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Your Guide to GLEAT

3 years ago

Your Guide to GLEAT

By: Robert McCauley

Bursting onto the Japanese wrestling scene in 2021, GLEAT (pronounced “great”), recently passed its one-year anniversary of their inaugural event. Last October, Korakuen Hall witnessed the GLEAT Ver. 0 show, the goal of which was to provide a teaser of the promotion’s plans – half traditional pro wrestling (G Prowrestling) and the other half shoot style (LIDET UWF).

Tapped to lead LIDET UWF was none other than UWFi and RINGS legend Kiyoshi Tamura. For G Prowrestling, Kaz Hayashi is the man in charge. The first two signings came from the recently defunct WRESTLE-1, Takanori Ito and Soma Watanabe (formerly Pegaso Iluminar). GLEAT’s roster has since added CIMA’s Stronghearts unit along with former BJW wrestler, Ryuichi Kawakami.

G Prowrestling is exactly what you envision when thinking about wrestling. Wins are gained by either pin or submission. UWF rules are much different in that there’s a point system where both wrestlers begin the match with five points and if you exhaust all five, the match ends. Points are lost by either forcing a rope break or falling to the mat due to a strike. Submission, KO and TKO by way of point loss are how matches are won. In the event of the time limit being reached, the wrestler with most points remaining takes the match.

Takanori Ito’s karate background gave him a foot in both the G Pro and UWF worlds, but looking for someone with traditional UWF experience, the company scouted Yu Iizuka. Trained under Kazuhiro Tamura in the HEAT UP promotion, Iizuka had the necessary background to provide GLEAT with their UWF needs.

After more than six months of what GLEAT titled an experimental series, the company held their first official Ver. 1 event in July. The show began with El Lindaman of Stronghearts defeating wrestling prodigy, Hayato Tamura. Trained by TAKA Michinoku, Tamura won the ZERO1 World Heavyweight Championship last year with less than ten matches of experience. While not officially signed to GLEAT, Tamura has shown to be on their radar.

Also featured on Ver. 1 was a match between two women. GLEAT’s Michiko Miyagi, formerly Andras Miyagi, faced an uphill battle against the legendary Kyoko Inoue. This would be the first of two matches featuring women as Sendai Girls World Champion, Chihiro Hashimoto, defeated a debuting Maya Fukuda. The first match was held under G Pro rules while the second featured UWF rules. GLEAT showcasing women was a welcome surprise and a distinguishable trait of the company.

CIMA and his Stronghearts unit bring a high-quality tag team dynamic to the roster. The group consists of the aforementioned CIMA with El Lindaman, T-Hawk, Shigehiro Irie, and Issei Onitsuka. Up until the pandemic, this unit had been working all over the world. Ver. 1 saw CIMA team with Irie and Onitsuka to take on Kaz Hayashi, Keiichi Sato, and Soma Watanabe. Speaking of Watanabe, he was featured in both the G Pro and UWF tags on the show.


More Stronghearts made an appearance on the card with T-Hawk squaring off against Ryuichi Kawakami. Formerly of BJW, LIDET bought out Kawakami’s contract so that they could add him to their roster. The match featured a dive that unfortunately injured T-Hawk, who managed to work through the pain, but was forced to miss some time afterwards.

The semi-main event featured UWF and shoot-wrestling legend, Masakatsu Funaki, taking on GLEAT’s most experienced shoot fighter, Yu Iizuka. Iizuka, the self-proclaimed Volk Kid, named after shoot-wrestling great Volk Han, had his hands full throwing down against someone with more fighting experience than he had life experience.

Finally, the show was capped off with New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s Sho Tanaka in a UWF rules match against Takanori Ito. Trained in kickboxing, SHO was able to showcase a part of his repertoire not normally displayed in NJPW. The night ended with nearly every young member of the GLEAT roster taking a loss. There’s promise in the talent but they’ve shown climbing the mountain won’t be an easy feat.


In its first year since LIDET pulled the trigger on getting back into the wrestling business after its sale of NOAH, GLEAT has given life to a lot of interesting ideas and produced an impressive display of professionalism across the board, signaling they’re planning to stick around.

GLEAT has broken from tradition by featuring women on their events alongside the men, while highlighting distinctly different wrestling styles and techniques to produce different match rules for events on big cards. The concept of GLEAT has sparked enough interest for a legacy promotion like New Japan to allow their wrestlers to compete on their shows – another forbidden door open that hopefully stays open for the foreseeable future. Starting a company in this climate is a risk, but as a fan it’s exciting to get in on the ground floor.

Following up on the critically successful G Prowrestling Ver. 1, GLEAT has run several G Prowrestling exclusive shows. Wrestlers who were previously seen competing in UWF took part in the G Pro style with mixed results. Daijiro Matsui, for example, came up empty twice against the StrongHearts, while Yu Iizuka managed to come out on the winning side of a tag match opposite Takanori Ito.

The biggest winner coming out of G Pro Ver. 1 was Issei Onitsuka. Onitsuka defeated his mentor and Stronghearts leader, CIMA. Closing the show out was the first-time team of Hayato Tamura and Ryuichi Kawakami scoring the win over El Lindaman and Soma Watanabe. T-Hawk was originally scheduled but suffered an injury in the singles match against Kawakami at GLEAT Ver. 1. Watanabe served as the glue piece, as he did on the previous show, by being the one person to compete in both G Pro and UWF matches.

Despite their main event win, Tamura decided to challenge his partner and the two squared off at G Pro Ver. 2. Kawakami defeated Tamura and insisted the duo continue to team together. After serving as an early glue piece, Watanabe received a singles match against one of his rivals in Minoru Tanaka. The two have competed three times in wrestling dating back to WRESTLE-1 and once in a UWF style match in the GLEAT experimental match event. This was the fourth time Watanabe has fallen to Tanaka.

For a second straight show, El Lindaman was featured in the main event – this time teaming with Onitsuka. The two squared off against and defeated the UWF contingent of Iizuka and Ito. Also featured on the show was the arrival of Dragongate mainstay, KAZMA SAKAMOTO. He served as a cliffhanger hook heading into the next event to build intrigue.

The in-ring debut of SAKAMOTO occurred at G Pro-Wrestling Ver. 3 and came in the form of a victory. In what became the event’s most shocking result, Iizuka defeated Onitsuka – the same man who got one over on CIMA just two events earlier. Iizuka was victorious  in under three minutes, making the match his first singles win in GLEAT since his debut match against Watanabe back in March.

After missing the previous two events due to an injury suffered in the singles match against Kawakami, T-Hawk made his return and teamed up with Lindaman to take on the team of Tamura and Kawakami. In the end, Tamura and Kawakami were able to close out the show on top, cementing themselves as the team to beat in GLEAT.

Michiko Miyagi was also featured on each of these events. She was defeated by Kyoko Inoue at GLEAT Ver. 1, but has since gone on a run, beating both Ayano Irie and Momoka Hanazono in singles competition. At G Pro Ver. 3, she teamed with Rina Yamashita, but lost to Ryo Mizunami and Yuu.

G Pro Ver. 4 was scheduled to take place on September 11, but was cancelled due to COVID-19 precautions. GLEAT will hold the first LIDET UWF event on October 9. On the show, Miyagi will compete against the returning Maya Fukuda, who hasn’t made an appearance since her loss to Chihiro Hashimoto at GLEAT Ver. 1.

One of Iizuka’s rivals from his days in HEAT UP will also take part in LIDET UWF Ver. 1 as Tetsuya Izuchi will face Daijiro Matsui. The biggest surprise was the announcement that Tatsuaki Nakano was scheduled to have a match. Nakano is a legend from the original UWF days. Nakano is set to face off against Kaz Hayashi.

Big Japan’s Daichi Hashimoto, the son of Shinya Hashimoto will hold down the main event. Daichi’s father had a rich history with the original UWF members, most notably selling out the Tokyo Dome in a match where he brought the IWGP Heavyweight Championship back to New Japan by way of defeating Nobuhiko Takada. In this main event, Daichi will take on the face of LIDET UWF, Yu Iizuka.

The excitement for GLEAT continues to build. Top stars such as Issei Onitsuka are picking up career wins over their mentors while Ryuichi Kawakami and Hayato Tamura are besting the most experienced tag teams in the promotion. GLEAT Ver. 1 ended with the feeling that the young guys have a mountain to climb and we’re now seeing them rise up the pecking order and establish themselves through key victories. Fun times ahead.