by Daniel Johnson
*NJPW in collaboration with Global Force Wrestling (GFW) put out an international spectacle on January 4. The NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 9 show may not have been an indie show on the surface, but at its heart was some great young indie talent from throughout the world. The youngest man on the main card was Nick Jackson, 25, of The Young Bucks who helped open the show with his brother, Matt Jackson in a four way tag team match. The Young Bucks wrestled for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship in a match won by the successfully defending champions, reDRagon consisting of Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly. Also in the match were Forever Hooligans made up of Alex Koslov and Rocky Romero as well as Time Splitters made up of Alex Shelley and KUSHIDA.
*The youngest man on the entire NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 9 card was Sho Tanaka who is about a month younger than Nick Jackson and wrestled in the dark match battle royal alongside legends like Jushin “Thunder” Liger, The Great Kabuki and Yuji Nagata, who won that match. All these spots being taken by talent in their twenties should make it clear how much NJPW values youth. That is of course, if Kazuchika Okada, 27, wrestling for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship at yet another huge show didn’t make it crystal already.
*At Ice Ribbon, Risa Sera, 23, wrestled in her first main event of 2015 when she lost in a match for the Ice Ribbon IcexInfinity Championship to Tsukasa Fujimoto on January 4. The bout was competitive and went over 15 minutes. Fujimoto has now held the Ice Ribbon IcexInfinity Championship for 541 days.
*Elsewhere in Japan, World Woman Pro Wrestling Diana (Diana) held its first show of the year on January 4 as well. At Diana Dears Ring Happy New Year the youngest performer on the card was Sareee, 18. She wrestled Jaguar Yokota, who is literally 35 years older than her. Although Saree did not get a rub and instead lost to Yokota, she may shine bright in 2015. Between wrestling workers with a ton of experience, having a background in karate and kickboxing and being nearly four years into her career already, Sareee has prodigy written all over her.
*In Ring of Honor (ROH) the ROH Top Prospect Tournament 2015 kicked off January 3 at a television taping in Nashville, Tennessee. After the first round advancing are Will Ferrara, Donovan Dijak, Beer City Bruiser and Ashley Sixx. They defeated J. Diesel, Jake Dirden, Mikey Webb and Dalton Castle, respectively. The age varies greatly between those still in the tournament. It ranges from Ferrara, 22, to Beer City Bruiser, 36. Despite the age difference Ferrara has more experience than plenty of 22 year-olds. He began wrestling in 2006 and was a regular for Warriors of Wrestling (WOW) in New York for years before wrestling his first match for ROH in 2013.
*International Pro Wrestling: United Kingdom (IPW: UK) held its first show of the year on January 3, which was IPW: UK Tables, Ladders and Challenges. Will Ospreay, 21, who has been gaining a reputation for his high risk style in the United Kingdom and beyond, opened the show by defeating Scott Starr.
*At the same show, Jason Lee, 22, who holds the unified ZERO 1 World Junior Heavyweight Championship and ZERO 1 International Junior Heavyweight Championship started the year off right by wrestling, not one, but two challengers. Lee defeated Atsushi Maruyama and Mineo Fujita in a triple threat match to add prestige to his reign.
*In Mexico, the International Wrestling Revolution Group (IWRG) held the IWRG 19th Anniversary Show on January 1. Hijo de Pirata Morgan, 22, wrestled in the main event, which was a six man tag team match. Morgan teamed with his father, Pirata Morgan and The Monsther in a losing effort to El Hijo de Dos Caras, El Pantera I and Mascara Sagrada.
*In Japan’s Inoki Genome Federation (IGF), Daichi Hashimoto lost to Super Tiger in just over four minutes at the IGF Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye 2014 super card. In 2012 the Tokyo Sports awards named Hashimoto the rookie of year. However, since that time Hashimoto has yet to hold a major championship or win a major tournament.
Categories: Smooth Runs