Post by attitudesback on Feb 20, 2015 11:49:41 GMT -5
I'm new to all this but I've seen you post in the Pic Fed section so I had to check this out. First off I have to applaud your dedication to this, you really do put some impressive, consistent work out there. I'll be the first to admit Japanese wrestling isn't a style I'm familiar with, but names like the 'Bloodpack' are awesome. I also love the images of the different superstars through the WWE games, it definitely helped me visualise what some of this stuff might look like. The Kintaro/Mitsuhiro against Sampson/Drake was great. I really enjoyed that, it all just seems so well written and it plays out effortlessly. You must have some serious experience at this. I'm checking this thread out more often, really impressed with this.
Post by Chris Reager on Feb 25, 2015 3:34:13 GMT -5
SUMMIT PRO: BEAST XI スポットショー(SHOWCASE) Tsuruta Commemorative Arena, Himitsu-No Shima Prefecture, Osaka, Japan
The show opened with a well-produced and powerful vignette hyping BEAST as a unique promotion, as an entity in SUMMIT PRO with visually intimidating larger-than-life personalities, set to their theme music; Dimmu Borgir's 'Progenies Of The Great Apocalypse'.
The Architect of BEAST, Lucius Kraven (now insisting on being referred to as Lord Lucius), made his way to the ring after the video ended to further hype the evening's event, the first Showcase Event for SUMMIT PRO in 2015.
With the First Stage of the SUMMIT PRO Tag Team Grand Prix completed, all eyes were on The Pain Division, who had the unenviable task of defending their titles against a rejuvenated Kolossal Miscreation with Kraken and Bludgeon representing.
A veritable stacked card for BEAST was shown by way of a slide show, with the newest BEASTS to emerge from the BEAST Power Training Universum would be in action tonight alongside BEAST stalwarts, with the exception being Hazard and Tyrant (Perilous Oppression), and Inferno and Raze (Hellfire Eternal) due to their involvement in the First Stage of the SUMMIT PRO Tag Team Grand Prix.
The various stables that existed in BEAST would again be tested, along with Reaper and Cthulu; facing off in a much-anticipated Grudge Match that was sanctioned by Lord Lucious due to the actions of Reaper at MAELSTROM III.
The latter three matches would comprise the BEAST championship matches for the evening.
The venue was large and a sell-out, with face-painted BEAST announcer Malevolence taking the announcing duties for the evening.
He was accompanied by seven beautiful and shapely females who wore kabuki masks and revealing 'Rising Sun' attires.
Collectively they were known as 謎のタイガーリリーディヴィナ (Mysterious Tigerlily Divina)
The commentators were introduced by Lord Lucius; two sharply dressed facepainted Japanese men who resembled Yakuza mixed with demonic facepaint; collectively known as Kenryoku Dasshu; (Seizure of Power) Kodoku and Fuwa.
They were eager to call the action, but mentioned they would be in contact with 3NWPRO CEO Seth Cronyn before the first match regarding an incident outside of SUMMIT PRO that was important nonetheless.
Kodoku and Fuwa spoke to Seth who had called in via Skype; the viewers saw a split-screen graphic.
The incident in question was the Stardom 'match' between Yoshiko and Act Yasukawa, which had made waves across the professional wrestling landscape.
Speaking on behalf of 3NWPRO and Lady Crothers, he briefly talked about how Stardom was one of the promotions that SUMMIT PRO had allied with, specifically for the debut of DRIVEN.
As a company SUMMIT PRO was appalled at the actions of Yoshiko, and commended her being fired and stripped of the Stardom World of Stardom championship.
He understood the President of Stardom would hold an emergency meeting and deal with this fiasco in their own way, but he wanted to allay people's fears that SUMMIT PRO would be backing out of the agreement due to the backlash this incident caused - this was not the case at this early stage.
He thanked everyone for their time and to enjoy BEAST XI.
SUMMIT PRO SHOWCASE: BEAST XI
Backstage, The Bloodpack (with Kraven) cut a spiteful promo into the camera in a raspy, deep African-American hinted accent on their opponents, while Nightmare and Ravage of Bane of Ruination growled and shouted in response by way of their own promo, again only to the camera.
The entire Occasus faction, five imposing near 7ft tall monsters stood silent with long black hair swept in front of their faces.
Their leader, Nihil, stared at the camera with unsettling wide eyes through his long hair as did the others, and opened his mouth and created a chilling and frightening 'death rattle' sound in the vein of the film character 'Kayako' from Japanese J-horror director Takashi Shimizu's 'Ju-On: The Grudge' films.
The rest of the faction joined in, as the camera recoiled in horror from the disturbing sight.
BEAST TRIPTYTCH MATCH: The Bloodpack (Mictlan and Vortex) VERSUS Bane of Ruination (Nightmare and Ravage) VERSUS Occasus (Senium and Geilt)
OF NOTE: The Bloodpack were emboldened by Reaper's defection from The Violence Continuum back to them; with Kraven grinning cruelly knowing 'his' Reaper had returned to him. The feeling had inspired Mictlan and Vortex, two powerhouses who revelled in laying waste to the competition in SUMMIT PRO.
The Bane of Ruination were a veteran team in BEAST, becoming the second ever Dual BEAST Tag Team champions after Bruiser and Kraven had vacated the titles years ago.
The fact that Ravage was the only BEAST with a truly shocking '90's mullet perhaps held him back in some respects, even though Nightmare was a true behemoth in his own right; with a blonde mohawk and a skull-inspired work of art that he proudly wore as warpaint.
The Bane of Ruination had all the tools but were just missing that collective spark to show the fans of BEAST they belonged in the upper echelon.
Occasus as a faction could not be compared to anything; never before had five awe-inspiring near 7ft tall monsters who looked more like the Japanese 'onryo' (vengeful spirit) and as such paid homage to the folklore of Japan.
Tall, muscular, but with all stark white painted faces and black makeup around wide unblinking eyes with very long black unkempt hair; they never spoke, and only offered the 'death rattle' to intimidate the other BEASTS, which was very effective at times.
The Bloodpack came to the ring as their theme music played; 'Five Finger Crawl' by influential dark rock/metal band Danzig.
The Bane of Ruination entered next to their theme music; the perfect marriage of film score and symphonic black metal - 'The Serpentine Offering' by seminal symphonic Norwegian black metal band, Dimmu Borgir.
Occasus, the third and final team, entered next, to the majestic and brutal 'The Inner Pain' by industrial black metal project Godkiller. Three different teams, but spectacularly visually speaking and daunting nonetheless.
Malevolence announced the participants one after another in a deep voice (in Japanese) as streamers were thrown from the crowd.
The rules of a BEAST Triptych Match worked just like a Triple Threat tag team match, with the only exception being that both members of the team had to be eliminated by either pinfall or submission via 'Tornado' rules.
The BEAST 'version' of Tornado Rules was 'Dominion Absolute'; and this would be the first of two matches held under these stipulations.
The referee had no chance of maintaining control from the start as the competitors tore into each other for supremacy; a litany of strikes and pummelling blows echoed through the arena.
The fans ate up the action as the match ebbed and flowed, with Occasus' Geilt able to eliminate The Bloodpack's Vortex with a Spirit Crusher Bomb (Double Hand Choke Bomb) and The Bloodpack's Mictlan defeating Bane of Ruination's Ravage by way of a Desecration Driver.
True carnage abounded in the ring, as the BEASTS clamoured for control, the Osaka fans going wild for these monolithic yet athletic and imposing BEASTS; essentially 'kaijin' who the Japanese feared and revered.
Senium of Occasus shocked everyone in attendance (and those watching on iPPV) by eliminating Mictlan of the Bloodpack after his teammate Geilt caught him offguard with a huge slap to the face - The Bloodpack had been totally eliminated from the match!
With a singled-out Nightmare against the two leviathans in Senium and Geilt of Occasus, he used his slight experience to his advantage and overcame the horrific death rattle both BEASTS emitted in an effort to throw him off his game.
Senium and Geilt closed in on Nightmare and Osaka roared in support of the lone BEAST, who smashed both with ferocious Lariats!
He hastily grabbed Geilt to his feet, who opened his eyes wide with his long black hair truly giving that terrifying 'onryo' aura.
Nightmare growled in response and drilled Geilt with a dangerous-looking Folding Powerbomb and leapt through with a Jackknife pin to eliminate the monster!
Four impressive BEASTS had been eliminated, and it was down to Nightmare and Senium, who both had something to prove.
A seemingly unstoppable vengeful 'phenom' in Senium and a hulking tenacious powerhouse in Nightmare exchanged nearfalls for a time until Nightmare swooped on a tactical mistake from Senium who lowered his head, expecting a Back Body Drop.
Instead, Nightmare stopped in time and gruffly transitioned Senium up for a Vertical Suplex, but couldn't lift him.
Senium broke free, and attempted a Big Boot, only for Nightmare to duck and launch himself in a huge Leaping Clothesline! The force didn't knock down Senium, but staggered him.
After a blasting 'Brooklyn Boot'-esque kick from Nightmare, he signalled for his finisher, the Dreamless Defeat (Gotch/Cradle Tombstone Piledriver)
The crowd responded as Nightmare nailed the move and hooked the leg of Senium; the referee slapping the mat 1-2-3 for the successful pinfall!
The bell sounded as Malevolence announced Bane of Ruination the winners of the BEAST Triptych match!
Lord Lucius was impressed with Bane of Ruination's showing, and no doubt this win would give them confidence in the Second Stage of the SUMMIT PRO Tag Team Grand Prix.
RESULT: The Bane of Ruination defeated The Bloodpack and Occasus (12:03) when Nightmare finally pinned Senium after a Dreamless Defeat (Modified Tombstone Piledriver)
At the commentary desk, both Kodoku and Fuwa discussed the match and noted how impressive all six men looked, reserving the most terrifying accolades for Occasus, who came so close.
They added that they were stunned The Bloodpack were eliminated first, proving that a Showcase Event can have anything happen.
BEAST TRIPLE THREAT: Venom VERSUS Sekem VERSUS Animus
The sole interviewer for BEAST, the enigmatic Arkane (who resembled Tom Hardy's Bane in The Dark Knight Rises, complete with a similar voice) interviewed the participants of the next match; a BEAST Triple Threat - with each BEAST representing their respective factions (Venom with Onslaught, Sekem with Occasus and Animus with Seeds of Hate).
Each BEAST glared hatefully at one another as Arkane spoke richly and deeply about the importance of this match for this event, with roots dating back to the previous Showcase Event, and Venom's alliance with KING BEAST Bruiser in Onslaught.
As Sekem didn't speak and Animus, who preferred not to, seemed intent to continue staring at one another as the resonant unique voice of Venom made their ears prick up.
He seethed and grunted about the warpath he was intent on unleashing - the camera zoomed in as all three faced off to the roar of the crowd!
A video set to 'The Watcher' by Norwegian progressive metal band Enslaved hyping the three participants was shown, with great editing and edifying all as top tier talents in the whole of BEAST.
OF NOTE: Venom was a big draw in BEAST; a former Triple Crown BEAST champion; holding the King BEAST championship, the Iron BEAST championship and Dual BEAST championship (with Bruiser), he was one of the few BEASTs not to wear facepaint.
At 7ft tall himself, his style was slow at times but methodical and punishing - Venom invoked a feeling of fear, dread, wonder and amazement.
Sekem, much like Senium in the previous match, and like his brethren in Occasus was essentially one of five 'onyro' intent on terrorizing BEAST and ruling through absolute terror.
Animus would be at a disadvantage; his opponents towered over him and he didn't have the back-up of Oseron; only Miasma. He would be quicker, though.
Venom made his entrance to the heavy riffs of 'World Eater' by Bolt Thrower; Osaka roared in fearful yet vocal admiration of the veteran of BEAST.
Sekem, with leader Nihil and follower Ennea, made their way to the ring next, as the powerful yet chilling 'The Inner Pain' by Godkiller echoed through the arena.
Animus, flanked by Miasma, came to the ring as their entrance theme, 'From The Cradle To Enslave' by Cradle of Filth played.
Malevolence announced the participants as mass of black and grey streamers engulfed the ring thrown by the Osaka crowd.
Both Sekem and Venom ran straight at each other, tearing into each other with unbridled fury!
A wary Animus threw leg kicks at both BEASTS, and paid the price when both Venom and Sekem grabbed him by the throat with amazing speed!
Animus struggled and kicked both Sekem and Venom in the mid-section, and turned to call in Miasma.
The referee went to put a stop to it but was pushed out of the way by a snarling Venom; he came to fight.
He was stopped by Sekem, and the two regathered; pummelling one another again as they had before being stopped by Animus.
Animus tried to get close for another leg kick but Sekem broke away from Venom, and nailed Animus with a deft Big Boot!
As much as the fans got behind Venom, he was unable to keep his momentum going, thanks to the referee being oblivious to distracting tactics by the offsiders of his opponents; Ennea, Nihil and Miasma.
With Animus being more like a fly in the ointment, the vengeful 'onryo' Nihil and Ennea at ringside threw him off his game by scaring photographers at ringside with the death rattle!
As they fled, Animus stood transfixed as Venom left Osaka roaring as he ran and dove OVER the referee and onto the throng outside who had gotten too close!
Venom defiantly got up not long after, and growled at the crowd in a show of awe-inspiring power and character.
Nihil, Ennea and Miasma lay on the outside, squirming in pain after a 7ft, 310lb cannonball used them as a landing surface.
Inside, Animus' attempt at a punch on Sekem was met with Sekem catching the fist and crushing it, leaving Animus writhing in agony.
Sekem hastily let go and grabbed Animus by the shoulders, and threw him upwards, only to catch him by the throat and as he descended, slammed him down without mercy!
Amazingly Animus was able to roll a shoulder off the canvas, and pointed painfully away from Sekem to Venom, who made his way back into the ring.
As Sekem rose, Venom roared in his face, and clasped a strong hand around his throat.
Osaka came to its feet to see a 7 footer Chokeslam another 7 footer!
Venom grunted with effort, and Chokeslammed Sekem with force!
Animus, breathing heavy, Dropkicked Venom, and attempted to steal the pin.
Venom staggered, but didn't fall - eventually correcting himself.
The referee slapped the mat - once - twice…
Before the three, Venom wrenched Animus off of Sekem to break up the count, and seethed.
He gestured for the Devil's Cut-Throat Driver!
Osaka rumbled as Venom grabbed Animus' wrist and wrap it around his own neck, finally hoisting him up for his devastating finisher.
Venom opted to steal the show - and made a statement in doing so.
With Animus 'cutting his own throat', Venom completed the Driver - ON Sekem!
Sekem hissed and wheezed in pain, rolling around uncontrollably after Venom's weight drove into him - knees first!
Venom gasped as he hooked the leg of Animus; the referee counting the successful pinfall for another incredible performance from Venom!
The bell sounded as Venom slowly got to his feet, his eyes disappearing into his head in homage to WWE's Undertaker, as Malevolence announced Venom the winner!
Lord Lucius nodded in approval, watching Venom from a TV backstage.
RESULT: Venom defeated Sekem and Animus (13:32) by pinfall when he pinned Animus after a Devil's Cut-Throat Driver
At the commentary desk, both Kodoku and Fuwa discussed the match and noted how Venom ensured dominance by taking risks, with it paying off.
They gave respect to the newer BEASTS and their showings in the match as well.
SPECIAL GRUDGE MATCH: Cthulu VERSUS Reaper
Backstage, Arkane interviewed Cthulu, who stood with his lone follower, Battlegod, and cut a spiteful, hissing promo on how he had wrested Reaper away from The Bloodpack with hopes of harnessing him as a weapon, only to be betrayed by the Red Demon. Cthulu promised that Reaper would pay.
Elsewhere backstage, a camera gazed up at a reinforced Bloodpack, with a grinning charismatic Kraven smiling almost through the camera.
In his instantly recognisable raspy African-American growl, he chuckled and said he was the only one who could control Reaper; they were 'painted with the same demon brush.'
Mictlan and Vortex stood behind Kraven, imposing and silent, despite their loss earlier.
They moved aside to reveal Reaper, crouched and baring his teeth like a wild animal.
Reaper's mannerisms, demeanour and aura were the epitome of a BEAST who was not a powerhouse; a truly unique and engaging 'attraction' in BEAST.
A video set to 'Leviathan' by defunct UK blackened death metal band Akercocke showed the history of both Reaper and Cthulu, and the events that led up to the defection of Reaper back to the Bloodpack.
OF NOTE: Cthulu was a sight to behold; almost a re-imagining of Papa Shango in the WWE but modernized, demonized and weaponized for BEAST in the 21st century - there was no 'voodoo' gimmick that some would erroneously associate him with.
He instead had forged an identity for himself as an agent of doom; believing a dark force existed within and made 'The Violence Continuum' as a means to exploit this focus.
Reaper had initially been brought into BEAST as a 'pet' by Kraven; led to the ring by a leash, and shaped into a furious and manic weapon of destruction.
The fact he was so much smaller than the rest of BEAST intrigued Japanese audiences, who loved the dedication and performance of the Reaper character, much as they did with The Great Muta, The Great Kabuki, Yoshihiro Tajiri and Low Ki.
Cthulu made his entrance with Battlegod to the chilling instrumental track 'The Wanderer' by legendary symphonic progressive black metal band, Emperor, along with an elaborate entrance befitting of Cthulu's standard.
Kraven escorted The Bloodpack to the ring, grinning like a Cheshire cat, as the familiar rhythmic pulse of 'Five Finger Crawl' by Danzig played.
The Bloodpack's unnerving entrance, with red lighting and pyro, highlighted The Bloodpack as one of the top stables in BEAST.
Reaper looked slightly docile; and the focus was shifted to his neck, which was covered by a thick black studded collar.
As he slithered into the ring as commanded by Kraven, the crowd gasped as Kraven stood with Reaper and undid the clasp on the collar.
With the collar off his neck, Reaper again bared his teeth and instantly became more aggressive, made even moreso as the bell sounded.
Cthulu stood opposite Reaper, who was restrained by the referee.
Kraven grabbed a mic at ringside and directed his promo at Cthulu:
(Ah, Cthulu...the fracturing of The Violence Continuum is coming along exactly as I wanted...you were a fool to believe you could ever hope of controlling MY Reaper...the Red Demon of BEAST is mine and mine alone, and tonight - he will stomp you into oblivion!)
(Reaper, my child...you are never to be from my side again...tonight, you show your fealty to me; for it is me, it is us, The Bloodpack, who are the only ones to understand you. This is a statement tonight for you to put a stamp on the Bloodpack's dominance - OUR dominance in BEAST! GET HIM!)
Cthulu's eyes went wide as Kraven screamed the last two words; Reaper screamed and leapt at Cthulu, savagely attacking him as if possessed by a monkey god!
The referee tried in vain to pull Reaper away from Cthulu, Reaper only stopping to roar in defiance, snarling at the crowd; his black-lensed eyes terrifying the Osaka faithful.
Cthulu had been busted open from his brow; his blood smearing his black and white facepaint and lighting a fire under him.
Reaper stalked Cthulu, his gait animalistic and dripping with rage.
As Cthulu got to one knee, Reaper executed a perfectly stiff Shining Wizard!
Kraven bellowed with laughter at ringside, as Vortex and Mictlan looked on.
Reaper kept the pressure on Cthulu, who winced in pain from a range of quick chops, shoot kicks and savage forearms.
Cthulu managed to fend off a barrage of offense from Reaper and caught him with a Nakamura-like knee to the gut, doubling Reaper over!
He came off the ropes to deliver a Knee Trembler to Reaper, only for Mictlan to trip him up.
As Cthulu rose from his chest, face first, Reaper met him with a Front Foot Dropkick, punctuated with a sickening sharp sound!
He held his midsection in pain, and growled - and emulated The Great Muta with a Muta Elbow, hitting Cthulu in the spine!
Cthulu grimaced as Reaper bristled, unloading brutal stomps on his former 'master'.
Kraven called Reaper over to him, as Cthulu lay writhing in pain from Reaper's attacks.
Reaper winced and did so, crawling out to the outside.
He knelt in front of Kraven and raised his right hand to him, palm outstretched as he did at MAELSTROM III when he betrayed Cthulu.
Kraven howled with raspy laughter and stroked the palm of Reaper, and notioned for him to finish Cthulu.
Vortex yelled at Reaper to focus when getting back to the ring.
Reaper snarled at Vortex and leapt over the rope and went to further his attacks on Cthulu, only for a recovered Cthulu to lunge forward and nearly decapitate him with a Lariat!
Cthulu felt his brow which had stopped bleeding, but had congealed on his face, mixing in with his facepaint.
He picked up Reaper with ease, and hoisted him up in a Vertical Suplex position, only to fling Reaper forwards in a scary-looking Gordbuster!
Cthulu roared at Kraven:
(You underestimate the power of the Violence Continuum! I will make Reaper regret ever betraying me!)
Cthulu wiped his hands and gestured for the Call of Cthulu Bomb, grabbing Reaper by the neck.
Reaper swatted Cthulu's arms away in defiance, and launched a beautifully swift kick right at Cthulu's temple, causing him to bleed again!
Reaper tried to unload a Karate Rush but Cthulu answered with a shockingly stiff forearm to the jaw, and fell to one knee.
Cthulu breathed heavily and swiped the blood from his brow, from one hand to another.
He choked Reaper with blood from his brow smeared on his hand, now around Reaper's neck!
The Bloodpack stirred and looked to interfere, but a lone Battlegod came over to prevent it.
A standoff occurred outside as Vortex and Battlegod went nose-to-nose, with Mictlan backing up Vortex.
Kraven shouted at Reaper to get up, but was stopped short as Cthulu brought Reaper up and Powerbombed him twice without mercy!
He showed his palms to Kraven, and laughed briefly as he brought Reaper up again, and this time nailed the Call of Cthulu Bomb successfully for the win!
The bell sounded as Cthulu's arm was raised in victory, though he had exerted a ton of effort.
Malevolence announced Cthulu as the winner as Battlegod rushed to help his leader, his gaze never breaking from Vortex's.
Kraven roared at both Vortex and Mictlan to help Reaper to the back, making sure to hastily fasten the collar back on Reaper's bloodstained neck.
RESULT: Cthulu defeated Reaper (16:03) by pinfall with The Call of Cthulu Bomb
At the commentary desk, both Kodoku and Fuwa discussed the match in length and were aghast at the developments within the match; they knew that things were far from over between The Bloodpack and The Violence Continuum.
They praised the wherewithal of Cthulu of avenging the betrayal at MAELSTROM III, and marvelled at the ingenuity of him using his own blood to send a message to The Bloodpack.
The camera cut to the audience, showing the RIPTIDE roster sitting with the DRIVEN roster, smiling and waving, as well as AJW legend Aja Kong who was in attendance, enjoying the show thus far.
Logos of companies that were friends of SUMMIT PRO and by turns, BEAST, were shown:
Lord Lucius announced it was time for something…different…with that said, out came the Mysterious Tigerlily Divina, who would entertain the fans with dance before the intermission ended.
The Mysterious Tigerlily Divina danced seductively to a medley of 'The Game/What I See' by Italian gothic metal band Lacuna Coil as the intermission continued.
The crowd applauded as the dance was over; a change of pace from the barbarism inherent in BEAST.
A trailer for the newest episode from the SUMMIT PRO anime series for BEAST entitled 'SUMMIT PRO - BEAST: Breaking The Broken' was shown as part of the first volume 'Trivium Go Codex'.
DUAL BEAST TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH: Dual BEAST Tag Team champions The Pain Division (Legion and Warbringer) VERSUS Kolossal Miscreation (Bludgeon and Kraken)
Backstage, Arkane interviewed Iron BEAST champion Virus, who stood with his Dual BEAST Tag Team champions, Legion and Warbringer.
The three physically intimidating figures were the cream of the crop in BEAST.
As Legion and Warbringer never spoke, Virus, with a shrill charismatic and yet at times threatening voice, cut an impassioned promo about how The Pain Division had as a unit had proven themselves time and time again - but this time would be the time EVERYONE would know Showcase XI belonged to The Pain Division and The Pain Division only.
Elsewhere backstage, a camera focused on the pound-for-pound heaviest faction in BEAST (with the exception of Occasus); Kolossal Miscreation.
Vessel, the leader, stood in the background, his immense frame reinforcing the powerful Bludgeon and equally impressive Kraken, who took turns in shouted and angry Japanese to espouse their chances against The Pain Division in a most important matchup.
OF NOTE: The Pain Division had a tumultuous 2014; despite being the Dual BEAST Tag Team champions throughout the year they had been defeated in non-title matches against non-BEAST competitors, notably IRON FIST of KING and Ten-Koda of FORGE.
Still, they were the personification of power, and as opposed to WWE's 'The Ascension' where you saw through their act instantly (which wasn't helped by one of them being small and wiry compared to the other) Legion and Warbringer were among the most popular stars in BEAST simply due to their no-nonsense demeanour and crushingly brutal offense.
Kraken and Bludgeon had originally been under the tutelage of Bruiser and Kraven in the earlier years of BEAST, but eventually broke away from the first incarnation of Onslaught to test themselves against their superiors.
When this failed, Bludgeon saw the error of his ways and rejoined Bruiser, though Kraken would be out injured for some time.
After failing to defeat The Pain Division with Bruiser, Bludgeon would once again leave his side, this time for good - and aligned himself with Vessel.
Kraken returned from injury and joined them, with each BEAST seeking to reclaim a stake for themselves in BEAST knowing that their path to the top of BEAST would be truly 'Kolossal'.
Kolossal Miscreation made their way to the ring to the incredibly heavy 'Backbone' by French death metal band Gojira, complete with an detailed entrance tailored to their imposing will.
The Dual BEAST champions entered next, with an equally loud and punishing entrance theme, as the pounding riffs of 'March Of The Fire Ants' assaulted the ears.
The Pain Division's entrance was highlighted with black and silver strobe lighting and pyro.
Malevolence made the announcements as a wealth of streamers invaded the ring, and reminded the fans the match would be contested under the rules of Dominion Absolute.
Lord Lucius read from a scroll before the match began to sanction it as a Dual BEAST Tag Team title match, and ensured Osaka knew the significance - there would not be another one with the Tag Team Grand Prix essentially ending the lineage of the Dual BEAST Tag Team titles.
Dual BEAST Tag Team champions in history:
Bruiser and Kraven (inaugural) VACATED Nightmare/Ravage Bruiser/Venom Legion/Warbringer
The Pain Division had previously defended their titles against Vessel and Kraven, Bruiser and Bludgeon, Nightmare and Ravage and Reaper and Battlegod.
Kraken and Bludgeon got on the offensive straight away, charging the champions and clubbing them with meaty forearms and Axe Handles.
Warbringer peeled off with Kraken while Bludgeon used his weight to hold Legion down, but the more athletic of the two teams broke through the offense, and turned the tide, hammering Kolossal Miscreation with stiff forearms, knife edge chops and backfists.
The feeling that there would not be much in the way of moves in this match was dashed by Warbringer, who surprised Osaka by heaving Kraken over his head multiple times with Spinebusters and Suplexes aplenty.
Bludgeon Splashed Legion repeatedly, but was unable to keep him down for a count of three.
He went to the well once too many times and paid with knees to the abdomen, and was mowed down by a furious Warbringer who had broken free of Kraken!
As Kraken went after Warbringer, Legion came to his senses and grabbed him by the waist in a Waistlock and heaved him backward in a powerful German Suplex!
The champions started to make their comeback, turning the tide on their larger opponents by way of superior conditioning and awe-inspiring strength.
Bludgeon and Kraken did not give any quarter either, but as the match wore on, could not match the ferocity of the champions' collective mindset.
Kraken gave a last gasp Lariat to Warbringer, which only staggered him - he was soon cut off by Legion, who answered with a Lariat of his own on Kraken.
Bludgeon made a beeline for Legion, only for Legion to Backdrop him over the rope!
With Bludgeon on the outside, The Pain Division regathered and swarmed on Kraken, showing no mercy!
They brought him to his feet, and in an out-of-character stab at 'The Ascension', nailed their 'Fall of Man' manoeuvre on Kraken which elicited wild applause and a few scant laughs from the polite Osaka crowd.
Almost as if they knew that would only infuriate Kraken as opposed to harming him, they waited for him to rise and levelled him with Twin Big Boots, which staggered him against the ropes!
Outside, Bludgeon rose, but was felled moments later as Legion made jaws drop by hitting a perfect Suicide Dive! An incredible move, paralleling the risks taken by Venom earlier.
With Kraken woozy, Warbringer roared with primal fury, and hoisted him into the Desecration Driver and nailed it!
Warbringer snarled and hooked the leg, pinning Kraken for the win and retaining the tag team championships for the fifth time!
RESULT: The Pain Division defeated Kolossal Miscreation (15:21) by pinfall when Warbringer pinned Kraken after a Desecration Driver - fifth defense
At the commentary desk, both Kodoku and Fuwa discussed the match in length and were impressed with the showing from The Pain Division; they knew the risks leading up to the Second Stage of the SUMMIT PRO Tag Team Grand Prix and delivered.
They gave credence to Kolossal Miscreation, but felt that perhaps Kraken was still not 100% physically. Possibly he was not 100% mentally there with Bludgeon either.
PRE-MAIN EVENT: IRON BEAST TITLE MATCH: Virus VERSUS Kraven
Backstage, Arkane interviewed Iron BEAST champion Virus again, who once more stood with his triumphant Dual BEAST Tag Team champions, Legion and Warbringer, who had reapplied their warpaint.
Virus again with his piercing and strident vocal delivery cut a focused promo on his opportunity to show the masses in Osaka and around the world The Pain Division would rule BEAST once and for all - and not the Despicable Demon himself Kraven, with delusions of grandeur.
He punctuated the promo by ending it with痛みの分割前ひざまずく(Kneel…before the…Pain Division!!'.
Elsewhere backstage, a camera focused on Kraven and The Bloodpack, standing in a 'boiler room' type area, where Kraven screamed and growled, furious that Cthulu had defeated Reaper in what was supposed to be one step closer to eliminating The Violence Continuum.
His vitriol was made even more impressive as Vortex and Mictlan stood behind him, nodding their approval.
He finally stopped shouting, his demonic white lenses casting a look at his followers, who referenced the first promo they had, by moving to this time reveal a sullen and downtrodden Reaper, chained by the neck to a metal pipe, kneeling on the floor.
Kraven slapped Reaper and hissed in his face for his failure. He snarled at Vortex, shouting at him for distracting Reaper momentarily in his match.
Upon returning to face the camera, he spat hysterically:
(Will I kneel before The Pain Division? I spit on your worthless request! I AM The Bloodpack's will and tonight, Virus, I have shown that if I can do all this to demon brothers in paint that I love, that what I will do will pale in comparison! Savour your last moments as Iron BEAST champion! I will take your title and leave you with nothing! NOTHING!)
OF NOTE: Virus had wowed the BEAST fanbase with his tenacity and leadership of Legion and Warbringer in The Pain Division, despite the trios' aforementioned tumultuous 2014.
They had a measure of revenge as a unit against IRON FIST at MAELSTROM III in a solid match.
For Virus though as an individual, breaking through a supposed ceiling in Japan by appearing in character in BEAST commercials where his unique voice punctuated by ending sentences with 'Pain…Division!' were a credit to his evolution as a single talent.
Kraven's return to BEAST after a hiatus had been met with intrigue by fans of BEAST, he immediately picked up where he left off by molding a force around him, the ubiquitous Bloodpack, known for their use of red mist and demonic look and mannerisms.
Kraven had been at odds with King BEAST Bruiser, and after being defeated at BEAST XI, had regrouped to try and regain the title he helped forge in BEAST - the Iron BEAST championship as bringing Reaper back to The Bloodpack was step one of his plan.
Kraven made his way to the ring with only Mictlan and Vortex, a quick backstage camera cut showed Reaper still chained to a pipe in the boiler room area by his neck, kneeling with a forlorn look on his face.
The strains of 'Five Finger Crawl' by Danzig were made more uncomfortable for the crowd after seeing Kraven's earlier venomous promo.
The Iron BEAST champion Virus entered next, as yet again the hammering riffs of 'March Of The Fire Ants' played him to the ring.
Malevolence made the announcements as a plethora of streamers engulfed the ring.
Lord Lucius read from a different scroll before the match began to sanction it as an Iron BEAST title match.
Iron BEAST champions in history:
Kraven (inaugural) Venom Vessel Cthulu Virus
Virus had won the title from Cthulu at MAELSTROM II, and retained in his first defense in a rematch against Cthulu at BEAST X.
Kraven seethed and charged at Virus, taking him down and assaulting him mercilessly.
Virus was taken aback by the rage fuelling Kraven, and succumbed to a period of sustained vitriolic violence perpetrated by Kraven.
The saving grace for Virus was his impressive physique and conditioning, being able to stave off attack after attack from Kraven, who was hell-bent on regaining the title.
Moreover, Kraven was motivated by not wanting The Bloodpack to lose two important matches on the one Event for BEAST.
Time passed with Kraven trying to wear down Virus, but Virus' fighting spirit and imposing stature saw Kraven having to work twice as hard to do damage to him.
The fight spilled out to the outside, with Virus gaining the advantage and hurling Kraven into the passive Osaka crowd!
With the referee tending to Kraven, Virus thought he could catch his breath, but was set upon by Vortex and Mictlan, who swooped on him and stomped mercilessly.
The crowd booed in return and Kraven, exhausted and breathing hard, came back through the crowd to resume his punishment of Virus.
Virus recovered and stopped a Double Axe Handle from Kraven with a Toe Kick, and swiftly nailed him with an Apron Powerbomb that seemed to shake the entire ring!
Virus scowled at Vortex and Mictlan as he brought Kraven back into the ring, and as he turned his back, Vortex hopped up onto the apron looking to further distract Virus.
The referee uselessly yelled at Vortex to get down, as Mictlan rushed into the ring from behind Virus, but as he approached Virus, he was nailed with a close-quarters Contagion Lariat!
The fans roared in appreciation as Mictlan groggily rolled back the way he came, leaving a tired Virus to rise only to eat a Superkick from Kraven, who gained a long two count.
Kraven desperately tried again, only for another kickout.
He shot a glance at Vortex, and gestured for him to get up on the apron again.
A woozy Virus was brought to his feet and thrown against the ropes, leaving Vortex to hold Virus at bay!
Kraven shoved the referee down and gestured for his red mist; prefaced with the gesture of two fingers pointed at his throat.
At the last second, Virus broke free of Vortex's grip, and ducked, leaving Kraven to spit the mist in the face of Vortex instead!
A shocked Kraven was left watching his powerful charge writhing in agony on the floor below!
Virus was primed behind Kraven, as he slowly grinned and roared at the top of his lungs:
より多くの伝染を必要としています！！" (NEEDS MORE CONTAGION!!)
Kraven spun in defiance and was thoroughly smashed with the devastating Lariat from Virus, a BEAST homage to the Western Lariat from gaijin legend Stan Hansen!
Virus gritted his teeth and hooked the leg, only for Kraven to kick out with authority at one!
In a huge display of fighting spirit, Kraven got to his feet only for Virus to rear his arm back again and hit him again with destructive force with another Contagion Lariat!
Virus pinned Kraven for the exhaustive and well deserved win, retaining the Iron BEAST championship for the second time!
RESULT: Virus defeated Kraven (19:34) by pinfall with the Contagion Lariat - second defense
At the commentary desk, both Kodoku and Fuwa discussed the match in length and were awed with the performance from Virus, who showed he was force to be reckoned with, not just because he was the leader of The Pain Division.
They added that it initially seemed to be going well for The Bloodpack, but that they had a 'really' bad night, and no doubt would have to come back in a big way from this. MAIN EVENT: KING BEAST TITLE MATCH: Bruiser VERSUS Vessel
Backstage, Arkane interviewed King BEAST champion Bruiser, the heart and soul of BEAST who was revered as a kaijin 'god' in Japan for his work with BEAST.
He spoke in a dignified raspy tone, and cut an intense promo on the importance of BEAST POWER WRESTLING and that you would have to do something drastic like tear his heart out to take the King BEAST championship from him.
He acknowledged the roll that Vessel had been on, and that he weighed over 500 lbs - but Bruiser was ready for whatever warfare was ahead!
Elsewhere backstage, a camera followed Vessel, who grumbled and grunted in the direction of Bludgeon and Kraken.
He shook his head dismissively, but did not attack them as Kraven attacked Reaper.
(Bruiser, I am one of the few BEASTS who has bested you before, and I am a former King BEAST. Your Onslaught has been fractured before, your focus splintered on your title reign and defending BEAST's values against the likes of FORGE and KING. I care not for such things; I only care to take your heart out as you requested, but only after I show you the Dark Circle into oblivion. So, Iron Jaw, King of BEAST, Ruler of Onslaught...what will you do without your precious MegaBomb?)
OF NOTE: Bruiser had been the backbone of BEAST since he created the concept along with Kraven, and been bolstered by the support of Seth Cronyn and Lady Crothers. Bruiser, despite being in his 40's had put on some of the finest matches of his career late in his career, leading many to compare him to Jumbo Tsuruta.
Like Bruiser Brody and The Funks, he had resonated with the Japanese audience for steadfastly staying true to kayfabe and essentially creating a whole promotion out of a unique concept.
As was the case with Virus, he promoted BEAST as much as possible in character and was responsible for helping shape talent like the First Surge to hone their skills and be unique entities unto themselves.
Vessel was the very definition of 'behemoth'; over 500lbs, incredibly strong and surprisingly agile in places.
The fact that no one had ever kicked out of the Dark Circle Moonsault spoke volumes about the overwhelming power and intimidation Vessel possessed.
He had been the one to end Bruiser's first reign as champion years ago, and now years later would be more intent than ever to ensure history repeated itself.
Vessel made his entrance alone as the previously-heard but still punishingly heavy sound of 'Backbone' by Gojira played him to the ring.
The unmistakable riff of 'World Eater' by Bolt Thrower accompanied King BEAST champion Bruiser to the ring as he was joined by his ally, Venom.
Malevolence made the announcements as a mass of black and red streamers covered the ring.
Lord Lucius read from a scroll before the match began to sanction it as a King BEAST championship match.
King BEAST champions in history:
Bruiser (inaugural) Vessel Kraven Venom Bruiser
Bruiser had defended the title a record seven times since he became the first ever two-time King BEAST; twice against Venom, twice against Kraven, once each against Reaper and Nightmare and Vessel.
This would be the second defense against Vessel in his second reign.
Both BEASTS sized each other up, with Bruiser having to stare upwards at the colossal Vessel.
Vessel stepped forward and peered down at Bruiser, grinning maliciously as he did so.
As soon as the bell sounded Vessel shoved Bruiser to the mat and ambled after him to stomp on him.
Bruiser rolled out of the way of the stomp and pounded his fists on the mat and grunted at Vessel:
あなたは、血管をより良く行う必要があります！ (You have to do better than that, Vessel!)
Osaka roared in appreciation as Bruiser and Vessel eventually locked up.
Bruiser, coming off of a five-star rated match alongside Venom at MAELSTROM III against FORGE's Steve Wilson and Lance Hansen, had a lot to prove.
Vessel's seemingly quiet but dominating performances in 2014 were a sight to behold; from forming Kolossal Miscreation with a former Onslaught member in Bludgeon, to defeating FORGE's Draco Koloff at the FORGE VS BEAST event, and causing panic when he attacked Draco further after both leviathans were eliminated from the Supremacy in Saitama Battle Royal.
Evoking comparisons to Kobashi vs Williams in AJPW 1995 to Misawa vs Vader in AJPW 1999; the two titans exchanged hard-hitting knife edge chops and heavy forearms.
As Bruiser could not get Vessel to run off the ropes, time and time again he found himself smashed with Short Arm Clotheslines and Running Knee Lifts from the imposing Vessel.
As big as he was, Vessel tired faster than others, and after punishing Bruiser with a myriad of slams and throws, sweated heavily, aching to keep up the methodic pace that Bruiser was renowned for.
Bruiser surprised Vessel by rolling out of the way of a huge Elbow Drop, but unbeknownst to him, Vessel put the brakes on before he attempted it.
Bruiser winced and came off the ropes but Vessel nailed a Rolling Wheel Kick/Koppu Kick which made Osaka's collective jaws drop!
A very impressive move for a 500 pounder; Koduku and Fuwa screamed hysterically in the aftermath of the move.
Bruiser was stunned; but managed to kick out at two for a long nearfall!
Vessel took his time getting to his feet; the kick had taken a lot out of him.
Grabbing the King BEAST gruffly, he planted Bruiser painfully with a Powerbomb that was more geared towards placing Bruiser where he wanted - squarely underneath the Dark Circle!
Vessel shook the sweat from his brow and roared viciously at the crowd in English - 'NO ONE ESCAPES THE DARK CIRCLE!'
Before he could make his way to the top turnbuckle, Bruiser stirred and clambered to his feet, rubbing his jaw.
Bruiser growled and charged at Vessel, who was in a precarious position.
Almost like King Kong swatting at the fighter planes in the epic film, Vessel grunted in return and shoved Bruiser off.
Due to the positioning of Bruiser's attack, Vessel carefully turned around on the ring post, primed for a Dark Circle Moonsault!
Bruiser again pounded his fists on the mat, bringing Osaka to its knees.
He ran and leapt at Vessel's back, pounding on it with brutal forearms.
Vessel grimaced in pain, and tried to elbow Bruiser in the head - and did.
Amazingly, Bruiser no-sold the elbow to the head, and roared in a primordial fashion in Vessel's vicinity!
Bruiser nailed one final Double Axe Handle to the back of a prone Vessel, who amazingly was still in a pre-Banzai Drop position.
Bruiser, dripping with sweat, used all his might to push Vessel up higher on the turnbuckles.
Over 500lbs of weight was on the turnbuckle; with Bruiser looking to change that in emphatic fashion.
Bruiser scanned the crowd, and roared again.
"メガ爆弾!" (MEGA BOMB!)
Vessel's eyes went wide as Bruiser gripped Vessel's waistband from below; in a similar scene to how The Undertaker first defeated Triple H at WrestleMania X-Seven.
Instead of Bruiser being able to grip his much larger foe in an Everest Powerbomb, he modified the MegaBomb and tore Vessel from the turnbuckles with all his strength!
'The MegaBomb Heard 'Round The World' was as destructive and shocking as Lesnar Superplexing The Big Show when the ring broke - thankfully, the BEAST ring did not suffer the same fate as the WWE Smackdown ring all those years ago.
The commentary team hysterically called the action as Bruiser, amidst a sea of cheers, covered Vessel, hooking his giant leg and pinning him successfully for his amazing eighth title defense!
The bell sounded to signify the end of the match as Malevolence proclaimed Bruiser was still the King BEAST champion!
RESULT: Bruiser defeated Vessel (23:15) by pinfall after an Avalanche MegaBomb
Lord Lucius thanked the fans for their support of BEAST, and how much they had appreciated their home in Osaka.
He asked the BEAST fanbase to tune into the second episode of Waves, where due to popular demand Seth Cronyn would be interviewed again by Matt Striker, and reveal some interesting news pertaining to SUMMIT PRO.
Post by Chris Reager on Mar 4, 2015 3:44:30 GMT -5
WAVES - Episode 2 (波 - エピソード2)
We are welcomed to the second episode of Waves, after the first big two shows 2015 for SUMMIT PRO by way of a well-edited and produced signature video set to 'The Banishment' by Prong (the theme for SUMMIT PRO)
Broadcast on TCN and Nippon TV, Waves was as well available as featured content available for streaming on SUMMIT PRO's website, via 'APEX'.
As was the case with the first episode, Waves would serve as a recap and discussion show of the most recent events in SUMMIT PRO:
SUMMIT PRO TAG TEAM GRAND PRIX: FIRST STAGE
SUMMIT PRO SHOWCASE: BEAST IX
Due to popular demand, 3NWPRO CEO Seth Cronyn would return to address more topics with Matt Striker.
The camera panned across a courteous and respectful Japanese audience in Osaka to a brightly lit studio with a three-person panel, hosted by SUMMIT PRO commentator Carl Jordan.
His broadcast colleague, Lee Hunter sat to his left along with Matt Striker, who flanked him to the right.
As he could not speak Japanese, Matt Striker's dialogue would be translated live to the crowd by a translator, while Kanji subtitles would be displayed for the viewers at home.
Carl Jordan: エピソード2を - こんばんは秘密-の島は、SUMMIT PROの波の私たちに今夜に参加してくれてありがとう！
(Good evening Himitsu-No Shima, thank you for joining us tonight for SUMMIT PRO's WAVES - Episode 2!)
Lee Hunter: はい、こんばんは皆さん。それはSUMMIT PROの波の別の特別なエピソードのためにここにあなたとリー•ハンター、カール•ジョーダンとマット•ストライカーをです。私たちは、SUMMIT PROのバタンと2015年をオフに開始している2つのイベントを議論され、その後、我々はにオンデマンド3NWPROの最高経営責任者（CEO）で開催され、フォローアップ面接マット•ストライカー、セス•クローニンはに行くことができます - そのために待つことができない！
(Yes, good evening everyone; it's Lee Hunter, Carl Jordan and Matt Striker with you here for another special episode of Waves for SUMMIT PRO. We will be discussing the two events that have started off 2015 with a bang for SUMMIT PRO, and then we will take you to the in-demand follow up interview Matt Striker held with 3NWPRO CEO, Seth Cronyn - cannot wait for that!)
* * *
The panel discussed the following topics at length along with accompanying video footage of:
SUMMIT PRO: TAG TEAM GRAND PRIX - FIRST STAGE
Focus was on the card as a whole; but specifically:
The incredible news shared by Seth Cronyn re: potential partnerships with NJPW and ROH
The intelligent strategy implemented by Seeds of Hate against St.Paul and Bryant
The awe-inspiring performance from Kaleb Delta of RIPTIDE against impressive KING talent Tatsutoshi Shimizu
News that predated '#GiveDivasAChance' in the US; the official launch of SUMMIT PRO's newest venture, the joshi promotion 'DRIVEN', with joshi legend Manami Toyota named inaugural President by Lady Crothers
The rematch between La Muerte Roja and Furious Senden - a potential rubber match in the future?
Stiffness absolute between Hellfire Eternal and R-RAMPAGE
The breathtaking crispness and poise from Nigel Newhart's in-ring debut for SUMMIT PRO; only for the match to descend into chaos as interference from MERCILESS and IRON FIST spoiled it
The epic main event between Sampson and Drake and BRUTE, awarded four and a half stars in WON
* * *
SUMMIT PRO SHOWCASE: BEAST XI
Focus was on the card as a whole; but specifically:
The new 'Lord Lucius' and the Mysterious Tigerlily Divina
The hard-hitting and unrelenting BEAST Triptytch match between three imposing teams
The introduction of Kodoku and Fuwa as Kenryoku Dasshu (Seizure of Power) as commentators for BEAST; previously Carl and Lee pulled multiple duties commentating for BEAST in addition to all of SUMMIT PRO
The rise and rise of Venom in BEAST; jovially referred to as 'The Benjamin Button of BEAST' in that the older he gets, the better he gets
The final ever title defense of the Dual BEAST Tag Team championships showed The Pain Division to set the bar to a truly BEASTly standard
The fear and rage exhibited by Kraven in his dealing with Reaper's loss, and his promo against Virus
The epic contest between Virus and Kraven for the Iron BEAST championship
The astounding bout between the heart of BEAST and the Kolossal One himself, Vessel - and the MegaBomb Heard 'Round The World
* * *
Briefly outside of SUMMIT PRO:
The heinous actions of Yoshiko against Act Yasukawa in Stardom and the possible impact on DRIVEN
WWE Fast Lane
Finn Balor in NXT; NXT as a whole
The ambition of GFW outside of NJPW
Lucha Underground and Rey Mysterio
Samoa Joe returning to ROH
NJPW on AXS TV
The next shows for NJPW after Okinawa; New Japan Cup and Invasion Attack
The fate of NOAH
After the discussion by the panel of the two events, Carl and Lee briefly discussed the interview between Matt Striker and Seth Cronyn, which was taped on the day after the horrible incident at Stardom between Yoshiko and Act Yasukawa.
The interview was once again conducted in Seth's offices in Osaka, and were conducted in English.
Their dialogue was translated via Kanji subtitles for the viewers at home.
* * *
Matt Striker: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for your company; I am here due to popular demand with 3NWPRO CEO Seth Cronyn; it has been a crazy month! Thank you for being here today Seth, I know you're busy - how are you?
Seth Cronyn: I'm great, thanks Matt, how are you? You're well?
Matt Striker: Thank you, I am.
Seth Cronyn: Excellent to hear! Wow…man, I tell you, things are going really well…Every show we've run within the last year has been a sell-out, more and more 'Westerners' are becoming fans of Puroresu; I'm getting lots of attention now from outlets and companies I've never had to deal with before, the growth is almost exponential, it's fantastic, really.
Matt Striker: Myself, Carl and Lee have had a tremendous time watching both the First Stage of the Tag Grand Prix and the BEAST XI Showcase.
Seth Cronyn: Thank you; it was so great for joshi legend Aja Kong to attend the BEAST XI Showcase Event; she met with the guys and girls of RIPTIDE and DRIVEN along with my sister's favourite wrestler, DRIVEN CEO, Manami Toyota, and it was a blast for her to see BEAST in person.
Matt Striker: Now, I hate to start with some - I don't want to say 'bad' - due to the vibes - but moreso 'unfortunate' news in SUMMIT PRO…
Seth Cronyn: (sighs deeply) It was great sadness that I accept the resignation of FORGE CEO Dory Funk Jr…I love this man as a mentor, a father figure and as a human being…I appreciate everything he has ever done for me, for 3NWPRO, but due to his commitments with All Japan and his age he sadly handed the resignation in and I accepted…
Matt Striker: We know how much The Funks mean to you, but you have accepted…what happens now?
Seth Cronyn: As of right now FORGE will have an Interim CEO (I don't like the term 'General Manager') and that will be my good friend Jim Weaver...we will see as time goes on who will fill Dory's shoes.
Matt Striker: Okay, so…let's talk about this attention that the company has been getting, and what you see for SUMMIT PRO so far.
Seth Cronyn: Well, to be blunt…I got offers to appear on five different podcasts on Podcast One; the channel with Steve Austin, Jim Ross, Chris Jericho, Bill Goldberg and Roddy Piper. They basically heard the noise about SUMMIT PRO due to events in 2014 and wanted to hear from me.
Matt Striker: Wow, that's incredible - have you taken any of them up on the offer yet?
Seth Cronyn: I have people who listen to these podcasts and transcribe them for me; again - this goes back to learning by immersing yourself in everything you can where possible. I have a great deal of respect for all of these guys but at this stage it's not something I can commit to right away.
Matt Striker: Amazing to hear; appreciate your honesty there. Let's talk about perception; now that in 2015 pro wrestling is still popular, though I don't believe it can ever hit the heights it once did - what is your take on the current landscape as it pertains to professional wrestling as a whole?
Seth Cronyn: That's a bold question Matt, and I have to say it all comes down to time. Time is the one currency that everyone is short on, it doesn’t matter where you are in the world. You say wrestling won't hit the heights it once did; you're right - but you're thinking within the prism of the television product in the US, which did massive ratings numbers in the Monday Night Wars.
Seth Cronyn: Like I said in the first interview we did; the difference between wrestling on televised events made for a television product like Nitro or Raw is vastly different to the events that NJPW or AJPW ran that also did huge numbers on TV here in Japan…the focus of the Nitro and Raw shows was this 'sports entertainment' and 'crash TV' edgy stuff mixed in with the Cruiserweight division on Nitro or the soap opera stuff like Undertaker and Kane's feud in '97/'98.
He sipped his water and continued.
Seth Cronyn: I'm not saying that's all there was; there was a litany of factors both shows brought to the table as the War went on, but here in Japan, well - watching matches of incredible Japanese wrestlers, male or female - was the cornerstone of the programming and it did phenomenally well for a time.
Matt Striker: You're referring to some of your favourites there; in AJPW you had Misawa, Kobashi, Taue and Kawada, along with Hansen, Gordy and Williams. In NJPW, you had Liger, Mutoh, Chono, Tenzan and Sasaki.
Seth Cronyn: That's right; slow-burn feuds driven by great matches, simplistic in nature - but the Japanese crowds wanted to see it, and it worked. It got a tad silly with nWo Japan and that, but behind the 'Big Two' in AJPW and NJPW, you had the crossover appeal with a promotion like Michinoku Pro, featuring junior heavyweights who were trained in the Mexican Lucha Libre style.
Seth Cronyn: At that same time you had ECW in the US which was massively influential and a source of interesting and diverse talent. They were also ahead of the curve due to the thinking of Paul Heyman, who I have a story about…hehehe…the flipside in Japan was my former stomping grounds, FMW, where I made a name for myself before my leg injury…So that's roughly how it was in the late '90's in the US and Japan, as far as I could see.
Matt Striker: So as for the current landscape…?
Seth Cronyn: Sorry Matt, you know I'm a stickler for the history of the business! Currently now, with the advent of social media and the business having been exposed like never before, you just can't compare it to any other time in wrestling history.
Seth Cronyn: I think it's good, the current landscape, but it depends where you look. WWE is doing great business, and you'd have to think that'd be a forgone conclusion seeing how Vince won the War, he now has the WWE Network and an incredible pool of talent. The thing is though, they are not the be all and end all when you think of wrestling, especially here in Japan.
Matt Striker: So for you, what is it; an international product or an American one that just happens to reach worldwide?
Seth Cronyn: (laughs) Good question Matt, but my opinion on WWE in this regard is not relevant; the current landscape of pro wrestling is good - again, if you love it, take it upon yourself to seek out more than just what you see on Raw.
Matt Striker: I appreciate that Seth, and you're absolutely right. So how do you reach these fans; and on another note, what do you think of the one year anniversary of the WWE Network?
Seth Cronyn: You know, people respond to things they've never seen before; their brains try to wrap their heads around what they've seen, they process it as 'This is something I've never seen before and I like it, wanna see more of it,' - it's hard to do that in an era of people 'knowing' everything, and in the US where wrestling is dissected and scrutinised to the utmost.
Matt Striker: So here in Japan you've flourished with a promotion that ticks a whole bunch of boxes for you?
Seth Cronyn: Absolutely - it's so important to me to be creative, to be responsive and to be different and still have that rush of appreciation from the crowd even if I can't actually wrestle like I used to. I remember hearing Eric Bischoff say a long time ago that he made a list of everything he could possibly do to be different to WWE, and to an extent it worked, especially with the nWo.
He sipped his water and continued.
Seth Cronyn: For me, SUMMIT PRO is the very definition of 'different' - I'm not saying something concrete like 'We have something for everyone!' because I don't know what 'everyone' wants - that's a misnomer if ever I heard one. Here in Japan, people appreciate wrestling; whether it's Mexican Luchadors giving a new take on Lucha Libre in 2015, great Junior Heavyweight wrestlers spread across IGNITION, RIPTIDE, KING JHW; impressive young athletes in RIPTIDE, elder statesmen who can still go like those in FORGE and KING HW and the out-of-this-world concept that is BEAST - and now very soon we will see beautiful, athletic and international ambitious women in the form of DRIVEN - my sister included - it's pretty exciting for me as an executive and as a fan to be behind all of this.
Seth Cronyn: When you boil it down though, at that point in wrestling, with people swapping channels back and forth, there really wasn't that much different - it was still pro wrestling/sports entertainment, with seemingly compatible stars 'jumping ship' left, right and centre. As for the WWE Network, good for them - Vince can thank us here at 3NWPRO for buying twenty subscriptions for the admin and talent within the 3NWPRO family in my California HQ; my Dojo. Seriously though, good for them, really. I enjoy it a great deal.
Matt Striker: You mentioned Paul Heyman before; what happened there?
Seth Cronyn: I wrestled mainly in preliminary matches in Onita's FMW; I had a 'Shawn Michaels' vibe to me apparently and I was the white-meat babyface gaijin that Japanese girls loved - and I would get my ass kicked, would bleed and get people invested in me before either 'overcoming the odds' (before it became a cliché` tied to the ineptness of one John Cena) or losing valiantly as I (again, another cliché`, but I 'never gave up')
Matt Striker: (laughs)
Seth Cronyn: (chuckles) Oh man…I like to think I made it an artform back then, but seeing what this guy has done for 10+ years, just isn't for me…anyway, I digress…with Chris Jericho jumping ship from ECW to WCW, Paul needed talent, and thought I could fill Jericho's shoes…at that time, I had no interest filling anyone's shoes; I was only 20 years old and was living MY dream, wrestling in Japan.
Seth Cronyn: Well, a few years later a supposed 'co-promotion' between ECW and FMW occurred, leading one of our (at the time) big stars, Kodo Fuyuki, to create 'ECW Japan', which had the likes of Super Crazy, Tajiri, Balls Mahoney and some other guys come across; almost like an 'invasion'. I got to work with one of my heroes, Masato Tanaka (who had been with FMW off and on) which was a big deal for me. He told Mahoney he liked working with me, Mahoney told Paul and again Paul tried to get me to come to ECW.
Matt Striker: That would have been amazing! What did you feel about this at the time?
Seth Cronyn: I pledged allegiance to Onita; Onita was a big fan of mine, and like me, had tons of respect for The Funks who had helped him earlier in his career. I'd heard things about Paul being a tad shady as a promoter and again, had no interest in going to South Philly, but I said I'd get back to him about it.
Seth Cronyn: I asked Onita, he said there shouldn't be an issue, so I tried calling Paul for almost a week to take him up on his offer. By the time he returned my call, I'd been entered into a feud with Tetsuhiro Kuroda and told him if he called earlier, I would've have loved to see what he would've said, only for him to turn around and say 'I got other guys Seth, so I appreciate you calling, but it's okay, hope you do well in Japan.'
Matt Striker: Wow…I'd say that errs on wrestling booking politics, huh?
Seth Cronyn: You could say so. As I said, I wasn't looking to work in the US anyway, but a similar thing happened to Shane Douglas when he finally left in early '99; Paul's attitude left a lot to be desired. But hey, 17+ plus years on, it's fine, Heyman and I get along now and it's just one of those things.
Matt Striker: Let's talk about building talent. When we think about SUMMIT PRO, there is a wealth of talent and stars here; all with different and unique ways of connecting with the audience. How did this all come about, the fact that there are numbers of stars within SUMMIT PRO and their individual rosters/promotions?
Seth Cronyn: If I had a secret formula for that and bottled it, I could show you in person (laughs) but I'm extremely fortunate to have been blessed with the good fortune of meeting Lady Crothers in a much needed time in my career, and drew upon creativity within wrestling by looking outside of wrestling and back in.
Seth Cronyn: You watch something like PRIDE FC or UFC; wow - these are two STARKLY different visions of what MMA is. One is in Japan, one is in the US. Both have modified rules, yes, both are sports, yes, both are entertaining. Why can't wrestling be like that? Why does everything in wrestling seemingly have to have a WWE stamp of approval; like if it didn’t come through or via the WWE and yet somehow is a hit, somehow is successful the feeling on the millions of Internet wrestling forums is 'I wonder how long it will be for WWE to steal this idea.'
Seth Cronyn: Someone who has been watching for 5 years, 7 years, 17 years, 25 years - they all have opinions, and so they should, not knocking them for that. But for someone like me who has had a hand in training the RIPTIDE and DRIVEN talent I feel very close and protective of them all; especially as I've been in their shoes before, being in a foreign land trying to succeed at your dream. I'll mention RIPTIDE off the bat, as that is the promotion that I'm more in tune with from a 'building' aspect than others.
Matt Striker: You would have to say there is no pretentious feeling with SUMMIT PRO; it works because it is so unique and the way it is presented gives the audience that chance to connect.
Seth Cronyn: That's right; you know, we do videos where Dan Starling will tell you how he met me; how he became a wrestler - that's real. People appreciate that, especially when you're a foreigner and you have taken it upon yourself to learn the language of the country you're living in. They see the likes of Breckin, Delta, Windy, Starling, Corey, Zen - all these young Americans who have a singular goal and passion - be the best they can in this country that elicits more from them as it pertains to professional wrestling.
Matt Striker: Amazing talents, all of them; throughout SUMMIT PRO. Regarding the Japanese language - you learnt it without any help from anyone, is that right?
Seth Cronyn: That's right; I was leaving Amarillo and Dory told me to listen carefully to the Japanese due to their English. I'd studied Japanese in high school, but fell out of touch, as you do, if you don't use it often. I still had the textbooks and tapes, and flew to Japan listening to the tapes and kept learning - I passed this info on to all of my students, and the Japanese promoters and talent I've worked with have been impressed with that ingenuity; it can only help.
Matt Striker: See, that's preparing for the future right there. You've said many times, you prefer to work and live in Japan, but are as up to date as you can be with the goings-on in the States. What about the exciting news you shared regarding Ring of Honor and New Japan?
Seth Cronyn: Things are progressing well, perhaps slowly in the scheme of things, but if the opportunity is there for ROH and NJPW stars to appear on VERSUS events or even MAELSTROM events, it can only benefit the business in my opinion…I don't want to give much more away than that, but rest assured that the vibe between all three companies is very good, and the level of talent is second to none.
Matt Striker: Sounds fantastic, cannot wait for more details to come to light, thank you Seth. Speaking of talent that is second to none, what are your impressions of the following promotions…?
Matt Striker: PWG?
Seth Cronyn: As I'm originally from California, this is one of the best on the US indies for mine…that may have to do with the fact that a lot of the great talent there also work for ROH, but there was a period where PWG was consistently delivering fantastic shows; here's hoping they can keep it up. I'm not used to the 'arena' (for lack of a better term) but the rapport with the fans is out of this world.
Matt Striker: Would any talents there interest your grandfather, Sovereign, in a showcase capacity?
Seth Cronyn: Probably only Roderick Strong, ACH, Ricochet or Adam Cole…but they're also with ROH (either the exception of Ricochet) so it still may happen…no disrespect to the rest, of course.
Matt Striker: I have to say, I love the freedom in mentioning these other companies; as you know I couldn't really do that in the WWE…
Seth Cronyn: Oh, of course. Vince is looking out for his business, I understand that…to a degree.
Matt Striker: How about Lucha Underground? The very idea of a VERSUS card with IGNITION is very intriguing, at least to me…
Seth Cronyn: Oh, trust me, that is something I am very interested in; IGNITION is a wonderful organisation and valued member of SUMMIT PRO, as for Lucha Underground I love the concept and the support it has gotten…along with Konner Mitchell I believe a VERSUS event would be a great boon for lucha libre and would benefit both companies in getting more eyes on each product.
Matt Striker: How about travelling? We all know travelling is part of the job, SUMMIT PRO is no different. Where will the company find itself travelling to in 2015 to get people excited?
Seth Cronyn: Well, we set a goal last year to expand into countries where we had some traction via our website video-on-demand service and new 'WWE Network/NJPW World' type subscription streaming service called 'APEX'. We had an eight-week tour, and SUMMIT PRO performed in countries like Canada, the UK, Dubai, Russia, China, South Korea, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Austria, Sweden and Estonia.
Matt Striker: Consciously where was the decision made to visit?
Seth Cronyn: Asia, most definitely. Japan is our home, Osaka specifically, but also we perform in Tokyo, Nagoya, Sapporo, Sendai, Kyoto and Hiroshima. The latter three special wards or cities we haven't ventured into that much, but we're looking to change that this year.
Seth Cronyn: Markets like the UK, Taiwan, China, South Korea, Russia, India, New Zealand are important us and we will continue to make inroads where possible. Other countries like Indonesia, Singapore, Canada and Scandinavian countries like Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Iceland will hopefully get a look in this year; again - where possible.
Matt Striker: Amazingly, you didn't mention the US. Why is that?
Seth Cronyn: The US doesn't fall into our plans so far; it is a market that is well and truly hard to define…it's a big country, and there are key areas to perform in that are necessary to return a profit…unfortunately for 3NWPRO, we are just not ready to come across while the WWE does shows on the West Coast, ROH ventures into areas beyond the Northeast and the UFC steamrolls the West Coast…but it's something we will look to alleviate in time.
Matt Striker: That s fantastic news, Seth - appreciate that. Winding down now - how is the vibe in SUMMIT PRO; how's the feeling backstage with the talent as it pertains to pro wrestling in 2015?
Seth Cronyn: Great question Matt. We are a fairly new company and the whole 'SUMMIT PRO' concept is not something the average wrestling fan can immediately get into (that is by no means an insult to wrestling fans) but despite this, the vibe is amazing - I can't speak any higher of all the talent here in SUMMIT PRO, spread across the rosters.
Matt Striker: This concept then - why is that so unique to you?
Seth Cronyn: There is a huge difference between puroresu and sports entertainment; and while pro wrestling companies like NJPW, ROH, TNA and other smaller companies are not going anywhere anytime soon; the perception seems to be if you want to make it, you HAVE to go to the WWE (sports entertainment). I don't have an issue with that - but my philosophy in wrestling and in life, is to go against the grain and still find something that resonates with people.
Seth Cronyn: Essentially, Matt, I'm like Tom Morello of Rage Against The Machine; you know of him?
Matt Striker: I do, actually, yes. Wait - how are you like him?
Seth Cronyn: (laughs) He's an incredible guitarist, but what is most amazing is the fact that he respects the 'tradition' of guitarists like Adrian Smith and Dave Murray of Iron Maiden or Glenn Tipton and KK Downing of Judas Priest…and said 'These guys have this area of expertise down, I'm gonna try something else…'
Matt Striker: Wow…
Seth Cronyn: My mindset is the same - why retread the same paths that work for Vince McMahon? Why emulate what other companies do in terms of how they present their product; be it visual style, in-ring style, music choices, and so on? WCW showed me that even though it was possible for a competitor to bring out a side of creativity from the WWE the likes we'll likely never see again, the sheer fact that we got to see amazing television from BOTH companies in that era was enough for me to truly delve into my own interests and wonder if an idea, a concept could catch on and be popular.
Matt Striker: …and then you met Lady Crothers…
Seth Cronyn: (chuckles) Yes, and the rest, they say, is history…I won't delve into that, as we all know the story but needless to say, my dream is a reality and with the help of an incredibly kind and intelligent benefactor, I have brought to life something truly original in the world of pro wrestling.
Matt Striker: …and on that note, I can't thank you enough for this engaging conversation about this wonderful sport and art form we all love so much.
Seth Cronyn: My pleasure - thank you Matt, and thank you to all the amazing passionate fans of SUMMIT PRO and wrestling in general! Just before I go - I have some news for the Second Stage; a special pre-main event: a former ROH World champion will face RIPTIDE's own Breckin Machine; Breckin Stryker! The champions' name? Samoa Joe!
* * *
Back in the studio, the audience and the panel united and applauded the lengthy interview conducted by Matt Striker with Seth Cronyn, along with the news of Samoa Joe facing off against Breckin Stryker!
Carl Jordan: そこにもう一つの信じられないほどの面接マット。ちょうど私達にそのように公然と共有するためにセスを取得するためにありがとうございました！
(Another incredible interview there Matt; thank you so much for getting Seth to just share so openly with us!)
Lee Hunter: 私たちは常に学んでいる - と、これはそれの別の例である。さてセス•クローニンに再びあなた、マットと感謝に行わ。
(We are always learning - and this is another example of it. Well done to you, Matt and thanks again to Seth Cronyn.)
Matt Striker: それではタッググランプリ第二段階で始まるSUMMIT PROの次の2つのイベントを見てみましょう - あなたの両方をありがとう - あなたに大阪に感謝。
(Thank you both - thank you Osaka - let's now look at the next two events for SUMMIT PRO, starting with the Tag Team Grand Prix Second Stage.)
* * *
Attention was drawn after the video packages to the next event; the SUMMIT PRO Tag Team Grand Prix - Second Stage.
SUMMIT PRO Tag Team Grand Prix - Second Stage
"Ya-Shima" (Kazuharu Yasuda and Shingo Takashima) [KING JHW] VERSUS Kotaro and Drake Madsen [RIPTIDE]
IGNITION 'SHOWCASE': "Morphosis" (Silvestro and Mantis) [IGNITION] VERSUS El Azul and Super Xero [IGNITION]
GRUDGE MATCH: Leon Harris [RIPTIDE] VERSUS Johnny Prime [RIPTIDE]
"Bane of Ruination" (Nightmare and Ravage) [BEAST] VERSUS "Ootoko-Gun" (Shoichi Onizuka and Makoto Utada) [KING HW]
"MERCILESS" (Takeshi Gannosuke and Katsuhiko Yamada) [KING] VERSUS "Perilous Oppression" (Hazard and Tyrant) [BEAST]
"The Koloff Bros" (Ivar Koloff and Viktor Koloff) [FORGE] VERSUS Mason Jones and Mossad Hammoud [RIPTIDE]
SPECIAL PRE-MAIN EVENT: Breckin Stryker [RIPTIDE] VERSUS Samoa Joe [ROH]
MAIN EVENT: "IRON FIST' (Heihachi Miyamoto and Koji Nakata) [KING HW] VERSUS "TEN-KODA" (Ryusuke Tengan and Keiji Sakoda) [FORGE]
* * *
A video package hyped the event, along with footage of all the teams in action.
The two singles matches had prominence; the first being a Grudge Match between one half of the RIPTIDE Tag Team champions, Leon Harris against the cowardly Johnny Prime.
As mentioned by Seth Cronyn earlier, he was able to enlist the former TNA and ROH World champion, Samoa Joe, to an exhibition match against RIPTIDE's 'Breckin Machine; Breckin Stryker!
The crowd erupted with applause as the video displayed the matchups.
The panel discussed the matchups before moving on to the next Showcase Event (ショーケースイベント) for 2015, an incredibly important event, the inaugural show for DRIVEN, which would be held at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo.
SUMMIT PRO SHOWCASE: DRIVEN I
Priya Roshan and Mikayla Benson VERSUS Yasumi Fujita and Tatsumi Shindo
Sun Xiao-Jing VERSUS Raina Ji-Kyung
Isabelle Vasquez, Eliana Velez and Carmen Mendoza VERSUS Hiromi Oshiro, Kumiko Nakayama and Satori Onizuka
Tamika Ito and Sadaka Kisugi VERSUS Lucy Renshaw and Kayana Dawson
PRE-MAIN EVENT: Sophie Geroux VERSUS Narumi Tamayama
MAIN EVENT: Sienna Cronyn and Asumi Ishimoto VERSUS Keisha Hamilton and Tanisha Landon
* * *
Again, a video package hyped the event, along with footage of the DRIVEN athletes in training alongside RIPTIDE and FORGE.
Seth had ensured that every member of the roster would be in action to show exactly what they could do; not as a reaction to anything in the WWE or even in the West - it was a statement to show that DRIVEN had FINALLY arrived.
The panel discussed the card after the video had finished, praising the fact the card would feature every DRIVEN Woman and focus on the talent inherent in all of them.
Carl Jordan: 皆様;これに、私たちと一緒にいるために再度ありがとう。サミットPRO第二話：波。非常にエキサイティングな時代 - 私たちは、SUMMIT PROタッググランプリとドリブンの最初のショーケースイベントの第二段階ですぐにお会いしたい！
(Ladies and gentlemen; thank you again for being with us, on this; the second episode of SUMMIT PRO: Waves. We hope to see you soon at the Second Stage of the SUMMIT PRO Tag Team Grand Prix and the first Showcase Event for DRIVEN - very exciting times!)
The panel thanked the fans, and in return the audience applauded as the end signature for WAVES was shown.
Fans watched SUMMIT PRO either on TCN's broadcast, Nippon TV's broadcast or on the SUMMIT PRO website's online VOD subscription service, 'APEX'.
Special well-crafted and edited promo shorts hyping the next shows were shown for:
Post by Chris Reager on Apr 17, 2015 4:49:45 GMT -5
SUMMIT PRO: TAG TEAM GRAND PRIX II - SECOND STAGE Sendai Gymnasium, Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture
The show opened with a video package of all the tag teams participating in the event tonight.
3NWPRO CEO Seth Cronyn, along with the respective Presidents of SUMMIT PRO's promotions, opened the show on the stage to hype tonight's event, and made their way to the ring.
The gentlemen entered the ring to applause, and in return showed great respect to the crowd.
As was the case with the First Stage, Seth was cheered for a long time before speaking, stemming from his interview on Waves - Episode 2.
Smiling broadly, Seth waved to the fans and thanked them for packing the Sendai Gymnasium in anticipation for the Second Stage of the SUMMIT PRO Tag Team Grand Prix.
The First Stage provided some amazing matches, and Seth proclaimed this Stage would be no different.
As before, all five promotions would be represented, with two specialty singles matches standing out in their own unique ways.
Seth handed the microphone to his good friend and Acting President of FORGE, Jim Weaver, who espoused the merits of FORGE, and passed the microphone on so the other Presidents could do the same for their respective promotion's prospects in the Grand Prix.
Attention was drawn to the large screens and displayed the brackets for the Second Stage of the Grand Prix bouts.
A photo of a very noble-looking Dory Funk Jr as NWA World champion was shown next, with text beneath his name thanking him for his work as President of FORGE.
The Presidents thanked the audience once more and bowed in respect, and left the ringside area one by one.
Before Seth could leave, Nigel Newhart's music hit and he made his way to the ring, as Sendai cheered him on.
He firmly shook Seth's hand and motioned for the microphone.
(Good evening Sendai; good evening Seth. I hate to hold up the show but I have an issue that needs addressing, and I'm not going to wait forever for it to be rectified. I was one second away from defeating Kenichi Saito at the First Stage only to be set upon by MERCILESS and IRON FIST; I want to know when I can get my hands on Kenichi again!)
The crowd responded in kind; knowing what type of proud individual Nigel was and what he managed to achieve in his initial match with Kenichi Saito, they were behind him 100%.
(I can appreciate that, Nigel - no one is more dismayed at the lack of respect shown by the villainous actions of MERCILESS and IRON FIST. Interestingly enough, both teams have matches tonight against tough opponents in the Grand Prix. At the risk of trying to control you, I would ask that you have patience and know that I will see you and Kenichi face off again, and this time - without any interference!)
The crowd cheered, the hopes of a match to rival Saito's finest hour in 2014; the finals of the Junior Heavyweight Grand Prix against RIPTIDE Heavyweight champion Dan Starling, could potentially steal the show at the event both men would inevitably be booked to compete against.
(That's all I ask Seth - and tonight, with no disrespect to you or Sendai, but I will make a point to MERCILESS and KING right now for their matches - I hope you get far, all four of you. Do you hear me? NAKATA! MIYAMOTO! GANNOSUKE! YAMADA! Get far in the Grand Prix, get comfortable - and watch closely for me, as I watch you make mistake after mistake in your pride and fall!)
Nigel roared the names of his foes' vehemently to the adulation of the crowd, loving the confidence that Nigel exuded.
Seth nodded and shook Nigel's hand warmly as the SUMMIT PRO theme played and they exited the ring, after bowing to the crowd.
SUMMIT PRO's announce team, Lee Hunter, Carl Jordan and Matt Striker, commented on the in-ring actions, with the three men praising the ingenuity shown by Nigel Newhart to make a stand for the attack he suffered at the First Stage.
They supplied the viewers at home with an update on DRIVEN, and brief footage was shown of all twenty-two beautiful and talented DRIVEN Women working in the 3NW Dojo alongside the likes of RIPTIDE and FORGE.
They also mentioned that Seth was 'very close' to cementing the deal with ROH and NJPW in 2015, the first signs of the deal becoming a reality was Samoa Joe debuting for SUMMIT PRO and representing ROH against RIPTIDE's Breckin' Machine, Breckin Stryker.
The screens showed the Gravure Four; the backstage interviewers for SUMMIT PRO - Yukie Kawamura, Minase Yashiro, Harumi Nemoto and Eri Otoguro. Performing backstage interviewing duties for IGNITION was Raquel Arrulo, while Tetsuo Kaneda (RIPTIDE and KING), El Encender` (IGNITION) and Lenne Hardt (formerly of PRIDE) would perform ring announcing duties intermittently.
The facepainted Malevolence would announce for BEAST in his resonant voice as per usual.
A short video package highlighting the teams participating in the Second Stage of the Grand Prix was shown.
* * *
SUMMIT PRO: TAG TEAM GRAND PRIX II - SECOND STAGE
* * *
Backstage, Kotaro and Drake Madsen each cut a promo on the opening match, as interviewed by Harumi Nemoto.
Elsewhere backstage, Kazuharu Yasuda and Shingo Takashima, otherwise known as 'Ya-Shima' responded in kind by virtue of their own promos, as interviewed by Yukie Kawamura.
Ya-Shima: (Kazuharu Yasuda and Shingo Takashima) [KING JHW] VERSUS Kotaro and Drake Madsen [RIPTIDE]
OF NOTE: Kazuharu Yasuda and Shingo Takashima were the perennial veteran Junior Heavyweight team in KING, and had the distinction of holding both the Junior Heavyweight and Heavyweight KING CKGP tag team titles at one point in their careers.
Conversely, Kotaro and Drake Madsen were amongst the newest talent to come through Seth Cronyn's feeder promotion, SCW, and as such were eager to make a name for themselves in a history-making tournament.
Kotaro and Madsen came to the ring to mild applause; the pummelling riff of 'Stay In Shadow' by Canadian rock band Finger Eleven amping up the crowd.
Ya-Shima made their way to the ring next to deafening applause as the strains of 'Still Be Hanging On' by legendary Japanese female hard rock band Show-Ya rang through the Sendai Gymnasium.
Tetsuo Kaneda announced Kotaro and Drake Madsen while Lenne Hardt announced Ya-Shima.
Ya-Shima shook hands with the youngsters from RIPTIDE, and a spirited first few Quarters began in earnest as all four men tried to establish a lead for their respective teams.
The pace set by the younger team caused a strategic re-think by Ya-Shima, who found the opening to cut down the spirited and frenetic pace set by Kotaro and Madsen.
Despite an earnest comeback from Kotaro and Madsen by way of stiff shoot kicks and desperate forearms, the veterans weathered the storm and Takashima seemingly sacrificed himself for his partner, moving into a violent Superkick from Kotaro!
With Takashima down, Kotaro and Madsen looked incredulously at each other at what had transpired.
Their success was short-lived as Yasuda mowed both men down with twin Lariats, feeding off the energy of the Sendai crowd.
As Madsen rose, Yasuda drilled him with a sickeningly stiff Knee Trembler that verged on an outright Shinsuke Nakamura-inspired Boma Ye!
Kotaro snarled and rushed forward but was stopped - a hand wrapped around Kotaro's left ankle stopped his movement - a groggy Takashima gritted his teeth in defiance.
Yasuda returned the favour for his partner and blasted Kotaro with an equally violent Superkick; however this time he didn’t fall as Takashima had risen to his feet and caught the prone Kotaro in a Full Nelson.
After a split second, Yasuda grunted and executed a dangerous-looking Dragon Suplex which gained Ya-Shima the win!
The bell clanged to signal the end of the match; fans rejoiced as the stalwarts of the Junior Heavyweight division had prevailed!
RESULT: Ya-Shima defeated Kotaro / Madsen (10:19) when Yasuda pinned Kotaro after a Dragon Suplex
At the commentary desk, Jordan, Hunter and Striker discussed the match, giving both teams respect for their approach to the Second Stage, but saved a large amount of praise for the efforts of Ya-Shima, who looked outside the box and found a way to win.
A graphic showing the Second Stage field had Madsen/Kotaro eliminated with Ya-Shima moving forward.
Backstage, Raquel Arrulo interviewed IGNITION's Morphosis in Spanish; Silvestro and Mantis, who each cut a promo in Spanish on the upcoming match (subtitled in Japanese for home viewers)
Elsewhere backstage, El Azul and Super Xero waited for Arrulo to finish with Morphosis, and were seen stretching in anticipation of the match. After Morphosis finished, both El Azul and Super Xero each cut a promo in Spanish as interviewed by the patient Raquel Arrulo, who pulled double-duty for this special IGNITION matchup in the Second Stage.
A trailer for the newest episode from the SUMMIT PRO anime series for IGNITION entitled 'SUMMIT PRO - IGNITION: El Ayuno, La Furia y Los Caídos (The Fast, The Fury And The Fallen)' was shown as part of the second volume of 'Trivium Go Codex'.
Morphosis (Silvestro and Mantis) [IGNITION] VERSUS El Azul and Super Xero [IGNITION]
OF NOTE: El Azul and Super Xero were the newest tag team in IGNITION, and although they didn't set the world on fire with Rock-like charisma or CM Punk-esque promos, that was not their wheelhouse - fans of IGNITION and SUMMIT PRO were consistently amazed at the incredible athletic and lively performances from them.
Morphosis comprised of two of the most beloved IGNITION stars, Mantis and Silvestro, former Twin Turbo Tag Team champions themselves.
Essentially tecnicos who were the backbone of IGNITION along with El Graffiti, GT Havok and Ortega, Morphosis wowed the crowd with amazing lucha libre in the same vein that WCW's cruiserweights did back in the mid to late Nineties.
El Azul and Super Xero made their entrance to 'This Time's For Real' by Ill Nino.
Morphosis made their way to the ring next to Soulfly's 'Prophecy'.
El Encender announced both teams in rich and vibrant Spanish, noting the match would be contested under 'Reglas Puras de Ignición' (Ignition Pure Rules); meaning tags were not necessary.
With both teams tecnicos, the fans looked forward to this being more about the athleticism shown by all four men; and none of them disappointed.
The announce team had a hell of a time trying to call the action, as all four men's speed and incredible flow from move to move was hard to keep up with - even harder with Ignition Pure Rules.
Mantis peeled off with El Azul and the two found their way to the outside as Super Xero and Silvestro battled each other inside the ring, exchanging amazing lucha libre moves.
A missed opportunity from El Azul saw Mantis pounce on the mistake and saw him create distance by monkey-flipping El Azul on the outside, with El Azul landing on the mats surrounding the ring!
Painful as that was for El Azul, Super Xero could not stop to help, as Silvestro kept the pressure on him, and was eventually aided by Mantis.
Mantis and Silvestro were the epitome of a cool tecnico team, but it seemed as if for a brief moment they were rudos, as they had the numbers advantage on Super Xero.
Despite a valiant effort from Super Xero, he was double-teamed by Morphosis but managed to keep his shoulders off the mat for the three count. A winded El Azul finally rolled back into the ring, his movements alerting Morphosis by way of the excited crowd.
Silvestro made his way over to El Azul, only for El Azul to pop up with a burst of adrenaline and snap a Hurricanranna Pin out of nowhere! The crowd erupted, but Silvestro managed to break free at the count of two.
With El Azul back to even the score, the match wore on as the two teams further battled for supremacy.
Morphosis collectively realised that both El Azul and Super Xero would keep up with them as much as possible, and acted as such to ensure their opponents would not move ahead in the Grand Prix.
El Azul got overzealous as he advanced on Silvestro and was blasted with a swift Superkick, which was compounded by one from Mantis; his body falling near the referee, making him jump.
In a display that would see them hounded with questions of 'Why?', Morphosis used that split second of the referee being out of position and as Super Xero lunged towards them to avenge El Azul, was blinded by silver and green poison mist from both members of Morphosis!
Super Xero screamed in agony, and ate Buzzsaw-like kicks to the head by both Silvestro and Mantis, with Silvestro leaving Mantis to hiss at the crowd and heave Super Xero up for the Praying Mantis Bomb!
Mantis nodded along with each slap of the referee's hand, having successfully pinned him for the hard-fought win!
The bell sounded as the match ended; the fans applauding the efforts of all four men in somewhat of an IGNITION showcase, albeit for an opportunity at a very rich prize indeed.
RESULT: Morphosis defeated El Azul / Super Xero (11:09) when Mantis pinned Super Xero after The Praying Mantis Bomb
At the commentary desk, Jordan, Hunter and Striker discussed the match, thoroughly astonished at the developments within the match, but like many fans, were astonished that Morphosis chose to go down a certain path to move forward in the Grand Prix.
A graphic showing the Second Stage field had El Azul and Super Xero eliminated with Morphosis the second team to progress.
The commentary team briefly spoke about the special grudge match that would see two roster-mates of RIPTIDE settle their differences; Johnny Prime and one half of the RIPTIDE Tag Team champions, Leon Harris.
Backstage, Johnny Prime spoke with Minase Yashiro, snapping at the notion that he was a coward; he believed he worked hard and wanted to shut up 'Fat' Leon Harris.
Elsewhere backstage, Leon Harris stood with his tag team partner Windy Rhodes, replying to Prime's promo with an equally terse promo of his own, as interviewed by Yukie Kawamura.
A video set to 'Truth Taker' by Danish metal band Raunchy told the story of how these two stars got to this stage.
GRUDGE MATCH: Leon Harris [RIPTIDE] VERSUS Johnny Prime [RIPTIDE]
OF NOTE: The issues began at the WWE VS RIPTIDE 'VERSUS' event, where a specialty six-man tag team match saw the RIPTIDE Tag Team champions team up with Johnny Prime to take on The Wyatt Family; a match which saw dissonance on RIPTIDE's behalf cause them to ultimately fall to the WWE backwoods cult.
The issues were further compounded at MAELSTROM III on NYE 2014, where despite a concentrated dastardly effort from Prime (who had teamed with Drake Madsen) the match had not gone his way, although it would ultimately be Madsen who was pinned in that match.
Ever since then, Prime had been an island unto himself, doing all he could to try and save face in RIPTIDE; and wanted nothing more to finish what he started against Harris.
Harris and Windy had been called the 'Texas Outlaws of 2015'; a moniker they both despised, noting it was a feeble comparison made by ignorant wrestling fans, critics and more, purely because both men were 'not what Vince McMahon would be looking for in a Superstar'.
Despite this, Harris worked harder than ever to be recognised for his talents, and along with WIndy, knew that they would not be judged unfairly due to their stature and weight, especially in Japan.
For Harris though, as good as he was, for whatever reason, his star somewhat paled in comparison to Windy Rhodes, who the Japanese saw as a gaijin superstar, whose feats, fighting spirit and determination was more inspirational to an extent than 'Hulkamania'.
Johnny Prime made his entrance to 'Ain't Love Grand' by Atreyu.
Leon Harris entered next along with Windy Rhodes, to 'Resume Ignore' by Exit Ten.
Tetsuo Kaneda announced both men, and had barely finished when Johnny Prime rushed at Leon Harris, taking him down with a messy Double Leg Takedown and hammering punches from above.
As the feeling between both men was mutual, the match played out more akin to a fight; a scrappy one at that.
Prime did all he could to stand his ground, exchanging strikes with Harris, but balked visibly after a sharp knife-edge chop high on his chest; he fell to the mat, clutching his chest in pain.
Harris kept the pressure on; the tension between the two was at fever pitch and Prime's actions were all the fuel Harris needed to exact his vengeance.
Prime channelled the best work of Adam Cole; suffering passages of absorbing offense as any cowardly villain would.
With the crowd behind him, Harris ensured Prime's chest was beet-red with a bevy of meaty knife-edge chops finding their mark.
Prime's facial expressions elicited polite reactions from the Sendai audience, knowing that his comeuppance was well-deserved, but groaned with displeasure when he begged off from Harris and suffered a low blow when he got too close.
Prime, spent and exhausted, was admonished by the referee but maintained he hit the inner thigh of Harris.
As he taken control, Prime was contemptible as he stomped Harris without mercy; doing all he could to ensure Harris was at a disadvantage, and started to wear down Harris' left knee.
The match wore on in a fashion where Harris battled back where possible but the toll on his left knee was felt more and more the longer that match went.
Despite a spirited comeback and Windy getting Sendai fully behind Harris, Prime's methodical deconstruction of Harris' knee saw him celebrate prematurely.
Even on a wounded knee, Harris managed to scare Prime with an Inside Cradle to get Sendai counting along loudly, only to stop at two!
A furious Prime popped out of the Inside Cradle and went to further his offense on Harris only for Harris to find the strength to strike him with a powerful Forearm Smash!
A woozy Prime was (pardon the pun) primed for a Package Piledriver from Harris, but the power in his left knee failed him in trying to lift Prime; Harris winced and was taken aback when Prime shook the cobwebs from his head and backed out and nailed a Superkick!
Harris defied falling down, groggy from the force of the Superkick.
Prime screamed like a banshee and hammered a prone Harris with forearms and backed away again, and launched yet another Superkick!
This one was enough to move Harris back against the ropes, and when he came forward again, Prime blasted him with a third Superkick!
As Harris fell, Prime rushed at Harris' legs and rolled them up in a Jackknife Pin for the win!
The bell sounded as Johnny Prime was declared the winner, much to the dismay of the crowd.
RESULT: Johnny Prime defeated Leon Harris (15:11) by pinfall with a Jackknife Pin
* * *
* * *
A vignette was aired, with a Japanese voiceover announcing a special mini-series of Ninja Warrior and Unbeatable Banzuke episodes featuring talent from RIPTIDE, FORGE, IGNITION, KING, DRIVEN and even BEAST (who would compete in full ring gear).
Another vignette was aired as a means for the audience to get to know the athletes of DRIVEN in a similar vein to the interviews done in NJPW and Stardom (whereby the subject speaks to an off-screen interviewer)
(As introduced in the First Stage of the SUMMIT PRO Tag Team Grand Prix)
From the United States; Sienna Cronyn, Keisha Hamilton and Tanisha Landon! From South Korea; Raina Ji-Kyung and Kumiko Nakayama! From Australia; Mikayla Benson! From China; Sun Xiao-Jing! From the United Kingdom; Lucy Renshaw and Kayana Dawson! From India; Priya Roshan! From French Canada; Sophie Geroux! From Mexico; Eliana Velez, Carmen Mendoza and Isabelle Vasquez! …and from Japan; in no particular order: Tamika Ito, Yasumi Fujita, Tatsumi Shindo, Sadaka Kisugi, Satori Onizuka, Asumi Ishimoto, Hiromi Oshiro and Narumi Tamayama!
Backstage, Nightmare and Ravage of BEAST's Bane of Ruination cut gruff promos in guttural yet seething promos in Japanese as interviewed by Harumi Nemoto.
Elsewhere backstage, Shoichi Onizuka and Makoto Utada of Ootoko-Gun replied by virtue of their own promos, as interviewed by Eri Otoguro.
Bane of Ruination (Nightmare and Ravage) [BEAST] VERSUS Ootoko-Gun (Shoichi Onizuka and Makoto Utada) [KING HW]
OF NOTE: Nightmare and Ravage, bolstered by their victory at BEAST's Showcase Event XI in the Triptych match, were looking to show 'The Big Man Army' their collective wrath.
The second ever Dual BEAST Tag Team champions; Nightmare and Ravage seemed to forever be in the shadow of Legion and Warbringer, The Pain Division - and they looked to change this tonight.
Ootoko-Gun, (Big Man Army) had been embroiled in a lengthy feud with R-RAMPAGE in KING over the years; essentially a feud of the physically biggest teams in KING.
Despite both teams never getting the better of the other, they also found themselves unable to gain a foothold against the more experienced IRON FIST or Rise And Oppose.
The Bane of Ruination came to the ring to applause to 'The Serpentine Offering' by Dimmu Borgir.
Ootoko-Gun made their way to the ring next to 'Symphony of Tyrant' by Japanese symphonic black metal band Tyrant.
Malevolence announced Bane of Ruination while Tetsuo Kaneda announced Ootoko-Gun as streamers were thrown in respect for both teams.
All four men went nose to nose, the air palpable as the crowd rumbled seeing four huge imposing men stare each other down.
Ootoko-Gun were a no-frills team, their stern look juxtaposed perfectly with the elaborate facepaint and attires worn by Nightmare and Ravage.
To an outsider, Ootoko-Gun resembled Manabu Nakanishi teaming with Tomohiro Ishii; splitting hairs on the outward appearance of both men was folly - these men were Strong Style advocates and a top team in KING.
The match ebbed and flowed through the Quarters, meted out in strike-filled passages where no team gained an advantage.
Brutally crisp and at times sickeningly stiff forearms and knife-edge chops peppered the match; both teams having a hard time trying to get the others off their feet by way of a suplex, powerbomb etc.
The match continued as all four men hammered each relentlessly in a Strong Style war; nearfalls aplenty after lethal Lariats and stiff Big Boots.
Nightmare roared as Utada attempted to launch him in a Backdrop Driver; and broke free, smashing him in the jaw with a stiff Forearm and moving away as Ravage charged from nowhere and delivered a massive Running STO to Utada!
A weary Onizuka mustered the strength to pummel Nightmare from behind, but as he went to capitalise, Nightmare balled his fists and nailed a short-range Spear!
The fans cheered Bane of Ruination, who stood defiant, basking in the brief moment of reflection. They came unglued as Utada and Onizuka rose, heads shaking with fighting spirit!
In a throwback to the start of the match, all four men went nose to nose again, and as if in sync, all four men hammered each other with stiff Strong Style forearms, the effort starting strong and eventually petering out.
Ravage and Utada hit each other with Lariats and didn't go down; staggering.
As they staggered, their respective foe mowed them down with Big Boots, leaving them to hit the mat hard and roll out of the ring!
With Onizuka and Nightmare left, Onizuka's strength was put to the test as Nightmare surprised him with a Glimmering Warlock; an impressive move for a powerhouse like Nightmare.
Nightmare, looking every bit the savage demon he was, hastily grabbed Onizuka in a Backdrop Driver and nailed it - but didn't let go for a pinfall! He gruffly brought Onizuka to his feet and seethed, signalling the Dreamless Defeat and delivered the move with impact!
The crowd urged Onizuka to kick out but due to the incredible pace set collectively groaned as Nightmare hooked the leg and pinned him 1-2-3 for the win!
The bell sounded as Bane of Ruination held their arms high, exhausted but grinning in a beastly fashion, nodding in Ootoko-Gun's direction in a sign of respect.
RESULT: Bane of Ruination defeated Ootoko-Gun (16:26) when Nightmare pinned Shoichi Onizuka after Dreamless Defeat
At the commentary desk, Jordan, Hunter and Striker discussed the match, astounded at the level of ferocity shown by both teams; even moreso from Bane of Ruination after an impressive showing at BEAST IX. They praised the never-say-die attitude of Ootoko-Gun.
A graphic showing the Second Stage field had Ootoko-Gun eliminated with Bane of Ruination moving forward; the third team to do so.
Backstage, MERCILESS cut a spiteful promo on their opponents, as interviewed by Yukie Kawamura.
Elsewhere backstage, Perilous Oppression replied with shouted, raspy promos, as interviewed by Eri Otoguro.
In another shot, Nigel Newhart was seen watching the MERCILESS promos with his RIPTIDE Four brethren.
Unbeknownst to him, while they watched MERCILESS, Kenichi Saito and IRON FIST were watching them.
MERCILESS (Takeshi Gannosuke and Katsuhiko Yamada) [KING] VERSUS Perilous Oppression (Hazard and Tyrant) [BEAST]
OF NOTE: MERCILESS had been bolstered heavily with their involvement with KING CKGP Openweight champion Kenichi Saito, son of Kunimura Saito who had made himself public enemy number one in KING's Junior Heavyweight division.
Although seen as back-up, the fact that Yamada had captured the KING CKGP Junior Heavyweight division and Gannosuke had excelled where possible meant that more than by association, they were up to the standard Kenichi had set.
Perilous Oppression were a stalwart tough team within BEAST; like others had had their share of success but never beaten the likes of The Pain Division, The Bloodpack and Hellfire Eternal - nevertheless, Hazard and Tyrant were capable BEASTs and would test MERCILESS in a never-before-seen match.
MERCILESS came to the ring to rumblings of noise from the crowd; the fitting 'Merciless Cult' by Dir En Grey alluring to the crowd.
Perilous Oppression came to the ring next to 'Tyrants' by seminal Norwegian black metal band Immortal.
Tetsuo Kaneda announced MERCILESS while Malevolence announced Perilous Oppression.
Like the match before them, both teams were covered in streamers, but as the bell sounded, shrugged them off and charged at each other, attacking each other viciously in an attempt to gain the upper hand.
Yamada was tall, slender even handsome - but was up for any challenge, despite both outweighed severely by both Hazard and Tyrant.
Gannosuke, a seemingly unassuming talented hand, was also outweighed by both Hazard and Tyrant but his heelish demeanour coupled with his synergy with Yamada would prove to be an asset.
As seen before the match, Nigel Newhart and the RIPTIDE Four watched intently on a screen in the back as MERCILESS and Perilous Oppression tore into each other.
Reckless abandon ensued as both teams peeled off and caused gasps of shock from the crowd as the four individuals seemed to relish the violence; the Quarters rushed as adrenaline kicked in for the chance to make history in SUMMIT PRO.
Reminiscent of the historic bouts between The Holy Demon Army against Misawa and Kobashi in AJPW circa '95; both teams gave their all and stayed true to their strengths and weakness - power and determination from Perilous Oppression against resilience and wickedness from MERCILESS.
As the match wore on, all four men had worn out the crowd with nearfalls and a few false finishes, the makings of an epic match between a top BEAST team and the cream of the crop for KING's Junior Heavyweight division.
Gannosuke and Tyrant battled on the outside, causing mayhem around the ringside area, while Yamada surprised Hazard with an Okada-like Standing Dropkick to the nose!
With an incredible show of strength, Yamada deadlifted Tyrant in a Standing Switch to German Suplex, the force of which made Tyrant roll over!
Yamada, sweating profusely, motioned for his Inverted Facebreaker (Super Dragon Curb Stomp), and stepped through the large legs of Tyrant, his right foot mere millimetres from the back of Tyrant's head.
With his arms held back, Yamada yelled, and the crowd reacted in awe as Yamada stomped his foot hard on the back of Hazard's head, driving his face right into the mat!
With Tyrant taken care of by Gannosuke, Yamada sneered as he turned Hazard over and pinned him for the successful pinfall victory!
IRON FIST, accompanied by Kenichi Saito, made their way to the ring to help their victorious comrades.
Unbeknownst to them, Nigel Newhart and the RIPTIDE Four silently made their way to the top of the ramp to watch for any unruly behaviour from IRON FIST. As the bell sounded to signify the end of the match, MERCILESS stood tall, albeit weary and spent.
Backed by IRON FIST and their leader, Kenichi Saito, they never took their eyes off Nigel Newhart or the RIPTIDE Four who stood at the top of the ramp, watching intently.
RESULT: MERCILESS defeated Perilous Oppression (16:57) when Yamada pinned Hazard after an Inverted Facebreaker
At the commentary desk, Jordan, Hunter and Striker were impressed by the efforts of all the competitors.
They made note of the fact that Perilous Oppression were the first BEAST team to be unsuccessful in the Grand Prix, despite their best performance against a team they'd never faced before.
Attention was also drawn to the non-physical involvement of IRON FIST and RIPTIDE.
A graphic showing the Second Stage field displayed MERCILESS advancing and Perilous Oppression eliminated.
Backstage, The Koloff Bros cut an almost indecipherable promo with their thick Russian accent affecting their Japanese on their opponents, as interviewed by Harumi Nemoto.
Elsewhere backstage, Mason Jones and Mossad Hammoud replied with their own promo, as interviewed by Yukie Kawamura.
The Koloff Bros (Ivar Koloff and Viktor Koloff) [FORGE] VERSUS Mason Jones and Mossad Hammoud [RIPTIDE]
OF NOTE: The Koloff Bros were an enjoyable 'throwback' to an era in wrestling where if you came from a country other than the US, you were supposedly 'the enemy'.
In Japan, however, this was a non-issue, as everyone that was not Japanese was an outsider; a gaijin.
Despite this, The Koloff Bros were a noteworthy and respected team, veterans of close to 25 years in pro wrestling.
Ivar's son, Draco, was himself a phenom, near 7ft tall and impossibly strong; the association as a Russian trio in FORGE served the family very well.
Mason Jones and Mossad Hammoud were promising young hopefuls who had come through Seth Cronyn's SCW; the 'developmental' promotion for RIPTIDE.
Mason Jones was blessed with amazing genetics; he was in incredible shape, was agile and had envisioned himself as the next Breckin Stryker or Kaleb Delta. Unfortunately for him, he was more than a little self-obsessed and narcissistic.
Mossad Hammoud was an imposing sight; bald, muscular and a no-nonsense attitude. He made history by becoming the first Israeli-born wrestler to venture to the US and train at SCW - his sights were set on joining RIPTIDE and excelling in his craft.
Mason Jones and Mossad Hammoud made their entrance to 'Stay Like This Forever' by Farmer Boys, Mason Jones' entrance theme.
The Koloff Bros, accompanied by Draco Koloff, entered next as the industrial dirge of 'Sgori' by Russian metal band Stvore played.
Tetsuo Kaneda announced Hammoud and Jones while Miles Roper announced The Koloff Bros.
The young RIPTIDE team charged at their FORGE opponents, stomping and attacking wildly.
The referee tried to reel them in but the gameplan saw Jones and Hammoud use youth and speed to overwhelm their older counterparts.
The crowd groaned as it appeared Jones and Hammoud had little else in their strategy; and as such, both Viktor and Ivar were able to turn the tables, mounting a comeback.
Angered by the initial attack from their younger foes, the crafty yet durable Russians fought back, hammering Jones and Hammoud with stiff chops and heavy forearms.
The match wore on with pain aplenty for both teams, though the experience factor for the Russians would win out.
Despite a somewhat heroic effort from Hammoud, Viktor nailed him with a brutally stiff Lariat, taking him out of the ring!
An exhausted Mason Jones had dropped Ivar with a DDT, and foolishly played to the crowd, posing with his arms and saying his full name in single syllables - 'MA-SON-JONES!'
As he turned around, Viktor sneered and smashed him in the jaw with a Forearm Smash!
A woozy Mason Jones was prone for a Gutbuster from Viktor, and as he winced from receiving the move, was nearly decapitated with a Russian Scythe from a recovered Ivar Koloff.
The referee raced into position to slap his hand to the mat for the victorious pinfall!
The crowd showed their appreciation for the emphatic win from The Koloff Bros.
The bell tolled at the end of the match; fans applauding the no-nonsense efforts from the Russian brothers.
A graphic showing the Second Stage field displayed The Koloff Bros advancing and Jones/Hammoud eliminated.
RESULT: The Koloff Bros defeated Mason Jones and Mossad Hammoud (15:08) when Ivar Koloff pinned Mason Jones after The Russian Scythe
At the commentary desk, Jordan, Hunter and Striker were impressed at the moxie of the young upstarts in Jones and Hammoud, but praised the experienced veterans in Viktor and Ivar Koloff weathering the storm.
Backstage, Breckin Stryker spoke in a dignified and serious manner with Minase Yashiro, noting how different it must be for someone like Samoa Joe to come into SUMMIT PRO and face the likes of Breckin Stryker.
He complimented Joe on his accolades in ROH and TNA, and hoped he would bring his 'A-game' to SUMMIT PRO against him.
Elsewhere backstage, Samoa Joe stood with a translator and cut a promo of his own, saying how much he respects the talent in SUMMIT PRO, but if Breckin did what he did against John Cena, Joe would put him in his place.
A video set to 'Where The Wave Broke' by Burst hyping both athletes was shown, with superb editing, portraying both as top-tier talents in professional wrestling.
SPECIAL PRE-MAIN EVENT: Breckin Stryker [RIPTIDE] VERSUS Samoa Joe [ROH]
OF NOTE: Samoa Joe's journey in professional wrestling was an interesting one; his debut in TNA in '05 and subsequent undefeated streak was a highlight of TNA's formative years.
His matches against 'X-Division' stars helped propel TNA to being defunct UK magazine 'Powerslam' magazine's 'Promotion of the Year' in 2005. His early work in ROH was seen as some of his best, at least to Seth Cronyn and Lady Crothers.
As the years went on, Joe seemingly became less and less of an attraction in TNA, and despite some good matches here and there, was the recipient of poor booking after 2008 until having to be ostensibly built again from scratch.
His departure from TNA in early 2015 was seen by the 'smart' IWC as an opportunity for him to rediscover his love of pro wrestling.
With the year Breckin Stryker had in 2014, several purported 'in-the-know' wrestling pundits wondered what would happen if Joe was to cross paths with the 'Breckin' Machine' himself.
It seemed appropriate for Seth Cronyn to reach out to Joe after he left TNA to pitch the idea to him, seeing as Joe is close friends with John Cena, a man who Seth and Breckin hold little respect for in an in-ring standpoint.
With the different approach and worldwide platform, a one-off SUMMIT PRO appearance against Breckin Stryker made sense to Joe, who would be working with ROH in a short term deal.
Breckin had lost only two singles matches since his destruction of Cena in 2014; both to good friend and RIPTIDE Heavyweight champion and 2014 Junior Heavyweight Grand Prix winner, Dan Starling.
Breckin still exuded that incredible aura of a star, a legit athlete but mostly a freak of nature; like a younger Brock Lesnar, Breckin had jaw-dropping strength and out-of-this-world agility and speed.
A company man and top gaijin in Japan, Breckin had gotten to the top of RIPTIDE without becoming RIPTIDE Heavyweight champion or politicking; he was simply a once-in-a-lifetime athlete in the same way that Brock Lesnar had been billed in his youth - the difference?
Breckin had no interest in pursuing fantasies like pro gridiron or MMA; he wanted to excel at wrestling, live in Japan and be the best he could be - and he was only 28.
Samoa Joe made his entrance to 'Tapout'; his ROH theme.
The crowd roared in appreciation, due to the fact they were seeing Samoa Joe back in Japan.
Breckin Stryker entered next to deafening cheers, the chugging powerful riffs of Arch Enemy's 'Silent Wars' enthralling the crowd.
Tetsuo Kaneda announced both men, as a mass of streamers was thrown and scattered across them, accompanied by raucous applause and awe.
Both Breckin and Joe squared off against each other, stone-faced and serious; the anticipation, the aura and the feel of the moment something the fans in Sendai looked forward to.
With Joe doing his best to recall the aura of his 5-star rated match against puroresu legend Kenta Kobashi in 2005, Breckin was more than up to the task, as he steadfastly ensured the match would be on par with that epic encounter nearly ten years ago.
The match saw exciting and sweeping passages of awe-inspiring dominance from each competitor, Breckin's match against John Cena last year being a source of motivation from Joe to avoid that happening to him.
Toward the end, Joe managed to get Breckin in the Muscle Buster; only for Breckin to slide out and nail a Dangerous Kick (shades of Toshiaki Kawada) to Joe, only for Joe to no-sell in a show of fiery determination!
As soon as Joe got in Breckin's face, Breckin roared in response, and ferociously hammered a vicious Forearm Smash to Joe's head, breaking the fighting spirit.
Sendai screamed in appreciation as Breckin launched a devastating shoot kick with his left leg to Joe, sweat flying off the tough Samoan's chest, and followed up with his version of Brock Lesnar's 'F5'; the 'Breck-5' - lifting Joe with seemingly little effort!
A long two count was reinforced by a collective gasp of relief from the crowd, as Breckin recovered.
As Joe got to his feet, Breckin balled his fists and heaved Joe in an Overhead Release Suplex!
Incredibly, Joe no-sold again in a last act of defiance but was crushed instantaneously by a sickeningly stiff Breckin' Machine Lariat!
Joe's eyes rolled up in his head; he was clearly knocked silly - but Breckin, feeding off the adrenaline and a desire to give the fans their money's worth, ripped Joe up from the mat and hit another brutal Breckin' Machine Lariat!
The referee slapped the mat 1-2-3 as Breckin hooked the leg; Sendai exploding as Tetsuo Kaneda enthusiastically announced Breckin as the winner!
The bell sounded at the end of the match; fans applauding the incredible efforts from both men.
RESULT: Breckin Stryker defeated Samoa Joe (19:40) by pinfall after a Breckin Machine Lariat
At the commentary desk, Jordan, Hunter and Striker excitedly discussed the atmosphere of the match, praising Breckin's wherewithal and Samoa Joe's fortitude.
They spoke fondly of the matches that had occurred and announced that the main event was only minutes away.
A vignette hyping the next Showcase, the inaugural Showcase Event for DRIVEN, DRIVEN I, as well as Waves - Episode 3 was shown.
Backstage, IRON FIST cut a grizzled and wizened promo on their opponents, as interviewed by Minase Yashiro.
Elsewhere backstage, TEN-KODA replied with an heartfelt and resolute promo, as interviewed by Eri Otoguro.
A music video set to Dir en Grey's "Hageshisa To, Kono Mune No Naka De Karamitsuita Shakunetsu No Yami" told the histories of both teams and their rivalry which spanned ten years and three continents.
MAIN EVENT: IRON FIST (Heihachi Miyamoto and Koji Nakata) [KING HW] VERSUS TEN-KODA (Ryusuke Tengan and Keiji Sakoda)
OF NOTE: Miyamoto and Nakata, along with Sekimoto, were the top heels in KING; their alliance as IRON FIST was essentially a powerful trio of stern, powerful almost Yakuza-like personalities with the skills and nous to back it up.
Aligning with MERCILESS showed an innovative twist on a supposed 'Evolution' comparison, as IRON FIST knew Kenichi Saito had the drive to become like them, years down the line.
To imagine if the likes of Kensuke Sasaki, Yoshihiro Takayama and Masashi Honda (FMW's Mr Gannosuke) were a foreboding trio would almost be there as an apt description for IRON FIST.
Revered FORGE favourites and all-round Puro legends, Sakoda and Tengan, "TEN-KODA", had graduated college and wrestling Dojos around the same time as the members of IRON FIST; the five originally comprising the precursor to KING in Osaka, Pro Wrestling SANCTITY.
Sakoda and Tengan opted to learn abroad, notably in Canada and Europe, whereas the pre-IRON FIST thought they should stay and train in Japan.
Dissension broke out, and Sakoda and Tengan travelled abroad, only to return to an indifferent trio once back in Osaka.
As KING began, Sakoda and Tengan were offered positions along with IRON FIST, who turned their backs on their former schoolmates, and feuded with them in SANCTITY, the early days of KING and Lady Crother's first attempt at a promotion, THRESHOLD.
The feud would see a variety of partners aiding TEN-KODA, one of whom was future 3NWPRO CEO Seth Cronyn.
IRON FIST, led by Tetsuya Sekimoto, came to the ring with stern attitudes as 'Total Destruction' by Argument Soul played.
TEN-KODA entered next to applause; their Japanese instrumental version of The Final' by Dir En Grey played.
Lenne Hardt announced IRON FIST while Miles Roper announced TEN-KODA.
Both teams were cheered eagerly by the crowd; TEN-KODA representing determination and drive while IRON FIST represented fear, power and loathing. Despite this, streamers were strewn over them as their names were announced.
In the vein of grand epic tag team matches, especially those in AJPW's mid-'90's heyday, the crowd constantly groaned with excitement and anticipation.
All four men stood nose to nose; in each other's face and didn't back away - their long history as rivals permeating through the Sendai atmosphere.
The match started in earnest, but for over fifteen minutes, both teams punished each other with long Strong Style chop battles, forearm wars, shoot kick showdowns and all manner of havoc being wreaked on the other.
The dedication of natural charismatic babyfaces in Sakoda and Tengan echoed their heroes from that glorious time in puroresu - most notably the legendary Kenta Kobashi and the late great Mitsuharu Misawa.
Perseverance and patience paid off for IRON FIST, as Miyamoto and Nakata weathered the storm (despite horrendous-looking chests due to the chop battles) and wore down Sakoda.
IRON FIST bent the rules to their favour as Sekimoto, who was not in the match, proved to be a distraction at ringside, leading to the match degenerating into a melee.
Nakata drew the referee's attention which lead to an outpouring of boos as Sekimoto entered the ring and nailed a devastating Stone Breaker Bomb on Sakoda!
Tengan managed to hurl Sekimoto out of the ring, who had no business being there in the first place.
He tried to help Sakoda but was stomped mercilessly by Nakata and Miyamoto, who gruffly brought him to his feet.
Nakata drilled Tengan with a Piledriver as Miyamoto cursed the crowd, earning Sendai's ire once again.
He raised Sakoda to his feet and set up for his finisher, the dreaded Black Ogre Bomb, with stiff elbows to Sakoda's face!
A woozy Sakoda managed to kick out; just nudged his shoulder up and out of the Stone Breaker Bomb; something the crowd did not see that often.
Nakata kept tabs on Tengan, who tried in vain to help his compatriot - to no avail.
Sekimoto roared his displeasure with Sakoda to the heavens, and brought him up, and fastened on the Everest Backdrop Driver and nailed it; this time for a successful three count!
The referee pointed at the timekeeper as Tetsuo Kaneda announced IRON FIST as the winners!
The bell sounded to signify the end of the match; the fans just as exhausted as the four men who gave their all.
IRON FIST were joined by MERCILESS in the ring, and were solidly booed by the Sendai crowd.
Nigel Newhart's music hit, causing an outpouring of support from the audience as he stood at the ramp, wearing a RIPTIDE T-shirt, and flanked by Kaleb Delta, Windy Rhodes, RIPTIDE Heavyweight champion Dan Starling and a less-than-100% Breckin Stryker!
They walked down the ramp together as a unit, as the collective MERCILESS and IRON FIST alliance stood defiant in the ring.
RIPTIDE were still outnumbered, but the crowd was shocked further when 'Set The Tone' by Stuck Mojo played and Sienna Cronyn made her way down the ramp to join RIPTIDE!
An incredible scene, a great standoff between fantastic protagonists and antagonists continued as MERCILESS and IRON FIST slowly retreated, living to fight another day after prevailing over an incredible TEN-KODA.
As IRON FIST and MERCILESS stared down with RIPTIDE a last time before retreating fully, TEN-KODA regrouped.
RIPTIDE entered the ring and showed great respect to a beaten but not overcome TEN-KODA, garnering a warm and loud reaction from the crowd.
RESULT: IRON FIST defeated TEN-KODA (26:10) when Miyamoto pinned Sakoda after an Everest Backdrop Driver
A graphic showing the Second Stage field displayed IRON FIST as the final team from the Second Stage advancing, with TEN-KODA sadly eliminated.
At the commentary desk, Jordan, Hunter and Striker discussed with incredible main event; and as a highlights video of the entire show played, they spoke about the level being raised for the Third Stage, and looked forward to the inaugural Showcase Event for DRIVEN; DRIVEN 対 I.
They thanked everyone for watching, as a montage of certain moves/strikes/entrances etc. closed out the event.
Post by Chris Reager on May 3, 2015 4:32:08 GMT -5
SUMMIT PRO: DRIVEN I DRIVEN Iショーケースイベント(SHOWCASE) Korakuen Hall, Bunkyo, Tokyo, Japan
DRIVEN I opened with a video highlighting every single DRIVEN Woman, set to their theme music; 'Our Truth' by melodic female-fronted Italian metal band Lacuna Coil.
The central unifying theme for DRIVEN was the stunning and gifted female wrestlers carving a different niche in professional wrestling/joshi puroresu.
That niche was the vision set forth by Lady Crothers; who, as a powerful, enterprising and resourceful businesswoman, had wanted to create a promotion, a brand that was uniquely 100% hers - featuring an international roster of stunningly beautiful and incredibly talented women; 'DRIVEN' women.
Former PRIDE FC ring announcer Lenne Hardt welcomed 3NWPRO Owner Lady Crothers, 3NWPRO CEO Seth Cronyn and the President of DRIVEN, joshi legend Manami Toyota to the arena to a smattering of applause, as they took to the ring to thank the fans for their support, selling out Korakuen Hall.
With the ring covered in streamers, the three smiled broadly at the sold-out crowd as the streamers were cleared.
They all took turns to speak to the crowd, thanking them for supporting DRIVEN despite not seeing any of the women in action, apart from Sienna Cronyn, the 2014 Supremacy in Saitama Cup winner.
Lady Crothers staunchly defended her stance that joshi puroresu was the best female wrestling on the planet, and having a legend such as Manami Toyota as President was proof that the direction of DRIVEN would continue the tradition of incredible joshi puroresu.
Manami Toyota, reinforced by the support and encouragement of Lady Crothers and the capacity crowd, spoke about how in AJW she wanted to excel; she had determination and the will to show people what she was capable of.
She was, in fact, DRIVEN, and by turns, had unknowingly paved the way for beautiful and athletic girls who were not engrossed by what was happening in the US - they wanted something else for themselves, and Lady Crothers and Seth Cronyn gave them a chance.
She was touched by Sienna Cronyn's reaction to meeting her at the 'Turmoil In Tokyo' press conference (as part of 'Three Minutes To…') and was even more impressed when she saw how hard Sienna trained.
Just as fellow joshi legend Megumi Kudo had asked for support in her final match in FMW against Shark Tsuchiya; Manami Toyota asked for the fans of DRIVEN to further show their support for the women performing on the event, as Seth Cronyn had worked with her to ensure every DRIVEN Woman would be afforded an opportunity to perform - the entire roster would be in action in various matches in the one night; a huge risk, but one that SUMMIT PRO believed in.
Lady Crothers asked for the crowd's attention, and directed them to the large screens which displayed the match-ups, which had first been shown on Waves - Episode 2.
Crothers iterated that the first Showcase Event for any SUMMIT PRO promotion was a daunting one, but DRIVEN was up to the task - brief footage showed every single woman on the roster promoting DRIVEN in some way, be it through radio, magazines, all manner of print, TV interviews, social media - a huge effort on everyone's part had seen the event happen, not just because of Lady Crother's cheque balance.
Crothers and Toyota thanked the crowd and exited the ring, but as they stood at the ramp waving, they were joined by former SHIMMER talents and now co-trainers at SCW; Ayumi Kurihara, Hiroyo Matsumoto and Tomoko Nakawgawa!
Crothers also thanked Canadian promotion Wicked 's GWV for their unending support of SUMMIT PRO.
Crothers pointed cheerfully at the front row, where Aja Kong, Mariko Yoshida, Jaguar Yokota, Emi Sakura (formerly of ICE RIBBON), Yumi Ohka of Pro Wrestling Wave and the trio of Fuka, Nanae Takahashi and Yuzuki Aikawa of Stardom were sitting; the crowd cheering loudly for the feel-good moments that were shaping up DRIVEN's first event.
The face-off pictures went through a slideshow as each match-up was announced by Lenne Hardt; similar to the 'named' matches that took place at Kenta Kobashi's retirement event 'Final Burning' in 2013.
Lenne Hardt would be the sole ring announcer for the evening, while the commentators were introduced by Manami Toyota; all of them three attractive young Asian women:
Motoko Suwa (who resembled Filipino/Korean DJ/model Jinri Park)
Katsuki Omigawa (who resembled South Korean K-pop recording artist Park Gyuri)
Naoko Yutani (who resembled Taiwanese metal musician Doris Yeh of Chthonic)
All three smiled broadly and thanked everyone for their support, praising Crothers, Toyota and Cronyn for ensuring a female-only commentary booth was a reality.
* * *
SUMMIT PRO SHOWCASE: DRIVEN I
* * *
A short video interviewing the participants of the first match played; an off-screen interviewer asked questions about each of them, how they felt about the first DRIVEN event and joshi puro and professional wrestling in general.
Priya Roshan, from Mumbai in India, resembled Bollywood actress Bipasha Basu.
Her video showed her training, modelling and promoting DRIVEN whilst intercut with her responding in Hindi with Kanji subtitles.
Mikayla Benson, from Sydney in Australia, resembled German-Australian model and poker enthusiast Tina Wallman.
Her video also showed her training, modelling and promoting DRIVEN whilst displaying footage of her answering questions in English with Kanji subtitles.
Yasumi Fujita, from Sapporo in Japan, resembled Japanese-American actress and singer Miki Ishikawa.
Her video showed her speaking excitedly in Japanese while showing her training, modelling and promoting DRIVEN.
Tatsumi Shindo, from Hokkaido in Japan, resembled Taiwanese model and singer Mikako Zhang-Kaijie.
Her video showed her replying happily in Japanese, alongside footage of her training, modelling and promoting DRIVEN.
The commentators, Motoko Suwa, Katsuki Omigawa and Naoko Yutani, threw to the Gravure Four, who were split up in different areas of the backstage area, and would be interviewing the DRIVEN Women performing tonight.
Backstage, both Mikayla Benson and Priya Roshan shook hands as a sign of solidarity and each cut promos in English, as interviewed by Harumi Nemoto.
Elsewhere backstage, Yasumi Fujita and Tatsumi Shindo bowed to each other and shook hands as a sign of respect, before cutting promos, interviewed by Yukie Kawamura.
Priya Roshan and Mikayla Benson VERSUS Yasumi Fujita and Tatsumi Shindo
OF NOTE: Priya Roshan had won countless 'Miss Mumbai' and other beauty-centric awards in her native India, but had been enamoured with pro wrestling since seeing it as a child.
In addition to modelling, Priya was a natural athlete, competing in various athletic endeavours in Calcutta, Mumbai and Bangalore.
It was in Bangalore that she was noticed by FORGE alumni Jermaine Oxbow on an Indian tour during which Roshan had participated in a beauty contest, and got her details so as to pass on to Lady Crothers and Seth Cronyn to commence training after being signed.
Mikayla Benson, an Australian native, had been involved with swimsuit and lingerie modelling, but as an avid fan of pro wrestling, found her attempts at being noticed in the desolate Australian independent scene fruitless.
Her background in Jiu-Jitsu coupled with her strikingly beautiful looks made her one to keep note of, as FORGE alumni Miles Roper visited Australia briefly while FORGE was in New Zealand for FORGE X; noticed her at a gym and obtained her details to give to Crothers and Cronyn to begin training after being signed.
President of KING and father of Openweight champion Kenichi Saito, Kunimura Saito; was a powerful man in Osaka business besides his day-to-day dealings with KING and SUMMIT PRO. He had a stake in a successful entertainment company that produced male and female J-pop and K-pop groups; Destiny Vocal Entertainment.
Through DVE, Saito discovered both Yasumi Fujita and Tatsumi Shindo, as both women recognised him as the President of KING at an audition to join a girl group.
Little did they know that Tamika Ito and Sadaka Kisugi were at the same audition.
After showing their respect to him, in which they told him of their background in athletics and gymnastics, he asked if they were DRIVEN enough to become joshi wrestlers, to which both girls eagerly agreed, and their details were passed on to Crothers and Cronyn to begin training to see if their journey in wrestling would begin after being signed.
Mikayla Benson made her entrance to 'Gone' by female-fronted melodic metal Australian band Antonamasia.
Priya Roshan entered next to 'Bekhauf' by Indian female-fronted metal band Taksha.
Yasumi Fujita made her way to the ring to the K-pop strains of 'I Am The Best' by girl group 2NE1.
Tatsumi Shindo entered last to the infectious beat of K-pop act KARA's 'Step'.
Lenne Hardt announced all the women once they had entered the ring and their entrance theme had been cut.
The four women had great chemistry with one another despite never facing each other before; the style of wrestling exuded by all four showed they had each gained something meaningful from their training.
The crowd was impressed as all four exhibited crisp moves in the ring, and several notable nearfalls, with neither team able to gain the upperhand on the other.
All it took was one arrogant error from Benson who was prone to a sharp Northern Lights Driver from Fujita whilst Shindo ensnared Roshan in a tight Single Leg Boston Crab to turn it around for the Japanese natives!
The crowd lit up as Fujita hooked the leg of Benson after nailing the Northern Lights Driver; the referee slapping the mat 1-2-3 for the successful pinfall!
The bell sounded as Fujita and Shindo were announced as the winners!
RESULT: Yasumi Fujita and Tatsumi Shindo defeated Priya Roshan and Mikayla Benson (10:54) when Fujita pinned Benson after a Northern Lights Driver
At the commentary desk, Suwa, Omigawa and Yutani discussed the match, noting how impressive each DRIVEN Women looked and how the night had started off with a bang.
A brief video of Japanese celebrities - actress Youki Kudoh, acclaimed actors Ken Watanabe and Tadanobu Asano, 'The World's Strongest Fisherman' Makoto Nagano, and former Megadeth guitarist Marty Friedman - was shown, wishing the talent good luck in the event.
Sun Xiao-Jing VERSUS Raina Ji-Kyung
A short video interviewing the participants of the second match played; again an off-screen interviewer asked questions to both of them, how they felt about the first DRIVEN event and joshi puro and professional wrestling in general.
Sun Xiao-Jing, from Beijing in China, resembled Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi.
Her video showed her training, modelling and promoting DRIVEN whilst intercut with her responding in Mandarin with Kanji subtitles.
Raina Ji-Kyung, from Seoul in South Korea, resembled South Korean K-pop singer and artist Kim Boa; a member of girl group 'SPICA'.
Her video showed her speaking candidly in Korean while showing her training, modelling and promoting DRIVEN.
Backstage, Minase Yashiro interviewed Sun Xiao-Jing via a translator as she cut promos in Mandarin as Kanji subtitles were displayed.
Elsewhere backstage, Raina Ji-Kyung cut her own promo in response to Xiao-Jing, spoken in Korean (and translated by an interpreter); interviewed by Eri Otoguro.
OF NOTE: Sun Xiao-Jing exemplified 'driven' to the max; having learned martial arts in her youth and excelling in athletics and drama whilst modelling/endorsing products in her native China.
She was scouted by FORGE President Jim Weaver on a press junket to China, and after Xiao-Jing saw a WWE show in China, knew she could harness her interests into DRIVEN - Weaver obtained her details which he would pass on to Lady Crothers and Seth Cronyn to begin training after being signed.
Raina Ji-Kyung was a 'firecracker' of energy, after immersing herself in the world of singing, performing, dance and acting, wanted a new challenge. Whilst in college she was asked to attend a pro wrestling event by her friends; though she knew very little of pro wrestling.
She was in for the shock of a lifetime as the event was a Showcase Event for BEAST; she was enthralled, but noticed there was no female representation, apart from the Mysterious Tigerlily Divina.
Her inquisitive nature of pro wrestling and BEAST during this time caught the attention of Bruiser after the show, who, in character, said if she was interested in looking within herself and finding something truly DRIVEN, he had an avenue for her to pursue.
Enamoured with Bruiser, she firmly said yes, and he got her details to pass on to Crothers and Cronyn to begin training to see if she had what it took after being signed.
Sun Xiao-Jing made her entrance to instrumental track 'Cloudy Sky' by pioneering Chinese orchestra 12 Girls Band.
Raina Ji-Kyung entered next to 'Catch Me If You Can' by immensely popular K-pop girl group Girls Generation.
Lenne Hardt announced both women once they had entered the ring and their entrance themes had tailed off.
A very interesting proposition - a Chinese female pro wrestler taking on a South Korean female pro wrestler in Japan; the machinations behind it and the international appeal were just a part of the reason for why Lady Crothers invested so much time, money and effort into DRIVEN.
Both Xiao-Jing and Ji-Kyung blew away everyone's perceptions about female pro wrestling; for ten minutes they built upon a great foundation of their match - letting the crowd and those watching on TV know who they were.
At times the match saw both women almost wear themselves out trying to outshine the other, a series of nearfalls and exciting reversals keeping the crowd invested heavily.
It seemed to be a sure thing for Ji-Kyung at one point after nailing a DDT on Xiao-Jing, but she would not stay down.
A missed opportunity from Ji-Kyung with an attempted aerial manoeuvre saw Xiao-Jing channel her martial arts background and hit her opponent with a Dropsault-type move that stunned the crowd!
With Ji-Kyung woozy, Xiao-Jing hoisted her up for a Vertical Suplex, but transitioned into a Brainbuster at the last second!
Xiao-Jing hooked the leg of Ji-Kyung as the referee counted the 1-2-3 for the triumphant pinfall!
The bell sounded as Sun Xiao-Jing was announced the winner!
RESULT: Sun Xiao-Jing defeated Raina Ji-Kyung (10:32) when Xiao-Jing pinned Ji-Kyung after a Brainbuster
At the commentary desk, Suwa, Omigawa and Yutani discussed the match, wowed with the heart and passion both women showed, setting a very high bar for singles DRIVEN Women action.
They mentioned that due to the fact the upcoming match would feature Isabelle Vasquez, Eliana Velez and Carmen Mendoza, DRIVEN had called in a favour from Raquel Arrulo of IGNITION, who would conduct the backstage interview for the three Latina DRIVEN Women in Spanish.
A brief video was shown with footage of the DRIVEN Women training in unison under their trainers and listening to advice from their peers, including Dan Starling of RIPTIDE, Daisuke Miraishima and Kenichi Saito of KING and Steve Wilson of FORGE.
Isabelle Vasquez, Eliana Velez and Carmen Mendoza VERSUS Hiromi Oshiro, Kumiko Nakayama and Satori Onizuka
A short video interviewing the participants of the third match played; again an off-screen interviewer asked questions to both of them and how they felt about the first DRIVEN event and joshi puro and professional wrestling in general.
Satori Onizuka, from Sendai in Japan, resembled modest gravure idol Riko Kawano.
Her video showed her training, modelling and promoting DRIVEN whilst intercut with her responding in her native Japanese.
Kumiko Nakayama, from Aichi in Japan, resembled popular K-pop act and model/actress/dancer BoA.
Her video showed her replying happily while footage showed her training, modelling and promoting DRIVEN.
Hiromi Oshiro, from Tokyo in Japan, resembled Japanese actress Chiaki Kuriyama (famous for Battle Royale and Kill Bill vol. 1).
Her video showed her speaking seriously about wanting to be a pro wrestler while showing her training, modelling and promoting DRIVEN.
Eliana Velez, from Mexico City in Mexico, resembled Colombian model Melissa Giraldo.
Her video showed her replying in Spanish with Kanji subtitles while showing her training, modelling and promoting DRIVEN.
Carmen Mendoza, from Tijuana in Mexico, resembled American-Cuban actress and singer Christina Milian.
Her video showed her speaking in Spanish with Kanji subtitles while showing her training, modelling and promoting DRIVEN.
Isabelle Vasquez, from Toluca City in Mexico, resembled Filipino-Mexican model from Canada, Misa Campo.
Her video showed her talking in Spanish with Kanji subtitles while showing her training, modelling and promoting DRIVEN.
Backstage, the Latina contingent of Isabelle Vasquez, Eliana Velez and Carmen Mendoza showed unity as they took turns cutting promos in rapid-fire Spanish, as interviewed by IGNITION's Raquel Arrulo.
Elsewhere backstage, the three Japanese women; Hiromi Oshiro, Kumiko Nakayama and Satori Onizuka bowed in respect to one another as a sign of respect, before each cutting promos, interviewed by Harumi Nemoto.
OF NOTE: The trio of Velez, Mendoza and Vasquez knew each other before all signing with DRIVEN; sought after and in-demand swimsuit and fitness models in their native Mexico.
They had travelled the world, but all three felt a longing to invest themselves in the pursuit of lucha libre; a sport they had individually enjoyed as children. With the popularity of Lucha Underground and the natural support of IGNITION, their management got in touch with IGNITION, who forwarded their details on to Lady Crothers and Seth Cronyn for them to begin training after being signed.
Hiromi Oshiro was somewhat of a revelation; a 'tremendous' signing as Lady Crothers had put it - she was the tallest member of the DRIVEN roster with a background in Judo and Jiu-Jitsu.
Despite the 'gangliness' of her limbs, Oshiro was as committed and determined as ever to succeed, ever since she was noticed at a KING event in Tokyo by IRON FIST stalwart Heihachi Miyamoto.
He approached her after the KING event as she waited to get autographs.
He gave her an opportunity to make an impression on him, and for three minutes she simply stared at him without saying a word.
He was impressed that she didn't 'mark out' and got her details to pass on to Crothers and Cronyn to begin training after being signed.
Kumiko Nakayama and Satori Onizuka had met whilst auditioning to be part of popular sports entertainment program 'Unbeatable Banzuke', with both ladies attempting the 'Sponge Bridge'.
Individually, they had backgrounds in dance, singing and athletics.
They happened to show up on the day that several members of SUMMIT PRO had appeared as a promotion of one of the upcoming events at the time.
They recognised Hiroshi Tamura of Osorezugun, and in individual attempts, impressed him with their focus and dedication in attempting the Sponge Bridge.
Despite not completing the obstacle, Tamura entertained both women and asked if they had ever thought about becoming joshi wrestlers, to which both girls fervently agreed.
Tamura got their details to pass on to Crothers and Cronyn to begin training after being signed.
Lenne Hardt announced all the women once they had entered the ring and their entrance themes had been dismissed.
A fast-paced match; and one that showed that the women had all trained very hard, with passages of the match keeping Tokyo and the world guessing as to who would turn the corner and finally show some dominance.
The three Latinas were deceptively quick, and used their agility to frustrate the three Japanese DRIVEN Women.
However, the three Japanese women were no fools; they had them scouted as they got back into the swing of things, and found a way to combat the lucha libre`-inspired moves.
A high-flying portion of the match saw four of the women dive onto their respective opponents, leaving a legal Oshiro and Velez in the ring.
After a missed Senton Bomb from Velez, Oshiro channelled joshi legend Mariko Yoshida and scooted into position, trapping her with Yoshida's infamous Spider Twist!
Yoshida, in the crowd, smiled broadly as she saw her submission move given tribute.
With the remaining four women laying prone on the outside after the hellacious dives, Velez was at the mercy of Oshiro, as she synched in the Spider Twist.
It was made all the more impressive given her tall slender limbs stretching Velez uncomfortably!
Velez screamed in agony, nodding furiously as the referee motioned for the bell - Oshiro had submitted Velez in devastating fashion!
She bowed to Yoshida at ringside in a sign of respect.
The team of Hiromi Oshiro, Kumiko Nakayama and Satori Onizuka were announced the winners!
RESULT: Hiromi Oshiro, Kumiko Nakayama and Satori Onizuka defeated Isabelle Vasquez, Eliana Velez and Carmen Mendoza (12:17) by submission when Oshiro submitted Velez with the Spider Twist
At the commentary desk, Suwa, Omigawa and Yutani discussed the match, impressed along with the crowd with the tenacity of the Japanese women - Oshiro shining with the Spider Twist as Nakayama and Onizuka has done their part to ensure their team was a winning one.
They praised the efforts of Vasquez, Velez and Mendoza, but mentioned that the ante` had been upped, well and truly.
* * *
* * *
The camera cut to the audience, showing the entire SUMMIT PRO roster sitting in one closed-off section; applauding the efforts of everyone thus far.
Manami Toyota thanked everyone for their support, and introduced Osaka's own Aldious, an all-female power metal band, who performed their song 'Defended Desire' to the delight of the fans.
Tamika Ito and Sadaka Kisugi VERSUS Lucy Renshaw and Kayana Dawson
A short video interviewing the participants of the fourth match played; an off-screen interviewer asked questions about each of them, how they felt about the first DRIVEN event and joshi puro and professional wrestling in general.
Tamika Ito, from Chiba in Japan, resembled American actress of Japanese descent, Devon Aoki.
Her video showed her training, modelling and promoting DRIVEN whilst intercut with her answering questions.
Sadaka Kisugi, from Osaka in Japan, resembled J-Pop idol Sayaka Yamamoto.
Her video showed her training, modelling and promoting DRIVEN whilst displaying footage of her answering questions.
Lucy Renshaw, from London, England, resembled American actress and former model Krysten Ritter.
Her video showed her speaking in impeccably posh English (Kanji subtitles shown) while showing her training, modelling and promoting DRIVEN.
Kayana Dawson, also from London, England, resembled British/American actress Cynthia Addai-Robinson.
Her video showed her replying in English (Kanji subtitles shown), alongside footage of her modelling, promoting and training.
Backstage, Tamika Ito and Sadaka Kisugi hugged and took turns cutting promos in their native Japanese, as interviewed by Eri Otoguro.
Elsewhere backstage, Lucy Renshaw and Kayana Dawson shook hands and cut their own promos in English, as interviewed by Minase Yashiro.
OF NOTE: In the same manner that KING President Kunimura Saito 'discovered' Yasumi Fujita and Tatsumi Shindo, he did the same with Tamika Ito and Sadaka Kisugi through Destiny Vocal Entertainment (DVE).
All four girls were at the same audition to be part of a girl group, though they weren't aware of it.
He dealt with Fujita and Shindo first, as they were in line earlier. Kisugi innocently wore a RIPTIDE T-shirt, while Ito wore a KING T-shirt.
Both caught Saito's attention almost instantly. He interviewed her and Ito, who were college roommates and avid wrestling fans.
Almost exactly like what happened previously with Yasumi Fujita and Tatsumi Shindo, both girls impressed him with their wrestling knowledge and background in acting, performing and gymnastics.
Saito asked if they felt DRIVEN enough to become joshi wrestlers, to which both girls readily agreed (much like Fujita and Shindo), and their details were passed on to Crothers and Cronyn to begin training after being signed.
Lucy Renshaw, a British athlete, well-versed in martial arts, Judo and Jiu-Jitsu, had attended SummerSlam '92 at Wembley Arena as a child, and the thrill of professional wrestling never left her.
Being a strong-minded individual, she lost interest in US mainstream wrestling due to no British representations apart from the British Bulldog, and fell away completely when he passed away.
She divided her time between modelling for 'lad's mags' as well as undertaking training in combat sports given the rise of British MMA and female promotions like Jewels and Smackgirl.
Her heart wasn't fully committed to MMA, and after being exposed to Nigel McGuinness in ROH, regained her love of professional wrestling, which was completed when she discovered SUMMIT PRO and Lady Crothers.
She attended RIPTIDE X in Islington (which Kayana Dawson attended too), and by chance met Breckin Stryker.
She convinced him to go on a date with her, which he did, with her goal being to see if she could have a relationship with him, as well as get her foot in the door with SUMMIT PRO (this predated DRIVEN).
Sadly for her, Breckin was taken, but agreed to the date as a night out instead with a passionate and well-meaning fan.
He helped her out by getting her details to pass on to Lady Crothers and Seth Cronyn to commence training after being signed for when DRIVEN would launch.
Kayana Dawson, daughter of an African-American father and British mother, excelled in competitive sports as a youngster.
Initially a fan of professional wrestling via her father, Dawson gravitated towards the high flying skilled athletes like Owen Hart, Koko B Ware and 1-2-3 Kid.
Just as her countrywoman Lucy Renshaw had, Dawson fell out of touch with wrestling too; instead becoming enamoured with women's pro boxing.
After two years of training, she competed as an amateur and was undefeated, but could not find the fights needed to turn pro.
By this time, women's boxing had waning interest, and she sought to parlay her training just as Dan Starling had done with his kickboxing background.
Bolstered by the resurgence of interest in professional wrestling due to the success of PAC (Neville) and SUMMIT PRO's broacast events on TCN on Sky, she sought tickets for RIPTIDE X in Islington (also attended by Lucy Renshaw) and bumped into Kaleb Delta by accident after the show.
She asked if there were plans for any female wrestling in SUMMIT PRO, to which he said he nicely said that he wasn't the person to talk to about that, but he'd help her out.
He obtained her details to give to Crothers and Cronyn to begin training after being signed to see if that would answer her question.
Tamika Ito entered to 'White Light' by J-pop act Superfly.
Sadaka Kisugi entered next to 'Relax In The City' by J-pop act Perfume.
Lucy Renshaw made her way to the ring to the epic power metal strains of defunct symphonic metal band Angtoria's 'Hell Hath No Fury (Like A Woman Scorned).
Kayana Dawson entered last to the hip-hop beat of Ice Cube's 'You Know How We Do It'.
Lenne Hardt announced all the women once they had entered the ring and their entrance themes had petered off.
The crowd naturally got behind the gorgeous and talented Kisugi and Ito, who used their cohesiveness and quickness to frustrate the serious and focused Renshaw and Dawson.
All four women, similar to every DRIVEN woman who had performed thus far, wowed the crowd with their crispness, stiffness and attitude.
Renshaw and Dawson eventually asserted themselves as a no-nonsense heel team, though as opposed to cheating to maintain control, they took exception to the notion that they had no answer for the agility and resilience of their opponents.
The crowd urged Ito and Kisugi to have the wherewithal to come back from the sharp elbow smashes and well-placed knees to the abdomen from their opponents, amongst other dominant actions.
Eventually Kisugi was able to reverse a Vertical Suplex from Renshaw into a Sleeper Hold, leaving her foe struggling for composure!
Kisugi transitioned into a Backstabber, and as Renshaw winced in pain, managed to tag out to Ito.
Ito dealt with Dawson by way of superb Dropkicks, before Renshaw cut her off at the pass.
Renshaw tried to heave Ito backwards into the turnbuckles, to which Ito pre-empted it and leapt backwards, before jumping over Renshaw and catching her in a tight Sunset Flip!
Renshaw managed to kick out, and squirmed away from Ito, tagging out in a huff to Dawson.
Dawson attacked an innocent Kisugi who was recouping, which garnered boos from the crowd.
As an irate Kisugi stormed in only to be handled by the referee, a sly Renshaw crept back into the ring and further angered Kisugi.
Ito gathered her strength and stormed past the referee and Dawson to hit a Front Dropkick to Renshaw, causing her to fall out of the ring!
With the referee seemingly unable to maintain order, Kisugi nailed a Superkick on Dawson as the crowd cheered!
She nodded at Ito, and ran towards her; Ito ducked as Kisugi gracefully hit a Top Rope Plancha onto Renshaw!
With Kisugi and Renshaw taken care of, Dawson turned her attention to Ito, and ducked a wayward Savate Kick from Ito.
As Ito realised she'd missed her, Dawson waited to strike and cut her down with a Scissors Kick!
The crowd booed as Dawson sneered, grabbing a fistful of Ito's hair and got her in position for the Vertebreaker and nailed it with impact!
Kisugi tried in vain to get back in the ring to break it up but Renshaw held on to her; the referee slapped the mat for a successful third time!
The team of Lucy Renshaw and Kayana Dawson were announced as the winners!
RESULT: Lucy Renshaw and Kayana Dawson defeated Tamika Ito and Sadaka Kisugi (15:44) by pinfall when Dawson pinned Ito after a Vertebreaker
At the commentary desk, Suwa, Omigawa and Yutani discussed the match, finding it hard to fault the strategy of Renshaw and Dawson against the likeable team of Ito and Kisugi. They praised the efforts of Ito and Kisugi, and knew they would rebound better than ever.
Sophie Geroux VERSUS Narumi Tamayama
A short video interviewing the participants of the fifth match played; again an off-screen interviewer asked questions to both of them, how they felt about the first DRIVEN event and joshi puro and professional wrestling in general.
Sophie Geroux, from Montreal, Quebec in Canada, resembled videogame Watchdogs character Clara Lille; complete with 'alternative/punk' aesthetic.
Her video showed her training, modelling and promoting DRIVEN whilst intercut with her responding in French with Kanji subtitles.
Narumi Tamayama, from Nagoya in Japan, resembled gravure idol Kadena Reon.
Her video showed her speaking openly in her native Japanese while showing her training, modelling and promoting DRIVEN.
Backstage, Yukie Kawamura interviewed Sophie Geroux via a translator as she cut promos in French as Kanji subtitles were displayed.
Elsewhere backstage, Narumi Tamayama cut her promo in response to Geroux; interviewed by Harumi Nemoto.
OF NOTE: Sophie Geroux had worked for a while on the Canadian independents, mainly in Montreal; her unique look and background in Jiu-Jitsu making her an interesting attraction.
Similar to Mikayla Benson, she had never really made a huge impact on that scene.
She had met Nigel Newhart during his frequent bookings across Canada and struck up a friendship; he mentioned he had been noticed by SUMMIT PRO in South Korea and that he would put in a good word for her should anything arise.
Before the #GiveDivasAChance trended worldwide, SUMMIT PRO's Three Minutes To…Turmoil in Tokyo press conference several months earlier saw Lady Crothers announce the formation of DRIVEN, Newhart remembered his promise to Geroux and passed on her details to Lady Crothers and Seth Cronyn to begin training after being signed.
Narumi Tamayama like many of her fellow countrywomen in DRIVEN had been inspired by joshi; for her more than anyone, she was a huge fan of the Crush Gals in AJW; arguably the most popular female tag team in Japan.
An old soul at heart, despite being quite young and obviously gorgeous, Tamayama loved pro wrestling but was unsure of how to begin training.
Despite her modelling and endorsing products as an idol, she felt compelled to follow in the footsteps of Yuzuki Aikawa, and by chance met Ryusuke Tengan in Tokyo on a day off, he saw her passion and passed on her details to Crothers and Cronyn to begin training after being signed to see if she had 'it'.
Sophie Geroux made her entrance to the bombastic chug of 'The Forgotten Goddess' (notable for vocals by Francine Boucher, a native of Val-d'Or in Quebec Canada, where Sophie was from) by defunct female-fronted metal band Echoes of Eternity.
Narumi Tamayama entered next to the incredibly catchy and clever 'Pon Pon Pon' by young and talented J-pop act Kyary Pamyu Pamyu.
Lenne Hardt announced both women once they had entered the ring and their entrance themes finished.
As the bell sounded to start the match, both women shook hands, with Geroux holding on to Tamayama's hand; essentially not breaking the handshake, and using Tamayama's confusion to blindside her, to the chagrin of the crowd.
Geroux basked in the feeling of dominance, knowing she would be treated as a heel for not being Japanese; this, coupled with her alternative/heavy metal/punk look made the decision for her.
Verging on a squash, Geroux ruthlessly took the clean-cut and frankly stunningly beautiful Tamayama apart, as Korakuen booed vociferously. Geroux smirked as she stomped Tamayama, slapping her viciously; in essence just 'playing with her food'.
The crowd got behind Tamayama to rally back, her innate ability to sell in the vein of Ricky Morton, Corey Knight and Sienna Cronyn made Geroux mad - she visibly covered her ears to block out the cheering!
As the match sailed past ten minutes, Tamayama finally made her comeback by throwing up her legs around Geroux's head in a Triangle Choke as Geroux went to pick her up!
The crowd erupted as the comeback was so explosive; Geroux flailed about, and was close to tapping as Tamayama had synched it in tight.
Unfortunately for Tamayama, Geroux managed to get a rope break.
Geroux wheezed and sputtered as Tamayama let go; the smaller of the two catching her breath as well.
Tamayama went to capitalise on her breakthrough by going to the top rope, but Geroux cut her off.
Utilising a Rocket Launcher-type manoeuvre, Geroux threw Tamayama off, but amazingly Tamayama landed on her feet!
Furious, Geroux hit a Standing Dropkick at the back of Tamayama, causing her to ricochet off the ropes with her back still to Geroux.
Geroux yelled in French and grasped Tamayama in a Half Nelson position and slammed her backwards in a Suplex Hold!
Geroux surprised Tokyo with an insane Bridging Half Nelson Suplex, which the referee counted 1-2-3 for a successful pinfall!
The bell sounded as Geroux was announced the winner!
RESULT: Sophie Geroux defeated Narumi Tamayama (16:29) by pinfall with a Half Nelson Suplex Hold
At the commentary desk, Suwa, Omigawa and Yutani discussed the match, noting the cruel aura surrounding Sophie Geroux was incredible to watch; this was juxtaposed with the positive never-say-die attitude of Narumi Tamayama who despite being defeated, gave her all.
MAIN EVENT: Sienna Cronyn and Asumi Ishimoto VERSUS Keisha Hamilton and Tanisha Landon
A brief video played, showing all the action of the night so far, set to 'Ice Queen' by Dutch symphonic band Within Temptation.
A short video played afterwards, in the vein of the others setting the stage for DRIVEN; an interview with the participants of the first main event for DRIVEN; again an off-screen interviewer asked questions about each of them, how they felt about the first DRIVEN event and joshi puro and professional wrestling in general.
Sienna Cronyn, from San Luis Obispo, Los Angeles California, resembled British actress Sasha Jackson.
Her video showed her training, modelling and promoting DRIVEN whilst intercut with her being able to speak in Japanese instead of her native English. The video also showed her win at MAELSTROM III, her relationship with her brother and grandfather, and how she had become friends with Asumi Ishimoto during training.
Asumi Ishimoto, from Tokyo in Japan, resembled gravure idol/actress/singer Ai Shinozaki.
Her video also showed her training, modelling and promoting DRIVEN whilst displaying footage of her answering questions. Her friendship with Sienna Cronyn was hinted at as well.
Keisha Hamilton, from Crenshaw Heights in Los Angeles California, resembled African-American actress and dancer Meagan Good.
Her video showed her responding in English (with Kanji subtitles) while showing her training, modelling and promoting DRIVEN.
Tanisha Landon, also from Crenshaw Heights in Los Angeles California, resembled African-American actress and dancer Telisha Shaw.
Her video showed her replying in English (with Kanji subtitles), alongside footage of her modelling, promoting DRIVEN and training.
Sienna Cronyn made her entrance to 'Set The Tone' by Atlanta rap metal band Stuck Mojo, with the lyrics changed to 'Me and my girls set the tone'.
Asumi Ishimoto entered next to 'Forever Love' by energetic J-pop act C-ute.
Keisha Hamilton made her way to the ring to the hip-hop/rap song 'Who's That Girl' by female rapper Eve.
Tanisha Landon entered last to the slow burn rap beats of Trina's 'Money Ain't A Problem'.
Lenne Hardt announced all the women once they had entered the ring and their entrance themes had tailed off.
Streamers were thrown as all women faced off in a serious manner.
Sienna was seen as the one with more to lose as she had set such a high standard for herself with her actions in SUMMIT PRO so far; Ishimoto had gravitated toward Sienna outside of DRIVEN and helped her with her Japanese while Sienna helped her with the ins and outs of the ring, which she had picked up quicker than anyone else.
The united Hamilton and Landon possessed an inherent atmosphere of seriousness about them, and this would be seen firsthand as both women attacked Sienna and Ishimoto off the bat.
In keeping with the ruthless actions of other 'gaijin' talent who had performed tonight, Hamilton and Landon did nothing outlandish, it was moreso their nature that had people noticing how impressive they were; they paced themselves well and put a hurting on both their opponents.
At one point Hamilton slammed Sienna with force by way of an STO, rattling Sienna's senses. Ishimoto broke up the cover, but was set upon mercilessly by Landon.
The match breezed past fifteen minutes, with the crowd holding on to hope that Sienna and Ishimoto could turn the tide.
Ishimoto tried in vain to get Sienna to tag her in, but was waylaid by an unforgiving Hamilton.
The two fierce competitors peeled off to put a further hurting on both Sienna and Ishimoto, with Sienna being hurled over the guardrails by Landon which took Korakuen by surprise.
They were further taken by surprise as the normally calm and collected Landon picked up a flimsy chair and hurled it at Sienna's head!
Ishimoto gritted her teeth, refusing to let Hamilton get the best of her, despite her being trapped in a ringpost figure-four!
It seemed that the match could go the way of the previous two, with the unfeeling gaijin heels having their way.
The referee restored order, and Sienna, the legal woman, suffered again at the hands of Landon by way of a Spinebuster.
After only getting a nearfall, Landon dragged Sienna by her hair, and snapped her over with a Spinal Tap.
The kick from Landon was meaty and Sienna's face contorted in pain.
The crowd chanted her name, louder and louder, along with Ishimoto, who clapped along with her remaining strength.
Landon spat in defiance, and measured another kick - this time she missed as Sienna rolled out of the way.
Sienna kipped up to her feet as Tokyo swelled, and ducked another kick from Landon and primed herself…
As Landon spun around from missing the Shuffle Kick, Sienna hit the Bolt Cutter (an ode to her brother) out of nowhere!
Instead of going for the cover, a last-gasp effort saw Sienna tag out to Ishimoto who cleaned house, with Korakuen behind her - Dropkicks, Elbow Smashes and Chops abounded as Ishimoto had regathered to the point to give her frustration a physical personification through violence unto her foes.
Hamilton and Landon reeled, and found themselves outside, only to be struck by a Manami Toyota-like Jumping Tumbling Senton Splash!
Hamilton got the worst of it, and Landon managed to get a breather.
A fired-up Ishimoto got back to her feet, and felt her knees gingerly after the damage done by the ringpost figure four.
She was be set upon by Landon, who had resurfaced, and brought her back into the ring.
As Landon went after her, Ishimoto caught her napping with a Codebreaker-type move; with Landon grasping her jaw in pain.
Ishimoto grunted as she rolled to Sienna to tag out - Sienna balled her fists and screamed:
"私たちは本当に、後楽園を駆動されませんか？" (Are we not truly DRIVEN, Korakuen?)
Korakuen Hall roared in appreciation and watched intently as Sienna motioned for Landon to get up; and ran at her, launching herself with an errant Busaiku Knee which felled Landon with authority!
Sienna roared again, the atmosphere around her belying the fact she was a woman; she was like Dan Starling or Breckin Stryker - and Tokyo ate it up.
Her blonde hair sweaty and matted, she grabbed Landon by the hair and took a page out of AJPW legend Toshiaki Kawada's book, with glancing forehead kicks -just as she had done at MAELSTROM III!
Landon moaned in pain and fell to the mat facefirst while Ishimoto kept tabs on Hamilton outside.
Sienna caught Landon in a Gator Roll-like position, but instead of rolling around, she drove her knee up into Landon's head, and repeated this as Tokyo went crazy!
After the third time of her knee striking Landon in the head, Sienna channelled TNA's Austin Aries by launching herself up and bridging into an Arm Triangle Choke; a submission move she called the 'Cronyn Plight'.
Landon screamed in pain, her head throbbing in agony after the knees from Sienna coupled with the actual submission hold took effect.
Sienna took it a step further by readjusting her feet and jumping again to synch it in, but this time her feet fell squarely on Landon's back! The flexibility was off the charts as Sienna's body was inhumanly curved!
Tokyo came unglued as Sienna had upped the ante on her submission hold, which saw Landon tap furiously as the referee signalled for the bell - Sienna had submitted Landon in truly destructive fashion!
The team of Sienna Cronyn and Asumi Ishimoto were announced the winners!
A weary Sienna Cronyn and Asumi Ishimoto hugged emotionally in the ring as Korakuen applauded their efforts.
RESULT: Sienna Cronyn and Asumi Ishimoto defeated Keisha Hamilton and Tanisha Landon (22:03) when Sienna Cronyn submitted Tanisha Landon with the Ultimate Cronyn Plight (Scorpioned Bridging Arm Triangle Choke)
Lady Crothers, Manami Toyota and Seth Cronyn thanked all the fans for their support for the best debut they could have asked for.
The next SUMMIT PRO program would be Waves - Episode 3, which would recap the events from the SUMMIT PRO Tag Team Grand Prix Second Stage and DRIVEN I.
*credit to Google and the various websites I obtained 'base' pictures for the women. Thank you.*