01-MAX ZERO-ONE 2002 DVD
PRO-WRESTLING ZERO1 Puroresu Tapes Videos


SKY PerfecTV! LIVE SPECIAL ZERO-ONE Shinseiki Sonzo '02 3/2/02 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan
-4hr. Q=TV Master. 2 DVDs

Tatsuhito Takaiwa vs. KENTA 18:50. Takaiwa wasn't very charitable in dismantling the young punk. KENTA hit a swandive missile kick early then was pretty much mauled for the next 18 minutes. He finally made another comeback with a swandive plancha, but Takaiwa then caught him in midair and powerbombed him on the floor then followed with a brainbuster. You began rooting for the mercy killing, and wondering why it was taking Takaiwa so long to put this kid away. That was KENTA's bone, he got to show a lot of heart in continuing to survive. The match was well executed, but it was hard to get into because you knew it could be a lot better but they weren't willing to let it be. **

Wrestle Master: Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs. Kohei Sato 11:26

Dangerous Contact: Sean McCully vs. Wataru Sakata 3:11

NWA vs. UPW The American War: Steve Corino & Gary Steele vs. Tom Howard & Samoa Joe 23:49

Onna Kakutoga Special: Yuki Kubota vs. Yoko Takahashi 3R

Lumberjack Death Match: Josh Dempsey vs. The Predator 7:53

The Ikusa: Ryoji Sai vs. Kazuhiko Ogasawara 5:47

Naohiro Hoshikawa vs. Naomichi Marufuji 17:02. They moved up from the opener a year ago, delivering the expected strong match, but failing to exceed the original from 3/2/01. They started out on fire and rarely cooled off. Hoshikawa exploded at Hoshikawa with every style of kick, and Marufuji would play off this to get his offense in. They countered repeatedly, doing a nice job of developing the match, showing great chemistry and their desire to excel. The whole match was quite enjoyable, but it ended much too soon, as they left a lot of ammunition in the coffer, and even ignoring that didn't leave one with the feeling of completion. ***3/4

Fight To The Finish: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Masato Tanaka 12:32

Fight To The Finish: Shinjiro Otani vs. Naoya Ogawa 6:24

Battle Station ZERO-ONE 3/12/02 VAST ENERGY 2 taped 3/9 Tokyo Korakuen Hall
-1hr 55min. Q=TV Master

Steve Corino & Sean McCully vs. ?

Tatsuhito Takaiwa & Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs. Wataru Sakata & Kohei Sato

Ryoji Sai vs. Bull Rudduck

Naohiro Hoshikawa vs. Kazuhiko Ogasawara 4:25. Fairly entertaining worked shoot. Like the old RINGS matches where they had two kickers, but at least one of which wasn't much of a worker, so they'd just stiff each other for a few minutes and take it home.

Tom Howard vs. Josh Dempsey

Shinjiro Otani & Masato Tanaka vs. Navajo Warrior & Ghostwalker (Native Blood) 17:23. Match just meandered along. Otani & Tanaka weren't taking it too seriously early, making fun of stereotypical Native American mannerisms when they had the opponents down.

NWA World International Heavyweight Title Match: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Dan Severn 9:33 of 16:14. Even though my expectations weren't very high, this was not just disappointing but downright annoying. They could certainly have done a decent if not good UWF-I style match, but instead they just milked the heel (American) ref gimmick, making the biased fast count/slow count officiating the backbone of the bout.

Battle Station ZERO-ONE 5/2/02 taped 4/27 Osaka Shi Cho Taiikukan
-1hr 55min. Q=TV Master

Yoshihito Sasaki vs. Noahiro Hoshikawa. Hoshikawa looked really good as always, wicked impact. Unfortunately, Sasaki couldn't be elevated much, so it was mediocre anyway. 7:17 of 13:44

Samoa Joe vs. Waguta Kuroge. Joe did some nice suplexes, but is slow setting them up. 2:27 of 9:03

Masato Tanaka & Kohei Sato vs. Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Ryoji Sai. Tanaka was the only decent wrestler in the match, so he could only do so much. It was pretty good when he was in, even with Fujiwara because they hit hard and Tanaka took a few bumps, but stalled when he wasn't. 13:25. **

Tom Howard vs. Gerard Gordeau. These two just couldn't work together. Gordeau only knows how to work shoots, not that he's goot at it. Howard isn't good at that either, and he tried to mix in some traditional elements, with poor results. 5:45 of 7:18. DUD

Shinjiro Otani vs. Yuki Ishikawa. One of those big grudge matches where they make it look like they are shooting on one another. Basically, this is what the overrated Otani vs. Murakami match should have been. Very rough match that combined brawling with shoot style. The moves were mainly fake, but the impact made UWF look like childs play. Ishikawa bled. Rather than his usual dropkick, Otani did a wicked running knee when Ishikawa was sitting up in the corner. The problem with this match is Otani pretty well dominated, with Ishikawa never coming close to winning. 8:35. ***1/2

Tatsuhito Takaiwa vs. Kazuhiko Ogasawara. Style clash that resulted in Takaiwa being wasted, though working in this league for over a year he should be less limited in shoot style by now. Ogasawara tried to strike and Takaiwa tried to take him down, which is far from his game. It was so fake with neither showing any intensity and Ogaswara's strikes having little impact. I like to pick on guys like Dick Vrij, but he's a god compared to guys like Ogaswara that can only strike, but can't work them so they look like they'd kill a bug and can't deliver them with any accuracy. To make things worse, Ogasawara is generic and bland. 7:55. DUD

NWA International Tag Next Challenger Decision Match: Steve Corino & C.W. Anderson vs. Evolution (Frankie & Nova). Mid 80's NWA style but with more modern flying and the typical indy problems. Anderson looked really good, but he didn't get a lot of help here. Revolution are "exciting", but they are far more athletic than good. They do some cool things, but they make a lot of mistakes and too much of their athleticism is wasted on pointless RVD flips. These teams worked well together and had good timing, but the spots were contrived. 16:34 of 18:01. **1/4

Shinya Hashimoto vs. Predator. Predator is a no talent no selling Bruiser Brody wannabe. Hashimoto blasted away at him, but at best Predator was momentarily stunned. Though Hashimoto's strikes were impressive as always, they don't help much when the opponent basically blows them off. Hashimoto was never able to turn it into a match. Sticking to the mid 80's, Predator was DQ'd for hanging Hashimoto. 13:13 of 13:45. *

ZERO-ONE Battle Station 5/10/02 GENESIS taped 4/29 Fukuoka Hakata Starlanes
-1hr 55min. Q=TV Master

Noahiro Hoshikawa & Yoshihito Sasaki vs. Waguta Kuroge & Fugofugo Yumeji 9:58 of 14:09. Hoshikawa was portrayed as by far the strongest, while Sasaki was easily the weakest. They played this situation for drama. Though Hoshikawa was the only good wrestler, he worked it smartly so it was an interesting match you cared about even if not a particularly good one. Kuroge & Yumeji were somewhat effective in a Morishima/Rikio kind of way, putting a good beating on Sasaki.

The Cobra vs. Ryoji Sai 4:37 of 6:45. Mainly serious 70's style match with basic offense from close quarters. Short and not too stressful, passable only because they didn't make mistakes and Sai does a few good things. He's got the physical tools and is already solid. Finish was very lame and Cobra isn't likely to have any good matches until he starts shedding fat rather than skin.

Samoa Joe vs. Gerard Gordeau 6:05 of 6:42. Wasn't exactly well worked, but had the urgency that worked shoots need. Their stamina was disappointing. I know Gordeau is ancient, but Joe shouldn't also be losing effectiveness by the 4-minute-mark. Gordeau's overly fake strikes at the end hurt the match. *1/4

Tatsuhito Takaiwa & Kohei Sato vs. Frankie & Nova (Evolution) 9:52 of 14:09. Evolution was more under control and the teams worked surprisingly well together. Pretty good.

Masato Tanaka vs. The Predator 10:29. Tanaka tried to work it like he was fighting Gladiator rather than some turkey who looks like Donald Gibb in a Bruiser Brody outfit. While Tanaka was obviously the one who made those matches, Awesome never got enough credit for his part. He is not an all around wrestler, but few big guys have his athleticism, moveset, and generally the ability to pull off a wide variety of impressive moves. Predator is maybe average at what Awesome is special at. He did a few good moves at the end, but the match was too one-sided. **1/4

Shinjiro Otani vs. Tom Howard 12:29. Otani came out with a sword, but luckily he didn't spend the entire match hitting Howard with the handle. That said, this was not very convincingly worked. Otani is so unenergetic and uninspiring as a heavyweight. For the most part it was slow and dull with neither party looking as good as their partner in the previous match. Toward the end it got good, turning into a junior style match with Howard trying moves off the top like the Frankensteiner and somersault. *3/4

Shinya Hashimoto & Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs. Steve Corino & C.W. Anderson 16:10. Very odd match. Basically a comedy match with Corino & C.W.'s style and over the top mannerisms seemingly very out of place, but this is what they chose to play up. Fujiwara conformed to their jokey style and played whipping boy. Hashimoto did his thing, but was basically on his own as Fujiwara wasn't any help or seeming any kind of threat. Onita came out and cut a promo until Hashimoto attacked after the match.

SKY PerfecTV! LIVE SPECIAL ZERO-ONE Genesis 5/3/02 Matsuyama Shi Sogo Community Center
-3 1/2hr. Q=TV Master. 2 DVDs

Naohiro Hoshikawa & Yoshihito Sasaki vs. Nova & Frankie

Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs. Waguta Kuroge

Kohei Sato vs. Ryoji Sai

Samoa Joe vs. C.W. Anderson

Steve Corino vs. Gerard Gordeau

Tatsuhito Takaiwa vs. Wataru Sakata

Shinjiro Otani & Masato Tanaka vs. Yuki Ishikawa & Katsumi Usuda

Naoya Ogawa & Shinya Hashimoto vs. The Predator & Tom Howard

Battle Station ZERO-ONE 6/4/02 Genesis taped 5/19 Ishikawa Sangyo Tenjikan
-1hr 55min. Q=TV Master

Waguta Kuroge vs. Fugofugo Yumeji. Kuroge s pretty stiff, but doesn't know how to utilize his moves. Yumeji has no good moves and doesn't know how to wrestle. He would just run into Kuroge's lariats and whatnot. 2:39 of 10:27

C.W. Anderson vs. Yoshihito Sasaki. Not a good match, but Anderson's old style annoying heel tactics keep the match moving. Since you are always reacting to his actions or expressions there's a certain level of interest and desire in seeing him beat up, even against a weak overmatched opponent like Sasaki that has no chance of winning. 4:07 of 9:30

Masato Tanaka vs. Katsumi Usuda. These two have different styles, but they made them converge into something (kind of like "strong style") that was not only doable but damn good. It had the stiff shoot oriented offense and a form of believability derived from one move logically following the next, but the moves, psychology and flow were all pro style. What they did was nice enough, but how and when they did it was much more impressive. Early on, Tanaka couldn't solve Usuda's kicks and had to keep regrouping. One time when he was reentering, Usuda tried to high kick him off the apron, but Tanaka turned it into a kneebreaker on the top rope. It looked like Usuda might quickly regain control, but Tanaka turned a kick into a Dragon screw and launched his knee attack. At 10:00, I figured the match was going another 5 or so minutes and the best was yet to come. Unfortunately, they not only didn't continue to build it up, they just left what they'd done with Tanaka doing 3 highspots for the finish. I guess they had to prove Usuda wasn't in Tanaka league, after all? 11:02. ***1/4

Yuki Ishikawa vs. Ryoji Sai. Odd match. It seemed like they had no idea what they were doing or where they were going. I thought Ishikawa was going to punk Sai, but aside from giving him a bloody nose early, he basically just had this superior look about it. Most of the strikes were pretty good, but some were totally off the mark. 6:58. *

Naohiro Hoshikawa & Kohei Sato vs. Native Blood. Hoshikawa really had his hands full trying to carry these two. It stunk when he wasn't in, but was decent when he was because he brought energy and fire. Initially he tried to do some sequences, but they couldn't keep up with him so he went to the he runs or jumps at them stuff. 13:43. *1/2

Shinjiro Otani vs. Tatsuhito Takaiwa. Started off slow with a lot of matwork, but got better and better as they got into their regular offense. Solid match, but never particularly exciting or dramatic. 15:36. ***

Shinya Hashimoto & Naoya Ogawa & Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs. Tom Howard & The Predator & Steve Corino. Hashimoto's team would be good if they were fighting UWF types. I don't know if Howards' team would be good against anyone, but from what I've seen so far Howard & Predator need pinball opponents to look passabe. In any case, this matchmaking created an impasse. Had some heat as you'd expect, but not nearly as much as it could have since the match just didn't work. Hashimoto & Ogawa did a few double teams that might have been good if they were to someone that could take them. Miller raised Ogawa's hand after the match only to doublecross him by throwing powder in his eyes. Hashimoto started walking at Miller in protest, but he got more of the same and there was a big brawl in the center of the ring with Hot Stuff Hernandez fairing particularly well to build up his title defense. 12:30 of 20:34

Battle Station ZERO-ONE 6/5/02 Genesis taped 5/23/02 Tokyo Korakuen Hall
-1hr 55min. Q=TV Master

Yuki Ishikawa & Katsumi Usuda vs. Fugofugo Yumeji & Waguta Kuroge. High impact match made decent by the ex-Battlarts tandem. Yumeji needs some better offense than these corny headbutts. 4:04 of 11:53

Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs. Yoshihito Sasaki. Passable. Sasaki had no chance, but the finish was so good. Fujiwara took Sasaki under his wing after the match. 2:42 of 5:51

Ryoji Sai & Kohei Sato vs. Wataru Sakata & Hirotaka Yokoi. Battlarts style match where they mixed "real" & fake. Stiff match, with Sai bleeding from Sakata's strikes. Sai muscled a suplex counter for a Yokoi headlock, which was impressive because they made it look totally hard hardway. Sai showed skill in places like this, but mainly spunk for taking the biggest beating and still fighting hard. The fans got into it, probably more rooting against Sakata than anything else since they've been getting him over as a punk outsider. Yokoi took the match down some. He isn't accurate in works, either. 11:36 of 12:10. **

Naohiro Hoshikawa vs. Ikuto Hidaka. Hoshikawa has become one of the best wrestlers in the world, and this was another of his crowning accomplishments. Great opening with Hoshikawa looking for a hand shake onto to eat a thrust kick, but Hoshikawa countering into an enzuigiri, which Hidaka took a flip bump on and escaped to the floor only to be toped. The match was so good because these two are quick athletic and slick juniors that incorporate stiff and intense shoot stuff into their arsenal and wrestle with logic and focus. Beyond that, they are innovative and unpredictable. Hoshikawa whipped Hidaka into the security rail and both went flying over when Hoshikawa followed with a wicked jumping knee to the head. Hidaka did a tarantula variation where he set up like a swinging DDT, but instead did a guillotine choke in the ropes. Hidaka backflipped off the middle rope when Hoshikawa was ready to avoid his dive then stopped his reentrance with a climb-up dropkick and followed with a pescado. They got into the story portion when Hoshikawa was blasting Hidaka with middle kicks against the post, but suddenly Hidaka fell out of the way. The coolest knee spot was when Hoshikawa tried to high kick Hidaka off the apron, but Hidaka caught his leg and jumped to the floor, using the top rope to leg breaker Hoshikawa. Hidaka did another interesting spot where he scooped Hoshikawa over his shoulder and dropped down, using the canvas for a kneebreaker. Hoshikawa wouldn't shake Hidaka's hand after the match, instead standing on the middle rope. Hidaka snuck up behind him and took out the knee again then powerbombed him, so a masked man that turned out to be Dick Togo could give him a diving senton. A bit short, but still a match of the year candidate. 13:07. ****1/2

Tatsuhito Takaiwa vs. Sabu. It's no surprise that this match didn't work because there's little cross over in what these two do well. Takaiwa let Sabu carry the match, and tried to brawl with him. This was more toward FMW Sabu, bloodying Takaiwa with an object and mixing some table spots into his brawl. Sabu dominated the match, but suddenly Takaiwa "would have" pinned him if the ref wasn't down. This match was just chaos, and when the match is out of control from the beginning with all kinds of illegal stuff going on, it just doesn't work to suddenly call for a DQ. 13:02. *3/4

Steve Corino & C.W. Anderson vs. Native Blood. Just a bunch of corny shit. Corino & Anderson had fun making themselves look like total fools. It was funnier than Hirota at least, and mercifully edited. 6:12 of 23:00

Masato Tanaka & Shinjiro Otani vs. The Predator & Tom Howard. Tanaka & Otani ran around and bumped, so their opponents liabilities were somewhat masked. Predator looked much better here because he was able to just use power moves, and these are guys he can throw around. The fans were into it because the natives were so outsized, and it did have some exciting and dramatic moments. Highlight was Howard going flying over the top to the floor when Otani ducked his kneel kick in the corner. 10:22 of 15:27

NWA International Heavyweight Title Match: Hot Stuff Hernandez vs. Shinya Hashimoto. Hashimoto doesn't give an opponent respect just because someone gave them a title. That's fine with me, but made this a disappointing match because it looked more like a jobber match than a heavyweight title match. Hashimoto was particularly brutal in demolishing Hernandez, who made this less enjoyable than it had the right to be with his overexaggerated American cartoon wrestling selling. 4:43

ZERO-ONE Battle Station 7/5/02 Creation taped 6/27/02 Tokyo Korakuen Hall
-1hr 55min. Q=TV Master

Waguta Kuroge vs. Shinsuke Sumiya

Yuki Ishikawa & Katsumi Usuda vs. Smelly & Spanky

Hirotaka Yokoi vs. Ryoji Sai

Dick Togo & Ikuto Hidaka vs. Tatsuhito Takaiwa & Naohiro Hoshikawa 18:03. The motivation of these performers put the recent NJ jr. tags to shame. The pace was high throughout. It started as an aggressive, hard hitting match with Hidaka, the most athletic but least powerful of the four pulling athletic counters to momentarily change things up. As the match progressed, the others shifted the theme of their offense from striking to bigger moves, but the match was equally entertaining throughout. Hidaka was probably the best and Takaiwa the worst, but aside from a few sloppy spots everyone was pretty much on top of their game. ***1/2

Wataru Sakata vs. Kohei Sato

Steve Corino & Rapid Fire vs. Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Yoshihito Sasaki

The Predator & Nathan Jones & Tom Howard vs. Shinya Hashimoto & Masato Tanaka & Shinjiro Otani

ZERO-ONE Battle Station 7/11/02 Creation taped 6/29/02 & 6/30/02 Sapporo Teisen Hall
-1hr 55min. Q=TV Master

6/29/02

Yuki Ishikawa & Katsumi Usuda vs. Tatsuhito Takaiwa & Naohiro Hoshikawa

Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Kamikaze vs. Steve Corino & Rapidfire Maldonado

Shinya Hashimoto & Kohei Sato vs. Tom Howard & The Predator

NWA International Tag Title Match: Shinjiro Otani & Masato Tanaka vs. Kintaro Kanemura & Tetsuhiro Kuroda

6/30/02

NWA, UPW, ZERO-ONE Junior Title Match: Spanky vs. Naohiro Hoshikawa 5:07 of 11:58. Fun little match pitting Spanky's flying against Hoshikawa's kicks. Spanky wasted no time taking to the air, pretty much flying from the opening bell. He had to be elusive because Hoshikawa pulverized him anytime he was able to connect. Their styles played into each other well, and the chemistry was nice with Spanky sticking and moving, pulling off some nice counters in between taking big punishment. Short, but very enjoyable.

Tatsuhito Takaiwa & Yoshihito Sasaki vs. Dick Togo & Ikuto Hidaka

Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Hirotaka Yokoi vs. Kohei Sato & Ryoji Sai

Nathan Jones vs. Shinjiro Otani

Shinya Hashimoto & Masato Tanaka vs. Tom Howard & Predator

ZERO-ONE SKY PerfecTV! LIVE SPECIAL IMPOSSIBLE TO ESCAPE 7/7/02 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan
-4hr 40min. Q=TV Master. 3 DVDs

Spanky vs. Yoshihito Sasaki 3:23

Naohiro Hoshikawa vs. Ikuto Hidaka 15:41. Not quite as good as their 5/23/02 match, which seemed more innovative, but these two have excellent skills and even better chemistry. They moved between styles very well; it was stiff, athletic, had good knee work. They never settled on one thing, the surroundings often dictating their next move whether it be Hidaka using the apron for a swing DDT on the floor or Hoshikawa trying a German suplex on the floor (Hidaka landed on his feet) because Hidaka was facing the walkway. Hidaka's quickness, flexibility, and athleticism informs just about everything he does, and Hoshikawa was executing everything with impressive explosion and precision as well. They brought the early portion back down the stretch with a spot where Hoshikawa believed he'd have pinned Hidaka if his knee didn't give out on his German suplex. Hoshikawa went back to this move 30 seconds later, this time using just the good leg to bridge so Hidaka wasn't getting out without earning it. ****

Kohei Sato & Ryo Sai vs. Kintaro Kanemura & Tetsuhiro Kuroda 14:29

Joshi Kakutogisen: Yoko Takahashi vs. Ariya R1 1:42

Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Don Arakawa vs. Wagyu Kuroge & Yumeji Fugo 11:08

Tatsuhito Takaiwa vs. Dick Togo 12:55. Nice theme match with Togo as the merciless new heel. Takaiwa powerbombed Togo on the floor at the outset, which really set Dick off. Togo extended Takaiwa's leg on a table and bashed it with a chair, continuing to attack the knee for the duration of the contest. Takaiwa finally seemed to comeback with his powerbombs, but his knee gave out on the second repetition and Togo nearly finished him with his diving senton. Togo kept going back to the chair, busting Takaiwa open, but eventually he got his comeuppance when Takaiwa gave him a Michinoku driver II onto the chair to finally get his offense going. The focus was impressive, and the execution was nice. The main problem with this match is it was so short that Takaiwa basically just sold his knee then won with a couple big power moves, rendering Togo a bit limp. ***1/2

Yuki Ishikawa & Katsumi Usuda vs. Sean McCully & Josh Dempsey 5:50

Tom Howard & Nathan Jones vs. Steve Corino & Rapid Fire Maldonado 9:11

Shinjiro Otani & Masato Tanaka vs. Wataru Sakata & Hirotaka Yokoi 17:41

Ishu Kakutogisen: Shinya Hashimoto vs. Kazuhiko Ogasawara 8:44

Kanaami Death Match: Naoya Ogawa vs. The Predator 10:26

ZERO-ONE Battle Station 8/7/02 Fire Festival '02 Opening taped 7/28/02 Tokyo Differ Ariake
-1hr 55min. Q=TV Master

Fire Festival '02 A Block: King Joe (Samoa Joe) vs. Kintaro Kanemura

Fire Festival '02 B Block: Kohei Sato vs. Yuki Ishikawa

Wagyu Kuroge & Fugofugo Yumeji vs. Don Arakawa & Yoshihito Sasaki

Naohiro Hoshikawa & Ryoji Sai vs. Tetsuhiro Kuroda & Kamikaze

Fire Festival '02 B Block: Steve Corino vs. Hirotaka Yokoi

Shinya Hashimoto & Masato Tanaka & Tatsuhito Takaiwa vs. Tom Howard & The Predator & C.W. Anderson

Fire Festival '02 A Block: Shinjiro Otani vs. TAKA Michinoku 15:11. In the mid 90's, it wouldn't have taken much to convince me these two would be the two best wrestlers of the early 00's. Unfortunately, both are mostly concerned with preserving their bodies, and thus aim much lower, really at the minimum acceptable level. So this was about what you'd expect, a good match, but nothing memorable. Rather than improve other aspects of their game, they pretty much just do less. They each busted out a move or two they've mainly shelved, but it was generally a fairly tame match where you never felt they were approaching their potential in any regard. They still have more than enough ability for that to be enjoyable, but I can't really get excited about seeing them wrestle at this level. TAKA was a couple notches above Otani. He did seem into the match, and was taking some good bumps and doing some nice selling. ***

ZERO-ONE Battle Station 8/8/02 Fire Festival '02 #2 taped 7/30/02 Osaka Furitsu Taiikukaikan 2
-1hr 55min. Q=TV Master

Wagyu Kuroge & Fugofugo Yumeji vs. Yoshihito Sasaki & Shinsuke Sumiya

Fire Festival '02 B Block: Steve Corino vs. Yuki Ishikawa

Fire Festival '02 B Block: Hirotaka Yokoi vs. Tetsuhiro Kuroda

Tatsuhito Takaiwa & Naohiro Hoshikawa vs. C.W. Anderson & Spanky

Fire Festival '02 A Block: TAKA Michinoku vs. King Joe

Fire Festival '02 A Block: Masato Tanaka vs. Kintaro Kanemura

Shinjiro Otani & Daisuke Sekimoto vs. Kohei Sato & Ryoji Sai

Shinya Hashimoto & Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs. Tom Howard & The Predator

ZERO-ONE Battle Station 8/9/02 Fire Festival '02 #3 taped 7/31/02 Tokyo Korakuen Hall
-1hr 55min. Q=TV Master

Fire Festival '02 B Block: Hirotaka Yokoi vs. Kohei Sato

Fire Festival '02 A Block: TAKA Michinoku vs. Kintaro Kanemura

Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Yuki Ishikawa & Daisuke Sekimoto vs. Tatsuhito Takaiwa & Naohiro Hoshikawa & Yoshihito Sasaki

NWA, UPW, ZERO-ONE International Junior Heavyweight Title: Spanky vs. C.W. Anderson

Fire Festival '02 B Block: Steve Corino vs. Tetsuhiro Kuroda

Shinya Hashimoto & Ryoji Sai & Kazuhiko Ogasawara vs. Tom Howard & The Predator & King Joe

Fire Festival '02 A Block: Masato Tanaka vs. Shinjiro Otani 14:06. The partners went at it to likely determine who the winner of A Block would be. Tanaka still cares, and was able to shame a high end performance out of Otani. Otani was mainly doing his punk routine early, but it was more effective than usual because he busted Tanaka open then worked over the cut with his face scrapes. Tanaka was showing a lot of heart, fire and determination though. As it was a short match, they transitioned right from the cut gouging to the hot offense. Tanaka was the far superior worker, but Otani was giving all he has left, making it dramatic with his old heart says yes, body says no brand of gesticulations. ***1/2

ZERO-ONE Battle Station 8/10/02 Fire Festival '02 #4 taped 8/2/02 Oita Kenritsu Niage
-1hr 55min. Q=TV Master

Fire Festival '02 B Block: Tetsuhiro Kuroda vs. Yuki Ishikawa

Fire Festival '02 B Block: Steve Corino vs. Kohei Sato

TAKA Michinoku & Spanky vs. Wagyu Kuroge & Fugofugo Yumeji

Hirotaka Yokoi & Kamikaze vs. Naohiro Hoshikawa & Yoshihito Sasaki

Fire Festival '02 A Block: Masato Tanaka vs. King Joe

Shinya Hashimoto & Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Tatsuhito Takaiwa vs. Tom Howard & The Predator & C.W. Anderson

Fire Festival '02 A Block: Shinjiro Otani vs. Kintaro Kanemura

ZERO-ONE Battle Station 8/10/02 Fire Festival '02 Final taped 8/4/02 Gran Messe Kumamoto
-1hr 55min. Q=TV Master

Fire Festival '02 B Block: Tetsuhiro Kuroda vs. Kohei Sato

Fire Festival '02 B Block: Yuki Ishikawa vs. Hirotaka Yokoi

Naohiro Hoshikawa & Spanky vs. Kintaro Kanemura & Yoshihito Sasaki

Fire Festival '02 A Block: Masato Tanaka vs. TAKA Michinoku 7:57. Exciting sprint in Tanaka's stiff, fast-paced style. Both men were motivated, and at the top of their games. TAKA mostly played off Tanaka's style, first exchanging then realizing he needed to use his quickness. They showed a lot of their offense, and did a few hot near falls before TAKA scored the upset that left the slot in the finals there for Otani's taking. ***1/4

Fire Festival '02 A Block: Shinjiro Otani vs. King Joe

Shinya Hashimoto & Kazuhiko Ogasawara vs. Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Tatsuhito Takaiwa

Fire Festival '02 Final: Shinjiro Otani vs. Tetsuhiro Kuroda 17:53. Otani came in battered and bloodied from his match against Joe, bleeding through his bandage. Kuroda ripped the bandage off, and worked the cut over with Otani's own face scrape. Otani did a good job of playing his old underdog role, making hot counters but never able to maintain the offensive. The effort was certainly there from both men. The main problem is Kuroda is just not that good. A match that mainly consists of his goofy expressions and deliberate, mechanically executed offense can only be so good. Otani gave one of his more effective performances in recent times, and I wanted to enjoy the match, but Kuroda really added nothing. **1/2

ZERO-ONE Battle Station 8/29/02 IMPROVEMENT taped 8/22/02 Gifu Sangyo Kaikan
-1hr 55min. Q=TV Master

Naohiro Hoshikawa & Kamikaze vs. Kintaro Kanemura & Tetsuhiro Kuroda

Don Arakawa vs. Fugofugo Yumeji

King Joe & Samoan Savage vs. Tatsuhito Takaiwa & Wagyu Kuroge

Kazuhiko Ogasawara & Kohei Sato vs. Wataru Sakata & Hirotaka Yokoi

NWA, UPW, ZERO-ONE International Junior Heavyweight Title: Leonardo Spanky vs. Yoshihito Sasaki

Shinjiro Otani & Masato Tanaka vs. Steve Corino & David Young

Shinya Hashimoto & Naoya Ogawa & Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs. Tom Howard & The Predator & Nathan Jones

ZERO-ONE TV 10/3/02 Genesis II taped 9/12 Iwate Ken'ei Taiikukan
-2hr. Q=TV Master

Don Arakawa vs. Fugofugo Yumeji

Kintaro Kanemura & Tetsuhiro Kuroda vs. Dick Togo & Ikuto Hidaka

Kazuhiko Ogasawara vs. Waguta Kuroge

Naohiro Hoshikawa & Leonardo Spanky vs. Yoshihito Sasaki & Low ki

The Predator vs. Kohei Sato

Masato Tanaka & Shinjiro Otani & Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs. Samoan Savage & Keiji Sakoda & Tom Howard

Shinya Hashimoto & Naoya Ogawa vs. Steve Corino & Nathan Jones

Jiai Chukei ZERO-ONE 10/15/02 Genesis II taped 9/16/02 Tokyo Differ Ariake
-2hr. Q=TV Master

Kamikaze & Yoshihito Sasaki vs. Fugofugo Yumeji & Waguta Kuroge

Kintaro Kanemura vs. Hirotaka Yokoi

Steve Corino vs. Samoan Savage

Tetsuhiro Kuroda & Naohiro Hoshikawa & Wataru Sakata vs. Dick Togo & Ikuto Hidaka & Kohei Sato 13:45 of 16:20. There was a lot of talent here, obviously, but they didn't seem to know what they wanted to do with the match. Everyone just kind of did there own thing. Hoshikawa & Sakata threw some impressive stiff kicks. Kuroda worked Togo's knee, and there were so many options he just couldn't decide whether to elbow or slam it into the post. Kuroda lacked the skill, but had a good attitude about being in with the juniors and was very energetic. Sato, meanwhile, was a total nonfactor. Hidaka didn't play a big role, so it was mainly Togo who was trying to elevate it above the good enough level. In the end, it was always worth watching, but never reached a higher level and just kind of ended. **1/2

NWA UPW ZERO-ONE Nintei International Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Leonardo Spanky vs. Low ki 16:50. Ki carried the match, pitting his brutality vs. Spanky's athleticism. He roughed Spanky up, but was mainly setting Spanky up to play off him with aerial counter attacks. It was too easy to see just how much they were cooperating with each other to pull these spots off, but it was an entertaining exhibition nonetheless. ***

The Predator & Tom Howard vs. Keiji Sakoda & Nathan Jones

Shinya Hashimoto & Kazuhiko Ogasawara vs. Masato Tanaka & Shinjiro Otani 14:08. 01 were doing their best to put the D in DUMB ANGLE here. What started as a standard, kind of dull slow paced match where Otani & Tanaka worked over Hashimoto's knee setting up Hashimoto to make sporadic, not nearly as inspired as in the '90's comebacks went badly awry when Tanaka got mad at Otani for letting Hashimoto slip through his clutches. So, just to be clear, Tanaka accidentally cracks Otani with a jumping elbow when Hashimoto gets away, and it's Tanaka who is pissed (is Otani harder than Hashimoto or something?), so he kicks his partner when he's down. Then Otani, who is in full WTF mode, kicks him back, so Tanaka abandons him! The rest of the match sees Otani get destroyed going alone, mainly by Ogasawara, who hits a nice kick now and then but mostly does comically pulled strikes and continues to exist apart from any actual wrestling the same way the karate guys in early FMW did. Hashimoto & Ogasawara beat Otani up after the match, dispatching all of the seconds, until Tanaka decides to rescue his fallen partner and help him to the back. So Tanaka hit Otani for I guess you could say being incompetent, left him alone to get brutalized, and winds up the hero for saving the day since the inept seconds couldn't do the job. *1/2

Jiai Chukei ZERO-ONE 11/13/02 Improvement II taped 10/20/02 Tokyo Korakuen Hall
-2hr. Q=TV Master

Shinya Hashimoto vs. Keiji Sakoda

Waguta Kuroge & Fugofugo Yumeji vs. Shinsuke Z Yamagasa & Fuyuki Takahashi

The Predator & Jimmy Snuka, Jr. vs. Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Kohei Sato

Naohiro Hoshikawa vs. Yoshihito Sasaki 10:31. Hoshikawa controlled the match, pretty much using his shoot style offense to have his way with Sasaki. Sasaki would hit a big move every minute or two to stay in the match, and overall hit most of the highspots while Hoshikawa was the solid and brutal one. You never felt Sasaki could win, but he was able to do good by sticking to what he was capable of. **

Steve Corino & C.W. Anderson vs. Low Ki & Leonardo Spanky 10:36. Good effort here with Corino & C.W. really going out of their way to make Ki & Spanky look good. Corino, in particular, was happy to look dumb so Spanky could hit one of his flying moves. Ki & C.W. was the best pairing, as they were countering well and playing off each other nicely. The main drawback was Corino & Anderson displayed the typical way overexaggerated American selling. **3/4

Wataru Sakata vs. Akio Kobayashi 4:08. Super phone mixed style martial arts match. Sakata is good in this style, but just had nothing to work with to the point you felt sorry for him. Note to Kobayashi, if you are going to limit your ability to do anything else by wearing giant boxing gloves, at least connect with half of your punches. Ironically, he did just that once he ditched the gloves. DUD

Kazuhiko Ogasawara vs. Hirotaka Yokoi

NWA Intercontinental Tag Title Match: Shinjiro Otani & Masato Tanaka vs. Nathan Jones & John Heidenreich 11:19. Let's just say nothing about this match said big tag match. EMBLEM got along fine today, they were simply no match for The Anabolics. Jones & Heidenreich were so inflexible it was hard to do much of anything to them to the point even Tanaka's bodyslam didn't look very good. Jones actually managed to find a way to botch a press slam early. After that, they mainly settled into a pattern of everything looking robotic and unimpressive, with the match being almost serviceable when it was at its very best. 1/2*

ZERO-ONE Battle Station 11/20/02 Improvement II taped 10/26/02 Osaka Rinkai Sports Center
-2hr. Q=TV Master

Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Don Arakawa vs. Waguta Kuroge & Fugofugo Yumeji

C.W. Anderson vs. Kohei Sato

Steve Corino & Leonardo Spanky vs. Keiji Sakoda & Yoshihito Sasaki

The Predator & Jimmy Snuka, Jr. vs. Wataru Sakata & Hirotaka Yokoi

NWA UPW ZERO-ONE International Jr. Heavyweight Title Match: Low Ki vs. Naohiro Hoshikawa 14:51. Well worked, under control match that was always interesting. They displayed some patience here, taking some time to build the match up. They did a number of good moves, obviously, but it never felt spot oriented. It also never felt quite as energetic or intense as one would expect. Ultimately, it was quite a good match, but not as dynamic as the low gear start led one to believe it might be, as they were doing a real steady 2nd gear but never felt they needed high. ***1/4

Shinjiro Ohtani & Masato Tanaka vs. Kazuhiko Ogasawara & Akio Kobayashi

Shinya Hashimoto & Naoya Ogawa vs. Nathan Jones & John Heidenreich

SKY PerfecTV! LIVE SPECIAL ZERO-ONE Truth Creation 12/15/02 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan
-4hr 50min. Q=TV Master. 3 DVDs

Kanaami Death Match: The Predator vs. Nathan Jones 12:34.
MS: Pretty boring American monster style match. Predator is basically a lame Brody clone. Jones has the size that McMahon wets himself over, like Batista, but he’s got nothing to go with it. However, if Steve Austin and The Warlord ever had a kid it would be Jones, so maybe he can be pushed as that instead of a wannabe Scott Steiner. 3/4*

Kanaami Death Match: Josh Dempsey & Sean McCully vs. Kintaro Kanemura & Tetsuhiro Kuroda 3:58.
MS: Apparently, as the tights say, anything does go as Kanemura caught the ref with a very nice release German suplex shortly after the start. He followed that up with a splash thru a table off the top of the cage, but that was it as far as this match being cool goes. It quickly degenerated into a weak brawl and then even more quickly ended with Kuroda getting knocked out with some lame looking punches. 1/2*

Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Masanobu Fuchi & Don Arakawa vs. Yoshihito Sasaki & Waguta Kuroge & Fugofugo Yumeji 13:12.
MS: Ah… somewhere Giant Baba is smiling. Pretty much a concoction of his basic comedy formula, though the wrestling was obviously better than it was for those matches in All Japan. There were two cool sequences that featured a loud slap fight between Fujiwara and Sasaki followed by some nice jumping headbutt spots by Yumeji. Overall, it was okay but a few minutes too long. *1/4

Low ki & Frankie vs. Tatsuhito Takaiwa & Masato Tanaka 12:57. Big time junior heavyweight spotfest. Started great with Ki & Frankie hitting simultaneous boomerang moves then dives, and never really slowed down. It was funny seeing Takaiwa trying to play the solid one, but the match was really a showcase for the gaijins, with Kazarian particularly pulling one wild move after another. It was an ambitious match where they tried to be as spectacular as possible. There were a couple of mistakes, and it was kind of short without much selling, but this was really fun stuff with the Americans truly putting on a show. ***3/4
MS: They started out hot with the gaijins jumping the double T’s, and after hitting stereo springboard back elbows that sent Takaiwa and Tanaka outside Low ki hit a space flying Tiger drop as Frankie hit a nice running plancha. They slowed things down a bit with Low ki selling pretty well for the T’s, and when they picked it up the crowd got very hot for them. Too many great spots to run down, but one serious highlight was Takaiwa catching Low ki off a springboard and turning it into a Death Valley bomb followed by a sick release cobra-clutch suplex by Tanaka on Frankie. The crowd really got behind Low ki who, like rest of the match, was awesome throughout. ****

Dos Caras, Jr. & Jimmy Snuka, Jr. vs. Kohei Sato & Hirotaka Yokoi 10:40
MS: Caras was the only notable guy in this match in that he actually looked good and certainly outclassed his partner. At one point, Caras was unmasked, which was a nice sequence but it was hurt by the fact that he had a spare at ringside so there wasn’t much drama to it though the crowd gave a surprise pop when the masked was initially torn off. His finish was pretty cool however as he had Sato up for a press slam and then dropped him into a German suplex for the win. *1/2

Kendo Kashin vs. Kazuhiko Ogasawara 5:52
MS: The beginning tried to look authentic, but wasn’t overly effective in conveying a shoot. After a ref bump off an Owasawara backfist about halfway through, they dropped the façade. Kashin used a standing suplex and some worked stomps in deciding to no longer use your illusion and the match actually got better as a result. They both became more aggressive and Ogasawara became a lot stiffer. Kashin eventually got the nod after catching a second jujigatame, which led to a pull apart after the bell since he refused to release it. Takaiwa cleaned house on everyone but Ka Shin, who just left on his own accord and the crowd was into this too. **

Jeff Jarrett & Steve Corino vs. King Joe & King Adamo 15:51
MS: Very slow beginning with some serious stalling by Corino and the pair of kings. Coming off this, I expected this too be really weak but it was actually passable. Jarrett got not one, but zero reaction until they did the old Michinoku Pro armbar on the apron spot where Jarrett got Joe, then mistakenly Corino (who’s selling of this was the highlight of the match), and then the ref (who had to jump to make it look decent). Double J followed this with his strut, which apparently I alone found funny. The rest of the match was basically a stiffer version of a standard American tag, but did feature a couple of cool spots by Joe including an insane running dive over the top which caught more railing than Corino. Jarrett then used a real acoustic instead of his usual gray slapnuts special, which got a big pop and eventually beat Adamo with the stroke that got a pin drop pop. Being that I actually like Jarrett from his WCW days, I was kinda bummed that nobody cared about him but I guess that either his recent matches with Curt Hennig were used to preview him coming in or it’s just that nobody knew who the hell he was. **

Tenkaichi (best on earth) Junior Tournament Yushoketteisen: Wataru Sakata vs. Naohiro Hoshikawa 15:56. Totally badass credible match where they held nothing back in the brutality department. Despite being a junior tournament final it was more similar to a Kawada match focusing on stiffness, believability, and selling with Hoshikawa's dive being about the only fake move in the contest. Hoshikawa had his moments, but was always trying to fight back as Sakata injured his right leg early. The match was extremely intense with segments such as Sakata kicking Hoshikawa's knee out and just kicking and stomping him on the ground so he couldn't get up. Sakata hit an awesome flying knee that bloodied Hoshikawa's mouth to set up him logically finishing Naohiro with a 1/2 crab. Hoshikawa may have lost, but our respect for both men rose dramatically as their willingness to take a beating one could argue was unnecessary is what elevated it from a nice match to a memorable big match. ****
MS: This was an absolutely brutal and wonderful match. The storyline was that both men just kept killing each other with stiff shots and whoever survived this war of attrition would be the winner. The execution was near flawless and the heated crowd really made it special. My only fault with this match was that I felt Hoshikawa wasn’t given enough punishment to justify how much he sold his right leg, but that could be nitpicking on my part. It did matter in the end, however, as Sakata caught him with the maple leaf (single leg crab) for the win. Hoshikawa’s facials in putting over the pain he was in were classic though and made it much more believable that his knee was in peril throughout the match. Definitely a must see lesson in psychology. ****1/4

Shinjiro Otani vs. Satoshi Kojima 16:34. Kojima pulled one of Otani's most hard fought and exciting matches of the last few years out of him. It was definitely on the short side, but this was the Otani we used to love, wrestling more like a junior with a more athletic and spot oriented offense and no ne of his punk stalling routine. It also showed what Otani is capable of doing as a heavyweight, as he added stiffness without really sacrificing offense. The most disappointing aspect of the match for me was the selling. Otani used to be so wonderful, but there were some issues here such as Kojima dominating the early portion and hitting a huge Koji cutter off the apron only to have Otani come right back with his rolling bodyblock off the apron. It also wasn't exactly well built or dramatic, but as they packed about as much action as you'll get from heavyweights into 16 1/2 minutes I can forgive that. ***1/2
MS: Most people would have a tough time following the previous match, but these guys weren’t too far from a great match themselves. They were helastiff and seriously heated as well, but I expected a little more than we got. A lot of the match was them trying to show each other up, but in my opinion, while it was the right storyline to go with, they began no selling big stuff as the match went on and they weren’t overly tight with their execution either. But it wasn’t enough to really detract from what they did, I just figured on them doing more. However, Kojima’s finishing lariat was seriously wicked and had an equally wicked bump by Otani to put it over. ***1/2

Shinya Hashimoto & Naoya Ogawa vs. Matt Ghaffari & Tom Howard 12:23
MS: With the exception of Ralphus, I never thought I’d see the day that a physique worse than Mark Madden’s would grace the squared circle until Matt Ghaffari cartwheeled across my JVC. Matt brought the funk and the crowd brought the noise, but aside from 2 or 3 choice moments this was fairly weak. On two occasions Ghaffari’s forgot to kick out and had to be covered by the ref, and after the second time the match completely broke down. Following a clusterfuck ref bump, Ghaffari hit his splash straight onto Ogawa’s face (which amazingly enough didn’t crush his skull) and got a nice reaction for the surprise win. *1/2

ZERO-ONE Battle Station 1/11/03 Zero Chu Festival II taped 12/29/02 Tokyo Korakuen Hall
-2hr. Q=TV Master

Shinsuke Z Yamagasa vs. Fuyuki Takahashi 6:58

Don Arakawa & Tetsuhiro Kuroda & Gran Naniwa vs. Ikuto Hidaka & Kuroge Wagyuta & Fugofugo Yumeji 15:08

Wataru Sakata vs. Yoshihito Sasaki 8:51

Tatsuhito Takaiwa & Masato Tanaka vs. Gran Hamada & Kohei Sato 22:17

Shinjiro Otani vs. Hirotaka Yokoi 6:49

Shinya Hashimoto vs. Kintaro Kanemura 7:50

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