Event: ZERO1 18th Annual Midsummer Fire Festival 2018
Dates: July 22nd, 2018
Location: Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium #2 in Osaka, Japan
Announced Attendance: 396
As everyone knows by now, I love me a quality gimmick match, but even though ZERO1 and/or Onita have been having a lot of “Blast” matches over the last couple years, they very rarely make TV. So you can imagine my excitement when not only one was televised, but it was for the Blast Queen Championship! That is the only match from this event I will be reviewing since I have no interest in ZERO1 under normal circumstances, here is the match we’ll be watching:
All four wrestlers have a profile on Joshi City, you can click on their name above to go straight to it.
(c) Yoshiko and Risa Sera vs. Akane Fujita and Nanae Takahashi
Blast Queen Championship
As this is a “Blast Match” there are two electrified barbed wire bats available in the ring. To make the bat “blasty” a wrestler must first hit the button in the corner to turn it on, which another wrestler (or the referee) can turn off by hitting it again. Even though this is a tag team match, Yoshiko is at a serious disadvantage. As the graphic above implies, her “tag team partner” was a mystery but turned out to be Risa Sera, who does not like Yoshiko one bit. On top of that, whomever got the pinfall in the match became the champion, so even though it is a tag match, Yoshiko’s own partner is going for her title. The same rules apply for the other side as well, if either Akane and Nanae win the match, they become the new champion. The promotions are even mixed up, as Yoshiko and Nanae Takahashi hail from SEAdLINNNG while Risa Sera and Akane Fujita wrestle in Ice Ribbon. An interesting match for sure on several levels, lets see if the teams get along together at all or if breaks down into insanity.
Risa and Yoshiko argue before the match starts, allowing Akane and Nanae to attack them from behind. They throw their opponents into opposite corners and take turns hitting lariats, they target Yoshiko but Yoshiko gets away and sends Akane out of the ring. Yoshiko gets Nanae into the corner and hits facewashes, but Nanae catches the running kick attempt. Yoshiko goes off the ropes but Nanae backdrops her out of the ring to the floor, she then gets a running start in the ring and dives down onto both Yoshiko and Risa. They all battle around the floor using chairs and the stands, Risa gets a barbed wire kendo stick and hits Akane repeatedly with it. Meanwhile, Yoshiko is handling Nanae as she throws her into the crowd and tosses chairs at her, Akane manages to get back into the ring as blood creeps down her face. Risa returns as well but with a steel chair, and she hits Akane in the head with it. Cover by Risa, but it gets a two count. Risa clubs on Akane, she puts a chair on Akane’s back and hits a running kneedrop. Yoshiko is tagged in, scoop slam by Yoshiko and she hits a seated senton for two. Yoshiko puts Akane in a chinlock and knees her in the back, she throws Akane into the corner and Risa comes in as the legal wrestler. Risa picks up Akane and throws her into the corner, but Akane fires back with a shoulderblock and tags in Nanae.
Nanae shoulderblocks Risa and hits a lariat, she pulls Yoshiko into the ring and tries to suplex both of them, which she eventually is able to do so. Nanae kicks Risa in the head repeatedly, she goes off the ropes but Risa catches her with a dropkick. Elbow by Risa in the corner and she hits a running double knee, Reverse Double Knee by Risa and she covers Nanae for two. Risa gets her barbed wire kendo stick and hits Nanae with it, she then gets the barbed wire bat and hits the button to electrify it. Nanae ducks her shot however and she drops the bat, she goes off the ropes but Nanae hits her with the kendo stick. Yoshiko runs in, Nanae elbows her and hits a lariat, but Yoshiko lariats her back. They take turns back and forth until Nanae finally knocks down Yoshiko, but Yoshiko returns with a hard lariat of her own and hits a running senton. She gets a few chairs and puts them down in the ring, Yoshiko picks up Nanae but Nanae blocks the slam attempt. Yoshiko eventually slams Nanae onto the chairs and hits a senton, cover by Yoshiko but it gets a two count. Yoshiko gets the barbed wire bat again and electrifies it, but Akane runs over and turns the bat back off by hitting the button before Yoshiko can use it. Backdrop suplex by Nanae to Yoshiko, but Yoshiko kicks out of the cover. Double Irish whip to Yoshiko but Yoshiko lariats both of them, Yoshiko picks up Nanae but Nanae hits a back-to-belly piledriver. Nanae goes up top and nails the Refrigerator Bomb, but Risa throws the kendo stick at Nanae to break it up. Risa hits her with the kendo stick again, she gets the barbed wire bat and hits the button to give it the blast powers.
Nanae blocks bat shot attempt and grabs it, but Yoshiko runs in and takes the bat from both of them and hits both Nanae and Risa with the electrified bat, causing an explosion! Risa rolls out of the ring in pain, Akane comes in and she hits Yoshiko with a steel chair before hitting a hard shoulderblock. Akane puts the bat on the chair and picks up Yoshiko, but Yoshiko suplexes Akane onto the chair and barbed wire bat. Back up, Akane and Yoshiko trade elbows until Akane hits a headbutt, Samoan Drop by Akane and she covers Yoshiko for a two count. Akane goes up top but Yoshiko recovers and smacks her, Yoshiko joins her and she hits an avalanche Samoan Drop. Yoshiko gets on the second turnbuckle and hits a diving senton, but Akane barely gets a shoulder up. Yoshiko then goes all the way up top but Nanae has rolled back in and joins her, Yoshiko headbutts Nanae back to the mat and nails a top rope diving senton, but Risa breaks it up with a diving kneedrop. Akane gets the barbed wire bat and electrifies it, but Risa avoids her swing and gets a barbed bat of her own. Risa throws her bat at Akane to get her to drop hers, Risa then picks up the electrified bat that Akane had and hits her in the stomach with it, creating the blast! Ayers Rock by Risa, but Akane barely kicks out. Risa drags Akane to the corner and puts some chairs on her, she then goes up top and nails a diving double kneedrop, picking up the three count! Risa Sera wins the match and is the new Blast Queen Champion!
Even though in theory the teammates should be working against each other since only one title was up for grabs, they didn’t really focus on that aspect much and it generally felt like a legitimate tag team match. There were a lot of little sub-stories going on here, with Nanae and Yoshiko going after each other, Akane Fujita coming around slowly to the idea of being as violent as possible, and Risa being willing to do anything necessary to win the belt. Both of the ‘blasts’ were built up to slowly and were teased some first, so they didn’t go straight to the highlight but created some drama around it. Overall I thought the match was entertaining and well-worked, it had all the elements you’d expect in a Blast Match (weapons, blood, constant action, and of course a blast or two) and everything did their roles well. I wouldn’t want an event full of blast matches but for a special occasion it hits the spot, its a fun gimmick that is relatively harmless but everyone enjoys a big bang in their wrestling every now and then. Recommended
For a change of pace, I really enjoyed this match. It had all the elements that I was looking for and a bunch of smaller stories going on with Yoshiko's title up for grabs in a unique situation that ended up costing her. While I enjoy traditional Joshi action, its fun to watch wrestlers out of their normal environment now and then and Blast Matches certainly hit that spot for me. Blast Queen matches don't make TV very often, so if you are into this style at all I'd recommend tracking it down.