All Japan Pro Wrestling presented a big show this morning, held at Sumo Hall in Tokyo. Four titles were on the line, including the Triple Crown as Suwama challenged champion Kento Miyahara.
Takuya Nomura defeated Naoya Nomura
Takuya is a Big Japan young lion, Naoya is a young lion representing All Japan. Both are pretty solid at this level and they had a perfectly fine match. This was pretty stiff, as they were both trading hard forearms at the start. Takuya caught Naoya in an armbar but he made it to the ropes. Takuya then caught him with a kick to the temple and pinned him for the finish.
Kaji Tomato, Kazuhiro Tamura & Naoshi Sano defeated SUSHI, Tsuyoshi Kikuchi & Masao Inoue
Another pretty good match. Tomato has some great charisma and has a fun entrance. Kikuchi’s facials and mannerisms are something else. SUSHI and Tamura traded some good near falls. Tamura got SUSHI in an armbar and he tapped out quickly.
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Super Tiger, Ryuji Hijikata, Rey Paloma & Diablo defeated Mitsuya Nagai, Tatsuhito Takaiwa, Takeshi Minamino & Black Tiger VII
Black Tiger VII was NOSAWA, who was originally supposed to use that gimmick in NJPW a few years ago but it didn’t pan out due to legal issues. I guess he gets to use it anyway. Solid match, nothing really stood out but nothing was great either.
Super Tiger, who I believe is a protege of the original Tiger Mask, worked the last few minutes with Minamino, who got in a swanton bomb but eventually fell to the tiger suplex.
Dory Funk Jr., Chavo Guerrero Sr., Ultimo Dragon & Tajiri defeated Great Kabuki, Osamu Nishimura, Yutaka Yoshie & Isami Kodaka
Tajiri and Kabuki teased their mist spots before the match. This was oddly entertaining, even though it was obvious the workrate in this match wasn’t going to be much. There was an odd fascination in watching 75 year old Dory Funk battling 68 year old Great Kabuki with offense that has to be seen to be believed, but I expected as much going in.
Funk worked this more than you’d think, mostly against Nishimura. Nishimura was going for a figure four when Funk cradled him for the win. Funk cracked the whip after the match.
Ryoji Sai, Kengo Mashimo & Konosuke Takeshita defeated Jake Lee, Yuma Aoyagi & Koji Iwamoto
This was obviously a more athletic match than the previous bout. Everyone looked good and it turned out to be a pretty hot match while it lasted. Jake Lee worked a lot of the ending and looked good. Sai laid out Lee with a big brainbuster off the top rope for a near fall, then followed with a double foot stomp for the pin.
Jun Akiyama & Kendo Kashin defeated Takao Omori & Manabu Soya
Kashin acted like he didn’t want to team with Akiyama. He started hitting people with chairs but stopped at Akiyama. The match was fine, but didn’t last long. Akiyama pinned Omori with a wrist clutch exploder.
A dragon came out and attacked a mole that was at ringside. I have no idea why, but that did happen. I saw it all.
Joe Doering came out, returning to Japan after fighting a brain tumor for the last year. He thanked the people at home and around the world for their support, and said thanks to them he has beaten cancer. He promised to be back next year to a big pop. Really great to hear.
Jiro Kuroshio defeated Yohei Nakajima for the GAORA TV title
Lots of good near falls throughout the match. Nakajima went to the top rope but Kuroshio cut him off with a top rope hurricanrana then followed with a Michinoku Driver but Nakajima kicked out. He hit two moonsaults then covered Nakajima in a unique looking pin for the win.
Keisuke Ishii defeated Soma Takao for the AJPW Jr. title
There was mostly good back and forth to start things off, nothing too exciting. The crowd was slow to get into it. Soma has a unique look with the dyed hair and gear. Ishii hit a tiger suplex after Takao tried to counter one of his moves. Takao immediately came back and hit two superkicks. Ishii hit a cool looking double arm lifting DDT for a near fall, then hit a shooting star press for the win.
Yuma Aoyagi came out after the match and challenged Ishii. He, of course, accepted, that becoming the next program for the title.
Masanobu Fuchi & Atsushi Onita defeated Atsushi Aoki & Hikaru Sato for the AJPW All-Asia Tag Team titles
Well, this wasn’t boring, that’s for sure. Actually, with all the smoke and mirrors it wasn’t bad at all. Once the bell rang Onita grabbed a barbed wire bat as a siren went off, like as if the ring were about to explode or something. Fuchi reminded him that’s kind of illegal here, so he relented. That did not stop him, however, from grabbing Sato and piledriving him twice on a table that didn’t break.
The champions spike piledrove Fuchi on the outside and worked on him for the heat. Onita came in and misted Sato, then hit him with a chair. Onita took out Aoki as Fuchi hammered Sato with back suplexes then pinned him to win the titles. Yep, that happened.
With the win, the first graduates from AJPW’s dojo have become the 100th All-Asia tag champions, so perhaps it’s a bit fitting. They held up a picture of Magic Dragon, the third member of their graduating class who died in a plane crash in 1987 as they posed with the belts. Akiyama and Inoue came out after the bout and challenged the new champions.
Zeus & The Bodyguard defeated Daisuke Sekimoto & Yuji Okabayashi for the AJPW World Tag Team titles
This would pretty much be your textbook definition of a hoss match. Lots of power spots, chop battles, suplexes, etc. Sekimoto took Zeus and suplexed him off the apron and to the floor in a crazy spot. Sekimoto followed that with a big splash but Zeus kicked out.
They built up to this great spot where Zeus and the Bodyguard overcame Strong BJ’s tandem moves and deadlifted both in an aided double suplex. They hit the doomsday device on Sekimoto, then Zeus finished him with the jackknife to win the titles.
Kento Miyahara defeated Suwama to retain the Triple Crown
This turned into a really great match towards the end. Miyahara did well as the young babyface in peril as Suwama laid it into him, firing back when he needed to and brining it towards the end.
Suwama dominated a lot of the bout, completely overpowering Miyahara until he finally countered back with a DDT and started to mount some offense. They did a sequence where they kept laying out big moves on one another until both were down.
Suwama kept chopping him until Miyahara kneed him and hit a German suplex. Suwama fired back with a backdrop driver. Miyahara countered the last ride with a sunset flip, then kneed him. Suwama countered another knee and hit the last ride but Miyahara kicked out. Miyahara hit three more knees, then hit a deadlift straightjacket suplex to retain the championship.
Miyahara cut a promo and celebrated after the match. No one came out to challenge him.
A really fun show overall. It was very long — about five hours long — but nothing dragged and the top two matches were really great. A lot of old guys were on the card, but did well in their roles and as an every now and then sort of thing, it isn’t that bad to watch. Overall a solid card from a promotion that doesn’t have a ton of visibility anymore, but still can produce a great show.