Tuesday, January 31, 2023

[ZERO1][PREVIEW] “22nd Anniversary Convention” 3/5/23

It was in March 2001 that Shinya Hashimoto and Shinjiro Otani presented the very first ZERO1 event, at Ryogoku Kokugikan in front of 11,000 fans, and live nationally on SKY PerfecTV! via satellite. 22 years later, ZERO1 will celebrate its anniversary on March 5 (11:30 AM start time, doors open at 10:45 AM) at the Korakuen Hall (the Madison Square Garden of Japan).

In the main event, Masato Tanaka will defend his ZERO1 World Heavyweight Championship against Shoki Kitamura. Tanaka is currently in his sixth reign as Champion, with his first reign being the third longest reign in the history of the Championship. It is also noteworthy that Tanaka is the first ZERO1 World Heavyweight Champion in history.

The lineage of the ZERO1 World Heavyweight Championship began in 1996 when a promotion named American Wrestling Association Superstars Of Wrestling was founded. This is the reason why "AWA" is written on the belt. Many recognizable talents have held the AWA World Heavyweight Championship, including former WWE star King Kong Bundy and Matt Wiese, who is best known as former WWE star Luther Reigns, and also wrestled in WCW and ZERO1 as, "Horshu".

In 2004, ZERO1 became an affiliate of American Wrestling Association Superstars Of Wrestling (I was the publicist/columnist of the main governing body that year). After stripping the previous AWA World Heavyweight Champion of the title, ZERO1 was sanctioned to be the site where the new Champion would be decided. ZERO1 was an AWA affiliate for almost three years, and during that time period, most of the wrestlers who held the AWA World Heavyweight Championship were members of the ZERO1 roster (such as Shinjiro Otani and Masato Tanaka). ZERO1 was the biggest AWA affiliate and was the organization most responsible for the popularity that American Wrestling Association Superstars Of Wrestling was quickly gaining. ZERO1 severed ties with them in December 2007, and Tanaka was AWA World Heavyweight Champion at that time. The Championship was then renamed the ZERO1 World Heavyweight Championship, with Tanaka being the first Champion.

Masato Tanaka's first ZERO1 World Heavyweight Championship defense took place at Korakuen Hall, and it will be the same place where he will defend it as ZERO1 celebrates its 22nd anniversary. Shoki Kitamura is a former ZERO1 World & International Junior Heavyweight Champion who is next in line for a shot at Tanaka's championship, so will Tanaka's sixth reign continue as ZERO1 marks the start of its next chapter, or will it mark the beginning of a new era, with Kitamura as the new champion?

In other action, former WWWA Tag Team Champion Jaguar Yokota and former Goddesses Of Stardom Champion Jungle Kyona will team to face Stardom star Unagi Sayaka and a partner who has not yet been named. Also, All Asia Tag Team Champion Kendo Kashin and former NWA International Lightweight Tag Team Champion Tatsuhito Takaiwa will be in tag team action, along with much more.

Tickets for this event can be purchased here.

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