Takashi Sasaki hearing that would state that he said that on camera, and that he has to follow through on his word with Takahashi agreeing that he will.
The Big Japan team of Yuki Ishikawa, Kazumi Kikuta, and 2AW's Daiju Wakamatsu would defeat Takashi Sasaki, Daisuke Masaoka, and Yusaku Ito in a Armored Soldier Gale Death Match although it was practically just a Hardcore Match with Ishikawa getting the win over his next challenger Ito at 11 minutes, 22 seconds with the Lazarus Effect. This was a call back to Sasaki back in 2019 telling Yuki Ishikawa that he was going to be apart of the next Death Match Generation in Big Japan with Ishikawa now becoming Big Japan Death Match Heavyweight Champion with that era now beginning, although it was mostly out of necessity due to Big Japan realizing they need fresh new faces as their top wrestlers their older, more established wrestlers starting to break down.
Takayuki Ueki would defend his custom Barefoot Title in a Barefoot Toy Block Death Match which meant Legos all over the ring as he would defeat Minoru Fujita at 7 minutes, 31 seconds with the Taiho Jutsu Hold for the win. Yuya Susumu would make quick work of Brown Rat Fukki at 5 minutes, 4 seconds with a Cross Arm DDT. The opening match would see Mammoth Sasaki, GENTARO, and Rekka defeat ERE's Violento Jack, Toshiyuki Sakuda, and Kyu Mogami when Mammoth would get the win at 10 minutes, 12 seconds with the 29 Years Old on Sakuda. Click here to watch highlights of the FREEDOMS 8/11/23 Yokohama Budokan show.
FREEDOMS would return to GCW on August 19, 2023 and August 20, 2023 at the Atlantic City, New Jersey Showboat Hotel. The first show on August 19th would see Toru Sugiura would defend his King of Freedom World Championship for the first time at 9 minutes, 21 seconds in a Glass Boards Death Match on the show. The second show would see Toru Sugiura and Takashi Sasaki defeat Jordan Oliver and Nick Wayne to become the GCW Tag Team Champions meaning Sugiura is now the King of Freedom World Champion, half of the King of Freedom Tag Team Champions, and half of the GCW Tag Team Champions. A match would then be made for GCW's return to Atlantic City on October 7, 2023 as the FREEDOMS team of Toru Sugiura, Jun Kasai, Masashi Takeda, Takashi Sasaki, and Violento Jack will take on 5 GCW members in a War Games Match. There will also be another show on October 8th in the building again, but nothing has been announced for that yet.
The final Tokyo Death Match Carnival for 2023 will be also be the
25th Anniversary of Jun Kasai on August 28, 2023 at Korakuen Hall. The main
event will be Jun Kasai taking on Masashi Takeda in a Death Match in what will
be the 5 anniversary of Kasai's 20th Anniversary show which was also the biggest
FREEDOMS show in the history of the company after they drew 1,654 fans to see
Takeda defend the King of Freedom World Championship. They would come back with
the match four months later on December 25, 2018 at Korakuen Hall and despite
Christmas usually doing better than the August Death Match Carnival that year
was not the case as they drew 1,376 fans as it being a rematch and Takeda's
momentum that year already starting to decline after losing the BJW Death Match
Heavyweight to Masaya Takahashi a month prior.
The plan was for them to come back to the match one year later and main event the Christmas 2019 Korakuen Hall show, but because of Kasai's failing health at that point and needing time off, that show was already going to do well without it and Kasai's body wasn't going to allow him to put on the match that he would want with Takeda at that point. The next time they would want to do the match would be for the May 3, 2022 at the Yokohama Budokan with the idea being that's the biggest match the promotion had and it would be the biggest show the promotion and enough time had taken place for it to happen, but because of Takeda's wife passing he would take time off from wrestling and actually try and leave the business. Kasai would reach out to Takeda about coming back in April 2022 and doing the match, although it would help stir Takeda back into focusing on coming back, he couldn't do the show as he still need to get his life in order with having a child and having someone to baby sit while he wrestled and it would take a couple of more months for him to get everything straight with him making his return in June 2022.
The two would end up finally having another singles match on January 3, 2023 although it would only be a ten minute time limit opening match meaning the two would sprint through the match and although most expected a time limit draw, it would be Takeda once again defeating Kasai as the match right before the time limit would be set to expire as they were able to help draw a good crowd for a Shin-Kiba show while also being to save it since it was obvious the two could go to another level with a Korakuen Hall match like they will on August 28th.
The show mostly seems like a one match show as the semi-main event will be Toru Sugiura, Daisuke Masaoka, and Takashi Sasaki taking on Violento Jack, Toshiyuki Sakuda, and Kyu Mogami in a Death Match. Takayuki Ueki will also take on Yusaku Ito in a Death Match as well. Mammoth Sasaki and Dragon Libre will team up to take on Minoru Fujita and Kengo. Jun Masaoka and Yuya Susumu will take on Tatsuhito Takaiwa and Rekka in a match that will probably either set up Takaiwa or Rekka as the next challenger for Masaoka's title. The opening match will be GENTARO, Takahiro Katori, and Kikutaro taking on Brahman Shu, Brahman Kei, and Brown Rat Fukki in a Tokyo Homeless Man Death Match.
I have finished translating the 5 part Mitsuhiro Matsunaga interview that he had back in 1996 with Pro-Wrestling Weekly magazine editor Tarzan Yamamoto. I started translating the interview not knowing that it was a 5 part series, so it took a little while to be able to purchase the magazine that included it. It is probably the most interesting part as Matsunaga is critical of Onita in it, and it was actually the part that burnt his bridge with FMW to where he was never going to come back to the company, although at that point he didn't want to come back anyway and would rather retire than wrestle for FMW again. You can read the entire interview at http://fmwwrestling/Matsunaga96.html
I also translated another series of 1996 interviews, this time a 3 part interview with Megumi Kudo. The first two were back to back weeks with the first one Kudo mostly talking about her May 5, 1996 Kawasaki Stadium match with Combat Toyoda. The second part is going over wanting to have a match with Svetlana Gundarenko on August 1, 1996 at the Shiodome. Although that match obviously never happened and it's not discussed in the interviews why it didn't happen, she would later mention in her book that it was because a sponsor would end up buying the show and would be convinced by Mr. Pogo instead to have the man event exploding barbed wire match be Mr. Pogo vs. Terry Funk instead of Megumi Kudo vs. Gundarenko. The third part of the year is two months later after she has announced her retirement knowing she was only going to be wrestling a couple more months. I will also be placing all the translated interviews into its own individual page that will linked on the title history/information page and after I translate a couple of more, I will have that page linked off the main page. You can read the Megumi Kudo interviews from 1996 at http://fmwwrestling.us/Kudo96.html
The legendary Terry Funk passed away at the age of 79 years old on August 23, 2023. Terry who had one the greatest career ever that went 52 years from 1965 to 2017. Not only was he a legend in America, but he also a beloved legend in Japan through out the 70s to the point that many Japanese wrestlers cite Funk as the reason they got into pro-wrestling. Funk would retire following a two year announcement on August 31, 1983 at the Kuramae Sumo Hall in a match with his brother Dory Funk, Jr. against Stan Hansen and Terry Gordy.
Funk would come back to wrestling for the 1984 Real World Tag Team Tournament in November 1984 although he would still be over with the fans, he would not be at the level he was prior to the 1983 retirement and Giant Baba could sense it as he did not treat Terry the same way prior to the retirement, although All Japan had changed a lot during Funk's absence with the addition of Riki Choshu. Giant Baba would go years between booking him, and as a result Funk would end falling into the lap of his young protégé Atsushi Onita who would bring him into FMW in 1993.
This would start a whole new career for Funk, which is much more remembered by fans in the west than his All Japan days. Funk would make a new name for himself as a hardcore legend in his late 40s and early 50s doing death matches only few men had ever done. I wrote a memorial page for Terry Funk going over his second career in Japan and his long time connection to Onita and FMW. http://fmwwrestling.us/Terry.html
Atsushi Onita's return to DDT on July 1, 2023 ended up being a painful experience. Onita teamed up with Toi Kojima to take on Yukio Sakaguchi and Hideki Okatani in what was listed as a Hardcore Rules Match although it was more of a Barbed wire Board Death Match. Onita squared up against Sakaguchi who has a past as kickboxer ended up going to kick Onita in the chest. Onita having recently had aortic surgery put his arm up to protect himself from his mid section being kicked by a legit kickboxer and as a result the kick would end up breaking Onita's left wrist. Onita would lose feeling in his arm right after the kick and go down and make the tag to Kojima who would end up taking the loss to Sakaguchi. Sakaguchi would challenge Onita to an All Japan All Asian Tag Team Title match in the future with Onita accepting, but the next scheduled match between them will be 6 man explosion match on August 20th in Osaka which will then most likely setup the next title match.
Onita has been down this road before with a legit shoot fighter when he took on Masakatsu Funaki back on July 24, 2016 with Funaki kicking Onita's arm during their match and breaking it in the process as well. Onita had a Super Battle FMW match five days later and wrestled with a cast on knowing he couldn't miss a show that was based around his appearance. This time he knew he could not miss the FMW-E show that would be eight days later with the show being based around him. Onita would end up getting surgery for his broken wrist on July 4th in Fukuoka which would be a two hour operation as they would fix the titanium with plate of bolts. There were people claiming Onita was just lying about the break thinking he was just adding to his character so Onita made sure to show x-ray pictures online of the break and wrote "Idiots" to those thinking he is making up the injury. The injury is supposed to take three months to heal, but Onita is booked for many matches and is not planning on canceling any bookings because of the injury, and has actually agreed to do several inside that three month window of recovery since the injury took place.
FMW-E would return to the Yokohama Tsurumi Fruit and Vegetable Market on July 9, 2023 for their 2nd Anniversary show and once again not announce any attendance for the show. The main event would be Atsushi Onita and Yoshitatsu defending the All Japan All Asian Tag Team Titles against Raijin Yaguchi and Ricky Fuji in a Exploding Barbed wire Glass Crash Spidernet Mine Blast Exploding Barbed wire Baseball Bat Death Match. Yaguchi would end up grabbing Onita's broken wrist as Ricky would end up turning on the exploding bat and hit Onita's cast with the exploding bat. Yaguchi and Ricky would then know Onita into the Glass Crash Spidernet which would cause a lever to break the glass over Onita's body followed by explosions while Onita remained in the spidernet. Onita would get back in the ring and spit green mist in Ricky's face as he and Yoshitatsu would push Yaguchi and Ricky into the exploding barbed wire followd by Onita hitting Ricky with the exploding barbed wire bat and Yoshitatsu would pin Ricky at 10 minutes, 38 seconds to successfully defend the All Japan All Asian Tag Team Titles.
All Japan's Dan Tamura would come into the ring and challenge Onita and Yoshitatsu to an All Japan All Asian Tag Team Titles match for July 23rd at the Osaka Prefectural Gym # 2 with Hikaru Sato as his partner in a Tornado Bunkhouse Exploding Barbed wire Bat Death Match.
The semi-main event would be Mr. Pogo and Onryo taking on Monster Leather and Freddy Krueger in Skull Box Fire Death Match. Pogo would end up ramming Krueger into the corner with a ladder as Onryo would climb the ladder and grab a box that had kerosene in it with Pogo using it to blow a fireball at Freddy's back with Freddy struggling to put the fire out and then be met with a lariat by Pogo who would get the pin over Freddy at 10 minutes, 36 seconds as Pogo and Onryo would shake hands while walking off victorious.
Shark Tsuchiya and Crusher Maedomari would team up for the first time since July 15, 2000 and what would be announced as their final time as they would dye their hair signature green and orange colors and come out with Miss Mongol. They would take on Nene ∞ D.a.i and Ann Chu with them both changing Nene to the corner and then begin attacking Ann Chu with the referee trying to step in and Maedomari would end up throwing him out of the ring before hitting Ann Chu with a chair across the back as the referee would end the match at 9 minutes, 32 seconds after DQing Maedomari.
Tsuchiya and Maedomari were complimented at just how well they were able to look like their old selves in the 1990s while in FMW. Even more so than when Tsuchiya did it back on December 26, 2020 for a performance match although Tsuchiya that time wore her traditional green outfit for that match and this time just wore pants and a t-shirt. Tsuchiya and Maedomari did a sit down interview with Onita the night before the show and talked about how Tsuchiya had wanted to always be a babyface wrestler as she got in the business wanting to be Chigusa Nagayo but Onita told her that she was only going to be make it as a heel before he would put Tsuchiya and Maedomari together and then come up with the names Shark and Crusher that would stick with them the rest of their careers. This was to be Maedomari's last match as she has moved to Miyakojima, Okinawa and started up her own bar so she wanted one last match with her old partner. Tsuchiya actually would wrestle the next day for a very small independent promotion while wearing a mask of a replica of her dog and go by the name Hana-chan which is the name of her dog.
Mammoth Sasaki would return to FMW-E defeating Yun Kang Chul at 8 minutes, 11 seconds with the Mammoth Home Run. Miss Mongol would defeat Maku Donaruto at 11 minutes, 6 seconds after rolling him up with a cradle for the win. The opening match would see Pandita defeat FMW-E Shocker and The Yo-Chan when Pandita would pin Shocker at 9 minutes, 16 seconds with a roll up in a Three Way Match.
The next set of FMW-E shows will be in August in Hokkaido. The first show will be on August 26th at the Ishikari City Hall followed by an outside show on August 27th at the Asahikawa Western Powers Parking Lot. Click here to watch highlights of the FMW-E 7/9/23 show.
DDT is still looking to do Atsushi Onita vs. Jun Akiyama on September 9th although Akiyama has rejected Onita's offer of doing an explosion match. I would guess this is for storyline purposes since the match would not be until September anyway and Sanshiro Takagi specifically booked the Tokyo Ota Ward Gym with the Onita vs. Akiyama match in some capacity happening. Akiyama stated he did not have interest in doing an explosion match which would upset Onita. Onita stated that everyone that he has ever made the request to do an explosion match has eventually accepted noting that it took him over a year to get Riki Choshu out of retirement before he had one, but he ended up doing it.
Jun Kasai would promote his first Death Match Carnival show of the year on July 6, 2023 at Korakuen Hall and would announce a crowd of 612 fans for this show. Jun Kasai promoted shows have always done better than FREEDOMS promoted shows historically, but with the number back in the 600s, this would make believe that the main reason for the last Korakuen Hall show doing the worst number in company history was more about trying to run Korakuen twice in the same month for the first time, as I do not believe Tomoya Hirata vs. Minoru Fujita is that much better of a main event draw than Hirata vs. Toshiyuki Sakuda was to draw nearly double the crowd.
The main event would have Tomoya Hirata defend his King of Freedom World Championship against Minoru Fujita in a Fluorescent Light Tubes Tower Glass Boards Death Match as Hirata would end up placing one of the glass boards on a stack of chairs over Fujita's body and deliver a moonsault breaking the glass board over Fujita's body. Hirata would go for a clothesline, but Fujita would catch him in a sleeper to get Hirata down to his knees as Fujita would come from behind and elbow Hirata in the back of the head. Fujita would then charge at Hirata who would catch him and deliver a scoop slam followed by a German Suplex to get the win at 25 minutes, 49 seconds to successfully defend the King of Freedom World Championship for the third time. Hirata would then nominate his former tag team partner as the next challenger for his title on August 11th at Yokohama Budokan with Sugiura coming to the ring and shaking Hirata's hand.
This would be the second time that Sugiura will be challenging for the King of Freedom World Championship as he also lost to his now tag team partner Daisuke Masaoka last year on May 3rd. Although it probably won't happen, I would still have Sugiura and Masaoka's DEP group turn heel after he loses at the Yokohama Budokan, as the ERE group being the top heels have gotten stale and have done very little as of late.
The semi-main event of the show would see Takashi Sasaki and Mammoth Sasaki defend their King of Freedom Tag Team Titles against Toru Sugiura and Daisuke Masaoka in a Weapons Death Match. Sugiura and Mammoth would face off with Sugiura charging at him, but getting caught and brought down by a Mammoth Chokeslam. Mammoth would then go for a Mammoth Home Run, but he would miss and Masaoka would knock his chair away as Sugiura would put the chair over Mammoth's neck instead and hit him with a Mammoth Home Run instead. Sugiura would then hit Mammoth with a Swift Driver and make the cover, but he would kick out before Sugiura would get his first pinfall win over his former tag team partner by hitting Mammoth with a Sliding Right Elow and cover him at 13 minutes, 56 seconds to win the King of Freedom Tag Team Titles. Sugiura, Masaoka, and Yusaku Ito's new group is called DEP (Daiwa Entertainment Pro-Wrestling) based on the small Nagoya promotion where they all got their start 15-20 years ago.
The first Jun Kasai 25th Anniversary match of the year would see Kasai taking on Takayuki Ueki in a Barefoot Thumbtack Death Match which is a rematch of their August 30, 2021 match with the same gimmick which I mentioned last update, this is Kasai's least favorite death match according to his book due to how much pain the thumbtacks actually cause especially to your bare feet, but it doesn't translate as well to the audience watching as it doesn't look as painful as it actually is.
Ueki would manage to drop Kasai back first into the thumbtacks before they both would take their pants off and Kasai would try to piledrive Kasai onto the thumbtacks, but instead Kasai would back body drop Ueki feet first into the thumbtacks before Kasai would deliver a Cross Arm Stimulation Piledriver into the thumbtacks to get the win at 13 minutes, 19 seconds as afterwards Kasai would get on the mic and announce his partner for the Yokohama Budokan show. El Desperado's theme would play as he would come to the ring and drop his back into the thumbtacks to show that he was ready to have a death match. Kasai would then call out Masashi Takeda and Rina Yamashita and challenge them to a death match for the Yokohama Budokan with them accepting.
This is the first time New Japan's El Desperado will be competing in FREEDOMS, but built quite the history with Kasai over the last couple of years. Their first singles match would be on May 7, 2019 at Korakuen Hall for a TAKA Michinoku and Taichi promoted show. Desperado who would have been a teenager during Kasai's Big Japan days came to the ring dressed in a nice shirt and outfit for the match which is what Kasai sometimes wears when he is just in a midcard match on the show. Kasai thought to himself upon seeing him "Oh, this guy loves me." and that got Kasai even more excited for the match.
Kasai would end up breaking Desperado's jaw during the match with a punch before the politics would result in a no contest between the two as New Japan is not going to allow Desperado to lose to a indie wrestler. The broken jaw though would force Desperado out of that years Best of the Super Junior Tournament though. Kasai would feel guilty about injuring him and send a text saying he messed up. Desperado would respond that he felt something during that match, that he doesn't normally feel so having the match was worth missing the upcoming tournament. Kasai would end up visiting Desperado in the hospital after he would get jaw surgery and a bond between the two formed as a result.
Their next match would be for TAKA Michinoku's Just Tap Out promotion on May 6, 2022 at Korakuen Hall with Jun Kasai and Tomoaki Honma defeating El Desperado and DOUKI with Kasai pinning DOUKI and then presenting a rose to Desperado as a way of challenging him to another singles match. This would setup for a Just Tap Out promoted show on September 12, 2022 with Desperado defeating Kasai in a match that would go over 28 minutes include Desperado's mask getting ripped off and Kasai hitting a Reverse Tiger Destroyr on a fork board before Desperado would get the win with his Pinche Loco. Their first tag team match together was also Jun Kasai's New Japan debut as they would team up on July 4, 2023 at Korakuen Hall in a No DQ match against AEW's Jon Moxley and Homicide in another well received match as Desperado would pin Homicide with his Pinche Loco. The talent exchange that brought Kasai to New Japan for the first time, will now bring Desperado to FREEDOMS for the first time at the Yokohama Budokan, and it will be interesting to see if it could lead to another singles match between the two, possibly at Korakuen Hall for Jun Kasai's second Tokyo Carnival Death Match show on August 29th.
Jun Masaoka would defend his King of Freedom Jr. Heavyweight Title against Takahiro Katori and defeat him at 14 minutes, 49 seconds after delivering the Ambitions for the first successful title defense. Kengo would come to the ring and challenge for Masaoka's title for the Yokohama Budokan show. Masashi Takeda, Takumi Tsukamoto, the returning Rina Yamashita, and Yusaku Ito would defeat ERE's Violento Jack, Toshiyuki Sakuda, Brown Rat Fukki, and Kyu Mogami after Yamashita would pin Fukki at 9 minutes, 31 second with a Splash Mountain on a chair in a Hardcore Match. Yuya Susumu would defeat Dragon Libre at 5 minutes, 23 second swith a Cross Arm DDT. The opening match would see Kengo and Rekka forming a new team called the Mohawks as they would defeat Tatsuhito Takaiwa and GENTARO when Kengo would get the pin at 7 minutes, 40 seconds over Takaiwa with an inside cradle to get the win. Click here to watch highlights of the FREEDOMS 7/6/23 Korakuen Hall show.
FREEDOMS ran their first ever train pro-wrestling similar to what DDT and Michinoku Pro have done in years past. The Shizuoka Railway Company allowed FREEDOMS to perform three matches on the Shizuoka Shimizu Line between the Shin-Shizuoka Station and the Shin-Shimizu Station which was three stops all 13 minutes each. FREEDOMS put on a 4 team tournament with the two winners meeting in the final match. The time limit for each match was 13 minutes for when the train would stop. 78 FREEDOMS fans were allowed to get on the train to watch the three matches. The first match saw Tomoya Hirata and Takashi Sasaki defeat Toru Sugiura and Dragon Libre when Hirata would get the win at 10 minutes, 42 seconds with a lariat over Libre. The next match would have Jun Kasai and Hideki Shrek Sekine defeat Violento Jack and Brown Rat Fukki with Sekine making Fukki tap out at 11 minutes, 15 seconds to his his Argentina Backbreaker. This setup the finals match between Tomoya Hirata and Takashi Sasaki going up against Jun Kasai and Hideki Shrek Sekine which would go to a 13 minute time limit draw after they would arrive at the Shin-Shimizu Station so there would be no winner for the tournament. There was a camera crew filming this, although I am guessing it would just be Samurai TV taping it for clips to show since FREEDOMS really only does DVDs of their Korakuen Hall or Yokohama Budokan shows at this point, and this would be too short for a stand alone DVD anyway.
The next series of shows will be GCW based shows as the GCW not only draw very well for their Shin-Kiba shows, but also bring in a louder audience as this will be the first time since the pandemic that the crowd will be allowed to cheer during the shows. The first GCW show take place on July 18, 2023 at Shin-Kiba with the main of Masashi Takeda taking on Joey Janela in a Death Match. Tomoya Hirata, Toru Sugiura, and Mammoth Sasaki will take on John Wayne Murdoch, Miedo Extremo, and Ciclope in a Death Match as this will be Miedo and Cicople's return to Japan for the first time since December 2019. Daisuke Masaoka will go up against Shane Mercer in a singles match. Rina Yamashita will team up with Masha Slamovich who she had a war with last month in GCW as they take on Sawyer Wreck and Charli Evans in a Death Match. The opening match will be Shigehiro Irie taking on GCW's Blake Christian.
The second and final GCW show will take place on July 19, 2023 at the Shin-Kiba 1st Ring with Jun Kasai taking on John Wayne Murdoch in a Death Match for the main event. Daisuke Masaoka, Yuko Miyamoto, and Isami Kodaka will take on Rina Yamashita, Sawyer Wreck, and Charli Evans. Masashi Takeda will go up against Masha Slamovich in a Death Match as Takeda will be getting a wide variety of opponents for these two shows. Tomoya Hirata, Toru Sugiura, and Takashi Sasaki will take on Joey Janela, Gringo Loco, and Blake Christian. ERE's Violento Jack, Toshiyuki Sakuda, and Takayuki Ueki will take on Jimmy Lloyd, Miedo Extremo, and Ciclope in a Death Match as this match be built around Jack going up against his Los Nomadas partners for the first time. Shigehiro Irie will also go up against Shane Mercer on the show. Both shows will have more matches and the match order is not official.
The Jun Kasai promoted show will then take place on July 20, 2023 at the Shin-Kiba 1st Ring with Tomoya Hirata, Toru Sugiura, and Daisuke Masaoka taking on the GCW team of Rina Yamashita, Miedo Extremo, and Ciclope in a Death Match. Jun Kasai, Masashi Takeda, and Yusaku Ito will take on Jimmy Lloyd, Joey Janela, and Shane Mercer in a Death Match. Takashi Sasaki, Mammoth Sasaki, and Takahiro Katori will take on John Wayne Murdoch, Gringo Loco, and Blake Christian in a six man match. Violento Jack, Toshiyuki Sakuda, and Takayuki Ueki will go up against GCW female team of Sawyer Wreck, Masha Slamovich, and Charli Evans in a Death Match. Jun Masaoka and Yuya Susumu will team up against Minoru Fujita and Kengo to build up the Yokohama Budokan Jr. Heavyweight Title Match. GENTARO and Dragon Libre will team up to take on ERE's Brown Rat Fukki and Kyu Mogami. The opening match will be a three way match against Tatsuhito Takaiwa, Rekka, and Kikutaro as Kikutaro tends to help with the GCW guys while they are in Japan.
The Jun Kasai promoted show on July 23, 2023 which is actually a Kamui promoted show, but the Jun Kasai name will sell more tickets will have the main event of Jun Kasai taking on Daisuke Masaoka in a Fluorescent Light Tubes Scaffold Death Match. This was expected as this was the original match for the April 30th show, but Masaoka lost consciousness two days before the show and was taken to the hospital due to low blood pressure. This show was pretty much made knowing that this match would finally happen for the fans that wanted to see it back in April.
The A-Team returned to the Nara Seiwa Logistics Center Special Ring on July 2, 2023 The A-Team ran many of their shows in the yearly years of the promotion due to the Seiwa Logistics company will to sponsor the events. They announced a crowd of 380 fans for the show. The main event of the show was Kazuyuki Fujita teaming up with his agent Kendo Kashin as well as HASEGAWA and Gameras to defeat Tomohiko Hashimoto, Daisaku Shimoda, Kosaku Tonozaki, and Kota Nagashima with Fujita getting the pinfall at 15 minutes, 42 seconds after defeating Tonozaki with a powerbomb. The Lands End team of Dylan James and Ryoji Sai would defeat Mahorova and Yuji Yoshida when James would get the win over Yoshida at 11 minutes, 33 seconds. This was the first appearance for James the WEW Heavyweight Champion since March for the promotion. Comedian impersonator Antoki no Inoki would team up with Takumi Sakurai as they would defeat Bambi and Hashinosuke when Inoki would make Bambi tap out at 12 minutes, 7 seconds to the Octopus Hold. Maori Kawashima would defeat Jin at 9 minutes, 27 seconds with a Secret Bazooka. The opening match would have Raiden defeat Bryan Ishizaka at 8 minutes, 15 seconds with a rotating cross body.
The A-Team would then return to the Tokyo Oji Basement Monstar drawing their standard 150 fans for the show. The big news to come out of this would be the announcement of a new title for the promotion. It was introduced as the WEW Japan title and will be for only people with less than 10 years experience. I would guess this was owner HASEGAWA's decision based on him having his 10th year anniversary show in November to allow the younger wrestlers to shoot for a title that isn't the WEW Jr. Heavyweight Title. This will be the 7th WEW Title (Heavyweight, Tag, 6 Man, Hardcore, Hardcore Tag, and Jr.) ever created when Kodo Fuyuki replaced the FMW titles with WEW titles in September 1999 with only the WEW Tag Team Title belts still existing from the FMW days.
The main event would see Tomohiko Hashimoto and Super Tiger defeat Iori Sugawara and Bryan Ishizaka when Tiger would pin Ishizaka at 14 minutes, 32 seconds with a right high kick to successfully defend the titles for the fourth time. The semi-main event would see Ryoji Sai defeat Jin at 18 minutes, 48 seconds with the Akagawa Iron Bridge. Rion Mizuki would defeat Kota Nagashima when pinning him at 8 minutes, 35 seconds with a German Suplex as Joji Otani would come out afterwards and announce he would be the next challenger for Mizuki's WEW Jr. Heavyweight Title. Dylan James and HASEGAWA would team up to defeat Daisaku Shimoda and Kosaku Tonozaki with James getting the win over Shimoda at 18 minutes, 12 seconds after hitting him with a chokeslam for the win. HASEGAWA afterwards would announce his 10th year anniversary will be taking place on November 19, 2023 at Shin-Kiba 1st Ring with Atsushi Onita being booked for the show. Takumi Sakurai and Joji Otani would defeat Bambi and Hashinosuke when Sakurai would pin Hashinosuke at 11 minutes, 25 seconds with a Moonsault. The opening match would see Raiden defet Kazu Shibano at 6 minutes, 1 second with a Tiger Driver.
Megumi Kudo appeared on the national TV Tokyo channel for the
show "Ariyoshieeeee" back to back weeks. The theme of the show is to bring in
celebrities and have them play video games against each other. The first week
Megumi Kudo teamed up with host of the show Taka and the others to appear on it
were Saki Kashima, Starlight Kid, Fukigen Death*, Aja Kong, Shinobu Kandori,
Satoshi Kojima, and Hiroyoshi Tenzan.
Kudo and Taka's first game would be against hosts Hiroyuki Ariyoshi and Hono Tamura for the game Gang Beasts where you try and throw the other team off a building. Kudo's partner Taka would be the first one thrown off leaving her to defend for herself. Kudo would eventually manage to throw Tamura off the building leaving it just her and Ariyoshi with Ariyoshi eventually gettng the win after throwing Kudo off the building. Later in the show, when Shinobu Kandori and Aja Kong were introduction they both mentioned that they started pro-wrestling in 1986 which got a reaction out of the host when Kudo would add in that she also started in 1986 and was actually shared the same bunk bed with Aja Kong at the AJW Dojo which got a big reaction out of the hosts.
The second week had everyone back including Manami Toyota and the game they all play would be "Among Us" which is a 4 to 15 person game so this allowed everyone to play in the game at the same. The game assigns three people to become imposters acting like everyone else in the game but are actually trying to sabotage and kill everyone. Tenzan, Kandori, and Kudo were chosen as the three imposters trying to sabotage everything. The game then has everyone vote on trying to eliminate the imposters with Tenzan being figured out first and voted out, followed by the other imposter Kandori, but then Starlight Kid who was not an imposter would be voted off. Kudo would then end up killing Kojima although no one including Kojima playing the game would know who did it so Kojima would be eliminated. Kudo would then kill Kashima and Fukigen Death*, before then killing host Tamura although she would figure it was Kudo who had killed her and tell everyone else so Kudo would be the next one voted off so Aja Kong and Manami Toyota to be apart of the winning team with no more imposters. They would play again with Kudo not being an imposter and getting voted before imposter Starlight Kid would kill Aja Kong to win.
They apparently have filmed another episode since as Kudo posted a picture of her with Shinobu Kandori and Aja Kong as the 1986 girls in their wrestling attire although this week did not air any episodes of them playing games. You can check out the two episodes of Megumi Kudo playing videos by clicking Megumi Kudo on Ariyoshiiieeeee
666 will be running their 20th anniversary and their first Korakuen Hall event on August 2, 2023 with some of the top matches on the card seeing Onryo team up with Ikuto Hidaka, Rina Yamashita, and Kaichow Banana going up against YANAGAWA, Kaguara, Jumbo Lee Burbridge, and Sumire Natsu as well as Onryo's daughter Kaichow Ram teaming up with Jun Kasai, Yasu Urano, and Senpai against Naoshi Sano, GENTARO, Yuiga, Guts Ishijima, and Kunihiko Mitamega. Yuko Miyamoto will team up with Mayumi Ozaki and Abdullah Kobayashi to take on Fuminori Abe, Big Japan Death Match Heavyweight Champion Yuki Ishikawa, and the former HELLBROS Ryu now going by his real name Ryuya Kamishiro. The main event will be Konaka Pale One defending his 666 Chaotic Openweight Title against Koju Takeda which will probably see Takeda come away champion to end the biggest show in their history.
The promotion 666 comes from the ashes of FMW closing down as
after FMW closed all the wrestlers had to choose which promotion they were going
to join between Kodo Fuyuki's WEW promotion and Mr. Gannosuke's WMF promotion.
All the wrestlers decided in April 2002 whether they were going to wrestle in
WMF or WEW as the WMF wrestlers were not going to work any of the WEW shows.
Onryo originally was going to side with WEW and worked the May 5, 2002 Kawasaki
Stadium show before deciding that siding with WMF would be the best option for
him because of GOEMON who had been his long time partner was going to WMF with
Kintaro Kanemura giving Onryo his blessing to switch sides.
WMF seemed to struggle almost right away though. August 2002 which is when they would run their first set of shows would the only month that the promotion paid all the wrestlers what they were promised when they signed up for it. Almost right away financial plan the promotion had was not a good long lasting one, as they pretty much became a once a month Shin-Kiba based promotion right away before Shin-Kiba existed as they would run at the 300 seat Tokyo Takenotsuka Battle Sphere monthly to bridge the gap between Korakuen Hall shows every 3-4 months. A far cry from FMW being able to run monthly at Korakuen Hall. Even though their first Korakuen Hall show was considered a success in December 2002, the wrestlers were still not paid what they were promised, and it only got worse as each Korakuen Hall show just drew less and less each time.
As the promotion continued to struggle, the one thing that was a
mild success for the promotion were their interesting midcard Jr. Heavyweight
matches. WMF decided that they would do a sub-promotion called WMF Flash which
would be Jr. Heavyweight only matches either before a regular WMF show or held
at a small building. It was decided that Onryo would book the WMF Flash shows
with all the independent Jr. Heavyweight wrestlers filling out the cards. WMF
Flash would hold two shows in September and October 2003 which would be around
the time that Onryo was seeing the writing on the wall WMF was not going to make
it long term. Onryo now having some experience promoting the WMF Flash shows
would decide that instead of just waiting around for WMF to die and with the
knowledge of knowing how to book and promote his own shows, would decide that he
would start his own small promotion so that he would always have a home for when
WMF eventually closed.
Onryo would get in contact with Crazy SKB from the hardcore punk rock band Qp-Crazy about helping finance the small quarterly shows. SKB who had been a W*ING and Mr. Pogo fan a decade earlier agreed to help finance the shows with the idea that he could have one match every show where he could do any crazy thing he wanted, which would start off with covering his body in firecrackers during his matches. The first 666 show would take place on December 13, 2003 at the Tokyo Takenotsuka Battle Sphere where they would announce a crowd of 356 fans. The only time they would announce a legit crowd as the idea after that would to just announce 666 fans no matter how few people actually attended or how small the build was.
WMF would originally announce that it would be closing down in
February 2004 due to low finances, but then would announce that it would
actually just be taking a 6 month break and come back as a downsize promotion as
it would no longer be able to run Korakuen Hall any longer. Yuko Miyamoto who
had graduated from the WMF Dojo and had made his debut in August 2003 would
announce that instead of waiting for WMF to come back as a downsized promotion
that he would be officially joining up with Onryo's 666 promotion instead. Due
to Onryo's friendship with Kanemura the 666 promotion wrestlers would be able to
begin getting booked with the bigger Big Japan promotion in June 2004 which
eventually would end up becoming Yuko Miyamoto's big break as he would become
the biggest star from the 666 promotion due to his popularity after becoming one
of the main event wrestlers in Big Japan due to his high flying death match
The second biggest star from 666 would actually be Onryo's daughter Ram-chan who would debut on May 14, 2005 for 666 at the age of 7. She would wrestle comedy matches after Onryo would train her to be able to do spots with the wrestlers that would get a great reaction at seeing a young girl doing moves to an adult man. Ram would take a hiatus after 4 years to take a break from performing in 2009 and go back to living a normal life and finish school. She would return back in 2016 at the age of 18 with the goal of being a professional wrestler full time as she has also gotten booked in joshi promotions like Stardom and Ice Ribbon.
This 20th Anniversary will be a big milestone for 666 as they will finally graduate to becoming a Korakuen level based promotion after all this time, so this will be a special show for the small promotion. Yuko Miyamoto also announced that he would be promoting his own 20th anniversary show on November 19th at the Hiroshima Mominoki Forest Park Gym with him taking on Aja Kong in the main event.
I was able to secure the Pro-Wrestling Magazine with part 3 of the Mitsuhiro Matsunaga interview series from 1996 that I translated and posted on here last time. I haven't gotten the magazine in yet though so I will add to it next update, but in the mean I did three different Kintaro Kanemura interviews that he did in April 1996 with Pro-Wrestling Weekly and two others from September 1997 and December 2000 with Pro-Wrestling Gong. Three different interviews during three different periods of his time in FMW. Like most magazine interviews, they are kayfabe, but you can tell Kanemura shares his true feelings about Hayabusa in the April 1996 interview with Hayabusa missing time due to injuries. The September 1997 is mostly about Kanemura's upcoming Kawasaki Stadium match with Atsushi Onita which he talks about how he didn't want Onita's stip for the match which was Onita retiring if he lost because he didn't believe it and he wanted something else which would have been interesting, but never would have happened for ego reasons. The last interview is during the Entertainment era with Kanemura doing WEW Hardcore Title matches although you can tell in that interview that his interest was in Big Japan and very little interest in FMW with the Entertainment direction at that point although he was never going to leave because of the money he was making in FMW. You can check out the three interviews at http://fmwwrestling.us/Kanemurainterview.html
Atsushi Onita who announced at the FMW-E show on April 29, 2023 that he had been diagnosed with a abdominal aortic aneurysm ended up having successful surgery on May 9, 2023 with a catheter-based stint insertion and coil embolization which is served to block the blood flow and prevent rupture of the aneurysm. Onita was monitored in the ICU until the morning before being moved to to the general ward. Onita stated that he expressed sincere gratitude to his doctor, surgeon, and the rest of the medical team for their careful consideration and selection of the least physically demanding surgery for his treatment. The least physically demanding surgery would allow him to return to the ring in one months time following the procedure.
Onita would return to the ring after 43 day absence on June 11, 2023 at the Fukushima Big Palette as Onita and Yoshitatsu would defend their All Japan All Asian Tag Team Titles against Hikaru Sato and the former Rocky Kawamura now back as Ryo Kawamura in a Exploding Barbed wire Baseball Bat and Exploding Barbed wire Board with Sato getting Onita to sit in a chair as Kawamura would hit him with the exploding barbed wire bat, followed by both Sato and Kawamura suplexing Onita into the exploding barbed wire board. Sato would look to send Onita into Kawamura, but Onita would reverse it and send Sato into Kawamura instead as both Onita and Yoshitatsu would shove them into the exploding barbed wire board. Onita and Yoshitatsu would then take two exploding barbed wire bats and hit Kawamura at the same time as Tatsu would pin Kawamura at 12 minutes, 7 seconds to defend the All Asian Tag Team Titles for the third time. Click here to watch highlights of the Onita/Yoshitatsu vs. Sato/Kawamura match from June 11, 2023
Atsushi Onita would then appear for Isesaki Pro-Wrestling on June 23, 2023 at the Gunma Isesaki City Gym # 2 to mark the 7th year anniversary of Mr. Pogo's passing. There was a split in the WWS promotion between one of the top wrestlers in Naoya Takase and Mr. Pogo's long time friend Ramen Man. Takase got the the rights to the WWS promotion in the split, so this show was put on by Ramen Man and was promoted under his Isesaki Pro-Wrestling and not under the WWS promotion like it would have been in years past. They would announce that 500 people were in attendance and that they were completely sold out of every ticket for this show. The main event would be Atsushi Onita, Magnitude Kishiwada, and Naoshi Sano against Hiroshi Shimada as Great Pogo, Minoru Fujita, and Ramen Man in a Barbed wire Board Bunkhouse Tornado Death Match.
Shimada despite being older than Onita at 66 years old would do a dive off the turnbuckle sending Sano through a table, but after getting up he would be met by Onita spitting green mist in his face. Ramen Man would come up to Onita and get smashed over the head with a chair and bleed for his troubles before Onita would take him and piledrive him through the table leaving a huge mark of bloodshed all over the table. Onita would then take a barbed wire bat while Sano would take a hammer and both smash them up against Ramen Man before Onita would put him out of his misery by delivering a Stunner to him to get the win at 14 minutes, 17 seconds for the Onita team victory. Onita afterwards would praise Ramen Man for his efforts since he's not really a wrestler and then Onita would tell the fans about how if there was no Mr. Pogo, then Atsushi Onita would not be here today. Onita then thanked Ramen Man for putting on the show as he was able to get many companies to sponsors through out Isesaki City to put on the show in honor of the late Mr. Pogo as all the wrestlers in the main event would hold up large framed pictures of Pogo to honor him.
Atsushi Onita returned to Niigata Pro on June 25, 2023 for the first time since August 20, 2022 to team up with Raijin Yaguchi to defeat the team of Big The Ryokan and Hiroyuki Suzuki in a Exploding Barbed wire Baseball Bat Death Match. After the match, the 81 year old Great Kojika entered the ring and began screaming at Onita that he fucked up and he can't just do whatever he wants in Niigata Pro. Onita smirked at Kojika and challenged Kojika to become the oldest man to ever have an explosion match. Onita even offered Kojika to go by his old Kung Fu Lee persona for the match. Kojika would accept the challenge with the match looking like it would take place for Niigata Pro in November.
FMW-E will return on July 9, 2023 at the Yokohama Tsurumi Fruit and Vegetables Market. The main event will be Atsushi Onita and Yoshitatsu defending the All Japan All Asian Tag Team Titles against the team of Raijin Yaguchi and Ricky Fuji in what will be a Barbed wire, Glass Spidernet Mine Blast, Exploding Barbed wire Baseball Bat Death Match. This show actually does a good job of having an FMW connection through out the entire card as the semi-main event will be Shadow WX as Mr. Pogo and Onryo taking on Monster Leather and Freddy Krueger in a Skull Box Fire Death Match which sounds like another coffin like match.
Shark Tsuchiya and Crusher Maedomari will team up for the final time to take on the team of Nene ∞ D.a.i and Ann Chu. Tsuchiya originally retired on November 24, 2016 due to the loss of her leg and having an exhibition match with Chigusa Nagayo during her retirement ceremony will wrestle for the first and last time since August 20, 2010 for Super FMW as she will team up with her long time partner Crusher Maedomari who has announced due to nagging injuries brought on by years in the ring will be wrestling for the first time since October 31, 2017 for what was an Atsushi Onita retirement show. Tsuchiya and Maedomari both early FMW Dojo students first teamed up on July 26, 1990 in FMW against Megumi Kudo and Miwa Sato with their last tag match together being on July 15, 2000 against Miss Mongol and Rie Nakamura for Onita Pro. Mammoth Sasaki will also return to FMW-E as he takes on Korean wrestler Yun Kang Chul. Miss Mongol will go up against Maku Donaruto and the opening match will be a three way match with FMW-E Shocker taking on The Yo-Chan as well as Pandita.
Atsushi Onita and Sanshiro Takagi attended a press conference on June 26, 2023 in Chiyoda, Tokyo for DDT to announce his upcoming matches for the promotion. Onita during the press conference requested that Jun Akiyama participate in a explosion death match with him on September 9th at the Tokyo Ota Ward Gym with the match being between ex All Japan wrestlers. Onita made it seem like he wanted it to be a singles match, but it almost always turns into a six man match. Takagi stated that this will be the biggest DDT show to have an Onita explosion match. Takagi who attended the FMW December 8, 1993 show at the Tokyo International Trade Harumi Dome between Onita and Mitsuhiro Matsunaga wants to recapture having such a big death match inside a big building for DDT. Takagi stated it was difficult to find a building that would allow the explosions they plan on using, but he got permission from the Ota Ward Gym and wants to find a suitable opponent for the big show.
FREEDOMS would hold their 12th annual Golden Week show on May 3, 2023 at Korakuen Hall announcing a crowd of 602 fans for the show. The main event would be Tomoya Hirata defending his King of Freedom World Championship against Takashi Sasaki in a Fluorescent Light Tubes Death Match. Sasaki who was the first King of Freedom World Champion after winning the title on May 2, 2013 was looking to win the title again to celebrate a decade since his first winning it. Hirata and Sasaki would fight over a stack of light tubes with Sasaki gaining the advantage and breaking the light tubes over Hirata's head before delivering a German Suplex to him. Sasaki would then go to break a stack of light tubes over Hirata, but Hirata would manage to roll out of the way and use his power to deliver a German Suplex, followed by slamming Sasaki onto a stack of light tubes. Hirata would then setup a stack of light tubes and deliver Sasaki's right leg kick breaking the light tubes across Sasaki's head before delivering another another German Suplex to get the win at 25 minutes, 24 seconds to successfully defend the title for the first time. Toshiyuki Sakuda would come up to Hirata after and challenge for the title at the next Korakuen Hall show later in the month with Hirata accepting.
The semi-main event would be the return of the Unchain team of Jun Kasai, Masashi Takeda, and Minoru Fujita which although never actually disbanding just stop being mentioned altogether in 2022. They would team up to take on the ERE team of Violento Jack, Toshiyuki Sakuda, and the returning after out of action for a year due to a knee injury in Takayuki Ueki in a Barbed wire Board Death Match. Ueki would go to send Takeda into the barbed wire board, but Takeda would manage to reverse it and send Ueki head first into the barbed wire board instead. Takeda would then begin smashing the barbed wire board against Ueki's head with a chair, but when he would go for a spear, he instead would be met by Ueki with one. Ueki would then begin to handcuff Takeda, but Takeda would begin to put in a sleeper on Ueki followed by slashing his forehead with a blade. Sakuda would come over though and hit Fujita with a Sakauchi and then place the Barbed wire Board over Fujita and deliver a Swanton Bomb to get the win at 15 minutes, 42 seconds for the ERE win in what might be the final match officially for the Unchain group after 11 years.
Kamui would defend the King of Freedom Jr. Heavyweight Championship against F-SWAG's Jun Masaoka. Kamui would hit a Moonsault off the turnbuckle to the outside on Masaoka, followed by hitting Masaoka with a Firebird Splash, but when he would pick Masaoka up for the Iomante, Masaoka would manage to escape and deliver a kick to the back of Kamui's head along with a Superkick and then finish Kamui off at 13 minutes, 50 seconds with his Ambitions finisher to win the King of Freedom Jr. Heavyweight Championship.
The team of Toru Sugiura, Tatsuhito Takaiwa, and Dragon Libre would defeat the team of Mammoth Sasaki, Rina Yamashita, and Takahiro Katori when Sugiura would end up pinning Katori at 11 minutes, 54 seconds with a chair assisted Swift Driver in a Hardcore Match. There doesn't seem to be any sign of this happening, but Sugiura might need to turn heel to freshen up his character since he has become such an afterthought following losing the tag team titles back in January to allow Hirata to move up to become champion with no real plans for Sugiura.
Yuya Susumu would defeat Kengo at 6 minutes, 44 seconds with an Inside Cradle and the opening match would see GENTARO and Isami Kodaka who filled in for an undercard switch after the Korean wrestler Shiho was unable to wrestle on the show like originally announced as they would defeat Drew Parker coming off an ankle injury and Brown Rat Fukki when Kodaka would pin Fukki at 8 minutes, 52 seconds with a Leg Height Neck Choke for the pinfall win. Click here to watch highlights of the FREEDOMS 5/3/23 Korakuen Hall show.
FREEDOMS would return to Okinawa on May 14, 2023 at the Nishihara Town Citizen Exchange Center drawing an announced 157 fans for the show. The main event would see the ERE team of Violento Jack, Drew Parker, and Toshiyuki Sakuda defeat Tomoya Hirata, Takashi Sasaki, and Jun Kasai when Sakuda would pin Kasai at 16 minutes, 50 seconds with a Swanton Bomb to build up Sakuda for his upcoming title match, but also continue a Jun Kasai losing streak with it being the second time that Sakuda has pinned Kasai in a months span. The semi-main event saw Mammoth Sasaki and Toru Sugiura defeat Ryukyu Dragon's Ultra Soki and Shuri Joe when Sugiura would get the win at 13 minutes, 20 seconds over Joe with a Swift Driver. Churaumi Saver would defeat Rekka at 11 minutes, 56 seconds with the Sakauchi. GENTARO would defeat Brown Rat Fukki at 9 minutes, 3 seconds with a Lou Thesz Pres and the opening match would see Ryukyu Dragon's Guruken Mask and Tiran Shisa when Guruken would pin Libre at 9 minutes, 58 seconds with a Hurricanrana.
FREEDOMS would return to Korakuen Hall on May 25, 2023 and
announce the lowest Korakuen Hall attendance in the promotions history under the
FREEDOMS name by announcing 338 fans for the show. There were several reasons
did so bad. The first being holding two Korakuen Hall shows in the month of May.
FREEDOMS had a schedule conflict on deciding on whether they wanted to once
again book the Yokohama Budokan for Golden Week like they did last year, but in
the end they decided to book the show for August. They had already booked this
Korakuen Hall show in the event that they ran Yokohama Budokan like they were
thinking of doing, but when they decided to book a Korakuen Hall show for Golden
Week instead that resulted in two Korakuen Hall shows in the same month, which
the company has never done as they are just not a promotion big enough to run a
Korakuen Hall show every month, let alone three weeks apart. The second being
going with Toshiyuki Sakuda as the challenger once again. He had challenged
Daisuke Masaoka for the title at the end of the May Korakuen Hall show last year
and that show had done the previous lowest Korakuen number in FREEDOMS history,
and at the very least Masaoka vs. Sakuda could draw some interest in how good of
a highflying match it could be. Hirata vs. Sakuda was more about two guys not
really established with a conflict in styles, and nobody bought that Hirata
would lose the title after two months and just one title defense as he's
obviously being built as a long term champion since like I mentioned last
update, he's kind of the last fresh thing that the company can put on top even
though they fast tracked him to the top due to a lack of fresh matches.
Despite a comment being made about the fans being orange seats by Minoru Fujita at the end of the show when making the challenge to Hirata, I do not believe there is any concern. If FREEDOMS was worried about this possibly financially effecting them, I don't believe they would have ever booked the show in the first place after having such a poorly attended crowd for the Korakuen show last year and knowing this show was probably going to be lower no matter what they did. I think the fact the Samurai TV is now willing to air and pay them for any Korakuen Hall show they do which was not the case before COVID as they had some big Korakuen Hall shows in 2016-2017 only air on NicoNico or just be a DVD release, which makes me think they are willing to take the hit for the attendance being low for whatever the Samurai TV money is at this point.
Tomoya Hirata would defend the King of Freedom World Championship against Toshiyuki Sakuda in a Fluorescent Light Tubes and Human Meat Slicer Death Match. Most of the beginning of the match would see Sakuda just cut open Hirata with the Human Meat Slicer to bloody Hirata followed by bringing out saws with light tubes on them, but it would be Hirata that would knock Sakuda onto the saws followed by smashing him with a chair against it. Later in the match, they would begin taking all the left over light tubes and just begin throwing them at each other with Sakuda knocking Hirata down with his toss of them. Sakuda would then place light tubes against his back as he would hit a Swanton Bomb on Hirata but only get a two count. Sakuda would then begin to climb a ladder, but this time Hirata would get up and powerslam Sakuda off the ladder onto a stack of light tubes. Hirata would then go for German Suplex, but Sakuda would roll him up with a Victory Roll and then go for the Sakeuchi, but Hirata would manage to avoid that and hit a rolling clothesline and then finish Sakuda off with a German Suplex at 25 minutes, 51 seconds to successfully defend the King of Freedom World Championship for the second time. Minoru Fujita afterwards would come out and challenge Hirata for the next Korakuen Hall show on July 6th.
The semi-main event of the show would be Toru Sugiura, Daisuke Masaoka, and Yusaku Ito taking on Takashi Sasaki, Mammoth Sasaki, and Jun Kasai in a Weapons Death Match. Kasai would go to put skewers in Ito's head, but he would manage to grab them and place them in his head regardless, but would be met with a punch and a Reverse Tiger Driver by Kasai. Kasai would then hit Ito with a Pearl Harbor Splash but Masaoka would manage to make the save. Sugiura would then come in and be met with a DDT by Kasai. Kasai would then look for another Reverse Tiger Driver on Ito, but he would end up spitting black Indian ink in Kasai's face and deliver an Octopus Trap for the win at 16 minutes, 58 seconds to continue Kasai's losing streak. Sugiura and Masaoka would also hint at wanting a tag team title shot against Takashi Sasaki and Mammoth Sasaki afterwards.
Masashi Takeda would go up against Takayuki Ueki in a Mixed Martial Arts Death Match. Both Takeda and Ukei would go barefoot and step on a barbed wire board before Ueki would bring Takeda down on the board. Ueki would take Takeda in the corner and begin punching the board against Takeda, but Takeda would toss the board at Ueki and dropkick it. Takeda would then knee Ueki to the mat and just begin pounding Ueki in the head with the referee calling the match at 8 minutes, 58 seconds and rewarding Takeda the victory via KO. Takeda and Ueki would bow to each other, but Ueki would get up and kick Takeda resulting in Takeda slamming Ueki and bringing out his blade to cut open Ueki before Ueki would get out of the ring.
Minoru Fujita and Isami Kodaka would team up to defeat the team of Violento Jack and Brown Rat Fukki with Fujita picking up the win over Fukki at 11 minutes, 32 seconds with a Samson Clutch. Drew Parker would team up with F-SWAG's Jun Masaoka and Yuya Susumu to defeat Tatsuhito Takaiwa, GENTARO, and Rekka when Masaoka would pin Rekka at 10 minutes, 22 seconds with Ambitions. The opening match would see Dragon Libre and Takaori Katori defeat Kamui and Kengo after Katori would pin Kamui at 13 minutes, 24 seconds with his Karma finisher. It was announced prior to the show this would be Kamui's last match for some time due to suffering dizzy spells due to his damaged cervical vertebrae over the past year. Click here for highlights of the FREEDOMS 5/25/23 Korakuen Hall show.
FREEDOMS would then return to the beach on May 28, 2023 for a small show at the Kanagawa Chigasaki Southern Beach. The main event would be Takashi Sasaki and Toru Sugiura defeating Violento Jack and Jun Masaoka when Sugiura would pin Jack at 13 minutes, 1 seconds with the Swift Driver. Jun Kasai's struggles would continue as he would be unable to defeat Takahiro Katori with their match going to a 15 minute time limit draw. The opening match would be the only two FREEDOMS Dojo students left in wrestling following the Dojo closing down in Spring 2020 due to COVID with no sign of it ever being brought back with Tomoya Hirata defeating Dragon Libre at 8 minutes, 6 seconds with an Argentine Backbreaker.
For the second straight year FREEDOMS sent over some wrestlers to GCW for their June 3, 2023 show at the Atlantic City, New Jersey Showboat Hotel for the Tournament of Survival. Last year Toru Sugiura and Rina Yamashita entered into the tournament with both of them making it to the semi-finals of the tournament which was eventually won by Drew Parker. Yamashita throughout the year has worked for the occasional GCW shows including officially siding with the GCW group when appeared in Japan to rival FREEDOMS back in September 2022. For the tournament this year, Rina Yamashita was already in the states for it having an extended stay in America with GCW and both Toru Sugiura and Tomoya Hirata were entered into the Tournament of Survival as well. This year the first round matches of the tournament included all three way matches. This allowed Hirata to lose to another FREEDOMS wrestler in Toru Sugiura without it being just a FREEDOMS match as Joey Janela was included in the tournament as well. Sugiura would eventually lose to Rina Yamashita who would end up winning the Tournament of Survival by defeating John Wayne Murdoch. Afterwards, Sugiura and Hirata would end up attacking Yamashita due to the GCW/FREEDOMS rivalry and her siding with them when a masked man would enter in the ring and take off the mask to be revealed as Jun Kasai who would hit a Pearl Harbor Splash on Yamashita to continue the FREEDOMS/GCW feud.
I figured this would setup Kasai to wrestle in a match the next day, but he would not. Kasai's big thing about not wanting to go to America has been the pain of having to sit on a plane for so many hours so he doesn't do it very often, so I figured he would wrestle the second night after making the surprise appearance, but that would not be the case.. Kasai did enjoy hanging out with Yamashita, Sugiura, and Hirata at the Board Walk in New Jersey and stated he did meet with Nick Gage as he has been wanting to have a match with Gage for years which was originally supposed to happen in a tag match for the special FREEDOMS event in Florida in April 2020 which ended up getting cancelled due to COVID. Yamashita winning the tournament would end up challenging for the GCW Heavyweight Title on June 4, 2023 against Masha Slamovich but Blake Christian would end up cashing in his brass ring and made the match a three way and won the title after pinning Slamovich.
FREEDOMS would return to Shin-Kiba 1st Ring for their June 9, 2023 show where they would announce a crowd of 292 fans, one of the highest Shin-Kiba shows for the promotion in a long time. This was because FREEDOMS did their own "All Together" indie style at the same time that New Japan/NOAH/All Japan were doing their ALL TOGETHER AGAIN at Sumo Hall. FREEDOMS worked alongside Big Japan and 2AW for this as these kind of took a break from advancing storylines with that being for the following Shin-Kiba show 13 days later.
The main event of the show saw Jun Kasai, Toshiyuki Sakuda, and Yuki Ishikawa taking on Tomoya Hirata, Hideyoshi Kamitani, and Daiju Wakamatsu in a Fluorescent Light Tubes Scaffold Death Match. Kasai would begin smashing a razor board against Wakamatsu's head causing him to have a deep cut with him passionately fighting back and breaking a light tube over Kasai's body. Wakamatsu would then climb up the scaffold, but Kasai would get up and climb up the scaffold and hit a Reverse Tiger Destroyer off the scaffold on Wakamatsu. Kasai and Kamitani would then square off with Kasai hitting a lariat on him and then go back to Wakamatsu and try and hit a Reverse Tiger Driver on a stack of light tubes, but Wakamatsu would grab the light tubes and break them over Kasai's head. Wakamatsu would then try for a suplex, but Kasai would punch him in the face and then hit a Reverse Tiger Driver followed by a Cross Arm Stimulation to get the win at 21 minutes, 44 seconds to finally end Kasai's losing streak. Takashi Sasaki would come to the ring and challenge all the new young wrestlers to continue the death match legacy for the future.
The semi-main event of the show would be Abdullah Kobayashi and Takashi Sasaki teaming up to take on Toru Sugiura and Kazumi Kikuta in a Armored Soldier Death Match. Sugiura and Kikuta would first tie up Kobayashi with a rope followed by Sugiura hitting him with a hammer and then double suplexing Kobayashi on a stack of chairs. Kikuta would then setup Kobayashi and look to kick a light tube across his head with Sasaki making the save. Sasaki would then suplex Kikuta off the turnbuckle on a stack of chairs followed by Kobayashi delivering an elbow drop with a light tube breaking across Kikuta and then Sasaki would deliver a right leg kick breaking a light tube over Kikuta to get the pinfall at 15 minutes, 29 seconds as Kobayashi and Sugiura would meet face to face in what would look like it will setup a future Big Japan Death Match Heavyweight Title match after Kobayashi defeats Yuki Ishikawa on July 16th at Korakuen Hall.
Mammoth Sasaki, Daisuke Masaoka, and Minoru Fujita would take on the team of Masashi Takeda, Takumi Tsukamoto, and Yusaku Ito in a Hardcore Match with Tsukamoto and Ito looking almost identical going into the match. Ito and Tsukamoto would have some conflict in wanting to be the one to slam Takeda onto Fujita, but by the time Ito would get to do it, Fujita would move out of the way and Ito would end up accidentally slamming his partner on the mat. Masaoka would deliver a hurricanrana onto both Fujita and Tsukamoto followed by Mammoth hitting the 29 Years Old to get the win at 16 minutes, 2 seconds over Ito.
Violento Jack and Brown Rat Fukki would defeat Drew Parker and Takayuki Ueki in a ERE vs. ERE match with Jack pinning Ueki at 11 minutes, 10 seconds with the Charro Negro. Jun Masaoka and Yuya Susumu would go to a 15 minute time limit draw with 2AW's Tatsuya Hanami and Takuro Niki. The opening match would see Kengo, Dragon Libre, and Takahiro Katori defeating Tatsuhito Takaiwa, GENTARO, and Rekka when Katori would pin Rekka at 12 minutes, 20 seconds with a Hurricanrana. Click here for highlights of the FREEDOMS 6/9/23 show.
The show would also end up most likely being Drew Parker's last match in FREEDOMS for awhile if not ever. It was announced that Parker would be leaving Japan after nearly one year for working with FREEDOMS and a total of four years working in Japan with his first three years were mostly with Big Japan. Parker stated the reason for leaving was family issues, although it actually has to do with his girlfriend in the UK.
It is not really expected for him to return, as this was believed to be in the works after Parker decided that he no longer wanted to do death matches anymore after March while working for a death match company. There were some not happy with that decision as he came in last year and won the title right away and defeated the likes of Masaoka, Takeda, and Kasai in singles matches. Then after losing the title to Jack announced he didn't want to do death matches anymore and said his March 4th match in GCW against John Wayne Murdoch would be his final death match. FREEDOMS would convince him to change that and extend it to March 23rd at Korakuen Hall so they could at least promote that for themselves and get him to put over Kasai in a tag match following Parker beating Kasai at the Christmas Death Match show. FREEDOMS obviously had no idea what to do with him after that though, as he pretty much just began working meaningless undercard matches and this looks to be his exit from the company as he returns back to the UK.
FREEDOMS would then return to Shin-Kiba 1st Ring on June 22, 2023 and announce a crowd of 141 fans for the show which is much more the average of a typical Shin-Kiba crowd. The main event was a Fluorescent Light Tubes Tornado Death Match with Tomoya Hirata, Takashi Sasaki, and Mammoth Sasaki taking on Minoru Fujita, Toru Sugiura, and Daisuke Masaoka.
All six would be in the ring when Mammoth would try to powerbomb Masaoka, but he would manage to turn it into a hurricanrana. Masaoka and Sugiura would then send Hirata into the ropes, but as he would come back to try and double clothesline both of them, Fujita would come out of nowhere and roll up Hirata up for the win at 17 minutes, 3 seconds with the Samson Clutch. Fujita would get on the mic and state that he doesn't care if he wins or loses in preliminary matches on the show, but this win here was very important because nobody would buy that he has a chance otherwise to defeat Hirata and as a result nobody would come to Korakuen on July 6th to see him win the title. The King of Freedom Tag Team Championship match between Takashi Sasaki and Mammoth Sasaki against Toru Sugiura and Daisuke Masaoka would also be made official for July 6th at Korakuen.
The semi-main event match would be Jun Kasai, Masashi Takeda, and Takumi Tsukamoto against Violento Jack, Brown Rat Fukki, and Takayuki Ueki in a Barbed wire Board Death Match with Kasai getting the win at 15 minutes, 18 seconds with a Cross Arm Stimulation on Fukki for the pinfall. Kasai would get on the mic and challenge Takayuki Ueki to a Barefoot Thumbtacks Death Match in a rematch of their August 30, 2021 Korakuen Barefoot Thumbtacks Death Match which Kasai stated in his book was his least favorite death match after having one with Minoru Fujita back on May 2, 2014 due to how little it looks like to the fans it hurts compared to how much it actually does hurt doing them.
Toshiyuki Sakuda would defeat Yusaku Ito in a Weapons Death Match with Sakuda bringing in his saw and a safety pinboard and Ito bringing a pencil board to the ring. Sakuda would end up using the saw to cut open Ito followed by sticking the safety pins into Ito's head and delivering a Shiranui to him before getting the win a Swanton Bomb with a chair on his back at 16 minutes, 27 seconds over Ito. Sakuda would try to fist pump Ito afterwards to show respect for the match, but Ito would just spit at him afterwards in what was considered the best match on the show and a better Sakuda match than the Hirata title match at Korakuen.
F-SWAG's Jun Masaoka and Yuya Susumu would defeat Dragon Libre and Takahiro Katori with Masaoka pinning Libre at 8 minutes, 47 seconds with a Thrust Kick with Katori being nominated as the next challenger for the King of Freedom Jr. Heavyweight Title on July 6th. The opening match would see Kengo and Tatsuhito Takaiwa defeat GENTARO and Rekka when Kengo would get the win at 10 minutes, 26 seconds with a Brainbuster on Rekka. Click here to watch highlights of the FREEDOMS 6/22/23 show.
The next Jun Kasai promoted show will be the first Death Match Carnival event of the year on July 6, 2023 at Korakuen Hall. The main event will be Tomoya Hirata defending the King of Freedom World Championship against Minoru Fujita in a Fluorescent Light Tubes Tower Double Glass Board Death Match. The semi-main event will be Takashi Sasaki and Mammoth Sasaki defending their King of Freedom Tag Team Titles against Toru Sugiura and Daisuke Masaoka in a Weapons Death Match. Jun Kasai will take on Takayuki Ueki in a Barefoot Thumbtacks Death Match. Jun Masaoka looks to defend his King of Freedom Jr. Heavyweight Title for the first time against Takahiro Katori. Rina Yamashita will make her return to FREEDOMS after her month long stint in the U.S. with GCW as she teams up with no one officially in FREEDOMS in Masashi Takeda, Takumi Tsukamoto, and Yusaku Ito against ERE's Violento Jack, Toshiyuki Sakuda, Brown Rat Fukki, and Kyu Mogami in a Hardcore Match. Yuya Susumu will take on Dragon Libre and the opening match will see Tatsuhito Takaiwa and GENTARO go up against Kengo and Rekka.
The A-Team ran its biggest show in the history of its company for
their 6th Anniversary show on May 21, 2023 at the Tokyo Sumida Ward General Gym
where Pro-Wrestling Weekly's result page would list them as having 150 fans
which is what they announce for every show, but the A-Team promotion themselves
announced a crowd of 700 fans for the show. I think the real number falls in
between as the building is not that big and there are notable empty seats, but
it does look like more than 150 fans for the show.
HASEGAWA made a comment about this show drawing 700 fans was a big deal for him promoting wise because he still remembers having just 3 people attend an Apache Army show that he promoted. I reached out to him asking him if he was referring to one of the Apache Army Nishi-Chofu Martial Arts shows in February or March 2013 after Apache Army could no longer financially run Shin-Kiba 1st Ring any longer and the few fans left did not follow them to the smaller building, and they even stopped posting results let alone announcing attendance, so I remember having to reach out to Tomohiko Hashimoto himself in order to get results for this site because they were not being posted anywhere online. HASEGAWA did confirm that it was during that time period in that building. I knew it was because of how bad the shows were being attended as they had to stop running Tokyo for the most part and became more of an Osaka based promotion for a couple of years, but I still would have assumed it was because they were drawing thirty fans and not three.
The main event of the show would be New Japan's Satoshi Kojima taking on Tomohiko Hashimoto with Kojima getting Hashimoto in the corner and begin delivering chops to him before hitting him with the DDT and then finishing Hashimoto off at 11 minutes, 12 seconds with a lariat for the win. The semi-main event of the show would be HASEGAWA taking on Minoru Suzuki with HASEGAWA trying to use his highflying and would deliver a hurricanrana off the turnbuckle to Suzuki and then go for a Diving Footstomp, but Suzuki would move out of the way and deliver a boot HASEGAWA's face before putting him in a sleeper that he would turn into a Gotch Style Piledriver to get the pinfall at 12 minutes, 28 seconds for the win. Takashi Sasaki and Jun Kasai would take on Iori Sugawara and Jin with Jin going to the stop and looking for a flying legdrop that Kasai would move out of the way of. Kasai would then stab skewers in Jin's head and then finish him off with a Pearl Harbor Splash to get the pin over Jin at 14 minutes, 40 seconds with Sasaki stating he would be glad to return to the promotion once again.
The All Japan team of Shuji Ishikawa, Yoshitatsu, and Black Menso~re would defeat the A-Team of Daisaku Shimoda, Raiden, and Takumi Sakurai with it looking like the A-Team would score the upset after Sakurai would hit a Moonsault on Menso~re but Ishikawa would manage to make the save. Sakurai would then charge at Ishikawa who would catch him, and hit a funky looking Fire Thunder before hitting the Splash Mountain to get the win over Sakurai at 12 minutes, 33 seconds for the All Japan win. Rion Mizuki would defeat Bryan Ishikawa at 9 minutes, 58 seconds with a Full Nelson Suplex to win the WEW Jr. Heavyweight Championship. Joji Otani and Momoka Hanazono would defeat Hashinosuke and Bmabi when Otani would pin Hashinosuke at 9 minutes 50 seconds with a Diving Body Press in a Mixed Tag Team Match. Eito and Naoh Yamada d. Tamasa Matsui and Sakura Mizushima when Yamada would pin Mizushima at 12 minutes, 40 seconds with a Double Arm Facebuster. The opening match would be Kosaku Tonozaki, Magic Killer # 1, and Kota Nagashima defeating Kohei Sato, Super Tiger, and Kaz Shibano when Nagashima would pin Shibano at 11 minutes, 31 seconds with the Blue Destiny. Click here for highlights of the A-Team 5/21/23 show.
Today marks 27 year anniversary of Masato Tanaka and Tetsuhiro Kuroda winning their first titles together when they along with Koji Nakagawa won the FMW 6 Man Street Fight Tag Team Titles on June 28, 1996 at Korakuen Hall. Tanaka and Kuroda have been a long established tag team as they first teamed up together on October 15, 1993 for Kuroda's first ever FMW match. They would end up winning the FMW Brass Knuckles Tag Team Titles together on May 3, 1999. They had last teamed up on March 18, 2020 for the J-Stage promotion against Jinsei Shinzaki and Pegaso Iluminar. They would team up once again on May 28, 2023 in Tokushima for ZERO1 to challenge Hide Kubota and Yasu Kubota. They would come to the ring with their long time friend Kintaro Kanemura and do the TNR Dance before the start of the match with Kanemura getting on the mic and telling the Kubota Brothers to put up their NWA Intercontinental Tag Team Titles on the line for the match with the Hide and Yasu accpeting Kanemura's request. Kuroda would do his signature long running lariat outside on Yasu followed by Tanaka delivering a dive off the turnbuckle sending Hide through a table. Kuroda would come in the ring and hit a lariat followed by Tanaka hitting a Sliding D on Yasu. Kuroda would try for a clothesline, but Hide would grab him and roll him up with a Shachihoko Clutch for the win to successfully defend the titles for the third time. Click here for highlights of the Tanaka/Kuroda vs. Kubota Brothers match from 5/28/23.
Three days earlier Masato Tanaka had lost the World Heavyweight Championship to Chris Vice on May 26, 2023 at the Shin-Kiba 1st Ring coming just one week short of holding the title for one year. Tanaka would then be invited to attend four shows in Ontario, Canada for Channing Decker's Greektown Wrestling promotion and on the second night of the four shows on June 9, 2023 he would end up defeating the champion Channing Decker, Rickey Shane Paige, and Derek Dillinger in a 4 Way Ladder Match in Hamiltion, Ontario to win the Greektown Title. The following day on June 10, 2023 in Toronto he would end up losing the title back to Decker in a Extreme Rules Match though. Tanaka would get one more shot at the title on the fourth and final show in Waterloo, Ontario on June 11th as he would participate in a 4 Way Match against Decker, Cody Deaner, and Bryce Hansen with Decker getting the win over Hansen in a 4 Way Street Fight.
Tetsuhiro Kuroda would also try to win a title as he would challenge Masked Mystery on June 24, 2023 at the Shin-Kiba 1st Ring for the TTT Indie Unified Openweight Title. Kuroda and Mystery had been TTT Tag Team Champions previously so when Mystery ended up winning the top title he nominated Kuroda to challenge him for it. Kuroda stated at 51 years old, he's not the biggest fan of challenging for singles titles anymore, but he will never not accept a request to challenge for it. Kuroda would come close including rolling up Mystery with the Fuyuki Special, but in the end Mystery would end up defeating Kuroda with a Chokeslam to successfully defend his title.
I am working on a FMW Stories episode on Mitsuhiro Matsunaga that will be released in July, and going through everything I was reminded of a Mitsuhiro Matsunaga interview that he did with Pro-Wrestling Weekly Editor-in-Chief Tarzan Yamamoto back in May 1996 which made Shoichi Arai very upset over his shots at Atsushi Onita and Hayabusa. Matsunaga didn't care because his contract was ending in June and he wasn't ever coming back to FMW anyway. I knew I had seen the interview in a magazine I had before, so I went through and translated it. I did not know while doing that though that it was actually a 5 part interview spread out through 5 magazines. I only had magazines 1,2,4, and 5 so I am missing part 3 and I looked and currently there's no way to purchase the part 3 magazine until it randomly becomes available again. Once it does, I will make sure to pick it up to complete the interview. It is interesting though as you can tell Matsunaga comes into the interview with a chip on his shoulder not feeling like Yamamoto who had a lot of power in the 90's had given Matsunaga or W*ING its due. Yamamoto had a good response on why W*ING didn't get its attention, but he pretty much admits he didn't really care for anything death match related besides Atsushi Onita.
The first half of the interview comes across as someone that's into Japanese death matches talking to a wrestling fan that doesn't care for them. The conversation does ease up in the second half though. There's a part where Matsunaga takes a shot at Hayabusa without saying his name and they talk about it glossing over the name until Yamamoto at the end just says Hayabusa's name to let you know that's who they were talking about. There is some stuff that you just had to be following Japanese wrestling very closely in 1995-1996 to know exactly what they are talking about, as I was unaware about Yamamoto appearing at Ryogoku Sumo Hall (they never say what promotion. WAR maybe?) and is boo'd by the crowd and he was very upset about it. Matsunaga has become one of my favorite people to go back and read his thoughts on things as he does not hold back on his thoughts on things and that's why I chose to do the next FMW Stories episode on him. You can find the 4 out of 5 part interview at http://fmwwrestling.us/Matsunaga96.html
This past month I was in London and just getting on and off the subways for a week straight really brought back memories of just going all over the place on the subways in Tokyo for so many years in a row a decade ago and how it was such a fond memory for me. The last couple of years especially with COVID I kind of had made peace that I was done going to Japan. There are many reasons, but a big one is I kind of just felt like I have done everything I wanted to do in Japan in my 8 trips spanning 10 years. One of the big reasons I would go every year was to do as many things with an FMW connection as possible. At this point though, there's not really that much FMW nostalgia happening like there was even a decade ago. Another thing that was always a highlight of going to Tokyo every year for me was going to Toudoukan and picking up so many magazines and then going through them all and seeing all these FMW pictures I had never seen before, there are so many happy memories thinking about all the years of doing that. Now I have an entire closet full of magazines and honestly going to Toudoukan the last time in 2018 was not the same. It's so much a bigger store now than it was when I would go almost every day, every year and just spend hours during the hot afternoons looking through everything. The last time I went, it just didn't really have the same magic it use to have for me personally and really just going to their website to try and find something specifically has become easier, on top of them moving the store to another location in Tokyo where it's no longer within walking distance from my hotel anymore like it used to be.
I started thinking about it though, and there is one thing I would like to go to Japan for if it actually happens. That is attend Atsushi Onita's 50th Anniversary on May 5, 2024 at Kawasaki Stadium. Like I mentioned back in the March update that Onita wants to return to Kawasaki Stadium in "May 2024" as he never specifically said May 5th although one of the Japanese wrestling news sites picked up on the story and wrote May 5th ascsuming that it couldn't be any other day for Onita to wrestle in Kawasaki Stadium in May. The stadium is obviously not the giant baseball stadium anymore, and I am sure the card would be like how most of the recent FMW-E shows have been, so it wouldn't exactly being like going to a FMW show in the 1990s, but it's probably going to be the last big thing with any FMW connection ever again if it happens. Now Onita stated in 2016 and 2017 that Super Battle FMW would run Kawasaki Stadium on May 5th and neither ever ame close to happening. The now football stadium is running much more wrestling events though after COVID as Hikaru Sato promotes a show there every August and can continue doing them every year despite them almost always being practically empty. If everything is scheduled next year like how it was this past year, I also would like to attend one last FREEDOMS show at Korakuen and then Big Japan at the Yokohama Budokan prior to going to the Onita show on May 5th. It's still over 10 months away though, and I wouldn't even really think about booking anything until after the new year and May 5, 2024 at Kawasaki Stadium has actually been announced, but in the mean time it is something that I will be for sure keeping an eye out over these next couple of months.
FMW-E would hold their first show of the year on April 29, 2023 at the Yokohama Tsurumi Fruit and Vegetables Market with them not announcing any attendance. Based on my conversation with them back in December, this promotion will most likely not be airing their shows in full any longer. This is the 8th official show promoted by the FMW-E promotion itself and would entitled "The Dawn". They originally had talked about Atsushi Onita vs. Shuji Ishikawa being the main event, but knowing neither one of them would actually job to each other, it was decided like expected that the match would be 6 man with Onita, Raijin Yaguchi, and Ricky Fuji taking on Shuji Ishikawa and two other All Japan Mystery Partners.
That would change most likely due to lack of ticket sales and the main event would be Onita and Yoshitatsu teaming up to defend their All Japan All Asian Tag Team Titles against Shuji Ishikawa and Hikaru Sato in a Exploding Barbed wire, Exploding Barbed wire Baseball Bat, and Exploding Barricade Death Match which would be the first time the All Japan All Asian Tag Team Titles would be defended in a death match for another promotion. Onita would end up taking the double exploding barbed wire bat spot, but managing to get the win over Sato at 16 minutes, 1 second after hitting him with the exploding bat to successfully defend the titles for the second time. Click here for highlights of Atsushi Onita/Yoshitatsu vs. Shuji Ishikawa/Hikaru Sato from 4/29/23
Onita announced after the show that he would be checking himself into the hospital on April 30th after finishing the FMW-E show. Onita stated that 10 days earlier on April 19th he had gone in and got a CT scan following having issues with his heart. They had found Onita had a abdominal aortic aneursym. A heart condition most common in older men that smoke. If not treated, it could lead to a deadly heart attack so Onita announced that he would be having surgery on May 9th. It is unknown if the surgery will lead to an incision or a catheter surgery with doctors telling him that he would need two or three months to fully recover, but Onita wants to make sure he makes his next booking which will be on June 11, 2023 for All Japan at the Fukushima Big Palette with the plan being Onita and Yoshitatsu once again defending their All Japan All Asian Tag Team Titles on the show.
Other matches on the FMW-E show would include Mr. Pogo and Onryo defeating Takumi Sakurai and Boogie Man at 11 minutes, 42 seconds after Onryo would pin Boogie after Mr. Pogo would end up blowing fire on the back of Boogie Man. Ricky Fuji would make his return to FMW-E following his stroke last year as he would team up with Raijin Yaguchi to defeat HASEGAWA and Naoshi Sano when Yaguchi would make Sano tap out at 14 minutes, 40 seconds with the Kaminarimongatame. Brahman Shu and Brahman Kei would defeat Miss Mongol and Maku Donaruto with Shu pinned Donaruto at 9 minutes, 46 seconds with a Gotai Fu Manzoku. Shota Nakagawa would defeat Nene ∞ D.a.i at 7 minutes, 17 seconds with a Swanton Bomb. The opening match would be a Three Way Dance with Pandita defeating FMW-E Shocker and The Yo-Chan when Pandita would get the pin at 6 minutes, 13 seconds over Yo-Chan.
FMW-E will return on July 9, 2023 at the Yokohama Tsurumi Fruit and Vegetables Market for their 2nd Anniversary show. They also have announced that they will run two shows in Hokkaido on August 26th and August 27th in the areas of Ishigaki and Inagawa (which all I could find was those areas were in Hyogo and Okinawa) as these two shows would be similar to what they did last October when they ran in Hokkaido and would actually be promoted by businesses in the Hokkaido market buying the FMW-E name and promoting the shows themselves.
Earlier this month, Atsushi Onita returned to All Japan on April 15, 2023 at the Nagoya International Conference Hall to defend the All Japan All Asian Tag Team Titles with Yoshitatsu as they would take on the team of Takao Omori and Black Menso~re in a Exploding Barbed wire Baseball Bat Exploding Barbed wire Board Tornado Bunkhouse Death Match. Omori would end up sitting Onita down on a chair as Menso~re would end up hitting Onita across the chest with an exploding barbed wire bat. Omori would then take Onita and bodyslam him onto the exploding barbed wire board. Menso~re would then take the barbed wire bat and go up to the top and look to hit Onita with it while diving off the top, but instead would be met with Onita spitting green mist at him. Onita would then take a garbage can and place it over Black Menso~re's head and hit him with the exploding abrbed wire bat to get the win at 10 minutes, 30 seconds to successfully defend the All Asian Tag Team Titles for the first time. Click here to watch highlights of Onita/Yoshitatsu vs. Takao Omori/Black Menso~re from 4/15/23.
Onita would then return to DDT on April 16, 2023 at the Niigata Bandaijima Multi Purpose Plaza where it seems Onita's DDO promotion has already been dropped. Onita would team up with Shunma Katsumata and Toi Kojima to take on the team of Sanshiro Takagi, Joey Janela, and Takeshi Masada in a Exploding Barbed wire Baseball Bat Death Match. This match again would be for Onita's "Current Explosion" trademark, but Joey Janela was more focused on facing one of his favorite wrestlers growing up in a explosion death match. Onita would end up spitting green mist in Masada's face, but Janela would then go after Onita and deliver a kick to the head and sit Onita on a chair and hit Onita with the exploding barbed wire bat, although a spark would end up burning Janela's ear. Kojima would then end up taking the bat and swing it at Masada, but Masada would end up delivering a kick to the bat causing another explosion. Takagi would then try to turn on the expoding bat when Katsumata would grab a hold of him and hit him with the exploding bat. Janela would then go up to the top where he would be met by green mist from both Onita and Katsumata followed by Onita turning on the exploding bat and hitting Janela with it and covering Janela with it to get the win at 14 minutes, 40 seconds as the exploding bat would actually end up giving Janela second degree burns. Onita and Janela would show respect towards one another with Onita stating he wants to have a explosion death match against Janela in America some time. Takagi would announce that he was giving up trying to own the trademark of the "current explosion" from Onita and that he would work on trying to make a Onita vs. Janela death match in America possible some day. Click here to watch highlights of Onita/Katsumata/Kojima vs. Takagi/Janela/Masada from 4/16/23.
FREEDOMS would return to Korakuen Hall on March 23, 2023 and announce a crowd of 605 fans for the show. The March Korakuen Hall has always seemed to be a struggle to ever do that well going back to the very first time they ran it in 2014 and only drew 428 fans which before the pandemic was the lowest attended Korakuen Hall show for the promotion until the pandemic.
The main event of the show would be Violento Jack defending his
King of Freedom World Championship against Tomoya Hirata in a Glass Board Barbed
wire Board Death Match. This would be a rematch between the two from October 3,
2021 when Jack defended the title successfully against the young Hirata.
Jack would take Hirata and look to throw him into the glass board but would then send him flying into the barbed wire board in the corner instead. Jack would then place some fluorescent light tubes over Hirata's body and deliver a Swanton Bomb, but Hirata would grab a hold of Jack and deliver a German Suplex to him and then place the glass board on a stack of chairs. Hirata would then place Jack on the turnbuckle and deliver a German Suplex off the turnbuckle into the glass board. Jack and Hirata would then exchange clotheslines before Jack would charge at Hirata and be met with a Frankensteiner and then a lariat followed by a German Suplex to get the win at 23 minutes, 48 seconds to win the King of Freedom World Championship for the first time.
I have been concerned the last couple of years about FREEDOMS being able to keep up with having enough marketable main events for how many times they are wanting to run Korakuen Hall and the Yokohama Budokan. Toru Sugiura was a very good champion but he simply ran out of people to defend the title against, so Jack got a 6 month transition title run to get the belt on Kasai so that he could defend it against Masashi Takeda at last years Yokohama Budokan which did not end up happening with Takeda unavailable for the show. They decided to put the belt on Daisuke Masaoka so that he could defend it against Toru Sugiura at the Yokohama Budokan in the one main event they had not done at that point. They ended up lucking out and getting Drew Parker to join the company a month later and put the belt on him so that he could have new fresh matches for Korakuen Hall main events for the rest of 2022. Parker then decided he didn't want to do death matches anymore, so they put the belt back on Jack in another transitional reign just because the Hirata story of winning the title would mean more defeating Jack than it would Parker who he had no history with.
The problem with Hirata winning the title though is that he as always been kind of the last bullet they had in their pocket to have the young guy be able to main event with. Unless someone new joins the promotion and is sky rocketed to the top like Parker was last year, whoever eventually ends up beating Hirata most likely will have who I expect to have a long run like Sugiura did, will most likely have already faced everyone already. This is where having such a thin roster but wanting to do 7 more Korakuen Hall shows and a Yokohama Budokan show just for the rest of 2023 alone will be interesting to see how Takashi Sasaki is able to navigate things to keep things fresh beyond this title run for Hirata.
The semi-main event would be Drew Parker's Bloody Swan Song as it would be his final death match. Parker would team up with his death match mentor Big Japan's Abdullah Kobayashi against Jun Kasai and Masashi Takeda in a Fluorescent Light Tubes Death Match. Parker and Takeda would start off by smashing light tubes over each others heads before Kasai would face off against Parker and the two would shove skewers in each others heads before Kasai would hit a Reverse Tiger Driver followed by a Tiger Destroyer off the turnbuckle on a fork board. Parker would try and fight back with a kick but Kasai would duck it and pun him in the face before delivering his Stimulation finisher on the fork board for the win at 17 minutes, 10 seconds with an emotional bloody Parker bowing to the fans in the ring. Takeda would state that Parker was a great opponent, but now that he is moving away from death matches there rivlalry is now officially over.
Kamui would defend his King of Freedom Jr. Heavyweight Title against Dragon Libre at 17 minutes, 25 seconds after hitting the Firebird Splash for the win and his second successful title defense. After the match, Kamui and Dragon Libre would shake hands when F-SWAG's Jun Masaoka and Yuya Susumu would hit the ring and attack them with Kengo hitting the ring and making the save. This would be Kengo's first return since injuring his neck back in June 2022 and having to vacate the UWA Jr. Title before FREEDOMS would decide to just create their own Jr. Heavyweight Title.
Takashi Sasaki would team up with Mammoth Sasaki and Daisuke Masaoka as they would take on and defeat Toru Sugiura, Rina Yamashita, and Yusaku Ito in a Hardcore Match with Mammoth picking up the win at 9 minutes, 36 seconds with the 29 Years Old as Sugiura continues to just seem lost with no direction ever since losing to Masaoka last year at the Yokohama Budokan. .
Brown Rat Fukki, Toshiyuki Sakuda, and Kyu Mogami would defeat Tatsuhito Takaiwa, GENTARO, and Rekka with Sakuda picking up with the win at 10 minutes, 38 seconds with the Sakauchi over Takaiwa. Takayuki Ueki who had been absent May 3, 2022 at the Yokohama Budokan after wrecking his knee would return and announce that the ERE member would return to the ring on May 3, 2023 at Korakuen Hall. The opening match would see F-SWAG's Jun Masaoka and Yuya Susumu defeat Guruken Mask and Takahiro Katori with Masaoka pinning Katori at 7 minutes, 5 seconds with his Ambitions finisher. Click here for highlights of the FREEDOMS 3/23/23 Korakuen Hall show.
FREEDOMS and 2AW would run their joint VERSUS show on April 9, 2023 at the Chiba 2AW Square where they would announce a crowd of 72 fans for the show. The main event would be the FREEDOMS team of Tomoya Hirata, Takashi Sasaki, and Daisuke Masaoka taking on the 2AW team of Daiju Wakamatsu, Tatsuya Hanami, and Kyu Mogami in a Weapons Death Match with Hirata and Wakamatsu going at it with Hirata sticking a disc in Wakamatsu's forehead before Wakamatsu would stick a disc in Hirata's forehead and headbutt him. The 2AW team would then triple team Hirata until Masaoka would come off the with a flying drop kick to help out his partner. Hirata would then hit Mogami with a lariat and then finish him with a German Suplex at 18 minutes, 25 seconds for the FREEDOMS win. The semi-main event would be Jun Kasai and Toru Sugiura going up against Kengo Mashimo and Kunio Toshima with Kasai and Mashimo facing off against each other with Kasai knocking Mashimo down with a lariat. Toshima would then come over and kick Kasai low and help Mashimo work on Kasai until he would go up to the top and Kasai would avoid him and then deliver a Reverse Tiger Driver to pick up the win at 12 minutes, 31 seconds for the FREEDOMS win.
Taishi Takizawa and Shu Asakawa would defeat Violento Jack and Brown Rat Fukki when Takizawa would get the win at 10 minutes, 28 seconds over Fukki with a Tiger Driver. Mammoth Sasaki and GENTARO would defeat Ayato Yoshida and Shuma Naka when Mammoth would put away Naka at 11 minutes, 16 seconds with the 29 Years Old. Takuro Niki and Chicharito Shoki would defeat Kamui and Takahiro Katori when Shoki would pin Katori at 11 minutes, 30 seconds with the Florasilon. The opening match would see Shiori Asahi defeat Dragon Libre at 9 minutes, 29 seconds as the two promotions would go 3-3 overall on this show although with FREEDOMS winning the semi and main event matches. Click here for highlights of the FREEDOMS/2AW 4/9/23 show.
FREEDOMS would then return to the Hiroshima Industrial Hall West Building on April 16, 2023 and announce a crowd of 423 fans for the show. The main event would be Tomoya Hirata and Takashi Sasaki taking on Violento Jack and Kyu Mogami in a Fluorescent Light Tubes Death Match. Sasaki would end up giving a kick to the head of Mogami followed by Hirata hitting him with a German Suplex and then Sasaki would delivering a Right Leg Kick breaking a stack of light tubes across Mogami's head for the win at 17 minutes, 31 seconds with Sasaki challenging Hirata for the King of Freedom World Championship after the match. Sasaki would state that he had been the first King of Freedom World Championship 10 years ago in May 2013 and wanted to become the champion once again 10 years later with Hirata accepting.
The semi-main event would be Jun Kasai facing off against Toshiyuki Sakuda in a Murder Board and Safety Pinboard Death Match with Kasai sticking skewers in Sakuda's face and then trying for a Tiger Destroyer off the turnbuckle on to the Murder Board although he would pretty much miss the board completely with Sakuda's head hitting the mat instead. Kasai would then go for a lariat, but Sakuda would catch him and deliver a Sakeuchi on the safety pinboard to get his first singles win at 18 minutes, 18 seconds over Kasai on his fourth try although this match will be the only time that it will not be available in full for fans to see. I would guess this would be to build up Sakuda as the next title challenger for the May 25th Korakuen Hall show.
Masashi Takeda and Rina Yamashita would defeat Daisuke Masaoka and Toru Sugiura in a Weapons Death Match after Takeda would pick up the win at 11 minutes, 23 seconds after Takeda deliver a Mega Locker with Scissors on Masaoka for the pinfall. Drew Parker would debut in his non death match role teaming up with Brown Rat Fukki and Devil Magician defeating Mammoth Sasaki, Takeshi Okada, and Rekka when Parker would get the win over Rekka at 11 minutes, 9 seconds after hitting him with a Swanton Bomb. Jun Masaoka, Yuya Susumu, and Kenshin Chikano would defeat Kamui, Dragon Libre, and Takahiro Katori after Masaoka would pick up the win at 10 minutes, 47 seconds after hitting Libre with a Thrust Kick. The opening match would see GENTARO and Rey Paloma defeat Brahman Shu and Brahman Kei at 9 minutes, 21 seconds when Paloma would get the pinfall over Kei with a Backslide. Click here for highlights of the FREEDOMS 4/16/23 show.
FREEDOMS would return to the Shin-Kiba 1st Ring on April 20, 2023 and announce a crowd of 145 fans for the show. The main event would be Tomoya Hirata, Daisuke Masaoka, and Rina Yamashita taking on Takashi Sasaki, Jun Kasai, and Mammoth Sasaki in a Fluorescent Light Tubes Death Match. Hirata would grab a stack of light tubes and charge at Sasaki in the corner with him moving out of the way and delivering a kick to Hirata's head followed by breaking a stack of light tubes with a kick across Hirata's chest. Sasaki would then place a stack of light tubes against Hirata's head and deliver a Right Leg Kick to break the light tubes over Hirata's head to get the win at 18 minutes, 59 seconds to setup their May 3rd Korakuen Hall match.
The semi-main event would be a Hardcore Match between Masashi Takeda, Toru Sugiura, and Yusaku Ito against Violento Jack, Brown Rat Fukki, and Kyu Mogami which would see Takayuki Ueki get in the ring and be met with a headbutt from Takeda with Ueki coming back and delivering a drop kick to Takeda sending him out of the ring. Jack would then grab Ito and deliver a Liger Bomb with Ito kicking out but Jack would then grab Ito's arm and place him in the Mexican Stretch to get him to tap out at 11 minutes, 15 seconds for the ERE win. Ueki would then announce that his return match on May 3rd would have him team up with ERE's Violento Jack and Toshiyuki Sakuda to take on Jun Kasai, Masashi Takeda, and Minoru Fujita.
Jun Masaoka and Yuya Susumu would defeat the team of Kamui and Kengo when Masaoka would pin Kengo at 9 minutes, 17 seconds with a Small Package for the win followed by Masaoka hitting Kamui with Ambitions and Susumu would put on the King of Freedom Jr. Heavyweight Title around Masaoka's waist as Masaoka would announce he would challenge for the belt at the upcoming Korakuen Hall show. Minoru Fujita would return to FREEDOMS for the first time since Christmas 2022 while dealing with an eye injury that still has not fully healed as he would team up with Takahiro Katori to defeat Dragon Libre and Rekka when Fujita would pin Libre at 13 minutes, 44 seconds with his Sayanora Tombstone Piledriver. The opening match would see Drew Parker and Toshiyuki Sakuda defeat Tatsuhito Takaiwa and GENTARO when Sakuda would pin GENTARO at 10 minutes, 18 seconds with a Tornado Clutch. Click here to watch highlights of the FREEDOMS 4/20/23 show.
FREEDOMS would then return to the Osaka Hirano Kumin Hall on April 30, 2023 drawing an announced 281 fans for the show. The main event was scheduled to be Jun Kasai taking on Daisuke Masaoka in a singles death match. Masaoka though ended up losing consciousness while greeting fans at the end of the Dove Pro show on April 28th. Masaoka was taken to the hospital where he was diagnosed with a sudden drop in blood pressure and pulled out of the show as a result. This left Kamui who promotes the FREEDOMS Osaka shows to begin scrambling and ended up booking Gunso and Yusaku Ito for the show at the last minute as they would take on Jun Kasai and Kamui in a Fluorescent Light Tubes Glass Board Death Match with Kasai picking up the win at 16 minutes, 21 seconds with his Stimulation finisher over Ito. After the match, Daisuke Masaoka would come to the ring and go face to face with Kasai stating he wanted to have the match next time they are in Osaka which will be on July 23rd.
The semi-main event would be Takashi Sasaki and Mammoth Sasaki would team up to defeat Tomoya Hirata and Rina Yamashita with Mammoth getting the win at 14 minutes, 49 seconds when Mammoth would hit Yamashita with his 29 Years Old for the win. Violento Jack, Brown Rat Fukki, and Toshiyuki Sakuda would defeat Masashi Takeda, Toru Sugiura, and Dyna Mido with Jack getting the win at 13 minutes, 48 seconds after hitting Mido with his Amatalan on a ladder for the win in a Hardcore Match. Drew Parker would originally be booked to team with Yuya Susumu for the show, but he would have to cancel after injuring his ankle. Susumu's F-SWAG partner Jun Masaoka would instead take his place as they would defeat Dragon Libre and Takahiro Katori when Masaoka would pin Katori at 12 minutes, 34 seconds with his Ambitions finisher. Kamui would wrestle in his originally scheduled match on the show against Maori Kawashima with Kamui picking up the win at 8 minutes, 19 seconds with the Iomante. The opening match would see GENTARO and Idea go up against the Brahman Brothers with the match originally going to a double count out at 5 minutes, 25 seconds before getting restarted and GENTARO pinning Kei at 9 minutes, 12 seconds with the Japanese Leg Roll Clutch for the win. Click here for highlights of FREEDOMS 4/30/23
FREEDOMS will return to Korakuen Hall on May 3, 2023 with the main event of Tomoya Hirata defending the King of Freedom World Championship Match celebrating the 10 year anniversary of the title as Hirata faces off against the first champion in Takashi Sasaki in a Fluorescent Light Tubes Death Match. The former Unchain group of Jun Kasai, Masashi Takeda, and Minoru Fujita will take on ERE's Violento Jack, Toshiyuki Sakuda, and Takayuki Ueki in a Barbed wire Board Death Match. Kamui will defend the King of Freedom Jr. Heavyweight Title against F-SWAG's Jun Masaoka. Toru Sugiura and Daisuke Masaoka if he is cleared to wrestle by then will team up to take on Mammoth Sasaki and Rina Yamashita in a Hardcore Match. Yuya Susumu and Shiho who is a Korean wrestler for the Pro-Wrestling Society promotion will take on Kengo and Takahiro Katori. The opening match will see Tatsuhito Takaiwa, GENTARO, and Dragon Libre will go up against Drew Parker if he is cleared to go, Brown Rat Fukki, and Kyu Mogami.
The A-Team returned to the Tokyo Oji Basement Monstar on April 16, 2023 and would announce a crowd of 150 fans for the show. The main event would be the babyface Tokonatsu Sunshine group of Takumi Sakurai, Raiden, and Joji Otani taking on the heel Demon Madder group of Bryan Ishizaka, Iori Sugawara, and Jin in a losing group must disband with the heels getting the win at 14 minutes, 41 seconds when Ishizaka would would pin Sakurai after using a weapon and then spitting mist in his face for the win. The semi-main event would see the WEW Tag Team Champions Tomohiko Hashimoto and Super Tiger defend their titles aainst HASEGAWA and Hashinosuke with Hashimoto pinning Hashinosuke at 17 minutes, 49 seconds with the Sky Stunner to defend their titles for the third time. Hiroshi Yamato would defeat Kota Nagashima at 9 minutes, 43 seconds after using a Swanton Bomb to get the win. Daisaku Shimoda and Rion Mizuki would defeat Hora-chan and Momoka Hanazono with Mizuki pinning Hora-chan at 13 minutes, 20 seconds with an Swanton Bomb finish as well. The opening match would see Kosaku Tonozaki would defeat Bambi at 11 minutes, 15 seconds with a Shikon Lariat for the win.
The last couple of months I have been working on a project of collecting all the results from the nearly 20 year history of the 666 promotion. It is a promotion that I have always had a connection with because of my fondness going back to Onryo even before he signed with FMW in 2000. Onryo and The Crazy SKB started up the small promotion that would run every couple of months, and although the promotion has continued to remain small, they have ran much more frequently. Going through the results, I was not aware of just how many small comedy shows they have put on with all sorts of gimmicks through out the years. Because of how small the promotion has been, results have always been kind of sparse, so I wanted to put the time into for there to be a spot where all the results can be much like I did last year for Onita Pro, Goto-Ippa, WWS, and Nightmare as it's a promotion the deserves to have its history out more organized out there for fans. Click here for results of the 666 promotion (2003-2023).
Many years ago one of the few Japanese reports in the 90's reported back in 1996 that Jushin Liger offered Hayabusa a spot in New Japan following Hayabusa taking a break to recover from injuries in 1996. The report was that Hayabusa/Liger were friends but after Hayabusa turned him down, Liger did not speak with Hayabusa again until 2005 when they did a interview together for Pro-Wrestling Gong magazine. I ended up asking Hayabusa about that in 2008 when first meeting him and he gave me a very passionate no that him and Liger ever had any issues. I had wanted to translate this April 2005 interview they did together for the longest time, but I knew due to the formatting of the magazine it would be incredibly hard, and it was for me as it was very challenging and time consuming for about a week to get it completed.
Liger did not remember the last time that he and Hayabusa had met. Hayabusa who had a pretty good memory of things having to do with him stated that the last time they had met was in Florida in May 1995 when Hayabusa went to a WCW World Wide taping at Disney that Liger was there also. He was forgetting that he did meet with Liger backstage at a New Japan Best of the Super Junior Tournament the following month in June 1996 which is where the report about Hayabusa being offered a spot in New Japan and turning it down would have taken place. Although that most likely was the last time they ever did see each other before this magazine interview, they obviously both had no memory of that anymore, and I can safely say based off going through this interview between the two there was no issues between the two ever as the topic of Hayabusa ever possibly going to New Japan never even came up.
It is an interesting interview between the two though as they discuss the Super J-Cup 1994 match, the creation of the Phoenix Splash and how Liger came up with many of his movies, and about how Liger wanted a commissioner system that would make it to where a wrestler needed to be more qualified to actually become a wrestler due to there being over 750 wrestlers in 2005 and many of them you wouldn't even know, which has gotten even bigger in 2023. You can read the interview at http://fmwwrestling.us/HayabusaLiger.html
Atsushi Onita held a press conference on March 14, 2023 at Toudoukan in Sugamo, Tokyo. Onita announced that beginning at the FMW-E show on April 29th at the Yokohama Tsurumi Fruit and Vegetables Market will begin a one year "50th Anniversary Tour" which he wants to conclude in May 2024 at Kawasaki Stadium.
Onita had previously made a challenge to All Japan wanting an All
Japan wrestler to face him for the upcoming FMW-E show on April 29th at the
Yokohama Tsurumi Fruit and Vegetables Market. Shuji Ishikawa ended up showing up
which shocked Onita as he was expecting a smaller guy to show up.
May 5th was not specifically mentioned and I am sure that is the goal just not locked down, but an Onita ran show at Kawasaki Stadium in May and it not be May 5th would just seem wrong. Onita tried to get Kawasaki Stadium booked for his October 2017 retirement, but could not get a date because of how booked the stadium was with football games. DDT and Hard Hit together have booked shows at Kawasaki from August 2020 to August 2022 with Onita appearing on them in 2020 and 2021.
If the show does take place on May 5th it would be the first May 5th Kawasaki Stadium show since 2004 when the Fuyuki Army ran its last show which Onita did not appear but the show was almost a farewell to the "New FMW" as the roster on the show consisted of the likes of Kintaro Kanemura, Hido, Mr. Gannosuke, Mammoth Sasaki, Masato Tanaka, Tetsuhiro Kuroda, GOEMON, Onryo, Jado, Gedo, among several others. After that show a month later there was a split between Kanemura's Apache Army and Gannosuke's WMF and the two sides had no interaction with one another for four years afterwards.
Atsushi Onita's last May 5th at Kawasaki Stadium was on May 5, 2002 for the first big show following FMW's closure. The original main event was going to be Atsushi Onita and Tetsuhiro Kuroda against Kodo Fuyuki and Kintaro Kanemura in the main event as Fuyuki had wanted to face Onita the year prior at FMW's Kawasaki Stadium show on May 5, 2001 but Shoichi Arai nixed it and Fuyuki went up against Tenryu instead.
Fuyuki ended up being diagnosed with a rectal cancer in April 2002 though and was force to retire shortly after so the main event was completely switched. Onita would instead team up with The Great Sasuke against Shinya Hashimoto and Shinjiro Otani for Onita's first May 5th show at Kawasaki Stadium in 7 years with the match ending in a disappointing DQ after Onita would throw a fireball in Otani's face with fans booing due to the no deciding finish for a main event at a big show.
Onita stated that he wanted a specific person that he has respected since childhood to attend that show and then said "Dora" several times which obviously that would most likely mean Dory Funk, Jr. as he is probably the next best thing to getting Terry Funk in, as at this point Onita has most likely realized that his wish of ever getting Terry Funk to be able to come back to Japan is pretty much impossible at this point.
Onita who is 66 years old also stated that he did not know how much longer he could go but that he wanted to go as long as he could, and that he might not always wrestle in an explosion match, but that he wanted to continue to do explosion matches until the very end.
Atsushi Onita also issued a challenge to All Japan Pro-Wrestling for one its wrestlers to fight Onita at the upcoming FMW-E show on April 29, 2023 CALLED "The Dawn" at the Yokohama Tsurumi Fruit and Vegetables Market. All Japan ring announcer Fumito Kihara appeared at the press conference and stated that All Japan had prepared someone for Onita when Shuji Ishikawa would appear. Ishikawa would stating that death matches have been apart of his past and helped him become who he is and that he wants to face Onita. Onita stated that he thought it would be a small wrestler that would come out. Onita then asked Ishikawa if was willing to fight in any kind of death match. It was then decided that the match would be a tag team match, but depending on the situation it could end up actually being a singles match between the two. Onita stated he hoped that Shuji Ishikawa would win the All Japan Triple Crown on March 21st as he wanted to face the Triple Crown champion in a death match. Ishikawa would end up losing the title match to Yuji Nagata on March 21st. Onita then stated that Ishikawa's partner could be anyone and that if Ishikawa ends up getting injured in the match that Onita will fill in for Ishikawa for the All Japan Champion Carnival tournament.
Atsushi Onita also appeared at the All Japan March 14, 2023 show at the Tokyo Shinjuku FACE and issued a challenge to an All Japan team to challenge him and Yoshitatsu for their All Japan All Asian Tag Team Titles. Takao Omori and Black Menso~re would end up being the team to accept the challenge and take on Onita and Yoshitatsu at the All Japan show on April 15, 2023 at the Nagoya International Conference Hall in a Tornado Bunkhouse Exploding Barbed wire Baseball Bat Death Match.
DDT would return to the Yokohama Tsurumi Fruit and Vegetables Market on March 19, 2023 drawing an announced 282 fans for the show. This was the first official "DDO" (Dramatic Dream Onita) show which Onita won the right to change the name to his named version of a DDT, but the promotion didn't really do much else to pretend this was an Onita booked show and not DDT. The main event was Atsushi Onita, Shunma Katsumata, and Toi Kojima taking on HARASHIMA, Soma Takao, and Kazuki Hirata in a Exploding Barbed wire Baseball Bat Missile Death Match. The DDT would be the first to turn on the exploding barbed wire bat as HARASHIMA would hold on to Onita while sitting in a chair as Takao would hit him with the exploding bat. The exploding missile would end up getting turned on would go off from the side of the building into one of the turnbuckles and although it was a powerful explosion, nobody would actually be near the turnbuckle so the only damage it would cause would be the from the power of it which would topple over some of the wrestlers. HARASHIMA and Katsumata would then battle on the turnbuckle with HARASHIMA kicking Kojima into a exploding barbed wire board.
Hirata would then put on some glasses with Magnum Tokyo's "Go Tokyo" theme beginning to play as Hiata would turn on the exploding barbed wire bat and beginning to do the Magnum Tokyo dance. Onita also putting on the glasses would come over from behind while Hirata was dancing and take the bat from him and giving it to Katsumata who would hit Hirata with it and cover Hirata to get the win at 13 minutes, 55 seconds for the Onita team win. Sanshiro Takagi would then come to the ring and would tell Onita that he would continue his quest to take the explosion death match trademark. Takagi would state that Joey Janela who would be returning to DDT next month had issued a challenge to his death match idol and that Takagi, Janela, and Takeshi Masada would team up to take on Onita, Katsumata, and Kojima for the "current explosion" trademark on April 16th in Niigata. Onita would also announce at that show he would be bringing back Onita Theater for the first time since the pandemic began and that he wished to create DDO 6 Man Tag Team Titles to be defended on his DDO shows. Click here for highlights of the DDO main event 3/19/23 match.
FREEDOMS would return to the Shin-Kiba 1st Ring on February 15, 2023 and announce a crowd of 123 fans for the show. The main event would Takashi Sasaki, Mammoth Sasaki, and Tomoya Hirata against Violento Jack, Drew Parker, and Toshiyuki Sakuda in a Fluorescent Light Tubes Death Match. The ERE team would focus on Hirata who they would assume to be the weak link of the team and bloody him up. Sakuda would climb a ladder while holding a stack of light tubes pressed up against his back but Hirata would climb the ladder and press slam Sakuda off of it followed by delivering a German Suplex to get the win at 15 minutes, 18 seconds over Sakuda. Hirata would then challenge Violento Jack for the King of Freedom World Championship on March 23rd at Korakuen Hall which will be the second time that they are main eventing Korakuen Hall as Jack defeated Hirata to defend the King of Freedom World Championship back on October 3, 2021.
The semi-main event would be Jun Kasai and Daisuke Masaoka teaming up to take on Brahman Shu and Brahman Kei with both teams brawling on the outside as Kasai would try to rush back in the ring, but a Brahman would prevent him to cause the double count out at 3 minutes, 16 seconds. The match would get restarted and Kasai and Masaoka would stick skewers in each others heads and then take control of the match with Kasai trying for a Pearl Harbor Splash but Kei would get his knees up. Shu would throw blue powder in Kasai's face and try to hit Kasai with a street sign but Kasai would move out of the way as Kasai would roll up Kei at 9 minutes, 56 seconds with a Rolando Paris Super Express for the win.
Masashi Takeda and Rina Yamashita would defeat the team of Brown Rat Fukki and Kyu Mogami in a Hardcore Match when Takeda would pin Fukki at 9 minutes, 54 seconds with a Reverse U Crash. After the match, Takeda who has been attacking Yamashita since his return back in July to toughen her up was about to shake Yamashita's hand in congratulatory fashion for winning, but Yamashita sensing Takeda would attack her would instead go to attack Takeda who would knock her down and grab a chair with Yamashita escaping out of the ring before he could do anything.
Jun Masaoka and Yuya Susumu going by the group name "Masaoka March" which definitely symbolizes that Masaoka is the leader of the group despite Susumu having the experience edge and more established in FREEDOMS, but this most likely more of a sign that Susumu is not going to get special treatment despite his 10 year association with FREEDOMS after leaving the promotion last year and now coming back. The two would take on the Taiwanesee team of Gaia Hox and Axe from the Puzzle promotion with Susumu making Hox tap out at 12 minutes, 50 seconds with the Crossface Lock with Masaoka offering Hox a spot in the group after the match. Dragon Libre would hit the ring and shove Masaoka out of the way and hug Hox who would hug him back and then help Libre attack Masaoka and Susumu. Libre would go after Masaoka and turn his back when Hox would attack Libre and embrace Masaoka as a new member of their group.
Kamui, Dragon Libre, and Takahiro Katori would defeat the team of Tatsuhito Takaiwa, GENTARO, and Rekka when Libre would pin Rekka at 12 minutes, 41 seconds with the Konon Yoshitonic (Code Red). The opening match would see Toru Sugiura take on Yusaku Ito in a Weapons Death Match in another "Sprint to the Death" with only a ten minute time limit. Ito would climb up to the top of the ladder but Sugiura would climb up and smash Ito over the head and hit a suplex off the ladder followed by hitting Ito with a Swift Driver as he would kick out and the bell would ring as the ten minute time limit had expired for the draw. Click here for highlights of the FREEDOMS 2/15/23 show.
FREEDOMS would then run at the Yokohama Radiant Hall on February 25, 2023 and announce a crowd of 130 fans for the show. The main event would be the FREEDOMS team of Takashi Sasaki, Mammoth Sasaki, Daisuke Masaoka, and Tomoya Hirata taking on the ERE team of Violento Jack, Drew Parker, Toshiyuki Sakuda, and Kyu Mogami with ERE all focusing on trying to take out Hirata before Takashi would come in and make the save. Jack and Hirata would then square off and exchange lariats with each other before Hirata would hit him with a rolling elbow. Jack would jump at Hirata with Hirata catching him and dropping him to the mat before hitting a German Suplex to get the pin over Jack at 15 minutes, 52 seconds to build himself up for their title match at Korakuen Hall.
The semi-main event would see Masashi Takeda and Rina Yamashita defeat Jun Kasai and Toru Sugiura at 12 minutes, 54 seconds after Takeda would pin Sugiura at 12 minutes, 54 seconds as Sugiura being built up as the young new face of FREEDOMS and having a near 2 year run as champion is all but pretty much forgotten as he gone back to his wacky character that he was before the main event push and is no longer being protected after losing Masaoka last year in the main event at the Yokohama Budokan. Brown Rat Fukki would defeat Yusaku Ito at 7 minutes, 53 seconds with a Package Piledriver as he didn't need 10 minutes to beat Ito like Sugiura did.
Jun Masaoka, Yuya Susumu, and Gaia Hox now being a three man group has now changed the group name to "F-SWAG" as they would take on the team of Kamui, Dragon Libre, and Takahiro Katori with Libre getting the win at 10 minutes, 56 seconds after hitting Hox with the Konon Yoshitonic for the win. Tatsuhito Takaiwa, Leo Isaka, and Rekka would open the show defeating GENTARO, Brahman Shu, and Brahmn with Takaiwa getting th ewin at 10 minutes, 23 seconds after hitting Kei with a Death Valley Bomb for the win. Click here for highlights of the FREEDOMS 2/25/23 show.
FREEDOMS would then return to the Shin-Kiba 1st Ring on March 12, 2023 and announce a crowd of 144 fans for the show. The main event would be Jun Kasai, Mammoth Sasaki, Daisuke Masaoka, and Tomoya Hirata taking on Violento Jack, Toshiyuki Sakuda, Brown Rat Fukki, and Kyu Mogami in a Fluorescent Light Tubes Death Match. Jack and Hirata would square off and both go in and charge at each other with light tubes crashing them into each others bodies. Hirata would come back and clothesline both Jack and Fukki followed by grabbing Fukki and hitting him with a German Suplex for the win at 18 minutes, 7 seconds as Jack would get right in his face with Hirata not backing down.
The semi-main event originally was supposed to be Takashi Sasaki against Drew Parker but Parker would bow out due to injury and instead would be replaced by his mystery tag team partner for the upcoming Korakuen Hall show in Big Japan's Abdullah Kobayashi. Sasaki would try to suplex Kobayashi on a stack of chairs, but Kobayashi would counter and deliver a neck breaker on the stack of chairs instead. They would then begin to fight over a chair with the referee trying to grab it from them resulting in them hitting the referee with the chair and Kobayashi delivering a elbow drop to him. Sasaki and Kobayashi would continue to fight as the referee would call for the match at 8 minutes, 25 seconds and rule it a Double DQ as the two would need to be pulled apart.
Masashi Takeda and Yusaku Ito would team up to defeat Brahman Shu and Brahman Kei after Ito would get the win at 9 minutes, 39 seconds after rolling Kei up with an Inside Cradle. Kamui and GENTARO would defeat Dragon Libre and Rekka after Kamui would pin Rekka at 14 minutes, 23 seconds with the Ionmante. The opening match would see Jun Masaoka, Yuya Susumu, and Gaia Hox defeat Toru Sugiura, Tatsuhito Takaiwa, and Takahiro Ktori at 15 minutes, 44 seconds when Masaoka would pick up the win over Katori after finishing him off his Ambitions maneuver. Click here for the highlights of the FREEDOMS 3/12/23 show.
FREEDOMS would run their first show at the Chigasaki City General Gym on March 18, 2023 and announce a crowd of 405 fans for the show. The main event would be Takashi Sasaki and Mammoth Sasaki defending the King of Freedom Tag Team Titles against Violento Jack and Drew Parker. Jack and Parker would focus on Takashi doing double team moves with Parker hitting a Swanton Bomb on Takashi with Mammoth making the save and picking Parker up and delivering a brainbuster to him. Takashi would then pick up Drew and hit him with a Michinoku Driver # 2 before finishing Parker with the D-Geist for the win at 17 minutes, 18 seconds to successfully defend the titles for the second time.
The semi-main event would be Jun Kasai, Toru Sugiura, and Daisuke Masaoka defeating Toshiyuki Sakuda, Brown Rat Fukki, and Kyu Mogami when Kasai would get the pinfall over Fukki at 12 minutes, 31 seconds after hitting him with a Pearl Harbor Splash. A women's match on the show would see Nanae Takahashi and Saori Ano defeat Hiroyo Matsumoto and Maya Yukihi when Takahashi would get the win at 13 minutes, 31 seconds with the Passion Clutch over Yukihi. Tatsuhito Takaiwa and GENTARO would team up to defeat Tomoya Hirata and 2AW's Kotaro Yoshino when Takaiwa would pin Yoshino at 12 minutes, 41 seconds with the Death Valley Bomb. Kamui, Dragon Libre, and Takahiro Katori would defeat F-SWAG's Jun Masaoka, Yuya Susumu, and Gaia Hox when Katori would pin Hox at 7 minutes, 41 seconds with a Hurricanrana for the pinfall. The opening match would see Masashi Takeda defeat Rekka at 7 minutes, 55 seconds with a German Suplex to get the win. Click here for highlights of the FREEDOMS 3/18/23 show.
FREEDOMS will return to Korakuen Hall on March 23, 2023 with the main event of Violento Jack defending his King of Freedom World Championship against Tomoya Hirata in a Glass Board Death Match. The semi-main event will be Drew Parker's last ever death match as he teams up his death match mentor Abdullah Kobayashi to take on Jun Kasai and Masashi Takeda. Kamui will defend his King of Freedom Jr. Heavyweight Title against Dragon Libre. Takashi Sasaki, Mammoth Sasaki, and Daisuke Masaoka will team up to go up against Toru Sugiura, Rina Yamashita, and Yusaku Ito in a Hardcore Match. Tatsuhito Takaiwa, GENTARO, and Rekka will go up against ERE's Brown Rat Fukki, Toshiyuki Sakuda, and Kyu Mogami. The opening tag match will see F-SWAG's Jun Masaoka and Yuya Susumu against Ryukyu Dragon's Guruken Mask and his partner Takahiro Katori.
The A-Team returned to the Tokyo Oji Basement Monstar on March 5, 2023 and announced their usual 150 fans for the show. The main event saw Dylan James defending his WEW Heavyweight Title against the former champion Super Tiger with James picking up the win at 14 minutes, 22 seconds with a choke slam to successfully defend the title for the second time. The semi-main event saw Tomohiko Hashimoto, Rion Mizuki, and Kaz Shibano defeat Daisaku Shimoda, Hiroshi Yamato, and Kota Nagashima when Mizuki would pin Nagashima at 14 minutes, 14 seconds with an Atomic Bomb for the win. Bryan Ishizaka, Iori Sugawara, and Jin would defeat Joji Otani in a 3 on 1 handicap match when Ishizaka would pin Otani at 12 minutes, 52 seconds after Ishizaka would Otani with the Pay Dirt as Jin would pick up the pinfall at 12 minutes, 52 seconds for the win. HASEGAWA and Bambi would team up to defeat the team of Raiden and Takumi Sakurai with HASEGAWA would get the win over Raiden at 10 minutes, 26 seconds with a Crush La Magistral. The opening match would see Kosaku Tonozaki defeating Hashinosuke at 9 minutes, 51 seconds with a Shikon Lariat for the win.
Mr. Gannosuke recently went over the topic of Atsushi Onita's retirement match from May 5, 1995. Gannosuke who had left FMW the week prior due to issues between Onita and Goto ended up watching the FMW May 5, 1995 Commercial VHS tape a couple of months after the show happened to see how his friend Hayabusa had done in the biggest match of his career. Gannosuke stated that he was watching the end where Onita and Hayabusa are backstage and Onita stated something very strange. It was Onita telling Hayabusa to "Never allow me to return to the ring again!" Gannosuke said he thought "Why would he say such a thing?" while watching.
Gannosuke then points out in the video and he does not understand how but Onita began to deal with financial difficulties while retired. Onita in his own book doesn't say anything about him dealing with financial difficulties, but does mention that the money he did lend a friend a good portion of the money he made during his retirement tour and his Kawasaki Stadium retirement match who desperately needed it, but ended up never giving the money back to Onita. Although that would mean he would have lent his friend millions of dollars and never got it back. Gannosuke told a story that Onita during his peak was just given a $500,000-$600,000 dollar car for free as Onita just being seen driving around in it was advertisement for the car.
That would have probably been around 1994 with Gannosuke saying Onita ended up selling the car in either 1995 or 1996 to make up for all the money he had lost. Gannosuke then mentions that after Onita sold FMW that he only sold 47% of the company to Arai and Onita kept 53% of it. Arai's book states that he bought 50% of it and Onita's step father Mr. Matsubara kept his 50% that he already had prior to Onita's retirement and that is why Onita could just come back when he wanted to and Arai couldn't stop him.
Gannosuke states that there is a lot that he can not talk about
in the video. Someone in the comments section on YouTube stated "Gannosuke only
could talk about half of what he wanted to talk about on this topic" with
Gannosuke responding "more like 1/100th". Gannosuke is obviously saying that
Onita's "don't let me return back to the ring" line meant that he already knew
he was going to come back to the ring before he ever retired.
This has been a long time discussion among those in the inner circle of FMW on whether Onita retired knowing he was coming back. Arai makes it seem like Onita wanted nothing to do with pro-wrestling after his retirement in his book including no wrestling magazines were allowed in his office. Mitsuhiro Matsunaga in his book writes that he really does not believe the talk that Onita planned on coming out of retirement because he was around Onita all the time in 1994 until he turned back heel and saw just how done he was at that point with his injuries and mental state of not only wrestling but running a wrestling company.
Mr. Pogo though in his book pretty much confirmed that Onita always in the back of his mind planned on coming back. Pogo wrote how Onita had a secret meeting with Pogo, Shoichi Arai, and Go Ito several months after his retirement (August 1995 would be the most likely month) and told them that he wanted Pogo to be kept strong for when Onita came out of retirement and they could renew their feud when Onita decided to come back. Pogo who had lost a lot of luster right away after Onita retired and other than a couple of matches with Matsunaga was not really doing much other than just being another member of Lethal Weapon with The Gladiator pretty much becoming the top heel in the company at this point.
Onita suggested that Pogo leave FMW and become a freelancer and
only work bigger FMW shows and work for other promotions in the mean time. Pogo
was very nervous about this and although he was taking a pay cut from FMW which
was going to happen regardless, he insisted he would still get paid what he
would have got paid as if he had been on the tour. This gamble ended up working
for Pogo as other companies like Tenryu's WAR, Great Kojika's Big Japan, The
Great Sasuke's Michinoku Pro, and other companies were willing to pay $1,000
dollars per match to bring Pogo in plus taking care of his travel and hotels.
Pogo ended up deciding to just go back to FMW full time in the Spring of 1996
after an issue with Tenryu's WAR that left Pogo's young boy Magnitude Kishiwada
with a broken jaw from the hands of Tenryu.
Another YouTube comment on Gannosuke's video briefly mentions reading Pogo's book and this secret meeting taking place, and then adds the comment that many people were speculating on Onita planning on coming out of retirement right away and upsetting sponsors and fans for spending a lot of money on the basis of Onita leaving wrestling at the very least a good period, and that Tarzan Goto also felt that Onita was never really planning on retiring long term and that there would be a lot of blow back that would come his way for being apart of the match when him and Onita were already acting like a divorced married couple at this point, and this was a deciding factor on Goto, Gannosuke, and Ichihara leaving FMW.
Gannosuke who did a whole video 18 months ago about why he left FMW never mentioned this topic when giving the reasons why he was the one that decided to leave FMW for Goto's sake with Goto following him, but Gannosuke did up end up liking that comment left on YouTube. I think that it is pretty obvious that Onita always knew in the back of his mind that he would be coming back, but was just done with pro-wrestling for the time being and would take something like a three year break, but then when the money issues started taking place, and he wasn't making it back by being the movie star that he was hoping to be, his plan of probably coming back in 3 years ended up getting rushed to just 18 months and upsetting so many people by coming back so soon after making so much money on the notion that he was leaving wrestling for good.
Katsutoshi Niiyama is a name that only hardcore FMW fans know and remember despite him being with the promotion for seven years through out the most popular time. Niiyama was originally the second behind Hayabusa on the face side at the start of the New FMW in 1995 after Onita's retirement. He was quickly surpassed by Masato Tanaka and by 1996 was already floundering in the midcard with no real direction or notable feuds until he would turn heel in 1997 and join up with his former tag partner Mr. Gannosuke who had recently returned. Niiyama would end up losing to Koji Nakagawa on April 29, 1997 at the Yokohama Arena with Niiyama hugging Nakagawa after their match.
There had been a report online years ago that hug with Niiyama
having recently turned heel and doing a babyface thing was what ended up getting
him fired. That is something that unless I specifically heard it from someone in
the company I have just believed to be a internet rumor. Niiyama after leaving
FMW ended up joining up with his teacher Tarzan Goto for his Shin-FMW promotion
and eventually just became a part time wrestler doing spot bookings in Nagoya
where he lives up until retiring in 2011.
The Prince Mitsumoto YouTube channel did a interview with both Mitsuhiro Matsunaga at his steak house restaurant to get another wrestlers opinion on Niiyama and then he interviewed Niiyama himself in his hometown of Kariya City. Matsunaga had previously wrote in his 2009 book that Niiyama is one of the few FMW wrestlers (the other being Gosaku) that ended up having a disappointing career overall as he should have ended up doing more than what he did. Matsunaga in the video interview more focused about how Niiyama was on Hayabusa and Hisakatsu Oya's side of turning FMW into a strong style promotion rather than a Death Match promotion after Onita's retirement. Matsunaga could understand why Hayabusa and Hisakatsu Oya wanted to go the strong style route because that suited their style better, but he didn't understand why Niiyama would who because of his submission background went along with it but his ability to use it in actually having good pro-wrestling matches did correlate for him.
Matsunaga was very against the idea knowing that a independent promotion not doing death matches just could not draw as they could not be as good as New Japan or All Japan in the ring, so why be something less than the bigger promotions instead of being something different. He gave Hayabusa the benefit of the doubt at the beginning because he did see how tremendous Hayabusa's skills were, but after a couple of months and the FMW shows were not doing well like he expected, he wanted to call it off and and he and the W*ING guys were able to go back to doing death matches. Matsunaga stated that because of Niiyama's lack of improving that Masato Tanaka who could do so much more in the ring than Niiyama resulting in Niiyama just becoming an afterthought. Matsunaga had actually known Niiyama years before FMW as they coincidentally along with Tsubo Genjin all tried out for the New Japan Dojo on the same day, but were all rejected.
Niiyama in the interview stated that he struggled through out his entire time in FMW. He originally came in as The Shooter in 1990 but both Onita and Tarzan Goto were not happy with how he was progressing so they changed his gimmick to The Great Punk and then they still felt like he was not at a level that he was at they dropped that gimmick and had him start over again and shave his head and begin just going by Niiyama instead. It was one thing for Niiyama to know that his elders (Onita, Goto) were unhappy with his performance, but it was another when younger wrestlers (he didn't say who) were talking shit about him because he wasn't very good. Niiyama agreed with Matsunaga's comments about him not being that great of a wrestler, but during the New FMW time he thought he was still managing to get over despite not being that good in the ring so he himself doesn't understand how he lost his spot because it should matter how over you are with the fans, more so than how good you are. I actually asked Hayabusa about Niiyama's departure when talking to him one time, but it was one of the few times the language barrier was too difficult for me to comprehend his answer, which based off Niiyama's answer it's probably something Hayabusa didn't really want to give the most honest answer anyway.
Niiyama did admit jealousy in the interview towards Hayabusa as Ezaki came in after him and then was able to take the spot as FMW ace in just four years after Onita's retirement in 1995. Hayabusa specifically requested that Tanaka take Niiyama's spot as the number two babyface for the FMW side since Tanaka was so much better than Niiyama. Niiyama stated the younger wrestlers talking shit about him in 1997 is what made him decide to leave FMW. He ended up starting up his own restaurant in 2001 although after the death of his father and then him being diagnosed with the early stages of cancer which he was able to beat it, his health issues prevented him from running his store every day and he ended up closing it down in June 2010. Niiyama has just been living a private life since and stopped taking bookings in 2011. Most of the topics that he has with Prince Mitsumoto are more about the past as I couldn't pick up anything about what Niiyama is doing nowadays, although Mitsumoto admitted it took many negotiations to finally get Niiyama to agree to appear on his show.
This past Sunday marked the 20th anniversary of Kodo Fuyuki's passing on March 19, 2003 due to rectal cancer. Kodo Fuyuki is one of the more interesting characters in pro-wrestling he becomes even more intriguing as I go through old interviews he did as well as having read his wife's book about the last year of his wife that details some unknown stories about Fuyuki during his life and things that took place after his life ended. He is definitely a topic I will have to do a FMW Stories episode on soon enough as there is so much that is not known about his interesting life and interesting afterlife. I did a write up how him and his influence on the Entertainment Wrestling era on FMW as well everything it lead to including to what he feels like ultimately lead to his passing just a year after FMW closed down at http://fmwwrestling.us/Fuyuki20.html
Atsushi Onita finally got his long awaited wish
and that was having a explosion death match in All Japan. Onita originally
wanted to be in a exploding barbed wire death match against Masa Fuchi for the
All Japan October 28, 2000 Budokan Hall show. Both Toshiaki Kawada and Masa
Fuchi turned Onita down feeling that was not something Giant Baba would have
wanted on his All Japan show. Onita would end up appearing for All Japan for the
first time since his 1985 retirement three months later for the All Japan Tokyo
Dome show on January 28, 2001 teaming with Terry Funk against Abdullah the
Butcher and Giant Kimala II in a bloody brawl.
Onita would return to All Japan where he would win the All Japan All Asian Tag Team Titles on November 27, 2016 at Sumo Hall with Masa Fuchi. Onita would request to have another explosion death match in the promotion with Dory Funk, Jr. turning him down telling him no Death Matches in All Japan.
Onita's most recent request would finally be heard as Onita would team up with Yoshitatsu to challenge Kendo Kashin and NOSAWA Rongai on February 4, 2023 at the Tokyo Haichioji Esforta Arena in a Exploding Barbed wire Baseball Bat Tornado Bunkhouse Death Match.
Kendo Kashin would end up laying Yoshitatsu down on a table and try and hit him with the exploding bat, but Yoshitatsu would end up managing to get out of the way with Kashin hitting the table instead. NOSAWA would then take the bat and hit Onita with it for the first explosion in All Japan's 50 year history. NOSAWA would then take a guitar and smash it over Onita's head, but as he would go for a cain shot he would be met with green mist in his face.
Yoshitatsu would then grab NOSAWA and Onita would try to spit green mist in his face again, but this time NOSAWA would move out of the way and Onita would spit the green mist in Yoshitatsu's face instead. Yoshitatsu and NOSAWA would both be down and stagger to get up with Onita and Kashin grabbing the exploding bats with Onita hitting NOSAWA and Kashin hitting Yoshitatsu with them at the same time for a double explosion although it would be Onita that would fall down on NOSAWA to get the win at 9 minutes, 13 seconds to win the All Japan All Asian Tag Team Titles for a second time. Click here for highlights of the All Japan 2/4/23 show with Onita in it.
This could have been the final time that NOSAWA would be pinned by Onita. NOSAWA due to health issues he has been dealing with plans to retire at the NOAH February 21, 2023 Tokyo Dome show. This was the 43rd time that Onita had pinned NOSAWA going back to August 26, 2013 for NOSAWA's Tokyo Gurentai promotion. Most of the pins would come in six man tags for Super Battle FMW shows with Onita pinning NOSAWA starting in 2015 leading all the way to Onita's 2017 retirement which saw him pin NOSAWA again. Since coming out of retirement the following year, Onita had pinned NOSAWA several more times, but none since 2020 as the two have not really worked together as much.
Atsushi Onita would return to DDT on January 7, 2023 at the Yokohama Tsurumi Fruit and Vegetables Market as he would team up with Shunma Katsumata and Toi Kojima to take on Sanshiro Takagi, Akito, and Soma Takao in a Aerial Time Bomb Explosion and Exploding Barbed wire Baseball Bats Death Match. This stipulation of the match would be that if Onita's team won then they would win the DDT management roles with Onita becoming President of DDT. If the DDT team were to win, they would win Onita's trademark of "current blast" for an explosion match. Akito would manage to nail Onita with the exploding barbed wire bat to the chest knocking him out of the match for a little bit.
The Takagi team would take turns knocking Shunma Katsumata out with Takagi hitting him with a Stunner and leaving in the ring as the Aerial Explosion sirens would begin. Onita would get back in the ring and climb over Katsumata's body as the explosion over the ring would go off. Takagi would then go for the exploding bat, but Katsumata would grab it from him and nail Takagi with it. Onita would then come in the ring and spit green mist in Soma Takao's face following by hitting him with the exploding bat for the explosion and cover Takao at 12 minutes, 33 seconds for the Onita team win.
As a result of the victory Onita not only would Onita win the presidency of DDT but also become the store manager of DDT's Drop Kick bar which I feel the risk/reward for DDT on this bet was not fair. Onita would state though that he lived too far away from Shinjuku to actually be the bar manager and so he would be the honorary manager instead. Katsumata then would state he wanted to do another explosion death match for the next booked show at the Tsurumi Fruit and Vegetables Market on March 19th and if anyone in DDT was willing to compete in it. HARASHIMA would come and drag Kazuki Hirata with him that they would compete and they want to win the "current blast" trademark for DDT at the show.
Onita would then announce that he still planned on keeping his president title and that he was forming a new wrestling promotion called 'DDO" which stood for Dramatic Dream Onita and as it's a take off of what Onita named his DDT move. Onita told Katsumata that he would be Vice President and Kojima will be the Managing Director with the DDO promotion taking over the March 19th booking at the Yokohama Tsurumi Fruit and Vegetables Market show with HARASHIMA and Kazuki Hirata on the opposing side. Click here for highlights of the DDT 1/7/23 show with Onita in it.
There was some confusion on my end last update over the Last Fighters Colosseum show. The original name for the show was Bugs Factory promoted by movie producer BILLY who had helped out Fire Blast Wrestling financially with the explosion matches last year. Then almost the entire card lineup besides Yuko Miyamoto vs. SUGI changed and there was an event called Last Fighters Colosseum on the same day and the building, so I was under the impression that it was just two separate shows running back to back at the same building on the same day. What it really was though, was a name change of event to "Last Fighters Colosseum" for January 14, 2023 at the Kawasaki Club Citta.
They would not announce an attendance for the show with the main event being once again changed to Atsushi Onita, Raijin Yaguchi, and Naoshi Sano taking on Chainsaw Tony, The Super Beast, and Boogey Man in a Exploding Barbed wire Blast Board and Exploding Barbed wire Bats Death Match. The main event was sponsored by FMW-E promotion with the undercard being connected to the Fire Blast Wrestling promotion which might have resulted in the name change of the show. The show did air on TwitCast making it the first FMW-E/Fire Pro event aired in full since 2021.
The Onita team would be accompanied by the girl singing group "Masked Girls" and the Japanese mascot Chiitan. Chiitan had been an unofficial representative of the city of Susaki in Kochi which gained popularity in 2018 by doing dangerous violent stunts. The city of Susaki despite the notoriety of the mascot would end up disassociating itself from it because of its crazy stunts that were receiving negative attention. Chiitan would eventually end up getting brought up on John Oliver's Last Week Tonight show on HBO in 2019 with the Chiitan Twitter account starting a social media feud with John Oliver before Twitter would end up suspending Chiitan's account.
The match would start with Sano and Chiitan knocking down Boogey Man before Sano would grab a hold of the Boogey Man with Chiitan turning on the exploding barbed wire bat. Boogey Man would end up knocking the bat down and hitting Chiitan with the explosion knocking the mascot down as it would leave the match after being knocked out. Chainsaw Tony would then setup an exploding barbed wire board and charge at Raijin Yaguchi who would grab Tony and bring him down with both of them feeling the explosion. Boogey Man would then begin to go after the Masked Girls outside the ring and throw them in the ring and turn on the exploding bat. Onita would get in the ring to try and make the save but Super Beast would grab the bat and smash Onita with it although a lot of would come back and push Super Beast back. Yaguchi would then knock Super Beast down and hit Boogey Man with an Olympic Slam before both him and Onita would hit with a double exploding bat shot with Onita getting the win at 9 minutes, 59 seconds after covering Boogey Man. Onita would then do his Onita Theater followed by the Masked Girls performing to end the show.
The semi-main event would be Ricky Fuji having his second match back after his stroke, Seigo Tachibana going by Masao Hanabata, and movie producer BILLY taking on Mr. Pogo, Onryo, and Masked Fire in a Exploding Barbed wire Bat Exploding Coffin Death Match.
Mr. Pogo would end up trying to use an exploding sickle during the match, but BILLY would pick up a chair to block it causing a huge explosion knocking them both down. Onryo and Masked Fire would then grab a hold of BILLY as Pogo would end up hitting him with an exploding barbed wire bat shot. Ricky who was very limited and the only bump he would take was him doing his Kamikaze along with Hanabata would end up shoulder tackling Pogo down to the mat. BILLY would hit Masked Fire with an exploding lariat and place Masked Fire in the coffin. Pogo would try and make the save for his partner but Hanabata would then hit Pogo with a chair knocking him down on the coffin followed by BILLY hitting Pogo with an exploding bat shot to the back for an explosion to give the BILLY the win at 14 minutes, 52 seconds as the exploding bat shot was all they could do, as they could not actually have the coffin actually explode inside the building like they could when running a show outside. BILLY originally would say that was his first and last match, but after seeing all the compliments and comments about wanting to see him again, BILLY stated that he might be open to doing another match.
FMW-E announced that the promotion would be returning on April 29, 2023 at the Yokohama Tsurumi Fruit and Vegetables Market. This would be an actual FMW-E show unlike last year that had a similar nearly 5 month break from December to the end of April, but last years April show was just for a sponsored event with someone else putting up the money to promote under the FMW-E name and this time it will actually be the FMW-E putting up their own money. It will be interesting to see if this the beginning running every four months or so or possibly even more frequently after pretty much going from December 2021 to December 2022 without a running an event where they were putting up their own money. Click here for highlights of the Last Fighters Colosseum 1/14/23 show.
FREEDOMS would hold their first show of the new year on January 3, 2023 at the Shin-Kiba 1st Ring where they would announce a crowd of 278 fans for the show. The opening match would be the rare big draw of the event as Jun Kasai and Masashi Takeda would take on each other in a singles match for the first time since December 25, 2018 in a Self Board Death Match.
Due to it being an opening match it would only have a 10 minute time limit so they would have to turn it into a sprint. Kasai would end up delivering a piledriver off the turnbuckle to Takeda and then go for a larat but be hit with a German Suplex, but Kasai would pop up right away and deliver a Reverse Tiger Driver. They would exchange strikes and headbutts before Takeda would deliver a Reverse U Crash Kai on Kasai on a fork board and get the win at 8 minutes, 46 seconds with Kasai just barely missing out on getting his shoulder up in time. The two would then flip each other off before getting down on the mat and bowing to each other followed by Kasai hugging Takeda. I would still think the plan would be to do this match again in August at the Yokohama Budokan which Kasai wanted to do last year.
The main event would be Toru Sugiura and Tomoya Hirata defending their King of Freedom Tag Team Titles against Takashi Sasaki and Mammoth Sasaki in a Weapons Death Match. Sugiura and Hirata would deliver some double teams to Takashi followed by Hirata hitting a tope to both Takashi and Mammoth. The weapons would then come out as Sugiura would begin to choke Takashi with a chain followed by Mammoth using a nailboard tooth brush on Hirata's forehead. Sugiura would then charge at Mammoth and get caught and hit with choke bomb from Mammoth who would follow that up by hitting him with Falcon Arrow, a double Mammoth Home Run, and then finally a 29 Years Old to get the pin at 23 minutes, 46 seconds to win the King of Freedom Tag Team Titles ending the 53 week reign as tag team champions for Sugiura and Hirata.
The semi-main event would be Kamui defending his King of Freedom Jr. Heavyweight Championship against Takahiro Katori with Kamui picking up the win after hitting Katori with his Iomante (Kudo Driver) at 14 minutes, 18 seconds to defend his Jr. Heavyweight Title for the first time. Drew Parker and Violento Jack would team up against Rina Yamashita and Jun Masaoka with Jack putting Masaoka in the Mexican Stretch to make him tap out at 12 minutes, 59 seconds with Jack getting on the mic and challenging Parker for the next shot at the King of Freedom World Championship.
Tatsuhito Takaiwa, GENTARO, and Leo Isaka would defeat Toshiyuki Sakuda, Brown Rat Fukki, and Kyu Mogami after Takaiwa would put away Fukki at 9 minutes, 1 second with his Death Valley Bomb. Brahman Shu and Brahman Kei would defeat Rekka and Gaia Hox after Shu would roll up Hox to get the win at 7 minutes, 42 seconds with Nobody's Perfect in what would have been the opening match for a normal show. Click here for highlights of the FREEDOMS 1/3/23 show.
FREEDOMS would then return to Shin-Kiba 1st Ring on January 19, 2023 and announce a crowd of 139 fans for the show. The main event would be Violento Jack and Brown Rat Fukki taking on Drew Parker and Kyu Mogami in a ERE Fluorescent Light Tubes Death Match. Jack and Parker would begin striking one another before they would both grab light tubes and begin smashing them over each other's heads. Jack would pick Parker up on his shoulder with Parker delivering a reverse frankensteiner followed by a Superkick with Jack getting up right away and hitting him with a lariat, and Parker getting up right away and delivering a running double knee to Jack's head. Jack would then go up against Mogami and hit him with a Violent Breaker followed by putting him in the Mexican Stretch to make Mogami tap out at 15 minutes, 48 seconds to build up Jack for his challenge for Parker's title at the February 2nd Korakuen Hall show.
The semi-main event would be a Double Board Death Match between Jun Kasai and Toru Sugiura against Masashi Takeda and Yusaku Ito with Ito delivering a Russian Leg sweep on a barbed wire board with Sugiura countering with a backbreaker on the barbed wire board followed by a Swift Driver with Takeda having to make the save. Kasai and Takeda would then square off with Kasai landing a punch to Takeda followed by a Pearl Harbor Splash to Ito and then Sugiura would pick up Ito and finish him off at 15 minutes, 8 seconds with the Soul Driver as the respected Kasai vs. Takeda feud continues.
Takashi Sasaki, Mammoth Sasaki, and Rina Yamashita would take on Tatsuhito Takaiwa, GENTARO, and Tomoya Hirata with Takaiwa wanting it to be known that he wanted a shot at the tag titles before hitting Takashi with a Death Valley Bomb and getting the win at 14 minutes, 29 seconds with Takaiwa and GENTARO issuing a challenge for the tag team titles at the upcoming Korakuen Hall show.
Kamui, Dragon Libre, and Takahiro Katori would defeat Jun Masaoka, Rekka, and Gaia Hox with Kamui picking up the win at 11 minutes, 1 seconds with a Revolution Style Kamui Clutch on Hox to get the pinfall. Masaoka would announce that he would have a mystery partner for his tag team match against Kamui and Dragon Libre at the upcoming Korakuen Hall show. The opening match would see Takumi Tsukamoto team up with fellow Basara wrestler Lil Kraken to defeat Brahman Shu and Brahman Kei at 8 minutes, 7 seconds when Tsukamoto would pin Kei with a Schmidt Style Backbreaker. Click here for highlights of the FREEDOMS 1/19/23 show.
FREEDOMS would then run their first Korakuen Hall show of the year on February 2, 2023 and announce a crowd of 410 fans for the show. The February Korakuen Hall show has always been a tough sale as last year Masaoka vs. Ueki did a similar 416 last year. This was also the first Korakuen Hall show for FREEDOMS that fans could yell instead of clap as well. The main event would be Drew Parker defending his King of Freedom World Championship against Violento Jack in a No Canvas Glass Boards Death Match.
Jack would begin to take out the boards in the ring and then place a glass board on it and look to Package Piledrive Parker through it, but he would escape and hitting a running double knee sending Jack through the glass board. Parker would then hit a Swanton Bomb on Jack with his head hitting the board as Jack would grab him and deliver a released German Suplex followed nailing Parker with the Amatalan on a stack of light tubes and then break a beer bottle over Parker's head before placing him in the Mexican Stretch with Parker giving up at 20 minutes, 38 seconds as Violento Jack would become the four time King of Freedom World Champion. Jack would cut a promo about how he speaks Spanish, Parker speaks English, and the fans speak Japanese but it doesn't matter. Death Matches are all the the same language. Jack and Parker would fist pump afterwards.
FREEDOMS dealing with the issue that they've really been dealing with the last couple of years since Sugiura was champion where they only have so many challengers for the title with such a thin roster. I would imagine you have to have Jack hold the title until August at the Yokohama Budokan, but you Jack vs. Kasai has been done to death, you can maybe do Jack vs. Masaoka one more time, same for Jack vs. Sugiura and I don't even know who you plan to dethrone Jack as Masaoka just had a run with the belt last year, Sugiura had a long run and went through everyone himself, and Kasai has already had so many runs as champion. The only fresh name is Hirata who they would need to start speeding up his progress in how they push him if they plan on him becoming the next guy this year. The only other name would be Takeda who has already had multiple long term runs as champion as well.
The semi-main event would be Takashi Sasaki and Mammoth Sasaki defending the King of Freedom Tag Team Titles against Tatsuhito Takaiwa and GENTARO. Takashi and GENTARO would square of with GENTARO taking him to the mat. Takaiwa and GENTARO would then both end up hitting flying elbow drops off the turnbuckle on Takashi, but when Takaiwa would try and superplex him off the turnbuckle, Mammoth would come over and knock GENTARO off the apron and hit Takaiwa with an Awesome Bomb and then a 29 Years Old as Takashi would Takaiwa with a D-Geist to get the win at 19 minutes, 34 seconds to defend the King of Freedom Tag Team Titles for the first time.
Jun Kasai, Toru Sugiura, and Daisuke Masaoka would take on Masashi Takeda, Yusaku Ito, and Rina Yamashita in a Tornado Death Match. This would be Masaoka's return to the ring since being out of action after the December 1st Shin-Kiba show. Masaoka cited a neck injury which he has been dealing with going back to being hit with a Fire Thunder off a ladder onto a guard rail from Takeda back on November 10, 2020.
Masaoka would place a fork board over Takeda's body and go up to the top with Takeda getting up and powerbombing Masaoka onto the forks. Ito would then climb up on a guard rail on the turnbuckle but Kasai would end up throwing a chair at his head and delivering a Reverse Tiger Driver off the turnbuckle. Kasai would then go for the skewers, but Ito would grab them from him and stick them in his own head instead and headbutt Kasai, but then be met with a punch by Kasai and a Reverse Tiger Driver to get the win at 15 minutes over Ito.
Jun Masaoka's mystery partner would be revealed as Yuya Susumu with a new blonde haircut making his return to FREEDOMS after a little over 10 months to defeat Kamui and Dragon Libre when Susumu would hit the Front Crash on Libre at 10 minutes, 2 seconds over Libre. Susumu would challenge Kamui for the King of Freedom Jr. Heavyweight Title which would I assume be at either the March 18th show in Chigasaki or March 23rd at Korakuen.
Susumu who began working for NOAH as well in December 2020 and began to get booked so often that he felt it would be better financially to just work NOAH and made the decision to leave FREEDOMS after the March 29, 2022 Korakuen Hall show. Susumu never signed a contract with NOAH but worked with them exclusively into September 2022 after he would suffer an injury and be out of action for five months. Nothing has been officially announced about Susumu's status in either FREEDOMS or NOAH, but it seems Susumu will continue to be a regular with the promotion as he has been a heel on Twitter talking about being a true FREEDOMS Jr. Heavyweight wrestler and wanting to show Gaia Hox what a true FREEDOMS Jr. Heavyweight wrestler is all about with Dragon Libre responding that Susumu is not a true FREEDOMS Jr. Heavyweight wrestler because he left the promotion.
Toshiyuki Sakuda, Brown Rat Fukki, and Kyu Mogami defeated Tomoya Hirata, Leo Isaka, and Rekka with Mogami getting the win with the X Wolf Wrath at 8 minutes, 36 seconds over Rekka. The opening match would see Takahiro Katori and Gaia Hox defeat Brahman Shu and Brhaman Kei when Hox would get the win at 7 minutes, 3 seconds with a Package Piledriver over Kei. Click here for highlights of the FREEDOMS 2/3/23 Korakuen Hall show.
FREEDOMS announced that they would be returning to the Yokohama Budokan on August 11, 2023. They had left a Golden Week spot open in the event that they were to book the building for that week like they did last year, but apparently that did not end up taking place and they are booked for August. They would end up booking a Golden Week show at Korakuen Hall which they had done from 2012 to 2020 before 2021 COVID prevented them from having a show followed by the Yokohama Budokan show last year. They also had already booked a Korakuen Hall show on May 25th to follow the possible Yokohama Budokan show earlier in the month, so now for the first time FREEDOMS will run Korakuen Hall twice in the same month and will run a record 9 times this year on top of the big March 18th show in Chigasaki and the Yokohama Budokan show. The other note is that because of the August 11th booking they have cancelled their planned August 10th show at Shin-Kiba 1st Ring and instead booked a show in Aichi and the Kariya Industiral Promotion Center Aioi Hall on August 6th instead.
The A-Team would hold their first show of the year on January 22, 2023 at the Tokyo Oji Basement Monstar where they would announce a crowd of 150 fans for the show. The main event would be for the WEW Tag Team Titles as Tomohiko Hashimoto and Super Tiger would defend their titles against So Daimonji and Ishiriki with Tiger making Ishiriki tap out at 16 minutes, 29 seconds to his New Octopus Hold to successfully defend the titles for the first time. The semi-main event would be for both the WEW Jr. Heavyweight and DEP Openweight Championship with Bryan Ishizaka defeating Takumi Sakurai at 13 minutes, 13 seconds after hitting him with his Pay Dirt for the win to become both the WEW Jr. Heavyweight and DEP Openweight Champion. Kotaro Suzuki defeated A-Team's Kota Nagashima in a Special New Years Match at 12 minutes, 13 seconds after finishing Nagashima off with a Running Elbow. HASEGAWA, Joji Otani, and Hashinosuke defeated Iori Sugawara, Magic Killer # 1, and Jin when HASEGAWA would pin Jin at 12 minutes, 8 seconds after with a Death Valley Bomb for the win. The opening match would be Raiden and Kosaku Tonozaki defeated Daisaku Shimoda and Bambi when Tonozaki would roll up Bambi at 10 minutes, 40 seconds for the win.
The next A-Team show would again be at the Tokyo Oji Basement Monstar on February 5, 2023 and they would again announce a crowd of 150 fans for the show. The main event would be WEW Heavyweight Champion Dylan James defending his title against Kosaku Tonozaki at 13 minutes, 57 seconds after hitting Tonozaki with a choke slam for the win to defend the title for the first time. The semi-main event would be Tomohiko Hashimoto and Super Tiger defending their WEW Tag Team Titles against Daisaku Shimoda and Ryoji Sai when Tiger would pick up the win over Shimoda at 14 minutes, 50 seconds with a Tiger Atomic Bomb to defend the titles for the second time. Bryan Ishizaka would defend his WEW Jr. Heavyweight and DEP Openweight Titles against Takeshi Irie successfully at 14 minutes, 59 seconds after using his Pay Dirt to get the win to defend the titles for the first time. Raiden, Takumi Sakurai, and Joji Otani would defeat HASEGAWA, Hashinosuke, and Bambi when Otani would pick up the win over Hashinosuke at 15 minutes, 20 seconds with a Diving Body Press. Iori Sugawara and Jin would defeat Rion Mizuki and Kazu Shibano after Iori would pin Shibano at 14 minutes, 40 seconds with a Quaral Bomb. The opening match would see So Daimonji defeat Kota Nagashima at 10 minutes, 21 seconds with the Black Rain.
JCTV concluded their 21 part YouTube series on
FMW with Mitsuru Saito and Sugisaku J Taro looking back at the Entertainment Era
with Mr. Gannosuke joining them for the last ten or so episode as he was able to
provide information on FMW that the two just simply didn't have while just being
commentators during a specific time frame. The discussion of the FMW's
Entertainment Era came up and specifically the Yokohama Arena.
The FMW November 23, 1999 Yokohama Arena show was FMW's big gamble at trying to earn back the money that they had slowly been losing since 1997. They were paid millions of dollars by DirecTV to change to the Entertainment route but in the process they also were going to have to spend a lot more money on their production quality as a result so after all the money spent they still were having to depend on the attendance to make or break them as a promotion despite all the money given to them by DirecTV to change directions as a promotion.
Shoichi Arai wanted the Yokohama Arena show to
kind of be like their big WrestleMania event where all eyes would be on them and
their Entertainment Pro-Wrestling product. The goal was that if this show did
well, it would get FMW back to becoming a profitable promotion as FMW was still
a promotion that could still turn it around at this point. Saito, J Taro, and
Gannosuke talked about the event and even in another video watched highlights of
the event as it was the most remembered FMW show for this period of the company.
The show was considered a failure by Shoichi Arai in his book stating that it did not do as well as he had hoped and so much money went into the showing including bringing in Shawn Michaels, The Funk Brothers, and the ECW guys as well as paying for the Octagon Cage that was used for Kodo Fuyuki vs. Masato Tanaka on top of all the lighting for the big arena. I had always been told the show did 11,000 legit in a 16,000 so when reading what Arai wrote about the show being such a failure I figured that the number I was told must have been wrong and it had to have been much lower than that.
Saito on the video mentions the show did about 70% though which would put it at about 11,000 people and Gannosuke stated that if the event was held today it would be considered a success (NOAH announced 8,433 for the final Great Muta show on January 22nd this year).
The picture above was taken right before the Tanaka vs. Fuyuki match which might be the only shot of the building not darkened that night and definitely does not look like there's 70% in the building. Although it's probably not the fairest picture since it was taken at intermission, but if the 70% full and 11,000 total number is close to true, you have to wonder why they would put themselves in a situation where 70% in such a big building would be considered a failure, but that's a question that only Shoichi Arai would really would have had that answer.
Mr. Gannosuke stated that fans have came up to him and stated that they stopped watching once the ring started to have yellow ropes (the red mat always stood out to me more than the yellow ropes to it) and there's so many layers on why FMW felt the need to make the change in direction that I will end up writing a whole book on here if I get into it, but a big negative factor for the change in direction was that not only did it lose a large number of hardcore fans and replaced them with not as many fans that were into the entertainment style, but also those entertainment fans did not create the same atmosphere and electricity especially at Korakuen Hall that the hardcore fans that were there before the mat turned red and the ropes turned yellow were able to create that made FMW a promotion that you felt you needed to be there live to be apart of an amazing atmosphere that was lost even if there were more actually good wrestling matches during the entertainment era.
I also wanted to make note from my last update about JCTV and using FMW video footage and whether they actually owned any of the FMW video footage. JCTV was a big creditor to FMW during its last couple of years with the promotion and lost out on a lot of money after FMW closed down in 2002. That probably put them in line for receiving ownership of some of the FMW video footage. That said, whatever FMW video footage they gained ownership of, I do not believe they actually used for their YouTube series as it seems like they just went the easier route of just using footage from the easily accessible FMW Story of the F 5-8 commercial video series that pretty much shows the entire time line of the last couple of years of FMW in just four videos.
One of my favorite topics to talk about is the FMW video library. I have talked about it a bunch on here over the last couple of years, but I wanted to talk about the FMW video footage that I know exists, but probably will never be seen.
Back in 2016, I had pretty much every FMW TV and commercial tape collected and numerous handhelds. I had asked Hayabusa years ago if he owned footage of his debut match on May 5, 1991 and he told he did, so I knew that footage existed but had no idea how to get it. After he passed, I really wanted to get a hold of his debut match to add to his career music video that I wanted to make of his. My friend Max got me in touch with promoter of the FUCK promotion Tsubasa Shiratori who had been a long time collector of rare FMW handhelds and was beginning to sell of his collection after previously selling dubbed videos of his tapes for years and years. Shiratori offered to sell me the rest of the tapes he had all at once which would have been 127 tapes and probably equaled out to about $3,000 dollars which I was not willing to spend at the time.
In hindsight, I wish I would have just made the purchase even though I already had a bunch of the 127 tapes he offered, but it probably would have just been easier as I ended up purchasing a bunch of the tapes anyway through out the next couple of months, meaning I ended up having to pay the pricey shipping multiple times as well, and I ended up missing out on a bunch of shows as a result as he sold them to other people. They were really cool looking VHS tapes as he would cut and tape magazine pictures from the shows on the tapes.
There were numerous tapes though that I never had the opportunity to purchase as they had already been sold before I ever contacted him. When he was selling his videos in 2016 he created a thank you page on his website for everyone that purchased tapes from him to thank him and list what tapes they purchased from him. That thank you page is not up on the internet anymore, but finding the address of it, I was able to use the Internet Wayback Machine and go through everything and come up with a list of all the FMW handhelds videos that exist, but most likely will never be seen. I also included where the show took place as well as the main event and other noteworthy things that came from the show.
I personally don't believe these shows will ever be found, and I am sure there are ton more FMW handhelds not on the list that exist that I just don't know about, and some of those shows not on this list might even come into existence as there some FMW handheld shows last years that popped up after a Japanese tape trader went through his list and was willing to sell some shows I didn't know existed had been filmed in the crowd nearly 30 years ago. I also included a list of Players TV shows that covered the Hayabusa era that were released online back in 2011 but were never saved by anyone as far as I know. These are a little more likely to be found since they were available for so many years and anyone from Japan could have bought them and saved them, but it would have to take finding the right person that would not only had the mindset to save them, but to keep them as well and I haven't found one of those yet.
All of this trying to find lost video tapes is like trying to find a buried treasure in a different language, and even though the footage listed did exist, doesn't mean it still does if a person who purchased has lost the tape or the tape footage has deteriorated over the years. You can find my list of the 100 FMW tapes with footage that has existed but not found at http://fmwwrestling.us/FMWVideosExisting.html
Two years ago I posted my Hayabusa figure collection. I wanted to show an updated look of it. I have the two different Inspire 12 inch figures there in the back in the dark, the four different CharaPro figures in their boxes, the entire collection of the FMW series from 1999 as well as several customs of different colors of that type of figure, the two official HAO (the big head ones) as well as two different colored customs, two custom Funko Pops, a custom Hasbro figure of him in blue with the FMW logo next to him, two Chella Toy figures in their boxes on the sides, a Lucha doll custom towards the back, two awesome 3D designs of him posing up near the front made by Assui88 on Twitter, four of the five plush dollars (missing the red one) that were released by FMW, and 2 official minis along with 10 other custom ones. It has been fun collecting all these through out the years, hopefully I will be able to find some more incredible customs as there are so many people doing an awesome job honoring an amazing wrestler.
FREEDOMS/A-Team/FMW-E/Production Shows News 2022 (January - December 2022)
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)