Otani & Muto Victorious in All Japan! Muto Promises 3/6 Appearance!
February 10th, 2011
ZERO1 President Shinjiro Otani was victorious in All Japan Pro Wrestling teaming alongside AJPW President Keiji Muto. Otani & Muto defeated Masakatsu Funaki and AKIRA in 16:40 at EXCITE SERIES 2011 in Korakuen Hall. As was announced earlier, Daichi Hashimoto seconded Otani for the match.
Following their win Otani called Daichi into the ring to shake hands with Muto and the other wrestlers. Muta put his arm around Daichi as they all took a ceremonial photograph together with every one.
Back in the locker room, Daichi asked Muto to please come to the March 6th ZERO1 show in Ryogoku for their 10th Anniversary. Muto wanted some questions answered first. "Are you confident in your debut?" Muto asked.
"Yes, my confidence..." Daichi stammered, receiving a sharp elbow in the side from Otani. "Yes! Sorry! Yes, I'm confident!"
Muto then thanked Otani, who responded in kind for the invitation to All Japan. He then also asked Muto if he would come to Ryogoku for Daichi's debut match. Muto responded that he had a match in Korakuen Hall on March 6, but following the show he would come to Ryogoku to see Daichi's debut.
Daichi also said that after he wrestles Chono, he hopes to face Muto in a ZERO1 ring.
CAMPERS Arrive for ZERO1 Camp #2!
February 9th, 2011
Two new foreign wrestlers have arrived in Tokyo to train at the ZERO1 dojo: Nic Primo and Kaleb "Diamond" Konely. The first ZERO1 CAMP was held back in October of 2010.
Primo is 21 years old and is the son of former WCW Cruiserweight Champion & WCW World Television Champion, Prince Iaukea. Prince Iaukea himself wrestled in Japan for New Japan Pro Wrestling back 1997. Samoan by birth, both Iaukea and Primo now both hail and operate out of the state of Florida in the USA.
Due to his Father's background and original training, Primo is no stranger to the strenuous style of a Japanese dojo.
"My father definitely pushed me to come and train in Japan. The language and the culture might be different from what I'm used to, but the goal is to work hard and win title belts. I look forward to meeting all the Japanese fan on the 17th in Korakuen Hall."
Caleb "Diamond" Konley is a 24-year old wrestler from North Carolina, USA who wrestles mostly in the Southern states and has also appeared for EVOLVE Pro Wrestling. He has been wrestling since 2005, and his Father is also a professional wrestler from that area.
"I am so excited to be here, I can't even express it in words. I will do my best and show everybody what I am capable of in the ring. See you on the 17th in Korakuen Hall!"
Kakki Returns on 2/17! Waterfall Training with KAMIKAZE!
February 8th, 2011
As was previously reported here on www.zerooneusa.com, young ZERO1 wrestler Kakinuma Kenta was sidelined with a serious arm fracture that kept him out of action since last September. Now after rest and rehabilitation, Kakki has announced that he will return to action at Go for the Birth in Korakuen Hall on February 17th.
In the opening match of the show he will face his ZERO1 senpai Ryoji Sai. Kakki comments:
"Hello everybody! At last I'm finally ready to return after taking time off since September due to injury. I was absent for a long time, but the fans kept me going through the tough time with their support. I thank everybody for that. In order to meet the expectations of all the fans I will persevere and continue to improve! Thank you everybody for your support!"
Kakki was injured during the ZERO1 ~Euro Vintage Action~ shows in Shinjuku FACE last year when facing Ryoji Sai, the same wrestler he will face on his return.
To aid his healing and preparation, Kakki traveled with ZERO1 veteran KAMIKAZE to Tochiji, Japan for Waterfall training. KAMIKAZE is heading into his own trial on 2/17 when he will challenge current World Heavyweight champion Daisuke Sekimoto. KAMIKAZE commented on his own preparation:
"As I said before, I don't instead to try and match power with Sekimoto. I will use my skill and knowledge to defeat him, so to settle my mind & soul I came to waterfall training. When we arrived at the waterfall, it was very cold and a heavy snow was falling. Still I was able to reach down to the fire inside and prepare myself. Now I will be able to fight from the depth of my mind & body and gain the highest treasure in ZERO1 - the World Heavyweight title."
Kakki added that he wanted to come with KAMIKAZE for similar reason, to prepare for his return match and brave the cold and snow:
"Thanks to this, I was able to prepare my mind as well as my body so on the 17th I can give the fans a hot fight I can put my soul into. Yoroshiku onegaishimasu!"
Craig Classic Returns to Japan as a Champion for Ryogoku!
January 28th, 2011
Current NWA World Jr. Heavyweight Champion Craig Classic has been announced for the March 6, 10th Anniversary of ZERO1 in Ryogoku Kokugikan. Craig won the title back in November 2010 in Fort Pierce, Florida from CHIKARA PRO's Mike Quackenbush.
The NWA World Jr. Heavyweight title has been around since 1945 when it was created by the founder of the National Wrestling Alliance. The title is well known by Japanese pro wrestling fans, having been defended in their home country and having been held by several Japanese wrestlers through the years:
Hiro Matsuda (1964/1975), Umanosuke Ueda (1970), Tiger Mask I (1982/1983), The Cobra (1983/1985), Hiro Saito (1985), Masayoshi Motegi (1995), The Great Sasuke (1996), Ultimo Dragon (1996), Jushin Liger (1997), El Samurai (1997), and Tiger Mask IV (2006).
The belt was even once held by ZERO1 President Shinjiro Otani back in 1997 when it was unified under New Japan Pro Wrestling's J-Crown with seven other Jr. titles. The J-Crown was disassembled that same year when the WWF(WWE) demanded the return of the WWF Light Heavyweight title.
Also familiar to Japan is Craig Classic, who spent six years in the ring for Big Japan Pro Wrestling. In 2010 Craig returned home to the USA where he quickly established himself again, culminating in his victory over three year champion Quackenbush.
With ZERO1 re-affiliated with the NWA, and the history of the NWA World Jr. Heavyweight and its current champion, Craig was invited to the ZERO1 10th Anniversary show.
He will be defending the NWA World Jr. title against BattlArts wrestler and ZERO1 regular Munenori Sawa. Sawa is both a former NWA Intercontinental tag team and NWA International Lightweight tag team champion. Sawa made several trips overseas in 2010, testing his ability against American wrestlers, including Bryan Danielson. Because of this, and the history the title has in Japan, Craig himself designated Sawa as the top challenger for his belt.
Sawa commented on his upcoming match with the NWA World Jr. Champion, Craig Classic:
"Once again, too much is the best for me! People ask me why I push myself to the limit. I do if for the people that have come to Kitasenju to support BattlArts all these years, and those who supported us back in Koshigaya. Also all the members and students that practiced with us at the B-Club Dojo."
"Everybody knows about the impending closure of BattlArts. I would like to capture a NWA title with the flag of BattlArts on my back before it closes. I want to send proud news to all the those who spared their personal time with BattlArts and bring them victory in Ryogoku! Naasha!!"
It was announced at the end of last year that BattlArts would be closing its doors on March 26, 2011.
Otani Will Team with Muta in All-Japan!
January 27th, 2011
All Japan Pro Wrestling held a press conference today to announce the participation of ZERO1 President Shinjiro Otani in their February 6th Korakuen Hall show that is part of their EXCITE SERIES 2011 tour. Otani will team alongside none other than AJPW's President Keiji Muto to take on Masakatsu Funaki & AKIRA.
Also coming along as a second to Otani will be Daichi Hashimoto. Muto, like Chono, was part of the legendary threesome the "Toukon Sanjuushi" or "Fighting Spirit Three Musketeers" with ZERO-ONE founder and Daichi's father the late Shinya Hashimoto.
Daichi will be making his pro wrestling debut soon and wanted to meet again with Muto after a long time.When he learned of Otani's scheduled match in All-Japan Pro Wrestling he requested to come along.
Muto said he had been watching Daichi's progress from afar, and was very happy he wanted to come to the AJPW show. "I want Otani and I can show him the type of pro wrestling that existed back when his Father was in the ring," Muto said.
"I want Daichi to see this," Otani added. "I fought against the Toukon Sanjuushi, and I think there is something that only Muto and Chono understand about those days. I want Daichi to watch carefully and learn."
While making the announcement on his Facebook page, FIRST ON STAGE Director Yoshiyuki Nakamura also revealed that Muto will be in attendance for the March 6, ZERO1 Ryogoku Kokugikan show.
All Japan Pro Wrestling
MMA Fighter Daijiro Matsui Challenges ZERO1!
January 25th, 2011
Former PRIDE fighter Daijiro Matsui has offered a challenge to ZERO1 and has been scheduled for the February 17th Go for the Birth show in Tokyo's Korakuen Hall. Matsui had participated in 15 PRIDE events before that company closed, fighting the likes of Wanderlei Silva, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, and Vitor Belfort. Following the closing of PRIDE he continued to fight in Cage Rage, DEEP and PANCRASE. His last victory came in September of last year for DEEP when he won via decision.
Matsui was also trained in the UWFi (UWF International) by Nobuhiko Takada and has previously wrestled for New Japan Pro Wrestling many years ago. One of these appearance included losing an IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title match against then champion Kendo Kashin at a 2002 Tokyo Dome show. He also defeated Katsuyori Shibata in a singles match in February of that same year.
Matsui has also wrestled in BattlArts and Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye! in the early part of last decade. In 2001 he even faced current ZERO1 International Jr. Heavyweight Champion Ikuto Hidaka in BattlArts. More recently he has participated in Antonio Inoki's IGF promotion, but what has made him want to enter ZERO1?
"I watched the ZERO1 show live on New Year's Day with a reporter friend of mine. While we were watching the show, they commented 'ZERO1 is hot!' I agree, it surely is a hot group of fighters and matches. I enjoyed watching Otani and Hidaka, who I have fought before...all the matches were good and it made me want to participate! I want to go on a rampage within the rules of pro wrestling! I think strong style, UWF and MMA require the same fighting spirit!"
ZERO1 has announced Matsui will participate in a 6-man tag match teamed alongside Takuya Sugawara & Diamond Connery vs. Ikuto Hidaka, Minoru Fujita & Munenori Sawa.
KAMIKAZE To Challenge Champion Sekimoto at Go for the Birth!
January 19th, 2011
ZERO1 has announced that at the February 17th Korakuen Hall show Go for the Birth that KAMIKAZE will be the next challenger toWorld Heavyweight Champion Daisuke Sekimoto. Following the January 1st show Sekimoto had challenged Masato Tanaka for his next challenger, but KAMIKAZE applied for the chance first. KAMIKAZE is also ½ of the current NWA Intercontinental Tag Team Champions with Kohei Sato
KAMIKAZE pointed to the fact that in the finals of last year's Furinkazen Tag League Tournament he was the one that scored the pinfall on the champ when he and Kohei Sato defeated Tanaka and Sekimoto in Nagoya, Japan.
"I was the person who got the 3 count on the world champion in the Furinkazen Tag finals. Just looking at Sekimoto, I don't think I can win using power. However, I do believe there is a way to beat him. We surprised everybody when we won the Furinkazen. I think all of ZERO1 will be surprised when I capture the World Heavyweight title!"
Sekimoto was also reached for comment:
"I don't fear another fight with KAMIKAZE. It's true I was overwhelmed in the in final of the Furinkazen, but I have fought KAMIKAZE many times in the past and I know his skill. He's a veteran and he deserves respect, but if he expects to take my title he better be prepared to do it with power.
"I accept the challenge. I plan on repaying the debt from the Furinkazen. I remember being very aggravated at that moment, and I plan to find that anger again. I also plan to keep the title and still I want to challenge Masato Tanaka."