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When people talk about CZW, they immediately think of Deathmatch, and for good reason. Between Tangled Web, Cage of Death, and Tournament of Death, CZW has put on quite a few deathmatches over the year and are very much known for it. CZW has also given us wrestlers much more associated with traditional wrestling, like Chris Hero, Kevin Steen, Adam Cole, Drew Gulak, MJF, and the man we'll look at today: Wheeler Yuta. CZW is where I first saw Yuta, and he immediately stood out to me. Between his strong aesthetic, athletic high flying, and good chain grappling, Yuta truly had it all by the time I came across him, and he has only grown since then, becoming a true standout of the indie scene. The idea of doing an Indie Talent Showcase on Wheeler Yuta has been on my mind for a while now, but when he won the IWTV Championship in what is easily a match of the year contender, I knew it was time to take a look at his career. We're going to talk about Yuta's rise through Dojo Wars, look at where his career has gone since including Beyond, ROH, and MLW, and then look at some of his best matches.

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CZW Dojo Wars is truly something special. Hopefully it will return in full force as the Pandemic ends, but in its prime, there was nothing like it. Tickets were just 5 dollars, and you could see all the students training at the CZW Dojo. Now being basically the CZW NXT, sometimes footage has gone missing. For example, I can't find episode 166 main evented by Wheeler Yuta vs Jordan Oliver(please help me if you're reading this CZW) but much of Dojo Wars is available somewhere officially between CZW's website, the Dojo Wars Youtube channel, and various wrestler's personal pages. Dojo Wars had its own Title, the Medal of Valor, and was held by people like Connor Claxton and Kit Osbourne. Dojo Wars spent six years building up new students, and having their own feuds just as powerful as those on the main CZW roster. The biggest difference, however, is that Dojo Wars wasn't known for deathmatch. In his time at Dojo Wars, Yuta would face everyone from Joey Janela and Kit Osbourne to Ace Austin and Jordan Oliver. Dojo Wars would be where the nation got their first look at Yuta. Ultimately, Yuta would leave Dojo Wars after episode 100, and return for a couple more matches around episodes 166-168. After this, Yuta would find himself in plenty of other companies.

wheeler yuta

2017 would see Yuta making waves in companies like MLW and Beyond, before 2018 led to even more opportunities, such as doubling how many matches he had in Beyond, returning to CZW, popping up in Limitless, Scenic City, AIW, and being a part of Dojo Pro on Amazon Prime. This was around the time Yuta really began to break out, winning the tournament for Tomorrow against MJF in Beyond, and then taking second place in the next TfT alongside tag partner Tracy Williams. 2019 would see Yuta hitting up his usual venues, but also joined WXW for a tour in Germany. Beginning in 2020, Yuta would make appearances in ROH, becoming a big part of their Pure Division with names like Jonathan Gresham and Tracy Williams. 2020 also saw Wheeler Yuta compete in the Masked Wrestler tournament, and little did we know just what would come of that. Yuta, under the name Wyldkat, was the runner-up, and on the final episode turned heel attacking winner Genkai. At the time, we still hadn't unmasked Genkai, as we now know, Genkai was Lee Moriarty, and would beat Warhorse for the IWTV Championship because of the title shot he earned. This drove Yuta crazy, as without the masks, he had already beaten Lee. Yuta won a title shot at IWTV Family Reunion, and attacked Edith Surreal after her match with Lee Moriarty. This all built to Lee vs Wheeler where after getting dangerously close to a time limit draw, Yuta won. As of this writing, Yuta is the IWTV Champion, and hopefully has many great title defenses ahead of him. So all that being said, let's take a look at some of his best matches.

#10: Wheeler Yuta vs Chuck Taylor

 Taking place as part of Beyond Wrestling's Uncharted Territory show, this match saw Chucky T stepping into the ring with Yuta during one of Yuta's best runs. Yuta would spend much of Uncharted Territory in the winner's circle, and this match was no exception. Taylor is often looked at as just a tag team guy, but this match reminds us that he's pretty good on his own too. Beyond isn't afraid of rest holds, and lets these two work a good headscissors for a good while just showing off their talent. Yuta shows how good he is at takeovers as he pulls off some great DDTs but has a hurricarana reversed into a powerbomb. Yuta already has the submission work that would later define his work in 2021, and the whole match just feels like a great matchup. Taylor locks in a good submission on the outside and then on the apron, really upping the brutality of the match. Again, Beyond knows that a single leg Boston Crab can hold lots of drama in it, and let these two wrestlers just show how good they are. Much of the match it seems that Taylor is winning, but finally Yuta gets a rollup and pulls it out. This match was a great example of the rising star that is Yuta, and a good showcase of Chuck Taylor and reminder of his prowess.

#9: Leyla Hirsch and Wheeler Yuta vs Pretty Proper

Can we agree that Pretty Proper is the best married tag team? I love their outfits, I love their style, I love their ring work, i just love them! Leyla Hirsch is probably also familiar to you from AEW just like Lady Frost. When Yuta finally shows up the crowd goes nuts. Leyla and Wheeler have had a few matches together, but this is easily my favorite. There is a lot of heel work in this match from Pretty Proper, and Leyla and Wheeler make great plucky babyfaces. It's a pretty straightforward affair, but it's very fun, and ultimately that's what wrestling should be. Yuta's work here is fantastic here, especially his springboard moves. Yuta and Hirsch are new as a tag team, and as such they often can't agree on what tag team moves to do. Some people think all audibles are bad, but here they show that they are a new team and can't just read each other's minds. It's great character building helping us root for them as they struggle to grow. It's a good match and really helps establish a new team.

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#8: Wheeler Yuta vs Ace Austin vs Anthony Bennet

CZW has created a lot of different match types, tournaments, and stipulations. From Best of the Best and Tournament of Death, to Tangled Web and Cage of Death, but one thing people don't talk about enough is Trifecta. It's not a yearly event, but I always love when it pops up in CZW. It's both incredibly simple and incredibly unique. Trifecta is a nine person tournament consisting of three triple threat matches, followed by a fourth where the three winners face off. The tournament moves remarkably fast for the number of people in it, and is often used for newer Stars. In this iteration a spot in 2018's Best of the Best is on the line, and having beaten Mike Verna and Gary Jay in his first match, Yuta faces Anthony Bennet and Ace Austin in the finals. Bennet is probably best known for his work in CZW but has also appeared in places like OWA, and was even in WWE's Cruiserweight Classic. Ace Austin would go on to be Imapct X-Division champion and a very well known name in the wrestling world. Here though, they all just wanted a chance to have a chance at being crowned Best of the Best. The action is fast and furious in this one as these three know what's on the line. Yuta proved how well he can hang with anyone in this match and it's one of the best high flying showcases you'll get from CZW.

#7: Wheeler Yuta vs Kit Osbourne

I had to include a Dojo Wars match on this list somewhere. I went back and forth a few times, and frankly could have picked any of the Dramatic Destination series matches. It was a round robin style tournament to determine the number one contender for the Medal of Valor. This match was the finals, and it shows. Kit Osbourne might only be known in the deathmatch scene, but he's a good wrestler and this match shows he isn't just deathmatch. A much more chain based match, these two really showcase everything they learned in the Dojo, and why they both belong on the main stage. We talked earlier about the emotion that Yuta can wrench out of a headlock, and this match just reaffirms that. He works it for a good two minutes with a couple of breaks in the middle, but keeps using a side headlock to wear down Kit. In the middle of the match Osbourne really gets to shine, and keeps the hope alive that he might win it. Yuta maintains control for most of the match though, and it makes sense. Yuta ultimately gets the win, setting up a title match at the next show.

tracy vs wheeler

#6: Wheeler Yuta vs Tracy Williams

This match is an absolute gem that gets lost in the shuffle. For starters, it takes place at Americanrana: an already stacked show. Second, this is for the Independent Championship, and a lot of people didn't know about the belt until was rebranded IWTV. Tracy Williams is a good friend, trainer, and tag team partner of Yuta, and as such, the tone of this match is so special. This match sees some great traditional holds and interesting escapes as of course Williams knows how to get out of Yuta's holds; he taught him half of them. Yuta's no slouch either, however, and can hold his own countering Williams. What works best for Williams is ultimately hitting Yuta with powerful strikes, as you can only learn how to not get hurt getting kicked in the face but so much. It really is the strikes which give Williams the advantage, and as the match goes on he begins relying on that more and more. Towards the end of the match Yuta tries to meet Williams on his terms getting into a striking contest, and that would cost him. Yuta does find time to cinch in a crossface though, just as Williams did to him earlier in the Match. Williams would end up keeping the belt here, but Yuta would one day get to taste the glory of that belt in just a few short years. 

#5: Wheeler Yuta vs Fred Yehi

Two of the best on the indie scene, it's fantastic to see these two face off. There is some chain work in this match, but both men are more than happy to showcase their striking ability. From the bell the crowd is behind Yuta, and you can tell he is absolutely enjoying it. He's having a good time, and in turn, so are we. This match also has one of the sickest spots I've seen in a non-deathmatch, as Yehi takes Yuta's arm and shoves in inside the ring post, grinding it in and pushing the upper arm against the edges. At first I thought he was trying to just slam his hand on top of the post, but when I realized it was hollow I was shocked at what was happening. Yehi is a scary man in the ring; when's he hitting Yuta with the shoulder tackles in the corner you can feel it. Then again, Yuta's dropkick is one of the best in the game, and you know it's not going to feel good. This match is unfortunately their only singles match, although they did team together on an ROH preshow, so it's good to know they still are in the ring together. The fact they haven't had a singles rematch though is a shame, as here they are able to put a good 25 minutes of action into just over 10. One thing we haven't talked about too much that Yuta excels at is his rope work. He will leap from rope to rope, use them for tornado DDTs, and more, and this match is a great example of that. As has been a theme on this list, Yuta wins with a quick pin combo out of nowhere, and that's the scariest thing about him. He can pin you from anywhere, and you're never safe.

#4: Tracy Williams and Wheeler Yuta vs Violence is Forever

It's been far too long since we've had Violence is Forever on this column. If you've been reading for a while then you know we used to feature ViF almost every week. This fantastic match means it's time we welcome them back to the column. Considering where these four are now it's fairly surprising to see this as an opening round match up. Garrini and Williams work well in the ring together, as do Yuta and Ku.In fact, it's Yuta's work with Ku that gets this match so high on the list. I could watch these two fight for an hour, and the match uses tag psychology well. Yuta and Williams play up tagging out as the coward's way out, and as such the whole match becomes embroiled in this intensity of who needs to tag more. We talked about Hot Sauce Tracy Williams a little bit earlier, but he really is a tremendous talent and there's a reason he's in ROH's Pure Division with Yuta and Gresham. This match never lets up, and keeps a strong pace for a good 20 minutes. An absolute tag classic and an easy pick for this list.


#3: Wheeler Yuta vs MJF

This was one of Wheeler Yuta's biggest feuds, and surprisingly took place mostly in Beyond as opposed to CZW. They had quite a few big matches, but this tournament of Tomorrow finals was certainly their best. It shows that they know each other as they match each other move for move. Some people criticize long clearly planned high flying sequences, but in matches like this I think it shows how well they know each other and is no different then a long chain sequence. MJF is able to keep up with Yuta's high flying, but when he is in control he goes for heelish tactics like stomping the fingers. He spends the match trying to damage Yuta's left arm from the fingertips to his shoulder. In fact,  really small but nice spot sees MJF catching the right arm of Yuta but he quickly switches to the left to continue the focus of his attack. Every move of his is calculated, and Yuta has to go for big power moves to fully switch the momentum of the match. Despite that, MJF continues working the left arm, and the only thing that keeps Yuta in the match is his right arm's ability to reach the ropes. A lot of people talk about how great MJF is and focus on his work with Jericho, Cody, Janela or his time in Dynasty, all of which is earned, but his feud with Yuta doesn't get talked about half as much as it deserves, and this stunning match with a tombstone onto a trash can shows why you shouldn't sleep on it. In most matches that would be it, but due to how long it took to get the ref back in the ring(the ref being down was the only reason the trash can could come in in the first place) Yuta is able to recover. A seriously great match and a huge win for Yuta.

#2: Wheeler Yuta vs Jonathan Gresham

Long before they were having Pure Rules matches in ROH, Gresham and Yuta gave us the very best match they've had together. Seriously, this match alone justified ROH reviving the Pure Title, and it's more than worth your time. If anything, this might spoil watching the rest of their matches for you. This is the best kind of Jonathan Gresham as he aggressively wrenches in every hold. Not just submission holds, but every hold. Gresham makes a wrist lock look horrific, and Yuta knows how to sell it, and how to then return that pain in equal measure. At this point Yuta was the rising star while Gresham was the former IWTV Champion. That story of former champion facing the man looking to take his spot at the top of the card is so simple but so effective. The fact that Beyond uploaded this match for free on Youtube is ludicrous to me, as I think it's one of the best matches the company has ever done, but here it is! This match is just so nuanced and intricate as the two wrestlers try to just get even a milometer of advantage over the other.I could go into detail about all the little spots that make this match special, but just watch it, trust me!

wheeler vs lee

#1: Wheeler Yuta vs Lee Moriarty

This had to be number one; there was no question about that to me. This match is an absolute masterclass in storytelling, wrestling ability, and when to have a long match. When Masked Wrestler aired last year I was just expecting a short, fun show that ultimately gave us a good IWTV Title match but that's it. Instead, the final two of that show have been on a collision course for months. Yuta was furious he lost to Lee in the finals, and blamed that loss on the masks. Lee would turn that tournament win into a Championship win when he faced Warhorse in an absolutely fantastic match. This caused even more jealousy to grow in Yuta, and would see him attacking Paradigm's No Hook show in the only good hacker angle ever, see him attack Edith Surreal after her match with Lee, and ultimately earn a shot at the belt. When Yuta stepped into the White Eagle on May 6th, a building we've seen cheer him on many times just on this list, he was the most hated man in the world. 52 minutes later, he would stand tall with the championship and the entire crowd would cheer. To do that; to utterly change a crowd's perception and remind them just how good you are and how much they desire to see you win despite it all, that takes a special wrestler. The match itself lives up to that story, and it's amazing. The match had a 60 minute time limit, but no one ever thought that would come into play. When the match hit the 30 minute mark though, that idea began to pop up in my mind. When they say 50 minutes have gone by the crowd is going crazy thinking this amazing match might end in a draw. The technical work in this match is amazing, and shows that these are two of the best wrestlers in the world today. I've already watched this masterpiece twice, and frankly is my match of the year so far. This is absolutely must see, and I hope you all enjoy it as much as I do.

Wheeler Yuta still has so much ahead of him, and his career has much room to continue to grow. Hopefully he has some good title defenses ahead of him, and might even surpass that amazing classic with Lee.

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