March 29, 2009 – Tokyo, Japan

So the PPV is over and only one title changed hands. Welcome to the championship rundown CIMA:
Open the Dream Gate Champion: Naruki Doi
Open the Twin Gate Champions: Gamma & Susumu Yokosuka
Open the Triangle Gate Champions: Shingo Takagi, Taku Iwasa & Dragon Kid
Open the Brave Gate Champion: CIMA

The show starts with a recap of the finer PPV points. Doi retained his title, Cyber Kong shaved Anthony W. Mori’s head, and Yasushi Kanda hit Naoki Tanisaki with the blue box, leading to our first match tonight.

Cyber Kong {RH} & Yasushi Kanda {RH} vs. Naruki Doi {W1} & Naoki Tanisaki {W1}
Real Hazard attacks at the bell. Tanisaki regains control for his team. Doi dropkicks Kong’s knee, obviously having seen what worked for Mori at the PPV. He puts on a figure 4 leglock but Kanda makes the save. Doi and Tanisaki double-team Kanda for 2. Kong and Kanda try to double-team Tanisaki but he fights them off. Doi comes in and cleans house. Kanda hits a spinning side slam for 2. He hits an exploder and Kong hits a back suplex for 2. He misses a flying elbowdrop and eats Tanisaki’s knee. Tanisaki hits the Casanova for 2 when Kong pulls him off to hit a German suplex. Ryo Saito hits Tanisaki with the blue box and Kong hits the Pineapple Bomber for the win at 7:00 shown of 9:15. That finish sucked, and the match was about as run-of-the-mill as it gets.
Rating: *¾

After the match a completely bald Anthony W. Mori attacks Kong. Kong gets the better of him but Masato Yoshino runs out and attacks Kong as well. Yoshino and Kong go back and forth on the microphone for a bit.

At the PPV Real Hazard eliminated World-1 and came close to defeating Kamikaze for the Triangle Gate titles. In the process though, through their blatant cheating, they earned the full attention of World-1.

YAMATO {RH} & Ryo Saito {RH} vs. BxB Hulk {W1} & Masato Yoshino {W1}
This has got to be the most talented Real Hazard duo they could put together. YAMATO and Saito attack during Hulk and Yoshino’s entrance. In the ring Hulk takes control with a dropkick. Yoshino tags in and puts on the Coumuri. Saito regains control for his team and YAMATO dropkicks Hulk. He puts on the sleeper hold. Saito knocks YAMATO off the apron by mistake and eats Hulk’s dropkick. Yoshino tags in and hits the Sling Blade. YAMATO comes back with the sleeper hold but Yoshino gets to the ropes. Saito nails Hulk with a powerbomb. Hulk comes back with a legsweep and standing moonsault. He hits a capture suplex for 2. Yoshino misses a dropkick and Saito nails him with a splash. YAMATO hits a brainbuster for 2. Hulk cleans house with kicks in impressive, Jackie-Chan fashion. He hits a springboard kick for 2. Yoshino hits the Torbellino but Saito keeps him from locking in a submission. Yoshino puts From Jungle on Saito instead. Hulk hits YAMATO with another dropkick. YAMATO comes back with the sleeper hold but Hulk escapes with kicks. Saito hits a German suplex and a dragon suplex for 2. He hits a low blow and hits new finisher, the Double Cross for the win at 11:33 shown of 14:11. Aside from a few flashes of innovation and the debut of Saito’s new finisher this was nothing special. I expected a lot more from these four, actually.
Rating: **¼

After the match Saito gets on the microphone and tells Hulk to become his Dark Hulk character full-time and join Real Hazard. Hulk roles out of the ring and skulks to the back.

Before the next match they show a clip of CIMA pinning Yoshino to become the Brave Gate Champion. Dragon Kid interrupts his backstage celebration to ask for a title shot. Later in the night KAGETORA interrupts Kamikaze’s backstage celebration and challenges them to a Triangle Gate match. Tonight’s main event is something of a compromise, as CIMA and KAGETORA team with Twin Gate Champion Gamma to take on the Triangle Gate Champions in a non-title match. You have to imagine both title match requests will be honored in the coming weeks.

Shingo Takagi {K}, Akira Tozawa {K} & Dragon Kid {K} vs. CIMA {W5}, Gamma {W5} & KAGETORA {W5}
Tozawa is replacing Taku Iwasa, who was in the opening match. Not sure what purpose this serves except to telegraph that WARRIORS 5 are winning here. Tozawa starts with Gamma and gets grounded until throwing a butt butt. Kid tags in and wants CIMA. CIMA obliges but Kid’s uses his speed to chase him to the floor. Takagi keeps Gamma on the mat. Tozawa tags in and falls victim to a Gamma titty twister. CIMA adds a little extra oomph to the hold. Gamma hits a slingshot dropkick. He gives Tozawa the Sweet Angel’s Kiss, and then in a cute moment CIMA bugs out after getting a high five. Tozawa hits CIMA with a butt butt. Takagi tags in and cleans house. Kid hits Gamma with a hurricanrana and the Bermuda Triangle. Takagi hits KAGETORA with a DDT but misses a senton. KAGETORA hits an enziguiri for 2. CIMA nails him and CIMA with a double suplex. Kid puts CIMA in the Christo. He hits Gamma with a stunner. Tozawa hits the Apron Kawa Tozawa for 2. Gamma hits Kid with a facebuster for 2. CIMA hits the Venus and the Iconoclasm. KAGETORA hits a flying elbowdrop for 2. Takagi hits KAGETORA with the DVD. Kid hits a super hurricanrana and Tozawa hits the Ganki for 2. Gamma and CIMA hit a double superkick on Tozawa. Takagi accidentally hits Tozawa with the Pumping Bomber and KAGETORA follows that with the Ikkitousen for the win at 13:04 shown of 17:28. You could see the finish coming a mile away, but the rest of the match was decent enough. After the match WARRIORS 5 demand a title match and Takagi grants it. Here’s hoping the title matches that stem from this match are at least a little more exciting.
Rating: **¾

The show starts to wrap up with a rundown of upcoming matches. On April 26th there will be a triple main event, in which Real Hazard will battle WARRIORS 5. Gamma vs. YAMATO, Saito vs. Susumu Yokosuka and a six-man tag with the remaining wrestlers make up the trio of matches.

Earlier in the night Saito helped Arai cheat like hell to pick up a win over Yokosuka. After the match Saito reminded WARRIORS 5 that he wants a shot at the Twin Gate titles. A tournament to decide the next contender will take place on April 18th and 19th, with the winner facing the champions at the next PPV, Dead or Alive 2009.

The show ends with a clip of SpeedMuscle giving a check to some CosPlay characters at a horse racing track a few nights earlier. Back at the arena Kong and Takagi get into a brawl backstage that spills into the arena. Somehow KAGETORA and Yoshino get involved, and the four of them duke it out as the credits roll. Of course this would lead to a match between the four on PPV.

I have to ask, how is this any more developed a story than Chris Jericho spilling coffee on Kane to set up a match? KAGETORA and Yoshino get caught up in a brawl completely randomly after Kong and Takagi, with almost as much an arbitrary start, fight into their path. The answer: it’s not different at all.

Not long ago Jim Cornette returned to Ring of Honor (which I’ve admittedly stopped watching after years of fandom because the pretention of the company finally got to me and the in-ring action was neither original or exciting enough to make up for it long after Gabe Sapolski’s departure) and declared war on all things Sports Entertainment.

Well guess what ROH fans, you’re watching Sports Entertainment too. You watch a promotion in which a caricature of a lumberjack and two video game creatures wrestle. You watch a promotion in which the champion pulls the names of his challengers out of a hat. You watch a promotion in which guys hang each-other by nooses from the ceiling, and in which droves of men wearing masks beat up one guy in front of hundreds of witnesses without a single police officer getting involved.

Now do I think any of these things are bad? No I don’t, (well yes I do in some cases but that’s actually neither here nor there) but it’s foolish to try to kid yourselves into thinking that wrestling is or ever has been anything more than Sports Entertainment.

You know what wrestling is without the Sports Entertainment element? Mixed Martial Arts. Now I love MMA as much as the next guy, but I watch wrestling for completely different reasons, and so you should you. Can you imagine if Dana White forced enemy Tito Ortiz to fight against Forrest Griffin, Rashad Evans and Wanderlei Silva on the same night before immediately being granted a title shot against a fresh Lyoto Machita? It would never happen, and you know why? Because MMA is competitive and wrestling is a show. So stop trying to pretend that ROH, or CHIKARA, or PWG or even Dragon Gate, have some lofty status as a “closer to a sport” promotion. Wrestling is worked and infused with Sports Entertainment because that’s what’s worked for decades and that’s what will continue to work for decades to come.