Match Point: ZERO1 – Takashi Sugiura (c) vs Masato Tanaka (01/01/22)

Takashi Sugiura vs Masato Tanaka Match Graphic
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Two battle-tested veterans will collide for the top prize in ZERO1 as Takashi Sugiura battles Masato Tanaka.  There is history between the two combatants that should add to the enjoyment of the bout.

Dangan Yankees

In 2014 Takashi Sugiura joined Masato Tanaka’s unit in Pro Wrestling ZERO1, which was e named Dangan Yankees. The group boasted an incredible crop of talent with names such as Ikuto Hidaka, Daichi Hashimoto, Fujita Jr Hayato, Yusaku Obata, Yuko Miyamoto, and Isami Kodaka. However, it was the team of Sugiura and Tanaka that stood out as they found great success together. First winning the NWA Intercontinental Tag Team Championship in ZERO1. However, ZERO1 wouldn’t be the only company they found success in.

Tanaka and Sugiura found themselves also teaming in Sugiura’s home promotion of Pro Wrestling NOAH. On their first attempt, they won NOAH’s Global Tag League in 2014, and went on to capture the GHC Heavyweight Tag Team Championships. Their year capped off with Tokyo Sports naming them the 2014 tag team of the year. After a second tag league victory in 2015, Takashi Sugiura left Dangan Yankees and joined Suzuki Gun who was terrorizing NOAH.

The Collision Course That Led Them Here

Masato Tanaka came back to NOAH rather regularly as a part of the M’s Alliance, first Showing up at NOAH’s January show in 2020. Takashi Sugiura took exception asking why he didn’t join the Sugiura Army, with Tanaka simply responding with he never asked. Some time went by before the two men were actually opposite of each other. At the time Takashi Sugiura was GHC National Champion. Masato Tanaka got a pinfall victory over him, and made a challenge.

Tanaka told Sugiura he wanted a shot at his GHC National Championship, and would put the ZERO1 World Heavyweight Championship on the line. To which Sugiura accepted, and at the end of it all Takashi Sugiura stood tall with both belts, and it remained that way as both entered N-1 Victory. Soon they were once again opposite of each other in a tag match, where Tanaka again pinned Sugiura.

The Challenge and Importance to ZERO1

Afterwards Masato Tanaka said he wanted to challenge for the ZERO1 World Heavyweight Championship to get it back. He specifically wanted it at ZERO1’s January 1 Korakuen event, and he made sure to note that he was aware of the Nippon Budokan show being the same day and it being important to NOAH. However, this is equally as important to ZERO1 as they approach their 20th-anniversary show this year. It would only be right if Tanaka was spearheading the year as the champion.

Yet, one has to take into fact that Masato Tanaka also has a GHC Heavyweight Tag Team Championship match later in the day on NOAH’s Nippon Budokan event. If those thoughts will get into his mind and distract him from the opponent in Sugiura. Who will emerge victorious in this clash? This show will be broadcasted live on Wrestle Universe!

Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world.