It’s been twelve years since Bang! Pro Wrestling first came to being, and tonight, here in Tokyo… it’s a fantastic time to Bang! Every major championship (except the All Day Championship, although that’s always on the line when you think about it) is on the line!
AUGUST 8th, 2023: BANG! INFINITE ANNIVERSARY IN TOKYO!
- The Ironhearts (“Iron Idol” Riko Tsukino, “Giant Tekkai” Bando Ichikawa, Kensuke BLACK & Curtis Alexander Brown) def. The Monster Menagerie (Lord Kurosame-sama, “Hippo of the Deathmatch” Rory Hayes, The Big Blue Bug, and a mysterious birdman) @ 12:09 by pinfall after a triple jump springboard Magnum Fang (Diamond Cutter) from Brown to Hayes
- The New World Trash (Bex Savage & Angel Quinley) & Circe def. Intelligent Design (“Stunning” Sam Smart & “Thick Walls” Wally Wallace) & Cowabunga Kenji @ 11:31 by pinfall after A Drink For My Darling (pumphandle lift flipped into a knee strike) from Circe to Kenji
- The Sound and the Fury (Ian Nackedy & Gildenstern), Roosevelt Black & Tani Albright def. The Kazuyagumi (“Ace of Hearts” Kazuya Fukumaru, Pom Shinjoku, “Queen of Maniacs” Fujiko Natori & “RED” Ryota Saijo) @ 15:09 by pinfall after a triple jump moonsault from Black to Saijo
- Bang! With Your Friends Championship: DESTROY IT ALL (Junpei Tsukioka, “Grim Face” Ichiro Kuwayama & EIJI) def. The Crownless Kingdom (Powerslam Anubis, Ignacio el Jaguar & “Lunch Lawyer” Lord Gavin Yum, Esq.) © @ 20:11 by pinfall after a Grim Dawn (GTS) from Kuwayama to Yum to win the titles!
- Bang! Hardweight Championship: Generalissimo Garry “Ray-Ray” Bolamba © def. “Diamond” Daisuke Hashiwara @ 16:09 after the Blood on the Plow (rolling elbow) to retain the title!
- Bang! Conception Championship: “Big Iron” Gorou Ichikawa def. “Hawkeye” Taka Sakuragi © @ 25:11 by pinfall after the Peacemaker (running blockbuster) to win the title!
- Bang! Openweight Championship: Claire Merci © def. “The Ace of Clubs” Haruki Kazano @ 27:58 by submission after the Royal Hanging Garden Stretch (octopus hold) to retain the title!
- Bang! With Your Partner Championship: The Glue Man Group (Joe Fontaine & Sid Phillips) © def. No Laughing Matter (Frank Pastore & Domingo Cruz) @ 21:44 by pinfall after the Twisted Tower (powerbomb/triple jump moonsault combo) from Fontaine/Phillips to Pastore to retain the titles!
The opening match pitted the Ironhearts against the Monster Menagerie in chaotic eight-person action! With half of the competitors in this match obviously battered coming out of the CDTL, it was left to their other halves to pick up the slack!
Hayes was there, so naturally the Homicycle was a key part of the match! With all of the chaos going on, you’d be forgiven for not noticing the flying bicycle with steer’s horns attached to it! What referee could notice that spectacle? What referee would dare throw the Homicycle out for blatant outside interference!?
Well, “Soft Hands” Tsukuji did, of course. He actually threw the Homicycle out of the match! Literally! He just picked up the Homicycle and carried it to the back. Who does that!?
Naturally, the Menagerie all hit low blows on their opponents. In the case of Tsukino, she just kneed Lord Kurosame-sama in the face for trying. However, the real star of the match was Curtis Alexander Brown, who scored the victory with a spectacular variation of his uncle’s Magnum Fang cutter!
Backstage, Brown declared himself for this year’s Terminus Complex, which will be held in October this year. This makes him the first entrant into the legendary tournament for this year!
The six-person tag match between the unusual team of the New World Trash and Circe against the even more unusual trio of Cowabunga Kenji and Intelligent Design kicked off with a lot of kicking. While the Trash side of the contest were underdogs in the match, they certainly didn’t feel it with how reckless they decided to take down the Design throughout the contest! There was a dive off of a balcony (from Quinley), a half-nelson suplex on the floor (from Savage), and an attempt at a Cosmic Debunking off of the apron (from the Design)! After the Trash and the Design took one another out, Circe put the match away with A Drink For My Darling!
Like Brown, Circe also declared for the TC-X immediately upon her arrival backstage. Savage and Quinley didn’t, they just wanted to party and break something. Not sure if that’s the order they intended, though.
In eight-person action, the Gray’s Academy duo of “President” Roosevelt Black and “More Than Alright” Tani Albright teamed up with the legendary Sound and the Fury to take on the Kazuyagumi, and folks… this one got away from a lot of referees! You almost couldn’t tell who was legal because the Kazuyagumi immediately jumped the Gray’s team and started fighting all across the arena!
Nackedy caught Fukumaru in a Paradise Lock on the floor and refused to release him, leaving him tied up in his own limbs while Nackedy and Gil double-teamed Saijo. This gave Roosevelt Black a pretty good footstool to throw himself bodily into Saijo and Natori with a somersault senton!
When the match finally got back into the ring and it came down to the wire, it was Black and Saijo who continued the fighting. Fukumaru was ultimately released and immediately started a fight with Nackedy again, and the pair brawled into the back while Shinjoku tried to keep Gildenstern from interfering. This left Saijo with no one to help him except Natori when Albright hit him with a spinebuster that set up Black hitting him with the triple jump moonsault. With Albright easily intercepting her, Black got the win for his team!
Sadly, no Basketweavers in this match. Minus two stars!
…I’m joking, I don’t rate matches.
The last of the multi-man matches was the biggest one – the fight for the Bang! With Your Friends trios championships! The Crownless Kingdom have held on to the gold for 119 days, but DESTROY IT ALL are clearly the most dangerous opponents for the trio so far – especially since Jaguar and Anubis already lost a tag match in the CDTL to the dangerous anarchists!
The match was a more subdued and traditional affair compared to the chaos of the previous two matches. After an initial feeling out process, the inexperienced Jaguar found himself in trouble against DIA just like their last contest in the CDTL. Once Jaguar made the tag to Powerslam Anubis, Anubis did the things he is best known for. Which is powerslams and judgement, of course!
Things broke down, and near-falls flew everywhere to the point that the referee actually lost track of who the legal men were! In the end, Lord Yum tried to take advantage of this with his usual tactics of kicking a man low, only to discover that Ichiro Kuwayama had caught on to his trickery and was wearing a cup! A Grim Dawn followed… and DESTROY IT ALL were the new Bang! With Your Friends champions!
Backstage, the trio declared that they weren’t done yet and that they wanted to also hold the Bang! With Your Partners championships considering their incredible performance in the Celestial Dragon Tag League. Of course, they might still have to wait their turn – there’s a lot of teams looking after those belts right now!
In fact, there was a teaser for the return of a legendary trios team that hadn’t been seen in a while, one that has held the Bang! With Your Friends championships no less than four times. That’s right, the trio of Maverick Martinez, Derringer Dragunov, and Remington Rosencrantz – the dreaded Oregon Yakuza – are returning to Bang! Pro Wrestling!
The Bang! Hardweight Champion Generalissimo Garry “Ray-Ray” Nelson had his first title defense since winning the championship in Mexico City back in June, as he went one-on-one with the Devilish Delinquent himself, “Diamond” Daisuke Hashiwara! This one quickly got out of hand, folks, as this falls count anywhere championship defense truly went everywhere it could within the building!
The fight eventually took itself out into the Tokyo streets, where Nelson nearly lost the title when Daisuke nailed him with the Diamond Cutter on a Toyota! Maybe if Nelson had hit him with a Diamond Cutter on a Hyundai, he’d have won the belt! Naturally, the battle led itself to the Generalissimo’s ride. You could tell it’s his ride because it had the number 3 painted on its side. Even though we’re in Japan. Look, don’t question it.
Eventually, however, Bolamba received help from the members of the Monster Menagerie that didn’t take part in the eight-man that opened the show. Namely, the Beasts of Tokyo and “Rhino Horn” Shinji Komiya. While Hashiwara was able to fight all of them off, he was struck down with the Blood on the Plow and pinned on the hood of his number 3 ride!
Backstage, Rey Cangrejo pinched a buttock. But whose? And will they hire Lord Gavin Yum, Esq. to sue him for harassment?
In a grudge match gestating for months, “Hawkeye” Taka Sakuragi put his Conception Championship on the line against the leader of the Ironhearts that he betrayed in the name of destroying it all, “Big Iron” Gorou Ichikawa! The match was a hard-hitting affair that, mercifully, was contained in the ring. Sakuragi exchanged his deadly kicks against Ichikawa’s chops and elbows, and the two battered each other for the better part of half of the match with just those strikes!
When things picked up, Sakuragi seemed to control things enough that he could set up his Iron Sight kamigoye knee strike. However, Ichikawa avoided taking it with his head and was able to counter. A scramble led to Ichikawa nearly winning with a Peacemaker, but Sakuragi managed to kick out when Ichikawa took too long to cover after hitting it! Then, when Sakuragi landed the Iron Sight minutes later, Ichikawa got his hand in the ropes to stop the three count!
In the end, Sakuragi had the advantage and attempted to deliver a Joker’s Wild to Ichikawa, only for Ichikawa to slip out and land the Peacemaker for a second time to score the win and the championship!
In the ring, Ichikawa celebrated winning back a championship nearly three months after his historic Openweight championship reign was ended by Claire Merci. Meanwhile, Sakuragi was more than displeased by the loss after he returned backstage, and had to be kicked out of the building before he caused too much damage to the backstage area!
The yearly Terminus Complex (TC-X) has been moved to October. This year’s TC-X is scheduled for thirty-two people and four blocks, culminating in an eight-person knockout round to determine who will meet the Bang! Openweight Champion in January’s Clash of Aces! Who will be victorious? Will it be last year’s champion, Akira Hanazawa? Or will it be someone new? The names haven’t been announced yet, but rumors are swirling that there might not be as much outside talent for this year’s TC-X like there was for the Celestial Dragon Tag League.
The first main event was a clash of old versus new.
Claire Merci, the leader of the Crownless Kingdom and the Openweight Champion, is the first female Openweight champion, ending the 850+ day reign of “Big Iron” Gorou Ichikawa to do it. Haruki Kazano, meanwhile, is not only a four-time former champion… he’s also the very first one. At 46 years old, Kazano is the oldest of the “Four Aces” is taking what may well be his final shot at championship glory.
Merci was… well, merciless to start out, battering the challenger with her signature striking style and not giving an inch to him despite the weight disadvantage. Haruki would fire back by suplexing her across the ring and taking advantage when Merci hit the ring post with an errant flying knee strike.
Kazano worked over Merci’s knee, which took away the option of the straight knee she’s used so effectively to end matches. When Merci did land the straight knee, she hurt herself more than her opponent! Kazano applied a half crab and it looked like it might be curtains for Merci’s stellar run in 2023, but Merci managed to trip Kazano up to get out of the hold and apply her own half crab. Once Kazano made it to the ropes, Merci went on the attack and managed more strikes despite the damage it was doing to her own leg.
Eventually, Kazano got back the advantage looked to lock in the Higekiri DDT, only for Merci to ram him into the corner. A straight knee should’ve sealed the deal, but Merci spent a long time trying to recover from the damage to her knee and couldn’t follow up. When Kazano recovered, he could have won the match with the Higekiri, but Merci wisely managed to roll under the bottom rope and prevent Kazano from pinning her right away, giving her enough time to kick out.
A second Higekiri was attempted, but Merci twisted out and into the Royal Hanging Garden Stretch! When Kazano fought out of it by wrenching at Merci’s leg, she quickly transitioned into the Royal Butterfly Suplex for a narrow near fall! The Durandal was attempted, but Kazano swept the leg out and tried for the half crab again! Merci kicked him away, and when Haruki moved in again, Merci kicked his knee out and landed another straight knee for a two count!
Haruki landed a lariat, but the length of the match began to take its toll on the aging veteran, and he struggled to make a cover that only got a two count. Another attempt at the Higekiri was countered into a Northern lights suplex, which was transitioned into a second straight knee! Rather than go for the cover, Claire reapplied the Royal Hanging Garden Stretch, and used joint manipulation to force Kazano to the ground. With little choice, the four-time champion was forced to tap out to allow Claire Merci to still be the Bang! Openweight champion!
Merci has turned back one of the toughest challenges she’s had to her championship to date, and now she has to look forward to competing in this year’s Terminus Complex. Should she win the TC-X, she’ll get her choice of who she’d want to defend her Openweight championship against at the Clash of Aces in January! But the road is going to be tough, especially when thirty-one other individuals are going to competing for the opportunity!
And now, the other main event!
No Laughing Matter had pulled off a big dark horse victory in capturing the Celestial Dragon Tag League trophy just a few nights ago. Their opponents for the coveted Bang! With Your Partner championships came within one victory from being in the finals of the league, however, and that’s the Glue Man Group of Joe Fontaine and Sid Phillips!
Neither team were all that well-liked in Bang! Pro Wrestling, admittedly. For tonight, though, the fans seemed to rally behind the challengers.
While on paper, the two teams are rather evenly matched, one has to remember that Sid Phillips only understands one thing. We all know what that thing is. This was clearly expected by Pastore and Cruz, as they routinely stopped him from getting a bomb on. Joe Fontaine spent a large portion of the match in mid-air, and not always willingly. Eventually, however, Fontaine took control in a way only he could. Which is to say that he did a full-on Johnny Cage nut punch to Domingo Cruz behind the referee’s back. Phillips came in with some powerbombs, including a huge ring-shaking one to the massive Frank Pastore!
Pastore and Cruz would inevitably eject Phillips, leaving Fontaine two-on-one against Cruz and Pastore. However, despite getting stuck to the mat by Cruz’s Deuce Dime package piledriver, Phillips managed to powerbomb Pastore on top of Cruz to break up the three count! (Note: Joe Fontaine and his organs very likely did not appreciate this manner of breaking up a pin.)
After Phillips tagged himself back in, he found himself in danger of taking Pastore’s Harsh Intent – the move that won them the CDTL. However, Fontaine would break it up with a missile dropkick. Another low blow from Fontaine – actually, a series of them – would set the big man up for the Twisted Tower to keep the championships squarely in the Glueminati!
No Laughing Matter did not take the narrow loss well, and threw chairs into the ring and at Fontaine and Phillips after the match before they eventually got escorted to the back by security and officials.
With the Glue Man Group still holding the gold, though, and barely able to turn back the challenge of the dark horses… who’s next to challenge for the Bang! With Your Partner championships? Will No Laughing Matter get another shot considering how close they came and how many shortcuts the Glues had to take to keep the belts? Will the Crownless Kingdom, with their own score to settle with the Glues, call their shot? What about the former champions in the New World Trash? What about Los Cangrejos? Or DESTROY IT ALL, who won the A Block over them?
It all remains to be seen as we head into TC-X season!