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Wrestle and Romance (PROJECT19)

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The WAR World Six-Man Tag Team Title Tournament kicked off today in Sendai with a full house. The opener saw KENTA take on Suzuki-gun’s Keisuke Okuda in standard rules match-up. Okuda was out to prove something as he was very aggressive with KENTA, trying to humiliate him on the ground and keep KENTA off his feet and away from the stiff kicks and knees. He kept grabbing chokes in an attempt for the submission but in the end, KENTA was able to power through to his feet, hoisting Okuda up on his shoulders to finish him off with the Go 2 Sleep. 

The newly re-christened DAMNATION, led by Daisuke Sasaki, wrestled WAR International in the first round of the tournament. Jushin Liger did not accompany the trio for this match but toward the end of the match, as Gresham had Sasaki locked in the octopus hold, Shotaro Ashino appeared on the entrance ramp. He gestured to the back and through the curtain stepped Daisuke Harada and Hajime Ohara. This was enough to distract Gresham and allowed Sasaki to put him away with the Now or Never and advance in the tournament. Ashino laughed at their defeat as an angry Rusev went after them.

In tag team action, Kengo Mashimo and Kota Umeda of Kingslayers picked up a win over Katsuhiko Nakajima and SHO Tanaka when Mashimo used a vertical-drop brainbuster on Tanaka. Nakajima seemed particularly aloof throughout the match, as if he didn’t want to be there, and when Tanaka was in trouble, Nakajima didn’t do much to help him out of his situation. Umeda and Nakajima did get into it at one point, with Nakajima really laying into him with the hard kicks. 

Under UWF Rules, Jun Akiyama defeated Yukio Sakaguchi with his front necklock. Sakaguchi had the advantage in style but Akiyama had the experience factor, which led him to making some smart decisions and avoiding Sakaguchi’s attempts to bait him onto the mat. Akiyama landed plenty of big knee strikes and once he was able to cinch in the front necklock, there was no escape for Sakaguchi. Backstage, Akiyama spoke briefly on the change in style for him and how he enjoyed being forced into new predicaments at his age. 

The main event saw a very hard-hitting affair between Lion’s Pride and Moon Vulcan as the youngsters from Moon Vulcan had something to say, and they let their strikes do the talking. The interactions between Yuji Nagata and Takuya Nomura were particularly heated, with Nagata and Nomura slapping each other silly, while Abe and Iwamoto tried to isolate the junior heavyweight champion, KUSHIDA, and catch him off guard. Tomohiro Ishii was the wrecking ball who everyone wanted to avoid. Abe threw his classic baseball punch at Nagata who sold it perfectly but in the end, Nagata pinned Abe with a backdrop hold to advance his team to the semi-finals. 

 

Wrestle and Romance "WAR IN OSAKA 2019 Tour", 2/15/2019
Dream Messe Miyagi Main Building Exhibition Hall C
1,445 Fans
– Super No Vacancy Full House

1. KENTA beat Keisuke Okuda (7:27) with the Go 2 Sleep.
2. WAR World Six-Man Tag Team Title Tournament: Daisuke Sasaki, Dick Togo & TAKA Michinoku beat Timothy Thatcher, Drew Gulak & Jonathan Gresham (10:56) when Sasaki used the Now or Never on Gresham.
3. Kengo Mashimo & Kota Umeda beat Katsuhiko Nakajima & SHO Tanaka (8:12) when Mashimo used a vertical-drop brainbuster on Tanaka.
4. UWF Rules: Jun Akiyama beat Yukio Sakaguchi (9:18) with the front necklock.
5. WAR World Six-Man Tag Team Title Tournament: Yuji Nagata, Tomohiro Ishii & KUSHIDA beat Takuya Nomura, Koji Iwamoto & Fuminori Abe (18:44) when Nagata used a backdrop hold on Abe. 

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Wrestle and Romance was in Nagano for another round of the WAR World Six-Man Tag Team Title Tournament. The show kicked off with a very solid UWF Rules match-up between Timothy Thatcher and Takuya Nomura. Immediately, it was established that Nomura was trying to win this match via KO as he tried taking Thatcher’s head off with a kick. Thatcher, however, elected to take the fight to the mat and overwhelm Nomura with submissions. He kept after Nomura’s arm and even though Nomura was able to fight off and snap Thatcher over with a half-hatch suplex, Thatcher held on and turned it into the wakigatame for the submission. 

Escalante defeated Kingslayers to advance to the second round of the six-man tournament, when Kazusada Higuchi pinned Kota Umeda with the Doctor Bomb. Kota Umeda and Katsuhiko Nakajima decided to play “Who Can Kick Harder?” but Nakajima eventually ended up taking consecutive kicks by all three members of Kingslayers before Kengo Mashimo caught him with a high kick to the head and Umeda with a PK for a nearfall. 

A black suited Jushin “Thunder” Liger made his WAR debut teaming with DAMNATION member, Dick Togo in a very hard-hitting tag match against Tomohiro Ishii and the J-Crown Champion, KUSHIDA. Of course, KUSHIDA and Liger was the main focus but Togo and Ishii beat the hell out of each other. Daisuke Sasaki and TAKA Michinoku attacked KUSHIDA on the outside when he was thrown over the top rope and they fed him to Liger, who blasted him with the running shotei for the victory. After the match, Liger challenged KUSHIDA to the title! 

In more tag team action, the UWF Heavyweight Champion, Hideki Suzuki, and Koji Iwamoto took on Minoru Suzuki and Hikaru Sato. Hideki and Minoru were both trying to intimidate and smother each other, with Minoru being especially nasty with his face slaps to the champ. At one point, Hideki had enough and he and Minoru brawled on the outside, with Hideki throwing some gnarly elbows. In the end, he pinned Suzuki’s protégé, Sato, with the double arm suplex. But Minoru continued the assault post-match, leading to Nomura and Abe having to pull them apart. 

It wasn’t a good night for Suzuki-gun in general, as the team of Yukio Sakaguchi, Keisuke Okuda and Shinya Aoki were defeated by Burning in the main event, when Go Shiozaki annihilated Keisuke Okuda with a short-arm lariat that turned him inside out. KENTA was his usual aggressive self but had to fend off both Sakaguchi and Okuda at one point, trying to keep them at bay with kicks before Aoki threw himself into the mix to put Burning at the disadvantage. Eventually, Akiyama came to the rescue with knees and Exploders, KENTA got the hot tag to Shiozaki, and Shiozaki cleaned up to pick up the victory. 

 

Wrestle and Romance "WAR IN OSAKA 2019 Tour", 2/16/2019
Chino Citizen Pavilion Multi-Hall
950 Fans
– Super No Vacancy

1. UWF Rules: Timothy Thatcher beat Takuya Nomura (9:43) with the wakigatame.
2. WAR World Six-Man Tag Team Title Tournament: Katsuhiko Nakajima, Kazusada Higuchi & SHO Tanaka beat Kengo Mashimo, Kazuki Hashimoto & Kota Umeda (12:26) when Higuchi used the Doctor Bomb on Umeda.
3. Jushin Liger & Dick Togo beat Tomohiro Ishii & KUSHIDA (12:09) when Liger used the shotei on KUSHIDA.
4. Hideki Suzuki & Koji Iwamoto beat Minoru Suzuki & Hikaru Sato (11:43) when Suzuki used a double arm suplex hold on Sato. 
5. WAR World Six-Man Tag Team Title Tournament: Jun Akiyama, Go Shiozaki & KENTA beat Yukio Sakaguchi, Keisuke Okuda & Shinya Aoki (15:17) when Shiozaki used the short-arm lariat on Okuda. 
 

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Updated cards have been released for the remainder of the "WAR IN OSAKA 2019 Tour", including confirmation that KUSHIDA will be defending his newly won J-Crown Title against none other than Jushin "Thunder" Liger. Should he and the Lion's Pride advance to the finals of the WAR World Six-Man Tag Team Title Tournament, he will be pulling double duty on 2/24. In addition, Shotaro Ashino's new stable, Enfants Terribles, will make its debut on 2/24 against WAR International in six-man tag team competition. Matt Riddle is also confirmed for the 2/24 show but it is unknown in what capacity. 

 

Wrestle and Romance "WAR IN OSAKA 2019 Tour", 2/22/2019
Osaka Edion Arena #2

1. UWF Rules: Shinya Aoki vs. Koji Iwamoto
2. WAR World Six-Man Tag Team Title Tournament Semi-Final: Jun Akiyama, Go Shiozaki & KENTA vs. Daisuke Sasaki, Dick Togo & TAKA Michinoku
3. Shuji Ishikawa & Kengo Mashimo vs. Alexander Rusev & Timothy Thatcher
4. UWF Rules: Minoru Suzuki vs. Takuya Nomura
5. WAR World Six-Man Tag Team Title Tournament Semi-Final: Yuji Nagata, Tomohiro Ishii & KUSHIDA vs. Katsuhiko Nakajima, Kazusada Higuchi & SHO Tanaka

 

Wrestle and Romance "WAR IN OSAKA 2019", 2/24/2019
EDION Arena Osaka

1. Shotaro Ashino, Daisuke Harada & Hajime Ohara vs. Timothy Thatcher, Drew Gulak & Jonathan Gresham
2. WAR World Six-Man Tag Team Title Tournament Final: X, X & X vs. X, X & X
4. J-Crown Title: KUSHIDA © vs. Jushin “Thunder” Liger
5. UWF Heavyweight Title: Hideki Suzuki © vs. Minoru Suzuki 
 

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Before a sold out Osaka crowd, the semi-finals of the WAR World Six-Man Tag Team Title Tournament took place and now the final is set for 2/24. Prior to that, however, Koji Iwamoto and Shinya Aoki wrestled under UWF Rules. Although Aoki had the experience advantage, Iwamoto wasn’t give him an inch on the mat and kept pace. Aoki had some tricks up his sleeve and kept going after Iwamoto’s arm but once Iwamoto was able to hit his snap judo throw, he held on with the katagatame for the submission win.

Burning will advance to the final of the tournament after defeating DAMNATION, with Jun Akiyama picking up the win for his team following a wrist-clutch Exploder on Michinoku. DAMNATION attempted almost everything in order to secure the victory, including cheating, with Daisuke Sasaki low blowing Go Shiozaki at one point, and Dick Togo throwing more than a few closed fists in KENTA’s general direction. Backstage, Sasaki said that the lose wasn’t a big deal and that the bigger prize was the J-Crown Title. 

In tag team competition, WAR International’s Alexander Rusev and Timothy Thatcher beat Kingslayers’ Shuji Ishikawa and Kengo Mashimo following a nasty ura-nage variation by Rusev. As expected, lots of bombs were thrown, especially between Ishikawa and Rusev, while Thatcher and Mashimo worked more of the strike and submission approach. After the match, Shotaro Ashino and his Enfants Terribles attached Thatcher and Rusev until Drew Gulak and Jonathan Gresham made the save.

Minoru Suzuki was out to punish Takuya Nomura in their UWF Rules match, and he made sure Hideki Suzuki was present to watch as he picked apart Nomura and finally choked him out with the sleeper. While Nomura was able to fight back with kicks and slaps, Minoru was out to make a point and didn’t let Nomura have much room to breath…literally. He refused to let go of the sleeper, even after the referee called the match, and Hideki had to get in there and force Minoru off, which led to them fighting.

The main event saw Escalante defeat Lion’s Pride in a very hard-hitting six-man tag match, securing their spot in the final against Burning. Tons of great exchanges between all involved, with Katsuhiko Nakajima once again working especially stiff against the likes of Yuji Nagata and KUSHIDA. Kazusada Higuchi and Tomohiro Ishii battered each other around and SHO Tanaka got to show off a bit, leading to the finish, when Nakajima absolutely murdered Nagata with a punt kick to the face, busting open the veteran and leaving him out cold. Nakajima cut a promo after the match, saying that Escalante would destroy the “has beens” in Burning and re-iterating that he is the future of WAR. 

 

Wrestle and Romance "WAR IN OSAKA 2019 Tour", 2/22/2019
Osaka Edion Arena #2
968 Fans
– Super No Vacancy Full House

1. UWF Rules: Koji Iwamoto beat Shinya Aoki (9:23) with the katagatame
2. WAR World Six-Man Tag Team Title Tournament Semi-Final: Jun Akiyama, Go Shiozaki & KENTA beat Daisuke Sasaki, Dick Togo & TAKA Michinoku (14:57) when Akiyama pinned Michinoku with the wrist-clutch Exploder.
3. Alexander Rusev & Timothy Thatcher beat Shuji Ishikawa & Kengo Mashimo (11:39) when Rusev used a modified ura-nage on Mashimo.
4. UWF Rules: Minoru Suzuki beat Takuya Nomura (7:41) with the sleeper hold.
5. WAR World Six-Man Tag Team Title Tournament Semi-Final: Katsuhiko Nakajima, Kazusada Higuchi & SHO Tanaka beat Yuji Nagata, Tomohiro Ishii & KUSHIDA (16:25) by KO when Nakajima used a punt kick on Nagata. 

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Shotaro Ashino's Enfants Terribles made their in-ring debut against WAR International in six-man tag team action. Daisuke Harada and Hajime Ohara worked a much more aggressive style to compliment the transition into WAR. Ashino seemed to target much of his aggression on Jonathan Gresham, destroying his ankle in an attempt to submit him. Thatcher and Gulak did all they could to help him out but in the end, after dropping Gresham with a nasty German suplex, Ashino submitted him with the ankle hold. They continued beating down WAR International until Alexander Rusev rushed out to make the save. 

Matt Riddle returned to WAR and teamed with Takashi Sugiura in a tag match against Yuji Nagta and Tomohiro Ishii. A fun, hard-hitting exhibition match, with Sugiura and Riddle really taking it to the veterans. Riddle and Nagata were the focus of the match, with both trading high knees and Exploders. Riddle caught Nagata with a nasty running knee strike and then finally submitted him with a triangle choke. After the match, Riddle announced that his goal in Japan was to win a heavyweight title and that he was coming after the winner of the Suzuki showdown. Sugiura, however, wasn't pleased and seemed to think that he should be next in line for a tile shot, which led to a stare down.

New WAR World Six-Man Tag Team Champions were crowned today, as Escalante defeated Burning to win the belts following a vertical-drop brainbuster by Katsuhiko Nakajima on Go Shiozaki. As expected, this was incredibly intense, with lots of call backs to their days and feuds in Pro-Wrestling NOAH. Nakajima and KENTA were out there trying to kill everyone with kicks, Shiozaki and Higuchi were chopping each other to hell and Akiyama was the opportunistic veteran, dominating SHO Tanaka and trying to isolate him from tagging out. Shiozaki began heating up down the home stretch and after a Go Flasher nearly sealed the deal, he tried to finish off Nakjaima with the Gowan lariat...but Nakajima countered the lariat with a headbutt, a high kick and finally the brainbuster to seal the deal.

Back-in-black Jushin Liger, accompanied to the ring by DAMNATION, did his best to dethrone the new J-Crown champion in KUSHIDA, breaking out all of his signature spots with a little extra dirt rubbed into the execution. KUSHIDA's goal was to survive the shoteis and koppou kicks and powerbombs, and he did just that by focusing on the arm and trying to keep Liger grounded. When KUSHIDA was thrown to the outside, DAMNATION did their best to try and keep him down for a countout but KUSHIDA made it back in the ring. He blocked another running shotei with a baseball-style punch and when Liger tried to escape the Hoverboard Lock, KUSHIDA turned it into his small package driver for the victory! After the match, the rest of DAMNATION jumped KUSHIDA, forcing Nagata and Ishii to return to the ring to even the numbers.

In the main event, Minoru Suzuki challenged Hideki Suzuki for the UWF Heavyweight Title under UWF Rules. This was gnarly, with both guys' working boots laced tight. Minoru was trying to show off his Pancrase style against Hideki's catch-as-catch-can approach and it was a game of deadly chess on the mat but a brutal slobberknocker up top, with slaps and elbows flying fast and hard. Minoru kept going back to the sleeper hold, trying to wear the champ out, but Hideki would fight out and throw Minoru off with a suplex to regain his composure. Off the mat, Minoru tried for a quick shoot Gotch-style piledriver but Hideki was able to counter out of it, hitting the double arm suplex. When that didn't do the trick, he absolutely rocked Minoru with an elbow and hit a modified dragon suplex hold, maintaining the bridge and full nelson lock to submit Minoru and retain the tile. He celebrated his victory with Moon Vulcan as Suzuki-gun came down to help their boss to the back.

 

Wrestle and Romance "WAR IN OSAKA 2019", 2/24/2019
EDION Arena Osaka
4,987 Fans
– Super No Vacancy

1. Shotaro Ashino, Daisuke Harada & Hajime Ohara beat Timothy Thatcher, Drew Gulak & Jonathan Gresham (12:32) when Ashino used an ankle hold on Gresham. 
2. Matt Riddle & Takashi Sugiura beat Yuji Nagata & Tomohiro Ishii (11:40) when Riddle used the triangle choke on Nagata. 
3. WAR World Six-Man Tag Team Title Tournament Final: Katsuhiko Nakajima, Kazusada Higuchi & SHO Tanaka beat Jun Akiyama, Go Shiozaki & KENTA (15:26) when Nakajima used the vertical-drop brainbuster on Shiozaki to become the 20th WAR World Six-Man Tag Team Champions.
4. J-Crown Title: KUSHIDA beat Jushin Liger (16:19) with the Back to the Future (1st defense).
5. UWF Heavyweight Title: Hideki Suzuki beat Minoru Suzuki (18:42) with the dragon suplex modified hold (1st defense). 
 

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