After six great shows from Bang! Pro Wrestling in Yokohama, Tokyo, and Chiba… it’s once again finally time to Bang!
What will Amy Campbell do to end the two year championship reign of “Big Iron” Gorou Ichikawa? What’s happening with the new Crownless Kingdom? Can anyone stop the new-look Kazuyagumi? Why is there a bicycle? All these questions and more will be addressed over the course of the next two weeks of hot and heavy Bang! action!
FEBRUARY 12th, 2023: YOKOHAMA, NIGHT 1
- The Crownless Kingdom (Claire Merci, Powerslam Anubis & Ignacio el Jaguar) def. Jin Watabe, Zenjiro Ikari & Hiro Taguchi @ 8:19 by pinfall with the Sacramento Necktie (headlock driver) from Jaguar to Taguchi
- Victoria McGill def. Seiko Serizawa (w/ HAMAYUMI) @ 12:21 by pinfall after a gutwrench facebuster
- Ria Lockhart & Kensuke BLACK def. SlapShark (Lord Kurosame-sama & Garry “Ray-Ray” Nelson) @ 11:19 by pinfall with the Kurokami Suplex (Tiger suplex ’85) from BLACK to Nelson
- The Jacks of All Trades (“Jumpin’” Jack Sweetwater, “Jammin’” Jack Graves & “Picture Perfect” Jack Pizazz) def. The Kazuyagumi (Cowabunga Kenji, Saburou Tanaka & Junpei Tsukioka) @ 15:19 by pinfall with the Sweetwater Splash (450 splash) from Sweetwater to Tsukioka
- The New World Trash (Bex Savage & Angel Quinley) & Amy Campbell def. The Ironhearts (“Big Iron” Gorou Ichikawa, “The Iron Idol” Riko Tsukino, and “Hawkeye” Taka Sakaragi) with the Cement Poisoning from Savage/Quinley to Sakaragi
FEBRUARY 13th, 2023: YOKOHAMA, NIGHT 2
- “The Don of the Deathmatch” Rory Hayes & The Crimson Miracle Bloody Blood Death Homicycle def. Jin Watabe & Zenjiro Ikari @ 5:19 by pinfall after Hayes splashes Jin Watabe while he’s trapped underneath the Homicycle
- Sam Smart (w/ Wally Wallace) def. Hiro Taguchi @ 9:41 by pinfall after the Smart Bomb (throwing crucifix powerbomb)
- The Beasts of Tokyo (Seiko Serizawa & HAMAYUMI) & Victoria McGill def. The Aces of Bang! (“Ace of Clubs” Haruki Kazano & “Ace of Spades” Izou Yoshida) & Lord Kurosame-sama @ 12:19 by pinfall with the Tiger’s Bite (northern lights bomb) to Yoshida
- The Ironhearts (“Big Iron” Gorou Ichikawa, “Iron Idol” Riko Tsukino, “Hawkeye” Taka Sakaragi & Kensuke BLACK) & Ria Lockhart def. The Kazuyagumi (“Ace of Hearts” Kazuya Fukumaru, Pom Shinjoku, Cowabunga Kenji, Junpei Tsukioka, & Saburou Tanaka) @ 22:19 by pinfall with the Iron Sight (Kamigoye) from Sakaragi to Tanaka
Former PRIME star and current SHOOT Project star Ria Lockhart arrived in Japan to team up with Kensuke BLACK to take on the unusual tag team of Lord Kurosame-sama and Garry “Ray-Ray” Nelson. Lockhart’s skills mixed with BLACK’s raw power proved to be quite the combination despite the lack of familiarity between the two.
Kurosame and Nelson never quite got on the same page in this contest, though, as the two seemed to bicker in their own unique ways about how best to tackle the situation. These disagreements led to Nelson accidentally slapping Kurosame-sama all the way out of the ring when trying to take out Lockhart, leaving Nelson vulnerable to the Kurokami Suplex of Kensuke BLACK. After the match, Nelson rolled out of the ring and continued to have an animated argument with Lord Kurosame-sama all the way to the back. Something about how the shark should’ve “praised Dale” so they could “raise hell”. I don’t pretend to understand Garry “Ray-Ray” Nelson, and maybe the shark doesn’t understand him either.
The Jacks of All Trades have been very vocal about wanting to take back the Bang! With Your Friends championships after the quick turnover of the belts from the Jacks to the Ironhearts and then to the Kazuyagumi last month. The Kazuyagumi have grown to become one of the largest and most dangerous factions in Bang! Pro Wrestling with the additions of Pom Shinjoku, Victor “the Constrictor” Jimenez, and the “Queen of Maniacs” Fujiko Natori. Yet it seems like the previous Kazuyagumi members – Tsukioka, Kenji, and Tanaka – have fallen a bit behind the rest of the new faces in their faction. Their loss to the Jacks will clearly not please the Kazuyagumi kingpin, who has been very vocal in his disappointment of the original members as of late.
MVW’s Victoria McGill, fresh off of losing the MVW Women’s Championship, made her debut for Bang! in a quick bout against Beasts of Tokyo representative Seiko Serizawa. Serizawa is unused to singles competition, always expecting HAMAYUMI to have her back, and it showed tonight when she looked lost at points trying to string together offense – as though expecting HAMAYUMI to be there to follow up. This allowed McGill to capitalize and take her down with a gutwrench facebuster.
On night two, McGill would actually team with Serizawa and HAMAYUMI against the Aces of Bang! and Lord Kurosame-sama. The trio barely got along and Serizawa and HAMAYUMI mainly tagged each other in and only tagged out when McGill tagged herself in. The team of Bang! originals made a good showing in this match, but in the end, Yoshida was unable to keep up with the speed and ferocity of the Beasts and fell victim to the one-two combination of HAMAYUMI’s Dragon’s Breath spin kick and Serizawa’s Tiger’s Bite to take the hard loss. Worth noting, McGill was very displeased by being bitten by Lord Kurosame-sama.
There was a very unusual tag team consisting of the Rory Hayes, self-proclaimed “Don of the Deathmatch”, teaming up with… the Crimson Miracle Bloody Blood Death Homicycle. Yes, that’s what it’s called. Yes, it is actually performing regularly now. Hi, welcome to Bang! Are you new here?
Hayes essentially worked a handicap match against the young lion pair of Jin Watabe and Zenjiro Ikari. Eventually, Watabe and Ikari made a mistake that allowed the deathmatch specialist to capitalize, drop the Homicycle on top of one of them, and splash them to pick up the victory. It’s not exactly a good look for Watabe and Ikari, who are expected to go on excursion soon, to take an L to a bicycle and its mate(?). After the match, Hayes indicated that the Crimson Miracle Bloody Blood Death Homicycle and himself were entering the annual Sekai Saikyou tournament in March, only to be informed that the Homicycle was not allowed to enter… because it can’t sign for itself.
In the main event of night one, the Bang! With Your Partner champions teamed up with Amy Campbell to take on the Ironhearts ahead of Campbell’s challenge for Gorou Ichikawa’s Openweight championship. The hot and heavy match was full of moments where Ichikawa had little idea what he was in for with Campbell, while the Ironhearts tried to do everything they could to put themselves in line for a shot at the Partner championships. In the end, though, the usual miscommunication between Tsukino and Sakaragi proved to be the team’s undoing.
However, in the main event of night two, their inability to get along didn’t make as much of a difference in a ten-person tag match with the four currently active Ironhearts teaming with Ria Lockhart to take on the Kazuyagumi quintet of Fukumaru, Shinjoku, Kenji, Tsukioka, and Tanaka. The match was fast and furious, with so much going on that it could be a little hard to parse, but after everyone ended up fighting to the outside, Tanaka was left alone with the Iron Idol. After a Sunspark put down Tanaka, Sakaragi promptly tagged himself in and finished him off with the Iron Sight to pick up the win for the Ironheart side.
Tsukino was not happy about this turn of events and fell into an argument with the Hawkeye. Their argument nearly turned physical before Ichikawa came between them to break it up, and eventually Sakaragi left in a huff. Lockhart could only shake her head at the proceedings.
FEBRUARY 18th, 2023: TOKYO, NIGHT 1
- The Crownless Kingdom (Claire Merci & Powerslam Anubis) def. The Fabulous Hentai Brothers (Michael & Matthew) @ 3:11 by submission after the Royal Butterfly Stretch (octopus hold) from Merci to Michael
- Roosevelt Black def. Jin Watabe @ 8:33 by pinfall with a triple jump moonsault
- Kazuhiro Troy def. Zenjiro Ikari @ 9:11 by submission with the Heretic’s Fork (Koji clutch)
- Ria Lockhart def. Hiro Taguchi @ 7:11 by pinfall after a Lock Cutter (cutter)
- The Ironhearts (“Iron Idol” Riko Tsukino & “Hawkeye” Taka Sakaragi) & Victoria McGill def. The Kazuyagumi (Junpei Tsukioka, Cowabunga Kenji, & Saburou Tanaka) @ 13:09 by pinfall after a gutwrench facebuster from McGill to Kenji
- Bang! With Your Friends Championship: The Kazuyagumi (“Ace of Hearts” Kazuya Fukumaru, Victor “the Constrictor” Jimenez, & “the Queen of Maniacs” Fujiko Natori) © def. The Jacks of All Trades (“Jumpin’” Jack Sweetwater, “Jammin’” Jack Graves & “Picture Perfect” Jack Pizazz) @ 19:44 with the Beautiful Golden Murder (spinning powerbomb) from Natori to Pizazz
FEBRUARY 19th, 2023: TOKYO, NIGHT 2
- The Jacks of All Trades (“Jumpin’” Jack Sweetwater, “Jammin’” Jack Graves & “Picture Perfect” Jack Pizazz) def. Roosevelt Black, “Don of the Deathmatch” Rory Hayes & The Crimson Miracle Bloody Blood Death Homicycle @ 12:19 after an elbow drop from Sweetwater to the Homicycle
- The Beasts of Tokyo (Seiko Serizawa & HAMAYUMI) def. Jin Watabe & Zenjiro Ikari @ 8:09 by pinfall after the Dragon’s Claw (spin kick) from HAMAYUMI to Ikari
- Victoria McGill def. Wally Wallace @ 11:09 by pinfall with a gutwrench facebuster
- The New World Trash (Bex Savage & Angel Quinley) & Amy Campbell def. The Fabulous Hentai Brothers (Michael & Matthew) & Hiro Taguchi @ 14:44 by pinfall after the Bitch Killer (punt kick) from Campbell to Taguchi
- The Ironhearts (“Iron Idol” Riko Tsukino & Taka Sakaragi) and SlapShark (Garry “Ray-Ray” Nelson & Lord Kurosame-sama) def. Kazuhiro Troy, Ignacio el Jaguar, Victor “the Constrictor” Jimenez & Roosevelt Black @ 15:09 by pinfall with the Shark Cage (Gedo clutch) from Kurosame to Black
FEBRUARY 20th, 2023: TOKYO, NIGHT 3
- The Kazuyagumi (“Ace of Hearts” Kazuya Fukumaru & Pom Shinjoku) def. The Ironhearts (“Iron Idol” Riko Tsukino & “Hawkeye” Taka Sakaragi) @ 17:09 by pinfall after the Great Wave Off Of Kanagawa (rolling front Russian legsweep) from Shinoku on Tsukino
- Kazuhiro Troy & Ria Lockhart def. The Fabulous Hentai Brothers (Michael & Matthew) @ 9:08 after the Royal Treatment (package piledriver) from Kaz to Matthew
- The Crownless Kingdom (Claire Merci, Powerslam Anubis & Ignacio el Jaguar) def. Sam Smart, Wally Wallace & Hiro Taguchi @ 13:19 by pinfall after the Sacramento Necktie (headlock driver) from Jaguar to Taguchi
- Bang! With Your Partner Championship: The New World Trash (Bex Savage & Angel Quinley) © def. “the Don of the Deathmatch” Rory Hayes & Roosevelt Black @ 8:11 after the Eternal Sunrise (shooting star double stomp) from Quinley to Hayes
- Amy Campbell & Victoria McGill and The Ironhearts (“Big Iron” Gorou Ichikawa & Kensuke BLACK) go to a no-contest due to a double countout @ 20:26
If things weren’t already bad between Riko Tsukino and Taka Sakaragi, things might have actually boiled over in this stretch of shows! To begin with, while the pair won on both the first and second shows of the three-night run in Tokyo, it was largely through the efforts of their additional partners to keep them reined in. When left to their own devices against the Kazuyagumi juggernauts of Kazuya Fukumaru and Pom Shinjoku, they were woefully outmatched to the point that Sakaragi made no effort in saving his partner when Shinjoku had her dead to rights!
After the match, Tsukino and Sakaragi again had a fierce argument that necessitated that both Kensuke BLACK and Gorou Ichikawa directly intervene to break them up. Sakaragi vowed to never team with Tsukino again, and Tsukino seemed to be adamant that Sakaragi would have to apologize to her. Not coincidentally, they are both in the upcoming Conception Tournament.
Roosevelt Black won his debut Bang! singles match, quickly dispatching Jin Watabe with a triple jump moonsault in a quick sprint. He was noticeably bandaged up and still carried a number of bruises on his body, though there was not an explanation given as to why. Black’s only comment on the matter? “Fuck Paxton Ray.”
After the match, the Fabulous Hentai Brothers ran around the ring in a straight panic while being chased by an extremely large man in a ridiculous turkey costume carrying a pair of hatchets. At one point, one of the Young Lions tried to reason with him, only to be struck down out of nowhere with a lightning fast double underhook piledriver. Then the man in the turkey costume picked up his hatchets and resumed chasing the Fabulous Hentai Brothers all the way to the back, screaming about being the “father of extreme and the mother of hardcore”. Which is not a thing anyone should scream. Black remarked to reporters, “That… was not what I was expecting when I got here.”
The Bang! With Your Friends trios championships were on the line, as the Jacks of All Trades sought their sixth run with the belts while taking on the Kazuyagumi trio of Kazuya Fukumaru, Fujiko Natori, and Victor Jimenez in trios action. The match was a brutal, hard-hitting affair with tons of interference from various Kazuyagumi members until referee “Hot Pants” Shiraishi threw out the other four members of the Kazuyagumi around ringside. Once the match was “even”, the Jacks did many Jack things, like obnoxious cheating and underhanded tactics while the Kazuyagumi answered with their own obnoxious cheating and underhanded tactics. But in the end, Pizazz was left alone with the Queen of Maniacs and ate a Beautiful Golden Murder for his troubles and his team’s loss.
On night two, the banged-up Jacks were forced to face the unusual tandem of Roosevelt Black, Rory Hayes, and his bicycle in six-man action. Or, uh… five-man, one-bicycle action! Black’s unusual alliance with Hayes and his Slayer-heralded murderous mode of transportation took on the challenge of a Jacks of All Trades tandem out for blood after losing to the Kazuyagumi. The match was ridiculous, as you might expect when a bicycle is a legal weapon on grounds that it’s an actual tag team partner, but Roosevelt and Rory found themselves on the outside looking in while Jack Sweetwater took his revenge on the bicycle with an elbow drop and a pin. Roosevelt was apoplectic about his situation backstage, pointing out how ridiculous it was to be teaming with a bicycle of all things.
No one listened to him.
Also on this night, seven of the eight participants of the Bang! Conception Tournament met in an eight-person tag match that was as chaotic in practice as it was on paper. The eighth member, Roosevelt Black, was pulled into the match at the last minute, and he seemed to appreciate being on the same side as three of the most straight-laced members of the Bang! Pro Wrestling roster.
Despite this, though, there was plenty of bad blood to go around both between and within the teams! Both teams had significant issues teaming up, with tons of in-fighting and interfering with one another, until Lord Kurosame-sama did what Lord Kurosame-sama does and managed to catch Black in the Shark Cage for the win.
On night three, tensions finally boiled over between Tsukino and Sakaragi after Tsukino accidentally kicked Sakaragi while trying to take down Shinjoku. Shinjoku quickly took advantage with the Great Wave to secure the win, but it was the post-match where Tsukino and Sakaragi actually came to blows, necessitating not only the other Ironhearts, but several referees and Young Lions to come and break the two of them up. Backstage, Gorou Ichikawa wanted the two of them to talk through their differences and come to some agreement, but neither seemed amenable to this.
The New World Trash defended their Bang! With Your Partner championships against the Fabulous Hentai Brothers, which… went about as well as you might expect. What you might not expect was for the Beasts of Tokyo to jump the Trash almost as soon as the bell rang to conclude the match, and beat them down mercilessly. After it was over, the Beasts challenged the Trash to a proper two-on-two rematch, without the presence of the Winds of Change or Sykes and Calvin to get in their way.
In the main event, the unusual tag team of Amy Campbell and Victoria McGill, as unusual a pairing as you might seen in Bang! Pro Wrestling, took on the Ironhearts in tag team action. The match was as chaotic as most of Campbell’s matches have been, even with the addition of McGill, putting Ichikawa and BLACK on the back foot for much of the contest. The Ironhearts fought back hard, and eventually the match spilled out to the floor with both teams brawling until they were counted out. Back in the ring, Campbell tried to hit Ichikawa with the Bitch Killer, only for Ichikawa to avoid contact and threaten her with the Peacemaker. Campbell wisely chooses to escape the scene rather than experience Ichikawa’s devastating finishing move so close to her Openweight championship match.
FEBRUARY 23rd, 2023: CHIBA
- “Don of the Deathmatch” Rory Hayes def. Hiro Taguchi @ 7:19 by pinfall with the Mindbender (Gotch-style piledriver)
- Ria Lockhart def. Jin Watabe @ 8:01 by pinfall after a Lock Cutter (cutter)
- Amy Campbell & the New World Trash (Bex Savage & Angel Quinley) def. The Kazuyagumi (Junpei Tsukioka, Tanaka Saburou & Cowabunga Kenji) @ 15:12 after the Bitch Killer (punt kick) from Campbell to Saburou
- The Ironhearts (“Big Iron” Gorou Ichikawa & Kensuke BLACK) & Ria Lockhart def. The Jacks of All Trades (“Jumpin’” Jack Sweetwater, “Jammin’” Jack Graves & “Picture Perfect” Jack Pizazz) @ 18:19 by pinfall after the Peacemaker (running blockbuster) from Ichikawa to Graves
- Bang! Hardweight Championship: Claire Merci © def. Victoria McGill and Lord Kurosame-sama @ 21:09 by pinfall after the Royal Butterfly Suplex (dragon suplex) from Merci to Lord Kurosame-sama
We began Chiba with Rory Hayes taking care of business against Hiro Taguchi, defeating him with the Mindbender piledriver. As the match transpired, the same mysterious birdman came running out, chasing not only the Fabulous Hentai Borthers, but also Jin Watabe and Zenjiro Ikari, and raving incoherently in what I’d probably have to transcribe in all capital letters. Uh, if I were paid enough to do that.
Watabe eventually found the relative safety of the ring, while the mysterious birdman clucked loudly and laughed maniacally as birds did, chasing everyone else back to the back. Since Watabe was already in the ring, Ria Lockhart made her way out for her next match, wearing an expression on her face like she didn’t understand or want to put up with any of that. Ria picked up the win in the match, taking Watabe by surprise with her Lock Cutter. She refused to comment on the shenanigans that happened before the match, other than calling it “fucking stupid”.
The punk trio of the Bang! With Your Partner champions and Amy Campbell blew through the Kazuyagumi’s seemingly “lesser” members in trios action. After the match, Kazuya Fukumaru informed Tsukioka, Tanaka, and Kenji that due to their constant failures that their services were no longer required and that they would no longer be members of the Kazuyagumi going forward. The three felt betrayed by this act and challenged the “new” Kazuyagumi, but Kazuya laughed off any possibility of them challenging for the Bang! With Your Friends championships currently held by Fukumaru, Natori, and Jimenez and left them fuming.
The Ironhearts once again teamed with Ria Lockhart, this time to take on the Jacks of All Trades in trios action. Kensuke BLACK fell into trouble early, necessitating that Lockhart and Ichikawa help him out. The Jacks tried their usual obnoxious shenanigans, only for Pizazz to get the shit kicked out of him by Ria and thrown into the front row. After Sweetwater was taken out by BLACK, it left the massive Graves to take the Peacemaker to lose the match.
In the main event of Chiba, Claire Merci successfully defended the Hardweight championship against Victoria McGill and Lord Kurosame-sama. Both McGill and Kurosame looked to have the victory in hand at points – Kurosame-sama nearly pinned McGill off of the Shark Cage, but McGill managed to escape and hit the gutwrench facebuster. Unfortunately for her, before she could pin Kurosame-sama, Merci managed to get back in to throw her out, and then hit the Royal Butterfly Suplex to retain her championship.
After the match, Kazuhiro Troy made an appearance to challenge the Merciless Queen for her Hardweight championship on the second night of King’s Winter. Merci accepted the challenge, even noting that Kaz’s relationship with her future Lucha Especial opponent, Lindsay Troy, would make things… interesting for that encounter. This is all in spite of the fact that Kaz is already scheduled for the Conception Championship Tournament the night before King’s Winter.