DOJO PRO TV REPORT – S1E03
RELEASED JULY 9, 2018
TAPED IN NASHVILLE, TN
AVAILABLE IN THE U.S. AND U.K. THROUGH AMAZON PRIME
REPORT BY HARLEY R. PAGEOT, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Commentary: Marc Warzecha
DOJO PRO presents the ultimate professional wrestling opportunity. A gauntlet competition in which 13 independent wrestlers fight their way up the ladder. The winner of each match receives the Dojo Pro White Belt and continues on. At the top, the Dojo Pro Black Belt, and a shot at the Ring Of Honor World Television Championship.
-In the studio Matt Lott recapped Gunner Miller defeating Kevin Ku by knockout on the last episode.
-Video package on Wheeler Yuta. He has a light-up lower face mask like Mortal Kombat or Mustafa Ali. He’s 21 years old, from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was introduced to wrestling at the age of five by a cousin. Despite his young age he’s already wrestled in Canada and Japan. He’s half-Japanese so it meant a lot to train there and learn not only the traditional Japanese style of wrestling but also lucha libre. ROH has been a goal of his for a long time so being able to win this gauntlet and advance immediately into a TV title shot is a huge opportunity.
-Gunner Miller said he did just what he said he was going to do – he stole Kevin Ku’s soul. He can knock out anyone he wants to whenever he wants to. Yuta said that what Miller did to Ku was an embarrassment. This is a sport. They’re here to win, not injure people. That’s not tough; that’s cowardly.
Yuta’s promo was being filmed in a mood-lit gym with him seated on a stool. The overhead lights were suddenly flipped on and Miller shoved his way past the cameraman and boom operator to get to Yuta. “What did you say?” he yelled. Yuta calmly stood up and said, “You heard what I said.” They got in each other face’s and started shouting as the crew fought to separate them.
(Pageot’s Perspective: A nice twist at the end there to put some heat on the match and continue to put over Miller as a hot head. Like Ku, Yuta is mild-mannered and here to wrestle cleanly and promote himself to a new audience. Unfortunately Ku at least had some of the hardcore punk attire and tattoos to help him stand out. Nothing about Yuta jumps off the screen at this point in terms of character or charisma. Even his mask, which would normally be unique and help him stand out, feels repetitive as Ku and Awful both wore similar masks for their entrances before taking them off for the actual match.
Yuta trained at the Combat Zone Wrestling dojo under people like Drew Gulak and wrestles consistently for CZW, Chikara, and Major League Wrestling.)
-Miller entered first, wearing the white belt. Yuta came out to applause from the crowd and went straight into Miller’s face. Miller shoved him off and referee Justin King intervened. Ring announcer Dominic Malnar made the official introductions.
DOJO PRO WHITE BELT “THE PEOPLE’S CAPTAIN” GUNNER MILLER vs. WHEELER YUTA
Lock up. Miller shoved Yuta off, then drove him into the corner. Yuta with a springboard arm drag. Elbow drop and dropkick with Miller coming off the ropes. Cloverleaf variation but Miller made it to the ropes. Yuta looked for a Thesz press from the top rope but Miller caught him and hit a belly to belly suplex. Release German suplex from Miller. Back body drop gave Miller the first two-count of the match. Power slam for another two. Yuta with a springboard dropkick. Yuta hit a flip over the ropes that was supposed to take out Miller but ended up looking like Miller powerbombed him instead. In the ring Yuta caught Miller with a crossbody off the top. Miller with a spinebuster. Yuta leapfrogged a spear attempt and lifted Miller for a slam. Yuta went up top but Miller speared him out of the air. Jackhammer could have ended it but again Miller chose not to cover. Instead he lifted Yuta like he did to Ku and Ku rolled him up for two. Superkick from Yuta and he went up top. Miller was too far away so he visibly moved himself over two feet to be in position. Yuta with a top rope elbow drop for the win.
WINNER: Wheeler Yuta in 9:27 to capture the Dojo Pro White Belt.
(Pageot’s Perspective: The better of Miller’s two matches, which can be attributed to Yuta’s speed. This was the fastest-paced of the three matches so far and Yuta is probably the most seasoned in-ring of the four competitors we’ve seen thus far. So far the rankings are proving true with the higher-ranked competitor beating the lower-ranked one. We’ll have to see someone last longer than two matches in the gauntlet at some point and that just might be Yuta.)
-Yuta will defend the white belt against Corey Hollis on the next episode. Interviewer Rob Johnston joined Yuta in the ring. Johnston was happy he didn’t have to try to talk to Miller again. He asked Yuta what his strategy was going into this match. Yuta said you have to find your opponent’s one flaw and Miller’s flaw was his arrogance. Miller counted him out but you can never count Wheeler Yuta out. Johnston asked if he has what it takes to defeat another nine competitors and win the Dojo Pro Black Belt. Yuta admitted it’s a long way to go but said, if he has anything to say about it, he’s winning the whole thing.
(Pageot’s Perspective: I liked the Cobb appearance at the end of the first episode so it’s a bit disappointing that we didn’t see anything else like that in the following two episodes. Brief interviews with Strickland or MJF giving their thoughts on the current competitors or who they might end up facing when it comes their time. Vignettes on the people coming up. Something to let us know who we have to look forward to especially since, by the nature of the gauntlet, it seems highly unlikely we’ll see Yuta win the entire thing. Unless Yuta or Cobb wins the Black Belt, we’re a quarter of the way through this season and we haven’t seen or heard from our future winner once.)
Find Harley on Twitter @talkinghonor and listen to he and Emily Fear talk all things ROH every Tuesday on the PWTorch Livecast “Talking Honor.”