February 8 saw Wrestle-1’s Keiji Muto produce the first Pro Wrestling Masters show in Korakuen Hall. New Japan’s Jushin Thunder Liger was in effect and headlining opposite the resurrected legendary stable Heisei Ishin-gun in a special 8 man tag team match.
Liger teamed up with Muto, Riki Choshu and Tatsumi Fujinami to take on the Heisei Ishingun team of Shiro Koshinaka, The Great Kabuki, AKIRA and Akitoshi Saito, who were accompanied by Masashi Aoyagi.
Even the referee and ring announcer roles were filled by nostalgic figures, as former NJPW ring announcer Hidekazu Tanaka and veteran ref Masao Tatiana were involved.
As soon as introductions were made, Heisei Ishin-gun tried to get a pre-emptive upper hand with an assault before the bell. Koshinaka went directly for Choshu, with repeated hip attacks. This fired up Choshu, who replied with a vintage Riki Lariat and placed Koshinaka into the Scorpion Deathlock. Saito broke up the situation before Koshinaka could submit.
Liger then found himself opposite AKIRA, who attacked his old rival with a dropkick, stomps and knees. In reply, Liger scored with a tope suicida. Muto then charged in and after a Flashing Elbow, locked in an STF; all this in the opening moments of a hot main event.
I’m the middle of the 15 minute match, Choshu again connected with the Riki Lariat and Scorpion Deathlock to Saito, this time broken up by Koshinaka. This lead to Fujinami and Muto hitting stereo Dragon Screw leg whips to Saito and Koshinaka respectively. Koshinaka would again use his rear to turn the tide back in Heisei Ishin-gun’s favour. That wouldn’t last too long, as Kabuki finally found himself involved in the match, only to inadvertently spit his poison mist into the face of AKIRA.
Koshinaka would take another Riki Lariat, and a Shining Wizard from Muto, but the referee only reached two on the ensuing cover. Ultimately though, Muto managed to connect with an explosive moonsault to AKIRA to pick up the win.
Each of the victors left their comments to close the show.
Muto:‘See, I can still pull off that moonsault. That was a lot of fun. Exhausting, but a lot of fun. If you want these guys to find the will to still go for it, you have to let us know! We’re not winning the fight against Father Time, but want memories of us and those that came before to last forever. Maybe we should do here what they do in America, and plan a proper hall of fame.’
Choshu:‘I’m exhausted, but for this many people to come and support us makes it worth all the trouble.’
Fujinami:‘We all together can still move mountains.’
Liger:‘“Let’s do it again”. I think we all showed the desire and will to keep on doing this.’
Keiji Muto Presents PRO WRESTLING MASTERS
February 8, Korakuen Hall, Tokyo
Main event: Pro Wrestling Masters Unite! The resurrection of Heisei Ishin-gun special 8 man tag
○ Keiji Muto, Tatsumi Fujinami, Riki Choshu & Jushin Thunder Liger V Shiro Koshinaka, The Great Kabuki, Akitoshi Saito (w/Masashi Aoyagi) & AKIRA ✕
(15:23 Moonsault Press → Pin)