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    Monday, September 5, 2016

    Cafe Puro (9/5/16): One Wrestling World Under The Ironman Heavymetalweight Championship

    My, how time flies.

    Around this time last year, Smark Henry's central for all things puro was born, looking at not just the biggest players and promotions in Japan like NJPW, but also other promotions that deserve much love, and all else in between. Much has happened since that one year, and what better way to celebrate the first year anniversary than with a timely callback to Cafe Puro's first feature: DDT Pro Wrestling.

    Particularly, the Ironman Heavymetalweight Championship.

    A few months back, the popular, sleazy, penis-flipping Joey Ryan managed to win DDT Pro's version of the 24/7 Championship, and for the first time ever, brought the championship to the United States for a summer tour like no other. While the other championship scenes in DDT were covered by the likes of major stars like Konosuke Takeshita and HARASHIMA, Joey Ryan intended to make history by defending the championship all across the United States. What was not anticipated is the impact he would make in the world of pro wrestling in what is already described as a crazy 2016.

    And when you consider the lineage of the Ironman Heavymetalweight Championship, which includes such reputable stars as Kota Ibushi, undefeated NXT Women's Champion Asuka, AJPW President Jun Akiyama, a ladder, an invisible boy, a poster, and a sex doll, among others, by the end of the tour, that lineage would become more impressive.

    Since there are just so many title changes over the past few months (more than 80!), from the United States all the way up to the biggest show of DDT's calendar year, Ryogoku Peter Pan, there's just simply way too much to mention. We will, however, highlight the most notable title changes that, for one reason or another, is just worth mentioning in this historic title tour. However, if you do want to marathon the entire thing, be sure to check out Joey Ryan's official playlist on YouTube that features all of these title changes. So, without further ado:

    Joey Ryan pins Saki Akai to win the championship

    So a bit of a background: Saki Akai, who is one of the more popular joshi wrestlers under DDT, was in a rivalry with pop star/part time wrestler/overall crazy lady LiLiCo over the Ironman Heavymetalweight belt. And after a few crazy months between the two, Akai managed to win the title back, marking her fourth reign with the belt.

    Then came Joey Ryan.

    Long story short, Ryan managed to take advantage of a situation that allowed him to hit his patented superkick, en route to a circumstantial ass sandwich from DDT icon Danshoku Dino, marking his first reign with the championship. You have to give props to Akai for being able to go through something no other human deserves to go through.

    After this, the King of Dong Style decided to take a break from Japan for a while and go back the United States, with title in tow.

    If this was a zombie outbreak, you may very well call Joey Ryan "Patient Zero" in a crazy outbreak called the Ironman Heavymetalweight Championship Tour of the United States.

    Rey Mysterio, Jr. pins Joey Ryan

    Rey-Rey has done it all in the industry: helped expose casual fans to the art of lucha libre, became a cruiserweight legend, won world titles. But who knew Rey had it in him to add another title in his resume in the most unexpected way possible?

    Man, who knew Rey had it in him to pull off a sneaky roll up on an unsuspecting champion?

    Scott Hall pins Chuck Taylor

    Scott Hall: Bad Guy, Founding Father of the NWO, Ironman Heavymetalweight Champion via pinfall after a game of rock, paper, scissors.

    Bunny the Cat pins Laura James

    In case some of you guys have forgotten, literally anyone and anything can become the Ironman Heavymetalweight Champion as long as there is a referee. It's weird enough (and adorable for cat lovers) for a feline to "accidentally" pin a champion via distraction to win the belt, but how did a referee manage to be in the room at the very same time? Ah, wrestling.

    Ryan Nemeth beats Bunny the Cat via forfeit

    Dolph Ziggler will face The Miz for the Intercontinental Championship at Backlash, the first brand-exclusive WWE special of the New Era, a month after the former was unable to dethrone Dean Ambrose as WWE World Champion at SummerSlam.

    Meanwhile, Dolph's brother, Ryan Nemeth, won a title before he did in 2016.

    2016 continues to be a strange year.

    Ricochet pins John Morrison/Johnny Mundo

    Johnny Mundo has been having a hell of a time in Lucha Underground. Ricochet's been tearing it up as one-third of the NEVER Openweight Six-Man Tag Team Champions alongside Matt Sydal and Satoshi Kojima, besides having the most talked about match in 2016 so far against Will Ospreay. Ricochet also has a friend in Lucha Underground named Prince Puma, who's also with Joey Ryan in the temple.

    Coincidence? Meh, maybe.

    Brian Cage defeats Matt Cross via submission

    No question, Brian Cage has been tearing it up in Lucha Underground, with a definite upside as far as his career goes.

    And you have to give him credit for coming up with one of the most unique submission moves in the game. Seriously, what a sick, sick man.

    Rhyno beats Scarlett Bordeaux via forfeit

    Months after tearing it up on WWE NXT, Rhyno finally made his return to the main roster under SmackDown Live, and has a pretty good chance of becoming one-half of the first-ever WWE SmackDown Tag Team Champions alongside the "hottest free agent in the world," Heath Slater. But before he ate some of those sad crackers, Rhyno actually became a champion in 2016. That's using your political influence!

    Eli Drake pins Drew Gulak

    Drew Gulak recently made waves as one of the 32 competitors in the inaugural WWE Cruiserweight Classic, and may end up as a member of Monday Night RAW under its relaunched Cruiserweight Division. Eli Drake not only became a major player in TNA Wrestling, but also has the distinct honor of being the second-to-the-last TNA King of the Mountain Champion who also hosts his own talk show, the Fact of Life.

    In this instance, however, guess we can figure out who's the dummy (YEAH).

    Brian Kendrick pins Joey Ryan

    Many of us have just recently watched Brian Kendrick pull off one of the most emotional matches of the year against Kota Ibushi at the quarter-finals of the CWC, a moment that would hold up as one of the most important in 2016.

    While he was unable to reach the semi-finals, at least he won a belt for himself as a consolation prize.

    The Addiction (Christopher Daniels and Kazarian) pins Spider-Man

    Before you say anything, let us not forget that Jonah Jameson's most hated "vigilante" actually had a period in wrestling before embarking on a full-time career in superhero work. Right, Bonesaw?

    The Addiction are the current ROH World Tag Team Champions and are also noted comic book fans. Their nefarious actions allowed them to become the first-ever actual tag team to co-hold the Ironman belt. That is quite groundbreaking, if you think about it.

    Candice LeRae pins Joey Ryan in a dream

    Candice LeRae is currently engaged with Johnny "Wrestling" Gargano, who almost won the NXT Tag Team Championships alongside Tommaso Ciampa at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn II against The Revival.

    Besides that, I don't know what else to tell you.

    Suge D, then Santino Marella wins the belt, then Joey Ryan pins Santino Marella to win it back

    Santino Marella has been quite active as of late, and there is no better proof than with him becoming the Ironman Champion at one point. This also involved the current General Manager of RAW, Mick Foley, who wanted to win the belt as well. Joey eventually won it back, racking up title wins in the process.

    Johnny Gargano pins Joey Ryan

    Speaking of Johnny Gargano...

    Zack Sabre, Jr. beats Johnny Gargano via submission

    ZSJ is, in any weight class, the best technical wrestler in the world today, and is a heavy favorite in winning the entire CWC. While we are still waiting if he will actually win the tournament, at least we can say he won something along the way.

    Chris Hero beats The Young Bucks via forfeit

    Chris Hero is currently one of the best wrestlers in the independent scene today, a loss for WWE considering previous circumstances. The Young Bucks, two-thirds of The Elite, are the current IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Champions who will challenge the Briscoes for the IWGP Tag Team Championships in the future.

    This is but a simple case of their own merch money working against them. That's what happens when the Bucks are racking in merch sales.

    Tommy Dreamer beats Chris Masters in a First Blood Match

    No Masterlock Challenge is going to save him from this one.

    Marty Scurll, Peter Avalon, Rocky Romero, and Joey Ryan get involved

    One of them is quite the Villain in his native country of England, and another is an established figure in the NJPW Jr. Heavyweight scene. This encounter gets crazy immediately.

    MVP pins X-Pac

    One of them is the inaugural IWGP Intercontinental Champion, and the other was a key member of DX. I guess that's what happens when you "put it in your pipe and smoke it."

    Guanchulo beats Joey Ryan via "tapout"

    It has been months since the Ironman Heavymetalweight Championship last set foot in Japan, and when it did, DDT/DNA (DDT New Attitude, aka their own rookie league) wrestler Guanchulo met up with Joey at the airport with an interesting surprise for the champ.

    Ryota Yamasato "beats" a stick of yakitori to win the belt

    All runs must come to an end. And after the crazy events of Ryogoku Peter Pan, it finally ended up with the most unlikely individual who won it in the most absurd of ways: comedian and idol supporter Ryota Yamasato ate a yakitori, who was the champion at the time, and effectively "beat" the chicken for the title. Just take it for what it is, an appropriate way to end the Ironman Heavymetal Tour of 2016.

    As you can see, a belt as bizarre and as outlandish as the Ironman Heavymetalweight Championship not only connected various wrestlers from various promotions, but also effectively exposed them to a brand new audience that only serves to improve this wonderful world that we can pro-wrestling. Who would have thought that this championship would serve such an amazing purpose by the end of its tour?

    What was your favorite championship title change? Any favorite moments? Sound off in the comments!


    Lance Tan Ong has been a banking guy for the past few years but a wrestling guy for most of his life. And after checking out matches of Mitsuharu Misawa and Shinya Hashimoto at an early age, he's also pretty much a puro guy as well. Currently checking out WWE (mostly NXT), NJPW, DDT, and other promotions that catch and demand attention. He currently handles NJPW news and coverage for Smark Henry.

    All pictures and videos are courtesy of Joey Ryan's YouTube Channel and Facebook Page
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    Item Reviewed: Cafe Puro (9/5/16): One Wrestling World Under The Ironman Heavymetalweight Championship Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Lance Tan Ong
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