Event: MISSION K4 Produce “MISSION 1” ~Open The Stage~
Date: April 15th, 2016
Location: Shinjuku FACE in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: 294
I had to escape from Stardom for a bit, so let’s check out what OZ Academy is doing… or more accurately, let’s check out the MISSION K4 produced show from a few weeks ago. MISSION K4 is a faction in OZ Academy, so they likely assisted with the event, but officially this is MISSION K4’s own show. MISSION K4 is one of my favorite factions in Japan and includes four wrestlers: Sonoko Kato, Kagetsu, Kaho Kobayashi, and AKINO. On this show, each will have a singles match, and then in the main event they will team together to take on four of the best Freelancers in Joshi. A simple concept but a novel one, and it means I get to see all four wrestlers twice which is never a bad thing. Plus we get Meiko Satomura and Minoru Suzuki! Here is the full card:
- Manami Katsu vs. Sonoko Kato
- Kagetsu vs. LEON
- Kaho Kobayashi vs. Meiko Satomura
- AKINO vs. Minoru Suzuki
- AKINO, Kagetsu, Kaho Kobayashi, and Sonoko Kato vs. Aoi Kizuki, Dynamite Kansai, Konami, and Kyoko Kimura
Not a long event but I am expecting it to be fun as it takes the best of Oz Academy without the Ozaki Army messing things up.
Manami Katsu vs. Sonoko Kato
We start the show with a bit of a mismatch, as Kato clearly drew the “easy” straw on this event. Sonoko Kato is a 21 year veteran, a 4 time OZ Academy Tag Team Champion and at the time of the event was the Oz Academy Openweight Champion. Katsu is 21 years old, has never won a “heavyweight” championship, and is still pretty low on the totem pole. Katsu isn’t close to Kato’s level, so I am looking for her to put away Katsu pretty easily to save some strength for the main event.
Kato goes to shake Katsu’s hand but Katsu throws her into the corner instead, but things settle down as they lock-up. Katsu pushes Kato into the ropes and hits a series of chops from the apron, she gets back in and tries to shoulderblock Kato over but with no luck. Katsu finally manages to knock Kato to the mat, Irish whip to the corner and Katsu hits an elbow. Bulldog by Katsu and she covers Kato for a two count. Back kick by Kato and she kicks Katsu into the corner before hitting a bulldog of her own. Kato gets on the second turnbuckle and hits a diving guillotine legdrop for a two. Knees by Kato but Katsu elbows her and they trade shots. Dragon screw by Kato and she hits a cannonball in the corner, she gets on the top turnbuckle but Katsu avoids her dive. Running boot by Katsu, but Kato kicks out of the pin. German suplex by Katsu and she hits a running knee to the chest, another German suplex by Katsu and this time she gets two. High kick by Kato, Katsu stays up but a second kick to the head sends her to the mat. Katsu goes up top and hits a rolling heel kick, Kato goes for a suplex but Katsu gets out of it. Kick by Kato and she applies a dragon sleeper, but Katsu gets to the ropes. Kato picks up Katsu but Katsu wiggles away and rolls up Kato for two. Hard elbow by Katsu, she goes to the second turnbuckle and hits a corkscrew reverse splash for another two count. Katsu picks up Kato but Kato slides behind her and re-applies the dragon sleeper. German suplex by Kato and she kicks Katsu in the head, but Katsu barely kicks out of the cover. Kowloon’s Gate by Kato, and this time she gets the three count! Sonoko Kato wins!
This is probably the best singles match of Katsu’s I have seen, it wasn’t high-end but everything worked. The action was really smooth and they had pretty good chemistry, and Kato gave the youngster a lot more than I thought she would which made the match more competitive. Kato never seemed in serious danger but Katsu did have several close calls and it didn’t really feel like an opener. Really good effort by both wrestlers. Mildly Recommended
Kagetsu vs. LEON
Kagetsu gets a tougher draw than Kato, as she faces LEON. LEON is a 16 year veteran and has held eight different titles, while Kagetsu has only has one “heavyweight” championship with significantly less experience. But Kagetsu has really been coming on as late and has even earned a spot to wrestle in Stardom, so her career is on the upswing as she tries to take down the masked JWP wrestler.
These two nicely shake hands so we are off to a better start, but they go straight to it as they trade quick pin attempts on the mat. They trade armdrags until Kagetsu dropkicks LEON out of the ring, she goes to the ropes and sails out with a springboard plancha. Back in the ring, Kagetsu swandives in the ring and applies a small package for two. Kagetsu goes off the ropes but LEON catches her with a spear, she goes for a Capture Buster but Kagetsu gets out of it and they trade pin attempts once again. Dropkick by LEON but Kagetsu hits an armdrag before going for a cross armbreaker. LEON blocks it and goes for her own cross armbreaker, but Kagetsu gets into the ropes. Monkey flip by LEON but Kagetsu lands on her feet and applies an Anaconda Vice. LEON gets into the ropes, Kagetsu stomps LEON but LEON cuts her off with a shoulder tackle. Spear by LEON, they return to their feet and go back and forth trading elbows. LEON picks up Kagetsu and hits a spinning slam, she goes up top but Kagetsu avoids the frog splash. Kagetsu goes for a spear but LEON reverses it, dropkick by Kagetsu but LEON delivers a high kick. They end up back on the mat and go for quick pins, LEON applies the Clutch de Gao but Kagetsu cuts it back and holds down LEON for the three count! Kagetsu wins the match.
A different type of feel than most matches as it felt like an odd sprint. The bulk of the match was submission attempts or quick pins, but the match ending with one of those things did help justify their actions at least, even if it was a bit unusual. They still did mix in some more orthodox action, such as the springboard plancha, but most of it was mat based and high speed. It was a good match as they kept the pace up, hard to recommend too strongly just due to the structure however it was still an easy watch. Mildly Recommended
Kaho Kobayashi vs. Meiko Satomura
I have a feeling that MISSION K4’s winning streak is about to take a hit. Now I have to be upfront that these are two of my favorite Joshi wrestlers, as Satomura is legitimately one of the best wrestlers in the world and Kobayashi is one of the best little feisty underdogs on the Joshi scene. Satomura of course comes from Sendai Girls’, her promotion, where she holds the Sendai Girls’ World Championship. Kobayashi wrestles for a number of promotions, but mostly OZ Academy and WAVE. There isn’t any way she is beating Satomura, but I am predicting she won’t go down easy because she never does.
They tie-up to start the match, Kobayashi withstands a few Satomura shoulderblocks but a kick to the chest sends her to the mat. Satomura gives Kobayashi time to recover but then hits a scoop slam, elbow drop by Satomura and she puts Kobayashi in a side headlock. Back up they lock knuckles, Satomura puts Kobayashi in a stretch hold but Kobayashi gets out of it, scoop slam by Satomura and she kicks Kobayashi in the chest. Kobayashi dropkicks Satomura and then dropkicks her again, but Satomura catches her with a high kick when she tries a third time. Jumping elbow by Satomura in the corner and she hits another hard elbow. Backdrop suplex by Satomura, she puts Kobayashi in a headlock but Kobayashi gets a foot on the bottom rope. Engzuigiri by Kobayashi but Satomura kicks her in the head, dropkick by Kobayashi and she hits another step-up enzuigiri for a two count cover. Kobayashi goes up to the top turnbuckle but Satomura tosses her off and applies a short armbar. Kobayashi gets a foot on the ropes, elbows by Kobayashi but Satomura blocks the fisherman suplex. Quick roll-up by Kobayashi and she dropkicks Satomura, fisherman suplex hold by Kobayashi but it gets a two count. Kobayashi goes up to the top turnbuckle but Satomura catches her with a Pele Kick, Satomura drops Kobayashi with a Death Valley Bomb, and she gets the three count! Meiko Satomura is the winner.
When you have such a clear mismatch like this (I love Kobayashi but she isn’t on Satomura’s level), the wrestlers are a bit limited in what they can do but I thought this went really well. Satomura never for a second made it look like she was giving Kobayashi a break, she made her earn every strike and every suplex, so when she did get a move in it really meant something. Satomura was in control the entire match, as she is going to be, but Kobayashi still had those moments of hope to keep the crowd into it. A well structured match, a bit predictable but enjoyable nonetheless. Mildly Recommended
AKINO vs. Minoru Suzuki
If you thought the last match was uneven, wait until you see this one. I like that MISSION K4 are not slacking here, they brought in two of the top wrestlers that they could to face off against. Minoru Suzuki needs no introduction, he has held titles in every major (men’s) promotion in Japan and is a legitimate MMA fighter. AKINO is no slouch under normal standards, she is a 17 year veteran with her own collection of title wins, but it still will be an uphill battle for her.
Suzuki quickly gets AKINO to the mat and applies a headscissors, Suzuki goes for AKINO’s leg but AKINO gets to the ropes. AKINO chops Suzuki but Suzuki chops her back and they go back and forth. Kneelock by Suzuki and he works it for a few minutes on the mat, but AKINO eventually makes it to the ropes once again. Suzuki kicks at AKINO but AKINO slaps him into the corner, AKINO sits on Suzuki and kicks him in the chest, roll-up by AKINO but it gets a two count. Suzuki snapmares AKINO but AKINO ducks the PK and hits Suzuki with an elbow. Suzuki elbows her back and they trade elbows with AKINO getting the better of it until Suzuki boots her in the face. Suzuki goes off the ropes but AKINO catches him with a side kick and hits a backdrop suplex for a two count. Back up, slap by Suzuki but AKINO hits him, she goes for a hurricanrana but Suzuki catches her and reverses it into a Gotch-Style Piledriver for the three count! Minoru Suzuki is your winner.
The ending was outstanding, but everything else was disappointing. The match was focused on AKINO’s leg, but they spent too much time with it and since the legwork didn’t even play into the ending it was ultimately pointless. A few of the strike exchanges I enjoyed, and I appreciate AKINO’s heart in not backing down from Suzuki, but I can’t say that the bulk of the match had me on the edge of my seat. Some bright spots and the ending sequence was great, but overall a pretty average experience.
AKINO, Kagetsu, Kobayashi, and Kato vs. Aoi Kizuki, Dynamite Kansai, Konami, and Kimura
Here we go, the big main event. All four members of MISSION K4 have wrestled already, with poor AKINO having just wrestled which is why during the opening handshake she just stayed on the apron. On the other side are four of the top Freelancers in Joshi, Konami is the youngest but since she was trained by Kana she still gets a fair amount of respect. Aoi Kizuki is a former champion in Ice Ribbon, and Kimura/Kansai are well accomplished veterans. It helps MISSION K4 that since it is a eight man tag they can rest a bit, but it is still a disadvantage that they already have spent some energy earlier in the night facing off against different wrestlers.
After everyone shook hands, the pleasantries ended as MISSION K4 attacked their opponents (minus AKINO, who is still recovering from the last fight). Kizuki is briefly isolated but it doesn’t last long, as Kizuki’s teammates return and take turns on Kagetsu. Kizuki stays in with Kagetsu but Kagetsu catches her with a dropkick and tags in Kobayashi. Senton by Kobayashi and she dropkicks Kizuki, but Kizuki elbows her in the corner and applies an armbar. She tags Konami, wristlock by Konami and Kimura is in next. The beatdown on Kobayashi continues by the Freelancer team, but finally Kagetsu comes in to help as does Kato (AKINO is still pretty useless). Finally AKINO comes in so MISSION K4 can pose on Kizuki, but Kizuki fights back and slams Kobayashi after applies a backbreaker. Kizuki tags Kimura and she brutalizes Kobayashi around the ring, Kobayashi snaps off a dropkick and she hits a hard elbow. Kimura comes back with a big boot but Kobayashi has time to tag in AKINO while Konami is also tagged in. Konami applies a sleeper but AKINO flings her off, running kick by Konami and she covers AKINO for two. Konami goes back to the sleeper but AKINO gets out of it and kicks Konami in the head. Cover by AKINO but Konami’s friends break it up, Kato is tagged in and she kicks Konami in the chest. Dragon screw by Kato but Kizuki runs in and dropkicks her.
This helps Konami get back in control, she kicks Kato and she tags in Kizuki. Running sentons by Kizuki on Kato but Kato kicks Kizuki, elbow by Kizuki and she hits a Northern Lights Suplex (with a leg hook) for a two count. Kobayashi bops in and kicks Kizuki, the rest of MISSION K4 come in while Kato hits a cannonball from the top. Kizuki hits a backdrop suplex, lariat by Kizuki and she goes up top, but Kato kicks her as she dives off. Another kick by Kato, swandive missile dropkick by Kagetsu and she covers Kizuki for two. Kizuki comes back with a diving crossbody and tags in Kansai, lariat by Kansai to Kagetsu and she put Kagetsu in a claw. She does the same to AKINO and Kato but they get into the ropes, double Irish whip by Kansai and she lariats both of them. Kansai drops Kagetsu with a backdrop suplex, but Kobayashi breaks up the pin. Both teams run in the ring, MISSION K4 all take turns kicking Kansai with high kicks, then Kobayashi and AKINO hit missile dropkicks. Diving Guillotine Legdrop by Kato, Kagetsu goes off the ropes but Kansai smacks her and applies a sleeper. but Kagetsu gets out of it and hits a Samoan Drop. Kagetsu catches Kansai’s high kick and applies a kneelock, high kick by Kagetsu and she hits Kansai with another one. A third high kick but Kansai still stays up, kick by Kansai but Kagetsu rolls her up for a two. Big lariat by Kansai, she picks up Kagetsu but Kobayashi runs in and hits a dropkick. Kimura and Konami come in but Kimura kicks Konami by accident, La Magistral by AKINO to Kansai and Kagetsu flips over with a jackknife hold to cover Kansai for the three count! MISSION K4 are the winners!
It was really fitting that in the end, it was a miscommunication on the thrown together tag team that let to their downfall while MISSION K4 was in sync with each other the entire match. I really enjoyed the match but its one of those that is fun but easily forgotten. Having eight wrestlers in one match is a lot as some are just going to be lost in the shuffle, it was necessary to get all of MISSION K4 in the match but it does dampen things a bit. That being said, everything was just so smooth, you’d think with so many wrestlers around there would be some awkward moments but there weren’t at all. The strikes were on point and nothing was half-assed, MISSION K4 was going all out for their own show. The structure lacked a bit due to the general craziness of the match but still enjoyable overall and a very fitting main event for what they were going for on this show. Recommended
As this show was billed as being produced by MISSION K4, the focus was clearly on them which is a good thing since all four of them are very solid to great wrestlers. Every match had no lack of effort, oddly the only match I thought was disappointing was the Minoru Suzuki match as it was less eventful than the rest of the matches. The main event was just a fun and easy watch, nothing people will be talking about around the water cooler but entertaining from start to finish. A very focused and effective show, I think anyone that sees it will want to see more from MISSION K4, they all had a good showing and overall it was a fun event.