Full Throttle Episode One: “It takes two, baby”

Prologue: The birth of a promotion

Plush purple carpet underfoot and beige nondescript walls line a typical office corridor. Raised voices leak out from the room at the end. Dimmed yellowing light from the spotlights picks out the characters in the shiny nameplate on the door “EXECUTIVE MEETING ROOM”.*

Executive 1: “This is a disaster. We told them they’d get Kojima. They want Kojima!”

Executive 2: “And they’ll have him. Just not full-time. You saw the numbers. The hair dye costs for this company alone. And then there’s the tailoring…”

Executive 1: “But they’ll walk! Can’t we talk to wardrobe and get just a little more.”

Executive 2: “Hiromu put the right to peacock feathers in his contract. We got nothing.”

Executive 1: “…”

Executive 3: “Look. It’s not that bad. The talent signed. We got Kojima-san in an advisory capacity and he’s happy. Yes, it’s not ideal but we have the talent. Maybe we can talk the TV company around.”

Executive 1: “I promised them Kojima as GM…”

Executive 2: “And when the numbers are better…”

Executive 3: “Wait. What exactly did you say?”

Executive 1: “Who me?”

Executive 3: “You told them Kojima as GM? Exactly that?”

Executive 1: “I…yes. I think so. They were excited.”

Executive 3: “So they are expecting a Kojima as GM. We can still give them that.”

Executive 2: “What are you talking about?”

Executive 3: “Get MAO in here. I have an idea…”

*voices fade out*

It is a cold day in Shinjuku but a hot atmosphere as a sold out crowd awaits the opening call for Full Throttle’s inaugural show. Guests have all received a complimentary bread loaf, branded with the company logo, to celebrate the occasion.

Yuji Shindo is on announcing duty, kicking off the show by introducing the audience to the man behind the brand, Special Advisor Satoshi Kojima. Kojima’s entrance is met with enthusiastic applause that only gets louder as he opens his blazer to reveal the company t-shirt beneath. After pausing for obligatory photographs of him flexing his arms, Kojima addresses the crowd. 

His opening address sets out a vision for the brand. As a primarily junior promotion, Full Throttle showcases speed and agility but also quick thinking and technique. The roster embodies these skills and a hunger to make their mark in the World Class Alliance. In keeping with World Class Alliance’s commitment to promote the very best professional wrestling, the ethos of Full Throttle is built on making the most of the enthusiasm of youth the and wisdom of experience. In this spirit, Kojima asks the crowd to welcome his partner in leading the company, General Manager Toi Kojima. 

The response to the entrance of Toi Kojima is notably muted but picks up as Toi practically bounces into the ring, suit jacket flapping behind him. Bowing deeply in front of Kojima, Toi’s enthusiasm starts to win over the confused crowd, particularly when the two Kojimas clasp hands in a show of respect. Toi takes to the microphone to thank the crowd for their support and World Class Alliance for this opportunity, bowing to each corner of the crowd in turn. He passes the mic back to Kojima to announce today’s show. 

Kojima reminds the crowd that much of his own championship success came in the form of teamwork. To honour the partnership between Kojima and Kojima, between experience and youth, today’s show will see the crowning of the very first Twin Engines Champions. Alongside the tournament matches, other members of the roster will be hoping to stand out and establish themselves ahead of ALL OR NOTHING, where the Full Throttle Openweight Champion will be crowned in the main event.  

Kojima passes the mic back to Toi to make the opening call. He punches the air as he shouts into the mic Full Throttle! Engines start!”. 

Match One: Mizuki Watase (jackets) vs Naomichi Marufuji (S&M’s alliance)

Watase enters with a noticeable swagger in a black, gold and grey mottled blazer, the uniform of the newly re-formed Jackets faction. Pulling at the lapels as he poses by the entrance curtain, he is clearly enjoying being the first out to represent Full Throttle, despite the challenge in front of him. It is only when he has shrugged off his jacket and Hysteric fills the venue that Watase seems to acquire a little nervousness.

Nerves don’t stop him flying at Marufuji the moment the bell is rung, hoping to get the upper hand by forcing him into the corner. Unfortunately for Watase, his advantage doesn’t last long and he quickly finds their positions reversed. Obviously, being pinned in the corner with Marufuji as an opponent has limited positive outcomes and Watase’s chest pays the price for his over enthusiastic start to the match. There are glimmers of hope for Watase in this match, particularly where he takes advantage of Marufuji’s confidence, and he is able to recover quickly from Marufuji’s offence to land some significant blows himself, including a Saito suplex that provides an opportunity for a pin attempt. A beautifully executed dropkick gives him another 2-count but ultimately Marufuji has more to work with and Watase, not short on confidence himself, makes the mistake of standing up to Marufuji’s chops. This leads to a knee to Watase’s midsection and gives Marufuji an opening to execute the True Tiger King. 

Marufuji def. Watase with the True Tiger King (11:10)

Marufuji plays to the crowd a little before leaving the ring. Watase, whose teammates are out next, has to make his way out leaning on young rookies Yuki and Ryota, but receives a warm applause from the crowd for his efforts. 

Match Two: ASUKA/MAO (T.O.P) v Seiki/Jiro (jackets)  (Twin Engines tournament match) 

The entrances here are notably long as both teams seem determined to strike a pose (or several) during the short walk to the ring. Seiki and Jiro in matching jackets (in Blue/White and Red/Orange respectively), ASUKA and MAO in a mix of black and pink. Jiro makes several laps of the ring before ASUKA blocks his path and makes a not-so-casual attempt to trip him up. 

The match starts out respectfully, ASUKA and MAO offering handshakes, which quickly turn into knees to their opponent’s midsections and whips into the ropes. Unfortunately for them, Jackets recover quickly, ducking under T.O.P’s offence and building up steam for twin dropkicks. ASUKA and Seiki roll out of the ring, leaving Jiro and MAO to start off the match proper. Jiro gets an early advantage, targeting MAO’s arm and taking him to the mat. An armbar attempt leaves MAO scrambling for the ropes but a little showboating by Jiro as MAO recovers provides an opening for some dramatic slaps that have Jiro clutching at his cheek in horror. Violence puts an end to the posing on both sides but this match still has plenty of flair. It’s a battle of speed and strength early on as Jiro’s jacket punches go up against MAO’s whiplash speed offence. Tagging out is a mutual decision when both go for dropkicks simultaneously and fail to connect. 

Seiki and ASUKA’s exchanges are initially tentative but rapidly descend into a kick exchange that gives Seiki the edge in terms of power but ASUKA has a slight height advantage and lands a head kick that has Seiki reeling. ASUKA follows up with a missile dropkick and a springboard elbow into the corner. A series of strikes and kicks pushes ASUKA back towards the centre of the ring but ASUKA’s opportunistic offence continues to keep Seiki wary in their exchanges. 

Both sides seem to be enjoying themselves but there’s a very definite air of one upmanship as the teams attempt to push either the pace or style in this match. The limited space between the ring and the crowd in the venue limits the scope for aerial attacks but that doesn’t seem to dissuade the T.O.P. team from teasing a tandem moonsault. Fortunately for Jackets (and possibly the assembled crowd), Jiro manages to knock ASUKA from the ring post before they take off. Jackets manage some combinations, notably a double enzuigiri on MAO, but fail to match the easy symmetry of MAO and ASUKA’s offence. 

Nonetheless, as the match goes on, this battle of speed and power starts to shift towards the more powerful Jackets team. An impressive combination of a standing shooting star press from ASUKA and a lionsault from MAO on Jiro seems like it might just keep Jiro down but he manages to scramble to tag in the waiting Yoshioka. Seiki catches MAO off-guard, managing to land a scissor kick and knock MAO down but MAO is quickly able to match up, both running the ropes at blistering speed. 

The closing stretch escalates quickly. A dropkick from MAO and standing moonsault has Seiki down for 2. He manages to shake MAO off as both stand, leading to a brief exchange of elbows and then kicks that leave MAO bent double. Seiki reaches for an attempt at the crash driver but MAO throws him off and lands a spinning enzuigiri. Both struggle to regain their footing after the rapid pacing. Whilst they seem evenly matched in speed, Seiki has the edge in power. An ankle grab from Jiro as MAO runs the ropes again leaves MAO down and open to a vicious PK from Seiki. ASUKA brawls with Jiro on the outside as Seiki follows up with further kicks to MAO’s rapidly reddening chest and a buzzsaw kick that leads to a 2 count. Seiki drags a dazed MAO to his feet, going for the crash driver and this time he hits it, winning the victory for Jackets. 

Seiki def. MAO with the crash driver 16:11

ASUKA rolls the exhausted looking MAO from the ring, not without a few glares in the direction of the Jackets team and Jiro in particular. Jiro doesn’t register the aggression, focusing on appealing to the crowd, but Seiki makes a few glances in the direction of the departing T.O.P. members before exiting the ring. 

Match Three: Aoyagi/Abe (A-yo) v Omori/Kodama  (Twin Engines tournament match) 

The Aoyagi/Abe team get a warm response from fans eager to see what they can offer and whether their partnership is genuine. Abe’s black trunks are sporting a wide stripe of blue and white, the A-YO colours, whilst Aoyagi has a streak of blue in his hair in addition to his blue and white shorts. There’s plenty of clapping from Aoyagi to warm up the crowd. The Omori/Kodama team entrance is more muted but they match the A-YO team in coordination, both sporting red and black, with Kodama’s hair a vibrant red shade. 

Unfortunately for fans, they get to see very little teamwork from Aoyagi and Abe in this match as Kodama and Omori work to keep Abe out of the ring wherever possible, wearing down Aoyagi. 

It’s Omori and Abe who start off proceedings, with Abe fairly comfortably getting the upper hand on Omori in his grappling. Omori doesn’t let him get comfortable however, keeping him moving and taking every opportunity to throw Abe where he can. One of several armbar attempts by Abe lead Omori to the ropes and a break. Omori slips outside, shaking off his arm and shoulder. He’s pursued by Abe, who lands an elbow strike to Omori’s back.  The two get involved in a slugfest on the outside and it seems Abe is winning handily until Omori knees him in the gut. Omori drags Abe back into the ring, tagging in Kodama. They take turns whipping Abe into the corner for a series of strikes, Kodama finally taking him to the centre of the ring but Abe manages to twist Kodama’s arm to put some distance between them and again turn this into a match that better suits him. 

Abe manages to apply a chin lock on Kodama but neglects to remember that Kodama doesn’t mind biting and has to wrest his hand away from Kodama’s teeth. The irritation makes Abe reach for the tag, wiping his hand on his trunks as he exits the ring. He doesn’t get another chance to get back in, as the Omori/Kodama team recognise the threat he poses.  

Kodama decides to tag in Omori to face the bouncing Aoyagi. Aoyagi goes all out to make an impression, going straight for a dropkick to knock Omori out of the ring, followed up rapidly with a plancha to keep him down. When the two get back in the ring, Omori has more success in knocking Aoyagi down, managing to cut off a handspring and a dropkick attempt, but Aoyagi remains evasive, slipping out of Omori’s holds. Although seemingly successful, Aoyagi’s offence is high energy and saps his ability to respond quickly. Landing a step-up enzuigiri, he looks to follow up with a dive from the apron on the splayed out Omori, but a heel grab from Kodama ensures he goes crashing to the floor instead. Abe briefly looks like he’s going to chase Kodama around the ring but Kodama laughs and walks off. 

A series of bridging german suplexes by Omori on Aoyagi wear him down. He scrambles for a tag but is dragged back to be stood up and whipped into the corner of the ring. Twin enzuigiris from Omori on the inside and Kodama on the outside leave him dazed and barely able to kick out. Omori follows up with a vertical suplex and tags in Kodama to finish the job. Aoyagi puts up a valiant effort, managing another dropkick, but Kodama controls his arm to reduce his momentum and is able to apply the kraken. Aoyagi taps out. 

Kodama def. Aoyagi with the kraken 11:23

Although Abe is clearly frustrated, slamming his hand on the apron, he rolls into the ring to take care of the balled-up Aoyagi who is clutching at his arm and shoulder. The two leave dejected but seemingly a solid enough team. 

Match Four: Satomura/Mochizuki/Harashima (S&M’s alliance) v Kotoge/yamashita/iizuka (Brave-re)

The team of Brave-RE, minus Ishimori, make their way to the ring in matching hooded jackets, led by a typically ebullient Kotoge. It is Harashima who leads out the S&M alliance’s trio, posing together in the centre of the ring with their opponents looking on. There’s a bit of indecision about who is going to start this one off for either team but Yamashita eventually ushers Kotoge and Iizuka from the ring, gesturing at Satomura.

The theme of this match, unsurprisingly, is vicious kicks from both sides, though delivered with significantly more smiles from the S&M’s alliance side. Satomura gets an early advantage over Yamashita, knocking her down with some well-placed mid kicks, but Yamashita is able to respond, catching Satomura mid kick and slamming her elbow into Satomura’s knee. Yamashita appears determined to make an impression on Satomura, or at least leave a few bruises. Satomura, for her part, has no issue with matching Yamashita’s intensity. The last singles encounter between the two in 2017 had Yamashita passing out in a sleeper hold and she seems determined to prove just how far she had come. It takes Yamashita being propelled to her own corner and Kotoge tagging himself in to convince her to leave the ring. 

Kotoge flies at Satomura, attacking with a series of strikes and then running off the ropes to hit a maxam. Satomura easily fends off the follow up, knocking Kotoge down and then into the corner, where the S&M alliance trio all get an opportunity to dole out some punishment. Mochizuki tags in, subjecting Kotoge to further punishment as Kotoge unwisely becomes involved in an exchange of chest strikes. Kotoge does manage to get Mochizuki in the corner for a series of elbow slams and gets a quick 2-count with an opportunistic backslide but Mochizuki rarely looks to be in trouble.

Iizuka and Harashima round off the match ups with a notably slower pace and a more technical mat-based offence. Iizuka has Harashima on the defensive but isn’t able to get the better of him. There’s a dramatic moment as Iizuka catches Harashima coming off the ropes, leaping and managing to transition into a beautiful cross armbreaker. Unfortunately for him, he doesn’t manage to fully extend before Harashima is able to reach out a leg to the ropes. Harashima, seemingly frustrated in not being able to get the better of Iizuka on the ground, sticks to his feet and lands some powerful kicks to weaken his opponent. Harashima climbs the ropes but fails to connect with a dropkick and Iizuka seizes his advantage, going for Harashima’s back. Harashima is able to throw him before he can lock anything in but being caught out is the final straw for Harashima. He pushes the still floored Iizuka out under the ropes, propelling himself over to connect a brutal stomp on Iizuka’s chest and leaving them both out on the floor. Seemingly satisfied, Harashima flashes the crowd his trademark smile before rolling Iizuka back into the ring. 

As the match goes on, it’s the exchanges between Yamashita and Satomura that have the crowd’s attention, even when neither should technically be in the ring. A pin attempt on Iizuka following a combination of kicks from opposing sides by Satomura and Harashima is broken up by Kotoge and Yamashita. Yamashita pursues Satomura out of the ring, landing some elbow strikes before Satomura ensures Yamashita’s face collides with the ring post in retaliation. 

Kotoge is relegated to a supporting role in this match, caught between leaping into the ring to defend Iizuka when opportunity allows and keeping a watchful eye on Yamashita, who seems repeatedly drawn to Satomura. He gets an opportunity to get back in the ring when Iizuka, attempting to fend off Harashima reaching for an ankle lock, connects for the tag. Kotoge wastes no time getting in the ring, finding himself up against Mochizuki again for the S&M’s alliance team.

Unfortunately, with Kotoge’s teammates both worn down and distracted, the fresher Mochizuki is able to capitalise with a focused attack on Kotoge’s legs. A combination of kicks and then locking in a calf crusher leaves Kotoge less able to respond when Mochizuki drags Kotoge to his feet. There’s a brief moment of hope for Kotoge as he’s able to knock Mochizuki down with a thrust kick and lock in his arms for the Killswitch. Mochizuki strains to resist and Kotoge is forced to release the hold, settling for strikes to Mochizuki’s back. Kotoge goes for the momentum of the ropes but Mochizuki catches him with a jumping knee and Kotoge is floored. Satomura and Harashima rush the ring to keep the rest of Brave-RE out of the picture as Mochizuki hits a twister on Kotoge. 

Mochizuki def. Kotoge with the Twister 22:17

As Kotoge is rolled out of the ring and walked away by a slightly limping Iizuka, Yamashita stands in front of a triumphant Satomura, the staredown between the two finally ending with a nod from Satomura, which is quickly returned by Yamashita. 

Semi-Main event: Ueno (T.O.P) v Sho

The commentary table sees an unscheduled guest appearance from Hiromu Takahashi during this match. Dressed casually, Takahashi avoids giving a reason for his presence but offers some commentary on the men in the ring, stating that Sho is ‘lost’ and Ueno is ‘definitely a neko’. 

Ueno is joined ringside by MAO and ASUKA, Sho, as yet unaffiliated with any faction in Full Throttle, makes his entrance alone. Both men appear serious, well aware that their performance here could affect whether they will be considered a contender for the Full Throttle Openweight Title match at ALL OR NOTHING. 

It takes a few lock-ups for them to really get started, testing each other’s strength, but a lunge inwards by Sho is all it takes to get Ueno running, using the ropes to knock Sho down and following up with a double knee drop. The tables turn quickly though, Sho sliding out from Ueno tossing him into the corner and managing to grab Ueno’s back for a german suplex. Sho tosses Ueno out, making use of the edge of the ring and the floor to start an assault on Ueno’s lower back. ASUKA intervenes, stepping up to Sho after he crashes Ueno’s forehead into the ring post, though it only results in a grinning Sho walking away before sliding into the ring. 

For a while it looks like Sho has the advantage in this match, following up on his attacks on Ueno’s back with sharp elbows and tossing him into the corner posts. The damage puts Ueno crawling on the mat, one hand clutching his back, open to Sho mounting him for a rear chin lock. Ueno drags himself to the outside but not without considerable pressure on his already wounded back. Things look bleak for Ueno but the tide turns as they get into a heavy and extended exchange of forearms. Sho seems to have the upper hand until Ueno responds with a resounding slap. The resulting slap exchange is evenly matched but the aggression seems to give Ueno the push he needs. He catches Sho off guard with a kick, followed up by an impressive dropkick coming off the ropes. He clutches his back on the landing but maintains momentum, managing, albeit with some difficulty, to lift Sho and slam him to the mat. Sho kicks out quickly but it’s the start of a good run for Yuki, who manages to land a frankensteiner and then a missile dropkick to get a pin attempt. 

Sho gets his momentum back when Ueno goes for the ropes again, charging and managing to knock him to the outside. Sho ducks between the ropes, catching the still stumbling Ueno on the outside with a vicious PK from the apron. He drags Ueno back to the ring and hoists him up for a powerbreaker. It’s followed up with a pin that Ueno barely kicks out of, writhing on the mat clutching his back. Sho’s back breaking tactics seem to have paid off but he becomes cocky, taking his time on following up. The delay gives Ueno a chance to recover and, as he’s dragged to his feet, he manages to land a few choice elbows and stagger Sho into the ropes. Sho looks out of his depth in the closing minutes as Ueno hits back first with a missile dropkick and then, after Sho kicks out, with the best moonsault ever for the win. 

Ueno def. Sho with the Best Moonsault Ever 20:11

As Sho exits the ring, pushing away help from the trainees, he looks just as Hiromu described: lost. 

Hiromu saunters down to the ring, winking at MAO and ASUKA as he passes them, clambering onto the apron to lean over the ropes and watch as Ueno has his hand raised. No words are said but there’s an easy violence in the beaming smiles and sparkling eyes of both as they stare at each other across the ropes. Hiromu leaves first, turning to blow a kiss back towards the ring as he exits. 

Main Event: Twin Engines Final Seiki/Jiro (Jackets) v Omori/Kodama

The Jackets duo are the first to enter, Jiro as lively as ever, Seiki more subdued and notably pacing as Kodama and Omori make their way to the ring. His history with Kodama has not been favourable, at least in singles matches, and appears to have him on edge for this match. Nonetheless, he starts off for the Jackets duo and Kodama seems happy to oblige him. 

There’s a heavy barrage of kicks early in this match as Seiki attempts to wear Kodama down. Unfortunately for him, Kodama seems to relish the challenge. A series of well timed kicks by Seiki enables him to manoeuvre Kodama towards the corner, setting him up for a tornado DDT that leads to an early pin attempt for Seiki but his luck doesn’t last. Kodama is able to twist free from a follow up attempt at a backslide, then dodge under Seiki’s kicks, tripping Seiki into the corner turnbuckle and the waiting tag from Omori. 

There seems very little in the way of strategy from either side in this match, both preferring just to hit their opponents with whatever presents itself. Seiki’s speed appears to be a significant advantage in his exchanges with Omori early on. Another attempt at a backslide from Seiki is thwarted but he follows up with a swift kick to the side of Omori’s head, dropping him to his knees. Jiro joins Seiki in the ring to hit the seated Omori with kicks from either side but Omori remains resilient, getting his shoulder off the mat quickly. 

Jiro tags in and dominates Omori in an exchange of elbows, knocking him down and following up with a vertical suplex. A swanton bomb from Jiro on Omori looks like it might be enough but Kodama manages to break it up. The teamwork from the rat boy duo proves a high point in this match, keeping the momentum from swinging too far towards the Jackets team. 

A second attempt at tag offence from Seiki and Jiro does not go their way, with Omori managing to catch Seiki coming off a run, hoisting and slamming him down. Omori follows up by catching Jiro in the same way. Jiro puts up more of a struggle but eventually ends up slammed on top of his partner. Jiro, the legal man, struggles up, only to be hit with a flying elbow from Kodama. Omori goes for the pin, just getting 2. Seiki and Kodama end up brawling on the outside as their teammates also exchange elbows in the ring. Jiro manages to hit a spinning wheel kick that keeps Omori down for 2 but both men look tired as they reach to tag in their partners. 

Kodama seems delighted to get into a back and forth exchange of elbows and kicks, grinning at every opportunity to connect his arm with Seiki’s face. He seems to sense an advantage, pushing the pace of his elbows. He catches Seiki reeling, pulling him into the ropes only to bounce off onto Kodama’s outstretched boot. The pin barely makes 1 count but Kodama drags Seiki up for more elbows, emphatically knocking him down again with a handspring back elbow. It takes Jiro breaking up the pin to give Seiki an opportunity to recover, rolling to the outside. Kodama is quite happy to pursue his advantage, attacking Seiki on the outside with some hard strikes to the back of his neck. Seiki is able to pick up some speed again when he gets back in the ring but Kodama does not make it easy, catching him with a back elbow and then a dropkick. Kodama tags in Omori who hits a heavy bridging suplex on the flagging Seiki. It takes a follow up dragon suplex and then the musou but Omori finally keeps Seiki down. 

Omori def. Seiki with the musou 18:53

Crowning the Twin Engines Champions

Both Kojimas come to the ring, each with one of the belts over a shoulder, to crown the first Twin Engines Champions. Toi looks somewhat nervous attempting to secure the belt around the waist of a grinning Kodama, but manages it with a little help from his special advisor. Kojima raises the hands of the new champs, who seem satisfied with their new prizes. 

The Kojimas exit the ring, leaving the champions to close the show. Kodama beckons for the mic but before he can address the crowd, they have company. 

Marufuji rolls into the ring, sauntering over to Kodama, grinning as he pokes at the belt now slung over Kodama’s shoulder. On the outside, Harashima rests his elbows on the edge of the ring, watching his partner stare down the newly crowned champions. He seems content to let Marufuji handle the challenge himself until two more men roll into the ring to put their case to the champions and crowd; the reunited duo of Ishimori and Kotoge join the staring match, Kotoge making straight for Marufuji. Harashima rolls into the ring to stand next to Marufuji, all three teams staring at each other into Kodama starts laughing. 

“Work it out amongst yourselves” he says into the mic, laughing and tossing it to the floor. He beckons to Omori, putting his arm around Omori’s shoulder. The two walk off with their belts, Omori blowing kisses to the crowd as they go. 

Kotoge holds out a hand to Marufuji, who grins. He points a finger at Kotoge, ignoring the outstretched hand and claps a hand to the shoulder of Harashima, who smiles and nods.. Both teams exit the ring on opposite sides, seemingly pleased with the outcome. 

Not satisfied in leaving the crowd without a farewell address, Toi Kojima returns to the ring to announce that Full Throttle’s next show will determine the contenders for the Openweight Championship match at ALL OR NOTHING and will feature a special exhibition match. 

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